rowanf: (Default)
We got up and I had cheese and jubugo ham with crackers for breakfast. I love having our own flat! Then off we went to the London Eye where we had a 10:30 booking. They call it a "flight" which seems really silly for me. A flight on the world's biggest ferris wheel. Whee. The views were nice enough but the weather was back to grey again. There were seven people in our car, another couple and a trio of guys (my gaydar went off). One of the guys was nice enough to take our picture with the Houses of Parliament behind us.

After that we walked across the Waterloo Bridge and went to see the Gilbert collection at Somerset House. There are some really wonderful micromosaics and snuff boxes in the permanent collection. (They used to be at the Los Angeles Museum.) I particularly liked the Castelliani jewelry collection from the mid-1800s. The Castelliani jewelers were doing wonderful gold work inspired by classical pieces that were being dug up then. There were some I'd've worn in a heartbeat (except my neck is too big for a 19th c. necklace). The visiting collection was decorative items from the Electors of Saxony called "Princely Slendour: The Dresden Court 1580-1620". I love the way everyday object are beautifully decorated. I still want a toaster with embossed rural scenes on it. I don't see why Bauhaus won, I want beauty and functionality.

Then we walked over to Simpsons in the Strand for our lunch. We came to England together for the first time in 1984 for our first wedding anniversary. Here we are at our 22nd. The food hasn't changed but the dress code has relaxed (no coat & tie required at lunch) and there are women servers which there certainly weren't back then. We talked to Guiseppe who has worked there for 46 years (though he's really retired he says). We had the lamb off the carving rack and I had the lobster soup for starters. The food was very good. For desert I had a treacle sponge with custard and I realized that it was the same as the South African national desert "malwa" that I ate so much of in Cape Town. This was slightly orange flavoured and a perfect sponge texture. This desert was my peak dining experience in England this time. I know I've had it before, but somehow this was just perfect.

We caught the No. 9 bus back to Kensington, riding on the 2nd floor so that we can see the interesting architectural features of the upper stories instead of looking at the sidewalk. Now I'm writing this journal entry whilst my computer tops up from 97% so I can walk over to Caffe Nero and post it. The day has gotten hot and bright after all. I'm just not used to the humidity!
rowanf: (Default)
9/6 3:50pm UT

We got up at about 7:30 and wanted down to the breakfast room. The hotel offered a full English breakfast. I had bacon, eggs, beans on toast, mushrooms and stewed tomatoes. Ah! I do love a good breakfast. Russell warns me that I'll gain weight if I keep eating like that. *sigh* Probably true. But it was yummy!

We called a car hire place and found they wouldn't have a car available today until about 10:30, so we reserved one for tomorrow at 9:30 for our trip to Castle Howard and the coast. That left today to look around York. The earliest opening attraction was the York Castle Museum and I'm very glad we checked it out! It is a large museum that centers on life in Yorkshire. There were Victorian and Edwardian storefronts and rooms recreated from period pieces to look as they would in different periods (from about 1750 to the present). There was a whole gallery called "Spotless" on the history of cleaning with lots of soap recipes, early vacuum cleaners, washing machines and such. It was fascinating! There was a "cradle to grave" gallery with everything from birthing instruments to a horse drawn hearse. I liked the wedding and christening gowns. By the time we'd walked through these galleries I really couldn't face the stairs for the other half of the museum. Russell went through that had and tells me I would have really liked the several costume galleries on offer but I just couldn't do it.

Then we rode the beautiful carousel set up in the museum lawn. It was a fun period piece itself and went quite a bit faster than I am used to going. The attendant said they were playing music with a CD player because they had such a problem with vandalism that even though they had all the pieces for the calliope it just wasn't worth keeping it running. And they only had electric lights on the swags rather than the whole of the interior because vandals like to break them. I thought that was very sad.

Then we walked past Fairfax House (and I saw the several story spiral staircase and decided I didn't need to see it! Russell remembered seeing a restaurant called Judge's Yard or something like that and we headed over and had tea and guiness and a salmon parcel stuffed with shrimp and cream cheese. It was nice to dine under a tree and just sit for awhile. Russell then got a balti chicken pie for lunch and we wandered over to York Minster. I chickened out from paying 7 quid to see the church and told him I'd be back in 20 minutes and did a whirlwind souvenier shopping tour. I got my usual walking stick mount and patch. I really need to figure out what to do with all the walking stick mounts I have! Perhaps a shadow box or something to display them in. I picked him back up at the Minster and we walked to several camera stores to see if they had a card reader as Russell had forgotten to bring his. The first place had one for 29, the next for 24 and the last for 15. He decided to go ahead and get the last one as he'd spend that much having CDs made in shops. He brought blank CDs so he could burn things from my laptop, but somehow the reader didn't make it into the luggage. Not that it might not have disappeared when they searched his bag. They took his UK power adapter. Luckily, I had thought we might need two and had one i my bag. We're hoping I'm wrong about needing more than one. *grin*

He's gone off to the train museum and I'm writing this entry and eating a scone from the bag I bought at a church jumble sale. Six scones for 50p... I couldn't resist!

7:54pm UT

I finished my novel and fell asleep. At about 6pm Russell phoned from the train museum and asked if I wanted to meet him at the York Boat dock to go on a tour. I had bounced out of bed and off toward the bridge when he called back and said it looked like they'd stopped for the evening. We saw a York Boat out when we left dinner last night but evidently it isn't tonight. *grumble* Russell wasn't hungry but agreed to go have an appetizer whilst I ate at Kapadokya Turkish BBQ restaurant. It is close to our hotel and I had a lovely feta appetizer (their house made bread was incredible!) and then a grilled lamb chop (pirzola) plate which was a bit overcooked but still yummy. Russell ate dolmas and a glass of port. I really wanted to have dessert but really was too full. As we were walking home we passed a coffee bar in a Ramada Inn that had wifi so I picked up my laptop and headed over to post these journal entries. :-)
rowanf: (navigatrix)
9/5 9:40 am PST/ 5:40pm UT
We got to SFO and to our gate... and not long after they announced our 7:45 flight had a faulty window seal and they weren't sure when we'd take off. One of the advantages of going first/business class is that the attendants in the Admiral's Club quickly rebooked us on another flight (without our asking) at 9:45 and so it happened that we flew through O'Hare rather than JFK. Our arrival at Heathrow was five minutes before it would have been if we'd taken the earlier flight. *shakes head* Everything went very well and I didn't particularly mind spending the extra couple of hours sitting compared to what consequences we might have faced!

Arriving at Heathrow we to the tube to King's Cross and the train up to York. The Queen's Hotel was easily found and is quite convenient to the old town. Since it was only about 11am local time we decided we needed to try and sightsee so as to get on local time despite having been up for so many hours of travel at this point. We went to the Jorvik Viking Center and took the ride. It has expanded since I was here just the year after it opened. I think there is more diarama and also more artifacts on display at the end. There were docents dressed as Vikings who answered questions and demonstrated crafts which I also don't remember from the last time. Then we wandered through the Shambles to York Minster but I really just didn't have the energy to enter. Local time or not, I needed a nap. So I napped from 2pm to almost 6pm. Russell is off somewhere taking pictures and I'm writing this journal entry. Soon he'll come back and we'll go off to dinner.

Russell came back and went we across the river to a restaurant we could see called "Taj Mahal". They had quite a selection! I had Lamb Malaya which was a mild curry with pinapple and banana! I've never seen that on offer before. Russell had a chicken koorma which was okay but nothing to write home about. After dinner we walked along the river. I really like our location!
rowanf: (Shiny Kaylee)
[livejournal.com profile] sbisson and [livejournal.com profile] marypcb arrived as I was checking my accumulated snail mail. My HOV lane stickers arrived! I guess I don't have to get a special FasTrak transponder after all. Or mine was new enough they gave me one in the hybrid serial number range or something. So my car is sporting new bright yellow stickers. It didn't make much difference this morning at 6am but I expect it will this evening. I'll be able to get home to hang with Mary & Simon much more reliably than otherwise. They and Russell & I went out to Il Fornaio for dinner. Mary said she has to come here periodically since she really likes the wooden matches they give away. *laugh* I suspect the food is also a consideration. Mary & I had lovely pear and gorgonzola salads and Simon had calamari for starters. Simon had lamb risotto, Mary a mixed seafood grill, Russell a chicken and broccoli pasta and I had a plain pizza margherita. I mostly packed it for breakfast this morning. (Yum, cold pizza).

My new computer backpack arrived. I wanted to avoid having two roll on bags and I think this will work fine (though Russell is worrying about having to carry it). I can't believe we're leaving for England in less than a week!

Ooooh, Shiny! The new Serenity trailer is out. I went by the Apple Quicktime site to look for the new Wallace & Gromit trailer and got distracted. Only a month to go! And it is looking good. Wow.
rowanf: (cigana rainha)
I'll be glad when my life slows down enough to let me have daily journal entries! Not that I expect this to happen before October. *sigh*
snip )
I can't believe I leave for Merrymeet tomorrow! Waaaah! And I haven't packed and I have 14 people at dinner tonight. Darling [livejournal.com profile] saffronrose and [livejournal.com profile] mr_kurt have offered to field Tuesday dinner next month since we're just back from England and I'm leaving for Balloon Fiesta just after. I really need to get my life back to a less crazy level. I will *not* schedule October like August & September! I am not going to FOI Convo or Sacred Connection Fall Retreat. I just can't.
rowanf: (Shiny Kaylee)
Today [livejournal.com profile] saffronrose, [livejournal.com profile] mr_kurt, Arthur, [livejournal.com profile] spikeiowa, Stephanie & I had lunch at the Fish Market. Wow. They have revised their menu, taken off things we used to eat and raised the price of everything by 25-30%. And the service was slooooow. Don't think we're going back there.

Bling! I am totally lusting after this amazing garnet ring on Ebay. If it wasn't for that peridot in the center I don't think I could resist. If I wasn't saving money for England in a few weeks, ditto. *resisting* [livejournal.com profile] marypcb is "helping" me resist via IM. It was so nice to have someone to show it to, that I just had to share it with everyone else. Yes, I know, my taste is incredibly gaudy. But its GARNETS! Well, except for that peridot. Wouldn't a nice rhodolite have looked better? I think so

Speaking of ebay, I bought a Garmin GPSmap 60C. I'm now poised to begin looking for geocaches if I could just figure out how the thing works. Yes, I'm reading the manual. It isn't actually very helpful though.

[livejournal.com profile] mdlbear mentioned this back on July 30th, but I just have to spread it further. I'll never be able to listen to "picnic" with a straight face again. The Teddy Bears Summon Cthulhu!

Okay. I'm going back to work. Really.
rowanf: (cigana rainha)
Yesterday I got up early and made it to the gym for the second time this week. Go me. I've been shirking and sleeping in too often lately. Then Amanda came by and we workedd on my organizing project. We're getting to the stage where closet planning is coming soon!

Russell had made reservations for a tour of the Scharffen Berger factory and for dinner at Cafe Cacao. We left home about 3pm for our 4:15 tour. At about 3:30 someone from Cafe Cacao called to say they had rented out the whole restaurant and our reservations were cancelled. Excuse me! We has reservations for a week and they don't tell us they're cancelled until two hours before we're supposed to be there! I am so pissed. I could hardly sit through the tour and I certainly didn't buy anything in the shop. Not that it will hurt their bottom line, but I'm not going to buy a Scharffen Berger product again. And they sold out to Hersey anyway. Ooooh! I don't get that furious often but driving through rush hour to Berkeley for a special treat and having it snatched away was maddening.

So we cast about and decided to go to Trader Vic's. I have been wanting to eat there and see what their view is like for years. The last time I ate at a Trader Vic's was the night of my senior prom in Washington DC decades ago. The mai tai's were totally yummy and so was the food. The sun was so bright that the shades were mostly closed but the view was a marina and the bay and is probably quite pretty. I was struggling with the quantity in my taro nest filled with scallops, shrimp and fish when Erika talked to Dragon and he said he hadn't eaten and thought that sounded good. So I had a boxed up and gave it to him. This is the first time we've seen his house. Wow! I love the deep, rich jeweltone colours they've painted the walls. We had a lovely visit about visiting Amsterdam and many other topics. It was fun.

This morning Russell & Erika took off for summer camp and I really need to get up and head for Concord to help plan the House anniversary bembe later this month. It is so hot that I really don't want to put clothes on!

Speaking of Umbanda...

This week before sleep I have been asking the Cigana Velha I'm supposed to be talking to if she has any dreams for me. No sign of her but I have a dream from Oxossi and from Ogum.

Oxossi just sent one of the fairly usual "running through the saw grass" visions that seem to be a staple of working with him. I'm basically following him through very tall grass on tiny animal tracks. I don't know if we're hunting, travelling or what. We're just running together.

Ogum had a lot more to say. I finally figured out that the Ogum I horse is a kind of "tinker" Ogum. He is an itinerant fixer of tools. I had been thinking of learning to knit mail or something so I'd have something for him to do. He is always pushing me to *do* when he is in me. He really wants a rasp so he can sharpen shovels "especially those of Oko's children" and he wants more tools and things to fix. I have gotten the rasp request before, so I guess I'll get him one. I got the feeling he thought we don't grow enough of our own food. I guess I'll ask folks to bring shovels and such to bembes! I also asked if jewelry repair would be okay as a "fixing" art and that works for him. That at least gives me a compact tool kit to get together.
rowanf: (Default)
Monday after work I joined [livejournal.com profile] saffronrose and [livejournal.com profile] mr_kurt in having dinner with Stephanie and her friend [livejournal.com profile] shadowriderhope who was visiting from Michigan. We ate at Cascal, a tapas restaurant on Castro St. in Mountain View. Wow! To food was amazing! We started with a sampler and then each ordered a dish or two, so we got to taste a lot of different things. My favorite was the serrrano ham wrapped around a date with a goat cheese slathered brochette. And the mushroom empanadas. And... well everything! The company was wonderful too. It was so nice meeting a new friend.

On Tuesday Russell, Brigid, Fiona and I had our monthly family dinner. Fiona was just back from her internship at the Guide Dog organization for which she raises puppies. Her internship was all office work though. *laugh* I think I had imagined her cleaning kennels or something more dog-related. She and Brigid had also toured southern California colleges - Whittier and a couple of the Claremont Colleges. Fiona isn't sure where all she'll apply, but she has now seen colleges in WA, OR and CA so she has a good idea what the possibilities are. She'll be starting her senior year in a couple of weeks. Eeep.

Russell and I had a nice Wednesday night. Our new cabinet for storing CDs and DVDs arrived. It looks like it will take a lot of assembly. We counted the parts and made sure everything is there. Maybe he and I and Erika will put it together on Friday afternoon. With that many hands perhaps it won't be that bad. We wished we knew someone we could hire to put it together but there is a dearth of teenagers with empty pockets in our lives. Not complaining really. *grin*

Tonight Erika will get here for a few days before she and Russell take off for Summer Camp.

tarot quiz )

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