A spot of sun.

So, yesterday I was indirectly complaining that I never see the sun, but for one glorious hour the sun came out to slap me in the face. It was awesome.

“One time, Regina George punched me in the face. It was awesome.”

The day started out covered in clouds as we went for a bike ride through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.

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We wanted to see the Peter Pan statue, which is incredibly easy to find but both times I’ve gone I’ve taken wrong turns and added about 20 minutes to my travel time.

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All photos are once again taken with my iPhone.

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We were en route to a place that serves American style fried pickles when I spotted this area behind Oxford Street that had lots of cafes with outdoor seating. It was starting to get sunny, so I decided to forget the fried pickles and work on being European for a bit.

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We went to a crepe shop, where I got an iced coffee and a crepe filled with spinach, cheese and ratatouille. It set me back £8, but it was great!

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Tomorrow is Clay’s last day in England, so we’re going to see The Lion King musical. He better like it. Also, Sunday morning after I drop him off at the airport I’m running the British 10K race, which I’m rather nervous about after having to take two weeks off running due to my knee. I’ve been looking forward to this race since April so I hope I can make it through and carry on with my marathon training!

Canada Day in London

Canada Day is celebrated in Trafalgar Square every year, but with my being American I’ve never attended out of fear I’d have their traditional chips covered in gravy and cheese thrown at me.

I joke. Canadians might possibly be the least offensive people on Earth?

When I found out Our Lady Peace was going to be performing a free show this year, my American butt was there.
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It wasn’t my intention to wear a sweatshirt that screamed American, but it’s all I had. Either Indiana State or Ohio University. It was fine though, because no one noticed me or tossed gravy at me. They were too busy being Canadian!

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Eventually the show started, and I rocked out (sat on a step with my American friend) for about thirty minutes.

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Then they stopped! They played maybe seven songs and they were done. I think maybe they didn’t play much because they’re doing a real show at the O2 tonight. Still, I’ve wanted to see Our Lady Peace for more than 10 years, so in that sense I was satisfied.

Happy Canada Day!

Night walk across Tower Bridge

One of my friends took me out for an American dinner Tuesday night because I was being moody and needed a fun time. Afterward we walked past the Tower of London and then across Tower Bridge because it was right there, and there’s never, ever a time when it’s not fun to walk across this bridge at night.

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It was cool because we got to see the Olympic rings before they were let down the next day.

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See all the experiences I’m now able to share because of my iPhone?? iPhone, I love you.

Independence Day in London

What do a Kiwi, an Italian, some Canadians, a Northern Irishman, some English and an Estonian have in common?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a dirty joke. The answer is an undying love for the good ol’ USA and a desire to celebrate it in style with their favorite American friend.

Maybe that’s a joke, too. But in any case, we gathered and ate and drank!

I made cornbread that was gone almost immediately. My American friend Melizza made amazing chocolate chip cookies, and they were gone before I took a picture.

I did, however, get a picture of the bread she made.

Manuela made her perfect apple pie.

And that completes the food photos! I can’t believe I took no photos of the food other than this. We also had burgers, lots of mixed drinks, and three different salads.

Although we had to celebrate a bit early I’m really glad I decided to do something this year rather than feel like I’m missing out while all my friends back home have cook outs and parties.

These are my two American friends. I don’t now why I look so crazy here.

Most of the people who came were people from work. I don’t think I’ll ever again be lucky enough to work with such cool people.

I hope everyone here had a fun “Fourth of July” and that all my friends back home have a fun one in a couple weeks!

Happy 4th! 🙂

Summer nights

Tonight’s five mile run was surprisingly not hard.

Despite jamming my face off to some new Tim McGraw I downloaded, running through the cool air under the trees made me feel calm.

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It was such a nice night in England, but I definitely was not mentally in England. Between the country music and smell of nature I felt like I was back home running on my favorite trail in Ohio.

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I made sure to take stretching breaks, although when I sat down by the lake I really didn’t want to leave. One of those times I forget I’m in a city.

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At this point my running app decided to rudely interrupt my music to tell me my pace was now zero. Thanks for that!

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If England can hold out and have maybe just a few more days like today it might not be such a sad summer!

Jill wrote a great post about her run that coincided with my 9 mile run Saturday. Check it out! She’s also going to do 10 miles with me this weekend, except this time she’ll be back in Italy, where she claims she has to get up and run at 7 am because it gets too hot. I called her a show off! 🙂 Give us poor folk up in England some of that heat!

Nine miles through central London

Yesterday was my longest run in my month of marathon training.

I had to take a week off because I over did it last week, and I’ve never before moved my body nine miles in one direction without the aid of a vehicle, so I was nervous.

Luckily I had two people to run “with” yesterday. One actually with me, and one international running buddy. Jill, from The Cinquecento Project, is a fellow Mid-Westerner but lives in Italy, so she e-mailed me saying she’d coordinate to run nine miles at the same time. Really fun idea and I hope we can keep doing it! If anyone else wants to join in, let me know!

Although you’re not actually running together it’s cool to imagine you’re not alone and it also gives you more accountability because you know another person is going to be running.

My other running buddy was a friend from work. Normally I joke around and ask people if they want to run however many miles with me on the weekend and I usually get a head shake a laugh, but Hugh was crazy enough to agree to run with me. I didn’t believe it at first. I was like, “Ummm, what? Really?!?”

We met at Green Park, by Buckingham Palace, at 3 pm and did a giant loop around Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St James’ Park, past Waterloo and back around to Embankment.
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Hello, Queen!

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I didn’t want to overdo it so we stopped after every mile and stretched and had water. And took pictures!

There was some kind of parade going on, and while we were taking pictures I stepped to the edge of the curb and noticed a bus pulling up.

Here’s the face of someone who thinks they’re going to get hit.

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We ran along the parade and into Kensington Gardens. I’d never been to this part before, but it was beautiful and full of dirt paths so we didn’t have to run on the hard pavement. I think this was a huge help for my shins as well.

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I’m such a tourist. With all the pictures we took you’d never guess we both live and work here.

All the sites we saw on this run made me think perhaps I should do a long run in every city I visit. See everything in a couple hours versus a couple days!

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We crossed the river at about mile seven, and had to walk most of the bridge because it was packed with actual tourists.

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We’d been in parks all day, but ended at Embankment so we had to stretch on a concrete slab.

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I went home, made a giant dinner that I ate as fast as I could and then iced my legs with broad beans (I’m a proud veggie lover, but broad beans = gross). I ain’t wastin’ no peas on shin icing. Peas are most definitely on my “get in muh belly” list.

Although I’m pretty sore today, I’m very happy to say I’m not having an ounce of shin pain! This makes me feel pretty confident and I’m already looking forward to next week’s 10 miles.

Rome: The Pantheon

Hello from England! Although I’m looking out my window and this is what I see …

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… life still isn’t so bad. I mean, it’s grim, but as long as you don’t go outside you’re grand. 🙂

I’m drinking grape juice mixed with carbonated water and eating a happy, random meal. Goodlife vegan nut burger, onion rings, rocket salad with sliced strawberries and balsamic + olive oil.

Yesterday I came straight home because of the rain and watched a black and white version of Anne of Green Gables (!! love that book!!) on BBC and fixed up my pictures of the Pantheon.

By the time we got to the Pantheon we were beat. We’d already been to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain so it seemed like we’d walked miles and miles. I was definitely envisioning a cab ride in our immediate future.

Finally we stumbled upon what I thought could be the back of it. Is this it?? Is this it?? It looks old so it must be it. Finally!

This fountain didn’t look so cool, but close up I was loving it.

The funny thing about this picture of my mom is that she looked concerned and asked me if I thought it was safe to drink the water from the street fountain. Around Rome there are tons of fountains where you can drink straight from the water that pours out onto the ground.

I said, “Well, I guess so. I’ve seen lots of people washing their faces with it and filling up water bottles.” As I said this she told me she’d already filled up her bottle and had been drinking from it.

I didn’t realize you could go inside the Pantheon as well, so we ran right in.

People kept talking so occasionally someone would come on the big speaker and tell everyone to shut up, which was humorous because they had to do it in several languages and still no one was quiet.

When we left we had what I’d consider to be one of the scariest cab rides of my life. In Rome there are no rules of the road. The only rule is that if there’s a space on the street and you think your car can fit – go for it. Same thing with crossing the street. Just run across and hope for the best.

Rome: The Trevi Fountain

I am in a bad mood today. It’s June 5 and it’s 52 degrees with rain.

This is my face, and this will be my face the entire summer.

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The 10 day forecast, along with my experience in England, suggests this is as good as it gets, and for that I’m so depressed.

After I got changed into dry clothes I started putting together some more pictures of the long ago (a month) good days, when I experienced glorious weather.

Rome!

We went to the Trevi Fountain on the first day after visiting the Spanish Steps. It was a scorcher of a day so I had to stop and buy some sandals because there’s nothing I hate more than hot feet. Except maybe wet feet. Then we went to Aldo, where I saw a guy so hot I actually couldn’t look him in the eye. I’m talking about the kind of hot where you just know you’re not good looking enough to be in his gaze, so you stare at the floor in pure shame.

I didn’t know if my mom noticed the hottie Italian cashier in Aldo, but when we left the shop she said, “Ohmygod that guy gave me hot flashes. Did you see him??”

She asked the whole weekend if we could go back to see Aldo guy, but we couldn’t. I seriously couldn’t look this guy in the eye!

I was so busy taking detail shots I didn’t actually get a shot of the fountain as a whole. Here’s one by mom:

I love looking back through vacation pictures, and that’s what I don’t get about men. They never take pictures of anything, and if they do they never look at them again. For example, one time one of my friends said something like, “Yeah, didn’t you see it in my album on Facebook?” And I was like ” … you mean the ‘album’ where you posted literally five photos from a week-long vacation?”  He saw absolutely nothing weird about going on vacation for a week and posting five pictures. Another example: my ex husband went to Australia (!) for a week and didn’t take one picture of the beach. He said he forgot his camera every single day, which I totally didn’t understand because that would be number one on my checklist! Guys are so funny! My camera goes around my neck before my clothes get put on my body. This is serious business. 🙂

If you’re interested – previous Rome posts:

The food!
The Spanish Steps

New York, New York

I am going there. With Manuela. In October.

Tickets are officially booked! I’m hoping soreness from my marathon two weeks before will at that point be non-existent, because we’re already planning out our days.

If anyone has any suggestions for good vegan/vegetarian (or any at all, actually) restaurants in the city, send them my way!

Also! I’m having a 4th of July party and inviting all my European (and a Kiwi) work friends over to celebrate America’s birthday 🙂 I had a few of them over for Thanksgiving and it was a good time!

We’re definitely going to play this game:

I’ve been looking through Pinterest and Foodgawker for fun party food ideas, or USA-themed food ideas. If anyone has any suggestions for this, I’m all ears!

So far I have one idea. I’m thinking about making a fruit pizza. Pastry base, thin layer of sweetened cream cheese, then stripes of blueberries and strawberries.

I saw a hideous American flag dress at Camden Market a few weeks ago, and it looked so ridiculous it might be worth buying for the party. Or I could buy this dress from Mango, because I really, really want it. Like, bad. Reeeall bad.

I was working this weekend so I missed out on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. (This post is turning out to be really random.)

I made some good food, but once again only had my iPhone to photograph.

Strawberry basil pesto with whole wheat pasta and rocket.

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Diced potatoes with olive oil, garlic, fresh oregano + basil, cherry tomatoes.

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I’ll leave you with two more random pictures.

The cutest cat in the entire world, Harris. He lives in Ohio, so I have to be a mom from far away.

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A guy at the pub last week. Wtf is he doing. He had his hands deep down his pants for about five minutes while we just sat there laughing. Loudly.

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