Saturday, 24 February 2007

London Fashion Weekend

I went to London Saturday for a fashion show-it was very cool. It was held at the National History Museum-a fashion show in a museum-could that be more perfectly me? The goody bag was great-Elizabeth Arden perfume and make-up, gift certificate for a manicure or pedicure, hair products for Toni Guy, a charm bracelet, samples of food that only models would eat, coffee, and some other things. The pictures are from the runway show. I had a good seat, but people kept getting in the way. Some of the designers featured were Chanel, Dior, Chloe, and Narciso Rodriguez.

London was packed-the underground was terrible. They work on the subway lines on the weekend and a few of the main lines were down, so that moved hundreds of people to the PIccadilly line, which is the main one I use. We were packed into the subway cars like sardines-not a very fun ride.

The chicken guy at my grocery store, Morrisons, knows me. I buy a plain, roasted chicken breast 4-5 times a week. From now on, I probably don't even need to say anything-he just knows. The uncooked chicken here is gross. I don't like touching it, let alone eating it.

The other pictures are from the British Museum and near my house. The church is about a mile from my house, I don't think it's used. I think the cemetery is cool, it's pretty old. Some of the tombstones are really interesting and ornate-there are statues lying around some of the tombstones. Leeds just celebrated their 700th birthday this year, so I'm sure the church and cementery have been here awhile.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

"24" Addiction

Thanks to my roommate I've gotten hooked on "24". I had never seen it before until Rich ordered the second season and we started watching it. The episodes are only an hour of the day, so I get addicted wanting to know what happens next. The entire season is just a day-reminds me of "Ulysses".

We have frogs in our yard. I'm not used to seeing frogs, we have toads at home. Rich opened the door the other day and one hopped into the foyer. We don't have a lot of them, this frog just hopped the wrong way. I had to catch him and take him to the backyard-he was very slimey.

I've been eating much better this past week. I've had macaroni and cheese the past few days-it was delicious. I've been making a lot of banana nut bread also. Josh liked the British Bisquick mix-he made a large stack of pancakes with eggs on top (gross).

Monday, 19 February 2007

Things and thoughts...

I made the Mexican food from Friday night last until today. Every bite was delicious. We also finished off the PB cookies from one of my mixes from Amazon. Amazon Grocery is actually a pretty good deal-you buy things in bulk and it isn't very expensive. It was amusing when I was ordering-the site kept sending me to the British Amazon, which was what I was trying to escape from. I don't trust the food health codes over here-I sometimes don't trust them in the States, but they are far more lenient over here, which makes me nervous. I had to throw away my Peanut Pan PB-the websites kept saying to discard it.

I'm off to Birmingham tomorrow. I was there most of yesterday. I really enjoy doing it, I just wish the commute wasn't so long. Plus, I never time it right with the buses once I'm back in Leeds. It's cheaper to take the bus because parking at the train station is very expensive (about $70 for the day) and the bus is only $4.50 for the day. Anyway, everytime I get to the bus stop, I JUST missed my bus and have to wait an eternity for the next one, which makes the day even longer. I'm not a big fan of public transportation unless it's the Underground in London.

I've decided my roommate and I have very different tastes regarding movies. To me, he rents the weirdest things. Most of them are American films, but I haven't really heard of them or they flopped at the box office and most of us don't watch them. Somehow, he finds them and brings them home. He probably thinks I watch too many chick flicks-that's usually what I rent.

By the way, please keep Josh in your thoughts and prayers. I just found out that a brother of a friend of his was killed in Iraq yesterday. I don't know the details, but it affects you more when it hits home-makes it more real.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Yay-American food!!

So, this has been a great week for food. My mixes came from Amazon Grocery yesterday (somehow they got delayed in British customs?) and my boxes from my family arrived on Wednesday. I'm so happy to have food! Josh and I had Mexican tonight-it was delicious and I made banana nut bread and peanut butter cookies from my Amazon order, so we had plenty of good food. I gave Josh all of my British Bisquick mix-it tastes funny to me. He's not as picky as I am, so he was happy with it. My mom e-mailed and told me that Peter Pan PB is being recalled, which is the brand I brought with me. So I looked it up on the internet and the numbers that begin with 2111 are being recalled-ALL of mine that I brought with me start with 2111. That's very annoying-although my mom said if I cook the PB it should be ok. I'm still annoyed-it's not like I can run to the store and buy more American PB. All of my food is precious to me and I don't want to waste anything-I'm not throwing it out-I can find ways to use it.

Did everyone have a good Valentine's? Mine was ok, since I tend to be accident prone, I managed to sprain my wrist. The "brace" I was given is absolutely useless. It's like a thin sock-I don't know why I'm bothering to wear it. I'm going to try and find some tape to wrap around it. However, it's hard to track down medicine tape. We really take for granted stores like Walmart in the US-stores that have everything in one store. Here there's separate stores-I have to specifically go to a pharmacy if I need some type of medical item-it's a big pain.

I'm headed to Birmingham this weekend to get some extra hours in. They start painting the galleries next week, so we're narrowing down what paintings will or will not be displayed and then we'll start on the historical background for the paintings and galleries.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Lovely snow in Leeds

Here are some pictures of our little snow. These are pictures from my bedroom window looking down at the backyard. To the left is the fish pond, so far, I've counted 8 fish. They're some type of goldfish, I think-6 of them are gold, 1 white, 1 black. They like to eat wheat bread. The little white one is kind of mean-he steals bread from the other fish when they try to eat it. The other picture is of the house and my little car.

I'm also including some pictures of Paris from when my mom, aunt, and I were there last month: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Rose Window, Sacre Couer, Arc de Triomphe. Sorry about the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame pictures, I don't know how to rotate them when uploading them.

My internship is still going really well. Right now, we're taking lots of measurements before we re-do the Pre-Raphaelite galleries. They're also going to repaint the galleries in a couple of weeks. While that's going on-we'll be working on the historical background for the painting panels.

Thursday, 8 February 2007


It's been snowing in Leeds all day, which is really rare. It's not accumulating, but it's still pretty. I took some pictures, so I will try and get some posted. I was a little nervous to drive to class in the snow-I don't know if the tires here are made for snow (since they rarely have any) or how others drive since again they're not used to. I left two hours early, so I made sure I had plenty of time. We actually got out early because my professor had to drive to Sheffield (about an hour away) and wanted to get a head start in case "the roads get a bit wicked" which is how he put it.

Thanks to Jason Steele for telling me about Amazon Grocery, I ordered a bunch of American mixes-they should be here Monday (I've been tracking them). My family also sent a couple of boxes that haven't arrived yet-the USPS better not have lost them. I mailed Josh a box December 7 and we finally got it January 10 and it cost me $40 to send it. I was so mad-I could have brought it with and saved myself the money.

A first for today was that I used the McDonald's drive thru. I didn't feel like cooking, so I broke down. Anyway, when I first pulled into the parking lot I thought "how do I do this?" It still feels really unnatural being on the right side of the car. It takes me longer to react and think about what I'm doing-for example-in the States, I lean to my right (the passenger seat) for my purse-here it took me a moment to turn left to grab money. I have numerous little obstacles like that daily-I'm sure the British think I'm challenged.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

I think I'm giving up...

on British food. I can't take it anymore-I made a massive amount of food today and had to throw it all away because it was gross and it wasn't due to my baking. I bought some more of that "multipurpose" Bisquick. I wanted to make the Red Lobster biscuits. I followed the directions perfectly and they looked good, but did not taste good. It's the Bisquick-it smells funny-not old funny, but different. Our's is much better. Then, I bought this chicken that is already cooked (they have something similar at Dillons and I really like it) and you can grill it or fry or whatever. I grilled it, and it tasted fake and squishy-it wasn't good and it wasn't past it's expiration date. So, I gave the bisquits to the birds and the neighbors cat that comes to pester my fish and threw the chicken away. I'm done-I've wasted more time and money on food than I care to mention. I was so desperate the other day, I made a hamburger. I barely got it cooked because handling raw meat is traumatizing. It's sad when McDonald's sounds good.

I keep telling myself that this is a different country and, of course, things are going to be different. But you've got to be kidding? A person can only take so much horrible food before they crack. I'm a pansy, so I didn't last as long as a normal person-I'm cracking fast. I think it's funny, but I'm actually to the point, I don't know what to eat. I nibbled on a biscuit and a little piece of chicken, but that's all I've eaten today. I could go to the grocery store, but I have no idea what to buy, so there's no point. Fortunately, my mom is sending a couple survival boxes and I anxiously await their arrival (the post office better not lose them-they won't want to deal with me if they lose my food).

On cool news-Leeds has a fashion week in May and I may get to enter some Finis Opus pieces. It sounds like it's a pretty cool show-they have a runway show in the Briggate and the Corn Exchange (both shopping areas). It's for summer fashion, so I would have to start from scratch on some stuff. However, I found a place you can sew here in Leeds-it's kind of cool/weird-you can rent a machine for so much time and sew at the store. It's pretty cheap and they have some cool material-plus there's people around to help me if I need it. So, I have lots of ideas-just need to get them together. We'll see what they say...

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Uh oh...Yankee behind the wheel

Unfortunately, my notorious driving skills have followed me to England. I got pulled over today, for what I think is equivalent to wreckless driving. Here's the story: after class today, I decided to go back to ASDA. Since, I've learned how to get there, it's actually pretty easy-plus they have more American brands and are cheaper. Anyway, the shopping center is on the right and I enter on the left and you can't turn off the byway unless you go down to the round-about. In case I haven't said this enough-I despise round-abouts with all my heart. The lanes aren't marked on most, I often don't know my exit, and I get honked at if I just drive around it until I figure out my exit. So, I come up on this round-about and think if I want to exit to the left, I should be in the left lane, right? Nope, I was wrong-apparently, I need to be in the right lane. The left lane abruptly exits a different direction. I was worried if I exit some random way, I might get really turned around, so I hurried and cut over into the right lane. I did look beforehand, but I cut off numerous cars (including the officer that stopped me two minutes later) and head towards my exit. However, just before I get there, I get confused. Is this the right exit? I almost pass it and then realize yes that's my exit, so I turn sharply left to exit. Well, that was enough for the cop-he turned on his lights and sirens. Then, instinct took over and I cut across two lanes (I did use my blinker) to pull off to the right side of the road, which was obviously wrong, since I was right by the shoulder on the left. Fortunately, he was very understanding and I didn't even get a paper warning. I also asked him numerous questions about proper etiquette with round-abouts because making up my own rules isn't working.

I was actually really worried when he pulled me over. I know how it's all done in the US, but I was worried he would check my passport or visa. I'm already on thin ice with British Immigration after my fiery entrance into the UK in December and for calling the women immigration officers incompetent. He looked at my US drivers license, but that was it-he didn't even want to see my International Driving Permit (I'm kind of disappointed-all the time it took to get it , I might as well show it off).