Thursday, November 25, 2010


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 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 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!