Changes

Well, it’s been a long time since I posted.  Part of that is because there have been some very big decisions going on in my brain, and I didn’t like to lie by omission.  I’m writing this from the departures lounge at Logan – I’m flying home to the UK to start work with my home company again.  A job opportunity presented itself which combined with wanting to spend more time with family, and with the kind of bizarre arrangement that only turns up once in a while, the tenants announced they were moving out, a car became available at an irresistible price, and the job opportunity all came along within the same few weeks.  Must be fate!

 

I don’t know if I’ll be in the UK forever – I have loved my time in the US, and I can see myself moving back here someday, but for now I am excited to spend time with family, friends at home, and to travel Europe (yes I already have some travel guides…!).  When I’m not feeling quite so emotional I’ll blog some extra entries to fill you in on what I have been doing for the past six months (I’m such a bad blogger this year…).  As a preview, it includes San Diego Comic-Con, the Backstreet Boys in Las Vegas (I won’t be sharing any video of that, as ALL of it has me shout/singing over the top very badly), Lady Gaga at Fenway, a fabulous trip to DC and Virginia (including Shenandoah) and much much more.  How’s that for advertising?

 

But for now, it’s so long Boston.  I’m trying very hard not to cry in the lounge, so I’m getting some very odd looks.  Plus the guy who helped me with my bags just stood next to me glaring until I tipped him, which is something about the US that I won’t miss (together with gun crime and race relations…  Oh, and Mr Trump!!).  Still, there are worse things to do than sit looking out on the city waiting for a business class boarding call.  I’m not so excited about dealing with my 4 massive checked bags at the other end, I’ll admit…

 

And no, the blog won’t be changing it’s name.  I went to Boston – just because I came back, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!!  So long for now, USA…

Busy Season Strikes Again…

I think this kind of sums up this winter…  It’s a beautiful day outside – bright sunshine, blue sky…. and absolutely freezing.  As in wet-hair-freezingly cold (my hair crunched today after my post-run shower as I made for the T…).  But as always, we continue with the work (lots of work) and fun (actually, lots of fun too).  More on that later…

 

Obviously there’s been another big gap – sorry about that!  I was working on a public client year end audit and getting my other clients all ready to go out in the field.  I currently have 3 in the field, with two about to do planning (in two weeks), before being in the field during April, and another that has been lingering since September which we are trying to finish.  Lots of fun, games, and weekend working!  But there has been some time for fun as well.  For example….

 

A LOVELY dinner at Ten Tables with Meghan – we had the ‘chef’s choice’ dinner, which is 4 courses of whatever the heck the chef fancies giving you, which was delicious.  Far too much wine drunk, which (combined with two of the ‘large’ glasses of wine at The Palm after work the following Friday) led me to give up alcohol for Lent.  Which can only be a good thing.

 

Last weekend a group of us went to Disney on Ice at the TD Garden.  It was very silly but we all had busy-season brains, and it was great fun, as evidenced below:

Yes, that is a giant octopus…. watch Finding Dory if it is unfamiliar!

 

And then there was this weekend – after brunch at a dim sum place (very strange…  I learned that my limit on food adventurousness is chicken feet… yuck), I went to the North East Comic-Con solo (some friends dropped out/declined to accept).  No, I didn’t dress up.  Yes I did get autographs.  It was BRILLIANT.  For those of you who don’t know, I used to have a mild (well….) teenage obsession with the show, ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’.  And one of the guests (besides the original Batman and Robin from the 60s show) was Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander on that show.  Of COURSE I had to go for his Q&A session, then get his autograph (plus one for a friend back home), which came with a free hug (still floating about from that one) and a photo (photo-ops at Comic-Cons are great!).  Evidence below:

 

 

Very exciting stuff!

 

Plus there was a panel Q&A of three guys who had worked on the Muppets with Jim Henson (one was a graphic artist who was the lead behind Muppet Babies, one was a puppeteer who was ‘Bear’ in ‘Bear in the Big Blue House’, and one was an editor/puppeteer whose most recent project has been ‘renovating’ the Gremlins which he has on loan from the creature shop….) – they had some GREAT stories about working with him, and it was absolutely fascinating.  Plus there was one of the Skeksis puppets, which I was able to take a look at.  From a distance, mind you.  When I refused to get within five feet of it, the guy showing me looked over, knowingly, and said “This gave you childhood trauma, right?”.  When I asked how he knew, he said it was amazing how many people had that issue….  To recap, they looked like this, and are taller than me by about a foot:

 

*Shudder*

 

They also had an Audrey 2 from Little Shop of Horrors, and some other, less controversial, puppets.

 

Anyway, it was a FANTASTIC day, and now I’m back at work.  On a freezing day, where my iPad randomly removed 3/4 of my running playlist from my downloads (I downloaded it all a couple of weeks ago, but the iPad decided I didn’t need it, so I listened to these same songs over and over for 30 minutes.  Not cool, Apple, not cool).  Ah well, onwards and…. well…. off to a Game of Thrones concert at the TD Garden, preceeded by Restaurant Week dinner at the Ruth Chris Steakhouse.  So I can’t complain too hard…!

Back to California…

… Well, actually I’m currently trying to LEAVE California, but it’s resisting.  I was meant to fly out to Dallas (and a one-day training session… hmm) two hours ago, but first my flight got cancelled (a storm coming off the Pacific effectively drowned the runways), and then the newly booked flight was delayed by 2.5 hours.  So I’ve gone from arriving in Dallas at 9pm, to arriving at 1.30am tomorrow…  Hmmmm.

 

Anyhew, San Francisco has been lovely as always.  Well, it was damper than usual…  The first day was lovely, with a trip on the cable car (standing on the side, leaning in for corners, etc) and a great walk along the waterfront towards the Golden Gate Bridge, followed by a LONG and steep walk across the city back to the hotel and a Mexican dinner.  The second was damper and very blustery, with a trip to Alcatraz and a walk along the Embarcadero area, followed by drinks at the top of the Marriott Marquis hotel, a lovely dinner and finally drinks at Bourbon and Branch – a prohibition-style speakeasy which you have to book in advance in order to get the password.  It’s completely unmarked, and you have to knock and give the password to get in.  There are secret rooms inside which are hidden behind trick book-shelves, and behind the door for the loos, and you have to have the right passwords to get into each one.  Absolutely brilliant, and great cocktails!

 

Today… well today it poured.  And has involved a lot of sitting in airports waiting.  Supposedly at this point I only have a couple of hours to go until my flight, but I’ve been here over two hours already and with training starting at 8am tomorrow it’s getting a bit tricky…  I’ll be putting the work computer away shortly to read my book instead, but for now I’m sitting in the lounge at SFO, watching the Golden Globes and the rain out of the window.  Not too shabby…

Yikes…

Wow.  WOW.  I mean…. Wow.  That’s a gap, huh?  I’d love to say there was a brilliant reason, but really…. nope.  There’s been a lot going on, obviously, but no excuses, I just became particularly bad at posting.

 

So, high level, what’s been happening…

  • For my birthday, some friends took me out to the beach for the day, which was lovely and sunny.  Then we went for burgers before I went for dinner with other friends in the evening, and to see a movie outside by the water!  Lovely.
  • I went to New York for a weekend on my own back in September – it was brilliant!  I went to a Star Trek exhibition, got my Global Entry sorted out and went to the Opera (terribly classy).  And obviously there was some great food…
  • There’s a new president in waiting.  He’s orange and has a social media addiction.
  • I had an AMAZING holiday with my lovely sister and brother-in-law – Miami, Key West and The Bahamas, with snorkeling, sailing and sunbathing.  And rum.  Lots and lots of rum…

 

Obviously more went on than that, but that’s the summary version… There’s been a lot of work going on too, but it’s been balanced with fun.  Now, after flying back in from the UK on Monday night, I’m on a plane to San Francisco, before flying on to Dallas for a work conference on Monday (back to Boston Monday night).  Yikes…

 

I still owe an entry on the LA ball – it’s actually written but on my other computer, so that’s still coming… promise!!

 

Anyway, back to work for the rest of this flight…  Wifi on planes, it’s the way forward.

 

 

It’s totally coming…

…. I know, I know.  But there was plague (sickness… I was poorly), starvation (I am back on the diet, and need to go to Wegmans BADLY), and madness (work has been silly) so things got out of hand, again.  BUT I have reminders going off twice a day, and will update (and fill you in on all the stuff I promised last time…) shortly.

 

In the meantime, I know.  Honestly.  I will do better…

Epic…

… that is what the past month has been!  Properly epic!  But I honestly don’t have time to blog today… I’m about to go and see ‘Pete’s Dragon’ at a cinema in Fenway, so I need to head out.  BUT, on the next installment of the blog:

 

  • Adventures on the Cape and in Boston with Amanda
  • Adventures in LA
  • The Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball
  • Helen learns to ride a motorbike and DOESN’T FALL OFF
  • Helen goes sailing on the Charles River and doesn’t fall in

Try to control your excitement…

Exercise

Yesterday was Nantucket day – we caugh the 8.30am fast ferry from Hyannis and arrived on the island at 9.30am.  It was a glorious day, and (after going on a mission to refill my camelback water reservoir that had leaked all over my car… Mm berry flavored car) we picked up our rental bikes and started pedaling for Siasconset, a little town on the east coast. 8 miles away, in 80 degree heat.  We did it, and had a very nice sandwich lunch in the shade. Then we pedaled back the more circuitous route… 11 miles! Some lovely lighthouses, views… And hills, pot holes and heat.  A long ride back, but when we made it back to Nantucket there were ice creams, so that made things better.

 

After some exploring of the town, we got the 4.15 ferry back and proceeded to nap most of the way. We tried to walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner, but the wait was an hour 45 minutes (no thank you!). so we headed back to the hotel for the car and drove for a place a little further away. Well worth it, we had a great dinner with lovely drinks, food, atmosphere and waitstaff.

 

And then today we went to the gym/pool before heading out. We are off to Provincetown today for lunch, which should be entertaining!

Sun, sea and sand-blasting

Have you ever had your tankini-clad body blasted with sand for three hours?  No?  Well I’ve added that to my list of “things I never thought I’d do”today.  I’m on the Cape with Amanda, and it’s a bit breezy to say the least, so our sunbathing session had a bit of an unexpected side effect…

 

Still, today involved three hours of sunbathing, a pancake breakfast, my full 10,000 steps and a lot of fun and relaxation.  More of the same for the next three days as my lovely long weekend continues. It’s a trip to Nantucket tomorrow, so I’d best get some sleep… Night!

The Good, The Bad and The Pudgy

Now, you see, when I woke up this morning I was going to write a post about the referendum result.  I was going to point out that I am, to put it mildly, horrified by how it turned out.  I was going to point out how terrifying it is to be leaving a Union that has existed as a force for peace since before I was born; how the uncertainty of the impact on my family, job, ability to travel and cash-flow is making me feel physically sick; and how sad it makes me that the Scottish people may yet vote again to leave us, breaking our country into pieces.  But I’m not going to do that in any more detail than that, because not only is it the point of democracy that I can end up on the ‘other’ side of a result (and that is exactly how it should be), but it’s that sort of scare-mongering that led us here in the first place.  I don’t know what will happen – just because I’m afraid of it doesn’t mean it will be bad.  But it does make me very sad, and worried in the meantime.

 

But anyway, life has to go on.

 

So where was I?  Oh yes.  The Good, the Bad and the Pudgy…

 

First to the good :

  • A WONDERFUL trip home to see my glorious family and friends – fabulous weather (the vast majority of the time…), lovely food (rather too much of it…) and a chance to spend a nice long period at home without the shadow of deportation hanging over the whole thing – spectacular!
  • 5 gym visits in 5 days.  New record set.  Hooray, go me.
  • I’m also a bit of a hero – I stopped a woman walking straight out into the street in the middle of Boston – she was about an inch from getting flattened by a van, but I ran out after her and pulled her back.  Potentially not the smartest thing to do, but she was ok and so was I.  Sadly she wasn’t a multi-millionaire who wanted to give me a big wad of money…. she just kind of looked embarrassed and walked off.

 

Then the bad – well, besides the obvious…

  • Unpacking.  I HATE unpacking, so much more than packing…  It’s still in progress – I have tickets for a Keith Urban concert (country singer, married to Nicole Kidman) on Saturday night, and it’s quite sad because I would actually almost rather be getting things put away because things are such a mess!!  A job for Sunday, then…
  • Work – work is fine, really, but it gets frustrating when you leave clear instructions on going away on holiday, and no-one reads them.  So then you come back and nothing at all has moved on certain projects which could have been finished if people had just talked to each other… sigh.  Rant over…

 

And finally…  Well the pudgy rather speaks for itself doesn’t it?  The food back home was GLORIOUS, but I put on rather a lot of weight… still, the 5 gym sessions a week will help with that, and I have a ball in LA in August that I am working towards (while slowly assembling a rather glorious outfit…) so have to stay on track.  Keep everything crossed for me!

 

Anyhow, I must get back to work – I have my final Invisalign appointment tonight – well, I say final…  there will be some adjustments to sort out so it won’t be the FINAL final appointment, but it’s the last one of the plan.  We will see how it goes.

 

Sending so much love to all.

Watermelons

Yes, yes you read that right.  That is what I spent most of my afternoon manhandling.  Watermelons.  We did a work community afternoon, and 30 of us headed over to the Boston Food Bank to do our part helping pull together packs of food for families living on the poverty line in the Greater Boston Area.

 

Well, we thought we would be pulling packs together.  In fact, the centre had received a bumper delivery of watermelons.  About 40 giant crates of watermelons, to be exact.  Our job was to split them down into boxes of 3-4 and stack them on pallets for distribution.  After two hours, let me tell you that watermelons get heavy…

 

Otherwise it’s been a standard week – after lunch at Marina Bay with some work friends, we deep fried two chickens on Saturday for dinner (because, hello, have you tried to find a non-frozen turkey in May?), which involved half the neighbourhood coming over to partake, with salads, rolls, lemonade, wine and cake (yes, Mum, cake, but it’s ok, I pointed it).  Then on Sunday it was oysters with a friend at Ten Tables (they do “Oyster Sunday’s” each week), and a significant amount of packing because, oh yes, I’m coming home on Friday for two whole weeks (plus a bit!).  Two weeks of family, friends and the Great British Weather.  Hooray!