Friday, September 29, 2006
Saturday we went shopping on Regents and Oxford Streets, ate dim sum in Chinatown, and had tea and dessert at Yauatcha in Soho. She had brought a class photo and we tried to remember the names of all the girls...who had saggy socks or side ponytails, the names of our teachers, and how Miss Roberts ruled with an iron fist.
Sunday, neither of us felt well - she with a dodgy tum, and me with the usual pounding headache. We both took naps and she came over to see me at home around 3pm where we looked at photos and smelled perfumes and girlie things like that. Then we went for a walk in Regent's Park and even made it as far as the Queen Mary Rose Garden where we took lots of photos of roses.
Monday and Tuesday she went to Edinburgh to see her old university chums.
On Wednesday evening she came to the City, where she had wanted to hear evensong at St Paul's because she likes organ music. Then I took her to le Coq d'Argent at Poultry where we had rooftop views over the City, and enjoyed a cocktail. After that we went up to Finchley Road where we had Indian food at a restaurant I know, and the manager told me he hadn't seen me in months.
She thanked me for being her friend and being so kind all those years ago. When I visit her in Tokyo one day, she will take me to Kyoto.
On Wednesday evening, she wished she could stay another week. Two and a half days were totally not enough to catch up on 18 years!
I promise there will be better pictures when she sends the ones she took :)
St Paul's Cathedral - 4.21pm, Monday 25th September
A very old top (gift from Lydia) paired with a skirt I bought when Haruko and I went clothes shopping!
Haruko after Dim Sum in Chinatown (her choice)
She gave me a pretty little phone charm...
...and a green tea canister with pretty sweets, including a sugar rabbit, in a gift basket...
...and really good incense. Check out all the rabbits here too...
I'd love to say more, but am yawning my head off and haven't even packed for the weekend. I had to blog about last weekend before experiencing this weekend!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
I've known Alyssa since she was a tiny little thing. She is very tall now, so I am her "little big sister". We are 7 years apart, so when she reached the age where we could talk as equal adults, she was so honoured to tell me things, but still when I see her she wraps her long arms one and a half times round my waist.
Right now I am hurting for her so badly. After a string of awful boyfriends, she finally found the right one. They were friends for 6 years before even going out this year. She is 3 months pregnant, and they were talking about getting married someday. I cried my heart out for her last night. She is grieving, like a widow, my little Lala.
Before, I was going to Canada at Christmas to hug her and see her tummy. Now I just want to hold my little cousin close to my heart.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
It's been a drag to get out of bed this week because I'm back to having tired achy bones and they feel so heavy when I get out of bed. They bothered me yesterday and I spent the afternoon fidgeting in my seat.
Wednesday, my alarm was going off for 10 minutes before I heard it. Then I hit the wrong button and slept for another half hour. Woops.
When that happens, I just eat breakfast later at the office.
Had a headache in the afternoon, but mostly mid-morning was feeling nauseous enough to get sweaty palms. It had passed by lunch, so I managed to eat my hot wrap, which wasn't that great anyway.
Then my boss told me to go out and take a walk and get some fresh air!
When I came back I felt normal and she asked if I felt better, and I said "Yes, much better thanks!" with so much sparkle that she thought I was being facetious. But I did have a spring back in my step.
At about 4, she told me I could leave half an hour early. Valuable time because I had errands to run. I had made an attempt Wednesday but the shops I wanted were closed by the time I got there.
So today at Butler & Wilson, I bought a wee handheld mirror with finely worked enamel flowers and foliage and two ladybirds on the back. And so nicely gift-wrapped. They do that without asking.
A friend I have not seen in 18 years. When I was 10 or 11, we had an expat student from Japan at St Andrew's. She was so shy she did not speak.
This didn't work for the original girl she was assigned to, so she was reassigned to me. Our desks were in pairs, so we generally hung out in that configuration too, and Haruko and I were inseparable. We communicated by scribbling in our Rough Books, so we got through them pretty fast but the teachers were understanding as they knew H was too shy to speak.
The year I moved to America, Haruko cried a lot, and finally her parents sent her to a Japanese school.
A few years after discovering the Internet, I Yahoo!ed for her name, but there were too many directories full of people with that name. Then, last year she Googled my name and found me through my blog! :)
Oh lookie, I forgot to give you the Sikh wedding links from last month. Here, and then it's off to bed for me.
Or if that doesn't work:
Olivia signing off
Monday, September 18, 2006
The infamous Bag Tag bag when it is full, with pashmina on top so it doesn't close. But it is still really handy!
Rebelling from the City suitiness or even hint of a suit, back in my arts world West End ensemble.
I rarely do polka dots...these ones work for me, though. It's a bit retro specially with the pearls, which are real by the way and cost 10 quid and come from Nepal.
These are the comfy American shoes I wore when I walked across London after work for an hour and a half. I wish I had them in black too. My English shoes give me blisters and hurt my soles.
Seen on my long walk that evening. One of the many quirky Tudor constructions wedged between later buildings on Fleet Street.
A pretty red strawberry after lunch at the office. The sunshine streaming through the window made it glow and I had to capture it before eating it.
The worst toe popout so far. Even when I got to the office in the morning, the left ladder was visible past my shoe. It was my first day wearing them.
My unusual pewter and enamel brooch from a Carnaby Street boutique. Worn on a dress down Friday when I splash out into colour.
And the best for last:
My window companion, St Paul's Cathedral with the sun right above the cross on the cupola on the dome. taken with a special effect on my phonecam.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
On Monday I went to work. Here in London it was partly cloudy and got to 30C (about 88F), and it was so lovely when I left the office that I decided to see if I could walk part of the way home, from St Paul's in the east to Bond Street in the west.
I went in a couple of circles trying to get my bearings in the City, which I am somewhat familiar with but don't visit enough, so I bumped into St Paul's Cathedral twice, after going the wrong way to the Barbican and Museum of London. I was looking for Fleet Street and think I glimpsed it from Holborn Viaduct. Eventually, I cut through Shoe Lane to Fleet Street, and rather than staying on Holborn to Oxford Street, I went down to Aldwych. I wanted to go through Covent Garden to Leicester Square, but ended up skirting past it - I could see it up the streets I passed. After a while I left deep Theatre Land and once I got to Trafalgar Square, I knew I had made it, to my old stomping grounds. I went up Haymarket to Piccadilly to Regent Street and from there up Oxford Street to Bond Street Station, where I took the Tube and went home after dark.
It took an hour and a half and was well worth it. Why is it that my American and Italian shoes are more suited to walking than my English ones??? (They give me blisters!)
Anyway, you would love the quaint architecture and the narrow, crooked little pubs along Fleet Street. Not to mention the Gothic arches of the Royal Courts of Justice and the Georgian facade of temple Bar.
I should do that walk again before the evenings draw in sooner.
I took pics to share, but it would take too long to post them.
Monday, the firm had engaged a second temp for the week to ease off some of the pressure of the current project. She was called Olivia too, 32 from South Africa, married with a 10 year old daughter. From a distance she looked 10 years younger because of her freckles and snub nose. We talked about age and being only children (her daughter is), and she said I looked fantastic for my age.
Unfortunately she didn't get the hang of it and they sent her home at 4.30.
Tuesday, I went to work again. Captivating, eh?
Usually I don't get a place in a crowded carriage at rush hour, but that morning I got shoved in and wedged by an old man's giant stomach. It was a proper protuberance, and boy was he grumpy. As I oozed into the carriage I knew I would get stuck. I didn't have to hold on to anything or even stand, really, because I was in that tight.
At Baker Street, people inside the carriage wanted to get out. It is common courtesy for the people on the platform to let someone back first on if they get off to make way, but that was not an issue for him. He was staying put. As people surged towards the exit and others jostled to make space and I fought to keep my footing, I looked backwards at him beseechingly but he gave me a look of defiance. At first I got a lot of dark looks until they realised it was him blocking the door.
Today I went to work again (I know!), and was relieved to see the second temp had made it to her second day.
This week all the financial and economic terms are not as unfamiliar, I have more confidence to anticipate and edit what the interviewees are saying, and the annual reports are not a load of mumbo jumbo (OK, hehe, maybe they are, but I can refer to them with confidence now). I am also not as physically exhausted as I was in the first two or three weeks, although spelling can be a challenge for me at this time of night.
Oddly enough, it is not my fingers that get tired, rather it is the signal from the brain that doesn't reach my fingers properly. Brain talks and fingers go haywire, hitting keys almost at random. Good thing we have backspace and this is not on paper.
On the Tube this morning, I finally hit on the solution for being too big for my size 6 trousers (US 2) and still too small to upgrade to a size 8 (US 4 - it would be silly if I did, I shuffle around in eights like a vagrant). Anyway, the solution is to wear more skirts and dresses! It's not as if I am short of them, but I don't usually favour them for the office. However, they are more comfy to sit in. Monday I wore a skirt, and today I wore a dress.
I have thrown away two pairs of tights this week owing to my stupid toes popping out: a pair of natural sheers that I worked through on my long walk on Monday, and a pair of black holdups that I wore today, and half my feet were protruding by the time I reached the office! So on the way home I went to John Lewis for some reinforced toe tights. I keep my toenails as short as possible and smoothly filed, so it's not that. How can they sell so many non-reinforced toe tights?
Then it was on to M&S at Marble Arch for a couple of days' worth of dinner elements, and I thnk the staff recognise me now. I have been there innumerable times, but once you go to a shop regularly after work you become recognisable, even if it is only once a week. I had a great chat with the girl on checkout who asked how my day went, and wanted to know what figs taste like. By the time I left, it was raining with vigour and the bagpiper was still going strong outside Selfridges.
I had no umbrella, so my hair right now is all nice and curly-wavy in a very 1930s way, but unfortunately I have to wash it tonight.
And the thunder is most fun to listen to. Thunder in London! I looooove thunder. Mum used to say it was God moving the furniture around.
A few bursts of thunder, the clouds have opened, and now the thunder is veritably cracking across the sky!
And so I bid you goodnight.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
From time to time I get fed up with how PERSONALLY the Brits take Americans, like they personally came to their house and stole their garden gnome or something. Like they BEGRUDGE THEM THEIR VERY EXISTENCE.
ALL I WAS TRYING TO DO WAS LOOK FOR THE ORIGINATION OF THE AMERICAN MINDSET! FOR HEAVEN"S SAKE AND I DON"T CARE IF I AM ALL IN CAPS.
I can't include every aspect and every nuance of every position. I can't take into account everyone's history. I knew how many of you would react, BUT I am surprised AND A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED that I would have to be defended from YOU ANONANON OF ALL PEOPLE! Not nice of you at all, not nice, Anon. You have never even been to America, let alone lived there.
THANK YOU Rebecca, Rox and Matt for your understanding. We are indeed entitled to our opinions, and putting mine here naturally invited yours, but geez. I was slightly hurt all afternoon about what Anon said.
And yes, I was falling asleep as I wrote it, and I didn't want to court controversy, and I did dread what people would say. I'm not brave like Leilouta. I wish I could say I will never do this again, but I probably will, once or twice a year seems to be my limit.
I have read de Tocqueville - I own the book. I have read some of the Constitution, and I have read some of the Federalist Papers, albeit a long time ago, but I was merely looking at the surface in my short blog. Yes I know America is not an Athenian democracy, I know it is a Republic. So what. It's still really free. Why do you think so many people still want to live there, including the Brits that are hemorrhaging to America from the British Isles?
I was talking about the people who built the nation, the ideals informing the modern American, not the people whose backs they built it on. That is another story, and one which all nation builders and white men are guilty of.
As I said, Americans will never be ideologically European, so stop hating them for it. They have a different history in their blood.
And Rebecca, well said - it was British ancestors who made America what it is.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Don't anybody blog on Tuesday, I haven't finished reading them today! *pout*
I should not be writing this, I wanna go beddy bye.
But, many of you have talked about 9/11 so I ought to acknowledge at least one event on my blog without inviting a political debate, although I did have an interesting thought while I was washing my face this morning.
America will never be like England.
America does not have an inferiority complex. It is not a nation formed out of repeated invasion;. Rather, it is a nation formed of repeated independence from colonial powers by political, religious, and social pioneers. It has won independence from England, France, Spain, and then Mexico, in parts even Germany.
It was founded on a group that desired freedom - however much that Puritanical mindset still informs the average American citizen...what is, is.
It is founded on the the pursuit of one's dreams and the definite belief that they can be fulfilled.
It WON independence from an imperial colonial power. It was founded on the fundamentals of democracy, the first one since Athens.
It is populated by people descended from tough pioneers who spent hundreds of years forging through untamed wilderness and creating civilisation in the middle of nowhere.
Stop turning up your nose at it for having "no history" - what is a 16th century town, if not historical?
Stop expecting Americans to suddenly become Europeans.
America will never be England, and yet, Americans love you Brits so much despite your sneering and condescension, so give them a chance...
My recollection of 9/11.
I was in bed at my university, in Houston. It was about 7am and both my roommate and I were asleep. The phone rang, Vanessa picked it up and answered. She was confused and handed it up to me on the top bunk with the words, "It's your mom, she says turn on the TV."
I turn on the TV in time to see the second plane hit. From then on the day is a blur.
Classes are cancelled and wherever on campus or in the residence halls that there is a TV, it is on with a crowd gathered round. By lunchtime, the place is half empty. Houston has been designated a serious target with its oil reserves, and most of the local students have gone home to be with their families.
Dad calls me and says I should fill up my car before the gas stations get stampeded and run dry. I only have to wait for about 3 cars, but later the situation intensifies.
Other than that, things calm down relatively quickly as the rest of the nation focuses on New York City. One diversion is the Air National Guard planes that make regular sweeps over the skies of Houston and its outlying areas.
I do not remember if I went home, which is odd. The rest of the week on campus, we are rather subdued. We held a memorial service at the Chapel of St Basil. And all of us grew up a little bit. The whole world left yet another era of "innocence" behind.
Later on, we find out that three, yes three of my cousins were in the area at the time. Ironically, my cousin Sabrina who was a bank manager in the tower at the time of the 1993 bombing, left her job afterwards and moved to another bank down the road so she was certainly on hand to witness the next bombing.
My cousin Ryan, happened to be visiting one of the towers that day but was on the ground or first floors and so he got out extra quick.
But my cousin Marlon was on the 80-somethingth floor of the second tower, and disregarding everything everyone said about staying put, he grabbed his secretary's hand and immediately headed downwards. He urged his colleagues to do the same, but the time they spent gathering their belongings and being indecisive, meant that he never saw them again and lived with survivor's guilt and debilitating depression for about two years afterwards.Amazing.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Those, like me, paid on an hourly basis, are rewarded for production and attendance.
So, the salaried people can pop out for a half hour and go to the post office or the bank with no loss. If I have to run an important errand, I lose money, but it must be done because everything is closed when I get out of the office.
So, I am back to the days of the post-luncheon, mid afternoon slump. One of my psychology professors called it PPT: Post Prandial Torpor. He was darned right, he was.
The other day I got so sleepy that I had my second ever waking dream. My first one occurred when I was up till 7am writing a philosophy paper at university. I was typing one moment, next moment I was seeing a boy and girl leaving a shop, and the next I was looking at my computer screen again. I don't remember what this most recent waking dream was about, but I do know there were 3 elements or scenes to it.
The yummy thing about the particular drowsiness I am having now is that it is rather easy to relish, like the itch of a wobbly tooth. You feel enveloped and deliciously sleepy. Oddly enough, I do not stop typing. In fact, it becomes easier to hear what the interviewees are saying, since my brain has stopped filtering and resisting the information and merely accepts it and sends it to my fingers. So, words that I might struggle to decipher and replay repeatedly in a more alert state, are easier to hear during PPT*. I wonder if this condition is comparable to the early stages of hypnosis?
*Although the skill of editing and rephrasing goes right out the window.
In other news, I read that Matt Lucas, the rotund and hairless star of Little Britain, has bought a one million pound luxury pad in St John's Wood with his new husband. Will there be a sighting? Stay tuned.
As promised, the Secret Life of Purses tag from Leilouta:
This is what I carry to work on a weekday in my soft Tula bag:
- Pashmina because the A/C is cold and a cardigan is not enough. I am like a lizard now, I wear lots of black so I can soak up extra warmth from the sunlight that comes through the window.
- Diary and favourite aluminium pen from Muji. If they stop selling refills I shall cry.
- Apple flavoured chewy Japanese sweets.
- Tissues, rarely used but when they are, very necessary.
- Pink leather Penhaligons travel card wallet (adorable with an extra back pocket).
- Big leather Hilfiger keyfob, easy to find with little digging (free in goodie bag at Christie's banquet).
- Ted Baker mentholated lip gloss (cold! - this will be fun in winter) and citrusy hand lotion.
- Never Too Busy to Be Beautiful lip tint (tastes like chocolate, but is very conditioning). With this and the gloss, my lips have never been softer than they are now.
- Cooling eyedrops. It would take years to finish so much.
- 4711 Eau de Cologne cooling scent stick and wipes.
- Brushed aluminium Body Shop folding mirror.
- New Sony Ericsson Walkman phone, old SE T610, and ear buds in little mesh bag.
- Fendi wallet and Pucci handkerchief
My bag is awesome. In addition to all of that, when the top is open it's like a bucket, to take the pashmina and a folded newspaper. It has a zipped pocket, a phone pocket and a bigger pocket, and the lining is cream flock. And on the handle is attached my Chinese jade "Love, Happiness and Double Celebration" charm. Bring on the Love!
[It took me a day to think of who to tag!....I tag Panda-Eyed, Tooners, Jia Li, Floatykatja, Lunaliar, Rebecca, Roxandra, and Merserene]
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Actors I have seen on the streets of London in the last month - as usual, the ones nobody else recognises:
Julian Wadham, eyeing up some shirts in the Muji on Tottenham Court Road, where I was buying some stationery.
He usually plays aristocratic fellows in period dramas and is also very Shakespearean. He was in The English Patient. He attended Ampleforth at the same time as Rupert Everett. Julian and Rupert. Actually, they did witty dialogues together.
Kathryn Drysdale, with her boyfriend at the Waitrose I go to on Finchley Road. She was in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps as annoying squeaky Louise, and in other minor series'.
And finally, today I saw Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, with their mother Sarah, the Duchess of York.
I was walking down Wimpole Street (Harley Street area for you non-Londoners) when I came upon a dark Jag parked with all the doors open and flanked by two drivers. I glanced in as I walked past and saw a girl bending over to get something out of her handbag on the floor.
It's wierd, the moment when you recognise someone you've barely seen - her mousy brown hair and her blunt profile instantly said to me "Princess Beatrice".
Fortunately, I was just going across the road to the museum in the British Dental Association HQ. So I hung about on the steps for a few minutes and then I saw another dark car draw up behind. They all got out and hugged, and at that point I was no longer thinking of who they were because I was doubting my eyes. Fergie is just a middle-aged lady with flat shoes and a handbag. She must be on sabbatical from Weight Watchers because she wasn't wearing make up and her flame red hair is fading to grey, and I bet she is more freckled than ever now. Of course her identity was confirmed when I saw the familiar stumping gait, as she and a bodyguard went a little way down the street, rang the bell and entered the building. After that, the car containing the princesses drove past and one of them looked at me.
So I got looked at by a Princess. :P
Coming upon a Royal incidentally is much cooler than coming across an actor because Royals are so sheltered.
Yes, of all the afternoons I could have chosen to go and see the accountant, and at that very moment, when I had already spent 15 minutes wandering around the area drinking my smoothie and reading the blue plaques because I was half an hour early for my appointment.