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

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 24: Something Embarrassing in Your Room

Well.  First of all let me apologize for being so absolutely rubbish at this challenge.  It was supposed to be done in 30 days, give or take 2 or 3 yet here I am well over month since day one and I still haven't finished. Do you care?  Perhaps not. Perhaps you find this boring and wish I would get back to the regularly scheduled program that is my life. But then again, I don't think all six of my readers find my life any more captivating than the truths that are being revealed on this challenge.  But who knows?  I don't.  The only certainties I have in my life is that I'm going to enjoy a glass of wine tonight and that my dog adores me.  Somebody has to ;)

So.... back to something emarrassing in my room:

I have a bedside table in my room that looks pretty crappy due to the fact I put a glass of water on it every night without a coaster.  Because of this bad behaviour the paint has chipped off the inexpensive wood and it thoroughly needs a paint job;  Or throwing in the bin.  I try to cover it up with books whenever I know a visitor will be in my room... but since the only visitors to my room are usually friends or sisters who come up to try on clothes or practice hair-styles I try not to let it bother me too much.  Besides they too are usually so full of wine that they wouldn't notice anyway.  The only othe person who ventures into my room is my sister-in-law when she wants to give me the baby, or have a shower in our ensuite, and frankly she is so tired I don't think she'd notice if there was a hairy gorilla stood in the corner.

Now my husband thinks I was going to blog about the suitcase full of 'toys' under my bed, but sorry I'm a 38 year old married woman who likes her playthings.  I think the only one who'd need to be embarrassed about finding them is the one who is snooping where they shouldn't be.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 23: Favourite Video

I don't really watch a lot of videos but I do love the video for Love The Way You Lie by Eminen and Rhianna.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 22: A picture of me on this day

Sorry I've been remiss in this challenge.  I had intended to use a picture of myself from the brilliant 13 mile hike in the Peak District we did on Sunday.  However I was too tired when we got back home to post.  I can only sum up my lack of motivation over the last days as just that:  lack of motivation.  Nothing else.

So here you have it, a photo of me on this day.  I'm at work and took a minute to try and get a quick shot on my smart phone.  It's not of my face because sadly, my face isn't up to having a good picture taken today.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 21: Favourite Movie Quote

I don't particularly have any stand out quotes that I remember from certain movies.  Of course there are a few quotes that I immediately recognize upon hearing like 'I'll Be Back' and 'I See You'. 

However one quote that I do love comes from one of my favourite movies: 'I have a degree in ass wiggling mate'.  The film is The Full Monty. 

Thinking about this quote made me remember a funny story, one that I will share with you.  I apologise to those of you who've heard it before or might not find it as amusing as I do.

One of the pictures I’ve posted below is from my cousin Nancy’s wedding. I was 18 and I loved a good time, perhaps too much, but that is another story. I really enjoyed myself at Nancy’s wedding and can remember dancing the night away with my cousins and sisters. I remember going home that night with my cousins Wayne and Glen (who came down from St. John’s for the event) and how we stopped and got Chinese, eating it ravenously in Wayne’s truck, like we hadn’t just had a big dinner earlier that night.

I don’t often get to see my cousin’s who live in St. John’s and weddings have always been a great way to see the newfie contingent. They might not all come to the same weddings, but you can guarantee my Aunt Nita will be at every wedding and at least one or two of her children.

The first summer that I went home after being in the UK found me down at my cousin Sharon’s. She had called me to say that her sister Nancy and Nancy’s husband Wayne (not the one I drove home from the wedding with) decided to watch their wedding video as it was their anniversary and they all thought I should come over as they had something to show me that I might find amusing. They skipped over much of the wedding itself to the reception. We did of course stop and watch a few moments of my Nan talking to the cameraman and whoever was behind the scenes. It brought tears to my eyes to see my Nan alive and talking and we all had a few moments of reminiscing over our Nan.

They moved on to the video of the party. This is where I'm not sure if my reaction was more shocked, pleased or mortified;  the guy they hired to video their wedding reception spent more time videoing my wriggling arse as I danced, than anything else. And from the look of me I didn't seem bashful about this at all, seemingly trying to feign ignorance of the man behind me with a video camera when it was blatantly apparent I knew exactly what he was doing.  Thankfully Nancy and her husband have a sense of humour and could see the amusing side of it. Although I’m sure it’s not what they had in mind when they hired a videographer to film the most momentous day of their lives…

I was also amused to see my youngest sister cropping up all over the video, her 8 year old self trying to grab the camera’s attention wherever she could. It wasn’t a surprise that she was with my cousin Nancy (not the bride; obviously some members of our family have trouble choosing unique names) who has never been introverted, however I had always remembered Stacy being shy. This particular video sure put that myth to bed… (Seems it was a glimpse into the confident young woman she has grown into… not shy, just quiet, that is until you know her.)

Tawny posted a picture of herself with Nanny from that long ago wedding on her 30 Day Challenge; it seems like most of us have good memories from that particular wedding. But then again I have to honestly say I’ve enjoyed most of the family weddings I’ve been to. I love being surrounded by my big extended and sometimes completely nutty, family.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 20: A 10+ Year Old Photo of Me

When I was last home in February I decided it was time enough to go through some old photos and bring a few back to the UK with me. I wanted to find some pictures of me that proved I used to be much heavier, off and on, throughout my 20's. I was also hoping to find an old album of mine with photos of me and my siblings from much younger days but I have no idea what I've done with it.  It wasn't with all my other albums, which has me a little worried. I'm sure I will find it the next time I go home: fingers crossed at least...  There are a few pictures out of that album I wanted, in particular one of me and Stacy when I was 14 and she wasn't quite two. We are sledding in the back yard and I love it.

However I did manage to bring back a few of my favourites. 
So tonight I've poured myself a glass of wine, turned on some music and am taking a walk down memory lane.

I've chosen this picture first because I only spoke with Cat yesterday and am feeling nostalgic for her.

This picture was taken in Newark Airport after about 5 shots of tequila (each).  I was 23 and Catherine was 22 and boy were we about to embark on an adventure: 

My brother John, Tawny and Me (fat face :) I think I was 24 here...

Dawn, Me & Tawny (Maybe I was 22 here?)


My cousin Denise and I at another cousin's wedding.  I was only 18 and so proud of my hair.

The picture quality isn't very good as it's a picture of a picture but you get the idea I'm sure.

I don't have a picture that's 10+ old of me and Andy because we have just reached our 9th year together.  I know it won't seem like any time though and another ten years will have passed.  We have so many pictures already from our life together and I can't wait to take a thousand more... 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Number 19: Something that made me smile today

My mom has never really shown much interest in the computer, or more importantly the internet.

In recent years she learned how to use the internet to access the local newspapers or check the status of library books. Other than that, Mom said she wasn’t interested in much else.

When I was home in February I finally convinced her to let me set up an email account. I walked her through the steps and she sat down to compose her first email with me there beside her. She was painfully slow with typing but I encouraged her to not let it be a deterrent, in time she would get the hang of it.

And get the hang of it she has. I receive an email from my mom at least three times a week, if not more. I always try and take the time to write something back, after all I can type miles faster than my mom and she deserves a response after taking the time to compose such thoughtful emails. I know that it isn’t just me she is emailing either, she sends messages to all of her children, even the ones that live in the same house with her; each one composed individually.

Mom’s subject lines are usually one liner’s that simply say ‘love’ or ‘miss you’. Most people, myself included, rarely put something in the subject line, never mind something so kind-hearted or sweet.

Whenever I receive an email from my mom (like today, subject line: best aunty) I can’t help but smile. I know it makes my siblings smile too – how can it not?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 18: Favourite Board Game

I come from a family that grew up playing games.  Many a Saturday night found us playing the Game of Life, and because I have such fond memories of this evening when we all gathered to laugh and spin the wheel of life, I had to purchase my own edition when I moved to England. 
However my all time favourite board game is:

It's probably for sentimental reasons that this is my favourite game, as it makes me think of my sisters. When we play together we are unbeatable.  My husband shakes his head in amazement at just how good we are, especially when we are on the same team. My sister's husband says doesn't like playing it with us because we play it wrong, but we don't.  We are not cheaters at board games (unlike my husband's family who also love board games :) It is because we know each other so well we can make each other guess the answer much easier than people who don't know each other so well. 
Top 2 on my list of favourite board games:

The little characters are almost as fun as the game...

Andy's family love to play games too which makes get together's at ours even more enjoyable.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Day 17: A Childhood Photo

I don't have any childhood photos with me in England and had to 'borrow' from my sister as luckily the photos she posted on her challenge include me :)

This is a picture of me and my little sister in my aunty's bathtub. 
No trouble to tell which one of us was fed on Carnation Milk eh? 

I still have the shoulders and arms of a linebacker. 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Day 16: Future Tattoos

I currently have two tattoos.

The first is a tribal sun on the middle of my lower back. I was 29 years old before I had my body permanently inked. There is a meaning behind this tattoo that is shared between my husband and I. I’ve never regretted it for a moment.

I’ve always known that I was going to have a little lady bug on the top of my left foot, down near my baby toes, long before I even had the sun tattooed on my back. Because I couldn’t find a place that inked feet in Nova Scotia or Toronto I had to give up. However I found a really good artist here in Grimsby and three years ago went for it. It’s a dainty little tattoo, a vibrant red which I love. I enjoy looking at and admiring it when I’m barefoot or in flip flops. I only had a moment’s hesitation afterwards, when I wasn’t too sure about how it looked in certain heels but I soon got over it. I seldom get dressed for an ‘occasion’ and when I do, I make sure I choose a pair of shoes that cover it, or make it work.

I have always thought about one more (they are addictive, it’s true) that I would love to have on my inner right wrist. And then I would be finished. I have never wanted ink on any other parts of my body and I never get a tattoo before I have thought long and hard about it. I know if I were to go ahead with it then that would be it. Of course because I’m not 100% certain of what I want, I am leaving my wrist bare for now.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Day 15: Current Job (this was originally 'grades' however I'm not in school)

When I left Nova Scotia to move to England I not only had to leave behind loads of family and friends but also a workplace that I really enjoyed. Did I get paid a lot of money? Not overly. Was the job dynamic? Not really (there was too much minute taking involved for my liking). Did I work with a great bunch of people? You bet I did. As well, I had an awesome boss who taught me a lot, one who showed understanding and whom I could also share a laugh with; but most importantly she was someone who became my friend and still is.

I believed that I would never be able to score myself such a job again. I was wrong. I know... you are all probably gasping for your breath because I seldom admit that I’m wrong. It's something I rarely have to admit to because I usually never am. (Husband, you can stop shaking your head, the £100 you had to pay up last week is proof of this).

I’ve held a couple of positions since moving here, one in particular that I thought was gold, however it turned out to be a disappointing lump of coal. I can only sum it up as easy money and take away what I learned, which wasn’t much other than how to comfort distressed colleagues and dodge office politics.

In July of 2009 I started my first full time job since leaving Nova Scotia with the local psychology service for adults with a learning disability. After I initially got my head around working all day Monday-Friday it soon became obvious that the small team of seven that I am the administrator for is an amazing group of people and the service we provide locally is second to none. I’m honoured to be part of such a well-respected team who offer such a valuable service to the community. I have developed friendships that I think will last a lifetime and have managed to find another boss who is kind, understanding and thinks I’m a star. How I’ve managed to delude this very intelligent woman (and the rest of the team) is beyond me but I’m not looking my gift horse in the mouth. No way.

I honestly enjoy my work. Yes, it’s a lot of admin, but after 15 years, I am kind of a rock star in that department (most days anyway). I love the clients we work with, I’m up to the challenges I’m faced with, I respect and admire the team and best of all, really feel like I belong.

So much so, that I have a really hard time when I think of leaving my position even if it means going back to Canada some day. I’m tired of starting new jobs, and let’s face it, I'm not someone who is constantly striving to move up a level. Management and all its accompanying stress doesn’t appeal to me. I like being able to go home at quitting time and leave my work at work (most days anyway ;)

I have to admit that short of moving back to Canada (which isn’t on the books for awhile yet) I will hopefully have no reason to leave.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Day 14: Favourite Purchase Ever Made

I don't like to sum the best thing we have ever brought into our home as a 'purchase', however the fact is, she cost £450.  Without a doubt nothing compares to our Molly.

Look how absolutely adorable she was:

She has grown into the loveliest little lab, so good and gentle.  Quirky and odd at times;  Definitely a mama's  girl. 

But so worth every penny :) Nothing material will ever compare.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Day 13: Favourite Memory

I have more good memories stored up than bad ones. I know this isn’t always the case so trust me, I’m aware that I have been blessed in this life.

Of course I have a whole stash of memories from childhood to choose from, and loads more to choose from in more recent years, which is another blessing, because the first year I moved over here is chock full of unsettling memories that I keep in the ‘archived shelves’ of my brain. Thankfully they are outnumbered by the good times.

Seeing England for the first time is high on my list; as is the year Stacy was visiting us and we went to meet our pup Molly when she was only a few weeks old (I was in disbelief that she was really going to be mine);

Never mind the day we brought her home… I was so over the top in love and how can one forget that feeling?

Of course the day I married Andy surrounded by 76 of our nearest and dearest is pretty high on my list.

And the moment I watched my Mom and Aunt Nita walk through arrivals in the Spring of 2009 was a momentous event and I will never forget the surreal feeling that they were really here with me.

I think my most favourite of memories was made while we were on honeymoon in Kefalonia:

Andy and I had hired a boat for the day and as we motored along the coast, stopping at various beeches, I constantly had my eyes peeled for dolphins, with not much luck. Andy had long since given up and suggested I do the same. It was late afternoon and time to head back for the day. I was at the wheel and of course still looking around. I caught sight of movement out of the corner of my eye and immediately steered left. About 40 feet away was a group of dolphins! As we arrived at the location where I thought I’d seen them and stopped the engine I was in absolute disbelief to see about six dolphins swimming around us. I had been worried that they would just continue on to wherever it was they had been going but, no they stayed for about 15 minutes and frolicked around us, giving us our own private show.
This is the only half decent photo we managed to get (since we didn't have the good camera at that time)

It was absolutely amazing and I will not ever forget the feeling I had that day. I think it meant even more because we were out there all on our own with these beautiful mammals.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Number 12: Where Your Family is From

Like my sister, I know little about the place where my dad and his family hail from. I know it was a working farm somewhere in the wilds of Alberta. When my dad was a youth of 17 he joined the navy and sailed away and never moved back. I have no memories of my father’s hometown as I’ve never been there.

I was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland into a family of strong women. My mother is one of eight, six girls and two boys. Funnily enough the boys were situated on either side of the six girls. They attended a two room school not far from where they lived, in the fishing village of Fox Cove.

As my mother was single when I was born, she moved back to live with my Nan in Fox Cove around the time I was approximately three months old; she went back to work in the hospital, and I stayed with my Nanny.

Nanny and I forged such a close bond that when my mother decided to move to Halifax, Nova Scotia, my Nan couldn’t bear the thought of losing me and made the decision to re-locate herself. (I love it when my Aunt tells me this story). It was a move that couldn’t have been easy for her since Halifax was such a ‘big’ city and she was from such a small village.
(This is a picture of Fox Cove as you would have approached Nan's house, the beach is just down the hill and to the right.  We use to go to the church when visiting Nan)

So... we made the move to Nova Scotia and initially lived with one of my other aunt’s.

Nanny went back to stay in her house in Fox Cove during the summer months and sometimes we were lucky enough to take family vacations and spend a few weeks there with her. My sisters and I loved the big old house where my mom grew up; it had four bedrooms upstairs that had the most amazing cast-iron beds and old fashioned chamber pots. Nan’s kitchen was huge; my favourite features were the old wood stove and the ‘day’ bed over near the window. I loved laying on that bed while Nan pottered about the kitchen and I think the reason why I love the song Sonny’s Dream so much is because it used to play on the radio in Nanny’s kitchen which was on a shelf above that bed.

(This is a very old picture of my Nan's house... I'm told that the people on the road are likely my Nanny and Poppy.  This brought tears to my eyes, naturally)

It was only in later years that Nanny had a toilet installed under the stairway, however there was never a bathtub/shower in that house. Hard enough, I’m sure, on my Nan when she was raising her kids, yet that was the way things were back then. As my sister mentioned in her blog challenge, mom used to have to take me and my two sisters up the hill to a family friend to give us a bath; she never once complained about the inconvenience. I myself never go back to my mom’s home and complain about how she only has the one bathroom (we have three) and there are four of us, plus Mom, Dad, my siblings and whomever else happens to be there to stay, because compared to what my mom had to put up with, it’s small potatoes.

As I said earlier, I come from a long line of strong women that dates back to my great-grandmother. If you want to read about her story, you can read Tawny’s post here.

Sadly, the last time we visited Nanny’s home in Fox Cove was when I was 18. It was a good trip and I managed to spend time with friends and family that I used to play with on those long ago visits when we were much younger; the children of my mother’s friends. (I reckon my brother and littlest sister would barely remember this trip. It’s strange to think they have such different memories than me, Tawny and probably Sandra). The house has now been torn down (how saddening) and I haven’t been back to Fox Cove since. I plan to rectify this in future years; I want to revisit the beach we used to play on, and climb the hill to the cemetery where my grandparents and great Aunt Minnie and Uncle Stan are buried. I want Andy to see the wild beauty of the area where my ancestors lived and worked, where we still have family.

The beach across from Nanny's where we used to watch the the fishermen in the morning.

I’m proud of my Newfoundland roots and always smile when I’m told that I’m just like the Antles.

(I have a lot of pictures from when we were little, a few from Fox Cove maybe, but none here in the UK.  It is thanks to my friend Jason, who grew up in Fox Cove, that I was able to publish these photos.  I can't thank him enough (and his relative who had some of these photos.)
I had to publish this photo too, because it's absolutely stunning and I was never lucky enough to see Fox Cove in the winter: