The Astromaid Chronicles

Slow Travel, Creative Living, and Speculation

Category: On Being Twenty-Something (page 1 of 3)

Juice Cleanse Log, Days #3 and DONE

WEDNESDAY, DAY #3:

9:00AM: Up and at ’em! No yoga this morning since I have a doctor’s appointment first. I slug back one of my favorite juices, carrot-apple-ginger, but somehow it tastes less delicious after two full days of vegetables juices. Still, it’s not bad. I look fondly at the Keurig.

10:00AM: At the doctor’s office. The nurse readies the cuff to take my blood pressure. “I’ve been juicing,” I blurt out, feeling a little crazed. “Will that affect any of the readings?” She takes my blood pressure, I don’t pass out. “I expected it to be a little lower,” she says. It’s 120/80. Maybe it’s the stress of missing food.

10:03AM: I get weighed. I’m a couple pounds lighter than the last time I weighed myself, which might have been six months ago. I thought drinking nothing but liquefied kale plantations would have shown more on the scale.

11:00AM: Time for errands! I flit around the city for a couple hours for a  variety of tasks, but one of my most important goals: buy miso soup. This will pair nicely with the tofu I bought yesterday. A friend at the health food store asks if I feel amazing from juicing. “Ehh…I feel good,” I tell her. “Not bad, but not crazy awesome. I thought it would be more sparkly than this.” I do mention the heightened sense of smell. There is at least one superpower that comes from juicing.

2:00PM: Errands run long, and I’m just getting home to drink my mid-morning coconut water! I slam it as fast as I can, irrationally happy that I have no more of these pink bottles of tasty-yet-unsettling coconut water. Then comes the lunch juice. I make the Green Lemonade again, which goes down easily. I feel good. It’s okay. It’s less than 24 hours until I’ll eat miso soup.

4:00PM: Gentle yoga with Jorge. I feel surprisingly powerful. But some of those wide-legged forward bends didn’t feel so good in the head/dizziness area. He does part of the Primary Series with me, and then we switch to gentle yoga poses. Om! As in…ommmm, nom nom. Food is happening tomorrow!

5:00PM: I have a late juice snack, this time a new mixture of beets, carrots, celery, oranges, lemon and basil. It’s great–much more delicious than the other beet juice.  Husband fries an egg in the kitchen. I slink away, glaring at him.

7:00PM: Dinner juice time! I have leftovers from lunch. It’s fine. It’s green. It’s full of kale. Just trying to imagine those nutrients massaging my stem cells, or whatever the hell they’re supposed to be doing in there.

9:00PM: Jorge cooks dinner now, and it smells so delicious I can’t bear it. Freaking heightened sense of smell. Someday…I will eat again. Though I might break the seal with miso soup tomorrow, I probably shouldn’t rush straight into a dinner like this.

10:00PM: Is my skin glowing? I think I look slightly more radiant. I’m not sure. It might be juice haze in my eyeballs. Or maybe the fascinating array of nutrients being slam-dunked into my DNA. Again, not sure about the scientific gears behind this. I drink a herbal tea and settle down for the night…and this time, my belly is HUNGRY!

 

THURSDAY, DAY #4:

9:00AM: Good lord, I’m hungry. Despite this, I start my regular Ashtanga practice, slowly and carefully. I make it to standing postures and then I have to abandon in search of hot water with lemon and a breakfast beet-mix juice. After making it, I notice my fridge is considerably less full. Like, I actually have a little bit of space in it now, after barreling through thirteen pounds of produce in three days.

11:00AM: It’s almost miso time. I will definitely eat miso soup for lunch. I cannot wait. I’ve never made miso soup at home before; hell, I’ve only had miso soup a handful of times in my life. But I have never BEEN. MORE. EXCITED. FOR ANYTHING.

12:30PM: IT’S TIME. I’M MAKING THE MISO SOUP. HERE I AM, STIRRING THE GUNKY MISO PASTE INTO THE WATER.

12:32PM: THIS IS GONNA BE SO GOOD. I cut scallions, and cube the tofu. It is so firm and ready. What lovely tofu. It’s gonna be so nice to eat. With my teeth and my jaw and mastication.

12:35PM: I think it’s ready. I can’t let the miso boil once the tofu is in, I read that. I wait a few minutes for everything to warm. My stomach has very nearly burst through skin to get a taste of this broth.

12:40PM: This is momentous. MOMENTOUS. I call my best friend Brian to tell him about the fact that I’m about to eat this soup. He doesn’t pick up. I leave a voicemail of my first slurp of soup. GOD, IT’S SO GOOD.

1:00PM: Bloated with miso, looking at my empty bowl, pondering another one.

1:30PM: Yeah, I’ll have a second helping. Bet your ass I will.  Brian calls me as I’m preparing the soup. He gets to hear the first slurp of the second bowl this time.

2:00PM: Juice fast complete.

 

That wraps up my first ever juicing log, folks! Overall, it was a fun experience, but it didn’t blow my mind. I’d definitely do it again, but probably a longer cleanse next time. However, not anytime soon.  I know this was a shorter duration, so maybe days four and five of the next juice cleanse will bring more interesting results.

Transitioning back into regular food took an additional three days, so it felt like this juice cleanse actually lasted longer since I continued with juices AND ate mostly soups (hello, miso!) for about two full days afterward. Even though during the transition I fantasized heavily about all sorts of foods I wanted to eat…thinking about how my body might feel and react to said foods caused (and still causes me) to weigh these options more heavily. And I think that’s a good thing!

In summation, I can safely say one thing: I really love food. I love preparing it, I love pairing it, I love eating it. I’ll probably do this cleanse (or even another one) again next year or whenever I’m feeling particularly unhealthy or unbalanced. Until that time though…viva la comida! 

Juice Cleanse Log, Day #2

TUESDAY, DAY #2:

8:00AM: Early morning, and we’re off to Cleveland! I take the leftovers from my dessert juice in a jar, and the leftovers from my lunch yesterday since we’ll be out of the house until 1pm. Oh, and don’t forget the glowing pink coconut water! There is an important meeting this morning, and I can’t be wilting in front of lawyers because I didn’t nourish myself properly. I nurse my hot water and lemon until almost 10AM. I am scared to drink the beet juice from last night again.

10:00AM: The meeting with the lawyer begins. She appraises my vivid red beverage and nods knowingly. “Are you juicing?” “Yep,” I reply. “This is a beet juice for breakfast.” She laughs. “I do that in the mornings, too. Disgusting, huh?” She understands me.

NOON: I shudder as the last of the breakfast beet juice goes down. There were little chunks of beet greens in it and for some reason it made me wanna puke. I reluctantly begin my coconut water and then lunch juice not long after. It’s gonna be a long ass day.

4:00PM: I skipped the post-lunch juice because I wasn’t hungry. How could that be?  I have consumed the equivalent of two meals through yesterday and today combined. But I’m just not. I lay down in bed because there’s a headache creeping in. Oh, god. They said this could happen. My body is rejecting the juice! Or maybe this is the cleansing process. 

6:00PM: I wake up, feeling a little better than before. I have my dinner juice, a hefty mixture of cucumber and, you guessed it, an entire crop of kale. It’s good but somehow not appetizing. Maybe the cucumber is too heavy. Maybe I’ve only drank juice for two days. Maybe I’d really like some of that fucking pasta my husband is making right now.

6:30PM: Fantasies about tofu commence. And tempeh. And vegetable soup. And more tofu. I can practically taste pan-seared tofu. I would give almost anything to eat it. ANYTHING.

7:00PM: Husband is cruelly using the oven again to cook food. Except is that a gas leak? I open the back door to let in some air. Man, it smells like something went wrong with the oven. He has no idea what I’m reacting to. Jamie tells me your sense of smell is heightened during fasts. This is what pregnancy will be like. Jesus God, save me already.

9:00PM: We go to Kroger to buy emergency apples for my juicing…and a package of tofu. Just in case. Just in case.

10:00PM: Oh, sweet herbal tea! There’s only one more day of juicing ahead of me. Just one more day of cucumbers, apples, carrots, kale, ginger, and lemons in liquid form. What is it like to chew? Will I even be able to after another day of juicing? What if your jaw works only from constant practice? I cannot wait to eat tofu. 

10:30PM: Belly rumbles, but still not really hungry.  Feeling sort of unsettled, somewhere between nauseous and bloated. Maybe I’ll never drink juice again. It’s time for bed. Only one more day left of this…and then I can eat tofu.

Juice Cleanse Log, Day #1

In a fit of wild-eyed optimism, I made the decision to do a juice cleanse as of the first Monday of the year. My regular routine is that I take breaks every so often from caffeine and alcohol, but to start this year off I felt inspired to take it a little further– give a juice cleanse a try. It was an idea I had toyed with for several years and the timing never felt right.

Until 2016, that is. So last weekend I spent some time arranging the necessary implements–I laid out the reboot juicing plan, made sure my juicer was ready and shiny, and spent *too much money* on the 55 lbs of produce needed.

Here. You'll need this for just one juice. [Photo Credit: www.cambridgeincolour.com]

Here. You’ll need this for just one juice. [Photo Credit: www.cambridgeincolour.com]

Monday came. I was ready. By Monday evening, things had deteriorated so far that I needed to start an hourly log, just in case I didn’t make it to the other side and people were curious about my final hours.

JUST KIDDING! But I did start a log, and here it is. 

MONDAY, DAY #1:

Noon: I’ve technically started my juice cleanse today, but nothing is different yet because I don’t normally eat breakfast until after I finish practicing Ashtanga yoga. Also, I binged on roasted vegetables last night because hey, I’m not gonna be eating for three days! Still, I feel empowered by the difference of this Monday! Juice Cleanse, You’re Great!

1pm: I’ve drank the standard hot-water-and-lemon, as well as my breakfast juice, Carrot-Apple-Ginger. Both of these also constitute my regular waking routine some days, so I am winning hardcore.

2:30PM: It’s time for my snack, 16oz of coconut water. I bought the most expensive kind imaginable, the kind that a friend swore tastes like the coconut water she drank out of actual coconuts in Brazil. For some reason it is pink. They say it’s because of antioxidants but when I think about it, I don’t even know how antioxidants work. I am not a huge fan of coconut water, but this beverage is heavenly delicious. It’s almost so good it makes me feel weird. The pink is disconcerting.

3:00PM: Lunch juice! “Joe’s Mean Green”, a juice that requires 16 pieces of kale and subsequently, about $15 dollars to make. Whatever. It’s so fresh and maybe just a little bit too sour! I can practically feel the nutrients washing through my cells and snapping my DNA into shape.

5:00PM: Time for another snack! Man, they don’t give you any time to get hungry on this plan. I make a juice with pineapple and yellow bell pepper. It is so awesome, I’m definitely making this one when I eat regular food again–if that time ever comes? I can’t believe how smart this juice plan is! Good god.

6:30PM: Dinner Juice is upon us. I make a “Green Lemonade”, which again uses 16 kale leaves (which is essentially just one whole bunch), celery, apple, spinach, and cucumber. It’s very green. Like, extremely green. It’s good…I suppose.

6:45PM: Still drinking dinner. Flip through facebook as I drink. Belly is rumbling.

6:50PM: Stumble across a taco meme posted by a friend. Oh, god! Tacos! That sounds SO GOOD.

6:55PM: I wonder what I’ll make for dinner–stop it. Stop it right there. You’ve got this great juice and that’s your dinner, now drink it and like it.

7:00PM: I wonder what I’ll make for dinn–nope. NOT AGAIN. You are not eating today, nor for the following two days. Get used to it.

7:30PM: Still drinking the juice. Man I’d love to go make some dinner right now.

8:00PM: Still drinking dinner juice. Finally make a herculean effort to swallow the rest in a huge gulp. I shudder. It’s down.

9:00PM: Welp, it’s time for dessert. More juice. Yay. This time, I make a beet-carrot-orange juice. It looked so refreshing on the menu plan, but this is just not nearly as tasty as I hoped for. I hope it doesn’t give me nightmares. But think of all these nutrients! It’s so worth it. I struggle to choke it back. My cells have to be rejoicing somewhere inside me.

10:00PM: Time for my nightly herbal tea. Though what I’d really like is a slice of bread that Jorge just finished baking….GOD. THE SMELL. I need to escape into the bedroom. Time to hope this chamomile does its job. I fall asleep, belly moaning and visions of tacos dancing through my head.

 

Day #1 had its ups and downs…and in retrospect, every day of the cleanse was different from the rest! I’ll post more from my log soon!

Have any of you done juice cleanses? What was your first day like? 

Farewell, 2015!

Welp, it’s basically the end of the year. Are you all as curious/chagrined/baffled/excited as I am?

Looking back at my blog, all the way from its incipiency (looking at Phil) in 2012, I see that in December 2012 I wrote nothing about the year behind, or the year upcoming. At the end of 2013 I didn’t either, but at the beginning of 2014 I did write a small list of resolutions (which I can verify were ALL achieved…though I might have made them highly achievable on purpose). At the end of 2014 I wrote nothing, and also in early 2015 remained silent on the matter.

In summary, I’m basically saying “I never write about year end’s or resolutions, except for those couple of times I did”.

So what’s different about this year-end? Well, not much. I don’t feel particularly inclined to wax poetic about the challenges faced, the cherry-picked memories—both good and bad—that dapple my little fruit tree of life. I mean, I definitely could wax poetic. I’ll wax your poets as hard as the next girl, don’t get me wrong.

What’s different is that I want to make a little mention. Not a full blown “grab the wax and the sun screen because I’m gonna be waxing this poet until I get a sunburn”-style, but just, hold a little memorial.

I want to lay 2015 to rest; say a few words over its grave, if you will. Because a year so highly awesome and strange as this one deserves it.

(But, see? I think all my years are awesome and strange. So this has no bearing on previous years, and my lack of mentioning them. What I’m trying to get around saying is that I’m an erratic blogger and sometimes I just write these posts in my journal instead of online. Moving on.)

2015 was a baller year.

I got married to the most incredible, sweet, delightful, and loving man I could have hoped to meet. I moved back to the United States. I went to India. I published a story about my poop, and got paid for it. I rented my first house in my hometown. Jorge and I applied for his residency and hired a lawyer. I lived in Peru, and left it. I climbed Huayna Pichu, which finally laid to rest any residual qualms about my post-surgical recuperationI studied with two Ashtanga teachers, both of which impacted my personal practice in a huge way. I sat in ceremony again, under a different shaman. I paid for my wedding reception in mostly cash, but also slipped further into credit card debt. I came home in a very significant way that involved re-connecting with so many people, re-integrating in a serious, lovely, much-needed way.

Thinking about January 2015 feels like it was just a couple weeks ago. That’s frightening (though not uncommon); before we know it, we’ll be in this spot again, feeling like December 31st, 2015 wasn’t that long ago.

I don’t have a problem with waxing poetic about life; really, we all should do it more often. Though I bristle that it’s typically year-end’s that prompt the introspection (whereas I think it’s helpful to maintain this introspection throughout the year), I also recognize the beauty and ritual of our need to reflect at a designated mile-marker.

Sometimes we get caught up. Or maybe we forget. Any reminder to pause and look back, and then also look ahead, is a welcome one.

I’m excited for 2016, as I have been for every other year. I expect the greatest, the best, the most meaningful, the most loving, the most challenging, the most trying experiences. And I expect I shall find all of them contained within the messy, sparkling, infuriating, perpetual yet fleeting gem that is the upcoming year.

How was 2015 for you guys? What stood out–and what didn’t? What do you hope for the next year? And what are some resolutions or intentions you have for 2016?

Who Wore It Better? A New Series!

Somewhere around the 1-year mark, Jorge’s and my wardrobe fused into one cohesive unit, likes bones healing from a break. Now that it’s awkwardly reconstituted into one weird, lumpy mass, I just can’t for the life of me recover some of the clothes he’s claimed as his own.

To be fair, we don’t usually share underwear or pants, and he’s only worn my leggings once, during an emergency bathroom run when an old roommate’s guests were around. We’ve all had crazy moments of desperation, OK?

But it’s gotten to a point where he has effectively subsumed a lot of my clothing into his own rotating rack–too much of my clothing, in fact.

(Author’s Note: I love the word subsume. Please try to use it today, if at all possible.)

I can’t quite cry foul play on this, though, because I wear a lot of his clothing. In fact, I wear his clothing daily. I think what the culprit must ultimately be is that we have the same taste of clothing. Like, he dresses as I would if I were a man, and I must dress how he would if he were a woman, though I feel bad for him because I literally have the most boring clothes and still only wear leggings.

You guys might think I’m joking, but I’m not. I dare anyone who knows me in real life to recall the last time I wore pants.

That’s right.

There we go. You can’t remember, can you? Thought not.

Anyway…being that the tectonic plate of my wardrobe has been effectively consumed by his own bigger, more aggressive tectonic plate (what?!), I am forced to take my case to the internet and pose my appeal to the world.

WHO WEARS IT BETTER BETWEEN US? There must be a victor, obviously. And occasionally, I will share with you all the evidence of our rampant clothing swapping so we can decide who it looks better on.

And unfortunately, or maybe inevitably, Jorge will probably win. I married this guy, I know how stinkin’ cute he is. And he just looks good in anything. So I’m already starting the race with a twisted ankle.

But all that my husband is prettier than I am whining aside…let’s see who wore it better this week!

Shannon in Puerto Varas, Chile

Here I am, crouching in the woods in southern Chile for no apparent reason, wearing the token green sweater! Jorge tries to claim it for his own, but I resist his advances.

Jorge in Potosi, Bolive

But on more than one occasion he’s been able to steal it from me, and it looks like this when he does.

What do you guys think? Comment below, or tell me to my face, which of us wins this round of WHO WORE IT BETTER, the Jorge & Shannon edition!

#LifeHack: Go To Bed…With A Calculator

My whole life I’ve been a night owl. During the middle and high school years, I would hit my creative groove somewhere around 10PM and sit hunched in my bed, scribbling furiously into notebooks until 1 or 2AM.

As an adult, it’s not much different. Though I might not be writing until 1 or 2 AM every night, I certainly get my second-wind around 10PM. Once midnight hits, creativity blooms. I want to finish all the random tasks I’ve left undone from throughout the day; I want to start a new story; I want to finally organize all those pictures I’ve been meaning to consolidate for years. I want to purchase plane tickets and start a family. I CAN DO IT ALL IN THE WEE HOURS!

It’s like my To-Do list in the wee hours is a single-celled organism multiplying endlessly, simply by dividing in half and floating off to find more of its newly-spawned kind.

My To-Do list is floating somewhere between the ribosoom and cytoplasma.

And for as long as I’ve hit the creative stride in the nighttime hours, is as long as I’ve struggled with waking up in the morning.

Some people are natural morning people. I am NOT.

Let me repeat this–I DO NOT ENJOY WAKING UP EARLY.

I’m not one of those crusty colleagues who rolls into work at 8AM, bleary-eyed no matter what, and denouncing the fact that “mornings exist”. Trust me–I’m not that type of averse to mornings. I can make it to early morning obligations just fine.

The problem is the waking up part. Like, it physically PAINS ME sometimes to wake up if I haven’t snagged a solid 7-8 hours of sleep. But if I’ve gotten my fair share? Totally fine to wake up…provided it’s not before 7AM.

But these days it’s been more of the painful kind of waking up, and it’s been downright confusing. I listen to my body, and when it tells me to sleep more even though I’m getting what I assume is good sleep, I listen. I notice. And I wonder what the hell is going on.

International travel tends to take a certain toll on me. Multiple late nights/early mornings tend to require a solid sleep-in day somewhere down the line.

But recently? I’ve been getting to bed by 12:30AM most nights, and struggling to wake up by 9AM. What’s the deal here?

It’s a perplexing situation that makes me feel like a total loaf. One of my best friends, Heather, and I frequently update each other on the status of various bodily functions and biological systems, so this came up in a conversation recently.

I mentioned that despite allowing myself seemingly enough sleep time, my body still wanted to sleep way past 9AM, even though I was getting into bed around 1230AM. It seemed like, if left to do its own thing, my body would wake up (and crawl out of bed and leave my head behind, because the way I’m describing my body sounds like it acts of its own accord) at 11AM. WHY DO I NEED MORE THAN EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP?

I also mentioned that every day, I get woken up with Jorge at 7:30AM as he prepares himself for work.

Upon reflecting further, I realized that historically, when I get woken up before my proper wake time, I seem to then sleep much longer than I wanted or even planned. But if I can sleep all the way through, I’ll only need roughly 8 hours.

Was there something to this? Heather did a little savvy internet searching and came back with this: THE SLEEPY TIME CALCULATOR.

This site will calculate what time you should wake up, based on your bed time (or vice versa) in order to obtain full sleep cycles and wake up feeling more refreshed.

What I found out from this calculator is that if I’m going to bed at 12:30AM, I should be waking up at either 6:30AM or 8AM. Waking up at 7:20AM, like I have been with Jorge, is kind of smack dab in the middle of a sleep cycle. And, as it says on the site…

sleepyti.me works by counting backwards in sleep cycles. Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle leaves you feeling tired and groggy, but waking up in between cycles wakes you up feeling refreshed and alert!

Ah-ha! This may be the reason for my extra-sleep-needing, and not, as I had feared, a strange and pernicious symptom of an upcoming rare disease that manifests by total morning sloth. 

I don’t mean THIS sloth, but rather the deadly sin sloth. [Photo Credit: www.worldwildlife.org]

Armed with knowledge and a buoyant sense of wellness, I checked the calculator to see what time I should go to bed from now on. If I want to wake up with Jorge in the morning so that my sleep cycle is not interrupted, and then catch one more cycle just for shits and giggles once he’s off to work…Sleepy Time Master recommends that I go to sleep at 11:50PM OR 1:20AM.

Perfect.

My night owl innards are rejoicing, and science supports my need to stay up later. See, world? I can’t go to bed at 12:30AM. Pff! I’ll interrupt my sleep cycle in the morning!

And if there’s one thing I don’t want to do as I’m nearing 30…it’s fuck with obtaining my 5-6 recommended sleep cycles per night.

A Night, or Two, With Hanson

Listen, I’ve been a Hanson fan since 1997 and I’m not even gonna sugar coat that. It’s true. I’m out. Deal with it.

Since 2009, I’ve seen them roughly every two years, except for when they came around while I was living in Chile. Making the biannual trek to Cleveland (House of Blues, specifically) to see them play has been something of a personal pilgrimage. It’s important to check in with the guys every couple of years, too. Like re-visiting old friends.

I remember the first time in 2009 was a big deal because not only was I going to attend a concert by myself, I was also confronting the ghosts of my adolescence on my own, with adult eyes, and with a whole different perspective than when I’d seen them last (which was somewhere around 2003).

I felt kind of awkward that time, rocking out to Hanson and screaming like a freak by myself. The screaming isn’t really negotiable, it just erupts out of me like hot magma from a volcano. When those boys play any track from Middle of Nowhere…shit. I lose it. And somehow, doing those scream-y, fangirl things with a friend by your side makes you feel like it’s more acceptable…less lame, somehow.

But all alone? Nope, gotta own that lameness.

It was easier the second time around, in 2011. I had more fully accepted the fact that yep, I’m just a 20-something Hanson fan coming to shows all alone. 

But now, in 2015, I had some companions. I was hesitant to bring them, since the solo journey to behold Hanson has become not only a pilgrimage but also a sacred time-out for me. For whatever reason. Or maybe I just like routine.

Whatever the reason, I knew that these companions were more important than sticking to a tradition I made up out of necessity.  Both companions were willing, for the record. There was no coercion. None that I’ll admit to, at least.

Heather and I at the Hanson concert

Companion for Night #1, Best Friend Heather

Zac Hanson greeting fans

Zac Hanson greeting fans toward the end of the show. Why can’t my hand be up there, grazing his ever-so-slightly???

Going to Hanson concerts is a strange departure from almost any other type of show I’ve been to. The type of music I see live most often these days is folk and rock, local music, acoustic stuff…or underground house music.Their concerts back in the day were admittedly much larger. I’ve seen them in arenas, in huge amphitheaters, and then…the House of Blues, where several hundred aged-up fans can gather comfortably without too much elbow-brushing or accidental pushing.

I think that’s just the thing–the crowd is so respectable. Looking around, I see mostly white, middle-class women with pressed blouses and carefully straightened hair and I laugh and then I reflect, I am one of them. And being comprised of all women and a small handful of obligated male significant others, I don’t feel comfortable resorting to brash, relentless pushing to get to the front, or get a better spot, etc. Is this what happens when a teeny-bopper gets older, wiser, more thoughtful?

Back in 1999, I would have knifed a bitch to get closer to Zac Hanson. My friend and I even forged permission slips to hand to a guard to sneak back stage (which didn’t work out.)

Now, I worry that my dread pile might block another paying fan’s view.

First Night with Hanson in Cleveland

First Night with Hanson in Cleveland

Hanson is doing a shorter tour this year, but playing for TWO nights in each spot. I wasn’t even going to go the first night because gas money and adult stuff. But then I figured, fuck it, I bought a ticket to see Hanson for two nights and I damn well better gaze upon their faces for as long as humanly possible.

Night #1 was all covers (with a few original tunes sprinkled in), followed by a beer party to showcase their new beer which is called, I shit you not, MMMHops. Then Taylor Hanson DJ’d, which I DID NOT SEE, BECAUSE IT WAS A WORK NIGHT AND SOME PEOPLE HAVE TO GET TO BED IN SANDUSKY, HANSON. OKAY?!

This is hilarious, and totally real.

This is hilarious, and totally real.

But seriously, I sort of regret not going. How many of these respectable 9-5’ers were popping drugs as Tay dropped the phat EDM? Yeah, I bet none. Work night, after all.

Wednesday, night #2, was a day that Jorge and I had to be in Cleveland for some unrelated matters in the AM, so we had a Cleveland Fun Day (or, as I like to call it, pre-Hanson activities, since when Hanson is in town, all references to time revolve around them).  The Cleveland parking system and their museums siphoned most of my disposable income for the month, which left me feeling slightly more educated and unnecessarily broke.

By the time Hanson Time rolled around, Jorge was briefed on what awaited him. Night #2 was the night of the Original Songs, so this was gonna be the big shebang–the screaming, the crowd swelling, the Mmmbop! We saw a good handful of Obligated Significant Other’s (OSO’s) there–you know, the bored boyfriend, embracing his girlfriend from behind as he chugs back a beer while she writhes desperately to the music in his arms.

I give Jorge a lot of credit, because he at least screamed for Hanson to hurry the eff up while we were waiting for the curtains to lift. Also, I caught a few of his errant bellows into the Hanson ether during the show.  So, it was something like enthusiasm, which counts.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I was already tired from a whole day of standing, museum-gazing and being slowly sucked dry by the Cleveland Art Scene, but it seemed like the crowd was less energetic than what I remembered from previous years. Maybe that was the effect of seeing Hanson two nights in a row–by the second night, it’s not quite as scream-worthy. Don’t get me wrong, there was tons of screaming. But there’s something precious and sacred in that build-up of waiting to see Hanson. Having seen them the night before, it was like we had already blown our loads.

But the second time around was still reallllllly freaking awesome.

Hanson, House of Blues 2015

*sigh* The boys.

Hanson, House of Blues 2015

OH, TAYLOR, YOUR SWEET VOICE AND MILKY SKIN STILL MAKES ME SWOON

The thing about Hanson is they have some of the most loyal fans in the WORLD. They have been a cohesive, touring unit for 20 years. TWENTY FREAKING YEARS. And they still put out new albums, tour regularly, meet with fans, and continue upping their game (with, as we saw this year, DJ sets and a beer brand).

It’s funny how we’re all getting older alongside them. At the concert the first night, I gestured to the audience and told Heather, “We grew up with all these girls.” Because we did, in a way. We didn’t know them, personally, but we all were coming of age and growing up together with Hanson as the center of our universe. And that’s a really powerful uniting force. So powerful that 15 years later, we’re still coming together to see these guys.

After the show wrapped on the second night, a very drunk fan told me she’d met them in Toronto the weekend before (yep, these fans still tag along for the whole tour!) and waited outside by their bus until they came outside. JUST LIKE I’D ALWAYS PLOTTED AS A TEENAGER. I considered the idea for a bit, knowing deep inside my heart that waiting a couple extra hours to meet the boys just wouldn’t make sense for my O.S.O who had a 7am wake-up call the next day.

I still want to meet Hanson. SO badly. Like, gazing upon Zac Hanson is something that stirs things inside my soul that are inexplicable and so deeply ingrained that I cannot even articulately express what is happening. He was so important in my adolescence, yet has no idea of who I am or what impact he had. Yet he knows–because how many girls have this same story?

I’d love to meet them someday, just shake their hands, stare intensely into their eyes, and really thank them for existing. They inspired so much creativity in my life. They are also one of the biggest inspirations behind my writing.

Jorge and I left Cleveland without lingering near tour buses or stalking back doors for signs of nearing voices. In fact, we were home by 10:30PM, because it was a work night, after all.

I didn’t meet Hanson this time…but someday, I swear to God, I will. We’ve been best friends since 1997, it’s high time they finally find out about it.

Hanson and their back-up musicians, signing off.

Hanson and their back-up musicians, signing off.

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