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My birthday ring

For my 40th birthday, George gave me a box.

Inside the box, which jingled intriguingly, was a set of thick, copper rings. The paper he handed me along with the box informed me that my gift was a custom-made ring from the local jeweler (and friend) Lil.

After a series of appointments (okay, that makes it sound more dramatic than it was – really two visits to her studio) where we discussed various options, my ring was made!

All done!

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The spinny rings have the boys’ names on them, and the inside has a little message from George, as well as the boys’ birthdate.

The spinning rings are great for someone who already likes to fiddle with her rings when bored or nervous. (Me!)

My new spinny ring!

A video posted by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

 

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Anticipation Builders: Three Ideas for Recurring Features

Pam Kocke:

My monthly photos project was mentioned on The Daily Post today. Exciting!

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

Not sure why you’d want to add a recurring feature to your regular mix of posts? Our earlierposts on this topic will give you some background.

Late last year, Krista shared a few ideas for serial features — those recurring posts that help build a reading habit among your readers, and that can form the backbone of your editorial calendar. In case you just recently started your blog, or if you’re still shopping around for post ideas to adapt to your blog’s niche (if it has one), here are three more directions to explore.

Be a (friendly) parasite

One of the most natural ways to ease into a steady rhythm with your own posts is to write in response to something else that sets the pace for you. Why not make the most of the regular schedule of TV shows and podcast episodes, or real-life events like college courses and book club meetings?

You could write…

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Monkey

Some things.

Just booked George a ticket to the UK for this summer! Yeah, I’m going with him, but I used frequent flier miles for his ticket, and I’m just kind of keeping an eye on ticket prices for a few days before I book mine. There’s plenty of availability on all of the flights, but egads they’re pricey. I remember back in the olden days when a round trip ticket was under $800. I mean, yeah, it was more than a decade ago, but still.

We’re going to be spending half of our time in the Lake District in the outrageously picturesque village (is it a village? Or a town? I’m going to call it a village no matter what) of Keswick. I mean, come on…

The rest of the time will be spent in London. I cannot wait to go back. Just want to wander the streets and soak it all in. And find a bottle of Winter Pimm’s. I wonder if that will be impossible in June? Hmm.

Speaking of travel, I’m going to Las Vegas for a few days at the end of February for Kristina’s 40th. Woo hoo!

In other news…um, no other news, really. Here are some pictures I took with my phone yesterday.

Oh yeah, baby Jasper. I took some pictures of him for my friend Megan, even though I’m a little mad at him for being born two days late (is it too much to ask that he be born on my birthday? Ann Frances cooperated but nooooo he had to have is OWN birthday.) But he’s cute so I’ll forgive him.

I’m just going to post this one of him. Mardi Gras baby!

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Oh yeah, one more thing. Today, January 20 is not only marks seven years since the boys’ due date, but also 40 since mine. Random.

 

 

 

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Marvelous.

Last night I took the boys to see the Marvel Universe Live! show. When I was offered the tickets (because, disclaimer: I was given the tickets, but all opinions are mine in this post), I wasn’t sure the boys would be too into it, since they’d largely left their superhero phase behind. (I mean, despite the fact that Oliver was Hulk for Halloween last year.)

But when I told them two days prior to the show that we were going, they pretty much lost their shit. They were so excited. That excitement didn’t wear off, either, as you can see.

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Before the show, we were given access to a special pre-party for bloggers where the boys got to take photos in the superheroes’ gear. Pretty cool.

We also got to load up on snacks and stay out of the cold for a while, which was nice.

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After the pre-party, we got our seats and I very reluctantly paid a fortune for popcorn and cotton candy. It kills me to think of it, but at least my tickets were free. But still. How do these people sleep at night? Okay. Get over it, Pam.

The show itself was actually very cool. The special effects were great (there was real fire!) and the boys were literally on the edge of their seats. I wish I could have gotten a picture of that. I have to say, Spiderman was my favorite – he was a gymnast or something, and was really fun to watch.

As soon as the show was over, the boys were begging to go again. So if your kids are into superheroes at all and this show is coming to your area, I would definitely recommend it.

Barcelona: A short film

Barcelona: Going home

Now, usually, going home from a trip doesn’t merit an entire blog post, but I foresee in the future using this as a way to one-up anyone who thinks they had a bad flight. (Oh, you think YOUR travel was bad? Check THIS out., that kind of thing.)

The day started out promisingly. A few of us got a taxi to the airport, no problem there. We got in line to check in for our flight when there was hardly anyone ahead of us. (Within moments, the line was massive.) These all bode well for a nice trip home, eh?

Then Simon said, “did you know we’re stopping in Bangor, Maine?” and that kind of feels like the beginning of the end.

No, I’m just being dramatic. I had a super long layover in Newark anyway, and what turned out to be a refueling stop in Maine (wtf?) wasn’t going to affect me except to make me spend less time in Newark. I mean, who wants to spend a lot of time at the Newark airport? Not me!*

So after a trip through duty-free and a quick breakfast with Beckett, we got on our flight. I had an empty seat next to me, so about half an hour into the flight, Beckett moved over so we got to sit together. Yay!

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Our flight was pretty long – 10.5 hours altogether, including our short jaunt in Bangor, which was really snowy and apparently like -45 degrees or something absurd. So I guess making a snow angel wasn’t in the cards. (But we did get 5000 miles or $100 flight voucher for our troubles, so that was nice.)

Anyway, I wanted to interject and give quick reviews of the four movies I watched on the plane.

  • Edge of Tomorrow – very entertaining.
  • Tammy – Beckett and I watched this together (we synchronized our personal video display screens) and it was funny enough.
  • I, Origins – I probably wouldn’t have chosen this if the woman in front of me didn’t have it on her screen. My eyes kept drifting to it, so I felt compelled to watch it. Aside from one icky scene, it was actually pretty good. Not as pretentious as I’d feared. Also, the lead’s last name is Pitt, but I don’t think he’s related to Brad, but he’s sure cultivating the look.
  • Blended – again, watched this one with Beckett. Pretty terrible, but I love Drew Barrymore, and we were nearing the end of a very long flight, so standards were low.

Beckett’s purple hair got us a couple of bottles each of free wine on the flight, which was pretty awesome, and the flight attendant even walked by once and slipped me some chocolates and cookies. I mean, great flight, right?!?

So far, so good. I was tired (we established from the flight there that I cannot sleep on planes no matter what) but hey, getting closer to home and my bed.

Four of us (Sandy, the Snows, and I) grabbed dinner at Newark after getting through customs and we were all feeling the exhaustion. After eating, we made our way to our gates and sat, zombie-like, as we waited for our flight to be called.

Finally, I was on my plane and on my way home! Just a 3.5 hour flight! No biggie! Maybe I’d even doze a little bit!

So we fly, and fly, and fly. When we’re about an hour and a half from home sweet home, the pilot comes over the PA system.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, blah blah blah, we’re turning around and going back to Newark.”

I don’t honestly remember what his reasoning was. Weather, visibility, something like that.

{Turns out it was a landing system outage at the airport? Plus fog?}

Why we had to go alllll the way back to Newark is still a mystery to me. But we did. And by the time we got back, it was almost midnight. The airport was deserted. They had already rebooked us on 6am flights the next morning so sleep wasn’t going to really happen anyway.

Nevertheless, I asked for a hotel room so I wouldn’t have to snuggle on the floor of the airport, trying to get some rest with CNN blaring.

By the time I got to the lovely Ramada Plaza – Newark Airport, it was 2am, and I had to be on the shuttle back to the airport at 4:30. But man that two hours of sleep felt good.

Fortunately, the flight home was pretty uneventful. I dozed, slack-jawed and drooling for a few minutes at a time in my middle seat, so hey, I’ve finally figured out how to sleep on airplanes! My suitcase made it home, nothing was broken, and it only took a minute to get a taxi home, where I promptly took a four hour nap.

And thus ends my tale of woe. Written out, it doesn’t sound as bad as it was. I need to work on my story.

 

 

*that’s foreshadowing, my friend.

Gorgeous

Barcelona, the last day

All too soon it was Saturday, our last full day in Barcelona. But as I mentioned before, we stayed up very late the night before (BECAUSE IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY) playing Cards Against Humanity and turning our teeth purple with wine.

There was so much I still wanted to see, but I also knew I needed sleep, so when Beckett woke me up at almost noon, I can’t say I was too upset. And being the take-charge gal she is, she ordered me out of bed so we could go see the city!

Before too long, we’d made our way to Han, the apartment everyone congregated at, and picked up Sandy, and the three of us spent the day exploring the city.

First up, Park Guell. We grabbed a cappuccino from a cafe and hopped on the Metro to the station that looked closest to the park. Once we got there, we were a bit ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ so we grabbed a taxi, which took us up….and up….and up. Really glad we decided not to walk at this point.

Once at the park, we just wandered around and took in the views. Stunning.

SOMEONE (okay, it was me) got us lost in our park wanderings and we ended up outside of it, but we were all hungry (not having eaten anything yet) so we went with it and ended up in a very hilly neighborhood.

We tried to find somewhere to eat, but ended up getting a taxi to the Gothic Quarter instead. We were starving by then, so we went into the first restaurant we saw and basically ordered everything on the menu. So yum.

So. much. food.

So. much. food.

We spied a very cultural museum across the way, so decided to check it out.

After that, we wandered the narrow streets and passageways of the Barri Gòtic and did a bit of shopping. I was so glad we got to explore this area.

And then Sandy mentioned he hadn’t seen the Mediterranean yet, so we hopped on the Metro and went to the sea!

The rest of the evening was spent losing Beckett’s phone in a taxi, finding my traditional city Starbucks mug souvenir, and having a last dinner with our team. And packing.

And that is the end of the fun part of my trip to Barcelona. Getting home will be another (not terribly exciting but must be recorded for posterity) post…