Friday, 27 November 2009

Thanksgiving



So yesterday was Thanksgiving. One of my favourite holidays. Last year I was back in Minnesota feasting with Cory and her family. We had a great feast at her sister in laws husband's family farm. My mouth is watering at thought of it. The food was great, but I will say that Cory's mom Peggy makes the best pies.

This year I didn't really celebrate it. I was debating over whether or not I should make a dinner for Matthew, but Thanksgiving is more than just the meal. It's just not the same when you come home from a long day at work and then have to prepare the feast.


I might make a dinner for Sunday. We're having a friend who just moved down to London from Birmingham over for lunch. I could do a turkey dinner. I've never cooked a turkey in my life, but how hard could it be?

Anyways... so yesterday I went to work. I had the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade on in the back ground on my desk top. I also had on Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving day special. How could it be Thanksgiving without that?

I ended up going for a massage after work and Matthew and I had a glass of wine and a turkey sandwich from Marks & Spencers. I think I could definitely get into that tradition while I am in the UK.

I really look forward to the day when Matthew and I are in the States for Thanksgiving. I can't wait for him to experience a nice lazy Thanksgiving full of family, friends and feasting.

I hope everyone had a lovely Turkey Day! Have a great shopping day to all my friends in the states.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Trains deaths

Last Wednesday night when I arrived at the station to head home I was told that there were no more trains running due to a person jumping in front of a train.

From time to time when traveling on the tube you'll hear that trains will be delayed due to a passenger under a train. That is sad as well, but when someone jumps in front of a train at the Harrow and Weadlstone you just get such a vivid mental picture.

Harrow and Weadlstone is an open station and has six platforms. You get the Bakerloo line, trains and then the fast trains.

Let me tell you the fast trains fly by there, so fast that the noise is deafening. They rip through the station at around 225 miles per hour.



It's just so sad. Apparently the Harrow and Wealdstone train station is a popular spot for this such activity. On my very first day of work services were delayed because of a person jumping in front of a train. I remember being a bit unsettled by it.

It's just something that I wouldn't have encountered in Minneapolis. I know it's not the most cheery of subjects to blog about, but it's part of my life now. It just makes you stop and think when you're faced with something like on the way home from work.

Delays after death at Harrow and Wealdstone train station

5:39pm Wednesday 18th November 2009


A PERSON was killed after being hit by a fast train at Harrow and Wealdstone station today.

Paramedics raced to the scene after the incident, at around 3.30pm, involving the London Euston to Wolverhampton service.

The person was found dead at the scene.

The British Transport Police have confirmed they are not treating the death as suspicious.

London Midland and London Overground services have been hit by severe delays and cancellations, while the Bakerloo Line is suspended between Harrow and Wealdstone and Kenton.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Lunch dreams

As I am sitting around doing nothing on my lunch break it occurs to me that I could perhaps write a blog post. Considering that it's been a month since I last posted anything. So what will I write about?

Lunch.

Lunch time in Harrow (where my office is located) is somewhat of a dismal affair. The offerings are slim and depressing. We've got some chicken and chip shops that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, a McDonalds, a Tesco Express (which just opened a month ago) and a smelly Budgens.

There is one good restaurant, a small Thai place that does a really good lunch for a fiver. As much as I love Thai, you can only eat so much of it.

I've selected this M&S photo montage to represent what I wish I was having for lunch. To be fair there is a M&S over in Harrow and I have taken the bus there a few times to spice things up. It's about a 25 min round trip journey. I know I will sound like an utter snob, but I just can't do the Tesco sandwiches.

The other option would be to plan ahead and just either make my own lunches or go to M&S and stock up for a few days at a time. That would be the sensible thing to do, but then what would I have to complain about?

I am also not the kind of person who likes to spend her valuable time shopping for lunches after work. Once I get off the train I want to just get home. I know it's going to sound incredibly lazy, because there is a Waitrose right next to the overground station in Westfield. I could pop in there, but I have to be in the mood to be shoved around by all the other after work shoppers.

Oh well, for now it's lunch in Harrow......

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Thoughts from Seth Godin that make sense

Traction and friction

A big car on a wet frozen lake goes nowhere. No traction, no motion.

A small bug working its way across a gravel driveway takes forever. Too much friction, too little motion.

If you're stuck, it's probably because one of these two challenges.

There's not enough traction online. Too many choices, too few boundaries. It's easy to get stuck because there's nothing to push off of, no box to think outside of.

There's too much friction in stuck industries. The walls have been expanded for so long, you just can't get over them.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Matthew's suprise trip to Paris


Very lovely book about Paris, originally uploaded by rhea o'connor.

So last year I missed Matthew's 29th birthday. I was back in Minneapolis waiting for my marriage visa to come through. I had arranged for our flatmate and friend Wayland to take Matthew out for dinner, the plan was to celebrate with him when I got back. I wanted to Wayland to take Matthew to KFC and treat him to a big family bucket with all the trimmings and I would pay him back. I can't stand KFC and thought it would be a nice treat for Matthew.

Well, Wayland did end up taking him there. He didn't mention that I had asked him to and Matthew ended up paying! I also didn't manage to phone Matthew to wish him happy birthday until late in the day and I didn't get a birthday card in the mail in time.....

So, I thought that I would make it up to him. It was Matthew's 30th this past Friday and I knew I was going to take him away for a surprise trip. He took me away to Barcelona for my 30th, so I thought I would return the favor. I also like the idea of starting a going away for a birthday tradition. Matthew knew that we were going away, but he didn't know where. I really wanted to surprise him and do something special. I came up with the idea of maybe going away the week before, so he would think we were going the weekend of the 25th but he would be surprised that we went before that. That didn't really have the wow factor that I was looking for, all I was doing was shifting some dates around.

Then, I thought hang on a minute! Why don't I take him away for a weekend to make up for the fact that his 29th birthday involved him buying himself and Wayland dinner at KFC? I thought a nice weekend trip to Paris on the Eurostar would do the trick. I arranged with Matthew's very lovely boss to give him the day off. I was going to show up at around 2:30 p.m. at Matthew's office with our suitcase and we would head off for St.Pancras station, next stop Paris.

Planning this surprise was a bit nerve racking. Well, very nerve racking on the day we left. I get very nervous about trying to get somewhere on time if I am traveling. I like to get to the airport or station with lots of time to spare. I hate having to run for a train or plane. I was a bit worried about the timing, of getting to Matthew's office and then us getting to the station. Then the worry came when I started to work myself up thinking about what if I couldn't get in contact with Matthew when I got to his office. What if he was in a meeting or if he stepped out? Oh dear.....I started to panic when I got to his office and rang his mobile and he wouldn't answer. I am sure he looked at his phone and wondered why his wife had been calling him like 15 times in a row.

I finally got him to answer while I was down in the reception area. I told him he needed to hightail it downstairs. He told me he was in the middle of something and would be down in a bit. Well this through me in a tizzy and I demanded that he come down right now! I said I've cleared it with your boss down get down here. I am sure that by the way people were looking at me in the reception area that I sounded a bit mad.

Long story short, Matthew was very pleasantly surprised. We had a lovely departure from St. Pancras. It's so nice to travel by train and not have to deal with getting to the airport. The train journey was fantastic. We had some nice cake from Peyton and Byrne and we washed it down with some red wine.

Paris was beautiful. I had been there 10 years before, back when I was a travel agent and Matthew had been there about 12 years ago. We had a great time. We strolled around, ate beautiful macaroons, went to cafes, rented bikes and rode around... It was the perfect weekend. I think it pretty much lets me off the hook for when I was in Minnesota.

Unfortuantely I dropped my camera on Saturday, but here are a few photos!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Celebrity Spotting


As most of you know by now one of my favorite things about living in London is watching
 EastEnders. It's a soap and I am hooked. It's the best thing on telly. I've never been the kind of person who watched soap operas. No One Life to Live or Days of Our Lives for me, but EastEnders... Now that's completely different.

EastEnders is a long-running, popular and award-winning television soap opera, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985. It currently ranks as one of the most watched shows in the United Kingdom. EastEnders storylines examine the domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End of London. The series primarily centres around the residents ofAlbert Square, a Victorian square of terraced houses, and its neighbouring streets, namely Bridge Street, Turpin Road and George Street, and which encompasses a pub, street market, night club, community centre, cafe and various small businesses, in addition to a park and allotments.

Last Friday I was meeting Matthew after work at our local shopping center, Westfield. Westfield is right outside the tube stop that's near our flat and it happens to be the largest urban area indoor shopping center in Europe. Brag brag...

Anyways, I was waiting for Matthew so we could walk home together and all of sudden he phones me up and tells me to get down to the entrance outside of Waitrose. Once I got down there he very discretely pointed out that none other than Bradely Branning was standing just about 30 feet away! I was over the moon! Seeing a character from EastEnders in real life, what a treat. 

I didn't go up to him and ask for an autograph, I try to be respectful of these huge celebrities. I was satisfied to follow him and his friends in Wagamama and eat dinner just one table away from him!  

Busy Bee

Deep down I feel like there's nothing more boring than writing a post about being too busy to post..........

Although it's true, I have been busy and in a good way. I say that I've been busy, but it would be more honest to say that I've also been pretty lazy as well :) 

I originally turned to blogging as a way to chronicle my journey looking for a job, but it became more of an outlet for my loneliness while adjusting to life in a new country. When I look back at the months with the most posts, I know that I was going through a hard time. 

Being too busy to blog does come down to a lack of discipline, but on the upside it means that things are taking off. I've been pretty busy since starting my new job in June. I haven't really posted much about it. From June 1st it's just been go go go. Now that I am a bit more settled at work I should feel more inclined to write. Cheers to being busy! 

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Moving abroad



I never really wanted to live in another country. I was never against it, but it was never a dream of mine. I thought about living in another part of the States maybe Chicago or New York, but I was pretty happy with things in Minneapolis. Minneapolis is a great place to live. You can feel a bit landlocked at times, but I am definitely proud to be a Minnesotan gal.

To be honest I wasn't even all that keen to study abroad. In my major you spend your last semester either doing a full time internship or studying abroad. MCAD also has relationships with other colleges in the states and I really wanted to do a semester at Parsons. Parsons in New York City had a great program in design management. I went through the process of trying to make that happen and it turned out it was going to cost more than going to MCAD for the semester. I had earned a scholarship for my senior year and it couldn't be used at Parsons, but it could be used if I studied abroad at one of the colleges that we partnered with overseas.

Since my high school French isn't what it used to be, I decided that it would be good to go somewhere people spoke English. That gave me a few choices, London, Brighton or Ireland. The universities in Brighton and Ireland were fine arts based so that left London.

At the time MCAD was only sending graphic design students over to the London College of Communication, but I discovered that they had a relevant course to my major in Marketing and Advertising. I worked with MCAD to let me go and in the end another classmate of mine went along as well.

Now going back to when I said I didn't want to study abroad. In hindsight it's a really silly thing to say. I would definitely recommend it to everyone. At the time I thought that it might not be the best move since I wanted to stay in Minneapolis and try to make contacts to find a job after graduation. I had also traveled abroad before and it wasn't like I was 22 and going to be on my own for the first time. I was worried that it was going to be too expensive and it wasn't sensible. I am so glad I decided to go for it.

I can't tell you how happy I am that I decided to do it. You just learn so much about yourself and the world.

So it was decided that I would spent eight weeks studying in London. Before I got to London I did a little traveling in Ireland. Two other MCAD Vis students, Zoe Peterson and Katy Smith, were going to do a semester in Dublin. I hung around with them for a bit before heading over to London. Little did I know what was in store......


Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Getting Married to a British Man


Wedding Cake Topper, originally uploaded by HeyAbigail.

It's coming up to my one year wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe that a year has almost gone by since that fantastic day in Las Vegas. Matthew and I got married on August 30th, 2008 and we've been very happy. 

I wanted to write some posts about what it was like marrying someone from another country. There was a lot of stress about applying for visas, thinking about living in another country, planning a wedding, not knowing how to go about everything and real fear about it all going wrong with me not being able to be with Matthew in England.

I spent a lot of time reading message boards and blogs trying to find hope in other people's experiences. I would find myself drawn to the stories where everything did go wrong and it would send me into a tailspin of what ifs. It was horrible, also considering that I was working part time and had many hours to trawl the internet to find evidence that things wouldn't work out. 

The good news is that in spite of my fears (mainly due to the fact that a lot of what I was experiencing was unknown) things worked out very well. I wanted to share my story with other soon to be ex-pat brides and let them know that it can all turn out happily ever after. So I will be writing a series of posts about what it was like a year ago when I was getting ready to tie the knot and start a new life in England. 

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Good Times





What a surprise it was to see that my dear friend Elyse had posted up some fantastic photos of Taylor and me! These photos go way back to 1973! Just kidding, 2005 :)

Elyse got us in the old studio at MCAD to work on a project for photo. I think it was an obvious choice for her to ask us to be her models. She's like a way famous photographer now, this early work opened all kinds of doors for her!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Love this Blog!



I was doing a search on Flickr today. My keyword was Anthropologie and I was looking to be inspired, fashion wise. I found this amazing blog and I thought I would share it with you!

washing up bowl rant


washing up bowl, originally uploaded by kejaba.

Can I just rant for a second?

I absolutely hate these washing up bowls! I don't understand why anyone uses them. They are so gross and nasty. I am writing this little rant because I just got done with doing the washing up at work. I came in to work today to find the washing up bowl in the sink full of stanky water and dirty dishes.

I personally never use one to wash dishes or as we say over here doing the washing up. I am one of those people that has to rinse the soap off the dishes. I don't understand why you would take a plate out of a plastic bin full of other dishes and then scrub it in a put in the drying rack.

Also why not just use the sink? Why not just fill the sink with water? Why put a plastic bowl in it? I don't know.... It just seem so unhygienic to have a plastic bowl sitting around wet. I think there are just some things I will never understand. Oh wait! There's one more thing. Rubber gloves. Now I know a lot of people wear rubber gloves to wash dishes in the states, but I would say that I have seen more people do it over here. I think it's very odd to put on rubber gloves to wash a glass or two.

Anyway, rant over back to work.

I feel so much better. Cheers guys.

207 London Bus

Having public transport is great, don't get me wrong. Although, there can be times when I wish I was back in my old Ford Escort wagon back home.

I usually take the 207 bus from the station down to my house. Some might say it's a bit lazy and I could walk home. On foot it would take me 10-15 minutes. After a long day sitting at a computer the last thing I want to do is walk.

Yesterday as I was coming out of the station I noticed that there a huge amount of people waiting for the bus. Huge meaning a crowd of well over 100 people. My heart sank. A crowd like would mean fighting my way and fighting my way off the bus.

Fortunately, a double decker pulled and nearly half of the people got on. It was only minutes later that my bus, the 207, which is a nice long bendy bus pulls. I have the great luck of having it pull up right in front of me and I am able to get on straight away. I even manage to get a seat!

It can be nice to have a seat, but there are sometimes when the bus is so crowded that it's really hard to get off. Getting off on a super crowded bus entails, saying sorry about a 100 times as you push your way off. There might be one or two friendly people who aware that you might like to get off and try to move out of the way. More often than not, it's a battle of wills and strength.

The 207 slowly pulled away from the curb and started down the road. Very slowly. It seemed like this bus was barely going 2 miles per hour. There were many groans and what the fucks being uttered.

Then for some strange reason, the driver decided not to stop at a few of the stops. I don't know if that was because he didn't want anyone else pushing their way on or what. I tell you what, it made some of the passengers who wanted to get off very angry.

After some more swearing and shouting between the driver and the passengers, the bus stopped and I decided to get off and just walk the last few blocks. I thought it was a good strategy. Move with the heard. There were a good number of people getting off and I stood a chance. I was also tired of having some one's bum pressed into my arm.

It wasn't fun getting off, but at least there were a bunch of us. It can be awful if you're the only one wanting to get off.

Long story short. I made it home. Next time I might walk, we'll just have to see!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Monday Morning Brolly


Haymarket Rain, originally uploaded by D I C K S D A I L Y.

I woke up this morning before my alarm went off. Lying in bed I listened to the gentle sound of rain. Another day of rain. Although I am trying to be optimistic. That was exactly 19 minutes ago and it seems like the rain has stopped. There could be some sun today. I could have a look at the BBC weather report to see, but I'd rather be surprised. 

When I went hunting for an image to use for this post my search words were Brolly, England, Summer. Brolly is a word that I had never heard before I moved to London. I have to say that I really like it. It's just a cute fun word, makes having to use an umbrella everyday a bit more cheerful!

I am trying out waking up a half an hour earlier to write. I am going to get back into the habit. 
This week I am going to Germany for a wedding. Matthew and I are leaving on Friday afternoon for  Saturday wedding in a village just south of Munich. I don't actually know if it's a village, but I thought the idea of going to a wedding in  a German sounds nice. It's a short trip and we'll be returning on Sunday night. 

Matthew's dad's cousin is getting married? I think that's right. He's called Michael and we've gone to visit him back in December of 2007. That was a great trip. We stayed the weekend with Michael and he was an awesome host. He took us around to several Christmas markets and even drove us into Austria. I really liked him so I am happy to be going to his wedding. 

I am also starting a pretty strict diet tomorrow. I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and he was kind enough to inform me that I am a bit overweight. He was very matter of fact about it and of course worried about my health, cheers doc! I will blog about that later, it starts tomorrow. It's not that interesting. I have never been a super diet or exercise person and am not all that concerned with my weight. I certainly don't want to become a person who is always talking about their weight either. Boring. 

I've got one minute left before I have to jump in the shower. I am thinking that today will be a good day! Cheerio!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Sunday night post

I've spent a lot of time thinking about what to write on my blog and zero time writing. I just haven't been in the mood, or I've gotten out of habit. I used to blog first thing in the morning when I wasn't working, but now that I am I just haven't found a good time to write. Oh the busy life in London.

I found out yesterday that my flatmate Wayland is going to be moving out in a month. That means we have to find someone to take his room. There's also the possibility that our landlord might want us to move out. This happened to a woman I used to work with at Candyspace. She told the landlord that the original person was moving out, but that they had found a suitable person to move. It didn't matter, the landlord wasn't having any of it and asked them all to leave. I wouldn't be too happy if Matthew and I had to move out. Although it might be nice to live in another part of London. Shepherds Bush isn't too bad a place to live. It's pretty central and Mary just lives up the road.

We'll find out tomorrow what the landlord has to say about it. There's no use getting worked up about it now.

Matthew and I had an amazing day yesterday in Brighton. We got super cheap (4 quid return for 2 tickets) through a special with Southern Trains. It was so nice and sunny yesterday. The nicest day we've had in weeks? It's been raining almost every day for what seems like forever. It doesn't rain all day, but it will rain usually and it's been pretty cool. I have been wearing a jacket to work, which seems so wrong for July!

The sun was out and it was a perfect day to be by the sea. I like Brighton, it's so happy and laid back. Matthew and I spent a couple hours laying on the beach and just listening to the waves. We had fish and chips near the carousel on the boardwalk. It was honestly a jolly day by the sea. We walked up and down the Brighton pier and played some games in the penny arcade.

We had a wander and then dinner before we were back to London. It was a bit crazy getting to Victoria. We discovered that the Victoria Line wasn't running once we got to Oxford Circus, which was not good. We then jumped out and decided to take the Bakerloo to the District Line to get to the station, all the while the clock was ticking. We got on the Bakerloo and it seemed like we were going to make it, until they announced that the train was being held. That's so annoying! Don't they care that we have a train to catch?

We ran to get the District Line and then ran through Victoria to get to the monitors only to discover that our train left 2 minutes ago. If that darn Bakerloo wasn't delayed. We decided to just get on the next train, which was a bit naughty. We had bought specific tickets to travel at specific times. No one came to check our tickets so we were fine, after a nice jog through the London Underground.

I have to say that Victoria station was so busy, the busiest I've ever seen it. I guess that's what happens when you live in a tourist city :)

As I am writing this post there are about a million things going through my mind. My room is a complete disaster, I've got laundry sitting in the washing machine needing to be hung up, four more loads to wash with no dryer, books that I need to read, papers to go through, mail to sort, plans to make, bills to pay, an exercise plan to create and then follow through, movies to watch, pod casts to get onto my ipod, emails to write to friends who probably think I don't like them anymore, an online test to take, a course to sign up for, a car to clean out, presents to mail out, thank you cards to write, toenails to paint,
websites to look at, industry magazines to read, networking to do, a music festival/camping trip to get ready for, a wedding trip to Germany to pack for, shoes to buy for the wedding, clothes to buy ( most of mine are stained), two mobile phones to charge, photos to tag, a book to write, buy notebooks and file folders for work............

Sigh :) Although I do feel better after making that list! Well, I think I am going to sign off for now.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Rhea's


Rhea's, originally uploaded by pollyannacowgirl.

Love this sign. I was doing a search on Flickr to see if some of the photos' I've tagged would come and I found this little beauty!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Seth Godin

The thing is, we still live in a world that's filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity -- we have an obligation.

An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration.

To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing. ... You get to make a choice.

You can remake that choice every day, in fact. It's never too late to choose optimism, to choose action, to choose excellence. The best thing is that it only takes a moment -- just one second -- to decide.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Seward Community Cafe



Ok, this is really creepy! So yesterday I was sitting at work feeling a little homesick form Minneapolis, especially the Seward Cafe. I was having a hankering for a green earth breakfast with a nice cold press coffee, so I decided to have a look for a photo of the cafe.

I posted the photo yesterday and when I came back to it today I realized that it was a photo that had been posted by my friend Sharyn. I've posted lots of Sharyn's photos on this blog before, but this time it happened and I didn't even know it. That's soooo weird.

Extra Crunchy in the UK


Extra Crunchy in the UK, originally uploaded by rheaj.

How great is my boss? We get a bi-weekly delivery in from Waitrose and this lovely little jar of Skippy Extra Crunchy arrived! Rachel is kind enough to provide food and drink and when I was asked if there was something special I wanted I was over the moon to discover that I could get American peanut butter!

I love how it looks just resting on the fake grass on my desk. I am a loyal Jiff fan, but I'll take what I can get here. So sweet and delicious.

I tried to bring back two huge jars of Jiff Extra Crunchy the last time I was in Minnesota, but I packed them in my carry on and had to throw them away. I was so gutted, but now things are looking up! Peanut butter delivered to me at work rules!

Pink is the Navy Blue of India.... Diana Vreeland


Lovely socks, originally uploaded by rheaj.

I saw this chap while I was waiting on the platform this morning for my train into work. I would have to say that the majority of men in London like to wear fun colorful socks with their suits and I absolutely love it. I will sometimes see a man on the tube dressed in a very expensive suit, with gold cuff links, designer watch and a gorgeously worn leather briefcase wearing the most fantastic bright stripey socks.

It's just that little bit of flair and it's not seen as weird or eccentric. I love English men and their festive socks.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Blur in Hyde Park

I went to my first gig in Hyde Park last Thursday. My brother in law bought Matthew and me tickets to Blur for Christmas. What a great brother in law, eh?

Now, I know that Hyde Park is enormous. Although you really get a sense of how huge it is once you go to a gig there. The area for gig was huge. I couldn't believe how big it was and how it was only in one part of the park.

We got there around 3 p.m. and hung around in one of the beer gardens where they had table service! I couldn't believe it. A waitress would come up to the table and take your order by inputting it into a hand held device and then someone would collect it at the bar and serve it to you. You could even pay by card at the table. I thought that was pretty sweet!

Seeing Blur live was great, there's nothing like singing along to Tracy Jacks with 55,000 other people!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Ring me


Vintage Phone, originally uploaded by fitheimaginator.

My thoughts on phone calls.

I miss talking on the phone. I miss having people to call and people calling me. It is really a weird feeling to find that you have very few people that you need to call. I mainly call Matthew up during the day for a quick chat, probably more often than necessary.

I miss calling someone up while I am going somewhere. I miss the quick call to let a friend know that raspberries are on sale at the Wedge. I miss calling up my friends and telling them how much they mean to me. I miss getting that call for a last minute invite to go for a drink. I miss the voices of people who are happy to talk to me. I miss the calls that I would get on Saturday and or Sunday morning to plan going out for breakfast. I never thought it would something that I miss. It's something that I took for granted.

I haven't been very good about calling people here from England. Of course there's Skpye and I have set up phone dates in the past. It's just the lack of spontaneity or being able to speak to someone during the day. I got a thank you card in the mail yesterday from my friend Raya and I realized that we hadn't spoke since early May. I haven't spoken to anyone on the phone from the States since the last time I was home.

Anyway, that's my little rant. On the surface it might seem trivial. I can email people and instant message, yet it's not the same. I am also so tired of writing emails. I long for those quick chats during the day while I am running errands. For all those times I ignored calls and let them go to voicemail I am truly sorry.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

I love you Martha!

Can I just say that I love this photo? I get a daily tip from the empire that is MARTHA everyday and when I opened this email I was just delighted. The pink and light aqua colors are gorgeous, plus would you look at how clean and organized that under sink area is??? 

I have been meaning to clean out my under sink cupboard for ages and this is just a reminder of how untidy I've become! There's even designer cleaning spray, I used to get it at Kowalskis! This picture is so zen to me, thanks Martha!

Last Camping Post


IMG_0219, originally uploaded by rheaj.

The best part about the weekend is that it felt like the days lasted forever. The campsite was amazing. It's part of an association of campsites in Europe that have a Chateaux on the grounds. I had never been to a campsite like this before. It had this beautiful old Chateaux, a cafe, restaurant, play areas for kids and grown ups, very modern and clean showers and bathrooms, canoes to take out on the small lake, bikes you could rent, a little shop and swimming pools. It was like being at camp! It was so beautiful and peaceful. I feel in love with it. You could hear the little French birds chirping. Oh and there were also chickens!

We set up our tent and I had a little nap! Matthew and I spent the afternoon playing boules and sipping local cider. We also drove into a small town called Honfluer. Honfluer is such a special place. It's a small medieval harbour village and it's is absolutely picturesque. We wandered around a bit before settling in to a cafe along the harbour. It was such a beautiful town.

That night we went to a talk in the Chateaux bar. The woman who runs the campsite now gave a talk about its history. It was fantastic to hear about her life during the war and all the struggles the Chateaux went through. It drew a good sized crowd and she was a good story teller.

Sunday we headed to two other coastal towns that are right next to each other. Deauville and Trouville sur Mer were both nice little towns on the sea. I definitely like Deauville best. We went to the beach for a bit and read the paper, I looked at French magazines and had a nap there. Then we found a great little restaurant where we had wine and moules and frites. It was lovely.

We didn't have to be back to get on the ferry until 9 p.m. so we took the scenic route back. It was just the best weekend I've ever had. It felt like we did so much and it was very relaxing at the same time. I feel so lucky that I am able to head off to France for a camping weekend at a moments notice. France is just so beautiful and the food! I ate a lot of Camembert in the car whilst Matthew was driving!

I am looking forward to many more special weekends with my husband, he's a great traveling companion!


Castel Camping Le Brèvedent


IMG_0233, originally uploaded by rheaj.

Good morning! Ok, where did I leave off....so we had to make a made dash to drive to Portsmouth. Of course traffic was a bear even at 8:30 p.m. at night, but we made it with a few minutes to spare and found a place in the queue. We had two more concerns. We were almost out of petrol and we only had one bank card with us. Matthew was worried that for some reason it wouldn't work in France. It was a Visa debit card and I wasn't too worried, but if it didn't work we would be in a pickle. We decided to leave that worry for the next morning.


The nice thing about the 11 p.m. ferry is that you just sleep on the journey and you get there nice and early. There weren't any cabins left to book so we had sleeper seats. We ended up bringing our blankets and pillows up from the car and sleeping on the floor. Some people had gone all out and had blown up big air beds to sleep on. It wasn't too bad sleeping on the floor, although I was looking forward to our cabin we had booked for the return. We were leaving France on Sunday night at 11 p.m. and since we both had to be back to work we booked a cabin. The cabin is a good idea and it's not expensive at all. We got a good night sleep and a shower in our own room.

We arrived in France around 7:30 a.m. and went straight to the petrol station, Matthew was relieved that his card worked. With a full tank we set off to the campsite. What can I say about driving to the campsite in France? It was delightful, it was a sunny morning and the air smelled of lavender. What more could you want?

Amazing last minute camping weekend in FRANCE


DSC05026, originally uploaded by rheaj.

Photos of beautiful France!


Now this is going to have be a two part post, it's five to midnight and I should have been asleep an hour ago! For now I will post the link to some of the photos from my most amazing camping weekend in France.

On Friday Matthew called me up to see if I wanted to go to Angers, France for the weekend. He had seen an article about it in the Metro and they had some cheap fares. Turned out that the cheap fares were all gone and it was going to be too expensive. So, still having the bug to get out of London we had a look at what it would cost to take the ferry over to France.

This is how it went down. I got home from work and we were sitting on the couch waiting for Eastenders to come on. Matthew suggests getting a ferry over and then I suggest that I take a look in the fantastic book he bought me for my birthday and find a place to camp. He gave a really great book called Cool Camping Europe. So we found a cool campsite and booked a ferry with 20 minutes to pack up and head out the door. The ferry was leaving at 11 p.m. and we had to be there an hour before. It would take us about an hour and half to get to Portsmouth.

We sailed from Portsmouth to Le Havre, and what a great ferry! more to come tomorrow. I promise. nighty night


Thursday, 25 June 2009

Random Masacara


retouched, originally uploaded by webwandering.

Now this is just a little post about putting mascara on whilst on public transport. I've been noticing it a lot lately. Ladies applying mascara while on a crowded bus or tube. What gets me is the amount of mascara they put on.

The other day I watched a girl on my bus put on mascara from the time I got on, at Adelaide Grove until Shepherds Bush Central line station. That's a long way, about seven minutes! It takes me under a minute to put on my mascara. I coat my lashes so they look dark, but I don't want spider lashes so I keep it to a coat and a half at most.

I wonder if I am just not putting enough on? Do they know something I don't about the proper application of mascara? I don't like putting make up on whilst on the public transport, maybe a bit of lip gloss or a quick powder. This mascara thing is just beyond me......


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

How Twitter found me my first job in London


Rechord, photos of my office

Finally I am going to write about my first job! That's what this blog was all about. My journey to finding my first job, the good and the bad. The triumphs and the tears. Finding my first job after college in London has been one of the most challenging things I've ever had to do. It hasn't been easy.

So you all know the story by now and if not you can find it all here within the pages of this blog. I had spent months looking for my first job in London, so imagine how surprised I was when it found me. I came to "find" my first job in London through Twitter.

One day I received an email from my now boss. She had come across my digital CV on my Twitter profile after setting up a search to find a web manager for her agency. She had set up a search and my feed appeared in it and she had a look at my extendr profile and decided she liked what she found. I had my contact details on my extendr and so she was able to send me an email with a link to the job description.

I couldn't believe it! I was over the moon, a job that sounded amazing had found its way to me. I got in touch with her and came in for a trial day.I've been at Rechord for one month now.

It's so crazy that I would get my first job this way, especially after what I had been going through. At first I thought it had just fallen in my lap, but I had also made a conscious effort to use social networking to help me find a job. When I first started looking I remember thinking that it would be cool to find a job just using Twitter. It's funny how things work out.



Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Speaking Freely

"This is my first blog post through on my mobile phone. Apparently you can only leave a short message. I recorded a blog post a second ago but it's too long. So yeah it might be something new on ___ and. Cheers bye." spoken through SpinVox


Well that was my first blog post spoken from my mobile.Whenever I call my boss and leave a voice mail I get a message telling me that my voice mail will be converted into a text message through a service called SpinVox.

So yesterday I had a look at this SpinVox thing and found that I could record a voice message on my mobile and it would upload to my blog.


I thought that sounded pretty neat. Just talk away and let the voice recognition do the work. So I gave it a go. The draw back is that you can only leave a short message. I tried to speak a blog post and was cut off. I was also trying to speak slowly and clearly, you don't get much time. Also it feels really weird to be speaking a blog post, it's a very different process than writing. I felt a little strange... I might try it again, but I don't know if it will catch on with me. It reminds me a little of being a private eye and having to talk into one of those little recorders.

It was a fun little experiment, we shall see....I am all for trying something new!

++++++I tried to make another blog post through my mobile yesterday while I was sitting on a train at Euston station. I don't think I will be using SpinVox for blogging. I had a look at the message once I got back to work and it didn't come through very well. Also you don't have very long to speak your message and it just doesn't feel the same as sitting down and writing. It has more of that note to self feeling. It was fun to try it, but I am back to old fashioned typing.
+++++++



The Urban Bean


The Urban Bean, originally uploaded by kaitlinolson.

I hate the idea of writing another blog post about not being in the mood to blog, but here it is. I think about all the things I want to write about. Things that would be important to record and to share. For some reason I am just too tired to be bothered and I feel bad about it.

I think it has to do with the fact that things in London have definitely improved. I've got my first job, I've been making some friends and I am feeling better in general about a lot of things.

On the other hand I still really miss Minneapolis. I miss all the places and people. It's hard to exist between two places. I don't write to my friends as much I would like to. I always feel bad about not staying in touch as much as I would like to.

Every day I think about all the emails that I should send and it just makes me tired. The thing that gets me is that I used to be so good at staying in touch with people. I used to love to write letters and emails, but now it just feels like a chore.

I feel really bad about saying that. It makes me sad to think that there are people I love out there that I am just not making the time to stay in touch. I am sure that once I get a bit more settled in my job that it will get better. I just hope that my friends and loved ones don't think I don't care about them, or that I've moved on and don't need them anymore.

It's just not true. In fact being so far away from everyone makes me value the friendships that I have. I feel like the luckiest person in the world, I have so many people to love. I just wish I wasn't so far away.

This photo in this post is from a coffee shop called the Urban Bean. I used to live just around the corner from here when I was going to MCAD. I used to like going there and writing letters. I was thinking about this coffee shop the other day and I couldn't remember its name.

I went on Google Maps and was able to locate it and "see" it. Which is great. I sometimes go on Google Maps and visit Minneapolis. It's nice to see that the places I love are still there.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

On my way to work this morning


I've always been the kind of person who likes to change up my travel routines. Back in Minneapolis I would take different routes to and from work, just to mix it up a bit. Here in London I can only really get to work one way. I guess I have a few options, I can either walk or take the bus down to the train station, but that doesn't really count. Sometimes I will walk on the opposite side of the road.....wild I know.

Although today I took a different route to get to the bus stop. It means I back track by a half a block, but it's nice because I go by the coffee shop I like and get a hot cuppa for my journey. Anyway, I went to the coffee shop and then headed to the bus stop. I have to go through a little weird pathway to get to the next street. While walking through it I saw a lovely orange tabby cat.

I was so delighted! I love cats and I miss Miso and Sanders very much. So whenever I see a cat it's a real treat. This cat however appeared to be eating something.

It was. A mouse! I knew it was eating a mouse because I could see the mouse's hind legs and feet hanging out of its mouth. Let me tell you I was soooooooo disgusted. What a sight to see in the morning. It's precisely the reason why my cats in the States were house cats. I wouldn't want them munching on rodents. Trust me people, it was pretty disgusting. I guess that's what I get for wanting to take a new route to work. meow.....

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

stamp collector... oh yeah


stamps, originally uploaded by rheaj.

sooooo tired, but wanted to post. wanted to get back into the swing of writing every day. I brought back some random bits and pieces from Minnesota and I found a few packets of stamps from my collection.

Stamps...... I love 'em! But that's a post for another day. The stamps were in this fun little envelope that has some fun super hero stamps on it. Just some cheerful reminders of my American Geekness :)

nighty night!

at the drive-in


at the drive-in, originally uploaded by massdistraction.

I found this photo on my friend Sharyn's Flickr stream, she takes amazing photos! I usually have a look at her uploads a few times a week. She's a true cities girl and I like living vicariously through her images.

I found this one yesterday and I immediately felt home sick. I love the Cottage View drive in theater. Going to a drive in to me means it's the beginning of summer. The summer in Minnesota is hot, so it's nice to go to the drive in theater mid June. It's warm during the day, but it gets cool at night. There's just something about the drive in. They always say the movie starts at dusk and then you have to figure out exactly when it might start, when does it officially become dusk. So you get there early and wander around, see who's there. You go to the concessions stand and get some popcorn.
I have fond memories of going to the drive in as a teenager, it was such a simpler time back then.


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Drinks in the Bush


DSC05004
Originally uploaded by rheaj
I met up with my friend Mary after work last week at one of our locals, the Defectors Weld. It's a good pub, that tends to get a bit rammed on Friday and Saturday night, but if you get in early during the week it can be pretty lovely.

It was also a very nice surprise to walk in the pub and see a drink waiting for me at the table. What a nice thing to do, eh? To have a nice cocktail ready to go. Very thoughtful.

I have to say I feel pretty lucky to have friends who live in my neighborhood. London being the big city that it is makes it a bit difficult if you want to see someone during the week. You've always got to make sure that you can get back by tube, which closes at midnight. Unless you don't mind taking several buses to get back. You've got to weigh what the journey home is going to be like against how badly you want to see the person.

Thankfully we both just live off the same road, with just a few streets between us!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Free WiFi at McDonalds



Moments before this photo was taken I was walking to the train station from work. I was on my mobile having a chat with Wayland and I was just saying to him that I have to go right by McDonalds on my way to the station and that I wanted to fight temptation.

Alas the double cheese burger was calling my name and they have free wifi at McDonalds so I can work on my lap top. Oh this modern world we live in.........I am loving it!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

What the heck is this Switch she keeps banging on about




I've made some obscure references about getting a Switch for my birthday and a few people have been a bit unclear about what a Switch is. Well, it's just a faux hair piece. You might know it by it's American name of a fall, but a Switch is just a Switch of fake hair.

So, how did I come to get a Switch for my birthday well it all started maybe two weeks ago. I went round to Mary and Pete's one Sunday evening for a beautiful meal and some fine Dino wine (Dino is a brand of Pinot Grigio sold at Tesco's. It usually retails for 8.99 but it goes on special offer from time to time and at 3.99 a bottle you can't go wrong). Mary being the queen of cool that she is introduced me to a wonderful Australia program called Kath and Kim. I was delighted by the show and they were kind enough to lend me season one to finish watching at home. I ended up watching the rest of the first series the next day, it's that good people!

Anyway, there was a tiny bit in the one of the episodes where Kim wants to buy a Switch to wear at her mother's (Kath's) wedding. For some reason I really liked that bit and the fact that the fake hair was called a Switch. Mary being the good friend that she is remembered that I liked that bit about the Switch and bought me my very own for my birthday! It's very glam and I promise to post some photos soon.

In the meantime check out Kath and Kim, but steer clear of the rubbish American version staring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair. It's just not funny, but I am not surprised. It's like the American Office, so unfunny and I can't understand how people who like the British Office also like the American Office. I guess that's a post for another time!
 
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