Fourth grade!

Got the school pics back. Now you know why I only buy the cheapest package. Maybe one day they’ll smile for real. Still cute, I suppose.

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Stars

stars

Look closely, there are lots of stars.

I’m in Whistler again for our big company meetup, and there were rumors of aurora borealis. A giant group of us trekked to a lake tonight to see if we could catch the Northern Lights, but alas, they never showed up. But boy, did we see a lot of stars. (Click to see larger.)

And here’s a version the the exposure turned up – there’s the Milky Way!

It was 20 years ago uh, yesterday

If only I’d remembered to write this post yesterday

Anyway, just wanted to share my memories of the day Princess Diana died. Not because we were close friends or anything, but because I (along with Kristina and Anne) was literally in the middle of it.

In May 1997, we moved to London with student work visas, which allowed us to work in Britain for six months. Our initial plan was to stay in London a few months, make some money, then spend some time backpacking around Europe. Well, after being in London for a few weeks, we decided to forgo the backpacking bit and just stay in London as long as humanly possible.

It was idyllic (I mean, with twenty years of rose-tinted hindsight.) We found a tiny flat in South Kensington, just off Gloucester Road, and a short walk to Kensington High Street, Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, and all that fun stuff. We found temp jobs (for a company called Office Angels, which is just…does it even still exist? Yes it does. (Maybe I’m being sexist by thinking it’s sexist. Who said men can’t be angels?)

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a blurry pic of us in our very tiny, very pink flat

Anyway, Kristina and I worked in offices around the West End, and Anne worked in a pub. We made friends. We spent our money on beer and rent. It was a glorious summer. Britpop (my favorite music, I was obsessed) was in full swing, the weather was gorgeous, we were young! We had no responsibilities!

One night, we got a phone call in the middle of the night. Or maybe early the next morning (look, it was 20 years ago, okay?) from one of Kristina’s friends, asking if we’d heard the news. We hadn’t, because Diana was killed in the middle of the night for us. We woke up to the news of her death.

It was sad, of course. But what was nuts was how close we were to everything. The tube station we took to work was the Gloucester Road station. If you left the station and walked down Gloucester Road, you’d eventually come to the front door of Kensington Palace. And that’s what everyone (or so it seemed) in the United Kingdom was doing. Walking from the station to the palace, with flowers.

 

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Handy map of the area

 

It was nearly impossible to cross the street to get to the pub. Or to walk against the tides of people to get to the station. It was crazy. The front of the palace was a tide of bouquets. Flowers, notes, stuffed animals, everything.

A few days later, Kristina and Anne took a long-planned trip to Amsterdam (where they had originally met.) I was too broke, so I stayed behind. I remember thawing our tiny freezer with a hair dryer, and then leaving the flat to go watch the funeral procession down Kensington High Street.

Seeing the flowers with “Mummy” on top of the casket was the saddest thing in the world.

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(not my picture)

That’s about it. After it passed, I went back to the flat and probably watched it on TV. I don’t know. And that’s pretty much the whole story. Not exciting, but it’s kind of…interesting to have been so close to it.

Life as of today

I haven’t posted a normal post in a while, just an update on what’s going on in the world. So let’s see…

The boys are a couple of weeks into fourth grade. So far so good. Except they’re not super fond of the bus driver, who is apparently very strict and gruff. Which is exactly how bus drivers should be, I’d say. Well, except for last Wednesday when he forgot that school got out an hour early so we waited at the bus stop for over an hour. Fortunately, the bus stop is the mall, so I dropped into Ulta and made an appointment to get my hair did. Fun colors to come!

Speaking of fun colors, last night, I put in some extra-orange color (blood orange, to be exact) into Oliver’s hair because it was getting too hard to tell him and Linus apart at a glance. Better now. Pics later.

I have a work trip coming up in a couple of weeks, to Whistler again. I’m super excited to see everyone, but the forecast for the next ten days is not making me happy. I need some autumn weather while I’m there, dammit! I’ll get there a few days after the end of the forecast, so all I can say is, a cool front better arrive before I do.

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Speaking of weather, it’s very weird here, thanks to Harvey. Pouring one minute, clear blue skies the next. Can’t complain, though. Seeing what’s going on in Houston makes my heart hurt. Just sickening.

If you’re looking for something you can do to help people in Texas, this page has some great links.

I made pesto (no nuts, George is allergic to most of the ones that would go in pesto) out of the basil I grew this summer. First time it really thrived, probably due to the very wet summer we had. It was not bad, but maybe I’ll put one fewer clove of garlic in it next time (sorry person I worked out next to this morning!)

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A good thing this week – Evan and Ellie are in town! I love seeing that girl (okay, both of them, really) and I can’t believe how grown up she is! (Look, we’re both bigger! Hahaha)

Ooops, I went down a rabbit hole looking for old pictures of Ellie and me, and found this…gah!

One last cute thing…Ziggy now has his https://www.instagram.com/ziggymcziggerson/ so you don’t have to look at boring pictures of my kids to see what you really want – DOG.

Decorating the stairwell

When we were in Virginia, we spent a very very fun day at the King’s Dominion theme park. I told the boys they could get one souvenir each, and after passing a caricature artist, Oliver declared that’s what he wanted. So at the end of the day, just before we left, we stopped and Oliver sat for his portrait.

Well. After that, I couldn’t resist having the other two get their portraits as well. (And yeah, this meant I had to buy second souvenirs for all three.)

I finally got around to buying frames for the pictures and hanging them…(well, I say finally but let’s face it, it took me less than six months so it’s really quite fast for me.)

Hard to get pics in the stairwell, but here they are! Love them so much.

 

 

Eclipse photos

I know, I know, no one cares about the eclipse anymore unless you actually saw the whole thing, but I had fun taking pictures of the patterns made by the light (mostly leaves and a steamer basket.)

So in order, there’s cereal box pinhole viewer, steamer basket, trees, trees, trees, trees, dog, trees, steamer basket.