Wednesday, April 30

Rome's weekend weather compared to London

Saturday: SUNNY, 77°F
Sunday: SUNNY, 78°F

Saturday: RAIN, 67°F
Sunday: RAIN, 70°F

Sorry don't mean to brag, but now I really can't wait to go!!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, April 29

Nusquam est mirus ut vos adepto adsuesco assuesco is

Who knows what this means?


Saturday, April 26

Life's Reset Button

Ever have one of those days where you just wish you could rewind a few seconds or minutes & start a certain part over so you could avoid some bigger event later on which you hadn't anticipated? I have!! I try to live my life so that I don't regret anything and I can honestly say that 97% of the time I'm spot on, but then that other 3% sorta niggles me at times.

Earlier today after work was done, all my work mates went out for drink & I went along - not planning on staying long as I'm not supper keen on this whole get drunk & waste most of the next day hung over, but trying not to be seen as the anti-social one of the group I went along. One glass of house wine which tastes like crap will allow me to SLOWLY sip it whilst everyone else drinks at their own speed.

Phone call number one, Rob. "What you doing? What you up to at the weekend? New flat is great, new bed arrived, all's well - working Saturday, free Sunday, let's do Sunday roast" Cool deal - all set.

Phone call number two, Jim. "where are you? why aren't you at the Tup? come up and meet me. becks is on her way so we're not going anywheres else. see you in an hour"

Forty-five minutes later I start my good-byes with the work lot & grab the bus up to Camden. Pop into the Tup for a drink. Rediscover why I don't frequent pubs at 8pm on a Friday as everyone is DRUNK. Have a chat & a bit of a laugh with Jim, Becks, and the pub staff whom I all know very well. Then that point hits where you suddenly realise you wish you had a rewind button (or a beam me up Scottie button) Long of the short is Jim got arsey with Ray (manager) all because I was taking the piss outta Jim for gettin lippy with me about Buffalo Sabres being better than the Rangers, but Jim half in his cups didn't see me as the "bad guy" but rather Ray.

Luckily (before a fist fight broke out) or probably rather unluckily at this point Becks decides it's time for Jim to go home. I say unluckily because at this point she looks for her bag . . . GONE. Calm down, ask Ray if the bar staff stashed it behind the bar . . . NO LUCK. Ray returns with the somber message of, "it's on CCTV, some guy nicked it & walked off." Out come the elephant tears, now I'm not trying to be a bitch, but HELLO, if you leave your bag on the bar & go to the loo without telling anyone & without it, what do you expect?!?!? I know you're engaged to a PC, but we live in flippin London, it's a city for goodness sakes.

Okay, so that's not what I said at all! You should know me better than that by now. Instead we trundled up to Ray's office to see the CCTV, where we confirmed he'd stolen her bag from the bar at 21.35 and then walked straight out the pub at 21.37. Ray called her bank & helped her cancel her card (again she's in hysterics now and Jim is still a bit not so friendly with Ray.) Ray is a saint, it sucks to be the manager of the pub when shite like this happens, but he handled it like a trooper, especially as 30 seconds before this all started Jim was ready to pound his face in.

To make a ridiculous long story shorter - from the Tup we headed straight to KT police station to report it all with the CCTV which Ray so kindly burned on DVD for us. Reported the situation to the PC on duty. Went to the section house (aka police housing) next door met up with our old mate Paul (nickname of Eyeball) where he made us all cups of tea & we had a chat till Becks was calmer (as in able to stand without her legs giving out) and then we all headed home.

So where would I have rewound this evening? Maybe prior to the "fight" and bag snatching . . . maybe even rewind to the pub with my work mates & just gone straight home from there (which I normally do) but then again I guess that's just not me. I always end up being the one who picks up all the pieces . . . Jim had no way to calm Becks down - I talked her down explaining that now that the bankcard was cancelled all he'd gotten was an old brolly, her dirty jumper, plasters(band aids), diary (day planner) and a wallet full of nothing!

I KNOW! I KNOW, I must have been there at that moment for a reason (calming the hysterical down) but at this point in time I'm exhausted & wishing I'd not been there - is that bad of me? I know now that it's nearly 2am that I'm going to be overtired tomorrow & pissed off that I was up so late & to be honest I have nobody to blame but myself. I could have left after I knew the bag was nicked. I could have left after they were at the nick (police station). I could have left when the fight was breaking out. I could have walked way when there was drama looking for the bag. I could have left when she was hysterical about cancelling her card or even when they got to the police station. I could have buggered off before going to the section house for a cuppa (cup of tea) with Eyeball. But no, miss nice person that I am thought it best to stay till she was calm, worrying if she didn't the boy by her side would just get frustrated with her & leave her.

Well I'm ruddy exhausted now, so going to hit the rest button for the night & get some kip!

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Thursday, April 24

thumbtacks or drawing pins?

So here in my office we're having a bit of a disagreement between what one calls the pins which you hang things up on boards with. I would call them push pins or thumb tacks (depending on what they looked like) while over here they would call them drawing pins . . . what is up with that? They're not used for drawing! Thumbtack makes sense as you push them in with you thumb, pushpins you push in again making sense, drawing pins don't draw so that doesn't make any sense at all, maybe b/c you can hold up drawings with them, but again not nearly as good as pushpin or thumb tack!

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Wednesday, April 23

Kabul Beauty School, Three Cups of Tea, Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns, what more could you ask for?

Just finished reading Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez and can say it ranks right up there with Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini Books like this always amaze me - "if she did it why can't I" is what I always think . . . maybe one day I will!!!
I'm off to start Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin, which has won the following awards:
Kiriyama Prize - Nonfiction Award
Time Magazine - Asia Book of The Year
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association - Nonfiction Award
Borders Bookstore - Original Voices Selection
Banff Mountain Festival - Book Award Finalist
Montana Honor Book Award
. . . write more laters


Tuesday, April 22

Shell Wildlife Photographer @ Natural History Museum!

In all the excitement of my possible new future I forgot to tell you my exciting weekend story:
I went to see the Shell Wildlife Photographer exhibit at the Natural History Museum on Saturday and learned that I have crap art taste in photos - I typically enjoyed the runner up or even the honourable mention more than the winner, but then again what do we know about art?!?!?!

I was suppose to meet up with a guy (Ayo) I use to work with a boy scout camp many many moons ago and who I hadn't seen in just as many moons. So I called Ayo up & decided to meet him in Camden as he was staying in Shepard's Bush & I don't know a thing about that area at all. Rob & I met him at the tube & went to the Tup, where upon we were stopped by bouncers . . . WTH I thought, bouncers, they never have bouncers & then I heard loud music coming from inside & noticed lots of signs posted everywhere saying "NO ID = NO ENTRY" - I wondered what on earth was going on. I slightly worried as A) this has never happened before, but then again I haven't been to the pub in probably 3 weeks so maybe something drastic had happened whilst I've been gone and B) I don't carry any ID with me to tell I'm over 18 (hello I'm 30 do I really need any?!?!?!)

Come to find out this weekend was the Camden Pub Crawl (ya know you have to pay £40 for a pass kinda deal in order to hear all these up & coming bands in all the different pubs) well NO WAY was I paying £40!! Luckily just as we arrived our mate Ray (manager of the pub) was coming out & he let us in with the special passes . Hung out there for a few hours - got a bite to eat & then left b/c the bands SUCKED (I fear for the future of the music industry, if these are the up & coming bands we're in trouble!!!!)

From there Ayo went back to SB and Rob & I went to go home UNTIL Rob suddenly wondered how he was to get to his new home (come on you have to be laughing rather hard right now as you know Rob well enough to know he's not the type to look panicked but he was - it was hysterical). I tried to ask without laughing and without sounding sarcastic, "don't you know how to get to my new home?" to which I got a reply of "no not really"
"well how in the hell did you get to south kens earlier today?"
"Jim dropped me off at the tube on his way home to Nottingham"
"okay, call him" (attempt failed as Jim didn't answer his phone) "alright, let's go to my place & look it up on TFL"
now as most people already know in order to use TFL you need a destination (tube station, post code, etc) come to find out he didn't know that part of the process so it made it rather hard. to make the next rather not so amusing part where he proceeded to get upset with me & the computer & the website for not being able to figure out how to get him home - I finally just said, "you can kip on the couch and figure it out in the morning" because by this time he was going to run the risk of not getting the last tube or needing special night buses - he really is a mess at times. I don't know how he (or Jim for that matter) survive - utterly amazing!!

On Sunday after all that excitement my day was much calmer - Rob & I went to breakfast at Mamma Mia's (ya know red awning place next to the Assembly House, near where I use to live in KT) from there he got on the tube & as I haven't heard from him since I think he's made it safely back home.

From there I went to meet up with Gen and we wondered around the streets of chalk farm/primrose hill area since the sun was sorta out & we wanted to take advantage of that fact. Then after that I went food shopping and did 2 loads of laundry & spoke to my sister, mum & dad, before going to bed.

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Sunday, April 20

When I grow up I wanna be . . .

a question I've been asking myself a lot recently! Can I see myself doing research 30 years from now . . . not so much. Why you ask? Well to be honest I'm not totally sure, but to the best of my ability I think that I don't find it to be as rewarding as I would like it to be. I've thought about this quite a bit & asked advice from lots of my mates here in the UK and abroad. Here is the email I sent out asking for their thoughts on my thoughts:
Seem to have been bitten rather hard by a travel bug, here is the update: In May I'm off to Rome for 1st bank holiday & then to St Petersburg for 5 days at end of month, 2nd bank holiday probably going to the lake district (northern England) June 11-15th I'm in Berlin for a conference, June 19th headed home till July 12th. August 16th in Jim & Beck's wedding in Nottingham. September Dad & I are in Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days. October possibly gong to Rwanda. After that I'll be totally skint, but hopefully have cool photos & fun stories to tell from it - but don't expect any Christmas presents - LOL.
Aside from that I've got another meeting with the people who fund me on May 15th & I HAVE to prove I'm worth funding cause at the moment they want to cancel my grant in December. This being said I'm thinking more & more about not staying past December. Maybe it's the crap weather we've been having or maybe it's me finally getting "home sick" if you can call it that after nearly 3 years, but I've been thinking more & more about moving state side sooner rather than later. I'm still up in the air about what to do with "the rest of my life". I'm still in search of a possibly a new job where I feel like I'm making more of a difference. I know the possibility of me finding a cure or vaccine against the disease I work on is NOT going to happen anytime soon. Not sure that time frame is working for me - if you get my drift. It's weird, it's not that I'm not having fun here, it's just that I sorta feel like I'd like to see my family & friends more often than once a year when we're all rushed at Christmas & I have to rush to see them all in just 1 week & share them with other friends & relatives who are in the same situation (if that makes any sense). PLEASE, PLEASE don't mention this to anyone I work with or put any sort of message which could be seen by them (ie facebook), I don't want to jeopardize anything here, in case I decide to stay past December. Any thoughts???

I received lots of replies, primarily saying "I will support you in whatever you feel you want to do" which was not really the answer I was looking for, but appreciate that you're being supportive in my time of need. But I did get one really really good reply, which I'll share with you now:
If it helps at all none of any of your contemporaries back here seem to know what they want to do either; K and M want desperately to move back up north but M hasn't received any job offers yet and is making great money working here. K.......well you know. S can't decide if he should stay with NYPD or move back to CT to work in Manchester or East Hartford, etc. TM likes working and living in Boston but now his wife wants to move back to Oregon and T wants to live in VT. I can't decide if I want to take a job with our plain clothes investigative unit, move up north, join our SWAT unit, stay where I am, etc. JC doesn't know what he wants to do other than he is enjoying teaching. WR wanted to build a house in Keene Valley, but then he decided he would go live in Utah for six months and we haven't seen him since.
If it helps the decision making process at all TW is about to get a job with NYPD so I'd say living in the city is a bad idea on the grounds alone that they are going to give that little goofball a gun.
So that's where it seems we all are. Never happy or content with ourselves and I don't think we would have it any other way. I will say this though I love my job and look forward to going to work everyday and I don't see that changing anytime soon so you see it's not really work at all. Beyond any advice I could give you about being home sick and away from friends and family I would offer that you should make sure you are still happy with your career. If not than you definitely need a change. As far as friends and family go I'm sure we'll always be "around".
Enjoy the travel and keep me posted on what's new.

This mate of mine always has an excellent perspective to give. He was the one who when I wasn't sure what to think after my parents got divorced & I was feeling really lost said to me, "Sara, they did what they thought was best for you & Patty at the time. They never intended on hurting you - any lies that were told were said with the best intention . . . and look at you both now - turned out pretty well in my opinion." He was right then and once again he's hit the nail on the head. I'm not so much missing my friends & family as they're always "around". I'm not lacking in friends in the UK - I'm just lacking in my job. So back to the drawing board I go . . . where it will lead I don't know. What I have figured out is I want a job where I feel like I'm making more of an impact. No I don't want to save the world or get a Nobel prize (I mean those would be nice, but a bit out of reach of reality). I just think a job where I feel there is more reward is what I'm leaning towards. Teachers can see their students learning. Cops arrest "bad guys" and help little old ladies. Plumbers fix leaking pipes for people. I LOVED working at boy scout camp - I helped scouts to learn leather work, woodworking, and how to ride a horse. Since then I haven't felt like someone has benefited from the research I've done - I know small steps have been made, but given the choice I'd prefer a larger step be made & seen my me. So I'm going to keep mulling this over in my head & see what I come up with. Maybe even try to speak with a life coach or do some sort of aptitude testing - who know . . .

Any comments/questions/advice is more than welcome.

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Wednesday, April 16

Who's the travelling fool?


That's right folks, I'm on the move, AGAIN :) This time to Rome for the first May bank holiday (first weekend in May). I'm very excited about it as I've never been to Italy and have always wanted to go. Luckily for me my mate Karen was feeling the same way so off we went & booked ourselves tickets to fly out on Saturday morning & back Monday early afternoon so we don't miss any work. Main reason for not missing any work is that also in May I'm going to St Petersburg, Russia for a few days. Then there is the 2nd May bank holiday which I currently don't have plans for but am considering going to the lake district, but that's not set in stone (might wait to see how the weather's doing - don't wanna go if it's cold & rainy - as if it's ever not - LOL)

June will be full of travelling as well. Have I told you all about my conference in Berlin, Germany? Laura & I are leaving on Wednesday June 11th for a 2 day conference & then staying the weekend to sight see. I will then work Monday - Wednesday only because I'm heading home on Thursday June 19th for my dad's birthday party!!!

July 13th I'll be back in the UK and after that I'll be stationary for awhile (I think) with Jim's wedding August 16th but that's just up in Nottingham so a weekend trip.

In September I'm off to Edinburgh, Scotland with dad for a few days.

In October I might go to Rwanda - but that's WAY up in the air, but will keep you posted as I know more.

November I think I'll be totally and completely skint from my "years worth of travelling" and probably the same in December.

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Monday, April 14

Girls Gone Wild with chocolate in Brussels

Lara & I went to Brussels for the weekend & here are a few of our photos . . .

top of building in the grand palace

Belgian waffle with strawberries & whip cream


Lara & me with mannekin pis

wittimer's chocolate window display

taste testing the chocolates

Lara & me at the fountain in parc de bruxelles

me & Lara "on" the atomLara & me with the atom of iron

We arrived Friday night at 10pm, went straight to the hotel, got dinner near the hotel and went to bed. Got up on Saturday took the metro to Bourse station. Walked to Grand Palace looked at the hotel deville, eat a Belgian waffle in the square, wandered around enjoying the sun. From there we walked down to see Manneken-Pis (the wee boy pissing above), from there we headed for a bit of chocolate taste testing in place du grand sablon. Walked up to the Palais de Justice, over to the jardin d'egmont, and up to the musee des beaux arts, through parc de bruxelles, continued up to parc du jardin botanique. Then took the metro back to Bourse station to go to dinner at Le Flagstaff where we both had mussels - YUM! Back to the hotel for sleep. Sunday was sunny & warm again so we headed up to the Atonium (atom of iron from 1956 world fair) and then back to the grand palace for yet another waffle, wonder about the souvenir shops and hang out in the sun. Dinner near the hotel at a really nice place and then back to the Eurostar for our train back to London.

It was a great weekend break!!!

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Tuesday, April 8

Brussels Bound

Lara & I are off to Brussels, Belgium for the weekend via the SUPER fast Eurostar train outta the NEW St Pancras station . . . don't worry I'll take lots of photos. Now off to find out what there is to see in Brussels (lol)
Course this is all depends on if my passport arrives back from the Russian Consulate tomorrow (as it's due to) cause without that I won't be going anywhere this weekend (well outside the UK that is)

Now to change topics drasticly look at these two photos from BBC's Day in photos album. Here is a "mash cone" (sausage, mash, peas & gravy in a cone) - YUM??????? I think NOT!!!!!!

and here is just one of the cutest bear photos (from a zoo in southern germany)

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Sunday, April 6

Snowy Sunday in London

I woke up at half seven this morning and thought there was something wrong with my windows because from my bed they looked sorta fuzzy. Upon closer inspection, the fuzz was actually snow outside!!
Here is a photo taken along my morning bus route on Tuesday morning:
while here are a few photos from my flat this morning:

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Thursday, April 3


I've just been at Imperial ALL morning long & am absolutely shattered, but I wanted to check in & say hello. Tricia's sugery was sucessful, you can read the post here.

One thing I'm learning is now that I know I need glasses and wear them most of the time for reading, but I can tell when I'm tired & trying to read without wearing them cause my head really hurts and I can't concentrate as well!

Even though my March Challenge is over, I wanted to let you know today I'm thankful for my sight, even if it is not 20-20 anymore 8-)

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Wednesday, April 2

Praying for Tricia, her family & donor families around the world

So I just read on Nate's blog that they've gotten a call about a possible set of lungs for her transplant - I cannot begin to think how she & Nate are feeling right now - here I am thousands of miles away & my entire bus ride home tonight all I could think about was how exciting this could be if this set of lungs are the right ones & how disappointing it could be if they're not the right match. I also thought about the poor person who had to pass away in order for these lungs to be available.

I honestly cannot think of any monetary donation which could compare to the selflessness of people who donate organs, which is why once again I'm going to ask all of my readers to consider becoming an organ donor. If you don't feel you can become an organ donor, then please donate some cash to help Nate's Personal CF Great Strides Fundraising Goal. He figured if every person who visits his blog every day were to donate just $1, he would more than double his goal of $10,000 - which is just awesome. When he posted that he was at 20% of his goal & when I just checked it a few minutes ago I realised he's reached 40%, but that's still means that everyone who visits hasn't given JUST $1 . . . I think donating a dollar is something EVERY one of my readers can afford. Please give it a thought, you probably have $1 in your pocket in change, which you could spare.

And if you can't be an organ donor, can't give $1, then you at least can spend a few seconds praying for Tricia, her family & don't forget the donor's family!!

Thanks & have a good Wednesday!

Update 23.29 BST: Just read that the transplant is a go for Tricia - how exciting!!!

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Tuesday, April 1

Donate Life Month Starts TODAY

No, this is not an April Fool's Day joke by any means, it's actually Donate Life Month. To quote their website, "National Donate Life Month was established in 2003. Every day in April, people across the U.S. make a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, tissue, marrow, and blood donors and to encourage more Americans to follow their fine example."

I became aware of this thanks to Nate's blog Confessions of a CF Husband where he speaks about not only his wife who is waiting for a double lung transplant, but also about a dear friend of his who passed away suddenly & who's eyes were donated. Check it out here if you have a few seconds.

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