January 2011 Archives

in challenges |

Towards the end, I knew I wasn’t going to complete the challenge. I am a goal-orientated person and not completing a task is a) unusual and b) disappointing. Considering what’s been happening this month, I think I did fine. Tonight’s the first night at my new home, so I’m not surprised / bothered that the home challenges are only partially completed. Good thing I didn’t put “track blood pressure” as a goal, I think most days it’s through the roof.

  • run 10 times // 4 of 10, I’m still in non-running mode, but with the HM coming up in less than 3 weeks I have to ramp it up
  • plan this year’s races // printed out the calendar, marked off the ones I’m interested in, registration for Chicago marathon starts tomorrow
  • keep to maintenance calorie target x20 // 20 of 20, though I might have under-reported occasionally

  • food
  • soup x4 // 4 of 4, thanks to mm who made all the soup
  • fruit or juice x24 // with very few exceptions, at least one a day
  • apple crumble for mm // I owe her this

  • home
  • unpack // I’m about 20% done, it will take 1-2 months but I’m calling this one done cos the packers have come and gone and I’ve made a start
  • sell / donate furniture // I’m going to finish all packing then get one of those house clearing companies to come in and take scads of stuff away
  • install utilities and internet // relo company did utilities, there’s a problem with sky so I’m using a USB dongle for the time being

in habitat , on the relationship front |


I got may be 4 hrs’ sleep, woke up at 6am to an empty bed. This is hard. Returned the rental car and got the bus back home. Started working on clearing the kitchen. And then the Sky man showed up. He had to come back later when my landlady was home, but the prognosis isn’t good — he can’t go out to the roof to install the dish and it’s just too much hassle. I don’t know what to do.

The only positives are: I cleared out more than 10 boxes in the kitchen and bathroom. Talked briefly with mm. Went running while the sun was still out for 5k.

Last night at the temp apartment. Finished up the chicken wings and coke zero in the fridge. Chicken wings simply have no taste without mm.

What’s that got to do with the pic? It’s the mezze lunch we had yesterday at haz, that mm took me to.

in on the relationship front |

mm is on her way home, we waved goodbye to each other a few hours ago. Took me over 1 hour to drive back to the apartment. Feels so empty, and I’m not just talking about the apartment. I had half a mini-baguette shared with mm in the last 12 hours and I can’t sleep. I keep rubbing my heart, it’s so clichéd and pathetic, but I don’t know what to do or what to feel right now.

in eating and drinking |


No, not in Spain but the tapas bar just down the road from the serviced apartment. I did research and wanted to take mm to this place at Old Street, but we saw this other place as we were walking towards the bus stop. It’s only 5 mins from our place, so we came here instead.

It was still early, only a couple other parties there. We ordered serrano ham, white anchovies, fried potato in tomato sauce and mushrooms. It was happy hour so we ordered a jug of sangria for £6.50. Overall it’s pretty okay, not super but it was great conversation and just nice to be together.

in arts and media |

video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPVaT5I9_9g&feature=fvw

London is arguably the best city in the world for theatre and we’re big fans of musicals. We thought of going to see love never dies but when I got home, mm was curled up on the sofa, trying to keep warm. It was too cold to go out, so we stayed home again. We love staying home, so it’s not a hardship. Anyway, we’ll get another chance at London, we hope.

in all about people , arts and media |


Noted via kottke that Grant Achatz’s memoir is coming out in March. Chef Achatz’s restaurant, Alinea, is ranked best restaurant in the US by Gourmet magazine and is bikeable from home. Home being Chicago, still.

Much to my regret I never managed to make it to Alinea, or any of the top Chicago restaurants with the exception of frontera grill. Will I ever? I can only hope.

in workstuff |

Since I’ve been in London, I’ve stopped going to the weekly big group meeting. Today I was asked to represent our group and update them on a website that is going live later this week. Boy, am I glad it’s only once in a blue moon. It’s one thing being on the phone, it’s another being in the meeting room. I much prefer being on the phone.

in on the relationship front |


This is mm’s last week here. I have to remind myself, before I get totally despondent, that I’ve had her for 1 month, we’ll see each other in a few weeks and there is a chance of her coming here. At this point, we’re taking any and all the time we can get. On the one hand I feel like we missed out on so many years of being apart; on the other hand neither of us are sure of how we’d behave if we do manage to live together again. This month isn’t 100% realistic as we know it’s temporary, and we’re in a temp apartment. It is encouraging that we haven’t had any major rows and by and large we’ve been happy.

I’m can’t help it. I’m sad. The thought of having to deal with a much reduced living space, an unfamiliar environment and lack of support is pretty overwhelming. I’m very grateful, very very grateful, for the support from Car’s family whilst I was in Chicago. They made it so much easier, took away all the uncertainties and smothered me with their love. I have to be strong and grown up and all stiff upper lipped here now, otherwise I won’t survive. Well, take a deep breath.

I tried to draw something on brushes but my drawing skills are abysmal. So here’s a fun one I found on google images. What is it? Sad Keanu of course.

in eating and drinking |


At mm’s special request, I made rack of lamb. Marinaded 2 racks overnight with olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Browned all over, then roasted at 200°C for 15-20mins. Nice and pink, served on rocket.

in eating and drinking |

bspicecheesecake bspicechoccake

We went to my new home to drop off some stuff and move some furniture around. Still depressed, thinking about the lack of space. Walked to Warwick Ave and had tea at baker & spice, the chocolate and blueberry cheesecake were nice, but expensive.

Took a bus down to Marble Arch and spent a couple of hours at M&S before taking another bus back to Liverpool Street. Dinner at a nearby Indian restaurant.

in photography is life |

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

set here: best of: 2010

Took me this long to remember to do a best of 2010 flickr set. Every year I pick 10 favourites taken during that one year into a set. 2010 was less about technique and quality of the photos and more about the events — a year of running culminating in the marathon, parents visiting me, going to orlando with mm, and not forgetting experimenting with food.

in eating and drinking , on the relationship front |


Did our usual after work rounds at Tesco’s and then mm made me this very simple fried vermicelli with minced beef, bean sprouts and ready made stir fry veg pack.

in eating and drinking |

bouchon001lamb bouchon002tartare

By the time we got off work we were both hungry and didn’t feel like cooking. So we went to le bouchon, which we had wanted to go to for a while. It’s a french brasserie, serving the typical french fare. We didn’t have any starters, mm had the lamb chops with dauphinois potatoes and I had the steak tartare. Haven’t had tartare for a long long time, and it was really nice to see the waiter prepare it tableside. He also recommended a couple of nice red wines for us. Nice meal out.


in habitat |


Signed up for sky bundle package — tv, internet and phone. Phone was mandatory for the broadband service I wanted, so there was no choice. I may not even plug the phone in. The choice was between sky, virgin, BT or getting the services separately. Virgin tv isn’t in the area yet so it was natural to get sky.

This is the one service that is comparable to chicago in terms of price. The whole package will cost me £62.50 a month, compared with around $100 for RCN without phone.

in habitat |

ldnmove001container ldnmove020container

The first pic was my container in Chicago, taken with my iphone. The second pic was my container in London this morning, taken with my blackberry. Same container. 4000 miles.

So much stuff. The crew unwrapped the furniture and took the old broken bookshelves away but everything else is stacked 3 or 4 deep in each room. I unpacked 3 boxes in the kitchen then gave up and came back to the temp apartment. I think the only way of handling this is to unpack one room at a time, then sell / give away furniture. Slowly does it, otherwise I get too depressed at the volume of stuff. Time to de-clutter my life. Though I’d never be able to live with only 100 personal items, I should aim at reducing to half of what I have now.

in challenges |

I’m thinking I’m not going to make this month’s challenge. Still in temp apartment, stressed out about moving, work and, to use an overused word, utterly discombobulated.

  • run 10 times // 3 of 10
  • plan this year’s races // I have a general idea, but too many moving parts
  • keep to maintenance calorie target x20 // most days above

  • food
  • soup x4 // 2 of 4
  • fruit or juice x24 // this one is on track, fruit every day 16
  • apple crumble for mm // we have too much food in the fridge!

  • home
  • unpack // tomorrow
  • sell / donate furniture // need to wait and see
  • install utilities and internet // relo company did utilities

in how the day went |

jamie004meat jamie010rabbit

We went out with cc and mak to jamie’s italian for cc’s birthday. It was a nice lunch. We had the seasonal meat antipasti plank — selection of cured meat, salami, prosciutto, mozzarella, pecorino and crunchy salad for starter. For mains I had the rabbit ragu papperdelle — slow braised wild rabbit finished with mascarpone, lemon and crunchy herby breadcrumbs. Mak had the burger and mm and cc both had the squid ink angel hair with scallops. Washed down with 2 bottles of Sagiovese. The bread was scrumptious, the pasta was fresh although my rabbit was a little salty. I’d go back there again.

Afterwards we walked around the Waitrose nearby for a bit, bought some groceries. Then Mak drove us to my new home so I can show it to them and to bring over the groceries and a couple of bags.

in outside interests |

video link: http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/video/thelongestride/

Not a surfer at all, but fascinated with watching surfing. This is rather sedate, but still fascinating. A phenomenon called tidal bore in Alaska presents a chance for long 5 mile rides on these big standup boards. Wow.

in family first |

I was booking my ticket back for the half marathon, and was looking at my airmiles which expires end Jan. I must be mad because I never connected the two. It was mm who said I should use my miles to book the ticket. Duh!!! I have enough, ahem, for a first class ticket but I got the economy instead, cos I can use the other miles for another trip.

in habitat |


Heard today that the container has arrived and they will do an x-ray on it tomorrow. Delivery is scheduled on Monday.

in being healthy |


The great north run HM is one of the biggest events in the UK. 54,000 runners make it one of the largest HMs in the world. It takes place in Gateshead in Sept and entry is by ballot. Last week, there was an advanced ballot by the Mirror, and now I get the notification that my ballot entry wasn’t successful. However it’s automatically entered into the general ballot, so wish me luck.

in habitat |


Got the keys to the flat this morning. The agent sent an inventory expert and she went through the place with a fine tooth comb, finding every scuff mark, nick, cracked glass and imperfection. Very thorough. We’re still at the temp apartment, shipment isn’t here yet.

in on the relationship front |

Originally we had loose plans to go out. May be see a movie, may be go to Camden Market, may be jump on a random bus. Then I got tired after running, and mm was lazing around watching Bones. Before we knew it we’d spent the whole day at home. It was very nice.

in eating and drinking |


I took mm to borough market, we both loved it. It was crowded though. We bought a tray of clementines for £1.99, a couple of speciality beers for me and 5 different types of cheeses — a couple from a small cheese maker from West Sussex, a Caerphilly and a Jura and Camembert. The last store also had this moldy soft cheese, may be next time I’ll give it a try.

in |

We’re both flu-ey, mm has been sick since Chrismas and I have the beginnings of a sore throat. I’m hoping that mine doesn’t manifest and that getting flu shots every year helps.

in in the news |


Caving and climbing, that’s 2 activities I’d fantasised about doing, but will probably never manage to. So great to see the national geographic feature on Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong, the largest cave in the world, recently found and explored.

in arts and media |


When mm was visiting me in October, we spent a lot of time at home watching bones season 4 which I netflixed. Before I left I thought about buying the whole series and discovered that it was cheaper in the UK. We then saw that it was on sale for £80 at HMV, and even better when I checked on amazon last week that it was a special sale item for £32. That’s just over $50 for 5 seasons. Ordered it immediately and received it today. We watched 2 episodes already tonight.

in in the news |

youtube link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LararRbrki0

In the absence of decent tv and most importantly, all my favourite reality tv programs, I’m left with watching police chase programs. One of the good ones is road wars, which follows officers on drug raids and car chases.

The topic of police chases reminds me of the NYT article over the Christmas period. A matter-of-fact description of a bad decision. That the only consequence that time was of fines and time spent when it could have been worse. That some of the comments implied that the offender had no choice is alarming. Too many stories of drink driving, and now driving while texting, why do people still do it?

in eating and drinking |

roastlamb01 roastlamb02

We bought this really nice boneless lamb shoulder roll last week and i made it for mm this weekend. The joint was 700g, or 1.5 pounds. The cooking time was recommended at 25mins per 500g, plus 25mins for medium. I reduced the additional 25 to 15mins so it was nice and pink. Roasted it with garlic and rosemary plus a whole garlic and brussel sprouts. The new potatoes were boiled. While it was resting, I made a small amount of gravy with potato water and a bit of stock cube — had to improvise, don’t have a ready supply of homemade stock here.

Had mulled wine that we didn’t drink over christmas, so I warmed it up and we had it with the lamb dinner. Kind of a perfect meal to bring in the new year, right?

in challenges |

Rachel started another 30 day challenge, in time for January. I think it’s a great idea to have a challenge now because the beginning of the year is the time for resolutions. I’m going to set easy goals, because my life is still turned upside down and I probably will be in temp housing for most of the month.

  • run 10 times
  • plan this year’s races
  • keep to maintenance calorie target x20

  • food
  • soup x4
  • fruit or juice x24
  • apple crumble for mm

  • home
  • unpack
  • sell / donate furniture
  • install utilities and internet

in being healthy |


8.05km 1:00:00hr exactly 7.27min/km

I got up early, and it wasn’t raining. So to start 2011 on a positive, motivational manner, I went running. Went over and across City bridges — Tower, London, Millennium and Blackfriars. Quite a nice route, came across about a dozen other runners.

This is garmin time. It took the 305 about 3mins to lock onto a satellite, which is okay except it made my average speed even slower than I was. I can’t wait till I get an iphone plan or my shipment so I can get it all recorded on the nike+. I suppose I should upload it to the garmin site.


This page is an archive of entries from January 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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