What do I miss most?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Since moving here, the one question I get asked really often is 'What do you miss most?' I think a lot of people think this is a fun and safe question and they are probably hoping to hear something about what it's like to live in America. With this in mind, I usually give them an answer about missing my favorite foods and tell stories about my fist visits to the Supermarkets in England and how strange it was to recognize almost nothing on the shelves..
Although I do miss my favorite foods and would love to get a care package filled with all the goodies I can't get here (it's such a shame the shipping costs so damned much), it's not at all the honest answer.
What do I miss most? That's a really hard question to answer...
milo2.jpgI miss my dog. I still find it hard to hold back the tears when ever I see a Jack Russell Terrier and it's just my luck that I moved to the country that the little dogs come from! He's a special little dog and even though I know he's loved by my friend who has him, it's still hard not having him with me. I figure it will take becoming a mother to really get over the loss of my little Milo. Sadly, that's what happens when you're a woman that's over 30 with no Children - your pets become your kids.
I miss the comfort of familiarity. It's really hard to explain, but I miss feeling at home and how comforting it is to drive down a street you know so well you could drive it with your eyes closed. And speaking of driving - I really miss driving. I miss the freedom of jumping in the car and going where I please when I please without having to depend on anyone. It's been almost a year since I've been behind the wheel and I really can't wait to go back for a visit just to feel like a grown-up again! It's a pity I have to live like a 16 year old without the perk of having the body of one!
I miss being around people who really know me. I miss how good it feels to just sit across from someone (someone I'm not married to anyway) who really cares about what I have to say and who's interested. I miss my dear friends and being able to talk to them whenever the feeling strikes (instead of battling the time difference). I miss my family (even though most of them drive me to drink when I'm around them for too long). I miss seeing the kids I love grow up.
I really miss all of those things, but to answer the question with complete honesty - I have to say what I miss most is my best friend, Nicole (I can't beileve how fat I was in that picture!). Nic and I have been best friends for 20 years. She has been my rock in life and if we have non-romantic soul mates - Nic would be mine. She has always been there through it all - through the laughter, the tears, the good times and bad - she has gone through my life with me and I find it so hard living without her for the first time in my adult life. I joke that one day I'll move back and we'll move into the house next door to her so that I can grow old with the two people I love most in the world. Since I'm being honest here - I'm really only half-kidding because it would be really nice...



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A blast from the past...

Saturday, August 26, 2006
I got the most bazaar email today from my ex-husband confessing his undying love for me. We had a strange relationship. We were together for nearly 10 years. When we met, I was in love with someone else (someone who was no longer an active participant in my life, but I still loved all the same) and was very honest about that fact. When we moved in together that fact still hadn't changed and when we married years later, I was still in love with someone else. He knew it, I knew it and yet we got married anyway. I think we both thought it was just a part of who I was. It was just one of those things - my favorite color was purple, I loved photography, was a really good cook and I just happened to be in love with someone else.
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't love my ex-husband. I did, but we were really more like great friends than anything else, so I forgave him when he cheated and he forgave me for loving someone else for as long as we were together. We were never the kind of couple who appeared to be hopelessly in love, but we were good together and I think I told myself that romance wasn't everything and that all that mattered was that we were such great friends and he'd make a really good father. After nearly a decade together, I left him. I decided that maybe romance did matter and realized when I did have a family, I wanted it to be with the love of my life not my friend.
Six years on, and I've been through so much since leaving him that I never really looked back at him or the years we spent together. I'm now married to a man I'm hopelessly in love with and for the first time in all of my adult life, although I'll probably always love the man I spent all those years in love with - I'm only 'in love' with Wayne and my life is finally as it should be.
So, when I got the email from my ex today, I was shocked to find he claimed to still love me and that he wasn't happy because he constantly finds himself comparing every woman he meets to me. I find this bizarre because he never seemed to ever really be in love with me. Before we were married, he actually admitted he wasn't, but now he claims to be and I can't wrap my head around it. I'm kind of in shock and I don't know how to respond to him. I don't know if I even should. I feel like I never really knew him and I spent more than half my adult life with him. I thought by now, he would have realized that we should never have been together never mind for as long as we were.

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Bank Holiday Weekend

Friday, August 25, 2006

This weekend is a long holiday weekend here in the UK. Don't ask me what the holiday is because nobody seems to ever know what holiday their celebrating. They just refer to it as 'Bank Holiday Monday'. Wayne's sister and family will be coming for the weekend. I'm honestly not looking to forward to it. It's not like I don't like them, but this house is way too small for six people and two cats. Last time they came, it took me days to recover! Nancy, Wayne's niece (and I guess mine too) who's turning 6 next month, LOVES me. When ever she's around she doesn't leave my side for even a second. The child even follows me to the bathroom. Not a mother myself, using the bathroom in front of a small child is a bit unnerving for me, so I've had to find creative ways to distract her so I can sneak away for a bit of privacy. I've bought some arts and crafts projects for us to do together so I don't spend the entire time drawing pictures that turn out looking like she's the one that drew them (I've never been a very strong artist). I don't think I've ever had a conversation with my sister-in-law because as soon as I walk in the door, her daughter steals me away and there's not a bit of adult conversation for the rest of the day. I tell myself this is just a bit of training for motherhood.
Anyway, I'm meant to be cleaning today in preparation for their visit, but can't seem to bring myself to start. I took a walk to the shops, ran some errands and went to the gym, but haven't started the housework yet. Well, that's not exactly true - I took the curtains in one of the spare rooms down to wash them and when I took them out of the machine, they were so wrinkled that I put them back in (thinking I left them too long). I put them through a quick cycle, took them out and they were no better. I asked Wayne - Can't we just throw them away and buy some new ones?? I'm supposed to be ironing them today. I've started and stopped twice. What a job it's been! Laundry in this country, seems to be an art I will never master! I wasn't meant to be a housewife! Don't get me wrong - I keep a clean house and I cook really good, but honestly, I'm a shit housewife and I miss the days of tumble dryers that didn't wrinkle your cloths so they didn't require ironing. It's nearly 3:00 - if I start now, maybe by the time Wayne gets home (at 5:00) I'll have it done...



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His old T-shirt

Thursday, August 24, 2006

This morning when my husband woke me up to kiss me good-bye, he was wearing a T-shirt that he used to wear when we first got together - a shirt that I ended up wearing a lot too. Every time I see it, it reminds me of when we first got together and those first weeks when we fell in love. I told him, you can

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Bring it...

Monday, August 21, 2006
While on the treadmill today, there she was again walking toward me - Ms Perfect - The blond with the flowing hair and full face of make-up. She got on the treadmill next to me (as she often does) and I thought 'Damn you, go away' I had already done my weight training for over an hour and had been doing cardio for about 15 minutes when she walked up in her bright pink fitness outfit that just screamed - look at me. As she started walking, I raised the level on my treadmill so not to be out done. She looked at me and raised hers and she started jogging slowly. I thought, ok- 'bring it' and I too started jogging. Every few minutes, she'd raise her speed and I'd raise mine and within 10 minutes I was sorry I ever started it. The difference between me and her is (besides her rock hard abs, long legs and tiny hips) is that she's about 20 years old and in perfect condition and I'm thirty-something, just started my fitness program in April and although I'm in the best shape of my life - I'm far from in her league... So there I was thinking 'You can do it Er - just keep up a little while longer (trying not to think about how much easier the speed probably is for her stupid long legs).' I was soaked with sweat and running out of steam. I looked at my time and saw I kept up for 20 minutes, took stock of the situation and hit the cool down button in defeat of the leggy blond.
After my cool down, I slinked away to lick my wounds and towel off in the locker room. When I looked in the mirror and saw the state I was in, I couldn't help but laugh to myself. I toweled off, gathered my things and started for the exit. As I passed her (still running on the treadmill), we both smiled, I waved and told her I'd see her next time... One of these days, I'm hoping to at least last as long as she does, but for now I'm just glad she chooses me to challenge every week. Nothing like a leggy blond with a perfect body to keep you on your toes!

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My big night out

Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's 8:30 in the morning, I think I'm still partially drunk from last night and couldn't sleep. It was my big night out last night. My first night since moving to this country that I was invited out by people I met on my own and didn't know my husband.
Getting ready, I was really nervous. When I get nervous, my body temperature must rise at a dramatic rate, because I perspire and then become agitated (which just makes my nerves worse). Sorting through my cloths, I picked just the right outfit - Sexy, but not over the top (I'm usually an understated kind of girl) and began sorting through all of my shoes and thinking they were all horrible. I consulted Wayne and even he asked, 'don't you have any others?' Panicked, I went to the closet and pulled out my 4 inch stilettos that had been retired to the land of 'I'm to old for this shit' and put them on to see if I could still walk in them. I went to the mirror, saw they looked good with my jeans and figured I'd live and wore them despite how horribly uncomfortable they were...
We met some of the party at the gym. On our way there, I asked Wayne if it was horrible of me to be worried no-one would be there. He assured me they would be and they were. We shared a ride to the bar/club/restaurant where we were meeting the rest of the group (there were to be 20 in all). When we arrived, I instantly felt out of place and wanted to chicken out, but went in anyway. A group of girls I know that were already there, made me feel immediately at ease and I began to think it would end up being a really good time.
I soon realized that almost everyone was going to be having dinner there. No-one told me we were going out for dinner so Wayne and I already ate before we left and we stayed behind while most of the group went upstairs for their meal. I walked up to the remaining group to try and include myself (I knew most of them from the gym) and one of the girls who for some unknown reason was not happy with me, put her arm out in front of my chest and literary pushed me aside so she could talk to the person behind me. I swung my head around to look at Wayne to see if he caught what she'd done, he had and instead of getting in her face, Wayne and I laughed and sat aside from the group while waiting for the rest to come back from dinner.
It was fine for most of the night with it just being Wayne and I. We always have a good time together so I wasn't too fazed by feeling shunned by the remaining group. We sat and drank by ourselves cracking jokes and laughing on our own for a good few hours. I tried to interact with people a couple of times while going up for drinks, but for the most part they were happy on their own.
For a very brief time, I felt sorry for myself and began to tear up watching the group of friends and co-workers laugh and have a good time together. I wondered - Is this the way it's always going to feel? Will I always feel like I don't belong? Will it always feel like a club I just can't get into? The same girl who pushed me aside stumbled drunk toward the dance floor and I suddenly realized that maybe this club wasn't one I wanted to be in anyway.
Soon after, the rest of the group came back from dinner. We interacted with them and began to have a better time. We left and went to another pub where Dan (my trainer) was working as the DJ. He was just getting off for the night so Wayne and I sat and joked with him while the rest of the group happily sat together away from where we were. I decided it was a good time to leave and that's when Dan grabbed us to leave with him. He said he'd come with us to grab a taxi. A few blocks away, we met up with his girlfriend who'd been out with her friends, and headed for the taxi office.
We had more fun outside that taxi office laughing and joking with Dan and his GF, than we had all night with anyone else. We stood there for about an hour before we left (having to order another taxi because we forgot about the first one we ordered) and in the end, I went home happy. I realized I don't need to be accepted by a group. I just want to be around people that I know like me and enjoy my company. I realize now that I've been spending all this time wishing I had a friend when all along, I already had one in Dan.



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Photos for the non-flash users

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My photo albums on this site are all flash albums. At the request of my friends that can't download the flash application at work and don't have PCs at home, I am adding a few recent pics. Sorry guys, I shouldn't assume everyone has access to the latest technology (it's a good lesson so thanks for letting me know)...

The photos I'm wearing red, were taken on July 12th & the one of Wayne & I was taken in Ireland. - Sorry Wayne has requested I take the one of him off :-(



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Summertime

Summertime is a strange and nostalgic time for me. Important things happened to me in the summertime. I met two very significant people on the very same summer day a really long time ago. One of them was my very first love and the other became one of the very best friends I have ever had. Three years later (also in the summertime), it was over between my love and I (the relationship anyway) and we were burying our friend. Every year since, when the anniversary of his death comes nearer, I am sucked back to those years when we were all together and then reminded of having to say good-bye.
Just last night, I sat up with my husband talking about it all. I laughed & cried and told my stories (probably the same stories I tell every summer). Each year, he always listens patiently as I try to make sense of it. Each year, I remember less of my dear friend's face and voice and I struggle with the guilt of it; and then there are the years & years of my old love and I and what went wrong. When did it go so wrong and why am I still so haunted by it? (As Whitney Huston comes on the TV behind me singing I will always love you sending me straight back to that time – how eerie is that?)
This morning, before Wayne left for work, I thanked him for listening. I explained (as I do every year) why I get this way each summer and told him about the dreams I end up having and the memories that come flooding back.
I told him – I think I know what I did to change things between my old love and I. I told him something I said once years ago and didn’t mean. I told him how awful it was. I told him it was the only time I have ever chosen words to intentionally hurt someone. I said the most horrible thing and I didn’t mean it for even a second. I was just so hurt… Wayne asked - why don’t you write to him to say your sorry? I told him I’ve written a few times in recent months with no reply (not about that per se, but still with no reply). So, I guess this is as close as I’ll get for now because I don’t know if he even remembers what I said, but I do and I’m so very sorry.
This blog is my outlet for those things that float around in my head that I can’t do anything about. Someone asked me recently ‘Why do you write about such things? What makes you think people care about any of it?’ I said I don’t care if other people are interested or not. This blog is for me. It’s my memoirs – my history – my thoughts and ramblings – that just happen to be public. I used to write letters I didn’t send. I guess this blog is my way of sending them.

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Change is good(?)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yesterday's entry made me realize how much I've changed in the last few years. Some years back, I was going through self analyzation faze. I wanted to figure out what it was about me that I might need to change in order to be a better person and to have a happier life. I knew I need to consult someone who really knew me, but wouldn't be afraid to be honest with me. I decided to consult the one person that has not only seem me at my very best, but at my very worst and somehow, always loved me anyway. So, I went to my PC and sent him an instant message asking if he'd be willing to talk for a minute. He agreed, and I got straight to the point and asked him what my biggest flaw was. He didn't have to think about it. I saw on the bottom of the screen that he was typing a message and I tried to prepare myself for his answer. A million things went through my head - you're too sensitive, you're too sarcastic, you're too quick tempered, you're a drama queen (would he dare??)... I tried to be ready for any answer he could have and this is what he said - 'Your biggest flaw is also your greatest attribute: You truly believe there is good in everyone and as wonderful as that is, it's also very dangerous.' I was stunned by his answer. He knew me so well and leave it to him to point out my biggest flaw and still make me feel special. Touched by his answer and startled by how right he was - I sat for a moment to collect myself. I think he thought he hurt me with his answer and probably sat in dread for a moment before I said anything. Through my tears, I thanked him and we said our good-byes soon after.
These days, his answer would not reflect the person I am. These days, I'm a jaded cynic. I don't know when or how it's changed, but I know it's not who I am anymore. Maybe I've been hurt or disappointed one too many times. Maybe it's being exposed to the world and finally seeing it for what it really is. Maybe I've seen people lie and be disloyal to each other one too many times. I don't know what changed me, but I do know that what once defined me is no longer who I am. I wonder if he knew this if he'd be glad to see I've finally grown up or if he'd somehow, be disappointed by it. I guess the bigger question should be - If it's no longer who I am then what would the answer be today and was I better off before I became so jaded?



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The cynic I've become...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a girl's house I know from the gym to do a cosmetics party (I have a small side business where I do wedding make-up and sell cosmetics). The next day, I realized my daily planner was missing. The planner was a gift my husband bought me for starting my business. I always wanted a really good one. It's a pink, designer make, high quality leather with all the organizer bits you can need. I loved it and even have a special pen for it that has rhinestones down the clip. When I realized it was missing, I was just heartbroken. I called the girl and asked her to look for it. She did, but to no avail - it was gone and considering it's an expensive planner, I was sure it was stolen.
Every time I went to the gym and saw any of the girls that were there that night - I sized them up wondering if it was them who stole it. It really bothered me and I'm not really sure why because Wayne promised if it didn't show up, he'd buy me a new one, but somehow it didn't help.
Last week, one of the girls that was at the party was working out at the same time I was working out with my trainer. He kept joking - Is there something pink in her pocket?? When we passed each other, we said hello and she smiled. A part of me felt kinda guilty for thinking she might be the one who stole form me, but I still couldn't help but wonder. Later, she came up to me and asked. 'Are you coming out with us next weekend?' I was confused. No-one has asked me to go out with them since I moved here. She explained a bunch of people from the gym were taking one of the employees out for a going away party and asked me if I wanted to come. I felt like I was just asked to sit at the 'cool table' in the cafeteria at school. I accepted the invitation and thanked her for the invite and have to admit that I was in a good mood for the rest of the day.
Two nights ago, I did a cosmetics event at the gym. It was the first time I had my kit out since the night my planner disappeared. While unpacking my things, tucked away in a hidden pocket of a bag, I found my planner. It was there all along. No-one had stole from me and the last weeks of suspicion were for nothing. The girls who had always been nice to me had no reason to judged so harshly because they had done nothing wrong.
I wasn't always this way. I didn't always think the worst of people and I really can't believe how cynical I've become...



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Chasing Cars

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

While in Ireland, my husband and I were relaxing in our room listening to the new Snow Patrol CD when the song 'Chasing Cars' came on. He told me that a friend said it was the best song ever written. I thought, that's quite a statement - 'The best song ever written'. There are a lot of great songs. I don't think I could ever pick just one, so it made me want to listen to the song more closely. I listened to it and it's an absolutely beautiful song and I can find parts of it that I can relate to on so many levels not only now with my husband, but with other times of my life as well. It's a touching powerful song about being in love, but the person who said it was the best song ever written, to my knowledge, has never been really been in love or in any meaningful relationship. When I listen to this song, I can't help to wonder what it makes him think of to warrant being the best song ever written. I wonder if there is a part of him that we don't know - a part of him he keeps hidden because a song like that would have to remind him of something beautiful to mean that much to him. Or could it be that the song reminds him of what he wants, but has never had?
Just the thought of that being the case, makes me sad when I hear it knowing that he has never known love, but it also reminds me of how lucky I am to know the meaning of such lyrics. Some people wait their whole lives for something that can bring meaning to Chasing Cars. How did I get so lucky to not only have it now, but to have had it once before? Maybe that's why I can't look back on past love of as a bad thing just because it ended. I have to look back on it as a fortuitous and precious thing because there are so many people out there waiting for it to happen to them.
It's because of all this that I've chosen to update my song of the week section (more like song of the month these days) click the link above to listen to Chasing Cars...



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The state of the world

Friday, August 11, 2006

When I heard about what happened yesterday with the terrorists being caught, I have to admit I avoided watching the news until this morning when I watched NBC Nightly News (I record it every night and watch it in the morning with my breakfast) and although, I had already heard most of the details, I have to admit that I was shaken by what I heard. The flights they planned to target were all flights to the US from here. It doesnt exactly give me a feeling a well being for my next flight home (albeit they caught them before they could carry out their plans).
I'm saddened by the state of the world. I'm saddened by the war, the hatred and the suffering. I'm convinced that is there is a God, the world is going to hell in a hand basket. I liked it so much better when I knew little about what goes on in this world. My little bubble was safe and as ignorant as it was - it was comfortable. Now that I see what goes on, I almost wish I could go back to my ignorant little bubble because I hate what's become of humanity. Wayne says it's always been this way and it's not likely to change. I know he's right, but so wish he wasn't.



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Ireland - Day 3 - Dingle Peninsula

Thursday, August 10, 2006

On our third day in Ireland we went on a scenic drive of the Dingle Peninsula which takes at least a half day to drive and took us even longer because we stopped at so many places. Dingle was by far my favorite place in Ireland. It was the most beautiful place I've ever been to. There were many stops along the way to stop and take photographs. To the north is the towering Brandon Mountain, while the west cost has spectacular seascapes. The drive also had many historical sites like huts, cemeteries and a church that dates back to the 6th century.
We stopped at every site the guide pointed to as areas of interest. We stopped at one of the cliff heads for about 3 hours where we had a picnic (from a picnic basket the hotel packed for us) and after, we hiked and climbed to the top. As tiring as it was - it was by far the best views we had all day and well worth it.
On the way back, we saw in the distance what looked like a ruin of a castle or a watch tower. It was in the middle of nowhere overlooking the ocean, so we made it our mission to find it and take some photos. We had already spent the entire day hiking and and climbing through Dingle, but were undeterred when we realized we had to walk about a half of a mile to get to it once we found it. It was beautiful and peaceful standing there alone in the countryside overlooking the water and I was really glad we made the detour.
I'll be adding a photo album of our trip as soon as I have some time, but for now, I've added a few of dingle below. The crucifixion scene was one of the most interesting things we saw because it was in the middle of no-where on a very curvy roadside stuck onto the side of the mountain.



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An American Style Fridge

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Over the weekend we got a new refrigerator. We got an 'American Style' fridge it's a whirlpool side by side fridge freezer with water and ice maker and it's lovely! Americans might wonder why this is such exciting news for me. It's because here in the UK everything is small and the fridge we've been living with was the size that belonged in an American dorm room not a house with two adults living in it! It wasn't even frost free so if you put anything too close to the back of it they would freeze and the stuff on the door never got cold enough. Being a person who cooks meals from scratch with all fresh ingredients, we never had enough space in the fridge for all the food after shopping. We have a vegetable cart that sat next to it and on hot days, the veg actually partially cooked sitting in the hot kitchen and would go bad a day after buying it. Last week - I finally had enough and we went out and got our MASSIVE 'American style' fridge.
I never thought I'd be excited about buying a household appliance, but I have to admit I find myself wiping the fingerprints from it every time I go into the kitchen, shining it like a new car (it's black and shows every little mark). Now that we have it I can only dream of the day I can have air conditioning or a full size washer and dryer rather than the all in one tiny thing we have now. I still can't get over doing the laundry in the kitchen...



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Ireland - Day 2 - The Lakes of Killnary

Saturday, August 5, 2006

On our first full day in Ireland, we decided to stay local and explore Killnary (the city our hotel was in). In our guide book, there was a whole section on the Lakes of Killnary and since the pictures looked beautiful, we started there. We spent the entire day walking through nature trails exploring the different lakes and wooded areas.
In the morning it was quite overcast so I started with black in white film knowing that the color film would end up grainy and grey, but I wasn't happy with the results I got with the black and white either. The photos don't do the area justice at all. The clouds hung over the mountains like a low deep fog and the sun made the sky glow behind the clouds.
Later in the afternoon, the sun came out and it turned out to be a beautiful day. We found different places in the guide book to visit and spent the day wondering around woods and the the nature trails of national parks trying to find the spots in the book. We walked miles upon miles and much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I never thought I'd enjoy vacations that involved so little relaxation, but in an odd way, it was relaxing and peaceful and I always enjoy exploring new places with Wayne. We're so lucky we enjoy each other like we do. I couldn't imagine taking separate vacations like so many couples seem to do.



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