Beachin’ It

I was browsing through my pictures this morning and realized I took a trip to the beach recently that I’ve already forgotten all about.  You know why I forgot all about it?  Because I spent the entire trip – after day 1 – in the condo with a monstrous head cold.  This normally doesn’t sideline me, but there was also the edge of a tropical storm barreling down the coast with 50 – 60 MPH winds (I think).  Talk about timing!!!

You know what ruins your beach fun more than a tropical storm?  A tropical storm with a head cold cherry on top.  So I spent my time sniffling and sleeping, curled up on in a chair or on the couch or in my bed.

We will not get into why four grown, seemingly intelligent women took themselves down to the beach with an impending tropical storm headed our way instead of running in the opposite direction  like other sane people would do.

Alas, I was not able to take my usual 724 pictures of waves, seagulls, or sand.  Bummer!  But on Day 1 I did manage to take two pretty good pictures.

This was day 1.  Since watching the beach from my condo was about the only thing I could be bothered enough to do, I entertained myself by checking the progression of this chair each morning.  On Day 2 the chair was buried about halfway up in sand.  On Day 3 you could only see the top 3 inches or so, and on Day 4 it was completely covered.  Today, in my healthy state, this sounds extremely boring.  I can assure you at the time it was like watching National Geographic!

Just go with it, ok?

So after I take the obligatory 13 or so pictures of that chair, I wander down the beach.  The storm has not officially arrived yet but the waves are high, water is rough, sky is gray.  There’s not really much to photograph but I can always find something.  This time it was the wheat grass.

Some of you may scoff at the sight of those “high” waves.  It’s Alabama.  Give me a break.  It usually looks like a river out there.

I found some pics!

Playing on my computer yesterday and I came across some pictures I took back around Thanksgiving which I spent with a friend and her family.  Knowing I love nature they took me to a local area with waterfalls.  How I completely forgot the pictures existed is beyond me but it was certainly nice to relive the memories!  Here are some of them:

Isn’t it beautiful?  I love places like that.

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To update on my self-imposed healthy life challenge, week 1 is almost over and though there has been no exercise this week, I haven’t picked up fast food.  Except this morning.

Don’t judge!  Girls Night was last night and I barely woke up at all this morning, much less woke up early when I could always just stop by and pick up breakfast on the way.  Then I comforted myself with thoughts of how well I’ve done all week and how such dedication deserves a reward.  Obviously.

But I’m on the challenge for lunch today.  Back on track and focused!  I have my lunch here with me at work.  I have plans in place for both dinner tonight and breakfast in the morning so I’m set for at least another day or so!  Project Healthier Me recommence!

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I just realized I never updated on Bean.  If anyone’s following…it’s dead in the water.  But that’s a good thing because I already have my life together.  I don’t need someone to come along and mess that up, nor do I need a fixer-upper project.  My house serves that purpose just fine, thank you.

So it’s amazing what you learn about people and how different they can be from the first impression to reality.  It brought to mind a very true quote I’d read of Maya Angelou’s.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

I don’t just make excuses.  I make excuses for them when they don’t even want one!  Like the guy’s practically screaming, ‘Hey, I’m just an ass!’  And then I say, ‘Oh no, you had a bad childhood and you’ve built up walls around your wee little heart….I’ve just gotta jump a little higher and I’ll be able to get over them!!’  Idiot.  I’ve gotta stop giving them excuses.

Not sad about it at all.  Really, I’m not.  The warning signs have been posted along the way so I wasn’t blindsided.  And besides, I know my guy’s coming at some point.  And he’s gonna be the bestest!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Of Beaches and Babies…er, No Babies.

Where was I this weekend?

Right here, that’s where!!

I had a cold but fantastic long weekend on the beach.  Sleeping in, lazing around, eating good food, and taking pictures.  It was a very nice break from the norm.

Here’s a few more shots I took.  Rubbing it in?  Never.

When I go to the beach I get a new picture obsession every time…and by obsessing I mean literally hundreds of pictures, searching for that perfect one.  Previous visits have focused on action water shots, cresting waves, and of course animals of any kind are always on my list.  This time is was water foam but a few trips back I decided I wanted to get a bird in flight.  Guess what?  I got it this time!  Boo yaaaahhh!!!  Who’s a zen master now?!?!

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So a little update on Bean.  In one of my last updates I mentioned another woman just had his baby.  Well, Saturday I spoke with his mom (we’re friends, remember?) and she told me, ‘Meh, not so much’.  Turns out they had a DNA test done and he is NOT the father.

It’s a sad situation, really.  The mother said all along that she wasn’t absolutely sure it was his.  But he’s one of those guys who will probably be a great dad because he accepted the situation, even though they weren’t together, and he took responsibility.  I know seeing the baby and getting to know the baby for a few weeks now made it all the more difficult.  

But I hadn’t heard from him really since last Sunday night and on Saturday when I was talking to his mom she told me the sad news.  I feel horrible for him, I really do.  I wish I could do something to comfort him even though we’re not together and I haven’t heard from him in a week.  Maybe I’m a sucker like that.  Doomed to be a doormat.  Despite having written him off for not calling all week, after the latest news I find myself hoping to hear from him once again.  Have I ever mentioned I despise roller coasters?  Ironic, really.

The itch is returning.

No, not that kind of itch. Ew. I got an email yesterday that told me I could get a roundtrip flight to London these days for $3 – 400. Immediately I’m thinking in my head, ‘That’s practically cheap enough to justify making an extended weekend hop across the pond!’ And then I felt that itch – the one I get sometimes when I look at the interstate a certain way. The itch to go

Now, London I’ve done already but I haven’t done Italy…or Spain…or Ireland…or the Czech Republic….or…you get the picture.  I haven’t been anywhere since October. It’s time to break out the suitcase again soon. I can feel it. 

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So I just realized I haven’t said much about this new thing I love. 

Oh sweet, sweet Kindle! It was my present to myself for Christmas this year and oh how I love it so!

So here’s a dirty little secret…I’m one of those dorks who uses a purse to carry my books. (Not only books, but they’re in there.)  I’m talking two or more at a time. It goes without saying, my back and shoulder are weeping with joy.

Not only am I 5 – 7 pounds lighter these days, but I am also reading more!  Since Christmas I’ve already completed 3 1/2 books. One of which was Little Women which is epically long. And at the moment John Grisham has my attention and my heart with the return to his law drama roots via The Confession.

Anyway, if you’re a reader and don’t already have one I would highly recommend heading over to Amazon immediately. Most highly deserving of the hype surrounding it.  Amazing!

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Another thing I’m loving right now is VideoJug. Not familiar? Pure awesomeness! Is there something you’ve wanted to know how to do but never learned? Draw? Speed read? Roast a chestnut? Stop procrastinating?  Well, this site has it!  There are tons of videos about virtually any subject you can think of.  I personally, have drawn a cartoon castle, frog, and dog already. Next up is how to knit! Seriously, check it out!

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And lastly, I read a post this morning giving the proper grammatical etiquette of spaces after periods. I click on it with this high and mighty air as I have pretty much convinced myself I am the end all and be all of grammatical perfection. Wrong!!! It’s one space, not two! 

This has put a serious cramp in my typing flow. I’ll be typing and two paragraphs later realize I’ve been two-spacing again. Drat! Back to the top I go to check all my sentence breaks.  Of course I have to remove a space in all of them. Couple of minutes spent and now I’ve gotta read everything I’ve already written to catch back up with where I am. I just needed to vent. Darn you, Knowledge!

Guess where I was last weekend!!

Yes, Yes sah!!!!  I went up to Washington for the Rally to Restore Sanity! 

It was a whim I had and thankfully two friends were game for a loooooong road trip so off we went.  I’ve never been to a rally as I’m not particularly passionate about politics, and I do realize that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are not your typical rally, but it was AMAZING fun!! 

I’m pretty short so of course I couldn’t see anything but despite all that, I’m so glad I went.  It was just awesome.  The environment, the excitement, the laughter.  Just to see there are people out there who feel the same way you do.  I really did feel quite free standing in that gigantic mass of people.

To me, it wasn’t about Democrat or Republican.  It was just a light-hearted wake-up call of sorts.  I don’t know, I just loved it.  It made me smile.  🙂

High Altitudes

Does anyone else get a little stir-crazy when on a plane?  It can sometimes drive me insane when I’m really bored.  I mean, you’re trapped there so it’s natural, right?  It doesn’t happen on every flight, but on the way over to San Francisco we had one connection.  It was that second flight…that’s what brought it out of me.  Sure, I brought a book.  As a matter of fact, I think I had two in my purse.  I also brought an MP3 player.  But I was exhausted, I was fidgety, and I was slowly losing my mind. 

Look, I was in the worst spot to be in a plane.  You know where I’m talking about!  That dreaded center seat.  And it was night time so it was dark outside.  I cringe now just thinking about it. 

I did it to myself though.  The three people with me all had seats on a row to themselves and I was the odd man out.  When booking I chose an available seat in the row behind them but the only seat available was the center.  I’ve never had a center seat without someone I know on one side of me, and I can assure you I will never do that to myself again.  That flight was like my own personal hell. 

Fortunately on the way back I flew alone and I was intelligent enough to choose window seats.  Some people prefer aisle…no, no, no.  The window seats are where it’s at!!  I did all kinds of things to entertain myself.  There was a little TV for me to watch so I did that of course while I made two mini-silent films with my camera, and whenever I got bored doing that, I just took some shots out the window!  It’s beautiful but it’s also fascinating to see all the different landscapes across our beautiful land.  Here’s a few I took:

The clouds dazzle me every single time I fly.

It’s all so beautiful isn’t it?  One of my favorite things to do when I fly is take pictures of things down below.  Not everyone gets to see the world like that, even other people on the flight don’t usually pay any attention to what’s passing below them.  Engrossed in books or laptops or napping….  So I feel kind of special when I fly.  Like the world is putting on a little picture show just for me.

San Francisco – Day Three

So our third and final day in San Francisco of course began with breakfast at Pergamino’s.  Yum!  I finally found my pic of the restaurant…

Sorry about it being so dark.  This is actually taken on a little solo stroll I took on the last night. 

Anyway, breakfast at Pergamino’s then we headed up to the Golden Gate Park looking for the De Young museum.  They’re currently having a Van Gogh exhibition and since he’s my favorite artist, I wanted to check it out.  Walking through the park you pass the arboretum where we saw some lovely flowers.

Unfortunately for me, you can only view De Young exhibitions while on a scheduled tour and the next available ticket was for 3:30 which was about 5 or 6 hours off.  I couldn’t make it.  Disappointing, but I got to see some Van Gogh in London so it wasn’t that big a deal.

We all ate clam chowder in the area across the street, bought from Sam’s Chowder Mobile and it was delicious.  After brunchy-lunch our party split into 2’s and my group went to visit Haight & Ashbury.

I wasn’t aware but this is apparently a popular sign to photograph.  I personally did not get the draw.

Haight and Ashbury is quite an interesting and eclectic mix of stores and people.  We stopped for a coffee and crepe at one of the little shops there, then walked along Haight on our way to the Castro District.  While walking I got really excited when I saw a used book store until I walked just a few steps further to where the sign was no longer partially covered by tree limbs and saw it was actually an anarchist collective store.  Did a quick U-Turn on that one.  Like I said, lots of interesting shops.  I actually enjoyed the whole atmosphere of it.

We then planned to do a little walking tour of the Castro District hoping to see some of the remodeled homes along the streets.  Unfortunately day three was a foggy, windy, chilly day and after a block or two we decided to go ahead and grab a cab to meet up with the other party.

Straight to Pier 39!!  Cold weather aside, I had a great time at the pier.  This is one of the big ones with lots of shops to peruse and also a nice collection of sea lions. 

These guys were loud and they smell bad, but they’re just so darn cute!  Who can resist?

So we ate dinner at the Sea Lion Cafe on the pier, then we kind of wandered around the different shops buying a few souvenirs here and there.  We had an early morning the next day so after that little bit of retail therapy we all headed back to the hotel for rest and relaxation. 

I ended up taking a little stroll (mentioned earlier) down the street and took a few night time pics.

We’d actually stopped at the little ice cream shop there on the first day and had ice cream sundaes.  They were fantastic!

San Francisco was an absolute blast, Yosemite was beautiful, and I had the best people with me to enjoy it with.  I may not have everything I want yet in life, but I do have some amazing friends that I wouldn’t trade the world for.

San Francisco – Day Two

So day two was an exciting day for me.  We’d decided to rent a car and drive to Yosemite National Park for the day on a self-guided tour.  Everyone who’d asked about our plans and heard ‘We’re going to Yosemite…’ would immediately interrupt to say, ‘I hope y’all aren’t driving!  It’s a different world over there.  They drive like maniacs!’ 

Well, it just so happens that I fancy myself the Greatest Driver on the Planet so needless to say, I was looking forward to the challenge.  I will admit though, the cab ride I mention in my previous post made me the teensiest bit nervous but I was determined to soldier through.

Early that morning we get ready and of course head over to Pergamino’s to begin the day right.  I had the French Toast that morning and Oh. My. Yum.  We also get our daily pointers from our unofficial tour guide (who, btw, thinks we’re borderline insane for making such a trek in one day), and finally go pick up the rental car.

I am forced against my will to drive across the Bay Bridge (and by ‘forced’ I mean it was the only way to get where we were going…trust me, I checked.)  I guess I should preface that comment by saying that I believe bridges with metal tops (and especially TWO LEVEL bridges of metal) were created by an evil, demonically maniacal person whose only purpose was to torture me and throw me off my Greatest Driver on the Planet title.  I hate those bridges.  Hate them. 

But alas, my title remains firmly in place as I made it across the bridge without incident – despite my two hateful friends who thought it would be humorous to rock the car as we drove across the bridge.  Yeah. 

So now we’re on our way.  I have to say, once you get outside the city they still have beautiful scenery to enjoy while you drive.  Rolling hills and lots of golden grass.  Below is a picture of some of the wind turbines we saw pretty early on our trip.  We don’t have those ’round my parts.  🙂

And below you see some more of those rolling hills, this time with trees scattered.

The drive alone was a ball.  One of the other ladies with me was trying to figure out the GPS on her iPhone and asked how to spell ‘Yosemite’ enough times to make it hilarious.  Plus, our route took us on some back roads and we passed fields of grapevines and almond trees.  Of course we’re degenerates so we stopped and stole a few almonds off one tree.  They were fantastic

Here’s the thing though…the roads start winding up mountains and getting snake-y curvy so of course we’re thinking we’re getting pretty close.  Um, no.  It was another hour’s worth of a drive before we ever saw an entrance to the park.

The good news….We finally made it!!!  One person found a self-guided day tour online that we thought we might follow but it’s impossible to do so in one day with 8 hours of driving.  Also, the problem with visiting national parks like this is there are about 6,381 places to pull over along the road with gorgeous scenery and when you’re excited, it’s what you do.  So here’s a picture of the Half Dome.  (That’s it there in the center.)

We gave the tour the old college try though and our first ‘official’ stop was Bridal Veil Fall.

The walk to the base of the fall was a short one and paved so pretty much anyone can get up to see it.  We stopped along the way so I could play cheerleader and climb on a fallen tree to spell out ‘San Francisco’ with my body.  It was hilarious, but hilarious in a horrible, no-other-human-eyes-will-ever-view-these-photos kind of way.  It was quite a show for the other hikers though.

After leaving Bridal Veil Fall we got turned around in the park and it took us quite a while to find our next stop which ended up being Mariposa Grove so we could check out some of the giant redwoods.  This translates into ‘we basically skipped everything in the tour except three stops and one was dinner’.

Only two of us made the .8 mile hike to see the Grizzly Giant (pictured above).  Pictures just don’t do these trees justice.  This tree was probably a car length wide at the base, and it towered up above me.  Humongous!

And then we rounded off the night with a stop at the Wawona Hotel for a nice dinner.  Despite being in California, the hotel/restaurant gave me the feel of the Old South.  Wrap-around porch, a piano player, the whole look of the place.  I kind of felt like I needed to put on my Scarlett O’Hara costume and fan my face while I ran around looking for Rhett.

After dinner we headed on back to San Francisco.  It was another hour or hour and a half of windy, curvy roads and I’ll be honest with you, I was pretty sick of the gas, brake, gas, brake, gas, gas, brake!, gas those curves require you to drive.  It gets tiresome after a while.

Back to the rental car parking garage by 12:30, Greatest Driver on the Planet title waving proud, and then walked to our hotel to rest up for the third and final day.

San Francisco – Day One

All righty, so I’m a wee bit late….   I’ve had the pictures with me since Monday – in fact, I even arrived late at work so I could load them onto a flash drive – but I’ve been putting this post off ever since.  I’m a procrastinator – it’s what I do.

So yeah, myself and three friends flew to San Francisco for a long weekend just last week. 

We had a BLAST!!!  The flight arrived late in the evening and I was pretty sure I’d arrived in the wrong country after the cab ride to the hotel.  Seriously, I haven’t seen driving like that since I went to Mexico.  I’m fairly certain we hit two other cars, took out a fire hydrant or three, and ran over an old woman all on our way out of the airport parking lot alone.   

On the interstate the van didn’t get below 92 mph and once we finally hit the city, we took the hills like we were felons running from the law with a dead body in the trunk and glocks glued to our hands.  Those hills in San Francisco are no joke.  Some of them you don’t see the road ahead of you until you actually begin down them so shooting down them at 68 miles an hour was quite the adrenaline kick.  When we finally pulled to a stop at the hotel I think we all breathed a sigh of relief and did a few Hail Marys regardless of the fact none of us are Catholic.

The next day we were up bright and early to do a little exploring.  We headed across the street to this adorable little cafe – Pergamino – for breakfast. 

We all loved it so much this became our 1st stop of each morning.  The cafe was precious, the food was fantastic, and the staff was amazing.  One particular employee even became our unofficial tour guide and we didn’t begin a day without running our plans by him to make sure we were getting the best of the best.

Day One began with the obligatory ride to Union Square on the rail car. 

I rode with one friend standing on the side where I could hang off and take pictures of the city.  I’m a wild and crazy daredevil like that.  The ride was so much fun!  Some beautiful views of the streets and some adorable townhomes. 

Union Square was pretty busy.  Lots of shopping down there though the only thing we shopped for was alcohol.  Ended up at Lefty O’Douls where I wondered over the connection between him and Marilyn Monroe because she was plastered all over the restaurant/bar.  Here’s what I found out…Lefty served as Best Man in her wedding to Joe DiMaggio.  Ta daaaa!  So I enjoyed a little liquor and we even got a corned beef sandwich to split.  Thing was AMAZING!!!

Next we moseyed on over to Chinatown.  There were quite a few shops along the street that had these fantastical blown glass chandeliers and ivory carvings.  After a while we decided to stop for lunch at one of the restaurants.  By this time it’s mid-day or early afternoon.  The sun’s out and it’s actually pretty warm.  I’ll go ahead and warn you – no air conditioners, at least in Chinatown.  Every shop and restaurant was stifling hot.  It took a few tries before we found a place with at least a fan set up to rotate air.

Talk about high pressure sales!  There was a lady on the street who was trying to herd people into the restaurant we were headed to.  She handed us all a menu brochure and then personally escorted us to the front door.  On the 25 yard trek to the door another restaurant lady came up trying to divert us in another direction.  Fortunately we did end up making it safely to our destination.  Food was good and then we were off to the next location.

I’ve always thought of myself as having a good sense of direction.  Let me not be shy, I’ve often wondered if I didn’t have an innate psychic-like sense of direction…a built in compass, if you will.  I have even considered telling the authorities about my gift so they could study me, because surely it’s only selfish to keep such a gift to myself.  However, I am slowly beginning to doubt my abilities – not in direction directly, mind you – but in map reading.  I spent a good 2 minutes on the street corner looking at a small map, turning it this way and that, trying to figure out which rail car we needed to get on in order to get back to Fisherman’s Wharf.  I won’t make excuses about how I had a friend squawking in my ear the whole time with her own ideas.  I’ll just say we ended up on the completely wrong car, going the completely wrong direction. 

So after rerouting and finally heading in the direction we needed, we finally made it back to Fisherman’s Wharf in one piece.  Or four, depending.  Finally we ended up at the Blue Mermaid for dinner.

The food was amazing!  After dinner we all waddled ourselves back to the hotel.  It was bed time and we were up for an early morning the next day. 

Coming up next:  Day trip to Yosemite!!

London – Day Six

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Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five

Day Six was all about wrapping up as it was my last day in London.  There were a few places I had left to visit so I was on a mission.  The place I’d been putting off all week – the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral (pictured above), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and Tate Modern (a stop I made for my mother who is a big fan of modern art).

First up was a visit to the British Museum.  Let me just say this….of all the places I went in London, all the times I exited a tube station, the times I left one location to walk to another….I don’t think there was even one time I didn’t walk at least 100 yards in the complete wrong direction before figuring it out.  Today was no exception.  On the plus side, I think today was my best day as far as planning my stops in regards to their close proximity.  Yay progress!

When I finally got to the museum I decided to stop at a little cafe on a joining street for breakfast.  I ordered a mushroom and cheese breakfast crepe but somehow ended up with ham and cheese.  Communication fail.  It was  still yummy though.

And here we are at the British Museum…

The British Museum was a visit I was really looking forward to.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to browse leisurely through the different collections so I purchased an audio tour and followed the highlights option.  Of course the big draw…..the famed Rosetta Stone.   The first stop on the tour but it was virtually impossible to get a good picture.  Every time I was around it there was a big crowd.  Obviously a big draw for the museum.

And here it is folks! 

The rest of the tour was lesser known – to me at least – exhibits.  There were some stone sculptures, ship wreck treasures, mummies…pretty much a little bit of everything.  Let’s see…..I guess my favorite would have been the sculptures I saw at the very first of the tour.

East Pediment statues

These sculptures were particularly amazing to me.  That someone, particularly in ancient times, can inject so much emotion and power into stone is extremely impressive to me.  They look so realistic – almost like they’re in motion.

After the British Museum I moved along to St. Paul’s Cathedral (pictured above).  Again, no pictures allowed inside.  I visited Westminster Abbey back on day three, and here on day six I find myself at the cathedral.  You can’t help but compare the two in your mind.  Westminster Abbey was beautiful in its way with ornate detail work everywhere you looked – the ceilings, the floors, the woodwork of the choir area, the many tombs….there was so much detail in every little thing.

In comparison, St. Paul’s Cathedral was much less ornate, however, it was my most favorite of the two.  It had beautiful mosaic murals on the ceiling, and another painted mural in the ceiling of the dome.  While there I also climbed up to the Whispering Gallery.  Before entering the stairwell leading up to the gallery they have signs posted – you are about to climb 257 steps to get there.  Walking into the stairwell, you are presented with these wide 3-inch high steps and yes, I scoffed at them.  Only 257?  Pshaw.  I got this.  So I begin the climb up the steps…..it’s about step 86 as I’ve wound my way around and around up the steps that I begin to wonder if it will ever end.  The steps are winding around a giant stone column so you never see exactly where you’re going – just the stone column and the stone steps – and I’m telling you, those wide 3-inch high steps that I scoffed at earlier were paying me back big time.

By the time I finally reach the Whispering Gallery I’m panting like a dog and convinced my death is near.  I walk part way around the dome to find a seat by myself – only because I don’t want anyone to hear my embarrassing breathing.  First I stand against the rail looking down upon those awesome mosaic murals, and looking up at the painted ones.  I’m only 5’1″ so standing at the rail that had to be about 4’9″ high, I felt like a 5 year old standing on tip toes peering over with only my eyes visible.

When I’ve almost caught my breath I sit on the stone bench that surrounds the dome.  Suddenly I’m startled by a voice in my ear asking, ‘Can you hear me?’  I flip my head over to see whose lap I almost sat on to see no one.  Oh Dear Lord, I really did die!  The angels are speaking to me, Lord!   It took me a few seconds to realize I was not in fact dead, but a young couple are whispering to each other across the dome.  I should probably be ashamed by that story because I was in the Whispering Gallery.  Duh.  However, the nearest person to me was probably 10 feet away and that voice literally sounded like someone was whispering directly in my ear.  I’m justified, right?  lol

You can of course climb another set of steps to another level but possibly due to my near-death experience, I opted instead to climb back down the stairs and finish up my tour of the cathedral so I could head over to The Globe theatre.  It’s not official without one, so another 100 yard false start I finally get on my way.

This was actually taken on my way back, as you can see St. Paul’s dome in the center there, but let’s pretend, shall we?

A short jaunt across the Millenium Bridge through incredibly strong winds, you practically arrive at the doorstep of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.  If you read my day two entry, you know I’m a fan of Shakespeare’s work so I was naturally excited about touring the remake of his theatre.

Opened in 1997, this is the remake of Shakespeare’s Globe – an exact replica.

I was pretty disappointed I didn’t catch a show there.  I think they perform plays mainly in the summer months and of course my trip was a little early for that.  The tour was interesting though and I’m so glad I went.

Next I went to Tate Modern just next door and oh my, were my eyes opened to modern art.  I walk in to the industrial building on the “second” floor.  I don’t know what it is about art galleries but they bring out the world’s worst cynic in me almost immediately.  So of course walking in the door to discover you must walk down steps to the ground floor in order to get on an escalator that will go directly to the third floor was just what I needed to start my tour out right.  Strange just for the sake of being different.   And here we go!

Heading to the steps I look to my left and there’s a giant box made of what could possibly be train box cars 3 high and 3 wide, on stilts.  It’s a “sculpture”.  If you walk to the opposite end, it is open for you to walk up the ramp into this giant black box.  It is interesting in the way a science experiment is interesting.  It plays with your depth perception.  So not a total wash.

Next I head over to the escalators and ride on up to the third floor.   The gallery begins innocently enough with abstract art.  I saw one of Kandinsky’s paintings – he is one of my favorites – and a few Picasso’s and then one big one by Henry Matisse.  Of course abstract art is pretty relative so there are some that I’m pretty sure I may have drawn in elementary school at some point, but there was also some impressive pieces.  I wind my way around and there’s a room with giant white canvasses painted with red swirlies.  Inside that room is an entrance to another exhibit.

I have a teensy bit of trouble with my attention span so I do a lot of skimming without paying much attention – in one ear and out the other?  Yeah, that’s me.  So I skim the information on this artist and ‘Oh!  I didn’t know Paul McCartney did art too!’ so I enter to see what Mr. Beatle himself has been up to in the art world…..  Short hallway into a viewing room and there’s a video playing….it has three different panels at the same time….Panel 1 is a naked man bouncing around with boxing gloves on…..Panel 2 is a close-up of a blindfolded woman with vomit slowly dripping out of her mouth…..needless to say, I did not make it to Panel 3.  I turn around and exit the exhibit wondering what the hell kind of drugs Paul McCartney has gotten himself into when I get back to the information and realize it’s not Paul McCartney but Paul McCarTHY.  Thank Heavens Mr. Beatle is still Mr. Beatle.

I exit the rooms and I walk across the hall to another room.  This one holds photograph art.  Turn to my right and there is a series of four small, framed pictures.  Picture 1 is a man in a white butcher or doctor’s coat with something dark all over him holding something…an organ of some kind?  Over to Picture 2 and the same man in the same coat with a little less darkness on it and a bigger organ…is that blood?  On to Picture 3 and you realize it was indeed blood….from a fawn’s carcass that is hanging from meat hooks while he mutilates it.  Lovely.  I did not make it to Picture 4.

And so brings an end to the short and tentative relationship between myself and Tate Modern.  The two of us apparently have very different opinions on what qualifies as art and what qualifies as ‘someone-obviously-needs-to-be-committed-to-a-mental-institution-pronto’.  I find my way back to the escalator-that-skips-the-second-floor-for-no-good-reason and ride back down to the ground floor so I can climb the steps back up to the exit.  I do make a stop by the gift shop and buy a book for my mother.  Syonara, Tate Modern.

And so ends Day Six in London…my final day of vacation.  Highlights of today was the British Museum, and my near-death experience in the Whispering Gallery.