Monday, September 24, 2007

Tomorrow, NYC

Today, I passed through Paris, Delhi, Brisbane, Scotland...

Not in this particular order (as my cousin Alyssa made sure I pointed out), and all in Ontario.


Here in southern Ontario I finally have my summer tan. It's about 80F here in the day, that's about 27C.

The day I arrived (Thurs) I went bug hunting with the kids - we saw a cicada that couldn't fly, and worms, ants, wasps, and ladybugs.

And I put my goddaughter to sleep in her fancy Jeep stroller by walking her up and down the street in front of the house.

That evening, I went with Alyssa and her cousin Emily (who likes to say she's mine too) to Montana's, one of those bar and cookhouse type places where you get handmade burgers, bbq ribs, jalapeno poppers, tortilla wraps, steak and shrimps, etc. I had hot n spicy chicken wings, in a yummy crispy cornflour batter.

Saturday was just food shopping for Sunday, as my aunt was hosting 40 people at home after the Christening.
Sunday was another glorious day with an indescribably blue sky.

Today, Monday, was supposed to be a big one. Early afternoon, a trip to the cemetery for the one year anniversary of Jada's dad's passing; a scenic drive with my uncle in his MG; a shopping trip with Alyssa; a night at the movie with my aunt.

But we only managed the first bit, which took all day as one of the cars broke down on the side of the road about 45 minutes from home, and while we waited for rescue the sun went down. It was about a 2 hour trip each way, so it was those long Canadian roads that ate up our day!

And so, tomorrow I fly out to NYC.

I leave you with a couple of pics of my short visit to Ontario, though actually some of the best are on my phonecam [and I couldn't transfer them to the computer, so you have to wait till I get back to London]:

A hibiscus on my aunt's deck

Jada is a girlie girl

She is such a doll!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Before I say goodnight

Hi hi

At nearly 9.30, it is probably past my bedtime as I hope to leave for the airport around, what, 6.30am? Or even earlier...

When I travel I always need about an hour or more to get ready, fit in a light breakfast, and run around throwing in last minute bits n bobs. Why can you never think of those things earlier, even if you make a list???


When I left the art dealer's office this evening, I had that feeling - you all know it - a sudden sensation of freedom, of a weight lifted from the shoulders, free-as-a-bird. Something you only feel at the end of final exams in high school and university. Yes, you do know what I mean!

I think he hopes to see me there again in future. I didn't say NO, but didn't say YES either. Truthfully, I wouldn't mind taking on the database as a project part time, but I don't want to sit in that little office from morning till night as a PA. I need people around me. Speaking of which, I hear the boring co is interviewing 3 other candidates for the temp to perm role. Disappointing, as they had offered me the perm role outright and I didn't turn them down outright...and they knew last week that I was still

Seems a door closed that I thought had opened.

Also seems I am a bit middling in my responses lately, doesn't it?


OK, well I don't know when I will next be able to blog. Possibly not too long, actually, as my cousins wake up late and so I may have some extra hours mid-morning for emails and blogs and *ahem* Facebook

Still, I will miss you all. It's not the same when you're not in your own living room, on your own laptop, or your own time...But I will be sure to take pics of my godddaughter and fall colours in Ontario if there are any, and also loads of Manhattan!

Ciao ciao!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Two tag or not two tag

Jahooni, who has an enviably short middle name, tagged me to do this, and I hope she doesn't regret it by the end.

1.You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2.You must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3.At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Middle Name : melissa

(m) Melissa means "bee" in Greek and "honey" in Latin

(e)veryone makes a big deal of my Greek heritage even though I'm only quarter

(l)ittle children are drawn to me even though I am a bit shy with them

(l)oyalty is my motto

(i)ndependence I like, but not to the extent of loneliness

(s)ome people think I am too serious

(s)inging is my favourite artistic pursuit

(a) bunny rabbit hug would be most welcome right now

Man, that was hard!


I started this post a couple of days ago, but didn't get round to the body of it until tonight. I was so run down from the week-long physical imbalance - not eating or drinking enough, few breaks, and a constant headache - that I was as frozen as a block of ice last night. I curled up on the couch to watch TV, wrapped in a fluffy blanket. I don't even do that when I have the flu. And then I slept for 10 hours straight.

I dread Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at work. I wish I had lied about my departure date, which I initially thought was Tuesday until I looked at my itinerary. Tell you what, I need to learn to lie better. I've always known I was too honest for my own good.

Do you know, on Friday around mid-morning, I said to him I'd like to take my half-hour break earlier rather than later so that I could run to the chemist and pick up some tablets for my headache which was getting worse as the day wore on. He fended that off by saying we had a lot to get through first, so I hung on and snacked slowly on a bag of cheese puffs, since I cannot do anything but pay attention to what I am doing, as he won't stop talking if I pause to take a drink or sneeze. Around 2.15 I got the all-clear, buzzed off to buy fast-acting painkillers, and pick up some sushi. Thank God, a couple of people turned up not long after, and, not knowing how long they would stay, I swallowed the 6 pieces of sushi and seaweed salad in about 5 minutes. The headache, however, refused to go and persisted at about 40% for the rest of the day.

I'm not against working hard, but I am a human being. But nothing exists outside that office, it seems.


Planethalder has also tagged me...


It's a bit empty at the moment, full of bits n pieces and leftovers. Skimmed for her and semi skimmed for me. Lots of fruit juices and drinking yogurts and sport bottles, and some of her daily ginger concoction. Jam, salad dressings, olive oil spread, mayo. Eggs for cooking, eggs for eating. Some lamb chops marinading for tomorrow, houmous, crispy fried karila (an exotic vegetable). Chocolate chocolate chip muffins for my breakfast next week. A jar of that Peruvian chili sauce. Home-sliced emmentaler cheese. A jar of Loyd Grossman spaghetti sauce. Lemons, cilantro/coriander leaf, onions, garlic, ginger root, chilis.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I need to write a blog and do the two tags from Jahooni and Planethalder, but I am too tired.

You would not believe how hard this week has been with the art dealer.
I've spent a day assembling boxes and packing filing at an office, and not felt this tired.
Automaton is the word of the week.
No breaks, not enough food, a permanent headache, it's relentless.
Would you ever agree to work for someone who can go 8+ hours without stopping or eating or drinking one molecule?
It's not like public health is at stake here, or there's an immediate issue of national security!

Also have you ever heard of putting a kitchen sink and counter in a bathroom the size of a box? Naaaasty...Just as well I haven't had time for a cuppa tea. If I have to take instructions while I am in the loo, I will not be surprised.

So, might hear from me tomorrow, let's hope. Soooo glad it's Friday.

P.S. Are you surprised that I opted for the lesser of two evils and asked to temp long-term for the boring co? Will keep you updated.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Photo offensive

Sort of ought to go on a photo offensive of London, in case one day I complain: "I wish I'd taken more photos of London when I was there..."

Someone at the apartments has this fancy little Audi sports number.

The largest Hindu temple outside of India is of course in London.

The Lloyds of London building.
As some of you know by now, I love taking upshots of the tops of buildings.


Friday afternoon I left the grey suit company early and went for the handover with the PA at the art dealer (Mr AD), and after an hour of familiarisation, she left to go on her holiday, and I was thrown in at the deep end.

I finally get to do the things I have been waiting to do, and then I panic. After my first attempt at answering the phone and forgetting what to say, I think I will be fine, though the buttons throw me off still. I also had to call a shipping company to remind them of a needed quote, and then call them again to absolutely ensure that the painting will be in Ireland before next Friday evening to be hung in the dining room for dinner.

I ended up staying until 6.45 pm, with Mr AD, going through various images on the hard drive, assigning them to the correct files and naming them descriptively. The knowledge in his head needs to be organised into a framework. Anyway, when we were done, he said he could tell that I had an ability with the images. I did not know I would stay that long before I started on Monday, though.

Then I wended my weary way to an Aussie party at Ruby Blue, a stylish club with a dance floor, booths, and themed lounges. The group I joined was another going away party where I knew no one, Mr Gorgeous Eyes was at home with tonsilitis, so he gave my number to A.N. a friendly New Zealander who had informed me of the venue that morning. He was at the houseleaving party last week, we weren't introduced and I only glanced at him for 3 seconds in a group before leaving. However, he's the sort who takes you under his wing, so I was introduced to countless people.

The whole group were a mixture including Aussies, Kiwis, Brits, and all very professional, cosmopolitan people, not your stereotypical types. In fact, there were two typical Aussie lads there like the ones in the Fosters beer ads, and they stuck out like sore thumbs.

However, I spent most of my time chatting with a couple of Austrians. One of them reminds me very much of my friend Jason in Houston who is undergoing pilot training at the moment; both clean-cut and straight. He texted me today and we are meeting for a drink tomorrow after work, by the way...We're both going abroad next week so decided to meet up sooner rather than later.


Not a day goes by when I am not reminded of Houston or Texas - the Austrian is in oil&gas and has been to Houston. Yesterday I watched a load of Animal Cops Houston. Right now I am watching From the Earth to the Moon and seeing Mission Control in Houston. And last night my old roomie asked me yet again when I was going back.

I was recounting to my mother the day my dad took me to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Until the security measures occasioned by 9/11, they held an annual Open Day. We wandered amongst the buildings, went on mini-tours, saw the original Mission Control, fiddled with a scanning electron microscope thereby withering an ant's antennae, got a big NASA bag and filled it with goodies as we went along, including a bumper sticker I treasured for years, and one of those US Government-issue ballpoint pens they all use. Even 40 years later, there was still a general air of "something happening" within those unassuming 1960s-style buildings.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Nice weekend, worse week [EDITED]


Oh gosh! I've been offered a job at the pension/benefits company I'm temping with at the moment. I was there in April too, and they asked for me again this time. When she returned from holiday, the secretary I had filled in for offered me a job there. The thing is, back in April I was complaining about it. I don't know how they all wake up every morning and go in there to do what they do. But someone has to do it I guess. The place is full of actuaries. Do I have to tell you more?

I am flattered that they like my work and want me to stay, but to do what, shrivel up and die inside?

At the same time, I have a temp booking next week with a private art dealer on Bond Street :)
Lots of getting down and dusty and hands on, finally.

The interesting thing about the City of London, the financial district and original city, site of Londinium. Old juxtaposed against new in more startling contrast than the "newer" parts of London.



This week London was paralysed. Monday evening began a long-threatened 72-hour Tube strike that affected 9 of 12 Tube lines. I already live in the middle of nowhere and loathe having to travel an hour in to anywhere I need to go in town. So it took me an hour to get to my interview which unfortunately was at 7pm. I wasn't going to make it home in those heels, so I stopped at a shop afterwards and got a pair of nice dark patent leather Roland Cartier flats. And then I left my heels in the bus! I know I'm tired when I leave things behind.

I got home at a quarter to 10pm.

Tuesday it took me 2 hours to get into work. Tuesday evening, 2 and a half hours to get home. 4.5 hours travel time is unacceptable. I sat on a bus, then a train, and then another bus. My behind was so numb! At least I got a seat, but that is because I insisted on leaving after the major rush hour. There is no reason why I ought to fight hundreds of people to get on the same bus, is there? Lots of other people did the same thing. Why cause more chaos? Mine is not a time-sensitive job anyway, and I am only a temp.

Putting this in perspective, I live about 5 or 6 miles out of the centre of London. In the same amount of time, you could drive sort of slowly from a northern Dallas suburb to a southern Houston suburb and that's over 200 miles.)

After the first day everyone was fed up and no longer sympathised with the striking staff. I never had anyway. It was ended late on Tuesday night, but disruptions were rife as the system was rolled back out. So I took a different route home, but all on the Tube and not one bus on the agenda! It was exciting to be back home in a "mere" hour and a quarter!

Tomorrow it might be a "mere" hour into work. I used to complain that it wasn't 15 or 30 minutes, as I used to live so centrally I was round the corner from everything.


When your napkin is unfolded and placed in your lap before you've lifted a finger, you know you're in a good place...

On Sunday we went to The Petersham Hotel in Richmond for a family friend's 60th birthday luncheon.

Lovely setting, really precious hotel, and delicious food. The decor was classic Edwardian/Art Nouveau.

It began with a wine reception where we mingled in the anteroom, before being seated in the dining room with name cards, fortunately.

Starter: sweet red pepper broth with cubes of fresh mozarella under the surface, hot and chewy. The flavour of the broth was amazingly comforting, the sort of thing you'd eat on a rug in front of a blazing hearth. The bread, even the granary, was light and easy to eat with just the right chewiness.

Main: a proper English Sunday Roast. Succulent roast sliced sirloin, perfectly medium rare and not dense. The half-potatoes roast in the beef jus were tasty and crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. One little Yorkshire pudding (but then I could eat one the size of Rhode Island) and an intriguing gravy with a slight sweetness to it.

Dessert: the most perfect creme brulee I've had since Paris Cafe in The Woodlands. Bursting with vanilla pod, creamy, with a delicate shell-like layer of burnt sugar on top. Makes the ones in the shops look pedestrian.

Cheese plates: the obligatory blue cheese, smoked hard cheese, goat's brie, and camembert, served with oat crackers.

Tea/coffee and chocolates: enjoyed on the terrace with nice views.

PS. Matt reminds me that yes, these photos were taken with my fantastic Sony Ericsson k810i which I adore!