Sunday, June 29, 2008

First Day in London

Brit Boy and I are still having broadband problems, but we have pieced together things enough for us to get back into the internet world until we can get things worked out permanently on that front. I am so glad, because I don’t want too much time to pass and then I will forget bits of the absolutely great time we had in London this time around. This was the longest stretch that we have spent in London and it was fab. We went from the storied courts of Wimbledon to the truly sublime experience of seeing Mr. Nelson Mandela speak and pass the torch to the rest of us in taking care of our world. It is a week that Brit Boy and I will never forget. (smile)

I will begin today with our first day there and continue onward in the next few entries. So Brit Boy and I set off on our trip, on Monday, June 23rd. This time we didn’t take the train due to some scheduling and money-saving considerations, although in the end, we didn’t really save any money, but anyway we took the coach/bus into London. Let me say, Brit Boy and I remembered why we love the train so much after two hours on the coach. (laugh) It was hot and grubby. We have had better coach rides, so it isn’t always like that, but this time it was icky. Still, we are going to stick to the train when we can because it is a more comfortable way to travel and it takes half the time. In the end though, we were too excited to really care. We were just glad to be going on this cool journey together.

We arrived at the Victoria coach station in London at about 1pm. We were hungry, so we wheeled our bags down the street and across the way to a little shopping complex there at the Victoria Station, which houses a grocery store and various shops, as well as restaurants. We set out on our trip with the idea in mind that we would eat cheaply as much as we could to save money in these times that we live in. (smile) Well everyone else had the same idea and all of the fast food places were packed, so we had to go over to the Italian place across the plaza. Luckily, it was sort of Italian-esque fast food, so it was reasonably priced. The food was really good. Brit Boy and I both had a slice of pizza and a platter of finger food that we shared. The platter had chicken strips, nachos, and various vegetables and was served with two sauces. It was nice and filling. Here are a couple of photos of our platter and my glass of drink.

In yet another cost-cutting measure, we decided to stay outside of central London this time since we were staying several nights. We stayed in the Wembley area of London. Our hotel was virtually a stone’s throw from Wembley Stadium. Here is a photo.

They are doing lots of revitalization and construction around that area. My guess is that on top of rejuvenating things, they are sprucing up things in time for the Olympics in 2012. They are building lots of housing and workspace around there. Here is a photo of some of the change going on out there.

By the time that we got to our hotel in Wembley it was well after 3pm which was check-in time. So when we got there we thought that we could go in and dump our stuff and lounge a bit in preparation for our early start the next day. But when we turned up, things were in all-out chaos in the lobby. (laugh) There were about 100 teenagers milling around who were either on their way in or out, we couldn’t figure out which. And then there were about eight others there waiting for their rooms. So we were “checked in”, but then we had to go along with the others and wait in the bar for our rooms to be ready. It was cool though. In the end, they gave us free drinks, so all was not lost. (smile)

After almost two hours, we all were finally shown to our rooms. They couldn’t give us our keys at that point because things were still chaotic, but we were able to get it later. As another consolation, they offered us all free breakfast the next day, but Brit Boy and I didn’t hang around the next day for that…we were off to Wimbledon and we didn’t want to miss a minute. (smile)

That evening, as we were settled into our room, I took this photo of the sunset out of our window. It was lovely.

From our window you could see for miles. This photo makes me calm because it makes me remember the sense that I had at that moment that we were on the eve of a wondrous journey over the next few days and I was right. This sunset was a perfect close to the day before some of the best days of my life.
My next entry….our day at Wimbledon.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back Home From London

I just wanted to check in and say that Brit Boy and I arrived home safely this afternoon from our London trip. Wimbledon and the Mandela concert were just extraordinary. I was planning on posting a bit about it this evening and then writing more in the next few entries, but alas, Brit Boy and I arrived home to find that our broadband has gone totally bonkers and we have been tinkering with it for hours now to no avail. Needless to say, we are baffled about what is going on with it. Right now I am connected up via wire and this has been going dodgy on us too, so please bear with me. The last time I posted, I promised to share with whomever is reading out there, what Brit Boy and I did over our swell trip to London and I feel bad that I can't deliver at this point. We are going to try to tinker with the broadband again tomorrow and then if that doesn't work, we will be seeking out a bit of help on Monday. So I just wanted to be forthcoming and to let you know that I value any readers of my blog that are out there, and that I am being sidelined for a bit here and not backing out on what I said that I would do. I will certainly be posting this week if we can get our current computer hassles worked out. But if not, please know that I will be sharing as soon as I can. Thanks for bearing with me. :-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Acupuncture and London Here We Come Again!

I should be packing right now, but I am procrastinating. Although, at least I have piled my clothes that I am taking with me onto our bed. And in a bit I am going to go downstairs and have a bit of lemonade and then I will do my packing. Here is my wardrobe for next week ... fashionable, huh? (laugh)

Yeah right. (laugh) Well, maybe not "fashionista-esque", since we will be hoofing it a lot around London, but I am leaning more towards "casual and slightly fashionable". I am packing my sunglasses optimistically in hopes that I will need them to shield my eyes from all the bright sun at Wimbledon. Brit Boy and I are so hoping that the rain holds off for the tournament. We had lots of rain last night and today it is sunny and clear and windy. So if we can just have sunny, lovely weather like this for the tennis it will be splendid. One other fashion note, I am NOT going to be taking my “blister-blooming boots” this time. If you are not familiar, please read my post from our trip to London in April…I limped for days. (laugh)

Brit Boy and I ate a big breakfast this morning, so we both may not be hungry until 9pm. (smile) Since we are going to be gone all week, I am trying to use the last of our perishable food so it won’t go to waste while we are gone. The last few eggs, last few pieces of bacon, a few pieces of bread, and the last of the orange juice have now been consumed so we are almost all set. Whenever we get a space in our guts for some dinner, we will have a baked potato each and some brussel sprouts…and then tada…no perishable food left except for a few slices of bread and a bit of cheese to make sandwiches to take along with us tomorrow and then our consciences will be cleared. Since food shortages and high prices seem to be the rule of the day, we don’t want to throw away anymore than we have to.

Yesterday, I went to my next to last acupuncture visit. Karen and Ta were kind as always and I had my treatment. Karen and I talked as Ta made me into a human pin cushion. (smile) After all the pins were in…about thirty…she placed three big sponges along my body to cushion so that she could place the towel over me and thus the pins would not get snarled up or go in even deeper with the pressure of the towel. So they leave me in the room, all Zen and stuff, with the lights out and lovely Chinese spiritual music playing in the background. Then within five minutes the fire alarm goes off in the shopping plaza. I’m not losing my mind, but instead of being scared, I laughed first that this was my current condition with all the pins and I may have to run for my life in my underwear. (laugh) But good ‘ol Karen comes into the room just as the alarm pipes down and she says that it was a false alarm. She said, “Don’t worry, we will take care of you if there is a fire or anything. You are our friend.” Then she patted me on the arm. I told her that I had no fear and knew that they would look out for me. I was the only customer in the shop at that time. Karen is a sweetheart and I told her so. I always feel very relaxed in that tiny shop. (smile) Even though I have my last treatment coming up in the next couple of weeks, I am still going to stop by and say hello every time I get into town, just to see my friends.

Well, I better get to my packing. Just one last quick note. I won’t be able to post anything from tomorrow (the 23rd) through Friday (the 27th) since I will be in London and away from my laptop. I will probably go into shock and miss my little green machine, but we are trying to pack lightly. (smile) But rest assured, I will be taking notes on what we see and do on our next London adventure and I will also be taking lots of photos to share with you all. Brit Boy and I will be doing the rounds of London this time for sure…Wimbledon, King Tut’s exhibit, the Victoria & Albert Museum to see some Supremes memorabilia, and then on Friday we have the Nelson Mandela concert. And I will also share wherever else that we come across on our latest trip to the Greater London area. It’s always a fun time when we take a trip there, so I look forward to sharing it all here with whomever takes the time out of their busy days to read my blog. Once we arrive back home on the 28th, I will start spilling my guts on all that happened. (smile) Thanks for visiting with me here. Until then…take care :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summertime and Lemonade

Since summertime is finally here, I have been having a hankering for things I am traditionally accustomed to drinking when the weather turns nice. I like learning new favorite things to drink or eat here in England, but I also find that having a bit of my own history is a great help in navigating the waters of an expat life. I think for me, that I am more able to embrace and be open to my new life here, when I am able to celebrate the parts of me that are of my own culture and marry them to things in my life here. Sharing two cultures with Brit Boy, I think, is a perfect metaphor for marriage which is the coming together of two to make one. I relish the opportunity that I have to know what I know already and then to learn new things too. It is great.

So lately I have been attempting to make tea and lemonade like I used to drink back home, which always brings summer to mind. I can get lots of hot tea here, but iced tea is not how most people drink it here and that is fine. I am very live and let live. (smile) So as with most things, I have been doing my best to rework recipes or techniques from back home when I need a connection to Georgia. Sometimes when I am baking or cooking a dish, I will have to either substitute ingredients and/or change the measurement of ingredients to make it work out right. This has been slowly worked out with many failed attempts. (smile) Also I have to take into account the temperature for baking certain things. Back home we use Fahrenheit and here they use Celsius, so that has to be converted. And understandably, since these are two different countries, some ingredients are not available here that I can get back in the States. This is not a problem though. I have now created my own sort of American Southern British cuisine. (smile) It’s cool.

So anyway, back to my quest of iced tea and lemonade. Well I found the lazy way out recently and have discovered that they are now selling iced tea in bottles here and I rejoiced the day that I found it. (smile) So I have that from time to time. I have been making lemonade from real lemons and it has been good, but then I kind of got obsessed with finding store bought lemonade for when I don’t feel like making it. So I have tried several kinds. They have lemonade here that is sparkly and it tastes fine. But I was looking for a more lemony variety. Brit Boy suggested that maybe what I was looking for was what they call cloudy lemonade here. So I tried a cloudy lemonade and it was more lemony, but still not what I was looking for. Although I think that I have found a new favorite drink to add to my summertime list with the cloudy lemonade. (smile) It is really tasty. Then one day, I was in the grocery store in the section where they have the orange juice and I noticed that they had a new product that was lemony, so on a whim, I bought it. And lo and behold when I got home and tried it, it tasted just like the lemonade that I make from scratch. Hallelujah!!! (laugh) Here is my “glass of summer” right before I am getting ready to drink it.

So in the end, I got two lemony drinks out of this quest…my lemonade like I remember from back home and a new friend in my British cloudy lemonade. So here’s to summers of old and this summer that is ahead of me and Brit Boy and to all of the summers yet to come.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Being the Baby

Yesterday I wrote about my brother Tim and it drew my thoughts to my family. As I said yesterday, my brother Tim would have been fifty-eight this year and it blows my mind that he would be that age now, since I always remember him in his forties, which was when he died. I come from a rather big family. I am “the baby” as we used to say back home. I am the youngest of my parents’ kids. I have another brother and four sisters. All of them are much closer in age and I was born quite a few years later.

My brother Tim was the second child after my eldest sister. They were only a year apart. My mother was in her late teens when she married, so this is how it worked out that I had siblings who are quite a bit older than me. I used to work in a pharmacy years back when I was about nineteen. We lived in a small town so everybody knew everybody. And many times I would have customers who would come through the line and see a family resemblance that I don’t see. (smile) They would usually be former classmates of my eldest brother and sister and they would always ask which one of them was my parent. I would have to tell them that neither one was my parent and that actually I was their little sister. They would always say, “I didn’t ever know about you. I thought that youngest boy was the last one. Where did you come from?” Now what was I supposed to say to that? (laugh) It could’ve given me a complex or something, but I just usually shrugged it off and laughed and said something like, “Well I guess the stork dropped me when you weren’t looking.” I used to tell my sister all the time that someone else thought I was her kid and she would say, “Now those folks know that I wasn’t pregnant back then.” And we would laugh about it.

So it has always just been one of those things in my life…people thinking that one of my siblings is my parent. (laugh) My mom used to laugh and say to me, “Well since everybody thinks you are one of theirs I guess that you should start calling me Granny.”

My siblings came like this: sister, my brother Tim, sister, brother (stillborn), sister, sister, and brother. And then I came quite a few years after my last brother. I am more of a contemporary of some of their kids age-wise, so my older nieces and nephews seem more like cousins to me. I grew up with them. My eldest niece is only five years younger than me. It’s kinda cool.

In writing about all of this, I had a thought about my mother. She was made of some strong stuff, because she had to endure the death of two children. As the saying always goes, no parent should have to bury their child. I just think about the fact that she had one of my brother’s stillborn and then she buried my other brother. I know that many mothers and fathers bury their children everyday under terrible circumstances and it just must be excruciating. I see all of the terrible tragedies of the world on the news with parents losing their children and it just breaks your heart for them. Burying a child, no matter the circumstances, is just so antithetical to nature.

So anyway, that’s my story of being the baby. Incidentally, Brit Boy is the baby of his family too, although his is less than half the size of mine. So Brit Boy and I are in solidarity with the baby thing. We always joke that hey, our respective families simply saved the best for last. (laugh) Just kidding. Although I think that Brit Boy and I both came last because we like to arrive fashionably late. (smile)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Two Tims

On last Friday, another person that I remember so vividly from back home passed away. Tim Russert died and I like everyone else was shocked. His show, “Meet the Press” was one of my favorite tv places to check into on Sunday mornings. I would watch that show live or tape it and watch my other favorite Sunday morning just depended on what I was in the mood for. Those Sunday morning shows are a few things that I miss about not being back home. But I have some new traditions forming now. Anyway, I was so saddened to hear of his passing. He was a great journalist and I didn’t know the man, but he seemed to have integrity about what he was doing. In the last year or so, I have been watching the national news from back home on satellite over here in England. I did it in the beginning just to chase away the homesickness since this was the newscast that I watched when I got home from work when I was back in Georgia. The newscast is on at 11:30pm here, so if I'm sleepy, I will tape it and watch it the next day. Brit Boy got into the habit of watching it with me. With all of the exciting election coverage going on, a couple of nights a week, Tim Russert would come on and give his take on what was happening. Brit Boy and I used to always love his excited delivery of the latest moves in the campaign and he was like an encyclopedia of political history. You could tell that this man just loved seeing the process in action and it made Brit Boy and I excited too. (smile) We both said Friday when we heard the news, that there will be a definite hole in the news of the election now. We have all lost a guy who was a proper journalist who knew his stuff and who loved his life and family.

Incidentally, I mentioned to Brit Boy on Friday night, that the passing of Tim Russert had a personal parallel for me. Friday was the anniversary of my brother Tim passing away. My brother, if he had lived, would have been the same age as Tim Russert. And my brother also died of a heart attack. The similarities in those ways sent a chill down my spine when I realized that. I miss my brother, he has been gone over a decade, and I think about him, my mom, and dad everyday...less and less in sorrow, but more now in remembrance of them and knowing that they are all together now. (smile)

On a lighter note, Santa Claus came to our street this weekend. (smile) Well, not exactly. The lady across the street from us has had landscapers at her house all of last week working on laying her garden and walkway with brick. So they finally finished on Friday and she had a visitor for the weekend. Brit Boy and I don’t know if he is our neighbor’s father or uncle or what, but he looks like Santa Claus or Father Christmas as some say here. He has the fluffy white beard, rosy cheeks, and round belly, but he leaves the red suit elsewhere. (smile) He is a cabbie and he usually comes to visit her in his cab on Easter or Christmas. The first time that we saw him, it was Christmas Eve and he drives up and gets out of his cab and I screamed to Brit Boy rather gleefully, “Santa!!!!” I don’t know what came over I hadn’t been drinking. (laugh) This was the first Christmas after my mom passed away so I guess that I needed to just believe in miracles a bit. Brit Boy and I decided that his cab was a secret disguise for his sleigh. (smile) So whenever we hear his cab coming down the street it brings a smile to our faces.

So this past weekend he showed up, a bit off of his normal schedule. I guess that he came to enjoy his daughter or niece’s new garden. Then late Sunday evening, I heard the familiar rattling sound of the cab driving away. I looked out the window just in time to see his sleigh...I mean his cab, driving away.

A Quick Note

Just a quick note, in only eight days, Brit Boy and I will be at Wimbledon. I can’t believe it. We are both so excited about that and it is made even more memorable because we had the good fortune to be picked to sit in centre court. We are so grateful. We are just hoping that the weather is nice that day. Also that week we are going to see the Tutankhamen exhibition at the O2 and we are going to hopefully finally get to St Paul’s Cathedral and see Sir Christopher Wren’s fabulous architecture. A while back, I wrote about Brit Boy and me going to West Knoyle one day, which is right next to East Knoyle, here in Wiltshire, where Sir Christopher Wren is from. In all of our visits to London, we have yet to go have a look. So we are hoping to get there. And then on the Friday, we are going to the Nelson Mandela 90th birthday concert and we are overjoyed about that. That will be a true milestone to remember in our lives to see Mr Nelson Mandela. As I have said before, I will definitely share my experiences over that week here in my blog, along with photos. So the countdown continues. (smile)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Inspections and Risqué Television

I wrote the other day about Brit Boy and me mowing the lawn and doing the gardening on Sunday. Well it was in preparation for our inspection yesterday. The letting agents (real estate agents) come by to inspect our place twice a year to make sure we haven’t wrecked the place or something. (smile) Far from it...they will miss us when we are gone. Anyway, so even though we always keep on top of how things look around here, we always do an extra sprucing up of our place when we know that they will be coming.

For the last few times they have sent the same guy. I told Brit Boy that I hope that he stays for all of the while that we are here. He is so easy and is done quite quickly. The first time that he came, he spent most of the time talking to me about Disney World. He heard my American accent and was absolutely sure that I must live next door to Disney World...he really did. (smile) As we say back home, bless his heart. I told him kindly that actually I come from Georgia and that Florida is the next state south of there. I laughed and told him that I was the only person probably in my family that has never gone to Disney World, even though I have been all over the rest of Florida to the major cities. But it is on my list of things to do. Funnily enough, Brit Boy has even gone there too. (laugh) I really have to catch up. But anyway, with all of this talk about theme parks with the inspector guy, he just did a quick walk through and left. We had a good talk and I even told him of other spots he should visit whenever he got to Florida again. So it was all good. Transatlantic understanding...I love it. He was a good guy.

So thankfully in the times since, he has still been our inspector. They never tell you what time to expect them, so I usually just halfway do stuff all day in a state of apprehension about him coming and getting it over with. The bit of apprehension is that I hope it is the same guy. Also, I hate waiting. I've got to work on that.(smile)

Anyway, he arrived at a bit after 3pm. I greeted him and he went around the house to do his thing and check off his boxes on his form. So I went back to watching my show. I was watching an old episode of “The Young and the Restless”, an American soap opera. A few months ago, they started to show the show over here. It is episodes from 2003 at this point, but back when I was much more homesick, this show comforted me. It was like having a bit of home that I remember even though I didn’t watch it a lot back home. It is funny what you find yourself clinging to when you are living in another country and you will go to mostly anything to find the familiar in the life that you had in your home country. Sometimes it is just good to hear other people who speak like you. (smile) I embrace the differences here and I love having this totally new experience and I think that I have done a good job, but sometimes after a challenging day, it helps to hear my accent reflected back at me. It is an expat thing I guess. (smile) Also, the soap operas make me think of my mom. She watched most of the soaps for years and so when I hear the theme songs when the shows start, I instantly have this sensory memory of her. (smile) In the beginning, I would even tear up when I would hear the opening theme songs...memory is a powerful, powerful thing.

So when the inspector came back downstairs to speak with me, of course at that very moment they were showing a scene with two characters “in the afterglow” of lovemaking. And the inspector looked at the screen just then. (laugh) It was so funny. I told Brit Boy that the guy probably thought that I was watching porn or something. (laugh) Thankfully, right before he left, they switched to another scene so I hope that he figured it out. He was pleasant as always and I said a little prayer after he left, so that hopefully he will continue to be our inspector. And then I went back and got knee-deep into being both “youngish” and only vaguely “restless” because I hadn’t eaten all day.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Barbeques and Adders

My weekend was varied. On Saturday, we slept in a bit, which was a nice change. For lunch, we went up to the “chippy” also known as the fish & chips shop, and picked up some...wait for & chips. (smile) We brought it back home and it was very tasty. I must say that I have become accustomed to having vinegar on my fish & chips now. Before, when I would have “fish and french fries” back home, I always had either a bit of ketchup or nothing on it. So I guess that it is sort of the old adage, when in Rome and all that. (smile) Of course, a lot of the time I straddle both traditions and have the vinegar along with a bit of ketchup, just to keep a good balance. (smile)

About an hour later, we received our delivery of groceries. Brit Boy and I both hate food shopping with a passion, so we pay a couple of extra pounds to have them delivered to us from a nice van right to our doorstep. And sometimes we pay nothing for the delivery, because they have vouchers in the store that you can pick up. Of course, the grocery fairies were working in our favor this week, because in the Saturday mail, we got vouchers for two free deliveries, so woohoo!!!! (smile)

Later that evening, Brit Boy was downstairs watching the football/soccer. It was the beginning of Euro 2008...the big football tournament that goes on until June 29th. He loves his football and I watch it now and then, but it is always a perfect time for us both to have some “me time” with ourselves. So he can watch his football and I go upstairs and either read or go and hang out with my laptop. I ended up watching a music show online that was really good.

In other news, the Chav-Bucks, who were previously mentioned in a much earlier entry, have sold their house and will soon be moving. We haven’t had any more run-ins with them since the time that I wrote about before. We do our thing and they do theirs and it has worked well that way. (smile) Brit Boy and I just get on with our lives. I just wanted to share that update.

On Sunday, we waited a while and then we got up in order to get our grass cut. We waited until about noon to mow the lawn so that we wouldn’t disturb anyone. We weren’t the only ones with grass cutting on our minds. Our neighbor across the way was out doing the same thing. While Brit Boy pushed the mower, I went to work in clipping back the bushes and pulling weeds. Near the end of our gardening, Brit Boy was on the back side of the fence and I came around inside the fence again to get something and what should I see, but a SNAKE!!!!! (laugh) Now, I am from Georgia, and we have plenty of snakes back there, but I must admit that I had been lulled into a false sense of security here about snakes. See, I had been told that they don’t really have snakes here...only little green garden snakes or sometimes a rare adder. So I had been pretty comfortable being outside doing the gardening. Well the snake that I saw was about ten to twelve inches long and about the girth of my index finger and I guess it was an adder. It didn’t really freak me out to see it, but it made me jump since I had just been weeding right where he was slithering. EEK!!! (laugh) I have a terrible, terrible fear of snakes. My sister back in Georgia is always telling me how envious she is of us that we “don’t have snakes here” even though I told her that they have little ones. So I shall have to tell her that I can now confidently say that there are snakes here. (smile)

In the afternoon, Brit Boy and I went to a barbeque. The weather has been glorious this past weekend and today too, so it was a prime time for a barbeque. It is so wonderful to see since we have had rain on top of rain for so long. It was gorgeous. Anyway, we went to this barbeque and it was my first British barbeque and here’s the is pretty much just like an American barbeque. (smile) Just kidding about being surprised. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t expecting it to be different or the same or anything. I was just interested in going. And even if it had been extremely different that would have been fine with me. I don't go around expecting things to be just like home. I am here to experience my Brit Boy's culture and when we are back home in Georgia, he experiences mine. So it is all good. I am open to the new experiences that I have here and I just try to take it all in. Anyway, the food was good. We had burgers, hot dogs, sausages and various side dishes. It was a BYOB situation though. You had to bring your own drink, but that was cool. Brit Boy and I went along packing our own soft drink stash. Since he was driving and couldn’t drink, I stayed in solidarity with him and had virgin drinks too. (smile) It was a good time.

On today, Monday, I got up early as I always do. I had to go in to see the dentist today for my 6 months checkup. It was over pretty quickly. Brit Boy and I call this dentist “Speedy” because we have clocked him seeing both of us in under FIVE MINUTES!!! (laugh) I guess that speed is good to keep the flow going, but you have to talk really fast if you have an ache. He did a quick cleaning of my bottom teeth only and I was quickly sent out. I was glad that it was painless and all, but I didn’t get a mouth rinse and so I left his office and was walking down the sidewalk spitting for half a mile. (smile) He is a nice enough guy though, so I guess that I will be spitting down the sidewalk again in six months time. Of course that will be December, so it may hit the ground as ice pellets.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Flowers and Memories

It has been quite rainy and grey a lot lately, but for a while this morning the sun was shining. So I raced outside to take it all in. (smile) I couldn’t help but notice how pretty the roses and flowers are. They were a bit drenched by all of the rain that we have had, but they are still holding their own. Some petals are scattered along the grass, but some are still holding on and showing their beauty. Here are a couple of photos of the blooms outside.

I sometimes think that there is a mystical quality to flowers. They are so perfect and light and delicate. They are only here for a time and then they are gone. It is like their beauty is their gift to us and it reminds us to enjoy their beauty right then, and to enjoy the moment that we have.

I am a few days late with this, but I wanted to pay tribute to two people. I mentioned the other day how I admired the work of Yves Saint Laurent, who died last Sunday. Well, two other greats passed away and I wanted to mention them here. First of all there was Harvey Korman whom I loved to see in old episodes of The Carol Burnett Show. He was hilarious with Tim Conway on the show. He was a great comic actor. Loved him!

And also, Bo Diddley passed away a few days ago. I have read that he was one of the first musicians to include women musicians in his band. I think that that is so cool. When I heard that Bo Diddley had died, I thought back to a few years ago. I was still living in Georgia, before I was married and came to England. My mom and I used to go on night time runs to the stores for fun, just to beat the crowds. My mom loved to sing along and snap her fingers whenever music came on the radio or was played anywhere for that matter. (smile) She possessed a glorious spirit. Anyway, I used to turn the radio to this station that played blues and R&B classics from the past, to see what they were playing and also because the dj’s were always hilarious and retro and very much of another time. I love the music from the past as well as the music of now. When I turned it to the station, Mom would say, “Oh yeah, turn it up.” I have fond memories of that. (smile) She loved to sing along even if she didn’t know the words. So the music of Bo Diddley and others was the soundtrack of my night time runs to the stores with my mom on warm summer nights with the car windows rolled down. It was the best.

So I say, rest in peace to these two talented men and thanks for the memories. And thanks to my mom for showing me how to live.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Style Icons and Creativity

This past weekend was good. It started for me on Friday afternoon. Brit Boy only worked half a day, so we had a “date” and went to the movies that afternoon. We went to see the new Sex and the City movie. I had told him that I was fine with going to see it alone if he didn’t want to go. And it wasn’t a case of me dragging him to see it, he was glad to go and see it with me, because many times when I am watching reruns of the show, he is there laughing with me. So he was interested to see how the movie would be. So off we went. I was expecting it to be me and my Brit Boy and all women, but actually there were two guys in there other than Brit Boy. I only say all of this about the male and female thing because I read and heard so much about this “just” being a “chick flick”, which so annoys me. Why is it that a movie with women in the lead roles always has to be marginalized? Anyway,enough politics. (smile) The fashions were great and it was a nice escape. Brit Boy and I both enjoyed it and the popcorn was good too. (smile)

On Saturday, I went to have acupuncture. I haven’t gone in a few weeks since I have been feeling fine and also I have to be frugal. Karen and Ta were there as usual and they were in good spirits. I asked Karen if everyone in her family was fine back in China since the catastrophic earthquake there. I hadn’t seen these ladies since it happened. Karen assured me that all was fine with her family and Ta’s. I was so glad to hear that. As a human being, the suffering there is so hard to watch, and on a personal note, I am just glad to know that Karen and Ta's families are okay.

Sunday was a quiet day for us. Brit Boy studied and I read and did some other things around the house.

When I woke up this morning, I heard the news about the death of the designer Yves Saint Laurent. It was sad news. In my teens and 20s, I was very much into fashion and had aspirations to be a designer myself or at least work in the fashion industry. I loved sketching designs and sewing and dreaming of a creative life. When I graduated from high school, I got accepted to study at an art school that was based in the US and then gave the option of studying in London for a time. But I didn’t attend and went ahead to regular college. I was talked out of going to art school by a well-meaning relation who thought that perhaps something more traditional was better to study and being so young, I took their advice. Incidentally, it wasn’t my mother. (smile) But it is all water under the bridge now and that was a long time ago. It is now just a footnote for me and I have moved on and discovered other loves now and I am happy with my choices. (smile) From time to time though, when things from the fashion world come across my attention, I always have a millisecond of thinking “what if?”. I used to have dreams of having a creative career and creating beauty in the world and getting to travel. Well, the reason that I don’t mourn the “what ifs” anymore is because I figure that I am still alive and there is plenty that I can do to be creative in my life and do good things in the world. I do creative work now, so that is a big part of what I wanted all along. I do what I can to bring creativity to my writing, gardening, painting, cooking and other things, and it is hilarious to me that I was going to come to London to study so many years ago, and now I live only a train’s ride away. So I got there in the end. (laugh) I have also traveled in my life, and I plan to do much more, so that dream has come true too. (smile) As I said, I am still here, so who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Yves Saint Laurent was one of my favourite designers when I was growing up. I loved the elegance of his work. And I have heard on the news reports today that he was one of the first designers to use black models on the runway and I said bravo to that. You’ve gotta love a person who makes their own rules and in doing so, does the right thing. (smile) I applaud the work he did and I simply say...well done and rest in peace.