Sunday, January 25, 2009

is it just me but had everyone else already figured out that...

...the handles inside the tube cars (carriages as they say in the UK) are colored coded to match the tube line that the train runs for District, yellow for Circle, blue for Piccadilly????

11 months, 26 days...ugh...

Oops...I goofed up

London Marathon Training: Week 6 of 19
Thursday target run: 43 minutes
Friday: 1 hour and 12 minutes
Saturday: off
Sunday: 2 hours

I only have about 2 weeks to get all the steps completed for the UK drivers license. It was not that I left it to the end out of sheer laziness; it was just that I had so many other things going on at work and then with the December house move, that is was just lower down on the priority list.
All I thought I had to do was take the theory test and the practical driving test. Well, I was wrong. I have to apply for and send away for a provisional UK drivers license FIRST BEFORE I take the theory test BEFORE I can take the practical driving test. After being told by my driving instructor today (man, what a peice of work...story for another day) of this important fact, I quickly did the sums in my head...2-3 weeks to get the provisional license back puts me outside my window for getting the new drivers license by February 4th which is my one year anniversary in the UK and when the US drivers license will no longer work.

Uh-oh....Looks like it will be the tube and bus again for the Hachie Gal to work every day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It got BIG coverage in the UK....

London Marathon Training: Week 6 of 19
Wednesday target run: off

yes...Pres Obama's inauguration was all the talk in the office in London, on the BBC, on London morning talk shoes. I think the rest of the world was as interested in this as the US! I can't tell you how many people asked me if "I was excited?", "Was I staying home from work to watch the inauguration?", or "What did I think about the new leader?".
Man, we need this guy to be successful...but I am kinda jazzed about what the future holds. I must confess to feeling just a bit optimistic about the whole thing....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cheese dreams

London Marathon Training: Week 5 of 19
Saturday target run: 45 minute run
Sunday target run: off

London Marathon Training: Week 6 of 19
Monday target run: 30 minute run

Just experienced a lovely multi-purpose weekend trip to Zurich for the Swiss friends' housewarming and the Aussies' repatriation. In all, there was eight of us including the Confused Swiss, Martinksy, Falcon, Mardi, Cyn, Paulster, Budman, and Hachie Gal. Photos to follow once I get the things downloaded but I learned a very interesting piece of information during Saturday night's Swiss Fondue meal.

Apparently, the Aussies are acquainted with the concept of "cheese dreams" which occur when one eats too much cheese at the dinner meal, and then retires for the evening. Apparently, strange dreams ensue....

I must confess that no such cheese dreams occurred for the Budman and Hachie Gal. Has anyone else ever heard of this or were those funloving, side-splitting, hysterically funny Aussies just pulling my leg?

Friday, January 16, 2009

me and the foxes

London Marathon Training: Week 5 of 19
Today’s target run: 2 hour and 15 minute run

Because I am visiting friends this weekend in Zurich, I did not want to complicate the weekend by dragging my running gear across western Europe. So, I was up at 5 am to get this morning's run in BEFORE work.

It was just me and the foxes (yes, the red ones) on the streets of London at this time of morning. Weird.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

UK Driving License

London Marathon Training: Week 5 of 19
Today’s target run: 30 minute run

A year seems like a long time to get something done when you are looking at those 12 months in the future. The reality is that 12 months can fly by in the blink of an eye when you are not paying attention.

Such is the case with me, as I have about 3 weeks remaining to train, study and take my UK theory and practical driving tests before the Texas License is usable. You see, there is the 12 month grace period that US citizens are allowed IF there state driving license does not transfer. Yes, as a middle-aged woman, I am having to sit for a driving license once again in my life. I had 12 months to get that done, and as procrastinators we all are at some point, I have left it to the very end.

For those of you who are thinking the obvious question, let me preempt your query. No, the Texas Driver's License does not automatically transfer for a UK Driver's License, which, by the way, is the case in over 35 of the 50 states in the US. So, sister here is gearing up for the first in a sequence of driving events to become UK driving compliant.

Step One: Take a couple of driving lessons...set for a little over a week. After rising VERY early on a Saturday to put in my 2 1/2 hour marathon training run, I then get to practice my driving skills for two hours with a driving instructor on the streets and motorways of London...Saturdays just do not get any more fun and action-packed than that.

Step Two: study my theory booklet and sit for my theory test. Ugh...that pains me to even contemplate.

Step Three: When (not if) I pass the theory test AND the driving instructor thinks I am good to go on the road, make an appointment for a practical driving test.

And yes, all of this must be done by February 4th or the Hachie Gals' driving comes to an abrupt halt until all is completed. The tube/bus scenario to work may become a reality once again...

I recognize that even posting this on the blog potentially requires that I inform you of any failure to pass these drivign tests. I guess I need all the motiviation I can get. Keep you posted.

PS - The Budman does NOT have to sit for his UK Driver's License. Interesting reason that I will save for another post.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

learning alot about Iceland

London Marathon Training: Week 5 of 19
Today’s target run: 30 minute fartlek

The Budman is back this week in that happening place known as Iceland. BTW, Iceland is actually quite green, while Greenland in fact is more icy. Go figure!

Anyway, the Budman has been spouting all these interesting factoids about Iceland from his recent business travels. If you think the economy has "gone to pot" in your country, take a look at Iceland.

For a total Icelandic population of 300,000 people, there were only 42 new cars purchased in December 2008. TOTAL. Ouch...that hurts.

I would wager that Waxahachie sold that many new vehicles in December alone. Of course, the US is a bit more gas-guzzling than those Icelanders. Still....

Monday, January 12, 2009

a good cause

London Marathon Training: Week 5 of 19
Today’s target run: 20 minute jog

Well, a day later, the two hour run feels OK. No real issues today and the best news is that I only have a 20 minute run tonight.

In other London marathon news, I am 75% to my fund raising goal for UK Guide Dogs, the charity that officially got me a spot and a bib in this April's London Marathon! If anyone wants to donate to a good cause...and support a gal-pal in the process, click on the fundraising link to my website (on the right hand side of this blog). It is that easy!

The dogs, and I will appreciate it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It took a year but...

After only living in this city for 11 months, we have finally seen our first Shakespearean play, a charming production of Twelfth Night in London's West End starring Derek Jacobi among others.

I must confess it took us a bit of time to get into the rhythm of Shakespeare's prose but we got there in the end. A big plus is that we saw the play in a newly renovated theatre in London known as the Wyndham Theatre that was just fabulous. The interior deco hearkens back to the turn of the century...just post-Victorian, where everything was lushly appointed, velvety, opulent, and golden.

And then there were those cute little boxes on the sides of the theatre that sit 2-4 people...I have always wanted to sit in one of those but I suspect the views of the stage can be somewhat obstructed as we saw people craning their bodies over the railings from time to time.

At one point, though, I know the theatre gods of yesteryear were turning in their graves as at one inopportune moment, the Budman and I observed one of the women in one of the boxes munching down on her Big Mac and fries. Come on, some class.

Mental diversions

London Marathon Training: Week 4 of 19
Today’s target run: 2 hour run

It's that time again...when sleeping in on a Saturday or Sunday is a thing of the past. It's only 15 weeks away from the London Marathon, and long runs are now in full force.

Boy, was it hard to get out of that warm bed this morning for the 2 hour run, especially since (1) it was below freezing all last week including today, (2) it was 6:30 am on a Sunday morning, AND(3) the roads were icy. Yes...I had to do my running this morning on the roads around the house because I needed to run early (versus later); we had matinee theater tickets in central London today and needed to get cracking. No waiting until 9 am for Kew Gardens to week.

So, how does a gal stay mentally engaged when a 2 hour run is looming large on the horizon...or in this case, pre-dawn? Answer: mental diversions.

Today's mental diversion was to see how many people I could stay "good morning" to while running...those people walking their dogs, waiting for a bus, enroute to/fro somewhere, other runners, etc...and see how many of them responded with more that a blank stare or worse yet, by totaling ignoring my perfectly peppy greeting.

OK...the one other runner gets it...he said hello everytime we passed, so for the purposes of this sample poll, he was only counted once. But, he knows that I know that runners are a breed apart.

Moving on to the other early Sunday morning souls I encountered...out of 9 people that I greeted, only 3 responded. Their greetings were all very upbeat, though. 30% was realisically better than I expected, but it is on par with the similar situation I noted while living in Germany. Maybe it was the cold...the early hour of the day...or they just thought I was daft.

Then there was the pair of girls coming home in a black taxi after a night on the town...around 7:30 am...I am convinced they did not even hear me (smile).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Frogmore House

Frogmore House lies in the tranquil setting of the private Home Park of Windsor Castle. A country residence of various monarchs since the seventeenth century, the house is especially linked to Queen Victoria. The house and attractive gardens were one of Queen Victoria's favourite retreats. In the gardens stands the Mausoleum where Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert are buried.

On the day of our visit, we had gorgeous weather, blue skies, and a really long walk! The house and grounds are rarely open to the public...usually, only one weekend a year.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Windsor Castle

I realize it is WAY overdue but wanted to share some really pretty photos of our fall trip to Windsor and Windsor Castle (as well as Frogmore House - see tomorrow's post). We actually took in all these sites in one day, as Frogmore is just a 15-20 minute walk away from Windsor Castle. I'll fess up right away - it was such a pretty day, that all the photos turned out wonderfully...I could not decide which ones to pick for the blog.

After walking briefly through the city of Windsor from the train station...

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We arrived at Windsor Castle. For those not aware, Windsor Castle is one of several official residences of The Queen and is the largest occupied castle in the world. A Royal home and fortress for over 900 years, the Castle remains a working palace today.

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Thanks for indulging me....

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I have now totally embraced UK English...I did not even flinch when spelling the word FABULOUS with a U. Next thing you know, I will be defending the right to organise, prioritise, and strategise with an S.

Who knows, I may even finally embrace all things Celsius and metric in 2009.

Great news...home folk coming our way

2009 has started out with a tremendous boost! The Budman and I have learned in the last few days that two couples are relocating to London in 2009....

First, the Budman's roommate from college and family are moving to London in late Spring 2009, although Jerry will be here sooner! Friends of over 30 years in the same city....FAB-U-LOUS!


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To add to that great news, the Budman's brother and partner are also moving to London in late spring/early summer. Mike and Matt - we can't wait. Family in the same city, let alone country...that has not been a reality in almost a decade.


We are thrilled on both counts, but I must confess I do not envy either them the moves. The Budman/Hachie Gal international moving checklists have been shared (yes, such a thing exists).

2009 is off to a stupendous start!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Silver wedding anniversary

Yes, 25 years ago today the Budman and I were exchanging vows on a balmy January Saturday afternoon in Arlington, Texas! It is hard to imagine where 25 years actually goes, but a truly wonderful 25 years it has been. I am lucky to be married to my best friend and love of my life.... "Happy 25th Anniversary, Buddy!"


A glance down memory lane of photos from the big day...




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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Young Texas Christmas

The first part of the Christmas extravaganza included Christmas Eve presents and Christmas Day Lunch with the Budman's side of the family, although we were definitely missing Mike and Matt from the festivities.

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Christmas Eve and the opening of gifts.

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Christmas Day lunch, including the UK crackers and crowns.

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