Tag Archives: Ron James

Talking to Strangers for Fun and Profit…

A note to those who may misunderstand my title, and think I work in radio (like my ex-husband and many of our friends)…unfortunately, radio is fun, but no longer very profitable (and some veterans may disagree on the “fun” part, too)!  I might have ended up doing radio news (I took Broadcast Journalism in college), but I chose not to enter that field.  The “talking to strangers” refers to face-to-face interaction with people I come into contact with in my daily life.

Maybe it’s because of my journalism training that I’ve always enjoyed chatting with people…or, it could be sheer nosiness!  Either way, it is an interesting way to pass the time, and I’ve learned a lot from some of my random interactions.  This practice horrifies my children, however…I can barely get them to acknowledge their school friends with more than a shy smile or a little wave!  When I took Hope to the after-hours clinic the other night, I was talking to a young father whose infant daughter was ill.  I tried to distract the baby from her fussiness by talking to her, and helped the man get her into the carseat.  After they left, Hope said, “Why do you have to talk to strangers?  You’re embarrassing me!”  When we got home, she informed Anna that I was “doing it again.” 

Yesterday, a good-looking guy in his mid-40’s came into the bookstore…tall and well-built, with prematurely grey hair (oops…I just drooled a little on my keyboard!).  As per my habit, I asked if it was his first visit (because I surely would have remembered if he’d been in before!)…he replied that it was, and offered that he was in town from Los Angeles.  We don’t get many people from California in Saint John, New Brunswick, except The Jolie, and the occasional cruise ship passenger, so my next question was “How did you end up here?” 

Tall Guy answered, “I’m a musician…we’ve got a gig here tonight.”

“Oh, which band are you in?” I asked.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when he replied, “The Goo Goo Dolls. ”  We’ve had celebrities in the store before: comedian Ron James, Vinyl Café host Stuart MacLean, and the Canadian rock band Alexisonfire, but to have somebody from an internationally-known rock group find our little store is pretty amazing (he found us on Google)!

I quickly picked myself up off the floor and responded that I had almost bought tickets for their show for Jim for Christmas, but he preferred to see the Classic Albums Live tribute to The Who that we went to last month.  Casually, Tall Guy said, “I can probably get you in.”

“Seriously?” I asked eagerly.  Those tickets were going for $49.50 each before service charges!

“Really!” he answered.  “Give him a call and see if he wants to go.”  So I did!  Jim was excited too!

Tall Guy spent a fair amount of time looking at our books, while I chewed his ear off.  I asked what he played…he responded modestly that he was “just the drummer.”  He told me about their shows in Newfoundland, and mentioned that his wife back in L.A. wasn’t very happy about him being gone on Valentine’s Day.  He would be back home in a couple of weeks though, and then off for a month.

My euphoria was disturbed when Tall Guy’s phone rang with a text message…he had to go back to the hotel and make an important phone call he’d forgotten about.  I gave him my card, and he promised to leave some tickets in my name at the door.  I got Tall Guy to sign our guest book, and took his money for the book he bought (World War I history)…he didn’t even make it into the room with the art, music, and literature…I’m hoping he might order more books from our website!

Our celebrity's signature...

After he was gone, I Googled Mike, because I couldn’t read his last name (Malinin)…in the course of my stalking research, I also found out that Mike was a marathon runner.  How cool is that?  A drummer for a rock band and a runner!

Goo Goo Dolls watch as guy from Virgin Records cuts a ribbon...Mike is the hunk on the left...(photo from justjared.buzznet.com)

*****

Showtime was 7:30 p.m.  Despite our best efforts, Jim and I didn’t make it to the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre until 7:15.  The line for General Admission snaked out into the neighbouring mall.  Most of the people waiting were half our ages.  Luckily, the queue moved quickly, and soon we saw a special table at the door where a woman had a box full of envelopes.  I left Jim to hold our place and hurried over to her.  “I’m Wendy M.,” I said.  “Mike the drummer left me a couple of tickets.”  The woman shuffled through a pile of white envelopes and pulled one out with my name on it.  She opened it, and discovered two triangular Goo Goo Dolls sticker passes with “2/14” and “A.S.” written on them in permanent marker.  I was excited, because I surmised that “A.S.” stood for “After Show.”  The woman told us to just go on in and take our seats…we did, after carefully applying the stickers to our chests (we had a little trouble freeing them from the backing paper…I think they were “boomerproof” stickers). 

Our passes...

The opening band, Crash Parallel, was a group of young Canadian guys based in Toronto.  They could sing; they could play; and they were suitably enthusiastic.  I particularly enjoyed their cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” (Genesis was one of the first bands I ever saw live, back in 1981).  During the intermission, we chatted with two other couples from our generation who were seated near us (one fellow worked in Emergency at the hospital, and has put multiple casts/splints on my girls!).  Yes, children…I was talking to strangers again!

Jim took this shot with his phone during the show...despite my demonic grin, I did not just consume a small child...

Finally, the Goo Goo Dolls took the stage.  Most of their material was new to me…in their heyday in the late-90’s, I had already stopped listening to mainstream radio.  The youngsters at the show felt the need to stand in front of the stage, so we spent the rest of the time on our feet (which was tough on my almost 50-year-old body!).  My favourite Goo Goo Dolls song is Iris:

After the show, we filed out into the lobby…we walked around and asked several people whether they knew what the “A.S.” meant on our passes.  No one did (not even the burly security guy with the headset), and it didn’t appear that there was an “after show.”

We went home…I’ve decided that “A.S.” stands for “Amiable Stranger.”  Thanks, Mike, for the tickets!  Sometimes it pays to talk to strangers!

63 Comments

Filed under family, friends, music, rants, satire, self-discovery

It’s My Birthday, and I’ll Pie If I Want To…

Today is my 49th birthday…yes, I know…it’s very hard to believe!  I am fortunate and grateful for good genes and good health!

We woke up early this morning, as we had planned to go to St. Martins for the Town-Wide Community Yard Sale they were having as part of Old Home Week…I love yard sales (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/yard-sales-the-thrill-of-victory-and-the-agony-of-the-feet/).  We had planned to leave the house at 8 a.m.  We did well to get out the door by 8:20…after stops at the Credit Union and the gas station, we were on our way.

Passing through Fairfield, we saw our first “Garage Sale” sign.  It was in front of a shabby country house with even shabbier outbuildings.  Anna decided to stay in the van – she said it looked “too sketchy” for her to get out.  The rest of us (minus Devin, who hates shopping) headed up the driveway towards a large garage.  It was a complete surprise: inside, an older man in overalls greeted us warmly and made small talk about the weather.  Everything was laid out neatly on tables, or displayed on pegboards along the walls. I found a pretty Ironstone cream and sugar set made by Ridgway in the Jacobean Brown pattern.  I paid $3.

This is the matching cup and saucer for my cream and sugar...

Jim found another bird feeder (just what he needs)…one with small holes for finches.  Hope bought some jewellery.  I found a book I might have purchased had it not been musty-smelling.  We headed back to the van.

Our first stop in St. Martins was the Village Market Building.  This was where the Book Fair was advertised to be.  Unfortunately, there were very few books, and a lot of yard sale stuff.  Jim took Hope in search of a washroom while I bought three books for $7.  Once Jim got back, we headed down the very busy Main St.  We decided the best course of action would be to get out and walk. 

After a couple of hours walking and shopping (along with an ice cream break and another pee break), we had accumulated some more treasures: two more books ($2), a Beanie baby bear, a ceiling fixture with a fan, a large clamp, a Five-Star binder, and a pair of soundproofing headphones.  We were tired and hot, and close to one of Jim’s and my favourite places in St. Martins: Fiori’s Restaurant (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/eating-around-new-brunswick/).

This is Hope's Beanie Baby bear for July...her birthday is the 31st...

We went in…Brianna added a tongue and eyebrows to the happy face drawn on the whiteboard beside the door…I quickly herded the family in and we sat down at a table.

The restaurant was busier than usual…one waitress was running her buns off!  She took our beverage orders: Brianna ordered “Chocolate From The Cow.” Then we studied the menu, some of us longer than others:  Hope took forever to decide what she wanted…after another bathroom break, she finally landed on the children’s breakfast with a pancake (Jim told her he’d pay extra to get sausage and bacon). 

Jim had the Mexican Fiesta Platter (which is what he usually orders).  Brianna ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad in a tortilla bowl.  Anna settled for the BLT Wrap, and I had the Veggie Panini.

Everybody’s food was excellent: the Ciabatta bread in my Panini was amazing!  The filling was tomatoes, cucumber and baby spinach.  A side salad with lettuce, cucumber, dried blueberries, and raspberry vinaigrette completed the plate.  I ate every bite (including Anna’s dried blueberries!).

The waitress was still having difficulty keeping up, so one of the owners, Mike Fiori, came out of the kitchen to clear our table.  He told us a story about an artist who lived across the street.  When the waitress came over, I asked what the desserts were today:  She advised that there were three kinds of cheesecake, Death by Chocolate cake, a brownie with brownie frozen yogurt and caramel syrup, or pecan pie (all desserts are homemade by Barb Fiori).  I informed her that since it was my birthday, I would have the pecan pie.  The staff brought out my piece of pie with a birthday candle stuck in the top, and they were singing, “Happy Birthday!”  I wasn’t a bit embarrassed!  Mike said I must be “29”!  I agreed that I was “29 again.”  That pie was absolutely heavenly (of course, I’ve rarely met a pie I didn’t like, except cream pies!).  Jim, Anna and Hope had the blueberry cheesecake, and Brianna polished off every bite of her “Death by Chocolate” cake.

Heavenly Pecan Pie...

The best part of the meal (besides the fact that I didn’t have to pay for it) was that five of us ate for $76 and change…great healthy food including dessert and taxes!

We were all stuffed as we walked back to the van…

When we got home, I headed for my computer…wow…lots of my friends had sent me birthday messages!  I thanked them all, and then caught up with some of my friends’ blogs (check out the links on the right – not a bad writer among them!).  The kids gave me their presents (Dad gave me some money earlier in the week to get my hair done): Hope gave me a gift card for Shoppers Drug Mart, Devin gave me small earphones for the computer at the store (so I can listen to music, but still hear the customers come in), and Anna and Brianna gave me big headphones for my computer at home (so I can drown out the sound of the TV or the kids’ music while I listen to mine!).  Jim and I are going tomorrow to pick out my big gift from him: a new bike!  Kaylee, Scott and Elise are coming over for supper tomorrow night too.  I finally bought a playpen for when Elise comes over…she finds every bit of lint on my living room rug when she’s here, and tries to eat it!

Kaylee, Elise and Scott in June of this year...

After the presents, Jim, Anna and Brianna took off for Hampton – Jim had arranged to photograph a friend’s wedding, and took the girls along as helpers.  Devin helped me hook up my new headphones, and then I looked up my St. Martins book purchases: not bad – spent $9, and got about $105 U.S. worth of books.  I was pleased…

I paid $3 for this book...it will be listed online for $20 U.S.

Hope was happy too…her friend who just moved to Miramichi was in town visiting her dad, and invited her over to go swimming…Hope had been feeling left out about not getting to go to the wedding, but she was okay now!  Off she went with her friend.

Dad and I watched one of the Ron James DVDs that I got him for his birthday…I love that guy…he’s hilarious!  It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it – it’s still funny!

This is the DVD we watched tonight...there are three more...

So…it’s been a good day (and the only work I’ve done is make supper)…I’m still looking forward to the birthday party at Jim’s mom’s on Wednesday (that’s his 48th birthday – she’s having a party for both of us).  I’ll post pictures of that too!

Thanks to everyone who made this last birthday of my forties a happy one!

15 Comments

Filed under books, family, food, friends, memories, self-discovery, shopping, tourism

Monday Mishmash…

The Queen of Procrastinators strikes again…I have let several days go by without posting…I apologize for the delay.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. We celebrated Dad’s 73rd birthday on Wednesday night…his actual birthday was the 28th, but not everyone was going to be around on Friday, so we moved it up.  We had lasagna, and German chocolate cake for dessert (I bought the cake – it was good, though!).  Hope gave him a “Grandad” mug she bought with her own money, and Jim and I ordered a set of Ron James DVD’s for him (which haven’t arrived in the mail yet).  For those who don’t know who Ron James is, he is a hilarious Canadian comedian from Nova Scotia, who once visited our store (he collects “Big/Little” books).  He’s kind of a Canadian version of Robin Williams – ADHD on wheels.  Check out his website:  http://ronjames.ca/

The Birthday Boy...

2.  Wednesday night was the first night we saw hummingbirds at our feeders – we have determined that we have at least three of them: a pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds (a male and a female), and possibly a second female, but she has different colouration.  Anna saw all three at the same time once.  Here are some photos Jim took:

Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird...

The Mystery Guest...

Female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird...

3. When I went out to water the garden on Wednesday night, I was delighted to discover that some of the seeds I’d planted on the weekend had sprouted…several kinds of lettuce and greens were up!  Unfortunately, there seems to be a bug that has something against my yellow beans – they have been chewed down to the nub in most cases – it started with holes in the leaves, then the leaves disappeared.  I didn’t really like yellow beans anyway…

4.  I spent most of Thursday and Friday at the store assessing books.  We are to the point where I have no idea where we’re going to put the next bunch that walks in the door…my chair is surrounded by boxes now (I have eight boxes to put away!).  We need a room-stretcher (and more shelves).  Hope was off school on Friday, so we had Chinese food for lunch.

5. Saturday morning, Jim and I and the girls got up early and headed out for the Quispamsis Town-Wide Yard Sale (Devin is not a shopper, so he enjoyed some extra hours of sleep).  We had picked up the map at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, and I had carefully mapped out a logical route (which Jim estimated would take in excess of eight hours to complete – we had 4-and-a-half!).  Jim got a palm sander for $10.  I found a beautiful painting of a blonde cocker spaniel that looked like the one my dad had when he was a kid (although Dad said the dog in the painting looked “too intelligent” to be his dog).  I also got a lovely art deco painting for a dollar (I will take it to my friend, Amy, to have it reframed).  The kids picked up a few small things too – Hope was happy to get a karaoke machine for $3 to continue her singing.  About noon, we started smelling something burning – our van had an issue with its brakes, so we dropped it off at home and picked up the car instead.  Our last stop was an estate sale: they had lots of old books, and I bought a boxfull.  I totalled up my finds today – for the $25 I spent, I got over $725 worth of books!  Not a bad haul…

6. We stopped and picked up a new hose and nozzle on Saturday before going home…it made a big difference when I watered my garden on Saturday night!  Talk about “more power!”  A package of cinnamon buns also forced its way into my cart at grocery – have no idea how that happened!  We had pizza and some of last year’s spinach (fresh from the garden!) for supper – nothing tastes as good as just-picked veggies!

7.  I spent Sunday morning trying to get caught up with laundry (which has been badly neglected since I’ve been gardening in the evenings).  I washed and dried five loads, and folded about eight (still some there from last week).  Poor Anna informed me that she didn’t have any shorts that fit (funny…her pile of clothes was bigger than anybody’s…).  In between loads, I made clam chowder and started rereading “The Pilot’s Wife” by Anita Shreve – it is our next book for book club, and since I read it last September, I felt the need to read it again (especially since I’d suggested it – I thought I should at least know the character’s names when we talk about it!).  I loved it the first time!

The Pilot's Wife...

8. Sunday afternoon, Jim and Anna and I went to see the Shrek 4 movie: Shrek Forever After.  I enjoyed the soundtrack, and there were a couple of funny lines, but it didn’t come close to the first one.  One of my friends commented about how “dark” the movie was.  I got some new Mint Crisp M&M’s at the dollar store to eat at the movie…they were yummy!  We saw a double rainbow on the way home…

M&M Mint Crisp...Mmmm...

 9. I was happy to discover last night that I had several more new seedlings in the garden…morning glories, sunflowers, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, brussels sprouts, a few tomatoes, and a couple varieties of winter squash.  I expect the sweet peas and pumpkins to be up soon.  No sign of carrots, peppers, broccoli or cauliflower yet (except for carrots, these are seeds I replanted directly in the garden last weekend after Jake destroyed the ones I planted in the house).  The peas and broad beans are doing well, as are the pole and bush beans.  My weeding last night was interrupted by a brief thunderstorm…I wish it had rained a little longer…it’s been dry.

10. This morning on the way to town, we saw a “fisher” cross the road in front of the car…it’s kind of like a big weasel, and apparently is the only animal able to eat porcupines without suffering any ill effects from the quills (they also eat cats and small dogs, as well as mice, squirrels, and rabbits).  The one we saw was about three feet long…neat to see!

A fisher climbing a tree...don't try to pet this guy...

I continue to enjoy the posts my blogging sisters are writing lately…it amazes me how much we seem to have in common with each other!  They are amazingly gifted writers – each has her own special style.  I look forward to Jane and Nancy’s return to regular posting…I miss you girls!

1 Comment

Filed under books, family, food, gardening, nature