Category Archives: Out and About

Road Trip!

I’ve had tickets to go see my favorite band Red Wanting Blue at the House of Blues in Cleveland since they announced a weekend of shows last October. I didn’t plan to go to both nights of shows (Fri and Sat), but definitely purchased tickets for me and Vampire Boy for Saturday night.

I reserved a room at the The Arcade, a hotel right across the street from the House of Blues. I wasn’t confident about my car making the drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland so I also reserved a car at the airport.

We were a little late in getting started to the airport to pick up our rental, but we were finally on the road by 1:00. Since I was heading to Cleveland and Vampire Boy loves food, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take him to Melt Bar and Grilled.

An added bonus of my trip to Cleveland was to FINALLY meet in person someone I “virtually” met a number of years ago. J was able to meet and join me for lunch at Melt, and then gave me a quick driving tour of the frozen lake while showing me the way back to my hotel.

This was my awesome lunch. I was only able to eat about half of the one half!

Melt Bar and Grilled

The Dude Abides: homemade meatballs, fried mozzarella wedges, rich marinara, provolone & romano

We had less than an hour to drop off our bags at our room before the doors opened at the venue. I didn’t have time to explore the hotel, but they were setting up for a wedding.

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It was really nice to just walk across the street to the venue (and would have been awesome had I been imbibing in adult beverages).

After dropping off our bags, laying down for a disco nap (but too excited to sleep), and refreshing my makeup, it was time to head over to the House of Blues. J was able to find a ticket (it was a sold out show) to join us. (Sadly, he wasn’t able to stay too long after officiating most of the morning.)

After two opening bands (who I didn’t care for), it was time!

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Red Wanting Blue | House of Blues 

These guys played for over 90 minutes and had TWO encores! I loved how they threw in some really old stuff (that I haven’t seen performed live) as well as one of their new songs (new album coming out soon!). They’re also going to be on The Rock Boat (but sadly, Vampire Boy doesn’t get to go this year which is why I took him to Cleveland to see them).

I spent a lot of time driving this weekend, but it was totally worth it! A great lunch, meeting a virtual friend in real life, a great show, and getting to spend some quality time with my son! I’m an exhausted but happy gal.

The view of the city and the frozen lake

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Day 17: Recovery

I planned for today to be a fairly low key day filled with unpacking, laundry, and housecleaning.

The best laid plans, eh?

Vampire Boy was hoping for a visit to take him grocery shopping to stock his room for the last week (!!!) before his Thanksgiving break. [Seriously, the last week before Thanksgiving break!!!] So after a quick shower this morning, I hopped in the car and headed up to California, PA.

He quickly browsed through the store and grabbed the few items he wanted. We were then going to grab lunch at the nearby Eat n Park, but there were so many senior citizens waiting around. OK, Foursquare, tell me what’s close! We found a nearby Hoss’s Restaurant. (I haven’t been to a Hoss’s in over 15 years!) I also spied a Gabriel Brothers next door, so of course I had to stop in.

I returned Vampire Boy to his dorm about mid-afternoon, told him to clean his room, and hit the highway to come home. I was hoping for a quiet afternoon, but Social Diva was texting to request an early pick up from her dad’s house. Oh well, quiet house tomorrow night hopefully!

PS: My foot is still swollen today. Hopefully, the swelling goes down soon or I’m going to have to break down and go to a doctor. [gasp!]

Day 14: NOLA

The hotel internet is so slow, I’ll have to post when I can find a faster connection.

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In the meantime, smooches!

Day 1 (late): A Fun Friday Evening!

I had plans for a quiet Friday evening as Social Diva was supposed to go with her Dad to pick up Vampire Boy from school.

However, early Friday morning I was asked if I was interested in going to the Pens game. Of course, I said “Yes!” and then had to figure out who to take with me. Social Diva wasn’t answering her texts. Another friend had just firmed up date plans. And the third friend wasn’t responding to a FB message. Finally, three hours later, Social Diva replies that she is interested.

I have been to Pens games before but at the old Mellon Arena. I was looking forward to my first game at the Consol Energy Center. We got there early enough to see some pre-game warm-ups and get something to eat.

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The seats were great! Social Diva loved her first professional hockey game. And Mom had a fun girls’ night out.

Let's Go Pens!

Many thanks to the kind person who gave me the seats for the game. A plate of their favorite cookies will be made to go along with a nice thank you note for their generosity.

Staycation 2013

It’s a good vacation if you feel like you’ve been away from work for a month, right?

Between high school graduation at the beginning of June through the arrival of my new faculty hires this July 1st, I’ve felt like a hamster on a never-ending wheel.  I needed this week off! I was looking forward to getting some things done around the house, hanging out at the pool, and enjoying a lazy week of staycation.

Mother Nature had other plans for me.

I only got one pool day in. My birthday was completely uneventful. While I should have disconnected from work, I did check emails every morning just to make sure everything was ok at work. I didn’t get ANYTHING done around the house like I wanted to. My basement had a little bit of water pooling, but fortunately nothing as bad as other areas of the city.

On the plus side:

* I went tubing on a river for the very first time. I lost my favorite hat and my sunglasses, but I didn’t drown. If you’re looking for a fun day trip, check out Coal Tubin’.

* I spent eight hours with my toes in the sand at Presque Isle.

* I did get to hang out with the kids, even with one working this summer and the other sleeping her summer vacation away.

*  Vampire Boy attended an Orientation Program at Cal U to finish registering for classes. It’s hard to believe that he only has one more month at home before he goes off to school.

On the down side:

* I didn’t win the Powerball, so I have to go back to work.

* I haven’t met a millionaire who wants to support me, so I have to go back to work.

* Tomorrow, I have to go back to work.

I’d much rather be here:

Beach 6

Presque Isle, Beach 6

Six more weeks until vacation at OBX. I’m really looking forward to getting away, really away, for a week at a real beach with some great people and what looks like an awesome house. I’ll need the trip after getting Vampire Boy off to college and Social Diva ready for her final year at middle school.

Six more weeks … I can do it, right?!

Opening Weekend!

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It’s been a weird spring, but Memorial Day weekend is finally here. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with us on Saturday for pool opening day. The temperature high for the day was 62* on Saturday, so we bailed on the tradition of pool opening day. But Sunday’s forecast was 68* for the high. When I finally rolled out of bed at 8:30 AM (finally sleeping in for a change!), it was a brisk 54* outside but the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! (Can you see how blue it is?!)

I didn’t move quickly like a ‘normal’ weekend day for the pool. I had recently ordered (thanks to a gift card) a new beach towel, but that’s the ONLY thing I had handy first thing Sunday morning! I couldn’t remember where I had put my swim bag and sunscreen! I was able to find everything, get my bag packed, and get over to the pool around 12:30, when the temps moved from the 50s to the low 60s. Not surprising, there were maybe only ten people there, with two (kids, of course) actually splashing around in the water.

The water was too cold to even think about going in. It ended up being a gorgeous day to lay outside (with sunscreen in the double-digits) AND I managed to not come home with any sunburn.

On the calendar today is our annual trip to Kennywood. I’ve been awake since 5 AM like a kid on Christmas morning!

To all of our veterans who serve, have served, or have given their life for our freedom, a heart-felt thank you for your service.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Drunk Girl Theater

My first theater experience was when I was when I was in my early 30’s.  Growing up in a small town 20 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh, my parents never brought us into the city and certainly never to the theater.  Now that I am a parent, I want my children to experience all that they can.

Since his freshman  year, Vampire Boy has been involved with theater arts as part of the lighting or stage crew.  In May 2011, our high school’s spring musical production was The Wizard of Oz (I went to see it twice).  Once the advertisements started in May for the Wicked production and it’s performances in Pittsburgh, I knew I wanted to buy tickets for the three of us to go to a performance.   With my tight budget, I decided to get the least inexpensive tickets with the rationale that there isn’t a bad seat in the Benedum.  I also learned the lesson that one goes directly to the box office to buy tickets rather than online ($27 in convenience fees? ouch!).

Finally, September rolls around.  I think I am more excited to see the show than the children are (and I gave up going to see one of my favorite Rock Boat bands, Ingram Hill!). We spend a week figuring out the logistics of how we’re all getting into town for the evening.  We determine (and agree) on a place for dinner.  I leave work early on show day and drive home to pick them up so we can drive back into town.  We have a great dinner at Wingharts Burger & Whiskey Bar (yeah, I didn’t realize it was that small of a place but the burgers? YUM!).

After dinner, we head over to the Benedum to get settled into our seats which are at the top of the Benedum.  The lights go down, the curtain goes up. The kids and I enjoy the first half of the performance.   We’ve been sitting in our seats for about two hours, so at intermission, we get up to stretch our legs in the hall behind our seats.  We’re standing there for about 5 minutes before it happens.   All of a sudden, a young(er) woman (I’m horrible with ages but guessing in her late 20’s) FALLS from the top step into the hallway.  Her friend, who was walking up the stairs behind her, then shoves her, causing her to face plant into the carpeting.  Social Diva notices Vampire Boy and I looking over, so she turns around to see what we were looking at.  Both kids then look at me like “What the hell?”  This woman was so sloppy, shitfaced drunk that she could barely pick herself up from the floor.  She was stumbling around not sure where to go.  Escorts immediately came to her side and guided her from the stairs to the elevators.  Intermission show over, we head back to our seats and enjoy the second half of the performance.

I can’t help but wonder who the hell gets so shitfaced drunk before going to the theater on a Tuesday night? What kind of friend even allows you to go to the theater that drunk? What kind of friend then pushes you out of her way instead of helping you up?  This behavior is the norm on the South Side, but certainly not in the Cultural District.

At the end of the night, the kids and I spent a great evening together. I love sharing these experiences with them.  We had a nice dinner, saw an excellent performance, and had the added bonus lesson of how NOT to behave.