22 April 2008

woo hoo for a new shower!

so last night we got a new shower....sort of. We finally disregarded the landlord and put up a shower rod and curtain. Before he had said no, but we were tried of getting the bathroom carpet (thats right, carpet in the bathroom) soaking wet. Plus when we have visitors, no shower curtain means only one person in the bathroom at a time and with only one bathroom....it can be a pain. So with the shower rod up Rhys moved the clothes rack to lay horizontal across the rod. (Before it was propped up vertically with the shower head wrapped around it, hitting about mid chest.) So, once the clothes rack horizontal, Rhys took some string from his old rugby shorts and tied the shower head to the close rack and let it dangle down. Now it hits about mouth level, which is much better as that requires less squatting down! Its like a whole new shower. I have even included a picture so everyone can share in the joy that is my new shower! (and enjoy the wonderful decor on my bathroom walls, half tile, half paint with an awful fake wood trim..mmmm, nice!)

21 April 2008

British Schools

Today I drove by Eton, the famed school where William and Harry went. Well, where pretty much all the royals (and super posh) go. It was unbelievable! Not only was the school amazingly beautiful, but the students! it was unreal! they have to wear a tux to class!! i couldnt believe it! white shirt, bow tie, tails...the works! to class! talk about the eilite posh! it was crazy!

Ok, so I know its Prince Harry in the pciture, but that is really how they dress!! Everyday!! A Tux and Tails!

But schools in Britian are kinda crazy anyway. Everyone wears uniforms. I was the minority in Tulsa walking around in my plaid skirt with knee highs. here everyone does it, right up to college! (unless of course you go to Eton, or another fancy, posh school, then you wear uniforms through to university)

Look at how cute these kids are though!

At Clapham on Friday I saw a little girl striaght out of a movie! She was about 5 or 6, wearing a little plaid skirt, knee highs, a tiny sized blazer and tie with a tan straw hat. complete with blue ribbon band and bow in the back! in real life! little people really dress like that!! Also at Clapham, almost everyday, i see the same little boy. Knee socks, shorts, blazer about four sizes too big and a beret! everything about his outfir is maroon and navy stripped! so adorable! that is almost reason enought to stay over here! so my kids can have adorable school uniforms. It is really one of my favourite things about the British school system. We should import it to America. Maybe not the tux from Eton, but the uniform on a whole. :)

I hate my job

The life is slowly being sucked out of me. everyday, an hour and half there, 8 hours at a desk, and an hour and half back. all for a job I hate. the people are fantastic (well most of them are) but most days I do absolutely nothing. and the days i actually have something to do, the work is awful. Not even close to something i enjoy. there is always promise of more and different things....but yet to come in the near 8 months i have worked here. i need to feel effective and useful not an expendable cog in this administrative machine. I need a new job!

This is how I feel whenever I think about going to work!

15 April 2008

the open mind

"A closed mind kills marriages and human relations; it deadens feelings and sensitivities; it makes for a church that lives in a thousand and one tunnels, with no communication and no exit. if we maintain the open-mindedness of children, we challenge fixed ideas and established structures, including our own. We listen to people in other denominations and religions. We don’t find demons in those we disagree with. We don’t cozy up to people who mouth our jargon. if we are open, we rarely resort to either/or--either creation or evolution, liberty or law, sacred or secular, Beethoven or Madonna. We focus on both/and, fully aware that God's truth cannot be imprisoned in a small definition. of course the open mind does not accept everything indiscriminately--Marxism and capitalism, Christianity and atheism, love and lust, Moet Chandon and vinegar. It does not absorb all propositions equally like a sponge, nor is it as soft. But the open mind realises that reality, truth and Jesus Christ are incredibly open-ended." -Brennan Manning

(As a side note for those of you who are unfamiliar with Manning, let me explain. He is a Korean War Veteran. He was formally a Franciscan preist, who went through several years of Rehab for alcoholism, and has now choosen to devot his life to ministering to the less fortunate in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is real, honest, and transparent with his life and his struggles.)

house or no house?

I really want to move. REALLY! The flat we live in now is in an excellent location, close to the town centre, rugby club, tube and train station. From the outside it looks great. Spacious big, green lawns, red brick and white wood, quiet good area. Inside it is mauve paint on all but two of the walls which has a thick, cream colour. The carpets are a faded blue-ish teal colour and everything in the kitchen is a different shade of yellow. There is no mounted shower on the wall, so we have the shower head attached haphazardly to a clothes drying rack that is propped up behind the tub. It hits about mid-chest so you have to kneel down to actually wash your hair or the top half of your body. You might think I made the flat sound worse than it actually is, and i did....but only a bit. The landlord did a shoddy job of putting in double glazing therefore we have more mold on the walls and windows that you can imagine! I have to clean the walls once a week! Seriously? clean the walls? Its time to move.

but with all this talk of the US recession (which I venture to say is not so bad in the US as they make it out to be here) and the falling housing prices, do we wait or move now? Do we wait, hoping the prices will drop a further 15% or do we move into the places we see now that we like? And will we even get approved for a mortgage as first time buyers? Will it be a good rate? Can we afford to move? So many questions, and i have none of the answers. Really I don’t know what we should do.

I do know, however, that i have found two lovely houses that i want to move into! One is a detached house, with a blue front door, in which we would have the whole top floor and loft. It was recently redone and it immaculate inside. While walls, brand new carpet, wood floors, new kitchen (with mint green decor! so lovely) and a brand new bathroom. Plus there is a really decent sized back garden with plenty of room for bbq's and lounging and enjoy the weather (when its not raining!) The other is an old Victorian boarding school that has been converted into flats. It is in a gated community, with green communal gardens and such. the flat has been recently redone with all wood floors and nice white on the walls. the kitchen in really nice and the view from the living room is great! unlike blue door house, it is really close to the station. but its not quite a spacious. boo. what to do, what to do.

The outside of the converted boarding school. It actually looks really cool in person. There are three seperate buildings. The flat we like in the one in the picture.

The living room. It looks much smaller in this picture. It is actually good sized when you see it. The window looks out to the communal gardens.

The bedroom is actually really big. Plus there are two built in closets which is nice. Lots of storage space.

The kitchen is nice, but small. Plus its open plan so it opens up into the living room.

This is the blue door house. The top level that you can see in the picture would be our flat. Lots of windows, which is nice!

This is the living room. It is really spacious and has two windows on both sides of the room. Again, lots of windows which is nice.

I LOVE this kitchen! Its wood and mint green and white! It is so nice!! Plus it comes with all new washer/dryer and fridge!

The bedroom is kinda small-ish. The closet space is really tiny which, to me, is probably the only downfall of this house. I wish I had a picture of the back garden as it is beautiful! and huge!

So what should we do?

4 April 2008


Let me paint you a picture. Karon is about 5'2 (if that) but always wears heels. She is a tiny, tiny woman with shoulder length brown hair and is in excellent shape. She runs marathons. She has worked in central London for years, which is cool in itself. But she has also lived and worked in Japan, Hong Kong, Germany and I am sure other cool places I dont even know about yet. She has a vacation home in Florida. She does pilates and manages an enitre HR force for an international company. In addition, she is a florist, making the most beautiful flower arrangements. Karon is very down to earth, easy to talk to and one of the least pretentious people I know. She is the highlight of my working day. every day.

the good and bad of today

So the good thing about today is that I travelled to work on a valid ticket. For about two weeks after my ticket expired, i never got around to buying a new one. I travelled every day to and from Staines/Clapham Junction for free. No one ever checked. No one even noticed. However, I started to feel guilty, so I forked over the £167.41 for a small piece of paper that I am willing to bet, no one ever asks to see. But at least it was honest. That is the good of today.

The bad however, oh it’s really bad. I was sitting outside a little cafe today, enjoying the beautiful sun and my nice chicken honey mustard sandwich. A woman walked past from the train station and she was wearing a light, very short dress that was, unfortunately, caught up in her purse and completely exposing her butt!! Bad day to wear a thong for sure! She walked by quickly, followed by three teenagers who were laughing and mocking her. I debated about running after her, shouting at her, alerting her to the utmost of embarrassing situations. Instead, I took a sip of my diet coke and listened to the teenagers mock the poor woman. I felt bad. I still feel bad. I feel awful that I didn’t abandon my coke and chicken to run after her and tell her; wouldn't I have wanted someone to do the same for me? Not that I buy into the whole Karma thing, but if I get my skirt caught up sometime in the near future, I will fully expect to be mocked by teenagers and made to feel a fool. Not even buying a train ticket and travelling honestly can make up for the horror I helped to inflict on that poor woman today!


So i have finally connected my digital camera to the computer and downloaded some pictures! woo hoo! In celebration of my success, I am posting a random assortment of pictures from the past several months.

Leah...we went to this quaint little Italian place in Rickmansworth one night.

My parents and me...when I was leaving in January after the conference in Arizona.

Sam and me cooking...well Sam did most of the cooking...actually all the cooking...

Simon, Nav and Rhys....hanging out in Druids.

Rhys during his rugby game

Me and Nikki and Mandy....two random American girls who happened to be watching the opposing team play rugby down at Fullers. A good meet for sure!

Jamie and Laura in town!

Rhys and I in Pontypridd for Auntie Doll's 90th Birthday. (it was actually a really good time!)

'engage the obvious'

"I would have bought a little condo and filled it with IKEA trinkets and dated some girl just because she was hot and would have read self help books, end to end, one after another, trying to fix the gaping hole in the bottom of my soul, the hole that, right now (looking at the stars) seems plugged with Orion, allowing my soul to collect that feeling of belonging and love you only get when you stop long enough to engage the obvious....(because) God is good..it doesnt do any good to run from Him because what He has is good and who He is, is good...what I want is HIM. If He made all this existence, you would think He would know what He is doing, and you would think He could be trusted. Everything I want is just Him, to get lost in Him, to feel His love and more and more of this dazzling that He does." -Donald Miller

3 April 2008

the truth in tired clichés

There are those sayings that we all use. "just trust in the Lord", "you are never alone", "He will give you the desires of your heart", "He has a plan for you", "He is preparing you for something better" and on and on..... But it’s true. Not just something that sounds nice (or annoying, depending on the mood) or something to say in the silence, but it is truth. And that is what I find the most difficult. In daily conversations with friends, inevitably I will talk about trusting in God and the plan that He has. I say it out loud. I know it’s true. I want the person I am saying it to, to accept, believe and be comforted by it. But i choose to disregard it. Why? I don’t know. The Bible is not only a book of rules and regulations, but an amazingly detailed book on life and circumstance. The answers are right there. "nothing has seized you but what is common to man", "and David danced with JOY" "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength", "Shine like stars in the universe..." "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want..." and so forth. Every situation, every circumstance has been lived through and laid out. There is an answer. There is a truth to be discovered, believed and lived. All those tired, religious clichés are actually the tired, religious clichés that they are because there was so much truth in it, people said it over and over and over..... we just stopped believing in it.

Sometimes, more often now than ever before, I stop and think about how much God has blessed me. I have the most amazing husband in the world. I have fantastic friends, both here and in the USA, and there are few things I don’t like about my life right now. So why can I thank God for what He has already given me, but not believe that He will provide more? Why do I worry and question about money, work, house, family, future when I know that 'if He looks after the lilies of the fields, will He not also take care of me?' Not sure how I lost the truth of the scripture, but I can only imagine the change in my life, and the lives of those around me, if I started really believing again.

The truth is right in front of us. And as they say 'The truth shall set you free'

2 April 2008

organic buffets and piñatas!

In my family, when it was your birthday you got to choose where to eat that night for a special birthday meal. My favourite place to go for years was 'Pancho's Mexican Buffet'

It was great. A huge buffet of burritos, tacos, flautas, salsa, tortillas and even homemade sopapillas! We went there so often we had our own waiter. His name was SK. We even exchanged Christmas cards between families for several years. But the best thing about Pancho's was that if it was your birthday, you got to pick out a piñata to take home! yup, a free birthday piñata! which got me thinking....

(I actually had several pinatas that looked just like this little burro!)

What ever happened to the good buffet? I suppose those have kind of gone out of style, giving way to the organic, whole food market stores. But I remember going to Furr's Buffet with my grandparents all the time when I was younger. Cafeteria style food, big plastic trays, ladies with hair nets dishing up smushy, over baked, greasy food. At the end of the line there was always some gelatine creation with fruit inside. Now you hardly see a buffet restaurant anymore. Sure there is the Pizza Hut buffet lunch, but that is hardly the same.

I read an article in some woman’s fashion magazine yesterday about the organic food craze. the author was a mother who was criticizing other mothers for being so crazy, over the top about vegan, pesticide free, gluten free organic food. She commented on how out of control nature the whole organic food industry has become. I say, well done. I agree. When did it become the 'norm' to eat only raw vegetables and free range chicken, looking down on those who don’t buy from the whole foods store? The definition of organic is "having carbon based molecules in the molecular structure" so technically everything living (or that was living at one point) is 'organic'. With that in mind, I think the buffet should attempt a rebound. Think about it, a buffet could accurately be advertised as organic!

I love buffets! You get exactly what you want, in the quantities that you want it. Its always disappointing when I go to a restaurant and the sides come out in such small portions when it was the side I really wanted in the first place! And what fancy restaurant do you know of that gives away free piñatas for someone’s birthday? Yes, buffets should come back in style, in a bit healthier way I will concede (less greasy perhaps) but they are a classic piece of food history and I hope they don’t disappear forever. Whoever decides to bring back Pancho's or Furr's should also bring back free piñatas! My birthday is in 28 days, so here’s hoping it happens soon!