Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Housey Mess- Part 1

Fixing the damp.

This was definitely a foreign problem for me; "Rising Damp" it's called-- where moisture literally is pulled from the ground, up the wall creating big, wet spots on the wall (up to about 3 feet high). I don't have before photos, but here's the work in progress to fix it-- basically pulling off all the walls back to the brick, and then replastering it. It was a mess... and just the beginning, I'm afraid...

Monday, November 24, 2008

hello, home improvement

So, since the last update, nothing much has changed; no wonderful new cottage; no moving (saving for the wedding) and fully immersed into making the best of the not so best circumstances. All that to say, we should have left be what was. It wasn't until we started peeling away the layers (literally) that we found out that there were a plethora of problems. All I have to say is thank goodness for Mark. Not only is he allowing me to totally gut his house (that he's been perfectly happy living in for a year until I got here), but he's in constant good spirits and not at all phased by the amount of work I'm making him do (ummm... mix and pour concrete to build a shed base in the below freezing rain? No problem. Tear out a brick wall and demolish a kitchen? not even a blink of an eye).

Unfortunately, as we (or, he) tore out the kitchen, we only found more issues that the previous owner / shady builder covered up. Granted, this house is 150 years (give or take) old... so there was bound to be some essential updates that we had to do (central heating, anyone?) but i think the dishtowel-stuffed holes in the wall, and expanding foam over the electrical is a modern day quick-fix. So now, it's not just the new kitchen we planned to install ourselves, but it's the filling of holes (to the OUTSIDE of the house-- mystery as to why it's so cold in this house solved) and replastering of virtually every wall of the house (well, the walls that aren't shared, since it's a 'terraced,' aka town-house-- for you New Yorkers). Oh joy. I won't even get into the horribly old and smelly wall-to-wall carpet and vinyl without any underlay... that's getting fixed (wood floors!!) on Thursday...

But, for those who want to join in on the renovation fun, I've decided to post before and afters. I mean, it's all about schadenfreude, isn't it?? Uggghhhhh....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Drat! When it rains, it pours. Once again, we didn't get the house. The owner had a change of heart and has decided not to rent it, or sell it, or anything. Uggggggghhhhh. Can't a girl catch a break? So now the lovely surprise weekend away is spoiled because we have to figure out what we're going to do about a place to live-- or making this place livable. This sucks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Update! Home Sweet Home

After a few weeks of angst, and lots and lots of phone calls, spreadsheets and heart to hearts, I am moving to the little house I posted about earlier. Yay! No, the UK banks did not have a change of heart and decide to lend me the money-- they still think that due to my limited work permit arrangement that I'm a bad risk; BUT, my genius fiance talked the real estate agent and owner of the house into renting it to us! Since the market is so terrible and she can't sell it, but needs to get out, we get to rent it! Of course, it means finding a renter for Mark's current house, and still needing to do a ton of work to get this place in shape to rent (central heating, anyone?), but if all goes well with credit checks and all, we will get to move in December 1, just in time for all of my earthly belongings that have been in storage since February to arrive.

So, cross your fingers that there are no further hiccups and I will finally no longer be homeless!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Am The Warrior

As I've been feeling a bit defeated by life in general lately, I was looking for a pick-me-up and stumbled across this blast from the musical past. Thanks to the good old 80's (and my dear friend, Cam-- who IS the ACTUAL Warrior in this video), I'm feeling a little more energized to continue my battle against the world.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Living it up in the UK

"How are you adjusting to London?" she asked.

"Well, first of all, I live in Manchester-- and not even in Manchester but north of an actual city... because there's more to the UK than just London... which is in the southeast of the country... and, it's really just the same as moving anywhere... new people, new shops, new weather... oh. That is, if you've ever moved..."

That's the gist of most of the conversations that I have with folks-- friends and work people alike... in my head. Of course I'm not brave enough to say those things out loud. BUT, it is the frequent refrain inside this sometimes too active brain of mine. To most Americans (and some Londoners), there is no other city in England except London; the same, I suppose, as for some Europeans who only know NYC, LA and Chicago (based on the number of television shows-- which are 90% American, that are set there). And although I've tired of correcting the fact that I don't live in London... in fact, I live a good four hours away by car (two by train), I do believe that it's the same as moving anywhere... if you're used to moving, it's about settling in, getting to know your 'hood and developing your routine.

I'm used to living in small spaces... only not with another person; and while it's working out great, it's also because 90% of my belongings are not actually here yet... I shudder to think of what this place will look like when it all arrives... because, contrary to my previous post about buying a house, it looks like we're going to be stuck in our present surroundings for a few months.

That's because banks don't like expats on term limits (translation: work permits)... despite the 20% down payment, good income and the fact that I'm virtually the only one buying. Well, they're loss. The upside is that Mark owns the existing house... the mortgage is super cheap... and, despite the shady location and the fact that we can't park our car on the same street as the house b/c we're not sure if it will still be there in the morning... the reality is that my apartment in Chicago and NYC were probably smaller than this house (maybe...).

So, now it's on to the dilemma that every newly co-inhabiting couple faces... making all the stuff fit. Given I can't buy and in this market, Mark can't sell, we've gone to plan X and will likely be staying in this existing house, saving for the wedding and crossing our fingers that friends and family don't plan to visit because this place leaves MUCH to be desired. Making it all fit is the the only option we have, it seems... and I'd love visitors, so if you don't mind a crowded little terrace flat with no central heating (IT IS COLD), colorful neighbors (translation: drunk, loud, bottle-breaking on the street...), in the middle of nowhere, please do come for a visit... at least it will be an experience!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Still figuring it all out

  • TV: The same shows are on multiple channels, 30 minutes apart... everyday; they repeat the repeats over and over and over again. So what if this country doesn't have Tivo... apparently we don't need it... even though we don't want it. (BTW-- Friends and Scrubs are on 24 hours a day. If there were more hours in a day, I'm sure this country would find a way to put them on TV).
  • Buying a house: so, apparently no one wants my money. I'm a bad risk despite my much higher than average income and 20% down payment. Because the government limits my work permit terms, banks don't want to give me a mortgage. What is UP with that?!
  • Gas (Petrol / Fuel): It's EXPENSIVE. Litres, gallons, whatever way you slice it; $140 to fill up a gas tank is NUTS. And we don't even have an SUV-- we have a fuel-economy car. argh...
  • Friends: How do I make them when I work at home and don't go to school? Thankfully I have free calls to the US. But I miss my girlfriends...
  • Beverages: Lemonade is 7-up (Beware ordering it as a mixer); lager= light beer; bitters=ales; guiness=stout/all dark beer. "fresh orange"= oj (regardless of being fresh squeezed); most barristas don't know what a cosmo is-- or grey goose, kahlua or most mixed drinks. drinking a "shandy" (beer and lemonade-- err, 7-up) is not considered drinking, and that's what the "DD" drinks.
  • Driving: I'm getting better at the right-hand orientation (I no longer have a frightened Mark saying, "A little to the right, darling"), but the roundabouts have me completely befuddled. All of my good left-hand orientation karma goes out the window. So far I'm only good on motorways (highways)... country roads and regular streets (which inevitably lead to roundabouts) are a little, errr... trickier.
  • Pounds vs. Dollars: can't help it. In my head, everything here is exhorbitantly expensive. A fish filet meal at McDonald's $14 (I folded... couldn't help it... I needed some American french fries, which is sad b/c i don't even eat them in America)?!? WTF?!?
  • America: This is what I find myself calling it, even though it's the U.S. (and other Americans-- e.g. Canadians, Mexicans, Brazilians and other S. Americans are technically Americans as well, and some get a little miffed that the U.S. has claimed both continents).
  • Madonna: Remember you people-- I start sounding like Madonna, you start telling me I'm an idiot.
That's all folks... TTFN.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wigglesworth and Giggleswick

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon drive (last week), MRN and I happened across these two towns. YES! TOWNS! And did I get a hearty giggle out of those names-- "Fantastic!" I remarked. "It's like we're in a Harry Potter book." They were sweet little villages-- and I must say, this is one of the things that I'm enjoying most about England-- wayfaring around the countryside and happening upon places lost in time like Wigglesworth and Giggleswick. Heehee.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Home Sweet Home

It was a week of firsts... and a big dose of being a grown up. I suppose it's about time! I'll start with the most exciting, which is buying a house! Or, at least, having my offer on a house accepted. As I've been homeless since February this is my most favorite of the news... not only because I can finally get my things out of storage and shipped across the ocean, but I get to have a home again. Yippeee! It's just a little house, but hopefully soon all mine! Now into all the legal fun of mortgages and closing... my goal was to be in by my birthday... likely not possible, but one can dream! Maybe Thanksgiving (given they don't celebrate here, not much of a milestone, but I'm determined to make it a tradition-- bringing a little quintessential Americana to the Brits. Hey, why not?). The house is in the town of Winsford in the county of Cheshire. It's about an hour south of Manchester and two hours north of London; so it will make my sometimes commute much better (than the current 3.5 hours, all in). So, cross your fingers that it all goes well!


Living Room

Dining Room

Guest Room

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh, Mary...

I got to watch the Emmy's (yay!)-- repeated on E! this afternoon. Not quite my sofa-surfing, pj kinda day, but better than nothing! It was run of the mill... I'd say the sharing of the hosting duties among the reality tv nominated hosts was a poor decision. No surprises, and even a bit dull at times (although, I will admit, that this might be because I have not watched television most of the year because of my wayfaring... or, homelessness, depending on how you want to look at it...). So, instead of focusing on who wore what, who won what and who did what, I thought I'd draw your attention to the Joan Rivers syndrome.

She was everywhere-- and yet, nowhere (or, maybe she's somewhere-- is TV Guide still a channel? Does she still have a gig there?). In the audience: a producer's wife; on stage: a writer; in front of the mic: Mary Tyler Moore.

Mary Tyler Moore?

Oh, yes. That Hollywood plastic surgeon has obviously been working overtime. As much as it pains me to criticize one of the queens of comedy, it's true. She has Joan Rivers' face. Or, at least her cheekbones.

It was made ever-more obvious by Betty White standing beside her onstage in all her 80-year old, natural beauty. Good old Betty White.

Maybe if I were under that sort of scrutiny-- or pressure, I might think differently of having Joan Rivers' face... well, actually... no...

Friday, September 19, 2008

600 Channels (UPDATE)

So, I just found out that I can watch the Emmy's next week-- whahoo! and LIVE! I only have to stay up until 4 a.m. to do so (it starts at 1 a.m.).

I'm not really going to do that. But thought you'd be interested to know that I could.

Still miss tivo...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

600 Channels...

... and nothing on tv. I know, I know... the same complaint of every obsessive, tv-loving individual. Except, really-- I MEAN it. NOTHING. This is primetime... fall sweeps... when all the series we know and love pick back up. It's my play-off season. And I am in ENGLAND. Most [sane] people wouldn't appreciate the full impact of that statement. So let me spell it out for you. NO NEW TV. AT ALL.

Maybe further clarification is in order.

The UK, like the US, has cable tv. That translates to hundreds and hundreds of channels that you could never possibly watch. And (for me), even better: it's mostly US shows. Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, CSI, Law and Order, Grey's, Desperate Housewives, you name it, they've got it. Except, it's old. Re-run central... all the time. No new episodes. At all. And, to add insult to injury, the SAME shows are repeated multiple times PER DAY. While we've come to expect this during daytime hours (which, really doesn't matter since the majority of us are working during the day or chasing after little ones so can't eat let alone switch on the tv), it's the same at NIGHT. No new TV. What's up with that?

I'm especially disappointed that I do not get to partake in the 90210 remake action. I know... I'm sad with a capital SAD. I got to catch the first two episodes of the renewed series, and I am beyond disappointed that I won't get to find out who Kelly's son's father is; what happens to Brenda; if Donna will make an appearance (or any of the old cast, for that matter)... errr, yeah... sort of only into the original cast; although, I have to say, the new kids are intriguing... and while this new-fangled trend of offering full episodes free on network websites (see my post on the topic from a few years ago) is still the best thing since sliced bread, I have less appreciation for it given they BLOCK non-U.S. downloads / viewers. What's this discrimination about?!

When new shows do air here, they're about 6 months behind the US schedule... and how I hate to be missing stuff... it's why I don't sleep... I don't want to miss anything. *SIGH* So, if any of you, dear readers, might be willing to keep me posted on the happenings of my favorite tv characters, I would be forever in your debt. One thing is for sure. It's a good thing that I like Friends. Because it's on tv... all day... everyday... I'll Be There For You indeed.

P.S. I still miss Tivo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Project Mo(u)ld

mold (Brit. mould). noun. a furry growth of minute fungal hyphae ocurring typically in moist warm conditions, esp. on food or other organic matter.
So, in addition to the endless rain that seems omnipresent in this neck of the woods (I miss you, Al Roker), I've been introduced to a new friend: mo(u)ld. Yes; in the UK it is spelled with a u (see previous post). Unfortunately, it's not mould as in on the garden wall or back steps... but mould as in on my clothes that are happily hung in the closet. ummmm... yeah. And apparently, while use of a space heater is a good thing when it comes to warming up the damp cold house, it's a very, very bad thing when it comes to a breeding ground for mould all over my work suits, cashmere sweaters and courdoroy... and basically everything else made of natural fibers (including leather shoes). Good news-- all my fake, leather, $10 H&M bags are safe. Next (and urgent) purchase: Dehumidifier.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Out and Proud

My name is Mikie. And I'm a Yank.

This has never been as painfully obvious as when I'm tooling about town doing menial things like buying groceries or visiting the post office. Even greeting people on the street ("you tawkin' to me?") seems to be an exercise in foreign behavior, but I don't know if that's too many years living in NYC, or truly a result of living in a new country (of course, if you saw the 'hood that I'm in now, you wouldn't talk to people on the street either. Ha-- so much for big city living prepping me for anything!). As I attempt to adopt British-isms (without sounding like Madonna), I have started to document the following insights:

  • Note that you are taking coffee "to take away" as opposed to "to go" (applies for fast food and even liquor-- yes! no open container laws here).
  • Doggie bags are gauche here. Don't finish your extraordinarily large portion of food (because the U.S. is not the only obese nation anymore, after all)? You're out of luck. It's going in the trash.
  • "Z's" are "S's" and things have random "U's" inserted... behavioUr; honoUr.
  • People look at you funny when you say "thank you" or "have a good day." Okay, not necessarily an oddity reserved for the UK, but my parents raised me to be polite, so I'll continue to complain about this wherever I am.
  • "How are you?" will solicit equally odd looks. Replace with "Are you alright?" but run it together so that it sounds like "Awyouaiight?" Hmmm... perhaps New Yorkers would fit in better here than originally thought...
  • "Hello" or "Hi" is "Hiya."
  • Crock pots are Slow Cookers.
  • They don't have Ziploc bags... plastic ones with ties instead. Definitely not as convenient.
  • It's not "ground" beef it's "minced."
  • You make breadcrumbs, not buy them.
I'm certain there will be even more observations to come... but I'm a fast learner. But don't worry-- I have some friends on point to beat me down if I start sounding like Madonna.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm An Alien

I'm a legal alien. I'm a New Yorker in England. Okay, well, New Yorker twice removed. But Sting's song wouldn't work otherwise... and you know how I love me some Sting. In any case-- I've arrived!! Let the wayfaring begin! Now that I've finally made it across the pond, I promise to be more consistent with updates... and hopefully they will include photos of the beautiful places I plan to attend. Next up: Manchester City Centre, Preston and London. Okay, so not too thrilling... but, wayfaring just the same (and considering I continue to avoid driving... well, certainly on the wrong side of the roads here, it will be an adventure nonetheless). Tales of public transportation outside of London (the horror!) and becoming a resident (national insurance numbers? tax codes?) abound. Hope you're looking forward to the headaches-- err, ride, as much as I am. Good news is that this time I only got held for 10 minutes in immigration this time. Yahoo!

Don't drink coffee, I drink tea my dear...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Holy A Cappella

No pun intended (well, okay, maybe a little bit of one intended). The times sure have a-changed since my a cappella days. Check out the group (ALL-FEMALE AT THAT!!) who won the National Collegiate A Cappella Championships last year... there's NO WAY we could have pulled this off (especially with my tragic lack of coordination). This is BYU's Noteworthy.

Post Script: And what is UP with every Mormon (at least that I know) being uber-talented? Is there not one tone-deaf / dance-challenged person in the bunch?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Morning Ritual

  1. wake up at ungodly hour for first of many conference calls
  2. check facebook to see what friends are up to (so much less time-consuming than actually calling or e-mailing!)
  3. check gmail to see what bills there are to pay; junk mail to trash
  4. work, work, work
  5. if lucky, shower before noon

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Call

We all screen... it's a fact of life. Some of us willingly admit it; others feign busy schedules, work or kids (holy crap-- we're old enough to use children as an excuse). But the reality is, we do screen. But there's that one person... or perhaps a handful, for whom you will always answer the call-- no matter the time of day, who you're with or what you're doing... I can think of three. Who's your call?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Right Back Where We Started From

California here I come indeed. Ironically, although I'm moving to England, I'm officially a resident of the Golden State... again. I took a driving test today at the same location I took my very first driver's test 16 years ago. I did better that first time around, but still passed this time (boy, that would have been embarrassing, given the company I was in today). I remember that momentous day way back when... I drove my father's little blue Honda CR2 sports car, much to my chagrin. It was a manual drive, and without power steering. The test lasted all of 5 minutes. And they handed over a license to operate a motor vehicle to a very young-youngin. I remember getting home and my dad letting me take his car on my first solo drive (yes, he was overly indulgent and trusting of his daughters), and I went straight to my high school sweetie's house to surprise him (ever the control-freak, I hadn't told anyone-- not even my boyfriend, David, that I was taking the test). Freedom! Less than a week later, I got in my first (and thankfully, only) car accident. A rear-end collision that was completely and utterly my fault. Hmmm... there may be a deeper reason to why I've never owned a car...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Advance Australia Fair

So, it's Summer Olympics time again... sporting rivalries, patriotism, joy and tears, all wrapped up into a neat little package of 24 hour media coverage. I have to say, I do love the Olympics. I think it started with the "Summer Olympics" game for our Commodore 64 computer. All the neighborhood kids came over to play it, and we were all so proud when we heard our anthem play after blowing another team out of the water (or off the track, balance beam, or whatever suited our fancy). We all wanted to be the big 'ole USofA, but if not, other countries had pretty good anthems too (Oh Canada! God Save the Queen! Kimigayo! Gimn Sovetskogo Soyuza!), to which we would enthusiastically hum, if not sing, along. Then in 1984 the Olympics came to Los Angeles and my dad played in the Olympic orchestra at the Opening Ceremonies. It pretty much sealed the deal for me. My Olympic love was here to stay.

Cut to 16 years later and there I am, in Sydney, working at the 2000 Summer Games in the International Media Center. As an unofficial member of the press, I had access to the International Broadcasting Center, the Athletes Village and most of the Village. It was an exhilarating and unforgettable experience... one I'd have liked to repeat over and over again. The Aussies were welcoming hosts, greeting foreign guests with enthusiastic "G'Day!'s"-- and I, swept up in the pomp and circumstance, found myself chanting along with the crowds, "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!" I even learned the country's national anthem "Advance Australia Fair." I don't think it's the love of sports (I mean, anyone who knows me knows that isn't it!), but I guess the spirit of comeraderie and, peace really, that it promotes. Being in the Olympic Village in Sydney was, well, for lack of a better word, magical. The competition wasn't marred by bitter rivalries or ill-will; even between countries that you would expect there to be some tension. It was the spirit of true sportsmanship that ruled throughout-- if only our governments could be so grown-up.

The Beijing Olympics are underway, and China started off with a bang. The media was clamouring for controversy, continually focusing in on President Sarkozy and speculating that the crowd would "boo" the French contingency when they walked into the stadium because of Sarkozy's threat to boycot. But what happened? A loud cheer broke out as they entered-- the greeting that all of the would-be champions, the strongest, fastest and most determined sportsmen from our nations, deserved. Take that, doubters. The Opening Ceremonies was the most spectacular that I've seen. And the media manipulation rampant, to which I always fall victim. An easy crier, I found myself sniffling throughout the show as they successfully tugged at my emotional strings. It's probably one of my favorite things about the Olympics-- that each and every person has a story-- athletes, families, workers and spectators alike. The most compelling of last night was probably the 9-year old boy who, buried in rubble after the earthquake earlier in the summer, dug his way out and went back to rescue two of his classmates. 20 out of the 30 students at his school died, and when asked why he went back, he answered, "I am a hall monitor; it's my job." He led the Chinese contingent, walking along basketball great, flagbearer Yao Ming. I know it's only the beginning, and I'm certain I can count on my friends at NBC to profile all the great athletes' sobbiest of stories.

So, here's our opportunity to show some country pride, no matter what country we're from. I'll be rooting for my US favorites, but don't be surprised if I break into a little "Australians all let us rejoice..." when my friends from Oz triumph too. After all, isn't that the spirit of the Olympics?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Almost Famous

My wonderful Dad brought home a little gift for me tonight: "Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory." For those of you who don't know, yes, I was an a cappella singer in college. In fact, we were one of "those" groups that author Mickey Rapkin details as he "...follows a season in a cappella through all its twists and turns, covering the breathtaking displays of vocal talent, the groupies (yes, a cappella singers have groupies), the rock-star partying, ... and all the bitter rivalries." In the prologue, Rapkin relates the story of Denise Sandole-- an AOL music exec who was attending the Grammy's in 2005, and was cheering for her then unknown, but about to be uber-famous, friend who happened to be introducing Kanye West that evening. Rapkin goes on to tell how they met-- in college, when they were members of the same a cappella group, the UPenn Counterparts. He also throws in that in 1997 Sandole and said presenter performed together at Carnegie Hall where they, with their group, competed in the National Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (NCCA) (no joke-- it actually exists; and now it's the International competition, because peeps across the pond wanted in on the action).

Anywhoo-- a little bell went off in my head. I thought, "hey-- wait a second; we competed in the NCCA in 1997... and we lost in the semi-finals, which happened to be in Pennsylvania (at Haverford). I couldn't for the life of me remember who won, but a few minutes of internet sleuthing later and lo and behold I found that, indeed, we did lose to UPenn in the semi-finals that year. What I remember about that night (besides a bit of a major non-a cappella-related disaster) was that although we didn't win the overall competition that would have moved us to the finals at Lincoln Center, our "pitch" (musical director), Amanda Weeden, won best soloist-- beating out Sandole's friend, who was runner-up that evening. The friend? John Stephens-- better known today as John Legend.

BooYaw! Amanda, still an amazing vocalist, you had star power even back then. And I continue on my quest to be almost famous!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Monday, July 14, 2008

Vacation Countdown

Or is it holiday, now that I almost live in the UK? Either way, there are 8 more days until I get much-needed break, having not had a "real" vacation in over a year. 2 weeks in Hawaii-- whoohoo! One might even say it's super.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

**UPDATED**Introducing: Makena Anne Allen

My newest niece was born early this morning (2:30-ish Hawaiian time): Makena Anne Allen. She's beautiful and perfect, just like her big sister, Nanea (and cousin Charlotte). Makena is Hawaiian for "calm, of the sea." It also has an alternate meaning of "weep for joy." Both, I think, very appropriate for the newest addition to our brood of girls (three sisters; three nieces-- for the time being, that is!). So as not to steal ALL of the proud parent's thunder, I won't post stats... but couldn't resist sharing a photo (and, besides-- no one reads this thing anymore because I never post...). Welcome to our nutty but loving family, little one!

In Memoriam: Ken Reich

Kenneth Reich, the father of an old and dear friend of mine, David, passed away last week, after a long illness. Mr. Reich, as I knew him, was a kind and thoughtful man. Knowing (from his daughter's experience at Yale) that when I went away to school I would not only be homesick, but miss, among many things, having fresh fruit in the snowy Northeast winter, Mr. Reich never failed to have a box of fruit arrive to my door every winter I attended Vassar, along with an encouraging note and update of the happenings at home. And fifteen years later, those updates hadn't ceased. Above all, Mr. Reich he was also an extremely proud father. When I spoke with him this past Christmas, I could hear the pride in his voice when telling me of David and Kathy's latest accomplishments-- everyone should be so lucky to have a parent like Mr. Reich. My heart goes out to David and Kathy, and all of their family during this sad time. I hope the many words and remembrances of those who knew and loved Mr. Reich that have been left on his blog, "Take Back The Times" (his accounting of the Chicago Tribune takeover of The LA Times), in person and I'm certain, many other media, will lend some comfort and support.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Me So Britain

Okay, so maybe not yet... I'm just here on a trip, but getting closer to the move (sorry Mom and Dad... my temporary two week stay having morphed into 4 months...). In any case, in America we have Idol (well, truth be told, we stole that one from the Brits), and in the UK, they have Britain's Got Talent. And lots of it too. Check out this act who made it all the way to the finals...


sorry for the sporadic posting... I'm working on it!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Three Stooges

Another funny, courtesy of my Dad...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ha! Good thing, I guess! I'll be close enough... I promise I didn't cheat. It must be because I don't like chocolate (or dessert in general) so I picked the blandest one... and we all know the rumor about British food...

Thanks to S for the fun quiz!

You Belong in London

You belong in London, but you belong in many cities... Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sidney. You fit in almost anywhere.

And London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of your tastes. From curry to Shakespeare, London (almost) has it all!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Welcome to the World, Baby Kieran!

While I've been a total space cadet lately (move? homeless? pshaw!), it's absolutely no excuse for not spreading the news about the birth of Kieran Andrew Patel (son to my dear friends, Montu and Casey). He's beautiful like mom and, like dad, has a head of hair. Heehee. He decided to arrive 5 weeks early (weighing in at a whopping 4 lb 8 oz), and is spending some time in the NICU for a couple of weeks-- but his parents assure us that he is doing really, really well-- breathing on his own and digesting food. He just needs an extra bit of TLC (and truth be told, as his father's son, is likely eating up the attention from the nurses. After all, we know that those Patels are ever popular with the lay-dees). And Casey, the rock star that she is, delivered nary a drug in her system (she's a better woman than I will be).

And the best thing? He's 5 days old and has his own website. A whole website! How cool is that?? Looking forward to keeping up on all of Kieran's adventures.

Congratulations, you three! XOXO.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Moving Woes

Saturday, February 09, 2008

My Beautiful & Talented Friend, Julie

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday

Regardless of which way you are voting (if your primary is today), remember this: it's important to just vote. We all have a voice. It's a matter of using it.

Thought this article in the NYT a couple of weeks ago was particularly interesting-- especially in the area of having a voice. This 26-year old superstar gives me hope that our voice is being heard. Speechwriting is a marriage of sorts-- for writer to be able to to channel a talented speaker, capture their voice... and collaborate with them to create, well, magic. You can certainly see that magic coming through this team.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Moving Sale!

Well, it's moving time again... I guess it's only been 3 1/2 years, so "again" may be a little aggressive, but all the same, in just a short time I've managed to accumulate quite a lot... real, "adult" furniture, for one... mostly bought this year... and on the "shopping" block now, since it's too expensive to move it across the pond (come on-- my stuff isn't WORTH the $12K they're asking for to move it...). Oh, and, errrr, yes... I'm moving across the pond... as in, to another country... what did Winston Churchill say? "Two countries separated by a common language." I'll be sure to post of my exploits and misinterpretations when I get there.

In any case, my dear friend, J, is and was, a VERY dear friend today, in helping me organize and more importantly purge for the move ahead-- 12 trash bags full of clothes, bags, coats and random electronic equipment, 2 boxes of dishes, 6 trash bags and even a boom box later, I feel like a weight lifted off my shoulders. My fiance (WOW THAT'S WEIRD TO WRITE) couldn't believe that I had that much stuff to get rid of (oh, the wonders that he has yet to experience with his bride-to-be's prowess for storage...), but I certainly did. Not only did J spend a good 8 hours being my conscience (do I really need another black tank top?) and cheerleader, she also carted the bags and boxes for donation to Salvation Army for me and posted various wares on Craig's List. Oh yes-- I'm going retail, with some of my favorite possessions up for the taking. They've been very good to me over the years... hopefully they'll bring happiness to their next home too.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year!