Monday, 31 October 2011

Our Little Lamb

Happy Halloween!

We weren't quite sure what to expect of of our first Halloween in the UK.  From what we could gather, it seemed that Halloween is generally considered to be an American holiday, so we tried not to get our hopes up in terms of the traditional festivities we're used to (decorations, costumes, trick-or-treating, etc.).  We were encouraged when we saw some Halloween decorations showing up around Clapham, but even then, we didn't let ourselves get too excited.

Well, in the midst of our lowered expectations, we failed to purchase Charlie a proper Halloween costume.  But I think we made up for it with the cutest possible alternative.  Here, for your viewing pleasure, is Our Little Lamb:

Yes, that would be Charlie in all white, sitting next to a sickly green pumpkin, with black, patent-leather, hoof-like shoes on and a too big fleecy, lamb jacket.  But, she is so cute, who cares if it isn't an actual, proper Halloween costume?  No one here!  We think she's the cutest thing we've ever seen! 

And we even got some trick-or-treaters!  After hearing that some American friends of ours in Wimbledon (Naina and Josh) got some trick or treaters last night (#youredoingitwrong), we ran out to get candy just in case we got a confused child in a costume showing up at our door.  So, we were SUPER excited when we got a huge group of little ones in a variety of fun costumes.  We also saw a variety of adults and kids in costumes "fancy dress" over the weekend.  Apparently they do celebrate Halloween over here!

So, watch out Next Year, Charlie is going to be decked out in something even more unbelievably cute and maybe she'll even carry one of those big plastic pumpkins to put candy in.

Consider yourselves warned. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Teeth Growing Skillz

I was welcomed home by one handsome husband and a snuggly baby with three new teeth!  THREE!  

Can you see them?

Can you see them now?

PS:  Happy ten months Charlie!!  

Monday, 24 October 2011

An Artful Goodbye

My roomie Rebecca and I were trying to come up with a fun way to thank our hosts for their generosity.  Since they are collectors of text-based art, we thought it would be fun to come up with an artsy looking thank you card.  We thought about imitating a piece of art from their collection, but when we found a typewriter at one of our concert venues, we went rogue.  Here is what we came up with:

It is a bit hard to see in the photo, so here are some closeups:

They absolutely LOVED it!!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

What I've been up to

My roomie, Rebecca, and I both went to Peabody Conservatory, have a ton of mutual friends and specialise in singing the same kind of music, but we never met until last week!  Our mutual friends always told me that we would get along famously, and we do!  I'm looking forward to spending more time with her in December and March!


Yesterday I went to visit a friend from DC.  Abby was one of Jason's best friends from law school and now she lives in Miami with her fiancĂ©e and their new baby!  I got to hold the little one the entire time I was there.  It was so sweet and made me miss my Charlie so much!  

Also, I didn't get any pics, but their living room recently got a makeover from David Bromstad on his HGTV show Color Splash.  How cool is that?!  It really looked amazing!

Seraphic Fire is full of such wonderfully amazing people.  We've had a lot of fun hanging out together.  After last night's concert, two of the other sopranos and I ordered banana splits the size of our heads.  It was pretty amazing:

The fourth soprano was at another table (the group was too big to fit around just one table!) and was surprised by her husband who flew in to surprise her on their first wedding anniversary.  How adorable is that?!

I was trying to capture the big moment, but caught her accusing someone of scheming instead!
Then, of course, I've been hanging out at "Home Sweet Museum" and enjoying the use of their pool and workout facilities.

view of the pool from the penthouse veranda

This morning Rebecca and I were going to hit the beach, but as I've already been over sunned, I don't think that is the greatest idea for me at the moment.  Luckily I'll be back in December and March; I plan on taking full advantage of the beaches then.  Instead, I am going to go track down some necessary holiday food items that we can't find in London (canned pumpkin, cranberry sauce, Chex, canned yams, bourbon, etc.).  It is a beautiful day and will be a shame to spend it in doors, but it is my own fault for getting a bit overzealous when the sun finally came out!

I have also skyped quite a few times with my Two Favourites.  I can't wait to get back home to them!!

The trip really flew by and I can't believe it is already time to head back home.  I just checked, and it looks like my return flight tomorrow is nonstop.  Halleluja!

PS:  Here is a review from our first concert:

Friday, 21 October 2011

A Sunny Day in Florida (finally!)

We finally have sun in Florida!  After a rainy week full of flood warnings and even a tornado (!) the sun finally showed its beautiful face yesterday!

The group performed in Boca Raton (sounds lovely in Spanish, but it translates to "Rat Mouth").  The church was right near a shopping area where we went for lunch.  It was the first time since arriving that I've really felt like I was on vacation (aside from my luxurious lie-ins in the morning of course!).  It is gorgeous here!!

We ate Mexican food and sat outside.  It was amazing!  But even more amazing than the sun and authentic American-Mexican food (which London is sorely lacking) was the company.  I've been told that the group considers personality as much as voice when hiring; it makes a HUGE difference in the feel of the group and therefore in the sound of the group.  This group is an awesome group of folks!  We laughed, had serious talks, had hysterical talks and just generally enjoyed each other's company.  As hard as it is to be away from my two favourites, being with fun, supportive and generally awesome people make it so much easier.

To round out a lovely sunny day, we had a great concert and then Rebecca and I went and dipped our feet in the warm ocean before sharing a burger for dinner.  All in all, it was a great day!  I even got to Skype with Jason and Charlie!  Although, today might be even more vacationesque because sitting poolside is definitely in my future.  Yesssssssssss.

A Slower Start to "The Holidays"

As a kid, I thought of "the holidays" as the time of the year between Halloween and New Year's Day, inclusive.  I think most (American) adults consider the holidays to be about one month shorter than this due to the realisation - made at the time that soliciting free candy from your neighbours becomes embarrassing - that Halloween is not in the same holiday category as Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's.  From about that time, most people either give up Halloween or use it as an excuse to dress up as a sexy nurse or wear a "THIS IS MY COSTUME" t-shirt and getting staggeringly drunk.  (OK, I have no scientific evidence that those two options are what "most people" do, but I have anecdotal evidence.)

This continues to be the state of affairs until the people who gave it up, the sexy nurses and the "THIS IS MY COSTUME" guys have kids.  Well, Bethie and I are at about this point in our relationship with Halloween.  I have never really cared much for Halloween, with the exception of handing out candy to kids who ring the bell.  Bethie is fonder of Halloween, though I don't believe she ever took the sexy nurse route, so perhaps she's an exception to the rule.


I sense that these last months of the year - "the holidays" - are going to present a couple of unwelcome cultural changes for your new Londoners.  We're having a great time embracing the cultural differences of our new home, but no one ever said anything about giving up holidays.  I mean, Thanksgiving is going to be brutal.  To a much lesser extent Halloween.  Apparently Halloween isn't a big deal here.  That suits me fine, but I recognise that the world would be a better place if it had a few photos of Charlotte dressed as a pumpkin.

We understand from our sources that trick-or-treating isn't really "a thing", but surely retailers try to push it, right?  Let's walk down to Sainsbury's and find out:

Well, good: we can get a pumpkin for carving.  Little known (?) fact: the pumpkin is an import to Europe from the Americas.  By the way, £1.50 seems like a steal.  Then again, it's a vegetable that you cut holes in for decorative purposes and then throw away without eating.  So, maybe not.

If you pay twice as much, they'll make it "monster".

I'm not entirely sure, but I think most of this stuff is on sale most of the year, but with less "scary" packaging.  I've never seen "cinder toffee" flavour before, though.  Sounds OK.  I'd eat it.

I expect the only thing "petrifying" about these is the ingredient list.  Or the texture.  Anyway, the point of this photo is that marshmallows are not your traditional Halloween treat.

But they make more sense than this bag of wacky.  Cheese and onion potatoes snacks...let me tell you this: if someone dared to stick a handful of crispy cobwebs into my plastic jack-o-lantern candy carrier, they'd feel the business end of a witch's broomstick.

A costume is called "fancy dress" here.  This was confusing to me when Charlotte's nursery told us that some employees would be in "fancy dress" one day as a charity fundraiser. 

On the right is the Halloween aisle.  On the left is one of several of the Christmas aisles, which have been set up since about June.  I think we know which holiday this country really does well.

Missing are the huge displays of "fun size" (fun?  pshaw!) candies.  In fact, there is almost no Halloween candy at all.  There are some ghost-shaped Haribo gummies, but no Tootsie Rolls, no tamarind-chili candies (oh man, in 2003, we were that house the kids avoided...Bethie actually ran across the street to give those things away), and definitely no Smarties.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Time with Charlie

With Bethie at work in Florida, Charlie and I have more time together than we usually do.  Here's what we've been up to so far.

Eating laminated dough:

Standing up all by ourselves:

Getting really excited about nothing in particular: 

Holding our favourite toy, Cylinder:

Working on our maths:

Drinking the best lattes in Clapham:

Feeling the cold of our first London autumn:

Finding some giant drinking straws:

Not going to the Bee's Knees:

Enjoying Grafton Square Park:

Really feeling the cold of our first London autumn:

Filling our bellies full of warm milk and having good nights' sleep:

Home Sweet Museum

The couple hosting me and my roomy, Rebecca, are more than just avid art collectors.  It is more accurate to describe them as museum curators.  In fact, they call their (penthouse) apartment "home sweet museum".  They have such an amazing collection that they regularly have scholars visit and even stay here at the apartment (so they can have enough time to attempt to get through even a small portion of the collection.)  Their collection is so big that even the hallway of the penthouse level of their building as well as another penthouse apartment next to this one (!!!) are both full of art.  And when I mean full, I mean every square inch is used.  Seriously, folks, this is one amazing art collection!  I would be shocked if it weren't the largest collection of its kind (text based art) in the world.

I asked if I could take pictures and was given an enthusiastic "yes"!  Unfortunately, I really don't know much at all about modern art, so I don't even know where to begin here.  I've just taken some random shots of things that looked interesting.

First some wider shots of the apartment:

the hallway going to my room

looking from the kitchen to the living room

There used to be a fish pond under the stairs.  They took it out and commissioned an artist to create something for the space.  She filled it with large white letters.  

This is the hallway that leads to their apartment from the elevators.  They got permission to fill it with art.

These are probably my favourite pieces that they have.  The artist has taken an old novel and blocked out all of the text with the exception of a few words.  They must be so fun to make!  (Click on the image to see them larger.)

"The whole of the
 one very simple thing:
for years
for Jill--

a ring of music

play lady play
As to your enclosure
a heart of stone

I like this one, too.  It looks like it might be back lit when plugged in.


Amazingly, these were only shots of the downstairs.  There is a whole other collection upstairs!  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...