Good grief! You'd think I could find time to write more than once a week, yet here I am a full week after my last post with so much to tell you. Perhaps I'll blame my houseguest. He's delightful, and it's so nice to have someone to hang out with after work, so I'm taking advantage of personal (rather than computer) interaction. He leaves on Friday, so you'll hear more from me then.
First week back has been just fine. Work was busy, but not crazy...out on time mostly. Got some groceries, got some sleep, watched some Big Brother, had some dinners out, made some excellent Thai Red Curry Soup. Then it was Friday.
Had a little work thing that came up on Friday night, so I had to go to London anyway. Two of my colleagues and I went to a fancy-shmance Hyatt on Portman Square for a tour, dinner, and drinks with some folks from Hyatt. We had a great time. Our hosts were Farida and Shulto. Farida is just lovely...very sweet and friendly. We've discovered a shared love of art, so we'll be getting together for museum time and dinners. Shulto is very tall and very funny. Made us laugh quite a bit. We shared gin and tonics to calm down from our travels, went upstairs to look at their new bedroom (they're remodeling,) then came back down to have dinner. We sat at a chef's table (you get to watch them cook), and had delicious new-cuisine British food. My crab cakes came on mandolined cucumbers with sauteed lemons and a fresh-flavoured aioli. My sirloin and chips were done perfectly, and the rocket salad on the side spiced things up nicely. The mojitos (not British, but still good) were excellent. Shulto went to the mens room and came back all atwitter. Chris Martin (of Coldplay) and Gwyneth Paltrow were dining in the Italian restaurant in the hotel. We needed to go take a look at the venue anyway, so we went in and did some star-gazing. The maitre d came running to give us the bum's rush, so I backed up to the door and ran straight into Michael Stipe. I've had my love/hate with REM's music, but I've always admired his stances so that was even cooler than a skinny blonde and her rockstar boyfriend who pretty much looks like Andy Sweet in person. (Nothing against Andy, just saying.) Now WE were all atwitter, and had to go to the ladies to calm down. When we came back out into the hall, Chris was on his cell phone. When we moved on to the bar, so was Michael Stipe. I felt kind of stalkerish, so I made sure I stayed put until all celebrities were well on their way home.
While we were in the bar, I became the main attraction for a couple of Indian guys across the way. They stopped having a conversation and basically just stared at me and smiled and laughed at things I said. Mind you, I know I can be a bit, oh, shall we say animated in public sometimes, but this was a work function and I was being pretty tame really. I felt really paranoid, but then my colleagues noticed it, too, and I felt better. Before these two guys left, one of them came over and said, "I'm not Arab...I'm Indian. (The Arabs in this bar are looking for Russian prostitutes, so that's good, I suppose.) I have to tell you how much I enjoyed watching you. You enjoy your life. You are beautiful, happy girl. You are THE BOSS!" I suppose that's a nice thing to say to someone, but I was pretty much taken aback. Not quite as weird as Bowdie, the guy from the party in Venice who tried to convince me he was my past-life lover, but if you'd been there you would understand that this, too, was odd. Not to mention difficult to live down with work colleagues.
So on Saturday, my colleague/friend Jo and I bummed around London. I treated myself to a new French scent at Selfridges (not the perfect one I've been seeking, but heck, I'm THE BOSS so I deserve an intermediate perfume, right?) About 3pm, I switched from posh hotel #1 to posh hotel #2, the Grosvenor House. Nice, but undergoing a very necessary remodel, and it's a bit shabby these days. Not that I'm complaining....the staff were extraordinary, and they gave us a giant suite overlooking Hyde Park. My friend/colleague Anna met me there, and we went window shopping grabbed some sushi for lunch, and then headed to Hyde Park for the REM concert. A colleague of mine had tickets to the original concert (scheduled for a week ago), but the event got postponed due to the terror attacks and they couldn't go on the new date. I, on the other hand, could, so I ended up in the front of the "unreserved standing" section with a clear shot of Michael Stipe. Not close enough to touch him this night, but he is an amazing performer and the show ROCKED. I am now solidly FOR REM. Back to hotel. Ordered a pizza. Watched The Omen. Slept.
Sunday I came home on a noon train and basically did nothing. Read the paper, watched a little telly, went to bed.
Today was an annoying Monday, but made it through. Fred brought delicious wine back from France so we had it with our pasta and chocolate, and now I'm going to sign off and start reading Harry Potter. Tomorrow we're on our way to London to meet my friend Patricia (and someone named Lyle) for dinner at Carluccio's. Wednesday I have a meeting all day offsite for work, and Thursday is Fred's last day here so we will be dining out for a curry that evening. Friday we are in to London for a work thing, IT'S MY BIRTHDAY (hint), and so I'm going to stay overnight and then will meet Patricia on Saturday for the Kahlo exhibit (postponed due to last-minute REM tickets), and maybe the Impressionists Who Travel exhibit at the Royal Academy.
I'll be online again Sunday with tales of my week. Take good care.