A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Monday, March 29, 2004

Little Girl Lost

On October 20th, Andy, Tawny and I were travelling back from a wonderful day spent at Niagra Falls. We were chatting happily about everything we'd seen including the fact that some guy had jumped over the falls. We didn't realize at the time why he had, we found out later that it was basically just to prove a theory or such. This event had made our trip memorable in itself, however as we were nearing Mississauga, we noticed one of the highway signs alerting the motorists to the fact that a little girl had gone missing. This was the famous 'Amber Alert' something until that point I'd only seen on shows like CSI. We found out later that nine-year old, Celia Zhang's parents had woken up Monday morning to find her missing. It definitely added a sad note to the day and I hoped with all my heart that she would be found.

Well Saturday she was found, but sadly, not alive. She has been laying in the woods behind a church in Miss. all winter. My heart aches for her parents and relatives. It really pains me to know that there is such evil in this world. Who is so sick they can bring themselves to take a child from the safety of her room in the middle of the night and do God knows what to her before killing her and leaving her alone in the woods??? It's hard for me to read the reports in the paper, I can't imagine what it does to the people who know her. I know that the Toronto police are now promising to catch the devil who has done this and I hope with all my heart that they do... maybe this time forensic science will bring some results.

Amber would have turned 10 tomorrow.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Memorable Quote: "I can't wait till you marry my dad..." - Connor to me.

Well Spring Has Sprung - In England Anyway!

Ok... its 6:34 here in England on a Sunday evening - the sun is still shining and its about 10 degrees. The sky will remain light tonight until about 7:30 or so as our clocks sprang ahead by an hour today. Losing the hour tends to be a little off-balancing for some, however the rewards are so worth it. This time of year brings on a feeling of renewal in most people I think and I'm happy that I'm getting it a week earlier than normal. The spring-like weather really helps too, and luckily enough I don't have to be worried about getting blasted with another bout of snow like I would if I was at home. Spring is really here. Andy and the boys were mowing the lawn today, something that doesn't happen in NS till late May or so. Only problem is, now I'm FIVE hours ahead of home - but hey, its only for a week.

Two Out of Three

This weekend we only had the boys as Andy's daughter is still being 'difficult' and trying to prove a point with her dad. Although we missed her, and the situation has to be amended, we still went forward and had a good weekend with the boys. They were thrilled to get down here on Friday night and were excited to sleep in their bunkbeds. Connor kept saying he was tired and 'off to bed' all Friday night... it was funny really. I'm really pleased with the way the boys and I are getting along and I think we are growing more fond of each other with each visit. Conner is the most adorable and loving seven year old and is always looking for hugs and cuddles. He is so happy to just spend time with his dad and has readily accepted me into his life. He continuously calls us a family, which is lovely. Alex was very content this weekend, partly I'm sure because of the new house, partly because his sister wasn't around to compete with. Alex and I normally get on really well and this weekend was the best so far. The boys were helpful and good, even while we were shopping for a table yesterday at IKEA, in Leeds. On the drive back home I turned around in the car to see Connor asleep and Alex happily listening to his discman... holding his little brother's hand. It was really, really nice. It was sad to not have Tasha with us, and I hope that soon Andy and his Ex can sort something out in regard to her, as its not just us having problems with her, as apparently her mother is having a difficult time with her. (I'm relieved to say at this point that she's never stepped out of line with me at all). God I'd never, ever want to be 13 again. Anyway, I'm looking forward to things becoming happier and more relaxed with each passing week, especially now that spring is here and we are in a new house.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Can a book help change the world?

A recent non-fiction book by Norma Khouri - Forbidden Love, published by Random House, highlights the issue of so-called honour killings. Since Norma's friend Dalia's death in 1995, the UN estimates more than 45.000 women in Jordan, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have died as a result of honour killings. Norma says: "And that's a conservative estimate. Many of the deaths are not reported at all. Many are later classified as suicides or accidental deaths."

Other reports of honour killings are in Bangladesh, Britain, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocco, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda and it is believed they occur in Iraq and Iran.!

Norma Khouri is pleading for letters of protest which are sent on to the UN and to the Jordanian National Commission for Women. If you'd like to help, visit Honor Lost or email honourcrimes@lycos.com

I know I will be offering my support as I was horrified to tears when I read this book. I thought that honour killings were fading in this world - how wrong was I. Please offer your support by helping Norma and the women of these countries who are subjected to this disgraceful and terrible fate.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

You Are The Weakest Link - Goodbye

I don't know if this show is still on at home, but its a running thing over here, five nights a week. Normally I'm not a huge fan, however last week when our cable was down, I ended up watching a few episodes while making supper. Let's just say I was delighted to see Anne Robinson givie it to an Immigration Officer, a plump woman with glasses, who looked like anyone else really. Anne was asking what training one needed to be in IO. I loved her closing comment to this woman before moving on - "Come on, we all know that you are all trained to be as miserable as possible". It cheered me to know that it is not only foreigners that get bad treatment from IO's.

It's All Coming Together

Well Andy and I have been working hard making our house a home, and as a result of cleaning out the flat most of today, I'm a bit tired so my blogging initiative is not as high as it might normally be... surprisingly I have lots to talk about for a change, however it will have to wait for another day!

Tuesday is Chooseday

Would you rather:
1. Get an inner ear infection that leaves you feeling off balance for the next 2 years OR get a compound fracture in your arm that leaves your dominant hand useless for the next 6 months? Get the inner ear infection - I spent almost a year feeling off-balance before due to a health issue, I think I could hack that better than not being able to use my arm.

2. Discover a new species of plant OR write a book? Write a book of course, especially if its published!

3. Push the button that launches a nuclear missle at another country OR pull the trigger that kills just one suspected terrorist? Neither really, but imagining I was in the army or a government official, kill the suspected terrorist - he must have a damn good reason for being suspected. I could never kill thousands/millions of innocent people.

4. Your parents tell you that you were conceived doggy style OR reverse cowboy? ICK... I don't care how I was conceived, I'm just thankful that I was, lol and I can tell you one thing, my parents aren't THAT open thank God.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

I Lost My Nerve

I haven't been around much as life has gotten the best of me the past few days. On Tuesday evening my toothache finally surpassed any natural pain and moved into a monstrosity of its own. I spent a very sleepless night battling this demon from hell. Poor Andy didn't get much sleep either as he was up trying to sooth me and give me pain killers. None of which worked, I must say. I was taking painkillers that normally knock Andy straight out, but alas NOTHING was working for me, never mind knocking me out, which would have been sweet relief. On Wednesday morning we managed to get me an appointment with an emergency dentist's office (the only one that would see me) and off I went with my frozen sausage ice pack for my 2:15 appointment. The Dentist, a kindly man in his fifties informed me that I had an abscessed tooth and would need a root canal, or to have it pulled, however I first had to go on antibiotics to get the abscess under control, and to call and book another appointment. He hugged me on my way out (God luv him) and told me that I would be feeling much better by the same time the next day. Of course I had to spend another night in hell before the pain finally subsided on Thursday - at which time I spent the day sleeping off and on. On Friday morning I visited the clinic again where thankfully another dentist removed the much hated 'nerve' - I go back in two weeks to have the finishing touches.

Well We're In

After knowing Andy had packed a lot of our things during my visit from the ToothMonster, I was very pleased to be able to help get us into the new house on Friday afternoon. Andy's mom Wendy and I actually spent an hour putting together the new futon we purchased, something the men were very impressed about for some strange reason! Anyway, I love my new house, its small, but cozy and Andy and I have been happily puttering about unpacking and re-organizing everything. I've been making daily trips back over to the flat (its across the street, lol) to bring over a few odds and ends we left behind. This week I'll be giving the flat a thorough cleaning out before we turn in the keys on Saturday.

Last night Andy set up the bunk beds in the spare room for the boys. It looks great and I think they will be happy. It took me back to a place when I used to share a bunk bed with Tawn. I also found myself thinking about the days when I used to lay in my top bunk staring out the window at all the kids playing, while we were stuck inside - in bed, at about 7:30 at night! (Dawn, you were probably one of em....)

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today my beautiful, supportive, loving mother turns 56. I wish I could be home with her to celebrate, however Andrew and I have ensured that she will know how much she is loved and appreciated on this special day of hers. I could not have asked for a better mother than the one I have. I am thankful for her every day of my life, but especially now, on this day she was born.

A Must Read

"This is another dark, haunting book by Alice Sebold. The author describes her brutal rape while in college and how the police tell her she is "lucky." The story follows Alice as she and her family deal with the aftermath and the profound effect it has on all aspects of her life. The pain and trauma just goes on and on through many twists and turns of the story."

I will be anxiously awaiting the next book by this author. Her style of writing is both gripping and endearing at the same time. That she was able to lay her story on the line like this is incredible - I'm sure many women can relate to the emotions she has portrayed so honestly and brilliantly, no matter what their story - I know I did.


As our Sky Satellite is down at the moment, I ended up renting three movies this weekend:

1. Ned Kelly: Starring Heath Ledger and Orlando Bloom. It's based on the real-life Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly (Heath). I did enjoy the movie actually and found it quite amusing at times, despite the doom that surrounds the Kelly family and their friends. Orlando plays Joe Byrne - I have to say, he took the lime-light from Heath Ledger in this one. He again did a terrific job and I was very taken with the character. I find Orlando Bloom cute, but in this movie he was actually quite sexy.

2. Calendar Girls: This movie has a great cast (Julie Waters, Helen Mirren) and is both sad and funny all at the same time as it tells the (basically) true story of women from Yorkshire England.

3. Tears of the Sun: I don't know why I'm always drawn to war flicks, as some are pretty monotonous, however this one starred Bruce Willis, which was the main attraction for me, sad may that be. I however did like this movie as it had a different story to tell and took place somewhere other than Europe, Vietnam or the Middle East. If you don't like war movies though, don't bother.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

How Can You Feel Both Happy & Sad At The Same Time?

Well today I have found out that both Sandra and Stacy will be able to attend Tawny's wedding in Vegas. This makes me very happy, but at the same time it also makes me sad. Andy and I really wanted to go, however with our own situation here in England it just didn't seem to be possible, so we reached an agreement that we would pay for Sandra's ticket to Vegas as a wedding gift in order for her to have one sibling present. As a result Brad (Sandra's BF) decided he would go too, which is doubly nice. Now Stacy has decided that she too can manage the airfare and cost and will be attending the wedding as well. Tawny will now have family at her wedding which is what really counts. Of course me being me, I have to go and feel down that all three of my sisters will be in Vegas for this celebration and I will be stuck here in England. I feel bad for even thinking like this - I should just be thrilled for Tawny, and not sad. However she is my little sister and if it wasn't because of this situation I am in, I would be there, not just for her, but for me too. But then this makes me feel guilty, as I'm here in England for me, as well as Andy. I just wish the timing wasn't so bad. Well what can a girl do? In this life you have to sacrifice one thing for another... give and take - that's the way life goes. But that doesn't make is SUCK (as Stacy would say) any less.

Bottom Line... I'm happy for my sister and her husband to be... they will have a lovely wedding - and I hope that we will all have the chance to be together when I get married. Enough said.

Friday, March 05, 2004

It's Finally Over

As most of you know by now, Andy is now a divorced man - completely free of his EX. It's about time too. We are free now to truly begin our life together and to begin making plans, which I am actually looking forward to. It does seem very likely that we will be coming home in October to have a very informal wedding with our family and friends. Andy's parents and siblings have said to count them in, which is great of course. So, stay tuned for further news.

At this time, I want to note, especially to past brides or upcoming brides, that at no time are my comments about weddings meant as a slight to them personally. We all know how I feel about big weddings, how I call it 'Pomp and Circumstance, but I do know that every bride/groom is entitled to 'their day' and the wedding they want, including me... and we all know I'm more into the party side of things...lol.

About Last Night...

So, last night Andy and I grabbed a cab and went in town to meet up with his work buddies at a bar called Chicagos. The prices of drinks here are much cheaper than at home and at one point we were getting two coolers or beers for £2.50. That's the equivalent to five-six bucks. Hell one cooler at home in a bar is $5.50. Needless to say, we both became happily intoxicated. We had a great time - his friends are nice fellows and seemed fine with having me out - I was the only female in the group (I'm never one to complain about that, lol). I was told numerous times that Andy was a lucky man and that I'm very 'lovely'. I have to say that Andy IS lucky , but then again, so am I.


What was...

1. ...your first grade teacher's name?
Mrs. Pardington - I loved her and was lucky enough to have her again in 3rd grade.

2. ...your favorite Saturday morning cartoon? I'd have to say The Smurfs, it'd really depend on how far back I go. I think the cartoons were way better when I was young - especially Saturday mornings.

3. ...the name of your very first best friend? Tawny of course...

4. ...your favorite breakfast cereal? Pac Man

5. ...your favorite thing to do after school? Go out and play Star Wars with Tim and the boys (I was always Princess Leah), or play barbies with my sisters.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Oh My Aching Tooth

For the past few months I have had a toothache. I'm not one to complain or be wimpy while in pain, and since January, I've been doing ok, but the past 3/4 days have been awful. I fear I may need a Root Canal, as the tooth is sensitive to everything. At this point, the ache has gone from bearable to horrible (at least at night). I never thought I'd miss my own dentist, but I do. The thought of going to the dentist in England is a bit perturbing.

So this Weekend....

We began the weekend by taking the kids to supper at a place called the Trading Post, where surprisingly I was able to order a bacon and chicken (green - not creamy) salad. (Healthy salads are a rarity over here in pubs/restaurants). Saturday we ended up taking the kids to Hull to see Cheaper By The Dozen, which we all enjoyed. I had a lot of laughs as it was a light-hearted, if unrealistic, comedy. I was even more pleased when earlier at the pizza restaurant, I was able to order a BBQ chicken and mushroom pizza! (Also another rarity in England.)


Sunday morning the boys came in to tell us that there was a dent in the car. Turns out there was not only a dent in the car door, but three in the roof and many more scratches. There is a bunch of old furniture laying around outside that someone left for garbage removal and it would seem as if someone had fun throwing it over the car. My first instinct was the same as Andy's - that the fellow next door might have done this. However I've been thinking A) why now? It's been over three weeks since he and Andy had their argument, B) There are lots of hooligans that come around the back of our complex drinking and such, and C) We have no proof whatsoever of neighbour boy doing this. Andy went and filed a report with the police for insurance purposes and I told him that I hoped he didn't accuse neighbour boy, not without proof. I do see his point that neighbour-boy might have waited to now to 'get back' at Andy, as A) Opportunity presented itself, what with the furniture laying right in front of the car, B) His friends were over and C) Apparently he's moving out soon. However I don't think I'm naive to warn Andy to just let it go. Plans to approach this fellow and accuse him of this vandalism will only lead to more trouble, especially if neighbour boy didn't do it. And really, what will having a go at him really do? And I don't go in for retribution unless its absolutely necessary and there is PROOF behind it. What is it with males and their incredible need to show their machismo.... being a HOT HEAD just leads to no good.