A Weird Connection – Maybe

In a day when everyone is taking pictures of everything and google delivers boatloads of images with the touch of a finger, it was surprisingly difficult for me to find a picture of Paul McCartney and my grandmother together. And by that, I mean – impossible.

I am a huge fan of Paul McCartney. I am a huge fan of my deceased grandmother. About ten years ago, I realized that every time I’d see a picture of Paul, I thought of Grandmom Manning. Weird. She was not a fan. She opted to watch Hee Haw when he was rising to fame.

She was an amazing woman who lost her eyesight when I was a teenager. I barely remember her being able to see, but I do remember her kind, gentle manner. When she was a young, she taught ballroom dancing. I am told she was quite a cook and a more than proficient seamstress. Probably her biggest achievement was raising my dad and his siblings. Born in 1900, she always said she was as old as the years.

So where is the connection? I think Paul looks like my grandmother. Seriously, maybe we’re related! Here are some pictures. Do you see a resemblance? My dad’s family is huge, so, you never know! Maybe that’s why Paul has always been my favorite Beetle/distant cousin.

Grandmother Manning before she was a grandmother

The last picture I have of her circa 1987

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What’s in Your Wallet?

Have you seen Blue Bloods?  It’s a television crime/drama that is almost as much about a family consisting largely of cops as it is about what those cops do in their day-to-day jobs as police officers in New York City.

Blue Bloods Poster

The show, starring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg, was recommended to us by several of our friends, so we decided to give it a try.  The relationships of four generations are heartwarming and amusing.  They gather together every Sunday night around a large table for dinner and conversation, which includes prayer before the meal and anything-goes topics of discussion.

The commercials during the show do more than advertise products and services.  They also give away their target audience.  Half of the ads are of the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” variety.  We usually fast forward through them, but we still get the gist of what actors like Betty White are offering.

This has raised concerns and questions between Bob and me.  Are we too young to be watching this show?  We are the pre-walk-in-bathtub generation.  Furthermore, should we admit that this is the kind of show we like?  Our pride could take a hit if people only knew what kind of programming is being viewed behind the closed doors of our home.

Our conversation has also been influenced by this show and has given way to new things to argue about.  In one episode the great-grandfather has a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital.  Tom Selleck (his son) is asked what medications his dad takes.  Poor Tom doesn’t know and feels like a lousy son.  The pharmacy has to be called and precious moments are wasted in an effort to find out if Great Gramps takes blood thinners.  SPOILER ALERT:  Gramps pulls through.

We put the show on pause and I say to Bob, “You know, if you were admitted to the hospital I wouldn’t know what medications you take.”

Bob:  “I don’t take blood thinners.”

Me:  “You take fish oil.  Fish oil is a blood thinner.”

Bob:  “I don’t think that counts.”

Me:  “Oh, it counts, baby.”  (I say this with enough confidence to cover up my lack of confidence.)

Then I look at him with nothing but love in my eyes and say, “You need to have a list of all the stuff you take and put it in your wallet – just in case.”

Bob:  “I constantly am trying to get stuff out of my wallet.  I don’t want to add to it.”

Me:  “So you don’t even have room in there for a piece of paper that could save your life?”

Bob doesn’t like to argue.  He tries to let that last one go but I’m on it with, “I’m right, you know.  Just tell me you know I’m right.”

“You’re right,” he admits.  “The list is a good idea.”

“Thank you,” I say.

We start the show back up, and I look at him with respect that he would admit when he was wrong and joy that this conversation could very well save his life someday.  Love is welling up in my heart and then a realization sets in, and I say, “You’re not going to make the list, are you?”

He gave a simple answer – no.

That’s when I knew that we had entered the next stage of our marriage – old people arguments.  No more arguing about the kids or calendars or jobs or vacations.  We’ve moved on to bigger things – what’s in your wallet?

Is It Still Considered Stalking if You’re a Nice, Harmless Person?

I am just now coming out of the fog that was last weekend – good timing since another weekend is upon me.  What on earth did I do last weekend that was so consuming?  Glad you asked.

We moved my father-in-law within his assisted living facility (ALF).  This required my sister-in-law flying in from Oregon for four days.  She had the job of relabeling all of his clothing and linens with his new room number plus various other organizational activities.  In addition, my husband, my son and two other men from our church joined together to do the heavy lifting and toting all of his belongings down the hall and around the corner from his old, north-facing room to his new, east-facing room.  This is more important than you might think due to the fact that he is legally blind and sunlight is such a treat for him.

Now you are probably asking what that has to do with stalking.  Was I stalking some elderly person in the ALF?  Uh, no, of course not.  Who would do such a thing?

And, why wasn’t I helping out with the move?  Because I had the day off.  This was a gift I suggested for myself several times until Bob offered that he thought I might need a little time off from serving his dad.  Great idea!  And, it’s a good thing, too, or else I would not have had time to go stalking my favorite celebrity.   Okay, stay with me and I’ll tell you the story.

I have a dear friend who lives in Seattle who was considerate enough to visit Orlando and stay at a resort near Sea World last weekend.  This was pivotal to my impromptu plan.  I was scheduled to pick up Margot in the early afternoon on Saturday.  We planned lunch and a little light shopping.

Before heading out, I checked my face book and discovered that a friend was at the Ritz day spa in that area and she had an encounter with Paul McCartney.  (Thank you, face book location services.)  He walked past her while she was holding her grandchild and he couldn’t resist reaching out and holding the baby’s hand.  That put things in motion for me.   I jumped in the car, put on my Beatles 1 CD, cranked up I Want to Hold Your Hand, and headed out.

I asked Margot where she would like to eat and she was pretty open.  I asked her if she would like to go to lunch at the Ritz Carlton and stalk Paul McCartney and she was open to that, too.  So, off we went.

I’m a bit of a novice at stalking people, but I thought I’d be pretty good at it.  After all, I am a mother of four children, so I’m used to trying to observe people when they don’t want to be seen or bothered.

There was a lot of security out front, so we figured we were in the right place.  We walked into the lavish lobby, scoped out the place and asked the concierge for the eatery options.  We were calm, cool and collected.  I’m sure nobody thought twice about two middle age ladies popping into the Ritz for lunch on a day that Paul McCartney was staying there.

Yes, that is a cloth cocktal napkin.  Fancy!

Yes, that is a cloth cocktail napkin. Fancy!

As we headed to our seats we noticed a gathering of his entourage and my heart leaped a bit at the thought that I was so close to people who may or may not be close to Paul McCartney later on that day.  Does it get any better than that?

Unfortunately, no.  That was as close as we came to seeing him.  We did enjoy our fifty dollar lunch and I got quite excited by the fact that my Diet Coke came to me all fancied up with a linen cocktail napkin.  (So that’s what they mean by putting on the Ritz.)

In conclusion, I didn’t have to help move my father-in-law.  I enjoyed a wonderful yet expensive lunch with my friend, Margot.  We saw a group of people who may or may not have been part of the McCartney entourage.  I drank a fancy Diet Coke on a cloth cocktail napkin.  Oh, and I didn’t get arrested for stalking.  Sweet.

Famous People Who Almost Know Me

This morning for some strange reason, I started trying to list in my mind all of the famous people I have come in contact with.  I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that I’ve been watching the Orioles in their pennant race and listening to Jim Palmer do color commentary during the games.  I once met Jim.  I’m sure he remembers.  Anyway, here is the resultant list of famous people who almost know me and the moments when we sort of met.

#1 – My Ah-choo Moment – One day I was walking through the mall and I heard a sneeze.  To my surprise it came from Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson.  Now normally I would never (probably never) approach a celebrity while out with his family, but you can’t let a sneeze just hang there without a proper caring response.  So, yes, I was able to give Jameer a blessing – a “God bless you” blessing.  Surely that would not count as an invasion of privacy.  Now since I am a fan, and I’m old enough to be his mother; and especially since this happened during the play-offs, I added, “You need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.  We need you to stay healthy.”  He thanked me.  I’m counting that as a conversation with an NBA superstar.

Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

#2 – My Stand-Out Moment – Traveling home on a plane from Atlanta, I was in coach sandwiched between my husband and a young man of about twenty.  As I engaged him in conversation, I discovered he was a close friend of Dwight Howard and was, in fact, traveling with Dwight, who was enjoying the additional leg room offered in first class.  Dwight would often fly this fellow back to Atlanta with him so that they could both visit their families and friends there.  I think that’s pretty stand-out of Dwight – it could only be sweeter if he flew him first class, too.  As we disembarked, we saw Dwight sitting on a bench with his buddy.  Dwight’s knees were under his chin.  He was way too tall for that bench which was designed for mere mortals.  Of course, the entire story is now tainted by Dwight’s inexcusable flight from Orlando to Los Angeles, but since I did wave goodbye to my new friend as he sat with Dwight, this still counts as Dwight almost meeting me.

#3 – My Jab-in-the-Ribs Moment – A few years ago while visiting Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the stadium of my beloved Baltimore Orioles, I was thrilled to see All-Star first baseman Boog Powell manning his restaurant under the green tent behind the centerfield bleachers.  Boog’s BBQ is famous for ribs and, of course, barbeque.  The big man himself was happily greeting passersby and I was able to introduce myself to him and shake his beefy hand.  I spent my tenth birthday watching him and the rest of the 1966 Orioles playing at the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.  My mother is the quintessential Oriole fan and has pioneered the art of fandom in our family, so this was quite the day for me.

#4 – My Squirrelly Moment – Bob Ross is best known as the painter of “happy little trees” who offers painting lessons on “The Joy of Painting,” but he is lesser known as the guy to whom kids took injured squirrels.  Bob Ross died in 1995, but before that time he was a resident of our little neighborhood.  I did not know that he had an affinity for needy squirrels and birds, but my kids figured it out.  They had witnessed him opening his front door to them with a squirrel on his shoulder.  I never met him myself, but I’m counting him.  We still refer to his house as “The Bob Ross House.”

Bob Ross
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

#5 – My Hall-of-Fame Moment – Back in the 1983, Oriole pitcher and now baseball Hall of Fame member, Jim Palmer, endorsed Jockey Underwear.  He was making an appearance at the local mall, and I made it my mission to get his autograph for my mother.  I strapped my daughter in the stroller and took my four-year-old son by the hand and waited in the long line.  Thankfully the kids were happy, so happy that the local news station caught us on film and we made the six o’clock news that night.  “We” is an overstatement though, as it was only my daughter and I who were on the news.  My son was brokenhearted as he watched and there was not a glimpse of him.  I’m pretty sure that was the birth of sibling rivalry in my family.

How about you?  Who is on your list of famous people who almost know you?