Thursday, June 25, 2009

Random Answers

I don't feel like thinking of my own content today, so here's a survey I saw on another blog I visit...
1. Someone knocks at your door. You answer it. It's a kid from the local school selling candy bars for a fundraiser. Do you buy one? If he has Snicker's bars, I buy 2!

2. The end of the world is tomorrow and you are out of milk - do you go buy some? I just bought milk last night. Today isn't the end of the world, is it?

3. Have you ever picked up the phone and called someone that you hadn't talked to in years? I have, and I need to again (maybe even the same person)

4. Whats on your computer desktop background? Hmm, I don't even know what's on this new computer. On my old computer it was a picture of Wentworth Miller.

5. What was the very first movie you saw in a movie theater? Ask my mom.

6. If you had to take a 10th grade science test, do you think you would pass? I long as it's not physics!

7. Describe heaven. A place where you get to see all the people you've been missing. And it's always sunny, unless you love rain, then it rains too. And, despite what somebody told me that somebody told them, there are dogs there. You can walk around to visit your friends if you want to, but you might prefer to ride on a cloud. I know I would.

8. Has a place that you lived ever been infested with some sort of insect or rodent? Oh yes. Okinawa was crawling with roaches. Still gives me the heebie-jeebies thinking about it!

9. When you were a youngin', did you hide in the clothes racks at department stores? Probably not.

10. Is there anything in your vehicle that is broken? I hope not! Actually, I take that back, I hope my temperature gauge thingy is broken and that my car really doesn't run as hot as it says it does.

11. What is something in your house that people would be surprise to find? a formal dress

12. Do you agree with the death penalty? Depends on my mood...on the one hand, it kind of seems like people get off easy when they don't have to live with what they've done, but on the other hand, we're all footing the bill while they spend life in prison.

13. Whats your favorite type of bear? How many types are there? Teddy bears are the only type I'd like to cuddle with.

14. Where was the last place you went? The gas station, and, thankfully, home. I got really lost on my way home.

15. What if that person knocking at your door earlier was an adult selling candy bars... would you buy one? Maybe if it was for a good cause, and if it was a Snicker's bar.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What I'm Doing

Saw this on a couple of blogs in GoogleReader today, and figured it would make an easy blog post.

June 23, 2009

Outside my window... the vent-hose thingy for my dryer. Need to sign off the internet, flip off the transformer and finish drying my clothes.

I am thinking... of what to pack for my cruise!

I am thankful for... many things, not the least of which is the ability to stay in my pajamas until dinner time. And then go to sleep in them.

From the kitchen... peanut butter cookies

I am wearing... some of my favorite jammies

I am creating... "Sunkist"- a cropped cardigan

I am going... nowhere until tomorrow

I am reading... Dragon's Keep

I am hoping... to solve the Rubik's Cube today

I am hearing... Poison (I've been in a big 80s hair band/glam rock mood the past few days)

Around the house... a lot of unfinished business!

One of my favorite things... iGoogle ETA another recent favorite thing the European hem for jeans. SO easy and no need to rethread the sewing machine!

A few plans for the rest of the week... cleaning the house tomorrow, curry & a pint tomorrow, running with a friend on Thursday, possibly a movie on Thursday, scrapbooking with a friend on Friday, helping a friend at work on, I'll be busy! Good thing I spent today doing nothing!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Rainy Day in Camden Town

On Saturday, my friend Jessica and I ventured to London to meet up with our friend Zach and his "buddies" who were visiting from FL.
After much, much debate on Friday (about 2 hours in person in the afternoon and then at least 3 phone calls in the evening), we decided that we would head to the tube station in the afternoon, meet up with Zach & his friends for dinner and nightlife, and stay in a hotel.
We ended up meeting up with two other people & following them to the tube station, and somehow I ended up being the organizer of everyone. I was totally nervous that we'd never find Zach, either due to a "too many cooks in the kitchen" type issue, or due to Zach's characteristic cell phone issues. Luckily, he answered his phone enough times to tell us which tube stop to get off at (Earl's Court) and he and his buddies were sitting right outside having coffee.
I've been freezing since I got here, but it turns out, all I needed to do was hop on the tube. It was a sweat-fest in there.

Jess & I and the other couple (well, Jessica and I aren't a couple, but the other people are a couple, so I'm calling them "the other couple") got checked into the hotel and we were off, back onto the sweaty tube to get to Camden Town.
I was kind of hoping for sightseeing stuff, but I went into the weekend with the understanding that we were just kind of tagging along with what Zach's visiting friends wanted to do, so I wasn't too disappointed. I can always go back for sightseeing later.
There were some pretty, uh, interesting sights to see in Camden Town. I really really wanted to get some Kanye West "sunglasses" (I don't know if they're called sunglasses, because a)I don't think they actually shade from the sun and b) I don't even think you can see through them), but I don't know if everyone thought I was just kidding or what, because we didn't stop to buy any.
We went to a Cuban restaurant (after all, these people are from Miami and had been on a EuroTrip for 10 days or something by this point so probably could've used a taste of home) and had Mojitos. Which are, of course, my favorito. But for 7 pounds a pop, it was only my favorito for one round.
I watched everyone do a shot (I refused, even though the round-buyer had bought one for me) and seemed to amuse them with phrases like "I don't smoke drugs" and "I'm actually afraid of beer bottles in crowded places". Apparently they had never encountered anyone quite as strange as me before. I ate a really tasty grilled chicken salad, which made me think of David because he almost always orders a grilled chicken salad.
We left to go to another bar (because I think that's what you are supposed to do in Camden Town) and much to my dismay, all the shops & vendors were closed...I couldn't get my Kanye shades! At the next bar, I saw someone with a Magner's glass and I really wanted to try the Magner's Pear Cider (I saw it on tv, and one of my Wednesday night friends orders it sometimes). Oh my goodness was that stuff delicious! It was so good that I didn't even mind that the only place for us "in" that bar was outside and it was raining!
We left there and went to probably 3 other places. At the last place we went to, "Dublin Close" or something like that, Jess and I thought that a band was playing and we were pretty excited. Until we got up to the stage and saw that there was no band! Probably the guy standing there looking like the band's bodyguard had us fooled, but it turns out, he wasn't even a bodyguard. And, even if he were, there was no band that needed guarding.
We went to the bathroom and said 2 words to a girl who said to her friend, "Oooh, look, they're Americans! I love Americans!" That was funny. She asked me where I was from and I told her near Chicago and silly me, asked her if she knew what that was. She said of course, she doesn't live under a rock. All this while, I was trying to dry my pants under the hand dryer because I sat in a puddle outside. I really did. When my pants finally dried, we went back out to sit down with our group, then the other couple were getting irritated with each other, so we all had to call it a night. We cabbed it back to the hotel, grabbed our coats and headed off in search of food. I was so excited to have my first kebab! I thought it would've come on a stick, but it didn't. I also learned that I LOVE salt and vinegar chips (and by chips, I mean fries). I gobbled up my fries, but couldn't finish my kebab. It was huge!

Jessica and I were both wide awake at 8 because it was burning up hot in our hotel room. Plus it smelled like kebab, which doesn't lead to the best sleep atmosphere. We headed out to walk around and look at nothing in particular, had breakfast at Maccers (which I decided that since McDonald's is called Maccers in Australia and fries are called chips in Australia, McDonald's should be called Maccers in England as well, but I haven't actually heard it called that here.), and then about 2 hours later, Zach and his friends were up and about too, so we went to breakfast again with them (but just had smoothies), said goodbye to the "buddies" who were heading to the airport for the next leg of their journey, and hopped the hot sweaty tube back to Epping, so we could get in the car and come home. We both smelled awful because we didn't want to be bothered with luggage, so we just had shorts in our purses and came home in the same outfits we left in. The rest of Sunday was pretty lazy for me...and in fact, the rest of the week has followed suit!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Off the Hook (and Needles)

I don't think anything is ever going to change the fact that I find knitting patterns and buy yarn much at a much faster rate than my hands can move those needles. But I actually finished several small projects last month:
clapotis and mittens
The slippers (two pairs) were completed in 1-2 days each.
The mittens, about 2-3 days.
The Clapotis scarf...well, a little longer.
Since the scarf & mittens were finished in May, you may think I haven't had much opportunity to wear them. Well, then you're not in England. It's chilly here! I hear it's even unseasonably cool in Okinawa right now, but I'm not convinced it's scarf/mitten weather there.

I'm working on a pair of socks now that just aren't holding my attention, and my Big Snugs, which I want to love, but unfortunately I made some kind of mistake in picking up stitches and now my needle is completely stuck in the super-tight stitches. I've tried lots of ideas to free my needle, but I fear I'm going to have to use scissors!?!??! And then I have no idea what that would do to my Snug. So I don't know...maybe it's time to find a new project?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happiness is...

...having a techie-geek husband who wouldn't dream of having me go without a functioning computer for too long.
My laptop arrived today!
Back to e-mailing.
Back to facebooking.
Back to hearing podcasts.
Back to changing music on my iPod.
Back to blogging.
Back to reading blogs.
Back to online shopping. (uh-oh!)
Back to digi-scrapbooking.
Back to the 21st century!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Marley & Me

One of the books I read this weekend was Marley & Me.
If you haven't read the book or seen the movie (or heard the ending), stop reading now! Spoilers will follow...

Oh my goodness...I don't know why I read this book! I saw the movie and I was prepared for what would happen at the end. Before we went to see it, David said, "Baby, you know the dog might die, right?" and I thought, now why in the world would they make the dog die? Movies are supposed to make you feel good! And I said, "How could you say such a thing? The dog is NOT going to die!" and he said, "I just want you to be prepared, just in case..." Then my friend in my running group who had seen the movie the day before said, "Take tissues" and I knew that David was right. But that didn't make it any easier. I cried through the end of the movie. I cried on the way out of the theater. I cried all the way home and didn't stop until I fell asleep. I swear I cried for 3 days after that movie.
And yet for some reason, I still wanted to read the book, which was EVEN SADDER than the movie! So sad, in fact, that I am willing to abandon proper grammatical structure. The first time I cried in the book was on page 48. There were 288 pages. Probably around page 170 the tears just came in an endless stream. I was lounging on the "floor bed"--the bed that I didn't think the frame/headboard (which I didn't like anyway) would fit in the house so it's just a mattress on the floor. I like to read there because I like reading on the floor, but this is more comfortable, plus there's a nice sunny window in the room. I kept walking to my bedroom to get more and more Kleenex. I thought, "I could just bring the box in here", but I decided that walking to get new Kleenex was a good way to give myself a break from reading this sad, sad book (and clear my nasal passages).
David didn't cry during the movie. I couldn't believe he wasn't crying, and he said that, in addition to being naturally more hyper-sensitive than he, it probably had something to do with the fact that I had gone through this with my own treasured pets. While reading the end of the book, I realized that I was sitting and crying on the same bed that I sat and cried on when my mom called to tell me that my cat Dusky had died. And that just made me cry even harder. Then I started thinking about other people losing their pets... Ami's Mandy and how sad she was when I got to her house right after I heard, Ms. Kobe's Rocky-dog and how hard it was for her to make the decision to let him have a peaceful good-bye instead of a difficult ending, my first boyfriend's Casey and how he cried on the bench outside of the dorm when his parents came to tell him...and I lost it even more.
Until we watched Marley & Me, I had been begging for a puppy. But when we came home, I had a lot of second thoughts. Not because of all the hard work it would be to train a dog, care for a dog, and make whatever repairs would be needed after the dog ransacked the house, but because of how hard it would be to say goodbye to a dog. If you're a pet person, you know...

Monday, June 08, 2009

48 Hour Book Challenge: Sort of Completed

Well, my computer did not cooperate this weekend. It used to just take forever to turn on. Now it won't turn on at all!
At least it gave me plenty of time for reading. 15 hours and 55 minutes, to be exact! I read The Tenth Circle, Thirteen Reasons Why, Three Willows, and, the only one without a # in the title, Marley & Me.
Gotta go...I'm at a friend's house!

Friday, June 05, 2009

48 Hour Book Club: first update

I've read for 2 hours and 50 minutes now, and spent 4 minutes blogging about it.
I finished The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (the last 166 pages or so). The book kept me guessing and I like that in a book. It wasn't my favorite Picoult book...actually of the ones I've read I think it was my least favorite, but still a decent read. A teen date-rape story with a few twists.

Now I'm starting Thirteen Reasons Why. I started reading during the 2 times my computer restarted while typing this blog entry... this is really getting annoying! But this book seems like it's going to be a quick & captivating read. It's a series of audio messages left behind by a girl who committed suicide. I like books with short chapters or little symbols like asterisks separating parts of the text, because it makes me feel like I get to accomplish a lot. This book looks to have quite a few of those.

I already get to add 23 minutes of read/blog time, although this time around I can't distinguish between reading and blogging...because I started reading during each of the THREE times that the computer restarted itself while I was writing this! This is just getting annoying! Can't wait for my replacement computer to arrive (David mailed the laptop a week ago). Okay...enough with this unreliable computer. I'm going to go read!

48 Hour Book Challenge...the beginning

I'm beginning my personal read-athon at 1830 Friday evening. That's right now...
I'm back from the library and the commissary, and I've got a big stack of books to get through. I really don't think I'll get through them all this weekend, but check-out length is 3 weeks, so I've got some time. Most of the books I checked out are Young Adult Fiction, and I got recommendations from ALA award lists.
The books I have checked out are (in no particular order):
The Tenth Circle-Jodi Picoult
Marley & Me-John Grogan
Chasing Windmills-Chatherine Ryan Hyde
Memoirs of a Geisha-Arthur Golden
Thirteen Reasons-Jay Asher
Twisted-Laurie Halse Anderson
As Simple as Snow-Gregory Galloway
3 Willows-Ann Brashares
Dragon's Keep-Janet Lee Carvey
Notes from the Midnight Driver-Jordan Sonnenblick
A Time for Dancing-Davida Wills Hurwin
The Book Thief-Markus Zusak
The Lightning Thief-Rick Riordan
13 Little Blue Envelopes-Maureen Johnson
Avalon High-Meg Cabot
Before I Die-Jenny Downham

All I know at this point is that I'm finishing up The Tenth Circle first... we'll see what I'm in the mood for after that.

More reading...

I haven't gotten that much further in The Tenth Circle since I last posted (just about 130 pages to go), but here I go with another post about warn you that I'll probably be making only reading-related posts from now until Monday.
My GoogleReader (blog subscribey-thing) is full of folders... blogs about scrapbooking, blogs about fashion, recipe blogs, home decorating blogs, travel blogs, teacher blogs (Is it any wonder that after my internet hiatus, I have thousands of blog posts to catch up on?) One of the teacher blogs I read, TheReadingZone, discusses a lot of young adult books, and recently she mentioned a special reading challenge going on at MotherReader. It is the 48 Hour Book Challenge, or 48HBC.
Basically, you choose a consecutive 48 hour period between Friday at 7am and Monday at 7am and read your heart out! You can take breaks, do your chores, socialize, etc., and you tally up the number of hours you spent reading. Or blogging about reading. And...there's prizes! I love reading, I love prizes, therefore, I am sure that I will love the 48HBC!
MotherReader is adding another (optional) twist to the Challenge--a giving twist. I'm deciding how I'll work that out...more information when I officially begin reading.
I'm going to start my 48 hour read-athon this evening, after I get back from a run and errands on base...including a stop at the library! I have 2 functions (or maybe 1... the details are a little foggy) to drop in on on Saturday, but I think I'll be able to get quite a bit of reading done by Sunday evening.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Good Reads

Before I had my tv hooked up, I got a lot of reading done! Now that I have a car, a tv, internet, and knitting needles, and a few friends, I'm reading less, but still making sure that I read every day, at the very least first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

Since my arrival in England on March 31, I've read:

How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls (Zoey Dean)- This was a fast & fun read. Fairly predictable, but I was almost surprised by the ending.

Julie and Julia (Julie Powell)- They are making this into a movie, and I have NO IDEA WHY. Forcing myself through this book was comparable to forcing myself to wash dishes after Thanksgiving dinner. It took me forever to read this book because I swear I could only read 3 paragraphs at a time before the words on the page were like nails on a chalkboard.

Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli)- After slogging my way through the last book, I decided I needed something lighter, so I headed for the Young Adult section. Jerry Spinelli wrote Maniac Magee, one of my elementary school faves, and this book had a pretty color cover, so I decided to give it a try. LOVED it!

Love, Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli)- The sequel to Stargirl, I actually checked this one out before Stargirl, but realized early on that I would enjoy it more if I read Stargirl first. Another good one!

I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)- My friend Britt's favorite book. She sent it to me at least over a year ago, and I pushed myself through the first 60 pages before I just gave up. Couldn't get into it. Then I picked it up again, mostly because it was almost 900 pages long and I wanted something that would occupy my time for a while (I'm loving the library, but I still am trying to fight the temptation to purchase books!). The first 57 pages had fallen out of the book and were tucked in the bookshelf. But I didn't bother with those, because I hadn't really liked them anyway. So, I just started at page 58 and what do you know... I enjoyed the book! I don't think it makes it to my list of favorite books, but I'm really glad I read it.

The Quilter's Kitchen (Jennifer Chiaverini)- This is one of the books on the list for the book club over at ScrapVillage. This was also a super-fast read, even though I felt like there wasn't much of a plot. Maybe it would've been more enjoyable had I read other books in the series first? Elm Creek Quilters or something like that. I might have to re-check it out, because I meant to copy down some of the recipes and didn't!

Remember Me? (Sophie Kinsella)- If you know me, you know I love the Shopaholic books by this author. I've read her other novels too, Can You Keep a Secret? and Undomestic Goddess and they were alright, but not Shopaholic-good. This one was the same...can't come close to Shopaholic for me. Even so, I finished this in 2 mornings and 2 before-bedtimes.

The Tenth Circle (Jodi Picoult)- Another one of my go-to authors. If you haven't read My Sister's Keeper, GO TO THE LIBRARY RIGHT NOW!!! And pick up a box of tissues on your way home, because you'll need it! She has a pretty obvious "author's fingerprint", but I enjoy the writing style. All of her books that I've read have been thought-provoking while still being leisurely reads. I'm about halfway through the book now, and I think that soon I'll be at the point of the book where my interest in the book trumps my interest in tv (especially since I have Sky+ and can record my shows!) or internet.

There might be one or two that I checked out from the library and already forgotten about (which isn't really a sign of a good book, so I guess it's alright that I forgot!)
I currently have Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden), Chasing Windmills (Catherine Ryan Hyde...another SV book club pick) and Marley and Me (John Grogan...I cried for 3 days after watching the movie, I wonder how I'll make it through the book!) checked out to start after I finish The Tenth Circle.
New on my bookshelf and waiting to be picked up are: Change of Heart (another Picoult) and The Last Summer of You and Me (Ann Brashares), or something like that. I also finally found my own copy of Eclipse... I had to borrow from the school nurse when I was reading the Twilight series because the BX didn't have it. I'll probably re-read that series soon. Then it will be almost time to re-read Half Blood Prince before the movie comes out!

Feel free to recommend a book or two... I need to start thinking about airplane and pool chair reading!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

My Crib

That is "totally gangsta" for "My New Home".

Do you love it? I love the blue door. I'm not actually certain that the car would fit in the garage. And for authenticity, let's pronounce garage 'ga rage not ga 'rage.

More of my blue door...this is how I get in my house. I have to squeeze through the mail slot since there is no doorknob. Just kidding.

This is the cloak room. You don't actually put cloaks in there, you go potty in there. According to Mark W. it's "in the British place", right inside the door.

My beautiful, beautiful kitchen! Isn't it gorgeous? It's what I loved most about my house the first time I saw it (besides the blue door)The fridge is the cabinet next to the oven.

My living room is so pretty! It's like sitting in a Tiffany box. Haven't used my fireplace yet.

Want to look upstairs? There are two more rooms downstairs: the dining room which I'm using as a sitting room since I don't have a dining room table and I have a massage chair and another chair that won't fit in the living room, and the office/home gym/half-a-laundry room.

Master bedroom.

En Suite. Which is English for "master bathroom". :) This photo is taken from the other half of my bathroom, where I have a standing shower AND a closet! I am the envy of all of my friends.

That's right, another bathroom. Just in case you need to go again.

Ready to go back downstairs? We skipped a few rooms on the upstairs part of the tour: bedroom 2 (David's room), bedroom 3 (which is the smallest bedroom I've ever ever seen, but I like it because it's light purple...this is currently my "shoe and Christmas room"), bedroom 4 (scrapbook room), bedroom 5 (guest room)

My garden, which is British for "backyard". It doesn't look this cute anymore, because I don't have a lawn mower. That's next on the list. But my yard is so cute, don't you think?
I LOVE my house!
Did you see my last house?

I lived in the bottom right unit. Now do you see why I LOVE my new house??

Monday, June 01, 2009

Goodbye, Clean House!

As of about 6 minutes ago, I have internet at home! That means I will no longer need to busy myself with washing dishes, vacuuming, etc. Although I probably will still try to pull myself away from the internet long enough to dust away cobwebs on a regular basis. The spiders here are huge and plentiful.

My Vonage phone is up and running again, and I was able to use it to call David and get some coaching while trying to set up the computer properly so web pages would come up. I had something plugged into the wrong place. The time difference is now 6 hours from Central time, so call accordingly.

The title for the next portion of this post will be Goodbye, Good Friend:
My Mildenhall best friend Mark W. moved away on Friday. He was supposed to be here until June 10, but a family emergency bumped things up a bit. So I'm glad that I skipped out on my usual (cheap and tasty) dinner with my neighborhood friends and decided to go to the "best restaurant in East England" for an (expensive and delicious) dinner which unknowingly turned out to be Mark's going-away. Susie, I'll try to remember to post you or rav-mail you this in case you don't read here, but if you do, the restaurant was called The Great House in Lavenham, the crooked town. The town was very cute and...well, crooked. Maybe 20-30 minutes from Bury St. Edmunds? I wish I would've taken pictures. I do intend to go back to the restaurant...when someone else treats. It was about 30 pounds for 3 courses. I had some yummy raw tuna with green beans, tomatoes and snowpeas, then guinea fowl with veggies and mushroom & truffle sauce, they brought parsnips for the whole table and then I had a limey-berry cheesecake for dessert. This Wednesday, though, I'll happily return to my usual curry, poppadom, and pint for the low low price of 5 pounds. And now that Mark is gone, my Wednesday friends may be my only friends! No...hopefully Mark will have successfully transferred his friendship responsibilities to our other friends Zach (moving in July) and Jessica and I'll still have some social life. But if least I have the internet now! ;)
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