Remembering Mumford

I saw Mumford & Sons in concert four weeks ago and, blessed as I am with my mother’s memory, I’m already starting to forget. I’m not a concert-goer. No band or group or duo or person has ever moved me enough to see them live (at least not in the last few years). Until Mumford. Don’t know what it is. Maybe the voice. Maybe the man. Maybe the combination. Maybe the music. (Despite singing along at the top of my lungs, their intricate lyrics and hidden meanings are lost on me and I don’t usually know what it is I’m singing about.) (Please don’t tell Marcus I said that.)

Whatever it is, I love him. I mean, them. Obviously I mean them as the whole band is awesome, but really I just want Marcus Mumford to sing for me on command and then maybe do unspeakable things to me in private.

But I digress. Here is everything I remember about the concert (because I forget everything and blogging is nothing if not a way to keep my memories alive).

It was Saturday, June 24, 2017.

At The Joint. In the Hard Rock Hotel. In Vegas.

Where it was 112 degrees.

We spent $150 on a buffet at Caesar’s Palace the morning of the concert. Which was wasted on my Manfriend and I as neither of us eat seafood and I’m convinced that’s where you get your money’s worth.

Stuffed to the point of bursting, we walked 2 miles in 112 DEGREES to the Hard Rock to scope out the venue. All tickets were “general admission” and “standing room only.” If a line was going to form, I was going to be at the front of it.

The doors opened at 7. The concert started at 8. We were told they would allow people to line up at 6. Someone else then told us 5.

We went back to our hotel to throw up, shower and get ready and got back to the Hard Rock at 4. Just in case.

Security told us we had to at least look like we were doing something other than waiting to wait so we walked back and forth a few times.

At 4:30, the official line formed.

Periodically this chick security guard (and a major force to be reckoned with) would walk back and forth to explain the rules. You know, the basics. No pushing. No shoving. No drugs. No weapons. The young people behind us were super critical, but at 34-years-old-almost-35, I really appreciate rules.

We stood in line for almost 3 hours and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. When we finally got inside the venue, I about peed my pants when I saw how close we were to the stage.

And, when I say close, I mean WE WERE 10 FEET AWAY FROM INAPPROPRIATELY TOUCHING MARCUS MUMFORD.

At 8, people walked on stage. They called it an opening act, but I don’t know who it was and don’t ask me what they were doing up there. All I could think about was how maybe Mumford wasn’t worth it because OH MY GOD IT’S HOT. There were so many people and we were practically on top of each other. At one point, I could feel a drop of sweat slide down my back. Also, I could feel the arm of the dude next to me pressed shoulder-to-wrist up against mine. Gross.

But he wasn’t moving and neither was I.

Jason said, don’t worry, when the band gets on stage, you’ll forget all about it. But, in the midst of my miserableness, I wasn’t convinced.

Despite not knowing each other, the crowd acted as a close-knit family or sorts. Mumford was bringing us together. People were sharing stories of other Mumford concerts and I quickly realized I was amongst die-hards.

I saw more than one person with a tattoo of the band’s logo. (Although, I’m still not convinced it was the band’s logo and not actually the tour logo, but who knows.) (Even Google isn’t totally clear on this.)

Jason was right. When Mumford finally came out, I forgot all about my discomforts.

The crowd (myself included) went nuts. We were so loud. Cheering. Singing. Not getting enough.

But, super-duper honesty time? I was expecting more than just singing. They hardly spoke to us at all.

They seemed tired. Or sad. I’m not sure which. (Maybe Marcus needed a hug. Maybe I should’ve given him one.)

They performed the next night at a festival in southern California (which would have been way closer to home, but I wanted the intimate setting The Joint provided). Jason’s co-worker went. She’s seen them live 5 times already (not fair) and said the same thing. They weren’t themselves.

Don’t get me wrong. They sounded amazing live. It was incredible to see them and see them so close. But I wanted the Mumford that sang at the Grammys back in 2011 and fucking rocked out hard with a look of pure joy on their faces like they knew they had tapped into something so fucking precious and right. (Which is exactly the same look I had on my face as I watched them.)

Also? I wanted the Mumford that took one look at me and fell madly in love. Where was that Mumford?

The concert only lasted minutes. At least, that’s what it felt like. I can hardly remember now what songs they sang, but I know I sang along to every single one.

After, I grabbed Manfriend’s hand and said, please, can we just go sit somewhere quite for a minute? Because holy crap. The people. The heat. The noise.

We found a bar around the corner that was blessedly empty and surprisingly quiet (except, of course, for the ever constant jingle-jangle of the casino). We drank overpriced beer and dissected the concert to within an inch of its life and, once we had taken the edge off, we were ready to party.

Originally, when Manfriend told me about his co-worker (the bitch who attends all the M&S concerts?), my reaction had been one of disdain. I mean, why would you see the same group over and over again? Aren’t there any others you’d like to see live? But now I get it. ‘Cause if Manfriend and my finances would allow it, I’d quit my job and follow Mumford around the world (mostly in hopes of him doing those unspeakable things to me, but I suppose I’d go just for the music, too).

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18 Things on Day 18.

1. I knew time would fly by, but wow, it’s already Day 18.
2. Only 12 more days!
3. I know you could’ve done the math yourself. I’m sorry.
4. No tiger blood yet.
5. No benefits of any sort, really.
6. Except that I feel great about my choices.
7. And that’s way better than feeling guilty and remorseful.
8. Also, I may be sleeping more soundly and waking up less often.
9. But that could be because I’ve been going to be late and I’m tired.
10. I’m still craving juice.
11. And Wilson’s Creek Almond Champagne. (It makes the best mimosas.)
12. I experience this weird energy lull between 9am and 11am every day.
13. But maybe I just don’t want to be at work.
14. I don’t feel like I’m losing any weight, but I never do even when I am.
15. I always just feel like a fat blob.
16. My goal? Is to lose weight naturally eating a whole foods diet.
17. Which means no more counting. Points or calories or grams or ounces.
18. And whatever weight that is? Be happy about it.
19. But can I be happy if I never fit into my skinny jeans again? I guess only time will tell.

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And then it was easy.

Despite feeling like hammered shit for the first week, Round 2 has been incredibly easy compared to Round 1. Almost scary easy. Like I must be doing something wrong easy.

In Round 1, I was constantly going to the store. I spent what felt like hours pouring over food labels and the Whole30 cheat sheets to determine what I could and couldn’t eat. I was always starving by dinner and scrambling to make something easy and compliant. I dreamed of sweet lattes and felt the deprivation every morning in a physical way. (Only a small exaggeration.)

In Round 2? There’s been none of that.

Granted… I have done a few things differently. I was actually, like, prepared for Round 2. Which was a HUGE improvement over Round 1 where I was not at all physically, mentally, or emotionally prepared for what I was about to do.

I went grocery shopping prior to Round 2. I bought food in bulk and froze it to eliminate the numerous trips to the grocery store. I cooked up a big batch of sweet potato chili and haven’t had to fret over a single lunch yet.

And bonus! Manfriend took a job right across the street from Mother’s Market (which is only my favorite grocery store). It’s been super easy to just pop in there for fresh fruits and veggies. And yes, I know I just complained about how I was always stopping at the grocery store during Round 1 and, like, what’s the diff? BUT that was out of my way and a pain in the ass. Now it’s like I’m already right there!

Plus, since I’m buying fresh produce every other day or so, it’s cut way back on waste. (I’m not buying a ton of produce for the week and then throwing it out when I don’t eat it fast enough.) (Also, it’s super humid in my home and, I swear, things rot so much faster.)

I suppose the thing that’s made Whole 30: Round 2 even easier is the fact that I’m actually following what the plan intended: a whole foods diet. I’m not still trying to fit in pre-packaged foods (thus pouring over labels to find the one that’s compliant). Although my meals aren’t super creative (I’ll get there eventually), I’m eating good, healthy, filling foods.

Yes, on Day 12, I still experience energy lulls. I worry that I’m not eating enough protein (especially at breakfast) as sometimes I feel this general weakness throughout my whole body. And yeah, I struggle with the craving for, not coffee this time, but juice (WTF). Despite all that, I’m excited for the choices and changes I’m making for my health. I’m excited that it’s feeling more easy and natural. And I’m super excited for the tiger blood.

Sure, I might cry a little inside when I pass the Easter candy at Target, but those are just growing pains, right?

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Peppermint Bark Trauma

On Day 5, I woke up and my headache was gone! It was awesome! And then it came back in the afternoon which was so not awesome. And then I went home and all I could think about was getting into bed and napping until it was time to pick up Manfriend (who needs to buy a car, like, yesterday). And then I went to pick him up and he asked me how my day was and I was, like, “fine.” And that was it. Because I was so exhausted I just couldn’t bring myself to have a simple conversation. Also, I didn’t shower yesterday. I had grand plans to do so before bed, but holy hell, the exhaustion! So, yeah, Whole30 has reduced me to this stinking pile of limp uselessness.

On Day 6, I feel mostly better. (Could be the shower.) The headache is mostly gone. I’m still counting the minutes until I can get into bed, but today is my “Friday” and, come on, it’s been a long week! I had a touch or irritability this morning (where “a touch” equals I snapped at someone so bad I had to apologize later) (embarrassing), but I’m feeling pretty even keeled now. (But that could be because everyone has gone home and I’m blessedly alone.) Other than a general feeling of weakness (maybe I need more iron?), I’m not doing too bad.

Yesterday, I was standing in a coworker’s office when I remembered she had a leftover box of Ghirardelli’s peppermint bark sitting under her desk. My entire body lit up and for a split second all the awful feelings melted away and I felt totally normal as I reached for something I knew would give me the boost (sugar) I was craving. I was kneeling down for it when I remembered. Whole30. No sugar. The headache came back not long after that.

My sugar dragon is a snarling, rabid beast and it won’t be easily tamed.

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Oh, my achy breaky head.

So, it’s day 4. I know it’s only day 4, but wow! It’s already day 4! Here’s what’s happening on day 4:

1. Oh, my head. Achy since day 1 until last night when it exploded into a full-blown migraine. This did not happen in Round 1, however I also didn’t have time to stuff my face full of sugar and processed garbage before Round 1 started, so I guess I’m just paying the price for what happened the week before Round 2 began. (Oh, the horror. The sweet, sugary horror.)

2. I’m pooping a lot. Which also didn’t happen in Round 1. And which is kinda cool because I’ve always been irregular in this area of my life and a really good poop feels very cleansing. (Is that just me?)

3. I love Trader Joe’s almond butter. I ate it on a banana this morning and I swear it tasted almost like candy. I mean, not at all like candy, but almost.

4. The manfriend was living in Texas during Round 1. It was way easier to do this while he was 1500 miles away. Him being here now is a constant temptation. Don’t get me wrong- Manfriend is super supportive (despite previous juice story), but together we have bad habits. Snacks and candy while we binge watch our fave shows. Going out to eat All. The. Time. Stopping at Starbucks before going to work or church or anywhere else. Over time, I’ve started to equate food with fun and that might be my biggest problem.

5. According to Whole30, I should be past this phase of feeling like shit and ready to kill everyone around me. (Their words, not mine.) Since I’m still feeling like shit and obviously behind schedule, I can’t help but wonder if this might turn into a Whole35? I hope not. (I mean, the goal is to turn this into a lifestyle, but damn it, I want some juice!) I really hope I wake up feeling better and in a murderin’ mood tomorrow.

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No juice and certainly no cocktails.

Yesterday was rough.

Manfriend had an unexpected day off. It was such a beautiful day we decided to relax by the pool and grill a couple of steaks. A cold cocktail (or two) would have gone down so freaking easy. Alas, I tried Kombucha for the first time. Meh. Also, why is Kombucha allowed, but juice is a no-no? (I’m sure I read the reasoning behind this at some point during Round 1 and I’m sure it even made sense, but now I’ve forgotten and I’m pissed about it.)

Speaking of juice. Yesterday we stopped at Mother’s Market and I said to Manfriend, “I would KILL for a juice right now.” (Mother’s has a juice bar and, OMG, yum.) Manfriend patted me on the shoulder and said, “Poor pal.” (Because “pal” is our “honey” or “sweetheart” or “darling.”) (Don’t ask.) And just moments later, he asked me, “Would you mind if I got one?” Asshole.

The motivation and excitement of Round 1 is nonexistent in Round 2. (Why would I be motivated? I know how awful this is.) I have to keep reminding myself that this is a reset. This is the start of my long-term sugar-free whole foods lifestyle. That in a couple of weeks I’m going to feel really, really good. So good I won’t even want to reintroduce these eliminated foods back into my diet.

But right now? I feel sluggish, my head aches, and I can’t help but think a giant bowl of ice cream would help.

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And then it began. Again.

So, it’s April 1st and thus Whole 30: Round 2 begins.

Despite grand plans for grocery shopping and meal prepping, I am ill prepared. Which is just ridiculous because I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. But no, I was more concerned with how much junk food I could stuff in my mouth on my last day than I was preparing.

Hence, lunch today is a bowl of totally awesome Whole30-compliant Zuppa Toscano soup. Except, made less awesome by the fact that I made it two? three? four weeks ago? and it might very well kill me now or at least give a me a serious case of the poops. Here’s hoping it does neither as that could ruin both Whole30: Round 2 and my plans for eating the soup again.

I made the soup during a very brief re-commitment to eating healthy. Where “very brief” equals as long as it took to make the soup, store it in the fridge, and promptly join the “eat everything in sight” diet. (It is absolutely no surprise that I’ve gained back every last one of the 15 pounds I lost during Round 1.) (15 pounds!!!)

Halfway thru Day 1, I feel fat, tired, and lethargic. But none of this is any surprise after spending the entire month of March eating whatever I wanted and, like, one sad bowl of soup.

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