Friday, October 3, 2014

Sir Elton (and the concert we almost missed...)



My love affair with Elton John has been going on for almost as long as I can remember.  I was about 5 years old when Goodbye Yellow Brick Road came out, and my sister and I had the 8 track that we played relentlessly (does anyone else remember those?).  I cried when it broke.

Fast forward to several years ago, Elton was touring with Billy Joel, who I also really like.  I bought the tickets 6 months ahead of time, and anxiously awaited the show.  Unfortunately it was canceled because one of them was sick.  The show was rescheduled right smack in the middle of our ski vacation so we had to sell the tickets back- I was so bummed (I know, first world problems).  The last couple of times we have been to Vegas he has not been there. Would I ever get to see him before he retired??

Finally, this tour, the 40th anniversary tour for Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was announced.  I joined his official fan club so that I could get tickets prior to the general public.  I sat with my finger above the keyboard on the day tickets were sold, ready to hit it at 10 am on the nose.  Because I purchased through his fan club I was told the tickets would be at will call the day of the show.  No problem.

I had a dream the night prior to the show where I forgot to pick up the tickets, then kept trying to get over to will call, but was running and running, never reaching it.  Very frustrating.

Concert night finally arrived.  Pete and I planned on parking early, then heading over to San Pedro Square for dinner.  Because I was so freaked out by my dream I insisted on picking up the tickets prior to dinner.  I grabbed them, then we headed over to dinner, yummy mexican food!

After dinner we walked back.  We were almost back to the SAP center when I suddenly paniced.  Did I still have the tickets?  I peeked in my purse and didn't see them.  I opened my wallet and still didn't see them.  Then I started to freak.  Pete and I frantically started tearing through my wallet and purse without any luck.  I started wailing,  "this is just like my dream, the tickets are gone!".  Pete was confused, asking me if I took them out at the restaurant.  I did.  I took them out to look at them (what an idiot).  I was intrigued with them, they were "real tickets" not the usual printed etickets.  I was sure I put them back though, although it was occurring to me I must not have.  I threw my purse at Pete and started running back to the restaurant (in flip flops).

I ran all the way back, against a crazy flow of people, all headed to the SAP center.  I ran into the restaurant, but of course the table had been cleared.  The waiter said he didn't see them.  I asked him to check the trash.  He came back- the trash had just been emptied out back.  I started screaming, let me back there, please let me go check!  A couple of bus boys went out back with me.  They handed me some gloves and we started digging.  Omg.  The trash was disgusting.  I kept pulling out what I thought was a white envelope, but it was tortillas.  We found a credit card.  We found some silver ware and remekins that had been thrown away. I was nearly hysterical.  "The tickets were almost $400!  My husband is going to kill me!"  One of the guys asked who was playing.  "Elton John," I replied.  "Oh, was he one of the Beatles?" he asked.  "NO! HE IS ELTON JOHN!"

Then I looked to the side, and there laying on the ground next to the trash, with food on it, was the envelope.  I grabbed it and squealed.  I looked inside, and there were the 2 tickets.  I thanked the guys and bolted (I really wish I had taken the time to get their names so I could send them a proper thank you).  I ran out the door, all the way back to the SAP Center.  I got to the spot where I had left Pete, but he wasn't there.  I looked around.  Maybe he went over to will call to see if they could be replaced?  I ran over there, but still no Pete.  Because I threw my purse at him when I ran off I did not have my phone with me (why did I do that??)  I looked around frantically.  Finally I saw a SAP employee so asked him if he had a cell phone I could use.  He asked why, so I blabbed out the entire story, ending with finding the tickets in the dumpster.  He gave me a crazy look and handed me his phone.  I called Pete.  He was sitting back at the restaurant, waiting for me.  He didn't see me run out, I didn't see him.  Ugh!!!

Back he came, and we finally got in, just as the opening act was finishing.  We had seats on the floor, row 19. Pete looked at me.  "You are almost forgiven" he said.
I totally smelled like mexican food all night

The view from our seats
Sir Elton was of course amazing.  He started right on time, with my favorite,  Funeral for a Friend/Love, Lies Bleeding.  I had chills listening to him. He played non stop for over 2 1/2 hours.  He was gracious and humble, a true gentleman.  He stated that he enjoyed his playing now more than ever, now that he was happy with his life and finally comfortable in his own skin.  He talked about his love for his husband and his children.  The show was worth every penny and then some.  Come hell or high water, I will get to Las Vegas and see him again before he is done.

As for Pete and I, I am not allowed to hold tickets ever again (obviously).  Pete also told me I wasn't allowed to gripe at him for not being able to find anything in the fridge.  "But I FOUND the tickets!" I said.

I still don't know how the tickets ended up where they did.  I am blaming the enormous margarita I had with dinner.

Thank you Sir Elton for an amazing show.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A waiver free birthday!

We have a new 8 year old in the house today!

 Today is Christopher's 8th birthday.  He started the day with a sprinkle belgium waffle with ice cream.  Yum!

This year we went with a simple, no waiver required birthday party.  His friends came over for swimming,


and trampolining!
 After swimming the kids ate some hot dogs, then it was time for cake.

 I made a quadruple layer chocolate and yellow soccer cake that I saw on pinterest.

 Make a wish!

The cake has a surprise!  When I cut into it, it was filled with chocolate soccer balls!

 We eneded the party with a silly string battle.  Pete put all the cans of silly string in a pile and then cut the kids loose.

 They bolted for the cans and went crazy!

A fun end to a fun party for a fantastic, silly 8 year old.  Happy birthday to my last little man Christopher.  Love you to the moon and back!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

School time! (Already??)

I swear summer just started a few days ago, but nope, it's back to school time around here.  Boo.


Zach is starting 10th grade.  He has a zero period class so he was out the door EARLY this morning at 6:45.  I said a quick good-bye to him before my run, and he was long gone when I got home.  He is home, and said he likes all his classes and teachers (although I don't think he has ever not liked a class or teacher).


Joey is rockin' 7th grade this year.  He was excited to see all his friends today.  He has a few of Zach's old teachers so got the low down.


Vinny is now big man on campus in 5th grade.  He has Mrs. Subrmaniam.  We have never had her, but I have heard she is very strict.  She will have her work cut out for her with the Vin Man!

Christopher is in 2nd grade.  He has Mrs. Huerta and Mrs. Schwender and is excited because he has lots of friends in his class.  Vinny had Huerta/Schwender when he was in 2nd grade-luckily for Chris Vinny set the bar very low behaviorially so he should be just fine.  Haha!

 The tradtional group shot, which had to wait until after school this year.


And their new shoes.  We are taking bets on who will rip through theirs first--anyone else want in?

Happy Back to School everyone!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

They're home!!!

Saturday was pick up day at Camp Kennolyn!   As always, Pete and I had a fabulous time while the kids were gone, but by Thursday of the 2nd week I am missing them tons and can't wait to get them!

We were almost at camp, minutes away when my phone rang.  From the number I knew it was camp.  Uh oh.  It was the camp nurse--Chris came to see her with a sore throat and head ache.  He didn't have a fever so she sent him to breakfast.  After breakfast he threw up (from the top bunk in his cabin. To quote his counselor "He was clearly going for distance")  Poor guy.  At least he didn't get sick until the last day.  We went to the nurses office to get him, gave him motrin, and went to the opening ceremonies (may as well- I am sure he had already infected half the camp by that point!)

(excuse the crappy pictures- I forgot my camera and had to use my iphone)

Christopher, with his head down--not feeling well
One by one the cabins come out, the counselors introduce themselves,  then the cabin gives a cheer.

 I like hearing about the counsleors.  Many of them were campers here, lots are from other countries.  Kennolyn hires quality staff--there were some impressive schools and majors!

 Joey's general counselor (one of the tall guys above) was a camper here, just graduated from Cornell in computer science,  and has an engineering job at Google waiting for him when the summer is over.  Wow!

You can't really see Zach in this pic, but he is in the khaki shorts in the back, here with his fellow CILT's

After the introductions we got to walk around and see some of the kids' activities.

 Christopher had animal care, outdoor adventure, outdoor cooking,

art, fun science, and riflery.  Christopher said his favorite meal there was either the chicken drumsticks or the turkey and ham sandwich, and his favorite day was beach day.  His least favorite thing was throwing up that morning.  By the time we got home from camp on Saturday he had a fever of 102.  Poor guy.







Vinny's activities were wall climbing, archery, riflery,


drama, pool hang out,



and fencing.   Vinny lost 2 teeth while at camp!  And much to my surprise the tooth fairy found him and left him a Susan B. Anthony coin each time.  Sounds like Kennolyn's tooth fairy is much more reliable than the Contini family tooth fairy!  When asked what his favorite meal was he said pizza.  His favorite day at camp was beach day.



Joey's activities were pool hang out, fun science,

 outdoor cooking, hockey,


and his favorite- BMX riding.  When asked what his favorite meal was he said the chicken patty sandwich, and his favorite day at camp was beach day and boardwalk day (where he ate an entire deep fried twinkie dipped in chocolate.  Gross).

Zachary was a CILT this year, a camper in leadership training.  This is the first of a three year training process to be a counselor.  He spent his morning with a few activities like a regular camper.  In the afternoon he had leadership activities with the other CILT's.   He was assigned to a younger cabin to help out the counselors.  His activities were  senior pool hang out,

 senior wall climbing (I was shocked at how fast he got up that wall!)

and carpentry.

His favorite meal was Thanksgiving dinner, and his favorite thing in camp was helping out with cabin Big Creek.  He is hoping he gets invited back next year because he really wants to be a counselor.

Christopher and his counselor Spencer-he was also his counselor last year and he loved him!  This is the poor guy who had to clean Christopher's vomit. 
 After seeing their activities, and cleaning out their bunks (omg) we had lunch there.  At times we were joined by counsleors who sat and chatted with us.

Vinny and his 2 counselor's.  Ben, on Vinny's right, was Christopher's JC last year.

I can not say enough good things about this camp.  A wonderful array of activities to choose from, fantastic staff, and a beautiful location.  The kids see the same counselors year after year and they always seem to remember the boys. Yes, I miss them while they are gone (well, eventually I do.  :-) ), but I know they are having such a blast.


What don't I like?  The laundry!  Seven loads, plus an entire bag of clothes that went straight in the trash.  And don't even get me started on the smell.  Yikes!

We already signed the boys up for next year-- 11 1/2 months and counting...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Camp Kennolyn!!

Finally, the day we have all been looking forward to all summer long--camp drop off day!

 They were excited and ready to go this morning!

 The first feat was getting all 4 camp trunks in the van--No problem!

 Next up was the traditional lunch stop at Carpo's in Soquel.  Cousins Peter, Gian, and William met us there.

 After getting through the parking line, and temperature check, it was time for the lice check.  Fast and easy thanks to my boys' freshly shaved heads (courtesy of their father while I was out running errands yesterday)
 Off to find everyone's cabin...

 This is Christopher's 2nd year- he is in Angel's Camp once again (the youngest boys cabin).  He was excited to see he has the same counselor and a friend in his cabin from last year.

 This is Vinny's 4th year at Kennolyn.  This year he is joined by his cousin William who is at Kennolyn for the first time.  They are in Iron Mountain together.

 This is Joey's 6th year--as always he is with his cousins Peter and Gian.  Luke (on the end in the Oregon shirt) has been in their cabin almost every year the last 6 years.

 Last but not least, Zach is in his 7th year at Kennolyn and is a CILT (camper in leadership training) this year.  Being a CILT is the first step to being a counselor (which he really wants to do).  He spends part of the session doing his own fun activities, and part of the time helping out with a younger cabin.  He is in Fiddletown with several guys he has known for years.

 Contini cousins representing!

See you boys in 2 weeks!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Father's day always leaves me with a touch of sadness.  My Dad died about 6 1/2 years ago.  My boys will only have the faintest of memories of him, and will never know what a great, hard working man he was.  Pete's Dad died when Pete was 15, so I never got to meet the man who gave me such a wonderful husband.  Our grandfathers each passed many, many years ago.

My Dad and I

While my boys don't get to grow up with their grandfathers, they are lucky to have an amazing Dad!  I could not have chosen a better father for our boys.  He is as involved in their lives as he can be, coaching them, taking them to ball games, and teaching them about life.  With Pete as a role model, I know they will be great fathers too one day.

 While I gave the boys the idea to make the above card, they went to the store themselves and came up with what to say.  It says " Sorry we couldn't get you a trip to the Milky Way or an orbit around  the moon, because we are just kids we don't have our own Payday.  However we hope this Satisfies you enough, and brings you Mounds of Joy.  We thank you so much for being an Extra Mega special Dad and Mentor.  From your 4 nut jobs- Zach, Joey, Vinny, and Chris"



Happy Father's Day Pete!  You are the best Dad ever.   I even forgive you for rearranging the kitchen cupboards while I was gone this morning (seriously, who does that without even asking their wife??).