Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas 2013

What a whirlwind Christmas it was. I can't believe it's over actually and I'm back to work tomorrow. It whizzed by faster than ever before.

We did all the usual of course: watched Elf, Polar Express, Love Actually & Christmas Story, drove to see lights at Alum Creek and the neighbourhood, played board games, pulled crackers, drank and ate like champions. But we also saw a lot of people - maybe that's why is seemed to go quick. We never really just sat and did nothing. We didn't even get a post-dinner nap!  For the first time in a couple of decades I also went to church. Jack's friend from school was in a Christmas Eve nativity play at the local church so we went. I really enjoyed it and belted out "Hark the Herald Angels Sing!" with the best of them.

On Christmas morning the boys jumped out of bed and checked to see if Santa's milk was gone. They loved their gifts and we got to skype with several people on the big day. It was great. Both of my boys 100% believe in Santa, which made it magical for us all.

We got to see Dave and Eric quite a bit. We got to see Char & Jan. We went to a neighbour's annual party. We went to a Boxing Day party with the British Expats. We had Vicki over for dinner. We hosted a couple of kids on play dates and we just had friends from Tennessee stay with us for the full weekend. Now I have a big burning desire to be a hermit.

Shaving with dad
Danny wore his new dragon PJs for 4 straight days, even on the trampoline. 

Loves his metal "contector"

Got the kids out of the house

So now my house is wrecked and the bins are full. There's Playdoh everywhere and pine needles are a-dropping.  I feel a strong urge to clean and purge, which I'll get right on after I get off from here.

I feel so grateful that we had a Happy Christmas with food and warmth and a healthy family (except my stinky head cold). Bart & Ben got spoiled to death too, of course. Back to work (boooo) tomorrow then NYE to deal with. Right now I can think of nothing better than celebrating by hunkering down at home but who knows - maybe I'll feel social again by Tuesday night.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jack's Concert

It was Jack's Christmas concert yesterday. Craig and I were able to go. It's been so nice that Craig actually has enough holiday time this year to go to both concerts. So here's a little video. Jack was so "cool",  chewing gum and I thought he might not do it but he was getting into it and singing and doing the moves a bit (he's in front of the blow-up tree that kept deflating). I also love to watch the special education kids have fun. One little boy at the front had a festive hat on and was clapping and grinning and dancing in his chair and it was wonderful. It makes me get choked up but it's also such a happy event. And once again I sat in my chair and thanked my lucky stars that my kid goes to this school. It's the best school on the planet.

Jack and some of his class friends

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa & Danny's Concert

We took the kids to visit Santa on Sunday and it was freezing. We stood outside in the queue for an hour while I was grumbling and cursing. People were so slow and hogging his time. By the time we saw him I was not exactly in a festive mood but the kids were. They were over the moon to see him. They both still believe. We also got to see Matt & Gina & baby Josephine. That was a bonus.
Is he the real deal or what??
Yesterday we had Daniel's school concert. I bought him a new blue shirt and I did my best to get him used to it before the day, but when he got to school he refused to take his winter coat off and wore it the whole time - during the concert, the classroom party and the visit fro Santa. He said he didn't want strangers looking at him. I don't care - he sung and he enjoyed himself. Who cares if he wore his coat.

Danny, top right, giving a Benny Hill salute
Here's a 30 second terrible video of them singing "Peppermint Stick". Craig and I were sat in the balcony as we got there too late to be near the front. We were waving frantically at him for about 10 minutes before he saw us. Unfortunately every other child saw us first and they were all waving at us. Ha!

Today I went Christmas shopping for an hour after work and also got them both to our favourite barber shop. It's Jack's concert tomorrow.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Busy Busy Festive Stuff

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted, so I'll get the boring stuff out of the way first:  I went to the docs and I'm right as rain!  No problems with this old bird, I am far too hardy.  I got through my busiest week of the year (finals week + big conference). Highlights? Seeing my friend Todd get a big award and seeing ex-coach Tressel.   Craig took Jack to a cub scout thing today with shooting & archery etc. and they had a great time. I'm loving that they are doing that together. I'm keeping my distance :)

Anyway, I'm going to play catch-up today by sharing some photos from the last 2 weeks, since they tell the story better than lots of words......

We have had about a foot of snow since the beginning of December. It's been awesome. 

We're getting festive. Last year we started too early and I was over it by Christmas. This year we timed it right. 

There's a pretty cool sledding hill in our neighbourhood. Boys love it.

Look who started snow boarding. So we got him one, and he's now a "dude".

I love love love Christmas.  93.3 FM is on,  apple & cinnamon candles are burning, advent calendars are ripped open each morning, there's snow, my neighbor is decorating his huge tree, and we have school concerts. Bring it all to me! 

Buckeyes lost, so no championship game  (thank God because we'd have got thrashed. Let's keep it real people).

Our resident squirrel. He keeps us all amused for hours.

I volunteered at a thing with some of my favourite ladies

Danny was sick for a day. 7 loads of laundry sick, bless him.

I hid gifts at Eric's so went to wrap them. Big Mistake = hangover! Seriously though, I love him & Dave (& Maureen in the pic, my Brit friend)

I volunteered at Jack's Holiday Shop. My favourite day of the year. Helping kids shop for their family at Christmas is just the best thing you can do to feel good about humanity.

They wrote to Santa and pulled a fast one. After saying what they wanted weeks ago (presents are ALREADY BOUGHT), they asked him for something else. Little *******!  Hahaha!

They made a gingerbread house and it was fantastic and messy but they loved doing it.

So there you are. We are visiting Santa tomorrow. Then a playdate. Then I'm going to bed as I have a horrible head cold. But I'm feeling festive people! 

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

My Future

Julie read my cards last Friday night. She offered me 3 options - guardian angel cards, tarot cards, or a cold reading. I asked for her opinion and she said the first one. So I did the guardian angel cards and picked 4 angels, only later realising that these angels are strongly rooted in faith: Ariel, Pistis Sophia, one that looked like a star, aaaannnnd I can't remember the 4th one. Darn it.

Anyway, before we started she told me to take a deep breath and be quiet and think of a question I have for my angels. Before I could even over-analyse it (like I normally do) my stupid brain blurted out and said "Do I have cancer and will I see my boys grow up?" Inside my head of course, not to Julie.

When I picked the Ariel card I was told that she was the ruler of the earth and the overseer of health. To connect with her I need amethyst.  Julie asked why I was worried about my health (yes she did!) so I told her a few things and we chatted back and forth for a while. We even decided to sign up for zumba together at our local rec center. What a bonus that I have a friend who both sees my future health problems and stops them from happening!  I  don't have cancer by the way. Like I said, stupid brain.But I do need to get some things checked out, and I will I promise.

I do remember a lot about what she said about Pistis Sophia, the universal mother. She is the soul of a human being. I think that means the little sparkly cloud that floats away after you die. The soul is also a real thing - the thing that keeps you grounded and happy and kind. Sophia came to me because I'm neither grounded or happy, living a life I didn't want to live, in the wrong calling, in a rut. She is supposedly asking me to go back to me and remember what makes me happy and do that. To stop being so manic & driven. Just get back to focusing on the real worth in life: myself and my family and friends.  That's hard for me. I've always been a people pleaser. I sit here tonight with hairy legs, unpainted toe nails, and old clothes. I spent all night looking for toys for Jack's school's holiday party. I don't look after my soul AT ALL I know. No excuses.

The third was a star (can't remember her name). She told me my nether-regions are okay and I'm doing great (or something like that). Thank you star angel.

Can't remember the 4th.

Now my friends had completely different readings to me but they all felt like she was a good medium. Some more than others. It's not ethical for me to post about their readings but she did a great job of telling them things that they have going on in their lives.

Right then, off to bed with me. Will ring the docs tomorrow and paint my toenails. But I'm not shaving my legs till April 2014.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Birthday Cooking & Catching Fire With Jack

We celebrated Craig's birthday again today with breakfast in bed. Actually the front room, because he woke up. Then Craig spent some time teaching Jack some cooking skills. Rather him than me, but I LOVE this picture.

A picture that warms my heart

I then took Jack door-to-door while he dropped off bags to neighbours for them to fill with food for our local food pantry. I stood at the end of the driveways and let him do it and he did really well. No one said no, but then you'd have to be a real curmudgeon to say no wouldn't you. 

This afternoon I cleaned the house and did laundry. Hate it Hate it Hate it.

At 5.30 pm Vicki came and her, me and Jack went to see Catching Fire. I loved it again. Vicki loved it. Jack loved it but was terrified in a couple of places. I don't think I should have taken him. Not because of the film but because of the setting. When he watched The Hunger Games he was at home, with a few lights on and a familiar setting. At the cinema he was in a dark room with a HUGE screen. I think that was the difference. I asked him several times if he wanted to leave but he said no. He did completely bury himself under my armpit during the flogging scene and the scary monkey scene though. At one point he knelt on his seat and said "no!" very loud. It wasn't a scary scene, it was just when he was mad a President Snow for being mean.  And he also asked lots of questions and I started off saying "shhhhhhhh, just watch" but then realised he'd enjoy the movie a lot more if he knew the answer. Most of his questions were about Katniss & Peeta & Finick & Johanna. He kept leaning into me and frantically whispering do they all live? So I told him the answer.  
Bottom line with this: I should not have taken him to the cinema to watch this. At home is the best place to watch action/scary films. 

When we got back the boys got to bed and Craig and I watched our favourite shows: Walking Dead & Homeland. We had a snuggle. I should say that he got some fabulous presents off family - a book about Sir Alex Ferguson, a book about Harleys, a trail camera, and heated socks. He also has an extra pressie sitting in the kitchen that he'll see in the morning, on his actual birthday.  I hope he's had a good time.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Just a Quickie

Just a quickie today as this weekend is turning out to be FULL.

I did the Black Friday sales yesterday and managed to get everything I wanted without having to fight anybody or mow someone down with my trolley.

Last night we had 10 friends come over and my friend Julie, who's a medium, did readings for people. It was awesome but we partied from 4pm to 1.30am, so today I want to die. More on what she told me about my future later.....

Today I took the boys to see "Frozen" at the pictures where it cost $50 for 3 tickets and popcorn. Daylight robbery! Then I took them to our neighbour's house for a football party. The Buckeyes won at 42-41 and I nearly had a stroke at the end. But they WON! Yeehaw.

Tonight we are taking Craig bowling. He's on his way home from a hunting trip (no luck yet) then we are going back to a great little place we found. It's a dive but we like little divey places.

More later then. Sorry for the lack of pictures or anything remotely interesting!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Part ll

After our walk we were all a bit zonked. We were couch potatoes. Look at Ben - so tired he couldn't even get completely on the couch before he crashed out...

Tonight Vicki came over for Dinner. She works with Craig and she's lovely. Daniel said grace. Yes yes I know we are not a religious family but Daniel goes to a church pre-school and he likes to say his "Pierre" before we eat. I didn't get a video, sorry, but here it is:
Thank you God for happy hearts,
For rain and sunny weather,
Thank you for the food we eat,
And that we are together.

Daniel, for the 4th Thanksgiving of his life, refused to try anything and asked for a cheese toastie. I obliged because some fights just are not worth fighting.

Cheese Toastie & Carrots
After dinner we put the kids in our bedroom to watch a movie and me, Craig and Vicki watched The Hunger Games. Jack snook in and watched it with us and LOVED it. I 50% feel like a bad parent letting him watch it but really it's not that bad - no gore, no raunchy sex scenes. But the premise is kids killing kids, which no matter how you say that sounds terrible. I'm going to watch Catching Fire with Vicki on Sunday and Jack is begging to go with us. Mmmmm. Will have to think about that.

Now kids are in bed & we are watching the Shawshank Redemption because we saw it on telly and there's no way that you can't watch it. And it has a special place in my heart because it was filmed at the Mansfield Reformatory. One day, when I grow some balls, I'm going to do the Halloween sleep-over there.

Tomorrow morning I'm getting up at 5 to do the Black Friday sales. I love it I really do. Now I will NOT be doing Walmart - I'm not suicidal - but I am going to a place where I can get Craig and the boys some cool gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Wish me luck!

Thanksgiving Day

Today has been so good.  The boys woke us up by jumping on the bed with us and cuddling. Then Craig cooked up a lovely breakfast and we played board games and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. We got out of the house for a couple of hours on a big walk and Ben and the kids loved it.  Now we relax until dinner time.

Holiday Randomness

Quite a few random things have happened today.

Craig and I both agreed that we don't feel "surreal" about living in America anymore. It feels normal. This time last year I think we both thought it was still a special thing. I suppose that's a sad thing, to lose that feeling,  but also a good thing that we feel at home.

Jack stopped going to Tang Soo Do. We went there tonight and they were closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday. On the way back we talked. I asked if he was enjoying it because he isn't as keen on it as soccer. He went really quiet then said "Will you be mad?" I said no. We then went back and forth with him making sure that I wouldn't be angry. Then he made me text Craig to make sure that he wouldn't be angry  - then he confessed that he doesn't like it anymore. And he told me why - it's boring doing the forms (moves) over and over and over again. And they can't speak and have a laugh. I have thought about this since and I agree with him. It wouldn't be my cup of tea either. And I would really like to have that $100/month back in my bank account. So we're done with it and I think we all feel better for it.

Craig and I are ready for the Black Friday sales on Friday and Cyber Monday. We have a list and I'll be getting up at 5am on Friday! We'll keep you posted on the deals.

Tomorrow it's Thanksgiving. We plan on our annual hike then a friend, Vicki,  is coming for dinner. She works with Craig and I really like her. She's the one that got her dog snatched by a coyote this past week. Her grown up kids live in California so I'm happy she's coming here. We are going to watch The Hunger Games with her tomorrow night then I'm going to see Catching Fire with her at the weekend. She's also a huge fan.

After the ghost hunt a couple of weeks ago we arranged a reading night  this coming Friday. I also downloaded a ghost hunting app on my phone. It's been good fun so far. If a ghost actually does come through I'll probably move house.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reaching Out

Once a month me & Jack volunteer at a local venture that gives a meal to the needy. Jack really needed to go to his martial arts class tonight if he wants to go for his green belt next week, but he insisted that he came with me instead because he loves going.  That made me VERY proud. As usual we had a really good time. We fed about 50 people and we mingled with them. We sat down and talked with them. And I am not being superior about this, because Craig and I have been there and done that.  Also, it's not a huge stretch that we might need that service in our lifetime. I can tell you this much - when Craig and I got here in 1999 we would have gone there if we'd known about it because we had nothing. And we had many days with no food.

But anyway - There's a little old lady that comes each mealtime. She's about 80 and tiny and very quiet. Me and Jack helped her out to her car tonight with some extra food and she whispered "thank you" as I helped her get it loaded into her car. I got about halfway home and kicked myself for not offering to host her on Thanksgiving Day. Sometimes I'm such a selfish idiot.

Monday, November 25, 2013

An Idiot's Guide to Rainbow Looming

My youngest wanted a rainbow loom starburst ring making tonight. So while Jack went to cub scouts with Craig, instead of doing housework I made him one. It was tricky. There were several times I wanted to throw the bloody thing in the bin. There's lots of fiddly rubber bands and hooks and then you get 75% finished and you mess up and the rubber bands ping across the room. But I finally made one. It only took me an hour. Good grief I'm useless at crafts.

Take my word for it: that starburst ring is awesome. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Movie Day

Craig and I went to watch "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" today, and it was fantastic. I could have sat and watched it again. The only bad thing now is waiting a year before the third one comes out.  When we watched it we took the boys over to our neighbour's house. They went to watch it tonight so dropped their boys off at our house. I love this relationship!

I also ran out at tea time and met a couple of women for a beer. I met these women through local Facebook groups and we get along. One's a bit nutty but that's ok.  We said we'd meet again soon but not sure if I will. This is going to sound terrible but I can barely keep up with current events and friends in my life without making new ones. I just don't have the energy or desire for anything new right now.

The other thing I did today was work on the family calendar. It takes me hours and hours but I love doing it and sending it back to England. I don't just put my family in there - I include all the kids from both families. So I get to spend time taking pictures from family on Facebook. I can't wait to meet all the new ones next year.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sleep-Over & Bouncing

Jack got to have a sleep-over at his friend's house last night. As soon as he got home from school it started "Can we leave yet?" "Can we leave yet?" "Can we leave yet?" "Can we leave yet?" Finally we took him and he got to build forts and play video games and watch a movie. He told me he stayed up till 2.30am. Then recounted and said 11pm. I have no idea what time he went to bed. All I know is he loved it and told me several times today that he didn't want to leave.

When I dropped Jack off at the sleep-over house Danny broke his heart crying so Craig and I took him to Magic Mountain (an indoor play area) and we spoilt him a bit. He also got to sleep with us last night. He woke up at 8am and declared "That was awesome! I slept all night!" which is in contrast to me, who didn't sleep at all. It was probably a combination of waiting for a possible call to go and get Jack and knowing that my 4-year old was right next to me that kept me awake. A couple of times I did sneak a kiss or stroke his cheek or hold his little hand. Those moments are precious.

So we picked Jack up this morning then went straight to a birthday party till noon. It's an indoor trampoline place and the boys went nuts for two hours...

Danny leaps into the foam pit

Craig and I cleaned the house from top to bottom this afternoon, now we're waiting on our friends Eric & Dave coming over for dinner. It's only 6.20 and I just poured myself a glass of wine, but I think I deserve it!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Treat Girls

We got Jack's school picture back today. Doesn't he look fed-up? He swears he was smiling but you'd never know. I don't know why we keep paying money to school photographer companies because they are always terrible. One year they wet his hair and then patted it down and he looked like a serial killer.

People tell me that he's a handsome lad and to "beat the girls back". That line is a good one and I've used it myself on several occasions to other mums but it always makes me smile  because when I was a teenager I had a horrible experience with a boyfriend's mum who had the opinion that she would do just that.   By coincidence, my boyfriend Tony had the same last name as me. We dated for about a year in 1987 and during that time I went to his house several times. Each time she either ignored me or set me up for humiliation. For example, one time we had dinner there and she came through from the kitchen with a plate of food, went to pass it to me, then as I reached for it she gave it to Tony and glared at me like I had been presumptuous. I can still see the hate in that wicked woman's face. I was not the woman I am now back then - I was a shy teenager and was seriously scared and upset that she was so mean to me. She also once picked up an album of mine (Michael Jackson's Thriller I think) that I had lent to Tony and announced to the whole room "Think you're going to marry him do you?" because she saw the second name written on it. Tony told her we shared the same name and I have no doubt that she stuck another pin in my voodoo doll later on.

So anyway, she was seriously obsessed with her son and so horrible to me, his girlfriend, that I have it ingrained on my soul. My boys will be taught to treat girls with respect but I also hope that I will always treat girlfriends with respect. I hope. And to complete the story - our relationship ended when I was on a college internship and then he showed up one night, head shaved and a bit nuts. It was not good. I do wonder where he is sometimes and hope he's happy because he was a really nice person. She, on the other hand, was mean.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snippets on Wednesday

I got home at 10pm tonight and I'm knackered but it was a good day. Here's some random thoughts from my day:

I'm so much more comfortable writing this blog bra-less. That thing was poking me badly.

This would be so much easier without a 50 lb dog on my lap, but he missed me, so I'll work around it.

Only got another week of teaching and I'm done. This semester has kicked my arse.

Had lunch with a friend who just escaped from a tyrant, psycho boss. So I'm feeling so thankful for my boss.

A friend had her dog snatched by a coyote this morning while she was in the garden with her. I can't stop thinking about that.

Tonight I shopped for 2 hours with PTA ladies for the kid's holiday shop. It was okay. Not fun really though. The PTA ladies that I have a laugh with couldn't come, so every time I saw something really stupid or cheesy I had no one to share it with.

I was rude to a 3rd grader and enjoyed it far too much. She asked if I had a quarter and I said I did, then she motioned for me to give it to her (by curling her fingers at me), so I walked off. By the look on her face I think that might be the first time anyone's told her no.

Jack got his much-wanted "Rainbow Loom". Craig bought it for him. Google it, it's all the rave.

Danny got a duck puppet

Update on my Henrietta Lacks audio book: this morning while listening to how Joe was abused as a child, I sat in the parking lot at work and cried

When I called my local beer store for delivery (yes they do free delivery) and they knew what I wanted I was embarrassed but they assured me that they just knew me because I have an English accent.

Well I'm sure I have more snippets but I'll leave it at that. It's time to read my new Johnny Cash Book.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jack's Teacher Conference

Tonight we went to Jack's teacher conference. While we were waiting outside his first grade teacher came out for a hug and to say Hi. She asked why Jack had skipped the last two chess club meetings because he's gone religiously every day the last 2 years (errrr, news to me). I said I'd ask him.  Then I looked at some of the art work outside his room and his proudly declared that he goes scuba diving. No he doesn't. Is this my child I wondered? Then a support teacher came over and showed us his "good citizen pledge" and it was to mow our neighbour's lawn. Sod that. He needs to mow OUR lawn!

But we had a great conference with his teacher Mrs N. He's doing really well and she talked about how lovely he was. She also relayed a couple of funny stories. We both came away with some tips to help him, but overall feeling good.

I asked him why he hasn't been going to chess. I guess he's been learning how to use that plastic loom to make bracelets with rubber bands, which is all the rave at the moment. That'll be the gift of the year I bet. He's pestering for one already but there's no way I'm buying him presents this close to Christmas.

One last thing. He asked Linda what the word "f**k" meant today and said that someone told him how to say and spell it. So we had a little chat.  I know the mum of the other kid pretty good. Should I say something? I don't feel like I should, since we've dealt with it at this end. If that's all I've got to worry about then things are pretty good I think.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I have been sick today. Woke up at 3am with a sore throat, the kind that makes you cringe when you swallow, and I also had that achy body where you feel like you've done a few rounds with Tyson.  So when the alarm went off this morning Craig got up and saw to the kids and got them off the school and called my boss and brought me medicine, bless him. I hate feeling sick. I can't lie in bed thinking "I must get better". I lie in bed thinking "I must get up and do something".  I did get up and shower and do a few chores but generally shuffled from room to room feeling sorry for myself.

I had my flu shot last week and I wonder if its made me ill. The same thing happened last year. I'm probably just being paranoid.
So I'm hoping I feel better tomorrow because I'm teaching then I have Jack's teacher conference (and I have to take a desert in for the teacher's lounge). This week is a full week actually. I better get to bed.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Storm. But Columbus is OK

So we did go bowling. My photographer neighbour/friend took lots of pictures so I'll post them at some point. It started off ok then Danny decided he didn't like it (because he didn't know it and was afraid). We all tried to coax him and he refused for a couple of frames but then came in at the 5th when he decided it was ok. And he WON! And he got a strike! When he won he was jumping up and down with excitement. It was so good. Jack and the other kids were cool about it.

 Then we came home and got storm ready! We took stuff down to the basement:
 Phones, computers and tablets
Clothes & Shoes
Contact lenses
Money (wallets and purses)
Stuff to protect us in the basement bathroom: pillows, bike helmets for the kids, duvets, a huge stuffed giraffe (lol, yes really)
Luke the Hamster
Ben's leash

 That's it. I found it enlightening how little everything else meant. I stood in the office and looked at my boy's "memory boxes" and thought no - it's not that important. We are going to need clothes and communication and water if this thing hits badly enough. Thankfully it did not. We got strong winds but that's it. Illinois and Indiana got hit bad.

Here's a video and the poor man is so scared he's doing the Lord's prayer. I'd be swearing & crying at that point. Definitely wouldn't be filming it!


Weekend Catch-Up

Yesterday was such a great day. Craig was hunting so I took the kids walking for over 3.5 hours!  They messed about in the creek and Ben finally got a big old walk. Craig didn't get anything yet but he enjoys his time in the woods.  I also let the boys watch "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" for the first time and it was great. I was pleasantly surprised how funny it was. Last night I started work on the family calendar that I make each year for family in England then I went to bed early. I was shattered.

I haven't done a Sunday morning walk in a while but I'm glad I did this morning. I met my friend Becca and we walked to a breakfast cafe and had an omelet then walked 5 miles. It's both healthy and therapeutic! I love my Sunday morning walks.
Today we are taking the boys bowling and then hunkering down and getting ready for a big storm that's supposedly coming later. Fingers crossed we won't lose our power again.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Broken Biscuits

It's nearly midnight  and I need to make a blog posting in the next couple of minutes so I'll just give a quick re-cap of today.

1. Jack has been drawing and drawing and drawing (thank you Wesley)
2. Danny sang us a cute song
3. I made a pirate sock monkey but stabbed my fingers several times, stressed out.
4. I have a potential stalker at work (obviously more later)
5. England football was bloody terrible. Lost 0-2 to Chile.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bart Man

I think I might have a tiny bit of understanding why Bart's last crazy owner called him the devil. Now she was craaaazy and really mean to him for 6 years, so I'm not sticking up for her by any means, but he has certain personality traits that drive you nuts.

First of all, he walks or jumps in front of your feet when you leave a room or walk down the basement steps and it really is a small miracle that none of us have fallen. He did it to Craig on Sunday and Craig tripped, put his back out and has been on pain pills ever since.  He also pops up where you least expect him. Last week I left him in the kitchen and I went to do laundry in the basement. When I turned on the light in the laundry room he was sat on the washer looking at me. It nearly gave me a stroke!

But he's such a great cat with a huge personality. He loves us all and is even playing with Ben now. he opens doors, jumps on anything high, loves to be with us. The perfect cat. No cat will ever fill Frank's place in my heart, but Bart's a good one. I hope he's around for a long time.

I just realised that my friend Heather also posted today about her beloved cat, Sanders, who she lost 9 months ago. That's probably what made me subconsciously write about Bart tonight.

Our Bart

Thank goodness it's Friday tomorrow. It was a 4-day week but felt long. I love my job but I'm exhausted. Tonight I put the left-overs from dinner in bowls and then put them back in the plate cupboard.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Loving the Audio Books & Henrietta

I have become a huge fan of audio books.  Since I spend time in my car every day I thought I'd give them a whirl and started getting them from the library.

I started off with Michael Pollan's Second Nature and then The Omnivore's Dilemma. Both are non-fiction. The first is about the history of gardening in America and the second is about American food and where it comes from. Both were fascinating to me as a plant nerd but not sure if my non-nerdy friends would like them. The second one was also somewhat disturbing and talked about processed foods and cattle feed lots and all the terrible stuff you suspect but would rather not know about food production. I can tell you one thing, since I finished the book I ate local grown chicken and it's a million miles different to the bleached, antibiotic-pumped white rubbery crap they sell in supermarkets. It tasted like the chicken I remember from Sunday roasts as a kid! Now Mr. Pollan is a bit of a rogue, a bit of an activist and gets a bit carried away (his science isn't very good sometimes) but they were certainly worth listening to.

My newest one is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. When it first came out and went to the top of the NYT book charts I avoided it because it sounded a bit "heavy" for me, even though I love non-fiction. That's why I thought an audio book might fit me better.
It's a fantastic book! Can't recommend it highly enough. I'm 2 disks in to an 8-disk audio and I sat outside the house for 10 minutes tonight because I didn't want to leave the car. What a story!

So I have two things to relay from the book so far.

First the intro;  medical scientists had been trying for years to get human cells to live and divide and continue (the immortal cell) outside of the human body, so that they could test those cells with vaccines and other medical breakthroughs. All cells died within a short time, but not Henrietta's. So all HeLa cells (named after the first two letters of each of her names) are derived from her. There are currently trillions of her cells around the world,  used for all kinds of medical research. Her cells helped develop the polio vaccine and find treatments for AIDS and cancer. Her cells are the most important cells in the world. Here's the thing - she never gave permission for her cells to be taken and her family never know that HeLa cells derived from her even existed for many years.

The second story is that Henrietta had cervical cancer and I was horrified by the treatments back in 1951. They put radon rods inside her for two days and then gave her a month of radiation, all the while putting lead strips inside her to stop her colon being injured by the rays. Radon and lead? Blimey. Makes you wonder what they will say in 50 years about our current medical practices.

So there you are. If any of you like a good story but don't like to sit and read, maybe an audio book will work better for you. And I definitely recommend this one.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sock Monkeys!

My friend Sue in England makes amazing sock monkeys. She also knits and does lots of other craft stuff and she plays lots of musical instruments and she's a fabulous singer. She just had that creative gene.  It's amazing to watch, especially when she sings, which she doesn't do too much since she's got kids. 
She was kind enough recently to share her sock monkey making skills with me because I wanted to make them for a craft show at Jack's school. She made me use my sewing machine, that I have had for 5 years and never used (I did learn to sew many years ago at high school but 80% of that is gone). So anyway, I made 7 sock monkeys for the craft show. I sold 4 and gave 3 away to close friends. The early ones were not good and I kept them at home.  Here they are: Camo Tommy, Tutu Tallulah, Pirate Sam, American Sam, Stripey, English George and Spotty....

My very first one during construction  - Now at home with Daniel
Since the auction I've made two for friends for free. Both have daughters that want a tutu monkey.  I loved making them because they are great girls. If anyone else asks for their kid I'll say no  - unless I love your child of course (thinking Katy or Hannah) and then I'll say yes.

One for my friend: Tutu Monkey
I thought I might have an Etsy account or FB page but that would get on my nerves BIG TIME - people wanting me to respond and pestering me. Maybe I'll just make some and do the odd craft fair?
Whatever  I do I'm grateful to my friend Sue for giving me a little craft that I can do. Now I don't feel like such a Neanderthal.

Monday, November 11, 2013

John Southern

I need to start off by wishing my step-mum Sheila a Happy Birthday!  We did try and call but there was no answer.

We had today off work for Veteran's Day. We had planned to do house work and yard work but I got up at 10.45am (gulp, yes really!) and then Craig went back to bed this afternoon. So between us we didn't get much accomplished. We hardly ever do things like that but we were both exhausted, so I'm not going to feel guilty about it.

I did take Danny to a play cafe for a couple of hours. It was so nice to sit down with a coffee and not have to hover over him like all the other mums had to (they had babies and toddlers). I sat and watched him play, ever so gently with babies, and so nice with the other kids. I'm proud of him.

I have really enjoyed seeing pictures of friend's relatives on Facebook today. Many friends had grandparents or great-grandparents that were veterans. It was great to see my friend Lauren's handsome grandad, my best mate Sue's grandad with Winston Churchill (what a picture!), and a friend's grandad who fought in the American Civil War. It's so touching to see them all. I read a picture about a vet in Lytham in England who died and didn't have an relatives and hundreds of people, strangers, showed up to his funeral to pay their respects. That one had me crying like an old fool.

I found a lovely picture of my paternal Grandad in his WW2 uniform but not of my maternal Grandad (must try and get one from mum). I did find this picture though. His name is John Southern and he was the young brother of my great grandma Ada. He died in battle in Belgium during The Great War. He was only 20. The battle (3rd Battle of Ypres) was famous for it's poor leadership and awful weather conditions. The men and horses and military equipment were bogged down in waist high mud and their commanders sent them to their inevitable deaths. It's very sad. He's buried in Belgium. Maybe I'll make it one day. My mum is going next year and Craig's nephew Luke is too. 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Changing Rooms

Last night I deleted the post about my ghost-hunt on Friday by mistake. I'm so fed-up about that because I wanted it documented. So don't be surprised if you see it pop up again re-written and back dated.

Today we were super productive. We sold the loft bed and thank God we did. We hated it! Ever try changing a fitted sheet on a loft bed? Let me enlighten you - you have to climb the ladder and get on the bed and then try to change it while you are sitting on the bed. Ever try to put a sheet on a mattress you're sitting on? Nightmare. As you can imagine I swore a lot!   And I didn't like that I couldn't sit and read Jack a story and the thing was so big it was obnoxious. Yeah we hated it. Good riddance loft bed.

So we now have a twin bed for Jack. Our neighbours Dave & Pam gave us matching twin beds a couple of weeks ago and we went and bought 2 mattress sets today. We need rails for Danny's yet, but here's the new room set-up, complete with the art work I bought at Jack's school last weekend:

I also re-did our room. Previously we had a flowery green theme, but now it's all Brit. I like it a lot. I think it's safe to assume that I'm homesick and need to go home soon.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Thankful Stuff

Today's earlier post is gone. Must have deleted it by accident. oops.

Well I got half of my to-do list done: Craft show & BD Party. Tried to have a nap when I got back at 3 PM but  the kids were too hyper. I had a conversation with a friend tonight who feels like she has no "hope" right now. Thing is, she has an awesome family. So even though we all feel a tad fed-up sometimes we need to keep things in perspective.
I'm: Happy. Tired. Feeling Fat. Suffering PMS. Grateful. Dry. Poor. and Loved
When I look at that list then I think life is good, Because I think the number one thing for a happy life is friends & family.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

A Happy Halloween

I think that Halloween is fast becoming one of my favourite holidays. We started on the 19th of October and celebrated it for two weeks. Here's some of the events and pictures from it:

Danny's Pre-school Parade

"Trunk or Treat" at Jack's School

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat

Werewolf Craig with our Trunk

Jack & friend in our Trunk
A Trip to Pigeon Roost Farm

Party: Shaun & The Girl in the Garden

Trick or Treat Night  - The Grim Reaper and Grumpy Ninja (what a  picture!)

Zombie Jack

3 Month Catch-up

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