31.3.10

Up and Down

If you visit London, be sure to look not only in front of you but up and down or you could risk missing something unique. 

For example, take this boring looking street.  City workers buying lunches, people coming and going.  But if you stop and look up at the building at what looks like the big blue polka-dot.  Yes the one towards the top....

you will see something much more interesting:



who wrote this little childhood favorite:

image via here

These blue plaques are dotted around the city and are hidden gems of history. They mark where famous people used to live.  In Covent Garden you can see the old flat of some of the Monty Python gang and just the other day, I passed by Charles Dickens place.  Too bad they dont live there anymore cause that would make quite the dinner party.

If you look down you can usually find some interesting views too.  Take this right next to the entrance into Somerset House (I was going to see this free exhibition).  Most people would never bother looking at this view as something of value especially busy,stressed Londoners. I rather like it dont you?  I wonder if a troll used to live under all these walkways?


So, it really does pay to slow down in a city like this.  To take it all in, the views in front of you, above you and below.  It makes things even more delightful than usual which I could definitely get used to.

29.3.10

Late Night Poetry

I couldnt sleep again last night.  I woke up and the birds were singing and it was so quiet.  I find it crazy how this city thats so 'loud' during the day can resemble such beauty at night.

So, I wrote a poem last night to try to describe things.  Please be aware that I did write it at 4 am and I was exhausted plus I dont know if it even follows the 'rules' of poetry.  But here goes:


4 AM

Heart Racing
Every muscle exhausted, aching.

Give up for now on sleep.

Out the window
the grey clouds
tuck this city
into a quiet slumber.

I see the dark outlines
of Mary Poppins chimneys.
The flashing lights of the city
hidden behind the houses.
Dotted porch lights
like old impressionist paintings.
Concrete wet with the early rain.

I hear water running.
The teeny stream that once gave
George and Mildred a place to play.
Occasionally sounds of planes and
sirens join the party.

Birds, like the string section are
leading tonight.
Wonder what they're talking about.
Their voices in stereo fit together like patchwork.
Do they hide during the day
or can I just not hear them?

My achy, heavy eyes close.
Instead of concrete
I see trees and miles of green.
Deep cleansing breaths
renew and reset.

Sleep is calling me.
Dont want to leave the birds
or the quiet.

Gratitude for these 4am dates
of feeling the city with a beautiful, healing wonder.

Must sleep now, must sleep.



28.3.10

Chocolate, Alice and Little Doggies

There's nothing like a bit of chocolate to ring in the weekend. For a chocoholic like me, the Southbank Centre's Chocolate festival yesterday was an absolute dream. Chocolate treats of all shapes and sizes, even chocolate sculptures and art gave the day a much needed sugar boost. Brought home plenty of treats for the Easter holidays.  I just hope that I can get to the gym this week otherwise my girlish figure will be rapidly decreasing.

yes these are chocolate



With Easter around the corner and the recent release of Alice in Wonderland, I thought this window display was uber cool. Reminds me of a similiar 'Alice' display I saw over at one of my favorite Paris blogs, littlebrownpen.


Wandering the side streets of this city, we looked around some lovely antique shops and rare book stores.  Love how in London I can find weird little knick knacks like the doggies below and a coveted first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (I'm not kidding) all within minutes of each other. I love this city.

27.3.10

Red and Yellow





recent photos I've taken around town inspired by littlebrownpen

23.3.10

Dr Who/Eastenders + non-transferable television



picture via here


I wrote a long time ago about how the U.S. and England like to steal each others T.V ideas. There's some shows that would never be able to translate across the pond though like Dr Who and Eastenders. 

Dr Who is a national institution that has been on for YEARS (since the 1960's). I dont understand the appeal as I find the show irritating and story lines silly.  But I dont like much science fiction anyway (unless it involves really hot guys like the last Star Trek movie).  I think they've tried to create a US version of Dr Who a long time ago, but it didn't work.  Not sure why.  I know that BBC America shows the English version.

Another national institution thats been around forever here is the soap opera Eastenders.  When I was still teaching, I had to teach the theme song to this on the keyboard to groups of 30 kids all day for nearly a month.  It drove me absolutely batty. Tried to watch it but found it completely boring and irritating too. Eastenders would never work in the US either.

The fact that neither of these shows would work is ok because they are culturally catered to England. I've asked Brits before if they've ever seen I Love Lucy (which is an iconic show in the US) and they've looked at me like I'm crazy.

Little things like this remind me all the time I'm in a foreign country. Oh what I would do to have an afternoon and a bit of TV Land. Maybe I'll check out LoveFilm (our Netflix) and see if I can find Lucy, Beaver and a bit of the Addams family to indulge in.








P.S. You'll have to excuse my sudden jump in wanting to blog more.  I need an outlet right now and this computer is the easiest and cheapest method to do that.  I also cant be bothered to fill out yet another job application and I'm avoiding the dishes (see yesterdays post). 

22.3.10

Monday






I got this idea from Brian Ferry's blog 'The Blue Hour'. He takes snapshots of little things from his day, including things that would normally be mundane or uninteresting. Its a interesting way to look at someones life.

21.3.10

Blog Love

In browsing through the other 300 participants for Blog it Forward recently, I found some beautiful new blogs. I think blogs are a bit like homes, within the first few minutes you already know what kind of energy it has. A lot of this has to do with pictures. If the pictures speak to you first, you then stay a while...put your feet up, read a bit more and relax. These blogs have mastered that ability to draw you in:







Nectar and Light

Mastin Studio

Clementine

These blogs I found a while back, but am really in to at the moment.


Brian Ferry
(a fellow Londoner/US expat)



Ink on my fingers








P.S.  Happy 1st day of Spring.  I was wondering if it would ever arrive. 

19.3.10

Eat, Pray, Love....the movie


Cant freakin' wait.








trailer via the WSJ

18.3.10

Blog it Forward: What inspires me?

I've been excited about this for a while. 300 bloggers are participating in a blog it forward post started by the uber stylish sfgirlbybay (kind of like a chain letter but the good kind) each taking turns explaining what inspires them most. Lucky lucky me, I was chosen to participate. I have had a very kind introduction from Just a Dollop and am now passing it on to the lovely photographer Kate Harrison. There are 9 other bloggers doing the exact same thing as me today. I've put their links at the end of this post.

Soooo, thinking about it--what 'inspiration' to me is what nourishes me most days, what makes my heart so giddy and full of gratitude and what makes me feel 'connected' to the grander scheme of things. I remember inspiration being talked about when I went here last year and had such a life changing week. For one class we were talking about how much fixing your breathing can change your life. They mentioned that the world Inhale comes from the Latin Inspare or Inspiration. Apparently most of us breath about 20,000 times a day which means we have 20,000 opportunities to be inspired every day.

Here are just a couple of those things that inspire me:

1) Nature

I wasn't always an outdoor girl but now I love it. I love flowers, plants, parks, oceans, animals, fresh air, everything that enables me to look at scenes like this as much as possible:



photo from Irene Suchocki

2) Hearing the stories of other people (through any format: books, blogs, t.v., film, etc)

About every day things, what makes people laugh, the obstacles that people face and seeing the true resilience and courage of the human spirit. Our stories DO matter!!



Books inside Leeds Castle
(picture by James
)



NieNie



3) Travel

I feel like there's no greater education than travel. To me its changed my life forever, opened my eyes and heart and made me feel more connected to the rest of the world. The beauty I've seen, the people I've met and the experiences I've braved have truly been the biggest blessing in my life. Travel will always, ALWAYS be a part of my life.



Paris

4) Art

To me art encompasses not just paintings and photography which I adore; but music, theatre, writing and film. Anything creative like this makes my heart swoon like a teenager again. I know that I'm meant to be an artist in some way in my life, in what 'exact' way is what I'm still trying to figure out. I must learn patience because its so true that the best things come to those that wait.


1. BMW in Texas, 2. bench monday: park bench blues, 3. threads, 4. Untitled, 5. sandy, 6. Muir Woods, 7. Australia, 8. audrey hepburn, 9. garden light, 10. Winter Hues, 11. Prayer Flags, 12. #23 - Audrey Hepburn, 13. Alice in wonderland, 14. ., 15. Untitled, 16. Repose in Burano, Venice, 17. Cary Grant, 18. Colline verdi con piccola casa in cima - Green hills with small house atop (Tuscany, Italy), 19. Tuscany king, 20. Why I Love Film, 21. Palace Theatre, Los Angeles, California, 22. i love the messed up ones the best, 23. PIANO_JAZZ, 24. vintage 03, 25. this year's LOVE




So what things inspire you?



17.3.10

sunrise

Blackheath 6 am today


I had such a horrid day yesterday.  Just couldn't do it.  It was all too overwhelming.  I screamed, cried, threw books at James---it was impressive.  Jerry Springer would have been proud. 

But funny how the universe works.  NieNie was on Oprah early eve.  Wow that put me in my place.  I went to bed at 7.45.  Had a nice chat with my mum at the lovely hour of 4 am and went for a walk at 5:30. The birds were out singing their hearts out and it was beautiful.



Pretty grateful for the chance to press 're-set' on my life every time the sun rises.

16.3.10

This is my Symphony


picture by Kent Mercurio


'To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable; and 
wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think
quietly, talk gently, act frankly...to 
listen to stars and buds, to babes, and
sages, with open heart; await occasions,
hurry never....this is my symphony.

-William Henry Channing


(taken from the March 2010, O Magazine)

12.3.10

Morning Walk


11.3.10

Self Portrait

I read this post today on one of my regular blogs I read, "ink on my fingers" and my eyes got all huge and the hair stood on my back and felt a lump in my throat. I've never read anything so close to what I was feeling at a moment in time in my life. She put it in such a beautiful way what I've been thinking recently.  It describes ME and MY journey (as it so easily could decribe all of us).  I'm quoting her here because she says things better than I could.  I've crossed out some things that only applied to her and inserted my details in where applicable :

"For a very very long time, i did not think i was worth much. My self-esteem was non-existent resulting in life choices that weren't the best. I didn't particularly like myself, so loving myself wasn't even on the radar, and because i couldn't find the love inside i depended on it from outside, from others. And, as we all know, that is the way to almost guaranteed disappointment. I lived with that girl/woman for 32 (34) years and at no point during those years was i her best friend - I was her enemy. i tripped her up at every turn, i berated her in front of others, i apologised for her when she had done nothing wrong, i fed her cigarettes and alcohol (too much  food ) rather than listen to what her heart was saying.


And then something horrific ( lots of little things happened), and my world fell apart. And here's the thing - the life i lost, the one i had stitched around me in the shape i thought i should inhabit, fell away so easily because it was built on nothing. The love was real, my god yes it was, but all the layers of self i had constructed over the years weren't coming from the real me... because i had never given the real me a chance to breathe. I hadn't danced with her, i hadn't asked her what she liked. The real me did not have a voice; the real me was so hidden i didn't think she existed.


So my years of grieving were made all the more painful - and ultimately all the more healing - because, finally, i had  (have) nothing i could  (can) hide behind anymore. I had  (have) to face myself, for the first time ever. I had (have) to learn who i was (am) and make sense of where I was (am) all at the same time, bone by bone, piece by piece. I wouldn't wish that sort of heart-breaking solitude on anyone, and it is certainly not the only way to find your real self. But it's what happened on my path, and now i am so grateful to have had the opportunity to dig inside my self and see if there was  (is) anything of any value. And as it turns out, i didn't (dont) have to do anything more dramatic than sit with myself for a while and just be."

I have a lot of time to think and to 'just be' right now.  I've been quite angry that things are the way that they are.  So much resistance to the what is has taken such a toll on my spirit and my body.  I feel exhausted because I've tried so hard for such a VERY VERY long time to make things better and I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. In reality, I'm exactly where I need to be at and there's a much grander purpose that I just dont know about

Where Susannah has healed from things, I'm only just beginning.  I'm trying to be kinder to myself because I know that the little girl in me has been crying out for that love for far too long.  I'm doing things I want to do, having a bit of fun, taking long walks, trying to embrace food,  not run from my demons and finally get it through my head I need to love myself.   I'm doing the best I can one day at a time as we all are.  Some days I can barely function, but its ok. Tomorrow I'll pick myself up and start again.  I know that one day I too like Susannah will be looking back at things with a renewed sense of wisdom, beauty and a love for myself for coming through a very long tunnel into the beaming bright light.  






Me taken in RAW.  

8.3.10

Photo Class à la Greenwich

I had the priviledge of attending an all day photo class this weekend with two local professional photographers Fergus Noone and Richard Riddick.  Enjoyed spending the day being creative although I spent way too much time worrying about the fact I don't own a DSLR.  I loved seeing other peoples photos, learned a few photo editing tricks and some technical stuff particularly looking for good light. Here are a few of my best pictures from the day:

This is the one I chose to get printed out professionally (we got to choose one as part of the class).  My other pictures are technically better in my opinion but I wouldn't necessarily want them hanging in my bedroom:

 

 

 

Looking forward to an online photo class in April too. Four weeks of learning something that I enjoy.