Thursday, April 27

Reason, Season, Lifetime

This was what inspired my "Deep Thoughts" blog a few weeks back, I couldn't find it at the time, but a good friend just happend to send it to me again today so I wanted to share it here.

*People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.*

*When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to and end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.*

*Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.*

*LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.*

*Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.*

History of the Tube

One of the first maps of the underground.

1843 - Opening of the Thames Tunnel, constructed by Sir Marc Brunel and his son Isambard.

1863 - The Metropolitan Railway opened the world's first underground railway on 10 January between Paddington (Bishop's Road) and Farringdon Street.

1900 - Prince of Wales opens the Central London Railway from Shepherd's Bush to Bank (the "Twopenny Tube", now part of the Central Line).

1906 - Baker Street & Waterloo Railway, now part of the Bakerloo Line, opened from Baker Street to Kennington Road, now Lambeth North. Great Northern, Piccadilly & Brompton Railway, now part of the Piccadilly Line, opened between Hammersmith and Finsbury Park.
1907- Charing Cross, Euston & Hampstead Railway, now part of the Northern Line, opened from Charing Cross to Golders Green and Highgate, now Archway. All three of these 1906 & 07 tubes were American-financed.

This is a photo of Leicester Square station of the Northern line
(the southbound platform, the next train terminating at Kennington is in 9 minutes)

1908 - The Underground name first appeared on stations. Electric ticket-issuing machine introduced.

1913 - First appearance of the famous circle and horizontal bar symbol (the roundel).

1929 - Last manually operated doors on tube trains replaced by air-operated doors.

1933 - First Underground map in diagrammatic form, devised by Harry Beck.

1961 - End of steam and electric locomotive haulage of London Transport passenger trains.

1969 - The Queen opens the Victoria Line.

1975 - Fatal accident on the Northern line at Moorgate in which forty-three people were killed. New safety measures introduced.

1979 - The Prince of Wales opens the Jubilee Line.

1984 - The Hammersmith & City and the Circle lines converted to one-person operation.

1987 - Tragic fire at King's Cross killed 31 people.

1989 - New safety and fire regulations introduced following the Fennell Report into the King's Cross fire.

1993 - £70 million Angel Station reconstruction completed. Work started on the extended Jubilee Line from Green Park to Stratford.

1999 - Opening of extended Jubilee line and through services from Stanmore to Stratford.

2000 - All 106 new trains in service on the Northern line.

Average train speed
20.5mph - including station stops

In central London, trains cannot reach speeds of more than 30-40 mph because of the short distance between stations.

On the Victoria line, where stations are further apart, trains reach speeds of up to 50 mph.

On the Metropolitan line, trains can reach over 60 mph.

Facts and Figures
Number of miles travelled by each Tube train each year: 73,500

Total number of passengers carried on the Tube each year: 976 million

Length of network: 408km/253 miles

Proportion of the network which is in tunnels: 45 per cent

Longest continuous tunnel: East Finchley to Morden (via Bank) - 17.25 miles

Longest escalator: Angel - 197ft, with a vertical rise of 90ft (it is weird looking up!!)

Cars in LU's fleet: 4070

Total number of stations served: 275

Total number of stations owned and managed: 255

LU staff: 12,560

Stations with the most platforms: Moorgate and Baker Street have 10 platforms each

Busiest stations: During the three-hour morning peak, London's busiest Tube station is Waterloo, with 46,000 people entering.
The busiest station in terms of passengers each year is Kings Cross St Pancras with 77.5 million passengers a year.

Passengers enter the Tube system at a rate of 150,000 people an hour

The London Underground has been known as The Tube since 1890, when the first deep-level electric railway line was opened

The Underground name first appeared on stations in 1908

LU's world-famous logo, the roundel - a red circle crossed by a horizontal blue bar - was designed by calligrapher Edward Johnston and first appeared in 1913

A few London facts

So London is the most populated city in the European Union with approximately 7.2 million people.

Over 300 languages are spoken in the city (which you can hear while sitting on the tube each morning) & about 25% of the people belong to ethnic minority groups!

According to research by the Dept of Environment, Transport & the Regions in 1998, out of 30 districts, the most deprived one was Liverpool, with Islington 10th (right next to me) and Camden (where I live) is 17th and Wandsworth being 30th.

On an average day it is estimated that 3 million people ride the London Underground, which serves 275 stations, over 253 miles of railway, and 12,000 staff . The Underground was formed in 1985, but its history dates back to 1863 when the world's first underground railway opened in London.

This next part is primarily for my mum, who was intrigued by closed-circuit television. CCTV was developed partly in response to IRA bombings in the United Kingdom and after a few trial runs the CCTV cameras were deemed successful in the government report "CCTV: Looking Out For You", issued by the Home Office in 1994, and paved a way with massive increase in the number of CCTV systems installed.

Nowadays systems cover most town and city centres, and many stations, car-parks and estates. The exact number of CCTV cameras in the UK is not known. In 2002 it was "guesstimated" that London had around 400,000 and the total number of cameras in the UK as around 4,000,000.

Claims that they lessen the rate of crime have not been clearly shown, according to the government when properly used they result in deterrence. Cameras have also been installed in taxis and buses, to deter violence against drivers, and also in the mobile police surveillance vans.

Wednesday, April 26

Day in review

So today was basically your typical day with a few "extras" added in.

Started out with the bus ride into uni, lecture from Siske Struick followed by a lecture from
Colin Sutherland then after lunch Quentin Bickle facilitated our lab. Once again lab will be boring for me, this weeks' lab is on NK cell activation. Today was making single cell suspensions, lysing red blood cells (RBC), counting cells, diluting cells, plating cells, diluting IL-2, LPS, and heat killed parasites & then aliquoting them on the 96 well plate (according to the diagram provided!)

Side note: probably none, aside from
Peter actually know what Quentin looks like, but I have to tell you he reminds me of my mate Eric (from Trudeau).

After lab, I met up with Susan & we went swimming at the ULU pool! We swam for about 45 minutes, I think with only about 10 minutes of breaks, considering the last time I did any sort of exercise was probably back in January, I was very impressed with myself :)

From there we went back to her place at Goodenough College to drop off her bags, walked up to Kings Cross & got the 214 bus up to Kentish Town for a repeat of last night's dinner (it was too good not to have again - lol).
We eat a bit fast since I had promised
Andrew I'd meet him at the pub to say goodbye. I'm not sure I've mentioned Andrew before in my blog, I tried to put a link to his blog on the side of mine but I've some how messed it up, so click on his name above to see it - he's had some awesome adventures during his time here in London as well. As most of you know I graduated from Norwich University in May 2001, Andrew has the luck of still being at "the wick" as it is referred to by many students & alumni. Andrew & I met about a week after he'd arrived here in London & we'd sorta hoped to get together a few times while he was here, but our schedules didn't agreed. So we met up tonight for one of Andrew's last pints of Guinness in London.

Well it's getting late & I have lab all day long tomorrow - ya know Tumour Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNFa) & an Interferon-gamma (IFNg)
ELISA to do!!

The King of Portland

Here is the King of Hancock Street in Portland, isn't he just the cutest?

Ok, so maybe not the smartest, as Erik (mom's contractors assistant) is trying to get him to look at the camera, but darn cute!!
Wonder how he will enjoy living with an adoptive lil brother, Quid, who arrives from North Carolina in a few days!

Great Explanation

I found this link thanks to Karina's blog, but wanted to put the link here for those of you who don't read Karina's blog.

So click here for a funny story about Oreos :)

Tuesday, April 25

Not too much exciting

I started back in classes yesterday, just after my mum left :( , this is my last term after this I only have my thesis project to start!!

I'm taking Immunity of Parasites, Principles and Practical. Monday - noon on Wednesday I have the principles (lectures) and then Wed afternoon - Friday we have practical (labs). Should be interesting, just so far it's all been review of immunology stuff which I already know but the medical Parasitologists (MPs) don't, so they need to be caught up to speed.

Tonight Susan came over for dinner & we had some of the left over lasagna from the other night. It was fantastic - we made fresh garlic bread & broccoli. Here are some photos (had to take them for the
FS blog)

me and Flat Stanley at dinner

Susan & Flat Stanley making brownies

Saturday, April 22

Photos from Ireland

Town of Smeem
View of the Atlantic
Mum & Sara at Newgrange
Mum & Sara by the Atlantic
Mum & Sara at Ross Castle
Me not paying attention for a photo
Montains & Lakes along the Ring of Kerry
Mum & Sara on a jaunty ride

Tuesday, April 18


Mom & I are safely in Ireland - we arrived yesterday into Dublin, looked around the city for a bit, got the train to Killarney this morning, it's been raining every since - lol - but it's been great fun! Don't worry we're getting photos, will write more when I get back this weekend.

Sunday, April 16

My mum's arrival

She got slightly delayed in MI (2 hours) due to hydraulic pressure problems on the plane & they had to get a new plane, but mum arrived safely this morning at London's Gatwick airport around 11.20am. From there we took the 12.15 Thameslink back to Kings Cross & switched to the other Thameslink train & arrived in KT around 1.20pm.

She took a bath & now is taking a nap - only plans for the day is to meet up with Jim at half 5 at the pub.

Friday, April 14

My lil sis

So I don't talk about my family all that much in this blog, but I think I should! So I'm going to start off with one about my little sister, Patricia, or as I like to call her Patrachea (long & rather funny story for another time). Some of her other nick names she's picked up along the way:
Pat - what we called her growing up
Patty-O - too many Pat's at Boy Scout Camp so they all had to have special Pat names
Patty-Cakes or Cakes for short - probably only 1 person who can still get away with calling her this!
Patty - from her mates at uni
Trak- from me (shortening Patrachia)
Bizatcha-wizzle-wizzle - nickname we call each other (don't ask me, she came up with it)

My lil sis is only 21 months younger than me. Growing up most of the time this was some what of a problem - being so close in age, we never really saw eye to eye, it was always more of a competition (which of course being the Big Sis, I always had to win!) I think the first time we actually started to get along & appreciate each other was at Boy Scout camp in 1996. (Mom & Dad correct me if I'm wrong) I had been at Camp Read for a few weeks when my lil sis came for a visit over the weekend. She had so much fun, she wanted to stay. Luckily there was a Counselor In Training (CIT) program she could join, so she did. Ever since then we've been best of friends.

We've been through a lot since then . . . High school graduations, moving away for college, parents retiring in upstate New York, me getting engaged, parents going through a divorce (we lived in RI for a summer to avoid it - thanks to Mom & Dad Toste), family "lifestyles", dad being diagnosed with cancer (don't worry, it's in remission now), engagement ending, college graduations, break ups with boyfriends, moving away for jobs, adjusting to parents new "friends", traveling for work, moving away for grad school, and I'm sure there is lots more to come, but through it all we've stuck together & supported each other. I'm not sure what we'd do without one another. We don't talk as often as I think we'd like to but it's hard with a 6 hour time difference (she's been working in TN recently).

We've also shared some hysterically funny moments . . . getting lost coming home & ending up in NJ, The Adventures of Lewis & Clark being called Superman, and many others which I can't put up - ya know things you say to make someone laugh which could be taken the wrong way if read over a blog!!

Looking through my photo collection, I realize I don't have any photos of us, I'll have to rectify that soon!! But here are some photos of my lil sis from the past few months:

her 26th birthday (on the phone of course) - isn't she the cutest!! Patty - Christmas 2005 Matt (her boyfriend) & Patty at NYE 2005 (with glasses) Matt & Patty at Aunt Pat's house (them without glasses)

Here are a few recent photos of my lil sis at her good bye party in TN:

Yeah that's right, that's my lil sis in the back behind all those guys!!!

There she is again with all the guys she works with, can you say a rose among . . . oops the guys at her work might see it, can't say any more!! (lol)

Look at that lil geek, she's still got her safety goggles around her neck while opening cards & presents - LOL - ready to jump back out on the floor should there be an engine "emergency"

And my all time fav, which for those of you who know Patty will laugh hard when you read this caption, "Is this card for me?"

Love & Miss you lil sis!!! Can't wait to see you in France in a few weeks & then here in Londontown :)

Your Big Sis xxoo xxoo

Flat Stanley

So my friend Shannon's daughter Barrett is doing a project for her elementary school called, Flat Stanley. Since I'm the recipient of Flat Stanley or FS as I like to call him, I'm going to give him his own little blog so Barrett can track his adventures from Saranac - I'm super excited about it!!

Here is FS's blog site. Feel free to stop by and leave a comment or two for Barrett or FS!

Deep Thoughts

This entry is dedicated to wonderful friends, it started out as a supportive email to one dear friend in particular, which might have actually back fired, but after reading it over, I wanted to post it for everyone to read, albeit with minor changes to keep identities hidden and I'll add a few photos of my friends at the end.

Well I always say if your guts says yes, go for it! (I've writing this as I thought it so I hope it makes sense!!)

OMG, I'm going to sound like a parent for a minute here, but I'm really starting to believe it more and more:

Everything happens for a reason & everyone we come in contact with has something to give us &/or we have something to give them.

Even if we don't realize it at that particular moment.

Looking back I can see that's true with some of my past relationships - it of course does hurt sometimes when you notice a relationship you've had might have been based more on you giving than receiving, but what goes around comes around.

My most recent example of this (and I believe perfect one at that) is my relationship with Jim (and Rob). I arrived here so unsure of everything, and I mean everything!! I became scared to live in this huge city without anyone I knew. I was doing fine while my dad was on the other end of the city (ya know a phone call away).

The night he was leaving I met three wonderful people, Jim, Rob, and Mark. I didn't know it at the time, that we were going to become so close during a time when I needed "help". I don't like to use the word help, who ever likes to admit that they need help, especially me, since I've some how become so darn independent (just ask my parents they'll tell you all about it!) But it's really the best word I can come up with.

OK, back to my point. My dad was leaving the following morning, classes had just started and everyone else (coursemates) had a HUGE theory background, while I had just lab experience, and nobody lived near me, they all seemed to either live at home or near uni in dorms, so they had people to hang out with & have meals with. Here I was living up in Kentish Town, all alone in my flat with neighbours across the hall who were never home & not really in a social circle I was about to join (Goth).

My first week went fine with classes, innate, adaptive immune systems, CD4, CD8, NK, T & B cells - I can handle that, all terms I'd heard before. That first Saturday was the first time I hung out with Jim (since we'd met that night at the pub) & we had so much fun - laughing & joking & talking about our upbringings. After that day I didn't see him for another week (he was working nights & I was "working" days).

Classes were getting harder, I was starting to miss SL, my friends, my family, the hustle & bustle of the city was starting to get to me, everything is dirty, all the time, everyone in a rush, oh yeah & as most of you know one of my good friends from SL & I weren't speaking (we'd had a falling out a week or so before I left). I was in need of someone who would be "on my side" to support & help me make it through the first few months over here. I know I had tons of support from the states, but until you're on your own in a few place you don't realize just how difficult it can be. There were days when I thought I might have given up. Jim became that person who would bridge the gap to "safety", he was 110% supportive, always offering fun thing to do when I was down - he always had a funny story when I was upset & crying. He and Rob made it so that I always had someone around anytime I needed to talk about anything (missing friends, missing family, dislikes about London or uni, etc). I realize now that even thought we had little in common & obviously not enough time to attempt to work things out between us, he was in my life to help me get through rough times.

Looking back, without him I might not have made it through as easily. I recall (one of the first few weeks I was here) going on line & looking up ticket prices to fly home b/c I just thought I was too dumb to make it through this MSc and I didn't have any close friends I could talk to about it at uni, and my friends back home were too far away to give me a hug which I so badly needed and wanted! I was on the British Airways website going through the times & prices when the phone rang with an invitation to meet at the pub for dinner. Trying to be big & strong during an obvious very weak moment I said "sure just give me 15 minutes to get sorted and I'll meet you in there!.

I hung up the phone & was brushing my hair in the bathroom wondering how to make myself look presentable, when the doorbell rang. I ran downstairs wondering who it could be and as I flung open the door I was drowned by two water guns and hysterical laughter coming from Jim & Rob. The water ceased for a few seconds, just long enough for me to hear Jim's voice say, "Now you've got real problems, looks like you've wet yourself, stop your moaning, go get your arse sorted, we're hungry!" I smiled, ran upstairs, changed my clothes & went out to dinner with them. They had some sort of sixth sense that always pulled me back up to where I should have been.

Since then our relationship has changed quite a bit, but I know that Jim & Rob were brought into my life so that I could make it here during those first few months. I don't have a clue what I brought to their lives, but I'm hopeful it was positive as well. So this very long winded story is just to tell you even if things don't work the way you want or plan, they are all experiences to help us get to where ever it is we're meant to go and help us to become the person we're suppose to be.

I've really realized that about my choice to come all the way to London. It was a quick & easy decision to make coming here and I'm so grateful that I've done it! But the decisions we make are not always cut & dry like this was, they can be difficult & at times once they're made they can turn out differently than we think or hope.

Okay, enough preaching - lol. I guess my point is you'll never know until you try, it doesn't always work out, but if you don't try you'll never know & wouldn't you hate to look back years from now & wonder, "what if" about any part of your life?

Here are the photos I promised

Shannon & me, summer before London "stole" me

Jim & Rob

Me, Amanda & Heather

Jim & me

me, Susan & Amanda

Three amigos

Thursday, April 13


No, I'm not talking about allergies, this is the show I went to see tonight with David & Susan. BUT, before I talk about that, I have to start with something that is very important!! After 6 months of being here I have finally made it to The Lamb!!

This was a "kill two birds with one stone" choice for dinner seeing as Susan & I had been meaning to go to The Lamb for awhile now, since Pete's been talking about it since we found out I was accepted at LSHTM and David (Susan's brother) wanted traditional pub food.

We met at Russell Square tube at 5.45pm, walked over to The Lamb and found the only table in the pub that were left (lucky for us in the non-smoking section). We took a little looksie at the menu & then David & I went to order the food at the bar. David had fish & chips, but they didn't offer any mushy peas (no great loss in my opinion) while Susan & I had the chicken breast sandwich with lettuce, tomato & salsa with chips. The food was really good & quick service. Our total bill came to about £30, including drinks.

From there we jumped on the Piccadilly line down to Piccadilly Circus and over to The Royal Haymarket Theatre, arriving just about 7.40pm. We arrived with enough time to nip to the lou, find our seats and get settled in for the 7.45pm start time. The performance was fantastic - hysterically funny. Here are two photos I found online of performances from other places.

The Bliss Family in all it's glory!!!


Are these ads for real??

Not sure what to think of them!

Political Quiz

Where do you stand politically??

Here is possibly the world's shortest quiz,

check it out by clicking here

Wednesday's theatre experience

So last night, Susan, David (Susan's brother), and I went to the theatre to see a show that celebrated its 20,000th performance in December 2000, can anyone guess what play that is??

Well we saw the 22,237 showing of Agatha Christie's mystery MouseTrap at St Martins Theatre on West Street. To give you an idea of just how long ago it started, when this famous whodunnit opened in the West End, Winston Churchill was still at number 10 Downing Street and Stalin ruled Russia! (Yes, that means 54 years ago) above is the set from the play; below is the theatre

Before the show we had dinner at Neils Yard Salad Bar

David & I had (vegetarian version of) Brazilian Feijoada --- black beans, soya meat, rice, finger tapioca, fried banana, farofa and pumpkin, while Susan had one of the Vegetarian Specials on the menu. The food was fantastic!

We didn't have dessert at NYSB because we knew there would be ice cream sold during intermission at the play!

After the show, we all walked up to Goodge Street, I got the tube home from there & they walked home.

Tonight's show is HayFever (just started this past Monday)

What message does this send???

A new and interesting way to go about things


Check this out, did you know?!?!?

Wednesday, April 12

Saturday & Sunday in Wales

Saturday 10.30am:

The whole group started to arise at the same time - weird b/c back in Kentish Town, I normally wake up around 7.30/8, notice I can sleep a bit longer & wake up again around 9am, but for some reason I slept straight through just like everyone else. We had scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, left over quesadillas, and apple slices for breakfast with orange juice. After the dishes were washed & everyone had on enough layers for hiking in cold, wet weather, we set off for our destination of Snowdonia.

The drive started out rather uneventfully, following the signs and bearing right or left when told to with intermittent periods of rain. After about 20 minutes of driving, we started to ascent quickly and as we did the rain turned to very wet snow. We reached the peak of the mountain & started the descend when the intermittent snow flakes turned into an all out full hail storm

& did not stop for quite some time, it even started to accumulate on the sides of the road. We finally reached the proper parking lot and by now the hail has stopped :) We pay for our parking permit, make sure everyone has everything they need & turn to begin the hike, at which point the sky's open up with more hail/snow/rain (wintry mix crap!!)

We decided to keep walking to the main road, see if we could sit & get some coffee before continuing on. We sat in the coffee shop, waiting to see if the hail & rain storm would subside any time soon. During this time we also took advantage of the heaters to let our trousers dry a bit, since the hail had been coming straight at us during our 5 minute walk.

The group made a decision that since the majority didn't have cold & wet weather gear, that we would bail on the hike and instead go to the Slate Museum (which was free!)

Saturday 2.30pm:

The slate museum was back past the car park so when the weather calmed for a bit, we started heading back. Along the way I was talking with Heather & Susan asking if there were every thunderstorms in the UK and how much I missed them. Heather had just finished telling me no, they were really rare, when BOOM,Crackle,BOOM noises started to roll over our heads. It was unreal, as if someone had over heard us saying we missed them.

The slate museum was pretty cool

Tony, Jessie (background) and Amanda walking in the hail/rain storm into the museum

museum roof with cool slate behind it

demonstration in the museum

and in an interesting location with lots of great views

Snowdonia National Park (above) Amanda & me (below)

and a play ground

Tony, Amanda, Mel on see-saw with Heather figuring out how to help the girls keep Tony suspended

me, Dom, Amanda & Heather on the see-saw, we're all kids at heart!

From the slate museum, we started to head home, stopping along the way to take some scenery photos. Amanda, Dave, and Susan

After returning to the cottage, Amanda, Jessie, Mel & I went on a quick coal run. We were in need of a fuel source that would keep us warm, since most of us were cold & wet.

Saturday 6.30pm:

While we were off shopping, the rest of the groups started the shower rotation and Dom started his famous spaghetti bolognese . When we returned with the coal, I started a fire & hoped for the best since I'd never used coal in a stove. We all sat around chatting & munching on Amanda's homemade guacamole, chips, hummus & hot salsa. We threw a ton of coal on just before we went across the road for a fantastic dinner.

After dinner was finished, Tony & I washed the dishes and then met up with all the others who were back working on the puzzle. An hour or so later we broke out the desserts. Once the desserts were gone, we were all pretty tired, so we headed off to bed.

Sunday 10.30am:

Again slept late & had eggs & toast for breakfast. Most of the morning was dedicated to cleaning before our departure. As my father always taught us, leave the place cleaner than you found it. This wasn't hard for us since it was normally full of students, who I'm sure don't like sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming!

Sunday 1.30pm:

We were all packed & started our trek back to London. The drive started out beautifully, but as was our luck the day before after we hit Birmingham, the weather turned to snow. We safely arrived back at Heathrow around 7.30pm, returned the cars, and jumped onto the Piccadilly line for the final leg of the journey home. All in all it was a FANTASTIC weekend away, even without the hiking. Meeting Amanda's friends from WI was great - they're good people!

For future reference, coal is a great heat source, but doesn't smell so great. Saturday night we got the temp up to 72F downstairs and up to 65 upstairs (started out at 55F)!!!!