Courses & Self-Improvement

Being currently 'unemployed' I've been trying to keep myself busy and not go crazy with boredom. For the last five weeks I've been working on my resume/cv by taking a music course/class (my 2nd thus far) from the online extension school of Berklee College of Music. I love doing these courses online with Berklee cause not only do they have kick ass alumni (John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge, Diana Krall, etc), are amazingly educational but you get to network like crazy with people in the industry which is big. I've also learned quite a bit about myself particularly in my current class 'artist management'. I've learned that you have to not just follow your passion, but do something that you can be the best at. I've learned that true success is about humility and the ability to face up and accept any given situation. Not bad for only being on week 5 eh?

picture from here

My other class which starts at the end of August is a 'self-help' course called MondoBeyondo, which is about finding what your dreams are and how to make them a reality. I wasn't planning on doing another course so soon but one of the blogs I follow Superhero Journal had this up recently and I was really really drawn to it for some reason. Obviously I am drawn to it cause the universe knows I need to inject a bit more of 'dreaming' into my life and realizing that yes, anything I do dream about can become a reality. I'm looking forward to making connections and friendships with other like-minded women who are 'searching' like me and hopefully might learn something/be inspired in the process.

Anyway, I'll let you know how these classes and my quest for self-improvement go. I'm so grateful that the right things seem to pop up in my life at the right time. Kind of makes you excited to see what tomorrow will bring.


vintage travel posters

I have been dreaming of traveling recently which happens when you're too poor to go anywhere at the present moment. Of course I love vintage posters and put travel + vintage together I'm in heaven. These are just a few places I've been dreaming about:

from here

from here

from here

from here


happy weekend

from here


travels: Castles & Haggis circa 2001

I thought I'd go back and share pictures from my old travels/trips since moving here. These are from my first month living abroad in England. Within a month I went to Disneyland Paris and Edinburgh Scotland. It was ironic that I was visiting so many castles cause I think my head was still up in the clouds in disbelief that I had actually moved to Europe.


Disneyland Paris

health care in england

i've been hearing about a lot of debate going on with health care back in the USA. i find it hilarious that so much rubbish is being spread round by some about how they believe nationalized health care automatically turns your country into a socialist, commie loving, freedom sucking nation. i've heard how much 'fear' there is that the US will turn into Europe and how some describe Europe as socialist, completely lacking morals, yada yada. well, i'm hear to say that i've had both health care systems and having a NHS has been bloody brilliant.

you get choice....a lot of choice. you can still keep your private care if you want but if you want/need the NHS its there. having children is free, ambulance rides are free, prescriptions cost a blanket amount (less than $20), the list goes on. its far from perfect but it works and the quality of living that it brings and pure ease of mind is worth it.

to me...in the US you pay for police/fire/schools why not add health care to it? the US pays the most per person in the world, but die quicker. There's the argument that you don't want the government interfering with your health and standing in between your doctor.....its bull. in the US your insurance company stands between you and your doctor. even if you do have insurance there's still no guarantee that you'll get coverage. the US is the only country in the world where people loose their homes over health.

to me its a reflection of us as individuals how we treat our poor and sick and the system in the US is just not working. it needs its own unique system, different to Europe that will fit all of Americans needs.

take it from someone who has seen both worlds.....really a NHS is FANTASTIC. why do you think europeans enjoy life so much and are so much more relaxed, cause we don't have to worry about whether we get sick!!

anyway, just food for thought.


hope, blueberries + £5 miracles

after a glorious day on saturday doing a clean-out and organization of our flat james and i sat down together and watched a wonderful oldie but goodie, shawshank redemption.

the message of remembering to have hope was particularly timely for us. I like this particular 'highlights' clip of the movie from youtube that captures this just perfectly:

we then did a glorious walk up through blackheath to the farmers market....bought buckets of blueberries after treating ourselves to breakfast out. there's nothing like fresh blueberries from a local farm.

greenwich park was next albeit oddly quiet today due to the clouds overhead. james and i love the trees in the park, so oddly peaceful and strange looking. i love touching them to feel their different textures and looking up through the branches to see how the light touches each tree differently.

although i brought my camera out, didn't bother with any pictures. wanted to enjoy the moment. felt like if i wasted any time getting my camera out, i'd miss one second of a very perfect afternoon.

after the park we walked through greenwich village stopping by to get a few small items of food from the local shop. i popped some random change into a charity collection box and we then went to another favorite greenwich haunt---the bookshop. after we left, james told me he had just found a £5 on the floor of the store. thought it was ironic that 10 minutes after we gave money to charity we were given a £5 gift like that. i really feel that if you practice service, trusting that the universe is 'abundance' and not lack that you'll be taken care of in the most of miraculous ways. since james and i have adopted this attitude we've always had little miracles like this...finding change all over london nearly totalling £30 ($50) this yr alone. when we worried about money (when we were making about 5 times more too) we never found money in random places and we always never seemed to have enough.

so a great weekend full of lessons and tiny miracles. hope your weekend was great as well my friends.


sisterhood & happy photo 3

i've always been drawn to em falconbridges blog for some reason. she exudes such a 'presence' 'peace' and 'joy' for life that i am still striving to do in mine. she and several of her friends' blogs i've stumbled upon teach me daily to 'just be' and for that i'm grateful. although i've never met her and probably never will sadly---i'm not surprised that she is so well loved by all who meet her. she is on her way back temporarily for 6 months to her home country of australia and recently her good friends threw her a 'see you later' (not a goodbye) party to wish her well on her journey. i was so incredibly touched by their words of sisterhood and love. its reminds me how much friendships are needed and how much we need to stick together in this life.

photo by tara whitney

finally although its been a few weeks since we returned from the countryside, my mind is still on the glorious morning walks through the garden...the sun hitting the grass, the quiet, the chickens and roosters and the lonely cow walking cross the field. this photo (taken on one morning in the garden) is my happy photo for the week...the colours, oh the colours were so hard to forget:


where i surf

although my presence in blogging may have disappeared temporarily the last month...i've still been 'online' so to speak.

i frequently do channel surfing online--reading, surfing, exploring, more reading, facebook, e-mail, more reading. but usually you can always find me at the following sites:

  1. my blogger dashboard (aka...following my favorite blogs)
  2. flickr which provides endless surfing opportunities. i've been flagging my most recent inspirational pictures:
    Untitled, 2. Old School, 3. ...always give your best..., 4. balloons, 5. Self Portrait 2008, 6. Untitled, 7. ~ Drifting ~, 8. ~Mistified~, 9. Rain, Rain..., 10. tip of baja, 11. this lil piggy, 12. beach babe, 13. 1920s antique parasol, 14. Untitled, 15. deb schwedhelm, 16. Summer days are here again, 17. Bestill, 18. I am so ready, 19. Untitled, 20. Untitled

  3. oprah.com----- which i try to keep up with what i'm missing uk vs. us. plus, frankly i find oprah inspiring.
  4. news sites including this one and this one.
  5. job vacancy listings (still looking!)


gratitude 13/7/09

i want start this week off by saying what i'm grateful for right this moment:

- gluten & dairy free chocolate brownies
- mildred our pet duck
(did you know ducks mate for life?---which makes george & mildred's story even more tragic)
- that today is a new day/new week
- good books that hit that squishy spot right where things matter most
- clean kitchens


pity parties

james and i sometimes get stuck in pity parties about our situation. although we're entitled to the occasional bout of discouragement we do somehow manage to pull ourselves through and continue to plod on.

one thing that i forget easily is we all have our own personal cross to bear that only we can carry. i tend to think i'm the only one going through things but i'm not.....everyone is in some way or another dealing with their own struggles. its about never giving up hope and most importantly realizing that you are not alone in the journey.

one thing that i found really inspiring was a recent post by the blogger, pioneer woman. i'm an avid reader of her blog. she is helping out another popular blogger, fatcyclist raise money for the lance armstrong foundation in honour of his wife's battle with cancer. currently they are at 33,000.00$ (yesterday it was only $15k). although it helps there's a very nice nikon camera/photoshop prize being offered in a 'raffle', i find this inspiring to see people's spirit of giving particularly in a recession (james and i of course donated too---we need another camera!). what was even more inspiring though was the comments left on ree's post. she's asked us to leave an answer to the question, "what do you fight in life?". i was so moved by people's answers/stories of every day courage. here are some that have caught my eye:

no. 33
I fight my “Weight”……..ugh

no. 74
I fight for my family, whether that means helping my husband be the man he can be,needs to be and wants to be, helping my sons to be kind, just and honest young men or if it means that I just need to get up again and be the best mom I know how-I fight to keep us a strong family.

no. 77
I fight the urge to give up, even just for a few hours.

no. 103
I am always fighting my inner voice that says it’s never clean, it’s never good enough, the kids are miserable and you are not happy and you are a failure.

no. 115
I fight negative thoughts on a daily basis. I’m doing better though, STOP THOUGHT

no. 148
I am a colon cancer survivor and have been cancer free for almost a year. I fight worry. My goal is to consciously live my life fully each day and not be dragged down by worry!

no. 165
i fight the fear of failure. i want so much to be the best mom i can be to my two daughters, but i’m so afraid that i’m going to do (or not do) something to mess the punks up good. but i just have to remind myself that each day is a new day, and all i can do is my best.

no. 235
I fight against becoming everything I hate. The struggle of sin nature!

no. 288
I fight fear. I always fear that I am going to fail and that holds me back alot! I fear that I won’t be good enough at something so sometimes I just don’t try or I don’t give it my all. But with the birth of my daughter just 4months ago….I have started to view fear a little differently…I was fearful that I wouldn’t be a good father well..that fear has caused me to strive even more to be a good father…so while I still fight fear I fight it differently…I am using the fear to fuel me on and to really push me on…so now when I am fearing a situation…I figure well this is where I am at…and so I am going to even give it more..I am going to beat this fear…!

no. 3627
I fight, constantly, that little girl inside myself who grew up being told she just wasn’t good enough.

no. 3633
I’m also fighting breast cancer. I’ve had six surgeries in eighteen months, the last was a few weeks ago. But I know that I’ve been luckier than Susan. She has to fight harder. But we’re both lucky to have pretty awesome and involved husbands. Let’s give a shout out to the support troops. Thanks, everyone!
P.S. I beat thyroid cancer already and I expect to continue my winning streak!

no. 3651
What do I fight - I daily fight the affects of brain damage to my wonderful hubby. That is a fight that has been going on for 10 years due to an accident. It’s a daily fight, one foot in front of the other, each day.

no. 3721
Every day, I fight the urge to pull the covers up over my head and stay in bed for the next 3 days.

no. 3748
I fight for balance & simplicity.

no. 3643
christine said:
I fight for balance and everyday trying to live my best life.

if you want to read more inspiring personal stories the link is here. also the contest is still on for the camera/photoshop if you are interested until the end of the weekend. if any of you are brave, i'd love to hear what you fight in life in the comment section here.

Greenwich Jazz Festival

we decided at the last minute yesterday to go to the greenwich jazz festival after a trip to the cinema. we spent three hours listening to groups including the james taylor quartet (austin powers soundtrack) and enjoying good food/drink. the weather was the best it had been all week.

naval college

james taylor quartet



Catching Up

wow its been a long time since i've blogged it seems. we've just been busy with life i guess--trying to not let it go completely out of control. its been nice to regroup--being doing lots of soul searching and making efforts in changing my life for the better.

i won't bore you with the little details of everything we've been doing but i'll at least give you our 4th of july which was the most recent 'big' event. we went out to the countryside to visit james' parents in staffordshire for a longish weekend. bbq, potato salad and everything---and true to english tradition spots of rain throughout. there's nothing like a bit of fresh air to clear the cobwebs out.

being city folk as we are we aint used to mornings like this:

how even simple things like windows can manage to look this good:

how easy it is to take long lazy walks down the lanes:

how views like this are just outside the door:

i think the relaxed look on james' face says it all. we could seriously get used to this.

hope you are all well my friends.

christine xoxoxo