Monday, March 29, 2010

"That's it!! We're done!!"

Would you ever ask me to go on a trip with you? I mean, really? Do you read this blog?

Apparently, my friend Janae does not.

My poor, little, sick friend friend asked me to go with her to the Cleveland Clinic. She needed to get a MRA/MRI on her stomach.

Janae picked me up at 9:30 in the morning on Tuesday and we set out for the day. In the car, there was a Starbucks coffee waiting for me (The mark of a true friend. She even ordered it right...1/2 decaf with cream.) That would be last thing thing either of us would have for a long time. She couldn't eat for 4-6 hours prior to the test. Since we were on a 4 hour car trip (one way). I decided that I would not eat or drink either. I mean, how mean would that be?

We arrived a little after 2 for an appointment that was supposed to be at 2:40. She was called back about 3.

About 4:30, I decided I might start eating my book... one page at a time. But then I looked at the 14 year old bald girl, with the knit hat, sitting in a wheelchair across from me who also had not eaten all day. (I overheard. I'm not nosey), and I decided I could wait.

Plus I felt really sorry for her. Her mom was a jerk. She kept snapping at her and talking really mean to her. But then, that same mom would say these really funny things too. For instance, the wait was getting to everyone and I got the sense that waiting like this was not the norm. So, one time, the mom glanced over at the obligatory waiting room fish tank and said, "I think I'm going to go stick my head in that fish tank and drown myself."

I wanted to laugh really hard at that comment, but I didn't want to give her the satisfaction of thinking she was funny.

When I finally saw Janae again around 5, I had a hard time containing myself while telling her about the fish tank comment. Waiting rooms + no food... that'll do it to you.

Janae's test was 15 minutes. When they called her back, they just stuck her in another waiting room about 50 feet from the one I was sitting in. We each sat by ourselves for 2 hours. Geesh! At least I had a book.

The reason for the excruciating wait... a church burnt down the night before. A church that was practically connected to the Cleveland Clinic. That church... it had been standing since the early 1800's. The day before I came, it burnt down. I'm afraid it wasn't a coincidence. I'm afraid it just goes with the territory. (I'm the territory.)

Anyway, the smoke shut down the main MRI wing, so everyone had to be shuffled over to this other wing. And, just to top it off, one of those MRI machines was broken.

So, as we walked all over THE CITY that is the Cleveland Clinic, the faint smell of smoke was in the air. We made our way to Janae's doctor, so she could talk to her... for approximately 3 minutes.

Well, ok then!

The next order of business was to eat. Since we hadn't eat all day, we decided to treat ourselves to something really nice. We even went on a wild goose chase... and I am pretty sure it was out of the way to find... a Chick-Fil-A.

Yep! That's what the sick one wanted and so I said, "My pleasure." And, by way of that comment, you should be able to tell that we eat there often. Maybe she thinks that's the only place we can eat. Because... now that I think about it... I think the only other place we've eaten together was at a tapas bar in Chicago. And, Starbucks.... we drink a lot of coffee. Hmmm... we're gonna have to broaden our horizons.

Anyway, we made a random stop at some outlet mall... shopped for about 45 minutes.  When we were about 75 minutes away from home, I realized we had been together almost 12 hours, and we had not managed to run out of conversation for even 5 minutes.

About 10 after 9, I was driving her car and noticed that the gas light was on. So, I interrupted her and said, “Hey! Your gas light is on!”

Now, before I tell you what she said, let me say this... anytime I have to use my Paul's car, you can almost take it to the bank that it’s on empty and that little gas light is screaming at me. I always run in and yell at him and he always says, “OH! You’ll be fine. You can go another 30 miles!”

So, when I told Janae her gas light was on what I heard her say was, “Oh you can go for awhile! What she actually said was, “You should get off at the next exit.”

Exits had come and gone and we were just talking away... I mean we only had another hour together so we had to get it all in.

All of a sudden I felt the car lose power as I continued to push on the gas pedal. According to Janae (because this is her favorite part of the story) (but keep in mind, there were no other witnesses, so this information is disputable.) According to Janae, I threw my hands in the air and I said, "That's it!! We're done!!"

I managed to get to the shoulder of the HIGHWAY and roll within a half mile of the exit. After we stopped laughing, we got out of the car and started walking.

To steer clear of the semi trucks that were blowing past us at 90 mph, we walked in the grass which was uneven and muddy. Very pleasant.

We got to the gas station, bought a gas can, filled it and walked back.

Once we finally got back to the car, we had to put the gas can together. Who knew!

Keep in mind... it's dark and we're on a highway. With cars. And trucks. Driving by. Fast.

To put it mildly, we had a hard time with that stupid plastic jug. I'm pretty sure that the majority of the gas rolled down the car onto the road. Finally, we just decided to see if we managed to get enough in the tank to start the car and get us to the gas station.

We did.

14 hours after our day began, we were home.

Paul was not happy with me about the whole running out of gas incident. I said to him the next day, "Well, if it helps, I wasn't a bit scared."

He looked at me like I was growing a third eye or something and he said, "Neither were the people of Pompeii before it started raining lava on them!!"

(I don't even know what that means.)

But, it probably didn't help that that made me laugh really hard. We thought Janae's husband, Michael, would be the one that got mad. Instead, Janae found this laying in the kitchen the next day:

The picture cracks me up.  I am the one saying. "This is fun!"  And, check out Janae's hair.

P.S The moral of the story is... when your gas light comes on, get gas. I know that should go without saying, but.... I'm just saying.

P.S.S. Really weigh your options before inviting me along on a trip.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Deep Kimchi

I'm in deep kimchi.... in more ways than one.

First of all, I know I'm in it with some of you all. I said I would post every day last week and I really was going to make the goal... but my computer had to go to the Mac doctor on Friday. I couldn't get A (say uh) screen. NOTHING!!

Therefore, my hands were tied, but I do apologize anyway.


Oh, and deep kimchi... that saying... it has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

And.... the honeymoon period with our exchange student... well, it's over. Just like that!

A little over a week ago, we asked Sue what she missed the most about Korea. She said the food.

We were like, "Uh... don't you miss your parents?"

"Not really." was her reply.

In all fairness to her, she does talk to them every day and she video chats with them too. So, I can appreciate the food being a fair answer.

Have you ever been to a foreign country? Then you really can't judge.

So, last weekend, we got her some Korean food. She was in heaven; it was written all over her face.

But, what I didn't know then is that it would ignite a fire that would burn out of control.

The next thing I knew, there was a giant box on my front porch full of Korean food... from her mom... in Korea!! That was Saturday afternoon.

First thing Sunday morning, Sue dove into that box of food. Now, I know this is not going to sound nice.... AT ALL, I just can't think of another way to describe it. I walked down the stairs on Sunday and turned to go into the kitchen and it was as though I walked into someone's rear end. I'm not kidding! It was so awful!

Sue was warming up some kimchi. Now, I am not sure if you know what kimchi is... I am not sure that I know nor do I want to know. But, it's some kind of cabbage that is grown and then stuck in some pot under the ground for.... too long. It ferments and.... I don't know really. I have a hard time talking about it.

I thought I was going to die all day yesterday.

But, now.... I think I'm going to be rich soon. I think I have found the secret to losing weight. Have a Korean move in and make food. Seriously, I feel like I live in a giant cabbage fart. Every time I open the refrigerator I want to hurl... or dive into the trash can... because that would smell better. SERIOUSLY, what am I going to do? I'm even considering setting the frig on fire. There are 2 huge bags of kimchi in the refrigerator and 2 in the freezer. I can't get through all that kimchi. I knew things were going too good!! I just would have never guessed food to be the deal breaker.

This is what started it all on Saturday March 13, 2010. Kimchi
That dish was good... if you could get past the noodles looking like worms... which I could not.
Big surprise, I know!
This is spicy chicken... which I LOVE. I know... big surprise again.

And, on Korean food night, only my son could figure out how to eat a hot dot with chopsticks. Again, really not all that surprising... if you know him.

Sorry for being so crass in this post, but if you had to smell that smell every time you opened your refrigerator or freezer, you'd be crass too!

P.S. It cost $160 to send that box. I guess it would be wrong to "accidently" lose any other boxes that come here from Korea, huh?

Darn it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I was assaulted

I was assaulted.

This is a very difficult thing for me to talk about. I may even need some counseling when it's all said and done.

It involves my teeth. My teeth are kind of like a house that has been cheaply remodeled. A cheaply remodeled house shows really well. Everything is freshly painted, new and clean. However, once the house begins being lived in, the paint chips easily, the carpet wears quickly and shoddy repair jobs show begin to show themselves.

My teeth are nice and straight. My bite is perfect. And, for the most part, my teeth are pretty white. But, it's all a facade. I had many cavities when I was younger and the fillings were huge. I have had at least 8 teeth pulled to make room for other teeth. I had an expander to make my palate bigger. I've had braces. I've had root canals. I have a bridge and 5 crowns and I am currently waiting on my 6th crown.

Because my fillings from my younger years we so big, my molars have begun to fracture.
Therefore, every once in awhile, I'll be eating something and then begin to chew part of a tooth.

Oh, it's lovely!

I am especially excited when part of the root is exposed and I find myself looking for a cement wall to bang my head against.... because that would feel better!

Clearly, I have not had the best of luck with my pearly whites. And, you know what, that's bad. I have spent way too much time in that dental chair. I have had too many shots of novacaine and I have spent way too much money on this mouth of mine.

Because of that, the last thing I should have to worry about is being assaulted while I am there. And, the last two times, I consider myself to have been violently assaulted.

The dental hygienist who assists at the end of the crown procedure is busty to say the least. I mean, her and Dolly Parton... well, they have a lot in common. But, that's no excuse. There has got to be a better approach to the fitting of my crown than having to sit there with this ladies breast pushed against the side of my head/temple of my face.

I'm pretty sure I turn about 27 different kinds of red because she's always asking, "Are you ok?"
How in the world do I answer that?

Because I want to yell, "No. As a matter of fact, I am not ok!!!!" It's never going to be ok with me to have your boob resting on my head!! You need a reduction or a different approach a different angle or better yet... YOU NEED A NEW JOB!!!"

Instead, I appear nice and calm. And red. I think she constantly thinks I am about to pass out and I probably am. I think I hold my breath. I think... that... somehow holding my breath makes it all better. It'll make the boob go away.

The moral of the story is this: should you ever hear me screaming at a boob, in the middle of the night, in my sleep, you will know why. And, now because you know about it, you won't think less of me.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good Medicine

Last Wednesday, I had to go to the dentist. After 27 shots of novacaine, a new gold crown and a new temp crown for a new broken tooth, I went to Target to meet my friend Janae. She watched Emme while I went to the torture chamber (aka the dentist).

We found ourselves in the card section reading cards. And, before you say something like, "Sounds like you two need more to do." You should know that on Tuesday (the day before), Janae started on a high dose of steroids and a low dose of a chemotherapy pill for some weird syndrome she has called Churg Strauss. Just go read about it. It'll depress you enough to find a friend and run to the nearest card store so you can laugh too.

And, my excuse, when the whole left side of your face is dumb and your tongue feels like a giant sausage, you don't really feel like being productive.

So, we planted ourselves in the card section and laughed until we cried, really. Some older lady and her husband kept starring at us. Finally, she came over and read a card or two with us. Laughing is contagious and good medicine, did you know that?

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

We laughed the hardest at the following card:

.... and we are STILL laughing about it!!

A great friend and laughing really hard..... it doesn't get much better than that!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Final thoughts on London and The Great Wolf Lodge

I have some final thoughts to share with you on London and it's mostly terminology that was different than ours and caused me to chuckle. (I'm not sure I like the word chuckle... I kinda want to delete that.)

Here we go...
Do not ever say pants unless you mean to talk about your underwear. Randy and fanny... can't even write about it. You're going to have to use your imagination.

Here is the clean list:

petrol station= gas station
abnormal load... ex. a swimming pool=wide load
to let=for rent
clotted cream= a type of whip cream with really bad stuff in it
choco dust= hot chocolate
lift= escalator or elevator
take away=carryout
child minder= babysitter
give way=yield
dual carriage way=highway

Other interesting things: eggs on hamburgers, mayo with chips (fries). They end lots of sentences with "Right?"- somehow their statements become questions. People are called "mates" a lot. Guys here call girls chicks, they call them birds. (I'm not kidding!) They didn't have any cream for coffee, only milk. I hate milk in my coffee.

I loved England, but there's not place like the good ol' USA!!!

While words in England cracked me up, I am also amused by how we treat foreigners.

Just so we're clear, when I say we, I mean my family.

We were picked up at the airport by Paul's parents and all our children. Since it was dinner time, the kids voted to go to Cracker Barrel. (I was not about to get off a plane and go home and cook.) My mom also met us for dinner. Since we are a family of 7 right now (with our exchange student, Sue), we needed a rather large table to seat all ten of us. Paul and I were at one end and Paul's dad was at the other end seated next to Sue.

Sue does pretty well on her own, but she needs some translation every once in awhile. We found out she most definitely needed some help ordering off a southern menu. I didn't realize this since I was at one end of the table and she was at the other. Plus, since my kids hadn't seen me in a week and their dad in 2 weeks, their little mouths were going 100 miles an hour... and Paul's mom was intent to keep up with them. Needless to say, my nerves were shot!

When the server got to Sue to take her order, she had no idea what she wanted to order. All of a sudden, I heard Shelby, who is seated across from me, yell out, "She's from South Korea. She probably needs some help!"

Geesh! Let's just draw some attention to the poor girl who's been in the country for about 3 weeks. Meanwhile, Paul's dad joins in and tries to help her. He asked the server at least 4 times if they had anything with rice. Are you kidding me? It was all I could do not to take a biscuit and wing it at him square between the eyes.

Just because she's from Korea doesn't mean she wants rice for every meal!!!

That poor girl! If she doesn't leave here and need some counseling, it will be a miracle. She ended up ordering popcorn shrimp and who knows what else. I do know it wasn't rice though.

Who let us have a foreign exchange student?

And, since we are on restaurants and servers, let me tell you about the one we had at the Great Wolf Lodge recently. We took the kids there a week after we returned home. It's a little tradition we have with them. We take them in the winter in the middle of the week when no one else is there. We have the place almost completely to ourselves. It is so fun.

For the last 2 years, we have gone with our friends the Nangles. They have 3 children.

There is a restaurant in the Great Wolf Lodge and we have always chosen to have a meal there. The food is excellent. Last year, the 4 adults all ordered a sandwich that came on a soft pretzel. Apparently, the menu changed a bit and none of us could find that sandwich on the menu. When we asked our server about it, she said, "We've never had a sandwich come on a pretzel?"

Now, I might be crazy, but the other 3 adults I was with... well, there not as crazy as your truly. So, we were all very confused seeing how we could not forget this sandwich that we all loved last year. The best we could get out of her was that the sliders now came on pretzel buns.

Each couple decided to order 2 different entrees to share. Paul got the sliders. They most definitely did not come on pretzel buns. When our friends, Greg and Jennifer got their sandwich, they were trying to figure out what was it. Well, since I have this really strange memory for useless information, I told them that their mystery ingredient was a fried cheddar cheese plank. Now, I have no idea what that is... I just remember reading it. Apparently, they didn't believe me, so when our server came back around, they asked her. She told them it was a green pepper. I about spit my food across the room! It was clearly not a green pepper. It wasn't even green. That right there confirmed my suspicion that this lady was whacked.
A bit later, she came back to the table. Now, keep in mind, we all look terrible. Our hair has that matted, wet look. We're not dressed appropriately for eating a meal, in a restaurant, in the winter. BUT we totally look like we are dressed and look exactly the way people at an indoor water park should look. It didn't stop this lady from going down to the kids at the other end of the table, bending over and putting her hands on her knees and she saying, "Have you kids been to the water park?", like they were a bunch of preschoolers.

I looked at Paul and our friends and I said, "There's a water park here?"

I mean that was about the stupidest question I have ever heard!!!

For the next 10 minutes, I proceeded to laugh really hard... at my own joke. (They laughed too!) I still think it's funny. What does that say about me?

Why do you people come back here?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

London Day 5-Bury St. Edmonds

When our friend and tour guide, Tom, said we were going to Bury St. Edmonds on our last day in England, I thought the name of the town sounded so cool. That is until... I realized that the name Bury St. Edmonds... is where they buried St. Edmonds. Then it didn't sound so cool anymore.

Before we went to the dead guy's town, we made a stop at Tesco, a popular grocery store in England. Tom needed to pick up a few food requests that his family had given him prior to his trip.

Apparently, one of the cravings of the family who used to live in England (Tom's family) was for Digestives. Digestives, one of the many things that cracked me up in England.
A digestive is supposed to be a substance promoting digestion. It was a cookie for the love of Pete made by McVitie's... which Paul decided sounded like dog food. Now, why in the world would they call a cookie a digestive? It did kinda resemble saw dust once you started chewing it up. But, it was a good kind of saw dust. It was kinda like a Keebler cookie with the chocolate on the top. After you swallowed the saw dust, you did sort of want more. Maybe saw dust is good for digestion. I don't know?!

We hadn't had breakfast since the place that had plastic coffee and rubber food. So, since it was morning and we were in a grocery store, Paul decided he wanted some doughnuts. But because he's cheap, he bought the ones that were a day old. Rich tried taking a bite... it was like leather. I'm not kidding. It took 5 minutes to get the first bite off the doughnut and into the mouth. It was totally not even worth eating, but the challenge made you keep going.

The sign above my head says: The Abbey Gate destroyed by the townspeople in 1327 rebuilt in 1347. I was still obsessing over doors. I liked that door. Clearly.
I liked that door too. I also have a fascination with openings like that. What does that say about me? And, while you're analyzing that maybe you can tell me why when I take a nap during the day, even if it's only for 10 minutes, do I have a dream that I am driving and I close my eyes and I can't get them back open? I desperately try to get them open and then I shoot up in a panic to get awake. So weird!
I like the way the sun was coming in through the trees.
I was a bit confused by the whole visit to this place. I think I was done touring. Don't get me wrong, I could have stayed in England longer, I just needed a rest. My mind didn't want to take in anymore.

The best I could make out of this place was there was a big parish built on this property. The people didn't like the way the parish was running the town so the townspeople revolted and burnt the place down. The Abbey Gardens is a beautiful garden/park area with the ruins of the parish. Don't quote me on any of that. I am still trying to figure out who St. Edmonds was and where they buried him.
The Abbey Gate
The cathedral on the grounds of the parish. By the way, I had also seen enough cathedrals to last me a lifetime. But, Paul had not. Before we went into the gardens, Paul and Sarah (Tom's daughter) said, "Hey! We're just going to run down and peak in the cathedral real quick."

Yeah right!

Tom and Rich had to go fish them out. They were on a tour with a priest... just talking away. They had even connected the priest to some family member of his back in our home town. Leave it to Paul!
The gardens was a peaceful, beautiful place. I can't imagine what it would have been like with the flowers in full bloom. They had just been planted.
Some of the ruins with the sun steaming in on them.

I thought this ruin looked like an obscene gesture.
And, that one looked like a duck. Sarah said, "The bird and the duck... right next to each other!" Haha!! Get it?
The place where the Magna Carta was drafted. The Magna Carta was the forerunner to the constitution... whatever that means. Paul tried to explain it to me, but I had already checked out.

After walking around the gardens, we headed over to the open market and the shops across the street. I didn't see any acid drops... just in case you were wondering.
How cute is that place?
Do I even need to say anything?
The smallest pub in England. It was called the Nutshell. It's 15ft by 7ft. It seats about ten people with room for about another half a dozen standing. We did hear that one time, they got 120 people in that place. Shoot me now! I could not have been one of those 120.

Paul, Tom and Rich peeked their heads inside to ask the locals where to eat in ol' Bury St. Edmonds. All at once the 4 guys seated turned and said, "Mason Arms!"

So guess where we went to eat? Mason Arms.

I was unsure of the menu even after we had finished eating. Just keep reading...
On the menu was a peanut butter, sweet chili and chicken panini. Is that not one of the grossest food items EVER!? So, I ordered it. Ok, I didn't. I was actually pretty sick of food, so I just ordered onion rings.
And, I know they look disgusting and like they are burnt BUT they were seriously the BEST onion rings I have ever had!
I'm going to let you read the dessert menu at your own risk. We were mortified and we didn't order that dessert of any other dessert for that matter. FYI... it does not say 'spotted duck'.
Guess what? I liked the door and that little place in general. I also liked the brick streets.

We left Bury St. Edmonds and went to another pub for dinner. I ordered onion rings, again. They were nothing like the ones in the dead man's town, darn it!

The next morning we got up and left. We flew from London to Dublin. In Dublin, we checked in and the lady said, "Go straight to your gate."

We looked at each other and we were like, "Why!? We've got a whole hour!"

So, we went and got some breakfast. I paid $5 for a Starbucks coffee... when all of a sudden I remembered... I can't take it with through security. Shoot! Thankfully, Rich's flight was several hours away, so I gave it to him.

We went to get in line for security and when we got there our jaws fell open and hit the ground. There was a sea of people. No wonder she told us to go straight to our gate. We had 30 minutes until our flight left and the line was moving no where fast. After sweating bullets for 30 minutes, they told us our flight would be held. When we walked onto the plane, one stewardess yelled out, "These are the last 2!"

6 flights and I almost missed 4 . Sheww!!

******** I'M NOT KIDDING!**********

Friday, March 12, 2010

London Day 4-Cambridge

Day 4- The pictures may be a bit out of the order of our day. It was too much work to change them. I had to make sure I got this post done... because I like to do what I say I will do. Yesterday, I said there would be a new post today, so..........

We spent the whole day at Cambridge University on day 4 of our trip. It is one of the world's oldest universities. Cambridge comprises 31 Colleges and over 150 departments, faculties, schools and other institutions.

Just to be honest with you, I don't get that at all. How can a university have 31 colleges. 31 colleges that all function as their own property with their own income. I'm so confused. We climbed a tower to see the whole area and that didn't help me a bit. It all looked like one big town to me. So, I haven't really spent a lot of time thinking about it since I left. I just know a bunch of smart people attend there and when I was looking at colleges, I didn't apply. (Probably because I'd never even heard of it:-) (at the time of applying for colleges). For real.

I loved spending the day at Cambridge. Crazy that the place is 800 some years old. How cool is that? I think that's why I loved the whole experience. In the U.S. ( I LOVE my country) our oldest buildings can't be much more than 200 years old. It's just amazing to think that buildings can stand that long and that there is so much history there. And, they have done an amazing job of mixing old and new. For instance, they have a mall built in the midst of the old market area, but it works. It didn't feel like it was out of place at all.

The streets and walkways are so cool. Some looked like ceramic tile while others were brick and cobblestone.
I just wanted to remember the streets as I looked down and the roads. I constantly felt like I was on a movie set.

We spent some time walking around the open market in Cambridge. After some time there, we concluded they were trying to kill us.

I mean, seriously... acid drops! What does that even mean?

If the acid didn't kill us, the licorice CABLES would. Cables, yeah... pretty sure they could run some electricity through those cables... geesh!

The white building is Auntie's tea shop where we ate lunch. And, Paul was not one bit happy about it either. I'll get there.

Here we go... out of order.

On the way to Cambridge, we drove through New Castle which is home to millions and millions of dollars of thoroughbred horses. People were riding horses every where.

Our receipt from Auntie's Tea Shop. You probably can't read it, but they called us couverts. Couverts 6. What's up with that? I thought covert meant secret or hidden. I felt like we were some kind of secret agents or something.

Paul and Tom eating scones and putting on their "British" faces.

Paul's best British face... according to him. I thought he looked like a dork, but he didn't care.

One of our coverts, Rich, went out to take a picture of us. He thought they were really cool pictures because the cathedral that was outside the window, could be seen in the window's reflection.
By the way, Paul was mad we were eating there because all 6 of us were trying to squeeze around this little tiny round table. It really was ridiculous. He was squished up against the window and his legs were quickly falling asleep. We did finally get another small round table so it was much better. Paul had a panini and thought it was the best sandwich he had ever eaten. Big baby! Just kidding, no one else knew he was mad... but since I know him so well, as I should, I could read it all over him.
Loved the buildings and loved the cup I was holding in my hand. Yep, Starbucks! Mmmm!

Still got my Starbucks... or was that my 2nd one of the day? Hmm... doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I look like I am about 100 years old. What the heck!!?? I think I was worn out! Whirlwind trip! I lost a night's sleep and then I was on Day #4 of walking for 12 hours per day... in the cold.... and the rain.

BUT, I must not have looked too bad because... oh yeah, here comes a story.:-)

About 4pm, I decided I needed a break from all the people I had been with the last 4 days. I very clearly stated (much to Paul's chagrin) that I wanted to go off by myself so I could run in and out of stores at my leisure. I finally had to pull the age card out, "I am almost 40 years old (OUCH... 38 years old) I think I can go off by myself for a bit!"

They let me go. Don't mess with a woman who has had little sleep, who is PMSing and who wants to shop! Seriously!

I made my way down down the road and as I was about to cross the street, I noticed 2 African American men who looked like they were doing some sort of job on the corner of this crazy busy college community. One said something to me and then the other held out his hand to shake mine. I was in motion to offer my hand when I decided against it. Something just didn't feel right, so I ignored him and kept on walking. He yelled at me and told me he would wait for me. I walked into the store, NEXT, looked around for probably 5 minutes and then walked out the doors.

As I walked out and turned to head down the street, I heard, "I told you I would wait for you." Same man... now following me. I kept walking glancing behind me as I went. It wasn't long until he was gone. Sheww!

I then proceeded to run in and out of stores. I was specifically looking for a pair of boots. I finally found a pair I loved... and guess how much they cost? 327 POUNDS!!! That's approximately $572. Since that was about the amount of my plane ticket, I decided that purchasing those boots would be an unwise decision.

Then I was depressed. I went into an Apple store. Read my email, sent an email and then I decided I could at least afford a decaf Americano from Starbucks. So I headed back to the exact spot where I had bolted from the rest of my travel companions.

As I was approaching Starbucks, I saw the 3 guys I was with (including Paul) hiding their faces so I would not notice them. They were not about to mess with me after my rant about needing to shop by myself. I told them I was getting coffee and they told me they'd be back to get me soon.

I got my coffee and sat outside to drink it. That's the interesting thing about England. It's a weird cold there and it's rainy, but people still hang outside.

As I was enjoying my drink, a very "Cambridge" looking young man approached me. He was wearing a long navy coat complete with a stripped scarf, presumably from his college. He had round, wire-rimmed glasses on and he was holding an umbrella. I knew he was approaching me, so I began talking to myself, "Oh great! Here we go! This guy is probably going to give me some kind of religious talk and I am really not in the mood. I already love Jesus! He should be able to tell by looking at me."

As he got closer, this is what I heard him say, "Are you an unhappy girl?"

To myself, "I knew it. He thinks I am not happy and he's going to let me know he has the answer."

My actual reply was, "No, I am not an unhappy girl. I am tired; I have been walking a lot."

He gave me a bit on an interesting look and then he said some other things. I can not for the life of me recall what in the world he said because I had no context for the information he was spouting. It was as if I should already know exactly what he was saying. After a few seconds, probably because of the confused stare I was giving this young man, he said, " Are you not Abby from Mexico?"


Seriously, aside from my dark hair, there's not a hint of Mexican in me.

Poor fellow, red faced and all, apologized and excused himself. He turned around and ran right into a girl. They said a few words and then he turned back around to me and pointing to her he said, "Abby. From Mexico."

Abby too looked like she belonged in Cambridge. A far cry from the 38 year old with the mom jeans. (KIDDING!!! I do not wear mom jeans!)

But, seriously, do these things happen to anyone else.

I did walk around the rest of the night with a bit more confidence. After all, a smart young Cambridge man thought I was his blind date. I must have not looked 100 years old after all.

(For the record, I think his first question to me was: "Are you Abby girl?" NOT "Are you an unhappy girl?")

SO... since my day in pictures is way out of whack... let's go back to lunchtime. After lunch at the Tea Shop, we walked across the street to a cathedral. In the cathedral, we paid a small fee to climb their tower so we could get a bird's eye view of this old university.
There was a wire gate surrounding the platform right in the way of all my pictures. I took a lot of pictures, like the one above.... until I noticed all the rectangles, (more than one... lots more than one) cut in the wire so that people could take pictures. I would have never got into any one of those 31 Cambridge colleges. Dang it!!
There's a view of the Open Market. Somewhere down there someone could be buying acid drops.
Look at the buildings... they are so beautiful! And, old!
I'm so glad he looks like a dork standing there.
And, there's dorky me. With my Starbucks.
Kings College

Entrance to another college... I just forget which one.
The detail on these buildings was just crazy!

"I'll take one of everything!"

Paul made us go to a service in that cathedral at Kings College. He wanted to hear the King's College Men's Choir. When it was over, he said something like, "Wasn't that powerful?" The 5 of us looked at each other like, "Were we all just in the same place? Cause having shards of glass in our eyeballs would have been equally as painful?"

Glad he enjoyed it. 3 minutes of it and I would have been good to go for the rest of my life. 45 minutes.... I'll refrain from further comments.

The tower we climbed.

Jesus Lane... see the teeny sign on the wall?
After that enlightening service, Paul said, "We're going to go to a pub that's a little less established for dinner. This pub has only been around since the 1500's." Haha!

I opted for the fish and chips... one more time... along with the mushy peas, which I did not touch. When my meal came, Paul said, "Is that fish or is that a WHALE?"

Still makes me crack up!

Us... at the less "established" pub.
An explanation of their unique ceiling... uh, which you can't really see. It had a bunch of writing on it.

So, don't you people have any comments anymore? I tell you all these embarrassing things... I take you all on my trip to England and I get nothing in return?