September 29, 2005
orange, fried, and homers
posted by soe 10:38 am
We now return to your regularly scheduled Three Beautiful Things Thursdays:
1. We returned home to find the local pyracanthas had gone to berry. These shrubs develop whole hordes of bright orange berries at the tips of their branches, making it look like they’ve painted their fingernails for Halloween.
2. I do not eat McDonald’s at home. Outright refuse, because they cook their french fries in animal fat — an unnecessary step, in my mind — and don’t make that abundantly clear at their establishments. McDonald’s in other countries, however, are fair game, because the worldwide population that does not eat beef requires McDonald’s to be more careful and more resourceful. So while in the U.K., I stopped at a McDonald’s to pick up one of my favorite childhood fast foods — the fried apple pie. Yes, I know they’re terrible for you. But they are so much tastier than the baked version our franchises switched to about 15 years ago.
3. We went to the Mets-Nationals game on Sunday — the final game of the final series my two favorite teams would play this year. I also wanted to see All-Star catcher Mike Piazza one last time in a Mets uniform (although Dad remains optimistic I’m mistaken on Mike’s move to a new team in the off-season). So we had two good reasons to hit RFK so soon upon our return to the States. And apparently Mike could see how many Mets fans had come out to support him because he answered our adoration with not one, but two, home runs, as well as two walks. David Wright and Mike Jacobs also hit long balls, giving the Mets a 6-5 victory over the Nats.
September 28, 2005
posted by soe 11:58 pm
With the exception of my bout with mono, I don’t ever remember being sidelined by an illness quite like this. I mean, yes, sometimes I get a stomach bug and am out of commission for a day or so. But today marks the third day in a row where I have come home and pretty much fallen asleep immediately. And today it was simply while I was changing out of my work clothes!
I am going to optimistically believe it’s a minor flu or a major cold and that it will clear by the weekend. If it doesn’t, I suppose I’ll have to hunt down a doctor when I get back from Pittsburgh next week…
September 27, 2005
posted by soe 5:47 pm
Rudi and I head out tonight with some friends to catch the sneak preview of Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I have only been recently introduced to the beauty of W&G, believing them to be somehow related to scary stop-animation Pokey and Gumby. Having been relieved of that frightening thought, I’m pleased to say that I find this duo a delight and would recommend you track down copies of the three shorts Aardman Animations put together prior to the movie.
i hab a colb id my nobe
posted by soe 10:27 am
Or, in the Queen’s English, I have a cold in my nose.
From a biological standpoint, the cold is probably coursing throughout my body, but it seems mostly to have settled in my head. Unfortunately, in addition to my nose, it also is affecting my balance and my cognitive abilities (particularly my ability to type). Some will try to attribute it to jet lag, but I think they’d be mistaken. Sneezing and runny noses rarely accompany the official diagnosis of desynchronosis (for those of you who travel to places where Latin is spoken on a regular basis).
I seem to have a lot of travel on my schedule for the month of October, so I’m hoping the cold will disappear quickly and go harass people who don’t have so much to do. For my part, I will sneeze on as many strangers as I can to get this bug out of my system quickly.
September 26, 2005
five things i meant to do in england, but didn’t
posted by soe 3:35 pm
1. Watch the Changing of the Guard — I got the dates wrong on this (okay, the guide books from 2001 got the dates wrong . . . and I believed them).
2. Visit Devon and Cornwall — I’ve heard the Fairy Country of England is beautiful, but we just absolutely ran out of time and the coastline was the part of the trip that got condensed. (We also missed the Long Man and Avebury, so there’s lots to do still on the list for next time.)
3. Drive — Last time we went to Britain, I took over the driving on our first day of exploring the mountains of Wales late at night when I was tired. And it was such a miserable experience, I didn’t drive again that trip. And by the time I felt comfortable enough this time, we’d hit London and weren’t really driving anymore. So I missed out. Next time I’ll just have to take the bull by the horns on the first day when I’m too tired to be nervous.
4. Buy tea spoons — I know, I know. I don’t really need them. But they’re so cute and fit much better on a saucer than your normal spoon. Something to come by next time.
5. Eat Welsh rarebit — One of my favorite British dishes, I somehow missed out on it this time. I ate a great many other lovely things (including Branston pickle, which isn’t, in an American sense, a pickle at all), but consumed a cheese and tomato toastie and fish and chips while I was in Wales instead of the one dish I was after . . .
posted by soe 6:47 am
I will live to regret this decision later tonight, but when my body (or, possibly, the cats) decided I should be awake at 5 a.m., I decided to agree with it. So I’ve been sitting here in the dark coolness of the living room, lit only by the intermittently working backlight of our laptop, for the last 90 minutes. And I have to say it hasn’t been that bad. In fact, it’s been quite peaceful.
This morning was scheduled to be cloudy here in D.C., so it hasn’t gotten light with the sunrise, but periodically I peek at the Andrus Field cam at Wesleyan to see how sunrise (and early morning activity) progresses elsewhere. They are much more diligent than I, as they are all wearing more than a bathrobe and are doing industrious things like walking, driving, and turning on and off lights. (Oh, wait, I did most of those things this morning, too… Nevermind…)
The alarm clock just started beeping to tell us to wake up. Maybe I will make some tea. Or maybe I will just sit here a few more minutes and enjoy a little bit more tranquility before the Burrow starts bustling with back-to-work activity.
September 25, 2005
seven beautiful things sunday (special edition)
posted by soe 6:35 pm
Because I’ve now missed two three beautiful things Thursdays, I thought I’d give you them all at once plus a bonus:
1. A caring caretaker: John, our Georgetown senior catsitter, took lovely care of the cats while we were gone, leaving them fully fed and watered, watering the basil, fixing the computer, and sweeping up around the (cleaned) catboxes. Who could ask for more?
2. Conversation: Wednesday night, after arriving in north London for a two-day stay, we went to dinner at a recommended Indian/Bangladeshi restaurant. The gentleman who took our order came over after the other customers had gone home and we talked about wide-ranging topics for the next two hours. This is the sort of experience we all hope to get when we travel, but so rarely do.
3. Hospitality: Janice and James of Bay Tree House in London run a lovely B&B at a very affordable rate a mere 30 minutes from Covent Garden. They were warm, welcoming, and offered us the run of their home (even going so far as to buy Tube tickets for us the first morning). I cannot recommend them highly enough.
4. Family: We got the chance to meet some relatives for the first time while on our trip. Di and Ginny are my mother’s twin cousins. Di, Mychele, and Kevin came to the wedding and helped make it a fun evening for us. And Ginny, Sam, and √Člissa welcomed us into their home, acted as tour guides around my grandmother’s hometown and the nearby area, and were as lovely as if we’d always known (and liked) each other.
5. Hanging with the Queen: Okay, not quite. But our visit did coincide with the two months a year she opens Buckingham Palace to the public, so we took advantage of the opportunity and went to visit. The palace is impressive (as was the Queen Mum’s White Wardrobe from her first official visit to Paris weeks after her mother’s death), but I especially liked the gardens. They seemed more relaxed than the rest of the estate (you can only control nature so much, as our recent Gulf Coast disasters point out) and very scenic, with benches along the periphery for optimal viewing.
6. Dipping my toes: While the weather was generally lovely for touring (upper 60s and lower 70s), it was not usually the sort of temperature that inspired bare feet or legs. But the afternoon we arrived in the southern coastal resort town of Bournemouth, the sun came out from behind the clouds and warmed the air. We took elevator-like contraptions down to the seaside and sat on the sand soaking in the rays. And we waded through the surf looking for fun shells and flat stones to skip. I love the ocean and always feel so at home with myself when I’m near it. So it provided probably the most relaxed afternoon of our whole trip.
7. A knock-out dress: I was still a little worried about the low-cut dress I bought for this fall’s fancy-dress events, but received a number of compliments on it and on how grown-up I looked. It’s amazing what a killer dress does for one’s self-confidence (particularly when combined with the miracle of double-sided body tape!)!
September 24, 2005
posted by soe 11:28 pm
Yes, we’re home again.
Why am I still up? My body thinks it’s 4:30 in the morning. I think I should pamper it and take it to bed.
But check back tomorrow for an update on the trip. London brought us music, tourist sights, a great B&B, and Yorkshire accents — and I’d love to share.
September 21, 2005
afternoon at the beach
posted by soe 6:41 am
After three days of visiting with family and touring the town where Gramma grew up, we went with √Člissa to Winchester yesterday morning to tour the cathedral (very cool) and Arthur’s round table (interestingly enough, it’s a wall decoration) before parting ways and heading south to the coast. We spent yesterday afternoon lounging on the beach and last night watching Pride and Prejudice. Both were lovely.
Today we head to London via the New Forest (maybe we’ll see some wild ponies). I can’t believe we’re down to our final three days here. It all went so fast!
September 19, 2005
posted by soe 7:50 am
We’re in Andover today, the town my grandmother grew up in. It’s a nice town and we’ll report more when we’re not hogging Elissa’s computer and phone line.