Friday, March 30, 2007

Lost in Translation?


It's one of those things I'm a bit too good at I think. It also got me into lots of trouble when I was a teenager. Parents don't seem to grasp the beauty of a perfectly placed sarcastic comment when you're 13. Pity really.

But when you enter into a new culture you can never be sure if sarcasm will be grasped in the same way. So one needs to be careful before dropping that sarcastic reply to make sure that the recipient will view it as something to laugh at and come back with an even wittier reply. Otherwise you could end up with egg on your face.

As a result I do find myself sitting and observing rather than participating in the conversations as I'm still trying to grasp the comedic culture here.

Speaking of comedy and culture......

I remember the first time I saw this sketch from Kids In The Hall (a Canadian comic institution). I thought it was brilliant.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hitting The Wall

It finally happened. Today I hit the wall.

I dragged myself into work a bit late this morning and I feel like death. I had zero energy. Making my tea seemed like a strenuous activity. Too many late nights burning the midnight oil has finally taken it's toll.

It's been an extremely busy month at the office and I've been trying so hard to delegate to others (and I have) but I still can't seem to keep on top of things. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

Sitting at my desk, trying to focus on the screen in front of me I admitted to myself that I just was not going to be able to work late tonight. My body was telling me no.

Instead I had the joy of walking home in the daylight this evening as I left the office at 6 instead of my regular 9:00, or 9:15 or 9:52 of the past few weeks. I just wish I had the energy to enjoy this. It took all I had in me not to crawl straight into bed once I walked through the door.

But it's not been all doom and gloom, far from it. I work with an excellent group of people and they try to rid me of my North American workaholic tendencies. I keep joking that if I had an actual social life I wouldn't be putting in the late nights but I don't think they believe me.

We had a visitor from one of the south England offices in to do a bit of training yesterday and I had the honour of treating him & my team to dinner. Afterwards I gave him a small tour of this city I now call home.

It really is a great city. Walking around at night showing off all the sights I was excited to discover when I first got here. It was fun in a lame geeky kind of way.

I do love it here and I am enjoying my job. I think I just need a bit more training on the management side of things and some help in how to better organize all the tasks I have at hand. But it will come with time. I have to keep reminding myself I've only been at it a few months.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Brit Humour Part 2

Discovered this show while flat sitting for Brannon & Gloria for the month of November. Their DVD collection had the 1st season (or series as they say here) of this and in the name of cultural immersion we watched it a number of times.

I must admit we did need to stop it the odd time and repeat sections as sometimes the accents were a bit hard to decipher.

A little bit of trivia:

- Greg Hemphill (the employment officer in the sketch) was born in Glasgow, Scotland but left at age six. He spent much of his childhood in Montreal, Quebec, which has contributed to his distinctive Scottish-Canadian accent.

Number 2 - Chewin the Fat

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Brit Humour Part 1

I've always loved British Humour.

- Monty Python
- Mr Bean
- Are You Being Served

And more recently The Office.

So moving to the UK has given me an opportunity to discover a whole new crop of shows that haven't made it across the pond yet. My next few posts will be dedicated to introducing you to some of the comedy shows I've grown to love.

Number 1 - The Catherine Tate Show
- the character, Lauren

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mid Week Treat

I left the office almost on time tonight, 5:30'ish by the time I walked out the doors into DAYLIGHT! What a treat to be walking home while the sun is still shining. I even beat my flat-mate home. I was home early enough that I could actually cook a meal from scratch, something I only seem to have time to do on the weekends lately.

I did a recipe search on Epicurious to see what I could do with some plain old chicken breasts that didn't involve frying. Found a recipe that looked not bad but I was a bit disappointed in the end result. Part of the reason for this I think is that I didn't have proper bread crumbs. I had taken a slice of bread out of the freezer and toasted it and then pulverized it in a mortar and pestle but I think the bread was still a bit too moist. I think cracker crumbs would have worked better but I have yet to see a box of crackers here.

With my chicken I then roasted some butternut squash and zucchini and they were quite nice. Then as my treat for eating dinner before 10PM I cracked open a bottle of wine. A nice Cabernet Merlot blend by a Chilean winery called Monkey Puzzle. But only one glass as it's a school night as they say.

Now I'm curled up in bed trying to stay warm as the temperature has taken a bit of a dip this evening. I have my lovely BBC Olive magazine to lull me to sleep with dreams of recipes yet to try.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Do NOT Understand European Pop

This past Saturday night was the final qualifying round for each country to pick their entry into the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.

Watching the UK entries, I was a bit flabbergasted at how schlocky most of the tunes were. And then I found the contest's website and started looking at all the other entries.


Now granted, a few of the entries are quite good and have their own individual sound. But the overall majority is just plain old cheesy pop.

Still, if you're looking for a way to kill some time, here's the website and you can view the videos or just listen to the audio. Think of it as a cultural exchange if you will.

My money is on Turkey to win, but I also liked the Georgia and Germany entries as well. And the UK entry? Some group called Scooch.

I just don't get it.

I need to listen to some Neil Young or Bob Dylan to cleanse my pallet.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I'm getting sick and tired of spreadsheets
Spreadsheets and pie charts
And bar graphs, they annoy me too.

After tomorrow it's the weekend
No spreadsheets are allowed in the weekend

But pie, that's something different.

Mmmmm pie.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

News Update

It came
It finally came

I now have a bank account


Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday's Reward

I was good today.

I promised myself every night this week that I was NOT going to work late on Friday. So at 5:00 I shut down my computer and walked out the door.

There was a small group of coworkers meeting at the regular pub for drinks. As a treat I ordered a cheese burger to go with my pint of Guiness. After the week I had it was the best burger I've ever tasted.

I still need to go in at some point this weekend and put together a report but that won't be too bad. Just pie charts, bar graphs and spreadsheets.

Maybe I'll buy myself a box of crayons and a colouring book as my next treat.

I love crayons.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Staring at my computer screen at that same damn spreadsheet not liking what I see. I rub the back of my neck and stretch.

Focus, I need to focus and get this done so I can get home at a decent hour for a change

Tick tick tick tick, I'm still here. This time it's trying to get through the million emails everyone insists on cc me in on. I just want to go home, but I really don't want to be working late on a Friday night - that would just be depressing.

The security guard comes by to check the floor and gives me a sad look. I know what he's thinking, don't you have anything better to do? Well, no, not really.


Focus, I need to focus and get this done so I can get home before 8:00

I'm so hungry, I worked through my lunch again today. Well that and the 51p I had in my purse wasn't enough to buy a sandwich. I really need to call the bank again. My head hurts.

The security guard comes by for the 2nd time and gives me another sad look. Working late again luv? he says. Such a sweet old guy.

Focus I need to focus and get this done so I can get home before 9:00

At least the rain stopped

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Her Thoughts

Sitting alone on the hillside
Looking out towards this new city
She thought to herself

What was I thinking
Did I make the right decision
What did I think would really change

Does it really matter

Does it?

Once again
She looked out at the city
Feels the breeze blow against her face
The warmth of the sun

And realizes

She doesn't know the answers yet
It doesn't matter

This is home
And it feels right

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Quick Update

Sorry folks, I just don't have enough energy at the moment to be clever, witty or artistic tonight. However, having said that in my rush to get ready for work this morning I did stop for a second to take this picture.

I have these great gauze like curtains in my bedroom that allow in a soft diffused light. It's a nice way to wake up with the sun shining in. It provides the warmth of the sun, but it's not blinding. That and I also hear the soft cooing of 2 pigeons that roost on the window sill next door. I find it quite comforting to hear, but I'm not sure why.

Speaking of work, I've been pulling 11-12 hr days at the office. Tonight I got home around 9:15. Just enough time to get changed, zap some leftovers and then get ready for bed. Not much of an end in sight for at least another week or so.

Deep heavy sigh...

At least I have my Saturday morning to look forward too.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Captain Who?

I'm not sure what caused me to look in the window Saturday but I did.

And what should I find in the rack, but an issue of Captain Canuck. I have no idea how it got to this side of the Atlantic, but you just know I'm going to be going in the shop Monday after work to see if I can buy it.

No idea what I'll do with it but I may get it framed to hang on my wall.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Saturday Morning Routine

Saturday mornings are sacred to me.

Back in Vancouver my normal routine was to get up, make my breakfast: a bowl of muesli, half an apple and some yogurt; perhaps the other half of the apple with some crunchy peanut butter on it and the best part - an americano coffee.

Then I'd get the Vancouver Sun from the mailbox, curl up in my big comfy chair, wrap myself up in a cosy blanket and read the paper. One of my cats would usually curl up on the arm of the chair beside me or perhaps try to get underneath the paper for a quick cuddle. I would not move from my position other than at the halfway point to perhaps make a second coffee (decaf this time) if I was in the mood.

Quite often this routine would take me right through to lunch time, and I was completely fine with this. You see Saturday was the only day I allowed myself this luxury. It was my time.

Now not every Saturday was like this as life does happen and sometimes the Saturday would involve me jumping out of bed and rushing off to what ever appointment I had. But that would always kind of throw my weekend off as I would feel a bit out of sorts for the rest of the day. Like a clock that had been over wound and as a result would just stop ticking. We all need our down time, it helps the body, mind and spirit to recharge and process all we have experienced during the week.

So here in my new home, I've tried to keep this habit of a sacred Saturday morning. But I don't have my cats to cuddle with, my big comfy blanket has been replaced by my soft cosy robe, and the paper has been replaced by my laptop.

This morning was no different but at one point the sun started to stream through the lounge window and left strong shadows and bright light on the coffee table. I grabbed my camera and took the opportunity to play around with manually using different exposure settings. It's tough to do a true test when clouds keep rolling by changing the lighting conditions.

So here I sit, in my robe and flannel PJ's. Enjoying my 2nd cup of coffee (no espresso machine sadly) with the sun warming my toes.

I need to go into the office at some point today as I have a huge pile of work to do. But I refuse to give up my lazy Saturday morning.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Night Out

Went to a fundraiser for the husband of a friend of a coworker - a pub quiz. These are popular things these pub quiz nights. I see them advertised all over the place. Usually a pretty cheap cover charge and you could win cash and prizes. But for tonight it was the pizza that was the drawing card for me.

I wasn't all that much help until it got to the movie quotes and music trivia. But by that point our team was so far behind that it was more fun to come up with clever dummy answers that real ones.

We didn't win and we didn't even come in last, but it was fun in a silly sort of way. It was a pretty stressful day so this was a nice needed release.

Saw this sign on the way home and it just made me laugh