Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Valentine's Day - And What I Love Most

This Valentine's weekend luckily fell on a 3-day weekend, so we both finished up with work early and took the train from Cambridge to London Friday afternoon.  Once we arrived, we checked into our favorite hotel, the Renaissance Chancery Court and relaxed for a bit.  Later that night, we went to the National Gallery, as its open late on Fridays, and grabbed dinner at Thai Cafe in Trafalgar Square.  We also checked out the Olympic excitement in Trafalgar Square (2012, London!).

National Gallery
Olympic Ice Sculpture, Trafalgar Square

Saturday we woke up and headed to the Tower of London, and the Tower Bridge - great experience and everyone who visits London should see this place.  From there we grabbed lunch and took the tube back to Covent Garden - we had tickets the the matinee showing of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" starring Sanna Lathan, Phylicia Rashad, and James Earl Jones.  What a magnificent production by Debbie Allen!!  And James Earl Jones was the STAR of this play!  After the play we grabbed dinner at Sopihe's, a yummy steakhouse in the theatre district of the city.

Tower Bridge, taken from the Tower of London
Novello Theatre, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Sunday, we took  a train out to Greenwich, where we visited the local attractions like the National Maritime Museum, the Painted Hall and the Queen's House. We also  stood on the Prime Meridian and set our watches at the most accurate place on earth! We also had pretty good fajitas and margaritas at Cafe Sol  - great day, cold, but lots of fun together!

That line in between us is the Prime Meridian, and yes..that is it

Monday, we hung out on Oxford and Regent Streets - and planned our shopping adventure that's scheduled for this coming weekend, and ate lunch at Maxwell's - the best place for chicken wings we have found so far :)

I was reflecting on this trip the past few days, and while there were no flowers, balloons or teddy bears on Valentine's Day - I was surrounded by many of the things that I love - him, a cool city, things I have never experienced before, great food and drinks, and a cultural and historical lesson that I am blessed to receive.  It was a beautiful weekend and there is nothing that I would change - not even the times we got lost, couldn't decide where to eat, got caught in the rain, etc - it all made the trip special and a moment of my life that I will always cherish - I cannot wait to see what's next!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Support Our Troops

Since moving to England a week ago, I have thought a lot about the commitment that our military and their families make for us.   I did not grow up in a military family, and I always thought that while I appreciated what our military does for us every day, that I KNEW it was not something for me.  And...here I am, about to become a part of a military family!  And so far, this experience, has taught me so much about the sacrifices that are made every single day for our freedom.

It seem cliche to type "Support Our Troops" these days, but I don't think we can really overstate this.  Over this past weekend, we went to comedy show just off the military base.  Until then, I had not yet realized how young some of the people are who serve - some of these kids are not old enough to buy drinks, but are here in England away from everything that they know.  I am learning so much right now, but also becoming more appreciative everyday....

I found this poem title "The Military Wife"  - I can relate to a lot of this - not the babies, not yet...but its a good poem - check it out:

The Military Wife

The good Lord was creating a model for military wives and was into his
sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared. She said, "Lord, you seem to
be having a lot of trouble with this one. What's the matter with the
standard model?" 

The Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? She has to be
completely independent, posses the qualities of both father and mother, be
a perfect hostess to four or forty with an hour's notice, run on black
coffee, handle every emergency imaginable without a manual, be able to
carry on cheerfully, ever if she's pregnant and has the flu, and she must
be willing to move 10 times in 17 years. And oh, yes, she must have six
pairs of hands."

The angel shook her head. "Six pairs of hands? No way!" 

The Lord continued, "Don't worry, we shall make other military wives to
help her. And we will give her an unusually strong heart so it can swell
with pride in her husband's achievements, sustain the pain of separations,
beat soundly when it's over-worked and tired, and be large enough to say 'I
understand,' when she does not, and say 'I love you,' regardless." 

The angel circled the model of the military wife, looked at it closely and
sighed, "It looks fine, but it's too soft." 

"She might look soft," replied the Lord, "but she has the strength of a
lion. You would not believe what she can endure."

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the
Lord's creation. "There's a leak," she announced. "Something is wrong with
the construction. I am not surprised that it has cracked. You are trying to
put too much into this model." 

The Lord appeared offended at the angel's lack of confidence. What you see
is not a leak," he said. "It's a tear." 

"A tear? What is it there for?" asked the angel.

The Lord replied, "It's for joy sadness, pain, disappointment, loneliness,
pride and a dedication to all the values that she and her husband hold

"You are a genius!" exclaimed the angel.

The Lord looked puzzled and replied, "I didn't put it there." 
Borrowed from the Black Knight Wives HMM
264 (REIN)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

you can take the girl outta the country...

You know how the saying goes!  well, this is my first time living out of the US and more importantly living outside of the South!!! I am a Southern girl to the core of my soul and there are so many things I am going to miss about living in the South (southern United States that is, not Southern UK).  I was going through some recent photos I took before I left, and came across this one that I took at a local gas station/gambling joint/convenience store in Mebane, NC - my dad frequents this place.  Its the kind of place thats both sketchy and familiar ....you know, the place that if you weren't from the area or from the south, you would NEVER even stop and ask this place for directions - but, familiar in that it felt like I had seen all of the store's patrons in similar stores across the south.

If you aren't from the South, you may not have any clue what this is, and if you are...well then, you know exactly what I'm talking about!

Pickled sausage, pickles, pickled eggs, and pickled pigs feet - for sale