Sweet Colleen

the grass is always bluer


Sugar Ray in 2014


Well, it was weird. I expected it to be weird. But that’s still just the most descriptive word I can think of. 

Yesterday I saw my all time favorite band (Sugar Ray). Sort of. The last time I saw them was 5 years ago (that’s actually a record, before this I hadn’t gone more than year without seeing them since 2000). The major difference this time around was that 3 of the 5 band members that I have literally grown up watching were not there. Only 2 original members are still in the band. 

I felt weird before I even got there. I didn’t have the same pounding in my chest kind of excitement that I normally do when I’m about to see them. I guess maybe it was partly a self-defense kind of thing. I knew it wasn’t going to be the same as it was before. Part of the reason I loved going to these shows so much was the interaction with these incredible people… most of which were not going to be there.

I was right. They weren’t there. The only 2 people I knew were the 2 people left in the band. The other guys are gone. The crew members are gone. The hardcore group of fans that I’ve gotten to know over the years are gone. It was such a strange feeling to be at a Sugar Ray show, where I used to feel so… cool… and no absolutely no one. 

The show itself was interesting. The Gin Blossoms played first. They weren’t quite as fun as I expected. However, I didn’t realize how may Gin Blossoms song I actually know. The crowd wasn’t too into it though and the lead singer KEPT asking everyone to put up their hands and clap. I have such a huge pet peeve about that. You have to let it happen naturally not beg the audience to do it during every song.

Uncle Kracker was… actually a little better than I expected. I saw him twice back in 2001 when he toured with Sugar Ray. Back then he was still trying to be some kind of rap artist and just stood on the stage, barely moved, and mumbled into the mic. He has a lot more energy this time around. He seems to have found a niche with the country rock crowd. The only real weird thing about this set was that he played THREE covers which I think is a bit excessive for a 45 minute set.


Then… Sugar Ray… it was so weird. No DJ. No second guitar player. And a bass player with a very different style. Maybe it’s just me because I had seen them 20 times prior to this, but it just sounded like it has holes in it. It was missing depth and layers. I really didn’t like the bass. It seemed very syncopated instead of having a smooth flow. Instead of a DJ they had a taped recording for the parts that were missing in songs like Every Morning. Strange. Someday, Fly, and Every Morning felt especially weird without a second guitar part. I would’ve liked to see more electric guitar from Rodney too which wasn’t possible without another player. Watching him wail is one of my favorite parts of Sugar Ray shows and I think a bit of that was missing. The set was also way too short and Mark talked way too much. If he would’ve cut back on the talking he could’ve fit in another song or two. I also wasn’t a fan of the Violent Femmes cover they did. I would’ve preferred to hear another Sugar Ray song. They played all the hits (besides Falls Apart) plus Answer the Phone and some weird new song I’ve never heard which I’m guessing is just called Summertime. 

Here’s just a random list of thoughts I had during their set:

1) I was bothered by NO mention of missing band members
2) Mark introduced the “new” people in the band without mentioning that they were new
3) He made a joke about not drunk-posting on social media which he is a major offender of. I was horrified by a rant he posted a few months ago basically trashing the former members of his band who he has/had been friends with for 30 years.
4) He referred to Rodney as “my songwriting partner” again without mentioning the other former members who cowrote most of the major Sugar Ray hits.
5) No old songs. None. Not even Mean Machine. The last time I saw them they played 2 old tracks I had never heard live before and it was magical. I was bummed this time around.
6) There are certain songs where I always watched certain members and sang along with them. This couldn’t happen because they weren’t there. It was a bummer.

I actually got a little teary eyed through a few songs. I’m sure everyone things I’m weird, but I don’t care. It was a bit sad. That being said, I think I’d go again. I know that sounds REAL strange now. It was still fun to see Mark and Rod. I enjoyed telling my cousins (who are the reason I went to this show) stories of the good old days. It brought up a lot of incredible memories that truly were some of the greatest times and happiest moments of my life to date. 


Smash Mouth closed out the show. They were probably the most fun of all the bands. They had so much energy! There was running and jumping and head banging! They pulled out a few older songs from their catalog which was quite enjoyable. I’d like to see them again in a smaller, more intimate venue.

I’m leaving you with one of my favorite photos. Me, with my best friend, and SUGAR RAY in its entirety….




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Diabetes Blog Week: Mantras

Well today’s topic is an easy one. My favorite diabetes educator had a great saying… “It’s a crap shoot, we’ll clean it up later.”

I try my hardest to remember this. No matter what happens, or what judgement call I make, if something didn’t quite work right, we can fix it!

I miscalculated a carb count and now I have a pesky high blood sugar? Correct!

That shopping trip was more exhilarating than I anticipated and now my blood sugar is low? Treat!

Diabetes is so unpredictable and so many factors are out of your control. It’s so easy to stress out over the numbers on your meter or the line on your CGM, but sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and move on.

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Diabetes Blog Week: What Brings Me Down

This is a tough one. So many things get me down about diabetes.

It’s really hard when I get a text or phone call from someone saying their loved one was just diagnosed. My heart breaks for them every time. I never know what to say. How do I convey how much it’s going to suck without scaring them? How do I explain to them how strong of a person diabetes has made me? How do I possibly comfort them?

It’s actually really hard for me to relate directly to newly diagnosed people. I don’t remember my diagnosis. I was only three years old. I have some very vague, foggy memories of little things from that time period, but I honestly don’t know what life was like before I had diabetes. There was no shocking moment when the doctor told me what my blood sugar was and told me I’d be diabetic forever. It was just something I always understood (or at least that I remember, I’m sure my parents would say otherwise).

It’s not really my own diabetes that brings me down the most, it’s that other, new people who aren’t lucky enough to forget that moment. I’m so sad for them.

Every time I’m told of a friend of a friend who is now type 1, I cry. Why us? Why are we the unlucky ones? Why hasn’t someone figured out how to stop this yet?

I always feel like I want to say “Welcome to the family,” but I know that would sound completely weird to newly diagnosed people. I often feel like that’s what we are, though. We’re a big group of people with a shared story and the same hopes for the future. We share thoughts and feelings that no one else can relate to.

I hope, that if nothing else, I can offer them this comfort: I understand.

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Diabetes Blog Week: Poetry

Poetry has never been my strong suit, but I thought I’d give it a try and do something small… a haiku or two perhaps. Here’s what I came up with:

#1 It’s Getting Old
Fear and frustration
Dangerous lows and disgusting highs
When will it end?

#2 Dexcom
Beeping all the time
Lines up and lines down
But it’s better than death

#3 Needles
I don’t mind needles
Pricks pokes injections and shots
All to stay alive


Diabetes Blog Week: Change the World

The best way to change the world with diabetes? Is to BE diabetic.

Did someone say something ignorant to you about diabetes? Correct them.

Did someone post an offensive joke about diabetes on Facebook? Tell them why it sucks.

Does someone have questions about your insulin pump? Answer them.

See someone staring at your pump site? Explain to them what it is.

Need to take your injection? Do it.


In a world where the world views so ignorantly, the best way to change it is to raise awareness. No, not that “wear a ribbon” or “share this on Facebook” kind of awareness. I mean, REAL awareness. Wear your diabetes on your sleeve. Don’t hide it in your pocket. Don’t run to the bathroom so other people feel more comfortable. The only way we are going to get the things we deserve is to make the world painfully aware of what diabetes is like. Let’s tell them. The world would be a much better place if more people just GOT it.


Why I’m not celebrating Mother’s Day with my daughter


My kiddo and me ❤


When it became apparent that I was going to be a step mother, I started to read about what it could be like. It would be hard at times and amazing at others. It would be a lot of work without a lot of the credit. One thing that came up repeatedly was how much Mother’s Day would suck. Especially since I haven’t yet birthed any children of my own. Last year, this was definitely true. I really struggled with my role in my family and how other people felt about it. I got upset that I no one else seemed to recognize me as a mother, despite feeling much like a mother to our daughter (we’ve decided to stop using the word “step” whenever possible).

Recently I’ve had an epiphany. It began when deciding what my kiddo would call me. At first I wanted some form of “mom” and her birth mother was totally fine with that (note- her mom is freaking awesome). But the more I thought about it and said it in my head, it just didn’t feel right. I decided that for the time being we just drop and it and have her call me Colleen. As she grew and her vocabulary expanded, she used my name more and more. Not only did she use it, she seemed to be using it in the same way she would use the words “mommy” or “daddy.” To her, the word “Colleen” just meant “you…. the one who takes care of me.” I’ve even caught her saying things like “Where’s MY Colleen?” This also makes me giggle a little bit to think that she might assume everyone has a Colleen. It also leads to some awkward and some laughable social situations where people just assume that I’m her mother. For instance in the grocery store the other day a nice older lady said to her, “Are you having a nice time shopping with  Mommy?” and she responded, “THAT’S not Mommy… That’s COLLEEN!”  In some weird way it made me very happy.

So, I’ve thought through all that and it has led me to some more conclusions. I am not her mother. Please read that again but read it without any sort of negative connotation. In fact, read it in a cheery voice. I’m not her mother, I’m her Colleen. While at times I may act in ways that a mother would act, I have a very special and unique role in her life. We have a bond unlike any other bond she has. We share things that no one else shares. But, I am not her favorite person in the world, her mother is, and that is ok! Her mother SHOULD be her favorite person in the world. I’ve become very comfortable with my role has her Colleen.

This Mother’s Day I was actually given the opportunity to spend some time with our kiddo, which I think a lot of step mothers wish they could have. However, I decided that she should spend the day with her mother. Instead, my husband and I decided to pick another day separate from Mother’s Day when she can celebrate “Colleen’s Day” (May 20th this year) so we can do something in honor of our special bond that no one else has.

I really wish I would have had this realization sooner. I felt too insecure and worried in the past. It was getting in the way of my relationships, and I’m pretty sure it was driving my husband crazy. But now, I’m feeling confident and peaceful. I can enjoy Mother’s Day with my own mother.  I can love my daughter with my whole heart.


My cute, selfie-taking family

My cute, selfie-taking family

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I’m not going to bore you with every little detail of this amazing evening, but I do want to share some thoughts…

thile live

I was so close that I almost got a mandolin to the mouth and foot to the head.


I’ve been waiting a long time for this. Well, not waiting per se. I guess I had given up hope. Chris Thile had moved on to other, very interesting projects. Sara Watkins was having some mild success with her solo record. The Watkins Family Hour seemed be keeping both Sara and Sean happy. I just never really thought this was going to happen especially any time soon. But when it did, I couldn’t miss it for the world.

Thile came out and took a step past his microphone and wailed away on this mandolin. My heart was POUNDING! I love live music, but I have to say that a show hasn’t made me feel like that in years. I can only describe it as bluegrass crack. Or maybe just total euphoria. They played even more beautifully than I could have imagined. There was so much energy, laughter, and authenticity.

The only downside was an annoying guy standing to my right who  just. kept. talking. I don’t think he’d ever stop blabbing until he was declared the biggest fan in the crowd. I mean really dude… I don’t CARE how many times you’ve seen them. I don’t CARE if you know every roadie’s name. I don’t CARE if you know more minute details about them than I do. I just want to enjoy the show. You’re very lucky that you can drive all over the eastern seaboard to see them. But I have, you know, a life. Chill out, man and enjoy the freaking show.

Oh yeah… and we met them all! AH!

me and sara

The incomparable Sara Watkins

me and thile

Chris Thile… the man(dolin), the myth, the legend

me and sean

Sean Watkins incredible song writer & flat picking guitar player