August 2014
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Predictability

So I go and see a film of a book of a blog of a book, about women finding their loves of words and men and food… a brilliantly written screenplay to boot… and come home inspired to write.

“I am a writer” says Amy Adams/Julie at the end of the film.
I feel like I’ve wasted this year, in terms of writing. Yes I’ve done bits – a few things for magazines and studies, but I’ve lost the art of just putting my thoughts into words. And, when I go back and read old blogs – as I did when I opened the laptop this evening – I realise that I CAN be good at it.
I am a writer.
I need to throw off the fear. Throw off the procrastination. Throw of the inertial caused by the many and heavy stresses life seems to throw me, and write.

Drip Drip Drip

Drip drip drip little April showers…  The gorgeousness of 1950s orchestral/choral music from Disney’s Bambi has been echoing round and round in my head for the last couple of days.

Down in Tennessee it’s closer to March’s ‘coming in like a lion’ analogy with tornado warnings, but I’m up in Michigan for the weekend where the drip-drippin’ has indeed been the occaisional shower.  It may snow tomorrow though.  Weird.  

I’m here in Grand Rapids to talk at the Festival of Faith & Music at Calvin College.  My workshop, entitled Radio GaGa is on tomorrow afternoon at 4pm, and I hope that some people will come.  Or do I?  At the moment, as I’m wrestle my thoughts in order, I have vague dreams of an empty room, so I can just have a little lie-down instead.  But No!  It will be great.  I’m looking forward to pointing people in the direction of media both new and old, and the opportunities they bring.

Tonight I’m looking forward to hearing Makoto Fujimura give the first of 3 keynote speeches.  He’s friends with my lovely Mrs Metaphor, and she’s spoken highly of him so I’m glad to get the weekend off with a bang.  

Also a delight is the fact that so many lovelies are here with me.  My beloved is here to sit in with the fabulous Julie Lee, David Dark is speaking, and James & Kari are around again, so it’s going to be pretty fab even without meeting new people!

Now I just have to write this talk…

Lights Out

I’m going to take part in Earth Hour later today – are you?

Across the world, and 8.30pm local time, everyone is encouraged to turn off their lights for one hour as a small way of tackling global warning.

Here in Nashville the mayor will be turning out the lights downtown, and lots of bars are hosting candle-lit acoustic evenings.

For more information head http://www.earthhour.org

In Progress

Hi. I’m getting the blog a shiny new suit ready so it’s all lovely a fresh when I start blogging again about all sorts of wonderful things like being ENGAGED!!

Hooray!

Sniffing The Hope

It’s been cold here.  I know it’s been cold everywhere, but in the last couple of weeks it’s been surprisingly and abnormally cold here in Nashville.  The other night we got down to -15C, and it didn’t rise above freezing – even with weak sunshine – for a good few days.

Right now it’s 49F/9C here in town, and stepping out of the front door this morning the air had the distinct smell of Spring.  I know that winter is far from past but today, devoid of scarf and gloves, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Liminal States (or between Barack and a hard place?)

It seems apt that my first post since the US election be today, 20th January 2009, as Barack Obama is inaugurated into the office of the President of the United States Of America.

For it is in America that I still find myself; here in Nashville, living and loving to the best of my ability.

So why the quiet?  As the new First Family (as they like to call them here) went through their own transitional period I’ve found myself increasingly feeling adrift.   I left the UK at the end of August knowing only that I followed my heart, and that I needed a long break.  By the time I headed back to the UK for Christmas, I knew no more.

One of the main battles is coming to terms with that.  I have found myself not just devoid of not the schedule, income, and purpose that steady employment brings, but of the identity that comes with it.  I found myself unable to form the words to describe what I’m doing, and why, and completely without the desire to explain it.  ”I am here as a tourist.”  ”I am looking into visa options.”

I am lucky to be surrounded by friends who remind me, in my overwhelmed moments, that it’s not a surprise that I’m feeling adrift:  I just moved across an ocean to a whole lot of uncertain.  Bethany called it a Liminal Space.  I had to look it up.  Yup.  That’s me.

So as I watch President Obama taking his oath (and thought with a smile that Andrew Collins can come and visit now) and move from his liminal space into the new callings of his role, I find myself wearing my confusion lighter.  And the muse begins to trickle back.

Nov 4th cont…

Here’s a clip my lovely sister forwarded on to me.  Watch through to the end. Laugh, and then… well I’ve cried every time I’ve watched it.

November 4th

Here in the USA election day has finally rolled around after what has seemed like the longest campaign in history.

There have been great, and respectful, discussions between friends, and hideous, hateful and libelous ‘discussions’ played out in public.

I find myself totally tense today in a way I didn’t expect.  I desperately want Obama to win.  I think he is the best man for the job, and that this country needs a great change in the way it’s run.  BUT  I genuinely fear that if/when Obama does win, that there will be a massive call to arms from the bizarrely huge number of seemingly-normal Americans who genuinely believe that he is the Anti-Christ.  That his term in office will mean that homosexuals will take over the planet and that no babies will be safe from democrats who LOVE abortion.

It seems to have changed so recently too.  Tennessee, where I live, is now a staunchly ‘red’ state, with opinion polls showing McCain with a 10.6% lead.  But this is also a state that voted for Bill Clinton with 12% majority in 1996, and a 5% majority in ‘92.  Who was it that started ’single issue’ politics?  That told Christians they could only be with God and vote one way?

It’s nuts.

My biggest fear though, is that the hateful lies that have been spouted over the past weeks by James Dobson and the like will lead to constant assassination attempts.  How did this nation come to this?

*****

On a much ligher note, there are companies like Ben & Jerry’s and Starbucks who are giving away free product if you show them that you voted.  Starbucks (who have recently started producing an FANTASTIC community new sheet on world issues every week that is both beautiful and fascinating) made this advert which gave me the chills with it’s simplicity and beauty.

Yes I know…

… Too long since a post.  and all I’m going to put up is photos.

Swinging Dori Dory Swing, 9
My how she’s grown

Peter Eye (Portrait) Scary Peter
Fabulous Peter

soon and soon. I promise.

Can someone tell me… (Strangely American pt 1)

2402
2402

… how, with only 20 houses on my new street, our number can be 2402?

Picture Mosaic MeMe

From Bananie’s site…

My MeMe Mosaic
MeMe Mosaic

Here’s the meme:
If you want to play too, type your answer to each of the questions below into a Flickr search. Using only the first page, choose your favorite image, then copy and paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker (3 columns, 4 rows) – I regularly use this one. If you decide to play, leave a comment so I can have a peek.

The questions:

1. What is your first name? (Jude)
2. What is your favorite food? (Thai Green Curry)
3. What high school did you attend? (Aylesbury)
4. What is your favorite color? (Orange)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Seth Green)
6. Favorite drink? (Elderflower Cordial)
7. Dream vacation? (A White Beach)
8. Favorite dessert? (Cheesecake)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (Writer)
10. What do you love most in life? (Love)
11. One word to describe you. (Vivacious)
12. Your Flickr name. (Jude Adam)

1. little wing, 2. Divine Thai Green Curry @ Merlin Beach Resort, 3. view from Mentmore, 4. Roma Colosseo – Rome, 5. Seth Green in Philly, 6. elderflower, 7. we need you!, 8. cheesecake for Lianna!, 9. one would., 10. Friends silhouetted, 11. Trondheim, 12. Jude

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys

Something For The Weekend

In joke…

Here in sweet Nashville, Tennessee there has been a ‘gas crisis’.  That is, about 10 days ago every station in the city and its surrounding areas ran out of petrol.

Seriously.  They ALL ran out.

As Thomas said, it was like being back in the 1970s.  Queues needing a police marshal, arguments, fights… all CRAZY.  I had to stay at home for most of Friday afternoon as my ‘empty’ light was on and I couldn’t find a station that was safe enough to drive to!  J&T called to tell me of a place in East Nashville, David lent me a couple of gallons to get there… and I was fine, but the madness continued  across the weekend and into this week.

Even today I’d say around 50% of petrol station are still out – or rather they get a fresh supply, have a massive surge in customers, and then run out again!

The cause of the crisis?  NOTHING.  Yes, there had been one or two smaller station that were out of petrol for a day or two because of the disruption that hurricane Ike caused, but this was totally cause by panic.  It’s the same thing that causes folk around these parts to rush out to buy milk and bread when 1mm of snow is forecast.  A rumour started, some people got worried and started buying more petrol than they needed, a couple more station ran out, the local news picked up on it, and before we knew it… lines down the highway and people starting fist fights.  Incredible.

On the local paper’s website was this brilliant (and potty-mouthed) clip.  It’s very ‘in’, but anyone from Nashville will laugh till they puke.

I can’t embed it… but go here if you’re interested.

Avast Me Beauties! Peter be 4!

And finally, today… it’s both Peter’s 4th Birthday, and International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  Lots of fun, and a million photos on Flickr.

Arr! Pirate Peter

Also I got some AMAZING photos of the kids while we were waiting for the school bus…

Ball?
Ball?

Attitude!
Attitude!

Now, I have to try and find a ‘gas station’ that still has gas in it! Hurricane Ike has stopped the standard flow of petrol around these parts, and most garages are either closed (some for a week now) and others have incredibly long lines. I’ve been told there may be some out east…

Avast! Garrr! Take care me beauties!

Arriving, continued…

After the first weekend, the next two weeks were filled with the stuff of ‘arriving’.

It has all gone amazingly smoothly – with one exception which we’ll get to in a bit.  I’m fully installed in my lovely room at Ann’s house, complete with new furniture bought from the Salvation Army and painted/sanded so it looks AWESOME.

'Armoir'
‘Armoir’

My Car is wonderful too.  She’s been named ‘The Crayolla’ by Dave for her make, colour and since it’s my stater car… and after a little tweaking she passed her omissions test with flying colours and is now the proud owner of a brand new Radnor Lake license plate ($30 goes to my favourite National Park).

The Crayolla
The Crayolla

I was fabulously surprised to be able to open a bank account, I’ve got a phone, spent a fortune on bedding and the like at Target (I could live there) and have generally made myself at home.

I also received my first visitor in the shape of wonderful Sammy, with whom we had an incredible weekend, including a trip to my first American Football game.

I Gots Pep! Sammy Gots Pep!
I Gots Pep! So Does Sammy!

So the only thing to have gone awry so far is that the 2 boxes I shipped are yet to arrive, and one is, at the moment, lost.  I’m still anxious, but hopeful.  I’ve made firm friends with the lady at the shipping company, and on my last call she told me  that they think it maybe in Atlanta.  Checking out some Hip Hop maybe?  Anyway – I don’t know which box it is, but both have irreplaceable, precious things like all the art I’ve collected in recent years, photos from childhood, and trinkets I got from Grandma’s house after she died.  Not to mention 90% of my clothes and books.  If you’re the praying sort… please ask for their return!

It was driving away from the Airport, having left Sammy to leave that it really hit me:  I live here.

Where To Begin…

When there’s been this much of a gap between postings it’s hard to know where to begin, what to include and what to omit, whether to concentrate on the solid (then this happened) or the abstract (and I felt kind of odd), how many pictures to include… and then instead of getting on with it I postpone for a further day, and the cycle begins afresh.

So I’ll go all Julie Andrews on your ass and start at the very beginning…

Just over 18 days ago I trundled my suitcases to Gatwick in the company of mum, dad and Cath, and moved to Nashville.

Although that’s not really the beginning is it.  Before that there were fabulous leaving parties – both at work and at my local pub – and Greenbelt.

Ladies Who Lunch
Ladies Who Lunch

Stewarts and Jen
The Stewarts and Jenny

Cary & Jane
Cary & Jayne

All of them filled with dear friends, a strangely hopeful sadness, and an overwhelming feeling of affection that made me feel sometimes like I was present at my own funeral.  That sounds terribly morbid, but it’s not often in life that you do something that in somewhat forces people to tell you how much they love you.  And loved, it seems, I am.  And grateful I am from my toes to my nose.  And talking like Yoda I will now stop.

I got on a crappy old plane at Gatwick, fully expecting to sleep for the full 8 hours of the flight to Atlanta.  Instead I spent 4 hours reading a Jane Green book from cover to cover whilst crying the entire time, then stared at the clouds a lot whilst napping for about 15 minutes at a time.

My welcome to the States was wonderful.  Bags were with me the entire time, transfers were simple and sweet, the guy at immigration was so lovely he actually joked with me (which anyone who travels through the US on a semi-regular basis will know is like a snowman in July) and I even got to chat with Mum, Dad & Cath on Skype before they went to bed.

My welcome to Nashville was even better.  Flowers, comedy signs, a room filled with balloons, and a glass of bubbles were the prelude to perfect sushi and a great night’s sleep.

The first weekend was a blur of new friends and old.  Hugging the physicality of dear people who had, until this point, been names in conversations or laughter and connection on Facebook was wonderful, but nothing compared to the first meeting with the smallest person at the party.

Judith Margaret Adam meets Judith Marguerite McCarthy.  Love at first drool.

Two Judes
Two Judes

More to follow, and MANY more photos on Flickr!

Not Dead (Y’all)

Hello.  I’m sorry.  It’s been CRAZY.  I have LOTS to say and LOTS of photos to put up, but I’m here in Nashville and I’m alive and I have a room and a car and a bank account and a phone and even have my first friend visiting (yay Sammy!) and we’re just heading out to watch my first American Football game after a delicious breakfast at the Pancake Pantry.

Yes.  This is America.

Keep popping by, I PROMISE a gigantic post soon.  Honest.

Always believe in your soul

Ohuruogo gets Gold (Image, Daily Telegraph)

As I prepare pack I’ve been watching the Olympics.  It’s always one of my favourite fortnights… I love the passion and the prowess, watching the years of hard work come through for people.

The UK has had a rougher ride at previous games, doing not so bad in Athens in ‘04, but now?  To be 3rd in the medal table seems laughable.  It’s amazing.  Tears and laughter, talk of hope, of pride, of relief.  This morning another gold in the sailing from a pair of men who’ve been best friends for 25 years.  Their tears (and genius accidental swearing in the post-gold interview) were the sweetest yet.

I may be moving, but I’ll always be British, and I plan on being right here in London for the 2012 games.  Yay Team GB!

Parting Gift

I hadn’t cried at all at work, then the a friend made me laugh so loudly that the tears came unbidden. 

The email read “a parting gift.  It’s not much but…” and then it was simply a link to this:

Jim. The pleasure has been all mine. Never change.

Lovely nonsense from one of my shows