Monday, 27 July 2009

You Know It's Time. . .

You know it's time to trim the hedge when . . .
. . . you decide to start using the back door!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Headaches

Isn't it amazing how the whole world seems just too much to bear when you've got a headache? Well, really, when any one part of your body isn't functioning correctly? I've had sinus problems my whole life. They've actually gotten better since I was a missionary and had surgery (yeah, surgery. In South America.) I used to get infections every 3 weeks. Post surgery it dropped to every 3 months. And then I discovered this amazing stuff called Xlear (said 'Clear'). It was recommended to me by an Ear Nose Throat specialist in Utah. His wife suffers similarly, and she'd been using it for 3 years, and had had 2 infections over that time. Ok. I'm game. And you know what?!? It works! If you have any sort of cold or stuffiness or sinus problems, I highly recommend it! There's only one catch. I actually have to remember to use it. So I went from every 3 weeks to every 3 months to every 6 months, or so, depending on how regularly I remember to use the spray. You'd think that something like that would be important enough to remember. Apparently not. Anyway, for the past week I've been suffering for my laxidazical approach to sinus health. And it's been so difficult to get anything accomplished! With a stuffy head it's all I can do to get out of bed. Breathing seems to be about as much as I can get done! Today the stuffiness is down, but the headache is up.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

I'm Sorry . . . Me?!?

Got a new calling. (Church responsibility. We're asked -- called -- to do a particular assignment. It's all voluntary work. No monetary recompense. And that's true from the very top all the way down to little ol' me.) I've been in a bunch of callings, especially since I've been at this Ward. It's kind of funny, because about every 6 months, I get released or called (or both) to some calling or other. When I was called to be the 1st Counselor in the Young Women's, I kind of thought I'd broken that cycle. Ha. I went out of town for 5 months (to teach at BYU). Kind of got me released from my calling. Ok, it was a little more than 6 months. But it was still closer to 6 months than it was 12! Actually, I was left in as Music Co-Ordinator. But I think that was just for the fun they would have in releasing me from something the moment I got back. Yeah. I got called to a new position. 2nd Counselor in the Ward Relief Society. Ummm.... what?!? ME?!? I'm not old enough to be in the Relief Society Presidency!!!! Aaaaaah!!!!!!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

More Weddings!

I told you that 2009 is the 'Summer of the Wedding'. Seriously. I went to Drew and Mithi's yesterday, over near Bristol. It was one of my very favourite! This was a party I'd been looking forward to since I got the 'she said yes!' text from Drew.

For those of you who don't know them, they are amazing. Both of them are so creative and so talented (not to mention brilliantly intelligent and stunningly handsome/gorgeous!) and have such a collection of interesting friends. They're both swing dancers and travel around to various juggling conventions. So the reception was a real treat, as it incorporated the best bits of tradition, whilst still remaining true to the quirky nature of their personalities, and, of course, making the fullest use of the particular talents of all their friends. There were a few raindrops during the ceremony, but I don't think a single one of us cared, and the rain did let up in the afternoon, allowing us to move outside. There was juggling, and related arts (including hoola-hooping! I've got to get a hoola-hoop!), and not only by the jugglers. I got a very fabulous lesson by an 11 year old young man, Alex, on how to work a diablo. I'd never worked one before, and by the end of it I could get it started and do 2 tricks! It was so fun. Then, there was a traditional English Cream Tea and a full dinner with fabulous cakes after. In fact, that was another of the wonderful things about this wedding. They didn't do a 'wedding cake'. Instead, they invited anyone who wanted to bring a cake to let them know, so they'd know if they had enough. They ended up with 15 different types of cake! I made one, too. I made my spice cake with cream cheese icing. It was really warm, though, when I was making it. So I had this problem: The icing was running all over the place! So I had to come up with an idea for something that would disguise the rather poor icing job. What I ended up doing was drawing a tree with icing (the trunk was Nuttela. You can pipe it!) and 'carving' their initials into the trunk, inside a heart (that's my favourite bit). Then, I put the 'Tweeter' on the top. Tweeter was the little bird they'd sent out with the invite. You cut him out and put him together, so he was 3D. It was really sweet.

Also fun, they didn't have the normal speeches. Yes, the Bride and Grooms fathers spoke, but so did the Bride's mother, uncle, and grandmother. And the Best Man, Best Woman, Best Nic (yeah... that's so Drew and Mithi!) and several guests. Except, not all of them gave 'speeches'. In fact, several of them gave performances! Here's a video of a bit of one of them. video

So, Drew and Mithi - thanks for such a lovely day. I hope the whole rest of your lives are as much fun as your wedding day was. And thank you for letting me be a part. I love you!!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Never A Dull Moment

I had the craziest night last night. I'd made plans to go into London to say hi to a friend from the States who'd just arrived to London for the summer. And I'd arranged with a dance friend to meet at Dover Street Jazz Bar for some live music and dancing after dinner. The dinner was great, we had a grand time, and then dancing was fantastic. Up to this point, everything's going to plan. Around 11.30 I said I needed to head off to Liverpool Street to catch the train home. My friend was like, 'But the music's fabulous and the we don't get to dance together that often, stay. If you miss the last train home, you can crash at mine.' Since I didn't have anything in particular to do in the morning, I decided to stick around. Well, the band finished up about 30 minutes later, so I figured I'd rush to the station and catch the last train. My friend offered me a lift on his moterbike, so we got kitted up and headed out. Missed the train by about 3 minutes. Grrr. Not too much of a problem, though, because my friend had waited to make sure I didn't get stranded. Only problem was, I'd realised that my car was parked in the train station's carpark, and the parking permit would expire before I could get home, if I stayed the night. Not good. So my friend suggested that if I could put him up for the night, he'd take me all the way home. That would be fine, but it seemed a bit silly for him to drive all the way out to Colchester, and then back in the morning. So I suggested I just catch a coach to Stanstead Airport, from where I could catch another home to Colchester. So we had to figure out where the coach left from, and eventually found the right stop for the bus, and got on the coach. I eventually got home, at 5.00 in the morning! Got the car before the ticket expired, though! You know me, never a dull moment!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Wedding Feaver

No, not me. I'm no where near getting married. But it seems that all my friends are. I've just attended a wedding yesterday in York. I'm off to another one next Saturday. There was a wedding in the States that I didn't get to attend last week. I know there's another one in August (also in the States, and I'm a bit hazy on the details) and another one in September. It kind of seems like the whole world decided to get married this summer!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Independence Day

It's the 4th of July. The anniversary of the day that the British Colonies in the Southern half of North America declared their independence and became the United States of America. Now, I live in England and the two most common assumptions for why I live here are that either: 1) I'm and Anglophile and therefore love all things English, or 2) I dislike the United States. In fact, neither of these things are true. I live in England because that's where I can do my PhD in Conversation Analysis under the banner of Linguistics (as opposed to Sociology). Yes, I quite like England, because I've made very good friends here. But has nothing to do with their nationality. I love the United States. I love my heritage. I love that I am an American! To me it's the best country in the world. Is it perfect? No. But it's mine. I always joke that I love being from America, but in order to be from America, I have to be somewhere else. In honesty, though, I don't particularly mind where I live. But I'm so glad I was born American. So, Happy 4th of July. Happy Independence Day. Happy Anniversary of the Day We Kicked Britain Out of Our Country. God Bless the USA.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Evening Cool

Summer's finally arrived to England. This past week has been truly lovely. Every day has been sunny and warm. I've even had to work to not get sunburnt. It's been wonderful. I've been doing my PhD work outside at the patio table. It's been wonderful to work outside, instead of being cooped up in my office. But my favourite time of day is the evening. Around 8.00 pm, as the sun goes low in the sky, the blackbird comes to perch on the back fence, and starts singing his heart out. As the sun sets, a breeze picks up. The heavy humid air is still warm from the sun, but the breeze is cool as it ruffles the hem of my skirt. The breeze also brings with it the sent of the jasmine growing along the fence. The breeze, warm humid air and sent of jasmine is enough to make you forget that you're in England, and not on some tropical island paradise. Evening is always my favourite time of day, and these have been enchanting.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Biggin Hill Air Show

I love Air Shows. There's a fabulous one in Biggin Hill, just outside London ever June. And every year I think, 'I should go to that,' but something always comes up. This year I didn't even know it was happening, because I'd been out of town, in Amsterdam and Germany for the two weeks leading up to it. Mom came back to England from Amsterdam with me, and she wanted to go to Rochester Castle on Friday. So we headed off, leaving Colchester in the gorgeous sunshine. But, as we got closer to London, it started to cloud over, and eventually we ended up being poured on from the heavens. So we turned around and headed back to Colchester, which was still sunny and lovely. Saturday, we headed off again to try and go to the castle, hoping for better weather. And about half way there, we started seeing signs saying 'For Biggin Hill use Junction 4 off the M25'. I said, 'Oooh, I keep meaning to go there.' Mom said,' What is it?' I said, 'It's a big air show, but I don't know if you need to buy tickets before the weekend, or if you can get them there.' She said, 'Well, let's go try.' So we did. And it was great.

Some of my favourite shots (Note! If the photo looks like it's upside down, that's because the thing was flying upside down. All of them.):