Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Things That Are Broken

This is an excuse post- mainly my computer's fan is on the fritz meaning that it overheats and freezes (how it delights me to write "overheats and freezes")  rendering it largely useless. I mean, until I fix it...in the mean time Ella has generously let me use her computer meaning that I can, if necessary, be on skype or check my email, but (and here is the excuse part) due to the quirks of her keyboard (it takes a LOT of effort to use the space bar) I'm disinclined to blog a whole lot.

Which is why there will be no real content in this post.

Mostly the reason I'm writing this at all though, is to let you know that my 10 year old yoga pants finally bit the dust half way through class and are now held together with staples.

Because I am pure class.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I had a visit from my sister. Adventure Part 4. (Wherein we don't leave the house)

Sunday was delightful, despite being plagued by jet lag and colds. We slept in and then Gwen showed up for lunch. I hadn't managed to start preparing anything yet, but Gwen brought wine, and Laine had the genius idea of bringing the folding chairs into the kitchen. (I don't know why Ella and I never thought of that, we hang out in the kitchen all the time because it is the warmest room in the house and, you know, there's food there, but we hadn't ever brought the chairs in. NOW, however, they live there. Thanks, Laine!)

Remember our awesome organic food box we get delivered? Do any of you know about Laine's peculiar devotion to cast iron pans? Have I told you that I've been experimenting with pastry? Well. All of those came together in a deliciously elaborate vegetable quiche with homemade pastry and about 10 different kinds of vegetables in it. We had extra pastry (and extra cheese and extra quiche mixture) so in addition to the quiche we also made little baby cheese quiches (soufflees? Kind of?) in a muffin tin. All of this was taking far too long for Gwen so we also made bar cookies with melted dark chocolate on top.

Delicious productivity, convivial atmosphere, and conversation that flowed and flowed and flowed. It was interesting hearing stories being re-told for a slightly different audience. I know how *I* tell the story of Gwen and I becoming friends, but it was fun to hear her version. Gwen has heard all sorts of stories about our family, but this time she got to hear them from Laine. Excellent, good times.

Gwen eventually went home so Laine and I, in our relaxed/lethargic state ended up watching a bunch of episodes of "Miranda,"a ridiculous and slapstick-y comedy that I've rather fallen in love with. Eventually we got hungry again, rummaged around the pantry, and ended up on accident with a divine take on macaroni and cheese involving orzo, sesame oil, tamari sauce, and bok choi.

And that was pretty much it. You'll notice that I didn't leave the house. (Laine and Gwen were both sent off to the shop for various bits and pieces as they became necessary. So I guess the title is bit of a misnomer...)

I had a visit from my sister. Adventure Part 3.

Heist. It's a pretty cool game. This last run we did sold out in 77minutes. People like it.  I was not at all sure that Laine would....

You take a team of 10 people, gather them up at a pub, and give them some sort of back ground about how a bunch of thugs have taken over an abandoned police station and how we need to get the (mumble) out straight away because of (mumble) which is why they'll only have 30 minutes and need to be super stealthy to get around the "guards." Then we give them maps, a bunch of radios with head sets, assorted other useful accouterments like wire cutters, gaffer tape, a nerf gun with one round of ammo, black beanie hats to look the part, coloured ties for identification and code name purposes, and express instructions not to cut the video camera wire because seriously it's a pain to fix. Don't do that. Then you give them 30 minutes to plan their attack before getting them to follow one of the "guards" to the station and letting havoc break loose from there.

Laine was kind enough to play a round for me so that she could understand what I'm always talking about. She made herself very useful in that she became the point person to relay lock codes through, but she also placed herself in the one spot the guards definitely wouldn't catch her. Clever and good at risk management, my sister. Also, silhouetted against a window which meant that I could see her the entire time, which was entertaining.

My role is to be the operations person for the team; meaning I give them their instructions, story, and equipment and then follow their progress and the guards' progress by listening to my radios from my secure spot outside the game boundaries. If the team needs some help, they've managed to get a box out to me, or the game is getting close to ending- I call that over the radio. Other than that I tend to listen in and chuckle at how completely their plans have blown up. (Because the plans always blow up. Always.) And cheer or jeer as necessary.

Laine hung out with me during my second and final round of the evening, so she got a good taste of how much fun listening to the radios is as well. At the end we helped the fire-hazard team tidy up a bit in preparation for Sunday's run and then went home where Laine Facebook introduced me to a bunch of her friends and then we passed out, exhausted.

Sunday's coming up next....

(ps. do you like my cliff hangers?)

I had a visit from my sister. Adventure Part 2. (Wherein I make excessive parenthetical remarks about cars)

Heathrow serves London. People in London don't really need to drive because public transport is so good. Therefore, getting picked up from Heathrow in a car is a luxurious, exotic treat. Or, at least, that's how Laine and I were thinking about it.

Nik and I were hanging out outside customs determining whether or not certain people coming out of the doors would react well to spontaneous, enthusiastic applause. Then Laine showed up! And that was exciting! I may have squealed. I really don't remember. I'm pretty sure I didn't applaud but you'd have to check with Laine and Nik to make sure. My SISTER was FINALLY here!!!

We tumbled into the car (remarking upon our fancy-pants car privilege...) (Not that you'd have any reason to know this, but there is a parking lot *right next* to Terminal 1, which meant that we had to walk for a total of about 2 minutes to get from the meeting place to the car.) (I'll get over this eventually, but it was really exciting.) (For me. Probably not that exciting for you.) (Sorry.)

Nik was very sweet and drove us while Laine and I chattered away about her most recent exciting driving experience. (I feel like the presidential motorcade is probably more exciting than a ride from Heathrow, but I'm working with what I've got here...) Chatter, chatter, chatter.

We eventually made it to my house where, thanks to the Gods of Parking, there was a spot immediately in front of my flat.

We tumbled everyone off into their respective beds and fell asleep. Then everyone slept and slept and slept, except me because I was excited again so I got up early and made cornmeal pancakes.

Our corner store is remarkably well stocked for a corner store. It's not magic like Meredith's corner store (which once had fresh cranberries out of season (in the UK!) right when I was seriously craving some orange-cranberry muffins), but it's pretty darn good anyway. Which is why we had cornmeal pancakes with real maple syrup.

I'm only telling you this to make you jealous.


We all had a nice morning together and that was lovely, though frustratingly cut short because I had to be in New Cross for that weekend's round of Heist with Fire-Hazard. So Laine and I waved goodbye to Nik as he set off back home and then set off for Adventure Part 3....

coming soon!

ps. Spell check is fun on these entries because Blogger doesn't like 'Laine,' 'Nik,' or 'Heathrow'

I had a visit from my sister. Adventure Part 1.

Laine was here last week, and we completely failed to take any photographs. So you're just going to have to trust me that it was *awesome* and we still look nothing like one another.

She showed up Friday night so I went up to visit Nik ahead of picking her up at Heathrow. Nik just got a car so he took me on an adventure to Windsor Great Park, which, ps., covers 1,000 acres. It is newly spring time here so the sun is going down tantalizingly later each day- the light was fading but we went for a stroll anyway. (These things are important! Strolls, that is.) We got to the sculpture Nik thought he was aiming for but it turned out to be a granite doughnut instead of a horse. It looked like the horse was on ahead so we kept walking, enjoying the breeze, the squelchy mud, and actually getting to see each other.

Remember how the light was fading? And how the park is, oh, I don't know, HUGE?

The funny thing about large swaths of parkland is that, particularly if you are not on a path or road, there aren't any street lights. Or, really, lights of any kind save the light pollution coming from nearby towns.

We got a little bit lost.

Laine is really quite lucky we made it to the airport...

(That's not true. We found out way out of the park fast enough that we were able to nip home, make Laine a cheese and pickle sandwich, go out to dinner, and then wait patiently outside of customs. What is true is that we had an adventure in the dark (the very dark) and felt lucky to have finally found the place we started from again.)

My shoes are still a little bit covered in mud. Exactly the way I like them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some Ideas From Children

I'm marking the kid's Religious Education books. Okay, so I probably should have done this...before. But I'm doing it now! So that's good.

At one point we were illustrating the metaphor of good= light and bad= dark. I've just got to a page where one of the children has drawn a giant warning sign that says "DANG" with exclamation point above it. I think it's adorable! (even though the next page makes it clear that what he was *trying* to write was "danger," which isn't nearly as funny as Dang!)

One child has suggested that on the sabbath Jewish people could go to the opera or go swimming. Those are his only two suggestions. I kind of love it. This same kid's explanation for why David fought Goliath was the reward of £10,000. (I don't remember that part of the story...?)

Possibly my new favourite: under Things I Wouldn't Do If My Parents Were Watching I found the suggestion that perhaps it would not be the best idea to smuggle a mummy from Egypt into the house under your folk's noses.

I heartily agree.

Also, "don't wobble with your silly faces." I mean, who could disagree with that?

And don't make the BT tower break. Very important to remember not to do that in front of your parents.