I moved hosting provider and didn’t do a very thorough job of preparing myself before turning off the old account, so all the links and the pictures are currently broken. I will attempt to fix them starting with the newest ones first, but not sure how far I’ll get!
I showed the boy a recording of the 10 minute sequence in David Attenborough’s recent film, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life, as I thought it was a great way of showing a kid the basics of evolution. It’s available here for all to see. He was tired after a long day but still watched attentively.
At breakfast this morning with his little sister, I overheard the following snippets of conversation as I walked in & out of the kitchen:
Him: “It started in the water, and some creatures came out to live on the land….some of them became reptiles…..after that [the event that wiped out the dinosaurs] the only ones that surviced were ones that could fly. And they became birds!….did you know there are 75,000 species of insects, alone?”
Thanks, Mr Attenborough. There will be no images of Adam & Eve riding around on dinosaurs in our house!
So having waited 12+ years as a disenfranchised taxpayer, then having left the country clutching my new passport I voted in this election. I think. In fact I think I voted twice.
I sent in a write-in ballot via the Democrats Abroad website – by scrawling Obama/Biden’s names on the thing, which seemed a little odd – which then registered me to vote in New York, and then I got one of these with which to vote for a second time:
It all struck me as a bit like Chicago under Mayor Richard Daley Snr, who was fond of saying “vote early, vote often.” I’m proud to say I did both.
Let’s hope it and all the others count for something. I mean, it’s not as if anything couldgowrong with the voting procedure tonight, is it?
The little one was on the computer at the weekend and saw a picture of Obama and exclaimed, “Oh, Obama baby, I hope he wins!” Not that she’s a policy wonk at 4 years old; she just became a fan of this video earlier this year:
As part of this culinary journey, we took a trip to the only Whole Foods store in London the other day, thinking it might serve some American stuff that we wanted to try and get (although there’s very little you can’t get in London supermarkets and I’m not looking to bulk up on Velveeta any time soon). However it became apparent quickly that in order to differentiate itself from the other British supermarkets, Whole Foods London was thoroughly hardcore organic (with prices to match their Kensington location), and as all the supermarkets here are at least softcore organic and some approaching hardcore, that’s a touch way to differentiate.
We’ve been in London now just over a month, and what a month.
I won’t claim it’s been easy. Having to set up your life – all those bills, accounts things to sign etc all the while trying to maintain normal working lives is far from easy. And just when we thought we’d gotten on top of things, the bulk of our worldly possessions arrived at the end of last week. Almost 200 boxes & packages of various shapes & sizes that now have to be put somewhere. Sally excels at handling things like this and I don’t. I had to leave her to it and go play with the kids for a bit, which was my way of coping, of not a particularly helpful one! Some people like the challenge of organizing vast quantities of unorganized mess and some people don’t. Hundred-year old British houses weren’t built with the closet space you came to expect in post-war NYC apartments. And boy do you accumulate a lot of stuff in those closets!
There are more than a few upsides of living here though. The parks we knew about and love, but also the quality of the food in the supermarkets. That’s just as well as we are not spoiled for choice on the takeaway front though, as we were in NYC. That probably sounds like a ‘duh, you’re not kidding’ kind of remark. But we had gotten used to having cuisines from around the world within a few blocks of our apartment and now it’s Indian or Pizza, mainly. Extremely good Indian and reasonable pizza (though not up to NYC standards). But that’s about it thus far. So we have to get back to cooking, and now everything we cooked with has turned up, we can.
As part of this culinary journey, we took a trip to the only Whole Foods store in London the other day, thinking it might serve some American stuff that we wanted to try and get (although there’s very little you can’t get in London supermarkets and I’m not looking to bulk up on Velveeta any time soon). However it became apparent quickly that in order to differentiate itself from the other British supermarkets, Whole Foods London was thoroughly hardcore organic (with prices to match their Kensington location), and as all the supermarkets here are at least softcore organic and some approaching hardcore, that’s a touch way to differentiate. We left with not very much and me muttering about how they can survive in a down economy with the competition they face and the dollar/pound ratio now moving slowly in the wrong direction for them. Oh well. No Mac ‘n’ Cheese in a box, is basically the extent of our food shortages; hardly something to worry about.
We haven’t had a vacation this summer at all. Last week was a ‘staycation‘ for me if you like. But it wasn’t a break from anything much, unless you count a trip on your own with two young kids to the Natural History Museum and a few rounds on the local pitch ‘n’ putt a vacation! That will come in October.
So we landed, got met by a suitably reactionary car driver who immediately handed me a copy of the Mail on Sunday (‘welcome to Britain, did you know our Post Offices are being closed by knife wielding maniacs protesting the cost of petrol?” or something like that), spent a few nights at Nanny and Grandads’ before moving in minus most of our furniture, which is languishing in the port in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Our most used expression (apart from “don’t think of the amount in dollars, just think in pounds”) has been “on the boat,”, as in:
“Where are all of our plates, cups and glasses? On the boat.”
“What about the kids lunch boxes? On the boat”
“And my solitary golf club? On the boat.”
You get the idea.
Still, we’re here, our phones & internet are up and running, even if our TV is somewhat scratchy – who knew the aerial was struck by lightning about two months ago? We certainly didn’t!
But being able to nip up to a wonderful park after work to play a quick game of cricket with your son, not to mention having a 9-hole pitch & putt right near by (and a super-fast DSL connection!) makes the other niggles you inevitably come across when disconnecting your life on one side of the Atlantic and re-connecting it on the other, all worthwhile.
I passed my naturalization test today (on the eve of the 12th anniversary of my arrival on these fair shores). That’s the one where you answer ‘no’ to a bunch of questions – such as whether or not you have ever advocated overthrowing a government, or whether you have ever lied to a government official, or done some of the things that our erstwhile governor was so fond of doing (and some other colorful ones, but this is a family blog), and ‘yes’ to a bunch of others, such as whether or not you are willing to bear arms on behalf of the US.
This was after a 3hr 10 min wait past the appointment time. But 15 mins later it was done. Or almost – their computer system had crashed, so it’s not quite officially done yet, but will be soon.
So, I can now join the US military – where do I sign up and what happens when I do? Oh. Better take the Bush/Cheney option with that one.
By taking this course. I’m not sure if this job title-inflation is as prevalent in the UK as it is here, but when I first got here, I couldn’t believe that you could have mattress professionals, let alone sandwich artists (and from that link, I see it has made it to the UK).
I wonder what letters you would have after your name if you got that degree – B.Ed?
As most of you probably know by now, we’re moving to London in the summer.
Hmm, let’s see what do we have to do between now and then?
Our jobs, including traveling to London (both of us), the west coast, Boston and probably somewhere else…renovate the next door apartment….find schools for both of them….find somewhere to live…..sell an apartment in Manhattan…and move.
It’s amazing what you can do when you have a deadline.