Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Collin, Insomnia, Criminal Minds, and Church

This past weekend was a long-awaited weekend away with Dianne, the highlight of which was something we hadn't done since December 2001. We saw Collin Raye in concert. It's so hard for me to comprehend that it's been this long, as obsessed as I was with the man and his music for 3 years, beginning in the summer of '98. He's remained my favorite singer and likely always will be, but I think I overcompensated for having been SO crazy obsessed as I had been. I had been aware of Collin and his music since his first singles in 1991, always did enjoy his music, but -- in '98, going through a hard time between two years of temping and another big problem I won't go into here, I heard the song "I Can Still Feel You', and it was like the intensity and heart he put into it hit me like a ton of bricks. As I began to accumulate his CDs, see his concerts, and correspond about him endlessly with other "Internet Collinators", it was like the proverbial snowball rolling down a hill, and I "Collinated" other people every chance I got, including my dear friend Dianne. (I'm sure God continues to wish my faith in Him was great enough to talk about Him to others half as much as I did about Collin Raye back then!). Continuing to learn about his great faith in God and his many humanitarian efforts only added to my obsession. I didn't think a solidly middle-aged married woman could be a groupie. But when said woman maxes out her Visa to travel 2,000 miles (in Dec. '99) with her Internet pals to meet the man, I guess that would be one definition of a groupie.

My fervor began to cool in late '01 when I tried desperately to get Dianne backstage to meet Collin and was denied by his management. I'd already managed to meet him twice, due to sheer will and desire to make it happen, but there was to be no third time. We saw him in concert (from lousy seats) in Tacoma in Dec. '01 (it was Dianne's third concert but approximately my 11th; I've lost count). Around that same time, the radio stations stopped playing his new singles and there were record label problems. I lost touch with the other "Internet Collinators" and stopped spending time on his web site. I would occasionally visit his site (usually when Dianne would tell me she heard he had a new CD coming out) but those visits became less and less frequent. I never stopped enjoying his music or appreciating him as a person, but the admittedly unhealthy obsession had faded.

Last fall, Dianne E-mailed me at work and said she heard Collin would be doing a concert in Bellingham, two hours north of us. I suddenly thought, wouldn't that be fun - it's been too long! And I'd wanted to visit Bellingham last fall and didn't go due to the rain. AND - what if I went online right then - maybe I could snag great seats! So I did. And I got us......FRONT ROW!! (My second front row and Dianne's first.) The tickets waited patiently in my top desk drawer for the next several months. But I still didn't make much of an effort to keep up with Collin's latest CDs or what was going on in his life these past 8+ years.

Last Saturday finally came. The concert began with a great opening set by the 90s group "Restless Heart". They were really excellent! I'd forgotten how much I had enjoyed their music. After a half-hour intermission, Collin's band came out -- all four were different people than his earlier concerts. And then, there he was, in a gray shirt and black pants (and a black baseball cap -- we thought, WHAT is up with that?). He opened with an upbeat song I'd never heard. He did many of his big songs from the 90s -- nowhere near all of them; there wasn't ehough time, but most of his big "signature" songs. He included a few newer ones - a beautiful song about prayer ("What I Need"), a fantastic version of the Steely Dan hit "Do It Again", and for his encore, he did the Joe Walsh rocker, "Rocky Mountain Way".

He did a fabulous job as always and his voice sounded better than ever, if possible. He joked with the audience as to why he wore the baseball cap -- he briefly lifted it to show not much hair left and added, "Collin's not as young as he used to be!" (Hey, join the club!) -- and about "That's My Story" being his "Achy Breaky Heart" that he HAS to include. But he also seemed -- Dianne called it "reflective", and he seemed to cut the concert a little bit shorter in the past. Today, I was stunned to find out why.

I went to Collin's site at lunchtime to try to find more info on his latest CDs, and a link there led me to the news that his first granddaughter, Haley, age 9, had just passed away of a brain disorder on April 3. I can't believe he could come out and put on the show that he did only two weeks after this tremendous loss. Many performers would have canceled the show. But as I've discovered countless times in the past and know now even more than ever, Collin Raye is not "many performers". He honestly is in a class by himself, not just as a passionate and enormously talented artist, but as a strong and dedicated Christian and family man. Most of the so-called country artists that have come out in the past few years don't begin to hold a candle to him as a singer, writer, performer -- and person. I feel so guilty now for not keeping up with him these past several years. I didn't even know his dear granddaughter had a brain disorder since age 2, or that he has a second granddaughter, age 5 (who thankfully is doing well). Yes, I did go overboard in the previous decade with my Collin obsession, but I need to start doing a better job of keeping up with his music and his life. He truly is one of a kind, and he and his dear daughter (Haley's mom) are in my prayers. I thank God for Collin Raye, and for his great gift of music and performing that he shares so unselflessly with the world -- even only two weeks after experiencing such a devastating loss.

I continue to experience Insomnia most every night, to live my life sleep-deprived and to stay up too late. Dianne and I couldn't sleep in the hotel room the night after seeing Collin, for different reasons. She has pain every day and night from her fibromyalgia and I have headaches and stress from my excess weight, job stress, Rex's hoarding and our "paycheck to paycheck" existence that makes me feel I never will be able to retire. I think we both finally got about two hours sleep. Now I have another reason to be a nightowl with chronic insomnia. I've missed "Monk" since it went off the air. I then found "Cold Case", but I think I now have seen most all of the reruns on cable. Two weeks ago, I discovered "Criminal Minds". After about the third episode, I realized I was hooked. It's on three different networks anywhere from one to six times, 6 days a week. There have been about 100 episodes, so it will take awhile to catch up. I'll get to see a couple a night off the DVR on weeknights, but am looking forward to this weekend -- I'll probably have enough saved up for a two-day marathon!

Last time I posted, I felt I had finally made a decision on a church. Now I again am not so sure. The Maundy Thursday service at the Methodist church caused me to realize how much I miss the Lutheran church. The regular services at that church really are a bit more contemporary than I think I can commit to long-term. I don't know if there are any other churches here in town with services that are to my taste but that aren't ELCA or that aren't overly dry or overly contemporary or simplistic. I am enriched by the liturgical services, but if not done properly, they can be dry. I miss my previous church that I attended in '09, but I won't be going back. I've ruled out finding a church in Bremerton, realizing how much I dislike having to drive up the highway, and also realizing that it's the opposite direction from most everything else in my life. There are two more churches in Gig Harbor I may consider; I need to learn more about them first. And finally, there is the LCMS church that sounded like it was on the verge of closing when I last visited in Jan. I should see what is happening there. SIGH -- I just hope that when I finally find the right place, I will KNOW it and will have a fruitful experience there for years to come.....