Tuesday, February 28

Fat Tuesday, yes in deed!!!

So we had everything but real maple syrup!!

pancake pile starting to grow!

Susan enjoying the pancakes

me enjoying the pancakes!

Just heard from my friend Topher and I might be going to Russia for my spring break in April - how exciting would that be?!?!??!!

Just to let you all know Louise & I are going to give up Chocolate for Lent - more just as a test of our strength than anything else!! Well we've gotta go and stuff our faces full of hob nobs and chocolate before midnight . . . 53 minutes and counting!

What kind of Soul are you?

You Are a Dreaming Soul

Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you away from this world
So much so that you tend to live in your head most of the time
You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...
But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult

You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.
Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.
Underneath it all, you have a ton of passion that you hide from others.
Always hopeful, you tend to expect positive outcomes in your life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Newborn Soul, Prophet Soul, and Traveler Soul
What Kind of Soul Are You?

Dr Evil?!?!?!?!

You Are 44% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.
How Evil Are You?

Monday, February 27

awesome news

AWESOME news clip that I've now gotten from 3 people in the states!
Figured it was blog worthy!!


So I went through one more interview today with Alreo Thomas, who I must admit we (IID students) all thought she was such a bitch in lab class and most of us were scared of here to begin with. But due to the fact that I'm over qualified for 98% of the summer projects, I decided to interview with her since she's doing immuopathology which I didn't do at Trudeau! After meeting with her and really enjoying learning about EBV and how she wants to look at FoxP3 cells in the tumors with a cool microscope that can laser out sections of the tumor and move them onto a side to look at them in more detail. Sounds cool, no?!?!?!?!?

After my meeting I went down to the computer lab to do a little more research & then met up with Amanda, Dom, Heather, Meredith, and Susan for "bottle night" not sure I've ever talked about one of those nights have I? We found a pub just round the corner from uni that you can buy a bottle of wine for £5.35, so we can each get a nice glass of wine and not have to pay an arm & a leg - it has been known to turn the following day into, black Tuesday, but it's all good!!!

Reflections . . . Sometimes I think it's easy to misjudge people. To go based on what you've heard, or what you think you know . . .And I am guilty sometimes of that, I think. It's very easy to assume things without knowing the whole truth or full facts . . . I think we all do it but it takes a big person to admit it . . . And clearly right now, I'm the bigger one :) I feel like I've been unfair to people I've met, because I'm overprotective or because I want to believe I have someone pegged . . . And come to find out, I don't. So what I want to say here is that I'm ready to believe that there is more to people than we all know . . . And I bet people have done the same with me as well. I'd like to also say that I think God (or whoever it is) brought me here for a lot of wonderful reasons, mostly to learn more about me and what I need to learn to grow as a person. And for that I am thankful!!

Gratitude is a wonderful thing - Jed this one's for you!!

Saturday, February 25

16 Feb - Barcelona Day trip

We decided on Wednesday night that we'd wake up early and catch a bus up to Barcelona for the day. We had breakfast at the hotel, walked down to the beach & stood by the "Tarragona/Barcelona" bus stop with a couple from the UK (overheard their accent). First bus that came by we asked if they were going to Barcelona and the driver said, "no, 10 minutes" which meant the bus was running late but we didn't much care since it was coming.

4 buses later, still no Barcelona bus - at this point 3 other couples from our hotel had joined us to stand at the bus stop. 2 of the couples where older and from California the 3rd couple was from the UK as well. I think it was about the 6 or 7th bus that the driver said no more Barcelona buses till 2pm but we can take this bus to Tarragona and get a bus to Barcelona from there, this was very confusing since the time table said departures at 8.15, 9.15, 10.15, 11.15, 2.15, 3.15, 4.15, but we all hopped on the bus.

At Tarragona we searched for the Barcelona bus, to no avail. We went to the ticket office to ask about it and found out that the "winter" time table is different than the one we'd been looking at and there were only 4 buses a day two in the am (8 and 9am) and two in the afternoon (2 and 3pm) seeing as it was now 11.30am we didn't want to wait around for the bus at 2, so we tried to find the train station. We asked for directions along the way and eventually after a few wrong turns and a few locals flagging us down we made it. By flagging us down I mean they gave us directions in Spanish & when we were trying to follow their directions we apparently misunderstood them & they yelled for our attention to show us what they meant - VERY VERY nice of them! Course they were probably laughing their butts off at the "dumb tourists" but I don't care since we made it to where we were trying to go!

Not sure if you can read it but this was the Barcelona train - YEAH!!!

After about an hour we arrived in Barcelona - since all Susan & I had was the huge Lonely Plant Guide to Spain we decided to go to the information center and buy a more detailed city map. Unlike the other couples who were all going to hop on the open top tourist buses (38 Euros for the day, not on a student budget!!) So here is the main walking route we tried to follow from the LP guide, of course being wonderful explorers that we are, we often got side tracked by a cute little road or shop or sign so we probably walked this route about 5 times in different directions, back tracking quite a bit to find the "touristy spot" we'd missed while walking down an intriguing alley way.
We set out first to find the cathedral - how hard could it be to find? Large building with cross & bell on top, right?!?!?! Well nice theory, but we walked to all sides but the front (STOP LAUGHING) there's a good explanation . . . There was construction on the front side so when we walked near it we saw all this scaffolding & plywood we went to the side of it. Since it was about 1pm and we couldn't find the official entrance we decided to get some lunch.

Forgetting we don't know a word of Spanish it was rather interesting to read the menu & try to order food. Susan's bikini turned out to be a MINI hand and cheese sandwich (by mini I mean the roll was round and smaller than the palm of my hand!) I got a fococcia that had tomato, cheese & anchovies on it since I didn't know all the words :( After that meal was done and we'd managed to pay, we wandered down towards the sea. We found a few cute post cards, bought them and tried to find a post office, but we think (again not fluent in Spanish) it's under construction & not open till 20 Feb - no help to us as we're here for the day).

We saw the Mirador de Colum,

walked up the famous, La Rombla and got an ice cream & 2 souvenir shirts at a good deal,

walked through a rather large market (size of Borrough market here in London) and bought some fresh strawberries,

FINALLY found the front of the cathedral (aren't you proud of us!!)

over to the Exglesia de Stn. Maria del Mar with beautiful stain glass!!

trip down a side road and found a little sports shop with great deal on trainers, so I got myself a pair :)

found the Palau de la Musica, but it was closed so we decided to try to get into the inside of the cathedral (it was closed when we found the front entrance)

from there it was getting rather late so we decided to just take another stroll up La Rombla & have a little snack at Cafe Zurich.

From there we rushed back to the train station to catch the 7.01pm train and as we got down to the platform, the doors were beeping, closing and we'd missed it by 3 seconds (Susan was pushing the door open button but it was not opening, but rather pulling away). We went back up to the ticket office & found out there was another (faster) train in about 20 minutes, so we paid the 70 cents upgrade fee. We sat, wrote out postcards, and eat our strawberries! Did I tell you they were huge??

yes, that's a normal business size envelope!!!!

On the way home we met some interesting characters from the US, but I'm off to my local to watch 6 nations rugby with Rob (I'm already late!!)

15 Feb 2006 First Day in Spain

Here is the first day in Spain post, better late than never . . .

So our first official day in Spain we didn't really do all that much - which was just what we were hoping. We got up around 9am, showered and went to eat our included breakfast. From there we went to check out the town & ocean. We took tons of photos on the beach to see them all click on the link for "my photos"

beautiful sea shells with ocean foam

beach walkway - notice the crazy looking lights - weird huh?!?!Susan on the rock jetty at one end of the beach (our hotel is way in the background)

After our little exploration trip around the town and beach we decided to get our books and read outside in the sun by the outdoor pool - waaaaay too cold to go swimming but not bad for relaxing & reading we thought. Until we ran into our "friends". These were two woman in their 70s I'd say, both British, both a little hard of hearing and probably seeing as well. Not sure if they were sisters or friends, we thought sisters b/c of the way that they bickered, but ya never know. We wished we'd had our camera to take photos b/c they were on their 2nd double scotch on the rocks (that we saw them drink) when one of them lay down on the reclining beach chair in a rather unusual way (let's just say she was in a skirt and wasn't sitting lady like at all!) The two of them sat there not really looking at each other & complained about this and that and kept blaming the other for what was wrong with their trip. After awhile the sun had gone behind a cloud & we'd heard enough from these two little biddies, so we went inside to read where it was quieter and warmer. (after this "spotting" of them, we ran into them at all our meals & one time I had my camera so I pretended like we were taking a photo of the entrance to the dining hall but got them in it as well - they of course said, "is she taking a photo of us?" while I was doing it so Susan & I jumped into the lift asap b/c we were laughing so darn hard, since I was taking a photo of them!!

note they have their Scotch's in hand

Interesting things we noticed while out and about this day were:

Whistling noises from bikers while we were walking down the road

Stares from work men & men playing bocce ball (we over heard them say, "amigos, amigos de atenciÃn, mira a las chicas bonitas" aka look at the pretty girls)

A supermarket is called a "Supermercat" made me giggle!

At the Farmicia you can get, tooth whiteners, gum, candy, contact solution, condoms, hair dye, toothbrushes, but if you want plasters (band-aids) they are behind the counter and you have to ask for them - veryinterestingg when you only speak English!!! Luckily we found a photo of a first aid kit so we pointed to what we wanted.

Funny things we said:

Susan - "ya know the channel under the tunnel?" Do you mean the Chunnel??

Susan again - "when the time changes ya know?" Do you mean Daylights Saving time??

Friday, February 24

Typical Friday night in KT

After being in class all afternoon learning about clinical reproductive immunology - I was ready for the week to be over!

Amanda, Dom & I walked back to LSHTM (our class is in Birbeck college - a few blocks away from Keppel St) so we could check our email and find out if we've gotten our summer projects sorted. We ran into Susan who was waiting in reception & while we were chatting Jason (Amanda's friend) walked in - good timing - they were suppose to meet at 5pm and it was 4.59!! "Gotta love a boy who's on time" I said. "I'm only as on time as the trains are" he replied :) we all laughed & then went down stairs to check our email.

Amanda got the project she wanted with
Brian de Souza so that was very exciting! Me on the other hand, I'm still waiting . . . Quentin needs to find out if he has enough funding to offer me the project we discussed, Greg's project has been taken, Helena's not offering a project, Rebecca has a cool project which I'm waiting to hear about, which could potentially lead to a PhD but I'm still not sure about that step, what do you think?!?!?!

Okay back to my day, after checking email, Susan & I caught the bus up to KT, stopped by my flat to drop off our bags & for me to get my wallet that I'd forgotten at home, and off we went for our Friday night curry :) we had the usual Chicken Korma with nan bread. When we got back to my flat we watched
A League of Their Own and eat our baklava and fudge covered oreos - YUM!! When it was over it was 11.30pm so Susan went home and I'm about to go to sleep!

Late night update

Sorry I haven't blogged yet today, I was in classes all day in a building with no computers and then went to dinner with Amanda & Jason (her friend from Madison, WI). After riding forever on the 214 bus to get home, my phone was ringing, with my lil sis calling to check in.

Then I was on the phone with Jim. We are going to try to meet up tomorrow to swap our dvds that we've borrowed, if I can get outta class early enough - should be interesting seeing as we haven't seen each other in nearly a month! We did have a right chat tonight on the phone comparing war stories of our busy schedules (nearly 2 hours) I won b/c I had more exams during the past month than he did :) course I'm not sure that's how he saw it, but seeing as you know me and how I'm always right, you agree with me, don't you?!?!? LMAO

Should be around this weekend in between the rugby at the pub will try to get some of the Spain stories posted for you. Well it's 03.40 & I've got class at 14.00, so I'm off to bed now.

Wednesday, February 22

7 for dinner at mine

Dinner was good fun!!!

Dom & I were cooking the Thai green chili and had just started the rice when the power went out! So I had 8 people, no power, 1 torch (flashlight), Thai green chili (all cooked) and no rice, since it had been cooking for about 2 minutes. I went out to explore the situation - found out it's just the block I live on and the block that my local (pub) is on - went into the pub to find out if they knew anything - they said it should be restored by 11pm (famous last words as it is 11pm now and I'm running my laptop on battery).

Susan, Louise and I ran over to the Chinese place across the road and got white rice & "emergency" candles. WONDERFUL dinner - Thai green chili by candlelight with 7 wonderful friends who were just happy to be having dinner together & didn't care about no light!!

6 bottles of wine where drank along with some Oreo's and jelly bellies for dessert since Louise couldn't couldn't make apple pie :(

Oh and the power just came back on :) Amazing how that works!!

Well I'm off to bed now - classes at half 9!!!!

Tuesday, February 21

MBID night out

So went to the Hare & Tortoise tonight with all my MBID friends :) It was a great dinner!! Louise & I had our usual beef & black bean chili over noodles with vegetarian spring rolls to start, but the boys eat them by accident & left us with their prawn rolls (not bad but not what we'd ordered) I also got a raw juice (fresh pressed carrot & apple juice - so good!!)

After we decided to go over to a pub just round the corner from Russell Sq (forget the name) but we went b/c they have a huge screen tv to see the
Arsenal v Real Madrid game - not one of the greatest games I've seen them play but our boys pulled it off :)

Well off to bed now that it's 11.35pm and I've got class at half 9.

Little cuties

So for those of you who love puppies - Mindy has posted photos of Skunk's 4 week old little boys from this past weekend - they are just too cute (see side link called Skunk).

Not much going on here, had my second day of classes for term D1 and now I'm off to have dinner with my friends from MBID (molecular biology of infectious diseases)

Monday, February 20

Study break update

So I just took a 30 minute study break to finish reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

A book I recommend - fast read yet not a light subject, but none the less a very interesting and thought provoking book - I think

Two friends of mine from MBID program were wearing the funniest shirts today, Ellie had this shirt,

Her flatmate had this shirt on,

(Kristen F how much do you like like this one?!?!?!
Your mom is laughing at us now for sure! Miss her!!)

Well that was my first study break for the evening, if I take one later on you might get a description of Spain Day One, but don't hold your breathe!!

On our way to Spain

Susan & I decided to meet at Kings Cross station at 2pm so we could catch the 214 to Liverpool Street Station from there we'd get the Stanstead Express. Sounds easy, right?!?! Well it would be if the two of us had decided where in KC we'd meet - I sent her a txt message at 1.50 saying I was right next to the Swatch watch booth - I got her txt message saying "I don't see swatch anywhere I'm by the barriers" (which I knew meant she'd gone downstairs to try to meet me near the northern line tube exit so I replied, "I'm upstairs by the ticket booth". By 2.10pm we were sorted and standing outside waiting for the 214.

Bus ride was rather uneventful . . . The 214 bus route terminates a Liverpool St Station, so we just chatted about this and that until we arrived.

Arrived just in time to get the 2.31 Stanstead Express train :) it was rather full, but we found 2 seats & about an hour later we were at Stanstead airport! Thus far our plan had worked out rather well as far as timing was concerned, only thing we didn't take into account is that check in does not start until 2 hours prior to departure and our flight wasn't until 18.15 which meant we had about 45 minutes to kill - we browsed through all the shops in the "pre-check" in area & decided to get ourselves a little snack seeing as the plane's food would be way over priced and most likely tasteless!

Check in went as planned - gave them our bags, they checked out passports, they hand wrote our names onto our tickets & off we went to the security check point. We were in line there for about 20 minutes - reading all the signs about 6 nations rugby. Without a glitch we went through the metal detectors & into the rather large waiting area with tons of tax-free shopping to be had. We perused many of the stores but didn't purchase anything until a few minutes before boarding - when we picked up a few dinner items.

We were flying with RyanAir which is sorta like SouthWest - no assigned seats just find one that suits you. Susan & I spotted emergency door row seats with a lot of extra leg room, so we took those & this is where the funniness begins. We safely stowed our purses below the seats in front of us & put our books in our laps - sounds reasonable, right?? The stewardess comes over and tells us we can't store anything below the seats in front of us since it's an emergency exit row - okay, whatever, never heard that before, but easy enough. As we were handing over our purses for her to put in the overhead bins she asks if we have any liquid in our bags. I remembered I'd put my water bottle in there - she said we had to hold on to that since they couldn't put any liquid in over head bins - a little strange that they'd let us hold water bottles that could fly all around the plane in an emergency, but again, whatever we're on our way to Spain!!! About 5 minutes later a steward comes over and tells Susan she has to put her sweatshirt & scarf up in the overhead compartment b/c they can't be loose in the emergency aisle. To which I want to question (but don't) it's okay to have a two-2 liter water bottles in the row, but not a scarf?!?!?!?!?! As the plane was taxing down the runway we started to chuckle as we compared our views of this plane trip so far - nobody checked we had our belts buckled, but they took Susan's scarf; nobody asked if we were willing & capable of opening the emergency door, but we can't have a small purse below the seat in front of us.

About 1.5 hours later we landed at Reus aeropuerto in Spain (yeah). We walked down the staircase from the plane onto the runway and over to the covered walkway that lead us to the passport control area. Since it was 9.30pm (we'd had a departure delay thanks to the air traffic controller strike in France) it was dark & there were not many employees around - we did not see any signs of what to do so we just followed the other travelers into the queue. When we finally got up & presented our passport we were handed cards to fill out off to the side. We did as we were told, but this put us at the back of the line again :( While standing in line I asked Susan what happens when you run out of pages for them to stamp in your passport. Before Susan could reply a man in front of us told us they just sew in a new set of pages and give them letters instead of numbers & that if you know you'll be doing a lot of traveling that you can ask for extra pages to be put into the original passport and he flashed us his with the extra lettered pages - You learn something new every day!! How many of you knew that?!?!?! We had no problem getting our little stamp & finding our luggage (after waiting a second time in line) we were the lonely 2 pieces of luggage riding the conveyor belt.

Legged it outside and luckily were able grab the last taxi. 15 minutes later we were checking in to our hotel Estival Park Salou. We were both pretty exhausted after all these modes of transportation in one day (walking, tube, bus, train, plane, and finally a taxi) so we went straight to our room to check it out and have a little dinner. Here are some of the photos.

view of room from our balcony

Susan on the balcony

Lovely Valentine's Day Dinner - tuna & cheese sandwich, Tesco's pre-washed veggies, salt & vinegar kettle crisps, and 2 brownies for dessert. (chocolate chip granola bar & strawberry nutrigain bars turned out to be snacks for other days)

Here's to our health

Just got done with Clinical Virology with Alero Thomas now just playing around on the internet at uni, found this article can it really be true - would be so nice!!

Saturday, February 18

Dinner & the pub

So Louise, Jeremy & I had pizza, garlic bread, and salad for dinner tonight :) It was really good but we were done around 6.45pm and all stared at eachother realizing how knackered we were for as early as it was!! After washing up Jeremy wanted a coffee so we decided to venture out & look for one - sorta thinking there aren't any coffee houses in KT, but none the less we went out searching Well turns out, we don't have a coffee house (told you so), so we ran into our local & he was able to get his much needed coffee there. Lou & I had lemonades (like Sprite).

After about 10 minutes, Rob wandered in and got himself a Guiness (like I needed to say that - LOL). After a few gulps he made his way over to our table - a bit akward at first, just the normal "how's work", "what have you been up to", "long time no talk" sorta talk.

Rob got up to get the next round (3 Magners & an extra cold Guiness) & when he returned with all our drinks we were all able to just sorta fall back into our normal pub life, minus the Jenga game. Lou & J left around 8pm, but I stayed on with Rob until 11.15 - good to catch up since we hadn't really hung out at all since before my Christmas break, minus a few fly by converstations in hallways and on the street. Really funny thing was he said, "When was the last time we got pissed together here?" to which I responded, "I'm not getting pissed, but we haven't had a pub night since Dec!" He replied, "I bet you've missed it as much as I have!" I just smiled and nodded.

It was a strange time this past term with all my course work and lack of time to see my "local" friends up in Kentish Town, after seeing them so much during my first 3 months here. Hopefully this term will have a little more free time so we can stay in contact a little better.

Spain in review

Well would of course be a rather long blog since we were on holiday for 3 nights, but if you're just interested in the photos, you can click the side link for "My Photos" and find the ones labeled Spain Day 1, Spain Day 2 and Spain Day 3 - I will make up 3 blogs (each day separately) so you won't be overwhelmed reading - we have LOTS of funny stories!!

Return from Spain

me on the rocks with La Pineda beach behind me

Back safely - need to dowload about 120 more photos & and SLEEP write more soon!

Wednesday, February 15

Today in history

On this day in 1564 Galileo Galilei, astronomer and mathematician, born in Pisa, W Italy. He entered Pisa University as a medical student in 1581, and became professor of mathematics at Padua (1592-1610), where he improved the refracting telescope (1610), and was the first to use it for astronomy, discovering the four largest satellites of Jupiter. Among his other discoveries were the law of uniformly accelerated motion towards the Earth, the parabolic path of projectiles, and the law that all bodies have weight. The validity of his scientific work was formally recognized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1993.

1812, Wilson Hunt arrives at Astoria, Oregon; having departed St. Louis more than two years earlier, his party stumble into the fur-trading post of Astoria, Oregon.

1820 - Susan B. Anthony is born in Adams, MA

1933 - Rososevelt avoidsassassinationn
A deranged, unemployed brick layer named Giuseppe Zangara shouts "Too many people are starving!" and fires a gun at America's president-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Roosevelt had just delivered a speech in Miami's Bayfront Park from the back seat of his open touring car when Zangara opened fire with six rounds. Five people were hit. The president escaped injury but the mayor of Chicago, Anton Cernak, who was also in attendance, received a mortal stomach wound in the attack.

In one of the greatest defeats in British military history, Britain's supposedly impregnable Singapore fortress surrenders to Japanese forces after a weeklong siege. More than 60,000 British, Australian, and Indian soldiers were taken prisoner, joining 70,000 other Allied soldiers captured during Britain's disastrous defense of the Malay Peninsula.

1951 - Jane Seymour is born

1964 - Chris Farley, actor, comedian. Born Christopher Crosby Farley on February 15, 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin. After studying theater and communications at Marquette University, Farley joined the cast of Chicago's Second City Theatre, where he was discovered by Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. In addition to an ensemble role on Saturday Night Live, Farley became famous on the big screen through roles aslovablyeably misguided buffoon. A notorious glutton, Farley's five-foot, six-inch frame could barely contain his 296-pound bulk. His films include Wayne's World, Beverly Hills Ninja and Billy Madison. He also co-starred with comic partner David Spade in Tommy Boy and Black Sheep. In 1997, he was found dead in his apartment in Chicago. It was later declared that he died of an overdose of cocaine and morphine exacerbated by advanced diseases.

1965 - Canada adopts maple leaf flag
In accordance with a formal proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II of England, a new Canadian national flag is raised above Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

1965 - Nat King Cole dies
Jazz singer and pianist Nat King Cole dies of lung cancer at age 46. In 1991, his daughter, singer Natalie Cole, released a new album, Unforgettable With Love. Electronic recording and mixing technology allowed her to record duets with her father, using his old tracks. The album was No. 1 in the United States for five weeks and won the Grammy for Best Album of the Year.

1976 - nothing much important happened - LOL - course if you where born on this day & this year you're just really old now!!!!

Tuesday, February 14

Last minute packing

So I'm not a huge fan of basketball, but I did want to see the results of last nights game I know lots of folks in CT who are darn depressed over this!!

Okay, off to get some last minute packing done, eat breakfast & the meet Susan at Kings Cross for the start of our holiday in Salou . . . I'm going to pre-post something for tomorrow b/c it's a friends 30th b'day & I won't be around so don't be confused by that.

Toodle-pip, see you Saturday :)

Happy Valentine's Day

Guess the title says it all :)

As I'd mentioned earlier, I had Susan, Dom, and Amanda over tonight for a "dinner party". Here are two photos from it, not the greatest, but we were quite hungry & you can see from this first photo that the food was steaming hot & smelled so good we didn't have time for close ups or quality photo taking.

I know this looks bad since it's all on the floor, but seeing as I have minimal space we often use the floor for preparing dinner. Here you can see Dom making dinner plates while Amanda looks at the article on VP Dick (still amazing!) Dom made the sauce himself and cooked fuscili pasta with a sprinkle of fresh basil & Parmesan cheese on top. We also had homemade garlic bread (thanks to Amanda's garlic butter making skills) and of course a salad with ranch dressing! For dessert we had our famous brownies.

YUM brownies!!!! Ok, off to bed now seeing as I've got to wake up early & pack for my trip to Spain, don't worry I've learned some Spanish (Hola means hello, what more do I need since I'll be relaxing in the pool & sauna all day?!?!?!?)

Monday, February 13

Short London Walkabout

What is this stuff about? What's going on in my native country?? I just literally ran into the security guard at COOP down the road and when I went to apologize he said, "oh no worries, you've got a great smile" so I said sorta under my breathe "it's cause I'm American" (I don't find British woman to be all that smiley, but maybe it's just me) he apparently heard me and said, "oh I love your accent, but what's going on in your country?" I had no clue what he was referring to because off the top of my head I could think of many things - mostly when people say that sort of comment they want to know we (Americans) like our president. So I asked what exactly he was talking about and he mentioned the shooting - I legged it home and got on CNN.com to find out & low & behold the security guard had the whole story correct!!

Well back to photos - her's a great photo of this year's SLWC castle, thanks to DM.

Here are some photos around central London from when Susan & I took our little walk earlier today before our meetings about summer projects (fingers crossed!!) So you can have your bearings (if you know London) we left LSHTM, walked down Gower Street to New Oxford and turned left (east) and took that onto High Holborn then turned south by Holborn tube station and found a cool square which I forget the name (old age is kicking in now that I'm 28!) and so we walked through there and found this building to photograph.hotel of some sort - forget now what the sign said, but the whole square was private & we couldn't get inside, so we decided to keep walking down the road until we saw this,

the back entrance to the Royal Courts of Justice which made us want to find the front, so we popped down a little road and found the front,

Nice building huh!!!!

Nearly forgot that on our way there we found a pub called, Princess Louise, so in honour of my flatmate (who is currently in Italy on holiday with her boyfriend) we took this photo - if only I had photoshop & knew how to super impose her face!!!

Well that's about all for photos of my walk about - it was only 45 minutes long since we had meetings to be at by 2pm, but it was nice to see a section of the city that we hadn't seen before!

I have to get going - I'm meeting Bianca in a few at the Assembly House.

Can't believe I almost forgot this cool clock photo!!
Ta-ra :)

Sunday in review

As most of you know by now my first term for 2006 is over (YEAH) and as I think I've already said that of my three closest friends here at uni two of them just so happen to be from the states, Susan from CT and Amanda from Wisconsin (Louise is from Scotland). Well yesterday we all decided to get together at a coffee house (down near London Bridge on Clink Street (near Vinopolis & the London Dungeon) to sort of decompress from this term. Turned out that Susan's phone wasn't working so she didn't get the text message till late in the day and she was then busy. Here are a few of our conclusions. Now don't get worried after reading all this - we are all fine - we just need to vent a little every once in awhile - not easy living in a foreign country thousands of miles away from home & studying for a masters!

It was a great term, we are all glad last term is over but I must admit as extremely hard as it was, it was good to be able to take everything that we've learned and use it in "real life" & see that we are able to apply what we've learned - get a real sense of accomplishment!

It's been tough of course, as we've all fallen a victim crying at one point or another during the term, but luckily we've become such good friends that we can call on each other at any time, day or night. Just so much going on in our lives here in London and yet we feel like we're missing out on our lives back in the states. At times we feel like we're being torn in too many directions - mentally & emotionally. We have all figured out that one of the reasons this term has been so much harder is that after seeing friends & family and having them around, makes us miss them even more now!

We unanimously decided that if life came with a tag saying, "at age W you will do X, then when you get to be Y you will do Z" then we wouldn't have to worry, we could just plod along and not think about anything else like that, ya know?

At 1pm Susan & I going to take a quick walk around central London to see new things - I'll try to remember to bring my camera to get some photos of anything cool. Then I have two meetings, one with Quentin Bickle and the other with Patricia Gorak-Stolinska about possible summer projects. At 5.30, I'm meeting my friend Bianca at our local to catch up since we've both been so busy & playing phone tag. At 6.30 Dom & Amanda are coming over for spaghetti dinner :)

Sunday, February 12

Destination Cranleigh

So as I'm sure you can all guess it's nice to get the beck out of London every once in awhile. When you don't have a car & don't know your way around outside of London this can present a problem at times. LUCKILY for me, my dear friend Katie, offered me the chance to go on a little country side ramp today. I got the 11.11 Thameslink to Mitchen Junction where Katie picked me up. We took a few minutes to look at the Surrey A to Z map and then off we went towards Dorking (funny name huh???) we stopped off first at Denbie's Wine Estate it's a beautiful location, of course this wasn't the ideal time of year to view the vineyard, but we perused the gift shop and made 2 purchases, Surry Gold & Juniper Hill.

From there we attempted to get ourselves to Cranleigh - I was attempting to be a co-pilot, but this is a difficult job when roads in England don't have street signs or numbers just an arrow with a destination so you sorta have to know what towns are before and after that town you want so you'll know which road to take - seeing as I've never been this far south in England I hadn't got a bloody clue what to look for. We choose a road that looked promising until it started to get really really narrow like this.

Interesting thing to note about this road, aside from how narrow it is, is that the fastest you can go is "the national speed limit" which is 70mph, imagine doing that speed down this road - we had a hard time going 35mph!!

Okay, back to this road that we thought was what we wanted . . . well as you've probably guessed by now, it wasn't the correct road at all, but we did see this sign with a full parking lot, so we just had to stop and take a photo!

By this time it was about 2.20pm and we were getting hungry, so we decided to pop in & see what it was all about.

We walked in & were both immediately impressed by the fire with real wood in the corner next to the bar. We made our way over, found a few menus & plopped our butts on the bar stools just next to the fireplace. Katie ordered the fish & chips with half pint of Guinness. I decided to try the Steak & Guinness cobbler with a pint of lemonade (like Sprite). It was a divine meal!! We were also able to get updates on the rugby without having to sit in the room where the telly was with all the men who were chain smoking. For dessert we had sticky toffee pudding, YUM!!!! On our way out we realized they have a little garden with outdoor seating.

Cool car we saw in the parking lot - interesting flag design to have over here!

Cool old route master bus that was in the parking lot as well

Once back in the car we were able to figure out where on the map we were & sorta map out a plan of how to get to Cranleigh. About 15 minutes, 2 wrong turns, and a short cut (but no stopping to ask for directions) we found ourselves in the lovely town of Cranleigh, SUCCESS!!!

We parked the car in a lot just off the high street & took a little walk about checking out all the stores. We each bought a leather purse for £5, goour errandssss run at SuperDrug & the mum'n'pop book/card shop.

After hitting up both sides of the high street we decided to head home - it was getting dark, we didn't know our way very well & it would be hard to read a map in the dark!!Impressivelyly we made it home in about 1.25 hours without lifting the map off the floor of my seat - just instinct & a few minor road signs.

When we got back to Katie's house we decided to watch something on the telly, luckily thOlympicscs were being shown live, so we watched ice skating & the men's second luge run. Katie & I decided to have blueberry pancakes with Adirondack maple syrup for dinner. It was so good!! As we both said, just what the doctor ordered for the ending to our relaxing out of London day!

I got the Northern line back home which started out running on time & in the direction I wanted, but as we got closer & closer it kept changing it's final destinationon, so I got stuck having to switch to the High Barnet branch at Camden station in order to get home, but that just meant standing around on the platform for an extra 10 minutes!

Funny Names

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet and current street name)
Heidi Kentishtown

2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on mother's side first name, favorite candy)
Lucile Hobnob

3. YOUR "FLY GIRL/GUY" NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite animal, name of high school)
Horse Ardsley

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Victoria Yonkers

6. YOUR OPPOSITE SEX NAME: (name of dad/mom, cell phone Company you use)
Peter Orange

7. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (first 3 letters of your last name, last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name)

8. YOUR PORN STAR NAME: (middle name, and the first street you lived on)
Victoria Buenavista

Saturday, February 11

Quick check in

Forgot to post this photo on Wednesday night, when we were both struggling to finish our term papers, note the tea mug on the ladder - it was the start of our 5th cup (about 01.50!!!)

Nothing exciting to report since I last posted, but it is again SUNNY!!

I'm going to shower & then grab the tube or Thameslink down to Katie & Simon's (way other end of London from KT). We're hoping to do something outside - if the sun can stick with us!

Will have my camera so I'll be sure to take photos if we see anything worth while.

Here are 2 photos of this morning's sky.

Good Night Moon

Ya know some nights you're really tired & wishing you were little again so you could be home in your own bed with your parents reading you a bed time story . . . That's how I feel tonight!

I think this feeling was brought on by my morning bus ride into uni. I caught the 8.15am 134 bus - it was so full we were all stranding crammed in the isles. I could hear this cute little British accent talking,

"Dad, why does Henry not play for England?" Well he's French so he plays for France. "But Dad he's Arsenal not France" Yes, but there are many levels in football, Arsenal is not world cup level. "So Cole is just Chelsea?" No, Cole plays for England as well, because he was born in London, just like you. Maybe one day you could play for England, if you keep up with your football training. "But I want to play for Arsenal, not England, they try hard, even if they are out, no more Arsenal Dad, that makes me sad." Well Arsenal will still play just they can't win any trophies this year (that conversation about football went on for awhile - missed some of the players names & teams & there was a bit about what qualifying meant for the world cup)

"Where does the 376 bus go?" I don't know "But Dad, it's right there, it must go to Camden" Well yes, but it might go other places. "But it's here in Camden, so it definitely comes to Camden"

"Dad, I didn't like fitness class because they made us have a race and I didn't win" Races aren't always about winning, it's about trying your best "But I didn't like losing, it makes me sad, why can't we just run for fun like at my old school" Well sometimes they make you race so you can learn to push yourself and see yourself improve. There not trying to be mean, they just want you to try your hardest, that's all they can ask for. Did you try your hardest? "No, I don't like races" Well I think next time you should try your hardest and be proud that you participated & that your getting stronger.

As we made our way down towards Euston Road, enough people got out of the bus for me to be able to see this little boy & his father. It made me smile inside & out to see them having this wonderful conversation - the father was talking to him as if he was another adult - listening intently to his son & trying his best to give answers he could understand without speaking down to him or belittling him, like I have witnessed a lot before.

Friday, February 10

C term completed

We all gave our grant proposal presentations this morning, so now I'm ALL done with term C!!!!

I must admit I'm not a fan of writing grants - I now understand the PIs stress and I didn't actually have my lab's funding riding on the line, just my term grade. Greg did tell us that our exams have all be graded once, now on for second grades so we should have our results by the beginning of next term (20 Feb) which would be nice - of course grant proposal grades will take a bit longer since they're being sent out today for blind grading.

After the presentations were done we went over to Senate House to have vegtable soup and a roll for £0.50 - what a steal huh??? Jealous aren't you!!! Then Susan & I went to post a present off to the states, now we're checking our email back at uni.

As soon as we're done we're heading to Covent Garden to meet up with course mates (Amanda, Dom, Heather & Dave) who are at the Belushi Pub. From 3-5pm they have buy one get one free Coronas & seeing as we're all on student budgets we're very excited about this find!! Thank goodness for Heather & her flatmates - they're always discovering great new places in London to visit!

Nothing else really exciting to report aside from that my brain is slowly leaking out my ears because it doesn't know how to relax. I AM HOWEVER bloody excited about being able to finish my book since I won't have MissyLou (my wonderful flatmate) saying, "is that science related?" every time I go to read when I should be typing or studying :)

Thursday, February 9

Grant Finished

Well my grant proposal is done :)

Now off to hand in all of the official copies.

Then I can start on my 3 slide power point presentation!!

Big Bird & Oscar

So a friend of mine just sent me this article and it really makes me sad to see that Bush thinks this is a "good" idea!!! How can you think that cutting funding from innocent children is a good idea? Doesn't he know they will be the ones taking care of him when he becomes old and losses his mind (or should I just say when he becomes older, since I wonder at times if he even has a brain to lose!)

Well my grant is due today so I'm just going to finish off this cup of tea & my Hob Nob which my lovely flatmate brought me a few minutes ago and then I'm off to grant proposal world again - I just keep reminding myself that this time next week I'll be sitting pool-side in Spain!!!!!

Oh yeah if you want to see the ice castle being build click the link to "Peter's Blog" on the left side of the screen, he posted yesterday at the start of the process - hopefully it will stay cold & they'll be able to finish it for Saturday's big gala parade!! (fingers crossed - it's sunny & warm here again today!!)
Here are a few cools photos I've seen while playing around on the internet last night.

Cool new medals for 2006 winter games!

Little mascots for the XX games

Wednesday, February 8

Needs no explanation

Morning grant writing break

So the SUN IS SHINING this morning here in Kentish Town, well I should probably say here in London!! We went to sleep during a wind & rain storm that both Lou & I were happy we were not standing outside waiting for that darn 134 that always seems to be running late :)

So I forgot last night to tell you about my wonderful dinner - I know that's because I was trying to be so good in writing my grant, but now I need another break so you're stuck hearing about Wagamama's behind the British Museum. Actually it's in front of the BM for those of you who enter the museum from the normal (front) entrance. For those of us coming from LSHTM, we enter via the back so to us the restaurant location is behind the museum . . . Guess life is just all about how you approach things!!

So Louise, Susan & I went to Wagamama's for dinner last night after our fun filled day at uni. Louise was in classes most of the day, while Susan & I sat in the basement computer lab and stressed out over our grant proposals!! We were there for so long during the day we got to watch the network have 2 glitches - those were really fun moments when people in the lab started to cry because they hadn't saved any of their term paper yet - don't you know by the time you come to get a masters or PhD that computers crash & you should always have a few copies of your documents - apparently not, as was evident yesterday by hysterical people crying & running for IT support. I must admit it was a little bit like comic relief for Susan & myself since we had our jump disks & were not relying on the server to save our documents.

Ah I've drifted again . . . Right, back to my dinner story. So at 5.45pm we all met in reception at LSHTM & decided to head over to Wagamama's for some dinner. I had amai udon, Susan had amai udon, and Louise had chicken katsu curry (same as mine just with chicken instead of vegetables). It was all ready good & for dessert we had wild berry sorbet!! Sorry I don't have photos of us at the restaurant, but I do have some lovely photos of the desserts that they offer.

Aren't you hungry for one of those now?????
I am and I just had my breakfast of yoghurt and tea!

Back to grant writing fun :-(

Fellow blogger

I've recently discovered a blog site, well I guess I should say a fellow blogger discovered me, left a comment and now I've discovered his blog site. Interestingly this blog site has been able to keep my attention. I'm sorry to say, but truth be told, there are many out there that just don't interest me. Being that it's 01.17, you can probably tell I'm currently on a little "grant writing break" (I like to refer to them as "reality checks" or "sanity breaks"). During my final break of the evening, or morning depending on how you want to look at it, I decided to check out Will's blog & see if there was anything of interest & luck for me there was one!! If you're interested to see what his post was about feel free to click here!

Toodle-pip . . . Ta-ra . . . Good Night . . .

Tuesday, February 7

Another expression & interesting stuff

New expression for the day is

  • boggin = gross (This food is boggin)
  • numpty = stupid or moron

Take a look at this article - it's crazy funny, I think!!

Another thing I found interesting is PdiddySL's blog entry today

I have to tell you I might have just said the dumbest thing in the world!!!!
Now this probably will not make sense to you but just listen and hear me out!!
Louise & I just had our second cup of tea & this cup tasted hotter (temp wise) so I said, "maybe it's because it's boiled, boiled water, instead of just boiled water"
Now what kind of a special numpty am I again!?!?!?!
Okay stop laughing about it now - Louise is still laughing!!

Back to my grant writing fun now :-(

Monday, February 6

New expressions

I learned 3 new expressions this weekend thanks to my flatmate!!

Here they are:
  • Toodle-Pip - see ya later (not commonly used but makes me laugh b/c her voice gets really really high pitched when she says it!!!)
  • Ta-ra - bye (I've heard that before with friends but thought they were saying ta-da and it always made me wonder, but now it makes more sense!)
  • cup of tea or out - cup of tea or something

Well that's all I've got for today - going to try aerobic kick boxing class tomorrow at 13.00 - will be sure to report in about that experience!!

Just trying to get my grant proposal sorted out this afternoon =)

Yeah Steelers!!!!

Sunday, February 5

In light

of recent events here is a good quote,

"Do not cry because it is over,

smile because it happened."

Girls Night in Review

Dinner consisted of:

  • Pizza Hut pizza (with ranch dressing)
  • Cheesy breadsticks
  • Corn crisps with lime (similar to Hint of Lime Tostitos)
  • Potato wedges
  • Garlic bread
  • Fresh veggies: broccoli, peppers, carrots, and cucumbers (had to try to balance out all that grease from Pizza Hut!!)

Dessert consisted of:

  • Fudgy brownies (thanks Dad & Patty) with macadamia nuts (couldn't find walnuts at Sainsburys Local in Kentish Town)

Below is a photo of Amanda (pink) & Susan (blue) making brownies to eat while we watch Bridget Jone's Diary.

We just happened to have some extra Ben & Jerry's ice cream so we all got a little Fossil Fuel.

One might ask, "What more could you ask for??????"

In unison we reply, "Nothing, this is heaven!!!"

Well it's 11.50am, I should get my rear in gear & get more work on this grant done, just wanted to give you the most up-to-date blog entry =)

Saturday, February 4

Studious Girls

Well I've just spent the whole day writing over 400 words on my grant topic then took a break to read one more paper for background and don't I find that everything I'm trying to do has been referenced to a paper from 1996, which means it's already been done :(

Susan is going to send me the pdf of the article so I can read it & then I can try to add a new aspect to my grant - UGH this pisses me off!! Of course I shouldn't complain because Susan & Amanda (and probably others in my course) don't even have a topic, but still I thought I was doing so well, bugger, bugger, bugger!!!!!

Okay getting offline now so I can get ready for dinner. I really need to pick up all the papers that I've surrounded myself with - see the photos - we're studying hard this weekend - be impressed, we are!!
Amanda & Susan are coming over to join Louise and me in a "girls night"

Lou studying hard (we also did some washing - see behind her, told you we've been busy!)

Look at that mess of papers I've made - the bowl if filled with Starburst candies (comfort food)