Monday, July 30, 2007


Well, the weather held and we had lots of family over on Sunday. John's parents, his brother's wife and daughter, his brother's wife's sister and her family. As my parents would say, the in-laws and the out-laws.

Anyway, we parked the kids outside on the picnic blanket while we had a v. civilized lunch at the kitchen table. And then all went to the playground, where we pushed the kids (boys 9 & 10, girls 11 & 12 - the miracles of cousins!) on the swings. I'm SO sore today - there's a huge seesaw/swing thing that provoked cries of FASTER! HIGHER!!. And now my arms and legs (?!) are sore. But the kids had a rip-roaring time. As did the grownups, I have to say.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

It's raining again

Which means we have more rainbows than we know what to do with.

Here are two pictures, taken out the back window, five minutes apart. Crazy English weather. We've truly had the most appalling summer - it's been cold and rainy since mid-May. I haven't worn shorts ONCE and we still have our spring/fall duvet on the bed. And Moose (the stuffed moose) is wearing his antler-muffs still.

I'm still feeling v. calm about Harry Potter, but I'm reluctant to post about it here because I know a lot of people haven't finished yet. So if you want to discuss, email me, otherwise I'll post about it in a few weeks.

It's also looking like my plans to go to NY at Christmas might change, but nothing's final yet so I'm being really cautious. I should know in a couple of days, though.

There's also a lot of crazy stuff going on at work - it seems like one of those months where people are moving all over the place - at our suppliers, with our customers, and within the company. I'll have to ask Michelle (my astrologically inclined buddy) if there's something planetary that's causing all the upheaval.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

All done

Well, I've finished the book. Last night at about 9:30, as a matter of fact. I've been trying to ponder what to post here and I'm going to avoid spoilers for a bit.

Apparently I was not the only person annoyed by the HP review in the New York times - they got thousands of letters from angry people. I still think while what they did was technically legal, it was morally wrong. One of the commenters suggested submitting it to Randy Cohen (The Ethicist from the Sunday Times Magazine) - I think it's a great idea.

We went out for a curry with Ian & Caroline on Friday night in Ipswich - we'd reserved our books so we figured that it wouldn't be too bad of a line at Waterstones. Er, yeah, we were wrong. Not only was there a HUGE line of people, going all the way down a v. long block and around several corners, we were only about 150 metres away from the store and we were in line for almost 2 hours after midnight. They only had 3 registers open and it was taking forever. And it was FREEZING cold - I had to put my fleece on over my HP shirt. We were, however, waiting next to a v. nice college student who kept us entertained.

Here they are:

And here's the line:

And here we are WITH OUR BOOKS!

We staggered back to the house, where I read the first chapter and tumbled in to bed. I woke up at 6:30 with the sun streaming in to our room, and started from the beginning again. We left at 9, had the best Little Chef breakfast I've ever had, and then came home, showered, and settled in. John was upstairs on the bed, and I was downstairs on the couch. I had two small interruptions to hang washing on the line, and was about 3/4 of the way through when we left for a bbq at my friend's house.

She's American, married to an Air Force navigator, and we were the only civilians at the party. It was fun, though. We had Bratwurst (she's from Minnesota) and lots of American food from the base. John thought it was all very strange.

We got home about 8, and I read straight through until 9:30. John read until about midnight, and then woke up at 7 this morning to finish.

I thought it was EXTREMELY good, and while I'm definitely feeling HP withdrawal, it's much more of a peaceful feeling than with any of the previous books.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

NYT Harry Potter review

Somehow, the New York Times bought a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at a store in New York City. Not sure how, but whatever.

They then read the book, wrote a review, and posted it. Fine, except nobody's supposed to get the book AT ALL until tomorrow night at midnight. And their review included SPOILERS. Which I read, by accident. And then tried my best to un-read, but it doesn't work like that. I'm not linking to it here - if you desperately want to read it, you'll be able to find it.

I am NOT a happy bunny. They're mean.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dr Who Cake

The boys brought a tardis cake when they came round tonight - I loved it so much I had to take a picture. And post it.

It's funny, when I was a kid, we never watched Dr. Who. I remember it randomly being on TV and it being WAAY too scary for me, so then when I arrived here I didn't really want to watch it. It actually kicked off when C was here, and I figured it was a v. british thing to do with our Saturday evening. It was the first of a v. compelling 2-parter and that was it. I was sucked in. Now they're on hiatus for the summer (although I missed all the episodes from the autumn, so it's not too bad). I'm going through David Tennant withdrawal.

Random quiz (Wikipedia/IMDB NOT allowed): why ELSE might I find David Tennant compelling? (Other than the fact that he's fab as the Doctor and quite easy on the eyes...)

John's on a business trip tomorrow night, so I'm going to be having artichokes for dinner (he finds them too prickly but I LOVE them). I can't find my mom's recipe for the sauce so I'm going to have to ask her again...oh well.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Curry on a Monday?

As planned, I made this recipe. It was a HUGE hit - both John and I really loved it. It was super easy and I'll definitely be making it again soon.

From BBC Good Food: Prawn Curry In A Hurry

* 2 tbsp curry paste (they recommend Patak's Original Balti curry paste)
* 1 onion, finely sliced
* 200g large raw or cooked prawns, defrosted if frozen
* 400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic (I sauteed the garlic with the onions and just used regular tomatoes)
* large bunch coriander, leaves and stalks chopped

Serves 2
Prep 5 mins
Ready in 15 minutes

Drizzle some oil from the curry paste jar into a wok or large frying pan, gently heat, then add the onion. Sizzle over a low heat for 4 mins until the onion softens, then stir in the paste and cook for a few mins longer. Stir in the prawns and tomatoes, then bring to a simmer. If using raw prawns, simmer until they have changed colour and are cooked through. Season, if you like, then add the coriander just before serving with boiled rice and naan bread.

It was spicy and really tasty. And the rice was done before the dinner was - it was a fast one.

I also finished reading The Friday Night Knitting Club - it was a fun New York chick-lit book that was deeper than I was expecting it to be. Not Shakespeare, but enjoyable. I can't remember whose blog I saw it on, but thanks! Now the big internal struggle is about whether or not I have time to (start and) finish HP6 before Friday night...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Harry Potter weekend No.1 (of 2)

Our garden has suddenly exploded in a riot of colo(u)r. Here's an arial view of our hanging basket (planted with the M-i-L) and the begonias that we planted with Mom & Dad.

It was a glorious afternoon - we had laundry dancing on the line and I sat out in the back yard and read my book. We've had a bumper crop of coriander, so John and I are going to have a shrimp curry tomorrow to see if we can use some of it up.

Last night we had a bbq with F & T - we spent some time shooting at a tin can in the back yard. John says that the only time he's ever seen his father miss anything was when they were trying to shoot a rabbit in the dark (the garden was overrun with them) and John was shining a flashlight on the rabbit.

We stopped on the way home to take some pictures - the sunset was glorious.

So, Harry Potter, you ask? Indeed. We saw the movie yesterday morning, and I loved it. I really like OOtP anyway (although I tend to stop right before they get in to the Dept of Mysteries - I can't bring myself to read any further). The writing was the best so far - it condensed the book perfectly, removing the extraneous characters and plot lines, without adding any other random filler. Luna was perfect, Umbridge was deliciously awful (and her office was PERFECT), and the Room Of Requirement was only missing a few pillows. I agree with C about how anything that was added sounded like it was written by JK. And I LOVED the scene where Harry was talking to Dumbledore about the prophecy... "You mean, in the end, one of us has to kill the other?" Yup, Harry, and that's NEXT WEEK!!! Oh, and when did Daniel Radcliffe get to be so cute? I know he's 17, but still. Oh, and I'm going to get my 'the end' theory out now, so if you don't care, go read the Times or something.

Snape will help Harry (on purpose or not, I don't know) kill Voldemort. I think this has to happen, although seeing OOtP again calls his loyalty into question again. He DID tell the others that "He's got Padfoot, in the place where it's hidden," but that could still be part of his double-agentness.

I may have to steal HBP from James' room and reread it this week...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

London II

Sunday in London was not quite as whirlwind as Saturday, but it was still a really fun day. I had a quick breakfast (chocolate croissant and cappuccino) at Bar Italia, then headed down to Sloane Square to go check out the General Trading Company.

On the way, I bought an Oyster card, as recommended by my parents' friend Charles. It's basically a cross between a Metrocard and an E-ZPass (for the newyawkers in attendance). For people like me, it's great - it's a prepaid card that adds up how many rides I've taken in a day and charges me for the cheapest combination. Neat! And yes, the government can track where I go and when...oh well. I've now waited in my last line at an underground station (at least to buy a ticket...)

Anyway, GTC didn't open until 12 noon (it was Sunday, in England, remember?) and since Peter Jones (part of John Lewis) opened at 11, in I went. I tested out some patio chairs and tables, sat on 'our' couch (yet to be ordered), and was on my way.

I had plans to meet up with Michelle but we hadn't figured out where - we ended up going to Greenwich, which was really fun. I took the Docklands Light Railway out (without realising I had to pay before I got on the train - oops!), and walked around for a while.

I read some more of The Nine Tailors (a Dorothy Sayers murder mystery about bell ringing in East Anglia, recommended by mom) while sitting in the park in front of the maritime buildings - it was so wonderful to be outside in the sun after all the rain we've had.

Michelle and I had a REALLY yummy lunch, walked around the markets for a while, saw these crazy puppets in a parade, and then climbed to the top of the hill to check out the observatory.

And in honor of Harry Potter, I found this 'golden snitch'-esque weathervane at the top of one of the observatory buildings. Love it.

I was then so comprehensively exhausted that hopped on a train back to the burbs where I showered off the London grime and tumbled in to bed. Phew.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


As promised, I went down to London this past weekend. It was a completely insane weekend and I was totally zonked by Sunday evening. I got up super-early on Saturday morning and took the 7:30 train, getting to town about 9. I went out to Marble Arch to have my eyebrows threaded - without success. My mom found this website, where I then found some places that did threading. Apparently it's popular enough in London that you have to make an appt 2 weeks (!) in advance. But not so popular that there are walk-in places all over the city, a la NYC... And there aren't any places out near us - I'll just have to plan further ahead next time.

I went to Liberty next and found some glorious fabric - I bought two small pieces that I'm going to work in to various projects. The guy who sold me the fabric was a real prizewinner - he'd hit every branch on the gay tree when he fell out of it, and he was wearing a (beautifully handmade) shirt with a v. busy Liberty floral pattern, accompanied by a tie of the same pattern. It was...eye catching.

Then it was off to Covent Garden to check out the lunch place that my physio recommended - it's called Food For Thought and was quite yummy.

I also managed to find a little courtyard (Neal's Yard) just north of CG, where I had a pedicure. Lovely. And then I bought a pair of black Birkenstocks because my black teva flip-flops have given up and are no longer fit for public wear. So I got these, in black. And am in the process of breaking them in.

Next, I took my mom's recommendation to check out Little Venice. I took a walking tour with a fantastic guide, met a new friend named Robin (if you're reading this, email me!), and took a boat ride. Here's our guide, singing to us:

And here's one of the views of Little Venice.

And another one.

And at the end of the boat ride, PIRATES! was a busy day. More tomorrow.

Friday, July 6, 2007


John's in London tonight, so I've parked myself in front of the tv for some awesome Wimbledon. The sun is finally shining and there were some fantastic rallies and upsets. I may have to find a cafe with a tv tomorrow afternoon...

We watched An Inconvenient Truth last night - it's something you should see, if you haven't. Al Gore is passionate about the damage we're doing to the environment, and he's got quite a pulpit to shout his message from. I've found a noticeable difference between the attitudes in the UK and in the US - everyone here is SO much more aware of the damage we've done to the environment and there's a much greater willingness to change our behavior to reverse the damage.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Red, White And Blue ...and Pink!

In honor of the 4th, here's a picture that my dad took:

And when I got home from the (mercifully short) meeting tonight, Mark presented me with some '4th of July flowers'. They're GORGEOUS. The light wasn't ideal but I wanted to post them, so here they are.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


I'm still working on the leftovers from our bbq on Sunday - we managed to find a small window of sunny weather and we fired up the grill! We ended up with 3 Americans and 4 Brits (all of whom were very gracious about the celebrating rebels), and lots of potato salad.

No, it's not going to turn into a recipe blog, but my grandma's potato salad is SO good that it needs sharing.

Thanks, Mom, for the recipe - I hope it's in time for any last minute 4th of July potato salad crises! Happy 4th to all the 'mericans in attendance! Tomorrow, rather than watching fireworks, I will be at the Bury Bach Choir annual meeting. AND to add insult to injury, we got an email from the NY office today reminding us that all the US offices would be closed tomorrow. Bah.

Enjoy the potato salad, anyway.

*Potatoes (I used about 4 small potatoes per person)
*a BIG blob of Hellmann's mayo (don't use the other stuff)
*1 tbs red wine vinegar
*1/2 tsb dry mustard (or 1.5 tbs of dijon)
*A small white onion
*Parsley to garnish
*salt & pepper to season (I salt the 'tater water and find that's about all I need)

Boil the potatoes until they're tender, then drain and cool most of the way. Finely chop the onion, and mix with the mayo, vinegar and mustard. Toss with the potatoes, and serve with the parsley on top. You can substitute balsamic vinegar if you don't have red wine vinegar, but it turns everything a mocha-y color.

I'm going to ping down to London on Saturday to noodle around for the day - if anyone's around and wants to meet up, drop me a comment! I'm definitely headed for the Tate Modern to see the new exhibit and I think I'm going to venture further off the beaten path than I usually go - there's a limit to how many times I need to walk through Hyde Park (lovely though it is...). Suggestions gladly taken!