Friday, 30 November 2007


And now the second person of the three of us has received her consolation rejection jacket for the London Marathon. I still haven't. I'm still waiting. My fingers are becoming cramped from having them crossed this long.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

The Waiting....

People will tell you you that I'm a patient person, but they'd be wrong. Patience may be a virtue and some may think I'm virtuous, but really it's all a facade.

I hate waiting. It drives me nuts. It bothers me that the shuttle from work will drop us off at the train station oftentimes 10 minutes before my four minute train journey. I hate standing in any queue, and I particularly hate waiting for news.

That is what I'm doing right now, waiting for news. A few months back a few of us registered for the London Marathon. There are a couple of ways to get into the marathon. You can either register, pay a fee and hope you are one of the few who get selected, or you can run for a charity but be obligated to raise up to £2,000 for that charity. So, I decided to register, pay the fee and hope for the best. If I were to be selected, I would raise what I could for a charity without the obligation and stress of having to raise an enormous amount of money. Tonight I got a text from one of my friends who also registered for the marathon. She and her boyfriend had just received their rejection letters and consolation jackets (at least you get a jacket if you don't get in).

I have not received my jacket, nor have I received a notice from the post office saying that I have a package waiting. I'm taking this as a good sign, but it could show up tomorrow. I really really want to run in this marathon. My goal is to run a marathon before that big scary birthday creeps up on me. My hopes are high, and my fingers are crossed. I want time to speed by until I have confirmation in my hand that I'm in or I'm out.

If I do get into the London Marathon, it will have been well worth the wait.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Cling Film, Cling? HA!

British Cling Flim, called Saran Wrap in the States, sucks! American Saran Wrap is so much better. Soooooooo much better. British Cling Film doesn't tear off correctly and doesn't do its primary job. It doesn't cling. It falls open, bunches up oddly and in general just frustrates its user. I rarely use it, but when I do I can always count on being disappointed. (Although if I can depend on being let down by it, I suppose it is not really disappointing me.)

When I visit the US for the holidays, I'm stocking up on Saran Wrap. Maybe I'll buy some for my American friends over here as well. Perhaps American Saran Wrap will be the most loved Christmas Present of American Expats in the UK.

And that is my rant for the day.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Inventions That Would Make Ne Rich.

I have 4 inventions, which I believe would make me a very wealthy woman if I could only figure out how to make them.

1.Bottled X-Factor- Now, by this I am NOT referring to the television show or anything about Simon Cowell. I'm talking about that inexplicable umph, that element in relationship you can't explain which keeps the two people together. It's beyond physical attraction and compatibility and even beyond fantastic sex. It's the aspect of relationships no one really understands but everyone knows when it is there. In some instances, however, it's there for one of the parties in a relationship but not the other. There are also relationships where everything is perfect between two people and it really should work out, but the X-Factor is absent. Finally, some relationships had the X-Factor at the beginning but after some time together, it disappeared. To be ethical the Bottled X-Factor would only work if both parties in the relationship agreed to use it. Genuine interest in what could develop must be there for both parties even if the X-Factor isn't.

2. Bottled X-Factor Remover- This is to be used in cases where one person feels that special umph, but the other one just doesn't and has no interest in trying out the Bottled X-Factor. This is to be taken before dating or sleeping together actually begins. It's intended for unrequited love, crushes and the like where the object of one's affection simply doesn't return it or is completely unavailable (i.e. is married to someone else or a a member of the clergy). Simply take the Bottled X-Factor Remover and all urges will simply fade away to regular ol' friendship. You can then go find someone who returns your affections or is willing to give the Bottled X-Factor a shot.

3. Get Over It Pill- I believe this would be the most popular of the three I've mentioned so far. This one little pill would take you beyond all the pain and suffering you experience when a relationship ends. Take this pill at the end of the relationship and you will be over it within only one day, not the painful weeks, months and in some cases years it usually takes.

4.Communication Device Breathalyser Editor (C.D.B.E.) - I believe all of us have suffered through 'intextication' where we have been pissed and sent a text we later regretted. And let's not forget drunken phone calls or stupid emails and IM conversations. This gadget would work on phones as well as on computers for email and instant messenger programs (including websites like Facebook or MySpace). Simply attach the C.D.B.E. to either your computer or phone and switch it on. (This should be done before going to the pub) The C.D.B.E. will stay activated for a minimum of 12 hours. Before using your phone or computer you must blow into the C.D.B.E. If it is determined that your alcohol blood level is above the common sense limit, you will only be able to make emergency phone calls and all text messages, emails, and instant messages would be edited for emotive quality and stupidity before they are sent.

I know that I would become very rich if I could figure out a way to create and patent these inventions. Too bad that's not possible (with the exception of maybe the breathalyser) as I know many people (including myself) who could have benefited from any of these.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Is my Daemon correct?

A colleague of mine sent this to me, and it is actually quite interesting.

Tell me if I saw myself the right way and make a Daemon of your own.

I guess I am kinda advertising for the movie, but hey stuff like this is fun.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Indicate, Asshole!!!

The Scilly Isles Roundabout on the A307 is the most idiotic piece of road engineering ever constructed. It's a double roundabout and is quite tricky. When Matt and I were dating and would go into work together, I was privy to a stream of early morning cussing every time we drove through it. The first time I drove in England, my friend, Kyle who was showing me the ropes, had me go through the Sicily Isles Roundabout. At that time some jerk cut me off on the second portion of this engineering fiasco. I slammed on the break and said, 'Fuck!' This jerk continued on his merry way as my heart jumped to my throat. Kyle assured me that it wasn't my fault and told me that breaking and swearing was exactly what I was meant to do. He added that he would have been worried if I hadn't cursed.

These days I cycle, yes that’s right cycle, through that scary roundabout every morning. It’s that time of year where the sun is rising at about 8AM and setting at about 4PM. It’s dark when I go to work and when I go home. Therefore, I have taken necessary precautions and made myself highly visible. I wear a neon yellow jacket and my bike is equipped with a bright white light on the front and a blinking red light on the back. In addition I am hyper aware of where cars are. There were two points in my distant past where I have been hit by cars and one of them was while I was on a bike. In both those instances, I wasn’t paying attention, and I don’t want to chance getting hit a third time.

So this morning there I was biking in the cold, wet weather. I watched the cars carefully as I approached the ominous traffic junction. The cars that would pass in front of me, which had the right of away, were stopped since there was a car going the opposite direction of me and would pass in front of them. Thus, it had the right of way. Since the car appeared to be going straight and was in the lane to do so, I entered the roundabout. However, at the last moment IT TURNED RIGHT ON THE ROUNDABOUT WITHOUT INDICATING IT WOULD DO THIS! I was too far into the lane to do anything but speed up to avoid being hit. The driver of this car who didn’t know how to use his turn signals did in fact know how to use his horn. After hearing it, I turned my head and shouted, ‘Indicate, asshole!’ Unfortunately, I don’t think he heard me. I do, however, think that Kyle would agree that this was the most appropriate response.

Trust Your Gut

A while back I met someone through a friend, who I didn't entirely trust. It was just that uneasy feeling you get when you feel like something is a bit off. Over time, however, I got to know this person and came around and really admired them and enjoyed their company. That uneasy feeling gradually melted away.

Very recently I found out something, and this morning I realised that it proved my original gut feeling right. This would explain why upon hearing about what this person had done I was shocked, but wasn't all that surprised.

So, my dear reader, when you meet someone who for some inexplicable reason you just don't trust, heed that gut feeling and be cautious.

Lesson learnt.

Saturday, 17 November 2007


Last night I dreamt that I was pregnant. In my dream I was thrilled instead of being upset or confused, which I would have been in real life. I knew that it was a long road ahead of me, as I was about to be a single mother, but I was so happy. As for the father I wasn't certain. I knew that I hadn't had sex in months. Thus (in the logic of my dream) it was either a miracle or one of two ex's. Both of these ex's were there and both were admitting that they were the father, but one was more willing to step up to this fact than the other. My friends were being super supportive and those who had already had children were offering hand-me-down baby clothing, etc.

I've been thinking about this off and on all day and finally I looked online to see what the dream analysis meaning was. This is what it said:

"To dream that you are pregnant, symbolizes an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing. You may not be ready to talk about it or act on it. This may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal."


The hardest thing for me...

about living abroad is when stuff happens to any of my loved ones back in the US, I'm over here feeling helpless. It's not as if my being back in the US can change anything or that it would even make a difference when bad things happen to those I love or they get sick, etc. But I know I would feel better-more useful or a better friend somehow-if I were there when things go bad. It's a catch 22 really, because if I were to move back, which I have no intention on doing, then any time someone I know and love over here had bad shit happen I would feel just as awful and helpless.


I'm the one who chose to leave and this is just one of the consequences of that choice.

Oh and things are generally fine. I don't mean to sound like someone I love is dying because they aren't.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Rock'n'Roll 2.0

My friend, Richard, has started a new blog called Rock'n'Roll 2.0. He wants it to be a collaborative journal with submissions from different sources about music and culture. So, if you have written or would like to write a piece about music and culture that you would like people to see, please contact him at Regardless if you want to submit anything or not, you should still check out Rock'n'Roll 2.0.

As a self-promotional aside, I was quite flattered when he asked me to submit a piece I had written in an earlier blog about love and mixtapes. I plan on submitting more about music I've heard, shows and any other interesting events I've attended, but right now I seem to be stuck in the hum-drum of my everyday life, which you can always read here.

Cookie Concoction

I told my homeroom I would make them cookies because I was so proud of the amount of toys they donated for the toy drive and the fact that everyone wore red or a poppy on the day our school acknowledged Remembrance Day. In truth each homeroom gets spirit points for activities like these, and at the end of the year the homeroom with the highest amount of spirit points in each grade level gets a pizza party. I love pizza. We have won the pizza party for the last two years. Being quite competitive, I will do almost anything to motivate my students to win. I pulled out the ingredients I thought I would need. Fortunately I had purchased chocolate chips earlier in the day, but I discovered that I was out of vanilla, and at this point the shops had all shut. I called my friend Patricia for other reasons and in the course of our conversation I asked her what would be a good vanilla substitute. She suggested orange juice. All I had was apple. She said that would probably work, and I pulled down my recipe books in search of a good chocolate chip cookie bar recipe.

Shit! I needed brown sugar as well and had none. I looked up substitutions for brown sugar and discovered that adding molasses to white sugar was acceptable. That would be great if I had molasses. I didn't. I got on-line and began to search for other recipes and found one which did not require brown sugar. Woo Hoo! I started to combine the ingredients and discovered another roadblock. The recipe called for honey, and I had none.

I called my downstairs neighbour, Catherine. She had honey. Hooray! I borrowed her honey and continued with my creation. The cookies called for 1 and 1/4 cup of butter. The only measuring cup I have is large Pyrex one. It is my faithful measuring cup. I've had it for years and would be devastated by its loss. However, when it comes to measuring 1 and 1/4 cups out of a large tub of margarine (yes another substitution), it doesn't do so well. Remembering that 8 ounces equals a cup, I decided to weigh it. It seemed like a bit too much margarine, but I used it anyway. After assembling all the ingredients I realised that my initial thought about the butter was probably correct. I added a bit more flour and pinch more baking powder and the consistency seemed ok. Then, I grabbed the packets of chocolate chips.

I realised then that I had made yet another error. Instead of purchasing 2 packets of plain chocolate chips (2 packets of plain chocolate chips here=1 16 oz bag of semi-sweet packet of chocolate chips in the US), I had 1 packet of plain and 1 packet of milk chocolate chips. Oh well, with the way this was going would it really matter? I added the chips, spread the dough across a pan, and then placed it in the oven. Right then my phone rang. It was my mother.

I told her the story of this concoction and of course she laughed and said something like, 'Most people look at the recipe and then go to the store, Heather. They don't make it up as they go along.' I agreed with her, but I was excited to see the result of this. As we chatted the cookie bars baked away. At one point I glanced at the recipe and realised that I hadn't added salt. I laughed and my mother suggested that I tell my students that they are 'salt-free' cookies for their health. 'Sure,' I said, 'because you know eleven year-old children need to worry about hypertension.'

Finally, the cookie bars were done. I pulled them from the oven and they were a but fluffy, but looked fine. Actually, they tasted pretty good, but they could probably use a little salt.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Where Have I Been?

I got a group text from my friend, Ces, tonight asking, 'What time does the local pyro start the fireworks display?' Tonight is Bonfire Night in honour of the failed attempt by Guy Fawkes and a group of conspirators who tried to blow up parliament in 1605. So, tonight (well actually in most places, this weekend) there are fireworks displays and bonfires galore. However, I'm in the middle of marking and writing report cards, so there would be no fun and frolics for me. I was still at work when I got her 2nd text saying that the display would be begin at 7:30pm at the 'Flower House.' I wasn't sure of where she was referring. I wouldn't be home until 7:30 anyway, so I responded that I couldn't make it and kept on working.

When I finally got home, I goofed off a bit on line and heard a fireworks display begin. It sounded incredibly close. I figured that it was probably down by the river at Ravens Ait, so I ignored it. However, as I was in the kitchen I saw a smoky haze drift past the street lamp in the car park beyond my back garden. It was then that I really realised how loud the display sounded and it suddenly occurred to me what Ces had meant by the 'Flower House'. Just down the road from my flat, 2 doors down to be exact, is a building on the corner with the most amazing flower garden in the front. I grabbed my keys and jacket and shot out the door. Sure enough, just around the corner from where I lived was a crowd gathered to watch a fireworks display. It was not official, no barricades and only a small gathering of locals. However, no police came along to spoil the fun. There was a bonfire burning and the fireworks were going off in rapid successions. Huge as well as little fireworks, fire wheels, and a variety of pyrotechnic delight lit up my neighbourhood. It was absolutely amazing. The man who put it together must have spent thousands of pounds for our benefit. I saw my friends and went to join them, and through speaking with them discovered that this has been going on every Bonfire Night for years.

How the hell did I not know this? Where I have been on Bonfire Night for the last 4 years?

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Tourist in My Own City Pt. 2

On Monday 22nd of October Steve and I ventured into London itself. We got the train into Waterloo and then walked along the Southbank. Steve took pictures of the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. I did not. I already have several pictures of these landmarks, and I'm fortunate to see them regularly. We continued up the Southbank until we got to a pub with a great view of the city skyline on the other side of the Thames and menus, which had a diagram identifying buildings at the bottom. Both of had Fish and Chips with Mush Peas, a very appropriate meal. After lunch we went over the Millennium bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral. I was very excited by this as I had not yet been inside this famous landmark. Steve was a bit creeped out by the sheer opulence of the wealth and power when we went inside. I'm not certain why it didn't strike me in a similar way. Perhaps it is because I've seen extravagance of the Vatican and St. Paul's, although stunningly beautiful, is lacking in comparison.
Despite how tired Steve was and the amount of walking I had already made him do, I forced him to walk up the dome. From there we got to see amazing views of London.
As you can see Steve was privy to some very English weather. From there we got on a bus and went to Trafalgar Square. We were shocked and a bit appalled to discover a huge display advertising the coming Dolphins vs Jets game to be played the following weekend at Wembley Stadium. There was a huge blow-up football player next to a screen. Steve took some great shots of this, but I missed out on the opportunity to capture this cultural invasion.

After this we went to the Tower of London but discovered we wouldn't have enough time to properly see it all. Thus we went to meet up with Lindseay for a drink a bit earlier than we had anticipated.

The next day we took a day trip via train to the beach town of Brighton, where we got married.
On Wednesday and Thursday we did more sightseeing and Steve was able to see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben close up in addition to Westminster Abbey and the Horse Guard. We also finally got to the Tower of London and although we had more time, the two hours we had weren't enough. I can't wait for the next visitor to come back so that I can go back.

And so I returned to the daily grind of my life after Steve's departure, but it was quite cool to take advantage of the touristy stuff this historical place has to offer and that I take for granted.

Tourist in My Own City Pt1

My friend, Steve, was here visiting me about a week ago. I absolutely love it when people come to visit because it gives me a chance to do things that I wouldn't normally do in addition to taking pleasure in sharing activities I do daily.

Steve arrived on Saturday 20th of October and was able to witness a tube closure first hand. We got on the Picadilly line at Heathrow and went one stop from Terminal 4 to Terminals 1, 2, and 3 only to discover that it was closed due to a gas leak. Thus we ended up on the bus, Gus. This was better in the end as it allowed Steve to see more sites than he would have going to mine via a system of tunnels. There would be plenty of time for the tube later.

Later that eve after Steve was settled, we went to the Grove and had dinner. My friend, Lindseay, met us for a drink and then I indoctrinated Steve into British culture by having him watch England play South Africa in the World Cup Rugby final at Mark's place. Afterwards, Linds, Steve, and I came back to mine and drank what was meant to be a celebratory bottle of champagne, but became a conciliatory bottle instead.

The next day I took Steve up the river path to Kingston upon Thames in order to keep him awake. Jet lag is a real bitch when you fly east. He had forgotten his camera, so we took pics on the way using mine. It's interesting how you just kind of take things for granted after living somewhere for a while. Steve noticed things that I pass daily and think nothing of. For example he liked the way the streets looked, and he loved the fact there was a boat named Jeff.

We also saw a sail boat race on the Thames.
On the way down the path we stopped at a vegetarian restaurant and had lunch.

It was a beautiful autumnal day that Sunday. So, I dragged Steve over the Kingston bridge and made him walk down the other side of the river. I tried to get him to go all the way to Hampton Court and then get the train back across the river and up to Surbiton, but he was just far too knackered. Fortunately, Hart's, the pub where we had arranged to meet up with some of my friends had a ferry service across the river so we had a convenient short cut.

Hart's is a boat yard in addition to a pub and restaurant, and it is a great place to sit outside with a pint and watch the sun set.

Gillian, Chad, Mark, Kellie, and Linds met us at Hart's for a drink on the river. However, after the sun set it was quite cold so we had to go inside.

So that was Day 1 and Day 2 of Steve's visit- 2 days of ordinary activities made much more fun by the presence of a dear old friend. I took some more pics throughout the trip, but I'm exhausted after this week and some slight debauchery from last night. I will post Pt. 2 of Steve's visit, with more pictures of course, later.