Monday, 28 July 2008

One gift down...

I hear the UK's been enjoying a bit of a heat wave of late. I called my mother yesterday and she and my Dad were relaxing in the garden - illicitly using my sister’s new garden furniture which is being stored at their house until my sister sorts out the purchase of her new place. They had one ear out for her coming through the gate and catching them. Apparently she wouldn’t be happy – after a disastrous attempt at making piña coladas. Piña Coladas?? The way they tell it is that the juice from the fresh pineapple they used curdled the coconut milk. Not surprisingly they also used way too much rum – less is never more when it comes to alcohol with my family - and the result tasted like ‘extremely alcoholic porridge’ so they ditched the cocktails in favour of pear cider.

Sometimes my parents put me in mind of a couple of errant teenagers left behind to mind the house while their parents are away on their summer hols.

All seems to be well with the pair of them anyway, although Dad’s apparently been nattering no end about that Qantas jet which was forced to land in Manila over the weekend when a gaping hole opened up in the fuselage. He’s definitely not a man who’s at peace with air travel, not that his discomfort stops him from flying, but when he does fly he likes to sit by the window and cast a critical eye over every nut and bolt. “That one looks a bit loose” he’ll say pointing to the wing; like he’s in a position to do anything about it. After the Qantas episode he’ll be insisting on inspecting the underbelly of any plane for rust and loose bits before he gets on board. My mother made me laugh when she said to him “What are you worrying about the Qantas plane for? You’re not up there, you’re on the ground y'dozy bugger!!”

Such is the affection between my parents ;-)

Speaking of flights I’m in holiday planning mode at the moment. Melissa and I have decided to forge ahead with the plan to go to Hong Kong - and perhaps Shanghai - despite my plan of going on to Melbourne for a Christmas down under being scuppered by my sister’s inconvenient return to England. I’m quite relieved to be honest; the flight to Australia was on the pricey side, but with my sister and family there I didn't want to turn down the opportunity to visit. My mother was asking this weekend if I’d like some money towards the trip as a Christmas gift or if I’d prefer presents. I opted for presents. “So what would you like for Christmas?” she asked!!

Christmas!!! Seriously mother, it’s JULY, I refuse to send you a list of what I would like for Christmas.


Ironically I ended up buying Mum a Christmas gift this weekend, this was after the phone call and I think she’d put the idea of Christmas into my head. I was in Williamsburg with a few of the girls, we were planning to see the free concert with MGMT and The Ting Tings at McCarron Park Pool, but as we were in the ohhhh so very long line to get in it started bucketing it down, so we gave up and decided to go for a glass of wine instead. Wine was followed by dinner at this cute little Mexican place, Bonita, and a wander around the Williamsburg boutiques. We went in one store,
PEMA where my mum had taken a shine to the Michael Michaud jewellery when she and my father were over for a visit earlier this month. I love his jewellery too, he's an artist who makes really pretty and delicate nature inspired pieces. When she initially mentioned it I decided I would go back and get the piece she liked for a Christmas gift, so since I was there I thought why not. One gift down, about 20 to go :-)

BBC Olympics

I love these opening titles that the BBC are using for the Olympics.

From the beeb's Olympics blog 'the animation, by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett - the team behind Gorillaz - twists the tale of the classical Chinese novel "Journey to the West", turning it into a "Journey to the East" and the Beijing Olympics.'

If only American TV channels would do something as cool. Sometimes I miss the BBC!! The real BBC that is. BBC America - although better than nothing - just isn't the same!!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

I’m thinking I’m not a shellfish person

I was off work yesterday, feeling poorly. I think it was my first sick day for 2008, I usually average one or two days off, but on the whole I’m fairly robust.

Even when I am sick I’m one of those “I’m not sick, I’ll be perfectly fine going into work.” It usually hits me that going into the office is not one of my best ideas around the point where I have to take a break from drying my hair and have a bit of a lie down. If drying my hair is too taxing…well, work is not an option.

I'm suspecting my illness was food induced as I had Dungeness crabs and shrimp on Sunday night and well - shellfish can be unfriendly little bastards that way can’t they - either I had something a bit dodgy or certain crustaceans just don't agree with me. I get queasy if I eat more than 4 scallops, I love them, but there’s something rich about them that turns my stomach if I eat more than an appetizer sized portion!! I've never eaten crab before other than prepared in salads and what not, so I wasn't aware of having a similar reaction, but perhaps that’s the case. In fact the more I think about it the more I think it is my own sensitivity since my pal had no such reaction.

“Oh I’m sorry you feel unwell” she sympathised. “It was great though, I loved it; we should go back there soon.”

Go back!!!! Not bloody likely!!

The evening wasn't a total loss though since I am now educated in the way of the crab. I can eat one without having to use a hammer to bust it open, not that I’m sure I’ll be eating one again, but y’know if I ever happen to be stuck on a crab infested desert island – ugh perish the thought – with a pan, a portable stove and some matches obviously. Rub two sticks together??? Are you kidding me - then I’m well versed in how to eat the little buggers. They have a little tab on the underside that you just pop up and then pull the top off. S'amazing; just like a can of coke. Messy though and a lot of work for not that much meat. Sickness aside I don’t have the patience for food I have to crack open – except for wine - although I do appreciate the calorie burning advantages. Do you think that eating crab is a negative calorie foodstuff like celery?

It was certainly negatively calorific for me!! Oh dear I felt rough!!

Aside from the whole sickness thing Monday was actually quite a nice day. I snoozed a bit and then lay in bed resting and reading between bouts of tea and hot buttered toast - my medication of choice when I'm feeling a bit peaky - and occasionally bothered Catweazle* with IM kisses. I'm almost through the memoir No Man’s Land written by fellow British expat Ruth Fowler. Although as a Cambridge educated writer turned stripper, her experiences of New York have differed significantly from my own. It's like she lives - or maybe lived, I'm not sure whether she’s still based in New York - in a different city to me.

To be honest I get a perverse sort of enjoyment out of being slightly ill. Well that’s not quite right, I don’t enjoy being ill, but I enjoy the forced relaxation necessary for the post illness recuperation when I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever for lying in bed for the entire day and reading my book instead of doing the dishes. I can’t do that on a weekend. There’s always a little voice that says “shouldn’t you be at doing your laundry? Shouldn’t you make an effort to go to yoga class, burn some calories? Shouldn’t you….”

Nag nag nag nag nag!!

I’m more or less feeling better today. Not 100%. My stomach is still sufficiently sore from all the clenching and expelling of seafood on Sunday evening that I decided against a trip to the gym, but I’m much improved.

When I finally dragged my carcass out of bed on Monday to watch Bones – not the best show to watch in a fragile state. I almost lost my toast when Bones opened a package and someone had sent her kneecaps. Thoughtful!! – it was to discover that British light entertainment stars, Ant & Dec, were making their debut on US TV, hosting "Wanna Bet" on ABC.

What can I say; they still look as if they’re about 12years old. According to this LA Times article the pair were apparently ‘cagey about the right opportunity’ before taking the plunge on US TV, which makes me wonder what other tosh they must have been offered to have made this show sound promising. Seriously my IQ dropped 20points when that first bloke came on hula hooping a tire. Good Lord!! But then what do I know, I cannot stand American Idol either. Although at least ABC didn’t stoop so low as to subtitle the Geordie pair.

Seeing them on TV took me back to the time my former co-worker Valerie invited me to a taping of the TV show CD:UK; the Saturday morning music show they used to present with the other ex-pat Brit trying to make it big in the US of A, Cat Deeley.

“My friend Lisa is the floor manager and I’ve been dying to go. Will you come with me? It’s supposed to be for 14year olds, but you’re petite like me, you’ll pass”

I believe I was 27 at the time. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or offended.

The show was a bit of a non event to be honest; I couldn’t even tell you which bands performed. I have a vague recollection of seeing the
New Radicals, but I could be making that up. My strongest recollection is of arriving fairly early at some airless studio on the South Bank, being surrounded by enormous teenagers and the studio absolutely honking!!! Phew!! Too many hormones and not enough deodorant, it was dis-gust-ing!!!

*Catweazle’s still on the scene in case you were wondering, I'm not really one for blabbing too much about my relationships. Unfortunately we probably won’t get to see each other for a couple of months. Long distance relationships aren’t the most convenient eh, but I’m seeing how it goes. Miles thinks I should ‘pop him in the "i'll let him do all the running and if I get another dirty weekend out of it I’m doing well" box, however given some statistic recently came out that 25% of New Yorkers have
herpes - not THIS New Yorker I'll have you know - I think I'll take my chances with my STD free boy thank you very much!!

Saturday, 19 July 2008


Phew scorchio!! It’s 93F in New York today darlings, too hot for me to be outside for long, I just popped out for a minute to the dry cleaners at the end of the street and it was like being inside a pizza oven. No thank you.

Instead of going out I’m perfectly content to stay home tonight. I have a cheeky Chilean Sauvignon Blanc chilling in the freezer* and the second season of Murder in Suburbia on DVD.

Yup, that’s how I roll on a Saturday night in the city that never sleeps; cheap* white wine and back to back episodes of cheesy British detective series.

Am I getting old do you think? ;-)

*A 2007 Santa Rita for the bargain price of $6:49 including tax. It's very happy on the wallet which is good because I'm economising at the moment. It doesn’t taste like vinegar either, in fact it’s an under $15 pick by the Wine Spectator. Try it kids, it's delicious!!

Friday, 18 July 2008


Here I am bemoaning my lack of inspiration and what do I find this morning...only that a knife wielding man was fatally shot by police just a few buildings down from mine a little after 1am this morning.


I was woken briefly by emergency sirens last night, but then it's New York, there are always sirens. These days I can't sleep without the background noise of a siren, and I thought nothing of it and went back to sleep, but then as I walked to the subway this morning I noticed roving reporters from CW11 were recording across the street and I just knew something was afoot. I'm canny that way ;-)

This from WNBC...

"Investigators said police were waved into the building where the man's girlfriend complained she was being threatened and harassed.

As two police officers questioned the woman in the building's hallway, the suspect allegedly ran out of the apartment with a knife - charging at one of the officers. The officer fired one time, hitting the man in the chest, police sources said.

The man was rushed to Lenox Hill hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to police. The two officers were treated for trauma, police said. Investigators said the knife was recovered in the second floor hallway."

Yikes!! At times like these I'm thankful that my life errs towards the duller end of the spectrum!!

Thursday, 17 July 2008


I’ve started and abandoned a lot of blog posts recently. To be honest I have nothing to talk about, which is unusual for me because I’m typically quite the chatterbox, but I’m suffering from an acute case of lethargy this summer and I’m finding I just can’t be bothered. Everything – like working for a living - seems to take greater effort than usual. I feel like I'm wading through treacle.

I'm chalking my lethargy up to the heat of the summer. I'm not exactly what you’d call a summer person; I don’t really like to be out in the heat and the thought of lying on a beach and burning brings me out in hives. I generally only like the beach during the off season and have no desire to lie towel to towel in close proximity to other people smelling of coconut.

My parents and sister on the other hand are 100% certified lie on a beach and tan for the day type people and during their recent visit my parents frequently took themselves off to Coney Island for the day. In my early teens my parents would save up all their holidays from work and take the last 2weeks of July; first two weeks of August off for a family vacation. We’d drive to Dover for the ferry to France and then drive south – yes drive; it took 2days - to go camping for 3 or 4 weeks in
Argeles Sur Mer or drive across the Pyrenees to Platja d'aro in Northern Spain to lie on a beach for 8hours and get a really good tan. After a few days I would get really bored and nag my parents to take us to visit castles.

If I wasn't the spit of my mother I'd swear I was adopted.

I’m not all doom and gloom in summer. I do enjoy a nice clear day with 75F-ish temperatures and a light breeze, but since summer in New York generally means temperatures in the mid to high eighties, uncomfortable levels of humidity and fetid aromas – characterised by the delectable scent of dried dog urine with overtones of hot garbage – I’m more often than not to be found hibernating indoors with a good book and the air conditioner blasting. In fact except for trips to and from my local Barnes and Noble to replenish my reading materials I’ve been rarely inclined to get out at all this year.

And while I’m whining, the other thing that drives me mad about New York in summer is the frequency with which restaurant and building workers hose down the pavements. I appreciate the fact that cleaner pavements are vastly friendlier on the nose and that it needs to be done, but I’m ready to smack the next inconsiderate f***wit who decides that water is insufficient for cleansing and that only the addition of about 3 gallons of bleach will do the trick. I’ve had at least 2 pairs of trousers ruined as I’ve tried to negotiate my way down a recently cleansed and sodden sidewalk – it’s either that or taking your chances in traffic - only to have bleach blobs splash up the back of the legs thus rendering my clothing with off white patches. Grrrrrr!!!

My clients have also been leading me a merry dance recently, if they are not resigning they’re teasing me with requests for 100% of my time over the next 3months and then changing their minds when they see how much 100% of me actually costs and only buying 35% and trying to finagle 15% for free.

No no no no no!!

I’m expensive kids, but I’m so worth it ;-)

Monday, 14 July 2008

Too knackered....

....and too irritated to post anything at the moment.

I'm having one of those days at work where I arrived at the office all gung-ho to get things done only to be thwarted by chuffing technology. Grrrr!!! Our servers are functioning sporadically at best. I can't print, it takes 30mins to save anything, it's driving me bananas. I'm going for a drink!!

Enjoy a little MGMT in my absence!! They're playing McCarron Park pool with The Ting Tings on July 29th!! Fingers crossed for good weather!!