No Snow Winter

A few winters ago, sandwiched between two so-much-snow-we-nearly-drowned winters, there was a No Snow Winter. It was a cruelty, really, because I know that forever more I will be hoping for another and likely it was a unicorn of a winter - seen once and set to become a myth forever more (I know unicorns exist out them somewhere). This morning it technically snowed, but because I didn't have to dig my car out of my driveway it doesn't count (that's how American I am now), so there is still hope. 

I hate snow. 

Actually, I don't hate snow. I love snow - provided all of the following are true, with no exceptions:
- I don't have to shovel it
- I don't have to drive in it
- I don't have to park in it
- I'm wearing appropriate footwear
- There's a fire waiting for me inside the second I get cold
- Hot Toddies and/or mulled wine are within reach
- It doesn't turn to a slushy grey sludge of despair
- It remains fluffy and white and perfect looking
- I do not have to go to work
- I do not have to shovel (said already, but it bears repeating)
- There's no danger of it caving in our roof 
- Snow ploughs do not make their horrendous grinding scraping noise on the tarmac
- I remain warm or I get just cold enough to make sitting by the fire and drinking mulled wine a joy and not a    resuscitatory necessity 

Given that none of the above are usually true and all are untrue whenever it really snows, I'm gonna go ahead and maintain that snow is the worst and I invite you to join my campaign for a No Snow Winter. If you ski and hate me right now, don't worry - it's welcome to snow in NH or ME or anywhere I do not need to be in the next 4 months. FOUR MONTHS. If only hibernation were a real possibility. Ugh. 


It's Wednesday but it feels like Friday, largely because it IS friday - in as much as there's no work tomorrow, or the next day. Thanksgiving truly is the best thing about America. A long weekend! And I can spend tomorrow morning curled up in bed, smug in my warmth although it's cold outside, a late breakfast and large cup of coffee while watching something light and lazy on the television before driving over to J's family's for food and wine and more food.

Or, I could have been spending tomorrow morning like that, except I am an idiot.

Instead, tomorrow morning will be spent shivering against the cold as I drag my tired and weary self out of bed, drinking a quick coffee (but not too much or I'll need to pee) and eating something bland and boring that wont induce stich and then joining a load of other idiots in running 4 miles in sub zero temperatures. Thinking about it now, while also considering the warm alternative, this sounds like the worst idea anyone has ever had.

I don't even like running.

Like Crazy

Jeremy is out for the evening so I've taken the opportunity to watch something he absolutely would not tolerate. It's a film called Like Crazy and it's about a British girl falling for an American boy and the long distance agony that ensued. It wasn't the best film, but one thing is for sure - whoever wrote it had done long distane, and it brought it all back:
  • the ride on the tube to the airport, where every moment is an anguish and a longing and a holding back of tears
  • the wait to say goodbye, where everything in you wants the goodbye to be over and everything in you wants to prolong it forever
  • the ride home on the tube where the seat beside you is empty, or full of a stranger that is not him, and the holding back (or not) of tears
  • the crying in public
  • the knowledge that your friends absolutely 100% think you're insane
  • the excruciating failure of pragmatism
  • the awkward late night phone conversations, where one of you is exhausted and the other is cooking dinner / about to go out for the night
  • the first re-meeting that you've imagined and longed for but then it's there and it's strange- this odd reuniting and careful remembering
  • the joy of remembering and reuniting
  • the ride on the tube to the airport...
Long Distance is a remembered trauma that flows through me. Even when I tell our story and people remark on how remarkable we are, I nod and smile and make light. But really I'm remembering and reliving and wondering at how it ever happened. We did it, we survived, but quite how I'll never know. 

It's been a while

And I don't know why, particularly. It's been a while since I've written much of anything. Work took off and I slowed down. I've been rather obsessively watching The West Wing, which I'm not sure I even like, and not doing a whole lot of anything else. It's problematic.

I turned 30 and that was awesome in most ways, apart from the turning 30 part, which I don't much care about beyond that I'm now IN my 30s, which seems older than I want to be. But turning 30 was a good excuse to make people celebrate and generally do what I wanted them to do - which meant demanding folks stayed the night and played taboo and ate too much cake, and I loved that. I should turn 30 more often.

There's been a Bed Bug scare at work, sending me into an inevitable paranoid spiral. Jeremy wakes up to me shining my mobile like a torch beneath the covers. He is not impressed. I tell him that I'm thoroughly justified in my paranoia. He tells me to shut up and go to sleep.

And still not a day goes by where I do not remember that I live in America. As in, I don't live in England. And I miss it, while not being entirely sure what I miss, besides my people, and baked beans and chocolate. But I do miss it. When I am there, every time I speak I am aware that I sound normal. When I am here I am aware I sound strange. I wonder when or if I'll ever not be aware.

I miss people. So many people. And not all of them are in England, but all of them are not here. And homesickness chases me, hounds me, and I can't shake it. Even when I think I've shaken it, it's there to surprise me. I don't know what to do about that.

I've got out of the habit of writing - of writing anything - and I feel the lack of it. I should try harder, more often, and watch less 'West Wing'... why don't they explain where the storylines go? CJ keeps falling in love and then he disappears and we don't know where and that's frustrating.

That's all.


Right about now, ten years ago, my life's course was about to change while sitting outside an Italian hostel. The moment it happened, when I first saw the boy who would become the man who would become my husband, I was too bogged down in a billion other things to really notice. I was hung up on someone back in England who I'd met twice and decided I was destined to marry, beholden to another boy who'd sort of broken my heart or something like it and who I hadn't quite been able to let go of, thinking still of a tall Australian I'd kissed in Sicily day's earlier. If it sounds fickle and neurotic it's because I was 19. Obsessed by love but not quite able to recognise it or hold on to it. My first thought of Jeremy was that he didn't have any hair, which shows I didn't really look very hard because that wasn't actually true.

My friends started talking to him and his friend. Left alone, I would likely have never spoken to them because, as a rule, I don't strike up conversation with randoms. But they started talking which meant I had to start talking and without very much input from me we planned a trip out to Capri the next day and then a tour of the Amalfi Coast by motorbike and then our plans for Florence were altered to Cinque Terra so that we could travel together and all this before I'd even allowed for the possibility of liking him. (That's a lie - back then I think I allowed for the possibility of liking pretty much every man that crossed my path, but I hadn't done much more than allow the possibility at that point)

Then came late night water fights when other more responsible folks were trying to book us a hostel, and midnight drinking on beaches, and a first kiss had on a rock in the dark mere feet away from our friends.

And so it began.


First let me say that if you read the previous post, you'll understand why it's been two months until this one. Change is asked for, it happens, and then time gets sucked into a black hole. That said, I've not been bored.

OK so I've a billion things to write about. Our recent trip to Asia and the Japanese guest house where there were different slippers for different bits of the house. The fact that maternity leave in America is just 12 unpaid weeks (no, I'm not pregnant). That not just blogging writing stopped since I went and requested change, but all writing and I'm a bit scared to start again.

But instead, let me tell you about the following exchange in our local Trader Joes (not sure of UK comparison... maybe M&S Simply Food except less stuck up and more chilled out Californian). Oh, and prefacing this by saying that I usually avoid asking questions of strangers, and now I know why.

Hannah: "Excuse me?"

Man (busy stacking shelves)

Hannah: "I'm sorry, excuse me, but do you know if you still stock Tofurky?" (Torfurky is sliced vegetarian 'turkey' that is pretty tasty and which J inhales regularly)

Man: "Can I help you?"

Hannah: "Yes, do you still stock Tofurky? I can't find it."

Man: "I'm sorry, what?"

Hannah: (getting flustered) "Tofurky. Do you have it?

Man: (confused) "SoMarKurNis?" (I can't remember exactly what he said here except that no letters, sounds or syllables were the same.)

Hannah: (In this now so need to press forward) "No. Torfurky? It's like the fake turkey sandwich meat."

Man: (Looking more confused, starts to lead me towards a section of the shop that seems promising enough. We stop in front of the sushi.)

Hannah: (Very confused)

Man: (hopefully) "fake Sake?"
(I should note that there isn't such a thing as fake Sake and it wasn't infront of us).

Hannah: (wishing ground would swallow her) "Haha" (nervously and cursing Jeremy for wanting this stuff) "no, I mean fake turkey. Turkey. Like ummm Chicken?"

(this could well have got to the point where I had to flap my fake wings and start talking about pilgrims giving thanks except somehow he at this point understood.)

Man: "OH, you mean TOFURKY."

Hannah: (Grimacing) "yes."

Man. "I don't think we have that."

(turns out they do have it, it was 2 feet away and when I finally found it after he'd questioned another staff member who didn't have trouble understanding me and knew where it was, the first guy stood over me while I picked it up asking  "that's what you want?" "you've found it?" "are you sure?")

I know I have an accent, but it's really not THAT different.

When you ask for change...

...change seems to happen. At least, not always and not to everyone, but often and to many. Since I posted in February, my friends who were waiting alongside me for something new, those who were reassessing their careers or elements of their lives and finding them wanting, have all found change and hopefully the change they've been hoping for. One has moved countries with the added security of being able to take her job with her, which sounds crazy lucky but it only really happened because she decided to move either way. Another has signed up for classes to lead her in an entirely new career direction, and got a promotion in her current job. I imagine there are more stories from more people that I haven't heard yet or that haven't quite happened yet, but my point is this - that when change becomes the only option, it happens.

And then there's me. February was a horrible month. I was low and homesick and had moments of something near despair. They were only fleeting moments, but despair is not something you ever want to come close to, especially not in February. I wanted, needed change. I went to an information seminar on Social Work and came away knowing that that particular course for sure was not for me. I sent my book off to my agent, hoping that might be the change I needed, and it came back supremely unloved - which is OK, it needs work and that's fine, but it wasn't the flash of newness that I needed. I got my new greencard back, which meant I could stop envisioning deportation or canceled holidays, but which didn't change much in the day to day. And then, the day after my Social Work disappointment (I'd been expecting some sort of fire of hope and excitement to be lit under me and it definitely was not), I was told that my boss had got a promotion meaning his job was available, and everything started to feel more possible.

I got the job. I started the job. I didn't stop my other job (we're recruiting), which has meant I've been busier than I've possibly ever been (busy in charity job terms, not in lawyer / banker terms - I've eaten dinner with Jeremy and slept in my own bed each night - but there's are reasons I'm neither lawyer or banker and my lack of aptitude to either job is not the only one). I haven't been bored in almost a whole month. Life is moving forward. And, I'm writing this sat in our sunroom where it is warm without the help of radiators. Progress.