Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spy Loses Secrets in Handbag

... So screamed the headline on the front page of The Sunday (London)
Times this morning. A British agent from the Serious Organized Crime
Agency (SOCA) apparently left her handbag on a bus in Bogota (ummm...
I guess there must be not-so-serious organized crimes... NSSOC--
that's a good acronym). To a normal person, it would have been enough
of a headache, canceling credit cards, replacing passports, etc. But
when you're a SPY and you happen to be carrying top secret information
on the agents in the operation not to mention years of intelligence
on, oh, a MEMORY STICK, well, I can see how that could pose a problem.

Ummm-- is this the super secret, state of the art technology that
governments are employing these days?? Memory sticks??

Please join me in a rousing chorus of, "WTF?!?!?!?"

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I heart NYC

Photos from the recent trip-- a foggy NYC dusk...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Designer Dentist

Well, I bit the bullet and had my first experience at the Dentist in the UK. And boy, was I not disappointed. Obviously we've all heard (or perhaps, surmised) about the poor quality of UK dentistry-- speculation and a lot of stereotyping driving that perception, but all the same, it's pretty well perceived in most of the world that Brits, while incredibly talented, successful and powerful in most respects, are not known for their good oral hygiene.

I pretty much confirmed that stereotype yesterday.

On my first trip to the dentist in the UK for my regular 6-month check-up and cleaning, I spent 10 minutes in the office. TEN. That included checking in, filling out my new patient paper work, walking up two flights of stairs to the examining room, talking to the dentist, getting my exam, having my teeth "polished" and then walking back down and booking my follow-up appointment (to repair a cracked crown-- ugh). I am not even kidding. No x-rays, no thorough exam of my teeth, gums, tongue, roof of my mouth or ANYTHING. He sort of looked at each tooth, but didn't check my gum pockets. He kept saying that I have very good oral hygiene and no plaque or tarter (IMPOSSIBLE)-- and, disturbingly, he told the assistant in the room that I had no black spots... whaaaa?!? (A clue into the state of most of his patients' teeth, I would suppose??).

When the "exam" was over (in superhero-speed time), I couldn't believe it-- I asked, "umm... so do I need to make an appointment to have my teeth cleaned, or take x-rays?" to which he answered, "well, if you just had x-rays done and your teeth were fine, then there's no need to take them again..." (UMMM-- at a different dentist IN AMERICA...), "... and, you have very good oral hygiene, so you don't really need to see the hygienist-- I polished your teeth," he added.

I explained to him that I generally have pretty deep pockets-- esp. in my back teeth... "4's and 5's" I said (in dentist-speak-- I got a good education at my Chicago dentist). And I know that it's IMPOSSIBLE not to have plaque or tartar-- I know what it looks like (thanks again to my Chicago dentist) and that it's under your gum line-- and only those instruments of torture at the dentist can really get it clean. Besides-- that's the biggest problem. Tartar and plaque that sit on the teeth and under your gums can lead to bigger issues, including heart disease (thank you Aetna). While you can keep it in check, regular flossing and brushing is not enough.

Now, I know I've been particularly diligent about flossing and brushing since moving to the UK and having to give up my Sonic Care (different plugs and voltage) and Designer Dentist (as I affectionately called the Chicago practice), and my gums are looking pretty healthy, come on! Anyone with common sense knows that regular dental visits, cleanings and maintenance should be part of your general health routine.

*Sigh*-- guess my Designer Dentist just got even more designer, considering he now will have a patient flying in from another freaking country to visit him.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Love Lucy

A big welcome to the world to Lucy Claire, daughter to my dear friends Jen and Eddie. Their first, and isn't she just the sweetest thing? I know I'm not the only one to love little Lucy!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ode to Television

It's sad-- I know and whole-heartedly understand how sad it is. But the truth? I do love television, and not having tv for the last 6 months has been, while I didn't realize it at the time, a pretty gaping hole. Lots of "comfort shows"-- U.S., of course-- the UK doesn't do very much in the way of original programming, have been absent due to our giving up television during the lengthy renovation that is still dominating our life. But this weekend saw a shift in the tides with not only the somewhat reluctant welcoming of a rather large flat screen plasma tv (before this I've only ever had a little, old-school-- as in purchased in 1997-- 19" tv that yes, I was often made fun of for, but what can I say? I'm not a snob when it comes to technology, and it did its job); and satellite tv that has today let me get caught up on this season's Greys (all day marathon-- whoop-whoop!). And I thought, "What have I been thinking?! I LOVE TV!!"

So much so that my LoveFilm subscription (think Netflix but the UK version) has been flung by the wayside... all for channel surfing and parking my rear on our new sofa (that hasn't seen much action since our downstairs has been under drop cloths for MONTHS). Satellite TV here has glimpses of Tivo-- you can pause and rewind and record... but much like cable DVR in the US (or so I've heard), not much more-- it's difficult to use, impossible to search (ummm-- you can't search by the freaking title?!). All the same, it's super comforting to be able to pause live TV. Hey, some people have chocolate-- I have pseudo-Tivo.

Finally feeling like I'm home.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Alms for the Poor

Today I ventured to a new part of England-- the East Midlands. To Nottingham I went, home of Robin Hood, Sherwood Forrest and the like. There's even a statue (of which I unfortunately did not get a photo of). Alas, I was there on official business-- work-related with the UK arm of Experian-- yes, the credit reporting giant is omnipresent. I actually drove past Sherwood Forrest in February when my beloved Aunt Anne was visiting (and we drove her to her family friends, The Harrisons, in West Markham, just outside of Nottingham). It's certainly a place that I feel like I need to visit again to properly see it, rather than the industrial park I was privy to today. The word on the street was that Nottingham is not a great place to be-- dangerous, high chance of being robbed, especially in / around Sherwood Forrest (well, duh!) and in all, a little city wanting to be a bigger one. From what I saw, it was perfectly nice-- young professionals, good town center, basically loads better than where I live (granted, not that hard). I'm determined to see all of England before I move (not that there are plans to move... but eventually I'll move, as it's what I do...)... so Nottingham is another check on my long list of things to see in England.

Next up: Football match this weekend. Green Street Hooligans? Hope not... but you never know...

Friday, April 03, 2009

New York, New York

It was too short of a trip to my beloved NYC. I was so glad that MRN was able to find a last minute fare from England to join me for the weekend-- but the day and a half trip was a bit overwhelming for his first-ever trip to NYC. All the same, I had a wonderful time being "home" even though I only got to share about 1% of my favorite parts of the city with him. I DID however, get to cross one thing off of my "things to do before you move from NYC" list-- emmm... yes, there are still things that I never got to do (even after living there for nearly 8 years). And, I do still have the list. On it includes row-boating in Central Park. It was probably the only time that MRN felt "at peace" in the crazy, busy, noisy city that I love.