Friday, June 28, 2013

Favorite Photo Friday: Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle, Scotland
Photo taken by Luke Buisson

A few of my Aberdeen friends have had visitors recently. One of the top attractions in Aberdeenshire is Dunnottar Castle. It is a MUST SEE spot! Knowing that all of these people are visiting Dunnottar has really got me missing the beauty of Scotland, its coastlines, and its castles. Such a gorgeous country!

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

#TBT: Sandy

REMINDER: For those of you still using Google Reader, don't forget that Google will put an end to the product on July 1st. BlogLovin' is a great alternative to keep track of your blog list. Click the BlogLovin' button on the left panel to add me to your list.

Side Note: Luke was telling me the other night that he likes my blog except for Thrown Back Tuesday. <sigh>

The first dog I wasn't scared of.

When I was little, I was so scared of dogs! I think it was because my grandpa had a big dog, and I just did not like him. Just a few months before this picture was taken, my family informed me that we were getting a puppy. Um, h to the no! I wanted NOTHING to do with a dog (still kinda holds true, but for different reasons).

When we went to go pick up the dog to bring her home, I saw all of these little dogs in a gated pen. Little Yorkies. I put my hands out, which was probably about the size of one of my hands now, and was handed our puppy. She fit just perfectly in my hands... she was so tiny! I looked at her and thought how can this tiny little thing hurt me? After that, Sandy was my best friend! I think I even named her :-) 

Look at her! Isn't she just the cutest???

I won't go into detail because it is the saddest memory of my entire life, but Sandy passed when I was in college. She was such a sweet dog, and she helped me get over my fear of dogs (I still didn't like big dogs, though). I am thankful that my parents made the decision to get a family dog.

To lighten the mood (or my mood because I am still thinking about that sad memory), here is a funny clip from Friends that has to do with dogs :-)

Mom, I challenge you to make a comment on my blog today rather than iMessaging me. :-)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Living in Wimbledon DURING Wimbledon

REMINDER: For those of you still using Google Reader, don't forget that Google will put an end to the product on July 1st. BlogLovin' is a great alternative to keep track of your blog list. Click the BlogLovin' button on the left panel to add me to your list.

The days of the semi-quiet area of London that I live ended last Friday. The Wimbledon Tennis Championships have begun!

Luke and I went into town (just a half mile away) to go get a delicious sushi dinner. We noticed quite a few more people than usual and remembered that Wimbledon was starting Monday. At dinner, our waitress asked where we were from. Correct answer: "The States", not thinking that we should have given a bit more of an explanation, but she didn't ask for specifics. Then she said, "Oh its brave of you to come all the way over for tennis." <insert womp womp sound effect here> She got totally embarrassed when we said we lived here. Ooops! After dinner, we headed away from Wimbledon to Putney for some drinks. As we entered the tube station, we saw the Wimbledon welcome sign being placed just in front of the station, along with railings to be used to wait for cabs. That was experience number one of Living in Wimbledon DURING Wimbledon.

On Sunday, I decided to go for a jog, and the BEST place to go for a jog in Wimbledon is the common. And the WORST place to go for a jog is TO the common. In order to get to the giant park, you either a.) go through Wimbledon Village, which is the original town center of Wimbledon, where people are always walking on the pavement (British word for sidewalk) and OR b.) go up one of the smaller streets near my flat which is a 100ft climb in about a quarter of a mile which is I usually take the Village route because I would rather dodge people than climb a steep hill. As I went through the Village on Sunday, I almost ran into a pram (British word for stroller) because a lady thought she could take up the whole pavement. I also got poked in the too-close-to-my-lady-parts area because someone decided to move their umbrella in front of me as I was jogging by. <seriously big sigh> That was experience number two of Living in Wimbledon DURING Wimbledon.

On Monday, I went for a short jog and tried to stay away from anything centered around tennis. I should have know that that was going to be impossible. I jogged along the street that follows the tube line. I expected no one to be on this street because from the station to the All England tennis grounds, it is about 1-1.5 miles. I figured these people would not walk that far of a distance. And I was totally right about that, but what I saw was an extremely long line of cabs waiting down on street. The line was about a quarter of a mile long... maybe longer? That was experience number three of Living in Wimbledon DURING Wimbledon.
On Tuesday (yesterday), I decided to brave it out, and jog by the grounds to see everything. I put on my jogging shoes and my patient pants and headed up the hill. Going over to Wimbledon Park is never fun because you have to go up the hill, then down the hill, then up the hill again... that's two ups in one jog. I jogged by the practice grounds which just so happens to be directly in front of a set of apartments that we looked at when we house hunted (yep, pretty cool, but not cool enough to choose as our home).
The "home" in the center of the picture is the apartment building we looked at.
I jogged along Church Road which is the road between the All England Tennis Club and Wimbledon Park. This is where I needed my patient pants. I dodged and swerved and jogged on the grass and street at times, but I did not get poked by an umbrella this time. I was not the only crazy one... there were a few other joggers here too.

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum building
Then I turned around to go back into the park. The park has a really long line for "non-ticket holders". There was an area that had some food and drink stands, and also some family friendly games. The center of the park was for parking and also had a big crowd of people... possibly The Queue? That was experience number four of Living in Wimbledon DURING Wimbledon.

"The Queue" wrapped around this area.
On my way back home, I jogged by that giant line of cabs again, which did not seem to moving, despite the fact that there was a long taxi line at the station.

All of those people are waiting for a taxi.
We have many days left until Wimbledon is over. Do we plan to go to a match this year? We haven't "planned" to, but if tickets appear in our hands, then sure! Why not? Have we seen any celebrities? Not as of yet, but to be honest, I probably wouldn't even notice them. I have never played tennis, but I have always wanted to. I can't decide if Wimbledon is a good place to begin or a bad place to begin... great lessons vs. expensive lessons. I might just stick to dodging tennis-watchers on my jogs, and watching the tennis on the telly.

Have you ever lived in an area where a big event took place (for example: Super Bowl, Olympics, movie filming, etc.)? What was your experience like?

Wimbledon is the only Major still played on grass. It is the oldest tennis tournament in the world as it began in 1877. There are no advertisements around the courts, and a retractable roof was added to Centre Court in 2009.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

British Museum in London

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Actual date of this event: 22 June

Luke and I had NOTHING to do this past weekend. Well, when I say "nothing", I mean we had nothing planned. We were able to sleep in on Saturday morning, and then discuss our options for the day. We decided to go to a museum since London has a long list of terrific & free museums. We haven't been to many museums in our lifetime, so we thought we would give the British Museum a try as we had heard great things about it.
Outside of the entrance, but the building is much larger than this picture shows.
The lobby area
Note: Restrooms are located on each side of the lobby and the lines are long. There are restrooms inside as well.
The British Museum is free, but they do ask for donations.
The British Museum holds some 8 million pieces dedicated to human history and culture. Some pieces claim to date back to 21,000 BC. Yes, twenty-one thousand. Crazy! The museum is also home to the one and only Rosetta Stone - the stone, not the software. We spent about 3 hours in the museum, but truthfully, we were exhausted by the end of hour one. The building has something like 34 rooms... and these aren't small rooms. Each room is a country or area of the world, and the items in each room are just sort of thrown in with no logical order that we could find. It was extremely overwhelming and there is no possible way someone could go through this whole museum in one day. At first, we were looking at everything, but after that first hour, we only looked at pieces that caught our eye. So here are some that caught my eye:
above left: Sculpture of Sir Hans Sloane who established the British Museum in 1753
above right: Hercules's massive sculpture
 above: this Rattlesnake sculpture (AD 1300-1521) was located in the Mexican room. The swirly part is a mirror to show the underneath part of the sculpture.
 above: North America was all about the Native Americans. It went through the four areas of NA. I liked the Native American room, but probably because I have some Native American blood in me :-)
 above: this chair is constructed from guns collected since 1992, located in the African section
 above: The Tree of Life, also constructed from the collection of guns in Africa
 above: Luke being silly with the Chinese statues
 above: Islamic World - this room is one of the smallest in the museum. It was full of colorful tiled items like pottery and floor/wall tiles.
 above: a few Islamic coins (AD 510-668)
 above: one of the oldest areas, Assyrian Empire, early 7th century BC
 above: Nereid Monument found at Xanthos, south-west Turkey, 390-380 BC
above & below: pieces of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens, constructed between 447-438 BC

 above: This is how crowded the Rosetta Stone case was.
below: The best picture I could get of the Rosetta Stone without throwin' some bows.
Not only is the Rosetta Stone a software program to teach you another language (hahahaha), it provides understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphics. The different scripts appear on the stone - Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Demotic, Ancient Greek - which are all very similar.

 above: The oldest pieces we found in the museum - Tomb Slab from the Old Kingdom in Ancient Egpyt, about 2150 BC
 above: An Ancient Egyptian Mummy - a cat scan showed that he was a mature adult at the time of his death, and also showed he has rings on a finger and toe and bracelets around one ankle
 above: Japanese Samurai Armour from around AD 1500-1800 
above: Many cases were temperature controlled for preservation purposes.    

Luke and I have decided that we like museums where we learn about a story of something. Our favorite museum that we have been to is the World War II Museum in New Orleans. It is absolutely amazing! If you are ever in New Orleans and are not drunk, then I highly recommend you take a day to visit. It is totally worth the admission price, and totally worth your time! Anyway, hopefully we can find a museum in London that we like. Until then, we will stick to exploring the city rather than museuming!

The British Museum has "hands on" areas where you can touch items that have been collected from around the world in hopes to get kids (and adults) more interested.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Protein Bars & Porridge, but mostly ADD

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I decided the other day that I wanted to make Jess's (aka Blonde Ponytail) No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars. They seemed like they would be terrific for breakfast and an afternoon snack. Plus, I could get my peanut butter fix without licking a knife. Maybe?
So, I went to the store to find all of the products needed for these protein bars. The recipe called for oats. Never in my life had I bought oats. What are oats? All of the bags and boxes of oats were labeled "porridge oats". What is porridge? I knew that porridge is totally British, but I didn't really know what it is. I bought the cheapest bag of oats possible... because, well, that's what I do... and headed home to make my protein bars! When I got home from the store, I realized I didn't have enough honey and had no chia seeds, so I couldn't make them. Argh!

The next morning, while drinking my coffee, I decided to look up how to make porridge since I hadn't had breakfast yet and thought I would try it. I came across this video which is probably the MOST British video I have ever watched in my life.
I cracked up for a few minutes... the lady in the video is so serious and the words... aahhhh the words!! I can't believe I still think some of the words and expressions the British use are funny. Just like a Smart car... it will ALWAYS make me laugh! Anyway, my ADD was in full swing and I had to look up this sugar that this porridge recipe calls for. One thing led to another and two hours had gone by and I still hadn't eaten breakfast, and I still hadn't gone jogging, I knew how to make porridge, and I still had no Peanut Butter Protein Bars. Argh!!

Since then...
I found all of the ingredients that don't cost me an arm and leg (ahem, chia seeds) to make the Protein bars. I made them, and cut them into smaller pieces (36) than what Jess does. My refrigerator smelled like chocolatey peanut butter for quite some time which reminded me to eat a piece each time I opened the fridge for beer water! Good thing I cut them small! They were a little bit drier than I expected, but they are still good!
I used chocolate protein powder because that is what we had.

What thing or things continue to make you laugh time and time again?

Brits love Porridge so much that there was a TV series in the 70's called Porridge.

Friday, June 21, 2013

#FBF: St. Lucian Honeymoon

After reminiscing our wedding yesterday, it made me want to go back and look at our honeymoon pictures. Boy did we LOVE St. Lucia!! Such a beautiful island! But give me sun, beach, pool, drinks, food, relaxation, but mostly my hubby, and I am There, Luke. Are you happy, now? (Last night, he gave me a hard time about how I didn't write in my TBT wedding post that I love him so much and how great of a husband he is and blah blah blah.)
We didn't sleep at all after our wedding, and actually, Luke was drunk. Imagine that! The groom drunk? No way!!! Our flight to St. Lucia was around 5:30am. We had a layover in Miami where we ate pizza at 7am before getting on a long flight to St. Lucia. I didn't do any planning for the honeymoon, as that is the GROOM'S job, so I didn't have any clue as to how far away St. Lucia was or how long the flight was. We didn't sleep on the flight at all, and it was so miserable! I think the flight was around 5 hours or something.

We arrived at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian which was a superb resort! Great customer service the whole time. Except for when we arrived, they wanted to show us around the resort with champagne. Sounds like a great thing, but all we wanted to do was eat, shower, and sleep. So much that I didn't even touch my champagne! Yes, it was that bad. We ended up finding a place to eat and were asleep by 8pm. After sleeping until 11am the next morning, we were ready for our honeymoon!!!
WARNING: You may see a little bit of blubber in these pictures as Luke and I were extremely out of shape. 

We did a lot of beach walking.
We did a lot of poolside pizza eating.
We had sit down dinners in the evening. Sandals has buses that take you to the other Sandals resorts on the island. We went to another for hibachi one night. Story time: When we arrived at the other resort, an employee of the resort, who just so happened to be a little person, was making a big fuss in the lobby. Apparently he had gotten fired because his boss, who apparently was gay, made a pass at him. The little person did not go for it, so his boss fired him. The whole scene was quite amusing!

We took a catamaran booze cruise to Soufriere, which is a city famous for three things...
1.) Sulfur Springs - visible signs of a once active volcano
2.) two Pitons - volcano plugs which is the lava that hardened from an active volcano
3.) Botanical Gardens - we were told that if you touched one of the flowers, the flower would die right away

In Soufriere, we also got to have a buffet lunch before heading back on the booze cruise. On the way back, they proved why they call it a booze cruise with a beer chugging contest. I failed miserably, but Luke won. Well he won in my mind because the guy they claimed won spilled half of his beer all over his chest. Major party foul.

We also went ziplining. On our excursion, we got to taste fresh coconut and fresh mango. I am not a coconut person at all, but fresh was really good!

We took it upon ourselves to hike Pigeon Island which was just a short walk from our resort. It was so hot that day, but the views were amazing!

The red is our resort.

I have asked every anniversary when we will go back to St. Lucia. Now that I am thinking about it, maybe I should just let it be. We have great memories, and I don't want those to be ruined!

Where did you go on your honeymoon? Did you enjoy it? Are you dying to go back?

In St. Lucia, vehicles drive on the left side of the road (like in Great Britain), but the steering wheel is on the left side of the vehicle (like in the Unites States). Very few countries drive like this.

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