Saturday, June 30, 2012

Morning in Palm Springs

One of the things I enjoy most about living in Palm Springs are the mornings. I have long been an early riser, so it is normal for me to be up around 4:30 or 5:00 am. I especially enjoy having my morning coffee outside to watch the sunrise and cast its beautiful orange and pink hues to paint the San Jacinto mountains. This morning Duncan was off in the front patio and was suspiciously quiet, so I walked around to see what he was up to. Here he is, keeping a watchful eye on things. Duncan loves to run around the garden using the cactus and palms as an agility course. He bobs and weaves at top poodle speed to make his way around obstacles. 

He loves how some of the garden is mounded higher in certain places,like this palm tree in the photo to the right. I took this photo fairly early--it was around 6:30 am and the sun was quite bright. You can see my own shadow cast as I held the camera to snap this photo. I like capturing these morning moments, they always seem precious to me. The promise of a new day, I suppose. It is the unexpected nature of what the day will bring, and all that. Tomorrow I'll show you a photo of one of the cactus plants that seemingly overnight pushed out four flowers that appear to be ready to bloom tomorrow. I'll be up early again Sunday to see if they are ready to open...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yet Another Update on Spike, 2012

Spike today, June 2012, 12" above the block
Back in 2007 I purchased a cactus for a tiny patch in my front driveway at the Palm Springs house. At the time, I asked readers for possible names for the cactus, and I chose "Spike" which Bunnygirl recommended. I've enjoyed watching him grow over the years and have had fun posting period updates on his progress 2007, 2008, 2009) It has been a few years since I last shared Spike with you, so here goes. As you compare the differences among photos watch the distance of the top to the stucco block on the post behind it. I just wish I had thought to measure it all these years!
Spike in 2009, maybe 5" above the block
Spike in 2008, just above the stucco block

Spike in 2007, well below the stucco block

Another view of Spike today, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Stunning Beauty of the Desert Red Rocks

This past week I took a road trip to Salt Lake City, Utah on my way to a business trip. I chose to drive versus fly because I wanted to bring my dog, Sheldon with me, as it was a pet blogger conference. The eleven hour drive was actually very enjoyable, thanks to the beauty of Mother Nature and the most beautiful natural rock formations. My route brought us through California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. I had the opportunity to see the edge of the Grand Canyon, which was stunning to say the least. I decided to stop along the way, partly to stretch our legs and give Sheldon potty breaks. It also afforded the opportunity to snap a few photos. I'll let the photos speak for themselves...they are all from the Arizona/Utah area along Route 15 highway. The colors of these red rocks are naturally vibrant. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. All photos are my original pictures taken with my iPhone.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Final Day at Blog Paws 2012

Kat Smith of Petco w/ Rick Rockhill & Sheldon
The final day at Blog Paws was quite busy. The schedule was packed with so many interesting things it was difficult to choose which things I would do in each time slot. I attended multiple learning sessions to expand my knowledge of social media marketing, and learned a number of new tips and tricks I can use in my own strategies and tactics online. I utilized time in between sessions to network with folks I'd met over the past few days and some new friendships as well. 

The morning breakfast keynote address, by Lena West was especially strong. Ms West is the founder of 'Influence Expansion' and is a peer recognized social media consultant, blogger and journalist. She has a commanding presence and really delivered some excellent content to start the day off on the right foot. I tweeted out multiple quotes from her presentation. One quote in particular I found quite poignant was this: 'You are the sum total o the 5 people you spend your time with' Think about will amaze you.

Sheldon Gryffindor wore his new red silk bow tie

The big fun of Saturday was the Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards event in the evening. Once all sessions had ended and vendor booths were closed, it was time to party like animals, so to speak. A red carpet leading into the ballroom made the evening a bit more special.  Many people dressed up a bit fancier than their day-time conference clothes. Sheldon was no exception, he wore a new red silk bow tie, which looked great against his hair, don't you think?
This photo of Sheldon and I was taken by a friend, I just had to include it in this post because Sheldon is just so cute standing up next to me. He was a lot of fun to be with all week, and helped me network and meet lots of new bloggers too! 

I'm so happy I attended Blog Paws, it was well worth it both professionally and personally.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun and Furry Friends at Blog Paws!

Rick with Sheldon-Gryffindor, Diane and Cosmo at Blog Paws
Among the things I enjoy most about being a blogger are the friendships and connections that can be made. Over the past few years I've met some truly nice people--and their pets too! For instance, here is my blogger pal Diane and her pup Cosmo, known on Twitter as @CosmoHavanese. Diane also pens the really terrific blog To Dog With Love, which you should check out sometime. Diane and Cosmo are constantly doing great things to help raise money and food for various animal-related charities through bloggers and brands. I met Diane a few years back at BarkWorld Expo, and we've kept in touch through the years. It's funny how the Internet brings together people from all over the world, who you might have never met. 

Today my best pal, Sheldon Gryffindor was all decked out for Day Two of Blog Paws, wearing his snazzy new plaid bow tie. He looks handsome in the tie, don't you think? Sheldon worked hard today...he was a spokes-dog again at the Natural Balance booth for most of the day. In addition to working the booth, he also joined me for a few sessions where he listened attentively. We went to the 'Power of YouTube' session to hear CJ Jackson and Lauren Girard, who did a great job speaking. Sheldon perked up when he saw their dogs Jazmine and Paige do their tricks for the audience. He was so happy watching them, his tail wagged the entire time.

Sheldon has his own trading cards
 Incidentally, I had some really cool social media trading cards printed for Sheldon just in time for Blog Paws. These are a contemporary more fun option than traditional business cards. Since Sheldon has been more prolific on Twitter this year, it seemed to make sense that he had cards to give to fellow Bloggers he meets in person. If you ever want to check these out for yourself or your pet, go to for more info. Well that's about all for now. Saturday is another full day at the Blog Paws conference, so I'll have more to share tomorrow.
If you will be attending the session on Pinterest at Blog Paws on Saturday, let's follow each other's boards! My boards can be found at:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lucky Enough to Do What I Love

Sheldon as a spokes dog for Natural Balance
Thursday was another busy day. The cast and crew from the Who Let the Dogs Out TV show were in Salt Lake City for a number of TV appearances on morning news shows. I was helping tweet-out photos and behind-the-scenes stuff  to people following online, using certain hashtags on Twitter. 

Then, later in the day we opened up the Blog Paws conference with a little show with Tillman, Norman the Scooter Dog, and Rose and Sully too. I had Sheldon with me all day. He became an unofficial spokes dog for Natural Balance. He even got to sit in Tillman's fancy director's chair for a photo next to a giant stuffed plush Tillman.

Tillman skates at the Blog Paws conference
It was Tillman who was what the crowd at Blog Paws wanted to see, and as usual he did not disappoint. To this day whenever I see Tillman skate, it makes me smile and I applaud in sheer happiness. He sure is one incredible dog.

Luckily for me, as a long time blogger who writes about pets (among other topics), being at the Blog Paws conference is more than just work for me. It also happens to be something I am passionate about, so it comes easily to me. Over the past six years I've gotten to know lots of bloggers from around the United States, and world-wide too. And now that Sheldon is a micro-blogger with his own Twitter presence, it is fun to see how many bloggers now want to meet him before me, cool huh? But I definitely understand, after all, Sheldon is my best friend! I'm just grateful that I work in an industry with pets and that I am part of a company that always seems to have fun. Yep I am lucky enough to do what I love.

A Poodle Can Dream....

This morning I took Sheldon Gryffindor for a nice long walk here in Salt Lake City. Being his first time staying at a big hotel, riding elevators and walking in a city environment, he is doing remarkably well. It is almost like he has been doing this all his life, nothing phases him. On our walk back to the Hilton, we passed by this Ruth's Chris Steak House restaurant. Instinctively, Mr Sheldon turned in from the sidewalk and led me to the restaurant door. Funny, isn't it? A Poodle can dream...but why is it that my poodle has such expensive taste? Well we're off for a full day at Blog Paws. Have a great day.

Oh PS- did I tell you Sheldon's photo made it to the Anipal Times? It is an article about Take Your Dog to Work Day, check it out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Day Before Blog Paws

Today was a busy day. Sheldon and I were up early to get some exercise with a nice jog through the city. He was thrilled to find some grass, and spent time "checking for messages" from other dogs. It was a full day because the cast and production team of Who Let the Dogs Out arrived in Salt Lake City for the Blog Paws event. As Tillman's RV pulled up to the Sheraton hotel, a group of people started to assemble to get a glimpse. The first dog to come out of the RV was Rose, who seemed happy to get out for some peace and quiet from the boy dogs she had been cooped up with for the road trip! 

Meanwhile, Sheldon Gryffindor went to check out the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. He is very artistic, and quite creative in his own right, so art museums are "his thing". Later, Tillman and his dad Ron scoped out the area where he would be skating on Thursday afternoon to kick off the Blog Paws event. I'm excited that we'll be filming in and around the Salt Lake City area for new episodes of Who Let the Dogs Out. The Blog Paws conference is a great way for all the awesome pet bloggers to meet Tillman and his pal Norman the Scooter Dog too. So today was sort of "day one" for the team...and the real stuff doesn't even begin until tomorrow. Stay tuned for plenty more from Blog Paws!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Road Trip to Salt Lake City

Tuesday I hit the road for a work trip to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the Blog Paws conference. Being that I work in the pet industry, and it is a pet blogger event, I decided to bring Sheldon along for the conference, which is why I chose to drive instead of fly. Sheldon's brother Duncan is staying at home in Palm Springs with family so he won't be lonely. Sheldon took the 11 hour drive like a champ. He took in most of the scenery and seemed to enjoy the pit-stops we made along the way. 
For instance, when we passed by the Grand Canyon area, the view was so stunning that I decided to pull over to admire the beauty of the landscape. We took a few minutes to stretch our legs and breathe the fresh air...Sheldon was even inspired to go potty while he enjoyed the view. Soon we were on our way again and made out way through Utah's vast open lands. I used the time to catch up on business calls. 
In fact I think I was on the phone for at least eight of the eleven hours drive time. Fortunately, Sheldon helped me out of speeding ticket. The nice police officer took one look at Sheldon in the back seat and was totally taken by Sheldon's charm and good manners, so he let me off easy. Whew! I did slow it down, and was more careful with my driving, but the rest of the trip still seemed to go by in no time at all. Soon we arrived in Salt Lake City, and I took Sheldon on a much deserved, long walk to burn off some steam. We walked through the City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City, looking for a place with outdoor seating so I could have dinner. 
Cheesecake Factory = BAD & Not Pet Friendly!
We found a Cheesecake Factory restaurant with an outdoor, sidewalk patio table area. I entered the patio dining area from the gate on the sidewalk--not through the inside restaurant. I asked the hostess for a table, and she promptly informed me that I could not bring my dog in. I agreed that yes, I wanted to sit at the outside tables, on the sidewalk, which is right next to parked cars along the street. I was refused entry to the outdoor, sidewalk patio by the hostess. She told me I could tie my dog to the tree on the sidewalk and have a table on the patio if I wanted. Can you imagine? I was mortified by even the suggestion. I told her that I would either dine with my dog on the outdoor patio, or I wouldn't dine at Cheesecake Factory at all. She reiterated that my dog was not welcome. Initially I was shocked. Maybe Salt Lake City has some super strict ordinances that dogs are not permitted even at outdoor, patio seating restaurants...I'll have to look into that. But in the meantime, I've decided not to patronize The Cheesecake Factory anymore. There are plenty of other places I can spend my money. So my request to you, dear reader is to also boycott the Cheesecake Factory too. 

On a positive note, we went back to our hotel, the Hilton in downtown Salt Lake City, which IS pet friendly! They welcomed Sheldon warmly, and were super nice to us as we got checked into the room. To all business executives and corporate managers who might see this post: You will earn my deepest loyalty when you adopt pet friendly policies. I am fiercely loyal to places that welcome my dog as I travel. Take heed, and get with it. Pets have become part of the family unit, and I choose to spend my consumer dollars at businesses that acknowledge this growing trend. Enough of my rant. After a full day's journey, it was nice to settle in for the evening at the comfy Hilton with Sheldon for a good night's rest. Thank you, Hilton for always making me feel welcome. PS: Sheldon thanks you too.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Village of Palm Springs

Over the years of writing this blog, local print publications and through my radio show 'The Palm Springs Savant' I've received thousands of e-mails and messages from people literally all over the world, asking questions about Palm Springs. Everything from vacation advice, tips on restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, shopping and even questions on how to see celebrity homes. Most often the questions are about how much time to spend in Palm Springs versus other parts of the Coachella Valley. The answer depends on the type of experience one is seeking. Invariably my responses usually include some reference to experiencing "the Village of Palm Springs", which immediately leads to questions about the size of Palm Springs. "Village" is a term we use to refer to part of downtown Palm Springs, along Palm Canyon Drive. 

The photo above depicts a portion of downtown known as "Mercado Plaza", which is within the Village of Palm Springs, but there are multiple blocks along the way. Visually, the City of Palm Springs maintains a "village aesthetic" to downtown through the zoning, sidewalks, types of shops, lamp posts styles and carefully maintained palm trees which line Palm Canyon Drive. The much ballyhooed, highly anticipated and long-overdue Desert Fashion Plaza re-do project is so close we can almost taste it. As I understand it, that renovation will actually further reinforce our intimate village atmosphere. 

Today, Palm Springs boasts an impressive collection of restaurants, home-decor, antiques and interior design shops. When the Desert Fashion Plaza project is completed, our Village will once again be a destination for locals and tourists to linger longer downtown and experience a difference aspect of our fair village. Until then, the Thursday night Village Fests continue to offer a wonderful array of things to do and wares to buy. The Village of Palm Springs is charming and picturesque, and is on the precipice of truly great days to come. Stay tuned....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Case Study: Blog Paws Social Media Event

Listen to internet radio with Rick Rockhill on Blog Talk Radio
Do you ever blog about pets? Do you consider yourself a pet blogger? Do you use social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Blogs to talk about your pets, pet products or favorite pet charities and causes? This show focuses on the upcoming Blog Paws Social networking event, happening in Salt Lake City, Utah as a shining example of how today's rapid growing, passionate social pet community are on the leading edge of social media.

I will be attending Blog Paws this week along with one of my poodles, Sheldon, known to Twitter fans as @SheldonGryffin. Tune in to this show to hear my objectives and goals for attending Blog Paws 2012.

Not familiar with Blog Paws? Their website describes itself as "an online community site for pet bloggers, pet enthusiasts, pet people on Twitter and Facebook and brands eager to tap into a growing, vibrant, vocal community of serious writers, bloggers, tweeters."

If you love pets, or or just enjoy learning about social media networking in action, tune into this epsiode.
For more information:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sheldon's New Trading Cards

Front and Back of Sheldon's trading cards
I mentioned yesterday that Sheldon Gryffindor  will be attending the Blog Paws social media conference next week in Salt Lake City, Utah. Being the social poodle he is, his goal is to network and meet lots of other pets who Blog or Tweet. To help him in this endeavor, I ordered Sheldon his very own set of Trading Cards from an online company called Meet-Meme. They are sort of like baseball trading cards, but they have a nifty QR code, which when you scan it, takes you to a website with more information. Basically, trading cards are a more social-friendly, informal type of business card. It would seem stuffy if a dog had business cards. These trading cards are fun, because they include a picture, and some fun info. Sheldon's card says the following:
Bio: I'm a Standard Poodle from Palm Springs, CA. My middle name is from 'Hogwarts' in Harry Potter films. My favorite treats are Natural Balance Roll-A-Rounds.

Special Power: Making food disappear...without a magic wand.

Hobbies: Reading minds of humans.
Cool huh? If you want your own (even for yourself as a human) check out Meet-Meme's website. They are easy to order, and relatively inexpensive too. The idea is to order a small quantity at a time, so you can re-order and update whenever you want. If you want one of Sheldon's Trading Cards, let me know I'll send one to you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Adventures of Sheldon: Packing for Blog Paws

Sheldon started packing his luggage for the trip to Blog Paws
Next week, Sheldon Gryffindor and I will be attending a social media conference in Salt Lake City, Utah called 'Blog Paws', an event that brings together social media people form the pet world. Blog Paws own website describe themselves as " online community site for pet bloggers, pet enthusiasts, pet people on Twitter, facebook and brands eager to tap into a growing community of serious writers, bloggers and tweeters". I'm attending in both a professional capacity for Natural Balance, but also on a personal level as a long-time blogger myself. 

As for Mr Sheldon, he joined the blogosphere a few years ago, and has taken to Twitter under his own handle @SheldonGryffin, so naturally he wanted to attend BlogPaws with me. So...we're going to make the 11 hour drive together from Palm Springs to Salt Lake City

I asked Sheldon to start packing his bag for the trip...this photo shows the things he wants to take on the trip. His face had the expression of "I just need a few essentials dad" I could barely close the luggage, as it was full of toys, bones, treats, snacks and dog food rolls. This weekend I'll need it pare that down a bit...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If I Could Only Make a Decent Cup of Coffee!

I've told this story countless times but never here in the blogosphere. For most of my adult life, I never enjoyed coffee. I much preferred tea to coffee any day. My obsession with tea began around the age of thirteen or so during a family holiday to Britain. I realized that tea was so much more than a drink, it was an occasion. Tea always seemed so civilized, even when gulping down a quick mug and a biscuit. 

Years later while living in Chicago, I would invite one of my neighbors round for tea and to catch up on the goings on in our neighborhood. It was the perfect way to put my neighbor at ease; no fuss, not much work to boil a kettle of water and it usually led to a long conversation about politics and people during which time where we consumed seemingly gallons of tea. After an hour or so my poor neighbor would be twitching from either the volume of liquid, or maybe just the caffeine rush from the super-strong loose English tea I would brew. Point being, sitting down for tea was very conducive to socializing for me.

It may be a slight exaggeration but about once a year I would try to drink a cup of coffee to remind myself how much I disliked it. For years I would have my ceremonial "one cup of coffee" and swear off the stuff for another year. Suffice to say, tea drinking remained part of my daily routines for over 25 years. Until that is, just a few years ago when I turned forty.

I don't know how and I don't know why but literally on the day of my 40th birthday, I woke up and made a cup of coffee. It was strange, but I just had the taste for it. The next day I went to the local Starbucks in Palm Springs and ordered a medium cup of coffee. At the time I wasn't up to speed on all the Starbucks jargon of tall, grande or venti. Soon I began to acquire the taste...and craving for my daily cup of coffee. For some reason, I could never make a decent cup of coffee at home. I wondered why. I tried multiple brands of beans, whole and ground. At one point I thought I might have been going too fancy so I tried Folgers (after all, I thought, it is mountain grown). That was gross, so gave away the rest of the can to someone. I continued on for several years making drip coffee in an adequate coffee machine. Then during one of my trips to Europe I tried the type of coffee they make, and realized I enjoyed that style as well. 
Recently we bought one of those Swiss Jura coffee makers, and BINGO I finally learned how to make a decent cup of coffee! These days, making decent coffee is ever-so-easy, and enjoyable too. The Jura can make regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino, and froth milk too. So at long last I can satisfy my (relatively) new found appreciation for decent coffee and not have to leave the house to run to Starbucks. 

Tea will always be my favorite beverage but coffee is the fuel that gets my body's engine going in the morning. I'm not really sure of the point of this post today, but if you are in Palm Springs visiting, and want a good cup of coffee, I do recommend the locally owned Koffi shops which have delicious coffee for sure.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Adventures of Sheldon Gryffindor

Sheldon Gryffindor is already preparing for a road trip next week. He will be joining me to attend the Blog Paws social media conference in Salt Lake City Utah. Sheldon has a little following on Twitter under the handle @SheldonGryffin mostly speaking with other pet bloggers about pet related charity good works. It seemed like a good reason to pick up a new bow tie for Sheldon, since he will be 'working' with me at the conference. Here he is, hard at work at his laptop communicating with fellow Blog Paws attendees. I'm not entirely certain he is looking forward to the 11 hour drive form Palm Springs to Salt Lake City, but I know he will be excited once we arrive. Afterall, he will be able to see his buddies Tillman, Rose, Sully and Norman the Scooter Dog too. So it should be quite the conference. I'll keep you posted. Sheldon's younger brother Duncan will be staying home in Palm Springs with relatives who are visiting for awhile. For those of you planning to attend Blog Paws next week, at least you'll know how to recognize Sheldon by his new blowtie!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Marilyn Monroe in Palm Springs (again)

Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe is back in Palm Springs once again. Well, a likeness of her anyway. A massive 26 foot tall statue of the silver screen siren recently relocated to our fair desert city after its appearance in Chicago. Miss Monroe had numerous ties to Palm Springs...she was spotted at The Racquet Club of Palm Springs and soon led to a career in Hollywood. Like many of her contemporaries at the time, she was fond of escaping to Palm Springs for fun in the sun. Here today she stands, with the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains as a backdrop. The statue known as "Forever Marilyn" hardly needs is taken from that famous scene from The Seven Year Itch. The City of Palm Springs is lucky to have this here. Its arrival has already generated nearly a million dollars in media impression values for the city through numerous articles worldwide. She seems right at home here in Palm Springs. 
Marilyn stands just around the corner from her own star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, so it feels even more appropriate that this statue is here. If you want to see the statue, it is located in downtown Palm Springs, on Palm Canyon Drive, at Tahquitz Canyon Way. It isn't necessary to get wrapped up in whether or not it is art. Just take it for what it is....a fun tribute to a true Hollywood bombshell and screen legend. We're happy to have her here in Palm Springs, where it all started for her.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Now That's a Teddy Bear

Both Duncan and Sheldon love over-sized plush toys. Usually its something about the size of their own head, or slightly larger, with a long neck and wide body (think a penguin, giraffe, goose, etc). They gleefully carry their over-sized plush toys around the house, quite pleased with themselves, stopping only to gnaw and make it squeak. Recently however, while out shopping at Costco, I spotted this massive plush teddy bear. It wasn't hard to miss! Knowing how much the poodles love big plush toys this teddy bear was a "must have" Back at home, neither Duncan or Sheldon knew quite what to do with him, but they do like to wrestle with him. He's a bit too heavy for them to drag around the house, but he certainly makes a statement, don't you think? 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

God Save The Queen

Sheldon Gryffindor was feeling rather patriotic toward Queen Elizabeth as she celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of her reign. He found the 'God Save The Queen' pillow which usually sits on the leather sofa in the Library here at home. It was something I purchased a few years back while visiting Windsor Castle. It isn't something he usually cuddles with, as the leather sofas are out of bounds for the poodles. This pillow made its way to the great room a few days ago. Apparently Sheldon thinks its just right to rest his chin on a boring afternoon. Earlier today I caught Sheldon Gryffindor sitting proudly next to this pillow and thought it to be a perfect photograph, given the festivities if HM Diamond Jubilee celebration at present. And so, on behalf of Sheldon, I close with 'God Save The Queen'. May she long reign.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

Ever since the age of 12 I've considered myself an Anglophile; that is one who is fond of English culture or, more broadly, British culture. It was these formative years of childhood when a family holiday in Britain firmly established my fascination with all things British. Our travels in that first holiday took us through England and Scotland, where I decided it was a place I belonged. It wasn't much of a surprise to my family when some 5 years later I chose to attend University in England. That pretty much charted the course of many interests for years to come. Friendships were established--many of which I cherish even today, some twenty-six years later. 

Along with all that came my interest and affection for the British Monarchy; its history, traditions, as well as the pomp and circumstance. My studies at Brunel University included a brief internship with the House of Commons where I learned Parliamentary Procedure first hand, among other fascinating traditions of the House of Lords as well. After spending all that time connected to these great British institutions I learned to appreciate their society, including the role of the Monarch in a modern democratic society.
Admittedly my fervor for the Royal Family is a bit over-the-top at times, but it has been a result of personal experiences, through close friendships with Brit friends whose deep admiration for the Queen undoubtedly influenced my views and shaped my opinions. I've also had the pleasure of numerous "sitings" of various royals. In particular I remember being within 4 feet of the Queen back in 1987 when she was in a procession into Westminster Abbey. I shall never forget that day, or how I felt upon seeing her. That woman has presence like no one else.
On a recent trip to London I took the opportunity to shop for a few commemorative items for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Much has been written about her and her remarkable 60 year reign, second only to Queen Victoria. I won't even attempt to cover what has been nothing short of an amazingly reassuring and steadying presence on Britain, her Commonwealth nations and of course our closest ally in the world.
I enjoy collecting things like china, mugs, books, stamps, coins, tins and all sorts of stuff along those lines. From the Wedgewood Diamond Jubilee set, to this beautiful green and real gold English China plate, I truly enjoy having these items in my home. I hope my nieces one day have an appreciation for it all so it doesn't end up at some second hand shop years after I'm gone!
Even this Diamond Jubilee mug by Halcyon Days English China is something I can use for my morning cuppa, with fond memories of my many years in the United Kingdom and that for which HMQ represents. I'd hate to show you all the things I have, it is a little excessive to be honest. Over the years I've accumulated quite a collection, some items date back to King George VI.
Even this Jubilee biscuit tin from Marks and Spencer's in London was something of a treasure for me to acquire. It brings me great pleasure to have such things back here at home in the USA. They give me the sense of connection back to life in Britain and maintain the bonds that have bridged the Atlantic for two thirds of my life. And so this post is my own little way of honoring the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. When you look beyond the jewels and tiaras, she has actually contributed a great deal to modern western society, British Prime Ministers and US Presidents have written about their ability to consult with her knowing that she has the benefit of incredible perspective, no ulterior motives or political affiliations, and able to offer advice, wisdom and thought provoking questions but never to direct. She receives the "red boxes" of government briefings every day of the year, which she dutifully reads to remain updated. She has completed 30,000 official engagements in 60 years, and even at age 86 her diary shows she will compete over 450 official engagements this year. An anchor of consistency in an ever-changing world, she is a remarkable lady. God Save the Queen.

So how about a few photos of some other Diamond Jubilee stuff I saw whilst in London? OK here goes. Mind you, some of this is simply not my style but it is fun none-the-less...
Shop windows at the venerable Fortnum and Mason's
Union Jack flags across streets of London
Selfridge's Department Store Decorated for the Jubilee


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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