H did a great job journaling while we were overseas so that we don't forget what we did on this trip. For the purposes of this blog, though, I thought I'd give you some of my brief highlights and lessons learned off the top of my head (cuz I know you're all dying to hear them!)...
London - Incredible hotel right next to the Tower Bridge. - Tower of London. Awesome. - St. Paul's Cathedral is breathtaking. - Wicked in the "West End" was phenomenal. - Go Ahead British tour director insanely knowledgeable. (Looked and talked a lot like our friend Bob.) - Fish 'n chips and mushy peas are a better option than whole fish specials. - Can't believe we were so close to the Queen at Windsor Castle! - Brick Lane - the hipster hot-spot alley - was so cool.
London overall: So much better than I ever imagined. LOVED learning about the history. Can't wait to get my paws on some more books about its monarchy.
Paris - Everything I ever imagined. And so much more. - LOVED the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. - Montmartre (Painter's Square) was one of my favorite spots. - Saw a show at The Moulin Rouge. SO random. SO beautiful. Didn't want it to end. - Versailles was amazing. Can't believe people actually lived that way. (French tour director told us all to see Sophia Coppolla's "Marie Antoinette" as it was a great depiction of how the French see Versailles and the ill-fated queen. A and I watched it this weekend!) - Cafes open until the wee hours serving delicious crepes and wine. Mmmm.
Paris overall: I could live in Paris. In a heartbeat. Really. There's just something about it.
Rome - Stood in the Coliseum in sheer amazement. - So many ancient ruins. - Food here was absolutely INCREDIBLE. - How on earth is the Pantheon still around with that gigantic hole in the ceiling, constantly letting rain in? - Trevi Fountain was breathtakingly beautiful. - H and I couldn't finish our wine here (which was spectacular) on multiple occasions... too full from the food! - Perhaps if I were Catholic I would have loved Vatican City a bit more? (Still very beautiful...)
Rome overall: Rome was incredible. Very different than London or Paris. We were warned about it's uncleanliness before we got there. If you look past that, though, you can truly appreciate the rich history and culture.
Venice - One of the most (if not the most) beautiful places I've ever seen. - Canals and mini-bridges around every corner. - Hotel Marin was so cute. Quaint. - Food was, again, AMAZING. - 100 euros for a ride in a gondola. (We took a water taxi instead.) - Got to see my cousin and her boys who live about an hour north of Venice. - Could spend days here shopping at all the little shops and markets. - Way too many pigeons in St. Mark's Square (which was so gorgeous!). - Millions of alleys and NO cars.
Venice overall: I look at the pictures and hardly believe they're real. Honestly. They look like we placed ourselves in front of some beautiful backdrop that doesn't really exist. I would go back to Venice in a heartbeat.
I was listening to the radio on the way into work the other day. The question of the day? Do you think it is OK if your significant other wears jewelry given to them by an ex?
I was surprised to hear one of the DJs and many callers say that they would feel 100 percent offended. To me, it's just not that big of a deal. (Unless it's like an engagement/wedding ring or something and holds a lot of meaning...) If you like the jewelry, why not keep wearing it? It's just a thing, right?
What do you think?
* After that long blogging hiatus, I'm not sure I have any readers left to make comments!
Stop Pumping Gas: Ten Hot Home Office Jobs Yahoo.com
With fuel prices topping four dollars per gallon in some states, many Americans want to keep their paychecks in their pockets and out of their gas tanks. Thanks to cheap Internet access and fast computers, some workers can perform their jobs just as well from home as they can in the office. Government analysts recently identified ten fast-growing jobs that combine higher-than-average hourly wages with the benefits of working from home.
As the big trip gets closer and closer, I'm starting to read a bit online about how one gets prepared for such an endeavor. I've read a bunch of tips from strangers online, but thought I'd ask my friends and fellow bloggers who have traveled abroad as to their #1 travel tips?
I've also been reading quite a bit about the pickpockets over there... And am, quite frankly, a little concerned.
While "studying," I took breaks by watching movies here and there. I'm sure most of you have already seen these, but thought I'd offer my review.
1. Sweeney Todd - Very good. A little to bloody for my taste. Johnny is always tremendous. And, I enjoy Helena Bonham Carter too. I would give it a solid 8 out of 10.
2. I Could Never Be Your Woman - Just ok I think. I really like both Michelle Pfieffer and Paul Rudd. Unfortunately, though, this is one of those movies that you could totally forget about the moment it ends. (It did have "Have I the Right" by the Honeycombs on the soundtrack though... Andrew liked that.) I would give it a 5 out of 10. (Man, I'm tough.)
3. Princess - Yes. This is embarrassing. It was an ABC movie. I watched. But would not watch again. I'm all about Cinderella stories. This just was not it. Oh, and seriously, "Sunshine" from "Remember the Titans" has got to be in his mid-30s now. Not the ideal "prince" for this kind of thing. 3 out of 10.
4. The Wedding Date - This is one of those movies I could watch over and over again. I'm not sure why. Though, I think it has something to do with Dermot Mulroney's hotness. I would highly recommend as a chick flick. And, it ALWAYS seems to be on TV! 9 out of 10.
That's all I can think of for now... But I'm sure there were others. I really tend to procrastinate when homework is involved...
Hey there folks. My blog has been pushed to the bottom of the list recently. I will try to get back to posting regular entries but please bare with me.
A few quick updates:
- I am still working out at 6 a.m. (Crazy) - Working on final stuff for classes - Have a big event for work this weekend - Less than a month to Europe! - A is amazing for putting up with me right about now:)
Mitch Albom: Mayor's text message scandal has a sports page feel
(Freep.com) They call him the Hip-Hop Mayor, but that always has been misleading, for he is less a musician than a jock, with a jock's sense of entitlement, a jock's bully muscle, a jock's entourage, a jock's approach to women, and, most of all, a jock's eternal belief that he can fight his way out of anything.
Having seen enough sports scandals, the Kwame Kilpatrick mess feels all too familiar. First, like an athlete in hot water, he blames rumors. When it's proven more than rumors, he blames "haters." When it's proven more than haters, he blames the media. When it's proven more than media, he blames racism. When it's proven more than racism -- when it's proven to be tangible, chargeable, real legal trouble -- he gets the best lawyer money can buy.
So now Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is in the biggest fight of his career, one that parallels many high-profile athletes who insist "they're out to get me." First, others take the fall, as happened with Michael Vick and Tonya Harding and Barry Bonds. Eventually the net tightens. And finally, we have a moment as we did Monday, where the star is fingerprinted and has his photo taken.
And his lawyers start talking.
The game must go on ...
Remember, Kilpatrick, the second-term mayor, was once a lineman for Florida A&M, captain of the football team. And having known and observed him for years, I have often thought he views himself like a superstar athlete, a member of the "in" crowd, entitled to star treatment, security, sleek vehicles, family members on the payroll. He does this while emboldened by a fervent "home" crowd that will love him simply because he wears the right uniform.
And, like some of the sports stars he often hugs and chats up, he feels the show cannot go on without him. The most maddening of all Kilpatrick's deceptions is that he is the only man who can run this city. He forgets there were mayors before him and there will be mayors after him. Certainly many people can run it better than him now, without the shadow of criminal charges and the daily drain of lawyers, worry and anger.
But Kilpatrick wants to play on, like Kobe Bryant with a sexual-assault charge, flying into court in the morning and back for a game at night, like Pete Rose, insisting he can still manage his team despite a Dowd Report that he gambled on baseball.
"I look forward to complete exoneration," the mayor said Monday. "... In the meantime, I will remain focused on moving this city forward."
As the famous quote goes, "A painter paints, a fighter fights ..."
And there is no endgame ...
The difference is, of course, that you are elected mayor by the people, you didn't sign a contract with a guaranteed salary. In sports, if you can perform, they'll pry open the vault, pull the fence out of the ground, because sports serves one master, winning, that is all that matters.
In public office, winning is only how you get there, not how you stay. There are different rules. Rules of behavior. Rules of ethics. As mayor, the word "honorable" comes before your name. Which means you can't just wiggle out of a tackle, foul when the ref isn't looking, find a way to win and all is forgiven. Kilpatrick's predictable attempts to kill these charges by technicalities (How do you know I used the pager? Who says the text messages are admissible?) show this is just about winning now.
But that should surprise no one. His arrogance is his armor. And any thought of this guy quitting for the good of the city can be trashed right now.
He is the quarterback with an entire football field to cover and 11 men in front of him, a jump shooter with six hands in his face and a parking lot between him and the basket. And still he believes he is entitled to survive, not just survive but to prevail, so he will run, leap, shoot with everything in him, and only history will judge him, perhaps as sad, perhaps as pathetic. Won't matter. In his mind, he's the king, he's entitled, he's doing what a fighter does. He's fighting. You'll have to drag him out by his ears.
Nevermind that I have a number of other things I should be doing (i.e. 110 pages to read by Wednesday, a group project to work on, a 20-page paper to write, etc.)... What's going to happen with Vinnie and Mandy? Is E going to find love with Sloan? Will Drama and Turtle ever stop smoking weed and stop mooching off Vinnie?
We're only on season 2... But I seriously can't get enough. P.S. I don't usually go for short guys, but how cute is E?!