Monday, December 6, 2010

A Cold December

I cannot believe its already December! Where does the time go? 
It has been really cold the last week or so here. Of course everyone keeps telling me I should be used to the cold being from the Boston area...I lived for 28 years in Massachusetts and I was never used to the cold. Not to mention when I was in MA, I was in a car pretty much any time I was out in the cold. Here I walk everywhere.  Its chilly! 

It snowed last week, it was pretty but London doesn't know how to cope with the snow.  Its pretty funny actually. There was hardly anyone in work b/c the trains were not running in the great London area. For a city that is known to have crap weather, you would think they would be prepared for this stuff...nope!

On another note...living in London has allowed me to be able to see a lot of excellent theatre. I have seen more shows in the (almost) 5 months of living here than I did the three years I lived in New York.  If I can remember them all, I have seen Comedy of Errors, Henry IV part 1&2, Hamlet, Men Should Weep, Les Miserables, Into the Woods, Fuente Ovejuna, Twelfth Night, Copacabana, Design for Living and Birdsong.  It truly makes me appreciate all the hard work these actors put into their shows, but it makes me miss doing shows.  Right now I am still trying to get on my feet and find some real financial stability, but I am not giving up on my acting.  There is really nothing like being on stage.  I dream of being on stage in London, I honestly think that London theatre surpasses New York theatre by leaps and bounds. 

Oh and I mentioned that I would tell you about my job.  Technically I am still temping but I am working as a receptionist at a business centre.  Its 4 buildings where we have offices that people rent and meeting rooms. I answer the phones for a number of internal and external clients who have their businesses directed here.  Its certainly interesting b/c I have to know about 100 different companies and direct calls via a computer switchboard. However, the work can still  be pretty mundane...especially on slow days as all I really do is answer phones and surf the internet.  But in this economy, its a job!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ThanksGiving

Its Thanksgiving, in case you didn't already know, and although I am not sitting down with my family watching obscene amounts of football and eating even more obscene amounts of food, I still want to give thanks for all things I am thankful for. 

First and foremost I am thankful for my family. My mother is the most amazing person I know. She not only loves me unconditionally but she also supports me and hears me out on all the crazy ideas I have.  She listens to me talk for 2 hours straight and never acts like she is bored (even if she is.) She is a saint in my eyes and someone who I could never live without.  My sister Deirdre, she is my best friend and my worst enemy (only because we are so much alike.) She is my toughest on me only because she knows I can take it and she is only being tough because she wants me to be. She supports me in all my crazy decision making and although she will always give me her opinion, she knows that its my life and these are my decisons. She is my number 1 fan even though I drive her nuts.  My brother Eric, he is the best guy I know.  We may not always be in contact but I know that the moment I need him he will be there. He has always been the best brother in the world.  He may also be the most annoying brother in the world but its solely because he knows how to annoy me best.  My 3 nephews, Seamus...he is my 1st nephew and will always have a special place in my heart b/c of that. Seamus is EXACTLY like my brother and know exactly how to annoy me...however I am bigger than him and know just how to hand him.  Its almost like someone was smiling down on me when Seamus was born b/c since I was the youngest I suffered all the torture from my brother and now I get to do it all to Seamus :)  At only 7 years old he is almost as tall as me and much smarter than me.  And recently I just found out he likes to add dramatic effects to things...a boy after my own heart.  Braden, he is my buddy.  I feel like I practically raised Braden. I was with him almost every day for the first 3 and a half years of his life.  He can be an absolute brat (as any almost 7 year old can be) but he can also be such a wonderful kid.  He is so talented and skilled at so many sports...he cried because he didnt want to participate in a karate tournament and after a lot of persuasion he walked away from his division in first place and with a trophy almost as big as him.  Every day he impresses me and surprises me. And Cameron, my mini-me.  My sister's youngest is my child.  Not only did he look exactly like me as a baby but he also has my attitude.  He makes me laugh like noone else.  He took over my nickname of The Demon at a very early age and is living up to it wholeheartedly.  Cameron has a soft spot in my heart because he is the baby and can get left out of things. I knew that feeling all too well and will fight for this little guy because of it, although he can definitely hold his own.  I love these 3 children unlike anyone else in my life...no offense :) They are special boys who will always love me no matter what.  I also cant leave out my sister in law Nikkii and my brother in law Jim...though they are not blood they certainly are family. They are people who have made a huge impact on my life. Lastly, I am thankful for my dad. Although he is not here on this earth anymore it does not mean I am not thankful for him.  He has given my so much and has taught me so much.  I certainly wouldnt be here today without him.  He was the best dad a girl could as for. 

I am also very thankful for my friends.  I have to say, I have some of the most amazingly supportive friends and I couldnt be luckier.  For fear of leaving anyone out I dont want to go down the list of names...But over the years I have managed to make friends with some wonderful people. Some are friends who I have known since the age of 16 and have seen me at my best and at my worst. They have become more like family than friends because of all we have been through. Some of friends I met at the age of 18 completely at random because some computer automatically placed us in a dorm together or because we did a show or had a class together.  Some are friends I met in my 20's whether I met them at work or through friends or in a class.  Some are friends who I met when I moved to New York who were there for me at a time in my life where I experienced a huge amount of change after moving away from all that was old and familiar to something that was new and exciting but also scary.  And now some are new friends who I met here in London, people who have taken a chance on a small girl from "The Big Apple." 

All of these people have helped mold me into who I am today and without you all I wouldnt be here.  You all are my lifeline, my loves, my family.  For that I cannot tell you how thankful I am that each and every person I know is in my life. Today, and everyday I am thankful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

T is for Thankful

This upcoming Thursday is Thanksgiving and it will be the 1st Thanksgiving in my 32 years where I will not be with any of my family members. For that matter I wont be celebrating Thanksgiving at all...Im not going to lie, that makes me sad.  I know, I know, I live in a country where they don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. How can you not love a day where you sit and watch the Macy's Parade, hangout with your family, stuff yourself silly with some of the most delicious foods ever, take a nap and then eat again?  This Thanksgiving I will be sitting in the back office of my work (oh yeah, I got a job...I'll write about that another day) answering phones and probably watching television on BBC iplayer.

Now I am aware of this sounding like a pity party but it's a little weird for me.  If you know me, you will know that I am quite attached to my family...which may seem a little weird for me to say considering I moved 3300 miles away from them.  But it's weird b/c this is the longest Ive gone without seeing them...sort of.  My mom lived in Florida from 2000-2007 and I would probably see her 2 times a year but I spoke to her pretty much on a daily basis. But now that she has moved back to New England I would see her every other month or so.  I guess when it comes down to it, it's really the longest amount of time Ive spend away from my sister. (Hi Sissy!)  Its put me in a bit of a melancholy mood b/c I wont be home this year for Thanksgiving. Im sure people may be thinking Im acting a bit of a baby b/c of it, but my family and the holidays are important to me, especially since I'm the only one not married.  I depend on them to "take me in" on the holidays b/c if they don't Im spending them alone.

Ok, now I am really turning this into a pity party and I dont mean to. I guess what I am really just trying to get across is that I am bummed out that I wont be celebrating my favorite holiday and Im jealous of all those who get to. So as you cut into your turkey this Thursday have an extra slice of meat covered in gravy for me...and while your at it, can you add a bit of cranberry sauce, stuffing butternut squash and yams to that plate as well? Oh and dont forget about the pumpkin pie too! Thanks ;)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Toaster Madness

Last week was Tom's birthday and we went to his family house in the English countryside for his birthday dinner.  One of the gifts he received was a bright shiny new toaster. Once we got back to London we immediately made a clean new home for it and started toasting away.  Here are 2 videos from the experience we had. I hope you enjoy our silliness!






And just for good measure here is another ridiculous video we made that night.



Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby You're a Firework

Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5 November 1605 and failed. To celebrate his failed attempt every year his effigy is burned on a bonfire usually accompanied by a fireworks display. Tom excitedly told me about Bonfire Night quite possibly in the first few days of me living in London so we decided to celebrate.  On 6 November we invited some friends to the flat for mulled cider and LOTS of cupcakes and then went across to Battersea Park for one of the best fireworks displays I have ever seen.

Before I tell you about the party and the fireworks I need to tell you about the preparation for the party.  Tom and I drove to ASDA (a supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart) as we figured that it would be our best bet for all our party needs.  Let me tell you, ASDA in Clapham Juntion is not the place to be on a Saturday afternoon...is any super store really where you want to be on a Saturday afternoon? We gathered all the supplies we needed there, then hit Whole Foods for some pumpkin puree (for some yummy pumpkin cupcakes and a soon to be cooked pumpkin pie!) and went to the party store for decorations.  Once returning back to the flat (with a million bags in hand) we began baking. I have to hand it to Tom, the boy mixed every little bit by hand!  We had quite the system going on, I measure the ingredients as well as read the directions and he mixed, poured and put in the oven, once of of the oven I put on the icing. We made chocolate cupcakes, pumpkin cupcakes and brownies.  At one point Tom said, as he was cleaning up powdered icing sugar, that he felt like the police were coming up in the lift to bust us for a drug ring we were running.  We managed to get everything sorted and decorated before the first guests arrived. Luckily enough, the first guests to arrive were my friends b/c I was still in my robe and sweat pants due to rushing to get everything ready ontime :)

Now it was party time, we had all guests accounted for, the cider was flowing and the food was being eaten. it was time to head to Battersea Park!  It cost £6 to get into the fireworks which struck me a little odd at first as any fireworks I have gone to are usually free.  Well, when I saw the display I understood why they chared for entry, the display was spectacular!  It was all choreographed to music and reminded me of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas in that aspect and it lasted for about 15 minutes. At one point I think I was literally standing there with my mouth wide open in awe. Everyone was singing and dancing to the music and truly enjoying the show.  I couldnt tell you how disappointed I was when it ended as I could have sat there for hours watching it.  Later, after the fireworks, a group of us walked back to our flat for more cider and cupcakes...I can't think of a better way to end the night, with good company and good food!

"Boom boom boom, even brighter than the moon, moon, moon"
Caroline and me pre-fireworks
Ina and me as some rockets are "red glaring"
Our group enjoying some sparklers
The Host and Hostess with the Most and Mostest

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Run Forrest Run

I have to say, I have been the worst at blogging lately. However I am going to try my damnest this month to make up for October's lack of posting.  But in true Jean fashion of being up to date on things,  I am going to write about something that happened in October...I ran a 5K, an no, I was not being chased!  Well that's actually a lie b/c Tom was chasing me for a short period during my run.  About 2 months ago I signed up to run this 5K called The Halloween Howler.  It was a "Fun Run" taking place in Battersea Park, but if you ask me, there is nothing "fun" about running. I claim I signed up for it a moment of hysteria when I was stressed on my first day at a temp job. The thought I had in my head after I calmed down was that I could always not do it.  It was about a month before the run and I thought that was a good amount of time to train, but I was tired from temping and then I had a friend visit and time escaped me. Two weeks before the run was the first time I put in my sneakers trainers and hit the pavement.  I made it about half way around the 1st loop (in the run we had to run 2 loops in the park) and walked the remainder of the loop. I was proud of myself for even getting that far. I am the girl who in all the years of school we had to run the dreaded mile, I would either fake an asthma attack, (I dont have asthma) lie and say I was 1 lap ahead of where I really was, or not dress for class that day and then when I was supposed to make it up say I already did it.  I ran every day for a week in training for this 5K, took Sunday off and then started again on Monday.  I ran 2 days the 2nd week and began to tell myself I wasn't going to do it.  Well, Tom was not having my excuses AT ALL and kept telling me that I was not going to quit. Even up until the night before the event I was still saying that I wasnt going to do it, but I dont like to be a quitter so I did what my father would tell me to do..."suck it up and deal."

So there I was at 6:30pm with a hundred or so other runners all dressed up (I didn't not partake in the fancy dress) and "ready" to run. Tom met me at the start and pretty much ran with me along the way.  He was my saving grace in this run, every time I would stop to walk (yes, I did walk some) he would give me a point as to where I would start running again..."Ok Jean, at the next lamp post you are going to start running. or At that sign up there start running again." He was high fiving me after every K marker, at one point he was literally pushing me along the path. He was excellent moral support!  I ran across the finish line at just seconds past the 40 minute mark very proud of myself and quite tired (and beet red) as well.  After all the bitching and moaning about this run I successfully completed it!  I hope to keep running, although with the weather getting so cold now and it being dark so early its a little unmotivating. I have no plans to sign up for another run yet, but stay tuned, you never know...I surprise myself daily!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nothing New

Again I have been lacking at keeping up to date with what's been going on with me, but to be honest, not a whole heck of a lot has. I find that I have been lacking a lot recently...lacking motivation, inspiration, passion. Worry not my fellow friends, I am not depressed, I am just stuck in a rut. I've been asking myself a lot of questions recently, but have not really been able to answer very many of them...if any at all.  The biggest one may be, what am I doing with my life? I don't know if it's b/c I have uprooted myself from everything I know and am comfortable with or if it's because I am 32 and don't really have a clear path set out for what I want to be when I grow up. I've always been the kind of person who "did" without thinking about it first. I don't mean I don't think the important decisions out, I mean that when I get an idea in my head that excites me I want to do it and do it now!  For example, when I decided to move to New York I had 2 options on my plate that I was looking at...go back to school and get my Masters in Theatre Education OR move to New York and see where life takes me. Both were going to cost quite a bit of money and effort but I chose the one more exciting to me. I didn't want to go back to taking tests and having homework or writing papers, I wanted something excitingly new.  I already knew what school was like and we didn't always get along so well.

After a while in New York I decided to see if Frank Sinatra was right when saying "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere..." and decided to make the move here.  Well, here I am. After a year of thinking about it, a year of searching for flats, searching for flatmates, searching for cheap airline tickets...I made it to London. So now what? I think this is where I go wrong, I don't think it completely through. I make it to the destination spot and then I am stuck.  Now I want you to all know that this is not me telling you all I made the wrong decision. This is not a cry for help. I couldn't feel more right about being here, but now I need to figure out what I am doing here. I've been looking for work for the last 2.5 months and it hasn't really panned out yet, and at the same time I am not sure what kind of work I want to do. I can tell you the kind of work I don't want to do though...

When I first moved to New York it took me about 9 months to a year to really feel like I had gotten my bearings. I no longer felt like I was trying to "figure things out" not that I figured everything out, but that I felt like I was doing something right. I think my problem is that maybe I thought that since I figured it out in New York, London was going to be a breeze. I arrive and it's all sorted out for me. But it's not. Its just like when I moved to New York, I need a settling period. I don't need to have it all figured out after only 3 months!  I'm stuck in the mindset that I am 32 and should have my life figured out, but I don't and begin to panic. I begin to think I am a failure. I begin to think that I suck at life. But I need to pull my self out of that mindset and let things happen...better yet, make things happen. I don't need to be all figured out at 32, I'm still young. At least I think I am!

Sometimes I fear that people are judging me for the decisions I have made, but they are my decisions to be made. I am the one who is going to either thrive on it and make a success of myself or I am going to fall on my face, pick myself back up, brush myself off and try something else. Life is too short to worry so much about what everyone is thinking or to worry too much about what I am doing. Someone I know once told me, "I go to bed every night thinking, today was a good day. And I wake up in the morning and think today is going to be better than yesterday." I can only strive to be that positive. But it's worth trying. Anything positive is worth trying.

*To my friends and family...Please don't be worried about me. I am not losing it. You know I would call you crying if I was miserably unhappy. I am not, I'm just figuring life out.*  


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Putting On My Phone Voice

Good morning, HIT Entertainment...
Good afternoon, Hit Entertainment...oh Im sorry they are away from their desk at the moment, would you like to go through to their voicemail?
Please hold.

This is what I utter all day for 8 hours a day whilst I am at this job. I have been a receptionist before, I did it for 2 years and I've forgotten how dull it is. Its even more so when you don't really know anyone you work with. On top of it being dull I sometimes need to ask the people on the other end of the line to repeat themselves b/c I dont understand who they are asking for or where they are calling from. I must sound like a total ass.  My favorite is I literally have to think about where I am before I say hello. I don't really know what I am thinking about when I actually answer the phone...thats a lie, I am thinking, is it 6pm yet? But I put on my "professional" voice and I answer that phone!  Also, you should hear the people hesitate when they hear an American on the other end of the line. You know they are saying, "shit did I call the wrong number!" No, no you did not!

I know some of you have had the pleasure of listening to my "phone voice" at all the millions of places I've worked.  There was the one where my father never knew it was me on the other end...I was that good!"Good Afternoon, Titan Outdoor" or  "CHD, this is Jean, how can I help you?" And then there is Barrie's favorite "Its a great day at Aveda, South Shore Plaza. This is Jean, how can I help you?" I couldn't even get half way through that one before she would burst into a fit of laughter.  So...here I am again, professionally answering a phone for another week.  When do I get to be a burlesque dancer...(see here)

God I need to figure out what I am doing with my life :)


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Am The Worst

Jesus, I haven't blogged in ages...sorry for that, but I am sure you are not morning my loss :)  Sadly I can't say I have been up to too much lately. I have been job hunting like it's my...well job.  To no avail has anything come up other than some temp work. Right now I am temping as the receptionist at Hit Entertainment and have been surrounded by Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder as this is what the company produces.  Its really cute.  However, I damn near had a nervous breakdown on the 1st day alone b/c I am learning a phone system full of people who dont all have faces either.  I am pretty sure in the 1st half hour of this job I dropped at least 5 calls. Luckily I was talked down off the ledge by a few friends and feel a little less helpless and kind of am falling into a groove.  Of course I still worry about people coming in thinking I am an idiot b/c I am figuring it out. I will be here for 2 weeks...as long as they don't kick me out for being incompetent.

Last weekend I went back to the countryside with Tom to see a county show called Newbury Show, which was a lot of livestock showings and tons of tents set up to shop for food, clothing, shoes...you name it. It somewhat reminded me of going to the 4H aread of the Marshfield Fair but on a MUCH grander scale.  We also saw a really contemporized (is that a word) version of Twelfth Night that was really interesting.  It was done with really not set or props. They did use the text but it was abridged quite a bit, music was added to it and there were only 8 actors.  I enjoyed it, I might not have had so much of an appreciation of it if I hadn't been give a heads up on how this production was done.  Sometimes when you think your seeing a show that is done in a traditional setting and its not done that way it can throw you. All is all it was great.  I also really enjoy going home with Tom b/c I can really enjoy my gluttonous side. Tom's mother really does treat me and my stomach very well!

Other than that, I haven't really had much to much else happening.  I booked my tickets home for Christmas, I will be arriving on 20 December at 1pm and I leave on 27 December at 9am. I know its not a long period of time b/c I want to spend New Years here in London and I couldn't really book for an earlier time b/c I dont know if and where I will be working and dont want to abuse my time off.  I#m trying to think if I have anything else exciting happening...oh yeah! I signed up to run a 5K next month. I think I am crazy  for doing it but it should be interesting. It will also be a great challenge, now I need to get my ass training!

Thanks all folks! Sorry I've been so MIA. I hope to have more to tell you about.


Friday, September 3, 2010

New Places, New Hair, New Friends

It's been a while since I've last updated you on my life...what can I say, it's been a busy week!  Where do I begin, I'm still on the job hunt, which leaves my moods up and down.  Sometimes I am really confident that I will get something really soon and other times I just feel defeated.  However, I am trying to pull myself out of the job rut and have a better outlook on what is to come.

This past weekend was a bank holiday weekend and Tom invited me to come to his family's house in the English Countryside.  I can't even begin to describe how beautiful and movie-like his home is.  The house was this gorgeous countryhouse that I was sure I was going to get lost in with all the rooms, doors and staircases.  There was a garden and lots of farmland, a horse, sheep, 2 wonderful dogs, a pool...it was absolutely amazing!  We saw a show, "Copacabana" by Barry Manilow, at this fabulous theatre called The Watermill the first night we got there. The second day Tom showed me around the town of Hungerford, which was adorable and so quaint, full of antique shops and little boutique stores.  I could definitely see myself living there in the later years. We had lunch with his mom, 2 friends he grew up with and one of his mothers friends and then after lunch headed off to a town carnival.  It was a really small provincial town where not much goes on and the carnival was a parade with 5 floats and then a fun fair.  We tore that fun fair up!  Tom, Michael, Bex and I played games, drove bumper cars and the octopus.  We also played in the nearby playground, which I have to say was way cooler than most playgrounds I've been to...there was a trampoline-y kind of thing!  Our last day there pretty much consisted of puttering around.  Bex, Tom and I played croquet, which I am terrible at, and tennis, which I am also terrible at. Then Tom took a swim while I relaxed in the sun. Later Michael came and Tom, Michael and I took the dogs for a walk around the farm and in the woods.  I later watched the boys play croquet...I didn't want to show off my skills anymore.  We had a late dinner before heading back to London after an amazing weekend.  I have to say though, country living certainly isn't for the faint of heart.  Within being there for a hour one of the dogs came around the corner with a dead rabbit in her mouth, then on the walks the other dog found a multitude of animal carcasses. The 1st night I went to be and there were a ton of months flying around my room which freaked me out a little and Tom told me "its an old house, just roll with it." Oh...and then there was the fish gutting.  Dinner the last night was fish, that when Tom took it out of the fridge it was still bleeding and staring at me. Tom took that fish into the house and gutted that bad boy right in front of me...I was scarred, but I ate the fish and it was good! All in all it was a good weekend!
What I did instead of croquet


Then after the weekend I decided that my hair needed a change. The strawberry blond wasn't doing it for me anymore and I wanted my red hair back.  So with the number and recommendation of a salon in London by the lovely Laetitia I headed up to Wedge get my hair did!  I love it.  It's still very red, but I am enjoying it!


Lastly, yesterday I met up with Naomi who is finally back from her 2 months in Wisconsin.  Naomi and I have been meaning to meet up for quite some time since the Spring, but it has not been able to happen...until yesterday!  She introduced me to this really cute vegetarian cafe but more importantly she introduced me to Scoop where we indulged in some of the most delicious gelato ever!  I had a scoop of the caramel and a scoop of the milk chocolate.  Nom nom nom!  We ate our gelato, walked around St. James Park and watched the pelicans.  Naomi is also unemployed so we wallowed in our "unemploymentness" together.  It was a nice day out in the nice weather.

So that's what I've been up to recently...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tassels, Feather and Balloons...Oh My!

bur·lesque  (br-lskn. A variety show characterized by broad ribald comedy, dancing, and striptease.


Tom has a friend who is a burlesque dancer, they went to university together where she studied law. Flash forward a few years to today where she is now the producer and headliner of her own show.  Her name is Agent Lynch and her game "burlesque bombshell and pinup and all around 60's aficionado" and she is pretty fucking cool if you ask me!  It got me thinking, could I become a burlesque dancer?  I mean essentially it's just like acting, but I would be dancing and taking my clothes off...but I wouldn't have to get naked.  I mean, I've done scenes in acting class where I have been wearing a lot less than what these women were wearing.  It's not stripping and I wouldn't have men trying to shove money into a g-string (although at this point that doesn't sound so bad...anything for money right? I kid!  As I said my mom reads this!) But really, this burlesque thing is art and it looks pretty fun too.  


Ok, maybe I am getting a little ahead of myself b/c I can't just jump up on a stage and make money (see above) I would need some training and a gimick...but I'm creative and know how to move. And I'm sure I can be sexy... noone would know about the cackling laugh and tendency to make an ass of myself when I'm performing.  I would get to be someone else and have fun while doing it...and maybe make some money! I definitely can't hurt to look into it.  Agent Lynch does teach a class, I'm good at taking classes.  


Now at this point, I have all of my family and friends back in the states ready to buy me a plane ticket and ship all my stuff back home b/c I am thinking about "shaking my tassels" but don't worry, it may only be a fleeting thought. However I highly recommend you check out some burlesque, its kind of awesome!  Look at Dita von Teese, she is unconventionally gorgeous, makes lots of money and basically only wears pasties and frilly knickers :) 




Have I mentioned how badly I need to get a job, this is what happens when you go and see an amazingly fun show and then sit at home being rejected by companies looking for someone to fill a position that I am over qualified for...I'm thinking about investing in fishnet thigh highs, nipple tassles and frilly knickers.  It could be worse right...I could be thinking about escorting. Hi Mom!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nothing Is Impossible

Yesterday I went to see the play Fuente Ovejuna at the Southwark Playhouse Theatre.   Caroline (my old roommate from New York, who is now living here to study) was sent an invitation to see this show via Facebook and she asked me if I wanted to come along.  I said yes as I don't like to give up any opportunity to see theatre.  I believe I was supposed to have read this play sometime when I was in college but had no recollection of it at all, well I am happy to say that although I had no recollection of it, after yesterday I wont forget it.  This play was written my Lope de Vega in the early 1600's and it was based on actual events and to quote my friend Harry "definitely not a comedy." It's got some heavy subject matter, however, this company took the script and did wonders to it to make it appeal to todays audience.  There were changes with the text, songs added in, a dance party at intermission and some audience participation, it was wonderful! I honestly cannot say enough good things about this show but I think what you really need to do it GO SEE IT!  Its in it's last week of it's run, so if you are in London I highly highly recommend getting tickets.  You can get there by clicking here!

After the show Caroline and I were lucky enough to sit down with Roberto, one of the actors (he is a friend of one of Caroline's friends from New York) and Daniel, the director. They were able to offer me some suggestions on how to get into the acting world in London. I was told about some websites to look at, some groups to look into, it was so great.  I was beginning to feel a little defeated when it came to learning where to find the theatre community here, I didn't know any actors here before yesterday and so I didn't know where to begin looking or who to ask.  The 2 of them were able to provide me with not only information about where to look, but all hope is not lost.  Last night after leaving the show I said to Caroline, seeing this show made me realize that it is possible to act here.  I mean there is nothing wrong with having pipe dreams of being on stage at The Globe, but right now I would be so happy to be able to do a show anywhere. Life is definitely not all about being on Broadway or in the West End...for me it's about doing what I love.  I came away from that conversation no longer feeling like acting here in London was impossible for me unless I was studying in a program somewhere.  

Now, with this newfound knowledge I have, I am going to see what I can find and where it takes me!  Hey, and maybe it will take me less time to get on stage here in London than it did in New York...here's hoping!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Anniversary

It may not seem all that exciting to you, but today marks my 1 month Londoniversary! I can't believe it's been a month already, where did the time go?  To commemorate this day I did something that makes me feel like I really live here...I got rid of my pay as you go cellphone and now I have a real contract phone.  My iPhone is now fully functioning just like it was in the US.  I can use all my apps and check my email and not get that annoying "your balance is..." message every time I send a text.  I'm a big girl again :)

Last night may very well have been my favorite night here in London.  I cooked dinner...yep, thats right, I cooked again.  This time I decided I wanted to whip up an arugula and goat cheese salad so I looked online for recipe ideas and added to it. I'm totally going to admit to the fact that I had to call my mom up and ask her how to cook chicken, I'm not ashamed!  I marinated the chicken breast in a honey dijon dressing and baked it. Then while the chicken (which turned out perfect by the way) was cooling off I washed the arugula leaves and added cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, toasted pine nuts (that I toasted myself too) and goat cheese. Then I used the honey dijon dressing to top the salad off.  I have to say I was really impressed with it. I know it's only a salad but to come up with the stuff to put in it, I was impressed.  Tom was equally impressed too with the flavors that I included.  1 point for Jean in the kitchen!  For dessert I introduced Tom to s'mores.  My friend Laura send us over a package with the makings for s'mores since Tom had never had them before and we made ghetto style s'mores over the gas stove in the kitchen.  They were amazing.  I used to do the same thing for my old roommate Caroline and I when we had the makings but didn't want to light up the firepit in the back yard.  Gas stoves can come in real handy I tell you!

The note from Laura


Preparing the masterpiece


Look at that perfect marshmallow


About to try his 1st ever s'more


The young padawan learns well


Due to the sugar rush from eating the s'mores at 10pm last night I ended up getting a concert performance from Tom.  It began with a serenading of Phil Collin' "Take a Look at Me Now" and went into "A Whole New World" from Aladdin (which I happily sang Jasmine's part) and ended with the Moulin Rouge version of "Your Song"  I have not seen Tom let loose like that since I have been here. I mean we have certainly had our fair share of stupidity in the flat but it's usually my doing, but to have the tables turned and it be Tom making an ass of himself...it was brilliant!  I have not laughed like that in a while. It was hands down one of my favorite nights, if not my favorite night so far, here in London.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

 Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, who gives Donald Trump a run for his money in the hair-do department, just launched this new bicycle hire scheme. It's really quite cool actually!  Currently it's not yet available to the general public but should be by the end of the month, but here is what it is...you can rent a bike in London for as little as £1 for the day.  All you do is (if you are a member, I'm not) go to one of the multiple docking stations all over Central London, put in your "key" and one of the bicycles will be unlocked for your usage.  Then when you are finished you return the bike back to any docking station...it's that easy!
Docking Station
So why am I not a part of this Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme you may ask? Because I am afraid to ride a bike!  I have known how to ride a bike since I was probably 5 or 6. I learned on a bike with 1 good tire and 1 almost flat tire and once I got good at it my parents bought me a gorgeous blue and white bicycle with a banana seat, basket and a bell.  I would ride that bike up and down the street and all over my grandparents driveway, I loved it.  Its what we did as kids.  One time I was riding my brother's bike that had no brakes and I lost control of the bike and wiped out on the street scraping my cheek on the pavement, but I still continued to ride.  Then there was the time I rode my beautiful new bike into a car parked at the end of my grandparents driveway and I broke my wrist (for the 3rd time) and that was when I wanted to hang up my handle bars and not ride again. But being a kid, you are fearless and I got back on my bike and continued to ride it.  Although once I became a teenager bike riding was out of the question, I had more important things to do, like hang out at the mall.  

Now, here I am at 32 and I couldn't tell you the last time I was on a bicycle (that isn't one of the stationary ones at the gym) but I want so badly to be able to rent one of those Barclays bikes and ride it around London.  Well, ok, I probably wont be taking to the streets on one, but I could ride in any of the numerous parks here in London.  But I am scared!  I was living in New York for just over a month when I ended up in the emergency room with a severely sprained ankle, Lord knows what would happen to me here!  Granted the incident in New York was due to excessive amounts of alcohol and a bathroom that had stairs coming out of it, who puts stairs in a bathroom...in a club?!?! Anyway, I digress, here I am brave enough to pack up my life and move 3500 miles away from all I know and love, but I'm too afraid to ride a bike?!  I think I need to change this! Just pray I don't end up in St. Mary's Hospital or something...eek!

Maybe someday soon this will be me!




Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Drag Queens and Dancing

I can certainly say that life here in London is definitely not boring. Last week my friend Lisa asked me if I wanted to go to a drag show on Sunday, to which I replied, count me in! I mean, how can you say no to a drag show?  Her friend was performing and we were going as moral support.  So, on Sunday night, I walked into Ku Bar in Leicester Square and was greeted by one of the most beautiful Queens standing a towering foot and a half above me, with a body to kill for!   That would be Vicki Vivacious...our hostess for the evening.  I knew by the look of things that this was going to be a fun night! The acts for the evening were Josie Quant (I will leave out the nickname they gave Josie as my mom reads this blog) and Misty Lee.  Vicki and Misty sang a few little ditties (yes I just called them ditties) and Josie did a bit of comedy.  I have to admit, I think one of my favorite things about drag queens is the lack of filtering that occurs, those bitches will say anything...and I LOVE IT!  I mean, honestly, why hold back?



One thing that make the night interesting was in attendence was a "Stag/Stagette" party do and it was a mix of gay men, straight men and women.  The straight men were deathly afraid of the drag queens, the girl's were obnoxious and the engaged couple were total diva's.  They made for some comedy over the evening and the made me want to either get into a fight or tear my hair out at other parts of the evening.  I happy to have the show end only to be done dealing with this party, but sad that the show was over as it was so much fun!

Lisa and I were going to take off after the show but were persuaded to stay by a couple of the guys that Lisa knows. We danced with some really adorable and handsome men all night long.  I had a good laugh after we left when I told Lisa that all my friends are telling me how I am going to meet some gorgeous men while I am here...and I have, but they are all gay!  I have to admit though, I've really missed having gay men in my life.  I have my darling Jack in New York, of course but I am really loving it here in London :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

Since Tom was away on my birthday he insisted on doing something the Friday after he got back from New York. To me it really didn't matter if I sat on the couch in sweats or if I went out to a bar or not.  I only just moved to London, (3 weeks today!) I don't have a whole lot of friends yet and the ones I do have were away or busy with their significant others.  Not to mention I am 32...aren't I getting to old too have birthday parties?  Ok so maybe that last part is just an excuse because I don't know a lot of people here and I'm just trying to justify not doing anything.  So, as I was saying, Tom insisted on doing something. I got all dressed up and met him after work in Trafalgar Square and we walked to a place called Sketch which is just off Regent Street.  We walked into this really uniquely designed foyer and Tom tells the woman at the door that he has a reservation and the woman replies "Party of 3? The other gentleman is already at your table" As you can imagine I am a little confused...we get brought to our table and sitting there is my friend Michael! Tom apparently contacted Michael through facebook and arranged this dinner.

Dinner was excellent and the place was insane.  There was this french fantasy-like theme going on as well as a bubble theme.  I wish you could have seen the bathroom loo! There was this all white, double staircase that went upstair into and open area but in the area were all these pods.  The pods were single toilets!  Everything was so pristine and futuristic up there.  Here I am at the really nice restaurant and all I can talk about is the bathroom!  I highly recommend doing a Google Image search to see what this place looked like as I cannot do it justice.

After dinner we went to one of the bars in the restaurant for a cocktail and then ventured off into London for another, cheaper drink at a local pub.  It turned out to be a great night.  Not that I didn't expect it to be, but it was just a completely unexpected night altogether.  And Michael and Tom got on really well which makes me so happy!  I love when my friends get along :)

Here are a few photos from the night...
Fast Friends

Me with the birthday planner

My surprise guest

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The One Where I Look For A Job

Job hunting sucks, plain and simple! Today while I was perusing the internet for job listings I had the television on for the first time since I've been here and the pilot episode of Friends was one. If you are not familiar with the show or have not seen it enough times, not only have you been living under a rock but you also don't know that in this episode Rachel leaves her fiance Barry at the alter and that is how she ends up living with Monica. Rachel comes from a wealthy family and has depended on her parents for money all her life and now she is forced to be an adult and tries to go out and get a job. She comes back from job hunting and says "well, I am not qualified to do anything..." and that my friends is exactly how I feel right about now!!!

I majored in acting. I have a Bachelors of Art in Drama...tell me how that is going to get me a job in anything other than acting?  Even then I am unsure of how much acting work I'll get with it. But right now I need to find a job and I'll pretty much do anything at this point, I just need to make some money.  I've had the most frustrating couple of days looking for jobs online because on paper I may not look like I am qualified to do the tasks at hand but really I pick things up so quickly and I am super reliable at work. Whats more frustrating is that I am 32 and there are kids graduating from school who will start off making a lot more money than I will and I have been in the job world 10 years longer!  If only "they" (meaning the employers posting these jobs) would "take a chance on me" (thank you ABBA) they wouldn't be disappointed...but I need them to actually take that chance and not just look at my resume cv.

I guess tomorrow is another day, I can see what is posted and if I am qualified.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And Then I Cooked Dinner...

Tom arrived back from his New York trip yesterday morning and had to go straight to work so I asked (being the wonderful flatmate that I am) if he wanted me to do anything for when he got home.  He suggested that I whip up my lasagna, which just so happens to be 1 of 3 things that I can actually cook.  I had no qualms about cooking dinner however I couldn't just run to the local Stop & Shop and pick up the regular ingredients that I am used to cooking with.  I posted to my Facebook something about needing to find the UK equivalents to what I normally cook with and my friend Lisa suggested I try Whole Foods.  How bad could it be, I mean Whole Foods should be the same across the board right? No it's not.  I don't know if I was missing something when I went into the Whole Foods in Clapham Junction or what but they had about 3 aisles and I didn't see a meat or cheese area.  I quickly walked out of there as fast as I walked in and made my way to the Sainsbury just up the road.  There I found almost everything I needed.  I am quite partial to Prego pasta sauce but they don't carry Prego so I had to find something basic.  I also had to go to the Tesco just up from me because I couldn't find any ricotta cheese at Sainsbury.  I gathered up all my ingredients and began making dinner but that was not before I texted Lisa again to find out how to use the oven.  Over here they use centigrade rather than fahrenheit and there are 2 knobs on the oven, one with a fan and the other with a squiggly line.  Once I got that all squared away I was good to go.  Dinner actually came out great!  Tom seemed to like it, or at least he told me he did.  Bear in mind he is bordering on gourmet chef and whips up things like eggs benedict or chunky tomato soup with fresh tomatoes while I cook out of cans and jars. But hey, I cooked and I liked it!

I kept giving Tom shit about how he left me alone on my birthday and then he comes back and I cook dinner for him...however he surprised me with adorable birthday gifts!

Tom with at the mirror he decorated in the front hall

This birthday card really made me laugh!


Antique advertisements for yams...long story!

Tom also got a new bed delivered while he was away and we put it together after dinner. I never thought building a bed could be as comical as it was...but that's a story for a different day!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

When Living In Your Favorite City Sucks

Early this morning I got a text from my uncle wishing me a happy birthday, since I was awake I decided to check my email (for selfish reasons of course to see who might be sending me birthday wishes) and I had a facebook post from my sister.  In it she wrote that my nephew Cameron, he's 3, burnt his hand on the chiminea last night and had to go to the ER.  While in the ER he was crying "I want Auntie! I want Auntie!" and I wasn't there.  Just thinking about that now makes my eyes tear up.  Cameron is 100% boy in everything he does and has visited the ER more than my sister wishes.  The 1st couple times we're actually due to him spiking high fevers as a baby but the last time was last summer and he was running across the back yard and flipping into the kiddie pool.  Well this one time he slipped on the wet grass and hit his cheek on a slab of stone.  Would you believe that when we got him in the car, in fear of him needing stitches, I put a small bandaid on it and he didn't cry the entire ride to the hospital.  He is a trooper!  I haven't spoken to my sister yet since it's still "dark o-thirty" in Massachusetts but she told me that he has 2nd degree burns and his hand is wrapped up but he's trucking along.  What makes me so sad is that I couldn't be there for him.  I have actually been there for every trip to the hospital.  That my friends is when living in your favorite city sucks the worst...when it's 3500 miles away from home!

Me and the Cam-Man last Christmas playing with Photobooth

Learning My Way

Last night I went to see a show with my new friend Has and his friend Dr. Sean (as Has kept referring to him) over near Tottenham Court Road.  I hopped on the Tube at Vauxhall Station, got off at Warren Street and walked down the the theatre the show was at.  It was all fine and good since I left around 6pm.  Now the big difference between living in New York and living in London is that in New York everything runs 24 hours where as in London the Tube stops running around midnight and I have to rely either on cab's (which are super expensive) or busses.  I have been getting really familiar with the busses that run in my area however, when I take the Tube somewhere and I head back home after they close I have to research what route to take before I leave the house.  Last night, things got a little tricky...I left in time to get back on the Victoria line which would take me to get a bus home, but for some reason unbeknownst to me the Tube was shut down and I was left to my own devices.  And I am proud to say I found my way to Oxford Circus so I could catch my bus home.  Let me tell you, thank you Jesus for the London A to Z that I downloaded onto my phone!

Tonight I went to see Inception (which I give 2 thumbs up to and think you should see it!) with my friend Lisa, who treated me since my birthday is tomorrow...well here in London it's already my birthday.  Lisa lives South East of Central London so we had to find a place that was equidistant between us and that was Streatham.  Thanks to Lisa's husband they found and emailed me the route to take to get to the movies cinema. I took a new bus route that I had never been on before.  I love that I am learning all these new ways to get to places I have never been!  I feel so accomplished :)

Lastly, I learned how to us the washing machine AND the stove today.  Now you may be thinking that I am completely incompetent and haven't even cooked or done my own laundry before, but I'll have you know I've probably been doing my own laundry since I was 12.  Things are a little different here, the cook top or hob as they call it, looks like it would be simple however I was unaware that when you turn the knob on and the gas comes out you have to push a little button that then lights the flame.  It's a little scary, I'm not going to lie.  I mean I feel like I was about to fill the flat with gas and then hit this little button and I'd have a Fight Club moment where the whole place explodes!  I certainly wouldn't want Tom coming home to a charred flat.  And the washing machine, I got a tutorial on the phone last night from Tom. Its a front loader and I've used one of those at my sisters but I know that you have to pour the soap into a little dispenser up top. Not in this case though. Its super simple, I throw the clothes in, toss in a washing tablet, it start and voila!

Really it's the little things in life that excite me.  Now I think I am going to head off to bed and think about what other exciting things I can do for my birthday.  I have more laundry in mind...ooohhh!!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Should Really Get Out More

Since Laura and Tom flew to the US, I have been left to my own devices here in Londontown and it hasn't been too bad.  I have been doing quite a bit of walking which is nice since I was home for a month and was back to driving everywhere. I find that walking around in London is really enjoyable.  I won't lie and tell you there aren't some areas that totally suck to walk through because of all the tourists, but I'd much rather walk than take a bus or the Tube. Because the area where I live doesn't have a Tube station close by I am taking the bus pretty regularly. The buses near me are great too because they go to places that I frequent like The Globe, Sloane Square (Kings Road area), Oxford Circus...it's great.  Im sure that will all change when the weather gets cold but let me tell you, they don't have any weather controls in the Tube so right now with the weather being so warm the Tube is sweltering and I can't imagine it's going to be any different in the winter.  In New York in the Summer the trains are always freezing and I usually always had a cardigan with me, just in case.  In the winter though, the heat is on and there you are bundled up and you get on a hot subway train, with 100's of other people and you feel like you are going to pass out from the heat.  I can imagine it's going to be something like that here.  Although, I still thing that I will do more walking.

The past couple days I have been concerned with being bored or lonely but I have been doing pretty well.  Yesterday I met up with my friend Lisa for coffee and some chat. Lisa is a fellow American living in London, she married a Brit and has been living here now with her husband, son and pets.  She has been such a useful source of information and so helpful with getting me settled before I even moved over.  We met back in April when I was over visiting and she told me all about places to look, what websites are great, she helped answer banking questions and phone questions.  She's be great! Today I met up with Cate who is another fellow ex-pat who moved over here for love.  She is married to a Brit as well but is originally from the west coast. Cate is the editor-in-chief of Bitch Buzz which I highly recommend you check out!  Cate and I met through our mutual friend Laetitia back in April as well.  We sat and had tea and cupcakes and this really quaint little bakery called Ella's Bakehouse in Covent Garden where we paid £2.60 for a cup of tea and a cupcake...can't go wrong there! While we sat in Covent Garden we were assaulted by pigeons and tourists alike.  We were laughing though because although we live in London (Cate much longer than me) we could still be considered tourists! I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship :)

**excuse my writing tonight, I feel like it's very abrupt. It's been a weird night, with a few stresses that I'm working out and while all that happening I tripped a breaker in the fuse box, all the lights went out in the flat, I was using my phone as a flashlight b/c I didn't know where any were and I couldn't for the life of me find the fuse box.  Finally after about 5 minutes I located it and everything is back in working order, but I did have a moment of panic when it all went down. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting It Done

With Laura having been here last week she was a great source of motivation for me.  I mentioned previously how I had gotten my room in order, well I also got some more important things squared away as well.  I had made a list of things that I needed to do and needed to get and the only thing left on that list is a laundry bag or basket.  The 2 most important things on that list were 1. open a bank account and 2. get a UK cell mobile phone and I did just that.  Right now the phone I have as my mobile is a temporary phone that is a pay as you go plan but once I get my bank card in the mail I can go back and have my number transferred over to a contract plan.  Im a little lost without my iPhone right now though.  I haven't been able to unlock it to be able to use it over here yet, but I have been told by my friend Jay that the government just made unlocking legal so I should be able to have that all taken care of...I hope sooner rather than later.  If I can't unlock my phone I need to figure out what type of phone to get...do I get a Blackberry again? Do I get some fancy new thing they have over here? Oh the possibilities!

That being said, I am feeling like I am getting quite a bit accomplished already.  Now onto the job...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Holy Hell I've Been Here Over A Week!

Sorry I have been "rubbish" at blogging all week, my friend Laura was in town and it's been a busy one. Laura arrived on Wednesday morning and we mostly just stayed around the area.  Since she was on a red eye from Boston it was going to be a long day for her if we did anything crazy so I took her on pretty much the same tour Tom took me on my first day.  We walked around Battersea Park grabbed lunch at a place in the park right on a pond and enjoyed the weather.  Later that night we met Tom after work and went to dinner at Rocket, which happens to be one of Tom's favorite places to eat at in London, it's on Lancashire Court which is a Mews Street in London.  The food was delish and the dinner companions could not have been better!  Tom and Laura clicked right away which really made me happy!  The rest of the week Laura was a Godsend! She and I went around and got me some new bed linens to make my room my own.  Tom did a wonderful job with the room but it needed a bit of a woman's touch to make the place my own. I now have some organizational stuff as well as new linens and I need to finish the room off with hanging up photos in there.  I will be sure to post before and after photos when the room is complete.  I really and truly feel at home in my flat.  I was telling Tom that at first I felt like I was just visiting.  I was a little apprehensive about going through the cabinets and such but now I really feel like I live here.  Its great.  I think having Laura here really helped break the ice totally!  On Friday Laura and I took the train to Straford-upon-Avon to meet up with Nick, a colleague of Laura's who works at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  While there he took us on a VIP tour of Stratford and we saw where Shakespeare was born as well as buried.  We were able to view the Folio while there, we also got taken on some "behind the scenes" stuff in Stratford, it was pretty amazing and hilariously funny!  Nick was a wonderful guide and we had a fantastic day.  Again any day you laugh as much as I did those days are always great days! Tom went home to his family house on Saturday afternoon after we had a great breakfast in the neighborhood while Laura and I went to a birthday party for my friend Michael that night. Laura also knows Michael and some of his friends which was great, but even if she knew no one I know we would have had just as much fun! Sunday was another Shakespeare filled day when we ventured over to The Globe Theatre to see back to back performances of Henry IV part 1&2.  I can't tell you how much I love that place and seeing shows there!  I think I might take myself to see Anne Boleyn (a new play written) for my birthday as it's playing on Friday and my b-day is Sunday.

Today Laura left after we took a bus tour of London. I enjoy those tours, I have been on a few here, one in Dublin and one in New York.  I find them interesting because of the tour guides.  Our guide was a little clueless which made the tour very funny.  After the tour we headed back to Battersea and grabbed Laura's things to head to Heathrow Airport. I was really sad to see her go, not only because she is a little piece of home, but because I have the best times when she is around.  I laugh like I have never laughed before when she is around and this trip was no exception!  Tom and I are already trying to get her back here for the 1st weekend in November for Guy Fawkes Day for a party and fireworks in the park.

Not only did Laura leave today, but Tom left today too.  He is coincidentally flying to New York for the week for work and then has the weekend to play in the city!  So here I am all alone in London.  It's a little lonely especially since I've just had a crazy week and I've only just moved in.  This week entails getting more done to my room I hope as well as pounding the pavement for work...if anyone has any leads let me know!  I am also hoping to meet up with my friend Lisa (a fellow ex-pat) as well as meet up with my uncle as well.  So I hopefully wont be as lonely as I am thinking.  It's bee a crazy couple months and I haven't really had much time to breathe since the beginning of the year...so maybe I will be able to over the next few days.

And if anyone wants or needs a new friend...here I am :)