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Just My Luck

I recently (last week) finished my 26th John Grisham book.  I love him.  He is my all-time favorite author and I get so enthralled with his story-telling that once I’m reading one of his books, it’s all I want to do.  I’m completely wrapped up in his tales.

A few weeks ago I zipped through two of his big hardcovers and when I was finished them both, I realized they were the last of Grisham’s that I had.  Ack!  I went through the list of books and thought I had read The Broker, but it turns out I had not.  So, I put a few people on the lookout for it.

The Broker

Two days later, I went on a Saturday adventure with BFF Spanky to a Community Yard Sale several towns over (one I don’t think I actually knew existed).  I told her the name of the book I was looking for, in case we happened to stumble upon a yard with books for sale.

The first yard we stopped at, Spanky veered to the right where there was baby gear set up (she nailed herself an outdoor playpen with a cover), and I veered to the left to a few tables set up with boxes on top.  Turns out, the boxes were full of books.  The very first box I looked in and the very first book I saw was John Grisham’s The Broker.  I kid you not.  The.very.first.book!!  Of course, I grabbed it…and paid my .30 cents and could not have been more elated!!  I did not buy another thing that day, I felt complete.

Of course, I plowed through that book too (I swear my TV has not been on in weeks!) and when I finished it in nearly record time, I once again felt sad because it was the last John Grisham book in my collection.  I picked up an biography and am nearly finished it, and yesterday I stopped at the book store and grabbed two new Grisham books.  Ahh, life is good again.

~Cheers


I Carried A Watermelon

My BFF/work-wife, Spanky is currently off on maternity leave.  This girl and I met years ago when we began working together and we became instant friends.  And, although we both had changed job locations, we maintained our friendship AND continued our lunchtime shenanigans all these years.  And now we’re back to working together.  ❤

MUD GIRLS

We just did Mud Hero together Yesterday.  #BFFs

And we have spent 10 years lunching together, walking thru Town, running the trails (training for races), running errands, or just sitting around stuffing our faces.  But one thing has always maintained the same for us, wherever we were and whatever we were doing, you can bet we were laughing our heads off and having more fun than should be allowed.  I have often said I bet people see us each day on our lunchtime ventures and are totally jealous of how much fun we’re having.  In fact, one day, just a few years ago, while running an errand in one of the little shops in downtown, we had a good case of the giggles and could not stop laughing and an onlooker, a chef from one of the local restaurants had been watching us and said he thoroughly enjoyed watching us have so much fun.  See…jealous.

But, when Spanky left to go off and have Baby Ruth I was saddened because I thought I was going to be alone for my lunch hours and, although I can go out and have fun make my own fun any damn time I please, I always enjoy the company.  And, just my luck, Spanky’s work replacement has also become my lunchtime replacement and Boo Boo and I are having tons of fun together.

We decided months ago, when there was still snow on the ground (which, let’s face it, this is Nova Scotia and that means it wasn’t that long ago that there was snow on the ground), that we were going to walk during our breaks.  Actually, it wasn’t so much a decision as it was something that just happened one day and we haven’t stopped.  It’s because of these lunchtime walks that I’m hitting my FitBit step goal way early in the day.

Boo Boo and I walk and laugh every day.  We are having way too much fun and, just like Spanky and I did, we’re making our fun.

One day last week, while out on our roam, we stopped into the local grocery store.  Boo Boo was checking out the watermelons and was intending on picking one up until I reminded her that she’d have to carry a watermelon through town, in 34 degree heat, and we still had a half hour to go on our break.  She left the watermelon there.  But, as we were in the checkout line, I noticed the guy in front of me was holding a watermelon.  When he glanced around at us I said to him “Can you please take that back to work or wherever you’re going and pretend you’re Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing and announce “I CARRIED A WATERMELON”.

I carried a watermelon

Boo Boo held her breath (because I’m a nut!) and the guy just looked at me for a few seconds like a deer caught in headlights and then the both of them cracked up.  He said he had heard us talking by the watermelons as he was picking his out and realized that he would be the one carrying the watermelon thru town in 34 degree heat (with a long-sleeved knit sweater on, mind you) and he felt like a dummy but he wanted to do something nice for his co-workers.

Watermelon

Nice gesture or not, I’d not be carrying a watermelon thru town in the heat.  

The three of us a had a long-lasting chuckle and he kept the conversation going until he finished his purchase and had to leave us, although it seemed like he would have rather stayed with us (Boo Boo said he’s now the president of my fan club).

I’m very thankful to both these gals, Spanky and Boo Boo, because you make my work days a heckuvalot more entertaining.  I soooooo look forward to Spanky’s return because I loooove her.  And I’m keeping Boo Boo too, so we can be the workplace Three Musketeers or Three Amigos – which, with the shenanigans and oopsies, seems a lot more fitting.

I love my life.

#makeyourownadventure

~Cheers

 

 

 


Horror Hotel

As I continue with the tradition of watching scary movies in October to prepare for Halloween, here’s a little treat:

horror-hotel-poster

Last week I watched Horror Hotel (aka. City of the Dead) on TV.  It’s an old black and white from 1960 and it did not fail to creep.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053719/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

It stars a young Christopher Lee and a bunch of other people I’ve never heard of.

The movie starts out 300 years before the present time in Massachusetts with Elizabeth Selwyn being burned at the stake for witchcraft. As she’s burning she curses  the town and its people.

Jump to present day to Christopher Lee as a professor teaching tales of witchcraft from his hometown -where said witch Elizabeth was burned, and one of his students, Nan, having the beauty idea of going to the cursed town to work on her thesis.  Brainiac.  Seriously.

When Nan enters the town she is greeted by a stranger – who has a habit of disappearing.  Literally.  Right from the passenger seat of her car.

The town is clearly ominous as it is coated with a thick, dark fog all the time.  Right then and then is when I’d be turning my ass around and going back to wherever it is I came from.  But not Nan.  She decides to check into the Horror Hotel – which is kept shop by none other than the reincarnate of Elizabeth Selwyn – now Mrs. Newless.

horror-hotel-witch

Gimme a break – I would burn this beyotch again and again!

The townspeople stare and give her the evil eye on more than one occasion.  Things go missing.  Things appear.  Dead birds are planted.  Stabbed through the heart.  And dumbass Nan sticks around.

I’m going to give anymore of the story away but for a movie made in 1960 about witches and witchcraft – it was pretty good.  Definitely lame at times.  Definitely some bad and overacting at times, but it gave a few shudders.

Up next, House of Wax.

~Sandy

 


My Neighbors Are Vampires!

I have new neighbors.  I met them a month ago when I was celebrating my birthday and having a huge party at our community venue.  They just happened to be strolling by and popped their heads in, and me, being a social butterfly, flew out the door to make new best friends, and enticed them to come back later and join the party.
Since then, I have been convinced more and more that they are, indeed, vampires.
(I’m not going to refer to them by name, I’ll call them Benny and June.)
First, they are very gothic in appearance: pale skin, long dark hair, extremely good looking.  Sexy even.
vamp
Second, they are creatures people of the night.  Honestly, I have almost never seen them in the light of day.  One exception – when I invited them to lunch….I’ll get to that later.  There never seems to be any action on their property until at least late in the day; usually after dark.  Most of the time I’m just getting home from a class – well after dusk – and they’re pulling out of their yard.  They claim it’s because they’re musicians and living the musician lifestyle that they’re up late but…I dunno.   Seems to me that many musicians I know venture out into daylight.
Also, Benny has even been doing renos on his huge gothic-looking house….INCLUDING changing a gigantor window – after dark.  Who changes a window after dark?  In fact, who does house renos after dark??  VAMPIRES!!
In addition – they sometimes disappear for days at a time.  Sure, they say they’re on tour, and their social media accounts support this, but even the Cullens had to leave for several days in order to feed.
Third, they are so charming.  Especially Benny – and maybe that’s just because he’s a dude and attractive, but they are so charming.  When they ventured back to my birthday party last month they were even kind enough to bring a gift. Whatt???   And Benny had his dark hair slicked back and was rocking a black leather jacket.  Charm, style, goth = vampire.
Benny is actually kind of mesmerizing.  Again, maybe this is because he is a dude.
benny

Not really Benny

June is beautiful, with her pale skin and long black curly locks; but Benny is mesmerizing.  I just stare.  (And giggle.)
june

Not quite June

Fourth, I haven’t seen them eat anything.   At my party they did not indulge in the food service (and who turns down gummy worms?? My bartenders even indulged in the gummy worms!), and when we went for lunch, June didn’t touch a thing.  In addition, we went for sushi and, tho Benny did have a roll, it was a fish roll of some sort…raw fish.  Raw. Meat.  Vampire.  On top of this, the photos I’ve seen of Benny drinking have all been of red wine.  Hmm, red wine or…..blood??
Halloween is right around the corner and I am not above popping over there on October 31 to see what.is.up.
Vampires.
*Note:.  Although all the above events are accurate, the indication that my new neighbors are vampires is in jest.  Somewhat.   They are quite lovely.  For vampires.

Tales from the Fog

Last weekend I got a hankerin’ to start my Halloween movie watching – albeit a little early.  With the coolness in the air last weekend, and now that the leaves are starting to change color and develop their crisp, Autumn scent, it seemed appropriate that my viewing  would come sooner this year.

My beau and I were talking about Stephen King’s Silver Bullet and, of course, that’s what I decided to spend a late, lazy Sunday afternoon watching.  After spending nearly all of my weekend working on my fitness biz, it was a perfect-ish way to relax for a few hours.

silver-bullter

Total 80’s creepiness and fromage.  Oh-so-fromage.

And, as always, Silver Bullet did not let me down.  Corey Haim and Megan Follows are forever perfect as Jane and Marty, siblings dueling with each other, and with a werewolf – with a conscience.

haim-and-follows

Childhood horror heroes (and Anne of Green Gables, yo)

And, of course, we can’t forget Gary Busey.  I love that dude.  He is spazz-tastic.  Just say no to drugs, kids.

gary-busey

Um….caption this….anyone?

So, there I was, Sunday evening, watching Silver Bullet with not another thought to it.  A movie I’d seen a bunch of times before.  And all was well.

Then, Monday morning came.  Eaaarly Monday morning.  I’ve been teaching fitness classes in the park very early Monday mornings since the summer and as the summer came closer to ending, the later the sun has been rising.  And last week when I went out, not only was it pitch dark, it was foggy.  There was a thick rolling fog.  Perfect for a nervous Nelly….and werewolves.

As I’m waiting for my class participants to arrive, I’m sitting in my car, doors locked, of course, staring down over the park, trying to see through the thickness of the fog.  And texting my friend about the possibility of werewolf attacks.  She called me a fool and said there was no such thing as werewolves.

werewolf_hunting_woods_fog_night

Don’t think I DON’T see you lurking there.  This was pretty much my view at  the park.  Pretty much.  😉

But, I’m pretty sure that the last person who got attacked by a werewolf was certain there was no such thing as werewolves.

Next up (hopefully):  Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original!)

~Sandy


Hitting the Family Jackpot

To say that I grew up in a loving family is an understatement, to say the least.  I grew up in an abundance of love.  With warmth and hugs and kisses.  I hit the family jackpot!

I was surrounded constantly by my family – parents, brother, best friends – who were basically adopted siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  And everyone is very close.
My mom’s parents lived only two houses up the street from us and they were the foundation of my family.  They were our proverbial rock.  Walking into their home was always walking into warmth.  They had an open-door policy and their faces would light up anytime we walked into the home.  And although they lived just a few minutes away and I got to see them pretty much anytime I wanted, nearly every day, it was always a great treat to visit them.  Nannie and Grampie.
My brother and cousins and I would take turns having sleepovers at their home.  And they made each and every one of us feel special and like we were the most important people in the world.
When I was very little, not school-aged yet, my nannie would take me shopping.  My grampie would give me money before I left and my mom would joke that I would always come home with a treat and more money than I left with.
I was their favorite.  We were ALL their favorite.  And they never made us feel like we were anything less.
These people were so special – to all of us.  We would always have big family Christmas parties there; celebrating, and being in love with each other and being so thankful for having these wonderful, loving people in our lives.  Feeling truly blessed.  In the summers, we would have “wiener roasts” – a backyard barbecue of sorts on the side lawn with a fire pit and swings and making “hobo pies” out of white bread and pie filling and roasting them in the fire.  These would go to after dark and were such a treat because we kids, the cousins, got to stay up late and play and be surrounded by so much love and friendship.
My grandmother, Betty, was an incredible woman.  Bright, witty, spunky, hilarious, and hip.  And my grandfather, Brent, loved her more than words can ever express.  And the two of them loved us unconditionally.
Nannie

Catching a fish and wearing white jeans with a thick black belt – this woman was ahead of her time

I remember never wanting to disappoint them.  And even today I still try to live each day trying to impress them and making them proud from their perch in Heaven, as I know they are looking down on me.
In fact, I remember the first (and maybe only) time my grandfather yelled at me.  I was maybe 3 or 4 and I was playing with my baby cousin, Daphnie and I held her wrong or something that may have injured her – and my grampie yelled at me.  Not out of anger, but to prevent me from hurting the baby.  I was instantly heartbroken and I burst into tears, confused and ashamed that I made this man, who I loved so dearly, angry with me.  Of course, he and my grandmother cleared up the confusion but I still remember that moment vividly.
My grandmother was very, very hip.  She drove a moped!  And she loved Billy Ray Cyrus and Clint Eastwood.  And she taught me how to play (read: cheat at) cards.  If were driving with her and jokingly said “Nannie, look at the cute boy, stop the car!”, she would indeed stop the car.  And she would laugh.  If she saw cute boys she would call them over and introduce us.  Instant mortification to a teenager, but funny as hell now.  Nannie would let me put make up on her – regardless of how hideous it looked – and tell me how much she loved it.  She would welcome me with open arms when I would “run away from home” and walk on the inside of the guardrail to get to their place (my mom would always watch from the end of the driveway).  I never felt of out of place with my grandparents.
Nannie had a heart condition.  She had two heart attacks by the time she reached 40 and then had a pacemaker put in. When I was diagnosed with a heart condition when I was in my late teens I was also told I would have a pacemaker by the time I was 30 (Note 1. My family doctor was super pissed at this statement and said the specialist had no business telling a kid something like that!  Note 2.  I don’t plan on ever turning 30.).  At the time I was annoyed and confused and scared at this diagnoses.  But, although I saw it as a potential obstacle in my health and life, I also saw it as something I possibly inherited from her.  Something that made me feel just a little more bonded to her.  I have held onto that.
When Nannie was diagnosed with lung cancer in the late 90’s I was devastated.  I remember my mom told me one Friday night while my friend Kim was with me so that I could be comforted at the time of receiving this terrible news.  But Nannie was so strong.  And after having her lung removed, her cancer was gone.  I also remember that while she was in the hospital for this surgery and treatment she was telling me about this gorgeous (male) nurse or orderly that she thought I would find so cute – as she found him so cute – but then she broke the news “….but I think he might be gay.  Dammit.
Within months of having her surgery Nannie was out in the fields picking berries in the summer heat.  Something she loved to do.  She took me with her one summer when I was 15, but I was not meant for that kind of back-breaking work – or using a port-a-potty in midsummer heat (so that I complained the entire day about having to pee) and she refused to take me again.  Ever.  And she kept her word.
That fall I had an essay to write on heroes.  And in my essay I wrote that I did not believe in heroes because I saw them as mythical beings, but that the closest I could come to was my grandmother, for all that she had done and gone through, and even made mention of the berry picking right after her surgery.  (I may also have mentioned my affection for Drew Barrymore for all that she had gone through in her short life and had overcome so much.  See, lifelong follower of this girl.) My nannie was indeed heroic.
Not long after, Nannie was diagnosed with throat cancer.  Cancer so bad that there wasn’t much to do.  The cancer would win.  My nannie, however, stayed strong and fought as much as she could.  We had family gatherings and spent as much time as we could with this woman.  But sadly, devastatingly, heart-breakingly, Nannie passed away in November of 1999 at the age of 60.  A young woman still with so many years of love and adventure left to live.  And my world crumbled.
I have never experienced pain like that in my life. Ever.  This woman was our world.  Our rock.  Our light.  And her death devastated me.  I still have not fully recovered.  To this day, even in this moment, I cannot think or speak of her without crying.  And maybe it’s because it was the first time I really experienced death and loss.  And maybe because she was just so full of life and love and liveliness.  I continue to mourn her loss each day.  But I also celebrate her life each day.
I live in my own world sometimes – hello, SandyLand.  I have adventures, I laugh my ass off – even at the most inappropriate things, I hug and kiss my nephews with so much love that I think they can’t stand it, and I have taught Abby how to play the first game of cards my nannie taught me to play.  And, just like my nannie, I play to win!
There are moments when I can be a real scrag.  I admit it.  But for the most part I try to live each day with goodness and love and laughter.  I want to continue to please my grandparents and not disappoint.  Because I know one day I will see them in Heaven and I know I will have to explain my actions to them if I’ve been a real asshole.
Each night I say a prayer for them – and my dearly departed Aunt Linda – and pray that they are all together and loving and watching and waiting.
I know, since the passing of my grandparents and of my aunt Linda, my mom and my aunt and uncles are pained.  They are broken-hearted, as we all are.  And sometimes it’s terribly difficult to get the family together for holiday celebrations or gatherings because it feels like the spark has gone out.  Like the house is empty and there’s really no point anymore. Because deep down – or even right on the surface – it’s so unbearably painful to celebrate our family when we’re no longer complete. Since my grandmother’s death, my mom (the eldest of her siblings {sorry I used the word “eldest”}) has pretty much taken over the role of the rock; the matriarch of our big but little family.  She always makes sure that no one is left out of Christmas gifts or celebrations.  She wants to honour everyone in the family – especially those who are no longer with us. But everyone sticks together.  As a family, we have had our moments, our ups and downs, that’s what happens in families sometimes.  But we love each other.  Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins.  We support each other.  And there are days we want to beat each other over the head with a golf club, but at the end of the day, when it comes right down to, our family is bonded with love and togetherness.  That is something we all inherited from Nannie and Grampie.
I want my family (my nephews, my future children) to feel like it’s Christmas morning – to feel that abundance of love and togetherness and that incredible light of love that I always felt at Nannie and Grampie’s.  Walking into my parents’ home I always feel the warmth and the welcoming I felt each time I walked into that house up the street.  And when I visit my cousins and my aunts and uncles I am always welcomed with open arms and smiles and hugs.  The way it was meant to be.  And the way it will be when we’re all together again.
~Sandy

We Are All Made of Stars

A few weeks ago someone shared a video on Facebook.  It kept popping up in my news feed for days and days so I finally watched it.  And I am so glad I did.

It was the clip of little Grace Vanderwaal singing her original song (and playing the frickin’ ukulele!) on America’s Got Talent.

I don’t normally watch the umpteen dozen talent shows on TV.  In fact, I find them very tiresome.  But every once in a while we stumble across these incredible talents. These shining stars that, until the development of social media shares such as Facebook and YouTube, we might never have seen.

So, to that end I’m going to share with you my top 3 (unknown) stars.  The first, of course, being the incredible Grace VanderWaal.

I can’t get enough of her.  There is something so unique in her sound – like you can hear the Dutch ancestry coming out only in music.  And that look Howie Mandel gives her the moment she starts singing is the same way I feel every time I hear her – like it’s shocking that this girl is so.damn.talented.  Each time I watch the clip (which has been a lot!) I teary eyed and goose bumpy.  I am constantly singing her song and cannot wait for this kid to put out a record because I am just so enamored with her. She is a huge talent (did I mention that she writes her own songs and plays the ukulele???) in this tiny vessel.  She is charismatic and innocent and there is something just so special about her.  We need more innocence in today’s musical word of Britney Spears (*barf*) and Beyonce (*barf* squared).  I am predicting big things for Grace.

****

Last summer my friend Jesse said “You have to watch this video”.  I did. Over and over and over and over.  Now you watch it.

This video let the world fall in love with “Backpack Girl”.  I’m not kidding.  After I watched it I Googled and Googled and found out the rest of the internet world was trying to discover the identity of this group of gorgeous singers and Backpack Girl.  Turns out, these lovely ladies are from the island of Grenada and this little minute-and-a-half video of theirs sparked an insane internet sensation to “Find Backpack Girl.”  Yes!  Talent like this should not be kept from us.

Backpack Girl’s name is Jasmine Murray and she’s coming out of her shell.  Check out this remix of the same song at a local function.

OMG That Voice!!

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Last, but not least, is Shaheen Jafargholi who I discovered after Michael Jackson’s death when we were YouTubing a bunch of Michael’s songs.  This kid was on Britain’s Got Talent years ago and started off singing some shitty Amy Winehouse song.  Simon Cowell stopped him in the middle of his performance and told him to basically try again.  Thank goodness he did.  Shaheen’s next song choice was “Who’s Loving You” by MJ, and man, what a performance.

This little dude embodies the old, bluesy, soulful music of old-time blues and jazz clubs we can now only hear about or see in the movies.  And he’s got that big voice and those little dimples.  I love Simon’s smirks throughout Shaheen’s performance – so much well-deserved cockiness (Simon knows his shit!).  This appearance has led to some big things for Shaheen – including singing at Michael Jackson’s memorial.

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With all of this talent in only three videos, I can only imagine the sea of ‘undiscovereds’ out there.  Like millions of acres of unclaimed land in the world, there is an multitude of oceans of beautiful voices just waiting to be heard.

~Sandy