Our trip so far(& the baby's sex)...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We arrived in the US on the 17th and since then, we haven't stopped at all.  We have been running from visit to visit and christmas shopping in between.  We've both been suffering with really bad colds for days now and I'm letting Wayne sleep in today.  Our trips back are always busy and we often return home feeling like we need a vacation to recover from our vacation.  That being said - It's been wonderul to see everyone and I'm so happy to be home.  I think we're half-way through our trip now and I'm already sad just thinking about going back.


It's been quite a ride so far - My first day here, we went to the OB/GYN to get a check up.  In the UK while pregnant, there seems to be almost no care until you get to your third trimester.  The schedule is as follows: 6-8 weeks - first midwife appointment (no exam just a meeting for medical history and a few basic blood tests). Week 12 - ultrasound & 1 screening test for downs syndrome (but no midwife appt) week 16 - 2nd midwife appointment (where they didn't even weigh me.  They checked the baby's heart rate and asked if I had any questions!  I waited 10 weeks to see her for that?).  Week 20 - 21 - last ultrasound (no midwife appointment).  Week 25-26 - 3rd midwife appointment.  I'm sure you're seeing a pattern here (I'm 5 months pregnant and I've only seen my midwife twice and have another 5 weeks until I'm due to see her again - all this while being over 35 and have had major surgery while pregnant).


My 2nd day here, I went to mu OB/GYN.  I was there from 10AM - 1:00PM.  I got a full and thorough work-up.  They did quite a few blood tests, a urine test, a full physical exam, an ultrasound and gave me every screening test available for the baby (besides anything evasive of course).  On top of that - they sent me to a high risk specialist to have an in depth ultrasound to make sure the baby was OK after going through the surgery and being exposed to anesthesia.  It's been a wonderful and comforting experinace and I'm so glad I went while here.  I can go back now feeling confident and well taken care of.


We found out we are having a boy!  I'm really excited and I see such a difference in Wayne after seeing the last two ultrasounds too.  We're feeling very much like expectant parents and have been told by many how happy we look.  We are happy - really happy and I can't wait until we meet our baby boy!



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Me with my ever growning belly

Friday, December 14, 2007

I've had a few requests for pictures of me with my expanding pregnant bump.  I'm going out to lunch today so I had a pic snapped before leaving the house...
Pregnant



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Leaving Monday!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's been a busy time.  We're leaving Monday morning for our 25 day trip back to the states.  I'm really excited.  I haven't been home in a year and it makes it all the more special this year being pregnant.  The morning after we arrive, I have an appointment with an OB Doctor out there.  I'm hoping to get an ultrasound while I'm there so we can find out the sex of the baby.  I've invited my Mom to come with us thinking it would be nice for her to experience (considering she's missing so much with me so far away).  Now, my sister has asked if she can come.  It's turning into quite the event!  I'm going to be so embarrassed having so many people come with me for a routine Doctor's appointment, but I didn't want to say no.  I only hope that my brother and step father don't ask to tag along as well!  Those who know me, know that my family isn't always so supportive so, I'm going to take advantage of the enthusiasm while it's there because you never know when it might change!



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Thin Walls

Friday, December 7, 2007

It's odd waking up to the voice of a stranger.  The walls are really thin in this house and I am often woken up by my neighbors.  Some nights it's in the wee hours of the morning that I'm woken up by one of the children crying.  It's happened on more than one occasion at around 2-3AM and I can only imagine it's nightmares waking the child up and I wish I could say that their mother is quick to go to them, but it often takes a while before the crying stops.  Some days it's the voice of one of the woman calling out to the children that wakes me and some mornings I'm actually woken by the sound of their alarm clock (the other day that happened at 5:45 in the morning). 
This morning, I woke up to a voice calling out 'Come on you two' as if it was coming from the same room.  It was 6AM and I wanted to cry since I didn't get to sleep until around 2:00 this morning.  I keep earplugs next to my bed, but don't like to sleep with them in because it causes my ears to ache after a while.  So, instead I wait to hear them and hope if I put them in while I'm groggy enough I'll get back to sleep.  I'm a really light sleeper though and have to say that once I'm awake, I don't often get back to sleep.
Today, I'm really tired.  I want to nap, but am afraid if I do, I won't sleep tonight or worse, I'll just be woken up by the children.  The little devils don't stop all day.  One of them throws temper tantrums several times a day that involve screaming at a pitch that should break glass, and loud banging that I can only guess is caused by them stamping their feet or throwing themselves on the floor over and over again (I hear the screeching as I type).  Again, I wish I could say the mother was quick to put an end to the noise, but they just leave the child to it and it usually lasts at least 20 minutes.  I think I'm developing a tick...
I try keeping the TV pretty loud throughout the day and I've also invested in radios for the kitchen and bedroom so I can try to drown the noise out when in those rooms.  When we get back to the states, I'll be looking into getting a few white noise machines to help block the noise because I don't know how much longer I can take this.  It's a really lovely house, but apparently not well built.  The lease is up in about 5 months and I've told my husband to not be surprised if I want to move again.  The only thing that worries me is that you just never know with these sort of houses if you're going to have the same problem again as soon as you move.  I just didn't think it was possible to have walls this thin.  We might as well just all move in together because it's as if we share a house already!  Then again, I never hear a thing from the people on the other side of us, so maybe it has something to do with the calibre of people you have living next to you as well.



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Pregnancy Brain

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I don't know what it is, but pregnancy seems to be having an adverse effect on me.  I've become a little bit stupid, very clumsy,  and also have trouble concentrating.  I can't think of normal words while writing or having conversations, I've become accident prone and break or drop things on a regular basis, and do random idiotic things! 
The other day while cooking dinner, I put the olive oil in the refrigerator and the milk in the cupboard and didn't notice it until I needed the milk a while later.  I also called my Doctor in the US to make an appointment.  I made the appointment for Dec. 14th even though I don't even arrive in the country until the 17th!  I didn't even notice - I called my Mom to tell her the appt date and she caught it immediately!  I'm constantly doing silly things and most of the time I just feel distracted and preoccupied.  I only hope this is a temporary affliction and after the baby comes, I start getting back to normal.



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It finally hit me

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It finally happened last night - I finally had the retaliation of that fact that I'm going to have a baby.  I've been through so much from the start of this pregnancy that I think I just wouldn't allow myself to feel too much - probably as a way to stay strong through it all.  I haven't been able to really get in touch with my emotions and I've been wondering if it would ever happen.  Last night it happened and boy did it happen.  Out of nowhere while watching TV, I started to cry.  I went over to my husband, sat on his lap and just started blabbering through my tears saying things like - We're going to have a baby! and I've waited my whole life for this!  My goodness did the tears flow!  It was 4 months worth of emotion coming out all at once.  Maybe it was hearing the heart beat again or getting a glimpse of the baby during the ultrasound or finding out that everything really was okay (again).  I don't know what triggered it, but it finally came and I'm so glad it did.
We went back for the ultrasound yesterday, but the technician was not a very nice woman and didn't really let me see the baby (never mind find out the sex).  She rolled passed quickly and went straight to the area I was there to get scanned.  I asked while I was there if I could get a peek, but she said no she didn't have time.  She said, 'I showed you it was moving and the heartbeat was there - the kid is fine'.  I really didn't see any of what she said - it just happened too fast and I was really disappointed.  It wasn't very womanly of her to deny me a good look, but at least I know 'the kid is fine!'
Anyway, I'm feeling a lot better today.  Hopefully, that will be the last my health problems and things will go a bit more smoothly from now on.



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Another hospital visit...

Monday, December 3, 2007

This morning I had to go back to the hospital.  I've been having a lot of pain and cramping for the last few days and this morning said enough is enough - we have to go to make sure everything is okay.  The good news is that we heard the baby's heartbeat and the doctor assured me he thought it was fine.  He took some blood work and some other tests and came to the conclusion I have an infection of some sort that has given me an 'irritable uterus'.  They are unsure if the infection is due to the surgery or if it's completely unrelated.  They gave me an antibiotic and are sending me back for an ultrasound later today to make sure it's nothing to do with my ovaries. 
I just can't seem to catch a break.  It seems to be one scare after another.  I really would love it if I could just have some time to relax and enjoy this experience. 
Physically, I'm feeling okay - just a bit worn out, but I'm just glad everything
with the baby is fine.  I'm hoping to get a look at the baby when I go
for the scan and maybe if we're lucky, we can find out the sex!



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Technology and human interaction

Friday, November 30, 2007

I just watched the movie, 'You've Got mail'.  It reminded me of a time when email was different - when people took the time to say something real.  I guess then it was still a novelty. It seems these days people use it as a quick and easy option.


In a world of email, instant messages, cell phone texts and social networks it seems to
me that people have forgotten how to really communicate and interact with each other
on anything other than a superficial basis.


Technology seems to be taking the place of human interaction. It seems
these days, people use it as a cop-out way to communicate without
having to actually commit to conversation or any real human interaction. We
send quick emails and say things like - 'Hi, just a quick note to see how you
are' which is fine, but if we really want to know, wouldn't we
take the time to really find out?  Or worse - We forward something that
someone else forwarded us! I absolutely hate forwarded mail - It's not even an original thought.


Today, we e-mail and instant message each other all the time, and many people
spend hours on sites like Facebook and MySpace. Are these ways of communicating
taking the place of actual human interaction? Why call or meet our friends for
lunch if we can just use our computers to catch up with them?


There are other ways we seem to disconnect from the real world too. With the
popularity of Mp3 players and Ipods, we have discovered another way to slip
inside our own worlds and ignore the outside reality. I can't deny that the
digital music player is a wonderful thing, but it does seem to have put a
certain distance between people as we walk around, headphones blasting, oblivious
to the other people around us.


I think that cell phones are perhaps the most isolating technology. Instead of walking from place to place chatting
with people along the way, we grab our phones and then txt instead of call!  We have
taken all the humanity out of communicating at all. Any time we are bored we pick
up our phones to distract ourselves instead of making a connection with the people
around us or in many cases, the person right in front of us - A huge pet-peeve
of mine is when you're having a conversation with someone, they get a txt, read
it and then actually reply to it while you're still in the middle of what was a
conversation.  It's rude!  I see it all the time and it seems to me
that people don't seem satisfied with what's right in front of them.  They
need more - more half-hearted, non intimate and superficial communication.


Don

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An attempt at normalcy

Thursday, November 29, 2007

In an attempt to feel like a part of the outside world, I went out today and ran some errands.  I did my hair and make-up and went to the shops.  I bought some flowers just because and walked around the cloths shops looking for something I could wear with my baby bump, but didn't find anything.  I swear this town doesn't have one maternity shop.
On my way home I ran into my personal trainer and the only person I would consider a friend in this country.  He hasn't seen me in a while and couldn't stop looking at my belly.  I had to say 'You just can't take your eyes off of it can you?'  He said no, it's just too weird!  We stood in the parking lot and talked for a few minutes and promised we'd have lunch soon.  It almost felt normal - like I have a life outside this house and it made me feel better.
When I got home, the police came to my door asking questions about my neighbor.  She apparently got out of her abusive marriage and is being harassed by the husband.  The police are going to all the neighbors to try and get statements.  I didn't want to get involved.  I mean after all - the woman and her children drive me crazy on a daily basis, but I know what she's going through and gave a statement anyway.
Her roommate came and knocked a little while later to explain the situation.  They met at a battered woman's refuge and moved in together to support each other through it.  I almost felt guilty.  It's them and 4 kids over there just trying to get by.  No wonder the kids have behaviour problems.  No wonder there's always a lot of yelling.  It doesn't make it right though.  Kids should have it better than that.  I still let her know I've been there myself and if they're ever in trouble to let us know.  The walls are so thin it wouldn't take much...




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Life as I know it...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's 6am.  I don't sleep well these days.  I don't think I've slept a good night in months.  I know I don't write as often as I should, but I find it difficult lately to find the words for what I'm thinking and feeling.  It's odd really - I've always been the sort to keep a record of my life.  I've always kept journals or found some outlet to write down my thoughts - to get it out.  I have bought 3 pregnancy journals so far, but have yet to have a pen touch one.  I can't find the words.
It's not just pregnancy though - it's the day to day life of living here and having no-one but my husband.  Since I got sick, Wayne has had to work a lot of extra hours to make up for all the time he missed when I needed him home and now he's getting ready to shut down his business for a month when we go back the states for Christmas.  I am alone more than 12 hours a day and it's wearing on me.  Some days I accept it as just the way it is, some days I think I'll go mad and others I feel like I'm just quietly disappearing. 
This house is bigger than the last and somehow makes me feel more alone.  And then there's invasion of the noise from the neighbors...  I don't want to say anything to Wayne because what can he do?  He's doing the best he can, but by the time he gets home from work around 8pm, he showers, we eat and do the the dishes we have just enough time to curl up on the couch together for some TV before I fall asleep around 11(with pregnancy I just can't seem to stay awake past 11 I only wish I could sleep through the night). 
The weekends are precious and the last month or so they have been spent packing, moving, unpacking and doing work around the house.  I can't contribute much so most of it's down to him and I still end up spending a good portion of the day by myself before he's back to work on Monday.
Every morning I get up, turn on my computer and check my email hoping for some contact before the hours I will have to wait for the time difference to not be an issue, but friends don't email - they'd rather save it for when we talk. The truth is I don't want a short and sweet email - I want the kind of correspondence where you exchange real thoughts and experiences... So throughout the week, I call my friends and family to try to stay sane and practice my social skills (I sometimes worry I have none left), but it's not the same as sitting across from someone and having conversation and human interaction.  My cats just don't cut it (although they rarely leave my side and I don't know what I'd do without them and their company).
All this while experiencing pregnancy and facing the concept of becoming a mother.  Is it no wonder I can't find the words?  All I can say is I can't wait to get home for this visit.  In 3 weeks I will have a normal life of not only the relationship with my husband, but friends, family and even the freedom of driving again (not to mention the comfort of being back in my own country and not feeling out of place all the time).



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A quick update...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I just wrote an entire entry that I deleted because I haven't written in a while and I didn't think I should start by complaining.  We moved on Friday and long story short - my hideous neighbor that lived next door to me in the last house just happened to move in next door to our new house!  What are the chances right?  This time the walls are thin and I don't have to have the windows open to hear her, her terror of a toddler or the music.  This morning I was woken up by the child screaming and I have the flu so my mood is a bit...
Anyway, it's been a busy time.  Leading up to the move, I did as much as I could, but Wayne had to take care of most of it.  The day we moved was a lot of the same and since then I've been trying to do as much as I can each day so that Wayne isn't bogged down this weekend.  I still can't do much lifting or bending so I feel pretty useless and if I do too much and end up in pain - Wayne ends up pretty angry with me.  I feel like I've spent the last few months sitting around getting fatter by the day.  My beautiful husband tells me every day - you're not fat - your pregnant.  I feel fat AND pregnant.
My belly popped out of nowhere and I look pregnant which is really cool aside from the rest of me expanding so much as well, but I guess with all the bed rest I've had it was bound to happen.  I do love my belly though and can't complain too much.
I finally took the bandage off my incision this weekend!  The wound has finally completely closed! It's not very pretty and I can say with almost certainty that my bikini days are surely over.  I feel a lot better, but still have some pain that I think may linger for a while, but I'm just glad to have the bandage off  after  so long.
I know I still ended up complaining, but this entry is nothing compared to the last one! :-)
By the way - Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the day.  What I wouldn't do to be home for it, but at least I'll be there for Christmas!



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Going Home!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Last night, I booked our trip home for Christmas!  I'm so excited because this year we'll be going for nearly a month (25 days to be exact)!  We'll be leaving on Dec 17th and coming back on Jan 10th.  It's a really long trip and I'm really happy we'll be doing it this year.
I had my doubts we'd be making the trip.  We've had a lot of extra expenses lately and we've both missed a lot of work due to my surgery and recovery.  Wayne missed 2 weeks and I missed over 3.  We both have our own businesses and we don't get paid if we don't work. 
Our house has just sold so we're moving on the 16th and the move is costing a couple thousand pounds.  I also had to apply for my last and final visa last month which cost a whopping

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Amazing!

Monday, November 5, 2007

I had my 3 month ultrasound today and the first phase of the test I wrote about last week.  What an amazing experience it was!  I didn't expect the baby to look so much like a baby yet.  I just had an ultrasound 2 weeks ago after the surgery, but there wasn't much to see then.  Today, I saw a fully formed baby that appeared to be sucking it's thumb at one point!  I watched it move around and saw the little heart beat away!  I am overcome with emotion and such happiness.
The test results were quite good.  Judging by the measurements they took, the odds of down syndrome went from (judging by age and family history) 1 in 200 to 1 in 1200!  The doctor said that couples with this result don't normally go through with the other test. 
Wayne and I didn't expect the numbers to change so drastically.  We're leaning toward not going through with the other test.  It's invasive and there is a risk of miscarriage.  We called the midwife to discuss it with her, but she wasn't in.  When Wayne left for work we were pretty sure we weren't going to do it and I can't imagine the midwife saying anything that will cause us to change our minds.  We have until tomorrow to decide (it's a test that has to be done in the next week).


I feel like I've been through enough and the baby has made it through such odds that I really don't want to do anything else that could put it at risk - I'm so glad Wayne agrees.  I still have to discuss it with the midwife, but it looks like it might finally be time to stop worrying, relax and start enjoying being pregnant. What an amazing experience it was this morning!



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Really emotional today

Thursday, November 1, 2007
I'm really emotional today.  I have an ultrasound on Monday followed by a consultation for a test I have to have done which will take place within days of the ultrasound.  The test is called CVS testing.  It's a test that detects chromosomal abnormalities such as Down's syndrome.  Because of my age and the fact that I had an aunt with down's syndrome - the test is something that my midwife highly recommends I have.  It's a lot like amniocentesis only done much earlier and is supposed to be much safer.  They go in with a needle and take cells from the placenta.  It's safer, but there is still a 1 in 100 chance of miscarriage following the test.
Wayne and I discussed this sort of thing before ever trying to get pregnant.  We always knew we'd have the test done and when it came up, we instatnly agreed to it. 

That was before I had the surgery and came really close to losing the baby (they didn't give very good odds before operating).  After all I've been through, the thought of doing something that will put the baby at risk again is just awful.  I spoke to the midwife and the OB when I was in the hospital and they both said that the surgery will not make my risk any greater when I have the test, but it doesn't make me feel any better.
We have to go into London to see a specialist for the test.  I'm still not recovered from the surgery/incision bursting (I still have an open wound in my gut) and the thought of a long train ride while I feel like this doesn't help matters, but it can't be put off.  The test has to be done between 12 & 13 weeks.
I guess because of all I've been though from the very start of this pregnancy, I feel really attached.  I heard the heart beat at 6 weeks (not at all the norm to hear it that early) and since that moment, I've felt such a great love for this little life growing inside me.  My belly is starting to bulge a bit which makes it that much more real for me.  I dread this test.
Because of the pain from the start of this pregnancy, combined with the miscarriage I had in June, I've been superstitious about things.  I haven't pulled out any of my pregnancy books or done anything a first time mother would be doing when newly pregnant (except for the things regarding health of course - prenatal vitamins, eating right, I gave up caffeine, alcohol and of course haven't touched a cigarette since I took the test).  I've tried so hard to keep myself in check for the first 3 months, that I haven't allowed myself to really be happy.  Now that the 3 months are finally nearly done, I want this all to be over so I can start being happy about this and start looking forward to the baby and start actually enjoying being pregnant.  I really can't wait for this test to be done and over so I can finally breathe and feel good about all of this.

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The whole sorted story...

Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm waiting for the visiting nurse to come and change the dressing on my incision so I can take a shower.  Showers are a luxury these days, but what I want most is to be able to bend over and have the ability to shave my legs and give myself a much needed pedicure!  I think it will be a while longer before that happens...
I guess I'm getting a little ahead of myself though.  Where do I start with this story?  It's been a long couple of months and so much has happened.  I guess I should start with the fact that on September 10th, I found out I was pregnant.  I didn't write about it because to be honest, after the miscarriage in June, this pregnancy felt really private and I only shared the news with a select few.  Wayne and I agreed to hold off on the celebration until the first 3 months were over. 
Almost immediately I started having pain in my right side.  I tried not to panic and thought it would pass.  Soon after, other symptoms started to arise - fatigue, nausea and oddly - a lot of sneezing (the midwife explained this was caused my the hormones effecting the blood vessels in my nose).  The pain in my side persisted as well.
At week 6 of my pregnancy, I called the doctor about the pain and they called me right in for an ultrasound to make sure it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy.  That day, I heard my baby's heartbeat.  It was the single most amazing moment of my life and I smiled for the rest of the day (much to my husband's dismay - he was really concerned about me getting too attached before we knew the pregnancy was safe and healthy).
2 weeks later, the midwife called me in and when I told her of the pain in my side she said it was probably due to the bowl descending with the pregnancy and told me not to worry.  I was sick every day and just thought maybe the pain was a part of this pregnancy. 
On the 13th, I had my first day out in weeks.  We had theatre tickets in London for over a month and I forced myself out for the weekend.  Through the weekend, the pain got progressively worse and on Sunday, after returning home, Wayne took me to the hospital.
Because I was pregnant, it was harder for the doctors to figure out what was wrong.  Monday, they sent me for an ultrasound to rule out a miscarriage and to examine my internal organs (they thought it could have been the gallbladder).  The ultrasound showed nothing abnormal and on Tuesday, with almost no notice - they rushed me off to surgery to remove my appendix. 
They gave me little hope for the baby.  The doctor gave me a speech about how easily I could get pregnant again and told me there was a 30% chance I'd lose the baby.  I was terrified and devastated.  About 30 minutes later, I was being wheeled into surgery.
After the surgery, they gave the baby a 48 hour window for miscarriage.  because I was pregnant there was little they could do in the way of pain meds.  I was given little more than an over the counter medicine for the pain of major surgery and I can't put into words how painful the next few days and very long nights were. 


It turned out, they had to cut a little more than they planned because when they found my appendix to be healthy (although they took it anyway) - they had to do a bit of exploring.  It turned out there was a bit of fatty tissue that somehow got twisted inside me and was dying and becoming toxic.  If they didn't operate it could have been quite dangerous. 
I suffered through until Friday when they finally sent me for an ultrasound to check on the baby and was overjoyed to find out out that everything was fine! 
Because I was being given so little in the way of pain medicine and very little assistance from the night nurses, I asked for an early release and was sent home that day.  I spent the weekend in bed, went to my GP on Monday to let him know the pain was still quite bad, but he just sent me home with nothing more to ease the pain.  He never even looked at the incision.  On Wednesday, the incision burst due to a build up of fluid with an infection and it was back to the hospital... 8 hours later, a surgeon came to see me and with no pain meds, he reopened the incision with a pair of forceps.  he packed it with gauze, dressed it and sent me home.  Friday, we were back again because the bleeding was too much to last until the nurse was due to arrive on Saturday.  I've had a nurse come everyday since to check the wound and redress it.  It will be another couple of weeks before it heals and I'm allowed to live any normal type of life.
All that said - I can't really complain.  Against all odds, the baby is ok and even though I've had to suffer without anything for pain - it's well worse the sacrifice. Next week, I'll be 3 months pregnant and I can't say enough how blessed I feel to have come this far.



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Our London Trip (and Orlando Bloom)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Our trip to London was fabulous.  We had a really great time.  We were only supposed to be there 1 night, but we were having such a wonderful time we decided to stay another night.  We left Saturday morning and came home Monday night.  It was a holiday weekend so it worked out perfectly.  We figure since we're trying for a baby - our days of splurging and spur of the moment weekends away may be numbered. So, we're living for the moment and really enjoying ourselves.
The first night, we stayed in Trafalgar Square at The Trafalgar Hotel and the second night we stayed at the Marriott in Kensington.  Both hotels were wonderful and well worth the money.  We booked through priceline.com again and I can't say enough how much we've saved using that website - without using it we would never stay at such luxurious hotels - I highly recommend it!
Saturday night we had tickets to see a play called 'In Celebration' which starred Orlando Bloom.  I really like him and was surprised to get tickets considering he's a pretty big celebrity.  The show was really good, although I can't say I found Orlando Bloom's role or performance to be star quality.  I spent the whole time waiting for his character to say or do something significant, but it never happened.  He hardly spoke at all and considering his celebrity status, I think it was distracting and the play would have been better without the big name playing that part.  That being said - it was much better then most plays I've seen on the West End.
After the show, we went outside and waited for him to come out to see if he'd sign the programme.  There was a small crowd formed so we just joined them.  Before long - the small crowed turned into a huge crowd that literally took up the entire street the theatre was on.  I've never seen anything like it.  They even had barricades set up.  I don't know why I was so surprised - like I said he's a pretty big celebrity. 
Those of you who know me - know this wasn't my first attempt to get a programme signed after a play.  I've been disappointed before and thought considering the size of the crowd, there would be no way I'd be getting an autograph, but I'm pleased to report that Orlando Bloom did not disappoint (shame on you Mr Kilmer). 
We couldn't have gotten out of the crowd easily even if we wanted to, so we stuck around to at least try to get a good look at him up close.  He came out and worked his way around the crowed (behind the barricades of course) he stayed out there for quite some time and actually made a point of signing the programmes of the people that actually went to see the play.  I was too short to reach over the crowed, but Wayne handed him the programme and he did sign it.  Later, we had a good laugh looking at all the photos we tried to get while standing in the crowed.  If you go to my photos section, you can see a few of them under 'London 2007' along with the other photos I took throughout the weekend.
Sunday, we covered Covent Gardens and did some shopping.  We were really enjoying our trip and thought maybe we'd stay another night.  A few minutes after discussing it - we came across an internet cafe' and  took it as a sign.  We had already checked out of our hotel so we hopped on priceline and booked our 2nd night.
That night, we had dinner at an award winning Italian restaurant and had a fantastic meal (thanks to the concierge at our hotel).  Monday, we went to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.  This was a real treat because they are two places in London I hadn't been before so I really enjoyed it.  We took the train back Monday night and were exhausted by the time we came home, but it really was a wonderful weekend.  I was needing a weekend away.  I can't say what a difference it made.  It really lifted my spirits.
We had to go back into London on the following Wednesday to see a Specialist about my arthritis and ended up making another day of it.  We had lunch and spent the rest of the day shopping.  I've been trying to catch up with work ever since (which is why I haven't been blogging).  Just two days off really set me back, but I should be completely caught up by tomorrow.



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Cherish yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Yesterday, after writing about a friend that died many years ago, I had a comment by a reader that told me I must live in the present.  Yesterday was not a good day to say this to me.  It bothered me - as if I was being told I don't live in the present or worse it suggested I should forget my friend.  This is a public blog that has visitors from all over the world most of whom I don't know.  Comments are bound to be made - some I'll agree with and others I won't.  It's a part of the experience and I welcome any feedback that my readers want to give.  But I have to say that this comment just didn't sit well with me and I'm going to attempt to explain why.
I don't like being told to forget my past.  It's insulting to be told to forget what's made me the person I am.  I think people spend too much damn time trying to forget their pasts.  Believe me, there are a lot of things I would like to forget.  My life has not always been easy.  I had a childhood that I'm still trying to recover from and I've had  things happen since that I'd also like to forget.  Unfortunately, try as we may - we can't forget the past.  All we can do is try to not let it effect the present.
The women in my family are notorious for being bitter people.  They had bad things happen to them and they let it get the best of them.  They dwelled on the bad so much that they became people that most wouldn't like or want to be around.  I do not want this to be my legacy.  I don't want to turn into that sort of person.  One of the ways I keep from doing so is to let the bad things go and hold on to the good.  I may have had a lot to overcome, but I also have been blessed to have had people in my life that gave me wonderful things to hold on to.  I have been loved by some pretty great people and that's what I choose to hold onto so that I don't let the bad stuff turn me into someone I don't ever want to be.
As a friend recently said, I live very much in the present.  That being said, my present isn't always something worth writing about.  How many posts can I have about how in love I am with my husband before people start getting sick to their stomachs?  And as for the rest of my day to day life - During the week, I spend 80% of my time alone.  I work from this computer and I don't have any friends in this country. There's no social life to share.  I can't say this happened to me today or that happened yesterday because most of the time - nothing has happened.  I'm not going to write about the what I watched on TV, what I made for dinner or about the illness I have that keeps me in almost contestant pain.  I want to write about my life and if there's nothing from today to share - I always have yesterday.  This blog is my chronicle of my today, my yesterdays and with some luck - all of my tomorrows.  The past cannot be forgotten - this is a fact.  I choose to cherish yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow.  It's the best I can do.



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On This Day...

Friday, August 24, 2007
Today is a significant day for me. It was on this day 15 years ago, that I lost a friend - one of the best friends I've ever had. I write about him every year. I try not to talk about how he died, but how he lived. So today I'm going to start from the beginning...
When you're a kid, summer is a magical time filled with adventures and possibilities. When we finish school and get older, somehow that magic fades and we forget what it was like to be so young, carefree and optimistic. With age, it becomes a season instead of the adventure it once was. My last summer of magic and optimistic youth was the summer of '89.
That summer, my high school sweetheart dumped me for the 2nd consecutive summer (wanting the time to be free before the fall when he’d decide he wanted a girlfriend again). I was down in the dumps and a friend invited me to a party to try to cheer me up. She wanted me to meet her new boyfriend and said that he had a friend she knew I’d hit it off with. She’d been telling me about him for weeks and thought it was time I started seeing other people. I told her I had no interest in being fixed up, but I’d go to the party on the terms that I’d meet him and see for myself what I thought. I never could have known that it was on that day that my life would be forever changed.
Her boyfriend was my friend I started this post talking about - Jeff. We hit it off immediately. We were instant friends and behaved like brother and sister from the get go. To this day, I have never connected with a friend so instantly. He had 2 friends with him - one that I also was fast friends with and the other, was the friend my girlfriend wanted to fix me up with. He was a gorgeous blond, blue eyed charmer that I was instantly struck by. I remember the moment we met – I knew I was done for. My friend introduced us and I swear for a moment there was no-one else there but the two of us – it was like a scene from a movie. He took my hand, looked me straight in the eyes and repeated my name as if he wanted memorise it. He smiled as he did this and I was a goner. Throughout the rest of the day, when we weren’t together - he watched me and didn’t mind at all if I noticed. Needless to say, we also hit it off and I would spend the following 10+ years in love with him.
From that day, for the rest of the summer we were together – the five of us. We had a wonderful time - The last of the magical summers. By summer’s end – the three guys were leaving. Two, joined the service and Jeff took a job working with the military. For the following years the couples tried to survive long distance relationships and as friends, we all tried to survive the dramas of it all. The next time we were all together again was at Jeff's funeral 3 years later.
Jeff and I were always very close. He was like an overprotective brother who always looked out for me. I can't say this didn't have it's complications in the group dynamic, but he always had my best interest in mind. We had a strange connection that I was never able to explain. He always knew when I needed him (even when it had been months since we last spoke). I remember one night in particular - it was the middle of the night and I was awake and crying over my latest heartbreak with his friend. Jeff called me saying 'What's wrong - I felt like you needed me and had to call' He was calling from Hawaii. I couldn't believe it and just said - How do you do that?? How do you always know?? We spent the entire night talking and I can't say what a comfort he was. It was like that from the start and stayed that way until he died.
In 1992, a drunk driver ran a stop sign and hit the car Jeff was in. He had a massive head trauma and spent weeks in a coma. I didn't find out about the accident until he had woken up and went to see him as soon as I got the news. I spent the following few months visiting him nearly every day in the hospital and when he got well enough, I took him out on the weekends as well to try to help him feel normal again. When he woke up from the coma, he thought it was still 1989. He thought nothing had changed, but by that time everything had changed and it was hard for him to understand.
He was different after the accident, but to me it didn't matter. I almost loved him more for the person he became. Although he was almost child-like at times with a sweet innocence that only a head trauma could give (god he'd hate me saying that), he was still Jeff. I always described it as 'Jeff without the attitude.' He didn't hold back. He said everything he thought when he thought it and he told me he loved me a lot. His face lit up every time I walked into his room and he was an amazingly strong through his recovery.
We were really close through those months - Closer than ever. Then one day I got the call - he died in the middle of the night. A blood clot (he was aware of but never told me about) went from his brain to lungs. In an instant he was gone, but while he was here he lived better than most. He loved with no boundaries and he smiled more than anyone I've ever known. I will always miss him and I will always be grateful for the time we had while he was here.

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The time has come

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

After a long few months, it's time for Wayne and I to start trying for a baby again.  To be honest, I've been tentative about this time coming.  A few weeks ago, I was thinking that I didn't think I'd want to try again right away.  My thinking was that when we do try again I'd have to be prepared for the possibility of another miscarriage.  I'm 35 and would be lying if I said I wasn't worried that there could be something wrong with me that would cause me to not be able to sustain a pregnancy.  The doctors here don't do tests until it's happened 3 times.  My biggest fear is that I may have missed my chance.  I know my worries may be superfluous, but it's still a possibility that I have to recognise and it's really not something I can say I'd be prepared for no matter how much time I tried to allow myself. 
So now that the time has come, I can't help but want to try again right away.  Wayne was keen to dismiss the doctors advise on waiting at all so there was no question for him on whether or not to give it more time.  I'm nervous, anxious and hopeful all at the same time and I wish I could fast forward through the month and take a test to see if we will conceive as easily as we did before.
We've decided to take a romantic break to London this weekend.  I love London.  I find it to be an absolutely magical place and  when I'm there, I still find it surreal that this girl from Jersey  is walking the streets of London.   We're staying in a really nice hotel, going to dinner and a show that I'm thrilled to have gotten tickets for.  We only seem to go to London for special occasions and this is indefinitely such an occasion.  I'm looking really forward to it.



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Some good news!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I've had so much going on in the last few months that have just thrown me into a bit of a tailspin and I've been really down.  The same week I had the miscarriage, I was given the news that I was losing my business.  I have a small cosmetics web store and I was told by my supplier that they were changing sales policies and shutting down all outside web business (driving all internet sales to their own site).  They told me that as of Sept. 10th all sites will be shut down.  This news hit me hard and the timing was awful.
My supplier has guidelines in place for outside sales that I have never I'm really followed.  I have always broken the rules and knew that sooner or later they would catch up to me and shut me down.  It's been over a year.  I've had some warnings from them, but never listened thinking I'd keep going until they forced me to close.  I've always viewed it as riding the wave while I could.  I knew one day it would come to an end but wasn't really prepared for it to happen.
I just got a call from the head office.  My heart sank when they said who they were (thinking they were calling to inform me they shut me down early for going against guidelines).  They told me they were calling me to let me know they've been well aware that I have been going against guidelines for quite some time.  Then said there was no way to put it other than to tell me that they chose to look the other way.  They allowed it all this time because they were impressed with the way I run my business and with the quality of my site.  they told me the guidelines were in place to avoid their company name being damaged by bad service and dodgy sites that made them look unprofessional.  They told me they were really happy with all I've done and that even though things will be changing - they would like to keep me on as an affiliate.   They've made special arrangements for me to keep my existing customers and are allowing me to bring in new customers going forward.  My profit will be cut by 15% (ouch) but they are letting me to stay open.
They also let me know that they've passed my information on to the company that is handling their e-commerce campaign and recommended me as someone they should look into in hiring as a consultant because of my success and professionalism.
I am so pleased and proud by this news.  My business really means a lot to me and even though it's going to change, it could still work out well for me.  I feel a huge weight lifted and I'm so relieved.



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Updates...

It has been brought to my attention that I don't follow up on things I write about.  I mention things that go on, but don't mention them again.  Quite honestly, I didn't think there was enough interest to warrant it, but I've been told I should so I've decided to write a quick update...
On quitting smoking - I'm sorry to report that I've faltered and over the weekend bought a pack of cigarettes.  It's been an emotional time for me and I've found it quite difficult to quit.  I think the unexpected experience I had while under hypnosis may have caused it to be ineffective this time around and have made an appointment to go back to see him next week.
On the in-law's visit -  It went okay.  No problems.  All I can say is that it was a VERY long 4 days.  It's not that I dislike them - I just don't know them all that well and it's awkward when they visit.
On the entry about my old friend - I ended up giving into my guilt over the situation and called him.  I was really honest with him and told him that the popular opinion was that if we tried to patch things up, he would end up disappointing me and that I'd end up hurt all over again.  Then said, I'm not sure that's true and told him I'd like to give it a try and see how it goes.  He seemed genuinely grateful and said he'd like that.  We all met for drinks and it went as well as it could under such circumstances (Wayne still isn't very happy with him).  We've talked a few times, but I have to say I don't think it will work out the way I had hoped.  I think it's too hard for him to be around Wayne with things so different between them.  I'm not hurt.  It really has nothing to do with me any more.
On my sister's loss - The funeral was yesterday.  The worst of it is over and I think she'll okay in the coming weeks.
On email remorse - I got response and feel better about sending it.  It's a bit of a personal thing and would rather not go into it any further...



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Photos of our town

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

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It's been a long time since I've shared any of my photography.  Today, I updated my Photos Section with a a new album (called 'Our Town') of photos I took around our town while Wayne's parents were visiting earlier this month.
I take for granted how beautiful it is where we live.  I've included photos of the town centre (which is on the sea front) and also the cliffs we have here (also known as 'the downs').  You will notice in some of the photos that were taken at the downs  flowers and crosses on the side of the cliffs.  Those were left by the loved ones of people who jumped from the cliffs.  Some might find this morbid or disturbing to see, but I've included them because it's a part of the experience of the downs.  I've been told that more suicides take place there than anywhere in all of Europe (about 25 a year according to an article I read on the BBC News website).  It's a sad fact and as beautiful as the place is - it can't be ignored.  I love going to the downs. I think it's the most beautiful place I've seen in England (and it's right here in our town), but that being said - it's also a solemn place to visit and I can't help to think about those poor souls who ended their lives there. It's out of respect for them I've included the photos.



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My hypnosis session...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

I went to the hypnotist yesterday to quit smoking.  I'm feeling ok.  I've done this before and it worked for 2 1/2 years so I know it can work.  I just have to get through the next couple of days and I'll be fine.  I'm having my first cup of coffee now.  My favorite cigarette of the day was with my morning cup of coffee.  Last time, I gave up coffee as well just because I found it associated too much with smoking, but this time I'm trying to keep the coffee.  I've only been smoking for a matter of months this time around - last time was nearly 15 years so I think I might be able to handle my morning cup of coffee without the added nicotine hit.  Time will tell...
Hypnosis is a really odd experience.  People say that you don't remember anything that happens while under - I think those people are full of it and have never actually experienced it.  I remember everything and while sitting there, I was completely aware of the room and the sounds around me.  That being said - it's almost like being in a half awake and a half dreamlike state.  At 7:00 in the morning, I don't really have the words to describe it any better than that.
During my session, the therapist told me to go back to the time I began smoking on a regular basis.  He told me to go back to that time and see myself and everything around me.  He told me to see it and take some time to observe it.  This may have taken 30 seconds, but to me it took much longer and I have to say it was an experience I will not soon forget.
I saw myself at 17.  I remember the day.  I was at a friends house for her brother's college graduation party.  That was the day I met my first big love for the very first time.  On that same day I met one of the closest friends I've ever had - that friend died 3 years later.  During my session I saw myself, my friends and my ex sitting on the front lawn of my girlfriend's house.  I saw it as if it were right in front of me -   Clear as day and even now as I type, I find it difficult to compose my emotions.  It was extraordinary.  It was as vivid as a lucid dream and I has overcome by emotion.  I won't go into too much detail, but as I sat there in my hypnotic state, I had tears running down my face.  I saw these people as if they were right in front of me.  These people who meant so much to me - these people who will never be together again...
When the session was over, I sat in his office and openly cried for a few minutes.  The therapist (a man of maybe 65) had no idea how to react.  He got me some water and some tissues and within a minute or two I composed myself, apologised and tried to explain, but I'm not sure he understood.  I'm not sure I can even explain it now.  I think my husband said it best - when I got in the car after the session, I told him what had happened and he said, 'Well, you've said for years that you wish you could dream of Jeff (my friend that died).  Looks like you got your wish.'  I did get my wish - and then some.



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The in-laws are coming!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My in-laws are arriving tomorrow.  They're staying until Monday.  I know it's awful, but I've been dreading their arrival for weeks.  They're nice enough people, but I don't know them well.  I see them only a few times a year and this house is small for 4 people.  Wayne and his family are not what I'd call close knit.  They're almost awkward around each other and it's not easy to deal with.  I always feel as if it's on me to keep up conversation and it's exhausting when they're here for more than a couple of days.
His mother is a bit of a clean freak.  I can clean this house from top to bottom twice and never feel like it's clean enough for a woman who bleaches her tea cups on a weekly basis.  I keep a clean house, but by her standards - my house must seem a mess.  I've cleaned the guest bathroom twice.  I have the menu planned and later tonight, I'll be ironing their bedding (not something I would nornally do, but she does and I just don't want her to think I'm a bad wife). I'm a stress machine.  I wish I had another day to prepare, but I always feel like this when they visit.  It's going to be a very long weekend...



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What to write about?

Monday, July 30, 2007

What do I write about today?  Do I tell about the guy next to me at the grocery store this morning throwing up not once, but 3 times?  Not something I need to share any further...
Do I write about the card I got in the mail from my best friend telling me how much she misses me and how much it means to know she misses me as much as I do her? I can write for hours and never say enough about how hard it is to not be sharing our lives as much as we did before.  I'm missing her kids grow up.  I'm missing the small stuff, the big stuff and everything in between.  I miss her and sitting around talking about nothing and everything.  I just can't say enough about that...
Do I talk about how guilty I feel every time I light a cigarette because I've promised my husband I'd quit (again)?  The other day he came to me, hugged me and said it's time to stop.  He said he gave me my time (recovery time from the aftermath of the miscarriage) he said he gave me my time and it's time to stop smoking again and to start thinking about trying for a baby again.  I told him okay without an argument.  I promised I'd quit and today after the guy vomited next to me on the check-out line - I bought a pack of cigarettes.  When I got home, I called the hypnotist I went to to quit the first time I quit.  It worked before for 2 1/2 years and I have no doubt it will work again.  I'll go to see him later this week .  I just have to talk it over with Wayne first as it's gone up in price from

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It's such a shame...

Friday, July 27, 2007
I heard a song today that gave me a happy memory of an ex - an ex that's still one of my all time favorite people I've ever known. I wanted to write to him and say hello & share my memory and then I thought he'd probably rather I didn't. It's unfortunate that it has to be this way. I mean just because we've moved on why can't we still be a part of each other's lives? I guess it just doesn't work that way and I think it's a shame.

There are so few people we connect with in this life enough to say the words 'I love you' (Well at least I haven't had it happen many times) - so few people who we get to know on such an intimate level (and I don't mean sexually). We can spend years of our lives with that person being on the forefront of our minds and hearts, we get to know each other in ways that few ever do again and then one day they just fade into the background and we pretend they were never there at all. It's sad that this is the way it works. It seems such a waste and I think it's a shame. I mean once you love someone don't you always love them on some level? Is that just me? Am I one of the few that thinks it's wrong that we can love someone and when it's over we try to erase them and then just replace them. In my opinion - there isn't one person I've loved that can be replaced. Each one has been unique and have contributed to my life in very different ways. I wouldn't try to replace them or forget them and I think it's a shame that they would want me to. There are so few people in this life we truly know and love and I wish they didn't have to fade into the background.

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The early morning hours

Sometimes I hate this time of day.  The early morning hours of quiet isolation.  This morning I stood at my back door having my morning cigarette (I know, I know I swear I'm quitting again) and my first cup of coffee.  I stood there looking out over the houses trying to hear the waves of the ocean in the background, but I heard nothing.  It's the time of day that is just quiet.  The baby next door hasn't starting crying yet, the workman at the construction site down the street haven't begun working and my husband is still fast asleep upstairs.  The quiet should be peaceful, but for me it's not.  It just leaves me alone with my thoughts and makes me feel restless and lonely.
I've recently found out that someone from my past that's important to me reads this blog.  They read it without letting me know they are there.  Any other time this may be nice to find out, but right now it's not because right now it means they know what the past few months have been like for me and yet, they said nothing.  Not one word.  Not I'm sorry for what you've had to go through, no words of encouragement or support or even 'I'm still here'.  Sometimes it's all you need to hear 'I'm still here...' But they didn't say a word and I don't know what to think about that.
Sometimes I wish I was different and that things didn't effect me.  I wish I was the sort of person that just let things roll of my back without giving it a second thought.  I wish I could be less sensitive and less emotional.  It's my biggest downfall - it's the one thing I wish I could change about myself.  I wish I could be more carefree and a bit more callous.  That way, this time of morning would feel more peaceful instead of feeling so discontented.
I'm so glad it's Friday.  I look so forward to the time my husband and I have on the weekends.  Tonight we'll go out for dinner and drinks and as far as the rest of the weekend - I don't care what we do.  I just like spending time with him because when it's just him and I, nothing else really matters all that much.



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An old friend

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Last weekend, Wayne and I ran into an old friend of ours.  An old friend we don't speak to any more.  I don't speak to him because he hurt me and Wayne doesn't speak to because he doesn't like anyone who makes me cry.  He was the best of friends with Wayne long before me.  He was actually friends with Wayne and his ex (that's how they met).  When we ran into him - he was actually with Wayne's ex (although we didn't see her or even know she was there until much later - damnit, I'm dying to get a look at her!)
Anyway, running into him didn't exactly go well.  After having no contact for nearly a year, he's been trying to get in touch with Wayne and Wayne has been avoiding his calls for weeks now.  Apparently, he can't take a hint because he came over to talk to us regardless of Wayne's behavior.  He tried desperately to make conversation with us over the loud music at the bar we were at, offered to buy us a drink and Wayne never even looked him in the face.  Me on the other hand - I always feel bad and am not capable of being mean.  I tried to be nice and apologised for Wayne, but he soon gave up and left us to it.
The next morning, he called me (knowing Wayne would be sleeping in).  We talked for a long time.  He tried to start with small talk, but I just cut straight to it and asked him what exactly he wanted.  He stumbled over his words and tip-toed around the question - never really answering me.  We tried to talk things through, but in the end I'm not sure we accomplished much.  We left it with him telling me to talk it over with Wayne and get back to him (knowing full well that Wayne and I are a package deal).
When we hung up, the only thing Wayne had to say was 'I don't see the point - You're always going to care too much and he's always going to lie to you'  It's inevitable that you'll only get hurt again. I don't see the point.'  I know he's probably right, but I still feel so bad.  he's the only friend I've had in this country and although he did hurt me - I feel compelled to give him a chance.  Wayne on the other hand, has no intentions of doing so and I have no idea what it is I'm supposed to tell our old friend.  I can't tell him the truth because regardless of how much he's hurt me - I just can't bring myself to tell him what his ex-best friend really thinks of him.  I just can't break his heart that way.  So far, I've done nothing and I'm plagued with guilt.
I don't know what to do.  People always deserve second chances don't they? I've always been told that my heart is too big for my own good.  Maybe it's true.  Maybe I just need to learn not to expect so much out of people that way - I don't end up disappointed.  Maybe I should stop giving people the opportunity to hurt my feelings and learn when to say when.



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Re: My first NHS experience...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I've had a few responses to my NHS entry and feel I should make one important point I didn't mention.  Many of my readers are expats that are here because they are married to British citizens.  If you have a spouse visa, you may come across the same problem I had when I first got my visa and I think it's important to make sure others are well informed...
Once I got my spouse visa,  and went to my local GP for the first time to be treated for a nasty flu thinking I was eligible for care through the NHS.  Upon arrival, I was told that because it said on my visa 'No recourse to public funds' I was not eligible for NHS care and was sent away without even having my temperature taken.  I went the next year without care for  an arthritic illness that I need treatment for from time to time and didn't like being refused treatment. 
We were really frustrated with the situation.  Wayne thought it must be a mistake so I did some research.  I found on an immigration support website, that this was in fact the case.  I called my GP's office and explained the situation.  I gave then the web address for them to refer to, but they wanted no part of it and abruptly told me I was wrong and was not eligible for care in their office.  I did more research made quite a few calls and was finally put through to the office that was in charge of the NHS in my area.  I finally got someone to help me.  He registered me to the local GP, sent me my NHS card and it was finally taken care of.
Unfortunately, I was already tainted by the situation and the bad experience I had in that office and until I got pregnant (almost a year later), never saw the inside if their office.  I just had no desire to deal with them.
I'm sharing this story so that expats that are here on a spouse visa know their rights and know the actions to take to resolve it if they come across the same sort of thing.



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Crazy cat lady

Friday, July 13, 2007

There's one thing that seems to be internationally known - crazy cat lady syndrome.  You know - the lady in the neighborhood who lives alone, never sees anyone, has loads of cats and the they are the only ones you actually have ever seen her speak to... I fear I'm dangerously close to being that lady.  Okay, so I only have 2 cats and I have a husband, but if not for the husband - add a few more cats...
I noticed the other day that a lot of people I talk to seem to ask 'So, how are the cats?'  when making conversation as if they are asking about my children.  This is probably because once they've covered the weather and have asked 'How's business', 'How's Wayne?' 'Have you been to the gym?' there's nothing left to ask about so they resort to - 'So how are the cats?' I do wonder sometimes what kind of answer they are looking for.  Am I supposed to give them some witty anecdote about how Alfie jumped Luka as he came out of the litter box the other day and scared the hell out of him?? I mean really - they're cats for Christ sake. They don't do much and they sure don't make very good conversation.  Are these people really interested in how my cats are or have they concluded that although I have a husband and I'm short a few cats - I've already become the crazy cat lady??
If you're reading this and have recently asked about my cats - please don't think I'm upset with you.  This is just me making fun of me.  But next time - tell me what's going on with you in your world.  The  cats will always be cats.  If there's something newsworthy - You'll hear about it.  :-)



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BORED!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm so f@cken bored.  What I wouldn't do for just one social contact in this country.  I spend 90% of my time by myself and to be quite honest - I'm sick of me.  I'm bored with me and I'm bored with trying desperately each day to find a way to just pass the time.  I hate to sound so 'woe is me' because I'm really not sitting around feeling sorry for myself, but I am sitting around feeling restless, alone and really stir crazy.
My business is small and these days it only takes me a couple of hours to do what needs to be done for the day.  I place my orders, touch base with customers who need me, send a few emails and in just a couple of hours - I'm done for the day and searching for things to do.  Wayne just let me know he won't be home until 8:00 tonight.  That's over 8 more hours I have to kill before then.
I think I say more to my cats each day than I do to actual humans - if they start talking back - I'll be really worried about my mental health!  I should go to the gym, but to be quite honest - since the miscarriage, I haven't been feeling much like going (I'm down to 3 days a week and some days feel like I can actually feel myself getting fatter).  Sometimes being out amongst people just makes me feel more alone.  It's not like anyone really talks to me and if they do, it's so superficial it feels not worth bothering.  I hate small talk.  I can have small talk with the cat at home and get just as much out of it as I can with some random gym employee who's job it is to act interested.  God, I'm cynical.
I was thinking of not publishing this post because who wants to read my complaints, but it's honest and I think a blog should be honest.  Plus, it might shed some light on why I don't blog more often - my life is so mundane that sometimes, there's just nothing to say.



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My first NHS experience...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Friday night, I had my first ER visit since moving here.  Earlier that day, I started having pain in my lower front side.  By the time Wayne came home, I was doubled over in pain and fighting going to the hospital.  I was burning up and peeing every 20 (which also hurt like hell).  I had heard horror stories about the care you get in hospitals here and had no desire to go.
When I had the miscarriage, the NHS (National Health Service) helpline sent me to an outpatient part of the hospital.  There, they didn't as much as take my temperature.  All they did was make me wait 3 hours in terrible pain (in a waiting room with the other healthy pregnant woman who were there for their ultrasounds), took a scan to confirm my miscarriage and sent me on my way with a pamphlet called 'Your miscarriage experienced'.  Oh, and I can't leave out the ultrasound technician who was inappropriately upbeat, cracking jokes and confirmed my miscarriage by saying 'Yeah, there's not going to be a baby this month, there's nothing in there but blood.' 
Needless to say - after that experience, I wasn't real keen on re-visiting the hospital...
Wayne and I ordered dinner which I suffered through and then told him we'd have to go.  There was no way I could wait to see the GP on Monday.  We were both a bit concerned that maybe the miscarriage could have been a ectopic pregnancy that the technician missed and thought we were better going sooner than later.  We arrived in the ER at 9:30 and where home in 2 hours.  I had heard that you don't get out of the ER here in less than 4 hours and was pleasantly surprised at the quick response and thorough care (In the US, I've never been home so quickly from an ER visit).  They took some tests and found I had an infection of some sort.  They gave me some antibiotics and pain meds.  Luckily, by the time were saw the Dr, my fever broke or he said he would have admitted me.  He told me if I became feverish again  to come right back because it could have meant the infection was spreading to my kidneys and I'd have to have a stay in the hospital until the infection cleared.  The fever didn't come back and a couple of hours after we got home, I was already feeling better.  We filled my prescription for the antibiotics the next day and it only cost

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My new neighbors

Thursday, July 5, 2007

About a month ago, I had new neighbors move in next door.  I had high hopes for  quiet neighbors.  The one that moved out, was far from unobtrusive.  I made the mistake of introducing myself when she moved in.  Two hours later, I was still standing in my driveway while she cried, telling me about her ex and their split.  I felt really sorry for her and listened patiently (still holding my gym bag and really late for starting dinner).  That day was the first of many.  She showed up weekly after that (unannounced) and would talk and talk.  The woman never let me get a word in edgewise - I still wonder if she even knew I was American! :-)  I always let her in.  I'm not the type to be mean.  I just can't say no to people who apparently need someone to talk to.  Now that she moved, she only pops in once a month -  Still unannounced (a huge pet-peeve of mine)...
So, when my new neighbors moved in, I didn't introduce myself and thought there was no way they could invade my space if we never met.  I was sadly mistaken.  They don't need to knock on my door to invade my space.  One of the biggest problems I've had with the wife is the fact that she's a big fan of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.  She plays the damned thing every single day!  Other people shouldn't have to be forced to listen to the mashed potato song countless times a week!  I really wish she'd close her windows. 
Another thing is that they have a toddler who isn't well behaved in any way.  I listen to him cry all day every day.  He sure has a set of lungs on him - then comes her yelling at him which just makes things worse.  I sometimes wonder if he's trying to tell her to stop playing Dirty Dancing.  Maybe he too thinks it should have been left in it's era...  Then there is their other child.  He's bout 7 or 8 and is obsessed with his soccer ball.  He kicks it against our shared fence for at least an hour a day.  Very often it goes into my backyard and he has to knock on my door to ask me to retrieve it for him. 


Last but certainly not least there is the husband - he has a Harley - a very loud Harley that he drives to work on sunny days.  He leaves for work at 6 in the morning (the bastard) and when he does, I'm rudely awaken by the roar of his motorcycle starting and driving away.  In my world - the last thing I need is more hours in my day and once he wakes me up - I never get back to sleep.  I think I hate him most of all! 


With these new neighbors, I long for the days of unannounced visits from my talkative ex-neighbor.  I actually wish she never moved...



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A good omen...

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Rainbow
This was the view out my back door the other day.  It's one of the perks of living here.  growing up in Jersey - I can't say I ever saw a real rainbow before in my life.  It was beautiful.  I stood there and watched it until the clouds came in and took it from view.
I'd like to say it's a sign of good things to come.  I like to think of it as a good omen that came to lift my spirits.  I've been down the last week or so, but the last couple of days, I've been feeling a lot better and more like myself.  Hopefully, it's a sign of brighter days...



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Thanks so much

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I just wanted to thank everyone who offered their support through the miscarriage.  I'm feeling fine and back to normal - just haven't been in the mood for blogging lately.  I'll try to get back to it real soon.  Again - thank you all for your support and concern - it really is appreciated.



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It still seems surreal

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You would think I'd have a lot to say.  I'm pregnant and big things are going on, but oddly enough I really don't have a lot to say.  I think I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that it's actually happening.
I went to the Dr last Monday and waited over an hour just to have him hand me a cup to pee in and bring back to the office the following day to confirm I was pregnant.  That was it - no exam - no nothing.  5 days later, I finally had my confirmation.  Things sure do move slowly in this country.
I feel pretty good.  I have my moments of wooziness that pass quickly enough (albeit it happens pretty regularly).  I've been dead tired, but other than that - I'm fine.  It's still early days, but fingers crossed - maybe I won't get any morning sickness.
I have my first appointment with the midwife on the 20th.  I don't get a scan for another 6 or 7 weeks and I have a feeling it won't seem real until that happens.  I've quit smoking and am doing everything I'm supposed to, but it just seems surreal right now.  The wooziness has returned - I need to lay down...



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My biggest misadventure...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Looking for blogging topics, I looked on a blogging website that suggested writing about a time I was in grave danger -  I then realized I had a story worth sharing...


When
I was 19 years old, I was held up at gunpoint in a bank robbery. It was a Friday night after closing. My manager and I were alone in the bank and leaving
for the night  - while walking out the
back door, a man in a ski mask and holding a gun jumped us and forced us back
inside. I screamed and he shoved me
through the door telling me to be quiet. He walked us over to the alarm system, had my manager shut it down and then
led us over to the vault. He told my manger, Donna to open it and then put the
gun to my head. This terrified her and in
a panic, she struggled to get the combination right. She tried multiple times and began to
cry. I remember seeing spots in front of
my eyes and feeling like I was going to pass out, but thinking I would leave Donna
alone to handle the situation, I quickly composed myself and asked her to try
and relax before attempting to open the vault again. I told her just do what he said and we

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Big things on my mind...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Keeping this blog is tricky at times.  More times than not, I write when I need to feel more connected to the rest of the world.  It's 9:30 in the morning.  Wayne has left for work and until I go to the gym later today, I won't speak to another soul until it's at least late enough to call someone back home.  I have big things on my mind; things that seem inappropriate to share with the rest of the world rather than someone I'm close to.  This is what makes this blog so tricky.  When is it just plain inappropriate to blog about what's on my mind?  Maybe it's not so much this blog that makes it difficult -  maybe it's living here and not having a circle of friends to go to when I need to share the very personal aspects of my life.  Sometimes I feel very cut off.  Sometimes I can just scream out of the frustration of it all.  It's been nearly three years and I want more than anything to just get used to it being this way.  I want more than anything to just accept it as it is and be fine with it.  It appears it's not going to happen. 
All I want to do right now is call my friends and meet them for lunch so I can discuss the big things that are on my mind.  Instead, I'll throw myself into the work I have to do to distract myself, wait for it to be late enough to be able to call the states, and hope I get through to someone who has some time to talk...



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Just being honest...

Friday, May 11, 2007

I've gotten a few emails since yesterday's post from people trying to make me feel better about the email I got from the girl telling me I seem to have a weight problem.  First, let me just say that I wasn't fishing for compliments.  I am aware that I'm not 'obese', but I do have a scale and a mirror.  I was just really being honest about how it feels to be heavier than I've ever been.
After posting the picture of Wayne and I on the London eye, the one thing people said after seeing it was:  Did you lose weight?  You look so much thinner than you did last time you came home.  Sadly, I haven't really lost too much weight at all since my last visit, but apparently people noticed I needed to.  This is a difficult realization for me (but not at all something I didn't already know). 
During our last visit, I put on an outfit I had just bought.  It was a long cowl-neck sweater that I wore with leggings and a pair of ballet type flats.  It was an outfit very similar to something I probably wore in Jr. High School so I felt a bit self conscious about wearing it.  Wayne and I went to breakfast and ran a few errands before returning to the hotel to pick up some Christmas gifts we needed to bring with us to my mother's house that day.  Wayne kept looking at me funny all morning.  I kept asking - what?  Am I too old for this outfit?  Do I look silly?  He said no and I dismissed his looks until he did it again at the hotel.  I asked again.  He finally said,  'It's just that I think your legs jiggle in those leggings'.  Horrified, I screamed THEY JIGGLE?? and proceeded to walk back and forth in front of the mirror.  I then had a complete and utter hissy fit!  THEY JIGGLE AND YOU LET ME GO OUT LIKE THAT??  I wasn't mad that he said it, I was mad that he let me walk around like that!  I carried on for a little while about it, changed and retired the newly bought leggings to my never to be worn again category of clothing.
My best friend and I had a very frank conversation the other day about what it feels like to all of a sudden realize we're never going to be the girls we used to be.  I would love to be fine with that.  I'd love to say it doesn't matter.  I'd love to be happy with myself now, but I can't help but notice when I look in the mirror that I see someone I didn't expect to see.  The thing is that in my mind, I'm still that same girl.  It's just when I pick something out in a store for her and try it on as the woman I am, I'm always disappointed when I just can't seem to pull it off.
I know it's a part of getting older, but I want to get pregnant and I know with that my body will change drastically and I worry I'll become one of those woman that has a baby and is never recognisable again.  My mother tells me it happens to the best of of us and the fact that it matters will make all the difference when it comes to losing the weight after the baby.  It's the ones that stop caring that end up forever changed.  Considering she's had three kids, is over 60 and still looks great - I really hope she's right.



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An ego boost...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A guy walked into a parked car while checking me out today.  Is it horrible that it made my day?  Hell, who am I kidding? It made my week!  Granted, I was walking out of the gym, wearing a form fitting top and reaching back to put on my jacket at the time.  Men and tits - they really make me laugh.  Poor bastard did it right in front of a workman working on the building next to us.  The workman called down to him saying - nice one!  I kept walking, smiling to myself and pretending not to notice.  Word got around the gym and a little while later, my trainer txt me saying 'Good job, Hart!'
I've been feeling fat and horrible lately (still struggling to lose the last 10 - 15 lbs I desperately wanted to lose before I get pregnant).  A couple of weeks ago, a random stranger that looked at my photo gallery on this site, emailed me to tell me I appear to have a weight problem and asked if I've tried weight watchers.  She ended with - you have such a pretty face - it would be a shame for you to become obese.  Obese?? Christ!  I was feeling like crap about my weight that day anyway.  Getting that email just made it worse.  I responded to her by saying: 'Thanks, you're a real charmer' and left it at that.  It wasn't what I wanted to say, but it wasn't worth saying anything more. After that experience, today's events gave me a much needed, shameless ego boost.  Does that make me vain - yes.  Does it make me a little bit sad - maybe, but I'll take it anyway.



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Our day in London...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Img_0156_4


Well, I did it - I went on the London eye and it was really cool.  I only got dizzy a couple of times when I looked straight down.  Other than that it wasn't scary at all.  I was too busy taking pictures most of the time.  Img_0174b_4
Unfortunately, it was really overcast and the photos didn't come out as nice as I would have liked. I really enjoyed the ride and hope to go back when the weather is better.


I wish I could say the rest of our day went as well as our ride on the London Eye, but sadly, it was not the case.  Although it was really nice to see our friends, the journey into London put a real damper on the day - The train lines were being worked on between our town and London.  We couldn't get a direct train in, so we were forced to take the train to a station in between and take a bus to the station that was going into London.  The first train took 30 minutes (during which we were stuck sitting next to two drunk guys that were on their way to a soccer match - at 10:30 in the morning no less.  We think they may have been drunk from the night before).  Upon arrival to the next station, we had to wait 30 minutes for the bus to leave.  When we saw the driver studying a map, we had a pretty good idea that our journey may not be a smooth one.  Apparently, he was not a bus driver by trade because he not only didn't know where he was going, but he never went over 25 miles per hour the entire time - 90 minutes later, we reached the next station to pick up the train into London.  The train also seemed to be going extremely slow and we finally arrived in London 30 minutes later.  It was the trip from hell.  What should have taken no more than 90 minutes took 3 frustrating hours (so if we look a mess - it's because we were by the time we got there)! 


By the time we arrived we weren't in the best of moods.  Our friends had plans that night and we only got a few hours with them before we had to take the same journey back.  On the way back, the bus driver was a real bus driver and instead of going too slow, he drove a bit too fast and sitting in the back of the bus - we got a bit knocked around.  In the scheme of things - it could have been worse because the bus ride only took about an hour going back so instead of 3 hours it was 2 and a half.
Next time we go to London, we'll be sure to look at the train schedule before we leave the house - the journey by car would probably only taken 2 hours.  Live and learn.



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Some more random thoughts...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I just talked to an old friend for the first time in ages.  It was really nice to catch up and have a fun, light-hearted conversation.  I don't get to do that with people other than my husband much these days.  When Wayne came home, I said - I talked to Roy today - he says I'm funny.  As if this was news worthy.  I guess I sometimes wonder if I still have a personality.  Apparently, Roy thinks I do :-)
My friend Aniela is coming to England this weekend.  We're meeting her, her husband and her daughter in London on Sunday.  I'm looking really froward to it.  I don't get to hang out with friends (especially on my turf) and it will be really nice to feel normal for a change.  We haven't seen them since our trip back to the States and it's going to to be really good to see them.
We're thinking about going on the London Eye while in London (the biggest ferris wheel in the world).  I'll have to see if I can get the nerve - I'm terrified of heights and considering the ride takes 45 minutes - it would be horrible to be stuck that long while having an anxiety attack.  The last time I tried facing my fear was on our honeymoon when we went para sailing.  I screamed bloody murder the entire time!  I'm hoping since the London eye is completely enclosed, it might be okay.  We'll see...
If we go, I'll make sure I post some pictures - the view is supposed to be incredible!  I took some pictures with my new digital camera over the weekend and as soon as I have some time, I'll post them on my photos page as well.



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A friend's words of wisdom

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I recieved an email from a friend today offering her support after yesterday's dreary entry.  She told me she knows how I feel having spent a lot of time in Italy (her husband is Italian and now lives in the States with the intention of becoming a citizen).  She told me not to let it get to me too much.  She said,'You have lived here and you know what this country is about.  Yes, we have a
shitty leader, but he does not define us and you were here during 9/11 to see
what being an American truly means.'


That statement says it all.  When 9/11 happened America changed and what it means to be American changed as well.  People here don't understand our Patriotism.  They think it's strange that we pledge allegiance to the flag and stand for our national anthem.  Yes, we've always done that, but since 9/11 I think we all stand a bit taller.


Being from NJ, living so close to NY, 9/11 hit me hard (as I'm sure it did all of the US).  I went to school with someone that died that day. One of my best friends is married to a NYC fireman, and nearly everyone I know either knew someone that died (some knew several) or knew someone who lost someone.  It was a time I will never forget.  It was a time we all joined together and our American pride got even stronger.  I remember seeing George Bush standing there in the rubble, making his speech and feeling inspired and admiring him as our leader.  It's amazing to me to look back on that because now, I hate the site of that man.  At the time, I guess I needed to believe in him and under times of such sadness, we can make ourselves see things that aren't there in order to find comfort.


Living here and having to deal with the anti-Americanism has been difficult at best.  I love my country and although there are a lot of things I don't like about it, I am still proud to be an American. My friend is right - they don't know what our country is really about.  And yes, we have a shitty leader, but he does not define us.  I was there on 9/11 and even though I couldn't articulate it if I tried - I know what it truly means to be American and I wouldn't want it any other way.




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Here we go again...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

When I heard about the shootings yesterday, my first thought was how horrible it was for the victims and their loved ones.  As it unfolded and the numbers grew, I must admit I started having more and more feelings of dread over the media coverage and the debate that would follow.  I knew it would turn into a frenzy of American bashing.  I knew it would turn into an excuse to pick on the American way of life and I couldn't help but think - here we go again.
This morning, while eating my breakfast, I chose to stay away from American news channels - afraid to hear the things I knew would fuel the opinions of the British public.  I wanted to stay away from hearing the Americans that choose to take this opportunity to fight for the right to bare arms.  I chose BBC News 24 and sat there content with watching stories unrelated to the tragic massacre that took place yesterday.  Wayne came down for breakfast, picked up the remote and changed it over to the talk radio station he was listening to upstairs.  The bashing had begun.
They had an American guest on who was of course defending our right to carry a gun.  He spoke of the constitution and freedom (as I listened I cringed and my blood pressure rose).  I sat there and listened to random people call in to talk about the stupidity of Americans and one person say how perverse our way of life is.  I listened as American expats called in to make their opinions known (none for the gun culture in the US) and all the while I thought - I just don't want to hear it - none of this is going to change a thing!
I've turned it off now that Wayne left for work.  I just don't have the heart for it.  The last thing I heard was something about why 'Americans' continue to let things like this happen.  As if we have any control over it.  As a victim of a gun crime myself, I'm not for the gun culture in the US, but the problem is too big.  If you take the licensed guns away, how will people defend themselves against all of the illegal guns that are on the street?  Until, they tackle that problem - how can you take away the right to defend yourself?  Wayne says you have to start somewhere - stop selling the guns - stop making the guns - stop handing licenses out.  I agree with all of that and that something as to be done, but where do you start? 
I'm so fed up with being here for such events.  I'm so fed up with things happening that puts a shameful spin on my nationality.  I'm so fed up with feeling like the outsider all of the time and feeling so lonely the minute Wayne walks out the door in the morning.  I really want to go home.



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Very Random thoughts

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I just watched the movie 'The Holiday' It's been a while since I've enjoyed a romantic comedy.  It was really cute.  It was about an English & an American woman who swap houses for a couple of weeks to get away and they both find love in the country they're visiting.  Pretty good concept; although I thought they could have done a bit more with how it is when you visit a foreign country for the first time. 
Jude_2
The acting for the most part wasn't great but for me, the beauty Jude Law made it almost unnoticeable.  That man is the epitome of movie star good looks. Wayne came home in the middle of the movie and asked - How's Jude look?  My reply 'He's Fantastic and yes, he's still number one on my list... You know the list of people you're allowed to sleep with given the opportunity.  Our rule is that your only allowed to sleep with the person at the top of your list. 
For fun on a rainy weekend a while back, Wayne and I created our top 20 lists (inspired by FHM's top 100).  It was a feature on an old blog I had.  I keep meaning to add it to this one, but that would require an update of the lists and that takes more time than either of us have these days.
Katebeckinsale15_2
After making the lists, I asked Wayne - Would you really be able to go through with it given the opportunity?  He said, If Kate Beckinsale is offering a shag - hell yes.  I told him I'll tell you what babe, if you meet her and actually get that far - More power to you!  (Although, I don't think either one of us were being very sincere).


It made me think - would I?  If Jude Law was offering me a shag (yes, shag has made it into my vocabulary) would I do it (even with the explicit permission of my husband)? I don't think I could.  Although, he's not standing in front of me telling me he secretly has a thing for slightly over weight, very short brunettes opposed to the extreamly thin, leggy blonds he's usually associated with.  After all, the man is fantastic and I must confess I actually had a sexual thought about him while watching The Holiday.
I don't usually have sexual thoughts about men other than my husband (I've never been that sort), but since we've been together, I've had two about David Beckham and now one about Jude Law.  This could very well be because I'm 35 and have more sexual thoughts than I've ever had before.  I can't really help it if the occasional random thought is associated with a man other than my husband.  :-)  Hell, men have a sexual thought every 30 seconds and I'm sure all of Wayne's don't involve me!



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