My Last Day in London

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On my last day in London, my friend and I took an early morning walk. We had to get every last drop out of experiencing glorious London, so even though we had stayed up late the evening before, we were ready to experience more. We walked around and took pictures. We walked in a park. We started going down a  path way and it looked like there were odd sculptures lining the pathway. But it was actually only benches disguised by the shadows to look like something grander.

Eventually, our sleepiness started to catch up with us so we got espresso beverages. I ordered a 16 ounce latte. I  didn't say grande because I didn't know if that was an American thing and also, not all coffee shops in America use that sizing system. The woman had an accent from another country, but I don't know which country. That was one thing I noticed a lot. So many people had accents from other European countries. When I ordered a 16 ounce latte, she thought I ordered 16 lattes. There was some confusion, but luckily it was worked out before she started making 16 lattes.

After we got our drinks, my friend and I got a seat at the window at one of those seats that faces the window-basically a prime people watching seat. We watched all the people rush by. We counted how many people were wearing jeans. We were told no one in London wears jeans, and we would stick out like a sore thumb, like a fly in a bee hive, if we wore jeans. I only brought non jeans with me to wear, and no one was the wiser, until I opened my mouth to speak of course, and my twangy american accent comes pouring forth!













Searching for Ghosts and Finding Statues

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I was not in England for very long, but I packed a lot into a short amount of time.

I went to Harrods, a fancy shopping place and saw the Princess Diana Memorial along with other neat sculptural delights. If anyone has seen the show 'The Paradise,' Harrods reminds me of a modern day version of this.



When I was little I use to love the movie "Bedknobs and Broomsticks.' It is a delightful story about a witch, her warlock mentor and three children traveling on a bed and having magical encounters. One of their journeys is to Portobello Road to look for a mysterious magical book. Portobello Road seemed like such an amazing place! In the movie scene, there is a lot of singing and dancing. It was so cool to get to the real life Portobello Road. I did not find any magical books. I didn't see anyone dancing and singing.  But I did have an urge to sing "POORT-O-BELL-OHHH ROAD, PORTOBELLO ROAD, Streets where the riches and ages are stowed!" I couldn't find a good link to the actual scene in the movie, but here is a link to the song itself: Portobello Road Song.



Another awesome thing I saw was a real life Banksy!


I also saw some less impressive graffiti. 


I tried to visit the ghost of Anne Boleyn at the London tower, but it was closed when I got there, so instead I took a couple of pictures near the tower. No ghosts of Ms. Boleyn or any other ghosts were spotted near the perimeter of the towers. 

Since I have ghosts on the mind now, I did a quick internet search out of curiosity. I looked up how many ghosts are there in the world. Of course this is an unanswerable question, as ghosts very existence has never been proven. But the internet is full of bravado over answering the unanswerable. It looks like even the internet didn't feel confident enough to answer this one. The only answer I really found was from a random user on an answers forum who claimed the question was unknowable due to the fact that just as ghosts move on to different worlds, other ghosts are created. The ghost population is always fluctuating, ebbing and flowing into the unseen ethereal abstract of worlds beyond.  






Storybook Tress and How to say 'Meow'

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London is a land full of magical, storybook trees!




These trees look like something someone would make up and include in a fantastical illustration of a beautiful, bizarre imaginary world. These tree's were spotted near a cute street market full of bright flowers and wandering families.


I found this sign that says 'Eglon Mews' near the market too. My cat's name is Mue Mue, pronounced the same as Mew (times two!). So of course I got a little homesick for my sweet and feisty cats. I had never heard the term mew before. But after some research, I've discovered it doesn't have a thing to do with cats. Mews are stables or carriage houses that are sometimes converted into housing. So if someone from England heard me call to my cat, it would sound like his name was 'Stable House Stable House.'

I learned recently from a coworker that in France, a cat's main sound is pronounced 'Mue Mue' instead of the meow we use in the states.The spelling is different though, it is spelled miaou. But I also read somewhere that in French, mue (with this spelling) means molt to make room for new growth. This gives my cat's name a whole new philosophical meaning. Molt to make room for growth, then molt again for making room for more growth. It is a good metaphor for life.

I investigated how different humans across the world make cat sounds. Most of them are pretty similar. Meow seemed to be common. Also it seems like most of the world agrees that cat's start their chatter with an M sound. Examples are in Italian cats say miao and in Chinese they say meu-meu. But Korea is very unique in how they interpret the sound of a speaking cat. The word Koreans use is yaong. 

Dogs seem to have more variety in the way they communicate in different languages. Even in English, we use many different sounds to imitate the sound a dog: Woof, Bark, Ruff, Arf and the wildly underused, slightly antiquated Bow-wow!

In Dutch, dogs say 'Blaf.' German dogs say 'wuff or wau.' Turkish dos say 'hev.' In Japan, dogs say 'Wan.' Interestingly, Korean dogs make more of a universal cat sound. They say 'meong.'


It was windy and chilly on the day I was at the market, but it was fun to wander and watch the interesting place full of interesting people. Despite the gray in the sky and the cold of the air, the place was cheerful with colors and light and a different sort of warmth.


Sources for animal speak:

Grissom, Stacie. "How To "Woof" In 16 Different Languages." BarkPost. Bark Post, 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 23 June 2016. <http://barkpost.com/woof-other-languages/>.

Chapman, James, and Robin Edds. "What Noises Do Animals Make In Other Languages? Here Is An Important Guide." BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed, 16 Oct. 2013. Web. 23 June 2016. <https://www.buzzfeed.com/robinedds/what-noises-do-animals-make-in-other-languages-here-is-an-im?utm_term=.pqOk828vm#.lw9drVrv1>.

Shivakumar, Vivaek. "How Do Humans Vocalize the Sound a Cat Makes, in Different Languages?" Quora. Quora, 3 Feb. 2013. Web. 23 June 2016. <https://www.quora.com/How-do-humans-vocalize-the-sound-a-cat-makes-in-different-languages>.

Marching to Trafalgar Square

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Shortly after I got back from London, I watched the Doctor Who episode where the plant life completely takes over the world and one shot is of Trafalgar square covered with greenery. I was like "I've been there!!!" That is not something I've been able to exclaim ever before during Doctor Who viewings since they are always either in England, another planet or another time.

While in London, I participated in a protest that marched through the streets of London and ended in Trafalgar Square. The protest was against trophy hunting and in support of Cecil the lion and his animal brethren. Trophy hunting is an absolutely awful human atrocity perpetuated against wildlife. Animals deserve to be free and to live their life. They do not deserve to be cruelly murdered by people looking to show-off. Humans need to leave wild animals alone. An elephant deserves to tromp across the plains without being stalked by greedy ivory hunters. A lion deserves to lounge in the sun with his pride without selfish hunters seeking his death in a disgusting show of half-baked machismo. Animals have autonomy, emotions and value as sentient beings living in our world. Blood thirst, greed and a desire for bragging rights should not be mistaken as conservation. What trophy hunters are doing is killing, not conserving. Animals should be respected, not killed.

Living in a world that condones killing animals for such frivolous and depressing reasons can feel discouraging. Hearing about all the animals being killed and generally disregarded and disrespected can make the world feel like a cold, uncaring place. Protests are a good way to counteract the feelings of hopelessness and sadness. Protests can be very empowering. You have gathered together with other people who also feel outraged. Together, you are making your voice heard. It is a good first step to change.

On the day I was there, another protest was being staged in support of women and to protest against cuts to women's services. The services being cut would most directly impact women domestic violence survivors in need of assistance. The group that was protesting was called 'Women Uncut.' It was amazing seeing all these powerful women together in solidarity. They marched down the street then gathered at Trafalgar Square. The group of women had a great cohesion. They were all in sync as they shouted chants demanding equality, support and recognition! Once they were at the square together, they set off colorful smoke bombs to visually announce their presence. At one point, a group of male police officers started walking toward the gathering. But a female police officer rushed over and told them to back off. It was awesome! The woman police officer was in solidarity with the protesters and new the male police officers presence would not feel helpful or safe. All the women involved in this protest were inspiring. You could see their passion and devotion to the issue in the determined expression ins their face and in the powerful roar of their protest chants.

It was an interesting hodgepodge the day I was there: Old beautiful statues right next to people wearing weird costumes and pretending to float. Protesters with gripped fists rushing pasts Santa's playing bag pipes. Lots of funny juxtapositions between the serious and the hilarious, the important and the mundane. This world is full of lots of little worlds sometimes, colliding and clashing and mixing together.










The Lovely Locks

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I spent a sunny afternoon at the Ballard Locks, looking at flowers, birds and water. The Ballard Locks is also home to a botanical garden. I love wandering around and learning the names of different flowers. The plant name creators of the world seem to be a creative lot.  He are some pictures I took of daylily name placards.


My favorite of course is 'Little Fat Dazzler.' What awesome name for a flower! Also, I feel like the name Little Fat Dazzler has a story behind it. This is what I think the story is. Long ago in the seventies, a gardener lived with her daughter in a small town. Every year, the town put on a fourth of July festival which included a talent show. The gardener's daughter was a girl with charisma and a thrill for performance. But she was also an overweight little girl, and we all know how cruel the world can be to a person who is overweight, especially girls and women. The daughter felt sorry for her beautiful, overweight daughter. But her daughter did not feel sorry for herself. The daughter was strong, and knew she was beautiful and that her worth went much further than her beauty. The little girl entered the talent show with a baton that she lit on fire and twirled around and around, dazzling anyone who witnessed the spectacular feat of showmanship. She entered the talent show under the stage name 'Little Fat Dazzler'. With her name she wanted to claim her youth, her size and her ability to dazzle. Of course, Little Fat Dazzler won the talent show! The gardener was always so proud of her daughter not just because of her charisma and talent, but because of her wisdom and self resilience. So in later years when her daughter was grown and taking the world by storm, the gardener discovered a new type of daylily. The bold little flower reminded the gardener of her bold daughter, so she named the flower Fat Little Dazzler.

I like the name Wally also. I imagine a widow named her newly discovered species of daylily after her late husband Wally. Wally probably helped her plant daylillies every year and now that he is gone, she thinks of him whenever the daylillies bloom. 

Here are other daylily names that are delightful: Little Zinger, Pardon Me, Madame Ruby, Miss Amelia, Jellyfish Jealousy, Ninja Throwing Star, Moral Fiber, Hot Gossip, Circulatory System and Selma Longlegs. 

Here are some more beautiful plants I admired on my day at the locks.





The world is more beautiful with flowers and it is always so grand to see them collected together in one place. 

There were also lots of birds at the locks! Birds soaring above. Birds stretching their wings to the sun. Birds eating seeds and insects from the wet and grassy ground.




There are always lots of geese at the locks. They love all the grass. When I see them, they remind me of grazing dinosaurs. One day, I brought a book to the locks and found a grassy spot in the sun to read. My spot was right next to a gaggle of geese. It felt like we were hanging out together, even though they kept eyeing me nervously.

You can't go to the locks without seeing water. 




I love water! I love swimming in it, feeling it fall from the sky and watching it whirl around. Water is beautiful, refreshing and full of mystery! Who knows what is lucking underneath all that frothy water! A sea monster may peak his head up at any moment. 

Sunshine in Portland

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  Here are some pictures I took while visiting Portland. I live only three hours away from this beautiful city, but I do not make enough time to visit. Portland is a lot like Seattle, but maybe a little mellower and the pockets of quirkiness seep more into the city's culture as a whole, rather than remaining in subcultures or particular neighborhoods. Although I am sure city's that are more straight and narrow then Seattle may feel the same about us. I couldn't live in a place considered too normal. I need some weirdness around me. I love a place with character and a city that knows how to embrace the quirk. 

 One of the first times I went to Portland I was still in my early twenties and it seemed like everyone I saw was my age. It was like being in a futuristic city where they 'get rid of' all the old people and only the youth are left behind to roam. Everyone was too high on the joy and invincibility of their youth to concern themselves with all the missing old, middle aged, or not-quite-young-any-more people.  I think it must have been the neighborhood I primarily spent my time in was a young person neighborhood. Or it was just some sort of bizarre fluke. Or there is an underground, rarely discussed dwelling in Portland where everyone is shuffled off to once they reach the age of thirty. But, alas this last option can't be true since the other times I was in Portland I saw more age diversity.  

I looked it up and Portland isn't even on the list of top ten cities with the youngest median age. The youngest city is a place I have never hear before called Provo, Utah.

The city with the oldest population is also a place I have never heard of before. It is in Florida. Florida always has to hear cliches about how the elderly flock to their land to be in a place warm and peaceful. But it looks like the stereotype of Florida being haven for senior citizens has basis in truth since the city with the oldest population is Punta Gorda Florida. 

While I was in Portland, a nail pierced the car's tire. There was the whistling swish of air seeping from the hole. Luckily, I was not stranded. A friendly tire store employee patched up the the tire in no time.

The whole time I was in Portland, it was sunny and beautiful.







Sources:

Wolkowicz, Jame M. "The Top 10 Cities With the Youngest Populations."Multifamily Executive. N.p., 26 July 2012. Web. 09 June 2016. <http://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/property-management/rent-trends/the-top-10-cities-with-the-youngest-populations_o>.

Rathod, Chandni. "The 13 Cities With The Most Old People In America."Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 17 Nov. 2010. Web. 09 June 2016. <http://www.businessinsider.com/cities-with-the-most-old-people-2010-10?op=1>.

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