Friday, December 31, 2010
Today is the last day of the most magnificent year ever! Late January gave me an opportunity to work in the UK. February landed me in Scotland to work. Still working in Scotland. Now living outside of London.
I see London, I see France - I see London every single day (weather permitting)
I visit London all the time.
I've been to South End Victoria, Leeds, Brighton.
I've visited castle upon castle upon castle. And had one photo published.
Some of my family has visited.
I've spent time in Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee (Scotland).
I've collected pebbles which have fallen from Roman walls (Colchester), I've walked on Roman roads (Spain)
I'm very close to the sea.
I've walked on the banks of the Thames.
I've stood over the North Sea.
I've stood in the presence The Queen and Prince Charles, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and three former Prime Ministers. I've seen Camilla.
I've been hugged by Jonny Woos crazy "girls"
I've seen the Denver Broncos play in Wembley and done a tailgate party in London.
I've shopped in Soho at Christmas time.
I've seen a pantomime.
I've sung Christmas Carols in Brentwood
I'm FB friends with the first season's X Factor winner.
I've had high tea at Fortnum and Mason
I've had Cream Tea at St. Peters
I've been to Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey
I've been to the pub in Cobham where Dickens wove his tales.
I've been to Legoland!
I've seen the Crystal Skull
I've eaten wild boar, drink Taliskar, and buy fruits and vegetables from a fruit stand
I love England and Scotland and I love my life.
I walked the Camino again - against some interesting odds.
Through the beauty of Internet streaming, I saw the Santiago de Compostela holy doors opened on 1 Jan and on 27 October , I walked through the holy doors myself. The doors won't be opened for another 11 years.
I love my job!
and I turned 50.
Thank you God for all you do with and for me every single moment of every day.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
My plans aren't exactly as I hoped, but not entirely dashed either.
I've got the crud that is going around the office. I have it bad. Fever, chills, sore throat, cough, sneezing, snot, lots of snot. I can't remember when I last slept 24 out of 48 hours.
But I have four days off and no where I have to be. I was so looking forward to Christmas Mass here this year. But as wicked as this bug is, it wouldn't be fair to share it with the other parishioners. I have two more Christmases to go. Perhaps before the weekend is over I'll be able to get some walks in.
Only one package made it from the States so my one foot tree is not overwhelmed. The last package I was waiting to get to the States arrived yesterday! We'll do our vid Christmas and enjoy the closeness we can make although spread out.
And then there's Boxing Day. Interesting history.
Happy Christmas achoo and Happy Boxing Day.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I started a new program a couple of weeks ago. Knowing the office curry party was coming up, but wanting to have some lip control over Christmas, I approached the kickstart week more like a long, drawn out punt. I started eating the breakfast and lunch suggestions and ate dinner as I damned well pleased - including alcohol.
I figured after the Curry party, I could snuggle in with the program and be perfectly content. I'd also hoped that being on holiday with my stay-cation would let me practice some better habits. And last but not least, I refuse to climb in the New Years resolutions bandwagon - I prefer to treat them like my -9th birthdays....if you celebrate to the "nines" then the 0's can't get you down - meaning that I'm well into them before the first of the year and therefore am usually have the gusto going so I can't be slowed down by the people trying to talk themselves and everyone else away from their resolutions.
I'd even been able to do double take and happy dance after visiting my big yellow British stone-weight bathroom scale the other day.
Imagaine my dismay this morning when my jeans gave me their "negative feedback". I was also sad that in my ignorance with UK washing machines had allowed them to fade. Then I was thinking - "crap" nice middle of vacation way to be thinking Ter-bear. And then....
I realized I had grabbed the the jeans that a month ago, I couldn't button.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
They have asked us to consider
- Wearing a cross or religious article that tells people we believe.
- Buying Christmas cards with a religious theme.
- Asking for the Madonna stamps (descriptions of both first and second class images) for mailing this season.
One thing I do see and hear that I love, is that faith is still a strong part of everyday life here. The signs saying traffic is diverted for a few hours states it is for the Christmas Tree lighting. There is a Christmas tree. Christmas Carols with Jesus in everyone were sung at the event. Every store, every shoppe has not excluded Christ. A live Nativity Scene was staged in the park yesterday with the Christmas Story told.
"Merry Christmas" is not considered politically incorrect to say. Believers or not, everyone here seems believe in Christmas.
And the ASDA does not put a sign on the pork saying it's a perfect meat for Chanuka.
Merry Christmas Season everyone!
I can't vote, but I can care. I pay taxes here just like everyone else. I worry about the traffic, the weather, the economy too. I know if I don't shop at the vegetable market, it will cease to exist. What I do know is another way of life. And if I don't do my part to preseve the eloquence and beauty of the differences England affords, then I've not done my part. I don't need to be an American consumer here.
My girls are intelligent and strong. And while I don't get to see them as often (but almost), I don't worry about them. I don't feel, really like I'm away from them. I'm just here. In my home. In England.
My first Christmas card? From my neighbour across the hall. I'm home.
I'm Teri and I live in England.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I start at the furthest distance and working my way back. Purchases to fill my shopping bag, a trip home, back out for the next place or two and back home again.
The drop offs are disorderly, only really taking time for a cup of tea or to put perishables into the refrigerator. Back out again.
Sometimes my trips include stopping for lunch at a steamed up window diner. Or a coffee at one of the numerous coffee shops. Today will include seeing an X-Factor winner (American Idol equivalent) perform downstairs. Next week will be the donkeys in my back yard - a living Nativity Scene.
Life is always interesting here.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Bless my sweet daughter's soul. Her first response is "Mom, you are LIVING in England! How many people get to do that?" That usually works. If that doesn't work she moves on to the "and you WORK in Scotland.... " approach. When she has to get rough, she brings up how close to Paris I am. And she's handling everything with great aplomb back home - paying the mortgage, buying a new water heater, duking it out with the cable company. I can't even feel like I'm "needed".
Everyone is worried about me with the holidays coming up. I think, actually, the less discussion we put into it, the better off, ultimately, I'll be. Most of my family is not around at the holidays, ever, so if the rest of them aren't, I should be able to get by. We always figure out how to have a good time long distance. I bought a foot tall, teal foil tree, decorated it in five minutes and am declaring decorating done.
But tonight I wanted to feel my cats. Smell my grandson's head. Hear my daughter's car come into the driveway. I wanted to be exhausted thinking of all the groceries I would need to buy for the two days of cooking, twenty minutes of eating and three hours of clean up Thanksgiving always brings.
So I did what every woman needs to do to cleanse her soul. I cried. I let it all fall out. Big buckets of tears. I soaked my shirt and many tissues (I recommend paper towels for this job). I closed the drapes so I couldn't see London and allowed myself a good half hour of not appreciating of where I am and the opportunity I have.
I am happy. But I miss my family peeps.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
So I did.
For £6/$9 I purchased the following: 5 satsumas, 3 apples, 3 bananas, chili peppers, a parsnip, 2 tomatoes, a head of cauliflower, 2 honking avocados, a handful of shallots, an onion, a sweet potato, and a portobello mushroom.
The tomato stem smelled like September, The pungent smell of fresh picked goodness.
Tonight was guacamole. Tomorrow will be pumpkin mushroom risotto....right after I go see the Queen.
This is the life.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
I'm back from a week long Camino - a little over 50 miles hiking in Spain's rural countryside. That and a chat with one of my favourite Saints. Mmmmm. Happy hiker.
My sister-in-law has spread her wings and my joy for her keeps making me giggle.
I rolled my eyes in the back of my head this morning when I heard the neighbor's going at it again. I needed to run an errand and was uncomfortable going out with her pounding on the door to be let in (there). To my great joy I discovered they were moving out.
Trafalgar Square, 38,000 football fans of all jersey persuasion. We were slowly inched forward during the afternoon until we were in the front row. Elway and Little were not amongst the group, but there were a ton of 49er Hall of Famers and some, well, interesting, entertainement. The English have a great respect for personal space (except on the Underground). So 38,000 people seemed so polite and people kept moving back and the next group forward.
That said, 38,000 people contained in Trafalgar Square and a packed subway that had major rail works happening (they actually shut some stations because of overcrowding) (events not directly related), after walking along in rural Spain made for some weird thoughts in my head.
Tomorrow the festivities start at 9:30. Breakfast a pub (owner conned the cook into coming in), party bus, pub(s), tailgate party, Bronco vs 49ers at Wembley, pub, party bus. Oh and I will have a T-shirt.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I took today off to finalise my stuff for Spain. But I have a little work event to tend to this afternoon.
I leave at 3am tomorrow.
Walk 75ish miles,
Get back Friday.
Saturday - Trafalgar Square for a pep rally for the Bronco's and the "other team". John Elway and Floyd Little will be there.
Sunday, starting with breakfast we do "football": Party bus, breakfast, pubs, tailgate parties, the game starts at 5pm, pub, party bus.
Wednesday, friend comes over to help prepare for party Friday night.
Party Friday night
Saturday clean up party
Sunday morning leave for Scotland
Get back Saturday afternoon
Hello middle of November...almost.
Shop for Christmas STAT!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Yes it has been a weekend of this and that. And I love it here.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 09, 2010
I'm spending a lot of time in Scotland, about 35%-50%.
Every time I see a man in a kilt, it takes my breath away.
They are Scotland's tuxedos.
And everytime I see a man in a tuxedo (with tails) it takes my breath away.
Here the history and pride just unravels itself around me. To see a man in a kilt says that there is a wedding or a prom or a very important event nearby. I am reminded that I am not just visiting Scotland, but that I am a part of it. That I am privileged. I feel that I've been allowed to glimpse a country's most important and intimate moments.
And if there's a set of bagpipes nearby? My heart swells. Tears come to my eyes.
Heaven, I'm sure, cannot rival this experience.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Back to bed now. Arrrggh.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
My funnybone was tickled today in the following exchange from a co-worker who has sought my help, but wasn't feeling well and had a good distance to travel to return home:
"Today I’ll leave at noon because I’m feeling very sick (influence) since yesterday and have to go to bed (after my 5 hrs ride to home).
Since 4 weeks it’s hunting me like a little dog, but yesterday suddenly it was a big Rottweiler with poison Teeth who bit me :-("
I sent him my ICKY TEA recipe in hopes of helping him.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
They were migrating swallows.
I watched them for about an hour. One landed on the balcony. Poor little guy got confused - glass on two sides. He could see the open space, but couldn't quite get up to it. Fortunately, I'd closed the patio door when I went out, so he didn't make it into the house.
He let me pick him up, give him a little nuzzle and raise my hands so he could rejoin his friends.
They were gone today. Passing on more joy somewhere else.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I need to run an errands today. This will take make longer to get ready to go, than it will to go, do, and return. Such is the life of small town England.
And today I will do my first Hoover. One doesn't vacuum here, they hoover.
I will also read, again, how to do laundry. The single unit washer and dryer has me perplexed. I can get the clothes washed and then dried, but the 3+ hours it takes to do a load from start to finish is driving me nuts. Yes, it might only use a gallon of water, but I feel like I've drained Hoover dam or have a wind generator my name on it for the electricity it has taken to do the load.The problem is, the instructions for the machine are good and seem fairly automatic, but the "this may not be your model, seems to come in to play more than it actually telling me how to use this model.
My errands netted me the most PERFECT wicker valise for my travel brochures and maps. It was probably once a picnic basket of some sort. So quaint and so perfect for storing up info on all the places I want to visit whilst here in the UK.
The Pope is coming to visit the UK this week. I'll be in Scotland whilst he's in England and he'll be in Scotland after I return. There are all kinds of groups going to see him and the Church is making it very easy to do so. I would have loved to have participated in one of the pilgrimages. Sad face.
Right now the most difficult thing about my move is pulling information together. Everything I need to gather in the U.S. is presumed to be "the way of the world". In my case it isn't so. I need to gather information in the manner in which the UK needs it. Nothing has been radically different, just a little different.
I've run into "that's government for you, I'll just do it this way, and you'll be fine." I'm not requesting admittance into a war torn, contentious country. It is a reasonable country with reasonable requests. If the picture size is in mm vs inches and the size is just a little different and the background requirements different, please don't tell me you're going to alter it and "just not tell me". Let me go find a place that can accomodate the difference. Which I did.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Here's my first story:
I was walking home yesterday and I could hear the rain beginning to fall on the leaves above me. Before I even felt or saw the rain, I started hearing a popping sound. The sound was everyone opening their “brollies” (umbrellas). No one missed a step or paused even momentarily. They just "popped" and carried on.
Friday, June 18, 2010
And woven into the week was securing my apartment over here. Fabulous place. Everything is expensive, so for the next little bit, I'll need to be frugal. But I'm really looking forward to the great opportunity that has been afforded me!
Sunday, June 06, 2010
My first trip to Scotland began at Gatwick. I returned via Luten. It was suggested I take the tour bus to London. Tour bus > Victoria Station. I was able to purchase the ticket on the airplane.
My second trip, using the train, I was advised that I needed to get to Farringdon Station. At Farrington, I needed to get an additional ticket to the airport. When I purchased that ticket the agent made sure she included the shuttle bus fee that gets you from the train station to the airport. I did not make a note of the direction name the training was taking me, as the ticket agent simply instructed me as to what track number I needed to be on.
Upon my return and learning from that previous trip that I could get to Kings Cross/St. Pancras, I could also catch the Underground to Liverpool Street just like from Farrington, I could take advantage of the opportunity to vist Harry Potter's Platform 9-3/4 and purchase my ticket on the airplane, I chose this route. I ended up purchasing the last leg of my trip in one part of the station and learnt that I needed to depart from the other. Which is where I had just come from, but had not made note of where I was or had been. The stations are connected nicely, I might add, which makes knowing this important detal, seem trivial. Platform 9 3/4 is wonderful to see as it has the same platform marker as the regular ones and a luggage trolly stuck in the wall.
Next trip out, I decide the St. P/K.C station is nicer than Farrington and I would go to the airport that way. I wished, not remembering if I had popped into St. P or K.C. that I had made a note of which part of the station's I'd used for my deapartures and arrivals. Nor had I noted what departure direction I was taking. No one mentioned a shuttle purchase and no one attempted to collect tickets at the station. On this particular trip I knew I was dealing with the possibility of my flight having been cancelled enroute due to the volcano eruption in Iceland. I arrived at the airport to find it was scheduled, but delayed by five hours. When we finally in line to board, a problem was identified with the plane and the flight crew was outside of their hours to fly. We were put on another plane to Glasgow (check the distance between Glasgow and Aberdeeen if you want a chuckle) with the promise of a bus the remaining distance. Waiting for a morning flight was an option, but with only 10 seats available and 130 passengers to compete with, I chose the bus route. Upon arrival in Glasgow we discovered the bus that was waiting only seated 50. A planned 7:00 PM arival ended up being 4:30 AM the following morning. All's well that ends well, I say.
On that trip home, not having noted what the departure directon was, I did could not deduce the directon (opposite) I needed to get home and therefore could not, without aide consult the monitors for which platform I needed to return to K.C./St. P or Farringdon. After missing a train I had (intuitively?) been waiting for, I did decide, due to being tired and not wishing to figure out which part of St. P/K.C. that I needed to navigate, that I would do Farringdon. I forgot that Farringdon does not offer lifts and I was toting the big case. I failed to mention that on this trip that my suitcase's tyre gave up. I was draging 19kg (over 40 lbs.) of stuff on 1.5 wheels. I purchased a new case at the airport upon my return and changed everything out right then and there. (Laugh all you want - there were others doing the same.) Due to too many people wanting food to eat on the flight home and a plucky tailwind, the airline was unable to provide train tickets to St. Pancras on that particular flight.
On this trip out, smaller suitcase in tow, I decide, I'll take Farrringdon. I had also decided to try purchasing my whole route, under a Travel Pass scheme (plan) to Luten. Seemed easy enough. It's a Saturday. Saturday's I know, mean that rail work distruptions are
So the lay of the land is thus. Depart using the National Express train line from Brentwood to Liverpool Street Station (unless there is line work) and then alternatives from Stratford may need to be considered. The Underground Circle line from Liverpool St. to St. Pancras (unless there are line disruptions in which the District or Northern lines may offer relief). Depart St. Pancras via the Capital Connect Railway, to Luton Express Parkway, Bedford direction, (platform TBD when there is no rail work). For the return, purchase the tickets to St. Pancras on the plane (check the windspeed), board the shuttle without being checked (true to date), take the Capital Connect train in the direction of Brighton, platform 3 (but check the monitors) to St. Pancras. Underground Circle line to Liverpool Street (check disruption schedule now being emailed to me), National Express train, Shenfield direction to Brentwood. Watch the station signs rather than the billboards so as not to exit in Gidea Park or Harold Wood.
And please note: Whatever the detour, misadventure, dalliance, shopping, dining, or tourism activity you engage in, the trip will take three hours without fail.
Monday, May 31, 2010
I think it is an International weather pattern that Mother Nature must remind us that Summer is not yet upon us, even though we wish to pretend it is. Weather.com is reporting 8 C / 46 F and the skies are thickly grey. Rain is not falling at the moment, but appears to have done so recently and the wind has the England Football (soccer) flags gaily flying.
While I would have guessed that having three days on my own could have either been constructed of fantastical adventures about London or achingly filled with solitude being confined to a hotel room lacking in furniture or appliances, I've used it for something I've frequently longed for: a three day weekend without a list or agenda.
I did have things to be done. Expenses, sorting my luggage for my upcoming business/holiday trip, spending uninterrupted time with my new work application, etc. I've allowed time for reading books and newspapers, watching movies, going to the cinema, sleeping late, napping and tub soaking.
I've often wished I could devote a full three-day weekend to relaxing as so many other people do. My work responsibilities for many years have tapped into at least one day of them for so many years. I'm appreciative of the time and ability to experience them now.
And Mother Nature, I think, for me, you've helped that along considerably this weekend. A perfect rainy and cold incentive to hunker down and turn inward. Thanking you.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I noticed the ill man was still sitting up, but not moving. Not responding to anyone. The Deacon again quietly slipped away to the cabinet where the holy oils are kept...for what was formerly called Last Rites, now Annointing of the Sick. He carried the oil up to the Priest, whispered a few words, and the Priest went to the man and annointed him.
I prayed hard as I'm sure the Cathedral full of parishioners did.
Help arrived. Very quietly, without fanfare (I've seen that several times here - nice). The gentleman finally started moving and they took him out, just in a wheel chair.
The gentleman was 90-something and his three daughters were there with him.
After it was over, the lady sitting beside me introduced herself. I'm so bad with names, I've forgotten it, but I will look her up again.
I love the parish/Cathedral here and have felt very much at home with it.
Monday, May 17, 2010
6:00am snooze, snooze, snooze. I'm in a new hotel room because of a leaky window and massive rain last night. I'm on the east side of the building. The sun is blazing in this morning.
6:30am Check my flight scheduled for today: Destination closed, departure open. Will update at noon. That's when I wanted to leave for the airport. Co-worker's U.S flight was turned mid-Atlantic. Options: he can leave Tuesday at the soonest, unless maybe they add more flights Monday. His words: Situation fluid.
7:00am I think about options. I need three hours of train connections to get to the airport and was planning to give it four or five (rush hour). I wanted to leave the office at 11:00 to check out, eat lunch, etc. I need to check out of hotel by noon. I won't know until noon if I need to recheck in. I need Internet connection to do anything so I'll need to be at the office now until noon.
I have two flights a day from here to there: 7am or 7pm. The former requires a hotel stay near the airport or I would be riding trains all night. I chose the 7pm departure so I could stay "home" (my local hotel) and ride trains during the day. If I had chosen the 7am flight for today, I would have found myself at the airport and my flight cancelled.
I think tonight, I'll just stay at the hotel and get out as soon as I can. Worst case scenario I read lots of books in the next two days. It is weird to be so close to the city/Airports and yet so far.
Maybe I'll just take a train the whole way. Wouldn't that be fun?
Stay tuned for the next episode.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I have been spoilt.
Now I wander the streets of London on the weekends in search of this lovely, lovely, delicacy.
This past weekend was a failure. The clerk at the Palace gift shop recommended a place, which I knew of, but was quite a bit away. I thought, sighting a doorman to a five start hotel, that he surely could direct me. His fancy coat was just that, he did not even know what I was talking out (where is he from anyway?!?).
Did I mention I skipped breakfast AND lunch in anticipation? (I was rewarded with a great Paella though - but only because I discovered Borough Market is closed on Sunday).
Even signs for tea houses disappointed me this weekend past.
Do I have to buy my own ingredients to indulge?
Perhaps a trip back to Herrods will quell the desire?
Must locate Cream Tea.
I set my alarm for 5:30. Why, oh why? when I don't have to be to work until 9:00. It feels, at 5:30, like I'm missing out on the day. It's fully bright and usually cloudless. At 9:30 at night it is still a little dusky. And we have five more weeks to add on to this.
I get up and walk and walk and walk. And then I come back, clean up, get ready for work and do something else for awhile. And then walk (3 minutes) to work. After work it is still light. I usually do some more. I'm really racing through the audio books!
I have a 9th story view of the area and a really great map. Between the view and the map, I'm finding all the nooks and crannies of the town. I know the cut throughs and cut offs. It's really lovely having town and country at my feet.
I know my winters will be exactly the opposite. I'm making hay while the sunshines.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Yes, a nothing day.
I'm still in my pyjamas, sipping tea, getting caught up on friends and lists and the like that sometimes I don't have time to properly do. I'm looking at maps, making plans, revisiting places in my mind through the pictures I've taken. I'm contented. I'm resting.
I have only one small wish....that I had a kitty to share it with.
11.31 update. I'm bored.
Friday, May 07, 2010
How To Pee In Liverpool Street or Victoria Stations
A Definitive Guide to Preparation and Poise
1) Be prepared to carry your luggage down the stairs. If prepared, one won't be witnessed grunting or swearing. If carried with grace, gentlemen are more likely to offer to assist.
2) Have thirty pence at your disposal. Either in 20/10p or 10 p increments. (Not 5p nor 2p nor penny.)
2a) If you are a kind soul, have additional coins available, as others may not. Whilst the potty dance is amusing when it isn't you, it COULD be you.
3) If carrying luggage, use the luggage gate to enter. If one attempts to use the conventional turnstile with luggage, the luggage may get caught and the potty dance may be required. The attendant is not always available to disengange you.
4) Once inside the potty area, if with luggage, do not attempt to locate a larger handicapped stall in which to take your things. Remember the stairs? There is not one. I repeat. There is not a larger stall for you to locate.
5) Enter your stall, check the seat for dampness, hoist your suitcase onto the toilet, lean in, shut and lock the door. Remove case from toilet, place against door. Proceed with business.
7) Check toilet for dampness, hoist your suitcase onto the toilet, lean in, unlock and open the door. Remove suitcase from toilet.
8) Proceed with hygiene procedures. Don't forget to watch as the Dyson hand dryer makes your skin wiggle. For added amusement give bets on if your jewellery will be sucked into the abyss too.
9) Use luggage turnstile to exit. If one attempts to use the conventional turnstile with luggage, the luggage may get caught and those on the other site may commence with potty dance replete with daggers.
10) At Liverpool Street Station proceed to escalator. At Victoria Station haul luggage up the stairs. If one gunts and goes very, very slowly, ALL the people behind will offer to carry luggage to the top.
11) Proceed to the Cronwall Pasty (pronounced "past E") shop and order either a lamb and mint pasty or a haggis, neeps and tatties pasty and proceed to board your next scheduled (pronounced "shed-uled") train.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Rules of the game:
1) Be ready to admit, concede, whatever you need to call it, that you can't make EVERYTHING in your room. Leave the curry to the curry makers. They do deliver after all.
2) Don't automatically think "it can't be done", because it just might.
3) When you find tiny bits, give it a try mate. You might find foodstuffs you never knew you'd love. The tiny bits let you try it without loss of income. Tiny bits too work pretty well without a refrigerator.
4) Usually the staff will let you borrow a wine glass and silverware from the restaurant. This makes for fine dining. Otherwise the plastice bathroom cups and the spork you managed to hold on to from take out will do in a pinch.
5) Remember what you like and don't buy it all again, all at once!
The UK has some lovely instant soups. I'll post the brand later. I do not mind having a cup of soup (all hotel rooms come replete with a kettle) and a brioche bun.
I can make porridge. One can't buy "instant oatmeal" here. One can find instant porridge, but it calls for hot milk to make it. I buy powdered milk, add it to the instant porridge, heat up the kettle and voila - rich porridge.
Dried fruits and nuts are a nice snack with some chocolate and they are a good addition to the porridge.
Marmalade is delicious over here. Put some of that in the porridge or on the brioche. And with some goats milk butter. Mmmm.
One wine bottle stopper and a corkscrew - dinner turns dining.
Grapes, bananas, clementines, bananas and single serving pineapple.
Single serving pasta salads are good.
Hummus and pita bread keep well.
I don't by bags of crips / potato chips at the grocery. I'd eat them all the time. Instead, because they are so prevelent in single serving packages, I'll buy them now and again and enjoy them half a serving at a time. Today's pick was Tyrrell's honey roast ham and cranberry. There are many interesting combinations of crisps here.
Cheeses often come in small packages. These are good with fruit/nuts and bread with a glass of wine.
It's fun. It's a necessity for me.
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Once that's done, I'm off to Notting Hill to take in the street vendors and such and visit Chelsea. I haven't made it out of the west end of London yet. There's so much to see and do.
I learnt today too, that London's museums are all free. I was holding off visiting them whilst I took in the touristy sites. But this gives me a nice alternative of things to do on these blustery spring days we're experiencing.
And in the process of checking views and schedules, I found a post about people dropping of their luggage at the train stations and seeing the sites. The term "left luggage" was used. I've seen "left luggage" and assumed it was lost and found. Nope. It is paid luggage storage. For £8 or $12 one can leave their suitcase and be free to roam about the city unencumbered. And the piece of information was very timely as I was thinking I would have a nothing much of a day on Monday while I made my way to one of the airport hotels for a Tuesday morning flight. Now I can streak out of here, hit the city as long as I want, and then mosey up to the hotel. Sweeeeet!
Saturday, unless there are torrential rains, a co-worker is taking me to Leeds to see the castle there. Hopefully I can tick another one off my list.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
A few months prior to that, during a viscious row with her father, I was kicked in the stomach amongst other things. I remember wondering if I would lose (the baby) her. I remember wondering if it wouldn't just be better if I did. I didn't know if she'd been injured and I truly wondered how horrible it would be for a child to face that kind of life.
I survived the night without any problems. Bless the sweet things God gives us to protect our children. It is more than just a nine month cushy ride inside our wombs, it is a resolve as tough as steel.
Shortly after she was born I'd had enough. The fights did not abate. I had two lovely little girls. I had never been exposed to a life like that and by damned I was not going to carry the message that it was acceptable to be treated that way. Nor was I going to let my girls think that they had to be a victim of their choices. I loved their father but would not accept the violence.
I no longer harbor resentment. I know we had massive communication issues. I'm grateful that there was no harm to my baby. She and her sister are joys in my life.
I'm forever grateful to one person that held the candle to light my way out. I love you and always will for that and so many other things.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The Tin-Kin took place in Elgin, Scotland. A place I had the pleasure of working in for a couple of days. While the review discounted the 1950's, Traveller's dialect, to me, it brought it all together and put some great frosting on the cake.
The Nipper is sad and was difficult to read. I had a hard time staying with it. But goodness prevailed and the victim triumphed.
I really did enjoy my time in Scotland!
Lessons and consequences have been given a bum rap for so long. They are most often applied to a situation in a negative way. The consquences of his actions sent him to jail. Maybe she'll learn a lesson from it. Etc., etc.
Now let's bring to mind the other half of the context of thse words. Consequences are the result of actions. Good actions result in positive consequences and everyday lessons, noted, prepare you for things ahead, sometimes by merely being present in the moment.
My lesson that I realized I'd been given for today? When I was in Holland, Joop and I went to the grocery store. 1) was we needed our own bags and 2) that we needed to get a price sticker for the produce before we took it to the cashier. The bags I've known about here, but today was the first day that I bought loose fruit. And I saw a bunch of stickers plastered on a table near a scale. The light went off and I knew what to do. No embarrasment when I checked out.
I have been given countless lessons in my life. Thankfully. And blessings to those who shared them with me.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I then wandered on up to Westminster Abbey. I was going to abandon the tour today because the queue seemed long and it was close to the "last call". But actually it was open later and I had plenty of time. I love the fact that Europe provides audio tours. This one was free of charge. Such a magnificent place. Kings and Queens and actors and authors all buried there. Just magnificent.
Mary the Queen of Scots is buried there. After being in Edinburgh and learning of her history there, it it was like a bow being tied. And the coronation chair also has ties to the stone I saw in Edinburgh.
I saw the London Eye and will eventually ride it. It was so rainy today that I just couldn't see the value. I'd rather spend an hour in the queue on a nice day, than to have a shorter wait on a crummy day.
I saw the outside of Parliment and Big Ben! Then I walked to the Palace via St. James Gardens. I plan to go to the Palace tomorrow and watch the changing of the guards.
I bought some magnificent wine and cheese tonight in Victoria Station. Had a lovely dinner in my room. A very nice 2007 Bordeaux, Dulong. Not to heavy, sweet or dry. Rich, but not too leggy either.
I haven't blogged much. I'm so overwhelmed, still, by this opportunity. It's hard to write about it publically. I have done some great journaling though.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I'm in England now, just outside of London. Saturday, and I slept in - all of 7:00 am. I'm not on a long term gig this round and I need to organise my suitcases so I'm not hauling both of them around. I couldn't figure out why I hurt so bad this morning in my neck and shoulders...I hauled 57 lbs (26 kilograms) from Scotland to London to Brentwood. Planes, Trains, and automobiles. The Underground isn't really set up to be an "everything I have is with me" mode of transportation.
It is still early. Today is an errand day. I have the teapot going, a Scottish cashmere shawl wrapped around me, and am about ready to do my weekly reports for work. After that miscellaney shopping, a launderette, I hope, a trip to a bookstore, some general exploring, and the sorting of my items.
Tomorrow and Tuesday I'll be working in London.
The work is that which I love and the setting is still as sparkly and enjoyable as I had envisioned it.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Many people have asked where I'm from...must be the accent!v
Yesterday, the coffee shopped that I visited, implored me to return. They were quite intersested in my travels and my impression of Scotland.
My impression of Scotland? I've met no nicer groups of people anywhere. Everyone has made me feel very much at home. And for that, I'm very grateful.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I was in this beautiful old building, decorated inside with antique wood, doorways, lights and tables and this fabulous local music filling the room. There were a lot of old people in there smiling, those who still could, moving their bodies back and forth in a little jig, and a lot of thigh-slapping being done by all.
I was truly overcome with emotion thinking about the fact I was there, witnessing it all.
I'm loving the Scottish breakfasts. The roasted tomatoes and mushrooms are incredible. I love the porridge too.
The snow this week closed the tracks between Inverness and Edinburgh. I'd planned on not going as early as last night out of fear of more snow and not getting back here on time for Monday's go live. Checked the status this morning and found it cancelled. Went to the train station
Mother's Day is celebrated March 14 here. I find it kind of odd that one of the most prevelent presents I'm seeing is decorated, pink, rubber cleaning gloves. Happy Mother's Day Mum - get on with your cleaning now!
I have to send my work receipts back home each week which usually requires a brief wait in the queue in the Post Office. Like the U.S. they post packages and provide passport services. Additionally, they offer no service fee currency exchanges, auto taxs payments, mortgage loans, auto insurance and cellular phone services.
I collect lapel pins of the places I have visited. They are small and easy to travel with and easy to display. Today, while in a shop, trying to decide what my Scottish one would be, I asked the sales clerk if I should pick an intricate heart with a crown on it or one a celtic weave. She said the heart one and told me the legend behind it is beautiful. She, in her mid to late sixties, told me to Google it's meaning and wrote it on the back for me. It is a Luckenbooth. I'm glad she told me about it. I love it!
I shopped a bit today...new hiking boots and a goat herder's hat.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
When I got home, I found myself very tired. Not having any responsibilities, I simply ate some leftovers, ran a bath, soaked and finished a book and slipped into bed following. No computer, no television. I slept nine hours. My usual “at home” was five….if I was lucky.
The book was the first one I’ve been able to complete in ages! I’m enjoying having time to read. In fact reading saves me form a boredom I don’t want to entertain.
This morning, I was obviously rested, and up and about without exercising the snooze so much. It was snowing. Hard. I got 75% ready for work, slipped on my jeans, an extra pair of wool socks, and my hiking boots. I got out my hiking jacket and took off for a walk. It was a wonderful diversion to the normal routine I’ve established here already. The old buildings looked lovely with their touch of snow.
Everyone used to ask me why I worked such long hours, often suggesting that I should let things ride and get to it when I could. I’m really glad I worked so hard. I do feel like it has brought me to being able to do what I am now. And, I couldn’t let things sit, if there was any way possible to get them done. I am here. And I am reading. And I am walking. It is all worth it.
And I still have 9 and 10 hour work days. I just don’t have a house and family to attend to right now at the end of those long days.
Enjoying the change as much as I am missing my normal.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
After having passed the Tomnahurich Cemetery yesterday on the way to Loch Ness and hearing the fairy story the driver told about the hill. And after sighting the cemetery today and being so very, very close to THE HILL and having looked at it everday and wanting to be on top of it, my canal hike was quickly aborted. I love cemeteries. This one was one of the most beautiful I have visited. Forest paths lead up and up and up to the top.
Here is the fairy story about Tomnahurich Hill .
Here is a picture I took yesterday of a war memorial. I passed it again today. What struck me was the number of panels with the letters Mac at the top. The three shown here were not all of them. The other panels indicated A-C, C-E, etc. But the Mac's commanded five panels or more panels. I knew Mc's and Macs were indiginous to Scotland, but I did not realise the true concentration or sheer volume. Even at work, 1/3 of my trainees fall into that category. The rest, fall into most of the names I found very prevelent in the cemetery. See why I like cemeteries?
Ice in the mud at the cemetery.
One other note about today. As I was walking past the castle, I noticed somthing sitting on the grass. There is a very steep slope from the castle grounds, down to the "Ladies Walk" running along the River Ness. It was a rabbit. A very BIG rabbit. Looking closer, there were about a half dozen (6) very big rabbits. By big, I mean Destiny-sized rabbits. We're talking 20 lb. bunnies.
On the banks of Loch Ness is Urquhart Castle.
The castle was very beautiful. It had been destroyed by the Jacobites to assure that the enemy could not take a stronghold.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
So many things are different, even down to the coffee. Same - Starbucks in the airport at Inverness, even though there were only two luggage carousels. That surprised me as most of the small airports in the US don't even offer a Starbucks. Most of the coffee available here is instant. Dozens, literally, of kinds and brands of instant coffee. Coffee offerings for our class are in indivdiual paper cups, stacked one in another, with a service of instant coffee between. Light, more robust and very robust and also cocoa cups are here.
Food - Such yummy, yummy food. I've had very good pea and mint soup. Had it not been for Rod introducing me to this dish before I left, I would have missed out on it here. So good with a roll/savory scone. I had a most excellent Briyani, four meals worth served. The Indian restaurant is less than two blocks from my hotel. I will be frequenting them often and a very spoiled eater by the time I return. I've had a chicken and bacon sandwich and tuna and sweet corn pasta (I'd seen a sandwich with the same the day before). Fruit is plentiful and most often packaged in take-away form. This is great for me as a traveler.
I've had my tea and cream each day. Another thing I'm going to be hooked on for having spent time in GB.
Clothing - understated for the most part with a splash of color now and again. Beautiful boots here, most often worn with leggings. The coats are beautiful. I've found most people are not ever casually dressed. Men are most often seen in ties. I saw a few about town in kilts.
Moray Firth (pronounced Murray). Firth is an estuary. I a told I may be able to see dolphin in the water when the tide is up. It reminds me of Puget Sound. The sunset on Wednesday was spectacular. I have not seen a prettier on in all my travels. Every time I thought it must certainly be at its peak, it displayed more color. Everyone at the office was talking about it the next day.
The color of the grass here, even in the winter is as green as the pictures show it. Very bright. Each day has brought a little more warmth to it. A little less cranking of the radiator. And, I found, that many, many homes here are still heated by woodstoves.
I love working with foreign money. Initially, I always feel like a small child, facinated by every coin while being frustrated at the same time at not knowing how to count it out to the sales clerk. One can only hadn over paper bills for so long before the purse is too heavy to carry. And, unlike home, I can't cart it from country to country and save it for a rainy day.
Such a change in lifestyle for me. I also found that I actually get a real night's sleep now. The site doesn't begin their day untiil 9:00 so I don't have to leave for work until 8:30. I get to sleep until 7:00! The last few weeks before I left for my trip, I was getting up at 3:00 or 4:00 and getting to work by 5:00 or 6:00. This is like sleeping in late EVERY DAY!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I have a train station, mall, grocery, spice store, castle, etc. within a couple of blocks of me.
My little feet and having two days to explore are sooo very excited.
The people here are so wonderful. I love the lyrical speech patterns. And I met a person at the paper who plans to do the Camino next year! Kindred spirits abound in this world.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
So here's my non-caloric comfort food:
" The bottom line is the UK wins and we are going to have a lot to do to make up for your leaving. It will be a great experience for you working over there. The why you are going doesn't really matter. That you are does. I know I will miss you. Safe travels. Oh yeah, say hello to the queen for me, princess. ;-}"
"I just read your latest post. Was thinking how overwhelming, yet exciting, this must be. A little jealous, yes!! You're so amazing - you'll knock them dead. Hard to believe how quickly our lives can completely change, isn't it? I love you so much. I love you for who you are. I love you for how much you loved my brother. I hope this "little adventure" :) is everything you want it to be. And I want pictures!!!!!!! Send me a picture of a pretty little castle in Scotland that I can paint!"
"Darn, you're gonna miss my Super Bowl Party! LOL...funny how you already said you couldn't make it...and now you REALLLLY can't! So happy for your new adventure....a dream come true! Teri - you are ONE LUCKY WOMAN!!! ♥ ♥ ♥ "
"I want YOUR guardian angel!!"
"Best wishes Teri. Thanks for your help with my last upgrades. It made a big difference."
"It's good to have dreams come true, and I know you'll make the most of this opportunity personally as well as professionally. I've enjoyed our work and play, too, and wish you all the very best.
"You have a good time with your tea a crumpets."
England Swings - Roger Miller
I have the most wonderful friends and family. They never fail to never fail me.
Monday, February 01, 2010
I have heard the kindest, most wonderful things from so many people. Some of which, surprised me. And some, whom I thought would be happy for me....say nothing. And that is OK too.
I have amazing friends and an amazing family. Their support is what allows me to do amazing things.
Thanks for being a part of me.
I have my ticket! I will be off on my new adventure shortly.
Instead of going to our office outside of London for a week or so, I'm going directly to my first site - in the Scottish Highlands! And instead of commuting back and forth to England, I'll just stay in Scottland for about six weeks! A few weeks in Brentwood and then I'll be back to Orem to pack up my life.
I know that a stone = 14 pounds.
Nick and I studied the Loch Ness Monster tonight. I promised him a picture of Loch Ness.
Pinch me. Pinch me.
It was very odd this morning, as I created next week's, wondering if it wouldn't be the one I would use. That I would be switching my time to a new/old ifferent task, in a different office, in a different country.
Everything thing I pick up either mentally goes on a list to stay, bundle up, pack for later or goes now. Every piece of food I bite, I wonder if it will be commonplace next week. I wonder too, if I will ultimately end up wanting it in a care package.
I wonder how much I need to take, not knowing if I'll just be traveling, have some time in a hotel at home or when I'll have my apartment and how much I will/won't have when I move it.
It is quite the adventure. It will be nice when it isn't just a story and it is really "just my life".
Sunday, January 31, 2010
This all means it'll be an action-packed month. While everyone, of every sign, will feel the testing qualities of the eclipses, you seem to be in a better position than most, for both eclipses will be supportive to your Taurus sun. This is no small advantage. A great many planets will be stacked in Capricorn too, and those act as loving little relatives who want to see you get your best options and are protected.
The next eclipse, a solar eclipse on January 15 in Capricorn, will open your horizons and may have you traveling quite far to foreign countries. This is a lovely moment, meant to open your perspective and see life on a much broader scale.
The ninth house is where we feel a sense of adventure and delve into new areas in an enthusiastic way. It is the house where we study philosophy and/or religion. It is also where we meditate a bit about why we were set on this Earth and how we can direct our energies to best fulfill our destiny. You may find you enter a very thoughtful, reflective mode, where new thoughts begin to occur to you as quick flashes of insight that may later change your course. Whatever you decide to do, as a result of news or options that come up in the days or weeks that follow January 15, will work to benefit you - even if you aren't sure about that initially, when events begin to happen.
I do know this eclipse will be quite favorable to you, as you will have five planets supporting you in Capricorn, so "the force" should be with you.
Having said that, eclipses do bring a few twists and turns too that nobody expects. Stay on your toes and be ready to respond if necessary. As a rule, it is always best NOT to INITIATE at an eclipse time, but it is better to RESPOND. This advice would be true for just about any endeavor. Be the one to respond, not initiate, on an eclipse.
In terms of your career, you will do very well next month - it will be one of your key months of all of 2010 - but you will begin to create a buzz about your work from the day Venus, your ruler, enters your tenth house of fame and honors on January 18, continuing until February 10. You will be the golden one, the one that all the VIPs favor, and next month your reputation will grow.
Jupiter, the giver of gifts and luck, will be in his final days of a rare visit to your tenth house of career fame and honors this month. If you feel you would like to present an idea to someone, schedule lunch or a casual meeting over drinks. Or, tweak a business plan to make it more attractive to investors, and present it again, but do it prior to January 17 for best luck.
After January 17, you can nurture your project and make it grow. The projects that will flourish the most will be those that you seeded in 2009 or in the first two weeks of 2010. Mercury will be retrograde from January 1 to 15, a condition that started December 26. This suggests that you need to go back to people you already saw or knew from your past, or that you need to refine your idea to conform to the feedback you already received. If you did redo your plan, you will be ready to roll.
I have saved the best for last. Jupiter, the great benefactor, will move into Pisces for the first time since 1998-early 1999. In Pisces, Jupiter will be in a better position to help you, for Pisces is a water sign that blends beautifully with your earth sign element.
Jupiter will fill your eleventh house of hopes and wishes, the place in the chart where we see the fulfillment of a desire that we have long held dear. It may be material or spiritual ("I want a house of my own," or "I want to find love," or "I want a baby.") Whatever that wish may be, you should take that dream seriously in 2010, for never have you been so close to seeing it realized.
You will also have extraordinary help from your friends in 2010. There is almost nothing you could ask your friends to do for you that they would not grant. Look to friends to provide you with your greatest personal growth in 2010.
You not only will bond more closely with friends in the coming year, but you will make many important new ones, too. It behooves you to mix and mingle more in 2010, and to even consider joining clubs and online communities. Many of the new friends you make in coming months will be with you ten years or more from now. When it comes to career advancement, finding love, or any other goal you may have, look to your friends, for they hold the key to finding success.
The good news is that you will have quite a bit of travel to look forward to in the New Year, not only in January but also in months ahead. The eclipses that are occurring now will bring unexpected opportunities to pack and go.
More important and far more intriguing developments will shape up just after the solar eclipse in Capricorn of January 15. You may soon travel overseas, or you may stay put but work on an international project, interacting with people based in foreign cities by email and phone.
The current eclipses will require that you remain unfettered so that you can move quickly to where you'll be needed, so just in case, try not to over pack your schedule.
Fortunately, the eclipses happening this month will help you, for they are falling in signs that blend beautifully with yours. The only drawback this month will be Saturn's position to Pluto, suggesting you will be frustrated by having too few team mates or subordinates available to help you get your job done - and the fact that you will have time pressures will only intensify your frustration. By being organized and changing the way you approach your assignments, you will get projects done, so there is no need to worry. Keep your health strong, for you will be busy all month and could run yourself down.
On January 17, Jupiter will enter your house of friends and groups, your new area of potential growth in months ahead. You will make the acquaintance of many new people now and your present friends will also play a much bigger role in your life. Consider joining a professional or social club now, as the rewards would exceed your expectations.
Jupiter in Pisces will also help you materialize a wish that is dear to your heart in 2010. This could be one of your best years you've seen in the last ten.
Taurus Dates to Note
A trip or opportunity abroad may come up quickly on the full moon eclipse January 1.
A very long trip, possibly overseas, may materialize as a result of the solar eclipse January 15.
I'm trying to determine what needs to go with me, using "the house is on fire measuring stick".
There's the first round of - get there with work items and then one additional suitcase. (The pack for work list is easy.) I'll come home pretty much empty handed. Then pack to ship plus refil the almost empty bag.
I don't know what I'll be allowed to ship. I don't know what I'll want to ship. I don't know what I need to ship. I don't know how big/small my flat will be. I don't know how much I'll be at home or working.
First round in the big suitcase. Webcam to chat with Nick and Ally McBeal and yoga DVDs because they seem the most important right now. I'll reload more videos when I come back next. Light hiking accessories. Simple cooking utensils. Wine bottle stopper.
Next round/ship - Backpack and sleeping bag. Serious boots. Pots and Pans. Etc.
There are so many things that I have, that I don't need. And there are things I have in triplicate that I don't want to buy again if it is, at all reasonable to ship.
What a fun puzzle to be having to do.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Monday, co-worker from England stops by my office. We talk about his long distance bike rides in Europe, he asks me about my hiking trips here. We get around to office chat and he mentions he has opening.
Monday night I run said opening past my daughter. GOFORITMOM!
Tuesday I give co-worker not a resume, but a list of my qualifications and why I felt I could bring more to the table than just the opening that exists.
Wednesday I let my manager know that I think this would be fun, fun, fun and oh yes work and asks what she thinks about me "exploring it more". She's behind me because ultimately the role needs to be filled from someone from her group anyway.
Thursday I let my UK co-worker know I am pursuing his opening, if he's interested in me doing so.
Friday at 8:00 am I meet with my co-worker's manager.
This is how the interview goes...."Why do you want to do this?" "Because I want to retire in Europe and have been wracking my brain on how I could fund myself. This means I can do what I wanted to do 10 years from now, NOW! and still and again, do what I love." "It's yours."
and the when is probably in the next two weeks.
I will have a flat or cottage just outside of London. I will work in Scotland and then Whales.
I LOVE my life and the blessings that flow my way. I don't mind working hard. It has never failed me.
Blimey that was fast. Colour me happy!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Although I pretty much "knew", this particular week last year, delivered positive proof that my best friend was dating my old love. It was a couple more weeks before she would tell me herself.
Not feeling like playing nice, nice in the sandbox and hanging with them like it didn't matter, I lost the better part of group of friends I'd called "family".
And around this time too, another almost-beau let me know he'd started dating someone new. I knew that one was coming, we'd talked about it before. They're still together. Doing pretty good, in fact. I have many warm memories of our time together. I still grin ear to ear when he checks in to see how I'm doing.
And it was cold.
The year started with those pains and wrapped up the unjoyfulness with Kelly's passing.
But, I made new friends. Great new friends. I traveled with strangers and made new adventures - more and bigger than if I had stayed in the status quo.
So while I'm not unforgiving and it was difficult being unaccepting. I trudged on. And now that the anniversary has come and gone, it is all simply another page of my life.
(insert turning page sound here)