28 January 2006

Jillian's Day of Domesticity

Jillian making cinnamon rolls for us this morning after a late night out - yum!


Woo-hoo! That's four times in the past week - a new record for myself maybe. I even dragged both Mark and Matt out and they are both sore for it :) But Mark on Wednesday kicked my but - we were out for over an hour, ran to the top of Primrose hill where you can look out on top of the city... it was awesome although at some points I was questioning my ability to make it. And Matt and I found all these cool new ways running by the canal. Matt even took pictures of Mark and I stretching - ha!

25 January 2006

New Year's Weekend in San Francisco

New Year's Eve - Ali, Me, Anna and Kathy

Andrew and I - NYE Eve

Kappa Ladies Reunite in SF
Kristen and Brandon- our brilliant NYE hosts
The Morning After NYE in Anna's Bed

Fabulous Foursome the Night Before
Dinner Party - New Year's Day
Chillin' in Our Hoodies

Pre-brunch on NY Day - in Flip-Flops!

Only on NY Day Does One Re-create Abbey Road*

*I promise! Hey Kathy - we are funny! And Anna - thanks for sending out all the pics! Can't wait for our European adventures...

24 January 2006

Catching My Breath

Home - and with the internet at last. I apologize for being so MIA the past few weeks and since I have come back to London.

FIRST - I had to get back and get over my jet lag which took decidedly more days than I wanted OR expected.

THEN - I had to churn out essays like it was my job - it was rough - but I finally got them in and am hoping that it was at least for the most part successful.

THIRD - I had to try and sleep to catch up with myself and my time zone...

LASTLY - I had to resume my social life which of course was the most fun endeavor of it all. Here are the details (cause I know the rest would bore you.... what if I wrote a WHOLE blog-post about my essays?! That's what I thought...):

So as soon as I got back I had a mini-session with my flat-mates which consisted of me getting toasty after just two pints - way to go jet lag - and sleeping for about 16 hours! Then post-essay and non-drinking week, Matt, Jill, and I went to Belgo's for moles, frittes bierere. Tuesday night was a bit crazier - after class all day (yes, which you will be proud Mark and I got up early to do the reading for over breakfast and lots of coffee)... we went to the pub with a bunch of ISA (Institute for the Study of the Americas - my school) students, came back for dinner thanks to Jilli, then out to the Camden pubs. At some point in the night Matt, Mark and I did a three-person piggy-back (don't ask me how) and made lots of friends on another one of our famous self-guided pub crawls.

Needless to say I spent last Wednesday reading, running around Camden (still trying to learn all the crazy side-streets) and sleeping. Thursday was another pub afternoon with fellow grad students... full of political jousting, debating, intellectual trivia and the like. A bit cliche but good nonetheless. Thursday night was spent in East London and Jack and I went to my favorite Indian food in London near Brick Lane - SO good.

Friday night was our long-awaited flat-warming party.... so after a long breakfast, a run in Regent's Park and a nap... the day was spent scrubbing our shower, kitchen floors, oven and the like. Our flat is brand-new but still - wants you start cleaning.... Then true to my Cancer nature and my years doing event-planning, I went all out with a spread of 8 different cheeses, crackers, devilled eggs, veggies and dip, fruit, chips and salsa, home-made brownies (baked from a box mix - does that still count?!) and the like while my flat-mates prepared the mixed drinks, etc. Matt and I created quite the party playlist... complete with everything to Michael Jackson to the Beach Boys, Paperboy to Kanye Brittany to Shakira, Bon Jovi (yeah Jersey shore pride!) - and just for Gretchen - Journey.

The party was great - tons of great folks ranging in nationalities, languages and who invited them (like the friends of friends of the Australian guys that live below us). Lots of living room dancing, demolishing of the food and eventually the drinks, flirting, laughing, singing and flat-warming presents. The last one to bed at 5:15am... Matt treated all 8 of us who slept here to breakfast in the am complete with mimosas. 'Cause as the Placer girls tennis team's motto goes: go big or go home.

Saturday I was off to the Tate for the afternoon, walked along the southbank for quite some time still singing "London Calling" by The Clash - or particularly the line "I live by the river!" After the Tate, my friend and I went out for a few drinks on the water as it was an amazingly clear night with little wind and we sat facing the city - it was tremendous and made me fall in love with London all over again.

Speaking of the river... there was a 30 ft. whale in the Thames last week! Crazy!

There was also this great new exhibit by Oxfam that is called 'After The Wave' and is all about remembering the Tsunami. There were some absolutely chilling photos and I was extremely impressed and confounded (once again) my support in non-profits....

Later Saturday night I headed out to Fulham for Miles' birthday party with Kasia. Seeing as it was quite late once we finished and the tube was closed (and Kasia had since gone home) - I headed back for the after-party birthday cake. Sunday we went out for a full English breakfast and I fell in love with the place if only because the coffee was included AND they had veggie sausage... I was lovin' it.

Jillian made dinner for Kasia, Matt and I Sunday night and we spent the evening debating world colonizing history - luckily Mark was gone and didn't have to hear it! No wonder he told me that my greatest flaw was that sometimes I can be an intellectual snob - damn.

Went for another run yesterday in the park and almost lost my keys but luckily was able to retrace my steps and find them... I didn't think anyone else would have a rape whistle, a red laser, and a red/white/blue donkey keychain with just one key.... but I guess you never know....

Made dinner for Matt and Jillian last night (with left-overs for lunch today), went to the store, read, etc. I also promised Matt that I would get up with him at 5am to watch the Canadian election results - I really am a politico dork - but hated having to watch the 2005 Election Returns by myself in my dorm-room and constantly IM'ing Stephen, Shayna and the Corzine crew for the latest word.

So alas - Matt woke me up at 5am and we sat in our pajamas, drinking coffee, eating oatmeal (porridge UK-side) and watching as the conservatives take-over yet another Anglo-phone country. The good news is that they are only governing with a minority and will not be able to get crazy legislation through and will have to reach out to the other parties (especially the liberals). The bad news is that it signifies a conservative shift in Canada - and after looking at some of the candidates profiles - some of them are just as deeply rooted in their anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-welfare traditions as in the U.S.

Today was class - and then class - and then errands all day before meeting Elisa to catch up. Now back at the house and finally with internet access - that is what this week is all about - catching up with my life. The past two weeks have swung from one extreme to the other and I am super excited about leading a semi-constant life with intervals of craziness just to keep it exciting... Plus, my presentations start next week!

12 January 2006

Essays - Round Two

Back in London and happy to be - though I'm stuck indoors for at least the next 5 days finishing writing essays, dissertation proposals and demographic analysis... anyone jealous? After eventually getting over my jet lag, re-connecting with my flatmates, doing laundry and going to this week's intro classes... I still have quite a bit of work to do.

The good news is that my courses for this next term sound great, especially my class on the neo-conservatives. Alright - I'm off for the next week or so - wish me luck!

06 January 2006

Old School Family Pics

It's amazing what you can find when you start
digging in the general "family pictures folder!"

Papa and my mom - so '70s! I love it!

Kristin, me and my grandparents (note: early love of Diet Pepsi!)

Kristin and our cousins, Kyle and Kerry, and I
(umm - children of the '80s for sure!)

Sun Worshipper

That's me... I just had an amazing afternoon. I had to go on a few errands - driving around with the windows down - picked up some dried fruit for the plane ride tomorrow at Ikeda's (ran into some people I knew - of course), went to the bank, my mom's accountant, etc. Had the brilliant idea to pick up lunch at the Burrito Shop - a little hole in the wall near where I used to work.

Then I came home and decided to sit outside it was so beautiful. There I was - with my big-ass burrito, array of salsas, a diet coke... rolled-up my jeans, stripped down to a tank-top, with sunglasses and barefeet absolutely loving it. I doubt I got any color but my skin felt so good drenched in sun!

I proceeded to eat the whole burrito (not sure how - some sort of super-human feat I guess) and did research outside for a few hours. Eventually I was chilly enough to be convinced to come inside.

Who knew January could be so beautiful? I swear - I've only been out of California for about 18 months and I think I burried all this deep inside my brain so that I could survive East Coast and now England winters....

What is the saying? 'You can take the girl out of California - but not California out of the girl?!'

"California's Been Good To Me...

...Hope it doesn't fall into the sea" - Tom Petty

So I'm super bummed that I have to leave California in about 36 hours. I'm looking forward to living in London for at least the next 9 months... but still bummed to leave!

It was 66 this evening in Auburn as I headed to the gym. I have been wearing flip-flops pretty consistently since I got here - even when most of the state was a few feet underwater and most major waterways were flooding. Was able to meet my goal of working out 10 times while I was home (including swimming!) and got to 4 Abs and back classes. Made many a spinach salad, ate a month's worth of Mexican food (guacamole, guacamole!), drank yummy soy lattes from Java Junction and Peet's in SF, shopped a lot (the dollar is so much better when you are actualy here instead of trying to exchange it for the pound - do'h!) and was able to spend some quality time with the family and friends.

Additional highlights of the break were:
*Sacramento Kings game with my dad and sisters (despite a depressing loss)
*Christmas with my mom, sisters and grandparents
*Our first Christmas with our new step-mom, step-sister and step-brother
*New Year's and about 5 days in SF with some of my favorite girls from UCSD (Anna, Kathy, Boot and Kendra - I ADORE you guys!)
*Chillin with Zack, Andrew, Rachel, David, Sarah, Andrew, Eric, Lindsey and some of my other favorite people that make it SO great to come home
*Sleeping (in and just a lot in general)
*Chillin' with Kris and Kath - damn it's trouble when you have the famous Lee sisters in town!

I had an absolute ball in San Francisco and for the first time in my life really am considering moving there in the next - oh I don't know - 5 to 10 years (unless I am working for the next Democratic administration in the White House... then I might have to push it back - ha!) Jack - your SF Guardian is on the way... (ps - he's British - insert tongue-sticking out smiley face HERE!)

Still working on my essays and trying to stay focused... though I have found it's hard to focus when everyone is in town, on vacation and wants your attention - especially cause all I want to do is hang out. I mean - Pistol Pete's is SO tempting! It's this amazing local bar that plays all the ACDC, Lynyrd Skynyrd and country you could want. Last week it was basically a high school reunion and it was Kareoke night - I mean -who can beat that?!

I think overall too I have just been kinda reveling in my own culture shock - lovin' the things I left here and just having a blast embracing them. My friends just about die when I tell them that I have a new-found love for country and I have been singin' "Mud On The Tires" by Brad Paisley for about two weeks (aww yeah Kris).

I have also taken up a new knack for jokes - especially bad ones - as I displayed when I initiated (and then won) a 'bad joke contest' on the cab ride home the other night. Even worse - Dario had to sit through them through dinner... he was laughing I could tell - though more at me then at the jokes... ah well. Kendra and Kathy's humor had been wearing off on me I guess... my favorite?

If you are American when you walk in the bathroom and American when you walk out of the bathroom.... what are you while you are in the bathroom?


All right...on that delirious note I leave all y'all to get back to my essays...

03 January 2006

A Few Pics from Dublin

Me, Matt and Caitlin at the Sky Bar at the Guinness Factory which overlooks Dublin.

Catlin and me at one of the stops on our self-guided pub crawl of Dublin.

Matt and I met Caitlin on our way to the Guinness Storehouse; ended up we were staying at the same hostel and so we all went out that night to tour around the city.

More pictures to come!

02 January 2006

In SF and Lovin' It

I miss this city!

This will be super quick because I am at my friend Anna's place in Russian Hill and we are about to run out to go boutique shopping....

Let's just say that New Year's and hanging out with my girls has been fabulous - Happy New Year folks!