Friday, November 30, 2007

This is not my best day ever

You know that a day is starting off badly when you hit the snooze button three times before dragging yourself out of bed.

Then, when you're playing Freecell at 10 am because it's a Friday, you walked to work in the never-ending twilight that life seems to be in the winter, you're doing two months worth of work at once because you're going on holiday and no one can be trusted not to screw things up when you're gone, and all you want is to go home - that's when you just give up and decide to search Etsy all day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nervous twitches

I finally, after thinking about it for about forever, got around to updating my sidebar links. This isn't shake-the-earth kind of stuff, but it now reflects the majority of sites that I absolutely must read on a daily basis, or my world will end without meaning. Well, not entirely, but hey - we all need something to do at work.

Also...I'm nervous. I told someone about the blog, and if I were the kind of person to be wringing my hands or to have a nervous twitch, I would be wringing and twitching away now.


Everybody say hi to my Mom. Hi Mom!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I wanna name my stuffed moose Jesus

Today, the first day that I have gotten out of bed and felt like a human in a long time, you were all going to get a Very Excited Post about my new camera. Then I thought that maybe instead I'd talk about my frustration with Blue Dragon on the 360.

Instead you get this.

I like to think that I'm a fairly open-minded individual. I really am more a 'whatever floats your boat' kind of gal. But this?

Now. I could understand if the woman had dressed the bear up in traditional Islamic robes, put a halo or some such on the bear, and started calling the bear 'Prophet Muhammad'. At that point, that becomes an insult and I can understand that. However. She didn't. As far as I'm aware, and as the story says, Muhammad is a common name and there were other names that the children could pick. Twenty of them chose their favourite name, Muhammad. Does this mean that every single person whose name is Muhammad should be arrested, as they're mocking the Prophet? Will they all go to hell?

Good job, Sudan. I certainly have much more respect for you as a country now. And certainly, with this article my impressions of Islam (which I honestly do not know very much about, although I am learning more as time goes by) are glowing with cheer and goodwill.

I mean, come on. It's a stuffed bear.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Ah, there's that winter I know and... well... hate, actually

It's raining. In that stupid way, with the wind, that it only does in Britain in the winter. I hate it. Grrrr at the rain.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pumpkin pie. LOTS of pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving is next week, and I'm going to be missing it yet again. It was never one of those holidays that I got completely jazzed up for - not like Christmas with the building excitement of watching the Advent calendar count down, or Easter when I got to dye eggs, or even the 4th of July when it's summer and hot and you get to bar-b-que with friends and drink beer. Thanksgiving was more of a chore. A 'great, we've got a long weekend, but I have to be nice to who for how long?' kind of event. There was lots of good food, but I usually had to wear 'nice' clothes, and sit at the table longer than I usually wanted to, and there would usually be a moment of embarassing story told by the parents in an attempt to make me turn as red as physically possible.

Having lived over here though, for over five years, I find it's the one holiday that I miss more than any other. Probably because I get up, and go to work, and I'll be going to work on the Friday too, and there are no autumnal colours in the shops (we're in full Christmas swing in the UK, and I'm already wanting to hurt anyone who plays Christmas carols at me) or any turkey or yams with marshmallows or pumpkin pie. And that's what I really miss most about it, to be honest, is the pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie, with Miracle-Whip that my Mom's pulled out of the freezer that morning so that it can soften. Potato rolls from the bag heated up in the oven, or those flakey Pillsbury Doughboy ones (you know what I'm talking about, all of you). Green beans with flaked toasted almonds, cranberry sauce (served in my Mom's special dish that I have only ever seen used for cranberry sauce) from a can, spreadable cheese from Wisconsin that my Grandmother sent us as a treat and Ritz crackers. Sparkling cider, and cheap wine from boxes. The losing battle my mother is fighting with her daughters and jeans at holiday meals.

I'm a bit nervous, because this year Matt has decided that we will be doing something special for the day, and there's a restaurant in Covent Garden that has a special Thanksgiving menu which was helpfully pointed out in the American Embassy newsletter last month for us expats. So he's made a reservation, and next Thursday we'll be making our way down there after work and sitting down to what does sound like a fantastic meal.

But... There will be no sisters arguing over olives. And who gets what roll. And why can she have wine/beer/anything and I can't? And I won't be sat down with my family, eating off the good china in our dining room at the cherry-wood table my parents bought when we were in Virginia. I don't know if I can have a Thanksgiving without those things. Without those people around me. They're what make the holiday have meaning; otherwise it's just another nice meal at a restaurant in London.

Monday, November 05, 2007

And everything turns to winter

There's a specific kind of light in England. A kind of slanted, sideways light that never hits anything full on, drifting through the branches of trees, across grass and up against buildings. It's why, when you see all those old paintings of fields and sheep and church spires rising up out of a dip in the landscape, nothing seems sharp and clear.

This light is most obvious in late autumn, winter, and early spring. The sun rarely hits this small island from over head, but it's in this time of year when it seems too lazy to rise properly in the morning. I walked to work this morning in this kind of light - the mist rising up off the grass in Lincoln's Inn Fields and drifting like fog into the soft spills of weak sunlight between the branches of the towering horse-chestnut trees. The world seems fragile on mornings like this, as though reality doesn't have the hold it usually does.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Eating lunch alone

After a fairly substantial breakfast this morning, I wasn't ravenous at 1 p.m. This is the time that the entire British nation decided is Time For Lunch, and so is usually a rather insane affair of desperately trying to simultaneously keep a place in the queue to purchase your sandwich and leave as many of your possessions as possible somewhere to sit.

Instead, I was so absorbed in my fascinating work of adding bullet points in places where Quark ate them in my layout that by the time I looked up it was already past two. So I gathered my things, and headed to Eat, which is my usual choice when I've neglected to bring my lunch with me to work. (Get the pie. It is always good.) I wandered into the shop, and instead of the usual pushing and dodging and grabbing-before-someone-else, I stood there and contemplated my choices in relative solitude. There was a distinct lack of choice (two kinds of baguette were left, neither of which I'd actually wanted), but there was no shortage of seats. As I read my paper, the music blaring strangely loud without the usual numbers of people to soak up the noise, I noticed something a bit strange.

Every single customer in the shop was eating alone. The guy beside me had a laptop, and was working away with the occasional glance over to see the headlines. Another man sat at his table with his head in his hands staring at the floor for 45 minutes before eating the soup he'd gotten almost an hour ago and leaving. He made me want to give him a hug, and tell him that everything was going to be okay. Is there something about 2 p.m. that means everyone eating at that hour has no friends? Or at least, no friends to have lunch with that day. It was nice though. Quiet. Just what I needed today. I think I'll be eating lunch alone again.