Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Crimbo, Mince Pies and Mulled Wine

I haven't done a good job lately of including many posts on the local culture. As you are all too familiar, it's been about biking and my dog of late. So I thought I'd share a few things I've learned about Christmas here in the UK.

1. Crimbo : Another term for Christmas. It took me a few times to understand that it didn't refer to a random bayou or Louisiana tradition.

2. Mince pies: Mince pies are very, very popular here at Christmas time. Don't confuse them with the other mince pie that you have the rest of the year. That's basically a lamb pot pie. Because mince generally means 'meat' except at Christmas time where it means 'sweet'. Confused? Me too.

3. Mulled wine: Wine that is hot? Yes. That's the tradition. It's very popular in Germany as well where you are supposed to wander the Christmas markets drinking mulled wine. Sadly, I didn't have my act together and missed them this year.

4. Christmas dinner: It's basically American Thanksgiving. The traditional Christmas dinner is turkey, brussel sprouts, pigs in a blanket (yes, there is sausage wrapped in bacon on top of your turkey), stuffing, gravy a few other things and then Christmas pudding.

5. Christmsas pudding: Fruitcake. No wonder it's a running joke in the States. It really only tastes good when fried in butter and covered with cream. Then again everything tastes good when fried in butter and covered in cream....

There you have it. Christmas 101 in the United Kingdom. And here you have a picture of my dog being sad. My evening commute took 4 hours last night due to some ice and sleet and idiot drivers. Therefore, he was unhappy with my being gone for 13 hours.

I'm off to Oz tomorrow so hopefully I'll keep you entertained from Down Under. Otherwise, you'll get photos in the New Year. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Whoohoo! Another blizzard! Walking home from the pub last night was a nice little winter wonderland.
The snow starts accumulating on the deck.
Tucker has his snappy red reflective jacket on. Warmth and safety first!

Tucker looking at me and trying to understand why I'm just standing there.

Fun snow! I know this is no big deal to my northern U.S. friends, but for England, a very big deal. You rarely, rarely, rarely get snow like this. Too bad I had to go to work instead of playing in it today. Grrr!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Land of the Lost II

You may recall a previous post where I discovered the secret hiding place of all of Tucker's tennis balls. I'm not so sure how my boy had me so fooled....

Tucker enjoys sitting on the loveseat and watching everyone out the front window.

Last night, I went over to clean off the usual dog hair. But something was amiss.. the left hand cushion seemed a bit lumpy in the corner. So I removed the cushions....

And found the secret bone burial ground! I can't believe it. I thought he had finished eating them. Apparently, I'm not very good at counting or understanding how fast he goes through them.

Knucklebone anyone? I went through the rest of the furniture, the sofa and armchair, and discovered two more bones and a missing slipper. Most people find change in their furniture, I find gnawed animal bits. You have to wonder where the instinct comes from?

It's a good thing it was his birthday this week or I'm not sure I would put up with such a ferocious beast.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas shopping

It's that time of year again. Time to figure out if I can find some fun presents around England and ship them home, or to defer to the good old internet and free shipping in the United States. In any event, I won't be making it home for Christmas this year. I'm going to have to call in my bowling scores from afar. I'm not sure if they have bowling alleys in Australia or not, but if they do, you can rest assured I'll get my score in. Yes, that's right, I'm going to Australia for Christmas. I know the blog is titled my London Adventure but the travel bug seems to know no bounds. I'm off to enjoy some sunshine, blue water and diving on the other side of the world.

So, nothing new to report. I was the recipient of a nasty head cold last week thanks to my travels to the States. After some rest this weekend, I'm finally starting to feel human again. And since I have nothing to report, I'm sharing a picture of my Christmas present to myself. That's right - I have a new toy. I'm sure you'll see this again as I damage it in one way or another.

Otherwise, Merry Christmas everyone. I'll try to post this week but it's a busy week at work getting everything squared away for year end, not to mention the fact that I need to get ready for my big trip since I'm leaving in 10 days. Hopefully more to come (I should get some photos from our xmas party soon) but if not, I'll be posting from Down Under. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When an Eight Year Old Asks

You tend to say Yes. On my last night in California I went to visit friends Wendi and Dale in San Francisco. We were out for Wendi's birthday dinner when it was discovered that a neighboring table also was having a birthday. Therefore, we were assaulted by the eight year old and told to 'put this up your nose'. So we said 'okay', and thus, the 'stache competition was born.

Me, Dale, Diana (work friend of Dale), Wendi and the unknown assailant. Err... eight year old.

Other than that, the camera stayed tucked away in my bag as the week was filled with many many many work things. I do have my sunshine picture as promised. Look at those skinny white sticks. (I could be referring to the dog, my brother, or me. Sad)
Ms. Winnie with her laser beam eyes.

And caught on camera, me taking a nap. I blame the jet lag. I am such a wonderful house guest, aren't I? Visiting family only to commandeer the couch for a snooze. No wonder I'm rarely invited.

Yep, that's it. Not much going on these days. Just trying to keep my head above water and get ready for a few exciting trips. More soon...well, if I get any new material that is.....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Worth the Work

I'm back in California for work and I have 28 meetings this week - not to mention a trip to the dentist and a few social outings planned.

The good news: somehow I timed it right and the sun is out. I've got a better picture on my camera but I just had to share. No, I'm not on holiday but I smile when I get to put my sunglasses on. I'm like a giant stilt person... that's really worth smiling about. :o)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Table for Twelve

I decided to host Thanksgiving this weekend for a few of my British friends. I figured I'd invite a couple of them round to help me enjoy a truly glutonous holiday.

Somehow it turned into dinner for twelve! Before the festivities - the table is set and the green plastic patio furniture is pressed into action.

The bird. Juicy. Delicious. Fully stuffed. Believe it or not, it turned out alright. Yes, I was worried. I had a bit of panic when my bird was still a wee bit frozen when I was ready to stuff. Somehow a 7 kilo turkey does not thaw after 72 hours in my refrigerator.

The gang after the first three courses.. starter, soup and main. The pudding (dessert to the Americans) put us over the edge. Thanks to my friends for joining me on an American holiday in England. And to all my readers, I'm off to the States for work again so maybe no posts for a little bit depending on my adventures at work. Happy Thanksgiving. Gobble! Gobble!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Visitor Count 2009: Low

When I first moved here, I had 5 sets of visitors in under 5 months! How exciting that in 2008 I was able to have some friends and family visit me so soon? Since then, the attendance at Tucker House/Wolverine House/Mutt House (still working on the name) has dropped off precipitously. In 2009, I had a total of 3 visitors - and they were all here at the same time! (Non work related visitors technically)

Now people, how many of you have these views on your morning walks? Huh? Book your spaces now for 2010. I want to squeeze you in amidst all my travels.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weights and Measures

I've said this to quite a few people so my apologies if you have heard me say it before: I drink a lot of beer now that I've moved to the UK (as opposed to wine or spirits. Not that I've increased my drinking. Oh no. That would be wrong). I've increased my consumption for many reasons, but mainly because when you go to the local pub, it's pretty fun to try the different beers on tap. I'm always ordering a pint and often I'll even order a bitter. (pronounced Bit-tah)

What I find so intriguing about ordering in the UK is I'm often asked the question 'a pint or a half pint?' Huh? What the heck is a half pint? It's almost as confusing as when you order wine, they ask 'small or large?' Huh again? You definitely don't get that in the United States. We've got a one size fits all motto there. I have to say, I really like it though. Sometimes, you just want just a taste of beer without the volume so you order a half pint. Even more fun, when you order a beer, it is usually served in the glass of the vendor. You buy a pint of Stella Artois, it comes in a glass shaped and labeled for Stella. Order a pint of Kroeneburg and you get a tall pint of 1667. I once had a guy limp all the way down and back behind a bar on his broken leg just to make sure I had an Amstel glass for my beer (and no, there is NO SUCH thing as light beer in this country)

So the measures are cool, the weight --- not so much. Even though I might appear skinny, I've gained my fair share of weight with my expanded consumption of hoppy beverages. And as mentioned before, light beers? Never heard of 'em......

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Favorite Stalker

There has been a bit of rain lately so Tucker has the luxury of spending some time in the flat. I even had to buy a new hoover (vacuum cleaner) to deal with the additional hair. Due to the fact that I've reverted to being a big wuss (I swear I was Alpha Dog at one time), Tucker enjoys free reign while I'm out at work slaving away.

The other evening when I came home, Tucker decided that the couch and the blanket just didn't smell enough like me. Therefore, he went on quite the scavenger hunt to surround himself with a few items from my daily routine. The picture is a little dark but hopefully you can see
1. Next to the couch, my rather large purse/bag (from a basket in the hallway)
2. My adidas flip flop (from the ground floor bike/office room)
3. My dalmation slipper (from downstairs bedroom)
4. Two of my running shoes (from the ground floor bike/office room)
5. On the couch my sunglasses and glasses (from the purse)

I had to take a close up of the running shoe and sunglasses/eyeglass case. Just try to picture him going through my purse, picking these up with his teeth and dropping them on the couch. Then going back for the purse and dragging the whole thing into the room? What a goober.

It's flattering to be loved so much. I just wish my stalker wouldn't shed so much.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Quite the title, isn't it? So once again I don't have much to report. I'm starting to crack under the pressure of trying to continue to be entertaining! The good news is that I have trips planned to India, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and France next year so the blog might liven up again after all. Even better, not all of those trips involve exercise. Shocker!
This weekend I did a race called the Ballbuster. Needless to say, not many girls sign up for it. We are missing a few essential bits you see.....any who, the race is a duathlon that consists of five 8 mile loops. And there is this big hill at the end called Box Hill. So you run 8 miles, then hop on your bike for 3 laps (24 miles) and then it's back to the running shoes for 8 miles. You'll have to wait for pictures from the race photographer as I don't have any of my own, so here's a picture of my back during another race just for kicks. (I think it is quite artistic AND it saves me from having to post dorky photo #198).

Overall, I did rather well but screwed up the race at the end. Another woman passed me with about 50 yards to go and I didn't think anything of it. (I tend to get passed at the end you see, I'm not a sprinter). Well, turns out that woman took 5th place leaving me with 6th place, which is one place out of the prizes. Note to self: no more getting passed at the very end of the race. Final time 3:30:56. Now I just need to figure out how to walk normally again.....

Friday, October 30, 2009

Long Live the Queen!

I was fortunate this week to catch the state visit of the president of India to greet the queen in Windsor. They had big procession through the streets up to the castle.

The castle is decked out with flags for India, Britain and the queen.

For this occassion, every bear hat in the country must have been out. Here the band hangs out and then shortly started playing Star Wars music, I kid you not. I laughed really hard when I heard the Darth Vader march. I'm not sure how many of the Brits really got that....

This is the first time I've seen the furry hat guys with guys. An assault rifle none the less.

Then all the furry hat guns came marching down the road!

There were even snipers on the rooftops. Well, maybe not a sniper since he was police. But I bet he had a gun. Safety first!

The procession starts with the two scouts in the front, leading the charge. I thought to myself, 'they seem to be moving pretty fast' and they were. The procession came charging by - I was quite impressed.

Now, I know this was a show event and these are not battle horses and the polished silver battle axes were ceremonial only, but I have to admit, it was quite daunting have these guys come by as if ready for war. If this was real, I most certainly would have cowered and begged for mercy or just wet my pants.

Here she is! The Queen! Um.. yeah. Not the best photo. She's the blue shoulder at the left of the carriage. I did actually see her face though.

Then came more horsemen. (The battle axes are in the last row)

Prince Charles doesn't get to ride in a bullet proof carriage. Do you think that says something? Can Camilla's purple hat be any bigger?

I didn't get a good picture of the Indian President (also in a bullet proof carriage) but here is the VP I think. All in all, very cool.

Monday, October 26, 2009

All Smiles

Saturday night was the triathlon club's end of season awards banquet. Yes, again with the triathlon. I promise I am diligently trying to get myself out of the country. Really.

The boys are all dressed up.

The girls too! Gemma is wearing a rockin' red dress but not looking at the camera. C'mon Gemma!

At the awards dinner - we have quite the dapper table.

Chris Harris and I are co-winners for the Smiley-est Triathlete award. We won dental floss and bottles of Listerine. I do question the wisdom of the voting public on this one. They obviously voted for Pre-Race Lynda as Post-Race Lynda is never quite that happy.

In any event, a fun night all around. Tall Jerry says something extremely witty - either that or the bubbles in my glass just make everything funny. The rest of the pictures tend to get more blurry and random as the night wore on so I'll leave it at that. No need for y'all to stare at the same people you see in lycra and neoprene all the time all dressed up and boozing it up. Yep, no need. And for the record, this is the most I've ever inserted myself in the photos so I think my quota for the year is done. I can stop with the dorky photos for a while. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So..... didn't go out of town again this weekend. Still working on getting my life in order. Translation: Boring. Therefore, here are random photos. Note to self: pace blog site better....

I was trying to take a photo of one of my morning walks. I love the leaves on the ground and the fall colors. Instead it looks like I'm on qualudes.

My wonderful friend Holly doing yoga in Times Square

The usual photo of Tucker. He's in serious mode. He seriously wanted my brother to throw the ball.

And my brother got a new dog. Well, my sister-in-law got a new dog. My brother just gets to live with the dog. :o) My brother has now turned into quite the pet photographer. Here are a few photos of Tucker's cousin, Winnie.

And let's see, it wouldn't be a post for me without some mention of alcohol or biking. So, here's one of my favorite pictures that combines both....

And to close with the usual dorky of photo of myself, here I am showing off my camera skills. I'm frowning and Julia has her eyes closed. Story of my life....

I really need to get some travel booked, eh?