Sunday, 31 July 2011

An Idyllic Weekend

Team Hawkeye had a fantastic weekend. It was one of those weekends where the sun shined, we had great plans with great people, and everything worked out. We had two really wonderful days in a row - the kinds of days that make us glad we are here in Cambridge, because we could never have done these things in Edmonton.

On Saturday, our Cool Friends from London (Alex & Naomi Glancy) came up to Cambridge with Alex's sister Eva (New Cool Friend from London). We went for a punt, a picnic and a pint . . . well, a few pints and a bottle of Cava... :)
Nice Family Photo - Eliz is having a little nap in her boat-jacket. She played herself out at the picnic.

This was when Alex stepped in stinging nettles while photographing Eliz in the bigl field where we picnicked.  It is just when I went to put Eliz's boots back on, after she had kicked them off, but before she fell into a bush of stinging nettles and cried for a bit. Luckily, a dog came and distracted her from the pain. Alex had to dangle his feet in the river for a few minutes to dull his pain... who's the baby now???
Another Nice Family Photo - can be used as evidence to prove that Eva does, in fact, live in the UK with G & Naomi. And that G has pretty good punting skillz.
All in all a lovely day. Followed by a great Sunday barbecue at Laura & Ollie's house. Laura is my cousin and Ollie is her fiancé, and they're good peeps. We went to their place in Mountfitchet - it's about a 30 minute train ride from Cambridge (aka "just up the road"). The sun shone all afternoon, and we had a really good time together, just chatting. Elizabeth loved climbing the very steep stairs in their house, but not at much as she loved the guinea pigs. Ollie made the hugest burgers known to man, and we ate like kings. And they lent us the DVDs of the Brit version of The Office. For the record: I truly believe that episode 17 of season 7 of the American version of The Office is the funniest television show I have ever seen (Threat Level Midnight , anyone?) I have my reservations that the British version will be funnier to me than the American one, but I am ready to give it a chance. Stay tuned.

On the train on the way home, we were the only people in our carriage. This was really great, because Elizabeth talked and sang and happy-yelled the whole way home. The whole way home. Even on the bike. She had a lot on her mind, I guess. Maybe she was just reviewing the awesomeness of the weekend?

Friday, 22 July 2011

I Have a Condition

When I was little, my brother and sisters used to trick me into doing their chores by saying things like, "George, I bet you can't empty the dishwasher in a commercial break." To which I would reply, "Can so!", and they would tell me I was too little and too slow to do it. So I would go and empty the dishwasher super fast, just to show them! Oh, little Georgina...
Now I am living proof that these kinds of 'games' have a lasting impact. Yesterday, after dinner, we saw a dog in the courtyard in front of our house, and of course Elizabeth went crazy  for it. So she and Matthew went out to play - I had decided to sit on the couch and read my magazine instead. But then, as soon as they left, I thought, "I could probably do the dishes while they're out there, and just get them done." And then halfway through the dishes, I thought, "I bet I can finish the dishes, and take the garbages out before they're back." And then I had my realization that these kinds of 'beat the clock' games with myself are a complete product of my siblings' trickery, and it all culminated with, "I bet I can finish the dishes, take the garbages out, and blog about this realization before they come back."

Turns out, I did finish the dishes, but not the garbages or the blogging. So instead, I'm blogging now, and getting it all done before my hard boiled eggs are done.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

He's So Cambreej

When he was visiting here, my big brother Chris started calling Cambridge "Cambreej" (pronounciation: cam-breej). I'm not really sure how it all started, but I now live in Cambreej, not Cambridge. And I know I've already discussed the Cambridge 'uniform' for hipsters - for girls it's short-shorts and horizontally-striped tops, usually with high heeled boot-shoes, and for boys it's super tight jeans and horizontally-striped tops with fedoras and sunglasses. There are a lot of stripes going on here this season. But Chris noticed a whole new breed of Cambreej - the Academics. The 'chinos and button downs, with a sweater tied around their neck', and the 'blazer with plaid shorts and a satchel/man-purse' set. You know the ones. They will probably own corduroy sport coats later in life.

Anyways, Chris was so Cambreej while he was here. He had a bike, a messenger bag, and a blazer. BOOM! He's Cambreejian.

Oh yes, he DID wear plaid shorts and a blazer to our local pub. He's a confident man.
I'm not sure what the headband was about, but it was hysterical. Love the guitar strapped on the back too. Seriously, I look at this picture and I laugh. Everytime. Love the Cheese.

Don't worry, he didn't look like that when we went out and about. He looked like this:

 My brother is SO Cambreej.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Marriage: Intact.

Just wanted to share with the world that my marriage is as strong as . . . something really strong. We have made it through some pretty big stuff - moving to another country, having a baby together, putting together Ikea furniture - but tonight we had a serious accomplishment. Matthew helped me figure out how to put photos into a grid in PowerPoint, and then add captions, and then line them all up properly, and then save the slide as a JPEG so that I could insert it into my blog. So now I can have little grids of photos! I am so excited!

But get this, all you computer savvy-folks, and especially those of you who make presentations for a living: he didn't get frustrated when I didn't care if the photos were not perfectly in line with each other, even though looking at the lopsided grid was clearly burning his eyes. But he did tell me how to center them all properly using these fast little shortcuts, so I ended up wanting to line them up anyways - did you notice those beautifully aligned photos??

I could see he wanted to just take over and just do it by the way his hands twitched every so often, and I could tell the fact that I didn't know this stuff was kind of unbelievable to him. But he didn't even try to 'drive' the computer even one time. That's what Love is.

Music Appreciation à la Elizabeth

I have to post these pics and these videos now, even though there are other blog posts waiting to be written. They are just too sweet to hold onto. To be honest, they are so cute it kind of hurts inside when I watch them. At any rate, I hope everyone will be okay with a little time-warping every now and again.
Now you will have that tune in your head for the next week and a half. Mwa ha ha!
We went to a fair-thing in Cambridge this past weekend, and there was a carousel, fairground rides, a craft tent, and a lot of opportunities for people-watching.
 The best part though, hands down, was the music on the big main stage. Elizabeth loved it, and was a dancing machine. She has some great moves, including a fast-forward bum-wiggle. I think she gets it all from me.

 PS I can't figure out how to set the volume on the video, so it will probably be really loud - you might want to turn down the speakers...
And after each song, she would look at us, and the stage, and do the sign for "more". And then applaud. But mostly, just say "more". I adore her.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Bike Gang, Bike Gang, Whatcha Gonna Do?

Whatcha gonna do when they come for you??

My brother, Chris, and my two sisters, Suzie and Kathryn, came to England for a whirlwind week at the end of May. It was unbelievably great to see all of them. Matthew gave me the greatest gift for the weekend they arrived: he stayed at home with Elizabeth, and I took the train down to the south coast to spend some time alone with my siblings. It was awesome. I stepped off the train, and they were waiting for me at the platform. I cried, Kathryn cried, Suzie cried. Chris pretended he had something in his eye...
Sometimes you have to rock out. Chris obviously loved that we rocked out while he was driving on the wrong side of the road, sitting on the wrong side of the car, and shifting with the wrong hand. It was super safe.
 We spent the weekend in Bognor Regis, visiting our Grandma. The definite highlight was when Chris & my uncle Derek dismantled a seagull nest on the roof of my Grandma's house. Apparently, having a seagull nest with eggs on your roof is bad for your roof (or something), so they took it upon themselves to get rid of it. This 'dismantling' process was made much more difficult by the lady seagull caw-ing and squawking for her seagull friends to save her eggs - no jokes, all of a sudden there were at least a dozen seagulls circling the roof, and squawking their lungs out at Chris and Derek. It was, from the ground, pretty hysterical. I came up with the brilliant idea for Chris to bang together two brooms to frighten away the birds, while Derek broke up the nest. Not gonna lie, Kathryn & I both had sad, sad moments when we saw the lady and man seagull standing where their nest used to be, randomly squawking while they looked for their eggs. It was sad. We may or may not have been hormonal.
The best entertainment in Bognor Regis: penny arcades. We had a system to win - it was like that movie about the MIT students in Vegas. Only those students won money, and we didn't. Also, we were at an arcade on a scuzzy pier in a small British seaside town, and they were in a casino in Vegas. Okay, so it wasn't exactly like that movie.
 From good ole Bog, we headed to London, to visit the Queen, my Nanny. It was wonderful to see her again. Matthew brought Elizabeth down on the Sunday, and we went into town the next day with Ross & Dina. It was one of those 'go to London but don't actually do anything' kind of days. We did eat twice, and go for a drink, but other than that, I can't remember a single thing. Nanny came up to meet us for dinner, and then E & I went back home to bed while the rest of them went to the theater.

We had just come up from the Embankment, where Nanny was telling us how she and our Grandad used to go walking together there. She got all blushy and smiley. Cutie, cute, cute, cute.
 After London, they all came back to Cambridge. I was so excited for them to see my new place, and my new city. It's a pretty impressive place to visit; we sometimes forget that, and every so often it's good to be reminded of how beautiful our city is. On the way to Cambridge, we stopped in Marlow to visit our cousin Lucy, and to meet her beautiful new baby, Olivia. Elizabeth loved Olivia. She kept trying to poke her in the eyes - I think it was true love. Also, Olivia's house has a doggie, so obviously Elizabeth was in heaven.
Babies hugging babies - it's like kryptonite for the biological clock.
Seriously, how cute are my brother and my baby? Holding hands and walking along together? Too much!

The best way to see Cambridge is from a bike, and when all 4 of us were on our bikes I was totally reminded of my clever Mum's summer activity for us: Bike Adventures. We'd pack a lunch, and bike somewhere 'exciting', and spend the day out of the house. Clever, clever Mum. Anyways, about 18 seconds after we left the bike rental place in Cambridge, Chris popped wheelies, Suzie put both her legs out and coasted, and Kathryn told us to watch out for cars. We pretty much reverted to our childhood selves, and it was awesome.
Bike Gang!!
 There were so many awesome Bike Gang moments, but the best one was the decision to stay at the pub for another round instead of biking anymore. That is why Kathryn looked like this:
 when she realized she had left the key in the lock of her bike lock. Chris was a helper, and found it for her just as she started freaking out that she'd lost the key. Yay for Bike Gangs!!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Time for a Haircut??

Elizabeth's hair has suddenly grown a lot. Well, maybe not so much that it's grown all of a sudden, maybe more like all of a sudden we're noticing it. It is this bright blonde that is unachievable with dye, and has lovely little curls - in other words, 100% beautiful.

I can even put it up in full pigtails, which in England are called 'bunches', which has joined my vernacular of Britishisms.

But it is waaaaay too long in the front. She looks like Justin Bieber unless I pull it back. As well, she's started this very teenager-esque way of squinting through it, and tries to flip it back without using her hands, leading to this neck-twitch-half-hair-flip thing.

My Little Bieb.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Crisis: Averted

It was Father's Day on June 19th, and Elizabeth & I were still in Edmonton while Matthew had come back to Cambridge to get back to work. Matthew is a really wonderful Daddy, so I had to get him something good. Also, he bought me this beautiful coat on Mother's Day, so I was doubly obligated:

 I ended up getting him an Oiler's T-shirt, these shorts:

and a banana yellow polo shirt. Matthew's Dad Holger came shopping with me, and he bought Matthew this awesome shirt that I totally love:
It really needs to be ironed...
The only thing I bought for myself while in Canada was a cookbook - call me Captain McLamePants, whatever. It is called Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, and I only bought it because my friend Nancy uses it all the time, and we always have great meals at her place. So the first thing I made out of the cookbook was Sticky Chicky, and the recipe called for soy sauce. Rather than buy the smaller bottle that would fit in our cupboard, we bought the huge bottle, which was cheaper, and after I was done, we lay it down on its side in the cupboard full of stuff that doesn't really fit in any cupboards, like the huge ziplock bags full of ziplock bags that my sister lugged across the world for me.

When Matthew was feeding Elizabeth that night, she refused the Sticky Chicky (which was awesome, but a bit spicy for a baby), but she was okay with the spaghetti sauce from the night before, which he promptly spilled right onto his brand new shorts! Crisis!! But no worries, we stain-remover-sprayed those bad boys, and then I left them overnight in laundry detergent water to soak, and I cleverly put the bowl on top of the microwave so no one would knock it over.

This morning: Major Crisis!! The soy sauce had leaked, and dripped down right onto his shorts, and into the bowl of water. His shorts were effectively soaking in brown, salty water. I immediately scrubbed those bad boys, and then took them to the laundry before anything else could drip onto them. And here is the product placement of the day: Ariel Stain Remover is where it's at, because his shorts are perfect now!!

What completes this story is this: last year Matthew got a new wallet for Father's Day, and the very next week, he was pickpocketed and someone stole it. (Or he accidentally threw it out with other stuff - we're still a bit fuzzy on that one...) So as soon as he saw the soy sauce disaster, he said, "And this is why we can't buy me nice things."

As a final note: Elizabeth is nowhere near potty-trained, but she does like to sit in her potty - one foot on the ground, one foot in the potty, and she sits her little bum on the back. She is so cool. And now her hair is long enough for full pig-tails. She's a big girl now!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Friday, 1 July 2011

Dr Matthew Hawkeye: Master of the Punt

We recently got home from a trip to Canada, which was overwhelmingly full of love, and friends, and family. I am suffering jet lag - how is that supposed to be said? I "have" jet lag? I am "jet laggy"? I am "lagging from the jet"? At any rate, I have it. It's 2:02am, and Elizabeth is banging around in her crib, presumably rolling from side to side, and waiting to fall asleep. In other words, she's doing what I had been doing before I got out of my bed and came downstairs. Not before I did the loud, whisper-yell to ask Matthew if he was asleep. He cleverly pretended to still be asleep.

So anyways. We were in Canada for Matthew's convocation for his PhD. It was a beautiful and sunny morning, and he looked awesome in his magic robes. The PhD ones are swankier than the regular old Bachelor's robes, and my only disappointment was the lack of floppy hat. At least he did some poses a la Harry Potter. I admit it: I cried when he went across the stage. It was wonderful. I was so proud.

But here's the thing. I don't have my camera with those photos on it down here, and if I go upstairs to get it, I'll wake up Matthew, and probably Elizabeth (if she is asleep by now, which I doubt). I do, however, have pics from my Blackberry, which include photos from a social event that Dr Faff organized for his lab group before we left for Canada. We went punting on the Thames, and the lab-mates did the punting. Matthew made a rule that everyone who wasn't a local had to try punting, and he also said he'd buy a drink for every person who fell in.

For those of you who don't know, a punt is like a canoe, but with a flat bottom. They are propelled by someone with a long pole who drops the pole into the water, and then pushes the boat along. Kind of like a Cambridgean gondola & gondolier. (That's right: Cambridgean.) You can steer the punt with the pole as well, like a rudder.
 So there we were: 18 of us in 3 punts. That works out to 5 people sitting and 3 punters - it sounds great in theory, but in practice, that's a lot of weight per boat, and the tops of the punts were only a couple inches above the waterline. Our boat had James (a Cambridge rower - he rows for Selwyn - see the post about the Bumps), Nij (an Australian who was clever enough to bring bread & hummus), Anna (girl physicist), Gen (Japanese physicist, clever enough to bring beer and share it), me, Elizabeth and Matthew.

James was totally down with playing with Elizabeth while I held on to her tightly. Elizabeth loved when Tiger ate Horsey. Classic.

 The only hard thing with punting (says the girl who has never done the actual punting part of it), is not getting the pole stuck in the mud at the bottom of the river. You have to put it in  the mud, in order to push off, but you can't leave it behind. Unless you are Faff, and leading this social event. Pictures say a thousand words:
Having fun!
Yeah, the pole is still over there, and the boat is still moving away from it...

Paddling back to the pole by hand because no one checked to make sure each punt had an oar for situations like this...

James reaching for the pole

James pulling the pole out of the mud and righting the punt. Matthew kept on punting afterwards, but kept a firm grip on the pole. He was super cute. Poor Dr Le Faff.

 We met up with the other punts of physicists, who had brought along a watergun, and were trying to get everyone wet. Our whole boat was grateful to Elizabeth, because even physicists know that you can't aim a watergun at a boat with a baby on board. We ended up linking-punts with them at one point. So friendly are the physicists. More like, so slow at punting, and everyone wanted to get to the pub.
Matthew only ended up buying two pints for faller-inners.You can see the dude with the towel around his shoulders, on the punt on the right - his name is Peter and he's Italian. And the kid in front of him is Christian and he's German. Well, apparently, Peter fell in, and his glasses fell off. So Christian jumped in to help him try to find them (???) and in the process cut his hand pretty badly. So when they came back, Matthew bought Peter the pint while I checked out Christian's hand. I don't think Matthew actually bought Christian a drink, since he jumped in voluntarily. Rules are rules. The sad ending to that story is that the glasses are lost to the Loch Cam Monster, never to be found again. The moral, then, I guess, is that University students are all kinda stupid, even the ones who are bright enough to do a PhD in physics at Cambridge University.