Thursday, April 30, 2009

59th Wedding Anniversary


59 years ago today my Mom & Dad were married... April 29, 1950. They were successful dairy farmers till they retired 20 years ago, raised three sons and three daughters, and served their community well. I am so proud of them and how they have grown old gracefully. They have inspired me to take care of myself and remain active. Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

64 years ago today Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany was liberated... April 29, 1945. And my Dad was there.

Last week Miranda toured the concentration camp while she was in Germany visiting her cousin Matt & his wife Sylvia and little Elijah (Matt is in the Air Force in Frankfurt) Be sure to read about her experience HERE. So powerful and moving. And she actually posted it on the 64th Anniversary of the liberation of Dachau.

Shortly after my Dad joined the Army, WWII ended. So General Eisenhower ordered all the new soldiers to be a witness to the devastation and horror found in the concentration camps. Eisenhower basically said that the world would not believe what we have seen. So he wanted as many as possible to testify to the brutality, the atrocity and inhumanity.

My Dad was one of those young soldiers. He was there 64 years ago. And he never really talked about it till just a few years ago.

Thank you Dad, for serving our country in that way. Your love and loyalty to your country will be passed on for generations. I am so proud that you're my Dad.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

London Hillsong & Hampton Court


Easter Sunday and we're off to London Hillsong. I'm wearing my new Easter scarf. Scarves are all the rage in London. I bought this one at Marshall's before I left and then an aqua one at Piccadilly Circus. Anyway, wait till you see my aqua running shoes I am wearing for Easter. Oh, and my aqua jacket. (that I proceeded to leave at our hotel when we left. that Miranda later found) OK, enough fashion talk.


So we literally got off the tube, climbed up the steps from the underground and there was Hillsong! We enter this gorgeous theater and we were immediately welcomed. And it was not a you are in my space kinda welcome but very genuine and sincere. It was electrifying... the place was swirling with energy and young people dressed in black pants and cool black t-shirts that said ASK ME? The next two hours were unlike anything I had ever experienced. At one point I leaned over and said to Randy, and we're paying what to see "Wicked" tomorrow night? This was as top notch as anything I'd seen on Broadway. The worship was powerful, the Easter presentation was gut wrenching and real. We walked out of the theater speechless. No words to explain what we had witnessed.


Hampton Court is where King Henry VIII built his 750 acre Palace. Oh my gosh, acres and acres of the most gorgeous gardens I have ever seen. And btw, April is when all the tulips and daffodils and hyacinths are in bloom. Breathtaking and beautiful!


Here we are making our way out of the most famous maze in the history of the world. And believe me, it wasn't easy getting out.


This is the home of King Henry VIII in all it's grandeur. A tad bit overwhelming, intimidating and ginormous if you ask me. Not your run-of-the-mill cozy cottage in the woods that I dream about.


My Easter outfit reveal! Am I styling or what! OK, so did it bother me that I was like the only person in London wearing color? Did it bother me that I was the only person in London wearing aqua shoes? No. Not in the least. Quite frankly, I may have started something.


Miranda found her knight in shining armor at Hampton Court Palace. He's definitely taken a shine to her. And you can't help but see how the lovely couple is glowing. I mean, that's gotta count for something.



To honor King Henry's 500th birthday, they have reenactments going on throughout the Palace during the month of April. As I told you in an earlier post, at the wedding of King Henry VIII & The Queen Catherine Parr, the Queen eyed Randy and appointed him her Master of the Horses. We were asked to follow the King & Queen in the procession leading out to the courtyard where hundreds of people awaited. It was quite an honor. Miranda took pictures but they were too dark. Anyway, Randy thinks he's all royal or something... and I have found him to be quite hard to live with ever since. A royal pain, if you know what I mean.


Just kidding!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cath Kidston

Three years ago when I first started blogging, I was introduced to Cath Kidston. And it was love at first web site. The ultimate in eye candy. Thus began my obsession with oil cloth. And she just happens to carry the most luxurious line of oil cloth on the market, bar none! And now I am not only the proud owner of a piece of Cath Kidston oil cloth... but I actually bought it at the Cath Kidston store in Bath, England! Yes, you read that right. I was in a Cath Kidston store!


So yes, my plan was to bring back a souvenir from Cath Kidston. I was on a mission. And literally shaking as I entered the store. They must have thought I was some crazy American as my camera clicked away. And they would be right. But in my defense, I did ask permission to take these pictures throughout the two-story store. And seriously, I could not get a bad shot! Look at everything! How could I go wrong! Have you ever seen such creative genius in displaying cottage goods in your entire life! Didn't think so.


Be sure to click the pics to behold such loveliness your highness. Sorry, but my British accent kicked in and I got carried away.





There was not a piece of fabric I did not love. But rather than post pics of all the fabulous fabrics, I decided to show you these pillows made from some of those fab fabrics.


Behold the vast rolls of oil cloth above! Aahh... take a moment to enlarge the pic. Mmm, see what I mean? The unrolled oil cloth to the far right was my preferred choice. And as you can see in the pic below, Miranda is carrying it around while she's perusing the 2nd floor. Could she look any cuter amongst all the lovely cuteness!



The final purchased goods... an oil cloth book bag for me (aqua with England attractions- how perfect), a child-size oil cloth book bag for Emolyn and a 1/2 meter of oil cloth that I plan to cover a small table top or shelves with. And a Cath Kidston magazine. I could not stop smiling till we got on the train hours later. And then Randy & Miranda introduced me to Bejeweled on Randy's iTouch and I was hooked. And I'm like, Cath who? I'm fickle that way.


*** Coming soon- Easter Sunday at London Hillsong and Hampton Court Palace!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stonehenge & Bath

My most memorable day of our whole trip. Loved Stonehenge, but especially Bath!


Took the train from Egham to Salisbury (took a couple hours, so Miranda took a snooze) and then the Stonehenge Double Decker Tour bus to Stonehenge. Breathtaking. Cold and windy. In awe of how they got these ginormous stones to this location back in 2500 BC. This video is pretty cool.




Then back on the tour bus back to Salisbury. So excited because we got the very front seats on the top deck of the bus... knowing full well that the English countryside would be even more enchanting, charming and picturesque from that level.





Another train took us from Salisbury to Bath and I was instantly transformed back in Roman times! Oh my gosh, I loved this city! The Roman Baths were mysterious and magical. The Bath Abbey was magnificent (founded in the 7th Century). And the flowering bulbs everywhere were stunning. (an England flower post coming soon)





So much to see, amazing architecture, the Circus, street entertainment, Royal Crescent, hot air balloons, dinner at The Slug & Lettuce. I just didn't want to leave!



And then just when the day couldn't get any more magical, we see this overhead! Simply. Breathtaking.







Oh, and I found the one and only place I wanted to see while in England. And it was in Bath. And it was wonderful. And it deserves its own post. So, check back in a couple days and see what I bought at my favorite store in all of England.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

London

Our first day in London was a typical London drizzly day. Randy & I didn't mind in the least. But not the best of conditions for photography. But here I am on the tube, ready to snap away. Our first destination was St. Paul's Cathedral. Simply breathtaking! But as you can see, we got as far as the grand steps of the Cathedral when we found it was closed for Good Friday. We had a full day planned anyway so we just made plans to return another day.


Then we walked along the River Thames to the Tower of London. We spent over 3 hours at the Tower of London where we saw the Crown Jewels (stored there since 1303), the King Henry VIII Dressed to Kill Armory Tour (in honor of his 500th birthday), the Yeoman Warder Tour and where Anne Boleyn was beheaded and where other such violent acts were committed. Very cool stuff. Our Yeoman Warder tour guide Simon actually took a liking to me. But then a few days later at Hampton Court, King Henry VIII's Queen Catherine Parr took a liking to Randy and made him her Master of the Horses, so we're even. No hard feelings.
*** AMY just posted her Tower of London pics! They are sooo good! But then, she's a pro. Amy visited Miranda just days before we arrived. She has the best pics of our Yeoman Warder tour guide Simon. Yes, they had the same one. He's the best! Did I mention? He liked me.




I was in awe of the fact that I was in the midst of ruins that date back to the 13th Century! And Miranda, she's amazing! She knows the history of everything we saw. She's like Randy, retains everything she has ever heard. Unlike her Mom.



Check this out! I mean, what an honor to bestow on the Tower of London- Loo of the Year! And worthy of the honor, I might add.


Simon told us on our tour that all the Yeoman Warder's live at the Tower of London behind all the aqua blue doors. (he didn't call them aqua blue, I did) The Towers resident Doctor and Chaplain live behind these two doors. I went wild over all the colored doors throughout London... all throughout the United Kingdom for that matter! I'll be doing a post dedicated to all those colorful doors I took pictures of. Btw, I took over 1200 pics! And no, I won't bore you with them all. Just some.


We then went on to Trafalgar Square, the Portrait Gallery, Piccadilly Circus (like Times Square) and Leicester Square. The dark, dreary, drizzly weather did not make for many photo ops. But we loved our first day in London! Oh and Miranda introduced us to Minstels. Oh my gosh, the best candy ever! Thank God, only sold in the UK!
Then it was the tube back to Waterloo and the train back to Egham. And there at the Hub was our lost luggage!! We brought Peanut Butter MnM's and Almond MnM's for Miranda, for Easter! So, party time!