Monday, November 30, 2015

Moptop Mania -- Were You There?

As a teenager in the early 1960s, I was not allowed to listen to the trending Rock and Roll songs on the radio.  The songs were deemed as evil music so I had to hide from my parents if I wanted to listen to them. 

I would lie low in my clothes closet with my transistor radio glued to my ear.  Beatle mania was alive and well on the radio.  I loved every song, but my favorites were "Hey Jude," "All You Need is Love," "She Loves You," "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," "Come Together," and "Yesterday."   Although I dreamed about it, I knew there was not a chance to ever see the Beatles live in concert.  

I continue to love their music and each song triggers a memory  -- most of them were memories of dating or breaking up with a boy. All these years later, the memories remain vivid.

Every Christmas, my daughter searches for concert tickets to give her dad and me as a gift. As lovers of classic Rock and Roll, we are thrilled.  In addition, she gifts us with dinner and a hotel room.  It is always an evening to remember.  

THE one concert that stands out above the rest was seeing the Beatles Tribute Band, Rain. I had no idea it would be as authentic as it turned out to be.  My hubby, who had been in a Rock and Roll band a hundred years ago, was astonished at how much they sounded like the original group.  In fact, in some ways they were better (please don't tell anyone I said that!) because the sound equipment was superior.  

Throughout the concert, the group did costume changes which stimulated even more memories from that era.  During the entire concert a video backdrop showing the original group doing the particular song Rain was singing stretched across the front of the stage. There were flashes of news articles about the Moptop Mania when it hit America.

I closed my eyes.  I was there.  It was 1964.  The Beatles invaded America.  I screamed.  I shouted.  I danced. Enjoying every moment, hubby laughed when he realized I was a teenager again.  Although it lasted two hours, I could have stayed there all night.  

If you are a fan, you will enjoy this tribute:  Tribute to the Beatles

And some of your favorite Beatles songs:

When I told my hubby what my post was about today, he laughed, asking me "Why didn't you talk about Little Richard?"  I had almost forgot, but yes, he was right.  That was a concert to remember forever.

Little Richard was an up-and-coming artist who was playing at a local club in Miami, Florida. Hubby and I were there.  The room was packed with people without any room to move. Little Richard asked if anyone in the audience wanted to sing and dance on stage with him. I glanced at my husband, but he was already shaking his head.  He knew what I wanted to do.  He knew I would do it.  Several people in the area started shouting for me to get on stage -- what was I to do?  

My Claim to Fame.....?

There was no way to get to the stage so I stood on my chair, stepped onto the table and started walking across the tables until I got to the stage.  I loved every moment of it and if I made a fool of myself, I didn't care.  We were 2,000 miles from home!  

It was my claim to fame and for a moment I got to "upstage" hubby as he was one of the backup studio musicians for Elvis Presley at the time.   So there!

A special note of thanks from Mark Lewis, the founder, and manager of Rain:

"I often think about how lucky I am to have grown up during the 1960’s. Not because the 60’s were really so great; they often weren’t. Here in the U.S. we were going through the Vietnam War, we lived in fear of nuclear war with a communist Cuba pointing missiles at the U.S. from 90 miles off of our shores, our beloved president had been assassinated. Our nation was split down the middle between those who felt that we had to go to war to preserve our way of life, and those who felt that the war was an unjust, and unnecessary waste of life, and that we should do everything possible to live in peace. While we were trying to land a man on the moon, our inner cities were literally burning because of racial strife. Yet somehow when I think back to my youth and the 60’s, it seems like a great time to be coming of age. I believe that a great deal of the credit for this falls onto the shoulders of four young men from Liverpool that changed music, and the world forever. I don’t believe that it was their intention
to change the world, but just to make great music, and that they did.

I’m proud to say that I was there when America tuned into the Ed Sullivan Show, and saw The Beatles presented to a nation for the first time. I remember what it was like to take the plastic wrap off of a “Meet The Beatles” LP, and be introduced to all of these classic songs for the first time. I remember looking forward to each new Beatles song, not knowing that these songs would evolve into universally accepted classic contemporary music that would last for several generations, if not eternity. All I knew was that I loved this music, and playing it brought me a great deal of pleasure, as it did for most of my generation.

Like many teenagers, The Beatles made me want to be a musician. Whenever I saw them on TV, listened to them on my record player or the radio, or went to their movies, all I could think of was how great it would be to be a Beatle, to be bringing this music to people all over the world. Of course this was just a kid’s fantasy, no different than wanting to be Mickey Mantle on the Yankees, Cassius Clay in the boxing ring, or Sean Connery, as James Bond on the movie screen. Now here I am many, many years later. Somehow the passion and joy that I experienced by performing this great music has evolved into a career. Although this was never my original intention, I feel like I was blessed. If somebody had told me back in mid-‘70s when Rain was performing at clubs and amusement parks in Southern California, back when audience members used to come up to the stage and ask “don’t you play anything but Beatles?”, that some day we’d be starring on Broadway, I’d have told them that they’re crazy."
What about you?  Did you ever attend a concert that brought back vivid memories of your youth?  Or is there a group you would love to see?  

Each month, a group of bloggers share secret subjects they have been given and for this month, I was asked, "Tell us about a favorite concert, play or live show that you've seen." It was submitted by Baking in a Tornado.  

I know you will enjoy reading what other bloggers' secret subjects were this month:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

When Your Energy is Spent - Can You Keep Going?

Ever reflect on recent activities and wonder how you managed to do everything you did?  That was my October this year.

Carol Graham awarded as Woman of ImpactMany of you will remember the recognition and award I was to receive in Washington D. C. as a Woman of Impact.  It will be an event I will remember the rest of my life.  I am honored to be on the cover and centerfold of the magazine Focus on Women, Sept/Oct 2015.  I will realize the benefits of this event and magazine for a long time into the future.  For this, I am grateful.

My hubby surprised me with this beautiful pendant he made for me for the event.  It is a 7.5ct Ceylon sapphire and diamond set in white gold.

Ceylon sapphire 7.5ct and diamond .50ct

How I physically made it through this month without falling apart is a miracle in itself.  On Oct 13, I left at 4:30 in the morning to catch the first ferry out of Dodge.  Starting out tired on this journey was not a "good" thing.  Once on the mainland, I had lots of errands to do before heading to the airport in Seattle around 9 P. M.  My plane didn't leave until 1 A.M. so I had time to kill and went to the movies. Opted for a scary thriller which made the walk back to my car around midnight a bit unnerving. Then back to the airport.  The plane was overbooked.  NO elbow, leg or moving room to get comfortable -- or SLEEP.

I arrived in Minneapolis the middle of the night for a three-hour layover.  I am not a coffee drinker but took the plunge to try to stay awake. Arriving in Baltimore at noon, the craziness began.  It was three days of events and meeting many incredible and talented authors.

Carol Graham awarded as Woman of Impact
 Dr. Ian Prattis handing me the award
Carol Graham awarded as Woman of Impact at Authors Convention

There was a traffic jam enroute to the gala affair so we were in the limousine for over an hour. There were seven of us and we became fast friends.  I sat in the front with the limo driver who was from Ethiopia.  I took the opportunity to interview him.  He was thrilled as I am sure not many people would seize the chance to find out what motivates someone to leave his family and come to a foreign land to earn a living.  When we arrived back at the hotel at the end of the evening, he asked for my business card and gave me a hug.  That was such a highlight!

Carol Graham awarded as Woman of Impact

Carol Graham awarded as Woman of Impact

The morning of Saturday, Oct 17th I had to be at the airport by 5 A.M. -- but I hadn't really slept since the previous Monday.  I arrived home around 11 P.M. and needed to get things in order, repack and head out Monday morning guessed it -- 4:30 in the A. M.

Back to the airport.  I arrived in Saskatchewan, Canada that afternoon.  I was booked for a speaking gig at a breakfast meeing the next morning.  For the next three days, I spoke in the morning at a breakfast club and then had to drive to the next city, 3 to 4 hours away, to prepare to speak at a dinner reception.  I love it more than anything else I do, but by the time I got to the airport for the homestretch, I felt the weariness wearing me down.

But, there was still enough spunk left in me to 'fight' with the car rental agency when I realized not only did they overcharge me but they charged me for a GPS that did NOT work.  It was a bit scary driving without one in Saskatachewan.

Let me enlighten all of you who have never driven on a highway where you could see miles..... MILES in front of you.  There are NO houses, NO NOTHING for about 90 miles at a stretch.  It is downright scary.  What if the rental car broke down?  NO cell phone service.

I drove as fast as I could but stayed behind a guy who was speeding. I could see the white pick-up truck approaching and as I slowed down, he put on his siren and lights, did a U-turn, and nailed the guy in front of me. Pays to listen to your instinct "not a good idea to pass him." Phew!

In this flat province, it is said that if your dog runs away from home -- go outside and look in all four directions.  You can see about three miles each way -- you'll find your dog!

When I crossed the border heading home, I was asked something I will never forget.  I have crossed the border at least twice a month for the past 30 plus years.  The usual questions are:

"Do you have any weapons?  Liquor?  Cigarettes?  Mace?  Pepper Spray?"  You get the picture.  This time he asked me how much I spent, I told him and then he said "Any apples on board?"

"Apples?"  I almost laughed.  I told him "No" but he wanted to see my receipts to prove it.  I asked him if that was something new and he said "NO!  You cannot carry apples unless you are a bonded commercial carrier!"  GOOD TO KNOW!  He never even asked if I had any weapons and was quite satisfied I was not carrying the contraband known as "apples."

I was completely spent when I arrived home on Friday night and was informed that our good friends from out of town were only here for the weekend.  I invited them over for dinner the next day knowing I had a huge container of spaghetti sauce in my freezer that would make an awesome lasagne.

All I needed was some salad fixings and fresh bread.  About an hour before dinner, I opened up the sauce.  It wasn't spaghetti - it was JAMBALYA.  I needed hours to cook my sauce but thought I would make new sauce anyway.  I made a big enough batch to freeze some for later and it was the BEST lasagne ever.  Who would have known?

One Busy Month Leads To Another

To me, a card is one of the best gifts and I keep them forever in my heart.  When I arrived home, there was a card on my desk from my husband along with six beautiful red-tipped yellow roses!

When I asked him why, he said "In the 40 plus years we have been together, I have never known anyone who can take any negative situation and turn it into something positive.  I want to give you an award for that!  You know how to "spin" it and I applaud you."  WOW, I mean W O W.  I never expected that. I told him it made up for all the times he forgot to get me a Valentines card! According to him, I am one in a billion!  He doesn't get out much -LOL!

For those of you who have cast their ballot guessing what the new grandbaby will be -- thank you. We still have 3 1/2 months to guess.  Let me know what you think.

And this baby's big brother had his fourth birthday this month -- isn't this an awesome cake?  After much pondering, he asked his mom "How come I went to bed last night and I was three and today I'm four?  Will I be five tomorrow?"

But tomorrow -- he will be 50 as time moves so quickly the older you get!

Louie's Update

Those of you who have been following Louis Vuitton's problem.....when he was bitten in the face by a larger dog two months ago, his face became infected.  It has now infected his entire little body and the specialist cannot figure it out.  He is in good health but not responding to any medication.  He has scratched himself raw -- poor little guy -- but he is such a trooper!

This has been the monthly fun group post called Fly On The Wall where bloggers share their crazy, fun, sad or?? happenings from the past month.  Hope you enjoyed it and please have a look at some of the other bloggers lives.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dogs Drool, Cats Rule!

The prevalence of rancor that exists between dog owners and cat owners is rarely understood or explained. There often seems to be a decided lack of decency among them. Doesn’t it make you wonder what made this evolve into such distinct differences?

Although many dog owners 'have' cats (you can't "own" a cat), many people choose to be one or the other - a cat person or a dog person. I happen to love both cats and dogs but lean towards dogs.  Do you think most people have a preference?  Do you think different personality types prefer one over the other?  I'd be interested to hear your views.

There is much to be said about the differences between dogs and cats and what better way than to show it through pictures?

If cats had their way, they would like to to abolish all dogs. But, they really love the chase, the teasing and knowing that at the end of the day, CATS RULE!

Dog has no idea what's coming next

"Has it stopped breathing yet?"


"STOP complaining - I gave you a bed, didn't I?"

Cats have A T T I T U D E

If you think you are coming up here, think again!

"Don't take the picture if you know what's good for you"

But when their true colors came out -- they truly love each other.

Best Friends

True Love

Our old gal Babe and her new friend, Tony

 Actions speak louder than words:

This has been a word challenge called Use Your Words.  You must use the words given to you by a fellow participating blogger to write a story.  My words were:  abolish ~ decency ~ evolve ~ rancor ~ prevalence  They were submitted to me by The Angrivated Mom.

Enjoy some other posts by bloggers who have been given a series of words to build their story.  I'll guarantee you will enjoy them!


Friday, November 6, 2015

What Kind of Friend Are You?

It's 10:00 P.M. and the end of a stressful week.  I hadn't had a moment to myself all week between work and obligations, lending a hand to clients who needed me and a couple days out of town which included a lot of driving.  I was exhausted.

The phone rang.  I wonder who is calling this late. 


I hear muffled words and short breathing sounds.  My first thought is "Oh no, what happened?"  

"Hello, can you hear me?"  A few sniffles and then "I honestly don't know how I can go on like this."  

"What do you mean?  Are you hurt?  Is your family okay?"

It was almost impossible to understand her words but eventually I pieced together that she discovered her husband was cheating on her and she was devastated.  

Without a moment's hesitation, I grabbed my keys and headed to her house.  She lived about 45 minutes away and it was raining heavily.  I hate driving at night, especially in the rain as it is extremely difficult for me to see, but if I take it slow, I will be fine...I reasoned. My friend needed my support.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

11 Ways to Avoid the Christmas Rush and Have a Stress-free Holiday

"I hate Christmas!"  Those were the words spoken by a woman who was looking in the showcases in my store this week.  

"Pardon me?"

"I hate Christmas -- well, not really.  I just hate all the stuff I am forced to do."

I have not been able to shake that conversation from my psyche.

Each year, I watch the craziness and the hustle.  I see the anger.  I hear nasty, grumpy comments by people who generally are easy-going.  

People pushing, swearing, rushing, yelling.  No wonder she hates Christmas.

Christmas CAN BE stress-free -- honest!

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