Monday, March 30

Oxford on top once again

I spent most of Sunday afternoon on the banks of the river Thames waiting, waiting, and more waiting for the BIG moment to come, when 2 boats would turn the corner & I'd get to see them for like 30 seconds. Well that moment came and Oxford had a very strong lead, they kept it up and won the 154th Boat Race. The course is 4 miles and 374 yards long and starts in Putney, goes through Hammersmith (where I was) and Barnes with a finish just before Chiswick Bridge. Oxford's win yesterday makes their grand total for wins still only 75 compared to Cambridge's 79 wins.

Interesting fact 1 about the famous boat race is that in the first ever race, Oxford won back on 10 June 1829. The second interesting fact is the race is strictly between "amateurs" and they must be students of the university for whom they race, yet they take this job very seriously with their training schedules being rather intense for the six months leading up to race day (ie training six days a week). The last interesting fact for today is that there were an estimated 255,000 people watching the race and around eight million people tuned in on their tellys around the UK, and they guesstimate that 120 million watch around the world, but I'm not so sure about that last figure!

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Tuesday, March 24

Celebrate World TB Day

In case you've never heard of World TB Day it's about publicising the lives and stories of any patient who has been given treatment for TB.
It also memorialises those people who have contributed towards the world wide fight against TB (ie nurses, community workers, or researchers).
If you'd like more info or what to help by giving a donation, feel free to click hereIn the mean time you can just enjoy these multi-lingual slogans I found on their website!

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Monday, March 23

East Anglia road trip photos in reverse order

green highlighted route we took from London to Ipswich (Friday night) up coast to Great Yarmount, over to Cromer, down to Norwich (Saturday night) & then slowly back to London (Sunday)
some of the woodland trails on the Anglesey Abbey
Anglesey Abbey with 25 acres of woodlands
Bury St Edmunds Abbey, Suffolk - remains of the wealthiest and most powerful Benedictine monastery in England, this tower has been "fixed up" but the rest is still really remains

Grime's Graves - only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain. This ladder is 9m (30ft) down into the mine.
Castle Acres Priory in Norfolk, one of the largest & best preserved monastic sites in England, founded around 1090
Norwich Castle
on the coast somewhere between Great Yarmouth & Cromer
a lighthouse we saw along the way, I had to stop & take a photo, reminded me of Grandma Yeager :)
view from the top of Framlingham Castle
Framlingham Mere
Framlingham Castle - example of a late 12th century castle, built by Roger Bigod (Earl of Norfolk)
view from top of Orford Castle
Orford Castle - unique b/c it's an 18-sided drum with 3 square turrets reinforce it's entrance. It was built between 1165 and 1173
this sign cracked us up, this is our room, but it's also the emergency exit (fire escape out our window) so in case of emergency break the red panel & turn lever to open door - LMAO!

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nearly 400 miles in 48 hours!

Yes, that's correct people, I drove nearly 400 miles between 9pm Friday & 6pm Sunday! We drove from London to Ipswich, where we spent the night Friday. Woke up early, had a typical English breakfast got back on the road & headed to Orlow Castle, followed by Framingham Castle, then drove up along the coast to Great Yarmouth, stopped to see the beaches & ocean, then continued on to Cromer, before heading south again to see castle of which I've forgotten the name of now, then into Norwich. Walking tour at dusk of Norwich (St John the Baptist cathedral, Norwich Cathedral, Norwich Castle), Indian take-away dinner in our rooms (yummers) and watched Notting Hill before falling fast asleep. Sunday up early and back on the road headed towards Thetford (I think) to see Abingsly House, then over to Grime's Graves to see the flint mine before heading to Saffron to see another place, but we were too late for it. At this point we decided to just head back and return the car, as I was getting tired from all this driving & once we drop the car off, it's still another 1.5 hours till we get back to our flats! All in all it was fabulous weekend, weather & driving wise, we didn't get lost at all, which is a first for us - I think Kaylie's map reading skills are getting better & my driving standard on the "other" side of the road & ability to navigate roundabouts is getting much better as well, which helps immensely!

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Saturday, March 21

Binocular football at it's BEST!

Whether you call it football or soccer, I think you'll get a kick out of this. You don't even need sound for this one. My office just LOVED this so much, I had to share it with you. Some might say it's almost like watching West Ham play. Okay, okay, I'll stop knocking other teams seeing as Arsenal sorta looked like this at times this past season! Hope you find this as funny as we did, we made it full screen to get the full effect. Happy weekend everyone :)


Friday, March 20

A wise woman once told me

well actually she wasn't speaking to me, I was just standing next to her, when she was telling someone else"saying no to others, is saying yes to yourself." I remember at the time thinking, "huh? that doesn't really make sense to me". So, I thought about it for awhile & she gave a few examples of what she meant & then I had one of those ah-ha light bulb moments where I realised, I need to remember that statement, but of course life has a way of stepping in & making you temporarily forget all those words of wisdom which we try to live by, until something happens which reminds you. My "reminder moment" came from a twitter she wrote yesterday. It said, "you can say no [to others] so that you’re available to change the world in the ways that are most valuable and important to you" I think this is such a great statement, that I decided it needed to be shared with all of my blog readers. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did :)

On a different note, I carried most of my coin which I've been collecting over the past year, to the bank today & was able to deposit £159 ($229) . Since I had started this coin collection as a vacation fund, I've decided it's going straight towards the purchase of my British Airways direct flight from London to Delhi in November, which by the way, I booked yesterday :)

Speaking of that, I think I will update you on my travel plans for this year (mostly cause I just love looking at the list myself - hope you do as well!)
  • January I went to Switzerland (country #25)
  • February I was in US and Canada leaving no time for a "new" country to be added
  • March I went to Morocco with my mum & had a fabulous time! (country #26)
  • April I will be going to Germany for Easter (not a new country but couldn't find any other good deals, since it's a school holiday)
  • May I will be going to Sofia, Bulgaria (country #27)
  • June I will be going to Warsaw, Poland (country #28)
  • July I will be going to Copenhagen, Denmark (country #29)
  • July/August I will be going to Budapest, Hungry (country #30)
  • August I will be going to Vienna, Austria (country #31)
  • September I will be going to the US for Patty's 30th birthday & an Itafari Event (again no time for "new" country visit)
  • October I have not planned, but tentative Slovenia or Greece or Croatia, just waiting to hear back from my mates as to where they wanna go
  • November I will be going to India (country # 32)
  • December is still unplanned & will probably be full of packing up my stuff, but I'm sure I will fit something in then too!

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Wednesday, March 18

India here I come!

Going to India in November for sure :) I've put down the deposit for a trip from the 23-29th!! I'm so excited :) okay, have to get back to work now . . . just had to let you know!

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Sold by Patricia McCormick

I just finished reading, Sold, by Patricia McCormick. The main character of the story, Lakshmi, a thirteen-year-old girl from mountain village in Nepal, thinks she's been sent to the big city to be a maid when her stepfather has actually sold her to a woman for 800 rupees. Lakshmi narrates her journey and life in the city, the way McCormick writes portrays an unforgettable and thought-provoking illustration of helplessness, anticipation, and desires. It is a very quick book reading wise, there are no chapters, but rather one to two pages of commentary from Lakshmi. I highly recommend this book, with the warning that even though it is short, the topic is rather heavy and can be a bit upsetting.

McCormick has written two other books, Cut and My Brother's Keeper, neither of which I have read, but would assume if written like she did Sold, would both be good reads as well.


Studio-Arts majors are NOT virgins!

Check this out and let me know what you think . . . I'm not sure I believe those numbers, but then again I don't know anyone who went to Wellesley College, so maybe that's where the problem lies. I'd be interested to see what the rates of state schools would be, some how I feel they'd be rather different, but maybe not. Some of my mates who did studio-arts at uni would probably disagree with these rates as well, but we were at uni nearly 10 years ago now, so maybe this is just a sign of the times.


Tuesday, March 17

Who knew spare change could add up to so much!

So with Kaylie's help last night I decided to count all of my "spare" change. Anyone wanna take a gander at the total amount, minus the coppers, I couldn't be bothered to count them out, but there is still 3/4 of a sandwich zip lock bag full of them! I had about a sandwich zip lock bag of 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 coins (I'll give you a small hint, there were £12 (24 pieces) in 50p coins).

A slightly larger hint: If you don't count the £1 and £2 coins, I could probably get a return flight with EasyJet.

A bigger hint: If you only count the £1 and £2 coins, if I had £50 more, I could get a return flight to NYC when Virgin Airlines is having a sale!

If you need more hints, I'm sorry, but that's all I can come up with at the moment.

For those of you who have given up trying to figure the amounts out, the silver coins (5, 10, 20, and 50 pence pieces) equalled about £70 and the gold coins (£1 or 2) equalled about £200, for a grand total of £270, can you imagine????

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Monday, March 16

annoying peeps, annoy me!

I think I have mentioned this before, but of course now can't seem to find the previous post. Doesn't it annoy you when, people you know happen to be in a (bad) mood nothing to do with you, but decide to take it out on you? Well that's just how I feel today! Someone I know was told information (which to be honest (s)he already knew from a year ago) that upset him/her and now all day today (s)he's been in a rotten mood & acting as if I did something wrong to him/her. Albeit I did have to be the bearer of the news, but don't hurt the messenger, I'm only doing my job and HELLO, you knew this info over a year ago, so why are you so surprised now about it?!?!?!?! UGH, people frustrate me so much sometimes. I'm 90% sure people around me can't tell when I'm in a bad mood cause I can keep what ever the issue is separate from them (unless of course they had something to do with the reason I'm in the mood, then you will more than likely know about it.

Okay, just had to get that out there. In happier news, I got to see photos of my cousin Carolyn's daughter, Eloise Joan, who was born March 11, 2008 at 11.39pm, very exciting!! Okay it's almost 5pm and I've been here since 8am so I'm going to finish off my Chamomile-Honey-Vanilla tea & head home :)

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Sunday, March 15

Morocco photos & a guest apperance

Here are a few photos from Mum & my trip to Morocco last weekend & special prize to the first person who can identify the person(s) in the first photo & no the answer an Irish MET officer will not supfice!

orange juice sellers in the square
leshan & me on top of a very very windy hill (note my crazy hair) just after I nearly got blown over, hence my semi-scared smiling face
mom on her donkey about to cross the river & leshan walking behind
our fabulous riad room!

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Friday, March 13

inspection & economic thought

got the big wigs coming in for an inspection of the building today and our boss is outta the country, next in line doesn't work on friday, next in line is at our other campus working, next in line would be me & co-worker t . . . we're not exactly happy or excited about this inspection - i mean i'm sure we'll do fine, but it's still just a little nerve wrecking waiting around for him/her/them to arrive & start firing away questions at us.

back is feeling better, not back to normal by any means, but slightly less pain & i dare say more rom (range of motion) so i'm hoping that's a sign that my vertebrae have stayed in place like i want them to!

heard an idea yesterday, government should dole out the stimulus check as a gift card, then you'd have to put it back into the economy . . . what do you think? i think it's a darn good idea, since people love to shop & will even if they don't have the money thanks to credit cards! okay that's my 2 pence for the day.

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Thursday, March 12

not slipped but rather twisted vertabrae

that's the good news! the bad news, no quick, painless fix, but with a good osteopath & a few weeks I should be back to normal. the osteo spent close to an hour talking & examining it (unlike NHS doc) and then explained the difference between slipped & twisted and then moved it back into place. not instant solution, but it's been about 10 hours & i can say it is feeling better. tomorrow night i have an appt with a personal trainer at the gym so i'm sure not to injure myself more in this "getting better" time period.

on different notes
1) i'm still awaiting news from my cousin in dallas, tx who was suppose to give birth to a girl yesterday - fingers crossed the delay is just cause their side tracked with excitement!
2) went to see surveillance (movie) tonight & i will give it 2 thumbs down!

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Wednesday, March 11

26th country visited!

So you might be wondering how many countries there are in the world, right?? Well here is the answer I've chosen to go with the 192 answer but let it be known that when I count my list of where I've been, I count Scotland, Wales, and England separately and I include Vatican City as well - these are of course how the total number of countries in the world ranges from 190 - 195! Which means by my calculations, I've been to 13.5% of the world's countries. How many have you been to?????? If you're interested in which I've been to, I'll put it in the comments section.

Okay back to the point of my story, Mum & I are back from Marrakech, Morocco - it was a fabulous trip & I'm now putting Morocco on my top 5 countries to visit. As some of you know whilst I was in Morocco I slipped a disk in my back on Saturday morning - nothing to do with the visit or prior injuries, just one of those "random things that happens when you're old" (to quote the NHS doctor.) My back still has not responded to any of the pain meds I've been given, but I'm meeting with an osteopath tomorrow who thinks he can help & said that without x-rays it's hard to diagnose a slipped disk so it's possible it's something even easier to "fix" so I'm ever hopeful about that!!!!

Sadly, my mum left for Gatwick this morning at 6am. OMG, I didn't tell you, when I got home last night I was trying to find my camera to upload my photos & couldn't find it, but decided to have mum look cause ya know when you panic you sometimes don't see what's right in front of you . . . well after 2 searches mum couldn't find it either, but I remember having it in my green rucksack at the airport in Morocco, so I call the lovely Holiday Inn where we stayed Sunday night & oh yes, they have found a camera in the room (RELIEF!!!) Now I just have to go out to LGW on Saturday to pick it up. I'm just so glad it's been found, cause A) it has my photos from Morocco on it, B) I can't really afford a new camera right now, and C) I LOVE that camera, it's been all over the world with me!!

Well got 4 emails from my boss who's in Thailand this week, so I best go read & respond so he doesn't think I'm faffing about whilst he's gone & as soon as I get my camera back at the weekend I will try to post some photos & stories about our trip.

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Tuesday, March 3

Save the Date - September 26, 2009

Hello my lovely readers, please save the date - mark calendars/diaries, import info into computers/iPhones, etc - September 26, 2009. We'll be hosting an event in New York for the Itafari Foundation. In case you missed my daily Rwanda updates click here and scroll down a little bit so you can read about all 21 days of our adventure! You can also see the Itafari Travelogue for details & photos!!!

I know many of you don't live in NYC, but it's not that far of a drive & considering I will have flown over 2000 miles and the president of the Itafari foundation will have flown over 2300 miles I think you can make the drive for such a good cause!

Click here and be sent to the events page of the Itafari website, save the link so you can be kept up to date on the events going on. I know some of my readers are west coasters and so you probably won't be making the September event, but there are some in your area as well so keep checking back to see when Momma Itafari will be near you!

This event will be wonderful, I just know it! There will be baskets from Rwanda on sale and you can speak with the President or me about our experiences in Rwanda last October. There are goats to be bought, which is always a fabulous gift for friends & family! If goats aren't your thing, there are children to be sponsored, bricks to be purchased for a high school in Kigali, micro loans to be given, or just any amount of cash will help out immensely! I know these are hard times, but remember you have a roof over your head, you're eating 2+ meals a day, your parents were not murdered in front of you, and you have access to some of the best health care in the world - these are all luxuries which not everyone in Rwanda has.

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Monday, March 2

Excellent Idea from SusieJ

Click on the badge below & see what I'm talking about, Thanks SusieJ for great post idea:



March Madness

well not really, just my day today was rather busy, started off with back to back meeting with my boss, followed by lunch with the girls (aka my coworkers), then back onto the computer for an afternoon of faffing about on Prism, a statistical analysis program which I know is wonderful, but I've just had my fill in the past 2 weeks of graphing the same data 9 different ways (and no that's NOT an exaggeration!) After that Tash & I met to chat about what we're going to present at our 2 hour lab meeting on Wednesday, which of course included a carrot cake muffin break whilst looking at the hen do photos she'd taken at the weekend - ya know it helps motivate if you can do something totally mindless for 10 minutes. After that I started reading a paper on the differences between IL-17A and IL-17F and before I knew it, it was 5.30pm, so I left. Came home, made taco salad for dinner for Kaylie & me (lettuce, tomato, beef with taco seasoning, carrots, onions, peas, sweet corn, green beans, cheese, and salsa with a soft taco shell on the side - YUM!) Then Kaylie checked her email & I read for a lil while before going to the gym, yes that's correct the gym at 8.30pm, which I think is a good time for me, the gym is less busy, I've had time to eat & digest and I can come home, shower, blog quickly (like I am now) and then crawl into bed. The trainer left a note for me on my exercise program with a motivational quote, which I thought was very nice. I have to say the staff there are insanely friendly, I don't think I've ever been to a gym where they were so friendly & welcoming. Whilst I was there I saw a girl training with boxing gloves & her trainer - looked like fun, but rather difficult.

Okay that's basically it for today. My mum leaves NY tomorrow headed across the pond & arrives into Londontown Wednesday morning :) I can't wait to see her, I know I just saw her like 2.5 weeks ago, but it will be fun to have her here at my flat, which she's not seen yet, well aside from video skype, but that's not really the same.

Hope you all had a good Monday!!

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Sunday, March 1

Knackered, but alive!

So I joined a new gym, cause the one I was going to rather infrequently was a bit too much of a muscle head gym, don't get me wrong the muscle heads were nice, but I'm not into looking like Arnold, just wanna stay healthy & it's hard when there is only 2 treadmills, 1 cross-trainer (elliptical), and 1 bike compared to a HUGE room of free weights.

Of course when you join a new gym they make you do a "health check" which I think is basically to make you feel about as bad about yourself as possible & then let them explain all the ways they can "help" or "fix" you. No I'll be the first to admit I'm not a fitness queen by any means, I mean for goodness sakes before I went to the gym tonight I made 4 dozen carrot cake muffins (I rationalised they're healthy cause they have fresh grated carrot in them, right?? sorta like how Fanta l'orange is good for you cause it's orange & not black like coke!) Okay I digress, my point is that I signed up for the gym, went to this health check to learn I could be healthier & then let the trainer "show me" what I should be doing. Basically I'm good with all the weight training activities it's the CV which I suck the most at! I mean I thought I was going to die when he put the treadmill on 10kph at a 5 degree incline & asked me to run for 5 minutes . . . after 2 minutes I was felt like I was dying, so he thought he'd "help" by lowering the speed to 7kph, but increasing the incline to 15 degrees, now I ask you, HOW is that helping me??? 2 minutes later he said okay so you get the idea, you'll run (10kph) for 5 minutes flat, then increase to incline 5 for another 5 minutes, then up to 15 incline dropping speed to 7kph for last 5minutes. I of course smiled & said okay, only cause the machine was stopped & I was trying to catch my breath & "OK" was about all I could say at that point!

I will need to work on that program for sure, but the good thing was the trainer was very friendly & motivating so I'm ever hopeful this torture, I mean program he's given me will be enjoyable, after of course I'm done with it for the day :)