Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back Beat

If you know me, you'll know I love The Beatles. You may have known me long enough to remember my near obsession with them during my teenage years. Back in the day when I had time for recreational reading, I would devour anything I could get my hands on. I read about how they met, all of their back stories, the days in Hamburg, and their rise to fame. My attention to detail was amazing.

This weekend I saw BackBeat in Toronto. It's a stage production of the early years of The Beatles and it was fab. I couldn't believe the details I remembered as the story unfolded with Stu, Pete, Astrid and of course Klaus Voorman. I remember finding the story of Stu and Astrid so enchanting and tragic...and it played out on stage just the same.

Both were incredible artists and I had a chance to see some of their work a few years ago at a special exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

What fun it was to travel back in time last night to the early days in Hamburg. The famous pictures snapped by Astrid were brought to life with the iconic poses. The mannerisms were uncanny - the stance on stage, the style of strumming or drumming. If you like the Beatles and are in the Toronto area you should definitely check it out. Paul's right-handed guitar playing is a dead giveaway though!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Threes of Me

One of my friends recently posted a Facebook "note" from a few years ago on her blog. It was fun to go back and read it and inspired me to do the same. There was a phase where these types of notes/chain letter things made the rounds. Here is one that I wrote called The Threes of Me from August, 2009. Enjoy.

Three names I go by ::
1) JanJan
2) JMills
3) Queen (of the Furrow)
all still apply

Three Jobs I have had in my life ::
1) deli girl
2) book research/author
3) production assistant
yep...deli girl!

Three Places I have lived besides London, where I now reside :
1) Aberfeldy Line
2) Hamilton
3) multiple locations in London
I have added one more to the London list since then.

Three Favorite drinks :
1) coffee
2) chai latte
3) chocolate milk
more or less

Three TV Shows that I watch : (need to find some new ones!)
1) Gilmore Girls
2) ER
3) Prison Break
I still love these shows but none are still on the air. Not to worry, I have found some new ones :) Parenthood and Sons Of Anarchy are current faves.

Three places I have been ::
1) San Francisco
2) Cereal City USA (Battle Creek Michigan)
3) Manchester, England
need to return to SF and being in Manchester with my Grammie (her hometown) was awesome.

Three of my favorite foods ::
1) chicken lo mein
2) watermelon
3) BBQ steak
I'd say this is pretty accurate!

Three most recent books I've read: (the first 2 I'm currently reading. I'm slow)
1) Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
2) Lucky Man - Michael J. Fox bio
3) The Kite Runner
I have read one or two since then :)

Three things I do every day:
1) take my daily photo for my project
2) text
3) check my email
(wow, exciting days I have, I know)
the daily photo project is done but the other 2 happen on a very regular basis

Three things I am looking forward to:
1) watching the first 2 seasons of the Muppets on DVD
2) shopping in Pt. Huron tomorrow
3) Beatles Rock Band

Three things that make me happy:
1) music
2) a fresh hair cut
3) my friends

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shock and Awe

As I stole a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror today, something caught my eye and jerked it back to look in the mirror for a closer look. Was it just a glint from the sun? Or did I see a gray/white hair?!?! Although I have yet to determine, I was horrified at the very thought.

I always considered myself lucky to have great hair genes. My mom is 65 and only has a very few at the temples. In fact, her longtime hairdresser (that went gray at 19) says that if she didn't do mom's hair, she'd swear that she dyes it.

My Grammie has dyed her hair for years so when she recently suggested that she'd maybe let it go natural, I protested. Hair is such an important part of how we look, she just wouldn't look like my Grammie if she had white hair!  I did assure her that I would support whatever decision she made.

I will investigate my possibility of acquiring some silver and keep you posted but let's hope it was just a sun flare.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Strong Silent Type

A long time ago, there was a commercial that featured a blond-haired kid with glasses. He didn't say a word during the 30 second spot, but just dipped his french fries in ketchup and ate them.

My nephew Josh reminds me of Jay. The strong, silent type. He is a really neat kid but very, very quiet. When we do our birthday outings, I'm at a loss as to what to talk about. I usually get a "yes" "no" or shoulder shrug.

This year we went to see How To Train Your Dragon at the JLC in London. Before the show, we headed to The Works for a burger. I came prepared for our conversation time and had lots of questions to keep him talking. I must say, I was surprised at the response!

He told me all about fishing - the different kinds of fish, styles of fishing, how to filet them, eating them, how he likes playing baseball and football, he'd like to learn how to play the violin and I learned all about his vegetable garden. What a great time we had! And the dragons were pretty cool too.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Do It Again

It was my first sense of independence. I was stepping out and forming my very own opinion. I was about 10 years old and I had discovered The Beach Boys. Up until this point I had been happy to listen to the country music my Dad would tune in on the radio, but now... now I had discovered a music that I could claim as my own. I saved up my money and purchased a cassette tape at the drugstore and listened to it incessantly. After that I received a few different ones for Christmas or birthday gifts and I was officially a fan.

I loved the sweet harmonies, the idyllic images of sun, surf, and sand. I'm fairly certain it was the sounds of The Beach Boys that established my love of the 60s so, a fairly influential moment.

When I was 16, my brother John was going to see The Beach Boys in Detroit with his friends. I was elated when he invited me to come along. My first BIG concert! It lived up to my expectations - awesome. When I heard the group had reunited this year for a tour, celebrating their 50 years of music, I knew I had to go. Ideally, I wanted to return the favour and take John to the concert but things didn't quite turn out that way.

I ended up seeing them at the very same location nearly 20 years later and they sounded just as sweet. Sometimes as artists age, their voice doesn't hold up to the demands of the songs they wrote decades earlier. This was not the case with these guys though. From the beginning sounds of "Do It Again" (appropriately enough!) to the final sing along of "Fun Fun Fun" they were stellar. Brian Wilson's genius arrangements shone through like the California sun.

To kick off the summer, Kim, Carol-Ann, Deidre and I spent a weekend on the rollercoasters at Cedar Point, outlet shopping and capped it off with the personification of summer itself - The Beach Boys. Thanks for the memories!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


For the past 2 years, my cousin CA and I have talked about doing a trip to Cedar Point. She lives in Kuwait and comes home for just a few weeks during the summer, during which time she needs to cram in a lot of visiting, events and Canadian fun! Last summer seemed to fly by and without a game plan, she was back on a plane to the desert before we knew it!

This year we planned ahead. A trip to Cedar Point morphed into an official kick off to summer road trip. We invited our cousin Deidre to join us and my friend Kim rounded out the group. (even numbers are always better at amusement parks) After deciding to take in The Beach Boys concert in Detroit we figured we'd squeeze in some outlet shopping between the roller coasters and the West Coasters. Believe it or not, CA had never been outlet shopping! I was excited for her! It was determined in our Facebook thread that the trip would be known as Roller Coasters and Retail Therapy or RCRT for short.

We set off on Friday morning, crammed into the beetle and ready for adventure. I had prepared goodie bags for each of us, complete with puzzles, snacks, glow sticks and plastic nose glasses. (what are those called?) Before long we had reached our destination: Cedar Point. Just looking at the silhouettes of the coasters was thrilling! Our first ride was The Raptor and we loved it! Our feet dangled as we flew through the air, screaming our heads off! We really lucked out with short lines so we could maximize our wait to thrill ratio!

The highlight, by far was Millennium Force. As we waited in line we watched it rush past, the wind from the cars blowing our hair. Could we really handle such a coaster with just a simple lap bar holding us in place? The time came and indeed we did handle it. It was amazing and we only wished the line was shorter so we could do it again.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Outdoor Shower

Today I had my very first outdoor shower. Nope, I wasn't camping. I stayed at my Uncle Doug & Aunt Carmelle's house last night. When it was time for me to start the day, I said I was going to hop in the shower. That's when Uncle Doug asked "would you like an outdoor shower?" I was intrigued.

Doug and Carmelle are just the sweetest couple and they have created a home that suits them perfectly. It feels like a remote cottage despite being within the confines of Corunna. It is eclectic with many features that have their own story to tell. This completely reminds me of my Grandad. (Grandad rubbed off on all his sons and it amuses me that their subtle mannerisms scream Roy Murray.)

So, I gathered my essentials and a towel and headed outside to have my shower. Heated by the sun, the water wasn't hot but was not intolerable either. In fact, it was refreshing! Tucked away behind the wooden lattice I enjoyed my first outdoor shower. It was such a unique experience to look over the fence at the garden and up to see the clouds in the sky while I shampooed my hair. Loved it.

Thanks Uncle Doug and Aunt Carmelle for your awesome maritime hospitality and the opportunity to use your outdoor shower.