Kitty’s setting up her annual haunted amusement. This year it’s basically just four of these scratch houses from target, but each one will have a different bug inside, and you have to find it before it gets on you. Sounds like the scariest thing I’ve ever heard. Sign up now to get your season passes!
Last February, my sister, Annie, made it possible for me to tag along with her on her extended weekend in London. We went sightseeing, went to a Busted concert, drank tea, shopped, and walked around so much I felt like sawing my feet off and donating them to science. Here are some pics and stories from the trip.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon, and were able to check into our hotel at 3pm. I fell asleep by 3:15. It turns out, jet lag really got to me more than I expected, and I really should have tried harder to sleep on the plane. I woke up to a dark hotel room at one in the morning, and I was starving. I remembered I had gotten some sweet potato chips before we left the airport, so I grabbed my snack, my headphones, and sat in the dark watching hilarious youtube videos, trying not to wake up my sister. I was so hungry, I ate the whole bag of chips. Then I thought about the story of how Daniel Boone died after eating too many sweet potatoes. Then I felt paranoid about the amount of sweet potatoes I had eaten. Can you imagine the shame of being found dead next to an empty chip bag? “She ate all the crisps.”
Friday, we walked around shopping, and ended up over at Harrods. After winding through several floors of different themed, beautifully decorated rooms, we eventually ended up in the tea room upstairs. I definitely didn’t want to leave London without having a proper tea, so we decided to try theirs. It was so relaxing and enjoyable, just sipping our tea, snacking on our tier of goodies, and trying to be the first one to guess which song the pianist was playing next.
That evening, we jumped in a cab and headed over to the Hammersmith Apollo to see Busted in concert. We have listened to their music for so long, and it felt so surreal to actually get to see them in concert at all, let alone IN LONDON! I never, ever would have thought that would be something I would get to do. I owe my sister a lot for making it happen. I so loved hearing songs from the Night Driver album, and when they played some of their older songs people went crazy. I forget which song they played first, but people were losing their minds, especially Annie, haha. It was such a fun time!
Saturday was our sightseeing day. This was the day my feet almost gave up life. We started out walking to Buckingham Palace, and that distance wasn’t so bad. So we walked over to Big Ben and the London Eye, and that was even easier. There were so many pretty buildings and things to see along the way, we really enjoyed the stroll. Then we decided to walk to London Bridge. We walked and walked and still walked, and it felt like we weren’t getting any closer. But I was so sure the whole time that we were almost there, so we just kept walking. The thing that made it so bad was my shoes were not made for the distance we were covering. When we finally got to the bridge, I think half my foot had been rubbed off.
The original plan was to continue walking over to the Tower Bridge, but after the journey we just finished, we decided seeing it from a far was good enough. We decided to go find the Tube, and ride over to Camden for the evening. The London Underground system is ten times easier to figure out than the New York subway systems, and ten times cleaner.
Sunday, we had a few hours to walk around and shop before heading to the airport. One of the first things I did was go buy these sneakers that made my feet feel like I was walking around on clouds. I couldn’t take another day of walking with the shoes I brought. I seriously considered getting some fluffy slippers, but I guessed that would have been pushing it. I also considered hiring someone to push me in a wheelchair around town.
There are three things that stood out to me during our trip:
- I’m 95% certain that if I ever had to drive on the opposite side of the road, I would wreck nonstop. Or else, I would drive so slow that I would cause everyone else to wreck nonstop. I don’t know how people transition well with that.
- I thought coins piled up easily in my purse in America, but there are SO many different British coins. I feel like everyone must have bad backs from carrying around the change that accumulates. Every time I thought I finally figured out what all the coins were, I’d get change back with a new coin. Is there like 50 different kinds of coins? Then once I saw a cash register pop open, and it was basically just all coin slots inside. I think I’d die if I had to count that down every day.
- I’ve never been somewhere that had such a variety of sandwiches. I didn’t know this was a thing. Every food store had huge sections of different to-go sandwiches. So many flavor combinations, and ingredients I haven’t heard of. I feel like America only has like five different sandwiches, but in London you could try a new sandwich every day for the rest of your life.
It was sad to leave. Everything was so beautiful and full of history. Annie and I both agreed we wished we had longer to explore, and get to see things outside of London as well. Maybe one day I can return the favor and take us both back for trip number two.
There is something special about listening to a vinyl record. I love those pops and cracks. The format just creates a whole different listening experience, and that is why I’ve tried to collect vinyl records over the years. I don’t have the biggest collection by any means, but each of my records is special to me. And because I’m broke most of the time, a vinyl can potentially be the cheapest method to own music. Nothing is more satisfying to me than rummaging through the old records in a thrift store and coming across a real gem. I’ve found Back to the Future, Purple Rain, Roberta Flack, Fleetwood Mac and lots of Beach Boy albums all for $1. I also found the best Christmas record for 50 cents one time. I know Christmas records are probably the easiest genre to find in thrift stores, but this had 5 discs of classics and I was so excited!
One of my biggest regrets was not buying the original Blondie Parallel Lines vinyl I found one afternoon while visiting a thrift store on vacation. I had searched through the largest section of records for probably 45 minutes when I came across it. None of the records in that store were ever more than $5, but this one was marked at $20. I was just a kid, and I don’t think I even had that much money. My parents were really strict with music, so I knew there was no chance of me talking them into buying it for me, even with the promise of paying them back. I tried to hide it back in the pile of records so that some day I could come back and find it again. I did go back, but never found it. It’s silly to still think about that record, because I do have other versions of the album. There is just something about a vinyl copy, and an original vinyl copy, that just makes me regret the missed opportunity.
Another time I was buying several vinyl records at an antique shop in Ohio. I set my stack on the check out counter with a Dolly Parton album resting on top. I looked up at the clerk for the first time and realized it was an elderly Amish man with the full on beard, hat, and conservative appearance. He was staring right at Dolly, and he barely stopped staring right at Dolly the whole time he was ringing up my purchase. I’ve rarely ever felt so uncomfortable. As he handed me my bag at the end, he gave me a very disapproving look. I might as well have walked up to the counter and asked to purchase sin, and then flashed him. It would have gone over the same as purchasing those records. What I want to know is, why was he working there?
Today is Kitty’s fifth birthday. She has a cold, so things have obviously been too stressful on her lately. Hopefully she can recover enough to enjoy her special day. We’ll probably need to go to the steam room at the spa to help open up her sinuses. She’s been ungrounded from her cellphone, so keep the birthday wishes coming in at 555-CATS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KITTY!
Fall is the best time of year!! I love the colors, I love the brisk, cool weather, I love fall clothes, and I loooove Halloween! There are so many events and fun things to look forward to this time of year. Here’s a list of the ones I’m looking forward to the most:
1. Fall Drinks!
Last year, I lived in a place that had NO good coffee shops. It was so upsetting. How hard is it to make a consistently good cup of coffee! Apparently, very hard. I actually ended up saving a lot of money, but my morale was very low, haha. Fall flavored coffee drinks are the best, and if that makes me basic, then I fully accept the label. Since the move, I’m back in business with all my favorite coffee shops, and it feels so good!
I don’t know if this is a music industry planning thing, but I feel like the best music comes out in the fall! Maybe it’s just me. Any songs that remind me of fall are always going to be in my top played list. The albums I’m currently looking forward to the most this fall are Miley’s and Taylor’s albums. I’ve loved everything I’ve heard, and I’m sure it only gets better!
3. Movies & Shows!
Now I know tv gets better in the fall, because everyone is done with vacation and spending more time at home in the evenings curled up on the couch watching the new seasons of their favorite shows. Netflix is finally getting new seasons of Black Mirror, Stranger Things, and Portlandia. It feels like we’ve had to wait centuries, and now we’re getting blessed all at once. Thank you, Netflix.
I guess horror is kind of a hard genre to pull off in films, because stuff can easily come across as cheesy or overdone. But when it’s done right, there is nothing more fun than going to the theater to see a scary movie!! The new “It” movie looks like it’s actually going to be amazing! I hope so, I’ve been looking forward to it the most! That movie “Mother” with Jennifer Lawrence looks interesting. I can’t really figure it out yet, but I’m still eager to see it, and I love that Michelle Pfeiffer is in it! I’m also really excited about the movie “Winchester,” about the Winchester house near San Fransisco. Me and my sister took the tour of it when we were visiting my dad up there, and it was so spooky and interesting. I’m eager to see what they do with it, but i don’t think it actually comes out till early next year.
It brings joy to my heart to see halloween decorations being brought out in stores now. I hope I get lots of Trick-or-Treaters this year! Last year I bought so much candy, and then nobody came through the neighborhood. I mean Kitty was happy, but I had to hide the candy before she got a toothache. It’s definitely fun to dress up and go to parties on halloween, but what I really want to do is stay home in some comfy pajamas, pop popcorn, and watch scary movies all night. And here’s a tip: diet caffeine free Pepsi is the best drink to go with popcorn. Kind of horrible any other time, but perfect with popcorn.
5. Fairs, Family, and Fun!
I lOoOoooOOve going to haunted houses. This year me and my sister planned to go to Scarowinds, which will hopefully have several haunted houses, haunted rides, and an entire haunted park. I can’t wait! But coming up before that is the Country Living Fair in Columbus, OH and the Mountain State Craft Fair in Ripley, WV. They’re both on the same weekend, so I guess it will be a weekendpalooza of kettle corn, crafts, samples, walking, driving, meeting people, and looking for porta-potties.
And probably the best thing about fall: In October, my mom’s side of the family gets together for “Soap Day.” It’s almost better than Christmas. We all gather at my Uncle Gary and Aunt Chris’ house and make homemade lye soap and butter. (I had no idea how good lye soap was at getting stains out of your laundry until we started making soap every year. It really beats everything else.) The weather is always cool, and while we take turns attending to the soap and butter, the rest of us gather around a fire and roast hotdogs and marshmallows. I don’t know what makes the day so special, besides that it’s just good to be in each other’s company. I hope the tradition never fades away.
What are some of your favorite things about fall?