23 Dec

Christmas Week

This is kind of a random puzzle that we did last night, but we like it a lot. In fact, Tiana remarked, “It’s too bad we didn’t do a cuter puzzle for Christmas!” It’s been a while since Tiana and I have just slowed down for a quiet evening of not watching a show or going out. A friend gave us a bunch of Christmas music and so we’ve incorporated that into a big mix MP3 CD to just let play for hours and hours.

This week, a lot of our friends and colleagues are going elsewhere for Christmas (some are scattering out across England, others have flown home to the States), but as for us, we are sticking around in Nottingham. Tiana actually works on Christmas day this year. For the past three Christmases while we’ve been abroad, she’d had the day off, but this time around, it was (basically) her turn to volunteer to work on the day. It’s only a 10am-2pm shift, which isn’t bad at all, and what’s more, I will be volunteering and going buy vardenafil 10 mg with her to work for those four hours, so it should be good fun. Christmas can often be a very lonely day for those whom she works with, so hopefully there will be enough people there to help them feel like they have some extra friends, at least for a few hours.

Tonight, Tiana and I are joining our friends David & Lauren Mosely to go hear the Southwell Minster Choir for a Christmas Eve service. We went a couple years ago, and it was absolutely gorgeous. The acoustics combined with amazing talent make for a beautiful evening. Tonight isn’t Christmas Eve (obviously), but apparently the Christmas Eve choir services have become so popular that they now have two of them, the second happening the night of the 23rd. So we’ve booked a restaurant afterwards to enjoy our night in Southwell.

Here is a two-part piece on the life and music of the Southwell Minster Choir:

A Happy Advent and a Merry Christmas to all! We miss you guys.

18 Dec

To Stay or to Go

Hyacinth and Muscari (called blue grape hyacinth in the States) bulbs

Above is a picture of some dirt in our back garden that I tilled whereupon I set out the placement of some hyacinth and muscari bulbs. It was a really cold day today, so I had to work really quick before my fingers became too frozen. Ideally, it’s a bit late in the season to be planting bulbs, but it seems like it will be okay (I hope).

On the opposite side of the garden is another area that a friend (Rob) helped me till where we then planted about 80+ tulips. I think we planed that area a solid two months ago, so I am less worried about that. And, underneath a damson tree we planed scads of crocus. The last time I planed so many bulbs, I think I was twelve years old!

At the moment, we are strongly considering moving to a new flat or cheap house to rent. We have had some never-ending, incredibly frustrating experiences with one of our neighbours over the past couple years, and this last year, thing have come to a head. At one point right before our visit to the States, we had to call the non-emergency police on our neighbours, for a metal hammer was thrown at me (or in my direction at the very least, and it is very difficult to tell what is going on in the minds of such small kids). At any rate, while there are many more details to retell, suffice it to say that we are looking for another place to live. Despite our best efforts, there’s really not many other options. (We have actually attempted knocking on our neighbour’s door a couple months back to ask the mother to instruct her children to pick up the loads of candy, toys, trash, etc., that they had thrown over, but not only was she not responsive, but Tiana basically heard the mother basically yell at her to ‘go away’ [more or less].)

For me in my last 9+ months of writing before my final deadline to submit my PhD, moving is less than ideal. In fact, books on ‘how to write your PhD’ actually strongly inform the reader not to move during the writing time due to the time and stress involved in such an undertaking. But, if we do move, we are hoping to hire our friends (with Pizza!) to make the moving day quick and fun so that buy valium tablets online distractions to my study and writing are kept at a minimum. I’ve known other PhD students who have pulled off such moves in the final years, and they seemed to have gotten along just fine.

We’ve only just begun to search online for places to stay. Some flats are opening up, but considering it’s mid-December, we can’t see ourselves moving until January anyway. In general, we don’t want to move, because we do like our place so much–with our decent rent, our big garden, and cozy house–so the thought of moving occurs half-begrudgingly.

On the other hand, our letting agency has become less and less responsive to our letters sent to them over the last year to fix certain things, and our place is dreadfully cold in the wintertime. None of our windows (save one) are double-paned, and so Tiana has had to sew thick curtain covers to help with heat transfer issues. Also, our bathroom, no matter how many times we clean it, keeps reverting back to its Lovecraftian abyss of unspeakable black mould horrors every couple of weeks. We don’t really know what to do yet except for continue to look online for new places.

I’ve planted nearly two hundred bulbs (with help) over the past couple months in our back yard, but these are the kinds of domestic practices that one does under the assumptions that–one stays around. That is, come Spring we could very well not be living here to enjoy the blooms of our bulbs and watch our cat Andi frollick around chasing butterflies.

But, assuming some decent (even cheaper) place comes up, we will likely move. We continue to live here where we are, however. We even happened upon a £1.99 artificial tree at a charity shop in Beeston that looks amazing, and are content to decorate it with the ornaments we’ve collected throughout the years from our travels.

In the meantime, keep us in your thoughts and prayers in this transitional year for us. We will most likely be moving to a new place, and then by September I have to submit my PhD thesis and then we may be moving (or staying) once more. We miss our friends from the States dearly, but were so thankful to be blessed with seeing them all in California these past weeks!

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas!


Our budget--but exceptionally awesome!--Christmas tree ornamented with our travels and our time together. The star on top comes from the Nürnberg Christmas market!