Jason Aldean Concert

Jason Aldean came to Bozeman on April 22.  He was only supposed to have one show, on Thursday, April 23; however his first show sold out within 15 minutes of opening. So they added another show on that Wednesday. James and I were indifferent in going to the show, however one of James friends bought four tickets to the Wednesday show in the 6th row. He loves Jason Aldean, but did not want to by himself. He asked us to go, and we said yes. I have never bought the expensive tickets (AKA–tickets that were not in the nose bleed section, much less in the 6th row!)  I don’t mind Jason Aldean, but I do like Tyler Farr and Cole Swindell and they were opening for him.

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Tyler Farr

I really only have this picture of him.  I forgot my camera and I did not think of asking James for his smart phone until he offered it to me at the end of his show. I guess that would be a good reason for a smart phone–pictures!  It was a packed house!

CAUTION: Here comes a rant. (Skip if you do not want to read it.)

I went with three other guys who were 6 + feet tall, the folding chairs were pretty small, and I was sitting next to two large girls who together took up my entire seat… I was not upset or mad at them for taking up my entire seat. But in doing that, the four of us ended up shifting over 1 seat which left some girl from a different group out in the isle. The ticket lady asked her to get into her row. So we all had to move over.  I NICELY asked these girls if there was any room to move over so that I was standing in front of my seat–I even explained why I was asking them to move over. They squeezed together and then the girl right next to me turned to her friend and called my a b**ch!  WHAT! She was in front of MY seat! I was floored and then I started to get a little mad.  During the whole concert she was talking about me!  She kept trying to push me back out of my seat (I would not let her).  She flicked her hair in my face a few times, elbowed me repeatedly, and kept trying to dance her way into my seat. She was WAAAAAAAAY into my bubble.  She was purposefully being obnoxious to try to make me move over…(yes, sorry Mom, I stooped to her level and started to gently push her back into her seat every time she inched my way–that really irritated her and her friend).  But I never said anything mean to her, unlike her to her friend about me.  I was probably called everything under the sun!  By the end of the 4 hour concert I really wanted to tell her that they each should have bought 2 seats if they wanted, or needed, extra room–like they do on the airplane, but I am respectful and kept my mouth shut the entire time.  If they would have just kept their mouth shut and not talk about what a bleep I was, I would have let them inch their way back into my seat and I would have stood in front of James and not said a word to them; but of course they couldn’t do that.

**I have nothing against larger people, but if anybody is rude or obnoxious to me, I will not allow it! And in some cases, my 5 year old immature attitude may shine through.

Here ends the rant.

We still had a blast during the concert, but standing for 4 hours in one spot is a long time and everybody’s feet hurt by the end of it.

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Cole Swindell

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THIS is why people pay more to get closer to the stage!
It all makes sense now! It was crazy!

This was Jason Aldeans Burn It Down Tour.  So the pyrotechnics were insane!  Fireworks, fire, firecrackers, everything under the sun. When his show started it instantly got hot in the field house with all the fire!!

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Jason Aldean.


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Again, I now understand why people wait in line to get front row seats!

Backyard Patio

My husband and myself have been working on a particular project for over a year now. Yes, it is true, our backyard patio is turning into a never ending patio project.  Granted, our patio does look great, but honestly, I am quite done with it myself.  I would like to add ONE more thing, and then it would be a masterpiece, but priorities!  For the time being it does look great, maybe next year we will finish it off.

Last summer James thought that we needed to extended our small concrete patio and we wanted a sturdy fire pit that would not burn though itself (like our cheap one had from Lowes).  We mapped out what we wanted to do and went to the local store to get the materials.  Before we went to the store, we decided that we wanted a slate patio (gasp! I know, its expensive, but it was a small space and James knew the guy, so we got the contractors discount.  PLUS, we took the reject pile of slate, the colors that did not match perfectly or the awkwardly shaped stones–cha-ching! Another discount!).

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Notice the rickety fire pit? And yes, the dogs thought they needed to help as well.
Please disregard the gross looking grass in our backyard. That is a whole other disaster that will need to be dealt with eventually.

I should mention this project last April was done in the cold(ish), cloudy, rainy weather.  We cut up and pulled up the sod. Which was extremely easy in most spots since the grass was pretty much dead.  The landscapers put the sod right on top of clay and large rocks, with very little soil.  The roots of the grass were brown and fuzzy.  So the sod lifted up like old carpet without any glue on it after we got it started.  After we removed the sod we (and we I mean James) removed some of the clay while I chiseled the massive rocks out of our way.

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We then put down pea gravel on top of the dug out clay.  (For those of you who have done this sort of thing before, Yes, I know and I will get back to that.)  We put all the slate pieces out on the grass and I looked at them for a long time to see how my puzzle could be put together–because we got the pieces that nobody else wanted due to color or shape.  We finally started to place our slate onto our patio outline. We made an outside border and worked our way in.  For the second time, Yes, I am NOW aware that is NOT how you place slate, but at the time it seemed like a good idea if we wanted a clean line on the outside.

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We also outlined our “square” fire pit, which turns out was not square.  It turns out that it is a lot harder to get randomly cut stone to make a perfect square.

Yes, it was drizzling the whole time we were doing this, but it made the slate pieces look very vibrant!  After 3 hours of moving slate into place and then moving it again because the last piece did not fit properly, they got very, VERY heavy!  But we finally placed all the pieces and poured the rest of the pea gravel between the slate.

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Not too shabby for two people who have never done this before!

Well, let me get back to my first “Yes, duh” moment.  We did dig down about 2 inches to put the pea gravel down and thought that it would be enough. TA-DA! it was not.  While the pea gravel is small, turns out it is not small enough and the stones moved just slightly when you stepped onto them.  That was not satisfactory for James.  Me? I was so tired and sick of the two day (ALL DAY) project that I really did not care at the moment.  So we started to REMOVE all the stone and attempted to put them onto the yard in the same place that they were in the patio.  I say attempted, because once again, the way our minds work failed us and we did not work in unison. Communication, right?  Well we did decide that we were going to place the stones in the same order as they were in the patio. What we did not discuss was how to place them.  One of us flipped the pieces and one did not. And of course we did not notice that until we removed them all.  TOO LATE.

After we dysfunctionally removed the slate from the pea gravel we shoveled all the pea gravel back into the wheel barrel.  James then dug down two more inches into the clay, while I once again chiseled out more big rocks–some probably 5 pounds.  After that was done, we (covered in mud from head to toe–literally) went back to the home and garden landscaping store and bought some sand.  We put the sand down, I leveled it out and made quite an impressive sand garden design.  Then, we started to once again put the slate back down onto the sand. We pretty much started over from scratch and once again, we put the outline of the patio in before we started to work our way inward. Because the outside stones were easier to see with their flat edges…right?  Then we put the pea gravel back into the cracks of the stone and DONE! (for the second time)

I should mention that an uneven stone or a stone that moved when it was stepped on was not acceptable.  So if that happened, we lifted it up and rearranged the sand until it was satisfactory.  So if you think about it, without allowing the stones to settle at all (yet again, another “yes, duh” moment), we lifted up EVERY stone yet another time and made sure that it was level and did not move.  (Ding Ding! Third time placing them!)

Ok, that was last April.  And the patio was a hit all summer!  It was very nice to have the extra space to hang out in without migrating to the grass.  By the time we were done with the patio neither one of us really cared what the fire pit actually looked like.  So last weekend we decided it was time to retire the decrepit fire pit and get a new one.  We measured out our fire pit, at which point we realized how “un-square like” our fire pit actually is.  James looked at me like “Well, whats another time to lift up the stones and put them down making sure our fire pit is square?”  My response? “Its fine, lets wing it.”

We did our weekend tradition and went to Lowes/Home Depot to get our fire pit materials and came back home.  We decided on rock like concrete stones (which weighed a ton) and we had to carry them one by one or two by by for James into the backyard.  James always lets me figure out the cosmetic side of the project, because I want the different color stones to flow.  You can’t have two of the same color next to each other right?  I put them down and realized how miserable our not so square fire pit was going to be–but I kept it to myself since I was not going to redo the slate patio for a forth time in less than 1 year.  James did notice that some of the slate right next to the fire pit was uneven compared to the next one. So he started to lift up the slate and dig some of the sand out to make them level.  Ok, yes, I can go with that, we don’t want our fire pit to be wobbly. But then he decided that quite a few of them were uneven from the freeze and thaw of winter.(James, go for it, I will stand inside watching you while drinking some wine.)

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This is the stone we got for our fire pit.

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James wanted a fire pit that looked like this. I thought why not? It is cheaper (minus two big rocks) and honestly I am not sure we could actually fit two more stones in there without having the top row stick out from the bottom one. Why? Really, the only reason I could think of is because we did not start off with a square and I just made it as square as I could.

Looks pretty nice huh?  Maddie (the golden retriever) has a ball in her mouth, she is not getting sick.

Now, the last thing that needs to be added before it is a masterpiece, you ask?  I would like to put a wood deck over the concrete patio and extend it to the side of the house so that our picnic table can sit on the deck instead of landscape rock. It hurts if you walk on it barefoot.  Plus, I think the transition from the wood deck to the slate patio will look a little better than concrete to slate. But again, that is not a priority.

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

This is a very good, and if you wanted to put some vodka or something into it it would be great. I am not sure what you would take out if you wanted to add wine to make it real sangria, but it is great stuff!!  I think it is better than the real sangria.  Let me know what you think!!

Sangria

Ingredients:

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2 black tea bags (or 2 teaspoons loose-leaf tea in an infuser)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 cups carbonated water

Directions:

Pour boiling water over tea bags and cinnamon sticks and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and stir in sugar to dissolve.

In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.

Just before serving, stir in carbonated water. Serve in glasses over ice.

Recipe retrieved from The Kitchn.

Easter Eggs

Happy Easter everyone!

I thought I would share how I dyed my Easter Eggs this year.  At work I dyed 90 eggs with the residents. We did not have enough dye cups for everybody to have some, so I found some food coloring and plastic bags, I had a hunch.  It took a few eggs to master the process, but eventually we did and the residents really enjoyed dying eggs that way.

I present, Ty-Dye Easter Eggs:

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The picture really does not do the eggs any justice.

Hard boil your eggs and let them cool.  At work the eggs had condensation on them and the colors flowed very well. My eggs were dry.

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Use normal food coloring and get a plastic bag.  Put ONE drop of food coloring into the bag and smash it around until it looks like the bag above.  There will be tiny droplets in the bag and it will not look like enough to dye the egg, but I promise you, there will be plenty!

Drop your egg into the bag and smash the bag around the egg, moving both egg and bag around.

Then add one more drop of a different color into the bag.  Make sure you do not hit egg, and then move the egg and bag around again.  Pull the egg out and let it dry.

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Ta-Da! Green and Blue egg!

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Orange and Red egg, Again, sorry for the poor pictures.

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Gratitude

For my bulletin board this month I have decided to show the health benefits of being thankful and showing gratitude.  I have not finished it yet, since April came up too quickly, but I thought I would share my thoughts of what it will look like.  The residents, for the most part are pretty good at showing gratitude, but winter is rough on a lot of people (with the minimal daylight, cloudy, cold days) and elderly people are not any different.  Some of our residents have been in a funk since the middle of winter and especially since the flu quarantine that left over 50 people isolated in their apartments for over a week; they are mentally bored, easily depressed or bummed out, and quite irritable.  The activities I have picked recently have brightened their day, even if they were mad at me for waking them up, or for being too bossy and dragging them to the activity room.  I had a flower arranging project with bright pink, white, and yellow carnations, making Easter duck treatbags for their great grand kids, and Easter egg dying.  By the end of each of these projects, they were HAPPY.  So I thought I would start off the spring by “Tricking” their brain into thinking they are happy.  I say tricking because at first they MIGHT be showing or giving gratitude falsely or sarcastically (because we all know that elderly people are never sarcastic!) But after they start giving gratitude and thanks their attitude will start to change and in the long run “tricking” their brain will turn into true graciousness.  It’s like my mom told me repeatedly while I was in a pretty miserable place (both mentally and physically due to my last position and being so far away from family): She told me “Fake it until you make it.” in regards to my happiness.  Now, I am telling my residents to do the same thing.

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I copied this diagram, but changed the colors and made the lettering larger so that my residents could see it.

I will pick a few topics on the chart to focus on for the bulletin board that relates to elderly people, mainly between the ages of 80-100 years old.  One of my favorite ones is improved health; I am very excited to show this one to my residents. I found an article that shows, through research (because I am a fan of having scientific backup, this one is based on psychology) that before you go into any type of surgery, having an optimistic attitude greatly improves your chances of having better health outcomes.  Another one that I will focus on is Counting your Blessings.  Our society, as a whole, focuses on the negative of everything–just watch your local or national news.  Once again, my mom told me, “It’s the glass half full theory”, you make the conscious decision to focus on the negative versus the positive (yes, I have been told that a time or two before).  Elderly people are not any different, a lot of residents talk about:

  • how their health is failing (at 98 years old)
    • Continuously I tell them that they are 98 years old, most people do not live that long, and the ones that do, could not have this conversation with me while on the Nustep in the gym. (A Nustep is a sitting down version of the ellipitical, both arms and legs move)
  • how they can not paint like they used to (because their thumbs don’t work or their hands are too shaky) and won’t paint because of it
    • I tell them, maybe you can’t hold the paintbrush like you used to or make smooth brush strokes with acrylic paint, but you could do pointillism perfectly (I show them pictures from Seurat or Van Gogh with the short, almost erratic brush strokes–perfect for shaky hands or arthritic hands that can not move in a smooth matter) or to do watercolor that is fluid and watery (duh) and it doesn’t require as much precision.
  • how they can not drive anymore (because they can not see as well as they used to)
    • I got this one a lot while we were looking for a bus driver at work and I was the bus driver. I just tell them, no biggie, who wants to drive in the slippery snow anyways. If I could, I would have somebody pick me up in a warm bus and drive me to where I want to go in a heart beat.  I always told them that I would be willing to change positions with them any day!
  • how they can not run or hike like they did in their mid 20s (at 80 plus years old)
    • Hey, guys, I can not run like I did in my early 20’s either.  It’s ok, at least you can still walk, yes, you might have a cane, but you are able to walk outside on uneven ground for a good 3 miles at your age.  Who cares how long it takes you, you can still enjoy what you loved to do in your 20’s–be outside and enjoy the fresh air!

Once they get over what they can no longer do and focus on what they can still do, they are much happier and enjoy what they are still able to do.

Below are ways that I will tell my residents to start cultivating gratitude:

  • Maintain a gratitude journal. Emmons’ research showed that people who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercise more regularly, report fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and maintain greater optimism about the future.
  • Create a list of benefits in your life and ask yourself, “To what extent do I take these for granted?” Some people need such concrete visual reminders to maintain mindfulness of their gratitude, explains Emmons.
  • Talk to yourself in a creative, optimistic, and appreciate manner, suggests Sam Quick, PhD, of the University of Kentucky. This could entail simply reflecting on things for which you’re grateful or, if you’re facing a challenging situation, seeing how it can ultimately be beneficial. For instance, having to cope with particularly difficult people in your job or neighborhood can improve your patience and understanding.
  • Reframe a situation by looking at it with a different, more positive attitude, offers Quick. He provides this example: Rather than seeing his 6-year-old daughter as cranky, irritable, and troublesome, a father might reach the conclusion that the youngster is tired and needs rest.

Information provided by WebMD.