Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics...Am I missing something?

I was quite excited about the start of the 2012 London Olympics...The excitement didn't last very long if I am being honest....
I got the troops sorted bright and early on Friday morning because I knew that the 'LIVE' coverage of the Opening Ceremony in the UK was due to start at 7.30pm GMT. Television here in the US had promised live coverage of all events, so I naturally assumed that meant the Opening Ceremony as well, and wanted everyone to be sitting in front of the TV at 11.30 PST (8hr time difference between Cali and UK)...I couldn't have been further from the truth.....No live coverage of the Opening Ceremony at all...No Opening Ceremony in California until 7.30pm PST - a whole 8hrs later than it actually occurred - what a waste of time! All my friends and family were talking it about the whole thing long before I was even able to watch, which really took the sparkle out of things!

Then I discovered from my Dad, that the US coverage had cut a whole chunk out of what it showed of the Opening Ceremony - for reasons I can only speculate about! There was a whole tribute to those that couldn't part-take on the 2012 Olympics because they were the victims of terrorism! My hubby says that the puritanical side of the US just won't stand for that kind of thing - I say 'Does the US honestly believe that it is the only country to have suffered at the hands of terrorists?', because guess what, you aren't. There are millions of people around the globe that suffer at the hands of terrorism every day of their lives. I know the Americans have a reputation for wanting to be the biggest and best at everything - but Terrorism.....really? Not showing a tribute to it's victims on the TV doesn't make it any less real you?

Anyway, even with this shocking revelation, I was confident that the coverage of the actual events would be fantastic, and would knock the BBC into a cocked hat!

WRONG!

America - you do know that there are other countries taking part in the Olympics don't you? Seems to me that the coverage is totally centred on the US athletes, which in one sense is fantastic, but it would be even better if us 'the audience' could be privy to information about what other athletes the US were competing against, and what the event standings were as a sport progressed. I stayed up late last night to watch the coverage of the gymnastics. I saw all the US team members compete in the vault, the asymmetric bars (proper name for what the US calls the uneven bars....lol), the beam and the floor exercise. The coverage also showed one British girl completing her routine on the beam, although we were not privy to her score for said element, and we were shown another gymnast from a country whose name escapes me because the glimpse was so brief and again no score was shown....Finally, after team USA had completed all of their elements we were given the news that they were top of their group, and very briefly shown a results table - I know that GB was 2nd, but the table was shown for such a short time that I have no clue who the other countries in that group were, or what their overall scores were.....This is not good sporting practice USA...Yep it's great that you came top of your group-  it would have been even better to have known the standings after each element, and to have known what other countries were in your group....I would even have liked to have seen some of the gymnasts from other countries completing their elements! After the team USA competed in their group we were told that the next group was about to start their rotation and that this this would include Russia and Romania - so it seems that team USA were not even competing against the best countries in gymnastics, so had a pretty easy walk in the park - and then coverage ended....We did not get to see the Russian or Romanian Gymnasts perform with the exception of one Russian girl completing her floor exercise! Come on USA - this is NOT GOOD SPORTING PRACTICE!

The other spot I wanted to see was the diving - the UK has a lovely young boy called Tom Daley who competed in his first Olympics in Beijing at the age of 15, I believe....I was looking forward to seeing him compete in both the synchronised and solo diving events, so I checked with NBC to find out when the diving would be on. According to the schedule yesterday - there would be no diving until Wednesday! Imagine my horror when I got up this morning to find my friend talking on Facebook about watching Tom Daley in the diving! Then I discovered that the 10m synchronised diving was in the early hrs (my time) of the morning. NBC had got the schedule wrong yesterday when I looked..... I guess the only saving grace is the knowledge that as Tom dives for GB they probably wouldn't have shown him anyway!

To summarise - I now have a renewed admiration for the good ol' BBC and their coverage of sporting events, because I know from old that yes the Brits love to watch their own sportsmen compete, but they also love watching the other competitors as well -so they know what the competition looks and smells like - so they know what our guys and girls are up against - so a victory can mean something, and so a defeat can mean something too!

I may live here in the US now, but I am damn proud to be British and in the words of Jeff Daniels, from the opening scene of the new HBO series 'The Newsroom' - "America is not the greatest country in the world" and it's about time they got down off their high horse and actually gave their people some reality instead of rose tinted glasses - because the world does not revolve around the USA, the USA is merely one country among hundreds that make the world what it is! The world revolves around the Sun and nothing else.


The Three Most Honest Minutes of TV...
This short 3 min video will wake a lot of people up. Rarely do we see the truth so blatantly being presented. This 3 min video is supposed to be aired on HBO to kick off a new series called The Newsroom. This video is a MUST WATCH!!!

The part of the opening ceremony that was kept from Americans


Have a great day


Saturday, July 07, 2012

Blonde moment....

Well we have had a bit of a blonde moment there this evening....
H's girlfriend range to ask if H could stop out later than normal so they could watch the Elvis concert in Memorial Park this evening. S said yes he could and then told me....

In Sierra Madre they have free concerts through the summer in Memorial Park which is just 5 minutes walk from our house. I have a leaflet pinned to the fridge, so I know which concert is on when....

The Elvis tribute was a concert I had marked as probably a great one to see.... So when H's girlfriend rang and asked about it, and I realised that the concert was due to start at 6pm and it was now 5.30pm, I immediately rushed to the kitchen to get dinner on the table so we could eat and make it up to the park on time....

S said "but there will be nowhere to sit...we didn't take chairs up"
I said "who needs chairs it's and Elvis tribute, we can dance and be silly"
S said "OK" wolfed his dinner down (Homemade Lentil Soup with ham and chorizo) and we set off to walk up to the park....

When we got there, it was a few minutes after 6pm. There was no noise of any description, let alone Elvis...
There were lots of chairs and blankets set out, but no people....
OK we thought, maybe we got the time wrong. There were still some grassy spots so S suggested G and I pick a spot and sit on it while he went home and grabbed the chairs....
G and I sat down, and enjoyed the evening sunshine (which is beautiful this evening)...I took a few photos of the palm tree behind us and the blue skies...


One or two people arrived with chairs and blankets, set them up and left.....Hmmm this was starting to look suspicious. No one was arriving and staying, the stage wasn't set up for the band...


Eventually S returned, looking rather like a bag man....and I am pretty sure I didn't marry a bag man....


Seems he had seen H's bike abandoned on the other side of the park as he came through so he had stolen it to see how long it would be before H discovered it was missing (lol)....

Another man turned up to set up his chairs and S shouted over - "The concert is tonight isn't it?"....
The man jumped a little because he hadn't noticed us sitting there on the grass....

"Errmmm, No, it's tomorrow night at 6pm"....
"We are a teeny bit early then" S shouted back....
"Well everyone should be early at least once in their life" shouted back the man, and laughed....
"Oh well" I said "at least we have got the chairs and blanket set up in a great spot ready for tomorrow now! Shall we go home?"


So S and I walked home. H appeared and took his bike back. G decided to stay and annoy his brother for a little while, and S and I ambled slowly along, back to our house, enjoying the evening sun!


Next time H's girlfriend (who is blonde) calls and asks about something. I will remember to take what she says with a pinch of salt, and check it out before I go off half-cocked and get it wrong....


I am really looking forward to the concert tomorrow though - and then my flight back to the UK on Monday morning!


Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I ♥ Faces Photo Challenge - July 2012....

I have recently joined a website called I Heart Faces, and I was thrilled when they announced that the July Challenge title was 'Enjoying Life' because I knew straight away which photo I was going to enter.

It is a photograph of my daughter, the beautiful A and it was taken on a day trip to London just before myself and the boys moved out here to LA. To me it epitomises a wonderfully relaxed, hazy English summer day. It also is a fantastic reminder of a day when my daughter and I just enjoyed being together and sharing a picnic on the grass just down from Buckingham Palace. Now I live here in the US and she is still living in the UK, this is not something that will happen often.

I miss just 'Enjoying Life' with my daughter.


Please - do as I am doing and head over to I Heart Faces to see all the other entries for this July Challenge, and have a great day!






Photo Challenge Submission

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Inked....

Some of you may or may not know, but I am a person with tattoo's....
I am not covered, and they are not on show....
My first was a little devil, who sits on my hip and is about 2" tall....
My second was designed for me by the lovely Hannah Banana (not here real last name, obviously) and is a heart with 3 smaller hearts inside - it represents my family and my children - the family being the big outer heart and the 3 smaller inner ones are my children. This one is at the bottom of my back....
My third was done on a whim, and simple as it is I love it. I have the letter 'S' on the inside of my left wrist....The S represents all the people I love - my maiden surname begins with an S, so in this way it represents my parents and my sisters, my children's surname also begin with an S, so this is how it represents them, and finally I am married to the wonderful S.....So you can see why my 'S' is important to me.....

Since I had the 'S' done in March 2011, I have been contemplating having another one. S and I discussed it and he suggested I thought about it for a while rather than jumping in and having something done that I would regret.... So I have been thinking about it ever since. Do I really want one? What would I have? Where would I have it?....I think you can certainly say I have thought long and hard about this one....

One thing has become apparent to me since making the move to the US from the UK. Although I am not a religious person, and have always labelled myself as agnostic rather then atheist, I have always felt that there is something at work out there just not a single entity such as God. Since starting T'ai Chi classes, I have become more and more in tune with the world around me, and more and more of the opinion that the power I feel at work is nature itself. I have become in tune with my inner Chi or energy. When I practice the form I feel a buzz of energy flowing through me that I cannot explain - it's like continual static, but in a good and harmonious way!

With these thoughts in my head, I began to realise what I wanted for my next tattoo - Yes, I was convinced I really wanted one. I knew exactly where I wanted it - now I just needed to find a design and an artist to do the work.... To me finding the artist to do the work and designing the tattoo are something that go hand in hand. I set out to find the artist I wanted, and after asking people I know in the area and after trawling through various tattoo studio websites, I found one with an artist who's work really caught my eye - Patrick at Red Hot Tattoo in Arcadia! Next I needed to have a base idea, so he would know what I was looking for. This meant more trawling of the internet looking at various artwork. I knew I wanted something centred around the Yin and Yang of T'ai Chi - you all know the classic symbol....

But I also knew that I didn't JUST want that - Yin and Yang represent the Dark and the Light while the outer circle represents everything. The Dark and the Light cannot exist without each other, and yet nothing is simply back or white. I wanted a tattoo that would encompass this as well as the energy or Chi. I hunted around a more and eventually came up with this....

The Outer circle was like tendrils of fire to depict the energy or Chi of the symbol - this is what I took with me when I went to visit Patrick at Red Hot Tattoo....
I found the tattoo studio really easily, but was very apprehensive of what I may behind the front door. I needn't have worried. On that first visit, I was greeted by 2 guys, Joe and Patrick, the guy I wanted to see. They spoke to me generally about getting a tattoo and the costs involved. I was a little taken aback because it is more expensive here than in the UK, but looking through the portfolio folders in the shop, I was reassured by the quality of their work. I told them that I had been looking at their website and that it was Patrick I wanted to do the work. From this point Joe took a  back seat and I showed Patrick the image above. His first question was - Does it have to be black and white? followed by Can I play around with ideas or is this REALLY what you want because I think if you are going to have something it should be unique to you? I told him I was open to suggestions and that my image was just a guide. We sat on a sofa in the front of the shop and chatted about T'ai Chi and what it meant to me. Patrick told me to leave it with him, give him a few days and then go over to look at his ideas....

I left it a few days, then cancelled the appointment I had made at the last minute only to receive a very irate phone call from Patrick telling me that he had lost business because of my last minute cancellation on him. He said I need to come over and look at the art work, even if I wasn't going to get the tattoo done.... I felt really guilty about letting him down on the appointment and headed straight over there. Thank fully when I got there he was lovely, although he did make me wait what seemed like an age! Eventually he came and sat with me on the sofa again and showed me what he had drawn for me.... I was gobsmacked - it was everything I imagined and nothing like I had expected him to be able to produce! I wanted to bring the artwork home to show S, but Patrick said no - the artwork belonged to him and would remain so until the work was done, otherwise I could take his design and go elsewhere. I could see his point on this so didn't argue. He did let me take a photo of his design though, so I could at least show S that. I told him I would ring him as soon as I had spoken to and shown S the design, so I could make an appointment to get the work done!

When I got home I showed S the photograph - He was a little unsure, and asked if I was truly sure this is what I wanted to get. To be honest I think he was just trying to be Mr Sensible because I was so excited by the design. I uploaded the photo and emailed it to my daughter, because, although not a tattoo advocate herself, she knows me and would give me an very honest opinion. Then I rang Patrick and made an appointment to go back on the 27th June at 1pm. He envisaged it would take maybe 4 hours work to complete depending on how well I sat and coped, so we arranged that he would try and get half of it done on the 27th and then would complete it at the end of July when I returned from the UK, as we would need to leave the first part to heal for at least 2 weeks before carrying on!

Well the morning of the 27th came. S went off to work without mention of my appointment, so I assumed that he had forgotten about it. At 12noon I walked up to the cash point and took enough cash from our bank account to pay for 3 hours work (You pay by the hour not the job) to ensure that at least half of the tattoo was done. At 1pm I walked in through the door of Red Hot Tattoo, nervous as hell, but also excited about what I was having done... I had decided that the tattoo needed to go on my back between my shoulder blades, but when he looked at my back, Patrick pointed out that I was particularly moley at the spot and that he couldn't tattoo over moles. We decided to just move it up above the moles, but to keep my spine as the central line....After placing the blueprint on my back and making sure it was centred properly, Patrick began to work....If you have ever had a tattoo you will know - it can hurt! After all someone is not only stabbing you with a needle over and over again, but they are using that needle to create an image - they are drawing and colouring in with a needle! Personally speaking, I actually like the sensation (but then I am weird), so I disappeared off into a state of semi-sleep with the hum of the machine and the pricking of the needle. It seemed like no time at all had passed before Patrick was asking me if I wanted a break because an hour had passed..I told him that I was fine and he said that he was good to just carry on - so carry one he did!....

A few people came into the shop and as I was the only one getting inked, they came over to peer at what Patrick was doing...I knew it must have been starting to look good, cos one guy said "Woah man, Yin and Yang, that's sick dude!" Another of the guys who worked there kept coming to look and saying "Wow awesome!"

After 2 hours and 15 minutes, Patrick stopped working on me and turned off the machine. "You're all done" he said. I turned to look at him and said "You mean for today" to which he replied "No you're done, finished...You sat really good! Let me take a photo and then you can see it" I stood up and Patrick moved me to where the light was best and took a few photos. When he showed me I was gobsmacked again! The workmanship is amazing. The shading is amazing - and best of all it encompasses everything about the energy , the light and the dark of the person and of nature - everything that I believe in. See for yourself.


It is my firey planet of yin and yang and energy, and I am so so pleased!
Of course my Mum is going to throw a fit when she sees it - but hey ho at 45years old I can do what I want!

Have a great day


Silent Sunday....