10 things that happened when Lori went to see Hudson Taylor

I saw Hudson Taylor live in Hollywood on February 18, 2014. I’ve resisted posting about it to spare you the fangirl-mania, but I’ve decided to dive right in. Consider yourself forewarned!

1. I went to the show with my best friend from high school. My friend Robin had never heard of Hudson Taylor but gamely agreed to go with me to the show. This was fantastic news. Robin and I have a concert-going history (Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, anyone?), so she was the perfect companion. We rarely see each other since I moved to Portland a zillion years ago, so the long drive to Hollywood seemed like no time at all as we got caught up.

2. I copied the photo Hudson Taylor took outside the Hotel Cafe. We’d left really early since I had no idea how to get to the venue where they were playing (and it was rather difficult to find). The entrance, which is in an alley, is beside a wall painted with the venue’s name. Harry and Alfie tweeted out a photo of themselves beside it that morning, so of course I posed by it myself and made Robin take my picture.

3. I walked down Hollywood Blvd. for the first time in thirty years. (Showing my age, here!) In fact, the last time I had done this was when Robin took me to Frederick’s of Hollywood to buy me fancy lingerie for my 18th birthday, which to a naïve girl like me was a hysterical adventure. (I still have the lingerie, too, though it would not fit me nor anyone I know. I was a tiny little thing, once.) This time, besides reading all the stars on the Walk of Fame, we popped into all sorts of shops. My favorites were the Converse store, with its incredible selection, and Bettie Page with its retro clothing.

4. We stopped for dinner and a drink before the show. This is only remarkable because of the drink. I take a lot of medication that exacerbates the effects of alcohol; one drink is plenty for me. Any more than that and… look out! Don’t worry, though – I only had one drink, so I was feeling fine.

5. We got seats right up front for the show! The venue had many different acts booked that night, with each one going on at the top of the hour, playing for about 40 minutes, and then letting the next artist(s) set up for their set. This caused the crowd to “rotate,” for lack of a better word, every hour. When we arrived, it was standing room only – and I need to be seated, as I am old and diseased – but just as the artist right before HT finished her set, her fans all moved to the bar, and we got our own table by the stage. I was so excited, I ordered another drink. Uh, oh…  By the time the boys went on (after a bit of confusion about whether they had the right equipment with them), I was giddy.

6. Hudson Taylor played a lovely set. I was mesmerized. I hurriedly – and badly – recorded one song and snapped a few very out-of-focus photos (below; you can click on them to see them larger, but the quality is bad), but mostly I concentrated on enjoying the music. I wrote down the setlist, of course, with which I was very pleased. (I have linked to YouTube versions of each song so that you, too, can share in the experience.  Enjoy.)

7. I bought five copies of Osea, the latest EP, and got Harry and Alfie to sign them. Soon after the effects of the second pre-show drink hit me, Alfie walked by our table. I called out, “Alfie!” (as Q would say, I have no embarrassment gene) and asked him if they’d be selling CDs after the show. (I’d waited to buy Osea, hoping to save on shipping from the UK.) He said they would be selling them up front after their set, so I raced up there and scored my little handful of EPs. The boys signed them, assembly line-style, and chatted to me as they did. Alfie asked where I was from and how far I’d traveled; he seemed startled when I told him I lived 1000 miles away, so I explained I was here to visit my sister, who was ill. Harry and I talked about the differences in marketing records in the US versus in Ireland or the UK. They were both really personable.

8. Harry gave me a free T-shirt. I asked if they had any shirts for sale, and they said no, they could only pack a certain amount of merchandise to sell. Then Harry asked me to wait a minute, went backstage to his own bag, and returned with a T-shirt (Cinematic Lifestyle!). He told me it was the only shirt they had, but that I deserved it for buying five copies of the same EP. He refused to take any payment for it, which led to a quick (inebriated?) decision on my part…

9. I opened my wallet, pulled out ALL the cash in it, and handed it to Harry without looking at it. I told him it wasn’t for the shirt; it was for them to use to buy a decent bag for all their cords/pedals/etc., which they had carried to the show in a plastic shopping bag. A kind gesture on my part, I suppose, except that I had NO idea (still don’t have) how much money was there. It could have been $3 or $300 for all I know, though I am afraid it was more along the lines of three than 300. Harry tried to explain that they didn’t need it, that they were using the bag because it was light and didn’t take up space, but it was too late to change my mind, so he graciously agreed to use the money to go out for pints. (I hope he had enough for even one pint!)

10. I left the show feeling even more fond of Hudson Taylor than before.  I have enjoyed following along with the growth of the band, and it was a pleasure to meet them and find them just as accessible and kind as they seem to be on social media. Before I met them, I posted on Facebook that I appreciated the time they take to relate personally to their fans and told them to tell their mother she raised them well. She replied to thank me and added: “They are a credit to themselves and I couldn’t be prouder of them!” I can see why; they are charming. Case in point: as I was leaving, Alfie thanked me for coming so far to see them, and then told me to wish my sister well in her illness. Just so sweet and thoughtful!

Harry & Lori & AlfieThis one goes to 11. I had my picture taken with Harry and Alfie. Check it out: could I look any more excited? It was a good thing I was so happy; the show took place on the 18th of the month, also known as MS Drug Day. As soon as I got home from the show, I’d be taking 600 mg of prednisone and trying to get some rest, if possible. Bright and early in the morning, I’d take 600 mg more and then fly back to Portland all jacked up on steroids. (Heck, with my manic appearance and puffy face, I kind of look like I’d taken them already…)


God bless the board gamers, every one!

anonymous giftWe have a lot of Game Days at our house: some Friday nights, some all-day Saturdays, some (when Q and I are at Scout Camp) weekend blowouts. Our many tables (and many more shelves of games) are put to good use.

At the Saturday Game Day in November, there were quite a few games of Caverna played. Billed as “the new and better Agricola” by some – not by me; Agricola is my favorite game – Caverna was at the top of David’s wish list, so I’d gotten it for him for his birthday. (With a $90 price tag, he never would have bought it for himself.)  The game was left out on the table at the end of the night, all set up and ready for future play. Alas, someone also left a large plastic tumbler of water on the table, and sometime in the wee hours of the morning, one of the cats tipped it over.

Caverna, for the uninitiated, is a game with a cardboard playing board… and many, many cardboard tiles… and lots of cards. None of these, of course, do well after sitting in a lake of water for countless hours. The board swelled, the tiles separated, and most of the game is now an unplayable mess.

It was a sad time in our house. There was no saving the waterlogged pieces. Of course, the ruined game was the newest and most-expensive, just as car accidents always happen in the nicest car a family owns. We set the parts aside with the hope that we might be able to order replacement pieces from the publisher for somewhat less than the cost of a whole new game.

Last Friday, I was vacuuming – getting ready for another game day – when Bones started barking madly. I tried to shush him a few times, then peered out the window to see if he was distracted by someone walking by, but I didn’t see anyone. Hours later, when I took out the trash, I saw a shopping bag on the doorstep with a wrapped gift inside. There was a typewritten note attached:

Thank you for hosting as often as you do.
Also, I am guessing you can guess what this is, so I will not hide it. I was just so sad to hear about your loss.

It was unsigned.

We were both so touched by the thoughtfulness of someone to anonymously replace a $90 game that was damaged by our cats. I have to admit, I smiled at the tragic tone of the note, but David was seriously disappointed when it happened. He is even happier, though, to have such kind friends. I’m thankful for that, too. The people he plays with truly are good friends and have been a real blessing to him over the years.

The Christmas spirit is alive and well around here!

fun with yoga

Disclaimer: Totally not me. But this is what I see when I look around in class.
Disclaimer: Totally not me. But this is what I see when I look around in class. Inspiring, yes; demoralizing… perhaps.

Over the past couple of months, I have rededicated myself to Bikram Yoga – the one with the 105-degree room and all the sweat – because it makes me feel wonderful.

Ultimately, that is. All along the way, however, it’s a different story. Its challenging and difficult and HOT.

The first challenge is mental. I don’t have to convince myself that I want to go; in fact, usually I spend my entire week saying, “I really need to go to yoga. I can’t wait to go to yoga. You know what I need? Yoga.” What I have to psych myself up for is the time commitment. A Bikram Yoga class is 90 minutes long from start to finish, not including the getting-into-your-skimpy clothing-and-staking-a-claim-to-your-space time nor the additional getting-all-that-sweat-off-and-packing-up time. That puts you at about two hours between the time you arrive at the studio and when you leave. To top it off, the two closest studios to me recently closed, so I get to drive 20-30 minutes each way to get to the one out in Beaverton. All of you with your Math Hats on can see that this is an easy three hours out of my day. I’m finding it easier to commit to that on Mondays and Fridays (now that I am off work on those days), but any more than that, no matter how good for my health, is not going to happen.

The second challenge is psychological. That skimpy clothing I mentioned is necessary because of the heat, but not something I usually put on… and having to stare at myself in the mirror dressed this way, while surrounded by the young and fit, is a bit demoralizing. Similarly humbling is my inability to do all the poses without wobbling, wavering, falling over, and otherwise drawing attention to myself. I am fully aware that I am – in the infamous words of my child – “diseased,” and that yoga is all about your own practice, your own goals, your own improvement, but I am apparently shallow enough to wish I looked a little better while I actually do it. And then there is the heat. Some days, like today, it is all I can do to just stay in the room for the entire time without feeling like I am going to be sick whenever I try to do a pose.

But right now, a couple of hours later, all of that nonsense has faded into the background. I am less stiff and sore than I have been all week. I’m glad that I have exercised, proud of myself for having put the three hours in, and relaxed and sleepy enough to go to bed early.

Good night!