Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pub Quiz Round 1 answers

1. Panda
2. Conan the Destroyer
3. Martin Short
4. Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal"
5. Arkansas (one of the teams spelled it "Arkansaw" cute is that!?)
6. Suede
7. The Netherlands
8. Ramona
9. Tinitis
10. Orange (apparently not red)

How did you do?????????????

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fresh off the Boat

Our new favorite thing to do on Tuesday nights is head over to the local pub with some really smart American folks (equally ignorant American folks) for weekly pub quiz. It involves food, drinks, lots of laughs, and random questions of trivia...someday we'll win and it will involve money. Anyway, the questions are just too fun to not pass along. Starting today, I'm going to (try) to remember 10 questions from the previous night's quiz for your reading enjoyment...see how many you can get right.

For this first installment, I have 3 months worth of questions to work with, so hopefully I can remember at least 10 questions. If not, blame it on the wine. OH. And major rule, you can NOT use your phone or internet, etc. We are convinced there are people out there who cheat...

1. What is the logo of the WWF (not wrestling)?
2. What was the sequel to "Conan the Barbarian?"
3. What actor is in the following 3 movies: Mars Attacks, Three Amigos, and Father of the Bride?
4. What song begins with this line: "As he came into the window it was the sound of a crescendo. He came into her apartment, he left the bloodstains on the carpet..."
5. What is the only state in the US that begins with an "A" but does not end with an "A?" (this was hilarious!)
6. What is the veg that the Americans call a Rutabaga?
7. What country has the tallest population?
8. What is Avril Lavigne's middle name?
9. If you have a ringing in your ear, what do you suffer from?
10. What color is the Golden Gate Bridge?

Right. This is your warm up. Answers to come tomorrow! AND I'll have questions from tonight's quiz. "Fresh off the Boat" is in it to win it!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Traditions new and old

Do you see this?
(Notice what time the sun sets around here)
It's November for Pete's sake!

As my dear sister-in-law-in-law pointed out in her witty blog, it is 80F in Houston today (are we surprised?). I know it technically isn't "holiday weather" per say, BUT, that is what my body, my hair, and my skin are used to. None of this dry, cold nonsense. Can a girl ever catch a break???

Speaking of cold, did I mention that the forecast includes snow this weekend? YOU KNOW, the fluffy white stuff that falls from the sky? You make men and balls out of it....wait a second...


It's official. I miss my family right about now. Especially around the holidays. Thanksgiving always involves my wonderful cousins from Dallas and now their hubbies, too. This was us LAST year...minus two...
...well, strike that. Minus four. Since this photo has been taken, my brother (that red-headed smarty pants on the left) went and got himself engaged (I love you Megan!). And my cousin (the really blonde one) went and decided to have a kid! A kid! Now I ask you, are we old enough to be doing that???
(I'll answer for you. No way Jose.)

I digress. Thanksgiving. Family. We eat wayyyyyyy too much. And play loads of cards. And watch football (not soccer). Sound familiar?? Anyway, it's amazing good fun. I'm sad I'm missing out on that tradition.

My next favorite tradition around the holidays has come to be known as "Elf Night." All the girls on my hubby's side of the family get together to make gingerbread houses and watch the ever classy, very traditional Christmas movie, Elf. Anyway, we always have a messy, catastrophically, hilariously, seriously funny good time (Allison is a master gingerbread house maker, don't let her tell you otherwise).
But, since I'm not around this year to be with my girls (tear, sniff), I've recruited some of my girls here to join me in the British rendition of said event...Elf Night: London. Photos will be posted soon. Until then....

...what are some of your favorite holiday traditions?????

Monday, November 8, 2010

English Golf Experience - Part 2

As promised, English Golf Experience part deux.

My next course played was a weekend more recently when my dad was in town and we decided that we better get some golf in before it got too cold. After some research, I chose to play Wentworth Golf Club, which is located just south of London and was founded in 1926. As it is ranked 9th on the top golf clubs in England and Ireland, this is probably the most presitigious course I have played thus far, although a close call with the next course on the list. The European PGA Tour headquarters are located at this club and its’ West course hosts the BMW PGA Championship every year. It has also played host to the 1953 Ryder Cup and then HSBC World Match Play Championship from 1964 until 2007.

The amazing clubhouse at Wentworth where we sat outside and enjoyed some fish and chips looking onto the 18th green.

Looking down the 18th fairway

The club is surrounded with pictures of all the golf greats from Tiger Woods to Vijay Singh and even some of the older greats of Jack Nicklaus and Freddie Couples. I pictured the top players of the world walking where I was and preparing to play in the tournaments. I heard stories of Tiger Woods walking out of the clubhouse to a mob of people as he headed down to the first tee just a few steps away. The West Tournament course costs a mere 285 pounds for one round of 18 so we decided to take the cheaper route and play the Edinburgh course for a cheap 150 pounds. The clubhouse was amazing and the hospitality was even better. Hopefully we can get back here one day and play the West course after I save up all my ‘pence.’

Lastly, probably the most well known course of the 4 I have played is Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s Golf Club. We took a train ride out to St. Anne’s on the Sea one weekend where I met a client of mine from Houston for a round of golf. This club was founded in 1886 and is a true links style course from start to finish with 3 foot high rough just off the fairways and rolling hills throughout. This course has held Open Championships on numerous occasions with the most recent being in 2001 when David Duval won the tournament with a 10 under par. The course has some very unique aspects such as the first hole being a par 3 and it having 198 bunkers, all in the exact right place for my shots I must add. The course is in wonderful condition and is preparing for the 2012 British Open which will be played at Royal Lytham.

Looking across the number one green to the clubhouse.

Teeing off on number 18, not a good day, now I know why.

Looking down 18 fairway with friends from a client in Houston. Great day of golf, not so good score.

In conclusion, that is the extent of my golfing thus far. Unfortunately, it is quickly getting colder which will prevent too much more golf being played. However, I am greatly looking forward to next summer where St. Andrews and other hot spots are on the list.

If you are a golf fan and have never played in England or Scotland, the links style courses and the 40 mph winds are something you just have to experience for yourself. Be prepared to add about 10 strokes to your score. You will really appreciate the professionals.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

England Golf Experience Part 1

OK, so there aren't many options for a mystery blogger in a house with only two people in for those of you who guessed, Mister Y is none other than........the golf expert, Mr. Jason Kirksey himself. So without further adieu, I give you our resident golfer. Enjoy!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you very much. No need for applause..

Thanks to Cristen being up for just about anything, I have had the privilege of playing 4 golf courses in England over my past 4 months of being here. Each of these courses were weekend trips away except for one which was surprisingly close and extremely enjoyable. So, without further rambling, here goes..

The first weekend trip consisted of two courses, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. We struck out by train to the southeastern coast of England to play two courses that have a ton of history. Believe it or not, our stop was a city called Sandwich just outside the port city of Dover. The first course on this tour was Prince’s Golf Club. It was built in 1906 and then later redone after it was badly damaged in World War II. The course is now a 27 hole course and provides its challenges. It is most widely known for its hosting of the Open Championship in 1932 where the American Gene Sarazen won the tournament. As a sidenote for all the golf historians, Sarazen was the first player to debut a ‘sand iron’ which began a whole new era for golf.

In case the 4 foot tall rough wasn’t enough, since the course is on the water it also adds anywhere from 30-50 mph winds just in case you were up for a challenge that day.

Teeing off on number 1 at Prince’s..

Me on the tee at Prince's, water behind..

Amazingly enough, I found my ball in that! I didn't bother trying to hit it out.

The second stop on this trip was to the Royal Cinque Ports golf club. This course is located just a stone’s throw from Sandwich in a city called Deal. The course was founded in 1892 and has held the Open Championship in 1909 and 1920 and still holds Amateur qualifying events today. As this course also sits right along the water, it has been removed from any more prestigious tournament rotations due to the course being covered in water due to high tides at random times throughout the year.

As we pulled up, I was a little leary of the course as the clubhouse and practice area looked run down. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the course and the people inside who made this experience one to never forget. As we started off on 1, I noticed that the winds were picking up a little. Little did I know what I was getting myself into as we hit number 2 and went along the Sandwich Bay for an enjoyable yet challenging layout. Each hole provided its challenges and according to the attendant at the halfway house, the course can play into the wind for the entire 18 holes if you play at the right time (winds change with the tide). My favorite quote of the day was ‘it is not windy until the flags are hitting the green.’ Thankfully, we played the first 12 or so into a 30-35 mph wind and then had that wind at our back for a much more enjoyable finish. This included a 350 yard drive onto the green on a par 4. The wind didn't help any, I promise.

Right where I wanted to be, in the bunker.

Just a slight breeze.

Teeing off on number 9 right by the Sandwich Bay.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the England Golf Experience where I unveil the two best courses I have played so far.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mister Y

For the two of you who are still out there, I will be having a guest blogger this weekend! For now lets call him "Mister Y" (little reference to Love Never Dies, thank you). This person will pop in occasionally to fill us in on....well you'll just have to wait and find out!

I do have MUCHO to say re our recent trips to Munich and then to Istanbul. BUT for now, I'll leave you with photos. I'm off to see the Christmas lights get turned on here at Sloane Square. How romantic does that sound!? Tis the season!

Marienplatz, Munich
Outside Munich, Linderhoff
Neuschwanstein Castle

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ciao Ciao!

I think winter is rolling in. Officially, the sun rose at 7:13 and set at 6:23. And I was up before sunrise! From now on, I think I'll just say that. The conversation will go something like this: "What time did you get up this morning?" And then I'll say, "It was before sunrise, so I dunno...pretty early." Am I the only one who finds this amusing? All this to say, the weather seems to be getting crummier, so maybe, just maybe, you'll find more posts coming soon. Maybe.

Anyway, down to business. LOTS has happened since I posted last. My mom has come to visit...twice. My dad made his maiden voyage to London. Jason has traveled halfway around the world and back (literally). And I've worked 5 whole days this week! So much for part-time, eh? My fabulous Aunt Margaret is coming next week! The last time we hot footed around Europe together was when I was in college...who knows what kind of trouble we can get ourselves into now :)

Lets see...where to begin. OK, so I know ALL of you are just on pins and needles waiting to find out where we went last weekend...all two of you. Jason was in Paris and then Milan two weeks ago on business, so we decided I'd just fly up to Milan for the weekend (EasyJet really is easy). After a 8 hour door to door commute...don't ask...I made it to the hotel in Milan at 2:30am. Let's just say my first 3 hours back to Italy were not the highlight of the weekend. But it was ITALY! My first trip back to Italia since HUF...when was that...almost 7 years ago?? Sheesh. We didn't really have any plans for the weekend, just play tourist. I bought a cheap book about Milan and the lake region (which we WILL visit someday...Lago di Como is calling my name...) and we just set out to do as much of their "top 10" list as we could. Did I mention it was the final weekend of fashion week??? My "Devil Wears Prada" moments keep on coming.

So here's the Duomo. Notice the brellies everywhere (yes that's what the Brits call an umbrella)...started out a gloomy day. We were convinced we should just go back to London...we can get this kind of weather there!
This is inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle. Basically just a shopping mall. But doesn't "gallerie" sound so much more dignified? This one was built in the late 19th century...are there any shopping malls in your area that are this old???? Show me. I dare you.

Ahhhh yes, the Duomo. It was started in 1386, and finished in 1813...yup that's nearly 430 years of construction. And you think road construction in Houston is bad.
This is me experimenting with iPhoto. I heart iPhoto. You don't even really need a fancy schmancy camera...just a super sweet awesome iMac...don't get me started.

Probably THE coolest thing about Milan's Duomo is that you can climb up ONTO the roof of the actual building. Not just the top to admire the view, you can actually walk around ON the roof!

Awesome closeups of the architecture...
Beautiful views of the city...
Look, he's waving! Ciao Milano!!
OK, now this building. This is the Torre Velasca. Basically a 1950's version of an Italian skyscraper. They thought they were cool by making the top floors wider than the rest of the building...but from what I've read, this thing costs a fortune to maintain. Oops.
Hi Jason!!
This is Castello Italian castle, right?? Started in 1451, but they had to basically rebuild it after WWI, along with most of the city. It is free to walk around the grounds, but you have to pay to get into the art museum. There was some kind of political conference when we were crews and all, but they let us tourists keep walkin around amongst everything. So hospitable.

Vorrei un gelato, per favore!
This little church. Ha. So the number one thing to do in Milan is BOOK AHEAD and go see DaVinci's Last Supper painting. I mean book wayyyy ahead. Don't just email and enquire about it, don't try to book the night before you go. This was September, people, and the place was booked up for 2 weeks. I can't imagine trying to go see it during the summer. ANYWAY. If you can't get in to see the painting, this beautiful little church is just next door in the same piazza. It is called Santa Marie delle Grazie and it is worth the walk over.
Next church (come on, its Italy, that's what you do is visit old churches). This is the baptistry of Sant'Ambrogio. Fun memory, a cute little elderly couple was getting married when we walked in. That's right, the church was still open for tourists! Only Italy, right? Anyway, it was started in 379 and pretty much finished in 1080. Pretty amazing structure.
You might not believe me, but all of these photos were taken on the same day. This was just day 1 in Milan for me. Sorry, no pics of day 2...that was reserved for shopping and eating :) I can't count how many cappuccinos (or is it cappuccini?) I had in the under-48-hours I was there...maybe 8?
Buona sera, Milano. We'll be back soon...