Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Signs around town >

In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words.
These are just a few signs that caught my eye....and my camera lens!
I don't think comments are necessary......

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy CHINESE New Year!

Today is the start of Chinese Year of the Ox...if you were born in 1961, 1973, 0r 1985 (Christy!) this is your year!
Those born in Ox years tend to be painters, engineers and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hardworking and friendly. Other words to describe "the Ox" are patient, kind, stubborn, and conservative. I'd say that is a pretty good description of someone I know!

In London, Chinatown is festooned with hundreds of red lanterns strung across the streets and hung in the windows of shops and restaurants. Celebrations with dancing dragons and fireworks were held in Leicester Square all weekend. My friends in the American Women's Club joined the celebration with a fabulous authentic lunch at Mr.Chungs, including pots of green tea and crispy was a feast.

Any excuse for a party!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Evening Standard

The world was glued to the TV watching the euphoria which greeted President Obama on Inagruration Day. I thought his speech was "brilliant" and I was so proud to be an American (wouldn't that make a great title for a song?) I could not wait to read what the British papers had to say about our new President and the change he promises.

"It reminds us that America's best asset is now, as it always has been, a belief in itself and capacity for renewal. The pictures from Washington did not lie yesterday. Obama inspires faith, belief and the stubborn, sustaining attributes of "virtue and hope" against all odds. There's a lesson there - and not just for America." The Evening Standard

Now, if they would just quit calling him BEARack Obama!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hampstead Heath

It was a perfect Sunday afternoon to hike through one of London's precious open spaces, Hampstead Heath. We took the Tube, Jeni and Scott and their two lovable dogs took a cab and we spent a few hours exploring, chatting, and avoiding huge puddles from the recent downpours. There were so many local residents walking their dogs - I can't think of a breed we did not see! (But I've done that post!)
We ended our outing at the Freemasons Arms Pub....water for the dogs and a cider for me, please!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The annual trip to Stoke-On-Trent

Last spring we did not go to Burleigh and it is such a treat I have to share these pictures. Can't you just imagine a quaint English cottage kitchen filled with this delightful blue and white pottery?

Some ladies go on this all day bus trip looking for specific patterns or serving pieces at Spode, Waterford, Wedgewood, and Portmeirion but I was looking for good deals! I shipped back a set of "Holly and Ivy" (How could I not?) soup bowls for next Christmas Eve's gumbo and I lugged home, in my trolley, a few extras to compliment the new dining room. My suitcase is going to be heavy!

I was so busy shopping I forgot to take pictures....

....and this chair was just right!

You know how everyone seems to find a chair that is "just right"? Whether it is just right for reading, or just right for watching becomes YOUR CHAIR!!! I was happy to share MY CHAIR with the girls when they were here for a visit....and yes, they are reading!!! The British do love their gossip magazines!

Last weekend, at the height of the Hamas/Israeli war demonstration on Kensington High Street we decided to shop the sales....the stores were not crowded at all! I have been looking for a lamp and "something" to go on the wall next to RICK'S CHAIR. I think we made the perfect choice. The pictures are architectural photographs that could have been taken at any number of cathedrals, palaces, or museums we have toured over the past couple of years.

SO this is what I spent my Christmas checks on! (And Rick wants you to know - none of the things I bought were on sale!)
Thank you Grandmother and Drew, AND Dad and Jane!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Vat is dat smell?

Let me just start off by saying this post is exactly why I keep my blog private! If you have young children using my blog for "travel homework" (that's a joke!) you may want to censor this one. If you have never had the chance to meet our Russian housekeeper, Lillia, she is a TRIP and soooo much nicer to me after we gave her a Christmas bonus this year! She is very attractive, has had some enhancement surgery, and wears stretch pants and high heels to work in the garden. She has a very strong accent but curses in English (I was going to say like my Dad) like a sailor!
SO today, I was on my way out the door, and she whispered to me, "Jew wan to know whaz been going on round here?" My curiousity is peeked...What Lillia? "For muns I bean coming tru dis lobby saying to myself, Sheet, Vat is dat smell? It smell unbelievable - like mildew all dee time." I know! I admit I have even hidden a room deodorizer under the heating unit. Then she tells me, and I can't keep doing the accent but you get the idea, she has been watering the silk orchid I put out in the lobby for months! She said that she felt the roots and the leaves and they felt real, and she knows not to touch the blooms or they will fall off. The styrofoam under the ground cover has been soaking up the water and when she picked it up it weighed about 20 pounds. She said, "Jew might tink I am stupeedist Russian you ever know but all my friends and peoples in dis building say I am best damn gardener because I can grow dis bootiful orchid and eet never loose eets blooms!" And all this time I was thinking my aristocratic neighbors were probably thinking "I just kaaan't believe that American woman would put an arti-fiss-ial plant in the lobby." We have had a good laugh over this!
I think I've had a break-through in my relationship with Lillia!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Resolutions 2009

The girls are safely back in the States and it is already too quiet! Every night, after a full day of activities, we would cozy up to watch a late night movie but no BBC luck...they got hooked on CSI reruns (Miami, NYC, & Vegas). Wouldn't you know yesterday was movie marathon so my inspiration for this year's resolution came from that literary classic "Cheaper by the Dozen". At the end of the movie the Mom wisely states "let's remember the past, engage in the present, and look forward to the future!" (Now, I'm sure that quote didn't originate with her, you can google it.) The point is, I could not come up with "one" single resolution this year so here is my list of "promises to myself" based on the past, the present, and the future.....

1. Record and research my Dad's fabulous stories about his "top-secret" CIA days as a U-2 Spy Plane pilot.
2. Last year I posted 54 times on my blog. I'll aim for 100 this year - it has been a great journal for us to look back at our adventures through out the year and keep the family informed as to our whereabouts!

3. Eat less, move more! (shared with Aunt Fancy Freckles)
4. Figure out the Bupa Insurance system and set up an appointment with a Doctor here in London for a physical, including an overdue mammogram.
5. Appreciate how hard Rick works and continue to encourage him (nag him) to "eat less, move more!"

6. Use my newly renovated home in Boston to entertain guests - Spring and Summer are best y'all!
7. Organize an extended family get-together at Perdido Beach this August.
8. Teach my family to play Mah Jong!

That's my list. I challenge each of you to make your own list of promises!
Cheers to 2009 - health, happiness, humanity, and a year of promises.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ice,Ice, Baby!

New Year's day is usually all about the Rose Bowl Parade and football and black-eyed peas but this year, with the girls, we celebrated with an icy drink at London's Ice Bar. We were given hooded thermal ponchos and gloves and escorted through a fur-lined hallway into, essentially, a deep freeze meat locker! The seats were ice, the chandelier was ice, and even the glasses were was fun for about 30 minutes!