Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good King Wenceslas Changed A Lightbulb...

I've had enough of the single life- I'm ready for John to be home. He's leaving NY tonight and arriving back in the UK tomorrow, so he'll be here when James and I get home from school.

The Bury Bach Choir has started rehearsing for our carol concert, Wassail, Wassail at Lavenham church on the 9th of December at 7:30. (Shameless plug!) It's going to be great if you're around!

We started off with Good King Wenceslas last night, which is one of my favorite carols. Every year we sing it at the Sutton Manor Carol Sing at Frannie's house, but it a little. The women make a big production of being weak and meek and faint hearted, and then the men respond with much pounding of chests and deep-voiced singing. It's all very entertaining and it all ends with rousing cheers that the poor page has made it to wherever he's going, purely on the strength of Wenceslas (and the singing). I hadn't really thought that there was any other way to sing it. Apparently there is. Not that the BBC version is's just slightly less rowdy. Although I mentioned to my next-seat neighbor that I'm used to acting it out, and she though that sounded like a great idea.

A quick music joke for everyone:

Q: How many sopranos does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One. She stands and holds it and the world revolves around her.

Ohhh, more.

Q: How many altos does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. They can't go up that high.

I crack myself up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Great Elmo-napping

I keep two small plastic figures on my desk - a little blue Smurf playing the French Horn that C gave me when I lived in NY and Elmo, holding a sailboat. When I got back to the office on Monday morning, no Elmo. I looked under my desk and in my files - nothing.

I asked my boss if he'd seen him...he said that he'd been Elmo-napped by someone in the company. He gave me a few clues as to the identity of the Elmo-napper, who I then asked if she knew anything of Elmo's whereabouts.

Had he gone to do some work experience? Did he see the pickers getting bonuses for picking lots of books and want to join in? Was he making a bid for freedom? Did he want to be the new Network Manager with John out of town?

I didn't hear anything until yesterday, when the Elmo-napper came in and said that she could hear him sounded like he was not too far away but weakening rapidly.

And this morning, I found this...

As he's plastic, he's made a full recovery and is happily standing with Horn Smurf in front of my monitor. Phew.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Last Wednesday, John and I went with my mom to the New York Botanical Garden to see the annual train show. We went pretty early in the day to miss the crowds, since it's one of those things where you can quite easily stand in line for an hour to get in. No thanks...

I posted a whole bunch of pictures on Flickr from the trains and the gardens (and a brief pit stop in the Bronx). here they are...enjoy!

I'm uber jet-lagged - I kept falling asleep at my desk today. To top it off, I have a cold. Mean horrible airplanes pumping yucky air around. Sniffle. I'm aiming to be in bed by 9.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I'm still here

Well, the blog was COMPLETELY neglected while we were in New York. We basically didn't sit down between when we got in on Thursday night until I got home this evening. John's up at the warehouse in upstate NY until the end of the week - apparently the IT needs some TLC.

We went to Liz & Dan's wedding up in Vermont - it was a beautiful wedding and we all had a really great time!!

Here's a picture of the Stowe Market. Haha.

And here we are at our Ben & Jerry's pit stop on the way home.

We had a really good Thanksgiving with my family and got to see a few of our friends (but it was tough because SO many people were home at their parents' houses for the holiday...)

Lots more pictures and fun stuff to follow, I promise!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Is That Yours?

We went to the petrol station on the way home, and I went in to pay for the gas with my debit card. The name on the card- Mrs. StowmarKate.

I handed it to the cashier, and said, 'Pump 9, please.' The cashier looked me up and down, and then asked, 'Is this your card?'

'Um, yeah...why?'
'Oh no,'s just that you seem...'
'Too young to be Mrs. StowmarKate?'

I reassured her that I was married (and old enough to be), and that it was my card.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Big Comfy Couches

We picked up a whole bunch of furniture from Martin & Gillian's today - they're moving into the new house on Tuesday. We have two deceptively large and very squashy green couches, a matching ottoman (which I'm gasping to put a plastic bag on top of - thanks Grandma!), two bedside tables with a little cupboard and a drawer each, and a tall bureau and a shorter, wider one with a mirror. Phew.

Our flat is v. full, since we didn't have a chance to call the landlords to come get their furniture at the end of last week - it was a little hectic. Hopefully they'll be able to come pick it up before we go back to NY- but they have a key so it's not the end of the world if they come in while we're gone.

James' food preferences have been slowly evolving over the last year - he started out only wanting pasta and teacakes and complaining wildly if anything had too many veggies in it. Today, he had vegetable minestrone at Freda's for lunch and then baked potatoes with v. spicy leftover veggie chili for dinner. He LOVES spicy food, all of a sudden...if it doesn't make him ask for a second glass of water, it's not hot enough. His favorite is Indian food but he's quite happy with fajitas and HOT salsa. Ok, it's El Paso Hot Salsa from Waitrose, but it's not anything my dad would be able to eat. I love the fact that he's suddenly excited about spicy food and makes planning dinner much easier!

We also had another first - he pulled off sarcasm for the first time tonight. He'd tried before, without really having a handle on when to use it, and then tonight, wham. John reminded James for the two-hundred and eleventy-twelfth time not to leave ALL the lights blazing in the apartment and James just looked right at him and said, "Wait, you don't want me to leave all the lights on? Really?? Naw!"

John and I were floored. It's all downhill from here... :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wedding and Sewing

First off, congratulations to the newlyweds- Ian and Caroline are now officially married. They had a really nice ceremony at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich, and then we were all whisked off to a fantastic lunch on the waterfront. We had a really great time and we're SO excited for them. It was really fun to meet some more of Ian and John's friends from school...they're all fun guys.

We're completely zonked, but I managed to finish the knitting needle case...[insert fanfare here]. Here are the pics!! Sorry the quality is kind of grubby but I wanted to post them tonight and not wait for the daylight tomorrow. It's hard to see in the picture, but the printed fabric has all kinds of designs of sewing stuff on it (both the blue and the cream ones). All together now...awww.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I've discovered Meebo (well, ok, the Times discovered Meebo) - it's a chat aggregator that puts together the MSN and GoogleTalk and AIM and Yahoo chat services in one web window. I find iChat to be sort of clunky (sorry, Apple), and I LOVE being able to have a meebo window open at work without having to download anything. Well, I can't download anything...our evil network manager (aka the hubby) has locked us down.

I got a call tonight from Elia, one of the girls I met when I was working at Ickworth. She's from Seattle and lives in Bury with her Brit husband. Sound familiar? We're getting together for dinner after I get back from NY, and she's under strict instructions to let me know if there's anything she needs from the US. Thanks to cultural diffusion, there's SO much more American stuff here than there was when I was a kid - you can buy Betty Crocker brownie mix, for Pete's sake.

I'm SO close to finishing the knitting needle case, but we've had a bunch of late nights at work and choir and stuff and I just haven't had a chance to get the sewing machine out. This weekend, definitely. Mostly because I have to take pics for the's been really texty lately.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Comfy Pants

Ok, I feel completely legitimized. It started when I moved to the city - when I got back from class, I'd immediately change into a pair of flannel/fleece pants and a hoodie (modified to cotton capris and a tank top in the summer). I still wear my v. old and somewhat groty red plaid Old Navy comfy pants around the house all the time (and I sleep in them when it's too cold for regular pjs).

The big news? Philip, the conductor of the Bury Bach Choir, appeared at rehearsal in the BLUE version of my comfy pants and a fleece. They were awesome. And since his normal garb is khakis and a polo shirt, he totally looked like he'd arrived in his jammies.

I was v. jealous that I hadn't changed from my skirt into comfy pants for the rehearsal. There was some miscellaneous whispering, but the general consensus was that he wears his comfy pants kind of a lot in the winter. :)

And yes, all you Brits...I know it's comfy trousers, but comfy pants just has a better ring to it.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006


I feel terrible - I didn't get my act together in time to get an absentee ballot this year. It's the first election since I turned 18 that I haven't voted in. I voted in Maine, I voted in New Ro, and I voted in NYC (which was v. nice as the polling place was in the lobby of my building). Not that the New York races are even vaguely contested (hello, Governor Spitzer and Senator Clinton!), but still.

I may still even be on the voter rolls in NYC...I don't know that I officially changed my address back to my parents' house. Tonight is probably not the night to be checking on it...I'll need to stop at the post office when we're home and get one of the address change forms and make sure I'm all set in the right place. The DMV has my correct address but I'm not sure who else they give it to.

I was talking with John yesterday about how I talked all kinds of smack 2 years ago...that I'd leave the country if Bush won...and here I am!

People over here think the American government are loonies (although they save their choicest words for ol' Tony Blair), and that the American people are bonkers to have elected them. Personally, I agree. A joke from Radio 4: How do you know when Tony Blair is lying? His mouth is moving. Oh, tee hee.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

It's clean!

We'd gotten to the point where we knew we needed to do a really good deep clean in the flat, so we cleaned for about 3 hours this morning. There are still a few things left to do, but our oven is a whole new color and the idiotic wooden windowsill in the shower has been de-mildewed. We don't really have much margin for things to get messy without it taking over the entire house- we basically spend all our time in the living room when we're home.

I also managed to get started on my knitting-needle case, and then I ran out of thread. I probably would have had enough had I not gotten overconfident and made a mistake and had to pick out a whole bunch of stuff. Oh well...I guess I'll just have to go to the fabric store to get some more. How sad. :-D

We're coming up to a really hectic few weeks...Ian and Caroline's wedding is this Saturday, then we're collecting a whole lot of furniture from Martin's on Sunday, and then we're leaving for NY next Thursday, blasting up to Vermont on Friday, in Liz and Dan's wedding on Saturday, and then back to New Ro for Thanksgiving. It'll be really nice to be in NY and not be doing (our) wedding stuff, though.

John's going to be staying in the US for work for an extra week, and then the first weekend he gets back, I have an event at Ickworth and a choir practice in Bury, both of which will be tricky with just the one car, since we also have James that weekend. Then the following weekend we can just mong out and survey the chaos of the past month. Oh, I'm also taking my Driving Theory test in the middle of all that. Which will be closely followed by my practical test.


Random driving test tidbit: if you start the car in gear (even if your foot is on the clutch), it's an immediate fail. It shows "failure to secure the vehicle' or something else strange. Random unscientific poll of stick-shift-driving American blog readers: when you park the car, do you leave it in gear?

Saturday, November 4, 2006


Well, tonight is Guy Fawkes night (actually, it's tomorrow, but it's celebrated on the nearest Saturday night...tonight), so we went off to the Museum Of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket where they had a massive bonfire and a surprisingly good fireworks display. There was a really good turnout and it wasn't too cold...but it was cold enough to appreciate the warmth that the bonfire was kicking out.

When we lived in Peterborough, we always rode our bikes to Ferry Meadows for the fireworks and the bonfire. I seem to remember a carnival-y thing set up as well, but that could easily be memories mushing together. John and I were in a similar spirit tonight...we walked into town rather than drove (John doesn't have a bike...)

I spent the morning having a driving lesson (I need to work on parking and 'clutch control' - i.e. not rolling forwards or backwards at any point). Bugger.

There was a suicidal pheasant on our way into Bury after my instructor picked me up. I was driving along the A14 in a 50mph zone, when I noticed two pheasants standing by the side of the road, looking very much like they wanted to step under the car. I'd clocked them and I checked my mirrors (I was having a driving lesson, after all), and then right as I was coming up to where they were, the bigger one stepped RIGHT out in front of me. I swerved into the other lane and missed him but I don't imagine he made it to lunchtime today.

According to my instructor, on the test, if there's a pheasant in the road and it would create more of a hazard for me to swerve to avoid him, thumping over him is the thing to do. Ugh.

After doing some Christmas shopping in Bury, I went to the fabric store to get some quilters quarters for a knitting needle (for me) and paintbrush (for mom) case that I'd seen in The Crafter's Companion. It's a FANTASTIC book published by Anna of Twelve22, one of my favorite craft blogs. My mom had heard that I was going to make the knitting needle case and asked if I could repurpose one for her for her watercolor paintbrushes. I could and I have and it's AWESOME. I've modified the pattern very slightly, and it turned out really well. I'm torn about putting pics up, since it's her Christmas present. I haven't made mine yet...tomorrow.