Monday, March 30, 2009

Disconcerting things about living in the USA No.3

They don't use kitchen scales!

Apparently it's all done in 'cups'... since I have no idea how to transpose my receipe into cups, the Simnel cake is going to have to wait until our shipping arrives... I am quite sure the cake itself will be a disappointment after all this!
The Simnel cake saga... a few weeks ago I realsied that the Easter Simnel cake is not something that has reached America, so I decided that I would make a few as Easter gifts... finding the ingredients has been a challenge, but, at the end of last week I thought I was ready to start baking...

I woke this morning, looking forward to continuing in my new, domestic goddess identity... only to find that the appartment we're currently in does not have any kitchen scales! I have emailed Erin to ask if I can borrow hers... but oh yikes, I am begining to loose faith that these cakes will ever get made!
Ed and I are loving our church, the teaching is great, the people are lovely, they love Jesus... but there are occasional things that happen that just would NOT happen back home... Example: yesterday the congrgation was told, by the guy leading the singing, that we should feel free to "get your groove on for the Lord"!!! Love it!

We met up with someone that Ed used to work with at EA last night - he has recently got a job that will be based in San Fransisco! He is great fun, so we're looking forward to him and his family moving out here in May!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Before I start, I should point out that we are still in the month of March. MARCH. The sun is high in the cloudless sky. Nicci and I decided to go and sit by the pool that is part of the housing complex we are temporarily lodged in. Yes, we have a pool! Sun protection lotion was very much in order as we sat back on the sunchairs and had a crack at Crossword #10 in the book given us for Christmas by Granny Johns. We realised that this is probably the first time we've ever sat by a pool in the sunshine, reading/snoozing on an ordinary weekend. Nice.

And as we lay there, soaking up the rays, in they came. Two mallards: one male, one female. The arrived in formation and landed gracefully in the pool. What fun, we thought. They swam around for a bit, clearly enjoying the feel of the cool water beneath their wings. They edged closer to each other. And then their heads started bobbing. First his, then hers, then his again, then hers. Quicker and quicker their heads were bobbing at each other, as if in some ritual dance. And that was indeed what it was - a mating dance. It was over in a flash. While it was a privilege to witness nature first hand, we were rather put off the idea of swimming.
This morning we went for a run (see map below). It was gloriously sunny, and this is a great route that starts out along the bayshore and then cuts past my office and along some other waterways and through some parks. There was a regatta taking place on the big square lake on the bottom left corner of the map. Good to run past all the teams and supporters!

This afternoon we're going to our first wine tasting event! One of my colleagues, Stephanie, is one of the co-organisers and she's managed to get us discounted tickets. A bit of wine, nibbles and jazz music in the Presidio area of the city: should be fun!

This week has been pretty good. I (Ed) had 2 days out at Salt Lake City meeting the guys at the studio there. I had one of the nicest filet steaks I've ever had! On Thursday we went along to "Twenties at CPC" (our church) - they had an open evening where they invited people of all ages. We hoped we might pass easily as youngsters in their twenties, but we were busted! Actually, I'm alright - their flier said that it's for people aged 21-31... Nicci, (32) is now wondering what to do with her Thursday evenings!! [Joke]. We met some lovely people there who love the Lord. Particularly a girl called Claire who has spent some time in the UK, and with whom we have some mutual friends!

Our run this morning

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Disconcerting things about living in the USA No.2

They put sugar in EVERYTHING!!!

So far, we have found sugar in:
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Salad dressing
  • Mango chutney

AND yesterday I bought some 'raisin bran' cereal... thinking 'that looks healthy'... this morning, I discovered that the raisins are all SUGAR COATED!!! Who puts SUGAR on raisins?!!!

Mrs G... domestic goddess?

Last night (while Ed was away in Saltlake city, sniff, sniff) I was invited to spend the evening with Erin (Ed's bosses wife) - she is LOVELY and could be a real friend!

Anyway, I was asked to bring dessert - so, because I have all this time on my hands, I decided to make a pudding (rather than buy one)... I was so impressed with the result that I decided to take a photo to share my culinary skills with the world!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Disconcerting things about living in the USA No.1

The cubical doors in public toilets do NOT fit!

There is a gap of about 2cm all the way around the door - so you can see people outside the cubical - and i'm pretty sure they can see you!

Also, the door is often only shoulder height...

What's that about?!!!
Freeway (for those who don't know, that's my band back in the UK) is HUGE out here!

We keep seeing signs directing us to 'FREEWAY'...obviously in preparation for our World tour!

I havn't been recognised yet, but I guess that's due to the fact that all the photos on our website ( were taken before I had my hair cut... must keep the dark glasses on to preserve my anonymity!
Yesterday, after church, we headed for San Francisco... drove over the golden gate bridge, had lunch in a GORGEOUS restaurant overlooking the bay and then drove the coast road towards the penisula - amazing views of the sea, the bridge, the bay and the city...

The scenary is breathtaking - and even though most of the food is greasy and deep fried, we have decided we can cope with living in the USA for a few years since the natural beauty is so wonderful!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A good morning's viewing: England doing the business against Scotland and then Ireland following up with a Grand Slam victory over the Welsh. All streamed live to us over the internet. Marvellous! Now that the Six Nations is over, perhaps we can actually get out and explore some of California! That said, we had a great evening out last night sharing a Paella at Sam's overlooking the harbour - again out on the Pacific coast near Half-Moon Bay. Just 20 mins in the car from us - might become a regular thing.... Sleep well, England.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kettle has arrived - but, due to different wattage in the wall sockets out here, it takes about 15 minutes for a cup of water to even get warm! Humph... looks like we're going kettle shopping this weekend!

Photos have arrived so I am LOVING seeing you all smiling at me!

Other than that, the rest of the stuff is not really needed until we find our own place... so we now have a stack of boxes in our bedroom... very attractive! Not quite as exciting as I had hoped... but it's a relief it got here safely...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This has made us giggle... our temporary housing comes equipped with ALL the mod-cons, including a SIX-speed blender... BUT we are having to boil water for a cup of tea in a pan because they did NOT provide a kettle!

Roll on tomorrow when the first wave of our stuff arrives!

EA has a FREE gym! It's brilliantly equipped and although the idea of exercising inside when the sun is out seems sad, we have both signed on and are being inducted this week...

I went to the ladies bible study at church this morning - a brilliant study on John 17: 1-5... what a blessing!

Our air-freight has arrived and has been checked through customs - it's being delivered tomorrow morning - it will be lovely to be able to put some photos of you all up around the place!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wow! What a weekend! It has been SUCH fun!

What with meeting Ed's colleagues on Saturday afternoon for a Mexican feast, watching ENGLAND trounce France via live internet t.v. on Sunday morning (wahoo!) and THEN we went to the most brilliant church on Sunday morning - we have FOUND our church family out here!

The church is called Central Peninsula Church (, and it seems absolutely fantastic... PRAISE GOD!!! Thank you to those of you who have been praying - we hoped it wouldn't take too long to find a church, but we didn't dare hope we'd find the right one on week one! But we have!

Last night we had dinner with someone who Ed went to infant school with! He is out here with his wife for a few years... they are lovely and it was great to spend time with fellow brits!

It feels as though we're starting to make friends... what a joy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I just saw a hummingbird!!!

At first I thought it was a dragonfly, but when i looked closely, it was a TINY iridescent green bird which was able to hover, completely still in mid air... amazing! Praise God for the beauty of His creation!

This is the lake just behind the appartment where we're staying... my chosen lunch spot!

It was cloudy this morning... but it's sunny again now!

Ed is settling into work and I am getting used to life as a lady of leisure... so far today I have played charades with my gorgeous god-daughter on MSN Webcam (oh yes! I recomend it to all!), I met Ed for a caramel latte at Starbucks and I intend to sit and read my book in the sunshine this afternoon... oh the trials of unemployment!

Ed is happy since he has found out that he can watch England v. France live online this Sunday morning before church... all is well with the world!

There is a free dvd library at EA, so that's tonight sorted... and we can both be members of the free EA gym... the bikini dream is still alive!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ok... 'a little sunkissed' last night has developed into 'fully red nosed' today! Oops!

Ed's first day at work today.

Nicci is catching up on emails and trying to figure out how to do the laundry!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today has been mostly about relaxing... we took a break from the city and drove west to the Ocean-side town of Half Moon Bay. We fell asleep on the beach, did some crosswords and enjoyed a lovely lunch sat on a patio overlooking the Pacific. Amazing! We're both a little sunkissed.

On our way home we stopped into a 'realtor' (estate agent) and Bret (!) showed us round two condos (we now know what a Condo is). Both were gorgeous and within our price range, although we're exploring whether it would be best to rent or buy (assuming we could ever get a mortgage out here). We are feeling hopeful and Nicci has been sitting down! Sunshine suits the Gilchrists.
The drive into San Francisco is beautiful. Once you get into the city there's lots to see and do, but the crowds and noise have confirmed that we'd rather live further south on the 'Peninsula' and come into the city for bursts of fun.

Yesterday we covered the financial district, Union Square and its surrounding shops! (There is a huge Macy's and on the top floor there is the "Cheesecake Factory". Never before have I seen such a cake. You'd have to diet for a month after even one slice! We didn't indulge, but we did take advantage of the photo opportunity.)

We walked through Chinatown. And then took a 'cable car' to the tourist trap which is Fisherman's Warf and took a stroll down Pier 39 where we ate soup IN a roll (delicious!) and had superb views of the random sealion colony that has taken up residence just off the pier. There are also great views from there of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

One thing that is driving us mad is the Americans' habit of putting sugar in absolutely every product in the supermarket. So far we have had sweet salad dressing, and this morning our breakfast was ruined by SWEET wholegrain muffins... not even our marmite could overcome the saccarine taste of them. Yuk! We might just have to make our own....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet, yeah! Makes you want to move those dancing feet.

We're going to check out the city of San Francisco today. Our first decision is which of the many guidebooks we have been given to take with us...

Over and out.

PS. thanks to everyone who has given us a guidebook. They are all much appreciated.
Yesterday we were asked if we spoke English. This from a toothless Mexican woman.

Monday, March 9, 2009

So here we are. We've arrived, we've been on a run, we payed too much for a breakfast bagel (which was advertised as containing egg, but the taste was suspiciously un-egglike... and as for the "cheddar" cheese....), and Nicci has made house. We've also been to a supermarket, and we've found Marmite! (and tea, but that's not quite as exciting)... Marmite clearly isn't as popular over here as it is at home. Of the six small jars on sale, only one was within it's best-before date! We got that one. The check out girl asked us what you did with Marmite. I mean, honestly...

We had a competition earlier about which of the two of us would be the first to see a cloud. Nicci won, I had forgotten about the challenge, as it had been set several hours beforehand!

We're off out now, going to see some areas where we might possibly live... catch you soon!