Saturday, 30 April 2011

A Royal Affair

Well, nothing like a Royal Wedding to get the world all abuzz--so what better reason to dust off the blog?!
Love it or loathe it, the wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton is now part of our shared history.

I have to admit that I was a curious and excited tv-watching participant in the royal celebrations. I figured, since work commitments required me to be away from London, I couldn't be standing on the wedding parade route in London to catch a glimpse of the Royal Couple...may as well try to get something that will commemorate where I was on the day.

I arrived in Sydney VERY early in the morning from a business trip to Adelaide a few days earlier. In the cab on the way to a client meeting, I heard a man on the radio from the Australian Mint saying that they had pressed a special commemorative coin for the Big Day.
Now, I'm not a big coin collector--but my father was--so I was immediately curious and excited to find a way to get my hands on a coin. At 8:45am, the Royal Mint was set up in front of Customs House in Circular Quay in the city of Sydney, exchanging $0.20 coins for the commemorative coins. I fleetingly toyed with the idea of asking the cabbie to make a swing through the city centre so that I could get a coin...but knew that was no good...I'd for sure be late to my client meeting--a big no no, regardless of why.

I made it through the day, telling myself that if I left the office at a decent hour, I'd stop by on my way back to the hotel and see if I could still get my hands on a coin.
I left the office at 4pm and wasn't in the cab more than 3 minutes when I asked the cabbie if going to Customs House on the way to the hotel was "convenient"--like he cared...the meter would still be running!!! He radioed in the office to find out exactly where to go and expertly navigated the city streets to park up in a nearby taxi rank.
He waited patiently for me to go investigate the situation.

It could not have been easier--rocked up, filled in a form, and in exchange for $0.20 Aussie cents, I got my coin.
I could only have been happier if I could have figured out a way to get multiple I could not contain my glee when the man handing out coins said, "how many do you want?" Not wanting to appear greedy, I handed over $2.00 Aussie dollars (~$2.10 USD) and got TEN--count them--10 commemorative coins!!!

So, having chatted to the cabbie on the entire route about his family, my family, cooking, raising teenagers, higher education, the Royal Wedding...I gave him a coin to give to his 16 year-old daughter. So, I ended up being the proud owner of 9 commemorative coins.

Here is the packaging and coin...I'm going to leave the ones I keep uncirculated.
Kate & Wills Coin1

And of course, telling where I was during the royal event, the packaging says it all:
Kate & Wills Coin2
...well, nearly. I went to Circular Quay in Sydney to get my coin, then holed up eating cheese and crackers in my hotel room to watch the coverage and do my expense report...close enough!

I have a some of the coins earmarked for a few special folks. Much better than a coffee mug or some other goofy piece of tat that will no doubt be filed away and never seen again!

Saturday, 7 August 2010


We've now returned from our week-long holiday in Paris. City exploration was the main part of the adventure, but we did spend a day in Disneyland Paris--which was, of course, it's own brand of fun.

We have aches in places that we didn't know could ache from all the walking and are happy to be sleeping in our own beds tonight. We experienced nearly everything that a city could throw our way and had a great time.

The pictures are uploading now. 3 cameras it's going to take a while to get them to where I can blog the best of them.

And it's official, Blondie is has a new's "MoreDrama". So it's now, me, Paulster, Drama and MoreDrama.

More to come once the photos get loaded!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

One More Sleep 'Til Paris

I can't believe that we're already to the end of July and just one more month of summer to go. But that does mean that tomorrow morning, Paulster, Drama, Blondie (who's on the verge of being renamed Drama2) and I will set off on the Eurostar for a week in Paris.
That part of the adventure isn't what I'm looking forward to...been there, done that.
The part that I'm looking forward to is watching Drama and Blondie discover Paris, as a city.
Blondie has gotten to work on learning the french names for all types of fruit and a few other words. Some of it she'd learned in school, but she's definitely interested in it. Favourite French word so far...Pamplemousse.
We'll see how much she's willing to say out loud to a french waiter!

We've watched Dr. Who's encounter with Vincent Van Gough and of course they want to go up the Eiffel Tower. With a whole city to explore and a day or two in Disneyland Paris, we might need a vacation to recover from our vacation when we get back!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Forgetting Something Important

Ok, so things have been a little quiet lately on the 'ol blog. Before I get any more wise cracks from readers who have been really, really patient waiting on a post...
It's not like there's been nothing to report. (you may have to read that sentence twice...excessive use of negatives)

In the past few months, there's been almost too much going on to keep up with.
Here's a the order in which my brain pulls it up:
1) Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood in concert
2) Norah Jones in concert
3) Rob Schneider's stand up show in a giant upside down purple cow...yes, there will be pictures of that posted. You kind of have to see it to believe it...
4) Watched Paul and his sister run a 10K
5) Flown back and forth to Texas time routing through Canada to see Banana and Sven and the splendour of Niagara Falls
6) Watched my brother marry a lovely, sweet woman who complements him beautifully
7) Hugged ALL 4 of my nephews and their parents
8) Eaten sushi with my mom
9) Experienced the wonders of XpresSpa in the airport
10) Shopped with my favourite Aunt
11) Read several books (Julia Child's My Life in France was a highlight--thank you LB2!
12) Laughed hysterically while watching Total Wipeout
13) Had a great night out with several girlfriends and their friends
14) Went to my 20 year High School reunion
15) Recalled some of the most fun moments of my life that I would never, ever want to repeat
16) Baked (and ate) lots of chocolate chip cookies and even shared some of them with the neighbours
17) Planned my summer holiday to Paris and a weekend trip to Zurich
...and countless other things.
All that...and no blog posts?! What's up?

The truth is, I've been feeling a little sorry for myself...mainly due to a health issue that is NOTHING compared to what many people I know and love have been through...but nonetheless has impaired my running and other activities I enjoy, my overall energy levels and generally left me feeling blue. I'm not real good at coping with situations that I cannot control and this is one of those things that I can't fix on my own. (I know that the fact that I'm a control freak will be quite a revelation to all my blog readers out there!...sorry for springing it on you like that).

I was walking to the bus stop the other day to go somewhere...when I was reminded to count the blessings in my life rather than focussing on the negatives. The road where I catch the bus has a Crematorium/Funeral Home on it, so seeing a funeral procession isn't an unusual experience. But this day, a hearse rolled past with a gleaming white casket in it... I didn't need to know who she was to know she was someone special. The faces of the people in the family cars and trailing vehicles said it all...

I am grateful to the woman in the casket who was obviously so dear to so many for reminding that I have my life, my friends, my family and I need to be grateful for that, living my life to the fullest. And with that, it will be a good long while before I revisit the pit of despair I've been allowing myself to crawl into lately.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Breaking the Silence

So, have you heard the crickets chirping from this blog lately? I have not one good excuse for not having updated the blog lately. In fact, We've had several blogworthy events since the marathon in April...some day, I'll catch it up.

I really just wanted to do two things, say Hi, and break the blog silence.
So, the CyninLondon blog is not dead, it's just been in a coma for a while.

There's some stuff on my mind, so you'll be hearing from me soon!
Hugs, Cyn

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


This past Sunday was the 30th Annual London Marathon. My friend and colleague, Hachie Gal, was one of the 40,000+ competitors. It was her 13th marathon. Like last year, she ran in support of the Guide Dogs. It's not too late to donate. Here's the link where you can donate online.
Here's Hachie Gal with a Guide Dog at the marathon expo.

There goes our girl from the first pit-stop. Spot the flag.

And here comes our girl at mile 18. Texas flag shorts a blaze!

Despite the vast numbers of Road Crew members, we managed to miss our girl at two consecutive stops. You just can't get the help these days. We were disappointed with ourselves for leaving her without supplies for nearly half of the race.

This is the third marathon I've witnessed and I continue to be in awe of people who can muster the strength that making it 26.2 miles to the finish line requires. It is truly amazing.

Blondie and Drama and other friends/family of Hachie Gal joined the Road Crew this year. And we made posters:

Like last year, many of the competitors were in fancy dress [costume]. The full complement of characters were around. The most odd was a giraffe that had to have suffered when the wind picked up.

Of course, a few celebs were on the course. The only one I spotted (thanks to his giant butterfly wings) was Sir Richard Branson.

A highlight of the day was pushing Drama and Blondie out close to the runners with bags of Jelly Babies. For the US contingent, these are pure sugar gummy bear-type candies that make perfect fuel for runners. We had our poster up and called out to the runners that we had Jelly Babies for them and they ran past, grabbing candies and trucking on. It took a bag getting dumped on the pavement to perfect the technique...but we managed to give out 6 bags or so throughout the day.

Road Crew members: Martini, C1, & K gearing up for the day ahead.

And Crew Chief, Budman with newbie, M2.

And post-race, M&M flanking Hachie Gal and Budman.

Again, an awe inspiring event with energy that sets the whole city on fire.
Hachie Gal, you are simply amazing! Congratulations on completing number 13.

Friday, 2 April 2010

It's a Good Friday

...for baking cookies!
My little helpers are here for Easter Weekend and today and Monday are "Bank Holidays" (officially no work). So what are we to do when it rains all day in London?
Bake, of course.
Thanks to Nigella Lawson, the UK's Domestic Goddess--we have a recipe for butter cookies with icing for our inspiration.
So off we go...
Dough made, check. Dough rested in the fridge, check.
Roll out the dough to start the cutting, check. Here's Drama doing her bit.

And Blondie with her cut outs ready to pop in the oven.

The fun part is making the icing different colours, as you can see by the grins.

And then of course, putting the yellow, orange, red, purple, and blue icing on the cookies.

Here are a few shots of the finished project.


You can see the resemblance, can't you?!

Random ending to the blog post!
And during all that...a squirrel visited the backyard to eat the birdseed.
(Of course, I had to take the picture through my filthy kitchen window so as not to make him run off) Unlike Texas, this is the ONLY squirrel in my back garden. They aren't overunning the place--thankfully.