Thursday, October 23, 2008

Please Vote for Gary Stockton!!!

Gary is an amazing guitarist who deserves to win this contest called ,
"You Sing the Who."

The Prize is 4 tickets to see The Who in Washington,DC.

The deadline is October 23rd.
He is SOOOO close to winning!

It only takes a second to vote, so please do so by voting:


GO VOTE NOW!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

But wait, there's more!

I forgot to add that I found a Mandarin tutor who comes to my apartment and tutors me one hour a week. He's a great teacher, and is very encouraging! It's fun speaking Mandarin (I studied it briefly last time I was here), but extremely difficult - which goes without saying. The most difficult part is learning the 4 tones. A word can have an entirely different meaning with a different tone! For example, the Mandarin word for "four" can also mean "death" depending on the tone!

I have a new Taiwanese friend/language partner too! Her name is April- she's the daughter of my acupuncturist. April is so sweet - she has studied in the US (in Missouri of all offense if you're from Missouri!). She also studied acupuncture and Chinese medicine in China for five years. She wants to set up a practice in the US, but her dad doesn't want her to leave Taiwan! Aw...he is very old-fashioned and protective. The cool thing about April is that her favorite meal is a burger and a beer! Mine too! ;)

I also have stepped up my visits to the gym. I have a trainer and for THIS month I am working out twice a week with her (doing strength training) and then I do cardio on the boring machines 3-4 times a week. I can RUN now...not just JOG! I sometimes run along a riverwalk near my apartment,just to get away from the boring machines.

I've been doing this "10 Day Detox in a Box" that I picked up in London in Kew at Oliver's Health Food Store and I feel AMAZING! It's a mixture of herbs - the main ones are Blessed Thistle and Cleavers. I know about Blessed Thistle which cleanses the liver, but I've never taken Cleavers before. Cleavers is a "weed" which cleans the lymphatic system. So by working out, detoxing and going to the sauna 3 times a week...WOW. I am a new woman, I swear. My depression is completely gone. It was really bad for awhile, which is why I wasn't blogging, to be honest.

Our friends Chris and Sokoun will be visiting us in December - can't wait! We plan on going to an island/islands in the Philippines.
I found THIS wonderful spot - called Dolphin Island. Sounds heavenly!
So this trip is my workout incentive. Gotta have a goal/something to look forward to!
Now if I could only give up beer I could lose my belly....

Here is a pic of a restaurant on Dolphin Island (the island is completely submerged under water).

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What I've Been Up To

Ok for the remaining three readers of my blog.......what have I been up to?

Well,for starters, I got a NEW job teaching just 3 mornings a week (for now) at a kindergarten. It's more like a pre-school but it's called Lily Kids Kindergarten. It's a school and a day care and it's a WONDERFUL school. The building is fairly new and the staff are awesome. It's a bilingual school though- so most of the teachers only really speak Mandarin. The owners are a sweet couple - the wife is Taiwanese and the husband is from England.

I am teaching English, math, art and singing and dancing to kids aged 2-5. I don't really "teach" art though - I just help out because all 32 kids are in that class. All 32 are in the singing and dancing class too. I am having a blast teaching them new songs and fingerplays, etc.

I am SORT OF managing the PTA bookstore at the American School. I am getting ready to take over the position from the former manager. I had a bit of a nervous breakdown (ok exaggerating) in September because I realized I had taken on too much- working as an assistant director at one school and managing the bookstore. I was VERY depressed, so I quit my (paying job) and felt better for a bit...but then got depressed AGAIN. I am someone who REALLY needs structure or I will never get out of bed. That's just how I am.
I was shopping at an ex-pat grocery store called Wellman's here and I saw an ad posted for a part-time position for a FUN kindergarten teacher. I went to the interview and was hired on the spot! The hours are perfect (and yeah there aren't many of them, but that's ok because my in-laws are visiting here for two months- which I will get to!). I work Tuesday - Thursday from 9 to 11:30. My boss (Johnson) is SUCH a sweetheart. He let me pick my hours...and he is SO laid back and let's me do whatever I want with the music class...and I shadowed him for a few weeks and learned his teaching methods for English and maths. (Yes, the English say, "maths!").

Oh and YES my in-laws are here visiting from India for two months and I have a MISSION- to help them out with their health problems. I won't bore you with the details, but I am taking them to 2 different Chinese Medicine doctors...and already they both have had positive results, so I am THRILLED. It feels good to help OTHERS for a change! My friends and family took care of me when I needed now I can be on the giving end. I like that!

Hope you are all well.

I've missed blogging!!!

Oh I should add that I have become a Facebook junkie! It is SO addictive - but lots of fun. Drives Sujoy crazy though...

I recently reconnected with a former co-worker - his name is Van. I think he found me on Facebook. We worked together at Boston University...many,many moons ago. We have had some wonderful "chats." He's such a wonderful guy (and so is his wife, Shemetra).

Check out his WONDERFUL blog,ok?

Van's Blog!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

London in a Flash

Well, most of you already know that I went to London for a few days in August (I also spent a day and a night in Amsterdam).

I went to see a workshop of a musical called, "Ash." Rachel Fuller composed the music and the story is based on her job as an organist in a crematorium where she worked as a teenager.

It was quite an exhausting trip, but it was wonderful to see Rachel AND meet some of my very favorite bloggers for the first time.

I was so pleased to be the "guest of honour" at a "guerilla gig" at my blogger pal James Casey's home in Shephard's Bush - which all Who freaks KNOW is old Who territory. I met his sweet girlfriend, Vicky,as well as his brother, Andrew (who also performed for us) and 2 of James' bandmates, both named Chris (but the drummer Chris is called "Captain"). I had SUCH a wonderful time - I will post a few YouTube videos I took of the gig at the end of this post for your viewing pleasure.

I am such a lazy Susan so I am cheating here and cutting and pasting a bit!
Here are a few of my posts from Rachel Fuller's "Kew" forum.

I wrote this the day after seeing Ash:

Oh I am recovering from jet lag...but I slept most of today...
I am afraid I am NOT good at reviewing...anything I will give y'all a blow- by - blow of the night!

I was a bit late leaving my hotel room to meet Delbut and his wife Sarah - but, thankfully, I only had one stop on the tube!
When I got there, they hadn't yet arrived...phew!

SO! When the 3 of us were together....our mission FIND the Arcola!
This proved a most daunting task!
Sarah and Del tried asking bus drivers if they stopped near the Arcola- the funniest response from one driver being: "I dunno - I just drive STRAIGHT!"

THEN we found a taxi, but when we asked him to take us to the Arcola he said,"Oh no, I thought you were going somewhere LOCAL! I've got to pick up me wife now."

Ok hon, don't let us get in the way of doing your ERRANDS!

FINALLY, Del had the VERY GOOD sense to pop into a convenience store, get a taxi service's card - which was near us- so he booked a car and all was well.
(We ended up getting a call from MarkT who told us he found a nice pub right across from the Arcola. Perfect!).

So we all sat down outside the pub and had a few pints- when WHO should walk by- but PETE and his we all said hi...Delbut sai,"hello Mr. Townshend!" but apparently Pete didn't recognize his beloved fan....and he kept walking.

After some time we headed to the theatre, and had somed delish Turkish Lager (bear in mind Sue had NADA in her stomach! I thought we'd have dinner beforehand - but it was a liquid dinner for Sue! uh oh!).
We saw Rachel making the rounds- then she came over to ME!!! And we hugged and she seemed a bit in a panic. She was worried about the audio and said, "she'd run out of adrenaline!" I rubbed her back and told her "it will be FINE!" Once a mom,always a MOM!

Soon it was time for the show. Delbut saved me a seat in the very front row (I was slow getting in). I spoke to James at his seat on the way in...when I saw Pete walk down from his seat in the back and walk down to the front row and SHAKE DELBUT'S HAND!!! (He told Del that he was sorry that he didn't recognize him earlier).
On Pete's way back to his seat, I was still in the aisle next to James and I said, "hi Pete!" and I stuck out my hand and he smiled and said, "HI!"and shook my hand. That was my only encounter with Pete for the night! It's ok- I was there for Rach anyway!

I thoroughly enjoyed the show- BUT I am deaf in one ear, so the audio probs in the first half really effected by ability to get the gist of the plot.

At intermission I met Rob Lee (oh I met him earlier - before the show - we immediately recognized each other!). He told me that he chatted with Bob Pridden about the sound problems - and they were rectified by the second half.

The show was VERY powerful. The acting was SUPERB!
I LOVED the music.Rachel used a few old songs -
"Nothing Worthwhile," "Pleasure Seeker" and oh man I forget the other one!
I was smack dab in front of the band - which was amazing - and I LOVED the cello!!! Beautiful.

I thought Pleasure Seeker worked - but Del is right - it needed something more- because I didn't realize that there was an accident.

The play went by VERY fast!!! TOO fast.I would like it if Rachel and Jack flushed it out more.
I didn't want it to end.

Afterward...we had more drinks- Rachel signed my program- she wrote: " To Sue: So much love to you, Rachel xoxo"

I was SO jet lagged I FORGOT my pressie for her, so she wrote Eel Pie's addy on the back of the program.

We all hung around for a bit - Pete talked for a LONG time to Mark T. I just didn't have the nerve to approach was fine though! It was so cool being there anyway.

I said goodbye to Rachel - gave her a hug and told her that I loved her - and she said,"I Love You TOO!"

It was nice to meet DublinJames - albeit briefly!

Eventually we all went home - Del and Sarah were so lovely and accompanied me back to my hotel - but we grabbed a bite to eat first! I was SOOOO hungry!

Just a heavenly night!

I am truly blessed........

My camera was on the fritz...GRRR.
It wanted to stay on video mode...BUT I was able to get one beautiful group shot:

From left to right: DublinJames,MarkT,ME!,James Casey, Sarah Evans (Delbut's wife), Delbut.

One more post....

Well, I DID end up going on a LOVELY walking tour of Kew (couldn't find a Magic Bus to rent, sadly).

I had some fish and chips at a shop right near the tube station....then I set off IN THE WRONG DIRECTION looking for all the QUAINT lil' places Rachel showed us over at the weekinkew site!Sue is the dorkiest dork of all dorks. A saddo Americano...truly.

I walked and walked and walked and I even walked in a graveyard! (Thought Rachel would appreciate that).
I loved the Celtic crosses and Angel statues. I even wrote down a few of the verses I read on some of the head stones.
(Ok is this taking my fandom a bit too far?).

It was getting a bit I thought I'd try to find Kew I walked for miles and miles BACK to the tube station and followed the signs - walked across a bridge and THERE I found the little village where Rach lives!
I found the restaurant where she and Pete ate, but...I was in a bit of a hurry, and not in the mood to eat BY MYSELF, so...
I bought an apple, some power bars,some MUD from the Dead Sea (a beauty treatment, of course), a 10 Day Detox kit and a book for a friend at the Organic Health Food Store....I went to this holistic health center to see if I could get this special facial massage- but they didn't have any openings, sadly.
THEN! I went to STARBUCKS - got some CALM tea (I refuse to drink their burnt coffee) and wrote a card to Rachel!
AND! LOL by the time I left the place was JAMMED with moms and their prams! I saw THE most adorable Indian baby there (I think she was half Indian).I even got her to smile for me. aw.....

After tea I followed the signs to Kew Gardens. OMG. It was more beautiful than I ever imagined! I wish I hadn't wasted so much time walking in the wrong direction! I only got to spend about 45 minutes there...oh man you could EASILY spend a day there! Loved the indoor gardens - but the grounds- Oh wow. I felt like a character in a Jane Austen book roaming the grounds...It is a MUST SEE for anyone visiting London.

I rushed back to my hotel and got a taxi to take me to a Tube station so I could catch my flight to Amsterdam. I was a bit late checking in....and, oddly enough, my luggage was tagged as being "priority!" They are so darned accommodating in Blighty!!

I am kicking myself that I didn't get to Kew sooner...but I was QUITE knackered following a fun gin infused evening with James and co!

And,as promised here are some short snippets of the Amazing James Casey (and 2 of his mates from his band, Ether City - Chris Mayes on guitar and Chris (the Captain) on drums.

Ether City - "Supervillian"

Ether City - "Right Now"

James Casey performing a wonderful Rufus Wainwright inspired song called, "Josephine."

Even more James Casey: "Here We Are"

But wait, even MORE James Casey!! This last one is called: "Shoulder to Shoulder."