Allison's Book Bag

Posts Tagged ‘Saturday Snapshot meme

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos.This past month, I had the pleasure of my parents coming to visit me for the first time since my wedding. As an added perk, they got to stay with my husband and I in our new house. In addition, although they had met our dog before, all our cats were new to them. My parents visited for eleven days.

The first weekend was a lazy one. They were tired from their trip; we were tired from a month of packing, moving, and unpacking. We did take then shopping for food for their stay and for our pets. As part of the latter, we took them to a pet store and they saw their first ferret. My step-mom even held one! We also took them to a service at my church and to a local book store. Ironically, I was the one who ended up buying a book. Otherwise, most of the rest of the first weekend, we took naps and played games. My parents got to see the Crokinole board that they had bought for us a few years ago, because Crokinole was a favorite game of my childhood.

Then there were a few rainy days. Limited in the places we could go, we visited my workplace. My boss got to meet my parents AND three of our pets. We also showed my parents the main branch of our library. My dad and I both found books to read! And we introduced them to more stores. At one of them, we bought fixings for a cheese and cracker night. When one can’t go out, it’s great to do stuff indoors. We invited former neighbors over to play board games. They gave us a housewarming gift. We also visited my mother-in-law to play games and our parents met my in-laws energetic puppy.

Once the sunshine returned, the outdoor adventures could begin. One day we took my parents to see the local university, which is also where Andy works. They also attended a dog agility class with us and got to see Barnaby perform. Another day we took my parents to our local wildlife safari park AND to an outlet mall. We were exhausted that day! But we also had lots of photos, clothes, and memories. A third day we took my parents to a local city garden AND to a local children’s zoo. At the latter, they got to ride a train around the zoo. A bird in the aviary fancied my step-mom and sat in her lap. In the evening, we had more friends over to play games.

All too soon, it was the weekend before my parents had to leave. On Saturday, we visited our local Farmers’ Market and a souvenir shop. On the drive back, we stop to pick up ingredients for a meal that my step-mom wants to prepare for us. That same day, we attended an outdoor celebration at my church, went for a walk around the neighborhood, and watched a movie. On our walk, we met children who wanted to pet our dog and cats. During the movie, our pets all snuggled close and coaxed for food. On Sunday, we attended a service at the church where I work. Then in the afternoon, we toured our local no-kill cat shelter and asked many questions. Wrapping up the evening, my in-laws visited and we played more games.

On our last day together, we play games, walked around a park, and tried not to think off what lay ahead. The visit was a memorable one. After my parents left, our lives and house felt empty and quiet. But we’ve already made plans to visit them next summer!

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. Welcome to my third post about favorite concerts I’ve attended! In the middle of my terribly long fall, my husband surprised me with an early Christmas gift. He bought VIP tickets to an Ingrid Michaelson concert.

As has been the case with most of my favorite pop singers, Andy is the one who introduced me to Ingrid Michaelson. Back when I was working on my young adult novel, he’d occasionally send me links to songs that he thought might serve as playlists. One of those songs was Ghost by Ingrid Michaelson. The song is about failed relationships and how they make us feel. While my novel wasn’t about failed romances, my main character had spent her life being disappointed by herself and others, and so the song felt appropriate. Other Michaelson songs that Andy sent me were about accepting oneself, a message that not only fit my main character but also strongly resonated with me. So I became a fan.

In the case of the previous concerts I shared with you, that of Katy Perry and of P!NK, Andy and I made plans together for going to see them. With the Ingrid Michaelson, he made all the arrangements. This included buying the VIP package, consisting of a a tote bag, poster, and VIP pass. He also decided how early we’d leave for the concert.

On October 15, we headed out of town, lots of questions in our head. As with any VIP event, we didn’t really know how early to line up. When we arrived at the venue at 5:00, or a couple of hours ahead of when doors would open, there were only about a couple of dozen fans waiting outside. Even so, we were happy for security to an hour later divide the lines according to type of ticket, and for us to move up to second in our line.

In addition, because this concert was being at a building unfamiliar to us, we didn’t know what to expect once we got inside. When VIP ticket holders were let in about fifteen minutes early, we were allowed to pick up our VIP package, buy merchandise, and find a spot. We also discovered that there weren’t any seats for anyone and so we grabbed a spot by the railing dividing the stage from spectators. That’s where we stayed until the concert ended at 11:00, which made for a lot of hours on our feet. But we loved the concert and so endured how tired we got.

In contrast to the concerts by Katy and by P!NK, this was a smaller event. About 1000 people attended. There weren’t a lot of theatricals. But there a great act by an exuberant group known as AJR. Ingrid was a lot of fun to watch. Written along the back wall were snippets of lyrics from her songs. She sang a mix of new and old songs, spoke often to fans, made jokes, and simply enjoyed herself. At one point, she and her band even posed for a “photo op”. Below are some photos (taken by my husband) from the concert and you can read a review here: Ingrid Michaelson Lights Up the Stage with Sunny Show at Sokul.






Thanks for taking time to join me in relieving some concert memories. Andy and I would still like to see Jewel in concert, her being the first singer whom he introduced to me in our twenty years of knowing one another. Other singers whose concerts we’ve enjoyed include that of Christian artists: Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Andrew Peterson, and Michael W. Smith. Have a music-filled weekend everyone!

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. As I said last week, my fall this year feels terribly long. Because concerts let me escape the daily stress, I’m going to entertain everyone for a few weeks with photos from a few favorites. I started by sharing from two Katy Perry concerts and now will turn to a Pink concert.

P!nk stays on the heart to sing the family-friendly version of F-----' Perfect.

Pink stays on the heart to sing the family-friendly version of F—–‘ Perfect.

My husband first introduced this pop singer’s music to me by sending me the video for her song “Perfect”. I played the video over and over. The song so perfectly captured how I often felt. I tried a few of Pink’s other songs and found immediate connection with several of them. When Andy bought me the album with “Perfect” on it, I almost wore out the CD. Many of the songs even became theme songs for my main character in my now shelved novel.

When the tour schedule came out for the album and included our town, Andy and I wasted no time in buying tickets. The only decision was in what seats to get. We quickly decided to get the “best”, or VIP tickets for the pit, the standing-room-only area around the stage.

Andy spent the next few months regretting his decision. General admission would mean having to get to the arena early in order to get close to the stage. How early, we had no idea. But certainly we could be on our feet for hours and hours. Would we actually end up anywhere close to the stage? And would we have the ability to take bathroom breaks? Why, Andy lamented, didn’t we just get reserved seats?

And here I’m going to cheat a little (actually a LOT) in this post. Andy is the better photographer between the two of us and so he’s the one who took all the photos. Not only that, but he created the Facebook album, captioned all of the photos, and…. well, so basically I’m sharing my husband’s work here.

pink_liningupThe morning of the concert, we stopped by the arena to see if a line had started to form. Nope! We returned again at 1:00. Still no line. And back at 3:30. A line had just started to form, but we also had to go home to get something we’d forgotten. (Maybe identification?) When we returned at 4:00, we were 8th and 9th in line. Pretty good!

We stood in line for ninety minutes before being let in at 5:30. Security gave us our goody bags: a Pink tote bag containing a Pink blanket, a Pink baseball cap, and a VIP pass. Then we stood in line for another thirty minutes until the merchandise table opened. Those who wanted to buy stuff were able to leave the line and return to their place when they were done.

At 6:30, we were taken into the auditorium and down to the pit, where we all scrambled for position. Because we were near the front of the line we had our pick. We went right to the spot Andy had chosen ahead of time-at the bottom point of the small heart-shaped stage that extended out from the main stage. While Pink would only come out to the heart occasionally, when she did she was guaranteed to be very close. A nearby fan, for whom this would be her fourth Pink concert, said we were in the best spot.


In Andy’s words: “Hats off to anyone with a job that requires them to stand all day. I couldn’t do it. We got in line at 4:00 and didn’t sit down until we got back to our car at 11:00. All that standing nearly did me in.”

The couple behind us was kind enough to take our picture. The drum set and other equipment behind us belongs to Pink’s opening act. Following the tradition of other concertgoers who had signed Pink’s stage, I added our names.



The lady in the below photo is a huge Pink fan. In fact, she’d just been to the Pink concert the night before in Des Moines. Her goal was to get Pink to sign her arm so she could have the signature made into a tattoo. Was she successful? Stay tuned!


We had secured our primo spots, but how close would we get to Pink? Would we make contact? We weren’t kept in suspense for long. Pink came out to the heart-shaped stage during her third song (Just Like a Pill) and began shaking hands with and high-fiving her fans. The fingers at the bottom of this photo are mine, as I get a handshake from Pink. After this, Andy got a high-five.


Pink does a lot of acrobatics in her shows. Often she would “launch” from within the heart-shaped stage.


At one point in the show, Pink receives some gifts from some of her fans in the pit. Pink rockin’ her new hat.


And then… Success! Our neighbor gets Pink’s signature!


A shot of Pink singing.


Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. Concerts make me happy. I sing, dance, and just enjoy being silly. Whatever’s happening in my life, concerts always provides me with an escape for an evening. Because my fall this year feels terribly long, for the next few weeks, I’m going to entertain everyone with some photos from a few of my favorite concerts.

The first two concerts I’ll share are those my husband and I saw by Katy Perry. My sister first introduced this pop singer’s music to Andy and me. He was immediately hooked, while I remained a little uncomfortable with some of Katy’s more risqué songs. Enough so, enough of her songs appealed to me that I agreed in 2011 to an out-of-town concert. Katy’s imagination and exuberance turned me into an overnight fan. I now have all her CDs. Also, when Katy’s Prismatic World Tour actually came to our town in 2o14, there was no way we were missing it.

At this point, I have to admit to cheating a little in this post. Andy is better photographer between the two of us and so he’s the one who took all the photos. (But for the record, he used my camera. His is too big to slip past security.) Not only that but he created the Facebook albums, wrote all the comments in them, and…. well, so basically I’m sharing my husband’s work here.

11,000 people attended that first concert. It had a very late start. First there was the opening act, then a DJ played a bunch of music while tweets from the audience were displayed on big screens. Then random people from the audience were shown on the screens, some of whom were encouraged to kiss. Then a man and woman came out on stage and shot some prizes into the crowd.

Ninety minutes later, Katy Perry finally took the stage. Her first song was Teenage Dream.


Because our old slow camera, a lot of the shots are blurry. But some of them ended up with a cool painterly look.


Throughout the song Hot and Cold, Katy went through a number of super-speedy costume changes. She’d duck behind curtains and rip off her top layer of clothing and step out a few seconds later in a new outfit. For one of her costume changes, she’s wearing a yellow dress when a guy lifts a curtain around her, then five seconds later the curtain falls and she’s wearing a green dress.


Katy did one cover: Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody. She hand-picked audience members to dance with her on stage. Katy’s the one at the far right with the blue hair.


The tour is called California Dreams, so the concert naturally ended with California Gurls. Giant beach balls were dropped onto the audience, who batted them around. There were at least three water cannons that Katy and her dancers fired into the crowd. Tons of confetti were also shot into the crowd. After the concert we saw one guy who was drenched and plastered with confetti. Sitting up front has its price. Not that we would have minded!


For our second concert, Andy and I bought tickets closer to the front. We arrived at the venue early to avoid fighting the crowds. And we had a better camera. Such a good camera I guess that Andy felt no need to add descriptions in his Facebook album.






Besides the incredible number of set changes, you’ll also notice that a number of our photos showing Katy interacting with the audience. This sold me on her, along with her passion and creativity. Katy Perry rocks!

PS My favorite songs of hers? The self-esteem ones: Part of Me, Fireworks, and Roar.

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. Andy and I spent the month of July in Newfoundland with my family. This week, I’m posting the last of my photos dedicated to that trip. They are of the smaller events.

Andy and I started out visiting St. John’s, the most easterly city in North America. While there, Andy and I took time to explore its iconic side. The older side of St. Johns is known for its “colourful jellybean row houses wedged together in every space”. Although Andy and I were at times frustrated by trying to maneuver the city’s narrow and steep streets, which seem to randomly criss-cross one other, we were also delighted by the city’s distinct architecture.

After exploring the East Coast of Newfoundland, Andy and I headed inland to my family’s home. On the first weekend, all of us went out for a meal at The Mount Peyton Hotel. My new favorite traditional Newfoundland dishes are now toutons (shown in the first photo below) and bread pudding, replacing fish and chips.

For a week, Andy and I mostly allowed ourselves to be lazy. We read books, took naps, played games, and enjoyed my step-mom’s homecooked meals. Oh, and I wrote some articles about Newfoundland pet rescue groups.

After that, Andy and I got busy visiting folks. As always, Andy and I took time to eat at restaurants unique to the area. We ate a few times at Mary Brown’s. The very first Mary Brown’s opened in St. John’s in 1969, and now the chain has over 100 locations throughout Canada. We ate at A&W, where Robert has worked for the past year. Last, we checked out Papa’s Sweet Shop. It’s a family business which serves up ice-cream, hot dogs and nachos, and old-fashioned sweets.

In our final weekend, there was another highlight. Members of my home church, Windsor Pentecostal Tabernacle, were encouraged to attend a memorial at the cemetery. The event was an informal one, where people showed up at various times during a set time period. My dad and I bought a bouquet of roses to place at my mother’s grave.

All too soon, the end of July arrived and we faced saying goodbye to my family for another year. On our return trip, my supportive husband always comes up with a series of questions to help keep my mind off being homesick. We talked about what we’d miss about Newfoundland, what we were looking forward to in Nebraska, and plans for future visits. This year, we bought ourselves treats at Eddy’s Yogurt Factory in South Brook. We each selected a flavor of yogurt and then piled on the toppings. Our vacations are always full of big and small moments, just as life itself should be.


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