Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the boats!

on the Eye

view from the London eye

we went on before the sushi, perfect, clear night for it, just before
sunset. my nephew loved it, especially the view of all the boats in
the Thames!

my nephew is obsessed with edamame!

here he is, double fisting soy beans

at Itsu in London, eating sushi

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

where has this recipe been all of my life?

mac 'n' cheese pancakes

with butter and syrup!

there's a video, apparently, but it won't play for me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

the next movie on our list of must sees

we saw tropic thunder tonight. hilarious! I'm a huge apocalypse now
fan, and I usually like ben stiller, but this was so mich better than
I expected. can't wait to see zombie strippers next...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

fall is coming

here's a shot of our back garden this evening. it's getting so cold! I
love fall. one nice thing about where we live is the number of trees--
so we'll get to see all the autumn colors this year!

Friday, September 19, 2008

mum

if I'm called mum in a tea shop, what does that mean? do I look a
certain age?

Sent from my iPhone

Guildford castle

lit up in the evening--

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

lunch

don't know if it's obvious? wheelchair tango on my lunch break near
the office

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

new pub

the pub I'm currently drinking in with my friend Sigga. called
barrowboy and banker, and I wonder, how many bankers in this bar will
soon return to their old barrowboy job, what with the financial turmoil.

Friday, September 12, 2008

optical illusion

it's not a thong!

it definitely feels like autumn

pumpkins at borough market really make me miss the states today!

commuting is...

I like this guy. I've sat in the same train carriage before but never
had the opportunity to snap a photo so discreetly! Yay iPhone! his
book? the history of china, if you were wondering.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

because it won't stop raining...

... richard and I have been lazing about in the flat, cooking, baking,
movie watching, iPhone playing. I must say, these are the best looking
cookies I've ever baked. we're about to sample...

it sure is resilient

i got an iphone last week. richard and i both did. within 12 hours, i managed to drop mine. underneath a train. as my hear sank and i both laughed and cried, we frantically found some maintenance workers who announced we'd have to wait for the train to leave before they'd be able to retrieve it. it was a nerve-wracking 15 minute wait. i kept imagining my iphone would look like those flattened pennies--you know, when you're 8 it's cool to put a penny on the train tracks and retrieve the flattened copper after the rain runs it over? after the train left, the maintenance man had to turn the electric current off so he could grab the phone. to my complete amazement, you couldn't even tell the phone had been dropped, bounced off the platform before falling on the tracks next to the rail and had a 12-car train rumble by and inch or two away. not only was it still on, it was still paused on the npr podcast i was listening to before the fall! richard was all-too happy to take pictures:


i guess i have no excuse now not to blog, since i'm basically carrying a mini-version of mac book along with everywhere i go now! i actually don't quite know how i lived pre-iphone anymore. it's ridiculously addictive.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

a week recap in which no pictures were taken, on accident

i've tried to add a ridiculous amount of links to pictures, articles and things that sort of give you more information due to the lack of pictures.

wednesday, i managed to find a decent mexican restaurant in london! it's not perfect, but it's as close to a divey mexican paradise with a crazy amount of refried beans and spanish rice that i'm going to find on this side of the atlantic, i reckon. the only complaint--the ranchera sauce on the enchiladas tasted more like an italian tomato sauce, but ah, well. it was tasty! and they have bohemia beer, which i've not seen very often outside of chicago. though to be honest, i'm usually a negra modelo or dos equis fan, so i don't often peruse midwestern beer menus for it.

friday, i had lunch at borough market on my lunch break. discovered some of the best falafel around! the line was crazy long--so i had high hopes and wasn't disappointed.

we also so wall-e on friday night at the cinema, and it was really enjoyable. i managed to eat most of a large tub of popcorn on my own. the UK sells popcorn as either sweet or salty, neither of which are my favorite, but usually the concession stand staff mixes the two together if you ask. they did a pretty poor job friday, so i was eating away at all the sweet popcorn on top searching for the salty when i realised i was nearing the bottom. oops. it's a harrington genetic dominance--the popcorn consumption gene. it's one of those thing that is never wasted amongst us. it's usually gone in record time, too.

we had planned on going to ikea this weekend, but southwest trains are lame and are using buses for part of the journey toward london, so instead we stayed in town. this a.m. we went for a long walk/jog along the river. let's see, richard was worried he'd be charged by a bull (he was wearing red!), and we actually had to 'mind' the cows on the path. i lived in essex when foot and mouth disease broke out in 2001, and i never understood why public foot paths were closed--i assumed it was only people on them, as the foot paths i had been on definitely didn't have livestock. apparently not. was strange being so close to someone's cattle whilst out on a jog.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

take the last train to . . . . Dorking



i've had the flu for the last week and a couple days. i wound up working from home a lot, just so i wouldn't lose my mind with worry that nothing was getting done. i'm a lot better today. generally drained, but no fever. well, actually, i now have hayfever, which i've never had before, and it's crappy, because my lungs and ribs are all still store from the flu, so everytime i sneeze i utter a little 'ow' under my breath. ah, flu and allergies, eh?

so, richard surprised me today. he's been building up a big surprise trip since Friday, and i didn't know where we were going until he handed me my ticket at the train station this morning. it was once-in-a-lifetime trip to the fabulous Dorking! with Dorks walking the street, Dorky antique window shopping and the oldest Dorky building--the 500-year-old King's Arm Pub! We had a nice pub lunch, in which I didn't have any beer. A rarity for me if I'm in the pub.

I guess it's an inside joke? For a year now, ever since I first saw the Dorking Deepdene train station on a train ride from Gatwick to Guildford, whenever Richard asks where i want to live, where i want to go, I always say Dorking and laugh and he rolls his eyes and shakes his head. I never thought the dream would happn. It's a really nice place--good views of the hills, easy to walk around, cleaner than Guildford and full of old buildings. We did go on Sunday a.m. though, so most of the local shops were unfortunately closed. Here are some shots of the magical day.




Sunday, July 6, 2008

pimientos de padrón

well, i finally got around to borough market on a friday lunch break. it's funny, the only 2 things i've been to london bridge for, before working there every day, were borough market and the george pub. both of which were attended on friday. can't believe this was the first friday i rememberd the market, but ah well. we spent most of yesterday recovering from the george. let's just say we celebrated independence day with many pints, our friend sigga, and no food. was a lovely night! and then, we fell asleep on the train, missed our stop, and wound up in liphook (20 miles beyond the great guildford, in the middle of nowhere, down many a windy road) a £50 cab fare later, we were home. and saturday, we woke up and remembered all the goodies i'd bought at the market--jams, and pimientos de padrón! we were too hazy to make them yesterday, so saved them for today. apparently, eating these as tapas is called Madrileno Roulette. apparently, it' s like Russian roulette, only instead of a gun with a random bullet, one pepper in every so many packs a lot of heat. we made them today, and though neither of us had a particularly hot one, they were fun to eat and wash down with bulmer's pear cider whilst watching 'blackadder goes forth.' a good, post-hungover, incredibly rainy day cure. the cooked version below, cooking version above.

Friday, July 4, 2008

happy independence day!

um, not surprisingly, independence day isn't a holiday over here, so i'm off to work. but, alice cooper hosts a morning show over here on the classic rock station--so i've been patriotic in rewinding live radio and listening to jimi hendrix's 'star spangled banner.' right. and now off to work.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

let them eat crepe




it's a little delayed, but here's last weekend's delicious recap. first, i bought a digital radio.
the reception is so far medicore, but it seems like every day, i get more stations than the day before. i can record radio on an SD card, kind of like recording shows on cassette tapes back in the day!

then, we ate crepes with sigga in hampstead. we had one, then after catching some morris dancers at the local pub, decided to go back for dessert before heading back to guildford. i'm not sure what it is, but we seem to catch morris dancing
accidentally every time we head to a pub on a sunny day.
this time, it was a roving band of drunk morris dancers, on a morris dancing pub crawl. was um, okay? they only sang and dance and played a flute for one tune.

here are some pics of our pilgrimage destination--the hampstead crepe stand. as you can see, we aren't the only devoted pilgrims. the crepes are so good. seriously. and usually the stand has two people working--but at this particular moment, the other chef was out--so i have a rare pic where you can actually see the teeny tiny crepe kitchen that packs a whole lotta happy, buttery crepe batter. if you're wondering, this is a short queue. this is about a 30-35 minute wait length of line. we've waited much, much longer in the past...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

it's sort of like line dancing?

we stopped off at the keystone for a quick pint on our way home from work. richard wanted to go for a run, i wanted to go for a pint. it wasn't a difficult persuasion. we left early, after the surprise morris dancers arrived. one song is quaint, the second gets tedious.

a couple of my my favorite shots--that's the 'rampant rooster' you see. hmm. and i just like how bored and embarassed the man in the striped hat looks...



sorry i'm not so good at blogging lately. nothing too new--job is good, not too crazy busy, but not much has changed. still getting used to the people, the job, getting up early, etc. i do enjoy my lunch most, down by the river. the weather has been fabulous this week, so i've been hanging out, people watching across the river from the tower of london.

i get my first paycheck tomorrow, woo hoo! we'll be having a nice curry tomorrow night to celebrate. all the onion bhajis one can possible imagine, i'll tell you what...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

work

i seem to have lost the adapter that lets me transfer pictures from my phone to my laptop. i was going to show my daily lunch spot alongside the river thames on the south bank near london bridge--but you can kind of picture it in your mind, right? good.

work is going well. i had a scare last week and thought i was totally in the wrong position for me--but it turns out i just didn't quite understand the dynamics of the company. my company recently merged with an american company. i'm on the team that is handling the first major project between the two, and there is a lot of anxiety going around my department and project--and i kind of absorbed it all like a sponge. it didn't help that my boss was out of the office in moscow for other business things, so i was left to fend for myself in status calls with directors of both companies. my week left me really tired and grumpy all weekend. but after a good talk with my boss yesterday, i have a much better idea of what it is exactly that i do. and i'm really busy, but i'm getting into the swing of things pretty quickly. i'm really glad i'm not expected to do all that other crap i thought i wasn't being paid enough to handle!

other than the new job, i've not been up to a whole lot. richard and i manage to travel to and from work together most days, which is great. i have a shoulder to fall back asleep on in the mornings and the evenings. woo! i'm still way out of practice with the daily routine, but i guess that's normal. richard manages to iron all my clothes, make me tea and breakfast and get me out the door in the morning. i'm not kidding. it's fantastic!

Friday, June 6, 2008

'we apologize for any delays to your journey, but...'

so, fairly regularly, you hear announcements on london trains about delays on the tube, delays on the overland network, etc. it's to the point mostly where you never hear the announcement the first time, because you're expecting the delay, so the salt in the wound comes when they feel the need to tell you why. it's usually 'signalling failure,' or 'a passenger who has taken ill.' once, on trip back to guildford, it was because some kid hurled a brick at the 70-mph train i was on, in which the driver's window was shattered. he was okay.

so today, en route to london, they're going through the normal delays, and at first i didn't catch which line was delayed, but i did hear why: '...due to an unexploded WWII bomb that is near the track'

what the...?! i think what surprised me most though, was that in looking for a suitable online story of the event, i found a half a dozen other news stories over the last few years of unexploded WWII bombs found in london. mainly east london, where they're building for 2012 olympics. creepy.

i might actually listen more closely to the reasons for delays from now on. actually, no i won't. it's probably something that's really common, like a 2,200 pound ticking WWII bomb.

ooh, and i just found this--a picture of the detonation!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

eurovision

i've had a hard time explaining eurovision to americans. this does a pretty good job, complete with video of ireland's entry. ireland didn't make it to the finals, sadly. but not that sad when you see the entry.

i watch it because it's so, so, so incredibly bad it's funny. the announcer on the bbc has been doing it for something like 25 years, an irish radio and television presenter named terry wogan, and he's absolutely hysterical. he's kind of like joel, tom servo and crow in "mystery science theater 3000," all in one; he gets progressively drunker and more honest as the night wears on. this year he was relatively tame, but he gets in trouble every now again for his name-calling, which is usually deserved.

this year's winner is russia, who had an ice skater on stage. it was SO bad! i realize it's a lesson in endurance, but try and make it to at least to 2:20 into the song--as that's when the ice skater comes on stage. he looks like jeff daniels in "dumb and dumber." seriously. european countries all vote for each other, and of course the worst songs always come out on top.

france was cool though. i mean, cool for eurovision.

i think all of the countries should have to sing in their own language. for one, it wouldn't be so obvious that the english lyrics are total rubbish.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

saturday's discovery

i'm not a comic-book convention person. we went today with cousins lisa and jeff, because well, we didn't have anything else planned and it was a good excuse to spend the afternoon together. and for that, i'd go again. but, the pushy, pimply, brace-faced high-school aged kids in attendance dressed as their favorite comic book characters were not my cup of tea. however, we did get to see a battlestar galactica panel! i'm an official geek! it was fun, and here's a grainy pic from the event. from left to right--edward jame olmos (admiral adama!), um, the guy who plays chief galen tyrol, the guy who plays felix gaeta, and the woman who plays tory. i'm bad with names.

Friday, May 23, 2008

and certainly not as an afterthought

i got a job! pending reference and visa checks, i got the job i wanted! i start 2 june. the company is based in london bridge, so i'll have about an hour commute each way on the train (including walking to and from the station), plus a mere 10 minute tube journey, if everything is running on time. woo hoo!

i'm basically a project coordinator, helping to launch a new website this fall. it's similar to the traffic positions i've held before--in that it involves a lot of liaising with people in different departments, freelancers--though these freelancers and the projects i'm working on happen to be all over the world--in 30 countries, actually. so it's very global, exciting, and it's all about trend watching/predicting/reporting. i'm so pleased!

freedom is just a brand name

i've always liked keith olberman. and wow, his 'special comment' from last week makes me like him even more. 12 minutes of honest, smart, passionate criticism. too rare an event these days. and i can't believe i'm just viewing this now?

this should be required viewing before voting this fall.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

senator kennedy

i can't believe senator kennedy has a malignant glioma--brain tumor. it's so sad, and i think the one politician who really summed up all the emotion surrounding such news yesterday was obama, who described the news as 'heartbreaking.' not saying other politicians aren't obviously affected and upset and pulling for the guy, just that that one word seemed the most appropriate.

reading all the news about kennedy, and about the dignosis and prognosis was unexpectedly raw yesterday--i seriously just had flashbacks to a couple years ago hearing my dad's diagnosis. scrambling for news about what brain tumors do, how they're treated, how the outcomes look--i think the search for answers in my pop's case is still ongoing, albeit with less vigor.

getting one's head around the facts is easy--but brain tumors are such individual little assholes. the one in my dad's head, even if it turns out to be the same type as kennedy's, was it's own entity. so even looking at past cases and statistics is almost useless--most people die from brain tumors. the length of time associated with dealing with them and the affects on everyday actions are what differ.

my pop survived longer than most for his age and health and type of tumor, but it wasn't an easy road. the swelling associated with tumors is great (there's a really great sum up of tumors on npr's site today), and my dad never fully recovered from the initial craniotomy. the swelling from the tumor, mixed with the swelling from surgery, the chemo, the radiation, his medication--it just all added up, quickly. dad needed a shunt to help relieve brain swelling, and remained on steroids at different levels the length of his illness. the steroids caused other massive problems, like bone death, leading to 2 broken hips, possible hairline rib fractures, etc.

my dad started out in speech, physical and occupational therapy, but these quickly waned to no therapy, as he just wasn't making any progress, and combined with the chemo and radiation, he was too tired. and we learned soon after, the swelling in his brain was getting worse and worse and wasn't helping. he received physical therapy after the initial hip surgery, but even that was a major struggle. pop also suffered from aphasia, so his speech, especially at the beginning of his treatment, was difficult to follow. numbers, dates and basic words for things were lost, and he'd often mistake us kids for each other, which isn't all that out of the norm, but when you're watching your father struggling to remember which kid you are, it's tough. i guess his sypmtoms mirrored alzheimers in many ways, but it was a much faster progression, and it wasn't alzheimers. one day he knew what was happening, and the next he didn't. his speech at times got better, and every now and again his memory seemed to be perfect--sort of culminating during his speech at his and my mom's anniversary party, and slowly declining after that.

i guess this all just flashbacked in my mind, reading everyone's well wishes and words of recovery for senator kennedy. the one thing that almost everyone said was, 'he's a fighther, so if anyone can beat this...' but i just cringed. brain tumors aren't the equivalent of the cliche picking yourself up by your bootstraps. they do require great bravery, but they're also humiliating. you lose a lot of functioning in the one organ that dictates functioning. you don't even know where your bootstraps are, let alone that you need to find them and pick them up.

i hope his tumor is small, moderatly aggressive, and that they caught it very early on. i hope his recovery is successful, he falls into remission as soon as possible, and that he survives a long time. but i'm slightly pessimistic. and i feel kind of bad about it. i think the one 'good' thing about it is that senator kennedy raises the awareness factor of brain tumors, their nature, recovery, outlook.

i'm pleased that i was able to participate in the brain tumor walk. it's easy to lose someone to a hearbreaking illness, and then to forget that funding for research for any improvement in the field is essential. it wasn't until i read the high-profile diagnosis that i remembered that, sadly.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

w(h)ales (re)visited

wales was good! we rented a little chevy and drove to shirenewton/usk/chepstow just over the wales/england line to see heather, john and 7-month old owain this past weekend. i'd never been to wales, but my pre-conceived notion of narrow roads, hills, valleys and really nice people proved correct. we managed to not drink much at all saturday, which was good, considering there was no way i'd have been able to manage the dark, winding roads with any kind of blood alcohol level. i've created an amateur photo collage for you, pointing out the highlights. explained below:




let's see, from left to right, top to bottom--1. welcome to wales--hope you can read welsh; 2. welsh sheep; 3. the severn bridge crossing the mouth of the river severn; 4. the happy caricature of a toll-both worker and (5.) the amount of change necessary to get from england to wales (£5.30)--this was funny because the suckers in the 'fast'--'exact change only' lane took so much longer to clear the toll booths than those not paying with correct change; i guess tossing a billion coins and expecting it to be calculated quickly isn't really as efficient as say, the $.80 booths in illinois; 6. the husband and i at the party making odd faces; 7. driving at night in wales--the roads are winding, dark and i was driving on the wrong side of the road (um, as in, not on the right) and apparently in chevys, the brights only stay on manually, so that was fun, turning the wheel with one arm permanently grasping the brights lever; 8. narrow road in the daytime--not much easier than at night, but slightly less scary; 9. view of the valley, looking down toward the severn river over shirenewton; 10. heather and owain!; 11. our hotel--the rat trap hotel and restaurant. despite the name and the hot pink exterior, the hotel was cozy, the breakfast delicious, and the staff extremely polite and helpful. and we saw no rats; 12. my pint of choice at the hotel rat trap: the rev james. was tasty!; 13. a shot of wales--taken on usk road, looking at some farms or something idyllic like that.

Friday, May 16, 2008

w(h)ales

i have a second job interview on monday! yay! if for some reason i don't get the job, it's off to burger king. or mcdonalds. they have to hire an american, right?

richard and i went to see ladytron in london last night. was horrible! the sound actually made the newport music hall in columbus sound good--which is saying a lot. about 7 songs in, the staff announced the power was out. perhaps no one noticed the sound was so awful until then? regardless, we stood around for half an hour or so until the staff came on stage and announced the show was canceled. ah, well. that's just my luck these days.

richard and i are off to wales for the weekend to see our friend heather, her husband and newborn. they're in town from seattle, visiting family and celebrating their one year anniversary. i can't wait! i haven't seen her since i left the UK in 2006. should be good, but we're staying about 20 miles away, so no drunkeness for me. i have to drive.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

our new shortcut into town

we live really close to the guildford castle. actually, we've lived really close since i moved here, but now we have an excuse to walk through the grounds on our way in and out of town. i snapped a couple quick pics over the weekend, on our way into town to find food.

it's funny, i mean, for most people in the the UK, finding a decent meal is easier than taking a picture of a castle built by william the conquerer. but not for me.

richard's friend john was in town this past weekend. we met up in london and record shopped most of the day, and spent the evening having pints and food with my friend sigga. it was such a beautiful weekend--the warmest for the UK this year. i guess i wasn't expecting it. i seem to have left all of my sandals and tank tops in the states. whoops.

on sunday, we met up with cousins lisa and jeff, and sigga. jeff had two gigs--one acoustic show in clerkenwell and one with slim's cyder co near kings x. both were great!

i haven't seen him play with slim's in a few years. always a good time. i need to track down a recording of 'is it love or food poisoning?'