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

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Monday, May 31, 2004

It'S ThE BiG 3-0 GiRL!!!

Well today our dearly loved Dawn turns THIRTY... no going back now kid! But, really - you are now only embarking onto another stage in your wonderful and adventurous life. I hope this year brings you all that you want and deserve. You are so worth it.

I can't believe its been about 22 years since you began coming around with Tawny, both of you together to become such 'thorns in my side' . Who would have thought way back then that we'd all grow up to be such close family?

Happy Birthday, beautiful friend!

Can You See Them?

Today Andy and I had a very enjoyable day at the beach. The sun was hot and the breeze wasn't too strong so we took off for a day out. At first glance, the beach didn't overly excite me as it was a lot of long grass and brown sand and further out it was just a bunch of mud flats. However once you walked down the grassy dunes for about 10 minutes, we reached light brown sand that was rather soft and although the water was about a mile and half out, it was still nice. We sunbathed for about an hour, had a picnic, and then Andy went for a walk. He was gone for a long time but when he came back he easily convinced me to walk out to the water with him as he said he'd seen some seals frolicking around.

Upon nearing the water, we had our eyes peeled, and lo' and behold, we saw one seal followed closely behind by two more. Three seals just about 15 feet off the shore watching our every move! They were so cute and they just kept following us with the current. We were walking out to a sand dune, trying to reach it before the incoming tide swallowed it up. By the time we reached it, the seals had obviously gotten bored and took off. We'd gotten pretty wet reaching the sand bar, and as we weren't in proper swimming gear we just ended up taking our kit off to splash around (There wasn't a soul in sight, and hey - we were a mile and a half out from the main beach.)

I went back into shore a few minutes later, while Andy messed around a bit. He got a bit of a surprise when he turned around at one point and there was one of our little pals right behind him. It was quite funny. I think Andy was a little worried that it might come too close and get a little frisky as it didn't take him long to get out of the water after that.

I must say, after we got home we were feeling a little frisky ourselves - so much so that we broke our new damn bed!

Saturday, May 29, 2004

At The Playground

Last night Andy and I went for a walk in the park and then tossed around the frisbee for awhile. It wasn't major exercise but it beat sitting around the house watching TV. After our game of frisbee, we walked over to the monkey bars and started goofing around. There weren't any little kids about as it was about 8:15 at night, so we didn't have to worry about looking too silly, lol.

Andy proved to me that he could easily cross the monkey bars, something I figured he could do, however he doubly impressed me by proving that he's still got it in him to do chin-ups... he managed about six consecutively, lol. I have always wanted to be able to do chin-ups however this is something I just cannot do - my weak upper body strength just won't allow me to pull up this hefty bulk. I was however, able to cross those damn monkey bars twice though, something I have not been able to do since I was a kid! Oh, and just for the record, I have always been able to, and still can, hang upside down from bars just using my feet. Oh yeah.

Speaking of Exercise...

I've been letting myself down in regard to the gym BIG time these past months. Granted, I've had lots to do, however if I can't find the time to go now while I'm not working, when will I ever? You have to MAKE time for these things and I need to get my ASS MOTIVATED again. I think that since I will be up and over at Andy's mom's (she's home btw!!!) with her every morning helping her to do her physio and what not, it should definitely give me the motivation to do it... if this lady can go through the motions after such a difficult operation, and my mother can get to the gym and out walking every day, then what the hell is my excuse? Once a week is just not cutting it.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Is It Time to Grow Up?

I just finished reading Dawn's blog entry from yesterday,The Ramblings of Globose Thought and as it was in regard to her reflections on turning the big 3-0, it got me thinking about a lot of things, especially since she was mentioning grown up things like weddings, one being well - mine.

My wedding. In October I marry a man who will at that time be 38 years old. I (as we all know, despite my delusions) will be 31. Does that mean that I am now officially a grown up? It doesn't feel like it, and frankly I'm in no hurry to feel grown up. Sometimes I feel that this isn't really my life, that I'm looking at all of this from a distance. I want to spend the rest of my life with Andy, he is the one for me. But sometimes I have to think, why a wedding? Why something so grown up, when half the time I still feel as if I'm playing house. I think half the reason it all doesn't feel as real to me is that I didn't move myself out of my mother's house until I was 30 years old. I was comfortable and secure there. I came and went as I pleased and for a few years off and on, I barely lived there. I just couldn't ever bring myself to completely leave the comfort of my parent's home, and let's face it - I was happy there. I don't, however regret the life I led up until I moved out. Some people might think I needed to live out on my own prior to leaving the nest to live with the man I am going to marry. Maybe so, but I knew that I wasn't leaving until it was for good, no going backwards and forwards when the funds ran low, relationships broke up, etc. Or maybe, quite frankly, I just wasn't ready to be 'that grown up', even though I was certainly 'living it up'.

So, I have no regrets about the past - I've partied and traveled a little bit with girlfriends and now look forward to a life with Andy. He has a lot of grown up responsibilities, that of course are naturally now shared with me, however I feel that I can still walk thru life taking on these 'grown up' responsibilities and all that it entails, as I've been doing it for awhile now. But deep down, I still feel 18 years old. I want to look at life thru the eyes of someone younger, experience life to its fullest. Yes, I'm - ack - 31, I'm living with the man I want to spend my life with (and enjoying all the perks, *cough* sex whenever we want, that comes with it, and yes, I will be a married woman by the end of the year, but I'm ready for that as well. Life has been so good for me in the last 5 years, I've thoroughly enjoyed myself. I look forward to the next 10 years and what it entails. If its half as good as the last five, bring it on.

What R U Thinking?

Last night while we were walking on the waterfront, I noticed a number of young women, some not so young, who were dressed in the style of clothing that left their bellies bare. I have no problem looking at women with trimmer bodies dressed like this, but why do women with a lot of flab assume that they look sexy, or even just nice, dressed like this?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking women with bigger bellies, mine's not so trim either. I just think these girls are selling themselves short. They could be wearing something much more flattering to their figures and showing off their nicer assets, i.e. legs, arms, even cleavage. A woman with a large stomach should maybe consider wearing a nice one piece dress, or if not into that, nice pants/skirt/shorts and a nice sleeveless top. I find if a woman with a bigger belly dresses with style and class she can look so much more appealing than this belly-baring stuff that ends up just making them look silly and a bit pathetic. I believe all women should have a confident, healthy attitude towards themselves, and be proud. But sadly, this over-confidence is just not working for these girls.

Beauty At Its Best

This picture says it all... my boyfriend, Brad in an epic film. He is the most beautiful man on this planet (well my planet anyway) and was made for films such as this. Granted, the storyline wasn't overly strong, Brad had a few cheesy lines, and if not for Eric Bana, I fear all would have been lost. Brad is a brilliant actor, he's proven it in such films as Ocean's 11, Snatch and Fight Club, however this movie, although ok, was not the best portrayal of his acting abilities.

Let's just face it everyone - I am what I am and just seeing Brad Pitt (not to mention other gorgeous men) run around with practically nothing on for nearly three hours, and speak in a tortured voice, is enough to satisfy me. Doesn't get any more shallow than this I fear.

Andy was able to make it through this film with only a few 'comments'. He knows that I'd been loving Brad long before his own arrival into my life and I guess he figured it wasn't worth losing his own over a few jokes. However I did hear him say, with feeling I might add, 'Ah no' at one of the more intense scenes with Eric Bana.

Monday, May 24, 2004

To Hospital We Go...

Andy's mom and dad have both received their operations successfully. Andy's sister Alison arrived in town early last week to assist in getting them settled into hospital and ready for their surgery. Andy's dad, the lucky sod, got to have his surgery done in style, at the local private hospital, Saint Hugh's. This place is like a little hotel and the food is akin to that you might get in a four star restaurant. Needless to say his recovery has been swift. I do have to repeat this little story that might be cause for a chuckle...

"Dad's AWOL"

On Thursday afternoon Alison and I left Wendy at the hospital to go home and have a quick bite and relax for an hour or so. Around 5:30 I drove her back to the hospital (the general community one, where Wendy has the so-called pleasure of residing in for the next week or so)with the intention of heading over to Saint Hugh's to see if Dave was ready for picking up. Alison decided that we should call first from her mobile to see what was going on, before I went over. She was astounded when the receptionist informed her that Mr. Allenby had 'already been released'. She gave a surprised 'oh' and hung up. (This normally would have been where we should have said 'when and who did you release him to' if not in shock).

We had been waiting all afternoon for Dave to call and tell us he was ready to be picked up, so needless to say we weren't very happy. I told Alison to go on inside, that in all probability Dave had left his hospital to go be with Wendy at her bedside - I in the meantime, would go back to the house (Wendy's) and make sure he hadn't gone there. Upon arrival at Wendy's I found everything as we had just left it. Just after letting myself into my own house, Alison rang to say that he wasn't at the hospital either... By this point we were both getting pretty worried, and of course Alison wasn't letting Wendy know what was happening, as this would cause her needless worry. Andy then called to say that he was on his way to the hospital and that Alison had left him a message saying that their Dad was AWOL. To say he was pissed was an understatement. It was just like his Dad to up and leave without making sure any of us were there to take him home....

I was just getting ready to walk back over to Dave and Wendy's to check again, when the phone rang and it was Alison. Her dad was still safely in his room at Saint Hugh's... waiting to be picked up. The receptionist had screwed up - she said she had made a mistake as they had had a number of patients released that afternoon. Ironically enough just as Alison was going back into her mother's bedside to tell her what had been happening, who should Wendy have been on the phone to, but Dave. Dave is still saying he couldn't believe the number of obscene messages that were awaiting him on the answering machine from Alison upon his arrival home Thursday night! It might not have been overly funny at the time and that receptionist likely didn't have a good evening after that goof up, however upon looking back I think it was pretty funny.

Anyway.... Wendy, after finally being given a blood transfusion Saturday evening is finally beginning to feel like herself again. I have been back and forth to the hospital most days and evenings trying to ensure that her care is up to standard. I know that the nurses there are busy and sometimes can't get to all the patients when needed but quite frankly some of them just aren't in a hurry, regardless of what they might be doing. Wendy has a long hard road ahead of her what with her body adjusting to 'new' knees and learning how to walk all over again. But she is determined and I know she will prevail. Since leaving his own hospital, Dave has been sitting with Wendy from about 1:30 each day until 8 each night. He says he feels fine and truth be told, you'd never know he'd had his gallbladder removed (something I'd like to shove in my old friend Paula's nose). They are each 63 years old and more determined and uncomplaining than most people my age.

Due to all the running back and forth, ensuring Dave gets fed and to his medical appointments, sitting with Wendy, etc. I haven't had much time to blog, or think of anything else. I am thankful that the 'worrying' stage is over and that they are both well on the mend. I have grown to love these two very much and don't know what I would have done without them here to help ease my transition into this part of the world.

Monday, May 17, 2004


Today, my baby sister Stacy turns 19!!!! I know she will have a wonderful time out tonight at her party with her many friends and I hope she enjoys her first 'legal' drink tonight!

I won't say how old this is making me feel, the fact that the last of the McDonald 'clan', has grown up to the point where she is now able to head downtown! I can't wait to go home this summer and take my sister out - no more staying at home while the rest of the gang is soaking up the sun on the patio of the Split Crow, enjoying a beer or two.

Stacy Getting High On Oxygen

Sunday, May 16, 2004

I'm Back

Getting away for a week up to Glasgow was exactly what I needed. I had an enjoyable 4 days with Val and the kids. The train ride up was quite uneventful and really enjoyable really. I was a bit nervous about catching the train and transferring myself, however it was no problem. I met and chatted with an American couple during the journey from Doncaster to Glasgow.

When I got off the first train in Doncaster, I had an hour's wait for my transfer so I decided to walk into town and get myself a Subway for my lunch. I have to say, I must be crazy as I had the heaviest damn bag to carry and its not user-friendly. Its a big suit bag of Andy's that you double up and trust me, I over-packed as usual. I stumbled through that town just focusing on my goal while sweat was tricking off me... I know I must have looked an absolute moron, lol. Everyone kept eyeing me - probably thinking, what the hell is she doing with that awkard bag! I finally made it to the Subway and the manager, after commenting about my BIG bag, was very happy to serve me and chat about Halifax (he'd been there many times). It was funny when he got to the veggies though, as he said 'lettuce, tomAto, onion and cucumbers?' These are the top choices of the English you see. I laughed and said, "no cucumbers, but lots and lots of pickles please". Subway is just not Subway w/o the pickles.

I dreaded the walk back to the Train Station, however just knowing that lovely sandwich was in my bag, along with 2 cookies, gave me a little added incentive. What I won't do for food...

When I got off the train in Glasgow I was thrilled to see Val and Lori waiting there for me... they both looked absolutely fantastic... I couldn't believe how Lori had grown and how great Val looked - just the same as ever - you'd never know she'd just delivered a baby boy 3 weeks prior. Some damn women have all the luck! Her father, who is 81, was out in the car with baby Luke. I was pleased to meet Granda Bob as I've heard lots about him. And the bab was absolutely perfect of course!

Little Lori

That night after the children were asleep, Val and I polished off at least 5 bottles of wine... to say we were a bit rough for wear the next morning would be correct. For the next two days we behaved ourselves as managing a hangover with two little children to attend to is not the easiest of tasks to manage. At the moment, Lori is waking up just after five a.m. to go and see and kiss her 'wee' brother. As cute as that sounds, its an absolute nightmare.... However Val gets up and attends to her children. By nine o'clock they are ready for the day. I've since decided that having children is maybe something I should stop fretting about. I like my lay-ins a little too much.

The Clan MacDonald

On Thursday afternoon Granda Bob dropped over to say hello, and of course cuddle his newborn grandson. He was very excited to tell me about the Massacre of the Clan MacDonald, maybe my ancestors he thought. (Although we are McDonald. He even said there was a song written about it and the dear old soul even had a copy of it that he played for me. Apparently King William (we are talking hundreds of years ago now) ordered the Clan Campbell to kill the MacDonald's... The Campbell's arrived at the MacDonald's seeking shelter, and as the MacDonald's (naturally), were a good people, they invited the Campbell's in for the night. During the middle of the night the Campbell's proceeded to murder all men, women and children, thus sparking off a feud between the Campbell's and the McDonald's. My thoughts couldn't help but wander to the Hatfield's and McCoy's....

That night when Stuart (Val's husband) called, we told him about our afternoon and he had actually known the story ... Apparently the children of Scotland learned about this in school. Val must have been absent that day, as she had never heard it. Shortly after the call, Stuart texed Val with a warning for 'Jody to watch out for those Campbell's'.

The rest of my journey was quite relaxing. On Friday morning I accompanied Val and the children to Lori's playgroup where I ended up reading to the children - something I have really missed doing since coming to the UK.

Friday night Stuart came home with Chinese and we again sat around drinking wine for the remainder of the night. We had a lot of laughs and at some point they brought out their wedding book... I have to say, from looking at those pictures (they had a very small wedding) and from seeing a few of my sister's wedding pics, I have decided that we will have a photographer at our wedding in September after all... Something Andy had thought we should have from the get go, but I of course was being my stubborn self as I thought we could just have family/friends take random shots. Now though, I don't think its worth the risk... better to have a professional ensure you have your day captured properly.

I will say that I was happy to see Andy waiting for me at the station in town - It was good to be home.

Tawny & Taylor Barratt - May 5, 2004

I've been enjoying reading my sister's wedding blog Bridal Confessions, and I'm so glad she's taking her time and giving us an updated, written version of their wedding celebrations as I wasn't there to experience it myself. I'm so pleased that the people who were there were sooo good to them and that my sister Stacy, and our Dawn, were there in place of the rest of the family.

I can't express though, how hurt and dissapointed I am with my sister Sandra. Andy and I paid for her ticket to Vegas as Tawny and Taylor's wedding gift in order that she would be THERE for Tawny, especially in my absence. (At the time we thought Stacy was not going to be able to go). Sandra never even bothered to contact Tawny until Tawny saw her upon her arrival in the Chapel. (Sandra had been in Vegas since Monday). To say that I was offended that she wasn't there for Tawny is an understatement.

For years Sandra has done her own thing and is off in her own world, and although I understand that this was the first real vacation she has ever had, I think her priorities were very misplaced. She should have at least been at Tawny's stagette dinner the night before, and she especially should have been with Tawny and Stacy the morning of her wedding day. Her boyfriend Brad would have been fine with Taylor, its not as if they don't know each other... I just don't understand her. Tawny has been wonderful in the fact that she has just decided to put this issue on the back burner until the glow of being very newly married has worn off, but I do believe that Sandra has a lot to answer for. I know that Tawny won't let this cause an irreparable rift between them, as she is so much better than that, however she has a right to expect more from her sister and I wouldn't blame her if she didn't go out of her way to forgive or be close with Sandra for the foreseeable future. I know its something that she will never forget.

Anyway, that's enough blogging for one day. It's a beautiful sunny day here and I need to be out enjoying it.

Monday, May 10, 2004

To Glasgow, By Train

I have a lot of things to do today as yesterday we purchased my train ticket to Glasgow to spend five days with my very dear friend Val and her children. I met Val and her little girl Lori while they were out visiting her husband in Halifax when Andy was working there and we instantly connected. I went to visit once last April, however I have not seen them since and they now have a new member of the family, Luke.

As Andy's mom and dad are both having serious operations on May 18th, I figured I'd better go this week or I wouldn't get there at all before my trip home on July 4th. I can't wait, I am sooo excited to see them!

New Beginnings

My girl Cat (aka Catherine) just moved into a new house that she purchased in Colorado Springs. I can't wait to see photos of it and am awaiting her new address. Cat has been away for too long now and I still haven't managed to get there. Hopefully this will change within the next year!

I hope you have all in life that you deserve Cat and that you are now finding true happiness and peace of mind - especially in this new house, in your work and a with your new horizon stretched out ahead of you!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

I hope today is a very special day for my Mom, even though most of her kids won't be near on this day. She is the best mom a girl could ask for and I thank her for everything she has ever done for us in this life. Her unselfishness is comparable to none. I love you Mom!

Also, I wish to say Happy Mother's Day to all of those so very near and dear to my heart. You all make terrific mother's and I hope you have the kind of Mother's Day you deserve.

Feeling Uninspired

I had such a terrific weekend away in Wales last week, however I just haven't seemed to have the drive to blog much this week. Normally I find myself struggling to find something to write about, this week I had lots to write, but struggled to write it. I hope that makes sense.

Last weekend was our first long weekend to have some time to ourselves so Andy and I decided to take off for Wales. We ended up staying in a place called LLANDUDNO that was absolutely beautiful. There was a fair in town for the night, giving the coastal town an even more spirited feeling. The town is in a peninsula surrounded by mountains and the gorgeous Atlantic ocean. The first morning we got there we decided to go up the mountain, called the Great Orme, to look around. Everyone else took the tram up, however I stubbornly made Andy walk... we then took the Cable Car back down. It was an absolutely spectacular experience, the views were out of this world. We took lots of pictures but sadly, they just weren't the same.

We then visited a place called Conwy Castle. This was a castle built in the 1260's that is still standing strong. The walls of the castle still surround the village which itself is still quite old and very quaint. That night we retired pretty early as our bodies were aching beyond belief... let me tell you - a good two hours at the gym doesn't end up making me that sore!

On our way back from Wales Andy asked if I wanted a Subway (we never made it to the one in Lincoln as it was closed when we got there) - I gladly said yes. We stopped in a town called Doncaster and Andy and I spent an hour walking around looking for it in the town center before we finally called directory service for the number. I must say, it was so yummy, especially the white chocolate chip/macadamia nut cookies after our subs! Although Andy enjoyed his, I have to say I have a wonderful guy - driving out of the way and then all that walking around to make me happy! I was even happier when I was told that a Subway will be opening in our town in approximately six months. YEAH.

We had a wonderful weekend together and I'm so looking forward to the next time we head out for some time away.

Conwy Castle

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Mr. & Mr. Barratt

Thanks to the wonderful world of internet those of us who were not able to attend Tawny and Taylor's wedding in Vegas were able to view it via webcam. Last night Andy had tested the Treasure Island Web Viewing site to ensure we would be able to view the service this evening. At 11:25 tonight we eagerly logged on to await the beginning of their wedding. Nada - nothing was coming up. At 11:34 I called home, where my mom, dad, aunt and uncle were anxiously awaiting as well, with no luck either. Apparently my cousin was on the other line to my mom as she was not having any luck herself. Finally, at about 11:45 (my time) the picture came up and there was Taylor standing beside Ciaus awaiting his bride to be.

The picture then flashed to Tawny being walked down the isle by our life-long friend Dawn. My breath caught. My sister looked absolutely stunning. She was every bit as beautiful a bride as I knew she would be. I was sooo excited. And then we lost sound. My dad rang to see if we finally had any picture and I could hear the wedding in the background, so I knew they had sound. A few seconds after I hung up the phone with my dad, the sound came back... we were just in time to hear Tay's vows. I started to cry. His vows to my sister were perfect and so summed up his love for her. Tawny just cried.... it took her a few moments to gather herself together, but when she did, she said her vows beautifully and they were perfect as well. I couldn't stop crying.

My little sister was getting married. I wanted to be there with all of my heart and I knew Andy's heart was aching for me as he knows how badly I had wanted to share in this week, this day with her. This morning when I spoke to her on the phone to wish her happy wedding day, I tried my hardest not to cry... I didn't want to upset her on this very momentous day... I prevailed and stood strong. However whilst talking to my cousin Denise on the phone afterwards, I couldn't stop from crying. My mom and dad had been crying during the service as well and I had to wait for an hour or so after to talk to them. Today was a very important day in our family. I know we all wished we could have been there, but I know Tawny knows that we were, in heart and soul.

I wish them both all the happiness in this world that they deserve. They have made a true commitment to each other to love, laugh, cry and grow throughout their life together, united as one. I know they will do this. They are a testament to what love really is.

I have so much more to talk about as its been a pretty good weekend/week, however its nearly 2:00 a.m. my time and I'm very tired. Andy and I had our new bed arrive today and I think its about time I headed that way.