exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

the mayfly project 2010

by Jen at 2:49 pm on 31.12.2010Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, holidaze

for the past few years, i’ve been taking part in the mayfly project: the year in 24 words.

doesn’t look like they’re still doing it this year, but i enjoy the challenge of distillation anyway. when it all boils down to just a few words, what *really* mattered this year?

here, then, my essential, concentrated 2010.

lost loved ones, but found my roots. lost my job, but found a plan. suffered marathon training, endless insomnia, seven year itch. all change.

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let’s get one thing straight

by Jen at 4:50 pm on 25.07.2010Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, like a fish needs a bicycle

okay, i’m all riled up because i’ve been hearing some otherwise smart women saying some very dumb things, so i’ve just got to get one point off my chest:

women being in positions of power is not feminism – even if they got there on the back of feminists, and even if they appropriate the term “feminist”.

feminism is, at it’s heart, about ensuring equality for *all women*. there are two fundamental principles which must be central to embedding equal opportunity for all: the ability to control one’s body, and protection from discrimination on the basis of sex. feminists may debate many other factors and values around oppression and inequality, but without those two core rights, feminism as a movement, essentially has no meaning.

so you can be a powerful woman, and you can be independent, driven, educated, successful, capable, and equal to any man… but unless you act in ways which advance, at a minimum, those two fundamentals, you are not a feminist, no matter what you choose to call yourself.

to paraphrase jessica valenti: i can call myself an astronaut – that doesn’t make it true.

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the mayfly project 2009

by Jen at 6:58 pm on 30.12.2009 | 1 Comment
filed under: blurblets, holidaze

for the past few years, i’ve been taking part in the mayfly project: the year in 24 words.

i enjoy the challenge of distillation. when it all boils down to just a few words, what *really* mattered this year?

here, then, the essence of my 2009.

new president, new home, new job, new family members. physiology frustrated, marathon scuppered. running to stand still, but plans afoot for the coming year!

the new year – death cab for cutie

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by Jen at 9:56 pm on 28.09.2009 | 2 Comments
filed under: blurblets

so much to say about my holiday, and no time to say it tonight. if you’ve been following my twitter feed, you’ll know there are lots of stories to tell.

but in the meantime: it’s banned books week. fight censorship – check out the ala’s list of most frequently challenged and banned books. then donate here on behalf of free speech.


the soft sigh of summer

by Jen at 6:25 pm on 1.07.2009 | 3 Comments
filed under: blurblets, londonlife, photo

just when i begin to think i just couldn’t be more fed up with this city, it has a way of turning around and surprising me into falling in love with it all over again.

an incredible sunny warm summer evening.  husband on the barbeque.  wimbledon on the television. and this view at the end of the couch.

you’d be too lazy to blog too.


at least it’s not paul harvey

by Jen at 9:46 pm on 5.03.2009Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, mundane mayhem

thanks to the miracle of podcasts, i now find myself spending much of my free time listening to public radio and news.  i am fast turning into my mother – which simultaneously scary and comforting.

however, if i begin to lose my glasses every 30 seconds, or start collecting endless piles of tupperware, someone please take me out behind the shed and shoot me.

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a walking cliché

by Jen at 6:24 pm on 16.02.2009 | 8 Comments
filed under: blurblets, eclectica

walking down the pavement today, not paying much attention…

i did, in fact, slip on a banana peel.


nothing new to see here, move along

by Jen at 5:43 pm on 29.01.2009Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, rant and rage

Two months ago, the UK Borders Agency began fingerprinting foreign children over six years old

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by Jen at 9:22 pm on 19.01.2009 | 3 Comments
filed under: blurblets, eclectica

the brilliance that is flight of the conchords is back.

life has meaning once again.


the saddest sight

by Jen at 12:40 pm on 11.01.2009Comments Off
filed under: blurblets

all the forlorn discarded christmas trees – stripped down, barren, strewn along the pavement alongside the detritus of littered rubbish and dog poo.  they make my heart ache.

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finally photos

by Jen at 11:20 pm on 2.01.2009Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, photo

so i’ve finally managed to migrate all my photos to the new domain name, along with a re-org and general tidying.  nearly 3400 pics in all, with more to come (now that i’ve got a proper structure in place).  there’s still a lot of tagging to do, but hopefully this is a much more managable system.

got all the morocco pics up here – have a gander.

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by Jen at 9:54 pm on 1.01.2009Comments Off
filed under: blurblets

i can’t decide if the fact that i started the new year without a hangover is a good omen or bad.

in the meantime, here’s a meme:

What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Yoga! it became my addiction this year. Much to J’s dismay as I commandeered the lounge every day for an hour.

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Hellz no. I leave things behind in the year past and look forward to the year to come. Anything else is a waste of time.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Amity had a lovely wee lad.

Did anyone close to you die?
Thank god, no. Please not this year either.

What places did you visit?
Vancouver, Istanbul, Boston/Cape, and Morocco.  Not enough!

What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
More time with friends and family.

What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory?
23 january – the day i took my citizenship oath.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Meeting my fundraising goal for UNICEF. I’m such a weenie about asking for money that really didn’t think I’d make it, and I was so very pleased when I did.

What was your biggest failure?
Failing to read more than a book a month. That’s pretty pathetic.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
my first trip ever to the emergency room. i thought i was dying. it was not fun.

What was the best thing you bought?
J’s birthday guitar. It’s pretty damn cool.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
J’s – for putting up with my shit, day in, day out. The boy deserves a medal.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Bush, of course. But honorable mention goes to fucking Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Every time I turned around she was forcing more patent lies down the public throat, and proposing even further civil liberties infringements. Ugh.

Where did most of your money go?
That’s a mighty good question. Where *did* most of my money go?

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The election of Obama. It still gets me all verklempt to think about the historic nature of his victory. There was much jumping about and screaming and crying.

What song(s) will always remind you of 2008?
time to pretend – mgmt. it was first song on my running playlist and never failed to get me going. which is good because i spent a lot of time running.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier
Thinner or fatter? I decline to answer
Richer or poorer? Richer in experience, about the same in money.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Travel. And sex. More sex is always good.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Agonising about my shitty old job. I should have jumped ship long before I finally did.

What was the best book you read?
half of a yellow sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. love stories interwoven with nigeria’s civil war. incredibly well written and thoroughly engrossing.

What did you want and get?
a new hard drive! j’s birthday present to me.

What did you want and not get?
a tan. really – this summer was sucktacular.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
is it crass to say money?

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
“homage to jeans.” now that i can wear jeans to work, it’s damn hard to get me out of them.

What kept you sane?
Sanity is overrated.

What political issue stirred you the most?
the shameful media treatment of hillary clinton. i didn’t even see most of it, yet what i saw was truly repulsive.

Who did you miss?
all the usual suspects back home.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
Change is good.

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the number of “sickies” is sickening

by Jen at 9:38 pm on 8.12.2008Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, rant and rage

nothing makes me more irate than hearing the tube service is delayed or reduced due to “staff shortages”.  coinkydink that it coincides with the beginning of the holiday season? i think not.

get the fuck to work, you lazy union bastards.*

*please note for the record, i’m not anti-union, i’m anti-rmt union, the most useless coalition of workers ever to wear the union label.

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irony is…

by Jen at 9:18 pm on 18.11.2008 | 4 Comments
filed under: blurblets, mundane mayhem

hearing someone use the term “coloured” during an equalities and diversity training.



by Jen at 1:41 am on 4.11.2008 | 3 Comments
filed under: blurblets

the combined anxiety and anticipation is killing me.

that is all.


sometimes, the news is good

by Jen at 12:25 pm on 11.10.2008Comments Off
filed under: blurblets

… which must be why i keep reading it every day. with everything that goes wrong in the world, it gives me hope that sometimes we get it right.

connecticut supreme court legalises same sex marriages

The ruling makes Connecticut the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to decide its constitution mandates treating citizens equally when applying for marriage licenses, regardless of their sexual orientation.

“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice,” the ruling said.

“To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others. The guarantee of equal protection under the law, and our obligation to uphold that command, forbids us from doing so. In accordance with these state constitutional requirements, same sex couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry.”

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by Jen at 9:28 pm on 9.10.2008Comments Off
filed under: blurblets, eclectica

US rock band the Foo Fighters have told John McCain to stop using song My Hero in his presidential campaign, saying it “tarnishes” the track.

The band said it had been “appropriated without our knowledge”.

The band said in a statement: “The saddest thing about this is that My Hero was written as a celebration of the common man and his extraordinary potential.

“To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song.”

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all apologies

by Jen at 9:22 pm on 2.10.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: blurblets, mundane mayhem

i know blogging has been pretty light the past month – suffice it to say, real life has been very busy. all in good ways (lots of work, a semblance of actual social life, running, yoga, french classes), but it’s keeping me very busy and (gasp!) limiting my time in front of the computer.

after my race next week, things should lighten up a bit, and hopefully i can get back into the (more relaxed) swing of things. there’s so much to say, and so little time! the sox are in the playoffs, the pats are probably out of the running, the economy is tanking, we’re getting together our canada application, and biden is going to kick some serious palin ass tonight.

until then, here’s a lame-ass apology. i’m sorry.


you’d love to wash this from your memory

by Jen at 6:32 pm on 10.09.2008 | 2 Comments
filed under: blurblets, mundane mayhem

sometimes i really have to wonder how i make it through the day.

for my work i have to use an i.d. swipe card to get into and out of lots of doors. it’s handily put on a badge lanyard, but i can’t stand to wear i.d. around my neck like some kind of tagged animal, so i usually shove the card in my back pocket and let the lanyard dangle out for easy grabbing.

i also try to drink a lot of fluids at work, which means i have to pee a lot. the ladies’ room is through several sets of doors on the next floor down, which means i have to take my swipe card.

(you see where this is going, don’t you?)

and yes, it finally happened today – i ran to the ladies room, backed up to the toilet, pulled down my trousers, sat down…

… and managed to pee all over my lanyard, still hanging from my back trouser pocket, but the cord swinging gently inside the lip of the bowl.

the acorn – flood pt.1

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learning from others’ mistakes

by Jen at 7:25 pm on 28.08.2008Comments Off
filed under: blurblets

ugh. currently updating my cv for the canada application preliminaries. because in local government you *cannot* submit a cv with your application, i’ve not bothered to update it for the past three jobs.

go on – you try remembering what the feck you were doing three jobs ago.

consider this a cautionary tale – don’t let this happen to you!

in the same vein, i pass along this morsel of advice i gleaned from a guy i saw on the street today: if you are noticably balding, do not try to pull off a hoxton fin. they’re sooo passé anyway.

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the games are back!

by Jen at 6:25 pm on 8.08.2008 | 4 Comments
filed under: blurblets, this sporting life

oh, olympics! how i love thee!!

the spectacle and human drama never fail to entrance me completely. i’m watching the recap of the opening ceremonies (which i missed while at work), and getting goosepimples. it just moves me so deeply.

i said before:

i love it so much, not only because i love sports and drama, but because for me it’s a symbol of everything i still believe in about this world. what i choose to believe, in spite of scandal and war and grave injustice. namely this: that you can strive mightly for something good in the face of all obstacles, and achieve your pinnacle moment of self-realisation, your personal triumph that makes all the sacrifice and blood/sweat/tears worthwhile. and you do it not for riches or fame, but because you want to prove to yourself that you can. to my mind, there is nothing purer than that.

oh, the seven atheletes from iraq just came on! to think of what they’ve had to overcome to participate here… there i go welling up again.

see, it’s that stuff that gets me right behind the leaky eyes. that’s what it’s all about.

bring on the games!

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