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

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."

Two of my sisters did a Christmas post this year about their favourite movies so I won't do that this festive season. Instead, I've put together a list of warnings for all of you that like to hit the bottle a little, or a lot, over the holidays. I do have to admit that I blame Dawn and Beryl for the amount of wine I have consumed over these past few years, and not just at Christmas.

So, here is a list of reminders for those who like to enjoy more than one or two alcoholic beverages during the holidays:

1)The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

2)The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.

3) The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing.

4) The consumption of alcohol may cause pregnancy.

5) The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like an idiot.

6) The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them. (A symptom I definitely exhibit)

7) The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

8) The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Out of the Archives...

A McDonald Christmas Memory

Years ago, when I was about 7 or 8 my mom got us ready to take us for our annual trip to see Santa Claus at Halifax Shopping Centre. Now, we stood in line for a rather long time and I just wanted to get up there and tell the old boy about the barbies and accessories that were on my long list. I have to say, I was just a little bit anxious as well, going to sit on a strange man's lap and all (funny that I grew out of that). I knew that this wasn't the REAL Santa as he was way too busy to be attending long lines of kids and that he sought the assistance of men all over the world to do this tedious job.

Finally it was our turn and as my mom wanted a picture she sent my sisters and I up together. Tawny was about 6 and Sandra only 3 or 4. I was busily telling Santa (who happened to have sparkly blue eyes underneath those glasses) what I wanted when Tawn interrupted and blurted out these unforgettable words

"Dad! Is that you?".

It was...

I don't know why I didn't clue in - I suppose I was just too wrapped up in getting out what needed to be said and getting out of there, me being so shy in the 'old' days. Tawn has always been way more observant then me. Point in fact... Jeez.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is it with this time of year?

This is the time of year when I normally just want to be filled with thoughts of the pending holidays and where my biggest concern is making sure the presents are all bought and wrapped, and what kind of spread I want to lay on for our Christmas lunch.


Andy is stressed to the max with his work and the fact that he isn't feeling so hot these days. We could probably toss familial relationships on the top of it all if we are being honest.

Alex is stressed because of personal relationships on the other side of this family.

Connor, well he just doesn't usually stress at all, which I can certainly run with.

Me, well I'm just trying not to be stressed and am determined that stress will be left at the front door this Christmas. I had a few issues at work that were causing me to be slightly perturbed (strangely not really work related) but that was down to me and the fact that me being me, want everyone to be content.

Personally I want to continue on being the easy-going person I usually am. I should not let the emotions of others put a stop to this. Its just sometimes really rather hard.

I am 4000 miles away from my loved ones at home. I only want the people I care for here to be in a good place during this season of joy and peace.

And so:

Andy and I took the boys to pick out our tree on Saturday, despite the fact that it was chucking it down, and as Andy and Alex put the tree in its stand, and donned the lights, Connor and I cheerfully baked cookies.

We had a lovely party that night with our dearest friends to help decorate our tree. (Photos to follow shortly, when I have a moment to upload)

These are the moments that make my heart sing. These are the moments I want Christmas to be full of this year - and I know they will be. I'm just venting my slight feeling of uneasiness. It'll pass by tomorrow I'm sure. I tend to get like this when the nights draw in so early and the days aren't filled with blue skies and white snow...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A lot of time on my hands...

I'm not going to blog yet again about this damn chest infection, etc. that has pretty much kept me locked down for the last few days causing me a variety of emotions from guilt at not going to work, to frustration from not being able to do very much, let alone go to the gym, or take Molly out for the kind of walk she needs and deserves or Christmas shop...

I have had a lot of time to think and have pondered a lot this week, especially after having had a good chat with Cat on the phone yesterday afternoon.

This time of year brings with it an abundance of extra drinking and eating, what with all the celebrations, not to mention the scrummy food that seems to be on offer almost everywhere you turn. Looking at photos of myself, I seem to obsess over the slight bit of weight I have put on over the last little while, especially now that I haven't been able to work out in over a week. The girls in the office and I have had many a conversation about our bad 'bits' and how they drive us crazy, and how we could all stand to lose a stone, or two, or even three.

And then on the phone Cat, who had a baby last December, was saying how she needs to lose x amount of weight, leading us to the discussion of baby weight, and then weight in general. Of course we all need to be healthy and not let our flab run away with us to the point of obesity. Some women seem to bounce right back after baby, while others struggle to get back to where they were pre-baby, and alas some never even come close to regaining their figure. I also understand the need to try and lose most of the baby weight prior to getting pregnant with another child, because if you don't, you can end up doubling what you need to lose and it often gets out of control. And I do have to agree that being an overweight woman to begin with is not healthy for mom or baby.

I constantly berate myself because I'm nearly a stone up from where I used to be two years ago. But then the argumentative side of me says... 'woman, you might be up on the scales, but you have managed to keep the 28 lbs (2 stone) off from when you lost it five years ago' and I am right. I am still where I was when I initially lost my weight. I was determined enough to lose even more after moving here and I want to get back there again. Hopefully in a few months I will manage it because that's where I'm most comfortable being. And I just want to be comfortable :)

There are all kinds of reasons why we should look after ourselves, our health being the number one reason and no we all can't be size 6's and so long as we eat reasonably well and work out regularly, why can we not just be accepting of the body we have? This is why I love people like Gok Wan, a fabulous, self confessed queen who presents a show over here called How to Look Good Naked. What he does for women is fantastic and he often manages to get the women on his show to believe they are beautiful and that they need to love what God gave them, and work it to their best advantage.

And I often think and have often been heard to say... "If I were to find out tomorrow that I had an inoperable tumour, would I really care that I'm a healthy size 10-12? (14 in the UK)". No. I think I would regret that I spent so much damn time obsessing over something that is kind of small in the whole scheme of things.

So here's to you Gok... because this Christmas I'm enjoying myself with food and drink and I know it'll all be ok, cause the gym is my friend.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

An answer to why I've always liked the senior set...

At the moment I'm chock full of antibiotics, cough syrup and liquids as I try and beat the throat and chest infection I have come down with. I left work early yesterday after struggling through two hours. I have a horrible cough and when I'm sick like this it takes only the mildest scent of perfume, etc. to set off my asthma. I had been sleep deprived for the previous two nights because when I get a cough like mine, I come down with incessant hacking that sounds strangely similar to a sick dog that not only wracks my throat, chest and back, but keeps me awake all night. Because I share a bed with Andy and it was the weekend, he too had the pleasure of being kept awake most of both nights. I know he did catch a few z's as I heard him lightly snoring off and on, but I would still reckon he wasn't too disappointed to hit the road Monday morning. You're probably wondering why I wasn't in the spare room, 'sparing' my husband, however he insists I stay in the comfort of my own bed and stubbornly stays with me...

So today I have been sat here trying to ignore the pain that this ridiculous cough has caused (its now giving me a vicious headache), and avoid going out in the cold. On the way home yesterday I stopped at the video store and picked up a few videos, which have luckily stopped me from going completely stir crazy. My favourite thus far has been Death at a Funeral, one of the funniest films I've ever seen.

This morning, I had a few parcels that had to go in the post today, and instead of just going to the post office I pushed myself and drove a little further on to Tesco for some soup and cough drops. Because I'm not feeling the best, I wasn't really bothered by the fact that my hair was shoved up in a clip, my face was completely bare of make up under the specs and I wasn't exactly dressed to impress. I took a look at myself in the rear view mirror, and answered my pasty, spotted reflection with a 'bah' before heading into the supermarket.

I walked up the bread aisle remarking to myself that it must be senior day at Tesco's before turning up the next isle where yet another 'older' gent was perusing the muffins. He looked at me, grinned and asked if I was following him. I smiled and assured him I wasn't when he winked at me and said 'well that's a shame'.

I didn't even take in what he'd said till I walked by. My first response was to think, man, someone needs glasses; my second thought was 'girl, he put a smile on your lousy face. He might be a near geriatric, and probably says things like that to all the younger women, and yes maybe he does need glasses, but you feel like shit and today, just for a moment, someone made you feel that little bit brighter :)

It was a small thing, nothing too significant and maybe its a cliche, but sometimes, its the little things in life that make a difference.

Note: Another thing that made my day brighter was having a conversation with my sister on the phone. Sometimes just hearing the voice of someone I don't get to see nearly enough is medicine to my soul, even if it can't fix my physical ailments.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The most wonderful time of the year... sort of :)

This will be my fifth Chrismtas in the UK and I honestly do not know where the time has went. I still remember so clearly the first year I moved to England to be with Andy and his children. It was mid December and I had just said a heart-wrenching farewell to everyone I love in preparation to start my life anew with the man who would become my husband. It was bittersweet because I was going to get to spend Christmas with Andy, but I ached at having to leave my family so close to Christmas, because we love Christmas at our house back home, and have some pretty special traditions. That year, we did manage one as Mom, Stacy and I were able to decorate the tree just before I left.

I came over here with the misguided notion that I would get to see London at Christmas, something which I believed would be absolutely magical. However getting back to Grimsby to meet my future step-children was first on the list and we have never yet made it back at this time of year.

This is probably one of the first Christmas Season's that I am genuinely looking forward to since moving here, despite missing my own kin. I've enjoyed other Christmases, but this year finds us in a really good place, in a home we are comfortable in, with a few traditions of our own. And for the first time in six years, my husband is going to see his children on Christmas Day, something that makes me extrodinarily happy as well, because Christmas should be about the children. Its win-win for all of us I think.

We have a number of parties this month, not least of all two here at the house - one with family on Saturday night, and then next Saturday some friends are coming round to help us decorate the tree (Me & Bailey's are tired of doing it on our own - the menfolk just aren't that interested.)

On the 19th I'm actually going to get to do something I have wanted to do since moving here: take the train down to London, hotel it with my husband, see the lights at Christmas and hopefully, fingers crossed go skating in Hyde Park!

Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Every relationship has its ups and downs and I've always said that we never know exactly what goes on between two people who choose to live out their lives together, except the couple involved.

I often try to sit back and not take sides, or be judgemental when I hear this person is having an affair, or that one spends too much time on the drink, etc. I especially try to remain impartial when couples I know are splitting up. Its harder when you know one half of the couple better than the other and even harder when you are very close to both people and can often see for yourself the strain that is threatening to crack whatever delicate bridge is left holding that relationship together.

At the moment I have a very dear friend who has tried to seperate from her husband in the most adult and pain free manner as she possibly can. She has gone way beyond what is considered reasonable to ensure her daughter remains as unaffected as possible that mom & dad are no longer together. I commend her for this because so many people in this world have chosen to take the bitter route and not only meander down it at a tepid speed, but race head long into it with all their might, forgetting their children are at the heart of everything.

On the other hand I hear of those people who divorce and although they might not like each other very much anymore, meet over children's parties, or school events and manage to smile at each other and exchange one or two nice words. I have had one friend who had her ex husband over for Christmas Dinner with her and the kids, when she would have much rather have gone to her parents.

Some of my friends whom are divorced go out and buy the children presents for the other parent on such occasions as birthday's and Christmas in order that the children have something to give to their mother or father. We included do this. Luckily for our kids though, they have me to buy for their dad, and if they didn't have me, they'd have Andy's parents. We would never expect them to try and come up with the funds out of their own pocket money to buy & wrap presents for the other parent. And this is not something we do for the children's mother, its what we do for them. I know if I was a divorced mom and my kids didn't have a dad who would buy a gift for them to give me, my parents would.

Because my parents are like that.

And thankfully my mother raised me up to be an adult that can think for herself, who loves children, no matter who they were born of, and to never get involved in other couple's relationships.

Oh, she also taught me that Christmas can be one of the most joyful times of the year, even without a load of material stuff :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I see the crystal raindrops fall...

Apparently back home in Nova Scotia, they have been bombarded with the first snowstorm of the season. I couldn't help but feel a little homesick when I heard this. Although I don't miss the shovelling and driving in bad weather, I do miss sitting inside watching the snowflakes fall. I also love seeing everything bathed in white, looking so pure and clean. At least for the first hour or two anyway. I often wonder how our Molly would react to all that snow. She sure seems to love the small scattering we rarely get here.

At the moment its coming down out there rather steadily. I'm not holding my breath for anything substantial, but we probably will head out in a minute for a little stroll through it. Connor has decided to forgo a birthday party tonight, instead choosing to go out with his mates to play. It took me forever to scrounge up a pair of mismatched gloves for him. Looks like gloves all around will be on the next shopping list.

This evening, as we were driving home from Tesco, pondering if the snow would actually start sticking we heard a voice from the back quietly singing 'I see the crystal raindrops fall hmmm hmmmm hmmmm' and couldn't help but grin. That Connor. What is he like eh? Completely adorable. That is our Con though... despite being a little stubborn and lazy, he is undeniably, hugely lovable. Just looking at him makes you want to smile.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Dachshund & Pink the Pig

Mommy Dachshund is fostering this little guy for another mom who couldn't take care of him.
He had his eyes closed, but now they are open.
He is just a little bigger than her other pups.
She loves this little guy as much as the other puppies and she is nursing him back to health.
He is the cleanest pig-uppy ever because she licks him all the time.


Monday, November 10, 2008

I just got this last Thursday...

I have already made a fantastic, warming vegetable soup, a beautiful chicken stew, and so-so mac & cauliflower cheese.

In the past year, instead of cooking a variety of meals for each of us on any given day, some that include the microwaveable sort, I've been trying to cook good wholesome meals for us all to enjoy; something that is now becoming easier due to books like these.

Most of the ingredients that Jamie uses are natural and organic and so long as I follow a healthy diet including exercise, I shouldn't have a problem with maintaining weight.

Alex was poking fun of me yesterday, saying I spent all evening reading it, like it was my new bible, but I make no apologies. I do like getting new cook books, I can't help it, especially ones with pictures to accompany the recipes - it makes is so much easier. And I don't think anyone in the house is suffering because of it :)

If my 20 year old self could see me now...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A love like this...

They say that you can't choose your family. And they are right. You can't. But as far as families go, I was fortunate to be born into mine. I have three sisters and a brother, and two parents who are still married to each other, and if they don't seem to always like each other, it is obvious that they love each other.

When I got married, one of the biggest requirements on my list was that I liked my husband's parents, and he liked mine. Never did I realize that not only would we like each other's parents, we would love them; and not only love the parents, but siblings too. When I first moved over here, I knew I had Dave's heart, but I was on very shaky ground with Wendy, my mother-in-law to be, as she had a number of issues over Andy's former wife, and felt devoted to her. Through no fault of Wendy though, that relationship broke down. As time went on this enabled Wendy to spend time with me and come to the conclusion that it was ok to like me. Over the past five years, we have grown to love each other and I can't imagine living over here without the love and support I receive from my in-laws. It means the world to Andy, as he has never experienced the love of parents-in-law, espeically a mother-in-law, and no one loves better than my mom Gina. I think I'd be hard pressed to find someone to dispute this.

Now what is completely causing me no end of pride, is that earlier this month, Wendy and Dave took a trip to Canada. They began in NF, were not only did they spend time with their friends, they met up with my Aunt Nita and cousin Heather (whom they met this summer for the 2nd time during her visit here) for lunch.

They then moved on to NS where they stopped with my parents for four days. Most people are in awe that my parents were having Andy's parents to stay, and vice-versa. And whilst in NS not only did they see my parents and siblings, but my three Aunts and Uncles all came out to spend time with them on numerous occasions. I'm not done yet... Dawn and her mom Sheila also picked D&W up and took them to a fine lunch, followed by some shopping.

At the moment D&W are in Toronto, where they are spending lots of time on their own, but again, took the time to call not only my sister Tawny, but my mate Carol Anne, who has just moved back to Toronto. My sister drove them downtown and met up with them after work to have dinner, and CA spent yesterday with them, and has promised loads of pictures.

I'm trying not to get soppy over it all, but at this moment in time I am thanking God for the blessings he has brought to my life, for the family I have, both mine and Andy's and for the beautiful friends that have crossed my path.

Nothing on earth can take that away from any of us... the boys have embraced the way my family is, both in NS when we were there in 2006, and here, when we have company. They are already so looking forward to getting back out there to the loving arms of my loved ones, not to mention the great weather, beaches and Gina's cookies and pancakes...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Ghouly Halloween

Ghetto Ghoul

Wicked Witch of the West and the Corpse Bride

I cannot believe I managed to drink a 'Yard of Ale'. The only girl to do it that night, and I'd never even seen one before!

What a motley crew...

Proud to be the winner of the best costume! Ironically, Alex asked me as I was getting ready, 'Are you planning on winning best costume or something?'

Andy and I went non-stop at the weekend. We had the party at Liz and Marcus's Friday night, then our friends Sophia and Paul joined us with their Dalmatian Maebh on Saturday. We had a gorgeous pub lunch at the Harvest Moon. Sophia and Paul commented on how much Alex is growing and told us we should be proud of how he is turning out, A real credit to us. Which is something to smile about considering they are both child psychologists.

We also saw the James Bond movie that night, something I prefer to forget about. Lucky for us, Ali and Scott will be taking the boys to see it this weekend in Nottingham. Although we have to give up our weekend with Connor, we would never deny them the trip as they love hanging out with their Aunt and Uncle. And we don't even have to pay them off!

On Sunday Andy and I drove three hours to the Williams Centre in Oxford for a big Formula 1 event. It was worth it for me to a certain extent just to see the stupor my husband was in, especially when he got to see Louis Hamilton became World Champion at a place like Williams. Lucky for me there was an open bar and Internet access ;)

And lastly, a Happy Birthday to my mate Roisin. Wish I could be there to have a Keizer's and piece of cake with her.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Me and the boys find this soooo funny...

and something about the 'bashful' part reminds us just a lot of Molly :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

When I'm feeling blue, I just look at you...

I didn't know if the caption for this should have been what I wrote, or "and the winner of sweetest Halloween costume is..."

Either way, I've saved this photo to my desk top for a reason. I can't help but smile when I see those gorgeous big blues grinning at me from this adorable get up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Four years in the blink of an eye...

Hard to believe this was the night before my wedding to Andy four years ago...

We were so blessed to have the majority of those we love so much with us. I don't have the driver here with the professional photos, but I like these photos just the same:

Four years on found me sitting in a team meeting at work, when a knock upon the main door announced a visitor. It was a lady with a HUGE bouquet of flowers and they were for me. I hadn't received delivered flowers since before I moved over here and as a resut it was hard to wipe the grin off my face for the rest of the day.

I was meeting Sarah for lunch yesterday, and after I put my flowers on water, I headed into town to catch up with my mate. After lunching in Abbie's and leaving Sarah, I decided to have a look in the local Anne Summer's shop for a little gift for Andy.

The end result was me getting myself kit out in a sexy little number including garters and stockings with a seam up the back. This afternoon saw me frantically trying to work out how to actually put myself into this get up, prior to donning my leopard print heels and long cream coat before heading into town to meet Andy's train.

The smile on my husband's face was worth it when he saw what was under that coat, and to delay it as long as possible I suggested we stop in for a drink at the Harvest Moon.

Tonight, we're heading out for dinner-a-duex. Unfortunately I'm craving Mexican something loco, so that puts a halt to the sexcitement. Well, at least till we get home...

Friday, October 03, 2008

I always knew beagles were resourceful as well as immensely cute but seriously...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Running out the gray...

Today wasn't a great day at work. I was just a little weensy bit lippy, probably said a few sarcastic things to my boss that I shouldn't have. Although I said I was sorry to be so asinine, I don't know that I really was. I've decided that from now on I'm speaking my mind, even if it means a foot up my ass as I'm shown the door. I don't think I really mean that. Or maybe I do.

Another thing happened today: I went to the drawer where I'd stashed my Nikon Digital camera, safely in its camera case, or so I thought. Its ruined. The display screen has that smashed look about it. Someone has either taken it out and dropped it, or dropped something heavy into the drawer, directly on top of it. Either way, to say I'm pissed is an understatement. It was a Christmas gift from Andy last year. Shit. I haven't even made it a year. What is it with me and cameras...

I had something else to get off my chest but damned if I can remember what else I want to complain about. I should probably get off my arse and go to the gym. Better than sitting here being annoyed by the kids and bitching. If only I could find my mobile in order to charge it up so I can actually run to a beat.

And to think I thought today my luck might be changing for the better because I found a pound coin on the ground. Like a £1 is really that big a win.

Oh and my hair needs colouring. I feel fantastic, can you tell?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Looks like this Christmas we won't be eating off the patio furniture...

This is much better I think.

We've been debating turning our back TV room into a dining room for some time now. The boys tend to play all their games in their room, and Alex has the flat screen & satellite in his room.

Although its a very small room, we'll eventually need a sideboard or some other piece of furniture to finish it off, but I'm looking forward to decorating for the upcoming season(s), or at least trying to. And maybe, just maybe, having a small dinner party or two.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More like Sarcastic 16 than Sweet 16...

Although he wasn't quite this little and adorable when I first met him, how quickly does then turn into...


Today he turned 16, on Monday he starts work experience and in July he will finish school and begin his electrical engineering course soon after.

And although I didn't suffer through the hard labour to bring him into this world, I do get the insufferable experience of raising him ;)

But aside from that, he's honestly a sixteen year old that most parents only dream of having.

And in typical Alex fashion, like a big kid, he gets a load of enjoyment out of this advert:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Date Night

Last night Andy and I decided to go see a movie, as we hadn't seen each other in two weeks and needed some time to ourselves.

It was a little busy when we went inside to join the que and as the movie was due to start in five minutes Andy was wondering if he should give me the money to pay for our tickets while he went to the concessions que. It didn't really matter though because before I could answer, the line had moved rather quickly and we were at the front. I walked up to the ticket agent and asked for two tickets to see The Women and was told the price. I turned around to take the money from Andy and he wasn't there... he was halfway to concessions. So I did the only thing I could and hollered 'Andy!', as I turned back to the ticket guy and exclaimed 'Some date eh?' Andy's face was puce as he handed me the £20 and said with a sheepish grin 'sorry Jods, I thought I'd given it to you!' That might be, or maybe he was just trying to get out of paying ;)

One of my favourite ways to relax on a
Friday night...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This one is having a birthday today...

and if I know her, and I think I just might, she's doing it right.
Happy Birthday little sis. xo

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A pretty amazing summer, even if it has rained for most of it...

Right from the start its been a cracking summer. We've had a lot of family over, starting with Dawn in June, ending with Stacy and Heather in August.

We managed to do so much, including travel to Kefalonia with Stace, which was as amazing as when we honeymooned there, in different ways of course, the number one reason being getting to share Stacy's excitement in seeing such a gorgeous place.
Not to mention the day we rolled down a huge slide in a massive ball, or completed an obstacle course in the trees of Sherwood forest...

The same can be said for Heather's first trip to the UK. Both Dawn and Stace have been here twice before, so it was kind of fun to show someone the sights who was so in awe of it all. Heather was taken aback by some of the places we visited: Lincoln, Chatsworth (where Pride & Prejudice, The Duchess were filmed), even right down to our favourite, the Harvest Moon and Jaques Cider. Seems like all my girls back home are big fans of our cozy pub, especially on quiz night...

This summer also brought with it some big changes. Work went kind of sour there for awhile, and although what was happening caused quite a lot of upheaval, things have calmed down and it looks like I will be there to weather out the storm, as things have turned around for me and the boat has stopped rocking.

I said good-bye to two fantastic friends, Carol-Anne & Madeline, who have moved back to Canada, and hopefully greener fields. Part of me still thinks they are only out there on their annual trip and will be back soon, but another part of me knows they have done what is right and that I will see them again soon. Besides, its just more extended family for me to have back home :)

Andy has been re-located to London, so for the time being will only be with us every second weekend. It'll take some getting used to, but Alex, (Connor when he is here) and Molly and I do alright on our own, and it won't be for too long. Besides, Andy and I are already trying to sort out a trip or two to London.

So a quiet weekend lays ahead of me, one that I'll probably make best use of to get back to the gym and ringing those I haven't had a chance to talk to all summer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

School's out for summer...well almost

I just got off the phone with Alex who was trying to con me into letting him have Wednesday off school. It's his last day and he was trying to say that because he only has one lesson in the morning, and then an two hour assembly, there really is no point in him going. Oh, but there is, and he will. But God love him for trying, I would have done the same. Man... but it only seems like yesterday when I was trying to pull the same con with my mom. Now that I think of it, she probably did let me stay home ;)

Connor finished last Thursday, but has to go back on the 28th August. Gross eh?

(Note: to my Canuck friends who may not be aware, kids over here have shorter summer breaks as they have many more small breaks off throughout the year i.e. a week in October, a week in May.)

Looking forward...

~ I can barely sit still because on Friday morning my sister Stacy will be arriving here to stay for nearly a whole month!!!

~ On the weekend, Stacy and I are participating in the Spheremania Challenge for Charity. If you've no idea what that is:

"SphereMania works by harnessing two willing participants in a 4m wide sphere facing each other. The sphere is then lifted hydraulically onto a giant slide which then rolls down a 200ft slide and inflatable track. The sphere is released sending participants hurtling down the slide reaching high speeds before stopping safely at the end of the track.

There is also a facility to record the experience, where either person wears a DVD camera filming the other person, as they tumble up and down and round and round.

Are we crazy - maybe. Let's hope Stacy is able to convince some of you at home to pledge her!

~ On Monday, the boys leave for a two week vacation in Turkey with their mother; its been a long time coming and I really do hope they enjoy themselves.

~ We have Stacy's mate Brian coming to visit us on the weekend of the 2nd (oh man... should we be worrying?? ;)

~ On Monday the 4th, Stacy, Andy, Brian and I leave to head over to Warrington, as Stace, Andy and I are heading to Kefalonia on Tuesday morning for a week of fantastic fun in the sun!!!(Something we don't see much of around these parts.) Brian is heading elsewhere for one his usual jaunts around Europe etc.

I'll not talk about what's on the agenda for the rest of the summer until after we get back from Greece... sorry but it seems to be overshadowing just about everything at this moment in time.

Come on Friday :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

And providing the musical interlude for us on his little blue guitar...

This morning our skeleton crew came in to work in varying moods. I of course was on a high from not seeing only one movie this weekend but two. I haven't done that since being home in Nova Scotia. I'm still smiling from seeing Mama Mia last night, which my husband agreed to see with me, despite it being a major chick flick. Even Andy couldn't stop laughing at the antics of Julie Walters, who was absolutely hilarious, and although all the singing wasn't even close to that of what you would see in the West End, it was still a valiant effort on behalf of actors who don't normally sing and it was just plain FUN.

Seeing that gorgeous Greek scenery that I will soon shortly be experiencing in person was an added bonus as its not something I just have to dream about!

And of course, how could we not keep smiling when we have this kind of entertainment in an otherwise dismal office:

Although summer is proving very tempermental here, we are trying our best... these were taken at our litte Garden Party at my In-Laws yesterday...

Wendy & I

Claire & Dave

Having lunch

Scott & Connor

My boys and me...

Me & my goofball:)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An old chinse proverb:

No family can hang out the sign:
Nothing the matter here.

I believe this is true.

We've had a number of troubled times in our house. We're treading water and as long as we stay strong, we should be ok. The key is to stay strong together.

Many people are going through worse and I thank God every day we are all healthy (knock on wood).

A human heart can only withstand so much though, and to withstand what life puts in front of us, we need acceptance, understanding and the freedom to be ourselves.

Along with a whole lotta love. It has been said that sometimes love just ain't enough, but I'm determined, that in this family, it will be. (Well that and a few litres of wine maybe ;)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Loads of Laughs

As most of you are aware, Dawn aka Longbottom, flew in to Glasgow a week ago Monday to spend a few weeks with us here in the UK.

We started off her trip by staying a night with my dear friend Val and her lovely children in Glasgow City. As per usual, you do not spend a night with Val et al. and remember going to bed the previous night. Dawn has since come to realize this as well.

We enjoyed a memorable time with Val and her children in her huge jacuzzi tub in their new home. The fact that five of us managed to squeeze in still amazes me today.

Since then, we have managed the odd meal out, a visit to Nottingham on the weekend to see the Dali Lama (which I found very fulfilling, since I had never followed his teachings prior to Saturday),and of course Ali and Scott. On Saturday night we all went bowling despite the fact Dawn and I didn't have socks. Thank goodness for Molly's poo bags, as we were NOT going to put our bare feet in rented shoes!

On Sunday night Andy, LB and I met up with the gang from work and spent an amusing evening doing the pub quiz - boys against the girls. Needless to say, the girls kicked ass. This might be due in part to the fact that Sharon's man Steve had trouble figuring out how many stone tablets the 10 Commandments had been written on. The boys should never have abandoned him to go to the bar, leaving him to the wiles of the women!

I'm enjoying having my mate with me, as are the boys. It's been nice to have someone to plan meals with, walk the dog with and just hang out with. Connor has been spending as much time with us as he can, and on Wednesday will be coming to stay until Sunday night. We all want to see as much as Dawn as we can... it'll will be another year until we all meet up again. Its great to know that my English family have come to love her as much as I do.

Us girls are excitedly looking forward to the release of 'Sex and the City' tomorrow evening and will dress the part to attend this long awaited flick. Hopefully we will be able to score tickets. If not though, there will always be another evening. I'm just so thrilled that one of my nearest and dearest is here to see it with me in girlie fashion so that I need not feel envious of those back in Nova Scotia.

On Thursday we head up to the north to hopefully take the boys canoeing in the Lake District, then back to Warrington for an evening with my beloved, who will then take us on a Waterfall Hike Friday. We then come back to Grimsby for the weekend celebrations, as Longbottom turns 34 whilst she is here with us. (I'm not telling you what the plans are for her birthday as she will have to wait and find out :)

I will leave you with a funny episode that happened at lunch last Thursday with Beryl and Wendy:

We were looking at the menu board prior to placing our order when two little 'oldish' women pushed in beside us.

One kept asking the other what she wanted. The other kept replying 'I don't know, I can't see the board at this angle' as she kept trying to push further in front of us.

The third time we heard the comment, 'I don't KNOW I can't see from this angle' Dawn let out a 'Jesus Christ' and stepped back. It was not like we really had much choice.

We decided it was best to just get in the queue to pay for our food. We'd decide what we wanted along the way. As we were paying, I leaned in to Dawn and whispered, knowing full well the obnoxious toads were behind us, 'those ladies behind us are some damn cranky eh?'

Her reply: 'I don't know, I can't HEAR you at this angle'.

Did they hear? Who knows, but they sure heard us roar with laughter.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Any excuse to cut out early...

So... today, as Max and I were sitting in our office doing anything but the heap of work in front of us, my phone rang. I happily picked it up as I saw it was Alex calling and not some boring vendor or even worse, a client.

My joy soon turned to angst as Alex was quick to inform me that our Molly had been sick with the runs. All over our kitchen floor. Our CARPETED kitchen floor (don't ask - we rent and would never be ridiculous enough to lay carpet in the kitchen, or better yet, bathroom). I was trying to coax him into cleaning it up, while he was saying he couldn't manage it (but really just didn't want to and who could blame him?), when Maxine suggested I get off home... you know since we were both so busy not getting anything done it wouldn't make that much of a difference. I was quick to concur since there was only an hour or so left till quitting time anyway.

I hopped on my bike and enjoyed the journey home in the fresh air, wondering what kind of nightmare awaited me at home.

It wasn't too bad, not quite the story Alex had woven, but then again, it wasn't too good. A good 20 minutes and a stiff arm later, I'd finally had the kitchen looking and smelling much more like it's meant to. Alex was a little surprised when he came in and all was as it should be, but I think it was more relief that our kitchen no longer smelt like an outhouse.

Tonight, while we were out on the field, and Molly was being a good girl and listening to me, and her mate Abby was being her usual stubborn assed self, I told Elaine about our kitchen situation. Her response was that I should have called. I responded with 'Like I'm really gonna call my friend and ask her to go clean up that kind of a mess'. She said she wouldn't mind, its not like she doesn't have a dog of her own, and that if it saves me from having to leave work, even work that I'm avoiding, then she's happy to help.

Let me tell you - she might not be the easiest gal in the world to figure out, but she sure is up there in the 'that's some mate' category.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Never Enough

I've just come back from the grocery store, where I'd filled the cart with mostly healthy items, especially zucchini and lean ground beef which I intend to bbq tonight. The weather here this week has been lovely and I want to take full advantage :) Of course I threw in a few extras, as we do, with the full intention of making myself a wrap for my late lunch. That wasn't to be the case though as I ended up buying the chili and red pepper hummus that I had walked by twice before finally giving in and buying; as I LOVE that stuff, I ended up finishing off the few Triscuit crackers I had left with the hummus. I just could not WAIT. I was drooling as soon as I put it in my trolley and could barely wait to get home. I did at least manage some self-control as I only ate the lid and 1/3 of the tub,(and its a small tub) when what I really wanted to do was finish every bit off and lick the tub clean when it was gone. I don't even need the crackers as I can and sometimes do, eat that hummus straight from the tub, and have to try very hard to restrain myself from eating the whole thing. Sadly, all my Triscuits have gone, so maybe the pull from the hummus won't be so strong; yeah ok. I'm really not kidding anyone here. There's always pita chips.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Give me more...

There is a documentary on TV at the moment called To Fat to Toddle; a professor is launching a fat camp for under fives. Call me an ass, but I think its a pretty sad state of affairs when a child under five needs fat camp. What is the world coming to? If children have never eaten it, they don't miss it. There is plenty of time to be introducing our children to sugars and high fat, over processed foods *cough* like McDonalds.

When I was a kid, those things were a treat. And yeah, yeah, I know with some people its the old metabolism dragon, but generally that is just an excuse.

But I do have understanding and empathy for this:

I was doing a step class on Friday morning and in between thinking what a rocking class it was, and how much I can't wait for Dawn to join me at the gym, to wondering when I was going to get a chance for a drink before I died, I took a few seconds to glance around and saw a woman wearing a very different pair of leggings... they were black, with a white patch on the bum. It wasn't until we were changing direction that I noticed she had a white patch on the front too. It took me maybe another half second to realize she had her leggings on inside out. Just call me slow. I then didn't know whether to laugh or be horrified for her. I suppose it was a combination of both as I chuckled and wondered when it was that she had noticed they were inside out, because it couldn't possibly have been before the start of class, and she still continued to work out! That was one lady who put her step class above vanity. Go woman go.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The ways of the world...

On Thursday of last week, Andy and I left to spend an extraordinary long weekend in Milan, and then Trento, where our good friends Valentina and Mike live. One of the best moments of this trip, besides seeing Val and Mike and the beautiful countryside they reside in, was meeting their beautiful Lilyan and getting to know her.

Lily is the sweetest little angel with such a lovely disposition. It was wonderful to interact with her and see what a lovely family the three of them make.

Prior to heading up to Trento, Andy and I enjoyed a quiet evening in Milan, where we wandered around, taking in the sites and eating a lovely meal outside in the Duomo Square. The red wine was glorious, and Andy enjoyed his bruschetta, however we messed up on the pizza by ordering one with fish on it. But no worries, I knew we would make up for it later - which we did. (Val and Mike took us to a fantastic pizzeria where everything was delicious and the right choices were made.)

We took the train to Trento on Friday, which was mostly uneventful, and enjoyed some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen.

We were met at the train station by Mike and Val, with a beaming Lilyan in tow... the smile on that angel's face could melt an ice burg in the harshest winter, let me tell you.

The next day, we all went up to Val's parents in the mountains, where we enjoyed a great hike, after which, we were treated to the wonderful hospitality of Valentina's folks. They are absolutely lovely people and couldn't have made us feel more welcome.

The next day, we drove up into the mountains to one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been, for an authentic Italian lunch, which itself was a great experience. We weren't sure of everything that came out, but we tried it all. Andy amazed me by drinking a full glass of red wine! He doesn't even like white wine but I think he was carried away with the spirit of the Italian moment :) Mike then drove us up further into the mountain, and led us on another hike to a castle ruins. Again, absolutely breathtaking. We shared quite a lot of laughs along this hike, merry with wine and great company.

Because we'd eaten so much at lunch, we ended up having ice-cream for supper - and what an ice-cream selection it was. The 'gelato' in Italy is my favourite by far. None of us left that place parlour feeling disappointed!

The next day, we had to say good-bye, and make our way back to Milan. I happily had a bottle of the local red wine packed in my suitcase, that Mike and Val had so thougtfully given us.

Now the train trip back to Milan wasn't so uneventful.

Let me explain:

First of all, we missed our train out of Trento, which wasn't so bad, as it gave us time to have a snack. When we finally got on the train, we had a hard time finding a seat, but managed to sit side by side in the seats with a table. Unfortunately, we had the pleasure of sitting across from a 'foreign woman'. I hesitate to even say this, but I don't want anyone thinking this person was Italian.

Anyway, I was looking out the window, intermittently reading my book, when I heard her burp. Out loud. I thought to myself, owell, we all have accidents. A few moments later, when I looked across at her, and she was dozing, with her mouth open, in a most unattractive manner. Funnily enough, her son was sitting across the isle, snoring away. Later on, she started talking to other people in the car, other family members, or so it would seem. Why they were all spread out over the car, I can't explain.

Anyway, after another few moments had passed, she burped again. And again. And again. And made no apologies, nor seemed embarrassed. When I looked up at her in disbelief, I nearly died, as her finger was so far up her nose it looked as if it would come out her mouth. I had to look away. What a blight on the beautiful scenery outside. I put my book up in front of my face, trying my best to read and ignore the constant stattico of her burps. I then made the mistake of looking at the man across the isle from me, an Italian who had the luck of sharing with the woman's snoring lad. He shoulders were shaking as he was trying so hard to contain his laughter. That did it for me. We made eye contact and I nearly roared. I laughed so hard, my shoulders shaking as well, and tears streaming down my eyes, as I tried to keep it silent. I've never in my life encountered such a pig. Andy wasn't too shocked though, as he says he's seen this in prior travels. I guess life really is a continous lesson.

Luckily enough, our train ride to Milan was less eventful and we were happy to finally be able to make our way to the subway, to catch our last train of the day to the airport. Because we were rushing slightly, I wasn't paying enough attention when two young women cut in front of me with their pull-luggage (something that happens often in the underground). Of course, me being me, went right over it and landed on both knees. I don't know what hurt more, my knees or my pride. You'd think I'd be used to this by now, eh? Falling seems to be my speciality. The girls were horrified and kindly put out a hand to help me up,and Andy grabbed my bag as I hobbled along beside him. Yesterday, both knees were bruised and sore, with my right one looking like I had grown a second kneecap. Thankfully today the swelling has gone down and its feeling much better. How my knees aren't completely ruined, after the constant beating they get, is beyond me.

At the airport, we grabbed our last taste of Italian food, and I of course forewent the pastry shop for a second slice of pizza. It might be airport food, but I'll take Italian airport pizza any day over British Pizza ;) Sorry, they do a lot of nice food here, but pizza isn't their specialty.


So ends yet another of our holidays. However we now have our upcoming visitors to look forward to, and of course Kefalonia.

Oh, and I have to publish this photo, Andy's pride and joy from our weekend away, taken with his new camera:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Precious Time :)

Happy Birthday Brother! Nice ice-cream cake!

Skating with the twins - Brenden and Lucas

Snow! (Sorry everyone, I know you are so so sick of it - Spring can come now :)

Happy 60th Mom!

All dressed up for the party :)