Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pella Jams at Sam's

Rockapella in Vegas
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Sam's Town Live
Las Vegas, NV

Friday started off well enough: got my nails done, got my hair done, all packed and ready to go.  Then the traffic to the airport happened.  Mind you, I left at 3:00 p.m..  It usually takes about 30-45 minutes to get to ONT.  My flight was scheduled to leave at 8:00 p.m.  So I had plenty of time.  But it was Friday of Labor Day weekend, and I was going in the direction of Vegas, albeit not directly to Vegas by car.  Also, it was hot.  REALLY hot, like over 100 degrees hot, and my car decided that today was the day to show me that it didn't want the air conditioning to work perfectly. I mean, it acts up once in a while, but obviously it's more noticeable when it's really hot outside. So there I am, sweltering in the heat, and traffic isn't moving very quickly.  It was so bad that I checked my fitbit and it showed my heart rate starting to elevate, as if I was exercising, yet I was just sitting in my car.  I drank water.  It slowed down.  I tried to breathe deeply.  It slowed down more, but not enough, and I'm pretty sure I was about to go into a panic attack at any moment.  So I got off the freeway and took the streets in case I really started to freak out.  I cooled down a little bit, and remembered the Starbucks by My Delight Cupcakery.  I did not want cupcakes.  OK, I did, but I knew they'd melt in the heat, so I didn't go there.  I went to the Starbucks drive-thru.  It took what seemed like forever, partly because I was so damn hot and partly because the people in front of me kept asking questions and crap.  I mean, they really should have gotten out of the car and gone into the store.  I realized that perhaps I should have, too, just to cool down, since I had plenty of time.  But I was trapped in the drive-thru and starting to overheat (me, not the car) again.  Turns out that not only the people in front of me were slow, but also the baristas because they were probably overwhelmed by the number of frappucinos that everyone was ordering.  I just wanted my goshdarn iced tea.  I finally got it, and made my way back to the freeway and to the airport, no longer feeling like a frog being slow-boiled.  

When I arrived at the airport lot, I decided not to risk the heat anymore by walking to the terminal, and waited for the shuttle while I finished drinking my iced tea.  Do you know there's not a lot of shade at the ONT parking lot, especially at the shuttle stops?  Now you do, and so do I.  The shuttle arrived, though, and I got to sit in air conditioning and cooled down.  The heart rate went back down to almost normal, too.  Phew!  I didn't need to check my bag, so when we got out of the shuttle, I went through TSA and looked for my gate.  Oh, great: my flight was delayed for 30 minutes.  So I had a seat and texted Dodie to update her.  It was 5:30 p.m., and I had 3 hours.  Well, at least I was in air-conditioning, and I'd be on time for my flight, and I relaxed.  The flight was a little bit bumpy, but not too bad.  I dread going to hot places on planes because of the turbulence, but it was OK, and I was able to look at the bright lights of Vegas, which is the best reason to land there at night.

Dodie was waiting at my gate, and we made our way to baggage claim so she could figure out her Uber app.  Uber and Lyft have pretty much taken over as private transportation at LAS, and they have a designated pickup area, where their take down of the taxi industry is quite apparent.  I mean, there were a LOT of people waiting there for their rides.  This probably wouldn't have happened if taxis didn't cost double the amount Uber and Lyft charge, so I think they need to adapt with the times if they want to survive.  We arrived at Sam's Town and checked in.  The hotel is pretty cool if you're in the interior rooms, because you get a view of the middle of the hotel.  It is also undergoing a remodel on a few of the floors.  We had one of the remodeled rooms, which was nice.  You know what else is nice?  Seeing the guys in the elevator and all around the hotel!  




You know I said hi to them whenever
 I got in the elevator, right?

We had originally planned on going to Wahlburgers for a late dinner, but didn't feel like leaving the hotel, so we ended up at TGI Friday's there.  It was time for Sherry to start drinking!  Because, you know, I wasn't already dehydrated earlier in the day.

Patron Raspberry Basil Margarita
 Dodie laughed as I waited for the guys' photo come up on the television screen, because the loop took a really long time. Then when the photo finally came up, my picture of it turned out all crappy. 


Grrrrr....


After dinner, we walked around outside the hotel so I could get a picture of the marquee.  The guys weren't listed on it, though.  We gambled for a little bit, and I was doing OK, but Dodie wasn't winning anything.  I had fun with the Little Shop of Horrors game as Audrey II kept eating up reels and more stuff would cascade.  

Casino Sign


Venue Sign

Cat chilling in the valet area


In the morning, we wanted to get breakfast at Wahlburgers, but just missed the hotel shuttle that would take us to the strip.  So Dodie used her Uber app again, and we walked around the entire hotel before realizing that the Uber/Lyft pickup area was across from the hotel shuttle stop.  Yes, where we had already been standing.  Had she not asked the valet, we'd probably still be wandering around until dinner time, or at least until the next shuttle arrived.  Our Uber driver had brought along his wife, and they were hilarious.  They showed us pictures of their kids, and bickered like any other married couple, and Dodie said she felt like we were with family.  We had to circle around to find the Wahlburgers, and while doing that, we saw a couple of showgirls, feathers on their headdresses and all.  Our driver pointed out that they had glitter on their butts, but I didn't turn around.  We hopped out of the car to walk to the restaurant, and saw two other showgirls.  I turned around this time, but their costumes were covering their butts, so I couldn't see if there was glitter.

Yay!


Once we saw the Wahlburgers Kiosk, I got all excited.  They have a kiosk outside of the regular restaurant where you can just order drinks and merchandise.  I told Dodie that I needed to go there later.  Once we got inside, I had to refrain from taking pictures all over the place until we ordered.  I ordered a breakfast burger, which is basically their regular burger with a fried egg. I asked what a "Tropical Mimosa" was, and the server told me that it was just orange juice and champagne.  I asked what made it "tropical".  He said, "I guess the orange juice."  Hmmm...so I ordered the Pomegranate Mimosa.  

Drink #2 with Edible Flower


Then I took pictures of stuff around the restaurant.  


Above Our Table

The Wahlboys

Paul and Donnie

Sher with Big Wahlburgers

My mom called while we were eating, and I told her that I was in Vegas to see Rockapella. 
Mom:   Oh, you're going to see Rockapella?  You must be happy then.
My mom knows me well.  Yes, Mom, I'm very happy.  I didn't tell her about Wahlburgers because I don't know if she even knows about that show.  

Look at the cute hippo Dodie made for me!
I named him Sam.


Afterward, I bought Wahlburgers playing cards because VEGAS!  I needed something at Sephora, so we walked over there and then Dodie called Uber from Paris casino.  APPARENTLY, the Uber navigation systems were wonky for all the drivers this weekend, but our guy knew where he was going so it wasn't a problem.  When we returned to the hotel, I put my stuff away while Dodie played a little bit.  I saw the housekeeper and advised her that I would leave in a few minutes, but then Dodie came back to the room and we hung out for a little while.

View From Our Room
 When we finally left the room, I told the housekeeper and left a tip for her on the dresser.  We headed to the movie theater.  Yup, there's a movie theater in the hotel!  I got a Starbucks iced tea from concessions.  As we rode up the escalator (this is a regular-sized movie theater with lots of screens), I saw that the door was open to the venue where Rockapella would be performing, and lamented that it hadn't been open when we passed by just a few minutes earlier.  Dodie said that I could probably run downstairs, go say hi, and still be back during the trailers.  She was probably right because we saw a TON of trailers.  I was most excited about Star Wars VIII, naturally. Dodie and I watched "Wonder Woman".  Dodie hadn't seen it yet and cried throughout the movie.  I had seen it twice and cried throughout the movie the third time, too.  


Aft explored the hotel a little bit.  I wanted to take pictures of the guys' posters all over the place, but I was on the casino floor and didn't want to get in trouble.

From underneath a tree in the hotel


We were supposed to go back here
 to take a picture in our pretty dresses, but we forgot.

Overlooking the Hotel Courtyard
 I reminded Dodie that she wanted to talk to the lady in the gift shop, Stephanie, because she was so nice to Dodie when she had inquiries about our tickets for the show.  She was really nice in person, too, and was pleased that Dodie made the effort to say hello.  We played the slots for a little bit but I wasn't as lucky this time and lost kinda quickly.  So we decided to go back to our room, and on the way there, saw the water show that takes place in the middle of the hotel with animal audio-animatronics.  I thought the next show wasn't until 6:00, but they must have been testing or something because we got to see what looked like the full show at 4:00.  


Water Show


When we got to our room, I started to rest a little bit and Dodie told me that she needed to show me something in the bathroom.  Now, I don't normally want to go to the bathroom when somebody wants to show me something, but I hoped it wouldn't be anything gross.  Nope.  Dodie's cosmetics bag was full of hotel toiletries, and we had a note from the housekeeper telling us we were appreciated.  Well, thank you!  

Thank You Toiletries
We got all pretty for the concert.  KP and her friend Dan arrived and we decided to go to TGI Friday's for dinner.  I mostly went to have a drink, but ended up eating a little bit because I didn't want to be too hungry during the show.  I wish I had been hungrier because my strawberry fields salad was yummy.


Drink #3: Mango Margarita

In the hallway by the venue, we saw that the new Rockapella Jams CD was available for purchase, and the table was set up for the guys to sign stuff.  Yay!  Today was the official date of the CD release, so I felt all special about it.  We went to our seats and one of the ushers looked at us like we didn't belong there and tried to stop us.  We showed her our seat numbers and she let us pass.  Maybe if she hadn't been so aggressive, I wouldn't have been so put off by her doing her job, but she really should have toned it down.  She was like that for pretty much everyone for most of the night.  Our seats were in the front row, AA 3 and 4.  KP had extra seats so we spread out a little bit so that I wasn't rightnextto the lady beside me.  Thanks, KP, Miss Show 150.  :)  Robin came by to say hi and sat in the front row, too.  Nick was seated in back of us.  Yay, Nick!!!


The lighting there was weird, so Sepia works.


There was no opening act.

ROCKAPELLA

Rock Around the Clock
Hi, Bryant!  I was already giggling about him, because I had a dream about him this week.  The dream will not be repeated here.  Let's just say that butts are the theme of the weekend.

Jailhouse Rock
Hey, they added "I'm the One" into the medley before "Folsom Prison Blues"!  Cool.  (It is not in the version on the new CD, though).  Hi, Scott!  Hi, Mitch!  I'm so happy when they smile at me.

CSL4:  I never heard of Sam's Town.  I love this place!

He talked about JT and his microphones: Oh, Sam heard that!  I know he did.  

Wow!  Now they do the vocal roll-up while singing "Dancing in the Moonlight", in a medley with "Can't Stop the Feeling".  I really like that a lot!  Aaaaand there's BV's butt.  Did I tell you earlier that we were sitting on the rhythm section side?  Yup, BV was in front of us.  I think that's when I hit Dodie because I couldn't deal.  She laughed.  Scott came over and I danced with him from my seat.  He smiled.  I showed Dodie that when they use the blacklight, my nails turn a bright yellow.  They were actually an Ariel-like green.

Just My Imagination / Imagine
Someone in the audience loudly said, "Awww..." when CSL4 started to sing "Imagine".  Yeah, that's how I feel when I hear that, too.  

JT returned to the stage sans jacket.

Satisfaction / Cupid
CSL4 cuddled up to BV.  So cute.  He did a slow twerk and I about lost it again.  Mitch chose to talk to someone whom was sitting by herself at a table: "You realize you're an easy target."  He asked her to sing with her, and she sang an octave above him.  Yikes.  As he asked the rest of the audience to sing, he walked by us, pointed the microphone to me for a second and said, "I know YOU know it."  Can't imagine why he thinks that.  Just so you know, I sang it in the same octave he did.  I know you were worried.

CSL4 talked about MR joining the group, stating that he filled in for some shows last year, and they asked him to stay:  He has stayed.  He will not leave.  He got a new haircut.
MR: Just for Vegas!

CSL4 talked about the new CD, saying that we are in the first North American city where it is being sold, called "Rockapella Jams, Vol. 1".
JT:  It's huuuuuuge.
CSL4:  You can buy it out there, and Mitch will rub it on his head.

You know I am already happy with MR, but it stung my heart a little bit.  I miss you, FFE.  Especially because of the song coming up after this next one, which was rudely recorded live not with FFE and Geo (my favorite group for this song), but with the new guys.  It reminds me of when they didn't record "California Sad-Eyed Girl" with Kevin as the lead.  

Moon River
Applause from the audience when they started.  Afterward, CSL4 credited Andy Williams and Audrey Hepburn.  Pretty sure she didn't write that song, though.

When CSL4 talked about the rhythm section, JT did a bass drum sound.  
While CJ was talking about him, CSL4 tried to watch himself on the big screen as we waved his golden locks.  

CSL4 defined "records" as "black frisbees".

Paper Doll
CSL4 said this is available on the new record.  Audrey Hepburn will not be on the new record. Neither will someone else.  I'm not bitter or anything.

Rock The Boat
CSL4:  B-MAN!
I now call him that on FB.  After B-man's solo, CJ and MR were giggling as they returned to the stage.  

Commercials
Someone in the audience: "WHOO!!!"  Me to Dodie: "Someone's drunk."
You know, because I never whoo.  I WHOO HOOOOO!  OK, yeah, I whoo, too.

CSL4: As we have matured...
The audience laughed.  CSL4 made a face, like "What the?"
JT: I just did this <made a "so-so" gesture>
CSL4:  That's all he says all night.  (continues) As we got older...
The NBC peacock got shot, I think.
CSL4: When capitalism and art mate
Audience member: WHOOO HOO!
CSL4 stopped.  "Mate?"  That's what you're excited about?
Audience member: No, Folger's!

Scott felt a telepathic message from Kathy, whom was seated two seats away from me.  

I left at this point because I realized that there would be no intermission and I needed to use the facilities, and couldn't wait until the end of the show.  This was the perfect time, because the guys wouldn't notice due to being busy with the girl on stage.  The only thing that would have stopped me was Dodie getting picked, so I was selfishly happy that she wasn't.  She didn't want me to go, but I couldn't take it anymore.  I took my seat as Kathy was being given her CD.

What I did hear:
Kathy is from So Cal and works in the library.  She treated "Stand By Me" as spoken word.

Ain't Too Proud To Beg

Kathy is the lucky first person to get the new CD on stage.  

Macklemore

Where In The World Is Carmen SanDiego?
After the drum break, they enter the stage while singing "Shape of You".  Nice!  I like that they're putting in some of their work from Jams.  

Encore

Dancing in the Streets
JT danced all crazy-like.  

CSL4 asked if we wanted to hear a brand new song.  SURE!!!!!!

Don't Mess With Jim / Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Yes!  This was fun, and it included a vocal percussion drum line, so you know I was extra happy.  Love that groove.  

Up On The Roof / Wonderful World (off mic)
Started a little bit soft, then CJ remembered how big the room was, and sang a little louder.

Meet and Greet

I stood back for a while because I had 5 CDs to buy and sign.  While I was waiting I saw Fred and talked to him for a bit.  He said that CSL4 and JT were flying to Italy for the a cappella festival on Tuesday to check out all of the groups, but he'd just be there for Rockapella's portion of the show.  He wasn't sure what the rest of the guys would be doing, especially MR.  APPARENTLY, MR does his thing and FS has no idea what it is, because MR was also staying an extra day in Vegas, and FS didn't know why.  Ummm...because it's Vegas?!  We also talked about his recent trip to Hawaii, and said that Kauai was his favorite island.  He said that he hasn't listened to the new CD yet, and neither have the rest of the guys, because JT just gave the CDs to them today.  I asked if they had listened to it on iTunes.  FS looked at me in a puzzled fashion, and said, "The guys aren't going to pay for the songs."  At first I thought, "What?  Why not?"  Then I realized that he said "pay".  OHHHHHHHHH, duh, Sher.  

KP said that when she talked to FS, he whipped out his iPad to show her his vacation photos from Hawaii.  She laughed when he asked if she drew "that butterfly thing", because it was a Bitmoji, and not made by her.  


Hi, Bryant!!!!!

I was trying to let other people before me in line, but a group of a cappella singers insisted I go ahead of them.  I don't think they sang for the guys, though.  Another guy was talking to JT about getting the guys to do something the next time they're in his neighborhood.  They were taking a long time, but I was patient.  Other people had gone around him, though.  I wonder if any of them had been able to talk to JT because that guy would not leave JT.  When JT saw how many CDs I handed him to sign, he asked me, "All five of these are for you?"
Sher:  Didn't you know I'm your Southern California distributor?
I guess he knows now!

I asked B-man: How did you like LA?  Nice pool picture!
B-man proceeded to tell CJ and JT about his fiancee's parents' pool, then he high-fived me because he was so excited about it.  "Yes, new family!"

CJ stood up to give me a kiss on the cheek.  He's so dang sweet.  He asked how I was, too.  Then we got all distracted by MR trying to find a Sharpie.  I don't know why he didn't have one, but CJ handed him his.  When he gave it back, CJ flipped off the pen cap and it flew past me. 
MR:  What is wrong with you?  You're making that pen cap fly off and now she has to pick it up?  ("she" being the gal that liked the Folger's jingle).  She's pregnant!  
CJ apologized, but the gal didn't care, and she wasn't, like 8 months pregnant.  She was barely showing.

MR said to me, "Always good to see you," and gave me a hug.  B-man saw this, and said, "I didn't get a hug from Sherry!  I want a hug!" and I went back to hug him.  

By the time I got to CSL4, he had already signed all of my CDs, but I wanted him to personalize them. Dodie said she wanted her name on her CD, so Mitch did that for her.  CSL4 wrote "For Sherry" on mine, and made sure to write "Love," next to his signature.  He then wrote the other names for me, and asked, "How are the girls?"  Then he told me that he was digging through an old box of stuff and found the parody we did of one of their CDs.
Sher:  Locochicks!  For Vocobeat!  
CSL4:  Yeah, that was a long time ago!  When was that?
Sher:  I don't know, 1998, or 99, maybe.  I've been doing crazy $h*t for a long time now.
He laughed, and talked about the pictures we took, like at the neon sign graveyard, with all of us looking serious (just like them!).  I mentioned the dedications that we put on the back, but he hadn't read them all.
CSL4:  I think I'm going to post it.
Sher:  Yeah, post it!  That would be fun!
He kept our Locochicks CD!  How much do I love him even more now?!  If he had also found my "speeding ticket", I would have lost my mind.

We took some photos with the guys.  I needed to take Dodie's photo with them again, and said, "too bright" due to the flash.
JT:  Mitch isn't too bright.


Pella and the Posse

The guys signed a poster for the venue.  Mitch wanted one of his own and asked for one.  I asked him how he'd take it on the plane.  He told me to let him worry about it.  Really, he should have asked me if I wanted one so he could show me how this would be done.  Why didn't I ask for one?  Oh, yeah, because I already have the huge one from Reno in my den.

We said bye to the guys, then headed off to TGI Friday's again for dessert.  Yes, I went there THREE times during the weekend, but at least they have a lot of variety on their menu.  We were seated toward the back of the restaurant, and while we were there, I thought I saw MR at the entryway to the restaurant.  Affirmative, because then came CJ and B-man.  They sat at the table where we had eaten dinner, toward the front of the restaurant.  I called over our server and asked if they could charge me a round of drinks for the boys.
Server:  First round or second round?
Sher:  First.  I don't know how long they'll be staying.
After the drinks were delivered, CSL4 showed up and sat down with them, but I didn't want to make the server crazy.

Dan said that he always wanted to send a plate of mozzarella sticks to another table, "because who doesn't like mozzarella sticks?!"  So I called the server over again, and asked him to add mozzarella sticks to my bill.  I guess I didn't really care about driving him crazy anymore.  I had a view of the guys, so when the mozzarella sticks came out, I told the rest of the table.  Dan and I gave a play-by-play of the plate being brought to the guys' table and MR turning them away, saying they didn't order them.  Well, our server saw the other server returning the mozzarella sticks to the kitchen and took the platter from him.  He brought it to the guys' table and pointed to us.  They looked over and waved and B-man blew me kisses.  That was fun.
Drink #4: Tiramisu Martini
 with Dan in the background


We didn't bother them when we left because they were figuring out their tab, but we wondered if they noticed that their round of drinks was not charged to them.

Dodie, Robin and I wanted to gamble a little bit, so I played and lost a little bit, then played some more and finally broke even, so I figured I was done.  Dodie had already been done, and we had already said bye to Robin, whom was staying in a different hotel, so we went upstairs and got ready for our early morning flights.

On Sunday morning, Dodie called us an Uber to go to the airport.  Our driver was going to visit LA the next day.  "We're going there today!", I said.  He dropped us off, and we entered the terminal.  Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a familiar shade of blond.  Without a word, I walked right up to CSL4, whom was getting a luggage tag, and just stood really close to him so he'd notice me.  He looked up and said, "HI!" and hugged me.
CSL4:  Thank you for buying us drinks last night.  That was very sweet of you.
Sher:  You're welcome (in my head -- but I didn't pay for yours, not that you drink, so never mind, I won't mention it).
CJ walked by and waved.
Sher to CSL4:  What time is your flight?
CSL4:  7:40.
Sher:  Ew.  What are you doing here?  You don't fly Southwest
CSL4:  Yeah, right? 
I told him to have safe travels, and Dodie and I headed toward security.  

Once we were through security, Dodie realized that we weren't in the same boarding area, so we said our goodbyes.  I saw a little later that there was a 7:40 SWA flight to Tampa, so I guess CSL4 was on Southwest, after all.  I texted Dodie that he would be at Gate B10, which was 5 gates away from her, but she didn't want to bother him so she kept to herself.  I would have done the opposite, but I'm crazy, remember?  Or maybe not.  I don't know.

My flight was thankfully uneventful, and this time I did walk to the car from the airport terminal, since it wasn't quite hot yet.  Once I got to the car, I made sure to put in my new Rockapella Jams Vol. 1 CD, and jammed with my boys all the way home.

I don't have a schedule yet for my next Rockapella show, so I'm glad there's a new CD to tide me over.  Until then, boys, thank you for making me happy!  Love you!


I heart them very much!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Abe's Adages 09/09/17

Abe's Adages: Week 21

On Flexibility:

"I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views."

Source: Gene Griessman, The Words Lincoln Lived By

Monday, September 4, 2017

Tension At Sea..and In Air...and On Land

My local Krikorian theater is handing over their business to another movie theater company, but they are honoring vouchers until the end of this month.  Wendy had some free movie passes that she graciously gave to me, so I used one today for "Dunkirk".


  • Wow, the cinematography for this film is outstanding.  Beautiful!
  • Hans Zimmer's score is mesmerizing, and was appropriately full of tension throughout the movie.  I love that it culminated into a variation on Elgar's "Nimrod".
  • All that tension had me crying and I didn't realize that was coming.
  • I was not understanding the different titles for each group of people at the beginning.  "One hour" for what?!  But then later....ohhhhh....Christopher Nolan likes to mess with my brain.
  • There you go, Mark Rylance, with your minimal dialogue and maximum expression again.  So so good!
  • Oh, Thomas Hardy!  He always looks so different to me with every film I see him in, that I don't realize it's him until the credits.  
  • Aw, Frenchie.  :(
  • "I'd rather fight waves than dive bombers."
  • "It's a good job I'm in the Navy and you're in the Army."
  • Several people in our audience clapped at the end, including me.
This film was quite interesting, and I'm really glad I saw it on the big screen.  Thanks, Wendy!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Rainy But Perfect Weekend

FFE2: The Country Bugaloo
Sunday, January 22, 2017
PellaPosse Palladium
Monrovia, CA

During the week leading up to the house concert, it rained.  It rained a LOT.  It was going to rain some more.  On Friday morning, Weff and Glenndy came over to set up the Palladium and tried to find times when they could move the sofas to the garage when it wouldn't be pouring on them.  I had been freaking out all week because I didn't want my floors to get wet.  Weff got a coat rack that we could fit in the bathtub.  Glenndy got umbrella bags.  My friends take care of me.  In the afternoon, Glenndy and I needed to pick up Steve.  But wait.  His goody bag wasn't ready, and I needed gas.  You know what's funny about the 7-11 in Arcadia?  They have Pocky.  All kinds of Pocky.  I got all the flavors and we went back to my house so I could fill up the goody bag, and then went to LAX.  It wasn't raining very hard, but I still worried a little because the next day we would be outside.    Wendy had made a sign for me, and we giggled in the airport waiting area as people looked at it when they walked by us.  One guy even started humming "Have You Seen Her", and I was pleased because that meant someone was actually paying attention to our sign.  Not that he had seen Steve or anything, though.

Bananaman helps me on my search

 Once Steve's plane landed, he texted me and we waited.  And waited.  I thought he was tricking us again and hiding somewhere.  Turns out they were taxiing on the tarmac for a while because their plane arrived so early that they didn't have a gate at which to park the plane.  We kept looking at people's legs as they came down the escalator, trying to guess if they belonged to him.  Once we saw the guitar case, we knew:  FFE Weekend had begun!

The Star Has Arrived!


After getting his luggage, we drove directly to Villa Italia Ristorante, my favorite Italian place, introduced to me by Glenndy themselves.  We were all hungry despite the snacks we ate while waiting for FFE to arrive.  Everything was delicious, and the company was wonderful, and I would have had wine, but I was driving precious cargo around, so that didn't happen.  We went to my house and FFE put his luggage away.  During dinner, we had asked if he had any idea what we'd be doing the next day.  He didn't.  I asked FFE to bring out the bag that was in his room.  He was happy to see all of the Pocky in the bag...and then saw a button that said "1st Visit Disneyland".  He excitedly asked us, "Are we going to Disneyland tomorrow?!"  Yes, yes we are!!!  It turns out that this would not be FFE's first visit, but he was a little kid back then, so this would be quite a different experience.  We explained that we were able to book a VIP tour so we'd be doing Disneyland in style.  He got really excited, like a little kid.  It was adorable.  I had only one request: that he ride with me on The Little Mermaid ride.  Of course, he agreed.  I mean, what was he supposed to say? I mentioned to him that Disneyland is special to me partly because I met Glenndy there, back before they became Glenndy.  Then we all sat down to tell the long story of the internet bringing us together.  Knowing that we'd have a big day coming, Glenndy left so we could get some rest.  I'm not sure if we got any, though, because we were excited.  I may have been excited about stuff other than Disneyland, too.

Saturday morning, the weather was perfect.  Not a drop of water was falling from the sky. Bro and V arrived and I introduced FFE to V.  We went to a doughnut place for breakfast, where I realized that I didn't have my phone, so I went back to the house to get it while they ate.  Luckily, we were only a few blocks away from my house.  On the way to the Park, V studied the way to maximize points on the Toy Story Midway Mania ride, and we decided to be in the same vehicle and together we would outscore our other friends.  KP and her brother, Jim, were late to our meeting place at the Grand Californian, which was unusual for her.  Turns out that Jim's camera was damaged while going through bag check and he was dealing with that.  Bummer.  We met our guide, Willy, and headed for DCA. We had lunch reservations at Ariel's Grotto, and met princesses.  Ariel loved my Ariel shoes.

That's Me!
 Yes, FFE sat with me on my ride, although it seemed that Bro was going to steal him from me (hence the LotD).  FFE got the most points in our vehicle at Toy Story Midway Mania.


Before he kicked our butts
 We showed him where Bro and V got engaged.


My brother got engaged here!
 We went to Disneyland and rode a bunch of rides over there.  We watched the "Frozen" show at the Hyperion and FFE told Cindy that he needed to sit by me so we could share my $1.00 popcorn.  Like I'm going to say no.  We spent some time in what Miss O calls the "special place".  
Selfie #1901
We went to back to Disneyland to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade and the subsequent fireworks.  I told FFE about my balloon phobia, which made him understand why I brushed him off when he pointed out the Death Star balloon.  We didn't stay until closing because we still had another big day for the weekend.   It was a perfect day at Disneyland: the weather, the company, the activities...perfect.  What an awesome, fantabulous, magical day!


The rain started on Sunday morning, and I went to church. FFE slept in. Weff and KP came over and the five of us went to brunch at what FFE knows as "our place" so he could have huevos rancheros.
Having his dish at Our Place
 They went to do some errands while FFE rested and I got the house ready for the concert.  Also, I formed cowboy boot-shaped sugar cookies from pre-made dough.  They came out pretty lame, and I was cracking up at my ineptitude when Weff returned.  So Wendy helped me decorate them to make them look less lame.


Boot-ish Cookies
 KP and Jim arrived and the chairs were unloaded.  Yes, he had to bring them in while it was raining.  So prep also involved wiping off the chairs.  Glenndy arrived with the food and also had to bring that in while it was raining.  OMG, the wetness.  Katie, Bro, and V arrived and set up the video equipment, and FFE did a quick sound check with Double N. It was an NFL playoff day, and FFE's Patriots were contenders, so he was hidden away in the den to watch the game until the guests arrived.  Kyoko arrived early to make something for everyone, and when I got out of the shower, I asked why it smelled the way it did in the house.  Turns out she burned stuff in my microwave, so the next task was to clean that out and make my house smell OK.  Thank goodness for the Angry Mama microwave cleaner.


The other guests arrived, and Cindy greeted them at the door, told them how to deal with their wet belongings, and gave them place cards to save their seats.  KP had created awesome jars for the raffle tickets, and dealt with that process.

Raffle Table

 When FFE was ready to talk to folks, he did so in his wonderful way and everyone cheered with him as they watched the Patriots win the game while they ate Filipino food.   
Watching the Patriots win

Then he got warmed up for the show and folks were eventually asked to take their seats for the show.  
In the Hallway

Double N was having some trouble with the sound system when the show started, so FFE talked about our perfect day at Disneyland with the audience.  Then it was time for him to sing!

Do It For The Love
FFE asked me to sing in harmony with him, so I did.  

Sing With Me Now

Edge of 18


FFE: That's going to go on your doodle.
KP:  I've been commissioned.

Runnin' Red Lights
FFE asked Dene if he remembers leaning over in the car to get a smooch from June.
Dene: More than a smooch!

SD has to unwind guitar strings when he flies.

No Substitute
No spoilers, but...
I like that intro.
Math teacher, KP!!!!
Sam Cooke!
FFE: You hit that dissonant chord first, then you bring them back.  Oops.

Duct Tape and Prayers
Cute song!

You Leave Me Wanting More
More of your ey--Heart

Wish I Would Have Let You
FFE: (forgets lyrics) "That happens sometimes."
This happens with Scott, too.  I guess if I wrote as many songs as them, I'd forget stuff. 

One Last Summer
There may be jello shots involved with this song

Rudy began to reminisce about his past summers.  Then realized how much he liked the song.  "That was sweet, man!"

Weightless
Sherry sighs loudly and announces that this is her favorite one.
Sher: I need to get that Weightless Water.
  He's right there.

I Can Always Tell





Close To You
This song was requested by Kyoko, whom sang along a little.  

The Good Life
FFE's grandfather would slice apples at one of their gatherings and call it "Having an Apple Party"
...and we're all crying now.
FFE can't look at his dad when he plays this song or he'll cry.  It's FFE's favorite song.

Full Moon Feelin'
Perfect for a spin on a night like this (maybe not a convertible on this rainy night)



Afterward, we held a raffle to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation.  I was disappointed that I didn't win a frame THAT I MADE myself and could make another, but Ferdie had won a lot of stuff, so when he won that, he gave it to me.  Aw, sweet!

Sherry Sandwich


Weff brought a yummy cake from one of my favorite bakeries for the occasion: an Ube cake with Lecheflan filling from Baked Dessert Bar.  So yum.  I tried not to make it look like we were cutting the cake together.  No, I did not feed cake to FFE.  I already fed him lumpia earlier.  ;)
See?

Kyoko sang "Close to You" with FFE playing the guitar.


Group Picture Silliness
By the time our guests left, the rain had dissipated a little bit, but it was still wet.  FFE helped bring in the furniture and the Posse and I cleaned up.  FFE tried to help by eating more pancit even though he said he wasn't going to eat anymore.  I told FFE why I like Doritos and somehow he's still speaking to me.  I gave him a cute print of Han Solo and Chewbacca playing with a toy Millennium Falcon, which he loved, and insisted I sign on the back.


The posse left after cleanup, and said their goodbyes.  FFE and I planned our alarm times and he went to sleep.  Because I'm me, I still cleaned up a little bit more before going to bed because I still couldn't sleep right away.  

I drove FFE to the airport early the next morning, and we had some time, so I parked the car and walked in with him.  Due to him no longer being an official Rockapella member, I sadly voiced my fear that I might never see him again.  He told me not to think like that because he's trying to get his band to play out here in CA sometime this summer.  (I'm writing this in September.  No word yet.  Yes, I'm about to cry again).  

We gave each other huge hugs and kisses on the cheeks and said we'd see each other soon.  I went home and sent messages to the posse to thank them for such a great weekend. There may have been more crying.  Dang, all of these emotions!

The Star and The Posse


Thank you, Posse, for everything you've done to help get this done a second time, and in style!  Thank you to all of our guests for braving the torrential rain to see FFE do his thang.  Thank you to photographer Jim for the awesome pictures on House Concert day.  Thank you to videographers Katie, Bro and V.  The footage looks great, and will be uploaded to YouTube when I figure out how to do that.  Thank you to Steve, for being such a trusting soul and for every smile you put on my face this weekend.

Until next time, FFE.  Love you lots.

Our Star