20 November 2008

too much to do

How, HOW did I leave it so long to pack?! Oh wait, I know. Because Rhys insisted that we could pack up from crap flat, move into nice flat, clean nice flat, unpack, clean the crap flat (to please the jerk off of a landlord), organise AND pack for 2 weeks in America ALL IN 6 DAYS!!! That is not enough days to do all of that!! so here it is Thursday and I have, well, i have pretty much done nothing!! I guess that is not entirely true. The books are finally arranged in the bookcase, clothes are mostly put away, dishes are put away nicely, and the coats are neatly hung on our new coat racks. However nothing is done in the bathroom and everything in the living, bar the books, is strewn haphazardly around on couches, tables and floors. I have a lot left to do. least of all packing for America.

We leave tomorrow. And not tomorrow in a relaxed, well planned fashion either. I will get up hurriedly at 630 to rush to get ready to catch my train, to go to work, to take a cab from work to the airport to meet Rhys. Not exactly the ideal way to leave for a trip. Worse thing? the suitcases I need to pack for America are still full of stuff I have yet to unpack from the other house!! yeah, good planning Williams, good planning.

19 November 2008

language barriers

When I first moved to the UK I posted quite a bit about the language differences. Even though we both use English it is really two different versions of it. For a while now I have not had any problems. I have changed my word usage and grammatical structure to fit that of the crazy Brits that I live amongst. See? I even say things like 'amongst'

However, this morning was a bit of an issue. I went to the local cafe where I get breakfast when I forget to pack mine and I asked if they had oatmeal. The conversation went something like this:

me: Hiya, do you have oatmeal? (notice the hiya...another great British-ism I have picked up)

cafe lady: ummm...let me see. (she walks over to the bread and roll section) No, it looks like all we have is regular brown. I can give you a brown roll?

me: No, I don’t mean bread...I mean oatmeal, like soup.

cafe lady: oh, like lentils? No, we don’t have lentil soup.

me: No, not lentils.... (ok, MAJOR mind blank here!! what in the world do they call oatmeal in the UK?!) umm.... I am trying to think of what you would call it over here... its oat-y and soup-y and you can make it with milk.

cafe lady: oh, you mean hot oats? like porridge?

me: yes. that is what I mean. (all the while I am thinking, hot oats? is that really so different from oatmeal?)

cafe lady: no, we don’t have that. but we do have hard boiled eggs.

me: (cause that is the same?) oh, well ok. that sounds ok too. I will take some of those.

So my language barrier this morning got me two hard boiled eggs instead of oatmeal. they were tasty though and I thoroughly enjoyed!

18 November 2008

facebook and organic food.

There was a time when I boycotted facebook. I thought it was stupid. I refused to jump on the bandwagon of internet communication. When people asked 'are you on facebook?' I took great pride and joy out of my resounding answer of 'NO' My thought was that if you really wanted to talk to me or keep in touch that much, then you could call. That is what a phone was for. If nothing else, email at least. Oh, how mistaken I was. I have happily been on facebook for just over a year now. It is not only an excellent way to kill time whilst bored at work, but it is also a fantastic way to keep in touch with people, especially as I am so far away. I love seeing pictures, reading the stories, and having bits of conversations with people that I normally wouldn't. I had lost touch with some people that I considered to be important. Through facebook we are back, reacquainted and communicating on a regular basis. Plus all the pictures are great when you have nothing else to do and are stuck at a desk, staring at a computer screen. I am a facebook convert.

The same can be said for texting. Come on now, is that even a real word? texting? I think it is a made-up word, like journaling or facebooking. Text is not a verb; adding 'ing' on the end should not automatically make it one. I say it though, just like I say journaling. I don’t think anyone actually says 'facebooking' I just couldn’t come up with another noun we have magically turned into a verb. But the point is, I used to boycott the text function. I thought, and regularly said, if you want to talk to me, call! (are you surprised I still have friends? gosh, I sound like a jerk here!) But it’s true. I thought it was so impersonal, so short, so….blah. But I love it. It is really quite handy. I do not, nor will I ever, use text lingo. lol, 4u, 2u, l8r etc... that is still moronic to me. But the general idea of a text instead of a call is good. Saves time and money. Plus sometimes it is nice to be able to just ask one question and then move on. I am a texting convert.

I also boycott organic. anything organic. again, i think it is stupid. A ploy to get people to buy into something more expensive but that tastes exactly the same. Fair Trade was different. Fair Trade products ensured that people/children were not abused, forced to work for poor wages, in hidious conditions etc... Ever since Hannah really explained the whole Fair Trade thing to me, I have been trying. But organic. phuffhuf! (read: eye roll coupled with annoyed sound)

What really gets me is the improper use of the word organic. Organic reallly means having carbon based molecules in the molecular structure. Think back to Organic Chemistry. that was not the study of chemical free products and production. NO! Organic Chemistry is the study of compounds containing carbon! It bothers me because everything living is organic. Living things require carbon. organic things are things that have carbon based molecules in their molecular structure. Therefore, again, EVERYTHING is organic. I can buy a regular apple for 15p or an organic one for 75p and the word used to describe one over the other....well it could be used for both. people have said that what organic meant was free from pesticides, all natural growing etc... My response was always that 'they' the organic food people, should come up with a new word then. You cant just arbitrarily change the definition of a word!!

but...yet again a change of heart. I am trying to be healthy. remember that one post about these are the things I actually need to do? Well, its about time I started with the food. As I said back then, this is the only body I will have. Yesterday i bought my very first 'organic' product. Organic Honey and Mustard salad dressing. yup. it tasted the same as regular honey and mustard dressing, but I actually felt a bit better about it. i knew it was chemical free. I knew it was healthier for me. and thereby I enjoyed it more. perhaps the lesson to be learned from this is that i should not boycott things, I end up doing it later anyway.

seriously people?!

With all the election hullabaloo, followed by Armistice Day, I have posted a quite a few political posts. Yet despite my best attempts I am simply too opinionated to keep this blog light all the time. What can I say? I have loads of thoughts about government, current events, politics, the world…. And since I think everyone should hear what I have to say, I will post it all here! Aren’t you lucky?

And on that note, what is wrong with the UK when Russell Brand loses his job, Jonathan Ross gets suspended, and the director of BBC Radio 2 has to resign all over a joke about a famous dudes grand daughter, (a grand daughter who let us know forget is in a burlesque show named 'The Satanic Sluts') yet NO ONE has yet to be suspended or lose their job over the death, nay murder, of an 18 month old baby?! Despite the fact that social workers and doctors had visited the boy 60 times, no one stepped in to prevent the torture that this little, defenceless boy. What is wrong with our society that it is ok for public outcry to result in loss of jobs and money for two comedians who took a joke perhaps a bit too far, but its ok to oversee the slow and painful death of a small child?! Perhaps it is even more shocking that the public were more interested in responding to Brand and Ross than to this small little boy. If it were up to me, the entire social services, from the top of the top all the way to the bottom-ANYONE who dealt with this little boy and his family 60 times (including the GP) would be fired. they are partly responsible as far as i am concerned. They don’t deserve their jobs; they should not have the chance to deal with more children. It is wrong. Where are our priorities people?

There was talk on the internet, facebook in particular, about a ‘hate campaign’; people posted names and pictures calling for retribution on the mother, her partner and their lodger. I know that the proper attitude is to forgive. But part of me can’t help but think that now at least they will get what they deserve. Perhaps that is not fair for me to say. But I think it’s about time that the family behind this abuse was ‘named and shamed’ so to speak. Who cares about their human rights…..when you beat a child to the point where facial bones are broken, teeth knocked out, ears bloodied and barely connected to the head, broken bones, stitches needed all over and a broken back….well you have lost all your rights. This is an open and shut case. They have admitted abuse and causing death. They are all 3 being tried and sentenced. Good luck in prison.

14 November 2008

I almost died. reallly.

In all the CPR, First Aid, Lifeguarding types of classes, the instructors always say that when someone is choking to not touch them, but to say 'keep coughing' until they cannot cough anymore. at which point you proceed to do the Heimlich. I remember one class in particular going over the 'keep coughing' rule so much that my friend and I ended up laughing so hard whilst making fun of the teacher that we were asked to leave and come back when we could behave.

so with that in mind, I starting choking today. I was walking, well more like speed walking at a pace that was almost a jog, back to the office. I was eating some carrots as I tend to be impatient and I simply couldn’t wait until I got back to work to start eating them. So here I am, speed walking along the street, stuffing my mouth full of raw carrots. Then I tripped. just a little trip, the kind where you have a stumble but managed to regain your footing without any embarrassment or notice. Well, the trip was the final straw. I couldn’t chew, swallow and catch myself all at the same time. I started to choke. I was coughing and coughing, apparently making quite a scene as several people turned to look. Then, to my horror, I realised the carrot was really stuck and I couldn’t cough anymore!! I was just gasping. I freaked out, as I do, and instead of remaining calm and thinking of something logical I started trying to cough as hard as I could while turning in a circle. The circle bit was probably not conscience movement, but I ended up doing it all the same.

I have a small crowd gathered about by this time. I am still trying to cough while turning in a circle and pointing at my throat. After what seems like hours, but was probably only about 30 seconds, a man realises I am choking and comes over to help. "are you ok?" asks man. In my head i respond "WHKNASFIOHT!!!, does it look like I am ok? I am choking on a freakin' carrot here!! if I cant even cough how the heck do you think I am going to respond to you?" Instead, I keep attempting to cough...only this time I succeed. I cough and up comes the carrot. half chewed and pretty slobbery, the carrot hits the man in the face. To make it worse, bits of carrot even came out of my nose! the crows wanders away, I thank said man for helping and apologise profusely for spitting my lunch on him. He says no worries and walks off. I continue my walk back to the office, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than before. And for some strange reason, in spite of all of the hassle and near death experience, I continued to eat carrots as I walked.

a new flat....

we are moving. And it is very exciting. well, not the actual moving part, but the having a new flat part. I cannot wait. part of me is a bit sad about leaving 35 Fairlawns, I will a few things. That is only a tiny, tiny part though. Most things I won’t miss. I wont miss the mold, the lack of an overhead shower, the year upon year of decay in the bathroom, the crazy old woman upstairs, the piano playing next door neighbour and her musician friends who choose to practice around 2am, the fridge door that doesn’t shut all the way so our food goes off after one day, the washing machine that leaks (you have no idea how many books have been ruined) and sounds like a WWII airplane taking off every time it runs, the kitchen sick tap that is broken and squirts at you, the landlord who hate Americans, and woman, and really people in general. but I will miss the 'idea' of 35 Fairlwans. It was my first home as a married woman. that last bit of the sentence made me sound like i am about 50, but its true. that tiny, one car garage (with room left over) of a flat was the first home that Rhys and I shared. plus from the outside it looked really nice, so that makes it ok right?

Our new place is like heaven compared to the old flat. It is on the first floor, which in the UK means second floor, and it is lovely. An old house conversion, we are one of 4 flats in the building. There is a communal door for the top 3 and then on basement flat below us. our flat is beautiful. I will put some pictures up once I actually remember to take some, but in the meantime, let me try to describe it to you.

The ceilings are vaulted, about 14 feet high. The house was built in the early 1800's, so there is really intricate moulding and trim around the top. All the floors are old fashioned wood. The walls are white and tan and have just been repainted. As you walk in the front door there is a slight entry room/hallway. Immediately to the left is the living room. There is a big bay window to the front, which faces the sun so we get loads of natural light (something we were lacking in the old flat) there are two big white couches and a small table. We will soon be adding a bookshelf and computer table. The bathroom is directly in front of the door when you walk in, to the left of the living room. It was re-done less than a year ago and you can tell. The room is floor to ceiling tile. Big, rough, tan and brown tile. Very contemporary. all the fittings are silver and there are a few glass shelves around. ready for the best part? THERE IS A SHOWER!! yea!! this shower is actually attached to the wall, as opposed to be held up about mid chest level by a piece of string from an old pair of shorts tied to a clothes drying rack. (Interested in the old shower?) This is actually a REAL shower. It has water pressure too!! I am looking forward to washing my hair more than twice a week!! The bedroom is to the left of the bathroom and it is huge! we have a queen size bed (which is leaps and bounds better than the double we have had). the frame is old, rod iron with a great design. There are two wardrobes and we will soon add a dresser as I have more clothes than a small army!

Going back to the front door, if you walk in, through the entry and take a left, there is a little hallway; down at the end of the hallway is the kitchen. The kitchen is about 2/3 the size of what we have now, but it was also re-done about a year ago and it is beautiful!! All new counter tops, silver appliances, tan wood cabinets, and new tile floor. It beats the bright yellow kitchen, with yellow cabinets and yellow appliances of the old flat. Right next to the kitchen, off the hallway bit is a little storage alcove. The washer and fridge are in here as well as loads of room for storage. Oh, and did I mention the fridge is a full size fridge as opposed to the college dorm room sized one we have now?! It is beautiful.

I realise that I probably made that sound a bit nicer than what it really is, but I am excited. Any way you look at it, it is much nicer than what we have now. The way it is divided, the hallways and the tall ceilings give the impression that the flat is bigger than it actually is. Our new flat is barely 400 sq. feet. Less than a one car garage. ah, sometimes my living arrangements make me laugh when I put it in the context of what most American married couples my age have.....

11 November 2008

11th hour, 11th day, 11th month

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

It was the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month that the Great War finally drew to a close. And the world would never be the same again. I do not have the words to describe the war. I don’t think anyone does. Even those who fought in the trenches, who watched comrades fall, who came back wounded, destroyed; even they couldn’t find the words. It was worse than any horror imaginable. The roads leading to the trenches were covered with the bodies of dead men and animals, carcases too laborious to move, bodies too numerous to count . The wrecked shells of supply carts and ambulance wagons lay scattered across the fields. entire plains collapsed and barren due to the heavy artillery bombardments. Shell holes made some areas impassable. The unyielding downpour of rain made travel and life even more difficult, creating slimy pits of mud that simply swallowed equipment and men alike as they passed. Even remaining stationary didn’t help. The platforms and make-shift shelters the men tried to build simply crumbled and sunk; more often than not creating additional causalities. It was atrocious. It was hell.

Today is the day we honour those brave young men who fought in those bloody trenches. Today is the day we honour ALL the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces in some way. Be it the front lines, the sea, the air, the nurses station or the home front. each and every person who has so selflessly given their time, effort and sometimes even life for the protection and defence of country, humanity, life, and freedom. We honour them.

I went to the ceremony today at the cenotaph on Whitehall commerating to the very day the 90th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War. I can not even begin to describe how simply amazing it was. Thousands turned out on this very special of Tuesdays to celebrate and honour the thousands before us who have so bravely served. But today was different. Today was extraordinary. Today Henry Allingham, Williams Stone and Harry Patch all laid wreaths at exactly the 11th hour. Henry and Harry are both 110, Williams is 108. They are the last 3 surviving British vets of the First World War. Mr. Harry Patch is the only, THE ONLY survivor who saw active warfare in the trenches. He served in Passchendaele. (Click here and here to learn more.)

I got to Whitehall nearly 2 hours before the service was scheduled to start. I was determined to have a clear view of the veterans. When I arrived barely after 9am, the street was already filling up. By 10.45 there was not an empty spot of tarmac or sidewalk visible. Thousands had come out to show their respect. When the 3 men were wheeled into sight, deafening cheers and thunderous applause erupted from the crowd. Tears sprang into my eyes and began to pour down my checks. even now as I write this I am beginning to well up. The 3 men were so bravely holding their heads as high as their frail and aging bodies would allow, gripping their wreaths of poppies. they were remembering. Williams Stone allowed his wreath to be placed on the cenotaph by a member of the Royal Navy, Harry Patch had his placed by a Royal Marine. Henry Allingham refused to give his up. He so badly wanted to lay the wreath himself. but he couldn’t move. he was chocked up, confined to his wheel chair. he was shifting and fidgeting in a futile attempt to place his poppy wreath on the monument. he refused to let go. my tears came even harder. there was not a single eye that was not moist with the heartache that comes only from seeing a once strong, proud, and well decorated war veteran struggle with the simple task of honouring his comrades. He finally released the wreath and it was laid. The imagine of that struggle will forever be implanted in my memory. His determination even at 110, even after 2 World Wars, even after mustard gas poisoning, even after years of hard work, toil, and countless deaths around him...even then he still had his spirit left. he still wated to be strong. that is true courage. I will never forget the faces of those 3 veterans. It was a honour to see them in person. It was a dream come true.

After the service had ended and the 3 veterans were wheeled to 10 Downing Street, I made my way over to Westminster Abbey. During this time of Remembrance the grounds of the Abbey are covered with crosses, wreaths and poppies. Today, scattered between the rows and rows of make-shift memorials, were numerous veterans spanning all the wars. This must be a proud moment for them. They are honoured regardless of the popularity of the armed forces or of the current war. they are respected. they are looked upon as the heroes they truly are. even more tears fell. I was overwhelmed at the amount of lives impacted by war, both past and current. I have always had a soft spot for the military and I have always been interested in learning more about various conflicts. But today, more so than ever, I was reminded just how important, how truly significant, our war heroes are.

We Will Remember Them...

10 November 2008

travelling circus fair of random events and life lessons

Can I name my book that? is it too long of a title? do you really need a title before you start to write? If you put all my journals and essays together, I have written roughly 20 million books. Yes, 20 million. No exaggeration. I would like to edit those 20 million, throw out the crap and make what is left into one book. I know, no big news. I have mentioned this countless times before. But I feel newly inspired. Why you ask? Because over the course of the last 4 days I have had 7 people tell me that I should write a book. All of those 7 people are quite intelligent. I respect what they say because I know were they have come from. They are not the “Joey’s” of the world who consider a good read to be the back of a cereal box. So I figure maybe it’s worth a shot. Not that I am a big ‘signs’ person, but I think I’ll take this as a sign.

I have also been told recently that my blog is a bit abstract; that there is not enough mention about who I am, background etc… So if that is the case, and my emails seem to indicate it is, I suppose there are a few things that must be said. I love anything fried, I prefer beaches to mountains every time and I love airport food. I would rather run 200 miles through the desert than be a millionaire in a place without sunshine. I want a Weimaraner for a pet, I would like to have a goldfish called Taco that lives in a non working blender in the kitchen and more than most things in life, I want a 1996 black, hard top Defender 90. I once challenged two 300 plus pound men to an eating contest that consisted of a roll, side salad, mashed potatoes and a 72 oz. steak. I lost. Oh, and I hate to lose.

I was born on a warm, sunny day in April. The last day to be specific. Perhaps that is why I love April and dread May. May is a blah month. Aside from school graduations, nothing exciting ever happens in May. (Sorry if you were born in May, nothing personal.) From that day in April until I went away to university, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Middle America was what I considered to be my hometown. I suppose it will always be my ‘hometown’ but I since 2000 I have claimed a variety of cities as home…Tulsa not included. I have a dad, a mom and a brother. I have always, and will always think my family is the best family in the world. Collectively they are smarter, funnier, more attractive and better adjusted than any other family in the whole world. Fact. As a warning, if you disagree with this position, I will not listen to you. You are wrong. In addition to my mom, dad and brother, I also grew up with 2 Chihuahua’s and a Golden Retriever. Tasha, Blackie and Winchester respectively. I loved each and every one of those animals. I loved that Blackie was always a bit fat and had to take pills because she had asthma; I loved that Tasha lived for 18 human years, lost all her teeth and had a giant tongue that constantly hung out of her mouth; I loved that Winchester was so strong he walked you around the block and I loved that he was the sweetest dog ever created! And although I never really loved Tulsa, I loved everything that my life had whilst in Tulsa.

But it was a nice place to grow up and I did enjoyed most things about my childhood. In fact there are few things about my younger years which I remember negatively. Once, when I was about 8 I followed my brother over to our neighbours house. They had a rottweiler. We were all playing in the back yard and I wandered over to their tree house (read: small, wooden fort, not in a tree but instead propped up by poles about two feet off the ground) My brother and the neighbour boy went inside and I was left alone, in the tree house, with the dog. The dog was on the ground, but he was so ginoroums that his head was sticking up through the fort opening. He could sense my fear. He was snarling and barking and no matter how far I backed in the opposite corner, I could still feel his hot breath on my legs. I could only focus on his razor sharp teeth, moist and glistening with dog food and saliva as they prepared to cut through my innocent, frail, shaking 8 year old limbs. This was a dog that played with a bowling ball as a toy for crying out loud! I was screaming and sobbing and since I was only on the other side of the fence to my backyard, my mom could hear me. She kept asking where I was but all I could say was that I was scared. My brother insisted that I was not in the neighbour’s backyard so no one even look for me there. Finally, after what must have been 5 hours (ok, more like 30 minutes) the neighbour recognised my cries as coming from their backyard and rescued me from the giant, ravenous, child eating monster that they called a pet. It was traumatizing. The family later had to put the dog down as it viciously attacked another neighbour. See!? It was not just my childish imagination; that dog would have swallowed me whole! That is probably the most significant negative memory of childhood, but like I said. Those experiences are few and far between.

Still it is those experiences from birth to university that shape us into the self-sufficient, well adjusted, even keeled adults we are all when we finish high school and pack off to college, right? The later part of that sentence is probably very questionable, but it is those early experiences that mould us. They build the foundation, stone by stone, friend by friend, experience by experience, onto which all other life experiences will be based. The foundation we build, and that others build into us, has a large part in determining what we do next. And I suppose it is my background, upbringing and early experiences that make me the brilliant, grounded, genius of a person that I am today. (people, sense the sarcasm here) My enjoyable childhood, supportive parents and middle-America upbringing have made me who I am today. (granted in those parts of the world I am a crazy liberal....) So there you go. I hope that satisfies everyone. A bit of background and radom-ness regarding me.

7 November 2008

little griffin says it all!

how adorable is that face? he is even do the cool kid finger point to his shirt! tell me this is not one of the cutest kids you have ever seen!

The Youth of Britian

I have some serious concerns about the youth of Great Britain after this morning. To be honest, I have had concerns since the gum story of last week. Today just cemented those fears.

Ever been run over by a scooter? no? well let me tell you, it is not a pleasant experience. Clapham is overflowing with people at peak time. The station is packed, brim to brim, with little room to even move. 2 school age boys were attempting to ride their scooters down the platform. Casualties were plentiful. Bags knocked off shoulders, briefcases dropped from hands, and my foot. my foot was a very painful casualty. As i am still defiantly protesting the onset of the winter despite the absence of a summer, I am still wearing flip flops. Flip flops and scooter wheels do not mix. my foot still hurts. crazy youth.

on a high note for the young of GB, I saw one school age boy, around the same age as the two scooter hoodlums, take HIS OWN MONEY (i know it was his, i heard him say) and give it to the Poppy Appeal. Such a worthy cause. (Click here to read all about it) apparently not all was lost on the young.

Although, just as i was starting to regain my confidence in the new generation, i overheard the following conversation on the train.

boy 1: So Obama. you like Obama?

Boy 2: Dont care. doesn’t matter

Boy 1: Oh, look at this article about that girl. Palin. she didn’t even know that Africa was a continent. she thought it was a country. (inreference to this article in today's paper)

Boy 2: Idiot

Boy 1: I heard her parents were brother and sister. gross.

Boy 2: well that’s probably why she didn’t win. no one wants a president with a mum and dad who are brother and sister.

Boy 1: and they want her to be president in 2012.

Boy 2: I wont vote for her.

Nice. I had to bite my tongue to suppress my laugh. that was truly a fantastic conversation. and such an interesting interpretation on why Palin and her party were not elected. Clearly because her parents were brother and sister.

I am back to questioning the youth of Britain.

6 November 2008

Guy Fawkes

Last night was Bond Fire Night. A celebration/remembrance/giant party for Guy Fawkes day. For those of you unfamiliar with Guy Fawkes, click here for an explanation.

I was home last night, I did not partake in any celebration or even attempt to watch the fireworks. Instead I sat on my couch, continually turning up the volume on the T.V. in an attempt to drown out the fireworks exploding all around. But it got me thinking about Guy Fawkes back in America. It is safe to say that less than 5% of Americans celebrate or even recognise that Guy Fawkes is an actual day, that Bond Fire Night is an event that people plan parties around and spend money on. But when I was growing up, my school celebrated Guy Fawkes.

All my young years of schooling were spent at Holland Hall. It was, and still is, quite an uppity, posh private school in Oklahoma. My parents sent us there to get a good education. They took us out because it was ridiculous. Ah, I digress. The point is, there was this one British teacher in the upper school. He was a proper Brit. (or at least he has become one in my memory) I cant remember if he agreed with Guy Fawkes, or the British who burned him, but every year he has his students and their families, and pretty much anyone else, make effigies of Guy Fawkes. Giant, life size people of this man that attempted to over throw the British government. Then on the 5 November, he would plan a 'Bond Fire Night' Everyone would gather down on the football field with wooden crates, sticks, firewood etc... and we would start a giant bond fire. Then a bunch of elementary and middle school kids would throw these life size effigies into the fire. It was a recreation of the Guy Fawkes execution. We re-enacted it every year on the football field. I thought it was great.

Eventually someone complained, saying it was inappropriate for young children to burn effigies, it was unsafe etc, etc... and the teacher had to stop. I don’t know if Holland Hall still celebrates Guy Fawkes. I am not sure if anyone in America really celebrates it. But when i move back, I will. My family will have our own bond fire night; even if it is only in back garden in our grill! we will make mini-effigies and burn those instead. what a fun way to learn history. what a fun memory.

Picture of the fireworks in London last night.

Hula Nia

Since I have often posted pictures of my niece and nephew back in America, i decided it was time to post a picture of my niece on this side of the ocean. and here she is...little hula nia! how precious is this picture! it is from the summer so she is a bit older now, but still. enjoy.

4 November 2008

i hate american airlines


me: hello, i would like to change my flight please

aa: why?

me: because I need to stay longer in America.

aa: oh, well you cant change your ticket. it is not refundable

me: ok, i don’t want a refund though, i just want to change the departure date.

aa: oh. well you cant.

me: why not?

aa: because I don’t know how to do that.

me: ok, well can I speak to some that does?

aa: fine. you will have to wait quite a few minutes.

me: how long is quite a few minutes?

aa: quite a few.

1 hour and 27 minutes later....

aa: ok, i have cancelled your ticket.

me: what?! WHAT?! i did not want you to do that!!

aa: oh. i thought that is what you said.

me: NO!! i just wanted to change the date.

aa: oh, well you cant change the date because the ticket has been cancelled. and it is non refundable so you don’t get your money back.

me: that is insane! you have cancelled my ticket, not given me a new one and i am out the £614 that i paid?!

aa: yes that is correct. can i help you with anything else today.

me: give me a manager. NOW! (insert any number of explitives and gritting of teeth)

aa: ok. you will have to wait quite a few minutes.

42 minutes later a manager comes on and reinstates my ticket, but i still don’t have the changes i need. i say forget it. i will try again later.


me: hello. i would like to make some changes on my flight please.

aa: que? oh, what?

me: i would like to make some changes to my flight please.

aa: what? i dont understand.

me: i need to change a date on my airplane flight.

aa: oh. i dont understand. que? what you say?

me: look i am not trying to be rude, but can you put me on the phone with someone that actually speaks english?

aa: oh yes. hold on por favour.

38 minutes later (yes I timed it)

aa: hello, can i help?

me: yes, i need to make some changes to my flight.

aa: ok. no problem. let me look....oh wait. you cant. its not refundable.

me: i know that. i just need to change my return date. i will pay the change fee.

aa: ok. but you cant.

me: why

aa: because you cant.

me: why cant i?

aa: because i said.

me: because you said?! (seriously?! did he really just say that?!)

aa: yes. because i said you cant.

me: i would like to speak to a manager.

aa: why?

me: because you are a useless and stupid. you are wasting my valuable time by doing absolutely nothing. i have never before called anyone worthless before, but i think you will be the first. (ok, i didn’t say that) because i need someone that can help me and give me a straight answer. (i said that instead)

aa: ok. fine. it will be a long wait. you are in a long queue.

nearly 40 minutes later a manager comes on. tells me he will change the flight. i give him the dates. he comes back and says i cant change the itinerary that much but because he is so kind, he will do almost everything i want. i just have to lose one leg of the trip. WHAT?! i cant make 2 changes, only one. so i have to sacrafice one leg of the flight if i want to change the international portion. WHAT?! i am told it is that or lose the flight. i do that. i am stupid for doing that. what options did i have? nearly 5 hours in total spent on the phone to American Airlines. I am short one leg of my trip now. out the original £614 plus the £94.80 change fee. i got screwed. everyone boycott American Airlines!

# 93473456 why I love my husband

ever had one of those moments? you know, the one where you are hanging out with a really cute boy that you like a lot and you say something stupid. or do something silly. or worst of all, you try to be witty but it is only funny in your head so you are met with a fake smile and awkward silence? one of those moments. in my case I would become utterly humiliated, so much so that i would simply stutter around my word, unable to recover and my face would become such a bright shade of tomato red that it was actually glowing bright enough to guide an airplane to ground in deep fog. those moments are horrendous.

never having those moments again is one of my favourite things about being married. I am not sure if it is marriage in general or being married to Rhys. but it is perfect. not once since we have been married have i been fearful of sounding or looking foolish. we embrace the 'goofiness' equally. i never really thought i would reach the stage with another human where i could be completely and utterly myself. when i imagined what it would be like to be married i assumed i would think of my spouse as a best friend, the person who knew me the best, a soul mate etc... but i always just knew that i would have to hold some of my Crazy in. thankfully that is not the case.

perhaps it is because williams is equally as ridiculous as me. perhaps it was just meant to be and that is who all marriages are (married people: is it like this for you too? tell me. i need to know.) but last night we sat on the couch and made faces at each other. gradually we advanced from faces to strange noises. then we proceeded to make up our own lines and story endings to the T.V. programs that we were watching. yes, all of those things make us really cool. my favourite of the night though was whilst Rhys was doing his crossword I took a pen and randomly filled in squares with the number 7. for some reason i found this to be quite humorous. looking back now, it was not funny. but rhys is so good natured, he just leaned over and kissed my forehead. I didn’t feel stupid at all. he is the best. and this is one of the many reasons why i love my husband.

(as a side note, i do feel stupid for telling all of you this)