Sunday, December 21, 2008

Copenhagen photos part deux

Some random ones.
1.Me in the King's garden (it was very cold)
2.Tivoli games
3. Tivoli garden's Christmas celebration.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Ahh Copenhagen, A fantastic, freezing oh so Christmas spirited Birthday treat!

1.The girls waiting for our boat trip.
2.Warmth by the fire in Tivoli Garden.
3.In Tivoli gardens asian area.
4.Christmas joy down Copenhagen's main street.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Friday night I had this brilliant idea to bleed the radiators in my flat right before a cold snap. Having no idea about radiators, I sat watching water flow out of it into a pan, flowing ever so much into another, and another pan, all the while thinking how responsible I was with the maintenance of my flat. Those waters flowing, that I thought so successfully should, ruined my boiler and the weekend.

Flash forward tp the following day.
Red light flashing, I was lucky to have electricity to boil water. I was able to shower with two buckets before, why not now, I thought? I had to go out and wasn’t presentable so I attempted to run up and down the stairs filling the tub with boiling hot water. After filling it a few inches (it took ages!) I cringed with the thought of taking off my many layers. It had to be done. Cold licked at my heels and I tried to be as quick as possible.

'It’s really cold', Belen and I kept repeating . 'Go to the pub', her mother told her, 'it’s warm there'. I gave up and spent the majority of the weekend in bed, under a heap of covers while temperatures plummeted. A coolness brushed the tips of my shoulders left uncovered which felt like cold breath or a being warning me of winter.

Lesson learned, radiators are meant to hold water and from this point on I refuse to try and be handy. On the upside, it was so cold, it kept the mice away.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sappy moon thoughts

Yesterday I walked home after dinner with co-workers. The night sky was filled with a wall of clouds looking light, but crusted. They stretched on and on like a blanket except for a circular break where the moon shone, so perfectly it looked like a spotlight or even perhaps man made. I thought of how strong it was and I thought of how strong it was years ago in Haiti. It reminded me of nights spent walking in a cane field or near the river with only a bright moon to shine on the path ahead. I resented the street lights I found next to me and thought of the moon’s natural bright shine.

This is not a picture of that night...they never turn out great, but you get the point.

Monday, October 13, 2008


The scottish city with character and a haunted past.
Past the whisky!

The castle and Sarah
Enjoying the coffee and biscuits before a nice big breakfast
Belen in the cemetary looking for ghosts
In ode to Scott, through an allyway

Ahhh Sunday

It was a perfect weathered Sunday that had the warmth of a London summer with the colours of fall, burnt orange and red leaves clinging to the pavement. With nothing to do but avoid cleaning house, Belen and I decided to go for an afternoon walk. It was my goal to get her to stroll all the way to my work so I could tentatively measure the time it would take to walk there a few days a week and because of the day’s glow she accepted. I was envious as I walked down the lanes of Islington looking at various town homes and Victorians. We stopped at various gastro pubs in neighbourhoods that we agreed we would love to live in. The Duchess of Kent was so inviting with its clean and shiny bar, Dali portraits, and fat old sofa, we had to pause for a few hours. As we drank our pints we enjoyed the left Sunday Times and laughed over the Brits love of all things American (it’s true!) and Julie Walters (think Mama Mia and Calendar girls). On our way home, after a few glasses of wine, I sighed as I thought, this is why I love London so, with Sunday days that are quintessentially a city Sunday

Friday, September 5, 2008

Please America, don't vote for Palin.

I will say this only once, Sarah Palin is not the woman we want as President, nor as Vice President. I recently received an email from a person who knows Palin and in it she outlines her ignorance in knowing the world in which we live, clear facts of how Palin has created huge deficits in her state, and among else how she participates in pork barrelling for her own interests.

As much as I think she is a sensationalised character which might be appealing to most, she can not help us redeem ourselves in the wake of the damage that President Bush has done to America.

Please read the article below.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Spain photos take two

1.The flower puppy outside the Guggenheim.
2.The puppy's house as they call it in Bilbao, the Guggenheim
3.A night out with B's basque friends.
4.Pinchos our first day

Spain photos

Pictures from Spain
1. The Cathederal in Leon, it was more beautiful inside and we saw many brides enter.
2. Near the cliffs in San Sabastian
3. works by Chillida on cliffs in San Sebastian
4. The stairs up to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe where we watched the sunset.
5. Bliss by the river, can you view the rope swing?

Espana once more

Bilbao is a city in I had yet to visit so when my flatmate, who is from there, graciously invited me and another friend to their yearly festivals, I gladly said yes.

We planned a week long vacation, the weekend in Bilbao, and then a week in Belen's village, a small pueblo in the middle of Spain, where her mother grew up and where she spent summers as a child.

Our first day was full of activity when her friends, a newly engaged couple, picked us up and drove us along the coast towards France. The landscape was beautiful and much to Belen's dismay reminded me of Northern California. We stopped for Pinchos, a cultural experience of the north, of lovely little food in all different shapes and sizes, displayed out on the bar which people pick and chose from, drinking and eating, and then moving on to the next place to find something different, special.

We ended the day on top of a small mountain, next to a church in the ocean, a long walk up many stairs with vistas never ending (think the place in the ending of Mamma Mia). We stayed till the sun set. It was the perfect place to reflect even though I was so weary. We spent the rest of the weekend in Bilbao, visiting the famous Guggenheim, enjoying the cafes and more pinchos in the old part of town, watching everyone drink large cups of Kalimotxos, drinks of half red wine, half coke. We danced and explored, leaving early from the festivals at three, while her friends headed home at six the next morning.

Forward to Tuesday, a different experience altogether. We are in a tiny village surrounded by large fields, a river, mountains and many trees, my favorite trees are ones that look as if they are clapping in the wind for us. People stop by Belen's mother's home, dropping off enormous squash, strawberries, small sweet plums, thick heads of lettuce picked from their garden. I am happy Belen's mother is happy here. The sun shines bright on her newly built back house, there are two houses now, right in the centre of town, with a shaded outside area where we eat. We eat huge midday meals and attempt to find swimming areas in the river or work on our tans at the free pool in the afternoon.

Children run free, alone with their friends, until late, even after we fall asleep early from the heat of the day. I imagine Belen young. People stop her on the street to say hello and to tell her she has not changed since she was a small girl and I see this is true from pictures. I enjoy the relaxation of it all, the walks after dinner in the quite of night, the stars visible in the sky.

We ended the trip in Leon, another classical and very religious Spanish city, different from Bilbao, with night excitement I wish we had in London, everyone out and about, strolling casually around.

When I return home, English spoken in the street surprises me. I say pardoneme to a Brit in the store and forget where I am.

The trip reminded me how much I love Spain.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

San Francisco with my best mate from London!

I was so pleased and excited that my friend Belen could join me in San Fran for a visit two weeks ago. Here are a few pics of our adventures.

Belen in Pac Heights...she said she would want me to live there if I return to the states. Belen at the cheesecake factory...I just had to take her there. It was worth the trip and she was pleased. Palace of Fine Arts on a nice sunny day. Belen at our most famous landmark...she thought the bay bridge was the golden gate for the first few days. The last is me at the house in Boulder Creek, in the Santa Cruz mountains. Belen enjoyed the trees and the coolness!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yummy (and oh so easy) Chocolate Mousse

I made this chocolate mousse last night, it is so rich and so healthy. Well I am lying about the healthy part, but be careful, it's rich!! We had it with whipped cream on top. It would be great with shaved white chocolate or vanilla ice cream too.

I got the recipe from a fellow blogger, Anne.

Chocolate Mousse

250 g dark chocolate
300 ml double cream
3 eggs
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar (50 ml)
1-2 Tbsp flavoring - you can use your favorite liquor (this works well with whiskey or rum, or Kahlua, Amaretto or Frangelico) or coffee. Or nothing. I used Macallan single malt whiskey. (I added vanilla)

Melt the chocolate in a bowl on top of boiling water or in the microwave. Let it cool down a little bit so you can taste it without burning your tongue. Beat the eggs with the sugar until you have a very pale yellow fluff. Beat the cream until it holds soft peaks. Add the chocolate and the flavoring to the eggs, stir well to combine. Gently fold in the cream. Spoon into glasses or little bowls and place in the fridge for at least four hours.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Read Worthy: Nefertiti

I have friends that I absolutely adore, but when it comes to certain things, like movies, books or music, some friends have complete opposite tastes. I have issues with one of my friend's (I am not naming any names) choice of reading material. We always seem on the opposite spectrum of literary enjoyment, that is until now.

We finally found commonality in 'Nefertiti' by Michelle Moran. Although it is (very) loosely based on fact, it paints a grandiose picture of machinations, scheming and plotting, in Egypt in the time of the Pharaoh's. One always likes a bit of adventure and beauty and this story, written in the voice of Nefertiti's sister, brings one back in time. It would be a great movie and I am suprised it hasn't been turned into one yet. When I am not reading it, I am thinking about it. I even walked home last night blocking out the city around me to continue the story. I would recommend it to those heading to the beach or going on holiday because you won't want to put it down!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


It has been two years since my grandmother took a trip across the country to visit her daughter's home in California with her first born twin daughters. It has been two years since her presence has been missed by our family, two years since she passed away, days after arriving back to Ohio from her great train adventure.

Grandmothers are sometimes overlooked, loved greatly, but not truly known by their grandchildren, a craving mystery by their children. My grandmother stoically survived raising 11 educated and productive children in rural Ohio. In the years I was blessed to have her (when she was 65-85 years old), she enjoyed the wealth of her labor; her family, secure in her lovely big house. I thought she had little to say, unless of course she was telling someone what to do, as mother's always do, but now I think maybe I just didn't listen.

On her trip to California, to my surprise, she told me many stories, things about her sisters, how she used to dance, stories about my grandfather and her, a constant stream of conversation. I enjoyed it, I took it for granted and my father and I told each other, she's going to be around for years to come, she is so strong in mind. We were so wrong, this trip was her last.

It's funny what you miss about a person. I miss her large hands, the way she chewed, and her smiling coyly. I missed how she always wore great jewelry and when we went any place other than the Home Town Buffet she would say, 'I always end up ordering the wrong thing', which I now often find myself saying.

I think I have her big eyes, her big bones and a bit of her thriftiness that my cousins and I kiddingly call, 'the Knueven gene' passed down from our mother's and father's because these were the lessons she taught about being grateful and the value of the dollar.

I still think of her on her farm.

I still think of her as if she is in the distance somewhere, possibly dozing, listening to business reports, as she always did. Or maybe, maybe she is softly humming, quietly content.

I hope I am like her when I am a grandmother, when I am older, I wish it so.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hoss Intropia

Shopping with the gals is a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We found my flatmate's good friend in Intropia Hoss, a store I am not familiar with, but with one step in, I fell in lust.
It's a Spanish, less whimsical, smaller, Anthropologie ish store. I have a love for buttons and this satisfied my love with its large odd shaped, pale colored buttons attached to dresses, fine leather bags, and the occasional high heel. A favorite of my friends was a white chunky domino looking (without the black dots) necklace that the sales assistant was wearing for only the small price of 32quid.

The black dress seen above is from their summer collection, great for someone tall who likes variation in their ordinary white/black getup.

For more looks, check out their site:

Thursday, May 29, 2008


A bank holiday is a cherished thing here in England. Generally people take the three day weekend to have a short getaway or to have one extra day to 'veg out' over the weekend. Last weekend my friends and I decided on the latter and took a (camping) trip to Cornwall which is in the South West of England.

Rain was expected (surprise, surprise), but we went prepared, with huge ruck sacks on our backs and tents strapped to our waists. We arrived in Penzance and set up camp in a tiny (only a two pub) village near St Michael's Mount, a castle a few meters from shore that you can explore when the tide wis out. As luck would have it, a beer festival was going on and although the weather was cold we had little rain the day we arrived. We then went to St Ives, a beautiful, fairly posh coastal town, and in the evening attempted to sample most of the Cornish beers at the beer festival.

Sunday was a favorite day with lots of laughter, lots of sun, and a long hike along the coast. Up and down the hills and dales we went with our rain boots and I with my large and cumbersome umbrella, trying to reach Lands End (yes it is an actual place, not just a catalogue!!)! We saw cows, beautiful wild flowers, tiny water falls and clear blue water (you wouldn't think it in England, but it looked as if we were in the Mediterranean). I maned the middle in the group, trying to get the lovely ladies behind me to keep up while they snapped photos left and right trying for that perfect picture, while yelling to the two hardcore hikers in the lead to wait for us.

Monday, our last day, the ugly weather reached us, but with the memory of sunshine still with us and the knowledge we would soon be home, we didn't mind trying to put down our tents in the down pour and wind or mind the long bus ride home with only scones and clotted cream (a Cornish staple) to fill our bellies.

I definitely recommend the trip if you have time to spare while in England.

Photos to follow.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Alpini Singers

My friend asked these gentlemen to sing for us the famous battle song about the bridge where the festivities were taking place. I guess you had to be there, but it almost made me cry. Various people broke out in song during the weekend.

Dancing American with a backpack

It speaks for itself....yes, I know I am a bit sad or maybe is it mad?

Monday, May 12, 2008


I went to the alpini (a fun loving sector of the military in Italy) festival that was held near my friends village in Italy, near Venice. It was FANTASTIC, truely a great experience!!!
The first photo, my friends with the Alpini's hats. The second, a view from the famous bridge which by the end of the weekend was packed with party goers. The third, masks in Venice. Enjoying the white wine at the festival is the 4th photo and the fifth is the alpini's and their hates in front of the church. There were so many! It looks like a flock of birds?!! More photos and videos to follow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

I have recently secured the role of PA to the Head of the Business Information Officer and the Head of the Communications at a charity organisation, St John Ambulance, in Farringdon. Everyone seems really cool and I think it will be a great experience. It's a charity that deals with first aid and safety training and they have many volunteers at concerts/marathon (see photo). Overall we support over 40,000 volunteers within the UK. I am so happy to have a permanant role and to soon be salaried! Everyone was right, it just takes some time after school to find a good position.

Check out where I will be working:

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Faltering Fallback

My housemate and I have a new favorite local.
When I first moved to Finsbury park the doctor I work with suggested a place called the faltering fallback as his favorite bar in the area. I didn't quite understand where it was so I didn't attempt to go.
A few weeks later I was talking to my upstairs neighbor and, as the Brits generally do when first getting acquainted, he started recommending his local pubs. I heard from him again about the faltering fallback so I told me flatmate it was worth a trip.
Sunday following we thought we would explore a bit in the neighborhood and ended up near where the pub was located. We asked someone and they pointed to the end of the road. We heard a lot of noise coming up to it, but only saw ivy and beautiful flowers. When we walked in we were greeted by hoards of men. I turned to my flatmate stating, "this place is great" while she thought the male energy was a bit overwhelming. We walked through uncovering little coves and areas where people played board games. The back opened up to a great simple large room with a pool table and loads of picnic tables, filled with local supporters. The back area, this area, thai food was being served by a suprisingly very clean and tiny kitchen. Trying to find space we discovered the beer garden which had different decks and different levels covered with pretty window boxes and much needed heat lamps.

Since then, we've agreed the faltering fallback is a keeper and a great pub to have in our neighborhood. The name alone is genius and we definitely like the vibe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

London Living: Tales of Apartment Hunting.

On a mission to find the perfect flat for two which is within our meager price range, my friend Belen and I are up for a real challenge.
London is full of people and full of habitations, tiny little gems, disgusting over lived in lets, disastrous refurbishments. The city is divided up in zones and although we agreed zone one (the centre) is just too intense, we don't want to be out too far. Zone two would be brilliant and in our price range (sort of). In our quest to find this ideal apartment, we have met our share of landlords, or slumlords, each unique and eccentric as is the property they have to offer.
A few nights ago I saw one in Elephant and Castle, it was fairly nice, though dirty. It was close to the centre and the right price. But it was also owned by a racist princess, pulling up in her Audi declaring quietly to me that she would rather let to someone like me then someone like the current Africans she had living there now, even offering me a discount in the deposit. Although the place was nice I couldn't stomach giving this woman my dough and in the end I couldn't imagine our mums visiting. It wasn't in the best area or maybe it was because I was being too picky.
Sunday we were in in Highgate, a beautiful area, very high class and although the lounge and kitchen were lovely in this garden flat, the rooms reminded us of our first year at uni, ever so tiny. The same Sunday we also saw a flat in zone one, near the white chapel tube station, which made our skins crawl. The tenants, having left in a rush, left the place disgustingly dirty and what was supposed to be in reality a two bedroom flat was actually a one bed room with the living room used as a bedroom. The scary stairwell and the dirtyness of the place we couldn't ignore. We told the estate agent thanks, but no thanks.
We are still looking, ever diligent. We know we would be good tenants and I know there is that perfect place just waiting for us to find it. I think it's important to like the place you live. We have some time, three weeks or so and until then I will enjoy where I am at the moment. Looking out to the (SUNNY!!!) garden in Bounds Green.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

So close I can taste it!

Our papers have been littered with stories on the presidential hopefuls for the upcoming election. They all look willing and ready. My friend's have bets going with me that Hilary will surely win, she has too!! they argue, she is a woman!!! (and a supporter of the war). I am leaning towards Obama for a bit of change in tired Washington. Whoever wins, I will be happy it cannot and will not be Bush (sorry auntie). Click on the link below to see a little vinet of our chosen leader I found on youtube. Remember Quayle? It might be safe to say Bush is worse. There are many more where this came from:

Yes Please! Leather Bags!

As a scholar I am loving big chunky leather bags. Although slightly masciline, I feel they are quiet sexy for both men and woman. Leather is not for the socially conscious, but if you are do go this way, there are rich pieces meant to last and can be treasured classics long after those last papers are turned in or marked. The bag above is one I saw in a boutique around town in London, the below bag is Miu Miu (one of my favorite designers) which can be found on netaporter.
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