Category Archives: touring

Favorite Show From Paper Gods Tour

I was thinking about the Paper Gods tour last night just before falling asleep. I had a great time at the shows I attended, without a doubt.  But, if I had to pick just one as my favorite show—which would it be?

First of all, this is a personal question, in that my choice for favorite show is probably not going to be very indicative of the best gig or the best sound or even what was best for you. And my favorite show might have more to do with how I was thinking or feeling that night than how the band did. I’m human enough to admit all of those factors play a part.

My intention last night was to lie there quietly and go through every single show in my head. I got through Hollywood Bowl. (to recap: that was show number one for me. So….) I know what my knee jerk answer probably is, but I want to be sure.

Amanda devised this fancy concert rubric grading system (she’s a teacher, so this makes sense!), but that’s not really working for me here. First of all, I’m a little more emotional than that rubric allows. Secondly, there are some shows that just don’t stick out.

There are a few shows though, that really make me smile when I think back on them. Two of them are at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, which is funny.  The first Agua Caliente show had me in front row. There is a certain magic in being up there – as much as I’d like to deny its influence, I just can’t. My elbows were on the stage, and it was the first time I’ve ever been that close – normally there’s a barricade or a security guy.  In fact, there was a monitor right in front of me, and my hearing has never been the same since.  <grin>

The second show also had me in front, but there’s more to it than that. I was up there with Amanda and one of our roommates, which made the night so much more fun.  We had been at an impromptu meet-up beforehand, and then the show, and then hung out at a bar afterward.  The entire night was so much fun, and then we found out the band was coming back for these July shows. (and were admonished not to tell a soul – which we didn’t until DDHQ spilled the beans the next morning!) It wasn’t just the show, it was the full experience that made it so memorable.

This last set of shows – Oakland and San Francisco – were fantastic, too. In Oakland, we were second row center, GA, but Amanda and I were with friends. The show itself blew me away for a multitude of reasons, and we hung out with Duranies in a hotel lobby bar afterward. I loved every minute.

But for me, if I had to pick a gig that was my favorite show of the entire tour, I’d have to go with San Francisco. Oddly, had that evening happened even a year prior, I would have come away feeling dejected and angry, and yet I’m telling you that for me – it was the best show of the entire tour.

First of all, I was nowhere near the front. The view I had for 99% of the show was obstructed at best. Making eye contact with band members was really tough to do, if not non-existent for most of the show. Amanda and I stood by ourselves, with no other friends around us. Most Duranies were up front, having paid for VIP. (we just couldn’t. Sixteen shows, people. My bank account said NO) Instead, we’d done this crazy California room add-on VIP deal, that wasn’t really VIP at all. It was really kind of a worthless, shitty deal that normally would have put me in such a bad mood I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself, but that night, I refused to give in. I was not going to let the last show (for me) on this tour go by with me being grumpy and mad.

Instead, I stood there, and let the music wash over me. I loved that set with every fiber of my being – yes, even Hungry Like the Wolf.  I saw Nick grin, I noticed Simon pointing into the crowd, and yeah, I even saw Dom and John rocking out together on stage. None of them probably saw me, but it didn’t matter. I danced, I sang, I held my hands in the air and gave it my all, and the band gave the energy right back. I cried through New Moon on Monday without a single thought to what the band might think. I didn’t care. There was no holding back out of fear of how I might look, or trying to get someone’s attention. I just lived in the moment, through the music, and it was fantastic. I can’t think of a better way to have ended my travels (for now).

Here’s the “thing”…this album, the tour, and even writing a rejected manuscript, changed me. I don’t think I necessarily liked the person I was becoming when Paper Gods came out. I felt like my fandom was kind of, well, fading, maybe? Perhaps it’s that I didn’t feel like I could really BE a fan because I was so busy writing, working, and trying to be “Daily Duranie Super Fan Organizer”. I’m not sure, and this experience I’m sharing is not necessarily what Amanda experienced. I’m just writing about me, here. I only know that when Paper Gods came out, as much as I loved the band, I think I was more worried about what other fans thought of me and what I was writing. I let the need for acceptance outweigh everything else. It’s easy to get caught up in one’s head when you’re trying to write a blog that people will take time out of their busy days to visit and read. Then there’s just the book writing in general. (which has so far proven unsuccessful in as much as getting a publishing deal but the personal experience? Priceless.) It was a lot of pressure I put on myself, and ultimately, I think it may have broken me.

There was a time when I stopped wanting to talk to anyone. I felt like no matter what I said or did, people reading the blog would find fault (and they did). Oddly though, after a while, the negativity seemed to even out. That said, we had support from people who didn’t necessarily SAY a word, but showed us they care by liking things we posted. Sometimes subtle works, even if it’s not noticed at the time. It turns out that while I felt very much alone for a while there, I had people by my side (or our side) all along. You know who you are, and I need to thank you. Sometimes it really is the smallest of things that are the most meaningful, and knowing someone (or a few people) had our back and accepted us for who we are and what we have to say made the difference.

So this album—Paper Gods—was not the easiest era of my life, both in fandom and for personal reasons. It was as though all of this writing and STUFF had to break me down completely before I could really begin to rebuild and figure it all out. And as that was happening, I was beginning to be happier and willing to be straight up honest with myself about why I am the way I am. When I went to those shows in March, I was absolutely thrilled to be there, something I hadn’t felt in a long time. When I drove to San Francisco last week, I was excited to hear every last song on that set list. No complaints. Life is too short and I’m way too much of a fan of this band and love the people in it too much to worry. I’m still a work in progress, as we all are, but when I look back over this time, I’m going to know how much personal growth was happening. I suppose in some small way, it took me as much time to come to terms with all of that as it did for the band to come to terms with what Paper Gods was going to be.

When I think back on the San Francisco show, not only will I remember just how on fire the band was, or how fabulous the sound was that night. I’ll remember that even though things didn’t go quite as planned, I loved every single second.

-R

Think Yourself Lucky: Some thoughts on this tour

I’ve been thinking about the Paper Gods tour, or at least the shows that I attended. I have fantastic memories from the past few years, that is for sure. There really isn’t anything like seeing Duran Duran on stage, and being able to go to these shows with my best friend, knowing that however insane I seem – she usually gets it – makes it all the better.

I am pretty lucky that I was able to see Duran Duran play at the Hollywood Bowl, for example. Although I’m not a huge fan of the venue for rock concerts (the crowds are ridiculous and it takes a special sort of patience to handle the parking and traffic issues), seeing Duran Duran there was a dream. To begin with, it was the first show of the tour (for me), not counting Jimmy Kimmel the evening before.  Our seats were amazing – we splurged for second row center tickets, and I just remember how excited I was to be there. We had our friend from Canada with us, and the memories of giggling in the car after the show as I drove over the Grapevine will never leave me.  Amanda read me texts from another friend of ours who had gotten into to the after party with the band, and I was over the moon about the scene she described, wishing I had been there. I still can’t believe I drove all the way from my house, up to Berkeley, then back again, the very next day.

Amanda and I saw a lot of shows this time around. We’ve never done this many before, and I don’t regret a single one.  My bank account does, but that’s alright. You only live once, and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. I did turn down a few shows—Amanda went without me to DC over New Years, for example—and while sure I wish I could have been there, I also wasn’t ready for the chaos and anger that would have caused here at home. It’s a tradeoff, and not an easy one at that.

When I start thinking about all of the miles and driving and travel—it begins to blow my mind just a little. I’ve gotten to see some parts of this country I’d never seen before, and I even got to go to Canada! I’ve also met a lot of new people, made new friends, and perhaps even made a new pal out of someone I’ve known for a very long time.

I toasted with Simon, saw Nick laugh at me more times than I care admit (I CAN’T HELP ROLLING MY EYES AT HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF – I AM SORRY BUT I TRY MY BEST TO BEHAVE!!), ducked from Simon-spit 16 times (we’re still winning that war, Simon!!), and exchanged smiles with other band members countless times. I can’t even count the amount of moments I would look at Amanda and we’d share a huge grin, because we were in exactly the kind of “heaven” we love most.  She and I made fun of this band at every single opportunity, laughed at ourselves so much our sides hurt, and fell more in “love” with each one of them every single day. Yeah, they’re band members. Celebrities. People. Just like us. We adore them even when we’re calling them dorks. Our readers don’t always understand that, and some really get on us about teasing them – but Amanda and I don’t feel as though we have to apologize to them for our antics. Something tells me that they not only get it, they really kind of like it! Rock on!

No, they probably don’t know me, but they made this tour worth every last mile I traveled, and a lot of the turmoil that went along with my absence from home. I don’t regret a single moment…well, maybe aside from the moments when we should have zigged instead of zagged. (If you don’t know what I mean by that, you’ll need to re-watch last Monday’s video blog)

Then there’s the way I ended this tour – with a show in San Francisco. It was GA, we were pretty far back, and yet I can honestly say I had a great time. I’d forgotten just how much better the sound can be when you’re back away from the stage, and the crowd energy was infectious. The thing is, of course we wanted to be up closer to the front. Yeah, I’m not afraid to say that I wanted to rock out with Dom one last time. But, we made the best of where we were, stayed present in the moment and danced like crazy. Some ridiculous part of me thinks that he still saw me out there, having a great time. And I did. The one thing I can tell you I thought about that night over and over again, was that I was so lucky to be there.

There I was, standing with my best friend, smiling so hard my cheeks hurt, watching the band we adore do their thing. About 30 seconds into the show, it stopped mattering where we were standing, or that there was a really rude, and very tall kid and his also-tall girlfriend standing directly in front of me, positioned so that there was no way I could see past them at all (he was rude for other reasons, not because he was in front of me).  I was just happy to be there one last night. I don’t know if I’ll always be able to be there, and if nothing else – the past couple of months has taught me that there really are NO guarantees in life. You get whatever you get. I would peek in between the sea of arms and camera phones to catch glimpses of Dom, Simon and John, and I just danced.  Pure bliss. And yeah, I’m pretty sure that by the end of the show, I got a wink or two from Dom. I can’t imagine he really saw me, but I smiled in return. We waved to Simon, Nick, John and Roger, and refused to acknowledge that for us, the tour had ended.

These are my favorite people, and I regret nothing. My two girls are performers. Heather is a dancer/choreographer, and my youngest is a singer and piano player, although she’s only nine so who knows what she’ll really do when she’s grown. I always tell each of them the same thing when they’re about to perform, and that’s to leave it ALL out on the stage. Don’t hold back. It’s the only advice I know to give. The only reason I know to give it is because I wouldn’t want them to live life the way I did for so long before I started doing all of this. I only half-lived, and it wasn’t enough. So this tour, I did the shows I wanted to do, and I LIVED. I left it all out there, no regrets, heart on the sleeve, and all of that. Nobody should wonder how I feel about this band, and particularly about the people within—whether or not they’re members, or supporting players.

Those memories are gonna have to last me until I-have-no-idea-when, so I’ll take them.  I am lucky.

-R

With Your Sweet Hand to Bring Me Home

I have been home for a few days now.  The tour is behind me and has been fading since I walked on a plane super early on Tuesday.  Since I have returned home, I have unpacked, completed laundry, gone to the grocery store and everything else needed to keep my household running smoothly.  Physically, I’m absolutely here in Madison, Wisconsin.  Emotionally, mentally, I’m WAY still on tour.  I should know how to deal with that feeling since I have been on tour many times before, but this time it feels different.

When I came home in March after seeing the two shows at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, part of me definitely felt a loss at saying goodbye to the tour.  Another part of me was able to get right back into the swing of “normal” life.  What is my problem now?  Why the difference?  In some ways, it should be easier now.  After all, I am not working like I did in March.  Last tour, I arrived home on a Monday and had to return to work the next day.  This time, I have time to recover.  I’m definitely still catching up on sleep as I had about 9.5 hours of sleep last night and an hour long nap on the couch.  Maybe, though, the distraction of work was helpful.  That could be.  Still, I have plenty of things on my to do list.  I should be busy and distracted.  My to do list is failing me.  Why?

I have been trying to figure out why I’m struggling with saying goodbye to tour so much this time.  When I think about it, it comes down to a few things.  First, I think part of it has to do with my friendship with Rhonda.  Our friendship felt strained and distant from last fall until those shows in March.  There are a lot of reasons for this but a lot of it had to do with lack of communication and processing some stuff individually.  When I went to the shows in March, I wondered if it would be my last tour.  I figured that we would have fun, but it wouldn’t be like it once was.  The fun couldn’t last forever, right?  Well, we had a good time and I felt better, that we were at least taking a step or two to getting back to normal.  As these shows moved closer, the normal feeling grew.  Then, this past tour happened and we are definitely back to our normal friendship–laughing at ridiculous things (like painting shoes green or sharing stories of crossing the border!).  So, now that we are back to being the crazy, best friends that was always have been, I want to hang out more.

Then, of course, there is the band.  The shows this past weekend were fantastic.  Yes, I could focus on the setlist additions of Hold Back the Rain and Sunrise/New Moon as the reasons for the greatest of these shows.  Obviously, having great songs played will make a show more fabulous but it wasn’t just that.  The band brought it.  The energy level was high.  The interactions were a ton of fun and I couldn’t help but get into each and every moment even when I was dying of heat and annoyed at having bodies right next to me.  The truth is that I started out both shows in a bitchy mood.  I didn’t feel that great on Friday and on Saturday, I was ticked that the venue’s California Room was so lame. (Understatement of the year.  Decade.  Century.  You get the idea.)  Yet, the band managed to win me over.  In fact, by the end of each night, the love for them grew.  I knew others didn’t attend these shows because they felt that the set lists didn’t change enough and that they had seen them already on this tour.  Likewise, I saw and heard fans complain about this or that.  I tried really hard not to do that and it made all the difference in the world.  My mind was open, then, to seeing every look, every point, every subtle move.  I was able to absorb it all and that means the world to me.

In March, I knew before I left that we had more shows coming up.  Now, I don’t have that.  Yes, I know that there are rumors about shows in other parts of the world, but even if those rumors are true, they won’t affect me.  There is a vast unknown out there.  What will the band do for their 40th?  Will there be dates?  Will there be something else?  I don’t know.  I’m anxious to find out and wanting to be able to make some plans.  I shouldn’t be.  My bank account needs a rest.  My to do list needs to get done.  Emotionally, though, I would really like to know what is in the future.  sigh

For now, I’ll look through my pictures of this past week and cherish the memories.  I’ll also be checking the band’s social media as every tweet, photo, etc. gives me a little joy.  Yesterday, for example, I enjoyed seeing the band is out sight-seeing.  It reminded me of how  Rhonda and I were able to take a bus tour around San Francisco.  The plan then is simple.  Think back to the fun I had.  Hope for amazing things in the future.  Enjoy every tweet/photo/post about the band in Hawaii and work on my to do list.  Maybe then, I can get deal with the end of the Paper Gods Tour.

-A

Hawaiian Sun, Sand, and Duran Duran

The band heads to Hawaii today, and in other news – I’m here doing laundry.

Yeah, I think maybe I should have rethought the whole “not going to be a rock star” thing when I was a kid.  Anybody else??  I know a few people who are going, and I’m going to openly say that I’ll be ignoring my social media for a few days because I am JEALOUS.  Granted, by Monday afternoon I will be floating on my Siesta Lounge (It looks like a big blow up sofa, which cracks me up) in gorgeous Lake Siskiyou…but that just doesn’t sound as lovely as sitting on a beach or by a pool in Hawaii, the perfume of plumeria thick in the air…and Duran Duran. Come ON now, there’s really no contest.

I remember when these dates came out, and I thought about Hawaii. Who wouldn’t? The thing is, I knew not to even think twice about that trip.  I didn’t think I had a single chance of getting it past Walt, and while I know many of you out there are like “My husband would NEVER tell me what I can or can’t do!” Mine can. Mine DOES, actually. And really, Hawaii is somewhere we go on vacation together.

And yeah, I suppose I could have played it off as “let’s go on vacation to Hawaii together, and then we can see Duran Duran!”, as if I was offering him the chance of a lifetime or something! Sure, I could have done that (I still don’t think he’d have bought it), but I’ve learned my lesson with taking the husband to a Duran gig.  DD is the backdrop to my girls’ weekends. Those weekends are my getaway, and mixing them with a husband is not a good plan. Besides, how am I supposed to scream for Dom with Walt around? Been there, done that, and got a lecture the entire…way…home… as a result. (as an aside, I never realized how far from downtown LA I lived, until that night…) No thank you.

So, I didn’t even try. I know to stick to places that Walt really doesn’t want to go. And that’s fine, because oddly – the cities I pick to see DD  are mostly all places that I do want to go.

That said, there’s a part of me that wishes I were packing for a few days of Hawaiian sun, plumeria and Duran Duran rather than two weeks of camping, mosquitos and campfires. Who wouldn’t?

Back to laundry.

-R

You Can’t Laugh All the Time (or can you?)

This is it, the final Paper Gods video blog!  In fact, today you’re lucky because there will be multiple videos for your viewing pleasure.  Watch the videos in the order listed here. Hope you brought your tissues!

 

OK, just kidding about the discussion of Simon’s dancing!  Instead, we’re gonna talk about the top ten funniest (and quite frankly, stupid!) things we’ve done while the band has toured Paper Gods!

 

Pants – Exhibit A

Pants – Exhibit B

It’s been a wild ride. We have laughed until tears slid down our cheeks, sadness from time to time, and enough joy to fuel three years of blogging through the Paper Gods album cycle. Hard to believe this one is in the history books for us with no idea of what is to come—but we’re looking forward to finding out!

We want to thank everyone who has been a part of this crazy trip: Our roomies along the way:Heather, Shelly, Suzie, Lori and Julie, everyone who came to meet ups, people who stopped us to say hello,  people who bought us drinks, and even those people who couldn’t quite figure us out and didn’t always appreciate our point of view.  Each of you made us work harder, strive to be better writers, and kinder people. (still working on some of that, we suppose!)

…and then there’s the band. Naturally, we can’t go without thanking all of you. It is true that your work inspires us in turn. (as do your fashion choices!) We will miss knowing that we have shows in our immediate future, but wish all of you the best. We hope that each of you know that while we will continue to tease you relentlessly, we do it with love, respect, and admiration.  Whether you’re spitting for distance (seriously Simon, did you really think you were gonna hit us in San Francisco??), watching our antics from the stage, or just playing the music that is the soundtrack to our lives, we adore all of you.

Let’s plan on doing this all again….soon!

-A&R

 

San Francisco Show Review Video Blog

Right now, as I type this, I am sitting in the passenger seat as Rhonda is driving.  Clearly, we take this whole blogging thing seriously or else we are just that crazy!!  Before we got into the car to drive back to Rhonda’s, we did do a little video to review the San Francisco Show.  We talked about our experience about half way back in the floor as well as some changes in the show (different song!).  One thing we forgot to mention was that the DJ also changed things up for the better, which we appreciated.  Tomorrow we will try to summarize the Paper Gods album cycle and more since we have one more day together before I head back to the Midwest.  Something to look forward to!  Ha!  Until then, here isn’t today’s video!

It’s a Video Blog! – Fox Theater Oakland, CA 7/8/17

Hi everyone!

We apologize for the lack of blog yesterday. I’ll simply say that it was a rough morning, before we knew it we had to leave for Oakland… and we’ll leave it at that.

So, for your viewing pleasure today – Amanda and I did a video blog to talk about the show, and dancing with other people’s bodies against you….and heat.

We’re having a great time, but as always, it never seems like we have enough of it before it’s time to go home. Like I’ve said before, I just wish time would stand still or go a lot slower on tour.  I hate the fact that we’ll be driving home tomorrow and for us, Paper Gods will be done and we’ll be back in limbo-land.

Yeah, not a fan.

There might be tears tonight. Hell, there were tears LAST night, but for different reasons. It’s been a rough (but at the same time wonderful) trip.

Day One on the hills in San Francisco!

Daily Duranie is together and in San Francisco!  If you were on Twitter last night, you already know that we arrived yesterday, and even ventured out in search of food (and drinks!).  We called it an early night because my counterpart had already been up for the better part of 24 hours, and she’s still sleeping as I type!  The funniest thing to happen thus far was when we wandered around the floor of our hotel, in jammies, searching for the ice machine. It was quite a scene as we prayed to the Duranie gods that no one open their door to find us sneaking down the hallway. We walked the entire way around our floor, realized there was no machine, and then discovered we had to go down a floor for it, on the elevator! Thankfully nobody saw us, but they may have heard us laughing hysterically in the elevator on the way back up to our room!

Originally we were going to only drive part of the way yesterday, but the more I drove, the more I realized that by the time I really got tired, we’d almost be here anyway. So, we added a day and got here around 8 last night. Not terrible, and the drive was easy (although driving up the very steep hill to our hotel is another story and not for the faint of heart).  It’s nice to have the extra time to explore, something we rarely get when we’re traveling between shows.

One thing I’d forgotten about San Francisco—or blocked from my memory (I don’t get up here very often)—were the hills. Like, the entire city is built on hills, and I don’t mean just a little hill, but these incredibly steep hills. Driving on them is not fun. Walking UP them is something akin to torture. I was ready to lay down and call it after about 50 feet up the first one during our walk back to the hotel last night, but we made it.  Barely.  I will take pictures and tweet them from the Daily Duranie account today. I should have just taken video of me trying to walk. Far, FAR funnier.

Today, I think we’re doing the tourist thing! Amanda has never been here, and I’ve been several times—but not enough to really know the city. We’ve had a few things mentioned: Alcatraz, Museum of Modern Art (definitely want to do that), Golden Gate Bridge (Amanda won’t step foot on it but I’m sure she’ll at least take a photo from a distance!), and there’s some sort of hop on/hop off city tour that might be fun.  We’re pretty much open to anything, just as soon as I can get her to wake up.  I also hear that there are wine tasting rooms near Ghirardelli Square, so I’ll be getting us over there at some point before we leave.  She’s burrowed under covers in her bed (understandable given her marathon day of traveling yesterday) and I’m up and ready to go like it’s Christmas morning. I’m a light sleeper on any given day, and with the city noise outside—I’m up!

Our roommates come in later today and then the real party begins! We’re on several forms of social media, but I think Amanda and I settled on using Twitter and Snapchat for this trip (although I’ll throw things up on Facebook and Instagram too – it just might be a bit later). Amanda is going to handle Snapchat and I’ll do Twitter, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll do some Facebook live and/or video blogs.  So, if you’re not already following us—you should!

-R

Trying to be Strong Enough

This is the last blog post before I leave for the latest tour.  Yes, come Wednesday, I will get up at an ungodly hour to catch a bus to take me to O’Hare.  From there, I will fly into LAX to meet up with my partner-in-crime to venture north towards the Oakland/San Francisco area for two shows.  These shows, as you all know, are general admission which means that normally we would not even consider them.  Yet, they are in California which works well for Rhonda and they announced these shows the morning after a fabulous show at Agua Caliente that we were at.  We were weak then.  We couldn’t say no!  Nonetheless, I am absolutely certain that we will have a blast as always!  Despite the GA format, I look forward to the shows and am anxious to see my friends!!

Now, I know what many of you are probably thinking.  Maybe you are thinking about how lucky I am or how spoiled I am.  It is common that whenever Rhonda and/or mention going to a show that someone comments about how jealous s/he is.  I get that.  I am jealous of those fans who will see them after these California shows.  I am jealous of my niece right now who is in London.  It is a common emotion.  I also acknowledge that I am super lucky to have the opportunity to go.  I am relatively healthy and have the financial means to do so.  Everyone is not in the same boat.  I honestly wish that everyone was able to go.  Yet, in thinking about my fandom history, I have to acknowledge the fact that there is risk involved in going to shows, in traveling.

When I first got back involved in the fan community during the reunion era, I had never traveled to a concert for anyone.  Yes, I had driven to a nearby city but I never even got a hotel for a show before.  It was always drive to a show, see it and drive back.  While I wish that I could argue that it was work or money that kept me grounded but in reality, it was fear.  Yes, I didn’t have a ton of money then as I was finishing up grad school but I could have squeezed out money if I really needed it.  I was working full time after all.  Likewise, I could say that I could not travel due to those work or school obligations but that isn’t the whole story.  It would have been challenging to get out of those responsibilities but I could have if I tried.  After all, I do it now.  

What was the fear?  Was it fear of stigma or people talking badly about me traveling for shows?  Not really.  No, it was really two things.  First, there is the fear surrounding traveling.  I hate flying.  I am a pretty logical person.  Logically I get that flying is safe and the likelihood of a plane crashing is small.  Yet, my logical part of my brain struggles to silence the anxiety part of my brain.  Maybe some of this is that I was not on a plane until I was a teenager.  Maybe I think too much about the bad things that could happen. On top of that, I worry about everything surrounding travel.  What if I don’t get to the airport on time?  What if my stuff gets stolen? What if something horrible happens at a hotel?  I could go on and on.  Then, the other big worry is the fear that I will be rejected by the people I am with.  What if I travel with people and they decide I am a huge geek and never want to be near me again?  Just last night, I dreamt that I was a party and had a falling out with everyone there.  I ended up hanging out in the basement by myself.  Again, logically, I know it is silly.  Rhonda has hung out with me a lot.  I doubt she will decide I am a loser now.  Likewise, our friends who we are sharing a room with us have shared a room with us before.  If they thought I was a loser, they wouldn’t stay with us again, right?

Looking back, I recognize that I had to take some big leaps from my own comfort zone to do the traveling I have done to see the band.  I could have always made excuses.  Even now, it might have been just as easy to say that I couldn’t afford to go.  After all, I just came back from my sister’s in North Carolina.  I usually can use work as an excuse, if I need to.  Yet, I know it is super good for me to push myself out of my safe place to do what I really want.  I think I have become a stronger, braver person as a result of taking the risks to travel to see the band.  I still fight the anxiety but I believe it is worth it.  

-A

Beautiful Clothes….and Me

I am beginning to bounce off the walls a bit. It’s been a couple of weeks since my school year ended, I’ve been at home…and now I’m ready to hit the road. I’m punchier than usual, and anxious for the weekend. It’s Thursday and I’m acting like it’s Friday.

Yesterday, I went shopping with my oldest. She works at what I would characterize to be her idea of a candy store at one of our local malls, which means she works at a clothing store. She has been after me to go in and take advantage of their sales and her employee discount ever since. Heather knows that most of the time, she has to take charge and insist we go shopping to get me to buy myself things. So yesterday, she announces she’s going to take me shopping, meaning I’m going to get in the car with her, and drive us both to a store and use my own cash card to buy myself new things.

I hesitantly agree, and set my expectations incredibly low. To begin with, as most know – I’m curvy and not a size two.  I’m also not, well, 20 years old. In the past, this has been difficult for Heather to grasp. I appreciate her vote of confidence, but seriously. Look at me. It’s a delicate balance, and the store she works at is geared for a younger crowd.  Then again, what stores REALLY reach out to the 40-something who wants to look good, but not quite hoochie-mama?? It requires a careful eye, and someone who has no trouble calling herself out and getting “real”.  So, I was prepared.

First of all, if I had my way—I would live in jeans. Oh wait, I already do. 😀  You’ll never see a dress on me, and if you do, someone needs to ask if I’ve been drugged. Dresses are for those people who don’t run the risk of tripping, and can behave like a lady.

Well, I’m a lady.  I’m just not a lady.  I’m Rhonda. I’m a Duranie. I’m a mom. I’m also a klutz, and ‘graceful’ is not a word that has ever been used to describe me. I’m one of those people who will be in a crowded bar or restaurant, and will stop to map out the path I’m going to take to get from point A to point B before I even set foot out of my chair. The chair is safe. Typically I don’t quite fall out of chairs, so I tend to grab one, sit down, and not move. It’s just too dangerous to have me out and about. So, I really do think about where I’m going to go before I bother to get up. Heaven help me if someone comes out of nowhere and gets in my way. I’ll fall on my face, and that would be a scene from hell. So, there’s that. Hence, dresses are really not my friend.

Back to shopping.  We get to the store, go inside and I’m already groaning. Spaghetti straps as far as the eye can see, and stop it already with the strapless!

My daughter insists on bringing over all of these camisole tops that I can wear under things, and the thing she wants me to wear them under is some sort of sleeveless dress thing that is actually a jacket. Well, I try it on with the tops she brings, and I have two thoughts:

  1. Is it a dress? Is it a jacket? Who in the hell wears this kind of thing…and why does it make me look like I just gained back the 30 pounds I lost?!?
  2. Why do clothing manufactures assume that all females are built without a figure??? I am not a rectangle, thank you. Oh, and BTW, if you’re going to make camisoles in sizes above say – a six – you might consider that some of us have boobs.  That’s right, I said it. Again, thank you.

I say as much to my daughter, who responds with a patient, yet slightly annoyed, “Mother, the jacket is EDGY. Don’t try to button it, and just wear it with a camisole.” I complain about the fact that I actually insist on wearing the proper undergarments to control my top half (no really…it’s a thing and y’all can thank me later), and that if some clothing manufacturer would just figure it out…women everywhere would appreciate it.  My apologies to those of you out there that don’t have to bother.

Wait, why am I apologizing???

Back to the clothing expedition…. I decide that although I would sincerely love to be “edgy”, that ship has sailed. Anybody who has met me or knows me that I’m the opposite. I’m not quite “grandma in the kitchen making cookies”, but I’m really more of the “martinis in the afternoon while Skyping with Amanda” sort.  There’s no changing that, and although I still have envy over those who can wear the smokey eyeliner, chokers, leather, and Doc Martins, I’ve settled into who I am. Kind of. It’s sort of an admitted annoyance, really.

Here’s the thing, I envy people who can stand in the audience, wear something as similar as a jacket over a tee and look like a million bucks. I know someone who wore a vegan leather jacket to a show last summer, and never ONCE did she look sweaty. She looked calm, cool, collected. Amazing, basically. Why can’t I do that??

I’ll tell you why.  I have zero fashion sense or even the confidence to pull off shit like that.

After some wrestling in and out of camisole tops that could have been perfect torture devices under the right circumstances (none of which included the hot, harsh lights of the dressing room), I come out of the store with some really cool buckled creepers (shoes) with peek-a-boo sides (they’re as cool as I can pull off), a faux-suede moto-jacket (Look Amanda, I bought vegan!!!), and several cami-tops that are truly miles too big on me in some ways, but they fit in others (I’ll be sewing this weekend). The thing is, my daughter is very good at sales. Like, too good, because as I looked at my closet this morning, I realized I have nowhere to wear most of this stuff.

I’m gonna need to go to some more shows, I guess. 😉

-R