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

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Monday, December 26, 2005

A McDonald Christmas

I haven't blogged since I've reached home over a week ago. Time is passing quickly and I'm absolutely loving every minute of it - I've still not had a chance to see everyone and am hoping to do so this week. The only drawback is that I'm missing my husband and our family back home, but I know that I will be with them soon so I must embrace every moment I have with my loved ones here in Nova Scotia.

Christmas here has not been uneventful. Tawny and I turned up on Christmas Eve after a few visits and some shopping to see a car with Ontario plates parked in the drive. It was Sandra and Brad on a very unexpected surprise return home, after 3 and 1/2 years. After a few deep breaths we went inside and so began our Christmas as a complete family for the first time in many years.

I won't go into any detail except to say its been a bit stressful and difficult at moments for reasons I won't really eloborate on, but aside from the shock of my sister coming home unnanounced after so long and so much, it has been a good Christmas and we were satisfied to see Sandra make the effort, especially for the sake of our parents, even though I wish I had known she was going to be coming home, for a number of reasons. Everyone has handled themselves in a brilliant way and for this I am grateful. I know how very difficult this has been for Tawny and I'm just so thankful to have had my family with me at this time of year.

Last night we had relatives visiting until after midnight and we watched Elf, our chosen Christmas movie this year. Both Pam (John's girlfriend) and Taylor have spent Christmas Day feeling quite ill, but I'm hoping they have a better time of it over the next few days of celebration.

I brought a little bit of England to the dinner table and we did have fun playing the games in the Christmas crackers. Why everyone doesn't do this during Christmas dinner is beyond me - what a good way to amuse and keep everyone focused on the festivities.

I will post more photos later in the week, after I have mixed and matched with some of Tawn's shots. I'm sure we will have a few good ones, and I'm hoping to get more tonight before Tawny and Taylor leave early tomorrow morning.

Oh and I have to post this great picture from last Thursday night, taken just after exchanging gifts with Dawn - a fantastically funny and amusing evening. I hope to report more from that evening this week! But I do love this shot:

Thank you to all of you who have done so much to make this Christmas so wonderful for me (especially my husband, for loving me enough to give me up to my family for the holidays.) I love you all. And for those of you I haven't seen yet, we still have 12 or so more days...

PS - notice the much improved quality of these pictures - compliments of the new camera given to me as an early Christmas gift by my generous and loving man.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas Parties x 3

Friday Night
Friday night found me out at the local pub with four fantastic girls I've met through work.

The night began with a few glasses of wine that led quickly to more than a few bottles. We had a great laugh and it was a terrific way to begin the Christmas festivities.

It's a warm feeling to know that this time, while I'm back at home, I'll have these great mates back in England.

It wouldn't be me I suppose if I didn't have a cry at some point while, well let's face it - shit canned. I told the girls a story about sitting in the same pub over a year ago with my husband, enviously watching a group of girls on a night out at the very same table we were sitting at Friday night, and informing him that if back in Canada, that would have been me with my friends. And a year later, although not in Canada, I was at that table with four of the best women I have had the pleasure of knowing. And then I started to bawl. Nothing new there really.

Helen G and Sharon

At some point in the evening, we decided to take the party into town (this would have been downtown in NS speak) and Janice (who wasn't drinking) patiently drove our drunken asses to a pub called O'Neils. We danced, we drank some more, and had a great laugh. Unfortunately Helen E. had her handbag nicked. She luckily found it in the gents, but sadly minus phone and money. :(

Around 12:55 I made a drunken call to my angel of a husband. For a little insight as to how absolutely wrecked I was, this is a snippet of the conversation with him:

ME: Hi Sweetie can you come pick us up?

ANDY: Yeah, where are you?

ME: I don't know - HELEN WHERE AM I????

10 Minutes later I phoned him again:

ME: Where are you?

ANDY: Almost there - you still at O'Neils?

ME: I don't know - HELEN - WHERE ARE WE?

I can say though that my not knowing where we were the first time was due in part to the fact we went out the back door of O'Neils into the car park, which I didn't know even existed. Remember, I have only been out in Cleethorpes on three previous occasions.

Saturday Night
Needles to say, Saturday morning didn't find me feeling so swell, however my slight headache was nothing in comparison to poor Helen G - she had been sick. I don't understand how I can drink SO much and not ever be sick.

Anyway, I'm digressing as usual. Helen and her husband Trev met us at our place for a drink before going to our other local. We had a nice dinner by the fireside then made our way back here to have billinis in my Venetian glasses. We sat and chatted, neither Helen nor I drinking very much, we still had enough flowing in our veins from the previous evening.

Today we got up and drove to Lincoln for a pre-Christmas/birthday luncheon with Andy's siblings, their partners and his mom. (Andy's brother and sister are twins and they'll share their birthday on Friday with Ali's partner Scott.)

The food and conversation was fantastic and I'm glad we all made the effort to get together before I fly home on Wednesday to spend the holidays with my other family.

My English Family

Saturday, December 03, 2005

An 'Old Fashioned' Christmas

Last night the boys came down for their weekend stay and we decided to decorate the house for Christmas. Alex eagerly helped Andy get all the stuff down from the loft and within an hour the tree was up. While Andy was trimming the tree with white lights I was busy making silver bows for it, as I decided to go with a white and sliver theme this year, with a few black baubles to set it off. Usually my ideas don't always fly, especially when there is craft-making involved, but this actually turned out to be a very pretty tree. I took the idea from the lady we were staying with in Belgium, who had a beautiful tree. It didn't take Molly long to try and eat it, but the most amusing segment of the night was when Connor commenced with this discussion:

Connor: Dad - you know back in the olden days?

Andy: Yeah?

Connor: Yeah, back in the olden days when you were a kid....

LORD! I thought the Olden Days were back when our dads were kids! Both of us were expecting him to talk about those olden days! Neither one of us can remember what came after that as we were both a bit taken aback with laughter and the realization that Andy now hails from 'The Olden Days'.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I'll be home for Christmas,
you can count on me...
Please have snow, and mistletoe
and presents on the tree.

(Well out of those three, its the snow I want, at least for Christmas Eve.)

13 more sleeps!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

To Belgium and Back

We left for Belgium at lunchtime on Friday and were back in the country by tea time Sunday.

The reason for the trip was to be a courier service to Andy's mother as she was importing another dog for breeding purposes. As Wendy's friend and granddaughter were the dog 'dealers', our only obligation was to drop the ladies off on Friday night and pick them on Sunday morning. The trip through the Euro tunnel was pretty cool, as was driving through a portion of Europe for the first time, I just never expected it to be through a snowstorm. Now this snowstorm wasn't as severe as those that Canadians experience, but it was worse than England ever gets. It was sticking, making visibility poor and reading sign posts impossible. Naturally we went slightly off track, but after 10 hours finally made it.

Andy and I stayed in a lovely little B&B and on Saturday morning amidst the snow, and armed with a local map, set off to find the small city of Gent where we would catch the train to Brussels. We were impressed with our ingenuity for thinking to wear our heavy coats and hiking boots. We don't always get it right, but this time we did.

Andy at the Atomium

Brussels was a great city with a lot of history, but after touring around on bus and then by foot, we were happy to give up around 3 p.m. and settle ourselves into a cozy pub for some grub and beer. I'd been informed by Darla to try Belgian beer as it is 'great' and she was too right. Yummy.

Mmmmmm... Warm Bar, Good Beer

But even more yummy were the waffles you could pick up hot off the street. I wouldn't turn one of those down on a sunny, hot day, never mind a day when you're freezing your ass off.

The other highlight of the trip was actually realizing I had not only taken in, but actually managed to retain a few phrases of French from the lessons I painfully endured in school. I made a slight mistake by answering her polite Bonjour with a Bonjour of my own, not thinking that she would proceed to carry on our dialect in French. I gave it my best effort and came out alright. It was fun, and now I think I would rather take up French again, over Spanish. I never realized how much of it had sunk in through my thick skull. I not only surprised my husband and our companions, but myself. Pleasantly so - to the point of having a slightly swelled head - it's not often I get to be the one who understands what the foreign person is saying.

The journey home was quite uneventful, made all the more comfortable by our smooth ride. If anything good came out of our crash last summer, it was that we ended up with an 4WD SUV. It's a smooth, comfortable ride and came in handy during the bad weather.

The number of countries I have now travelled to is beginning to grow: Canada, US, Mexico, Grand Caymen Islands, England, Scotland, Wales, Greece, Italy, Belgium and France (well we travelled through France). It is our plan when Miss Stacy next comes to travel to yet another - Germany? Holland (Amsterdam)? Possibly back to France to actually see something of it - maybe Paris??? Being on this small Island ensures a whole list of endless possiblities. Australia is calling to Andy and I, but that will have to wait a few years, and of course there is always Africa.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's a Hard Life

Monday, November 21, 2005

Struggling to Sleep

Last night I probably got maybe an hour's sleep in total. Andy is suffering from a cold and as a result I had to leave our cozy bed. I normally have to sleep with earplugs in as he is a mouth breather and often makes a rattling sound in his throat, but due to his illness he was full out rumbling and snoring. Around midnight, after about an hour of trying to ignore his strangled breathing, I grabbed my water, a comforter and with Molly in tow, made my way to the couch around midnight. I read for an hour and finally decided to try and get some sleep. By three a.m. I'd given up and turned on the t.v. I was watching yet another sad Hallmark movie when Andy came down at 5:30. I was back in bed by 6:00, after he had left, but still no luck. At 7:15 I was still watching the clock. It must have been 7:30 when I drifted off, only to have my alarm go off at 7:45.

At work today numerous people commented on my pale faced, sleep deprived look, asking if I felt well. Of course the fact that I'd put my contacts in only added to the itchiness and constant blinking. I suppose I could be excused for such a stupid act, considering I was running on diet coke alone. One of the nurses asked me if I take anything for the insomnia. I vehemently shook my head and informed her that it wasn't necessary. After two nights at the most it usually passes. However, I will take my medication in a completely different, but more enjoyable form: tonight I am using liquid medication in the form of a big old bottle of wine - Orvieto Classico Abboccato - a lovely semi-sweet Italian wine. It was my plan to submerge myself in a scalding hot bath to assist the wine in calmly pointing me in the right direction of lala land. So with approximately two glasses left, that is what I will do as soon as I finish posting this. Not being able to sleep just sucks. Especially when one likes sleep as much as I do. I have never been one of those people who say, 'why spend so much time sleeping? Time enough for that when I'm dead. I LOVE my bed and can't wait to get there some nights.

In or Out
I have this complete fascination lately with boots. High heeled black leather ones, flat soled suede, fur lined, ankle length, whatever, I love boots. Last spring I was ecstatic to see that the cowboy boot was back in style. Not only was it back in style but it was the style to wear your jeans tucked inside the boot. I remember wearing cowboy boots around 11 years ago. Problem was, the style was to wear your boot cut jeans outside of your boots. Now that it is the in thing, I'm thinking why not? Problem is, I don't feel like wearing cowboy boots. I do however love the style of the almost knee-length leather high heeled or flat boot with pants tucked in. I notice that a lot of the celebrities are wearing this style and from reading the fashion mags - it appears to be the in thing these days. Now I don't normally conform to a fashion because its the in style, however I do love this look and because I'm lucky enough to have long and slender legs, I feel that it is a look I could pull off, especially since it makes your legs look longer and slimmer. I know its not for everyone and of course not everyone could do it, but I honestly think its something I will roll with this year. I've always been told I've got great legs and if I can work with it, why the hell not??? Normally all the fashion trends don't work with my build, so when they do, it's time to take full advantage.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Relief in a BIG way...
This bracelet was given to me over two years ago as a leaving gift from the Board of Management of SVGH. When I was presented with the blue box from Burke's Jewellers by the Chair of the Board, and opened it to see this bracelet, my breath was taken away. I was amazed to think that I had done such a good service and had meant so much to these twelve men and women, that they would honour me with such a lovely gift. I would cherish it forever.

Over four months ago, it went missing. The clasp must have come undone somewhere along the line as I was always very careful to take it off and put it safely away. I've searched everywhere for it and about a month ago gave it up for gone. Andy was sure it would turn up somewhere, but after redecorating and a good clean out of the bedroom, I gave up. To say I was heartbroken over it was an understatement. The sentimental value of that bracelet was priceless. It was a memento from a very important time in my life. I couldn't believe it was gone - I missed the weight of it on my wrist, as I wore it quite often. Every time I looked at bracelets in the shops they never compared. Nothing looked as nice to me, or was of as fine a quality. Until Friday while I was shopping at one of my favourite places -In The Pink, and found a really pretty but more delicate silver bracelet with gold and bronze circular links. Although it wasn't as solid as the other one, I figured I had finally found a surrogate. Andy agreed it should be one of my Christmas presents. I was very happy with this, but at the same time still saddened and reminiscent of my other bracelet. I decided I would wear it and be happy and finally try and get over the fact that my bracelet was gone for good.

A few days ago, Andy had left a small box of mine full of old cards out on the shelf that he had taken out during a clear-out and never replaced. I was putting a few cards in it that I've received recently and felt something slide around underneath the cards. Lifting the bulk of cards I was absolutely floored to see my bracelet. I was stunned into near tears. Relief surged through my veins until I thought I might cry with joy. I'm so happy to know that it was not lost, just somehow misplaced at the bottom of a bunch of sentimental cards!

Now how can I be more thrilled than to have in my possession, not one, but two gorgeous, meaningful bracelets. I am truly, on this day, a lucky girl.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Saturday Stroll

As not much has been going on other than a few head colds, and running errands, I thought I'd post a few pictures from a walk in the park Andy and I took with Molly on Saturday. It was gorgeous - sunny and crisp, perfect for being in a park as gorgeous as Hubbards Hills. There weren't many people around and Molly certainly enjoyed it. We are really relieved that she has finally begun going in the water on her own, something she gleefully did last weekend as she flung herself madly into the stream after a flock of birds.

I love these two:

Sorry, More Boob Talk

I just finished watching Tyra Banks' talk show. (I realize we are probably at least a month behind in episodes). It was all about breasts. Apparently there has been much rumour and speculation that she has had implants. Hrrmm. I have never thought that. I've never really paid it much attention to tell you the truth, but I have noticed her boobs on the rare time I see footage of her strutting it down the walkway in a VS bra. And every time I've never once thought real or fake? So many people have such an infatuation over breasts and if people have had boob jobs or not. She was a star on this episode and proved to all her viewers that she is in fact real - very real. I was worried that my boobs were sagging a bit sans bra. Tyra succeeded in making me feel that I'm actually ok. When that bra of hers came off - under t-shirt - it was very clear that those boobs of hers are natural. I just need to get myself some of the bras that Tyra has been wearing. She's a D cup, so I figure it can't be that hard for me to find something both pretty and uplifting in a DD. Definitely the one thing America has up on the rest of the world -Victoria secrets.

I mentioned her being a star on this episode. If I'm being honest, I have to admit that I'm enjoying her talk show and will continue to watch it. She seems genuinely kind and is working hard to make women feel good about themselves. That in itself says a lot - to me anyway. On the first show she and the audience all took off their make up - revealed their naked selves. And let me tell you, the lady looked, well, different without her makeup, not so pretty as the face we always see - she obviously was wearing a lot of face. If she wore less make up then the change probably wouldn't have been so dramatic. But she proved what most of us already know. It's easy to run around being envious of, or salivating over the models, and cover-girls - but so much of it is FAKE... make-up, air brushing, fake eye-lashes, hair extensions, etc. Any of us could be size 6 with perky tits, great abs, perfect skin, long locks, etc. if we had the money to blow on personal trainers and top scale salons...

I am me. I'm not happy with my body the way it is but it'll do. I've got more important things to spend my money on. I'll stick to the self-improvement regimes that I can afford - what I can fix (flab) will hopefully be fixed with a healthy work-out regime, what I can't afford to fix, or don't want to blow a heap of money on, will just have to stay the way it is. I'm too busy enjoying my life to get all caught up in that game.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Since I've been told...

It's good to know some of you read this blog and miss me when I've been lazy ;). Honestly, I haven't really had that much to post about. We've been busy with the finishing touches on our living room and I've had to take care of Molly.

She had the big operation that will now make it impossible for her to procreate. It was hard for me to leave her at the vet's, even harder still to realize I had to leave her there over night. When we picked her up the morning after she was so happy to see us, but I have to say, she was not very well for awhile after. Her insides had taken a real knocking around and what with all the damned fireworks going off last weekend she never fully returned to her usual self until Monday/Tuesday of this week. As her insides were so sore and it hurt to squat for any amount of time she had this pathetic way of wriggling around peeing as she went. Nevermind the fact that our girl was having this trouble peeing, but add to the fact that nearly every time she went to the toilet she was disrupted by the loud boom and bright lights of fireworks. It didn't make for a very nice experience. She got to the point where she wasn't able to finish and when our next door neighbour decided to launch a few, well that just put paid to her going outside at all. Thankfully, all this business is behind us for another year and we have the consolation that next year she won't be a puppy who has just undergone a serious operation. What were we thinking? To have put her through that at a time of year no dog likes, nevermind a sick pup.

Time to Get Moving

I ordered this on Sunday and it arrived yesterday. It's called the Lateral Thigh Trainer. I of course got the advanced addition with an armband attachment. The combined stepping/skating motion is designed to work more muscles than a straight stepper. I got on it last night and after only ten minutes could feel the muscles working. This weekend I will tackle the first of the videos and hopefully by early next week I will be on to the armband/advanced workout video. I've frankly had enough of not getting enough exercise. Since we got the new vehicle I haven't been biking as much, and as I'm not at the gym anymore, something needs to be done. Molly and I continue to walk everyday, and sometimes I throw in a half-hearted jog, but its now seriously time to get moving. Christmas is coming and this year its going to be even worse for over-eating as I will be munching on all my favourite Canadian food! East Sides, May Garden, KOD, Dairy Queen, Movie Theatre Popcorn, Mom's Christmas Baking and Cooking! Sheila's Cooking! Yummy!!. Of course I fully intend to gym it with Mom and Stacy as much as possible, can't be letting things get too out of control!

Anyway, hopefully within a few weeks I will be seeing a slight result, if nothing.

Monday, October 31, 2005

I was just finished my bath when there was a knock on the door. I hesitated, wondering if I should answer it in my sopping wet condition. After throwing on my bathrobe and wrapping a towel around my hair the knocking had become more persistent, so I figured I best make my way downstairs and find out who had such an urgent need to get me to open my door.

Somehow I had forgotten it was Halloween Night but my memory clued in as soon as my foot reached the bottom step. I could see no outline through the glass partition so assuming it was a small child I flung open the door. There was no one there. I looked around for a moment longer before closing the door. After ensuring that I did have a few treats for the next trick-or-treaters (we don't usually get many around this area, but its better to have a few treats on hand just in case) I headed upstairs to begin the long drawn out process of drying my hair.

I was about three stairs from the top when the knocking started again. I turned around to begin my descent, looking to see the outline of the goblin at my door. Nothing again. I opened the door more slowly this time and peered out. No one. I tentatively took a step outside, wondering if this was a nasty prank to get me outside thus ensuring an easy target for egging. I braced myself for the impact and when none came I opened my eyes and looked around. There wasn't a soul in sight. No kids were on the street. I also noticed at this time that there were no lights on in the surrounding houses. It looked like I had the street to myself. After checking around the corner of my house to make sure the dark crevices weren't hiding any tricksters, I went back in and closed my door. No sooner than it had shut when there came yet another knock. I stood there, rooted to the spot and just looked at the closed door. Two more successive knocks followed. I could here no other noise. No little giggles, no hushes to be quiet. I leant down and peered through the letter box just as another knock came.

There was no one there.

Hope your Halloween has some frights in store.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Bag full of loot alright

This morning as I was cleaning out the kitchen drawers, I came across a party loot bag, took a quick peek inside and saw that there was still some good stuff left in it - i.e. candy and a toy streamer thing and figured it must be an old one of Connor's and gave it to him. I heard him pop the streamers and start reading the sayings on the little pack of love hearts before just as I asked him to come back into the kitchen and hold the bin bag open for me. It was then that he showed me something from the loot bag and asked me what it was. I absentmindedly told him I didn't know and told him to just throw it in the bag. When he left the room I glanced into the empty bag and looked at what he had discarded. It was a condom. The loot bag was from a Hen Night I'd been on back in July. Oooooops. I guess we should thank someone that he's still innocent, at least when it comes to these issues. In the clinic where I work boys not much older than him are coming in constantly asking for 'johnnies'.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

How to keep me smiling

Today Andy and Alex were going to be busy painting our living room and as I'm allergic to paint and Connor gets bored with the process, we decided to take ourselves off to the mall for a little bit of shopping. We came back around lunch time to see our living room transformed into a beautiful deep blush colour and on Friday when we have our new cream carpet laid (getting rid of the nasty green thing) our front room will be much improved. We want to keep it as minimalist as possible, however with all the business paraphenelia Andy has, and all the books I have, its a little difficult with the limited space. Anyway, I am digressing from my point. We came back to find A&A almost finished but still hard at work. They'd treated themselves to the chippie for lunch and as Molly was continuously trying to eat the paint Connor and I decided to take her with us in the truck for some lunch and a walk on the beach.

Just before leaving though, I had let Molly out to do her business. It was a bit of bad timing though, as a few idiots decided to set off a few fireworks. This is something quite common in England at this time of year due to the forthcoming Guy Fawkes celebrations on November 1st (a night when the community council hold a fireworks display but so do a multitude of people around town - some are obviously very keen to get started.). I found it pretty neat the first year I was here, to see a multitude of random fireworks exploding over the village, but it soon got tiresome and annoying. Anyway, some losers were setting them off today in broad daylight and happened to do so while I had Molly out in the back yard. I heard her petrified bark and was just heading toward the back door to let her in when I saw her hurtle herself straight at it. She must have been waist high in her desperation to get back inside. If this keeps up she's going to hurt herself. As usual when something frightens her i.e. vacuum, lawnmower, etc. she came straight in, went upstairs and hid under my bed. Alex had to drag her out so that we could get her in the truck.

Connor and the dog had a great time racing alongside the water and although it was overcast with a few raindrops, we weren't deterred. To see them having such fun was worth a few splatters.

Tonight, we just came in from seeing Tim Burton's new flick, The Corpse Bride and it received a thumbs up by all four of us. The paint is almost dried and although the scent is giving me a slight headache, by tomorrow all will be well.

The highlight of my day though came when Connor and I were shopping with my friend Carol-Anne and her little girl. We were at the checkout, the children happily 'assisting us' with our purchases when the gal ringing through my purchases grinned and said 'darling kids'. I just smiled. That's when Connor leaned into my hip, arm around my waist and said 'Yeah, but Madeline's not your child, I am'. Does it really get any better than that?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


We arrived in Venice Airport just after 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon. We were met with a sultry sun and the bus/boat to take us into Lido, a small Island off the main island of Venice. Lido, we were informed, is the only surrounding island that has vehicles on it.

The boat ride itself was uneventful and we both felt a rising anticipation to get settled into our hotel and head back out to the Boat Stop to catch a boat to Venice.

As we walked on to the boat, Andy was ahead of me and made his way to the front of the boat where he quickly sat down. I glanced at the signs behind his head and motioned for him to get up, telling him that he couldn't sit there as the sign was indicating 'no men', he turned round, looked at the sign, and stood to move. It was through laughter that I heard a lovely Italian gentleman telling Andy to 'sit' 'sit', that it was ok. The sign was a picture of a man with the red line through it saying no in four different languages. Next to it was a picture of a person sitting with yes (again in four different languages). Sorry but I couldn't help myself to that little trick.

It was shortly after five when we disembarked at the boat stop for Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square). The place was throbbing with people of all different nationalities and merchants selling their wares. A three piece band was playing as we made our way past Doges' Palace and on into the Square. It felt a bit surreal to say the least, to finally see the historically famous square that has been in countless films. Although the place was very crowded, I think the pigeons outnumbered humans by 3-1. There was a fellow standing there with seeds in his hands while at least 20 pigeons landed on him in the scramble for food. Andy and I decided to pass on this aspect of St. Mark's Square as neither of us was looking to get covered in pigeon droppings.

We walked around just taking it all in before stopping at a quaint little restaurant for an Italian Supper. I was dying to try a slice of pizza from all the little pizza houses we passed, but I was saving that for the next day. I ended up eating pasta and of course Tiramisu. It was devine. After eating we made our way up the side streets once again and did a little shopping. I couldn't help myself and selected a gorgeous soft pashmina that could be doubled as a scarf. I made only a half hearted effort to haggle with the guy over price, and got Andy to pay the man. We headed back to the boat-stop and then took a ride up the Grand Canal for a look at how the Aristocracy of Venice live. It was absolutely breathtaking.

After this we made our way back down the canal, out onto the bay, and then back to Lido. We quickly figured out that the boats are obviously run on the 'honour system' as we paid our fares but no one ever validated our tickets.

We had a restful sleep and after a breakfast of crossaints we made our way back into Venice. We decided to head to the other end of the Island, past the train station to the quieter and less touristy areas. It was lovely to browse the streets and shops amongst the locals who were out buying bread. We were drooling over the various ice-cream shops and bakeries. By 11 a.m. both of us were in short sleeves as it was just fantastically gorgeous out. We made way back to the Rialto Bridge (the busier and more expensive side of town) to grab a slice of pizza for lunch. I have never in my life tasted pizza this terrific. I was already dreaming about pizza for that night.

We made our way back across the Rialto as the further you walk away from St. Mark's Square it not only becomes less crowded, but the prices of wares are much cheaper. It wasn't long before we were stopping for ice-cream. The flavours were out of this world - I ended up with Tiramisu, Panacotta and some other chocolate flavourur. Scrumptious! Andy tried the Sorbet and Panacotta. Let's say that both of us weren't long in polishing our bowls off! We stopped at a little restaurantnt along one of the smaller canals for drinks (I had a bellini of course) and happily watched the Matre'd pat the pretty womens bums as they passed by.

After trying the proper Italian Bellini's I of course couldn't pass by a shop that was selling this tasty drink and bought 2 bottles. (I'm thrilled to bits that I also managed to purchase some beautiful hand-blown Venetianan glass mini martini glasses that I will happily be drinking my Bellini's out of!)

We spent the remainder of the afternoon out enjoying the sun and taking in a few interesting sights such as the Venetianan Ghetto, Bridge of Sighs and Monumenti Dell'assistenza. At the Monumenti, which is a tall leaning tower, we actually witnessed a local Bride and Groom descending the tower after a photo shoot. We then took ourselves off to relax over some wine and beer as we watched the world go by in yet another of the lovely local squares.

We debated taking a ride on one of the Gondolas, but as they cost 100 Euro an hour, and as we were pressed for time, we decided to forgo it. It was very commercialized but we promised ourselves if we ever make it back there we will experience the Gondola.

We headed off to the train station to meet Valentina and Mike who had travelled down from Trento. It was so fantastic to see them after all this time (2 Years) and Val and I both kept saying how wonderful it was to finally be hanging out again and
who would have figured it would have been in Italy, especially back in the day when we were both working at SVGH!

We all took the boat back to Lido so that V&M could check into their hotel and Andy and I could change. This was the first time where Andy and I actually took a cab back to our hotel as our legs and feet were finally beginning to feel the strain of non stop walking.

When we met up that evening at 8 p.m. we decided to go to a pizza house on the Island as there were some pretty nice places to chose from. We sat and ate more amazing pizza while drinking Italian Beer, happily reminiscing about old times, groaning about Immigration and discussing all the other hoo-ha people have to go through when they relocate to another country (but its worth it). We then moved on to a great little bar for further drinks where we laughed the night away.

We made plans to meet up the next morning after check out, and upon doing so, walked around the Island until we came to the beach, the only beach in Venice we are told. It was an opportune moment for a few more pictures before heading back into town for some Italian Coffee prior to catching our boat back to the airport. It was sunny and warm and it was sad to have to cut our time off at midday but alas, our journey was ending. We waved V&M off after hugs and promises of plans to meet again soon, probably in England. I look forward to the day!

On the boat Andy and I were kind of quiet as we both reflected back on the breathtaking city of Venice. Words cannot express the absolute wonder of this place and I'm so grateful that we were able to have the opportunity to explore it together. Despite numerous warnings of how wet/cold it would be, we are pleased to report that nothing was disappointingng about this trip, including the weather. Everything was a dream.

For more pictures look here

Monday, October 17, 2005

Never One To Pass On a Dare...

To have a full understanding behind the reason for this photo, you will need to visit Tawny's site:LocoBellaTuna and then Dawn's The Ramblings of Globose Thought

However it all started because of The Blogger Annual Boobie-Thon in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness. Both Tawny and Dawn have posted beautiful shots of their bra-clad breasts. I took it a just a step further because as we all know, I'm not shy. Sure I have all the same 'issues' with my breasts that most bigger busted girls do, but they are mine and I love them just the same and hope that they stay healthy for the remainder of my life. I wish the same for all the women in my life.

Tawny, Dawn - it's been fun. I love you both for being brave and beautiful.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Where's Dad?
Today while playing with Molly I informed her in an excited tone 'Molly, there's Daddy!' and up she went, paws on the back of the couch, eagerly watching out the window for Andy. She stood there for about 3 minutes, scanning the street before giving up. About 20 minutes later when Andy actually did arrive, I said it again and was met with a look that would be the equivalent of 'To hell with you mama, I'm not falling for that one again'. But, she heard the car door slam and back to the window she went. I don't know who looks forward to his arrival home more - me or her.

Let the Weekend Begin
To begin our Anniversary celebration, last weekend my husband took me out for a fantastic meal where I just happened to drink too much wine over dinner and ended up slightly drunk. I intend on doing the same this weekend but this time I will be consuming the wine (and pizza) in Venice... have I mentioned that already?

Andy and I will have Friday night and most of Saturday to ourselves prior to meeting up with my pal Valentina and her husband Mike (a fellow Nova Scotian) late Saturday afternoon, with whom I imagine we will then again be consuming copius amounts of Italian Wine and Beer.

Fino al nostro prossimo incontro...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

One Year Ago Today

To celebrate, we leave for a weekend in Venice - Yes, Venice, on Friday morning.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Our Little Racing Stars

Last night Andy and I took Alex, Connor and two of Alex's mates Karting for Alex's 13th birthday party. It was just over a week late, but what with all that is going on in terms of Andy's mom, etc. it was the best we could do. They had a fantastic time and of course our Alex won every single race. This Karting place isn't like the one out at Atlantic Playland. They set it up just like a mini Formula 1, with scoreboards and all. I was so pleased that Connor, being the youngest, never came last once, but felt rather sorry for poor Jimmy (Alex's best mate) - who drove in the overly-cautious manner of a senior citizen and came last every time. My heart nearly broke for him when he turned to me and said 'I'm just gutted Jody, that I came last everytime'. I told him to nevermind, that when it comes to the ladies, he'd never come last. That made him smile. So when the boys went up on the podium to get their medals I was pleased that our Alex had his best mate share first place with him.

Maybe it's who U know, or who U aRe, or maybe, just maybe, dumb luck...

I was just reading The Ramblings of Globose Thought, where Dawn mentions that Martha Stewart, due to her criminal record, was having difficulty in being issued a visa to get into Canada (she's partaking in the Windsor Pumpkin Fest). Luckily for her, it's been granted. Lucky Martha - and how lucky for the Happy Homemakers of Nova Scotia who can witness Martha racing down a river in a Giant Pumpkin...

My friend, who is working at an Ontario prison while doing her thesis recently informed me of a British woman whom she encountered. This woman was granted entry to Canada with a criminal record. Within one month she was robbing banks and landed herself a Go Directly To Jail ticket. Hrrrrrmmmm. Where the fuck is Immigration headed? Instances like this are reaffirming (at least in my mind) that most countries don't have a just Immigration System, that world-wide it basically comes down to your own luck and whatever dimwit, or asshole (bitch-faced cow) you manage to encounter on your quest to enter a country.

Go Figure.

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Shit Just Keeps Getting Bigger

Close friends of mine from back home have a little baby of 7 months old and to define how much he has grown throughout the stages of his life, they have been placing a bunny rabbit beside him in pictures. It was a great idea, because although you know they are growing, sometimes it's hard to remember just how small they were unless you see the evidence.

I know that our baby Molly has grown quite a lot over the past three months as I weigh her, but more importantly I know that she is slowly moving from little puppy to big puppy because her shit piles in the back yard have steadily grown bigger.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It Rubs Off Both Ways

Yesterday was a busy day for Andy and I, what with settling his mom into the hospital for her hip replacement surgery (it went well), taking both our dog and one of Wendy's, to the vet, and taking my last driving lesson, and then test (which I passed of course ;). We were looking for a spot yesterday evening in the hospital parking lot (which I have free access to what with working for the NHS), when a guy starting backing out from a space without checking to see if anyone was coming. Andy slammed on the brakes and yelled out his window 'Watch where your going BUDDY!!!'. I couldn't help but laugh. Buddy of course if a commonly used term in good old eastern Nova Scotia, and to hear my very English husband come out with it made me chuckle. I can't imagine how it would sound to a local. Funny enough I'm just beginning to pick up on the term Mate, something I've been avoiding for a long time. I guess this acquirement of local terms works both way.

Flight Frustrations

Initially when I began looking for flights to take me home, Andy and I agreed that as lovely as it would be, he wouldn't be travelling back with me for the holidays. We reached this decision due to the fact that flights are usually very expensive over the Christmas/New Year season and as he would only be able to come for a week it just wouldn't be financially feasible. Just the other day I was chatting with Tawny and the possibility of my flying into Toronto was discussed. Tawny has an Annual Christmas Party and was hoping I could make it. I have investigated numerous possibilities as I would love to stop over in Toronto, even though it means an additional 2 hours on top of a 9 hour flight, but sadly I just can't get the right flight. I've decided to fly Air Canada as they don't have as strict a baggage allowance as the other flights, besides, the only other flight that I could take only flies to Toronto and although I don't mind flying into Toronto, I want to leave from Halifax. It sucks that the cheaper Airlines don't fly out of Halifax during the Holidays, but also have such stupid baggage restrictions (I know its because they offer flights at a discount.) The cost of getting to and from Toronto would bring the cost up to more than it will cost to fly Air Canada, an added expense we can't really afford at the moment, one way from Toronto to Halifax wouldn't have been too bad.

Andy had also decided on the weekend that he really would like to come over right after Christmas and fly home with me in the New Year, but so far, that too is a no go as the prices are extortionate. As we are hoping to buy a house next year we just can't afford to drop the extra money. Maybe, and this is a big maybe, there might be a flight special prior to Christmas that would allow my husband to join me.

Tawny and her husband will be in NS over the holidays which is a great consolation.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

100 Things About Me (Sad But Bluntfully True)

1. My eyes are usually hazel but when I cry or get angry they turn green
2. I'm the only one in my immediate family with that colour eyes.
3. I once punched a (big) boy on a school bus in grade 8 for grabbing my boob
4. I love Dairy Queen Blizzards
5. The first time I moved out of my parents house was when I moved to England
6. I love babies
7. I've lost nearly 30 pounds but am struggling to get more off.
8. I love drinking cider
9. I cherish the friends I have
10. I have kissed over 200 people
11. I never realized what I was capable of until I met my husband
12. I love squeezing zits, and not just my own
13. I often second guess all my decisions
14. I wish I was funnier
15. I want to write a book someday but don't think I will ever have the courage, or stamina
16. I have a tattoo of a tribal sun on my lower back
17. I can't go to sleep at night without reading first.
18. My husband is my greatest love
19. I never have a book very far from reach
20. I love going to movies, especially with my kid sister
21. I love being able to talk to my husband about anything
22. I had to stop being friends with someone because she expected too much from me
23. I find body piercing sexy when not overdone
24. I take over hour long baths
25. My husband is the first man I've ever really been faithful to
26. Sometimes I can be very hard to live with
27. I don't mind cleaning the bathroom
28. I wish I'd done something more exciting career-wise
29. I have a high pain tolerance
30. I've never had stitches
31. I've kissed more than one girl, but only liked kissing one
32. I love Chinese food
33. I often dream I can fly
34. I spend to much time wondering 'what if'
35. I feel more comfortable in my current relationship than I ever have before
36. I get melancholy more than I'd like to admit
37. I love to sleep in but often can't
38. I drink way too much diet coke, but I’m not gonna stop
39. My lips are my favourite feature on my face
40. I've never broken a bone
41. I don't feel bad for falling in love with my husband while he was married to someone else
42. I used to love Another World
43. I think Michael Jackson is a freak and don't understand why anyone would let a child sleep over with him
44. My love for my dog is HUGE
45. I think people of mixed races are especially good looking
46. Sex and the City was one of my favourite programs
47. I want to visit Australia
48. I'm a great procrastinator
49. Sometimes when opportunity knocks I'm too busy procrastinating to answer
50. I worry about leaving my hair straightener on and often go back to check
51. I don't really like my job
52. Sometimes I want children, but more often I don't
53. I love the smell of fresh mown grass
54. I can't ski but wish I could
55. I've made myself throw up before and still struggle with it from time to time
56. I'm proud to be Canadian
57. I love my music loud when driving
58. I hate the word Cunt
59. If I find a clothing item that works I'll buy it in different colours
60. I love high heel shoes but hardly ever wear them
61. I'm mostly ok with my teeth- I've gotten used to them
62. I'm obsessive about food
63. I always wanted to live in the UK but never really thought I would
64. I always wear lipstick, if no other makeup
65. I've blacked out more than once
66. I'm very grateful for the love of my husband and his children
67. I cry over the littlest thing
68. I can hold my breath under water for 32 seconds (at least)
69. My mother and I are friends
70. I usually say what I think
71. I once had my passport stolen and am terrified of it happening again
72. I've peed in public before, and not just in the woods
73. I love my husband's hands
74. I always wear polish on my toenails
75. I look forward to the movies and food on airplanes
76. I love the word fucker
77. I always notice what people are wearing on their feet
78. I didn't like high school
79. I hate it when people say one thing to your face and another behind your back
80. I love my husband's two sons more than I ever thought possible
81. I hate feeling guilty
82. I rarely told the truth about anything while in the bars during my early 20's
83. I really miss a friend who left my life for reasons unknown to myself
84. I've debated joining the English Police but figured it would be too tedious to deal with
85. I enjoy singing karaoke
86. I like driving a standard better than an automatic vehicle
87. I miss my Nan more than anyone
88. I don't believe in organized religion but I do believe in a God of some sort
89. I love the smell of wood stove on an autumn day
90. I bought my first car at 19 and have owned my own since then
91. I want to be one size smaller
92. I constantly worry about something happening to a member of my family
93. I love 'spooning' with my husband
94. I learned to tie my shoe laces in bunny ears from the show Romper Room and still tie them that way
95. I love being right, especially when someone thinks I'm wrong
96. I usually don't like to watch a movie more than once, unless it's a favourite
97. I love 3 course meals, but usually choose a starter over a dessert
98. Tiramusu is one of my favourite desserts
99. I don't have just one favourite movie
100. I love coming from a big family
You're an Expert Kisser

You're a kissing pro, but it's all about quality and not quantity
You've perfected your kissing technique and can knock anyone's socks off
And you're adaptable, giving each partner what they crave
When it comes down to it, your kisses are truly unforgettable

Now... tell me something I haven't already been told before (more than once). Eh Dar??? ;)

Friday, September 16, 2005

I know its over when...

For me, the determining factor to summer drawing to its close is when I have to pull out my 'fall' shoes... those that have to be worn with tights or socks as it's too chilly (or as is often the case here, damp) to wear my sandals or flipflops.

Normally the only closed toe shoe I wear in the summer months are my trainers when I'm working out. I hold off from enclosing my feet in socks and shoes for as long as I possibly can, not only because I love the freedom of wearing bare feet, but because for me it means that summer is basically over.

(I normally never wear long pants in the summer months either but that isn't necessarily the case this I've moved continents.)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

3 Point Turns
Before I had started taking 'driving lessons' here in Britain, I do not believe I had ever heard the term '3 Point Turn', and if so it obviously eluded my memory at some point in time. Either way Tuesday after my lesson I was in a sweat and very agitated after numerous attempts to successful maneuver a 3 point turn, as well as reverse parallel park. The RIGHT way. Or the British way. Either way, not the way I have been doing it for the last fifteen years. Normally this stuff comes quite easily to me and it annoys me that I have to break the habits I have acquired in order to pass a driving test. Especially when I have a full UK license in my hand. All this to prove I can drive a standard. I suppose I shall just keep at it, 3 more lessons before the final exam. We shall see how it goes. I'm just not sure what will happen if I don't pass this test as I have an actual license in my hand that would allow me to drive the roads of Britain provided I'm in an automatic.

Determined or Stupid...
I decided to take my bike to work today, despite the light drizzle occurring. It would have been the smarter choice to take the bus, however I've been trying to get into better shape and figured I'd be alright, especially as I would pack a change of clothes. As would happen, it started to chuck it down less than halfway to work. I stuck my head down and just got on with it. At the moment my running jacket and pants are hanging on the coat rack drying out with the assistance of the fan. I won't be too bothered if it's still raining when it's time to go, so long as the clothes are dry when I put them on.

But then: As I was getting out of my wet clothes it hit me that I had forgotten to grab a clean bra out of the laundry basket. Although my sports bra wasn't too wet, it wasn't pleasant to have to put a clean top on over it, nevermind the fact I only brought a small sleeveless shirt with me and have to wear certain bra's under it as it is - not a wide strapped sport bra! However with my damp, frizzy hair being long, its not as bad as it could have been as it covers the the little bit of bright blue strap showing through.

My Professional Voice
I have always been told that I have a good voice over the phone. Andy sometimes doesn't recognize me on the odd occasion when he has to call me at work. I had a teacher in High School who once told me after an 'interview style' report we had to complete, that I should be a reporter as my voice sounds really professional on tape. I laughed it off. Doesn't everyone just abhor the sound of their recorded voice? When I first started working at the School Board way back when, I can remember a senior director of one of the branches telling me he had to come see me in person and find out if I looked as good as I sounded. Well ok... Either way, its something I've heard my whole life. Thus bringing me to my point. Now it's not just the tone of my voice. I just had a phone call from one of my colleagues who works in another building. It went something like this:

Me: 'Good Afternoon Grimsby -- --'

(Who I thought was J, but couldn't be sure): 'Oh Hi Jody, I didn't expect you to answer'

Me: 'No? Who were you looking for?'

J: 'Well I wanted the machine to pick up.'

Me: 'Oh you want to leave a message for the Health Visitors?

J: 'No, I wanted your voice mail, I didn't want to actually speak with you' giggles

Me: 'Sure - Ok - I'll hang up then' slightly puzzled

J: 'OK, and don't answer when I call back'

Me: 'OK'

Now the first thing I did after the phone rang and it went to voicemail was pick up the phone and listen to my messages. The only thing I heard was a small giggle and the words 'isn't it ace?'

So a few minutes later when J called back to speak to one of the Health Visitors I asked if that was her that had called earlier. After a moment of banter, she laughed and said it was. I laughed and asked her if they were making fun of the way I talk and she laughed back and replied 'NO, I love your voice and L never heard your voice mail, so we phoned so she could hear it and she thinks its lovely too!' Sadly, this is not the first time someone has told me they love it when the voicemail picks up as it's my recorded voice they hear. And to think I almost got my colleague to record the message, thus denying all these funny gals the opportunity to hear this beaver's silly accent.

Monday, September 12, 2005

You Either Do, Or You Don't

I had thoughts all weekend of making today a detox day, but of course that went out the window as soon as I got to work and opened a diet coke and finished off a bag of crunchy nuggets. Not exactly the best way to begin the week - normally I have a diet coke and a LF Muffin, or cereal bar. This diet of chocolate and the obsessive amounts of diet coke, added to my increased stress level due to worrying about Wayne, thus added to the fact that I'm 'ON', hasn't helped my skin one bit. Fortunately my weight hasn't been negatively affected. Biking to work has been my saviour on this one.

As Andy is working local for the next few weeks we will hopefully work together on our diet and exercise. Speaking of exercise, let me take this moment to say how proud I am of my ambitious sister Tawny for completing her first triathalon one day after her 30th birthday. She finished in just over an hour. I remember when I used to visit her and go off for a jog myself. Lately I have been very slack with jogging but it is my hope that we can jog together next time we see each other (dependent on the weather of course since it'll likely be December). Or better yet, Tawny, Stacy and I can go - as Stacy has been working really hard these last few months as well.

On Friday morning when I checked my email, I was so pleased to see a few pictures of SVGH and some of my girls from work. Hardly a day goes by that I sit here at my new job and don't reminisce about old times at SV's, especially mornings when we all used to have a great chat before getting down to 'business'. Sure the job got tedious at times, or the politics there got a little 'over the top', however I had fun at that place and I met some friends who will last a lifetime. Although life changes, and I've moved on and am happy here with Andy, of course I still miss Halifax, and I miss SV's, but it's those like Debbie who make it easier by sending emails regularly, especially with photos like these attached:

Saturday, September 10, 2005

30 Years Ago...

This day, 30 years ago, my mom was beginning her preparations to leave the hospital and come home with someone that would change my life forever. I don't know what I felt about her at the time, I was only 2 1/2. I know once mom found her stuffed in my little doll's crib, and another time I pinched her - so I'm sure my feelings over her were a bit 'torn' at times - or maybe I was just acting the way any 2 year old would who suddenly had to share her whole world.

Most times I believe that I was glad to have her around - in the early days I often thought of her as a friend even, that is, when she wasn't breaking my Grease records or sabotaging my barbie van ;). And although I wasn't admittedly overly eager to let her tag along at all times, I would have tried my hardest to knock the keds off anyone who ever tried to hurt her, and once or twice nearly did. I don't rememember my life before she came into it and I certainly can't imagine my life without her in it now. Not only is she my sister, she is most definitely my friend. And today she joins me in the fourth decade of life!

Wishing Wayne Well

This picture of me, Wayne and his baby, Brendan (Twin 1) was taken last summer when I was home on my six week holiday.

In the last 22 days Wayne has undergone three major surgeries to correct various problems that have arisen due to his collitis, and following his first surgery. Initially the surgery was to correct a hernia that had wrapped around his bowel, however several complications have resulted, and my cousin is now very sick. I don't have a lot of faith in the hospital at the moment as they should never have let him out last week when they did. I didn't know people could be released from hospital while running a fever.

I know that he must be so fed up and frustrated, I know that he is scared, but I also know that he is strong and will continue to fight through this. He has a beautiful wife and twin boys to think about, not to mention a whole onslaught of people that just want to see him feeling better, but he has a long road to recovery ahead of him. I just want it to go as smoothly as possible for him, he has been through enough already.

Monday, September 05, 2005

I just finished reading an article on CNN which it told a disturbing tale that brought tears to my eyes. People on the Gulf Coast who needed rescuing where being forced to leave their pets behind as there was no room in rescue boats. A kindly anesthesiologist stayed behind at one hospital to take care of a group of animals on the rooftop and one doctor euthanized some animals at the request of their owners, as they couldn't bear the thought of leaving them behind to starve - you can find the full story here, but I warn you, its hard reading.

There is no way on God's Green Earth that I would EVER abandon Molly. I love her more than words can express and I think I would let myself starve first before I'd leave her. Call me what you will, say she's just a dog, whatever. I would NOT leave her behind. Some might ask what would I do if I had the boys with us... would I still stay behind? Well hopefully Andy would be with us and I would send the children off with him. If I had the kids on my own with the dog, rather than take the children with the authorities, and leave the dog, I'd have to think about sending the children with the authorites. I would at least know they were being taken care of and could find them afterwards. It's a hard call on that as the children are not my own. I only say this because if they were my own, I would be running the risk of leaving them without a mother, and this doesn't bear thinking about. However as life stands for me now I don't have any children of my own.
It's really too hard to cotemplate no matter who the children are, letting them go without me would be stressful for them. I would just have to fight for all of us to be taken, including the dog. The children as well, would find it too traumatic to leave the pup behind.

Although they say 'never say never' and I know that the situation down south is harrowing and frightening - that people must feel so alone and frustrated with awaiting rescue, I can say with 99.9% conviction, Never. Never would I leave her behind.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Just Some Good Old Boys

So, we took the boys to see this film last night. I didn't have much expectations and because of this, came out of the cinema still laughing. If nothing else it was worth seeing the joy on the boys' faces as they laughed their hearts out!

The road scenes with the General Lee were typical of the TV show and the soundtrack was particularly enjoyable. I was curious to see how the cast of characters played out and kept making comparisons to the original television show which I used to love. Although none of the characters held any physical similarities to the original cast other than Willy Nelson as Uncle Jessie (with a few less pounds), and the guy who played Cooter. I was, as usual, laughing my ass off at Sean William Scott. Sorry, but I find the guy hilarious - he made his mark as Stifler and every movie I've seen him in since has made me roar in laughter. I do believe however that the role of Rosco P. Coltrane would have been much better suited to my Uncle Reg...

Picked Up in Style
Today my three boys came and picked me up for lunch in our new SUV. I don't know whose face was brighter with excitement, Andy's or the boys. We went to McDonald's for lunch as I only had an hour. We had to stop at the main hospital so Andy could pick up his nephew and I received a bundle of hugs and kisses from the boys before they let me walk across the grounds to the clinic. What a sweet way to spend a lunch hour.

In the Ghetto
This week, I've picked up three extra shifts and have thus had to work three full days - thankfully tomorrow is just my usual morning shift. How my co-worker works in the clinic from 8:30-9 five days a week is beyond me, however I have to say this past week hasn't been too bad. My Line Manager has hired the services of a Security Guard to hopefully quell any rough behaviour by the local bohemians, however as he's kind of short and round, and isn't packing a bat, I don't know how much of a deterrent he will prove to be. Owell, better he deal with the lot of them than me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I was just talking to Stacy on messenger, and asked her if she was looking forward to her trip to Ontario to stay with Tawny and Taylor, already knowing that of course the answer would be yes. But she did say however, that she was a little bit stressed over what to do about Sandra. My answer to her was this: If Sandra doesn't have a firm plan made with you that fits in with your other plans prior to your departure, then please, don't bother about it. Last summer while I was there I tried to arrange to see Sandra and it only ended in tears, plans should have been made prior to my ever arriving there. I cannot blame Tawny for not wanting to go out of her way to assist us in seeing Sandra while she goes so far out of her way to accommodate us in everyway possible, especially while Sandra is excluding her from her life at this moment. Sandra needs to start making more of an effort and down deep I'm not really sure if this will happen, we can all keep hoping but not too much so, as we might end up even more disappointed. Stace said Sandy seemed excited when told Stacy was going to TO, and I'm sure she is, and I know she was informed at short notice (she and Brad were supposed to be in NS right now), but it still remains to be seen of how 'excited' she will in fact be. I'm sorry but when Tawny will do anything to see you, 'its just easier for Brad to drop Stacy off when he takes Sandra to work' won't cut it, let's hope they realize this. Stacy is travelling all the way to Ontario, it wouldn't hurt S&B to make one special trip to bring Stacy back by lunchtime on Saturday so she can get ready for Tawn's 30th B-day party. I know when people come to visit me from away I try to accommodate them as much as possible and don't expect them to just 'fit in' to my schedule'. Yes sometimes it can't be helped i.e. work, pre-arranged events, but come on, one 30 minute journey out of your way isn't going to hurt, especially when you haven't seen that sister in over a year.

As I said a moment ago - maybe she will surprise us and be completely accommodating, but when I think about events of the past I really can't hold my breath on that one. Good Luck Stacy.

Nice Things

Today my husband rang me at work with three pieces of great news: Firstly and most importantly: Due to his being such a fantastically, brilliant Electrical Supervisor he has shown himself to be a keeper and was offered a long term contract by the company he has been working with since autumn last year on a week to week basis. This will enable us to breath easier as we know some definite money will be coming our way, especially in preparation for us hopefully buying a house next year. I think some celebrating is in order.

Secondly: We were notified today that our new SUV will be available on Thursday sometime. Considering we were told we could have up to a six week wait, its come as a welcome surprise.

Thirdly: A package has arrived from my parents that was full of my favourite things: Baked Doritos, Stove Top, Chili Mix, Cool Aid for the boys, Tim's Coffee for Andy and best of all pictures that Stacy took while she was in England - that gave me a touch of nostalgia let me tell you! Also included was the Leanne Rimes CD -and I think it's great. Tucked inside was also a little 'passenger' pewter angel to be clipped to our next car visor to give us luck in future (from mom of course - which makes it extra special).

Our Long Weekend

This past weekend was what the Brits refer to as a Bank Holiday, and us Canadians refer to as A Long Weekend. The weather wasn't that cooperative so Andy and I took advantage and did some painting. Mine part was limited of course as I'm allergic to paint fumes. The boy's room, a bright blue, looks fantastic and they are so pleased with the result. We took the spare bed down and moved a few things around so now that it only contains a wardrobe, their bunkbeds, a small shelf and their TV/PS2 - it's much roomier and very sharp looking.

When I got home tonight Andy had finished the bathroom and instead of being cream its now a nice soft pinky/brown colour that matches perfectly with the tiles.

Yesterday, Wendy and I went to see Andy's sister Claire in her group home and stopped over for lunch and a little shopping in the large Garden Center nearby. Lunch was terrific, and I was so thrilled to find a gorgeous dark brown coat suitable for dress down/dress up that will keep me warm through the English Winter. Nevermind my joy at the cash register, when it came up at 13 pounds off! Sad, but I do love a bargain. Doubt it will be warm enough for December at home, but its coming with me regardless.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Going Nowhere and seemingly getting there fast... or so it would appear

This past week has held a number of frustrations. Nothing insurmountable but slightly frustrating just the same.

1) This morning I spent nearly an hour on the phone between two different agencies (DVLA & DSA) trying to figure out what getting my manual transmission driving license would entail. Some thought I needed to pass a theory test. Now why, I asked, would I need to pass a theory test when I have a full and proper UK driving license in my position that allows me to drive on real roads with actual traffic? It doesn't make sense. Naturally after 40 minutes of getting nowhere, I got my answer. And I was right. So I am now booked in to take my manual driving test on September the 26th, which happens to be the day my mother-in-law goes into the hospital for hip replacement surgery. Nice one... annoying but nothing that can't be sorted out. Only trouble is it will be the first week or two of October before I am actually driving again (not counting the few hours I will be spending with a driving instructor just to ensure I am driving up to UK standards).

2) Received a letter from the ex-Mrs. after two years of trying to get her to correspond to us in this manner firmly stating that as the contact order states we are to pick the children up from her place she will no longer be able to 'assist' us by dropping them off and picking them up (since we don't have a car due to the crash). Well this is a detrimental affair for the children as I will no longer be able to have them down on a Wednesday as Wendy (their Grandma) has a standing date on Wednesdays and taxi's down and back are just too expensive. We will have to tell them this when they come for their visit this weekend. Fortunately Wendy is able to help us out with the weekend visits. Funny, when it comes to the court order in relation to contact the ex-Mrs. wants to follow the order in regard to picking up the kids, but doesn't care that she is in violation of the order by not allowing Andy to have telephone access with the boys on Monday and Friday evenings... owell nevermind, been down this road before and won't bore you with it all... long and short of it is, we will handle her correspondence in exactly the same manner she handled ours (minus calling the police), by ignoring it.

3) I'm working in the Ghetto. For weeks now we have been having trouble with 'youths' coming into the clinic and reeking havok. Today was the worst scenario yet as it took three of us woman to try and hold the outer door shut and get it locked as five of them (2 large) were pulling then kicking and smashing at it trying to get back in... my arm got banged in the process. Let's just say I'm not looking forward to working solo next week. They are bringing in a security guard on a trial basis as its taking security too long to run across from the main hospital site. Either way, something tells me I won't be working at the clinic much longer. Its just not turning out to be my scene.

4) I miss my husband - a lot. Homesickness has been hitting a little hard this week. I've always loved summers in Nova Scotia and am missing that almost as much as friends and family. It's also been nearly a year now since I was last home and I'm already beginning to count down the days till I get back there... a little sad considering I have four months to go. I think I'm just a bit lonely due to the fact that for most of the summer Andy has been around, due in part to vacation and working locally and is now back to working away through the week.

5) Trying Times at Home. Also, its been a bit of a stressful time as my cousin Wayne was rushed to hospital last Thursday for emergency surgery. He is on the mend at the moment, but things like this scare me as I'm very far away and can't see for myself that he is fine. Wayne as some of you know is much more like a brother to me than a cousin. This has all been compounded by the fact that his grandmother, Nanny P as we all called her, passed away last week and was buried the day after Wayne's b-day. A sad time for those back home. I feel for Wayne and his sister Denise - they loved Nanny very much - she helped raise them. It'd be nice to be there to just hug them, you know...

So inspite of all this I am feeling much better tonight (I began writing this blog earlier in the day). I had a long talk with Andy about it all, especially the good things in our ife and it just reaffirmed how much I love him and why. For some of the things that get me down sometimes, I have to be very grateful for all the good things in my life that I am blessed with. No, I don't have my family and friends from home around me, but they are only a phone call/email away. I have a loving husband and two wonderful young boys in my life... I've made friends here and I have great in-laws. And I have Molly - she is by my side every day making me laugh with her crazy antics and boy does she give me reason to smile...

My Beautiful Girl

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Day of Accomplishments? Maybe

Well. I'm now hold one of these in my possession. Only trouble is, it allows me to only drive an automatic transmission so now begins the quest to pass a manual driving test. (I figure its pretty much in the bag as I've only been driving a stick for 13 years.) The biggest reason I have for wanting to get this done:

Today Andy and I went and purchased one of these: The Kia Sportage XS. It's fully loaded and absolutely gorgeous. We could have went for an automatic - something Andy was in fact leaning toward, however as it doesn't come in the XS edition (fully loaded with extras such as cruise, sun-roof, air control vs air con, heated seats, etc.) Sweet - or so we think!

So after shopping for a new rig and buying Gregg's for lunch (only the best sandwiches ever) we came home and began a good clean up of the house. Andy has just finished wiping up all the stuff off the carpet with a cloth that refuses to come up with the vacuum cleaner. (What a man.)

I was cleaning the bathroom earlier when Andy came upstairs from washing the windows. His face was absolutely running rivulets of sweat. I stopped washing the shower curtain and looked at him, and thus began this conversation:

Me: "Is that sweat all over your face???" (it's not overly hot today and he was outside)

Andy "Yup - Sweat"

Me: "Yuck... Gawd, I haven't seen you sweat that much before - you know, I used to have a boyfriend who'd sweat that much when we were having sex' (I can say these things to Andy, he's a cool husband ;)

Andy "Is that right? Well I can sweat that much if you like next time we have sex".

Me: "Nah, I'm sure you could, but you'd have to work unnecessarily hard. Ronnie used to just sweat like that during normal. It was gross. (Maybe it was the height of summer in NS, but who cares, it was still gross)

Andy(Laughs) Ok

and back to the cleaning went we.

I've just finished cleaning the fridge and decided that was enough for one day. While Andy hooks his surround sound up, I'll make dinner and then its off to the pictures we go. I want to see Unleashed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Better Days

The sun is finally shining and the temperature seems to have finally risen to above 10-12 degrees. The past three weeks have been a dreary state of cloud, rain and wind. Occasionally we were given the odd glimpse of the sun, but these were only crude and hope crushing incidents. This weather was of course made worse with the added fact of our bodies and minds whirling in shock from our car crash. Add to the fact that at home in Canada the sun and and temperature has been up more days than not. Sorry, but I will not be giving sympathy to those who winge about it being 'too hot'. To see and feel the heat of the sun would be like a healing balm. And get this - so it is.

Yesterday morning I awoke to the glorious sunshine and could feel the heat through the windows! Hallelujah! As I went out into the back garden to throw a ball to Molly it hit me that I wouldn't be bothering with the bus today, that dammit, I would ride my bike. Sick of feeling low, and realizing that my body is healing with each day (all visible bruises are gone) I thought it would be the best thing for me - besides, I hadn't properly exercised in weeks and once you've been doing to for years, its not that easy a habit to break.

And I was right. Biking to work left me with such a feeling of exhilaration... I don't think I stopped smiling as I peddled on. Not too far from our main road I had to bike up a small but long hill that I was a bit worried about as my chest is still a little sore, but I breezed up it thinking to myself 'this is no sweat', and smiling at the little bunnies I passed on the way. This is what life is about - the sweeter things in life.

When I got to work and was changing in the bathroom I was a reminded of the old days back at SV when Rena and I would have to change and freshen up after our luncheon workout and momentarily felt a little homesick, but again, I wasn't letting anything dampen my good spirits.

It was with a full heart that I picked up the phone yesterday evening to call Dawn - we hadn't spoken on the phone yet this year and it was just as satisfying as the rest of my day. To spend nearly an hour reminiscing about good times, chatting about the things we love about 'home' and making 'little' plans for the day when she indeed comes to England was better than any little pink pill the Doc could have prescribed...

So this morning I wake up and again, there is the sun! I'm told today is going to be even warmer (shame I switched my morning for the afternoon shift) and I fully intend to get my bike out for the trip to work. But before that there is a little yellow lab looking mournfully at me for her morning walk.

Its good to be feeling good again.

The Name Game

It seems wherever I go, or whatever I read, at least once a fortnight I'm hit with someone talking about the pro's and con's of taking someone else's name. I have no issue with anyone else doing what they want upon marriage (or divorce for that matter). I kept my own name for my own reasons but wanted to share this funny conversation with you.

It actually happened the night of our crash. Andy and I were both laid out side by side on stretchers in a cubicle in A&E. We were being interviewed by two policemen, one who was really nice and a younger more abrupt fellow (could be due to the fact he and his wife had a newborn at home, could be due to the fact that he's fed up with all the BS his job entails.... who knows, but he was a bit attitudy).

BTW, I missed his name when he began questioning us about our account. So, he takes Andy's details and then turns to me.

Cop - Your name is McDonald - but you two are married yeah?'

Me - (knowing what was coming) 'Yup'

Cop - (breaking away from the formal interview) Why'd you keep your own name?

Me - Cause I wanted to

Cop - Yeah, my wife didn't want to take mine either, but I soon let her know there wasn't an option.

Me (with raised eyebrows) - Yeah? What's your name?

Cop - All(then something I can't make out)

Me - Can you repeat that?

Cop - Allsocks

Me - All socks??????


Me - All Cocks??????

Cop - That's right

Me - What was your wife's name before?

Cop - Ford

Me - Man, sorry but I would have kept Ford.

Andy's Dad was wearing such an silly expression of 'oh boy, here she goes again', but Andy was just laughing.

Call me forward, rude, whatever, but I had just survived a head on collision and had felt obliged to say what I thought (guess its no different from any other time really), especially to this 'my wife had no choice' guy. Sorry, but I wouldn't take the reasonable name of Allenby, pronounced 'Allen bye' by my funny and newfie cousin, I sure as hell wouldn't be walking around with the name of Jody Alcox... I could never, ever live that one down.

Friday, August 12, 2005

You Can Dress Me Up Like A Lady, but that's as far as it goes I'm afraid!

Last weekend Andy and I made the journey to the (are you ready for this?) Kingdom of Fyfe to stay in a castle and see his brother Adrian get married. We stayed in a small hotel on Tuesday evening when we arrived and it was very nice - we had a room with a big four-poster bed. The colours in the room were very dark and Scottish. It was good to be on a break, even if our bodies were still sore and aching.

Adrian (who had picked us up from the train) then took us up to the Castle for a look around. The grounds were fantastic and the castle itself, although not overly large made for a pretty sight. I have another view of the castle with some other fairly interesting photos here

I have to say, I was just a little disappointed with the inside of the castle though, as it was pretty much like a hotel. I thought that the walls in the corridors and the main reception would be really authentic and stone, however the only place like that was the bar aptly named 'the dungeon'. I suppose they had their priorities right in that aspect.

The next day when we checked in we were again a bit disappointed to see our 'Kings and Queen' Suite, however I grew to like it very much in the end. Our bed, although a four poster, wasn't as fancy as the previous night's, however the room itself was done in brighter, nicer colours and it had two big windows overlooking the front gardens so that was pretty impressive.

The wedding itself was lovely and I must say, I had been rather looking forward to the chance to wear my pink dress and matching hat. I've always looked good in hats but come on, where in NS society have I ever had the opportunity to wear one? So, now that I am in Britain and was going to a wedding in a castle, I figured why not? I managed to get a pink hat that had a piece of floral material around it that matched my dress perfectly - and the dress was bought in NS (but never worn) - it was meant to be.

So we got dressed up, enjoyed the ceremony and the meal (choice between salmon, lamb and vegetble crepe). I have to say, the meal was the best I've ever enjoyed at anyone's wedding, including my own. The party had begun long before the dinner, however we were only too happy to have it continue as we retired to the dungeon and then onto the Green Room. I won't go much further than to say this much - although I was dressed up to the nines, I had began drinking wine before the ceremony even started and by 10 p.m. that night I was legless. Somewhere in between Andy and I snuck up to the room for a little bit of 'our own celebration' and that's no easy feat with the aching condition we are both in, but that's what booze does to ya... So, in all fairness, lets just say that after the events of the previous week I think both Andy and I didn't need a reason to drink to the point of 'feeling no pain'. Problem was, I went to the point where I drank so much I got the hiccups began feeling massive pain what with my bruised sternum. And that's were my memory comes to an abrupt halt.

The next morning saw us up and down at breakfast by 8:40. I was prepared to take a ribbing for my drunken stupor the night before, however the attention was given to my 12 year old nephew (son of the groom) who just happened to be hungover. He and another young fellow ran around behind us throughout the evening pouring the remainder of wine into their cokes... needless to say, I can happily admit I didn't contribute to the little drunk's party because as we all know, I never leave a drop of booze in my glass!

We headed off to the train station for 10 a.m. and our journey home. The trip was uneventful, but long and we were glad to make it home to our pup.