Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yeah, baby's that big...

Special thanks to our guest photographer, Sandy, with whom we shared a delightful evening. When we travel so much, we miss catching up with good friends...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Garden highlight

Our travels, the rain, and the endless heat have not been kind to our garden. It looks overgrown and a mess, but we just can't bear to pull it out because there's still a lot lurking inside: okra, eggplant, and peppers, plus a few green tomatoes that we may fry if we're ever home on the same night for dinner. We had to pull up the zinnias, thanks to some funky fungus that killed them all. The one thing that's growing well and still looking pretty is our moon vine. We get 10-15 blooms a night, and they're always this pretty.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sarah visits

Last weekend, when Ned and I returned from London, Sarah was at our house. She had work in Jackson, which made the visit possible. Here's a photo from our visit to the Old Courthouse Museum. Our highlights: handwritten will by Varina Davis, wife of Jeff Davis (MB); a hand carved miniball (Sarah), and photos of old Vicksburg (Ned).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby gear practice

Cousins Anne and George (and Madeleine) generously shared all of their baby gear with us this week. All the goodies filled the sun room! (The baby's going to be much smaller, right?) Ned tried out the baby carrier with my Cabbage Patch Kid. All's good in this photo, but when it came time to unhook the harnesses, the doll fell through the bottom and hit the floor. Ned assures me he'll practice and be far more careful with our baby.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dad met Blago, too

He slipped him $10 and he's been promised a position in his next administration. Secretary of Agriculture, I think it was?

Friday, September 25, 2009

London Flashback

Here's Ned, at a full size reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake's galleon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Uncle Patrick delivers from the bookstore

Baby M will be dressed in style for this year's BCS bowl game. We hope. (Meaning we hope on the bowl game. Style assured.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What are the odds?

Some of you may recognize her as a friend on our blogroll, SM Squared. Coincidence at the Walgreens!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Where are the postcards?

By now, you must be wondering where your postcards are from our London trip. Since Ned kept popping into telephone booths to call our family with updates, Mary Beth didn't think postcards were necessary this trip. You did get phone calls, didn't you? He sure did borrow a lot of change from me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mind the Gap

We took photos at the Tube stations where we felt literary connections. As you may remember, Canterbury Tales begins in Southwark, not too far from Charing Cross. (But we forgot to get the photo at the Southwark station, alas.) Ned can recite the full intro to Chaucer's tale in Middle English. Not to be outdone, Mary Beth recited the London Bridge nursery rhyme.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reconsidering the truck

Ned decided to go car shopping in the neighborhood where our hotel was located. He's reconsidering buying a truck and instead looking at something even less car seat friendly. Cost for the gray car above? About $175,000.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Said beer

Back in the U.S.A.

Back home and dining at the airport Chili's. Flight was crazy
turbulent, and we've decided that there's a special place in hell for
parents who take toddlers on transatlantic flights without toys to
entertain them. They screamed all10 hours. Ned's ordering a large
beer. MB is settling for comfort fries.

Absurd London

We've enjoyed our trip to London, but here are the most absurd things we encountered.
Starbucks, everwhere. Over 200 locations in the city, many within sight of each other. Ned tried to count them all, but then we just gave up and started playing "Starbucks!" (like "punchbug" from our younger days).

Knife surrender boxes. Guns are apparently not as serious a problem?
And, perhaps most absurd, was the rental car company that rented me, an American driver in London, a brand-new Mercedes C-class. It had only 200 miles when we got rush hour. Needless to say, we took out ALL the insurance. And returned it without a scratch (whew!).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tower Bridge is not falling down.

London: Last Day, afternoon of museums

Ned at the Natural History Museum this morning. It's in a beautiful building...
with robotic dinosaurs...
and giant blue whales.
After all the natural history, we headed to the Tate Modern for some modern art. Ned loved it, lemme tell you -- especially the piece that was just a mirror on the wall so the viewer could look into his own soul. We're thinking of installing something like that in our own home--with a frame around it, of course. Here's a photo from the outside hall, the only place cameras were allowed. We saw a few of the greats: Pollock, Warhol, Picasso, Matisse, etc. We ended the day at the National Portrait Gallery, where they had a special exhibit of Dylan photographs by Barry Feinstein. Good times.

London: Last Day, the morning

Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens.
Isis statue, same place.
Kensington gardens. Looking a whole lot better than our garden right now, lemme tell you.
Royal Albert Hall. Nod to the Dylan fans in the family.
Albert Memorial (in tribute to Victoria's husband Albert). Really a beautiful, and accidental, find today.

Travel Update

Hello, family: know that we'll leave London tomorrow at noon (6 a.m. MS time) and be back in Houston by 4 p.m. Back to Jackson around the 9 o'clock hour, because there's one helluva layover. Ugh.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wallingford, in review

Beautiful roses...
in the castle garden just behind our hotel!
Town square.
Move theatre (a.k.a. Corn Exchange). The little town was just as quaint as it looks. We loved it! (Dare I confess that we liked it a whole lot better than London?!?)

Oxford Town & Other Literary Adventures

Yesterday, I made the trip to Oxford while Ned was in meetings. It was beautiful as described, with more than a few similarities to our own Oxford, including a downtown filled with goofy boutique shops that nobody uses, a few overpriced coffee shops, and college students everywhere. The only thing missing were the SUVs, but Double Decker buses more than filled the streets. Tour stops included an exhibition at the Bodleian Library on book binding, the tower at St. Michael's Tower (oldest building in town and the church where William Shakespeare stood as godfather to a friend's child), and a cookie shop where I may have had the very best cookie of my entire life -- no kidding. Here's my only photo in Oxford, at Christ Church, known as "The House." It's where Lewis Caroll crafted the Alice stories, among other things. I thought it appropriate to visit with Baby M, since we'll certainly be reading the books.
This morning, I dropped Ned off to his final day of meetings and made my way to St. Mary's Churchyard in Cholsey, just about three miles away, to find Agatha Christie's grave. I learned yesterday that it was somewhere in the area, so I did a bit of sleuthing online and used my investigator skills (i.e. GPS) to find it. I also chatted with the graveyard keeper, who told me she used to wait on "Mrs. Mallowen" at the bank when she was a young teller. She described her as "the wife of Professor Mallowen," a very small lady, too gentle and polite for anyone to believe that she'd dream up such horrific murder mysteries. It was fun to hear her account. I got the feeling they don't get many visitors out that way.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

Hope you were happier today than you were in this photo!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Family fun at the Biograph Theater

You know what happened here, I'm sure.

Day 3: Wallingford

This little town is on the Thames River (see above) about forty miles outside of London. The drive here was an adventure (thank goodness for the GPS!). So far, we love it. Actually, we think we love it a bit more than London. Fortunately, we have 2 days to stay here. A snapshot of things we love so far (and we've only been here a few hours).
Cheap beer for Ned. On the banks of the Thames River.
It's old and idyllic, and it has a farmer's market (which we missed, but we're glad they have one!)
And best of all, they have fancy street names. Like this one. Seriously.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

London: Day 2 (cont'd) reverse

So blogger posts my photos backwards. Here's the second part of Day 2 in reverse: Ned at the Golden Jubilee Bridge.
Beautiful night sky, just before a fireworks show we stumbled upon. The Thames River Festival is happening this weekend, and it was all part of that celebration.
Outside the new Globe.
Outside St. Paul's Cathedral. Again, no tour, but this time it's just because services were happening just as we walked through the doors. We went to morning prayer at Westminster Abbey, and Mary Beth went to Mass this evening at 6 p.m., and we just couldn't bring ourselves to do a three-for today. Sorry...
Outside the British Museum. We had a great day, despite Notre Dame's best attempt to destroy my good fun in London this week with that sorry loss to Michigan. Let's not talk about it.

London: Day 2

Ned with Easter Island statue at British Museum.
Ned's so smart he can read hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone...upside down! This is the touch-and-see model. The real version is behind lots of glass.
Fierce, like Churchill.
Look kids, Big Ben!
Westerminster Abbey after morning choir services (we attended). I'm not sure if we'll make it back for the inside tour. Nice church and all, but $60 for the two of us to see it? Yes, we're only in London once. But I've got a bit of an issue with the moneychangers in the temple (and, seriously, there's a cashier's station).