Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Boring Slide Show/I Feel LIke I Haven't Shared Enough Pic's Blog

So here goes...
Let's begin with one of my favorite restaurants (that I've never actually tried) in central London:

Yes my friends...It's the S & M (sausage and mash) Cafe. It's over by Brick Lane (where you go to have too many Indian restaurants to choose from), and every time I pass it, I laugh. Liam made fun of me for being touristy when I finally remembered to get a picture of it. Touristy shmouristy.

Our next exhibit is:

It's a front seat view from what Liam calls 'the most exciting thing in London'...the Dockland's Light Rail which travels without a driver. And, no, Diana, sadly enough the DLR is not free. However, it is included in your Tube pass...so....kind of? We traveled for about 3 minutes of pure bliss just like this, until we had to change trains and could not find such a sweet seat on the next one. Could you ask for more though? Really?

Next we turn our attention to a more obvious tourist attraction:

The Millennium Bridge that connects St. Paul's with the slightly less reverent Tate Modern is quite a site to behold after the sun goes down. One day before Christmas, Liam and I trekked across to enjoy the Holiday Frost Fest. We bundled up ready for Christmas tunes, Mulled wine, and general holiday cheer. We got the mulled wine and even roasted chestnuts (delicious), but the closest we came to Holiday music was La Bamba and then later some African Tribal something or other...I think. We did not find the promised Husky rides...although we might've been a little too big.

Here's a picture that Diana might disown me for:
She and the lovely Liam are standing on the Underground Platform at Camden town. I can't quite remember why we were here, or where we were going, but I was still suffering from the awful cold sads. Woo Hoo for the Underground.

Diana, let me redeem myself with this picture of you and me:

We've just been for a walk in the spitting cold rain and are settling down with the Manchester Crew at a touristy pub on the country-side. I've just gotten my camera and am taking pictures of everything.

Here's a lovely view from that walk in the Delamere Forest:

well..kind of a swampy area in the middle of it all. I stopped taking pictures soon after this one because of the rain.

Bear with me, as I know many of these are outdated..but I feel you deserve some visuals.

Here's a Christmasy shot of Liam's friends from Manchester, Jack and Ben after the rain and in the pub to warm up with a bitter and a log burning fire.

Another picture Diana will love me for:

Taken in the front room of Liam's parents' home shortly after Diana's triumphant arrival in Manchester, UK.

And finally:

Because as long as you have a suit jacket, it doesn't matter what you wear. You're fit to be hired(yes, I know my room needs to be cleaned).

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Little Traveler Goes North

I am supposed to be showering right now. Liam and I have come to Manchester on a particularly lovely day, and while he is off trying to reverse the damage of loads of internet pirating parties on his laptop, I am supposed to be showering so that we might enjoy the last moments of sunlight on this glorious day near the end of the February. Watch out, it's supposed to just hit 60 a couple of days in London next week. I might be able to strip off the protective 'coating' I've been wearing so religiously for the past three months.

This weekend Liam and I set off for York, Newcastle, and Manchester, respectively. After an evening of Cote Du Rhone, Wensleydale (which is DIVINE) and spiced olives, We boarded our brand new Virgin train (and, no, I'm not being redundant there) at the chipper hour of 7:30 on Saturday morning. We had a whole section of four seats and a table all to ourselves, and after only one change and four hours of train travel, we arrived in the picturesque/historic town of York at 11:45. It was everything an American would expect to see in England, and by everything I mean...bloody, war battered vikings roaming the streets in droves.
All of this, along with your typical Tudor style housing, equipped with a little overhang for you jump under whenever someone on the top floor had to empty their bedpan (we're imagining ourselves in the past right here). We wandered around with Liam's friends Ruth and Katherine making jokes that we were SO going to sign up for the 'certified' ghost tour and scoffing at the viking re-enactors that I find to be as impressive as Trekkies...if not more, as they can instruct on the best way to brandish your wooden sword in an attack by the celts. It never hurts really.

Then Liam and Ruth and I traveled onward and upwards to Newcastle...where they make the beer. Yes. We spent the next day climbing around on rocky beaches, avoiding the slippy patches, and making fun popping noises with the bloated ends of the washed-up seaweed. Liam rambled off towards the water after this picture was taken:

and I, after shaking myself out of the seaweed popping trance, scrambled my way over to see why he was standing so still. I slid of the nearest bolder and looked off in the direction of his gaze to see this:
and I promptly threw my arms around him and gave him a little kiss. His nose was cold and his lips were cold, but my face was surprisingly warm and the cold felt good...like a cold wash-cloth on a feverish forehead. There are moments when I am incapable of expressing, even to myself, what my true feelings are, and there are moments, too, when I know exactly how I feel and why I feel the way I do.

We then climbed up some steps over the 'cliff' to see a much less secluded, much more popular beach:

At dinner, we found a pub that served two for the price of one Sunday roast dinners and whilst wiping some mashed potatoes onto my roasted potatoes, I laughed with Liam, Ruth, and her boyfriend 'Foxy' about weight gain and the price of flats in Newcastle.

Today I am in Manchester. I have already been treated to a delicious bowl of a soup I would never have even been able to imagine...spicy cauliflower...and a good long newspaper reading session. I will leave you with a video (oh yes) of Liam rolling down a hill on the coast. Note the form and execution of the maneuver. Liam takes these things very seriously. video

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Whirlwind

There's a great line in a Wilco song that recently has been playing over and over in my head. The line is "I can't find the time to write my mind the way I want it to read." I was listening to the song on my ipod while watching Liam play football (soccer) with his league team on Monday. It struck me as oddly relevant. I think about things I want to write while I'm walking to the tube in the morning, or squished in between loads of commuters, or watching naked babies wriggle in the bowl that is the baby scale at work. I often think of glorious sentences about a quirk or a funny mannerism that I notice regularly in a co-worker, or just in the British population in general. The only trouble is, when I get home at night, and I have my meal, and I sit and watch some television show or another before setting my things out for the next morning, I can't seem to give myself the time required to recreate the authorship of my daily psyche. Because of this, and often the fear that no one really cares (shameless plug for comments), I tend to shrug it off.

I started working at a health center in Camden Town about a week ago, and while I can't tell you anything specific about the babies and the families we deal with, as it is all very privacy related, I can tell you that it about 4 hours over two consecutive days, I saw over 50 naked, squirming babies placed carefully onto a piece of paper lining the metal bowl that is a baby scale. Some cried while I explained that weighing oneself never gets easier, and some grinned and played with their toes, while others looked up at their mothers, utterly bewildered by the whole process. I've seen scrappy moms with messy hair waiting to speak to the nurses, and elegant, older moms silently breast feeding through classy tops designed specifically for the job. I noticed a mom in a corner, while I was updating books and recording data, calmly feeding her child for what seemed like 45 minutes. It's all very interesting. I know that sounds generic...what's it like? It's interesting....yeah yeah yeah. But that's what I got.

A couple of weekends ago, it was very cold, but Liam and I trekked out to Hackney to the flower market. We got a big bunch of lilies, six hyacinth bulbs (two purple and four pink), a pot of tulips, and a Jade. The flowers are blooming and filling my room with lovely smells (to the contrary of the smells that usually fill my room...sorry mom, I couldn't avoid this joke). And because I've run out of time to write the rest of my mind for this evening (I'm tired) I will leave you with a picture I took at the market and a picture of Liam with the lunch we had later on Brick lane at a very popular pastry shop: