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Showing posts from February, 2006

Spot the American - Spot the Brit

While visiting big cities that get a lot of tourists, Wayne and I are always playing a game we call - Spot the American or Spot the Brit - we do this in large crowds to give each other a giggle when we see someone that just screams American or British - i.e. A very large man with a big beer belly sporting an athletic-type jacket with big letters on the back saying something like USA or HOOTERS (in case you haven't guessed - American) or a very thin girl wearing a tiny skirt, ugg boots and sleeveless jacket in very cold temperatures (that would be the Brit). I'm sure I've offended people on both sides of the pond just now, but at least I don't play favorites... It's not always so obvious or poking fun either - we sometimes see people walking toward us and place our bets - American British, European etc etc and then listen close to them talking as we walk by them to see if we were right. I guess it's something you take notice of when you find yourself visiting…

My Weekend...

I had a really good weekend. It started out Friday; we went out to dinner with Dougie. We went into town and couldn't get a table at our restaurant of choice for an hour and decided to book the table and go to a pub for a drink while we waited - bad idea. It was a bad idea for a few reasons - 1) Wayne was driving, which meant he couldn't drink (never fun when the rest of your party is drinking). 2) Doug already had a few drinks before we picked him up (quite common for Doug to do). 3) I didn't have a great week and needed a couple of drinks myself...
Needless to say Doug and I got a bit intoxicated (well Doug was a little more than a bit intoxicated, but that's what happens when you get a head start before even leaving the house). You know I'm a bit drunk when I'm running down the street holding hands with Dougie and giggling like a child (wearing high heels no less) to go see a fight down the street. I'm usually the one pulling Doug away from seeing…

London Bound...

I woke up this morning, ready to write one entry, but am having to write an entirely different one. I was shocked when I found my in-box flooded with emails regarding yesterday's events on the expat forum and saw on this morning's report that this blog had 181 hits yesterday. Not only that, but even though I stated there would be no comments accepted on this topic (mainly because I'd already been treated quite badly and know how cliquey the forum can be), I had to delete at least 10 of them this morning. I deleted the comments and the emails without reading them (although, judging from the subject lines of what I saw - I thank you all for your support). I deleted them because I promised my husband I would let it go and I didn't want anything that was said in those comments or emails to start it up again. No, I don't like being accused of being dishonest and yes, I still think all of their behavior was unprofessional, but I'm letting it go.
My husband an…

Unprofessional behavior!!

I just went on to the American Expats forum I belong to that I mentioned yesterday and I can't believe what I saw...
As I mentioned yesterday, there was a post left about my blog on the site. A really nice post that actually made my day. Today, I went to see the activity of that post and saw a response left by the girl that runs the site, claiming that me and the girl that left it the post, share the same IP address! Stating and I quote - " Why are you posting using the ***** account and your own account? The ip addresses are the same" She didn't ask if I was posting with two different accounts she asked why I was - accusing me of being dishonest in a very public forum.
1st of all - unless my husband left the post, which I highly doubt - it's just NOT true! 2nd - I'm a tech and used to be a network administrator! I know how the forums work, and would never do such a thing knowing full well I'd be found out! Not to mention that it's not in my nat…

Dinner party guests wanted...

Having Doug for dinner last night was really nice. Dinner turned out really well. Even though it's Dougie and he wouldn't care if we had TV dinners, paper plates and plastic forks - he just likes being around us. We had a good laugh and we're always good with the banter and teasing - like siblings trying to out-do each other.
I enjoy being the hostess. I really like cooking for people and all the rest that goes with having company. I wish we had more friends, because I'm coming to realize that I'd be the type to have dinner parties. Parties where I'd cook a really good meal, light a bunch of candles, set the table really nice and invite a small group of couples where we could sit around with a few nice bottles of wine, laughter and good conversation. I was never in a place in my life before where I could do that. Now all we need are some friends.
Wayne didn't always live in this part of England. He moved here with his ex and never made any friends t…

Dinner party guests wanted...

Having Doug for dinner last night was really nice. Dinner turned out really well. Even though it's Dougie and he wouldn't care if we had TV dinners, paper plates and plastic forks - he just likes being around us. We had a good laugh and we're always good with the banter and teasing - like siblings trying to out-do each other.
I enjoy being the hostess. I really like cooking for people and all the rest that goes with having company. I wish we had more friends, because I'm coming to realize that I'd be the type to have dinner parties. Parties where I'd cook a really good meal, light a bunch of candles, set the table really nice and invite a small group of couples where we could sit around with a few nice bottles of wine, laughter and good conversation. I was never in a place in my life before where I could do that. Now all we need are some friends.
Wayne didn't always live in this part of England. He moved here with his ex and never made any friends t…

English winter weather...

Yesterday, someone left a really nice post about this blog on an American Expat forum I belong to (the forum is http://www.americanexpats.co.uk if you're interested - it's a really good forum with truck loads of information). They said all kinds of nice things about this blog and now I feel the need to be clever, thoughtful or informative. Truth be told, I'm not feeling very clever today. The weather here has been rainy and cold for nearly two weeks now and it's not really good for me, my arthritis or my mood. Fatigue seems to be taking over today.
Doug (Wayne's best mate and my only friend in England) is coming over for dinner tonight. I don't know how that happened. It was like one of those moments that you see on 50s sitcoms - Honey, I'm bringing a friend home for dinner tonight (unfortunately, I can't just wiggle my nose or nod my head and have dinner ready).... Before he gets here, I have to cook a pasta meal (complete with homemade tomato sa…

$$/

We're going to London for the weekend to celebrate our first weeding anniversary. It's not Jamaica (where we were married & planned to go back again this year, but it wasn't in the cards), but I love London, so despite the English winter weather it should be wonderful.
I booked the hotel and theatre tickets last night. The exchange rate is a tricky thing when you move to another country (especially when it doesn't work in your favor), but with time you can learn to work it to your advantage. I still have my US bank account that we mainly use for travelling (as well as a few odds and ends here - I like to use my own money for some things since I don't work). I have learned a thing or two that I'll pass on to other US Expats living in Europe where the exchange rate can really hit you hard (at one restaurant in Paris I paid $8.00 for a coke!)...
I use a lot online services. When ever possible, I use US sites. That way I don't get hit with the exchang…

I'm a lucky girl...

I am so lucky to have Wayne and the relationship we have. He listens to me - even when I'm being silly and worrying over situations that shouldn't matter as much as they do. I'm like that though. Things matter to me that don't seem to matter to other people, but Wayne just gets that about me, so he's always patient when I'm suddenly crying over something that wouldn't necessarily bother the average person. He says it's because my hearts too big and I just can't help it.
Some might describe me as the fiery type, but I used to be a lot worse. I used to be a force to be reckoned with. As I get older, the more cool-headed I become. Since Wayne and I have been together (Dec of 2003), he's only seen me really lose it three times. I'm still fiery and very emotional, but by no means am I like I once was. I do have to admit that there are still certain situations (and people) that can make me lose my composure though.
My husband is a calming…

I slept till noon today

Couldn't believe it when I woke up and saw the clock - 12:05?? I can't remember the last time I slept past 10 (which is a rarity), never mind noon! All of the people that have to get up with an alarm everyday probably hate me right now - sorry.
I used to be an insomniac. I don't think I slept more than 2 - 3 hours a night from around1991 - When I met Wayne. The first time we spent the night together, I slept like a baby and I've had very few sleepless nights since. Lately, I haven't been lying awake at night, but I have had a lot on my mind and it was taking longer and longer to get to sleep.
There have been a lot of things on my mind - I'm feeling somewhat homesick. I say 'somewhat' because it's mostly just my friends I miss. Nicole (my best friend) more than anyone and I don't know when we'll be able to make it back next. I also have a bunch of family issues on my mind as well, along with various other things that are associa…

Just to prove a point....

This entry is to prove a point to my husband which will make absolutely no sense to anyone else...
My high school sweetheart was a terrible cheat and an awful boyfriend (Sorry T.... if you ever read this - Wayne says I think you're a saint ... I don't, but love you anyway).
My ex husband was a great guy and a wonderful friend while we were together (my husband also says I never have anything good to say about him).
Roger is a sorry Fuck - I just felt like saying that.
I don't want to leave anyone out so - hmmm... M is one of my all time favorite people & one of the funniest guys I've ever met. I love that he cracks him self up more than anyone. I can just see him laughing at his own jokes... and the thought of it makes me laugh.
Hi Palmer. You're not an ex, but I thought I'd give you a honorable mention anyway...
So there Wayne! and I will not come down stairs in the middle of the night and change it!!

Smoking Ban in England!!

Parliament finally approved the smoking ban for England yesterday. I am really thrilled about this (Although, it won't take effect until mid 2007. Things take far too long in this country)! One of the things I hate about going out is the smoked filled pubs and clubs. The last time we went to a club (to celebrate my one year smoke free), as soon as we walked into the place, we were choking on the smoke. It was just awful. Not to mention that when I drink, I sometimes feel the craving to smoke. When the ban takes effect, I won't have to worry about such things and I think it's great! NJ also went smoke free last month so when I go back to visit, restaurants out there will be smoke free as well! woo-hoo! To read more about it click here.

Valentine's Day Update...

UPDATE: Wayne brought me home flowers today. Maybe Valentine's Day isn't so bad after all. Yesterday, I told him the story below to fill him in on why I'm so bah-humbug over the day. So today, even though he dosen't believe in the holiday - he still did a thoughtful & very sweet thing for me! He's the best husband I've ever had (okay, so he's only the 2nd (and last) - but he's still the best)!

Why I hate Valentines Day - By Erren H...

For the last few weeks, every time I see a commercial on TV for Valentine's Day, I huff or make some sort of sound of discontent. Wayne asked me every time - 'What is your problem with Valentine's Day??' I would just shrug it off and move on from the question leaving it unanswered. Wayne is not a fan of the holiday. He thinks it should be done away with altogether, so he's never pushed the issue.
Last week, I made a halfhearted attempt at making reservations for a Valentine's Day dinner. I called a few places, and was told each time that they would have a set Valentine's Day menu and it would be so much per head. It felt like a bad school dance and I envisioned tacky hearts and flowers decorating the restaurants. I just couldn't bring myself to book a table. I was really annoyed by this because I really wanted to make a change and actually do something for Valentine's Day, but the bottom line is - I hate the damned holiday and after much re…

Feedback please...

I've been making a load of adjusment to my site It's still a work in progress (I need to add the roll-overs to the links, I plan to add some flash enhancements and the photo gallery is far from done etc etc), but I think I'm going to stick to the new basic look of the site (although I can't swear I won't change my mind). I have tested it on my PC & the laptop with Firefox and IE, but can't test all screen sizes or browsers. I'd love some feedback (my husband is completely unfazed and is no help in that dept). Constructive criticism is good as well (I can take it I swear). The point is that I'd like some feedback on the look and feel of the site thus far. Since I'm teaching myself, it's not like I have a teacher to help me out with that sort of thing, so the visitors of the site is all I have (yes, that means you). So if you wouldn't mind taking a quick minute check out the site and comment, I'd really appreciate it.

Come on,…

Blizzard Blankets NY Metro Area...

NBC New York reports 'Blizzard Blankets NY Metro Area' There's nearly 2 feet of snow back home and it's still falling. There is a part of me that's feeling quite lucky to be missing the storm, but another part of me is kinda sad.
I won't miss trying to get my car out of snow that's so high, you can't even open the door or the other fun stuff involved with blizzards. But there is so much about it I'm missing right now. I'm missing watching it come down. There is something so peaceful about falling snow with it's silent beauty. I'll also miss being stuck inside waiting for it to pass. There's something about being stuck inside because of a snow storm that just feels nice - cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie, making homemade chicken soup or hot chocolate with marshmallows. I don't know. I just always loved that side of it.
What's sad is that wish I could be there to see my nephews playing in it. Jared is 5 now a…

It's all coming back to me now...

When I started listening to my radio station from back home, I didn't count on the effect it would have on me. They say that music is the soundtrack of our lives. Indeed it is. It's amazing how when listening to a song, you can actually rewind and re-play moments of your life as if they just happened yesterday, and how sometimes without warning - you're just hurled back in time to a moment you've long forgotten.
This morning when I put on the station, I was inundated with memories when I heard 'It's all coming back to me now' by Celine Dion (she's not exactly my first choice in music these days). As much as I can't stand the her, when I heard it - I couldn't help but stop what I was doing because I had a flood of memories rushing through my mind. I could even remember a conversation that was had while the song was playing.
Just now, Under the Bridge by The Red Hot Chili Peppers was just playing (what radio station plays both Celie Dion and …

If you love movies and an intellectual opinion...

On Fridays, there is a talk Radio show in the UK on BBC 5 Live that discusses movies. It's hosted by Simon Mayo and features a film critic Mark Kermode. Mark is great to listen to if you love movies and enjoy an intellectual opinion. I don't always agree with Mark's reviews, but I enjoy the show all the same. Mark loves movies (as do I) and it shows. He has rants that you just have to love which get better and better the more fired up he gets about something (and I love the fact that his vocabulary level gets higher and higher along with his blood pressure). He's opinionated and self righteous (as most highly intelligent people are), he's witty, he's well informed and has an arrogance that's likable because he can always back-up opinions. I like that because even if you don't agree, you can still respect him for being able to give you a really good reason why he feels that way.
They put a podcast online after every week's show and the website

Weigh in...

I did a weigh-in and measurement update today to track my diet results. Since my last update, I lost 2 lbs (which isn't worth reporting), 2.5 inches in my waist, 1.5 inches in my hips, and GAINED an inch in my chest. It's a bit curious how I can GAIN an inch in my chest, although my husband is doing the measuring and I am topless when he does it. We all know how men lose their sense of concentration when the breasts are out. Either that or I'm getting the dream diet results and losing weight without losing a bra size - I'd say the bare breasts are just distracting my husband.

I'm not going to question it too much though because I'm wearing jeans right now that 2 weeks ago, I had to change because Wayne told me and I quote 'You're not thin enough for those jeans yet' It may sound harsh, but he was just looking out for me, knowing I wouldn't want to go out wearing something that didn't look good one me. This time when he saw me wearing th…

Team America

I'm sitting here trying to work. I have my headphones on watching a Photoshop training video on the PC. I stop it from time to time to try what they are teaching on the lessons. Wayne is watching the movie 'Team America' as per my request because I never cared to ever see it (probably because I have always hated South Park and was forced to watch it every week when I was with my ex-husband who was a fan).
I can't help but hear bits and pieces of the movie and I'm finding myself conflicted. Part of me wants to laugh at it, but at the same time the other part of me (the part that is an American living outside the country and feels the need to defend my country's bad behavior) wants to be offended and annoyed by it. The side of me that wants to laugh is winning.
What's strange is that I'm well informed enough to get the jokes. A few years ago, I wouldn't have gotten the political part of it. I would have found the movie moronic instead of oddl…

Spam Comments

I'm sorry to say that I had to add a commenter authentication service to my blog. I was getting a load of junk comments every day and I just don't have the time or patience to deal with such nuisances.
From now on, to comment you will have to log-in. To do so you'll have to register with Typekey which is a free service and not connected to my site in any way. They are the service that MovableType has chosen for their weblogs. When you comment, the only thing that I will see is the display name that you choose at registration so you will still have the option to be anonymous if you so choose (I'll leave a comment below to give an example). Also, since they don't give the option to display your email address - if you want me to have it, you will have to add it to your comment.
Thanks Guys

Radio from back home!

Since moving here, I have really missed listening to music from back home and the entertainment culture of the US. I feel cut off in a way. I go back and I don't recognize music on the radio, faces on TV or know about big news stories that are in the papers. The only American news station we get here is the fair and balanced spin of FOX News and I can only stomch it in small doses (what I wouldn't give for MSNBC or US CNN). I still want to feel like an American. It's who I am - no matter where I live. Being here, is really like another world sometimes. I hate not knowing all of the current events and I miss a lot of American TV and news channels, but the lack of American radio has been a significant void (although I don't miss the commercials AT ALL).
We get a great deal of American music here, but there's a lot they don't play. People that have never lived outside their home country can't really relate to this, but imagine what it would be like to …

My cats are driving me to drink!

We didn't go to bed last night until about 1AM and I doubt I was asleep until 2. This morning, starting around 6:30, Alfie started crying at the bedroom door (and I mean crying) It's as if the little bastard knows he's annoying me and if he hits the right pitch and volume, I'm bound to get up and give him a cuddle.
At 8:30, I gave up on trying to get back to sleep and got up and dressed. When I opened the door, Alfie and Luka were both sitting outside the door waiting as they always are. Can I point out that they are cats not dogs! Cats are supposed to be independent animals that snub you until they want to be loved not behaving as if they are thinking - all I want is for you to be there for me to love and entertain me 24 hours a day or I'll scream at your fucking door until you do what I want!
I came downstairs and they both scrambled by me on the way down like always (as if my death would be more entertaining than anything, so why not send me flying). I …

Mail Call...

I just got the most wonderful letter in the mail from my best friend's 8 year old daughter, asking me for advice. This little girl is really special to me. She's the very first child that I have ever loved. She was born a few years before my 1st nephew and since her Mom is my oldest and best friend in the world, she's like a niece to me. She was there to see us off when we moved out here and that night, she slept with my picture under her pillow (although I'm not supposed to know about that).
I send her postcards from every place I visit and she thinks it's the coolest thing that I live in England. She took my letters and pictures to school for show and tell! Do you believe it?? I was someones show and tell!
This letter made me feel so special and at the same time, feel a bit pressured to come through with the right advise! I mean this is huge. What do you tell an eight year old about being teased in school? It's training for parenthood! Luckily,…

Paris - Part 2

After Notre Dame, we worked our way around the city, mostly on foot, but on the subway as well (wow did my feet hurt by the end of the day!). We marked all kinds of things in the guidebook that we wanted to see, but I was waiting for one thing - The Eiffel Tower. When Wayne told me we were going to Paris, one of the first things I asked was - Can we see the Eiffel Tower from our room?? He quickly informed me that they charge 3x the regular amount for such things and this time the answer would have to be no. Not that it mattered to me much at all.
As we made our way across the city, I took photograph after photograph of random things. I found the city to be just amazing and it took until the next morning for it to feel real. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was actually in Paris. It looked more like a movie with scenes of this place I'd seen on screen a million times before, but would never see for myself because that's just not my life. it's s…

Paris (part 1)

While we we riding the subway on our last day in Paris, I said to Wayne - I don't know how I'll write about this without making it too long and boring. The key to blogging is not boring readers. he suggested I break it up into several entries throughout the week and I'm taking his advice...
To make our train on the Eurostar to Paris at 6:30AM, we had to get up at 3:45 in the morning. I wasn't sleeping anyway; like a kid at Christmas, I hadn't really slept well since he told me we were going. We got up at the right time, but still manged to miss our train (which I'm sure Wayne would tell you was my fault) . We caught the next one and were in Paris by 10:30 (Paris time).
We got off the train and headed for the subway so we can drop the luggage at the hotel. On our way to the subway station, Wayne mistakenly walked me right up to Notre Dame (trying to surprise me with it later). when I saw it, I got very excited and started to skip down the street and Wayne…

Really Frustrated

I'm feeling really frustrated today with the web design. I just can't seem to get things to be the way I want them to be. I can get things done, but I just know I'm not doing them right. It's as if I find a work-around for everything I do. Like yesterday, I figured out how to do a photo album http://www.pond-hopper.com/Gallery/Gallery.html (which I was proud of accomplishing in one day - with the flu no less and my 1st attempt at anything flash), but when I published it and looked at it on the laptop (14" screen compared to my 19" on the PC), it didn't look at all like I wanted it to and I don't know how to fix it. I'm not a programmer; I can't read code (not nearly enough anyway) and yet, I keep finding myself looking at line after line to try and fix things and 1/2 the time, I find that I just spin my wheels until I want to throw the damed computer out the window!
I'm just plain frustrated. I want to be proud of what I've been …

Back from Paris & suffering with the flu - Again

We got back last night from our trip to Paris. I'm exhausted, but can't complain because it was a wonderful trip. It was the best birthday I have ever had - just surreal.
I dropped the film off a little while ago and will be picking it up later, but I'm not sure if I'll post any today because I'm not feeling well. I had the flu for nearly three weeks in early January. I gave it to Wayne and he's had it the last week or so and now, has given it back to me. The good news is, it didn't really set in full force until this morning, so I was fine for Paris. I can't say the same for my my poor husband. He struggled with it while we were there (although he got through the worst of it earlier in the week). It didn't hold him back though. He put on a brave face and suffered through for me without ever complaining
Anyway, I'll write all about our trip and post some photos later today or tomorrow (depending on how I feel). If I don't post by …