Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Weird Association: Beets to Bolt to Babowal

The London Olympics were on when the Babowal family came to visit us. And on the night of the mens 100m race, we were having this salad-in-a-bag with lots of beet-sticks in it. It looks like this:
So now, every time I eat that kind of salad, I think of this:

Weird, right?

At least after that thought, I think of fun times like this, and get back on track.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Well, This is Embarrassing. And a Bit Depressing.

Soooooo, you know when you get about 90% of the way through doing something, and then you don't actually finish it, but you swear  you did?? Yeah, I did that with the photographs of Holger & Anne's visit to Cambridge. I was actually scrolling through my blog, looking for the post when I realized: huh. I'm a dumbass.

Without further ado, here is what we did together.

The pair arrived on a ___day (I forget now, but it was a weekday, which is important) and Elizabeth & I went to meet them the next day. Matthew couldn't come, because he was working - aren't you glad I told you it was a weekday that they arrived?? ;) They stayed in London with one of their good friends, who lives right next to Battersea Park. Truth: I have never been there before, and Second Truth: I am sad I only just learned about it at the end of our stay here. It's a great big park on the south side of the Thames, and it has everything. A duck pond, a "ladies pond" (what the what???), fountains, and a children's zoo. So Elizabeth & I got to go to the zoo with her Grandpa Holger & Annie. It was so much fun. Anne brought Elizabeth a set of fairy wings & a halo with "fairy hair", which Elizabeth was proud to wear as we we left the zoo. Oh, and she played in a splash park/sandbox, so.... that's why she's a Naked Fairy.

As we were leaving the zoo, Naked Fairy Elizabeth was getting pretty tired, and was ... easily distracted, shall we say? Here is her leaving the zoo - she did that hopscotch about 8 times.  Sorry that you will be subjected to my embarrassingly high voice saying, "Come on" or "Let's go" or whatever it is that I say. I love her fast little run.

Then, Holger & Anne went to visit other friends in England for a week, so by the time they got to Cambridge they weren't jet lagged anymore! Success! I always feel so bad for visitors going through jet lag. It just stinks, and they want to have fun, but are exhausted, and we want to have fun, but don't want to make anyone suffer when they just want a nap. Ya know?

Here's what we did: Lay in the sunshine. Go to pubs. Visit college gardens and all the greens. Go for scones and tea in Grantchester. Cycle around. Play board games. Play with Elizabeth. Have a really great time.

Elizabeth lo-oves Grandpa Holger - and he's pretty moony over her too. They did a lot of nose-touching and copy-cat-ing together. It was pretty entertaining. 

I mentioned that we cycled everywhere in Cambridge, which is just such a great way to see the city, and a more fun way to get around than buses or taxis. Also, it was still warm when they were here. It's too bad that Elizabeth's little helmet isn't visible in this photo. (It's also too bad that I almost wrote 'it's a pity' --- OMG, turning British!)

So while it's incredibly embarrassing to be so convinced that you've done something that you actually haven't, it's even more depressing to actually write this blog of sunshiney, blue sky days on a dreary, grey afternoon. I want it to be summer all year round. How about every single person I know & love move to San Francisco with me? Imagine??!!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

So Cambreejian - or is it?

All of a sudden, there are pianos in Cambridge. As in, in  Cambridge. There are pianos in public places, just in the parks, and the squares, and under the bridges. I thought this was part of some weird Cambreejian 'tradition' like holding May Balls (to celebrate the end of exams) in June. Inquiring minds want to know, and googling "Cambridge Street Piano" led me to this page: http://www.streetpianos.com. You should all go there - it is such a neat idea. They have an army of pianos around the world, and they get designed and decorated by local artists and put in public places for regular people to play.

I love stuff like this. You'll be walking along, just going for a coffee, and all of a sudden, there's beautiful live music right in front of you. Or, you're cycling home, and suddenly the stylings of an amateur pianist hit you as you pass under the bridge on the way home. Cambridge, being full of over-achieving students, has lots of people in the category of, "Oh, I don't play much anymore, but my parents made me take lessons so I'd get into _______ school." (Med, business, law, it doesn't matter.) They launch into Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Mozart, you name it. It's a pretty fab city for a buncha pianos.

Here are some of the pianos:
Jesus Green

King's Parade

Christ's Pieces

Sussex Street
(There's apparently a collaboration with Cambridge Ballerinas because there's a video on their website of a dude playing under Elizabeth Way bridge, and a girl dancing. It's 3:21 min, so you get a photo instead, but if you want to see it, it's on this page, about 2/3 of the way down.)

Silver Street Bridge

King's Parade, again

But this is probably the best one, close to our house in Arbury Court.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Lack of Focus

I started getting pictures together from when Larry & Gina visited earlier this month. Between us, Matthew & I had taken approximately 8,000 photos, so this sorting out process can be lengthy. My excuse for tons of pics is (a) poor photography skills (ie more photos = more chances for one good shot) and (2) crappy blackberry camera. I don't know what Matthew's excuse is, as he has proven time and time again that he is an excellent photographer, and he has a "real" camera. (And he actually knows how it works, and talks about apertures, f-stops and exposure times, blah blah blah...)

So anyways. I started the sorting out, and collage-d up these shots of Elizabeth
Then I realized that we had about 600 shots of Elizabeth chasing pigeons outside the British Museum, so I had to collage those bad boys:

Then I realized I should probably put in photos of the people who came all the way to England to visit us... So I made these of Elizabeth with her beloved grandparents:

And while making those collages, I discovered we had roughly 40 pictures of Larry making his, "What's going on over there??" face. For those of you who know him, you know he makes that face often, and for those of you who don't, it looks like this:

And then I started remembering what we actually did together. We punted to Grantchester. We actually toured King's College. We went to London for a really lovely day at the British Museum and Covent Garden. And then I remembered the great Egyptian tombs that we saw at the Museum, and how nice the faces on them are. Really, these faces are so relaxed and calming, don't you think?

Then I started laughing as I remembered all the times Gina took my picture at the museum, as I did the same poses as the sculptures & artifacts. I have labelled the photos, in case you can't tell which is me, and which are the ancient sculptures.

And then I remembered this tomb-thing that I probably read about and thought it was pretty neat, but how I really just wanted to turn it into a puppet theatre... good thing Matthew was there to stop me.

I think this blog proves two things: (1) I'm a total dork, and (2) a sign of a good visit is a scattered blog post full of things that make me laugh.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

I'm a Bit Freaked Out

Every parent thinks their kid is the smartest, funniest, happiest, etc-iest kid in the world. That's a given. So, obviously, I think Elizabeth is pretty darned amazing. But every so often, she does something that is kind of mensa-esque and I get a bit creeped out that she's only 2.

A couple weeks ago, when Larry & Gina were visiting, we went into London for the day. It was a fantastic day, where everything just worked out. You know, the trains were at a decent time, it didn't rain, Elizabeth had a super nap in her stroller at a convenient time - we happened to be at the British Museum, so it was ideal - and it was an all-around lovely day. We ended up going to Covent Garden, and we took a bus to get there. We have never taken a bus there before, always the tube. As we were walking up to the square, Elizabeth said, "Mum, I want to see the eggs." We were both a bit confused - what the what was she talking about?? She said, "Yes, the eggs Mummy. The big eggs. I want to see them."

She was referring to the Great Easter Egg Hunt that was held in Covent Garden in April. Remember this?? So she remembered a one-time event, seven months later, when we weren't even in the square yet, and we were approaching it from a different direction. I was totally flabbergasted.

Then last week, she was colouring and drawing, and I showed her how to use a ruler to make straight lines. So she drew this:

And I said, "What do you see?" and she said, "It's the letter H. I see. . . 7 lines."

I started to correct her, to say there was only 3 lines, and then . . .I stopped myself. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Comedy Gold Part II

Today Elizabeth wanted to watch videos on my phone. This is largely because all of the videos are of her. Duh.

This one made her laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh:

And then this one made me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh:

On a windy, rainy day, there is nothing like watching your husband try to catch an apple with his mouth.

If you need another good laugh, here's some video of us fake puking. I don't know why you wouldn't check that link.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Town vs. Gown

I was recently introduced to this phrase: "Town Vs. Gown" - as in the Regular People of Cambridge, compared with the Students of Cambreej. You might think Matthew & I are Gown-ers, because he works at the University. Not so much. I think you're only really Gown-y if you're an undergraduate student . . . or maybe a grad student. But since Matthew is just a boring old scientist now, we're kinda Towny. I give you a few examples of Town Vs. Gown. Ahem.

Students live in really beautiful and centrally located College-owned buildings:

 The rest of us live outside of the centre of town, in regular flats, or British row- or terrace-houses:

Their local pub is cute, quaint and full of young, hip students:

Our local pub has a bouncy castle, an outdoor playpark, a children's menu and a large outdoor area for Toddler Fun (aka running and yelling)

But perhaps musicality is the best differentiation between the two...



Thursday, 4 October 2012

Brown Bag Lunch?

I had a bunch of browning bananas on the counter, so what better idea than to bake banana bread while Elizabeth sleeps, right? I checked the cupboard for baking stuff:

Good to go. Tons of stuff in there. Then I checked the fridge for the fridge stuff:
Clover = margarine. This is good, because here's the recipe:

We use the margarine containers for leftovers, which is why there are 3 of them. But . . . here are the contents of the three of them:

So, guess Matthew is having a tasty lunch today. . .Mmmmmm!!!

Monday, 1 October 2012

An Awesome Saturday with Drama and Excitement (and Noodles)

We went to London on Saturday. It was an epic day - so epic, in fact, that even though we saw tons of friends and family and had some really great times, we took no photographs at all. Oops.

The day went like this: leave Cambridge - get to Nanny Jock's house - go to Lylah's first birthday party - have an awesome time - leave party - rejoice that Elizabeth fell asleep on the train back to the city - meet up with our Cool Friends in London, Alex & Naomi - enjoy a pre-dinner drink with them - go for noodles in Covent Garden - feel very proud of ourselves that our child ate and was not a nuisance at the busy restaurant on a Saturday night. Her good behaviour was probably related to the awesomeness of my drawing on the placemat:
50p to the first person who knows what this is.
I tell you this all in fast forward because the real hilarity started after  dinner.

When we were eating, we realized that it was an hour later than we thought - does that happen to anyone else? You think you're fine for time and then you look at your watch and feel like you lost an hour? Like some kind of Daylight Savings vortex! That was why we didn't get to Kings Cross until 8:04. And then I glanced at the departures board, and the next train to Cambreej was at 8:06... so I convinced Matthew to run up two flights of stairs with Elizabeth in the stroller. He was totally ye of little faith. And then I totally  biffed it on the stairs and completely fell!  I'm talking a full on  fall onto hands and knees! Remind me how cool I am?? But I got up, we kept running, and actually made it onto the train. Result!! We were those annoying people that make trains depart 30 seconds late, which somehow causes the train to arrive at its final destination 10 minutes late. (I don't understand how that happens, but it's true.)

After we had caught our breath, and someone offered Elizabeth & I a seat as the train was pretty packed, we realized that this was the s-l-o-w-e-s-t  train in the world, and stopped at every single town between London & Cambridge. Normally, the trains are either direct or only have 2 or 3 stops, so the travel is between 45 minutes and an hour. This train was going to be an hour and forty minutes. Whoopsies.

I feel like this is a story told by a six year old - just a series of "and THEN!" - But really, and then!!  There were no seats left in our carriage, but a 30 year old-ish Dude had a suitcase on the seat beside him. British Man #1 (probably about 60 years old) asked him to move his case so he could sit. Dude actually said no. So British Man #2 (also aged about 60) who didn't know British Man #1, asked Dude, "Did your case buy a ticket?" To which Dude responded by putting his headphones on and turning his back.


British Man #2 took offense to that, as you can imagine. He tapped Dude on the shoulder and said, "You're being unreasonable. There are people standing and you have a suitcase on a perfectly good seat."


Dude too offense to that, and said, "Do you want me to smack those {expletive} glasses right off your {expletive} face?"

Now. I ask you: what kind of dumbass would actually hit someone on a packed train? Or any busy public place? What a lame threat. If he had actually hit that man, someone would have recorded it on their phone, and posted it to youtube before we got to the next stop. Someone else would have phoned the police, who would have met us at the next station to arrest him. Every single person in our carriage could have identified Dude in a line up. What a dumbass. I secretly wanted him to try something. But he didn't.

Instead, British Man #1's Super British Wife stood up and said, "This is just plain bad manners and is disss-gusting. My husband has just had knee surgery and you're going to make him stand  so your case can be on a seat? I am dissss-gusted by this." Oh, but waitasec - let's just point out one thing: British Man #1's Super British Wife was sitting down. She had a seat that she wasn't offering to her recovering-from-surgery-husband...That doesn't take away from the fact that Dude was wasting a seat, but it sure doesn't win her any Wife of the Year awards...

British Man #1 started to get a little bit jumpy now, since he was closest to Dude, and British Man #2 was clearly putting on a brave face but was probably secretly pretty worried about (a) being able to drive home from the station with broken glasses, and (2) explaining his black eye to everyone at the office on Monday. In the end, Dude calmed down, moved his case, and then British Man #1 had the totally-not-awkward joy of sitting next to him for the whole ride home. Relaxing?? I think not.

Taking a train that stops in every single village & town made me grateful that we live in Cambridge. This is simply because saying, "I live in Cambridge" sounds infinitely nicer than, "I live in Knebworth." Seriously? Knebworth? Who would move there???

Team Hawkeye actually had a pretty fun train ride home. This is how we roll:

So basically, we had an awesome Saturday.