Tuesday, July 31, 2007

10 Things

Apologies that I have been neglecting my blog a little lately...I have just been feeling in such a rut, know what I mean? I, Lulu who practically has her camera glued to her hip 21 hours a day, was getting tired of taking photographs. I was! It seems so unbelievable, even, especially, to me because I haven't stopped for breath since I received my camera last December - but it's true.
So I stopped. I stopped taking photographs all together for a few days. I didn't photograph Thomas when I stopped by my aunt's house yesterday, I didn't shoot the beautiful sunset our street was graced with last night and I refused to take the camera with me to my friend's birthday party. And, you know what, it actually worked. Combined with a resolution to get out of my comfort zone - to shoot inside more and seek out difficult lighting conditions and great natural light spots in my house - I feel completely completely completely liberated. I feel as if I can shoot anything, whenever I want, and don't *have* to take some photographs to post on the blog every day. I can just shoot when I want, how I want, where I want...for ME.
So, being so embraced by freedom and all, I decided to embark on the 10 things photo project - in short, you are asked to photograph and document 10 things you love and that bring a smile to your face...blue skies or bath oils or babies or Brighton...you name it! It's so much fun, it truly is...if you have time on your hands, ladies, you should definitely try it...and I *know* I will treasure these images close to my heart when I am old and wrinky and archaic and 103, and my favourites are lavender parfum and false teeth and Wedgwood ornaments. I will look back at them lovingly and remember what it was like to be 16 and young and carefree, and to love psychadelic felt tip pens and mad red polka dot totes and washing lines full of vim. I just know it.
1. I don't eat them often at all, maybe once every few months if that, but when I do, I adore them. I only like 'thin' chips, not horrible thick ones that look like somebody's severed fingers...but thin, golden, crispy ones from Marks and Spencers that taste just ike divinity warmed up.
10 things : #1
2. I am also a self-confessed stationey junkie. I mean it. Don't ever take me into Paperchase or WH Smith because you cannot hope to see daylight again until the store closes. I got it from my mother, although her passion has somewhat ceased with age. Since the ripe old age of six, people don't bother to ask me what I'd like for my birthday or for Christmas. They just buy me stationery - felt tips pens or coloured markers or pretty notebooks or stickers - and they know without a doubt I'll be delighted. That's me easily pleased.
10 Things: #2
3. Ever since I could stand, I have loved standing in the back yard between the washing lines. We have three in total, sometimes four, and they are always pegged full with brightly coloured towels and clothes and polka dot knickers and crispy white bed linen. I love to stand between the lines and feel the swish of the fabric around me; I love to look from my window at sunrise and see the bright hues of the garments reflecting our sun's golden light; and I love to read beneath the lines being fanned gently by my favourite summer dress as it dries.
10 Things: #3
More to come soon...until then, be happy! Love, L.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Back Home

I had a wonderful time in Suffolk, deep in the heart of the English countryside, but am very glad to be back home. I love coming home - inhaling the familiar scent of violets that plagues our home (I'm guessing it's those purple sweet discs I ate as a young child!) - and seeing the new shoots that have sprung up and how my room looks exactly the same...untouched and untarnished. I don't know why but I just love it so.
My friend Katie, aka Katherine, K or Kate, stayed over Saturday night with her family and us girls (that's our mothers, my sister and the two of us) went up to the Tate to see the wonderful photographic exhibition that's on there at the mo, and then her whole family + my little sister and I drove back the 100 miles to their house in Suffolk. I love their family. Our fathers went to school together and we meet up all the time, despite living so far apart. Katie and I are best friends forever and write each other a letter a week. She's a year younger but we get on like a house on fire, despite being complete opposites. Anyways... :) this is Kate...if she's reading, doubt it Miss Forgetful that she is, hi girl. Loved my time at your place, as always!
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We had SUCH fun together. Despite being complete and utter soulmates, as friends anyhow, we hardly ever spend more than two days at a time together except in summer, so this was a real treat. They (that's Kates, her parents, her 2 little brothers who I adore, and the menagerie of exotic animals) on a beautiful farm near Flatford and grow alllll of their own food. Imagine that...I'd love it! Want a snack? Just take a stroll in the yard and pick up a few cherry plums and apples whilst you're out there! Heck, you might as well fry a few eggs (kept safe by their seven hens) in the summer sun whilst you're out there! It was pretty difficult to get a good picture of the hens, I did *try* though, because they scattered as soon as you got even a hundred yards close, but I did try! Here's a nice one I loved...that's them through the wheat. They don't have names, which I found pretty sad, so I christened them - Freckles, Spattergroit, Toby, Emmeline, Lucy, Josepha and Michael. :) One of them was SUCH a Michael, I'm telling you! ;P
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As I was saying, we had *such* fun. I wish I could go and live with them for the whole summer. Because our families go back 30 years, and because I met Katie as soon as she was born, we're like family. Really. My sister and I are treated like extra daughters whilst we are there, and it goes both ways. Anyways, I love being there (how many times is it I've said that now? I hope nobody is counting!) We picked homegrown mirabels and mange-tout, we played bountiful games of cricket in the field, I gave Katherine a photography lesson in the orchard, and we rowed down the River Stour past John Constable's house and workplaces eating sardine sandwiches and boiled sweets as we went. I love days like that. (Hope no-one is counting how many times I use the word 'love' in this post either)!
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Mrs. N and I made trips to the farm shop and little Tom, who is naughty as ever, danced his way down the aisles putting 5 packets of chocolate buttons and 3 jelly baby jars into the wooden trolley .... we read Harry Potter for a whole day (I finally finished and I have to say, amazing...my favourite of the whole series!) ... we danced at sunset ... paddled in the brook ... played basketball ... pogo sticked (my new verb for the day!) ... and had so much fun that is too delightful for description. I feel like I walk into another century and another time and place whilst I am there, and I come away all the better for it.
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The family have a whole HOST of cats and dogs and bird and fish...you name the animal, they have probably had it at some point or have one or maybe eight now! There's the 2 dogs, 2 cats, 7 hens, a disabled and rather screeching pink cockatoo (no kidding!), 2 gerbils, 2 fish in a tank, 2 tortoises and...I musn't forget...70 fish in the pond! It's like a zoo there! The newest addition is Brenda, a Jack Russell puppy, who is the sweetest and naughtiest thing - and the most willing photography model I have met to this date!!
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
You see what I mean? She should be an Andrex model...they'd love her! And, it's getting late, so I'd better go. I have so much more to say and so much more to post but I have masses of stuff to do tomorrow and don't wish to be too tired for it all! Thanks for reading, and thanks for all your lovely comments whilst I was away. I loved reading them. Goodbye for now...
Love, Lulu. =)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I couldn't leave without...

...saying goodbye. Blogging really is rather therapeutic. :) I wish I had the time and willpower to post everyday, and post some more INTERESTING things, but I'm afraid...in short...I don't! I'm going away to Suffolk for the week, until Thursday anyway, so I just wanted to let you know so you don't think I've been stupefied by a Death Eater or disapparated into a time void...
Yep, I am certainly in a Harry Potter mood - I'm on page 383 and loving every minute! It was funny, today I went downtown with friends to the Tate Britain to see the photographic exhibition 'How We Are' (if you're ever in London, you *must* go and see it...gorgeous, wonderful, inspiring, brilliant, absolutely wonderful...have I already said that? anyway...) and I saw people reading Harry Potter 7 in Hyde Park, on the riverbanks, in Costa and Starbucks and even Pizza Express! And on the train - every line, the Met, the Jubilee, the District - and even a traffic warden who I believe was meant to be on duty! But you MUST not tell me what happens. I want it to be a surprise. :) Here's a HP themed pic for now...
Who else is excitedly anticipating book 7...?
I promise, yes Miss Ellen, to have another wedding photo post when I return and to e-mail you my picture...and post something more intriguing. I'm rather worried that my blog is becoming rather boring! Anyway, have a fab week and promise not to desert me.
Love, Lu.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Wedding day!

First, thank you for all your well wishes - it was seemingly a 24 hour thing because after churning out my insides a million times, I felt better the next day. And so, the wedding could go on in style! My Aunt Jane looked absolutely radiant...she's past 40 but a wonderful woman and an absolute beauty. My sister Elle (Eleanor) and I were bridesmaids and wore beautiful deep turquoise dresses and white satin slippers, with curls in our hair pinned up with gorgeous pearl pins (albeit from Claire's Accesories but you get the picture). It wasn't terrirbly fancy, which was lovely, but it was absolutely fun and I got to see so many people - old and younger...mostly old - that I hadn't seen in such a long time.
I loved the dancing most. Times like that always make me want to cry at the sheer brilliance and beauty that is life itself, kwim? I just looked around at everyone jiving and hustling and waltzing with their shoes kicked off, old and young, from 6 years to 106, and just smiled. The photographer was a lovely guy, very funny too, and didn't mind at all if other people took pictures. In fact, there was a whole crowd (nearly all of the 90 who attended) snapping pics behind him and he just said, "Well, if my pictures don't work out, we've got plenty of yours to go around." He was a Nikon/Fuji shooter but I forgave him because of that comment...such a sweet man. He left about 10 minutes into the reception and my aunt asked me, yes little old me, to take his place...just for snaps really...and I did so absolutely willingly and gladly of course! They aren't anything special but I think they sparked in me a love for wedding photography although I think I'd only ever want to be a second shooter - to capture all the details and little things that the main photographer might miss. Here's a few... :) ... just because!
And, my beautiful sister, who you never ever see. :)
Finally, the gorgeous bride! Isn't she beautiful? I think so anyway. :) In short, it was a wonderfully happy and blissful day!
And, I am dreadfully dreadfully sorry...I have so much to do at the moment, despite the fact that this is meant to be a relaxed summer, that I am rather neglecting commenting on blogs. I am reading, just not making my mark...so utmost apologies. I promise to be better. There is just so much going on - weddings and friends visiting and I'm going to my best friend's in the countryside next week and after that my lovely, wonderful and totally awesome cousin from Canda (who's 30) is visiting and then I'M going to Toronto (yess!) and then it's exam results and then it's back to school!! Anywho, sorry for that diversion, basically I'm pretty busy...but never too busy to read your blogs. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sickadeedoodah, sickadeeday....

Yep, I'm pretty sick - seems to be the 'in' thing at the moment. I so wish I could be out in the summer sunshine taking photos or doing anything but lying in bed anyway, but I've got a reallly nasty stomach bug that is just not nice at all. It's such a bad time as well...I'm a bridesmaid at my Aunt Jane's wedding on Friday and I had to miss a piano lesson, a hair consultation for the wedding and a wedding rehearsal today. Fingers crossed a million times over that I'm better for the wedding. My Canadian cousin that I adore, who's actually about 32, was meant to be coming to stay before the wedding but she's booked into a hotel now because silly Lulu had to go and get sick. So not a good day all in all but hopefully I'll be better soon - just wanted to check in and say hi, anyways. Here's a quick snap from sunset a few days ago, although the thought of food is still making me rather queasy. Thanks for reading.
@ f/2.8, 1/400, ISO 100 w/ 35mm and 300D
Love, L.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another holiday snap...

... I loved this one. I walked down to the beach about 6 or 7pm just to take some pictures of the sea as the sun set and hear the soft crashing of the waves once more before we went home. And, as I walked along the beach, I saw these three - a father and his two young children - standing silently by the sea. It was too beautiful not to snap (and, yes, I did check it was okay)!

It's one of my favourite pictures I've ever taken, even though I only met this family in passing and even though I am unlikely to meet Rose and Jude and their father Simon again. It just touches me how small and insignificant they seem next to the mighty and all-consuming yet utterly beautiful sea. Thanks for letting me share. And thanks for all the wonderful comments your guys leave me...I truly do appreciate it.

Love, miss Lulu ;)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Did you miss me?

I missed you all! I really did. I had a wonderful - yet hectic, pandemonic, slightly chaotic - time at the ocean and miss it so much already. I love the ocean. It's like coming home. It's when you remember without thinking how to climb cliffs, go rockpooling and be the perfect paddler. It's when you can see the shore in your mind's eye, smell the pungent salty air of the seaside and feel the crunch of glistening wet sand crystals beneath your feet even when you are 100 miles inland. That's why it feels like home to me, although I have never lived near the sea.
I love the seaside~
There is something, some invisible force, that draws me to the ocean....that vast, huge body of water that nobody can ever hope to see the whole of. The uncountable drops of brine, the life it holds and the power it has over life and death and our land enchant me. I think it all began when I went on a trip to the beach with school, a beautiful beach with white sands and smooth pebbles, gleaming azure waters and green sand dunes as far as the eye could see. We had a booklet with some information about the beach itself and the ocean in general but one quotation, printed in small Times New Roman on the back of the leaflet, still stays with me.
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” ~ Mother Teresa
So I think the ocean kind of signifies the world to me...but each drop of water represents a human being, someone so tiny and diminutive in the whole scheme of living, but someone so brilliantly important in their own way. The ocean's special and ever since I first visited, many yonders ago when the sun shone in summer (!) and I could wear glittery mauve jelly shoes without feeling self-conscious, I have vowed that one day I will live in a house right by the sea so I can be breathless every minute of the day - astounded by its beauty and sheer mass and blueness.
Did you miss me?
So now that's over and done with, I just had to write it somewhere, I'll share some nice little details about my lovely holiday. And, if you haven't yet realised, this post will probably be a long one, so leave now unless you're in it for the long run...! My parents, little sister (who's actually not so little anymore) and I stayed in North Devon, one of the most beautiful and serene places on the English coastline. Many of the beaches are deserted, with only a few souls wandering their sand even in summer, and some days we had the sea to ourselves. The water was absolutely freezing, cold enough to give you frostbite I'm sure, but since when did that ever stop me?! I guess I'm just too used to the English Channel which is significantly warmer than the Atlantic Ocean, naturally. Still, here's some proof that I did actually go in [my feet in the water as you may not be able to decipher thanks to such limited DOF]...
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It was sunny and warm most days, although rain plagued us on the last couple of afternoons in true English style. My mother and I drove to a deserted little cove and shore named Putsborough Sands together, just to see it. It was absolutely stunning. There really are no words to describe it. Seriously. You'd have to see it to believe it, and my photographs do not do it justice by a long way. The sun shone high in the bright blue sky illuminating puffy marshmallow cloud formations as Atlantic waves lapped the shore, and clouds reflected onto the sands. My heart just skipped a beat. It was that beautiful. The tide was out and my mum had my camera bag safe and sound round her neck so I just ran. I ran like I have never run before...wind blowing in my hair, wet sand at my feet, the crunchy pebbles between my toes and the absolutely blue sea waiting for me...almost calling my name. And as I ran, blue sweater round my waist and sandals long discarded, I felt truly happy. A different kind of happiness, a place of absolute sweetness and joy. I almost didn't write this for fear I could not even hope to emulate such beauty and such joy but I am glad I did, for I have tried. This is the view I was met with.
And...other stuff...we played a game of Boggle every evening (I always won, unapologetically, it's the only game I am good at), we ate ice-cream until we were bursting, we painted sugar dishes in a shop, my sister and I made up songs, wrote stories, cooked pasta and garlic bread, stayed up late, woke up late, went out to dinner in typical English pubs and had fun. Here's just a few more pictures from my stay....
Love Heart
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
And, a rare one of my little sister who recently turned thirteen. The sea is in the background, which I love, of course.
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Thanks for reading. If you got this far, well done! From the bottom of my heart!! =) Have a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful day...and thanks for the lovely comments you left me whilst I was away.
Love, miss Lulu =)

Friday, July 06, 2007

16060 days

There are a dozen and three things I could talk about tonight: the last Brownie meeting until September, my crazy day, my excitement about going to the seaside tomorrow, just stuff really. But, instead, I want to write about my grandparents and their house.

I love my paternal grandparents unequivocally, you could say more than anything in the world. We are inextricably linked, so alike and love each other dearly. They have lived in their house, a three bedroom semi in the London suburbs for 44 years. Yes, 44 years. My two aunts were born in that house. Forty-four years is 16060 days. That many. Think of all the memories, the history. Eight Prime Ministers have been and gone whilst they lived in that house. Seven American presidents. Countless birthdays, 44 Christmases....think of all those moments in one house. The day they moved in President Kennedy was killed. Since then so much has happened, so much has changed... computers, mobile phones, 9/11, Civil Rights Bill, Women's Movement...so so much.

They're moving now. To a bungalow nearby. I will miss that old house. I could navigate it with my eyes closed, I bet you I could. Often I go there in my dreams...and I know where everything is. The Ribena bottle is in the bottom cupboard as you enter the kitchen, next to the lemon squash and Cadbury's Chocolate Fingers tin which hasn't housed any chocolate fingers since 1973, so I'm told. The calendar hangs on the wall below the red clock with white geometric numbers. The golden bell hangs from a hook on the ceiling in the hall. My grandfather's tartan napkin sits on the dining room table, next to his crosswords and his red Parker biro. I do love that house. Today I went over, just to say bye. I took pictures too. So I can always remember that house. I love it so. But things change, that's life I guess. When I was nine, I wrote in my diary (a pink check canvas book a la Anne Frank) that I wanted to bottle my life up in a glass jar so I could always go back to it. But as much as I loved my life when I was nine, I love it now too. There are things, of course, I miss. The freedom, the lack of homework, my maternal Grandmother....but things anew I adore. So it goes both ways, I guess.
So, here are some photographs that I will treasure of that old house of memories and history. That old house of, essentially, love.
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{ The old cushion naming wildflowers and plants. }
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{ Grandma's coloured pegs. }
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{ Grandad's bonsai trees ready for the move. }
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{ Flowers in his beloved garden. }
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{ The notorious red faced clock. }
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{ I love how you can see my Grandad in the background, moving box in his hand...says so much about the day. }
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{ The dying apple tree in the backyard which is no surprise, that's it dying, the amount of rope swings it held and we climbed... =) }
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{ Key in the bedroom door. }
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{ Grandma's hat and favourite magazines on the table. }
Oh...and a PSA, I'm going away for the week tomorrow to the ocean so won't be posting until next Saturday (14 July 2007) .. I'll miss you guys but can't wait. I love the sea. Have a great week and I'll be back in a week with lots of pictures and stories, I promise!
Oh, and hey Ellllllen..hope you had a fab time in Cuba!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Books & Bloglines

Today I discovered the joys of Bloglines...so much fun! And I think it'll be much quicker and easier. For those who don't know, it's a way to track the blogs you like and you're notified when someone creates a new post. If you aren't registered, you should be! It rocks!
Anyway, enough about Bloglines, and more about books. As a self-professed bookworm I thought it would be nice to have a thread JUST about books (kinda failed before I started, didn't I?!)....I'm going to recommend some books and I'd love it if you'd recommend some back! I think I shall have this every Wednesday...we'll call it Libellorum Wednesday (because Libellorum means 'little book' in Latin). =) I think it should be fun. And if you're not an avid reader, I hope we can persuade you to come join the Dark Side!
...I love these books. Most I have read recently and really enjoyed, so I thought for my first Libellorum Wednesday post I'd share these with you. I promise not to always recommend so many, but as this post is the first of many...I shall today!
1. The Time Traveller's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Brilliant! It's beautifully written and it was recommended to me by so many people that I just HAD to read it. I wondered what the hype was about at first but once I got into it, I adored it!
2. The Story of Us, by Marcia Preston
As a young mother struggles to overcome the death of her son, she embarks on a journey to find the family who received his organs. Raw, heart-wrenching and utterly compelling.
3. Perfect Match, by Jodi Picoult
I do love Jodi Picoult (whose name is pronounced Pee-KOH, I was surprised to recently discover) and was dismayed when I began to find her novels a little similar. This one was the exception. I loved it. Nathaniel was so endearing, as were Patrick and Nina, and the ending was so unexpected I was shocked for days. A great read.
4. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice
I keep a reading log of all the books I read and I have a category where I write "This book in one word:"... how sad, I know!...And for this one it was quirky. And this book truly is quirky. The characters have such depth and add so much character and interest to the book. Penelope is incredibly endearing, Charlotte fun and slightly aloof and Inigo, well, read it and you'll see! The great characted names just enhanced its charm!
5. The Importance of Being Kennedy, by Laurie Graham [no picture, sorry!]
As devoured in a previous post, Bobby Kennedy is my hero. His idealism, his belief in his duty to spread goodness and his triumph through adversity. This book is written by the neice of a woman who was a governess and nanny to the Kennedy children and, even if you loathe the Kennedys, is so beautifully written you cannot help but be drawn in. It does not read like a history book, even though it is based on the diaries of Laurie Graham's aunt: it reads like a beautiful, compelling story that cannot be put down until finished!
Hope that's given you some ideas for some summer reading! Now I'd love to hear what books YOU recommend! =)
Love, Lulu. x

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Draw Me A Picture?

Okay, sorry guys! I have been so busy this week, my first exam free week for months! School's officially over (sad but I'll cope) and I have been shopping for books, to a bridesmaids' dress fitting for my aunt's wedding, photographing wildflowers, cycling, shopping for books, to my auntie's hen night, swimming tonight, out to a play, shopping for books again!! So hectic, so fun and soooo chaotic! Every night I get in and eat dinner and read a little, maybe photograph, and I feel so tired that I just drop off to sleep. I keep thinking, and yearning, to blog about my adventures, but I just forget or fall asleep before I get the chance! So, my apologies. I plan to blog every night this week, to get back into the swing of things. Promise! =)
We've had my cousin staying over this week and he is the sweetest thing, letting me try out my new film SLR on him...drawing me pictures, making spyglasses and ID cards for his special 'ZoooMiNalS' secret club (don't even ask)! I said Grandma wanted a photo of him to put on the wall at her new bungalow, they're moving next week, and so he agreed to let me take a few...yay! All with the Pentax MG, 50mm lens, f2.2, asa 800/400 except the colour one which was with the 35mm lens and 300D, if you're wondering.
make a spyglass...
What else has been happening? Well, I read a GREAT book. You MUST read it. It's called Cage of Stars and is written by Jacquelyn Mitchard. I picked it up by chance in Waterstones because I liked the cover photograph and it sounded good so I bought it on a whim. It's amazing...about a young Mormon girl in Utah whose sisters are murdered completely unexpectedly by a schizophrenic. The novel details her initial revenge, her adolescence and journey into adulthood as she struggles to understand the deaths of her sisters and her eventual acceptance of the killer's condition. It was utterly compelling and wonderfully written. I have never been to Utah, I am not LDS nor do I know many, I do not have murdered sisters and I have never felt the need for revenge but I still felt able to relate and understand Veronica's feelings and emotions. It's a beautiful book, and one you must read. It should be on required reading lists on every high school in the country! =)
Anyway, enough babbling. I'm off to read Brothers by David Talbot...about John and Robert Kennedy. I love it so far. And, if you hadn't guessed or realised by now, I adore reading. Got any good books to recommend? Not that I don't have enough (I'm reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter too!) but I always love hearing new recommendations.
Thanks for reading...and I absolutely PrOmIsE to be back tomorrow! I do, I do. :) I don't have anything planned for once so I think I'll just have a lazy day at home, relaxing and reading (hey, what's new?) and photographing and catching up on TV. All the programmes I watch have ended their seasons now. =( Which is a bit distressing really!! I was so distraught, although not as much as my sister, that Doctor Who's season three ended on Saturday. Sooo upsetting. It doesn't come back until Christmas Day and that's only one episode, then not again until March. What a shock episode though - I did NOT expect Martha to not want to go with the Doctor at all. I think she'll be back though...and if not, I vote for Sally Sparrow (a la 'Blink') to be his new companion. She rocked. =)
Anywho, sorry if you have no IDEA what I'm on about. Doctor Who is a British show that ended in 1984 but was recently brought back in a new modern series. It rocks. Seriously. All the people my parent's age watched it when they were kids and almost all kids (and lots of adults) watch it now. It's amazing! ... http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/
See ya! Be good...oh, and happy July! =) Love, L... :)