The journey of a thousand miles begins with...the perfect pair of shoes.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

30 Years Ago

ETA: This post was written yesterday, but I forgot to publish it! D'oh!

Do you remember where you were 30 years ago today (for those over you old enough to remember 30 years ago)? I do. Where was I? I was sitting in front of the TV at a ridiculously early hour to watch the royal wedding of Charles and Diana. Can you believe it's been 30 years?

Of course we all know how the story ended up, but in the beginning, it was a fairytale, complete with a beautiful maiden and a prince. What more could any little girl want?

Her dress was stunning by 1980's standards and watching that train go down the aisle made my heart skip a beat. When I got married, I insisted on the longest train possible because I still remembered watching Diana's train.

I love this photo.  I think it was the first glimps we go of her face. 

I'm pretty sure I sighed when this happened.

And who could forget the kiss?

This photo came out later and seems to romantic.  They looked so happy.

While it didn't end that way anyone expected, it started off in a way that blew everyone away.  It was beautiful and romantic and will always be "the" royal wedding.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

RTT: 55 cents

Oh, sweet, gentle Tuesday. You get lost in the week, don't you? Monday is the "dreaded" day. Wednesday is hump day. Thursday is the day before Friday! And, well, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, just get all the glory. Where's the love for Tuesday? Right here! Random Thoughts Tuesday. My favorite day of the week!  Since Keely is now too cool for school, the awesome Stacy has taken up the reins and now we are Rebel RTTing.  Join us.


*So, Indy has been going to summer camp and loving it. I personally hate it because every. stinking. year. he brings home some disease from the germ ridden little monsters that he plays with. This year it was hand, foot and mouth disease. No, not the kind that cows get, but still, icky. We ALL came down with it and it sucked. We're over it now, but it kept me from blogging last week and that really sucked.

*Yesterday I was at the commissary (military grocery store). I had put all my groceries on the belt and waited for the guy in front of me to pay, so I could check out and then go pick Indy up from the germy cesspool that is summer camp. I waited and waited and waited. And waited some more. I wasn't really paying attention at first to what was holding us up (I had Han Solo's cute little face to look at), but after several minutes, I got curious. The guy in front had already swiped his card to pay when he realized the cashier hadn't rung in his coupon. Not coupons, coupon. Singular. We were waiting for a manager to come do an override so he could be refunded 55 cents. 55 cents! By the time I realized the amount, the manager had shown up to do the override. Had I known, I would have handed the guy $1 just to get things moving. Honestly, 55 cents? If he was perhaps a private, I might could see it, but this guy was an E8 (SFC), which means he makes decent money and has probably been in the military for 16+ years. 55 cents? Come on.

*Don't you hate when you see something that you know has never been there before, but then you think, maybe it was and you're going insane? At the gates of our installation we have barricades built into the road (they weren't there pre-9/11) that come up (quickly) if needed. I've walked past these barricades literally thousands of times and today when I went to the check the mail, there were 2 posts on either side of one barricade with small flashing red lights on the top. Now, I know these weren't there before. Know it. And yet, as I walked past them, I got all confused thinking, maybe I just missed them somehow? Even though I now have to actually walk around one of the poles, I really questioned how long I've not noticed. On the way back home I asked one of the guards (because I really thought I might be going crazy) and he told me they were just installed last week. Whew.

*James Bond got the DVD's of Firefly and Serenity for Father's Day.  Guess what I've had to watch for the last 2 weeks?  It's actually pretty good.  JB was super sad when it went off the air (as were thousands and thousands of fans), but if it hadn't gone off the air, Nathan Fillion might not be in Castle and I love that show.

*Indy's BFF, G-Money is moving back to the States on Saturday.  Indy is devastated.  Since they are packing G-Money's house out today and tomorrow, he's spending the day and night with us.  Indy is over the moon happy about this, but knows it's their last sleepover.  Before we went to get G-Money today, Indy said tonight would be the "end of an era."

*I haven't had my camera with me the last few days (and haven't felt like leaving the house), so today's funny sign is courtesy of the interwebs.  Who picked the name of this road?

Click the button up there to to read the other randoms and link up you own!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

RTT: Um...just random?


Well, hello, Tuesday!  I somehow missed RTT last week.  I hate that.  I have so many randoms that just flit away like dry leaves in the wind when I don't write them down.  It's really a shame for you that you don't get to read them all.  I'll try not to let you down again.

*Why do they put grippies on baby socks? It's not like they're going to run off.

*The other day I was feeding Han Solo and he was making the face and the noise.  You know what I'm talking about.  Then things got really smelly.  I was not in the mood for that diaper (though, really, am I ever?) and decided that James Bond doesn't get enough.  I posted an abbreviated version of this convo on FB, but you guys get the whole thing:

Me:  {sweetly}  Hey, honey.  Could you bring me some water?  (Remember I'm holding the baby)
JB:  Sure. {a few seconds later he brings me a bottle of water}  Here you go.
Me:  Thanks.  Could you change him for me?
JB:  Okay. {takes the baby and walks away}
Me:  {snicker, snicker}
JB:  {opens the diaper} OMG!  OMG, what did he do?  Oh, it's horrible!  OMG!  Oh, the smell!  Oh no!   OMG!  Oh, oh, oh!  Gross!  It's so bad!  So.  Bad.  It stinks!  OMG!  OMG!  It's on my finger!!! Aaaaahhhh!!!
Me:  {snicker, snicker}

*Did you know the Pope (I can never remember his name, I just call him Not! John-Paul) tweets?  It's true.  He tweets in English.  Probably for all the American Catholics who don't speak a foreign language.  English is an odd choice.  He's German, and the Vatican is in Italy (okay, technically, it's NOT in Italy as it is it's own little country, but still) and has Swiss guards.  English?  Really?  I personally think he should tweet in Latin.

*I even dream about blogging!  Last night I dreamed it snowed and for my RTT, I posted only this:

Snow.  In July.   Global warming, my ass.

*Han Solo had to go to the doctor this morning to update his Zantac dosage because he's grown (12lbs 9oz!).  While we were sitting in the waiting room, I looked around at the other moms (what else is there to do?).  There were 6 other moms there.  Two were in uniform and the other 4 were dressed similar to me: jeans and a top, but all 4 of them had on the rattiest, nasty flip flops you can imagine.  Now, I'm not a fan of flip flops, but I know that people love them and accept that I'm going to see them pretty much everywhere during the summer.  However, flip flops are cheap (with a few exceptions).  There is no reason to wear nasty looking flip flops.  For the love of all that's holy, get a decent pair!  Also, get a foot file and file that nasty skin off the back of your feet and slap some moisturizer on them.  Nobody wants to look at dry cracked skin.  If you're going to paint your nails,at least keep up with the paint.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but it takes about 30 seconds to slap another coat over the old if you need to.  Don't go out in public with your nasty flip flops and chippy nail polish.  Yuck.  In case you were wondering, these are the shoes I was wearing (and see, my nail polish isn't perfect, but it's a heck of a lot better than what I saw this morning)

 BTW, it's hard to take a good photo of your own feet if you don't have a camera with a remote.  Try it, you'll see.

*I am heartily sick of war.  Half our friends are in the "sandbox."  JAG (Han Solo's godfather) and T.O.M. (James Bond's bro-friend) are now there and it's only a matter of time before James Bond goes.  Sigh.

*Don't you kind of miss the days when the Soviets were our enemies?  I mean they were good enemies.  There were spies and espionage and defections.  Nobody blew themselves up or planted bombs inside other people.  The Soviets were good, honest enemies (huh?) and I miss those days.  And think of all the good spy movies and books we got out of it. 

*Normally my weird/funny photos are scoured from the interwebs, but today they were all taken by yours truly.  In fact, they were all taken today!  Good thing I had a camera in my bag, huh?

 *After Han Solo's appt this morning, I saw this car sitting outside the hospital gates (remember "ph" makes the "f" sound):

*I brought Han Solo back home and dropped him off with James Bond so I could take The Contessa, Mona Lisa and Principessa to the Frankfurt airport.  They are headed to the States for a month while T.O.M. is in the sandbox.   This truck was in front of us:

 *When I came back from dropping them off, I swung by the PX complex just so I could take this photo.  Outside the gates (and there is no other way on to the PX complex) sits "the pink house."  The pink house is, for lack of a better word, a whore house.  Prostitution is legal in Germany and there are loads of houses like this.  We're just lucky enough to have one right outside the PX.  This sign is pretty new though (it reads "30 girls waiting for you):

Nice, huh?  Don't you want to drive your kids past that all the time?  Indy hasn't seemed to pay it any attention, but by now he's used to seeing half naked (and even topless) women on signs and billboards over here.

*If you are looking at the sign posted above and turn your head about 45 degrees to the left, you'll see this sign.  The juxtaposition makes me laugh.  I wonder what Not!John-Paul thinks?

And, there you have it.  Today's really random RTT.  Click the link above and go check out Stacy in all her coolness and the other RTT's.  You can even link up your own, if you like.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Paris, Day 2: Flea Market , Boat Ride, Eiffel Tower (sort of) and snails

Our first night in Paris was HEAVEN for me. Why? Was the bed at the hotel comfortable? Hell no, BUT I got to sleep the entire night.  I love Han Solo to pieces, but this getting up at night to eat business is getting old.  I was thrilled to get to sleep a full night.  In fact, Indy and I went to bed at 8:30pm and didn't get up until 9:30am.  See?  HEAVEN.  I have to say though, I will never stay at an Ibis again.  I've stayed at a few, and while they are modern and clean and inexpensive, their beds suck.  The bed consists of a 15" thick box spring covered by a 2" foam mattress.  So. Not. Comfortable.  I guess I'm going to have to move up to the next level in the Accor hotel chains (Mercure).  They cost more, but they have better beds and at the end of the day (pun fully intended) a good night's sleep is worth its weight in gold.
So, once Indy and I got going, we hopped on the Metro and headed for the Marche aux puces (flea market) at Porte de Cligancourt.  At first Indy wasn't too keen on going, but once we got there, the atmosphere got to him and he really enjoyed himself.  Before you get to the actual flea market, you have to walk through a virtual tent city of vendors selling everything from souvenirs to socks and underwear to purses, pants, shoes, leather jackets, jeans, dresses and fruits and vegetables.  It's very lively.  There are also the "knock off" guys.  You know, they sell "Gucci" sunglasses and hats and belts and Louis Vuitton wallets and whatever other designer you can think of to knock off.  They are also illegal and Indy and I got a good giggle watching them scramble every time a police car drove down the street.  We're weird like that though.
We finally wove our way through the crowds and vendors and knock off guys and made it into one section of the flea market and the atmosphere was much more relaxed and far quieter.  We saw some beautiful stuff, but wow was it way over priced.  Some of the transferware plates (seriously, the exact same pieces, buy the same manufacturer-I looked) were selling for €20-60 EACH.  I've never paid more than €5 per piece.  Maybe I should set up a stall?  We had a great time looking at all the stuff though and digging through the boxes of random items (where you find the real bargains).  After about an hour or so, our hands were filthy so we headed to the bathroom to wash them off and met some very confused Americans who had never experienced the kind of bathrooms common in many places in Europe.    Basically it's just a hole in the floor with a bar on the wall on either side to hold onto.  Nice, huh?  Also, you have to walk past the men's "bathroom" (a trough) to get to the stalls.    I've seen this many times before, but they were flat out flabbergasted.  Good times.

This little wine/cheese/meat kiosk is in the Metro:

One of the flea market alley ways:

I loved all the vines on this shop:

Need some garden statuary?

Or maybe silver?

When I decided we'd seen enough, we headed back through the tent city (and crazy rain) and towards the Metro and on to the Eiffel Tower.
By the time we emerged from the Metro, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  Yay!  We were both hungry and had some lunch at one of the little kiosks along the Seine.  It wasn't fancy, but it was good and we ate with the Eiffel Tower looming over us.  The clouds were moving rapidly and rain threatened, but we didn't care.  I had promised Indy a boat ride, so we bought our tickets and off we went.  He loved it.  The only other time I had done this was about 12 years ago with James Bond.  We did a night cruise and all the buildings and monuments were lit up.  It was lovely.  This ride was during the day though and very different from the night cruise.  We had seats inside, but Indy didn't want to be inside the glass.  He wanted to be out on deck.  We had to stand the entire hour, but so what?

The boat docked just as it started to rain, so we ran for the cover of the bridge and hung out there with the other tourists and fed leftover bread to the pigeons. The pigeons in Paris are well fed.  The rain only lasted a short time so we headed over o the Tower and I saw my one big mistake: not ordering tickets online. Three of the pillars were open, but the line to buy tickets at each one was 2 hours long! Ouch! Indy decided he didn't really need to go up. I asked him if he was sure and he looked at me and said "Mom, I've been up the Arc de Triomphe. I've seen Paris. I don't need to stand in line for 2 hours to see it again."  Okay, then.
We walked along the mall behind the Tower, past the hundreds of guys selling souvenirs (illegally) when the bottom dropped out of the sky.  Holy cow!  The wind picked up and the rain started coming at us sideways.  There was nowhere to escape and no cover to be had.  I had an umbrella, but it did little good against the sideways rain.  We (and all the other tourists) huddled up against the trees that line the mall (don't worry, it wasn't lightening) to shield ourselves from the rain.  The police came by and  the souvenir guys all made a mad dash across the rain soaked grass with two laughing policemen running behind them.  I think they enjoy the chase because they could easily have caught a few of them, but were content to chase them through the rain.  Ten minutes later, we were soaked from the waist down, but the rain stopped.  We decided to head toward the Rodin gardens, but half way there, it occurred to me that they might be closing soon (it was early evening).  I stopped to check my museum pass and saw that they were closing in 15 minutes.  We were about a 15minute walk away.  I told Indy we wouldn't make it, and asked if he wanted to stop for dinner instead.  He absolutely did, but only if he could get snails.  The first few Brasseries we passed did not have escargot on the menu (that's the good thing about Europe, the restaurants all post their menus outside), but finally we came to one that did and got a table.  Indy wanted the 12 escargot started, but it was €26 (about $35), so I told him he could only have 6.  I'm such a bad mom.  He ordered the escargot and the kids chicken platter, which was 1/4 of a chicken and potatoes, plus chocolate mousse for desert.  He ate it all with glee.  I ordered the tomato-mozzarella salad.  Oh, and his Coke was €7 (about $10).  Ouch.

Enjoying that expensive Coke:

Look how excited he is over the escargot:

Our very friendly server:

My dinner (sheer heaven):

After dinner, we went back to the hotel happy and full and exhausted and I got another full night of sleep.  Even if the bed was uncomfortable.

Next:  Versailles!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Royal Wedding: Monaco

It wasn't quite the spectacle that the recent wedding of Will and Kate was, and you may not even know about it, but today there was a royal wedding in the tiny Principality of Monaco. Actually, there was a wedding yesterday too.
In several European countries, a bride and groom must be legally married in a civil ceremony. If they wish they can have a religious ceremony, but really, that's just for show. It's the civil ceremony that counts.
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II (53) married former South African Olympic swimmer, Charlene Wittstock (33), on June 1, AND July 2, 2011, making her HSH Princess Charlene.  The civil ceremony was quick and rather impersonal (it was for legal purposes though, so I can forgive that).  Both the Prince and his bride looked uncomfortable at times.  I can't say I blame them though.

Her dress (which was actually a lace bodice and palazzo pants) and jacket were made by Chanel, but purported to have been designed by Charlene and Karl Lagerfeld. She has stellar taste.  And a figure to go with it.

After the ceremony, they had a reception for 5000 Monegasques (citizens of Monaco), followed by a concert by French singer Jean Michel Jarre.

Today though was the event we all cared about.  The "real" wedding.  It took place in the courtyard of the royal palace as the main church (St. Nicholas) could not accommodate the number of guests.
Princess Charlene wore a stunning dress designed by Giorgio Armani (who also attended the wedding).  I found the dress interesting for several reasons.  It was obvious that Kate Middleton's dress was influenced by Prince Albert's mother, Grace Kelly, but Charlene's dress was almost a polar opposite.  Perhaps she's trying to say that she's not trying to fill Princess Grace's shoes.  Or perhaps she's making it known that she is her own person, not a stand in for the small countries beloved princess.  Or maybe she just likes off the shoulder, body skimming dresses.

Good grief, she's gorgeous:

According to the palace, the dress took the Armani team 2500 hours to make, 700 of those on the embroidery alone.   The dress was made of 130 meters (142 yards) of off white silk and sewn with platinum coated thread.  The decorations on the gown included 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 20,000 mother of pearl tear drops and 30,000 sparkling stones in "shades of gold."  The train was made of 20 meters (22 yards) of silk tulle and took 100 hours to make.

Enlarge this photo so you can see the details of the embroidery on the front of her dress. Stunning!  Her dad looked completely overwhelmed.

If you look at the dress from the side, it actually has 2 trains.  Long trains (KATE!).  I like how the top train attached  just below the shoulders instead of at her waist.

Now THIS is a royal wedding train:

The ceremony itself was very formal, but there were a few very cute moments.  During one of the songs, the prince reached over and put his hand on her leg and they both shared a laugh over something he said:

After she slipped the 18k gold Cartier ring on his finger, she smiled and then though bought laughed.  It was very sweet:

Prince Albert wore a cream colored summer uniform of the palace guards with gold oak and olive leaves embroidered on the sleeves.  He looked rather dapper.

After the ceremony they drove from the palace on top of the mountain, down through the town to Sainte Devote Church where the princess laid her bouquet in a tradition in honor of the Patroness of Monaco.  The princess wiped tears from her eyes several times as the choir sang.  It was lovely.

The princess opted to forgo a royal tiara in favor of this beautiful jeweled head piece that sat gracefully above her low chignon.  I have to admit, this is gorgeous and I wouldn't mind having one (could someone be a dear and let James Bond know?), but IMO, she should have gone with a tiara.

In case you were wondering what titles she'll hold, other than Her Serene Highness, Princess of Monaco, here's a list of all of Albert's titles (which would be quite a mouthful if they have to be said):
  • Duke of Valentinois
  • Marquis of Baux
  • Count of Carladès
  • Count of Polignac
  • Baron of Calvinet
  • Baron of Buis
  • Lord of Saint-Rémy
  • Sire of Matignon
  • Count of Torigni
  • Baron of Saint-Lô
  • Baron of La Luthumière
  • Baron of Hambye
  • Duke of Estouteville
  • Duke of Mazarin
  • Duke of Mayenne
  • Prince of Château-Porcien
  • Count of Ferrette
  • Count of Belfort
  • Count of Thann
  • Count of Rosemont
  • Baron of Altkirch
  • Lord of Isenheim
  • Marquis of Chilly
  • Count of Longjumeau
  • Baron of Massy
  • Marquis of Guiscard

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dear So and So: It's been a long time

Dear So and So...

I can't believe how long it's been since I did a Dear So and So! Bad, bad me!
If you're not familiar with it, Dear So and So is run by Kat over at 3 Bedroom Bungalow and gives you the opportunity to write letters to anyone who had, um, annoyed you. You should try it, you'll feel better. Oh, you can write nice letters, but they're not nearly as much fun.

Dear Guy in the car in front of me at the PX gate,

Look, we've had to show our ID cards to get onto the various posts since 2001. TWO THOUSAND ONE. That's 10 years now. TEN. YEARS. You should know by now you need to have your ID card out of your wallet and ready to give to the guard. It should not take you 5 bloody minutes to unbuckle your seat belt, get out your wallet, and then fish through it for your ID card. You are obviously American and even if you are new to the area, you are driving a car, which means you've had to take the test, which means you have been on post before. Probably multiple times. Have your damn ID card ready. I've got things to do and a kid to get to summer camp. I don't have time for your stupidity.


Dear Lady in line in front of me at the commissary,

Please refer to the letter above re: having your ID ready.  You know you have to show it before check out.  Don't act like it's the first time you've ever been in the commissary.  I've seen you there before.


Dear Mother Nature,

What is going on with you? Two weeks ago Indy and I were freezing our bums off in Paris, then it was in the upper 90's and now we're back in the 60's? Could you just pick something and stick with it? Please? Also, if you're going to pick something, I'd suggest picking on the cool side. I am ridiculously pale and frighten small children when I wear shorts.

Constantly changing my wardrobe because you can't make up your mind,

Dear manufacturers of baby bibs,

You know that hard part of Velcro?  Yeah, that should go on the part of the bib that faces down, not up.  Poor Han Solo has scratched on his sweet little neck where he moves around and the Velcro slips, and it scratches him.

Angry mom,

Dear Canada,

I'm insanely jealous of you.  You get Prince William and Catherine for over a week, and many of you are bilingual.  Happy Canada Day!  Eh?

Your friend from below the boarder,
Dear Jose Baez,

You make me want to take a Purell bath.  I wouldn't let you notarize a piece of paper for me.

Skeeved by you,

Dear Casey Anthony,

You know you did it.

Not respectfully,

Dear Judge Perry,

You don't put up with any shenanigans from either side.  I ♥ you.  I adore your slow, no nonsense speech and your long suffering looks.

Hoping you get your own show,

Whew, I feel better!  Click the button at the top to read the others and have a great weekend!

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