Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Thanks guys for all your love and support. (Anyone passing a hat around yet?*)

Hey, did anyone else notice I passed 30,000 hits today? Yay! It's sad that that stupid ticker should make me feel loved and validated, and yet...

So plans are in the works. I've applied for a few part time jobs, I've sorted out arrangements with my landlord so I don't get evicted, I've sent apps for a few emergency scholarships and hardship funds, and while those are cooking I'll continue to look for more.

It's a pisser that I won't be able to compete at rowing this spring. You lot know how much I love it -- it's in my blood, a burning desire, a religious need -- but at the end of the day it's only one season, and if the worst thing that happens to me is that I miss out one season of racing while working a p/t job, well, I'm still pretty fucking fortunate. Sure a lot of people have it a fuck lot easier than me, but a lot of people have it worse, too.

I read the letter I received rescinding my scholarship to my mum. It began "Dear (my name)." I didn't tell her what it was beforehand, I just started reading it, and her first reaction was that the Pirate was dumping me in a letter. That got me thinking, watching 5 grand dry up and blow away sucks big time, but i'd rather lose 5 large than the P any day. I'd rather lose any amount of money than him. I think as long as I have him to love and be loved by I can survive anything. And that's an encouraging thought.

So it's not the end of the world. It just requires a little adjusting of the schedule for the next few months, and it means I'll have a bit less fun. But it's not the end of the world. (I keep telling myself that.)

The other silver lining is that my parents are coming to Brizzle for a visit next September, so that'll be fun.

Ooh, and if you're really really really really really bored, go back a few posts and check out the comments thread on I Can't Let This One Slide. It's gotten wicked out of hand.

*Just kidding.**

**actually no, i'm not kidding.


I've been waiting for the arrival of a $5000 scholarship that i was promised. I was banking on this scholarship to cover my rent and utilities for the next 6 months. Last night I received a letter informing me it had been withdrawn due, not to any failing of mine, but simply a shortage of available funds.

This morning I'm going back to the temp agency that hired me last summer in order to find some part time work. Sadly, in order to work 20 hours a week and keep on top of my research, I shall have to give up rowing for the remainder of the year.

I could really use some of your hugs right now.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Post-coital banter in the house of the Bitch

"Just for that," I said, recovering my breath from an unprovoked tickle-attack, "you get to sleep in The Wet Spot."

"No problem," replied the Pirate, as he vigorously dried The Wet Spot with a piece of cotton cloth. "Oh, here's your pyjama top."

"You fucking bastard."
Whee, look at mee! I can post Youtube videos! So exciting.

Anyway, here are the happy things I promised you. I hope these make you smile.

Evolution of dance

This comedian goes through every major dance trend of the last 40 years in 6 minutes. Fandamntastic.

Everyone needs free hugs

Free Hugs to all! {{{hugs}}}

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Needing something happy to share

Hey guys? Sal? How do you post YouTube videos on a blog? I could put the links up, but it's just so much cooler to have the video, ya know?

More Pope Poop

Pope Benedict said on Wednesday that the media were "perverse" and harmed children when they exalted violence and trivialized human sexuality in the name of entertainment.

Well, no. What's perverse is telling millions of people that it's better to get pregnanat AND get HIV than to prevent both. What's perverse is telling people that contracting a terminal disease is a fair price for doing nothing more than what millions of years of evolution has programed us to do. What's perverse is suggesting that it's better to conceive a child you can't afford to feed, die, and leave behind yet another AIDS orphan than to disregard the instructions of a bunch of priveledged, celibate (yeah, right) crypt-keepers who have never lived in the real world anyway.

Show me where in the Bible is says "Thou shalt not put latex on thine dick." Yeah, that's what I thought.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I can't let this slide

It's been a while since I went on en ethical diatribe, and I think we're overdue. Lately I've mostly been ignoring all the crap going on in the world, because it's all the same old shit and there's nothing much new to say about it. We all know Bush is an arrogant idiot, that the war in Iraq never should have been started, that global warming is inevitable and we're all fucked anyway, so I've been pretty much focused on my own life and insignificant trials and tribulations. But I just can't let this one slide without commenting.

The British government has decided that adoption agencies must consider same-sex couples when placing children with new parents. Good for them.

The Catholic Church in England, who handle a whopping 30% of all UK adoptions, have threatened to CLOSE DOWN all their adoption agencies if the government doesn't either a) rescind the order or b) grant them an exemption.

Does everyone see what's going on here? The Catholic Church is effectively saying "allow us to continue discriminating or we will FUCK OVER thousands of needy CHILDREN!!!" What the hell kind of a sick ultimatum is that??? Here is major global religious organization using orphaned children to further its political agenda. They claim to be "pro life," but they are clearly more concerned with their politics than with the well-being of the thousands of children who will never find loving homes if they shut down their agencies. I appreciate the good work the Church has done over the years by placing unwanted, abandoned, and orphaned kids in (usually) loving homes, but to then turn around and use those same children as political pawns?! I'm absolutely nauseated by the precedent this establishes. I hopt to GOD that the government has the good sense to see through this.

To make matters worse, the Anglican Church is getting on board with all this.
I'm so glad that the Catholic and Anglican churches have finally found some common ground, but I'm sorry they've doen so by behaving in a mutually EVIL manner.

These organizations, supposed moral leaders of our community, are quite plainly demanding the right to be allowed to discriminate on whatever grounds they deem appropriate. Religious organizations cannot and must not be allowed to discriminate in a democratic nation. It fundamentally betrays the notion that all are to be treated equally under the law. The minute you allow one religion to discriminate against a particular group, you open the floodgates; you must then allow any religion to discriminate on whatever basis it likes, at which point you are left with something that can in no way be considered a civilized society.

The only reason the Catholic and Anglican churches are even being allowed to make these demands is because the group against whom they wish to discriminate are homosexuals. If it were black people, or any non-whites, would this discussion even take place? Would they have a political leg to stand on? Of course not!

The Catholic and Anglican churches must not be permitted to hold the government hostage in this manner, both for the sake of the last group against whom it is still permissible to discriminate, and for the principles of democracy in a free and law-abiding society.

Well, there you have it

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Actually, I'm rather embarassed that I apparently paid attention during that much of high school. My high school was shit. I hope it hasn't damaged me too much.

(pssst! Sal! I'm smarter than yooooooou. Neener.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Real Me(at)

All right, I'll get on board. Heaven forbid i should be the only blogger not commenting on the whol blog ID v. meat ID debate. Last one's a rotten egg and all that, wot wot. So how do my different IDs differ?

well, my blog ID is that of a manic, horny, post-grad female who continually sufferes from culture shock, lack of funding, and various addictions, most notably rowing and the pain inflicted whenever i attempt to say something original about a 600-year-old piece of mouldy literature that no one gives a shit about save my supervisor and me.

and my meat ID?
61% pure beef cake
24% pig-headed
12% mutton (still dressing as lamb), and
3% chicken (though not hugely prone to fits of terror, i do periodically look up, decide the sky is falling, and curl up in bed in the fetal position, taking with me either copious amounts of chocolate or a large, muscley man {whichever is nearer at hand} for purposes of comfort and reassurance).

Sure I'm taking the mick, but the fact is I don't see a whole lot of difference between my webID and my real self. When I created this blog it was for purposes of keeping a diary, to record the real me, my most intimate thoughts and details. I did it anonymously, because an anonymous online diary seemed safer than on old-fashioned pen-and-ink one. That, and my arthritis reached a point where it became difficult to write with a pen for more than a few words at a time. Typing, thankfully, is still pretty easy for me.

The only person who knew of the blog was Herebe, who got me started on the whole idea, and he already knew everything about me anyway, so I saw no point in censoring myslef. Sal began commenting on my second post, and sparked the beginning of an amazing journey of writing for my online readership, friends, supporters, hecklers, and all you lot.

Now that I have (I estimate) about 40-50 regulars who seem to check in at least once a day, I do make an effort to post something every day (sorry again for the holiday gap), and avoid if at all possible the uber-mundane Cloudy today, went to the store and bought eggs and milk sort of post. Which is just as well, because as diaries go that's pretty fucking boring, so writing for you is enhancing and focusing writing for my future self, who will look back on all this in 30 years and laugh hysterically and the tripe I put up here.

The only thing I've done differently here that I wouldn't do in a pure diary is a bit of exaggeration for the sake of making a narrative more interesting. I know I know, now you're going to wonder What's she been exaggerating about??? What has she written that's NOT TRUE???? Feel free to keep wondering, but yes, I really did set Hairy Man's head on fire. That bit I didn't exaggerate at all.

Monday, January 22, 2007


What do you do with gifts from ex-boyfriends?

I still have gifts from Hairy Man. Not many, but a couple. Most notably, this, his first ever gift to me, which he brought back from a diving holiday in Egypt.

That sculpture is still sitting on my bedside table (being used as a jewelry holder for my bracelets. ahem.) After I left Hairy Man and began seeing the Pirate I left it there because
a) I genuinely like it; it's a really neat piece of art, and
b) breaking up with His Hairyness was the hardest thing I've ever done, and though he disappeared from my life completely, I wanted to keep some reminders of him around.

I still miss him, and I still cringe at the thought that I'll never see him again, but I think the statue and the memories it evokes bring me more sadness than comfort.

On the other hand, the thought of getting rid of it -- even taking it to a charity shop or giving it to a friend -- feels like dumping him all over again, and I just can't bring myself to do it.

Every time I think of him I become incredibly sad, and yet there's a part of me that doesn't want to stop thinking about him. I cherished the time we spent together, and I want to be able to look back on those memories with fondness, and not tears. I don't want to forget about him, but I don't want to be sad every time I remember him.

So what should I do with the statue?

Saturday, January 20, 2007


So I decided to test out my new blender and make myself a fruti and yogurt smoothie. Last night I put 1/2 pine of plain yogurt in the freezer.* This morning I took it out, thawed it in the microwave for a minute on low (just enough so i could cut in into chuncks, but not melt it back to normal). I cut it into chunks, dropped the chunks in the blender along with 1 orange, peeled and sliced, 1 banana (peeled and sliced), and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. And I turned the fucker on.


It looked so lovely, my orange and banana smoothie. Lovely and pale and it smelled magnificent.

I took a pint glass from the shelf, took hold of the handle on the blender pitcher and twisted and...


Instead of the whole pitcher coming off the base (including the bottom of the pitcher with the blade bits), the jug alone came off the base, and the bottom of the jug remained attached. That's right, the bottom of the jug remained attached to the base.

My smoothie, my lovely, beautiful, fragrant smoothie, went all over the counter.

Now I am sad.

And I'm out of yogurt.


*for some fucked up reason you can't buy tubs of frozen yogurt in the supermarkets in England. they have yogurt, and they have ice cream. why they havn't glommed on to the genius that is FroYo I can't say.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hamster mansion

The Pirate is in love with my hamster. When he walks in the door the first thing he does (often before he kisses me) is go straight to the hamster cage. If Bluto is awake, the door gets opened and the little furry one gets to play with Uncle Pirate as long as he pleases. Bluto loves the Pirate becuase the Pirate gives him all the sunflower seeds he can cram into his little cheeks.

So I wasn't terribly surprised when a couple weeks ago he (the Pirate) purchased a bag of plastic connector tubes for the little guy's cage. I had already made some modifications to the cage (like the addition of the little mushroom-hut thingy on the bottom left), but the P, being an engineer, felt an uncontrollable urge to over-spec the furry one's abode. This is the result:

The Gown Saga, part Deux

went in to a local bridal shop to assess their selection of evening gowns. I thought this was a cracking good idea, as bridal shops usually have loads and loads of catalogs they can dump in front of you and tell you that they can order anything you see in any size and color. cool.

so i walk in to this hoity-toity little shop (where i've never once seen a wedding dress in the window that i would be willing to be caught dead in), and tell the sales girl my intentions. they have no catalogs, but only a rack of about 15 different gowns, all of them strapless (not my thing) and poofy (also not my style). There was one that ok-ish, and i asked to see the available color swatches. after almost 10 minutes of rooting around for them like a pig in search of truffles, she brought them out. the only one worth considering was black.

i told her i didn't really see anything that appealed to me, and thanked her for her time. and then the cheeky, condescending cow said this:

Well, you might have better luck over at TK Maxx. They have lots of designer one-offs that might be more to your taste and budget. You have to keep going back over and over because their stock turnover is quite high. Do you know where TK Maxx is, over in Broadmead?

TK Maxx??? TK effing MAXX???? what TK Maxx has is a bunch of flawed dresses that wouldn't even sell off the designer clearance racks! dressing with stains and missing buttons/ribbons/sequence/beads etc with loose threads and snags and zippers that stick that have been tried on and sweated in by 30 people who strained the seams.

(Let me just add the caviat to this snobbish statement that I have no problem whatsover with TK couture, and discount dresses are great for certain types of events, like when you need a dress for an Athletic Union Boat Club formal ball thingy and you want something cheap so that if the captain of the rugby club spills his lager all over you and some twat steps on your hem and tears it and your best mate gets barf on you while you help her stagger to the loo you don't care because the dress is disposable and you're going to take it off on your stoop and burn it before you even bring it into the flat anyway. But that's not what I'm looking for. Because I already HAVE one of those dresses, and I've been wearing it for 3 years, and that's what the Pirate is trying to REPLACE with something a little more dignified.)

The point is that while I was prepared to invest real money in a good, quality, flattering, formal gown, the aristocratic BITCH took one look at me and assumed she knew everything about me, including my budget, taste, and intentions. Ever seen Pretty Woman? It was that scene. You know the one. I can't wait to walk back in there with the Pirate and some absolutely stunning creation from Bond Street and tell her where to go. Oh yeah.

(I told the Pirate about this incident, and I must have become quite animated and emphatic because he said to me "I can tell you're over it. That's good." Sarcastic bastard.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Loot

This is the post where I tell you about all the neato stuff I got for my birfday. Mum and dad sent much needed $$$. Sr. Aunt PITA also sent $ and a book titled "Mysteries of the Middle Ages." (It looks interesting, but I question the scholarship and the agenda of the author. Will read with grain of salt near at hand.) The bro and sis-in-law sent me one of these:

Yay! now i can make my own smoothies and creamed soups and all kinds of yumminess. (Frozen cocktails has nothing to do with it, I swear.)

But the biggest surprises of all came from the Pirate and his parents.

(are you excited yet? I bet you're getting excited. You guys eat this shit up like a flock of seagulls on a corpse in a landfill.*)

Well! A package arrived in the mail, and it was Royal Mail not international so I knew it wasn't from my fam. I didn't recognize the handwriting, so I knew it wasn't any of the handful of friends I had scattered around the country. It was wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string. (I shit you not. My life really has become a Julie Andrews movie. {Not "Victor Victoria"}) I tore it open. It was a gigantic, gorgeous book titled, "Masterpieces of Illumination: the most significant manuscripts from 600 to 1400." Somebody knows me pretty damn well. I was really touched.

It was Friday evening, the day of my actual anniversary of entering the world (after a 17-hour labor, which I'm told was attributed to my shaving my legs and deciding what to wear**). The Man Himself came over, fairly late as he'd been training that evening for a national sports competition. He took me in his arms and said...

(are you salivating yet?)

"For your birthday present....

later this weekend...

I'm taking you over to Bath...

(and yes, he really was pausing after every clause, in a warped, Shatner-esque attempt to build suspense. It worked.)

where all the nice shops are...

to go shopping for...

(by this point I was almost hyperventilating)



evening gown!"

Ok, so it wasn't small, round, and shiny. But still, how fucking cool is that???? I've never gotten to pick out a proper gown before. I own 2, but one is a leftover from when I was a bridesmaid and I didn't get to select it, and the other I bought for 2 reasons and 2 reasons only: 1, it fit; and 2, it was cheap. I bought it to be disposable, and I've been wearing it for 3 years. So The Pirate is taking me out to doll me up in proper, high-class evening attire, along with all the necessary tailoring and underpinnings. Whoo-hoo!

We spent all day Sunday in Bath, but there was nothing. Only a few evening gowns left in the shops, and nothing to write home about. (Apparently it's not the season for purchasing formal evening wear.) After a disappointing afternoon in which I only managed to even try on 2 dresses, the Pirate is already hatching a plan to take me to London, where the shopping is legendary. Sa-weet. This is going to be phun with a capital "ph." I'll post pics when we find something we like. :0)

(and I can't help but wonder if the reason he wants to get me new gown is because he has some specific event in mind where I will need such an ensemble. I wouldn't say it's likely, but it's just possible. Stay tuned...)

*Note to self: insulting readership probably not best way to win friends and influence people.

**Ironic, as I've not shaved my legs since and I really don't give a toss about what I've got on.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Birthday musings

It was my birthday last Friday. (hence the reason I didn't get any blogging done over the weekend. There were too many goings-on.) I am 28.

It's not that I object to being 28 per se. It's that I object to being just 2 years shy of 30. Something about that "3" just gives me the willies.

Since my b-day follows right on the heels of the new year, I spend a lot of time in January navel-gazing. New year, another year older, etc etc. This year I am astonished at how much my life has changed in such a short time. I can't help but look at where I was this time last year an be astonished at everything that's happened since then.

Last year at the New Year i didn't make any resolutions. I was depressed. I was in Bristol, in England, doing what I wanted to do, but I was profoundly lonely. I had very nice flatmates, all of whom were in relationships. I had very nice friends in my department, all of whom were in relationships. I was still recovering from the emotional trauma of being deported from England, and the worse trauma of not getting the warm reception from my friends that I desperately wanted. When I arrived in Bristol I hoped that the almost-flames I left behind in Manchester would rev up in a proper conflagration, but alas no. Nothin' doin'. I was depressed, convinced I would be alone forever, and focused on my work because I had nothing else besides my research and rowing. I hadn't been kissed or on any kind of a date in over 8 years.

It was on my birthday last year that one of my flatmates dragged me out to a club to get drunk and dance. It was on that night I met The Hot Scot, and pulled for the first time ever. THS made me realize what I'd been missing out on. It was that snog (and lord, what a snog!) that inspired me to join a dating service.

It was on that dating service that I met the Hairy Man, and I began to know was it was to be happy.

And it was the confidece I gained from my relationship with the Hairy Man that made my relationship with the Pirate possible. I am convinced that had I been at the party where the P and I met in my pre-Hairy state of depression that he never would have found me even the least bit attractive.

I am reminded in this saga of a book my mom used to read me call "The Little Bug That Went Ah-Choo!" In the book a bug sneezes and the result of that sneeze, by the last page of the story, is the most extaordinary parade the town has ever seen. In my case, it all started because I went to a club with my flatmate on my 27th birthday. On the 28th birtday I sat in my kitchen, looking across the counter at most wonderful man I've ever met (as he devoured the chicken and dumplings I fixed for dinner), and thought, I'm happy.

I hope 2007 brings you all as much joy and wonderfment as 2006 brought me. xxoo

The Book of Training Camp

Ok, you've waited long enough, and you've all been very patient. Mostly.

Where did I leave off? I told you briefly about Christmas in a rediculous post lacking in significant punctuation. New Year's was lovely. I had a wonderful time with the Pirate's family, though I didn't get kissed at midnight, as we were both asleep. Maybe next year.

Then we had training camp. I flew off to Spain on the 4th of January, spent a week in beautiful, sunny Banyoles, and got back last Thursday a.m. Here are the highlights:

In The Beginning there was the lake. The lake was 6 lanes across and 2 km long and sheltered from cross-winds by the surrounding foothills of the Pyranees Mountains. The sun shone during the day and the moon lit the lake at night, and The Rower saw that it was good. The First Day.

The Rower then got some hot Cambridge fitties to carry her scull down to the water so she could have a short outing and test her back. She spent 15 minutes paddling about, and suffered only minor muscle soreness in her back, the result of months of disuse. She glided smoothly back to the pontoon and made a textbook landing in front of the first men's 8, and they saw that it was good. The Second Day.

The coach suggested that the Rower go out in a double scull, so if she encounters a problem there will be another person to bring her back to safety. The Rower felt the plan was sound, and so went out in the double with Rachel, a talented and strong rower with chronic back problems. After the first kilometer the muscles warmed up and loosened up and the previous day's soreness dissipated, and the Rower saw that it was good. Rachel set a comfortable rhythm with long gentle strokes and no pressure, and the Rower saw that it was good. The Rower was feeling inspired, and decided to drive her knees down a little harder, to push the pressure up a notch, to make her back sweat and feel the sun dry it off her bare, golden skin. The Rower felt that it was good, and then the pain started.

Slowly at first, the Rower thought she could ignore it; they were only 250m from the end of the course. 5 strokes of dull aching and on the sixth, stabbing pain in her lumbar spine. The Rower cried out in pain and stopped rowing immediately. Rachel paddled them back in to the pontoon, where helpful people were waiting to put her equipment away for her. Then the Rower slinked back to her bottom bunk in the youth hostel where she shared a room with 5 other women. She hung towels from the bed above her to make a little cave, and she spent the rest of the afternoon there, crying. Not from pain, but from frustration. It was not good. The Third Day.

On the Fourth Day the Rower rested, and ate Oreos and valencia oranges from the local supermercat. She wandered into town briefly and attempted to chat with a few of the locals, but her Spanish was shaky at best, and their Catalan dialect was just beyond her abilities of comprehension. She was wearing her club kit lycra leggings and cool splash top jacket so as to remind herself that was still an Athlete, though she didn't feel much like one a the moment. The women in the town all looked at her skin-tight leggings firmly gripping her muscled thighs and bottom and glared at her. Several creepy men tried to chat her up. She went back to the hostel, closed the curtain to the sunshine, and curled up in her cave and resumed her Oreo-munching programme. The Fourth Day.

The next morning dawned bright and groggy. The Rower passed a restless sleep having vivid, Cocodomal-induced nightmares. She woke her roommates several times with screaming. She was fed up with watching the team come in off the water from training 3 times a day. She was even more fed up with the few girls who complained and whined about how much they were training. (Imagine being diabetic and watching everyone around you eat nothing but chocolate and sweets without gaining an ounce of weight. Then imagine they start complaining about getting nothing but chocolate and sweets to eat. That about sums up my feeling at that point.) The Rower decided to go for a gentle paddle, if only for 15 minutes. Once again she got people to carry to boat down to the water. (She was perfectly capable of carrying her own equipment, but her physio had advised her not to as a precaution.) She spent 15 minutes dicking about in the sun, and then went back to the pontoon. It wasn't good, but it was better than nothing. The Fifth Day.

The next day the Rower spent 30 minutes in the single scull. That was long enough for some of the muscle memory of the sculling to return to her fingers. The boat was balanced, the blades cleared the water, and if she had remembered to clean the grit from the slides, the boat would have moved silently across the surface of the lake. It was short, but it was good. The Sixth Day.

Finally it was time to derig everything and load up the trailer. After packing and cleaing our rooms, we sat outside on the pontoons drinking cerbeza all afternoon. Our flight didn't leave Girona until 9:30 at night. We arrived in Stanstead at 10:30 pm. I cleared passport control and had my luggage in hand by 10:35. That's got to be some kind of record.

The Journey Home
(this is a long story, but it does have a funny ending, I promise.)

Now here's where the transit issued get niggly. I had to take a coach from Stanstead to Victora Coach Station, and from there a second coach to Bristol. I went outside and hopped on a coach to Victoria. I told the driver I was connecting to Bristol. I arrived at VCS and discovered that the station was CLOSED. I couldn't believe it. Surely it would be open all night! The next coach didn't leave for Bristol until 7 am, and it was only a quarter to 1.

I walked down the road to Victoria train station, figuring I could sit there in relative warmth and safety and wait out the night. No such luck. Victoria train station closes at 1. WTF?????

I went back to VCS and saw there were more than a dozen people standing around the parked busses, huddled together and stamping their feet to keep warm. Were they going to do this all night? Surely there must be someplace to go. Though the station was closed, the station office was open and staffed. I enquired.

"No," they said. "There's nowhere that's open all night." The gentleman asked me if the driver who brought me from Stansted KNEW that i was connecting to Bristol and not terminating in VCS.

"Yes," i replied, truthfully. Turns out he never should have let me on the bus. The drivers are ordered not to bring people in to the station while it is closed if they will have to wait for connections. He let me come in to his office and wait on the floor. "Sit there and be quiet" he said, pointing at the corner. I hadn't been spoken to in that manner since I was 7, but I had no other options so I did as I was told.

I pulled my fleece blanket and travel pillow out of my backpack and curled up on the floor like a dog. I managed to squeeze in a few hours of sleep. At 4:30 a.m. the man kicked me and said "I'm opening the station now. You'll have to get out." I thanked him for his generosity and followed him out the door. He unlocked the station and I and the other waiting passengers went inside. The station was not heated. The automatic doors were propped open. The floor was stone, and the chairs, metal. And it was a bitter cold night.

I opened my big rucsack full of stinky clothes from my week in Spain and began piling on the mis-matched layers. The creme-da-la-creme was a flourescent rainbow tie-dyed fleece ski mask. I looked and smelled fabulous. On top of all this I wrapped my fleece blanket around and found a corner out of the way where I would wait the next 2 1/2 hours until my bus departed.

Apparently I looked and smelled even better than I thought, because while I was sitting there (not sleeping for fear my luggage would be stolen) a homeless guy came up to me and offered me the rest of his half-eaten sandwich.

You read that correctly: homeless people were offering me their food.

Oh. My. Fuck.

I was deeply touched. Here was someone who had nothing but the clothes on his back, giving me the only thing he had to give. Few people in this entire world are ever that generous, even once in their greedy little lives. I almost cried. (But I didn't take the sandwich.)

I also laughed. As the Pirate pointed out when I told him later, the situation was preposterous. Here was a person, a PhD student and competitive athlete, someone (as he put it) at the "top of the food chain," being mistaken for a homeless person because of the piss poor state of public transit in the UK.

I still find it incomprehensible that in LONDON there are no public stations or shopping centers open all night. Good grief.

I finally got back to bristol at 10 am the following morning, only slightly motion-sick from the coach ride.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'm back

Hi all. Give me a minute to catch my breath and get my shit together. I will tell you all about training camp and Spain and everything this evening or tomorrow. Will probably stick some photos up as well.

(Personal to TB: You are DA BOMB!!!!)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

*Pant pant pant pant pant....*

Ok here we go christmas break in 100 words or less no punctuation i don't have time

All the airports fogged in EXCEPT manchester thank god we barely made it out
Mom and dad met us in Detroit all hugs kisses exclaimation points introdtuctions it's so good to see you WELCOME!!!!
Late night long travelling get home pet dog HELLOOOOO DAISY DOODLE! grab Pirate collapse into bed
Day 1 get hair cut dentist appointment dentist gives me free teeth cleaning on condidtion i marry Pirate who is waiting in lobby if not married owe him 75 bucks what a card! Scot and Marilynn and John and Pamela over for dinner more introductions fabulous meal all very exhausting

Day 2 drive to Lansing to visit Aunt Sister Pain-in-my-Ass who goes to extreme efforts to fix us lovely brunch and still manages to botch the quishe even though it was a pre-packaged thingy. Takes us on tour of her office building inflicts entire history of 3-year-old bldg on Pirate who bears it with great stoicism and fortitude he must really love me to put up with all this drive home make gallumpki for christmas dinner then off to party at Rick and Debbie's where emotionally damaged daughter decides Pirate is hot (she's damaged, not blind) and clings to him all night.

Day 3 Christmas eve Bob and Lee over for lunch more small talk being polite Pirate having to explain his job for the 14th time in 3 days to more strangers who "have heard so much about you!!!" go to gym for workout lift weights with Pirate have fun shouting at each other and sweating and panting never giggled so much in a gym before spent 10 minutes on ergometer and my back was OK yay!!! came home sr aunt PITA arrived already have dinner of kielbasa, pierogi and other Polish food open pressies Pirate like the scarf I crocheted him and then off to Midnight Mass choir sounded beautiful Pirate not impressed with RC decorations too high church for him but went to Eucharist anyway which is great because technically the RC church does not allow non-RCs to accept Eucharist Pirate doesn't give a shit what they think god i love him.

Day 4 Christmas Day finally a day to chill out and put our feet up slept in and woke up in each others' arm made drowsy love in warmth and relaxation and who gives a shit if house is wood and parents hear as domestic acoustics are such that it's basically like shagging inside a guitar Christmas dinner lovely and gallumpki a big hit went for long walk in woods saw 3 deer and an owl.

Day 5 walked downtown had workout in gym then went to toy store and hunting superstore to see dead animals on walls and examine archery equipment for sale Pirate is secretly Robin Hood shush don't tell anyone

Day 6 Drove to Detroit saw Spamalot would have gouged my left eye out to see the original cast but it was hysterical nonetheless dad and Pirate laughed themselves to tears if you get the chance GO SEE IT then Greektown for dinner had flaming cheese Pirate loving the idea of 4 foot flames leaping off the cheese the moussaka was excellent got home late and went to bed

Day 7 Spent all day cooking for big dinner following day then went out to dinner with Rick and Mary old school frinds of mine more introductions it's so good to meet you etc etc Rick trying to bait Pirate into discussion of English presence in Northern Ireland and other topics Pirate does not rise to the bait and responds with coolness and dignity ha suck on that one, Rick got home where brother and sister in law are waiting having driving in from wisconsin still MORE introductions etc i can't believe the Pirate is still here he must REALLY love me to put up with all this bless him.

Day 8 hung out with marley and mrs happy (bro and sis-in-l) and then sr. aunt PITA and her companion arrive and we have big famiily thanksgiving with turkey and all the trimmings and the whole family around the table and i totally loved it it's my favourite think in the world to have everyone i care about around a table breaking bread together and the Pirate was there and it was perfect

Day 9 flew back to England first flight was over 2 hours late and we barely made out connection but we did make it so all is well

Day 10 Pirate's parents met us at Manchester airport it's New Year's Eve the Pirate didn't sleep at all on the plane so he's been awake all night I dozed about 2hours the movies were terrible we're both exhausted the car in front of us on the motorway spins out of control and collides with a guardrail there is debris everywhere our car hits something big there is a loud clunk as the car goes over it Mr Pirate pulls over to inspect the damage police are on the way lights flashing confusion is the car ok everyone's ok the car's ok swap details so we can go home. Home at the P's we have tea I go upstairs to take a nap the macho P decides to force himself to stay awake to readjust his body clock i wake up 90 mins later and have a bath and feel much better we go out and go shopping the P needs a new MP3 player get back and get changed for party feeling like shit because P's parents have booked table at posh golf club for 5 course meal and i didn't pack a dress only have black trousers and blouse P's mum sympathetic and wears trousers as well so I feel better dinner gorgeous balloons on table which we blow up and send flying across room at other people's heads and waitresses rest of room catches on and soon balloons are flying like jet-propelled condoms all over room too tired to stay awake til midnight and P too self-conscious to dance in front of 'rents so left at 10 but had lovely evening.

Day 11 New Year's Day made resolutions to get sub-7 erg score and 30K words done on dissertation took long walk in countryside with Pirate and got stuck in mud up to ankles no deer but saw lots of sheep

Day 12 slept in read paper drove to country pup to meet P's dad for lunch then wandered around Lancaster for the afternoon got nice tea in tea merchant and went to pet store P bought me more fun tubes for Bluto's cage and an aquarium and when I get back from Spain P will buy me a fishy for my birthday yay!!! P spent rest of evening playing with model trains with his father I sat and chatted with his mum scuh lovely people hope they will be my in-laws someday soon no ring under x-mas tree boo hoo

Day 13 (today) drove back to bristol now have to unpack do laundry repack and catch bus at 3:30 am to get to airport because going to spain for a week for rowing training camp will tell you all about it in a week see you then love xxxxxx