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)