One interesting thing I've noticed over the past few years is that the meaning of summer has completely changed for me since high school. Before, summer meant a break from work. It meant that I could stay up late, hang out with friends or go shopping during the day, and go on vacation with my family. Now, summer has become the time that I can do the work I've wanted to do all year, but couldn't because I was stuck at college doing work I didn't want to do. I actually get to do my job full-time in the summer, and I enjoy every minute of it, even though it keeps me very busy.
LeakyCon started out my summer and it was an absolute blast. However, I was constantly doing something and that exhausted me quite a bit. I was up early every morning, fighting to get a lunch break, and going to bed as soon as the concerts were done at the end of the night. I was really super careful not to lose my voice because we were almost the last band of the conference and I had to make sure that I could still sing by then. I only partied one night, and that only lasted until about 2am. If you've been to one of these conferences, where all-nighters are almost expected of you, you know how unheard of that is.
Luckily, the rest paid off because I was leaving on tour two days later with some of my best friends ever. I had the time of my life on tour this summer. It was a lot of hard work, and I almost never noticed that because I loved it so much. There was a whole lot of driving, very little sleep, a lot of taking vitamin C and trying to stay healthy, and almost no internet involved. And I would definitely, hands down, do this every day if I could.
Unfortunately, I came home to a few health issues included a really horrific backache that made it really difficult to sit down and provided constant, intense pain for about four weeks. I went to the chiropractor a lot, saw a scoliosis specialist in NYC, discovered that getting an MRI is nowhere near as much fun as riding in a spaceship might be, and now I feel better but I'm not really sure how long that will last. I also had some pretty annoying gum surgery to build up and strengthen the gum tissue that had worn away for some reason. The procedure itself wasn't unbearable and only required ice and rest for about a day. I spent twenty days with rubber packing bandages covering the left side of my mouth to keep the stitches safe, and that made eating difficult, but it wasn't so bad. In a few months when I've fully recovered, they're going to do it again to the right side of my mouth. Hooray!
After the Half-Blood Prince release, I headed off to San Francisco for my first west coast wizard rock experience. Even though the people in charge of Azkatraz thought that it would be fun to toss me around for several months before and during the conference, I wanted to be there to support my friends and have some fun. I sold merch for Matt during his shows and in the vendor room, which ended up being fun because I got to meet a ton of awesome people. It made me really happy how many people were asking where my merch was or if I would be playing a show there. I had never actually been invited to play, but I had been told ahead of time that I was a backup plan in case one of the other bands dropped out. This ended up being some kind of mistake or a lie, because when that band did drop out, I was not actually asked to play.
Once I was in California, a second band dropped out and a few of my friends had texted me to see if I would step in and play that night. I figured that it was kind of suspicious that the people in charge still hadn't tried to ask me themselves, so I said no. I wasn't interested in being thrown around anymore. One of my friends finally convinced me to say yes and I decided to play, if only for the fantastic people I'd met all weekend who wanted to see me perform. Unfortunately, by the time I finally tracked down the person who was in charge of booking the show I'd been asked to play, it was clear that she was only interested in basking in the glory of her stand-in performance in Lena's Wrock Opera and didn't really care at all about finding a band to fill in for dropout #2. After being told to just set up in a corner somewhere and do whatever I want (as she shrugged me away with a wave of her hand and went off to enjoy her newfound fame), I had a bit of an uncontrollably Myrtle-like sobfest in front of a little crowd of really amazing people who had gathered when they saw me lugging around a guitar and trying to figure out where I was supposed to be playing. I felt bad letting them down, but at that point, I was really not in the mood to play a set. It would be really nice if all conference staffers were as respectful and organized as the ones in charge of LeakyCon.
Luckily, this happened fairly early in the conference so I was able to calm myself down and have fun for the rest of the trip. I hadn't seen Matt for over a month before going out to San Francisco, and I really loved spending time with some of the friends I don't get to talk to as often, like Rosi, Emma, Melissa, and Sarah. I also enjoyed meeting and hanging out with StarKidPotter, the masterminds behind A Very Potter Musical. Azkatraz was a fantastic example of how Harry Potter conferences can make any bad situation so much easier to handle because there are so many amazing, caring people around to take care of you when something goes wrong.
Last weekend, I drove out to Ohio with Nina to see our friends, Sarah and Graham, get married. This marked the first friend wedding I'd ever been to, and I cried quite a bit during the ceremony and even during the toasts at the reception. It was absolutely beautiful and I'm so happy that I got to be there. I also really needed and loved the Hayley-time. She is one of my favorite people in the whole world.
Aside from the month I spent in my bed at home trying to sleep through the back pain while Matt was on tour and Nina was in Poland, I haven't been home very much this summer. I've spent most of my time off staying with Matt in Rhode Island, which has been really nice. We do a lot of similar things in our downtime, so it's been really nice working on my laptop, eating good food, reading books, making YouTube videos, and watching movies with someone other than just myself.
The funny thing is, I used to spend summer getting ready for school to start. Now, I spend the school year getting ready for summer to start. And here I am, about to begin my senior year of college. I was definitely able to rest this summer, so hopefully I won't get back to school and crash immediately like I did last year. Starting next May, I'll be able to do all of this full-time. I wouldn't have it any other way, except maybe to have it a little sooner.
Sunday, August 23, 2009