Sunday, November 30, 2008


Back from a week in England...glorious! My daughter and I had the best time -- good mother/daughter bonding time (I'm hoping it will help come those teenage years!). We left last Saturday on a non-stop flight from LAX on Air New Zealand (side note, the best airline I've flown, by far, customer service-wise). Landed at Heathrow and had a car waiting. The car dropped us at our hotel in Kensington, close to Kensington Palace. It was so.cold.and.rainy -- so different than California! We loved it! Our room wasn't ready so we dropped our bags and did a very English thing -- went to TEA! We have a special tea room we love, the Muffin Man. By the time our trip was over, we had eaten at the Muffin Man EVERY DAY in London! A pot of tea for two and cucumber sandwiches fortified us for some shopping on Kensington High Street.

Then back to the hotel for a short nap (for me) and some TV watching (for Madison) before taking a cab over to the London Eye. There was a Christmas fair going on and we got some hot chocolate and crepes made before our eyes (like on the streets in Paris) to munch on while we wandered the booths. We crashed the first night and slept until noon....

....and then more shopping! Can you tell I love, love, love shopping in London?! Took a cab to Oxford Street, a great shopping street, and spent about three hours shopping (with another tea break). In the cab on the way over we passed something called the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and Madison really wanted to go, so that evening we went. Super cool -- she went ice skating (I watched, since I fell in May that kind of thing is out for me) and rode all kinds of rides. It was like a carnival. So fun for her. Then we went to dinner at a nice restaurant, didn't get back to the room until after ten. We had an early train to catch so we went straight to bed.

The next morning the hotel called us a car to Euston Station, where we caught a Virgin Train to the Midlands. London is wonderful but the English countryside is something special...we were met at the station by friends, who took us around Rugby (the town where the game was created). Went to a museum, a few shops, and a great little tea shop. Our friends, feeling sorry for us being out of America for Thanksgiving, cooked a turkey with all the British trimmings -- stuffing, roasted potatoes, parsnips, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower with cheese sauce. For dessert (or pudding, as they say) we had a Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, a throughly British dessert. Very sweet gesture!

Coventry was the best day out, I think. Madison was fascinated by the story of Lady Godiva (Coventry was where she rode her horse naked through the street) and bought a tiny statue. We went to a parish church where a 'doom painting' has just been unveiled. The painting was painted in 1435 (the folks thought the end of the world was coming because there had been an earthquake) and depicts what the end of the world will be like. The Puritans, for some reason, didn't destroy the painting but merely whitewashed over it. It was forgotten for years but recently found. There is only one other painting like it in England but it has been repainted; this one has not. It was gorgeous! We visited the cathedral that was bombed by the Germans in November, 1940, and not rebuilt -- there is a new cathedral adjacent. Powerful is all I can say. And there is a fabulous museum in Coventry that was so kid-friendly; Madison was able to interact with all the exhibits. She had a really fun day!

The next day we took the train back to London and did some shopping for my mom (she sent me with a list). And then....THE LION KING!! What an amazing show! What a gorgeous theatre! WOW! and WOW again! Superb.

A bit more shopping and eating and then a flight back to Los was a marvelous trip that went by all too fast! If I didn't know myself so well, I'd be sad it was over, but I have a feeling I'll be back in England before too terribly long...and back to work tomorrow....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Things I have done...

Stolen from Heather...things I have done (the things I have done are in blue):

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Old Friends...

The past week or so I have reconnected with several old friends. Well, that's not exactly true. Last weekend I went to Vegas and yes, I connected with my cousin (who is my closest friend) but since we talk every day, is it really a reconnection. I guess it is since she lives in Alabama and I rarely see her -- so yes, I reconnected with her! We went out to dinner and dancing (she danced, I didn't because my knee still isn't right) with another cousin -- that is a reconnection. I haven't seen her in well over a year.

Today I went to a jewelry show hosted by an old friend I haven't seen least two years. That's a crying shame considering she lives super close. But we both lead busy lives, time slips away, and before you know it, we are saying "Why don't we see each other more often?" -- it was great to see her today. I invited another friend to go with me to the show. This friend has been not as close recently as we've been in the past, but today was nice. (I don't like the word nice, by the way, it seems so base, and I don't know why I used it). The jewelry was by Park Lane, I had never heard of it but I liked it. I ended up paying full price for three pieces, paying $12 each for three pieces (one of which was priced at $49) and getting a $68 necklace free. I could only find a couple of pictures on the Park Lane website, but I bought this set. It looked retro to me, and I love retro jewelry! Plus I wear a lot of brown, and it will look nice (there's that word again).

So overall, I'm pleased with my reconnections! It feels good to have seen these people again, and I wonder why I let the relationships slide a bit (all except the cousin I talk to every day...)...I need to work harder to keep my girlfriends close!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

Woke up this morning (after a fitful sleep, so excited about the Obama victory!) ready to get on with the next chapter in this country's history. Ready for Obama's transition office to open (today! He's not wasting a moment of time) and ready for the wounds created by this campaign to start healing. And taking a moment to realize that some older, deeper wounds are healing too. Just reading the stories of people who fought in the Civil Rights Movement who never thought they'd see the day that a black man would be elected President of the United States made me tear up. Savor this victory for them and for all the people who never thought they'd see this happen, not in their lifetimes. This victory was by the people, for the people. Or as John McCain said, "The people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly."

I truly believe we have a chance for change in this country. We need it, we have to have it. The past eight years we have seen our civil rights diminish and the rights of the office of President increase (while the role of the courts and Congress have decreased). I travel overseas several times a year, and the way Americans are regarded has changed much during the past several years. I think that will change. I hope it will. We elected our best chance.

Kudos to the youth vote, for getting out there! And to all the first time voters, good for you!! I went this morning to buy a paper and talked to a 48 year old man who voted yesterday for the first time. He said it was the first time he felt like it mattered to him personally who won (he was an Obama supporter).

On a side note: my school held a mock election yesterday; all 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students were allowed to vote at their recesses. 340 students voted -- 86% of them voted for Obama. Wow!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes We Can!

Change we can believe in...