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.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

An Adoring Addition to Shannon's Fan Club

In February I had a solo trip to Atlanta. I went to visit one of my best friends Sandi and her new little edition, Princess Shannon. What a little cutie pie! Big eyes and a bigger smile which is turned on over 80% of the time.

Shannon laughing with me on the floor

During my visit I was witness to a couple of important baby milestones, the first was a self propelled flip from tummy to back. The second milestone which was almost as important... baby's first shopping marathon! Based on Shannon's reaction to the 4 - 5 hours we spent in the mall I believe she's going to be an expert shopper as are her mother and I!
While we were out we also made sure Shannon had the appropriate amount of exposure to Starbucks. By the time I left she was starting to become more interested in our coffee than her bottle (I'm only slightly exaggerating!).

Me and Shannon at, you guessed it...STARBUCKS!!!

While I was visiting I was re-introduced into the life of babies. Like clock work Shannon was up between 2am and 3am for a sip of water, then up again between 5:30am and 6:00am to eat. Of course Sandi did most of the work, but I did get my baby practice in by helping with the day feedings and rocking her when she was disgruntled. She's one of the most turned on baby's I've ever seen, she intensely curious and doesn't want to miss a thing.

Shannon, struggling to stay awake.

I watched Shannon for a few hours one day so Sandi could get some closet organization done and I took some very cute photos. This is one of my favorites, it reminds me of those photos that were popular a few years ago of big headed puppies. What a lovely baby!

Shannon lying on Sandi's bed.

I had an excellent time visiting Shannon and hope to see her again in June or July when she'll be about 10 months old. Wonder what she'll be up to then - walking?

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Eat, Drink, and be Merry!

One of my best friends, Shonda, came into town in March for business and was able to extended her stay for a nice weekend visit on either side of the trip. YES! We had a wonderful time. We hung out at the house watched "B" movies like Alligator, Lake Placid, and Snakes on a Plane.

We also went out to a London club with some of my friends from the Shell project, and took a walk down Bond street to look at all the posh stores. While we were window shopping it started to rain (what a surprise) and so we went to my favorite pub in London, The Mews.

One of the best things about living in London has been traveling to Scotland and tasting the different whiskys available. Unfortunately its making my taste more discerning and I prefer the nicer whiskys now - which means I'm going to be spending more money on our bar at home!
At the Mews they have a wonderful 30 year Macallen which I absolutely love and since Shonda is a whisky drinker too, I had to take her so she could enjoy it. We started with the 30 year then decided to try the 18 so we could taste the difference. Just a note...don't go high to low when you are drinking whisky, the 18 year isn't bad but after the 30 it tasted like lighter fluid (or what I assume it would taste like!).

Another night Me, Sammy and Shonda all went to at Clos Maggiore which had both excellent service and food.

Shonda and I also went to another of my favorite restaurants in London, La Pont de la Tour where we had lobster and enjoyed an excellent view of the Tower Bridge.

And on the weekend before she left we actually did a little site seeing. We went to Stratford upon Avon to visit Shakespeare's home.
Me and Shonda in Stratford

Keeping in line with my normal habit of not getting out of the house (or hotel if I'm on vacation) early we arrived in Stratford at around 2pm. Thankfully Shonda isn't an early riser either and was down with the leisurely schedule!
We visited Shakespeare's house...
Me and Sammy at Shakespeare's house

After visiting Shakespeare's house we walked around town and had a look at some of the medieval houses, which surprisingly enough, are still lived in.
Crooked House

We walked around for a little while then popped into a cafe which had a really interesting interior. I especially liked the staircase. The food wasn't bad but the service left much to be desired. So we skipped desert, walked around town a little more, then left to go back to London.