Wednesday, December 31, 2008

London Adventure End of 2008

Hey there everybody! Well, Brit Boy and I made it safely to and from London yesterday. This time there was no nail-biting coach trip…lol. We took the train this time. I love making the journey on the train. You get to see the countryside on the way, with all of the little houses that are hidden if you drive in on the highway. And also the train takes half the time so it is my favorite.

We headed out early. We got up at about 5:30am so that we would have time to get dressed, scrape the ice off the car, and get to the train station which is a few miles away. According to Brit Boy the train used to stop here in our little neck of the woods, but they by-pass us now. So we have to drive into town to catch the train. But it’s not too far :-) Anyway, we have been having some really wintery weather the last few days and yesterday was the coldest by far. So we scraped the car and headed for town in the dark. We were catching the 7:40ish train to give us enough time.

We got to town, parked the car and then walked around to the train station. We had pre-booked tickets, which cuts the price considerably. We sat in the waiting room for a few minutes with the other passengers and then our train arrived soon after. We whisked off to London as the morning light slowly grew. It was beautiful to see everything quiet and peaceful as we sped towards London in those early hours.

Our trip to London was so that I could drop by the US Embassy. I went so that I could get some advice about tax filing and stuff like that. It can all get a bit complicated, let me tell you :-) But they answered my questions and I was able to pick up some handy pamphlets before I left, so I’m all information-ed up ;-) This was my first visit to the embassy, so it was one of those things that I figure will go in my catalogue of life experiences. We figured that a visit on a semi-off week would be the best time to visit and we were right. I got in and out in less than forty minutes. I’m sure that it is a lot more hectic during non-holiday weeks, so I was so grateful that I didn’t have to stand in line and could ask loads of questions without holding up a line or anything. It was great. They were kind and very helpful to me. There were maybe eight other people there at the time and we all got our own person to speak with.

It was a very unintimidating experience and it just felt like any other government office here or back home…I’ve been to both and it is the great unifier that they are so alike :-) I had to go in alone, since only the person seeking assistance comes in, which we found out ahead of time. I didn’t have any nerves about going in on my own. I just wanted to get it over with so that we could go do other stuff. I’ve had to deal with so much stuff like this in the last few years that now it’s nearly normal to me to do my grand tour of the government buildings on both sides of the pond :-) So Brit Boy went to have coffee and hang out while I was inside the embassy.

Here’s where our comedy life comes in…there’s always a sequence like this in our lives. LOL. I wasn’t allowed to take in any electronic devices so I didn’t have my cell phone which made it hard to contact Brit Boy and tell him to come meet me on my walk back. So we decided to synchronize our watches and check back at our meeting spot every half hour. Our spot was between two telephone boxes, one black and one the customary red, on Park Lane which runs alongside Hyde Park.

So Brit Boy walked me to the embassy and then I went in and got all sorted out. When I came back out, I glanced at my watch, and I realized that it was about seven minutes until ten. So I trotted along down the sidewalk trying to get back to our meeting spot by ten. I thought, how good that would be to make our rendezvous the first time and not have to wait a whole other half hour. Let’s just say, I had a nice morning run and the air was like ice as I ran that two or three blocks with my purse bouncing. LOL. I made it back to Park Lane and kept up my little morning run. My cheeks felt like they had ice as their new skin. LOL. As I got about half way down the street I saw Brit Boy in the distance. I was too far away to yell and the traffic was so noisy he wouldn’t have heard me. Then he turned and headed back the other way. I thought, “Noooo!!!” LOL. So by the time I made it to the corner he was already down the block and headed across the street at a quick pace. It was a cold day so everyone was hustling along. Then he disappeared in the crowd. By this time I gave up my run and thought, ‘I’ll catch him on the next time around.’ And I just laughed to myself. It was like a movie or something :-)

So I headed to get a cup of coffee and to take a trip to the ladies’ room. It was so nice to thaw out my cheeks. And the warm latte went down my throat like a river of warm life replenishing me. Heaven :-) I sat at the window and looked out. I felt good at that moment. The chill had left my cheeks and I was rejoicing because I didn’t get out of breath really during the whole run and I don’t exercise nearly enough. So I figured that hey, that was pretty good. Also I felt good because since I’ve been living here, I don’t feel as independent because I’m learning my way here. But yesterday was the first time in a long time where I felt, ‘hey you’ve got this Dori’. It’s very easy to become very dependent on your spouse when you are the one away from what you know. London is a huge city and it can be kind of daunting to someone who was new to it like me. But we’ve been many times now and I’m to the point where if I ever got dropped there while blindfolded and then released, I could find my way around the city pretty much and get myself back home all the way out here to Wiltshire. So this was a turning point for me in my mind. This was when I realized that the independent person that I always was is still in there :-) What a great thing to realize as we head into a new year. Full steam ahead! :-)

I finished slurping down my coffee and then headed back to our meeting spot. Then in a few minutes, there he was :-) And I thought to myself, he came back and found me as I found myself again.

We headed off to the rest of our day. We went to have a bite to eat and went to the National Gallery. Before we went in though, we stood and watched some high school marching bands that were playing outside the museum. There were several taking turns playing. They were dressed up in their full uniforms and it brought back such fond memories for me. I was a marching band girl back in the 80s :-) They did a great job. I don’t know what was going on, but how cool is that to be a high school student who gets to go abroad and play.

Later we headed to Leicester Square and walked around. Then we ate again since we had walked the other food off hours earlier. We went to this place that specializes in fish dishes. It was really good. We both had crab cakes. It was so nice to get in from the cold.

We walked around and popped into places here and there and then headed to the tube station so that we could head to Paddington Station to catch our train home. Well, I got tested on my newfound comfort with the city. Brit Boy and I made it to the platform just as the train was about to head away and usually we jump on…no problem. Well, it was another one of our comedy moments. I was right with him, but all of a sudden a space came out of nowhere and he had hopped on and the door of the train closed :-) It was weird. So he mouthed, “I’ll wait for you”. And his little tube train sped away. I just shook my head and laughed. What an eventful day. So I hopped the next train and met him a couple of stations away. Thankfully the trains are close together.

It was cool. It just all seemed rather cinematic…two people…separated by the sliding doors of the tube…will they meet again in time….LOL. Classic Dori and Brit Boy! We reunited and headed to Paddington and waited for our train home to come. It was FREEZING!!!

Yesterday was a cold day and the night was even colder, but we huddled up with a warm drink and people watched. I love people watching at Paddington. A perfect winter evening.

When we got back to our car. It was frozen over with a thick layer of ice and it was only about 7:30pm. We scraped the ice off the outside and then scraped it from the inside of the window and it refroze. Now that’s cold!!! LOL. Then the defrost kicked in and we headed home…happy to see our little house and to know that there was a warm drink and a snack inside. It was an eventful and fun winter’s day and a great way to end the year! Happy New Year everyone! Many blessings to you all!!! :-)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Hello

Hi everyone! I just wanted to check in and say hello. I have been hanging out with Brit Boy these past few days and enjoying having no school or work on either of our plates. We have been making the most of it while we can before the new year begins and things get back to normal :-) Thanks for all of the comments on my last post and I will be commenting back. I’m just a bit behind.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a wonderful blessed New Year in 2009! I will be back in the blogging seat in a few days and back to my Entrecard dropping too.

We are headed up to London tomorrow for the day. I have an appointment to go to and then we are going to hang out. It’s too bad that our trip up isn’t a day later so we can be there for New Year’s Eve, but these things can’t be helped :-) I hope that we get a chance to experience that maybe next year or one of these days. Anyway, it should be fun.

Have a great day and a Happy New Year my friends! :-)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Countdown Continues

Our countdown to Christmas continues… We ended up not going to Salisbury Cathedral for the carol service this year. We had planned on going, but in the past few days we have been having plumbing problems and we were waiting around for the plumber to let us know when he was coming. It was kind of up in the air. Also, Brit Boy was finishing up his studying, and that was most important for him to finish, so it was a nice weekend around home.

Our shower has been working and then not working. We get scalded one moment and then we freeze the next and it is just all messed up. Sometimes it decides to be merely a trickle, so it's time they finally authorized a repair. We have had a leak also. It’s been really fun ;-) Thankfully the plumber is going to pay us a visit today. Woo Hoo!!!!! That’s our Christmas present for sure :-)

Since we couldn’t venture too far away, we ended up just chilling out around home. Periodically, Brit Boy took breaks from his studying and we watched Christmas movies or watched music videos on television while we danced around. We enjoyed those study breaks! We love to do our freestyle dancing and then we dance together all elegant…it’s funny. Then I do my Beyonce dance :-)

Later in the afternoon on Monday, Brit Boy finished his final paper and turned it in. And as a bonus, we got our call from the plumber soon after so the day turned out good in the end. We were free to head out. We went into town to pick up some ingredients for my baking and for our Christmas Eve nibbles. We fully expected the crowd that met us, but it was wild in there!!!! :-) We bought my baking ingredients, and some cheese and dips and veggies for our Christmas Eve hanging out. Then I saw them and I was in love ……







These cute little journals/notebooks are my new favorite thing. Usually I always take a detour to the stationery aisles wherever I am. I love pens and journals and notebooks…gotta do the writing thing :-) But I haven’t hit pay dirt like this in a long time. These lovely little books are made of recycled materials, so that’s very good. I just love that the outside and inside are very organic-looking with a bit of flower power on the outside :-) The lady at the checkout was oohing and ahhing over them too, so I wasn’t alone in my love. The best part is that they were on sale. I got two of these mid-size books for £1.75!!!! So a deal on top of everything . Yay!!!! Okay, enough of this notebook swooning! :)

When we got home, I figured that I should go ahead and do the baking so I wouldn’t be rushed. But mostly though, we were just greedy and ready to eat. LOL. I decided to bake us a batch of red velvet cupcakes like I did back in the spring, but with these I sprinkled them a bit to add a festive flair.





We stuffed our faces with a couple after they cooled off and I iced them :-) And then today, we have had one…they seem to get better, like most things after they get a chance to sit. So we are happy people right now with cake in the house :-)

Oh, an update on our shower problems. The plumbers arrived as I was writing this. They just left and they said that we need a new shower. They patched up the leak, so that’s good. I guess that after Christmas when they get the order in, we will get fixed up. So it’s very dodgy showers for a bit longer :-) It's all good though. No sense in sweating it. Hopefully Santa will bring us a new shower for after Christmas.

Anyway, we plan to enjoy a quiet Christmas Eve tomorrow with a few drinks, some finger foods, and cake…what could be better! :-) Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Around the Yellow House

As we are drawing closer to Christmas (it’s eight days away, can you believe it?), I decided to share a bit of what the Christmas vibe around our house is like in the decorations department.

We sort of throw tinsel or garland or ribbon on most things because we get kind of drunk with excitement :-) So my first photo is of our lucky bamboo plant. It never had a chance to escape…so now it is draped with ribbons for the next few days.




This happened during a gift wrapping session ;-)

Next we have “The Christmas Kids”, yet another set of mascots, like Trevor, except they only come out at Christmas. We named them that because we couldn't think of anything else to call them when we bought them a couple of years ago. We have Santa, who is a bit off to the side in this photo, and a reindeer, a happy little penguin, the snowman, and a perky Christmas tree. Fun bunch, huh? :-) The best part is that they sort of dance around…well they sway mostly, but it’s fun when they do it in a line like they’re in a musical or something. Here they are:




The other day, Brit Boy and I were in town and we saw that they had poinsettias. They had big ones and they had tiny single ones. We opted for the tiny one in a tiny gold pot. I love the deep red of it.




And last, but not least, we have our little Christmas tree. It’s an artificial one. It’s kinda sparse in some spots, but it’s still cute and does the trick to set the mood.




So this is just a taste of what our house looks like at Christmas. Merry Christmas from me, Brit Boy, and our various mascots :-) Also I want to wish everyone all the best whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday during this time :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow in the Countryside

I wanted to share some photos that I took on Thursday on the way to Salisbury. Brit Boy and I were heading down there for a meeting. As I wrote about on Wednesday, we have been having some very frosty mornings. So when we headed out on Thursday morning, it was icy again. As we drove further out into the countryside towards Salisbury, we saw that it had snowed a tiny bit. We had heard on the radio that some areas got snow, but we didn’t. So it was a wonderful sight to see the dusting of snow across the fields. I just love being out where I can see the land and enjoy the beauty of nature.

All of these photos were taken from the car, so they have a cool blurry quality. I like to see how they will come out, so I just snap away as Brit Boy drives along. I love having a chance to share some of them with you all.

The first one is of a lone black bird sitting in the middle of the snowy field. I love the contrast :-)




This next one is the view across a field. On either side of the road, there’s a wonderful panoramic view.



I love this spot. You drive down the hill and off to the left there’s a drop off into a valley.




Here’s a view of Salisbury Cathedral’s spire in the distance as we drove into Salisbury. This spire is the tallest one in the United Kingdom. It is a beautiful building and is a beautiful sanctuary.



On our way back from Salisbury, I took a couple of more photos of the surroundings. By then, the thin layer of snow had melted. We came back through Avebury. Here is a line of some of the huge stones. It is reminiscent of Stonehenge, but these at Avebury are more spread out.



This last photo is of one of the larger stones that is placed very close to the road. It almost looks as if we are headed right for it, but we weren’t. It just came out weird like that. I saw the stone coming and I turned around in my seat a bit and just kind of snapped it as we passed by. I didn't know if I would get it or not.




It was a fun ride! :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

We Saw "The Secret Life of Bees"

Last night, Brit Boy and I went to the movies. The movie “The Secret Life of Bees” was finally released here in the UK, so we decided to go check it out. We loved it so much. The acting in this movie was superb. It was a beautifully down-to-earth movie and was just great because it kept reminding me of the house and surroundings that I grew up in. It reminded me of home. The movie was set in 1964 during turbulent times in America. And even though the movie was set in a time before I was born, it still evoked memories of my roots and for me, it showed the triumph of the human spirit.

The house in the movie wasn’t exactly like ours, but the characters sitting on the porch reminded me so much of how I grew up. Afterwards, Brit Boy even remarked that the porch had reminded him of sitting on the porch back home. It was funny…during the movie I kept thinking, "we had that piece of furniture and that one", as they showed the inside of the house. Then when Brit Boy and I were talking about the movie afterwards he said he thought the same thing about the house. It was like looking at a part of my own ancestry through that fictional house and the things inside of it.

I’ve read a few very arrogant, and condescending reviews of this film, but here’s the thing…the critics like what they like and I like what I like and then I go and see what I want and Brit Boy and I never go by what the critics say anyway. Everything isn’t everybody’s cup of tea and that’s fine. But that’s no reason to look down on it and be paid by some newspaper to call it a dreary “chick flick”. Whatever……

Some have said it’s a fairy tale because it was set during the time of the Civil Rights Movement and yet it comes off unrealistic. Well, the way I see it is that it showed some of the brutality of the time and a lot of us know the story of what that time was like. And for those who don’t know, there are many ways to find out. Every single thing didn’t have to happen in this one movie. I think that the story showed the perseverance of people during that time in our history, who were beat down like the character Rosaleen, and still got back up and did what they had to do, and in her case, she registered to vote. This movie was about relationships. These three sisters and Rosaleen were there to mother this 14 year old girl and to guide her to maturity. The story in this movie was told in a whisper, not with an iron fist. It nudged us along to see things clearer and sometimes that is a good way to get a message.

And at the end of the day, I don’t see anything wrong with a movie showing the beauty of life, even in the midst of hard times. The bond between the Boatwright sisters and what they shared with those who came to join them, is what holds the world together…and that is people caring for each other in simple everyday ways. This movie was so beautifully shot and the story was so life-affirming that I can’t stop thinking about it. I think that it was a beautiful walk down memory lane for me and I’m glad I took that walk.

I thought that it was nice just to see a movie that made me feel good…that made me possibly remember parts of myself and showed me that there is one thing that we can “choose” to always have no matter what and that is hope.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Is Here

Winter is definitely here now, even though the official date on the calendar hasn’t arrived yet. This morning we woke up to a frosty world outside. The grass had a layer of frost over it and the trees and bushes were iced up also. Here’s a photo of a bush at the edge of our yard. The spider web was frosted over. It looks kinda cool.



Now most of the frost has melted and the sun is shining. As the frost melted off of the fence out back earlier, there was steam rising up from it, like the fence was on fire. Nature is an amazing thing.

Another by-product of winter, and a sign to me that winter has checked in, is the effect on my hands. For the last couple of years, my sensitive little Georgia skin ;-) has been trying to get used to the colder weather here and I think that the cold has been winning the battle :-) But bit by bit, I’m acclimatizing to the much colder weather, but it is taking me a while :-)

I’m gonna share a photo here that shows what my hands are looking like today. I hit a definite point last night when the skin on one of my fingers split open while I was just sitting here watching television and it bled on my shirt. Eek!!! :-) My hands are so raw and sore right now. I have got to start on an intensive hand care treatment pronto.




As you can see, my hands look parched and a bit scary. I decided to put on one of my rings to save you all from the full brunt of my prickliness. LOL. My wannabee fashionista inside decided to spruce up the photo a bit to spare you. LOL.

My hands don’t usually look this way. I usually moisturize, but now I’m gonna have to ramp it up big time. Wish me luck… :-) Hello Winter!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Holiday Awards Day

I have another collection of awards to highlight today. I’m a couple of weeks late with these, so to all of those who awarded me, I’m sorry for the delay. I’m finally getting caught up. Better late than never though…right ;-) To all of you, thank you very much for thinking of me and awarding me with these. These were all awarded to me right before or around Thanksgiving, so they came at a wonderful time. It’s always good to know that there are others out there who support you in what you love to do :-) All of these ladies have great blogs, so I urge you to go by and check them out. I find in reading their blogs, and so many others, that there is a universal commonality that we all share with each other. And those ways in which we are different simply keep life interesting.

The first award, The Rock Star Award, comes from April at My Life as a Mother and Single Parent



The next four were awarded to me by Anne at Small Town Mommy





Here's some linky love to Maternal Spark who created the Sparky Blogger Award.

And the next three were awarded to me by Queenmadison at Queenmadison’s World





And the final two were awarded to me by Jodi at Jodi’s Journey




All of these awards are wonderful and varied and I love them all individually. It is so hard to decide who to pass them all on to, because I read and love so many blogs. So in an effort to be inclusive and to share the fun with all of those who support me, I will be passing all of these cool awards on to my followers, readers, and commenters. I hope that none of the givers will mind. Why not…after all, this is the season of giving :-)

Enjoy!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Another London Concert Night

Brit Boy and I had another trip into London on Wednesday for our only true addiction….going to concerts. LOL. We went to see Simply Red. They are going to disband sometime next year, after 25 years by that point, so we just had to go and see them do their thing. The lead singer Mick Hucknall, will still record as a solo artist.

We got home Thursday at about 2:30am, so I spent yesterday chilling and we got some rest and relived it in our heads. Now I can share what happened. It’s always thrilling to get a chance to go into London and going to a concert makes it even more fun.

On Wednesday, Brit Boy worked a half day and then he came home around noon. We had a bit of lunch, watched a bit of TV, and then we got all suited up to go out into the cold on the way to a hot time in the city :-) It has been very cold here lately, but then it’s winter isn’t it. Anyway, we took our faithful old coach/bus ride into London. There’s a company that runs trips to London and mostly everywhere around Britain that we usually take. You can either buy your own tickets and then just catch a ride to and from the concert with them or you can get a package deal and they get the tickets and give you the ride. We have done both things, but this time, we took the second option and got our tickets from the coach company. The perk with this is that they usually get you pretty good seats to the concerts. It’s a win win situation.

So we headed into town and parked our car and headed to our pickup point for the coach. When you get to the coach and check in, they give you an envelope with your tickets inside and you hop aboard. This time we got a seat right at the front, so we had full view of where we were headed. This was both thrilling and a bit terrifying. It was really cool to be able to see everything and to feel almost like we were being hurled through the air. The big window was all that was in front of us so it felt almost like flying and this was fun. But it also got a bit hairy at times because our coach driver had a lead foot and tailgated and switch lanes a bit wildly :-) Brit Boy and I both thought a couple of times that we might just be thrown right out of that big, lovely window in front of us and onto the motorway/freeway as the coach driver slammed on the brakes many times. Eeeek!!! Let’s just say, our hearts were in our mouths for about 60% of the trip :-) We survived and felt like kissing the ground when we stepped off the coach. LOL.

On a calmer note, when I peeled my eyes away from what was happening ahead of us, I would glance out the side window and the view was wonderful. You can see so much from that high up. I’ve traveled that road many times to London, but from this vantage point, it was like seeing parts of it for the first time. I saw streams that were hidden in the woods and beautiful country houses that I didn’t know were there.

When we were almost there, the coach stopped for a bathroom and refreshment break at a rest stop. We were given about thirty minutes. Brit Boy and I went and had a cup of coffee. I had a coffee that was chocolate cookie flavored. It was really tasty. Brit Boy had a regular cappuccino. We stopped at this same rest stop on a trip before, and had fun playing with the various carnival-esque machines there. This time we didn’t bother. The machines are right near the entrance and the freezing air was whooshing in each time the doors opened. The time before, it was summer so it was lots of fun, and there were no icicles hanging off of us :-) The time passed quickly and we were all back onto the coach to finish the journey.

About thirty minutes later, we arrived at the O2. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a cool venue. It is on the Greenwich Peninsula and sits right on the edge of the River Thames. It was formerly known as the Millenium Dome. It sits there beautifully with the lights of Canary Wharf in the background. London is a fun spot at night. It has a groovy vibe.

Brit Boy and I walked along with a spring in our step…we were heading to our favorite thing…music!!!! :-) As we walked along the walkway to the complex, we noticed that they had a small Christmas market. Here’s a photo of the little castle they had set up.



On from that, they had a few stalls set up. We didn’t really linger for very long because it was an icy cold night and the breeze off the river was positively bone chilling. I knew that it was cold because Brit Boy, who is usually always hot, was running towards the building to get away from the cold (smile). Now that’s cold!!! So we scampered on inside.

The O2 was decked out for Christmas. One of my favorite things is the huge light fixture that hangs in the entry area. It is usually white or blue, but this time it had a colorful strobe going on. We walked around the outer ring of the arena, where all of the restaurants and clubs are…great people watching. Everything was even more sparkly than usual with all of the holiday cheer being spread around. They had a snowboarding/sledding area set up and kids from 8 to 80 were having a go at it. I would have loved to, but the line was long. Here’s a photo though with the little chalet to the side. The photo is kinda blurry, but you can get the idea. Brit Boy and I took the photos on his cell phone and it was kind of chilly still, so our hands were shaking a bit. LOL.




They also had special ornamental lights hung around the place. Here’s a pretty sparkly one.




And they were projecting snowflakes onto the roof and it created a great wintry atmosphere. Here’s a look.




Soon it was time to go in for the concert. It was AMAZING!!! I have always liked their music and I always thought that Mick Hucknall had a lovely set of pipes, but I was simply blown away…Brit Boy was too. Wow! You can definitely tell that this group has a powerful connection and a history because they know just how to put out the best performances and take you along for the ride. The musicians are true pros and the backup singers are amazing! They are all so good that it makes the performance seem effortless. But then I guess that that is what truly talented people do :-) And Mick Hucknall….he has a soulful voice that can just send absolute chills down your spine because he is so good, as many of you already know. Dang…he can REALLY SING!!! :-) The song they opened with was “It’s Only Love”…great song! I tell you, I always loved their sound and I always loved Mick’s voice, but seeing them live and hearing his truly divine voice in person is just an experience that I won’t ever forget. The recordings don’t do his voice justice. And I think that he might have had a slight cold, because he coughed once between the songs, but that was that. I guess with a voice like that, not much can shut you down :-)

They performed all of their hits and we loved it, including our favorite, “Holding Back the Years”. It brought tears to my eyes because his voice just soared to the heavens and as I’ve gone through my life, the words of that song just hit me deep. The part of the lyrics where he sings “I’ve wasted all my tears…wasted all those years”, it just means more to me as I go through my life. It makes me think that time waits for no one and sometimes you just have to let go and make room in your heart and you don’t want to look back at the end and see that all you did was mourn and regret your life away. This song helped me a lot when my mom passed away. In the beginning it made me cry of course, but as time went on, it became a salve of sorts and it made me see the greater picture of my life and the broad span of my mom’s life too and her legacy. The great restorative power of music has always been a comfort to me.

Near the middle of the show, Mick sang “You Make Me Feel Brand New” which was originally done by The Stylistics. Mick hit this one out of the park! The range of his voice is amazing and the raw emotion and passion that he puts into each note just sends you soaring with him. Here’s a video I found of him singing this song in concert. This is great, but I think he sang it even better when we saw him at the O2 :-)



The concert was great. Simply Red will be on tour into 2009, so if they come to your town or nearby, I hope you can catch this group before they disband. It’s all just true talent from top to bottom. You will find yourself singing along with every song. There was a great celebratory vibe and they are amazing! :-)

After the concert, we headed back to the coach and strapped ourselves in for the “adventurous” ride home ;-) Let’s just say, thankfully it was dark, so we couldn’t see enough to be scared. LOL. But we survived the trip thankfully and it was worth it in the end because we had a great night! The coach driver took the scenic route through Central London so we got a nice ride through the city, all decked out in its Christmas finery. What a cool night in more ways than one!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

I mentioned yesterday that Brit Boy and I had a nice laid back weekend. Thanksgiving was great and the food turned out great. The menu included: turkey and dressing (or stuffing depending I guess upon where you grew up) :-) , macaroni & cheese, braised brussel sprouts, and mashed potatoes with cream cheese and chives. For dessert, we finished it off with sweet potato pie. Our robot mascot Trevor was most interested in the pie. Here’s a photo of him getting ready to dive in.




I would have posted a photo of Trevor after he dived in, but take it from me, it wasn’t pretty. LOL. But all in all, it was a nice Thanksgiving. The food was great, but we also paused to think of what we are grateful for. That is what I love about Thanksgiving…it’s being with the ones you love and being thankful for all of your blessings. Brit Boy and I don’t have a lot of money, but not many people do these days. However, as far as we’re concerned, we have everything :) We have a roof over our head and we have enough and that indeed is a blessing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Movie Sunday

I just wanted to drop in and say hello. I've been taking it easy and enjoying the weekend. On Thursday, we had our Thanksgiving dinner and it turned out really great. I surprised myself...everything turned out really great, like someone else had cooked it. LOL. I will share a bit more about this later in the week. On Friday, even though it isn't called Black Friday over here, we did go out and finished all of our Christmas shopping. We missed most of the crowds since most people were not off work. Brit Boy took the day off. There were lots of sales going on, so we got some good deals on some modest gifts. A sign of the times, but it was really nice and simple...the way I like it :-)

Today, Brit Boy is downstairs watching his sports and I'm upstairs watching one of my favorite films.... "Tootsie". I love it because it is definitely of a certain time period and it once again takes me down nostalgia alley just like "last weekend". I guess it's a phase. The end of the year always gets me nostalgic. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do on Sunday was to watch movies...the more retro the better :)

Brit Boy and I have already had leftovers from Thanksgiving to eat for early dinner. So I'm free of cooking today. Woo Hoo! LOL. After I finish watching "Tootsie", I may watch a DVD or something. I really love Sundays. Have a great rest of the weekend! :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Sweet Goodie

A few days ago, I received this sweet little goodie of an award from my bloggy friend Mike at Rambling Stuff. It's called Simply the Best and I'm touched that Mike gave this to me. I would definitely like to send it right back to him because without fail, Mike is always simply the best :-) So thank you Mike for being my friend and for always making my blogging day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Weekend Down Memory Lane

Today, this post will be a bit of a hodgepodge of things about my weekend like I used to write. I haven’t done this in a while. My weekend has been rather meandering, so this post will be too (smile).

Well, they forecasted snow for most of the country today, but we just missed it. They showed some really pretty photos on the news earlier of the places that did get snow. So today we are snowless, but it’s cold.

To rewind a bit, on Friday, I got the chance to go all nostalgic. There was a show on TV that night, about hit makers from 1983. First of all, it was a trip to realize how long ago that year actually was. (smile) This show really took me back to being a teen and my love for some of the British acts of the day. There were a lot of British acts doing well in the States in the 80s, so Brit Boy and I have that shared bit of musical history even though we grew up 4,000 miles apart. They highlighted a lot of acts, but a few of my favorites from the show were Spandau Ballet who sang “True”, which is just simply a classic and instantly takes me back to being a teen in the 80s. Years later, this song was sampled by PM Dawn for their song "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" and Tony Hadley, the lead singer from Spandau appeared with them in the video. On the show the other night, Tony Hadley performed the song on his own. I found out a while back that one of the other guys in the group, Gary Kemp, wrote the song. He was featured on this other show where they had songwriters tell stories of how they came up with past hits. He wrote a great song in my humble opinion. (smile) Here's a taste of "True" for your listening pleasure. This video is a bit out of synch, and I couldn't find a better one, but the music is still great. Check out the 80s clothes...fabulous! (smile)



And here's PM Dawn's song with Tony Hadley near the end of the video...this takes me back to the 90s....loved the 90s too! (smile)



My other favorite from the show was the reuniting of Kajagoogoo who had the hit "Too Shy". This was a smooth song too. The opening fade in of this song is so smooth and the bass is just hot. Love it! I guess you can tell I love my 80s. (wink) I loved being a teen back then. The lead singer Limahl had interesting hair back then and he still has cool hair now(smile). The band hadn't played for over two decades together on TV here so it was great to see them all.

Here's a clip of "Too Shy".



Both Limahl and Tony Hadley look pretty much the same and they both still sound great.

On Saturday, we went into town and I mailed my ballot for the Senatorial run-off in Georgia. When my county back home sent my main ballot, they also sent me one to use in case of a run-off. So I filled that out and got it mailed off. We also got some Christmas shopping done. A lot of the stores were having big sales so we jumped on that and got a few gifts.

Later, we were sitting around watching TV and discussing where were we going to go around Christmastime. Last year, we went to Salisbury Cathedral for their Christmas Carol Service and that was wonderful. It really highlighted the Christmas spirit. The choir sang a cappella and their voices rang out around the sanctuary. It was a beautifully unique experience. This cathedral is just gorgeous. Here’s a photo.




We are trying to see if they have anything at Bath Abbey, but so far we haven’t found that they do something similar, so we might end up going back to Salisbury. Bath Abbey and indeed the whole city of Bath are just absolute jewels. This city is one of the most beautiful places in the world to me and it's where Brit Boy went to university. Here’s a photo of the Abbey.




Today, I am still in that old school music mood from Friday, so I have been playing some music from back in the day while I flip through my recipes for Thanksgiving. Gotta get those sweet potato pies done in the next day or so (smile) So I went down a musical memory lane and have been listening to The Jones Girls...I've always loved this song. My older sister used to play this song a lot.



I've also been listening to Evelyn Champagne King, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Shalamar, and Hall & Oates, and a lot of other stuff from before I was born to my childhood, to my teen years and onward. It was a good ride (smile)

It’s been a good meandering weekend. Now onward to Thanksgiving…my FAVORITE Holiday! Trevor has decided that he is gonna camp out on the table all week so he won’t lose his place for dinner on Thursday. He loves his food.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've Been Tagged!!!

I’ve been tagged by Lisa at Serah’s Soap Blog. She makes various soaps and her creations are fabulous. Her cupcake soaps look so good sometimes that I just want to eat them (smile) Please stop by her site and check out all of her wonderful items. Lisa did a very creative seven things list using cartoon characters…she is creative all over the place (smile)




This is my second time being tagged so I had to dig a bit more in the drawer of my life to come up with seven more things. Here I go once more with my seven random things about myself.

#1 – Whenever I get a drink at a fast food place, I get the heebie jeebies if I don’t wrap a napkin around the cup. I can’t STAND the feeling of the wet cup on my hand. If I don’t have a napkin or paper towel to wrap around it, I will use my sleeve if I have on long sleeves. I don’t know what it is, it just drives me crazy :)

#2 – Back in March, I had a chance to talk to a researcher from the Oprah Winfrey Show about a feature that they were doing with some of us who were reading “A New Earth” along with the webcasts. The researcher asked me questions about my experience in reading the book. Then she told me that they would get back to me if they wanted to use me. Well, they never called back, but my “almost but not quite cheerleader” within me was thrilled. LOL. I was just grateful to be considered.

#3 – I’ve met a few celebrities in my life. In the mid 80s, I met Dionne Warwick and got her autograph. She had a perfume out at the time and she was at a department store signing autographs. It was my mom’s birthday, so I thought this would be a good gift for her. So I spoke to Ms. Warwick and then she signed the box of perfume for my mom. Also, I have met two members of the group Hootie & the Blowfish back in 2000. I met the lead singer Darius and the guitarist Mark. They were cool. I met them after a concert that I attended with two of my nieces. I have nieces and nephews who are not that much younger than me, so we would hang out occasionally. And going a bit further back to 1995, I actually spoke to Darius on the phone when he was at a radio station in Atlanta. So it was a full circle moment when I finally got a chance to meet him face to face (smile) I was a big fan back in those good old days.

#4 – I honeymooned on the island of Lanzarote, which is a part of the Canary Islands, with Brit Boy. The landscape is really unusual and scenes from “The Planet of the Apes” were filmed there. When I found this out I was excited. I loved all of those movies and the tv show. Here’s a photo of some of the landscape.




#5 – While we were in Lanzarote, I took a ride in a submarine….well a mini one and Brit Boy was there too. (smile) It was a weird sensation.

#6 – Also when we were in Lanzarote, we took a camel ride. I couldn’t believe how far it was to the ground. LOL. Brit Boy and I shared a ride. We traveled in a group and there was a camel attached to ours from the front and there was one attached to us from the back. We were riding along and all of a sudden I felt something rub my arm. I looked back and it was the camel behind us. They had a covering over his mouth so he couldn’t bite me, but he was intrigued by my arm and just kept rubbing his mouth and face on me the whole time. I guess he liked my scent. LOL. He was a cutie.

#7 – I used to be something of a spelling bee champ when I was a kid in the 70s. I even have a second place ribbon squirreled away in my keepsakes. I have second place because I guess I had an aversion to being number 1 back then. LOL. I used to act as if I were a boxer and I would “take a dive” and mess up on purpose. It was a kid thing. LOL. Sometimes I would win and sometimes I would let myself lose. It was just a game I played. Here’s the thing though, now it seems sometimes that my spelling is slipping a bit and I have to double-check myself. I usually just laugh and say to myself, “well ain’t karma a b*tch”…LOL.

Now I will tag seven others. To my picks, I hope that you will participate, but I fully understand if you can't. No pressure at all :) My tags are:

The Many Ramblings of Me
Crayon Writer
The Peacock’s Nesting Place
Just Me
Sassy Black Friend
Stay at Home Mom
Bella Casa - Beautiful Home

Thanks Lisa! :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Royal Birthday Alert

Hey, for all of you royal watchers out there, here's some news if you don't already know. Today is Prince Charles' 60th birthday. Woo Hoo! (smile) And in ode to his big birthday, here's a cute video that someone made of the Prince of Wales getting down back in the day!!!! Enjoy and happy birthday your Highness!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A New Earth Revisited

Several days ago, I was tagged by Bas at Istanbul Expat. This tagging has to do with books, which I LOVE!!! (smile) Love my books! Anyway, when he tagged me, I wasn’t reading anything which is kinda rare for me. I usually am reading something. Of course with me that can mean something that I have been reading for months because I have this habit of reading more than one book at a time and the reading gets strung out. I will have about two or three books going at once and then I’ll hop from one to the other and then revisit the previous one and I’m still able to pick up where I left off. I’ve always done this even when I was a kid. It may sound like my mind would be frazzled by this, but it works for me. Can’t explain it, but to each his own, right? It’s sort of one of those march to your own tune things and my tune comes in stereo. (smile) I have heard of other people doing this, so after that I was like, okay, so I’m not alone. LOL. Gotta love it! Do any of you do this?

Anyway, he tagged me during a rare dry spot. I was taking a breather. The rules state that you pick up the nearest book for this tag, but for once there wasn’t a pile near my bed, because I had cleared the decks. So I put this tag on the back burner for a while. Well, in the last few days I have started to re-read a favorite book of mine, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle because the time felt right. And I decided to take a chill pill and read just one book...a novelty ain't it? (wink) Then this morning, I looked at a note I had placed on the side table, right here next to the couch, it said, “Don’t forget the tag from Bas!” I said to myself, “Oh yeah, can’t forget,” and then I put the note back down. I turned to walk into the kitchen and kicked over a pile of books I had sitting on the floor next to the couch…my new “to read” pile. “A New Earth” singled itself out, so I took it as a sign.

The rules of this tag are:

1) Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
2) Open the book to page 123
3) Find the fifth complete sentence on the page
4) Post the next three sentences
5) Post a comment and tag five more people

So here it goes.

From “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

‘The ego doesn’t know that the more you include others, the more smoothly things flow and the more easily things come to you. When you give little or no help to others or put obstacles in their path, the universe---in the form of people and circumstances---gives little or no help to you because you have cut yourself off from the whole. The ego’s unconscious core feeling of “not enough” causes it to react to someone else’s success as if that success had taken something away from “me”.’

I read this book earlier this year, and it, along with other things helped me out of a dark spot I was going through. I read it along with the Oprah book club webcast seminars and it was great to have the author on the webcast there every week to help me go through it. I won’t lie, it was a tough read for me when I started it initially, because so much was crowding my mind at that time and I couldn’t comprehend no matter how hard I tried. And also it is just a lot to take in. The book’s words were fighting for space within my head and they were up against some pretty stubborn sad thoughts in there. But once I participated in the first webcast and had Mr. Tolle to lay the groundwork, the trickle out of the old stagnant thoughts started. Maybe just a drip in the beginning, but anything was a help at that point. And by synchronicity, the next day, or later that morning for me in the UK, I started my blog. It was my first “step out” since I came here to England. This was a baby step that started me in forward motion again. (smile)

As for the quote, I haven’t come to this point during my re-read yet, but I remember it standing out to me before. It reminded me of the importance of simply sharing the spotlight with others. And it reminds me so much of my friend Kim that I lost recently. She personified this. Fear robs us of so much in life and keeping everything all for ourselves does cut us off from the whole. You can call it the whole of humanity in a spiritual sense or the whole person that you and I are meant to be. It doesn’t cost me anything to help someone or cheer them on along their path, but it costs me dearly to not do it. It diminishes us I think.

This book has so much more to it and it challenges me and I like that. I imagine that I will refer to it time and time again during my life. I love it when a book stays with you like that.

As for passing this one on, I will just open it up to you my dear readers. Please feel free to take this tag if you would like to participate. Have fun!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Great New Awards

Today, I would like to finally acknowledge some great awards that I have received over the past couple of weeks. I’m a bit behind lately, so please forgive me my blogging pals who gave me these awards.

I received the “I Love Your Blog” award from Tahtimbo at Everyday Living . I’ve received this award before, but it never can get old to me. The greatest compliment is to do something that you enjoy and have other people really like it. So I’m thrilled. :-) Tahtimbo is a stay at home dad who writes a great slice of life blog. He also shares my interest in shows about ghosts :-) Please check him out.

Now I’d like to pass this award along to a few of my many favorites in the blogosphere. This is a hard choice because there are so many blogs that I love, but here goes. And I will mention here what I have read on other blogs….to those that I pass these awards along to, I understand that some may not be able to participate in passing these along. So no pressure :-) I just pass these awards along in the spirit in which they were given, to highlight some blogs that I thoroughly enjoy. So without further ado….here are my picks for the “I Love Your Blog” award:



Health Nut Wannabee Mom
My Life in Italy
The Many Ramblings of Me
Rambling Stuff
Grammology
Thinking Out Loud Blog
Just Me

The rules are that you link back to the person that gave you the award and then pass it along to seven of your favorite blogs. Also let them know that they have received the award.

Next, I received a cool award that I had never received before, called the “Butterfly Award” and I was lucky enough to receive it twice. I got this one from two great blogging friends, Mike at Rambling Stuffand Ivanhoe at Communiqué by Ivanhoe . Mike is so sweet because he initially gave this award out that day to a list of blogs that he loves, and then showing the big heart he has, he left me a comment to say that he wanted to give this to me too. What a great guy :-) Both Mike and Ivanhoe have great blogs that I love to visit and they always have something interesting to say. So please check both of them out…they are both very kind folks :)
Here are my picks for this award:




Confessions of a Fitness Diva
Writing to Survive
The World As I See It
Jewelry Rockstar
Regina’s Family Seasons
Fashiona
Small Town Mommy

The rules for this one are to link back to the person who gave it to you and then pick seven of your favorite blogs and let them know.

And last, but certainly not least, is this fab award I got from Heidi at Health Nut Wannabee Mom . Heidi is so sweet and I love her blog. She gives the best health tips on her blog mixed together with lots of fun, so please check her out. Heidi gave me the “Uber Amazing Blog Award”. Isn’t that an impressive title for an award…wow! :)



Here are the rules for this award:
1)Put the logo on your blog
2)Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3)Nominate five other blogs
4)Add links to these blogs on your blog
5)Leave a message for your nominee to let them know

Here are my picks for this award:

People You Need To Know
Communiqué by Ivanhoe
Red Pine Mountain
The Leaping Thought
Gifts of the Journey

Again, I’m so thankful to have been given so many great awards courtesy of Tahtimbo, Ivanhoe, Mike, and Heidi. Please drop by and check out their blogs and all of the other favorites I’ve listed here. Happy reading! :-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Great Moment

I am so overjoyed today! (smile) I am so excited that Senator Barack Obama is now our President-elect. Brit Boy and I stayed up until well after 6am UK time just to soak all of the coverage in. All of yesterday, I was like a lot of people…cautiously optimistic about the outcome. As the electoral votes kept ticking upwards, I got more and more on edge. And then, at the moment when they announced him the winner, I immediately wept and looked over at my mother’s photo on the table right next to me. I thought….what an amazing moment Mom, huh? (smile) I had such a head rush like someone had compressed my head and then let go. There was such a rush of relief like I can’t describe fully. I felt exhilarated along with everyone else and I am so proud of this moment in our history. (smile)

We were watching the coverage from back home online and watching another channel on television too. A powerful moment for me was when Mr. Obama was declared the winner and they were showing the crowds going crazy with excitement on one side of the screen and on the other side they had those who worked during the Civil Rights Movement. It felt like a full circle moment. And it was an amazing moment for all citizens. When I saw the faces in the crowds in Chicago, New York, and all over, with the beautiful variations in skin tones and ages, I felt the true beauty of humanity. It made me cry over and over again. I am so proud of my fellow citizens…we are all Americans standing together from every background! And now we stand once again with the world. I am inspired and I feel like from today on, I can do anything. (smile)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day

I just wanted to wish all of my fellow citizens a Happy Election Day as you go and cast your votes. And if you have already voted as I have, enjoy the day! :-)

Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you to all of my readers/friends who have come by to give their support to me as I wrote about my friend Kim. All of the kind words were so comforting. This is what I love about the blogosphere...great friends and lots of true support. (smile) I'm so grateful.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Friend Kim

As you all know, we have just come out of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I did a couple of posts highlighting this very important cause. Well I am like many of you now. I have lost someone who was so dear to me, to this horrible beast of a disease. It has taken me several days to come here and write about this, because I just didn’t know what to say. It was like I was in a state of shock, but it was a shock that I knew was a possibility, and yet I didn’t want to entertain the thought of it all turning out this way. I didn’t feel like I knew how to honor my friend and do her justice with my words. Then I decided that her advice to me would be, “Girl, just say what you feel” :-) So I will just say it simply…I’m gonna miss her so much.

My friend’s name was Kim. We were former co-workers who shared some great laughs and camaraderie in the office. We both worked for a corporation in downtown Atlanta. We worked in the Sales Department and she was one of the managers in the department. From the beginning she was always cool. On my first day, I was introduced to her and she said, “Welcome” and then we both laughed because we saw a resemblance. We both have sort of heart shaped faces and we just looked like we could be relatives. She looked sort of like one of my cousins does. So from that day on, she would walk past my cubicle and say something or she would stop and talk.

My best memories of her are her coming in in the mornings and saying, “Ohhh, I need my ‘cawfeee’ (coffee)”. Kim had the most wonderful New York accent and to my Southern ears, in its difference, it was music to my ears :-) I love to do impressions, so one day I parroted her morning line to her as she walked by my desk before she could say it and we both laughed. I created a monster though…after that she wanted me to do it all the time :-) She added one time though that I didn’t have enough of a Southern accent for her to mimic, so when we were kidding around, I would thicken my accent up for her pleasure :)

Kim’s other favorite thing besides coffee was chocolate. So around that 3pm slump that we all get, she would come by my desk and ask if I had any chocolate. Sometimes I did and I would load her up with whatever I had. At Halloween and Christmas, I would go by her office and we would trade off candy. It was great :-) But we would remedy any chocolate droughts by going to hit up the vending machines in one of the break rooms. As time progressed she started to collect spare change in a metal tin on her desk, and at nearly 3pm on the dot, she would come along rattling the tin. I’d hear her before I even saw her and then this voice would say, “Let’s go get some chocolate.” I’d take along my own money, but she would often just say, “Hey, I’m buying.” She was just a cool lady, like a big sister. She was great, not because she bought me candy…she was just a friend to me and I so appreciated her.

Kim was one of the higher-ups, but she never played that game with me. She respected me and I respected her. Even though we were in different groups within the department, she would call me into her office to brainstorm with her. Whenever she was writing something up she would always call me to her office with the enticement of chocolate :-) She didn’t need to entice me though because it felt good knowing that she trusted my judgment and skills. It felt good to be valued. And here’s the thing that shows what kind of woman Kim was, she would tell other higher-ups that I had helped her or let her boss know. I think the true strength of character is shown when people know that their strength comes from not only doing well themselves, but also from not feeling threatened by sharing the light with another and knowing that there is power in standing together. That was Kim. She even encouraged me to write for the newsletter for a time. She was always a cheerleader :-)

On many Friday afternoons, nearing the end of my time there, we would sit in her office and talk about what the future held. I was engaged to Brit Boy and was preparing to leave soon. She would say, “Lemme see that picture of you and that cute fella of yours.” I would go and get it and she would say, “Look at that, you all got matching dimples.” Then she would say, “Be happy girl…you deserve it.”

Kim said that she had dreams for the future too. She always wanted to do something to help girls to be strong in this world. She had wanted to do something that would help girls and others through mentoring and other services. She said that when she retired she would love to get a grant to set something up. Then she added, “I’m gonna look you up whether you’re in England or not. I need you to brainstorm with me and write up me a grant proposal.” I would laugh and say, “Kim, you need a grant writer for that, somebody who knows their stuff.” And she’d say, “I trust you to work it out.” I choke up when I remember that. Kim was what we all need in this world…someone who believes in us in spite of everything and will tell us so whenever we need it. So I told her that I’d be there for her when she called, and I fully meant that, no matter how out of my depth I felt :-) She had been there for me countless times and I was gonna be there for her whenever that call came.

I left that December, nearly three years back now and she left there that January. She got another job in North Carolina that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. We both went off into the next chapter of our lives. I always had it in my mind that we would see each other again. I figured that one day I was gonna drive on up to North Carolina, drop in on her and say, “Kim, where’s the chocolate and ‘cawfeee’?"

Then about a year later, I found out that she had breast cancer and even though I know it is a terrible diagnosis, we always have to have hope, you know. So I sent her a card and letter to let her know that I was in her corner and gave her an additional email address to contact me and I prayed.

Well, as the last few days of October ticked away, Kim passed away. She fought the good fight til the end. She was laid to rest yesterday. I wasn’t able to go back for the funeral, but in a quiet moment, I thought of her. And as the sun set and I looked out the window at the clouds, I waved her off and I was proud to have known her and to have called her my friend. People like her come into your life to teach you and I learned a lot about the kind of person that I want to be. I will value her friendship forever…a friend who believed in me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!!!! Trevor wanted to let you all see his costume. He made it himself. Pssst...(whisper)..he borrowed Brit Boy's handkerchief and kept running around saying, "I'm a ghost...boo!" LOL. Anyway, we just humor our little mascot around here :-) Here's a photo.




Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Casting My Vote

I just wanted to give an update on my absentee ballot. I had written before about waiting for it to come. Well I finally did get my ballot, but it was a long road to get it here.

When I wrote about it before, I was hoping that it would arrive that week. Well, it didn’t come, but I did receive a new voter precinct card with my married name on it about two weeks later. I was puzzled. I did see one bright spot in that my precinct card had arrived, so I was glad that they seemed to have the address right. The clock started ticking loudly in my ears at this point. It was getting into October a bit and I still didn’t have my ballot.

So I called the local voting office back home again and explained my situation. I was able to talk to a nice lady who was very helpful. She looked at their records and saw that my married name was on the voter rolls and that they hadn’t mistakenly sent my ballot to my former address. So that was good. But who knows? :-) My first ballot is out there floating in the ether somewhere.

Anyway, we both sprung into action. The voting lady told me that they could issue me another ballot and cancel the old one. I had to fax them a statement saying that I would destroy the other ballot if it came and then I had to sign the letter. Well, that first ballot hasn’t come and if it EVER does, you can be sure that I will destroy the heck out of it. LOL. I don’t want any troubles like that. And anyway, I , deep down in my soul believe in one person…one vote. I kind of believe that it just slipped through the cracks and never got mailed.

So back to my story, we don’t have a fax machine, but we were going to use a faxing program that is on Brit Boy’s computer. Well of course when the time came, it didn’t work. I had to call the voting lady back and ask if I could send her the scanned statement by email instead. She had to go and ask her manager to make sure and then she gave me the go ahead. Well, let’s just say that Murphy’s Law was in full force ;-) At that VERY moment, our broadband connection went down. After a few choice, colorful words, all that Brit Boy and I could do was laugh. So we switched the broadband off and on and it came back to life. It is so temperamental sometimes. Then, I kid you not, my email provider had glitches…..Ugh!!!! LOL. So I said it like my mom would have said it, “I’m gonna pray over it.” And I walked away from it for a minute. To let you peek into my mind a bit, in my head, I was singing the song “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers to myself to calm my nerves. LOL. This song always puts me into a good frame of mind. I was not gonna be beaten.



Finally, we were able to get into the email, and I sent the statement and did my happy dance :-) Since Murphy’s Law was kicking my backside that day, I called and made sure that the email had gone through and that my statement was okay. I know I made the phone company so rich that day :-) The voting lady did receive it and it was fine. I thanked her so much for her help.

So they mailed another one to me and I finally got it. But I wondered if this was perhaps my first ballot. There was no real way to tell from the postmark. I had to save my happy dance for later. With the time difference, I had to wait until after 2pm my time in order to call her. We were old friends by now :-) She asked me what the number was next to my name and I told her and added that there was an asterisk next to it. She said that this was for sure my new ballot. She had added the asterisk in order to differentiate them in the system and I felt good because with me mentioning that without her prompting, it showed that I was playing fair. I thanked her that one last time and felt like we should be sharing a drink or something after all of our talks :-)

I finally was able to mail off my absentee ballot last week and it felt good. I have always voted and I never take it for granted because my grandparents and even my parents for a time, could not cast a vote. So it is always a duty that I carry with me for them. And you know, this experience of having such a hard time in trying to cast my vote, it just makes me appreciate it even more. Even though no one was physically standing in my way to bar me from voting, circumstances were making it seem like I was being kept from it. This was an odd feeling. And these are the times when I feel isolated from back home…times when I can’t do what I need to do and want to do. I will say that through it all I held my cool really well and the amount of laughs at the annoyances are letting me know that I’m learning to release and let go a whole lot better :-)

Happy voting to all of my fellow citizens back home and around the world! :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My 100th Post

Today is a milestone for me. This is my 100th post!!!! I’m thrilled that I’ve made it this far. (smile) When I started off on this journey, I didn’t know where it would go…I just knew that it was the thing for me to do. When I started out back in March of this year, I was in a different place in my heart and mind. Even though I was coming into my second year of being here, I was just starting to find my footing. My life felt like a whirlwind and the uproar was just beginning to subside. I had been feeling that my life was adrift almost and I was mourning the loss of my roots. I knew that I had to find something that was mine in order to ground myself here in this new place.

Some may question that I found what I needed in a blog. But, yeah, I did. It illuminated the way for me…it was an outlet. I could have continued with just writing in my journals, but I felt that I was turning too inward since I’ve been here, so a blog was the nudge that I needed. And it has helped me to see the humor and fun in life again as I examine my thoughts. Writing has always been a comfort to me in my life and I’ve kept journals off and on since I was a kid. In times of turmoil in my life, I always turned to writing it out. I wrote on the day that my daddy passed, because at twelve, I didn’t know what to do with myself that day. I was lonely that day and it helped somewhat to write out my fears. Writing was still my friend on the very first day of the year, many years later, when my mom passed away. Even though I was a grown woman, and not a twelve year old, I still didn’t know what to do with myself or my thoughts. So when I don’t have anyone to talk to, I find peace in just writing it out.

So getting to this 100th post is great. It is a milestone that fuses together my love I’ve always had…writing…and my new love…blogging. Blogging has brought lots of comfort to me. I’ve cultivated more discipline and I’m less of a procrastinator. (smile) But the best part of blogging is the sense of community that I feel now. I’ve gained some wonderful blogging friendships and I’ve realized that no matter what continent you are on, some things are just universal. It’s a cliché, but I’ve found that it’s true…we are more alike than we are different. That realization has been a great gift to me.

And thank you to all of my blogging friends and readers and commenters for supporting me and my blog. (smile) I’m just so grateful to have found you all when I needed you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Guess what, even though I am well past the fever that I had and I generally feel a lot better, I still have a rather raspy voice. And you know what? I kinda like it. (a raspy) LOL. It makes me sound all sophisticated and film noir-esque. I also thought that it is cool for Halloween. If we have any trick or treaters, I can put on a mask and have the raspy voice to go with it :-) So I’m keeping my sense of humor with it all and am just glad that my throat doesn’t affect my hands, so I can type :-)

Anyway, enough of my sickly tales ;-)

I posted before about National Breast Cancer Month and featured my t-shirts. So I just thought that I would add another post about what I do to keep tabs on myself. Breast cancer awareness and research are so important to the lives of women and men, so I wanted to highlight it again.

I mentioned in my previous post that this month always reminds me to be more vigilant in checking myself, so I am recommitting myself to using all that I have available. I thought that I would share something with you that I do. In addition to doing the normal breast self-exam, I have recently been using another tool also. It’s a breast self-examination glove. It’s not a new development, and I figure that some of you already have one or have heard of them, but for anyone who doesn’t know, here is a photo. Mine came in this little pink gauzy pouch which my girly side really loves :-)



And here’s a photo of the glove on my hand.




It has a gel-like substance in it, and when you use it, the gel is between your hand and your breast. So in addition to doing a regular self-exam, I use this also. It magnifies the fingertip’s sensitivity and reduces the friction on the skin, so I find that it is a great addition to my self-checks. Mine also came with an instructional DVD.

I just wanted to share this bit of information about something that I use in my life. I'm no doctor and I'm certainly not passing on advice here, but I wanted to share what I do, just to share, just because :-) I bought mine here at Lloyds Pharmacy, but they are sold other places here in the UK as well as back home in the US. Here are links to some of the places that sell them, that I have found online:

Lloyd's Pharmacy

Bath & Body Works

So as we come to the last few days of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I just wanted to highlight this once more. This cause is so important and this disease robs us of so many people every day. Please check out the button on my sidebar, from thebreastcancersite.com . They are doing great work to help. And please join me in keeping up with self-exams all the year round, during every month :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Much Better Today

I just wanted to write a quick post to thank all of my readers/friends who left nice messages for me while I was sick. Y'all are great. :-) It certainly lifted my spirits to read what you had written. Thanks for your support and for coming back to check on me even though I haven't been feeling well enough to post.

I'm doing much better today. I'm not at 100%, but I am just so glad that the worst seems to be over with all of that. :-) Still, I'll be a good patient and finish all of my meds. ;-)

The sun is shining today, so that warms my heart and my bones.

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend everybody! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm Without My Voice Today

This will be a short post today. For the last couple of days I have been sick, so I haven't been able to do a lot of Entrecard dropping, but I did finally respond to comments on my previous post. So please accept my apologies, my fellow Entrecarders. I hope to return drops tomorrow. I was so pleased that many of you enjoyed my "7 Things" post and I wanted to respond back to show my appreciation. Here's a photo of our bed and I've posted it before, but I post it again because this is where I have been for a couple of days :-)



I have had this congestion and fever, coupled with a bad sore throat that has graduated to a bit of laryngitis. It was awful yesterday. I got some meds from the doctor and today I am feeling a bit better, so hopefully tomorrow I will be on my feet. Thanks for visiting me again. :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

7 Things About Me

I have been tagged by my bloggy buddy Jewelry Rockstar to tell 7 things about me. This is my first tagging like this, so I’m excited. :-) Here it goes.

#1 – When I was in middle school, I was tapped into the Junior Beta Club. This is as, the name implies, the junior version of the National Beta Club. It’s an academic achievement society. I mentioned being "tapped in" when I was in middle school. Well in my school, they had us in an assembly and had us to put our heads down on the table and then they came around and tapped you if you were being taken into the club. Well, they didn’t really tell us what we were doing or perhaps I was talking to my friend at the time. So it was all a surprise to me. :-) And as a kid, who knows about these things? LOL. Anyway, I got tapped and for a moment I was kind of puzzled and thought that I was on the way to the principal’s office or something. LOL. I still remember my momentary panic. But I was cool on the outside though and followed the girl up to the front of the room. So I used to be a brainy kid…now, I’m just beautifully average. LOL. ;-) My pin and certificate are somewhere in storage.

#2 – I played the flute when I was a teenager and I won a few ribbons in competitions. I just took to it like a duck to water. However, I haven’t played in a long while now. I have to pick this up again. Might be fun. :-)

#3 – This week I have been getting back on track with my fitness. I worked out today and even though it is hard to start, I felt better after I finished. I am even cutting back on drinking the sodas. That is tough…eek! :-) I'm am such a soda fiend. I just had some green tea, so I am on my way to doing better.

#4 – I have been growing my hair out over the past year or so. I've been wearing my hair closely cropped for about ten years, so for a change of pace, I am now sporting longer, wavy curls.

#5 – I love watching TV shows and movies about ghosts and haunted places. I just don’t want to see a ghost though…I would probably break my neck trying to run away. LOL.

#6 – I am about nine months older than my husband, Brit Boy, so I love to call him, “My Younger Man” ;-)

#7 – I love to read and I love to write… I love my books. So one day I hope to walk into a store and see my book on the shelf.

There you have it. I scratched my head a lot, but I finally came up with seven. Now I’m going to pass this on and tag some others out there. They are:

Regina's Family Seasons
Health Nut Wannabee Mom
The Leaping Thought
Cutie Booty Cakes
Red Pine Mountain
Just Me
Confessions of a Fitness Diva