I Love Rock N' Roll

Last week Erin, a co-worker, invited me to a Legwarmer's concert at the State Theatre. The Legwarmers are an 80's cover band and are so popular they not only perform once a month but to a packed house. I wasn't sure if people would dress up so I went 80's neutral; slightly ripped jeans and layered tops with tiny holes in the outer layer. Standing in line I immediately regretted my decision. I should have worn my Flashdance outfit. Fans were dressed in Flash Gordon, Star Wars and Ramones t-shirts, while others were dressed like Madonna or Van Halen. It was amazing. If only Joshie could have been with me; he would have been in heaven.

Standing in the lobby I managed to get some photos of the other fans. This couple was so rad! They posed for the photo and they didn't even know each other.
Meet the "Prom Queen." Although her outfit was totally cool I couldn't imagine dancing in heels from 10pm to 2am, which is what we did. It was so amazing! Everyone was dancing and it didn't matter who you were dancing with because people were either too drunk to notice or too busy dancing themselves.

Although I started the evening dancing with Erin and her friends on the main dance floor by the fourth song I was up in the balcony dancing solo. Not only was the balcony cooler but I could actually see the band perform, which is something I was unable to do standing at 5'3". Being short sucks. I wasn't dancing long before a group decided to join me.

Frances and Andy were on my right, dancing like crazy while J.P. Bonet in the photo below was on my left. Andy and I mimicked the back-up dancers' moves and totally got out of control during 99 Red Balloons.
Frances and I bonded when she told me she loved my hair. I returned the compliment and the rest of the evening we were dancing machines! Frances also introduced me to JP in the white shirt, who is a BYU alum like me. He served his mission in Japan and can speak fluent Japanese and some Arabic. Needless to say, I was impressed. My favorite part of the evening was acting out Pat Benetar's I Love Rock n' Roll with John. He totally played along.
The photo below was taken at 2am after four hours of non-stop dancing. Although we were sweaty and tired I couldn't resist capturing the memory.
Erin and I had so much fun we are already talking about going to another show. I just wish the Legwarmers traveled because this would be the best bachelor party my brother could ever have.

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A little slice of heaven?

Between my trailer and the garage next door, where our irrigation ditch runs, I've found a little patch of earth where I can be outside, get some wireless and lay in the sun while I work. Generally speaking, I pull the futon outside, drape it with my patchwork blanket of old jeans and I have all these great little pockets to keep things in! The dogs can play in the ditch or lay in their kennel. And I have to tell you, on hot, dry days like these I don't mind the humor you see in this passage.

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Shark Week!

In just about a month my favorite, favorite week on TV begins. And I saw the promo for this summers. And it's hot. But allow me to share one from last summer.

Mmmmm. Shark.

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Although I have already posted these photos on Facebook I thought I would blog about the game Justin, a friend from work, and I went to last night. I have been looking forward to seeing the Nats play the Tigers for weeks. Normally watching the Tigers play would not excite me but they were in the World Series last year and have a good shot at returning this year.
Justin won the tickets in our office raffle. The seats belong to a man at Dewberry and we were grateful to L.R. for giving up his seats for the evening so we could sit just to the left of home plate as the photo above demonstrates.

Screech, the Nats mascot, was often in and out of our section. I snapped this photo during the first inning. He returned at least three times after that. I even got my photo taken with Washington's famous bird.

During lunch Justin, in preparation for the game, purchased two pounds of salted peanuts. Fate was on our side because I was able to sneak in not only this huge bag of peanuts but two cans of Coke. I know the security guard saw the peanuts but she just waved me through. I was astounded! I will never drink Pepsi at a Nats game again. Yuck!

Meet Andy and Jim; a father and son duo who are die-hard Nats fans or baseball fans at least. Jim and Andy owned the seats they were sitting in last night when the Nats were the Senators. That was from '61 to the late '70's. They purchased season tickets, choosing the same seats, when the Nats began playing at RFK again two years ago. They were so cute I couldn't resist talking to them. I told them I was going to write about them and they both agreed that was fine.

Grabbing the camera, Justin decided it was my turn. Justin teased me all night by knocking my sandals off my feet, pretending he was angry and threatening to leave me, and then taking photos of me, like this one. Despite his unacceptable behavior I had a nice time. Good music, good food, we ate at Celebrity Deli before the game (oh my gosh!) and good seats! I need to marry a man with season tickets. Enough said.

The Nats were down 9-2 until the ninth when they scored five runs. It was a terrific inning. Here's a shot when the bases were loaded. This may have been taken in the eighth, though. Anyway, the Nats lost by one run, much to our dismay. However, we stuck it out to the end and had a great time battling the crowds to the parking lot and out to 395 where I was reminded, looking at the monuments, of how much I missed living in DC. Perhaps one day it will be my home again. For now, I'll settle for Virginia.

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World Traveler

In addition to being a ladies man, my Dad is a world traveler. He claims he's done so much traveling he prefers to stay home. Although he hails from a small West Virginia coal mining town, my Dad has journeyed to Turkey, Greece, Palau, Guam, Truk, Chuuk, and the Isle of Capri. Most international travel was a result of his service in the Navy. Stationed on the USS Independence my Dad spent four years in the service. Following his four-year stint he became a reservist in the Seabees. The Seabees are one of the toughest units in the armed forces. Their motto is, "we build, we fight, we serve." I always admired that. They are the engineers, electricians, architects, etc. out there with a hammer in one hand and a weapon in the other. John Wayne starred in a movie about the Seabees once. I think everyone should see it at least once. That and the Quiet Man. John Wayne has never looked so good.
Although he never saw action my father served during the Vietnam War. In fact, most of the males on my father's side of the family have served in the armed forces. My Uncle Jimmy served three tours in Vietnam, my Uncle Clyde was in the Marines and my Grandpa Kidd was a cook in the Army.

Keeping with tradition my father was a typical sailor; he drank, smoked, partied, boxed and wrote letters home to his parents and girlfriends. I love both of these photos. I wish the latter weren't bent but you can still see that signature feature most of the Kidd's have; the nose. It's not a bad nose but it's such a consistent characteristic in our family that it makes me smile.
The first photo shows off my Dad's ears. He thinks they were big but I think it's cute and often are attracted to men with large ears. It gives them a sense of vulnerability and imperfection that I find comforting. He also looks a little lonely and uncertain in the photo. You almost want to put your arms around him and say, "Hang in there. Life will probably not turn out the way you want it to but you will marry a beautiful woman, who will turn out to be a pain in the choo-choo train, have a great career, and have two terrific children who will love you forever. At times your life will be challenging but you will have a lot of good memories to reflect upon in your latter years." Sometimes, I look at this photo of my Dad with his hat in hand and it seems as if the image reflects the way I often feel; especially at this time in life when the future is so uncertain and I have no idea if I am making the right choices or if I should be doing something or living somewhere completely different. I only hope one day, after I have traveled the world, I can look back on my life and feel like I have accomplished much of what he has achieved, i.e. raise great children, have a great career and be comfortable in my own skin. Thanks Dad being a man who tries to keep it real.

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Ladies Man?

This evening Steph and I were having a conversation about my plans to post this photo of my Dad. Although my Mom always claimed my Dad was anything but a ladies man I believe this photo and the fact that his ex-girlfriends from over thirty years ago still call him is evidence to the contrary.
I will never forget the time that Josh informed my saint Grandma that my Dad had premarital sex with women before he married Mom. Years later, we discovered Grandma had physical proof of this long before Josh tried to shock her.
Although he's been out of the dating scene for awhile, or at least that's what he allows us to believe, Dad is still in the game, according to Steph. Her argument is based on a conversation I repeated to her that I had with my Dad a few evenings ago over the phone.
The conversation began with, "So this guy from SF emailed me today and wants me to meet him for a long weekend in NC at his parents' cabin on the lake. He's the same guy that's been writing me for over two years. The guy I met at the Inauguration. The one who is a West Point drop-out, water polo player and coach, world traveler, journalism major Jew. He's intelligent, thoughtful, and worldly in ways that I can only imagine--never experience. We are total opposites and yet there still seems to be an attraction, perhaps its more curiosity, there that keeps him coming back and prevents me from writing him off forever--which I am really good at and actually tried to do to him but he didn't let me.
Anyway, my father, after I explained the scenario to him simply asked, "Amber, what do you want?" I replied, "What do you mean, Dad? I want to see this guy again but I don't think we should be alone together and frankly, I don't know why he would invite me to his parents' cabin." To this my Dad responded, "Lucy, your Dad ain't trying to tell you your business but if you don't want to sleep with this guy then don't go. If you do go, you might get a phone call later from the guy thanking you for the memories." (My Dad burst into song on the last part).
And there you have it. My Dad admitting, verbally, that a man might want to have sex with his daughter.
It may sound odd to most people but I love that I can trust my Dad with things like this; that I can confide in him knowing he will give me sound counsel and his honest opinion. He always has. Regrettably, I have not always heeded his advice but I appreciate the wisdom he imparts nonetheless.
I don't know how many times he's listen to me cry over some man who's hurt my feelings or frustrated me so that tears are my only release. I often tease him that this is his penance for all the broken hearts he incurred as a bachelor. That through me he is able to see how his actions may have affected the women he dated and subsequently dumped. I'm sure my theory is incorrect but, being my mother's daughter, sometimes its hard to resist playing the guilt card.
A romantic, he wrote my mother poems during their courtship. My mother cut Love Is cartoons out of the paper and saved them with their letters in an album, which I keep today. He has never forgotten the women he dated and loved. He still sings, "Jean, Jean roses are red...," in remembrance of his girlfriend Jean who I met once when I was a kid.
Then there was Tina the Portuguese Catholic from New York who was his fiancee before Mom. Although Mom was a blonde, Dad swears he prefers women with raven hair. Joshie is the same. Dad used to tease Mom that Tina Turner was the object of his desire but I think he was really teasing her about Tina from New York. Mom would pretend like she didn't care but you could tell it irked her to think that Dad would ever compare her to another woman.
Dad is also the only man I have ever known who actually went on a blind date with a blind woman. It's a story he doesn't share often but it totally turned him off to the idea and he has not been on a blind date since.
I don't think I will ever understand men but the relationship I have with my Dad and brother give me hope that one day I will meet another man, one I am not related to, that I can confide in and respect the way I do my Dad. So here's to a ladies man in disguise, who's just waiting for the perfect moment to "break loose," and shock everyone by marrying a woman twenty years his junior who, thanks to breast implants, has bigger juggs than Pamela and legs even Tina Turner will be envious of. Love you Daddy.

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A Long Time Ago...

Reba Alberta Stratton and Jett Lee Kidd welcomed their first son into the world, Donny Lee Kidd. The year was 1948 and my grandma and grandpa lived in a little house in Mare's Creek hollar, in eastern Kentucky. Although they sent for the doctor, he did not arrive until after daddy was born. Dad believes a mid-wife was probably on hand to assist Grandma, because mid-wives were more common at that time.
Dad was the second of eight children, and the first of four sons. My Grandpa worked in the mines and like most miners, would farm or perform manual labor wherever he could on the side. When the mines closed or he was laid-off, Grandpa was forced to move, and as a result the family moved too. This is one reason my Dad was raised in West Virginia and not Kentucky.
Although I am not sure when this photo was taken, it is one of the few my Grandma has of my Dad, where he's younger than eighteen. I am not sure who took the photograph and why he is pointing the gun at the photographer. Sounds like something I would do, except...Oh wait. I don't like guns!
Seeing this photo reminds me of all the stories Dad loves to repeat of his childhood each time we go to Grandma's. It also reminds me of a hunting trip he went on when Josh and I were kids. I think that was the last time Dad ever hunted. I will spare you the details but in summary my Dad gave his doe to a family in our Branch because we refused to eat "Bambi."
The gun he used on the hunting trip, I believe, is the same gun that he still hides in various locations throughout the house. I'm not sure why but I'm always surprised when I find it tucked away in a closet corner. It's like I forget my gentle, easy-going Dad could ever consider using a weapon of death and destruction. Obviously this is not the case at all and my Dad probably appreciates guns more than I would like to admit. As the picture proves, this appreciation probably began oh, about the time or perhaps even before, this photo was taken.
The point is, there is so much more to my Dad than guns and hunting. This week as we countdown to Father's Day I am going to post a new photo each day in honor of my Daddy. Don't worry Dad. I'll try not to embarrass you. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy getting to know my Dad, a man many have already met, a little better. I love you Dad!

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Boo: Here they are!

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Night at the Movies

Every now and then I head out to the movies. Generally, now, it's to see an indie film because those are the ones I like. With the exception of Rocky 19, I haven't been in a "regular" theater since I moved here.

Last night was the perfect night for a movie. I realized that I missed walking places so I went to the middle of downtown, parked and walked to get some dessert at this pizza place I love. The cooks are hilarious and they seem to be open to banter with me. I had about two hours to kill before the movie and happily I had The Brothers K as a companion. All ye who have not read, read it.

After dessert, I walked slowly over to The Wilma for my movie. I'm seriously considering living in that building. Oh. Dogs. Right.

Have I told you about the nights here? How they are long and light and warm? And how I love to be out in them? Seriously, the summer nights are pretty much the whole reason I live in Missoula. Nothing beats them.

So, anyway, I was headed to see The Waitress. Trailer? Here.

It was a fantastic movie. RaeRae, don't see it. Everyone else, see it.

Every so often I find a movie that just goes right to my heart. They are random occurrences. Generally speaking, no one outside my head would be able to understand why they do what they do to me. This movie? It's one of those. It's nearly as powerful as my reaction to Crazy/Beautiful, which was a nutty reaction leading to a move across country.

T.W. is a funny, gut wrenching, gem of a movie and I think anyone could easily adore it.

Since it's rainy today I'm going to watch even more movies. It's the perfect day for that and I'm in a movie binge. Bring on the popcorn.

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Sailing on Solomon's

Since Karen announced plans for the Relief Society sailing trip I knew it was an activity I could not miss. Leaving Friday afternoon, Karen, Cubbie, Kristi, and Tess picked me up at my place on the way to Solomon's Island. Although I was not able to visit the Island which shares the name of my great-great grandpa King Solomon Stratton, yes that was his Christian name, I did see it from a distance and long for the opportunity to explore the shops and streets further.
Arriving a little later than planned, yet still before dark we were able to enjoy watching the sun set over the water; one of my favorite things to behold.

After we had unloaded all of our stuff, in addition to the food and games needed for the evening's activities, Kristi and I laid in the Mason's huge hammock and giggled about how silly we looked. This was our view as we looked north into the sky. I am not sure why but I love this photo. The tree appears to be more black than its natural color and the darkness of the tree against the backdrop of a twilight sky is relaxing. I have always loved hammocks and vow to own one someday, where my husband and I will lie with our baby just like in the Estee Lauder Pleasures perfume commercials.

With over fifty women attending the activity, we had to begin sailing early Saturday morning. I suggested to Brother Mason we begin sailing at sunrise and volunteered to go with the first group of the day. Brother Mason rejected the sunrise idea but agreed to start as early as seven. This photo of the Liahona was taken shortly after we arrived Friday evening.

The next morning, as promised Brother Mason, prepared the vessel and by seven thirty we were off. The weather was perfect! The wind was strong and the sail hoisted with ease. I snapped this photo as the sail was going up. Isn't it beautiful?

Every crew must have a captain and this was ours; Brother Mason. Captain Mason began the trip by teasing me about the sunrise sail and ordered me to sit next to him in the rear. Knowing about my pirate ancestry, I think he wanted to keep a close eye on me. I was surprised that he did not even flinch when I slipped with a curse word. Instead, following my apology, he reminded me that pirates often curse but unlike me, they do not apologize for doing so. I really liked our Captain.

This is a photo of me without my makeup on, which does not happen often. However, being among women, I did not think makeup was necessary. As you can see, I did not bother fixing my hair either. Thus, it is tucked beneath my Twelve Oaks bbq hat, which everyone loved. Of course, they do. What woman does not want to be Scarlett at least once in her life? Annie teased that it was a friendly hat because it waved in the wind. It's true and this photo shows exactly the effect the wind has on the brim, which is ridiculously large but perfect for shielding your face and shoulders from the sun. Besides, all true pirates wear hats of some sort so it was only fitting that I wear a hat.

This is Ms. Natalie who's goal was to go sailing in a sailing outfit before her thirtieth birthday. We teased her that she looked like Cary Grant's love interest in How to Catch a Thief. Although it was intended as a compliment I am not sure she appreciated it. However, she looks terrific in her red scarf and navy striped top. Natalie, I might also add, is a customer of Manuel's.

Another customer of Manuel's is Heather. Heather is so awesome! In addition to joining us in the morning for sailing, she dressed the part and went paddle-boating with me later that day. She is a super intelligent attorney who is totally keeping it real. I had so much fun hanging out with her and will miss her when she moves to the Colonial First Ward.

Although I did not bother with hair and makeup all weekend I did come prepared by painting my toes. Like my mother, I alternate between three colors during the summer. In the past, I would usually try to paint my toes to match my bathing suits and I usually had three; a red one, a pink one and a coral one or one with coral in it. Now that I am poverty-stricken and can barely afford one bathing suit, let alone three, and since, until recently I did not have a lot of spare time to paint my toes often, I only have one shade of polish; red, the most important color anyway. Sahk Pal (not sure if I spelled that correctly) complimented me on my toes so I decided to snap a photo. My apologies to those who are turned off by feet.

Speaking of Sahk Pal, this is a photo of her and her friend Betsy, who is visiting Virginia for the summer. Originally from Arizona, Betsy and Sahk Pal met while studying abroad in London. Sahk Pal has traveled to thirty-five countries and currently is dating a hottie Brazilian. We had the best discussions about a variety of subjects; i.e. traveling, dating international men, nail polish, movies, celebrity men, kissing men, how lame men can be, dating in general, our careers, Cosmo and Elle magazine articles, education and men again. I will never understand why conversation among women usually drifts to the topic of men but inevitably it always happens.
Anyway, I had so much talking to them and hope we are able to hang out again soon.
The trip ended later that evening, when the last group returned from sailing. Although we left later than planned it was a fantastic weekend, with everything working out better than planned. Kudos to Karen, Debbie and their counselors for all their preparation and thanks to the Masons for having fifty young, single women in their home who were not bashful about taking advantage of their kayaks, paddle boats and water hose.

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Isla Update

Leslie sent me this photo of Baby Isla last week. I have been meaning to post it so Jacqueline, in addition to all of the TABGIB readers, could admire it. Happy six months baby girl. I miss our long walks already.

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Baltimore-The Inner Harbor

Since I have moved to the Washington area I have been longing to visit Baltimore and the inner harbor. Last night, I finally had the opportunity to experience what I had only heard about previously. Thank you Mike! Bless his heart. He drove from Silver Springs, Maryland to Fairfax, Virginia and then back to Baltimore. At the conclusion of the evening he drove me home only to return to his home in Silver Springs. The man is a saint.
One of the first things I learned about downtown Baltimore is, like DC, parking is severly limited. Mike and I circled downtown a few times before we found the perfect spot in a great neighborhood within easy walking distance to the pier.
The first ship I noticed was appropriately called, The Pride of Baltimore.

She was gorgeous. From the wheel to the anchor, which was quite large, she was a sight to behold. Her crew, I must admit, was not bad either. There's just something about men in khaki shorts, polo shirts, with perfectly bronzed skin that makes a girl like me smile and maybe stare a little longer than socially acceptable. But anyone who dares to point a finger in judgement is either blind or ignorant to some of the greatest sailing flicks of all time, i.e. White Squall. Jeff Bridges and Scott Wolf, I was sixteen when I saw it, in white docker shorts, barefoot, shirtless, tan, muscles straining and flexing as they pulled and tied ropes...Yeah. Enough said. The Pride of Baltimore's mast in the sunset. Simply beautiful.

One of the crew tying the sails down for the evening. I loved watching him navigate the ropes. He was either very talented or very experienced, probably both, because he performed this task effortlessly.

Starving, Mike and I decided to eat at a restaurant along the harbor. The weather was perfect. There was a gentle breeze and the humidity was rather mild. Unimpressed with J.Paul's we chose a strange place with an eclectic menu called The Big Kahuna. An odd mixture of Mexican and Hawaiian food I ordered a crab cake Po Boy while Mike tried their pasta. Both dishes were great and scoring a table outside we had a terrific view of the USS Constitution.
In addition to our view of the harbor we were able to watch a live calypso band perform. Following dinner we decided to join the crowd and watch the performance. It was so relaxing just sitting and listening to the music. Like my father, I am a people-watcher and loved observing the effect the music had on others.

After a song or two we wondered over to the Water Taxi and hopped aboard for an after dark tour of the harbor. Stopping at Fell's Point we decided to investigate the commercial district. Unfortunately all the shops had closed for the evening. However, the architecture is terrific and I enjoyed admiring the built environment and the changes some of Baltimore's older fabric has endured throughout the past two-hundred years.
Catching one of the last taxis back to the harbor, Mike and I decided Baltimore was definitely worthy of further investigation. Driving past Camden Yards on our way home I was impressed by how much pride the local Oriels instill in their citizens. Flags were displayed throughout the city in support of the team, something Washington should consider for their teams.
Although it took me thirty months to check it out, I can't wait for my next trip to Baltimore city.

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