Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Summer. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Childhood Summers

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a semi-tongue-in-cheek and rather snarky piece about hating summer ("Why a Woman of a Certain Age Hates Summer").  Though I am not going to take any of it back, I thought I should mitigate that view a bit by sharing another side of me that has some fond memories of summer.

Childhood.

Summer for a woman of a certain age is one thing, but I was also once a little girl and have some fond memories of summers past.




My birthday was in June and it was usually right when school ended, so my birthday heralded the beginning of summer for me, and though I liked school and was a good student, I liked having the summer off. I mean, who wouldn't? (Kind of like retirement except now I have an endless summer).

I am just back from my 50th High School Reunion and a family reunion which took me back to my hometown.  I will write more about that next week, but that trip back to Michigan also included a circle tour of Lake Michigan that included towns and sights that I saw over 60 years ago with my family.  I particularly remembered Charlevoix, Petoskey and Mackinac Island so seeing those places again after so many years brought back many happy memories.



This year I sat on the porch of the Grand Hotel and thought of that trip with my parents so many years ago.




My family didn't vacation very much - in fact I only remember three or four road trips that we ever took together - so those trips are vivid and happy summer memories from my childhood.




As a little girl, I was madly in love with horses. 

I subscribed to horse magazines and would spend hours thinking up really cool names for horses.  I read "Black Beauty" and all of the ponies of Chincoteague books by Marguerite Henry, reveled in movies like "National Velvet" and went horseback riding at the local horse rental place with my brother whenever I could.  I never made it past riding western and hanging on for dear life to the saddle pommel but my dream was to have a horse of my own one day. 



Alas, the closest I ever got was owning and driving a Mustang.






I grew up in a beach town and believe it or not never learned to swim.  I also had freckles and freakishly pale skin so I risked third degree burns every time I ventured to the beach.  But despite those shortcomings, I have many happy memories of beach outings.




My Dad always wore a hat and a tie - even at the beach!


When talking with my son who has young children and comparing notes about the differences in my, his and their childhoods, we get a laugh out of what was OK back in the day and frowned upon today.  For example, I had a worry wart of a mother but I ran all over the neighborhood during the summer and didn't come home until she rang a big bell and called out my name.  Likewise, everybody ate peanut butter and dogs roamed free. 

And remember sandboxes?

When I was young, there was always a sandbox in the park and almost all kids had sandboxes in their back yards. We never thought about cats soiling our play areas or whatever else modern parents worry about.  Sandboxes used to be a fun source of summer fun when you couldn't get to the real thing - the beach.  Having a sandbox was a thing.  Now not so much.




Like most towns of 80,000 people we had a robust Fourth of July Parade in our downtown and all kinds of summer celebrations.  


My recent trip back home was jarring when I discovered there was no longer a downtown (more on that next week), so seeing this picture was a happy reminder that we actually had one once.  My Dad played trumpet with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, even though he was not a veteran.  I guess they needed trumpet players. and here my sister was the flag bearer.  I always liked parades when I was little. Now not so much.



I guess the point of all of this is a bit of nostalgia.  I am back from my 50th High School Reunion after all.  Did you hear me?  I am back from my 50TH High School Reunion.  That means it's been 50 YEARS SINCE I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL!!!

So I am still in a bit of shock about that. But being back there in my old hometown in the middle of summer, my childhood summer memories returned and reminded me that I was once a young girl who enjoyed all that summer had to offer...and not a bitchy old lady writing snarky blog posts about hating summer.

I have decided to be grateful for every summer that I live through!



Enjoy the rest of your summer everyone!

Thanks for Reading!

 
See you Friday

for my review of


  
"Florence Foster Jenkins"
and 
  
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
  
and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before  
 I Die Project."

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer

  




Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Why A Woman of a Certain Age Hates Summer

I know that "hate" is a strong word, so let me just say that I have always had an uneasy relationship with summer.

It's not really summer per se that I hate, it's all of the baggage that summer connotes.  It's not just the bathing suit issue but it's shorts and picnics and reruns and sun.  Let me elaborate.

It started early.

Let's begin with the sun.

I grew up on Lake Michigan so you would think that I was a beach bunny.  NOT! I had (and still do) the palest skin you can imagine.  Just sticking my arm out the car window would result in third degree burns.  I was so pale that my brother called me Casper (for the Friendly Ghost).  Thanks, Bro.  So while other people are swanning about in bathing suits and sleeveless dresses and shorts, I was wearing long sleeves and trousers.  Add that to the fact that I am now a woman of a certain age, I don't want those upper arms flapping around anyway, so sleeveless tops are out.  And I hate to say this, but the sun doesn't match how I feel when I wake up in the morning, either, which is crabby.  I am not a morning person and seeing that old sun there every single morning just doesn't match my mood and makes me feel even crabbier.  I am more of a rainy day kind of gal.  But then if it rains too much, I bitch about that too.




Heat.

I don't like heat, and summer brings the heat.  I don't like to be sweaty and now that I am of a certain age, my idea of a fun summer is sitting in front of a fan.





Power mowers and power washers.

Summer invites people to get out into their yards and cut the lawn, weed wack, power wash, and hell, why not build a deck while you are at it?  Anything so you can make some noise, guys, right?  And why not do it at 8am when I am trying to continue my beauty sleep?  Or why not get out the old weed wacker after I have had a hard day of retirement, when I am ready to sit out on the deck with Hubby and enjoy Happy Hour?  Want to join me?



Just think of that sound going on for hours.  Welcome to my world.

But I shouldn't blame it entirely on summer or the sun.  We have one neighbor who power washes his vehicles IN THE RAIN!


Picnics, which are also a big part of summer, are another thing I came to loathe.

There were just too many of them. My mother was obsessed with picnics.  She must not have had a very exciting life because her idea of a good time was eating outside.  We even had a picnic table in the driveway.  We had one of those homes where the garage was in the back of the house, so to put the car in the garage, you would drive down a driveway next to the house to get to the garage.  Well, our picnic table sat on the driveway in the back.  Every sunny day in summer, we had to haul all of the food out to the picnic table and then haul it all back in again when we were finished.  And if that wasn't bad enough, every Sunday after church if the weather was nice, we would have to go to the lake for a picnic. More hauling.






My sister managed to get out of some of this by sitting in the car listening to the ball game on the radio.  I would have joined her, but I didn't like sports either. I would have rather stayed home and watched "Louisiana Hayride" on TV. Anything but this.



Speaking of watching TV.

Another thing I hated about summer was the TV reruns.

Of course, as a woman of a certain age, I grew up when there were only three TV channels. The networks started their new programming every fall.  Now as you know, I am a TV addict and that started very early. I could recite every TV program on all three channels starting at 7pm all the way up to the late night talk shows for every day of the week.  And I was only seven! Back then, there were only so many network shows and once they aired the new ones, in summer they showed them again. So by the time summer rolled around, I had already seen all of the TV shows I wanted to see, so I couldn't wait until fall when there would be new ones.

Now that I am a woman of a certain age and I can choose from 100's of channels, reruns are not a problem but summer programming is.  In summer, the networks cart out new shows to test whether or not they are worth bringing back in the fall and most of them are duds.



Sunday drives

Though as a little girl I was plagued with Sunday drives most of the year, they were even more frequent in summer.  My mother didn't drive so the Sunday drive was a big deal for her. Like I said, she must not have had a very exciting life.  My Dad would drive, she would be sitting next to him up front oohing and ah-ing over other people's houses, and I would be bored out of my mind in the backseat, not to mention being nauseous from the food I had just eaten at that picnic I just endured. 

Now as a woman of a certain, I don't mind going for a bit of a ride but I just can't find the time. I am retired after all.



You feel guilty if you don't go outside.

I'm not really an outside person.  I can appreciate the beauty of nature but I prefer seeing it from the car or out my window while I am watching TV.  But in summer, especially around here, where it rains 9 months out of the year, when the sun comes out (and that's usually only in summer), you are made to feel guilty if you don't hop off your butt and run outside to catch the rays.


So as a woman of a certain age, summers can be an annoyance...but then I start remembering some happy childhood summers and am reminded how quickly the time has passed and that I should be grateful that I am still here for another summer when so many people are now gone.





And I am.

Oh, geez, the guy across the street is power-washing again!


Thanks for reading!
  
See you Friday


for my review of

  
"Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie"
and 
  
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
  
and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before  
 I Die Project."
  

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer
  










Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Stay-Cation: My Summer in Concerts

Retirement has its perks, but there are also downsides.

Money.

Suddenly, there just isn't as much.

And we are a one-person-retirement household, meaning I am the only person who has retired.  Hubby still works.

So with those facts in mind, planning a major summer vacation can be a challenge.

Last year we went to Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, London and the English countryside to the tune of about $9000 (I know, but you aren't going to catch me backpacking and staying in hostels - didn't you see "Hostel?").



So this summer we stayed home.

And it has been a beautiful summer (and you know how I feel about summer as per my "overrated" blog post and "What's Good About the End of Summer" post).  It has been the most beautiful we moved here over ten years ago, and according to the natives, the most beautiful Seattle summer ever.  We have had blue skies and sun with temperatures in the high 70's and low 80's every day.  No humidity, just perfect weather.  It's been so perfect that I find myself waking up some days and thinking, "Geez, sun AGAIN!?"  (Check with me in November, though, when it gets dark at 4pm and the rain has started).

So staying home for the summer.  What to do?

Why, let's go to a few concerts, especially outdoor concerts.

So that's what we did.

Here is the "Rosy the Reviewer" run-down on my summer concerts:


May 30 - Lionel Richie (with Ceelo Green) at Key Arena


 
I know that May 30th is not exactly summer, but I had to include this concert.
 
Ceelo opened for Lionel and was accompanied by female guitarists in red mini dresses. Of course. He sang his hits including the "real" lyrics, and let's just say his biggest hit is NOT called "Forget You!"
 
 


When Lionel came out, he warned the crowd it was going to be all the hits, "all night long."  And it was!  He wore us out.  He reminded me of Sir Paul who, when we saw him last summer, at 71 played for three hours straight without a break.  You could tell he loves to perform.  He never left the stage.  Same with Lionel.  He is 68 and sang all of his hits all the way back to his Commodores days. 

In between songs he said “I have noticed something tonight. We have been together for a very long time. Think about it. When I was in love, you were in love. When I fell out of love, you fell out of love … You got old. I stayed young.” 

He added to that with a cute bit where he said to the audience:

“Your relationship is over. Words you thought you’d never hear are being said to you. ‘I never want to see you again.’ You’re out of your mind in confusion. You don’t know where to turn or what to do. Alcohol is not the answer. You’re completely out of your mind. You don’t know where to turn, so you turn and rush home. You pull out your album, CD, cassette, 8-track. And you call on Lionel Richie.”

That theme carried through - "You just met your true love...so you rush home, you pull out your album, CD, cassette, 8-track.  And you call on Lionel Richie."

And over and over for a few songs.  And he was right.  Lionel's music punctuated many love stories and break-ups.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I hate arena venues, so I don't go to Key Arena for just anyone, but Lionel was on my bucket list and he did not disappoint.
 


June 22 - The Yardbirds at The Triple Door

 

This sixties group is most famous for its early members (at various times), Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck and the song "For Your Love."

No, neither Eric, Jeff or Jimmy were there.  But two of the original members are still with the group: Jim McCarty on drums and Anthony "Top" Topham on guitar and at 71 and 67 respectively, they looked their age.  But the other members are young guys and the lead singer and guitarist Andy Mitchell was really good.

They performed in a nightclub setting (that included dinner) and by most standards, the set wasn't very long.  The senior citizens in the group needed a rest, I guess.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a nice blast from the past.




June 28 - Cher and Cindy Lauper at Key Arena



Cher needs no introduction.  At 68, she still looks fabulous and puts on a terrific spectacle of a show.

When she came out in full Cher regalia, she told the audience she was 68 and asked "What's your granny doing tonight?"

She sang many of her hits with lots of costume changes and dance numbers, all very Las Vegas.


  
And yes, she sang "Half Breed!"



At the end, she was suspended from the ceiling and "flew" all around the arena singing "I Hope You Find It," like the Madonna (the saint, not the singer) blessing her flock.

I have been a huge fan of Cher's ever since Sonny and Cher were on "Shindig!"  I wanted to BE Cher, though I looked like her complete opposite - light coloring and nowhere near as skinny.  I adored her clothes.  Those bell bottoms and fringed vests. Here is my Cher impression from back in the day.



I wasn't alone in my adoration.  At the concert, Andie McDowell just happened to be sitting nearby and, of course, I had to go over to say, "Hi."  I said, "I don't want to be that person..." to which her husband immediately replied, "But you are going to be, right?"  But she was very good-natured and was appreciative that I knew she was filming her new show "Cedar Cove." She even introduced me to her co-star who was also with her.  My feather earrings (homage to Cher) kept getting caught in my shirt, which was so embarrassing!



Rosy the Reviewer says...she has a one word name for a reason.  She's Cher!





June 29 - Steve Winwood at Chateau Ste. Michelle

 


Here is the deal with the Chateau. 

It's a winery with a lovely outdoor amphitheater.  In the summer, they have shows with performers running the gamut from Pink Martini to Crosby, Stills and Nash.  It's a gorgeous venue when the weather is nice.  Not so great if it rains. Shows go on rain or shine.

You can get reserved seats or you can buy General Admission seating which means you sit on the lawn.  We call those people "Lawn People."  The "Lawn People" start lining up in the morning for some sold-out shows that don't start until 7pm or 7:30pm.

We get the reserved seats because number one, even though the tickets are cheaper, no way am I waiting in line for hours to secure a good spot to see the show. Second, I don't do lawns.  I might not be able to get up especially after consuming the requisite portions of wine that you stock up on there at the winery before the show. 

And "Lawn People" do not necessarily sit on the lawn because the tickets are cheaper.  They actually LIKE it because they have their chairs (they can't be tall chairs), they have their blankets and tablecloths and food and some even bring little tables.  They have it down.

"Lawn People" waiting for the gates to open.

We on the other hand usually sign up for "The Social," a members and reservation only event that provides free VIP parking and food and wine.  Well, it's not free.  We pay for the privilege.  We have that down.

Chilling at "The Social."
 
So that's the drill at The Chateau and Steve Winwood was our first concert of the season.  Depending on the line-up, we usually get tickets for several shows.  This year was a record seven concerts.
 
Steve Winwood was a member of Traffic and Blind Faith, among other groups, and he can play multiple instruments - guitar, mandolin, keyboards, violin, etc.  Here he played a fantastic long version of Traffic's "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys." 
 
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...He is 68, still fit, multi-talented, and he rocked the venue.




July 16 - Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band at Chateau Ste. Michelle


 
Ringo's All Star Band consists of great musicians from other bands who come together to showcase Ringo.  The group varies from year to year, though this year was the same as last: Steve Lukather from Toto (he's my new Guitar Hero, but more on him later), Gregg Rolie from Santana, Todd Rundgren ("Hello, it's Me"), drummer Gregg Bisonette, and Richard Page from Mr. Mister.  Ringo sings his Beatles songs and the other members sing songs from their bands.  And let's just say that you can tell Ringo spent a lot of time behind his drum kit, because his stage presence is not the best.  His performance consists mostly of walking back and forth across the stage while he sings, but he wisely also showcases the other musicians and their hits.
 

Rosy the Reviewer says...this picture tells it all.  A rocking evening.  And, hey, it's Ringo - a Beatle!



July 17 - Replay America:  Naked Eyes, Martha Davis of the Motels, Patty Smyth of Scandal and The Go Go's with Belinda Carlisle at Chateau Ste. Michelle


Martha Davis from The Motels.


 


Patty Smyth from Scandal and Hubby being Hubby.



Naked Eyes, and I am up there with them!  "There's Always Something There To Remind Me!"

Rosy the Reviewer says...an 80's love fest.



July 23 - Joan Baez at Edmonds Center for the Arts


She came, she sang, she left.  Joan did her 90 minutes, but she was in great voice, and personable.  She has a reputation for being a bit grouchy sometimes, which is why we didn't get a very good picture despite being in the front row.  We were scared she would yell at us.

Rosy the Reviewer says...she has let her hair go white, and she herself admits she is singing a little lower these days, but you would never know she was 73.  She looks great and her voice is still beautiful.
 




August 3 - Toto and Michael McDonald at Tulalip Casino Amphitheater



Another outdoor venue, but not as nice as the Chateau.  However, Toto kicked rock and roll butt.  There's my guy, Steve Lukather, who has taken over some of the singing and the helm with Toto (he mostly played guitar before).  When I saw him with Ringo last year at The Chateau, I was up front and as he was leaving the stage, I mouthed "You're FAB-U-LOUS" to which he mouthed, "You're fabulous" back to me, or I think he did.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it. 

The headliner was Michael McDonald.  Unfortunately, after Toto's kickin' set where he had briefly joined them to sing "I'll Be Over You," he faltered when it was time for his set. He couldn't sing. It was terrible.  His voice was cracking all over the place.  People were leaving in droves. That's pretty bad for a guy who is so known for his voice that it's said that women wanted to make love to it.  His voice, not him. He even apologized for his voice.  Let's hope it was a temporary condition.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Toto will rock your world.  Michael McDonald, maybe not so much.






August 8 - Creetisvan at Starbucks - Madison Park

 

Hubby and his bandmate, Mike Tiano are Creetisvan.  Check them out.   They were joined by Ashley Brewer for a special performance.  She took time out of her busy schedule to join her Dad and Mike, er, Creetisvan for a Rush song, "Time Stand Still."


Rosy the Reviewer says...A must see in the Seattle area. 

*You can catch them tonight (September 17th) at the Celtic Bayou in Redmond 9pm.




August 9 - Jeff Beck and ZZ Top at Chateau Ste. Michelle


Beck is 70 years old and still a guitar god.


I didn't realize I was a ZZ Top fan. 


The fur guitar.

Rosy the Reviewer says...If the Chateau had a roof to blow off, it would have.  They ROCKED!



August 24 - Peter Frampton and his Guitar Circus featuring Buddy Guy with special guest, Don Felder



Everyone probably remembers Peter Frampton more as the pretty boy with the long blonde hair and the talk box.

His looks overshadowed his talent to a certain extent. He never got the props for his great guitar playing.


Now he's balding and wanting to be taken seriously. He is a great guitar player.  Buddy Guy is the veteran.  We were sitting next to a couple who had come all the way from Canada, not to see Frampton, but to see Buddy.



Don Felder is an ex-Eagle.  His rendition of "Hotel California" was a treat. He is also a nice tall handsome man, which I like.


Rosy the Reviewer says...Peter Frampton wants you to take him seriously, dammit.  And you will.




September 12- Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Chateau Ste. Michelle


When a person is 80 and still out there doing what he does, you can be forgiving.  But you know what?  We didn't need to be forgiving.  Frankie still has it.  His voice is clear with that distinctive sound, he sang all of the hits with some new songs thrown in and he remembered all of the lyrics.  What more could you ask?  None of the original Four Seasons were on hand.  He is backed by young guys, and I wish they had done more of the signature moves.  But it was Big Band all of the way. One wonders, though, why there was no mention of the death of Bob Crewe, who wrote so many of their hits.

Rosy the Reviewer says...we were dancing in the aisles remembering those early teen years, and I was trying to remember how to dance the Mashed Potato to "Sherry." 



September 14 - Crosby, Stills and Nash at Chateau Ste. Michelle


Crosby, Stills and Nash defined much of the 60's ethos with their songs of love and protest.  All have been through some hard times.  Crosby chronicled his struggles with drug addiction and the law in his autobiography, and he looked much better than in recent years.  Nash also wrote a tell-all that sums up the times. Stills' voice is not what it once was and he seemed a bit disoriented at times.  It was ironic that Nash and Crosby sang "Wooden Ships," when it used to be a Stills-Crosby duet since they both wrote it.  But Stills can still play the guitar.

I saw David Crosby when I was 17 and he was with The Byrds.  They played at a local roller rink.  David was dancing all around with the locals in his fringed poncho and hippie brimmed hat.  I also remember that night dancing with a fellow who said he was being sent to Vietnam the next day.  I knew what that meant.  I excused myself.


 
 
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...if they come your way, a concert not to be missed no matter what your age.


 
As I said the concert was wonderful, but we almost didn't get to see it.
 
I am very much a Type-A personality.  The good side of that kind of person is that we are very reliable.  We can be trusted to get the job done, as it were.  So for that reason, I am the keeper of the tickets.  I can honestly say I have never forgotten to bring the tickets.  And when I have them in my possession, I check and double check to be sure they are still there.  While at "The Social (which I explained earlier)," I swear the tickets were in my purse, but when it came time to take our seats, they were nowhere to be found.  I could not explain it. Hubby hiked back to the car to see if the tickets had fallen out of my purse.  But those who know me, know that I carry a ginormous purse. 


How can something fall out of that thing?  Hubby must have taken everything out of my purse and put it all back a million times before the full impact hit him.  The tickets were not there.

Once the realization hit, then blame began.  There has to be someone to blame, right?  I saw divorce in Hubby's eyes. I could hear my Mother's voice saying, "See?  That's what you get for making fun of "The Lawn People." 

As we mumbled and grumbled, still at "The Social," a couple sitting near us said, "Did you lose your tickets? We heard someone found some tickets in the parking lot.  The name was something like Browder or Brainer.  They took the tickets to the Will Call."

Hubby and I couldn't believe it.  Browder, Brainer?  How about Brewer?

We hightailed it over to the Will Call booth and sure enough, there were our tickets. Unbelievable. There really is good in the world.  That concert was sold out.  A "Lawn Person" could have upgraded to reserved seating.  But then, as I said, "Lawn People" like to be "Lawn People." 

But even as I write this, I still can't figure out how those tickets printed out at home on 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper could have fallen out of my purse.  I know I checked that they were there when we were eating and drinking.  I think a gremlin took the tickets from my purse when I was getting more wine.  My mother would certainly say, "See?  That's what you get!" for getting more wine.

But what a summer! 

We saw some incredible performances.  These performers are icons of the music business and their music reflected the times and punctuated the youth of Baby Boomers.  They are in their 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's now, but they are still rocking.  Their staying power and ability to still draw big crowds says something about their talent, their music and their relevance. Will Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande and Maroon 5 be around 40 years from now?

Rosy the Reviewer says...If any of these bands  I saw this summer perform in a venue near you, go.  They are not getting any younger. You may not get another chance.

 
Thanks for reading!
 

See you Friday for
 "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Pt 2"
and
The Week in Reviews
 
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, 
email it to your friends and
LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer.