My Christmas Party

Thursday, December 20, 2012
My Christmas party is tomorrow night.  The good news is I do not need a bigger house to hold the twenty guests  that originally accepted my invitation.  One by one most of them contacted me with mainly weak excuses on why they wouldn't be able to make it.  This is the problem with having few real friends and many acquaintances.  Real friends show up and acquaintances say they will, but if they are presented with a better offer will almost always opt out.
My guest list went from twenty to six in a matter of a week.  I also have six who are still on standby probably waiting to see if they get a better offer.  I'm sure it sounds like I'm angry by the result, but I'm really not.  I'm just telling it like it is.  I moved here eight years ago, well into adulthood.  When you move to a foreign country at any stage, it is always hard to find friends, but when you do it at a time in life when friendships are already formed and social circles are well defined, it makes it even harder to come by friends. I sometimes wonder if I will ever feel like this place is my home when I never feel truly settled.
Don't get me wrong, I have a husband I adore and a son that makes this house a home, but outside these walls I am a stranger in a strange land - even after eight years.
I am still looking forward to the party because I enjoy the people who are coming and I know it will be a good time.  I am having the party to try to avoid feeling homesick during the holiday season and although it will help, I doubt very much it will cure me completely of the holiday blues.  I will thoroughly enjoy watching my son's eyes light up when he sees his gifts on Christmas morning and love every second of him tearing into them.  But come dinner time at my in-law's house, I know I will be wishing I was at surrounded by my own family instead of my husband's family who I only see a few times a year and feel no attachment to (besides my mother in law who I really do love).
At least this year I am trying to not let it get me down.  I'm doing everything I can to distract myself and to try to ensure I have a good time.  I guess only time will tell.
With Christmas only days away and things getting busy, if I don't get a chance to blog again, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming year.



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Nightmares

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
After watching the horror of what happened in CT all weekend, I kept my son home from school on Monday.  It just felt better having him here with me.  He's been having trouble sleeping and even though I made the decision to keep him home well before he woke up with a nightmare Sunday night, I told myself he needed the extra day off to get some extra rest.  The truth was I just wanted him close by.  I wasn't ready to drop him off and watch him walk out of sight.
Over the weekend he woke up at least once a night crying and asking me to stay with him.  On Sunday, he called me in and said, 'I can't sleep, Mommy.  Please stay next to me.'  After I finally got him back to sleep, I said to my husband, 'I hope he didn't catch any of it on TV'.
We made every effort to turn it off any time any mention of it came on when he was in the room, but when it first happened, he was there as we saw the children being brought out of the school.  As soon as I realized what it was we were seeing, I started to cry and urged my husband to turn it off before our son could catch on to what was happening.
Monday night, I asked my son why he was having trouble sleeping.  He said, 'I don't want to talk about it.'  I told him that sometimes it helps to talk about it.  We were laying in his bed at bedtime for our nightly cuddle time.  He laid there quietly for a minute and said, 'I just don't understand why they couldn't hold on.'  He said it in a timid way and I could tell he was upset.  I was confused and said, 'Who Baby?'
'The kids on the TV.  There was a boat accident.  The kids died.  I just don't understand why they couldn't hold on.'  My heart broke as it clicked in my mind what he was talking about.
In July, during our trip to NJ, there was a boat accident and some kids died.  We heard it on the news.  I knew my best friend was going out on her boat with her kids the day it happened.  We were in the car when we heard it.  My son was in the back seat.  He had just turned four.  I called my friend to make sure everything was okay.  They were all fine. Her daughter was sick and the trip was cancelled.  I told her what had happened and said how how relieved I was to hear they were okay.  When I hung up, my son said, 'Daddy can we talk about what Mommy just said on the phone?'  He was crying.  I felt awful.  I didn't think about him hearing it.  He was so young.  I just didn't think he'd understand.  He did.  We had a talk that day and we told him that sometimes bad things happened, but Mommy and Daddy would always be there to keep him safe.
Over this past weekend he must of seen the children's pictures on TV and caught on that they died.  In his four year old head, he must think that if a child dies, there must be a boat accident.  As heart breaking as that must be for him, I have to say it's a hell of a lot better than the truth would be.  I'm so grateful that he doesn't know the horrible truth.  I'd much rather comfort him over a boat accident than have him know there is true evil in the world.

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Struggling

Sunday, December 16, 2012
I guess all I have to do to get myself to go back to blogging on a regular basis is to say I'm not going to do it for a while.
I'm in the process of trying to write a book.  I am n page 42.  The problem is that I have been on page 42 for the last two weeks.  I'm going through yet another bout of writers block.  I'm struggling with self-doubt.  I feel like I'm no good and I've lost momentum.  I feel disconnected from the story and I'm struggling with finding a way back to it.  I've thought about reading what I've wrote so far, but I know it's awful (a first draft isn't supposed to be great) and I fear it will only make it worse.  I start the day thinking I'll write and then do all I can to avoid doing it.
Part of the problem is that my writing course is over and now I feel lost.  I feel like without the course, I will have no way to learn the craft.  I have no idea what I'm doing.  The thing is, you either have it or you don't and I'm afraid I don't.  I have book upon book about writing that cover topics like, writing from life, writing great fiction, scene and setting, elements of style, editing your own work and a half dozen of writing magazines. I am so desperate to learn how to do it right (as if talent can be taught) and I feel ill-equipped to be taking on the task of writing a book.
My teacher says to just keep writing.  She says to get the story down and worry about how well written it is later.  I know I should be taking her advise, but it's easier said than done.

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Yesterday's events in Connecticut

Saturday, December 15, 2012
Yesterday, twenty children got up, got dressed for school, had breakfast and probably searched the house for an elf before they kissed their parents good-bye for the last time. I watched the news in horror as the details unfolded.  I cried countless times thinking of those children and their loved ones and my heart broke more every time the body count went up.
Today I have heard some stories of the teachers and school employees who tried to protect the students.  Some were successful and some weren't, but all of them were heroes.
As a class mother to my son's kindergarten class (UK- reception), this really hits home for me.  I spend one full day a week in the school with 30 wonderful children and some really great teachers and teacher's aids.  I can't imagine someone coming in and ending lives.  It's a horrific event and I find it terrifying.  Since moving to the UK, my heart has always been in the US and I've wanted nothing more than to move back, but after what happened yesterday, that desire is a little bit less.
I don't understand why the gun laws haven't changed in America. What I want to know is how many people have to die before something is done about it? On Facebook today, there were countless posts with people saying things like if prayer was allowed in school something like this wouldn't have happened.  Why is no-body saying that if guns were illegal, those children & teachers probably wouldn't have died?  I just don't understand it.  Today, as a mother, I am glad to be raising my son in a country that has gun laws that make sense.

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The Holiday Season

Friday, December 14, 2012
I'm sorry it's been so long.  It's not a good time of year for me.  I get homesick when the holidays come and get quiet.  It's not like I sit around depressed - I just get quiet.  This year I've been making an effort to not let it get to me.  I invited friends over for Thanksgiving and made a huge dinner and next weekend, I'm having a Christmas party.  It was a bit of a last minute plan so I didn't expect so many people to accept the invitation, but somehow I'm supposed to find a way to fit 20 people in my house.  English houses just don't have rooms big enough to fit a lot of people so the party will end up spread around the house.  I'm looking forward to it though.  It might be just what I need to lift my spirits enough to get through the holidays...
Anyway, I hope by the time the holidays are over, I'll get back to blogging on a regular basis.  Until then, thanks for checking in and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming year :-)

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