Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas in Finland

Sammy and I are celebrating Christmas in Helsinki, Finland. It's been really nice and relaxing so far because the Fins celebrate all three days, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. Everything is closed except the hotel restaurants.
Even though everything is closed Sammy and I have been walking around and peeking in the shops. One thing we've decided is that the Santa Clause over here looks a little different than the ones I'm use to seeing. He doesn't seem very friendly.
Scary Santa
While Sammy and I were strolling around Helsinki we stopped by the Cathedral which is the largest in Western Europe. It was really pretty, and there was a Christmas Concert playing, we wanted to go, but we weren't able to get tickets because it was already sold out.

Me and Sammy
After taking a look at the Cathedral we wandered down to the harbor. There was a old style tall ship in the slip and when we got closer to it we realized it was a restaurant. So we strolled down into the shops and found a fur shop that sold hats. So now I'm a proud owner of a fuzzy black hat!
Me in my Babuska hat!
As Sammy and I walked down the street after buying my hat we noticed that there are a lot of restaurants in Helsinki that are Michelin reccomended. Tonight is that first night that most restaruants are open and we're going to try one called Yume. Which is Japanese, not Finnish. Tomorrow night we may try a Finnish one if we get back from Turku in time.

Sammy in front of a Michelin recommended Finnish restaurant.
Sammy and I were suprised that the city wasn't decorated for Christmas more. The Fins seem to use decorations sparingly. Even though it wasn't as decorated as much as we had anticipated it was still really nice.

Main town square
While walking around the shops we also saw something that seems to be a common occurance during the holiday season...PIGS. I guess the Fins also believe that pigs are good luck during the holiday season.
Christmas window showcasing a pig

Tommorrow we are going to Turku which is the old capital city of Finland. More then...

Our Christmas Tree in Dubai

Sammy and I put up our Christmas tree. It sits in the hall upstairs and the cat loves to play with the low hanging ornaments. Cranky woke me up about 4am playing with a gold star she pulled off the tree, it sounded like someone was trying to get into the house. But Gabi wasn't barking so I got up to investigate and found her having a grand old time batting the star up and down the hall!

Here is a photo with the flash on - the big chrsitmas ball is one we bought in Sweden 2 years ago.

I took another photo of the tree without the flash and I like it better because it looks more like Christmas.
And here is our 2007 Christmas self portrait

Merry Christmas!!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Belgium and the Netherlands

Sammy had a business meeting in Genval Belgium over Thanksgiving, since I've never been to Belgium we decided to take a few extra days and do a little site seeing. We landed in Schiphol Airport on Wednesday evening made our way to Rijswijk where we stayed the night. The next day I went to Delft while Sammy had some business meetings.

Me and Sammy in Schiphol Airport

Delft was really nice, I found a shop that sold handmade wood candle holders and handpainted Delft pottery. The building the store was in was really old, the ceiling had a really nice mural painted on it and according to the shopkeeper the painting was about 300 years old. The shop keeper was very nice, she made coffee and we sat and chatted for about 1/2 hour.
This is a partial photo of the ceiling

After Delft we took the Eurostar to Brussels where we stayed the night and wondered around a bit. I really liked all the small shops that were surrounding the Grand Place. We only stayed in Brussels one night because we were going to Brugge for the weekend to meet one of our friends from London, Samara.

Grand Place, Brussels 

But we had enough time to check out the archeological dig in the old palace poke around in some of the comic book shops. We also browsed around in the cookie, chocolate and Beer shops.

Beer shop

Brugge was a beautiful little town, it has canals and of course a lot of little shops. It was also decorated for Christmas and had a little Christmas market set up in one of the squares. We stayed in a nice place, the Hotel Jan Brito
While in Brugge we walked around the shops, checked out the Christmas market and Samara and I went shopping. Sammy being the gentleman he is carried all of the bags.

Shopping in Brugge

Sammy had to leave early to go to his meeting in Genval so Samara and I did a bit more shopping before she left. While we were out and about we found this little coffe shop that served the most incredible hot chocolate that I've ever tasted. The hot chocolate was served in a large cup with hot milk and a tulip of chocolate in the middle which melted right in front of you. They also served up delicious pastries.
Hot Chocolate

After Samara left to go back to London Sunday night I met Sammy in Genval. It's a nice little town with a small lake on which the hotel was located. While Sammy was in his meetings I walked the lake and visited the town. On Tuesday night we left Genval to go back to Amsterdam so we could catch our flight out of town on Wednesday. Unfortunately, when we were in the Brussels train station Sammy's backpack was stolen. Right out from under our feet...literally. One guy distracted us while the other one came behind us and pulled the backpack from under our feet. It was awful because they not only got away with his computer, but they took his passport. So we ended up spending an extra week in Belguim.
Since Sammy has an Indian passport it was even more of an inconvenience than it would have been because of the visas that are stamped into his passport that let us travel at will. We had a trip to Finland booked for Christmas so there was a possiblity that we would have to cancel it because his 2 year Schengen visa would have to be replaced.
Even though we spent a lot of time at the Indian Embassy and Sammy had to work we did get to go to Ghent over the weekend. It's as nice as Brugge and it also had a huge castle in the middle of town. Of course my camera battery was dead and I had left my spare in the hotel room so there are no photos.
But we did go to a Christmas market in Brussels where where I took some video of the old style merry go round.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Needlepoint and a House Blessing

I've slacked off a little on my needlepoint, but I'm almost finished with my 3rd project and I've put my 4th into a lap frame to make it easier to work on.

My first needlework project 
Number 2!

House Update: We have Internet now! It was just installed today.
Furniture Update: We've hit a snag. Customs decided, as of last week, a residence visa is necessary to obtain your furniture. Well yesterday Allied said that customs was allowing people to get their stuff if they paid a duty, which would be refunded if proof of residency could be shown within 30 days.
The woman at Allied - Daisy - said that they would pay the duty and bill us so we could get our furniture on November 10th. But she was going on vacation and she was handing over our account to her colleague - Astrid. Yes, Astrid. I had a good laugh with that one, an office full of flowers.
Well today I spoke with Astrid, and she said she didn't know when we would be able to get our furniture. Interesting, the reason was because she may have to deal with a different customs agent than Daisy. Needless to say I was a bit peeved. Astrid is going to call me tomorrow with a delivery date, let us all cross our fingers, toes too if you can, and hope that it will be the 10th.
Tomorrow I'm going to the house to get the dust off the floors and counter tops in preparation for our move, on the 10th.
Hope springs eternal.
Sunday we had a House Blessing. This is something that is done to ensure a happy home. The function was attended by my Father-in-law, Sammy's Uncle, myself and Guru (who is my Father-in-law's live in help). It was a really nice ceremony and I like that the reason for it is to promote a happy home and a long happy life.

Sammy's Dad, Uncle, Sammy, and Guru

The first step is to consult with an astrologer to determine the auspicious day and the auspicious time. Which for us was this past Sunday between 9:00 - 10:00am. Then you bring oil, bananas, flowers (including jasmine which smelled wonderful), and a picture of the gods.

Ceremonial items

Prayers are then said.
Sammy's Uncle Sundrum Praying

Part of the ceremony includes heating milk with saffron and sugar on the stove until it rises, then you drink the milk. I'm not a big fan of milk, but I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it, it was pretty good.

House Blessing Self Portrait

Friday, November 2, 2007

Favorite Finds in Dubai

I'm still in Starbucks, sitting with Sammy who is working because one of his clients are going live today in the UK. Since we're still here I decided to list my favorite places to go so far in Dubai.

Hair: Hair Dreams

Hair Dreams
Rotana Towers
Sheikh Zayed Road
+9 71 4 3438828

When I Googled the salon I found another person who seems to like them as much as I do...

I had them cut and style my hair before I let them color it. I really liked the results and so this will be my salon until we move out of Dubai.

Nails: Can't remember the name...

Hair Dreams also has a nail tech - and she does a good job but I liked the nail salon in Arabian Ranches better, it's more convenient and they have a massage therapist to die for (she only does head and neck). However Sammy cannot go here because they serve women only.

I did find a nail salon which would serve Sammy and they have the spa chairs that we love. The only thing is that we have to call in advance so they can make sure no ladies (as they are called here) are scheduled to come in. Many of the Muslim women refuse to be in the same room as a man when they are getting their nails done. Which is why there are gentleman's salons here.

Waxing: Hair Dreams
Hair Dreams again. I do hate waxing though it's a pain!

Body Massage: Feet First
I haven't gone to any of the SPA's here yet, but I did go to a place in the Ibn Battuta Mall called Feet First. I had a back massage and reflexology on my feet. 90 minutes only cost $65 or £33 for those of you in London. It was the first time I had a Shiatsu Massage and it was one of the best I'd ever had. I was kind of startled though when the girl got on top of the massage table to press on my back. But I got over it quickly, the massage was like a combination of a chiropractic adjustment and a deep tissue massage. Highly recommend this type of massage for those who enjoy a deep tissue massage.


Emirates Mall - Best food and most interesting to walk
Ibn Battuta Mall - Best Internet connection and our Gym
Dubai Festival City Mall - This mall isn't finished yet but it's huge and has IKEA

There are many more malls that we haven't been to yet as well as some of the traditional Souks. I want to go to Sharjah the Emirate next door to Dubai because they are suppose to have a huge Souk where you can buy rugs, house hold items, fabric etc. But we're not going until after we move into our house.

Surprise, Surprise

Well I'm back at Starbucks again - in the ibn battuta mall . I'm surfing the Net which is being provided by the newest of the 2 phone / Internet companies in the UAE. It's just recently that they allowed competition against the incumbent phone company. Kind of like Ma Bell in the States before they were disbanded? Deregulated? or whatever happened when the government broke them up way back when (yes I am too young to remember).

Anyway, I wanted to check something, when I downloaded Skype to my laptop I sent the link to Sammy he sent me a note back saying that it was a forbidden website. Hmmm. I thought that was interesting because I can't think of a reason why the UAE would be morally or religiously against talking on the phone over the Internet. Turns out the old company is blocking out their competition! Smart if you don't want to lose business, but really frustrating if you're trying to find a cheap way to communicate to the world.

So having found out that the blocks aren't always due to moral or religious reasons, I logged onto Facebook while using the Du network to see if the Mood Indicator application worked. And guess what?! It's not blocked when using the new company. Guess which Internet company we're going with....

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dubai, the Saga Continues

I'm sitting in Starbucks (surprise, surprise) in the Mall using the free Internet to catch up on e-mail and my blog. Sammy's Dad just upgraded his Internet, but Sammy needs to do something with it when he gets back from Abu Dhabi because the concrete walls have decreased the signal and it's very, very slow.

We have our house!!! We finalized the rental about the 11th of October and have since been getting it ready to move in.
Our complex - view from the spare room upstairs

I decided that living with white walls was too depressing so we painted the walls. Actually I started the paint job and one of the laborers in the complex finished it. It was much easier and he did a really good job for very little money.
We also had to buy a stove and refrigerator because they are not included when you rent a house (unless the last tenant left it). Those were delivered and installed at the beginning of the week, as well as our new washing machine. As everyone knows one of my biggest pet peeves living in London was the teeny tiny washing machines. Well I have a big one now - not as big as I could get in the US, but it'll hold about 23lbs of wash. I can wash my bedding and choose the water level in the machine!
It's very exciting!

We still have some things that need to be completed but they can wait until we move in. One of them is landscaping the back yard. It's pretty big, but it's only sand. We have to find someone to put in a patio and grass. The landlady would have done it but it would have increased our rent and we found it would be cheaper to do it ourselves.

The right hand side of the yard

Sammy and I brought Gabi to the house one night and she ran around the back yard like a mad dog. She really likes the sand over here. Too bad dogs are banned from the beaches she'd have a blast.
We also need curtains but I'm going to try and make those myself (see the birthday entry)
Our furniture is scheduled to arrive on November 3rd, but apparently it takes 7 -9 days for it to clear customs so if we wait for the furniture we won't be moving into the house until the week of the 10th. But we just got cable and a new TV set (Sammy said it was critical that we have it set up asap!) in the house already - so we've been thinking about buying a guest bed for the guest room and just sleeping at the house anyway, after the Internet is connected of course, which should be next week.
Sammy and I also joined a gym - Fitness First - we belonged to it in London but the Dubai branches are HUGE and memberships include all of the classes (including yoga and Pilate's) Internet connection and movie rentals. The gyms also have very large sitting areas for the members to socialize and work on their computers. It's pretty cool. I went for the first time today and really enjoyed the workout. They have about 10 big screen TV's going that you can plug in your head phones and listen to which made the time go by very fast.
I've also been looking into Skype which is a way to have free phones calls over the Internet between Skpye subscribers. Vonage is not available here as of yet so we have to figure out another way to keep in touch with everyone without paying an arm and a leg. If anyone is interested here is the website. I've downloaded it but haven't quite figured it all out yet. I also need to purchase a headset for my computer to use it.

My Birthday

Just call me Suzy Homemaker...when Sammy asked me what I wanted for my birthday I said a sewing machine. Yes, you heard right, a sewing machine. I have this grand idea that I'm going to finish the quilt I started in University and sew curtains for the windows in our new place. I'm becoming very crafty in my unemployment.

I started small to test to see if I'll keep on with it, so far I've finished 2 needlepoint projects and I'm in the process of completing a 3rd and my 4th one is bigger project. It's either going to be a wall hanging or a pillow. I also purchased a book on how to make curtains and how to make felt. I had no idea felt is just pieces of wool that's been wetted and basically rubbed together until it sticks. I'm looking forward to trying make some felt after we move, after I sew curtains, after I finish the projects I've already started. Good luck to me!

However, I know once I start working all this craft ambition will most likely decrease. It's amazing how creative you get when you aren't spending 12 - 14 hours a day working, getting ready for work or traveling to and from work. I saw a program on 20/20 once (a US news show that does 30 min segments on a topic for those who haven't heard of it) it was talking about how much more creative teenagers were than adults. My opinion is they aren't anymore creative, they just don't have to worry about working and paying the bills which frees them up to be creative. I'm incredibly creative when I don't have to work. It's amazing what free time and a little extra money will get ya.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dubai to Date

Well we've been in Dubai for almost 3 weeks (Thursday Oct 11 is the 3 week mark). And we're over the jet lag and have started settling in.
Cranky recovering from Jet Lag!

We found a house in the Arabian Ranches suburb that we really like, but transferring the funds to secure it has been quite the hassle. We're still not sure if we're going to end up renting the house or not, hopefully the landlord will be patient for a few more days.

Here is the website of the developer who built the subdivision we are hoping to live in - the type A villa is the one we'll move into if all works out well!

Fingers Crossed!

Sammy's been working in Abu Dhabi and it takes him about 1.5 hours to commute each way, which is a pain. But his office is moving so that should shave about 30 minutes off the commute and when we move into our house it may shave off another 15 minutes.

Sammy found a service which will send our mail and items we order from Amazon, Drug etc... to us from the U.S. for a cheaper rate than the companies do. We're really looking forward to setting it up because Sammy won't be going home as often as he did when we lived in London. But we can't set it up until the residence visa comes through in about 5 weeks.

And since I can't get my work visa until after the residence visa comes through I've been spending my time looking at houses, white goods (the landlords here don't provide the stove, refrigerator etc...) draperies etc... for the house, looking at options for buying versus leasing cars, cross stitching, organizing our photos etc...

Sammy has been coming with me when looking at the white goods and I'm very excited because I found a washer that holds 10.5kg!!!! That means I can wash just about anything I want, including the bedding!

Since we arrived Ramadan has been in session. And it's very interesting, all of the restaurants except those in the hotels are closed because this is the month of fasting from sunup to sundown.

Which means no food or water and if you're caught blatantly eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset you can be arrested, jailed for a month and fined (I read that bit in a local paper!).
But Ramadan hasn't affected the opening hours of the malls. They stay open until at least midnight every night! It's great!
The only real issue we've encountered aside form getting the money transferred for the house has been access to the Internet. The connection is very bad and access has been very minimal. So I haven't been able to keep in contact with everyone like I'd like to, but that issue should be resolved soon. Right now I'm at the Rotona Hotel in their lobby using their Internet, it's right next door to Sammy's Dad's house so it's very convenient. It also houses my beauty salon, very important to find a good one when you move!

More soon....

Friday, September 7, 2007

Moving to Dubai

Sammy and I are moving to Dubai in a few short days - Thursday the 20th! We're staying with his Dad until we find a place. Right now we think we'll live in the 'burbs b/c animals are not allowed in most of the high rises, which dashed our dream of living a block off the beach.

Over the past few months we've been taking trips to Abu Dhabi and Dubai for Sammy's project and to look at neighborhoods. Here is a photo in Abu Dhabi out of our hotel window.

View from hotel

To the left of the flag is a huge mall, to the right is some kind of government building. And even futher right (but not in the photo) are sand dunes and a HUGE picture of the Sheik. I have a photo of it somewhere I just need to find it to post.

When we were looking at places to live I was using the restroom and saw this sign. It took me a few minutes to realize that the traditional toilet is a hole in the floor which you stand over when you use the toilet (I learned this when I was in Turkey in May of 2006). And some people apparently still like to climb up on the toliets in order to stand over them. Very interesting...

While in Abu Dhabi we went to dinner at the Emirates Palace Hotel

Talk about a beautiful hotel, after we move over we want to spend a weekend there - they give discounts if you have a residence visa. The food was incredible - I actually ate at a buffet, and enjoyed it! All of the rooms are suites and they all come with a private butler and you don't have to stand in reception to check in...they take care of that mundane task in your room!

Self portrait of us in the foyer of the Emirates Palace Hotel

Before we left we spent the night with Sammy's dad, here is a photo of him in his prayer room at home.

Sammy's Dad

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


This is a video of the Humpback Whale we saw while on a boat trip in the Prince William Sound. Will write more about the trip soon...

Saturday, April 21, 2007


For our last road trip in April we took Gabi for a car ride down to Canterbury. Gabrielle LOVES going for a car ride and travels very well. The car ride was about 2 hours and Gabi used that time wisely to rest up before we got there.

Gabi chillin' in the back seat

After we arrived in Canterbury (about 1pm), it was such a beautiful day we grabbed some take out, found a park, had a nice picnic and played ball with Gabi.

Gabi in action!

After we ate we walked through the town which was an interesting mix of old and new. We could also tell tourist season was upon us because you could barely move! Of course it may have just been all of the English people out and about enjoying one of the few sunny days we get in London.


This is the view on the way to the cathedral. When we got to the cathedral we couldn't go in, 1. because we had Gabi and 2. because it was Sunday and they were conducting Mass. But the grounds were really lovely.

Me, Sammy and Gabi in the cathedral grounds

On the way to Canterbury we saw a sign for Ramsgate and I had read a book or saw a movie, I couldn't remember which, that talked about Ramsgate and WWII. There was a similar boat movement from Ramsgate to the one in Dunkirk (we looked it up online). So we got into the car and drove over. But there wasn't anything in the town, no museum, plaques etc..., telling about the towns involvement in WWII, but it was a pretty little town.

Sammy on the coast at Ramsgate

After we arrived in Ramsgate we took a walk down the coast and we discovered that they have white cliffs like they do in Dover. Which by the way we've been meaning to go to but haven't got around to it yet. After our walk down the cliffs, we took Gabi down to the beach and we had so much fun! Sammy took a video with our camera and I love it! Of course I haven't figured out how or if I can load it on the blog site. But she was running and barking and having a grand old time!

I figured out how to upload video - this is one of my favorites of Gabi. She's having such a good time on the beach, she doesn't get to play in the water as much as she use to in Texas so it's fun to watch her splash about now.
And she slept all the way home!

And as you can see - Gabi had an excellent time on the trip, she slept all the way home.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Spa Weekend

At the beginning of April we went to Switzerland for a long weekend of rest and relaxation. We stayed at the Beau Rivage Hotel in Lausanne which I absolutely loved, .
Our hotel had a few bars and cafe's but my favorite was the English Bar. It was our favorite spot to have a drink in the afternoon before dinner. I loved the wood paneling, the whiskey and their chopped steak burger was to die for! It was the next best thing to Texas Beef. The bar was also very comfortable and relaxing.

Sammy and Judith in the English Bar
Our hotel was right on Lake Geneva and the weather couldn't have been better. It was sunny and warm everyday we were in Lausanne, a nice change from the cold and rain in London. The hotel had an excellent Spa which I took full advantage of, I had massages (yes plural!), a facial, body scrub, a mani, pedi and a Japanese bath. I was so relaxed I could barely stay awake.

Sammy also enjoyed the spa facilities he came down to the Spa had a pedicure and enjoyed the pool.
Sammy waiting for his Pedicure
When we weren't enjoying the Spa or pool facilities we were exploring Lausanne. One day We took a paddle boat out on the lake and it was incredible. The water was very smooth and inviting looking but when you dipped your hand in it the water was freezing cold.

Sammy and Judith paddling on Lake Geneva

The Alps around the lake were so majestic they didn't look real. Some days you could hardly see them from the haze but on the day we were paddle boating we had a good view. We could see the Alps from our hotel room, but even when it was hazy the view was so beautiful you just wanted to sit, drink coffee, and quietly enjoy it.
The view from our hotel room

We also wandered around the old part of Lausanne visited a flea market and walked around a cathedral they were restoring. We stopped in a small sandwich shop while we were walking around and we had the best sandwiches I'd ever had. I don't know if it was because we were so hungry or if it was the homemade bread, but they were good.
Judith and Sammy at the Cathedral

Sammy and I also went to the Olympic park and museum, it's only a short walk from the hotel and it was very interesting. They have old tickets and programs as well as sporting equipment from the 1800's. They also had a collection of all of the Olympic torches which had been used and they displayed Olympic inspired art. My favorite was this statue of a man and his umbrella was a fountain.

Judith with Man Fountain

We walk through the parks (there were a few interconnected parks around our hotel) to the lake and one of my favorite Self Portraits Sammy snapped in the park right next to the lake. You can just see our hotel in the background.

On our last day in Lausanne we took a walk along the waterfront before we caught the train to Geneva. In the picture below I think we look like what we feel, very relaxed and happy.
Our last walk on Lake Geneva before going back to London

We didn't see as much as we could have while we were in Switzerland - we didn't even explore Geneva. But we didn't care because we had such a good time relaxing and strolling around Lausanne. I would highly recommend it to anyone who needed to unwind and anyone who enjoys having a Spa vacation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rouen France

In March, after I got back from Atlanta, Sammy and I went to France to visit a couple of his friends from Rice University.

Go Rice Owls!

We took the Eurostar because I had never been on it or through the Chunnel (check another item off the list). I have to say it was much easier and much less stressful than flying and it took about the same amount of time. But according to Sammy it's not a good choice because there are no frequent flyer miles involved.

Sammy and Alex at the Joan of Arc burning site

We had a very nice visit with Alex and Karen. We explored Rouen saw the spot where Joan of Arc was supposedly burned.

Sammy and Karen in the town square

While we were walking around I was introduced to one of the best cookies I've ever tasted (except a homemade Toll House cookie of course!), a Macaroon. After exploring we had dinner at a restaurant which bills itself as the "oldest restaurant in France"

Restaurant La Couronne

Dinner was excellent, I branched out and tried oysters. They were raw. Didn't like them. Glad I tried them - but didn't like them. Saturday we slept in - bliss! Then drove up to Paris, went to Louis Vuitton and browsed (Sammy bought a tie) and then went to dinner at La Fermette Marbeuf which we highly recommend.

It was an excellent dinner, good food, good company, what more could you ask for in a night out?

Next...a visit from one of my best friends from home...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lexi in Atlanta

This post is ohh so late...but better late than never!

My trip to Atlanta was very exciting, not only did I get to meet Princess Shannon, I was able to meet my friend Lisa's new husband Phil! Lisa and Lexi (Gabi's best friend) moved from Houston where they were my neighbors, to Atlanta where Phil lives, back in November.

Lisa and Phil

Lisa had Sandi and I over to her beautiful new house - which was completely unpacked and decorated by the way - for dinner the Tuesday night after I arrived. I'm always in awe of Lisa's organizational skills, I've been in London for 2 years and I still haven't unpacked all my boxes or hung up all our pictures / paintings!
Lexi has been feeling under the weather but she greeted me with her same loud welcoming voice when we arrived at the house.

Lexi Chillin' on the Kitchen Floor

When I returned back to London Gabi was doing some serious sniffing in my bags. I think she could smell Lexi on my clothes and was a little disappointed that she (Lexi) wasn't here in the flesh.

Gabi in Northern England

After I had dinner with Lisa I stayed the night and we went shopping the next day in Roswell. We poked around in a bunch of little shops that had a ton of stuff I wanted to buy. Why is it I always find the furniture I'd like to buy when I'm thousands of miles away from my house?

Lisa's youngest is in the middle holding Shannon

Later that week we popped over to Lisa's house again for dinner and to meet her step-daughters. Lisa also had some other friends from out of town and we all had a great time eating and visiting. Shannon spent her time hanging out with the other kids at the party in the living room.

Lisa's eldest in front

The rest of us hung out in the kitchen chatting. I went home soon after this party...sigh... I was bumped from first class because Northwest was grounded due to a snow storm. So I had to ride coach all the way back to London, very traumatic.

Next trip on to Rouen to visit some old college buddies of Sammy's.

Sad news...Lexi passed away at home on May 21st 2007. She will be missed.