Monday, 29 December 2008

Happy Holidays!

So - i haven't posted in a while and the reason is...The Doctor and I took the Tardis and have been traveling around. We hung out with Shakespeare at the Globe for a while then popped into the future for a few days. Ok-not really. Although, I probably would follow the Doctor just about anywhere...let's face it, I see David Tennant and I instantly become a 14-year-old girl all weak in the knees and giggly. 

Truthfully, finals started kicking my ass and when you're working on an MA in journalism ALL YOU DO IS WRITE!!!! Coming here to write about stuff just wasn't that appealing to me. I apologize. Then, I left London for a week to hang out with my extended family in Luton. What a crazy & chill time that was!!! There's so much to share. (Another time but SOON, i promise). 

Now I'm fighting a losing battle with a cold. And in between just wanting to stay in bed all day and watch CSI: NY (Det. Messer - YUM!) and making a huge dent in a box of Kleenex I've been working on an essay that's due in a week. MORE WRITING!! and not fun writing. Boring writing. 2500 words on human rights & "practical implications for journalism" kind of writing. 

That's my story for now. I've hit 1412 words and plan (haha-plan) to knock the other 1088 words out this evening. Not a problem, right? where did I put that flux capacitor so I can go back a week?

Monday, 1 December 2008

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Total number of celebrity sightings: 8

We went to a taping of the Graham Norton Show last night. It was so much fun. He is so funny!! Also, I was really amazed by how great he is at his job. It's an hour long show on tv. Obviously, it's not actually that long because of commercials, but I was really expecting for it to go longer than it actually did. I figured there would be stops for technical issues or if something didn't get filmed the way they wanted. There was nothing like that. We got in to the studio and got our seats, it was all very organized. The warm-up guy came out and explained a bit about how it would go. Then Graham came out and talked to the audience for a few minutes. When he finished he said, ok the next time I walk out we'll be starting and that was it. The show started & they filmed straight through. No issues at all. It was quite impressive.
On the way to the show we were talking (I went with Mary Anne and our housemate Helen)
about who we thought might be guests. We all agreed we didn't really
care we just wanted it to be someone we recognized. Imagine my 
shock when Graham said, "If I said the name Witherspoon..." Oh my gosh! Reese Witherspoon! Ms. I-played-June-Carter-and-totally-got-to-make-out-with-Joaquin-Phoenix. I did have a crush on her for a while but I've gotten over it. It was still really cool to see her though. She's teeny tiny (of course) and she had these a-mazing shoes on. 

Oh yeah...he had another guest. Paul O'Grady. I'm actually not very familiar with him. I know he hosts a show here but I don't have a tv so I've never seen it and don't really know anything about it. He was pretty funny. It was a really great show to watch. It airs in the States
on Saturday nights if you have BBC America. Definitely check it out. Graham is really funny. 

Stephen Lynch...yeah THAT guy

Last Saturday we went to see Stephen Lynch. For those who are not familiar with his work he's a comedian from America. The thing is his act is all songs that he's written. Really crazy, disturbing, obscene songs that are HILARIOUS. 

It was a lot of fun. He played Shepherds Bush Empire which is an amazing venue. Outside there is a traditional marquee that you just don't see a lot of in the States. Before the doors opened they had 2 lines and both were stretching clear to the back of the building. It was insane. You would have thought the Killers were playing or something. 

Stephen was geat. He did a lot of new material (hopefully he'll have a new cd out soon). I loved his song Waiting, about waiting for the results of his AIDS test. Yes, these are funny songs. He did old favorites like Craig Christ, about Jesus's lesser known brother. There was the Little Gay Robot song, which is really more of the beginning of a song he has yet to write. He brought out his friend David Josesberg to do the song Dirty Sanchez. 
The crowd was pumped. It was like we were at a Man U game the way the guys in the balcony were screaming. It was a lot of fun. Exactly what we needed to take our minds off of school work for a while. For the encore he came out and did Special Ed which is probably his most popular song. You know the one, 'Special Ed. Momma dropped him on his head. Now he thinks he's a piece of bread.' Yes...he's THAT guy.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Total number of celebrity sightings: 5

Noel Gallagher of the band Oasis

I was back in our old neighborhood, Marylebone, wandering around and stopped in the health food store I used to get my soy milk from. I turned around and in walked Noel. He went straight to the back of the shop, grabbed two fists full of energy bars and took them to the counter. He was perfectly polite to the girl who was working there. He was wearing dark jeans and a red shirt. I did have my camera with me but I thought I might look a little suspicious taking pictures of banana chips or hazelnuts. 

Total number of celebrity sightings: 4

Former Mrs. Paul McCartney, Heather Mills

I nearly ran into her on Oxford St. She looked very business-like and had her hands full of shopping bags, all stuff bought with Paul's money no doubt. No...I didn't knock her over or kick her. I did, however, find this really unflattering picture of her which I think is awesome! 

Oh my darlin, Oh my darlin, Oh my darlin, CLEMENTINE

I  gave up chocolate 3 weeks ago. I gave up sodas 1 week before that. Sodas really haven't been too bad. Chocolate has been have to know how much I love chocolate...but I haven't had a single bite or drink. I have however developed another addiction. I can't stop eating clementines!! Yes, the little mini-oranges if you will. I can't be certain if I've ever had one before but this is what I know: I haven't eaten an orange in more years that I can count because, frankly, I don't like them much. As far as fruit goes, citrus is rather far down on the list. I do love orange juice but only if it doesn't have pulp. So I have no real explanation for my new clementine fixation (I'm eating about 6 a day) but it is an improvement from chocolate I suppose. 

Total number of celebrity sightings: 3

Nicholas Roeg
Director of: Don't Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth
He was at Filmstock
   chatting w/ Justin

"Fully Stocked" indeed!!

I’m a week late with this. All I can say is I’ve been busy with school work. Maybe not the best excuse but it’s all I’ve got. We went to FIlmstock for the closing weekend. It’s so amazing to go to Luton and feel right at home. Everyone is really great to us. 

The second weekend @ Filmstock is mostly documentaries. There were some really amazing ones like Naming Pluto, about the woman who named Pluto (the planet not the Disney dog). 99 to 1: Ovarian Cancer and Me, about a woman dealing with her cancer diagnosis. For Tomorrow, about a young entrepreneur who goes to Argentina seeking relaxation and instead discovers extreme poverty and decides to do something about it. 1 Giant Leap, is an amazing look at philosophy, music, and artistic and spiritial inspiration around the world.

We also had a chance to see Nicholas Roeg talk about his career and watch his latest feature, Puffball.

One of the best films we saw (and I’m really not just saying this) was Neil and Justin’s Clandestine. It’s this wonderful short that I don’t think I could even begin to describe because I just don’t think I could do it justice. If you ever find yourself in Luton or in the presence of Justin and/or Neil, ask about it. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Not "fully stocked" ...yet

I know I've mentioned before my friends, Neil & Justin...who live in Luton...and do a film festival every year called Filmstock...and are just all-around great guys. I've known them for almost 3 years and have never had the good fortune to be in the UK during Filmstock. Until now. 

Filmstock kicked off one week ago. We were there for opening night and stayed through the weekend. This is by far the best film festival I have ever been to. Okay, so it's the only film festival I've ever been to...and they are my friends but, ignore all of that. This is not a massive event when compared to Sundance or Cannes but I dare you to find a festival that has as much heart as this one. It started 9 years ago with two guys who shared a love for film and that's still true today. You won't find any flash or celebrities walking red carpets. You walk in the door and you're greeted by a smiling face, sometimes 2, one of which is usually Neil. When you go in to watch a film Justin is the one running the projector. They haven't given the reigns to's still theirs as much as it ever was and always will be. 

Opening night was a film called Choke starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston. VERY good. (I'm not telling you about it...Go see it!!) The remainder of the weekend was devoted to shorts. Filmstock is a "hardcore" festival as one of the directors put it. From Friday night to Sunday night there are 12 different sessions, each one showing 9 or 10 short films. In addition they screen a few features. After a weekend of this you'll be thinking 3 things...1-My ass hurts! 2-Can I watch a couple of those again? 3-How the hell did Neil & Justin narrow down thousands of submissions? (I couldn't have done that). Yes, in that order. 

I could go through and list all the shorts that I watched and loved and what they were about but you'd be here for another 20 minutes (if you are in fact still here). So I'll just mention a few of my favourites. 

Blood Actually*The Tourist*Angel*Nightwalking*Thirteen or so Minutes*Mr. Lux*Canbury*Arcadia*Whatever Turns You On*Albert*Out of the Holes of the Rocks*Hikikomori*Cheeese

As much as I enjoyed the films, the best part of the festival had to be meeting so many great people..and creative people at that! I really felt in my element. I met people who were not filmmakers but were so much fun to hang out with (Jo and Sarah!) and I met filmmakers who were just fantastic to talk with (Alex, Declan, Jeremy, Branden, Jonathan, and Adam). 

I really wish I could have stayed all week (it doesn't end until Sunday) but I had classes to go to. At any rate...SO MUCH FUN!! I really enjoyed it..."9 times" (and then some). 

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A look at what some of the publications here ran last week


The race [METRO] issue

One of the (many) local papers, Metro, ran this picture on their front page a day before the election. We had to dumpster dive, ok ok recycle bin dig, to get a copy but we really wanted to have it. All along I was hearing people say, "If Obama were white there'd be no question." I love that someone chose to address the issue in such a blatant way. We all know by now the election went the way it was supposed to go but how sad is it for America that everyone else in the world could see what a great number of Americans could not? 

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Yes we did!

My fellow Americans...
You have restored my faith.
You have brought me to tears.
You have shown the rest of the world
that we are opening our eyes.
We needed a change and
a CHANGE has come.

Thank you!

Monday, 3 November 2008

I'm on the wagon...

The chocolate wagon. I have this horrible addiction to chocolate. Go figure, huh? So what do you do when you have an addiction like this? Go cold turkey? OR would it be cold chocolate dipped turkey?  It won't be easy. There's chocolate EVERYWHERE! Have you noticed this? Take a look around. I'm sure you'll find some. 

What makes this whole process even more fun...I'm off [diet] soda too. That one I actually started a week ago. It hasn't been too bad. Also, I've done the chocolate thing before. I gave it up a couple years ago for lent. Yes me, the non-practicing Catholic girl gave it up for lent. I stuck to it too. I don't really have a time frame to work with right now. Just doing it. I'll see how long I can go. Maybe Christmas...maybe new years...maybe my birthday...maybe easter :) But then...why put a limit on it? Why not just give it up and be done with it. Maybe some day, when I'm a recovering chocoholic I won't have cravings for that fudge brownie that seems to be haunting me. 

Here goes...Day 1, no chocolate COMPLETE. I'll talk to you again in a month when I'm PMS-ing again ;) 

Sunday, 2 November 2008

I wish I knew how to quit him...

I saw a video clip the other day of Joaquin Phoenix being interviewed. He told the reporter he was announcing his retirement from acting. The reporter laughed it off which only seemed to irritate Joaquin so he left.

A few people emailed me (knowing the torrid crush I've had on Joaquin for years) to ask how I felt. Would I still be faithful or would I cast him aside because he's slightly weird? The truth is I considered it. I thought, maybe the time is ripe for a new celebrity crush. I do have this David Tennant fascination right now. The guy who plays Chuck is quite handsome. Jack Osbourne is a good lad. And, honestly, I'd watch Ewan McGregor read the phone book for 5 hours.

The more I thought about it the more I realized I can't. I can't give up on Joaquin. We've meant so much to each other (she says tongue firmly in cheek). I've loved him since I first saw SpaceCamp (that's right, I said SPACE CAMP) 1986. He was going by Leaf Phoenix then.

True there were others between then and 2002 when he was in Signs. And my love didn't exactly reach epic heights until 2005 when he was in Walk the Line BUT...I adore him. Craziness and all! I don't care if he retires. I still have his fantastic oeuvre to get me through the lonely years without him. So, whatever he's doing (music, directing, selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door) I will be here to support him. Until the day I meet the man I will eventually marry at which point, it'll be a tough call.

I suppose I could post the aforementioned interview but I'm choosing not to. I want to leave you with a clip of Joaquin at his best. Until we meet again...

My momma voted...have you?

Or are you waiting until Tuesday? I hear there's been massive turn outs for early election this year. Everyone wants in on the action. This is a good thing. Unless people are turning out to vote for the old guy because the thought of an African American in the White House scares them, in which case y'all should just stay home. 

We can't continue down this road anymore. We've been on it for 8 years! Where's the GPS? Someone find the exit!! 

There can not be people in the US who honestly believe Dub-ya did a good job. Of course there are people in the US who honestly believe an African American in the White House would be a scary thing...and I call those people ignorant. We need change! Desperately. John McCain (and a whole lot of other republicans) like to think the US is the biggest, baddest country out there. Guess what, McPAIN, we're not! It's a great big world we live in and your arrogance has not gone unnoticed. It's far less likely other countries will be bombing the US because of Barack's skin color and more likely they'll be doing it because of some stupid thing that came out of your mouth. Or out of the mouth of your joke of a vice president. 

For the record, I voted. I received my absentee ballot and mailed it off more than a week ago. Most people I know have already exercised their right to vote...even my grandparents...and they're in their 80's! If you haven't...GO! Tuesdays the day. Go early. Show the rest of the world we aren't a nation of slackers who will vote for a guy because he looks like he'd be fun to have a beer with. Or vote for another guy because he chose Caribou Barbie as a vice president. 

**This rant brought to you by the right to speak my mind because I voted**

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Snow anyone...

I was working on my latest essay tonight when one of my housemates, Helen came down the hall and said, "It's snowing!" Of course I did what any other person would do...I looked out the window to confirm it. Not because I didn't believe Helen. Mostly because I've never seen snow. EVER! 

Oh alright...there have been a couple of occasions in Texas when it got quite cold and there was a very (VERY) small amount of a white, somewhat fluffy substance on the ground. At the time everyone was saying, "Look! It's snowing!" (We're Texans...what do we know.) Truthfully, if you gathered everything up that had fallen on the ground in Houston, BOTH TIMES, you could have put it in a big gulp cup added some syrup and had a tasty treat. 

Tonight was different. Both Helen and Mary Anne assured me that it was nothing compared to what it can get like but it was still very cool to see. Mary Anne, Helen, Emmy, and Claire all went down to walk around in it. 

So, what's my take on seeing snow (real, live, fluffy, enough to make a couple hundred sno cones snow)? Frankly, it's cold. sure does make everything a little bit prettier. 

Monday, 27 October 2008

Total number of celebrity sightings: 2

Neil Gaiman
author of many books including Stardust, Neverwhere, Coraline, The Graveyard Book
He did an interview tonight and signed copies of his new book afterward.
That's MY book he's signing :)

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Auto Drawing

While I was out on Friday I came across this artist. He was painting a mural of a football player. The interesting thing is...he doesn't use paint brushes. He uses remote control cars. 

Ian Cook is the artist. Check him out at

"a beautiful day for a walk"

I have Fridays off. Well, relatively speaking. I probably should have been working on one of the two essays that are due next week but I decided my time would be better spent wandering the streets. 

I went into central and got out at Baker St. Truthfully, it's a little further out than what most people would do but I like the's one of my favorites. It's my 'hood (I promise, that's as ghetto as I get). When I was here in 2006 this was basically the neighborhood I lived in. I get to walk through Paddington Park. I told you this city was full of parks ;) It's cute. Not too big, tons of trees, benches that are perfect for sitting and having lunch. Then I walked down Marylebone High Street. I have such sweet memories of Marylebone. It's quite a posh little area. AIU, the school I was at before, is on this street...and it's where I lived before. Tons of hustle bustle. I heart hustle bustle. We had a great flat right in the middle of it all. On a corner, just above Starbucks, with a front row seat to the gorgeous guy in the flat across the street who apparently didn't like to wear shirts. It can get busy but I know a few short cuts so it's not too bad...especially compared to Oxford. In about half an hour I made the quarter mile (if that) trek from Marylebone High to Regent on Oxford with about 10 million of my closest friends. The closer you get to Piccadilly doesn't get much better but once you've made it through Leicester Square and found your way to Trafalgar Square you know it was worth it. 

Sitting in Trafalgar Square on a beautiful day, like Friday was, is fantastic. The sky is clear and the air cool. There are people around but if you can find a seat next to the fountains you start to block out everything. The massive lion statues can consume you. Big Ben, in the distance, intrigues you. The architecture of the surrounding buildings seduces you. 

After an hour more of walking around I started back to Harrow. I had gotten so lost in the sights and the sound of Kings of Leon on my iPod that I missed the street to the tube station I wanted. An older woman stopped me and happened to be looking for the street I was looking for. She was a sweet English woman on her way to get her hair done. So we asked for directions and it turned out we had both passed up the street. When we found where we were going she said, "You can go ahead if you're in a hurry, no need to wait for me." I explained that I wasn't in a hurry I was simply out taking a walk. She said: "Well, it certainly is a beautiful day for a walk."     

Truer words have never been spoken. 

Friday, 24 October 2008

Stay Young!

There's this fantastic little town about half an hour from London called Luton. I probably would never have known about this place were it not for my friends Kathy & Doug. Doug is a filmmaker and several years ago he directed a short and entered it in a film festival in Luton called Filmstock. I can remember Kathy telling me all about Luton and about the two "amazing" guys who run the festival. A few years after that I was making my first trip to London so Doug contacted those "amazing" guys to see if they had some free time to meet up with me. They did :) 

I had come to England on spring break and had just spent several days in Paris with about twenty 15-year-olds, a parent chaperone who kept trying to group me in with the teenagers even though I had told her I was 27, and a tour guide who I now lovingly refer to as 'Travel Tramp' because she hooked up with one of the other chaperones. But I digress...

I was feeling a little out of place and really needed to connect with people my age who I could actually have a conversation with. Enter the 2 "amazing" guys from Luton. Neil & Justin. 

They're very busy guys but they still took time out to spend the afternoon showing me around London. I don't think I ever told them how comforting it was (especially that day) to meet up with them. For starters, they're very chill guys. They put you at ease within moments of meeting them. Also, they enjoy art, movies, music, life...all things I hold near and dear. It may have only been a few hours to them but it meant the world to this shy Texas girl who had never been out of the US. 

Over the past few years I've kept in touch with Neil & Justin and when Mary Anne & I  found out we would be in the UK for a week before we could move into housing Neil (and his fiancee Roma) were kind enough to open up their home. Again, something that meant so much to us. 

Tonight Mary Anne & I went back to Luton. Neil dj's at a pub on Thursday nights. We missed Roma and Neil and Luton and we needed a break from school work. If you can make it to Luton...GO! Go for Filmstock. Go for Stay Young (Neil's dj-ing gig). Go because (despite what other Brits have told me) Luton IS a great town and the people are some of the friendliest I've met anywhere, not just the UK. 

(Hey Neil, when we're back in a couple weeks for Filmstock we promise we won't bring y'all anything...and we won't sell any of your stuff. haha)

Yes we can! and Yes THEY do!

What's not to love about this? Since starting my courses a few things have become abundantly clear. People hear you're from Texas and they think you 1-ride a horse, 2-own a gun and shoot things with it, and 3-voted for George Bush. I always tell them 1-I don't but I have before, 2-I don't and I don't think I ever would, and 3-I didn't nor would I ever. 

The other thing I've noticed is this...They LOVE Obama. At first I wasn't sure if it was his good looks, his Kennedy-esque charisma, or that they actually believed he was the right man for the job. So I started talking to people. The girls I live with, people in my classes. A good percentage of them (the women mostly) think he's a very handsome guy. Most people agree he comes across as quite charming. Everyone thinks he is the right man for the job. 

I have to be honest, I was quite shocked to find out non-Americans know so much about our election. Actually, they tend to know a lot more about America than I do about the many countries they're all from. (There is a bit of shame in that, yes.) Here's the thing...after the last election I think most of them were sitting at home saying, "Damn Americans voted for that guy AGAIN? Good luck with that. Y'all* deserve what y'all* get." 

(*The use of the word "y'all" is the authors interpretation and does not reflect the dialect of anyone except people from southern states. Y'all know who y'all are.) 

Needless to say, they're all as eager as we are to see how this election turns out. And by the billboards I've come across in the tube stations it's pretty obvious how the rest of the world thinks it should go. (And by "world" I mean Britain...And by "Britain" I mean London-and its surrounding areas). 

Monday, 20 October 2008

HEY...Aren't you supposed to be writing an essay?

Yes...Yes I am

Total number of celebrity sightings: 1

Josh Hartnett...
Currently starring in Rain Man 

I passed him on the way to Piccadilly.

Saturday, 18 October 2008


If you're ever lucky enough to be in London on an October day please take this bit of advice. Go for a walk. It's true, there are a million things to do in this city. There are so many museums in town that you could probably go to 3 a day, every day, for a week and still not hit every one. And then there's the theatre. I hear Broadway is fantastic but London has the West End. Classically trained actors, Hollywood superstars, singing, dancing, they've got it all. Plus there's the Eye, boat rides on the Thames, markets and shopping. doesn't get any better than going for a walk. We took the tube into central London today. Hit the British Library (which wasn't quite what I expected), took another tube to Camden, had some of the cheapest, best tasting, crappy for you Chinese food you can get, and bought a couple of t-shirts. The best part of the day though...the walk from Great Portland St station to Camden. It's not a terribly long walk and if you cut through Regent's Park it's all the better. The sky was this amazing shade of blue like that crayon you never wanted to use because you were afraid it would run out. The clouds drifted by with such pride you would have thought Van Gogh put each one there with his brush. The leaves have changed and have started to blanket the grounds of the park. The air was so cool and crisp each breath became less automatic and more deliberate, wanting to hold that "clean" feeling in. 
Even the walk gave us an opportunity to see some art. The Frieze exhibit is on. Sculptures all around. Some odd (the oversized club), some creepy (the mock crime scene). But it was an enjoyable day nonetheless. Even the squirrels came out to say hello.

Burn After Reading

Saw that last night. SO good. Not a single person in it is off. Clooney, Malkovich, & Frances McDormand were all fantastic. Score another one for the Coen brothers. 

Also, I have to be honest. I'm not a big Brad Pitt fan. He's an ok-looking guy but I don't really get the sex appeal. He's really not the greatest actor in the world either but he's usually entertaining. Especially in roles like this. He's amazing as the dope. Of course it could just be my taste (haha). I didn't particularly like him as ruggedly handsome in Legends of the Fall nor did I find him interesting as a blood-sucker in Interview w/ a Vampire. And as much as I love Fight Club it wasn't because of the chiseled abs of "Tyler Durden." He is, I feel, at his best when he's dorky (ok yes that IS my taste). But...he really does well in these roles. Want proof? See Burn..., or The Mexican, or his appearance on Friends. Even his constantly masticating character in the Ocean movies was a wee bit goofy. "Ted Nugent called, he wants his shirt back." 

See Burn After Reading. Seriously...go...I'll wait ;) 

I can't leave the country for 2 weeks...

...without the shit hitting the fan. Last week I got a few emails from home. "Your man got arrested!" I logged on to and there it was. The days headline: ASTROS PITCHER ARRESTED IN WEDDING RECEPTION MELEE. Seriously?!? Not MY Brandon. Arrested? He's one of the good guys. A few years ago after a Saturday night game (that the Astros lost) my friend's son, who was 11 at the time, and a friend of his chased Backe down the street as he drove away from Minute Maid Park...hoping to get an autograph. It would have been so easy for him to speed away in his SUV...the rest of the Astros did. Not Brandon. He smiled at the kids, pulled over, and signed a couple autographs. So how did this "good guy" go bad? 
He didn't. I read the reports, I watched the interviews, I've seen the mug shot. Witnesses are saying Galveston PD used excessive force. That only one person, if that, was really out of hand. What's the deal, GPD? Are you a bunch of wannabe ball players who saw your chance to take out your frustration on a hometown hero? 
And for those of you who want to say Brandon didn't have that great of a season or that he's no hero...Frankie called me that night after he got his autograph. He sounded really happy and told me what a nice guy Brandon was. THAT is what makes him one of my heros. 

Friday, 17 October 2008

The way I left things...

I know a "congratulations" really isn't in order but I've made it this far and that is no small feat. I left the US on the 5th day of having no power after Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc on the gulf coast. Luckily I had packed most of what I was bringing with me. 

The first day of no electricity is relatively painless...especially considering my aunt had purchased a generator. So we had a cold refrigerator and one room conditioned with air. We also had a tv working though after 24 hrs of local news coverage of the storm you just lived through trust me you'd almost prefer the alternative. Day 2 I was still getting along with my relatives...both my aunts, my mom, and my grandparents. Day 2, Hour 6 I was getting antsy. Day 3 I wanted to NOT shower by candlelight By day 5 I was ready for my flight and angry about missing out on all the things I had wanted to do before I left for a year. 

The only hitch we had between Texas and London was being stopped at security (in Houston) because I had a horseshoe in my carry-on. (What else is a country girl like myself going to have for luck?) 

We bounced around the UK for a week before moving to the campus at Univ of Westminster which is where I now find myself.