Archive for January 2008

Hello, my name is Nora

Thursday, 31st January 2008. Filed in Random foliage4 Comments »

All right. This is how it’s going to be. I’ve made a decision. I am Nora. Just Nora.

If I’ve ever commented on your blog, you’ll know I comment as norabarnacle. I know people choose aliases for many reasons, sometimes to keep what’s personal hidden, sometimes to have a bit of fun, sometimes to lay claim to something they feel defines them in some way. Sometimes it’s just something they picked up along the road.

I was never really worried about the whole internet knowing my first name thing because well, it doesn’t take a genius to go from norabarnacle to wondering if this person’s name really is Nora. The nickname came about a few years ago, before I had a blog or even knew what a blog was. When I started dating Crunchy husband back in California, he (obviously) came home and told all his family and friends about the smokin’ hottie he landed himself in the States. (Okay, I totally made that up. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Crunchy husband describe anyone as a smokin’ hottie.) One of his friends, who then became my friend, Boogie friend I think I’ve called her here, is married to Crunchy husband’s best friend from college. And her father is a massive James Joyce fan. So as soon as he heard my name, he’s thinking “Nora? Nora Barnacle?” As the story goes, he got very excited about this. It became my “name” in that circle, even after we clarified that no, no I wasn’t really a Nora Barnacle. It just kind of stuck. [In a complete aside, but interesting view on how small the world really is, we learned last year that her father was acquainted with my Grandma’s brother. Crazy!]

When I was little, I didn’t like my name. No one else had it. Why couldn’t I have been a Jennifer or a Sarah? Those were obviously the cool names because everyone had them. Now that I’m not seven, I am happy to say I really like my name, just for that reason. (Thanks mom and dad!) And the fact that it’s short and simple, even if people do want to put an “h” on the end and I sometimes have to say “Nora with an N” to keep it from becoming “Laura”.

I must have been working through a crisis of identity in my sleep last night. I woke up thinking about Zoolander— “who am I?”— and decided it was time to stick with Nora. I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that after years of filling out various visa forms and handing the UK government stacks of cash, I’ve been given my indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Maybe it’s the fact that pieces of my genetic history keep showing up on the sitemeter. (Within the last few weeks, I’ve had hits from Cork, Ireland; Porterville, California; and New Brunswick— all places that correspond to, or are very close to, the birthplaces of three of my grandparents. I don’t count the birthplace of the fourth grandparent in this fascination because my parents still live there, so of course I’m getting visits from San Jose.) Or, maybe I’m just lazy and tired of typing norabarnacle when I could just type Nora. Who knows. But, for whatever reason, this is how it’s going to be. Unless of course, I’m feeling feisty. If you see a Funkmaster Crunchy Crunch show up, yeah that’s probably me too, after way too much sugar.

Michael Jackson, duh

Wednesday, 30th January 2008. Filed in Crunchy grooves2 Comments »

So, I’ve been catching up on blogs lately. I just found a recent post on U2-3D on I Am Fuel, You Are Friends. Which I had to show Crunchy husband, even though it’s supposed to be off-line time…Because I’m so excited. And now, after reading this, bitter. Forget what I said earlier. I want to see it now. February 22nd? What the heck?

When I turned the screen his way, the first thing he says is “Who’s Captain E.O.?” What? Not only does he live for the shipping forecast (not kidding, that’s his favorite thing to listen for now that we have the DAB radio), he doesn’t know who Captain E.O. is. He actually had to click on the wikipedia link. Ah, he’s cute. Brits, eh?

He keeps walking around saying, well it didn’t come out in England.

Well, of course it didn’t! England doesn’t have a Disneyland!!

Show me how to do it, teach me how to dance

Wednesday, 30th January 2008. Filed in Cross-training, Crunchy grooves, I am a goofball, In my head, I'm an awesome dancer2 Comments »

My gym stole my iPod. And I’m not sad.

I’ll spare you the skimpy details, but I was in the locker room, sitting on the bench, drying my feet and noticed the music was pretty chill, Finley Quaye’s “Even After All”. Not one I usually hear anywhere but my iPod, thanks to the Thicker Than Water soundtrack. I thought hey, that’s cool. It makes a nice change from the Rockwell “Somebody’s Watching Me” I used to get at the other gym. (Kind of funky in the locker room when it’s playing while you ARE in the shower.) Then I heard it. Comb stroke, part to shoulder. Hesitate. I wasn’t sure it could be possible, they keep the level pretty soft in the changing room, but yes indeed-y. The Thievery Corporation remix of Sarah McLachlan’s “Dirty Little Secret”. Yeah baby! It’s cool, seductive and lounge-y. I love it. Maybe somebody IS watching me and knows just what I want to hear. I combed and re-combed my hair, just so I could hear the drum beat drop toward the end. I’m fairly sure I was swaying, but no one was looking at me funny, so I must have contained myself pretty well. All right, I don’t have much shame, but I don’t tend to bust a move in the locker room. Usually.

It was like the time I popped into Somerfield and as soon as I stepped through the double doors “Solsbury Hill” started up. It was as if they saw me coming. Or, iris recognition lasers triggered the music. Hey, now there’s a thought. Big brother me any time if it means no more James Blunt. (Okay, Christa, I just threw that in there to rile you up so you’ll slam me some more country music dedications on Facebook. Yee-haw!*) I grabbed my milk, bounced a little in line (subtly restraining myself from initiating a dance party), and handed over my fiver. As I held myself back from saying as enthusiastically Californian as possible “I luuuuuuhhhhve this song”, Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime” kicked in to the Hill’s fade, and the lady shouted over her shoulder “Could you turn the music down, puh-lease?”. I checked my shimmy, picked my chin off the floor, and slunk out of the store. Don’t let the iPod hit you on the way out, ya know?

While we’re on the subject of music (yeah, yeah I swam and yoga-ed today, check the log if you’re really that interested), who’s excited? Who is EXCITED? U2-3D! I can’t hear you. Yeah okay, not quite as excited as if the boys were to play in my living room. Or, even Wembley Stadium for that matter. But, I’m pretty excited. (And not even too bitter that it’s already out in California.) I can’t wait to see my man up close and personal. Funk it up, dawg!

*For those who don’t know me, not a big fan of the country…

Now playing: U2 – Mysterious Ways
via FoxyTunes

Low tide, Sandwich

Saturday, 26th January 2008. Filed in Photography4 Comments »

Sandwich, low tide

High Tide, Margate

Friday, 25th January 2008. Filed in Photography1 Comment »





Sunset over the harbor

Back in the water

Thursday, 24th January 2008. Filed in Cross-training4 Comments »

I drove into the parking lot and there it stood before me: uncovered, lane lines in place, waters smooth as glass. Ladies and gentlemen, the outdoor pool is working again! Whee-hoo!

What’s more, the temperature’s not as warm. I hustled from the door to the water (it’s not raining, but it’s not sunny either), expecting the water temperature to welcome me in, like a soothing bath. It didn’t. Which is actually a good thing because I get too hot if the water’s too warm once I get going. It’s perfect now. The water wrapped around me peacefully as I pushed off from the wall, calmly filling in the spaces my body left behind.

It’s been a bit quiet around the Crunchy household lately, so it was nice to have some time in the water to just glide and flow. It wasn’t a hard core day today. The only thing missing was the pirate swim cap my mom gave to me for Christmas. I completely forgot to toss it in the bag. But, I’ll give it a try next time. When I need to get fired up. I realized from my lap times today that I swim breast stroke just as fast and sometimes faster than free. It’s not a surprise to me. It’s always been my favorite, but I am going to have to work on the freestyle if I actually want to get off my booty and do an Olympic distance triathlon this year. I have no excuses since I weaseled Crunchy husband out of his racing bike. Well, none except my slight trepidation at the large water masses around me. (The two shorter tris I did in the past were in placid little lakes.) But, if I’m honest with myself, I’m just using the unknown as an excuse. I’ve never been afraid of water. Sand, yes. Sand has been known to freak the living daylights out of me. But never water, not as far as I know.

Still in comfort food mode

Sunday, 20th January 2008. Filed in Love to eat, hate to cook2 Comments »

I’m dreaming of steak and stilton pie. Last week I found broccoli and stilton soup at Waitrose. It was the most divine thing I had tasted in a long time. The lady gave me a sour look when she spotted my Tesco natural bag, which I thought was funny because I was thinking “hey lady, you should just be happy I’m shopping in your expensive store today rather than at Tesco.” But, enduring the look was worth it. The soup was awesome. I felt like I just melted right into it. It was so rich, creamy and warming. It had me fully intentioned to learn how to make it myself. Until Moose, who actually likes to cook, warned me about the intricacies of soup making and then I got bored with the idea, really fast.

This morning we went for a short run around the village where Crunchy husband grew up. This, of course, gave him the opportunity to relay all the usual stories he’s told me a hundred times before. After that, I feel fully deserving and ready for my steak and stilton pie. Yum!

I think they are going to want their money back

Thursday, 17th January 2008. Filed in Random foliage3 Comments »

You know that lurch in your stomach you can feel when landing, that seed of doubt in your mind, does this pilot* REALLY have control of this plane? You know, the one the mind tries to dismiss because a) there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it now, if the plane’s going down, you’re on it and b) statistics-wise, there’s nothing to really worry about.

Well, I’m going to try hard to keep this headline out of my head the next time I fly: BA plane crash lands at Heathrow.

Yikes! Wouldn’t have wanted to have been on THAT one! (Apparently no one was injured badly, thank goodness!) But, you know, the other day, I could have swore a plane was coming down on me as I drove along the road near Manston airport. It looked out of control in the wind and way too low, so I checked my mirrors and slowed way down, hoping if it did skid across the road, it’d do it in front of me rather than on me. I thought there was a good chance I might die. Like for real. Now, I don’t feel my fear was so unfounded.

So, hey mom, I was going to send you an email last night to let you know it looked like BA had good-ish prices right now. Maybe they’ll get even further reduced now!

*After reading more about this, I’d like to clarify and give props to the pilot of this one. I think he did an excellent job getting it down safely. He can be my pilot any day! Though I suspect he might want some time off after this.

Spiffy new threads for the Complete Running Network

Wednesday, 16th January 2008. Filed in Running1 Comment »

If you haven’t already caught it, the Complete Running Network has launched a brand, spankin’ new site and it’s hot! Lots of people have been stickin’ forks in it (‘cuz it’s done). You should too. Mark did a great job in the re-design. So pop on over and check it out. Don’t forget to point your mouse to the top right-hand corner to bookmark it, digg it, it, backflip it, mister wong it, or whatever gets you there. If you must dropjack, please drop him nicely.

If you have a running blog, you might want to (re) join the Running Blog Family Directory (RBF). You can now search for blogs by things like location, favorite race distance, and tags/keywords. Even if you’ve signed up before, submit a new entry so that it will be search-able by these things.

*Bonus* The site now includes author and member profile pages. So, if you got behind in your Science Wednesday reading over the holidays, you can catch up from the links on my profile here.

Garlic and string cheese

Monday, 14th January 2008. Filed in Love to eat, hate to cook1 Comment »

“Ooh, don’t tell my dad there’s garlic in it or he won’t touch it.” Last week, I found myself in my mother-in-law’s kitchen cooking for four. I didn’t really know what to cook. I knew what I wanted and I knew what I’d cook for Crunchy husband and I, but I was apprehensive about how it would go down. I knew whatever I did wouldn’t be right, but I hoped it would do.

It was a bit strange, sad. I’d cooked there before, but she’d always been there.

I decided to take a gamble and go for the spinach and field mushroom pasta with pine nuts. The traditional meat and potatoes, the usual in their household, just didn’t sound good. After ready meals and pub food, my body felt lethargic and weighted. The convenient comfort foods weren’t comforting anymore. It wanted something light, something nutritious, and something, well something that would include garlic.

After Crunchy husband’s reminder, I offered to leave the garlic out. But he smiled and said, “no leave it in. It’s good for him. And it would make my mom laugh.” So for the rest of the week, I surreptitiously honored my mother-in-law’s memory by adding small amounts of garlic to our dinners. Actually, I tell a lie. I wasn’t paying attention and the cottage pie on Friday got more than I meant to put in. We’re pretty sure his dad didn’t notice.

It wasn’t as easy, however, to convince him to give string cheese a try. (Back in November, while pilfering food off one of my best friends, I re-discovered string cheese. It’s not a fancy cheese by any means, but I had forgotten how much I like the texture, the strange satisfaction in pulling each string off the stalk of cheese.) Even over chocolate, chips and ice cream, I can say that it is my top comfort food for the moment. I figure I could do worse. And it made my father-in-law laugh. So, I’m sticking with the cheese for a while.