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

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I was just running the bath and enjoying my second glass of wine last night when mom rang me as promised to fill me in on her blood counts etc. in preparation for her 2nd round of chemo today.  She was telling me how wonderful all the health care professionals have been (and continue to be) when she mentioned almost casually that she went and had her hair all buzzed off, since it was starting to fall out.  Mom has such a great attitude about all of this and the fact that we can smile and laugh with her about her experiences makes me feel a complete wally for being so agitated yesterday over work.  It was just a bad day, and compared to what my mom is going through, is easily gotten over.  (I won't even touch on what some of my friends and fellow bloggers have been going through with sick children, etc. - at least I can have a quiet night at home if I so chose)

Today is a new day and has gone much smoother than yesterday.  I enjoyed sitting in my bright, new office while I sorted out most of the problems from yesterday.   Tonight I'm meeting up with Beryl as she has her granddaughter Anne visiting from Ireland and would like me to particpate in the evenings activities. 

I do fear that more wine might be on the agenda - it usually is when Ber and I get together :)
Mom modelling her temporary hair :)
I think she looks beautiful.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I could easily drink the whole bottle...

Today started off badly, giving me a ominous feeling about the day to come; a feeling that wasn't unfounded. We moved offices yesterday and now instead of an easy 7-10 minute drive to work in the morning, I have to go to the other side of town which takes at least 20 minutes (provided I leave at around 7:40).  As I've mentioned before, I know most of you would laugh at this, but honestly, I hate sitting in traffic.  So I made the best of it and took the slightly longer drive through the country side to take in the glorious early morning scenery.

I arrived at work a few minutes past eight, and realized I'd left the new office keys at home so with a big sigh, turned the car around and drove back to get them.  Since it was a beautiful morning, I decided to take Molly for a quick jaunt around the field as I was now already late - it turned out to be the best part of my day.  Of course no one minded as I was still the first one to open up.   Although I'm not your typical morning person, I do like the feeling of being the first one into the office and getting everything sorted for the day ahead.  

If forgetting my keys was the worst thing to happen today, it would have been fine however there were a number of set backs that come with moving offices, however beautiful and brand-spanking new they are and by 3:00 I was ready to crawl under my desk and stay there; however I persevered and actually managed to share a few laughs with one of the psychologists prior to our team meeting.  I thought my day was maybe taking a turn for the better by this point (despite the fact my knees were killing me - what I get for three intensive gym classes over three days), but how wrong was I.  I won't go into details only to say that I wish I was finished for the week.  I'm sure tomorrow will sort everything out,  however for now I'm just going to drink my big glass of pinot grigio and forget about it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Good Man

I met Andy over eight years ago and was very apprehensive of the fact he was a father to three children under the age of 12. (Thankfully, my apprehension proved to be unfounded.) The reason we chose to live in England was because he is such a good and devoted dad that there was no way he could ever leave his children, and rightly so; I wouldn't have been able to go through life with a man who could abandon his kids.  Anyone who knows this man knows that he has a heart full of kindness and would bend over backwards to make sure his family had everything they needed.  This doesn't just end with his kids either.

Although I'm not fortunate enough to be the mother of his children I couldn't be prouder of the father he is.

I love you Andy - you are an incredible dad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And then there was five...

When my mom had me she wasn’t married to my dad. For all accounts it was just me and her (and a gaggle of aunts who seemingly fought over me). It was a very real possibility that I might end up being an only child. However that was not to be.

When I was two and a half, mom married dad and a few months later came the arrival of my sister Tawny. I think she was a prettier baby than me, with dark curly hair and big brown eyes. Mom said I wasn’t a jealous big sister and I was happy to share with her although there were apparently times when I did give her the odd pinch (sorry!); more often than not I was pleased about the baby, so much so that once mom found me trying to stuff her into my doll’s crib – my own baby. Tawny was creative and agreeable, often following me from place to place – once following me out of the apartment at 7 am on a Saturday morning in our night dresses; another time she packed her bags with me to run God knows where when we were visiting our Nan one summer when I was eight and she was six; Thank goodness she wizened up to following me around – I was going nowhere fast evidently!

A few years later came another sister during my parent’s quest to have a son. Because Sandra has never conformed, it was only logical that she was not a boy. She had red hair and a fiery personality to match. Unlike Tawny and I, she wasn’t so agreeable and certainly marched to her own drummer, strong and independent. She was quick to say I hate you, but even quicker to say I love you.  Sandra definitely threw some variety into the mix. When there is a crisis, she's always there.

Finally, when I was nine, mom successfully gave my father his namesake. Turns out though, that John with his big liquid brown eyes and disgustingly beautiful long lashes shares only his name with dad; From all that mom has told us, I believe he is much more in nature like our maternal grand-father than our own. John is obviously a man that grew up surrounded by females: he is quiet, gentle, respectful and knows when to dissapear. If he ever marries he will have one lucky wife.

That was supposed to be it.

Although we had moved from an apartment to a house after dad left the navy, I was still sharing a room with my two sisters when at the age of 11, mom made the proclamation that there would be one more. I freaked out. I knew it would be a girl and that there would be four of us crammed into one little room.

But I was wrong (and right):

Mom and Dad built Tawny and I a room of our own downstairs and the following May came our very last sister. My parents had promised I could name the dark-haired baby with the pretty birth mark on her cheek and I chose Stacy (she is so not a Jennifer or Susan – what my father wanted). Because I was 12 and by then very used to babies, having had lots of practice with John and my cousins, mom let me have almost free reign with Stacy. She kind of became my own baby and rather than put her into a doll’s carriage, mom let me take her for long walks in her pram. I used to love taking our sweet natured little sister, with the softest voice you can imagine out for walks and to my school to show her off. By the time she was a toddler Tawny and I were spoiling her at every chance we could. She was our baby – she still is in so many ways although now a beautiful, confident young woman.

We are now all grown and settling into our adult lives. Most of us remain close, friends even, although a few of us are very far apart in geographical terms. We’ve had the usual family fall-outs but we always manage to pull together; Never more so than these last few months of mom’s illness.

I was watching Sense and Sensibility the other night (one of my favourite Austin adaptations) and it got me thinking about the relationships between siblings, sisters especially. How fortunate are we to have this incredible bond that will last us a lifetime no matter what is thrown at us?  I adore our amazing and flawed tribe and I couldn’t imagine what my life would have been like without them. Sure we have had our differences and I’m certain there are a few more brewing on the horizon, but we always recover and come back to what’s important – the friendships, the laughter, the love.

Stacy, Sandra, John, Me and Tawny (with our Clara on board)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cupcakes & Change

Come the first week in July I will have been in my new job for one year. I know we all say it but time seems to be passing by so quickly. This time last year I was trying to get my head around a multitude of issues: I was missing my mother and Aunt Nita who had just returned to Canada, I was trying to get used to the idea that Polar, our beloved family dog was not going to be there to greet me anymore upon my holidays home to mom & dads, and I was beginning to despair that I wouldn’t find another job anytime soon. A week later and that all changed as I was offered this full time job. Full-time was anathema to me - I hadn’t worked full-time in over six years and I liked my part-time hours, they gave me the freedom to have long walks with Molly, to get in a work out during the day and best of all lunch and shop with Beryl. Yet I couldn’t refuse based on the hours – I needed to work and no part-time jobs were coming up. Besides it was a great opportunity career wise, and as Andy was no longer working away the extra money would come in handy.

So here it is a year later and professionally, it’s been a good year. I fit in well with this team; a team full of professionalism, respect and yes, most importantly support. I honestly believe that this team is where is will stay. However next week we are moving into a new building which will have so many benefits, mainly that the team will be together, not spread over 2-3 locations. Myself and my boss have been situated at the hospital site in a beautiful, listed building that I will hate to leave;  our new location will take me around 20 minutes to get to and now it only takes me around seven (those of you who commute an hour+ feel free to roll your eyes now); but it’s the admin gals that I don’t want to say good bye to most of all. We get on so well and even though they are technically not part of my team I shall miss them. We share a lot of laughs, a few recipes and a couple of gripes. One of the best perks of being with the girls is Dee bakes the loveliest cupcakes – delicious, moist, melt in your mouth cupcakes that are so beautifully decorated you don’t want to eat them. But you do. Oh how you do. (Thankfully its not a weekly event or I would be a lot heavier). We’ve decided though that we will meet up for a drink after work from time to time, and of course I will soon be hanging out in Dee’s kitchen trying to learn the basics of icing cakes because come September the two of us will be taking a cake-decorating course.

I think what’s bugging me (but only slightly) is that I yet again have to move offices and yet again meet new people that I have to share an office with. This will be the fifth time I’ve changed work locations (not jobs) since I moved here. Is it any wonder that I run into people I know wherever I go in this town? Gone are the days when I could dash to the grocery store in my sweats and not worry about being seen by someone I know (like I ever really worried about that anyway). Beryl often makes the comment that I’ve met more people here in 6.5 years than she’s met in 30. I suppose it was a good thing when I agreed to move 4000 miles to be with my love that I wasn’t the shy and reticent type.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don't tell me you wouldn't look...

On Friday evening as I was cleaning the ensuite bathroom Andy came to find me (he'd been ironing in the back room).  This is how the conversation played out:

Andy: Jods, the guy in the house behind us is having it on with his girlfriend - in the kitchen.

Me:  What?  What are you on about?- you're just putting me on.  Besides, he has a wife (well I think they are married).

Andy: I'm not lying honest, go look.  Besides his wife left ages ago, he has a new girlfriend and he's doing her on the kitchen table.

Me:  How do you know that?  Geez you seem to know a lot about what the neighbours get up to, you nosy parker.

Andy:  I can't help it if I spend a lot of time in this room and can see directly into his house!  Anyway, go look...

I went to Connor's room to have a look and could see nothing. It was dark in the kitchen across the way and very difficult to see anything, never mind what Andy was describing.

I went back into my bedroom and carried on with my cleaning.

Andy (who came back in around five minutes later):  Well, did you see them?

Me:  No - I didn't see anything!  They are NOT doing that in the kitchen, I knew you were making it up.

He then proceeded to get me to follow him into the  back spare room, as apparently Connor's room wasn't the right angle for seeing down into the neighbour's kitchen.  He told me to watch for the white t-shirt the guy had on;  Yup, there he was going at it with his girlfriend.  You couldn't see much, but it was obvious.

Me:  Oh my God... I can't believe it.  I still don't know how you managed to see it, you'd miss it if you blinked.

Andy:  I was ironing and it was more obvious when they started... oh and get back from the window, if he looks up he will see you.

Me (as I back up slightly):  I don't care, he shouldn't be in plain view if he doesn't want an audience.  Get me the binoculars would ya?' 

Andy:  Jods!  You can't do that!  You're so bold!.

Me:  Well its your fault, you showed me!  Besides, you're so nosy.  I was just going about my cleaning and minding my own business.  Now I'm looking at our neighbours get it on... 

(A minute or so later I went back to cleaning my bathroom as there really was't much to see.)

About 15 minutes later Andy was outside getting ready to mow the lawn and I went to find him to see what he wanted for dinner and I noticed the couple were now out in the garden playing with the girlfriend's dog.  (She definitely wasn't the gal who used to live with him, wife or not.)  Andy asked if I wanted to go out for something to eat. I responded with a big grin: 'Only if you take me over the kitchen table first.'

Friday, June 11, 2010

Time for a change...

Ok.  I've been thinking of changing this blog for a long time.  I've weighed the pros & cons of switching to wordpress, or going with a whole new blog because I don't have the most original blog title in the world, (or the most witty one for sure) but in the end I decided to keep with blogger because I'm more familiar with the program and so far so good.  Until today when I was messing around and pressed save without thinking of the consequences.  I like the new look, and of course its a work in progress.  What I don't like is that I lost all the comments I've had on my blog over the last seven years and I liked those comments - alot.  Often I peruse old posts and re-reading the comments from you all has often brought a smile to my face as I reflect over times gone by and and the encouraging, often amusing words you've written in response. 

I'm eventually going to add my links, etc, however it will be a work in progress as time allows.  What would cheer me to no end though, dear readers (if you are out there) is if you would take a minute to let me know you've been here by dropping me a line under comments.  This will hopefully go a long way in making up for the loss of almost a decades worth.  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Indulge Me (with a meme)

I was tagged to do a meme by Lyndsay over at No Invitation Required
She had to tag five people to answer five questions; in turn I'm to answer these questions then come up with five new questions for an additional five people of my choice.  Hopefully they will want to play :) 

Here are my answers to the questions Lyndsay set for me:

1. Favorite age you have been so far? Probably 31/32. It was at this time that I spent the summer at home with my mom and my sisters getting ready for my wedding to Andy in October… the wedding itself was so enjoyable, really relaxing with just the really important people there with us, and of course it was soon after this that we visited Greece for the first time and then of course we got our beautiful puppy Molly. I have really great memories from that point in my life. I definitely have enjoyed being in my 30’s much more so than my 20’s – I know myself so much better now.

2. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be? This is where I should probably say French or Spanish as it would make the most sense, however I would really like to speak Greek. Andy and I both have a love of Greece and it’s a language that we both try and communicate in when we spend time there. Also we are both certain we will spend a lot more time there in our future so it would be beneficial to speak the language.

3. If you could have something right now, anything, what would it be? I think most of you know the answer to that, but its unrealistic so lets move on: In smaller terms egg rolls from back home - yummy; in bigger terms a hot tub in our secret garden, but I would settle for that Tiffany bracelet I have my eyes on (whoever said I don’t want much???)

4. What is one aisle you always have to walk down when you go to Walmart? Well considering we don’t have a Wally World here in the UK, I always head for the cosmetics aisle when I get back to Nova Scotia as I love the abundance of choice in the lipsticks I like to wear (closely followed by the deodorant aisle to stock up there as well) .

5. What is one thing your spouse/partner does that drives you crazy (don’t worry, we won’t tell:)? . I can’t really find a lot to complain about because he is so good about helping around the house, and many of the things that he used to do that drove me nuts, he's got sorted, however I wish he would stop turning the heat on and then opening the windows

So, now its my turn to ask five questions, and the people I'm tagging are:  Stacy, Tawny, Dawn, Jeff and

1. Do you prefer watching movies or reading books?
2. What is the earliest memory you have?
3. What is your most favourite alcoholic drink of all time (if you had to chose just one)?
4. What do you think the best television series you've ever seen is?
5. What do you like the best about where you live? (I've copied this one, but I like it :)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The next Dane Cook?

There has been a lot of talk recently around what our Connor might possibly do with his life when he finishes school.  Believe it or not, now is the time he needs to start thinking about his chosen career.  I think he can do anything he puts his mind to; I think he is destined for the spotlight as he could easily have his own sitcom, hands down.  He brings a smile to everyone's face with no effort what so ever; he's just that comical. 

Happy 14th to our much loved and adored Funny Boy

Cake anyone?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Ain't gonna rain on our parade....

We had an awesome weekend up in the Northumberland/Borders region of the country, even though Mother Nature’s was on a quest to sabotage our journey to the best of her ability. It didn’t work. Despite the atrocious weather, we managed to hike around the hills and cliffs of St. Abbs, a beautiful village just inside the Scottish Border, even with ridiculously high winds we refused to be put off – after spending hours in the car it was just what we needed.

We found this little resevoir along the way...

A short break...

The view of St. Abbs from the clifftop

We found a pub down the road from our B&B that offered warming food at great prices and even allowed Molly to join us quietly under the table (is there ever any other way for our exceedingly well behaved dog to behave?).

We took a drive across the lowest causeway I have ever seen to get to Holy Island, an Island that is only accessible during low tide times:

Whilst on the island we walked a mile to the little castle on a bluff, and on our return journey ended up getting caught in a freak storm that soaked us to the skin and cut short our hope of finding some holiness at the priory – we did however manage to score some of the best fudge I have ever eaten – seriously.

View of the little castle on Holy Island

We visited Bamborough Castle and the gorgeous beach it was built above:

It felt like gale force winds from the castle grounds but we still managed a few quick photos:

The stunning coastline of this region were made even more so by the rolling waves that were crashing in to shore due to the high winds. Molly was full of exuberance and joy throughout most of this trip due to all the outside exploring, but never more so then when we were on the beaches. Many a people stopped to smile at our happy girl, and like one gent said when we were debating letting her go in for one last swim on Sunday night ‘Why not, its her holiday too!’ How right he was. Molly conked out immediately after our return to the BnB both nights and slept her heart out.

(Digging is almost as much fun as riding the waves!)

(Andy was pretty excited over the beaches too)
Late Sunday we explored the town where we were based, Berwick-upon-Tweed and ended up with a walk along the shore of the river on a path that also held remnants of the old castle walls; we meandered under the centuries old bridges that cross the River Tweed and stopped to take a number of photos.

(Stairs leading to the Secret Garden - Molly was fed up with picture taking)

The sun finally came out as we made one last trip down to the local beach that evening and stopped and played for at least an hour with Molly; there was a playground above the cliff of this beach and although Andy and I decided to have a swing and spin on the merry-go-round, Molly was having none of it and wanted us off that dangerous equipment immediately – she made this quite clear in her usuall Molly fashion – barking and trying to drag us off herself. It’s the easiest way to wind our dog up, honestly. I suppose that’s one good reason we don’t have small children to push on the swings, etc. because in Molly’s eyes it’s much too dangerous to play on those horrible things.
(Scenery is always better when the sun is shining)

Monday morning found us trying to negotiate a way around a number of cows and swampland to explore Ross Sands, but it wasn’t to be. The sign that warned of the possibility of the herd surrounding us to get to the dog kind of put me off; Andy tried to find an alternate route but none was to be found. It was disappointing but we made the best of it by hopping back in the car to head down the coast for lunch at Alnwick, another historic town surrounded by castle walls that boasts this beauty of a castle – it might not be built into the side of a cliff, but it was still impressive:

So ended our journey to the north.  We didn't let the weather get our spirits down and carried on with the full intent of having our short break away. I've come back feeling relaxed and revived; I'm still going to sleep at night thinking of the beautiful views that  I will carry with me until the next time.