Thursday, October 30, 2008

On Our Way to Edinburgh

Since A has the week off (called half term), we are taking a city break to Scotland.

She's Not Bothered

A told me that her gym teacher asked her the other day, “Aren’t you American?” When A confirmed the teacher said that she thought A would be more into sports than she is. She said to A, “You just not bothered with basketball are you?” A confirmed.

The phrase “I’m not bothered” is quite interesting. I have had people say that to me and in my mind I have this visual of someone with a fly buzzing around them and it not annoying them. But the more I hear that phrase, I am getting that the meaning might be different. Instead at least at work when someone says I’m not bothered, I get the impression that what they mean is F- you, you can’t make me do what you just asked me to do. Which made me wonder… what was A doing in gym class, standing in the middle of the basketball court with her arms folded not participating? Enquiring minds would like to know….

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Morning After the Snow

Our neighbor told us this morning that it hasn't snowed this early like this in thirty years.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Snowing!

It's A's first snow in England. She had to run around the back yard in it. Last night when I was at the grocery store I noticed that they were selling fireworks for Guy Fawkes I guess. I wish I would have bought some sparklers so we could have experienced fireworks in the snow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Night Dinner

Having the day off today H and I went to our local grocery store and were amazed at the full parking lot at high noon. The same thought ran through both of our heads, don’t these people work? The English like to share their love of the queue and give off the impression that everything is orderly in their lives. Well, get in a busy grocery store with a hundred or so and I am telling you, THEY WILL RUN YOUR ASS OVER. I had a woman pushing a cart into the back of my legs. Someone was doing a knife demonstration and H stopped to watch. I had to keep circling around the aisles because there was nowhere I could stop and watch myself without being run hit. I felt an anxiety attack coming on.

He’s been doing all the cooking so I thought I would try out an English recipe from a cookbook I got from the library. It’s Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy. I thought it was delicious if I don’t say so myself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Chilterns

It started out like any other day. H suggested we drive to the next village, go on a long walk and then do the week’s shopping. I was all for it since the weekend weather was nice once again. Begrudgingly A. said fine as long as she had her iPod. We had a map from one of the local walking societies, so we started out on what was to be an 8.5 mile walk over the hills and through the woods.

Let’s just say the map wasn’t very clear…to us! It had directions with it and H would read the next direction on the map and there would be at least five words we didn’t understand. We didn’t get lost but the walk was much longer than we anticipated. A even got teary-eyed at one point in between her moaning, afraid we were lost. I just laughed at the prospect. As someone at work said to me, “This is England. Walk a few miles and you’ll hit a motorway in any direction”. When walking up some of the tough hills I would say “help” to A in my most Southern accent, stretching the word into two syllables, but all I got was the teenage glare. Four hours later we were at the grocery store just in time for them to turn us away since all of them close at 4 on Sundays.

As you can see from the pictures, the scenery was beautiful. I’m ready to do it again next weekend. We would probably have to hypnotize A to get her going again.


We have been driving very little here, still taking public transport as much as possible. So little that after having the car for almost a month, we went to the gas station (known as the petrol station here) for the first time this week. We put £59.00 worth of fuel in the car which got us up to 3/4 of a tank! We're talking over a $100 to not even fill up. I thought it would make all ya'll in the U.S. feel better about your payments at the pump.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Taking in the Scenery

I had to work most of Saturday and it turned out to be a beautiful day. So when I left the office I took a quick walk up the hill to take in the view. I love looking at the village below as the leaves are changing.

America On Every Channel

I was telling a work colleague how I'm getting a bit sick of seeing television shows about America here. From Russell Brand’s reenactment of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road journey to hour long discussions of Hollywood’s impact on the American presidency, it seems to be everywhere. Right now there’s a series on called The American Future: A History, which focuses on a different topic each week. Last week it was an hour long analysis of how Americans truly feel about war. I recorded it, but just don’t have the heart to watch it. Even though we are hated, are people still fascinated? I just don’t get it.

Another current documentary series is called “Stephen Fry in America”. I watched about ten minutes of it last week but again, was just sick of the analysis. However, as I read the tv guide this week, the description of the latest episode caught my attention.

“But the highlight of this leg of the journey is the full-on razzmatazz of a college football game in Alabama, where thousands of fans are entertained by legions of cheerleaders, marching bands and US Air Force jets buzzing overhead. “I really don’t know,” Fry says, “if anything sums up America better. It’s simultaneously preposterous, incredibly laughable, impressive, charming, ridiculous and expensive. Wonderful America!”

When some American work colleagues were visiting last month we had a dinner where the topic of conversation was tailgating and college football. Our UK colleagues couldn’t believe that a college football game could attract so many fans. It truly is an American experience. Roll Tide!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Local Church

Not much time these days with the pressure at work. I had a freak-out moment last weekend from it, so I think it's time for a few days off soon. The one great thing about being here is that you are never far from history. I took a short walk into the neighboring village which was established in 1200. I felt like I had a mini vacation for a few hours exploring the area.

Fall Colours

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Me and A at Six

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Gotta take advantage of being close to a major city so I woke up early last Saturday to take A into London to get a wristband to then go to an in-store musical performance of a band she likes. It’s an English band called YouMeAtSix. Then Monday I took her into London for the big event on Oxford Street. Since I had a wristband I was pushed into blocked off area for fans with A. I looked around and there was no one even close to my age by at least twenty years! I told A I couldn’t stand amongst the kids and got out of there. There was another blockade with kids who had not gotten wristbands so I walked up to a girl who had come prepared with her digital SLR and asked her if she wanted a wristband. She was so excited and stared intently as I wriggled it off my hand. Her boyfriend on the other hand was being passive aggressive repeating over and over again how he would just wait for her in the back until the performance was over. She wasn’t listening to a word he was saying. My parting response to him was, “Sorry dude”.

The performance was great, A got her CD signed, and she has been walking on a cloud all week!

First Aid

Last week when I came home H said that A was sent to the nurse’s office at school. I got nervous and asked her why. She had painted her nails the night before forgetting that that was forbidden and got to school and was sent there to remove it. So in the nurse’s office (hopefully) amongst the first aid supplies was nail polish remover as well as makeup remover. I wonder what gets used more?

A Quiet Picture of the Underground

The only time the tube seems quiet is early on a Saturday morning.

The Morning Commute

The village we live in is in between the village that A’s school is in and the village where work is located. It should take me about ten minutes tops to drop A off and get to work but I find myself regularly sitting still in traffic, as pictured here.

My gigantic car generates very different reaction in men and women. I have had a few women at work say they wouldn’t want to drive it. When I was walking into work with one of the guys though, he said to me, “It must be fun driving that. You can intimidate everyone on the road”.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

More Pics of Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove in Dorset

A had her first school field trip last week to Lulworth Cove. Ask her why they went there and like a typical teenager the answer is "I don't know". She did appreciate how beautiful the day was. Even with just a camera on her phone, the pictures were amazing.

Got My Absentee Ballot

And it even came with these pretty pictures. I am not sure why.