Friday, July 31, 2009

Thar's Bears in them thar hills!

And by 'them thar hills' I mean my own back yard.  Well...the woods at the very edge of my own backyard anyway.  And did I mention that it was huge?  And by huge I mean HUGE!!!  And it lumbered.  I think that's how you describe the way a HUGE bear walks.  Or skulks.  Or prowls when he's looking for a snack. And I'd love to post a picture but my husband and I were too busy tripping over our feet, our furniture and a few unpacked boxes in our efforts to get our hands on the camera that we didn't actually get our hands on the camera until Gentle Ben had meandered on up into the woods.  I'm gonna call him Gentle Ben because I like to think he's gentle.  And is it a bad thing to see a bear in your backyard and have your first thought be 'wow, am I gonna get some blog mileage out of this or what?'   I'm thinking maybe personal safety should have been my first concern but really I do think you may be hearing more about Gentle Ben on this blog.  I suspect he'll be back periodically because he looked way to comfy for me to think he's a first time visitor.  

Actually seeing the bear was a nice distraction to the fact that my girlies + Daughter1's boyfriend are on their way back to South Carolina.  They were here for a couple of days 'meeting home'.  This was their first time to see the new house and we had a happy couple of days.  This morning I found Daughter1 in the basement just like this-

Yes, that is my 21 year old daughter, smiling at the sight of her American Girl Dolls, a favorite memory from her childhood days..."I'm just organizing the clothes mom...really."

And this is how I found Daughter2 this morning-

For those of you with babies and toddlers who never sleep let me reassure you that they will make up for all that no-sleeping when they hit the college years. 

And in between hitting all the ice cream shops in our new little town (hey, the girls need to have lots of reasons to come home often) there was a little of this-

And I guess the look on my face here suggests that I was only half joking when I said I was slightly competitive.  (And it also suggests that I should get busy hanging pictures in this room instead of playing pool!)

Actually, all the kids showed me up at pool.  

Bowling now...that's a whole 'nother story.  I rocked bowling.  Totally.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blue Ridge Mountains + Taj Mahal + sweetness=Wordless Wednesday

I'm going for the whole Wordless Wednesday thing except without the wordless part because to be honest that is not really my area of expertise.  You may have noticed my posts are generally a little on the long side and in fact you may have never actually read any post I've written thru its entirety.   

Oops, I'm supposed to be doing wordless.  

Last weekend I was looking at this magnificent scenery-

And can I just tell you how great it was to catch up with college friends?  With women who no matter if you've seen them two years ago or twenty it feels like yesterday?  Well, if it weren't Wordless Wednesday I'd tell ya.

And while I was relaxing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina my husband was not without some magnificent scenery himself- trip to Shanghai and Delhi last week...had we not just moved I might be standing beside him at the Taj time...

And yesterday my children + one boyfriend arrived in the lovely Garden State to 'meet home'

No words are needed to tell you how happy their sweet selves make me feel so I'll stop talking now and just congratulate myself on this almost wordless post.  

Sometimes I amaze even myself.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fun and Games on the Highway of Life

I've had so much fun with my daughters this week. We have been shopping and talking and eating out ALOT ...oh and playing Scattegories...I love that game. In fact I love most board games and I guess it's possible that in years past I may have become a teensy bit 'over zealous' while playing games with my family. And my competetive spirit is possibly the reason why my children now restrict which games they will agree to play with me. And my husband might have referred to me as the game nazi once or twice in our married life but I'm pretty sure he means that in a nice way.

Anyway, besides all the fun and games (clever, isn't it?) we've also been driving. And driving. And still more driving. And parking. And reversing. And then more driving. Daughter2 is hoping to get her US license this summer at the tender age of nearly 19. I'll let you in on a little secret here....this whole teenagers not driving thing was one of the hidden blessings of spending the teenage years in England. For one thing they couldn't even apply for their learners permit until they were 17. Then there was the matter of insurance...if I told you in US dollars the cost of insurance for teenagers in the UK you'd be telling your teenager to take the train too. Then there was the problem of what car to drive...mine was almost too big for me to navigate on the narrow English roads and sitting in the passenger seat while my 17 year old child tried to negotiate my too wide car into a parking space that was most certainly designed with a moped in mind...well, let's just say it wasn't pretty. In fact it wasn't even pretty when I tried to do it and I had 30 years of experience. In addition to these obstacles we didn't own a car in the states for our girls to use for practice and testing when we were home for summer visits. And those summer visits were usually a whirlwind of activity and travel from relative to friend to relative and kids don't want to spend that time in driving instruction. And really, let's be honest here and just admit that no one actually wants to get in a car with a teenager who has only driven for a couple of weeks while home on summer leave do they? I knew you'd agree. So here we are...Daughter2 has now had her permit for several months and has had lots of practice so it's been a good week in that regard too.

Tomorrow I will be leaving SC and I might feel a little bit sad about that fact except my girlies will be coming to NJ next week to 'meet home'. Knowing I will see them in just a few days makes it so much easier to trek back north. And if that's not enough to make me smile well, I'm also going to be stopping in NC for the weekend to meet up with some of the girls from my college sorority days. And while I have seen some of these friends since college there will be a few coming to the reunion that I haven't seen in 25 years. Wow that makes me sound old and you'll just have to take my word for it when I say I am not. Or you can ask my kids next week after I embarrass them at pool. I'm just sayin is all.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Time waits for no man (or Mother)

Yes I do have approximately 67 boxes still to be opened and unpacked. And yes, I did just spend the past month and a half moaning ever so slightly about my shipment and its many misadventures and delays. And yes I may have written a few too many posts about how anxious I was to be unpacked and settled into my new home.

Yet I am, at this very moment, sitting with my girlies in South Carolina several hundred miles from my belongings. And that fact is not making me the slightest bit crazy. In fact, it's all good.

My husband didn't make the trip with me...someone's gotta hold down the fort after all (and by hold down the fort I mean go to work everyday). But I have spent the summer (and school year) away from my children and I can only go so long before I need me some face time. Of course when we were making my travel plans husband and I had envisioned our shipment arriving weeks earlier than it actually did which was just two days before I was to leave town. And we imagined that at this point in time all of our furniture would be sitting perfectly in place, all of the pictures would be carefully hung, and all of the linens would be neatly folded on the shelves of our closets while I shopped and talked and enjoyed the sweet smiles of my daughters for a week. The reality is slightly different. Not the sweet part, just the neat part.

We originally chose this week because I have a college sorority reunion to attend next weekend and it's not too far from where my girls live. Combining the trips really did seem like a good idea back in June. And you know what? It is. Because those 67 unpacked boxes will still be there waiting for me when I return home. And the pictures can still be hung and the linens put away... but my girls are growing up and that waits for no one...not even a mother caught mid-move, mid-summer, mid-life.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happy Days Are Here Again

Guess what arrived at our house today?

Guess who was excited to discover that although there was lots of green tape courtesy of the US Customs inspectors, there was no damage. 

 Guess who was oblivious to all the commotion and spent the day patrolling the deck keeping us safe from groundhogs?

Home Sweet Home

...well, at least it's beginning to feel that way.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We interrupt this blog for a funny as in 'coincidence' story

Once there was a woman named D.  She spent six years of her life living in an adorable little English village known as GX.  During the years D lived in the adorable English village she was a member of the American Women's Club. In fact she served two terms as the club President.  In 2002 she moved away from the adorable English village to live once again in America. 

Once there was a woman named Joyce (that's me).  I too spent six years of my life living in an adorable English village known as GX.   During the years I lived in the adorable English village I was also a member of the American Women's Club.  In fact, I too served two terms as the club President.  In 2009 I moved away from the adorable English village and am once again living back in America.  And today a neighbor who lives roughly 10 houses away from mine has kindly invited me to lunch.

And that neighbor is D.  I can't be the only one who finds this totally amazing can I?  

When I mentioned to one of my friends (who used to live in England but now lives in  Canada) the name of the town we're in she said, 'Hey, that's where D lives.'  And when she gave me her address I just laughed...we're neighbors.    D left England just as I was arriving so we didn't know each other there.   But I am so happy to discover that right here in my little neighborhood is someone who will not only be able to offer tips on the local stuff  but will also share some of the same happy memories of a place we both loved.  Someone who will understand all the up and down emotions I'm living with as we reacclimate to life here because she has been there, done that...she has successfully moved on to find new friends, new hairdresser, new phase of life.   Without ever forgetting the old.  

You can call this a big giant coincidence if you want.  I prefer to think of it as something else entirely.  

Monday, July 13, 2009

So Very Dear

This little family of deer visit the hill at the back of our yard every morning. The babies are just too adorable.  I took this picture through the window because of  you know who.   Actually, the deer don't phase her much...the groundhogs now, well that's another story.

Watching the deer in my backyard makes me think of one of my favorite verses..

"As the deer longs for streams of water,
      so I long for you, O God."
Psalm 42:1

Have a great Monday...Joyce

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

We met one set of next door neighbors on Friday evening.  Mr. and Mrs. walked over with two of their children.  And Mrs. brought me this-

We are going to get along just fine. 

Friday, July 10, 2009

Riding in Cars with Boys

As I may have mentioned in a previous post or six, we have been waiting on our sea shipment to be released from captivity (that's US Customs in non-angry English).  Our shipment actually consists of  two containers which are the size of very large moving vans. One is filled with all of our (hopefully undamaged) furniture and the other contains  a little car my hubs bought not long after we arrived in the UK.

She's cute.

She is a sweet reminder of England.

And today she is at home in our garage in the USA.



And this is one happy boy.

Dixie is pretty excited too.

Course you can't unpack all your clothes and put them away in a little car.  And you can't cook dinner in a little car.  And you can't plop down in your jammies and watch tv in a little car.   For those things you need honest to goodness furniture.  Which is STILL in US customs. 


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Life is like a box of chocolates

My husband planned to go into work late this morning since we were waiting to have a refrigerator delivered and he would need to connect the water before they jammed it into place.  Turns out it couldn't be jammed and had to go back to the shop for a slightly smaller replacement which, surprise surprise, has to be ordered.   Just  a tiny blip in the radar that is life these days.   We both said last night that based on how 'smoothly' things have gone so far we were pretty certain the frig wouldn't fit when delivered.

Anyway, not a total waste of time because hubs did manage to get our new computer up and running in the house without a single service person of any size shape or variety having to come out three times to make it happen.  In fact I'm typing this post on my brand new Mac.  Which I don't really know how to use.  Kinda like my new phone.  And the sat nav.  And the tv remote.  I keep saying I'm going to read the manuals and I have all kinds of time to do just that but I don't.  I like to say I'm learning by doing.  

While waiting on the frig delivery we spotted two big wild turkeys in our back garden.  (Don't worry-they were alive and well when they walked up into the woods).  The dog never even blinked.  Hell0!... aren't you a bird dog???  She's far too busy trying to figure out how to get into the front garden and catch her some groundhog.  We think we've got her temporarily outsmarted though.  The fence went up yesterday.  Well, almost.  It was supposed to be finished yesterday but had to be finished today because they ran into a small problem with a huge boulder that required a special tool to break it up.

I'm suddenly struck by the randomness of this post.   I think I may have mentioned (at least 157 times) that I'm spending my days sitting in a house with no furniture waiting on repair/service/installation people.  And that this is day 42, not that I'm counting or anything. And I have to say that spending your time this way doesn't really inspire creative thought.   I do know though, that this is a season and one day soon life will return to normal.  Have I also mentioned that I don't have a clue what the phrase  'normal life' will actually mean for me here? I think maybe you're going to have to stay tuned to find out. 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It's A Grand Old Flag

There is something very moving about seeing your flag fly in another country. On a day to day basis while living in a foreign country you don't really think about what you are missing at 'home'. You enjoy the moment...where you are...the people around you. But seeing the flag fly is a reminder of home and it triggers the memory of all you love about America.

This is our first 4th of July spent in the US in several years. It's just another day in England but every year our neighboring village did acknowledge the day like this....

Turning on to this little street every July and seeing the flag waving in the breeze could make me feel just a little bit teary eyed. This year we're celebrating with friends...from England. Like us, they are living back in America now. And the sun is shining. Finally. It's gonna be a good day.

Enjoy this 4th of July...wherever you may be...