Karma, The Universe and Casey James’ Brand New CD

I think I’ll be able to get this all out if I can just stop glancing up at the hefty title I’ve given my post tonight!  Eyes down, focus, smile.  There is so much to smile about. 

A little over two weeks ago, hubby was on orders to deploy for one year to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.   It was March 4, 2012, the night before my son’s 11th birthday.  We sat in a little burger/bar joint adjacent to the Recher Theatre in Towson, MD.  Celebrating our last Sunday together, we ate what we think are the world’s best nachos, and soaked up as much of each other as we could.  We eagerly awaited the Casey James show due to start soon next door.  It was the special outing we’d chosen to celebrate baby boy’s birthday and proudly sending his daddy off to war.  It had to be special.

It was mind-blowingly incredible.

After all that time wondering if and hoping the talented, cool kid we’d seen on American Idol would have the opportunity to keep doing music for all his new fans, we were quite simply blown away.  We thought we’d seen the best of this young man the week he sang “Jealous Guy” and would have been happy with more to that standard.  But two weeks ago, we realized the American Idol performance was merely the dust on the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

Casey James is ridiculously, crazy, bonkers talented! 

The sounds he bleeds from his guitar are as wholesome as they are provocative.  And then he sings and it’s like a little escalator to the heavens has hydraulicized its way down to me, my Pop-Pop has extended his hand, and we’re sneaking in to a little hole in the wall place somewhere near that beloved Palacious River of his where the angels of Texas gather to smile and grandpas take their granddaughters to show them where their blood comes from.

Hubby, son and I were fulfilled.  Still sad that we’d be saying goodbye and not saying hello again until son’s 12th birthday, but at peace and buzzing with positive soul.  Meeting Casey afterwards was simply cool.  He wished my baby boy a sincere happy birthday, signed a doodle I’d done while he performed, and then we drove ourselves back down to Virginia.

The next day, completely unexpectedly, hubby was told that even though he’d deployed twice to Iraq with his pacemaker, he wouldn’t be allowed to soldier-on this time in Afghanistan.  The army doctors on the ground in Afghanistan had reviewed hubby’s medical records and explained that there simply was not sufficient medical care available for a pacemaker dependent person.  We were shocked.  After 22 years of serving his country, he had always found a way to be in the fight.  After letting it sink in that this would not be happening, we realized the gift we’d been given.  Hubby could hold his head high knowing he’d done all he could, but also hang up his boots at a good time and place in our lives.  Casey had started his show off with “The Good Life” that Sunday night.   “Old boots, socks are new,” he sang.  The universe (Pop-Pop) and the cool kid from Texas had serenaded hubby with that one.

Later that week, settling into bunches of silly giggles at awkward times, mostly when I was alone, I left the boys at the gym to have their Friday of football practice to themselves.  Not sure exactly what to do with myself, I decided to hit up the grocery store on the way home in search of shrimp, lemon juice, cilantro and cucumbers.  That’s all you need to make the most delicious San Diego style ceviche, hubby’s favorite.  At home, ready to cook, I threw on the radio and had myself a really nice time.  Unfamiliar with the channels, I fumbled my way to the local country station and waited to see if they’d play “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night”.  Not only did they play the song my hubby now hums to me each night, the DJ said if anyone wanted to come to the station for a Casey James CD release party, to give him a call.  Well, that would be fun, I thought.  Get to go down to the station, meet the DJ’s, maybe see the inside of a sound booth, hang out with other fans and listen to some tracks from the new CD.  I called and was delighted to find out that I could come and bring a guest.  Hubby said he’d stay home with our son if I wanted to invite a girlfriend this time. 

March 13, 2012, I sat in the 98.7 WMZQ parking garage way too early, reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s “Alterant”, listening to the Kings of Leon’s “Because of the Times”, waiting for my girlfriend and fellow writer, Lynne Silver, to make her way through traffic.  And I was thankful.  To God, the universe, karma, music, army doctors paying attention to detail, my mother-in-law for teaching me how to make ceviche.  To Casey’s ability to bare his soul for the benefit of others and for the patient fans who love and promote him at  his incredible blog.

I got to meet Casey again that electric day.  I also took the opportunity that time to thank him for inspiring me in my writing.  I had meant to do so after that first show at the Recher Theatre, but he was being so sweet with my boy about his birthday and I wanted my little man to remember and have that moment for himself.  This time, I figured God had given me an opportunity to show my appreciation.  It felt good to say thank you to someone who seemed genuinely happy to hear it.  Casey started that show with “The Good Life”.   “No part of this road feels wrong,” he sang.  Yep, the universe, (Pop-Pop) and the cool kid from Texas had serenaded me with that one.

Casey’s first CD comes out tomorrow, Tuesday, March 20, 2012.  The Flores Family is eagerly awaiting our copy in the mail.  Eagerly awaiting another chance to see Casey perform live, together.  Again and again and again. 

Always love,

Carlene Love

Top Five Reasons to Attend Comic-Con San Diego in Your Lifetime

Summer will be here sooner than we know it and to this transplanted San Diego girl, that means thoughts of one thing…Comic-Con!  I won’t lie, I’m not an original attendee and the truth is that until the year the comic book convention seemed to explode, for me that being the year No Doubt came to town to attend, I didn’t know much about it.  (My loss)  But I do have two years under my belt and it only takes one to get you completely hooked.  I still can’t get over my last attendance  in 2010 and meeting kind-hearted Cam Gigandet.  Can you guess what one of my top five reasons why everyone should make it to Comic-Con at least once in their lifetime is?

You just never know who you might meet or what cool thing might happen to you.  The other four top reasons are:

1.  The absolute coolest people attend this convention.  I dropped my camera three separate times during our four days there.  And each time, a different nice young man noticed, picked it up and handed it back to me.  And yes, there are lines galore, but there’s no pushing or shoving or line cutting.  Just think of it this way, if you’ve ever been shoved or pushed around, would you want to treat someone else that way?  Me neither.  Comic-Con equals good people.

2.  Sometimes standing in a crazy long line without having a clue as to what the line is for is an awesome idea.  Example: at one point I was flying solo and saw a line to hop into.  What the heck?  I had nowhere else to be.  I get in the line and it turns out that it’s for a signing.  I didn’t recognize anyone except for Joel McHale, the host of The Soup.  Except for as I got a little closer, there was Chevy Chase sitting right next to him also signing my poster.  I mean come on, it was Chevy Chase!  How cool is that?

3.   You’ll meet people who you otherwise never would have and you might just learn something in the process.  As a writer, this is my playground and my joy.  Example, I was standing in line for the Sons of Anarchy panel.  The line was crazy long, wrapping around outside and making loopty loo’s at one point.  But during my forty-five minutes in that line, I got to chatting with a young lady from England whose name is Anna.  I basically picked her brain about her home country.  There is something about talking to a living, breathing human who can tell you about things that is so much better than any internet research I could have ever conducted.  And who doesn’t have time to sit and listen to a person with a British accent talk?  I loved it.  She was utterly charming.

4.   Inspiration runs amuck at this convention.  I sat in on several panels with everyone from writers to actors to directors and producers.  And COMIC BOOK ARTISTS!  I sat in on a panel with STAN LEE for goodness sake and got a Stan Lee neck tattoo (temporary of course but it bought me a lot of street cred with the comic book kids!) I stopped in at an artist’s booth who had the most striking work I’d ever seen in person.  I got a hug from my favorite author, Sherrilyn Kenyon, which is like Chicken Soup for anyone’s soul; she is so warm and generous.  But I also got to chat with another fave author, Dianna Love, who spoke to me about her path of becoming published.  She gave some great tips and I left feeling rejuvenated in my own quest to see my writing make it to the printed page someday.

5.  And then there was meeting Cam.  My hubby also had the occasion to use the men’s restroom with Danny Devito who was also very charming as Adrian said hello to him.  So if you ever do make it, bring a guy!  And if you are one, don’t necessarily go into the men’s restroom with your eyes down.  Look around, it’s not as creepy as it sounds.  You just might be peeing next to an American legend.

So basically what I’m saying is, get yourself to Comic-Con!!!!  You can’t beat the experience.  Some of the best people, in one of our finest cities.  It’s Comic-Con baby!  Oh…and then there was the goat…but that’s another story!

***UPDATE 3/14/12…While I did not make it to the head of the internet line to buy tickets this year, I have to say the experience was very interesting.  I started out as number 44,000 in line and made it all the way down to 12,000 when the convention sold out.  It was crazy bonkers but also very cool that my beloved city of San Diego will again be hosting all these wonderful folks.  Will try again next year.  Oh, and I’m still working on that story about the goat.  😉

Always love,


Rest in peace gentle soul, mighty champion, Andy Whitfield