Sunday, January 30, 2011


I love February! It doesn't hurt that it contains my birthday, but it is also the month that the horrible weather in Salt Lake breaks just enough to show that there is still hope for a warm future. January is historically bogged down with inversions, grey skies, and bitter cold. This year I was saved from the heavy Utah snow but didn't escape the cold or the grey. I am holding out (possibly-false) hope that on Tuesday at midnight, the temps will magically rise ten degrees (F), the skies will clear, and I will be able to go for some strolls without my face shattering off. I would love that!

Speaking of love, February has been hijacked by Valentine's Day marketers and therefore tends to be full of pink hearts and kissing teddy bears. That part I do not love. Every year I make my own calendar with pics of stuff and junk I like. A few years ago I made the mistake of getting cutsey by decorating February with photos of my boyfriend at the time and me so I could be all lovey-dovey on Valentine's. We broke up on Groundhog day. Needless to say, according to my wall it was March for two months that year. This year I decided to use photos of things that I love now and always will.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sweet Baby Rae

A couple of weeks ago I tasked Erin with naming my new bike.  I am quite pleased (though not surprised) at her thoroughness and ability to come up with many layers of meaning.  Meet Rae: 

Rae is short for Rachel which in Hebrew (shoutout to my Jewish pals, Sara and Yafit) means Ewe.  If you know much about me, you know about my Gram and how much I loved her and why I have a sheep tattoo in her honor (or honour as my spell check insists on me saying).  

In Erin's words "Sheep remind you of your beautiful Gram who watches over you always, especially as you speed through busy streets like the RAYs of light from the sun...too much?"  I wish I could say I am that speedy but alas I am still slowly chugging along.  

As with any good recipe, the last layer should always include BBQ sauce.  So I chose to give her the elongated title (for her official pedigree papers, of course) of Sweet Baby Rae.  Mmmmmmm......bbq.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mix Tape

Most of you reading this remember the days of mix tapes.  I spent hours upon hours making these when I was young.  I hardly owned any music as a kid so I would wait until the song I wanted came on the radio and record it.  Then I would move them from one tape to another to get them in the right order.  Now we drag and drop and forget how fun they are to make and how much people appreciate the effort.

For my A-Team (minus E) going away party last year Brandon, Alex, Sara, and I went on a road trip to Vegas.  My feelings about Vegas aside, I had a really good time with them and we listened to some good tunes on the drive.  One CD was a compilation put together for Sara called Gang Starr.  It's full of some pretty chill songs so I thought I would share the love and give you my tops from it.

Better Late Than Never

Back in November I went to the Chelsea Physic Garden's Christmas Fair.  The Fair part was really just an excuse to get into the garden which is closed all winter except over these two days.  Despite it being a fa-reezing cold day I couldn't get enough of the gardens and wandered around for a couple of hours snapping pics.  I do love the gardens here :)  Next on my list are the Kensington Roof Gardens.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Doug!!!

People often ask me why I moved to England.  My response is always, "I've wanted to live here since I was 15."  More specifically, I have felt at home here for many many years for many many reasons, not the least of which being my family.  We call each other cousins because that seems the easiest way to avoid having to give any in-depth explanations of our shared genetics (probably because the majority of us don't really know the actual answer, much to our mothers' disappointment).  Despite having grown up a world apart I always feel at home with them.  Everyone is kind and generous and all that good stuff, but more than anything they are funny.  Smart-funny.  Smart-funny and silly.  A combination that makes for the kind of laughter that hurts your sides.  I love spending time with them!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Favorite of 2010

My plan was to write a post about this weekend.  But there was something in it that tied to a post from last year so I began digging for that.  Then that reading turned into wanting to do another post about the posts involving the anticipation of my move to England.  And somehow in all this archive reading I re-read the post from K & J's wedding in June.

I officially dub THIS as the best post of the 2010.  This honor comes not from my judgement of the writing itself being anything special but from the nostalgia of the weekend.  In the midst of a lot of crazy/busy in my life, Alex and I spent a weekend with two wonderful people and a group of their fantastic friends and family in a GORGEOUS place doing all kinds of lovely, relaxing, outdoorsy things.  Sooooooooo much fun :)  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Drawing Music

I can't imagine how long it took to draw this.  What a rad idea though!  (definitely best to see in full screen)

Friday, January 7, 2011

I might be a little drunk...

Dear "cute" MBA student who insists on repeatedly kissing my cheek and telling me "every day is christmas with Noelle," just a few things.....

a) Fist of all! I DON'T want my man clean-shaven, in a suit, at an office.  I want him scruffy, in a T-shirt, in a garden so this is not going to happen.  
b) DON'T call my well-educated, well-read, intelligent friend "darling" in that "oh little girl" way.  Just don't.  And DON'T call her naive and tell her she hasn't read anything about anything, because she has and understands it more than you do.
c) really???? Christmas??? That's all you can come up with????

Dear Jeff Tweedy:  I know you are married with kids and all and I would never want to interfere with that but can we make a deal? Can we agree that three times in the course of my life I can call you up at any time and have you come over, play your guitar, and sing me to sleep with your sweet/sad songs?  Deal????

Dear tiny bottle of Cartier Champagne from Patrick O'sullivan O'rourke O'malley: Thank you for existing!

Dear E: I love the name for my bike :) I miss you and heart you a million zillion times over!

Dear Doc Chiro:  Please please please come and make my neck better.  I will buy you and your sassy gal a round for it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Biking Viking

I biked to work for the first time (in London) today!  Things I learned/thought along the way:
  • I didn't get squarshed!
  • Even during rush hour, many back roads have very little traffic
  • To those who say London is flat, I say, "as flat as Pamela Anderson!"
  • It took me almost exactly as much time to ride here as it does to walk to the bus, take the bus to the train, take the train to the station, and walk from the station to school
  • I live five miles away, not the four that I thought (which is something I actually learned Monday when I walked my path in advance)
  • My tire (tyre) has a slight issue which means I will be carrying a pump with me until I can fix it.  Bummer.
  • Our bike racks here are really funky but make me feel all futuristic when I use them (I'll try to get a pic for you tomorrow)
  • Biking in London in January is waaaaaayyyyyy better than biking in SLC in January both in terms of cold and inversion/toxic-air issues
  • I haven't ridden in FIVE freakin' months!  In SLC I trained for months to do a Century ride and rode to work most days as well as around the city for errands.  I brought my helmet with me during my move and got biking maps the first week I was here, and yet it took me this long to a) find a bike I liked and b) work up the nerve to get on the streets.  The wrong left side of the road thing made me nervous, not because I didn't think I could stay on the right side while riding, but because I worry that if something dramatic happens I will react naturally and swerve to the right and into an oncoming car.  A legitimate concern I think.  I conquered the challenge though by finding a good path through less-used streets and I felt totally safe 99% of the time.  Only one busy spot made me a little anxious but it was brief.
  • If I hadn't had to pump up my tire at the last minute and had gone out the door at a better time I would have had even fewer cars to deal with and would probably have had an even shorter commute time.  Noted for tomorrow. 
  • I don't know if it is road grit or just my eyes being annoying but they have been bugging me all day.  I'm not a nighttime sunglasses-rocker (like Walt) and my real glasses are too sissy to stand up to the task of protecting anything.  Maybe I will just wrap some saran wrap around my head next time?  It's see-through and conforms well to irregular surfaces.
  • I had to wait at one point for a long line of horses to cross before I could get into the park.  That was interesting.  I wonder if I will see that every day?
  • WOOT!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Camera Adds Ten Pounds

Today the sun came out and it was brilliant!  Ok ok it wasn't Spanish sun but it was visible and the blue bits were more than just specks here and there.  I couldn't wait to get out of the house and into the rays.  My resolve?  Stay out as long as the sun did!

I walked damn near seven miles.  My first stop was at a cafe in Regent's Park where I sat outside writing letters and met new friends (see pics below).  From there I carried on to the cafe.  By that time the sun had retreated and my fingers were frozen so I had some tasty soup and another hot chocolate (yes, I do have a problem) to thaw out and did some more letter writing.  A fabulous day!!

Confessions of a Picky Eater

I would love to go to a restaurant and say "surprise me!" and know that I would savor whatever was set before me.  In reality, however, I would anxiously wait at the table hoping that whatever came my way wasn't swimming in mushrooms, olives, artichokes, asparagus, or truffle oil.  I've tried, I really have!!!  I want to like everything, I really do!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Soup's On

I made some tasty soup yesterday!  When I called my parents to chat for a bit, I told them I felt like making soup but had nothing to do it with.  My dad insisted soup could be made out of ANYthing.  Stone soup references aside, I didn't think an onion and lime soup sounded particularly pleasant but it was about the only option.  That was until I saw the can of pumpkin I had taken out of the cupboard a few minutes before I called them, and a box of creamed coconut Yafit donated to me in her move.  So I got online and googled Pumpkin Coconut Soup and got this baby:

Happy 2011!!!

The last three days have been quite the whirlwind.  While waiting for my Fedex package of biking goods to arrive on Thursday (yes it's here!!!), I ticked off several big To Do's from the list: organizing my photos, writing a few long-overdue emails, reading a pretty awesomely long letter from my sister's pretty awesome girlfriend, and kicking my own ass yoga-style for an hour were among the top successes.

Still sweating from the later, I quickly changed and went to meet the girls for a movie and dinner.  We saw Love and Other Drugs which is exactly everything you predict it would be (only I smuggled in some delicious cider which made it much more bearable), then we had some burritos for dinner.  The time finally came for us to break up our little group when Lindsey and Yafit had to say their goodbyes to Aby.  Not my favorite moment of the night. 

I stayed at Lindsey's so I could be there to help haul her things out first thing in the morning.  We were in bed by 11 but didn't sleep until well into the 2 o'clock hour due to our ability to cram more words into one day than should be humanly possible.  Topics included: stupid ways we got hurt as kids, awesome ways we got hurt as kids, retirement plans and the joys of our former professions in finance, cats, packing strategies, and life the universe and everything, among others.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Joyeux Noel

I wanted to share with you a few UK holiday traditions.  Mulled Wine and Mince Pies, and Crackers and Crowns were present at every Christmas party (and one day in the school cafeteria just for fun) and  Boxing Day was a sight to behold.  I know there are more I am forgetting in this post but I wanted to get it online as Christmas was over a week ago already.  I may come back and sneakily update it with more....

Mulled Wine and Mince Pies

The first of the holiday traditions I was introduced to was mulled wine and mince pies.  You can't have one without the other.  Take the usual wassail, use red wine instead of apple juice, and Bob's your uncle (we're in England now, folks.  Getting alcohol into every tradition is, well, tradition!).  Mince pies are essentially single-serving, double-crust pies filled with a sweet fruit mixture that is made of spices and sugar and served hot from the oven.  The warm wine goes straight to your head and the hot pie goes straight to your heart.  The perfect combination for a cold winter night!  My flatmate has a friend who invited us over and made both of these tasty treats by hand.  These stand out as the best of the best for the entire holiday season (and believe me when I say I had many points of comparison).