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

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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!