How The Beatles Saved Me.

I once had a boy. 

Or should I say, he once had me.

.    .    .    .    .

Damn, girl. You really put yourself out there.

—-Someone said when I first started this blog.

It wasn’t a compliment. 

The idea was to document the ghost and spirit phenomena known my entire life. And I stared him, hurt. How would I make people understand if I didn’t share exactly what happened? Exactly how I felt?

I can’t just write: So, hey. I heard from God yesterday. It was super cool! He’s real and prayer works. Trust me! 


You need to know I heard Him with my head in the toilet on the bathroom floor. Then later, screaming at the ceiling for help. Because then (maybe) you understand why the angels came. 

Like now, for this entry, I could write:

I was dangerously sad once. But then some magic happened and I got saved.

But that conveys nothing.

Better to explain it was 1999, and I was circling the drain.  

That I craved cigarettes more than food. That I woke up hungover most days and weighed 113 pounds. That I lost the boy I loved AND my longtime best friend at the exact same time. — I did get straight As my last semester. But I also got arrested. And sometimes, despair twisted my stomach SO hard, I vomited. Not bulimia. Stress. 

See? Now you have a picture. 

That’s why I splash my guts on paper. 

So you understand what I mean when I say dangerously sad.

But don’t get me wrong. 

Mine wasn’t an Amy Winehouse situation. I never adopted hard drugs or slept in puke. And I never slept around. But my glass heart was absolutely shattered and I did everything possible to forget.

Including running away.


Things I had:

  1. a diploma
  2. a pack of cigarettes.
  3. a ticket to London
  4. a dear friend angel coming with me.

Things I didn’t have:

  1. a job.
  2. a place to live.
  3. a plan.
  4. a clue.

But the fates were kind.

We scored jobs AND a tiny flat in Hackney within days. Our flatmate was a nutty Turk who cooked breakfast — I’m talking eggs, bread, hot tea and some kinda meat — every single day. And truth be told, it was pretty freaking great. Waiting tables in Covent Garden was crazy fun and I made friends easily.


But demons live in England, too. 

They just have nicer accents.


And here’s the thing about grief.

Beer won’t drown it.  

And it doesn’t evaporate in smoke. 

No, pain delights in avoidance, gaining strength the longer it’s buried. 


And in the wee hours, mine was a scratching nocturnal rodent.




I flipped on my side.




Mine also had this *awesome* soundtrack.

Side A:

  1. You selfish bitch.
  2. They’re probably having sex right now.
  3. Drink some more.
  4. He never really loved you.


Side B:

  1. You fuck everything up.
  2. Your body is gross.
  3. They’re laughing at you.
  4. Cum laude for WHAT, WAITRESS.

My record flipped and started again.

God, please make it stop.






I threw off the covers and lit a cigarette, throwing my lighter on the coffee table, staring at the clock. Texas was 6 hours behind. What were they doing right now? What if I called? Who would pick up? What would I say?

Mystery tracks:

5. Please forgive me.

6. I can’t breathe I miss you so much. 

7. I need help.

I made tea and got ready for work, determined to have a good day. She looked like me, that girl in the mirror. Sort of. But nicotine dulled her bright green eyes and her lips were thin clouds of regret. What did I do to make them hate me?

8. No. Fuck them.

I glossed my lips and stepped into the living room where Ivan could see I’d had another bad night.

“You make yourself crazy,” he laughed, rolling papers across his pink tongue.

Ivan was a political refugee and thought my problems were hilarious

He passed me the joint.

“At least my country likes me.”  I took a long drag.

“Then why you live here?” 

“Because you make good breakfast.” I blew smoke his way, and he swatted me with his paper on my way out.

Whatever misery I suffered, at least I was in London and loved my commute. Train time was quiet time. 


And walking alongside Dickensian buildings under grey skies soothed me somehow. My favorite was a shuttered, war-time bakery with Hot Cross Buns 4p! faded in the cracked glass. 

So I worked and slept and smoked and drank and played my nasty record.

And that was my life. 

My friends were pink-cheeked internationals, well-acquainted with the glitter-faced party girl. 


But only a few knew the one who hid in pub corners, scribbling pain in a worn journal, crying if the wrong song came on.

And one of them was Christopher.


We met two years prior when I moved to London for a work abroad program. Our initial meeting is a straight-up testament to fate, but I’ll tell that story another time. We kept in touch when I went home to graduate and were mutually happy upon my return. Trust for now our friendship was solid. He was easy, pleasant company, and I made him laugh.

“What are you doing this weekend?” he asked.


“Would you like to do something?”

“OK.” I fished around my cavernous purse, ciggie in mouth. We also had an uncanny ability to stretch a coffee date into 8 hours, which made me nervous.

You don’t want me, I warned when his gazes got a little long. Not like that.I’m difficult.

“Pick you up at noon?” He pulled a Zippo from his pocket, and I leaned in.

We were new then. So new we were barely a we. And overly cautious. Coffees, lunches, museums and safe stuff. Momma didn’t raise a ho.

“Fancy going to Liverpool?” he asked, when I opened the door that Saturday.


  . . . Liverpool?

“It’s only a few hours by train,” he said in the doorway. “Jenny?”


I stood there gobsmacked, as they say in Britain.

Liverpool was like Atlantis to a little Texan Beatle fan.

Mythical, magic, and far, far away.

But I was older now. 

Living in England.

Why had I never —


“Fancy it?”

I nodded dumbly, then there we were hours later,

clacking to the great English North.


Buildings, then suburbs sped into bright green fields, and I gazed past my reflection to my childhood. To the first time I saw A Hard Day’s NightMy soul like G when Paul McCartney came onscreen. 

No, seriously. The Beatles split my personal atom and you must accept that as fact before reading further.

Music and lyrics.

I pondered.

Books and words.

Oh God. And that short story I wrote for 6th grade English where Paul gets a flat tire and rings my doorbell needing to use the phone. Open the door and let ’em in  I wrote in my big ol’ 12-year-old handwriting, marveling my genius. But— “Isn’t he a bit old for you?” was all my teacher said. Clearly unfit to protect and serve young imaginations.

I smiled against the cold window, my brain quiet for the first time in weeks then looked around the train. 


Books and Beatles.

Music and Words.

My lifelong medicines shelved and neglected for so very long.

W H Y ?


Christopher sat opposite, reading the paper. Everything about him gentlemanly and quiet. But clearly a masochtic lunatic. Because I’m gonna hurt you, Christopher. Just like—-

Hush. He pressed warm tea in my hands. We’re here.

The doors slid open to whistles and squealing breaks and I froze on the steps, transported to my middle school bedroom. Wham! posters on the wall. The Babysitters Club dog-eared on my twin bed. And there I was on my belly. Watching Help!  Squirming with the *delightful*new nether-tinglies discovered during The Night Before scene.


” . . . excuse me, Miss.”

Hmm? What?

“Please step aside to allow people off the train.”


I moved and people rushed past. My old-me memories playing in 4-D, commanding my attention. I’d forgotten that in-tact, happy girl. She was precious and rare. An endangered species.  “Paul Simon wrote Homeward Bound here,” I blurted like some automaton, remembering high school and early college. Happy on my bed alone. Candles and incense. Acoustic harmonies separating my guts into quarters, braiding me into minor folds.

Simon & Garfunkel.

Crosby, Stills, & Nash.

Fleetwood Mac and Billy Joel, who wrote Vienna for me, I swear.

That chick only needed books, music, pen and paper.


Where did she go?

I looked up and around like an awestruck toddler.


Disney fans probably feel the same their first time in the Magic Kingdom. But this was better because it felt like walking through an album cover

“Where d’you want to go first?”

The Cavern, my mouth formed and the movie reel melted, the dark thing in me stirring. The monster I housed, threatening.

“Jenny, you alright?”

No. I wasn’t alright at all.

For so long I harbored lies. Jagged-edged insecurites too awful to say out loud. So I swallowed them whole, choking on self-destruction when things threatened to improve. Like now.

We turned the corner onto Mathew Street, the birthplace of the Beatles, and I teetered on some precipice. My feelings unfolding. Packed too tight for too long.

Take these broken wings and learn to fly.


I dropped Christopher’s hand.

My purse.

My overnight bag.


And gravitated





more stairs

into the womb

of the

r i t i h   v s i on.

Oh god.

Were they actually playing —


The deeper I descended the louder it got.

Something in me rising, too.

My mouth opened.

I’d been sad for so long.


Invisible fingers reached down my throat, 

grabbing the hairy, 



black mass

that told me

bad things




s  l  o  w.

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see.

I’d forgotten.

I’d forgotten!


Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, tomorrow I’ll miss you, the band played as my feet hit the Cavern Floor. 

And in that moment

I remembered.

I remembered!










The soul God created.


And I wept.

Stood there like a damn fool and cried.

And cried.

And cuh-ried.


Lord, I cried.

I couldn’t help it.

It was either that or puke.

An angel rushed over with light-blue eye shadow and frosty pink lips. Giant hoops and a silver bob framed her weathered face and I imagine she’d spent every weekend down there since 1964.

“You alright, love?”

It sounded like yooawdight, loov?

No I wasn’t bloody alright. I just sampled every human emotion in 2 minutes plus I think I heard from God so maybe I was gonna die.

She ushered me to a chair and motioned the barman to pour me a drink.

Snot bubbled from my nostrils while she grabbed for napkins. “We understand,” she soothed, patting my arm. And I believed her. Liverpudlians saw my type everyday. Fans making pilgrimages, squealing when they reached The Cavern.

But the other thing — the part I couldn’t articulate —was the old, sparkly me running headlong into the broken me. Combusting upon impact in the most sacred place a Beatle fan can tread.

Tears gushed down my cheeks faster than she could mop them up.

“Who you here with, loov?”

Oh God Christopher! I left him on the street!  

I looked around wildly but there he was. Ordering a pint. Shaking his head and smiling at me the way one does at a dumb puppy, barking at himself in the mirror.

Hold your head up you silly girl.

I hugged that angel lady hard, apologized to the band for scaring them, and emerged from The Cavern spit-shined. My despair scooped clean. 


From the sanctity of adulthood I know health, happiness, and self-worth are my responsibility. 

But back then, it was a revelation.

Grace isn’t reserved for the holy. And God doesn’t always send miracles. Sometimes He sends people with an opportunity to get it right.

And if magic exists, it was in me that day. Next to my future husband. Surrounded by charismatic locals with the very best accents in the entire world.

God laid it out from the start, my bliss. What plugged me into Him.  

And if you’re reading this like:


We get it. You like the Beatles.

  . . . then I’ve failed here, and please go on about your business.

But there’s a reason art transcends. Why people sniff books and cry at the opera. Why we run our fingers over statues and pay so much for concert tickets. Because art reaches in our guts and makes us FEEL. That power is real.

And I heard the loving, male voice I hadn’t heard in so long. 

Follow your bliss and drop the self-torture, girl. 

No one’s listening to that record but you.


People say the Ganges has healing powers, but I dunno. I vote Mersey.  Because I was restored that day.  Just like that. My old-self uncurling in a fetal sort of way.

So what good is to write: I was dangerously sad once. But then some magic happened and I got saved.


Better to tell a full story.

And how I got by with a little help from my friends. 

John, Paul, George, Ringo.

And Christopher.


This bird had flown.





RARE Beatles Interview! Houston, 1965.

This rare transcript is from the Beatles’ 1965 press conference in Houston, Texas.

San Antonio’s KONO aired the interview, then mailed copies to anyone requesting a transcript.

10-year-old Patty took them up on their offer.

52 YEARS LATER, Patty found the transcript while Spring Cleaning and sent me a surprise copy!



Without further ado I share it with you verbatim . . . minus their spelling mistakes.

(Sherridan? Really? )




How did you feel when you were trapped in the plane last night? **

Ringo: Terrified.

What are your plans for after the tour?

John: If we’re still alive, we’d like to rest.

No offense meant here: After your popularity runs out, what are you going to do?

John: Don’t know really. Haven’t really thought about it.

Do you think it’ll ever end?

John: I don’t know . . . All good things come to an end.


A lot of people say the Rolling Stones and other groups have gotten more popular than you. Does this worry you?

George: No.

I understand that Lightnin’ Hopkins is a great idol of Ringo’s. Do you think you’ll see him while you are here?

Ringo: I do like him very much. But I don’t think I’ll get a chance to see him.

We have a television show here in Houston where we read the comic strips. Isn’t there a Beatle comic strip that is coming out?

Paul: If there is a Beatle comic strip, we don’t know anything about it.

Do you think you’re going to make another movie in the fall?

John: I think the next movie we are going to make will be in the Springtime.

Paul: It will be in Spain.

George: It is called ‘A Talent for Loving.’

Ringo: But we’ll probably change that.

Which country do you think has the most Beatle fans?

Paul: America.

This is to Ringo: I heard last night when you walked out of the plane and looked at all the fans, you were terrified . . . Were you really?

Ringo: You can bet I was terrified.

Paul, it’s been reported that you are going to marry Jane Asher . . .

Paul: It’s been reported, but I never said it . . . so what do you do . . . I don’t know about it.

Are you?

Paul: The newspapers seem to know, but I don’t know.

Did you watch the space shot preparations this morning?

George: No.

What do you think of the press conference?

John, Paul, George, and Ringo LAUGH.

It has been reported that in Playboy magazine that one of you said ‘All Americans are fascists.’ Quote unquote.

John: It sounds like something that was shoved into my mouth (laughs). I really don’t mean what that report had in it.

Oh, then you don’t think they are?

John: No.

Are the Beatles going to Mexico in the next year?

George: No, not planned. But we don’t know.

This is for Ringo: Have you picked out a name for your baby yet?

Ringo: No, I haven’t.

Why does Paul keep biting his fingernails?

Paul: (laughs) I’m not biting my fingernails. I’m just chewing a bit.

Someone asked George if he had any brothers or sisters. George said had two brothers, and John said he had no sisters to speak of . . . Is this a direct slap at Mrs. Caldwell?

George: Yeah.

I read in a column in the Houston paper that Ringo had said, ‘Women should be obscene, not heard.’  . . . is that true?

Ringo: No.

How do you fellas like England?

Paul: It’s just like home to us.

What do the Beatles think of Texas?

Paul: We’ve only been to Dallas and here and we nearly got killed both times. **

Do you think you’ll ever get to San Antonio?

John: Well, not on this tour. Some of the other guys have told us about the Alamo.

What are you going to do on your days off the 23rd and 27th?

George: I’m not telling you!

Paul: Wouldn’t be a day off then.

What do you plan to do after this tour?

Ringo: We’ll go back to England and holiday.

George, would you take your hand off the mike? It’s causing a hum.

George: I kinda like hum.


Right outside the hotel now, George,  there are several thousand loyal, excited fans who would tear you apart if they got ahold of you. How does this make you feel, now that you’ve gone through several years like that?

George: Well we’re organized, you know. I mean we have organized security forces. Nobody sees us leave the hotel. So how could we get killed?

Are Scotch and Cokes really your favorite drinks?

John: Ringo drinks Bourbon.

Ringo, is photography your hobby?

Ringo: No, not anymore.

Why did you drop it?

Ringo: I was sick of taking photos in a room.


What do you think would be the perfect tour?

Paul: Well, one where we have good audiences and it is well organized.

On the Help! album, the British version, you’ve got a couple of tracks. One was strings and the other a country take-off . . . Are you going to do more things with strings or stay with sound as it is or what?

Paul: We only did the strings because . . . um, it was good for a change.

It’s beautiful! Really groovy, man.

Paul: Oh! Well, thank you very much!

What do you think of Elvis Presley?

George: I didn’t like this earlier records. I’ve liked him better these last few years . . . but he’s still, you know . . . it still doesn’t do much for me.

Paul, what do you think about the concert being scheduled the same day as the space shot?

Paul: Well, I hadn’t heard about the space shot.

With concerts causing all the headaches they do, have to sneak through towns and all that . . . why don’t you just ditch them and make your money off of movies?

John: Because we like it. We like doing concerts.



Paul, what is your favorite record?

Paul: I don’t know, really. There are so many good ones. The records I like are done by American groups.

What do you think of the American policy in Vietnam?

John: I’d rather not think about it.

What do you think about the rising popularity of Folk Music? Like Sonny and Cher and Bobby Dylan?

Ringo: Sonny and Cher is not Folk. But still we all like Folk Music. Especially the kind like The Byrds and Sonny and Cher.

Before too long it looks like you, George, are going to be the only single one in the group. Are you going to make it unanimous?

Paul: Wait a minute . . .

George: The papers keep saying Paul is getting married. But he knows nothing about it.


Paul, are you getting married?

Paul: No.

Paul, did you like making Help! or A Hard Day’s Night best?

Paul: We enjoyed making them both. But I think we had a better time on Help!

Did you ever get tired of being Beatles?

John: We’d be dead if we did.

How did the critics in England rate your movie Help! ?

John: They gave it pretty good reviews.

What do you think of American teenagers trying to be more British than American?

George: I kind of like it, really. When we first came over here, we thought American girls dressed rather poorly. But now they seem to look neater.


Does Ringo want his wife to have a boy or a girl?

Ringo: I don’t know. I don’t mind as long as it is one or the other.

Do John and Ringo have their wives with them on tour?

John: No.

Paul, do you like champagne?

Paul: No, I don’t like it at all.


Is it true that you don’t consider yourselves musicians?

John: Yes, because none of us read music, you know. We are entertainers. Not musicians.

Do you think that you should be able to read music?

John: Yes, it would be very good for a young group starting out.

Paul, what did you have for breakfast?

Paul: I had half a grapefruit, some Shredded Wheat, and tea.

What characteristics do you admire most in young girls?

George: Beatlemania.

Do you approve of middle-aged Beatle-maniacs?

John: Yes, they are very nice.

Moderator: This will be the last question.

Will this be your last tour in America?

John: No. We haven’t scheduled another but there’s no reason for this to be our last tour.

Are you enjoying this tour so far?

John, Paul, George, and Ringo: Oh yes. Yes. Very much.


The Beatles performing at the Sam Houston Coliseum, August 19, 1965:



Tickets were $5.oo.

The Beatles were paid $85,000 for 2 performances.


** Over 2000 fans mobbed Houston’s Hobby Airport after a local station broadcast the Beatles’ flight arrival time. Teenagers swarmed the tarmac. Some even managed to climb onto the plane and mobile stairway to bang on doors and windows, preventing their safe exit. Officials had to extricate the Beatles and their managers atop a service truck used for unloading luggage. This was a year after a similar incident at the Dallas airport. 





Thank you SO MUCH Patty for sending me this awesome piece of Beatle history!

I do know my grandmother took my 13-year-old Dad to this concert. Granny told me her ears rang for 3 days!  Anyone else reading attend this concert or remember hearing this interview? I’d love to hear from you!

With Love From Me To You,



Birthday Surprise BACKFIRE.

You wanna talk about blue balls?

I planned this super awesome surprise birthday trip for my husband.

And get this.


For three whole months I snuck around planning. Scheming. Taking time off. Arranging for my mom to take the kids. Asking the Facebook public awesome road trip ideas so he had LOTS to choose from at the big reveal

. . . which was meant to go something like this:

Morning, handsome birthday man! Here’s a cuppa tea. What would you like to do today?

Well, I’d like to-

Too bad! Surprise! We’re going on a roadtrip!

And he was going to blink at me all surprised, in awe of my awesomeness.

And no matter what his concern –cats, dog, chickens, deadline– I was gonna say:

“Already taken care of!” Then we were gonna bask some more in my awesomeness whilst packing.

I even had books on CD waiting in the car.  James Lee Burke in the likely event he chose Louisiana and Alexander McCall Smith in case he didn’t.

“I don’t want to go on a road trip,” he said matter-of-factly. Sipping his tea.

My stomach did this funny flip floppy thing.

“. . . I have too much to do, honey bunny.”



No kids.

For a WEEK.

Corn Nuts and the open road.

“I wanna get the bathroom done.”

Housework? He wanted to do HOUSEWORK?


“On your birthday?”

–it came out a whisper.

You know when you blow up a balloon all big, let it fly around the room making awkward noises, then it plops to the floor all deflated and moist where your lips were?


My insides sludged down in slow motion. Pulling my ability to fake smile with it.

His face fell, too.

“You ok, Jenny?”

Don’t do it, Jennifer. Don’t get upset. He has no clue what you planned. Don’t you dare make him feel bad on his birthday. My eyeballs burned.

“Darling, what’s wrong?”

“I’m good,” I lied thru my damn teeth. “It was just an idea. We can do whatever you want.”

“I’d love for you to help me do the bathroom.”

He wanted to — I’m sorry– the bathroom?!

4 months ago Christopher took a sledgehammer to our crusty old downstairs loo to remodel, insulate, make it bigger, etc; the final plan of which maybe included a big ole Beatles mural for me.

beatles_group_posterminimal_posteritty_by_posteritty-d60n7gv.jpgThis was the image I had in mind. ( I’d taken it to a tattoo studio in Liverpool but they told me it wouldn’t make good body art.)

“But it will make a great mural,” Christopher said when I came home, tattooless.

(I saved the image on my phone just in case.)

Back to the bathroom:

Unfortunately, remodels take money and time. And it’s still not done. So here we are, months later, with a gaping hole downstairs. A big, fat, dusty, showerless pain in everyone’s ass.

Did I want it done?

(Is the Pope Catholic?)

But I also wanted greasy fried chicken fingers from the swampy back roads of Louisiana. And hot sauce. And Corn Nuts.

That stupid gaping hole would be here when we got back.

Next thing I know we’re at freaking Lowe’s picking out paint samples. And boy was I in a funky mood.

I watched Christopher from the carpet section, creating a safe distance between him and my attitude problem. He bustled around the paint aisle, talking shop with the employees, examining brushes, and I noticed something obvious.

How very happy he was.

Holding samples to the light. Chatting with customers, offering advice on their projects because (inevitably) he knows more than the employees.

He looked over to me and smiled.

“Why don’t you start picking out colors for your mural?” he called.

Me and my attitude slinked over to the wall o’ samples –which I’ll admit– was totally satisfying. I held little color cards against the image on my phone– which ended up being quite hard to match. I forgot about being a brat for a little while.

At home he rolled out butcher paper then taped big long pieces on the wall.

“Let’s get these templates cut out so we can trace them and you can start painting.”

Wait. What?

“How big do you want your Beatles?” he asked all charming, handing me scissors and a pencil. He knew what he was doing.

Me? Paint?

Oh, but his sweet birthday face! Happy and bright. Expectant.

He had vision. Time. A quiet house. A wife to help. No kids to tell 46 times: go brush your teeth!

This was his happy.

“I don’t want to  can’t paint a mural!”

“Sure you can,” he coaxed. “Take it one color at a time. I’ll supervise.”


I didn’t argue. This is what he wanted, thinly disguised as what I wanted. For the next three days I was either up a ladder or bent down all weird on the floor.


Painting. Mixing colors. Holding my breath trying to stay within my penciled lines.


Hours passed.

We listened to music.

The old bathroom was narrow and weird. This new one’s spacious and clean. He sanded. I painted. Someone farted and we marveled at the acoustics. Stanley, our chiweiner, watched from the corner.

We took tea breaks.

Out to dinner breaks.


Let’s watch a movie breaks.

Do whatever the hell we want cos we ain’t got no kids breaks.

Every time Christopher climbed down from his scaffold, he kissed the top of my head. Or cheek. Or shoulder.


And everyday I woke up anxious to get back to it.

He slathered and smoothed Venetian Plaster with expert precision while I painted Ringo’s mustache. George’s vest. Paul’s pants *tee hee*. John’s glasses.

And I felt profound gratitude.

Sorry I’m such an ungrateful wretch, I told God. Thank you for this week. Thank you for Christopher, who’s supremely happy with a paintbrush and cup of tea. Who dumbed down this mural process so I could help him.

And you know what? I’m GLAD we didn’t go.

Like, really glad.

We spent three days in that little room. Not spending money. Creating. Listening to music. Beach Boys. Beatles. John Denver. Glen Campbell. Talking. Making rustic French decor plans for the kitchen.

And I noticed something profound.

My mind was quiet each day. Peaceful.

I know Christopher would’ve gotten this mural done in one day. But he wanted me to experience his world. The way anyone does when they’re passionate about something.

So the surprise was all mine.

From an amazing man who inadvertantly gave me a present for his birthday.











Unedited Scratchlings of a Beatlemaniac: Beatle Log Over and Out

This is so depressing.

Where: La Madeline, Houston, Texas.
When: 10:22 a.m.
Drink: Bold French Roast, half & half, 2 packets raw sugar

I’m so in denial.

Packing up to drive home this morning, I couldn’t bare the thought of it being over. IT being our trip to Liverpool.


Must it be over?


Can’t let go.
Gotta squeeze out all the Beatlejuice.
All of it.

“Wanna do one last breakfast?” I asked Angie, who got yanked back to reality so fast it was almost cruel.

Poor girl was making snacks for a whimpering toddler within 1 minute of dropping her suitcase. I’m not even kidding. Of course she wanted one last breakfast.

Our plane arrived late last night. I was almost stupid enough to drive 3 hours back to San Marcos. Her kids’ excitement at having Mommy home made me long for my own family. But I hit a brick wall—a lethal combo of virus, jet lag, and drain-circling adrenaline. All that plus night-blindness.

Driving home would’ve been a catastrophic mistake.

Instead I lay in bed, drunk on Thera Flu, insides swaying like gently rolling waves though I lay completely still.

Then I lost conscience.

I didn’t even write yesterday. My last day in England. No Beatle Day Six. Technically it wasn’t a Beatle day. I reunited with friends and family and flitted around Kensington buying toiletries and $70 hot dog meals.

That’s right.

I travelled 5,000 miles to buy organic toothpaste, my favorite British body wash, and French baby lotion that’ll double as my new face cream.

“You can get that stuff on Amazon.” Angie munched her bacon.

“It’s not the same.” I sipped coffee, slopping extra Hollendaise on my eggs.

I also got to spend time with my stepdaughter Keri (whom I don’t see enough), and Neil, one of my favorite friends I made whilst waiting tables in London.

We met at this funky, hidden West End bar cleverly (and effectively) disguised as a WWII bunker.


After finally finding the door, we had to pass a super awkward inspection to actually get in.

The doorman– decked in 40s attire- lifted a gloved palm in WAITnot until I say — then lifted an old school phone receiver (the kind with a cord you can slam down proper if needed) then roll-dialed a number.

Angie, Keri, and I looked at each other like really? Did Neil forget to tell us the secret password?

The doorman eyed us up and down. Not pervy. Inspecting. Nodding into the phone. Answering mystery questions in codes we couldn’t decipher.

I felt stupid.

I mean seriously.

Here I am with no make-up. Croaky ass voice. Feeling like a deep-fried turd. Not dressed in any way suggesting I’d liven their vibe. Ugh I felt like Dork Mom trying to get into the cool party.

Then Neil breezed up gay and fabulous. Precious lovely Neil, whom I haven’t seen in 15 freaking years.

Thank God.

His phone call inspection didn’t take as long.

We’re with him.” We shuffled in behind.


Minutes later –deep underground– an uninteligible Polish waitress with matte red lips handed us ration cards and served –I’ll give it to ’em– amazing cocktails.

But Neil describes it best:

We shared germs, laughs, theatre gossip, and basically didn’t skip a beat. Years and years and YEARS have passed, but Neil’s and my heart still beat in tandem.

Writing this, I realize the people I love I tend to love forever. (Sorry I got you sick, Poohbear.)


The only thing worse than good-bye is packing.

Yesterday we boarded our plane, both of us quiet.
Parts of us forever lost to the deep grey waters of the river Mersey.


It was almost the perfect trip.


An unpleasant exchange with a flight attendant on the way home unfortunately bookended this trip with an incident that –quite frankly– makes me a little sad.

I was going to give it a few sentences in this entry (nothing too deep so as not to taint my Beatle log) but was later tacitly threatened not to write about it at all.

Which now means it’s getting a dedicated blog entry.

Censorship is loser and SO ARE BULLIES.

Do not EVER tell me not to write.

See, I wanted to use a strong F word up there in that last sentence. Either after the ‘EVER’ or before the ‘write.’ But my mom’s had a rough week and I don’t want to compound her distress by thinking she raised a trashy potty mouth.


So it begins again. I’ll throw nickles, dimes, tens and twenties into an opaque jar to save for my next trip. (Never use something see-thru to save money because you’ll obsess about the contents every time you see it.)

“I’d go back to Liverpool right now,” chewed Angie. “This very second.”

“Totally,” I agreed. “We could do laundry when we got there.”

I also think I need a travel writing job with heavy emphasis on food, ghosts, and Paul McCartney. Universe, please can you hook that up?

*pretty please?*

Check it out:

Angie’s 7-year-old gave her homework this trip. Can you believe that?! A writing assignment! But she complied. And I love what she wrote:


What’s It About?

This trip was about getting to realize a lifetime dream (to) visit a very special place to me. And I was lucky enough to share it with a very special person. With this trip I got to meet new people and make new friends and fall in love with a lovely place all the way across the pond called Liverpool. The people of Liverpool were all warm and friendly and it reminds me of the message that Beatles music is all about.

All You Need Is Love!

Love IS what it’s all about at the end of the day. Love yourself, love your family, and love your neighbor. We are all here on earth for a short time but our love for each other is eternal.

Don’t be afraid to fight for it. Or ashamed to defend it. You are never wrong to show how much you love something that is a part of who you are. Be love and be loved. Love is all you need.

Nice, Ang. ❤


Guess I’ll pour a to-go cup and drive home to our busted boiler and that stupid letter from the IRS stating I owe $127 even though my CPA swears I don’t.

I just hugged my bestie goodbye, so the Beatle log ends here.


I can’t avoid it anymore.

It’s sunny out there.

I got a bellyful of caffeine and a playlist full of–


You know.

Thank ya’ll for rolling up for our Magical Mystery Tour.

We’ll now return to our regularly scheduled program of ghosts, books, and psychic phenomena. If you’d like email notifications when I publish new entries, you can sign up there on the right.

Peace and love to you, always.

Love, Jennifer

Unedited Scratchlings of a Beatlemaniac: Beatle Log Day FIVE.

Where: Docklands Fish & Chips
When: 2:31 p.m.
Drink: Diet Coke


I just got a pregnancy level craving for fish & chips.

I love gastronomy and the fancy stuff but you cannot beat thick, flaky, fresh-caught cod served with salt and vinegar.

Poor gluten-free Angie.

She’s a good enough pal to say “No, you go enjoy. I’ll go shop around a bit.”

So here I am with glazed eyes, greasy lips, and so many carbs floating in my system I feel HIGH. This is the English experience I remember from living here before: tucking into a corner alone. Eating and writing.

Connecting pen to paper was the only way my head ever made sense to me. Still is. Except now, sentences wake me up in the middle of the night.

But seriously (*squirrel!) would you look at this fish?!? This thing’s as long as my arm! And I’ve been away from England too long. I thought the mushy peas was guacamole.


I’m still suffering with some chest infection thingy. You can hear it my video up there. Christopher says it’s because I walked around with wet feet and bell bottoms upon arrival. (Converse Chuck Taylor’s aren’t waterproof, by the way.)

But I’m feeling marginally better today.

Angie channeled some divine healing powers and seriously saved my sick ass.

I could barely stand when we got home from the pub last night. My voice was completely gone and I had chills, sneezes, and shivers.

“Lay down, girl,” she sighed –tired but loyal– whipping out her little travel apothecary.

Girlfriend swirled a coconut and essential oil concoction in her palm then basically gave me a lymphatic massage. I moaned in relief while our hosts undoubtedly exchanged quizzical looks in the next room.

Whatever she did worked.

“Girl, you have some crazy trapped energy,” she told this morning. “I literally had to take deep breaths and widen my stance to stabilize while working on your palms! Then I was all lightheaded and buzzy and couldn’t sleep even though you’d passed out.”

It’s true.

All my stress and energy stores in my hands and feet. (Not sure what’s up with that.)

Anyway. Yeah. I passed the hell out. Slept like a corpse on tranquilizers. I know part of that is jet lag, but my body really needed rest. Still. I can’t be sleeping in on precious Beatle time!

So here I am, tempting pneumonia to ensure I’ve captured every morsel of this trip. Just in case you wanna know what Liverpool feels like in February:

Day Five, continued.

Where: Ziferblat, Albert Dock
When: 3:27 p.m.
Drink: Hot, milky tea

This place is rad, ya’ll.

Everything in here is FREE.


Comfy chairs, sofas, coffee tables, piano, games, blankets, wifi . . .


Coffee, tea, cereal, cake, cookies, muffins . . .



You just pay 8 pence (13 cents) a minute to be here. It’s clean, spacious, comfortable, and they’re playing Diana Ross. I got a bellyful of fish and am so happy I might burst — except it’s our last day.

I think we’ll hit the Tate Modern then go stock up on Beatle stuff. I’m gonna have one more cuppa tea and maybe another chocolate biscuit. I wanna ask everyone in here their favorite Beatle song, but Angie shot me a look that suggested maybe that wasn’t a good idea.

They have this awesome little thingy on the wall:

LOL!I need it all! 🙂

But eventually just settled on one.


Day Five, continued.

Where:The North Western Pub, Lime Street Station, Liverpool
When: 7:20 p.m.
Drink: Pint Bitburger


I’m sitting at the railway station, got a ticket for my destination.

The rock’n’roll rumor is that Paul Simon wrote Homeward Bound here at Lime Street Station and I’m just gonna say it one more time:


(Sorry, Mom.)

My mom gets mad when I cuss. But I do. I love it so much it commands the explicative. But they’d pronounce it ‘fooking’ here — with a hard K. Kinda like the steaming milk noise on a cappuchino machine.

Try it: fooKing.


*So, girls. What was the Beatle highlight of the trip?

Angie: “Riding around Woolton, Liverpool. Then John’s house at Mendips.”


Jennifer: “Learning Beatle history to a masterfully planned soundtrack. Like driving past the Penny Lane roundabout during *that* point in the song.” (Thanks again, Ian.)

Non-Beatle Highlight?

Angie: “Definitely that night at Baltic Fleet. That’ll never be replicated.”

Jennifer: “I agree. That was magical. Thank God I got video. Oh and those delicious accents!”

Just listen how they pronounce ‘Liverpool’ *swoon*

Best Liverpudlian Dining Experience?

Angie: “The Lebanese one: Bakchich. Mowgli for atmosphere, though.”


Jennifer: “That’s tough. I’m gonna say Mowgli. But that fish today was off the hook, too.”


And which Beatle tune sums up your time in Liverpool? You know, encapsulates the experience?

Angie: “And I Love Her. No, wait. I changed my mind. Something.”

Jennifer: “Probably In My Life.”


I feel like writing a letter to the City. Not to the municipal body but Liverpool Herself. Like writing a letter to a lover professing everything you adore and how you wouldn’t be the same without them.

But mostly saying thank you.

Just writing that made my eyeballs burn.

A world without Beatle music would find me a deflated bag of skin, gasping for air on the floor.

So yes.

Thank you, Liverpool.

On behalf of Beatle people everywhere, thank you.

Day Five, continued.

Where: Virgin Train, Coach B
When: 8:53 p.m
Drink: Pinot Grigio and Bottled Water

We’re quiet now.

Not much to say.

But the air’s full around us.

With memories.
A world minus George and John
and the things you feel in silence.

We came to celebrate 40th birthdays, but leave like teenagers. Teary. Giddy. Tired from late nights celebrating cute boys in our favorite band.

We’ll be in London in an hour.

“Let’s make lists of our top ten Beatle songs,” I sniffed.

“Okay,” she sniffed back.


We only had one song in common: Two of Us.

A lifelong friend who understands your intricate weirdness and embraces it without question may be the most valuable thing in the whole world.


Thanks for reading.
Slap me with some stars.
And say– which tag would YOU have taken from the wall at Ziferblat?

Unedited Scratchlings of a Beatlemaniac: Beatle Log Day FOUR.

Where: Baltic Creative, Unit 51
When: 9:18 a.m.
Drink: Cafe Mocha


What a weird morning.

This cafe came recommended but we had to walk through a long, desolate, industrial artspace to find it. The walk felt like something out of A Wrinkle in Time, void of humans in eerie morning light.

Just us, rows and rows of warehouses, crying seagulls, and the thump thump of a distant rave, somewhere in the periphery.






Weird, right?

We couldn’t find the address, and literally wandered hungry and confused for an HOUR when a motorized awning finally started rolling up across the street.


My belly sounded like rocks in a tumble dryer.

Shiny glass revealed an uber-trendy (I’ll go ahead and say) gentrified space and we ran for the doors.

This mocha tastes like heaven’s inner circle and the man who served it looks like Peter Tork. See him back there? 🙂


And would you just look at Angie’s breakfast?


Thumbs up, Unit 51!

Day Four, continued.

Where: Rococo
When: 1:48 p.m.
Drink: Iced Latte

Well. Today started off rocky.

The ONLY thing on our agenda this morning was church.

St. Peter’s Sunday service started at 10:30 a.m. You’d think calling a cab at 9:45 a.m. would give us plenty time to (get me to the church on time.) And you’d think “we’re on our way” means just that.

–Yet I stood on the curb (in the cold) like a damn fool waiting for Davy Liver Cabs who think “we’re on our way” means a 45 minute wait.

If you know me, you know I hate waiting and I HATE being late. Thank you Davy Liver Taxi ‘Service,’ whomever you are. You STINK.

The cafe staff —poor people; I stressed them out with my stressing out— finally called Delta Cabs and their “we’re on our way” meant 3 minutes.

I climbed in that cab with boiling blood, while the cabbie logged St. Peter’s in his GPS.

It was 10 freaking miles away, putting us in church at 11:27, a WHOLE HOUR LATE to the service. A pox on you, Davy Liver!

“I can take you one a bit closer,” he suggested.

My flaring eyeballs must’ve answered his question because he turned around and put pedal to the metal.

“I hope the music doesn’t screech to a halt when we walk in all late,” I growled as we slid around the back seat.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Even though it’s fairly gothic outside,


St. Peter’s offers a modernized service with screens up for song lyrics, etc.


And their sound system failed the second (I mean the second) we sat down.


The vicar told everyone it was an opportune time to “make peace” with our neighbors; so we immediately started “peace be with you-ing” with the cute, mostly elderly folk around us.

Our accents garnered lots of questions, and I was obligated to admit we were there for John and Paul, as well as Jesus. –which does sound biblical if you say it right. But we weren’t fooling anybody.

When I say why we’re here out loud, I realize what nerds we are,” Angie whispered.

They’re Liverpudlians,” I whispered back. “They’re used to it.”

“Everyone’ll tell you they went to school with John Lennon,” guide Ian warned us yesterday.

“My mum and Paul’s mum were friends,” smiled the lady in front of us.

My blood pressure eventually restored to normal and I wept through the whole rest of the service. I’m a weenie like that.

St. Peter’s Highlights:

* I received communion and got prayed over. That’s always nice.

* Children came forward and sang a song about how God loves all people. One of the lyrics went something like ‘He loves those that read books; those that feed ducks’

–and here (inappropriately) I burst into giggles. In Liverpool, see, “books” and “ducks” rhyme. (They pronounce it ‘dooks’)

Anyway, I couldn’t stop giggling. (Sorry, kids. Blame my fever.)

* And just LOOK what’s in their church programme today. Oh. No biggie. (I mean, SERIOUSLY!?)


* Lastly, a sweet lady with a personality like the teapot from Beauty and the Beast served tea & biscuits in the rectory. I got sugar, caffeine, AND Jesus, so now I just wanna hug everybody.


Day Four, continued.

Where: Lennon’s Bar
When: 7:00 p.m.
Drink: Half-pint San Miguel

Angie’s reading and I’m writing.



1. I’ve not been too well here. I thought I lost my voice screaming at The Cavern. But other symptoms: fatigue, slight fever, cough, and weak eyes suggest something a bit more sinister: a Liverbug.

Coupled with jet lag, it’s a cruel irony. But I’m NOT complaining, and will muscle on. Maybe it’s the universe saying shut up and write cos no one wants to hear you sing Beatle Karaoke. *sigh*

2. There’s an alarming trend of girls drawing in their eyebrows here:

Screen shot 2014-02-06 at 11.43.17

Not like Cholas did with Sharpies back in the day:


No. This is equally unsubtle.
But somehow, unlike the Cholas, I think they think this is a beauty statement.


One day they’ll look back at their painted brows –the same way we 80s kids look back at our giant bangs– and think oh dear.

My English step-daughter later informed me it’s called ‘Scouse Brow’; and yes, it’s a ‘thing.’

Scouse Brow, according to the internet, is “a dark, angular, pencilled-in brow shape said to be popular with Liverpool girls.”

So I’ll just leave that right there.

3. We’re the only people in this bar right now.

I always feel so sorry for DJs playing to empty rooms. Really he’s more of an iTunes song shuffler, but still. Feels like I’m sitting in my living room, really. Tucked in the corner with my journal and a Beatle-Monkee-Badfinger-Nilsson-ELO playlist.

I think we’d leave, except, again, I’m super comfy. Plus I know it’s raining out there and I really do feel like ass. We may head back to the Baltic Fleet tonight. Ohhhh but not yet! Mr. Blue Sky just came on!


Liverpool is ELECTRIC. A unifying energy runs through these people who really do claim and protect each other. Hard to explain, but easy to feel and observe. Angie brought up the excellent point that this energy was crucial to the Beatle phenomenon. I totally agree. Fans and critics ever refer to their cheeky, charming CHEMISTRY.

See for yourself:

This feeling is EVERYWHERE.

Only two more days in England. I don’t know what’s worse: That or being ill.

I’ll Cry Instead.


Thank you for reading! If you liked it, please take a sec to click the stars below! 🙂

Unedited Scratchlings of a Beatlemaniac: Beatle Log Day THREE.

Hey. This is Day 3. Don’t start here. Go to day 1. 🙂

Where: Kings Mill Dock Flats, Liverpool
When: 8:38 a.m.
Drink: Organic green tea (with honey).

Really, I should be asleep. I sound like a toad with a trach. Not sure why. I mean we did shut down The Cavern 6 hours ago. I didn’t scream for the band too too much. But like I just told my Airbnb host (cutie gay Spanish boy over there washing dishes), we experienced a LOT of temperatures yesterday.

then cold again.

The Cavern is a steamy, subterranean, rock & roll jungle about 40 feet below street level. The band jammed Beatles, Queen, The Who, etc; and we danced, smiled, cheered, and sang until the wee hours.

Some smiley Irish girl approached me as the band played Twist and Shout.

“You’re American, aren’t ye?”

“How’d you know?” This chick literally pulled me to the dance floor.

“Your hat!” she twisted, yelling in my ear. “Only Americans wear hats like that!”

“Texas, actually!” I shouted. Texans rarely say “I’m American.” We clarify, see.

And for the record, my mother-in-law bought this very special yellow sparkly hat on clearance for my ten year old in England. –I just stole it.

Soon we had a circle o’ Brits dancing around us to Surfin’ USA. And hours later, trembled up those steps with jet-lagged joints and hair plastered to our sweaty foreheads, resurfacing hot, giggly, and euphoric to rainy, see-your-breath temperatures.

Et tu, Jennifer’s immune system, whispered the wind.

Liverpool is coastal. So this air should technically be good for us. But here I am, sipping tea on 5 (4?) hours of sleep, with no voice at all. Today is super special, though, so I’m muscling through. But first, some notes on Airbnb.

Either you’re the type of person who can handle strangers in your home or you’re not. Our hosts are couple Ruben and Adrian. One Spanish, one Polish. Adrian greeted us upon arrival, welcomed us in their cozy flat, gave us a key, and told us to enjoy ourselves.

“Isn’t it weird how intimate yet normal it feels?” I asked Angie. Like, Hi, stranger. I don’t know you. But gimme a few bucks, come sleep in my house, and let’s share a toilet.

See. I think it’s great. But I’m innately gregarious and can make friends with just about anyone. Like Ruben’s over there, pottering around washing dishes, making coffee, just doing his thang in his pjs. While me, someone he literally met 30 minutes ago, is sitting on his couch in my pjs, writing these words.

It’s weird being the guest rather than host for a change. I should probably  — oh, hot damn he just made me a cappuccino!


Day Three, continued.

Where: Baltic Fleet Pub
When: 9:28 p.m.
Drink: Freedom Authentic Lager

Lord, take me now.


I’m so freaking happy. I may float up and bump my head on the ceiling. Someone pull my feet! Can you FEEL the FABULOUS energy in here?! The barman just told me this is the second oldest pub in Liverpool, and the only one with its own microbrewery. I asked for a pilsner and this giant frosty thing they poured me is delicious.


This atmosphere is magnetic, crackling with warmth and a thousand years of maritime pride. The solidarity among these people is palatable and I really do feel they’re privy to something special. It’s hard to explain. Like I could walk up to any hard-nosed leather jacket scruffy and know he’d be a gentleman. Not saying they’re all leather-clad scruffys here. They’re not.

Yes, Liverpudlians are definitely warmer than Londoners –not that I’m hating. You know I love me some London. But smiles are given way more freely here, even though the wind blows harder.


The Baltic Fleet is a 45 second walk from our flat. We decided to stay close to home after a 5 1/2 hour private Beatle tour today. After careful online comparisons, I chose the Fab Four Taxi Tour.

Did it exceed expectation? YES.

Our chauffeur, Ian, is a taxi-driver-guitarist-Beatle-enthusiast-expert, and I mean EXPERT. He took us Here, There, and Everywhere around this wonderful city. We laughed, cried, and squealed for hours! I consider myself a well-educated fan, and I still learned SO much today!

Update 6/25/17: Ian has since started his own Beatle Tour Company. 

Some highlights:

*Ringo’s entire street is slated for demolition. Cosmic forces and stubborn residents are delaying this travesty. And WHAT THE HELL, I say. That’s a Beatle house. You do not destroy history. You just don’t.


*Apparently, all the Penny Lane barbershops claim they’re the one Paul sings about. Really, it’s this one (even though it looks different now):


*Paul probably yanked more lyrics than Eleanor Rigby from these gravestones in St. Peter’s churchyard. Next to Rigby’s grave lie people named McKenzie AND Martha. Haaaaay White Album.


*Whomever’s living in George’s childhood home doesn’t keep the yard very tidy. That’s messed up, right?


*Ian supplemented his stories with well-timed Beatles music, making the tour a 4-D experience.

*His knowledge also forced us to hear lyrics in a new light. Like: Do You Want To Know a Secret. That song was actually for Cynthia Lennon, hidden away (pregnant with Julian) in Brian Epstein’s flat whilst John toured. Who knew!?

*I’m also deeply haunted by this picture Ian showed us at Strawberry Fields.


The top photo is Strawberry Fields, the orphanage that once stood behind these gates. As a kid, John Lennon scrambled over to play with the orphans. The bottom pic is the Dakota building in New York City. The buildings are eerily similar.

The city that birthed him.
The city that took him away.

Angie burst into tears and I joined. By the end of the tour, we were emotionally exhausted. But really, in the best possible way. Does that make sense?


Oooh, they’re singing (pirate songs?!) in the next room right now. It’s distracting and awesome. (I’ll investigate shortly.)

A side note: I feel so at home here, like something ancient tugging at my DNA. Christopher, what the hell is wrong with you. How could you prefer Texas to this magical mysticalness?

Things that do not suck:

*writing with cold beer by candlelight.

*Pete Best’s little brother giving us a private tour of The Casbah.



*The Casbah (energetically) felt . . . weird.

I didn’t get a ghosty, spirit feeling. But I definitely 100% felt wispy leftovers of what happened there before. Sweaty, hormonal teens packed under a low-ceilinged basement. Smoking, dancing, drinking, sweating, gyrating, French kissing in the corners, watching young John, Paul, George, and Pete Best jam raw music that would eventually change the world.


All THAT seeped into battered walls, trapped behind chipped paint and Lennon’s vandalism.

Licks of paint don’t take that away.

Being there gave me the dull, melancholy feeling of a magical, fleeting echo in time that will never ever happen again.

Those teens approach 80 now.

And sometimes walls do talk.


Thank you, Ian, for a glorious day. You just remember us as the most grateful fans ever, okay? Okay?


Tomorrow we’re attending an Anglican service at St. Peter’s. John was a choir boy there, and it’s also where he met Paul in 1957. Because if you’re in Liverpool and feel the need to praise the Almighty for the Divine union that was Lennon/McCartney, that’s where you go.

P.S. I just learned it’s ‘Sea Shanty’ night here at the Baltic Fleet. Lemme go check out who’s singing.

OMG. Can you FEEL it in here!?! Patrons stomped so hard, empty pint glasses shimmied across tables and crashed to the floor!

“It’s like the lower decks of the Titanic up in here!” Angie laughed.

She’s right! It’s AMAZING!

4:50 a.m.

Things that do not suck:

*The Baltic Fleet

That was maybe the best pub experience In My Life.

6:42 a.m.

Things that suck:

*Jet lag

Well. When you’re awake in the middle of the night and don’t want to get out of bed or make noise what do you do? —Watch Beatle videos on YouTube, of course!

Our host just got up for work. If he can hear through this door, he probably thinks we’re utter nut jobs watching A Hard Day’s Night clips in the middle of the night.

Oohh I just saw a big ole sparkly white light above the bed. Not once, but twice!

Liverpool ghosts, if you’re out there, I’m ready for you. Maybe I’ll see you at church.

Tomorrow Never Knows.