Wednesday, November 08, 2006

BBC morning news is always on in the background as I get ready for work. Which means that I almost always awaken to bad news. This morning however....

"and the democrats have gained control of the US House of Representatives...."

It was about time. Today was also the first time since I have lived in the UK that I feel no apprehension in saying I am American. When I moved here-one month after the world watched America vote Bush Jr in for the SECOND time-I dreaded being asked where I was from. The polite people always asked if I was Canadian. But as soon as my American nationality was confirmed, the polictical rant followed. I learned to say very quickly after this fact that I did not vote for him EITHER time..well, that or say that actually, yes, I was Canadian. It gets a bit tiresome being attacked for political policies that you completely disagree with.

But now...I actually feel hopeful about the country for the first time in years. Democratically controlled house and RUMSFELD RESIGNED!!! The senate still too close to call, but it's looking good. Hopefully some serious changes will be made-and soon. But for now, I will make do with the simple gift of being able to speak in my American accent without causing offence.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's been awhile, so I thought I'd ease back in....thanks Jen.

100 Question Survey
1. What is the last alcoholic beverage you drank?: having a glass of wine right now.
2. Do you follow college football?: God no.
3. How many miles does your car have on it?: Don't have one in the UK...it is all about public transportation!
4. Who was the last person to send you a text message and what was it about? My service provider telling me I had a voicemail.....
5. Last time you went swimming in a pool?: Hmmmm...well the last time I went swimming was in June in the Mediterranean.
6. Are you happy? no
7. Where was the last place you went shopping?: Sainsburys
8. How do you feel about your hair?: It is what it is.
9. Where do you work?: architecture firm
10. Last thing you ate?: lowfat vanilla/chocolate mousse
11. Do you wish you were someplace else right now? yes, on a beach listening to the waves.
12. Most embarrassing thing you ever did? So many to choose from...
13. Do you have any expensive jewelry?: No
14. AIM or MSN?: Neither
15. What classes are you taking?: None
16. How many hours on average do you work a week: too many
17. What is your favorite brand of booze?: good vodka or bubbly
18. Favorite NFL team?: None, baseball fan here! LET'S GO RED SOX!!!
19. Do you watch the Olympics?: Only if there is nothing else on.
20. Last bar you went to?: The Chapel Bar.
21. Who was the last person to call you?: My husband.
22. What's your sign? Aquarius
23. Do you have a favorite number?:28
2424. Last time you did volunteer work or made any donations? too long ago.
25. What do you spend the majority of your money on?: Rent
26. Where does most of your family live?: Connecticut
27. Are you an only child or do you have siblings?: Two brothers, both younger.
28. Any big regrets in your life? No.
29. Ever been called a bitch?: Most likely
30. Got any guilty pleasures?: yes
31. Favorite comfort food: chocolate
32. Have you ever experienced true love? I think so
33. Did you ever collect Beanie Babies?: No
34. Ever order anything online? Yes
35. Blogger or Myspace?: Blogger
36. Do you have T-Mobile?: No
37. What is your favorite subject?: geography
38. What's one thing you want to do before you die?: travel everywhere
39. What would u do or say if your blog was deleted? I don't think anyone would notice!
40. Were you an outcast in high school? No
41. Last time you saw your parents? June 2005
42. Do you have any talents? i hope so
43. Ever been in a wedding? My own...and I was a witness twice.
44. Do you have any children?: No
45. Last movie you watched?: Little Miss Sunshine
46. Are you missing anyone at the moment?: no
47. Did you take a nap today? No
48. What was your high school's mascot?: warrior
49. Ever been on a cruise?: No
50. Favorite vacation spot?: Somewhere I haven't been before.
51. How many pets do you have?: none
52. Do you have any wealthy friends?: yes
53. Ever met anyone really famous before?: probably
54. Favorite actress?: none
55. Favorite actor?: none
56. Are you multi-tasking right now? Yes
57. Could you handle being in the military? pacifist here.
58. Are you hungry or thirsty? thirsty
59. Favorite fast food restaurant?: i don't eat fast food.
60. Do you have any grandparents still alive?: two
61. What is your average cell phone bill?: 30 pounds sterling ($55)
62. Do you own a camera phone?: Yes
63. Ever had to take a sobriety test?: No
64. Do you believe in Karma?: YES
65. Do you speak any other language? no
66. Last time you went to the gym or worked out? two months ago
67. How many pairs of sneakers do you own?: One
68. Did you go to college? Yes
69. Last place you drove your car: no car here.
70. What is your college mascot?: Bear
71. Ever been to Las Vegas? yes
72. Nicest Hotel you ever stayed in? no idea
73. Have you ever bought condoms?: Yes
74. How much money did you make today?: i just worked this out...and it's a bit depressing.
75. What do you think is your best feature? My eyes
76. Have you ever been gambling?: Yes
77. How old are your parents?: 51 and 53
78. When is the last time you updated your blog?: 2 months ago
79. Do you have your wisdom teeth?: yes
80. Best lip gloss?: Burt’s Bees
81. Have you been to New York City?: yes
82. Favorite sit down restaurant: somewhere in northern cali....
83. Ever been to Disney?: no
84. Favorite color? green at the moment
85. Last thing you cooked?: cous cous
86.How is the weather today?: cold and sunny
87. Do you e-mail?: Is there anyone who doesn't
88. Last letter/piece of mail you received besides junk or a bill?: A graduate prospectus from the university of edinburgh
89. Favorite store?: crossroads, a brilliant secondhand/new hybrid store in northern cali.
0. Purses, Shoes, or Sunglasses: Shoes
91. Last voicemail you received?: husband
92. Do you drunk dial?: oh yes.
93. Stupidest thing you ever did with your cell phone: Drunk dialed
94. What is the best city in the state that you live in?: London. Of course, I live in London, which is in Greater London...so there is not much choice.
95. Favorite band?: Groove Armada
96. Last time you were sick?: Right now.
97. Favorite Holiday: my birthday
8. Next concert you plan on attending?: who knows
99. Nickname?: nelle and smell
100. What are your plans for tomorrow?: Work


ellen x

Friday, September 08, 2006



I'm going home for a few days. My first time back in 2 years. I can't wait. I'm not sure I'll be able to leave. Not thinking too much about that yet. For now, I'm focusing on seeing my friends, eating good food and drinking cocktails with more than 2 ingredients. And going to the beach. Alot.

The Brit and I are living seperately, but trying to work things out. We'll see.

That's all for now.

California dreaming......

x

Friday, August 11, 2006

I am still alive, just going through a difficult time. TheBrit and I have seperated, and I moved into a new place last week. It's been really hectic sorting everything out and I won't have an internet connection at my new house until August 25, which makes blogging a bit more difficult.

I've got lots to do, but I wanted to say hello and hope all of you are having much better Augusts than I am.

ellen x

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'M MELTING!!!

Okay, it is seriously hot and gross. Today was the hottest day ever recorded in England in July. And since they are not used to this weather, they are not equipped for it. No air conditioners or anything that might possibly be helpful when YOU'RE MELTING. My work is no exception. It was 10 degrees (Celsius!) over the recomended highest temperature for a work place today.
Which, of course, was all my fault because I am the Office Manager and therefore control EVERYTHING. Right.

I ran around putting up additional fans and reminding people to drink water before I was whisked away in my boss's air conditioned car and driven to a very posh restaurant that I couldn't afford in my wildest dreams. It was all very nice, but I couldn't help feeling like I'd left all of the employees melting. It was quite nice to have a 3 hour lunch though. I wish she'd do things like that more often.

And the freak heat continues...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Yesterday was the year anniversary of the July 7th bombings. I hadn't planned on posting about that, but I'm presently reading a book on the Tokyo gas attacks by Haruki Murakami, which changed my mind. His book is a series of interviews from people who were there that day. His motive was to create a better understanding of exactly what it was like that day. Many people refused to be interviewed, and those that did gave various reasons. The most common seems to be that they do not want that day, and the people who died or were seriously injured, to be forgotten. There is so much violence in the world today, that it is easy to forget about individual attacks. But that does not mean that these attacks are any less terrible or tragic.

Anyway, here is my experience of July 7, 2005:

I ran across the street from my flat to catch the tube around 8.30 AM. There was a crowd of people outside the station, which is never a good sign, and I realized that the gates were closed. Living on the Northern Line, this is a fairly common occurence. You get used to the signalling failures and other issues, which cause regular delays. They close the gates to avoid overcrowding on the platform, especially during rush hour.

They think the fourth bomber, the one who blew up the No 30 bus nearly an hour after the other explosions had planned to get on the Northern Line. But he encountered the same problem I did that morning. Makes you think a bit differently about delays doesn't it? If the tube had been working properly, I would have been at King's Cross Station at 8.50 when the explosions occured.

I decided not to wait for the tube and ran to get the bus. The 390 brings me directly to Kings Cross, and from there I planned to hop on a tube for one stop to complete my journey to work. When I got to Kings Cross, however, the station was closed. They weren't letting anyone in and people were pouring out. I didn't see anyone who was injured, or blackened from smoke. It was too early, the explosion must have just occured. The time must have been around 8.50. I don't rememer being late to work, so it could not have been much after.

I was one of the few who did make it to work that morning. Most of my coworkers were unable to get in after the tubes, and then the entire transport network, was shut down. It was an eerie day. The building was mostly empty, and the dominant sounds were of helicopters flying overhead and of sirens screaming by. I spent the majority of the day fielding calls from panicked family members. Most of the people I work with are from abroad, including myself. Mobiles were not working, so people called into the office. I had very little information to give these people, but I tried to reassure them as best I could, and promised to have their son or daughter or niece phone them as soon as I heard from them. I was often asked if our office was near any of the explosions and if it was likely that anyone from our staff may have been traveling on these trains. And my first instinct was to say no, of course not, the danger is far away. But it wasn't. I work in Clerkenwell, which is in EC1 (East Central London). Kings Cross, Liverpool and Tavistock Square, where the bus exploded, are all nearby. Edgeware is further away, but anyone traveling from the West side of London may have been there.

Thankfully, no one from my work was injured.

I left work early that day, around 4. A lot of companies were closing early that day so that their employees could begin the adventure of getting home without public transportation. I walked over to where my husband works, about a 15 minute walk. A few of our friends had met up there and we all decided to begin the walk home to North London. It was about an hour walk, but we stopped for drinks along the way, so it took a bit longer than that.

It was really strange, there were no buses or trains, but so many people. Everyone was walking home. Some who lived further out, were staying at work or in hotels for the night, but many, like us, were walking. Along the walk, our mobiles started working, and the panicked calls started. My friends from California had just woken up to the news of the bombings. Again, I kept thinking that the danger had been so far away, of course I was fine. Things like this seem so surreal, like something out of a film, that it can be difficult to make sense of them.

Murakami's book is subtitled "The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche." Events like the gas attack and the London Bombings do showcase a culture's psyche. I was truly impressed by the Londoners' reaction to the bombings. They did what needed to be done without panicking or dramatics. Everday people stopped to help the injured. July 7 gave me a profound respect for the citizens of London.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It's still hot and sunny! They are calling it a "heatwave," which basically means more than one warm sunny day in a row. Thunderstorms are expected tomorrow though, so that will be the end of our"heatwave." This one lasted a whole 3 days. When I remember heatwaves from my childhood, they seem a bit more extreme than 3 sunny days above 80...

Yesterday was slightly annoying, as I was working while most of you were enjoying a barbecue and fireworks. Oh well. I suppose we do get Boxing Day off and you don't, but it's not quite the same. I am going to an expat 4th of July barbecue on Sunday. Well, there are a few of us expats...it's actually being thrown by a Swede in West London, but it is in honour of the 4th of July and some of us are American. So that counts, right?

By the way, does anyone know how to make a good potato salad? I've been nominated to make one for Sunday and I just learned how to boil an egg. Seriously.

ej