Oh The Tough Life

August 19th, 2009 by matt

A typical scene in my life this week:


After our celebrations in Denver, we all travelled down to Arizona to enjoy my parents beautiful home with its spectacular setting and views. Here would be me sitting enjoying a well earned beer before meeting all the nice people my parents have met since moving to AZ. A very relaxing week so far. Alas, we’ve got less than 3 days before we begin our journey back to the UK.

Congrats Dr. Lisa Badanes

August 14th, 2009 by matt

Just a quick note to present to my world Dr. Lisa Badanes. She officially got her PhD in developmental psychology. Carolyn and I are in Denver to celebrate her great achievement. Congratulations Lisa!!


A Rainy Carolyn Birthday

August 6th, 2009 by matt

For those of you unaware, the birth of Carolyn is on 15 July. And it happens every year! Happy Birthday to her! 🙂

This year, we went for a bit of culture. In Regent’s Park, one of those wonderfully manicured English green spaces, there’s a summer outdoor theatre. Now, this could be seen as not the best idea in the world since England usually has a bit of rain now and then . Regardless, we wanted to see some acting in a nice green setting, so we planned to have a picnic in the park followed by some Oscar Wilde. We packed a nice meal and wine and trekked to the West London. The day had been grey and raining on and off all day, but the weather forecast (which is NEVER accurate here), claimed it would let up by the evening. We stepped off the tube and, the moment we stepped into the park, the skies opened up. Oops! We took shelter under some trees until it let up and wandered in search of a good spot to set up. Since it was raining, a little covering would be nice and we found it under a gazebo:


We planted ourselves in the spot that seemed to be most likely to hold back the rains which it did marvellously for about 30 minutes. Then the winds came. The rain kept creeping closer and more sideways so we put up our umbrella to act as a wall against the rain and just enjoyed the lovely setting, food and company. We managed to stay about 70% dry as the rains let up:


A wet, but contented, birthday girl (note how wet the floor got even with a roof over our heads). Even with the rain, we were both in quite good spirits. With the meal over, we realized that, with about 20 minutes until the play, the skies were blue and the rain was gone. A rainy picnic was fine since we had a gazebo to protect us. A rainy outdoor performance might have been less fun, so we thanked our good luck and made our way to the theatre:


Those are all cut roses to make a garden for the second act. It was a performance of the Importance of Being Ernest, by Oscar Wilde. Neither of us knew it very well but we found it quite funny and well acted. I can’t put a finger on it, but I felt like a lot of the humo(u)r, after 2.5 years as a resident of the country it takes place in wasn’t quite as lost on me as it might have been had I not been living in England. Maybe it’s just me being an ass (“oh, look at me! I know England now that I’ve spent some time here”), but I felt a little closer to the whole thing than I have when I’ve seen other British theatre.

Anyway, the rain did nothing to diminish the celebrations and we got to see some wonderful acting and culture to boot. The celebrations continued through the weekend with a nice pub crawl. All in all, a successful birthday with many more to come.

Chewy The Adventure Cat

August 6th, 2009 by matt

So, I think it’s been made abundantly clear that Chewy has gotten a bit fat. Anna not eating meant he had plenty of food to munch on. For the past year, he’s been on a diet which means we keep cutting back on the amount of fancy diet food he can eat since he’s not losing weight. Add to this that he misses his friend Anna, and you have a whiny cat.

We try to compensate by being his exercise companions. As luck would have it, we found out that the garden in back of our building is communal. We figured that Chewy would love to have a little outdoor play time. However, we’ve now learned that Chewy is, for lack of a better word, agoraphobic. Yes, we have a cat that is afraid of the outdoors. When we bring him outside, he gets so scared he pissed on me as I carried him down. Regardless, here are some photos of a cute cat that shows that he has in fact gone outside:


Here’s a scared little kitty hanging out on a bench in the garden.


If we bring him down in his crate, he is far more willing to just hang out. Inevitably, he will look for anything that gives him a roof of sorts, though.

Never fear, there’re some indoor stairs he does like to chill out on in the common part of the building, so we just run him around on those and give him lots of loving. Hopefully, his diet can end soon so he can stop being hungry. 🙂