Monday, August 31, 2015


I am dying to publish all my thoughts, stories and adventures from England while they are still fresh in my mind, however it is going to have to come out in stages. The whole 10 days was absolutely magical, and I musn't leave out a single detail!

Let's start around... afternoon tea. That really was the highlight of my first day in England. After we landed, took the train/tube to the B&B and got all settled in, we set forth into the madness of London. I've never seen so many people in my life. We went to the British Museum, which is massive and needs 10 days all to itself in order to properly be explored. We focused our wanderings to the Egyptian exhibits, and spent quite of bit of time trying to track down the Rosetta Stone. There were so many huge sculptures and pillars its amazing that they managed to transport it all.

At the Museum they have a lovely little tea room that we ate at for dinner. Mom and I got the afternoon tea with lemon and ginger, and of course it came with little sandwiches, cupcakes, and scones with clotted cream. Lovely. Just lovely.

After that we wandered about Trafalgar Square, and briefly visited Big Ben. Exhausted, we got back on the tube and went back to the B&B, but took a quick detour to go visit Abbey Studios (the B&B was just around the corner from Abbey Rd.).

We fell asleep around 9 that night, and then woke up around 1 a.m. totally awake. Stupid jet lag.

The next day we took a coach tour of Leed's Castle, Canterbury, and Dover.

Leed's is a very old castle, built in the 1100's if I remember correctly. It was the home of a couple of queens, and sometimes used as a place to hold secret meetings. The large moat made for great security. It was used until sometime in the 17's and 18's when, I think, the landowners tried to spruce it up, but it became too expensive so it just kind of fell into disrepair. A wealthy heiress bought and restored the place in the early 1900's. It's a gorgeous castle, with a very interesting 20's flair.

Next we went to Canterbury to see the cathedral. I. Love. Cathedrals. It's funny because in my teen years I never had any interest in going to Europe and seeing old things, I thought it would be boring. Then I went to Belgium and I discovered my love for old churches and cathedrals.

It's the details that make them so special. I love how the floors feel wavy and uneven as you walk over them, no doubt worn down over centuries of foot traffic. I love finding small inscriptions of names and dates scratched into the stone from hundreds of years ago. Vandalism has been around for a long, long time.

Next was Dover. What a beautiful beach, unlike any other I've been to. Our tour guide was certain it was too cloudy to see France, but the sun came out several times and France was quite visible. My camera's lens was not quite up to the task of capturing it, but you can faintly see the coast in the distance.

When we got back to London we ate at the crypt cafe. It was so strange eating in a room with floors covered in grave markers. The food was very good, in fact, I might just devote an entire blog post just for the food. But that will have to wait until tomorrow!

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Few More

I neglected a mention a rather large project my parents undertook while I was living at home this summer. It made for a grueling 8 weeks or so. We had no kitchen, and instead had to wash all our dishes in the laundry room sink, and keep our fridge in the garage. Honestly, I listen to myself complain about it now and I think "that's really not that bad". I've spent summers cooking and cleaning in much more primitive environments, after all. It was just a bit of a pain having to go to 3 or 4 different places in the house to gather ingredients, find a place to prepare the food, and then taking it all into the small laundry room to clean it. First world problems. 

So here's a shot looking into the kitchen from the living room. Mom (and a little bit Dad, I think?) did an incredible job designing this kitchen. Mom has always had a knack for interior design.

Soap Stone backsplash. Lovely.

My favorite part is most definitely the bench. It's the perfect little reading spot, and the cats love it, too.

When I first came home from college station the wall had been removed from kitchen, and the big opening put in place. I walked in and almost felt sad, like this wasn't the home I grew up in anymore. But now I see it all finished, it looks so nice and I'm feeling quite sad about leaving it. It's the people that make a house a home after all.

One more event I cannot neglect to record from this summer:

 I am SO grateful that I was able to attend my uncle Greg's paddle out and bench dedication. I couldn't go to his funeral a year ago when he passed, and I just felt awful about it. His paddle out was at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and I had work until 8:30 the night before. A friend rushed me to the airport after work on Friday, and I got on a flight to Reno around midnight. I spent 4 blurry hours in the Reno airport before getting on flight that got me into LA with just enough time to get to my cousins, eat, change, and head straight to the beach. We went back to Fort Worth around 5 Sunday morning. It was an exhausting 30 hours, but completely worth it. I am so glad I could be there. Uncle Greg's death was (still is) heartbreaking. I have so much respect for my aunt and cousins in how they've handled everything this past year. They are remarkable people. I love my family very much.

Here's my long-haired cousin enjoying the view from Greg's bench. It's truly an amazing piece of artwork, and people are going to admire it and it's view for years and years.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

So Average Recaps

Recently, my blog has turned into a series of recaps. I wouldn't feel so bad if it wasn't for the fact that I don't write in my journal frequently, either. Nevertheless, here is a quick recount of my summer thus far:

 I started out with a trip to see JENNA! The weather in Buffalo was gorgeous, it was the perfect time to be there. We ate buffalo wings (of course) and pizza, visited Palmyra and the Sacred Grove, and Niagara Falls; we went shopping, watched movies and Gilmore Girls, and had many, many laughs. I miss the roommate days. Wish we lived closer :(

I don't have many pictures following this trip because days after I got home I started a condensed statistics class at TCC. I can vaguely recall a few sensations from those 2 weeks... mostly confusion, migraines, lots of numbers, and that's about it.

After that I took a 6 week long Geology class. Booooorrrraaaannnggggg. I thought I would enjoy learning about rocks, but I actually found them quite dull. Well, some are metallic-y and sparkly, but mostly just dull. The only portion of the class I found interesting was the dating techniques and the fossils.

I also got a job at Great Clips this summer. So far it has been a great job, and I'm hoping to find a Great Clips in CStat that I can work in this fall.

 I've been spending a fair bit of time with Kelli, Nicole and Mariah this summer. Kelli is recently graduated with an art major, and she is a budding photographer. I just bought a new camera myself, and we have spent HOURS taking pictures around Fort Worth.

Mariah LOVES playing model, so we've used her several times. Also, Kelli's niece. 

I'm just starting to get the hang of it.

I have wanted a DSLR for a while now, but the prospect of going to England is what really made me start looking. I want to be able to document every detail of the trip as clearly as possible! 

I read two Jane Austen novels this summer, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Each time I read one of her novels I fall head over heels for whichever handsome and rich gentleman was portrayed in that novel. The first time I read Pride and Prejudice, I was dead set on finding a clone of Mr. Darcy. Then I read Sense and Sensibility, and MAN OH MAN that Colonel Brandon... I would definitely marry him. Even if he was 15 years older than me. Well after my readings this summer I think Captain Wentworth is who I should REALLY be looking for.