Sunday, 24 September 2006

september is the new june

since september 10, 2005, i have attended five weddings including my own; two of which were held this month.

first, s's friends p & i had a civil partnership ceremony at wandsworth town hall...


and next, his friend r married t at camden town hall.


both ceremonies were lovely. our ceremony at new york city hall went so fast that it felt like it was over before it started - we were genuinely grateful that s's dad videotaped it, because we barely realized it had happened.

"do you...?"

"do you...?"

"then i pronounce you husband and wife. you may kiss the bride."

"what - it's over???!!!"

on the other hand, getting married in the u.k., even in a registry office, seems to be punctuated by more pomp and circumstance. both registrars started with an introduction explaining the solemnity of the vows. at p & i's civil partnership, the registrar was careful to avoid calling it a "marriage" as such, but still emphasized that their choice to publicly declare their love and commitment to each other was no less legally binding. both couples exchanged vows and rings. tissues were on hand for the happy tears. the couples and their witnesses signed the register - in r & t's case, they even had to write down their occupations. you did get the feeling that they were adding their names to a long history of couples who had tied the knot there.

both couples put on good parties afterward. there was plenty of fruit cake and champagne. p & i opted for a three-week road trip honeymoon through nevada, california, oregon, washington and vancouver. r & t headed for the sun in morocco.

the wedding season is over for now and some of my other happily married friends are accommodating our need for frequent celebrations by moving into babyland. it all feels very ...thirtysomething... recently!

look for more pix of both ceremonies, and a's video of r & t saying their vows, by clicking on the links below.

p & i on s's blog

r & t on s's blog

r & t say vows on a's blog

Thursday, 21 September 2006

the kindest rejection letter

i received three emails from (a prominent employer in london) yesterday. i have edited them for your reading pleasure. they are listed in the order in which they were received. enjoy!

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: (Really Cool Organization That You Dream Of Working For)
Subject: Job Reference 1234

Dear Applicant

Further to your application for the above role, we regret to report back that the recruitment panel have decided not to take your application further on this occasion.

As you can imagine, we were overwhelmed with the candidate response to this post and it has been encouraging to see the manner in which the (really cool organization) has captured the imagination of so many people within your profession. We are keen to harness this interest and will alert you of any roles that we think may be of interest to you in the future.

May we take this opportunity to thank you, on behalf of the (really cool organization), for your interest in this position and for taking the time to apply, and send our apologies for being unable to write on a more positive note.

Kind regards
The HR & Recruitment Team

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

how nice is that?! i particularly like the apology.

next i received this one. note the different job reference number.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: (Really Cool Organization That You Dream Of Working For)
Subject: Job Reference 4321

Dear Applicant

Further to your application for the above role, we would like to invite you to attend a preliminary interview on 2nd, 3rd or 4th October. Please call XXX (020X XXX XXXX) on Friday 22nd September to arrange a convenient time. The slots will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Kind regards
Recruitment Team

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

wow! that was unexpected!

but soon after, i received the third message. again, note the reference number.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: (Really Cool Organization That You Dream Of Working For)
Subject: Job Reference 1234

Dear Applicant

Re Job Reference 1234

We have been experiencing some IT problems today which has affected our recruitment database.

You will have received this morning an email informing you that your application would not be taken further on this occasion. Subsequent to this email you may have received a second email in error asking you to contact us to arrange an interview for a (different) position. Unfortunately this second email should not have been sent to you. Please accept our sincere apologies for the confusion this has caused.

Kind regards
HR Recruitment Team

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

sigh! at least they're polite about it...

Friday, 15 September 2006

non-knitting knitting projects

i started knitting a few years ago when my friends started having babies. my mom taught me how to knit, and i taught my sister in turn. this little hat was one of my first projects. of course, by the time i gave it to the kid for his 1st birthday, it fit his newborn brother better than it fit him...

when i moved to london, i lived in student halls, in a tiny room that resembled a swedish prison cell. it was far too dismal to think about sitting on my single bed and knitting in solitude. i hadn't bothered to join any knitting groups in the san francisco bay area because i had my own built-in knit buddies, but it seemed possible that there were other knitters in london if only i could find them. thank goodness for google! a simple search for "london knitting" revealed knitchicks and i became part of the foyles group.

the foyles group meets on tuesday mornings from 10 AM to 12 PM, in ray's jazz cafe on the 1st floor of london's famous foyles bookshop, on charing cross road. the group is diverse, international, and frequented by moms, students and people with flexible work hours. there is usually some show-and-tell (knitting magazines, japanese craft books), and a huge variety in the projects that people work on. it's not limited to knitting; some people crochet, a few women embroider. most of us bring projects that are easy enough to work on while chatting and sipping organic chai tea - the more complicated lace projects stay home, but the socks and baby jumpers come to foyles.

it's great to see who comes each week. sometimes it takes several weeks before you see the same person twice. new people come and go. about the only constant is the gender: for some reason, the foyles group is decidedly female.

this week i sat next to c, a knitter i have seen at foyles for ages but rarely talked to. she told me that she is working on a project looking at women's social groups, and asked if i had some free time to be interviewed. answering her questions about knitting with the group and blogging about knitting made me think about it more academically than usual. my sister is also doing a project about knitting for her MBA. it seems that knitting is a hot topic these days!

i am not as hard-core as some knitters. i don't knit everyday. i have a tiny stash of yarn and unfinished projects. i give away much of what i knit as presents. i don't attend every knit event; i don't read every knit magazine. i do other crafty things. but i enjoy knitting, especially in public. knitting with the foyles group has connected me to a lovely group of women across london, and blogging/reading other blogs has connected me to a creative group of people around the world.

not bad for two sticks and a ball of string, huh?!

here are links to some of the other foyles members' blogs... enjoy!



purl pirate



Monday, 11 September 2006


one of our friends introduced us to, a website that lets you reserve free tickets to live television and radio recordings. so s and i went to be part of the first episode of season two of banter yesterday.

the show is hosted by andrew collins, and the panelists yesterday were richard herring, russell howard, lucy porter, and arthur smith. (is that enough hyperlinks for one sentence?) s had heard of everyone except russell howard; i hadn't heard of any of them, which just goes to show that either i don't listen to enough radio comedies, or i am still a kindergartner as far as my british pop culture education is concerned.

the show was funny - it is basically a list of "top 3's" - top three classical composers, top three sporting events, etc. (i can't give it all away before the broadcast!) each panelist selects their top three, and the others have to try to match them for points. of course, this means that the lists are either blatantly obvious (the olympics) or intentionally obscure (stockhausen). like i said, i can't give away all the jokes. you'll just have to tune in to hear it.

while it was fun to be part of the laugh track, it was also interesting to see how the recording process works. andrew collins was wearing a headset that allowed him to hear directions from the producer. occasionally they re-recorded a line that had been flubbed or mispronounced. "russell howard" came out as "rushell howard" several times and had to be fixed. "jesus christ, it's a naked man!" became "holy mackerel, it's a naked man!" they also had to change "they go mental" to "they go absolutely spare," and cancer became a mere "terminal illness." i wonder if the word "slag" was allowed to stay in or whether they simply deleted it right away...

in any event, it was a good laugh and we're looking forward to hearing it. you can tune in, too:

october 4 at 6:30 PM on bbc radio 4


on a completely different note, i thought i should mention september 11th somehow. usually i light a candle on 9/11 - just my own little vigil for the victims. last year we had reason to celebrate, since my sister and brother-in-law tied the knot on september 10th and we were still in party mode the next day. i'm glad they chose that date. i'm against waging a "war on terror" as a response to the wtc attacks, but i throw my full support behind any joyous occasion that can be celebrated with raspberry and lemon cake. that said, i'll light a candle today not just for those who died on 9/11, but also for everyone involved since then. peace out.

Friday, 1 September 2006

good news for miss tiddywinkle

this just in from reuters:

Hedgehogs humble McDonald's
Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:49am ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Hedgehogs have finally humbled burger giant McDonald's after years of campaigning, forcing the company to redesign its killer McFlurry ice-cream containers.

Up to now the opening in the container has been large enough for hedgehogs to get their heads into for a lick of the left-over dessert -- a trap they have then been unable to withdraw from, so dying of starvation in untold numbers. *

But from September 1, the wide-mouthed opening in the lid of the McFlurry containers will be reduced in size, making them too small for the sugar-loving animals to get their heads into.

"This is excellent, it is long overdue news," said Fay Vass, chief executive of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. "We have been in touch with McDonald's about this problem for over five years and are delighted that they have at last solved the problem."

McDonald's said in a statement the design change had resulted from pressure from the society which prompted "significant research and design testing" to develop new packaging.

"The smaller aperture of the lid has been designed to prevent hedgehogs from entering the McFlurry container in the unfortunate incidence that a lid is littered and is then accessible to wildlife," it added.

*i keep wondering about the "untold numbers" of hedgehogs who have been savagely killed by mcflurry containers. is it like the woman who spilled hot coffee over herself at the drive-thru, leaving a legacy of cardboard coffee sleeves in the wake of her lawsuit? while i don't begrudge the hedgehogs their victory, i wonder if this is a case of corporate social responsibility run amok???