Monthly Archives: April 2013

Because I Can (Sort Of) Watch A Live Bon Jovi Concert Stream

When I first signed up to watch the live concert stream of Bon Jovi’s “Because We Can” tour from San Jose’s HP Pavilion last night, I thought my biggest concern was going to be my two young boys. Little did I know.

I head upstairs at 7:57 p.m. in my most casual concert attire ever —shorts and a t-shirt—and leave my family with simple, yet strict, instructions: leave me alone. A few minutes later I sit in front of my iMac, ready to rock. After a short delay, the concert kicks off and I am soon singing along to a couple of favorites: You Give Love a Bad Name and Born to Be My Baby. Jon wears a red t-shirt, a blue distressed leather jacket with a white star center chest and red and white stripes running vertically along the bottom. His right cuff is unzipped. Cool. I’ve been to several concerts and Sharks games at the HP Pavilion, but this is my first live concert via computer. I’m getting into it. As the song ends I realize there’s someone standing behind me in the dark: it’s my mom.

Jon addresses the crowd.



He goes on to say that he “ain’t gonna waste much time talkin’ tonight.”

“Ain’t?” my mom repeats.

He then tells us about the 2 1/2 hour roller coaster ride we’ll be on for the evening.

“Has he had some work done?” My mom says in what is more like a statement than a question.

“No, it’s good genes.” I counter.

“Is he heavier? Or taller?…”

Maybe she forgets she’s watching this on a 21.5 inch computer screen.

She makes her way to the door.

“His hair looks better,” she pipes in as she leaves.

A few minutes later, the door bursts open and the room smells like freshly-brushed teeth. My boys are with my mom, standing quietly at first.

“Why’s he sweating?” My 9-year-old asks as I’m enjoying Lost Highway. “He’s so old.”

“Does he have an earring in? Oh, it’s an earpiece…” My mom adds.

They leave the room and I am left alone with the band again singing a Whole Lotta Leavin’.

The door opens a final time.

My mom stands there in her striped pajamas.

“Are you gonna say prayers with your children?” she chastises.

As she pulls the door shut for emphasis, I turn back to the computer screen and the sweaty old guy. I extra-happily —and with renewed vigor— belt out “It’s my life…..” with him.

Note to self: Next time there’s a concert stream of Bon Jovi broadcast live from anywhere around the world, make sure Frannie is nowhere in sight.


The Look & Feel of Prayers In Action

“I hope you could feel the breeze of our prayers stirring the air in her room, in the car, at your house and in the hallways. We were all there.”
–Email from a dear family friend from our hometown.

Shortly after my sister popped her head into her guest room in Portland to say goodbye to my mom last Tuesday around 8:40 a.m., the prayers started, and the divine orchestration unfolded.

She was simply going to tell my mom that she was taking my nephew to preschool. Instead, she found my mom sweaty, shaking and feverish and having a hard time catching her breath. My sister knocked on the bathroom door, telling my college roommate—who was in town visiting colleges with her 17-year-old son—that she needed help. They soon called 9-1-1. My brother-in-law got the word and sped home—running more-than-one-but-less-than-ten red lights to get there. My friend helped answer questions as the medics arrived. Her 17-year-old entertained my nephew in the basement so he wouldn’t have to see grandma leaving by ambulance. My sister called me from the Emergency Room. My mom had sepsis, an infection that had spread to her bloodstream. She was going to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. I knew I needed to head South.

The only two words on my calendar for the week: Spring Break.

I re-packed clothes from our Easter trip and got on the road with my two boys and one cheese pizza.

Late that afternoon, after 3 1/2 hours of driving, I stood outside my mom’s room, being updated by one of the doctors, who, as it turns out, lives near my sister. Another one, who lives across the street and a few houses down, stopped by to check-in. As I listened to the words, reality started to sink in. “JUST STAND,” I told my legs. That’s not what they wanted to do. Quite opposite. They wanted to crumple to the floor, collapsing in a heap. Finally in Portland, finally in the hospital, I just wanted to curl up and bawl, as my one parent lay fragile and healing, just feet away, amid monitors and medications. But my legs followed my command. They stood. They held me.

My brother-in-law generously took the rest of the week off work. My college roommate extended her trip by a day. They were there to step in, hang out with the boys, and just be so that my sister and I could spend time with mom at the hospital. We could focus on mom and her healing, and that was a blessing beyond words.

But the blessings didn’t end there. An aunt, also a nurse, who called with comfort, understanding and reassurance. A neighbor who loaned us a bike. Another who brought homemade soup. A doctor from Gilroy who called with information to help with my mom’s care. And with every Facebook comment and like, every email, every text message, every voicemail, every phone call, we felt loved. We felt cared for. We were in it together.

We felt prayer in action.

So here’s what Spring Break looked like for the boys: A gourmet salmon dinner cooked by my brother-in-law, who also took all three of them to a Bouldering gym and baked homemade pizza with my 9-year-old, who got to watch the Miami Heat, Giants and Mariners with one really cool high schooler. There were bike rides around the driveway and through the neighborhood, with squeals of delight. An impromptu sidewalk game of tetherball. New Nikes. Disco dance parties in the morning. Silly, nonsensical preschool jokes, like “Why did the road cross the road?” Soccer, t-ball and basketball together.

And here’s what Spring Break looked like for me: I got to eat falafels with my college roommate and talk about life, grief and the San Francisco Giants. I spent so much time at my sister’s house that I finally learned that yogurt lids go in the compost pile, not regular garbage, after being scolded like I’m some kind of moron. I got to fold clothes with her. I got to laugh with her at the fact that Ratt’s “Round and Round” was playing on the radio as we drove around a roundabout. We got to care for my mom together.

And mom? The nurse became the patient. She got excellent care. She was right where she needed to be. Her body responded, she healed, and her strength of spirit and that resounding, cheerful, beautiful laugh shined through. She returned to my sister’s yesterday and will come up here for some extended R & R. We will get more time together.

It was a Spring Break to remember.

“I hope you could feel the breeze of our prayers stirring the air in her room, in the car, at your house and in the hallways. We were all there.”

We could. And you were.

And we are grateful beyond measure.