Last December 13th, Molly found out something in the morning that she couldn't tell anyone. It was a Sunday and I was sick, so I stayed in bed while Molly went to church and then helped out with a "Cookies With Santa" event. All that time, she kept the secret that she was pregnant! When she came home, I was feeling a bit better, so she was finally able to tell me. I was floored. We had only been trying for a little over a month and I didn't expect it to happen so soon. It was a great surprise and really lifted my mood, to say the least.
That week, we went to my company holiday party and Molly's family came to visit that weekend. The weekend after that, we went to visit my family for Christmas. It was so crazy knowing what we knew and not being able to tell anyone. Most advice I read online said to wait 10 to 12 weeks to tell other people that you are pregnant because that's when the risk of miscarriage dramatically drops. We were trying to wait that long, but it was really hard because we were so excited and the holidays made it even harder.
New Year's Eve, Molly and I were sitting in our living room talking about when we were going to tell our families about the pregnancy. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, we agreed to tell her parents that night and my parents when we saw them that weekend for Christmas with my aunts in New York. I ran to my computer and whipped up a little image to text to Molly's parents. I sent this to her dad at 8:30pm while Molly was on the phone with her mom:
Molly's mom was in shock and there was a lot of happy crying.
That weekend, Molly and I went to New York for my aunts' Christmas party. We had purchased a bracelet for my mom that said "Grandma is always loved" on it. The plan was to give it to her without any explanation and just let it sink in. Before my family arrived, I asked my cousin's daughter to record my parents' reaction to the news:
The baby has been healthy all of this time, but it has been a rough pregnancy nevertheless. Molly has been sick throughout, though it was worst in the first trimester. We took to calling the baby "Little Monster" since she was causing so much trouble. It was mostly in fun, though. We already love her so much and can't wait to meet her.
Oh yeah, it's a girl!
The due date was last Wednesday, August 24, but it seems we'll need to coerce her out into the world. Molly is going to be induced on Monday at 5pm, unless the baby finally decides to come out on her own before then.
It makes me really nervous, but I am also really excited.
We're about to embark on a grand adventure with our new little Sullivan!
Last night, I went to an event in Cleveland called The Wastelands. It was billed as a folk opera reimagining of Dante's Purgatorio. It was put on by a theatre and film ensemble called Children of the Wild. They were based in Massachusetts, but are migrating to Minnesota and are putting on free performances in multiple cities along the way.
The venue for the event was St. John's Episcopal Church in Ohio City. The program began outside, but we were led to different areas of the grounds for different scenes. The weather was perfect for the event. It was a little chilly at one point, but that actually fit in rather well since the scene was about a character fighting off cold.
It was a very interesting performance piece. I wasn't familiar with Dante's Purgatorio, so I could only go on what I was experiencing at the time. There were a lot of intense moments where I was really invested in what the characters were going through. The music was beautiful and really set the tone wonderfully. There was some slapstick physical comedy as well. I laughed at some of it, but it sort of felt out of place and went on too long at times.
I really liked the local aspect of the work. The church's sun-soaked stained glass window was a haunting background for a scene, the empty lot next door made a great set for a fire battle, and the church's organ was incorporated into the music at one point. Near the end of the performance, they had a local author read a passage he wrote about how hard it is to sympathize with others. It was very moving.
Overall, I thought it was a great production. I found myself thinking about it a lot today.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a free concert series every summer. I was ecstatic when I found out Reignwolf would be one of the featured artists. This is a band I have been pretty excited about since first hearing their first single in January.
I hadn't heard of the opening band before, but I checked them out after seeing them listed on the schedule. Thaddeus Anna Greene are a blues/soul rock band from Cleveland with a frontman reminiscent of Jimmy Hendrix. They put on a pretty good show. The music was great, but it was slightly disappointing that TJ Maclin turned around to face the drummer for almost every guitar solo. The drummer has seen his work, the fans should get a chance!
Where Thaddeus Anna Greene were tight and controlled in their performance, pouring out the grooves to the audience, Reignwolf was unhinged and reckless, slamming the crowd in the face with crushing riffs. The main ingredient to the Reignwolf sound and experience is founding member Jordan Cook. In less than a minute of taking the stage, he attempted standing atop one of his monitors, tipped it over, and fell flat to the stage. After picking himself up and resuming his jam, he quickly worked his way around another speaker and got his guitar cord caught. This resulted in a trip and the cord coming unplugged. What an entrance. Luckily, he managed to stay upright for the rest of the show and there weren't any more gear glitches.
Speaking of gear, it was pretty cool that Cook played an electric mandolin for, rather fittingly, "The Mandolin Song". The second guitarist/bassist, Stitch Rapaport, plays something he developed and calls a Buitar. It allows him to play both bass and guitar at the same time without much compromise to either sound.
At one point, the other two members of the band left the stage and Cook was playing guitar and drums at the same time.
It was an intense show. I think it was soon after the next picture was taken, that one of the strings broke on his guitar and he kept wailing away at it. Then he laid it down on the stage and kept wailing while ripping out the other strings till there was nothing left. A couple more smacks at the pickups then he stood up, said thanks, and walked off the stage. They had only played four songs.
At this point, I thought maybe that was really it. I had only ever heard four of their songs before. They haven't released an album yet. I thought maybe that was all they had.
Then one of the more dedicated fans jumped up on the stage and led the crowd in chanting for an encore and the band acquiesced. Cook picked up a new guitar and dropped down into the audience. I was standing right next to him as he started rocking out once more. I tried to get a picture, but he was seriously so close that they all came out blurry because my phone couldn't focus. I almost got hit in the face a couple times, but it was awesome.
When he got back on the stage, he asked a kid who looked about 12 years old if he would hold the mic for him. That kid's face said that this was the most amazing thing that ever happened to him. He stood in awe the whole time he was holding the mic up.
The concert started at 7 and was over well before 10. I think it may have been the earliest I ever got home from a concert. Even so, it was definitely a show I would have paid to see. I think the rock hall is pretty great for putting on a public free event for everyone to enjoy some amazing music in our beloved city.
Last Saturday, Karl and I drove up to Detroit for the St. Jerome's Laneway Festival. Originating in Australia, this was the first international laneway festival and for some reason they chose Detroit as host city. Maybe it was because Oakland University has an awesome venue for a multi-stage concert event. Rolling green hills and almost perfect temperature made for a great day of music.
We got to the festival grounds pretty early, so we scoped out all of the merchants and were familiar with the stage locations before the first band started. About ten minutes after entering, I realized that I left my sunscreen in the car and Karl left his sandwich there, too. Unfortunately, the event had a no reentry policy. I asked a guy at the entrance if there was any way I could go out and get my sunscreen from that car. Without any sympathy, he assured me that I could not. I tried to stay in the shade as much as I could throughout the day, but I ended up with a sunburn. I guess it could have been worse if I wasn't mindful of it.
The bands we saw were Haerts, My Brightest Diamond, Chet Faker, CHVRCHES, Solange, Flume, and Sigur Rós. We saw bits and pieces of other performances, but those were the full performances we caught.
The biggest letdown was CHVRCHES. That was the band I was most excited to see, but it seemed like the lead singer didn't want to be there. There was a song where one of the other members sang lead vocals and he went nuts during the performance. It was strange but entertaining, unlike the rest of the songs where they all pretty much just stood there and played their music. Karl and I agreed that they might perform better in a small club where it's dark and the lighting could provide some engagement for the audience. From what I've read in the reviews for the festival, our poor opinion of the performance is in the minority. I still love the band, but I don't think open space daytime venues are for them.
The biggest surprise was My Brightest Diamond. I expected it to be good, but unexciting. I listen to her music when I want to chill, but it turned out that she had a very energetic show. Small strange things, like wearing a hard hat and fake mustache for one song or putting on yellow house cleaning gloves for another, kept things interesting. She did a good job of working the stage.
One nice surprise was the Detroit Party Marching Band. They started the set for My Brightest Diamond, but we also caught them performing on their own out in the middle of a field. They were very entertaining. Energetic music, crazy costumes, and interactions with the audience made for a fun time.
The best performance was, by far, Sigur Rós. The sun had set by the time they took the stage. Individual light bulbs had been placed around the platform. Their set made use of the long LED screen that had been hanging unused behind all of the other bands that had used that stage. It displayed atmospheric video clips to match the mood of each of their songs. The crowd was taking pictures and videos for the first half of the set, but soon after, it felt like everyone was just caught up in the moment with the band. There weren't any hand-held glowing screens scattered around me; just a crowd enthralled by the energy pouring out over it. After it was over, I was on an emotional high. I loved it.
Overall, it was a great music festival. Problems that a lot of concerts face - crowding, obstructed views, drunks, fights - were virtually nonexistent at the Laneway Music Festival. The music was eclectic and the venue was perfect. If the bands are lined up right for next year, I can see myself going again.
2012 was a pretty low-key year for Molly and I. Here’s a breakdown of the highlights. (At least, the ones I can remember right now.)
Mandy got really sick, Molly took some time off from work to go help out.
Took a weekend trip to Pittsburgh to see Stars on Ice, since they didn’t come to Cleveland this year.
My family came to visit us. We went to the Great Lakes Science Center.
The company I work for was purchased by LivingSocial.
Molly saw Wicked in Dayton with her mom, dad and sister.
I lost a pie eating contest at work.
I visited the LivingSocial headquarters in DC with half of my company. Finally went in the Jefferson Memorial. Molly and I didn’t make it there last time.
While in DC, a couple of us found out that Roger Waters would be performing “The Wall” across the street from where we were eating dinner. We bought some tickets and had an awesome time.
Molly went to Florida with her mom and sister. I went to visit my family in PA.
We took a train to Rome, NY for my cousin’s wedding.
I went to the Uprise Festival with my brothers. Molly went to visit her sister at grad school.
Molly and I went to see Celtic Thunder.
I put up homemade bookshelves in our living room.
Molly went to the Scott Hamilton & Friends event. She was very excited that they had gathered every U.S. Olympic Gold winning figure skater in one place for the event. She also got to meet several of the skaters, including Kristi Yamaguchi.
Molly and I went to a cabin in Hocking Hills to celebrate 10 years since we started dating.
We spent Thanksgiving with my family in PA.
Spent Christmas with Molly’s family.
Went to New York for the Sullivan family Christmas party. The weather was really bad, so the trip there took an extra two hours. Thankfully, it was better on the way home.
We were pretty worn out from all of the traveling, so we spent New Years at home this time around. Resting up for the new year!
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