Happiness Begins Tour: Grand Rapids Recap

I considered writing my normal Thursday Things post this week, but since it was going to end up being entirely about seeing the Jonas Brothers in Grand Rapids anyway, I figured I might as well give this post an accurate title so you know what you’re getting into 😛

As I’ve mentioned previously, my love for the Jonas Brothers knows no bounds. I’ve have been 100 percent obsessed since the first time I saw the Hold On music video on the Disney Channel in the summer of 2007. As soon as I found out they were reuniting, I knew I had to see them on the tour they would inevitably announce to coincide with their new album.

I got tickets to the September 8 show at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids for several reasons. Van Andel’s capacity is significantly smaller than many of the other arenas on the tour (the United Center’s capacity is 20,000; Van Andel’s is 10,000), so I knew wherever I sat would be a good seat. Because Van Andel’s capacity is small and because the tour also stopped in Detroit, Milwaukee, Rosemont, and Chicago (twice), I thought I’d have a better chance at getting into the meet and greet in Grand Rapids than anywhere else. (Though I don’t think Rosemont was announced when the meet and greet went on sale, so that was irrelevant at the time.) On top of all of that, the first (and only) other time I had seen the Jonas Brothers was at Van Andel Arena in December 2007 when they were the opening act for the Best of Both Worlds tour–because yes, I, a senior in high school, proudly went to a Hannah Montana concert on a school night. NO. SHAME. (Though I was really there for the Jonas Brothers. The fact that Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus were also performing was an added bonus.)

I went to the concert with my sister and my best friend from high school, who was the one in charge of actually purchasing the tickets. She knocked it out of the park. We got the three seats next to the aisle in the fourth row on the floor. As someone who generally considers 200 level seats to be outstanding, this was clearly on a totally different level for me (both in terms of views and in terms of price point. Haha. These tickets were BY FAR the most expensive I’ve ever got.). I’ve never been that close to a stage before, and it was incredible. I’m officially ruined for all future concerts.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! Before the concert, I had my meet and greet! Technically before that, the three of us went to Founders, since it’s just a couple of blocks from Van Andel, for a super early dinner and beers. Wanting to keep my wits about me, I only had one, but I’m glad I finally made it to Founders.

Anyway, after Founders, the two of them dropped me off at Van Andel for meet and greet check-in at 5:15. While waiting in line, the girl behind me noticed my shirt (from the Best of Both Worlds Tour) and said, “Wow, you’re an OG fan!” As those of you who came of age in the mid to late 00s may recall, this was an era of music where it behooved you to be a fan “before they were cool.” I specifically remember seeing the Hold On music video on Disney and thinking that the Jonas Brothers could potentially be the band I was a fan of before they were cool (ignoring, of course, that the bands you were supposed to be a fan of before they were cool were mostly pop/punk and/or emo bands), so shoutout to you, 16 year old Bethany. We did it!

This girl and I chatted for a bit and I happened to coincidentally find her on Twitter later that evening, as @JonasConcerts, my primary resource for Jonas Brothers news on Twitter, had retweeted both of us. (Side note: thank goodness there are so many extremely active Jonas Brothers fans on Twitter. Back in the day–“the day” being the 00s–I relied on fan forums to connect with other fans and get the inside scoop on what was going on with celebrities I like, but those aren’t really a thing anymore. I worried that all of this would’ve moved over to Instagram, since that seems to be the coolest social media these days, but fortunately for Instagram-less me, there are plenty of Jonas Brothers fans who are more than happy to tweet about them all day long.) It was fun to make a new friend in the meet and greet line!

After about an hour or so, it was finally time to meet the Jonas Brothers. Based on my exhaustive Twitter research, I was under the impression that the meet and greet would last two to three minutes and not feel rushed at all. I suppose this was my first meet and greet, so maybe compared to others, it was relaxed. But it definitely felt rushed to me. I was a little disappointed that things felt that way, but only a little. The fact that I got to meet them at all was just beyond words.

Part of why I went way above and beyond for this concert was because I was celebrating an occasion. I wore something to indicate that, so the Jonas Brothers congratulated me (my heart!) and I thanked them for throwing me a party, ha. We chatted very briefly (like, a sentence or two) about if I had come with anyone else (I had, but they were just going to the concert, not doing the meet and greet), and then I told them I’d be in the fourth row on the floor “wearing this *gestures to self*, so look for me!” We took a picture, and I was on my way. Oh! But not before I got a bonus goodbye high five from Nick, which still makes me smile when I think about it.

I met up with my sister and my friend and got in the merch line to throw even more money at the Jonas Brothers, because clearly all rules are off when it comes to them. Nike wants $45 for a quality, Nike tank top at the marathon expo? WHAT A SCAM. The Jonas Brothers want $70 for a Gildan sweatshirt with their tour dates on it, you know, like the ones your high school volleyball team ordered? TAKE MY MONEY. Ha. The merch line went WAY faster than I expected (my fellow meet and greet attendees who had been in Detroit the night before said they waited about an hour and 20 minutes in line for merch. I waited maybe 20 minutes. Small venues ftw.), and then we went down to our seats!

Jordan McGraw and Bebe Rexha opened. I know exactly one Jordan McGraw song (“We Met at a Party,”), so I wasn’t all that interested in his set – though I did appreciate when he briefly covered Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” I thought I knew exactly one Bebe Rexha song (“Meant to Be”), but it turns out I know a bunch of her music: I just didn’t know she was the artist. Oops. So that was a more enjoyable set. The highlight of her set for sure was when she brought a fan from the crowd up on stage with her for a whole song. Lucky him!

AND THEN. The main event.

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I kept my cool when I met the Jonas Brothers a lot better than I expected, so I kind of thought that would be the case when the came on stage, too. I mean, I had just met them. How could seeing them in concert be better than meeting them?! Apparently pretty easily, because the second they started descending from the ceiling to “Rollercoaster,” I lost ALL of my chill. I was screaming, crying, generally inconsolable: the epitome of a fangirl, with not one ounce of shame about it.

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The Jonas Brothers kept performing, it kept being the best thing ever. Around the midpoint or so of their set, they started playing “Used to Be,” the first song where they come into the aisle and head to the B stage at the back of the arena. All of us with aisle seats immediately threw ourselves into the barricades when they started coming down the stairs. Kevin was playing the guitar, so he was unable to hand out high fives while walking down the aisle. Nick was singing with his mic in his left hand, and since I was on his left side, only people on the other side of the aisle got the privilege of high fiving him (but I already had, so *hair flip*). Joe had a mic in his left hand, but he wasn’t singing at the time. He had his right hand out on his right side, high fiving those geniuses who had the foresight to get tickets on that side of the arena.

AND THEN.

Joe looked in my direction.

Saw me.

Reached his free right hand across his body.

And grazed my fingers.

You guys. YOU. GUYS. I’m literally crying again just writing about this happening. I don’t care that I’m six days away from turning 29, and something like this shouldn’t turn me into an easily-excited thirteen year old. I had already shook his hand three hours earlier. I had literally talked to him. But this! Being recognized in the crowd by JOE JONAS. I have been a Joe girl from the moment I became a Jonas Brothers fan. I spent most of the show in 2007 screaming, “I LOVE YOU, JOE!!!!” from the 200 level of Van Andel. I would have appreciated being noticed in the crowd by any of the Jonas Brothers, but to be recognized by my favorite Jonas Brother…! It was, truly, indescribable. I thought maybe I imagined that he saw me and gave me a high five (which, like I said, was more of a finger graze than a high five), or that I was just telling myself that’s what happened because it’s what I want to believe, but I was taking video of it when it happened, and in the video, you can see him look directly at me, smile the tiniest bit, reach across, and then (off camera) high five me. And then you can hear me start sobbing, because obviously.

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I would say everything was downhill from there, and I suppose it was in the “I have now had the moment of my life to which all future moments of happiness will be compared” sense, but man, it was SUCH a good show. I have all of the Jonas Brothers music (duh) and had been listening to their entire discography all week leading up to the show to get ready. I’d daydream about what our fan request song would be, and when daydreaming about it, would think, “You know, it genuinely doesn’t matter what song they play. I’ll be happy to hear anything.” And it was true! When you can go to a concert where every song is exciting, it’s a pretty great night. By which I mean it’s the very best night ever.

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Thursday Things

1. My company decided to do a step challenge as part of our wellness program for the month of September, and boy, talk about the right time for that kind of challenge! September is always bonkers when it comes to marathon training, but this year it’s extra bonkers due to the marathon falling on the latest day it can. That pushed all of training back a calendar week compared to the past couple of years, so instead of having pre-peak week (the 18 miler week) at the end of August, it started–started!–on September 1, the same day the step challenge started. BRING. IT. ON.

Of course, I’m now extra paranoid about getting sick and/or injured, because I’m really counting on those 129 miles I have planned for September to shoot me to the top of the leaderboard. While I certainly don’t know everyone in the company, and especially don’t know what everyone in the company does in their free time, there’s only one other person I know for sure is running the marathon. Even though there’s no additional prize for being the employee with the most steps in September (there’s only a prize for being one of the top three teams, so everyone else in my department needs to step (heh puns) it up, too), I am only somewhat secretly hoping to individually win – or at least finish in the top three. As of Wednesday morning, I was about 3000 steps away from first place *flexing emoji*

(For the record, there are individual prizes for this challenge, but the way you win them isn’t even an option for me. The company is going to give one person a fitness tracker of their choice (up to $300, so no Apple Watch 4s, but Apple Watch 3s are available), but in order to be eligible to win, you have to post pictures of you getting your steps on Instagram. That seems pretty unfair to me, given that I don’t even HAVE Instagram, and certainly am not going to join so I can post about my step count every day just to get entered into the drawing–because that’s how you win the fitness tracker. It’s not based on who actually goes above and beyond in the challenge. It’s all based on luck, and if your name gets picked out of the hat.)

2. I spent most of Sunday afternoon with family (spoiler alert for next week’s training post), and we used that time to go visit the Morton Arboretum. I’ve been a couple of times before and really like it, so I was excited to go back!

There’s been a Lego exhibit going on at the arboretum since May (it closes on September 15), so we checked that out. It was SO cool! There are huge Lego sculptures of various things–mostly animals–throughout the arboretum, and they were very impressive.

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There were signs by all the sculptures indicating how long it took to build them and how many bricks they used. The numbers were mind-boggling! We’re talking 250+ hours of work and tens of thousands of bricks per sculpture.

I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re in the area before September 15. The arboretum in general is such a great place to connect with and appreciate nature, but the Lego sculptures are a cool added bonus. And if you happen to see the hummingbird sculpture, take a picture of it for me, because I didn’t see it 😦

3. Guys. I have tickets to see the Jonas Brothers on SUNDAY. Cue all of the freaking out.

I’ve been following various Twitter accounts and the Jonas Brothers subreddit (as one does) like a hawk since the tour kicked off a month ago, and it sounds like it’s AMAZING. Though admittedly, those reviewing it are probably a bit biased, ha. So I’m super duper excited for that. And by “super duper excited” I mean “cried listening to ‘Fly With Me’ on Wednesday because I love that song so so much and it’s on the set list so I’m going to see it live on Sunday and just the THOUGHT of seeing it live is enough to make me cry.” I’m fine. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

BUT. Not only do I have tickets to see the Jonas Brothers on Sunday – I have a ticket to MEET the Jonas Brothers. I. KNOW. Don’t ask me how much money I spent on this concert. Thank goodness Europe came in under-budget. Anyway, I’m so nervous about meeting them! Everyone says they’re really nice and easy to talk to, so hopefully that’s true. I’ve never really met anyone famous before! I mean, I’ve met Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi, but the times I’ve met them, I was there to interview them, not, you know, marvel at being in their presence. Ha. What am I supposed to say?! Others who’ve done the meet and greet on this tour say you get two to three minutes with them – that’s a lot of time!! I will admit that I’ve been practicing how I’m hoping the conversation will go, a la visualizing how I want the marathon to go. I just don’t want to cry. There’s a really good chance I’ll cry. Definitely wearing waterproof mascara on Sunday. Don’t mind me. I swear I’m days away from turning 29. (I almost wrote days away from turning 30. I keep having this problem where I think I’m turning 30 this year, but I’m not. That’s next year. I don’t know why this is happening. Probably because I’ve started considering people in their early 30s to be my age–because, you know, they basically are– so I keep thinking I’m almost 30, when in fact I’m almost 29. Hopefully this will make turning 30 next year a lot less traumatic, ha.)

Thursday Things

1. So the experiment begins!

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I’ve wanted to get a hummingbird feeder since I moved into my new apartment almost two months ago now, but it took me until this past weekend to actually pull the trigger. I had gone to a garden store a couple of weeks ago to look at their hummingbird feeders, but the employee I talked with told me he didn’t recommend any of the ones they currently had for sale for my situation and suggested I come back later to see if they had the feeder best suited for my apartment. They had it in stock over the weekend, so I got it and hung it up Sunday afternoon. I don’t know how much success I’ll have, nor do I know how I’ll know how much success I’ll have. The feeder isn’t very easy to watch from inside, and it’s not like I can ask my boss if I can work from home every day from now until mid-October for the sake of monitoring my hummingbird feeder, haha. (I wish!) But at least now I have the potential of getting hummingbird visitors, even if I might not be aware of them.

2. I’m in such a weird place with marathon training right now. On the one hand, I am over the grind of it all. I’m sick of considering 6:30 “sleeping in.” I’m sick of losing the majority of my Saturdays to long runs/napping to recover from my long run. I’m sick of my feet hurting all. the. time. I’m sick of my entire life having to revolve around my workout schedule, even when I’m not going for any real goals at the marathon this year, because the idea of “casually” training for the marathon (i.e.: running when it’s convenient, cross training never, taking more rest days than workout days) is way too far outside my comfort zone.

On the other hand, I’ve realized we’re 12 weeks into this, which means we only have six more weeks to go, which means it’s all almost over and that makes be both sad and antsy. I don’t have any races on my calendar after the marathon this year, so what is my schedule supposed to look like?? How am I supposed to know what to do with my workout life when I’m not actively training for a race?! I’m sure I’ve said it before, but it’s the structure of marathon training I like more than anything. How am I supposed to have structure when I’m not working towards a goal?! *panics*

In the mean time, I’m getting antsy for the marathon to release what this year’s Nike gear  looks like. I think it usually comes out sometime in early September (before my birthday, at least) and I want to see it nowwwwwww. Knowing how much I like the marathon gear will help me know how much of a Jonas Brothers merch budget I have for the concert 😀 Give me ALL OF THE BRANDED SWAG!! Haha.

3. omg. Guys. Disney+. I’ve never felt much of a need to add any streaming services to my monthly budget, but Disney+ apparently is going to be the exception. Lizzie McGuire reboot?! ALL DISNEY CHANNEL SHOWS AND MOVIES?? A High School Musical-themed mockumentary? If you need me at any point during the winter, you can find me parked in front of my TV, reliving the 2000s. Between this and the Jonas Brothers reunion, this really has been a banner year for me aughts nostalgia.

Thursday Things

1. My driver’s license expires this year, and a couple of months ago the Secretary of State sent me a letter letting me know that thanks to my safe driver status, I’d be eligible to renew without going into a Secretary of State office. (Pretty easy to be a safe driver considering I had driven maybe a grand total of 20 miles since I got my Illinois driver’s license, ha.) That was great news! I had zero interest in going through the whole Secretary of State rigamarole, so renewing without having to take time out of my life to go there sounded fantastic.

And then I tried to renew without going into an office.

You have a couple options when renewing remotely, including renewing online or by mail. The by-mail form gave you space to write down a new address if yours had changed since you got your last license, which was super great considering my recent move. But the letter never specified who exactly to make the check out to, and I didn’t want to make it out to the wrong entity and have to go through everything again, so I decided to renew online instead. That was all well and good, until I got all the way through the form and realized they never once asked me if I needed to change my address. That made me especially nervous because the letter I got reminding me to renew my license in the first place specifically said that your new license wouldn’t be forwarded, so you had to put down your current address to receive it. I hoped that somehow the Secretary of State would know what they were doing and send my new license to my new apartment.

Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen. Instead, I got a letter last week telling me that they had tried to deliver my license to my old apartment but it got returned, and they wouldn’t forward it onto me. The only way for me to get a new license now would be to go into a Secretary of State office.

*explodes*

I was so annoyed, particularly because this was all their fault in the first place. If they had just asked for my mailing address on the online form, all of this could’ve been avoided.

I had time to kill on Tuesday and had heard rumors that the Secretary of State Express Office in the Loop is about as good as Secretary of State offices come, so I decided to go there to see if I could get all of this nonsense cleared up.

Guys. It took 12 minutes, start to finish, to get my new license. I was STUNNED.  I expected to need to allot an hour, minimally, to deal with all of this, and it took TWELVE MINUTES. The Express office in the Loop truly IS as good as it gets!

2. I’ve been interested in Come From Away ever since I first learned about it during the 2017 Tony Awards, and last Sunday I finally got to go see it!

(In typical recent-show-seeing fashion, I went on its last day in Chicago, so once again it’s too late for you to go see it. BUT Broadway in Chicago just announced earlier this week that it’s coming back from August 25-September 6, 2020, so you could go see it then! You could also see Six during that time frame, because it’s also coming to Chicago from July 8-October 25, 2020. Plenty of advance warning for both shows!)

Ugh, it was amazing. Come From Away is about the town of Gander, Newfoundland in the wake of September 11. The U.S. airspace closed after the attacks, but hundreds of planes were already en route to the U.S., and many of them were too far into their flights to turn around to their origin. That meant all those planes needed to land somewhere outside the United States, and many of them went to Canada. Gander, though a rather small town, has an unusually large airport due to the fact that it’s so far east and, prior to modern airplanes, was the last available place to stop to refuel (or the first available place to stop to refuel, depending the flight’s direction) before/after crossing the Atlantic (back when planes couldn’t get across the ocean without refueling). Because of the airport’s size, it took 38 diverted flights on September 11, effectively doubling the town’s population over the course of a few hours. Because the U.S. airspace didn’t open again for a few days, all of these people were stuck in Canada until their planes could leave. The musical tells the story of how the town of Gander dropped everything to host thousands of people at a moment’s notice, and for being a musical that only exists because September 11 happened, it’s about as heartwarming of a story as I’ve ever seen.

I’m not unique in feeling this way about Come From Away, but I was overwhelmed to the point of tears at seeing this story of people taking care of other people play out in front of me. I feel like so much of what we’re exposed to is people being awful towards other people, so to see a musical about people caring for others, no strings attached, because it’s the right thing to do was really moving. I definitely, definitely recommend checking it out when it comes back next summer.

Thursday Things

1. Our new suburban office opened on Monday, and snap, you guys. It is SO nice. I guess that’s kind of the assumption when a brand new space opens (well, brand new-ish. The building isn’t new, but our office space within the building is), but it blew my mind when I got there Monday morning. Everything feels so gigantic and open and airy compared to the old space, which boasted a firmly early ’00s aesthetic. The kitchen is hilariously bougie (there’s sparkling water on tap, for goodness’s sake), the conference rooms look like they came straight out of a design magazine, and just all in all the entire space puts our Chicago office to shame–which is really saying something, because our Chicago office is quite nice.

I loved how first-day-of-school it felt on Monday, too (appropriate, considering how many suburban schools started up again this week). The executives were hanging out in the reception area in the morning to greet and direct everyone, a la the principal on the first day, and impromptu tour groups went past my cube all morning as everyone explored the new space. Speaking of which: the new office is SO big that all of a sudden, trying to get 250 steps per hour to appease my Fitbit is no longer a challenge. In the Chicago office, I have to take a circuitous route (desk -> kitchen -> water cooler -> desk -> bathroom -> desk) to get 250 steps. Now, I basically need to go to kitchen and back–and my desk is one of the closer ones to the kitchen! I honestly think if I did a lap around the floor I’m on, I’d get close to 1000 steps. It’s amazing!! Monday was the first day I’ve worked in the suburbs where I got 10,000 steps.

My only “dilemma” at the moment is how bare my cube feels. Nearly everything I had in Chicago was a relic from the decorating my boss three bosses ago (the one who hired me) did before I started, and since I don’t even do that job anymore, I got rid of everything when I packed up my desk. But now my desk is a bit…sparse.

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I think I’m going to go to my favorite gift shop in Chicago, Foursided, when I’m in the city on Sunday and see if I can find some nice decorations – or at least a coaster or something, ha.

2. I’ve had a bunch of time to kill before dance the past two weeks (like, two and a half hours of time to kill), and since I don’t have an apartment in Chicago to use for time-killing purposes anymore, I instead opted for gigantic walks in Lincoln Park.

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Ugh. I will never get over how amazing the boardwalk around the south pond is. It’s easily one of my favorite places in the whole city. Especially when you’re facing south and can see downtown, I feel like it just totally embodies Urbs in Horto (the official motto of Chicago, meaning “City in a Garden.”). And I’m OBSESSED with all the native plants.

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*a million heart-eyed emojis*

It was literally buzzing two weeks ago, with bumblebees floating between flowers, butterflies everywhere (I saw four different kinds!), and barn swallows all over the place. Yes. Please.

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(It might have been buzzing two days ago, too, but I was on a mission to get to the zoo to see if the penguins were out (three were!), so I wasn’t paying as much attention to the local fauna along the boardwalk.)

3. And if I may brag for a moment:

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We had our annual Employee Appreciation Day last week, and since the venue included bowling, two of my coworkers and I bowled a game. I crushed it. I honestly think that was the best game of bowling I’ve ever had. Four strikes and a spare?! That is not how my bowling usually goes!

Friday Things

1. It’s been a long time since I haven’t been able to get a Thursday Things post together and had to push it back to Friday instead! Work has been UNBELIEVABLE this week. Our new suburban office is opening on Monday (“new” as in “new location.” We already had a suburban office – it’s just moving to a different building.), and while I have a very small role in that process compared to some people, my role was in full swing this week. We do business in all 50 states, and since part of my job is to make sure we’re legally allowed to do work in all 50 states, it became part of my job to tell all 50 states that we’re moving. Because it would be way too simple for every state to have the same process of updating your address, or for there to be one way to update your address on a national level so every state has the correct information, I had to hunt down the rules for each state and then update our address according to their rules. For a shocking number of states, that meant filling out a paper form, which was time consuming, to say the least. And that was just filling out the forms! Then I had to get signatures, which of course everyone has different rules for as well (“Wet signatures only!” “Must be signed by someone with a better job title than yours!”), and then coordinate returning the forms to every individual state, which–all together now!–everyone has different rules for. One state wants it emailed, one wants it faxed, one wants it mailed. It’s been over a year since I had any one task that so consumed my working days. I generally prefer to have a lot of little things going on rather than one big thing (mostly so I can at least get something all the way done in a day), but I have to say, having such a gigantic project to deal with definitely made my work days fly by this week!

2. Anyway, onto more interesting topics, like Broadway! This news is over a week old at this point, but last Thursday it was announced that Six is going to transfer to Broadway! SO exciting! I had heard rumblings that that was a possibility, that Chicago might’ve been an unofficial Broadway tryout, but I didn’t think that 1) it would actually happen or 2) that it would actually happen so soon. I hope the cast stays the same and they record an album! I found the London album on Apple Music and downloaded it, but I’d love to have an album of the cast I heard, too – especially if they become the original Broadway cast!

Also, looking forward to another Tony season where I show I saw premiere in Chicago gets walloped by a gigantic blockbuster 😦 I don’t know why they’re even bothering to have a Tony Awards next June. Moulin Rouge is obviously going to win every award its eligible for. I mean, for goodness’s sake, they had the cast of Moulin Rouge on the Tony’s this year, and the show hadn’t even OPENED yet. (This is part of why I wish Hadestown had waited to open until next year’s Tony season. The awards would’ve been a lot more interesting if it was Hadestown vs. Moulin Rouge in every category.) At least Six has a much better shot at Best Original Score!

3. Speaking of Broadway shows, I went to see Cats last week. I didn’t originally plan to go, but then the movie trailer came out and it was all, “From the director of Les Miserables,” as if that were a good thing, and suddenly going to see Cats became A Major Priority for me.

(I think the Les Miserables movie is trash, and I will not hear otherwise. YOU! CAN! NOT! REARRANGE! THE! SONGS! OF! A! THROUGH-SUNG! MUSICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just can’t!! The songs are in that order for a reason. They literally tell the entire story of the musical. If you rearrange them, you change the story. You can’t just CHANGE when “I Dreamed a Dream” falls in the story!! And don’t even get me STARTED on swapping the order of “On My Own” and “One Day More.” I can still feel the horror I felt in the movie theater when “On My Own” started and “One Day More” hadn’t happened yet, thinking that they DARED cut easily one of the most powerful songs in the entire production. There’s a reason that song concludes the first act!!!! Anyway, I hate the Les Miserables movie, and I do not trust Tom Hooper (the director) as far as I can throw him to do anything resembling justice to Cats if he’s in charge. Rather, I expect him to utterly destroy it, like he did to Les Misearbles. *dismounts soap box*)

Anyway, wanting very much to know how Cats actually goes, not how Tom Hooper (incorrectly) thinks it should go, I went to Cats last week. I had zero expectations and pretty limited knowledge of the show in advance. I had listened to the soundtrack a couple of times, I of course knew “Memory,” and I knew it was based on poems by T.S. Eliot. That was about it.

When I walked out of the theater after the show, I declared it to be, easily, one of my top three favorite musicals.

Guys. I was BLOWN. AWAY. I didn’t expect to like Cats, and instead I ended up loving it. ADORING it. It was amazing! The staging! THE LIGHTING (omg, the lighting. Mister Mistoffelees and his Amazing Techincolor Dreamcoat?!?!?! (#andrewlloydwebberjokes). I DIED.)! But most of all, THE DANCING. OH. EM. GEE. I had no idea that Cats was such a dance-y musical, and I was just delighted beyond words to discover that it is! It was like going to a two-and-a-half hour dance performance, but better, because there was singing. It put Newsies to shame in the dance department, which is really saying something, because I was not aware there were any musicals more dance-y than Newsies. But there is one! It’s Cats!

I so thoroughly loved the show that it’s almost certainly for the best I didn’t see it until a few days before they closed, because otherwise I would’ve gone more than once, which my wallet did not need. But !!!!! It was so good. I was so impressed. I’m so concerned the movie is going to be a gigantic letdown *nervous emoji*

Thursday Things

1. For the past few years, I’ve gone to trivia just about weekly with a group of friends. Sometimes we’d have conflicts and would miss a week, but for the most part, we’ve been regulars at trivia for awhile. We do all right. We usually log three or four top three finishes per year (the top three finishers get a gift card to the bar that hosts trivia), but there are certainly teams that do a lot better than us on a much more regular basis.

Imagine my shock, then, when a few weeks ago, the host approached us to let us know we had qualified for the city-wide championship! (Region-wide, really, since some bars were from the suburbs – and one was even from Champaign!) The company that organizes these trivia nights at bars all over the city invites the top three teams from each bar to its championship, and somehow, we managed to be one of the top three teams from our bar.

The championship was on Saturday afternoon, and holy cow, it was no joke. There were 90 teams (!!) in attendance, and they were very strict about preventing cheating. Cell phones are never allowed during trivia, but they straight up confiscated all of our phones during the championship. We could access them between rounds if we wanted, but you weren’t allowed to have your phone at the table (which could be its own blog post, about how we all had trouble being without our phones for four hours – especially since we usually check our answers via Google after turning in our answer sheet for the round.). Normally, clues give a decent amount of leeway and/or guidance, like, “Name the celebrity whose initials are A.B.,” or, “There are four correct answers to this question. Get three of them, and a bonus point for getting all four,” or, “There are four correct answers to this question. Name all four in five guesses.” Stuff like that. But not at the championship! Now it was, “Name the celebrity without any additional hints other than that they are famous for some reason,” or “Get all four answers correct, no bonus points, no wiggle room.” It was so hard! We left before the final scores came out, but at the last update, we were in a 10-way tie for 64th. Ha. I was so impressed by the teams in the top 10. How can anyone possibly know that much trivia?!

I also found out that one of the bars that does this company’s trivia will be having a Chicago-themed trivia night next week, and ugh. It upsets me to no end that I won’t be able to go. I am extremely confident in my Chicago trivia abilities (assuming this is Chicago-the-city trivia, not Chicago-the-musical trivia. That would be a lot harder, haha.). Learning random Chicago facts has basically been my part-time hobby for the past seven years, and I would clean up. But alas, I’m not free that night. Fingers crossed they do a Chicago theme night at my bar one of these days!

2. As of midnight this morning, I’m officially no longer a Chicago resident 😦

While I moved to the suburbs almost a full month ago now, the lease on my last apartment in the city ran through July 31, and I was still spending a decent amount of time there. I usually spent the night after trivia, I stopped by to shower after my Saturday long run a couple of times, I slept there after I went to see Six and after the wedding I attended at the Field Museum. We didn’t have much there anymore–no TV, no internet, not even any flooring, since my landlord ripped up all the carpet a few days after we moved out–so it’s not like I was going there just to hang out, but I popped in for one reason or another at least once a week after moving out.

But now I can’t, because it’s not my apartment anymore.

apartment

I didn’t cry on moving day, but I cried a lot on Tuesday, which was when I dropped off my keys and left for the last time. That apartment was not without its issues or frustrations, but it was really special to me. Knowing that I can’t stop by anymore makes me very sad. The curse of getting attached to spaces, I guess.

3. Fortunately, I have a pool at my new apartment to help me wash away my sorrows.

The pool wasn’t really one of the selling points of this apartment complex to me. I don’t often want to go swimming, and I want to put on a bathing suit even less often, not from a self-conscious standpoint but from a sunscreen application standpoint. Being in a bathing suit means SO much skin is exposed, and it takes for-freaking-ever to put on all that sunscreen. After I put it on, I’m sticky and tacky and just generally feel like I need a shower. But my Dutch Scandinavian skin and reddish-side-of-brown hair can barely handle thinking about UV rays without getting burned, so I don’t have much of a choice.

It seemed like a waste to have a pool and never use it, though, so I got over myself on Sunday afternoon and went to the pool for an hour of floating around, and whoa. It was awesome. The water was comfortable, the landscaping around the pool was beautiful, and all in all it was such a perfect place to relax. Big fan.