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

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My February Girls

When I was growing up and even when I was well into my mid twenties, whenever I heard the words 'Jody, we need to talk' I always instantly thought the worst.  What did I do wrong?  Have I said something I shouldn't have?  I know a lot of people take it personally or think they have done something they shouldn't have when the boss seems quiet or moody.  I used to think that too.  As I've grown older I've stopped thinking that way.  At least at work.  If one of my managers walks by and doesn't say anything, or I can tell something is up, I rarely if ever, think it has something to do with me.  Maybe it's because I'm confident, maybe its because I know that the boss has a million other things on her mind to occupy her thoughts than just me. I'm only one minion of many after all.

I'll get straight to my point today as I don't feel like boring you (I know right? Usually it takes me at least six paragraphs to say what I have to say, by which time I've probably lost at least 70% of you). 

So... I get a fair amount of texts and emails, and sometimes comments on this blog.  I look forward to every single one.  Then there is facebook.  I enjoy getting comments on my posts and pictures (who doesn't).  However when I open facebook and see that there is a message via email, prior to seeing who it is from I am momentarily filled with apprehension.  I don't know why and I can't stand that I feel this way.  There is no reason for it.  But then again, I think of all the upheaval that has been chucked my way over the last few years and I can almost convince myself that this is justified... at least a little.  Why only on facebook email?  If you can answer that question I will give you a bottle of my favourite wine.

The best part however, of opening my texts and emails are receiving those from sister and sister-in-law with photos of my two gorgeous nieces (born a year apart).  Nothing makes me smile faster (although my mom's are a close second let me tell you).

For example:

Daisy has been going to the pool with her mum since she was around four months old.  This was taken last month, when she was 5 1/2 months old.  Daisy is now our little mermaid don't you think? 

I can't believe Clara is now a toddler rather than a baby... she is such a clever and gorgeous child who seemingly loves to model the clothes her Aunty Jods sends from the UK ;)  Clara has been wearing sunglasses since she was an infant, which in itself is a major feat (and so cool).  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don't make me choose

I don’t know if many of you are aware of this, but I have trouble making decisions.

Usually the best way for me to make a decision is to make it very quickly. If I have to spend time pondering, weighing pro’s against cons, I can end up taking a lifetime to make that decision. There are some decisions that would take an eternity for me to make. For instance, if you were to put Sam and Dean Winchester (characters from a television show, a fact which makes this completely bogus, but still a girl can have her silly dreams right?) in front of me and told me to pick one that I could have an amazing night with I honestly don't know if I could do it. (You are probably wondering where my husband would stand on this, but bear in mind, we all have a top five celebrity list and I think even he would know not to interfere with me and the Winchester boys. I wouldn’t dare come between him and Halle Berry) I have spent an inane amount of time daydreaming of both brothers over the last few years. Both of them. Sorry Andy, it’s true. And sorry readers, if the direction of this post is making you uncomfortable; if this is the case I have a whole other selection of enjoyable blogs listed to the right of this page for you to choose from (sorry to give you a decision to make ;) Although be warned, many of my fellow bloggers talk about sex, bowel movements and hair dye for ‘down there’, so I just might be the safer bet.

Where was I? Oh yes, the Winchester boys. If you asked me to choose between those two, I don’t know if I could answer because as soon as my brain starts to say Sam, with his incredible, hard body, I think about Dean’s big gorgeous eyes and those soft full lips and I’m torn up all over again. Perhaps it’s better if I move on from this line of thinking…

Here are a few real (and non juvenile) examples in which I was able to reach a conclusion after little thought…

When Andy asked me if I would move to the UK with him I made my decision without really thinking about it. I just said yes, even though I knew it would be hard to leave my home and family. Looking back, after eight years of trying to manage difficult situations with his ex-wife and kids, I’m not so sure the choice would have been an easy one, yet still I would have said yes. I love him that much.

When I found out my mom had cancer, there was no discussion regarding if I would travel to be there for her, it was when I would travel, and how long I would stay. It was one of the easiest decisions of my life.

If we are at our local pub and the choices for dessert are chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream versus, well any other dessert, I will always choose the chocolate brownie, hands down. It is that amazing, trust me. I wish every choice in life was as easy.

I seem to have a knack for helping other’s think about the possible outcomes for any troublesome decisions they may be having difficulty reaching. I can be very objective. A few of these people even take my advice… at least those who are over 25 seem to. I’m wasting my breath when it comes to the under 25’s. I suppose the reason behind this is that they have all the answers anyway so they don’t need the help.

Soon I will likely have an opportunity that will require the necessity to make a very big decision and already I’m fretting about possibly having to make a choice that will affect my life... again. Of course I’m being premature and shouldn’t even be thinking of this until I’m actually given a choice. Easier said then done though isn’t it?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Itchy and Scratchy

I know I’ve mentioned previously that our Molly hasn’t been in the best of health these last few weeks. She’s been suffering with a terrible itch and the antihistamines I have been giving her are no longer working.

She started getting a rash and skin abrasions this week which indicated it was time for her to go back to the dreaded vet (I don’t find the Irish Mark appalling in the least, but Molly obviously doesn’t share my opinion). Because Andy had the day off work today he was the one to take her. I imagine that our phone conversation afterward must have sounded no different to the girls in the office than if I’d been talking to my husband about a child. I was firing off questions about what the vet had to say, asking why he thinks it might be an allergy to her food and what side effects the tablets she is now going to have to take for a month will have on her.

I suppose the only positive we can take from this is the boys might finally come to the realization that feeding our dog cookies and other crappy human food is not beneficial, no matter how unkind it seems to refrain from doing so. One thing that is clear though, is that both Andy and I hate seeing our little fur-girl suffer and we will do everything to ensure it stops.

It’s been an added bonus having John around as he takes Molly for a long walk every day while I am at work and that combined with any exercise we give her, should help keep her weight down due to the steroids she is now on.

I think taking her on a nice long hike this weekend will be top of the agenda.

Our poorly girl

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I guess you could call it an evolution of food...

This weekend I managed to accomplish a number of tasks that make me want to give myself a lovely reward. Except the only reward I fancy at the moment is a big bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice-cream and because I’ve worked hard this last week, that bowl of ice-cream would undo all I’ve been working to achieve.

Despite the fact that Saturday morning found me sluggish and bloated as a result of the wonderful affliction us women are cursed with on a monthly basis, I went to the gym and managed 40 minutes of cardio. Those of you who are females over 35 will understand that this is an achievement in itself.

My mother-in-law had a gathering in her garden on Saturday afternoon and I managed to eat selectively and refrain from alcohol (I had used up my weekly allowance of wine on Friday night, however in light of some news that I have been landed with that I’m not prepared to share at this moment, I deserved those four glasses of wine that I gulped down in the presence of good friends).

Sunday morning I jogged laps around the local park, then did fast sprints between a few trees that severely pushed my limitations. Don’t worry I wasn’t alone so I didn’t look as ridiculous as I could have. Although I bet you there was more than one person in that park who wished they shared our motivation (that person is usually me). I do wish we lived closer to Alison and Scott (my sister and brother in law) as working out this way is so rewarding. Maybe one of these days my husband will catch the 'work-out with your wife bug' (that’s a hint Andy).

The weekend stayed reasonably nice and Sunday night we barbecued chicken which we ate with green salad and feta. What has been astounding me these days though is that my brother, who until he embarked on his trip abroad, had a very basic diet and would never, ever try something he didn’t like the look of (his own words). Since he has been staying with us and has travelled in Europe, he has tried a number of foods he normally wouldn’t (i.e. linguine with pesto) and is realizing how much he has been missing out on. John is also acknowledging that healthy food can be delicious, saying that he is now looking forward to trying out a lot of the food our little sister has been cooking on her quest to become the incredibly fit beauty she now is.  I still can’t get used to the fact that not only will he eat salad, but will eat a second helping. I was delighted last night when I showed him the cookbook I credit with my becoming more accomplished in the kitchen and he said it is something that he definitely wants to try his hand at and said he said he might even surprise me with a meal when I get home from work some night.

If my brother does indeed become someone who likes to experiment in the kitchen, it won’t be me alone who can credit this fellow and his book for learning to cook great meals from scratch:

Funnily enough, my sister also has this cook book but in Canada it's called Evolution of Food... whatever you call it, it's a definite stepping stone for anyone who wants to do more than warm a pizza up in the oven.

Friday, August 19, 2011

You can't buy it anywhere

This morning I had to drop the Kia off at the dealership as it needed to be recalled for some specialised undercoating that needed to be applied. I wasn’t too bothered about the details, so long as it didn’t cost us any money.

I did pause for a moment as I was handing over the keys, to wonder if I should have tidied the car up a bit more. However this thought was only fleeting, because I had picked up the scattered receipts, wrappers, diet coke cans and lone, day-old banana peel stuffed in the side pocket. What more could they ask? As far as I was concerned they could ignore the scattered gym gear scattered all over the interior.

I love my vehicle I really do, but tidying it and washing it is not high on my agenda; besides my husband does a great job of it and really seems to enjoy it. Well that’s how I choose to look at it anyway. I do know the car would have been sparkling if it had been Andy dropping it off this morning. However I’m glad I didn’t bother because they washed it all the same.

When I was single I did try and look after my car, especially the new ones that I managed to procure in my mid 20’s. I even went so far as to check the tires and keep the oil topped up. I had to; there wasn’t anyone else who was going to look after my car for me. My dad barely looked after his own vehicle so he sure wasn’t going to take the time to sort mine out. I kept on top of servicing and made sure that whatever car I happened to own ran smoothly. I might have washed and vacuumed my car out about twice a year which seemed adequate enough for me. Besides, I did get better as my cars became newer and a bit more flash. Unlike my first car, a beat down little ford escort. The backseat of that looked like a garbage bin; I sometimes even managed to muster up the ability to feign sheepishness when I had to sweep the rubbish from one foot well to another so my friends could squeeze into the back seat.

Thinking of that little ford escort makes me think about my cousin Wayne. He was the one that test drove it for me because it was a standard and I didn’t have a clue how to drive it. I didn’t have a clue how to do a lot of tasks that are required when one becomes a car owner. For instance, I remember one very hot, summer’s day when I had the bright idea that not only would I wash my escort, but give it a good waxing to try and brighten its dull burgundy coat. No one ever told me how to wax a car, and they certainly didn’t tell me that you don’t spread the wax over the whole car, never mind on a day when the sun is out in full force. I tell myself now that I could probably have taken a few minutes to read the instructions that were likely right there on the label; not that I would have, the only labels I read in those days were the ones affixed to clothes and beer bottles.

So when it came time to finally take the wax off I was appalled. That stuff wasn’t moving. No matter how I wet it down or furiously scrubbed it, only a very small bit at a time was coming off. After 30 minutes of continuously scrubbing, only one small area of the hood was clear and not very shiny. I was exhausted. My mother had no answers for me. We didn’t have the internet in those days so I couldn’t use that as a reference, yet I knew there had to be some product I could get my hands on that would make getting the wax off easier. Because I wanted to know what I would need to look for at the store before driving a car that was covered in a grey film to town (humiliating enough), I did what I always did when it came to that car. I called my cousin Wayne, explained what I had done and asked him what I needed to use to get the wax off. I wasn’t best pleased when he started laughing and pointed out that I should never have covered the whole car all at once. I remember replying that I understood my mistake but would he please tell me what I needed to get it off. I was getting pretty fed up with it all. I was relieved when he finally answered that the only thing that was going to get the wax off was Elbow Grease. I then proceeded to ask him if I could buy it at Canadian Tire. Laugh if you must. Wayne sure did. To add injury to insult, he couldn’t come over and share his elbow grease with me as he was working on his own truck. It took me hours and I have never waxed a car since.

I find myself thinking of my cousin frequently today and will probably remind him of this story when I call him later to wish him a happy birthday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And its christened me with wonder...

Yesterday was a peculiar kind of day. For a start, it was Monday and like the lazy orange ball of fluff otherwise known as Garfield, I don’t like Mondays.

I went to the gym for a much needed work out and forgot to bring socks. Normally I turn around and leave as the thought of bare, sweaty feet encased in trainers is just disgusting. Although I had a half decent work out it wasn’t as beneficial as it could have been due to my being without socks. Should I forget them again (which hasn’t happened in years) I will not be working out.  I have to give credit to my friend and fellow blogger Dawn for doing this on more than one occasion recently. 

When I was re-packing my gym bag afterwards, I must have taken my book out and left it laying on the bench because last night as I went to find it before bed it was missing. I was enjoying that book so hopefully when I ring the gym it will be to discover that a kind person has handed it in.

After three weeks of being home every evening, Andy is now going to be based out of Penrith. It’s three hours away but the bonus is that it is near the top of the lakes. That is, England’s beautiful Lake District, a place that I never get tired of exploring so hopefully Andy and I will be able to get in some good hikes over the next 10 months or so.

Andy’s timing for hitting the road was timed appropriately as my brother returned from his trip on Sunday night, which seems a fair trade off. John is tanned, super fit and ready for a rest. His pictures are amazing, especially those of the Italian Dolomite's. He and I spent the evening last night looking through the brilliant photos he’s captured along the way. Andy and I are having a hard time deciding what type of holiday we want next; We waver between a beach, hiking or city break. Unfortunately he can’t get leave until November so a beach holiday is definitely ruled out. I’m hopeful that once my husband bears witness to these amazing mountains he will share in my excitement of possibly planning a trip in the not too distant future, maybe next spring. The fact that we have close friends living in a town nearby is just an added bonus.

I was filled with joy at how my brother also fell in love with Venice. We both spent ages last night pouring over and comparing the pictures we have both captured in this floating city. Andy and I were fortunate enough to have visited Venice on our first wedding anniversary. Although we have lots of other regions to explore, Venice will definitely be a repeat at some point, maybe for another milestone anniversary...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why not just blame someone else?

I usually try to stay away from sensitive issues on this blog. I try not to give my opinions on politics, religion or many current events that take place around the world. Does it make for a boring site? Maybe not for my friends and family, they probably find it semi-interesting at times; however I figure that for those who don’t know me and stumble upon my site, they pass through without a second glance. I’m 90% positive that the subject matter here isn’t exactly what they were looking for when they might have done a search on Joe Brown or a certain poet. Especially not if the search was for ‘full frontal nudity’ or ‘babes with big knockers’ only to come across one of my (many) posts relating to breasts (although I am a babe with impressive ‘knockers’). However I won’t be posting any nude pictures here, not today, tomorrow or next year. The closest I’ve gotten to revealing any nudity was on one of my breast cancer ‘challenge’ posts more than a few years back (and I’m not linking to that site, if you want to find it go look for it). Speaking of that post, I have to admit that even now, a year later, I still feel the loss of losing all my comments from preceding years due to the fact that I didn’t save my template before changing the design. That blog generated some of the most interesting comments this blog has seen. And since I don’t have a lot of registered followers on my site, and only a few comments, it sucks that I’ve lost all those that have gone before.

It only causes me a modicum of dismay that I don’t have a huge mass of registered followers on my site. I say this because my stat bar tells me that I have a large volume of traffic through this site and although you don’t want to let me know you’ve dropped by, I can still see that you have been here. I know I don’t talk about the most tantalising of subjects, or advertise. Then add to the equation that I’m quite random: I’m not a mommy blogger, or a weight watcher blogger. I don’t have any fantastic talents to share like DIY tips on how to reupholster a couch using only a yard of fabric and a glue stick (although I wish I did). I like to talk about some of my favourite recipes, how I don’t work out enough, the antics we get up to with friends and family, how I’d often rather spend time with my dog before anyone else; sometimes I will even post a few photos. Food and drink usually take a prime position because let’s face it… I love to eat and drink. Too much so, but life can be short so why the hell not?

So getting to back to what I originally sat down to gripe about today:  the riots that have been taking over England. I’m going to try to keep it short yet I’m so angered and appalled by a situation that should never have been allowed to get so out of control. I think that the world a hundred years ago was a world that needed improving. Women needed the right to vote, people had to have safer work environments with more reasonable working hours; children had to have someone listen to them if they were being hurt. I’m all for those changes that eventually happened over time, and many more.

What upsets me is that the world changed, and then changed again, for the worse. When did the criminal start being the victim? When did it become ok for an armed man to wave his gun at the police and not expect to get shot for his decision to do so? It’s somehow the fault of the police and people are crying out for justice for that young man. Sorry, but I think there is something wrong here.

How is it that looters and rioters are allowed to run rampant through our streets, taking what they like no matter who get’s in the way, setting businesses and cars alight, yet when the police use a bit of ‘excessive’ force they are followed with constant criticism by the very people they are trying to protect?

Teachers aren’t allowed to hug their students anymore because of the fear they might be accused of something inappropriate. Neighbours can’t yell at naughty children on the street to behave, let alone march them back to their parents because it has ‘nothing to do with them’, or for fear of retribution. It’s getting to the point where parents have to be extra careful with how they discipline their own children because of what can happen to them if they make one wrong move. Employers are being forced to keep employees on the books who should have been dismissed long ago. The list goes on and on.

Are you aware that some prisons in Britain supply their inmates with play stations and other forms of entertainment? Is that really what tax dollars are paying for? Never mind how it must make the victims feel. Sure, they might be locked up, but they haven’t lost out on many of their human rights… human rights that should have been taken away when they made the decision to hurt another as far as I’m concerned.

No one is held accountable for their actions any more. Good people live in fear of one little misstep because they could be facing a law suit for saying or doing the ‘wrong’ thing. Children are growing up not needing to learn about consequences, because let’s face it for most of them there aren’t any.

I know that many of you are raising your children to have respect (as are Andy and I). I know that many of the changes that have been taking place over the years are beneficial, and right. That it’s not all bad and there are so many moments to cherish in life. Still I can’t help but wonder what kind of world the children of today will inherit.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

It didn't rain, but she got wet just the same

The past weekend was a quiet one at our house; Friday night we did in fact go for a pub meal with Robert and Dawn. The evening passed quickly as it usually does when we are curled up on one of the sofas in our local, enjoying a few beverages and first rate companionship.

Andy worked both Saturday and Sunday, which must have been exciting for him. Me? Well I tidied the house, walked Molly, watched way too much TV and spent over an hour on the phone with my sister for a much needed talk. And that was only Saturday. Try to curb your excitement for me ok?

Sunday was the better day weather wise so I decided to take Molly for a long walk at one of her favourite locations. Because it’s been rather humid round these parts recently and my girl has been suffering from an aggravating itch (which is finally subsiding due to antihistamines) she didn’t wait before jumping into the stream at an area where I normally don’t let her because of the wildlife. She’s normally so well behaved but there was no holding her back from that first plunge.

I did however manage to get her out quickly, and keep her out of the water near this lovely little family:

It’s great to see the babies up and out of the nest.

When we got to the area where she is allowed to swim, she barely tolerated me telling her to wait and wouldn’t look at me, her whole body saying ‘come on already, let me go’:

Of course, once she’s in she’s completely pleased with herself:

The rest of the walk was filled with me chucking a stick into the stream for her, as we both cheerfully enjoyed our afternoon jaunt, despite the threatening rain clouds.

When I got back to the car, I lowered all the windows and prepared to leave my soaking companion for five minutes while I dashed into the shop for a salad. It was at this moment that I had the bad fortune to realize I must have dropped my bank card along our route. (I had taken the card as I didn’t have any change.) It must have fallen out of my pocket at a moment when I was pulling my phone out to capture a photo. There was nothing to do but go back and retrace our steps. As the whole circuit takes about 45 minutes (when not stopping to play), I wasn’t looking forward to it. Molly on the other hand, couldn’t believe her luck. Another walk that would also allow for one more swim… Why should she be anything other than keen? So off we went, one happy dog and one frustrated Jody. Of course I didn’t find the card. I managed to look on the bright side though: both Molly and I had plenty of exercise.

I cancelled the card immediately and it will take 3-5 working days for a new one to be sent. Good thing I have a husband with another card to the same account.

Friday, August 05, 2011

That Friday Feelin

Today has been the first five day work week I’ve had in a while and surprisingly it hasn’t passed to slowly. I don’t have much planned this weekend other than a trip to the hair salon and exercising both myself and Molly.

To wrap my week up I’m going to highlight what’s made me smile, and on the flip side, what's made me frown.

What I’ve been smiling at:

• I have been working out more regularly and feel better for it. I also feel better that I haven’t let myself down by not going to the gym.

• My husband has been working local for the last few weeks and I’m enjoying having him home in the evenings.

• The pita wrap I had for lunch yesterday made with sundried tomatoes, avocado, olives, pickle and cheese – yummy!

• A new British program I’ve been watching called Sirens that made me laugh out loud a few times;

• Sitting in the hot tub after a hard work out, there is no better way to sooth sore muscles.

• I haven’t had a glass of wine since the 3rd July (gasp) and I’m not even craving it. Why I’m smiling about that is beyond me – do I even know who I am anymore?

• My new navy wedge heels from Clarks

• Listening to my mom tell me she was out with her sisters both Saturday and Sunday night until past 2:00 am.

• This evening we are meeting friends at the local pub for a few drinks and a something to eat and if the weather holds Molly and Carter might even be able to come with us.

What I've been frowning at:

• Despite working out and eating healthy (never mind not drinking any wine), the scales told me I gained three pounds. Those scales are lucky they didn’t get thrown out the window – argh!

• The idiot cyclists in this town – some guy almost drove his bike right into my moving vehicle this morning.

• Molly’s itch is back again, and it’s chronic. Instead of taking her to the vet, I’m starting her on a round of antihistamines; when taken daily I’m told these will help.

• Finding out that my bike is not fit to ride anymore, when I haven’t even been on in it! (kids eh?)

• The smell of manure in the air due to the farmers spreading it all over their fields… it’s not been the best summer we could ask for, however this week has been muggy and having to keep the windows shut at dinner is just friggin perfect. At least the worst of it seems to be over today.

I hope most of you have had more smiles than frowns this week. Feel free to share any anecdote's that might make the rest of us smile too.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A letter to my younger self

Dear Younger Self,

There are so many things that I wish I could have shown you before you had to live them for yourself, to spare you some of the heart-ache you are going to suffer; either at the hand of other people, or as a result of something stupid you will do. And I don’t want to frighten you, but girl, you are going to make a lot of asinine mistakes in the coming years.

I’m not going to say that I would point you in a different direction to the path you chose to take, because the paths you have taken in life have made you the person you are today; besides, you do have a lot of fun along the way.  Anyway, I’d like to think you grew up to be a pretty good woman. A person who has learned some very hard lessons that I wish you could avoid, but as the old cliche goes (the 2nd one I’ve used in this paragraph), there is no going back.

I do however wish I could tell you not to fret about a lot of the stuff that is causing you anxiety, that I could share some of the confidence that you have now as an adult. Actually, I wish that you had been born with this confidence that comes easily now, after putting on such a good act, for so very long. It’s true what they say, if you fake something long enough you can make anyone believe it, even yourself.

I wish I could tell you as a young girl, to stop obsessing about your weight, teeth and skin. You aren’t overweight, stop comparing yourself to the other girls who are all much skinner than you. One day, when you have finished school you will see that you were not that unappealing and that as a 30-something year old, you've aged a lot better than most of the girls in your school. The boys who want those girls now will come to realise that you are someone worth getting to know but for them, it will be too late. You will eventually lose interest in them, and rightly so. And those boobs that you hate so much for bringing you the wrong kind of attention? You will learn to make peace with them and even grow to begrudgingly like them, even though buying clothes will never get easier. However moving to the UK (something I bet you think you will never have the courage to do) will be the best thing that could happen in regard to your boobs (amongst other things); the selection of bras, at very reasonable prices is much better than what you get in Canada. It’s not only the small busted that get matching bra sets in brilliant designs in the UK. It’s understood that big busted girls need la variety of choice too, at affordable prices. Oh, and you grow into your teeth, and although they aren’t perfect you learn to accept them too, and actually start to believe that they add character; You grow to admire people like Barbara Streisand, for not changing what so many others would. Perfection isn’t what you will strive for as an adult. Self-acceptance and a healthy lifestyle is much more important, trust me on this one.

At 13 you are a 140 pound, 5’7” girl with big breasts, not fat by any means; I wish you would stop comparing yourself to your sisters who are much, much thinner. You are built differently; maybe this has something to do with mom feeding you homogenised milk when you were a baby, but maybe not. It’s just what it is. And to this day, I’m still proud of you for standing up to your Aunt, the one who used to poke your belly while commenting on the fact that you should be skinnier (although that doesn’t happen for another five years). I just wish you wouldn’t let moments like those, and a few others, lead you down the road that you are going to take. I wish you were a stronger person (which isn’t fair, you are just a kid) because as a result of your insecurities, combined with more than one devastating event, you have a long hard battle in front of you that still hasn’t been completely resolved. I’m sorry for this. I really am. I feel like I’ve let you down.

If I could encourage you to do anything Young Self, it would be that you spend more time with your sisters, because now that you’ve outgrown playing barbies with them, you don’t have a lot of time for them; most of your time is taken up with your friends and pining after boys. You will be sorry about that when you are an adult, but the adult you knows deep in her heart that you aren’t a lot different to any other teenage girl; there will be time enough for becoming close friends, best friends even, with your sisters when you are fully grown.

Your obsession with boys and all things social isn’t doing you any favours at school either, but you can’t say you haven’t been told about that already. I have a sneaking suspicion that you wouldn’t listen to me anyway, no more than you listen to anyone else (you might be happy to know that some things will never change and younger you isn’t a whole lot different to older you… especially your brilliant sense of humour ;)

I wish you weren’t so interested in sex either… that you would forget about losing your virginity in a few years time, like so many of your friends. It’s much more important to find someone who really cares about you, but then again, that’s something you aren’t going to learn until after the fact. You eventually learn not to settle for less than you deserve. It will take time and you will have to go through a bit of heart-ache, but you do end up with someone worthy of your love, someone who has a bigger heart than any other guy you will ever meet, even though he tries to keep that a secret. Someone who is worth all your crushes combined. And you probably aren’t surprised to learn he lives abroad; but then again, maybe you are… I don’t think you develop your penchant for foreign men until you are at least 15 ;)

Younger self, you will go through a whole series of events in your life, some that will really test you. But you will get tougher as the years go on. You are going to make some hard decisions, some that will trouble you for longer than you expect, but you will be ok. You have always had the capacity to make friends with ease, and that hasn’t changed. I bet you aren’t surprised to learn that some of the friends you have now will still be your friends in 25 years. Amazing eh? Time, distance or life hasn’t gotten in the way of those true friendships.

Right now you probably aren’t thinking past the weekend and what you will be doing, which will likely be spending it at your best friends house, hoping to see Stephen Chaisson, whom you have had a crush on for far too long; hoping that this might be the weekend where you end up in the dark with him for ten minutes. (Although now that I look back, I really can’t understand how that boy held your attention for so long.) Troy Pennell, him I can understand. He was a great guy, and in another few months, you will transfer your attention to him for a short period. I’ll let you in on another secret; in grade 12 you actually make out with him one evening after a party, even though you have long outgrown your junior high crush. I’m telling you, things start looking a lot brighter by high school.

What I guess I'm trying to say, is that all in all you are a typical, albeit naive (although many adults comment on how mature you are) 13 year old girl. Although I know you look forward to growing up, I wish in some ways I could go back there with you, if only to be that dreamy girl again; or maybe just to whisper some answers in your ear.

(I apologise for the length of  this post, yet I highly recommend this project to my fellow bloggers - writing it was very therapeutic.)

Monday, August 01, 2011

A baby, Jamie Oliver, and more than one nasty swan...

Friday morning I caught the train down to Nottingham spend Friday with Alison and Daisy.  Since I arrived at lunch time, we met Scott at Jamie Oliver's restaurant - Jamie's Italian;  I was impressed by the ambiance in the restaurant (the decor is fantastic) and even more so by the food; we had a few different samplers of starters for our lunch, alongside a variety of bread and olives on ice.  It was perfect.  I would have wanted to love it no matter what, as I have a bit of a soft spot for Jamie Oliver, but I had to fabricate nothing. I loved the whole experience.

Daisy was a little gem and slept throughout the whole meal, leaving us adults to chat.  Ali and I spent the afternoon browsing around the shops;  and again Daisy was a star.  I think she is gong to be an impressive shopper one day.  She will certainly have the experience behind her.

I took this picture when Daisy was getting ready for bed.  Her mom wants a copy of this as it will look great in her bedroom :) I love what my camera can do with colour effects.

She's a little beauty, for sure;  and those legs! Ridiculous chubby eh?

I was happy to give Alison and Scott a night off, in order that they could both get a good night's sleep.  They didn't need asking twice and cheerily made their way to bed by midnight and didn't appear until just after 8 a.m., rested and ready to go for the day.

Me?  Well lets just say I didn't get much sleep.  This could be for a number of reasons:

a) I often don't sleep well the first night or two I'm away from home
b) Miss Daisy is a restless sleeper; she kicks the mattress repeatedly in her sleep. (How those legs stay so fat is a mystery :)
c) I constantly had one ear tuned in to the baby which is silly because it's not like I wouldn't hear her if she woke up (which she did once, at 2:30, but only for a moment).
d) When I did cat nap I had ridiculous dreams.

And still, when she woke at 6:00 am I couldn't be grumpy with her because the smile that meets you first thing in the morning could melt a glacier.

Much later in the morning when we were all up, we stopped for coffee and then got on the road to Clumber Park where we met Andy Connor and Molly.  Andy swapped Connor for me as he will be staying with his Aunt and Uncle until Wednesday. 

Here are a few pictures from our walk through the park.

If there is a tree that needs climbing, Connor will find it:

Connor, me and Ali: 

Me and Alison:  

Scott and Andy with the pram:  

The swans were in abundance; they didn't like Molly at all; and boy can they hiss, the beguiling little buggers:  

I'm not sure why Molly isn't in any of these pictures... she was probably too busy trying to figure out ways of sneaking past the swans into the water.  (Although we didn't let her swim on this walk as the last time she was in fowl-filled water she came down with an irritating itch.)

 Baby was enjoying her walk :

I spent the rest of Saturday feeling a little punch drunk, and because it was just me and Andy in the house, Molly and I were able to catch a two hour nap later in the day.