Category Archives: personal stories

Lessons Learned: 8 Years of (In)Sanity

Yesterday, this blog turned eight!  While some might not think that is a big deal but it is huge to Rhonda and myself.  When I think back to when we started this, I figured that we might write for a year, maybe two, if we were really committed.  Honestly, I believed that it would help us in our writing projects.  It might shed light on Duranies or even Duran Duran, I assumed.  While it has done that at times, to me, the lessons I have learned have been so much more and different than that.  So on this anniversary or birthday or whatever you want to call it, I want to share a few of those lessons.  They are in no particular order.

The Power of Commitment:

Sometimes, when Rhonda and I go on tour, we have uttered the phrase, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”  When we say that, it to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t necessarily party so hard in a few hour causing us to crash before the night has really even gotten started.  We don’t need to do everything in one night, if we have multiple shows.  I feel like I have learned that lesson in the rest of my life, too.

I have always known that there is power in commitment.  Experience matters.  When I first became a teacher, I watched veteran teachers to see how they dealt with every issue that teachers confront.  Looking back, I cannot believe how much I learned from that.  Now, I’m that veteran teacher.  My practice has improved over time, not just from watching those experienced staff members but also from doing it myself.  You know what else matters?  It is important to know that I’m in it for the long haul.  Teaching isn’t just a temporary gig.  I knew that I had to get better because it was going to be who and what I was for decades.

I could repeat a similar story for political organizing.  Initially, it was one campaign.  Soon enough, it became two then three.  Now, I get it.  It is part of my life and who I am.  I got better at it, too.  I had no choice.  I feel like the same is true for this blog.  In the beginning I didn’t think too much about how my blogs were.  Even once I realized that some people read them, I didn’t consciously think about how to improve my blogs.  Yet, I think it has happened through both doing it but also through commitment.  Because I know that this is part of my life, I want to be able to be proud of it.  Guess what?  I am proud.  Not only am I proud of the blogs themselves, I’m extremely proud of our commitment.  Both of us could have thrown in the towel a ton of times but we didn’t.  We stuck to it.  We stayed for the long haul.

Keeps Me Connected:

As I have said before, this hasn’t been the easiest year for me.  I won’t lie that there have been times that I thought maybe it was time for me to walk away from this.  It was never because I didn’t like it or my love for Duran has faded.  I just wondered if my attention shouldn’t be elsewhere.  Yet, I know how it would go.  At first, it might be fine.  I would focus on other things.  Over time, though, I would miss it.  Whenever I have suppressed one big aspect of my life, it always comes back to bite me.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want to have to choose between the different hats I wear.  I can be a fan and an activist.  I can be a blogger and educator.

What would I miss?  Not only would I miss the writing.  I would miss the connection.  This blog has connected us with other fans.  I have met so many people as a result of writing this blog, hosting meet-ups and organizing the convention in 2013.  I’m grateful for everyone I have met.  Not only have I learned from each and every person but many of you have brought fun and joy into my life.  You all have reminded me that fandom is about connection.  It starts out with a love of whatever.  In our case, it is the love of Duran Duran.  The fandom part comes when we reach out to each other.  This blog has made that a lot easier for me.  I cannot say that I’m great in meeting people.  Often, I think I give off the wrong vibes or something.  Yet, this blog and everything that has come as a result pushes me to be better, to be more approachable with other people.

Now, this blog keeps me connected not just to the fans I might meet, the ones that I have met, but also with Rhonda and Duran Duran.  This blog is not mine, not Rhonda’s but ours.  It is still that way.  It doesn’t matter how often we talk, this blog is our shared space.  It is a “place” that we both call home.  It is where we are open about our love for Duran and touring.  Beyond that, it is also where we have shared stories about fandom but also about our real lives.  I often joke that it has become our journals.  This blog lets us process through our ideas about fandom as well as general life stuff.  Not only does it let you all know what is going on with us, but often it lets me know what is going with her and vice versa.  It forces us to stay connected and I am grateful for that.  (I wonder if any band member has thought something similar about Duran Duran, that the band has kept the individual members connected.)

This little blog also keeps me thinking about Duran Duran.  When we first started, Duran Duran was at the top of my thoughts when writing this blog.  I couldn’t really imagine writing about my personal life or even subtle aspects of fandom.  No, I wanted to write about just Duran Duran, the band, the history, the music.  Now, it isn’t that they aren’t important as they are truly essential.  They are the reason we started and the reason we keep going.  However, they are much like the other commitments in my life.  Being a Duranie is who I am.  I have been that for so long and in this public way for 8 years now.  That part of my identity and the love that it stems from is so interwoven in my life that I don’t need to shout about it in the same way to prove that.  I know how much Duran matters to me.  It is like breathing.  I don’t need to think about it to love them.  I just do it.

Overall, this blog has changed me in ways that I couldn’t have imagined on September 13th, 2010, when we entered into this adventure.  I am thankful that we started this and thrilled that we keep going.  More importantly, I appreciate that Rhonda is still here on this journey with me and am forever grateful to people who have read the blog once as well as to those who read each and every day.  You all keep me going.  Thank you.

-A

Signals in Smoke: Comparing DD History and Fan Support

Do you ever wonder if you are the only one to do something?  Sometimes, I think I’m way weird.  Am I the only one who thinks about the band’s history when pondering one’s life?  For example, when I have been a part of a winning campaign and feel like I’m on top of the world, my thoughts immediately turn to Duran’s history.  Is this what it felt like to play Madison Square Garden in 1984, I ask.  Am I the only one???  Maybe this is a sign that I have read too many histories of the band or watched too many documentaries that the band’s story is permanently etched into my brain.  Perhaps, it is the historian in me combined with my Duranieness.  Who knows?

So which part of Duran’s history have I been thinking about?  1986 is the year that I have been thinking about.  It was the time in which Roger and Andy left.  The band was in a transition period coming back from side projects and attempting to regain popularity and media attention.  They tried hard to get back to where they were in 1984 despite the changes.  Eventually, it seems to me that the band members had to find a new normal.  They had to accept that their careers might be very different from here on out.  (Some might argue that they haven’t really accepted that as they continue to push for commercial success that they once had.)  In thinking about this, I try to imagine what they must have felt like.  Was this change so huge that it was heartbreaking to them?  Was it frustrating?  Was there an underlying anxiety?  How did they know which aspects of the new Duran Duran to accept and which ones should they fight to maintain?  How did that acceptance come about?

I ask all these questions in the hopes of shedding light to my current situation.  I, too, feel like I’m in a transition despite having the same career (just like the band did).  There are parts of my life that are pretty significantly different than what they were two years ago.  In thinking about some of those changes, I’m left feeling lonely and a little heartbroken.  My natural tendency is to embrace whatever dark emotion I have and even wallow in it.  I’m trying hard not to do that.  Maybe the band members felt that way in 1986, too.  It is possible that they wanted to live in anger towards their former colleagues or the media or the fickle fans.  Yet, it seems to me that they did what I’m trying to do, which is to hold on to the elements that are at the core while accepting the new aspects to the best of their ability.

When I think of Duran in 1986, I don’t see people who were depressed or frustrated with many people and institutions.  Maybe they did and they just couldn’t or wouldn’t show it.  I can relate to that.  I suspect that I hide my feelings well or shield people from seeing the extent to my emotions.  The other theory is that even if people see that I’m not doing super well, I also seem unapproachable.  Yet, every once in awhile, someone pushes through, sees that things haven’t been great for me and reaches out.

I experienced this very thing this week when I arrived home to find a unexpected package in my mailbox.  What was in the package?  It was from Durandy who said that he heard that things have been rough for me so he wanted to send a little joy to me.  What did he send?  He sent a copy of his book, The Music Between Us:  Concert Ads of Duran Duran.  I cannot begin to express how much this touched me.  On top of being thrilled to have a copy of this book, it means the world to me to know that someone cares.  Of course, the gift in one that I look forward to really looking at.  I have already gone page by page once and cannot wait to really analyze each and every ad and story.  It is a gift that will keep on giving.

So, I guess, just this once, my signals in smoke were seen and received.  It definitely makes me feel a little stronger, a little more supported as I move through whatever weird transition period this is.  It also reminds me of the best of fandom, which is how fans can and do support one another.  That is another gift I will treasure.

-A

Whatever I’ve Done to Receive

Over the course of the almost eight years or so that Rhonda and I have been writing this blog, we have written many times about the positives of fandom.  I think back to all of the blog posts I have written that focused on the pure joy I have received at various Duran shows or at other fandom events.  It is common for me to point out that my favorite memories and best days of my life include those days when my entire being is surrounded by fandom.  I might describe an amazing moment like hearing the first few notes of Secret Oktober in Brighton, England, and realizing that this is really happening.  Perhaps, I would describe the ridiculously fun times when I have found myself on a stage at a Howl at the Moon singing Rio with my fellow fans.  It is even the little moments like exchanging messages with your blogging partner while watching a brand Duran Duran special online.  Yet, this week, I am reminded of why this all matters when you boil it down.

My parents have been visiting my sister in North Carolina for the last couple of weeks.  My dad did not seem himself on the morning of their flight there but he has some significant health issues.  No one thought that much about how he was acting.  Unfortunately, throughout their visit, he had not shown any improvement.  Finally, after consulting his doctor, they took him to the hospital where he is has been receiving treatment for pneumonia.  Thankfully, he has been improving with the goal of him being discharged later today and returning home early next week.  I cannot say that this week was the easiest for me as I worried about him greatly while needing to get myself ready for the upcoming school year.

After all, my parents are my rock.  They are my go to people.  When something goes wrong or I’m experiencing frustration, I look to them.  When I was a kid, I might have sought them out for their advice or words of wisdom.  Now, it is more of a situation of having them be my sounding board.  There is no judgement with them and they understand where I am coming from.  Truly, I have always felt incredibly fortunate to have this type of relationship with them.  So many friends of mine have very complex relationships with their parents that includes both love but also utter frustration.  I have none of that.  Now, though, as they age and struggle more with their health, I am facing a new problem.  What do you do when your go to people are the people you now need to process about?  Who do you seek out especially when you are terribly in asking but often needing the support?  I don’t have a good answer to that other than I’m working on it.

In order to seek some emotional support, I decided to post about it on my social media.  I figured a lot of people especially on my Facebook would respond.  After all, like everyone else, I have cousins and other family who are my “friends” on that platform.  A lot of my high school friends got to know my parents quite well so I knew that they would reach out.  Current colleagues might also feel some sort of obligation to offer their kind thoughts and any assistance with work that I might need.  The one group that I didn’t really consider was the group that I would define as “Duranies”.  A number of people whom I have met and gotten to know because of being a fan of Duran Duran reached out.  Many of them just offered positive thoughts but a few went farther than that.  Six years ago, around this time, I, too, was in North Carolina.  Rhonda and I toured the southeast part of the country, which included a show in Durham.  This tour gave us the chance to meet fellow fans from that area.  Well, a number of those North Carolina or nearby fans offered to provide more than just emotional support.  They volunteered to go to my family there, if they needed something.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.

Fandom has definitely brought me fun.  It has given me hours, days and even weeks of escape.  I love that about fandom.  Yet, I’m most grateful for are the people who have come into my life through my fandom.  Some fans remain casual acquaintances but some speak directly to my heart by being willing to help those people that mean the most to me.  At the end of the day, so to speak, this is what I will be most grateful for.  I cannot begin to appreciate the friends I have made enough through the Duran Duran fandom.

-A

Running Against the Tide

On this date in 2012, Rhonda and I saw Duran Duran play in Biloxi, Mississippi.  This was the first of our little mini-tour around the southeast to finish up the All You Need Is Now album cycle, at least for us.  That little tour meant that the next time we would see the band play at all would be almost three years later in April 2015.  It began a weird sort of desperation.  The cause was obvious.  The AYNIN album and tour marked the best time we had (I think) as fans up until that point.  We attended a bunch of shows, managed to see the band play in the UK and began holding meet ups before shows.  Truly, we didn’t want the party to end.

Despite all that, if you look back at my posts from that time, they were not all happiness and light.  I questioned if I needed some sort of break from fandom.  As much as I loved it all, I wondered if it was creating some weird sort of pressure.  I’m sure that part of it was also because not everyone loved what we were doing and saying.  Yet, instead of walking away, we dove in more by planning a convention.  Interestingly enough, six years later, I’m finding myself in a similar emotional space.  Looking back, I knew that I felt a lot of angst but I didn’t really know why.  I assumed it was fandom, but I don’t think it was.  The summer of 2012 included an upsetting political loss while preparing for another campaign.  It also meant changing teaching positions.  I think I felt like the ground below me was unsettled.  I reacted to that by first trying to finding something to blame, which I stupidly thought might have been fandom.  Then, instead of running away, I increased my commitment.

Now, I also feel like my foundation has been shaken.  Last school year was tough and there are changes there that make me less than excited for the upcoming year.  Politically, I have faced some big losses while trying to gear up to the next one.  On top of that, there is more stress surrounding my aging parents and feel like I have less support to assist with it all.  Again, my desire is to seek security like I did in 2012.  The only aspect of my life that I questioned then was fandom.  Even when I wondered if fandom was making me happy, I remember just wanting people to reassure me that fandom could and would continue to bring joy.  I wanted people to want me to continue writing this blog, planning events, etc.

Did I handle my feelings in the right way then?  No clue.  Should I have questioned other areas of my life?  Maybe.  Probably.  I often wonder if I stay too long, that I stay when I should not.  I think about the fact that six years ago I changed positions at work.  I should have done it years before that.  I’m not good at timing.  This leads me to wonder if changes need to be made now.  Should I continue to double down on my path in life with teaching, campaigning and doing fandom?  I don’t know that I have any answers, just more questions.

All that said, now that I have poured all of this out on this blog post (most of you are probably thinking that I have over shared or wished that I hadn’t opened my big, fat mouth at all), I do realize one thing.  Duran tours and other happenings have been mile markers in my journey of life.  That tour in 2012 was more than just 4 shows.  It made me recognize that things in my life weren’t as awesome as I wanted.  It made me question things.  I appreciate that even if my recognition did not lead to some amazing changes in my life.  It reminds me that Duran’s history has helped to form my history, even if I couldn’t see it when it was happening.  It makes me wonder what will Duran do next that will form the backdrop to my own life.

-A

It’s Going to Tempt You

I am not a very spontaneous person.  I’m sure that those of you who are reading this blog post who know me personally might even be laughing at the thought.  Yes, it is true.  Typically, I take a long time to make a decision even when I have thought about my choices over time.  Let me give you an example.  Over the course of my life, I have saved money to buy the latest electronic gadget.  I will then research, decide on the best option, and save money for whatever I want.  Then, I go to the store to finally buy it and I will still stand there and debate the decision to myself once again.  I kid you not.  This indecisiveness happens with work, too.  For instance, it comes each and every time I don’t feel good.  I will literally spend hours going back and forth about calling in sick.  Why do I do this?  I suppose it is insecurity about doing the right thing.  Should I really miss work?  Should I really spend the money?

Funny enough, the one area of my life that tends not to be indecisive is when it comes to my fandom.  Just ask Rhonda.  It does not take me long from reading or hearing about a new show announcement to deciding that we should go.  Typically, if I see a Duran alert about a new show, by the time I am contacting Rhonda, I already have a tentative plan about what we should do in order to go.  Fandom is the one aspect of my life that I truly allow my heart to lead rather than my head.  Of course, this sometimes has gotten me into trouble.    Take the UK tour of 2011.  The shows were announced.  Tickets went on sale within 24 hours of the press release.  If we were going to go, we needed to buy them then, we said.  So we did.  I knew that this tour, which was to take place in May, was pretty awful timing in terms of work but I just went for it.  I assumed that I would get those details figured out later.  Well…a month or so later, I did get it approved but it took a lot of effort by contacting a lot of people to help me.  If I had thought more, I probably shouldn’t have or wouldn’t have gone for this idea, but I didn’t.  It was Duran.  It was Duran on tour in the UK with my friends.  I didn’t think.  I just acted.

Do I regret the decision to go to the UK for this tour?  No.  Not one little bit.  Did it suck that I had to push hard to get to go, to get approval from work?  Absolutely.  Did I ever give up?  Strangely enough, I didn’t.  Maybe, I should have.  Some might have taken it as a sign that I shouldn’t go, that it wasn’t meant to be.  Still, I pushed.  Now, we know that those UK shows in May of 2011 did not happen.  Strangely enough, I still don’t regret going even with the extreme effort with work.  I learned a lot about myself, fandom, Duran Duran and friendships during that trip.

Of course, over the course of my fandom, I have gone to other events that I should not have due to my crappy schedule.  The best example of this is when I went to John Taylor’s book reading and signing in Chicago in late October 2012.  Not only was that night a “school night” meaning that I had to work the next day but it was also days away from Election Day.  This meant that I was working about 80 hours a week between teaching and campaigning.  I knew that the responsible thing would have been to stay at home, get more work done, go to sleep at a decent hour, etc. but I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  This was John Taylor.  Was it crazy of me?  Absolutely.  I remember standing in line to get my book signed and answering call after call about the campaign.  Then, I ended up with like 3 hours of sleep, if that.  Yet, it was amazing night that was worth the multi-tasking and the sleep deprivation.

Now, I face a similar situation.  It, unfortunately, isn’t with Duran Duran or John Taylor but with the Killers.  If you have read this blog for awhile, you probably know that both Rhonda and I love the Killers.  I would definitely pick them for my second favorite band and I have been lucky enough to see them live a number of times.  Well, a few days ago I saw an event on Facebook stating that they are playing in nearby Milwaukee on September 4th.  Sometimes, I think there is a conspiracy against me.  What date is September 4th?  It is literally the first day of school with students.  On that date, 9th graders come to learn their way around the building as they walk through their schedules and meet their teachers.  It is not a regular day of school but it is tiring as there is lots to do to get ready.  The next day, the 5th, will mark the first normal day of school in which all students come and attend class during regular hours.  Ugh.  What a terrible date for a concert!

So, once I saw the event, I shared it and began debating to go or not to go.  It is right in the beginning of the year,

which means that I am already super exhausted.  That said, I also can and will be prepared so that I can leave right at the end of the day.  Should I let work dictate my life?  Should I be good and stay home?  Double ugh.  Again, I waffle.  Yesterday, though, this changed.  I found myself with a presale code for this concert.  At that moment, I did not stop and debate.  I used the code and within minutes I had tickets purchased.  Oh boy.  Will I regret this decision?  Maybe, I will when I am driving home afterwards, exhausted and begging for sleep.  Perhaps, the next day will be so painful that I will kick myself over and over again.  On the other hand, I did not second guess my decisions in those other examples.  Besides, it is a concert.  It is about seeing a fabulous band live.  How could that decision be wrong?  Now, to find someone crazy enough to go with me…

-A

When It Comes Down to my Soul

Every summer I come up with a long list of projects, things I want to accomplish but cannot when I’m working 60-70 hours a week during the school year.  Typically what happens is that I get about 75% of the way done and then the rest goes undone until the next summer.  For example, last summer I worked on organizing pictures.  I finished organizing them through 2011.  Clearly, I did not finish (and haven’t yet).  This year is no exception when it comes to starting a big project.  Organization is my big focus.  I decided, perhaps stupidly, to go through my entire house and reorganize it.  Needless to say, I have thrown out a bunch of stuff and put other items aside to give away.  This makes me feel good and more in control.  I need that.

In some ways, this summer, this time reminds me of the summer of 2015.  During that year, my mom battled cancer.  This meant that my entire focus was on her and what needed to be done to support her.  This, of course, didn’t mean that everything else stopped.  I still had to pay my bills, go to the grocery store, clean my house, etc.  Life didn’t stop but my priority changed.  Now, in 2018, my priority is my political activity.  It is an election year (maybe the most important in US history), which means that a whole lot of my time is spent gearing up for August through Election Day when voter contact will be frequent.  Thus, I’m trying to keep up on my household tasks while keeping my eye on political stuff and reorganizing my house.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining.  I chose this and feel like it is what I need to do.  But I do realize that other parts of my life are being pushed to the side.

I’m getting close to finishing this big summer project having just one room and one closet left to complete.  What room and closet is left?  It is my office, which is really my second bedroom.  Now, some of you might know that my office is my Duran sanctuary of sorts.  It is covered with Duran posters, album covers, photos from various tours, and much more.  

In the process of reorganizing this space, I have gone through convention materials, notes from various book projects, notebooks filled with brainstorming and blog ideas.  I smiled a lot as I came across each and every item.  In some cases, my facial emotion reflected the joy that arose from a good memory of a fun time.  In other cases, I felt a longing to finish or to start a project that once came up.  I miss writing and researching in that way.  Yet, I instantly recognized that now is not the time as much as I might want to sit down and write or research some angle of fandom that I hadn’t considered much.  No, my focus is elsewhere.  I get it.  This is how life goes.  Hopefully, it will swing back to this sooner rather than later.

This leads me to think of the blog.  For some reason, this is different.  Unlike more significant writing, this remains part of my daily existence.  I suspect that part of this is the fact that we made a commitment to do this daily.  I follow through on my commitments.  The other aspect is our longevity.  We have been writing this blog for a long time.  It is now a habit, part of my daily existence.  It does not fit in the projects category of my life.  No, writing this blog is like paying bills…although that makes it sound like a chore.  Perhaps a better way to say it is that it is like showering.  Yes, it takes time, but it is time that makes me feel better.  It helps me get the rest of my to do list done.  This task gives me energy and an escape from the less than fun aspects of life.  It keeps me attached to the fandom, to the  Duranie in me that I desperately need when the rest of life gets heavy.  In the past whenever I have pushed some aspect of myself aside, that part always bubbles to the surface, demanding my attention and showing that I was unhappy without it.  Now, I guarantee that this won’t happen.  No, the blog keeps one foot in fandom while I take care of business elsewhere.  For that, I’m grateful.

-A

Time Flies…

One year ago today, I saw Duran play at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California.  Two years ago today, I left for Chicago to begin my summer Paper Gods tour.  As I sit here in my living room, I am thinking about how quickly time has flown by and how much can change in a year or two.

July always represents the middle of summer to me.  I’m no longer trying to grasp a schedule or let go of the baggage that typically follows a school year.  I’m not worried that the next school year is around the corner or that my to-do list is still way too long for my liking.  In thinking about Julys of the past, each of them give a different flavor.  Three years ago, my mom was battling breast cancer and my summer was spent taking her to chemo and trying to clean up my parents’ house to sell it.  Then, two years ago, the Paper Gods tour took up the big focus.  Last year, when I attended the shows in Oakland and San Francisco, I can now recognize how I used those shows in an attempt to grasp any joy and fun I could.  I needed that.  I needed that more than I knew.

In thinking about the two shows and that weekend as a whole, I have fond memories.  I remember drinking wine with Rhonda both the first night in and at a fabulous Italian restaurant for lunch.  Those times weren’t wild and crazy but appreciated.  Then, there were the wild and crazy times dancing at the Cat Club.  (No comment from my friends…)  The shows themselves were amazing despite the little or not-so-little things that didn’t go well.  For Oakland, we managed to be upfront due to the Telegraph Room that I had researched and had contacted both Ticketmaster and the venue itself to get tickets for.  Somehow, I survived that day while having one of the worst hangovers in my life.  San Francisco resulted in middle of the venue location, which served us well, too.  Yeah, in thinking about that weekend, I cherish the little moments like a wave in a hotel lobby or painting shoes lime green.

Now, there are no shows on the horizon.  There are no plans for fun besides getting together here and there with local friends.  In some ways, I desperately wish that I did have something to look forward to, to keep me going.  On the other hand, part of me feels that it would just be distraction that I cannot afford right now.  In looking at my upcoming calendar, it is filled with political events and activities.  Soon enough, I will be running weekly events to try and reach local voters.  Election Day 2018 is just around the corner.  On top of all that, I have to be available for my parents.

In thinking about the past summers as well as the present one, it is funny that I think of them all through the lens of what Duran is doing.  While there have been some activity with things like private events and documentaries this summer, overall, it has been quiet.  It almost feels like the powers that be understand that as much as I would love to have some fun Duran related plans, that I’m needed elsewhere.  I can only hope then that they will be ready with something amazing just when the time will be right for me.  I have a feeling that it will be the most amazing, special time.  Something tells me that I will really need it then.

-A

Leaving the Light On

Am I really back home?  Am I really on summer break?  I feel like someone is going to wake me up at any moment, telling me that I was dreaming.  Maybe I feel this way since I only returned home yesterday morning.  I only now finished unpacking and getting organized.  As much as it feels weird to be home with nothing that I have to do, the lack of due dates is already appreciated by me.  All that said, I feel out of it when it comes to Duranland.  My insane, end-of-the-school-year schedule and trip to Boston meant that I haven’t been able to do much when it comes to paying attention to any and all news, info, and tidbits surrounding the band I love so much.  Despite that, I do want to touch on a few items, including a purchase, memorable moments in Duran history and my summer plans.

Record Store Purchases

Whenever I visit my brother (or my sister), I usually spend a day visiting a record and/or book store.  My family all appreciates reading and listening to great music (even if we don’t all agree on what makes a “great” album or novel).  Therefore, we enjoy going to places where we can spend hours just browsing for hidden treasures.  This time, we stopped a record store in Gloucester, Massachusetts, a city right on the coast.  We didn’t spend as much time as we might have liked as we wanted to visit an art/history museum there, too, before my sister-in-law had to get back to go to work.  Despite our short time, my brother, eldest niece and I went hunting for good music.  I’m happy to report that I found quite a treasure!

I purchased some 12 inch singles (on vinyl, of course!)!  In fact, I bought 4 of them!  I found the following:  Wild Boys, I Don’t Want Your Love, Burning the Ground and Violence of Summer.  Obviously, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  For me, it made the trip worthwhile!  Of course, when I was making my purchase, the store employee had to make a comment about how I had just “gone for it” by buying all this Duran.  I snorted and made some sort of statement along the lines of, “You have no idea.”  Indeed.

Today in Duran History

I cannot allow this day to go by without acknowledging what this date means to Duran Duran and Duran history!  On this date, back in 1981, Duran’s very first album, debuted.  37 years ago, the Duran story began, at least for the general public.  While the band had been working hard, writing and recording, now everyday people all around the world could enjoy the band, too!

Summer Plans:

Last and probably even least, I have to comment about my summer plans.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have answered the question, “What are you doing this summer?” about twenty-five times.  Sometimes, the question came from colleagues.  Other times, friends or family members wondered how I plan to spend my time.  While the question entertains me in general, this year I found myself smirking almost each and every time.  Why is that?  The question changed a little this year…it isn’t just what my plans are for the summer.  This year, the question came out like this, “Why are your plans for the summer?  Following Duran Duran?”  As I resist the full-blown smile, I comment about how it is quiet in Duranland and that the band maybe is busy getting ready for the upcoming 40th anniversary.  I then list reasons why this is probably for the best.  I can spend time on reorganizing my house.  A big election is coming and I need to spend time campaigning.  I desperately need to save money for whatever the band does do next.

I admit that the question makes me smile.  I like that people I know, colleagues, and friends associate me with Duran Duran.  They don’t think it is a big deal that my life often revolves around Duran Duran and their plans.  It feels like acceptance to me, which is great.  Yet, there is a part of me that is a little sad about my answer.  I love that I have time to get things done that I cannot do during the school year.  I do need the time to save money.  But, I wish that there was something Duran on my schedule.  I know that makes me a bit pathetic but it is true.  I will miss seeing the band and I miss hanging out with my friends.  To get through it, I’ll look ahead to whatever might come next, look back on fond memories and enjoy every little nugget that gets released in a way that I cannot during the school year.  I’ll try to celebrate the little moments until I get to the next big one.

-A

Can You Taste the Summer?

The school year is finally finished.  It was definitely one of the longest school years of my career and one of the toughest.  I know that I probably say that every year but this year was different.  Tougher.  Harder.  Let’s just say that I have cried more in the last couple of weeks than I have in months over it all.  Even as I try to celebrate the end, I find myself exhausted, both mentally and emotionally.

All of that said, today I am leaving for a family vacation of sorts.  I’m flying with my parents to Boston to see my brother who lives there.  The best part is that my dad will get a big surprise once we arrive which I’m so looking forward to.  It has been a very tough year for him, too.  Needless to say, I need a break.  There is nothing quite like getting a change of scenery to clear one’s head.  This trip will be good for me.

I made a decision that isn’t typical for me.  I’m taking a real break during this family trip.  I won’t be blogging tomorrow.  I don’t want to deal with any responsibilities even ones that I love.  Instead, I want to focus on the time with the family.  My carry on will be lighter without this laptop.  On top of tomorrow’s blog, I will also be taking a break from doing the question of the day.  So, the blog will be silent on Sunday.  I assume that Rhonda will blog like normal on Monday.  Then, I’ll be back with the question of the day on Thursday and my weekend blogs on Friday.  I think the complete break from everything will be good for me.  I need it.

Part of me feels guilty for this.  The question of the day doesn’t take a long time to do.  The blog should publish something daily, part of me says.  The other part of me says that I deserve to take some time to have a short break.  It will be fine.  On that note, I’m off to  the airport.  See you all on Thursday!

-A

Got any plans for Summer of 2020?

I woke up worrying about the blog today. I don’t even know why. I think this might be a sign or symptom of the amount of stress I’m carrying around these days. Moving is hard. I keep telling my husband that it would be far more motivating if I knew where we were going, like maybe if we’d already bought a house or actually knew what city we were going to end up in. Right now, all I’ve got is a short list of houses I really like in a very wide area going from Camarillo to the south (of Santa Barbara) alllllll the way up to Atascadero and South Paso Robles to the north. (yes, those places are far from Santa Barbara. It’s a long story. Just go with it for now.) Meanwhile, there’s still this  “Boston” possibility hanging in the air. Walt is going out there in a couple of weeks, and at the moment it’s possible that I’ll go along with him. That could change though because the timing is, of course, really bad with family graduations, birthdays, and moves home from college. I find myself asking (very loudly) when am I ever going to find the time to go house hunting anywhere. Thank goodness for Zillow.

No one really answers back. That’s probably best given that most of the time I’m alone while asking.

My last day at work is next Thursday. It’s the little one’s last week at school for summer. I still don’t know where she’ll go to school after what I think might be the shortest summer of my life…and then this morning I woke up worrying about the blog.

The blog is fine. It really is. I’ve felt as though I’ve neglected it a bit lately, right along with my writing. I don’t know when I’m going to find time to actually write this summer. It’s a small price to pay, I suppose, but writing keeps me sane. Blogging will at least continue, book writing may not for a bit. I am worrying for no reason about things I can’t even deal with right now.

I had big Daily Duranie plans for the summer, including a convention that I’m going to have to push out until I’m moved (I can’t plan a convention when I don’t even know where I’m going to be traveling from to get there. Bad timing – so once I know when and where I’m going, I can figure out the rest. I’m disappointed, but I just can’t do it all), and a visit with Amanda. I need to hang out with my best friend. I miss her. One way or another that has to happen. Then there’s a girls trip with Amanda and our other two friends. We need a getaway. I’m still trying to figure out how I can squeeze that in, because we are way overdue for a catch-up. I’m hoping the answers will reveal themselves soon. I don’t do very well without some basic plan, and I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants now since December. I hate it.

Amanda and I did chat on the phone last week. That might not seem like a big deal to you, but I think I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve done so since January. Times have indeed been tough. I welcomed her phone call though, and it was good to hear her voice. She gave me a little shred of hope that life WILL return to some sort of normalcy, because she asked me one question that snapped me back into my typical, Duranie-self.

“Got any plans for summer of 2020?”

Wow. I can’t even plan for next month, right now.  It is a very strange feeling, after living in the same place for twenty years, to know that in 2020, I have no idea where I’ll be living. Where will I be when Amanda and I are planning and plotting? Forget all of that, where is my family going to spend Christmas this year? It is SO weird to know it’s probably not going to be in this house. (For that matter, we just got rid of our 9-ft tall artificial Christmas tree, so….) So no, Amanda, I don’t have plans for 2020. I’m sure I’m about to make some, though!

She went on to tell me about the Katy Kafe with John Taylor and how he gave a full laundry list of ideas they had for celebrating their 40th and so on. I hadn’t even had time to listen to the Kafe at that point last week, so I welcomed her explanation of how it all went down. John talked about having some sort of show in Birmingham, and that was as far as she got before I stopped her. “We are going!”

Sure, John might have lofty ideas. Chances are, nothing he wants to do will actually come to full fruition. That isn’t really the point though, at least not for me. I need something. I need something to give me some motivation to get through what I think has to be one of the most stressful life events: moving.

The weekend before last, Walt and I took every single box down out of our attic. Turns out that he wasn’t lying when he said I was a packrat. Somehow, I’d saved nearly every single thing my kids touched as babies (and what’s weird is that I know I’ve given away a ton of stuff to charity over the years!). I went through box after box, blinking back tears on occasion. It was awful. I’m beginning to come to the realization that not only are we moving, but we’re closing a chapter on the childhoods of my two oldest kids. I am not a fan.  I’m overly emotional at times, downright sentimental at others, and suffering from hot flashes at the same time. God, I love middle age.

So for me, even the possibility of going to London, Birmingham or pretty much anywhere during the summer of 2020 is incentive for me to get my act together, get this house moved and my family settled. I have two years to make it all happen. I want to see friends, I want to go back to places I enjoy. I want to actually live. Right now, I feel like I’m just closing up shop to move on. I’m looking forward to getting past it.

Yes, I know how quickly other fans want to pee in my bowl of cornflakes (I hate cold cereal anyway), but you know – it’s OK to let fans just have some hope. Why not? Is it really hurting anyone?  The same goes with the band recording a new album – does it really hurt anyone to have hope that they’ll record again? I mean, as a fan, why wouldn’t you want to believe that they’re not completely finished?  It’s the one thing I’ve never really understood about people. Hope is a powerful motivator, and you know – I need it. So I’m tucking it into my pocket, and grabbing another box to fill.

-R