Wednesday, November 30, 2005
These cats are ALWAYS outside my house. I normally quite like cats but I am scared they might have some sort of disease I'll get or try to scratch my eyes out if I go too close. What's the opposite of cat nip so I can repell these surely rabid creatures?
I bet they had a leaf blower! Gets!
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Anyway, it is officially Christmas now in America. Thanksgiving kind of serves as a brake on the festivities, but now that it’s over, Christmas has come. You can look at it one of two ways. Firstly, it is good that Christmas doesn’t start until late November, unlike at home when it starts late October/early November. Or secondly, the pressure builds up so much that once Thanksgiving comes you are just bombarded with adverts, Christmas music and the like.
Here are some of the Christmas things I have seen recently:
This is the little hut thing outside my office window. It took TEN people all afternoon to put up these decorations.
These are the very first things you see in my local Wal Mart. Seriously what's the deal with these waistcoat things? And reindeers skiing? What says 'Christmas' better than reindeers skiing?!
Christmas trees are on sale everywhere, even at Roma's church. I like real trees. I will gladly suffer pine needles dropping because they are the best.
This is the Nativity scene on display in work, our sole decorations! I think it might win the Dullest Nativity Scene Ever Award!
The Christian radio station that I listen to (106.9 The Light WMIT which is said at least four times in every break in the music. You’d think they’d come up with a shorter name) must have played through ‘Wow Christmas’ forty times over the weekend. The playlist is now totally Christmas music. It’s not even December yet!
With adverts there is no product that is left out of the Christmas market potential. At the weekend I saw an advert for Christmas scented (I imagine pine trees and cinnamon) Glade candles with pictures of Olde England in the snow on them.
Tonight I think I’m going to go into Asheville to start my Christmas shopping. This has more to do with it being pay-day today and that I’m going to Jose’s this weekend than the holiday spirit taking hold. I’ll let you know if I get myself one of those candles. I doubt it somehow, but the Christmas music in the mall might take over me.
Monday, November 28, 2005
On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day (don’t think that is the actual term but I’m not from these parts) we went out for lunch. ‘We’ consisted of me, George and Virginia, Matthew (G&V’s son) and Sarah (Matthew’s wife), Ed (from the Travel company that is doing the conference) and Marge (Ed’s sister). It’s funny, even though I’ve never had Thanksgiving before I have a picture of it in my head. Going out for lunch was never part of it. Well, they never go out in American TV programmes or films. It’s always at home, usually with the mother getting really stressed about cooking for everyone and a member of the family having some sort travelling nightmare. But it always works out in the end and they have a lovely family time and discover the things that they really ought to be thankful for.
So Thanksgiving was not in a home, Virginia was not panicking about dinner, and there was no travelling disaster to report on. Neither was there an opportunity to share what I was thankful for. Gutted.
My dinner, an odd mixture. Going clockwise from the turkey, green beans, sweet potato with mini marshmallows burnt on top, mashed potato with nuts, honey glazed ham, butterfly shaped crackers with cream cheese, smoked salmon, a strawberry and bread. Sadly there were no tater tots or yams so I still don’t know what they are. It was a nice meal, but I prefer my mum’s Christmas dinners. For a start there are no marshmallows in her meals.
After lunch we went to a fancy 5-star hotel which hosts, wait for it, the 2005 National Gingerbread House Competition. Seriously, I could not make this stuff up. I, of course, took photos.
According to the brochure contest entries are judged on overall appearance, originality/creativity, difficulty, precision and consistency of theme.
I think it’s fair to say they take it preeettty seriously. Entries come from all across the USA. It is beyond me how some of them made it in one piece. They must have been wrapped in bubble wrap, in a temperature and humidity controlled box, travelling in a purpose built car which drove at no more than 5mph taking a route that carefully avoided all speed bumps and sharp corners.
This was one of my favourites. It was the Twelve Days of Christmas and was very clever, for example the three French hens had berets. Oh yes. Unfortunately it did not win.
Neither did this one. But if I had been a judge… The winning Gingerbread house was nice and all, but it was just shaped icing which must have scored big in the difficulty category. But this one was clever. She used ice cream cones (tree trunks), Pez and chewing gum (windows) Reese’s pieces, liquorice, and jelly bellies (domes), and candy canes (pillars) amongst other cleverness that I can’t remember now. It came 2nd, I think.
On Thursday evening I was invited round to George and Virginia’s for dinner. Virginia, Matthew and Sarah are all vegetarian so there was no meat in sight. I used to want to be a vegetarian. My parents were too smart to fight it, they knew if they did I’d be more determined to do it. And more importantly they also knew that I don’t like enough vegetables to make them all I’d eat for the rest of my dinners. Having said that though, the meal was really nice. I’ve never knowingly had spinach before, but on Thursday I had it in some sort of quiche thing. It was alright but I’ll not lie to you, I was disappointed that my muscles didn’t appear a la Popeye.
My favourite thing about going round to George and Virginia’s was talking around the kitchen table. I love doing this at home. Sometimes I wonder if we could actually sit there from lunchtime til teatime. On Thursday night we talked about all sorts of nonsense, from serious stuff about NI, to the way George says vehicle (veh-hay-cul). Good craic.
The rest of the weekend wasn’t half as exciting. I spent a large portion of it in my jammies watching TV and DVDs. So yup, I’m still thankful for jammies.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Anyway, I’m glad it’s Thanksgiving because I get 2 days off work (no blogs until Monday). Pretty much everyone I've met since I arrived has invited me to their house for Thanksgiving, which was very nice of them but I decided to stay at the Lake and enjoy my free days without the pressure of being a guest at someone’s house. Friday may well be a designated Jammie Day. But tomorrow I’ll be having a big old turkey dinner with George and Virginia and family.
I wonder will they do that American TV thing of going round the table and saying what you’re thankful for. I should have a few things ready to say, other than ‘I’m thankful for jammies'.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
On Saturday afternoon I went to the office to receive a super important phonecall from Lynsey. She's an aunt you know. When I was there I also nuck the office hoover. I cleaned outside and inside my house. I swept the carpet of leaves that lay on my path. I can honestly say have never been jealous of anyone with a leaf blower, until now. It took me ages. I want one, but seeing as it is turning to winter I will suppress that desire. I even cleared the gutter of all the leaves using my dad’s clever idea of cutting the bottom of a bottle off (don’t laugh, he once got vouchers for B&Q or somewhere of the like for getting the idea published in a magazine.) Turns out it was smart move on my part because the weather took a NI turn and rained for 36 hours straight. And to think I was beginning to miss the rain. Ha!
On Saturday night I went to see ‘Walk the Line’, but you already know that. I was clearly not the only one who enjoyed it, people laughed out loud at bits of it. Like really laughed. Then at the end people clapped. No, truly they did. This was my first cinema trip here so I don’t know if it’s a local thing or just they thought it was so good they had to applaud. It made me laugh though because my dad does that at the end of films he likes, actually at the end of all films. He’d love it here, because I got the impression people clapping were not doing it to mock their dad, like we do at home
On Sunday morning I went to Roma’s jeans wearing minister’s church. Sadly though that minister is off sick and the assistant minister was wearing black trousers. I really liked the church though. I knew the worship songs and spoke to the Youth Pastor about what youth things there are there. But I liked the Welcome Pack Giving Church of a few weeks ago too and it’s closer. But you can’t decide on a church after one visit each, so I guess it’ll not be until after Christmas before I decide.
On Sunday afternoon I watched a highly entertaining TV programme about the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading team. It was kind of like X-Factor but for cheerleaders. It was absolutlely hilarious, although I don't think it was supposed to be. I then decided to go around the lake. This was the first time I had run (parts of) it since I bought my new trainers. And it showed.
Yesterday I spent the day in pain from Sunday’s ‘run’. Stairs are a mean invention aimed to hurt those who are unfit but are trying to better themselves. I also got my petrol door thing put on so now my car looks less stupid. This gave me a little field trip out of the office. I love field trips.
Last night I went food shopping. It was still pishing it down and generally miserable outside. Three times when I was in the supermarket the power went out. Three times I tell you. I, of course, thought of you first and took a picture.
Unfortunately the power only went off for 10-20 seconds a time so there wasn’t time for any looting.
When I got back from the supermarket I discovered that a couple of branches had come down outside my house. I was slightly nervous of leaving my car outside, afterall I had just got it fixed. It was all ok this morning, but I did see this on my half mile drive to work.
A whole tree came down. This was as close as I could get without getting out of the car. I know, a true photojournalist would have got out, but you are forgetting that I am still in pain and it's cold outside. So just squint to see it.
So that’s been the last couple of days. You're up to date.
Monday, November 21, 2005
I’ve noticed myself changing in the past month or so since I arrived here. ‘What’s changed Tina?’ I hear you cry.
‘Have you become an even better cook now that you are making all your own dinners every night of the week?’
‘Are you honing your already superior administration skills?’
‘Are you an absolute domestic goddess now you have your own house to take care of?’
‘Have you finally mastered the difference between left and right and can drive with confidence knowing you’re on the right (and the correct) side of the road?’
Sadly the answer all these questions is a firm ‘no’. The change I’ve noticed is that I’ve become a little bit country. For example:
- Last week I watched the Country Music Awards
- I watched the Garth Brooks story on the Country Music Channel (CMT)
- I had the Top Twenty countdown on CMT on when I was cleaning on Saturday
- I watch ‘Reba’, Reba McIntyre’s sitcom
- Maggie and I saw ‘Walk the Line’, the story of Johnny Cash on Saturday night.
You see the thing is, I actually enjoyed all of these things (well Reba is rubbish but watchable enough). I especially liked ‘Walk the Line’. You have to see this film when it comes out back home (I checked to see, February apparently). Seriously, it is such a good story and Reese Witherspoon acts her socks off in it. Definitely see this film.
The first time I was in America (we were in Yukon, OK, Garth’s hometown – how appropriate) I was given my country name of Tina-Sue Garrrrr-nett. To this day some members of the team will still call me that. But it seems like Tina-Sue has finally been set free and is starting to take over me. This is a worrying development. Although, thankfully, Tina-Sue has yet to look for a country radio station to listen to.
In exactly one month’s time I will be home for Christmas and it cannot come a moment too soon. I need to get myself out of this country air. Quickly.
But maybe some of you could look into some sort of rehab facility that I could check into upon my return. Thanks.
Friday, November 18, 2005
'Coming up in 15 minutes Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake perform a duet of the Queen classic 'We Will Rock You' but before that here's some ex-Neighbours cast members performing great scenes of the show, all for your donations'. And you think to yourself, 'oh class, I have got to see that!'.
But crappy BBC NI cuts away from the London studio to go to Strabane Leisure Centre to show Hugo Duncan dressed as a women with some more men dressed as women but holding a big charity cheque for £183.36 they got for sitting in a bath of beans for 3 hours.
Then you get Hugo wandering around the Leisure Centre for 5 minutes seeing who else raised money and how. Lots of NI people cheering and shouting on camera. Great.
Then when you think it might go back to London we are instead taken back to Belfast to watch Sean Rafferty, Noel Thompson, Jackie Fullerton and in a cross channel move, Gerry Kelly dance to The Full Monty. Oh please.
This is followed by a trip to Ballymena Leisure Centre to see an Outside Broadcast where there's no sound, but we can see a man fire eating in the car park.
Back to Belfast to be subjected to Donna Traynor, Rose Neill, Angie from the weather, and just because we are that unlucky - May McFetridge performing to 'Lollipop Lollipop'.
When they are done, Gerry Anderson tells us that they've fixed the problem in Ballymena and we now watch Bill fire eat again but with sound.
When we do finally make it back to London all you see is Terry Wogan carry a bucket collecting from the audience and talking about what a classic television moment Robbie and Justin's performance was. And to add insult to injury, we've also missed the Neighbours thing.
Nope, I will not miss Children in Need at all. Not even a tiny little bit.
(This week Jimmy Carr was in with Chris Moyles and they were talking about the little OCD tendencies we all have. Does he read my blog?! People texted in with theirs. Somebody cannot look at barcodes. Someone else has to put their socks on and off four times before their shoes. I think I am decidely normal in light of these freaks.)
Anyway, I heard the new line-up for 'I'm a Celebrity...'. I know I'll miss all the fun of the fair with that one. Actually I'll just miss Ant and Dec, they're the only reason to watch the programme.
But King Nicky and Princess Heidi came up with a great game, which is fun for all the family. You have to come up with the best ever 'I'm a Celeb' line up. The only rules are they have to be alive and have no discernable career.
So here are my choices. I've followed a few other 'I'm a Celeb' rules, like equal numbers of boys and girls.
1. Toby Anstis (former CBBC and The Ozone presenter) I was thinking about Andy Crane but just because his name is Anstis I have gone for him. Maybe he could bring Otis too?
2. Sean Maguire (Grangehill, EastEnders and one time pop star) fitting the old popstar and/or actor slot.
3. Eric Knowles (Antiques Roadshow) there's always an older man who has a 'career' although clearly wants to be more famous.
4. Noel don't know, did I ever know, his surname (Hear'say) again fitting the old pop star role.
5. Paul Ince (ex-England and Man U midfielder) there's always an old sport has-been. He's looking to set up a future career in punditry.
6. Shauna Lowry (Animal Hospital presenter) I wanted someone from NI in there and Caron Keating is sadly dead.
7. Lisa Stansfield ('Been around the world and Iii Iii Iii') again, ex pop star.
8. The actress that played Rudy Huxtable in The Cosby Show. I needed an American (there's always one) and a child star and she fitted the bill. We'll all be amazed at how grown up she is now.
9. Fatima Whitbread (Javelin thrower) again the older, wiser, should know better person, plus a sportswoman.
10. Clarissa Dickson Wright (One Fat Lady TV chef) older, wiser and who...oh her! person. Trying to increase the sales of her forthcoming cookbook.
My list is slightly lacking in that there is no hot girl, like a model or recent pop star. The closest thing is Shauna and Lisa and I don't think they're going to make the teenage boys tune in somehow (although there's a fair chance that Rudy will be hot). But apart from that I like the balance. Noel Edmonds would be a good addition though, as would Ronnie Corbett, but that would upset the balance I have carefully crafted.
I challenge you to come up with your own list with a list of 10 has-beens from a wide variety of fields and those looking to resuscitate their current struggling careers and make it to the big time. Seriously, do it!
Who's got space for who surely would be an 'I'm a Celeb' great? I mean Noel...although Mr. Blobby? I can hear the 'Blobby blobby blobby' in the jungle already! Or maybe just the man who was inside him, that would certainly be a nobody with definitely no discernable career.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Davina was on gate duty at her school, she's a teacher, and so I met her there and watched a bit of the game, actually all of the first half. I might be new to it all, only getting my crash course the weekend before but even I knew Davina's school sucked! My goodness, your granny could play better. I mean it was like watching NZ take on Belfast High (or indeed Ireland) in rugby. It didn't help that Davina's school is small and there's barely enough to make a team. They had to put in a few of their junior varsity team, which is like having the Medallion play with the Firsts.
It was honestly like watching boys against men. It was just brutal! Bless them, they'd even run the wrong way. I think that the idea was maybe to run around them but they were always brought down behind where they started. When we left at half time it was 0-35, which even with my inexperience of Football I know is an commanding lead.
But everyone in the stand was so keen, it reminded me of 'Varsity Blues', or 'Remember the Titans', you know that football is life kind of attitude. Sometimes it's ok to be crap at something, but at least you play the game. Others times you should just give up and say 'you know what, I'm not good at this and I'm going to stop the torture'. I can't decide which this was.
The line of blue players is the Junior Varsity team, along with any other small boy they could get a strip/kit/whatever you call it in American Football onto. You can also see the cheerleaders trying to whip the home crowd into a frenzy and fill us with the belief that the Eagles might actually win, let alone score.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I don't think I made myself out to be overly stupid, I just laughed at myself for breaking it. And I don't know for sure that he wouldn't have painted it and fitted it for free without playing the card. But I am my father's daughter and anything you can get for free is a good deal. (He'll quite happily let people assume he's a pensioner).
And anyway who's not to say that playing the female card with such skill isn't a clever move, if stupid men are prepared to believe you!
(Sorry about the guilt trip from yesterday, but it clearly worked. Emails from Darren, Nicky A, Megann, Julie, Mavis, Nicky and Mother. Now you can sleep easy knowing you emailed your good friend Tina!)
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
However with writing on my blog every (work) day I have apparently shot myself in the foot. Not only do I feel I have to come up with something half way interesting to write about every day, it seems that this blog makes some of you* think that you don't need to write me emails.
I feel like doing the teacher thing of punishing the whole class and not write anything here until my inbox becomes slightly more full. But that would be unfair and I am not unfair. So I am launching an amnesty on emails. Please write me an email and tell me something...anything about your life. I will reply and not mention the fact that you, my friend, have been crap at writing to me. I understand that you have a life and new friends. But I am 4000 miles away for pity's sake!
*There are a few notable exceptions to this - Kari, Lynsey, and Father are all excellent at writing me emails.
Monday, November 14, 2005
It wasn't as easy as getting to Jose's house but I think I pulled it off with amazing skill. Except that:
1. I broke the petrol door off my car. My thigh of steel* walked into it. It'll probably cost three times as much as the car to get it fixed. Nice one Tina.
2. There are confusing signs that say a road is both going north and south. I understand how a road can go north and east, or south and west. My, albeit limited, Geography knowledge tells me that a road cannot go north AND south. They are truly polar opposites.
3. 'La la...driving to Virginia...going to Virginia...Davina lives in Virginia...la la...have I ever been to Virginia before...oh yes I have been to Virginia before....la la la la...I wonder when I'll cross the state line into Virginia...la la...if I knew the state song for Virginia I'd sing the Virginian state song...la la la...Virginia...Virginia'. Imagine my surprise when I pass this sign:
'Tennessee welcomes you'. I'd like to write exactly what I thought but my mum reads this (not that she is unaware of my occassional and for mostly good reason swearing but she'd be embarrassed all the same) so let's just say I thought 'That's nice of Tennessee to welcome me, I didn't know I went through Tennessee on my way to Virginia'.
So as it turns out you have to drive THROUGH Tennessee to get to Virginia. I am drafting an email to Google Map to complain that they did not highlight this fact to me in their directions.
So I am nearly an interstate queen.
*who knew cellulite was so strong?
Friday, November 11, 2005
1. I do not know where my mobile is most of the day. Like yesterday for instance I spent an hour looking for it. Thought I’d left it in the office, then the car, then my mail box, then the post office. I discovered it under the sofa. How it got there, I have no idea.
2. I can leave dishes waiting to be washed until I have run out of everything. The other day I did in fact have cereal in a cup. No doubt if I had a gravy boat I'd use that too.
3. I don’t even have a toilet roll holder.
4. I could care less what the rest of my hair is doing. I think my hair’s appearance is testament to this fact. Hedge, a, through, backwards, dragged.
5. I can leave my clothes out for days after I get changed.
6. In fact I am not good at putting things away in general. Stuff could sit out til the cows come home, or until I trip over it and break it. Even then it could take me days to move it.
7. Sometimes I like things at jaunty angles.
8. I can go to bed quite happily without doing all manner of things.
9. Books, DVDs and other media (apart from CDs) can be arranged however they land. And it’s only CDs in my CD racks that have designated slots. In the car or other places they can be wherever they like.
10. Food is protected under the 5 second, the 10 second and indeed the however-quickly-I-can-pick-it-up rule. Unless of course it falls in something gross, or there is a hair and/or fluff attached.
Please don't worry about me. I do not fly into a fit of rage if things are not how I like them. The therapist has really helped me with that.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
10. I cannot have a mobile near me when I am sleeping. Goodness knows what the waves are doing to me during the day, let alone when I'm on the phone. When I'm sleeping I want my brain to get a break from the frying.
9. Songs ripped onto my computer must have capital letters at the start of words.
8. Toilet roll must start away from the wall.
7. The bit of my hair at the front must be straight, not an 'S' shape. I check this everytime I see myself in the reflection. I've discovered there isn't much I can do about it if it is an S (apart from make sure it is behind my ear at all times) but I still check.
6. I check to make sure my Yaris is locked about 70 times. Then I worry about whether I locked it or not. I realise this is slightly ironic, seeing as I teased Jose. That's why I like the fact the Focus beeps.
5. Things must be straight, using a spririt level if possible. By that I mean pictures on walls and things on cards. Not bottles in cupboards or towels on rails, like the husband in 'Sleeping with the Enemy'. I'm not that bad.
4. Clothes in my wardrobe at home must be categorised, eg skirts, cardigans, zip up tops, hooded tops etc. These are arranged left to right in the order they were purchased.
3. I cannot go to bed without brushing my teeth. If I happen to fall asleep before they're done, then I have to brush them as soon as I wake up.
2. CDs must be displayed in the order I got them in. I even go as to far as the order I opened them on Christmas morning. No really.
And the top thing I am OCD about is:
1. I must have one of each colour of Skittles, Smarties, M&Ms or whatever coloured sweet I'm eating left at the end. I can eat them in any order up to that point and any order once I have them left. But there has to be one of each left at the end.
I'm writing about these things because I bet there are things that you have OC tendencies about too. At least I hope there are things you are OC about, otherwise I might need to get some sort of medication...soon.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Anyway, without the rain the leaves that fall remain all crisp. There isn’t much wind here either so the leaves say on the trees longer. That made it very pretty.
But now the leaves are falling much more. This is slightly annoying for me, cos I live in the middle of a forest of trees.
This is what I am greeted to upon my return to the house everyday. Grr! A carpet of leaves I tell you!
But somehow I can’t be that mad cos it is so so pretty.
These trees are right outside my office window and were the brightest red I have ever seen.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Postcard – Julie, with a lovely scene of Belfast City Hall and 54 words
Letter – Kari, with a 4 page letter.
Parcel – Brian, with previously unpublished books in America, ‘Rachel and Christopher’ and ‘Rachel’s Revenge’ which met the criteria of the TINA.
USA section – Megann, with my birthday present and other extra excitements
The Golden Prize
Kari is the winner! A very fun package to open.
The TINA was impressed by the high standard of entries in all categories and feels that all competitors should receive something in their letter box. So please don't be disappointed if your name is not here. The competition is much like life, there are winners and losers. But unlike life, losers will receive a prize too!
Thank you all! Opening my post box will never be as much fun again!
Monday, November 07, 2005
Highlights of the weekend
1. Convincing a boy to have vegetables (note - plural) on a pizza. What a triumph! Boys always seem to revert to their caveman instincts when it comes to pizza – meat, meat, meat and oh...some more meat.
2. Driving myself to another state. Weekends are exciting times for me!
3. Getting to know Jose better.
4. Square dancing, although there is some controversy as to whether it was square or contra. Either way it was a laugh! A lot like a ceilidh before you mock, and everybody loves a ceilidh!
5. Going to the zoo and making up stories about the animals (sounds rare but actually fun. It was a lot like people-watching but with animals!)
6. Going to Jose’s church. BIG! They have so much going on there and seem to be using the space they have really well. Fair play to them.
7. Sleeping in on Saturday morning.
8. Learning about American Football. Not as good as rugby, but you know, it’s good to learn about new things. I now know what the yellow and blue lines mean, how many points for a touchdown, about the AFC and the NFC and about downs. Thanks to Jose, Jason and Will for imparting such knowledge!
Lowlights of the weekend
1. Dancing with rare, sweaty country people. In the dances there was a lot of switching partners so you couldn’t bags yourself a non-sweaty one with any degree of confidence that he would remain with you. You also had to hold hands a lot. There was one guy there whose hand would literally slip off mine it was so sweaty. Gross!
2. Not knowing any of the worship songs in Jose’s church.
3. Zac’s (Jose’s roommate) alarm going off far too early on Sunday morning.
4. Having a majorly awkward discussion in the car coming home from the dance about ‘socialism’. This guy had clearly got communism and socialism mixed up. Also he developed unhearing ears where no matter what we said, it did not matter to him.
Twice as many highlights as lowlights. There are many more highlights that just aren't suitable to be written about, including an interesting name of dance in South Carolina! Still makes me laugh even now, I'll tell you individually. All in all, I had a great weekend!
Oh and 'Smiling faces, beautiful places' is SC's number plate tag line. Like Michigan's is 'Great Lakes splendour' and NC's is 'First in flight'.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Last night I did my washing and this morning I got up early and ironed! That's all in preparation for going to South Carolina to see Jose from ICYC (he of International friends=good times blog a while ago) this weekend. I'm not so domesticated that I am that keen to iron, promise! Should be a good weekend, I'm just excited I get to be with people in my age bracket! We can talk about Ipods and DVDs and other modern things.
The competition closes on Monday and winners be announced here on Tuesday (along with an email, as per the rules). I'm sure you are all dying to know who won! I can feel the tension from here!
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Chapter 1 - The Sights
‘Taxi!’ I actually successfully managed to hail a cab on a few occasions. Also, there were two separate times people stopped and asked me for directions. I clearly look like a New Yorker, or at least I give the air of ‘I know what I’m doing and where I’m going’. Or maybe it’s my friendly, trusting, I won’t mug you face!
Times Square. This is the reason why the cross at the Lake is lit up!
It’s hard to be impressed by the Statue of Liberty with all the skyscrapers around, but it’s easier when you think about how this would have been the first thing new immigrants would have seen arriving in the New World and there were no skyscrapers back in the olden days.
The skyline and some foreground interest!
Chapter 2 - Things we did
The only photo of us all together. We’re on top of the Empire State Building (the guy who took the photo had nowhere to run with my camera so I decided it was safe).
We went to the Hallowe’en parade, otherwise known as Freaks Walking Down a Road. I will never understand the complete fascination with Hallowe’en here. And they don’t even have fireworks!
After the parade I discovered how people die in stampedes. There was NO room to move ANYWHERE! This is a photo I took with my phone of the crush, that dark bit in the middle is someone lifting a pushchair, just incase you were wondering.
I made David stand in this photo in order to show you how big these giraffes actually were. Life size I tell you! But at that price, I’d like a real life size giraffe for the back garden. The ones that reached my shin were $200. Honestly.
David bought a pretzel. 'Would you like some bread with your salt?' (The old ones are always the best)
We got a bus tour around the city. In a desperate attempt to get our money’s worth we took (almost) every tour available, Downtown, Uptown, Brooklyn. This was the Guide on the Uptown tour. He was wick! He laughed at all his own jokes that no one else found funny at all. This was doubley unfortunate because not only was he not funny, our lack of laughter failed to mask his horrendous laugh. Thankfully towards the end of the tour whatever he was on (I thought maybe too much orangeade, Karen thought Blue M&Ms, David thought maybe something illegal) began to wear off.
I saw this in Harlem. Is this not the point of McDonalds? Are they not all ‘Express’?! Do sit-down-and-place-your-order-with-a-waiter-McDonalds exist?
Chapter 3 - Other photos of interest
I’m naming and shaming, well actually just shaming this woman. She would NOT stop walking around the little waiting room at Newark Airport train station which opened the automatic doors to the cold outside world EVERY SINGLE TIME. Seriously.
I went to Dylan’s Candy Store. It’s owned by Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan. Or so David’s guidebook told me anyway. It was cool but not quite the Charlie’s Chocolate Factory I was imagining. But it was a little piece of heaven all the same. The stairs in it had gummy sweets in them, all lit up. Very cool. And yes, that bunny is made of chocolate and it’s huge!
I walked a little bit through Central Park. Someday I would like to take a carriage ride through the park. That is an appropriate mode of transport for a princess such as myself.
I got the subway all by myself! How brave am I? Yeah not really, as this story will testify. We were walking along the street when David pointed to the road right beside the pavement was a huge rat. I jumped a mile while cleverly moving myself away from the road incase the beast it should attack me. (Nicky please don’t take too much pleasure at this story)
I had pizza in the airport. I once got mocked ruthlessly for asking for sweetcorn on my pizza at camp. But broccoli? Broccoli is fine apparently! Weirdos.
This was the quite small suitcase I took to NY. It came with a super cool (or so I thought) combination lock. ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ or so the old adage goes. ‘Buy cheap, buy the contents of your suitcase again because the combination changes without your knowledge’ is what it should be. I sat for 15 minutes going through every combination from 000 to lucky number 207 at which point the blessed lock opened. That was not even close to the number I had chosen (555). I will be using the locks that you can open with a hair pin in future. Let’s face neither lock is going to stop a would-be thief stealing your stuff but at least using the crappy key lock I don’t need to play Lucky Numbers to get to my stuff.
Chapter 4 - Other highlights and lowlights
- Getting Mango Chicken served in an actual shelled out mango.
- Taking artsy sepia photos of NY buildings.
- Going to the quietest Old Navy shop ever. Sponsored by the Parade right outside! While they watched the freaks, we shopped in peace and quiet.
- Walking straight up the top of the Empire State Building, all thanks to every other tourist getting their dinner.
- Flying back to NC and seeing the sun set over America. Then seeing every Eastern coast city all lit up because there was no cloud cover.
- Having a spot so big I was actually considering charging people to look at the view from the top of it.
- Seeing ‘Stomp’. My head only hurt a little bit coming out. It is fantastic though, and I’m jealous of their rhythmic abilities. I have NO rhythm whatsoever.
- David bringing much needed items of clothing to me (coat, skirt and AS hoodie). Yay!
- Getting a crepe at street market/fair thing on 7th Avenue. How come this was a tiny fraction of the price of one at Summer Madness? Rip off merchants.
- Seeing the ‘When Harry met Sally’ Arc De Triomphe.
- Getting a hot dog from the street.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Upon my return I had more post waiting for me. I think this was the best thing I ever thought of! Winners will be announced in due course.