Saturday, February 28, 2009


You know you hear Sam's voice from "Lord of the Rings" saying potatoes to Gollum...

Anyway, we have seed potatoes!  Yukon Gold.  I ordered these, um, last June for Will's birthday and they were out of stock.  I had forgotten to cancel the order; indeed, I had simply forgotten about the entire purchase!  But, lo and behold, the company did not and  2 LBs of Yukon Gold seed potatoes with fertilizer appeared on our doorstep this week. 

Very exciting. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

M,M,M,M,M,M - good.

So while on my trip I went to the - Melaka Mega Mall McDonalds, Melaka, Malaysia.

With all those M's aligned like stars I figured I was in for a great experience.

Looking at the menu, it turns out a Big Mac is a Big Mac, and a Qarter Pounder is a - Quarter Pounder. They seem not to have taken to the Royale with Cheese idea.

One can also get Ribena from the soda fountain which is just outstanding! I went for a #7 (yes - the Big Mac meal was #7 on the list, very confusing for those of us who usually go in there and order on auto-pilot) and the special.

Big Mac, Fries - both met my exacting standards but I would not recommend the "Propserity Burger" in honour of Chinese New Year. Had to give it a go but honestly - I wasn't feeling terribly prosperous having eaten it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring is Coming!

It really is people, though the weather man is calling for light snow this weekend. But the gold finches are turning from the dirty mustard winter color to their bright highlighter yellow! And we have tulips poking through all over the garden and our snowdrops are out in full bloom.
I have missed you, Spring. So glad of you to finally come 'round again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Location, take 2

As you will recall, we have the wedding reception location all picked out--it is important to know where the after party is for any event. So, we guess it is about time we figure out the *actual* wedding will take place.  

We will have a civil ceremony, hopefully on the Friday before hand, here: 
The Royal Tunbridge Wells Registrar's Office, or Mansion House.  It looks prettier inside.  

And then the blessing will be here, at St. Nicholas Church, in Sandhurst, Kent, UK, on the Saturday. 

A large sturdy tower overlooks the valley dividing Kent and Sussex some distance from its village. It dates, as does much of the church, from the fourteenth century. The arcades are of dumpy octagonal pillars which have lancet clerestory windows set into the walls above. There are some notable fragments of medieval glass in the south aisle, together with an excellent twentieth century etched glass window. The tower is flanked by the aisles. The north aisle displays the original entrance to the rood loft staircase. At the west end is a nice octagonal sandstone font with a series of decorated window designs enlivening its paneled sides.

Original Build Date/Architect: Medieval

Restoration: 1875

Will's grandparents are buried in the churchyard and there have been 4 other family weddings there, not to mention numerous christenings.  

We can finally get those Save-the-Date cards and invitations printed up!  Only 4 months before the event.  

Now, to decide if we want tower bell ringers or not....  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kitty & Parsley!

What is my cat's deal with leafy greens? First it was celery and now parsley! 

Laid Low

Sorry for the lack of blogging... been laid waaay low with a nasty chest cold.  You can tell that Will has taken good care of me.  He made sure I was warm: hot water bottle, hat, and kitty. Not to mention all the toilet roll for tissues I could want/need. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Presents from the Future

One of best things about Will coming home is he comes home with PRESENTS.  They are reflective of some of the best art and crafts from the area.  In Kuala Lumper, one speciality is pewter.  Being in the Orient, they also are tea experts. So, meld the two traditions together and Will brought home a beautiful pewter tea caddy, from Royal Selangor International

The caddy he bought called is the Four Gentlemen because of the decorative sides. In Chinese art the plum blossom, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum are known as the Four Gentlemen. 

The bamboo (to the left) is pliant yet strong, alluding to resilience and humility, its tall stem seeming to represent the pursuit of excellence.  The chrysanthemum (on the right) is said to personify simplicity, honesty, and perfection. 

The plum blossom (on the left) is able to withstand the cold of winter, and symbolizes perseverance, courage, and willpower.  The orchid (to the right) is admired for its beauty and fragrance and represents a perfect cultured individual. 

The company visited the show Will was running and he got to take his hand at working some pewter.  He hammered out a bowl with our initials. It is really pretty and handmade!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back from the Future

Will has returned to the present from the future.
It has made him tie-tie.

Toad in the Hole

Hey Kid from Hurst Street,

You need to the staff to make you this kind of toast and not *their* kind of toast. It is delicious.....

Believe me. I know. As does the staff. They are denying you Toad in the Hole. Or Bird's Nest. Or, deliciousness on a plate.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from Chloe, Brando, Annabelle, and Juliette!

Mission Accomplished

I have the dress.  For *the* big day.  An hour and half, a mom and sister, and lovely store attendant, and the certain colors available in sashes and what not.  All of that adds up to Champagne. 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Give and Take - well - more take than give but whatever. - busy day today - 3rd post

Today I enjoyed my first day off of the trip. I leave on Saturday afternoon so have two days which which to explore Malaysia. Yes, it's a daunting prospect but regardless I'll do my best. First step was breakfast which I can only describe as stunning - particularly since I've discovered steak is on the menu the last two days, those guys can also poach eggs like, well - pros. I followed this with a brief check on the client who were doing fine and headed out the door. First stop was the bus terminal about a mile away to get my bus ticket for tomorrows excursion to Melaka. The terminal was quite a hub of activity and obviously an integral part of the local's transportation.

Next up, probably a couple of miles walk further on I came to an area called Lake Gardens which contains the war memorial. (Cenotaph in the back behind the onions). Good patriotic stuff on a sunny day.

Lake gardens also has two important destinations that were on my list. The KL bird park and orchid garden. Upon entering the parking lot (pretty hot and tired at this point having walked for two hours in the sweltering heat) I was greeted by car park monkies! What a pick me up. There was probably a gaggle? of about 30 wandering around causing trouble. What an entertaining lot. Fortunately I had a mango in my bag (obviously not provided by the hotel) which I offered them. The antics that followed as they squabbled over it were hugely entertaining. The big male controlled everything but was followed by his minions who received scraps and tussled over the smaller bits. For the record, I tried to catch one so I could pop it in my bag and bring it home to no avail.

Next I went on to the bird park. The world's largest free flight walk in aviary.

I can only describe my experience, as a lover of birds, as almost emotional. I witnessed some of the most staggeringly beautiful animals on the planet. Most of them were with in arms reach and outside any enclosure.

The biggest treat was as I left the facility however. My final encounter was of the Rhinoceros Hornbill (last image) swooping towards me and landing a foot away on a railing. The size of it was immense - wing span of probably 5 feet. Flying towards me I almost felt like ducking but fortunately stood still and felt the wind buffet my face as he pulled in. Sadly I didn't have much time with him but was able to get a quick shot off. I was quite something. If you're ever in KL this place cannot be missed. I'm also up for a 250th Darwin celebration if anyone's having one.

The Orchid garden had orchids in it - whatever.

Oh - and the give part of the title........I went to the shops and blew a ton of cash on stuff. The economy should be a bit better off. Now we just need everyone else to blow some and this economic crisis stuff will be a thing of the past.

Eaten alive - Dr. Fish

Kathy, Gill (my client) and I are the coolest - that's the bottom line.
Last night we experimented with a fish spa. Doctor Fish. It was one of the most entertaining and unusual experiences I've had in probably a decade. One sticks ones feet into a tub full of tiny little fish that proceed to nibble on you.

It feels as if you have a host of little nodes attached to your feet causing pleasant electrical currents. Of course, initially it takes a few seconds to overcome the terror that comes with being eaten alive but once ones feet are in, it becomes pure pleasure. For 30 minutes we enjoyed having our tired feet exfoliated or whatever they were doing.....we think they were munching on dead skin. When our time was up and our feet were dried the results were remarkable. Feet felt soft and rejuvinated.

I'd highly recommend it.

Fruit failure - heads will roll

Well - a few comments on the Mandarin Oriental, sadly of the bad nature. This place is just getting worse and worse it would seem.

First up, today I had to press the button for my floor in the elevator; myself. It is unacceptable that I might have to expend that sort of energy on such a mundane task and they should replace the guy that guides me to the lift immediately.

Next - lets talk fruit - what did we have two days ago - I'll tell ya - Pears. Hardly inspiring.

Yesterday we had Tangarines of some sort - YAWN.

Worse still there was no little sign telling me about them - for all I know they were grown in Florida.....which is just a chilling thought.
They did seem sweeter than those we all eat during Christmas but regardless I'm a bit skeptical and I can get similar ones at home so a big raspberry to that! I'll never know since there was no sign.

Today I returned exhausted from my excursions excited at the prospect of sampling something new. They couldn't follow pears with tangarines with - oh I dont' know, lets say - bananas. 

well, well, well........

The cheeky little buggers! Bananas. I don't care that the little sign says they are local. At this point I'm really losing faith.

PLUS - the little orchid dish - was empty - EMPTY!!!!!!!!!

Unforgiveable. They should all be replaced.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

changing of the guard

Things will never be the same I'm afraid.



Seems the days of having Miriam post on my behalf are coming to an end.




FAIL: Fruit

Will says: "Pears – I mean bloomin’ pears!  What’s tropical about that? – FAIL. The Mandarin oriental isn’t what it’s made up to be apparently.



Oh – wait – they are “Fragrant Pears”.  Phew – all good."

Course, I still say FAIL.  If only because THIS  is what they sent in a fruit basket to the client: 

(Again, from Will:)

"Ok – these were part of a fruit basket delivered to the client here at the office…


Mangosteen and Ciku


Not sure if I’ll get them in my room but will report officially on them if so.


Ciku has the texture similar to a Yamba Pear but much more pungent in flavour.   Almost unpleasant if it were any stronger.


The Mangosteen – literally looks like brains when cracked open – but is delicious.  As good as a lychee which is saying something. "

Cracked open brains... ah, yum


Monday, February 9, 2009

The Winner: Will with Dragon Fruit

When you send in photos of fruit:

 accompanied by the view from your hotel window, and the view has this:  
I think the winner,  hands down, over crepes is Will.  
Bringing out the Dragon Fruit was especially clever of him and his
hotel turn-down service. 

Dragon Fruit, or Hylocereus blooms only at night; the large white fragrant flowers of the typical cactusflower shape are among those called "moonflower" or "Queen of the Night". Sweet pitayas have a creamy pulp and a delicate aroma. 

And check out what it looks like when it is cut open: 

I'll Raise You Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

While Will is over there on the other side of the world getting fresh fruit delivered to his hotel room everyday, the ladies in the office decided to celebrate World Nutella Day at lunch.  Kelly brought (and made) and crepes and Lis bought the Nutella.   

So, I'll see you fruit of the day and raise you one delicious home-made, hand-made nutella crepe. 
Now, that is a way to spend an office lunch.... delicious!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

And Today, We Have:

Star Fruit.
Will is totally loading up on Vitamin C....

My Favorite Corner

It is my kitchen corner, with 4 feet tall paperwhites, orchids, red amaryllis, and a bowl full of seeds waiting to be planted...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Will's Fruit of the Day

 The water or wax apple. 
It has neither the fragrance nor the density of an apple. The flavor is a bit like a snow pear. The liquid to flesh ratio of the wax apple is comparable to a watermelon. It's remarkably refreshing and juicy. Unlike either apple or watermelon, the wax apple's flesh has a very loose weave.



(in a sing-songy voice
It's Saturday Night and I know what I'm doing!:
Bridal Research!
A friend (Thank you Megan!) has just sent me *all* the books she used that a bride-to-be could want to help plan a wedding, keep sane, save money, check things off a list, and still have a gorgeous dream-like day.  These books on top of my splurge of bridal magazines that will help me pick my dress from the 750+ dresses out there, not to mention figure out which 4-tiered cake I want for the day or the fun, funky welcome bags we have to put together. 

I *should* be all set for planning the day now that I have fully armed myself with The Knot, Emily Post, Real Simple, Martha, Modern Bride, the Conscious Bride, Bridal Bargains,... oh the list goes on and on...

Never Coming Home

The treatment at the Madarian Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur  apparently is so good that William may not come home. 

He gets Crème Brule lolli pops – "best idea I’ve seen in a while" --during the break at the show he is running:
He gets slippers and  fresh fruit in his hotel room daily; it's part of the turn down service:

First, bananas, and yesterday, Ya Pears.  He said they were "utterly delicious."  The Ya Pear is also known as a Chinese White Pear and apparently tastes like a cross between a rose and a pineapple.  Um, YUM. 

He reported that the weather was a lovely 105 degrees F yesterday and will continue to be warm and sunny for the week ahead. 

All of this makes me insanely jealous as I am freezing (though, it is going to get up to a balmy 60 degrees today) and *still* dealing with high pitched humming & whistling of the newly replaced heat pump on the boiler, a sloooooooooooow leak of the already twice fixed burst radiator pipe, and a head cold.  

Perhaps, I will leave this all to Kelly and go join Will....  now that's a thought. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Calling From the Future

Will is in Kuala Lumper... 13 hours ahead of me.  So, he is calling from the future... and giving me the lotto numbers. Heh heh heh 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It Wasn't Me

Dear Hurst Street

It was the Whitney Museum that made me do it, I swear. I know you have your issues and your concerns.  I didn't want to go, out of respect for you and your 5 year old self years ago, but I did.... and I liked it....  I went to the Frick and it was nice. 

I was in New York for an event and to pass the time, I went.  It was snowing and I had walked from Penn Station to 75th Street and Madison Ave (apparently that is like 8 miles), only to find that the Whitney was closed.  So, I thought about it and decided that it was to the Frick.  I needed to stay in that neighborhood for my work event.  I walked around it, thinking of you, but with my cold wet wet feet, I sucked up my pride and went in.  It was warm and interesting, and loved the portraits of Thomas More and Cromwell peering at each other; the Vermeers, the Rembrandts, the Gilbert Stuart.  

But, you can take pleasure that I didn't go through the *whole* place, as it was only half open since they are getting ready for a new installation.  

You can also take pleasure in the fact that afterwards, I tramped around in the cold, slushy, snow looking for a bookstore and waiting for my event, only to be disappointed as in the upper east side, book shops and coffee shops are hard to come by. 

At least I had this to warm me: 

It was the best hot chocolate in my life.