Thursday, April 30, 2015

Far From The Madding Crowd

In 1985 I read "Far from the madding crowd" for my English Literature O'Level (30 years ago!!!). I loved the book but my teacher dragged it out by scrutinizing every single part (I suppose that's their job) so I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. The night before my O'level exam, by sheer coincidence, the film was on TV. It was the 1967 version with Julie Christie and I sat GLUED to the telly, not just because I knew my exam was the next day but also because I loved the story.

Anyway, about half way through the film the meter went out on our telly and it turned off. My mum gave me a couple of pound notes to run to the neighbors and get some 50ps so I could put them in the meter and keep watching the film. I remember this moment so vividly it feels like yesterday.

Tonight I went with my girl friends & Brit group to a pre-screening of the new film and I couldn't wait to see it. It brings back memories of my fabulous childhood & reading books that I loved. It was a great film. I actually think it's better than the original  - probably because the old version is dated and got funky background music. And I liked Gabriel's character a lot in this film, but still prefer Julie Christie as Bathsheba. It's hard to replace Julie Christie hey.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Fun Weekend

What a fun weekend we just had. There was a field day event at the kids school, a fire in the garden, a  quick jolly jaunt to the local pub with my mate Erika and haircuts for me and the boys.

And I lost weight again at my Weight Watchers weigh-in - 23 lbs total now (Craig has lost 41!)

What a brilliant picture Craig took

He won an opportunity to cream pie his teacher! 

And what a good sport she is!

Jack & his best mate get taken to jail (pic by Heather)

He won a rainbow cake in a jar

Coconut Shy Shenanigans (pic by Heather)

Saturday night fire in the garden. Looks how skinny Craig is! 

New summer haircut

A  pint with a friend is the best therapy on the planet
Summer buzz cuts by Dad

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Car, My Eyeballs, My Students

I finally got my car back last night, and then it went back to get fixed again today, and then I got it back again. I hope this is the end of it. The damn thing has cost us nearly 4k in the last 3 months and that's far too much money for something so tedious!  It was comforting to know from our mechanic that it was nothing I did that caused it all at least. Stupid car. Scratch that, I ♥ my car, I just hope it gives me a few good years now.

Today I also went to get my eyes checked, which is always a drawn-out affair where they dilate my pupils and put dye in my eyes and tell me off for keeping my contact lenses too long. This year I am switching back to glasses and just wearing contacts at the pool with my sunglasses. I fancy a change as my eyes are getting dry and scratchy from lenses.  I'm actually quite excited about picking some frames and wearing them again.

Finally, today was also my last class of the semester and I said goodbye to 125 students. It's always somewhat of a relief, to have finished teaching, but also quite poignant and sad saying goodbye. Interacting with young people keeps me on my toes and I think they are underestimated. They have a lot of great things to say and they see the world in a different way than we do.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Marathon Saturday

Yesterday will go down in history as one of the favorite days of my life. How fortunate am I to have days like that, where I laughed from 7am to 2am?

Walked the 5K with these ladies. Did it in 48 minutes!

Daniel scored in his soccer game, so I took him for Jeni's ice cream

Craig got rails on the porch. It's now officially our favorite room in the house.

At 8pm we got on a party bus, laid on by our neighbors to celebrate his 40th birthday. We drank, we gambled at Hollywood Casino, we partied at Seventh Son Brewery and we carried on back at home. I'm feeling rather tender today, but oh lord it was worth it.

Party bus! Everyone should go on a party bus in their lifetime

Somewhere in the middle of all that I cleaned the house, did all the laundry and went food shopping. Yep, today I'm doing NOTHING.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Weight Loss: Week 10

I weighed in this morning, since I'll be walking my 5K tomorrow. I haven't officially weighed in for two weeks because Kay visited one weekend and I, errrr, partied too much the second weekend.

Weight loss since last weight-in:  3 lbs
Total weight lost:  21.8 lbs

And wouldn't you know it, my jeans still fit the same.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kitchen Make-Overs

Here's some pictures of our kitchen, taken since we bought the house.

The kitchen we inherited when we bought the house in 2005

From 2007 to 2015

2007 - 2015

April 2015

April 2015

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Six Days that Flew

Where did the last 6 days go? I feel like I have been robbed.

It all started last Friday  when we got up early and set off, excited for a road trip, to go and pick up my cousin Kay from Nashville. We got 10 miles before the transmission went on my car. We recently got new car insurance and they had persuaded us to drop AAA in favor of their break-down service. Stupid mistake (isn't hindsight a wonderful thing). The roadside assistance sent a tow-truck with 1 passenger seat and when I called them back the operator told me to send my car with the truck and call a cab for the family. When I explained that we were stranded on the side of a major freeway she told me that they weren't a cab service and hung up on me.  Throughout all this a state trooper had been with us and he took charge. He sent the first tow truck driver away empty handed, called us a new one, parked behind us so if anyone hit they'd hit his car first, and was just amazing (I have emailed his county office to say how wonderful he was). Finally a second tow-truck driver came and towed us to a mechanic and my neighbor Dave picked us up from there and brought us home.

Shortest road trip ever: 10 miles. But it did take 3 hours. 
Friday afternoon we took the boys swimming and had some fun, since it was supposed to be the start of spring break and not a break-down crapfest.

Some friends of ours in Nashville offered to go and get her & bring Kay to us. They had been planning on coming up to see their daughter  at some point and saw it as a good opportunity. Only thing was, they were stuck in a tornado warning in Nashville and poor Kay was sat in a bathtub, with cushions on her head, tornado sirens going off all around her. It didn't help that she was staying in an AirB&B place with a creepy man.  What must she have thought of her visit at this point.

They all finally rolled into town at 3am Saturday morning and collapsed into bed. The sleeping arrangements were as such: me & Craig on cot/couch in the basement, Nashville friends in our bed, Kay in Jack's bed, Danny in his bed, Jack on a cot in Danny's room, Bethany & Brandon (friend's niece and nephew) on sofa bed in the living room. Yep, we housed nine people for the weekend. Consider also that my kitchen is torn apart and I had a full week of laundry and cleaning that I hadn't done because I was planning on escaping to Nashville for the weekend. Sigh.

On Saturday we smiled and made the best of it: went for a hike, took the kids swimming, and just kept everyone jollying along.

Hiking buddies

4 kids in the whirlpool

Me and Danny
On Sunday morning Kay and I set up an Easter egg hunt in the local park and then the 4 kids came over and searched for them. We also got them Easter baskets. One of the kids doesn't get too much in life and I seriously wanted to adopt him. My boys adored him and he was so sweet and polite. He loved his time with us and sent me a lovely message last night saying he can't wait to come back. It's heartbreaking really.

Painting Easter Eggs

Our Nashville fiends left early Sunday afternoon so I took Kay to Hocking Hills for a hike, which felt good.

Hocking Hills
On Sunday night we went to the Drive-in, which is always great but was COLD

Drive-in Movie

On Sunday night Jack decided he was going to sleep in the living room, so that's what he did.

Monday to today we went to work and ALSO to COSI, Jeni's Ice Cream, the doctors (Jack's feet hurt), the dentist (my 6-month teeth cleaning), shoe shopping, food shopping, Whetstone Park, to dinner at The Rusty Bucket, and finally to the airport today to drop Kay off. We were both sad. She's an amazing woman and I'm going to miss her madly. She's moving from Tulum in Mexico to the Philippines, so who knows when I'll see her again. Thankfully we have Facebook and Instagram and all those other ways to communicate daily. I also want to adopt her cat but no idea how I'd do that.

One last thing. I'm able to travel right now because my fabulous neighbors are letting me drive their car. My car is having a $2,600 transmission rebuilt right now. Ack!