Thursday, May 26, 2011

pause, for a romantic moment and a semi-superb omelet

today we went to kew's botanical gardens.  annnnd i love plants...last year it got a little out of control: bromeliads and cilantro plants and the one with silver leaves all over my apartment.  so needless to say, i was happy today.

the palm house (a whole house of palms!  ahh!):  
fun fact: did you know that the raffia palm has fronds that grow as long as a london bus!  that is LOOOONG!

the lily house:

and CARNIVOROUS PLANTS.  if carnivorous plants were a theme park, i'd go there everyday.
fun fact: the one pictured below lures insects in with sweet nectar on the inside of the plant, so the poor little insect keeps climbing in deeper and deeper.  i vaguely remember something about the nectar getting sweeter the deeper down the insect goes.  sweeter and slippier (word?).  and then the insects loses control and slides into the pool of nectar and drowns. and then the plant eats them.
it's kind of like what boys do to girls.
( jk boys )

and here's amber touching a lizard.  can check THAT one off the "to-do-in-london" list.  phew!

friends under a pretty tree:  (please note the carpet of blossoms beneath the pretty tree.  if i had a rainstorm, this is where i would run.)

and then kew which point i did have a rainstorm:

it has really only downpoured once since we've been here.  today was twice.  so there i was, in between kew gardens and minka house, with my sweet little camera (any suggestions for a name for camera?), in flipflops and no umbrella.  so i just soaked it up (literally--my feet wouldn't dry once i finally got home).  my hair was dripping, mascara everywhere, so rainy the air was thick and white and nowhere to go but under an azalea tree.  it was one of the most romantic moments of london so far.  

which reminds me of this letter that i reread today, from sullivan ballou to his wife.  this, kids, is what true love looks like:  

July 14, 1861
Washington D.C.
My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days — perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure — and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing — perfectly willing — to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.
But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows — when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children — is it weak or dishonourable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?
I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death — and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.
I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one.  A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and “the name of honour that I love more than I fear death” have called upon me, and I have obeyed.
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.
The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honourable manhood around us.
I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar — that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.
Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you.  How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm.  But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.
But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night — amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours — always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.
As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father’s love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters.
Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God’s blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.
love letters
yes please.


and now, you're probably wondering what i've been eating lately.

one egg, fork-scrambled with milk
stove to high, slab of butter in skillet (like they do at hampstead creperie...i'm learning!)
egg into skillet-->bubbles and hisses

slice british mild cheddar into thick pieces
throw or place (depending on your cooking style) into bubbling egg
slice small tomato
toss tomato chunks betwixt fingers so guts fall to cutting board
throw or sprinkle (depending on your present mood) tomato into egg
sprinkle garlic salt into bubbling and gooey tomato_cheese_egg

spatula: flip in half
best way is when the half is skeewompus
then the cheese gets all crispy and delicious
then flip.

then eeeeeeeeat.

the activity of the night was seeing "silence" at hampstead theatre.  by and far my favorite of all the theatre we've seen.  it was a devised play (there is no script when the crew first comes together--through rehearsals, they develop the entire show), and was in brechtian theatre style (in other words, theatre that is very aware of itself as theatre--no curtains, you can see the entire stage (backstage and all), and the actors sometimes address the audience..all in an effort to give the audience a more real experience with the ideas happening onstage).

in a few words, silence was a story about how we connect with each other, how we get at truth, how we get people to talk, how we use moments of silence and noise to relate to each other.

it shows noise as a device used to cover our nakedness.

and man are our lives filled with noise.  my favorite character was the soundguy: every time he was close to connecting with someone, his cell-phone would go off.  how true to our world, that the magic of the silence that leads up to some kind of heartfelt communication can be instantly shattered by that silly little cell-phone ring.

and speaking of silly, here are some pictures:

on the tube, preston, lauren, and i decided to forego the green park stop and ride to westminster, spend a little time on the bridge, you know.  only my favorite evening activity here.

our faces are golden with the glow of big ben.

we talked a lot about things like futures and past loves and what to do when all your friends move away.  

and then a man with a guitar came and sang to us.  {this one's for you, courtney}: it was one of the most awkward experiences of my life.  he sang four songs to us.  LONG songs.  and i couldn't figure out if he was trying to get us to give him change (he didn't ask and had no kind of hat or anything and was pretty well dressed...) so then we clapped, and then he kept right on singing!  the awkward thing about it was i didn't know where to look.  did i look in guitar man's eyes?  at his hands?  did i smile?  did i sing along?  so conflicted.  maybe, courtney, that's where awkward happens, is when you aren't sure what is expected of you, so you aren't sure how to act.  anyways, he sang some elvis, sang some french songs, sang some "i just called to say i love you" (which happens to be one of the first songs i remember listening to.  i asked my mom to explain it to me.  we were in the car driving home through st. louis when i was probably four or five.  she said it's a story about a husband who just misses his wife so much because she has been gone that all he can do is call to tell her he loves her.  i remember thinking it was the most sad and most beautiful thing i had ever heard.  and then, of course, i got introduced to les mis and that changed all conceptions of sad and beautiful.).

and speaking of sad and beautiful, after explaining all about how he feels no need to prove his manhood, despite spending the last month with 30 girls, preston donned my floral print rainslicker.  wow.

what a day.  rain, omelets, awkward men singing on bridges, pictures where my head is half as large as the person's next to me, what more could a girl ask for.

1 comment:

  1. This is my favorite post that you have ever written. I laughed outloud two times.
    let me tell you why:
    1. That pic of you yelling...priceless. I think I will make it my desktop background :)
    2. LOVED the letter.
    3. Loved that that was the first song you remember hearing. A part of me cringes everytime I hear that song...not sure why.
    4. The explanation of guitar man. Ha, wait till you get to italy and have the awkward rose men. Can't wait to hear what you think of that.
    SO great!