The Case of the Disappearing Pens.

I have a habit of picking up pens from wherever I go, and bringing them home with me. I think it comes partly from my love of stationery (I love awesome pens) and partly because I'm scatterbrained and forget that I'm holding onto them at the time. Needless to say, I've accumulated a cute little collection of them since arriving here, and so are never short of them at home.

Until recently, that is.

Last weekend, I went to write a post-it note for Jason with the week's shopping list, and he commented that there were hardly any pens in the holder. I didn't pay much attention then, but then today? There wasn't a single pen to be found anywhere in the flat. Now I was puzzled.

Fast forward a few hours later, when we saw Oscar batting something across the floor and over to the hall runner rug. Ha! A pen! We stole it off him and put it in the holder, but five seconds later he was back, pen and all. With a little investigating, Jason lifted up the rug and lo and behold, our entire stash of missing pens (and pencils!) were hiding under there. I guess a certain someone had a great time batting them around the house, until they disappeared and he forgot about them.

We even caught him in action after that, sneaking over to the pen holder, yanking one out with his teeth and trotting across the loungeroom with it in his mouth. Yes, it's safe to say that we've solved the case of the disappearing pens. And as for the culprit, well, he is just far too cute for words.

Tee Vee.

I'm finally up to date with the new season of Grey's Anatomy - it took a while for me to catch up, but I'm there now. I'm glad this season seems to be picking up compared to the last season. I wasn't particularly impressed with that one, to be honest. I hope we figure out what's up with Izzie soon. I'm confused!

I also just finished the last cycle of America's Next Top Model, and WHAT? McKee winning threw me. (Why would she pick that name out of all the names in the world, I mean, seriously?) Samantha wasn't that great either, Annaleigh was my favourite. I would die for that face! Sometimes Tyra's cuts are so completely random. I have never predicted a winner yet - all the faces/pictures that I think are awesome, the judges rip to shreds. Apparently I'm not cut out for fashion.

What else have I been perusing in TV land? Hrm. I'm trying to catch up on my Supernatural and Big Love, even though they're older seasons now. And I've just about finished re-watching Roswell and Sex and the City. I think I need some new show recommendations. What have you been watching lately that you can't get enough of? If they're old shows, no worries - but new shows are definitely welcome too.

Oscar and I are couch potatoes who are in desperate need of your help!

Six Months.

Six months ago today, I made the journey down into South London straight after work, to pick up my new baby. I knew not long after I arrived in London that I wouldn't cope very well without one, because my whole life, I've always had animals around me. I knew a puppy was out of the question what with living in an apartment with no garden, so I considered my other options - and ended up looking at kittens. Me? A cat person? I've never had a cat before. I don't know if I even like cats!? All the same, I kept on looking.

And the more I looked, the more I convinced myself that a cat would be ideal. I researched them, I figured out costs, I looked at quarantine options for the eventual move back home to Australia for good, and I had an answer for everything. I was sold. Jase? Not so much. But we worked around it, and came to a few compromises (aka I'm on clean-up duty for the rest of my life!) and before I knew it, I'd found the right kitty.

Oscar was from a litter of four, and was a total stand out from the bunch. I remember the first time I went down to meet him, and he was this tiny TINY little ball of fluff who only wanted to be near his momma - but that was it. I was in love! I got home that very afternoon and kitten-proofed the flat; even though we wouldn't be picking him up for good for another two weeks.

We brought him home, and it's been amazing ever since. We lost him under the refrigerator a couple of times, we braved the vets and even the cattery, and all the while he's been getting bigger and bigger. Oscar has kept me sane while Jase has been away these past months, and I can't imagine what it would be like coming home to an empty apartment. When I get home, he's always there, waiting at the door for snuggles. He's my companion while I'm tapping away on the laptop, he listens when I talk to him, and he even talks back.

He's my (not so) little guy. I love him.






Frustration. I has it.

I am impatient. I went out and bought the scarf/hat set. Despite looking a bit like a giant seagull is sitting on my head (I don't wear hats well), the scarf is extra snuggly and makes me happy. Particularly since I was also shopping for a Christmas party evening dress and couldn't find anything at all that wasn't a size six, and I was not a very happy camper tonight.

In other news, I'm reading more and more about the documentation surrounding my Visa and OH MY HEAVENS, it's freaking me out. I have all the evidence to prove that I'm eligible, but I'm reading other people's experiences with the whole situation and it seems like the case workers in charge of sorting out and approving/rejecting the Visas are either robots or monkeys, or possibly robotic monkeys. People have complained about being rejected for completely random reasons that make no sense, whilst other people who were missing documentation and had done things wrong, recieved the Visa in record time!

Meh.

I'm an extra organised, paperwork kind of girl, so I'll be checking everything fifty thousand times in the coming months to make sure I'm prepared. But the stress is getting to me already, and I've barely even begun the process yet. I can't even imagine how nervous I'm going to be during the whole 2-3 month waiting period. Yipes.

I hate that the process is so lengthy. I know it's understandable, but still, it bothers me. Particularly when I'm one of the people doing things the right way, when there are so many illegal immigrants living here who arrived and simply never left. Gah! Frustrating! I need a drink.

Baby, It's Cold Outside.

I'm a bit of an odd-ball when it comes to weather. Most Australians who are used to the hot, hot summer weather down under, really struggle when it comes to winter in the northern hemisphere. As for me, well, I've always hated the heat, and summer is my least favourite time of year back home. Needless to say, as soon as it starts getting chilly in the mornings here in London, I'm a very happy camper.

Speaking of the cold, I found the most amazingly cute scarf/hat set that I'm ADORING - anyone who happens to be seeking a stocking filler gift for me this Christmas, I reckon you should start here! Hint Hint, Nudge, Nudge. I'll love you forever!

Then and Now.

I can't believe that a month to this day, it'll be Christmas Eve. This time last year, I was almost into my last month of teaching, and in hyper organisation mode whilst getting ready to change countries. I was living at home, saving as much as possible, missing Jase and both nervous/excited at the same time about the big move.

How fast time flies!

This year, I'm living in my own place, in our own place, albeit rented, and I'm completely settled in my life. Jase and I have our little routines mapped out, we've worked hard to save and enjoy ourselves, and we've even got Oscar now.

A year ago, travelling alone on public transport would have scared the life out of me. Here? I'm more than happy exploring the city on my own, having a night out and making my way back. There are so many random things here that I enjoy doing, things that just don't happen in Sydney. It's not every day that you can walk to work passing St Paul's Cathedral, Old Bailey and the Royal Courts of Justice.

So here we are, almost at December - and two months from now, I'll be back at home - wishing I was back at this home again. It's like I'm caught between two different worlds; I'd even go so far as to saying two different 'me's'. The old me, who will always be perfectly content living the quiet life at home, and the 'new' me, who still loves her quiet time, but also loves being independent. Such a strange feeling, but definitely one that I enjoy.

It Made Me Laff.

This video is dedicated to anyone who's ever had to do the daily commute in inner-city London - particularly on the evil, evil Central line. It's an old video, but a good'un, and I had a full blown belly chuckle listening to the comedian's recount of travelling by tube.

Hope you enjoy!

Return to Oz.

Today I did something a little spectacular - I booked a flight back to Sydney!


It's not a permanent move, and it's not a visit. The working holiday visa I've been in London on has a time limit of 12 months work, so I need to head home and upgrade to a different visa to carry on working in the UK. I've already figured out my options and should qualify, so now it's a matter of flying home and lodging the application. Unfortunately, that's the easy part. After that comes the waiting - the boring, slightly anxious waiting period, where you do nothing but keep busy for around 8-12 weeks while the British Consulate in Australia take their sweet, sweet time to process your application and hopefully eventually spit out your new, shiny visa.


It's completely nerve wracking, but it's an option that I have no choice but to take. And as a perk, at least I'll be able to see my family, my puppies, my friends - and then when all is said and done, I get to come back to my new home, here in London. It's amazing how comfortable I feel here, I feel so much more independent and have had some fantastic experiences here. It will be nice to come back again next year with a little more stability.


The downsides?


Obviously being away from Jason - again - I feel as though I've hardly seen him since July of this year. We've also got to figure out what we're going to do with Oscar; back in the cattery again, or work a way to keep him happy and looked after while I'm gone, in case Jason is also away for work. Work have been really good, despite me having to leave them for an undefined period of time. All I can do is hope they'll have a spot for me when I get back, which they're hoping to arrange.


As for the flight I just booked? Did not come cheaply. That's the problem with living in Australia, we're so isolated. I'm a lucky girl, though - Jason booked the ticket for me as a Christmas present, what a sweetie! The visa also costs a pretty penny - 700 pounds which the embassy pockets even if the application is unsuccessful for whatever reason. Doesn't seem quite right, does it?


Ah well. January 26th and I'm going down under again. And here's a little something even more special! I arrive back home on Australia Day; a pretty appropriate entrance, I reckon.  Now, any takers to join me for the not-so-pleasant 24 hour flight?

Oh, Snap.

Looks like I haven't snapped out of my clumbsy phase this week - I quite literally face planted up the stairs while walking to my train this morning. One second I was thinking about how cold it was, and the next second I was lying about an inch away from a wad of spat-out gum on the ground. Ew! I don't know what's wrong with me, but I don't like it much. I hope I'm done with this little accident prone phase for now.

It's still forecasting a cold snap this weekend, so should be interesting to see if it ends up snowing or not. The idea of snow in the lead up to Christmas makes me much, much happier than you could ever imagine. The fact that it's almost the end of NOVEMBER is mind-blowing; Christmas is my favourite holiday and I can't believe it's rolled around so quickly. Got lots of plans this year, and can't wait to get started on them!

On that note, I need your help: I'm done with J's big present this year (which he already knows about because I? Cannot keep surprises to myself), but I do want a couple of smaller stocking filler ideas for him. Any gift ideas for long term boyfriends, who have been given almost every type of gift imaginable across the past six years?

Movie Going & Other Random Nonsense.

My friend Tim and I went to the movies this evening after work - ah, the wonders of buy one, get one free passes! We decided to head to my hood, and went to the cinema inside the o2 Stadium in North Greenwich. Despite living directly across from it for nearly a year, I'd never actually been inside - and it's amazing!)

We saw Burn After Reading, which was a bit of an oddity, but that I quite enjoyed, in a sort of puzzling way. I quite literally giggled out loud in certain parts, but then was left shaking my head at others. Not quite sure how I feel about it, yet. Not bad for four quid, though!

In other random news, my thumbnail is a trifle bruised but appears to be staying put, something that I'm thankful for! I'm also anti-laundry right now as a result. Looks like Jase is on washing duty this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend... guess what the forecast is on Sunday in London? At this point in time, it says heavy snow. Did you read that right? HEAVY SNOW! I can't WAIT! I LOVE SNOW! Bring on the SNOW!

Enough with the capitals. Bedtime now. I'm barely scraping in as it is, and it's not even Friday yet. Bring on the weekend, I'm knackered and need some down time.

OW OW OW OW.

Can't type well, just slammed my thumbnail backwards on the metal door of my washing machine as I was loading laundry and OMG the PAIN is UNBEARABLE. It even warrants capitals! At first I thought I was being a wimp, but then there was blood, followed by mild panic that my finger (or at least the nail) was going to fall off and now there is just throbbing and one heck of a blood blister.

See, folks? Chores are bad.

P.S. My finger hurts.

Insert Puzzled Expression Here.

I spent today working up in our North London office, which is one heck of a commute from where I live - so I'm feeling a trifle buggered and slightly incoherent. It doesn't help that I've apparently lost my mind, because I've been scatterbrained all day.

I left the house without a coat on in 8 degree weather and didn't realise I was cold until I was already on the train to work. I didn't charge my Ipod (and conveniently forgot to pack a book in my handbag) and so spent the commute bored out of mind, having resorted to reading the Metro (ack!) and people-watching. And halfway through the way, I had the sinking feeling that I forgot to use deoderant on one of my armpits this morning, because something was just not right with that.

Crazy.

I think tonight I'm going to skip dinner and instead curl up with some America's Next Top Model reruns. At least that way I won't accidentally leave something cooking in the microwave for an hour or set the cat on fire, because at the rate I've been going today - nothing is spared!

I Met Julie!

It's been a loooooong day, but a great one - because this evening, I got to meet the gorgeous Julie from wtf have i done? during her London travels! I had hoped to stalk catch up with her while I was in New York, but I literally ran out of days and couldn't spare the trek up to Boston, so hooray for international travels!

We had dinner around Kensington in a cute little Italian place called Da Mario's - lots of history in it, apparently it was a favourite for Princess Diana to bring her boys when they were younger. Of course, still being a tourist myself, I'd never heard of it.



Can you say YUM!?! Awesome, awesome Italian food. It was such a cute tiny restaurant too, with really bizarre mismatching furniture and cute chairs. You could even sit on an elephant, if you're into that sort of thing ...


The food was fab; I had a mozarella starter with rocket, a pizza bread starter and gnocchi for my main. So full! Good meal, and good company - nice to meet some of Julie's London-based American friends. I might even have found myself a fellow Twilight fan to come and see the movie with me!


It was great to meet Julie, we've been bloggy friends for quite a while now and she's just like I imagined her to be. It's always good when you find yourself able to chat randomly without the awkwardness, and I really enjoyed tonight! Sounds like she's gotten loads done in London while she's been here, but I'll let her tell you the stories when she's back. Plus, she's totally cute.

So in true Aly style, we took two pictures together and both are slightly dodgy. Hopefully we got a better one on her camera, because in the first one it looks like my eyes are closed OR I'm glancing at her sideways in a sassy kind of way - and then in the second one, we're both very fuzzy. Still cool, just fuzzy.

My Glorious Bookshelf.

So - the post you've no doubt been waiting with baited breath to see, it's arrived! And this time I'm not only going to talk about the bookshelf, I'm going to show you pictures of it as well. Amazing! And since Oscar has refused to get off the thing since then, he features in quite a few himself.

Meet the bookshelf, freshly brought from the garbage room to the flat. Oscar is counting the shelves for me. Clever boy. He was very puzzled with this new intrusion.



We have one chest of drawers for folded clothes between us, and well, despite coming over to two drawers, I've now apparently taken over the rest of them - so Jason's clothes have now been allocated these two new drawers, and the shelf as well. Kitters has found his favourite shelf, too. Oh wow. Crooked photography.



Jason thought it would be cute to tuck Oscar in for bedtime. Har Har Har!



The finished product - well, almost. The 'paperwork' shelf will have more on it, once we sort out our bits and pieces. Sadly, that's also Oscar's shelf. He won't be pleased.



And a close up, because to be fair, a lot of the stuff crammed into the first three shelves are all mine. Highlights are my board games, my NYC Liberty Bear from the Hershey's Store in Times Square, perfumes and books. (Squee, HP boxset!)



It's not a bad little collection of books, considering I came into the UK with three all-time favourites. But alas, I've gotten through most of these now - so anyone wanting to get rid of some second hand books (& can brave UK postage!) send 'em my way!

Ah, cupboard. I love you.

Second Hand Booty!

A few days ago, I happened to be taking the garbage down to the compactors in the car park, when I stumbled across something amazing. Let me update this by saying that the garbage run is most definitely not one of my top ten household chores. (I'm always paranoid that the bag is going to break and that a spectacular assault of used kitty litter is going to explode across the hallway of the apartment complex. Don't know where that fear came from. Hope it never happens though. Would be gross.)

You might recall a good few months ago, when I discovered a box of second hand books in the trash room, with a loving sign saying 'help yourself!' - and anyone who knows me at all, would know that books = heaven. Free books = a very happy Aly. Well, the freebie this time around was even better!

Standing all alone in the corner was a tall, skinny bookshelf. At first, I thought someone might have left it there temporarily while moving other things in, so I didn't think too much of it - but the next night, I went back down and checked and it was still innocently sitting there. Upon closer inspection, the bookshelf was in amazing condition. It looked like one I've seen in an Ikea catelogue, simple but sturdy - with four moveable shelves and two drawers at the base. Too good to be true!

At the time, Jase wasn't back yet and there was no way I was lifting that baby on my own, so the bookshelf and I said our goodbyes and decided to let the fates see if it was meant to be at a later date. One of the first things I did this morning, was to send Jase down for inspection - and guess what was still there? Not anymore. Jase carried, I directed, and we've now got ourselves a lovely new cupboard in the bedroom.

Gotta love second hand stuff, especially when it's in good nick. :-) Now all of my second hand books will have a second hand home. Pictures to come tomorrow.

Saved.

... Oscar, that is. He's saved from another evening of listening to random babbling and mopey music. Why's that, you might be wondering? JASON IS BACK!

(He's been gone for seven weeks, if you didn't know. Back in Australia, sorting out his very own Visa. I didn't mention it for fear of axe murderers keen on stalkerage.)

cat


I've been very independent, and it's been kind of nice actually. Well, alright, being honest, it stopped being nice about six weeks ago. But I managed on my own, I worked, I came home, I annoyed the cat and I kept myself busy. Glad to have the boy back in the picture though. I've missed annoying him. And he's cooking dinner. Tops!

Mix It Up. (Now with MORE DORK!)

Apparently during NaBloPoMo, I'm nothing if not a follower - so when I saw some of these cool little gadgets floating around the blogosphere, I couldn't resist.


Here's my most randomly random mix of songs I love, dredged up from the depths of my Ipod and streaming free straight to your speakers! Have a flick through, pretend not to notice that half of my music collection is from the nineties, and comment!




MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes



Update!! - I've had so much fun with this player, I decided I had to create another one. (If only ALL the songs I wanted were available on that site.. but still. Music!
MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Falling Apart.

I'm not a big shopper, particularly for clothes. I'm my own worst critic, I hate trying things on, and to be fair, most of the cute clothes I really like don't suit people my size - so I avoid it as much as possible. Needless to say, if I find something I love? I wear it until it quite literally starts to fall apart.

My 'wear all the time' black zip up jacket went yesterday, with the sleeve practically ripping off. One of my favourite pairs of shoes went in the bin just last week, because they had worn a hole away in the lining. And today? My 'all time favourite' dressy cardigan split down the arm. (I've had the latter for the part three years, and I'm devastated it's dead. What am I going to do without it?)

It really sucks at the moment, because the last thing that I feel like doing is clothes shopping. I'm trying to save money for my return trip back to Australia (doesn't come cheap, let me tell you!) and it's just plain annoying. I'm wondering if I can get away with what I have for at least the next couple of months, before topping up my supply back home where the dollar is cheaper...

What's your all-time favourite clothing item that you'd feel lost without?

Ah, Winter.

Want to know my best little discovery of the day?



Toffee Nut Latte at Starbucks.


It's heaven in a cup, I tell you. It's even yummy on skinny milk!


NOM NOM NOM.

It Goes A Long Way.

I think after NaBloPoMo is done, I'll go back to my sporadic posting. I think more people read my posts these days when I take my time and leave a bit of a gap between them - not that it matters, but the comments this time around have been pretty average!

It was a beautiful evening tonight, albeit wet and windy. I walked the 20-25 minute route to Bank station, as I'm trying to a) avoid the Central line at all costs and b) add some more regular exercise to my days, and as I was on my way I decided to step into the bank and withdraw some cash. The HSBC around the corner from work has its ATM's inside, so I decided to opt for that one.

As I opened the door, I wasn't alone - a homeless guy was curled up on the floor, escaping the wintery weather outside and enjoying the warmth. He asked for some change, which I literally didn't have to give him, and also asked for cigarettes. I had neither, and he thanked me regardless and asked me what my Christmas plans were in a lovely Scottish accent. He wasn't rude, he wasn't probing; he was just polite, and actually made me smile as he wished me a lovely evening as I headed for the door.

It's that sort of random niceness from strangers that makes you stop and think; and as I continued on my journey to the station, all of my random worries seemed so insignificant - because at least I was heading home to a comfortable bed and a cooked meal. If I see that man again, I'll definitely be passing him some change.

P.S. I Love You.

A few weeks ago, I came across a copy of P.S. I Love You. Yes, I know, I know, I'm the last person on the planet who hadn't read that book. But having stumbled upon it, I gave it a go and rather enjoyed it - even if certain parts of it annoyed me a tiny bit. The idea in itself is really quite sweet, and I liked all of the characters.

This evening, I remembered I had the film waiting around to be watched, so decided to give that a go. I wasn't convinced at the beginning, because it's quite drastically different from the book, but it definitely grew on me. It helped having random conversations about it on Facebook, too. Gotta love film reviews from friends. As for the actors! The dreamy men! With accents! Phwoar. Gerard Butler is too cute, James Marsters (Spike!) is always gorgeous, and I'm secretly going to elope with Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

I do feel sad now though after watching it, and can't wait for the boy to come home. And I suddenly want to visit Ireland, quite badly. It's only an hour or so away, too ... one day, soon I hope. It looks absolutely amazing!

Texas, Yee-Haw!

I'm halfway across the country so far, so if you've stuck it out this long, keep reading!

10. Amarillo, Texas.

Home of lots of cattle and HUGE steak houses! Our first stop into the city was at the Cadillac Ranch, part of Route 66 that my parents had always talked about. I remember that they had signed and stickered a cadillac the last time they were there, so was trying to frantically text them to find out which one was 'their' cadillac. I had no idea the amount of visitors they get, though - and it's literally layer upon layer of spray paint. It was great fun - had a ball taking pictures of them, albeit that the smell of cow manure was a trifle overpowering. After this, we headed into the Big Texan Steak Ranch, home of an obscene challenge involving a hunk of meat and an hour. Four people were trying it while we were eating our regular meals, and all failed. Ew.








11. Dallas, Texas.

Not really sure what I was expecting of Dallas - was just a rather big city! I love the history involving JFK so seeing all of those historical memories and being on the actual site of the assassination was really, really sad. So many buildings in Dallas, and then nice little patches of green scattered around it too. It was so hot while we were there, wow. Remind me never to go trekking across the south in summer again, please? The first night there I was meant to go out to a rodeo, but I felt a bit ill so gave that a miss. The following night we went out to eat at Dick's - home of the famous mean waiters & rude paper bag messages. I guess I came off relatively easily, and decided to take my hat message as a compliment.






Because Harry Potter is Awesome.

I'm saving at the moment - saving rather madly, in fact. I've been in London for almost a year (seriously?) and so over the next few months, I need to work Visa-wise what my next option is. I've already decided on my plan of attack, but it's unfortunately a very pricey one. Not only do I need to pay for the Visa alone, I also need to return home to start the ball rolling, and wait there while it's processed. Trust me when I saw it's a lengthy and painful process.

Suffice it to say that for the next couple of months, I'll be saving.

I did make one little splurge earlier this month, though. The first was a Christmas tree, a tiny 3 foot pre-dressed plastic tree. I flew out on Christmas last year, so I kind of missed it here in London - and there is no way I was going by this Christmas, the first one Jase and I will be spending with JUST US, without a tree. So, bought! I'm not sure how Oscar is going to take to this, seeing that he's now discovered how to jump great heights; like on the top of our huge chest of drawers and onto the waist high kitchen counters. Bugger.

The second? A boxset of the Harry Potter books, all of them. Now anyone who knows me, will remember that I already have all of the HP books, and have been a die hard Potter fan for years. Unfortunately with the great move, I couldn't bring them with me; so I've been contenting myself with the movies as a substitute while looking for second hand copies in the meantime.

After eleven months I've still had no luck; and all the second hand copies I've seen were on sale for almost the same price as the new ones! The set I got was from Amazon, and came with a cute little box, and all the paperbacks neatly inside. It's adorable. Well pleased with that purchase - not so pleased with Amazon though. Silly, silly little people - they shipped me two of it, thankfully haven't charged me for both yet, but I now have to go and return the second one... not happy, Jan.

So if I'm missing in action for the next few weeks, fear not. I'll just be going back to Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione, is all.

Dance, Kitty.

My morning LOLcat ritual always starts the day off well - this one left me giggling. He's totally about to break out into the Thriller routine.

(And I love the random dissaproving kitty on the left. He's not impressed.)

funny pictures of cats with captions

Fireworks All Round.

Today is Guy Fawkes Day in the UK - a day where people celebrate a guy attempting to blow things up by, well, blowing things up. Yep, there have been fireworks going on and off all day - in every which direction. Being that I work fairly central (about a 10 minute walk to the Thames near South Bank) I had a lovely view of fireworks over the old court buildings of London - very pretty! Made the walk halfway home in the rain much more pleasant.

For me, though? Every firework is celebrating the US election results. I'm thoroughly pleased. I really hope that Obama can bring about some positive changes - although just the fact that he got in, shows that people are thinking differently already.

Good days. Loving the good days.

On Elections.

I've been spending the day listening in on the American election news - it's amazing how tense I feel, when I'm thousands of miles away and can have absolutely no impact on the overall decision. I'm really hoping things work out the way I envision would make the most difference; but who knows? I never trust my judgement when it comes to elections. Things swing way too easily. Heck, we've had Dubya for how long now?

I guess the thing that freaks me out the most is just how much influence American presidents have over the rest of the world. Yes, Australia may have its own political figures and procedures, but when push comes to shove, the power doesn't lie with us. The strength of the economy doesn't lie with us. We're all so closely tied to this election, I wish I was able to somehow contribute my own two cents on the matter.

Alas, we can't. And to be fair, I don't even understand how the election system works in the USA; it seems so long winded and complicated. (I can't believe voting is not compulsary!)

That's why I'm hoping that loads of people voted today, and voted smart.

Because, for a London-based Australian girl, your votes will make a whole lot of difference to my world too.

There and Back Again.

So I realise when it comes down to it, that I shouldn't actually complain about the public transport in London. I've done it before, and yes, compared to what we have back home in Sydney, it's fan-freaking-tastic, but seriously - some days I wonder how the whole system stays running.

The usual 4-5 minute wait between my local train has been doubled since June due to line maintainence, meaning that if I miss the train of a morning? 10 minutes until the next one. Now there's an instant way to RUIN the nice early start you had planned for that particular morning.

If you thought that once you actually got on the train, things would be relatively speedy, you would be wrong. Nope. My line is possibly the slowest journey over the shortest distance imaginable. On a good day, the first part of my journey only takes 15 minutes. Since I've come back from my overseas trip? Nearly every morning, it takes me double that time again. Why? Because apparently the trains like to stop dead between stations now for absolutely no reason what so ever. No, really. I'm not in a rush. Please, stop at the next station with the doors open for ten minutes so that the already over-crowded trains can become even more crowded by random people crushing into the carriages.

Sigh. I'm not bitter, really I'm not.

Okay. Fine. I'm bitter. But every morning? It's getting a trifle irritating. Let's not even go into the fact that the second part of my journey is on the most disgusting tube line in London - the dreaded, squished Central line. It's becoming so congested and disgusting in the mornings (and don't even get me started on the evening time frame!) that I'm debating leaving home earlier and just walking the tube line. Only pain is that a five minute tube ride turns out to be a 25 minute walk. Maybe alright for summer, but it's getting cold already. Hrm. Might have to give it a shot, sometime. At least it'll add to my exercising routine!

Apart from signal failures and defective trains, my all time favourite reason for train delays would have to be due to a 'person under a train'. I swear, there are people under trains every hour in this city; what is going on? Are people falling under them? Jumping? Accidentally finding themselves wandering the tracks of an afternoon? I don't understand.

It's days like this that I miss my car.

So it's your turn to share/gripe/complain - what's your journey to work like?

New Mexico.

Time to continue on with the travel pictures; because reminiscing makes me smile, and it is most definitely something that I have meant to blog more about.

8. Alberquerque, New Mexico.

We arrived in New Mexico really quite late, so didn't see much in the evening - other than some karaoke in the hotel, that is. Bright and early the next morning, we pried ourselves up out of bed to head into the city and get ready for our hot air ballooning adventure. It was surprising how terrified I was, leading up to the event - watching the balloons go from flat pieces of fabric to baskets ready to float around in the sky got me a trifle paranoid about HOW it would actually work. We had a cute balloon though, and were soon off cruising along the sky. It was incredible, absolutely incredible. So peaceful, such a pretty view, and just a surreal experience. Loved the landing too, despite being convinced we were about to die.








9. Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We didn't stay long here, unfortunately - just a lunch stop and wander around. It was really, really hot while we were here, and there were crowds of people everywhere. Loved the achitecture and the Indian jewellery that was being sold everywhere was beautiful. I'm sad we didn't get to go further down into NM and see Roswell, though. I would've loved to find myself my very own alien (in the form of Max Evans, of course) down there . . .



NaBloPoMo - Round Three.

I'm giving it another whirl; it is November, after all. This is the third time I've participated in NaBloPoMo - perhaps it'll give me a big kick in the butt with blogging.

Nothing much going on to report at the moment - same old, same old. But I'll be sure to be reporting to you all about the same old for the next thirty days! Stay tuned!





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