Webify yourself here.
Salisbury seems to randomly set up fairs/fetes in the market square. Yesterday I felt as if the giant slide were giving me a little reminder when it comes to getting ready to head to the hospital...
Doubt this will be a problem - especially since I've yet to learn to drive on the left!
And there's no sign of our little acorn, unfortunately. I'm fit to burst, though, and starting to actually look forward to being induced next week...
SO much cuter than the real thing! I do not like pigeons and agree that they are rats with wings. We share a wall with our neighbor but there's an open space on the second floor where the pigeons like to roost and where there's also a nest every year. The loud cooing 24/7 is extremely annoying.
These pigeons, though, are like, um, kittens with wings - they're that cute.
Kate of Lazy Kate Creates tagged me for the Happy 101 Awards (thanks again, Kate!) over, um, a month ago and I actually started this post exactly a month ago. Yikes. Since then I've managed to misplace my little Casio camera (argh! where are you?!) which has the photos I took to finish the post so I took a few more this afternoon and am determined to finish and post about the things that make me happy. You know, like actually finishing this post. :)
Matt - This one is pretty obvious. I remember saying to my mom, maybe even before Matt and I got married, that he would be The Man to be married to while pregnant and he is. I keep telling him he should save some of the 'doing everything for me' (although if it weren't for him I would forget my vitamin more often than not) for when I really can't do things for myself so easily but I don't think he will. Pregnancy is a good time to be married to a squirrel!
Our Little Acorn - Also obvious but high on the list never-the-less. Sure, the way that little acorn makes me feel sometimes doesn't exactly make me happy but I've known since I was 17 that I was meant to be a mommy and am happy to finally get to have this experience. I can't wait to see him or her again at our next scan here in a few (okay, four) weeks!
Going Back to Ohio* - Even the slightest little thought of this one makes me smile! We're going back to Ohio for my family reunion in June! Not only will I get to see my family and my family get to see me showing. I hope, at least a little bit, I'll also have the chance to see Ginny showing quite a bit and I'll be there for her baby shower. And the food - I'm so excited about the food! I think we'll have to eat out every day considering the length of the list of places I miss. My brother and his fiance will be up from New Orleans, too. I haven't seen him since the wedding and have yet to even meet my future sister-in-law. The one night we did a Skype with them while Mom and Dad were here, I was so prego-tired that by the time the call actually took place, I was in bed and fast asleep.
And, as an added bonus, Matt and I will also be able to spend our first anniversary sitting in the shade under the tree where we were married last summer.
My iTouch - I had no idea what an iTouch was when Matt took me shopping for one. Now I can't live without it. It's a quick way to check email and surf the web and it's also a great way to play games. I have an embarrassing number of apps...
This is a tower defense game called The Creeps! that Matt and play constantly. By strategically placing weapons like ray guns and boomerangs you try to make sure the ghosties, vampires and other scary things (although there are other levels with space and underwater scary things) don't get to the scared kid hiding under the covers in the bed. Sounds silly, I know,but it's fun. For some reason it recently reset our games so we're starting all over again but neither of us really mind.
I read an article a few weeks ago that made me realize that this little gadget it really going to come in handy come this fall. It'll be perfect for those middle of the night feedings! I can browse the internet, Facebook and, if I get a chance, tune in to the BBC iPlayer and catch up on a little television.
My grey cotton yoga pants - I seriously wish I'd bought more than one pair of these last summer at Kohls. I'll admit I kind of spent quite a lot of time in them before I was pregnant but now that even the jeans I have that still fit aren't really comfortable enough for all day wear...I live in them. They're stretchy and comfy and will see me through many more months, I'm sure. Heck, yesterday I had to walk into town to return a movie to Blockbuster and, after a few moments of deliberation and thoughts concerning the fashion police, I just threw on a jacket and left while still wearing my heavenly grey pants.
Fresh flowers - Nothing cheers up a room more than fresh flowers. These are my first Mother's Day flowers - pretty tulips that opened up nearly the minute I put them in front of a window full of sunshine.
Lucy & Mina - My cats. :) One of the photos on my missing camera was of Mina in her usual spot - sprawled in my lap (with Lucy sometimes curled up on the couch beside us) - and, of course, for the first time today she's nowhere to be found so a replacement photo isn't going to happen any time soon. I've read that animals can tell when you're pregnant and I think Mina is one of those who can. She's always been cuddly but her cuddleness is in overdrive now. She comes running from where ever she was lurking as soon as she hears me sit down and jumps into my lap. Of course, this behavior could also be because I'm actually sitting down more often....
A good book - I've had a really good run recently when it comes to books. I've actually been keeping a list since the beginning of the year and can't believe that I've yet to post a link to it here. I just started reading A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler last night. Tyler has written two of my very favorite books, The Accidental Tourist and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, and makes me wish her characters were real people because I would love to have a long talk with Macon or have dinner with Ezra at the Homesick Restaurant. I've not had this feeling with any of her books since but this one has potential.
Stationary sets - Paperchase makes the best stationary sets! This is one I bought yesterday and I can't wait to break it out later tonight. We finally printed off photos of the baby from our 12 week scan to send to my grannies and, of course, I have to include a letter. :)
Paper, envelopes, address labels and stickers. I love the paper because the reverse side is always printed with a super cute design. This set is especially cute because the paper comes in two shades - white and brown - and the designs are completely different. So cute!
So I know I'm supposed to pass on this fun award by tagging ten people but, honestly, I'm not a tagger. It's not that there's no one out there who makes me happy - if you're reading this, trust me, you make me happy - but I'm just not good at knowing (beyond a handful of people) who actually reads this blog. But, like I said, if you're reading this, you make me happy and I'd love to hear what makes you happy, too!*My experience promises to be nothing like The Pretenders song. :)
Can I have a number one, large, with cheese and everything but onion and tomato with a diet Coke, please?
I was kind of picky when it came to fast food restaurants even when I lived in the states - Wendy's, Burger King and the occasional Taco Bell - but hadn't had any since I moved to Salisbury. Out of the corner of my eye, I would peer into the windows of Burger King as we walked by, wondering if it would be as different as, say, the Doritos I keep harping on about (odd but edible). I was afraid to try it - searching for something familiar, only to be disappointed. Recently, though, I'd started thinking a little more seriously about giving it a try and when we woke up late on Monday and had a huge list of things to do in town, I suggested that we have a BK burger and fries for lunch.
It's pretty much the same except that mayonnaise is a little different here and there was a lot of it so I'll hold the mayo next time. Ketchup is sweeter, too, but I'm used to that. It felt really good to eat something that was almost familiar and, strangely, I loved the feel of that universal wax cup in my hand. I love fountain diet Cokes and missed them since also hadn't had one of those since I got here. All in all I think it was the best trip to BK ever. Also, though, the most expensive as the cost converts to about eleven dollars for my meal alone. Hard to think of BK as a treat but it's not eleven-dollar-once-a- week good, that's for sure.
After lunch Matt and I walked over to Waterstone's because I wanted to see if they had a copy of Virginia Woolfe's Selected Diaries in stock (they didn't). As we were browsing I heard an older gentleman at the counter asking about Patrick O'Brian - author of the Master and Commander series and Matt's favorite - which I thought was really funny since we had just had a long conversation about his books over lunch. I wondered if Matt had heard and, sure enough, when I wandered over that way, there was the gentleman, a bookseller and Matt. It turns out the man had recently lost his wife and a friend and recommended the series to him as a way to way to occupy his mind and deal with the grief. I stayed out of the way but as the man walked to the cash register with the first book I heard him exclaim, "How amazing! That chap knew all about them!" It was really touching and I hope he's enjoying the book.
Even though we had watched the weather several times yesterday and even had a look at the BBC weather web page, neither of us really believed we were going to get any of the predicted snow. Just before we went to bed, Matt took one last look outside and there is was...SNOW! We almost threw on some warm clothes to head out for a walk right then but it was really late (the holiday break has really gotten our days and nights mixed up) and the doors to the cathedral close would be locked so instead we set the alarm and got up early this morning to walk over to the cathedral to take a few photos.
Snow is not as common here as it is in Ohio so there were lots of photographers out and about. And kids rolling giant snowballs. When we walked by the cathedral into town a few hours later there were half built snowmen everywhere.
I'm sure I'm not alone in the thought that this lamp post reminds me of Narnia and with the snow on the ground today I really wouldn't have been surprised to see the Faun wander by.
Eventually the snow started really coming down and we decided it was time to head home but I had a chance to squeeze in a few more pictures including this comparison shot.
Unfortunately, I've never seen the cathedral without this scaffolding and it's not coming down until 2015.
And if ever a dog needed a sweater...
So now I've had my first English snow. On the walk home I, unfortunately, couldn't help but think that I was really looking forward to my first English summer. Snow is pretty but I think I prefer picnics on the cathedral lawn rather than snowmen.
And now on to some knitterly things. After knitting this little bear for my mom (and another one for Matt that I still need to snap a photos of), I've fallen in love with knitting toys. Knowing this, Matt spotted me flipping through Knitted Wild Animals by Sarah Keen at Waterstones and decided it would be a good Christmas present (the man is really good at picking out knitting and crochet books without my help, too - lucky me!), Even though it was the hippo pattern that hooked me, I cast on the alligator first and got all the way from the tip of his tail to the beginning of his body and realized the odd skein of green I was knitting with wasn't really going to be enough and would perhaps leave me with a legless gator so I set him aside, unable to frog him quite yet but also unable to start him over in another green because I was a bit tired of the moss stitch used to make him scaly. Instead I started the tiger since the Year of the Tiger begins on February 14th and I was born under the same symbol in 1974. I've only finished two of the thirteen pieces you need to knit to make him but he already reminds me of Hobbes and that can only be a good thing.
Speaking of snow and Calvin and Hobbes, I used to love it when Calvin made snowmen!
The other day fellow ex-pat, Phoe, kindly sent me a link to an online, UK based store that sells hard to find American groceries. Strangely, just a few hours earlier, Matt and I had been discussing Thanksgiving and I was saying I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to find canned pumpkin. I don't know how they make pumpkin pie here or if the whole UK has something against it (gasp) but pumpkin pie - my mother's pumpkin pie anyway - is one of my very favorite desserts. I'd rather have it than birthday cake - birthday cake from Taste of Elegance/ele Cake Co. even (although it's a close tie). Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie - even if it's a Thanksgiving that's being celebrated in a country that doesn't have Thanksgiving.
Anyone that might be trailing us on a trip to Tesco knows that Matt and I are serious impulse shoppers so within minutes of perusing the website, we placed an order that arrived this morning (before I'd even had a chance to shower - I hate that).
We can now have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (and Christmas)! We also ordered some barbecue sauce to make barbecue chicken pizzas because the sauce here is just too sweet. It's not our favorite flavor but it is our favorite brand so I know it'll be good. The Jello Instant Pudding is the not-so-secret ingredient in my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Each batch takes a box but I think I may stretch it and use a half box for each. The Junior Mints are just because I miss Junior Mints (even though After Eights are pretty close) and the candies are some UK sweets they threw in which is, um, sweet.
All this talk of the holidays, along with the Christmas decorations that are popping up everywhere, is really Getting Me Down. I checked ticket prices to go home for Thanksgiving the other day and they were reasonable enough (although,only two or three days later, they've already gone up £25) but I just didn't think it was a good idea for me to go home. I've spoken the words "I might not come back" out loud without entirely meaning them but still meaning them a little bit. I'm having a lot of trouble and a lot of that feeling is because I didn't take the decision to move here as seriously as I should. Not that I wouldn't have done it anyway, I would (most likely), but I would have realized how important it was to give up my family and everything I've known for the past 35 years. I spent the entire summer with this vague feeling that this was all happening to someone else (that's the only way I can explain how easy it was) but now I'm painfully aware that it was me all along. Don't get me wrong, living here isn't "a jail sentence," as Matt kind of joked the other night as we talked about going home for Thanksgiving, it just isn't home yet.
This topic of going home for Thanksgiving only came up because we're not going to Ohio for Christmas. It was insanely expensive to ship my cats so it's just not possible this year. This fact crushes me and is the reason I'm having so much trouble. I think I'd be in a better state if I'd had more time to get used to my new life in general without having the most family oriented holiday come up within first few months. I know eventually you have to start your own family and your own traditions but, after waking up at my parents' house (my house for a lot of those years) for 35 Christmases, waking up in an entirely different country, knowing that I'll only see my family on a video chat...I can't even think about it without fighting off tears or downright sobbing.
That said, I should probably stop trying to ruin an otherwise perfectly good Friday, take a nice hot shower and start prepping the conservatory for the light but bright yellow paint we bought on Wednesday. We'll give it a couple of coats tomorrow, finally unpack some of my decor and make it a nice cozy room in which to have a Thanksgiving dinner for two.
Dear Aunt Flo,
These are the things I should be doing:
- finishing up the dishes
- cleaning the bedroom
- catching up on emails
These are the things I'm going to do instead:
- make a cup of tea
- sit on the couch with a warm cat and a book
For once I have to admit that I don't hate you as much today as I normally would. Sometimes it's nice to have an excuse to relax even if you might not really need one.
What do you say we bake some cookies a little later?
Buddy along with his new pals Tallulah, my brother's girlfriend's dog, and Cooper, my brother's dog who is only a few days younger than Buddy. From what Mom said Wednesday night, they all got on great and I wouldn't be surprised to get a photo from my parents in the not too distant future of Buddy and another miniature or standard schnauzer. If they do get a second dog I really think they should name him Ol' Pal.
"Come here, Buddy, Ol' Pal!"
While visiting Matt in May we stopped at the Spread Eagle pub...
...for a cider and...
We had Nobby's Nuts at the Spread Eagle! My inner pre-teen had to snicker and take photos.
Ironically, the only other pub I've been to is called The Bush. This was the view from our table...
I'm not the only one who's looked at that photo and thought it said, "No Fucking" rather than "No Smoking."
Sorry, it's been a rough couple of days - I needed a giggle. And, ahem, I haven't seen my husband in a month and a half.