My Night With Bruce

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Something amazing happened three nights ago. Bruce Springsteen gave me a little insight into his life and he played awesome music. Just for me. I suppose I was being nice when I let the other 900+ folks in. Regardless, he was only playing for me. He sang directly to me the entire night. I was floored. Obliterated. Inspired. Uplifted. Moved to tears. I wonder if everyone else in the audience knew he was only playing for me.

This was not a concert.

There was none of the singing along, clapping, and in general losing your mind that happens at a Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band show. This felt more like a little morsel of knowledge being shared.

I am not going to give you a play by play review of the show. I am not going to attempt to breakdown the format and what it all meant. I am not a music or theater critic. That’s not my job. I am just a fan.

Before the show a crowd was waiting behind the barriers outside the stage door. There were several security guys and an adorable dog keeping everyone where they should be. Mostly it was a lot of “stay on the sidewalk, please” and “behind the barrier.” They were nice guys. I was standing across the street because I did not see any point in standing at the back of the pack.

Finally a black Surburban pulls up to the curb and out comes Bruce. He walked over to the barrier and started signing autographs. He signed several and both sides before he went into the theater. I was a little disappointed because a car pulled in front of me and then a tall guy decided to stand between me and my favorite rock star EVER! I have it on video. The video is not all that interesting to anyone besides me, so of course I texted it to a couple of people and posted it on Facebook.

It was almost time to go into the venue when I suddenly had a very real fear that my ticket might not be good. I had bought it on a whim that morning on Stubhub. I have not actually bought very many tickets on Stubhub, but I had read a couple of reviews for this particular show saying they had invalid tickets. I was feeling a little nauseous at the thought of having driven almost six hours to NYC for nothing.

I know. I know I shouldn’t be rewarding people for selling their tickets at a jacked up price. It makes it harder for people to get to see their favorite band. I also know that sometimes if you want something in demand bad enough you can get it if you are willing to pay. I typically do not partake in this behavior. I try to get tickets to things through legitimate outlets. Sometimes that doesn’t work.

So, I walked up to the usher scanning tickets and held my breath. It was good. I nearly wept with relief and headed up the stairs to the mezzanine. I was on the left side, top row, aisle seat. How lucky was I?

I met my seat mates and started chatting with the usher handing out Playbills. He was a great usher, we had a really cool conversation. I wish I had asked for his number, he would be a great friend to have. Super nice guy. Funny and excited about so many of the things I get excited about. He is definitely my favorite kind of person.

While I was standing there, wearing a T-shirt with a skull on it, a woman came up and started asking me questions like I was working there too! The usher laughed about how they can never keep me in my uniform, and we started talking about how excited we were for the show. She had a seat down in the box she had just purchased. She invited me to come down if no one ended up sitting beside her when the show started. (Surprise! I got to sit there for the first 4 or 5 minutes of the show. Then, some guy showed up. I was only mildly dismayed. I trudged back up the stairs both disappointed and excited that I was so close.)I was probably less than 20 yards from Bruce during that time. It is likely a good thing I could not stay the whole time because it is a little hard to breathe when you are that close to your hero. 

The show was about 2 hours long and every song was played different than I have heard it before. Imagine if Bruce was on Storytellers back in the day, and then make it about a million times cooler than VH1 ever thought about being. Except I just Googled and it turns out Bruce did Storytellers in 2005. This was better, I assure you. I wasn’t there in 2005, so Bruce would have held back just a smidge. I feel pretty confident he saves a little something just for me. 

I openly wept when he played “Tenth Avenue Freeze-out” and spoke of how much he loved and missed Clarence Clemons. I felt like I was being reminded to remember certain people and the impact they made on my life. I was reminded to be grateful.

He spoke about the Vietnam War. He shared stories about his parents and his feelings about the state of our nation today. He told us about being a kid in Catholic school. Throughout the night I heard a lot of stories and songs like “Dancing in the Dark” became much deeper and more important than I had ever given them credit for. I was listening to words and applying them to my life as more than a dude asking some girl for a dance.

Perhaps the anthems of my childhood will continue to evolve and grow as I mature and gain more perspective.

By the end of the night I was essentially speechless. I had run the gamut of emotions ranging from excited, nervous, thrilled, sad, wistful, happy, lonely, fulfilled, the list can keep going on. I could have sat there for another several hours if he could have just kept telling me about these songs.

I loved Bruce when I saw him in 2016 in Albany on The River tour. The crowd was electric and everyone was just as excited as I was to be seeing him.

This show was different. The crowd was excited but this felt more serious. It was almost as if he had something important we all needed to learn. The small theater was calm and receptive to the experience. I know I was just content to just listen and go along with my emotions through the whole thing.

In the end I was inspired. I felt the need to be a better person. I realized I want to work harder and reach my full potential in every area of my life. I want to use every skill I have to make a positive impact on the world. They may have just been one man’s songs and stories, but his words made me think.

I hope he knows there are people out there who appreciate his art, and I am grateful he chose to share it with me. (Remember, it was just me at that show if you ignore the fact there were over 900 other people there.) I am a true music lover. I just have zero musical talent. None. Nada. Zilch.

I know I will never get the chance to hang out with Bruce Springsteen, this is probably as close as I will ever get. It was worth the drive. It was worth the money. It was a night I will never forget.

Cryer McCryerson and RBF

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I took this photo while I was flying into Chicago to visit friends. I love seeing skyscrapers as I fly into a large city. They remind me of how many people have worked hard to reach for the sky and managed to create something interesting.

My friends and family have some dirt on me. I am a weeping, sobbing cryer. I cry when I am happy. I cry when I am angry, nervous, excited, sad, or even sometimes when I am hungry or thirsty and have no idea why I am feeling discombobulated. I cry if I have overindulged in beverages of the alcoholic variety. I also cry when I am inspired.

Movies, music, books, theater, sporting events, national anthems, TV shows, weddings, graduations… the list can go on forever. I cried tonight watching old episodes of MasterChef Junior. I cried when Steve left for college on Blue’s Clues. I cried really hard at that one, my family was trapped staring at me and wondering what on earth I was so upset about. I still get choked up when I think about it. I just about lose my mind when I am watching Broadway shows because I am just so excited for all those actors who have MADE IT! I cry when I listen to live music because I feel like the artist is showing me some secret part of themselves and I am humbled by their ability to open up to me.

When I was a brand new nurse I cried at least part of time at least once a week. I have stopped crying at work, but I rely on the catharsis of crying other times as a way to relieve the stress.

I am not necessarily ashamed of my crying ways, but I never seem to have a tissue when I need one. I am also not one of those cute cryers that inspires men to hand me their pocket square to dab my eyes. Wait, maybe I just don’t know enough men who use pocket squares. Can we bring that back? I think it’s kinda sexy. 

As a girl who is frequently accused of looking pissed off or of having RBF, I used to be offended by people asking me what is wrong all the time. Then, I saw a photo of myself in paradise with a truly annoyed appearance on my face. I looked disgusted. I shared it on Facebook and entirely too many people shared how well they knew the expression. I guess I should not have been so surprised.

I think part of the confusion comes from my constant wondering what people are doing and why they are doing it. I want to know what they are thinking. I want to hear a story. I may be trying to come up with a story on my own. People baffle me. I just want to know more. I still feel like Johnny 5 and I just want more input.

So, what makes you cry? Can it be a hobby? I think it may be one of mine. Do you constantly get accused of being angry when you are simply working something out in your head? What things about you cause people to misunderstand you?

Miss Independent

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A couple of years ago I wrote a blog in defense of my new lifestyle. I talked about love, working, and my need for space and independence. I cannot believe it has already been two years.

I am still roaming around as a wondering wanderer. Or is it a wandering wonderer? Either way I continue to seek adventure in every area of my life. My curiosity remains piqued and I am loving the opportunities I find for learning and experiencing new things.

I had some mishaps in the whole love department and I have taken a hiatus from my online experimentation. I just want to focus on my career, family, and friends for a while. Well, that is not entirely true. I did make plans with the infamous Tinderbabe for my birthday weekend. U2 and Hamilton in NYC! I am so excited and thrilled to share this with him.

I have no plans to spend the rest of my life in a shell, I am just not actively pursuing dating at the moment. Maybe later. We’ll see what happens when I am in an area a little less remote. I still do not believe in Prince Charming, and I am still not looking for some hero to sweep me off my feet and domesticate me. I like being a heathen.

I have made the decision to pursue my DNP (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) and I am geeking out at the thought of working hard to achieve a new goal. I was working on some education modules we have to do and I cannot wait to be a student again. I suppose I thrive on the stress. Maybe I just enjoy getting feedback on the work I perform. It is nice to have life divided up into semesters; a beginning and an end with concrete goals and deadlines. It helps break up the monotony. Besides, I want to be better at what I do. I want to learn how to give back and promote professionalism of my chosen career. I want to be an advocate. I am nervous and a little intimidated by the thought of continuing my education, but it seems to be the best route for me to take at this point in my life.

I am still working as a locum. It continues to be challenging and for the most part I enjoy my work. The process is a bit of a hassle, but it is nice knowing it is all temporary. I don’t have to stay in a situation where I feel trapped in a rut of my own boredom. I guess my independence is still a priority.

Midway to Secure

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Anyone who travels as much as I do knows the drill to get through security quickly. Laptop and IPad out of bag. Baggie of liquids out of the bag. Snacks out of the bag. Shoes off. Jacket and hat off. Put everything in about 30 bins and walk into the scanner of shame.

Hopefully they don’t pull your bag out to leaf through the 12 books I decided I could not live without.

Then, this morning at Midway in Chicago I was flummoxed.

Shoes stay on. Nothing comes out of the bags. Remove your jacket and cram it all in one bin. Walk through the metal detector.

It all felt too easy. Is this a trap? And why the hell was I not allowed to pet the TSA dog sniffing everyone’s butt? This is unfair. He needed some pats. He was a good boy.

While the rest of the airports in the country are becoming more and more ridiculous about screening bags, this felt cursory and honestly just fine by me.

I would like to point out my disappointment when I find the slip tucked into my luggage that they searched it, and neglected to fold and organize the bag as well as it should be if I were a conscientious packer. Apparently TSA dudes are no better at folding than I am.

I’m not complaining; I just suppose it’s okay to be midway to secure if you are flying out of The Windy City.

Home Away from Home

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We all know I am not the Better Homes and Gardens type of girl. I found a pot of dirt on my dresser one time. It took me forever to figure out it had at one point been a plant who died a horrible death.

I spend at least 200 nights a year in hotels and on the road for my various travels. Despite the lame attempts by these chains to make these rooms comfortable for weary business travelers, they are nothing like a home.

Lucky for me I have some friends who excel at making a home wherever they happen to be at that moment. It’s a gift and I really enjoy being on the receiving end of this gift.

Let me tell you a bit about my friend. Her name is Lori and we have had some amazing adventures together. She invited me to come visit her in Oahu and I have to say it is one of my favorite vacations ever!

First of all, Lori is one of those people who likes to plan and worry over the details. I used to be like that, but it got old. Now, I like to just see what falls into my lap. When I am smart, I go visit people who like to plan and worry about whether or not I am having a good time. Score! Best of both worlds! Just kidding. Kinda.

Lori has this charming little house on Oahu. Every time I turned around she was doing something else to make sure I was comfortable or had whatever I needed. She always adds cute little touches like twinkle lights or cute curtains to her space. I never think about any of that stuff. I am usually just proud of myself when I keep my clean and dirty clothes separated while I am traveling. I have learned methods to do exactly this… it comes from a deep seated hatred of packing. Lori introduced me to all of her island friends. They all welcomed me and went out of their way to make sure I had a good time. Who does that? Nice people! Fun people! Generous people! Lori’s friends!!!! 

I will be forever grateful to the gentleman who brought me a kayak, not once, but TWICE! The patience and supportive way he encouraged me was so beneficial. Now, Lori was the one who walked back and forth just off the shore line holding the craft steady so I wouldn’t tumble out for the 907th time. (Imagine a parent teaching a child to ride a bike without training wheels. Now imagine that child is a very large, intimidated middle aged woman.) After about an hour I could finally paddle a little on my own without flipping over. They watched my shit show for an hour! They never grew exasperated and told me to just give it up. They waited me out. It was awesome!

Lori also obsessed over my application (or perhaps in her opinion, my mis-application) of sunblock. For the first time in my life I went on vacation and did not end up with an illness inducing sunburn. Is there a lesson here? Yes! You should absolutely vacation with someone who is going to reapply your sunblock even after you feel like you probably did a fairly adequate job. Trust me, you need this person in your life. 

Lori and I have a lot of the same tastes in music and this is always helpful when you are spending long days and nights with each other. She is also the best Jazzfest partner. Back off! I am not sharing her. 

Lori cooks and she eats incredibly healthy. So, even if I had a few alcoholic beverages, and even if I found a bar that served a bottomless glass of Day Owl, I lost weight on vacation! I never hear anyone say that.

My favorite part of my island adventure? I got to catch up with a woman who has made a big impact on my life. She has reinforced my self-confidence and reliance. She has reminded me of the importance of taking a step back and reevaluating my plans and goals. She is a good example of fiscal responsibility and I appreciate how hard she works to make smart choices.

I struggled for years to make and keep female friends. I did not believe that active, beautiful, smart, successful women wanted to be my friend. I hid from them. I was abrasive and standoffish. I decided I did not like them long before they could decide they did not like me.

Now? I am surrounded by smart, amazing, inspiring, beautiful women all the time. I go on adventures with them. I send them stupid text messages to try to make them laugh. I can call them to cry over the latest episode of This is Us. We are all so different. We came from different backgrounds. We have different political or religious points of view. Some are married. Some are divorced. Some have never been married, and don’t particularly care to be. Some have kids. Some have A LOT of kids. (kidding). Some do not want children. We have different levels of education and different careers.

When I find myself wondering who I am and who I am going to be, all I have to do is think about the women in my life. I get to be  loved and love them with all of my heart. They open their homes to me with shockingly little notice when I realize I have a couple of days free to come crash with them. I love that they give me a home when I am so far from home. I hope I get to keep collecting their spare bedrooms and couches for many years to come. I want to see who we all turn out to be.