Monday, July 31, 2006

I've been reading I haven't been blogging. I'm still reading Watching the English (and still finding all kinds of things that I'm doing wrong). I read The Handmaid's Tale last week, having heard a lot about it. It was v. surreal (most of her stuff is), but really engaging. Poul Ruders (a Schirmer/Chester/EWH composer) wrote an opera based on the book...I'd like to see it but it's not being performed around here any time soon. I'll email the london office and see if they can get it programmed in Stowmarket. :)

I finished The Red Tent last night, and LOVED it. In case you haven't read it, it's the fictional story of Dinah, Jacob's daughter (from da Bible). It was a v. quick and compelling read...I'd love to read something else by Anita Diamant but all she has so far are books on Judaica. Not that it's not fascinating, but I think I know more about Judaism than the average goy living in Stowmarket married to a lapsed Catholic needs to know.

Ooh...scratch that, I just checked Amazon and she HAS written other novels. Not sure if they're in the stowmarket library system yet, but I'll check.

In other news, the wedding pictures have come in and they're v. good...hooray!!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle of the Cheekbones

Ok, I totally didn't think that up. It was A.O.Scott in the New York Times. His review is here. John and I went to see it this evening in was 2 1/2 hours of swashbuckling good fun. Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom are v. hot, and the movie was surprisingly entertaining. I had been moaning about not wanting to see it, but I'm glad John dragged me. It's not going to win any Oscars but it's definitely worth the $8 movie ticket.

I'm reading White Teeth (not as good as everyone says it is) and Watching the English (better than everyone says it is). According to Watching, I'm doing all kinds of things wrong, but I get special dispensation because I'm American. Phew. Gotta keep that accent...I can get away with all kinds of stuff.

I also did a Tarot reading for the prospective job that's coming basically said that I would get the job but end up with all kinds of financial problems. Oh joy. Here are the cards, in case anyone cares:

Who knows.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My Swiss Kitchen

I bought some picture hooks at Woolworth's today (yes, they still have Woolies in England), which meant that John could hang my Swiss Kitchen in our Stowmarket Kitchen.

There are three of these in my family: my mom has one, Sandra has one, and I have one. This one was originally Grandma's, and it's the only thing I wanted from her house after she died. According to Mom, it had been earmarked as mine years ago. Anyway, we packed it in bubble wrap after the wedding and carefully brought it back to England. Upon taking it OUT of the bubble wrap, I broke the stove hood off...sad times.

Travis to the rescue! Not only did he reattach the stove thingy, he rejoined the corners that had been out of whack since before I can remember. Now it's better than ever.

P.S. This post is dedicated to Sandra who is hobbling around on a broken foot. Get well soon!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Day at the Beach!

Yesterday a bunch of Ickworth girls and I went to the beach. It was down in Frinton (about an hour from us), and it was glorious. Yesterday also broke all kinds of heat records for the UK, so it was a perfect beach day. The water was warm, the beach was busy but not too crazy, and we got all suntan-lotiony and sandy. There were a few kiteboarders out...this guy looked like he was having a LOT of fun.

And here we are, all spread out.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's A Man's Job? Hah!

John and James and I had quite a day yesterday...we found a new lunch place in Stowmarket- it's called Tall Orders and it's very coffeeshop-y. John had a baked potato with some spicy veggies on it, James had a Cajun chicken wrap, and I had a lox baguette. It was ALMOST a New York Brunch...yum! I've walked past it a zillion times but never actually gone in.

We then trundled off to the Stowmarket Carnival, which was better than we thought it would be. They had rides and displays and food stalls and various other things. We bought a watercolor painting that I really like- it's very blue with white sailboats, and is very clear and crisp. It's hanging in the front hall (after John and James informed me that hanging pictures was "a man's job," John in jest and James in seriousness. I told them both that that was a completely unacceptable thing to say to a woman, and then climbed back down off my soapbox.

Freda and I were discussing the fact that when we were little, we used to play ball games constantly, since I was teaching James to play Butts Up against Freda and Travis' house. He doesn't have much in the way of hand-eye coordination, but I think it's because he never plays any ball games at school...they just wander around in the playground. I wish there were some other kids around here that he could play with...Edward and I were ALWAYS outside running around or riding our bikes or throwing things at each other. Hopefully when we buy a house (after I get a job...), there'll be kids in the neighborhood.

Not sure why I'm feeling so soapbox-y today.

In other news, I found a pattern for making comfy pants out of an old tshirt. John's t-shirts had better watch out. I have some old ones that I never wear any more, but they're all in New Ro.

I've applied for a job at a theatre in Ipswich...they were advertising for a Marketing and Outreach Assistant, which would be a good way to at least get my toe in to the classical music scene. They don't have MUCH music, but they do have some.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

...Victoria & Albert

I had breakfast with John on Monday morning before he went in to the office, so I was v. early for the Victoria & Albert museum. I got there just before 9 and they didn't open until 10, so I went and had a coffee and read the rest of the last Ya-Ya book and took this picture of the outside of the museum.

Here's a picture of the plaque at the outside of the museum...I love the part about India. How colonial.

The museum itself is quite's like a cross between your grandmother's attic and an encylopedia. There's just so much STUFF. Most of it is very well curated and organized, although some of the rooms are so full that my first reaction upon walking in was to go "ACK!" and turn around, walk back to the hallway, take a few deep breaths, and then try again. The musical instruments exhibit was by far the WORST I've ever seen, but their display of the different media that artists use (grouped by method, rather than by region or time period) was REALLY great.

This is the picture of the room full of copies of Italian artifacts, brought back for British students to study (a hundred years ago? not sure when), when travel wasn't as easy. Cool.

I've been getting a lot of headaches lately, so I went to Boots this morning to get my eyes tested. It turns out that I have the optical equivalent of 'duck feet' (where your feet turn outwards). My eyes' default position is to be slightly turned away from each other (not anything that you could see by looking at me), and so it makes it especially tricky when I'm looking at anything that's closer than an arm's length away, hence the headaches. The optometrist said that the best thing to do would be to 'prism' my glasses- basically to embrace the 'duck-footedness' and let the glasses do the work of putting the two images together for my brain. Apparently I've had this for a long time (and hadn't really noticed the fact that the double-vision I had was actually just seemed normal to me). The new glasses should arrive in about two weeks...yay!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tate & St. Paul...

Here is a picture of some (completely mad) people coming out of a kayak trip on the Thames. Couldn't pay me to do that one.

On Sunday, I started off at the Tate Modern (having been to the Tate Britain on a previous trip- thanks Liz!). It was converted to an art museum from a disused power station in 2000, and only has art post-1900. Good stuff! It's a damn ugly building from the outside but really well done on the inside.

The main entrance hall:

I then walked across the Millennium Bridge, which also has a sound installation where the wind and foot noise from the bridge is harnessed and then piped into the lobby above, making a REALLY cool noise, and to St. Paul's for evensong. The singing was great, and the sermon was very good. We even got to sing a few hymns...singing in St Paul's is like singing in a v. large bathtub- you suddenly sound very full and echoey. I could get used to it!

Can the London Symphony Orchestra relocate?

Checked all my job sites this morning, and the ABO (Assoc. of British Orchestras- the equivalent of the American Symphony Orchestra League) is listing the following job:

London Symphony Orchestra
Orchestral Assistant

This is an exciting opportunity to work closely with the London Symphony Orchestra. Working with both the Orchestra’s Personnel Manager and the Librarian, the Orchestral Assistant will help with the smooth running of both these functions.

It's totally my dream job, but it would only pay £19k at the top end, and it requires evening and weekend work. There's NO way I can do it from Stowmarket. If I were (independently wealthy and) living in central London, I'd be there. But I was looking at house prices as I was walking past an estate agent's in Knightsbridge, and the small 2-beds are going for more than a million pounds. Where do people get all that money from?? But to get back on track, it would cost me more than 50% of my post-tax income to GET to work. Not gonna happen...I don't even really want to apply for it because then if I get it I'll either turn it down and regret it or take it and regret it more. Just not applying isn't ideal either, but I can't bear to get all excited about it and spend ages on the application.

I worked at Ickworth on Saturday in reception (we had the usual cast of people who wanted to discuss at length why their Great Aunt Mabel HATES New York and it's horrible, along with the ones who think I'm Canadian), and then went down to London for the rest of the weekend.

I was a tourist yesterday and went to the Tate Modern and evensong at St. Paul's, then John and I watched the football. I was rooting for France but Zidane's little headbutting episode really soured the whole thing. I have pics from my museum escapades (was at the V&A today)...I'll post them as soon as they're uploaded.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Anglo-American Relations

This is the second year in a row that I've been in England for the 4th of July. I was here last year, visiting John...I can't remember exactly what we did on the 4th, but there were no hot dogs or fireworks. This year, John was working in London (he's there through next Monday), so I went to Sandy's house with Julia and her kids and we had a barbecue and set off fireworks and generally had a good time. If we have a house this time next year, we will definitely have a BBQ and lots of people over for baseball. (And yes, Mom & Dad, we will try to put an American flag on the garage door with crepe paper.)

I had lunch with Freda and Travis today- they're back from their caravaning in the south of France. It actually sounded like a pretty nice place to be, barring the caravan. John and I may try to go visit them the next time they're there. I miss France. Hooray for Les Bleus, btw. Sunday night, John and I will be sitting somewhere in London, cheering France on.

Still nothing on the job front, but I have a meeting in Cambridge tomorrow and there are some things in the pipe. The London job turned out to be a New York old colleague had gotten her wires seriously crossed. Oh well...the commute would have killed me anyway.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

More Risk

When we picked James up from school yesterday, the first thing out of his mouth (not "Hi Daddy!" Hi Kate!") was "Can we play Risk? I almost won last time and I want to play again and Daddy can play too and then I might take over the world if I..."

So I guess he's not mad at me. :)

We're headed over to Julia's this afternoon to watch England v. Portugal (and meet her new kitten...aww). I'm eternally optimistic, so I'm convinced England is going all the way. John, on the other hand, is much more of a realist (read: pessimist), and doesn't want to watch the game because he knows England will lose. We'll see what happens.

I'm following the zillions of leads from my various meetings- there are a surprising number of small music orgs that are coming out of the woodwork in Suffolk. And there are a few leads in London...but it's an hour and a half on the train and it's £426.30 ($788.27 at today's exchange rate) for a MONTHLY pass (if you include the subway card it's £483.90). The comparable ticket from New Ro is $159.74 (not including the subway) and a monthly ticket from Cold Spring (NY), which takes the same amount of time as the Stowmarket-London run is $283.22). So yeah, the job in London would have to pay REALLY well to make it even vaguely worth it. Subtracting £500 from my monthly salary at a lot of places doesn't leave me with a whole lot.