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

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There & Back

We made a round trip to Heathrow yesterday in order for Gary and Heather to catch their flight home.  It was a beautiful sunny day and as it was a bank holiday here in the UK, traffic was fairly light and we made great time.  It was an uneventful journey, save for the fact that we hit two birds less than an  hour into it.  One didn't move out of the road in time; the 2nd  (about 15 mins later) pinged off our roof in its quest to take off.  Gary said it kept flying although how I don't know, and I'm not sure if I believe him.  I hated it it, but it is a hazard of driving at that time of the morning; birds are everywhere due to all the roadkill during the night.

Last night the house seemed really quiet and Andy and I just took it easy.  I had a long bath and enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine.  I really miss my family when they go.  Yes, its nice to get back into the regular routine of everyday life, however I adore having family stay and to me its not like I have guests.  Its my family after all, someone from my part of the world and it just feels so great to have them here.  I never have a problem sharing my kitchen, and aside from running the hoover and wiping down kitchen and bathroom surfaces, I don't get upset that I have less time to worry about housework.

We had a really great weekend together that I'm going to post about another day.

Today, I'm feeling a little low.  Last night I had a little meltdown of sorts, most likely brought on by over-tiredness and the fact that I'm always a little sad when I get back from dropping loved ones off at Heathrow.  Also, the thing that brings me down occasionally knocked on my door last night and punched me in the face when I opened it.

And I look like I've had a night from hell, which always makes one feel better eh?

I won't go into the reasons for why this happened last night (there are many), though one reason is that I  sometimes find it hard to always put on a bright face and be excited for Everyone Else.  I am happy for Everyone Else, I truly am;  I try to remain positive and think about all the blessings in my life whilst keeping my true feelings buried - and I do a good job of it, most of the time.  I know I fool most people but I can't fool the one person I wish I could. 

Anyway, I'm just feeling tired and head-achy which I know will pass. The sun is shining today and this week I will get back to the much neglected gym.

I can't wait to upload the pictures from Friday; we had an unexpected, last minute night out by the fire pit and as usual the food was great, the music was pumping, the wine and laughter was flowing and naturally there was loads of dancing.  Of course I captured it all on camera.

Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with the photos :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Lakes

I can't believe we are almost at the end of Heather and Gaz's second week here.  It has been a whirlwind of a time and we have truly loved their company.  Its obvious that they are comfortable here and this, more than anything is what makes my heart sing. I love opening up our home to our Canadian contingent and the fact that everyone always seems to feel so at home is the best reward. 

At the moment they are both in the kitchen, cooking dinner for me and my boys. It is smelling wonderful; I thought I'd take the extra down time (since I don't have to cook) to upload a few pictures from our weekend in the Lakes.

Of course Molly had to go for a swim as soon as we reached the B&B and I was delighted that Sharon, the owner had gotten a dog since my last visit.  Molly and Roger hit it off straight away. He decided to join us on our walk.  (It was hard not to bring this little guy home with us).

On the grounds surrounding the farmhouse :)

The farmhouse - Waterside House

Gary and Roger taking a rest after the walk :)

On Saturday morning we got up to go canoeing and kayaking on Lake Windermere.  It was very choppy and the lake was busy with much bigger boats, however Heather did great considering it was her first time.  Molly, as per the first time she was in a canoe, was a disgrace and had to go wait in the truck under the shade (after a swim). Therefore we cut our lake time short, however as it was so rough on the water, we didn't mind.

We tested our endurance that afternoon and took a hike up one of the many surrounding peaks.  It was hard going in places, but thoroughly worth the hike.  The weather was gorgeous, Molly was in her element and the scenery was stunning. 

At the summit
(everyone chuckles at my hiking outfit, however they admitted they'd all want to be near me if we got lost ;)

We saw some really interesting and quirky structures along the way:

Pathetically, needless to say we were all ready to call it a night by 9:30 that evening.

The next morning we woke up to rain, but still managed to squeeze in a little hike up to a waterfall before we headed back home.

I don't really have any other good shots to post from the waterfalls hike as the photos are spotted with rainwater.

Tomorrow we are off to Lincoln to do some shopping and take in the sights. 

Have I mentioned that I love having my family to visit?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How do you like your cider?

On Sunday morning my cousin Heather and her partner Gary (us English contingent prefer to call him Gaz) arrived from St. John's to spend two weeks with us.  As their flight arrived at 6:22 am, Andy and I drove down to London on the Saturday to have a night on our own in the Big Smoke. 

We've been having a great time so far and after practically running the streets of London for 2.5 days (my husband walks very quickly), my hips & knees are just now starting to feel ok. I won't talk about the blisters across most of my toes; and yes, I had comfortable shoes on.  Well, with the exception of Saturday night that is.  I had to rock the new shoes I'd bought, they looked classic with the 1940's style dress I was wearing.  I'm sorry but it is London after all and a gal gets tired of looking like a slap-happy tourist all the time.  

Thank goodness the hotel we stayed in on Sunday night was nothing short of fabulous and I was able to take a long, hot soak in the glorious bathtub on Sunday afternoon whilst the jet-lagged tourists took a few hours to re-fuel.  With London hotels, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.  We struck gold this time and at £85 a night and a glass of Cava upon arrival, one can't complain.  The freebies in the bathroom rivaled that of any first-class flight.

(This picture is only a small corner and does not do the room justice)

I've been trying to make sensible food choices this week, however Heather and Gaz are in love with cider: pear/apple/strawberry, it doesn't matter what flavour, they adore it.  I think they've already been through three bottles of Jacques.  Magner's Pear is their favourite by far (rightly so) and they cannot believe you can buy it by the case at the local grocery store for less than £10.  (They are going to have multiple orgasms when we take them to Brandy Wharf, a local pub that specialises in a huge selection of ciders). I haven't been indulging as much as I could, since I still have to work three days each week as well as be mindful of the calorie intake and lack of gym going. 

However this weekend will be different, as I'm off tomorrow for a four day weekend and before I take the two newfies to Lincoln to do some sight seeing and shopping, I'm getting up early to hit the gym.  On Saturday we leave for the Lake District to kayak and hike.  I can't wait to get up there, because alongside of Mersey River it is my most favourite place to be.  

I promise to post some photos soon.  

Friday, August 13, 2010

Not only words

Sometimes, when I have time on my hands, I like to go back and read through previous posts from years past to see what was going on or reflect over fond memories i.e. our wedding/trips abroad.  One of the very best bits of perusing these old posts has always been the comments my readers left.  I love knowing you stopped by for a visit and enjoyed what you read.  I'd offer you a cuppa for the duration of your stay if I could :)  There have been a few posts over the years that have generated a number of comments that I always cherished, some funny, some inspiring and some downright surprising, like a comment not so long ago from an author, Ann Weisgarber, who wrote The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, a book I thoroughly enjoyed. The post wasn't about the book but was either about the birth of my niece or my mom being sick (I hate how the two coincide; such a joyous occasion mixed with a such a scary one), however Anne dropped me a comment to say thanks for the four stars I gave her book and wished my family well.  It meant a lot.  All of my comments do, even if they aren't in agreement to what I'm writing about on any given day.
In 2005 I posted a photo of my braless self in a see-through top in support of a blogging campaign my sister had done re breast cancer and it generated more comments than almost any other post I've published (I wonder why??)  I've received so many great comments in relation to my travel posts, or when I've been bluntfully honest about the hard moments throughout this journey of mine, especially mom's cancer and I have always loved re-reading those.

And now they are all gone. 

This week I was reading through a few of the older posts and it made me sad that I have lost every single comment prior to June of this year, when I re-vamped this site. It was a complete mistake on my part and I should have known better; I've only been blogging for seven years.  It hit me hard when I made this major faux pas, however I didn't realize just how much I had lost until I went back over these posts and the realization hit me of exactly what was lost to me.  Forever; and it stings.   But what can you do? 

Well what I've decided to do is revisit a few of my favourites from years gone past.  For many of you, it will be repetitive, however I hope you don't find it too terribly monotonous.  (I won't do it often, just from time to time, as  reflection of times gone by).

Because it was five years ago at the end of July, I thought I'd re-publish this photo. (The post wasn't a favourite of mine, however the comments were.)  There was definitely an angel in the car with us on that rainy Thursday night, considering we walked away with only minor injuries:

I'm not going to publish the whole post, as its quite lengthy. If you do want to read it, you will find the whole story here.

Andy and I received so many words of love and support after I posted about this horrendous event in our life and although I've lost those words forever, I haven't forgotten how many of you showed you cared.  Although many of us may be far apart in geographical terms, this blogging world brings us all a bit closer together.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Got milk?

This weekend Andy and I were out on the field with Molly and as usual, Andy was hitting tennis balls with a racket for Molly to run after.  We've had to take it easy with this game as Molly's back leg has been giving her some pain in recent weeks due to a slight touch of arthritis.  One of her favourite games is when Andy hits the ball high, and it comes down at quite an arch.  She never takes her eye off it and has herself strategically placed to jump for it when it lands.  Its a beautiful sight to see, her lithe body jumping through the air to catch the ball when it bounces.  I swear, sometimes she gets four feet off the ground.  Sadly, we have to refrain from doing this as it's just too hard on her joints.  As the vet said, labs weren't made for jumping.  Chewing through your kitchen table and eating like a starved vagabond yes, but not jumping.   However sometimes its hard to resist and Saturday was one of these days.  Andy couldn't help himself and fired up to send one high.  I had reminded him not to do it and as the ball bounced up from the ground after his second shot, I reached out my hand to retrieve it.  It was just at a moment when Andy pulled back and swung for one more go; we heard the crunch as that racket hit my hand.  I think I was in slight shock and had to think about what had just happened; I didn't have long to ponder as the pain hit fast and hard; kind of like the racket.  Fuck me (yes I swore), that sucker hurt.  I grabbed my fingers and held them to stop the burning pain and was walking away toward home as I tried to fight back the tears. 

Andy was behind me asking me to stop and come back so he could look.  I finally got myself together and went back.  I think he was afraid my fingers were broken and that he was going to end up with a racket up his ass.  But luckily enough my fingers weren't broken, just badly bruised and it wasn't any body's fault that I was stupid enough to put my hand out for that ball. 

My fingers were slightly bruised and oddly enough, on Sunday other than some dark colouring, they were almost back to normal.  Technically, they probably should have been broken or sprained, but they weren't.  I suppose I just have strong bones, because when you look back on the following events its I wonder I haven't been in a cast several times over (and these are just a few instances):

When I was approximately eight years old, I was coasting down the hill near our apartment building and swerved to miss something. I was thrown over my handlebards and landed full on my hand.  My fingers bent straight back, yet didn't snap. Lucky girl...

When I was 23 I was in a bar on George Street in St John's Newfoundland; I missed three steps coming of the elevated dance floor and landed hard on my side, twisting my ankle in the process.  It was so swollen I couldn't get my cowboy boot off (yes, I said cowboy boot) for almost 24 hours; I just kept dropping ice down into it until I could get my foot out.  (No, I was not cutting my boot off, I loved those shit kickers.) My ankle was badly sprained, but defintely not broken.

Although I'm a terrible skier, I submitted myself to a few trips with Sandra and Cat.  During one of these trips, I was hurtling down a slope I should not have been on and because I couldn't figure out how to stop, I headed for Sandra, who had stopped to wait for me; I slammed straight into her, went up and over her and landed on my shoulders, just below my neck.  Ski patrol happened to be right there and came running over yelling at me not to move.  They were in disbelief when I sat up and said 'God, am I embarrased' (Lucky I'm used to that feeling). Again, nothing broken but sore and tender for a few days after.

Cat and I were on a night out one evening not long after I'd started dating Andy.  I didn't see a pothole in the sidewalk and of course, stepped straight into it; I fell so hard and awkwardly I not only tore the skin off my knees, but both of my ankles rolled in such a way that I had quarter sized pieces of skin torn off the tops of my feet, right above where shoe laces tie up.  How the hell does that happen???  I couldn't wear my trainers or shoes for a few weeks after due to my swollen ankles and the wounds on the top of my feet.  Good thing it was summer and I like flip flops.

I won't go into the number of times I have fallen and landed on my hands and knees, other than to highlight a few more instances of my un-graceful behaviour: tripping over a step whilst leaving Venus Pizza in downtown Halifax at 2 am; rushing through a train station in Italy and falling over someone's suitcase; stumbling over a root during a walk in the Yorkshire Dales... each and every time the end result was a very painful landing on all fours.  I have incredibly small wrists and the fact that they have withheld the bulk of my body without snapping is astounding. My knees however, have paid the price of this constant abuse and although nothing has ever broken, these pups probably won't see me through to my golden years. 

So... I have to wonder was it all the homoginized milk (gross) I drank while growing up?  Or the grilled cheese sandwiches (yum) mom made us for lunch?  Perhaps its the yoghurt and cheese I continue to consume on a daily basis... Good bone genes? It could be anything.  Oh why couldn't it have been great skin genes?  Yet would I trade these sturdy bones for better skin?  I want to say yes, but not a chance. I can (mostly) cover up my blemishes.  A cast is not something I don't want to wear on a regular basis and if you take away my strong bones and add that to my clumsiness I fear that is exactly what would happen.  I'll take what I have thanks, and prepare myself for my next mishap.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Batter Up!

Many of my readers are aware of the fact that I have bizarre sleep patterns; despite this each night I look forward to crawling into bed with a great book and a glass of water on the nightstand.  Andy has tried unsuccessfully over the years to get me to turn the light out when he is done doing his crossword and is ready to go to sleep. Because I have the touch lamp on the lowest setting (which I must say is very low), I often continue to read for awhile longer and sometimes he complains.  I therefore only read for about 15 minutes when often I could easily read for twice that long.  (Note: occasionally when I'm really tired I only manage a page or two and put my book down before Andy is ready to sleep).  I also am aware that some nights, like last night he has a very early start (5:00 am) the next day and I won't read for very long at all, so you see, I can be understanding and meet him halfway.

My point though is that Andy has always known that I like to read before going to sleep, that on nights when I don't read prior to turning the lights out I am often unsettled, unable to drift off for sometimes hours; and then we both lose sleep.  I've pointed out numerous times that we have two extra bedrooms, with a bed in each that he is more than welcome to. Heck, I'd even sleep in one of the extra beds if it meant he can go to sleep in a room without a lamp on (at its lowest setting)  if it bothers him that much.  But he doesn't want that and nor do I.  As much as I tease him, I don't mind sharing a room (I'm used to it after all) and have actually become much more thoughtful toward my roommate now that I'm no longer a teenager who consistently stays up until 6 am talking on the phone to whomever the flavour of the week is. 

Its also fair to inform you that I've had to adapt to wearing ear plugs at night because believe it or not, my husband isn't a perfect roommate either - he snores.  It was an adjustment but I dealt with it.  (I'd had a bit of practice when I briefly shared a room with my sister Sandra - that girl snored like a freight train coming through the room at 100 mile an hour; it was so obnoxiously loud it was a wonder I didn't smother her.)

But back to my initial ramble.

I actually like knowing Andy is there beside me at night, curled into me (when I'm in the mood for cuddling that is) and ready to calm me down when I wake up with my peculiar night terrors.  I'm beginning to think though that our sleeping arrangement might not last much longer if this strange nocturnal behaviour continues;  it's getting pretty dangerous for my husband to actually share a bed with me.  Up until now its just been shouting out, crying, laughing like a hyena or seeing things that only I can see (in other words, that aren't there). 

However the other morning my actions turned a corner.  I was jolted wide awake by my husband shouting the words 'What the fuck?????' I was startled and I too jumped up. It may be hard to believe but this is not the way we normally get out of bed in the morning;  It turns out I had pressed my face into his back and... are you ready for this people? 

I bit him.  I bit my husband's back while he was peacefully snoring beside me.

Luckily enough he moved fast enough so that I wasn't able to sink my teeth in far enough to break the skin.  He was a little peeved, I was a little shocked.  But not so shocked I didn't roar with laughter.  I mean, seriously - who does that? It was so insane and unbelievable that I could only laugh.  Oddly enough I can vaguely remember what my dream was and it did involve biting something, just not my husband.  Still, I couldn't stop laughing and even after he braved getting back in beside me I was still laughing.  Kudos to him, so was he. 

This week has passed with a fair amount of teasing regarding what happened, small references being made about my eating more at night so I don't wake up hungry. And still, Andy is determined that it won't drive him out of our room and for that I'm pleased - I honestly did not do that on purpose, it wasn't a devious plan to get him into another bed.  He is brave to continue to sleep with me and I love him for that even though I don't think I could brave it if was the reverse.  I did speak to a  professional about this behaviour though and my feelings were only re-affirmed:

Not much can be done about this; I'm not prepared to take medication for it as there isn't any guarantee that it will solve the problem.  This sleep issue isn't actually my problem, not really  as its technically Andy who has to sleep with one eye open; just as his snoring isn't his problem, its mine as it doesn't keep him awake at night, just me.

Give and take.  That's what being in a marriage is all about.

However it is an added bonus when both people are able to go to sleep without being kept awake by the dull roar of a helicopter in the bed, or the fear of what might happen to you physically during the night, but even more concerning, the thought that your bedmate might pull a baseball bat out from under the bed in defence of potential biting hazards.

Thank God I left all my baseball bats in Nova Scotia...:)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

I'm Smiling

This weekend has been a good one for me, even though we watched a rather heart-wrenching documentary about the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004.  It rather puts life in perspective...

What has made me smile this weekend:

First of all, was buying three books for £10, one of which is this:

This is by the same author of The Time Travellers Wife, a book I read and thoroughly enjoyed years before the movie was released.  I am already halfway through and although I'm not clear of the direction, I am engrossed.

The second thing that has made me happy:

Shopping with my husband to buy bedding, curtains,  etc for the spare room, better known as Stacy's room.  Although my cousin and her partner will be sharing it for two weeks in August (yay!), and Andy's sister and her partner (Ali and Scott) will sleep here on their visits up from Nottingham, I am decorating  it with the thought of it being my sister's room in a few short months.

The third occurrence that has made me very very happy:

Arriving home to find that my husband has secured a flight to visit Ontario on the 3rd of October for two weeks.  We will get to catch up with old friends and family (both of my sisters and brothers-in-law), celebrate not only our anniversary, but Thanksgiving out there, and best of all meet my niece:  

Clara & Mommy

Daddy & Clara

I cannot wait to get my hands on this little sweetheart.  I honestly can't.