Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Didn't Even Watch It

So, I'm in England for Christmas, and there's all this talk about the Queen's Christmas message being broadcast, not only on t.v., but also on the ever exciting World Wide Web. Now that she is the oldest living monarch in English history (it's true), she has decided to make a run into the new millennium. So, all this talk, and all this new technology stuffs, and I didn't even watch the message. I didn't watch it on T.V., and I certainly didn't look it up on YouTube. So what does that make me? A crummy visitor? Nah....Amerrikan....thru and thru. I don't need me no message from no queen to benchmark this spectacular season. I just need some pumpkin pie and a big bird to eat, and that's what I had, I tell you...that's what I had (well...the pumpkin pie is running a little late, but it's on the way).

After a long day of sleeping and eating and then sleeping some more, I promptly went to bed and slept for eleven hours. It was quite impressive, if I do say so myself...and I do...say so myself. I woke up this morning and began enjoying the fun that is It's almost always funny.

We all went for a walk at the "water-park" which is not, as you might imagine, a park filled with water-slides, wave pools, and the ever popular "lazy river." No, it was a park...with a very large pond, a canal, and little bitty pond full of all sorts of exciting organisms for your study and inspection. I learned that my running pants are a bit too large and that brambles and thorns provide the perfect cover for an emergency bathroom break. Liam burned his arm on the pie crust pan this evening and has put the pumpkin pie making back only briefly. We shall prevail. Later tonight, despite the obvious objections from the parents, Liam, his sister, all of the local friends, and I will be going to a dingy dance club to listen to brit pop and bad rock while we dance and make merry. I've been told it's legendary. We shall see.

The Manchester sky was mostly clear and bright this afternoon just as it was yesterday afternoon...which is a far cry from my experience this summer. Let's see if we can't go three days in a row.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Pants

Yes, Apryl, they still love "Do They Know It's Christmas-time". To tell you the truth, I don't even think I remember ever hearing it until this year, but I'm also probably wrong about that. These English folk lap up that charity stuff like the left-overs in the bowl you use to make Rice-Crispie-treats. Yes, google, that is how you spell 'Crispie' (it's complaining).

Let me apologize, first of all, for not writing in quite a long time. Living in a new country can really take it out of a person, and I began I was SURE I never would. Then sleeping, working, and generally, to use a Liamism "busting about" took precedence. Let me also assure you that I will soon be receiving a new camera by which I will be able to post pictures of my adventures for you to see. It's a Christmas miracle.

London has been lovely, and, surprisingly enough, I've adapted to the cold weather. It's consistent at least, and that makes quite a difference. I also bought a space heater and a man came and fixed our radiators which helped with the cold factor on the inside. The only thing I can't quite get used to is the smell of exhaust coming from the buses and cars around London. I mean, I'm used to the black stuff in my nose, it doesn't really bother me all that much, but the smell of exhaust on a cold crisp morning, it just doesn't do it for me quite yet.

The past weeks have been quite interesting. I went to a folk music show at a big old church a few weeks ago and discovered that the headlining act was a guy that went to ACU. I don't know if I even keep up with anyone from ACU any more except for Janna and Isaiah, but you might recognize the name Micah P. Hinson, and if you don't, you might recognize the name Dr. Waymon Hinson from the Bible department at ACU. Micah, while being kicked out rather infamously from ACU, has made quite a name for himself in the folk music scene in the UK. He has a fantastic voice. AND, best of all...perhaps even...most ACU of all, was the fact that he proposed to his girlfriend on stage after his show. I couldn't help but roll my eyes, and I didn't really know if it was because of bitterness, or the sheer ACU-ey-ness of it all. I spoke with her before the show, and she was really nice. Good for her...them. There was a corridor in the church with a sign posted at the entrance that explained that the corridor had been only recently re-opened after many years of being closed due to a ghost of some sorts. The hypothesis was reached after many unexplained occurrences, and the sign pleaded that if we experienced anything unexplained, unexpected, or unusual, we were to report it to someone immediately. After the first set we walked back through the corridor whose walls had been empty the first time save for the warning to find the walls now covered in ads for another music show that had ALREADY HAPPENED! It was quite unexplained AND unusual. However, we didn't report it. Cause we weren't skeered.

I am now in Manchester enjoying the cold and often-times rain, but, more importantly, I am really enjoying the FOOD. Liam's parents are quite the cooks. It's Christmas day, as you might realize, and I've just finished a Christmas dinner of: Goose, stuffing, glazed Clementine's, roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots, brussel sprouts, and loads of gravy...and all while wearing one of those paper crowns that you always seen English people in movies wearing on Christmas. Liam's mother and I have forced Liam to succumb to our prodding and allow us to pick out for him a nice dressy wool coat and a few sweaters (which they call jumpers, but don't be fooled, no one's buying little dresses for my boyfriend). We trapped him in a department store and cornered him with a snazzy trendy number that he reluctantly tried on. When he examined himself in the mirror, he looked like a lost puppy...however, by the end of the brainwashing session, he was excited and rather picky about what coat exactly we chose for him. The initial shopping for Liam without him ended in Liam's mother buying something for me. I too, was sabotaged into allowing her to buy me a very cute was quite bewildering to be honest.

I could write a great deal more, but, honestly, do you really want to read it all right now? I'll write more tomorrow. At the moment, I'm slinking off to the front room to curl up under a blanket and watch movies for the rest of the evening. I'm also loosening my belt...ah, hell....I'm changing into pajama pants.
Merry Christmas! EAT! and then put on some stretchy pants...or put on stretchy pants first. In any case, may your Christmas include stretchy pants!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What Heels do to My Balls

So....okay....thank you so much for all the encouragement, first of all. Second of all, about three hours after posting my previous blog, I got a call from my temp agency offering me a two and a half week gig as a receptionist. The pay is crap, but the hours are good, and the work is fairly simple...and it affords me time to read (and that is confirmed by the other receptionists). Now lets talk a little more about professional wear in London:

As I've said, I immediately ran out and bought a blazer to wear to do all the important telephone answering that I'm set to do, and on the morning of my first shift (i.e. this morning) I gussied myself up and slid into sexy two and a half inch heels that I bought at payless a few years ago (do not attempt to teach me a lesson that I have already learned by this point). I stepped out the door to your typical windy, spitty, London rain, and cleverly pulled my umbrella out of my bag. However, said umbrella must have cost me no more than about $3 and was constantly getting inverted by the wind and leaving me looking like a blustering idiot. Another siren went off when halfway to the Tube, I realized that my shoes were killing me and that there was probably a river of blood running over the ankle of the shoe. There was not, so I kept going. I arrived at work to a poor girl that was sniffling and sneezing (they're POD people...trying to take over our immune systems and force us to create inordinate amounts of mucus) the entire time that she was explaining my duties to me. I'll tell you more about the other girls in another blog. I'd like to stick to the theme with this one, and I certainly don't want to wear anyone out. After limping around the office, following the girls around to different destinations to do odd jobs, I decided I needed to have a look at my ankle. They set me up with some band-aids ( this crazy backwards country), and I locked myself in the ladies to bandage myself. What I found was a nickel-sized little bastard just begging to be drained. SO...I got a safety pin, some alcohol swabs, and a cup of seriously boiling hot water (from the handy instant coffee machine) and set to work. It popped quite easily and drained slowly into a little splotch on the toilet seat. I then commenced cleaning it with the alcohol, which, for an instant, stung me worse than anything has ever stung me. I had to sit down it was so startlingly painful. Then I bandaged her up and walked with a fair bit of ease for the rest of the afternoon. By the evening, however, I honestly thought I was going to die. There are no words...NO WORDS, I say, that could describe to you the agony of the pressure on the balls of my feet as I staggered home after work. Of course the Tube was rammed, and I was forced to stand, crammed up against the door willing myself to balance on my heels. When I arrived at my home station, I swallowed, dreading the next seven minute walk to my door-step. I was standing, and I was walking...but inside, I was crawling along the side-walk ( England), reaching out, begging for aid, crying for relief. I felt like the bones in my feet were going to pour out my toes, and while I tried to walk on my heels to relieve the pressure on my balls, I found actually moving forward to be far more difficult than I had imagined. I made it, in the end, took the shoes off the minute I stepped over the threshold, and vowed never to wear heels unless I was safe at work, and safely behind my desk. It's sneakers all the way to entrance for me. Flaunting my professionalism to the lemmings on the Tube be damned (for some reason...I love "be damned" at the end of a makes me feel like a wizened old man...smoking a pipe, stroking his beard, and soaking his feet after a long day in sexy black heels).

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I am no longer a valuable member of society, or at least, that's how I feel

There's something odd about leaving your home country to live and work in another's something that is incredibly hard to admit...being an American is way easier, and feels much better when in America. I cannot get a job. I can't even get a temping job. I was pretty much guaranteed work on Monday morning, but I ended up waiting around in the agency for three hours until they sent me home because they just couldn't find anything. Well, they found ONE job, but they gave it to the other "sit-in" that arrived fifteen minutes late, because she had a blazer on (and mind you, I was dressed up pretty darn good)...she also had a cold which she may have given to me. We shall see. So, at the moment, I apply for jobs and wait to get the rejection that inevitably comes. I also get up in the very early a.m. to call the temp. agency to tell them that I'm available, and then never get called. Sometimes I cry because I feel so bloody useless, and sometimes I think about coming back to the states so that I can pretty much get a job right off the bat. Sometimes I wonder why the hell I'm so eager to give up any chance of opportunity to be with a guy. I mean, I could be teaching right this instant, but instead I'm in a country that has no use for me. This guy is great, don't get me wrong, and wants to do whatever he can to help me, and is doing whatever he can, but pretty soon, I'm just a drain on him what do I do? Do I wait? Probably. Life is never easy, and, as I've said to many of my friends: anything WORTH doing is going to be difficult, but when does it become just plain stupid? At the moment, I've no desire to do anything. I have the will enough to lie in bed and try to sleep off this lovely gift of a cold that was given to me by Blazer woman who, by the way, was told that a hot toddy would make her feel better, so she had one ON HER WAY TO'm also smarter than she is. Drink a hot toddy at night because it will help you sleep and it will help your symptoms so that you can comfortably get to sleep. I may not have had a blazer at the time (I've got one now, dammit), but I wasn't drunk. I'm a little more career minded than that. This blog turned out to be way less blubbery than I thought it would be. Surprisingly my mind has taken a utilitarian may have been the academic writing that I just spent a year trying to perfect. Creativity be damned, I've got a worthless degree!