Hello from London!

So if you didn’t know, Deana and I are presently in the glorious city of London – my very favorite place in the world!  We were blessed to be able to go here via a huge miracle – one I will elaborate on perhaps later as I have only paid for 1 hour of internet service and there’s so much I need to accomplish on the internet before that!  So onward….

We left LAX on Friday, 11/27 at 5:30.  The non-stop flight was just over 8 hours and was not the best, nor the worse I’ve been on.  I guess flying to Russia a couple times makes an 8 hour flight seem shorter, huh?  In any case, I have a few things to suggest to international travelers:

1.  Do NOT talk really, really loud when the people next to you are sleeping!

2.  Do NOT laugh outrageously loud at the movie you are watching as the people next to you are sleeping!

3.  Do NOT assume the person next to you will be your personal pillow.

(Do you see a theme here?  lol)

We arrived at Heathrow Airport on Saturday at 11:15 local time (London is 8 hours ahead of Pacific Time).  Deana and I did not sleep a lick on the plane (based on the above, I guess you know why!)  In any case, we were jazzed to be in London!  We found the underground quickly but had to figure out where our hotel was.  The underground ticket attendant was UBER helpful and not only told us the station to end at, but even what streets to walk down!  We got to the ending, walked a short skip, and were at our hotel.

Now the hotel is typical Europeanish – very small rooms by American standards.  But, having been fortunate enough to travel thus far, we are no longer shocked by the size.  However, we DID decide to “take a short nap”, which turned about to be about 6 hours!!!!  Whoa there!  In her defense, Deana DID try to wake me about 1 hour in, but I asked for 5 more minutes.  The rest, as they say, is history!  But, once we woke, we took off into the immediate city for dinner and checking out the night life.  And, as fortune would have it, we found a Wagamama!!!!  This is the first restaurant we ate at during our 2003 trip as well (based on a recommendation we received then) and we repeated it this trip, too!  Wagamama’s is a japanese restaurant chain and it is very, very yummy.  And, since it was rainy, the soup I got hit the spot.  Chaching!

Special shout out to Kenny, who called me at 8:45pm California time – or around 4:45am our time!  LOL  We had a nice chat when we finally connected and he is awesome.  I talked to Josh too and that rocked.

Today we got a late start based on our usual travel cycle – 8:30am.  We picked up our 3 day London City Pass and took off!  One instant set back……two of the main lines that we needed to get where we were going were shut down!  Dun dun dun!  Hello!  But don’t worry, we are resourceful!  We pulled out our underground map and figured out an alternative route, which meant we had to walk for about 15 minutes towards to Tower of London.  We made it no problem!!!!  And let me remind you, or tell you as the case may be, I am a HUGE English history buff!  Walking on the grounds and throughout the Tower was IMPRESSIVE!  Seeing the area where Anne Bolyn, Katherine Howard, and others were executed was surreal (and, fwiw, I feel for the queens…..).  Seeing the carvings (or graffiti) of those held in the Tower was amazing.  Just BEING where so much has taken place over hundreds of years blew my mind…….words cannot express really how I feel!

We then puzzed around, getting lunch at a local pub.  Me, fish & chips (I would have enjoyed it more had the fish not had the skin) and Deana pizza (which was very yummy indeed!).  We then hopped on the City Cruise that took us up the Thames to Westminster Abbey, which is near Big Ben, the London Eye, etc.  Too bad is was FREAKING FREEZING!  LOL  Nothing we can’t handle.  We then had the same problem with the underground routes being closed, but we just walked a bit and figured our way using various other routes.  I must say, I feel pretty darn resourceful!!!

Have I mentioned that I LOVE London?

We stopped by Starbucks, where my order of Cafe Mocha with four shots of espresso caused not one, not two, but THREE confirmations (“Do you REALLY want 4 shots?!?!!?”)  That has never happened to me before!  We then went to the Pharmacy and score two boxes of pain meds with codiene, OVER THE COUNTER!  Whoot!  Love that part of London!  We will probably get two more tomorrow too!  Love it.

Now, we sit surfing the net, drying, and sipping our Starbucks.  It is almost 6pm local time and already dark.  We haven’t planned tomorrow’s agenda yet, but I will try to update you next time!

Also, if you are a praying person, I’d appreciate yours as I tentatively have an interview scheduled for 12/8.  They know I am Great Britain so that’s cool.  More on that later.

Gina and Deana OUT!  🙂

Why Progressives Do Not Equal Progress……

…..and other enlightened realizations received by Gina!

So it’s been a while since I’ve written my usual “rant” about life and the junk that comes with it!  So, having said that, this could mean that this will be a long, deranged and curse filled post, or will be short as I sit and realize there is just too much to elaborate on!  Ah, the suspense is KILLING me!  🙂  Now, where to begin?

So, first of all, I recently went to get my eyes checked.  It was about time; I had had my reading/computer glasses for about two years and – unfortunately – was realizing that see things up close were becoming a bit more…….problematic.  I have been far sighted since I was youngER, so I figured as I grow older, near images would become more of an issue.  I went to Costco for my exam and, sure enough, was told that I needed a stronger prescription.  Wasn’t surprised at all by that.  But then the bomb hit……..”I think you really need to consider getting progressive lenses now.”  PROGRESSIVE LENSES?!?!!!!?  YOU MEAN THE KIND THAT OLD PEOPLE WEAR?!?!!?!!?!!?  (Please, to those of you who are older than me and who might have progressive lenses, that comment was not meant to offend.  I promise.  So since I promised, you can’t haze me right?)  So anyway, I sat in disbelief for a moment and then had the brilliant idea to ask WHY I needed progressive lenses.  I mean, I only need them for computer and reading, right?  WRONG!  While my distance vision was GOOD, one of my eyes has astigmatism and, well, the other one could use a little help too.  Do you know how many years I’ve bragged that my distance vision ROCKED?!  Holy crap!  But, as the shock that this  nearly 42-year-old body was failing me, I slowly nodded my head that I agreed with the fine doctor’s opinion and she started writing with amazing speed.

Now, about 10 or so days later, I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I DID need these freaking glasses!  I can certainly see much clearer and my eyes don’t get all throbbing after working all day.  Even driving home, I feel much more comfortable, especially at night.  But me, wearing progressive?  Wow.

I do have to say that LEARNING how to use them reminded me SO of my Dad!  When he first got his (much later in life, I might add!), he would move his head around, trying to find the “sweet spot” to see me or whomever he was talking to.  I would laugh so hard and say “what are you DOING Dad?”  Well, yeah, that was me for the first few days.  Oh, and the fact that walking was a bit troublesome at first.  Steps looked flatter and flat portions looked sloped or at least like they needed a step.  I was LAME!  But I have survived and, well, I wear freaking glasses all day now.  But I’ve been told I look freaking SEXY!

Alas, that is all I am going to write about at this time!  I know, that was a bit of a dud, huh?  All worked up and catching up and BAM – just talk about the ol’ glasses.  Well, that’s how the keyboard crumbles!  I warned you!  But to try to eleviate any pain, here is a funny video of me skydiving….check out my chubby cheeks in the wind!

Gina OUT!

Random Videos

So I have been able to download a free program that let’s me convert files to formats for posting very easily.  So my find means you will have to watch things here whether you want to or not!  🙂

The first video I made in 2006 to document the first portion of Deana’s adoption process.  This trip is where she first met Zack and Sophia (back then we thought she’d go by Sophie).  I also produced the video to help encourage some of the Christians we were around that had no problem telling her is was wrong, as a single woman, to adopt children.  And finally, to help raise funds to offset the HUGE expense she faced.  By I digress.

I would be remiss if I did not share that there IS a HUGE orphan problem in Russia and the majority of these children have bleak futures.  If you have ever thought of adoption, I request that you at least check out the children living in Russia, who are amazing wonderful!  Now, on to the video!

The second video I’d like to share is one of my favorites!  Kenny has always been my daredevil – not really afraid of anything and actually happy to push the limits.  This video was taken when he was 7 years old, only the second time he had been snowboarding.  I skied behind him on the mountain in Mammoth and Edgar produced the video.  It may be a little long, but there IS a cute interview of him at the end.  I can’t believe how little he was!

Enjoy!

Happy Veterans Day

A many of you know, today marks a day where we honor those who have served our country, some going so far as to die in their service. I find it interesting that its history is a bit different than I realized!

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday; “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

In 1953, an Emporia, Kansas shoe store owner named Al King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during World War II. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into “All” Veterans Day. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce took up the cause after determining that 90% of Emporia merchants as well as the Board of Education supported closing their doors on November 11, 1953, to honor veterans. With the help of then-U.S. Rep. Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26, 1954.

Congress amended this act on November 8, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with Veterans, and it has been known as Veterans Day ever since. I also find it interesting that the holiday is commonly printed as Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day in calendars and advertisements. While these spellings are grammatically acceptable, the United States government has declared that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling. Who knew?

While I will be going to work on this holiday, I would be remiss if I didn’t share that I, too, acknowledge and appreciate those that have served in the military to protect me and my family (or ancestors) and to uphold the beliefs that are melted into the American Dream. In my family I have my Dad (Navy), brother Gary (Army), brother David (Navy), and nephew Matthew (Army). My Dad was in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and my nephew served a tour in Iraq (and worked an additional year there as a civilian). THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Also on this important day is that it marks the 15th anniversary of my Dad surviving full cardiac arrest. I will ALWAYS know in my heart that God protected him that day for the benefit of all of us who love him! I am thankful that I have had the years since then to have him in my life.

Happy Veterans Day!