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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Coldplay in concert!

The primary reason we planned this trip to Virginia was Kristina and Mike’s 10th anniversary back in March. Mike texted me to ask if I’d go to the Coldplay concert with Kiki if he bought the tickets. So at first I thought I’d take a weekend trip by myself. But then airfare was super cheap and the boys love to see their cousins, so I made it a long trip to take up time until school starts.

Anyway, so while the boys stayed with Aunt Jenny and Uncle Rob, Kristina and I made the drive to the stadium in Maryland where the concert was being held. She goes there often for Redskins games, so she got us all set up to tailgate before the show in the parking lot, just like they do before games.

So fun! We went to Wegman’s the day before and stocked up on so many yummy snacks.

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Yes, even a little wooden table because we are fancy. We also made a jar of margaritas and brought some hard seltzer. Delish!

After we snacked and people watched, we headed into the stadium where we had amazing seats on the ground. We were only about 10 seats from the part of the stage that extended way into the crowd.

We heard lots of great songs and some new ones that I didn’t know (should have prepared better.) The show was really colorful and fun with light up wristbands and fireworks and lasers and SO MUCH CONFETTI. EEEEEEE so awesome!

Check out this slow-mo video I took during one confetti storm:

Slo mo confetti from #ColdplayDC. #mesmerizing #skyfullofstars

A post shared by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

More fun pics:

 

6 years ago and tonight

The boys and I are visiting Kristina and Mike, and I was reminiscing about the first time we all visited when I realized it was six years ago tonight that Mike made the boys giggle like crazy by laying on the floor in the kitchen, pretending to be hurt.

Because we’re all six years older, I didn’t make Mike recreate one of those pics, but instead one where everyone is standing up.

August 7, 2011:

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August 7, 2017:

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Look how short they were 6 years ago! So teeny!

Drinking around the world at Epcot

(Note: I started this post several weeks ago. Better late than never, right?) 

Last week, after I worked at BlogHer ’17 in Orlando, Kiki and I went to a couple of theme parks. First, Universal and the next day, Epcot. Why Epcot instead of Magic Kingdom? Because you can drink around the world at Epcot!

(Also it was a good call because Kiki got severely nauseated on the rides at Universal, so a day of rides at Disney would have been terrible.)

We did a little research ahead of time, and most people suggested you start at Mexico and end in Canada. But as much as I love margaritas, I didn’t relish the idea of one first thing in the morning. Well, okay, technically it was almost noon, but still.

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So we took a right at the lagoon, and started in the friendly country to our north, Canada!

Well, first we hit the gift shop where we bought a passport (meant for kids) to get stamped in each country. We also decided that we needed to get culture in each country. Some kind of culture.

CANADA:

We each had a Labatt’s Blue, in honor of the cheap beer we drank when we lived in London. For culture, we watched a movie about Canada narrated by Martin Short, at this circular theater. Fortunately, it didn’t make Kiki nauseated.

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Kiki and I took a quick trip to Canada!

It was in Canada that we learned that we’d have to find the kid’s activity table in each country to get our “passport” stamped. Since we also wrote in our passport what we drank in each country, it wasn’t long before this felt fairly inappropriate. But whatever. The cast members sitting at the tables didn’t seem to mind.

Canada is pretty!

UNITED KINGDOM:

Next, we hit up Jolly Olde Englande. It was very quaint. So clean! Here we shared a cup of Mangers Pear Cider (yum!) and a little bag of housemade leek and cheddar crisps.

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Kiki and I took a quick trip to the UK!

For culture, we made our way through a hedge maze. Since it was waist-high, it wasn’t too difficult.

FRANCE:

Next was France! I’ve never been to France, so I was pretty excited, as you might imagine. To drink, I had the extremely French “orange slush.” I mean, it was made with Grand Marnier and other delicious things, but you’d think they’d give it a more French name. Anyhoo. Kiki had some rose wine.

For culture, we watched some “street performers.” They were v entertaining.

Kiki and I took a quick trip to Paris!

France was pretty.

MOROCCO:

Another country I’ve never been to! We split a Moroccan beer (Casa) here, along with a yummy Lamb Shawarma platter.

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Kiki and I took a quick trip to Morocco!

After Morocco, we found ourselves in…

JAPAN!

Kiki and I took a quick trip to Japan!

It started raining when we got to Japan, so we went into this big department store, where I bought the boys fun chopsticks, and at the back, had sake and plum wine. Yum!

I was pretty disappointed that the department store only sold Nintendo merchandise in adult sizes. I really wanted to get Linus something there. Oh well.

After we shopped, we got a blood orange sake slushie and took it to our next country to drink…

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

When we got to the USA, we still had our Japanese slushie so we sat in this amphitheater and watched this…interesting acapella performance. So American!

Kiki and I took a quick trip to the US of A!
They were very earnest.

Of course, we still had to get an American beverage, so we split a beer and a pretzel shaped like (of course) Mickey’s head. And cheese sauce. God bless America.

Next up, ITALY!

We were in the middle of taking a selfie in “Venice” when a couple offered to take our picture in exchange for a pic of them. So our only non-selfie pic…

Kiki and I took a quick trip to Italy!

When I took the guy’s phone to take pics of him and his girlfriend, I of course took a bunch of goofie selfies of myself as well. I’m SO FUNNY.

In Italy, Kiki had a red sparkling wine and I had a bellini. Mmmm.

Cheers!

Next up was the country of Kiki’s ancestors, GERMANY!

We had a disappointing bratwurst sandwich but yummy beer with a very long name. (Grapefruit hefeweizen was only part of it.)

Kiki and I took a quick trip to Germany!

Germany was very pretty and had an adorable model train set.

Next up…CHINA!

We shared a Canta-loopy, which is (you’re never going to believe this) a cantaloupe beverage. We also snacked on egg rolls and chicken curry pockets sitting on a bench while some acrobats performed nearby. We counted that as our culture for China. (It’s possible our enthusiasm for culture was waning.)

Kiki and I took a quick trip to China!

Next up, MEXICO!

Now I was ready for that margarita! We decided to take the boat ride inside the pyramid, which was relaxing and very reminiscent of It’s a Small World.

Kiki and I took a quick trip to Mexico!

Inside:

It’s a Small World?! No. Mexico.

We waited in line for our passport stamps but some snotty teenagers cut in front of us, so I gave evil eyes to this kid’s back the entire time. Real mature.

After our margaritas (strawberry for me and…uh oh, we didn’t write it all down…but something else I think for Kiki?) we headed to…

NORWAY! (Yes, we went slightly out of order at the end, and for some reason we decided to go to Mexico before Norway. Probably because of margaritas.)

Well, you know, probably a long time ago, Norway was the most neglected of the countries. But now, it’s the home of ANNA! and ELSA! and everything else FROZEN! At one point, the line to see Anna and Elsa was only 5 minutes long and I was sorely tempted to go get a picture with them, if only to, you know, taunt all of the little girls I know, but I decided that’s mean and then the line suddenly was half an hour long and FORGET THAT. But we had a refreshing beer while we fought the crowds of tiny girls.

Kiki and I took a quick trip to Norway!

And that was it! We made it through all 11 countries! And we were fairly sober. We were obviously TOO responsible. It was past 7 by this point and the fireworks were at 9, so we thought we’d wander back to some of the countries and, you know, revisit our favorite beverages. So I got another orange slush from France and Kiki got champagne (I think…it’s been a month now and I can’t exactly remember.)

But then we decided, let’s try to ride Soarin’ instead so we headed back towards the entrance but then they closed it so we missed so we just headed back towards the hotel and went and ate at Ruby Tuesdays (gotta love Orlando) by our hotel for the second night in a row.

THE END!

 

 

Miles and Mommy go to Virginia

Okay, I’m going to try to keep this short, at least the words part.

Thursday
We leave NOLA. Flight is fine. Miles is restless, but we have an empty seat next to mine, so he is manageable. I brought an iPod with YGG on it, v helpful. We arrive in DC, Kristina picks us up. We go to heaven, aka Trader Joes. I buy a few things. We stop by a frozen yogurt place and Miles and I share a cup. He does not like coconut, I learn.

That evening, we relax and have burgers for dinner. Yum. Miles sleeps well.

Friday
Kristina and I accomplish Goal #1 of the trip, to win Super Mario Galaxy. We are awesome. We started playing in April, the last time she came to visit us. (Miles is napping at the time.) Then we go eat pizza and shop. I get lots of great deals at Kohl’s.

Miles finds the one thing in the store that he must have that is going to be fodder for embarrassing stories when he’s older. Hey, don’t look at me. He was the one who insisted on getting the Yo Gabba Gabba girl’s undies.
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After shopping, we go to Kristina’s husband Mike’s pawn shop. It is really awesome to have a BFF whose husband owns a pawn shop. I bought some gold earrings, Miles stared in awe at the TVs (and said “Gabba Gabba Gabba Gabba” to them.)
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Then we went to Heaven, part 2, also known as IKEA. Miles wanted to live there. I don’t blame him.
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That evening, we go and meet my sister and her family for dinner. Burgers again. Yum. Miles stays over with Aunt Jenny for a slumber party with his cousin Emily. I gave Jenny her birthday present, a leopard-print Snuggie.
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Saturday
We slept in, and went and got pedicures. I am v fancy. Then we went to get Miles and brought him to our friend Anne’s house, so he could play with her son Whitman, and the mamas could all go play that night. Whitman’s dad and Kristina’s husband (they’re brothers) babysat.

We were v fancy that night, eating at a nice restaurant, drinking fancy adult beverages. We met up with some other fancy friends there too.
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Sunday
After a fitful night’s sleep (we stayed at Anne’s that night, and I forgot my Breathe-Right nose strip! This is v bad for me.) we woke up and made our way to a brunch place to eat. Miles liked the Froot Loops a lot.
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That afternoon, I met up with some friends who live in the area for a playdate, and after that, we hung out with our friend Kettie, who happened to be in town for the weekend. (She lives in Dallas.) Her son, Henry, is 13 months old, and would make a great triplet. He didn’t take crap from anyone. Heh.
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Here he is, eyeing Miles’s cup of Apple Jacks. And then going in for the kill.
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Ha ha! That was fun.

That night, Mike grilled steaks and some scallops. Holy yum.

Monday
Went to Jenny’s for a Labor Day BBQ. The kids all had fun playing in the beer.
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Especially Whitman.
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Then my camera died. Dang.

Monday night was really fun times. I forgot to mention how Miles fell into a chair earlier that day, and caused a minor nosebleed. It really wasn’t that big of a deal, it stopped within seconds, but it was the first time I’d seen that much blood coming out of my kid, so I was kinda freaked out. And then later, after he ate approximately thirteen oatmeal craisin cookies, he barfed all over me. That was good times too. I guess it’s just as well my camera battery was dead at that point.

So that’s about it. We came home yesterday on another decent flight. There was a bit more whining, but it was fine. Whew.

Busy weekend!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been busy! Kristina was visiting from Wednesday – yesterday, so there was lots of stuff to do, not much time to write about it. We went to the zoo and the park on Saturday, then French Quarter Fest on Sunday. All fun, all exhausting.

Other stuff…

– Got the boys harnesses so at some point in the far-off future, we can go places and they can walk. I just figured I would get them used to wearing them. They’re animal backpacks, and the (detachable) tail is the “leash” (ha ha!) They loooove the animals, but being on the leash part? Not so much. It’s pretty funny. 😛

Miles with his monkey. And you know what I love about this picture? I don’t know that it’s Miles because of what he’s wearing, but I just know it’s Miles! I’m getting really good at telling them apart. 🙂

Miles holding the tail while Linus wears it:

A few pictures…

At the park. We just let them run. Oliver had a little ball that he would throw…then run and pick up. Then throw…then run and pick up. Over and over and over again. It was v cute how single-minded he was in his task. In this picture, it looks like Miles (in orange) is about to intercept the ball. Uh oh!

At French Quarter Fest, someone kindly retrieved the ball for Linus. Hee!

And some cute videos…

Monday

So I brought Kristina back to the airport this morning, before work. We had such a fun weekend. Man. Friday night we went out and stayed out verrrrry late and paid the price on Saturday (the boys were staying at their grandparents’.) Saturday we went to eat lunch and then saw Mamma Mia. Can’t get the songs or Colin Firth in a sparkly jumpsuit out of my head. Not that I’d want to…

After the movie, we picked up the boys and went to the north shore to go to Ren’s daughter’s fourth birthday party. It was at this big gymnastics school and it made me want to take lessons again. Like when I was ten. Not that I was ever good. Not with my height or frame. Ha ha! But still, a girl can dream. The boys might have a future in it, though…

Aw!

On Sunday, we went to Ren’s other daughter’s christening. It was pretty cool because Ren’s brother is the pastor (?) of the church she was christened at. They’re Episcopalian, so I don’t know what you call it. Anyway, it was fun. The boys were pretty well behaved. Hey, at least we knew the guy in charge, so we didn’t get in trouble. Heh. I wish I had pictures of Chloe in her dress, it was so beautiful. My only concern now is that one of the boys (not sure which one yet) saw his future wife in a long, frilly white dress. Dang.

Kristina and I also decided that we’re starting a weight loss challenge. This is huge. We are very good at motivating each other to do difficult things. Four years (seven months and 13 days) ago, we quit smoking together, and neither of us has touched a cigarette since. And we weren’t social smokers, either. We were heavily addicted. So if we can do that, we can do this. The fun part is having a reward. When we hit our goal weights, we’re going to plan a weekend trip to NYC. Eeep! That’s a huge exciting reward! Must start saving up, though…

Anyway, expect me to blog about that. When I lost weight last time, before my wedding, I blogged about it a lot. I even had a ticker on the side to count down my pounds lost. I should do that again…

Woo!

Sorry, Texas, but I can’t help but be happy that Ike isn’t headed our way. It sucks that hurricanes have to go somewhere, so while you’re wishing it away from you, you’re only asking other people to be in its path. My apologies.

But Ike heading away from us means that Kristina gets to come here tomorrow as planned! Ren’s baby Chloe is being christened this weekend, and Kristina’s her godmother. We also have Chloe’s big sister’s birthday party on Saturday, which means cake! Yum! I do love cake. To put it mildly.

Kristina, being a glutton for punishment, asked if she could keep one baby on Friday while the other two are at daycare and I’m at work. Awww!

Based on this picture, I’ll bet it won’t be Oliver…

But then again, based on this picture, maybe it will be:
Oliver and his bling

We’ll see…