Meeting Keane, and other brushes with stardom in 2009

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I love going to concerts, symphonies, operas, plays, and musicals.

My favorite concert of 2009 was Keane at the Hollywood Palladium (with Mat Kearney as the opener). My “bosom friend” Esther treated me to my ticket for my birthday, and we met up with my friends Kathryn and Elizabeth in Hollywood for a night we’ll never forget last May. I was recently going through my pictures of 2009, and realized that I never blogged about my experience meeting Keane after the concert, nor had I mentioned other “celebrities” I met in the past year.
The Palladium is a fantastic venue, and I was excited to actually be there for a performance (after being a lifetime closet fan of The Lawrence Welk Show.) It underwent a very extensive renovation that was completed 6 months earlier in 2008, but it still had the retro charm. Mat Kearney, who has become one of my other recent music obsessions, performed a stellar opening set (and Esther and I saw Mat again in SLC in October). Keane’s set was phenomenal…the best performance I’d seen of their three concerts I’ve attended (Coincidentally, all in LA). After the show, us girls were DETERMINED to meet our favorite band. We waited out on the street by the door, shivering in the cold next to the tour bus, for over an hour until the boys from Battle came out to greet their adoring fans.

Esther with Tim

Kat with Tim

An awkward shot of me with Tim (there wasn’t any time for retaking pics)

Tom greeting his adoring fans

Esther fondling Richard’s ear (I mean, caressing his cheek)

Another embarassingly bad shot of me by Tom post-autograph (I was the dedicated photographer of the post-concert experience, so there aren’t any decent pics of me)

I was lucky to go to more concerts in 2009 than any other prior year. Despite my anorexic bank account, family and friends with connections hooked me up with great tickets throughout the year (They no longer think it odd when I tell them which concert tickets I want for my birthday and Christmas) I also got some insanely cheap concert tickets off Twitter and fan sites. Here’s my 2009 list:

January: Missy Higgins, Justin Nozuka, and Lenka at Atlanta Center Stage
February: Flight of the Conchords at Atlanta Fox Theater
2 Fox Elipsus Shows (Austell and Snellville, GA)
March: New Kids on the Block at The Bi-Lo Center, Greenville, SC
April: Jersey Boys in Chicago (technically a Broadway musical, but it FELT like a concert)
May: Keane and Mat Kearney at the Hollywood Palladium
June: No Doubt at Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheater
August: Greg Laswell and Elizabeth and the Catapult at the Murray Theater
Iron and Wine at Gallivan Center, SLC (sort of…long story)
October: Mat Kearney and Vedera at In the Venue, SLC
November: Imogen Heap at In The Venue, SLC
Justin Nozuka and Elizabeth and the Catapult, Glass House, Pomona, CA
December: Natalie Cole with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Salt Lake City
Peter Breinholt (et al.) at Rose Wagner Theater, Salt Lake City

Throughout the year, I did meet a handful of celebs. Here are the pictures I was able to snag…

Me with Elizabeth (of Elizabeth and the Catapult)

Missy Higgins (I was 5 feet away from her at the merch table, but Taylor didn’t want to wait in line to meet her) I DID have a wonderful 5 minute conversation with her in 2005 in SLC.


Rosie with Peter Breinholt (I could write a whole blog post about these two…)

Rosie and I with Ryan Shupe (of Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band)

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir – obviously, I didn’t meet the whole choir, but I have several friends and relatives who are in MoTab, or the Orchestra on Temple Square


Waiting in line to meet David Archuleta at his Christmas CD signing in November

This goofy Archie kid went to Murray High, where I graduated, and used to hang out with my sister Mary. When she came with us to the CD signing, he said “Hey Mary, I like your hoodie!”

Rosie with HER favorite (American) Idol

Nine “Top 9s” of 2009

Top 9 Bands I discovered in 2009
Elizabeth and the Catapult
Owl City
Greg Laswell
The Bird and the Bee
The Airborne Toxic Event
Fleet Foxes

Top 9 Live Performances I attended
Keane , Mat Kearney – Hollywood Palladium
Jersey Boys – Chicago, Bank of America Theater
Missy Higgins, Justin Nozuka, Lenka – Atlanta, Center Stage
Mat Kearney, Vedera – Salt Lake City, In the Venue
Imogen Heap – Salt Lake City, In the Venue
Justin Nozuka, Elizabeth and the Catapult – Pomona CA, Glass House
New Kids on the Block – Greenville SC, BiLo Center
No Doubt, Paramore – Atlanta, Lakewood Amphitheater
Peter Breinholt – Salt Lake City, Rose Wagner Theater

Top 9 Websites I Visit Daily
Google Reader
iTunes App Store

Top 9 TV Shows I Watched and Loved
The Sing Off
More to Love
Private Practice
Grey’s Anatomy
The Office
Drop Dead Diva

Top 9 blogs I discovered that I love (to stalk)
Confessions of a Mormon Bachelor Pad
How Could You Not?!
Feminist Mormon Housewives
Fail Blog

Top 9 CDs I obsessively listened to
Muse – The Resistance
Imogen Heap – Ellipse
Elizabeth and the Catapult – Taller Children
Missy Higgins – On a Clear Night
John Mayer – Battle Studies
Vedera – Stages
Mat Kearney – City of Black and White
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
U2 – No Line on the Horizon

Top 9 YouTube Videos
Slapchop Rap
JibJab’s 2009 in Review
All You Need Is Love Starbucks Project
Lenka “Trouble is a Friend”
Ingrid Michaelson “Maybe”
Jim and Pam Wedding (Forever)
United Breaks Guitars
Tweeting on a Jet Plane
Owl City “Fireflies”

Top 9 Favorite People to follow on Twitter

9 Favorite Places to Shop
Trader Joes Classifieds
Mitsuwa Asian Market

Pilot News

Pilots, planes and aviation have been in the news a lot this year. Let’s go over the highlights:

Planes that crash just short of the runway in wintry conditions

Distracted pilots who overshoot their destination by 150 miles

 A drunk pilot failing a breathalyzer test prior to a trans-oceanic flight from London

A flight landing on the taxiway instead of the runway at ATL

Air France flight 447 crashing into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all on board

It would be nice if there were more stories of successful “near misses” or “Miracles on the Hudson?” (well, obviously NO crash would be better, but if problems arise, I want my crew competent like Sully, Skiles, and their experienced flight crew) Crew payscales are ridiculously low compared to the last few years, and some crew members have resorted to living in an LAX airport parking lot.

But not all pilot news is bad. My favorite news is when I know that my husband is successfully assigned a non-rev or jumpseat and he’s on his way home (even if it means picking him up at 5 am). It’s been tough having him commute from Memphis, but I’m excited for the time DO get to spend with him. Even better is when he brings along my other favorite pilot for the ride. It can get a little zany with two pilots in the house, but it never feels more like home.

Yesterday’s Verdict

The hearing was emotionally intense. I had not seen him in 4 years, and my first glimpse of him in the courtroom made my body lurch. His back was facing me so I never saw his face. Hearing his voice brought chills down my spine. Giving the victim impact statement was difficult and emotional, but I made it through. The hearing officer recommended another review in 15-18 months. So for now, I’m relieved.

(If you have any specific questions for me, feel free to email me. The details aren’t anything that should be discussed in a public setting)

CALoween 2009

There’s something really nice about celebrating Halloween in a place where it’s warm. All growing up, I remember Halloween night being bundled up in parkas or raincoats, covering up my costume….coming home with a bag of soggy candy. For the two years I lived in California, I decided that I preferred warm, sunny Halloweens. We went last year while living in Michigan, and had a great time trick-or-treating through La Verne. When Rosie had a day off school last Friday, I decided to get in a little family and friend time in California.I pulled Rosie out of school a little early on Wednesday. We drove up to SLC, parked our car, went through security, and made it to our gate just as the plane was boarding. We were assigned seats together, and the flight was just long enough to finish my Entertainment Weekly, drink my Coke Zero, and browse some of the Delta entrainment options. We arrived at LAX around 4:00 pm, and hoped to zoom up the 405 before traffic got too congested. Unfortunately, I went with a super-cheap car rental company, and it took almost 40 minutes for the shuttle to pick us up. At least we had a good view.I had a handful of problems with our rental car company. First, I’d rented an “intermediate” vehicle…and they wanted to give me a PT Cruiser (my least favorite car to rent, usually rated as an economy or compact) I knew I’d be doing a lot of driving over the weekend, and said I’d wait a few minutes to see if a car I liked better was turned in. A Toyota Matrix drove in, and I was happy with that car. About 35 minutes later, and after an argument over my method of payment (strange online reservation didn’t run my card correctly), I pulled out of the rental agency nearly 90 minutes after landing. By then, it was too trafficky to get on the freeway. We went to the Trader Joe’s on Sepulveda to pick up $14 of groceries to avoid eating out for most of the trip. Rosie got her California Rolls and mini merengue cookies, and I got my 4-cheese sourdough bread, Popchips, and Sweet Savory and Tart Trek Mix. We drove over to Dockweiller beach just as the sun was setting. We snapped a few pictures and ate some sushi at the beach.

When we got back in the car, the center console of the car had blown a fuse: no radio, clock, A/C power, etc. There was NO way I’d be able to handle a trip without a way to charge my phone on the road, let alone have no access to the radio. We went back into the rental car agency, explained the problems, and waited for them to figure out what to do with me. They said I could pay extra to get a nicer car…I said that was unacceptable. I talked to the manager, and he eventually let me WAIT for another Toyota Matrix to get vaccummed out and ready to rent. As soon as I got in the car and reached for the seatbelt, the plastic casing for the door frame snapped off! I went back to the rental agent, told him I was fine with the broken doorframe, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be charged for the damage. 3.5 hours after we landed at LAX, we were finally on the 405 up to Palmdale.

We stayed with my blogger friend Heather (aka Hizzeather). We’ve been friends online for a year, but only had met in person one other time at her wedding reception. It was so nice to finally have some quality bonding time with her. Between our blogs and Facebook, I feel like we know each other quite well…but it all comes together when you stay up till 2 am in your silly PJs, eating junk food, watching “The Office,” and gossiping about scandalous blogs.

In the morning, Heather’s husband Cody made us some delicious pumpkin pancakes. The we played some games on the Wii, and I have to admit it was nice to play games other than Wii Sports 🙂 Heather and Cody were preparing for their ward Halloween party, so Rosie and I left Palmdale in the early afternoon. We didn’t have anything planned until the evening at our former ward’s Halloween party, so we had some time to kill. I got some advisement from Cybele at Candy Blog for the best places in the San Gabriel Valley to get Japanese candy. First we went to Pasadena, where we picked up a couple things at Japanese-style combini Famina!. We continued down Colorado to Federico’s Bakery. I was introduced to their marzipan princess cake by my dear Lizzie, and no trip to Pasadena is complete without this slice of heaven. Next, we drove into San Gabriel to Mitsuwa Marketplace. I was pleased to find their sizeable assortment of Japanese candy at a reasonable price. I picked up several hard-to-find flavors of Hi-Chew, Ramune and Mango KitKats, gummies, Pocky, and fizzy candies. I look forward to reviewing these on my other blog, Nicole Rates It. We spent a little too much time candy shopping, because by the time we reached the freeway it was well into Friday traffic. It took about 75 minutes to get from Pasadena to La Verne. By the end of the drive, we were a little stir crazy.
We immediately raided my mother-in-law’s costume stash, and headed to the ward halloween party. Baked potato bar, costume contest, indoor trick-or-treating to the decorated classrooms, and catching up with old friends and ward members.

Pretty kitty and sinister villain ( Me and my brother-in-law Nathan)
Nathan the Villain and Sophisticated Dayna won 2nd and 1st places in the costume contest

I was so tired by the time the party was over, I could barely make it back to my in-law’s couch to sleep (I was running on about 3 hours sleep). In the morning, I met up with Liz for breakfast at Coco’s (sadly, no pictures). I had pumpkin pancakes again….delicious! I then ran a few errands, and then took Rosie and Nevaeh to meet up for tea in San Dimas with our friend Kevin.

After tea, we went back and prepared for the Halloween festivities. Neither Rosie nor Nevaeh were satisfied wearing the same costume trick-or-treating that they wore to the ward party. They dug up some bobby-soxer costumes and modeled them for some pics.

When Taylor’s sister Janelle made it to LV, we drove over to Lissy and Tyler’s to get the twins ready for trick or treating. Eleanor made some adorable witch costumes, that could only possibly have been cuter if they’d kept the witch hats on.

Sarah, Rosie, Phoebe, Nevaeh – the 4 cousins

We went trick-or-treating in some of the finer spots in Pomona, including the liquor store and the dollar store. Fearing for our safety, we collected candy in a residential neighborhood till the twins were exhausted. Afterward, we went back to have some homemade apples cider and sort through the candy treasures.

The last spot for festivities was in Burbank. I met up for dessert with my fellow Keaneheads Elizabeth and Kathryn. I had an assortment of fresh sorbets (lime, tangerine, blackberry) and the others ate decadent chocolate souffle. Rosie said it was the best dessert she’d ever had (and it should have been good….the price wasn’t on the menu and it ended up being $10!) They couldn’t stay long because they were off to a big mid-Singles party. We said our goodbyes and I drove to our amazingly cheap $27 3-star Priceline hotel.
With the daylight savings change, my alarm went off earlier than I’d expected. I was wide awake, and figured I’d just check out and get to the airport. We had planned on the 7:15 flight back to SLC, but made it on the 6:05 am flight just as they were closing the doors. We arrived back in SLC just in time to zoom down to Spanish Fork for church.

Autumn 2009 Playlist

This is my current default playlist. What’s tickling your music fancy this fall?


Today I’ve felt really happy. I spent a few days in California (more details to come) and flew back early this morning. I arrived in SLC, picked up my car, and drove home. I got there about 20 minutes before church started. I threw on my dress, made sure I had the stuff for my primary lesson. Sacrament meeting was awesome. It was one of those “burning in the bosom” meetings. I felt light and happy. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for all the varied blessings in my life. I bore my testimony and felt even better. Primary went well (as well as it can with a room full of 8 year olds) This evening I spent a few hours with my family in honor of my father’s birthday. I was surrounded by people I love, and it doesn’t get much better than that (except having your husband around, but he’ll fly in tomorrow)

I’ve been reflecting on the blessings of my life, and I don’t think I express my gratitude often enough. Despite the recent trials our family has been facing, there is definitely an abundance of blessings, I’m unemployed, but still have a roof over my head. I have a husband and daughter that adore me. I have many friends within driving distance, and the rest are just a phone call away. I’ve been working through some big decisions and trials, and as I resolve them I feel peace. I know hard times are surely ahead. But on days like today, I am really happy with life.

(Must be the post-Halloween sugar high. Heaven knows there is an abundant supply in this house)

Rexburg Redux

After being back from London for only one day, Rosie and I roadtripped up to Rexburg, ID. Rosie was feeling left out because we didn’t bring her to London, so I promised her we’d do something fun over fall break. I’ve wanted to drive up and see my sister Mary at BYU-Idaho since she started last year, and now she’s in her last semester. We dropped Taylor off in SLC, drove on the Legacy Parkway for the first time, and headed north on I-15 Wednesday afternoon. I made my two usual stops…gas at the Flying J in Willard, and dinner at Jack in the Box in Pocatello. We arrived in the ‘Burg around 8:30 pm.

Mary, Monica, Rosie and I got frozen custard a BRC’s

It was fun to share college stories with Rosie. She said she already knows she wants to go to BYUI. She is interested in the nursing program, but let’s see what she says in 9 years when it’s time to declare a major.

I had fun getting to know Mary’s roommates, and as this picture attests…they were very sad to see me leave. We had fun stalking people on Facebook…like an old boyfriend of mine, whose brother is friends with Mary’s roommate. Small world.
This was my first time to Rexburg since the temple was dedicated. When driving into town at night, it looks like the temple is floating about of town. It would have been nice to have this available when I was a student, but I do have fun memories of Idaho Falls temple trips with my student ward. My favorite diner from back then is now a hot tub store, and the Retrix dance club is now a home decorating store. There’s loads of new married student housing, many more restaurants, a movie theater, and a lot more students. There are several more buildings on campus…and the Manwaring Center just opened a gorgeous new cafeteria. I went to Foundations of Light and Sound with Mary, pretending to be a student (also to have internet access, since it was blocked from Mary’s apartment for guests.

We participated in some Walmart hijinks until the store employee reprimanded us

Mary made us some stellar banana Nutella crepes

After class on Friday, we went into Idaho Falls. Weshopped for a few hours at the Grand Teton Mall. I found a new dress, which was much needed at Dillards. Rosie had fun posing in the rides for silly pictures. She got to visit with some cousins while Mary and I met Taylor’s cousing Kylie at Craigo’s back in Rexburg. We returned to SLC on Saturday morning in time to attend a funeral and a wedding.

The Tayviator is Thirty

This is my Tayviator. That’s Taylor + Aviator, if you didn’t already figure it out. He turned 30 today, and I want to tell you some of the reasons I love him.

He’s a good big brother…he’s the oldest of seven and he makes sure that all of his siblings feel important.

He’s good with technology. He figures out the stuff for me that I’m too impatient to do myself.

He’s a good protector of the family

He’s Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent

He’s worked hard to complete his education

He’s willing to try new things, even when he looks like a fool

He stands up for what he believes in

He is an extremely loyal friend

He has a “Taylorsmile” and kind eyes

He has forever enriched the lives of Rosie and I

He came into my life exactly when I needed him

He let me put this picture in our wedding announcements, even though he thought the pose was cheesy and contrived

He tells me often that he loves me more than the day he married me

He looks so irresistible lying next to his laptop

He’s survived some pretty hellish times, including a trip to Hell (Michigan)

He shares his Diet Coke when we go out to dinner

He puts the twinkle in my eye

He humors me with taking pictures for my blog that he thinks are really lame

He loves the beach as much as I do (especially Ventura County)

He introduced me to In-n-Out

He takes my breath away

He makes our house feel like a home

He understands my need for adventure and culture, and takes me out on the town

He treats me the way an adoring husband should treat his wife

He has secret magical powers (and is a blast to be with at Disneyland)

He’s a devoted husband and father

He’s fun to fly with

He has extremely kissable lips (and they’re all mine)

He looks hot in his uniform

He’s fun to be with, both day and night

He loves to travel, and has afforded me many opportunities to see many parts of the country

He “rocks” my world

I love you, Tay!

Nine Years of Adventure

Dear Rosie,
Excitement and boredom. Joy and sadness. Change and adaptation. Hugs and kisses. Creativity and silliness. Independence and bravery. Fun and Culture. Travel and Home. Love and empathy. Childlike, yet mature. Seven moves, four states, lots of great food and countless people who love you. I’m so blessed that you’re mine. Please don’t grow up too fast.
Happy 9th birthday!