Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tumbling at the Todd show

"Now it's time to hit the streets
Are you ready to rumble?
Are you just gonna grumble?
You might take a tumble."

"Strike" by Todd Rundgren

When Todd Rundgren sang the song "Strike" at last night's Clearwater concert, the lyrics quoted above were very reminiscent of my pre-show activities. I managed to both "take a tumble" and "hit the streets" as I walked from the parking lot to the concert. Due to mold problems in the theater where the concert was to have taken place, it was moved outside, to the middle of Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater. I parked in the Stein Mart parking lot, just one block off the stage, and made my way to the street where the stage was set up. A security guard told me that I couldn't enter near the stage, and directed me "two blocks over and a block up" through the back alleys. I crossed the street, and looked ahead to determine which alley had the fewest homeless people asleep in it (really- downtown Clearwater is chock full of folks asleep in alleys). Instead, I should have been looking down at my feet, because I tripped right over a curb. I slammed down on an asphalt and gravel driveway, face first with my right eye and cheek taking the worst impact. I'm glad I had my (now destroyed) sunglasses on, because if my eye had taken the impact that the sunglasses did I'd have been in the emergency room for sure. As I stood up, I had just enough time to announce "dang, that really hurt!" before the same security guard ran over to reassure me that "I don't think that your nose is broken, if that makes you feel any better." I had asphalt stuck in my face and below my nose was bleeding like crazy, so he sent me into Stein Mart for some paper towels- the poor girl at the cosmetics counter was a little stunned when I asked for help with my dirty, bloody face. I got the bleeding stopped, weighed the need for stitches below my nose and finally decided that it wasn't necessary- 'cause I'd miss the concert! :) I cleaned up, then went in search of bandaids at a Walgreens five blocks away. I got them, but they wouldn't stick so I just went with the natural, swollen bloody look for the night. Here is a pic that John took when I got home last night:

Once I got used to the odd looks from random strangers, I met up with a few friends from other shows and we all tried to come up with a much more rock and roll worthy excuse for my injuries, other than "I tripped over a curb". We came up with some good ones, it was fun. The Todd Rundgren show was excellent, but honestly the only reason I go to his shows is to see his keyboard and guitar player Kasim Sulton. I got to talk to Kasim before the show and for quite a while afterwards, he's a doll. He was hugging me, and kissing the side of my face that wasn't covered in road rash scrapes, and introducing me to folks: "This is Sherrie, she's the best!" He was kind enough not to be too put off by my rapidly blackening eye. He even asked about John and why he wasn't at the show (he had to work), that made John feel good that he'd mentioned him. Today, below my eye is a kalaidescope of colors- purple/black/yellow, and every muscle in my body hurts. I'm not going to be nice to look at for a few days, but I had a great time at the show and I loved getting to see Kasim again. Here is a pic of him on stage, since it was an outside show at night it was hard to get good pics so this is about the best.
My next concert is Tuesday night (Colin Hay), I'll be much more careful of curbs for that one! :) Edit: Here is a much better photo of Kasim, taken by my friend Don W. who I've attended several shows with in the last few years.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

a busy Friday on tap...

Friday is going to be a very full day for all of us. My favorite "snowbirds" (my Mom, Dad and Grandma) are leaving very early Friday morning (really, Thursday night) to go back to the great frozen North until next winter. We've already told them all goodnight and goodbye. I'm not good at all with goodbyes, but I avoided major hysterics this time. (Last year they left later in the day and I told them goodbye right before leaving for work. I ended up being late for work because I had to pull over and compose myself at a gas station. I'm such a sap!) They are going to stop in Atlanta to see my cousin and his wife, they have a new baby that none of them have met so they're going to spend an hour or two with them on their way North.
Tomorrow, Joey's class is going on a field trip to The Florida Aquarium in Tampa and John is going along as a chaperone. We haven't been there in a few years, they should have a lot of fun.
In the evening, Joey is going to the youth group at church and John is catering a wedding rehearsal dinner for Joey's teacher from last year. I'm going to see Todd Rundgren in concert in Clearwater tomorrow night, mainly because I'm a big fan of a member of his band, Kasim Sulton. I was thrilled to find out that there is going to be a street festival event in downtown Clearwater to coincide with the concert. They are going to have vendors, food, and live music. One of the bands that is having a free concert tomorrow (two hours before the Todd Rundgren show, so I can catch both) is The Greg Billings Band. Back in the late 80's/early 90's, that band was known as "Stranger" and they were my very favorite local band. I used to see them often around Clearwater. I would foolishly stand right against the stage in front of the speakers, I remember many, many days going to my job at a bookstore with tremendously limited hearing from the Stranger show the night before- those shows were so loud, it took a good 12 hours for my hearing to get back to normal. Here's a video from their glory days.

They've mellowed and lowered the volume a bit (but not much!) now. Not only are they having a free outdoor show, they are also the opening act for Todd Rundgren- so I'll get to see them twice tomorrow! Between seeing them and seeing Kasim Sulton with Todd Rundgren, it should be a tremendous night of music for me. Hopefully I will have some pictures to post on Saturday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

the conquering fishermen

Here are a couple of pics from the boy's weekend away at the "Men and Boys Fishing Retreat". It was at Lake Tiger, a big lake 99 miles east of us. They had lots and lots of fishing (but no actual fish caught for either of them), Bible studies, Airsoft gun battles (a sort of plastic leaves welts but no actual injury- and Joey is covered in Airsoft welts!) and lots of good food for everyone made by John. The first picture is Joey in the boat they fished from.

This one is of John and the sunset over Lake Tiger- such a pretty sky!

They had a great time, I'm sure they're looking forward to the next time the church has the event, in October. They came home with lots of "bass bites"- fried cubes of bass- delicious, thank goodness someone on the trip actually caught some fish! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A little bit o' Nez for ya

Thanks to my friend Marissa, I think I may have finally been successful in posting videos here on Blogger...this is my first try. I was playing my iPod today, and among the thousands of songs on there I was surprised to find that I don't have any Monkees songs with my official elementary school fantasy boyfriend Mike Nesmith singing lead! The horror! I've determined that anyone's day will be just a little better with the addition of a little Nez music, so here it is. Enjoy, as I practice my Blogger skills. (Oh, and if you are, or have ever been, a Monkees fan, send out some major mojo to Peter Tork who is currently recovering from cancer surgery and starts radiation in a few weeks.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Flying solo this weekend

I've been seeing these snarky/vintage pictures on my Aunt Susan's blog (which is supercool, you should check it out) for quite a while and I spent a good deal of work time today (shhh, don't tell) enjoying the Anne Taintor website. There is a great selection of them to fit any blog occasion, today I chose the pic to your right in celebration of my awesome coupon savings.

John and Joey are on a father and son fishing retreat with our church all weekend, so as the title of the blog says, I'm flying solo this weekend. No crazy plans, I'll probably catch up on some movies and the three weeks of "Heroes" languishing away on my DVR.

Tonight I did my grocery shopping on the way home from work, and I had one of my best weeks ever with coupons. For a weeks worth of groceries, my final bill was $27.81 and I saved $41.08 with coupons and BOGO deals- essentially, I brought home around $70 in groceries for under $30. I'm planning on taking a coupon class on the 30th, hopefully I'll learn how to save even more. When I got home from the grocery store, I went out to dinner at Golden Corral with my parents and my grandma- you can't beat that company for a meal. I just finished watching the movie "Fireproof" and now I'm trying to settle the dogs down before bed. I have three dachshunds, and they are all out of sorts with two of "their people" being out of the house. The 14 year old, hunchbacked doxie girl is just standing on the porch barking into the darkness. There's nothing there, I just think she doesn't know what to do if her Dad's not here. There's not much else happening here, but I'll be back on Sunday with photos of the conquering fishermen. (Let's hope they catch something...the last time they didn't even have a bite to show for three days of fishing!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meet the author - Ellen Hopkins

Tonight I went to a talk by Ellen Hopkins, a bestselling author for young adults. I read my first book of hers the week of Christmas, and by New Years I had devoured five of her books, totallying nearly 2,500 pages- I was totally hooked. She writes narrative poetry telling the very graphic, gritty and in-your-face stories of teen girls trapped in methamphetamine addiction, abuse of all kinds, cutting, suicide and other destructive behaviors. Three of her books (Crank, Glass and the upcoming Fallout) are based very closely on her own daughter's drug addiction. At the talk tonight, she said that she is so graphic in her books to allow teens to see that they aren't alone in their problems, and to see through her characters that there are better choices that they can make. There were maybe 75 people at the talk, and I'd say that only 5 of us were over 18 years old- her audience of teens are fiercely loyal. I'm such a book geek, authors are like rock stars to me. This is only the third young adult author that I've met (after Daniel Ehrenhaft two years ago and Christopher Paul Curtis almost 10 years ago), but I hope that I'll get a chance to attend more events like this.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Joey's website is on the move!

A few weeks ago, I got an email from my Internet provider that I had to "migrate" (move to a new server and web address) the website that I've maintained for Joey for almost 8 years. The email made this sound like a quick and easy process, of course. I tried to do it last week, received a cheerful email that I had "successfully migrated" my website...but when I went to check on it at the new address- no website. Today I spoke for an eternity with a half dozen tech support folks at my Internet provider, finally the 6th one was able to sort it all out and at least tell me the new URL for the site. However, he also told me that I had to move all of my files to their server, then go in and manually recode the HTML on every page of my site to reflect over 120 changes in the links, photos and web storage addresses. Oy! Several hours later, I'm not done, but I have successfully moved and recoded a majority of the site. My internet service provider says that the "old" web address won't be active past this Tuesday, and that's the one that my family and friends all have. The new address is active, but not all the links are fixed yet. The new address is: That funny thing before my name is called a tilde, it's usually on the upper left hand key on a keyboard, shift on the accent key to get it. I spent hours working on moving the site today, but it's worth it when I get emails from parents whose children are having the same heart surgery as Joey and they tell me that they found the site very reassuring- I get a couple emails every few months, it's really satisfying to me that by telling about Joey's medical journey I can help other parents facing the same thing.
And- one last thing, I have to brag about Joey's report card that came home yesterday- he got seven A's and one B! The B was in math, and his final grade was .45 of one point away from an A! He works really hard, his school is very competitive so those grades are well earned, for sure. (I'm really sweating over his math....I try to check his homework every night, but it's quickly getting beyond my math skills! His school goes up to calculus and trig in high school, but my math ability maxed out at Algebra II...any math whizzes out there to help me in a couple years?) :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hey la, hey la, my boyfriend's back

I'd like to balance some of the badness of today with the profoundly good karma that is generated by the return of the actor simply known as "My Boyfriend, George Clooney" to ER. My husband doesn't seem to mind that Mr. Clooney's name has been amended each time I say or type it to include his status as my official boyfriend, he's good that way. I read in the paper yesterday that he will be appearing in the final three episodes of ER, starting tonight. I have been known to bring my whole family running in fear that I have injured myself in response to the high pitched squeal that I let loose at the mere mention of his name, so I'll try to keep it down when I see him on the show tonight. :)

a quiet week on the blog

This has been a very “heavy” week emotionally, that is the reason that I haven’t been blogging- on one hand I don’t want to diminish what has been happening by not blogging, but on the other hand I tend to seek to escape it by dwelling on shallow things and that’s the direction most blog entries I could write this week would go- that’s just how I deal with things, I use shallowness/humor as a defense mechanism. I won’t share their stories in detail here, out of respect for their privacy, but suffice to say that my best friend of 31 years is facing losing her mother in the next few days and my parents are dealing with the serious, likely fatal, health problems of their beloved dog of 10 years. I most assuredly lack the skills to say the right things to comfort either my friend or my parents (I envy those people that seem to know the right thing to say and do in these situations) but I sort of want to acknowledge them here and explain why the blog had been quiet. I’ll most likely be back later to blog something totally vapid and shallow, but it has it’s purpose.

Friday, March 6, 2009

a quick coupon update...

Today I did my grocery shopping for the first time using an organized system for gathering and using coupons, and it worked out pretty well. My final out of pocket cost was only $32.20 for a weeks worth of groceries, and between coupons, clearance items and BOGO's I saved $51.66- so my total before those things would have been over $83 and essentially I got my groceries for just over 60% off! After a few weeks of gathering coupons, I should be able to save even more. I'm also getting hyped up about getting the CVS and Walgreens ads in the Sunday paper, I had a lot of fun last week matching up coupons to sales to get great deals on those last week. (Yes, I'm a bit of a dork...but that's ok, saving money is a really good thing!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Joey has been volunteering at church in the "High Definition" (contemporary) service for several months. He's part of the production team, running cameras for the live webcast of the service and the in-church big screens that show the band and drama team. (The church membership is 6000, so big screens are quite neccessary!) I've been meaning to write about it here for friends and family who read this blog but I was waiting until I could give you a good link in case you'd like to view the service. I tried to find the recently archived services, and instead I found a Public Enemy live show! (They're my favorite old school rap group, but not what I was looking for!) I'm told that the show is run live on the church website every Sunday at 9AM, here is the link for the service: Click on "HD Live" on Sunday between 9 and 10:30 AM if you'd like to take a look. There are four cameras, Joey usually runs either the big TV studio style camera or the mobile camera that he can run all around and get cool shots of the band from all angles. The service is great- they have a full rock style band and it's LOUD- it's like going to a concert every Sunday. Joey is learning quite a bit about running the cameras and the actual production of the show, with the video switchers and effects and everything. Hopefully, he will also take a video production class at school next year, it usually starts in 9th grade but the teacher has said that he may let Joey in as a 7th grader next year due to his experience with the HD production. Check out the HD service if you have a chance, we really enjoy it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Coupon queen

I've always been unreasonably proud of just how much I can save at the grocery store with coupons and paying attention to sales (most weeks, it's around $50 in savings), but I recently ran across a blog by a woman who makes me look like quite the amateur when it comes to saving money. Her blog is and she offers coupon classes. She lives nearby, but not near enough for me to make the trek to the next county for her class. So, I got her class in booklet form through the mail last week and I put it into action this week. Today, I spent just over $10 at Walgreens (I went twice) and actually got almost $40 in groceries. In fact, after work I got Dawn dishwashing soap, 2 bars of Yardley oatmeal/honey soap (my favorite!), Colgate toothpaste, 24 cans of Pepsi (my poor misguided son has been led astray into the land of Pepsi by his Grandma! Other than them, we are totally a Coke family!) and 24 bottles of Zephryhills spring water...for $1.32! AND I got $3.00 in "Register Rewards" back on the Pepsi to spend on my next visit there, so it's sort of like they paid me $1.68 to get the groceries. John thought it was so cool that I got all that stuff for close to nothing. I'm also shopping at CVS (saved $12 there today, everything I bought came with "bonus bucks" equal to what I spent that can be used like cash in the store on anything so I essentially got double product for my $) and my usual Publix. Now I'm really hyped up about saving money at the grocery store, I can't wait until the sale ads come out on Wednesday. I know it's not the most exciting thing in the world, but it thrills me to find the good sales and save money (or even get things for close to nothing.) :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Concert review: Kasim Sulton

A great time was had by all at the Kasim Sulton DVD release party/dinner/concert last night. We arrived about an hour before the show started and met up with several friends that we know from previous Meat Loaf concerts who had travelled in for the show. We had a good dinner, then around 8ish the concert started. Kasim sang a nice mix of his original music, Todd Rundgren songs, Utopia songs and a few covers. Our seats were the closest ones to the stage, about six feet from Kasim. He did all of our favorite songs, with John's very favorite "Don't Hold Me Back" making it in as the very last encore. John and I were singing it in the parking lot at Target the night before (much to the dismay of other shoppers) so he was thrilled to hear Kasim do it. After the last song, much to my surprise Kasim climbed off the stage and made a beeline straight for me! He gave me a hug and said "Sherrie, sweetheart, it is so good to see you!". What a doll he is! He stayed around for over an hour, signing autographs and taking photos and chatting with everyone. John was helping load up his merchandise (tshirts, CDs, DVDs) to go to the next show, so we were there a good while after the show. As we left, Kasim squeezed my arm and said that he'd see me in a month as he's coming to Clearwater to play with Todd Rundgren at a show I'm going to. John took several videos, once I figure out how to post them on YouTube I'll add a link here. For now, enjoy the pics of John and I with Kasim, and if you haven't heard his music go to and check it out- you won't be disappointed!