Saturday, April 30, 2011

My London Travel Guide: places I want to go

Since my time in London was rather limited (a few hours here and there), I missed out on a lot of things I really wanted to do.  What will I make a priority next time I visit?

First thing for *sure*: Westminster Abbey

I was *right there* I could see it! But the girl I was with didn't want to go and she was throwing a real hissy fit. It was all I could do to get her to walk down the street so I could at least say I saw it. She didn't care if she saw it or not, let alone went inside. She didn't care if she saw Parliament or Big Ben either. (WHO DOES THAT?)

So next time, first thing on the list is the Abbey. Poet's Corner? Hell-lo! The place where EVERY king since William the Conqueror has been crowned? Yeah. I'm so there.

Next stop: Jack the Ripper Walking Tour

Be shocked if you must. But the sheer horror of Jack the Ripper intrigues me to no end. I think the tour would be so creepily fascinating. I won't go alone though. I'm too big a chicken for that.

Next Destination: Madam Tussauds

Super cheesy, I know (umm... who are we dealing with people? I'm queen of cheesy). I've just seen it on so many travel shows that I want to see it in person.

And finally: The Peter Pan Statue

I wandered Kensington Gardens looking for it but never did find it. I would like to go back and see it. Next time though- I'm going on my own terms and not dealing with travel companions who don't want to do anything- and are embarrassed to be with people who take pictures. A word of travel advice- don't ruin the fun for other people by being a major stick in the mud.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Congratulations to the Happy Couple!

I will never meet you, or even see you in the flesh, but I, like billions of other people around the world, wish you every happiness in your marriage! Good luck!

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. ~ Songs of Solomon 1:2 ~

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth for the other.
Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion for the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place to begin the days of your life together.
May your days together be good and long upon the earth.
~Apache Blessing ~

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My London Travel Guide: places I've been (part 2)

Have I mentioned yet today how much I love London?

Well, I totally do.

Some other things I did while I was there, that I would do again:

Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station

Every Harry Potter Geek needs to go here. Seriously. Not only is it a lovely place- but it's magical! Even lame-o muggles like me can feel it.

Next Stop: Portobello Road

Ever since I was a kid I've wanted to go here. They sing about Portobello Road in Bedknobs and Broomsticks

It's also talked about in the movie Notting Hill (Notting Hill is where Portobello Road is) so naturally I had to go there. Apparently they're only open on certain weekends though. I'm really lucky I was there on one of the days they have the street vendors. And yes, they really do have everything and anything a chap can unload. The only one singing and dancing in the streets was me though... so don't count on that part (unless you go with me, cuz I'll totally do it again).

Next stop: Trafalgar Square

It's just one of those places you have to go to to say you were in London. Plus, It's mentioned in a book I just read, so now I want to go back again so I can look at it through the eyes of the characters in the story.

Next Stop: Covent Garden

It was super fun to just wander around. There were live statues and sculpted statues. The best Indian food I had during my UK visit was sold from a stand in the middle of the walk way. Amazing. Plus there was a lot to see. So much in fact, that I need to go again to drink it in again.

And Finally: Buckingham Palace

This was another one of the things I did on my day alone in London. I got there in time for the Changing of the Guards, which is cool to see, but to be honest, it's a bit of a snoozefest. If you're going to go, go with someone you can talk to to pass the time. I have some good video of it... if only I knew where the camera was... hmmm...  The queen was home so I didn't get to go inside. I didn't have time anyway. But next time I would like to try.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My London Travel Guide: places I've been

I was so excited to pull out my pictures from England and post some of them on my blog- but it seems that they are still packed away somewhere and I've no idea which box to begin rooting through, nor have I the inkling to tear apart the garage.  I'll have to make do with [ahem] {whispered} stolen photos!

I love London. Let's just get that out of the way right now. I didn't get a whole lot of time there, but I can not think of one thing I did that I wouldn't do again.

First stop: The Tower of London.

I wish I'd done more research about this location before I visited it. I've learned so much since I've been there that I wish I knew when I went. It would have made the experience so much more meaningful for me. I mean, I loved it. And I was interested in everything that I saw, (the crown jewels are there- hell-loo!) but I there were things there that belonged to my ancestors. I knew before I went that my family line went back into royalty, but I didn't know names. After this particular London excursion, I had my mom email me one line of our family history to get some of the names, and some of those names appeared in the Tower of London displays. If I'd known I would have paid closer attention. The only one I remember clearly was a suit of amour belonging to John of Gaunt (my 24th [or something like that] great grandfather). From his armor you could tell he was one tall man! Maybe that's where I got my height? Heaven knows it didn't come from my parents.

Next stop:  Millennium Bridge

I walked across it. It's totally awesome. I don't know much about it other than that (that and the fact that it was destroyed in one of the Harry Potter movies) But it's cool, so if you get to go, you should take the opportunity to walk across it.

Next Stop: Saint Paul's Cathedral

I didn't get to go inside. We didn't have time. But I was standing at the entrance filming what I could see of the inside of it long enough for a young man in robes to ask me to put my camera away. I felt awful. I didn't realize it was uncouth to take pictures and video. Sorry. So I have a few pictures of it, but mostly of the outside. Someday, when I move and can go through my stuff I'll have to blog about my time in England and share my pictures.

Next Stop: Shakespeare's Globe

Awesome awesome awesome! Especially if you get the chance to see a play here. I was with a large group of people who were mainly English Majors, so we were all ridiculously excited to go.

The original Globe burned down but this exact replica was incredibly beautiful. We sat in the middle balcony. Hard seats, but seats nonetheless. The plebeians had to stand, poor suckers, and since there is no roof, they got rained on. Some of the people from my group wanted the experience so they joined the plebeians in the rain. I was content to play the role of a wealthy person who had a paying seat and stay dry. Lame, I know.

Next Stop: The London Eye

This was on my list of "Must Do's" on my trip. Looking back, it should not have been my priority. Although it was an absolutely fabulous experience, there were other things I didn't get to do because I made sure I did this. But it affords a great view of the city. And I was there on a rare clear day so I could see all the way to Derbyshire! I recommend it. Even if you're afraid of Ferris wheels. It's nothing like the fair type ride. It's incredible.

Next stop: West End

One day on my stay in England, I caught the train and went to London by myself. Other trips were with the group, but this one I did alone. It was awesome. Other than the time I wasted by getting *totally* lost, it was fun to see and do the things that *I* wanted to do rather than where the crowd led me. Anyway, once I was found, I headed to the West End. I had a ticket to see Les Miserables. Oh. My.Gosh. it was amazing. I highly, HIGHLY recommend seeing a play in the West End. Or anywhere in London if you can. There is just something about knowing you're in London. I also saw (on a group trip) Shakespeare's Henry IV part 2 starring some very familiar faces:

It was awesome. Seriously. Just to be able to say that I was in the same room- breathing the same air as these men is jaw-dropping.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Call Out the Guard!

It is speculated that when his time of Military Service is ended, Prince William and Princess Katherine (as she will then be) will move into one of the palaces. Several are already occupied but one that will be available for their use is Kensington Palace. It has a lot of personal connection to Wills as well. His mother lived there for a good chunk of time, and (at least when I was there) there is an exhibit honoring her.

I also have a personal experience with Kensington. (I swear I already blogged about this, but I can't for the life of me find the post...?)

When I was in England a few years ago I visited Kensington Palace. I was so excited. I didn't really know much about it other than the fact that it was the place Princess Victoria was living when she learned she'd become queen. The visit was so whirlwind that I don't remember much of the Palace itself, but I remember the display of Diana's clothing and there was some clothes from Elizabeth II's memorable moments (she's little!)

The one part I remember quite clearly, is the room that were Victoria's apartments, he bedroom and sitting room. Part of the room is the display, then from doorway to doorway it is roped off so you cannot go far into the room. You can just look at Victoria's belongings and move on.  For the tour I paid for an audio guide. It bugged me to wear it around my neck so I just held it in my hand, but there was a long string on it for those who chose to wear it.

Anyway, I was standing about, looking at the display. I was right next to the rope, a few inches back from it. I wanted to point something out to the friend I was with. So with the audio tour in hand, I pointed across the room.

And the Alarms went wild.

Sirens blared throughout the house. People stopped in their tracks, trying to figure out if it was a fire, was it a raid, what? Why were the alarms sounding? There were a few people in the room with me. We realized that there were laser lines just past the velvet ropes separating the walkway from the display. The string of the audio tour broke through the laser and set off the alarms. Oopsy. The two other American visitors in the room ran out. One said, "Well  *I* don't want to have anything to do with this!" and hurried out. I stood there for a long time waiting for someone to come so I could explain what happened but the alarms just kept blaring and no one came. After like, 10 minutes I just left the room and continued on my tour. I was more than two rooms and 20 minutes away before someone turned off the alarm. Security never did come. I bet there are cameras and they could see that it was just some dumb tourist who got too close to the laser.

But for a while there I was afraid Scotland Yard was gonna come carry me off.

Now *that* would have been an awesome story!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hollywood Royalty

Since I can't actually go to Ireland on St Patrick's day, or to the North Pole on Christmas, I watch movies to make me feel like I have a stronger part of the experience. The same goes for the wedding of Kate and Wills (we're on a first name basis), since I can't be there physically, I'll watch movies about it (or as close as I can get).

We'll start off with this one:

I don't care what the critics thought of it. I adore this movie. And even though the made the prince from Denmark, I highly suspect he's based largely off of William.

Then I'll probably watch:

Which leads me to watch:

Because this is the one that is A) actually about a royal wedding (of sorts) and B) it refers to Prince William.
[I can't watch a sequal without watching the first one too]

If after all of those I have the time, I'll see if I can squeeze in:

I don't own this one though, so if it's not available for instant play on Netflix, I may have to watch:

Which would not break my heart. I love this movie. I'd watch this version over t he Emily Blunt one anyday.

Plus, they're his great great great grandparents- so it's family. And weddings should include as much family as possible... right?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Wedding of the Century

It's Royal Wedding Week here in Bitter Harpy land.  Why? You ask. Well, seriously, if you're asking that, then you must live under a rock.  But because I'm *soooooo* nice I'll answer. It's because of these two:

Seriously, who isn't rooting for them? Considering his family's marriage record, and the fact that she is a "commoner" I truly hope that they are happy. From what I've seen they do actually appear to be in love and happy about getting married. It doesn't seem forced or contrived like Charles and Dianna did (I was only three years old when they got married, but I still remember watching it on TV) but one can never completely trust the way media puts a spin on things. So for thier sakes, I wish them every happiness.

Ok, so because I'm happy for them (and not at all jealous, thereby trying to shift even the smallest amount of attention to myself) I am going to post something everyday that has to do with either royal wedding stuff, or at least the UK. So come back everyday for something new!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Non-Contest Winner: Amy

She was the one, the one for me: Casebolt-y

I've been pretty excited to write this post.
Not that it's not exciting to write about the rest of you, I just have a lot of really good stories with Amy. In fact, it's going to be difficult narrowing this down to keep it less than an novel.

First, if you look to your left, you'll see a little picture of Amy and her husband, Paul (I'll explain that later).

Amy. Amy Amy Amy. Oh how I love this girl. We met our first day at the MTC. We'd both been called to serve in the New Jersey, Morristown Mission and left the same day.  It was funny because I'd actually heard of her before I went. You see, we were both living in Pocatello at the time of our missions (I'd say we were both from there, but we're not. She's not from anywhere. She's moved a zillion times in her life and is a child of the country, not one particular place). Her great aunt is actually in my home ward and I've known her since I can remember. Small world.  Anyway, when we met at the MTC, I think we instantly liked each other. Well, I liked her. I'm not sure if she liked me right away. We would go to classes and she was so serious and solemn. I was talkative and silly.  We had a "companionship inventory" one night and she told me I need to conduct myself with quiet dignity. I probably did need that advice. But I told her I fully intend on enjoying my mission and having fun and that she needed to loosen up a little. She did. A lot.

I was so glad that we were going to the same mission. I would have died without her. Our MTC roommates did not get along. At all. It made me really appreciate the wonderful companion I'd been assigned.  Once out in the field, I struck gold again. In most missions a companionship lives alone. Our mission was so small and expensive that they grouped a couple (or more) companionships together. I was lucky enough to be assigned to the same apartment as Casebolt. We had different trainers but it was nice to have a comforting face to come home to. She really struggled at first. Neither of us had ever seen living conditions quite like that. We adjusted though and learned to be grateful for what we had, and make fun of it even if we couldn't imagine it away.

Sis Casebolt was there for me during all the hardest time of my mission ie; being trained- and training a greeny. Most people when they leave the MTC rarely see thier MTC companion again unless at meetings or going home.  We spent Nine of our 18 months as mission roommates. It was heaven. She was always there for me to talk to and make me sane again.  One time, I really needed a break from my greenie, we decided to go on "exchanges." Her companion took my companion and she and I went together. Instead of going to my area and working, we went to the Olive Garden. I needed that. I *sooooo* needed that. On my ugly days she'd do my hair and make me feel less ugly.

On my 25th birthday (the first one) she knew I was having a hard time, so she made me less ugly as best she could, and the four of us (she and I and our comps) went to the woods and took pictures with all the fall leaves. It was really fun. It was beautiful. And it really helped make that day a pleasant memory when it had all the potential of being a disaster (I was 25. A quarter of a Century! Single. Officially an Old Maid [according to Idaho/Utah standards] and with a companion who was enough to drive anyone to drink).

Those last couple of paragraphs make us sound like we were not hard workers. Quite the contrary. She was an amazing missionary. Once, we had a mission-wide competition for discussion memorization and she won for the English speaking part. She stressed herself out so badly that she gave herself a pinched nerve in her neck. She was a mess, but she still won!  That is just a smidgen of her competitive side.

There are also lots of awesome memories of dinner appointments. Amy hates carrots. Hates them! (which made doing this last year so much fun) When we'd go to the Kastello's house and have curry, Sis Casebolt would pick out her carrots and give them to me. We'd often go to Leez's house for dinners. And several others (I'm horrible with names now! I can't remember anyone!).

After the mish she went to BYU, got married and graduated from Law School (all at the top of her class, I'm sure. She's amazing like that), and traveled the world (of which, I am quite jealous). I talk about Amy all the time. If you don't recognize the name, it's possibly because I refer to her often as "my perfect friend." She's beautiful. She can sing, play the piano, dance (BYU ballroom team). She's incredibly intelligent. She travels the world, she has an amazing, talented husband (also an attorney) who loves her so much. She is a hard worker, driven, motivated. She finds time to read, run, cook, bake, go to the temple often, do her callings, hike, explore the places she lives. There is nothing she can't do. It's disgusting. Really.

And now she's working on adopting a baby.  Read here and here for the news on that. I couldn't be more happy for her. Heck, I would want her to adopt me if she could. She and Paul will make incredible parents.

Amy, I hope none of this infuriates/embarrasses you. But you really are amazing. I'm blessed to count you one of my besties. I love you! I miss you!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jammie Day

Sometimes a girl just needs a jammie day. It was a gloomy day anyway so why not?

I'm caught up on most of my shows now: The Biggest Loser, Parenthood and the Office. I think I still have some Glee to watch.

I feel like I just haven't had time to enjoy anything lately. I've been so busy with work and cakes and volleyball and life and callings and church and blah blah blah.

It was nice to take a day and hide- quite literally- from the world. I sent out a few text messages to let people know I was alive and kickin' but other than that I've hardly spoken to a living soul today.

I won't deceive you though, I did actually get dressed. It was *mostly* a jammie day. When I finally got to the point I thought I could rejoin the human race I prepared to, then when I surfaced I found all these reminders of why I was hiding and submerged again into the dark recesses of my cave.

Like a bat.

Or a spider.

Hmmm... maybe I have a super power and I didn't even know it.

I need to get out more.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Non-Contest Winner: Julie

It's been a while since I've done a Non-Contest winner. So I thought today would be a good opportunity to do one. When I found out who was next in line- I got excited. JULIE!? I Luuuuuuv Julie! I miss Julie

I met Julie nearly four years ago. I moved to Colorado and joined the Maplewood ward. Julie was already an integral cog in the workings of the ward. I couldn't even tell you what her calling was- but she was In.Volved.

If I remember correctly- the first time I really got to know Julie was when she had a Wii party at her house. She lived down the road and around the corner from me so I walked to her house. There was a big crowd of people there- people I did not know. And I felt a little out of place. I'd seen a wii before but I'd never played it. So I watch people play- then I got into and started to play too. That did it. Julie, you ruined me. I love the wii.  That party was one of the first social functions I went to- and learned people's names and kinda made some friends. So thank you,  Julie for inviting me. 

As time went by, Julie and I got to know each other a little better. She is quite the athlete. She is the one who got me playing- and loving- golf. She and Laurette took me to my first three par course and let me use their clubs. I need to get myself a set so I can play. Often times she would organize a group to go to the driving range or a three par. Sometimes there were groups that went to the real golf course- but only once was I involved in that. She and Laurette organized a "big" tournament.  There were three or four teams of at least three players- mostly four players. We played a round of best ball. It was the first time I'd played on a real golf course. I suck incredibly at golf- but it was sure fun. Afterward we all went to dinner.

She is involved in Relay for Life and recruits everyone she can to participate in the relay. I'm really sad that I can't be there this year. It's always really fun. I'm sure I'll be involved in the one here- but I'll miss out on being on "Julie's Team."  She is a major organizer and always has fun activities planned. It was another great way for me to get to know people. It's amazing how much there is to talk about when you're walking around and around and around and around and around a track in the middle of the night (granted, I never stayed over night- but I would go and put at least a few miles in for the team). I not only got to know Julie better, but some other folks who turned out to be kindred spirits.

There was a year there where Julie disappeared. She left her comfort zone in the good ol' US of A and worked for a year in Kuwait. It was fun to read her blog and see what crazy adventures she was having in the blistering heat and desert. A few times I would catch her online and we would chat briefly. Her night was my day and we couldn't talk long- but even to talk a little was good. It was better still, when she came home.

Along with teaching me to like golf, Julie is a KILLER tennis player! During the summers she organized a group every Thursday to play tennis. You could be professional- or beginner. She didn't care. She'd play with you- or teach you how  to play. Tennis is a game I've always liked- but never played well. I'll tell you my secret now {whispering} my backhand s.u.c.k.s. but Julie is the picture of patience. I think she just wanted people to play with. That first summer I was religious about going to tennis on Thursdays. Then- I don't know what happened, the next summer I got really lazy and always found reasons not to go. Which was a huge shame because once I started going again I realized how much I loved it and I was mad at myself for wasting those opportunities to play with her.

Then there was that one time. [Really, Julie. Did you think I'd forget? Seriously?]

I beat her.

We played a full set and I won!

Ok, the real story (here I go humbling myself again) was that I suck. And to take it easy on me she was practicing her real serve- the put a rocket behind it- serve. And I basically won off of missed serves. It was not because of anything extraordinary I did. It was because she was using the time to better her own skills instead of dumbing down to play on my beginner level. So even though I spread the news far and wide that I beat her- it was not a legitimate win... but I'll take what I can get. I won! HA!

We are so different. She's a hiker- I'm not. She's a runner- not I. She's a snow-shoer- I prefer to be warm. But she helped me learn so much about things and made them fun. Even bowling was an adventure with Julie. We are working on perfecting the sport of synchronized bowling. It will be an Olympic event. seriously. watch for us.

Anyway, Julie, Dear Julie. I miss you. You were the source of 89% of my physical activity- and now I have none. No volleyball- no tennis- no golf. heck, I don't even have a wii to play. I hope if things ever work out that I get to move back to Colorado that you'll still be there- planning activities for lame-os like me who need go getters like you to get them off thier butts.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

This Weekend's To Do List

What's the best way to deal with a stressful weekend?

{hopping up and down} I know! I know!!!

That's right class- Blog about it instead of working on it!

Here's the bit of the list that I can think of so far. I'm sure there's more.
  • Color Hair (cancelled)
  • Library
  • Grocery shopping for cake stuff
  • Birthday cake for Macy
  • Birthday cake for Mary
  • Macy's volleyball game
  • Sadie's volleyball game
  • Macy's other volleyball game
  • My first rodeo
  • Prepare Primary Lesson
  • Craft demonstration at JoAnn's
  • Birthday Party
  • Church
But first order of business? Sleep. It's my favorite cure all!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Big BIG News!

Are you ready for it? Are you ready? Seriously, are you ready?

Hey! You in the back! Are you ready!?

{Trumpets sounding}

I've started a Blog!!!!

[whispering in the crowd]

ummm... Bakeshow, we thought you already had a blog...?

Well, now, yes. I do have a blog of sorts. I suppose. No one reads it, but I have one nonetheless.  The new blog I'm talking about it is a cake blog. I feel weird posting all my cake pictures on Facebook (not that it's going to stop) and a couple of people have suggested I start a cake blog. Since I like to talk about cake- and myself- what better way to do both at the same time than write a cake blog about MY cakes? It's brilliant, I tell you BRILLIANT!


You may proceed to said blog at this link and if you would be so good as to follow it, it would really boost my ego. (plus, I am a follower so that the link will show up on *this* blog and it just looks stupid that I am my only follower).

Monday, April 4, 2011

Resetting the Clock

I'm tired.

And I have a hunch that I'll be tired for the next month or so (most likely longer).

I am so used to working the midnight shift, coming home and winding down and going to bed at 3 am or so- *occasionally* waking up a little earlier for something or other... but for this whole month I'm working early shifts. Meaning that I have to get up at 3 am to be to work by five- or up by 5 to be to work by 7... you know, I'm getting up at the time I'm used to going to bed.

Speaking of going to bed- I've all the sudden become the grandma I make fun of who goes to bed at 8 pm- cuz it's not like I can take a nap- or I'll be up till midnight (or one... or two...)

I'm a night owl by nature. I've always been a night person- even as a kid going to bed early drove me crazy (which meant that I was in my room- but not asleep) so now that I am forced to be a day person...

I'm tired.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Feeling Foolish

Remember this? Ahhh... good times.  :)

And a few goodies for you today. I don't have the energy to prank this year.

Luckily it was a *gorgeous* day today (no foolin')!

Gotta love Charlie Brown (if you click on it it makes it bigger for you to read).