Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Paul McCartney

T-Shirts from all three of the shows I've been to


What can I say about what Paul McCartney means to me? His music has warmed my heart and kept me company for about 15 years now...though it feels longer. I don't know if it's possible to accurately express why certain artists touch us the way they do. Paul is my first musical love.

I got into the Beatles while in High was pretty much all on my own because my parents didn't have Beatles albums in our basement like so many of my friends. My Dad was a musician and played in a top 40 band for years, but it always amused me how when I asked him, "Hey, you know that song, (insert popular song here)" he would answer..."No, I don't think so..." and then a week later, the same song would come on in my car and he would say, "We used to play that..." ("We" being the band he had played in for years).

He certainly remembered watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show...something I will always lament not being a part of...The Whole BeatleMania phenomenon...although I think becoming a Beatle and Paul fan when I did was meant to be.

It all started in a very improbable way. I had become a big fan of Monty Python, and because I get obsessed and have to see it all, I rented "The Rutles: All You Need is Cash," which is a (very accurate) Beatles Spoof that Eric Idle did. I was enjoying the silly music and thought, "Hmm...I should get some Beatles music, I'd probably like it."

So, I went out and bought a cassette of The Beatles' Greatest hits...

Game Over.

That was definitely when one of the first little pieces of "Me" fell into place. I then embarked upon my journey of getting all the albums. I taped "The Beatles Anthology" on ABC (and fumed when the VCR broke down) and delighted when my Dad got me the boxed set and book and Beatles memorabilia for Christmas (which includes a pocket knife and set of Beatles cake toppers...genius.) Dad even drove through a blizzard in order to take me to see "Beatlemania" in New London. If that's not supporting a passion, I don't know what is! I was also a member of the Paul McCartney "Fun Club" in its final days before Linda died, and collected photos and books and info like a fiend...I even wrote a paper on the Beatles break up. LOL

I remember packing up all 13 albums carefully when I went to college...and taking comfort in Paul's voice when I went through darker times during my new life in NYC. Many a Beatles and or Paul song inspired my poetry back then.

The first time I saw Paul in concert was incredible (2002's "Driving Rain" tour). I was so excited, I gave myself a headache. I cried like a baby when he played "Something" on a ukelele that George had given him, "Here Today" for John...and inexplicably...during "Your Loving Flame."

The Second time I saw him (2005: Chaos and Creation in the Backyard) I went alone because I wanted to get up as close as I could "afford" and dork out as hard as I wanted to. I can't remember what I cried at that night or if I even did (I probably got a little misty during "Maybe I'm Amazed"). I was completely mesmerized by the fact that I didn't need to look at the giant monitors to see his face and expressions. It was amazing. I do remember how hard "Helter Skelter" rocked and that he sang "I'll Follow the Sun" on a loop because he apparently also thinks it's way too short for how lovely it is.

My view in 2005 at Madison Square Garden

Small snippet of "I Will" in 2005

On Friday, July 17th I had the privilege of seeing Sir Paul for a third, magical, time at Citifield...the new Shea Stadium. He was giving the first concert there just like The Beatles did for the Old Shea. I went with my good friend Krissy who had never seen him live before. Things had come full circle because I had gone with Krissy's sister, Gina, the first time I saw him in concert.

The ticket has a place of honor on my closet door :)

The Sky before the show...hoping it wouldn't rain..

My camera-phone makes the stage look farther away!

What can I say about the show?

Seeing Paul live is such a wonderful experience. He is so full of life and love and joy. He's like a little boy up there. I feel as if I'm seeing an old, beloved, friend and his voice feels like home to me (I sort of cuddle up into it). I basically beam from head to toe simply reveling in the sun that he shines on me.

He came out rather quietly in a very "Beatlesque" ensemble: collarless suit jacket, white button down shirt, suspenders and pointy (Beatle) boots with a bit of a heel (a few songs in he took off his jacket and all us ladies got silly and whooped...and he smiled). For some reason I got teary during the opening notes of "Let Me Roll It" then understandably so when he sang "My Love" and dedicated it to Linda...then miracle of miracles...he played Calico Skies...sigh. I have been wanting to hear that live for years. So, Thank You made my night, week, long have you got? :)

The Following Photos are by Madame K :)

He rocked out for his usual super long set, even in the rain, grabbing his heart theatrically after the over the top pyrotechnics of "Live and Let Die" (during which I screamed delightedly). He laughed with his band-mates, ruffling up his wet hair, giggling and smiling...delighting when all the girls whooped and screamed for him.

Live and Let Die!

He also sang "Something" and "Here Today" again as well as "I'm Down" (AWESOME!) which the Beatles played at the original Shea Concert.

"Something" on George's Ukelele

Every time he broke into a song I didn't expect to hear live, like "Flaming Pie" and "Mrs. Vanderbilt" I grabbed Krissy's arm and exclaimed "SHUT UP!!!" LOL

I could literally have stayed there forever...and when he ended with the Sgt Pepper reprise and then "The End" all I felt was love.


Calico Skies
by Paul McCartney

It was written that I would love you
From the moment I opened my eyes

And the morning when I first saw you

Gave me life under calico skies.
I will hold you for as long as you like
Ill hold you for the rest of my life

Always looking for ways to love you

Never failing to fight at your side

While the angels of love protect us

From the innermost secrets we hide
Ill hold you for as long as you like
Ill hold you for the rest of my life

Long live all of us were crazy soldiers who

Were born under calico skies
May we never be called to handle

All the weapons of war we despise

Ill hold you for as long as you like
Ill hold you for the rest of my life

Ill hold you for as long as you like

Ill love you for the rest of my...
For the rest of my life

Setlist - July 17, 2009:

"Drive My Car"
"Only Mama Knows"
"Flaming Pie"
"Got To Get You Into My Life"
"Let Me Roll It"
"The Long and Winding Road"
"My Love"
"Here Today"
"Dance Tonight"
"Calico Skies"
"Mrs. Vanderbilt"
"Eleanor Rigby"
"Sing the Changes "
"Band on the Run"
"Back in the U.S.S.R."
"I'm Down"
"I've Got a Feeling"
"Paperback Writer"
"A Day in the Life"/"Give Peace a Chance"
"Let It Be"
"Live and Let Die"
"Hey Jude"


"Day Tripper"
"Lady Madonna"
"I Saw Her Standing There (with Billy Joel)
"Helter Skelter"
"Get Back"
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"/"The End"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Re-Do Pasta

For anyone who doesn't know...I began an herbal apprenticeship this past Spring in which a group of amazing women meet once a month and for lunch we each bring a dish.

This past apprenticeship day I was in a rather morose mood and so I didn't know what to make and wasn't really in the mood to cook (gasp!) Also, my sink was piled so high with dishes I couldn't do much anyway.

I decided that I'd make a cold pasta salad of the simplest form: Corn pasta, cherry tomatoes, canned asparagus, olive oil, lemon juice, salt pepper...and I think I threw in some oregano. I also had some fresh Parmesan to grate on top.

The verdict?

It was OK

I think it matched my mood at the time...not terrible, but sort of blah, and I wasn't too keen on the texture of the corn pasta when it was cold.

So, after a lovely day filled with tea and spirits having been lifted...I decided on a re-do.

All I did was add a little more olive oil and lemon, the cheese, ground sage...and heated the whole thing up.


The sage lifted up and complimented the lemon beautifully...and the cheese, well...did what cheese does awesome...but it didn't over power.

Two big thumbs up on this one in re-runs.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gnocchi! Fun to Say and Delicious too!

I am putting this in the category of quick and easy dinner.

I made this one weeknight after work...and it was great because it felt sort of gourmet, but was so easy!

Gnocchi with Tomato and Fresh Basil

1 package Roland Gnocchi (thank you Krissy!)
1 can Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I have a jar of minced g in the fridge at all times)
Fresh Basil, Chopped

*I also almost always have a can of the tomatoes on well as a carton of organic chicken stock...but that's for other recipes...*

Cook gnocchi according to package and on the side simmer the tomatoes and garlic with a touch of olive oil and add other spices to taste (I added some salt, pepper and crushed red pepper). Right before adding the gnocchi, stir in the basil.

Top with a little cheese (Parmesan would be ideal...but I only had mozzarella and it was tasty too!)

*As a little bonus...feast your eyes on the lovely package design, and copy writing, by none other than my good friend, Madame K! She's a Renaissance gal...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Office Birthday

For my boss' birthday I made a limoncello tart (with homemade limoncello, no less!)

I also got some heavy cream and whipped it up with a little lemon juice, confectioners sugar, and lemon extract...

I was afraid there wouldn't be enough tart to go around and so I figured people could have the cream with the tart or with the extra berries, which I had put on the side.

I don't fool around... :)


Limoncello Tart from The Houston Chronicle
  • 2 large eggs
  • Yolk of 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup limoncello
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 (9-inch) pie crust
  • Seasonal berries to garnish

Bring water to a simmer in bottom of a double boiler.

Meanwhile, place eggs, yolk and sugar in top part of double boiler, and beat together off the heat.

Whisk in lemon juice and zest, and place mixture over simmering water, making sure pan doesn't touch the water.

Whisk until curd thickens, about 5 minutes, being careful not to let it boil.

Remove from heat. Stir in limoncello and butter until butter has melted.

Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, and spread in pie shell. Chill until set, at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, garnish with berries.

Makes 6 servings.

I bought a ready-made graham cracker crust...and found that even after setting up in the fridge for over 24 hours, the pie was very soupy. I'm going to improvise with it and make it more of a pudding or trifle...I'll post, of course.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Letting The Love Flood In...

A lot is going on in Lion Land!

So...where to start?

I went to CT for the 4th of July...and there were some lovely moments. Spending time out in the yard behind my Mom's house...watching fireworks, making S'Mores, and walking barefoot on the beach, hugging my adorable nephews, spending Sunday with my Cousin Elana (aka Sweet E) and her hubby...and beer...of course. My Mother even tried some beer (Blue Moon).

My gorgeous Black and Tan @ The Black Sheep in my hometown: Niantic, CT

Tuesday I was alerted to Waterboys tickets...for special Dublin Shows in March of 2010.

Boo hoo right? Wrong!

I was spontaneous! I conferred with my friend Krissy (aka Madame K) and Christina (who turned me on to the wonderful Waterboys) and what did I do? I bought 3 tickets. For a show in Dublin. And I am in New York.

Hee Hee.

And I am visiting Scotland in the Fall.

So I am creating some lovely seasonal bookends...Scotland in the Fall and Ireland in the Spring.

Now, keep in mind that I only have a concert ticket. No hotel, no flight, no plan...other than to be in the same room as and listen to Mike Scott, Steve Wickham and the other musicians that are currently making up The Waterboys :) And see Ireland, of course.

I think it's a GREAT (non) plan.

Today I got to work and had an e-mail from my good friend Jen entitled "Findhorn." Seems she knows some people who know some know how it goes...

Well...swoon. I have been thinking about/wanting to return to that part of Scotland since I returned last August...spend some serious quality time there because I ended up there "by accident" last summer...and it was clearly a place I was meant to go to. I'm checking out Iona in October...

I jokingly thought..."Wow. I buy Waterboys tickets and my world opens up!"

But essentially, I really do think there's something to this. I made a spontaneous, out of character, move with buying these tickets (and Ireland has been stalking me for a few months...I keep seeing ads for it on buses zooming by me while walking to the subway). So I will cheerfully keep insisting that all good things come from The Waterboys...LOL.

I felt lighter and happy because, in a way, I was taking back some control...I had started feeling a bit overwhelmed and in the darkness about stuff.

I had been firmly entrenched in the narrow thought of..."Going to Scotland in October...only have two weeks :( ...then back to New York...blah...blah...wah..."

And now...I'm a traveler.