Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dan's Christmas....

the shelf above are all the little things I put out each year.  some of the ceramic trees in the first pic on the left were souvenirs from my trip. also the little troll guy in that photo.  below shows my souvenir ornaments I brought home. 5 of the little mirrored glass ornaments from a shop on Columbia Road in London, 5 little red wooden stars from a Christmas market in Copenhagen, and then 3 snowmen from a Christmas market in Trafalgar square (although they are made in India ha).

Below shows a photo of my couch and tree.  This year I chose mustard yellow to incorporate into my Christmas. Perhaps I had some sort of Scandinavian motivation, ha.  I crocheted the blanket to cover this old vinyl hide-a-bed couch that I've had forever. I was trying to tie all the colors together. the wood in the room, the grey walls, some Christmas red and then the yellow.  I painted some ornaments yellow also for the tree.  You might notice I settled for my red winter hat for the top of the tree just for kicks.  While at a gift shop at Hampton Court, I noticed some mustard yellow tea towels marked down to .50 each, so I brought home a few of them to make a sort of skirt for the tree.  Anyway, that was Christmas 2019!  my winter break is officially over this weekend. I get back to the normal semester on Tuesday. I'm so glad to have off Monday though. :)  enjoy your weekend.

winter break shopping haul............

above shows a zip up "overshirt" from A Day's March. It's so comfortable.  I blogged about this how I had to take one back because it didn't zip up right. It was also promptly on sale just after Christmas, but I loved wearing it around on my trip.  The plaid shirt is a soft brushed cotton from Folk Clothing.  the mustard colored hat I got at Liberty London store and the little black hat I got as a souvenir from Hampton Court.  The scarf, I LOVE IT SO MUCH! I wore it during my trip and have worn it since coming home. It's from a Scottish wool shop just south of Russel Square.  I bought the same scarf in multi colors last time in London at the same shop and was looking forward to going back. I was not disappointed to find this. :)  the next scarf was something I picked up at a quick shop for 20 pounds, it is wool and goes with some blue and green things in my closet.

above is a pair of jean-pants I got at Rodd and Gunn my first night on my trip. they are super duper comfortable and perfect charcoal grey to go with a lot of stuff I wear. they are GREAT!  the black sweatshirt has a textured geometric knit on it if you can tell. I picked that up in Copenhagen for about $20 I think?  below I tried to kind of show the new outfit I wore on my trip and a few times while back home. the last photo is the Gandy's London shirt jacket I bought near Coven Garden.  I blogged about this store giving back to chilren refugee centers because the owners were rescued refugee kids.  ANyway I've been wearing it like the dickens since back home.

oh I just remembered I bought a 66 North coat also on the trip but failed to get a photo. thanks for checking it all out. here are some photos below of me on the trip although they are bit strange with my face blocked out, but you get the idea. :)

dude, where's my shirt?.....

Friday, January 17, 2020

getting through January...

I had a lot of fun last weekend when I did the airplane evacuation test.  It was all afternoon Sunday from 2pm to 7pm.  basically everyone started arriving around 1:30 as directed and then by 2pm we were all 60 people into a room.  They can only do the test if they have enough people so thus the wait.  they actually had a few people on reserve to make up for anyone who didn't show up.  after all 60 of us were there and we were read the disclaimer and description and signed the document that we were aware of all the procedures and stuff we were given a number bib to wear that showed our number in front and back and then we were taken in vans in small group to a building on the grounds.  we were then taken to a room where men and women were separated and measured by their same gender... ha.... our weight, height, and then measured leg length and knee to ground when sitting etc..  after that we were taken to a big waiting room in one of their research working warehouse like rooms. they had snacks and drinks on the back table and like tables where you could color in coloring books or play cards which people gathered around did. :)  they had Independence Day the movie on a tv screen and  I was sitting near the front.  I ran into a girl I graduated high school with on the way over and also a guy our age from Choctaw was in the same van. He was there with his daughter who is going to college at NYU in NYC and was home on breaks.  The girl from my hs was there with her daughter also, anyway we all got to talking the whole day.  The thing is we had to leave our cell phones in our cars and only arrive with our license and car keys. 
 so after about 2.5 hours of being there and everyone finally getting measured and into the room, we were all lined up in numeric order ( i was 5) and taken out to the dummy plane section outside.  they gave us cards as we got on the plane that told us based on our number what seat number to sit in.  we did this 4 times with a break in between the first and last 2 tests.  I was near the front on the first two runs so I got the bonus since I was off the plane with the first 42 people ( the first 70 % only got the bonus)  and then after the break I was in the second to the last row.  I knew I had to fight for that bonus. ha!  basically we had to sit in the seat with our belt on and two hands on the seat in front of us.  then we jsut wait for a buzzer to go off and then flight attendants would shout and yell get off etc etc..  well on the third try the aisle got all backed up and over the seats I went, right up to the front and down and out and got the bonus! woot!  the last try I was like on the second row and got right out.  $200 in an envelope on the way out.   anyway what was also really fun was just sitting around all day and talking to everyone, to my left and right and the same small group in the front, we vaguely watched the movie and commented on this and that, but overall just got to know each other and talk about whatever.  just like pre cell phone days! ha that was a joy.
This last week I taught the second half of my intercession class. really smart great writers in that class.  I had a few that it was obvious they were good with getting a C and getting the credit and getting it over, ha. but most of them really asked questions, tried to revise to get things right, and I think overall they all enjoyed the course.  I wore a different pair of shoes each day, and the end of this week it got cold enough I got to break out some sweater outfits and layers. ;)
well Monday we have off work and then Tuesday, another semester. I'm starting to get these next months lined out. My Austin buddy wants me to come down I think in Feb to stay a weekend while his husband is out of town, as he says to "babysit" since he's alone which just kinda means help him keep accountable. He and his husband are both in recovery and his husband had a relapse last year etc etc..   anyway, I also want a weekend in AR at some point.  also I'll be going to Independence MO Feb 14th weekend for a garden club winter regional meeting.  I have to organize all this hopefully on weekend that don't have a bunch of essays coming in that need grading.  I'm also looking to Spring and Aquashella in Dallas in May, also my trip in May, and then in June I;m considering going to Seattle for S and D's son's graduation.  that's what the start of my 2020 looks like.  I'm also going to save up some cash to redo kitchen counters, also a sink, and maybe this summer a stove,oven, and microwave. We'll see because I'll probably throw money into the greenhouse I want to build first.
stay warm this weekend everyone. I made chocolate chip cookies tonight and I need to put them up before heading off to bed. zzzzz

Saturday, January 11, 2020

new year......................

I think I've mentioned before that I stop by a retired professor's house on Mon and Wed to help pull her husband back into his wheelchair while she lowers the crane from in front?  Since I'm teaching, last week and next, a 2 week course every morning at 8, I offered to go each morning to give the T, Th, and F person a break.  I aim to get there around 7:20 am so that I can get to my office or classroom by 7:30 before class.  I always text right as I'm about to walk out the door so they know I'm 20 minutes away and she can plan to have her husband raised out of bed and into the crane by the time I get there.  Wednesday morning when I arrived, a firetruck and ambulance were parked out front blocking the drive.  I parked next door and walk over and into the house to find about 5 firemen and 2 emt people standing around while the wife was walking around holding a bandage up to her nose.  There was blood all over the kitchen floor, and what had happened is that sometime between me messaging and getting there, she had slipped and fell and cut her forehead pretty badly.  She sort of gathered some things and left with the ambulance.  I arranged a few things for her husband in the room and on his tray stand near his bed and made my way on to work. what a start!
     I mentioned it to my class that morning since I have three students who are emt and planning to go for paramedic degrees.  I have a great class for this intercession!  17 students, and all of them highly motivated.  I can already tell that a few of them are happy enough just to pass and check it off their box with a B or C, but every other one of them are A writers. all different places in life and with different goals etc etc.  boy, I wish I could have classes full of students like this in all my semester classes.  I have a variety of students as well, a lot of children of immigrant families who are driven, Ecuador, Vietnam, and Sudan.  And there is a student from Oman who aims to be a petroleum engineer.  that is the only students who has a bit of bilingual concerns, but he's driven too.
      Anyway, they've already turned in two essays and are writing their third over the weekend.  2 more and then we're done Friday. the extra money from teaching this class during my winter break will help pay off the trip last month. ALso I'm starting to save up for a trip in May. Italy. It's already been agreed upon. I'm going to meet a college friend there who will be visiting her parents who have an apartment in Forli for a month.  we're going to go see them the last week of May.  I'll be traveling separately and I'm hoping to plan a way to see Zurich and Munich and maybe Zagreb before Italy. we'll see.   Oh, btw, I have a new goal of getting to Kiev Ukraine.  within the next year or next fall break, let's see if it happens.
    very very cold this weekend in okc.  I worked out all 5 days this week, but I failed to make the 9am workout this morning.  thing is I have to eat breakfast at 6:30am in order to give myself 2 hours before the workout after eating.  that didn't happen this morning. I had a great deadlift workout yesterday 5 reps of 225 lbs which is a new high for me so I'm good to rest today. ha I hope to make use of the day because I'll be busy all day tomorrow.  I signed up to do a test evacuation at the FAA for some extra work.  It pays $100 and then you get an extra $25 each time you get of the plane in the first 70% which represents the people who lived...
    Have a good weekend all.

Monday, December 30, 2019

final winter 2019 travel journal.....

When I got back to London, the bag I'd left was in my room waiting for me, and I had the 2 bags I brought back with me from Copenhagen.  I got things unpacked a bit and arranged into my new room. For the last two nights at The Penn Club, I decided to pay the extra $20 a night for a room on a lower floor ( the actual 3rd floor).  I relaxed a bit and let me phone charge and then at some point after 11am made my way east towards the Postal Museum.  I paid for admission and shopped and looked around. In the basement there is an opportunity of taking a ride on the old cargo trains under the city.  These are fitted with little benches for seating and now take passengers back and forth with a guide explaining how it all worked and the history of it etc...  really enjoyed that!  there were many other exhibits to see after the ride, and then across the street the other part of the museum which had history of the postal service in England displayed and with a museum cafe connected.  I stopped there for lunch and wrote a few postcards. I also bought stamps at a machine in the gift shop.
Next I made my way to the nearest tube station and went over to Barbican stop.  This was a destination for architectural interest, and so I made my way to the Barbican Centre apartments and buildings and took many photos The complex is pretty much right there when you come out of the subway. Afterwards I made my way back towards Russell Square to relax in the room and recharge and make plans for Wednesday night.  I'd already bought a ticket months earlier for a Christmas concert at the Saint Martins in the Field church.   I forget what I did for dinner, but I must have popped into somewhere for chips and a sandwich now that I think about it.... I decided to walk all the way down to St. Martins by way of the seven dials. what a wonderful walk, I took my time seeing this and that, popping in and out of stores at will and eventually making it to the cathedral in time to collect my ticket and find my seat.  It was a really nice concert with sing a long carols, of course, too.
Afterwards I checked out Trafalgar Square, shopped the Christmas market there, bought some cards and some ornaments and souvenirs for family.  It was quite wonderful with the on and off light rain, all the lights on the square, the fountain lit and running, and a group of carolers under umbrellas singing away at the bottom of the stairs to the national gallery. I made my way up to Leicester square and then over to Fortnum and Mason store to take more photos and go in and see all the goodies there. although I didn't buy anything. By this point in the trip I wasn't feeling confident about room in my luggage for coming back. ha! eventually I made my way back to the hotel and crashed. ah! after a lovely hot shower.
The weather was so nice and refreshingly cold in London. I know that sounds strange but all the walking around keeps you warm enough and it's not a biting cold. There is some wind that chills but overall it's just a calm or wet sort of cold. I loved it at night because the radiator kept the room quite warm and I'd crack the window each night. So I'd feel a little hot going to bed but so cozy and warm under the cover in the mornings.  I also took a nice bath a few nights in one of the bathrooms that had one. so good on the legs and feet :).  I also enjoyed all the layers! shirt jackets, coats, scarves! ah what a place to dress in London and get out!
okay so anyway, my last day I had left completely free. It was strange having nothing planned, but I enjoyed the freedom to make the day as empty or busy as I'd pleased on my last day. I also had left it open for any last minute destinations or shops to return to for this or that. I took a long morning and breakfast and considered a few options, training out to Oxford? Cambridge? Bath? etc... I'd researched a bit and at breakfast was looking into a train that evening to St. Albans for a Christmas karaoke thing at a pub in town (it's a 20 minute train ride from London, so I'm making it a stop on the next time I'm in UK out of curiosity). I dunno.... However,  a lady at breakfast suggested Hampton Court, and well that was it!  I was up in my room after breakfast, mapping and planning it out. a walk north of Russell Square to the Warren Street metro stop, then down to Vauxhall, and from there a train to Hampton Court. really enjoyed it. You arrive at the end of the train line, walk outside of the station, over a bridge and there are the gates to the palace.  What history! What a place! so much to see and such stories of the past! I followed a tour for a bit, which was a man and woman in character play acting and describing what happened in this room and that as if the queen was going to visit etc...  then I wandered around on my own, took my time. got over the cafe eventually just before 2pm which they'd just shut down the foodline but they let me go ahead and get a lunch and all. it was SO GOOD. ( I was also so hungry! ha).  I walked around a bit more and took photos etc.. then got on the train back to London.  THis time I got out at Victoria and walked around over to Covent Garden and did my best to find a diagonal alley that inspired J K Rowling, but it wasn't meant to be, it was late, people everywhere, my phone dead, and I wanted to get back to the hotel and regroup.  
I walked back after stopping at a Subway sandwich place for dinner to bring back to my room. ;) and sat around for about an hour, then over to St George Church on Bloomsbury for a Candlelight service at 6pm.  It was wonderful, pretty much jsut like my friend's church in AR that is Episcopalian. everything read from the handout, and I actually even loved the choir more. we also sang carols with them here and there but the choir was so nice.  The St Martins event was just 9 people??? which was fine but I wanted a choir. ha  
okay let's end this already. Friday my flight out wasn't until 3:30pm so I checked out by 10 am and left my bags in a closet, then went a street or so over to the British Museum to mill around for a couple hours. and by 12:15 I had my bags and was over to Russell Square station and back on the Piccadilly line all the way out to Heathrow airport... alas end of trip.  I did my best to stay up on the planes watching a few movies and reading a bit.. napped a very little bit.. ..and when I arrived at 8pm in Atlanta I fellt like a ZOMBIE! ha!  finally I boarded a plane for OKC by 10:30 and fell asleep in my seat before the plane even took off.. Zzzzzz.. woke just before we approached the airport in OKC.  got an uber back home and was in bed by 12:30 am - 6:30 am back in London ;) - whoosh!  I was a bit jetlagged the first few days but back on schedule by Christmas Wednesday :). Merry Christmas and I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays.

Sunday, December 29, 2019