Monthly Archives: May 2011

TTYL USA

The mook!

Well I believe my trip to the US has been given a proper conclusion here at JFK airport.  I was looking for some lunch and spotted some ¾ ounce Tillamook cheeses!  Yes!  Life is good.  Of course I bought one of each and spread one on my salad and ate inhaled the other one in about 2 seconds.  Yum.  So I am a happy camper now heading back to England.

I have been pretty busy the last couple days with little downtime to get a good blog entry in.   Sunday I flew into Indianapolis and had a lovely dinner out with my sister Kris’ family and my niece Nikki.  We went out for some very delicious Mexican food and margaritas, which I can’t seem to find (yet) in England.  I stayed the night with Ninico and enjoyed playing with her kitty cat Max (aka Maxi Pad) who totally

Max obviously loves me.

loved playing with me as well as you can see by the picture.  He’s much friendlier than the Dilly cat and I always find that to be an anomaly these days since I spend so much time with a cat that doesn’t want anything to do with me or anyone else most of the time.  And that cat (Max) is a lanky bastard and very unlike Dilly cat in build.  But I still loved hanging out with him.  Oh and I guess hanging out with my nieces too.

Yesterday was my nephew’s grad party.  I did my best to be the drunk aunt hanging out and being creepy to all the young recently graduated high schoolers.  I don’t know how well I

Me and the Nini. And my new USA shirt.

did in my role, but I did try.  Unfortunately though I spent most of my time talking to my family and not enough time checking out the young meat.  And I couldn’t really get drunk as I had a disc golfing date with my nephew and it required me driving to a nearby park to do so.  It was weird to drive on the right side of the road as well as drive a automatic transmission!  Oh how quickly things change……  The party was a very good time and I got to see the rest of my immediate O’Sullivan family.  I was sad that there were only a few precious hours, which we got to spend together.  Hopefully one of these days the whole family can actually get together and spend a week or so in one spot for more than a day or two.  I would really like that.   Let’s work on that kids.

So the disc golfing in Indiana was good.  I had played the course before, but they only had baskets up and had yet to pour the tees.  Now there were concrete tees and tee maps.  But

Jonathan may need to work on his form a little bit.

the whole park was still under construction, so we had to walk through tall weeds and grass the whole time.  My nephew Jon Jon was pumped to go out with me and he actually sunk his last two putts at a decent distance!  He may be receiving some disc golf discs in the near future from his aunty Colleen so he can bug his mom to take him there all the time.

One week in USA: a success.  It was too fast with too much traveling, but I’m glad to have seen everyone.  The craziness won’t end when I get back to the UK.  I don’t want to jinx anything but I believe I may have found a place to live in London.  Tomorrow I will go down and look at it and hopefully get everything signed and confirmed.  Let’s hope for the best!  And on Monday I should be starting work.
That’s it for now.  Will blog upon my return to the former number 1 country in the world.

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More cheese

the newlyweds and i

It’s 2:45AM.  A little late to be up and blogging.  But that’s what happens when you go to a wedding and subsequently go out with the bride’s family for a night on the town.

Went to the wedding today and it was filled with normal wedding stuff.  I’m so happy the weather was beautiful all day.  We all had a great time.  Mike and Katie are a wonderful couple.  They are both so nice and sweet, it’s almost nauseating.  No, really fantastic people.

We just got back from our very important trip for the night, With Cheese Please.  We saw it

How could I resist?

last night walking back home and knew tonight that we’d have to hit it up.  It didn’t disappoint.  I love Katie’s family and her.  Even though I don’t know them that well personally, I had heard so much about them during the last 11 years that it feels as though we’re fiends.

But I’m tired and can’t stay up much longer without passing out.  As you’ll see by the below picture.  That picture is still happy though because I’m eating my grilled cheese.

 

Wow I look rough.

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merry go round

Live blogging from a hotel room in Nassau County.  This is internet journalism at it’s finest, no doubt.  The air conditioning is grumbling away next to me, I have 2 queen size beds all to myself and the biggest suit case known to man carrying half my worldly possessions.  It’s a good life I’m leading.

Actually, I’m pumped to have all new work clothes and boots for my new gig in London town.  More news on London happenings as soon as I know what’s going on with them.  But I’m going to go out on a limb and say they are going to be good since I’ve invested so heavily into new work apparel in the last two days.  Red Wing boots, 1 pair of carhartt pants and 1 pair of carhartt shorts.  The American will totally be oozing off of me as I work.  And I think that can only be a good thing.

Today we paid a quick visit to the Queens Zoo petting zoo.  We made sure the already plump sheep and goats were fed to the absolute max.  It was fun and I saw giant bunnies

Vom inducing

which made it worth the trip for me.  I wish I could have held them.  Apparently these Flemish Bunnies get to like 26 lbs.  As we left the petting zoo Helen insisted on a ride on the carosel.  I would have ridden with her, but Katie said it reached very high speeds and with my motion sickness issues, I decided to watch from the sidelines with Teddy.  As I watched them go around, I am certain I made the right decision.

B403 Represent.

Any ways, I’ve left the family behind and headed out into the Island of Long for my friend’s wedding.  Tonight was the rehearsal and all that nonsense, which went off with some major hitches (missing matron of honor and groomsman) but I think it will work out in the end.  The rehearsal dinner took place at the quintessential Long Island Italian restaurant.  I am not complaining as I totally stuffed myself silly with cannolis, pasta and salmon.  The salmon part probably wasn’t Italian but I pretended.  There were some mozzerrela sticks as appetizers which I were put on the table and eaten in about 2 minutes.  I didn’t get one and that was the only sore spot for me on the spot.   Really happy I could be present and in the wedding party for my friend Katie’s wedding.   We’ve been friends since the first day I stepped on campus at ASU.  We have spent many hours discussing who we would end up marrying and that we wouldn’t miss each others weddings for anything.  Not even the Champions League Final.

After the rehearsal we went out for some drinks in the greater Lawrence, NY area tonight.  The major fun was that some girl had shot up heroin in one of the bathroom stalls at the bar we were at.  And it then took on the name heroin stall.  That part probably didn’t freak me out as much as it should have.  The girls in the bathroom however were hilarious in their retelling of the events.  It may have just been their accent.

Any ways, this post is going to stay at the short and irreverent phase as it’s 1:40 AM and I need some serious rest.   Tomorrow I need to be at my best so I can dance and party the night away.  Good night folks.

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St Albans Grove friends

Yesterday, after some major logistical havoc of epic proportions in the morning, turned out to be a pretty nice and fun day.

Look at me! I painted my face and hands!

The fam and I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to meet up the rest of the fam and for a good tour around the grounds.  It was totally fabulous and I wish we could have stayed longer but we needed to get back to meet my friend who we ended up not meeting.  I think the only person to have a better time at the garden besides me (I like having all the trees named on little placards in front me.  Really helps with ID for sure) was Helen.  Helen my precious little niece spent the whole time running around (with marker all over her face) and checking out all the plants.  She seemed particularly keen on the rocks around the garden.  It was fun and far too short of a trip there.  Hopefully I can get back there soon and spend the time at the garden that it deserves!

In the evening I met up with my friends Ali and Carl, who had driven down from CT.  Both

Reunion party!

of them drank studied with me in London and it had been a couple years since I had seen either of them.   I was planning to see Ali this trip but Carl was an extra surprise.  After some serious deliberations on the meet up, it finally happened in Queens at a burger joint.  We had such a great time and I haven’t been that happy and laughing/joking so much in a really long time.  I’m so glad they came down and was sad, again, that it couldn’t last longer.  They are really fun kids and I want to see them both again soon!

Today we’ve done some necessary shopping for the wedding on Saturday.  Oh man, I had no idea how much American food I have missed at the grocery store!  And at Target.

It degraded into this. Not surprisingly.

Specifically large bottles of ibuprofen and things, in general,  in extra large containers.  Why is everything in such large quantities here?

Ok, we’re going boot shopping for me right now, so I must sign off.  Have a good day friends.

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MAN

I just checked BBC and it seems as though I’m just going to get out of this country before the Icelandic ash cloud of doomdecends any further.  I’m flying KLM today out of Manchester, who has cancelled all their flights taking off to the north of me in Scotland and Northern England.  HURRY!  Let’s go!

Off to USA today after 8 months of being over in England.  I wonder what I’ll think of it.  I’m kind of nervous about it, but it should turn out alright.  At the least, I’m still classified as an American and I speak a bit of American English, so I should blend in without any problems.

Looking forward to seeing the family and at least 2 friends.  I hope they are just as excited to see me and hope they recognize me after all this time.

I don’t have much else to say yet.  It’s 7:46 AM and I got about 2 hours of sleep last night due to me having anxiety attacks about life when I attempted to sleep.  The good news out of it was that I got to finish one of my books at about 2:30 AM.  I was a little peeved I wasn’t going to finish it, but it worked out.  Good times.  I’ve got like a 7 hour lay over in Amsterdam and I’m TEMPTED to leave the airport and go walk around for a bit in Amsterdam as I’ve never actually been there except to the Schipol Airport (way too many times).  We’ll see how I feel.  I may just settle for finding the quietest spot in the airport and going to sleep.  It’d be nice to get a head start on adjusting to EST.
Alright, I got my new sudoku puzzle book at the shop as I have the last few times I’ve flown and I’m itching to get started on it.  Have a good day my friends.

I didn't sleep last night.

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Blurry

#12. I liked this one.

Did the last week just happen?  I’m trying to catch my breath after a crazy week of travel, where Eric and I saw more than I thought we would in just a few days.  I’m surprised I survived it all.  I think my last post mentioned we were going down South and so we did.

On Friday we got in a nice round of disc golf in the Midlands at Quarry Park.  The weather held up and it ended up being a really nice couple hours just walking around some in pretty English countryside where we got to throw some discs.  The park was specifically designed for disc golf and it was TOUGH.   There were a couple of really narrow holes and we definitely ended up throwing our discs into the woods off the tees.  But it was fun and we met a nice Iowan working there.  Our scores were nothing to talk about, so I won’t bring them up.  In my defense I haven’t played officially since last August.  It felt good to be sore the next morning from throwing.  I’d definitely be happy to go back there soon and

Heavenly sandwich shop. I think Eric is wiping his eyes in disbelief.

play some more and get that score of mine down.

We had a few more hours to burn before I had to be in London, so we decided to take a detour to Oxford as it was on the way and I had never been there.  And both of us were ravenous for some food, specifically a good sandwich.  Knowing that Oxford was rather crunchy I figured we could get a decent sando there.  Just as we got into the city center I spotted a gourmet sandwich shop.  Dang, it was good!  I wish I would have gotten another one.  We didn’t have much time on the meter for parking, so we took a quick stroll through the center, picked up some delicious local strawberries and got back on the road to London.

Sunny Oxford

We got to London with only minor satnav issues. It liked to turn off or “lose satellite connection” at crucial parts of the trip, but luckily I read ahead on the directions far

Dinner next to Bath Cathedral. Awesome!

enough that it wasn’t that bad.  So we spent a quick bit of time in London checking out a place for me to live.  Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but it was good to see another area of London, knowing I could happily live there.

From London we went to Bath, where we were staying for the night.  It was a beautiful night and the streets were busy even when we arrived at 10 pm.  Again, we didn’t get to see much of the city due to our late arrival (we hit some serious accident traffic on the way) but we did manage to have an excellent dinner at a Indian restaurant right next to Bath Cathedral.  And Eric officially likes curry, which I figured he would.  I insisted on getting some scorching vindaloo curry, which I couldn’t finish because my insides were on fire.

New Grand Pier at W-S-M

The curry was still really good and I would like to go back to the restaurant and have some more!

From Bath we drove through Bristol on our way to Weston-Super-Mare, where our good friend Ben is from.  I wanted to see all the hype that exists about the town.  We were not disappointed!  We saw the donkeys, the slot machines, the many chip shops and most importantly the land trains.  And of course we could not pass up a chance to eat and drink at Ben’s local pub in nearby

Super pumped to drink at the Ship Inn after all these years of talk about it.

Uphill.  The food (fish and chips) was way better than what we had a couple days earlier.  It reinstated our hope that we could get a decent bit of fried food for 4 quid.  Plus the Thatcher’s Gold (cider) was pouring beautifully.   If we didn’t have to get going down south, I would have been more than happy to spend the rest of the day there drinking.

We were headed to Exeter for a party, which is on the southern coast of England in Devon.  On our way we managed to find a farm selling some fresh cider and cheddar cheese.  The cider was cheap so we bought 4 litres (which we made most of our way through that night) and the garlic cheese was yummy as well.  One of these days, I want to do a tour through different Somerset farms and drink myself stupid on scrumpy and cheese.

The party we went to was super fun.   The party was an egg drop party where we had to

Yum, a gallon of farmhouse cider.

devise something to safely transport an egg from the 3rd story of a house to the ground.  I think Team USA (ours) was maybe the most interesting with all the springs attached to it, but it failed miserably.  Our design was good and I think just a few tweaks would have made it a success.  We still won a prize for most scrambled egg, so not all was lost.   The rest of the party was great as we went out on the town in Exeter where we saw the most bizarre series of events to take place in a pub.  Our whole table was dying of laughter from the events.  I’d go into it in details, but I don’t think my writing could properly express what it was like to be there.  Besides that, the pub where we saw those events unfold was cool.  It was in the square surrounding the cathedral and downstairs there was even bones of someone/2 people!  Weird, cool and creepy!   We stayed out late and partied and enjoyed every minute of it.  A thanks to Becky and Emma for hosting a fantastic evening and letting us crash on the floor for a couple hours.  We had to get up early to get Eric to the airport on time at Heathrow.  It was ROUGH getting up that morning and getting our butts to London.  Eric was a trooper and

Maybe we should have had a better parachute.....

drove the whole way.  I don’t think I could have done it.  After I dropped Eric off, I drove to the other side of London to drop the car off and caught the first train back to Preston.  I had no problem driving in London, which was what I wanted to be able to do by the end of this week.  It was cool to drive through the city for a change, but I wouldn’t want to do it all the time.  I had to do it on a Sunday morning so there was no traffic.

So yeah, that was the rest of the trip.  Today I was going to pack up some more of my belongings, but I have no idea if I’ll be moving down to London right when I get back.  I’m having a hell of a time procuring a place to live.  So I might have to make some alternative plans for a bit until it happens.  It’s pretty stressful.  And tomorrow I’m off to the states for a week.  It will be fun, but it can’t come at a worse time of me trying to move!  Luckily, I have a great friend/roommate who is flexible with when I move out, so I’m happy about that.  It’s saving my sanity at the

The old well at the Wellhouse pub. Cool!

moment.

Alright, I think I’ve bored you enough.  I am making my way through my iTunes list. I’m on Kanye West’s “Addiction.”  I just listened to Graduation twice.  Why I have two copies of it on my iTunes is confusing me, but I think it’s my favorite Kanye album so I didn’t mind listening to it twice.  Hope to get an update in tomorrow when I get into NYC.  There’s an Icelandic ash cloud threatening my trip tomorrow, but I’ll hope for the best.

Tata!

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beer

Twilight!

Wow, it’s like old times here in P-town.  I’ve got a Deschutes twilight in a coozy jersey, Eric is sitting here reading and I’m back to being a car driver.  Weird.
Today has been fairly random.  It started when Eric insisted we get fish and chips for lunch.  He wanted a proper fish and chips experience so I took him to a shop here in town which served up the fish and chips with plenty of salt and vinegar and Northerner attitude.  It was all wrapped in some butcher paper (to soak up the amazing amount of grease I guess) and we drove off to sit at the docks.    Apparently that’s what people do here.   They sit in their cars, staring out onto the murky, mostly flat water and eat chips.  It’s a bizarre phenomenon.  When we got back in the car after collecting our greasy papers, we could think of no finer or more appropriate place to enjoy our meal than the docks.  Well, the view as expected was terrible.  And so was the fish and chips.  Experience complete!  Mark it off the list.

English people are weird.

Tonight we drove to the country pub just 7 miles North of Preston for their outstanding pizza and even better atmosphere as it’s right on the canal and in a thatched roof building.  A must see for those of you to visit Lancashire.

We’re off to the South tomorrow.  I hope to get an early start and get a lot of sightseeing in.  And some disc golf!    More on our travels tomorrow.  Good night everyone.

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Blog FAIL

Totally haven’t written since Sunday, have I?  That’s no good.  Well, the main reason is

Not ready to drive a manual

because this guy, Eric, came over here and we’ve been busy driving all over England for the past 3 days.  And we haven’t been in one place long enough for me to sit down and write a blog.
We were in London for a day and a half before renting a car and driving up to Lancashire.  Eric was officially here to be my stick shift driving teacher.  And I was hoping to be proficient enough right out of the blocks that I could drive us back up north.  Well, as you can see by the picture I got about 2 feet before completely chickening out in Central London and having to let Eric

Driving in Hampstead, London

drive us up north.  Central London is definitely not the place to learn to drive stick.  I was definitely freaking out and scared shitless I would kill us both in a matter of minutes on the streets.  More than likely it would have taken us another 5 hours to get out of London.  Eric was more than pleased to be able to be the driver.  Our little Peugeot 207 is totally a sweet ride.  I have been happy to navigate us and kindly remind Eric that he needs to stay on the left side of the road.   It’s been pretty successful.  The drive up North on the M6 was seriously boring, but the bright side was that we discovered smoky bacon crisps.  And they are pretty delicious.  I won’t lie.

Mmmm smoky

Yesterday I got my actual driving lesson for a couple hours and was able to get us around Preston.  No major incidents to report.  And today I drove on more highway roads from Lytham St. Annes to Preston.  I’m finally figuring out that I should keep my foot on the gas when I pop the clutch out.  We might go for a drive somewhere tomorrow and I will be able to really master my manual transmission driving ability.

Today we took a trip up to Lancaster.  The weather was pretty crap when we left this morning, but by the afternoon it was very sunny and beautiful.  A bit windy, but no big

Lancaster

deal.  We went on a tour of Lancaster Castle, which is still a working jail and criminal court.  Being so, they wouldn’t let us take pictures inside.  Bummer.  But it was neat.  Got to be locked up in some 3 century old jail cells.  I’m very happy to have not been a criminal back then.  Completely dark cell with 5 other people.  For a week.  Not thanks.

After Lancaster, we drove down the coast to Blackpool.  Blackpool blows.  We spent 25 minutes there and called it a day.  All I wanted to do was walk along the promenade, but it was all ripped up and under construction.  Plus it’s generally ugly regardless.  So we promptly left.

The last few days have been a blur!  So much going on I can barely remember it all.  I do remember some fun pub quiz last night.  I had to show Eric how serious the English were about quiz.  They did not disappoint.  The quiz was very difficult and we couldn’t believe the scores some of the teams were getting.  There were some questions which were very English based, but not many, so we don’t have much of an excuse for our showing.  Maybe next time we can do better.

Any ways, I am going to browse the internet for some flats.  Still looking, yes.  It’s a bit of a sore issue for me as I know time is dwindling.  But I hope to secure something by this weekend.  Will keep you updated.

That’s all.  Will write soon.  Cheers!

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Churchill’d

This post is a bit late for Saturday.  But I’m going to disregard that.   Today I will attempt to do two posts to make up for it.  It doesn’t really matter as most of you who read this are probably sleeping.

Any ways, I couldn’t get my post in last night because I was busy on a Notting Hill adventure.  It’s of course the Churchill’s fault, as it usually is.  I start talking to people, more people come in.  Pints are bought, pints are consumed.  I get dragged off to some bar on Portobello Road and somehow end up walking aimlessly in Fulham at midnight.  What?

Biking to Trafalgar

We’ll get to last night in a second, but we’ll discuss yesterday day first.  I rode a Boris bike into central London.   That was nice.  It’s been cloudy/sunny and in the 60s here the last couple days.  Not bad for cycling.  I wandered the back streets, which were very quiet as it was Saturday.  No business people bustling about.  I wanted to go to John Soane’s house/museum at Lincoln’s Inn Fields but it was still closed.  I didn’t realize how early I woke up and was out and about.  After that, I happened upon Dr. Johnson’s house, but that was closed as well.  Great.
I kept walking and ended up at the Museum of London.  I hadn’t been there in a couple years.  It’s worth a visit, especially if you like London.  But I didn’t stay there long as I got called to come look at a house right then.  I think it went well.  Will probably check out another place today, but seeing as I absolutely hate looking at accommodation, I will probably just take the first place I saw.  It’s up in Willesden Green and close to everything.  And the roomies were excited to meet Piccadilly, so that’s nice.  I’ll write more about it once things are finalized.

After looking at the house, I rode all the way down to Borough Market, which was

Borough

packed with Americans.  I’m pretty sure it was 75% American.  I don’t blame them for being there.  Such good food there and I can see myself going there regularly.  I got a super delicious spicy sausage.  And some fresh English strawberries.  I wanted to eat everything.  But I refrained.

I think it was at this point I decided to go to Churchill.  It was a good day to be at a pub as the FA Cup Finals were on and I was able to catch the match there.  The match was good as was the company.  I made some new friends there, which seems to be the case anytime I wander in for a pint.  I even got invited to an exclusive birthday party there!  AND more excitingly, a guy wrote a poem about me.  Of which I will frame and keep forever.  It goes something like this:
Colleen

A lady that sparkles like a shooting star,
she is from Chicago and ‘as travelled far
she said hello in the Chuchill arms,

A nice moment with all her charms
Colleen so sweet the kind of girl
you love to meet.   

Booyah.   When was the last time you got a poem written about you?  That’s what I thought.  I’m totally winning.  And the guy who wrote it also wrote a poem about the Royal Couple, submitted it to some contest and is one of the finalists.  I didn’t get any more details than that about the contest. But basically a famous poet wrote a song about me.

So that was that.  The night deteriorated from there, although it was still fun.  And this morning I feel pretty good.   I was worried about that at some points last night, but somehow I have won the battle against a hangover.  I thought I was going to stop this heavy drinking nonsense?  Guess not.  So that’s it.  I need to wander out into the wild blue yonder.   TTYL kids.

Churchill behind me, with Kate and William flags!


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Traveling

Before this night deteriorates into a  shit show or my computer dies or I pass out before I write, best get this post in.

I’m sitting at a pub in London.  Weird I know.  I just had a nice Shepards Pie and now

Blustery and apprehensive

finishing my pint of Cornish coaster or something like that.  It’s light and drinkable.  I’m not in the mood for a bender, so this is the perfect antidote.  Plus, I want to use the pub’s free wi-fi.  Booyah.

It was rather chilly with the wind blowing around in Preston.  Hence I’m all bundled up and such.  Since arriving down south, the weather is still a bit windy, but much warmer.  As would be expected.  I’m staying at a hostel right on the river Thames, opposite Battersea Power Station.  It’s nice enough.  I’ve really enjoyed staying at a range of hostels in London, testing out different areas and scenes.  This one is in a very quiet area on the border of Chelsea and Westminster, a bit far from tube stations, but I think I will survive.

Tonight, since I don’t think I’m going to look at any flats, I’m going to Craven Cottage to see some football for cheap.  The Fulham Academy boys are in the league final and it will be neat to see some up and coming players.  Um.  Yeah.  Tomorrow, let’s hope for the best in looking at places to live.  At the least Sunday will be a very good day here in London town.  Can’t wait.

Have a good weekend everyone.  Will check back in tomorrow.

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