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friday, 15 september

happy 28th wedding anniversary to my parents. hurrah! have dinner with strangers!

no quote today, i'm afraid. i've been too distracted by the moving thing lately to pay proper attention to the ridiculous things my friends and acquaintances say to/near me. one of my friends did call me an "ignorant slut" last night for saying that king's road is in sw3. which it is. but that's hardly quote-worthy.

the move is today. my bags are literally packed to bursting. only one broken zipper so far. let's hope that the beginning AND end of such a nightmare. sigh. but i should just be able to make it down to london in one trip. eep.

i won't have the internet at home for a few weeks, so this is the last daily update for a bit. sorry about that. work starts monday (hurrah!). i'll try to write updates to be uploaded later, but no promises. and otherwise i'll probably be back in early october. bye for now.

thursday, 14 september

quoted: "facebooking while drunk is really dangerous" -becky
"slash fantastic, you mean" -allison d

my last full day in oxford looks as if it will be suitably rainy and gross to allow my departure tomorrow to occur without too much sniffling. in news that suggests the opposite, my bod card has now officially been renewed for another year. i will, for all practical purposes, be a graduate student of the university of oxford until 30 september 2007. hurrah for student discounts, etc. seriously, though, i'm not really done. i have to attend viva voce examination. and while many of my friends and acquaintances have insisted that it's a formality, no one from the history faculty (not even graduate students) has suggested as much. so i'm going to labor under the assumption that i still have work to do to get my doctorate.

i'm getting fussy in my old age. last night i met the husband of a new rhodes scholar (along with katie and karlee) at all bar one for dinner and a drink. the meal was very nice...as always, my hamburger was WAY overcooked. this country cracks me up. anyway, when the bill came, katie and ben paid in cash and karlee and i put out our credit cards. the waitress came and said she couldn't use more than one credit card to pay the bill. which is complete nonsense because ed and i split a bill on credit cards a couple weeks ago. after pointing out that it had been done before, the waitress again protested. six months ago, i would have apologized to her sheepishly and run off to an ATM to get some cash. last night i insisted. why? because i'm getting fussy in my old age. and while i didn't want to make her job more difficult, i had no intention to help her avoid her job, which is to provide customers with food and then take their money.

two nights ago, of course, nick and i had a fairly lengthy discussion about the splitting of bills, and how such a concept would horrify our parents. we decided that we do it because we're poor, not because there's been a shift between generations.

ketan very kindly treated me to lunch at magdalen yesterday, for which i am extremely grateful.

i also signed my lease yesterday. hurrah. now we just have to wait for the fund transfer to clear before i get the keys. eep. let's hope that happens asap.

wednesday, 13 september

quoted: "i love this place. cambridge has nothing on oxford" -nick, last night at 11 in tom quad.

tom quad, thankfully, has the ability to make people say things like that. i would never deny the charms of the other place, but i'm glad i've spent the last three years in the city of dreaming spires. those three years are coming to a rapid end, however. the move down to london is still scheduled for friday. the big question is whether i can fit all things in the two suitcases i have here with me. if i don't, chaos will reign supreme. or i'll just make a 2nd run.

despite my ongoing complaint that few people are left in town, the fact that i'm leaving means that my schedule is pretty chock-full of social events. which is good, because it prevents me from packing (or reminiscing) too much. (as an aside, i hear my friend mark is particularly reminiscent about oxford right now. oxford is reminiscent about mark too, though, so no one is satisfied.) anyway, i'm even making new friends, despite leaving in two days. last night nick, an LSE friend of my dear georgetown friend mike, joined me for champagne in the GCR...which is looking very respectable these days. nick lives in london but is in oxford for work for the week. nick is also WONDERFUL, and so this is a good friendship to make.

tonight, i might be having dinner with the spouse of one of the new rhodes scholars who has arrived a few weeks before his wife and is (therefore) frightfully bored. i suppose in theory i could impart to him little tips on how to survive in this town, but i'm not sure i have any good ones.

what else is new? i didn't do the best job of ordering dim sum yesterday when i dragged andrew to royal china. but the meal was delicious nonetheless. very delicious. and two hours long. on my brief trip to london, i also dropped off my passport and accompanying documents to google's immigration lawyers in the city. because...wait for it...i got my work permit! apparently i can work here for 5 years now. hurrah!

oh, and my tricksy
younger brother robert has started to blog. coincidentally, i too started to blog back at the start of my 2nd year at university. of course, i'd never heard the word blog at the time, which is why i continue to insist on calling these things "daily updates".

tuesday, 12 september

quoted: "good, you're out of the nest. it's been real." -amanda, claiming to speak for my mom

so we have a timing snag. the contract won't be ready until thursday. i don't want to transfer the deposit and first month's rent to the estate agency until i've signed a contract, but it will take a day or more for the transfer to clear. and i'm sure they won't let me move in until it has done so. so we've got a problem. i'm going to email them now to see what can be done about this.

heading to london for lunch today, and to take my passport to the solicitors' for to get its work permit/leave to remain stuff. i'm always scared to let go of my passport.

wow. apparently this is a scary week for me. sigh.

catherine from rho ho invited me around to dinner at her house last night. it was lovely, though their polish au pair thought scrubbing a potato was the same thing as peeling it, so we had roasted potatoes instead of baked. but that is a minor detail. their four-year-old son and six-year-old daughter were absolutely adorable. british children are far too clever. but at least they eat more slowly than i do, which is a rare achievement. sigh.

that might be all for now. i think i'm going to skip the gym for today. i haven't had a day off since... ummm... thursday? everything blends together. it might be time for me to find something to keep me busy during the days. the idle mind, as they say. although by they i think i mean protestants. it doesn't sound like a very catholic thing to say.

monday, 11 september

happy birthday to my cousin stephanie
quoted: "this is no time for serious; you're wearing a fez!" -shannon to julie, jvc reunion 2005

today, of course, is the 5th anniversary of the september 11th attacks. time moves so quickly, but i still feel the same sense of unease i felt in the first weeks after that abominable event. not the fear of terrorism. i was never naive enough to believe that terrorism posed no threat to americans, even those living in america. no no. rather i was (and still am) worried that the bush administration will manipulate national tragedy for their own short-sighted political aims, both domestically and internationally. one thing has changed in the last 5 years: i no longer assign this manipulation to ill will. i now believe they're acting in good faith. but that's even scarier, because it means they're unaware of just how much damage they're doing. sigh.

on to happier thoughts. spent the bulk of yesterday afternoon in a punt. it was the most beautiful day in history. about 76 farenheit. not a cloud in the sky. the punting got me drunk, though. it was me and andy and a guy from his former lab in australia. the australian guy hardly drank anything, but andy and i still managed to finish off a bottle of pimms and a bottle of champagne between us. punting while drunk is much more difficult than doing so sober.

oh, but no hamburger. sad. did get more indian food than i could shake a stick at, though. oh, north parade.

mass yesterday was typically english: lots of mumbling. mad rush for the eucharist. a hymnal with words but no music. tone deaf people singing all around, with me looking sheepish.

this is an interesting little tool:
google vs. yahoo. there's another for google vs. google.cn.

finally, i concussed myself at some point late last week. i think. i don't have any memory of this incident, but friday night/saturday morning i woke up in the middle of the night because i'd rolled over on my pillow and the back left side of my head was throbbing. i felt around, located the area causing the most pain, and rolled onto my other side. in the morning i only had a vague memory of the whole thing, but sure enough, it's REALLY painful. but not like a bruise. there's a tender area, but just below it is a single point that gives a sharp pain when i touch it. if it doesn't go away by tomorrow, i'm going to call my doctor, methinks.

sunday, 10 september

quoted: "if you take my bra, you're holding it...i mean wearing it." -alana

my first year in england, many late november and early december days were dominated by fog. so now i associate fog (or at least fog in oxford) with advent/christmas. it's foggy this morning, though later it's supposed to be in the mid 70s. so now if you see me about town humming christmas carols you'll know why.

congrats to my best friend and his wife!

yesterday i got uninvited to a birthday party. boo. but that meant i got to have a quiet evening where i didn't end up smelling of smoke. always a good thing. today i'm going to mass with yannis and then probably to the gym. since it's supposed to be AMAZING this afternoon, there may be punting with andy and (maybe) katie and karlee. hurrah! and then US open watching. and (hopefully) a hamburger. i'm craving hamburger.

oh. amanda found this article about a
giant earthworm that lives in the palouse, smells like a lily and spits at attackers. i told you washington state was the best place on earth. does your home have giant spitting floral worms? no? sucks to be you.

friday, 8 september

happy birthday, tristan.
quoted: "do you think you can just put cheese in my bottle with no repercussions?!" -julie

so many september birthdays. clearly advent romances. today, you should all be aware, is the feast of nativity of the blessed virgin mary. isn't that exciting? well, actually that's just about the most exciting thing i have to say about myself today. there's an article about sandpoint, idaho in the real estate section of today's new york times. that's near spokane, just in case you were curious.

i put an initial deposit on that flat yesterday. or, at least, i paid 240 in cash into someone else's bank account. don't worry, mom. i got a receipt. so now, in theory, no one else can snatch it away from me. and hopefully we'll hear more soon, because in theory i'm going to move next friday. hurrah!

thursday, 7 september

happy 25th birthday to jack. hurrah! you're old now, too!
quoted: "i was so good saturday night; i only drank this much red wine" -godmother, holding her hands about four inches apart.

yesterday was officially the most beautiful day we've had in england since i got back three weeks ago. feels like it's been longer than three weeks, no? how very confusing. the flat seems to be working out, though in fits and starts. yesterday the estate agent called to ask me what date i wanted to move in. then he said he'd check with the landlord and call me back today. sigh. incidentally, i proposed moving in a week tomorrow. or a week saturday.

speaking of moving, i helped the good folks of 55a move out of their apartment yesterday. and by the good folks of 55a, i mean 2 of the 5 of them. which made us very late for the delicious dinner that ed so generously cooked us. VERY late. shamefully late, but he and sharan took it in good stride, and it was a very pleasant dinner, all in all.

also very pleasant was cream tea with katie, who returned to the UK yesterday, to my great delight. we had planned to go to the rose, but it was closed for summer break. grand cafe too. so we had to go to queen's lane, where the scones are just sickeningly sweet (american style) biscuits with sultanas in them. boo. edamame is closed until next month too. oxford is dead to me...especially since all i want is katsu kare. mmmm.

in today's new york times there's an
about snooping. intriguing idea, but i must say i found the article itself a bit shallow. and it must have been waiting in the wings for a while, because it totally neglected to acknowledge how creepy facebook got earlier this week. i mean, i heart facebook, don't get me wrong, but this news feed thing is just creepy.

wednesday, 6 september

happy birthday to julie and allison d, two of my favorite people ever.
quoted: "oh! THERE'S my lip gloss" -greg

yes. definite dearth of quotes. either i'm not paying enough attention or my friends are being too carefully-spoken. jerks. on the plus side, i spent some time yesterday typing up the funny quotes from my year of volunteer work, so i might just slip those in when i can't think of anything else. fair? good.

katie is back in oxford! hurrah! i'm going for coffee with her this afternoon. which is good, because roisin skipped town sunday and mr brennan is doing so tomorrow. why do i have the misfortune of meeting cool new people right as we're all leaving oxford? sigh.

i tricked yannis into putting aside his work for a couple hours yesterday. just long enough to go to argos with him (that was a new experience!) followed by some relaxing and talking at kasbar, where my smiling at the cute waiter got us extra food and beverage free. sweet deal, no?

still no word on this flat. getting nervous. going to be homeless in 9 days. ack.

tuesday, 5 september

quoted: "there's nothing wrong with dropping out" -manda. "there's nothing right with it, either." -beckers.

i'm running low on quotes. if you see me, could you please try to say witty and/or memorable and/or easily misinterpreted things so that i don't look anti-social. and when is katie getting back to oxford? today and tomorrow are supposed to be the warmest days in england since i returned. and i still want to have a picnic up at blenheim palace. who's in? c'mon?! there will be champagne.

still no news on the flat, but i was frighteningly efficient yesterday. secured a personal loan from HSBC; called to pester the estate agent; had a not entirely bad workout; paid my battels and credit card bills; balanced my checkbook for the last five months. that last one required entering the last five months of financial transactions into quicken, which in turn forced me to confront just how much money i spend dining out. wow. so of course i went to the aziz for dinner last night with mr brennan. heh.

i don't think i've mentioned my newfound enjoyment of the music of
josh ritter. now, normally i'm partial to female singer-songwriters, as you may have noticed, but mr ritter has enchanted me. in large part, that's because julie likes him, and we all know how much i respect julie's opinions. it also doesn't hurt that he's from moscow, idaho, which is pretty darn close to spokane; he has a song called 'idaho' and another called 'wings' that mentions places like coeur d' alene, wallace, harrison, and the cataldo mission. apparently joan baez has done a cover of 'wings'. if anyone has the mp3, i'll be your bff. finally, i might be crazy, but mr ritter's music seems to be subtly catholic, in the best possible way. 'girl in the war', for example, is about peter and paul, but has none of the righteousness that i would expect from a protestant song. is that an inflammatory statement? sorry.

pandora has also done me the favor of tracking down other boy singers whom i like...joshua radin, for example.

there was a very hopeful article in the new york times yesterday entitled GOP seen to be in peril of losing house. the article itself isn't so self-assured as the headline, but a boy can always dream. sigh.

that's all for today.

ps - anyone else weirded out by the new facebook? i'm just sayin.

monday, 4 september

quoted: "he must have had some kind of fake penis" -allison d

it is with great sadness that i inform you that steve irwin, the crocodile hunter himself, was killed by a sting ray this morning while filming an underwater documentary in australia. irwin was the world's only realistic defense in case chuck norris were to go crazy and attempt world domination. with his passing, we are measurably less safe from a norris dictatorship.

sad day.

oh, but happy labor day to all y'all back in america. i'd be jealous, but i've spent the last three years on vacation, and it was pretty useful to me to be able to go to the bank today. suckers.

i start work two weeks from today. i still have no place to live. this is reaching crisis proprtions. new developments soon, i hope.

sunday, 3 september

quoted: "he always finds the pole, doesn't he? it's his home" -robin re: AB

in an effort to forgive myself for sorta kinda using a swear word in friday's post, i point you to video evidence that i didn't make the quote up.

i would say that there was no update yesterday because i was hung over, but that would be a lie. i was still drunk. which is odd because i didn't really feel like i drank that much. some pimms. a couple rum & sprites, and three beers. i even ate a darn big pizza before we got underway. the bridge was fun, though, but possibly only because i left at 2. and there you have it. i had to get a bus down to london to look at another flat. i think i'm going to make an offer on this one...

tell us about this flat, you say? ok. well, it's above a restaurant not far from piccadilly circus. it's 20 per week less than the other flats i looked at earlier...which over the course of the year works out to 1,000 more in my pocket. or enough to pay the council tax. it's also about twice as big as the other flats i'd looked at before. in the others, there was enough room for a small sofa to be put in one place in the room in one direction. not exactly a lot of decorating options. yesterday's flat had enough space for two sofas in multiple layouts AND for a decent-sized table--or two air mattresses for when mac house finally visits me. it had high ceilings and plenty of light. there are downsides, of course. it's on the 2nd floor with no lift. to get into the flat you go through a locked door on the street, up a narrow staircase, through the entryway to said restaurant's kitchen, through another locked door, and up another set of stairs. it shares laundry facilities with 2 other flats (i know i said that was a non-negotiable, but the place is so big!). it overlooks piccadilly, but there's secondary glazing so it's not overly loud.

all in all, it's definitely the best deal of the flats i've looked at (and the dozens i've dismissed online). when i got home i thought i'd give zone 2 a chance to shine, but the flats in st john's wood are just as expensive as the ones in zone 1, so that idea was a bust. and if nothing else, living above a restaurant on piccadilly will be a great story to tell in 5 or 10 years' time. and...if my first post-doctoral apartment was adorable and perfect, things could really only go downhill. from this place, i'm hoping it's nowhere but up.

i went to all bar one for a drink last night with syracuse and roisin. she keeps threatening to skip town/flee the country, but i don't believe her. today's big tasks involve laundry and the gym, and dinner with ed.

i have two suitcases worth of clothes right now. there are two more at jack's flat. and then i have 4 boxes of stuff in storage. i certainly want my computer speakers and my books back, but i can't for the life of me figure out what other possessions i'm missing. i suppose that i'll have more wardrobe options once everything arrives, but goodness me, why do i have so much stuff?

i had a nightmare about the devil last night. becky was very good at fighting the devil. amanda kept thinking it was cute, but she would only touch it wearing rubber gloves. very strange and kinda scary dream which kept me awake for about a half hour in the middle of the night. sigh.

new york times article about break-ups and social networking sites. i swear the AP did one on the same topic in july, but maybe i'm getting spacy in my old age.

friday, 1 september

quoted: "i'm going to sh*t myself" -american coxswain in a floral print dress

last month was sort of a bust on the daily update front, don't you think? i can't tell you why. i had a lot on my mind, but more in a pensive/neurotically worried way than in a "let's talk about this" way. at this point, there's only one big stressor left: the fact that i start work two weeks from monday and i still don't have a place to live. was in london tuesday to see a flat in pimlico that was too dark and too ground floor. was in london yesterday to see a flat in bloomsbury that was too ugly and too cramped. tomorrow i think i'll be going back to look at two or three more flats in more central locales. an offer will be made on one of them. it has to be. ack.

but after that i'll be much more charming, i'm sure. broke, perhaps, but charming.

after looking at the flat yesterday i went to meet roisin and keats and two strangers for lunch in camberwell. i'd never been to that part of london. it was nice, but tough to get to. which is a big minus in a.ho-land. and our 2.30 lunch turned into a 4.30 lunch because everyone else was late, so my 8 pm dinner became a 9.30 dinner. sigh.

is it just me, or are there more boys than girls at oxford?

there's a dar williams song called "the end of the summer", which i listened to half-awake one day during my second year at georgetown and which left me confronting my mortality. i'm not entirely sure why, but to this day the song always reminds me that i'm going to die. it doesn't remind me of this in a scary or sad way, but just in a matter-of-fact, peaceful way.

well, it's september now, and the end of the summer itself does make me sad. back home in spokane, september is my favorite month. it's crisp in the morning and warm in the afternoon, and summer smells give way to autumn smells toward the end of the month. there are high school football games and new beginnings. but just now i'm sad to be leaving oxford and a little scared of these new beginnings. but let's throw ourselves in, and see what happens, yeah?

email [a.ho]
housea ... gmail.com

tom - sea
ccc - chch
brian - gtown
drew - gtown
brandon - gtown
steve - gtown
dave - chch
mr mcgee - london
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