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.

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15 years ago today I ran really far

April 2002 was a pretty big month.

On the 14th, my friend Chris and I ran the London Marathon. It was my first marathon (of two, I did the Marine Corps Marathon in 2003) and wow, it was a long way. I’m really slow, so also it took forever (just a few minutes shy of 6 hours.) I mean, when you think about it, it’s basically way more impressive than someone completing a marathon in 3 hours. OH SURE FAST PERSON I’D LIKE TO SEE YOU RUN NONSTOP FOR 6 HOURS.

My second marathon was a huge improvement. I think I shaved a whopping six minutes off. You can see why I stopped running marathons. I just didn’t have time for it.

Anyway, it was pretty cool. It’s why I started blogging, after all. I wrote about training and so you probably don’t want to go back to my earliest entries, they’re pretty darn dull. Gems like this:

Anyway, we decided that we’d go twice around the park (a total of 3.54 miles) to try to figure out how long it’d take us to do the 5K (which is in 3.5 weeks now). So I started my watch after we had walked a bit, so I figure I timed about 3.25 miles. Which took us 45 minutes. So I guess it’ll take us around, oh, 43 minutes to do the actual 5K.

Zzzz. Somehow I made some friends online via my blog, which seems unbelievable since blogs weren’t really a thing yet. But Chris and I had dinner in London with a bunch of British people who were also running the marathon.

Proof:

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(Well, if you take my word for it that the guy on the left is someone I met online while training for the marathon.)

Anyway, I won’t go into great detail about the race itself (I did that here already) but just a few pics because I’m nostalgic like that?

And YES that is a bright orange fanny pack, thankyouverymuch.

Later that month, when Kristina and I went to a British pub in New Orleans to celebrate my finish, I met a guy, so yeah, that ended up being kind of a big month.

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Vintage skinny us.

 

Wedding recap

Okay, it’s nine years late, but I don’t think I ever properly recapped our wedding. No time like the present! Let’s see what I can remember…

Let me think…it was a beautiful day, November 12, 2005. At some point, we all went to the hairdresser and got our hair did.

Then I guess we went to the church to get ready? Something like that?

Meanwhile, I suppose the boys were getting ready too? Probably involving some flasks?

And then we took lots of pictures, but none of the bride and groom together.

And then people started arriving and my brother walked me up the aisle and we got married!

Then we took more pictures while the guests got candles and walked the two or three blocks to the reception hall.

Then we took more pictures, ate some cake, danced a little bit, talked to people, you know, all that reception stuff you do.

And then we were off! (To the only hotel with rooms at this post-Katrina time, the Sheraton right around the corner.)

And that was our wedding. It really was the best wedding. I mean, the best one I’ve had so far, for sure.

The post about London

I just got a box of old photos scanned, so I can now share pictures from the olden days of FILM. I know, you’re so excited, right?

Well, now I can blog about the best six months of my youth…May to November 1997. While I could write for days about it, I won’t torment you that much. But I do want to share a little. For posterity.

To give you some background…I was supposed to graduate from college in 1997, but because I was a bit of a slacker, I still had a few semesters left. I decided to take a semester off and move to Seattle for a little while. My brother and his wife lived there, and I loved visiting. I bought my plane tickets and was looking into apartments and jobs while two of my best friends, Kristina and Anne, were making plans for their own sojourn to London and Europe. They were going to work for a while, through an organization called BUNAC. They would get work visas, and would live and work just like any other British person.

One day, my Brit-pop-obsessed self thought, “why am I going to Seattle, when I could go to LONDON? Home of my favorite musicians?” and I pretty much decided then and there that I’d be joining Kristina and Anne.

So on May 26th(ish, it was a long time ago, after all), 1997, we all hopped on a plane to London. (And can you imagine? Kristina’s mom probably watched us leave from the gate. We didn’t have to take our shoes off! Olden days indeed.)

Okay, I won’t talk about how jet-lagged we were and all that stuff, because that would make this post literally a bajillion words long. Pictures, instead. Isn’t that the point?

We lived in a cute, tiny basement flat in Kensington, very close to Kensington Palace. We lived there when Princess Diana died. Very surreal.

 

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We drank a lot of beer and smoked a lot of cigarettes (don’t worry none of us has smoked for a long time)
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Kristina and I went to an outdoor music festival and got locked out of our flat and had to sleep on the steps.

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For our last couple of months, we lived in a different flat in Marble Arch with our friend Marianne. We spent many long evenings playing cards and drinking cheap beer from the liquor store across the street.

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And we had a bit of crush on Tony Blair.

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Oh, shoot. These pictures don’t convey what an amazing summer and autumn that was. We worked random jobs (I temped at an architecture firm, a boxing magazine, and a charity for the blind, among many other things) and spent many, many, many evenings in pubs. We would meet for lunch in a park off Oxford Street, hungover more often than not.

Good times.

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Ten year blog-iversary!

Wow. Ten years.

As of today, I have been blogging for ten years. (It also happens to be my dad’s birthday. He’d be 73 this year. Crazy. But not the point.)

I started out back when blogging software wasn’t readily available. Maybe it was, I’m not sure. I just kept everything in HTML files, but I’ve been working on transferring them to WordPress so you can read them in all their glory.

In April 2001, I was 26 years old, overweight, completely out of shape, and smoked a pack a day. I decided it was time for a change.

If you know me, you know I like to do things big. One baby? No way, let’s do three. So I wasn’t going to start by walking, I was going to go right into running. And that’s what I did. Obviously, I wasn’t very fast, nor could I go very far, but it helped. And to keep myself from quitting (like I’d done so many times before), I signed up for the 2002 London Marathon in April of the following year. Sending in the deposit ensured that I had to do it. I roped my friend Chris to doing the marathon with me, as an even greater incentive.

So that’s what I did. I quit smoking, started running, and finished the marathon a year later. Sure, I was passed by a one-legged guy at the end. I never said I was fast!

Who could have guessed that ten years later, I’d still be blogging?

10 years, 2100+ posts, two marathons, a million page views,

Five years

You know, I kind of feel like a fraud for posting about Katrina. We didn’t lose much, our house was mostly fine, and our lives pretty much got back to normal pretty quickly. But it’s hard to avoid thinking about it, so I may as well post something.

Let’s see. Five years ago, I was up to my eyeballs in wedding planning. Our wedding was scheduled for November 12, 2005. I had my very first dress fitting scheduled for Saturday, August 27. I was insanely excited about it. I adored my wedding dress, and when George said I might need to reconsider driving an hour north to the dress shop when we should be getting ready to evacuate…well, I declined.

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The thing is, on Friday night, no one thought much of Katrina. But there was a Saints game that night, so no one was watching the weather. No one except George (who hates football.) So he got up bright and early on Saturday to board up the windows, and I headed to my dress fitting. People were walking by the house as George nailed up the plywood, looking at him like he was nuts.

My plan was to go directly to my mom’s after that (an hour west of the dress fitting) for my sister’s friend’s baby shower. I loaded up the car with enough clothes for the weekend, and George was going to meet me at my mom’s later that day, after he was done with the house stuff.

By Saturday afternoon, people were starting to realize this was going to be a big deal. George barely managed to get Stinky (the cat) into her carrier, and thank god he did. We still thought we’d be home by Tuesday, so he considered just leaving her at the house with a ton of food and water.

To make a potentially very long story short, thirteen people, two dogs, a cat and a bird ended up staying at my mom’s house to ride out the storm. One friend didn’t know where her husband was. No one knew if their houses were flooded or destroyed. We ended up staying at my mom’s house for a few weeks, then we drove up to Washington DC to get away from it all for a while. Upon returning, George was all set to go back to our house, when Hurricane Rita hit, and the city was once again closed.

It was a frustrating time. Too many people in a house not meant to hold that many. Too many people in a city (Baton Rouge) not meant to hold that many. But we were so lucky. We did have to move our wedding from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, but no matter. It was beautiful and our friends and family were there. We went on an awesome honeymoon in England and Wales.

Anyway. Sorry for the nonsensical post.

Five years. Woo hoo.

Vacation!

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while – I’m on vacation! Sheesh. There has, of course, been much excitement but I’ll post more when I get home. With pics. Of Morrissey! And Emily and Ellie, of course.

Today we’re going to a cave. Can you guess whose idea that was?

No Emily yet!

No Emily yet…but soon! Jenny’s at the hospital now getting induced. I won’t be able to post until I get home from work, so everyone, keep your fingers crossed that this isn’t a loooonnnng labor, and that by the time I get home from work, I have something to write about!

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Okay, okay, I know, lame. I’ve been lame. I’m sorry! But I had to post today, if only to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELLIE! 2 years old today! woo hoo!

Of course, I’d really like to be talking and sharing about Emily, but she hasn’t yet made her appearance. Soon, I hope. TODAY would be awesome, don’t you think? Fingers crossed!

Didn’t do a whole lot this weekend. We’re leaving for San Francisco and Monterey on Thursday evening, so I had some design work to catch up on. I’ve been so busy with it, it’s great! But doesn’t leave a lot of free time in the evenings and on weekends.

I did borrow Liam, our friend’s kid, to go to Teresa’s work’s family day in the French Quarter. It was fun, and MAN that kid can pack it away. Almost three, and he ate a bowl of jambalaya, half of my snowball, half a hot dog, and maybe that’s it, but he’s little, okay?

Here he is, the snowball thief:

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Okay, who’s ready for me to have another neice? ME! Come on, Emily, be born on Monday! What a nice birthday that’d be. 🙂

Boy, I wish I had more exciting things to say. Trip to California in two weeks! Woooo hooo! I can’t wait! And yesterday, I booked our tickets to DC/NYC in July. Yay! That’s going to be THE most exciting trip ever. Ellie, Emily, Morrissey, New York, Dylan’s Candy Bar, lots of paper stores, SEPHORA, Kristina, Evan, Jennifer, Jenny, Rob, Mom. (Not in order of exciting, I swear.)

Okay, must get ready for work now.

05/02/07

Ugh. Just checking in to say I’m sick. Full of snot. Sorry. Tis true.

Okay, now I must go to work. Just didn’t want anyone to think I was neglecting my blog. Ha ha ha! Me, neglect this blog? Never!