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

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Trying to find that Christmas feeling...:)

Trying to get two young dogs to do what you want them to, when they would rather just be duffing each other up is not the easiest, but with cookies in hand you can just manage it, just! We finally managed to get Maebh in there with her little antlers on although Molly is not coming across as very impressed by the whole ordeal.

Happy Holidays from our house to yours!

Lots of love,
The McAllenbys

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tis the party season after all...

Last Friday evening marked the beginning of a number of Christmas celebrations. I was looking forward to having a few of the girls from work over to the house prior to crossing the street for food and drink at the Harvest Moon, and went so far as to actually lay out a few 'starters' to go along with the wine. An old favourite that was always served at Saint Vincent's was something called a Cheese Ball, served with crackers. It might sound lame, but don't knock it till you try it. Most people love it and I was thrilled to bits that the girls really enjoyed it and asked for the recipe, some saying they want to serve it up over the Holidays to impress their families and friends. I have to admit I'm smiling over this. We all know that hosting is not my strongest point. That is probably more my sister Martha's (ummm, I mean Tawny's) forte!

I will however try to host more 'events' at my house though in the New Year if we manage to find a bigger place. At the moment my living room seats about four comfortably :)

So here I am digressing as usual. The girls and I met up with three more over at the pub and enjoyed ourselves eating, laughing and of course drinking. Naturally I drank way too much and should have called it a night at 11 and have come directly home, however I followed most of the group down to Cleethorpes where a night of drunken, crazy behaviour ensued. Of course I was the most inebriated as per usual. I was a little shameful of my behaviour but the girls have ensured me that if nothing I provided comic relief and I suppose I shouldn't worry too much, because most of them should know me by now and that 'Feeling No Pain Jody' isn't exactly the same as 'Sober Jody', or even 'Drunk Jody'. 'Feeling No Pain Jody' is just a mess. And nobody knows it better than her husband. He definitely hit the nail on the head the night he met me (at Cheers) when he commented to a pal of mine that he 'pitied the man that ends up with that handful'

Sharon, Janice, Me and Hels

But it was a laugh and I was happy to have a night out with my mates to kick off the season. This Friday night is Andy's work party and its a Dinner and Dance at the Wintergardens, which we thoroughly enjoyed the year before last (didn't go last year as I was in NS). I have a lovely new party dress that I will also get to wear again on Saturday as Beryl and I are heading out to another Dinner/Dance at the same venue, but it will be a completely different crowd.

Helen, Sharon, Hels and Julia

I am looking forward to pampering myself Friday afternoon with a trip to the salon as I just don't feel like fussing with my hair myself. Hopefully prior to that I will manage to wrap up the last of my Christmas shopping just in time. I will hopefully be able to post a few pictures of the upcoming parties after they happen. By which time it will be Christmas Eve.

Where does the time go?

Me, Sharon, Hels

Monday, December 11, 2006

Babies on the Bombing Range

Yesterday Andy and I decided to take a short drive up the coast to a spot near Horseshoe Point, Donna Nook, where we heard there were quite a few seals and their pups. We never imagined that there would be so many of them spread out all over the beach, and that they attract so many people - some come from two/three hours away to see this amazing sight of some 1500 seals and their pups.

Every year at this time the seals beach themselves on an area that is usually reserved as a Military Bombing Range. The beach is already cordoned off with a small fence to keep people off for obvious reasons, but at this time of year it comes in handy for the seals. There are also seal wardens out there to ensure that no one touches or disrupts the seals in this natural environment, which came as a great relief to me, as people can get carried away. The seals aren't shy though and many of the pups were laying right up next to the fence, much like these two babies:

I could just fall in love with their big black eyes alone.

We realized that this is an event the children shouldn't miss out on, so this coming weekend we are going to take them out there to witness this amazing sight for themselves.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

We can be good girls, now can we have a cookie already?

Today our friends Sophia and Paul came with their 13 week old Dalmation Maebh (pronounced Mauve - her dad is Irish) to let Molly and us meet her as she will be coming to stay with us for 10 days over the Christmas Holidays.

I'm very excited for this, and despite the fact that Sophia and Paul were a little daunted by the puppy's behaviour (she is more feisty than Molly was, believe it or not), we assured her the dogs would be fine and that we honestly don't mind having Maebh. It will make life interesting for a few weeks. They were a little upset that Maebh was playing a little too rough with Molly, but we did point out that although Molly can be quite a wuss, she is the older dog and will sort the puppy out in her own gentle way. This was proven when we left the girls alone to go to the pub for lunch and returned to find that they were just fine with no blood having been shed. When we peeked in the window it was to find Maebh with her front paws on Molly's back, side-on. I'm also relieved that there is little fear that Molly will accidently hurt her by jumping on her, as that little pup can hold her own.

I think Christmas at the McAllenby's is going to be an adventure if nothing else!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Prep at the McAllenby's

I haven't been much in the mood for blogging lately, but I figure if my pal Val can manage to get in a few blogs with her hectic schedule, the least I could do was blog myself. Not to mention I'm feeling the heat from my dear husband.

Not much going on here except the regular hustle and bustle with the pre-Christmas planning. I've managed to get a few cards home in the mail, but still have the packages to send to the family, which I will do by tomorrow or Saturday as the deadline is Monday.

Last weekend Andy and I decided to put the tree up as we don't have the children this weekend and neither of us wants to leave it till the week before Christmas. For the first time we went out and picked out a real tree, something we thought the kids would enjoy (which they did). I had to put the brakes on though when I overheard Andy telling the tree guy that we were looking for a 6 or 7 footer. Getting the 6 footer would be pushing it. And so it was. Our tree is gloriously huge, and we had to do a lot of moving furniture around to make it work. I was only too pleased to take down the big office desk we had in our living room, in honour of replacing it with a much more reasonably sized home computer desk. (Hence the reason we have not yet purchased the big fridge). My only wish is that we had a nice set of curtains instead of the awful brown blinds!!!

Although Andy had to be out of town all day Sunday, we decided that I would go ahead and decorate with the boys because after all, the whole reason we put the tree up was to partake in the decorating with them. Unfortunately, they weren't that interested. Apparently (and according to them) their mother is a fussy tree decorator and prefers to do it herself. I can understand this of course, but Christmas is for the kids. I figure, let them have a go, and if something doesn't look right, fix it when they are in bed. So ultimately, I turned on the Family Stone to get me in the mood, and started decorating. Connor pulled himself away from the movie momentarily to add a bauble on the very lowest, inner branch, down by the stump. I still think its there, actually.

Unfortuntately, this picture doesn't do our tree justice, but the kids look cute under it!

So the tree is up. It looks great, but better yet, it smells great. It smells of Nova Scotia, which is a great comfort to me (even though we never had a real tree at home, I used to help a dear friend pick out and erect hers every year).

The Christmas Spirit

I've been doing a little shopping, and as mentioned previously, have been trying to get my packages home sorted. Next year, I swear I'm doing it in time to send the big package (to Mom's) home via surface mail as it is a ridiculous cost to send airmail. But hey, its only once a year and they are special to me. Maybe next year I can deliver my presents in person. Who knows?

I have however been feeling a little bit homesick over the past week. This is due mostly in part to the fact that we have been experiencing gale-storm wind and rain for nearly a week now, while Nova Scotia has experienced its first snowfall (to be witnessed over at Stacy's 'my pictures' and Tina's Blog. Although these pictures are terrific and I love seeing them, it does make me a little nostalgic for home and all those I love. Maybe, just maybe we will be blessed with a sprinkling for Christmas, which would be just perfect.

In other news, I'm heading out tomorrow evening with the Pink Lady Crew, which consists of my mother-in-law Wendy and our dear friends Beryl and Linda, to enjoy late evening shopping down SeaView Street, which happens to boast my favourite shop 'In The Pink'. The shops are also offering a glass of wine and mince pie to help the unconvinced get in the mood.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tagged by Dawn, now its your turn please.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
I'm not really a lover of either although I suppose at Christmas, when I am in the spirit of things I'd prefer egg nog (provided it was spiked :).

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
He wraps them of course!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I love either or, but for my own house I choose white lights.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Second weekend in December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Christmas Dinner of course - the whole lot.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: My sisters coming to wake me up to look at ALL the beautiful presents under the tree and then waiting for Dad to hand tell us which pile belonged to who. You know, the anticipation on everyone's faces :)

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I suppose after the age of 9/10 I really knew what was what, however I was always torn when mom started asking me to help her wrap the presents when I got to about 12/13 - even though I was pleased she thought I was grown up enough, I hated to admit to the truth of it all.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
With a lot of indecision - same as I do most things :) (Last year it was eventually with a silver/white/and black theme :)

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love (and miss it) now that I don't have to shovel/drive in it :)

12. Can you ice skate?
Yes I can 'ice' skate - what other way is there?

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
From Childhood - my cabbage patch doll Rena Evangelene.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
The feeling of togetherness.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
From a long time ago? When we used to go to Mass on Christmas Eve and then on to Nanny's. I miss that.
From home - Dad's party plate of food.
Now - (this hasn't happened yet ;) going out to pick out my first real tree with my husband, and let me tell you - they cost a TON here comapared to NS.

17. What tops your tree?
An angel (I think).

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? I do love buying a gift for someone when I'm sure it will mean a lot to them, especially when I watch them open it. But I can't deny I love opening presents too :)

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Oh Holy Night followed by Good King Wenceslas

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
I'm not particular about hard candy - but I love candy cane ice-cream.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?
Love Actually and Elf

22. What do you leave for Santa?
Growing up - cookies and milk.

Because I hate having a fridge that is only slightly bigger than the BOoZe Fridge back home...

Not to mention that at the moment we have the extra room in our tiny kitchen as Molly has completely eaten our kitchen table (and four chairs) so why not take the opportunity and buy a nice, big appliance that Molly cannot demolish? This particular fridge is on sale and as its only slightly more expensive than a fridge with an on top freezer, Andy and I are seriously considering it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It mightn't seem a big deal to anyone else, but to me this is substantial.

A couple of weeks ago I was flipping through the satellite channels looking for something to watch over the dinner hour (even I can only watch so many re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond) and was floored to see the title for this show. When I first moved here I grew excited when I saw the caption 'Ellen' on the ABC network while searching it out, but was disappointed to find it was old reruns of her sitcom. So I waited in the hope that eventually the network would broadcast her talk show. Finally, they have. I'm not sure how long it has been running, but I won't waste my time worrying about it. The point is, the best talk show on television has finally made it to mine. And from the looks of it, we are only a month or so behind.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Torn Jeans, Sore Thighs and One Bloody Tongue - but man did we have FUN.

I'm sure our screams of joy, followed by shrieks of ambivalent 'fear', could be heard from at least half a mile away.

Today, after sitting around discussing what we as a family should do for the afternoon, we all agreed in quick succession to head out to Dixon's Woods for a walk in the crisp autumn air. Andy would be annoyed if I didn't give the credit to him for this idea, so it is thanks to my husband that we had more fun this afternoon than we've had in a long time. And it didn't cost a penny.

When we approached the area where we normally park in the woods, the kids were quick to hop out and head towards a rope with two loops hanging from the high, thick branch of a very large tree. It hadn't been there before so the boys were eager to try it out. Before long we were pushing each of the boys back and forth, spinning them around, until Connor started screeching not to be spun any more. (If only that was the going to be the most he had to worry about.)

I decided after watching the kids have a few swings, that I wanted to have a go, even though Tasha had declined to as the rope cut into her legs rather painfully. So with the assistance of Andy and the kids, I got up into that rope swing (realizing Tasha was right about the rope) and was happily shouting with glee to be swung so fast and high above the ground. What got me a little 'agitated' though was when Molly decided to try and 'get me'. I don't think she was happy with my situation and spurred on by Andy she held nothing back in her quest to catch me. Being swung between the trees is quite fun but it can turn a little alarming when your nutty dog is running at you, hurtling herself in the air hoping to catch you the only way she knows how - with her teeth (even though it did look rather funny). But goddamn it, my baby has some mighty big teeth. Of course she had to then take her turn after me and try to catch everyone else, including Andy when he decided to have a turn. He realized while he was up there that funny as it might look, it doesn't look half as funny when you are the one in the swing.

I came out of today's experience with torn jeans and a nipped ass, both thanks to Molly. Again, with compliments to Molly, Alex ended up with a 'nipped' hoody. Poor Molly was bleeding - either from biting her tongue or taking an accidental boot to the chops. And I think we all have very sore backsides/and or thighs.

If only we'd had the camera.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The smell of basil

Lately I have been testing my culinary skills, and to my amazement I've been turning out some edible dishes. The two I tried today were quite tasty if I say so myself. Originally, my trying new dishes stemmed from joining Weight Watchers (something I'm proving to be only partially devoted to). I didn't want to be tied down to only ready meals. I also wanted to try cooking things that Andy and the boys would eat as well. Today I made Keema - an Indian mince with vegetables, and it turned out to be something I liked the taste of, but more importantly, Alex did too. The next thing I tried was Lentil Casserole and I was very pleasantly surprised. I'm actually looking forward to making this dish for a few people I'm pretty sure will like it as well. I'm not sure Andy would be struck on it, but I'm sure he'll try it. This is the dish that I used the fresh basil for. Hrrmmm. Just to type out those words seems deviant of me, as I've never aspired to be one who spends much time in the kitchen, although I do cook, when the mood strikes . The amount of new food I've been attempting to cook though is a whole new experience and one that I don't dislike. Provided the recipe is easy to follow, I'm willing!

Because he hates it

My Nanny never left the house without donning a hat. She was a proper lady who looked good in almost any style of headdress and whenever I see hats of a certain style, or happen to see photos of the royal family, my thoughts often go right back to my Nanny and how lovely and elegant she looked whenever she was in public. What cheers me is that I think she passed the ability to wear hats on to me. There are few hats that I don't suit, but they are usually small styles that look bizarre on my rather large cranium. I was so excited last summer when I was to attend a proper English wedding (Andy's brother's) and knew that it would be at least one opportunity for me to don a large, gorgeous hat, of the variety you see at almost every English wedding. No one seems to do this back in Nova Scotia anymore. I remember advising my mother-in-law that she'd be more than welcome to wear a hat at my wedding, but she'd likely be the only one. If she didn't have a problem with that (and why should she?) nor did I. However she declined.

I am digressing.

My point is, that no one else in my family ever seems to wear a hat. I think my sister's don't because they don't think they look good in most hats, but I can't say, I never see them in one. When given the chance, I enjoy wearing a big, gorgeous hat and actually feel 'like a lady' for a short time (how very far from the truth you must be thinking), and people often tell me how great I look in hats. There is one style of hat though that has come into style, a hat that Andy says makes women look like 'American Train Engineers', or quite plainly 'a stupid mess'. My neighbour was wearing one the other day and I told her how great I thought she looked. Brittany Spears however was photographed in one and I did think she looked stupid - but in all fairness I think it was the angle she was wearing it at. The more Andy commented on this hat style though, the more determined I was that I was going to buy one. So the other day while shopping in Nottingham with Tasha I came across a hat stall selling all sorts of hats for only £5 each. One in particular stood out and I hesitantly tried it on, figuring there was no way it was going to fit my big head. It did. And it didn't look too bad (or at least Tasha and I didn't think it did). The more I looked at it the more I liked it and it matched my outfit that day so I figured for a fiver it would be worth it if I only wore it once. More importantly it would be worth the look on Andy's face when he saw me wearing the hat he absolutely abhors...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bonfire Fright

This evening was the first night since last weekend that Molly would actually go out in the yard alone to relieve herself. Hell, on the weekend she wouldn't even come out from under the couch and was busting to wee come 6 a.m. Next year I'm going to the vet to get something to sedate her with as I can't take the constant fight to get her out the door, never mind the anxiety she stirs in us all by practically giving herself a hear attack from fear. Next year if we don't do something to calm her, we run the risk of watching our dog freak out to the point of exhaustion, or at the very least break a bone from hurtling herself at the door if she happens to be outside and a fire-work goes off.

Trading Places

I've been reading the papers from home a lot this past week, keeping tabs on the War Bride Train, sometimes getting misty eyed at the stories some women have to tell. Mom rang me Tuesday night and said she thought of me when one woman was quoted 'The hardest part for me was leaving my mum behind'. I can relate. However the difference between these women and myself was that unlike them I have easy (and inexpensive) access to the phone and knew that I would be seeing my mom and family in less than a year. Compared to these women I have had it easy. I knew where I was going and what I was letting myself in for (for the most part). These women left their families behind and travelled on such a long journey, many with small children, to a vast country, often to find themselves having to travel thousands of miles beyond their landing point, some into very remote places entirely different to the cities/towns they left behind. Pier 21 was only the beginning for many of them. I'm so proud that my homeland is honouring these women in such a way, they certainly deserve it. At the same time, I can't help but feel a small level of kinship with them.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The little things in life

Andy and I were comfortably settled in our hotel room, lazily talking about things to come, when he tentatively asked if I would ever consider moving to England to be with him. As most of you know, I said yes, without very much hesitation at all. This conversation took place over four years ago, back when both of us knew that he could never leave his children to be with me and that I would have to be the one to make the move. At that time we both weren't sure how things would work out. We figured that because Andy was so used to working overseas to make a living, that after I originally settled in England, he would start taking jobs in places such as Russia, or Dubai and I would travel to be with him. This however was not to be as the situation with his ex was very tumultuous and if he left so soon after their separation, he ran the risk of losing contact with his children. So it was our decision that we were to make a life here locally, at least till things calmed down and Andy could be assured of seeing his children regularly.

Again, things didn't quite go to plan. Over the Christmas holiday of 2004, Alex ended up moving in with us as things weren't going so smoothly with his mother. There really was no other alternative that he come to us. I knew when I took up with Andy that when you have children they must take first priority, no matter what the feeling of the adult involved. So although Andy was working away, and the responsibility would fall primarily to me, I agreed to Alex moving in with us. He ended up staying with us for just over seven months. During that time I experienced a multitude of emotions, one that took precedence was the feeling that I had lost my freedom. I often thought that if I was looking after somebody else's child I might as well have one of my own. Even after Alex left to go back to his mother, this feeling stayed with me. When he did decide to go back in June of 2005 I found myself to be a little dismayed. As much as I thought my life had been put on hold for him, I was still surprised to find myself missing him.

Somewhere around the beginning of 2006 I put all thought of having a child of my own with Andy on the back burner and we decided to just get on with life as it was and enjoy each other and Molly and the children when we saw them. However, by Spring it was apparent that life wasn't working out so well between Alex and his mom, ultimately resulting in negative behaviour at school. We figured that he would be coming back with us in the very near future, and this time to stay. On June 14th of this year, Alex made the very difficult decision to come back to us on a permanent basis. We welcomed him back with open arms. In July we made the trip back to Canada with his brother and had a fantastic time - I don't think any of my family could have been happier with the way things turned out, and I think it was obvious to all the very close relationship I had with both boys. There were only two disappointing factors of the whole trip: 1) that Andy's daughter didn't join us, and 2) that we had to return Connor to his mother when we arrived back in the UK.

However, life went on and Alex stayed on with us. He began school in September and just last week his school broke up for Autumn Term. I was so proud of Alex - he had gone from an average of 2 detentions a day last year, to not one since he has come to live with us. Alex and I have settled into such a natural routine its strange for me when he is not here. At our coaxing, he spent most of his week off down at his mother's. He is such a willing, intelligent and kind boy I can't imagine how someone cannot make it work with him. And I have completely changed since the first time he came to live with us. Life is better with him in it, our home much more interesting. My nights have more purpose when he is here, definitely more direction. Tonight we went to ASDA's to get a few things and as I was checking out the books he approached me to say he'd found something he really wanted but it was £9. Without much thought, I told him to go get it. In the middle of the aisle, he wrapped his arms around me with a big thank-you, before running off to get what he was so excited about. Something so small, yet this 14 year old boy had no qualm about hugging his stepmom in a very public place. Honestly, how could I possibly ask for more than this?

I must be doing right by Andy's kids to receive this kind of love. I will say this, they might not be born of my flesh, these boys, but they are certainly born of my heart. I really don't think I could want for more.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Worth getting IN bed for...

I took Alex to see The Guardian this afternoon. Even if it had been a complete and utter waste of time, I would have been happy to have drooled my way through it just to feast my eyes on this:

Never have I seen this guy look so good. Old Kevin didn't look so bad himself. To top it all off they were wearing uniforms. Sometimes it doesn't get much better. I'm actually looking forward to bed tonight in the hopes that I have something nice to dream about.

Oh, and to those of you who are partaking in the events. So far we've had no trick-or-treaters but I saw lots on the main road driving home, so maybe - the night is still young. Just crossing my fingers that my windows don't get egged, I still have enough egg to clean off from last night. It was 'Mischievous Night' here, and as there is a kid in the neighbourhood who has a 'problem' with Alex and now, Andy, I've little doubt as to who the culprit is.

Yay!!! As I was pressing publish I had my first ever (English) trick-or-treaters come to the door - five young ghouls!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Worth getting out of bed for

After spending all day in bed yesterday, (not to mention most of the week) I decided that I probably felt well enough to attend a dinner party at my friend Carol-Anne's. I knew that her house would be comfortably cozy, the meal would be a scrummy buffet and even if we stayed only an hour, it was better to go than not. Besides, my coughing had finally moved from its constant barking hack down to intermittent 15 minute segments.

The food did turn out to be fantastic as usual and I had a hearty helping of CA's homemade baked beans, using the excuse that I haven't felt much like eating during the past week as well as the fact that they are loaded with fibre. The food and company alone made going over there worth it, especially when CA and I got to reminiscing about things Canadian as she pulled out her Blue Rodeo and Gordon Lightfoot CD's. But what really made putting some clothes on and bothering to brush my hair worth it, was hearing CA's seven year old daughter Madeline, aka Madge, say to me in a quiet moment together 'You are my most favourite grown-up ever.'

More Canadian than she knows

CA has mentioned to me recently that although she has tried to instil strong, Canadian roots in Madge, she feared that Madeline considers herself more British than Canadian, and that she doesn't look at Canada as home, like CA still does. We talked about how this would only be natural. Madge was born here, all her friends are here and she has lot of her daddy's family around her on a regular basis, especially her beloved Granny. Canada is somewhere she goes to visit and she won't look at it as her home until they move there in a few years time. I can understand though how important it is to CA that her daughter have a special place in her heart for her 2nd country.

Still, it is very obvious that Madeline is the daughter of a Canadian, and has strong ties to it. Andy clarified this last night, during playful banter with her. He was asking Madeline to ring the police if she looked out the window and noticed our truck wasn't there. She piped up with 'Shall I ring 911?' In this country the emergency code is 999. Although she had to be corrected, it was still very cute to hear.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Thank God for the internet, and good friends

I'm sitting here in my sweats, awaiting the heat to finally kick in (something I have put off doing as its still only the end of October). I can only stand so much TV in one go, especially re-runs I've seen a million times, and I as I just can't get into the only book I have to read, I've decided to park myself in front of the PC, even though sitting for long periods of times makes me a bit woozy. Luckily Valentina has happened to save me from complete madness via Solitaire, by having a very lively and enlightening conversation with me on MSN.

How people who are off on long term leave i.e. my sister Tawny, and sister-in-law Ali, manage to stand all the monotony, I don't know. Maybe its even worse for them as they work full time, and have twice as much vacant hours to fill. I think initially they are happy for a break, but knowing them, I'd say at this point in time they are about ready to get back to work. At least at this point in their convalescence they are able to get out and do a little shopping or visit friends. But taking a day or two sick leave hardly warrants running around in public, even if you do feel up to it, which I don't. Poor Molly has been waiting for a walk, but must wait a few more hours until Alex comes home as I just can't face the rain feeling the way I do. Going to get him and Connor by car is going to be effort enough. I think a detour to Blockbuster for a PS2 game is in order for this evening's activities.

For lack of anything else to do:

You Have Low Self Esteem 8% of the Time

Which can be translated to mean, you have high self-esteem and a healthy sense of self worth.
You believe in yourself, and you know how to be the real you. You love yourself, imperfections and all.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What IS it with this guy?

The Hoff. A slight craze (or joke) that has currently taken off in the UK since he apparently released some song that went bust in America but topped the charts (or something along those lines) in Germany. Since then he has popped up on radio and TV doing commercials on a regular basis, and a lot of jokes are being made about him, but I'm not sure if they are meant to be light hearted or not because sometimes, still, the English humour can stump me. I do believe that its all in the name of fun, because The Hoff himself is now doing a television commercial where he is basically taking the micky out of himself. All for the name of fame. I noticed he did have a supporting roll in Adam Sandler's 'Click' so maybe all this desperate self-humiliation in the UK is actually serving to have him resurface in America. Or am I totally missing something and has he never really gone away since his Baywatch days, hence there is no need for a 'comeback', however sad and pathetic?

The call I dreaded making

Today, I finally got around to calling the car dealership in regard to the end of the four lease on my Sunfire. I can't believe that its been nearly three years since I moved here to the UK, or that the car will no longer be there for my use when we travel back home. (We won't however, be sorry to be done with the payments!) I knew the lease was due to run out but wasn't sure exactly when it had to be brought back, as I normally used to just go trade it in for a brand new one. However it needed to be done, not only for official reasons, but because I needed to give my sister time to adjust to the fact that she was losing the car, sooner rather than later. So today I had to make the call to tell her she has just under two weeks to drive it - the choice is hers when she takes it over to Dartmouth, so long as its on or before the 6th November.

I know she understands all this and has been very grateful just to be allowed to drive the nicest car in the yard yet not have to make the payments on it. However, it still didn't make telling her very easy, especially when she seems to be at a major cross-roads in her life at the moment. Andy and I have been relieved (and grateful) though, that she is at least driving it sometimes as cars that are left to just sit stationary cease up.

Someone else is also owed a very, very big thank you. For a long time now, a kind friend, who happened to work for the lease company, has been a great help to us in terms of holding our cheques for us prior to their deposit date, saving me the hassle of mailing one cheque every month. Due to the fact that we are overseas, I didn't want to do direct debit, as international banking isn't always dependable, and he offered to help us out. He has been so accommodating to us and always stayed on top of things for me. For that I can't thank him enough. I hope you know how much we appreciate you and value your lifelong friendship.

The thought is practically inconceivable!

I stayed home from work today as I have developed my bronchial cough and was aching all over. I suppose I can admit to myself that I'm really not feeling top notch, especially when I don't feel like eating. That is really the defining factor for me, cause it is a very rare day when this girl loses her appetite. I'm gonna go have a long soak in the bath, then settle in for some Six Feet Under on DVD.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Can you see it?

A long time ago I remember telling Tawny that I often thought of her while watching Friends, in particular Monica. Now Tawny isn't exactly the same as Monica in behaviour, but she does have a lot of similarities i.e. her obsessivness (note Tawny would tell you herself that she can be obsessive at times). I would probably take a guess and say that part of the reason Monica reminds me of Tawny stems not from her 'personality' alone, but when teamed up with the dark hair and strong cheekbones, it just makes the similarity seem that much stronger. Connor had pointed out to me once recently while passing the TV during an episode that 'she looks like Tawny' whilst pointing at Monica. Just the other night while watching a another rerun during supper, Monica was telling someone to shut up and Alex said 'Boy does she sound like Tawny when she says that! She kind of looks like her too.'

Seems I'm not the only one that thinks it.

What made me really laugh just a few minutes ago was when Alex looked at this fellow on the TV and said 'He looks like your dad.' I don't see the resemblance as clearly as with the women above, but maybe this is why mom enjoys his show so much!

Monday, October 16, 2006

A little hoarse, but who's complaining?

Andy and I just got back from one of the best weekend trips to date. Surprisingly, I can still look back through the fog of a beer-ridden haze and recall every last minute of one of the most fantastic cities I have ever visited.

Within the first few hours of arriving in Dublin I realized that one of the reasons I was probably going to love it so much was due to the fact that it reminded me of Halifax. It wasn't the scenery, with the river LIffey cutting a path between the north and south, it wasn't the old-world type pubs, or the teaming crowds of people -it was the feel - that friendly, laid back, we're not in a hurry, and boy are you welcome here feel. Anyone who hails from Halifax and appreciates its constant, almost horizontal state of laid-backness will understand what I am talking about.

However for all the ways that it felt the same, it obviously looked different as it is a European city after all. But it was gorgeous and I couldn't wait to embrace it like an old friend. (I will however say at this point that it did remind of me of Halifax in one physical aspect: some of the locals were wearing Crocks - one even had them on with socks. Crocks with Socks! They are in the stores here, but I've not actually seen anyone wearing them.)

We couldn't wait to visit the pubs of Temple Bar and try out Irish Beer, so that was naturally where we headed first. My first drink was Kilkenny - a dark reddish beer on tap that I thought was absolutely delicious and certainly drank my fill of in two days. We moved on from Temple Bar up to Grafton Street for a look around and to get our bearings. We wandered down Stephen Street where Andy pointed out a pub called 'The Hairy Lemon'. I loved its name immediately and hoped it would be as cool as it sounded. It was, with all its little nooks and balconies. We spent a fair amount of time in this pub.

Later that night we made our way back to the North side of the Liffey and headed up O'Connell street to the area of town where we were staying. We wandered into a little hotel and bar that I insisted we must go in when I saw it was entitled 'O'Shea's', a name that didn't mean much to Andy, or would to anyone else, aside from Stacy and Dawn, aka and Fern and Sage, as my alias during their trip here was Poppy Rose O'Shea. How I ended up with the Irish surame can be accredited to Dawn. Of course by the time Andy and I were situated at an old booth, drinking and chuckling at a few of the locals, I was already in full Irish mode. Andy kept laughing at my 'accent'. There was an old local in the bar singing and playing Irish tunes and it was while I was trying to drink the Guinness Andy had sneakily put under my nose, that I heard the entertainer strum out the first few chords of Sunny's Dream. This song always makes me nostalgic, for it not only reminds me of home, but of being at my Nanny's house in Newfoundland - it was the first place I can ever remember hearing it.

The next day found us up early and out on the tour bus with our three day pass. It was an informative mode of transport where we could hop on and off at anytime. We mapped out the places we wanted to see: St. Stephen's Green, The Guinness Factory and St. Michan's Church. We managed St. Stephen's, a few cathedrals (viewed from the exterior) and the Guinness Factory that afternoon, before heading into 'The Brazen Head', Ireland's oldest pub, for yet another brew. We decided after that to walk alongside the Liffey back to O'Connell Street and up to our hotel for a shower and change before heading back out. The night before Andy and I had tried some Dublin grub and we were looking forward to some more. I highly recommend Irish Coddle and Irish Stew (chased down with Kilkenny naturally).

The Guinness Factory was an interesting experience and I was more than happy to drink my complimentary pint of Guinness after the tour. Its not every day that you get something thrown in for free and hey, I was in Ireland and thought it befitting I should drink at least one full pint of Guinness, especially after I failed to the previous evening. I was amazed and slightly disgusted at the amount of people who left full pints sitting on the tables. Some of them hadn't even been touched, proving that those who had received them knew beforehand that they didn't like it. Andy was one of these folk. I thought I might be able to manage his as well as mine, but its a strong tasting brew and I could only manage my own. It is definitely a beer to be slowly savoured. I'm told many pregnant women over here have the occasional half-pint as its very high in iron and supposedly very good for you when drunk in moderation.

Friday night we headed back out to Temple Bar, where we happily drank and danced the night away with another couple we met from Bristol, Anna and Steve. I ended up drinking yet another pint of Guinness (on top of all the Kilkenny) as Steve graciously bought me one during the evening. After the live Irish Music ended for the night, we decided to head over to the North side again, to The Arlington Hotel. The cool night air came as a blessed relief to my throat; although I had drank copious amounts of alcoholic beverage, I had sang myself raw to the Irish songs I so adore.

Saturday morning we woke up feeling tired and a little rough around the edges. We showered, checked out, and headed out for some breakfast to a lovely little Espresso Bar that we had visited and enjoyed the day before.

We had some time to kill before catching the bus and I was happy Andy suggested touring St. Michan's Crypts, something I wanted to do, but we didn't get to the day before.

At St. Michan's we were able to get face to face with four very impressive mummies. In a very real crypt. The walls in the church's vaults contain limestone, which has kept the air dry, creating ideal conditions for preservation. Among the mummies on display are a 400-year-old nun, an 8-foot-tall crusader and one very mysterious body with its hands and feet severed. Visitors to St. Michan's are invited to touch the leathery hand of the giant crusader, as it is said to bring good luck, which I was happy to partake in. One family made me laugh as they were so creeped out by the dark, dank-smelling crypt that they had to leave. I must say, after visiting the second crypt, full of a family whose coffins have all collapsed in on each other, and the other belonging to the Shears - two brothers, who had a very horrid death warrant on display (the original.) I too was a bit relieved to get back out into the fresh October air. There was definitely a smell of decay down there, and one I had a hard time dispelling from my clothes. Or at least that's how it felt. We weren't allowed to take photographs in the crypt, and I'm not sure I would have felt comfortable doing so. I had a feeling of unease over me as I took this photo of the entrance, which doesn't even begin to portray the real thing.

I have posted photos of our Dublin trip here

Monday, October 09, 2006

His back hasn't been the same since...

Two Years Ago Today

We aren't doing much today as we leave for Dublin on Thursday morning where we will definitely be celebrating so hard we hopefully won't be able to remember things clearly.


Until I came to live here, I'd never heard the expression 'Pegging'. This weekend I experienced it firsthand. Andy and I took the three kids and Molly for a long walk on Saturday through the farm fields to Wheelsby woods. Tasha and the boys decided to take their bikes while Andy and I were happy to walk along in the crisp, autumn air. The walk there took us just over an hour and after happily munching on ice-cream cones the kids were ready for the journey back. As we passed back out of the woods onto the track that leads through the farm fields we got the crazy notion to 'double up'. Connor jumped on Alex's bike with him and I jumped on the handlebars of a bike with Andy and off we went. I don't think I've 'pegged' since I was a kid and let me tell you, it was fun and sweet to be leaning back into my husband as we cycled along laughing. I'm sure it looked at least halfway as romantic as it does in the movies, however it isn't as easy as it looks, its very hard on the backside!

following in my Drunken Footsteps

On the weekend Stacy and I were on the phone chatting about Tawny's jaw surgery, which brought us around to text messages, and how convenient it can be to send a quick hello. We sent each other a practice text during our conversation to see how long it would take, and turns out it takes less than a minute. We were well pleased with ourselves because it is a cheaper and instant way of communicating with each other. I was pleasantly surprised at work this morning, when at 9:45 I received a text from her stating that she was 'very drunk' and on her way home. It was 5:45 a.m. Nova Scotia time. I have to chuckle at the thought of her keeping the hours I used to, especially when in a further text she mentioned she probably had to work at 9:00 a.m. Talk about time repeating itself.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Getting over the hump

I've been pretty slack in relation to posting because I just haven't had a whole lot to write about. I've been covering shifts at work solo over the past three weeks which hasn't been bad, and has in fact opened my eyes to the fact that I'm not as lazy as I had feared I was becoming. My job is not the most exciting position and often I find myself with a lot of time to spare, ultimately ending up surfing the net just to make the hours go by. I tend to let my work build up and put it off because I know that when I'm finished, I will have another lull. As a result I've been feeling very uninspired and have often wondered if I could still manage to cope in a more demanding work environment. Due to a few unforeseen circumstances, I have had a fair bit of work coming my way that I have been turning over quite quickly, not only impressing myself, but those that are requiring my assistance. Its certainly given me my confidence back and proved to me that I don't want to stay at a job where I feel my brain is turning to mush - that I indeed would thrive in a challenging and thought-provoking occupation. (Which ultimately I happen to be doing something about.)

My recent idleness has affected my personal life as well as I haven't been very inclined to attend to certain tasks that need my attention. My sister's birthday present if finally getting posted (sorry Tawny, but as you said, a late gift can give you something to look forward to!), getting pictures developed to send home to various people, etc.

Being locked down to a very tight budget due to a huge tax bill has certainly put a halt to our socializing, but Andy and I are trying to be inventive when it comes to activities that don't cost a lot, especially with our impending two night trip to Dublin fast approaching. We've taken the kids swimming last weekend to the local pool, which is inexpensive, or for long walks. This weekend Andy and I enjoyed some quiet time to ourselves (the kids were at their mother's) and took advantage of it to drive out to the North Sea for a brisk long walk along the coast with Molly.

A Little Retail Therapy

Considering we have not been spending much money since our summer holiday, other than the school necessities for Alex, or the occasional swim with the kids, I decided to treat myself to a few luxuries from my own paycheck (after paying for our hotel in Dublin - my gift to Andy for his 40th). And I didn't forget my husband, I picked him up a trendy shirt for our short break.

Although it was a little expensive, I loved this at first sight and in all honestly, I was in need of a new fall jacket:

but the shoes...

well I just couldn't resist. I've never owned anything like these before. Andy commented on this fact too, and didn't know what to think, until I tried them on with my new jacket (and nothing else) and strutted around the house.
Now I don't know who likes them more!

I'm looking forward to a night in Dublin City wearing these babies. I just hope I don't break my ankles whilst staggering around the pubs!

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Lesson in Sex Education

Tonight, after taking Molly for a walk, Alex and I got in the car to do a small shop at Tesco's. On the way there he was chatting about various things, namely how well he has been doing so far this term. Last year his behaviour was questionable at best, but in some ways understandable when compared with all the duress he was under,for reasons I won't go into. Anyway, this year he is back living with us and so far seems to be doing exceedingly well.

So anyway, I'm deviating from my point: in the car he was chatting about his various teachers and classes and I was doing the obligatory ahha's, and nodding, when he comes out with 'Next week we have to spend a day doing Sex Education'. I responded with a lighthearted 'oh yeah?'. What he said next almost sent me into convulsions: 'Yeah, we are gonna have to put condoms on plastic dicks'. Call me irresponsible, or un-motherlike, but I laughed so hard I thought I would choke. I was totally blindsided - its not a word he's ever used before. He kept saying 'what?' while I was laughing. When I gained my composure I probably should have told him not to use language like that but I remember what its like to be 13 . So I went with something more along these lines: I remember being taught Sex Ed too, but never like that, our lessons were much more boring.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Holiday Pics

John, Alex & Connor at Lawrencetown Beach

I've managed to upload three photo albums to my yahoo site. The first can be found here, and are of Mercy River. The other two albums are titled Summer 2006, Family and Friends and Summer 2006 Downtown & Around.

I still have a few more to upload, but will hopefully complete this task by the first of next week.

I can't believe its already been nearly a month since we've returned.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Birthday Girl

She's thoughtful and serenely beautiful; she's a woman who is strong and doesn't give up on the challenges and goals she strives to meet on a daily basis; when it comes to being the best sister a girl could hope for she gives it her all, and succeeds; She also happens to be a truly loving and generous Aunt to our children, who now love her as much as she loves them.

We miss you Tawn and wish we could have been there to help you celebrate!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Do the TESCO Dance!

The video you are about to view is one of very disciplined dancing, acquired only after years of study in the studio. The featured dancer couldn't help but show off her ability whilst shopping at the local supermarket. Bless her.

(This was at the request of fellow blogger The Ramblings of Globose Thought)

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This evening as I called Alex into the kitchen to get his supper, he made a quirky comment to me. As I was streching up to get his TV tray down from on top of the cupboard, he made yet another quirky comment that started us both laughing. As he was carrying his tray into the living room (a task I often do for him) he smiled and said 'Your the best Stepmom I've ever had'. I laughed and responded with 'I'm the only stepmom you've ever had'. He looked up at me all serious and said 'Well, you know what I mean, but there are some things I can't say'. I don't suppose I could ever ask for anymore than that. As far as sons go, I couldn't get any better than what I've been blessed with, not even if they were my own :).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I haven't had much to blog about lately, not much is happening and my thoughts haven't strayed anywhere that readers would be interested in going. I have however been having some pretty strange and vivid dreams lately that I naturally contemplate upon waking, but don't give much thought to throughout the day. However I did relay the strangest ones to my friend/colleague as she is interested in dream interpretation and can sometimes put an interesting spin on things.

Over the last week I have dreamt:

that I have been tied down in a boat by a fine looking, native policeman during a civilian boat ride down a strange canal, while my friend Cat remained free (the phone ringing woke me just as I had gotten one hand free);

that while visiting a mountain resort with Andy was attacked by a cougar only to be rescued by a girl (and her husband) who I was friends with whilst growing up but haven't seen in years (Andy was down at the resort);

that a life long friend left his wife suddenly to be with me, taking me completely by surprise when confronted by his wife during a strange weekend getaway with said friends;

that (and I hate this one) Andy has died suddenly while we were visiting a foreign city with the kids.

The Andy dream was the first in these odd nocturnal films, and the most awful by far. Last night was the cougar dream and after some discussion with Desley, her thought was that I might be feeling a little 'boxed in, or out of control' by the occurrences of daily life. Hmmmm. Food for thought I guess. If you ask me, I just have an over-active imagination which results in some very bizarre dreams.

Body Talk

I have posted a picture of one of my favourite Lost characters on the side bar as I just think it belongs there. I hate when I sit down to watch an episode of the show and Sawyer doesn't make an appearance, luckily, a rare event. I think he is male perfection and I don't really care what comes out of his mouth as looking at him is reward enough. Its just an added bonus that his character is a smart-mouthed bad ass, who just happens to be slightly 'soft' underneath.

My point though is to have a little poll of sorts. When looking at a man as fit as Josh Holloway, I'm naturally drawn to my most favourite part the male species (but only if he is fit)the area of hip that is exposed at the top of jeans - beside the groin area. I absolutely love this area of skin on a man, but usually he has to be in great shape for it to really take my fancy. Next to this, my most favourite parts of the male body are his a) hands and b) butt.

What I'd like to know though is this: What are your favourite physical attributes on the body of the opposite sex?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bad Girls

Today, amid intermittent rain showers, Alex and I took Molly for a much needed walk. We stopped along the way to pick up her best friend Abby. The dogs were running around chasing each other and being well behaved when I made the mistake of lingering too long down at the back of the field. The urge to run and throw herself in the 'Beck', became too strong to resist. Without a backward glance, Mol was up over the hill and down into the smelly stream, most likely thinking 'I know this field and I know where the water is - and you trying to stop me going in is like you resisting a swim in your beloved lake back home! Can't stop me now!' and naturally Abby, being the devoted best friend that she is figured 'What's good for her is good for me!' and promptly ran in after her. Nice. Molly wasn't loving it so much when we arrived home and Alex hosed her down to get the manky water out of her fur. She's just recovered from an ear infection that was the likely result of another dip in the Beck a few days before we came back from Canada. Time to get out the ear drops and hope her ears stay clean.

Molly and Abby  Posted by Picasa

Finding Time...

During our visit home to Nova Scotia we saw and did so much. I'm working on getting pictures posted to my Yahoo site but as I'm not one to have a fire under my ass for such things, it could take a few more days. Or so. Photos are however not the point I'm trying to make with this post.

We saw so many friends and family while we were home and we so appreciate the efforts of every single person. What saddens me though is that I didn't manage to find the time to see a few friends that actually called (for a number of varying reasons) and also that I only managed to see some of you for a very short time - not nearly enough. A family holiday is so different to just coming home and hanging out on my own. This trip was fantastic for us as a family and I don't regret it for one moment, the boys were feeling the abundance of love from those of you back home. I only have a small regret that I didn't get to see everyone, but these things do happen. I have to accept that we couldn't be everywhere at once and the boys seeing the best that NS has to offer was our main priority. I know this happens during holidays like these and I'm sure most of you understand. I did send out an email informing people of where we were staying and supplied the number. Most took advantage of this and got in touch and we managed to sort something out, even if it was just a visit to my mother's to say hi. To those of you who I didn't manage to connect with, I will be in touch personally, if I haven't already.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


The latter hours of Wednesday night found us all down by the Halifax waterfront getting Henna tattoos and watching the Buskers. Being down in the city on such a warm night, with so much going on in such a relaxed atmosphere was a great way to end the trip. We had a lot of laughs but as the night progressed and the nostalgia began hitting me, I found myself sometimes holding back tears. I managed to hold up until they boys were hugging Dawn goodbye outside her apartment building. I listened as Andy thanked her for everything and then managed to get out 'what Andy just said' as I knew I would be overcome with tears if I said more. I think she understood. Alex asked me why I sounded like I was going to cry as we were driving away and Andy replied 'Too late mate, she already is', where upon I felt a soft touch on my elbow.

Thursday came and although I was glad to have the majority of the day to spend with my family, it was an emotional one to get through. My mother and I both had moments where we both tried hard not to cry (to no avail) and as I sat at the dining room table watching members of our family laugh and smile, I couldn't help but tear up once again. Watching our boys play with Wayne's twins, (especially how Alex loved taking care of them), and seeing my smiling Aunts and cousins as we all ate cake and laughed at the antics of the boys, made me smile. However at the same time it made me wish that things could be different, that my two families didn't have to be so far apart. By the time we said goodbye, I wasn't the only one teared up - both Aunt Marg and Aunt Shirley were shedding a few as we said goodbye and loaded into the van for the ride to the airport.

I suppose there are some who would find me silly and over-emotional, say it's not like I'm not going back to see them all again, which is true, but at the same time I am very close to my family and although I have found a new life here, I miss them all every day. I'll miss the constant care my mother took of our boys, the way she loves to 'mother' us all, the long talks we had, the joy my father found in taking the boys out in his truck, or showing them new things. I'll miss seeing the boys tease Stacy and wind her up to no end, I'll miss the smell of Nova Scotia. But I won't forget it, never had. And there is always the phone and email/msn.

Our time in Nova Scotia was the best holiday we could have wished for as a family. There were some of you we did not get to see, or didn't see enough and I am sorry for that. There are those of you who made an extra special effort to get to us and for that we are eternally grateful. I will blog more about what we did and saw when I get a moment.

Although I am back, I still feel as if my heart is back in Nova Scotia. I will feel this for another day or two, but I know from experience that in a week or so I will be back into the full swing of life in England.

I do, however know that this ss all worth it, especially when on the plane ride home Alex looked up at me and said 'I want to go back to Canada' and Connor later looked up at me during a cuddle and said 'I love you Jojo'. Being here with them is the right thing. I am blessed to have two such loving families in both countries and I loved taking the boys home. I can't wait for next time.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


The boys are in bed early tonight as the past several nights have been a whirlwind of excitement for them and today it has finally caught up with them. Being home with the boys has been everything I would have ever imagined it to be, the only difficulty being in the fact that I still haven't seen a few people I was hoping to see and I'm not all that sure I'm going to get a chance to at this point.

We've been practically going non-stop since our arrival. We've been swimming up at the lake on numerous occasions;

Spent two nights down at Mercy River camping and kayaking;

Spent the day at Crystal Crescent and Lawrencetown Beach (tried to drop in on a friend near there but she wasn't home! S where are you?);

Have had lunch with friends and family, have had a bang up night out at Pogue Fado's, been on the Harbour Hopper. I could go on forever listing all that we have been up to and have yet to do. Today we went to The Oven's in Lunenburg and enjoyed exploring the caves by foot and zodiac.

I've tried to download a few more shots but for some reason blogger is refusing and as I'm a bit tired myself, I will try again at a later point - these are only a few!

Monday, July 31, 2006

I did this for Tuna since she tagged me -
Will take a moment later hopefully and post a few pictures from our trip so far.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 8:10 am.
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds.
3. What was the last film you saw at the movies? Monster House
4. What is your favorite TV show? Lost, Prison Break, BB7
5. What did you have for breakfast? Nothing Yet
6. What is your middle name(s)? Margaret.
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Greek.
8. What foods do you dislike? Liver
9. What is your favorite crisp flavour? Dill Pickle/Prawn Cocktail
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? I don't have one
11. What type of car do you drive? KIA Sportage
12. What type of car do you WANT to drive? A Hummer or a MR8
13. What characteristics do you despise in people? Two-Facedness, Bitterness.
14. Favorite item of clothing? Just about all my shoes.
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Australia.
16. Favorite brand of clothing? I don't have one.
17. Where would you like to retire? Kefalonia or the South Shore.
18. Favorite time of the day? Lunch Time.
19. What was your most memorable birthday? 29th (When I met Andy).
20. Where were you born? St. John's.
21. Favorite sport to watch? Olympics.
22. What's your favorite restaurant? Canada - East Side's, England - Beluga
23. How often do you wash your sheets? Not often enough.
24. What fabric detergent do you use? Tesco Colours
25. Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke - England/Diet Pepsi Canada
26. Are you a morning person or night owl? Neither.
27. What is your shoe size? 5 1/2 (UK).
28. Do you have any pets? Molly my naughty, lovable golden lab
29. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with your family and friends? I ache like fuck after mud sliding yesterday!
30. What did you want to be when you were little? Major League Baseballer or a vet

Shampoo? Redkin All Soft.
Perfume? CK - Euphoric
Soap? Dove Macadamia Nut Oil
Day/Night? Either
Summer/Winter? Summer
Favorite commercial? Guiness Advert

*************RIGHT NOW************
Wearing? Stacy's pajama's.
Eating? Nothing
Drinking? Nothing.
Thinking about? Plans for today
Listening to: Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks

*********THE LAST 24 HOURS*********
Cried? No.
Made a new friend? Only the little girl that was mud sliding along side us who I helped up the hill, lol
Cleaned your room? Nope.
Drove a car? Nope.
How many hours slept? 8 hours.

********DO YOU BELIEVE IN***********
God? Yes.
Yourself? Sometimes.
Your friends? Absolutely.
Santa Claus? Certainly the Idea.
Destiny/Fate? I'm not sure, but I think so
Ghosts? Spirits? Yes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

One More Sleep...

Our bags are packed and in the car ready for our journey to Gatwick tomorrow. We leave at 6:30 a.m. to ensure we make it to London in plenty of time. Connor is sound asleep but Alex, who is letting the excitement get the best of him, is listlessly waiting for sleep to overcome him. I suppose its a bit like Christmas for them really. I think it's hard for all of us to really believe that our much anticipated trip home is finally here. Finally our boys will get to meet my parents and all others who I hold so near and dear, as well as reunite with those they have already come to love. Finally they get to experience the fantastic place that was home to me for so long, and will always be home to me - Nova Scotia.

I have a feeling we aren't the only ones who are this excited.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Party Party

To say last night was fantastic fun is an understatement. The restaurant was perfect - the ambiance, food, drink and company were all top notch. Andy received a multitude of cards and gifts but I think his favourite was from his family: two tickets to Dublin in October. I'm glad my name was on one of them!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

My Birthday Boy
40 today!

This one was just too cute to resist:
Andy and Claire

I'm so impressed with the man this sweet little boy has grown into and I am proud to call him my husband.

Happy Birthday Andrew.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Spoiled? Well Maybe

On Saturday morning Andy and I took the boys shopping uptown to purchase the necessary clothing for our impending holiday. (Did I mention our holiday this year just happens to be Nova Scotia?) After finding them the required swimming wear, footwear, etc., we ended up browsing around as I was looking for some comfy flipflops for myself to take home.

Andy ended up buying me a pair of dressier black leather shoes for work, a pair of New Balance trainers that were so on sale it wasn't avoidable (even though I don't need new trainers) and a pair of sandals to wear with summer pants/skirts. It was when I went in Brantano that I decided I should probably by myself the next pair of shoes I found - a lovely pair of leather black flip flops that are dressy enough for work. All in all I felt very spoiled. I will say that I told Andy to put the trainers away for me for Christmas (he wasn't bothered either way) but I figured three pairs in one day was enough. Granted I won't be wearing the black patent leather flats until Autumn, but if I'd waited till then I would have paid full whack and when there is a sale on at Clark's you just have to take advantage.

Of course the quest for casual flops is still on - if I don't win my bid on Ebay for Rocket Dogs, I will just pick up a cheap pair along the way. I really can't complain.

Ah, the sweet smell of village living

Last night Alex, Andy and I were continuously sussing each other out to determine who had let the stinker off. Although it didn't quite smell like normal gas, it was an unpleasant scent and we are always quick to lay the blame on each other. Naturally, Molly was taking the majority of blame. When the smell continued on through the evening, Alex finally realized what it was:

We live in a village surrounded by farms. Every year at this time the farmers spread their fields with a coating of manure. Temperatures have been in the mid-to-high 20's.

Enough said.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Her Father's Daughter

A night with her friends... Prom 2006

Alex let me know this evening just before six o'clock that Tasha had told him where she was going to be meeting up with her friends tonight before heading to the venue where prom was being held, just in case we wanted to see her in her dress. We did. So we picked up Wendy and raced down to the church but had missed her by minutes.

We then decided to drive out to the place where her prom was being held, where there were lots of other families happily awaiting the arrival of the limousines, buses, and even the horse and carriage arriving with the prom goers. Tasha and her mates pulled up on the (outside) top deck of a double decker bus and I was happy to have taken at least a few pictures to show her father. They aren't the best shots, but at least her dad will get to see what she looked like on the night of her school prom.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Last night I firmed up the final details with Tim, from Mercy River. On August 2nd and 3rd we will be sleeping in one of these:

I can't begin to express how much I am looking forward to going back to the most peaceful place on earth. To think that Andy is finally going to get to experience what this place 'feels' like, is almost as exciting as the place itself.

It's been a difficult month, as I have previously mentioned and it is with every passing day that I become more eager to get back home, back where the living is easy and where all the hassle will be left far behind. It's not only me that needs this break but Andy, and more importantly Alex. I believe this trip is going to be just the medicine this family needs. To show our boys my home is truly something I am looking forward to more than anything.

Just the other day I received confirmation that Tawny will be joining us for an extra long weekend, something that made me smile - an extra bonus. On her blog she mentions all the great things we will get to do, and I can't wait. I think we will will also need to have a little 'topple' down at Pogue's before finishing the night off with Venus Pizza. Any takers?

It's all in the presentation

Saturday morning found us in a major dispute with the woman next door. Now for the past year or so, I have kept her at a distance, only exchanging pleasantries, as things had become difficult last year while Alex was living with us. Her son and Alex just don't get along and as it was stressing Julie to the max, she ended up screaming an awful lot. This I can't take. So to save our tenuous friendship, I decided to keep my distance and just chat across the garden fence.

Saturday morning she came out and informed Andy that we need to start being 'responsible' dog owners and picking up after Molly's mess, straightaway. This ultimately got Andy's back up because if we are anything, its responsible when it comes to Molly. It was getting heated so I was called out and tried to calm it down a bit. I agreed that it is disgusting and we do try to pick it up as soon as possible. She was disagreeing with everything we said, besides she hates dogs. I will admit that over the winter months it would gather up a bit, and was gross, but not left for days as she was saying. Since the warmer weather has come I've picked it up every morning and evening - whenever I notice it, cause who wants to sit out in a shitty garden? Our kids play out there, we cook out there and I sun out there all the time. Would I really lay out in that? Not to mention the flies it attracts - gross, I know. The bottom line is, I can understand how she feels about seeing it - no one wants to see it, but sometimes you don't notice straight away, our back door is open all day and Molly comes and goes.

All she had to do was politely ask if we would mind cleaning up after her straightaway, instead of insulting us and making us feel as if we are dirty people. Andy was well pissed - we have done a lot for this woman in the past i.e. sort out her electrics, help her install her washer, remove a fridge, etc.

And isn't it ironic, but just last week we were trying to impress upon Connor the importance of picking up after his dog (Jane went and got them a dog two weeks after Alex left - don't ask). Apparently Alex says they don't take poo bags with them while walking it, and no one wants to pick it up out of the garden.

You just can't win for losing.

What the double F?

Saturday morning after all the stress, I took myself off out with Beryl. We ended up doing a little bit of 'Retail Therapy'. We went in to a little shop called 'Pretty Woman' as I was looking to have a proper bra fitting, in the hope of buying a much needed, well fitting bra. I'd had a fitting back at Christmas from La Senza, and wasn't surprised to find that I measured at a 38DD, a size I'd been wearing for years. Lately though, I've been thinking that this just doesn't seem right. I watched an episode of Oprah where they said most women are wearing the wrong size, and pointed out the right style bra for various sizes. And the big sizes aren't all cumbersome and ugly as in years past.

So off we went into Pretty Woman where the fitting was much more professional and 'real'. Was I wrong about my size? Yes. What made me happy is that instead of being a bulky 38 width I am a 34. Trouble is, my cup size is FF. What the hell? I didn't even know there was such a thing. So here I am, a 34FF. After dropping a lot of money on this one bra I liked the way I looked in, I took myself off home. To say that my husband is well pleased with the result is an understatement. It just makes me think that my more endowed sisters might need to take a trip to a lingerie shop ;) Sexy

Friday, June 30, 2006


After 16 years of having a clean driving record, I have gone and got myself my first ever speeding ticket. Be that hard to believe, but it is the truth ;). I've been driving here for 2 1/2 years and most often I don't speed, but on the off chance I do, I've always managed to elude the f**kers. Driving here is slightly different from home, where I will admit (and have done so before) that I'm heavy footed, but was always switched on enough to avoid a ticket. So, after nearly one year with my new UK license I was caught by the money making bastards. So be it. I screwed up and will pay the penalty. Or wait one minute, I screwed up but my loving husband will pay the penalty Flirty Wink. I do however still get stuck with the points - as generous as Andy is, he isn't generous enough to take the points (the ticket came in his name as he is the registered owner of the Sportage :)

Pro's of the Actual Cop vs. Speed Cameras...

Actual Police Officer
1. You know then and there if you have received a ticket.
2. There is a slight chance you might be able to talk your way out of it...
3. You sometimes get to appreciate a nice looking Officer in full uniform.

Bastard Cameras
1. Your not even sure you've been issued a ticket until it arrives in the mail, so there is no chance of talking your way around it.
2. Its an automatic £60 fine. (I don't know what the fine is in NS - probably works out to a similar amount)
3. You are automatically penalized with three points on your license (I'm not sure how this works back home - if any of you have received a ticket recently, feel free to fill me in ;)

The only GOOD point of a Speed Camera: You don't have the opportunity to humiliatee yourself by trying to plead your way out of a ticket, only to be denied anyway. I, naturally have to exclude myself from this group as I have always managed to talk my way around the cops, even when I had let my vehicle registration expire - however as mentioned previously, I had never been pulled over for speeding.

Tagged By Tuna

5 Things in My/Our Refrigerator:
1) Diet Coke
2) Beck's (Beer)
3) Salsa
4) 1/2 Bag of Salad Mix
5) Greek Yoghurt

5 Things in My/Our Closet:
1) Shoes
2) Clothes
3) Handbags
4) Picture Frames
5) Gift Bags

5 Things in My Handbag:
1) Dental Floss
2) Lipstick
3) Mobile
4) Hand Sanitizer
5) Purse (Wallet)

5 Things in My/Our Car:
1) CDs
2) 2 Litre Bottle of Still Water
3) Molly's Lead
4) Sunglasses
5) Mini Road Atlas

5 People to Tag:
1) Valentina
2) Jeff
3) Jaime
4) Stacy (that makes twice with Tawn's)
5) Dawn (that makes twice with Tawn's)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Nova Scotia Way

I just got off the phone with my NS bank and insurance company respectively. Both young women that I spoke to were customer representatatives and were very helpful. I was hit with such a wave of melancholy as I hung up with the second person, after she very warmly thanked me, infusing my first name into the sentence. I love the Nova Scotia accent, I love the warmth and famliarity most people use when talking to you, even if they've never seen you before.

I also recall experiencing this feeling when I was home at Christmas. Even in the rush of pre Christmas sales, or Boxing Day returns, the sales associates took a moment to say 'how are you', or 'have a nice Christmas'.

Its just not the done way here. Most business people don't take a moment to ask how you are, not over the phone anyway, and if you ask that question, people are stunned into silence, usually thinking you are going to try and sell them something. I do find the SA's at the local grocery stores rather friendly, and at some of the shops -it really comes down to the person working and in what shop. I've given up telling people to have a nice day after I've finished serving them at work, or have packed up all my groceries as I am often just met with a strange look.

People here are often much more formal than Nova Scotians, something I'm still having to adjust to, even after 2 1/2 years. When it comes down to it, just call me Jody, not Mrs. Allenby, or Ms. McDonald. It's just Jody, and that works for me.

Of course not everybody feels this way, especially the older generations, and I completely respect this. I suppose the whole meaning of this entry was to say that I'm feeling a litte nostalgic for home - however in just over five weeks I shall be there!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Crazy Crazy Days

The past two weeks have been absolutely chaotic, centered around Alex and serious emotional turmoil he has been experiencing as a direct result from a breakdown in his relationship with his mother. Needless to say, he is living with us and has already made much improvement. The school, and his therapist have both expressed great relief that he is back with us to live permanently. So much has been happening around this, including a rough moment when his mother, backed up by her father, tried to have a nasty confrontation with me in the street whilst picking up Connor, but as I am unwilling to enter into such matters, especially in front of the kids, I drove off and left her standing in the street. Needless to say, all communication between us is now over, and after taking a step forward, we have taken two steps back. I do however believe it is for the best - for reasons better left unsaid. I don't like to use this site as a forum to discuss issues that relate to the kids & their mom, but I'd like to think of this as more of an update on what is happening in our neck of the woods.

I haven't had much time to post and at the moment I am working on something blog related that might take me awhile as I can no longer work on blogging at work (they've blocked access once again).

In more positive news, on Saturday I received my passport with its new edition: My Unlimited Leave to Remain Visa. Looks like I don't have to leave until I'm good and ready. :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Passing Time

Earlier in the week I had agreed to cover two shifts for my colleague, thus giving myself a ticket to remain installed in the clinic for two full days - yesterday and today. Wednesday afternoon, before I picked the boys up, was spent happily soaking up the rays in the back garden and I knew, just knew that I would hate being trapped at work if the sun were to still be shining. Just my luck, it is. However, I have turned working these full days into a positive thing, by not only catching up on the annoying bits of work that I have, but I took the opportunity to give my blog a good overhaul.

For some time now, my blogskin and comment box graphics have been acting up. I've been putting off trying to amend it myself as sometimes I can make more of a mess with my template. With all the extra time I've had to kill, I thought I'd have a go at it. I've surprised myself by doing the overhaul, and doing it half-way decently. It's not anything fantastic, but its a clean, fresh look (or so I think). I just this morning managed to revamp the comment section, as yesterday the skin I used automatically hooked me up with the basic blogger comment system, but I prefer the one I've been using for the past few years. Besides, its more comment friendly.

In Other News

I've become fanatically obsessed with Big Brother UK. During previous years I had refused to watch it over here as I thought it just looked too bizarre. This year, as usual, there was loads of hype leading up to Series 7, most of it occurring while Dawn & Stacy were here. Dawn asked if we'd mind watching the first show, the one where they introduce everyone, and of course me being the hostess that I am, readily agreed. And so began my rapid decline into Big Brother Madness. The North Americans don't have it half as good (or maybe bad) as those of us in the UK. I believe back home you get to watch the show 3x a week, and have to pay to watch the live feed. Not here. Every night there is an one hour recap of the past 24 hours, its also live over on E4 nearly 24 hours, and there are constant updates on the Channel Four webpage. If you happen to miss the daily recap, you can always catch it on the repeat the next day. Is there any wonder my life is often sad?

BB is different here for another reason too - instant celebrity status. Players in this house aren't focused so much on the prize, just being in the house gives them what they are hoping for, and so the longer they stay in, the better. I just can't believe how HUGE it is in this country.