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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Coming Home

Neither I, nor Andy, nor Mom can believe that we've got less than a week before we depart York! That was a long, short three months. I feel my research is in a good place, but there's plenty more to do. What have I learned while being in York? Well, my most recent observation is that black tights are all the rage right now. Maybe one in four women at any time is rockin' those black tights! Also, it amazes me that such diverse regional dialects can exist in a region the size of my home state - but as Andy points out, the population density here is enormous. I've learned that being able to go anywhere, anytime and get food is a luxury I've taken for granted. And I miss warm water! Having to choose between "scalding" and "freezing" is no fun - most places in England have separate cold and hot water taps. I notice these are superficial observations, but it will probably be a while before I can really reflect on how the trip has REALLY made an impact. (I'm sure you'll "stay tuned"!) Many people love York because it's a beautiful city with lots of history. It's definitely full of tourists, transplants, and natives alike. Transportation here is pretty good, except for the [expletive] number 4 bus which advertises buses every 10 minutes but don't quite deliver on that promise. Otherwise it's easy to get around. Probably even easier if you're not pregnant!! During our time here, Zachary has learned to walk, and is talking quite a lot. Not words, per se, but he's got baby speak down pat. "Ca?" means car, cow, and quack. "Eeeeee!" means horsie. And "mum-mum" means "I want some of what you're eating". He is mastering feeding himself (yogurt anyway) and drinking from a small cup or glass. I love 'im. Our trip back is going to be complicated. Lots of "hops" to make: first to Andy's parents, then to London Heathrow (plane leaves at 11:00 am but they want us to check in 3 hours early!), then to my sister's home in DC, and then to Denver! We're going to be travel-weary when we get home, for sure!! Well, of course I have to blog in between Zachary's naps and other activities, so it's time to bring this blog to a close. I've got more pictures to post, so look for those soon! (If you missed it, the last installment of pics was here):

Thursday, November 03, 2011

England has the flu

That's right, the whole country has the flu. It's claimed everyone in my family, and I had 3 students miss class last Wednesday! We are all sick, there is no escaping the England Flu. In other news... I'm helping plan the upcoming Ambisonics conference in 2012, which is being co-hosted with the AES. I have seen some amazing venues for playback, and I'm hoping we get great demos. Of course, I'll be in the US for the conference, but it's exciting nonetheless! Andy's family brought by a keyboard for Zachary to do his "doo bee doos", as I call them. He's standing at the piano now, which is in front of the TV, coughing, playing the piano, and watching Pocoyo. Mom LOVES it when "Zachary's show" is on. Ironically, "his show" is on DVD, I haven't actually seen a broadcast of it, even though Stephen Fry is the narrator. Go figure! As for my research, I'll be able to accomplish what I've set out to do although I'm VERY disappointed in the lack of support for blu-ray authoring. The Occupy High Fidelity movement seems to be a complete failure at the moment, but I'm doing my part! I do have more pictures, but I've got the flu and my brain is foggy right now. I hope you're enjoying the blogs, perhaps I'll write a blockbuster one of these days, but for now I'll be signing off. Stay healthy you all! Yours, Leslie

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The week's haps

Hello loyal readers, :) This has been an interesting week! Setbacks, exhaustion and breakthroughs. It looks like the move has really messed with Zachary's sleep; he had gotten on a routine and now that's blown out of the water; new place, no consistency = restless sleep. Which means *we* don't sleep. I think it was Thursday when me, Andy and mom were ALL worn out!!! But, we've contacted our "sleep expert" and she's helping us with some strategies to help our little guy get some rest. If you know me, you know that my life revolves around how well Zachary sleeps, so I hope it doesn't sound like I'm "whining", but ... hey, what do ya do. But in other news, I've finally had a breakthrough in my research, which involves Java programming for Blu-Ray. This GD thing! The technology and tools are about 4 years old, but no one really uses it, so there is zero support out there on the web. Fortunately, I have talked with some AES gurus which have provided some well-needed insight. On the cultural exchange side, I met two drunken racegoers on the way back from Ascot. He was hitting on every woman within four seats, including me and my mom! He had been "chatting up this bird" from somewhere or another, which was fine, but she left the train about four stops before us. I knew we were in for it when I heard "Oy! 'ave you seen the Desmonds?" He meant the TV show. I replied, "yes, actually, the show about the Jamaican hair shop" and he picked up on my accent. Then it was really on. "Ah! Are you from Iowa?? OH! IOWA AY! IOWA OOH! IOWA AH AH AH" (Or something) and he and his brother sang together. It was ... yeah. And then he explained that he spoke a dialect called Geordie. (They were from Newcastle.) And he tried to teach me a phrase, which I think was "I'm no wee in shite". I asked him what it meant, and he said he didn't know, but it's something that you say when you disagree with someone. Our other "cultural activity" was a little more civilized. :) We joined Catherine and Helen, who work at the Uni. They took us on a fantastic tour of Castle Howard, and prepared a lovely tea for us afterwards. I shall provide pictures, as soon as I fine the cable for my camera! That's it for now, but in the meantime, I'll leave you with this gem: "Gizza brun jack and dinna blaw the top off!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Induction week at U. of York!

Ah, today was the day I was waiting for! A chance to meet the new students, and learn about their backgrounds. I think I counted four students from China, one from the Ukraine, one from New York (!), one from North Wales, and three from the Yorkshire area. Out of about 11, four students are female! Go girls. :) Many backgrounds: Electrical engineering, music production, and composition. This means that some students know about audio technology and some /don't/. As my fellow instructors know, this can be a challenge; but since they're all postgrad, they should pick up on things quickly.

On the home front, it was great to see my sister Kellie and nephew Ryan! They "blew into town" last week. We went to the races, which was great since I'm right next to the racecourse -- we just walked over. Kellie was the big winner that day! We got to see some VERY rowdy racegoers on the bus to the pub afterwards, and had a very nice meal there. It's called the Royal Oak and has gotten great reviews on Trip Advisor. Thanks to Dave Malham for the recommendation!

Unfortunately, little Zachary had the 24-hour flu (or something!). Andy stayed at home with him. But he is much better now, eating more than ever (tuna melts! tomato soup! cheese-on-toast!), and getting better at walking. When he feels like it, that is!

Well, I'm at the Uni as I write this, so I'm going to get back to work. Sorry - no pictures this time around, but if you're on Facebook you can always see the latest gwan's on.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A week's worth of musings

Now, if I had my iPhone, this would make more sense. Each of these thoughts would come through with its own title, date, and context. But as I have got no iPhone, this is going to sound like a bunch of rambling. So, hold on to yer hats...

...the latest thing has to do with how I'm going to sound when I get back to Denver. Between having the accent rub off on me, the pregnancy hormones, and jet lag, I'm going to sound like a crazy woman who's taken on some pretentious way of talking. Case in point: today, I was invited to join a session taking mic measurements. This was after a large lunch, and one of the researchers joked, "you can come watch us take a nap". Then I said, "I shall". WTF? "I /shall/"? Who talks like that? Well, spend a few months in the UK and you'll notice that you (as an American) do not have a British vocabulary, so you fall back on what you THINK sounds British. And you are wrong, very wrong. Neither Americans or Brits will know what your problem is.

Other observations: "Ta" means "thanks". But again, as an American, don't try to say it. /You/ are saying "ta" as in "ta ta, see you later". And it sounds like "tahhhh" to the native ear, not the expertly elocuted "ta" of the Northerner.
"Cheers" means thanks. Again, leave this one to the locals.
"Thanks" means thanks. This is your best bet.
"Thank you" means "I'm an American". But still a safe bet.

They do not know what grape jelly is here, nor grape jam. So I have to get some from home! Furthermore once they hear of such a thing, they wonder aloud why they don't already have it.

My new GP (general practitioner) is pretty heavy handed when feeling my tummy for the baby. Poor baby, getting all mushed around. :( Female doctor, too.

The chips (french fries) here are amazing anywhere you go. I eat them a lot.

I need new shoes. The walk from my house to the nursery is like going from UCD's campus to somewhere on the 16th street mall. A little less than bearable.

I want a clothes dryer! Not liking the drying rack.

I saw my second hot air balloon in a week. What's up with that?

"Mixer taps" are better than the separate taps (faucets) in the bathroom. Want warm water? Fill the sink. *groan*. But the kitchen sink has a mixer tap. Seriously, what's up with that?

Well, I'm sure I'll have more to say. Don't forget to check out my latest pics at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First days in York

First day at York

I was very tired because Zachary had a rough night. But I was determined not to miss my first day!

It was a nice walk, but then when I dropped off Zachary I noticed a cycle shop. So rented ("hired") a bike! Much better for my footsies, but not a great idea for pregnant moms. Eventually I will have to figure out how to take the bus here.

I toured the studios and got my key today. No Pro Tools! So I will have to convert all of my files. No problem, I've got time, right? Tomorrow I will bring my hard drives and disc burner.

It's nice not being on a "paved" campus. And I have a window office! :P

To see pictures, click here:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fulbright Day 2

This was an intense day of walking! Seeing houses of parliament was great, and we had a lively discussion inside one of its meeting rooms. The view of the Thames from parliament was pretty indescribable! Another memorable moment was seeing a sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Westminster Abbey among other 20th century martyrs. That was a very moving sight. We had a lovely tour with lots of history, none of which I can remember :) but if you'd like to see some pictures, they're here:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fulbright begins!

I'm in London at orientation. Andy and Zachary and mom and Martin (Andy's dad) are back in York at our house (a "rowhouse" type thing, or "terrace house"). I can't stand being away from them! But orientation is going well. There are many fascinating people here doing very interesting work. Although most people are very jet lagged, I think the personal introductions held everyone's interest. There are only a couple of "over 40s" teaching around England, like myself. The majority are students working on PhDs or postdocs. Everyone in the entire group was asked to present a "fun fact". Mine was that I play bass in a band. There are also two euphonium players, two people who can ride unicycles, a former figure skater, and one man who told a story about being airlifted from a volcano. There are microbiologists and neurologists, musicians and anthropologists, historians and philosophers. We'll be scattered all over the UK doing our "thang".

We did a hell of a lot of walking to various venues, and my legs are sore. I can't wait to rest up for tomorrow's activities.

For pictures of orientation, follow this link!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fulbright orientation this week!

For those of you kind enough (and interested enough) to subscribe to my blog - thank you! It's been difficult getting things up and running, and I notice that several posts don't appear until 1 day later (or more). I'm hoping to iron out those wrinkles, as well as post more photos. I just got a new phone since my old Blackberry is not up to the task of today's "social networking" demands. The new phone, however, has a different set of problems. Grr.

Zachary will visit the Montessori tomorrow. I'm a little worried about the neighborhood, since it's surrounded by auto mechanics, metal works and the like. But I'm hoping the inside is more visually appealing!

On Tuesday, the Fulbright orientation begins. As I make the 2 hour journey to London by train, I hope to figure out how to make the blogging go more smoothly. The itinerary looks very promising, complete with photo ops and visits to very prestigious institutions, including Parliament. Of course, there's more to follow!

september 7: to London

We had a great time enjoying my sister's hospitality before our trip to London. Zachary is asleep right now on my lap as we await departure on the plane. Hopefully we will all get some rest - another big travel day tomorrow!@

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A stopover in DC

Greetings from the nation's capital! We're visiting my sister for a few days before the trip to London. I haven't taken any pictures, but we've had a great time. I saw my cousins, Sharon and Calvin; Andy and I went to Adams Morgan for some delicious Indian food; and we managed to record Pocoyo for Zachary to watch. Zachary is having a great time in Kellie's place, which has lots and lots of floor space and stairs. He took to the stairs in no time - then again, he's had lots of practice with his "toy" steps at home and the work at the Mac nido!

Tomorrow is the big day: we leave at 6:40 pm EST. We're hoping Zachary sleeps on the plane. Send us "happy baby travel" thoughts!!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

T minus two days and counting!

"Are you ready", you ask? Um, no. No, we're not: I still have to clean up my office and buy sugar-free syrup to take on the trip. (Not gonna find sugar-free syrup in the UK, no way no how!) Gotta do laundry! Gotta clean out the fridge! Gotta set out my passport!

But believe it or not, I'm packed. And Zachary is packed. Andy is catching up with us, doing laundry as I type this.

Yesterday was Zachary's last day at school. I hate saying "last day", because he'll be returning next year. But it was his last day in the "nido" ("nest", or nursery), because he'll be a toddler when he comes back! I took a picture of him with his great teachers and friends.

A special "thank you" to Dana for being a great source of support and encouragement. I think she knows us mommies need her, too!

So, yeah, what am I doing on the computer? Gotta go folks - more adventures to come.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dossier's done, now packing - fun!

Still getting ready to go!

"Just keep swimming, just - keep - swim - ming!" (-Dori from "Finding Nemo").

It's 8:08 am. Zachary is not wearing a shirt (his laundry is in the dryer), Pocoyo is on, I have two baskets of my own laundry to fold in front of me, and I'm ... on the computer?? I'm doing this for /you/, mi publica. 'Cause you'll want this when the Fulbright begins, right? :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finish dossier? Check! Go to England? Almost check!

All right, I'm starting up the blog again. Right now it's not very exciting, of course: I got hooked on Facebook and gave up the blog years ago. But, since not everyone is on Facebook ("the devil" you say), I'd better learn what new features are on this thing. Remember when I posted here with my Blackberry? Well, that might happen again soon. I wonder what Vodafones "pay as you go" rates are like for data plans...