Sunday, June 22, 2014

Our Town.

Dear Redding,

Thanks for a fantastic evening.  The Bandaloop group doing vertical dancing on the Sundail Bridge last night was pretty fantastic.  It was so cool, I kept my 5-year old out until 10pm.  That never happens.  NEVER.  And after our day of tear-filled hissy fits today, I am again reminded why we have a 7pm bedtime around here.  Anyway, thanks for bringing Bandaloop to town.  We loved them. 

And while we're at it, thanks for being a pretty cool place to live.  I know you've gotten a bad rap lately.  That "list" you were on a few months ago claiming that you are "Miserable" was a hard hit.  I'm not going to argue that you're perfect, but Miserable seems like a pretty extreme label.  Shake it off, Redding.  Move on.  There are always going to be haters. 

Truth be told, there was a time in my life when I cursed you.  If you go into my closet at the house I lived in during high school, you will find a heart sticker that is personalized with the inscription, "I hate Redding."  Teen angst.  I'm sorry.  I hope you can forgive me.  Because you're not all bad. 

I met my husband here, my parents and in-laws (aka free babysitters) live here, and somehow, this once-hated, small-ish town has evolved into MY town.  That I actually kind of like. I love snow on the foothills in the winter.  I love that it's pretty much always hot enough to swim (without goose bumps) in the summer.  I love your quirky side, like the Asphalt Cowboys.  I love your serious side, like the spectacular Northern CA Veterans Cemetery. I appreciate your parks that are pretty much everywhere so that I can take my kids to a new one each week and stay busy for months.  I like the fact that we wave to our neighbors around here, and that the best steak in town is at a seedy, dive of a restaurant that once housed a brothel.  Thanks for Lema Ranch walking trails, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Farmer's Markets, the Deistlehorst Bridge the Sacramento River, the Cascade Theater and a 15-minute commute to work.  You've been developing into a fine little city.  Don't listen to those nay-sayers. 

I enjoy the debate between the old timers that think you're getting too big, and the big-city transplants that think you're too small.  Don't be afraid of this debate because it's all about YOU.  And nobody would be working so hard on either side of that fence if they didn't really care about you.  Just know that we've all got your best interests at heart.  Our ideas might be different about how, when or where to grow.  But ultimately everyone just wants a great Redding.  Or at least that's what I choose to believe.  Because I'm a Joy-finder.  It's what I do.  And you, my friend, have gone unnoticed for far too long.  Hats off to you, Redding!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

How Sweet it is...

I love music.  And I really love live music.  But there are precious few artists that I will pay big bucks to see these days.  My hard-rocking, concert-groupie days are long past and now I mostly look forward to lesser-known artists (or ones that are no longer packing huge stadiums for their concerts) performing at our small, local theater. 

Every once in a while an artist will go on tour that sparks my interest.  I forget how painful it is to shell out over $100 for 2 hours of entertainment.  I forget the hassle of fighting traffic to the concert and sitting in the parking lot for an hour after the show waiting to escape.  I forget about the drunkards that sing too loudly and the fact that I just don't "do" midnight anymore.  I loose sight of all of that and purchase an obscenely overpriced ticket anyway.  Because it's fun.  And I do love live music. 

This week our music adventure was James Taylor.  He was playing at the Concord Pavillion which is a good three-hour drive from our house.  So it wasn't just an evening at the concert.  It was a mini-adventure with all the logistical maneuvering typical of a 24-hour reprieve from work and parenthood.  There was vacation time to arrange, school pick-ups to coordinate, overnight accommodations for kids to plan, suitcases to pack, and dog detail to figure out. 

You might be amused that James Taylor was our big-name concert adventure.  Admittedly, we probably aren't his typical fans.  We weren't even alive in the late 1960's when he was getting his start.  But hubby and I both love him and were super excited to see this show....particularly because my brother hooked us up with prime, 6th row center seats. Sixth row is cool for just about any show, but in a venue that seats 12,000....row six is pretty freaking awesome. 

James put on a great show.  Even though he's been singing and touring for 40+ years, he still sounds great and seems to genuinely enjoy performing.  During the intermission, he didn't hide backstage drinking a beer.  He was sitting on the front of the stage signing autographs, shaking hands and taking pictures with the fans.  The crowd was definitely grey-hair-heavy, but they still rocked, danced, screamed and rushed the stage toward the end of the show with their cell phones in hand to capture a quick close-up photo.

The show was awesome and the company (my hubby, sister-in-law and 20-year old niece) was pretty great too.  We joked a lot about the average age of the group and made bets on how many people (if any) we would find that would be younger than us (turns out...very, very few).  Our niece was a good sport and only made one snide comment about 40-year old people being "old".  And we bought that sassy young whipper-snapper a vegetarian, gluten-free breakfast the next morning anyway. 

Just trying to shower our people with love, as James would say.