Saturday, May 22, 2010

Part II of the "Winston Calling" epic adventure............

WOW.....time has passed!!!  All of a sudden, it's been five months since the concert.  Let's just say, my blogging life is a little slow!!  :)  But get excited b/c I've decided to do some short and sweet blogs of our NYC trip to keep all of you posted on our adventures! 


Winston today!  (That's an ulceration from treatment on his cheek.)

BUT, I can't not tell you all about the surreal concert that I wish we could re-live every day!!
So let me rewind though to the beginning of the LA event.


You must see and enjoy the 2 day epic event through our eyes.  And if you didn’t know me, you might not believe that this all is for real. But trust me, it is…………


Okay, so first things first! I asked Chris’ friends to fly out to LA to surprise him. His 40th birthday was this year and instead of it being a big party, we found ourselves at the hospital with Winston having a barium swallow study. What's a "barium swallow study" you ask? It's exactly like it sounds-- Winston drinks a barium mix and they take a live videos x-ray of his swallowing...........very fun for a birthday as you can imagine! (Hollahhhh to the KU Feeding Team-- thank you ladies for everything!!)
Chris' 40th Birthday in his X-ray gear for Winston's swallow study!


So since his birthday was lame, the plan was set, three guys would be flying out to LA to surprise Chris.

On the day we were to fly out, there was an awful storm. Snow, ice.........it wasn't pretty. Have I told you that Chris hates to fly because of a crash landing coming home to England from Greece once?  It involved screaming people, babies crying, a diverted flight and a landing gear that was stuck.

Our ride to the airport for our LA trip consisted of Chris' usual flying freak-out but this time it was worse because of the weather. 

I was use to his fear making him say things that he didn't really mean........it's actually quite funny....afterwards!!!  I hilariously use to cry, but now I just hope that security doesn't think he's another shoe bomber!  Visualize Chris with his crazy curly hair, pajama pants on that he wears every day of his life, pacing and muttering to himself.........exactly my point!  I'm surprised they don't pull us into an airport security room!

"Why are you making me fly???? It's like giving someone with the fear of snakes a snake for a present and telling them they have to take care of it..........." and thus our adventure began as I was chasing him around the airport.

"Please xanax work for him" I thought. I honestly did not think he was going to get on the plane. And yet, I did so well at not spilling the beans that his friends were going to be there to surprise him. Let's just say, it's always an eventful flight which is totally understandable when you have an extreme fear of flying. But it does make for some hilarious stories afterwards. (Ask me about the Denver airport and the credit card incident some time.)

Within minutes of arriving at our hotel and meeting up with my brother Jim, who flew in from Arizona, Chris turns to me and says, "That's Jesse Jackson!" Mr. Jackson heard him say that, stopped, and offered to take photographs with us.

After photos and chatting, we were off!  Now, keep in mind, this is the first time we've been away since our life was turned completely upside down which is all the more reason this was very surreal.  We had just spent the last year and a half going through a reality show, winning it, pregnancy shocker, filming, being told Winston had a tumor, keeping it all a secret, 7 wks in the NICU, Winston dying and Chris doing CPR and saving him, multiple PICU visits, and NYC treatment trips...........and then we found ourselves in LA about to have the best two nights of our lives.


I hadn't gone to sleep at all the night before because I was up all night putting together framed photos of Winston as Ron Burgundy for all of the musicians and comedians who had volunteered their time. So I was running on empty before the event even began. It was a silly little gift but it was so important for me to have something that said thank you. Plus who doesn't love a baby with a mustache???  If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with mustaches and find them utterly hilarious.  Everything in life is better with a mustache........even a rare malformation.  :)

Winston as "Ron Burgundy" from the movie "Anchorman".
 All we were missing was his jazz flute!!!

So I know I'm being a bit long winded already but I can visualize every moment because it was the first moment we started to feel human again.  We had been going along beautifully in life and then BLAMMO,
life gave us a sucker punch that knocked the wind out of us..........so what I'm saying is, bare with me.  I'm a little lame at times because I'm learning how to interact with people again.  :)


Okay, so, I go to the venue where all of the bands are doing sound checks and I finally get to meet the lovely Auntie Violet (aka Violet Clark of "Grand Duchy" fame) and Mrs. to Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis). 

It's funny b/c we had talked so much online that I almost felt like I was about to go on a blind date!  But she was so nice and welcoming and it couldn't have been more perfect!!  And as I'm chatting with Violet, picture this in the background---brilliant bands like The 88s, OK Go, She Wants Revenge all doing sound checks.  My brother and I were in heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
She Wants Revenge Sound Check

Not only that, the band members were very nice to check out the table of Winston photos that I had brought.  They said nice things like "we are honored".........whoa!!!  Auntie Violet, you have some lovely friends.
Auntie Violet and Uncle Charles

And so the night began.  Chris freaked out that his friends surprised him, the concert sold out for both nights (not even Jane's Addiction who played there weeks before had sold out) and it felt like we were in heaven.


Chris, Fletch, Marty, Dave and Billy

Chris and I were able to go sit on the stage and watch up close.  I tell everyone that Flea sweated on me and I giggle when I think that my all-time fave, Jack Black, gave me a shoulder rub. 



Chris and I had not smiled like that this in a long, long time.  You can just see the happiness that had been waiting to show up for so long.  Please note that this photo is on stage and that Damian Kush of OK Go is standing in front of me, Kim of The Muffs is in the foreground (you have to check out her music--she has the best wail ever) and Auntie Violet is in the white hat like our little guardian angel.


  

Flea was kind enough to take a photo with us! I SO hate doing that b/c I know they get harrassed all of the time.  And as you'll see lovely, lovely friends from Design Star came to show their support!  Stephanie & Matt from my season and then some of my favorite producers!!!  :)

Matt from Design Star 3, Auntie Violet and myself

                                               
                          My brother Jim w/ the nicest person you'll ever meet, Weird Al.

                                              
                                                   Enough said.........how cool!  :)

I do have to share that I don't usually get star struck.  I manage to realize that everyone is just a real person who happens to be very talented.  But when I met Jack Black back stage, I was a complete tool.  You can say, "Oh, I'm sure you weren't."  But I would have to say, "Oh, but yes, I really was." 

After I had done my favorite line to JB that I was the Jack Black of design because we both have facial hair and highlights and received my shoulder massage of encouragement to speak in front of the crowd, I found myself with him and two others back stage.  I usually have lots to say but I had nothing.  I completely drew a blank and in my attempts to try and play it cool, I got a sweat on and realized I had just done what I swore was never my style.  Oh, well, you can't win them all!  :)  He couldn't have been any nicer and I will never forget getting to meet him! 

And as if one night of music that live streamed to 41,000 people and included the legendary collaboration of Black Francis with the bands Tenacious D, Weird Al, Flea, The 88s, David J of Bauhaus, Michael Penn, OK Go, Kim Shattuck of The Muffs, She Wants Revenge and The Pixies (minus Kim Deal) wasn't enough...........we had a night of comedy, too!!!............I think Auntie Violet knew we needed to laugh!!!


The brilliant Bob Odenkirk and Brian Posehn........

And so we began night number two in a smaller venue but with just as huge names!!!!
Bob Odenkirk of multiple fames, Brian Posehn of "The Sarah Silverman Show", The Pixies Drummer (Brian Lovering) who knew was so funny, Tim & Eric of "Tim & Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job!", and a lovely class of comedy students.


Bob Odenkirk  &  Brian Posehn


Tim & Eric

I have to admit, it felt like my wedding. 

So many people coming to say hi and chat.  When really I just wanted to jump into a dark corner and listen!  It was the worst time to meet Dan and Lonni from Season 4 of Design Star for the first time. 

Because I had so much that I wanted to talk about with them but I also wanted to watch the show!  Needless to say, we had to have a chat about the highs and lows of tv land and life after tv land.  Those two could not be any lovelier!

Dan & Lonni of Season 4 Design Star Fame
Had I known I was going to be sitting between two such good looking people,
I would have worn make-up on the second night!!!  :)

I have to tell you, I didn't drink one cocktail either night.........I wanted to soak it all in.  And I have to tell you, I find myself going on YouTube rewatching the videos of everything to re-live it. 

It's not because I don't absolutely love my life because I do.  Despite the craziness of the last year and a half, I couldn't love my life any more. 

And it's not that I think that those two nights were the climax of my life (even though topping them will be near impossible).........it's just that for two nights, when Chris and I really needed it, we were able to escape the seriousness that had become our lives through laughter and music.  Two of our all time favorite past times.

Plus I feel like there was so much to take in that there was no way your brain could process all of the surreal moments that were happening left and right.  We all witnessed some really legendary moments.

Here are links if you want to experience "Winston Calling" for the first time or relive something brilliant.

Thank you SO MUCH to Auntie Violet, Uncle Charles, Todd, Jo and all of the amazing bands, venues, and behind the scenes crew.  Honestly, besides raising the money, you all gave our souls a jump start.

Also, thank you to everyone that attended.  You all were a part of something very, very special and we will all be talking about it for years to come. 

Winston says thank you, too.  He owes all of you one lawn mowing.....his list is getting long!!!  I tell everyone that Winston is like a Nascar car, we should have sponsorship stickers all over him!  (We don't watch Nascar in case you're wondering, not that there's anything wrong with it if you do.)  :)  Ricky Bobby is our only Nascar hero!  :)

Big hugs and thanks for reading this if you managed to get this far!
jen 








4 comments:

Jennifer Bertrand said...

I'm totally commenting on my own blog so I don't feel like a loser!! :) Great job me!!!! :D

James said...

Love your new blog Jen! :) Hope you both have a safe trip to New York and Winston does well with the procedures!!

Dana said...

Jennifer, my son (11yrs old) & I love Design Star. We just watched this season's finale. We moved from Olathe KS to Colorado Springs CO last November, and we always wondered what happened to our local winner!

After tonights show I decided to try & find out more about you online. I am sorry to hear that you have had a wonderful but bittersweet journey.

I was admitted to the ER at Olathe Medical Center in February 2005 when my son was just 5 years old. I was 29 & perfectly healthy. They found a baseball sized mass on my brain. It turned out to be stage IV brain cancer & I was given 3-12 months to live. We were devestated!

But now it's almost been 6 years, and I am cancer free! In fact, you may have seen my face before because there was a commercial that aired locally on Fox 4, KCTV5 back in 2008. The production was for North Point Church in Olathe.

I wanted to share my story with you personally because I am living breathing proof that there is a reason for hope! Regardless of what the doctors & statistics have said about Winston we beleive God's report has the final say!

My family will pray for you, your hubby & Winston, because we believe God is still in the miracle working business. I am living proof of that! I hope your business is doing well back in Olathe. And always remember when God shuts a door its only because He has something better for you...sometimes it comes quickly but often I have had to learn to wait.

I am believing & hoping the best for you girl!

Hugs from CO
Dana
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/danapalmer

cyntaur23 said...

I stumbled across your blog yesterday through a series of internet clicking and linking, and have found your story incredibly fascinating. I started at the beginning and am reading my way through your posts, and wanted to let you know how encouraging your outlook is. When I read this line: "Despite the craziness of the last year and a half, I couldn't love my life any more" I couldn't have smiled bigger for you. Keep going strong! You have an attitude that is more wholly beautiful than I can even imagine, and it's immensely encouraging to me, even though our lives are like apples and oranges.

Thank you for sharing your story here!

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