Friday, 30 December 2005

"Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland, 1939

My good friends know a secret about me. And God bless him, John's learned about it, too...over the years.

Whenever I hear the strains of "Somewhere, over the rainbow..." sung by anybody and sung in any context, I cry. It's guaranteed. I don't know why. The song just touches something very deep inside me...something I can't explain.

I've chosen it for tonight's title because I feel like I'm headed off to finally find what's over the rainbow for the first time in my life. John and I get married next week, in New Mexico, and we leave here tomorrow to spend the night at the airport before our early-morning January 1st flights to and within the US.

We both feel that our lives are getting a fresh start. We can't wait!

I'll try to write from the road, if I can. But please forgive me if Lord Celery's a little silent until our return in a few weeks.

Be good, everybody! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Tuesday, 27 December 2005

"(Get The) Bug" - Fifth Column, 1994

We've BOTH gotten "the bug" here in North Oxfordshire. John's is a brand-new cold bug that started late last week. Mine, I suspect, is what's left of the bronchitis I had weeks ago. But the bug or bugs have us by the napes of our necks and have dragged us down to our knees. BOTH of us. Argh...

So there's little to report from here. We're having a very quiet Christmas. And whichever of us feels the best at any point in time brings food and beverages upstairs to the other.

The good news is that we are feeling better today, after a lot of sleep and fluids and cold meds since the weekend. And we don't leave for the States until Sunday, so we still have plenty of time to fully recover and get packed up for the trip.

Meanwhile, I have to say that our Christmas has felt quite a bit like the one being suggested by the photo below...which I have to admit I "nicked" from the website run by my cousins the Estes Family (so hope you guys don't mind) ...

I'll write more before we go. Meanwhile, I'm catching up on my blog-reading this afternoon.


Sunday, 25 December 2005

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - Judy Garland, 1944

I hope that all of you are having a Christmas Day as nice as ours!

I'll just let my all-time favorite secular Christmas song say everything that I'd like to say...but sadly, I don't have the command of such eloquent words...

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Let your heart be light.
From now on our troubles will be out of sight.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Make the Yuletide gay.
From now on our troubles will be miles away.
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.
Through the years we all will be together,
If the Fates allow.
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

(Note I've used the revised, less melancholy "Sinatra" lyrics.)

MERRY CHRISTMAS...or HAPPY CHRISTMAS, as they say here in the UK!


Tuesday, 20 December 2005

"Tell Us The Truth" - Sham 69, 1991

The local medical practice in my village recently sent out questionnaires to their patients, asking a myriad of questions about the doctors, dispensary, nurses, and admin staff. This evening I have been reading the results, which came in today's post ("mail", to my US friends). Surprisingly, there was a huge amount of detail in the report, and I have to wonder if all of the patients of the practice got the same big envelope that I did today!

Most of the responses were as you might expect. But there were three which really gave me a chuckle. Here they are...

"The doctor is good enough for my family and myself."

"The doctor needs to be a bit less clinical."

AND my personal favorite...

"A larger waiting room is needed, so there is more space between peoples' illnesses."


Monday, 19 December 2005

"Time of the Season" - Zombies, 1969

John and I aren't the only ones with marriage on our minds these days. There's definitely something going around.

Today, my dear friend Clara has just announced to the world that she's also getting married! I'm just thrilled for her...and we can't wait to meet the lucky fellow! And three of my high school friends have gotten married in the past year -- two of them to each other!

I think it's wonderful that we're all showing the world that you don't have to be really young to fall in love. In fact, I highly recommend finding the love-of-your-life when you have enough life experience to realize (and appreciate) what a treasure you've discovered.

That's how I feel about John. And we'll tell the world how we feel about each other in just under two weeks. Woweeeeee...just writing that gave me goose bumps!


Sunday, 18 December 2005

"What Does It Mean" - Groovy Times In Babylon, 1998

When I stayed overnight in an Oxford hotel last Wednesday night, a card advertising some of their room service items was on my nightstand. I couldn't help but wonder what Americans uninitiated to some of the more oddly-named items of British cuisine must think when they see this....


Thursday, 15 December 2005

"Drive" - Cars, 1984

First of all... Wendy, I'm doing all right, and thanks for your concern! I must admit that I'm recovering a little slowly from this respiratory crud, but I am feeling better.

Better enough, actually, to warrant tonight's Lord Celery entry.

I've done something over the past two days that's a first for me. I'd never driven all by myself into Oxford before. But now I have! Yesterday and today, we had some special events involving work at several different hotels in the Oxford area. It was obvious to me that it would be much easier for me to manage if I drove into the city and then drove myself from place to place, rather than relying upon a taxi or a lift from somebody else. So I did.

Now to my American friends, that may not sound like much of a triumph. But Oxford's streets are narrow -- sometimes only one lane (so that cars have to take turns going through) -- traffic can be dreadful, and I swear that road markings in and around Oxford have to be some of the worst and most misleading in the developed world! And, don't forget that I'm in a right-hand-drive car on the left side of the road! Complicated combination.

Anyway, I was a brave girl. I'm patting myself on a back a little tonight. And I thought I would share that with all of Lord Celery's readers! it's time to put my feet up. I'm a little bit tired from all that bravery!


Sunday, 11 December 2005

"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" - Platters, 1958

We've had a terrible incident here in England today. Here's a link to BBC's web coverage.

A large fuel depot in Hertfordshire, co-owned by Total and Texaco (coincidentally, both former employers of mine), exploded around 6am. The fire continues to burn...and probably will for another day or two. The black cloud that's been produced is massive. We saw no evidence of the cloud here in Oxfordshire, but John will likely experience some of the smoke when he gets back home to Hertfordshire later tonight. Because of weather patterns, though, it sounds like much of the smoke cloud could be over the Continent by tomorrow.

What's remarkable about this incident is that (so far at least) no one has been killed. And there have been very few injuries, too, given the severity of the accident.

I'm sure that we weren't the only ones who initially worried that this was a terrorist act. But it seems to have been just a terrible accident. Just a terrible accident...

The media are reporting that this could be the worst incident of its kind in peace-time Britain -- possibly in peace-time Europe. Given the massive demand for gasoline, heating oil, and jet fuel in our world, we have to remember that the stuff has to be stored somewhere. And unfortunately, accidents like this are bound to happen. I'm just happy that no one has died. That's a miracle.


Saturday, 10 December 2005

"98.6" - Keith, 1967

"Hey 98.6, it's good to have you back again..."

I believe that today might be the first day, since I got home from Calgary, that my temperature has been normalish all day. I brought a bronchial infection home with me last weekend. I don't think I realized how awful I've been feeling this past week until today. I'm just so grateful that John was able to arrange to work from my house Thursday & Friday, so that he could come take care of me.

He's downstairs now, by the way, fixing us a "lovely" beef stew -- judging from the wonderful smells drifting up here!

Anyway, the reason for these ramblings, as I am propped up here in bed, is just to comment that we really don't properly appreciate our health until it faulters, do we? Thank God for modern antibiotics. Respiratory wimps like me wouldn't have survived to adulthood in "the olden days".

But now I'm on the mend. I've even cleaned myself up today...and I'll bet John especially appreciates the fresher smell and the shaved legs!!!

It's a good thing I'm feeling better, too, given that Christmas is coming...and, even more importantly, John and I have a very important date coming up in New Mexico in only a few weeks now! It can't come a moment too soon, either!


Friday, 9 December 2005

"The Young Ones" - Cliff Richard, 1962

I had to call my British electricity provider this afternoon, to discuss a bill. I got one of what's probably a legion of Southern Electric customer service reps...and at least it sounded like I'd reached somebody in England, not Calcutta. That was the first surprise.

After I'd given her my account number, the young woman excitedly asked me if I was an American. She quickly followed that question with the comment, "I really love your accent!" I told her that yes, I am indeed American.

And what was her follow-up comment?

It was the so typical expression from the young people in Britain...:"Wicked!"

It's been one of the highlights of my day!


Thursday, 8 December 2005

"Strawberry Fields Forever" - Beatles, 1967

It's a very sad anniversary today. 25 years ago tonight, Mark Chapman shot John Lennon in New York City. Here's the BBC's web page covering Lennon's death. There is at least one program tonight about the event, and I don't feel like watching.

I have a very strong memory of that evening, back in 1980. I had left my ex-husband only weeks earlier and was living on my own in an apartment in the Woodlake area of Houston. I was relieved to be out of a very unhappy relationship. We'd split up our worldly belongings, and I was living with roughly half of what had been "our" things. For example, I had living room end tables but no sofa. I had speakers but no receiver in my stereo rack. I had glassware but not dishes. But I had my baby grand. And I had my independence. And I was determining my own life's direction again. I was starting over. I wasn't especially happy, really, but at least I was solely responsible for my own destiny again. I felt I could be happy again.

I was delighted when, in 1980, John and Yoko had released "Double Fantasy"...which starts out with the song "Just Like Starting Over". It was very inspirational for me. As my friends already know, I was (and am) a huge fan of the Beatles' music...and of their solo work. I was starting over, and John's song was helping my spirits during a pivotal time in my life.

On the evening of the 8th of December 1980, I went out to dinner in Houston with my friend Scott. When I got home, I was stunned with the news from New York. My brother Larry called me from Austin...perhaps he had already left me a message on my answering machine when I got memory of that evening isn't perfect. I remember crying with him on the phone, as we watched the news coverage on TV. We were gutted.

So that was 25 years ago, huh? Seems like yesterday...


(PS. Sorry for the silence this week. I have been ill since getting back from Calgary and only this evening have felt like writing something for Lord Celery. And I felt it was important to write today.

By the way, my John is here taking care of me...he came over from the London area midday today. And his being here is the best medicine of all!)

Friday, 2 December 2005

"Don't Wake Me Up" - Microphones, 1999

Sorry that I've been silent this week from here in Calgary. That's how business trips go. Sometimes there's time to blog, and sometimes there isn't. This time it's been a busy, tiring week.

There was an incredibly funny photo on the front page of the Canadian papers yesterday. I was going to try to write a blog entry about it last night but, once again, just didn't have time.

But my friend Steve did, on his blog Today Is Absolutely Today. So take a look at his blog entry, featuring the photo of the snoozing Navy students at Annapolis, Maryland.

By the way, on the front page of Canada's national paper "The Globe and Mail", the photo was captioned, "Battle Weary: Cadets Await Word From Bush On Iraq Pullout".

(from Calgary, Alberta, Canada)