new year’s eve at the pub

ldn199bell

Went walking around covent garden in the afternoon, then home for dinner — chicken wings, mushroom pâté and pork chops. As a little celebration we went to the pub down the road. When I was living at the old temp apartment I kept seeing a sign outside this place asking us to support our local independent pub, so that was what we did. It’s a nice little place, not pricey at all. And they didn’t raise prices or add a cover charge for New Year’s Eve. We’ll go back there again.

my running year 2010

2010all

I’ll let the stats speak for themselves. I left the nike+ transmitter in the shipment so nothing registered for December. 969km is 602 miles.

High points:

  • shamrock shuffle 8k, which wasn’t my longest distance but it was a good start to the season
  • breaking 6min/km consistently at the beginning of the season
  • generally, the privilege of running along the lake
  • marathon, marathon, marathon

Low points:

  • getting injured, I’m still not back to my ideal speed
  • that dismal ready-to-run 20miler
  • post-marathon slump, followed by moving to London and needing to settle into a routine

spoiled

This is what it feels like to have a wife. I came home for lunch, and mm had salmon, potatoes and veg ready. After lunch we went to baker street to drop off my deposit but the agent is closed till the new year. I came home after work and we cooked dinner together. Now she’s napping on the sofa and the tv is on. It’s highly domestic and so far we’re finding it enjoyable. If we had to do this long term, we’ll probably find we need time to adjust.

moving, westfield

Moved to a new serviced apartment today. Big difference, this one is modernised and not grotty. People much nicer too. Though only a one bedroom, it’s larger than the 2 bed at the other place.

I had to pop back to the office for a bit, and we had lunch at the café next doors. The rest of the afternoon we went to Westfield. Oh wow. HUGE. We only managed to walk through one floor before heading to Marks for some food shopping. More food shopping at Tesco’s, spent ¢100 altogether. Bought salt beef bagel for a quick dinner and returned the car. All in all a very busy day.

sales lakeside

Because of the pre-Christmas bad weather and the VAT increase in January to 20%, it’s expected to be a bumper boxing day sales. We made our way to lakeside in the morning, and spent the day walking around the shops. Didn’t buy anything though, nothing screamed out to be bought. On the way back, we went to the bagel shop to get plain bagels, then it was home early so I can make mediterranean chicken stew with cous cous. Another great day for bbmm.

happy christmas bbmm

ldn196xmassoup ldn197xmaspheasant

I was supposed to wake up at 3am to get to Heathrow by 5am to pick up mm, but I was too antsy and ended up waking up at 2am. I did go to bed at 9.30pm last night, so at least I got some sleep. It was dark, and the roads were empty so it was an easy drive. It took me until the end of the Embankment almost to Earl’s Court to get used to driving this car, and driving on the once familiar roads.

Her flight was the first to arrive, and by the time I’d reached the meeting point the board showed that it landed at 4.43am. About 10mins later I got a text from her that she’d arrived. And then I replied that I was already there, heehee. It was so great to see her.

I introduced her to the crappy apartment, and she was generous enough to say it’s fine. She set about unpacking while I got our Christmas feast ready. The carrot & butternut squash soup I made yesterday turned out very nice, even though I could have done with a dollop of creme fraiche for presentation. We also had mushroom pâté on some krisprolls with the soup.

The main course took longer than expected because of the barely functioning oven. I’d already broken down the pheasants but they still took a while to cook. Made a rudimentary gravy with chicken stock and some of the bones. Served with carrots, parsnips and new potatoes, all of which had been par-boiled then roasted. Everything washed down with this fabulous châteauneauf-du-neuf from M&S.

We were too full for dessert. While waiting, she got tired so went to bed for a nap. I joined her for a little while and then got up in the evening. Watched tv, played mafia wars while she sleeps on, she needs the rest. What a great Christmas with mm.

last minute

Carrot and butternut squash soup is done, I think it tastes good. Pheasant defrosting in the fridge with the stock. Root vegs parboiled, refreshed and in fridge. Trifle is done.

Went to M&S and got sticky wings. Not the Chinese wings that are our favourite, but this seems to be the closest.

Walked over to St Katherine’s Dock and got the rental car. It’s now parked downstairs. mm is on the plane. 10 hours, or hopefully less.

santa lucia day

Santa Lucia (or St Lucy’s) Day is celebrated in Sweden and other Scandanavian countries on 13 December. Thursday I went with J&R to the harcourt arms, opposite the swedish church for a short Santa Lucia Day recital. The main attraction was the choir singing the santa lucia song. The girl at the top of the procession wears candles on her head representing the fire that refused to take her life when she was sentenced to be burned.

fiver

fivepound

A five pound note, that’s all the GBP cash I have on me right now. Oh, plus some coins to total probably about ten pounds. I had to pay my rent deposit by cash, it was either that or go to the landlord’s agent’s office and pay by debit card. Cheques don’t seem to be a viable option anymore, which is okay by me, except when I don’t have a lot of cash on me. I can get more tomorrow at the cashpoint of course, but it’s a strange feeling, of having no money. Okay, not no money. Worse case scenario, i have a bunch of USD.

car title

car05tiburon

I paid off my car loan before I left Chicago. The car itself is still in Chicago, in my friend M’s garage, while she decides on whether she wants to buy it for her son. So now that the loan is paid off, I get the title back. Although I asked them to be sent to Car’s address, they (not sure whether it’s Chase or the State) decided to send to my home address. Luckily my dear neighbours B&D was watching out for my mail and sent it to me.

I miss my little car.

TAR final

tarfinal

I was thinking about it yesterday, that it was amazing race final and I was missing it. I can’t watch it off cbs.com cos it’s not available outside the US. Tonight I tried to proxy but didn’t like all the ads and stuff I saw at proxy sites. So I did what I had planned to do anyway, downloaded it off itunes. $1.99 per ep isn’t bad, especially since the team I had been rooting for since the beginning won. The docs will likely enter the TAR hall of fame on par with Kris & Jon, John Vito & Jill and the Bald Snarks as the nicest pairings in the show’s history; and certainly the nicest winners. And now it’s safe for me to visit twop, as I was very careful not to spoil myself on the winners.

Looking forward to future seasons. It doesn’t look like I can get it on TV here, so it’s either buy it ep by ep, or wait till the end and buy the whole season. I doubt I can wait till the end of the season. May be it’s time to investigate apple tv or google tv.

running 5 miles along the river

running20101212

8.05km 55.15min 6.56min/km

I made myself go out running today. It’s so easy to be lethargic and stay home, but I’m glad I did. Looked online for some routes and decided on the one along the Thames — past all the bridges, turning around at Westminster Bridge and back via the Southbank. Except it wasn’t such a good decision, I’d forgotten it’s Sunday afternoon and the area around Westminster and the South Bank was full of tourists. I literally had to push my way through, the pavement was full of people. Argh.

The run itself was slow, and the weather was good. Once I got past Embankment there were fewer people and I could enjoy it again. Next time I’ll run east instead of west. It isn’t logged on nike+ because silly me I left the shoe sensor in the shipment. I might go buy a replacement one. I can’t use the gps app because it’ll be extremely expensive and I can’t justify using roaming for running! The garmin is brilliant though.

borough market

ldn185mktveg ldn187mktpheasant

So at kerry’s suggestion, I got myself to borough market. It’s only a 20min walk from the apartment, although if I got one of those bikes for hire it’ll only be 5mins.

Okay, this is more like it. Fresh fruit and veg. Meat, fish, game, pie. Cheese. Baked goods. Deli. I can see me shopping there often. I actually called mm to ask her what she wanted for Christmas, cos I was gonna buy the food right there. There was free range chicken, duck, pigeon, grouse. I initially thought of duck, at the end bought 4 pheasants for £10, I’ll try one this weekend. It may be a challenge, with only one tiny baking sheet in the kitchen here, and the oven tending to smoke for no good reason. I’ll figure it out somehow.

Did laundry, finished uploading Orlando pics, watched the snooker. I miss my TAR and Survivor and Biggest Loser, but I’m beginning to settle down a little.

househunting day 2

In a complete opposite to yesterday I ended up with too many choices. We started in St John’s Wood and got to see a few Maida Vale places. This felt more like “home” although the quality was also better.

This is the first time in my life that I’m in the situation of not being able to afford something. I know it sounds very contrived and I’ll not get any sympathy from anyone. But I saw this place near Warwick Avenue that is perfect. Perfect. Brand new decoration. Beautiful kitchen. Large rooms. New bathroom. Owner-occupied (ie not investment rental). Did I say perfect? But I can’t afford it. So that’s it.

The short list is a nice cozy flat in Maida Vale and a larger, lower ground one in St John’s Wood. Let’s see how it goes.

househunting day 1

Met the relo agent at Belsize Park tube station at 9.45am to begin an intense day of househunting. She has a red mini and we zoomed up and down Belsize Park and Hampstead all day. Not terribly good choices, considering the price (£450-600). Most were mediocre with one downright horribly stuck in 1970s decor. There wasn’t much time to linger, just enough for me to draw rough floorplans, so no time to take pictures.

One is interesting though, it’s in a block 3mins from Hampstead Heath tube, top floor with a great view across London. The ceilings slant down, which take away a lot of wall space so it’s not idea.

Ended the day in Maida Vale. Saw one not very good one at Wymering Mansions. I asked the agent to drop me off near home and I walked up the block wishing we still had the flat. Sigh.

shopping lists

Things I haven’t been able to find yet. I think I may be able to find them eventually, probably in a larger store, so I’m keeping a list.

  • crest — there’s scads of colgate and some sensodyne, but no crest
  • olive oil mayo
  • vegetarian burger
  • ricola
  • fresh beet — I see peeled, pickled beets but not fresh ones and definitely not orange ones
  • low calorie fresh juice, ie no Trop 50 (yet)

On the positive side there is so much I was used to and weren’t available in the US:

  • ribena
  • all the familiar chocolate and biscuits
  • single and double cream
  • good cheese

department christmas dinner

Department Christmas dinner tonight, I took pictures but too dark = blurry. It was at beach blanket babylon. Menu was pre-ordered, which I’d already done so several weeks ago. I had scallops (tiny, tiny), roast turkey with all the trimmings, christmas pudding with custard. Yeah, when I made those choices I was in a traditional Christmas food mood. We had secret santa and I got an instant hyancith plant set.

got stuff done

cranstilton

Got my hair cut at Moga, a little shocked at the price £38, I remember when it was £28. I’m just gonna have to suck it up.

Lunch at yo! sushi £20, mixed salmon sushi/sashimi plate, spicy tuna hand roll, beef nigiri, edamame, tofu katsu curry with rice. Did a Boots run for bathroom essentials. Got a temp sim card for the Nokia, so now I have a mobile number.

Food shopping at M&S — nice veg, salmon, yogurt and a very fantastic stilton with cranberries. I had it with grapes and hobnobs. Okay, hobnobs don’t go with cheese and grapes, but I prefer them to crackers or water biscuits.

short day and chicken stew

ldn163chicken

Woke up at noon, didn’t believe it when I glanced at the alarm clock, but the clock radio agreed. Slept for over 10 hours, which is okay, hopefully this gets rid of the jetlag. The ice on the road has mostly melted when I walked to the Tesco and bought more stuff. That was the only time I went outside today.

I wanted to make roast chicken, but found out that there is only a small baking sheet. I could have spatchcocked the chicken, but finally decided to make chicken stew. Carrots, celery, potatoes and 1/3 bottle of red wine. I took the skin and bones off, so the meat ended up shredded. I’ll use the rest to make a pasta sauce.

another day

ldn162church

So I survived until the end of the week. Work was okay, I’ve been quite self-contained — I have email, I know who to contact to get things done, I have most of my stationery and stuff so I don’t feel much like a new hire. May be I should mix more with the people in the dept, sigh.

I found the Tesco. It’s a small Express off a side street about 5mins walk away. With the icy pavement it’s more like 10. Now that I know about shoveling and salting I’m wondering why people don’t do it here. Oh wait, I know. Nobody here knows how to handle snow.

Anyhow I got a whole chicken £4, much cheaper than breast or thigh parts. Also got some cherry tomatoes, rocket, fish fingers, ice cream and quavers. Fairy, washing up sponges and kitchen towel too. Plus a bottle of wine a Jacob’s Creek shiraz cab at £4.99. The whole bill came to £30, sigh. More things to re-learn: VAT included so no need to factor in sales tax; and leave the credit card in the machine until the transaction is finished…don’t slide it in and pull it out straightaway. I don’t think I can survive on just this tiny Tesco’s for 1-2 months. I’ll need to figure out where to get a larger variety of food this weekend.

This pic is for Car, cos she’ll get a kick out of the name of the church, St Botolph’s without Aldgate. And that is an old fashioned police box in front of the gates, yep. The current church was finished in 1744. The building at the back is 30 st mary axe, or the swiss re building, as much of a skyscraper as we get in London. And I’m back to being blasé about old historical buildings co-existing with modern buildings. Okay.

upsidedown sideways

ldn160snowcab

Not exactly jetlagged, I slept fine last night and I didn’t fade during the day. It was only a 7.5hr flight after all. It’s just I need to get myself used to what time it is around the world. I talked to mm my morning and it was her dinnertime, we’re both not used to that.

It snowed overnight. Not too bad in London, worse in the Southeast. Everyone is in a titter about it cos they’re not used to dealing with snow. No one owns a shovel, and the council doesn’t have the equipment or planning to salt the roads so it’s slippery everywhere. Plus they don’t salt, they grit and it’s different. I’m 1 tube stop away and can walk in the worst case, so I’m finding the panic a little hilarious, and has been smugly declaring “I’m from Chicago, I’m used to this” all day. Of course I also got blamed for bringing the weather.

I’m finding I need to adjust my accent and word usage. I’m sure it’ll get Britified soon. I need to look at both sides when I’m crossing the road, it’s not automatic yet. And to think I turned off LSD to Foster and into the left hand lane (empty) when I first moved to Chicago. Now I have to un-Americanise myself. It’s a good thing I never quite got round to using American spelling.

day of arrival

ldnmove006vine ldnmove007vine

Flight was full but comfortable. We sat on the runway at ORD for a while before taking off, and there was of course the obligatory Heathrow Holding Pattern drill made us 1 hour late. Can’t complain, I got fed, watched Salt, Entourage, Glee and was the second person off the plane. A little queue at passport control and my luggage was already out when I arrived at the carousel. Just made the Heathrow Express too — sprinted with my 2 suitcases and caught the train just before doors closed. Taxi to the serviced apartment.

The place is called st john’s house, near aldgate. PT it’s not — it’s smaller, less modern, less clean. Utilitarian is how I’d describe it. There are 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, but I don’t see any use for the extra 2 rooms. When I unpacked and got settled it’s already 4pm.

The check-in guy told me there’s a Tesco’s nearby, but I walked 10mins in all 4 directions and can’t find it. It’s not on google maps either. I ended up going to a pub and getting a pint and their dinner special of pork loin at £7.95. Spent the evening watching tv and playing on the computer. Wifi is included, that’s the only advantage this place has over PT.

day of the flight

tasteheaven

The movers came to pick up the mattress, bedding, towel and last minute stuff this morning. And then I was left with 2 suitcases, a backpack and various and sundry toiletries and food in the fridge I would use today. My kind neighbours took me to RCN to drop off the cable boxes, taking me by car and saving me a good 1.5-2hrs. They also fed me lunch and took me to the airport. They did so much for me today, thanks B&D.

Before leaving I took them to Taste of Heaven. This was where it all started, and I wanted my last meal to be here. Way back last May, I met Car and Nell here for brunch, and on the way walking from the ‘L’ to the café I saw this for rent sign. And the rest was history. So in a way it’s come full circle.

So now I’m in the Admiral’s lounge at ORD, waiting for my flight to leave in about an hour. I’m still numb, taking it a minute at a time. Check back in when I’m in London.

day of the move

ldnhome001container

I had been chasing the shipment companies over the weekend for confirmation of when the crew would be arriving. With the holiday it was difficult to tracking down anyone. But they called at 8.15am today and arrived at around 9.30am. I’d gotten a couple of signs from the alderman’s office to block off the road. As expected the whole container came, this one seemed larger than the one when I moved in. The middle space was still blocked off by a car, whether the owner missed the sign or didn’t care I don’t know. I ended up calling 311 and they sent an officer very quickly. He got the licence plate and set about tracking down the owner, which I thought was really nice of him. He could have given them a ticket or towed the car away. I think he found a room-mate or neighbour, but whoever it was, they moved the car.

They had a 7-person crew for this move. The company is hassett, which is an allied affliate, and allied moved me here. I like some of the crew members more than others, but they got the job done. I particularly liked the padding brown paper they use for furniture, the lining feels like a blanket. I spent the day reading, surfing the net and watching them pack. Last time the crew chief had me doing inventory, this time I didn’t even need to do that.

The estimate person initially said it’ll take 2 days, which is why I arranged for packing today. They could have done it in one. So now I’m sitting in an empty apartment with just a step ladder (to sit on) and my mattress. They even dissembled and packed the bed frame. Tomorrow morning they will come and pick up the last few items. I have a lot of stuff, the 20-foot container is almost full. Altogether about 170 pieces, I’ll know the exact number tomorrow.

moving prep

After the long weekend away, there’s now only 1 full day for me to prep for the move. I went though every room to throw things away, take batteries out, stack similar items together. I know I don’t have to lift a finger when the movers come in, but I need to know everything is organised.

Packed my suitcases too. I’m not having an air shipment — office stuff went via fedex already — so I need to take enough for 1 month. Work clothes, shoes, jumpers. Trying to be economical, so I’m only taking 2 coats. The weather report says it’s cold and may snow in London, so I have to take my boots. I’ll probably end up wearing them cos they are the heaviest. Not ideal for the plane, but can’t be helped. The heaviest items are all the electronics and wires. When I moved to Chicago, I had the luxury of a couple of extra trips back and forth, so on one of those trips I took my duvet. Not possible this time, so I’ll have to hope the serviced apartment comes with good bedding.

Food situation is pretty good, just some bread and peanut butter left. May end up having to eat out tomorrow. I’ll stay home tomorrow night, so there’s the last minute opportunity to do laundry and take a shower before going to the airport.

Had some time in the afternoon. Went to the store to get some stuff, stopped by my landlady’s shop, thought about running but decided against it. I’m supposed to be following Higdon’s intermediate half marathon training which starts tomorrow. The chances of me going running tomorrow is zero.

black friday madness

blackfriday

I had thanksgiving at Car’s house, a lovely meal of turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, sausage & sauerkraut and other delicious goodies. Good company too, people stayed around to chat.

The day after Thanksgiving in the US is black friday sales, where there are a lot of discounts and stores open really really early. We woke up at 5.30am and was at the stores by just around 6am. I bought some kitchen stuff, Guitar Hero for Wii, socks, a pair of gloves, danish cookies, hot tamales, frangos and cereal bars from costco. We also made time in the afternoon to see HP7 for the second time. Tired now. Wallet much lighter.

turkey trot 8k

turkeytrot

8k 47.46min 5.58min/km

Race #12, the 33rd annual turkey trot.

This was my last race of the year, and likely my last race in Chicago for a while. Sigh. Very very sad. I had a great year of running, and will take away several PRs and tons of great memories.

The race was at Lincoln Park, starting at the zoo, heading a little north then looping south till North Avenue beach before turning north as far as Belmont Harbor and ending at the same spot as the start line. It had been cold all week, and yesterday it was raining cats and dogs. We caught a break, the sky was overcast but no rain. It was actually less cold than at the Hot Chocolate. May be it’s because I drove, so I was in a better frame of mind. And then I had a free bagel and hot chocolate, which warmed me up. I also lined up in the chute early and did some shuffling and stretching.

There were no corrals, we were asked to seed ourselves and judging from some of the people at the start line they have no clue what pace they were at. Can’t blame them, it looks like a lot of them are casual runners. So to be on the safe side, I stood fairly near the start. There were about 7000 runners, so it wasn’t as big a race as the others, but still large enough. I was happily waiting when this couple, the woman obnoxiously in a Boston jacket, pushed through and stood right in front of me. I glared at her but she was too much of a thick-skinned idiot to notice. I mean, Boston jacket, srsly?

Anyway, I went out faster than I normally would at other races, because it was only 8k. I also had my new garmin 305 with me, so I could tell my pace. I think I’m in love with my garmin. I still had the nike app open on my iphone, but I can see why now people swear by their garmins. Anyway, I was able to keep to under 9mm for the first 3-4k, before slowed down after half way. Had enough left in the tank to speed up at 7k. Could have been faster if I hadn’t walked through the water stations. Had to drive down to Car’s for thanksgiving so I didn’t linger at the finish, grabbed bananas, water and went straight to my car. Had to call mm back, cos she rang when I was at about 6.5k, so we talked for a bit. I’m thinking I placed better because of the number of casual runners and walkers, but it could also be I was consciously running faster. Results:

  • overall — 2092 / 5683
  • gender — 855 / 3275
  • age division — 35 / 166

3s of me

Been a while since memes did the rounds, I got tagged by Car for this one, and as one of the ones who will complete this. Haha, name and shame.

Three Nicknames

  1. watty
  2. bb
  3. [redacted]

 

Three Jobs I’ve had in my life

  1. squint (chemist squint, not forensic squint)
  2. private tutor
  3. VP HR

 

Three Places I have lived

  1. chicago
  2. zurich
  3. hong kong

 

Three Favourite Drinks

  1. coke zero
  2. tea
  3. red wine

 

Three TV Shows that I Watch

  1. amazing race
  2. survivor
  3. iron chef

 

Three Places I have been

  1. zorbed down a hill in New Zealand
  2. getting completely soaked underneath Niagara Falls
  3. went skiing in July in Chile

 

Three Favorite Foods

  1. sashimi
  2. rocket
  3. chocolate quinoa cake

 

Three Friends I think will respond

  1. no clue, I don’t usually tag people
  2. [see above]
  3. [see above]

 

Three Things I am looking forward to

  1. seeing mm more often since I’m only 11 hours away instead of 24
  2. 2011 running season
  3. macbook air

 

Three Things that are ALWAYS by your side

  1. iphone / blackberry
  2. computer of some kind
  3. water

one person’s junk…

I had stuff leftover from the garage sale, plus more stuff that ended up in the “give to charity” pile. I was going to take it to my local charity, but wasn’t sure if they wanted everything — I had kitchen stuff, clothes, stationery, dvds, video tapes and other misc junk. In the end, I took them all to work and gave them to my colleague, who will take them to her local christmas sharing program. They take all sorts of things, and support families in need, some of whom are refugees who arrive with just the clothes on their back. It’s the least I can do to help them.

Mr Benn

So on fb there’s this meme to change your avatar to a favourite childhood cartoon. I changed mine to Mr Benn. Mr Benn wore a suit and bowler hat, and he visited a costume shop where the shopkeeper gives him different costumes to try. He then goes into the changing room and off to an adventure dressed as that costume. It was a simple, escapist cartoon that I used to watch when I was very very little. Oh, the memories.

bike 13 miles

I wanted to go to Fleet Feet Piper’s Alley to register for Thursday’s Turkey Trot 8k, they were doing registration and packet pickup in the store, so it saved me even registering online. Piper’s Alley is down in Uptown where the Saturday market is. The normal mode of transport would have been drive or get the #22 bus. Then I thought, it’s a good distance to bike — I run all the way to the boat when I was training, so it shouldn’t be a problem to take my bike. And it wasn’t. Except for parts where it got windy, it was a nice ride down and back home. Total 13.2 miles, according to google maps.

hp7

Saw HP7 part 1 today at Navy Pier imax. Absolutely brilliant. Would have sat for 5hrs without moving for the whole thing. July 2011 can’t come early enough.

Haven’t read the book yet, I think I’m still on HP5. But it didn’t stop me from appreciating the story, the acting, the special effects…everything about it. Now I’m wondering if I should go see it again before I leave.

i’m moving (back) to London

ldn100greenpark

I grew up in London. People who know me IRL know this. I wasn’t born there, but it’s where I went to school, college and spent a large chunk of my life. 15 years ago, I moved away. Arguably it was to follow someone, but…well, the reasons don’t matter now. The past 15 years has seen me move around multiple times — to HK, New York, Zurich, Chicago, as well as a career that involved a lot of travel and progressively more responsibility and influence.

Things are coming full circle. I’m transferring to our London office. It was decided only a couple of weeks ago, and the schedule is tight:

  • wed 24th — last day in office
  • thur/fri 25/26th — thanksgiving
  • mon 29th — packing day 1
  • tue 30th — packing day 2, must finish by noon
  • tue 30th — fly out
  • wed 1st — arrive
  • thur 2nd — in office

I’ve been making lists. Packing, change of address, what to give away / sell in US, what to buy in US, what to buy in UK, housing criteria. Even though I get assistance from the company, I still have to organise myself and tell the relo people what I need.

I was pretty young when I left. There was no internet then, cellphones were brick-like in size, and there were only 4 channels on TV. John Major was Prime Minister and the Princess of Wales was still alive. So many changes. The challenge for me is not to get stuck in 1995 and think I know everything. I should pretend I’m moving there for the first time. And in a way it would be. When we first moved there, my parents did all the work, we just followed. But now it’s all up to me.

I have many thoughts about the past 2 years in Chicago, and my second American experience. It’s hard to articulate them right now, too many emotions racing through my mind. All I know is I will miss it here. Very much.

nano day 18 — done

nano2010chart

50289

Another year, another nano. All done.

The story is not finished, we’re only at mile 2 of the marathon, there’s 24 miles to go. Not to mention the post-race celebration. Plus two more races.

IRL I have other things to do, so I’m leaving the story alone till I have more time. It’s not like me to not finish, but I have good reason. Announcement soon.

Writely wordcount is 50,289; Word wordcount is 50,313. I’m going with the former until the official countmeter is available next week.

nano day 17

3,382 words | 47,406 words total

Hopefully I can finish tomorrow, there’s only 2,600 words left to get to 50k and I’m at chapter 10. This should be okay to write, it’s October and we’re at the Marathon. Did I mention this story is about all the races I ran in this year? And which one was the most important? Hmm, I wonder.

nano day 15

3,950 words | 41,106 words total

This was the first time this year I had a chance to write at work. I emailed myself the latest doc and spent a little of the afternoon fixing and expanding the latest chapters. We’re now in August and September, lots of events. Many long runs. And the relationship is being put to the test by a series of miscommunications. Ah, angst.

nano day 13

nikefree3v2

2,024 words | 32,072 words total

I went to the outlet and did a massive amount of shopping — black trousers for work, black shoes for work, replacement baking sheets, silicon baking moulds, a pair of Nike Free 3.0 v2 shoes; looked for chinos but didn’t see any I liked. On my way back, went to Target and bought bubblewrap, lunch boxes and a bunch of other household goods stuff.

Which means the time I wanted to spend writing was spent shopping or driving. I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, and when I re-read something I wrote and it did not made sense — all of a sudden talking about “the work clothes era” in the middle of a sentence on half marathon results — I knew it was time to quite while I was ahead.

Plan tomorrow is go for a run, do laundry, vacuum, then spend as much time as possible to write. A plan is 40k; B plan is 37; minimum is 35.