14 December 2009

Guiseley, England

I’m currently sitting in a place called the Cellar V in Guiesely, England. There is supposedly free Wi-Fi here (with a passcode of ‘splendid’…how very English) but I’ve yet to get it connected properly. No worries, I’ll be headed over to the Regent (how very English) soon for lunch and a pint – and more free Wi-Fi – hopefully though with a valid connection.

So yes! I made it here. Here being England, a place I never thought I would get to see again unless I spent a week on a train and 6 days on an ocean liner. The flight, or flights, turned out OK. Although queasy at the John Wayne airport, I managed not to puke and by the time we were up in the air with the seatbelt sign off, I was fine. I even managed about an hour and ½ of sleep on the flight from Jersey to Manchester. At this point I’d like to call Andy a big ole liar who stated, “there’s never turbulence over the ocean” as there was, and badly so. I will forgive Andy though as without him, I wouldn’t be sitting here at the Cellar V in Guiselely, England. Thank you sweetheart.

The first 24 hours here have been great. We got in at about 7:30 in the morning and were picked up by Andy’s cousin, Julia, and her 5-year old daughter, Eliska. Julia drove us to Andy’s mom’s house (sorry, mum’s house) where I had not less than 3 cups of tea and a plate full of biscuits while discussing Dr. Who and other British programming. Andy’s mum recently got a DVR so according to all the shows we circled in the TV guide for recording, we will be watching tellie for approximately 4 days full stop.

By the way, yes, I will be using British verbiage for now as I have already been scolded\corrected too many times for my American English to go back right now. I used ‘potato chips’! I know they are ‘crisps’ dammit, the word just didn’t escape my mouth in time!

After chatting with Andy’s mum and then a roast dinner, Julia took Andy and I to Anfield, the home of the Liverpool Football Club. There was a match on between Arsenal and Liverpool and Julia and had tickets for her and Andy. I did not mind not going to the game as it was fucking freezing out and I much preferred to sit in a warm pub…well, that was the plan anyhow. I had no idea how crazy the pubs around Anfield would be. Standing room only, lots of Liverpool chant songs, smells of meat pies and cigarettes, loads of “excuse me, love” while being elbowed out of the way. When the match started the pub was left like a State Fair at closing time. Only a few unlucky non-ticket holders remained, broken glass and beer littered the floor. On every available surface there were bottles and pints of beer, some empty but mostly not. I wondered at the fact that there weren’t a few kids or homeless folk chugging the beer leftovers on the tables. I am not kidding in any way when I state that a person could get drunk 3 times over for what was left. Andy and I parted ways and I went up for a pint. With no TV to watch the match on, I ended up just sitting in one of the side rooms by myself honestly wondering what I was going to do for the next 2 hours. I need not worry. I wasn’t there for more than 5 minutes when this Scouse (term for a person from Liverpool) girl came up and asked me if I was alone. After saying I was she said, “Come’n join us then, we’re all Liverpool Football widows.”

The next two hours passed in a daze. I was jet lagged, and with no sleep, managed to get myself rather drunk rather quickly. I heard of the widows love lives and their jobs, truthfully missing half of what was said (if I’m not concentrating well enough (read: drunk), I have a hard time with accents). Not that I was alone. I have the accent here. Carrie, the girl who invited me over, never could understand that I was from California, instead introducing me to everyone as the girl from Canada. Close enough, right? I was laughing up a storm and having a grand time when Andy finally found me. He seemed a bit shocked at my new band of friends. I may or may not have introduced him as my husband from Canada.

Andy and Julia dragged me away finally and we grabbed what I imagine is the best meat pie and chips I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating (but this opinion might be lager based) and put me in the back seat of the car. Apparently I was in the back seat of the car for about 3 hours…not that I remember as I was dead asleep, only waking when we got back to Julia’s. Two cups of tea later and I was in bed where I slept for 9 hours straight without waking up once. Thank you beer and jet lag.

Today Andy had to go to work in Leeds so Julia’s husband, Lokash, took me about Guiseley. We had a full English breakfast for 3 pounds and then Lokash showed me around town. The town isn’t that big but for me, I’m finding plenty to do. Hell, I could spend an hour at the grocery store just looking about.

Sorry I don’t have any pictures to show you right now. Andy took the camera cord into work with him. Maybe I’ll give you a webcam shot of the Cellar V. Oh hey, that worked. Cool.

A group of teenagers just walked past. They are all wearing uniforms and for an American, one can’t help but think that one just stepped into a Harry Potter film.

07 December 2009

A bit about the rain

I moved to Southern California for a reason. Well, to be fair, I moved to Southern California for loads of reasons, but the biggest one being the weather. After spending many a chilly winter growing up in Wisconsin, the yearlong 70+ degree weather of Southern California was a godsend. Every year I’m so grateful that I’m not breaking my back shoveling the walk or being white knuckled and panic stricken trying to drive to work during a blizzard. I haven’t seen snow in 6 years and I’m very comfortable about that. That being said, Southern California has this nasty habit of being sunny ALL THE TIME. I’m sure a lot of you are reading this from the warm comfort of your living rooms looking at the snow outside and sneering at me for thinking such a thing, but let’s be honest…too much of anything will start to wear on you. I love the weather here, don’t get me wrong. But every now and again, you just wish for a cloudy day. Or rain! I love rain.

Today is one of those very rare rainy days. And not just a morning sprinkle with the sun doing it’s jolly “dum dee dum dum, let’s brighten the people’s day” in the afternoon. No, this is a proper cold rain with proper clouds and proper need for an umbrella. Because rain doesn’t happen very often, when it does, it’s absolutely awesome. I went to Starbucks this morning. I was wearing a scarf. I had buttoned my jacket all the way up. I ordered a latte and was completely buzzing about it. It was that whole “it’s cold and wet out there but it’s warm and cozy in here” sort of feeling. Trust me when I say that I don’t like Starbucks that much normally. I’m really looking forward to going home tonight and getting under a blanket and watching a crap movie with a cup of tea. I like doing that usually, but when it’s raining, I don’t feel so guilty about it.

We’re leaving for England in 5 days and I will get my lion’s share of rain there. I’m sure by the end of three weeks I’ll be moaning about wet jeans, frizzy hair, destroyed cigarettes. But for right now, I’m digging it- rain away.

03 December 2009

I feel I have myself to blame...

In September last year I wrote an entry about Shishmaref, Alaska. It was basically a piss take:

Shishmaref Piss Take

Now I find out today that poor seal oil loving Shishmaref is falling into the sea:

Shishmaref Suicide Watch

Community of Shishmaref, I was only joking. No need to fling yourself into the ocean! I'm sure you are all really lovely people who aren't cannibals.

02 December 2009

So what have YOU been up to?

Sorry to be absent for so long. I have been meaning to throw something out for a couple weeks now but as usual time got away from me and most everything I have to say is Old News. Ach well, I think you’ll live.

The entry I was going to write about but never did was about Andy’s birthday over two weeks ago. His birthday was on November 19th, but I surprised him with a trip up to LA on the Saturday after. It was a pretty good surprise if I do say so myself.

At 2 o’clock on that Saturday, I handed him an envelope with a task in it. The first task was to use the enclosed directions to get us to the hotel in Beverly Hills. The 2nd envelope directed us to a restaurant, the 3rd a bar, so on and so forth. I had 9 envelopes in total, each with a time to open the envelope and instructions on what we’d be doing next. I sent us to the restaurant, quite a few bars, an improve show, on the LA subway system, a bar that was run by a Russian lady who tried to overfeed us, a long walk through Echo Park, more bars. Andy got to have an old man’s drink in the Dresden, a fruity cocktail at Tiki Ti, a not so great showing of Beer Shark Mice. It turned out really well. When I ran out of envelopes we just hopped in a cab – which was the story of us asking our cab driver to take us to a dive bar in Beverly Hills and him dropping us off at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel with $17 cocktails and the most beautiful Christmas tree I’ve ever seen. I might have tried to steal one of the posh cloth towels in the Ladies room. Andy definitely stole a pen and very cheekily asked that our complimentary snacks be boxed up (just on principle).

So that was two weeks ago…

This past weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, which seems like a virtual lifetime ago was also very busy.

Thanksgiving Day we invited Maggie, Dave, and Cousin Tony to have dinner with us. All was going well until an unfortunate argument over the proper method to make Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. Not wanting to get into it, let’s just say that the argument had me storming out of the house and driving off to Mutt Lynch’s. I stayed at Mutt’s for hours (having forgotten my phone) and was taken care of by Sarah and her friend via free food, drinks and fruity shots. I also pet a horse. Yes, a horse. I’m just sitting there and the woman next to me looks over and says, “Would you like to pet my horse?” Already knowing that there was a trailer outside that had a horse in it and not worrying that this woman was offering me drugs or worse, I said, “Yes.” It was a very nice horse. I got a hold of Andy later and we spent the rest of the night on the peninsula.

The Saturday after, we had the Harp Golf Tournament. I’ve never played golf before but Mari wanted to play and needed a team. The Harp hosts this tournament every year and it’s a pretty sweet deal. For $100 you get 18 holes of golf (including golf cart), a swag bag (read: a bunch of promotional crap that the Harp got for free and wanted to get rid of), a cold lunch, and a bag of beer. A bag of beer! What’s not to like? Overall I did very very poorly until about the 13th or 14th hole when I was standing in the way of Andy’s drive shot and got hit in the knee. While incredibly painful (still), you have to admit it’s funny. I think it’s funny and everyone (except Andy who feels dreadful about it) thinks it funny. It’s hard to imagine without the proper sound effects but just imagine the crack of the driver hitting golf ball, the thunck of said ball hitting my knee, and the thud of me hitting the ground like a shot. Anyhow, because my knee hit and I couldn’t really move it without some pain, I ended up playing OK the last few rounds as my whole initial problem was that I was moving around too much. I’m not sure I want to play golf again if I have to be injured to play decently. After golf was the free steak dinner at the Harp and my award for Best Female Golfer. Ironic, no?

Sunday Andy and I went out on Patrick and Michele’s new boat for a Harbor Cruise but there’s not much to say about it except that it was relaxing as all get out.

So that’s about it I think, you’re all caught up. Andy and I leave for our 3 week England vacation, sorry, holiday soon so I’ve mostly been running around trying to get everything taken care of for the trip and last minute things for the wedding which is all of 8 days after we get back. Oh, and the Pub Quiz is tonight if you feel like coming down.