Monday, 22 February 2010

happy birthday, lil sis!

It's my sister's birthday. I messed up with this week's Photo of the Week - she hates birds and isn't a big fan of ducks or geese either. Oops.

So this is a special blog entry just for her, with no birds attached.

Speaking of special blogs, remember this?

happy birthday, big al!

A few of the links are broken but the sentiment is still there (although I am slightly less broke than I was when I wrote it.) Happy birthday!

Pic of the Week: 22-28 Feb

Vienna Park Ducks

We saw these ducks in a park in Vienna last November. The funniest thing is that there were two duck couples, quacking and swimming around in circles. It looked like the ducks were entreating the mallards to pull over and ask for directions. "Fred, I don't think this is the right pond." The mallards were holding their ground, sounding appropriately annoyed to be second guessed. "It's this way, Ethel, I'm sure. Stop back-seat paddling, would ya?"

"Quack quack quack quack new handbag quack quack so excited for the shopping quack"


Or maybe I'm just anthropomorphizing them...

Unfortunately I have no video evidence.

Click on the photo for a larger version on flickr.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Year of the Tiger

London decided to celebrate Chinese New Year one week late but neither the tardiness nor the weather put a damper on the spirit.












Happy Year of the Tiger!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

birthday dinner

margaritas and mint leaves with limes in sparkling water

chicken enchiladas with pipian pumpkin seed mole

vegetarian tostada salad





What does a California girl crave on her birthday in London? Mexican food and good friends... Thanks for coming to celebrate with me at Wahaca, everyone!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Pic of the Week: 15-21 Feb

Valentine's Balloons, York

Valentine's Balloons, York



I am posting these a day early because they fit the Valentine's Day theme. The top photo is from our trip to York a few years ago, when S took me for my birthday. The ColorSplash version adds a layer of wintery melancholy that was not evident in the original - these two balloons appear to be embracing each other in the inhospitable naked tree against a grey sky. In reality, it was a beautiful (if cold) day.

Happy Valentine's Day wherever you are...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

old and new


the lost necklace


the replacement

I still hope the old one turns up someday, but I'll be happy to wear the new one in the meantime.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Pic of the Week: 8-14 Feb

Wales Pub Sign for Brains Beer


I'm still reading Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, so it is hard to think of this as a sign for Welsh beer instead of the battle cry (moan?) of the zombie.

Nevertheless, this picture was taken in July 2006 when my parents came to visit and we spent a weekend with them in Wales.

It also amuses me to have this photo sit on my desk at work: look at me, with my shiny red brains. I've been feeling smarter all day.

Click on the photo to see a larger version on flickr.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

flower therapy

The flowers start blooming in the Bay Area during February, just in time for our birthday month. In London, the flowers don't appear until April. I bought these gerberas today to add a bit of color and cheer to an otherwise grey, rainy day.

Friday, 5 February 2010

license to drive

Very pleased to report that I passed my UK driving test today, nearly 21 years to the day when I got my California license. Hooray!

Things I intend to unlearn as soon as possible now:

  • The parking brake as 'hand brake' for stopping at red lights. WTF?
  • Signaling only when necessary. Isn't signaling all the time better? (The theory on this one follows the principle of, 'if a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound?' In other words, if you are pulling out into the street, for example, and there is no one around, why bother signaling? I still don't see why you shouldn't.)
  • Not giving pedestrians or cyclists the right of way. I really, really hate this, especially since I'm usually the target pedestrian or cyclist.
  • Using mirrors excessively. Mirrors are a great asset to any driver, but the way they teach you to drive over here has you looking behind more than in front.
  • Reversing around corners. OMG this is the stupidest maneuver and I have no intention of ever using it again.
  • Driving with both hands on the wheel all the time, to the extent that shifting is nearly impossible. Also, I know it isn't recommended practice, but turning the wheel with hands at 10 and 2 pushing and pulling is really more trouble than it's worth. And it makes you not only look like a granny, but drive like one, too. Not gonna do it anymore.

Of course, all this is somewhat academic. We don't have a car so I have very little use for a license. I'm happy on my feet/bicycle/the Tube, but it is nice to have some options.

So now I am a fully fledged adult in 2 countries. Sweet relief! Watch out, UK roads...

Thanks, S, for the card!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Pic of the Week: 1-7 Feb

Turquoise Glasses

Mamasita & Pop, 40th Anniversary

Rabbit, rabbit! It's a new month, and a special one for our family, starting with Mamasita's birthday. The top photo was taken outside Corte Madera theater last June when we went to see Pixar's UP. The bottom photo is from Mamasita & Pop's (early) 40th anniversary dinner at my friend's amazing restaurant in San Francisco: 1300 Fillmore.

Happy birthday to my lovely, funny, quirky, arty, design-y, creative, talented Mamasita...!