Saturday, May 31, 2008

Full-figured my @$$!!!!!!

So today while sweating away while working out hard on the elliptical I was reading an Us Weekly. The one where Christina tells us how she lost her 40 pounds of baby weight in just four months. There was also other info from other celebrities telling us regular folk how they lost their baby weight or how they keep in shape. Yea, it is a lot easier when you can afford food delivered, a fancy trainer and a nanny or baby-sitter or whatever. Anyway, on to what this enraged post is really about. There was a short article about America's Next Top Model's latest winner. (I don't watch this show so this was all news to me.) Anyway, the latest winner was the show's first full-figured winner. OK, are you ready for this? The woman is 5-foot-10 and is a size 10. How in the hell is that full-figured? Even if she was 5-foot-5 and size 10, isn't that kinda normal?
I am still looking at the picture trying to figure out where they came up with full-figured. I mean the woman is gorgeous and has an amazing body.
Oh wait, I just noticed that the headline refers to her as plus-size.
This is why women and girls starve themselves to be skinny. Cuz apparently if you are a size 10 (and tall) you are a full-figured plus-size gal.
I had to take a pic of it. (I don't have a scanner, so this is the best I can get for you all.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Poor little Joey

Joey had a rough day today. You can read about it on his blog. He was supposed to get his teeth cleaned today. They did an EKG and found an abnormality on his heart. The vet said it could be nothing. But before they put him under his cardiologist needs to do an ultrasound. Can you believe Joey has a cardiologist? Joey's blood pressure was normal, which is good. That can be a sign of this not being a big deal. But they can't put him under and clean his teeth until they do the ultrasound. And, of course, the cardiologist couldn't do the ultrasound today.
So next Wednesday we go back for the ultrasound. And then if everything looks OK we will reschedule the the teeth cleaning.
It is so hard to get him in the carrier as it is. And now we have to do it two more times.
At least they cut his nails and got that stupid mat brushed from his tummy.
So Joey will be spoiled for a day or two. (Curt would say he already is spoiled.)


So gas has jumped from $4.17 to $4.22 in less than 24 hours. Good thing I live pretty close to work.

Many people have commented that there was a lot of drinking while we were in England and Ireland. Well, we were in England and Ireland. Those people gotta do something when it is dark and gloomy outside. And Curt and I wanted to partake in the traditions. :)

Poor Joey is at the vet today getting his teeth cleaned. He may also have to get some extractions. I am hoping he doesn't--since that will just add to the already enormous bill. I had to pull his food at 9 p.m. Usually I feed him before I go to bed so he doesn't wake me up wanting food. So you can guess that last night I was woken up a lot. And a lot of jumping on my stomach. Ugh! He will be all done around 5:30 tonight. Times like these are always a little stressful on Mama and Joey. I am sure Joey will blog about his experience later.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

OK, here are pics from our weekend in Tucson. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where has the day gone?

It is almost 3 p.m. I can't believe it.
Still in training mode with our new admin. I feel like she is doing a great job learning. But in training I am doing very little of my patent work. I am not even at my desk very often. I hope to be more into it next week. I worked from home yesterday afternoon and got a lot done. It was great.
Actually tomorrow it will start slowing down around here at work. Most people are attending ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology)--the biggest Oncology conference in the world. So hopefully it will quiet down the rest of this week and beginning of next and I can really get into my patent work.

And I am so tired today. What is the deal?

Oh, so today in yoga we had a sub. Class starts at 7:15. Around 7:20 the five of us were wondering where he was. So I went to the front desk to inquire. Hans told me he would call Ame. (Very yoga-like, eh?) Hans comes to tell us the sub thought class started at 7:30. Fine, no biggie. But he still doesn't show up until 7:45!!!!!! At that point three others left. Most of us were just doing our own yoga anyway. I decided to do sun salutations until about 8. Ame's style was different--but good, different. But I was annoyed that he was so late and not that apologetic about it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


This morning gas was $4.07 and this afternoon when I drove home (came home early for eye appt.) it was $4.17. WHAT THE HELL????

My eye appt. went well. All looks good. I mentioned to my doc that my eyes seem to still be tearing a little and that alters my vision slightly. He told me that they aren't tears. My pupils get bigger than normal and so I am seeing out of the peripheral part of the contact. So we are gonna try a little bigger size. And it makes sense--when I am outside when it is sunny no issues. If I tilt my head up and look through the bottom of the contact no issues. So hopefully this will help. I go back next Saturday.

Back at work

Ho Hum. Guess you have to come back to work, eh? And at least it is already Tuesday. YEA!!!
On Sunday Curt and I headed to my grandpa's house for a visit. It was a really nice visit. We talked about gardening, beer, baseball, eye surgery, fishing, etc. (Pic of Grandpa and me above.)
Afterward Curt and I went to grab a quick lunch, Arby's. And I had to stop at Eegee's for a strawbeery drink. Got some for Mom and Fred, too.
After that to Mom and Fred's to hang out for a bit. We got to meet Cookie. That little dog is a crazy nut. She was so hyper. But she is pretty cute. (While hanging out in my mom's back yard I got 3 mosquito bites and I was wearing pants. Those little jerks love to chew on me!)

Monday, May 26, 2008

I support the troops ...

but not the war. Today is Memorial Day. I know most of us look at it as just a three-day weekend (I know I do) or a day to make some easy holiday pay (I used to). And even though I hate war and hate the war that America is currently in I try to remember all the people in the Middle East dying for our freedoms. Not just Americans, other countries helping us with "our cause," whatever that is. But also all the Iranians and Afghans--especially the innocent civilians. Anyway, whatever your beliefs are, try to remember those who are brave enough to fight for our country.


Yes, finally I am posting the pictures from our trip to England and Ireland.
First, England pics right here.
And, Ireland pics here.

I will soon be posting pics from the wedding weekend we attended in Tucson.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Our flight Friday night went fine. I have to say Southwest is organized and really has their act together. Almost every time I fly SW I get in a little early. Usually just by 5 or 10 mins. But still. I remember one time I flew into Phx. and Erica was gonna come and get me. She was still driving to the airport when I called her to say I was already walking to get my bags. 
Anyway, so yesterday morning Curt and I went to the Cup for breakfast. My dish was called Eggs and Gunpowder. Yum, it was good. Potatoes, eggs, chorizo and cheese.
Then Curt ran an errand and I called my mom to check in. And then my grandpa. We had a really good chat. I am gonna call him again this morning and see if we can come over for a visit today.
The wedding was at 2 p.m. at a Catholic church. Then the reception was at Westin La Paloma. I didn't get many pics during the ceremony because they were coming out so dark. But I got some good ones at the reception. We got to see lots of family: my mom and Fred, Grandma, Uncle Mike, Aunt Vera and Jackie (Jackie did a reading during the Mass and did a great job), Uncle Mason, Aunt Margie, Daniel (it was Daniel's 18th birthday yesterday--man I can't believe he is 18. I still remember him as a little baby). There were many other cousins, aunts and uncles there, too. The cocktail hour(s) were out on the deck with a gorgeous view and a mariachi band playing. 
At one point Curt walks out of the ballroom to go to the general area. Who does he run into? Chris Richards. Chris is a college friend of mine and he shot our wedding. He was shooting a wedding next door. Small world. Chris was wondering why he wasn't shooting this wedding. I told Chris I had told Marisa about him, but they had already hired Sergio. Chris totally knew about Sergio and his reputation as an awesome photographer. 
Anyway, we had a quick chat. Then Chris went back to work and we went back to our party.
It was an evening of good food, good drink, fun time and lots of family.
Curt and I fly out tonight. So I hope to visit with my grandpa and Mom and Fred today before we take off.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Seriously, this has been a long week. Still doing a lot of training with the new admin. But she is smart and bright. So I am not worried at all about her picking things up. I didn't realize how much I actually did until I had to teach someone EVERYTHING.
And yea!!!! for 3-day weekends. Never had those in the news business. Curt and I are flying to Tucson tonight. A second-cousin of mine (remember I have a HUGE Mexican family) is getting married tomorrow.
Luckily it doesn't appear that it will be blistering hot while we are there. When I moved to Oregon I came home for a visit in June and vowed to never return in summer. (HA! I ended up moving back and to Phx--the asphalt capital of the world.) And I am actually going to Phx next month for a long weekend. Why couldn't the SATC movie come out in November???
Anyway, I am rambling. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Yup, gas has now passed the $4 mark here. Yesterday morning it was $3.99 and last night and this morning it was $4.07. Remember when we thought $3 a gallon was a lot of money?

Choppin' Broccoli!

Check out our broccoli! The plants we cut these from are already growing new little broccolis. Yum, I love broccoli, fresh and cooked. I love most veggies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Not sold yet

Over the weekend I started watching the first season of The Wire. Many, many people have told me how good it is. Casey told me that it is better than The Sopranos. And he and I loved The Sopranos.
After the first epsiode I was thinking, eh. But I remembered how I wasn't too excited about the first episode of The Sopranos. I decided to give The Wire a few more episodes before I decide.
The first disc of The Wire has 3 episodes. And it is just OK. Not bad, not super great, decent. So my Wired fan friends, when am I gonna be engrossed? I have decided to watch the first season. But it aint as great as I have been hearing. So what is the deal?


I NEED to post pics of our broccoli. We "plucked" our first broccoli sprouts? or heads? What are they called? Anyway, they are pretty tasty. The broccoli grows super fast. I read that homegrown broccoli won't get as big as the store bought. She we plucked ours over the weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Congratulations to Curt

Give a big ol' applause to Curt. He was recently promoted at Macworld (IDG). He has been a good and hardworking online managing editor for a little more than three years. And he is now senior Web producer. Woot! Woot! You can read the details on his blog.

Contact update

Wore those suckers for a whole 12 hours yesterday (that is the max I can wear them right now). Once I took them out I rubbed my eyes like crazy. Bad I know, but dang! It felt good! Slowly but surely the contact wearing is getting easier. It still isn't super wonderful. But it's better. I am still lame and have some issues getting them in my eyeballs. It's kinda tricky. But popping them out I have pretty much aced.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Temp to hire

So today a temp started here at Onyx as the Legal and Compliance admin. I am very happy she is here. She is sweet, bright and nice. I think things will work out just fine.


Wearing my contacts today to work for the first time. I want to rub my eyes so badly and I can't. Argh. It is going OK. Each day gets better. But it still isn't great. Saturday I wore them for 8 1/2 hours and yesterday 10 1/2. For now I can't wear them for more than 12 hours. I go back to the eye doctor next Tuesday to see how things are going.
Oh, when I was putting my right one in this morning it popped out and went flying. I couldn't see a damn thing so I had to put on my glasses and I was crawling around the bathroom floor looking for the contact. I finally found it. Behind the faucet. I didn't think it would have bounced over there. But thank gawd I found it!


Nice weekend. Didn't do a whole lot. But I did get a lot of things done around the house. Paid bills, went through the mail, cleaned the house (saving vacuuming for tonight), did laundry, voted, did our flex spending paperwork, etc. And I also watched a lot of movies.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Day 3

The contact wearing went much better last night. There was one point where my left eye was killing me. But eventually I could barely even feel the contacts in my eyes. And my eyes are tearing a lot less. Eventually they will stop completely--which will be good since it is a little difficult to see through the tears.
I am so glad it is Friday. This has been a long week. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

As it should be ...

Same-sex couples have the right to marry in California.

Um, is this really messing with your hetero marriage? I didn't think so.

Hallelujah! to this "right on" ruling by the California Supreme Court.

Beautiful weather

I drove in to work this morning about 7:30 and it was in the low 70s. Wow. Unfortunately I really haven't been able to appreciate the great weather this week since I have been cooped up at work. Come in early, leave late, no lunch break. Woooo! Fun. Today is a co-worker's birthday lunch celebration. So at least I will get out of here today for a bit.

3 hours

Wore the contacts for 3 hours last night. The last 30-45 mins were horrible. I started to get tired and it was just tough to see. But it is getting a little better. And I had a hell of a time getting them out last night.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The gas station near our house was at $3.99 this morning. The gas station near work is usually a few cents more. But it was also $3.99. I wonder if they are afraid to hit the $4 mark. I know it passed 4 bucks in the city some time ago. But things are "cheaper" in the East Bay.
I am still working on the captions for the photos from our vacation. But I should have them up soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Joey blogged

Check out Joey's latest blog posting here.
And here is a pic of me wearing the contacts:

It was a pain getting those suckers in. (Though when I wore soft lenses it took me 30 mins to get them in the first time. These only took maybe 5 mins.) I am already getting used to them--tho. they still bug me and it feels like I have something in my eye constantly. But my eyes are tearing much less--so that is good. I decided tonight I will wear them for 2 hours. So I have about an hour to go.


Usually when I go grocery shopping I take my own bags: canvas, Trader Joe's sturdy plastic and other reusable bags. But I recently realized that we are almost out of plastic bags. Can you believe that? So I actually went to the grocery last night without my bags and loaded up on plastic ones.


This morning I went to the eye doctor to try my new contacts. I am going with rigid gas permeable, which at first are uncomfortable and your eyes tear a lot. But eventually I will get used to them and I will be able to see better than with soft lenses. And these "hard" lenses last much longer than soft--like 2-3 years. Nuts! I decided not to wear them to work since my eyes were tearing so much. So tonight I will put them in for a couple of hours and every day add a little more time to my lens wearing and then go back to the eye doc in 2 weeks to see how I am doing.

Monday, May 12, 2008


That's how many unread e-mails I had when I came in to work this morning. I am slowly working through them. My eyes already hurt.
The piles left on my desk are pretty small considering. I have come back from vacation before and my whole desk is covered in crap. So maybe I lucked out this time. I briefly looked at the piles and I think I can handle it. I am still in a fog--partially from jetlag and also because I developed this horrendous cough on Saturday. It is getting better--but it still sounds horrible.
On to a busy week at work.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and moms-to-be.
But especially Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mom and mother-in-law and to my grandma and Curt's grandma, who is just like a grandma to me.
Hope everyone had a wonderful day. Gifts and cards are coming late. But they will be coming.
That pic above is from our trip while in London. The tulips were just gorgeous.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Oh yea ...

So I realize that I also have to go through the mail, pay bills and catch up on my shows, which I have been doing since 4 this morning. Yup, I woke up at 4 a.m. I started with ER and then moved on to Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, etc. I have taken a nap since then. But ugh!
Now I am doing laundry, watching Law & Order: SVU and working on the photos from the trip on Shutterfly. I am sure there is other stuff I have to do. Oh yea, some errands. Groceries and a few other things.
While Curt and I were gone our garden really grew. Our tomato plants are a lot bigger. And the exciting news is that our broccoli plants have little broccolis growing. Very cool. When Curt and I bought the plants we thought they were kinda flimsy and weren't even sure if they would survive (like my parsley for some reason).

We have three tomato plants: Big Boy, Better Boy and Roma Grape tomatoes. The Roma plant is doing the best. It already has buds. And the broccoli is doing really great as you can see. The eggplant is eh. And my parsley is really sucking. I may have to buy some more. Last year all the herbs did really well.

Friday, May 09, 2008

We're home

Just think this morning Curt and I were having a latte and cappuccino in Dublin. After a long and uneventful flight we are home. Joey was well cared for by Ruff Ruff and Dad and Hilda.
I am exhausted and ready to jump in the shower and then sleep very well. Right now for my body it is 5:30 a.m.
I have the weekend to get acclimated, do laundry, unpack, and post all of the pics.
Good night.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Last day in Dublin

A carvery is where you get your meat carved. Curt had corned beef both nights. They take out a slab of meat and carve a big, thick slice for you.
Today I took notice of what kinds of shoes people were wearing. Most were not wearing sandals. I did see a few sandals and one woman had a French pedi and she definitely looked like a local. So it is still somewhat of a mystery.
We got up a little earlier today to get a good start. We had breakfast at a little french place. We don't have to have Irish food for every meal, do we? :)
After that we jumped on one of the touristy double decker buses. You can hop on and off as often as you like. We jumped off at St. Patrick's church. We walked around and looked at the beautiful building but we couldn't figure out how to get in. (Later we realized there was a service going on.) Then we went to Christ Church Cathedral. We took the tour. It was quite magnificent. In most parts of the church you could take pictures. I took one. But I figured the camera wouldn't do the church justice. So if you want to see it in all of its beauty you have to go see it yourself. The church had a crypt. That had some really cool stuff, which you couldn't take pictures of. Some of the paintings were so amazing. 
After that we hopped back on the bus and got off at the Guinness Storehouse stop. We took the tour, which was pretty cool, looked through the gift shop and, of course, the best part had a pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar. It was a cool view of Dublin and quite relaxing. I can now officially wear my Guinness shirt since I drank my whole pint. The storehouse also has a restaurant (and a place where you can pour your own Guinness--it is really an art). So Curt and I had lunch at the restaurant. He had a a seafood chowder and I had a brie quiche. Both were quite yummy. I also had a half pint of Guinness--I like to refer to it as a baby pint. After that we hopped back on the bus and got off at the Jameson Distillery. We took the little bit cheesy tour. (Rick Steves had mentioned it was a tad touristy.) But I am still glad we did it. In the beginning they ask for 3 male and 3 female volunteers for a whiskey tasting. Curt encouraged me to volunteer. So I did--yes, I am nuts. Once the tour was done everyone got a "glass" if Jameson except for the 6 of us. We went to a table with 5 tiny whiskey shots to taste. We tried 3 Irish (Paddy's, Jameson and ???), one Scottish (Johhny Walker) and one American (Jack Daniels). I am really not a whiskey fan. So I took the tiniest tastes possible. Jameson was the best. Tho. I have to say last time I had it and the first was at Erica and Casey's wedding and it went down a lot smoother since I had already had a couple of glasses of wine. I also got a certificate. HA! I think we will have to frame and hang in our house. Then we all got our glass of Jameson. And I had to add coke to mine. 
After the distillery Curt and I decided to walk. We headed to the oldest Irish pub--the Brazen Head. Then some more walking.
Then back to the hotel. And then to the the Hairy Lemon. (Yes, I realize our day was very focused on alcohol.) While at the Lemon I also filled out the last of the postcards.
We had pasta for dinner and then took a walk around St. Stephens Greens Park. It was a very nice stroll. 
I just took a shower and now I have to start packing. Ugh! We brought an extra duffel bag. So just have to figure out what goes where.
We get in tomorrow night about 8 p.m. our time. So likely no phone calls to family until the weekend.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Lots of shoe stores

So while in London (in Covent Garden) and in Dublin (on Grafton Street) I have noticed A LOT of shoe stores. Cute stuff. But I have not seen one mani/pedi place. Weird.
So last night I met Curt at the Hairy Lemon for a pint. Afterward I went to a nearby restaurant for Irish Stew and a pint and Curt came back to the hotel. Then I came back and he went out for dinner. He had carvery at O'Neill's. He came back about 9 and then we ventured out together, back to O'Neill's. They had a live Irish band, which was quite good.
Today we went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells, which was quite magnificent. We also got to walk through the college's old library. All of the old books were so beautiful. I could have sat there for hours and just looked at the books stacked on the shelves. We stopped at a cute restaurant for lunch afterward. I had a goat cheese crostini, which was huge and delicious. Did some souvenir shopping. Before lunch we went to the Old Post Office and saw the Proclamation of 1916 and saw the bullet holes, which still remain in the post office's outside columns.
At some point we headed back to the Hairy Lemon for a pint. Then we did some more walking around. And then back to O'Neill's for dinner. Curt had carvery with potatoes, and what do you need when you have potatoes? More potatoes! And that is what Curt had. I had Irish fish and chips, which was huge and good. I was so full after that I practically had to roll back to our room. 
I have looked through The Irish Times, which I have to say is a real newspaper. There is so much more news than ads. Wow, what a concept. They could use some editing and better headline writing. But the paper has substance.
Tomorrow we are going to take one of the touristy buses where you can hop on and off all day. The bus will take us to the Guinness Brewery and the Jameson Distillery. We are planning on hitting both. 
Tomorrow is our last fully day in Dublin. We fly home Friday.
It has been a really good vacation. We have seen a lot, but have also done a lot of relaxing, which is what vacation is supposed to be all about.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ready to get drunk, Seamus?

That is what I asked Curt as our plane landed in Dublin this morning. There is a scene in the wedding crashers about someone named Seamus ready to get drunk.
Anyway, yesterday we had a good time at the football match. Newcastle didn't win. But it was still cool. Chelsea won 2-0. When Curt and I got to the stadium we went through a bar first. We had a drink and then headed to our seats. You couldn't take alcohol into the seats. So for most of the match people actually stayed in their seats and didn't walk around too much. The place was sold out and every seat was taken. We took lots of pics.
Before the game I had my lunch at the chippy. Yum and greasy! We had a pint before that at a bar near the chippy. They wouldn't let me bring the food in so we went back to the hotel for me to munch. Then off again.
After the football match we went back to our room and took our "colors" off. Then out to dinner at the Big Mussel. We both had the mussel starter. Yum! I had a delicious salmon dinner and Curt had fried scampi and chips.
We then walked to the Millennium Bridge. A guy in London told Curt that is the most romantic place so he had to kiss me while on the bridge. Ha!
After our walk back to the hotel to shower and pack. We had an early flight this morning.
We flew on Ryan Air out of Newcastle. It is cheap but they gouge you other ways. If your bag is over a certain weight you have to pay extra. We already knew we would. But ouch!
We had a cool and crazy driving taxi driver named Liam. He was full of information for us.
We were lucky to check into our room early. We dropped our stuff off and went walking. We had a full Irish breakfast then a pint of Smithwick's. Then more walking around. Then we came back to the hotel for a nap.
Curt is across the street at a bar called the Hairy Lemon. Ha! I am going to join him shortly.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A rude awakening

A little after 6 a.m. this morning the damn fire alarms went off. The are so loud and ear piercing. At first Curt and I didn't know if we should leave the room. We got our coats and room keys and headed down the stairs. We were outside with some other hotel stayers. And the fire trucks showed up. No one seemed hurried. And after about 5-10 mins if standing outside (thank goodness it wasn't raining) we got to go back inside. I, of course, couldn't sleep for a bit. But eventually got back to bed. 
Today is the big football match. It should be a lot of fun. The game starts at 4 p.m. and we plan to be at the stadium by 3. It is only about a 10 minute walk from our hotel.
OK, gotta get the computer back to Curt before our 24-hours of Internet time runs out.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I want to be a Geordie

After my last post Curt and I headed to Starbucks for coffee that won't drill a hole in your stomach. Then we headed to the Newcastle football stadium. We showed our memberships cards and got our free tickets for the tour. We checked in with the tour and were part of the red card group. The first group was the yellow card group. 
Our tour guide was Sue and she was really great. She was funny and absolutely loved telling us about the team and the stadium. It was a really cool tour. For someone who doesn't care too much about football I found it a lot of fun. I am glad we did it. We got to go into a box and look out onto the field, we went into the changing room (locker room), we went into the dug out, we also went into a childrens'/parents' area. They had a huge Connect Four game, XBox 360 and other cool stuff. The tour was super cool and we got a lot of great pics. 
After the tour we went into Shearer's bar (Alan Shearer is a former Newcastle football player) and had lunch and watched some football. After that we hit the "official store" and bought some stuff. Then we headed back to our room for a break.
At some point Curt found a chippy online, right behind our hotel and went and got himself some food. I had a little of it. Good and greasy fish, chips (fries) and mayo. I am thinking I may have that for lunch tomorrow.
I have actually started reading a book Mia lent me. I didn't think I would be reading much while on holiday. But sometimes you need a break (especially from the rain) and the TV here isn't that great. And this book is so good! I am reading My Sister's Keeper. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it. Very good, moving. 
Tomorrow is the football match. We will likely hit a pub or two before. And I plan on hitting the chippy for lunch. 
Tuesday we leave early on Ryan Air (Europe's version of Southwest) for Dublin. Our only real plan while in Dublin is hitting the Guinness brewery, get a tour and a pint. 

We're in Newcastle

Our Internet was free in London. Well, at the hotel you had to pay for it but we were able to find free Wi-Fi so we never paid for it. Here we are paying for it. So there may not be as many updates. 
Anyway, we took the train from London to Newcastle yesterday morning. The train ride went well. I enjoy riding trains. We got into Newcastle about noon. Our hotel is right across from the train station. We dropped off our bags and went for lunch. We found a place called the Big Mussel and had lunch. I had a delicious pasta dish and Curt had a bowl of mussels. I tasted a couple. They were really yummy. After that we found a bar with a million TVs playing a football match. We stopped in for a pint and watched some football. We noticed Poncho's Stag Party while we were there. All the guys had on T-shirts and names on the back. My favorite was Tito's Love Child. We started noticing a lot of stag and hen parties. I mean, they were everywhere. And man, they start partying early.
After the football match we came back to our hotel to check in. I took a nap and Curt did some wandering around. He went to the stadium to pick up our football tickets for the game tomorrow. He said in line in front of him were about 3 guys who tried to buy tickets. The woman at the counter told them they were sold out. Curt gets our tickets. Then behind him is a mom and a little boy. The little boy is all dressed up in Newcastle gear. The mom asks if there are any tickets for sale. Nope. Curt said that almost killed him and he was close to giving them away. Awwww. Curt said the mom told the boy, Well, your Uncle William is a Newcastle season ticket holder so you will have to ask him to take you to a game. 
Curt and I did some more wandering. Seeing all kinds of stag and hen parties. Most people were dressed up. Very interesting. I had a pint of Newcastle at a place called The Strawberry. The bartender actually told us Newcastle in the bottle is better than on draft. Can you believe that? I still had it on draft. I mean, I can get a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale in the States. After that more wandering. We ended up eating at a place called The Slug and Lettuce. Nothing special. But man, that place got crowded. We asked our waitress about all the stag parties. She said she has no idea why they all come to Newcastle. 
This morning we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. We have never had coffee that strong before. Bleh. But the food was good. I got cleaned up. I have to say the hairdryer was annoying. You have to hold down a button with your thumb to keep it on. It is a very awkward spot and my thumbs got tired. So my hair is still damp. And now we are using the Internet.
Shortly we are going to take a tour of the Newcastle football stadium. We get in free for being members. Then likely pub crawling after that. There are pubs around here everywhere. And a lot of the buildings are super old.
Oh, I keep forgetting to mention ... no smoking in England. Well, outside there is. But I was worried about all the smoke. But it has been fine. And apparently Ireland is the same way. Woo-hoo! A couple of years ago my friend and co-worker Alex went to Spain for two weeks. She came home with a smoker's cough and she isn't a smoker.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Quick update

It is late and I have to get up early tomorrow morning. So just a quick update.
This morning Curt and I had the all you can eat English Breakfast at our hotel restaurant. It was pretty good. Of course, not as good as Porky's Pantry. Then after that we went up in the London Eye. It is a huge very slow moving ferris-wheel type thing that gives you a very cool view of the city. After that we hit the British Museum. The coolest thing were the mummies. Cleopatra was there. They had a lot of cool stuff at the museum. After the museum we got caught in the rain so we headed to the closest restaurant/pub called All Bar One. Horrible service. Curt got regular pepsi sted of diet. My glass had lipstick (not mine) on it. And it took us forever to get our drinks. Then I couldn't open my water bottle. And it took Curt like 10 minutes to pry it open for me. After that the Angel & Crown for a pint then back to the hotel. I got cleaned up and we headed to a bowling alley to meet our Macworld UK friends. We had a blast. The bowling alley was circa 1974. We had a ton of fun bowling, playing foos ball, talking, drinking, eating dinner. Karen planned a fun night. And Mark and Rosie were a ton of fun to hang out with along with David, Andy and all the others. 
I need to get to bed as we have a 9 a.m. train to Newcastle tomorrow.
I have to say I could totally see us living in London. It is such a great city, no language barrier, dripping with culture (and Italians on holiday we noticed), easy to get around in and just a fun city to be in.
Good night. Not sure how much updating will be happening while in Newcastle and Dublin. Not sure how easy the WiFi will be as it has been here. 

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Checking things off the list

We did a lot of stuff today. We had planned to have the all you can eat English breakfast at our hotel. But we, especially Curt, didn't sleep well. So we slept in. Well, until the 10:15 a.m. test alarm. I thought Curt knew about it. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when it went off. Curt got a rude awakening this morning. What a way to wake up. 
So after the alarm we went to a little cafe for breakfast. It started raining and we hadn't brought the umbrella with us. We weren't far from the hotel so we went back to get it. Then it was pouring so we decided to wait out the downpour. 
Once it cleared up we were on our way. I got my pic taken with Big Ben. We had walked by it earlier in the week. But I hadn't snapped it yet. 
After Big Ben we took a tour of the Westminster Abbey. It is magnificent inside and out. You can't take pictures inside--so only pics of the outside. The wood work, marble, stained glass, etc. is so beautiful. There was an absolutely breathtaking painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. I could have started at it for hours. There are also a lot of dead people there. Kinda creepy. Some of note are Newton, Dickens, Darwin, lots of kings and queens. 
After the Abbey we headed to Buckingham Palace. The building itself is not that amazing at all. We watched the guards for a bit. We got some pics. And then Curt and I walked to Covenant Garden for lunch. We decided to eat at a place called Porky's Pantry, which serves breakfast all day. So we had each had an English breakfast. I had tomatoes with mine and Curt had baked beans. It was quite yummy. The service was quite good, too. We sat at the table on the sidewalk, which was by a very tight street. There were a couple of times I was worried I was gonna get squished.
After lunch we went to a pub called Punch & Judy's. We sat "outside." The area is enclosed, but still kinda outside. We just people watched and had a pint. 
After Punch & Judy's we took a ride on a double decker bus. That was fun and crazy. Tiny streets but they make their way around. We sat up top and right up front. So we got a full show of the ride.
Eventually off the bus and we took a walk through Hyde Park. It was a nice walk and not too cold. Then the Tube home. 
I was exhausted so I took a nap. Curt and I had dinner at the hotel restaurant so he could watch some football match. 
Now I gotta fill out some postcards.
Gail, not sure about that kidney pie. We haven't had fish and chips yet because we can't have them unless we have them from chippy or chippie (sp?). So we likely won't have them until we are in Newcastle. 
Now the spacing is screwing itself up and I can't figure out why. Oh well.