Bucket List Palooza

Friday, October 03, 2014

As much as I want to say “How is September over already??,”  I know exactly how it’s over already—it has been a busy, crazy month, particularly since I’d previously proclaimed it a travel-free month.  I did take two glorious, slow weekends to sleep in, shop kids consignment sales {#love}, and watch every football games on television.  And then after that, things got all crazy…scratching off all these bucket list items.


So first, it was Amy Grant.  I’m guessing this isn’t one on every girl’s list.  Maybe a few of you who fell for her in her 90s “Baby Baby” glory.  But in my church-bred world, Amy Grant was like Whitney Houston.  She was my childhood idol weeeell before 1993… We’re talking 1980s El Shaddai, Thy Word, My Father’s Eyes, Lead Me On, Sing Your Praise to the Lord...Anybody still with me?  I owned her concert videos, piano music that was WAY too hard for me, and Bible Stories that she read on a cassette tape.  I even wrote to the Mickey Mouse Club asking to meet her {I received a brochure of cast member bios that surprisingly sufficed}… Now I know I lost you!


So yeah, I loved Amy Grant.  But I never saw her in concert and eventually moved on to loving DC Talk and Jars of Clay, as any good church kid did in 1998.  But when my mom learned she was coming to a small concert venue near our house last month, tickets showed up in the mail, and I would finally fulfill my childhood dream.


Tyler is still traveling so I took my friend Amanda with me for a wild night out on the town.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but based on the number of minivans in the parking lot, we were in good company.  The concert was relaxed, with an acoustic feel.  She covered a variety of songs from over the years, a lot of which I’d forgotten about {gasp!}; she took requests and shared sweet stories.  She even sang Tennessee Christmas and Breath of Heaven {I died a little}.  I didn’t get weird or emotional {I honestly think Amanda was worried I might!}, but I thoroughly enjoyed a night out, sipping wine with a friend, and finally hearing the music in person that meant so much to me over the years.


So two days after seeing my childhood idol, my friend Christie called me asking if I wanted two tickets to the Garth Brooks concert in Atlanta?

Wait a minute.  Did I hear you correctly?  Do I want to come?  Did you really just ask me that??  Do I want to come listen to the music of my childhood and see the best country music entertainer EVER who has been in retirement for the last ten years, and has been on my bucket list of must-do before I die?? If you could make a soundtrack of my childhood, it would be all Amy Grant and Garth Brooks.

So, uh yeah…I’d like to go to see Garth Brooks next week.  {Play it cool.}

I quickly threw a plan into action {with the help of my brother-in-law} to drive down to Atlanta and surprise my dear, kind, hard-working, mom of three, sister with the tickets.  It’s a good thing I only had to keep it a secret five or six days because I was about to die with excitement all week…  It was so, so, so fun to randomly walk into her house at 10:30 on a Thursday night and tell her we were going to see Garth Brooks.  We share the same emotional DNA so I didn’t expect any screaming or jumping up and down—just a lot of “What? No, we’re not. Really?”  And crying.  A little bit of that too.



Friday afternoon we had fun getting ready in the bathroom and trying fifty outfits and trading hair products {hands down one of the biggest parts I miss of college—getting ready with girlfriends}.  We rode with the greatest friend ever, Christie, and her husband, battled Atlanta rush hour traffic {on a Friday no less}, and were in our seats by 6:15.



And the rest is history… It was amazing—everything I ever thought this much anticipated life event would be like.  Fun, loud, crazy energy.  He sang every song you could think of {save “Standing Outside the Fire” and “Will She Ever Know?”}, Trisha Yearwood sang “She’s In Love With a Boy,” Kelly Clarkson made a surprise appearance…we even called The Dawgs.


I know Garth Brooks has done a bajillion concerts over the years and does a great job at them all, but he is such an excellent entertainer and really does a great job making you feel like it’s the best concert he’s ever done—he shows a lot of gratitude, he has a TON of energy {he was doing two shows a night which I will never ever understand how is possible}, he played all of his old stuff and wasn’t out to promote new material… It was just a great, great night.  The River, Friends in Low Places, Thunder Rolls, The Dance… Man, it was a great night.  I have been re-watching the video I took all week.


{Side note—there was also a UGA game to be enjoyed the next day. Greatest weekend ever.}

Aaaaand finally.  My friend Amy and I had tickets to see Idina Menzel in her new musical If/Then in New York City.  Idina Menzel, who I’ve been listening to for the last ten years on Rent and Wicked soundtracks… The voice of Elsa.  That Idina Menzel.


So last Saturday, we hopped on a 6:30 train to New York and spent the day shopping, eating fried chicken at my fave Hill Country Chicken, wholesale jewelry hunting, and topped the day off at the Richard Roger’s theater for If/Then.  The show was great—a modern storyline with a small cast and relatively simple set.  The show tells two stories—each a “what if” scenario based on a single, simple decision at the opening of the play.  There is so much Idina face time and voice time and I just soaked up every note.  It was funny, moving, sad, intense.  It was just great.  {Clearly I’m no theater critic…} I just loved it. 


{We stage door-ed it for awhile but started losing our post-theater euphoria with all the standing around, so we left to eat cheesecake instead.}


The next morning, we covered ten miles in Central Park on a gorgeous fall morning, brunched, “shopped” on Fifth Avenue, and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge—how’s that for a 36 hour trip??  I was exhausted by the time our train pulled in to Union Station.

And THAT concludes my last three weekends of bucket list scratch-offs—back to my regularly scheduled life!  I haven’t taken that many selfies in my life!  I am so lucky and grateful to have had these experiences and shared them with great friends, especially at this stage in our life where Charlotte is so busy and Tyler is still on the road—it can get a little lonely and overwhelming.  I can’t say any of these adventures are relaxing, but it is a very welcome escape for a few days.  This single mom thing is for the birds—one year down, one month to go!



October is sure to be tamer…and I welcome that.

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