In Search of the Perfect Gingerbread Man

Sometimes life gets in the way. It gets in the way of sleeping in, having fun, talking to people we love, reading a good book, going for a walk...all the things that don't get done when we don't have time. This weekend, I had the privilege of being "normal" and getting both Saturday and Sunday off. It was nice to not feel that I had to accomplish all my must dos (grocery shopping, laundry, work stuff, etc.) in one day, but instead could enjoy myself.

Ian and I went exploring a new section of the city. We walked around the shopping district, shared a gingerbread man from a local bakery, walked around a park that reminded me of Echo Park. This park really didn't have much in common with Echo Park except that it had a small lake full of ducks and a sidewalk covered in bird (or actually duck) poop. That was enough to put a smile on my face and make me think of all the times I have walked through Echo Park with various friends. Later on in the day, we had the privilege of talking to a drunk guy. This was funny. We couldn't actually understand him. He kept talking, so I kept laughing in response, which in turn kept him talking. I remember something about a police station (he originally started talking to us because he needed directions to a police station), reading books by Ian Rankin (a mystery author) and living in San Francisco (which Ian doubts he ever actually did). I am sure somehow those topics went together in his mind! This conversation was enough to make me move off the steps I was sitting on and to question sitting on steps for a while!

Sometimes we are so busy with life, we let life pass us by. All of us need to take time out to explore areas of our cities, walk around and converse with drunk people! If for no other reason, it will give you a good story to tell your coworkers on Monday morning! As a way to slow my life down, to enjoy things a bit more, I am now in search of the perfect gingerbread man. Each time I see one in a bakery window, I will stop and enjoy it. Life can't be all about work, errands, chores and the such. It must include sleeping in, having fun, talking to people we love, reading a good book, going for a walk and enjoying a gingerbread man from time to time.

If Walls Could Talk...

I would like to start out by telling you a little bit about myself as a child. When I was younger, I used to have a shelf on my dresser full of broken possessions I had acquired over time. These weren't possessions I myself had broken, but more possessions (or treasures I might say) that I rescued from going to the dump. I wanted these things to live out their destiny, for which they were created. I remember one item in particular; a small porcelain bunny. The ear was broken off and glued back on. I still have that bunny packed away in a box (along with all my other possessions at the moment). I rescued that bunny and have given it a good life...a life better than the dump!

Now, most of you probably believe that inanimate objects don't have feelings. My head tells me they don't, but my child-like heart tells me they do. Enough storytelling. Now I want you to go on the bus with me. I was on the 23, sitting up top, in the very front, staring out the window. It was a cold, crisp day, yet sunny and beautiful. All the sudden a church caught my eye. This wasn't any church. This was an abandoned church in the middle of a city. How odd. This church intrigued me so much that I had to pay another visit to it. When I went back to visit it, all these thoughts kept going through my head. Think of all the potential this church had when it was built. This potential was not just as a church, but as a beautiful piece of architecture. Now, it stands here abandoned and beat up. Surely someone could use this building. Instead it stands empty and beat up. Not only is it's exterior beat up, but its heart is too. This church was so proud of itself at one time. I am sure many a people flocked thru its doors during its heyday. It got to listen to people sing beautiful music, watch peoples hearts be changed, see children run around and laugh. Now, it stands there empty and alone. And I ask myself why?

This is one thing that breaks my heart about Britain. There are so many church buildings, beautiful pieces of architecture built for the glory of God, no longer used for their purpose. Some have been abandoned. Some have been turned into community centers. Some have been turned into nightclubs and bars. These poor churches. Their hearts are hurting.

Some Things in Life...

...are just worth questioning. So folks, this is the case of the cup in the bathroom. I walked into the employee toilet (or as Americans would call it, bathroom) the other day only to find a cup sitting on top of the toilet roll. This intrigued me. Why would there be a cup in the toilet? On close examination, I could tell that at one time there was a liquid of some sort in this cup. The nature of the liquid though, that is in question. Honestly, I didn't want to get that personal with the cup to find out! But, back to the issue at hand, why would there be a cup in the toilet? Did someone bring it in to finish their drink while peeing? Did someone think they were going to do so much business in there that they would need to be re-hydrated? Was this person going to use it to retrieve something they "dropped" in the toilet? Why would you ever take a cup with you into the toilet?!? AND, if you are going to take it in there with you, why not take it with you when you leave?

Now, there is another intriguing side to this story...last week, we found a banana in the employee toilet (once again, I mean bathroom). Why would someone take a banana with them into the toilet? And not only that, why would they leave it in there? At the time, I tried to question all my coworkers. None of them would admit to taking the banana with them into the toilet or speculate on why it was there. BUT, after talking about the banana with all my coworkers, one of them decided he (and "he" will remain nameless) wanted the banana. So, he retrieved it and ate it. I told him I felt it might not be sanitary to ingest the banana, but he felt since it had such thick skin, that germs would not have manifested in the banana itself and would thus be safe for him to enjoy.

My question is, why would someone ever take any sort of item they are planning on ingesting into the toilet with them? This is not a sanitary place people! Especially the employee toilet! We are lazy workers and never clean it! I even squat rather than sit on the nasty thing! And, bring food into it, I would not!

An Award for Jessica

So, yesterday I walk into work only to discover a note hanging on the wall about little 'ole me! It said I was District Partner (employee) of the Week and I was chosen for this award for always being welcoming, supportive and innovative. I know you are asking yourselves, is this the same Jessica that we know? People, come on! You had to know I had it in me somewhere!

I must admit, I am quite happy to receive this award. It has brought me back to my childhood when everyone receives awards; though they (they being parents, teachers) tell you that you are special for getting it. I still remember my mom creating a book with all my awards in it. It was great. I used to love looking at that book. I wonder what ever happened to that book.

People, remember to keep trudging along and maybe one day you can get an award too!

American Pancakes

Did you know there was such a thing as "American Pancakes"? Me either! One day, Ian and I were feeling in the mood for pancakes. So, we headed over to our local grocery store to pick up some Bisquick (the lazy person's way of making pancakes from scratch). The store didn't have Bisquick, but we bought what we thought was the equivalent. It definitely was not! The pancakes turned out flat and tasted kind of funny. Fast forward a couple weeks...Ian and I are out to dinner with some friends the other night (that's right, I said FRIENDS!), and American breakfast comes up. They start talking about the amazing breakfasts they had in New York City and come to find out, pancakes aren't something that is found over here. I know, who would have thought?!? Had I known this originally, I may have never moved over here! Now, fast forward another day, Ian and I decide to head over to a "huge" grocery store (though still smaller than the ones in the states). While wondering the isles, I came across American Pancakes! And, pre-made at that! I just had to purchase them. I did. And, I ate them. They were good...though not as good as homemade Bisquick pancakes or as good as Griddle Cafe pancakes.

I say all of this to let you know, the next time you are considering moving to another country, consider "do they have American style pancakes there?!?" If not, is that really a place you want to live? AND, on a side note, don't you love the self portrait with the pancakes?
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