Beyonce's wedding that never was

Salma Hayek is planning a $3.5 million dollar wedding next spring with her Gucci wearing fiance, Francois-Henry Pinault.

Word is they will fly in 400 guests on private jets for the five day celebration- held at a chateau near St. Tropez, France- at a cost of $700,000. Salma's wedding gown is being custom made by Nicolas Ghesquiere, the creative director of Pinault-owned Balenciaga. Pinault also owns Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Swoon. Salma's dress is said to cost a mere $500,000.

Get this, Salma's toddler Valentina will wear a $50,000 gown for the big day! The flower budget alone is almost $1 million.

According to a "friend," the couple's menu will include Beluga caviar, fresh lobster and Kobe beef from Japan. Her 7 tier cake will cost a cool $100,000. A source said, "Salma has dreamed her whole life about a Cinderella wedding, and she wants it done right- $3.5 million worth of right!"

Enquirer/ PR Photos

Update: The engagement is called off.
0 Comments | Read More→

Dude looks like a lady

Aerosmith launches "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" at Hard Rock Cafe in NYC
0 Comments | Read More→

Aiken Fans Share OMWH Virally

ON MY WAY HERE - All 12 tracks of Clay Aiken's new CD, On My Way Here, have been ranked in AOL's Top 20 Songs this weekend. Graphic by Amazing_CA.

Montages Market CD Songs

All OMWH Tracks in AOL Top 20

Friday all 12 tracks from Clay Aiken's new CD, On My Way Here, lined up on the front page of AOL's Most Played Songs. The list changes constantly with the latest streams, but early Saturday morning the tracks were still there.

At 6:40 a.m. Saturday, the "most played" list of OMWH songs charted like this:

1. On My Way Here
2. Ashes
4. Everything I Don't Need
6. Grace of God
8. Falling
9. As Long As We're Here
12. Something About Us
14. Weight of the World
15. Sacrificial Love
18. The Real Me
19. Where I Draw the Line
20. Lover All Alone

At 7:30 a.m. Sunday, the OMWH tracks were charting like this:

OMWH, 1; Ashes, 2; LAL, 3; WIDTL, 5; Falling, 6; GOG, 7; EIDN, 8; ALAWH, 9; SAU, 10; SL, 12; TRM, 13; and WOTW, 15.

A final check for this entry at 6:20 a.m. Tuesday yielded this line-up:

OMWH, 1; Ashes, 2; Falling, 4; EIDN, 5; GOG, 6; ALAWH, 9; LAL, 13; SAU, 15; SL, 20; WOTW, 21; WIDTL, 22; TRM, 23.

Sunday morning Cagney1950 reported that "OMWH" has 121 spins, +3 over last week with audience impressions of .259. The single remains at #28 with a red bullet.

Tuesday the report for "OMWH" was 125 spins, +8 spins over last week with .345 audience impressions. The single remains #28 with a red bullet.

OMWH #1 Video at AOL

This weekend four of the five Sessios performances populated top positions in the Most Viewed Videos and Top 11 Music Video Countdown at AOL.

As shown in the Saturday morning screen cap above, OMWH, Ashes, WIDTL, and EIDN were 1, 2, 3, and 5 then. Early Tuesday, OMWH and Ashes were still 1 and 2, while EIDN and WIDTL were 5 and 7 in both charts.

Part of this phenomenon can be attributed to the dedicated streaming by Internet fans, who no doubt have been joined by Not.Just.Us, casual, and new fans.

Here are the streaming links for listening, and viewing at AOL and Yahoo:

* Audio song tracks: AOL Music
* Five-song video performance:
AOL Sessions
* OMWH video at
Yahoo Music

Montages Magnets for New Fans

Via videos at YouTube, the CA fandom's talented montage makers have played a key role in introducing OMWH songs to newcomers.

Among the latest posted are "Something About Us: An Obama Love Story" by Hotshortie and "Grace of God: Obama for Change" by AshFoals. At noon Monday, the first had registered close to 80,000 views. Tuesday morning the tally was 86,187.

Politics aside, both are receiving amazing comments by a multitude of new fans:

Something About Us: An Obama Love Story by Hotshortie:

I was STUNNED to find out it was Clay Aiken. It is indeed a BEAUTIFUL song, and I have a whole new respect for Clay Aiken. I might even buy his new album with "Something About Us" on it.

That's Clay Aiken???? WOW!!!!! I love that song ... I need to find that song and get it. Wouldn't that be perfect for my wedding?

Other than on American Idol, I had never heard any of Clay Aiken's music. This song is excellent.

Grace of God: Obama for Change by AshFoals:

Very moving video. Extremely well done!

Clay Aiken must be the Best Kept Secret in America! I had no idea he had such an incomparable voice. And the video -- perfection!

Graphic by Amazing_CA

A Tour of OMWH Montages

Believe me, it's not difficult to lose a couple of hours (or more!) "researching" OMWH song montages at YouTube. Many thnx to the montage makers in the CA fandom for sharing their creations. The updated links below are still just a sampling of what's out there.

These selections will get you started, and I hope you will discover several other montages to add to the list.
Perhaps you will provide suggestions for the one song not represented: "Where I Draw the Line."

ASHES: Rise Up From the Ashes -- UNICEF, Suereu; Rising From the Ashes by IUGal; and John McCain Tribute by Lacy704.

ALAWH, Aspiegirl; ALAWH (Somalia) by Suereu; ALAWH (inspired by Clay's UNICEF work) by lampmstar; and Nureyev & Fonteyn ALAWH by Yollie950.


FALLING: Dancing with the Stars (from various seasons), musicg57, and Clay Aiken - Falling, kaaca

GRACE OF GOD: Earthquake in China, Renegade79; Grace of God (UNICEF missions), Emerson032; Clay Aiken - Somalia Awareness by Yollie950; Clay Aiken in Somalia ("Grace of God") by Brolio42; Survival Project - UNICEF ("Grace of God" - Clay Aiken) by Gerwhisp; and Obama for Change - Grace of God by AshFoals.

LOVER ALL ALONE: Lover All Alone - Grey's Anatomy by AprilJolex and Lover All Alone - The Notebook by loveholic6364.

Graphic by Sally

ON MY WAY HERE: OMWH, Aspiegirl; OMWH April-May Performances (GMA/Kimmel/QVC/etc), Salamander5230; and OMWH by Dreamlarge.

SACRIFICIAL LOVE: Dancing with the Stars, Season 6, musicg57

Apolo and Julianne: The Reunion, Betty897x; Legends, Yollie950; and Something About Us - Jammy (Guiding Light) by kamaly3; and An OBAMA Love Story by Hotshortie.

THE REAL ME: Reveal Me Completely, Yollie950; The Real Me (wave videography), Gerwhisp; and The Real Me, Aspiegirl

WEIGHT OF THE WORLD: Iron Man HIS Perspective, 1agerard

The final three montages were created with OMWH bonus tracks:

FIEKY, Suerue

IIEOU (inspired by Clay's work with UNICEF and TBAF), emerson032, and IIEOU, Iampmstar

Remember your assignment: get lost in OMWH montages at YouTube and, if you would, add your suggestions to the list!

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Featured in this clickable interlude are graphics by Amazing_CA, 1 and 3, and Llbun, 2. Photographers include Claylilly, 1, and SecretlyLovesClay, 3.

Fans Employ Viral Marketing

"Viral marketing" by CA fans remains a viable tool in spreading the word about OMWH. Below are four June examples, each posted at a different message board but news of which quickly traversed Clay Cyberspace.

PINK ARMCHAIR: I had given a copy of On My Way Here, one of many I have distributed, to an Aftican American coworker of mine. She thanked me politely and promptly tossed it in the back seat of her car. She told me this morning, rather sheepishly, that somebody had sent her a link to the Obama "Something About Us" montage and she instantly fell madly in love with the song.

She had no idea who was singing until the end. When she found out, she realized that she actually owned it. Now she says she's fallen in love with the whole CD, has been playing it nonstop in her car, and has forwarded the link to the Obama montage to everybody she can think of.

Maybe Clay isn't being played too much on the radio, but this certainly seems to be a pretty effective way to get his music out there. Hits on the montage have been phenomenal. I've had a few people tell me they've been compelled to check out the album after seeing the "Grace of God" montage, too. The power of YouTube!

INVISIBLE926: I showed my coworker the "Obama Love Story" video on YouTube. She loved the video and the song so much that she's emailing the video to all of her friends and is going to use "Something About Us" for her own wedding anniversary video.

Classical Fan Loves OMWH

NIGHTOWL: I have a neighbor who is a big classical music fan. She goes to concerts and chamber music performances at Lincoln Center and listens to a classical music radio station. She mentioned that she loves cello music especially. I asked her if she'd like to hear a song that Clay wrote and sings with a cello. She said yes, so I lent her one of my copies of OMWH.

I received the following email: "I listened to the Clay Aiken CD today. I loved it. I especially liked "Lover All Alone," "Something About Us," "Falling," "Where I Draw the Line," and "Sacrificial Love." The whole CD is really good. On My Way Here is a good title."

She asked if she could keep it for awhile and said she will probably buy it.

KATHLEEN06: This weekend my town had a Relay for Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. After the opening ceremony, they asked the survivors to walk the first lap; and since I am one, I participated.

The song we walked to was "On My Way Here." It was so wonderful to hear that voice as all these folks walked around the track celebrating their win over cancer! Wish Clay could have seen it for a few moments. Once again, he touched people that he does not know about. He is always an inspiration.

'The Tenth Circle' featured on Lifetime.

Picoult's Book Lifetime Movie

The Tenth Circle by one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, is the featured Lifetime movie at 9 p.m. EDT Saturday. Other telecasts are scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT Sunday and 9 p.m. EDT Monday.

Longtime fans, as well as those who will become familiar with her work this weekend, will enjoy the related links at the above site. There is also preview information about her next publication,
Handle With Care.

This best-selling author knows how to write about tough subjects, as both The Tenth Circle and Handle With Care prove. I firmly believe
Nineteen Minutes should be required reading for all parents, educators, and young people.

Take a look!

Clay To Blog at Field Notes

Anticipating Clay Aiken's return from his latest UNICEF mission in Somalia, fans are keeping close tabs on the
Field Notes blog link. Once home, the celebrity ambassador will post reports about his Somalia experiences and observations.

On Friday, the Carolina blog's Feedjit map and "live traffic" feed registered a hit from Somalia. I'm sure other journals featuring Clay's UNICEF trip did as well. Wednesday's news release from
Reuters is still prevalent on media sites around the globe from the US and Canada to Thailand and Malaysia.

Below is a clickable of Amazing_CA's opening graphic:

Stay tuned for the singing ambassador's initial report on Somalia. Have an awesome weekend, Clay Nation!


RELATED TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
0 Comments | Read More→

Aiken Issues Appeal for Somalia

THROUGH MY EYES -- ABeautifulMind's stunning graphic exemplifies Clay Aiken's humanitarian work around the world.

Following UNICEF Mission

Clay Aiken Appeals for Somalia

Returning from his latest UNICEF mission, Goodwill Ambassador Clay Aiken immediately made a worldwide appeal that the desperate situation of conflict and hunger in Somalia not be forgotten.

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters Life!) - Clay Aiken appealed on Wednesday for the world not to forget Somalia, where conflict and hunger have created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

Aiken said U.S. and international interest in Somalia had been minimal since failed military intervention in the early 1990s.

"There hasn't been much discussion of Somalia since the early 1990s in the U.S.," said Aiken, a U.N. goodwill ambassador, on a visit to Somalia. "The American population kind of got a bad taste of Somalia in the early 90's and hasn't really had much interest in the country since."

Somalia has suffered relentless civil conflict since the 1991 toppling military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

"It's the most dangerous place for a child to be," Aiken said. "In the lower part of the country, southern part, I feel it's a more desperate situation than any place we've ever been."

Displaced Somali children stand beside their makeshift hut
in a camp outside Mogadishu.

Somali Story Goes Worldwide

Gules Mohamed's story about Clay's latest UNICEF mission was released by Reuters Wednesday afternoon. By early Thursday morning, the article was featured on 28,800 online news and entertainment sites, some of which include ABC News, OK! magazine, The Insider, Eonline, and MSNBC News.

The article at
Yahoo is accompanied by a slideshow entitled Somalia Unrest.

Several bloggers immediately featured Clay's appeal, among them
There Was a Man, Clay's Daily Double, The ConCLAYve, Clay Aiken Ruminations, and Marti Says. Many added a link to Digg, a website where readers give a story "thumbs up" or "down." A simple site registration is required to "digg it" and leave a comment.

Clay's Fieldnotes blogs will be posted at UNICEF as soon as he returns to the US.

A Somali mother holds her malnourished child
in Banadir hospital in Mogadishu. (Reuters)

Young Girl Asks for Food, School

Aiken, 29, who was traveling on behalf of U.N. children's agency UNICEF, was in Somaliland, a relatively peaceful northern enclave of Somalia that has declared itself independent but not been recognized internationally.

While there have skirmishes with neighboring province Puntland, Somaliland has functioning political institutions.

"In Somaliland, you really do have a sense of people who really want to help themselves, who want to do better, who want to effect change for themselves, that is very hopeful," he said.

Somaliland authorities hope a high-profile visit like Aiken's may bolster their case for world acceptance of their separation from Somalia.

For 12-year-old, Ubah Mohamed, her wants were simpler.

"I understand he is famous. I hope he will give us food and build a school for us," she said, near to a refugee camp.

Children of Somalia (Reuters)

CNN Sets Survival Special

On Sunday, July 6 at 8 and 11 p.m., the US and international CNN networks will air a UNICEF special, The Survival Project: One Child at a Time. CNN will explore why 26,000 children die every day from preventable causes and what UNICEF is doing to save young lives.
Clay Aiken, Dayle Haddon, Joel Madden, Ne-Yo, Nicole Ritchie, Al Roker, Marcus Samuelsson and Amare Stoudemire appear in special video diaries of their volunteer experiences and encourage viewers to help children around the world.

Related links include
Somalia at UNICEF, Humanitarian Profile: The Somali Democratic Republic, Reuters Africa, and Somalia, The World Factbook.

Texans Nearly Miss Plane

On a personal note, regular visitors to this blog can imagine how quiet my house has been since Wednesday afternoon when my daughter and grandson flew home to Texas following their month-long stay. The departure was not without a flurry of excitement, however.

Jen, who is a much more organized than her mother -- their bags were packed and loaded into the car by noon, bed and bath linens were washed and ready for the dryer, etc. -- came close to missing the flight. A friend dropped by for a last-minute visit as final preparations were in progress.

Having checked the departure time on my computer a couple of days ago, I asked when we needed to leave. "Oh, we have plenty of time," I was assured more than once.

Frantic Discovery Enroute

We finally left the house at 2:15 p.m. As I drove, Jen must have checked her ticket because there was immediate urgency in her voice. "Oh my gosh, Mom, the plane leaves at 3:08, not 3:30!!!"

We arrived at the Continental curb at 2:40, and Jen immediately unloaded the two huge suitcases she needed to check. While she made a mad dash inside, Kai and I parked the car. Soon we were in a three-way hug, and they were running to security and the gate.

Gone are the days when one can accompany loved ones to a departure gate, so Grandma Caro waited in the car for a cell phone report. Just before 3, I received assurance that my daughter an grandson had indeed made the plane. Due to rough weather around Houston, arrival there was delayed; so it was a very late when they finally landed in West Texas.

Kai Crawling Full Steam Ahead

Up at 4 a.m., "Super Crawler" has already toured the apartment, turned over all the trash cans, ransacked music books, and conducted a taste test of the dog food. Meanwhile, back in Carolina, Grandma is experiencing severe Monkey Mail, Mickey Mouse, and Baby Einstein withdrawal pangs.

"Hot Diggity Dog" and other kiddie favorites of the past month keep inserting themselves between continued On My Way Here streams. I even mentioned a "handy dandy notebook" (TM Blues Clues) at a violin lesson today, LOL!

At 9:45 a.m. Thursday, "On My Way Here," "Ashes," and "Everything I Don't Need" were 1, 2, and 4 at AOL Music. CA fans are also streaming the five Sessions videos at AOL and "OMWH" at Yahoo Music.

Below is a clickable of ABeautifulMind's lead graphic:

Have a great weekend, Clay Nation; and stay tuned for more news from our UNICEF Ambassador!


RELATED TAGS: , , , , , , ,, , , ,
0 Comments | Read More→

Gab along

0 Comments | Read More→

Flashy or trashy?

Charlize Theron outside The Late Show on Tuesday...

Motley Crue was also there....what's up with the dude at the end? Struggling

What year is it?

Tommy Lee, trashay!

Don't forget Richard Belzer...that dog looks familiar

PR Photos
0 Comments | Read More→

Brendan's back

Brendan Fraser promotes his new flick Journey to the Center of the Earth

PR Photos
0 Comments | Read More→

Goodbye George Carlin

George Carlin passed away from heart failure yesterday in Los Angeles, he was 71. Publicist Jeff Abraham said Carlin went into St. John's Health Center on Sunday afternoon, complaining of chest pain. Carlin died at 5:55 p.m. PT. George had a history of heart trouble.

Carlin performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. "He was a genius and I will miss him dearly," Jack Burns told the AP.


AP/PR Photos
0 Comments | Read More→

Aiken's OMWH Chugs Up Charts

ON HIS WAY -- Amazing_CA created this handsome graphic of Clay Aiken from a photo by SecretlyLovesClay.

'Little Engine That Could'

OMWH Songs Chug Up Charts

"On My Way Here," the lead single on Clay Aiken's new CD, has aptly been dubbed "the little engine that could" by Internet fans. Slowly but surely, the song and others from On My Way Here are chugging their way through a host of music industry charts, as well as into the hearts of many new fans.

Cagney1950 of Clayversity reported 120 Mainstream AC spins for "On My Way Here" Sunday morning, a +17 over last week and .235 audience impression. The song is currently #27 on the Mainstream AC Chart "with a lovely red bullet." Saturday the song #29 on the Mainstream AC Jump chart with +13 spins.

For the week ending June 12, "Ashes" was #9 on
Billboard's Top 10 Video Streams, moving up from #20 the previous week.

Clickable AOL Top 11

"OMWH" and "Ashes" are currently #1 and #3 on the AOL Top 11 Music Video Countdown AND in the "most viewed" videos listing at AOL. [UPDATE: "Ashes" moved to #2 Monday morning.]

Dedicated streamers know that from time to time, Clay's videos and songs are not available at AOL. Most of Tuesday the Sessions video links yielded an "error" page. By 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, the problem had been corrected and streaming resumed.

At AOL Music, "On My Way Here" continues its stronghold as the #1 "most played" song in all genres. At 3 p.m. Sunday, seven other OMWH songs were listed in the top 24, including "Ashes", 3; "Everything I Don't Need," 6; "Falling," 10; "As Long as We're Here," 11; "Something About Us," 19; "Lover All Alone," 22; and "Weight of the World," 24.

This list changes constantly and currently represents 509 songs. To join other CA fans streaming, listening, and viewing at AOL and Yahoo, use these links:

* Audio song tracks: AOL Music
* Five-song video performance:
AOL Sessions
* OMWH video at
Yahoo Music.

OMWH Digital Card

Platinum MusicPass Due 6/24

A Platinum MusicPass for OMWH, a digital album card with bonus video/music content for iPods and mp3 players, will be in stores Tuesday. In fact, here is the schedule: June 24, Target, Transworld Stores, Hastings; July 13, Best Buy; and July 14, Fred's.

RCA is one of several record labels testing out this new album format, which involves purchasing a card at a music retailer. The card comes with a special code and website link, where one can redeem an online download of the album with exclusive content.

The MusicPass, which looks like a gift card, will feature the favorite album photo as voted by fans in April.

SAU Perfect for Weddings

The word is out. A
Yahoo Music user posted this comment regarding "Something About Us" last week:

A perfect wedding song is "Something About Us" by Clay Aiken from his new CD On My Way Here. It sounds like something Frank Sinatra would sing.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Featured in this clickable group are graphics by Amazing_CA, 1; Llbun, 2; and Amazing_CA, photo/screen cap by SecretlyLovesClay, 3.

Super Sleuths on the Move

Recently, a new item, "The Acrobats," appeared on and other sites. There is no information on the product, but fans are leaving no stone unturned. Speculation ranges from something related to the Summer Olympics to Clay's reading of a children's book.

Singerman always brags that his fans are the best detectives in the world. While he's "on break" and fulfilling a UNICEF mission, his Internet fans are diligently in pursuit of a solution for this latest puzzle. I can tell via the Carolina blog's "Live Feed" that several visitors are Googling the term, too.

Definitions from have been produced as clues:

1. One who is skilled in feats of balance and agility in gymnastics.
2. One who changes one's viewpoints on short notice in response to the circumstances.

Here's another possible clue: First To Know. What's your take?

Colombian Fan Translates Clay Videos

Thanks to
CLAYCOLUMBIA's site at YouTube, CA fans from Spanish-speaking countries can enjoy concert banter, TV appearances, and promo interviews through her diligence in sub-title translations.

Kudos to CLAYCOLUMBIA for her dedication, and greetings to the many fans not only enjoying the fruits of her project but also dropping by the Carolina blog!

Heels greet Tim Federowicz's after Friday's grand slam. (Joe Bray)

Carolina Seeks Baseball Crown

Once a year this dyed-in-the-wool basketball fan goes all out for America's favorite sport of baseball. Yep, it's College World Series time again in Omaha, NE, and the Tar Heels are once more in the thick of things.

Heat might be a better word because for the past two nights, my team has had to come from behind to win in order to advance to the finals in Omaha. The Tar Heels did just that on Friday and Saturday in dramatic fashion, the first via a grand slam home run in the ninth inning and then last night with a three-run homer in the eighth to finally claim victory.

Sunday night the Carolina squad needs to again beat Saturday's victim, the Fresno State Bulldogs, in order to advance to the finals. Go, Heels!!!

ADD: Congratulations to Fresno State, who will now face the Georgia Bulldogs in the series finals!

Grandson's Visit Winding Down

Final moments of this wonderful month-long visit with my daughter and grandson Kai are ticking away, as they will fly home Wednesday afternoon.

Thankfully, our weekend "sick bay" is finally on the way out. Grandma's pesky bug is almost gone, the little guy's mother is bidding farewell to a stomach virus, while Kai seems to have outrun the whole shebang.

Graphic by Amazing_CA

From what his mother says, the folks back home won't recognize Kai due to much growth and development in the past month. West Texas reads the blog, so here's fair warning and a partial listing to gently prepare the home crew for the very mobile nine-month old who will depart the plane Wednesday:

1. Kai has begun crawling on all fours and can cover long distances at lightening speeds.

2. Pulling himself up to a standing position at sofas and bath tubs is a breeze.

3. Verbally, he has progressed from "da da" to "ba ba" (probably his version of the "ma ma" I have often suggested). We have all kinds of sound effects in our daily conversations. This morning I noticed he has added to the spiel an imitation of my cough from the past few days.

4. Kai has always loved computer keyboards, remote controls, and telephones; and he has done his level best to put a few words into this blog. Actually, he was able to sneak in a line: zvcnn oZ;/l' k,jmhgnbfvklwdw0opp-21gbhjdf-i2n d/.,c xed2oi3enp;fd3w2.

5. Washing machines and dryers make the best drums. So do trash cans and other objects in the "no-no" column.

6. Blinds are fascinating to look through, even to use for teething. In fact, everything is a possible teething object -- either end of a spatula (that we normally use as a drumstick), the remote, cords if adults aren't watching, etc.

7. Grandson has experienced many firsts during his stay in Carolina: making "music" on a real piano, swinging, seeing honest-to-goodness trees and green grass, playing with cousins (and their mother), attending t-ball games, etc.

8. Grandmothers can come up with the best sound effects and games. Besides soaring with lifts above my head, Kai loves to play "bombs away," falling backwards on a special pillow.

9. A couple of decorative wash cloths have provided many fun "peek-a-boo" moments. They also go into the teething column.

10. Despite music lessons, my house is going to be way too quiet in the months ahead. However, I fully expect to be conversing via phone -- and email -- with my sweetheart of a grandson very soon!

Below is a clickable of Amazing_CA's lead graphic:

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation!


RELATED TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
0 Comments | Read More→

Feel the love

Janet Jackson

Fergie & Eva Mendes

Brigette Moynahan


Nicole Richie


At the 3rd Annual Cartier Love Charity Bracelet Launch in Bel Air
0 Comments | Read More→

Kai Celebrates Nine Months

Kai marks nine months with Sesame gang. Graphic by Claysmelody.

'Our Kind of Love'

Kai Celebrates Nine Months

Today -- June 17 -- is Kai's nine-month birthday! We will have to party later because his grandmother has some kind of pesky bug and can't even be around the little guy.

Hopefully, the chills, fever, and sore throat that have hung around for 24 hours, are on the way out because I think we are both experiencing Noggin Network withdrawal, not to mention our Kai-Grandma Caro playtimes. The weekend will be filled with family gatherings, and Kai will be baptized by his uncle, a Methodist minister, Sunday.

Special thanks to Claysmelody for the handsome birthday graphic. I showed it to him on the computer screen, and he beamed his approval.

If you haven't seen K4Clay2's montage "Our Kind of Love" (from "The Beautiful Game") sung by Hannah Waddingham, you are in luck. Here is the YouTube link, and here is a Sendspace download. The images are Clay Aiken, and the exquisite vocals are by his former Spamalot co-star.

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Featued clickable graphics are by Fountaindawg, photos by SecretlyLovesClay, 1 and 5, and Amazing_CA, 2, 3, and 4.

Have a wonderful week, Clay Nation -- and stay away from bugs!


RELATED TAGS: , , , , , ,
0 Comments | Read More→

Three Father Lions Honored

FATHER LION -- Sally's lovely graphic describes the Dads I honor this weekend. This blog is a reprint from Father's Day 2007.

Three Very Special Dads

Celebrating Our 'Father Lions'

"Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad." -- Anne Geddes

Father's Day -- the 24-hour span each year we celebrate the special men in our lives who are at once patriarchs, enablers, encouragers, parents, friends, and much, much more. In reality, Father's Day is everyday.

This weekend I honor three special Dads -- my father, my father-in-law, and my daughter's father. There is not enough space to do them justice, but perhaps these remembrances will portray a fragment of their place in my heart. Some segments are reruns while others are new to this tribute. Perhaps more "father lions" will be shared in the comments.

My parents met when she, a first year choral teacher in Roanoke Rapids, became ill and he, a resident in the same boarding house, brought her medicine and other remedies from the pharmacy where he worked. The young teacher survived the respiratory infection but not her friendly neighbor. They married, eventually completing their family with two daughters and a son.

Parents as Newlyweds

Aspiring to become a pharmacist, my father had attended night classes at Duke University. As the oldest son in a family of eight, he left to work full-time to send his younger brother to college and never went back. My Dad worked in insurance, and he was well-respected for his ability to train new agents.

My father loved to dance and could really cut a rug in his day. His daughters and later his granddaughters enjoyed being dipped and twirled around the room or waltzed while standing on his shoes. He had a beautiful voice, which he demonstrated often, sometimes in the tenor section of my mother's church choirs.

Shared Love for Sports

I inherited a love for sports from my father. With my mother's blessings, he had attended a St. Louis Cardinals game the night I was born. For years, Daddy and I listened to college football and basketball games on the radio together. He pulled for Carolina except when the Tar Heels played Duke, and then we were on opposite sides.

By the time Carolina won the NCAA Basketball Championship in 1957, we had obtained a black and white TV set. In each of the three overtimes with Kansas, I went to my bedroom, held my Bible, and prayed for a Carolina victory. It worked and in any close game thereafter, Daddy would suggest I repeat that ritual.

'You Can't Fool Education'

"You can't fool education" and "THINK" were two of my father's favorite sayings, the latter preserved on a plaque that now hangs in my brother's home. Daddy could not abide incorrectly spoken English.

Though he never embarrassed the wrongdoer, we knew that a double negative or an ill-chosen subject-verb combo like "it don't" sent him into orbit and later would have him muttering his mantra: "You can't fool education."

He could talk his way into or out of anything. Once when the family was searching for the home of a deceased uncle, Daddy decided he had arrived at the correct house because of the abundance of cars on the street.

Food was being served, and our parents were visiting those all around them when it became obvious this was a post nuptial get-together and not a funeral gathering. Graciously, our father apologized, but secured directions for the correct address before leaving.

Many Miles Logged

In the "olden days," college freshmen could not leave the campus until Thanksgiving. Almost every other weekend after that, however, my father drove the 2 1/2 hours from Wilmington to St. Andrews in Laurinburg to bring me home on Saturday and repeated the two-way trek again on Sunday afternoon.

I married a Texan, and mixed with the excitement of flying off to the next chapter in my life was an underlying sadness in leaving my family. Thanks to my brother-in-law, several road trips from Carolina to Texas and, later, Tennessee helped reunite our family.

A heavy smoker, my father died of lung cancer at the age of 75 in 1980. By then, he had three granddaughters and was known affectionately as Papa Mac. He never knew my brother's two sons, who were born later. He also would have thoroughly enjoyed his five great-grandchildren, the youngest being our grandson Kai.

Grandson Kai

We lived in Nashville in 1980 and planned to drive to Wilmington the minute I completed a wedding gig for then Gov. Lamar Alexander's press secretary.

All indications were that Daddy would live another couple of weeks, but he died the morning of my gig. One of the most difficult things I ever did was play that wedding, especially "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," one of my father's all-time favorites. I will always miss Papa Mac.

PHOTO INTERMISSION: This clickable interlude highlights Clay Aiken with children -- from his role as uncle to Quiana Parler's son, Chamberlain, to those he has met on UNICEF travels in Uganda and Afghanistan. Graphic artists include Amazing_CA, photo by KarenEh, 1; Clayquebec1, 2; A Beautiful Mind, 3; Amazing_CA, 4; and Cindilu2, 5.

My Dear Texas Father

There are so many stories I could tell about Jack, my father-in-law who, with his wife, adopted me as a daughter when I married their son. A production foreman in the Odessa oil fields, Jack was an endearing man who taught his only son how to hunt and drive at a remarkably young age, as well as how to live life. By example, he taught everyone he met these life lessons, too.

He cherished his family, especially his young granddaughter. Two years before her birth, Jack suffered a massive heart attack and was unable to fly.

When Jen was five months old, she and I flew to Texas and were met by an ecstatic pair of grandparents. She bonded with both, and her relationship with her "Paw Paw" was very special.

Father-In-Law to the Rescue

My favorite Jack story happened in 1968 during my second year teaching band and orchestra. I was searching for a quicker route to school. At an unmarked intersection, I remember looking both ways, but -- KABOOM!!! -- the next thing I knew I was jammed into the steering wheel, my head hurting from striking the windshield. Our red station wagon had been mauled by a city bus.

Fortunately, there was nothing in the passenger seat but my violin, which miraculously survived with a couple of dents on its hard case. The car, however, looked like a beer can that has been crushed.

Lying on a blanket on the ground, I remember a nice woman giving me last rights -- "Oh, Lord, forgive her of her sins and deliver her into heaven ... " My head hurt, my tongue was bleeding, but I didn't think I was that bad off. I had given a policeman my husband's name and phone number; and when he arrived on the scene, his knees practically went out from under him.

Buckling one's seat belt was just coming into vogue; and when asked if I had mine fastened, I crossed my fingers and answered in the affirmative. After receiving minor treatment from my physician, I was sent home to rest from the concussion. In Odessa, my in-laws had immediately packed their car and were driving to Lubbock.

A Very Sly Detective

The next day, Jack went with me to the junkyard to look at the car. Walking deliberately around the vehicle several times, he carefully studied the driver's seat, which on impact had moved drastically in opposite directions.

He looked at me and grinned slyly, "You really didn't have on your seat belt, did you?" I told him the truth. He said that was fortunate because from what he could tell, I would have been cut in half.

A few weeks later, my in-laws made the same trip back to Lubbock for my court date. I had been given the ticket, but Jack thought I had a justifiable argument since my car was more than halfway through the intersection. He was right, and the judge threw the case out.

I loved my father-in-law dearly. The heredity that smacked his body with a massive heart attack in his mid-50's took him from us shortly before my father died. His memory lives in the hearts of many, but especially his family.

Daughter Jen caught with cookie crumbs
at the keyboard and on her face, too -- age 3.

When Christmas Came Early

Married nine years before our daughter arrived, Mr. Caro and I had barely moved to Nashville, midway between families in Texas and North Carolina, when the stork finally found us.

We enrolled in Lamaze Classes for prepared/natural childbirth and faithfully practiced breathing techniques. Early December 11 was the day. While the father-to-be calmly worked through the admissions routine and his requisite morning cup of coffee, I logged in at eight centimeters dilation, quickly progressing to 10.

Before he could even locate a chair in the waiting room, the door abruptly opened and an obstetrics nurse barked, "Are you Mr. Caro?" He nodded. "Well, if you want to see your baby being born, you'd better come with me right now!"

Within 15 minutes at 9:05 a.m., we welcomed our daughter into this world. Having family members 14 and 18 hours away, Mr. Caro attempted to inform our parents that they were officially grandparents. Sitting by the phone, his folks in Texas were easy to reach and elated at the early morning news. Mine were a different story.

Spreading the Word

Frustrated with no way to reach my parents, Mr. Caro finally called the main office of the New Hanover County Schools to determine my mother's location. That plus a clever principal was all he needed.

Delighted, the principal opened up the intercom to the entire school: "I have just received a phone call from Nashville, TN; and we'd like to congratulate Mrs. McDonald on becoming a grandmother at 9:05 a.m. today. Mother and daughter are both doing fine."

No doubt after a brief celebration, the new grandmother proceeded with the lesson as planned.

Dance performance at age 7

A Special Connection

Father-daughter memories run the gamut -- from making sure our resident sleepyhead made it to school on time to carting her and friends to the mall, fairs, and any number of girlish pursuits to sitting proudly through 12 years of dance recitals, orchestra concerts, and the many graduations that occur in life.

Typical of this father's devotion to our daughter was how he located and secured just the right puppy dog for her. On his drive home from work, he frequently stopped by the humane society to check which pets were coming up for adoption and was immediately drawn to a frisky, six-month-old black poodle mix. We decided to let our 10-year-old visit the prospects.

It was love at first sight. While Button danced around and made her case, Jen took one look and said, "If I get to have this dog, I'm going to name her Button because that's what her eyes look like."

Determined to be First

On the Saturday morning that Button became eligible for adoption, wise ole Dad took daughter, two folding chairs from my studio, his newspaper, a huge mug of coffee, a couple of Egg McMuffins for their breakfast, and comfortably set up camp at the head of the humane society line around 7 a.m.

Whoever is first in line gets dibs on the animal he/she wants to adopt; and in a matter of a couple of hours, Jen had her puppy.

Her father was 41 when his genes followed the family pattern and produced a major heart attack early one spring morning. Even then, top priority was that Jen not be awakened by the incoming ambulance. The driver abided by his instructions and shut off the siren as the vehicle turned onto our street.

After triple by-pass surgery, this strong-willed man was soon back in the midst of living. His career as a road musician over, he managed a music store, began playing with the local pipe and drum corps, and continued being a Father Lion. Our daughter couldn't have asked for a better Dad.

A Father's Day Remembrance - Graphic by Amazing_CA

Have a wonderful weekend, Clay Nation, with special greetings to the "Father Lions" of your life!



0 Comments | Read More→
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...