Quick England rundown

As you may know, I’ve been in England visiting Brooke and David since May 21 (I left on May 20 and arrived the next day), and I’m going home tomorrow, June 2. The following are Facebook statuses that I’ve been posting quickly each day so as to not forget everything we’ve done. I do hope to go back and actually write about this trip, and these notes will help.

Day 1: Arrived, unpacked, napped, had fish and chips, and went to British Wal-Mart.

Day 2: Cereal while watching the BBC and NHK, waiting for the sleepyheads, lunch at Wagamama Japanese, stroll through Sheffield Town Center, drive around Peak District with stops for photos, steak and kidney pie at Red Lion Inn, quick grocery stop for supplies for picnicking in Wales!

Day 3: WALES! A walk through Conwy Castle, then a drive in and around Snowdonia. Absolutely beautiful! Quite a drive from Sheffield, but totally worth it.

Day 4: Relaxation galore. Felt a little sick so stayed in and rested and visited with David’s family. Had lovely snacks and sandwiches for lunch and Indian takeout for dinner.

Day 5: Whitby, a lovely seaside town with charming shops, great restaurants, and amazing, beautiful abbey ruins on a hillside. Saw train station used in Harry Potter on the way back!

Day 6: Another rest day. Ran errands and played with David’s telescope. Saw the surface of the moon, plus Saturn and two of its moons!

Day 7: Hardwick, home of Brooke’s hero, Bess, Countess of Shrewsbury; and Sherwood Forest.

Day 8: Shopping, eating, York Minster, and the train museum in York, then exploring the origins of the Pilgrims.

Day 9: Newstead Abbey, home of Lord Byron, with Emma, Jessica, and James, then amazing six-course dinner at The Old Vicarage, a Michelin Star restaurant.

Day 10: Picnic lunch at Roche Abbey with the Kenmores and Robertses. Ruins exploration and soccer-kicking a kickball around the lawn. Then, dinner with David’s parents. And I got birthday cards and presents!

Day 11: LONDON! Sherlock Holmes museum, Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, a photowalk around Trafalgar Square, and dinner in Chinatown.

An explanation of my mood

Some of you might have been a little concerned by my tweets a little earlier in the evening. Thought I’d give you an explanation.

Tonight was Brooke’s last night in town, and we met up downtown for First Friday. That sentence makes it sound a lot easier than it actually was. I found a parking space and called her, and she had parked on the other side of downtown, so I moved my car and then walked, and then decided I didn’t like where I’d parked the second time so I walked back and moved it again, and finally headed down to the area of Elduets Treasures of the World, where Brooke had met up with Mari.

The whole time I was walking up there, all I could think of was how socially crippled I am. I did not want to be there. A few times I was on the verge of tears and I didn’t know why. I felt stupid and uncool and overwhelmed.

I think a big part of it was that I’d had a long day and a long week and didn’t really have the energy for a night out. Usually when I go out at night I need to be rested. I’m the type who spends all her energy on preparing and then is totally worthless at the actual event. So it probably wasn’t a good idea to try to go, really.

I was also a little disappointed that we weren’t doing what we’d originally planned, which was something far more my speed: sitting at home watching anime. And that made me feel even more like a loser–if I was a regular person, I’d be fine with going out on a Friday night and enjoying all the happenings downtown.

So all of that made me keep thinking more and more depressive, self-pitying thoughts.

I felt a bit better after having a chili dog. I probably shouldn’t have eaten it, but it was comforting (and delicious).

Brooke and I are actually on the phone right now talking about how the night didn’t work out the way we wanted. She’s going back to England tomorrow, but she’ll be back in five weeks, so we’re both looking forward to that.

Brooke and Heather Day

I took Wednesday off from work so I could spend the day with Brooke. We went on a few adventures.

First, we headed out to Thurmond Dam, by way of Pollard’s Corner.

This is the way Brooke always used to go to the lake. Pollard’s Corner is also on the way to Lincolnton, where I worked briefly in the summer of 2005.

After our stop to pick up sodas and snacks, we headed on to the dam. We went through Georgia until we got to the dam, which is different from the way I went last time. Last time I took 28 through Columbia County and into McCormick County before I got to the lake and river. This time we drove right over the dam to get to the Visitors Center.

The center was open, so we went in and looked at all the displays explaining about J. Strom Thurmond Dam. My favorite part was the window-walled room with views of the lake and pictures and discussions of the wildlife. We had a lot of fun with the bird call recordings; click here.

We went outside and took some pictures of the lake and dam, but it was pretty cold so we soon hopped back in the car and headed on. At this point we hit the field with the old turbine display.

Then we headed towards the dam…but instead of going immediately to the main observation area, we drove down to the boat ramp. I hadn’t done that last time because I figured the road just ended at the water, but it turned out there was a broad parking lot there, and some great views of the river and dam.

Once we had our fill of this angle, we headed up to the observation area, where we snapped photos and sat in a porch swing for awhile.

Click here for a video.

On our way back from the dam, we stopped at the Bartram Trail golf community to see what we thought. The houses were mostly okay, but the yards were pretty small, and we didn’t think we would want to live there. I’d previously had high hopes for the area so I was fairly disappointed, but I’m not expecting to ever live in a house that large anyway. Brooke and David are looking for a larger-sized home so they can host family from England, so it was unfortunate that the yards didn’t meet Brooke’s expectations.

Following that we went on a more mundane (but no less fun!) adventure:

After Brooke beat the pants off me for three games, we decided to go to downtown Augusta for awhile, picking up David on the way.


I need to find a camera that won’t add random glowing pixels to night shots.

After that we stopped at the grocery store for supplies and then went to my apartment for dinner and Eton mess, which is ridiculously easy to make and amazingly delicious.

It was a long, fun day. I’m glad we were able to spend so much time together!

Brookie’s here!

And here she is.

She and David and I met for lunch at the Boll Weevil. I ordered the exact same thing I had a week or so ago with a group from work: chicken salad sandwich (they make it with honey mustard and horseradish!) and potato soup. Then, of course, I had to have dessert…a piece of chocolate raspberry rhapsody cake. (This was different from the other day, when I had the 7th Heaven chocolate cake…)

Anyway, enough about the food. It is so great to have Brooke back in town. Now I just need to make sure I spend as much time with her as possible! She has already dedicated next Wednesday to me, and hopefully we’ll do all sorts of fun things and maybe even take a half-day trip somewhere…but one day is not enough! I still miss the days when I could call her after work and say “What’s up?” and just go to her place to hang out. My evenings are very quiet these days, except for those occasions when I get to go out with work peeps.

They’re making plans to move back to the States someday, maybe in two years, so by the time our next lease is up at this apartment, I might have my best friend back ;>

Kyou Kara Maou R 1

What does the R mean? No idea. But I watched the first episode today anyway.

Good stuff so far. Conrad and Josak being badass, Yuuri being Yuuri, and some crazy twists thrown in to mess with my mind. Maybe if I could read the light novels–which I do own; they’re sitting in a sad pile due to my lack of kanji skills–I would have known what was going to happen at the end of the episode, but I certainly did not. Or maybe this OVA is completely original. In any case: Fascinating! Corporeal? Guess we’ll find out!

I love the opening animation, too, especially where Yuuri goes from Maou-mode back into bashfully smiling Yuuri-mode. In fact, I loved that part so much I made this herky-jerky animated gif. (It’s a couple hundred K so I figured I’d link to it instead of forcing you all to download it.)

The ED, with trademark chibified cast members, was also quite nice.

There are a couple of new characters, including the main antagonist and his retainer, and apparently a new girl at the castle who wasn’t in this episode but is in the OP animation. I’m really intrigued by the antagonist, who seems to have certain abilities–which Yuuri is either immune to after a point or which someone stopped in time. His retainer is your standard badass swordsman there to give Conrad something to do, but hopefully he’ll turn into an interesting character like Raven did.

Since this is all Shou Shimaron related, I wonder if we’ll be seeing 刈ポニー?

Final thought: Brooke, there’s some Josak fanservice for you in this episode!

A day of recovery

I’m enjoying a quiet morning, waiting for the Advil to eliminate the pain of the neckache I developed in my sleep. It’s diminished a little, but boy does it ever hurt when I sneeze!

At around 11 I’m supposed to meet up with Brooke and Mari (and others?) at the Olive Garden, which will be nice. I hardly ever go there, since Sean isn’t big into Italian, but I really like it. Should be fun.

One thing I am really happy about right now is that Mom is coming to visit me. She has been so wonderful online and on the phone, but I really want to see her in person, and I can’t take any time off since I’ve already put my vacation days on the week of Christmas. So she’s going to come here, which is great because she hasn’t seen this apartment in person. She really hasn’t seen a whole lot of Augusta. Hopefully I will feel well enough to show her around all my favorite places.

Yesterday I could have spent a fair amount of time with Brooke, but my sleep schedule was messed up and I was depressed and I didn’t want to go anywhere, so I just stayed home and read/watched Detective Conan. I think I needed a day to just do nothing. I feel better today.

Brooke wants me to go to Columbia with her this afternoon to visit her brother’s family, which I may just do. Apparently there will be barbecue, yum.

The most annoying kind of limbo

I’m having kind of a rough day, for reasons, annoyingly enough, I cannot explain to you! I will explain them eventually, though, so don’t worry.

My mood made me want to be anywhere but work for most of my shift, which is not a fun feeling to have when you’re trying to get things done.

One good point was that I went to Boll Weevil with Brooke and had the Curious George sandwich and potato soup, which was yummy. Also, their tea was good today. As a further bonus, Brooke is coming over a little later to hang out. Maybe we’ll watch the Detective Conan movie. I understand lime sherbet will be involved as well.

Right now I’m just going to veg out on the couch, read some manga, eat some cottage cheese, and try to relax.

Request to acquaintances of my best friend Brooke

Lay off, a’ight?

I don’t know who it is who decided that pressuring newlyweds into having babies right now you’re not getting any younger where are the babies oh they’re so cute don’t you want children I can’t wait to babysit for you was a good idea, but it is not. Have you ever heard of letting people enjoy their marriage first? Especially Brooke and David, who didn’t have the luxury of living anywhere near each other while they were dating?

I never thought anything good could come out of being most likely infertile, but I guess one good thing has been that no one really pesters me about when I’m going to get preggers. Every now and then someone will ask, but the most annoying thing I have to deal with is, “What about adoption? Adoption is so great.” Most people understand that adoption is a choice, and don’t really press.

But having kids the natural way is also a choice, and it seems like people don’t get that!

So all of you who keep mentioning babies to Brooke: shut up. Just let her breathe. Let her adjust to living life 1) married; 2) in an entirely new country; 3) far away from her friends and everything she’s ever known. Do you really think she needs to add kids to the pot? Can you demand with a clear conscience that children be brought into an already stressful situation before the parents are ready?

I know you love kids and all, but try thinking about other people’s needs, mmkay?

She says I’m visiting her in July though

I went to Brooke’s old apartment during my lunchbreak to spend a little time with her. Right about now she should be at Augusta Regional Airport, getting ready for the first leg of her transcontinental trip home.

While I was at the apartment I noticed she had a tiny Magic 8 ball sitting above her stove. I picked it up, and, stupidly, I asked, “Will I ever be able to have children?”

There was a big blue glob in the way, so I couldn’t see the whole message. The last word was “Doubt”.

“Will I see Brooke again this year?” I asked.

The reply appeared to be “Count on it”, but I just checked a list of standard Magic 8 Ball responses, and the only one like that in the list is “Don’t count on it”.

The list does include “Without a doubt”, though.

Spring

I met Brooke up at Riverwalk during my lunchbreak today.

Yes, Brooke…the girl who moved to England. She’s back to finish up a few things here, like getting stuff out of her old apartment. I’m taking as many opportunities to see her as I can.

I’m glad we went to Riverwalk, because it is absolutely gorgeous there right now. All kinds of flowers and trees are in bloom. Plus, there were rowing crews out on the river, which is always neat to see.

I did take a few pictures (though regrettably none of Brooke and me together), which I’ll post eventually. Still working on the previous batch :P

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Brooke just called me!

Her new life sounds like a vacation ;>

Seriously, it was so good to hear her voice, and hear what she’s been up to. She and David went and saw As You Like It, and she said it was fabulous. (Mari and Kelly went and saw Romeo and Juliet recently, too. I guess Sean and I need to find some Shakespeare somewhere next…though with my luck it’ll be Henry V or another one of the historical war stories!)

Brooke says she and David have hiking boots and walking sticks (actually she used another term that I promptly forgot) and that they’re going walking tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing any pictures she might happen to take, since I have been assured that Sheffield does in fact have rolling hills. I think the closest I’ve seen to the Great Britain rolling hills in picturebooks have been out in rural Kentucky, like Cynthiana or Nonesuch. But I know they’re not quite the same.

Sean and I should go to visit them sometime this year, but until I have my Big Decision made I won’t be able to figure out when that’ll be. We also still need to replace our passports, which were destroyed in the fire. I think probably we ought to go ahead and open our own safety deposit box at the bank for important papers. Sean’s parents have one, but it’s kinda full.

Anyway, it was so good to hear from Brooke, and I’m so glad she’s adjusting to her new life. There are of course some cultural things that she might not get used to for awhile, but instead of letting it scare her into hiding at home, she’s running out and embracing her new world. That’s just like her :)

I should mention that David is obviously being great, taking her around and showing her stuff and thinking about her. But he’d be in trouble with me if he wasn’t ;)

What is UP?!

Thought I’d drop a quick line and tell you what’s going on with me.

1) Brooke’s wedding was beautiful, and this past weekend I saw her off at the airport. She’s coming back next month though, so it’s kind of like she’s just on vacation…especially since her apartment still looks like she lives there ;)

2) Sean got a new job. He started yesterday. So far it looks pretty good. He works my same hours, 10 to 7. This morning I got up and made us both a lunch :) Assuming things work out, we will be buying my new Yaris around the middle of March.

3) My mom’s older sister is going through a difficult time with some medical issues, so my mom is flying driving up there to take care of things. I’m just hoping everything will work out. I wish my aunt would move to Kentucky and live near my mom.

4) Water is dripping from the apartment above directly into Sean’s shower. I guess it’s good that it’s not seeping into our floor! The maintenance guy showed up this morning at 8 o’clock. I was still in bed.

5) I have a BIG DECISION that I have been weighing for weeks now. I think I’ve almost made it, but I’m still waiting on some information before I commit. Certain things that are happening in the meantime are making the new venture more and more appealing…

6) I love art blogs. One relatively minor goal in my life is to make enough money so that I can buy a few pieces from my favorite art bloggers.

7) Lately I have really been wanting to buy a Japanese-style hot water heater, some green tea (the actual tea, not a tea bag), and a teapot. The water heater would be the most expensive, but I’ve wanted to have one ever since I first went to Japan. It’s just that in the past few weeks, I’ve really wanted to have the option to brew a pot of green tea at work without having to microwave the water.

8) I’m getting over my cold.

Well, Brooke’s leaving tomorrow

Moving to England, if you’re not in the know.

For some reason I thought I had another week before she left. My mistake. I’m not sure where I got that idea.

But because of that, the only times I’ve talked to her since the wedding have been by phone. I was thinking I’d give her a week to deal with packing and then try to hang out some.

So much for that. Good one, Heather. This is what assume does!

Anyway, I’m going over there now, at least.

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