Friday, November 30, 2007

I Did It!

I made it through NaBloPoMo and actually managed to post every day this month. A few times it was a chore but mostly I loved it, and it gets addictive - every time something of any consequence happens during the day you think "oh, that might make a good blog". I've also constantly got my camera ready...

It's a bad habit to get into I think and some nights I'd be here blogging while Craig was on his computer and we'd only see each other at bedtime. That can't be healthy can it.

So, I'm going to be a little more sporadic with my blogs from now on and try to enjoy more time with my son & hubby - especially as it's Craig's birthday weekend!

Lastly, here's some of my blogging observations:

  • I get very excited when I see that I have a comment and very dejected when I have none
  • I'm nervous about posting comments on other people's blogs in case they think I'm a stalker
  • I love to see red dots on my counter (yea! people read my blog)
  • I worry about red dots on my counter (someones going to kidnap my child or rob the house)
  • I'm trying really hard to be anonymous
  • It's hard to be anonymous when I love the Buckeyes so much
  • I try to post blogs that don't make me out to be a mild alcoholic who swears too much
  • In real life I'm a mild alcoholic that swears too much

That's all for now folks.

Ta ta for now

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In celebration of little boys!

I bought a new camera yesterday with better video capability than my old one and I took a little video of Jack tonight for the blog. I have no idea why but I don't seem to be able to upload it. It saves videos as "MVI" and I have no idea what that means. It was so much easier with my old camera!

Anyway, because I am stumped by technology I'm going to resort to a good old fashioned picture. Michelle took this in summertime when Jack was having a "Beckham" moment.

I'm posting it in celebration of little boys because so many people right now seem to be pregnant & expecting boys, or new mums of boys - my niece Gemma, Michelle, Emily, & her friend Kelsey.

I can't say how different boys are from girls because I don't have a little girl (yet) but I do know how much I love my little fella and how much fun he is to be around.

As a tag-on, tonight was my last night-class! I've still got my final exam but I never thought in a million years I would get through this class. I am completely stumped when it comes to math (bordering on dyslexic I think) so taking a physics class has always frightened me to death and I've been putting it off or years because of that, but I'm 5/8 of the way through now, so wish me luck. In honor of this last class, & because he has seen how stupid and dejected I've felt this quarter, my wonderful husband bought me a bunch of flowers tonight. I am so lucky.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cheesy underpants, anyone?

We got a big Christmas parcel today from my mum & sister in England (thank you!). It contained lots of gifts for Jack, me, & Craig.

We tried not to peek but we did "feel them up" a bit & try to decipher in any of the gifts were edible so that we could put them in the fridge - so Cody wouldn't open them & they wouldn't melt.

I remarked how funny it's going to be on Christmas morning when Craig's all excited for chocolate liquers and finds a pair of socks in the fridge. He reminded me of his mum's similar experience with a gift we got her years ago..

We bought her & Harry a "cheese bomb" as part of their Christmas gift - it was a strong Lancashire cheese in a circular shape, wrapped in a black wax coating & made to look like a bomb. She thought it was a bath bomb - one of those fizzy aromatic balls that you put into the bath and it dissolves to color the water and act like bubble-bath. She also thought it would be a good idea to get the most out of it's aromatic potential, so put it into the underwear drawer of her bedroom dresser.

After about 4 weeks of her underwear and bedroom smelling of stinky cheese she figured it out.

Baby Love

This is Connor and I was very privileged to hold him today. He's the lovely son of our friends, Chris & Michelle.
I had forgotten how tiny babies were and was scared to pick him up!'

The mum & dad are of course estatic. I took a picture of the happy family but it didn't feel right posting it without them knowing & I forgot to ask them. Next time we see them I'll get another shot & get it pre-approved.
Anyway, he's lovely and it made me feel all gooey inside, like new babies do.

My heart bleeds for Riley

Last week Craig and I got into a discussion about the death penalty. It's such an emotional subject we eventually gave up.

After all that's happened in the Riley Ann Sawyers case this week, and especially after reading the affidavit, I'm even more torn. Because right now I'm glad they got caught in Texas, where they'll almost certainly get fried.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Sis!

Happy Birthday to my lovely sister Jenny. See you SOON!

Warm Bum, Warm Heart

I've taken too much on at work, fallen behind on a couple of deadlines and I have several speaking engagements looming. I'm also taking night classes right now towards my PhD. It must have caught up with me today because I actually had a few minor panic-attacks which I haven't had in years. Nothing to get worried about but just a few times today I had to sit and breathe to calm myself down.

I trundled off to night class straight after work, thankful there's only a couple left. At half-time I called Craig and we discussed the day and what we'd have for dinner then I slouched back into the classroom to hear about "flux densities of water in relation to the pressure head gradient". Woo hoo. By the time the class ended I was just washed out.

I left class and walked across to my car in the pitch black and ice cold rain, making a mental list of work stuff that I could get done tonight when I got home. By the time I got to my car I was freezing (damn it got cold quick) and feeling sorry for myself.

While I was on the way home I called Craig again. He said "you just missed the cutest thing. When Jack heard the phone ring he stood up excited, ran to the phone and shouted Mama!"

That just warmed my heart so much, and then I realised that my heated seat had kicked in too, and my bum was toasty! Within a minute I was de-stressed and happy again. All it took was a Jack story from Craig and a heated seat.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bowl-heads from outer-space

As a mother I continue to have preconceived ideas about how I will raise Jack and they all seem to fall off to the wayside as I realise that they were not just a tad naive but sometimes all for the wrong reasons. I'll explain myself a bit better..

When I was expecting, I was adamant that no doctor was going to bully me into a C-section. Even when my great doctor told me Jack was too big, I told all who would listen that I wanted to go "naturally" with as few drugs as possible. As it turned out, the C-section was a great experience. If we do this again? C-section and drugs all the way baby!

I was also set on breast-feeding (male readers - sorry if that's too much information) and I did so half-heartedly because the pressure to do it is huge. Even when I was sat on my bed, pumping (talk about a humbling experience) and crying with bleeding boobs and the baby-blues, I persevered. Next time? I might breastfeed, I might not. I now realise it's my choice and heaven help the busy-body who tells me different.

I also had preconceived ideas about how I would raise Jack - he would eat organic food, no juice or pop, strict bedtimes, and no tv. As you can see from the picture, one of those rules has , erm, gone by the wayside too. The tv is just so NICE when I need just a minute or two to not have to entertain him. I love playing with him but after several hours of entertaining I grab the remote, bring on "Noggin" and he'll maybe sit just long enough for me to have a cup of tea and relax for 5 minutes.

The only downside to this is that I have to watch it too and some of those presenters act like they come from another planet. And wherever that planet is, they all get bowl-head haircuts.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Home is where the wine is?

Just a quick one tonight. I'm quite possibly being the rudest host on the planet by blogging while I have guests!

Char and Jan came over to see us tonight. Char's home for Thanksgiving but flies back to Bakersfield, CA tomorrow and we may not see her now till Christmas at least. Jan is moving up to her family home to be with her mum that's sick, so we aren't going to see her either. So I better get back....

I'm going to miss these two madly. They are trying to persuade us to move to California in a couple of years but I'm not sure that moving an extra 2,000 miles away from England is a good thing - it's hard enough for family and friends to fly here.

I could definitely see us liking California though and of all the places in the world for us to live, it would have to be in wine country!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Roses are nice.....

Let me start this blog by apologising to UK friends and family but this is going to be mostly about American college football. Sorry. I can't help it. I love this sport with a passion.

By the way, I also love England football and am gutted at the result Wednesday. Good riddence to McLaren. I can't believe the FA appointed him in the first place- how was he supposed to be innovative and different when he was Eriksson's lacky for years? I know nothing about the fine art of football but when I read on Tuesday that he was going to replace Robinson in goal for a rookie, have Crouch up front on his own AND drop Beckham even I thought he'd lost the plot. It's a big shame we won't be in Euro 2008. My only consolation is that Scotland and Ireland aren't in either because having to listen to them twittle on next summer would be too much to bear.

Now onto the Buckeyes - I was happy they beat Michigan & got to go to the the Rose Bowl. For a "building year" they did great - ranked number 1, beat Michigan, what more could a Buckeye want? Well, a chance at the BCS national title actually.

So LSU just lost in the 3rd overtime and my nails are bitten back to my knuckles. If WVU lose tomorrow the Bucks might be back in the race. Oh, the suspense! I would love for the Buckeyes to get to the BCS and just do great. Just win it hands-down. After our heartbreak last January we want this so badly!

Matt sent me this picture last night. It was taken during the 4th quarter of the OSU:Michigan game. Michigan have just taken the snap and the ball is being handed to Hart. Look at our defense! They are ALL completely through Michigan's offensive line. Great picture.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy & Thankful

I've had a lovely lovely day.

It started this morning while I was having my cuppa, flicking through the telly and I caught the end of the quintessential Thanksgiving movie "Planes, trains and automobiles". I love that film. I also read a couple of my favourite blogs, including Mousie, who's posting made me cry and feel very thankful for my family.

Next we took a long walk, all wrapped up against the cold. The wonderful autumn colors are at an end now, with most of the leaves falling. I did get 5 bags of leaves from my garden raked up today, so feel good about that. Some people in my neighbourhood rake their leaves into the street and it drives me bonkers. I think I'm going to write to our community paper and explain that the leaves put nitrates and phosphates in the water once they get in the drains. I'm turning into Victor Meldrew.

I'm now sat in my office doing this, while Jack is playing in the wardrobe, closing doors and taking stuff out. He's been a joy today. He's got a molar coming in so I think the little fella is in pain but he's being a trooper and not complaining. I didn't post any pictures but I have uploaded a movie of Jack having his thanksgiving dinner and using his fork, no less. Craig cooked the most wonderfur dinner and is now in a turkey coma in bed.

*Big Sigh* I feel so content right now.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Four Fabulous Days

Four days off work!

I love Thanksgiving. These four days stretch before me like an age.

I always totally overestimate what 4 days means though. I'm already thinking, "we'll do some work, rake leaves with Jack in the garden, show Jack worms & rocks in the garden (never too early to start doing disgusting boy stuff), sort some things out on my car, clean house, languish in the front of the telly, take Jack to the park, read" and so on....

I bet by Sunday night I'm posting to say I gorged on turkey and Irish cream and that I actually got nothing accomplished at all.

For friends in the USA - safe travels tonight & tomorrow to see loved ones. To friends and family in the UK - I miss you madly but will see you soon!

The Trojan Rabbit

Tonight we had our 4th date in 18 months! Gina baby-sat Jack (THANK YOU) and Craig and I went to see Spamalot.

Our seats were fab but our neighbour was an obnoxious **** so in the second half, we snook down to 2 empty lower seats we'd spied, nearer the stage. Then we really enjoyed the rest of it. If you have a chance to go, please GO. It's very funny, very entertaining and makes you feel happy with life when you leave.

My favourite bit of the whole evening? The finale, me and Craig, arms slung around each others shoulders, swaying with the rest of the audience singing "Always look on the bright side of life" . Marvelous.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fond Memories of Cark

I said in a blog a while ago that I'd say a bit more about the dropzone were Craig and I met. The Northwest Parachute Center (Cark) is in the Lake District of England.

My mate Sue and I did a tandem skydive there in 1994 and loved it so much we signed up for a course. During the day we'd sit and wait for the wind to drop below 10mph so we could jump (actually we'd pray it wouldn't), and then at night we'd party like banshees before collapsing into the shared bunkhouse. You had to be really drunk to sleep in the bunkhouse or the spiders and man-smells would have kept you awake all night. Oh, the days!

Craig had been going to Cark for longer and had done a lot of jumps by the time I got there. He was on a 4-way team and went on to do camera work. We literally spent every weekend there until 1999 when we came to the States.

Our friends ranged from 17 years old to 70, from millionaires to vagabonds (yes you, Roy Liptrott) and doctors to students. Basically, when you're about to go and throw yourself out of an airplane, no one cares what you do Monday to Friday or how much your car cost.

When we went home in 2005 we went to visit. Here's a few pictures I took.

There's far too many stories to tell them all, so I'm going to pick one for Craig and one for me:

Craig is a legend at Cark because both his parachutes failed & he walked (limped) away. He was jumping an old rag of a parachute that should have been burned (actually he did set fire to it later). His main chute had a line-over, so he cut it away and got his reserve out. His reserve opened and 3 of the panels blew out (like I said, old rag). So, he was spinning at a crazy rate towards the earth thinking that his chips were up. He told me he felt lonely. His friend Tony was flying next to him. When he saw Craig's main chute he shouted "get off it!", when he saw the reserve he shouted "get back on it!" You have to admit that's funny. Anyway. Craig, by fantastic luck, landed in a soft, ploughed field and walked away. I didn't know him then. I'm glad I didn't.

I am a legend in Spain. When we got married in 96 Craig and I had our honeymoon at Skydive Empuriabrava. Craig jumped for fun and I did a course to qualify to jump on my own. After I graduated, on the very first jump on my own, the engine blew up. The jump master, Bruno Brokken, was fabulous and made me feel okay. I mean, we're getting out of the plane anyway right? He said to me "stay away from the runway" because the pilot had to glide the plane in. I thought he said "stay away from the dropzone". So, I jumped out and I pulled my chute very high up at 5,000 feet so I could get carried by the wind as far from the dropzone as possible. Craig was on the ground, watching. To follow my progress, he used binoculars, then the telemeters, then the dropzone sent out a light aircraft to look for me. All the while, Craig's thinking "where is she GOING?" Turns out I was going to France. Three hours later, sat on the dropzone bus and covered in corn husks I made it back to the dropzone to raptuous applause and lots of ribbing. I have a VHS video of this and would love to get it converted to DVD some day.

I have tagged on 2 videos. One is of the guys that we know on the canopy rotation team, Zero Tolerance, at Cark, and one is a promo video for Empuria. It's a bit long at 10 mins but good fun to watch.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend Washout

No exciting blog today folks.

I have been sick as a dog all weekend. First with the bad cold I can't shake and then last night I got Jack's stomach bug, so was up all night. The low point of my weekend was lying on the bathroom floor at 2am this morning wishing for the world to end.

So far Craig's not got it and I hope I don't pass it back to Jack. This sucks!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pictures of the Little Fella

I haven't posted too many pictures of the little fella this week so I took a few today while we were house-bound watching the Buckeyes beat Michigan. Oh, what a fabulous win for our boys. Big Ten Champs and going to the Rose Bowl or maybe something else ......

Okay, back to the matter in hand. Here's three brand-new pictures of our little love:

Obsessed with Mummy's spinny office chair

Looking very dashing in the JCB hat his nana Lloyd & grandad Tom got him

Informing me that he's just thrown everything over the baby gate and down the stairs

Friday, November 16, 2007

Our New Motor

Here is my new car - a 2005 VW Golf GLS turfbo diesel injection, or TDI to be less waffly.

I just bought it today and I LOVE it for the following reasons:
  1. It will do 45 mpg
  2. It's fast
  3. It's got gadgets - heated sports seats, heated mirrors, alloy wheels, tinted windows, sunroof, automatic AND manual transmission but don't ask me how that works as I have no idea
  4. It's a 4-door hatch-back so it's sporty but also kid friendly
  5. It will last forever

  1. It was expensive
  2. It sounds like a diesel, but I kinda like that
  3. The horn that goes off when you lock it is funny. Instead of the usual "beep" or "pomp" it goes "purp", like it ate too much cabbage.

So, here it is....

Obviously not our car, but I wanted to show what it looks like and I got home in the dark - so I took some pictures off the internet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Eggs are my Best Friend Right Now

This was Jack last night - hanging out with us, sat on Matt's knee.

When he woke at 6.30am this morning and I went to his room he'd been sick everywhere & was really pale. He perked up enough that Craig tootled off to work so I gave him his milk, which made a fast and furious exit all over the kitchen. I won't be too detailed but it was so appalling that I stood looking at him in stunned silence for about 10 seconds before I realised what was going on. He looked back at me, equally stunned and then I had some kind of brain shut-down because I couldn't remember the doctors number, or even how to call up the address book on my phone. It took me about a minute to gather myself and call the Doc, who informed me it was a bug and to try and get him to drink Pedialyte. She sounded like I'd woken her up from her sick bed and was a bit blunt. She actually finished off by telling me to "brace for a messy morning" and hung up. Oh, thanks.

Craig brought some Pedialyte & stayed long enough for me to get Jack's bedding & clothes into the washing machine. As I was rinsing Jack's pants I felt something in the pocket and pulled out a green plastic pickle! Those moments make you calm down and smile to yourself.

He was okay the rest of the day and I've managed to keep some food and fluid in him, with just one more sick episode this afternoon. Fingers crossed he's over it and is now in bed asleep.

I tried to give him bland food today - toast, egg, cheese and biscuits. Egg was definitely the food that got the thumbs-up from Jack and seemed to stay down. Gerber's chicken noodle & carrots, errr, not so much. After I "Googled" this subject tonight some tips talked about "BRAT" - bananas, rice, apple sauce & toast. Anyone else got ideas?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Final Whistle of 2006

Gina & Matt came over tonight & we watched the HBO Special about the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. It's the big game this Saturday.

Here's a little video of last years final whistle in Ohio Stadium. See if you can spot me & Craig. We're on the right-hand side of the field, wearing red.

Ps: Wuthering Heights last night was pretty good. Robert Cavanah played Heathcliff, Orla Brady was Kathy. Course I dreamt about it all night!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Quest for Kathy & Heathcliff

My new Wuthering Heights dvd arrived today courtesy of and a moment of spending weakness on my behalf. I LOVE this story and have read the book by Emily Bronte several times, probably inherited the fascination from my older sister Jenny who would go back and switch places with the heroine Kathy if they ever invent a time machine.

Since the first 1939 film with Sir Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff, I have seen several film versions that rate from bad to painful. The most recent being a Hollywood offering where Kathy & Heathcliff were actually spoiled teenagers living in Orange County and both surfing dudes. Even the version with Ralph Fiennes as a credible Heathcliff, Kathy was played by Juliette Binoche (who's French) so every time Kathy was supposed to talk in her burly & rough native Yorkshire accent, she sounded more like a pussy cat purring. In others words, I'm always looking for films because I'm desperate for one of them to do the book justice

Getting it right would be no easy task, The book spans 3 generations and two families, which is complicated enough, but the thing no one has captured yet is the powerful, raw and sometimes evil love affair between Kathy & Heathcliff.

We're going to England soon and I'm going to take Craig to "Bronte Country" to a village called Howarth where the Bronte sisters lived in the old parsonage. It's a gorgeous, quaint little village in the moors. The old church still has stocks outside! I'm also going to drag my sister along so she can finally take me to Top Withens (picture above), which is supposedly the inspiration for the Earnsaw family farmhouse, called "Wuthering Heights".

Okay, I'm off to load up my dvd player, with bated breath....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Three Posts Today!

Veterans Day was observed today in the US. When Jack's a bit older I'd like to take him to a parade or something but for today we just took the time to have a family day.

Indoor Play Areas?
I should have spent this weekend working and doing physics homework but I wasn't very successful. Mostly because I want to spend time with Craig and Jack but also because every time I try and do computer work, Jack comes along and pulls wires, opens drawers or tries to climb on my knee. Craig tells me to shut my office door but I just can't. So, it means I have to work doubly hard all week now but it was worth it today to spend a lot of time playing with Jack.

When he got bored, we took him to a local mall that has an indoor playing area and he played solidly for an hour. There were several other parents there like us - glad to be out of the house. If any local friends have suggestions for indoor play areas please tell me, as the winter is LONG!


Car Update Part 2
We checked out a couple of car dealers this afty. Looks like the only turbo diesel right now is the VW Jetta and there's a waiting list. Humf. We are right on the edge of turbo diesel mania in the USA - I just know it! Even if diesel is 50 cents/gallon more than gas, they typically get 40-45 mpg and they last forever. I'll keep looking.

I looked at a Toyota Yaris today too but it was too small and weird. The odometer is in the middle, on top of the dash - which would annoy me. Not seen a VW Rabbit yet. Chevy Aveo too small. Ford Focus too boring. Better stop before I offend someone who has one of these cars. Suffice it to say I haven't found my ideal car yet.

Another "Add-on" Video

You know, I may just tag on a favourite YouTube video now & again. There's so many good ones. Here's one that gave me a giggle:

One for the Buckeye fans

Okay this is NOT sour grapes but come on! His knee is not down, he doesn't have the ball. This is a fumble, right?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rabbits, Buckeyes, Little Monkeys

Car Update
After some helpful advice from people (thank you) I have decided to at least start looking at another car. So, I've been doing a spot of reading up and I like the VW diesel Rabbit. I'd really like the new diesel Touareg but we don't have 60 k handy. The reason for diesel? Well, we had a diesel car in England and we LOVED it - the fuel economy was amazing and the fuel burns clean so it's got better environmental-friendliness than both gas and hybrids. Now, the trouble is that clean diesel has only been in the States since May 2007 so getting hold of a diesel car is going to be hard. I did see a Jetta TDI today while we were out shopping but they still look too much like a "Euro box" for my liking. Will keep you posted.

Beloved Buckeye's Loss
I went to the stinking game yesterday. When I left the stadium and rang Craig we were both obviously upset at the loss to Illinois. But after 24 hours to reflect I've come to the conclusion that it might not be a bad thing. We're a young team and our schedule this year wasn't super tough. I'd hate to go into a BCS Championship and get our arses handed to us again by an SEC team. That would be WAY too much to bear. I still haven't recovered from the last time - I don't think any Buckeye fan has. I'm very proud of our student athletes - I think they had an awesome year and I'm excited to see us beat the blue scum next Saturday and get a chance at the Big 10 title.
Tomorrow night & all this week it's the HBO Special "Michigan versus Ohio State: The Rivalry" I'm so excited to see it as Matt & Gina's tailgate in the Minnie Winnie is on there!
Jack the Lad's Antics
Lastly, a Jack story and short video - not related to each other.
First the story - I was sat in the living room yesterday morning and Jack toddled off into the kitchen. Craig was walking Cody. I didn't run after Jack as the kitchen is child-proof and the gate was across the stairs.
After about 30 seconds I hear this low noise: "mmmmmmm, splish, mmmmmmm, splish, mmmmmmm, splish"
I say "Jaaaack - what are you up to?"
No response but again "mmmmmmmmmm, splish"
I go to investigate and I find...
Jack, holding up his plastic golf club to the fridge water dispenser and he's dispensing water all over the kitchen floor. WHERE did he learn that? Little bugger.
A short video of Jack being generous with his cheesy cheddar goldfish......


Last but not least, Happy Birthday to Sheila! My step-mum and Jack's Grandma.

Oh, and a video I have to post...

The new married life - I'm upstairs "Blogging", Craig's downstairs "Stumbling" (not literally, not yet) and sent me this video.

We love this sport & the people and I'm going to post about skydiving as part of NaBloPoMo. We met at a dropzone (me rookie, Craig on a team & cameraman), we honeymooned at one. We never did this though - Holy Cow!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pulling One Out..

When I started NaBloPMo (post every day in November) I thought no worries! Today I'm sorry but I'm ill with a cold and want to mong in front of the TV, so I'm "pulling one out" as they say..

I saw this last month and wanted to post it at some point anyway, so I'm not totally lazy. AND, with "Michigan (barf) Week" starting Monday, I'll be on a roll...

So on to this - on a British talent show run by Simon Cowell, the winner gets to sing in front of Queen Elizabeth. All kinds of sapranos and fine artists contend and then along comes Connie Talbot, aged 6.

I DARE you not to cry!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Car Conundrum

I have a car dilemma. I bought this 2001 Ford Escape in Oct 05 and I finish paying for it Oct 08. It's got 107 k miles on it.
It needs an oil change & new shocks. Craig just fixed the brake booster. Yesterday morning I saw gray smoke coming out of the exhaust. I tried to convince myself it was steam as it was bloody cold but when I got a mouth full of it realised my engine's probably burning oil.

Here's my dilemma - I REALLY wanted to get this car paid off and have 1 or even 2 years without a car payment so we can pay off some debt and try to save some money. Craig says I should trade it in now before the transmition goes, as Escapes are apparantly known for it and once it goes I'll get nothing for it.

Do I trade in or do I take the risk & try and keep it going?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My Name is JACK!

Quick one today, done during my lunch hour. Got class tonight and helping Jan get the house "market ready" for tomorrow.

I previously posted about Jack knowing his own name and here's a small video I took this morning during breakfast. He's got a cold but doing great AND didn't cry when I dropped him off at Tsegga's - so he's settling in.

Later peeps.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Me & Elsie

One of my students came to see me today. He did his internship in England this summer and he loved it. He said "I really miss England and I think about it every day". I do too, so I thought I'd do a posting about all the stuff I miss but soon realised it would end up like War & Peace because there's SO MUCH. Family, friends, food, lifestyle, sports, music and just on and on.
So I'm going to do a posting about just one of the things I miss and that's my best friend Sue, aka Elsie Piddy.
We met in 1990 through our AWFUL boyfriends at the time (shudder). We hit it off immediately and still have a relationship where if we don't talk for a month we just pick right up where we left off. We have done so much together but here's a small list of my favourites:
* We worked for her family "pricking out" bedding plants on a Saturday. We took the money we earned and went out Saturday night - sometimes to The Old Hill Inn in Yorkshire where we'd watch the band, down a few pints of bitter then sleep in the car. It was so cold one night our jeans froze.
* We once went to a party after night-clubbing in Southport and let's just say we were a little tipsy. She knocked all the plants off the entry table and I came out from the bathroom with my skirt tucked into my knickers (underwear). We were classy chicks in those days.
* We made a crop circle together
* My students in England were big fans of her band "Pig Town Fling". She's unbelievably talented in both singing and playing guitar. My favourite song she sings A Cappella is "Waltzing Matilda"

Can't believe she talked me into this ride. We screamed bloody murder through the whole thing and used some rather choice words. Look at those Aaron cardies! Arghh

Riding the roller coaster at Blackpool fair with our friends, Wayne & Lauren

1995 - Waiting to do our parachute jump at Cark. Lots more on Cark for a later blog. Yes, they're superimposed. I believe this was a birthday card she sent me once.

We did it - Yea! We went on to do more jumps and even aerobatic flying (how brave we were).
My favourite parachuting story is this: It was a little windy when we jumped and we were on "rounds" which can't be steered like square parachutes and the landing is rather unceremonious - you sort of pull your knees up, cover your head and hope for the best. Sue always dreaded the landing so I landed, gathered up my chute and tried to get close to where she landed. As she landed a big gust of wind re-inflated her chute and she got dragged horizontally about 50 yards across the field, over cow pats and bumps. She was cursing and screaming but I was laughing so hard I couldn't help her.

August 1996 - She was the witness at my wedding and she drove us to the airport in her small, filthy car, full of sweet wrappers and all sorts of unidentifiable stuff. I can't say too much because I'm a car pig too. She kept hold of my wedding certificate for safe keeping and still has it today.

New York 2003. Her second visit to the USA to see me. OHHH, I miss her.

By the way - "Naked Cowboy" might look sexy but he's hairless & covered in lard - eww

Lake District, UK, July 2005 - the last time we saw each other, not counting web cams. I'm going to see her this year and I can't wait.

You can see what she's been up to on her blog FredSueandMe. Big news too - her & lovely Lee are getting married September 2008!

One last thing. I am not saying I don't love America because I do. I just miss England sometimes.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mixed Bag

It's a mixed bag of stuff today.

First off, "Bonn voyage" to Char, who left for California this morning to start her new job. We'll miss her very much. Jan is still here getting the house ready to go on the market this Friday. She'll be around till next June. Losing these two friends is going to be AWFUL.

Next, you'll see that I've added to the blog. I've added a link to Sue & Lee's blog in England (FredSueandMe) and I've got a fun survey that I'm going to run every few weeks - vote if you get a moment. I also added the Last FM radio Lee told me about. I downloaded it and now I can listen to all the music I love - fabulous!

Lastly, I haven't posted much stuff about Jack the Lad lately, so there's a new picture on the right and here's a short video of him mimicking his dad throwing leaves in the park yesterday. We've had two new words from him this week: "shoe" and he now knows his own name.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Beanie Baby!

Beanie Wells runs in for a touchdown. OSU beat Wisconsin 38-17. On the front page of the sports section in the local paper today they run this picture. And who's that on the sidelines? Ohhh, I love my job!

Eric ~ thanks for sending me this picture!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

ALDI - the good, the bad and the unripened

There's an ALDI shop near us & we love it. Where else can you buy a cart brimming full of food for less than $70? If you can tolerate some of the more colourful neigbourhood characters and their obnoxious children then it's worth it.

During our ALDI years we have identified good buys and terrible buys, so I thought I'd share a few.

Thumbs up:

1. Toilet roll. Double rolls, packs of 12, NO LINT, isn't so small that the roll needs changing every day. Marvelous.

2. Irish Cream. Not Baileys but who cares if it's half the price.

3. Southwest chicken spring rolls. Spicy & just the right midnight snack

4. "Fit & healthy" range of foods
5. Eggs, milk, wheat bread, meat, fish and fruit n veg - all good. Canned stuff on an individual item basis. For example, tuna is great, spaghetti & meatballs is a sugar fest.


1. The cat litter. No idea what it's made of but it turned our cats black

2. Green bananas that never ripen

3. Yellow stuff that disguises itself as margarine. You can put it under a broiler and it stays intact. Craig calls it "I can't believe it won't melt"

4. A lot of the kids food contains high fructose corn syrup. I bet the people that make it don't serve it to their kids.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I love football songs & traditions. During a Buckeye game, each of the 4 sides of the stadium chant O-H-I-O in turn. A bit like a grammatical wave! Four friends can also create the word by doing funny things with their arms.

They are actually starting to archive these O-H-I-O pictures now and they show them on the scoreboard at games. This week I submitted one!

You can see the archive HERE

& GO BUCKS tomorrow - beat the Badgers!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Goodbye Charlie Old Fella

My mum & step-dad Tom's boxer Charlie had the most unusual start in life.

His mum died during the birth and he & the other pups were taken to a dog breeder who had a female dog that could feed them in their first weeks of life. Turns out the breeder had other plans than merely helping the pups out & hoped to sell them.

The owner of the pups (my sister) had to force her way into the womans house to get the pups back, only to find the white pups dead (I guess white boxers aren't money-makers) and the others in serious condition. Charlie, for instance was covered in flea bites and sores. Only two pups were alive - my sister kept one and my mum & Tom took the other, Charlie.

For the last 10 1/2 years Charlie has lived the life of Riley, that included complete run of the house and bed, fresh-cooked meals every day and lots of love.

This week he got very sick so got taken to the vet and he was there until today when my mum & Tom went to be with him while he was put to sleep. My mum said he knew they were there, and he fell asleep peacefully in their arms.

Of course they are both absolutely heartbroken and I hope they aren't upset that I posted about this, but I didn't want the day to go by without saying something about Charlie because he was a lovely dog and a real character. So I just wanted to acknowledge that, and say "goodbye" to him.

It all starts - with a question no less!

Today is the beggining of "NaBloPoMo" where I pledged to do a posting every day in November.

I'm going to start tonight with a question that we seriously need an answer to. Calling all mums,dads and parents to be, we need HELP!!!

Question is, what is a good bedtime routine for a 16 month old?

Ours is not working and results in 20-40 minutes crying and tonight included bursts of screaming.

Please help before we go mental!

Below is our current routine:

5.30pm-ish: Dinner
6.30pm: Bathtime (not every night)
6.45-7.15: PJs and some playtime

7.15-7.30pm: Bedtime, which includes him voluntarily going to his room and used to involve him sitting on my knee while I read a story and he drank his milk but now he struggles out of my arms to play. Does not want his milk, does not want to sit in my lap and have a story read. SO, we put him in his crib and try milk & book and he stands up, throws his sippy cup out of the crib and cries to be let out. So I eventually give up and leave his room and he just goes mad. And so do we. SIGH...