Sunday, September 30, 2007
William outside the cathedral built in 1220 and site of the finest of four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
We set the alarm and actually got off at a reasonable hour. First we went to the
Next we went to
We bussed to
Friday, September 28, 2007
We got up at our usual bright and early time. NOT. And headed out to the Big Eye, which is the largest observation wheel in the world. We grabbed a London equivalent of an Egg McMuffin to go for the second day in a row. They remembered our order at Mimo’s café. Then we did not eat them until we were waiting for our scheduled time at the Eye at 1230. It was raining and misty so we could not see as far as you usually can.
After the Eye we walked over to the Florence Nightingale Museum. She is very revered in the UK. A group of school children were in the museum learning about her through an interactive plan. I had purchased her book “Notes on Nursing”, published 1860, during some time in nursing school.
We then walked over to Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is a fabulous place. The usual huge pillars, high lattice work and gilt ceilings, tons of statues and quite a few side chapels dedicated to the long dead. Over three thousand people are buried and commemorated there. Some still famous and others faded into the mists of time. All of the Kings, Henrys, Richards, and Georges fade together for me. But I was thrilled to see Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Geoffrey Chaucer 1400, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Oliver Cromwell were important names I found plus many, many others.
They were having a church service at 5 so we stayed for Sung Eucharist for Eve of St. Michael and All Angels. We heard lovely choir and huge organ music and a short sermon about angels. We rode the bus to Victoria Station area and after discarding two pubs, too noisy, too crowded, too dirty, no service. We found a very nice Italian Restaurant.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Today we rode the Big Bus again to get the rest of our 24 hours. We arrived for a tour at
We walked to
From the Tower of London Pier we took a river cruise, included in the bus price to the Westminster Pier, also very entertaining with lots of fun poked at the incongruity of some of the new architecture next to the old.
I thought of the USA. Even though we have a prehistory, the native Americans are not part of the dominant culture, whereas in Europe the people who are here are part of all the history from prehistory to modern times. They are part of the people who hanged 24 people at a time from the Hanging Tree on Picadilly. They are part of the people who were here when the Romans arrived and named London (Londinien).
We went out to dinner at a neighborhood Greek restaurant as we were suffering from a bit of sticker shock at the small amount of pounds a dollar buys and less every day.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
It was quite cool and I had to borrow a vest from Wm as my stuff is already all packed. I repacked some yesterday. Wm has not packed at all. He will throw everything together tomorrow and it will be OK. I might throw in a long sleeved knit shirt or 2 as I wore one today and remembered that they are quite comfortable.
Today we are going to yet another Forest Service retirement party. The old rats are leaving the sinking government ship. Soon there will be no institutional memory left. There might be rain here today. I hope it holds off until after the party, as it is to be in the picnic grounds at Pioneer park and there is apparently no back up plan.
Friday, September 21, 2007
We are taking a rental car to SF on Monday after we get all of the banking settled. The vehicles have all been put on DMV inactive and taken off as much insurance as we can. Cable is off and DSL is off as of Tuesday. We have made numerous lists and are checking them thrice.
Monday is the first day of the takeover of Placer Sierra by Wells Fargo. So we have a 9AM appointment to see if it will all work for us. I think by next summer we will spend time finding another bank. We were patrons of Wells Fargo when we moved here in 1979. We left them not long after the move. It was partly to have a more convenient bank, but also because we had some issues with them, now buried in the mists of time.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Stagflation is a problem because the two principal tools for directing the economy, fiscal policy and monetary policy, offer only trade offs between growth and inflation. A central bank can either slow growth to reduce inflationary pressures, or it can allow general increases in price to occur in order to stimulate growth. Stagflation creates a dilemma in that efforts to correct stagnation only worsen inflation, and vice versa. The dilemma in monetary policy is instructive. The central bank can make one of two choices, each with negative outcomes. First, the bank can choose to stimulate the economy and create jobs by increasing the money supply (by purchasing government debt), but this risks boosting the pace of inflation. The other choice is to pursue a tight monetary policy (reducing government debt purchases in order to raise interest rates) to reduce inflation, at the risk of higher unemployment and slower output growth.
I remember how much we were hurt during the last period of stagflation 1979-80. William says we are more immune this time.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
1. If you are staying long enough to start a foreign bank account, buy euros to fund it. One place is with HiFx.
2. We have found ING Belgium to be the bank to use in Belgium.
3. The best deal for credit cards and cash advances is from Capital One. No ATM fee, no transaction fee, and no conversion fee or percentage.
4. Also Capital One direct banking offers Money Market funds that can be funded with your money earning interest with unlimited use of ATM for cash withdrawals with the same no fees and no conversion percentage as the credit cards.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
We met the Gardners, Bob, Martha, Kevin and Jeffery at La Val's on Northside. Dad and I used to go there for pizza and beer and loud music downstairs, think endless riffs on Louie, Louie. We also used to go to Art/foreign movies at two small rooms with chairs dubbed Studio A and B in the same courtyard. The price was right on a student budget, 50 cents a person. Bob worked there as a combo ticket seller and usher. He said he would try to get the patrons to line up and go in orderly, but they would just mob him. A and B are now gone.
Of the twins, age 14, Kevin has grown taller and looks older and very lanky. Jeffery looks more like I remember him from last year.
William taking a break.
The Cal Marching Band on the field of Memorial Stadium at half time includes the alumni band.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I knew the vegetables that I had left here were at risk. So last night for dinner we had what's wilted in the produce drawer stir-fry with rice. Wm did eat the fruit I had left.
I feel a bit of panic mode as our departure date creeps toward single digits. I am going to hit Penney's perpetual sale today as I want two other shirts to take.
I am still on Texas time as I have been up for two hours. The better to get all my chores done, though I feel that I have too much still to do.
Nice for us as the Euro climbs precipitously against the dollar. It has already reached our futures contract and no where to go but up. Wm wishes he had known about this way to purchase Euros in January. He got the idea out of "The Hints Book, living and working in Belgium" published by a ladies club in Belgium. He requested the book in January, but edition 18 was out of print, so he had to wait until September for edition 19.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Val and I took Ben to a playground at Hart Elementary this afternoon. It is the playground for the daycare provided for the teachers children.
Ben is quite the little gymnast and fearless on the equipment. We also went over to the bigger kids playground. He was quite in awe of the slightly larger boys swarming all over. Though he did order one "out, out" of the tunnel he was crawling through.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
This morning we went to Weight Watchers, Val, Jasmine and me. Then to Jasmine's soccer game.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Ben loved the Leopard and in between climbing up and down the stadium stairs and running as fast as he could all over, he played with the Leopard.
Robert was playing the Tuba in the band. He was in the back on the left in the photo, totally blocked by the enormous Tuba. They put on a long half time show. They marched and played by themselves, then at the side they played for the flag girls and the pom pom girls.
After the game they marched off. Robert was the last Tuba in the line. He looked very tired and sweaty.
The game was a long evening. First I had to take Robert to the band room at 515. Jasmine had soccer practice from 6-7 at celebration park so we missed the 9th grade game. Then we went home and picked up Val and Ben to make the JV game. The game started later than planned at 8PM. The 9th grade had beaten the MacKinney Broncos 36-9 and the JV team also won 40-20. At 930 after the 1/2 time show Ben started yawning so Val took him home. She came back to pick up me, Jaz and Robert after Robert had changed after the game. It was about 11PM when we got home, exhausted. Today both kids took a skip on arriving at school at 7AM and arrived at 8AM after a nice breakfast.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Ben at Lunch
Ben Dressed up Cute
Ben on the Potty
Ben is almost potty trained. He likes to go bit at a time and help flush the big potty. He may do this 5+ times in a row. He is a good eater but has a cold and an itchy allergic rash, so he is a bit fussy today. But he is cute as always.