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Showing posts from October, 2012

The wake of Hurricane Sandy

I'm so heartbroken to see the destruction that hurricane Sandy has left in it's wake.  It's awful to see the places of my youth and the place I still think of as my home in such devastation. The Jersey shore is in wreckage and parts of it will never be restored to be what it was in so many of my precious memories.
I have heard from most of my loved ones and know they are safe. Most have been lucky to have minimal damage, but there are so many who have lost so much. I am seeing on the news that there are houses on fire right now on the Jersey shore.  It's just unbelievable.
I am still waiting to hear from my best friend who lives in NY.  Parts of her area have been destroyed and I am hoping that it’s due to the loss of phone lines and power that is keeping her from letting me know that her and her family are okay.  It’s morning here and knowing it will be hours before the sun comes up on the east coast is enough to make me crazy. All I can do is wait and try not to let…

Beside myself

I had to spend my morning trying not to watch the news knowing because of the time difference, it would be many hours before I could call my loved ones back home (in NJ & NY).  To help pass the time, I took my son to the movies and started making calls on the walk home.  I spoke to my parents, sister and a few friends getting confirmation of my family's safety and most of my friends.  I still can't reach my best friend who lives in Staten Island, NY.  I've been trying to call her once and hour every hour for the last five hours, but still haven't reached her.  Every hour that goes by makes me more and more anxious and I am beside myself with worry.  I spoke to her yesterday.  She was supposed to be evacuated, but chose to stay.  I tried to talk her into going, but couldn't change her mind.  I made her promise she'd call first thing in the morning, but it didn't happen.  Large portions of Staten Island have been devastated by the hurricane and I can'…

I show up

I volunteer as class mom at my son's school every week.  I usually do it on Tuesday, but I was sick on this week and went on Thursday instead.  My son has two teachers.  They both have babies at home so they split the week.  I've never been there with the teacher that was there on Thursday.  The Tuesday teacher is always really happy to have me.  She gives me loads to do and makes me feel welcome from the minute I arrive, but with the teacher this week, it was a much different experience.
When I arrived, she told me she didn't have anything for me to do.  I said, 'Oh, Sarah always puts me right to work.'  She replied dryly by saying, 'I'm sure she does.' and she walked away to start the class.  I stood to the side and watched her teach.  The other teacher had a much different teaching style.  She was warm and sweet (firm when she needed to be, but sweet).  This teacher was very different.  She was more firm than sweet and expected a lot from very small …

A Revelation

After eight years of marriage, my husband is finally realizing I'm a shit housewife.  I've been telling him for years that I never signed up for being a housewife.  Don't get me wrong, I keep a clean house and when I cook, I cook damned good, but being a housewife was never something I ever wanted to be.  I never learned to iron (not well anyway), I do the laundry, but tend to forget to take it from the bottom floor to the 3rd floor where the bedrooms are.  My husband often runs out of underwear and has to go downstairs commando to get them.  I am constantly telling him, 'If you see that you're running short, tell me and I'll make sure you have some or here's a novel idea, go do it yourself.  You are a grown man.'  I say this tongue in cheek of course.  Which is usually followed by a smile and a reply like, 'It's a good thing you're good in bed.'  I always  tell him, 'I know Babe, I definitely know my strengths and I think you'd …

My driving theory test

I woke up this morning with a full on flu - achy, sweaty and as they say in England, full of cold (which just means having a terrible cold).  I've not been feeling well since Friday, but this morning it was bad.  I had my appointment to take my written driving exam this morning that I already paid for.  I really didn't want to go and didn't feel ready.  My flu didn't help, but as I paid for it and would have to pay again to reschedule, I decided to suck it up and go.  I am so glad I did because I passed despite it all!  Woo-hoo!
I've taken two driving lessons with my instructor and have to be honest - it's awful!  I feel completely incapable of driving here! Wrong side of the car and wrong side of the road really screws with your head.  It feel impossible to judge anything on the left side of the car!  My instructor grabbed the wheel a few times on both lessons.  Every turn I take, I have to tell myself over and over again -'Stay to the left.  Stay to the l…

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I spent the last few hours taking a trip down memory lane - literally.  Well actually, virtually.  I read in a book on writing memoirs that said a trick to bringing back memories is to draw a map of a place where the events took place.  It gave me the idea to look on Google Maps at various places.  My husband sat with me and navigated as I tried to visualize things and drum up the memories to find what I needed. I looked at a hospital where I spent a great deal of time with a friend before he died.  I think saw what I was looking for there, but couldn't zoom in close enough to know for sure.  It helped a lot though because I did start to remember more.  I have a real mental block where he is concerned.
I looked for the houses various people lived in at that time.  I could only remember so much and zoom in so close so I'm not sure we actually found the right places or houses. I looked at a park I spent a lot of time in.  Actually, I looked at the back of a park I spent a lot of…

Removed Posts

I've taken some posts down today.  It's come to my attention that some things shouldn't be out for the world to see.  We all have a story, but what is sometimes overlooked is that our story also is a part of someone else's story and we're only telling one side - as we see it.  Our perception may skewed by time or emotion or inaccurate assumptions that were never actually backed up with any facts and may lack integrity and in turn may paint an inaccurate picture. With this in mind, I need to be fair to all of the people that share my story because what they say and how they feel does matter.

A Twenty Year Old Loss

I cried this morning.  I sobbed out of nowhere in the middle of my kitchen when I went down to make coffee.  I had a one sided argument with someone via email yesterday and this morning, I thought about something I said to them and completely broke down over a 20 year old loss.
I won't go too far into it, but when I was very young, my best friend died and at the time, I tried so hard to be strong through it, that I never really grieved.  I told myself I was so blessed to have had my time with him that I didn't really allow the grieving process. I went through another loss at the same time.  A much different loss, but a terrible one all the same.  Again, I tried to be strong and forgiving and just got on with it.  Not long after, forgiveness gave way to anger and that was how I dealt with that loss. It's amazing how you could desperately love someone and yet still be so angry with them. Later - much later (far too late), forgiveness eased it's way back, but again, I…

The big bad wolf

I just had to have a real difficult talk with my son.  I guess I should start from the beginning - I was class mom at my son's school this week (he's 4 and just started school in September).  I'll be doing it all day every Tuesday from now on.  Those teachers need so much help! This week was my first week.  For the most part, it was a great experience.  I got to see how the teacher teaches and what my son is learning.  I got to see what he gets up to when he's not at home and meet his little friends.  I got to work with a bunch of the kids as well; helping them with learning to write, with arts and crafts and phonics.  It was a really rewarding and lovely day.  My son LOVED it.  When the teacher introduced me to the other kids as his mom, he beamed with pride!
The part that left me feeling really unsettled was that the kids leave the classroom unattended to go to the bathroom when ever they need or want to.  I witnessed kids say they were going to the bathroom, but wal…

Writer's block is gone - for now

My writer's block is gone for the time being.  My homework for my writer's block was to write the opening paragraph for my book (which I've chosen to be my class project as well).  I was panicked when she said it because I wasn't sure how to start my book.  I knew I wanted a story line that wen back and forth between present and past, but had no idea what the present story line would be.  I still don't, but I wrote an opening scene the minute I got home. In about five minutes.  It just came to me.  I may change it a hundred times over, but it's a start. Phew!
I'd love to sit here and write an update on all I've been up to in the last week, but I have five minutes before I have to go pick up my son from school.  I think my taxi is here now...

Thank You BrokerFish.com

I've just been informed that the good people at BrokerFish.com have chosen my blog as one of their favorite travel blogs of 2012! How cool!

My Favorite Author

I have had 'readers block' for the last month.  I also am having trouble writing again.  What better way is there to inspire you to write than to read, right?  I just can't seem to stick to anything.  I had to read Fifty Shades of  Grey for book club this month.  I got 375 pages in (only because it was for book club) before I gave up, but that's another blog post...
Readers block happens from time to time and usually, I turn to Jonathan Tropper (my favorite author)  knowing that I will cured of my readers block with the very first page.  Here's my problem - I only have one Jonathan Tropper that I haven't read.  Once I read it, there will be no more until his latest book comes out in paperback (due to my arthritis, I don't read hard cover books).  I don't like the thought of no more unread Johnathan Tropper books left on my shelf.  It gives me an unsettled feeling.
Last week, Jonathan Tropper had a book signing right next door to my home town.  I get ema…

Feeling Better

Just to give a quick update, I'm feeling a lot better.  The eye drops have helped a lot!  It feels 100% better and almost looks normal as well.  I have to do the eye drops for another week and go back to the eye doctor this week, but I am feeling better.
My shoulder is still not 100 %.  I'm going to try to start working out again this week.  Fingers crossed, it will be fine as long as I take it easy.

My first UK Driving Lesson

I just got home from having my first UK driving lesson.  If you know me, you may be wondering why I'd need a lesson when I've been driving half my life, but driving is very different here and we figured it would be the best way to get me test ready.  I actually thought I would just need a few lessons, but was definitely off with my estimate.
With my first right hand turn, I ended up driving on the wrong side of the road!  Not a great start right?  The good news is that my instructor told me it would happen.  She said it's happened with every American driver she's taken on.  She said when you start driving you go directly into auto pilot and just do it.  I thought, no way, I've been living here 8 years.  There's no way I'm going to do it.  The worst part was that I didn't even realize I did it!  She had to tell me!  By the 3rd time, I wanted to pull over and declare myself unfit to drive.  By the 4th right hand turn, I finally got the hang of it.  It'…

Iritis

I'm having a flare-up of Iritis which is an eye condition (inflation of the iris) that is common with Ankylosing Spondilitis (which I suffer from).  I've been told if I ever saw signs of it, I should go straight to the hospital.  It's been 2 weeks.  I've been in denial. A friend told me yesterday that it looked pretty bad and by the end of the day, I was in a lot of pain.  I went to the ER and was told to go home  and see my GP because he would give me the same referral  to go to the eye doctors in the hospital as the ER doc would (Being sent away sounds worse than it was.  The last thing I wanted to do was spend another night in the ER by myself).
I called my doctor today and he got me in to the eye specialist.  They gave me some eye drops to treat it, but said it may take a couple of weeks to clear.  On top of the Iriris, I also have Anterior Uveitis (inflation of the eye) - I look soo pretty!
I haven't been spending a great deal of time in front of the computer…

The Dark Season

I was supposed to have my first UK driving lesson today, but had to cancel because I had to have a cortisone shot in my shoulder this morning and it's killing me!  The good news is that the doctor says I can start working out again on Monday! I've had a bad shoulder for years and once or twice a year have to have injections that usually do the trick.  If I could have it in all my joints, I'd do it in a heart beat - the day of pain would be totally worth the months of relief I'd have.  Unfortunately,  the doctor says it's not recommend for my arthritis.
It's been raining nearly every day for the last 4 weeks.  It makes me feel like I'm 80 when we have weather like this.  It's also depressing.  It's too early in the season for the dark grey weather.  It doesn't usually happen until November.  The sky goes dark and  grey from November to about March in this part of England (maybe all of England, but I can't speak for the whole country).  It doe…

Love Songs

I've spent a good portion of the last couple of days listening to 80's love songs to try to bring on some memories to help with a chapter of my book.  It was an idea that was suggested in my writing class. What a weird experience it's been.  I researched by going to the billboard archives and looking at the top hits for the years I was interested in and then went to youtube to listen to the songs.  Today I downloaded some mp3s and listened to them while I cleaned the house.
It's funny what we forget and what we choose to remember.  It's also amazing what music does to bring you to a time and place you long forgot.  Today I listened to 'Right Here Waiting' by Richard Marx for the first time in many, many years.  It's one of those songs you know from the first few notes and I've always chose to turn it off as soon as I heard those notes.  Not today.  Today, I listened to it at least 3 times just trying to channel some ghost from the past.  I can't…

Moroccan Chicken

This recipe has moved to my new food blog.  Click here to be redirected.

Saturday

Uncertain

I've been going over the outline of my book that I'm trying to write (but may be re-thinking) with various people.  I've told stories and rehashed events that I haven't thought about in years.  It's exhausting.
I woke up this morning before anyone else was up.  I'm usually in too much pain to lay there, but this morning I was tired and laid there listening to the rain.  I swear I had a flashback that was right out of the movies.  I was so deep in thought that I actually jumped when my son called my name.  It was like being woken from a dream. 
It's all weighing on me and a part of me wants to forget the whole thing.  Maybe I should write something totally fictional.  The thing is that I've always wanted to do this.  It's just that re-hashing things may change my feelings on people or events I made peace with a long time ago.  It's leaving me feeling unsettled.  I'm hoping if I just drive on and get through this part, it will get easier.  I d…

Changes to come...

With taking this writing course, hopefully in the coming weeks and months, you'll be seeing changes in my writing and my entries.  I hope to be posting short stories and other pieces that I've been wanting to write, but haven't because I have long forgotten the writer I once was, but let life get in the way.
Here's the hard part - I'm going to have to start reading my own writing.  I never do.  I hardly even check for typos.  With this blog, I write it, send it our there and never look at it again.  It's hard for me to read and I almost never do.  I don't even let my husband read it in front of me.  It makes me feel exposed and vulnerable.  I'm going to have to start editing my work.  Maybe not just yet, but soon.  I just hope I like what I see.

The Red Maple Tree

Outside the house I grew up in, there was a little red maple tree.  I watched it grow from something tiny to a big beautiful tree and when I think about it, I can't help, but think about how much that tree witnessed in my life and the lives of my siblings.  It watched us take our first steps, form our first friendships, have our first kisses, leave for dances, come home with our hearts broken and watch us leave to start our lives outside that house.
It watched us as children as we rolled down the hill in the yard, learned to ride our bikes, climb trees, twirl and dance, sing and cry.  It watched girls tell secrets, boys that teased and lessons learned.  It witnessed laughter and tears, cartwheels and falls, friendships come and go and my father as he left.  It witnessed loss, love, anger, joy and despair.
It watched on those nights as boys came to my bedroom window, stood in wait when I left with them and kept me company when I wished they'd come, but never did.  It witness…

My first writing class

Now that Ethan is in school, I have time to do things I've wanted to do, but haven't had the opportunity as a full time mom.  I enrolled in a writing course and the first class was this morning.  I have had both writer's & readers block for weeks now.  Every blog entry has been forced and uninspired because I need to try to write every day, but what do you say when you have nothing to say? 
My class was fantastic.  It was inspiring.  We had a free writing session at the end of the class.  The teacher gave us a sentence to write at the top of the page, set a timer for 5 minutes and we had to just write what ever that sentence made us write.  I was worried that I'd sit there, pen in hand with nothing to say, but I found just putting the pen to paper was inspiring enough.  I started thinking I'd go in one direction and ended up somewhere else entirely.  I just did it.  I didn't over think it - I just wrote.  The end result was writing about a red maple tree th…

The 80's Night

My friend that had the 80's party over the weekend, read my blog and called me a miserable sod (she's apparently English).  She said I should write a retraction because I ended up having a such a good time.
I am writing my retraction or should I say I am apologising for complaining about having to take part in the fancy dress thing and the 80s throw back party.  It is true, I had a really great time and although I was highly uncomfortable having to dress as I did in my youth, it was amazing how easily it came once I got going.



I changed my costume form the lace and denim look (that I was never a big fan of) and went for a more every day 80's look (it's me in the pink with the big hair). It came back to me in no time.  I started with the brightly colored, sparkling makeup which isn't easy to see in the photos (a look I swore I'd never wear again) and as soon as I put the under eye liner on (a look I haven't had since about 1988), the hair was shockingly easy…