Monday, June 29, 2009

Stand By Me

This morning I came across this video through clicking on a link from a Twitter friend of mine. And I just want to say, it truly, truly lifted my heart and mood. I've been feeling a bit low these past few days and it just made me remember so much about human nature and the good that is still out there. This video brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face simultaneously. Seeing people from around the world doing this together gave me what I needed today. We hear so much in the news everyday about how much we all can't get along...we all hear that story everyday and I for one get tired of it. So I love this video because it is not mired in cynicism. This video just shows what we can do as people in this world. A perfect song choice. This video was done by a group called Playing For Change whose goal is to connect people around the world through music. This made my day...I hope it makes yours. (smile)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Three That We've Lost

It has been a surreal morning. When I went to bed late last night, I went to bed with this thought. A great chunk of my American life’s popular culture memories are shifting right before my eyes.

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson as we all know by now, have died recently and it has really got me in a pondering mood today. It’s eerie because they always say these things come in threes. Yesterday afternoon, Brit Boy and I were sitting watching Wimbledon on television and I was sort of in my own world a bit with headphones on listening to my music. Then the Jacksons’ song came on, “Blame It On The Boogie”, and I said to Brit Boy, ‘I can’t wait to see Michael next month and I hope that on our night he just happens to bring his brothers onstage for a reunion.’ We both laughed and thought how cool that would be. Brit Boy and I were going to one of the Michael Jackson concerts in July and we were so looking forward to it. I want to pay tribute to all three of these iconic people in my life. So here goes.

Ed McMahon was a staple of American life. He was best known as Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show sidekick, but he also hosted Star Search which was a predecessor of some of the talent shows that we see on television now. My greatest memories were of being a kid in the 70s and watching The Tonight Show. I would get a chance to see it on Friday nights and during the summer. I was probably the only kid in my elementary school getting excited around midnight about watching Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson, and Doc Severinsen welcoming guests to the show. (smile) Before discovering The Tonight Show, I thought that everyone went to bed after all of us kids were sleeping. I thought the world stopped. LOL. Ahh, innocence. (smile)

Farrah Fawcett was an icon of my 70s childhood. Brit Boy and I often relish our memories of our 70s childhoods and 80s teen years. What a great time it was. (smile) We always say that those 70s shows of our childhood were truly iconic and really define the era. To us, and I’m sure many others, those shows will never get old. I wanted to be a Charlie’s Angel and the Bionic Woman when I was a little girl. I would act out each episode after I saw them. I loved it because these shows had women doing things that I would love to do. They were so cool. (smile) When I found out that Farrah was married to Lee Majors(the Six Million Dollar Man), and realized how that fit with him being the Bionic Woman’s television boyfriend, I was in 70s kid girl heaven. (smile) It was my own mini six degrees of Kevin Bacon with a few less degrees. I just loved her.

And last, but definitely not least, there’s Michael Jackson…the King of Pop. I am like most people in the world today….completely stunned. Brit Boy and I found out about him going into cardiac arrest on Twitter, right after we learned of Farrah Fawcett’s passing. And incidentally, we found out about Ed McMahon on Twitter too, so social media is really making its presence know. Once we heard about it, we turned on CNN, Sky News, and the BBC to get the latest and we watched until late into the night. We were both absolutely stunned.

Brit Boy and I had bought tickets to one of his London comeback shows and were to see him exactly four weeks from today. I was getting ready to share the news here on my blog today in fact. Neither of us had ever seen Michael Jackson perform live and now that will never be.

I grew up hearing his music with his brothers and his solo work and it truly was a soundtrack of my life. I had my “Big Three” of my teen years that I had always wanted to see and in the last couple of years, I had finally seen two of the three…Prince and Madonna. I hate that that circle won’t be completed, but I hate more that a musical legend is gone. No matter what some may think about the controversies in his life, you can’t deny his sheer talent and his musical contributions.

I have one more memory about Michael Jackson and his brothers. When I was a little girl and my dad was still alive, he used to always think that everyone was the Jackson 5. My dad didn’t watch much television and so when he would walk through and we were watching a music group on television, he would ask, “Is that those Jackson boys?” (smile) It didn’t matter who it was as long as they were male and singing. (smile) My dad was a character.

So I just wanted to give my two cents on the passing of three people who were a big part of my collective memories as I grew up in America. But I know that I’m not alone in my memories around the world. Michael Jackson and his brothers have had me dancing my whole life.

Thanks to Ed, Farrah, and Michael for entertaining me and many others for all these years. Rest in peace to all.

Please check out Brit Boy's post too for his Michael Jackson tribute.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When Your Heart Isn't In It

Hello there :-) I’m a couple of days late with this post. Brit Boy and I went to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice celebration, this past Saturday night, into Sunday morning. Brit Boy and I had both been interested in going one day and so we decided to make this past weekend the time. So we went. I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about the whole thing over the past few days and I just came to realize that I wasn’t inspired really to write anything about it. To be truthful, it turned out a bit disappointing. There were moments when it was okay because we were together, but a lot of it was just a letdown.

My favorite parts of the whole experience were the drive down there and the drive back home. It was in stark contrast to the bit in the middle. So I hope that you don’t think I’m copping out, but I am just of the mind that maybe it will be better whenever we go again. We shall see.(smile) As they say, you win some…you lose some.

I don’t want to leave you all hanging though, so please go over to Brit Boy’s blog to read all about our experience. His thoughts are ditto to mine and sound better coming from him (smile). He posted the photos of our outing along with his commentary. I just want to preface his post by saying, Brit Boy and I are not teetotalers by any stretch of the imagination. We have a drink from time to time and rather like it. (smile) So his comments on what went on are not from the view of someone who abstains. It’s just the facts of what we experienced. We both know that with a crowd of 35,000 people, you can only see a tiny slice right where you are and a great many people I’m sure were cool about things. However, we can only speak for our space that we inhabited and it came across as a free for all at some points. I nearly got crushed by this guy who cared nothing about the fact that he was pushing to get past me and I had nowhere to go except into the thousands of other bodies molded to my body. I was really worried about this one little girl until her dad hoisted her up on his shoulders. Still, both Brit Boy and I got a chance to touch one of the stones, so that was nice.

So in the end, this post has turned out longer than I had intended. (smile) I don’t want to come across all grim and everything, because there were some light moments. And we figure that we’ll go again in the future and be wiser to what might lie ahead. As I said earlier though, please go by Brit Boy’s blog to see his account and to see our photos. In the end, it was good to hang out with my best road buddy…Brit Boy :-) So please forgive me for not really posting about it myself. My heart just isn't in it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Trooping the Colour

Well let me just say first, we had a WONDERFUL time at Trooping the Colour! It was one of those days where you keep thinking, ‘I can’t believe that I’m here’. Our day started early. We caught the train at 7am and headed into London on Saturday morning. We had a nice ride into the city. Once we arrived at Paddington Station, we headed for the tube. We took the tube to Westminster. Here’s the view once we were above ground again. Do you recognize this fella? (smile)

Big Ben

We then walked around to the event site at Horse Guard’s Parade which is alongside St. James Park. The park is lovely. We timed things just right because there weren’t huge crowds when we got there and we were able to go through the security area quite easily. Here’s a view of the surroundings as we went along to get in line for security.

St James Park in London

There were only a few people there when we arrived so we were able to soak it all in and enjoy the vibe. As I said, we timed it right though because people really began to arrive about ten minutes after we sat down and some people just made it in in time. We had to be seated by 10am. Here are a couple of photos of the scene before everything got going.

Horse Guard's Parade in London

Here’s a photo of a Welsh Guard who was performing ushering duties and helping everyone find their seats.


We were sitting on the last row in our section, so we were situated right underneath the BBC box and sometimes we could hear them doing their commentary. Here’s a photo of some of the other various cameras that were perched behind us. I took this photo upside down.

BBC television cameras

And now I’ll give you a taste of how it all went, starting with the first band marching in. Here they are scattered around just for fun.

Here are a couple of photos of the Queen arriving and doing a ride around of the grounds. Behind her on the right on horseback, is Princess Anne, riding along in her dark uniform.

Here are a couple of more photos.

The Royal Standard (flag) is raised when she is in attendance. Here it is on the left.

After the whole spectacular display was over, we made our way onto the parade ground and watched our step due to natural “stuff” on the ground. (smile) We decided to go and walk along The Mall to see if we could just soak up some more of the atmosphere and possibly see the flyover of the military aircrafts.

This was a cool part of the day because we weren’t in any real hurry and we were just loving that we were getting the chance to walk right down the middle of The Mall on the way to Buckingham Palace. People had been lining the streets during everything and after the event was over, loads of people were walking around enjoying it all. Here’s a lovely view of our walk along in both directions, the first photo is towards the palace and the second is away.

We figured that the crowds would be huge down near the palace, but when we got there, people were milling around here and there and the crowd was loosely packed. So we kept getting closer and closer to the palace balcony. And then lo and behold, here came the Royal Family in all their glory onto the balcony and so I started snapping photos. Here’s the family photo. (smile)

This was a hilarious exercise because the sun was shining right into my eyes and I couldn’t see a thing, but somehow the photos came out pretty good. LOL. I was shocked. And for a moment I thought, I can’t believe this…it’s so surreal. Those are the real royals and not statues from Madame Tussauds museum. It was one of the most truly surreal moments of my life. When I came over to England a few years ago, it NEVER entered my mind that I would EVER see any of the royals. I never really expected anything like that. I had seen scenes like this on television back home and while I've been here, so it was great to see it all in real life.

Back to the Trooping the Colour event for a minute, Brit Boy and I found out that apparently 20,000 requests were made for tickets to Trooping the Colour and only 8,000 people were in attendance. And some tickets were given to VIPs, so the pool of potential tickets was even smaller, so we were just amazed about those odds. (smile)

As we walked away afterward, I told Brit Boy that I learned a valuable lesson from getting the tickets and from our unexpectedly great view of the Royal Family. I learned that you just simply have to go for WHATEVER you want in life and see what happens. You never know. I needed that lesson. What a great day we had!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Going Royal

I’ve been AWOL for a few days. I couldn’t think of anything to blog about. But now I have something to talk about again :-) Brit Boy and I are heading to London tomorrow for our royal day out. As I’ve blogged about before, we’re going to Trooping the Colour tomorrow. We’ll both come back with lots of stories from the day so please check out my blog and Brit Boy’s over the next few days. I’m looking forward to reading what Brit Boy writes from his view. Because as we all know, every person sees or remembers something different from the same experience. I know that we’re both gonna love it though :-) This should be very intriguing. I wonder how many more royals we'll see. We saw Prince William, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie back in 2007 and that was cool.

We’re gonna take some photos, so we will both be sharing them. But we’re also gonna just enjoy it the rest of the time and take it all in :-) This will be a once in a lifetime kind of deal so it’s so important to be in the moment. And for me, I just want to take a moment and be grateful for what I've had the good fortune to experience on my journey here :-) I can’t wait to come back and tell you all about it. The weather is supposed to be okay tomorrow, so that is a definite plus :-)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sunny Window

I just had to share this quick photo that I took this morning. I posted a photo the other day of our roses blooming at the yellow house and how summery it all seems around here. Well, I had to bring a bit of that sunny beauty inside so that I could admire it up close. The rose bushes are full, so I thought that bringing two of them in would be okay. I placed them in one of our kooky little square coffee cups and now they are sitting in my kitchen window. I love this photo because the roses are so sunny yellow and the morning sun is shining in upon them. So beautiful! Have a great day everybody! :-)

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Sunny Afternoon and A Discovery

We had a good weekend around the yellow house. We really didn’t do anything big, but it was nice to just have a slow, easy weekend. It was a time to just soak up the brilliant sunshine that we’ve been having over the weekend. It’s still sunny today…hooray! (smile) It’s hard to keep my mind on anything because I just want to be outside all the time. Yeah, I’m crazed right now. LOL.

Anyway, on Saturday, we went into town to do an errand and then had some KFC. It was good since we don’t have it very often. It made me think of summer days back home. Brit Boy remarked that everything looks happier and more laid back when the sun shines. We are so alike. So we finished up our eats and then headed home.

We took the scenic route home back to our more rural area and then we kept going a bit. The thought of Wiltshire in the sunshine was just too good to pass up, so we drove a bit past home, further into the country. It was absolutely gorgeous! Wow! With the sun shining, everything was just so much more green and beautiful. The rolling hills with livestock dotting the scene, and little farmhouses scattered along the way, made for a postcard ready picture.

Then it was time to turn around and head back home. Brit Boy wanted to watch a big football/soccer match. But it was fine…I had enough of that natural beauty already stored away in my brain. (smile)

While Brit Boy was watching his match, I took out my laptop and started something I’ve been meaning to start working on. You see, I’m very interested in genealogy. I always have been. I’ve always loved wondering about the people who came before me. In the future, I’d love to write a full history of my family on both sides based on the family trees I’ve done in the past. So my bit of research Saturday was a step along that path. I want to fill in some cracks and pull it all together.

I thought that I’d start with my dad, who passed away when I was a child. My dad was several years older than my mom and I came late in his life. So he lived a lot of his life before I was born. Lately I’ve been very intrigued to find out more about the time he spent in the Army during World War II. I very often wish that I had been a bit older when he passed away, so that I could’ve asked him more about this time in his life. But I was a kid who was playing with her Barbie, so I didn’t think to ask very much. (smile) So now I’m going to put my love of research to good use and find out what I can on my own.

I got my first find pretty quickly. I did a search in the National Archives and found his military service during World War II listed there. It was a cool moment. I got this tingle down my spine seeing his name there with the details that let me know it was him. It was like I was reaching through history and touching my dad’s hand. What a wonderful feeling. (smile)

So now, I’m going to continue since I’ve finally started on this journey. I didn’t get to know my dad for very long, so in a way I’m reacquainting myself with him after all this time. I hope to weave together the story of him, my mom, and all those who came before me. Looking back keeps me grounded and I love it sometimes. In the meantime, I'm going to live a life in the now and hope that I have something of my own to add in the end. (smile)