Monthly Archives: June 2009

tomahtoes

We have our first tiny tomatoes growing in our garden.  There was much excitement upon making this discovery on Sunday.  Also our pumpkin blossoms ore blooming.  They are going to be massive.

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back from the near dead

I have been really sick.  I had the cold to end all colds.  Possibly a flu.  It was not fun at all and after a week of moaning and feeling like death I’m finally back among the living and taking antibiotics to clear the infection out of my chest.  I’m still coughing a lot but am leaking from the nose considerably less.

In very happy news we have planned a trip to Dublin on the 9th of July and I am totally psyched to go.  I haven’t been to Ireland at all since we moved here which is just silly seeing that it’s so close and all.  It will be good to correct this error in my life.  Jeremy’s cousin will also be there as she and her young man will be visiting from Washington, DC so we will spend a little time with them and a little time sightseeing and probably not such a little time drinking.  I wonder if there’s a Once themed tour of Dublin?  I would totally go on that.

In other very happy news we have decided that we are going back to Italy At the end of August and beginning of September. The plan thus far is to spend a few days in Venice for the Biennale and the general awesomeness that is Venice and then we will head on to Sicily.  There was much debate about going to Sicily, we considered Cinque Terre for awhile and looked at photos and hemmed and hawed but finally decided that the weather will probably be warmer in Sicily in September and also that Sicily looks a little bit cheaper.  So Sicily it shall be. We’ll probably fly into Palermo and then travel around the island a bit, maybe staying at a renovated farmhouse for a couple nights and then fly out of Catania.

I am totally psyched about this trip, especially since afterwards I will be able to say “Picture it, Sicily, 2009 . . . ” like a modern day Sophia Petrelli.  And you’d better believe that I will, all the time.

Jeremy has this idea that we will ride Vespas all over the island, Jeremy also thinks I can pack for a 12 day trip in just 1 backpack.  I might not be the girliest of girls, but I probably need more that just the 1 backpack.  Maybe if we can stay in a B&B near a Vespa hire place we can then plan jaunts and leave our luggage behind.  He actually looked at me like I was the most high-maintenance lady in the world when I told him 1 backpack would not be enough, he was all “But how much can you NEED?” And I was all, “Well, enough clothes for 12 days, uh duh?” And he rolled his eyes and tried to look sorrowful.  I imagine we’ll work out a compromise shortly, we usually do. 

Anyhow, if you would like a postcard, please email me your information and I will add your name and address to my brand new address book and therefore you will be on the list.

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A harrowing weekend

Actually, the entire weekend wasn’t harrowing just a little bit of it on Saturday night.

On Friday we just went out with friend to Ganapatifor South Indian food.  I had the Mini Fish Thali and the Crab Thoran as a starter and it was delicious.

On Saturday we gardened, a lot.  I separated out our sad looking Rainbow Chard and transplanted our Chives and Basil from the window boxes we’d had them in.  Jeremy replaced them in the window boxes (which are on the ledge of our bathroom window which is upstairs) with some Lavender, flowering thyme and Catmint.  I had to chase Oliver away from the Catmint a lot. Then while Jeremy pruned one of our trees and chopped up the branches to be burned this winter I planted a new set of chard plants, 2 courgette plants (that’s zucchini for the North Americans and Italians), 3 Aubergine (Eggplant), 5 curly leaf kale plants, and 3 rhubarb plants.  I tied the pumpkin and tomatoes to stakes and pruned the tomatoes a little bit.  And then I started doing some dead vine clean up as well, all the while hunting for worms to add to the vegetable beds and containers in order to give some extra nutrients to our crops.  We’re thinking of looking for some corn plants to put in containers next, and maybe some beans to go with them.

After gardening we showered and met a friend in Whitechapel at Tayyabs for delicious Pakistani food.  They do this pumpkin dish that makes me very very very very very happy.  Then it was on to Stratford for a friend’s 30th birthday party.  We got to her building and ran into another friend on the way into the building, so the 4 of us trooped onto the lift together and headed up to the fifth floor.  Only to be stopped short just as the number in the lift screen changed to 5.  There was a lurch and a loud noise and then a very polite disembodied voice informed us that the lift was broken and not to panic.  I immediately realized that I really needed to use the toilet.

We rang the alarm button and Jeremy called the friend who’s party we were attending, she laughed and hung up.  He texted her back saying “No we’re really stuck in the lift.”  Meanwhile the friend we’d run into on the way in was talking to the operator on the emergency phone.  He promised to call an engineer and told us to call him back in five minutes.  We all made noises that sounded like this (GAAH!) and waited.  I really needed to use the toilet but did my best not to hop around.

While we were waiting we heard the dulcet tones of the birthday girl shouting “Huhlloo!” from the other side of the door and were able to deduce that we were not actually that far from the floor.  After waiting for what felt like forever but was actually closer to five minutes we called the operator back and he said the following.  “Well, the engineer is on his way, but unfortunately, he lives on the other side of London so it may take about an hour.” And we all went “GAAH!” again. To which the operator replied, “Listen I’m not supposed to tell you this but if you call the fire brigade, they’ll get you out a lot quicker.” So he hung up and we shouted to the birthday girl, “Call the fire brigade, call the fire brigade!”

So she called the fire brigade and we looked around for escape hatches, there were none visible, and other possible means of escape.  Finally we figured out that if Jeremy and the birthday girl both pushed the center bit of the door at the same time they might actually be able to get it open, and happily they were!  The floor of the lift was about 6 inches below the floor of the hallway so we grabbed our bags of beer and hopped out as fast as we could.  The fire brigade was called and told not to bother, but we didn’t call the engineer as the lift still needed fixing.  I ran to the flat we were headed to and straight into the happily free bathroom.  All together, I think we were only stuck for about 15 minutes but it felt like a lot more.

After staying at the party for about 5 hours we took the stairs on our way out.  It just seemed like the best idea.  Jeremy went on to a second party in Peckham where he made a stranger uncomfortable with his unorthodox dance moves (this happens more often to us than I imagine it happens to other people) and I drank some beers and talked to a very nice Glaswegian who Jeremy introduced as being “rad as hell.” Jeremy was drinking cider and had become prone to hyperbole as well as inappropriate dance moves at this point.

At around 3:30 we walked home as the birds started waking up and the sky began to lighten, I still can’t get used to the short nights of an English summer.  I should probably stay far away from Norway in the summer as well.

On Sunday we slept in late and ate bagels for breakfast before cleaning up the garden some more (I made slug traps using plastic containers and beer) and then we barbecued and had a dinner of Bruschetta with two kinds of toppings (slow-roasted tomatoes and a mushroom apple mascarpone topping) stuffed peppers and some homemade veggie burgers made with Parmesan, beans and bread crumbs.

It was a nice weekend and I’m very glad we made it out of the small metal box as quickly as we did.

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Filed under dorking it up, garden

Ooh la la, Sassoon

Last night’s foray into ye olde cassette tape collection did not uncover the road trip tape but did pull Beck’s Odelay! out of the drawer.

My memories of first hearing this album are directly tied to moving back to Port Huron after my first year away at college.  For some reason I listened to Odelay! and Jeff Buckley’s Grace over and over as I rode my bike around town the first few week’s I was back.  Odelay! was probably the healthier choice for me as it was about 100X happier than any other cassette in my 300 strong collection.  The experience of riding my bike down Taylor St (the street just over from the one I lived on) to Odelay! was drastically different from the same route as soundtracked by Grace.  One required pedaling as fast as I could and then coasting through the shade and sunlight while standing, legs fully extended, and just enjoying the beauty of a Summer day.  The other was more of a meander through dappled light, maybe while smoking a cigarette, and floating back through nostalgia as I passed the houses of old friends and enemies.

I replaced Grace on cd but for some silly reason have only ever had Odelay! on tape.  Putting it in last night was something of a time warp, but an awesome time warp.  It’s perfect music for all sorts of situations: bike riding, prepping a stir fry, whipping cream for dessert, or dancing like a maniac. 

The second tape I got out was labeled Girly Tunes! and was recorded in early-mid 2000 when I was living in a dismal one bedroom apartment on Twain Ave in Las Vegas, NV.  I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet and I don’t appear to have made a track listing, but so far it is heavy on the Cub.  This is aggressively sweet music with some growly guitars in spots, I think I probably recorded it both to help pull myself out of the funk I had descended into (and not the P-funk kind, more the depressing kind) and to act as partial soundtrack on my drive back to the Midwest.  I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of it and re-discovering the tunes I felt were essential during that period in my life.

On deck: Strange Tales from Bohemia, a mix tape made for me by my Cousin Chris full of Canadian music with occasional appearances from 10,000 Maniac and Billy Bragg.  Also a tape I made titled Muzak from Vegas.

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Filed under Memory lane, Musics

Ghetto Blaster!

This weekend we had a wander around Shoreditch.  We took the 78 from Nunhead to it’s final stop next to the Shoreditch church and had eggs at a little cafe where they also had tiny delicious strawberries and cream tarts.  I drank milky coffee with my eggs and ham on rye toast and then we walked over to Redchurch St where there are lots of goofball galleries and shops.  At an antique shop we told the owner (a man in very funny trousers with lots of extraneous (I assume) buttons) about Detroit and discussed the capitalist spirit of America with him (he was for it). Then we went into a shop called Retro Kitsch where there were lots of clothes and gentleman’s magazines (the sort with boobs) and, most importantly, an Interfunk ghetto blaster priced at £35 (Jeremy’s ebay boombox hunts found prices upwards of $100 for similar items, making the Interfunk a STEAL!).  The Interfunk has two working tape players and a radio.  The antenna is still in place.  We tested it and made sure both decks worked and then we gave the man behind the counter his 35 quid.

Yesterday I went home early because my stomach was angry and my head was pounding and I spent much of the afternoon listening to cassette tapes purchased in the early to mid 90s (oh Madder Rose, how I missed you!) and mix tapes made by friends.  Tonight I need to read Empire of the Sun as my book club is meeting on Thursday and I think this will give me a prime opportunity to start going through all the unlabelled mix tapes ratttling around in the previously ignored cassette tape drawer.  And, you know, maybe just listen to some stuff I haven’t heard in awhile too.

All hail the Interfunk!

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Best search term ever

Somebody actually found this blog by using the following search term:

really very very scary sea monster image

I don’t know if you, dear sea monster searcher, found what you were looking for when you got her, but either way, I salute you.

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The Old Grey Mare

It is possible, just maybe, that at my office I have something of a reputation as a nag.  It is possible that I use cultural stereotypes about Americans to be ever so slightly more brash than I would normally be in my every day life.

It’s not that I like being thought of as that cow who won’t stop calling, or that over-reacting obnoxious mid-westerner, I really don’t, but the fact is that when I don’t nag and harrass things don’t get done.  Temps don’t get hired and I end up doing even more work.

And the fact is that in this situation I did nag.  I nagged the day before I left for the states, just not enough.  When I was talking to one of my higher ups today about it and said, “Oh I guess I just didn’t nag enough,” he just laughed at me.  He doesn’t care, he’ll be working for another company in 3 weeks time when we all TUPE (AGAIN!) and he’ll never have to hear my nasally tones again.  He probably says a prayer of thanks to the baby Jesus every night.

Okay, let’s look for a bright side here.  At least when I do nag, enough, I usually get what I need.  That’s a pretty crap bright side. Okay how about this, none of my coworkers smells like va-jay and dirty feet anymore.  That’s a very good thing, it’ll have to do for now.

At least I haven’t had to use my super powerful American tears to get my way at the office yet.  I’ve got no problem using them on the NHS but it would be unethical to use them in the office.

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