Category: Observations

Six suitcases and a rescue package

We have been living out of six suitcases and a rescue package since early January when we landed back in London. At first it was fun, it was like an adventure camping in our own homes then the reality of not having more than two plates begins to set in…

There are pluses, like the peace you get from having an uncluttered home without heaps of stuff everywhere. Having a very minimal wardrobe which forces you to wear everything you have and makes you realise how little you really do need. (This one is a huge bonus and is making me think I need to keep with the cutting down of clothes and moving towards an ever more streamlined wardrobe).

On the minuses cooking with two saucepans and a frying pan does rather limit one. That and only having one kitchen knife, two plates, four mugs and a few knives and forks. The things I have really missed have all been to do with the kitchen and cooking and eating. I cannot wait to eat at a dining room table again. Nor to have my recipe books or my kitchen gadgets, like a really good grater, it is surprising the things you miss. Or to finally be able to invite people over for dinner and hosting dinner parties again.

We are moving ever closer to having our stuff again though so this shouldn’t be for too much longer. I’m sure soon enough I’ll be rabbiting on about how much crap we have and how we really need to get rid of it all…

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Radio silence

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, and even before then it was sporadic. I’ve been thinking, about why I blog and about how much of me I want out there. I’m still not sure about either but I’ve missed blogging so am going to gently give it another shot.

I’ve never been much of a writer, always more of a numbers person, which has made it a challenge sometimes to want to write, especially when I read other blogs where what I want to say has been written so beautifully. But this blog, this has been in some ways a journal, I have notes on my life and what i’ve done over the last few years and I want that, I like having that to look back on.

So here goes, another shot at trying to perhaps post something up a little more regularly, something for me which I hope maybe you’ll enjoy too.

2011 in review

I know a lot of people are doing these posts and I’m late but selfishly I want to do one, if only so I can look back and say, yes, 2011 was the year I…

Came back to the US in January after an amazing holiday and realised that this was for real, that we lived here and that I needed to get on with it and *be* here

Found a job which I really like, after taking a temping job to get me back in the swing of things

Returned to the UK in May for a wonderful wedding and an amazing time with good friends

Experienced my first ever DC summer, quite the sticky humid experience. But lovely too to get a summer! I think I even got a bit of a tan

Returned to the UK with J for four weeks, seeing my mama and papa and sisters (both the one from Oz and the one in the UK) and all my nieces and nephews

A quick about turn in the US then back to the UK for five and a half weeks without J, that was hard

Our first Christmas together and then a visit from J’s parents to celebrate New Year

We hosted our first house party in the US and it was good! At least we enjoyed ourselves šŸ˜‰

This was an odd year for holidays, we went abroad but we didn’t ever really go somewhere just the two of us and relax. I did my first trip to Massachusetts and also ticked off Nevada, Arizona and California. We went back to the UK and as much as it is wonderful being back it can be a little stressful, I’m sure those of you who live away from family will know how hard it can be catching time with everyone and squeezing as much as possible out of the given time.

It’s been a good year in the main, three good friends getting married, four good friends getting engaged, pregnancies being announced and lots going on. I feel good about 2012 though. More so than I did about 2011. Partly I’m more settled in the US, much happier here than I was before, I have good friends here now and a good job. Things with J are stronger, working through everything has built more solid foundations for continuing to build our lives together.

I’m hoping therefore that 2012 can be perhaps a more fun year, one with a little travel, one with some entertaining, one with friends old and new. Without some of trials we came through at the beginning of last year to face and overcome.

Dining alone

Having spent a few weeks in the UK by myself I had opportunities to dine alone which don’t normally arise. The first few times one walks into a restaurant and asks for a table for one are hard but the more you do it the easier it gets. In fact it can be rather fun.

I always try and take some reading matter with me, whether it be a book, kindle, newspaper or magazine all are nice as a companion to dinner. Then when you are caught watching someone or get too engrossed in eavesdropping you can always return to your reading.

Then for me it’s about relaxing and enjoying the experience of dining alone, the good food, the atmosphere and the service.

Memories

London is full of them. I realised the other day a huge part of the reason I love this city so much is all the memories it holds for me.

It was the first place I lived after moving away from home. It was where I met J, where we fell in love, where we married. It holds the key to so many happy times, dancing times, singing times.

Of course it also holds the people with whom I made these memories but walking round these last few days I have glimpsed places, buildings, open spaces and my brain has gone back making me smile in secret knowledge of the things I have done and the memories I have made here.

Circles and marriage

“We Greeks get married in circles, to impress upon ourselves the essential matrimonial facts: that to be happy you have to find variety in repitition; that to go forward you have to come back where you began.”Ā 

From Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.

I read this and my first thought was yes, absolutely. It then got me thinking about marriage, a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, what with a recent divorce of someone close, hearing about a few friends struggling in their marriages and friends getting engaged.

Something which once the thoughts formulate more in my mind I will try and write about more soon.

Walking again

The temperature dropped today, suddenly it’s cool. Which has been rather wonderful. This evening as I left work and stormed along I suddenly remembered how much I love walking. In London I walked to and from work, about 35-40 minutes each way. It kept me sane and vaguely slim.

Then I moved here, winter was fine, J and I traipsed everywhere, got to know the new city and generally explored. Until the summer hit. When you walk a few steps and are sweating, more than a lady should, more than you feel comfortable and so you resort to air conditioned buses, not going for weekend strolls and generally hiding from the heat and humidity.

Tonight it was back. That release of joy that I get from charging along the pavement. The sanity that walking for half an hour brings and hopefully the calories it burns (of which currently there are a lot to be burnt).

I’m looking forward to the cooler days. To walking home from work again and to having that time all to myself to think, process and enjoy the city.

Touch

I was recently led to think about the power of touch. Especially within relationships, be they friendships, familial or sexual. How through a small touch on your arm, or a shoulder squeeze you can communicate as much if not more than you can with words.

Touch for me is important, I remember when I first travelled abroad with work. I was in Asia, I’d never been there before and it took me a while to adjust to the cultural differences. But more than anything else it took me a while to get used toĀ being such a long way from home by myself without anyone for support. I remember sittingĀ in my hotel room just longingĀ to be close toĀ J and to be able to go home to him. All I needed when I got back was to know I could go to sleep with my foot resting on his and all the reassurance that contact gave me.

It’s something which I’ve thought about with friends here too. One of the girls I’ve met is a natural, she’ll just gently squeeze your arm or touch you on your leg while she’s talking to you. The first time she did it I was taken aback, but in a good way, surprised by how much closer that little touch made me feel. But of course I shouldn’t have been surprised I touch friends I’ve known for longerĀ all the time, we hug, we lean on each other, we support each other through little touches.

And then I noticed an elderly couple the other day, her gently resting her hand on his knee and his hand on hers. I couldn’t help but reach for J’s hand and hope that one day we too will remember that the little touches matter and can be that elderly couple gently reassuring each other and giving each other strength.

Of course there’s plenty of other touching which goes on in relationships but in the interests of trying to avoid the bots let’s leave those unsaid for now, I’m sure y’all know what I’m talking about šŸ˜‰

Don’s Johns

J and I went to see the Cherry blossoms a couple of weeks ago and while we were over near the Jefferson memorial we spotted this bride hiding behind Don’s Johns. It tickled me to see her there, peeking out to see that everything was ready.

It was very sweet seeing the wedding in such a public place, everyone watching (not in the wedding party) clapped her in and I couldn’t help but think that she had been incredibly lucky with both the weather and the beautiful blossoms in the background.

A plea to retailers from a tall girl

I went shoppingĀ a little while agoĀ and was reminded how sometimes shopping can be such a crushing experience. The kind where you walk outĀ of the shop and want to cry because the mirrors and lighting are so damn unflattering and nothing fits. Not one item.

I was trying to get trousers, I need new ones for work and my old ones are well old. Easy right, black trousers, a wardrobe work staple. Oh no. Not if you’re looking for trousers which are long enough. I’m 5’11” (or just under) so I need longer trousers, surprising that. I also know a lot of women who are similar height to me and they all have longer legs too.

So why do retailers not stock trousers in a longer length? Or even worse not even offer it as an option. I’m going to call outĀ Banana Republic here, who do have longer length but don’t carry it in their stores?! So you can’t try it on you have to pay for shipping and hope for the best.

It’s not just the length though, it’s the curve. Cate wrote a great post about finding jeans which fit, because there are options for different shapes. If a jeans retailer can do it, why can’t other retailers?! On Wednesday I could get things to do up, but then they crunckled and scrunched in places one doesn’t want crunckling and scrunching.

So here’s my plea: Can you please make trousers in different lengths and shapes, because women are different lengths and shapes, then I might just have a little more luck actually finding things which fit…

*I did actually find some trousers, in J Crew which although these weren’t a longer length will do as long as I only wear flat shoes… And I might be coming round to the lure of J Crew, poor wallet.