Friday, August 31, 2007

Guten tag!

And danke, bitte, nein, and auf wiedersehen. And there you have it - my entire German vocabulary.

We got back from Berlin Wednesday night and pretty much immediately jumped into planning the logistics of our Norway trip coming up next week. Now that we've got that out of the way, the goal for this weekend is to upload Berlin pics to the blog. But I'll leave you with this teaser...

When we checked into the Ritz-Carlton, it was seriously VIP all the way. Once they pulled up our confirmation and saw we were staying on the "Club Level", it was like they hit the red button and the swat team went into action. All the sudden, there were people grabbing our bags and whisking us up to the tenth floor where we were immediately introduced to the Club Lounge staff, handed a damp cloth to freshen up with, and served two glasses of champers. Then we were escorted to our room where we were shown how to operate the bedside control panel (that not only adjusted all the lighting and switched on the "do not disturb" and "service please" indicators but also opened and closed the curtains) and introduced to a little slice of heaven called a "Berliner".

On each bedside table sat a little jam-filled pastry, dusted with confectioners sugar and topped with a little amaretto flavored Ritz-Carlton logo. Oh. My. Sweet. Jesus.

It's the only way to travel, people. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bred for its skills in magic

After the stress of finding somewhere to go this weekend was lifted, we decided to celebrate with some bubblies.

And lo, the champagneicorn was born. And it was good.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Where in the world...

Well, my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants lifestyle has finally caught up with me. Jason and I rarely "plan" trips. We moreso just kind of wake up one morning, decide we want to go somewhere, log on to, book it and fly out two days later. This time, we waited a little too long to book our "sun holiday" as the English call it.

We had both decided we were borderline suicidal due to the lovely (60 degrees and rainy. Every. Bloody. Day.) British summer we're having and that we were going to book ourselves to go somewhere warm and sunny this weekend. Well, what we forgot is that it's the Bank Holiday weekend. And every other human being residing in the United Kingdom also wants to go somewhere sunny this weekend. Oops.

We hit rock bottom last night when both of us had been online for hours at a time, searching in vain for a trip to Mallorca or Greece or Portugal or pretty much anywhere you can go outside with shortsleeves on. I snapped at Jason to "PLEASE use the silent touch-click feature because that constant clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick is driving me NUTS". He retorted something like "I don't know why I bother" under his breath and of course I come back with the always-clever "What the hell's THAT supposed to mean?" And that's when we knew. We're not the kind of couple who routinely fights over computer clicking noises. We knew we had to get out of here. Even if it wasn't to the South of Europe, we had to go somewhere the forecast didn't have little pictures of grey clouds with the little cartoon cloud faces puffed up like they were blowing arctic winds and rain pouring out the bottom of them.

So, Berlin it is. It's a beautiful city and the weather is supposed to be sunny and mild this weekend. But, I have to be honest and say that I'm the most excited about the hotel. We booked the flight on BA points so we decided we could splurge a little on accomodations. Ritz-Carlton, here we come. Club-level, bitches.

Y'all think anybody will mind if I wear my Jim Beam Racing beater tank to the Club Concierge for afternoon cocktails?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Remember me?

I think I've finally recovered from jetlag. Lucky though I was that a) I had the good sense to pop two sleeping pills during boarding so I slept the ENTIRE flight and b) Jason took the day off work to pick me up at the airport and keep me busy the whole day so I wouldn't crash, I still was in a state for the rest of last week. For whatever reason, going to the US from here is super easy and I regulate pretty much immediately, but coming back over KILLS me and it takes days to recover.

Anyhoobie, here's what we've been up to since I returned...

Being lazy

Celebrating Andrea getting knocked up by showering her with gifts and stuffing ourselves full of red velvet cake

Soaking up some culture seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre*

Getting generally soaked at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre**

(But "all's well that ends well". Har har har!!! I'm just too much for me sometimes what with my Shakespearean puns and all!)

Listening to some N'awlean's style creole music down by the riverside

Watching these fools make arses of themselves dancing to some N'awlean's style creole music down by the riverside

And more being lazy***

*My right eye looks all wonky because of the flash glaring on my glasses, not because I have a wonky right eye. (And NC'ers, yes, you see correctly. Yes I am wearing a turtleneck wool sweater and a wool cardie over it. And yes it is bloody August.)

**As much as it kind of sucked that it rained intermittently throughout the performance, it certainly made it an experience that we'll never forget. And the actors were such troopers, getting positively soaked but carrying on just as if it were a balmy summer's evening. It was the final performance of the season so they were determined to finish it. Not to mention the guy who played Bottom was finally leaving the troupe after playing the role every summer since 1971!

***Seriously? How cute is he??? This is why I forgive him when he meows nonstop, centimeters from my face in the mornings.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

K-Smoove! Drop me a beeeeeat...

Tomorrow, I leave behind 104 degree temperatures* (that's a 115 degree heat index by the way) and return to Londrizzle. But not before I leave you with some photos of perhaps one of the funniest nights in my recent memory.

However, this MUST be prefaced with this Saturday Night Live skit.

You know it's a classy affair when you're standing under a Coors Light tent, drinking a Miller Lite from a plastic cup and sporting a free Bud Light wrist band.

Twin powers activate!

The Original Gangsta sippin' on his tall boy.

Who do you think is BFF'er? Us or Paris and Nicole?

This is when the Hip Hop Kids make their first appearance.

Yo, Jo-Jessica! You bettah recognize your sedimentary rock formations!

Did the night stop there when the outdoor music was over? Absolutely not. Should it have? Probably yes.

But no, we had to take this party inside and dance it out. You may or may not have noticed that I've changed shirts. You also may or may not notice that my beater tank says "Jim Beam Racing" on it. Yet another classy memento to take home and treasure forever.

If I had a gangster name, it would probably be something like "Queen of Free Shiz". What with my Bud Light wristband, Jim Beam tank and the Yuengling hat, I hardly paid for a single thing on my person. And, clearly, I'm rather proud of that fact.

There are a lot more photos but I'm going to do myself and Catherine a favor and keep them to myself. Maybe.

*Didn't believe me about 104 degrees? Check it:

And that's at 6:30 pm. Wonder what it was at 2:00 in the afternoon?!?

Friday, August 10, 2007

American beer = Water

See how many I have to drink at once to get the same buzz as a pint of English brew?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Country roads, take me home

Jason and I are back in Raleigh now, after spending a few days visiting my family. The good news is that we got to stay in the most adorable bed & breakfast in a tiny little township called Rockford instead of the Courtyard Marriott in Winston Salem.

It's an Antebellum house that sits on a vineyard. The area where I grew up used to have acre after acre of tobacco fields but now that that industry is on the decline, many of them have been replaced by vineyards and winerys. Ironic considering it was a dry county when I was growing up and any form of alcohol was pretty much considered the devil's juice. Anyway, I think it's great the the area is revitalizing itself and the region (Yadkin Valley Wine Region) is getting some props. Since we were pretty busy getting around to visit my grandparents and spending a lot of time with my grandpa who's sick, we weren't able to hit up any of the winerys around the B & B for tastings. Maybe next time...

Anyway, here's a few pics of the B & B and of Rockford...

By no means incorporated. Just so there's no confusion.

I love the simple street names. None of this subdivision-y "Winding Creek Way" (when there's nary a creek to be found) or "Mountain Vista Court" (ain't nobody seein' no mountains when your neighbor's house is a mere foot and a half from your own) business.

This was hanging on the back porch and Jason and I thought it was hilarious. If you can't read it, click on the photo to enlarge.

Jason inspects the vines and determines that while they are lovely as is, we prefer them in fermented format.

The view from the back porch where we relaxed with a bottle of vino.

The view from our bedroom window overlooking the vineyard. It's easy to be a morning person when this is what you wake up to.

The nearby train tracks the run alongside the Yadkin River.

My dad used to bring me here to the country store when I was little to get rock candy.

They still have the rock candy but my pallete has matured over the years. I now prefer a nice Sour Patch Kid or tasty Lemon Drop. Then perhaps a delectable chocolate covered pretzel for dessert. Afterwards, I unwind with a candy cigarette. (Who knew they still even made those!?!?!?)

One night we went to dinner with my parents at this place called The Depot at Cody Creek. Now, when I was a kid, this was a water park. A water. park. Now it's a whole complex with a nice restaurant, a country store, a gazebo with a fountain, and a hotel under construction. I'm not really sure how you turn a water park into something like this but I imagine it took a lot of planning.

The water wheel outside the store.

The covered bridge that goes over the creek.

And I'll leave you with this...

Lest any of you don't know just how much "in the country" I grew up (that is, if the whole dry county thing didn't already seal the deal for you) this is what we spotted in the soybean field in front of my parents' house. And that's my aunt's pig.

Y'all go ahead and pick yourselves up off the floor and try to stop laughing now. I've got to run. That sweet iced tea sure ain't gonna drink itself.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Upgrade bitches!

Ok class, what's the number one best thing that can happen while traveling? Hands up if you know the answer. Anyone? That's right! Upgrades in cabin class on an aircraft is absolutely the right answer!

Have I mentioned that I love Jason's status with BA and the rest of the "One World Alliance" airlines? Well I do. Like, reeeeeeally love it. I love it so much I want to make out with it and maybe marry it later and then have its babies. That's how much I love it.

But I like to think I played no small part myself. I put on my very best "I'm a pretentious starlet so don't look at me because I'm trying to go incognito so the paps will leave me alone but really you know I'm a total narcissist because I put the hood to my Juicy sweats up and wore these ridiculously large sunglasses which only draws more attention and I secretly love people wondering which famous 'it girl' is hiding behind the so called disguise" look.