Thursday, March 31, 2005

TGI (almost) Friday

Have you ever had one of those weeks where every day felt like an entire week? I've been ready for this weekend since Monday. I've been crazy swamped and am looking forward to another site visit to our potential wedding venue tomorrow afternoon. If all goes well, we may very well have a date set tomorrow!

For some reason today I had a couple conversations with some of my co-workers about the length of time people know each other before they get married. Brent and I will have been together six years at the end of May. My parents, however, met on Thanksgiving and were married on December 14 - less than three weeks later - and were married for more than 25 years (before my father passed away). I tend to not frown upon people who get married after having known each for a short time like other people might. Having said that, I do know of couples who were only together a few months before getting married and then got divorced less than six month later. It's funny to see how there's no perfect formula for couples before they get married. It's all a game of chance - and I'm willing to take that bet! (Was that over the top? Too much? Couldn't help it!)

Have I mentioned that there are five of us at work who are engaged in an office of about 40 people? Actually, there are four of us engaged as one of them is on her honeymoon right now.

And totally off topic, but I'm really enjoying Michael Buble's new song "Feeling Good." It's so retro and James Bond and yummy. (By the way, Michael Buble is what you get when Harry Connick Jr. and John Mayer have a love child.) The whole album, It's Time, is actually pretty good. It has lots of remakes - Can't Buy Me Love, Mack the Knife, Save The Last Dance for Me. I'm also really enjoying the Fatboy Slim song "Wonderful Night." The video is hilarious!

"Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." - Charlie Parker

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Never Enough Jennifers

While I know there are lots of Jennifers in this world, I have a feeling that I may interact with more Jennifers than most. Poor Brent can't keep up with me when I discuss any of the Jennifers, a lot of which go by "Jen" (or "Jenn.") I usually have to describe them in some other way, as illustrated below.

South African Ballerina Jen - former co-worker and roommate, and now one of my closest friends. She's from South Africa and teaches ballet, as her name implies.

Former co-worker Jen (#2) - She and I are still good friends even though we don't work together anymore. When I mention her, I usually mention the company where we both worked as a clarifier.

Jen from SLO - We worked together while we were in college and both majored in journalism. We lost touch but through a strange twist of fate (aka Tori) we heard about each other's blogs and have kept in touch via those. Quite cool, if I do say so.

Crafty Jenn - Not crafty in the Beastie Boys sense, but rather crafty in the crafty sense. We've never met in person but are BFF via our blogs. Such a fun (and funny) gal, definitely check her sites if you haven't.

Current co-workers Jennifers - Technically, I have three of them, with two of them on my team.
That's a lot of Jennifers. In college, I had a lot of Marks in my life. It seemed like all my guy friends and a lot of my dates were name Mark. I guess, as that comedian once referenced, God isn't running out of extras in my life, just my extras' names.

Michael Bolton: Yeah, well at least your name isn't Michael Bolton.
Samir: You know there's nothing wrong with that name.
Michael Bolton: There was nothing wrong with it... until I was about 12 years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started winning Grammys.
- Office Space

How To Ensure You Stay Up All Night

Step 1: Drink a lot of Coke.

Step 2: Do a half hour of Dance Dance Revolution.

Step 3: Notice how alert your entire body is.

Step 4: Pray that you'll eventually go to sleep because you have to work in the morning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Love Me Some Fake Egg

When I was little and discovered that the Easter Bunny clucked like a chicken and laid eggs that I was supposed to eat....raw, I freaked out. Even if it was chocolate, I couldn't fathom the idea of eating something that looked like a raw egg on the inside. My parents never bought Cadbury Creme Eggs for me and I couldn't have been happier. Maybe it was something in mini-Nanette that thought there's no freakin' way the yellow candy can stay in the middle of the white candy and besides, things that look like raw eggs are for people who are trying to build muscle (as guys on tv and movies tended to be doing).

I don't know what changed my mind, but something must have happened after I graduated college. Maybe along with my diploma they handed me a Cadbury Certificate that enabled me to graduate from Peeps (which I've always thought I liked but in actuality, I don't) to Cadbury Creme Eggs.

Now that the Cadbury pimp is getting ready to leave, I'm afraid I'm going to go through withdrawals. I've had three this Easter season (ok, maybe four). If you see me shivering in the corner, just remind me that everything is going to be ok.

"Oompa loompa doopadee doo/I've got a perfect puzzle for you/Oompa loompa doopadee dee/ If you are wise you'll listen to me/What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?/Eating as much as an elephant eats?/What are you at getting terribly fat?/What do you think will come of that?/I don't like the look of it/Oompa loompa doopade dah/If you're not greedy you will go far/You will live in happiness too/Like the oompa loompa doopade do/Doopade do." - Oompa Loompas

Monday, March 28, 2005

Continued adventures

Since our computer is finally up and running, I thought I'd post some more pics from my European adventures.

We saw this dog on our way to the Eiffel Tower. I'm not a big pet person (I really hate cats because I'm allergic and they always seem to rub up on me), but this dog was so cute I had to stop and squeal. I loved it! It would be the perfect size for our condo! I don't want any mini dog - I want the one from this picture as it's probably French and says, "Le woof! Le woof!"
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This is where the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future live. They have wild parties with lots of keg stands, beer bongs and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Really: It's the Tower of London and this building specifically is where they kept lots of royals captive until they were executed.
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The people on the west side of the Thames River hate the people from the east side, so they developed this weapon to shoot people from the east side back to their side when get all up in their bizness. It's a crazy turf war.

Really: It's British Airways observation wheel (not ferris wheel) called the London Eye.
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In 900 BC this strange spaceship landed in London. Its inhabitants demanded bangers and mash and Kylie Minogue.

Really: It's London's city hall.
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Want to know the real reason Brad and Jen broke up? It was Shelby's fault. Homewrecker.

Really: Hanging out at Madame Tussauds.
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Britney Spears will pole dance for you if you give her 500 British pounds.

Really: She'll do it for free.
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Ay Poppy

Yesterday we joined Josh and Jami, our "married friends" who, as of last year, are actually our "married friends with an adorable baby," on a hike at the California Poppy Reserve. There were poppies as far as the eye can see. If not for my hay fever, asthma and out-of-shape physique, I might have been able to hike longer, but I don't think I held anyone back. We were all pooped by the time I gave out.

Here are a few of Brent's fine photos from the hike:

Poppies
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And more poppies
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Baby Hallie - She's adorable and giggly and so much fun!
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By the way, other potential titles for this post included Poppy Goes The Weasel, Soda Poppy, Poppy Scene, Orange You Glad I Didn't Say Poppy, and Poppy Idol.

Hardy, har, har.

"I wore flowers in my hair and meditated for hours on end. I was finding God all over the place... He kept ditching me." - "Reverend" Jim Ignatowski, Taxi

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Hello outside world

Yay! Brent fixed our computer! Not only did he fix our computer, but he was able to get our new printer/scanner hooked up. I can't remember the last time I had a working printer with a home computer. I always equate that a printer to work computers. Our new printer here is supposed to be nice enough to print photo-quality photos.

When we moved into our condo last September, we got most everything we needed within a couple weeks, including furniture and other household items. There were a few things, though, that we were just having a hard time deciding on - artwork and curtains for our bedroom. The sun's schedule has changed a bit so lately the sun has been shining really brightly into our bedroom around 6 a.m. Brent was waking up grumpy, so we finally decided to quit being so picky and get curtains this weekend. I'm happy to report that after a jaunt to IKEA we are now the proud owners of curtains and some mirrors and frames to decorate our walls.

Speaking of stuff that makes me happy, I've been trying a new Crystal Light product this week called Crystal Light On The Go. I tried the lemonade flavor because I think I'm still getting over the lack of lemonade in Europe (when you ask for lemonade, they bring you something similar to Sprite). I really like this product because Crystal Light typically only comes in the powders to make a pitcher and these On The Go packets encourage me to drink more water as they're really easy to mix into a bottle of water. Actually, I've been reading a lot about another product that I'm excited to try and has the potential to be better than CL On The Go. It's called True Lemon. I haven't seen it stores yet, but I am tempted to order a little box online. I told you I was the world's biggest consumer.

Today Brent and I also checked out a potential wedding venue. We didn't get an official tour, but as luck would have it, someone is getting married there today and we had an opportunity to see the potential set-up for a ceremony and reception. It was really, really nice and even though I've said all along that I don't want to get married outside because I don't want to be a sweaty bride, this place may very well have changed my mind.

"If life gives you lemons, make some kind of fruity juice." - Conan O'Brien

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It's A Boy

This post will be short as I'm running out of the office, but my brother just called and said he and his wife found out that their baby, due at the end of July, is going to be a boy! I'm going to have a nephew!

I have to note that while my brother and I aren't at all close and tend to not get along, I'm very excited to be an aunt. I love me some kids!

Gone but not forgotten

Our home computer is on the fritz right now so that's why you haven't heard from me in a while. I promise that I have not forsaken you! I'll try to post later today, but in the meantime to keep you busy, I have been curious about the following so feel free to post your responses.

  1. What TV shows are your must-sees each week? Mine include Lost, 24, Desperate Housewives, Real World, Road Rules.
  2. What's your favorite vacation spot? It can be somewhere you've been or somewhere you'd love to visit.
  3. Do you and your loved one have a song? If so, what is it?
  4. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? I usually give myself an hour but in a crunch I can get ready in as little as 10 minutes.
  5. Do you eat at home or dine out more?

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Do a little dance

I love my fiance, Brent. He's hilarious, creative, smart and loving. When I go away on vacation, he buys me presents. While I was gone, he bought me this, along with a dance mat:

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I've been doing it for the past hour and half and have burned more than 200 calories! Dancing! Ok, maybe not dancing - more like jumping around on arrows, but close enough. It features a workout mode where you can program how many calories you want to burn and it'll count down for you. Best of all, it actually features good dance music: Kylie Minogue, Dirty Vegas, Earth Wind and Fire, KC and the Sunshine band, etc.

I've never played a video game where I had to put on a sports bra. Tons of fun, so if you need me, that's where I'll be.

In addition, apparently while I was gone Brent had a revelation. Upon my return, he says, "While you were gone, I decided I like Jack Johnson." That's awesome because I've been trying to years to get Brent to like any of the 20/30-something male singer/songwriters I like. It's finally happening! By the way, you have to go here and check out the Jack Johnson video for Sitting, Waiting, Wishing. Whether or not you like his music the video concept is awesome.

"This song explains why I'm leaving home to become a stewardess." - Anita Miller (Zooey Deschanel), Almost Famous

Friday, March 18, 2005

Needing a vacation from my vacation

I have today off from work so I can recover from my two-week European vacation. Strangely, I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation, and Shelby feels the same way, so we both scheduled massages for ourselves as our bodies were worn, torn and tired from all the traveling. Yes, I know, woe is me for going to Europe. However, all the walking did a number on my feet, especially since they're used to sitting behind a desk all day, so I'm going to get a pedicure. I have random bruises and scrapes on my body, a lot of them from carrying my 50+ lb. luggage to and fro the 5 hotels where we stayed and numerous trains to get us from place to place. My massage is scheduled for 3 today, so I'll be doing that this afternoon. I may also drop by the nearby Michael's craft store and pick up some stuff to do a scrapbook of my vacation. I've stayed far away from scrapbooking in the past because I have somewhat of an addictive personality and could easily see myself becoming engulfed in scrapbooking supplies. I'm going to be very measured with this project, though, and keep it focused only on my recent travels.

The funny thing about traveling is trying to figure out what you're going to do while you're actual traveling. I read two books and finished knitting half of two scarves (I didn't bring enough yarn for either of the two projects with me to finish them). As for the books, I read my first autobiography ever, by Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis. The book, Scar Tissue, was a really good read. I've always been a fan of RHCP, especially Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Anthony led such a crazy life, even as a kid. I read the book during downtown in our hotels and mostly on the trains between London and Paris. It was actually Shelby's book, which she bought because she likes reading biographies. I may have to pick up a few more myself.

On the flight home yesterday I read a British book called Namedropper by Emma Forest. It was a really quick read (well, a few hours - I read the entire thing from start to finish on the plane). I especially enjoyed it because it references lots of things from London - underground stops, streets, pubs, etc. The author also had an amazing way with words.

As mentioned, I finished half of two scarves, pictured below.

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I was working on the second one (the red one) on the plane when some nearby passengers stopped to compliment me on it. They asked about the needle size (11), the number of stitches across (16) and how many skeins - balls of yarn - I'd need to finish it (probably 3, maybe 4). Even the flight attendants stopped to admire it. It was quite funny. On my flights to and from London I wore one of my Cal Poly sweatshirts. On the way there, our flight attendant told me she was from Arroyo Grande. On the way back yesterday, I got asked by three different people on our flight if I went there. The father of a family from Templeton asked, as did a woman whose niece and nephew went there, and lastly, a girl who had graduated in 2003. It's funny to see how people get excited about stuff like that, especially when they're far away from home.

Ok, I got lots to do today, including catching up on hours of Tivo'd programs (Alias, Real World, etc.), a stack of 5 magazines, laundry, unpacking, pedicure, massage and scrapbooking.

"In his first eight months in office before September 11th, George W. Bush was on vacation, according to the Washington Post, forty-two percent of the time." - Fahrenheit 9/11

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I'm baaaaack

My flight got in a couple hours ago and in my attempt to set my body clock to Pacific time, I'm trying to stay awake for a few more hours although it's 1 a.m. in London.

I missed you, my beloved blog readers. I missed you, my beloved computer with no time limit and a normal keyboard. I missed you, our shower with the most water pressure. I missed you, my warm, comfortable large bed. I missed you, American money.

Things I Learned During My Trip

1. It's ok to smile at strangers in England. It's not ok to smile at strangers in France as they may proceed to take your picture, call you their girlfriend and have no problems pointing to their own wedding ring after you've pointed to your engagement ring as a sign of your non-single status.

2. Hutspot is a wonderful native dish in Amsterdam, consisting of mashed potatoes and carrots, covered in roast beef and gravy. Delic!

3. "Coffee shops" in Amsterdam may have coffee, but they most likely also have a different kind of stimulant (or relaxant, as the case may be) that rhymes with "snot."

4. The red light district in Amsterdam features window displays. Ok, they're covered in leopard print. Ok, they're old. Ok, they're women. Ok, they're selling sex.

5. Pubs are fun. And they tend to have yummy fish and chips and dessert.

Additional Things I Learned During My Trip

6. Image hosted by Photobucket.com Some of London's Metro stops are...interesting. (And I tend to take blurry photos.)

7. Image hosted by Photobucket.com If ya go to Madam Taussad's, you can pretend you're BFF (best friends forever) with Steven Speilberg, as illustrated here by Shelby.

8. Image hosted by Photobucket.com The Eiffel Tower is HUGE (and so is my hat).

9. Image hosted by Photobucket.com Amsterdam has special buildings for families and bikes. At least, that's what its signs imply.

10. Image hosted by Photobucket.com Paris has teeny, tiny cars.

11. But HUGE Louis Vutton bags... Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com

12. Image hosted by Photobucket.com Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the tower, not the actual tower.

13. Image hosted by Photobucket.com In Amsterdam, it's perfectly ok to drink beer in the morning, especially at the Heineken Museum.

14. Image hosted by Photobucket.com When you buy this much candy from the airport gift shop for your friends, the 6-year-old girl behind may say to you, wide-eyed, "Wow! That's A LOT of candy!"

15. Image hosted by Photobucket.com Some of that candy might be sexist. (And what will happen to me if I eat it? Will I grow a beard and like football?)

I have about 150+ pics and Shelby is going to send a bunch of hers to me as well. She took more photos than I did as it her camera was smaller and easier to access. So be on the lookout for more photos.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

well, we arrived safely in paris, although we've discovered that we like london a lot more. we've only been here a couple days and have already run out of things to do. we are in an internet cafe with the most jacked up keyboards, so my apologies for the wacky typing. no caps today.

we saw the eiffel tower and went to the top of it - a really pretty view. yesterday we did a bus tour of the city, even though it was freezing. walking back to the hotel, it started to snow, which was pretty cool.

today we went to the museum d'orsay where all the impressionist paintings are: monet, renoir, etc. then we went to the louve, where we just saw the mona lisa and left. it was hot and our feet were hurting. we just wanted to be able to say we saw the ML and went to the louvre. sad, i know. apparently this city is filled with museums, of which i tire pretty easily of.

the food in paris is really yummy, although it's really quite the same in all the restaurants and bistros. sodas are really expensive and the subway system smells like ass. london's doesn't smell at all.

don't get me wrong - we like paris and are very appreciative of this trip, but ya can't expect us to love everything, right? i kind of miss driving, i definetly miss brent (thanks josh and jami for making sure brent gets watered) and although i'm getting used to this chilly weather i'm starting to yearn for my flip flops and skirts.

oh! on wednesday night i had some drinks at a pub with my london co-workers. i ordered an apple cider and wondered why the bartender gave me a funny look. first, it turns out that girls tend to only drink wine in pubs. second, they only have apple cider, so they just call it cider. (in the states we have pear cider, rasberry cider, etc.) also, there are all sorts of signs in placed throughout london that say "watch your bags." while i was having drinks with my co-workers, one of their purses got stolen! she had it next to her, but apparently someone slipped away with it! when i was talking to the girls about it, they said stuff like that happens all the time! one of them had their flat broken into and ransacked last week and another's roommate got mugged outside their flat! they asked if that happened in LA and i told them there isn't a lot of purse stealing (at least that i know of) and muggins and breakins aren't all that common. well, breakins happen but generally to those who aren't careful (i could be wrong, though.)

we talked a little more about london/US differences. frats/sororoties aren't big in the uk at all and they think of all the hazing portrayed in US movies as how they probably are. i told them that that wasn't necessarily the case, but at my school people really didn't get into frats/sororities.

also, the drinking age in london is 18, 16 if you're with your parents in some places. a lot of kids grow up drinking wine, like at age 10! crazy, huh?

we're off to amsterdam tomorrow until wed. and then we're back to london for one more night. back to the US on Thursday!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Music Makes the World Go 'Round

I'm very happy to discover that Londoners like Maroon 5 almost as much as I do. In an 8-hour stretch, I think I heard them played at least 4 times, maybe more. There's also been a lot of Damien Rice, which is completely fine by me!

Is it bad that I've been in London for a week and have had Starbucks twice? I'm actually a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf girl, but they don't have those here. One thing I've noticed is that they don't drink a lot of coffee hear, despite the plethora of Starbucks on every other block or so. Any given morning in Los Angeles you'll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't have a cup of coffee or water bottle in their hand. I wish I liked tea, as that's obviously the drink of choice here.

Last night's performance of Chicago was awesome (or should I say, BRILLIANT!) It took me a second to get over the German accent of the woman playing Velma, as well as the cabaret-style lack-of-costume changes, but once I did, I really enjoyed the show. I have to admit, I was probably a little spoiled by the presentation of the story in the movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed the stage version, too.

On the way back from the show last night on the underground, Shelby and I had the following conversation:

Shelby: Hey, we haven't seen anybody on the tube (aka underground) asking for money yet.

Me: Like they do in New York?

Shelby: Yup.

Me: You're right! We haven't!!!

At the very next stop, a gentleman with a guitar steps through the doors and says:
I'm here to entertain you. I'm going to play George Michael's Faith. If you enjoy it, please drop some change in the hat.

Shelby totally jinxed us! I actually really enjoyed his performance, but didn't have anything less than £20 (almost $40) to give him.

Shelby is seeing a matinee of the Lion King today while I'm at work. I've seen it in Los Angeles and loved it. As Shelby is one of the biggest fans of the Lion King movie, I'm sure she'll love it, too.

We're off to Paris on Friday and after a couple days, Amsterdam! Watch out, Europe!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Loving London

It's day five of my London adventure and I'm still having a great time. This is the second day I've worked out of London office and it's been a fun experience thus far. Everyone here is very busy so I've had plenty of time to scratch off projects on my to-do list. It's definitely strange working at totally different times than the rest of my team. They were happily surprised by the slew of e-mails I had for them when they got into the office yesterday.

Last night Shelby and I went to the cutest tavern called Kingshead. I had the BEST fish and chips, along with a pint of apple cider. We had an awesome apple/blackberry crumble and best of all, the bar staff was so friendly!

Tonight we're going to see Chicago at the theater (have I mentioned that I've seen the movie more than 5 times? Can't wait to see it live!) We're trying to get tickets on Thursday for a play with Kevin Spacey called National Anthems.

It's really cold here but it hasn't been snowing. And I'm having fun getting all bundled up in my scarves, hats and fun pink coat.

The other day Shelby and I were taking pics with the fun red phone booths in Leister Square and a British man came up and offered to take a pic of both of us together. Not getting a sketchy vibe from him at all, especially since we were in the middle of a bustling area, we let him. He then invited us for coffee, which we politely declined. Yesterday while I was working, Shelby went back to that same area and was approached by an older British man, asking if she was lost (she was looking at a map) and then started chatting her up about her visit, etc. Apparently that's the place to meet friendly British men!

Shelby and I also went to see Meet the Fockers so we could experience the London "cinema" experience. (At dinner before the movie, I asked our waiter where the nearest movie theater was and he stared at me blankly. Then I realized I needed to call it the "cinema" as "theater" to the British refers to the live theater.) The cinema featured about 10 commercials and only a few previews. And I thought LA cinemas were bad! We really liked the assigned seats, though. And the movie was very funny.

Other things I'm loving about London include:
  • the underground (subway) system - I want one in LA very badly. Perhaps I'll pack it in my carry on and take it back with me.
  • "mind the gap" - being careful of the gap between the underground and the platform. There's also "mind your head" near low ceilings.
  • "brollys" rather than "umbrellas"
  • "dine-in or take-away" instead of "for here or to go"
  • people telling us "cheers, love!" instead of "good-bye!"

Yes, I'll come back to the U.S. but you may have to drag me kicking and screaming. If not for the outrageous exchange rate (£1 = $1.9 US), I might very well pack up and stay here.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

blogging from london mcd's

I'm on a crazy keyboard and have less than 4 minutes to type, so here goes, in postcard style.

loving london. did bus tour yesterday. saw big ben and went to madam tausad's. took picture with wax Rock and Incredible Hulk. freezing here, but lots of fun. going to picadilly circus today & maybe london eye.

running out of time. will write more tomorrow!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Leaving on a jet plane

Ok kids, I'm off to London in less than 6 hours! I'm at work, wrapping all of my projects in a nice bow before I leave and then it's off to the airport for my 7 p.m. flight!

I'll try to update my blog early next week, so be on the lookout for tales of my European adventure! I'm sure I'll have plenty of pics to post upon my return. If I don't get to a computer while I'm there, I'll have a journal to jot down the wacky stories from my trip.

Later, gators!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Random-arama

In my previous entry about my trip to Houston, I forgot to mention something worth mentioning. My flight there arrived around 11 p.m. As we approached Houston, I noticed that we were above the clouds and the storm. All of sudden, I saw these bursts of lights coming from beneath the clouds. It was the lightning! Apparently the humidity in Texas makes for good electrical storms. I was like a 5-year-old, my face and hands pressed up against the glass. I've never seen anything like that and for some reason, it really moved me. I was witnessing a beautiful display in nature, very surreal.

On the return flight, I watched Shall We Dance. I missed the first few minutes, but I have to admit: I liked it. Not only was Richard Gere dreamy, the movie made me want to take dance lessons. It was similar to a boost of inspiration I got from Girls Just Want To Have Fun back in 1985. My friend and I made our parents sign us up for jazz dance classes after we saw it. Shall We Dance also has some great songs on its soundtrack - nothing I'd heard before but loved instantly.

Two more days till I'm off to London! I gotta pack tonight. It's supposed to be raining/snowing while we're there. It's like a cartoon - a little raincloud follows me whereever I go - Los Angeles, Houston, London, Paris...

"Everybody was Kung Fu fighting! Those kicks were fast as lightning!" - Kung Fu fighting, Carl Douglas