Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Could they tell stories on me!

We are so fortunate to have had another recent get-together with friends from Texas who were in the UK for 2 weeks. The Budman and I caught up with these international travellers long enough, to grab a meal, hug some necks, and catch up with them the night before their return to Dallas.

You see, I have known these people for almost 40 years. Old habits die hard, so technically I still think of them as Mr. and Mrs. E. As I have been best friends with their daughter, Tracey, since elementary school, it is still hard some times to refer to them as Jim and Catherine, but I try.

Next to my parents and aunt, these "grown-ups" have known me longer and better than about any other adult living people, have seen me through all the major events of my life (graduation from high school, college, and grad school, college pledging, engagement and wedding, deaths of my parents, Gingerbread Trail experiences, and life living abroad - thanks for always being so supportive) and shared in my triumphs as well as despairing moments. Always, ALWAYS, they can make me laugh even in the darkest hours (that night in fall '88 around your Yellowstone house kitchen table springs to mind) This evening was no different!

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One of the stories that Catherine shared, which I had totally forgotten, is one night while we were in high school, Tracey and I has just returned from evening tap class, only to burst into their bedroom while they were watching TV, tapping up a storm, apparently with visions of "making it big on the Big White Way".

That is one of the greatest things about old friends, not friends who are old, but friends who have known you for a long time. They have these wonderful memories that somehow your own memory bank may not have recorded. So, take the time today to say hello to an old friend and share a walk down memory lane! It will be good for your soul!

And as for Jim and Catherine, we look forward to a return engagement.

Monday, June 29, 2009

week 2 Wimbledon

We are well into week two of Wimbledon and all I can say is "this place is "Murray crazy". Apparently, the young Scotman's ill-fated comments from 2006 about rooting for anyone who plays football (soccer for you, Americans) against the English are all but forgotten. It has been 73 years since a citizen of GBR won the men's single title. That's indeed a long dry spell. The fact that he is Scottish apparently is not longer an issue. Everyone loves a winner I guess.

Currently watching him play on Monday evening London time, and he is about to beat Wawrinka. I must confess to being caught up in Murray mania until I realize Andy Roddick is still in the mix for the US. Guess I technically need to be a homer but I long ago adopted the custom of rooting for the US AND my host country in whatever sporting event is under way. When in Seoul and Dusseldorf respectively, we pulled for S. Korea and Germany in the World Cup; ditto for the UK in last year's summer Olympics. Seems to increase the odds of my team/man winning.

One final note, I used to judge the calendar by when the NFL, NHL, the Final Four, Spring Training for MLB, and the World Series began. Now, my calendar is tuned to European Football, Wimbledon, and the Tour de France commence.

Yep...starting to be gone a bit too long, me thinks?


OK...guilty as charged....vacation posts and photos will come....soon....I promise.

It's hot, hot, hot

Yes, today's string of sunny London days is now officially starting to wear thin for me I never thought I would be saying this, but "can we please get some rain, a little cloud cover, and a cool front?". To steal Cole's phrase, "it's too darn hot!".

Officially, the highs today in London town were 86 degree Fahrenheit. Before any of my fellow Texans start ribbing me about how hot it has been in Texas the last week or so and can't this Texas gal deal with the mid-80s, please remember the following distinction...we have no A/C in our homes in London. For that matter, many of the offices suffer from the same predicament. As Budman returned from his tube journey home tonight, albeit with a sweaty shirt back and a soggy suit, we noticed that the temps inside the house were hovering around 90 degrees. Still tempted to trade in my London weather for your Texas A/C?

Which brings me to the next point: we have made the purchase of a portable A/C unit which arrives from the John Lewis department store on Saturday.

It will be Independence Day of another sorts for us this Saturday!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Congrats to the grad!

During our recent trip to Texas, we were not only able to catch up with family and friends, eat some of our favorite foods, and shop at some of our favorite stores...no, the primary reason was to attend our niece, SaraBeth's, graduation from Baylor University. Being the proud aunt and uncle that we are, we cannot say enough fabulous things about SB's accomplishments while at Baylor...academic, extracurricular, musical, etc. We'd say she was a great gal even if she was not our niece!

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So on that soggy Saturday in Waco in May, we saw her march across the platform during commencement exercises at the Ferrell Center to the thunderous applause and "hoopin' and hollarin'" of her proud family and friends! Well done, SB!

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And can we add, we simply do not recognize the campus of BU...WOW! It has sure changed from when the Budman and I attended.

The following day, we attended a lovely brunch in her honor....Congrats graduate!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

OK...it does pay to have an inside connection

Hachie Gal might not have the inside track to getting a table to the most exclusive restaurant in London...or knowing a friend of a friend of a friend that can get me a concert ticket of choice....but in Hachie Gal terms (please, don't laugh! this is my world, now), I do have some inside connections into one VERY important event...

...drum roll please....

YES! Hachie Gal has already secured a 2010 London Marathon ballot courtesy of my new best friends at Guide Dogs UK. As it currently sits, I am already on a first name basis with Will and Catherine as I have run the last few races as fundraisers for them including the 2009 London Marathon and London BUPA 10000. Making friends (and collecting donations) has apparently paid off.

Just hung up with my buddy, Catherine, who has offered me one of the few Guide Dog secured ballot places. Their logic is to reach out to people earlier this year so runners can get on with their fundraising efforts well in advance and hopefully pull in a bigger amount of donations.

So, it appears that Hachie Gal has a very important date for April 25, 2010! More details to come on how you can support my efforts!

Happy birthday, Phil!

The Duke of Edinburgh marks his 85th birthday today. He was born on 10 June, 1921, the youngest child and only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.

It appears that only a private birthday celebration is in order today although with the Queen's birthday later this week, they will do a combo public birthday event with the Queen's parade on the 13th, a Royal Marines Band performance on London's Horse Guards Parade on 15 June, as well as national service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral to mark her official 80th birthday.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

tube strikes

I am dreading the 28 hours of tube strikes that have already begun in London, mainly because I still use the tube to get to and from work everyday. Sure...I could take the bus but everybody else who takes the tube will also be taking the bus. Tube strike ends at 7 pm on Thursday. And yes, client meetings this week.

Don't say it...another reason I need that BLASTED drivers license.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Haven't seen her since college

The last time I saw Alicia was...well...at least 25 years ago...when we were both seniors and Chi Omegas at Baylor. Sure, we may have bumped into each other at the random wedding or baby shower, but the days of seeing college girlfriends on a routine basis just became fewer and fewer.

It was with true delight that after finally embracing the world of facebook last Christmas and re-building the network of high school and college friends, that Alicia and I re-established contact. So, with the lines of communication open once more, thanks to the virtual world of FB, Alicia sent me a quick note this May to say, "coming to London...let's meet for dinner!".

Besides the retelling of old stories, the asking of the myriad of questions like "what are you doing these days?", "have you heard from so and so?", and "tell me how such and such is", I actually got the price of dinner as a 2-for-1...both Alicia and her daughter, Elizabeth, took me out for a lovely meal. (Elizabeth - you are trooper to traipse to dinner with two 40-year old women taking a tour down memory lane).

Alicia and Holly 2009

In all truthfulness, friends, whether they they be old or new, are a true gift from God! Thanks to all of you who fall in that category for the Hachie Gal. And Alicia....thanks for the dinner and chat!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

3rd celebrity sighting

Routine hair appointment in local Aveda salon this past Saturday...I could tell from the moment I arrived that somethingwas happening. There was a heightened sense of purpose that day from all the stylists; the local owner/manager of Aveda was all abuzz with "Get ready...Kate's coming in today!"

Ok, so my eyes and ears perked up. Kate who, I thought?

I did not have to wait long until Ms. Beckinsale waltzed into the salon for her hair appointment...looking very much the star. And there I was, with a birds-eye view of her right behind the chair where I was sitting and with color and highlights in my hair....looking so fantastic myself at this point (not!) She and her stylist (my stylist, too, I might add!) kissed cheeks, hugged necks, and then Kate was whisked away for whatever had brought her into the salon that day.

Third celebrity sighting in London in 15 months...that is on average a sighting every 5 months....

Saturday, June 06, 2009


We are not there yet (that place we all know about with aging pets but don't like to talk about), but the last few weeks have been a bit troubling for us....and our girl, Gracie. A continued loss of weight for our feline baby has resulted with a loss of about 15% of body weight in the last 4 weeks....not ideal for a lady of 16 years of age.

After a battery of tests, multiple trips to the vet, changing vets, more vet appointments, we have ruled out alot of things, including blood abnormalities, high thyroid, or kidney problems. Apart from a low thyroid reading and a thickening of her intestinal walls, there is nothing else that we can point to which is resulting in the weight loss and lack of appetite.

And when I say, lack of appetite, I mean....we are making daily trips to the vet and pet store to try to find ANYTHING that she will eat. Pretty concerning. After our 4th vet visit in 4 weeks, we are now on steroids and will have a check-up in two weeks to see where we go from here. Admittedly, the vet is silent on this point right now, but it probably includes more bloodwork and possibly exploratory surgery. But hey...we are getting ahead of ourselves here.

Current Shugie Lynn (aka Gracie) stats:
Weight on 5/5/09 - 3.4 kilograms (7.5 pounds)
Weight on 6/1/09 - 3.1 kilograms (6.83 pounds)
Weight on 6/6/09 - 2.95 kilo grams (6.5 pounds)

For now, oral medication twice a day, lots of meals (as many as we can get her to eat), and lots of love are in store for the Shugie Lynn. For those of you with canine and/or feline family members, I know you know how we are feeling right now.

Keep you posted.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Have you ever seen such

OK...it is way too overdue but I realized that I had never posted the Chinese Elvis photos. "What in the world are Chinese Elvis photos", you say?

Well...that is a good question. Technically, the answer is an aging Chinese guy, performing an Elvis impersonation in a Chinese restaurant in west London. I am still amazed at how people come up with these entertainment concepts... indeed, Elvis was in the building this night.

My main question prior to the evening was which decade Elvis impersonation would we get? The 50's lame jacket and gyrating hips...the 60"s cool black leather bike dude...or the 70's white jumpsuit with rhinestones. It was the latter as you can observe.

Yes, it was campy. True, the guy was not that great of a singer. He did, however, sing every Elvis hit with a gusto rarely seen from other Elvis impersonators. Truthfully, I still do not understand how the concept was ever conceived but the place was packed for 2 shows that Friday evening. Apparently, he performs several shows a month.

And he gets paid for this....what am I doing wrong?

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Of course, these events require audience participation...the best dancer of the night, was the 12 year old kid!
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Does Christina look like she is enjoying the attention?

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Co-workers from the office and their families celebrated the event...sadly, the Budman missed out on this stellar entertainment.

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He summed it up with one of the final songs of the evening...."Wuv me tender, wuv me twoo".

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Sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

A walk in the park

It was just a mere 6.2 mile run. A walk in the park…actually a run in St. James Park as well as past a few key monuments like Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, the Thames River and the London Eye, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Horse Guards, Trafalgar Square, the Mall, and Buckingham Palace.

It was a cool and overcast day as Cyn, Budman, and I took in the sight of London on the London BUPA 10000 10K race. It felt good to stretch my legs a bit after the marathon, the Budman kicked off his fitness re-commitment, and Cyn…well, she was the superstar of the day, finishing her FIRST 10K ever.

We told ya that you could do it! Kudos Cyn!