Dec 28, 2010


Hi lovely readers.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
I was in the middle of a re-cap post of the last week
when I was told that I reached my photo upload limit on blogger for the month.
Bah humbug, blogger.
Anyway, we got the Smiths safely back to Heathrow
and stopped at IKEA on the way home.
My orchids were belted in for the foggy drive home.
Maybe one day we will be securing in little guys
but for now, the seat belts work great for other things :)
I'll be back next year (never gets old)
with a re-cap of Christmas.
We are off to Slovenia to ring in the New Year.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride into 2011...

Dec 20, 2010

Snowy Oxford - Part Deux

 Don't let the beautiful pink skies fool you.
It's "take a thaw-out break every 15 minutes" kind of cold here. 
We took a hike up to the bell tower at St. Mary's and it was worth 
the claustrophobia-inducing ascent.

Dec 18, 2010

White Christmas

Neil's parents landed in London a few hours ago. Yay
But they're stuck because of the snow. Boo
 And we're not talking about a dusting.

It's beautiful here in Oxford.
But we hope they can get here soon. ..
 Our backyard table is a good indicator of how much snow we have.
And it hasn't stopped falling yet...

Dec 14, 2010

Where the sidewalk ends

Hello friends.
We had a nice weekend and kicked off our many holiday parties. 
Friday night we hosted a little Christmas get together.
We even got a real tree this year that we are enjoying immensely.
Neil was in charge of the tree gettin' this year and he called asking me if I wanted
"the big one or the small one?"
He came home with the "small" one. It's taller than him.
He was on his way to exams in this picture...

Saturday, the girls headed out to Blenheim Palace.
Birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
It was the last weekend the Palace would be open until after Christmas.
So while the guys were busy studying for exams, we weren't having any fun at all...

Image via my friend Meg.  
image via my friend Meg
Looking a little more civilized.
Then Sunday I took another little trip out of town for a 10k race.
It was a great experience, but I found myself in somewhat of a pickle...
The only way to get to Chesterton was to take the bus,
and then walk 2 miles to the start of the race.
Which is fine in theory, but in reality it didn't work out so seamlessly.
I made it to Chesterton and started walking...
Everything was going fine until I reached a point where the sidewalk literally ended.
So my only option was to either keep walking in hopes of the sidewalk picking up again, soon.
Or turn back and miss the race.
I should mention that this particular road was tree lined without medians.
As in, the sidewalk ends and the only place to walk is IN the road.
Imagine something like this but the trees on the right side were on both sides.
I kept walking (you may be questioning my judgement right about now).
Country roads don't have much traffic, right? Wrong.
Cars were flying around corners and giving me just enough wiggle room.
I was flapping my arms trying to create enough movement for cars to see me
without crossing that fine line of looking like a crazy person in
danger needing someone to stop and help.
I know that if I were driving around a corner on a country road and saw me,
I would be thinking "what is this insane person doing just walking down this road?"

This continued for a good 1.5 miles.
Eventually the sidewalk started again and I made it to the race. Alive.
Adrenaline pumping.
I think google maps needs to add an option to check for sidewalks in England or add a disclaimer.
"Oh sure you can get to Chesterton from Oxford on the bus and then walk,
but beware for your life because there are no sidewalks!"

  I think this chic would've looked less crazy than I did.
Did I mention it was 0°C while I was on this adventure?
I won't even begin to tell you how I got home. But I did. Eventually.
And when I did, the couch was my spot for the next few hours.
 I was enjoying my small Christmas tree and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Hope you are all having a great week!

Dec 8, 2010

Lost in Translation part 2

All it takes is one word misinterpreted or misunderstood...
This time it was Neil. 
He was getting his hair cut last weekend and
after getting a shampoo, the young girl asked
"would you like a complimentary hand massage?"
To which Neil thought for a second and replied
"Uh sure, I guess so"
She walked off and never came back

Then he thought about it for a second and...

What really happened:
The young shampoo girl asked
"did you like your complimentary head massage?"
"Uh sure, I guess so"

These pictures are for our friend Mr. S in Dallas, TX.

Dec 5, 2010

The Nutcracker Ball ~ Merton

Last weekend we went to the winter ball at Merton College. 
To say it was over the top would be an understatement. 
I didn't bring my nice camera, but we did get a couple of shots. 
It was also -3C and most of the night's events were in tents. 
So naturally, I needed a dressy and warm coat for the night.
We stumbled upon a vintage store that had a lot of faux furs. 
I picked one up.
I got lots of compliments on my very warm looking jacket.
Everyone kept saying how real it looked and felt. 
"nah it was cheap and from a vintage store"
When person number 6 said it really felt real...
I quietly took a peek at the tag.
100% Conan Fur.
"Neil, quick google conan fur on your phone"
 My friend from Dallas loved it. 
Other girls felt strange standing next to me after the Revelation didn't have much to say.
I had no idea, and it was vintage and probably already around for many years, right?
It's not as if I commissioned it.
All kidding aside, we had such a great time. 
It was a very traditional evening in Oxford. 

Black & White

I took a black and white photography class in Oxford back in October.
It's been a while since I've really thought in black and white. 
Now, we just take color pictures and click a button to change it.
In fact, it's been since the dark room in college when I really thought about contrast and exposure.
Now that things are digital, it's takes a different eye to see in black and white.
So it was a fun way to challenge myself to think about my photos in a different way.

 The instructor said I should share my photos and also make some actual prints- to really enjoy them.
I guess that is the whole point to photography. 
My style is more - take some shots and keep them tucked away in computer files.

England has beautiful gardens everywhere.
The nature shots above were taken at Rousham House Gardens. 
The dusty fan is well, our dusty fan. Don't judge.

Dec 1, 2010

Early snow in England

 View from my office this morning
 It's not much snow, but it's pretty and has given me reason
to start playing Christmas music at home a little earlier than usual this year.
Alabama - "Christmas in Dixie" is an all time favorite.
Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra are up there too.

It's also a pretty nice view from my desk during the day.
Happy December!