Archive for the ‘random thoughts’ Category

Ok, so I know that I’ve left you all in the lurch for the past few days.  Sorry about that!  I’ve been fighting with the video clips and photos from my trips to Buckingham Palace, the Houses Parliament, etc but hope to get a gallery up soon so that you can see them. Coming home yesterday was a very long, very emotional process, I have to say.  Eight and a half hours on a plane and then another four and a half on the train makes for a terribly long day.  Part of me was happy to just be home again, sleep in my own bed, take a shower in my own place. The other half was filled with anxiety and trepidation:  I still have to deal with my current life situation.  I’m still faced with the facts:  loss of the life I knew, loss of the life partner who did, and still does, mean the world to me, loss of emotional control overall.  It’s hard to have patience and let everything eventually shake out the way it’s supposed to. I mean, who in the world is ok with going from living with and loving someone for 12+ years and then having to start living alone again? To come home to an empty house, eat your meals alone, go shopping alone, have no one to converse with?  I want to change my way of thinking. I want to have hope, be ok with having her friendship at least and not losing at all. It’s a very difficult process but if there’s anything that London has taught me is that life flows in and around me, no matter what.  I can choose to be the rock in water and let it wear me down to sand or I could be the leaf in water and just let it guide me downriver.

All sounds nice and philosophical now but it’s much more difficult to put into practice (especially when your emotions are so very bipolar and somewhat schizophrenic from one moment to the next). So this trip has become less of a Freak, Fly, Spend (though I definitely did those things) and much more of a Try, Hope, Pray….and understand more fully what it means to love….myself, my former partner (who is still my best friend and will always be the love of my life), my family, my friends. I’ll keep you posted 😉

STAY TUNED:  Pictures, video and some really whack stories about swearing lorry drivers, even scarier taxi drivers and why one should NEVER ignore the WALK/DON’T WALK signs on London streets.


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Today was mostly me absorbing nature, namely walks through Kensington Gardens, the lower half Hyde Park, wandering aimlessly along the Princess Diana Memorial Trail and visiting her memorial fountain. I may have better luck uploading the short vids that I took. I think *LOL*

EDIT: Here they are! Hope they work well.

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain – Part 1

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain – Part 2

London has so many lush, green parks and they are so large that you really can get lost in them. But what’s more enjoyable is seeing so many happy people around, families large and small, couples, students, etc. It was just fun to walk around and people watch. I got to see the Royal Albert Hall, The Albert Memorial, and the Wellington Arch (near the Marble Arch Underground stop). I took pictures but will need to use Photoshop for them to make them ready for posting.

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It’s pretty dreary looking and chilly today, though it is supposed to warm up to 16degrees C as the day goes on. Not unsurprising since most of the week has shown better weather than originally expected. Changing hotels today and then recharging my Oyster Card so that I can continue to use public transportation. Feeling drained, weary today. Last night wasn’t so great. I’ve learned that Eat Pray Love doesn’t work in practice for everyone. Most of the lessons I’ve learned thus far haven’t made me feel better just more aware of how much work that needs to be done on myself and how I’m not the person I thought I was. So much to be done and the outcome is unsure. No matter where you are, who your with or what sights your shown, you can’t outrun your difficulties. You have to learn how to grow and cope right where your are. It has less to do with the place and more to do with the how. This is not to say that I’ve not learned about living in the moment, appreciating the little things like sipping a hot caffee mocha in a lively corner shop, being surrounded by people speaking every conceivable language in a bustling marketplace, joking with smiling shopkeepers and salespeople; in essence, deciding not to do the touristy things so that I could be immersed in the daily routine of a Londoner. Just having to learn how to get from place to place, find food, deal with lodging, etc, pushed my problems and pain to the back of my mind temporarily. The feelings and ache come flooding back when I’m in my hotel room, tired and sore from the day’s “work”. Interesting to notice that I’ve lost at least 10 lbs since I’ve been here. Glad all of that walking is paying off. 🙂

I’ve also learned that trying to live, even temporarily, alone in another country is hard, hard work. Makes me appreciate my home and family in the US that much more.

Thanks, Mom, Dad and Diana for putting up with me calling every night. I know that I wouldn’t have lasted long on this trip without you.

Having hot tea and a lamb kebab pita for breakfast (the lamb is a little stringy but the sauce is tangy and flavorful, with ginger, lemon, cilantro and other spices. The tea is very comforting on a day like today) before beginning my wanderings.

I think I’ll be a little less introspective once I get checked in and start moving about. More later, yeah?

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Still a bit lagged today. Got up around noonish and laid around for a bit in order to muster up some energy. Showered and took the local #423 bus to the Heathrow Terminal Underground station. It had been raining buckets all day so any sightseeing enthusiasm was dampened (no pun intended) so I basically set up shop in a Starbucks off Piccadilly West to use the Internet and people-watch for a couple of hours. It was interesting to sit in an establishment in an English-speaking country and not hear a word of English being spoken. Piccadilly and Leicester Squares are veritable melting pots of cultures, skin colors and cuisines.

After the rain had dialed back a bit, I wandered further down Piccadilly to marvel at all of the upscale shops and restaurants. Somewhere between nearly being run over by a taxi and the fast-moving pedestrian traffic, I glanced across the street and noticed the very ornate, brightly lit storefront of Fortnum and Mason, one of the few Palace-approved merchants found in the Piccadilly/Bond Street area. Needless to say, I could not resist any shopping possibility that presented itself.

Once inside, I felt like I had stepped into a Harry Potter-esque set. There were all types of candies, chocolates, teas, fine coffees, Christmas ornaments/decorations (Mr. Cordingley, one of Fortnum & Mason’s services advisors, explained that their Christmas display had been up since AUGUST!!). It was heavenly and the staff were very friendly and helpful. I left about $300+ poorer but it was worth it.

By the time I left the store, it was quite dark. I headed back to the hotel, fully intent on doing a bit more shopping during the daylight hours. Still need to try a Morroccan restaurant.

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A few months ago, I would have never thought that my world could be turned upside down and inside out within a relatively short period of time. I blissfully (and naively) thought that love could cure anything and everything and that there truly was such a thing as “unconditional love” in that, no matter how bad the things one had done, that love would erase those mistakes and the consequences would be minimal. After all, that’s what they show in the movies, right? Oh how wrong I was and would find that out in ways so painful, I thought I’d never survive the experiences. At the moment, I’m trying very hard to undo the damage that my actions had wreaked on the person I love the most, learn how to forgive myself for those actions (that’s going to take a LOT of therapy) and to become a better person.

Now I know this sounds so very “Eat Pray Love” but really it’s more like Freak Fly Spend.

Freak – “Why was I so STUPID?!”

Fly – That part is coming up, so bear with me.

Spend – Well, who doesn’t go on a mad shopping spree when they’re upset? *looks around* Oh wait, is that just me?


And lo! One day, whilst sitting at my desk, staring out my sun-dappled window, miserable as all hell, the Lord spake thusly:

“Yes, Lord?”
“Don’t give me that ‘Yes, Lord’ bit as if you were actually going to listen to what I have to say.”
“Ok ok, I get it. I’ve not been very good about that but since you’re in my head right this second, you have my undivided attention.”
“That’s good because you’re going on a journey.”
I barked out a dubious chuckle. “I am?”
“You are.”
“To where?”
“That’s for me to know and you to find out.”
“Is there a reason for this journey?”
“Isn’t there always?”
I sighed and banged my head on my desk. “There’s a lesson in here somewhere.”
“Isn’t there always?” I could feel His grin from on high. “You need to clear your head. Besides, you really need to stop ripping the heads off Barbie dolls.”
I nearly jumped out of my seat. “You know about that?!”
“Seriously? Toni, I am your Father. Nuff said, so get moving. You have a lot of work to do.”
“Will it help me get my life back?”
Dead silence.
“I see. No answers to that, eh” I sighed deeply and started typing out my leave request.
A holy chuckle echoed within the hollows of my skull (holy hand grenade anyone?!) “Let’s just say that you’re a work in progress.”

So here I am, typing this out on my iPad after much wailing, gnashing of teeth, shaking of fists, stoning of old women (and dealing with stoned women…don’t ask. Let’s just say there was a 7-Eleven, some lottery tickets and a pickup truck involved), while the e-tickets print out in the next room.

Wish me luck! Methinks I’m going to need it.

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