Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bits & Bobs

We had another busy weekend, which seems par for the course these days. I'm dying to just potter about in my garden one weekend but it won't be for a while yet.

We went to the cabin yesterday but it was very strange being there without Char & Jan. We had planned to stay over but with more thunder storms forecast I chickened out and we came home. Call me a wimp if you will but the thought of being in a wood cabin surrounded by 100 ft. trees and a lake during a severe storm scares me to death. I think Craig's mum and dad were secretly pleased that I wanted to come home. Craig appears to have no fear about these things.

Craig and Harry caught lots of fish, mostly sunfish and Harry got a trout. Craig also fished out a turtle for Jack to say hello to.

Today we went to Comfest for a couple of hours. I love this festival! Lots of music and good food and a relaxed, liberal crowd. Dot kept saying "I think I smell Marijuana!" and of course she had. This festival is the mirror image of the flea market we went to last weekend, in terms of people and their politics and views on life. This is the place you can get your breasts painted or have your palm read. I was most disappointed that I didn't get to have mine done (palm that is, c'mon people, I've had a child!)

It's Jack's birthday this week. Two already! We got him this gift off CraigsList and we set it up so the slide feeds into his garden pool. He loved playing on it tonight. Still, the swing and everything about it just seems too young for him. I think it would be great for a 1-2 year old and I already have buyer's remorse. He catches his feet on the bottom when he swings, bangs his head on the bar, only gets half-way down the slide and his feet touch the bottom. It's too small isn't it? Bugger.

We very nearly bought him a new bike from Target instead. It was a cool, shiny red little thing and he loved it but I reigned myself in with the thought that we'll get him one when he can peddle his tricycle my mum got him last year. So we took him out again tonight to see how he might grasp the concept of peddling. He did great but I think he needs to practice a lot more on this before he gets his red shiny wheels!

Friday, June 27, 2008

TV Not Dead - Hurrah!

Good news. The TV is not dead. Craig unplugged it from the surge protector , plugged it back in another socket and viola! Good as new.
Looks like the surge protector did it's job and took one in the chest for the TV.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tomatoes Killed our Telly

We had a scary night last night. I got woken up by the tornado sirens at midnight & woke Craig up - the poor man would have slept through the whole thing if his mental wife wasn't so scared. We watched the local news reporting a tornado warning and severe thunderstorm coming right for us.

We left it as long as we could but when our trusty weatherman said "seek shelter", I thought "alright mate, I don't need telling twice!" I got Jack, all sleepy and cradled around my body, and Craig got his mum and dad and we went to the basement. Cody & the cats came too (animal instinct is a marvelous thing). I took my big bag that has all my work stuff and Jack's stuff in and I felt good - we were safe and warm and could watch progress on the telly in the basement. Then .......

After a loud boom and a weird popping noise, our electric went off and our big screen TV got zapped. Capputt. Dead as a dodo. As Craig said, it is now a big expensive paper-weight. Next came the thunder, lightning and rain. Tons and tons of rain, like I have never seen before. It was actually pretty impressive.

After about an hour they gave the all-clear for tornados and we went to bed, but the thunder was still ferocious for a while and kept me awake.

This morning, we discovered that the basement was wet. The laundry room has about 0.5 water on the floor and the family room carpet is soaked. So Craig's at home right now doing his best with a wet vac. My big bag and all its contents which was sat on the floor is ruined. The only thing that upset me is that my weight-watcher book was in there. The one that gets officially stamped and the one where I stick all my "well done you!" stickers. In the whole scheme of things it's not a big deal though is it.

I did learn that I can wake Jack up at midnight and he'll go back to sleep quickly when I put him back down at 1.30. So that's a bonus.

So, no tornados folks, everyone's fine. It was scary at the time but as always, once the sun comes up you feel 100% okay. The daylight does wonders for your outlook on life doesn't it? I could never live in Alaska.

One last funny thing - I heard that one of the little boys at day care got scared last night and was saying to his mum "let's hide - the tomatoes are coming, the tomatoes are coming!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

MUST nibble

At my last Weight-Watchers meeting I got my 40lbs, which is just a tad less than 3 stone. I'm very happy but a bit sad too as we don't have enough people to carry our group on over the summer. This means I've got to discipline myself not to eat crap, all the time knowing I don't have to weigh in each week. I've already put a lb on this week, although that's not entirely my fault......

You see, it started several months ago when my mum sent a huge box of English sweets and chocolate. I put them in the fridge and rationed them out to Jack. A month later, another big box arrived. Then another. I have been really good and not eaten any but finally buckled and had to get them out of the fridge so I scooped it all up and took it to work for my colleagues. How good I was!

Craig's mum and dad got here a couple of weeks ago and brought more sweets/chocolate. Then yesterday a box arrived for Jack, with more. So my fridge is full again.

Now there's only so much temptation a person can take. I can look solid chocolate bars in the eye and not flinch, but if I see certain sweety things in there then my resolve is as solid as jelly on a plate.

What certain sweety things do I mean? Well here are my top 5:

1. Licorice
2. Aniseed balls
3. Curly Wurlys
4. Fudge bars
5. Pickled Onion flavoured Monster Munch

If I could only take 5 things to a desert island, I might ditch the curly wurlys for a toothbrush.

What would your 5 "must nibble" include?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cowboys & Dancing Monkeys

Craig's mum & dad like to have a mooch at flea markets when they come to the states so today we took them to Caesar's Creek Flea Market.
It has tons of vendors with old and new stuff, food stalls and even entertainment. It has to be said though that it's a redneck paradise with eyebrow-raising merchandise like hats that say "Come to my country? Speak English!". I think the most outrageous thing I saw was a badge calling Jane Fonda "a traitorous, terrorist b****". How nice. So, if you can ignore the few (and it is just a few) stalls with obnoxious wares, then it's an interesting place to visit for an afternoon.

I did pick up an almost-new Radio Flyer Wagon for Jack that I've wanted for a while. Got it for $40 which is fab as they are normally $150. He also got to have a couple of pony rides. He LOVES pony rides and my only misgiving about letting him on is knowing he's going to cry when he has to come off. Sure enough, he did, very loudly and he was most upset for a while after. He's been having pony rides since he was one year old and he seems to really enjoy it, so looks like I have a little cowboy in the making.

I know my friend Sue in England won't be happy with the picture of this horse shackled-up for kiddie rides. I even tried to crop out the chains the horse had on to make it look less like animal cruelty. Sorry Sue. If it's any consolation, I didn't buy any of the baby chicks in boxes, or give money to the man with the dancing monkey (I'm not kidding).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Vacation Pix & Video = Mammoth Post (sorry)

I got a bit carried away posting pictures of my holiday, sorry. I had a great time and loved the area so wanted to share a few things. If you've been to Massachusetts before then mosey along to the next blog and come back in a few days.

Skybus airline went bust so we had to drive. 14 hours. 14 LONG grueling hours. We took both cars and swapped between riding with teenage boys and riding with a toddler. Believe it or not, there was reason in there somewhere. So here we are - Craig's mum & dad, his nephew Luke and friend Sean and our Jack. One good thing about driving was that we did Niagara Falls on the way over.

The motley crew, in front of our house on Manomet Beach

View from the house. I fell asleep each night listening to the waves lapping onto the shore (and Craig snoring but you can't have it all can you)

Luke & Sean try their hand at boogie boarding. They had an amazing daily diet of power bars and Red Bull.

Ready for mischief

And so on to some sightseeing pix - first stop is Plymouth where the British pilgrims landed in 1620, met the native Americans who helped at least some of them survive, and there began the "Thanksgiving" celebration. This is the Mayflower 2, built exactly the same as the original and sailed from Britain to the US after WW2 as a sign of friendship.

The native American that befriended the pilgrims and helped them plant corn & other crops. In hindsight that may not have been a great idea for the future of his people. Interestingly "Thanksgiving" is an official day of mourning for native American people.

The pilgrims stepped off the Mayflower onto Plymouth Rock. Here we are, sat on it.

Okay, the real Plymouth Rock is encased in plywood underneath the Portico

Plymouth cemetary. I wanted to try and find some graves from the 1600's but the guide chewed my ear off until I stopped listening and then Jack was a little, erm, disrespectful.

Plymouth Plantation is a recreated 1627 village with both pilgrims and native people. The pilgrims act like it's 1627, which is cool at first but then a bit silly. I must admit though that at one point I found myself talking to a pilgrim lady about brewing beer and she was telling me how hard to was to grow barley and I was thinking "it must be really hard living here", when I should have been thinking "she's probably called Britney and lives in a posh beach house next to ours".

While I was soaking up the history, Jack was chasing hens.

A view of the plantation

The native people were dressed traditionally but spoke like it was 2008. I always feel really guilty and ignorant around them, knowing they must just hate the English. I feel like saying "I'm really sorry you know, for what my ancestors did" but they'd probably tell me to bugger off.

Cape Cod was FAB. With scenery and gorgeous little towns that I could mooch about in for days.

Craig did some fishing. He didn't catch anything but that didn't dampen his spirits. Personally, if I didn't catch a fish after 30 seconds of standing in freezing cold water up to my nads I'd give it up as a bad job and go shopping.

Our boy mucks about in the sand

Plymouth Harbour

Martha's Vineyard. Somewhere we all wanted to go but it was 102 degrees that day and by mid afternoon we hated the place and couldn't wait to get the ferry back to the air-conditioned cars. Then both the bus driver & car park attendant were rude pigs, which ruined my day. So, Martha's vineyard is probably stuningly beautiful but I'll always remember it as stinking hot and full of obnoxious people. And I didn't see one bloody vineyard. Or Martha.

Fabulous Boston, where we did the 3-mile "Freedom Trail" and learned all about the beginning of the revolutionary war. Personally I think they over-reacted. If they didn't like our tea they didn't need to tip it into the harbour & start a war.

You have to really don't you?

Luke (left) & Sean had no idea what "Cheers" was. I was amazed until they told me they were only 4 when the last episode aired in 1993. And they did know Frasier.

Another old graveyard, this time in Boston. It had very cool pirate graves.

Whale watching trip

Look - a whale! We must have seen 20 at least that day.
I took some short video of them. When they are close you can see this very light blue/aqua marine haze through the water. Sorry my camera skills aren't too good but I was too excited at seeing them to act professional.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Friends Separated

True Friends
are Hard to Find
Difficult to Leave
& Impossible to Forget

A Fellow Blogger's Book

One of my favourite blogs Wife in the North has written a book, published in the US this August. Anyway, she put together a fun promo for the book that you can watch below...

Sore Bum Update

Remember Jack's Sore Bum story? Well, turns out, "Expatmum" was right - it was a fungal infection.

Turns out, an athletes foot cream, Lomotrin, is the best cure, so says my pediatrician. And he's right. It has GONE finally.

That's my top tip for mums with the nappy rash blues.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back from New England

We're back! Really missed blogging and reading blogs and will catch up soon.

We went to New England for a week and got home last night. I'm itching to post all kinds of pictures and stories but today I have a big work conference and then I have a farewell party tonight for Char & Jan. After weeks of me posting about their impending departure for a new life in CA they actually fly away from us tomorrow.

Anyway, the trip was fab, the weather gorgeous, the beach house heavenly.

Lots of history was absorbed, mostly about the pilgrims and their escape from British tyranny, or about the extortionate British tax system that led to the Boston tea party and the Revolution, or about the persecution of separatist religions by, you guessed it, the British. It's a good job we have a sense of humour or us Brits might get a bit miffed about the whole "tyranny" thing.

Gotta run now - but will post lots later about the great things like whale watching and seeing my son jump in the Altantic Ocean, and about the bad things like $5.12/gallon gas, and about the weird things like us all stealing stuff but not confessing till we got back (ahem, hope the police aren't reading).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Whoopin & Hollerin

I'll be gone from the blogging scene for a few days. Not because I'm thinking of leaving the blog world like the wonderful Mousie, not even because I'm about to get flattened to a pancake by a tornado (although we're under a warning as I type). The reason I'll be absent is that family from England arrive tomorrow. Craig's mum, dad, nephew and his friend arrive for a few weeks and we've got all sorts planned. Lots of pictures and stories to follow of course.


Jack's bum is now fine. If you are wondering why I'm talking about my son's nether regions on the Internet, please refer to the previous post. Anyway, he's wreaking havoc on the world again and surprising me every day with new things. When he's looking for something now, he raises his shoulders, brings his palms up to his sides and says "where did it go?". He also discovered showers this week instead of baths. My cunning plan to make him wash his sore bum in a new way might backfire on me if he refuses baths from now on.


Lastly, did I mention how much I love my job? I think I have. Look who I got to meet today:

For those of you in England who don't have the foggiest who he is, he's Archie Griffin, ex-OSU and NFL running back that is the only college football player in history to win the Heisman Trophy twice. Regardless of the fact that I was only 5 years old and living in another country altogether when he won his first one, I have come to love him like any other Ohioan. Okay, let me put it this way - it's like meeting Sir Bobby Charlton. I'll leave it at that.
So anyway, someone asked him if his Heisman record may get equalled this year by Tim Tebow and he said "Beanie may have something to say about that" and everyone cheered loudly and "whooped and hollered". Including me, because football makes me lose all sense of dignity and composure. Sorry, I just can't help myself.

3 Month Catch-up

I can't believe I haven't posted for over 2 months! So much to say.