Tag Archives: travel

The Greatest Fool

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I felt a bit icky on Sunday. I was not ill per say but I definitely think I was fighting something. I had been feeling nauseated (I just looked it up and nauseous is when you make other people feel sick and so I do try to be grammatically correct since coherent is not always an option) from about Friday night onwards. And so when I woke up on Sunday, with those muscle locking cramps in my right calf, I decided my body was trying to tell me something.

It was trying to tell me to rest up and watch the final 6 episodes of “The Newsroom” while positioned firmly on my sofa. My body is very specific. I had been recommended this show by my mother, and indirectly my father too, who I was informed was a keen observer of the show on his weekend trips home. I had managed to sneak in the first 4 episodes over the past two weeks and was now well positioned to complete the first season. Horizontal in fact.

To say that this show is realistic might be pushing it. To say it has bundled me into its clutches and run away with me is the absolute truth.

As a summary and to get you all up to speed, Jeff Daniels plays Will McAvoy, an anchor for a fictional nightly news show. The season begins with him losing his composure and manners at a female student who has posed the question, “What makes the United States the greatest country in the world?” He proceeds to rant about how this country is in fact not the greatest, all the while seemingly hallucinating that he has seen Emily Mortimer in the audience.

McAvoy is allowed/instructed to take a break. To recover from his meltdown and allow the fickle US public to forget his misdemeanour so that ratings do not tank any further. On his return to the office he is greeted by his “boss” and friend whose role I didn’t quite grasp but he seems to be running the network on some level. He is a big shot, but a really nice guy with incredibly honorable morals to boot. And a bow tie, which is just too cute. McAvoy is informed that his Executive Producer has been shifted to the 10pm show and he will be getting a new EP. Hello Emily Mortimer. Hello McAvoy’s romantic past.

So now we are in the thick of it. McAvoy hates Mortimer (MacKenzie), but we all know he doesn’t really, and he is helpless to stop her rolling in with her band of journalists and her new vision to “fix” McAvoy and the news. McAvoy is a genius, we are told, despite losing his way with his greed for viewers and adoration. He has succumbed to the trash that is Justin Beiber, Kim Kardashian, anyone’s current and past weight change, anyone else’s relationships that last all but two minutes and the group of people who were not famous yesterday but suddenly find themselves so because of a Youtube clip that went “viral”. MacKenzie despises this culture. She wants to reform the news and she wants to set out new rules to achieve this. Rules where the world of Snooki/Kardashian go unreported and where global issues that affects mankind in a real way headline every night. Noble behaviour from the Brit. I for one want to be saved so let’s go.

The Newsroom is filled with a lot of gushy big statements about saving civilization as we know it and annoyingly wonderful love interests that just don’t quite get together even though everyone knows, including them, that it is inevitable. I managed to power through 6 hour long episodes of back to back Newsroom on Sunday and I was not even remotely pooped at the end of it. Although it was dark outside.

However, in hindsight I think watching 6 hour long episodes in one day is unhealthy. For one I am easily influenced by quick witted unrealistically intelligent repartee and two, I start to lose a grasp on my own reality as a result. For instance, on Monday morning I woke up thinking I worked in a newsroom and was an investigative reporter. I was so excited to go at the news and tackle the big stories that I nearly wandered over to Bryant Park to try to get in the offices (that don’t actually exist as it is Aaron Sorkin’s fiction).

It was very confusing to re-address my actual reality where I measure telomere length in double cord blood transplantation (we don’t talk about the “other” project).

Now it is Tuesday and I have slowly come down from my role as global educator and noble informer to the misguided masses. I certainly achieved a lot, in my dreams on Sunday night, and want to thank everyone who supported me and made this “World’s Greatest News Anchor/Investigative Journalist” award (fictional award) a reality. I want to thank my parents who taught me right from wrong. My sister who goes around saving the world on the front line and my teachers for versing me in the skills of thorough research and truth. I could not have got this far without every one of you. I hope to continue my role as Greatest Anchor ever known to man (or woman) for as long as you will have me, but a special mention must go out to my crew, because without them our show would just not be as award-winning as it clearly is. We just want to bring you the news people. The real life world news as it happens. And we will never rest until we do.

Thank you, and good night.

The Half

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In order to get back on exercise track after, you know, “the op”, I took myself and my jaw on a light jog around my island. I learned two things on this brief, red faced, slow-paced hurry.

1) My jaw seemed alright and in tact at the end of the short circuit and potentially would sustain near future exercise when I got my breath back and

2) I am rubbish at running.

So now that I am certainly back to full fitness I decided a couple or 3 months ago that running should be an aim of mine. Something I would do regularly to supplement  my game playing and gym bunny activities. So how come I have not even cantered to the shop since this vow!?

I think it is because my legs and I despise running. In fact I know that is what it is.

How then would I get my butt into gear and get out there on the roads? Like a really cool Nike ad. I probably needed to enter a half marathon. A convenient half marathon that would cost me enough that I wouldn’t back out but also would scare me sufficiently that I would pound the roads for weeks to ensure survival. Right, so as of last Thursday I am entered into a “not fun” half marathon, under the banner of “for proper runners”. Error. Now I have to run in my spare time but without the end reward of those more famous halfs. The ones where bands entertain you on the way round. The ones where at every other minute someone is offering you a digestive biscuit or some orange squash. The half marathons where Geordies line the streets giving quality banter and enthusiastic AND sincere encouragement. Where Northern legends blast music from their open windows to drag the many crowds through their individual pain.

Oh no wait that is probably just the Great North Run then.

Yep, I successfully clicked a few buttons online, provided my bank details and managed to get myself a spot in a proper run around the hilly Central Park course, which takes place in just over 3 weeks!

THREE WEEKS?! What? Why did I do that? I have run not a mile and in just over 3 weeks I will have to run 13.1 of them and mostly on a sort of agonising gradient. Good move Beth. Good move.

On Friday I began in earnest. Well I had to. Any dilly dallying on this score and I was in even more trouble than I already am. I managed a good 5.5 miles. Impressed? You certainly should be. I was. I even made myself a chocolate torte as a reward.

Now it is Sunday. And on Saturday I did not run. So Sunday sort of had to include a run at some point if I was to keep the momentum moving forward (literally). And guess what I did? I checked out where the tennis courts were relative to my apartment on Google directions and allowed it to plot me a course by foot. Yeah I ran there. I RAN to tennis. IN Brooklyn. Man I’m good. It was sunny too and I didn’t stop once. Oh no wait I did stop a couple of times actually. Just quickly though because my phone is not working very well and needed me to be stationary to skip a slow paced John Legend track. Luckily this next song came on just as my heart was beginning to lose interest:

So apt. Thanks Jackson. Really helpful. Thanks a bunch.

Jam Roly Poly and Custard

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After disappearing off the blogosphere for a while as I travelled about visiting Europe, watching my best friend get married and sunning myself on a lilo in the Mediterranean Sea, I am finally back. And with plenty to comment on.

First off, the BIG WEDDING. Congratulations to Becca and Davide on a master class in wedding days. Who would have thought that preparing ALL the food, flowers, literature, table dressings and general details of perfection would come so easy to my wonderful best friend from Northumberland. Well… we sort of all did, didn’t we.

There were cakes in abundance (see http://scarlettandthespottydog.blogspot.com/), which were prepared in advance. Homemade fudge that calls to me. Sleeping is no longer an option until I am reunited with a cube. And the most beautiful flowerful setting of Cambo in the heart of the Northumberland National Park. And no (directed at the Americans) that is not a made up place from Harry Potter’s dreams. And no it is not another name for Brigadoon. Cheeky monkeys.

This was one of those days where you have so many feelings (and only the good ones) that you think you might burst with happiness. The bride and director of events was truly resplendent in her dress and she absolutely set the bar (possibly as high as the pole vault and only accessed as such) for all future weddings, including my own.

Hmmm… might have to steal some of those ideas then…. I do so love a pork pie!

The Wedding Pork Pie (obviously)

Next up. Olympics. One word. Nicework! You can spot a Brit now from a mile off. That goofy pride grin. Go Danny Boyle. Go Mr Bean and huge congratulations for the 65 Medal wins (29 Gold) that put us into a magnificent 3rd place on the leaderboard! Bursting with pride over here for Team GB.

The European tour continues. Next stop Italy. Amalfi Coast to be exact. A break from science and from the bustling, sleep depriving Big Apple. We chose to swim around our airbed (around 3 times) for exercise (oh and climb Mount Vesuvius after a quick wander through the 2000 year old city of Pompeii). 31 deg Celsius and some leather sandals on my feet and I was happy as can be and chomping on those flavourful tomatoes that you can only find on the continent in the glorious sunshine.

Post Mount Vesuvius

And now I have returned stateside. Straight back into the swing of things both at work and in play. But today, one lone thought has been plaguing me. Not how to get through this experiment without another instrument crashing moments before I require it (although if that could be sorted more’s the better). And not how am I going to motivate my legs to endure again in that torture room that is known as “Spin class”.

It is simple, repetitive and overwhelming.

Where can I get my hands on some REAL Jam Roly Poly and Custard? It has come to my attention that I have not seen a Jam Roly Poly at all in my almost constant sugar search in the US, and for some reason today it has become apparent that this cannot and will not continue. Jam Roly Poly (squidgy in nature and creamy in custard) speak up. Let me hear you call me to your side so I can devour you without thought or care to my health. Please.

A final thought

Daily Commute by Sister Architect

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At 8.58am I leave my house in the sewing school and head down the road to my office at SAFE (as part of an Engineers Without Borders project). A two minute commute to work is quite a first… If I have had a sugary tea with fresh cows milk, I can do it in under one minute!

Keep up the good work sister. If anyone wants to get involved please contact Jo through her website. Or simply follow her along her journey. In between cactus harvesting, bamboo building and brick forming she is actively looking for funding to carry on all the great work she plans to do out there.

Because if anyone needs flood and wind proof housing I think Bangladesh deserves that attention!

Long hours at work =

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Blog time! I know. Lucky you right!? Well I have a deadline on Friday. Hundreds of samples processed in triplicate need to be finished by the weekend and fully analysed. I am a little overwhelmed and so no adventures for me this week. Sort of. I am such a mysterious cheeky charlie am I not?

As my acrylamide gel runs steadily along I am reminded that my first trip back to the orthodontist on Monday is causing me more grief than face smashing ever did. In fact, Dr Orthodontist was so kind as to remove the surgical braces (=ugly) and replace them with the lovely, discreet white wire that I have grown to “love”. Nevertheless, she was a bit of a tease. In exchange for relieving me of the obvious metallic wiring in my mouth she put in place some unsightly elastic bands. Now I look like Fang. Rubbish.

Well one shouldn’t complain. Practicing all the talking is clearly going to go to waste now. My mouth tied back together and my teeth raw nervy prongs, I am back to the softest of soft food. A little step back from the impending modelling career (of toothpaste). But I am hopeful. As always, I hope you’ll agree. Of course, I can still afford posh deli goodness from Upper East Side establishments. Small blessings. Truly, I have soup coming out of my ears. Snazzy, luxurious soup that is. I drink chocolate milk as if my life depended upon it. Anyone see Men in Black 3? Will Smith and I have plenty in common and chocolate milk is one of them. Big arms is another. Only difference there is that we both prefer to see them on Big Willie Style.

This experiment is truly like watching paint dry. But luckily I have Gawker and despite not having HBO I really feel connected to that “Girls” show now. Not sure it is what Lena Dunham would have wanted as my only experience of her show is through the eyes of Hamilton Nolan . He does amuse me though, with his little rants about rich white girls and their connections in the biz of show.

Had a little trying on splurge in Bloomingdales. Second from the left is my current desire. Will just have to save up those cents then!

In other news my new obsession with nail polish is becoming troublesome. I am so intoxicated by my own finger nails I keep changing up the colour. The resulting mixtures are less than sublime. But these minor issues in the field of life are just some of the Wednesday thoughts I can/am choosing to share with you.

Who said blogging was trivial!?

What is the best thing about Wednesday morning on the UES?

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The dancing traffic warden of course.

After a failed attempt at a sneaky iPhone video shoot, I will have to resort to good old wordsmithery to describe to you the joy that is the “dancing traffic warden” on 63rd street (between 1st and York Av).

As she ushers the cars onto some big road that sweeps alongside the East River that bum gets a wiggling. Oh yes, that sizeable bot-tom shakes its funky self to the imaginary music that lives inside her body. In fact, the hand-waving not only indicates when cars should power through and when they should halt, it also offers a boogi-licious alternative to the morning commute for drivers and pedestrians alike. Furthermore, from a stupor of half asleep plodding she generates upright smiling and purposeful walking humans, and doubtless even some finger tapping on the steering wheels of those Big Apple drivers.

EVERYONE livens up at this junction.

I actually felt like I had a soundtrack to my journey and if I could guess what song she was shaking to. I would guess the following:

Bill Withers is genius. You are wide awake now too I hope!

What I can and cannot do two weeks out

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I thought since I have non-trivial pain in my face today (symptom of trying to wean myself off codeine) I would indulge in a few moments of blogging to lighten the mood.

So I am 2 weeks out today. I no longer have elastic bands holding my jaws together. They were removed 3 weeks prematurely with the proviso that I DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES CHEW! I promptly indicated to the surgeon that despite having food envy on an almost constant basis, the mere consideration of chewing made me feel ill and so he had my word that no solids would pass my excellent botox-imitating lips (the bonus of swelling).

I have no real insight today however. No philosophical musings on health, life or family (although I am missing my primary care givers- mother and sister Jo since their departure on Sunday), and no extensive adventures in recent days apart from a delightful trip to the New York City Ballet. But I am more concerned with my face presently having a constant reminder of its presence with a putting ache that sometimes puts a little too vigorously and makes me feel like I should reacquaint myself with the opiates!?!

So how to make this blog remotely amusing/worth reading? I think a picture or two would hold your attention briefly don’t you think? And to make things easier I will list in a pictorial manner what I am currently denied in my present state and then to cheer myself up I will conclude with a list of annotated images that I CAN enjoy and will continue to do so until my mouth is fully restored to its former glory.

I CANNOT:

box with my fellow New Yorkers – sad face

Crusty bread. This is a dilemma. Bread and cheese for that matter are a current craving. EEK

Spotted Pig better watch out when I am released back into the culinary sphere. In fact burgers globally. Beware.

Chocolate cake and sponges of all varieties. I am coming, slowly. But I assure you I am on my way!

I CAN:

I can eat this but I don’t want to (not a great example. I don’t feel cheered)

After my dalliances with soups aplenty I have come to the conclusion that tomato is my top favourite of all time. Go Cream of Tomato. Although shout out to broccoli and stilton, lentil and sausage, leek and potato and spicy black bean.

PANNA COTTA I love you. Yes this is going to be my treat when the food envy washes over me. Panna cotta. You cheeky, squishy dessert. Bravo.

So my mouth is watering now and panna cotta is nowhere to be seen. I think I will go hunt some down (no mean feat I assure you. It is quite a specific foodstuff)

Swelling under control, mouth opening sufficiently to fill it, painkillers on their way out and creative food ideas keeping me amused. This was not the drama I had expected.

Guess I will just have to drum up drama in some other manner.