Business Trip Tourist: London

The last week of March, I had a couple of days of business meetings in London. In addition to productive meetings, I managed to insert a few touristy activities to make the most of my first trip to London.
I arrived to Heathrow on Monday morning. After collecting my luggage and passing through Border Patrol, as I walked through the doorway of the passenger arrivals area to a sea of people waiting for friends & family it was a given that “God Only Knows” would be the ear worm that filled my head.
London Scenes
Since my meetings didn’t start until Tuesday, I had Monday for exploring. Before arriving, I had grand plans to explore a couple of museums; however, those plans were sidelined by a blister (all that DC walking) & the reality that I would be doing a fair bit of walking to/from the meetings each day. After a quick rest at the hotel, I mapped out a new plan with the help of the concierge – I had a ticket for one of the on & off tour buses and away I went.
London Scenes
It was a sunny & crisp afternoon – sitting in the open air of the upper level of the bus was perfect for keeping me awake when my body was saying “just let me sleep.” The tour guide was a delightful fount of information – I could have easily stayed on the bus for the entire route. But, at the Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey I hopped off the bus so that I could achieve my one goal for the afternoon: enjoy a proper afternoon tea.
London Scenes
While web-planning things I wanted to do in London, I had stumbled across the website for a cafe on the grounds of the abbey that seemed like a perfect option for tea. Indeed, the afternoon tea at The Cellarium was a lovely recharge for my very tired self.
Tea Time
After tea, I hopped back on the bus for a bit more sight seeing before heading back to the hotel.
London Scenes
Once our meetings concluded on Wednesday afternoon, I had the evening free since I wasn’t flying home till Thursday morning. I caught a cab to Leicster Square and went to the TKTS booth to see what shows had “special” tickets for the evening. I had decided that I didn’t want to see a big musical or something that was “easy access” back home. I picked up a 2nd row ticket to the new play “Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense” based on the works of P.G. Wodehouse. I’ve been a fan of the actor Matthew MacFadyen since I discovered the MI-5/Spooks television series on Netflix several years ago – it was a treat to see him originate the role of Jeeves and be very comedic after mostly seeing his dramatic roles. To complete the tourist experience for the evening, my dinner before the show was fish ‘n chips & a pint at a pub around the corner from the theatre.
Taking in a show in the West End
While the trip was quick…the work meetings were worthwhile & the moments of touring were a lovely first introduction to London. Needless to say, I will not be disappointed if I have another meeting there in the future.
One the flight home, I looked out the window & saw Iceland

One the flight home, I looked out the window & saw Iceland

In 17+ years of business travel, I’ve managed to find all sorts fun moments in the midst of work. This trip was no exception!

One Community: April 2014

The words chosen for One Community to celebrate the start of April are perfect for this time of year – they celebrate the arrival of spring and the promise that the new season holds: SPRINGFLOWERSPURPLERISE

Now that all the snow is finally (!) gone from around here, signs of spring are starting to appear. Among all of the downed trees and limbs from the winter, there are glimpses of green and buds pushing through the dirt an onto limbs. The most evidence so far is the light coating of pollen on my dark colored car. In the absence of grabbing local pictures, I’ll pull some pictures from my March travels to Washington DC & London.


Spring | While enjoying some sight seeing via double decker bus on a Monday afternoon, I saw numerous green parks in London that just seemed to “scream” spring is here – the lush green lawns, the bright yellow of daffodils in bloom, people out & about in the parks.


Flowers | My quick trip to Washington DC last month was just ahead of when the famous cherry blossoms are in fully bloom explosion. While walking past the Native American museum, we saw this bit of bloom starting to emerge.


Purple | The only purple in this travel collection is a blurry shot of huge orchids in the Conservatory at the National Botanic Garden.


Rise | Amelia Earhart’s plane at the National Air & Space Museum. Pretty much every where you looked in the museum, “rise” was an appropriate word.

Connecting with One Community – to learn more about this monthly photo blog link-up, Sarah’s host entry has all the details.

DC Days

This year’s spring trip to see my Texas girlies was a bit different – in March I met up with the family in Washington DC. They were in town for their spring break ahead of a conference their Dad was attending. So, a quick overnight trip was in order. While I was only with them for about 30 hours, we managed to pack a lot of fun into a little bit of time. The Metro, buses, taxis & feet were our modes of transportation.

Air & Space

Friday started at the Air & Space Museum – a favorite of mine from the first time I visited there (when I was Miss M’s age). The Amelia Earhart exhibit was a favorite of all the girls. It was fun to share my love of space with them. And of course, we all had to touch the moon rock on our way out.

On the Mall

As we crossed the mall onto our next adventures, we spotted the Racing Presidents. The girls giggled at the oversized heads. Of course, a picture with Teddy Roosevelt was in order.

Museum Fun

Quite a bit of our afternoon was spent in the Natural History museum. The Hope Diamond, the vast array of geodes & quartz, mummies (which Miss K had studied in school), sea turtles, insects and more captured our attention. Sidenote: The Mercer vs. Duke game was underway while we were in the museum – I was getting game updates via family texts & sports apps. When I saw the score in the final 2 minutes, I pulled up the game on the “Watch Live” app & stood in a corner of the insect exhibit watching an amazing game and win.

Carousel & Conservatory

Late in the afternoon we met up with some friends and enjoyed the carousel on the mall and the National Botanic Garden Conservatory. After dinner, our weary band of tourists caught a cab back to the hotel and called it an early evening.

Saturday

On Saturday morning, all 3 girlies came running down the hotel hall to hang out with me as we got the morning going. After breakfast, we went to the Jefferson Memorial before heading towards the zoo. Friends from our time in Chicago (hi Alicia!) hosted us for a simple and delicious spring lunch before we joined with seemingly half of DC on a beautiful spring Saturday afternoon at the zoo. As we walked through most of the animal habitats, we didn’t see too many animals – it seemed like they maybe hadn’t yet transitioned to being outside again. After about a 30 minute wait, we were ‘finally’ in the Panda house (my favorite animal since I was a little girl). We all were enthralled by the pandas – while we had hoped to see the new baby, we had to settle for seeing her napping on the monitor. But we did enjoy seeing Mom & Dad munching on bamboo.

Late Saturday afternoon, I said farewell and drove back home to PA. My time in DC with the girls was short because I needed to get home & finish packing for a business trip…less than 24 hours later I was on the flight to London…

Currently…March

How can 2014 now be 25% complete? March was a month of good intentions on the blog and very few posts – I’m queuing up several of these for the first part of April now. After a gray and rainy weekend and a fair amount of chilly days, it is nice to see the sun this week and an upward temperature trend – maybe we have survived winter and are indeed emerging into spring? As the calendar moves onto April, here’s a bit of “What I’m Into” in March as I link up with Leigh Kramer

March Highlights

Reading…was pretty low…I did finally finish “Cuckoo’s Calling” and think I will continue with the series when the next book is released. I’m currently reading “The Orphan Masters Son” – hopefully I’ll have an April twitterature roundup with a couple of completed reads.

Watching…An overseas trip brought the chance to see several “recent” movies on the long flights…I enjoyed each of my selections: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, About Time, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Crafting…knitting away on the Baby Sleep Sack for a co-worker; a spring shawlette has been blocked & is ready for use; the shawl I started on Super Bowl Sunday is off the needles & awaiting a good soak and blocking; a baseball themed knit is getting started

Cooking…I cooked quite a bit early in the month and less later in the month because of travel. Among the cooking highlights, a couple of “pin wins” where I tried something that I had pinned on my “Someday Recipes” board: Citrus Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Pears; Sriracha Coleslaw to accompany pulled pork (made even better by using my homemade mayo).

CheeringMercer March Madness – for the 1st time in almost 30 years, my alma mater was in the big dance. While disappointed that they didn’t go farther, the win over Duke is quite a thrill. It has been fun to see friends & colleagues talk about Mercer – social media was filled with all sorts of fun – lots of articles to enjoy. I am Mercer Proud!

Appreciating…the return of Daylight Savings Time – it is so nice to have daylight left when I leave the office.

Brightening…up my wardrobe as the season changes. Pulling out the spring clothes from storage. The return of my pale aqua coat instead of the brown quilted one that was my winter workhorse. Picking up a few new pieces to incorporate into work & play wardrobes.

Traveling…a quick trip to Washington DC to see my TX girlies…a business trip to London that included a few fun & touristy moments in addition to productive work meetings…(highlights of both trips are already queued to publish)

Looking Ahead…April brings a couple of weekends of family travel…Easter in the ‘Ville…a first communion…with longer days and warmer weather, it’s time to dust off the patio chair & enjoy outdoor reading time…

Wisconsin Wanderings

A journey of 85,544 stitches…
What started as a small throw...

What started as a small throw…

Two years ago today, I cast on the first stitches of this afghan on a (most likely snowy) Sunday afternoon in my hotel while on assignment in Marinette. I started with a skein of beautiful Malabrigo in Tuareg – I had 2 skeins of this yarn and decided that I would begin & end with it. The color (a favorite hue) and name of the yarn seem like an appropriate anchor to this afghan because I was indeed a bit nomadic during this work assignment. Little did I know that an initial consulting project would turn into a job/career change and a relocation from the Midwest to the northeast. I’ve named this my “Wisconsin Wanderings” afghan because all of the yarn is from my time in Marinette (2009-2012). When I had the opportunity, I did a fair amount of “wandering” on the weekends – many times the wanderings included a yarn shop visit…a yarn shop visit included purchases…my stash was growing with lots of single skeins. Turning an eclectic assortment of skeins into an afghan for my new place seemed like a good way to celebrate the memories.

A few yarns from the journey…

Oh, the varied yarns! Most are worsted weight – some a bit thicker, some a bit thinner. There are yarns…

…from the local yarn shop in Menominee – What an interesting place. I’m sure there is a story about the owner, the shoppe name, her younger days; however, whenever I was in there it just didn’t seem like it was possible to ask. My first time in, I came across a skein of the Manos wildflowers yarn that was so popular as I first jumped into knit blogging – that is in the afghan. On other visits to the shoppe, I picked up quite an assortment of old skeins of yarn – including a truly “vintage” skein of Lorna’s Laces with a “pre Chicago” label.

…from Iris Fine Yarns in Appleton which was a stop just about every time I was in Appleton – Several Malabrigo skeins – including 2 skeins of Malabrigo Tuareg that I used to start & end the afghan; a fun 3 strand twist that included a strand of green and strand of gold (Go Pack Go!)

…from the Seivers School of Fiber Art on Washington Island, part of a delightful day trip in August 2010…2 handspun skeins from local students/fiber artists…

…from Red Sock Yarns in Door County, a stop during several delightful day trips…Yellows, greens and blues to remind me of the beauty of Door County; a skein called Tundra that calls to mind the dormant acres in wintertime

…from the local farmer’s market…on my first visit in May 2010 I picked up a kettle-dyed light purple that was a surprise to see among the produce & meats

…from “finally” meeting a long time blog friend (hi Vicki!) who lived nearby and is now dying gorgeous yarns (Make.Do) – we met at her farmer’s market stall in July 2012…the blues in the skein capture the bay & the skies that filled many a day and adventure

…from some of my “self” knitting projects during my time there – yarn from my 2010 Olympic sweater; yarn from a Coastal Shawlette; yarn from the first scarf I knit about a month after starting the project; yarn from an infinity scarf that has been a cool weather staple the last 2 years

Crafting a Memory Afghan...

Crafting a Memory Afghan…

Stitches were knit…in the hotel that was “home” for so long, in the suite that we have renamed “the Amy suite” because I stayed there so many times…on a Sunday morning along the waterfront in Menominee during the final busy month before the project went live…in the office at 2AM while managing cutover activities one weekend…on weekends at home in Chicago…at home in the ‘Ville over Christmas ’12 break – back when the project was still fairly small & transportable…at my new home here in Pennsylvania…many a Packers game included knitting (although it still was possible to mess up the simple 2 row pattern during some game moments)…2012 was knit into 2013 and 2013 was knit into 2014 on New Year’s Eves…

Ready for use...

Ready for use…

The afghan came off the needles in early January and has been put to immediate use with the cold winter that we have had so far.And now, the afghan is on my sofa – ready to be grabbed and used to warm up. With the cold winter that we’ve had here, it has already been put to good use. It looks like a good napping blanket – I might need to start taking naps.

Marinette memories captured…in photos and in yarn…

These 85,544 stitches are a tactile scrapbook…looking at the stitches and the yarns, I’m taken back to moments in time: good work days, tough work days, “normal” work days, new opportunities, silly moments, early Monday morning drives north to start the work week, new and endearing friendships, daytrips and exploration, so many shore moments – early morning breakfasts in my car watching the sunrise over the water & evening walks to the lighthouse and back to de-stress from the day, many a moment along the shore, big milestones, weekend afternoons at the local cafe with a coffee and a book or knitting, small daily routines, Sunday suppers with friends – so many things that filled my days there.

Beyond photos and scrapbooks, what are “unique” ways that you have captured memories from special times in your life?