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: