Category Archives: personal stories

All Things Duran Are Worth It?

Today is travel day for us at the Daily Duranie.  It feels like we have been talking and planning about this trip for years when it has only been months!  Yet, we are now down to less than a day before we arrive in the UK after a long day and night of traveling.  The travel plan makes me question the motto Rhonda and I have, which is the title of this blog.  I am working today–teaching the young people of my city.  Then, I drive a few hours down to Chicago where I will then take a lengthy overnight flight to London.  Once meeting up at Rhonda’s terminal, we hop into a car to take us to Birmingham.  It already sounds exhausting and I haven’t even begun to think about the jet lag!  This day will be the beginning of our 9 day tour/trip.  This trip is an extremely ambitious one and definitely the biggest one I have ever done in the name of Duran Duran.  In fact, I know that I have done many, many, many things for them and because of them but this trip takes the cake.  In many ways, I still can’t believe that I’m doing this!  Yet, I have fought long and hard to make this trip happen and nothing is going to stand in my way.

When the rumors of these UK dates came out, thanks to some radio interview with Mr. LeBon, Rhonda and I discussed it as we often do with any sort of tour rumor.  It was clear that we both wanted to go to these shows but I wasn’t sure whether or not I could leave work.  I, initially, thought I could make it into a long weekend and a few shows, depending on when they were as I am in a job that isn’t super flexible, to say the least, when it comes to time away.  At that point, I began my investigation of how I could do this trip with work.  It sounded super easy from the people I spoke with and I felt confident that we could do this tour.  Then, the dates were announced and immediately people discussed their desire to go for the Birmingham show and the London show.  This meant that I would be away from work for a week, which is unheard of!!!!  As most Duranies know, we had about 17 hours from that announcement to the presale.  It was hardly enough time to get work sorted out completely, but I was confident.  Thus, I purchased tickets 17 hours later.  I filled out the necessary paperwork at work and talked with my supervisor.  I believed myself good to go.  Then, on February 11th, bombs of sorts was dropped.

I was denied my request on February 11th.  Not only was I denied but I was denied without a reason.  Crushed, yet determined, I grieved a little and regrouped with a plan to appeal, which would have been challenging enough but…the rest of the world invaded.  I live in a state whose governor decided to go after me and others like me.  Like hundreds of thousands of others, I felt like I had to fight.  Yet, I felt like I was fighting on two fronts.  For a long time, I felt like I was winning with the state government and losing at work.  Then, it would switch and switch again.  I was an emotional roller coaster, experiencing almost every emotion possible within a 18 hour day.  Yet, I continued to fight.  I felt like I had no choice.  After almost two months, both situations calmed down, but with different results.  I, finally, got word from work that my 118th appeal (joke but not by much) for a week’s leave was finally approved.  I thought that I would be overjoyed.  Instead, I just felt relief and exhaustion.  I think Rhonda felt the same way as her trip was on the line in many ways, too.  On the other front, I lost and many others lost, too.  Voted were taken (perhaps illegally) and new contracts were signed.  Rights were taken away and a significant pay cut is in my future.  In many ways, these events broke me.  Politically, I tried to give a little more energy but feeling completely burned out on that front.  Hopeless, really, which upsets me more than almost anything else.  My governor and his allies took away more than my rights and my salary but sucked the life out of my fighting spirit, which means so much more than I can express.  It has everything to do with who I am and with what I do.

This trip is a strange one for me.  On many occasions, reality has threatened this trip from work to politics to finances.  All of those elements of reality have said to me that I shouldn’t be doing this trip.  It isn’t logical.  Yet, I desperately need some fun and escape and there is nothing better for me than Duran and a tour.  Of course, it is also about fulfilling a dream–to see them in Birmingham and to increase the motivation and more to finish our book.  Now, of course, we need to deal with the LeBon factor.  This is when I start to think about our motto about how everything Duran is worth it.  I wonder.  Are they worth the stress that comes with traveling and traveling to such a distance?  Are they worth the cost, especially when facing an uncertain financial future?  I’m forced to say that they are.  Why?  For me, I’m hoping that this trip reminds me that there still is something good in the world.  I’m hoping that I experience nothing but fun.  I’m hoping that I meet wonderful people who are filled with life.  I know that my friendships will be renewed and feel strongly that my motivation to finish the book will be high.  I’m also really hoping that it can renew my energy and my spirit.



Today is Mother’s Day in America. This is the day that we show our appreciation of our mothers by, typically, showering them with gifts, flowers and meals out at a restaurant. Later, I will be joining my mother for dessert, which is what she wanted to do. I have to admit that I think my mom is pretty fabulous. In fact, I would have to say that I’m pretty lucky when it comes to my family, my mother in particular.

I think I always knew that my mom was cooler than some mothers when I was a kid. I became a Duranie as a young kid. In fact, I always claim my anniversary as the day that the Reflex became number one because that was the song that had me hooked for life. I was 8, almost 9 at the time. Like many kids, I became addicted and wanted to show this addiction in many ways, including buying their albums and singles, wearing t-shirts and nightshirts, and wallpapering my bedroom with their posters. My mom accepted all of this without question. She never complained when literally all four walls of my bedroom were covered with Simon, John, Nick, Roger and Andy. There were no statements about turning down Seven and the Ragged Tiger. My house became the location of the Friday Night Videos sleepovers. My best friend at the time would call each other up whenever we saw a video being played on MTV and my mom never became annoyed with the frequent calls. My mom accepted all of this. As the years moved along, she began to do more than just accept it.

One thing I always appreciated about my mom was that she asked questions about what I was interested in. She wanted to know and appreciate what I was into. Thus, she not only listened to me go on and on about the guys, the songs, the videos but would ask questions. She acted like she was curious herself! This was so reinforcing to me and made my fandom seem acceptable, normal. As the years went on, my mom started to learn some of the songs and began to recognize who was who. In fact, my dad always asks about who is who when Duran is on their TV, for whatever reason, and my mom is typically the one to provide the information. Now, when I tell my mom about an appearance on TV, she tunes in and will actually tell me what she thinks! Likewise, I played AYNIN is for her. Last weekend, she asked me how the album was doing because she “really likes the new songs”. I got the biggest smile on my face! I answered her question calmly but inside I was beaming. Of course, my mom has gone above and beyond this as she had created various pieces of art to help me to express my fandom, including fabric art pieces to represent songs or the logo to our blog!

In less than 2 weeks, my parents will be driving me and my friend,Deb,to O’Hare for us to board a plane to London. As I tried to make my decision about whether or not to go to the UK, my mom encouraged me to go. She has joined me in my various shopping trips and listened to my excitement over all of the little details. I’m sure that she will be as thrilled to hear my stories and see my pictures when I get back.

I’m sure by now you all get the point. My mom is pretty fabulous, especially when it comes to my fandom. She has accepted and encouraged it. She has supported me all the way and I suspect that she will continue to do so as Rhonda and I continue to write this blog and finish our book. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom!!


It’s May 2nd!

I had a completely different blog planned for today, as it turns out.  I should really remember not to plan blogs in advance, because every single time I do – something happens and I end up not being able to use the idea.  In this case, I was planning to do a blog about social networking based on a short interview that John and Roger did just after their show at SXSW earlier this spring.  I’d read the interview yesterday, and was writing out a bit of an outline last night when we got the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

Talk about changing the game.  Wow.  I guess I wasn’t really expecting that sort of news – and definitely not on a Sunday evening, the first of May in the year 2011.  That’s when things happen though, when you least expect them.  I guess it makes life interesting if nothing else.

It’s been a long nearly 10 years since 9/11 for me.  As regular readers know, I live on the west coast in California, not too entirely far from where John Taylor lives.  He’ll occasionally post pictures of the sunset in his backyard and I’ll chuckle because it’s the same sunset – just a different side of it (I live farther south near the coast).  The pictures are the same, yet just a little different.  It’s all in the point of view. So, I’m pretty far removed from the site of 9/11, yet there was a girl from my town who was killed on that day just because she was on one of the planes that flew into the twin towers.  Her name was Lisa Frost, and her father Tom and I spoke on more than one occasion after LIsa had died.  At that time, I was the president of my local MOMS Club chapter (it’s a club/support network for stay at home moms and their children), and he was a speaker for an event that we were supporting.   He was a very nice man whose life was, at the time, very much destroyed from losing his daughter on that fateful day.  We ran into each other a few times over those next few years, and with each time I saw him he seemed to be doing better and more resolved than the last meeting.  We have a small lake in our town that I occasionally will take walks around, and at the lake there is a tree and monument that was dedicated to Lisa.  Each year on 9/11 i’ll go to visit that tree, and since that first year after 9/11 the amount of cards, flowers and notes has gotten smaller and smaller on each anniversary.  I suppose that happens in time – people move on, lives change, and yes, I think to some degree people tend to forget.  I’ve since lost touch with Mr. Frost, as tends to happen, but I often think of him and his wife – and I have to wonder how he must have felt when he heard the news last night.

As soon as the reports came out about Bin Laden’s death – and believe it or not I first heard of it on Twitter, of course I was elated, and maybe felt even a little bit of validation and closure for Lisa – a girl I’d never known but whose life touched me all the same.  Almost immediately after that first sense of emotion though, I grew wary.  It was clear that once again, our lives were changing right before our eyes.  CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and a handful of stations that I don’t even normally watch began their broadcasts of President Obama’s speech, and I appreciated that he was very matter of fact rather than exuberant.  This news wasn’t about gloating, it wasn’t about bragging, and it definitely wasn’t about celebrating.  This man, Osama Bin Laden, is the image of evil for many.  It’s the source of nightmares.  I would imagine that if you asked someone in line for security at any airport in America (or perhaps even the world) why they had to wait to be screened by security, and what image comes into their head first, Bin Laden’s face would be among the most mentioned.  The announcement last night was about justice, pure and simple.

My own thoughts on the subject are completely irrelevant here since this is a blog about living as a Duranie, but even this worldly event has everything to do with Duran Duran.  They are in the middle of a tour.  Some might even say it’s just the beginning.  They are planning to go to many places on this spectacular planet of ours, and many more fans than I could possibly count are looking forward to their chance to sway in the mood, reach up for the sunrise, be those notorious fans, and live like wild boys/girls.  It’s alarming to think that while all of that could be happening, there are still plenty of other people on this planet that would love for nothing better than to play out their own evil as a type of revenge and retaliation.

In just over two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane bound for Heathrow.  Don’t think I haven’t considered what could happen.  The reality is – ANYTHING  could happen.  I could be hit by a car tomorrow – and if my time is up, it’s up.  That doesn’t stop the anxiety beast in me from thinking overtime though.  (I’m human!)  I have three children that desperately need their mother.  No, it’s true – their father, as wise as he is – can’t seem to remember that children do need dinner from time to time, much less make sure they get to all of their normal activities and to bed by before say – 3am. *sigh*  Those kids need me!  I myself have a future filled with first days of school, graduations, proms, homecomings, first days of college, graduations from college, an empty nest (and a clean house someday!), and maybe even weddings and grandchildren one day.  I hope to live to see all of that in a way my father wasn’t given the chance to finish.  Terrorists be damned.

So yes, I worry.  I’m a worrier by nature if you haven’t noticed.  It’s right up there with planning for me.  Living in the moment is something I do only occasionally….at Duran Duran concerts.  🙂   I will be on that plane headed to London on May 20th, and if some stupid hijacker decides that day is his day – it won’t be good for him.  I will not live my life in fear, nor should any of us.  Too many people died on that day, September 11, 2001, and many days subsequent, for any of us to live in fear.

Sure, this is just a blog about a band – and it might be trivial to worry about a terrorist attack that would ruin my trip (or anyones for that matter), but isn’t that really what it all comes down to?  Don’t we all just want to be able to live?  We just want to be able to go to the grocery store without worrying that some crazy person has a bomb attached to them.  We just want to go to the movies without some guy leaving his car, filled with manure, propane and shrapnel waiting to go off.   Talk about living in the moment – well, that’s the moment.


It’s Personal

First, I must apologize for the lateness of this blog entry.  Today’s my birthday and I had been out with friends and was at work before that.  Second, I had an entry all planned out in my head but have decided to scrap that one for today.  I might write about it tomorrow or Sunday, though.  I don’t know why days like this make me emotional, but they do.  Is it because people make a big deal out of birthdays?  Is it because it represents the stopping of one year and the starting of the next?  Is that I had a couple of drinks?  Is it because last weekend I was at Duran shows and in three weeks I’ll be on a plane to London?  Is it all of the above?  Probably.

I have to admit that I have been processing everything that was last weekend still.  I keep thinking about the shows, the drive, the interactions with others and more.  I have been accused once or twice in my life of over thinking and I’m sure I’m guilty of it now.  Yet, sometimes, thinking helps to make decisions, draw conclusions and move on.  Here is the conclusion I have drawn since last weekend.  I’m not inviting anyone else in.  You are probably thinking that you have no freaking idea of what the heck I’m talking about.  Let me explain and maybe, you, too, can relate.

When I first started touring and going to Duran functions, I wanted to meet as many people as I could!  For one thing, I wanted to share my excitement, my love for the band with other people who understood.  Heck, isn’t that why a lot of us sought out message boards in the modern era and penpals back in the day?  I was really lucky to have met Rhonda early on in my touring life.  Although, looking back on it, maybe I wasn’t as I think she spoiled me for life.  As I was saying, the other part of meeting fellow Duranies was to find people to go to shows with.  I figured that I could always go alone but it would not be the same or as fun.  Therefore, over the course of many years now, I have attended shows with a variety of people.  Some of these people are very much like me in my fandom and others, not at all.  Last weekend, I attended my two shows with 3 people I wasn’t sure of as I didn’t really know or understand their Duranie status. 

I believe that all 3 of those people had a good time.  Nothing super dramatic or problematic happened with any of them.  Yet, I have found myself with a burning desire to narrow the group of people I attend shows with.  (I still really want to meet other fans, though!!!!)  Why?  If there wasn’t a problem and people had a good time, why would I limit myself?  Why would I want that?  I want that because it’s personal.  The thing about Duran Duran for me is that they aren’t just another band.  I’m not just a fan of theirs.  There is something more, something deeper.  Obviously, I have made a commitment to this fandom in a much different way than someone who attends their hometown show when the band comes around.  I write this blog and I’m working on a book.  My vacations are tours or to visit other friends that I have met because of the band.  I’m not saying that I’m a bigger or better fan than the new people I went with or than the people who go to hometown shows, but I am different.  I can’t and shouldn’t expect people to be like me.  At the same token, I also need to feel safe in my fandom on tour. 

I feel like I have taken risks every time someone new enters my touring world.  I’ll be really honest here.  Some of the people that were, at one point, part of my Duranie world are no longer.  I have been hurt by many of these situations whether it is that the person used me or whether it was because the person wasn’t being truthful.  I am tired of trying to explain my fandom.  I’m tired of being worried about whether or not I will be treated well and whether or not I will be uncomfortable in any given situation on tour.  I don’t want to spend my time worrying about those issues when I could and should be enjoying a show or shows.  I don’t know how long this will last and I want to be able to really enjoy it while I can.  I want to go to shows with people who get it and get me or can at least appreciate where I’m coming from.  This is personal to me and I’m tired of feeling exposed and vulnerable.  Likewise, I can imagine that non-Duranies would have as much fun doing some of the things I do on tour. 

I know that this probably sounds incredibly vague and I apologize for this.  Let me try to put a twist on it with concrete terms that I think might make more sense.  I was willing to stand in line and in GA for hours last weekend to get a decent spot for the Chicago show.  Not everyone is.  I get that.  If I try to force someone to do that in order to go with me, it probably won’t go too well.  Maybe it will go okay once or twice but after awhile, true feelings with come out.  Maybe then the other person will go but start to feel bitter or resentful.  Maybe I will, too, because I don’t know why someone isn’t enjoying this as much as I am.  Maybe I will feel judged for loving it the way I do.  Maybe I’ll judge them.  It isn’t good for anyone. 

Therefore, I, now, think I will stick to those people I have attended shows with and have had a good time with.  I want to be with people who understand how much all of this means to me or can appreciate it.  I want to feel comfortable and not worried about when it will all fall apart.  I need some security and I need to be able to trust the people I attend shows with. 


Happy Birthday Roger!

Roger Taylor was not my first crush, as it turns out.  That title is held by none other than Shaun Cassidy.  I think I was probably about seven, maybe even six years old when I decided that yes, Shaun was the man for me.  I had posters up on my wall, all of his record albums and read every magazine I could get my hands on that had articles of Shaun in them.  Sunday nights?  They were spent watching The Hardy Boys on TV, and yes – I even read the Hardy Boys books.  Then one day I heard he got married.  I was furious!  How DARE he forget about me!!  I calmly took his posters off of my wall – handed them to my younger sister for her viewing pleasure, simply stopped listening to his albums, and moved on to Rick Springfield.  My affair with Rick was intense, yet shortlived.  I collected his posters and pictures with care, I rocked out to Jessie’s Girl and I’ve Done Everything for You…and I loved his dog, too.  Somewhere along the line though – and perhaps even simultaneously, I heard Planet Earth.  Then I saw the video…and then I heard and saw Rio, and watched that video.  That, my friends, is what began my love for the drummer.   Below are some of my Roger memories from over the years.

There was something about him that just drew me in.  I’ll admit it, I go for brunettes.  The brown eyes, the olive skin?  Yep…it all works.  I liked the fact that he seemed quiet and shy because I could easily identify with that.  I loved the fact that he mumbled the words to ITSISK in the video and turned away from the camera – because I would have done it exactly the same way!  I think that I also loved that aside from the occasional eyeliner, Roger didn’t seem to wear much makeup.  I guess I like ’em masculine, although eyeliner works really well for me.  It was within the first 30 seconds of seeing Planet Earth that I proclaimed Roger to be my future husband, and I meant it with every fiber of my 11 year old self.  Age difference?  What’s 10 years among friends??   The fact that I wasn’t a supermodel?  EH.   I might not have the smokey sex appeal of a size 0 supermodel, but I was no slouch.  I’d learn, dammit!   Thus began the plastering of posters on my wall and the silent pleas with whatever god was listening that he bring Roger to me.  Yes, one year I really did ask Santa for Roger.  Santa laughed, damn him.  I never did decide if Santa was laughing because of my crazy request, or because I was probably about 13 at the time, making a trip back to Santa’s lap after a few years of absence just to see if it’d work!   It wasn’t very long after that request though that I heard some horrible news:  Roger was getting married.  MARRIED.  My friends consoled me as I pouted over the news.  I suppose a part of me wished for his happiness, and I recognized that simply due to the fact that he’d never met me – he had to move on.  *please read my BIG dramatic, teenage girl sigh right HERE*   Of course, that was only the beginning of the heartbreaks the man would provide me with for the next few years.  Naturally we all know that Roger left Duran Duran after Live Aid, which for me was the ultimate betrayal.  I was gutted and furious at the same time.  In a fit I know I tore at least one of his pictures off of my wall (yes, Andy came down as well!), but in time, I just grew to miss him.  I never cared whether he was the best drummer or the worst drummer the band had ever had – the fact was, he was *my* drummer.  I did learn to accept his absence, although I always wondered whatever happened.

As we all know, in 2003 – a miracle happened (at least for me!) and the band reunited.  Here is the funny thing – when first put up the splash page they used to announce the reunion, I honestly wasn’t positive which one was Roger.  I had to go through the photos one by one – obviously recognizing Simon, Nick and then John, which left two photos.  I couldn’t be sure which one was Roger.  “Awesome” (to be very Californian) fan, huh?  😀   Naturally I did figure it out eventually!   I went to the reunion shows, and finally was able to say that I saw the original 5 band members together.  A dream come true.

My next Roger “experience” was at the Virgin Megastores signing on Sunset in LA.  Up until then, I’d never been the type of fan to try and find them after shows, or go to hotels where I think they might be staying – that kind of thing always interested me, but I felt like at my age – what point would there really be?  By then I’d more than realized that while my husband has NO qualms about pronouncing my “hotness”, I definitely wasn’t rock star wife material.  I’m not   a size 0, my hair isn’t super long, I’m not gorgeous beyond all means…I’m not even sure you’d be able to pick me out of a crowd. (although my husband, bless him…says I’m the hottest Duran Duran fan around.  No, I’m not continually drugging him.  I’ll keep him!!)  In any case, I figured that this was the one and only chance I’d ever have at actually meeting the guys in any   kind of a situation that didn’t involve them being on a stage and my being many rows back.  As I approached Roger – he was seated last in line at the table – I swear my hands were shaking but I absolutely refused to allow myself to blow my moment and look like the desperate housewife I knew I probably was.  I smiled right at him, said thank you for doing the signing because I’d have never had the chance to “meet” him otherwise (and I seriously held up my hands and did the quote mark thing…good god…), and THEN…to finish up I told him that I’d been a fan since 1981 and that he had always been my favorite, and that he still was.  Then the floor opened up and swallowed me whole.  😀

Roger was kind enough to look at me, smile very nicely and say that was really sweet – and I think I believed he really meant it.  Then he saw my daughter Heather standing off to the side (at the time she was 7 and super cute – not that she isn’t still super cute, but she’s a teenager now – pigtails don’t really work the same way anymore!), he winked at her, told her to take good care of her mummy, and sent us on our way.

More recently, I did learn the fine art of hanging out at hotel bars with my friends – checking out the scene and if we were lucky, we’d see a band member show up.  One of those times was in Las Vegas, and Roger was the “lucky” band member of the evening.  I actually got a few smiles out of him that night, but I never once tried to approach him.  I’m not that bold, because while I know many, MANY people have been lucky enough to go up to him or any one of the band members for hugs – I wouldn’t dare.  I’d be the one they’d recoil back from, give a curt ‘no thank you’ to, and I’d be mortified, both at my boldness and at the result – and I am going to be honest, I think that would completely ruin me.  So, I watch others, think wistfully about what could be, and go away happy knowing that I didn’t create a scene, behave like “one of THOSE” fans, or…be rejected.   More power to those of you who have no issue.

You would think that by now, I’d have a drumstick or two.  He is my favorite band member to this day – although Dom Brown is an extremely close second.  (psst – he’s probably surpassed Roger most of the time, but Roger and I have “history” and that counts for something!  Don’t tell Roger!  Or my husband! *gasp*)  Sadly though, I do not have a drumstick OR a photo with him. (or any band member, actually)  There was one time though, that I was very close.  It was in New Orleans when they did the Voodoo Festival.  I can’t remember exactly how close we finally ended up to the stage, but given the crowd behind me – we were pretty close.  Maybe about 5th row?  Anyway, I had a sign specifically for Roger that I’d brought to a few shows since 2005.  I didn’t think there’d be a chance in hell he’d see it, but luck was in my favor that night and he did.  He motioned to me, asking if I wanted the drumstick, then he tossed it my way.  The girls in front of me even looked back to see me when I’d catch it, then this giant man next to me reached up, grabbed out of my reach and handed it to his wife.  I was shocked because I knew the stick was meant for me – but what do you do?  I know some fans who would have made an issue out of it, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me wanted to – but what good would it have really done, and of course – it’s just a drumstick.  I looked up at Roger and kind of wrinkled my nose and shrugged.  And he smiled at me, winked and mouthed “sorry”.  That totally trumped getting the drumstick and I’ll never forget it!!  

I know I’ve told that story, and probably all of these before, to friends or maybe even on the blog – but my personal experiences with these guys are pretty far and few in between, so these tend to stand out.  Sure, I’d love a stick one of these days – and maybe I’ll be lucky and get one, but if not – that memory serves it’s purpose.

Roger is still my favorite (or ONE of my favorites).  I know people who haven’t had the best run-ins with him, but I can say that about every single one of the band members at this point – including those who are no longer with the band.  That doesn’t excuse whatever happened, but my point is that they all share one blinding characteristic, and that is that they are all male, and all human.  They aren’t perfect, and based on what I’ve seen over my years of being a fan, they all have had their personal boundaries crossed by fans, sometimes several times over the course of any one evening.  I’ll bet they get tired of it, and you know – they have that right.  For example: I’m a mom, I know what goes into the job and yet I chose to have three children. I still get very annoyed when I have to get up over and over again during the night because my youngest refuses to sleep and wants to wander the house instead.  It’s not fun all the time, and yet I chose this life – just as they chose theirs.  I try to remember that although it’s not always easy.

Happy Birthday Roger.  I wish you the very, very best for many healthy and happy years ahead…and hey, if you want to try throwing me a drumstick again in say – Birmingham – I’ll try to catch it this time.  😀


The Final Countdown

Tell me that you all aren’t hearing The Final Countdown by Europe playing in your heads….because I hear it in mine.  Wrong band, wrong blog….but I still really like the song! (I can’t help it.  The 80’s power ballads hold a dear spot in my heart and memory.  Sue me.)

It is Monday, April 25.  I have 25 days to go until I leave for England.  (I can also tell you the hours and minutes until my plane leaves…and yes, I really AM counting.)  Today, in the life of Rhonda, I dropped off my middle child – my son – for 6th grade Science Camp.  Science Camp, for those who don’t have kids or don’t partake in such events – is the very apex of being in elementary school here in Orange County.  You start hearing about it in kindergarten, and the big deal is that it’s an overnight thing.  Several “overnights” to be exact.  He left today and returns on Friday afternoon – likely exhausted and sleep deprived, no less.  (kind of like how we are after going to a DD show or two…)  His time finally arrived, and I’m happy to say – he made it on the bus and is on his way!  The even bigger deal about all of this, is that my son is on the Autistic spectrum.  He is extremely high functioning and well on his way to being a superior computer engineer (likely specializing in video gaming) someday.  However, not long ago – my son was a very depressed 7 year old.  We were in the process of getting his autism diagnosis and we were trying to get him help at school – which took forever.  Then he hit 4th grade, and everything seemed to get much, much worse.  He was ridiculed at school, both by his class and by his teacher.  He believed no one wanted him, loved him or cared about him except for me – those were his words, not mine.  His habitual side took over, and he was a child that chewed on everything he could get his hands on, and if he couldn’t chew it, he’d completely destroy it. (including each and every jet we have in our backyard hot tub – that took him 10 minutes to completely dismantle)  If he wasn’t chewing or destroying things, he was taking his anger out on his stuffed animals, completely beheading them, stabbing them and taking the stuffing out of them.  It was after I found those heaped in a pile in his room that I knew we needed help, fast.  After much counseling, a brand new school year with a new teacher and a lot of healing, I am thrilled and so extremely proud to say that he is my “easy” child, and he really, REALLY is.  I am going to miss him so much this week, but I can’t think of another kid that deserves this camp more, and I hope he has a fantastic week ahead.   Next up is my youngest’s third birthday.  Conversely, she is not my easy child right now.  I love her dearly, but she is embracing the age of three in all of it’s splendor.  I especially love when I tell her no and she screams directly in my face – only to have me start laughing in return.  (ah, to be the last of a long line of tantrum-throwers.  There’s not much left I haven’t had done to me, so nothing really phases mom much!)  The other night she had a completely epic tantrum after being told the last Easter Egg had already been dyed and we were finished.  I actually videotaped it for later use.  As blackmail.  🙂   The beauty of this birthday is that not only is it my little one’s special day, but it is also the very special day of my blogging partner Amanda!  Thank you for agreeing to share your birthday with my youngest, Amanda – do you still remember that fateful phone call 3 years ago??    She was actually supposed to be born on my sisters birthday – May 15, but due to an immense amount of stress that I was under (my dad had just been rushed to the hospital, and my blood pressure was through the roof), I had to have her early.  Amanda was the first person I called, both to wish her a happy birthday and to tell her that she was going to be sharing her birthday with my youngest!  Good times!!!

Yes, I realize the blog today has nothing to do with Duran Duran yet.  I’m just counting down my own busy life between now and the day I leave.

I suppose I will close the blog by mentioning that I’ve read in a few places about how fantastic the show was in Chicago this weekend.  Both the show itself…and the show after the show that took place at a local bar.  Amanda blogged about the concert, which sounded like a good one, but she’s conspicuously NOT blogged about the fun that took place afterward.  Our blog has desperately tried not to be gossip rag or a “tell-all”.  I almost wish I WOULD post some of the crazy stuff I’ve seen over the years, and I’m not talking about the behavior of the band, but rather, the behavior of some of the fans.  I think we’ve all done things at times that we’ve cringed about later – but I don’t mind saying that some seem to keep right on doing it, over and over again.  Clearly it’s not enough to crave the attention from the band, but they also crave the attention from the rest of the fans as well – because it is always quite a show.  We sit, we watch, we laugh.  Does this make us mean?  Well, partly no because we don’t post those stories… but partly yes because to be honest – half of the reason I hang around afterwards is to watch the scene unfold.  I could lie and try to take the high road by saying I do it all in the name of social science, but the fact is – it’s entertaining and I am probably not being very nice when I say that, so I openly apologize.  I still promise that I will do my best not to blog about the “guess who threw her breasts at Roger” type stories I hear because that is unkind, but I can’t promise not to grin or even snicker a little at some of the crazy things that happen at times.  I don’t ever intend to be mean, but sometimes I do have to wonder out loud as to why people behave the way they do, and not think that someone, somewhere, is ever going to call them out for that behavior.  If that’s not social science, I don’t know what is!


Confession time!

I’m sorry the blog is later than usual today.  My oldest is out of school on Spring Break, and we did a rare thing:  we went shopping.  I know that seems hard to believe, but it’s true.  Normally we’ve got the little one with us, which means shop FAST….or we’ll have the men with us too, which means shop even FASTER.  Today we took our time, and now I’m hard pressed to get this blog finished before my husband arrives home to an empty dinner table with nothing cooking.  *gasp*

In my quest to complete the blog, I scanned facebook and the boards for any bit of news to report on – and I found a new video!  It’s posted on Duran Duran’s Youtube channel, and it’s to Before the Rain.  It’s all over facebook and the boards now, but in case you haven’t seen it – here’s the link.

Naturally, I watched the video.  I have to say, Gavin Elder has outdone himself.  Yes, the video is of a photo shoot, but the video really works with the music well.  (the background and perhaps the subjects didn’t hurt either.)   This band combined with black and white video is just stunning.  I love seeing them laugh, and I think it’s interesting to see them all look with such great attention to detail at their proofs from the shoot.  Vanity?  Maybe.  Rock stars?  Definitely.  There was actually a glimpse of what I feel is a very rare thing these days – and that was Nick with a full smile.  Teeth and all.  I miss seeing that these days.  He has such a lovely smile, and yet we really don’t see that very often – just the smallest of grins usually, so it’s a treasure to see a full smile.  I know most of the shots end up on the cutting room floor, but I’m very curious about those white hats – hopefully we’ll see one or two of those pictures at some point!

While watching the video, I was thinking about how entwined the bands career has been with fashion.  I don’t have to recite much of the bands history with their Anthony Price suits and the New Romantic era…or even how they’ve played shows during Fashion Week in Milan to prove my point.  Yet fascinatingly enough, this blogger knows almost nothing about fashion.  That’s right.  I know almost nothing.  I realize this must be a shock, so go ahead and take a breath or two.  I’ll wait.

Here’s the reality:  I know what I like.  I’m casual.  I love denim.  I love t-shirts.  I wear flip-flops or athletic shoes on a daily basis.  I’m pretty sure that if Nick Rhodes showed up at my house, he’d take one look at my wardrobe closet, grab my Duran Duran albums, posters and what-not, and be on his way.  I wear makeup, but on any given day my makeup consists of eyeliner and mascara.  That’s it.   Sometimes I feel as though I’m a big faker who snuck in under the radar of whomever is the big judge of Duran Duran fans.   I have to try really hard when I go to Duran Duran shows, and that begins with telling myself that no, I really cannot possibly wear tennis shoes to the show – even though we ALL know that they are the most comfortable!   (you can’t even begin to imagine my joy when I started noticing, and oh yes, I *did* notice, that Nick started wearing sparkly athletic shoes of some sort on stage.  Bless. Him.)   I try to start noticing what people are wearing, and I do go shopping.  I just have to go against my gut instinct to put on a rock t-shirt, jeans and some old converse tennies and be on my way.

That said, I don’t rock the Mom jeans.  Pleats and I haven’t been friends since I was in about the second grade and pleated skirts were all the rage.  I really am against wearing a clothing fashion that I have photographs of myself wearing back in the 80’s (leggings and I broke up YEARS ago), and mostly – I just take a good hard look at myself in my mirror before I leave each day.  That’s about where my sense of style begins and ends, to be honest.  I read something once about how Nick (and I’m sorry if it seems as though I’m picking on him – I’m really not!) admires people for taking chances with their fashion.  My idea of taking chances is god forbid buying something off the rack without trying it on first.  That IS risky when you’ve had 3 children!!!  *gasp*

When I go to a Duran Duran show, I’m amazed at everything I see.  I admire the women who can still pull off purple hair in their 40’s and still look their children in the eye – I have a feeling mine would just laugh.  I wish I were that way….I aspire to be that way.  The hairstyles are amazing – I couldn’t ever pull off anything edgier than the very slight A-line haircut I’ve got going on right now, otherwise my hair would truly be wearing ME.  I love the way women will wear stilettos to a GA show and then look as though they’re still having fun the entire night.  There’s no way my feet would respect me in the morning after being treated that way.  My feet insist on flats, and since it’s the only way we continue to get along – they win.   So I watch and admire from afar.

I really don’t know how I got past the guards when I became a Duran Duran fan.  I’ve never bought a Vogue magazine, much less spent any kind of time pouring over what the latest designer fashions may be.  Never mind the fact that at least for most of my life – finances dictated that I shop from the discount rack.  I’ve learned to love nice things as I’ve grown older, but fashion is still my downfall.  It’s my little confession.  What’s yours?

Reality Strikes Back

Every once in a while I get so engrossed in my own happenings, whether it’s those here in my house, or those in my Duran world, that I really kind of forget that I live in a REAL community with real people.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one guilty of that from time to time.  In my case, I tend to be a bit of a hermit I suppose.  I used to help out at the kids’ elementary school when they were little – so I was friendly with several PTA moms and other people at the school, but now that they’ve grown older I don’t find that I’m at the school nearly as often, and I really don’t run into a lot of moms around town.  My oldest attends a school that is 20 miles away from our house, and since I have a little one here at home, I can’t get involved there as much as I’d like. (maybe next year??)  Like I said, I guess I’m a bit of a hermit.  

As I mentioned, one of the hazards with being a hermit is that I don’t keep up with what is going on in the lives of the PTA members (otherwise known as “gossip”), but I also don’t see a lot of the people I’ve met and befriended along the way.  Several years back, I was a Co-Leader for my daughter’s Brownie troop.  Those of you who know me well probably realize how out of character such a position was for me…and it was.  I loved helping out with my daughters troop, and the girls were fun, but I’m not “THAT” mom.  I’m not the kind of mom that bakes, cleans, sews, cooks, gets the kids where ever they need to be…on time…neat….and in the case of my girls: with their hair neatly braided or coiled in whatever the latest and cutest hairstyle might be.  Oh no.  I’m the mom who is rushing around, yelling at the kids to get in the car, teasing them endlessly about being late and being left on the curb to fend for themselves, and I definitely don’t look like I’ve got it all together.  Regardless, I was a Brownie leader with two other moms (who made THEIR jobs look far easier than I ever did!).   These other two moms were my Godsend in many ways, as I could not have been troop leader without them.  I felt that we became friends, and I trusted them completely.  We ran the troop for 3 years, and then I realized I needed to move on or else I’d go completely insane.  As a result, we parted ways, and as typically happens, we drifted apart.  Occasionally I’d run into either one of them and we’d promise to get together for coffee, but it never happened, and I don’t blame anyone but myself – I should have called but I did not.

As you all know, my time is divided these days between being a wife and mom to writing – both this blog and the book that Amanda and I have been working on.  I’ve also been planning for our UK trip and reveling in the fact that the band is touring.  Admittedly my days are consumed with Duran Duran, at least my mornings have been, and I’ve completely forgotten about the outside world to some extent.  I keep saying that it’s a great time to be a Duranie, with the sales on the album doing so well so far, and seeing that the band is indeed having another moment in the sun.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I received a phone call from the godmother to my children who also lives in our community and teaches at the kids’ school.  She wanted to let me know some news that she’d received regarding one of the co-leaders children.  Unfortunately, this young girl – who incidentally is the same age as my son (around 12, give or take a month or two) – was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  They are doing what seems to be pretty aggressive treatment, and while it’s very early in treatment (she is in the midst of her second week), she’s doing well so far.  This family is wonderful – the father is a pastor at a very large church in our area and as such they have a great amount of support, which of course I’m thankful that they have.  However, I would imagine that they’d gladly redirect all of that support elsewhere just to have a healthy child.   Naturally, I could not have been more shocked, or shaken for that matter.  This mom and I ran a Brownie troop together.  At one point, she and her family lived down the street from me and I saw this little girl grow from a beautiful baby to a toddler, to a gorgeous 6th grader with everything to live for.  It’s unreal to me that she’s fighting a brain tumor right now as I’m typing up a fan blog for Duran Duran.

For me, it was probably a very much needed wake up call back to reality.  It’s so easy to live in  this Duran Duran fantasy world at times, communicating with people online, but completely overlooking the people in my regular, normal life.  I do have real friends in my real life that I tend to ignore at times just because the band is active and because these friends here just don’t get my fandom.  The two moms I was a co-leader with (including Jessie’s mom) were among the VERY few that knew/know about my Duran Duran obsession in my home community.  In fact, I was a co-leader at the time the band reunited and we were planning our convention.  They chuckled at me as I excitedly told them about the convention, and probably downright laughed, but with love – not malice, when I told them I was going to Chicago to see the shows in 2005.  Even so, I doubt they could really understand where I was coming from or why the band was so important to me.  I think that’s part of the reason I retreat so carefully from forming close friendships here at home.  There are just some things I’m not comfortable sharing about myself – my “obsession” with Duran Duran being one of them.  I know I’m not the only one.

Interestingly enough, I have never seen a 12 year old young lady quite like Jessica.  I can use her name because she has her own website and blog to keep everyone (strangers, family, and friends alike) updated on her treatment and progress.  People have “liked” her facebook page that have never even MET Jessica, and there is good reason for that – read on.  They are also asking everyone, everywhere, for their good thoughts and prayers.  Yes, this family has an immense amount of faith (much more than I), but I don’t think good faith has to mean of a religious form.  I believe in the power of positive thinking, and even if you don’t believe in God, that doesn’t mean you don’t pass on good thoughts for someone else, which is why I’m reaching out to anyone and everyone who reads this blog.  Take a look at her website (it’s linked below), and if you feel comfortable “like” it.   As soon as I heard about Jessica, or Jessie as we call her – I felt an intense need to do something.  There’s very little that I can really do, to be honest – her family is being taken care of in many ways – but the one thing I *can* do is reach out to my own community of people and ask that you keep this young girl in your good thoughts.  She’s only 12, and she deserves to grow up.

Jessie amazes me because she has more grace in her twelve year old body and heart than I’ll ever have. She is taking this situation and reaching out to people through her journey, both by her blog and by fundraising so that this doesn’t happen to other kids.  She has a slogan that I absolutely love and will learn to live by: Never Ever Give Up (NEGU), and if that weren’t enough, she’s come up with another idea that I think she’s going to use for fundraising called JoyJars. (her middle name is Joy.  She was very well named. :D)  I really can’t wait to see how her idea evolves from here.  I believe somewhere on her website (Her dad puts the content up on the website.  As she puts it, she has the heart and thoughts and her dad types.  :D)  she says that these projects keep her mind on something other than the pain.  To have such grace and energy…I can’t help but aspire to learn to be more like her.

I realize this blog doesn’t have a lot to do with Duran Duran per se, but it has everything to do with our real lives and how we fit it all in.  Sometimes I’m a master at juggling everything.  Sometimes I fail miserably.  Right now I suppose I’m examining the situation, learning from my mistakes, picking the things that are most important back up and trying again, because that’s really all we can do.


If you are interested in reading about Jessica – her website is

Finding the Person I Used to Be, The Final Outcome (for now!)

The day eventually arrived, and I was about to board a plane to New Orleans, alone.  I remember that day clearly because I was so glad to say good bye to my husband, and yet my heart ached when I said good bye to my kids.  The amount of guilt I felt in leaving them could have filled my house, and yet I knew in my head that I was doing the right thing.  It’s always the worst right before I leave for the airport  (its still that way to this day), but once I’m in the car it’s as though I’ve switched gears in my head and the “mom” part of me is put away on a shelf for later.

The entire way from security to the gate at the airport I kept looking around me as though I’d forgotten something – that’s another issue when you’ve had small children – I’m convinced that for the rest of my life, if they aren’t with me I’ll feel as though I’ve left something behind.  Once I got on the plane though, I felt settled.  Even a bit peaceful!  I don’t think I’d had the opportunity to read without someone interrupting me since before I got married – and as a result I’m pretty sure I finished an entire book on the flight to New Orleans.  (I’m a quick reader!)

Once I’d landed in New Orleans, I had another small worry – and that was finding a way to the Hotel Monaco.  I hadn’t wanted to rent a car or anything since I wasn’t going to be really going anywhere aside from the hotel, but I knew this meant I’d have to get a taxi for the 20 minute drive.  I’d never hailed a taxi alone before, which is ridiculous when I think back on it.  The thing is, since I’m from Southern California, there’s really not a lot of opportunity to take a taxi.  My little area of the world is easily a good 1 and a half hours from downtown Los Angeles OR downtown San Diego, and so that means I’m really in the suburbs.  Taxis aren’t really plentiful here, and as a result I am used to driving.   In any case, I hailed my cab (it was evening when I landed) and got myself to the hotel.  At this point, I can’t remember if I was the first to arrive in our room – I was sharing a room with another committee member in New Orleans that I’d grown close to – and I seem to think she’d gotten there first and either left me the key at the front desk, or I’d called her and she met me in the room.  Regardless, my biggest memory of my first night in New Orleans was finally meeting a fellow Duranie in real life!  To understand how I felt, I need to give you yet another small glimpse into my life at home.

I know I’ve mentioned I’m from Orange County California.  I live in a fairly new area, and I would say that a majority of the moms in my neighborhood are your basic stay-at-home PTA/soccer moms.   They are apt to drive luxury SUV’s, wear Ugg boots and (at the time of this story) Juicy Couture tracksuits, and hair extensions.  I, on the other hand, am not.  Yes, I do (did) have blonde hair, but that’s about where the similarity ends.  I always felt out of place when standing next to my fellow OC Moms, because while they’d be talking about volunteering in class or the latest PTA functions or Starbucks gossip – I would be thinking about getting home to read the Duran Duran boards, or chatting with my online friends.   My life as a Duranie, especially at this point in my life – was kept well under wraps.  I didn’t share any of that with my PTA mom friends, and while they would take joy in handling a class party or being the mom chosen to paint scenery for plays – I would run from that sort of thing screaming!  Don’t get me wrong, I did my “mom” duty – I was even a girl scout leader for my daughters Brownie troop, but I did that mainly for her, and as soon as I could offload that duty, I did!  It’s just not my thing.  I’m not the mom who played Barney or Preschool music CD’s in her car…I’m the mom who played(s) Duran Duran.  My kids knew the words to Planet Earth before they learned their ABC’s, and I’m not kidding.  🙂    All of that aside, I was also desperately lonely.  None of my friends here are into Duran Duran.  My husband doesn’t mind them, but there is something very odd and unsettling about attending a Duran Duran concert with him in tow.  I mean, how does one yell “I LOVE YOU ROGER!!” when their husband is right there within earshot?!?  It takes a little bit of the fun out of it at times.  I always wanted a female friend that I could giggle with, or commiserate over the lack of tour dates and so forth.  Which brings me back to that fateful meeting…

As soon as I saw JTDuran standing there (that’s her screenname), I knew we’d be friends forever.  We are very different in many, many ways – but there’s something very comforting about that.  At that point, she was very much the unsettled side of myself – the side that I wanted to get in touch with, but was almost afraid of setting loose from her cage.  🙂  She’ll say and do things that I would only dream of, and I still envy her to this day at times.  We’ve stayed friends since that weekend, and I have no doubt that we always will.  Along with JTDuran, we had several others in our room with us that weekend, and in every case, as I met each one I realized that I’d been given such a wonderful gift.  No longer was I alone out on a limb.

The main thing I want to convey from that weekend isn’t the story of the actual weekend, as it turns out.  It was a great time, absolutely.  I don’t think I’ve ever spent as much time talking and laughing as I did then.  I learned a lot about Duran Duran, and I learned a lot about the fan community in general, and all of that was amazing.  The thing is, none of that is really the story.  The STORY, is finding myself again.

I don’t think I’d truly been comfortable in my own skin since I was in middle school, to be honest.  That’s an odd statement just because of the fact that middle school is about as unfriendly of a place as you’ll ever be, and yet during that time I think I was the most “myself” I’ve ever been.  My friends during that time were all huge Duran Duran fans, and while I had many other aspects to my character and personality – I’d be crazy not to admit that being a fan was a huge part of it.  The friends I had at that time gave me the comfort and space to just be myself, and I did.  In high school, we drifted apart, I gained a boyfriend or two, and things just changed.  I still loved the band, but that part of me was kind of put up on a shelf for later, so to speak.  After that, I never really found friends who had the same love for them that I did, so I learned to just keep that part quiet – and as is the case when you ignore anything that makes you a part of who you really are – I think you become someone else, as though you’re playing a part in a play.  That convention weekend reminded me of who I really was.  I had the comfort of being able to talk all about the band without getting sideways glances from anyone, because let’s face it – they were all understanding exactly what I was saying!

One of the best things to come out of that weekend, and there were really plenty – was that I met some of my closest friends ever.  One of those friends is my writing partner, Amanda.  I’d exchanged posts with her on – but I really didn’t know much about her until that Saturday night of the convention.  The committee had planned a dance party – complete with dinner and videos, and it was great fun.  I think we all could have continued to dancing to every single song in the band’s catalog – but eventually the party ended, and a bunch of us decided to continue out after the party, and so we did.  Somehow we ended our evening at Howl at the Moon on Bourbon Street singing Rio.  Wow.  That must have been quite a site (and sound).  I can only imagine, and I still don’t know what in the hell I was thinking getting up on stage like that.  Insanity.  I remember Amanda that night because she was wearing these really cute boots with a heel that would have killed me.  I could barely walk in my own flat shoes much less navigate a heel, not to mention the pain involved.  Regardless, that night began our friendship, and touring has never been the same since.  (then again, at that point, I’d never even gone to a show with friends!!  Another story for another blog!)  Amanda is the one person I call with an Official Duranie Alert – and I can always count on her sharing my exuberance, my frustration, and my flat out annoyance at times over whatever the band has done, is going to do, or never finishes to my satisfaction.  😀   While my husband will say “Why do you even care?”  Amanda will say “What the hell is the problem with that stupid band?”  (or something similar)  It’s a beautiful friendship and was well worth the wait to find!

I would have never guessed that at the age of 33 I’d have rediscovered part of my personality again.  It’s not really that I’ve changed so much here at home, though.  I’m still mom, I’m still married (a miracle given some of the crazy things I’ve requested from my husband over the years), and I’m still a stage mom for my oldest when I have no other choice (it’s my least favorite chore – right up there with cooking!).  In addition to all of that though, there’s another facet of me that I’m still polishing and perfecting from time to time.  It’s the part of me that I really don’t “share” with my family, but it’s every bit as important because it’s who I am.  It’s really nice to have the sense of accomplishment that came with planning and carrying out the convention, and it’s shown me that yes, it’s OK that I have interests that don’t have anything to do with my husband or my children.  Even my husband has grown used to the idea that Duran Duran and I are kind of a package deal.  He rolls his eyes a lot, and I’ve learned where his line of tolerance is. (although I do try to cross it often just to keep things interesting!)

We’ve never had another convention since that first one in 2004, at least not one that I’ve been a part of or planned, and perhaps that window has been shut for me as far as being the planner goes.  It’s a lot of work, and while I would gladly help to see another one take place, I could never put the time in now that I did before. I’ve moved on to other projects with every bit as much determination, however.  This blog is part of that, and although I admit there are some days when I can’t even put a sentence together much less come up with a decent topic, it’s been good for me as a person.  If I’ve learned anything from all of this – it’s to encourage my children, my girls most of all, not to leave themselves behind once they are married or are moms.  It’s important to have balance, and that’s something I intend to continue.


Finding the person I Used to Be, Part II

As the convention planning continued to chug along, I grew more and more excited by the prospect of going to meet all of these people I’d been working with for the last several months.  Interestingly enough, throughout all of the planning, I hadn’t considered the idea that although I’d committed heart and soul to bringing the convention from an idea to a reality, there wasn’t much of a chance that I would be able to attend…at least not without creating World War III in my house.  At this point, I’d never traveled by myself anywhere, aside from a trip home to see my parents when we lived in Chicago.  I knew that I very much wanted to go to the convention, but the idea of talking to Walt about the idea of spending my (his) hard-earned salary to go on a trip…by myself to meet people I’d never truly spoken to…sounded like it would be as much fun as going and volunteering for a root canal.  So I did what anyone else would have done in my position would have:  I planned to go, and figured I’d deal with my husband later.  Priorities, people!  My husband, however, is a very smart man.  He picks up on the small things…he picks up on the omissions of word, the missing details…and the fact that I was on the planning committee for a convention dedicated to fans of the band I loved best in the world.  He definitely noticed I’d forgotten to mention that I was planning to attend.

It wasn’t that long into the planning process when, one night after I’d excited relayed the details behind the committee’s decision to have the convention in New Orleans, and the hotel we’d chosen, (Hotel Monaco, sadly which after our convention was badly damaged during Katrina and never reopened)  my husband looked pointedly at me and asked the question I’d been dreading:  “You’re not actually thinking that you’re going to this thing, are you Rhonda?”

After a couple deep breaths, I explained that I really WAS hoping to go – but only if he thought we could do it.  It’s very tough for me to go anywhere these days, but back in 2004, it was even tougher!   We had two young children at that point, my husband had just been laid off by one company and hired by another…and I’d have to find some way to get the kids to and from school along with having someone watch them while my husband was working during the day.  I was determined though, and while it was very, very clear that I was walking a fine line with my husband, he didn’t say no.  That said, it didn’t make home life any easier.   My husband just didn’t understand my fascination with not only message boards, but working so hard at planning a convention even though I wasn’t being paid.  I guess that to me, my “payment” was the enjoyment I received from feeling as though I was part of a group.  I loved the fact that I was working, so to speak, with other adults.  Once again I have to say that there was something very desirable about having this be one thing that was all for me.  I didn’t have to share the message boards, the friends I was making, or the convention planning with anyone….but on the same token I loved talking about everything I was doing, even though I knew that to some extent, the very things I enjoyed doing were putting quite a wedge between my husband and myself.  I suppose at the time I just felt that the sacrifice was worth it.  I needed this for me.

It was with great joy that I was able to go back to the planning committee and give my own personal commitment for attending the convention.  I couldn’t imagine doing all of the work and not being able to go and see how it came out for myself, so I was thrilled by that respect.  On the other hand, however, I was nervous, if not downright scared.   First of all, up until that point, I’d never left my two children for more than a day to go somewhere by myself.  My husband and I had taken vacations without the kids before, but only for a couple of days, and as I said – we were together.  I kind of felt selfish for wanting the time to myself, and especially when I thought about the fact that it wasn’t just an overnighter to go to a MOMS Club event or a scrapbooking convention or something that pertained to being a mom.  No, this was solely MY thing.  I couldn’t even justify a good reason for my attendance other than saying that I really wanted to go!   I suppose I really shouldn’t have felt as though I had to justify my reasons for going, but that’s never been the way our family has worked.  My husband comes and goes as he needs for work, never giving me more than day or two notice of his travels – and most of the time it’s a LOT less – which completely annoys me, but he always says the magic words…”It’s my job.”  Somehow that’s supposed to make it all OK.  I’m not sure that it ever really does, but it’s the life I lead.  I make it work.   I don’t work for a salary outside of the home, so therefore none of my travel is ever really necessary or justified (don’t get me started about traveling for the sake of book research…that comes MUCH later.)  So, as time passed I worried about every last thing that needed to be accomplished while I was gone, and I have to say – I had a lot of sleepless nights during the summer before I went to the convention.  I tried very hard to make myself sound “cool” online and not talk about my worries behind leaving my kids, but I knew that in order for my marriage to stay on the same even keel I was used to, I had to make sure everything ran as smooth as silk in my absence.

to be continued tomorrow….