Monday, August 5, 2013

In Honor of International Friends Day

I’m a little late with a post for International Friends Day, but, aw, what the heck. I want to keep friend energy moving through the planet because it is one of life’s greatest manifestations.
If I had to pinpoint my favorite thing about being alive (you just never know when you’re going to be asked random poignant questions like this, so I like to be prepared) I would answer that my favorite thing about being alive is relatedness, the chance to have meaningful relationships with people. And, well, good food. Just look at the summer salad I made the other day.

But, I digress.
The power of friendship and relatedness is a theme in my novel, OCD, THE DUDE, AND ME. Perhaps, consciously or unconsciously, that theme is present because friendship is important to me.
When I reflect back on my life—the good, the bad, the ugly, the really ugly and the transcendently perfect—what I see most vividly are the people who were with me in all those colorful moments. The moments have a tendency to recede into the background, but the people remain front and center.
This weekend I went to a friend’s 50th birthday party, and a group of us sat around waxing philosophical about how it just can’t be possible that we’ve known each other for twenty-some years. But, yes, despite the few cocktails we had and our fuzzy math abilities, we realized it’s true. Holy cow. Like in a good way.
My favorite friend moments are the spit-out-your-drink laughter ones, but I value my friends fiercely through the tears-and-fears moments, too.  
As I move through my life, as the landscape changes, I’m thrilled to have my long-term friends and the new ones who are popping up thanks to serendipity. Changing jobs and publishing a novel has brought new beautiful people into my life. These recently acquired friends are expanding my horizons, helping me see in new directions and out further than I thought I’d ever try to peek. That is the gift of new friends: their presence means you are willing to walk new paths. They hearken adventure and represent a willingness to change and grow. Our old friends represent the richness cultivated by time. Their grandness in our lives emboldens and strengthens us for the adventures yet to come.
I have many, many names I could list who are these warriors of mine, these friends both new and old. I bow to you, collectively, in gratitude.  
I have one friend I met in kindergarten. She's on the left in the photo below having just ran a half marathon with another friend. I know. Shut up and you go girls! 

Four decades ago, Cynthia (marathon runner) and I sat next to each other on the first day of school, and we watched a scared little boy in the class jump out our ground floor window to catch his mom in the parking lot. He wasn't so keen on the whole school thing. I reacted on the other end of the spectrum with regard to that day. My mom said that when she dropped me off, I ran right into class without even looking back. (Sigh. Thus began a very long love affair with school for me. That moment pretty much cemented the fact that I was going to be a teacher. The rebel kid who jumped out the window is probably a multi-billionaire by now.)  
I met Cynthia on that first day of kindergarten, and we’ve been friends since. We were born six days apart in March of 1967. (Hope you don’t mind that I outed our middle-agedness, Cynthia.)
We’ve stayed friends even though we’ve spent the majority of our lives in separate cities way across the country. We stayed in touch while growing up; we were in each other’s weddings. We comforted each other through life's losses. I’ve watched her kids grow up in photos.  Here is her son in a brilliant prom photo. You could write a killer story about this shot, couldn't you? It's stunning.
Recently, Cynthia sent me a picture of my book that was in her local library in Lebanon, Ohio. That is a solid friend. 

Over texts the other day, we referenced our kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Franks. She was a sweet, wonderful teacher, and Cynthia and I both remember how we knocked on her door one day as young children when we were collecting items for a charity carnival we were planning. Cynthia and I were so excited when Ms. Franks opened her door and then donated an item: a bunch of dried orange flowers covered by a glass dome perched on a dark piece of wood. Forty some years later, I still remember this item and this moment. I remember how we pulled a red wagon up Mrs. Frank’s driveway and through our neighborhood so we had a place to keep all the donated items from that day’s work. 
Cynthia and I planned carnivals to benefit cancer research when we were really young. Seriously, I think the first one we put on was the summer we finished kindergarten.  Cynthia had a trampoline in her backyard, so we had at least one big ticket ride at that event! Who knows what compelled us to put on charity carnivals during our summer vacations when we were so young. We couldn’t have known as five-year olds that both our fathers would pass away, too young, from cancer.
I’m not writing this piece to be maudlin. I’m writing it to celebrate the special years of friendship I’ve had with Cynthia, that I’ve had with so many people. People I shared offices with, classrooms with, theater spaces with, yoga classes with, cyberspace with, all kinds of space with. I’m writing this to articulate the power of friendship, to say that it matters and that it should be cultivated more individually, corporately, and internationally.
Here’s to International Friendship Day. May its spirit linger all year, through all people and all places. May this spirit find new ways to relate, to connect, to share and to love through us.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pernicious Woman

It rained a few days ago here in Los Angeles. I let the skies clear a little and then decided to go on a hike to manage “the bad roommate in my head” as Anne Lamott would call her. This voice, this pernicious, nasty voice, was giving me the business regarding all my flaws. According to her, there are many. On this day, she was in rare form pointing out how it seems next to impossible for me to keep my house clean, prevent typos in my work, go to enough yoga classes etc…all these really important things. Sigh. As I climbed up Fryman Canyon, I was giving this voice too much airtime, and, wouldn’t you know it, but another voice squeezed in there. It said, “Laur, did you ever consider that the voice that insists on perfection in every aspect of your life is a dull bit**? Just be a mess sometimes. Who really cares?” Yes! Yes, I thought. Now that is some sanity. AND THEN I TRIPPED AND FELL FLAT ON MY FACE IN A WET PUDDLE OF MUD AND HAD TO FINISH MY HIKE LOOKING DASTARDLY. That is exactly what happened. And, you know what? Aside from a few people looking at me funny, nothing else happened. I was muddy. Yep. Muddy. Like all life is until it bursts forth from the soil and moves toward the sun.

Here’s a great reminder about the dangers of perfectionism from the ever-wise Anne Lamott:

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.”

Friday, April 26, 2013

Let them eat cake!

Because that is what we do in America when something is born. It's an excuse to be decadent. The more icing the better.
And when a book is born, I suppose cake with all that icing really is appropriate. Writing is a sweet gift in and of itself. It bestows personal, private blessings upon the writer; she grows by digging through layers for meaning and insight and consciousness. Writing is one way to do that kind of soul work. When something a writer writes gets published...that is delicious icing on the cake, for sure.

Welcome to the world, OCD, THE DUDE, AND ME! I wish you a meaningful life and promise to support you however I can from here. (I got you a cake. What else do you want? I'm kidding. You are young; sarcasm may not be appropriate yet.) Thank you for all you taught me while I was writing you.

We (the book and I) are grateful to all who have supported us thus far. We have the coolest people in our lives. Bless you. We also thank everyone who gets the book and gives her a read. We are super grateful for that.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Together we are Giant"

            I stole the phrase “Together we are Giant” from the San Francisco Giants organization. It is a wonderful slogan that proves true in all aspects of life. First, with the Giants. My gosh, have you paid attention to this baseball team this year? Nothing simple about them; nothing easy about their year; nothing short of a miraculous post-season. I love the Giants because of their “wretched refuse” status, their heart, their calm under pressure, and their oddball-ness, all of which has been true about them for years. When they won the 2010 pennant, they were a bunch of long-haired weirdoes. One player wore a red thong for luck. The 2012 team is still weird. Awesome. They are a patchwork team that evolved throughout the year, with players coming and going, their wonder boy catcher (probably the MVP) having to take it easy because of a brutal injury that left him completely out of last season, and their best bat getting nailed for juicing. Big life lesson here: none of these stressors threw this team off course, a course that feels as if it has been guided by destiny, and the players surrendered to it with all the integrity that comes along with joy. This isn’t a big money team. Their batting averages kinda suck (except for Posey and Sandaval and postseason Scutaro). The team hits into an infuriating number of double plays. There have been games this season where they looked like a little league team. Painful. “Heart attack baseball” is what the enormous fan base has dubbed watching the Giants. You have to bear down and take what they give each game. Being a Giants’ fan provides so many great life lessons. And, if there is something great to be had, much of the time, you gotta sludge through some pain to get it. The Giants have been there and done that. They are the World Series Champions after sweeping the Detroit Tigers, but it was by no means a cake walk. The Giants were the underdogs; no one expected them to sweep, and, in fact, most people were amazed that they were able to win 6 straight do-or-die games in the playoffs. This success can all be attributed to the fact that together they really are GIANT. This team is better than the sum of its parts, and they are backed by the most supportive, loud, passionate group of fans I have ever been proud to be a part of. There is a beautiful physics at work here, one that is hard to define or deny, and it is reflective of how life in general works--miraculously. Here is a picture of Rob and me at a do-or-die playoff game in San Fran. We flew up for one day just for the chance to see ‘em maybe win. And they did.

            Together, we are all GIANT.
            That miracle feeling I experience around the Giants is also at work in other areas unfolding in front of me. One example is my friend Katharine, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and is now undergoing chemo. Yes, it’s terrible…and, yet…she has risen to mythic status because of how she has faced all of it—with grace, wisdom, strength and acceptance. Everyone who knows her and sees her during this time comments on her amazing strength and beauty. She is giant because a large community of people have rallied around her, and she has accepted this love, this support of her. The community of people she worked with all dressed in pink for her on her day of surgery. I wasn’t there. I was abroad, but I did it, too, because I believe in the power of numbers. Here I am all pink for Katharine, making sure the love vibe was spread across at least two continents. The sun seemed to kiss the moment. 

            I show that picture and write about it here to make sure that vibe continues.
            Together, we are all GIANT.
            This is important to realize so that we choose which causes we rally around, which forces in our life we choose to join up with. “Together we are Giant,” means that a group of people joined together against or for anything can have power. So, this blog is not just about baseball or cancer; it is meant to get you thinking about what you are a part of, what you stand for, what ideas you add energy to and make giant. Together, we could really change shit or energize stuff…together we ARE giant, but we should decide to be conscious of what things we’d like to make giant out there. 
            Thank you to the San Francisco Giants organization for getting me thinking about this theme. And, GO GIANTS!

Monday, October 22, 2012


After a month abroad, one needs a period of adjustment. The re-entry experience began on the flight back where I took time to read the ARC (advanced reader copy) of my own book, OCD, THE DUDE, AND ME. Here I am:
I look like I am sleeping. No, my book did not put me to sleep! I am just super tired from having hauled an over-sized, overweight suitcase through the rain in London, down stairs in the tube station--pausing to frantically fling the thing open to find my deodorant and apply it publicly in the King's Cross/St. Pancras station because I thought maybe I forgot to apply deodorant and the recurring thought of smelling bad on the plane was too much for me to handle (OCD, me? No, I am sure I've just read a lot about it...where was I... oh yeah...)--lifting it on to three trains, and running to and fro with it so as to not miss the three aforementioned trains., yeah, I look a little beat up there. When not reading my book, I took more time to pause and think about things I would miss about London, and the barf bag on the plane rendered me wistful because of the charming humor. The magic of London is it can leave you smiling about barf. Their Chamber of Commerce or equivalent should use that for bumper stickers! (Btw, read the small print lines at the bottom of the bag.) I didn't actually use the bag; I just like to read anything with words on it that is in my vicinity.
When I got back to the United States, I ceremoniously changed that little flag in the upper right corner of my computer from the British one to the American one and was glad I had an evening of entertainment planned to fill up the hole that leaving London left. (Lovely alliteration) I went to see my friend Stefan Marks's solo show.
There is Stefan, singing beautiful songs and reading childhood journal entries and love letters he received in junior high. Apparently, Stefan was THE catch back then; not much has changed--you're welcome, Stefan. So, his solo show was sublime...even though it wasn't solo:
Look at those guys: The Four Postmen. Even though there are just three of them. Well, really, there are five of them. They are soulful and talented and their music heals with laughter and substance; it was just what I needed to feel grounded and ready to re-enter life in LA. Also, thank goodness I know Matt, so I knew where to turn for a good traffic school ( because I got the biggest 1984-Big Brother-is-watching-me ticket, which was hardly my fault, but I am trying to abide, so I just paid the thing and started buying canned food because my bank account was dramatically drained. (More effective alliteration) Do not ask me about this ticket. Any of you. I have vowed to no longer discuss it because I have obsessed about it too long, was filled with self-loathing, and made a deal with God that I would keep quiet about it and abide it as long as She saw fit to make sure my presidential candidate got elected. (Note to God: I am not "discussing" the ticket; I haven't opened my mouth about it since I made that deal. This is called "blogging," which does not resemble a "discussion": it is way more one-sided, self-absorb and incapable of listening. I know You, of all beings, understand the nuances and rules of my deal makings. You made me this way.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lie back and think of England

As much as I am ready to go back to my LA life, I still don't really want to leave England. However, because I've had such a wonderful time, when I need to, I can lie back and think of England and all the quirky, fun, ingenious, beautiful, historical, unique things about this place that I have tucked away in my memory. Thanks to modern technology, I can post pictures of some of those things here. Feel free to use these images and "lie back and think of England" any time you need to.
          To start, there are the tube stations. This one is very well known as it was used in Harry Potter and it is near where I was staying. Bye-bye King's Cross/St. Pancras station. (Not St. Pancreas, but I called it that anyway.)
I will also miss how sanely sized their warm beverages are here. You don't see the Londish walking about with Venti quadruple shot lattes. I took a picture of my Americano next to my nearly finished glass of Rose so you can see the size of the cups. (Btw, Rose is the wine of sophisticates here. And, it tastes yummy; I'll be looking for some good, dry French Rose when I return to LA tomorrow.)
Also to be missed will be the general sanity of society here. One example: Every few blocks, there are bikes that can be rented, self-service, for very cheap. Rent a bike at one location and return it to another depot--they are everywhere so you needn't fear. Can you imagine something like this in LA? I didn't see tagging or any form of abuse on one single bike in any of the the bike depots I passed daily. Very civil, indeed.
I will also truly miss the commitment to and care for dog poo here. The English love their dogs and love their doggy walks, but they will not tolerate poo on the sidewalk or in their parks. They encourage snitching on poo offenders. Read the small print at the bottom:
I love their shops and pubs and their titles. I don't think any commentary is required here:
The ads in the tube are charming and enlightened:
Okay, so admittedly, I am not a fan of the foxes. They creep around at night, and I was way too afraid to get up close to one and snap a picture. I even screamed as I walked by this stuffed one at a market:
This may seem a little strange, but I will really miss the doors here. They are all so cared for, so welcoming that it made me love the people behind each of the charming doors I saw even though I never met them. Don't you want to knock on this door and have tea with the people inside?
And finally and most profoundly, I will miss the friends I came to love over this extraordinary month. Here are just two of them:
Even though I started this blog because I was an American, a broad...going abroad, I am going to continue it when I get home because I've been broadened (not literally; although, that is very easy to do in England because there are many yummy treats here). I've been expanded soulfully and psychologically, so I think I will have more to write about in the days to come. Stay tuned. Thanks to all who read my adventure and came along in spirit. XOXO

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Abbey Something

Here I am at the most iconic street crossing ever. It was way cool and also life threatening. The Abbey Road intersection is incredibly busy, and you have to just throw yourself out on to the street and hope drivers have the compassion to not run you over. Tons of people every day of the year do this because of that album cover; that's why I risked my life here. I am sure one day a local driver who is late for work is going to get fed up with Beatlemania and plow through a tourist.
Here is Abbey Road Studio and a piece of the wall outside that is covered with signatures and tributes. All you need is love! And there is so much Beatles love. I met people from four countries in front of this studio. Well before the internet, the Fab Four were bringing the world together, and they still do today.
And now for another Abbey...
I went inside Westminster Abbey yesterday and took the full tour with the talking headset. The voice of Jeremy Irons guided me through all the hot spots. What an Abbey this place is! There are so many kings and queens and writers and religious people buried there that you can't help but feel your mortality and your smallness, which I think is important to feel on occasion. It is no surprise that my favorite section is the writers' corner. People like Chaucer and Auden are buried there. I saw a bust on the wall of Jane Austen and must look up if she is buried there, too. I imagine she is. Shakespeare has a terrific monument; although, his remains are actually buried in Stratford upon Avon. However, beneath his monument in the Abbey are the gravestones of Laurence Olivier and his wife. Nice. You can't take pictures in the Abbey. I would have loved to show parts of the tour, but all I can show you is the lunch I ate in the Abbey cafe.
Beautiful plates, yummy salads. And speaking of appetites...I have seen several people reading 50 Shades of Gray on the tube. Here is one woman; I hid her face as not to shame her because of her attraction to...ahem... abbey-normal bedroom behavior. To each her own.
And speaking of to each her is the best bus advert EVER. I want the buses in LA to carry this signage:
That sign says it all! It is the argument we should all start using in the face of sexual bigotry. "Some people are gay. Get over it." 'Nuff said.
          And now, I would like to take a moment to air my own abbey-normal behavior:  God, I love shoes. (The way some people love the Beatles and the way some people love religion.) I saw a woman in these shoes on the tube, and now I can't stop thinking about them. I really want them. I hope I can find them when I am back in LA. There seems to be a holy glow around them in the picture, as if God is sending me a message: "Buy these shoes, Lauren, even if they cost a fortune-they were meant for you, and you will be so happy in them." Yes, I am sure that is what God is saying to me, and He and I are really tight after that tour of the Abbey. He wants what's best for me.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lots o' the Londish

Eddie Izzard says he is from England, "You know, where the history comes from." He's right. It's not that the United States doesn't have history. We have it, but it's kinda nouveau. Yesterday, I went here:
The U.S doesn't have bridges like that. That is the Tower Bridge, which leads to the Tower of London, which has lots of history. Before I got there, I stopped on the bridge and did this:
I had to because a dozen years ago I came here with students and some of us did handstands together on this bridge, and I wanted to pay tribute to that day long ago and to the fact that it inspired a line in my book about the students doing handstands on the Tower Bridge. This is for you, Matt and Drew. (I gotta say, my form is pretty good for an old broad. Yoga pays off.) Here is just one view of the Tower of London:
The place creeps me out a little due to the executions that happened there and also the lions who once guarded the gates. I am getting better about dealing with dogs. Big cats, not so much... not even their memories. The Tower is old London, for sure. Here are some shots of new London:
The above is an area under a bridge near The National Theatre where kids skate, bike ride, and skateboard and do all their crazy tricks. If you walk a little further, you come across an outdoor market on the Thames, which sells things like this:
Gone are the days of just meat pies. OMG but the butternut squash/bean pie and the spinach/mushroom pie--to die for. And, of course, if you really want to experience the quintessential outdoor London market, then you must go to Notting Hill and walk around the Portobello Market. Here it is:
It was super crowded and made me a bit cranky. (I know...I have no right to be cranky in Notting Hill, the poshest place on the planet, but I was. All I bought at the market was a t-shirt of The Dude. I mean it; that is what I got. Because it was only 5 pounds and it is cool. You will see it when I wear it at my book signing party this spring.) When I finally made it home today, one of the dogs was up on the table. It made me laugh. Here he is:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Greatness thrust upon me

"Be not afraid of greatness: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" (Twelfth Night).  I prefer to have "greatness thrust upon me." Don't all ladies?
      In the last few days, I have been to some great arenas in London. The first was The Clink, for which all prisons were thereafter named.
Next, I was lucky enough to attend a British football match. (British football=American soccer.) My hosts are huge Chelsea fans. Chelsea are the champions, European Champions--I don't know. I am not schooled enough in this sport yet to know how to classify them, but I am getting there. I watched a documentary about how this Chelsea team defied all odds, came from behind and won the European Cup in May 2012. I cried watching the film because it contained all the elements of a great story: heart (all the players so human and passionate); pain (the team started the season losing five games, their coach was fired; they had to start anew); diverse characters (players from all over the world, most were uneducated but managed to "achieve greatness" due to their skill); defeat (during a final playoff match their team captain, John Terry, was sent off early on in the game for bad behavior and Chelsea had to play with one less player...against  Barcelona, a super duper great team, in the Spanish side's home stadium--and Chelsea still won!!! Their fate cried out!). Anyway, I went to the match as a new fan and was amazed at the level of crowd enthusiasm. They yelled and screamed and taunted and sang out the strangest chants like "John Terry, he shags who he wants!" Seriously, tens of thousands of fans sing that out during the game, and also, seriously, John Terry shags who he wants. Like other players' wives. "Greatness thrust upon them"...that kind of thing. John Terry is a naughty boy, but he is beloved on "the pitch," which is what they call the football field. I had to purchase a Chelsea scarf and show my support.

       Finally, as if I haven't had enough greatness, last evening, I saw Twelfth Night at the Globe. Mark Rylance (super famous great Shakespearean actor) played Olivia; he was AMAZING. Think, Ken Branagh (who makes my knees weak from his ability and more so now that one is injured) but even more grown-up and British-ized. The Globe is a tourist venue to be sure, an iconic symbol of London's great past, but it exceeds expectations. It is a truly beautiful, well designed space that both the audience and the actors join in reverence over. There was a palpable feeling of sacredness despite the Disneyland draw of it.  During the second act of the show, I  looked up at the moon, whose natural light glowed above and upon the ceiling--less theatre, and then I looked below at the crowds standing on floor level; it's all as it would have been in Shakespeare's day...except for the fact that this theatre was a completely rebuilt version and people drank hot tea not beer in the penny seats, which are now way more than a penny...but nonetheless, by the end of this comedy, despite all the laughing I did, I was choked up. Like all of Shakespeare's plays, there were some stunning lines: "If music be the food of love, play on." And, for my fellow vegetarians: "I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit." And, finally, for those trying to ABIDE as I am, "Oh, Time, thou must untangle this, not I. It is too hard a knot for me t'untie."

Monday, September 24, 2012

My dogs are barking

These are the dogs I am living with, and anyone who knows me (which is all of you), knows that it is a huge event for me to be living with three dogs. I actually really like them.
These are not the barking dogs to which I refer in my blog title. I meant my sore feet! I went to Paris this weekend and walked all over the city. Yes, poor me. I stayed at the same hotel where I stayed when I went with students six years ago, so I could get my bearings easier. I have the faculties to remember the name of the Parisian hotel where I stayed years ago, but I can rarely find my keys each morning. Figure that one out. Here are the views from my hotel window.

I also apparently cannot dress myself properly. Now, granted, I was really tired at this point; however, in the photo below, my jacket is on upside down. Again, let's review: am able to pull the name of the hotel where I stayed in Paris six years ago out of my ass but am unable to dress myself properly. Yes, that is correct.
I wanted to send you all a postcard. To save on postage, here it is:
We did every iconic thing you can think of in Paris. Of course, I loved the Eiffel Tower. Instead of showing you an up-close picture of that since you all already have the image in your mind, I am going to show you a picture of the scene below the tower on the grass. I think you will agree that it is very French!
Not one, not two, but three random couples making out in a row on this one section of grass by the tower. There were more couples, but I couldn't get them all in the photo and didn't think it would be fair to ask them to get up and move for my shot.
        We went to the Louvre and spent hours there, which is what you have to do. It is huge. Thousands upon thousands of pieces of art live there. I don't want you to judge me too harshly for what I am about to ask, but why is the Mona Lisa the hands-down winner of "most popular art piece" in the Louvre? Did she hire a publicist? Don't get me wrong. I love her. But I loved a lot of the art in the place and just thought it was a little Lady Gaga-ish that the Mona Lisa was the only piece that had a million signs with arrows pointing you in her direction. The picture below captures the constant crowds that surround her. There should have been a red carpet. I asked one of the four guards surrounding the Mona Lisa if he was just sick of this painting. In very charming French fashion, he said, "No, madame, it is for you."
I loved Paris for all the obvious reasons. You can't help but love this city even though every nook and cranny smells like an ashtray; the waiters are rude; the metro smells of unbathed bodies and bodily excretions; thieves abound, and the cost of everything is ungodly. You even have to pay to go to the bathroom. My weekend in Paris will probably mean I have to take out a second mortgage on my condo. But if given another chance, I'd go back again.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Food, gluttonous food!!

      I used to think the food in England was terrible. I think maybe it used to be. When I was here in college and then again a dozen years ago, the choices for vegetarians were limited. However, look at my lunch today:
      At this restaurant (whose name I can't remember because like most of the restaurants  here it just seemed like two random words thrown on an awning) there were beautiful ceramic bowls filled with a dizzying array of vegetable dishes all laid out on this long table. The lovely British serving girl asked if I wanted a large or small box for "take away." Well, large, of course!! Then I made my 4 selections. What I got in return is pictured above; it seemed to weigh 5 pounds and it cost 15 pounds. Holy garden goddess! Running perpendicular to the veggie table was this table:

      I nearly passed out from over stimulation. I managed to leave the facility without purchasing anything sweet but that was only because I knew we were having cake after tonight’s dinner. Thank God I am walking all over London and taking a million yoga classes. Every block in this city has some eatery or pub that is difficult to pass up. The open markets have displays like this: 
      I wanted to stick my face in that pile of powered sugared treats but there was a sneeze guard and also I was afraid I would be arrested...but, I am sure it would have been a very civil and friendly arrest. The bobbies are all lovely. I didn't upload the picture I took of a chocolate whiskey bomb cake because it is obscene. Obscenely chocolaty, caloric, and too rich to stare at without lusting after it. I am saving you from it. 
      Below is the place for the world's greatest fish and chips and a very British food item called a chip butty. Everyone loves them here. A chip butty is a french fry sandwich. Literally. Thick cut fries right out of the fryer and placed on a warm bun. You can put any condiment you want on it: ketchup, mustard, mayo, vinegar. The locals go mad for it. 

Below are the fish and chips. We didn't get the chip butty; that would have been madness.

      At the end of the day, if you just aren't done consuming all the British treats available, but you feel guilty about your culinary urges, you can purchase a seat on a peddle-powered roving bar and work off some of the calories and maybe stay sober longer. That's right. The people in the picture below are drinking and working off the effects by peddling the vehicle around the streets of Borough Market. Genius.