Thursday, January 31, 2008


Well, it looks like I have to stay home until next Wednesday. Not out of choice: because my boss thought I'd be out for two weeks and my consultant for three weeks, and I want to go back on Monday, I compromised.

Also, apart from thinking I'm still contagious, my boss doesn't want me going out in public and catching anything else until I'm much healthier. :)
But I feel useless and am not used to being out of action for so long.
And I am fed up of these tablets, 7 more to go (1.5 days) - the thought of taking my midnight one a few minutes ago...ugh, queasy...


Australia is banning incandescent bulbs in 2012. The US Congress has also passed a law for between 2012 and 2014. Oddly enough, they haven't got round to it here, of all places.

Did you ever think I would talk about lightbulbs? This means I really have nothing to blog about, plus my head hurts.

In Defense of Incandescence, an interesting and well-written article from Slate, which I enjoy browsing every day.


OK, alright, I could tell you I've spent the week so far browsing jobs and house shares in my selected locations across the USA. I mean, I've checked in every few months since coming to London (really!), but I'm really keeping up with it now.

Do you want to know where I am looking? NYC, Houston, Austin, the DC Metro area, and Asheville, North Carolina.
NYC - I've got London under my belt and might as well give this a go for a while. I want to experience that dynamic energy that everyone talks about. Plus I have as many friends there as I do here, half of them from Houston.
Houston - I miss it, it's damn hot but I miss it and I have friends there. The way of life is affordable and it's a world class city with all the arts, NASA (!), a lot of culture, and not at all your Texas stereotype.
Austin - it's the small but hip and sophisticated riverside university town that is also the Texas state capital. 6th Street is the densest area of music in the country, hence the long-running Austin City Limits show on PBS.
DC - Do I have to explain? It's a bit of the south and a bit of the north, with that whole Federal vibe that I love. And many years ago we were looking at buying a B&B in the area between southern Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina.
Asheville - I've had a thing about it since looking at the B&Bs there. It's pristine, artsy, cultured, with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and it's right by the Biltmore Estate. Plus it's said to be America's happiest city.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Butterfly Effect

Thanks to the shingles I am out of commission, apparently all week - that is what my boss expects. And this morning my consultant at the agency warned me I could be out for up to 3 weeks. No way! I was hoping to be able to wear something more formal than pyjamas by the end of this week! But I don't know, some of it is right along the bra line. Evil. And water on the skin? Forget it.

I am unable to go to a friend's birthday this weekend. I'm not contagious, but I don't want anyone to worry.

Well, the throbbing, pinching pain is mostly gone this evening, but there is a rawness, and the itching is becoming much more intense; there was even a little spreading yesterday, but it's definitely slowed down. It is easy to keep my hands off, but compression and warmth help, and when my hand is there compressing, the temptation to maybe scratch round the edges of the gauze and tape is sometimes too much...then there is a sort of stupid lingering pain under the whole area.

Oh! Must take my midnight dose. High dosage tablets, five per day for a week (probably because it's so poorly absorbed by the body). It's not hard to forget when you have something so pervasive. I almost watch the clock.

This thing is so wicked...more so than the original chicken pox. If you've had that then you must try to avoid developing shingles, ok? Which means, keep down your stress levels and keep up your immunity.


On to better things. I saw a movie the other night that we might enjoy discussing.

It's The Butterfly Effect.

First off, I am no fan of Ashton Kutcher. No, not even that, he's not even an issue. The actors in a movie don't influence whether I watch it or not, I'm not critical in that way. (I don't like Cameron Diaz but have watched There's Something About Mary twice.) But I must say, young Mr Kutcher did a good job in this.

It was a fascinating premise and one that obviously interests me as a psychology grad and a lover of some things sci-fi.

A psychology student called Evan (Kutcher) with a troubled childhood finds a way of travelling back in time and into the body of his childhood to certain events in his life via his journal entries. In this way, he is world-wise enough to tweak the main events that influence his life in order to improve the long-term outcome. After each episode he returns to the present but often with drastic changes, and he must undergo a fit during which his memories are rewritten and he suffers some hemorrhaging. However, each attempt is detrimental to his life and the lives of the people who are closest to him.

Depending on which event he tries to control, the outcomes are wildly varying and he goes further back each time to find the root problem.

The final solution means he must return to a day when he says something that turns the love of his life, Kayleigh, away from him forever. And only then do their lives take a normal path. Of all the variables, it had to be her.

Finally, Evan finds himself at the college dorm, roommates with the friend Kenny who in all other scenarios had been tied to a bed in a mental hospital, but who is now studying architecture. He experiences the hemorrhage...Kenny asks if he needs to see a doctor...he insists everything will be alright now, then asks "How's Kayleigh?"
And Kenny says, "Who's she?"

Sad, but triumphant, ending.

Some years later, working in NYC, Evan passes Kayleigh on the street. They glance at each other the way you do when you get the feeling you've seen someone somewhere before, except he knows who she is. She then looks back at him but keeps walking. Then he looks back too, but shakes his head and keeps going. He has chosen to keep the solution uncompromised.

I hope you find the time to watch it.


Oh my gosh!! 'Tis getting worse. Please tell me not to scratch it!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

You are not going to believe this...

...but I'm unwell again. OK, no sniffles or anything this time, but I've never been this unhealthy in my life. My skin is ow ow ow. Apparently it (shingles) happens to certain nerves during times of stress (check), depression (check), and when you're run down (check).

So yes, it was another miserable week struggling to work with severe delays going to and fro on every Tube line I use. I'm getting fed up of discussing it daily - that and the weather.

Took me an hour and a half to get home today. It should only take about 40 minutes, but on no single day has that ever happened. Signal failures, a person taken ill on a train ahead, severe speed restrictions, cancelled lines, etc. You name it, they do it. I am exhausted every time I arrive home, and will even skip social gatherings.

I live 8 miles (about 13 km) from the office. It takes an hour on a good day. How long does it take you to travel that sort of distance?

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Oh dear me, I am being a bit naughty.

Having been unable to stay on the internet for long since moving in here, first because the provided wireless internet signal is weak at this height, and secondly because for the past few days the network has not even accepted my entry, I got fed up.

Landlord's son has promised to boost my connectivity with a plug in thing soon. Until then, I am very naughtily using my phone, plugged in to my laptop as a wireless modem using the mobile network. Sort of expensive, but not nearly as much as pay as you go dialup, and much faster. Anyway, you may remember the many other bills I'm no longer paying. So it evens out. Justified?

I got bored of not visiting all my fave blogs!

Many thanks to those of you who kept visiting even though you weren't seeing my face round yours.


Rain, rain, go away and come again another day.

It's been raining for the past 2 weeks or more, and there's still more on the horizon.

This weekend I planned to put my wellies on and build my own ark. But it's toooooooooooooooooooo windyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I stuck my head out of my skylight last night and it took my breath away!

Don't be surprised if Great Britain separates from its moorings and docks in a foreign port pretty soon. That is, unless it doesn't sink first from all the rain which has nowhere to go.


And another thing, you know those ridiculous "millions of dollars up for grabs because they can't find the next of kin/can't transfer foreign funds"-type spam emails?

I got the stupidest one today. Yahoo insisted that I had a new email, so I scrolled and scrolled and could not find it! You see, sometimes one of my friends' emails arrives a day late or so.

I found that I could sort by unread and guess where this email was!

At the very beginning of my account, dated 9/18/99, right after my "Welcome to Yahoo! " message from 8/19/04.

Now that, I call sneaky. What do they ever accomplish by sending this crap?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Here's the situation

OK, a few of you have asked, and maybe some are wondering but not asking, when I am going back to the US since I've been going on about it for months.

It's still happening, not a pipe dream, but I've got 5 year old roots here and it's not that easy. I have to make a slow transition although I'd have liked to be out already. But yes, I dread nearly every day it won't be hard.

First let me explain why we left the new 2 bedroom flat in Harrow. We hated it and the area, but even when I moved in I knew we'd be looking elsewhere. So we broke at 6 months in November with a move-out date of 7 January, but by Christmas Day we had nothing and offices had been closed for days by then. Getting desperate I decided to look at houseshares as a place to camp out until we found our own flat. But let me tell you, I didn't want to find a two bed flat for obvious reasons...kept sending my mother one bedroom listings and she kept asking to see the 2-beds. Anyway, we found this place on 27 December and we came to see it, with me running a fever and everything, cos remember I got that fluey thing on Christmas Eve. On the 28th we signed contracts, and that weekend the landlord's son came to take some of our suitcases. The weekend after that we came over with the moving van, by which time my mother had caught the same thing as I had!

The flat is still not rented out yet and I'm holding my breath waiting for the agency to ask me to pay January rent on that too (eep!) It's a desirable corner property with half a good view so I can't imagine what people are fussing about.

Anyway, think about it. We've decided not to find our own place, as we now have all inclusive rent - my name was on all the bills, taxes and contracts for everything and I felt tied down. Now I'm more free than I was before. I also wanted to see my mother set up here before I abandoned her (that's how she saw it at first). So she is training for a new home help officer job.

I was going to buy a one-way ticket for my friend's wedding in June but it's only June 1 and we've just moved here and it's bloody tiring. I want to rest a bit first! I will pack suitcases, as it's thankfully not one of those moves where you ship stuff over.

Also, the company I am still working at know I wanted to be out of here by June, but I'm now on maternity cover and also now the only secretary until things get heavy again - the last long termer has now left and fellow blogger and short termer went home yesterday. The company will know what their secretary on maternity leave will decide by August. So I wisely decided to stay until then. It will be nice to earn and save *my own money* before the upheaval.

And so my goal date is September. That also makes sense for wrapping up taxes, packing, notifying companies, and gives me time to sell a lot of my things, etc.

The floor is now open for discussion...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Internet phantom

Apologies for not coming around the blogs still. I've had no internet this weekend, and of course spent the 3 weekdays I was home falling asleep over my laptop before I even finished reading my emails, let along the blogs :(

I properly rested this weekend, though....I think.

If you click on the comments from my last post you will see my replies to you all, you're so lovely!

As for the room, there's a pause in packing away things. So still some suitcases around as we can't be bothered to move the furniture from in front of the eaves storage doors. *sigh* So no room pics yet.

London last week and this coming week will continue to be drenched in stupid rain. I remember once there was a thing called the sun, but that's not been seen within living memory.

I am fed up of sleeves and layers, fed up of gloves, scarves, hats, umbrellas, and fumbling with them in the street and when I sit in the Tube. I am fed up of looking down and not up. I am annoyed at the way my bag handles always pop off my shoulder when I wear coats.
And I really detest getting up in the dark and going home in the dark.
I've had it with twisting my ankles on the crooked paving stones in the street.
I am also really miffed at the way the trains are delayed every morning and I can't get anywhere without diversions now.

And don't even get me started on UK politics.

This morning I was watching some political commentary programme and something occurred to me (and at the time I wrote a most eloquent and succinct blog in my head and hope I can keep it that way, though I usually get too loquacious).

David Cameron (erstwhile Tory candidate) came on and was mentioning how when Gordon Brown first took over after Tony Blair stepped down, there was supposed to be an election. This is what I don't get about British politics.

Tony Blair:
I'm leaving Downing Street next summer.
No, I'll be out in the spring.
I'll call an election.
No hang on, 3 more months.
I'll not call an election.
Well, no, give it another month.

Gordon Brown has long wanted to be PM, but this is not the way to do it. He moved into Downing Street. The Tories were ahead in the polls. He cancelled the election. (Note that I am not giving any direct cause and effect there.)

But this is not a democratic process is it? PMs can call elections or cancel them as is their wont. Shouldn't there be a time limit? Oh, and also, Blair could have stayed for as long as he wanted, or called another election but he wouldn't have won. They are thinking of instituting a 2-term limit as in the US.

So David Cameron is in limbo. Imagine if Hillary (notice how she's dropped the Rodham she so distinctly started out with?), Obama, McCain, and Edwards suddenly had to abandon their campaigns tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy Belated New Year

All the best for 2008, may all your wishes be fulfilled.

How was your New Year's?

A friend from uni in Houston stayed with us, yes, between all the boxes and packing, but he was like a pause of sanity in the middle of all the stress.

I've only just gotten over the fluey thing I had since Christmas Eve. Last week I coughed so much, my rib hurts whenever I do it again which is not much as it's effectively gone. *whew* Almost suspect I had bronchitis.

This weekend was most stressful. Thursday night an old friend came round to dismantle some furniture and store it in his garage to sell.

Friday morning the moving men came and moved us...

Saturday and Sunday are a blur, just lots of black rubbish bags in the flat, clearing out, trudging to the rubbish skip and the charity shop, mopping, wiping, cleaning.

Not done yet, Monday morning the estate agent did an inventory and we handed over the keys but as they haven't found a tenant yet we still have to pay rent, etc. Then I got to work and flopped at my desk.

Needless to say, even on Tuesday night I am still tired. I had a waking dream at my desk today. The last time that happened was last winter at the other finance job I had, and I had bad afternoon slumps because I was going in early. Now I have flexi hours and am much more alert all day, apart from this tiredness.

However, now we are out of that flat and out of Harrow we feel much more free.

My loft room is adorable, but I will only take pictures when every box is gone and my TV is up, but there is no antenna connection yet. That might happen next weekend.

We must be merciless in getting rid of all sentimental objects that reflect 30 years' worth of family life and 4 bedroom houses. It would be great to be able to live out of 3 suitcases, but it's just not possible. The only things I am keeping are the sturdy stool with the woven grass seat that my Dad made at school, and the delicate cosmetics shelf he put together for me to use at the university residence hall 8 years ago.