We’re back home from a wonderful week in France. We had two days of beautiful weather, then lots of rainy days in a row (COLD rainy days), and then the day we flew out (which I think is still yesterday) was lovely. Tease. Pictures soon. We slept about 10 hours last night. Went to bed around 7:30, lights out at 8. It wasn’t even dark outside yet, but to us, 8pm felt like 2am. Now I’m good. Riley is happy to be home, and so are we. (He was a little confused about why we were all going to bed before the sun, but he went with it.)
Did you know goats are evil? It’s their eyes. Their eyes give them away.
All of that adorable playing and attention-hogging is just a ruse. What adorable playing? This adorable playing! (Please bear with me through this 2-minute video. They really do do some cute things.)
Clearly, I met some goats last weekend. And fed them and played with them and picked a favorite. (Baxter, the brown one, is my favorite. Dad’s favorite is Bruiser (black with blue eyes). Trixie wasn’t all that interested in us.)
We went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom the morning of our last day and went on the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition. It was really cool, but they kept talking about the animals and their habitats as if they were actually in Africa, and I wanted to know more about how they worked right there in Florida. It was a little distracting. Of course, that was not the point of the safari.
Remember that book club I got so excited about? I haven’t been since that first time in April, but it totally hasn’t been my fault. The May meeting was the first Friday we were in England, they skipped June, and the July meeting was scheduled for last Friday when we were still in Orlando. Luckily (for me), it didn’t happen last Friday and was instead rescheduled for this Friday. Like, tomorrow. When I’m free. And I found out about that yesterday. So I have a little over 24 hours to read the book. I got it for my Kindle around 4pm today and started it at the gym. Finding the time to finish it shouldn’t be all that hard since my head is pounding and I’m probably taking a sick day tomorrow. Note to self: five days of dawn to midnight running around theme parks in absurd heat really must be followed by at least one day of rest. Real rest.
Now I have to hide from the internet and read. Poor me.
Check out my new favorite mug! (How funny is that – WordPress spellcheck is British! It wants me to put the u in favourite.)
I drank my tea from it this morning.
There’s lots to tell and not enough hours in the day, so I’ll digress even more from the trip and show you adorable-ness
personified elephantified. It’s only 22 seconds – watch the whole thing.
I’m of two minds about being home. On one hand, there’s my bed, my shower, my clothes, my DOGS – I’m SO tired, and it’s SO nice to be home. On the other hand, DISNEY WORLD. It’s the happiest place on earth, and I LOVE IT.
Some pictures before I collapse. Details at some later date.
Hi. We’re alive and well and tired and not sunburned and tired. We’ve had three+ completely crazy FUN days with two more to go. This is the first time we’ve been in the condo for longer than it takes to sleep and shower, so it’s also the first time I’ve been online since Wednesday afternoon. I haven’t even been carrying my phone around.
I’m keeping notes, so I’ll post the highlights eventually. For now, here’s a picture of the four of us with the Hulk roller coaster from Universal behind us (that was yesterday).
One week ago tonight (plus 5 hours), John and I were in the Royal Shakespeare Theater in Stratford-upon-Avon watching a Shakespeare play performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. (That should probably be Royal Shakespeare Theatre…) It was a last-minute decision. Mom and Dad spent the day in the cottage and around the village. John and I took the car to see the ruins of Hailes Abbey (beautiful), and when we realized it was a little too late (nearing 5pm) to see anything else, we decided to head to Stratford-upon-Avon. We knew we’d get there too late to get into any of the touristy stuff, but we could still go see stuff. And have tea. I love having afternoon tea. We got there right at 5pm (when the attractions were closing), so aside from a quick glance into a gift shop, we only got to see the outside of the birthplace of Shakespeare and that stuff. We had our tea (a light cream tea – we planned to find dinner somewhere before we headed back to Chipping Campden and Mom and Dad), and we took a walk down Henley Street (with all its closed shops) and eventually found the Avon. We dawdled there for a while and then noticed the Royal Shakespeare Theatre as we walked by. The doors were open, we saw books on shelves, and all of a sudden we found ourselves in the gift shop. Amazing how that works. We browsed for 20 minutes or so and were on our way out when I suggested we check the box office. What’s on tonight? Who cares? If there are seats available and they’re somewhat reasonably priced, we should stay, right? Of course right. So we asked. Hey, it’s King John. How much are the tickets? Only £16 each? Hey, it starts at 7:30. What time is it now? Oh, 7:06? And we have to move the car? We can get the car moved in time if we run. So we ran. Well, we walked really fast. Turns out we didn’t have to move the car (just put more money in), so we rushed back, bought our tickets, and sat down just in time for the play to start.
It was really good. Really good. And interestingly staged, if that’s the word. Shakespearean language, contemporary costumes and setting. And music. The wedding scene made my whole week. (“I Say A Little Prayer For You” segued into “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” with the choreography from the end of Dirty Dancing. SO. MUCH. FUN.)
We’re home, and it was wonderful, and can I please please please go back? The last couple of days at home were so peaceful and restful. I avoided my work email and managed to wake up this morning still feeling somewhat serene and would you believe it? A day at work with lots of catching up to do and one crisis (that I couldn’t get resolved today) did NOT get to me. I still feel pretty good and not at all stressed. Except for the headache. It’ll go away.
Here’s a video I took today of Roxy eating peanut butter. Because you’re worth it, and gosh darn it, I like you.
This is going to be one of those cop-out posts. We went to Oxford today (and had a wonderful time), but we didn’t get back until 9, we just finished dinner, it’s 11pm, and we’re getting up (relatively) early tomorrow to go to Evesham. So Oxford (and pictures) will have to wait. Maybe I’ll have some time tomorrow.
I’m not going to turn this into a full travel write-up (she says in the first sentence of what will probably turn into a travelogue), but I’ll hit the highlights:
Second day in London – totally awesome. We had breakfast near the hotel and then walked all of 50 steps over to St. Paul’s Cathedral. So very impressive. (Sadly, there was no bird lady and there were only a few birds. I didn’t do any singing there.) We decided not to go in and do the whole cathedral, though. £15 apiece seemed a little steep, and we knew we’d be seeing plenty of churches and cathedrals during the week. From there, we walked across the Millenium Bridge (where I did do some singing – we saw a guy selling the world’s smallest kites, so I sang “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”) and over to the Globe Theatre. Signed up for a tour, watched a Brazilian troupe rehearsing for a matinee of Romeo and Juliet (in Portuguese, and the play had been interpreted for Brazilian culture – lots of singing, some dancing, and a station wagon as part of the set. It was crazy.).
From there, we crossed back over the Thames on the Tower Bridge, walked around the Tower of London (we visited during our honeymoon eleven and a half years ago – no time on Saturday), got some ice cream, and headed back to the hotel to pick up our stuff and head back to Heathrow to meet Mom and Dad. We got there right on time and drove to Chipping Campden to settle in to our cottage for the rest of the week.
The cottage is adorable. Two rooms on the main floor (sitting room with a fireplace, kitchen in the back), one bedroom and bathroom on the first floor, and another bedroom and bathroom on the second floor (where John and I are staying). Very cozy. So cozy, in fact, that we can hear every word spoken in the house from anywhere in the house. We didn’t realize that until around midnight Saturday night, when John and I found we were listening to Mom talk to Corey on the phone. We found out the next morning that she’d been on the ground floor, not the first floor, the whole time. So we’ve instituted a whisper rule for bedtime (barring phone calls home, of course, because whispering on the phone is kind of stupid). Actually, we have yet to try out this whisper rule, since this is only our second night and we haven’t gone to bed yet. I’ve instituted it – it remains to be seen if anyone else has. Best part about the cottage? The internet. It’s reliable. Unbelievable.
This morning (Sunday for those keeping track) – no, it wasn’t morning. We had a hard time getting moving today. In the early afternoon, we went to Hidcote, which has a wonderfully long rambling garden. It was chilly, so we came back to the cottage for lunch/afternoon tea, and then we went out to check out the church. St. James’ Church is a real medieval church, and, since we have perfect timing, we stayed for the Evensong service this evening. That was a) my first Church of England service, and b) a real church service in a medieval church. The priest was charming and old (and spoke with a pronounced lisp), and the 10 other members of the congregation (we all sat in the choir – the church itself was empty) were all friendly. The priest was thrilled to see new faces. There was more singing than I expected during the service – I didn’t think the Anglicans did that much singing.
Tomorrow, John and I are planning a trip to Oxford. It’s late (last night it was midnight (close to 1? I don’t remember) before we went to bed, and it’s already after eleven now), and we’re getting up early.
Wanna know something crazy? I’ve got TWO things for you:
- I’m still awake and coherent. (Fine – you can be the judge of my coherence.)
- It’s still the middle of the afternoon for you guys.
Insane. Yes, my mind is easily boggled by time zones. Get your giggling out of the way, please.
Our flight left at 10pm last night, and since neither of us slept well the night before and we both struggled through a full workday, we weren’t too concerned about not sleeping on the plane. I mean, we both knew we’d be exhausted and jet-lagged once we arrived regardless of how well-rested we were on the way over. Since we flew economy (naturally – we drooled over the business and first class seats on our way to the back with the rest of the cattle), our seats were uncomfortable and they didn’t recline far enough. As expected. So, even though we both slept some, it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t good sleep. Actually, I guess it was enough, because we have managed to power through the entire day. We checked in to our hotel around noon or 12:30, dropped off our stuff, and went right back out for lunch (our first meal back in the UK was fish and chips, of course). Then we walked all over central London, mostly drinking in the atmosphere and taking pictures. We didn’t really do anything or see anything – we had vague ideas of visiting the National Gallery, but we kind of looped around Trafalgar Square instead of actually going.
Our wandering was pretty awesome, actually. We haven’t been to London since our honeymoon 11 and a half years ago, but I remember that we didn’t make it to Covent Garden (for no particular reason – there are a lot of places we didn’t make it to). Our wandering today took us straight there (somewhat accidentally), so we did a little shopping, watched a few street performers (including an opera singer – she made my whole day), and didn’t dive head first into the biggest fry-up of paella I have ever seen.
From there, we walked to Leicester Square, through Piccadilly Circus, and on to St. James’s Park. It was too late in the day to go into Westminster Abbey, so we walked around it, took a couple of pictures of Big Ben and the Parliament buildings, and hopped on the tube to come back to the hotel and eat nearby. We’ve been fighting exhausted for a couple of hours now, and I think it’s time to give in. It’s been almost 36 hours since I got out of my own bed Thursday morning, and I think we’ve put in enough effort to beat the jet-lag problem. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.
I haven’t mentioned it much here, but we’re about to go on vacation. We’re supposed to have internet in our cottage, but we were supposed to have internet in our cottage in Wales last year, too, and that just didn’t happen. So either I’ll be able to post intermittently over the next week and a half or I’ll be completely silent until Memorial Day. We’ll see. I just wanted you all to be prepared because I know how much you rely on me to start (or finish) every day. You just can’t get along without me, right? Right?
I think we should live somewhere where we can legitimately call our house a cottage without getting laughed at. I would like to live in a cottage.
Anyway, Mom called me yesterday evening to discuss when and where she and Dad are going to pick us up on Saturday, and that conversation kick-started my pre-trip hyperventilation* because you know what? I hadn’t even THOUGHT about that. I got off the phone and fluttered around the house for a couple of minutes, wondering how stupid it might be to take two hours out of my last useful 5 or 6 hours (not counting working and sleeping) to go to the gym for my fun classes. Reason and sanity eventually won out. There wasn’t THAT much to do and exercise and yoga would be good for me, especially in that state. I came home from the gym much calmer and I managed to get to bed (packing about halfway done) before I could think too much about what I hadn’t finished yet. This morning, though – the countdown had begun and I was climbing the walls. WHY was I going to work? WHY wasn’t I packed already? I hadn’t arranged for a cab to pick us up, I still needed to pick up some prescription refills, the dogs have to get to the kennel, I needed to pick up an adapter from Best Buy, I haven’t FINISHED PACKING YET, and oh yeah, I have to go to work and actually WORK. (Sorry about the caps. It’s been that kind of day.) To make matters worse (as pointed out by Corey, Brother of the Year), I went to Starbucks. Sure, let’s fuel the crazy with espresso. Makes all kinds of sense. So I rocketed into the office and my work day, made three or four more lists (mostly work, some trip), crossed everything off in record time, and all I have to do now is set my automatic out-of-office message and go home so I can cross the last four things off my trip list (one of them – finish packing – has a list of its own). Surprisingly, the tension ebbed as the day went on. I got enough of a head start this morning (maybe thanks to the coffee?) that I feel pretty normal now. My vacation is about to begin.
*The author reserves the right to exaggerate for effect. No brown paper bags were harmed in the making of this post.
We’re home, safe and sound, and so are the dogs. Nothing happened to Roxy this weekend. (Thank you, Jess.) We had a highly successful Passover seder Friday night, I drank all the wine in the house Saturday night (Mom assures me I most certainly did NOT drink all the wine, but I felt like I had by Sunday morning), and we spent much of Sunday stealing books from Mom and Dad’s basement, all of which now live in OUR basement. The drive home was much better than anticipated (mostly because we listened to a fantastic book the whole way, but I’ll have more on that once we actually finish it – we have about an hour left), and when we arrived, we unloaded the books in about 30 minutes and picked up the dogs just before the kennel closed. Busy, but quick and over and done with. Details tomorrow. Maybe. I’ll think about it.
Vacation is a wonderful thing.
Florida panhandle, Gulf Coast with a bay on the other side of our isthmus. We had everything we needed for the perfect beach vacation. Sun? Check. We had beautiful weather, even if I did spend the majority of every day hiding from the sun. Sand? Lots of it. Very convenient hose and shower under the house (sounds like we had to go underground – the house was on stilts) to rinse off the sand, but even with those, the house and pool were full of sand the whole week. Pool? Sure. Someone was in it nearly all day, every day. Boat? Naturally. Corey brought theirs and borrowed a couple of wakeboards. We tubed and wakeboarded (is that a word?), or attempted to. I drove some so Corey could play (that was terrifying – just ask Mark and Mel), and while SOMEone may have run the boat onto a sandbar, it wasn’t me. We saw dolphins! And a sea turtle. I turned a little pink both days on the boat, but it wasn’t terribly painful, and it faded quickly. Mostly because I was wearing 50 SPF and hiding inside, on the deck, and under the beach umbrella. The sun is fierce down there. On top of all that (and the cases upon cases of beer and wine we drank, and the hours and hours of singing and Rock Band, and hand after hand of Go Fish with Gaby), we got to ride in my uncle’s four-seater plane (Thanks, Ed! That was cool!). And I did a little calculus. Which reminds me…I got my quiz back today. (I spent all of Monday working on it.) Six out of seven questions right. Go me.
I would like to go back on vacation. Right now. For a long time. Please? It was just so nice to not have to do anything. ANYthing. The hardest decision I had to make every day was whether or not to have a mimosa with breakfast. We had no plans, no schedule. No expectations, no responsibilities. It was SO nice. I would like that at home, please.
Thanks for the great vacation, family of mine. Love you guys.
The biggest problem with being only a few days (less than two now!) out from a vacation is that I’ve totally checked out of everything not vacation-related. I’m trying to care about work (failing miserably) and trying to concentrate on implicit differentiation (it doesn’t look familiar at all), but all I want to do is make a list of stuff to pack, things to pick up, errands to run, phone calls to make.
In other news, you know the world is ending on Saturday, right? Check out How Harold Camping actually calculated the May 21 end date in the Opinions section of the Washington Post. I particularly liked when she subtracted 8! because it threw off the calculation. And the graphic at the end.
In keeping with the theme, the CDC wants you to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse, and a Washington Post blogger discussed it with The Bloggess! (Because she’s an expert on zombies, as we all know.)
I’m SO ready to go. I need sun (or warm shade within easy reach of sun), muggy warmth, sand, water, a nice breeze… My family is an added bonus.
I realized the other day, though, that I registered for three online courses this summer through NOVA, and they all start this coming Monday. Two of them are compressed 8-week courses, so my one week of vacation is probably (definitely) going to have a lot of homework in it. This would be less of a problem if I remembered any calculus. And there’s my goal for this week. Think I can spend my time this week only on calculus and work? Sure I can…
Mom just assured me that the beach house has internet, so I won’t have to spend my vacation in a Starbucks.