Friday, February 29

re-posting since it's a good cause!

Once again LSHTM is hosting World Swim Against Malaria and again I'm not swimming, but my mate Quintin is, every year he dresses up as a sperm (or some would say a malaria sporozoite) & swims, this is his third year particiapting!!

PLEASE help by sponsoring him here.

Did you know (info from the website):

  • 1 - 3 million people die of malaria each year

  • 70% of them are children under 5

  • The children that will die today from malaria would fill 7 jumbo jets

  • Malaria is the world's single largest killer of children and pregnant mothers.

  • The single most effective means of prevention is a mosquito net

  • Each long lasting insecticidal net costs just $ 5

  • For each US$100 raised, 20 nets will endup over heads and beds and save one child's life

  • Malaria is entirely preventable and treatable - 1-3 million people need not die each year.

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Thursday, February 28

One, Two, Three, Four Eyes

Well it's official I'm REALLY OLD now, so old that I need glasses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Though I must say I'm impressed to have made it to thirty without glasses considering my dad & sis have had them for a rather long time.

I've learned that I'm long sighted (can see far away easily) and have an astigmatism, so as of tomorrow (or Monday if the lenses are slow to arrive) I'll have to wear them for computer work and reading.


Tuesday, February 26

along the lines of what would PS do?

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle!

Monday, February 25

What would PS do?

So some of you might have visited Nate's blog once or twice before, and maybe some of you are even following the story on a daily basis (like I am). Yes, I know there are thousands, if not millions, of blogs out there on the web to read, how do you chose which ones to follow & which not to you ask??!?!

For me that's easy, I follow only a few blogs on a regular (meaning daily) basis. I think all the blogs I visit are listed in my side bar, but not all of those are daily reads. The reason I mentioned Nate's blog earlier & why the title reads, "what would PS do?" is because after following what he tells of his story and I'm sure there is a lot more which he doesn't/cannot write about, I find myself throughout the day wondering what his wife is doing. Her name is Patricia Suzanne, aka PattySue or as you may see her called in the blog Tricia. I don't think for long, just a few seconds whilst pushing myself onto the tube in the morning, or when worrying about an issue at work, or even most recently tonight, when pushing myself to go to the gym.

Let me try to set the scene, though this maybe one of those hard to explain kinda things. It was a typical Monday at work, on the whole nothing to difficult, I put placed in charge of sorting out the ID card & 4 digit pin codes with our safety officer, IC's safety officer, IC's BSF 2 staff members (who I personally think are about as useful as tits on a bull to put it nicely), and the counter-terrorist police unit . . . at first I was very proud to be put in such a position - little me in charge of sorting this out with all this "big wigs", until I realised this was a much harder task than I thought it was going to be - my quick & easy solution was not so easy, which means it's not a quick fix either . . . back to the drawing board with that one tomorrow. But back to my point, at the end of the day, I was sorta feeling beaten by the first of what I can now see as being many meetings with all these people (and anyone who's ever had a meeting with more than 2 people understands how hard it is to try to get multiple people's schedules to match, try doing it with 3 from one institute, 3 from another, and 2-3 from a police branch in central London - you guessed it, NOT fun!) Sorry I got off track again. As I was saying, I was feeling a bit down, came home, had dinner, was checking my emails & debating if I should go to the gym or not. Thinking I could go tomorrow before work, which I know is never really a good plan since I have a rather large dislike for getting up in the morning, so waking up extra early to go to the gym is a ruddy bad idea!! I finally got up, put on my gym kit & walked over. About half way through the work out, I was feeling exhausted, I was wondering why I'd decided to put myself through this & suddenly whilst on the leg curl machine (I think my most hated machine at the mo) just as I was about to give up at rep 7 of my 2nd set (I'm suppose to do 3 sets of 15) suddenly I thought, "what would Tricia do?"
At first the other half of my brain said, "nothing she can't go to the gym"
To which the other half of me said, "but if she could go to the gym, she wouldn't give up, do the next 8 for her, since she can't"
So I pushed the next 8 out & went back to lunges & swats, before ending back on the leg curl machine for my last set. I cannot lie, I thought about skipping out, stretching and just grabbing my jacket so I could leave - I mean who would notice, who would care?!?!? But instead, thanks to Tricia & her strength to fight something way harder than 15 leg curls, I got on the machine & did all 15!!
Probably some of you are thinking so what - you finished your workout, big deal and maybe some of you are so bloody bored you stopped reading a few paragraphs ago. What I'm hoping you got out of my rather long winded stream of consciousness writing is that we take a lot for granted on a daily basis - it's not until you can't do something that you realise how lucky you are. I would bet that Tricia would give anything to have been on that machine doing leg curls (well maybe not them since I know how much they suck, but I'm sure she'd have loved to be at the gym tonight with me!)
Just take a second to reflect on the things you did today, what have you taken for granted? Imagine if you were in a hospital & couldn't have done those things - aren't you the least bit thankful for what you were able to do today?
So I'm going to try to make a pact with myself I'm going to call it my March Challenge (since it's just round the corner really) every day I'm going to try to be more thankful & try to take fewer things for granted. When I get pissed off about something at work - I'm going to try to be thankful I have a job. When I get frustrated at the airport b/c the plane is delayed - I'm going to think of those who can't get on a plane. I hope you can all join me in trying to be a bit more conscious of all the things around us that we have to be thankful for.


I hope this post makes sense, since it's now 10.15pm, I'm not going to re-read it.

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Wednesday, February 20

World Swim Against Malaria

Once again LSHTM is hosting "World Swim Against Malaria" and once again I'm not swimming, but my mate Quentin is, every year he dresses up as a sperm & swims, this is his third year particiapting!!PLEASE help by sponsoring him here on his website.

Did you know (info from the website):

  • 1 - 3 million - million -people die of malaria each year

  • 70% of themare children under 5

  • The children that will die today from malaria would fill 7 jumbo jets

  • Malaria is the world's single largest killer of children and pregnant mothers.

  • The single most effective means of prevention is a mosquito net

  • Each long lasting insecticidal net (LLIN)– the net of choice -costs just $ 5

  • For each US$100 raised, 20 nets will endup over heads and beds and save one child's life

  • Malaria is entirely preventable and treatable - 1-3 million people need not die each year.

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Sunday, February 17

president's day weekend in review

Just realised it's President's Day weekend in the states, so most of you hard working American's will be off tomorrow, whilst I'll be busy working in London.

I had a very productive weekend, considering how sick I had been last week. Luckily I felt much better on Friday & was able to go to work for a full day :) Didn't do anything on Friday night, aside from getting a nice curry take away, for ONLY £3.95, which is VERY cheap for London prices!!

On Saturday I got up around 9am, showered, had breakfast, went to the post office & picked up a package which didn't fit through my mail slot. Brought it home, had a glass of water & headed to Tufnell Park tube station, where I got on the Northern line southbound via bank (that's the branch) - got off at Euston, switched to northbound Victoria line and rode all the way out to Walthamstow Central station. Met up with my mate Jenny, about 15 minutes later Adam & Genny showed up as well. From there we went to check out the Walthamstow market - the longest (distance) daily open market in all of Europe! I was overwhelmed by the amount of stalls on the street. We wandered for a bit, checked things out & listened to the stall owners yelling out their offers, competing with the other nearby stalls.

After 2 hours, we were rather cold, so we popped into a cafe & had a hot chocolate. From there we went to Sainbury's and got some food for lunch, before we went back to Jenny's house. We spent the rest of the afternoon chatting, eating and having a good time. At 5pm I left to meet up with Rob at Kings Cross for dinner. From there we went to Camden Market (obviously the part that wasn't burned down) and had some Vietnamese food followed by stopping at the pub to hang out with some of our mates. At 10pm I was knackered so I headed home.

This morning I woke up & decided there were lots of things I wanted/needed to do, so I finished watching The Notebook, which I had started watching last night, but fell asleep (stop laughing mum!!) Then got up outta bed, showered, had breakfast, and decided first I would check out the gym across the road (literally 4 store fronts away). I really liked it so I signed up since I've been meaning to join a gym for awhile now & just have been too darn lazy to make the move, but today I did (yeah me). From there I went to Sainsbury and grabbed a few items.

After that I came home, called mum, spoke to her, whilst looking online for a hoover from Argos. I found a really nice one which was onsale, look at the advert:
Perfect for homes with pets. 2400 watts. Turbo brush for picking up pet hair. Variable power. 3.25 litre dust capacity. Washable anti-bacterial filtration. Foot operated cord rewind and on/off control. Chrome extension tubes.
since I normally find lots of hair on the floor, I thought this feature might be a really good idea. Reserved it online, got off phone with mum, got ready to go out again & off I trundled to Camden Town's Argos. Picked it up along with a new head for my Sonicare electric toothbrush.

Upon returning home, I hoovered the flat, wow, what a difference that made :) I then made banana nut muffins (see last Friday's post for recipe), did 2 loads of laundry, and now just writing this post, before I veg out. I know I'm going to have a busy week, preview:
Monday night is "cheap ethnic food dinner challenge"
Tuesday night is sushi with Lara
Wednesday night is gym induction night
Thursday and Friday night I have nothing yet . . .

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Friday, February 15

back to work

today, but it's now 16.52 and i'm slowing down considerably, will try to write something exciting at the weekend, but don't hold your breathe!


Wednesday, February 13

bunged up head

the title says it all - I'm SICK!!


Sunday, February 10

Personal Reference

Dear Sir or Ma'am,

Don't give her another visa, she's a f*cking idiot, send her back and don't ever let her in the UK again, she smells

Yours sincerely,

For those of you who know Jim you can probably hear him saying that when I read it out. As I stood there in the reception at Islington's nick (police station) my mouth hit the floor whilst he could barely keep a staright face. Everyone in the room was watching us (probably wondering what the heck was going on). When I was done reading he handed me an enevlope with another copy which was this:

Dear Sir ro Ma'am,

I am writing this in reference to the further extension of the working visa for Miss SVO. My name is PC BJS NI532; I am a serving police officer within the MET service. I have known Miss O since Sept 2005. We first met while she was stuying in the UK at LSHTM. We were initally in a relationship, but due to my work commitments and Miss O's dedication to achieving her degree, the relationship finished. We have remained very close friends and I have even travelled to the sates with her on holiday this past fall. I am a friend of her family in America also, with some of them attending the UK later this year for my wedding.

Miss O should have her visa extended in the UK for several reasons. Not only is she an honest and trustworthy person, she is dedicated to her work & studies. She is a vital person in the office she works at and this is obvious with the level of her responsibility and authroity she holds there. She does vital study into the effects of diseases. Her remaining in the UK to continue this work can only benefit the UK.
A visa was granted to Miss O to work in the UK last year, since that was granted Miss O has been committed to her work and has shown that she is a valubale commodity in the UK. She has never been in trouble with the authorities and has enver tried to claim from the state or benefit systems, she is self-sufficient, has the money & emplyment to remain that way. She has not been a burden to the UK in any shape or form and this can only continue. There is no reason for her visa to be denied. I am happy to be contacted regarind this matter should you feel the need to. I can be contacted at the above office number, via e-mail, or mobile, 07#9##13##7

Your sincerly,

Now that's what best mates are for, no?

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Jambalaya, Banana Muffins & my flat photos

photo tour around my flat

couch & rocking chair with bookshelves from IKEA and picture frame from work mates
chair, desk (I'm getting rid of), nice large windows, DVD collection & wardrobe
dressers, telly, other window, radiator & bed
bed, night stand, door into hall leading to bathroom & kitchen
self explanitory I think

kitchen with banana muffins in tupperware (recipe below!)

Nothing super exciting to say this sunday night, but I did want to share those photos of my "new" flat (since I just realised I never posted any when I moved in back in October, so no don't worry I haven't moved again, just photos you've never seen before :)

Aside from that the Camden Market is sadly still closed, but from what I've heard nobody was injured, which is a good thing! Today I went to pick up a letter of reference from my mate Jim, which I will share with you along with the two recipes I made today for my mates Kirsty & Dan who came over for dinner.

Jambalaya (serves 4)

1 1/4 tsp olive oil

1 1/3 chicken in bite size pieces

5 oz kielbasa (or pepperoni) - diced
1 green bell peppers (I use three: one red, one green & one yellow, but up to you)

1.5 TBS minced garlic

1/8 tsp cayennne pepper

1/4 tsp onion powder (I didn't have so it's optional)

1 1/3 cups uncooked rice

2 2/3 cup chicken stock (or vegtable if that's all you've got - like what happen to me today)

2 bay leaves

1 1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce (didn't have this either)

3/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

heat oil, over med-high, saute chicken & kielbasa about 5 mins, stir in onions, peppers, garlic, cayenne, onion poswer, salt & pepper, cook addition 5 mins (until onions are translucent), add rice, stock & bay leaves, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover & simmer for 20 mins, stir in worcestershire sauce & pepper sauce, mix well & serve - YUMMERS!!!

Sara's Banana muffins (a combination of 2 recipes I found online so I'm calling it my own)

2/3 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 ripe bananas

3/4 tsp vanilla (unless your my dad then you add double ;)

1.5 cups flour

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

preheat oven to 175C (I think that's about 350F), mix everything aside from chocolate & walnuts, mash with hands so the bananas mix evenly throughout. Once creamy, add in chocolate chips & walnuts, stir well & place into greased muffin tin (or muffin cups), bake about 20-30 mins - DOUBLE YUMMERS!!

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Oh my goodness . . .

I'm sad to report that there is a huge fire in Camden Market tonight, I just happen to come across these photos on the BBC website. This is very close (as in 15 min walk south of me, so don't worry fire will not effect my flat).

My dad who is currently enjoying the warm weather of Brazil will be gutted about this fire, as he love the camden market & the good deals he always finds there. I will keep you posted as I know more - good night!

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Thursday, February 7

who would have thought

that tattoos would be good for vaccination?

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Wednesday, February 6

Organ Donation

Click here


news from today

my exciting news to report from today is that when I get my work permit extended (hopefully soon) I don't have to leave & re-enter the country - they can do it all in their office in Croydon :) it's the little things in life that keep me happy these days - that and the fact that it's sunny out today - not when I leave it won't be, but for now I can see sunlight coming through the glass ceilings!

anyone else have exciting news to tell me about?

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Monday, February 4

nuttin much to say

Once again feel free to visit Carmi's site, Written Inc Caption This 56, and offer up ideas. Congrats to Linda aka Ms. Cheesewiz got an hounourable mention in last week's competition - you go girl!!

For those thinking the Patriots losing last night was bad might not want to click here - WTF goes on in people's heads?!?!?!? The article says, "Nicholas had not been getting along with his father, police said in a news release, but investigators offered no other details. There was no sign of a confrontation Friday at the house, police said." then they go on to say, "John Browning, [the father] a real estate lawyer, had worked in Baltimore County's oldest law firm for nearly 20 years. He was a scoutmaster and a church leader. Nicholas, who was tall and gangly, was working toward becoming an Eagle Scout, and had built a prayer garden at his church to meet one of the requirements. His high school was one of the best in the county." So strange how the family can look so fine from the outside, but apparently something was wrong on the inside - scarey if you ask me!

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Saturday, February 2

Bubble Bath from Madison, WI

Thanks to Amanda & Dom who now live in Madison, WI and who are coming to visit me in NY in June -YEAH!!!!!!, sorry got side tracked for a minute, my point was that thanks to then, I was able to have the most lovely bubble bath tonight - I took a few photos to make you all jealous!! As you can see they gave me a whole box of bath related treats from LUSH, specifically the Happy Birthday gift box, which includes:

Sea Vegetable , Karma and Bohemian Soap; Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds and The Comforter Bubble Bars; Butterball and Champagne Supernova Bath Ballistics

my box of treats :)

my lovely bath!!!

my wee duck who for the life of him couldn't stay upright - LOL

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Friday, February 1

giant elephant shrew

The headline on BBC's website earlier today said, "A new species of mammal has been discovered in the mountains of Tanzania, scientists report"
How cute is this lil guy . . . (s)he is officially called, Rhynochocyon udzungwensis, which is a type of giant elephant shrew. It is apparently about the size of a cat, but looks more like a combination of antelope and an anteater (both miniature of course). As you can see, it's face is grey, has a rather long, flexible snout with a solid black behind and some how manages to scurry around on those four spindly legs.

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