Thursday, November 26, 2015

October ~ November 1 Second

I love making the 1-second a day movies.

But I didn't do anything in September when Eric died.
And October was sporadic because I missed him. And so was November.

So anyway, this is a compilation of 1-seconds from October & November, not in order at all, but that's okay. Eric would have been in several of these clips and tonight I miss him more than ever, but I know how lucky I am to have all these wonderful people in my life too and that life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

OctNov15 from Pam on Vimeo.

Thanksgiving Day 2015

Thanksgiving today was SO GREAT.  Jules, Cindy, and Maureen got here about 9.30am for a potluck breakfast with us and Siobhan, then we went for a big walk at a local park with all our dogs.  Craig stayed at home with Daniel as he had been up since 6am cooking so wanted some alone time, and Daniel was throwing up last night at 2am (yes, really. Ugh my poor love).

Anyway, at the park Ben ran and ran and ran and jumped in the lake and sniffed dog bums and had the best time of his life. I loved watching him, my 3rd son who's always neglected, have a great time.
Talking of sons - I was so proud of Jack. He's an amazing young man, interacted with all my friends, collected litter, found muskrat nests, unbeknown to me had brought snacks in his backpack for the dogs (seriously, how wonderful is he?) and was just a good egg. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my boy.


He said he was taking a picture of us, but took 20 selfies - hence the laughing!

Thanksgiving dinner cooked by Craig was AMAZING.
We had: Turkey & stuffing, gravy, mashed potato, carrots & nips, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, and I made the most amazing Yorkshire Puds because I have a secret recipe form a Yorkshire lass. I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you.

Look at them Yorkshires!

Lovely people 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I have FIVE WHOLE DAYS off work! I don't have to be anywhere, do anything big,  put make-up on, or deal with people's needs. Woohoo!   Another great start to the holiday was that Dave came over for dinner tonight. He's doing good and looking fantastic. Of course we talked a little about Eric but it was nice to see him looking so good and doing things that make him happy in life. I'm so glad he and I have kept our friendship. When he left and told us "I love you guys" it made me both happy and then of course I had a little cry.

But anyway.

I love the Thanksgiving holiday so much!  It's like Christmas but there's no presents, so no stress.  It's purely about being together, enjoying each other's company, eating,  and laying on the couch rubbing your big belly and watching telly. That's it. No tree or decorations or gifts.  Wouldn't it be great if Christmas was the same?

Our Thanksgiving this year is one to look forward to. I took the day off work tomorrow to hang out with the kids. Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) we have the Expats coming for a breakfast potluck and big walk, then we'll have a huge turkey dinner about 3. Followed by slovenly behaviour and more eating. There might be a random Foosball game thrown in, if I'm not in  turkey coma.

Of course we'll watch our traditional Thanksgiving film  "Planes, Trains & Automobiles"

And we'll have some "English" twists to the holiday that includes tatties, carrots & nips and custard on our pie. But other than that we'll embrace this very American holiday with great gusto. How can you not love a holiday that just about love and fun, with no commercial crap attached (Black Friday is the day after, that's for another day!)


At Eric's funeral everyone kept talking about his big heart. He did have a huge one and I've convinced myself that's why he died. He just gave too much of himself and partied too hard with reprobates like me.  He loved everyone, was kind to everyone.  As his sister Peggy said "it's a shame for people who didn't know him, because they missed out".

Scrolling through his Facebook page today I saw posts where he'd say something pro-Obama or pro-Democrat and he'd have a friend come on there who was a conservative who'd argue with him and then he'd make it funny, then diffuse the situation, and they'd end up professing love for one another.  He was that kind of person. Far better than I could ever hope to be.

I want to be kind and funny, but I'm struggling a bit with that to be honest recently. I'm feeling curmudgeony.  Really curmudgeony. I have also forgotten important birthdays, not got together with dearest friends in England when I had the chance (I was sick though), and not been there for friends in need. I feel like such a terrible daughter & friend right now. And don't get me started on how crap I feel as a parent. Tonight was a particular gem of screaming & crying.

I can't be the only person feeling totally inadequate can I?  How do other women juggle being a family member, friend, work colleague, teacher, wife, mum?  How come people send me parcels on time? Call to wish me Happy Birthday? Get their kid's homework in on time and I can't?

I work outside of the home, that's why. If I spent all day at home I'd remember to buy gifts, wrap gifts, call people. I'd also be in a situation to make International calls. But I'm not. I'm out of the house all day long and when I get home at night or weekends I have to do all the housework and bills and house projects that's backed up. It's HARD.

So I want to be more like Eric (though he did love to be bitchy - he wasn't a saint!) but how to get there? How do I feel love and not be a big curmudgeon? I seriously DON'T KNOW. My humour has left the building.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Well Visits 2015

Today I was actually a successful parent. Both boys had their annual check-up at the doctors and both are healthy and strong. I was a super-duper mum because I got them both a flu mist and not a shot, and we had a pretty good laugh together. After the docs, as a treat, I took them to my friend who's a hairdresser so they could have some fancy stuff done to their hair. It felt good to just hang out with them without rushing and screaming like a fishwife. See, I can do it sometimes!

Here's their annual statistics:

Jack at 9 yrs...
Weight: 87 lbs
Height: 4' 8.5" - he grew 4 inches this year!

Daniel at 6 yrs...
Weight: 57 lbs
Height: 4' 3"  -  in the 98th percentile for height.

My friend Alycia gave them a new "do" 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

10 Years Blogging

Today marks TEN YEARS of me blogging.  I remember my very first one clearly. I didn't know how to attach photos yet or do anything fancy, but I knew I wanted to start a blog because I was 5 weeks pregnant with Jack and it seemed like a good time to start documenting our life.

At the time, blogging was a way for me to create a record of my pregnancy and the impending arrival of Jack. I didn't see beyond that really. What it's turned into though is something beautiful. It has served as a journal of our everyday life over the last ten years. I can go back and see births, birthday parties, milestones, family visits and all other wonderful life events that might have ended up in a photo album but would certainly not have been remembered so clearly had it not been written down.

Blogging has also changed the way I see life and how I approach my daily life. Since I'm always subconsciously thinking about what would or would not make a good blog post, I find that I pick out meaningful things that happen to me and remember them. Concentrating on the good things that happen, so that I can blog about them later, has certainly given me a positive perspective on life and made me realize how lucky, how fortunate I am. Has that helped me lead a more meaningful life? I believe it has. I have also picked up a couple of blogging friends along the way, people I have never met but we went on to be friends on Facebook and some even send Christmas cards. That's been a nice little bonus.

There hasn't really been a downside, other than the nagging worry sometimes that having our personal life on a public platform might encourage nutters. But there are so many blogs, far far better than mine, that I can't let that worry me too much. I did disabled the comments section on here recently though, after getting slammed with spam.

So there we are, ten years of blogging. I hope I keep it going as long as I live and I hope my boys forgive me for the embarrassing baby pictures.


Today was also Tiger Day for the Cub Scouts so after taking both boys for haircuts we took Danny to the event. He has four school classmates in his Tiger Den so it's always great to watch them together. Daniel did each task with gusto and really enjoyed himself.

Tiger Cubs

Lastly, today also marks the 1 year anniversary of Craig and I passing our USA citizenship tests. This time last year we were celebrating at our house with friends, including Eric.  I have missed him at so many events recently. He would have loved them all. He would also have made such a fuss of Jack at the hospital last week. Even Jack said, as he was lying in his hospital room "Uncle Eric would be here now, visiting me" and it's true, he would have. I still miss him so much.

14th November, 2014

Friday, November 13, 2015

Beatles Party

Lyn's birthday party was such good fun. Her daughters had set it up at a local pub with a Beatles theme, and of course all the expat Brits were there. I drove as I'm still on the wagon after my bout with stomach flu. But that meant I was entitled to more sausage rolls.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Report Cards & Conferences

One of them has an exemplary report card and teacher conference every period. The other has a pretty good one, with a few misdemeanours thrown in for charm value.

The funny thing is, the older I get the more I realise that their character and life skills are not measured by numbers on a bit of paper. Their success in life will depend upon many other things. So while it's nice to have one kid be "perfect" on paper, I know that my other kid will also be hugely successful, probably because he isn't "perfect" on paper.  Looking back on my old school reports I certainly was never a perfect on paper kind of kid, and I think I did ok.

So tonight, after conferences,  we celebrated by going to Frisch's Big Boy and pigging out. They even got to order dessert. I got the salad bar, which was the absolute worst. It was probably fresh and tasty twelve hours before when they set it up and before people poked at it all day long. Bleh!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Veteran's Day in the USA is recognized and commemorated in the same way that Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day is in Europe, it's just named differently.

I was lucky this year to watch the Remembrance Day Festival at Royal Albert Hall on Sunday on the telly at my mum's house (then I dashed to bed before the season finale of Downton Abbey came on as it doesn't start here till the new year). I wasn't there to witness the silences that happen at 11-11-11 but I was back in the USA to see all of the events here.

One of the things I've always found strange is that the poppy, the emblem of Armistice Day, plays such a huge role in Europe but is never seen in the USA. No one wears them on their lapels and you don't see them on the TV or anywhere else. So I was surprised today when my boys brought these home that they made in class. It brought a lump to my throat actually.

Jack's poppy

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

England Visit Nov 2015

My trip home was a whirlwind of work, a big train ride, a quick visit with family and then sickness. The weather was wet and gloomy (sunset at 4.30pm!) and I was so sick that I got back to Columbus and was so thankful to be home with Craig and the boys that I didn't have chance to feel the wretched homesickness I felt when I left England in the summer.

But it was lovely to see my family, to spend a bit more time this trip with my mum, and I'm lucky to have so many wonderful family and friends there. My mum took care of me when I got sick and it was like being a young girl again. Nothing beats being mollycoddled by your mum when you're sick.

At the beginning of the trip I attended a conference where I got an industry award and got to see old, cherished friends. I had too much fun as usual.

My wing men, Paul & Simon

After the conference I took a train from Birmingham to Southport via Liverpool and went to my mum's. I also got to visit my sister Jenny but it was at her house that the sickness caught up with me. I think I got the Norovirus or something on the way there. Whatever it was, I thought I was dying. It was so bad I had to cancel my Sunday flight and fly back home Monday.

The good points of the trip? Bringing home a ton of chocolate, pies for Craig and Minnion's crackers for Christmas. Seeing my family and friends, obviously. And I really enjoyed the conference and the train ride.
The bad points? Being so sick I thought I was dying. And missing my boys at home.

I go back to England again next spring and  I don't care if I look like a loon on the plane, I'm wearing a mask.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Jenny's Quilt

I made a queen sized quilt for my sister for her 50th birthday and I was in such a rush to finish it so I could take it in my bag to England that I took virtually no pictures of it! This is the only picture I have. She picked the colors and I included references to her French Bulldog Tallulah and her love of Wuthering Heights. The backing is a wonderful soft grey flannel, with purple binding. It's one of the best quilts I've ever made and I loved it. Why didn't I take more pictures! Argh!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Halloween 2015

Halloween was fun this year. Parties, parades and enough candy to sink a small ship. It was fun as always but I'm kind of glad to have my porch back to normal.

Crazy hair day was part of Halloween week
What a stud
Gangster Jack

A robber, a gangster, Scream and a donut

Trick or Treat night

That Michigan fan and the "Shame" bell ringer from Game of Thrones

My neighbors in their Uncle Grandpa costumes