Monday, March 24, 2008

Let's fight crime with mangos and lime, and join the PGA

Alright, I've got my pasta roni (angel hair pasta with herbs and favorite..mmm) and I'm ready to write.

I had a great weekend. My grandparents were in town visiting, and I got to spend a lot of time with them. I saw Washington's tomb at Mount Vernon. Boy, did that man ever know how to pick a location for a home. Sign me up for 8000 acres on the Potomac.

Note: to dispel the old myth...there is absolutely no way that Washington could have thrown a silver dollar across the Potomac. It's not like our rivers out west. The potomac is enormous, and unless he were absolutely herculean, there is no way a silver dollar would make it anywhere near the opposite bank. Please also note that this does not make me like dear Washington any less. I'm pretty sure that the US is just fine with or without a coin-throwing president.

Most people who know me realize that I am not always the most tactful person when I'm tired. Also, it probably doesn't help that I haven't had much social interaction outside the office for the past month and have forgotten how to converse with my peers (unless it includes the word "heretofore" or "Project X" I am prettymuch at a loss). I am sorry, Tom Davenport, for your having to be the first victim of my fatigue since returning to the states. Now, just to explain, Tom is a pretty funny guy. He constantly has whoever he's around in absolute stitches with his jokes. He repeated a joke several times on Friday regarding the Spitzer affair ("wow, hold on, that's her? She's a bargain at twice the price.") I felt it necessary to comment on this joke because I found it fairly entertaining. So, what I meant to say was "that joke never gets old," but in actual fact it came out "wow Tom, that joke never gets funny." Good going Rach...very smooth.

Now, on to what is really important. I bought a pair of Sperry Top-siders on Saturday. They're red and blue with little anchors on them. I just couldn't resist. Next item of business is to just find a boyfriend with a yaught to go with my new shoes. That's ok, right? Buy the shoes before you find the man, not the other way around? Hmmm, maybe that's why I am single, but have a very large shoe of these times the shoe style is bound to turn up something...

On a more serious topic, I got to celebrate Easter with two different religious services this year. I went to the national cathedral on Saturday night for an Episcopalian Easter service. It was beautiful and candle-lit Although I know little about the Episcopalian faith, I had a really good feeling throughout the service. I love attending worship meetings of various religions. It's my opinion that you don't have to be a member of, or completely agree with a particular religion to feel of its sacred nature.

Easter Sunday, I went to my church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) from 11:00 to 2:00. Learning about the ressurection always interests me. I know I'll never fully comprehend what Christ went through, and therefore will never be able to appreciate it enough, but I'm glad we have a special day each year to really concentrate on it.

After church I proceeded to have two consecutive Easter dinners. Never fear, I am a champion eater and have spent the past year or two being subjected to double holiday meals (don't ask), so I was thoroughly prepared. My Aunt cooked a wonderful, more traditional Easter feast, and then I topped it off with delicious pizza at Austin's. I haven't been so full in a long time...and for someone who's had three meals a day catered to them while sitting in an office chair, that's really saying something. Plus, who says you can't have pizza twice in a weekend and on Easter?

Speaking of...I'm full again. I'm done with my pasta roni. I'll be signing off now and tending to my next activity: Waking Ned Devine, in bed. "Waking Ned Devine," by the way, is a movie. Good grief.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Transatlantic High Five.

Enough said.
So, I'm back in the good old US of A. The place where, when people ask if you're alright, they really do mean "wow, you look terrible, like you haven't slept in three weeks." Gee thanks, make me feel beautiful why don't you. Oh well, at least I'm back to describing pants as pants, not trousers.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

You know you've been at work too long when...

Heretofore, Rachel S. ("R1") and Rachel R. ("R2"), (collectively, the "Parties") shall put for all reasonable best efforts to have rockin' dance parties each night in the office located at Juxon House, 100 St. Pauls Churchyard, London, United Kingdom.

WHEREAS, extremely long work hours are combined with copious amounts of diet coke; and
WHEREAS, the combination of the Parties with Susanna M. and Marta K. become collectively with the Parties, "Team Wilkinson";
BE IT RESOLVED, that no amount of hours spent in the office are at all extraneous or un-productive.

In accordance with the aforementioned, there shall be no limit to the number of virtual high-fives nor to the time spent in slow-motion running. Furthermore, the Parties must wear slippers each night after 8:30 pm and must spontaneously break into "It's been a Hard Day's Night" at every opportune time.

Team Wilkinson also agrees to put in a Good Faith Effort to be in conference room 12 whenever there is food, not withstanding any Force Majeure or Act of God. The receptionists (hereafter known as "support staff" will furthermore notify Team Wilkinson when the food has arrived due to the contract with Team Wilkinson regarding the necessity of eating food when it is still hot.

Duly administered and signed, this the 19th day of March 2008.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Phlegm is our friend, you know.

Gary is an attorney whose office is next to mine. Gary is great. Gary has been very sick for the past week. Does that stop Gary from coming into the office? No. Not one bit.

Whoever designed this office building obviously didn't have sickness in mind. The walls are not thick enough to cover up the sound of Gary's constant hacking, sneezing, coughing and gurgling. Every time Gary hacks up a ball...Rach and I feel like vomiting. We also generally feel the need to call Gary on the speaker phone and give him hard time (yeah, we're really productive). The other day we called Gary and exclaimed "gross!!! Stop your gurgling!" to which he replied "HEY! Phlegm is our friend, you know." After which he broke into a rousing baritone chorus of "Nobody knows the troubles I've seen, nobody knows my sorrows." Normally Gary's voice is not very low, but he was able to achieve the deep notes that day, no doubt with the aid of his nasty cold.

Shortly thereafter, I continued my quest for productivity by updating my facebook profile and grabbing a new fortune. My fortune now reads "You won't dream unless you get to sleep." How appropriate. The unfortunate thing about dreaming is that these days my dreams are often a continuation of what I was doing at work. Editing documents and managing a virtual data aroom doesn't get any easier in my dreams either, especially when my dreams randomly happen to be in Arabic. Note: I only speak 2 years worth of Arabic, so my dreams progress really slowing because I spend a lot of time just trying to say things like "but I need to go to the bathroom before I can go to the post office (darn, what's the word for post office?!)." FATIGUE.

Maybe Gary could sing me to sleep over a conference call...

On a related note: I haven't been grocery shopping for ages. Most meals are provided at the firm, so I haven't needed to go much. However, I like to eat breakfast at home generally speaking. This combination of circumstance and preference resulted in this morning's breakfast of some fruit salad saved from yesterday's lunch, and a handful of sour cream and onion pringles (thank you, Nicole) and washed down with a glass of tap water and a dose of multi-vitamins. MMMM, good eatin'

That didn't end up being related at all. Forgive my digression.

I've been attempting to teach American ebonics to the brits here at the office. I know, I know, how is a small white girl going to effectively teach ghetto speak? I manage. Plus, I be ghetto now that I inhabit DC.

Susie's ebonics are coming along quite nicely. We got all of the partners and the client laughing at dinner the other night when, as we were given a new assignment, Susie slumped one shoulder, lowered her eyes and retorted"I ain't scurred." (sigh) I see my work here is done. Converting the British Isles, one attorney at a time. Feels so good...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Picadilly line to Cockfosters and easily entertained.

Hilary "Just get on the Picadilly line to Cockfosters"

Me "Excuse me, what?"

"To Cockfosters"

"Hilary, we were just at church...let's use clean lanaguage"

Ok, so I may have tweaked that just a little bit, but when I first saw the sign to Cockfosters, I thought "you've got to be kidding me." (Plus, what good is it to experience something if you can't embellish the story a little bit in the re-telling?) First of all, who names a place Cockfosters. Second of all, should I really want to be heading there on a Sunday afternoon?

These questions, along with the following have been nagging at me for several days now. If anyone can provide answers, I would love your input.

Note: these next two questions are accompanied by CNN articles. So, if you're lazy or not into reading the news (however entertaining the news may be) then just stop here. Don't go on. I won't make you. Consider yourself duly warned.

Questions to consider:

A. Who are these people?
B. Where do they come from?
C. Why are they allowed to procreate?
D. True or False, Kansas should not exist.

Questions to consider/ interesting anecdotes:

A. Two weeks ago there was an earthquake in the middle of the night. I was still at work. Don't worry though, because the floor had already been spinning for several hours and I didn't even feel the earthquake.
B. Gale force winds almost blew me over on the way to work. It's a five minute walk, and I had an umbrella, but I still ended up soaked by the time I got to the office.
C. This same day, a lady threw herself under an oncoming metro and killed herself, resulting in day-long delays. Some people will do anything to get out of their morning meetings, I guess.
D. What is the world coming to?
E. True or False: America was probably having better weather at the time.
F. Is death really better than morning meetings?
G. Or maybe she was just on the Picadilly line going to Cockfosters, and just couldn't take it anymore.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Remember when...

  • Remember when I worked 75 hours a week three weeks in a row? Don't worry, I'll be heading for weeks 4 and 5 soon.
  • Remember when Nicole Vernon came to visit me in London over the weekend and we saw a sumo wrestler running through Hyde Park? (Pictures to come, pending submission by N. Vernon).
  • Remember when I ate three cadbury creme eggs in one sitting?
  • Remember when Nicole spent 15 quid on various types of Diet Coke at the "food and wine"?
  • Remember the deep fried squid in Leicester Square?
  • Remember that it's always entertaining to hear British people quoting clueless anytime past midnight?
  • Remember when I spent all my spare time at work stalking people on facebook and pretending like I remember what it feels like to have a social life?
  • Remember when I got told that my stay in London was getting extended? Oh, and that the deal signs the day after Easter. Potential bye bye to holiday.
  • Remember when Nicole fell asleep in sacrament with her mouth open?
  • Remember when I came to London, but ate at Pizza Hut anyway?
  • Remember when I stopped showering on a daily basis because I just don't care anymore?
  • Remember how I'm drinking copious amounts of diet coke because I don't know what else to order when my colleagues and I go out for "bubbly"
  • Remember how I sometimes forget to use punctuation
  • Remember when I bought myself a pencil sharpener in the form of a red telephone box? Ok, first of all, who uses pencils that need a sharpener? Second of all, that's soooo touristy. Third of all: well, I just love it.
  • Remember when it was a Tuesday and I was already hating life...

Monday, March 3, 2008

"Ah yu al'ri' ?" (Are you alright?)

Problems in British American Translation:
You would think it would be easy, but actually it took me several days to get used to the accent over here. To tell you the truth, I still can't understand the really heavy cockney accents...
Anyhow, I have made several rather humorous mistakes since I got here.
1. Instead of saying "how's it going," the Brits say "are you alright?" When we (Americans) say "Are you alright?" doesn't it generally mean "are you ok? Is something wrong? Did something bad happen to you?" So, for the first couple of days when people asked me "are you alright," I would confusedly answer "um, yeah, I'm doing just fine thanks" and then continue onward...most likely with a blind look on my face trying to figure out what in the world had just happened.
Rachel, my office-mate (a third year associate here in the London office) always asks me to say "are you alright" in a British accent because she thinks I sound like the Queen. I just don't see it, but ok. Anything for kicks in the office...
2. I wore my black leather boots with a skirt on Friday to work. James (a colleague of mine) and I were chatting and commented "Those are some right foxy boots you have on today, Rach." I replied "Thanks, I actually wear them a lot, but usually I just wear them with pants." He got a rather amused/perplexed look on his face for a few seconds, and then exclaimed, "oh, you mean trousers!?" "Yes, I mean 'trousers'" He then explained to me that "pants" means underwear. I am not a stripper. I swear. Note to self, never say "I usually just wear my stiletto black leather boots with pants" in public. Could be taken the wrong way.
Oh, and above are more pictures from my little jaunt around town on Saturday. The daffodils are out, and it's quite pretty in Hyde Park. I just wish there were leaves on the trees. I would say I'd hope to be here to see that, but I'd be lying. I'm just wishing to get home soon...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

London calling...

So, I'm in London.

For all you who think it's glamarous to travel for work...I hate to break it to you, but it's not. Anything but, actually.

I was told at about 2:00 pm last Thursday that I was coming to London on the redeye that night and that I should pack for three weeks. I worked until 5:00 pm, then ran home to pack my life into my largest suitcase (you try fitting three weeks worth of business clothes in one suitcase!), jumped in a cab and was off to the airport.

It was snowing a bit, so we were delayed about an hour. I tried to sleep on the plane and even took a sleeping pill, but I didn't get many REMs, if any. When I got to London I dropped my suitcase off at my "flat" before heading straight for the office.

My apartment is pretty cool. It's two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a lovely kitchen and living room. I only wish I could spend more time here.

I've been working prettymuch round the clock since I got here...and this is the first day I've had off in two weeks. Monday I was at the office from 9:00 am to 5:00 am. Then, back again the next morning at 9:00 am and stayed until 3:00 am. By that time I was completely "knackered" (as my office-mate says). On Wednesday evening at work, I started seeing black patches, which is usually not a good sign. Ok, so it's NEVER a good sign. However, due to my black patch visuals and my fatigue-induced nasea (I couldn't keep anything down all day), I got to go home early (8:00 pm) so I could get some sleep. I slept that night for almost 12 hours straight, and woke up feeling much better.

Moral of the story: my body hates me right now.

Until today, the only sight I saw was St. Pauls Cathedral. Every day. My office is right next to the cathedral actually. It's pretty unbelieveable to walk by it every day, to tell you the truth. I don't think I'll ever get sick of it. My apartment is about a six minute walk from the office (which I should have recognized as the first bad sign....whenever you're that close to the office, you know it's going to be long hours), so every morning I get to have 6 minutes of fresh air before holing up in the office.

Three meals a day are catered to the office, so there is no need to go outside. Wait, I mean, there is NEED, but there just isn't time. I've worked through meal breaks every day. Good for the billable hours, bad for the phsyche.

Today was such a relief. Miraculously, I didn't have to go into the office. I slept in until 11:30 (yeah, don't judge me). Then did laundry and headed out into the city. I met up with an attorney from work --Marta--for high tea at the Four Seasons. It was amazing! I felt so high society. It was about 40 GBP per person, so I'm sure glad the firm was paying. Then, Marta and I went to Harvey Nichols to shop. It's a posh department store next to Harrods (but less touristy than Harrods). Of course, I couldn't buy anything, though I did fall absolutely in love with a coat. Guess how much? 1000 roughly $2000. Geeze I have expensive taste. I've found that, invariably, when shopping I will choose the most expensive thing (even when I can't see the tags). Go figure.

I was going to try to go to a show, but we finished shopping too late, so I just went to walk around Leicester Square for a while. It's like Times Square, but with a British accent. It's sad though, because it's filled with dismal restaurants like Subway and TGI Fridays. Americana is tainting the world's cultures...

Well, I'm going to sign off for the night. I found a channel with House re-runs and I'm going to watch one before I go to bed. Tomorrow I get to go to church! Hooray. I didn't get to to last week, so I'm really looking forward to it.