Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm off to New York this afternoon and I'm very excited. I will have four days with my friends Tom and George, I can eat pickles, and I can relax. I think I may even meet my friend Blane, who goes way back to teenage years, for a cocktail. This is going to be a great trip.

Things have been stressful at work, so this is a good time for a break. I've been really homesick lately. Mind you, even at the best of times I feel disconnected, which anyone who has a blog that tells them the approximate location of their visitors will know....their log will show them being stalked from GB, as I go to all friends blogs once a day (sometimes more if I think the time difference might miss an update,) just for news of the familiar. Note to some of my blogging friends...update more often, please. And if you don't have a blog, HELLO, I have email, too! So this little trip is going to give me a chance to connect. I really think it's going to help my mood, and make it easier to deal with the challenges in the workplace.

I may have time to give updates while I'm travelling, but if I don't you can expect pictures and stories when I return. Tom and Mindy are nothing if not good for stories.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a good weekend off.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Beware the wrath of the Fairies

No, this is not some sort of gay joke.

There is a construction project here in England that is being stalled by fairies who live under a rock. Read the story here.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Pauly Shore's new career

So Pop Idol is the UK show that crossed the pond as American Idol. Here in the UK, it has morphed into The X Factor, which is a bit more complex than the Idol format. There are still three judges...in this case, Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, and a little Irish leprechaun named Louis Walsh who seems to specialize in boy bands. (My theory is that he specializes in boy bands on, ahem, many levels, but I have no proof.) There are three categories of performers: 16 - 24's, 25 and overs, and groups. After a standard audition/selection process, the judges take the finalists from one group each and they further narrow the group and then mentor them thru the competition.

Sharon Osbourne has the over 25s, and they are by far the most talented of the contestants this year. Except for one. His name is Chico. He's a singing (slightly flat) dancing (read Chippendales) guy with abs of steel. The ladies go crazy for him, and he always enters the stage with screams of, "It's CHICO TIME!" And while certainly his physique shows a lot of time spent in the gym, I just can't get past his face. Here's Chico:













And here's who I see every time he's on screen:
Talk about a buzz kill. I mean, Son in Law may be a great movie and all, but Pauly Shore is no Brad Pitt. Heck, Pauly Shore is no Adam Sandler...he's not even Paul Giamatti. I can't believe England is swooning for Encino Man. (Known as California Man here, which I find even funnier.)

You tell me...who is THIS?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Geezer

Oy. My sciatica.

Actually, Oy! my floating rib!

My rib is, in fact, floating. More precisely, it is poking me when I move. I did some sort of slept wrong/coughed too much thing and put my right lower rib out about a week ago. It has gotten progressively worse, and by Monday I couldn't do ANYTHING without pulling a face. I went to an osteopath on Wednesday. He was like 10. Okay, I'm sure he's probably 30, and he was very friendly and helpful and put things back in line, but I felt like his grandmother. Thank GOD I could get myself onto the table, because if I'd needed assistance I'd have died. Those who've been to an osteopath before know that they massage and move things around and you often end up feeling worse before you feel better. At least that's the case with me. Today my rib isn't poking me, but I feel like I've been run over with a truck.

I joined a gym recently, and have been really good about going every day. I had to take Monday and Tuesday off because I would have passed out, but I managed to go yesterday. Today, though, I came home and moaned. I hope I feel better tomorrow.

Oh. And I've been filling in grad school applications and studying for my entrance exam. It's been 20 years since I had any math class, and boy does it show. I guarantee that my 14 year old nephew has better math skills than me. My verbal scores are high, though, and after I studied a bit my math ones were passable. I figure a bit more studying and I'll know my way around equations and fractions again. But it's really annoying that I've lost my touch. I was REALLY good at math. I've never scored below the 99th percentile on a standardized test in my life, so I have a high bar set for myself. I will NOT be okay with an average score. Which, considering that I haven't taken one of these pressure tests since 1983, is not going to be an easy task.

Bad back, can't remember my math skills, whippersnapper osteopath? Could I feel older? Yes, in fact I can...I looked in the mirror today and my grey hair roots are now unmaskable.

And then today I went out to the car, and some kid had scratched "geezer" into the frost on my windscreen. Little snot. If I had a cane, I'd shake it at them.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cauliflower Cheese and Baked Apples

I have been really busy at work this week, and although I have many things in my freezer that are delicious and healthy. Unfortunately, when you get home at 830 and really need to eat, you are stuck with either a) ordering a pizza, which is not tasty and not healthy, or b) eating what you can cobble together. Last night I was seduced by option A, which was a rash and very bad decision. Therefore I opted for B tonight. Here is what I had for dinner:

Half a whole-wheat pita and some hummus
two olives stuffed with a almonds
three carrot nubbins (not really baby carrots, so I had to reclassify them)
cucumber slices
cauliflower, steamed and tossed in a quickly made bechamel/cheese sauce
a small piece of ham intended as my protein for breakfast, but oh well

This was most definitely NOT a satisfying meal. But luckily, I had a bag of sub-standard eating apples sitting in the fridge...they were tart and all, but kind of mealy and I prefer an extremely crisp apple. I bunged them into a baking dish, added a little brown sugar and flour, some ginger and cinnamon, a couple of dabs of butter and a splash of cognac. 45 minutes later I am enjoying a not horribly unhealthy warm, delicious treat. Yum Yum.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

No Midlife Crisis

I'm watching an episode of What Not to Wear, and Trinny and Susannah are making over two middle aged guys with pot bellies who are starting to do that crazy thing men do in their forties...freaking out about getting old, buying sportscars, getting younger girlfriends/boyfriends.

Trinny has a good idea to solve this problem: admit there's a problem and get a makeover.

Stop dressing like it's 1985, buy some pants that fit, shave that balding head, grow a goatee or a beard or some face-slimming hair. Read a book or learn a language or something. You're only old because you're not moving forward in your life...you're looking backwards. You're never going to be 25 again, you're never going to look 25 again, and no car or younger lover or clothes you BOUGHT when you were 25 will change this. So embrace who you are, make yourself current, and enjoy the life you've been able to build in the last 15 - 20 years.

This is good advice for women, too. I'm going to follow it. Good lord...I have a cool job, I live abroad, I travel the world, I have cool friends, and I know a lot of stuff. Why on earth should I worry about lip lines?

Call for schedule requests

To those of you who live in MSP and Chicago, I'll be home for the holidays and with a few days over a month until I arrive I'm starting to work on my schedule. Email me your schedule request. And Lulu, I need your email asap.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Curb me and my enthusiasm

I worry that I am turning into Larry David.

Don't get me wrong. Curb Your Enthusiasm is a phenomenally funny show. I belly laugh every time I watch it. I own the first four seasons so I can watch it while I wait for the new season to start showing here.

But I don't want to BE Larry David. Larry David is rude, annoying, and inappropriate. He makes rash decisions and obsesses on insignificant things. He gets irritated and causes commotion where it's not necessary. Being Larry David is like being George Kostanza (in fact, Jason Alexander says he learned to play the character by imitating LD.) I don't mind being a Rhoda, I can even handle being a Charlotte (even though I wish I were a Carrie,) but I DO NOT want to be Larry/George.

Therefore I'm vowing a kinder, gentler Mindy. I am going to stop saying everything that comes into my head without considering the consequences. It's time to start reading Miss Manners more regularly. I'm going to ignore my tendency to get ooked out when a chair is warm from someone else's butt if I sit down, and I'm going to stop fixating on insignificant physical characteristics and assigning unflattering nicknames like "Single White Female" or "Electric Bluto" to people just because I don't like them. In fact, I'm going to stop taking a dislike to people full stop, unless of course I know for a fact that they're not nice.

So badly do I NOT want to be Larry David, I've even decided to give long-waisted people a chance.

Winter is Here

Last Friday, winter arrived. It was 60 or so when I went to work...kind of sunny, really pleasant. By the time I went to London on Friday night it was about 40, windy, and wet. I wasn't prepared for the cold snap, what with my strappy top and corduroy jacket, and so I was pretty cold by the time I got home at 2 AM. And it hasn't warmed up since.

I've been here a year now. In fact, November 2nd marked my official landing in the UK. I guess it was cold here when I arrived...I remember wearing a coat when I'd walk to work...but I guess it just seemed warm because it didn't snow or get blizzardy. I was still thinking in Midwestern weather terms, and so it seemed quite mild. But this year I lived through summer, and I know that just two weeks ago it was 75 and I was wearing shorts. Now I'm really crabby.

I needed to mow my lawn. I let it go, though, because Susan and Katie were here and it was more fun to hang out with them, and now I fear that it will be another 6 months before it's dry enough to cut the grass. I hope it doesn't grow over the winter.

New Blog

My mom hates conversations revolving around politics and religion. It drives her crazy when my dad and I get into political discussions, what since I'm a big liberal and he's a big conservative and we both love to bait the other. And she really hates it when I bring up politics on this site.

But politics are on my mind a lot these days. I'm angry and disenchanted...you might even say furious...at the way things are going in my homeland. I need to vent.

So my solution...a new blog.

Here's the plan. I will continue to update this blog regularly, in fact I'm vowing to update it several times a week instead of every week or so as it's been lately.

But I now have another blog called I'm a Liberal and You Should Be, Too where I'm going to express my political opinions. I won't have to worry that I'm upsetting my mother. I already do that by living 4000 miles away. Now my political entries will be housed separately, and she can read them only when she chooses. (As can my Republican friends who prefer not to hear me say "I told you so.")

And, since I know that my schedule will keep me from thoroughly covering current events that we liberals care about, I will welcome guest contributors and regular columnists to I'm a Liberal. I figure this will give those of you who have blogs with other themes or no blog at all a way to get things off your chest, too. Just email me or drop a comment to let me know you have something to say.