August 6, 2014

London Day 6

After another night of not enough sleep, and with feet still hurting from the adventures the day before, we were out the door to the Tower of London.
 
It's like a HUGE amusement park of all things history.
 
After we gained access, we were able to split up and explore where we wanted to. Lara and I let the girls go together, and her and I went straight for the Crown Jewels.

 
You are NOT allowed any photography in the building at all, and there are several employees stationed around the jewels to make sure you aren't sneaking a picture in.
 
We saw the crowns throughout the ages, the scepters, the baptism plate and so much more. There are even the boxes that house these items on display, and a short video of how they pack them up and take them to certain special ceremonies. With the white glove treatment and all that jazz.


 
 
Lara and I explored the Tower of Torture, as did Monkey.

 
The Blood Tower was interesting as well.

 
 
Of course I had to get my picture with one of these guys!

 
We lunched outside and had some terrific building surrounding us.

 

 
 
I loved the old buildings, but with a modern twist with the bright aqua colored door.

 
We also saw the royal coins, but missed the armory.
 
We hot footed it down to the tube and grabbed a train headed towards Greenwich.
 
 
I tried to close my eyes for a few. And almost fell off my jump seat.

 
Lara thought it was funny. I did too.
 
We got off the tube in Greenwich and had a ways to walk. The actual grounds for the Observatory is HUGE.
 
We climbed to the top of the hill, and made our way around the building.
 

 
Towards the LONG line and this clock.

 
To get your picture on the date line, you would have had to wait a good hour or more, and we didn't have that kind of time. If you want to learn more about this, check this out. My friends over at Wikipedia can explain it so much better than I can.
 
The cool thing was the "line" ran down the side of this hill. So we found it, and took our photo op there.

 
Here is the view from the top of the hill. Absolutely gorgeous!

 
 Along the way from the tube station to the Observatory, we saw these great benches. They must be some kind of art installation, but of course we had to take pictures with them. Super fun!
 
 
 
As we made our way back to the tube, I HAD to stop for one last picture. I think you can see why.........

 
 We found the ONLY McDonalds in a 20 mile radius to eat dinner at. In the heart of the ghetto. But we survived!

No-No Topics

Is there such a thing? Should there be such a thing?
 
There are a few instances in life where you don't WANT to talk about something. For example, your job. Like at a holiday party. You don't want to be:
 
A lawyer
An insurance agent
A religious figure
 
Unfortunately, I have one of those jobs. I love my job, but over the last 15 years, I have learned (the hard way) to wise up and not say outright what I do to people. Either who dont' know me, or I don't know them. If I over hear someone talking about a topic I am VERY familiar with, and they have the info completely ASS backwards, I try to not get involved.
 
First off, if you fess up to the job you have, you usually get two reactions. One: the other person launches in to a diatribe about how they were wronged and you are cornered for 30+ minutes. Two: you are looked at with utter and complete disdain.
 
But back to the topic at hand. I will talk to anyone about most anything. I dont consider that there are very  many topics in my life that are TOTALLY 100% off limits. That goes for my girl friends, my co workers or boss, my children, and whoever I am in a relationship with.
 
Of course, at certain ages, there were a few topics I would not discuss with my kidlets. I am not a complete moron. Now that they are older, I cant think of something I wouldn't discuss with them if they came to me. I may not be totally comfortable talking about it, but I am of course willing.
 
I guess here is what I need to know:
 
Are there really "off limits" topics in a relationship? Are there certain things I should NOT discuss with NiceGuy, but COULD discuss with CHB? Or Moxie? Or Jgurl? Or should those same topics be a no-no for everyone? 
 
I mean think about it. When you get down to it, there are a few HOT topics that push people's buttons:
 
Religion
Politics
Healthcare
 
So, in order to be able to talk about these things with your "people", what are the qualifiers? Do you have to have known them a LONG time? Does being family automatically mean you are disqualified from this conversation? Does being in an intimate relationship mean that you cant talk about these things either? Who has this master list of rules, and where can I get a copy?
 
Having this kind of conversation, and/or debate, I usually learn something. I think people can be respectful while still respecting the other persons difference in opinion. I truly believe the only time I am intolerant of others is when hatred is involved.
 
So spill it peeps. What else is on the no-no talk list?

August 5, 2014

I HAVE to take a break........

From writing about London. I have so MUCH other shit to say. Can you handle it? Rhetorical question. If you can't handle it? We can't be friends. K?
 
Did you know that Lil C turned 18 last week? That's pretty trippy. I am as old as he is when I had him. Whoa.
We are now stuck in the this weird limbo. He wants to be "treated" like an adult. But at the same time, wants all the liberties afforded to him when he was 17. Ugh.
 
How am I supposed to balance this? It's not like I can all of a sudden turn off the "mom" or "parent" hat. I feel this internal tug of war.
 
Where do I let him be an adult? And make mistakes? Where do I offer guidance? When do I yell at him? (Oh come on, you know he deserves it if I have to yell.)
 
It is still MY home, and whether he chooses to stay, or split time between Heehaw's house and mine, there are still expectations I have. Like keep your room clean. Pick up after yourself and your friends. I don't think that is asking too much.
 
 
If he doesn't like it, he can get his own place right? Lil C and I go round and round about this. I don't understand what is hard to compute here. Seems pretty straight forward to me. Of course to Lil C it's all ridiculous.
 
For example: I told him the other day this was the last time I would do his laundry for him. Lil C was shocked. Like actually shocked! He wanted to know why I did Doodle's laundry and not his? I explained that she helps with the laundry, AND she is still a kid. He wants to be treated like an adult? Then he can do his own laundry. OR he can pay ME to do it for him.
 
Yeah, that went over like a box of rocks.
 
I am sure this is some kind of test to make sure my blood pressure meds are working. Or, karma's revenge. Since I was such a shit myself at this age. I don't know how my mom didn't strangle me. Seriously. This payback shit sucks.
 
Mom, did you give him ideas? Or is he just another dumb, immature, unwise teenager who thinks he knows everything? Please tell me he will grow out of this. That I have done ENOUGH to teach him how to be a man. 
 

August 1, 2014

London Day 5

Another early morning. Up at 630am. Cursing the alarm clock. Wake all the girls, shower, get dressed and downstairs by 8am for breakfast.  After packing a sack lunch, and morning flag, we grab our gear and hit the pavement.
 
Today is Harry Potter Challenge Day. Hell to the Yeah! One of my bucket list items? Platform 9 3/4. I have read all the Harry Potter books, 3 times over. I have only seen the first 3 movies (and half of the 4th).
 
Today we will be visiting several HP sites and I am jazzed! First stop?  
 
 
The LARGEST train station in the world. Someone in line with us described it as 3 times bigger than Grand Central Station in NYC.
 
 
So the line was LLLOOONNNNNGGGG. Like we waited an hour and 10 minutes to get up to the photo op. Worth it? Oh hell YES!
 
This is located in the middle of Kings Cross Station, and they employ people to keep the line under control, and so it doesnt block the rest of the train traffic.
 
They also employ people to take professional photos (if you so desire). The photo op itself is free, and these employees help you don all the props. They want to make your personal camera photos look as good as the professionals. They even gave you tips on what makes it look more realistic.
 
I couldnt WAIT to put on the Gryffendor scarf, HP glasses and grab a wand to pose for my photo! I felt like a little kid in a candy store....... HIGHLIGHT of the day, and it was only 1030am!
 
 
 
I posed for a photo with my Doodle as well. So cute!
 
 
We went in the gift shop, and I got some trinkets and souvenirs to take home. I wanted to buy almost everything in the shop, but I restrained myself. It was really hard......

 
Next up on the HP tour? Trafalgar Square
 
This site was used for the world premier of the final HP movie. There was 3/4 of a mile of red carpet laid out linking Traflagar square to Leicester Square. People camped out for almost 3 days to see all the actors.

 
Its situated in a very bustling part of town, and there are people everywhere.

 
This is also home to the worlds smallest police station. Which I did NOT get a photo of. Damnit. There are statues:
 
 
A beautiful fountain

 
Sidewalk chalk artists

Street performers

 
Live music and great people watching! We stopped here to eat lunch and enjoy the sights around us. We made our way over to Leicester Square.
 
  
All of the other HP movies premiered in this square.
 
 
 
Of course Monkey had to see it too.......
 
We stopped at M&M world as well. It was OVERWHELMING. I could have spent a LOT of time in there. All it really did was make me miss my Pops. So I didnt buy anything.
 
 
 
Next stop? Scotland Yard and the home of the Ministry of Magic building.
 

There it is!
 
 
Doodle is standing in the exact spot that "Ron Weasley" did in the movie. Cool right?

 
We walked a little bit more until Millenium Bridge came in to sight.
 
 
 
 
We climbed up the stairs to walk across the bridge. These little bits of "art" where all over the bridge.

 
Its a very futuristic looking thing in the middle of all these old buildings.



 
The river? Super dirty looking. Anyone for a swim?
 
Next up: Diagon Alley
 
We walked through these quaint little streets, and then bam! We were right upon it! Of course, due to some amazing CGI this area looks much different than in the movie.


 
Literally across the London Bridge and down a flight of stairs was.........
 
The Leaky Cauldron.
 
Which is actually an optometrists office. A blue door. Hmmm.

 
We went back towards Trafalgar square to eat in a pub. I had steak and ale pie. It was pretty good!
 
Our last stop for the night?
 
The theatre. To see WICKED! I was really looking forward to it. We changed clothes and headed in to the theatre.
 
 
 
 
Doodle and I are ready for the show to start!
 
 
Most of the girls and I.
 
 
It was a GREAT play and I highly recommend it! Sarcastic, serious, funny and all around enjoyable.