Friday, February 26, 2010

Whoever wrote Let It Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow probably lived in Florida

So here's how the week has looked from where I sit....

Monday morning-a couple of inches are all that remain of the 8 or so inches of snow that fell last week. It's sunny and bright and things are beginning to melt.

Tuesday evening-snow begins to fall. It's lovely. A very heavy wet snow which causes the trees to droop and sag but lovely nonetheless. It's heavy enough to take out the satellite signal halfway thru girls night on American Idol and it stays out so we miss the women's figure skating short program but, oh well. What are you gonna do? Can't control the weather, right?

Wednesday morning-The township plows passed thru our street several times throughout the night and we wake to clear pavement. Yes!
Our snow plow guy has buzzed the driveway overnite as well so hubs is off to work and I hit the grocery store in anticipation of a weekend dinner party. The weather reports say more snow is on the way for Thursday so I don't want to have to get out in it to shop.

Like I could get out.

Thursday morning-we wake to SNOW. Husband's office is closing early but he can't get out of the neighborhood anyway so he decides to work from home. Too bad his laptop refused to connect. Hmmm...he'll just watch some news. Too bad the satellite is out once again.
It's gonna be a long, long, long day.
And he's definitely going to need a hobby when he retires.

Thursday-WHITEOUT. Drowning in snow here. The normally efficient township plows cannot keep up. Our plow guy is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he's absconded to the sunny warm Caribbean on the money he's made plowing driveways this winter.

Husband periodically runs the snow blower and moans about how we need the super deluxe jumbo model if we're going to live here. I take pictures and pray husband doesn't have a heart attack shoveling snow.

If it could talk it would say, 'I quit'.

Dog is beside herself....wheretopeewheretopeewheretopee?

Thursday evening. STILL SNOWING. Miraculously the satellite reappears and we are able to watch American Idol results and the women's free skate. Were they awesome or what? Way past our bedtime too but we bundle up and clear the drive and walkway one more time. Kinda fun to be out in the snow at nearly midnite but also thinking time for this nonsense to end.

Snow plow comes overnite. Yay!
Piles snow in front of garage containing my car. Boo!
Not that I'll be going anywhere because hello, two feet of snow,
maybe more depending where you measure.

Friday morning-STILL SNOWING. You've got to be kidding me. Husband races out of bed when he hears plow to beg/plead/bribe them into moving snow from in front of garage. Hubs has them laughing when I come out. Snowplow guys have been up all night. We give them coffee, apples and granola bars. They move snow as best they can from in front of garage but are pretty limited when it comes to options of where to put it.

Satellite is out. Big surprise.
For the record everyone tells me the cable does the same thing up here.
Husband's office is closed.
Hmmm..gonna have to come up with a project for him today.
Besides moving snow.
Co-workers call him from UK.
They are in his favorite curry lunch spot.
Husband wishes he were in Oxford having chicken biryani instead
of in NJ moving snow by the truckload.
Without a truck.

Husband hoists snowplow onto deck. For the 37th time.

Dinner party guests email...are we on for tomorrow?
Yes. Definitely.
Snow has to end sometime right?
Come by dog sled if you must.

Read some blogs.
See people in California with sunny bright blue skies and convertible tops open.
Hear about people spending weekends at the beach.
Sigh a little.

But recognize too the beauty that is all around.

'Tis a season.

'He has made everything beautiful in its time...' Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thursday, February 25, 2010

From California to the New York Island

Yesterday I answered questions in the weekly random dozen and one of those questions has stayed with me. It was this- ‘Are you more of a NY or California type?’ And I guess I should say that its really the answers to that question that have stayed with me. Its funny that most people who played along instantly thought California=sunny beaches, laid back people and warm weather all the time and New York=busy crowded streets and loud aggressive types.

I’ve never lived in California but its true the first thing that popped into my head was sunny beaches. I have lived on the East Coast and currently am just a hop skip and a traffic jam away from New York City but the question didn’t even say NY City…just NY. Pretty much everyone read it and immediately thought city.

I think one of the lessons living in an international community has taught me is not to make assumptions about people based on stereotype. I’m not at all criticizing anyone from yesterday. I get it...for the most part people were thinking of the weather and based their answers on that or the idea that Californians are laid back and New Yorkers aren’t. I will just point out though that Northern California is known for some pretty good skiing and the Hamptons are not too shabby if we’re talking beaches. And I’m pretty sure that Silicon Valley houses more than a few driven types and Warwick NY is sleepy town USA.

The question made me pause yesterday. I thought about it before I answered and I'm not so sure I would have a few years ago. As Americans living in England we were sometimes on the receiving end of a few stereotypes. I attended a field trip with my daughter's 8th grade class shortly after arriving in the UK and a speaker from a middle eastern country informed the students he wouldn’t want to live in America because it’s not safe to go out after dark. You might be shot-everyone owns a gun right? The kids were bewildered. They laughed. This was not the America they knew unless you count paintball and water cannons. My husband took part in some team building ‘events’ during a work conference with people from all around Europe and his team insisted he take the golf shot because 'he’s American and don’t we play a lot of golf'?

And no one has a passport?

And everyone is really loud?

And they all dislike George Bush?

And they don’t know anything about politics outside of their own country?

Those are a few that come to mind. Of course we weren’t innocent either. We had the notion like most people I think that the Brits are all reserved and not terribly friendly and the food would be not so great and the weather would be dismal. Oh wait. That bit about the weather was mostly true. And I guess in most stereotypes there is a kernel of truth, which is how they got to be stereotypes in the first place.

I find myself giving more thought to my interactions with people these days, taking in what I know of their background, pronouncing observations less broadly. We were often called upon to ‘defend’ Americanisms…to point out that yes, some Americans are loud, especially tourists on the tube in London which could sometimes make me cringe and want to fake a British accent, but not all Americans are loud. Some are gentle and soft spoken. And plenty have passports we’d say, as we pointed out that a flight from NY to California requires no passport yet takes several hours and does indeed cross a few time zones. And obviously not everyone dislikes George Bush because he was elected President of the United States. Twice. And as for politics…well, America is a great big country and I think we can agree that just keeping up with our own political nonsense is a full time job these days. In fact lately Americans seem to be tuning in more closely than ever before.

We had to face our pre-conceived ideas about the British too. The day after we moved into our house in the UK my British next door neighbor arrived at the front door with a cake. It was wonderful as were most things we ate over there. Ask me about English cream, sausage and mash, sticky toffee pudding and scones with clotted cream and jam. My across the street neighbor took me shopping in Windsor my first week in the village…just a fun day out to show me the route and the best places to go. Are the British more reserved than Americans? In general yes. Are they unfriendly? No. Some are, some aren’t. Just like Americans. And the Dutch. And South Africans. And so on. I remember quite clearly a misunderstanding I had with a German friend. She became quite angry and later apologized. She explained with some embarrassment that it was her English (or lack thereof) that was at the heart of the matter. She interpreted something in a way it wasn’t intended yet she hadn’t wanted to tell me she really didn’t understand what I was saying. She worried so about her English. She didn’t want me judging her. And the whole time we were talking all I was thinking is wow, I wish I spoke three languages like she does.

The world is huge. That sounds so simple and in essence it is. We don’t all approach life or hardship or celebration or work or leisure in the same way. Even within America there are ‘cultures’ and when I read the question yesterday I found myself thinking about what I know about California and New York. About people I’ve met who call those places home. About how California and New York are different in geography, cuisine, fashion and climate yet people are people. Maybe there is a California type and a New York type and also everything in between. Yet for every person who ‘fits the type’ there is another who breaks the mold.

'Some people weave burlap into the fabric of our lives, and some weave gold thread. Both contribute to make the whole picture beautiful and unique." Anonymous

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not Your Stereotypical Random

Before I get to the random let me take just a moment to whine and tell you that halfway thru American Idol last night our satellite signal disappeared. Major snowstorm. Again. Heavy wet beautiful snow. But American Idol...whaaa!!! Okay moving on to this weeks your answers with Linda and company over at 2nd Cup of Coffee. Here are mine-

1. Have you ever fired a gun or shot a bow and arrow?

Yes. Archery at summer camp and I fired a gun in the UK (also in a camp setting). I have never fired a gun in the US but a very common ‘stereotype’ we ran into while living abroad was that all Americans have guns. Interesting.

2. Do you know where your childhood best friends are?

You mean besides facebook? Actually I do know where a lot of them are. Thank you facebook.

3. Do you usually arrive early, late, or on time?

I’m on time. I equate being chronically late with breaking the rules and y’all know how I feel about that.

4. Are you more of a New York or California type?

I’m not sure what this means. Let’s talk for a minute about stereotypes…

Do we mean California as in I love sunshine and warm weather

and I’m a laid back surfer girl?

Or California as in Gucci, Botox, bling, and par-tay?

And when we say New York do we mean fast talking, fast walking,

decisive, Vogue wearing, publishing house executive types?

Or do we mean big Italian family, give you the shirt off

their back, love the city kind of New Yorker?

Or are we just talking weather?

I can’t pick.

I like city. I like country.

I like mountains. I like oceans.

There is all of this and more on both sides of the country.

Does anyone else feel that I over think my answers?

5. Do you have a special ring tone?

No. I don’t really get this.

6. What is your favorite type of chip?

Walker’s Thai Sweet Chili Chips. I’ve never seen them in the US but I stock up when I go to the UK. They are slightly similar to a bbq potato chip but oh so much better.

7. Best comedy you've ever seen is ....

movie? tv show? stand up? Hmmm… I’ll go with my usual ‘can’t decide’ type of answer.

I think the Carol Burnett show was one of the funniest things on tv ever.

I can look at Steve Martin and laugh.

I love the old Saturday Night Live sketches…the Medieval Barber, Two Wild and Crazy Guys, the samurai deli, the SNL commercial take offs.

I think Brian Regan’s stand up routines are hysterical.

and movies?

Legally Blonde and Father of the Bride. And I still laugh out loud at Elf, The Christmas Story and Home Alone.

8. Have you ever cut your own hair? To quote Dr. Phil, "How'd that work for ya?"

As Randy Jackson would say a thousand million times no….the paid professionals have trouble getting it exactly right…no way would I try it myself.

9. If you were going to have an extreme makeover, would you rather it be about your house or your personal self?

My personal self. I don’t care to elaborate. You’re welcome.

10. Are you allergic to anything?

Ragweed and cats.

11. Why is it so hard to change?

We’re human. We’re creatures of habit. We like what we like.

Did anyone else have a Brady Bunch flashback when they read this question?

12. One last question dedicated to February love: CS Lewis said, "To love is to be vulnerable." Please share one example of that assertion or share any thought you'd like to about this topic.

Uh… I’m a mother. ‘Nuff said.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The post in which we get to play with fire

A few years ago my family bought me a creme brulee set for Mother's Day. And by 'set' I mean four ramekins and a butane torch. Creme brulee is my favorite dessert and they thought it would be fun for me to try making it at home. I think it was the whole torch thing that put me off...I never even took it out of the box. I started thinking about that set recently as I'm having a little dinner party this weekend and I'd like to make creme brulee for dessert. Hubs has been wanting us to try our hand at homemade pasta so we found a lobster ravioli recipe we decided to try too. We had our own little food network happening here last Saturday.

The lobster ravioli was delicious. And a lot of work. I don't have a pasta machine so this was all done the old fashioned way and its a good thing I've been keeping up with Jillian or I don't know if I'd have the muscle required for making pasta.

Here I am working out my biceps rolling out the dough. I took pictures of the filling but it looks kinda like raw fish and I think it might put you off so I'm not posting those.

We made the dough, the lobster filling, and a cream sauce and while I don't think mine looked as pretty as it could have it did taste magnifico. If I made this again I think I'd throw some parsley on top.

On to dessert because that's really why you're still here reading. The creme brulee needs to be made early in the day or better yet a day ahead and then just before serving you fire up the torch and heat the sugar topping. The hard sugar topping is the key to a good creme brulee...gotta hear that tap tap tap when you touch it with your spoon. We pulled them out of the frig about 9 PM and realized we had no butane for the torch. That was disappointing. I was happy to pop them under the broiler but hubs said no way! and off he went to the supermarket. He returned with a can of fuel so I let him play with fire do the honors.

Creme Brulee
(I used a recipe found here)

4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 pt. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350. Put the egg yolks into a small bowl and set aside. Put the sugar into a mixing bowl and add the cream. Stir gently with a whisk. You're not whipping this, just stirring. Next, put it into the microwave for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar.

While that's heating whisk the egg yolks to break up. When the sugar mixture is done stir it a bit to be sure it's completely dissolved. Stir in the eggs and whisk thoroughly. Add a dash of salt and the vanilla. Whisk well and pour into ramekins. I think this recipe would have filled 5 but I just made four in our practice run. Put the ramekins into a roasting pan and add enough hot water to the pan to come about halfway up the ramekins.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. They will be a little jiggly when you pull them out and will set up more in the frig. Let them cool a bit and then refrigerate overnite or at least several hours.

When ready to serve sprinkle the tops with sugar and then fire up the torch. If you don't have a torch you can set them under the broiler but what fun is that? I used plain sugar last weekend but am making some vanilla sugar this week to use on Saturday. You can also use brown sugar.


I'm definitely going to make these for my guests on Saturday. I think I'll add some berries alongside but it's not necessary. It's a light dessert and one that I can make a day ahead which is my favorite way to cook for a dinner party. Enjoy!

I'm linking up with Tasty Tuesdays today...visit Jen for more great recipes. Edited to link with Kelly's Korner-SUYL Desserts

Monday, February 22, 2010

We went Waywayanda

Yesterday was so pretty...still lots of snow on the ground but the sun was shining and the sky was a bright clear blue. We drove over to a state park about 45 minutes from here known as Waywayanda. I love the name which essentially means the land of winding winding water. We lived in this corner of NJ about 20 years ago and when we were here before we used to take our girls to Waywayanda for picnics and to play on the playground and for walks around the lake.
Hello 1991.

We brought my in-laws here a few times too....Grandpa doesn't look much different today but Miss Sweetness went and grew up.

I'm not sure I ever saw much more than Waywayanda's beach back then because this child loved to dig in the sand and really, who could say no to this face?

We live a little further away now so a bit more of a drive but hey, we're empty nesters and we can do whatever we want. That's our motto. Technically not true but it kinda is.

Dixie wore her snow boots and was only a little bit embarrassed when we came upon some very sleek greyhounds who were roughing it in their bare paws. The lake is huge and it is frozen across.

At least I hope it is.

Thanks for the tip.
We saw some ice fishermen so we figured it was safe.

We didn't actually see them catch anything but they looked like they had fun with their toy auger.

Seriously. Thanks for the tip. We didn't see any bears today although Waywayanda is home to some of the best bear dens in NJ. We did see a horse. Not quite as impressive I know but Dixie loves horses and this one seemed to feel he'd found a kindred spirit.

His name is Primo and he is 25 years old. Did you know horses lived to be 25 and could still get out with a rider in the snow?

We also saw a few snowmobilers and some cross country skiers as we walked...definitely a day for being outdoors. We even stumbled across a little local history.

This enormous furnace was built in 1846 and was used to produce iron which was then used to make train wheels. There was also a flour mill on this site and later a butter and cheese factory. Too bad the cheese factory is gone. NJ gets a bad rap (thank you Jersey Shore, The Sopranos, and the view from the turnpike) but there is a lot of history packed into every corner of the Garden State.

Lots of beauty too.

And we don't have little girls at home to take to the park these days
but we do have this girl.

It helps.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

We interrupt this weekend for a psa

I don't normally blog on the weekends but-

Yesterday I told a little story on my blog about our arrival/first day of school in the UK. Rebekah commented that she hoped my daughter would write a response so she could hear her perspective. And she did. And it's too sweet...go visit daughter1 and read what she wrote.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The First Day of School

I'm linking up with Flashback Friday today...visit Mylestones to read more posts on this week's theme-school days.

On the last day of August in 2003 we touched down at Heathrow Airport.

Our new home. (England, not Heathrow).

Daughter1 was 15 and entering grade 10. Daughter 2 would be turning 13 in less than two weeks and was entering grade 8. We collected our luggage and located our driver who deposited us in the driveway of our new home.

A home our children had never seen in a country they had never set foot in before that day.

Our relocation agent was supposed to meet us at the house but there was a mix up and another agent had grabbed our keys by mistake so he was delayed.

We didn’t know this. We had no phone.

So we stood in the driveway and wobbled. Husband recognized his three girls were teetering on the brink of something that would not be pretty so we checked into the local hotel.

The girls promptly fell asleep and dreamed that their parents had not taken them an ocean away from everything cherished and familiar.

We woke up the next day in what felt to us like the middle of the night.

Everyone had a stomach full of dancing kangaroos.

We were tired yet wired.

We were headed to our first day of school.

We passed thru the gates and my children had their first glimpse of the International School from which they would both later graduate.

We didn’t know that then.

We’re only here for 3 years. Tops.


Kangaroos are doing the polka now.

The school is housed in a former manor house and it is beautiful. We step into the lobby and are greeted by the very nice receptionist. Almost immediately someone arrives to whisk daughter1 away. She needs to take ‘just a little French assessment’ before they can give her a schedule.

Mom is reassuring.

assessment =20 minutes max, right?

The examiner said she'd be back in two hours.

Kangaroos are doing the can can now.

Daughter1 shoots mom the evil eye.

Meanwhile, back in the red room...

Yes. There is a red room.

It is indeed red. And gorgeous.

I want to go to school here.

Or at least have coffee in the red room.

Oh, I will have coffee in the red room.

Hundreds of coffees over the span of the next five years.

We are escorted over to the middle school wing. Daughter2 is led away to find her locker, a classroom and fifty new best friends. The secretary inquires of mom and dad as to whether or not daughter2 will be going pony trekking because if she is pony trekking we need to pay. Today.

Pony trekking?

That sounds like riding ponies.

Daughter2 hasn’t done that unless you count the occasional birthday party.

No, this is pony trekking.

As in riding horses in the Black Mountains.

In Wales.

With the rest of the 8th grade.

Oh, well, yes, if the whole 8th grade is going yes of course.

Right. You’ll need to pay.

We have no bank account.

Can we pay in US dollars?

35 phone calls later the conversion rate has been calculated.

Okay, she's good to go. Next week.

For three days.

She’ll need a sleeping bag.

No problem-we have four.

They are in our shipment.

Which is still at sea.

Note to self-buy sleeping bag.

First learn to drive.

Then locate the nearest Target.

That would be America.

That’s a problem.

Mom and Dad leave the middle school office in a stupor.

What have we done?

Where is Wales?

Is that England?

Is a three day pony trekking trip dangerous?

The Black Mountains sound ominous.

Mom returns to office…idiotically inquires as to whether there are chaperones.

Oh yes. The teachers.

Alrighty then.

Meet daughter1 in highschool office.

!!! Mom!!!

!!!I had to write an essay!!!

!!!In French!!!

Daughter1 throws daggers with her eyes.

Mom can see the daggers behind the tears that are threatening.

Principal appears. Principal is nice. Oh so very very nice.

A warm smile. A gift. Principal is also new but has mostly lost the dazed look common to the newly arrived. He hasn’t lost his sense of compassion.

He never does.

He calls to a girl in the hall.

She’s an Aussie.

Show daughter1 around please.

Sure. She smiles.

Aussies are happy.

I think it’s the weather.

Daughter1 is led off to the lockers and to meet her classmates.

From no less than 40 countries.

And to wonder what in the world has happened to her life???

We wrap up the paperwork and the tour and the organizing.

Daughter2 knows she is going to love it.

I’m going pony trekking!

With 50 of my new best friends!


Daughter1 puts on her brave face.

And cries herself to sleep.

More than once.

And misses her big American highschool.

And the place she called home.

New friends call.

Shopping in London? Yes please.

Time passes. Tears stop. Smiles grow big.

Home is here.

Living in a foreign country is educational in every sense of the word.
We spent an enormous chunk of time in this school building.
A safe place. Friendly faces. A home away from home.
An entire world was opened up to us in this school.
Friendships were born.
For mom and dad too.
Trips were taken.
Art in Berlin and Barcelona.
Spanish in Spain.
French in France.
Theatre in the Czech Republic.
Senior trips to Turkey and Cyprus.
Sporting events in Paris, Cairo, Antwerp, The Hague, Munich and Frankfurt.
Music performances, plays, ceremonies.
People moved in and people moved out.
Every. single. year.
A place to learn not only maths and history.
But also life.

Among people who look and speak and dress and think differently than we do.
Among people who laugh and cry, work and play, study and travel.
Among people who love their families and their pets and their home countries.
People like us.
Your children thank you.
For shaking up their world.

You cannot live in an international community and not be changed by it. Some days are hard. Some days are more than a little bit frustrating. Some days are completely amazing.

Some days you cannot believe how your world spun differently forever after that first day of school.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I know I'm not the only one...

Income taxes? Blech. I’ve been working on our online organizer which must be submitted to the accounting firm by Monday or else! Quite honestly I think I’d rather give the ski jump a try than answer one more question about how many days of the year were spent in the UK and how many in the US and how many in Timbuktu and were we working/vacationing/in transit/on a designated work holiday/weekend/ oh and color code it by country thank you blah blah blah.

Once we moved to the UK we had to bring in the professionals because I love words not numbers but also if you could see the book that our final paperwork turns out to be you’d understand. We also have to file taxes in the UK except their tax year is different than our tax year (naturally) so yay! we get tax fun pretty much year round. And the whole half a year in one country and half a year in another country complicates matters. I know you’re thinking how can it possibly be more complicated but trust me, it can.

American Idol? Get on with the singing already. It feels like it has been yakkety yak yak yakking this time around. Enough with the talking pu-leez!

Curling? Huh?

Women’s alpine skiing? Yikes! I couldn’t watch when the Swiss girl bounced across the slope. The reports today said she suffered just a little dizziness but other than that she was okay. This is why you don’t see 40 something year old women on the ski team. If I bounced across the slope like that I’d be the color of an eggplant. Which is aubergine. I love that word.

The Bachelor? Stop the madness. Like watching a train wreck. Or an alpine skier on an icy slope in Vancouver.

DTR? Daughter 2 and I were just on the phone and she casually dropped this into the conversation and continued right on with her story. I had to tell her to back up for a quick vocabulary lesson. Any guesses? Define the relationship. You know...Are we friends? Are we boyfriend/girlfriend? Some days I'm glad I'm my age. She told me I could use it if I wanted although she could not in her wildest dreams imagine what circumstances would require me uttering DTR. Guess she forgot I had a blog. Technically I think her dad and I have already d'd our r by getting married. I think you can see why my kids tell me not to use their lingo. And also not to use the word 'lingo'.

Graduation Announcements? Crazy! Daughter1 needs to place her order today. She is graduating. She's graduating. She is graduating. Maybe, just maybe, if I say it many many times the words will not feel so strange on my tongue. Or in my heart.

Spring? Thirty days away. At least that's what the calendar says. Bring on the daffodils!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Random of Olympic Proportion

It’s time for the weekly random dozen hosted by Lid at 2nd cup of coffee….why not play along? Answer the questions on your own blog and link your answers here to share.

1. If you could compete in one Olympic event (not necessarily winter sports) what would it be?

Well I would love to be a great alpine skier….I love to go fast and I love being outdoors and I love the atmosphere of a ski town. Oh, and the clothes…I love ski clothes. Of course this is all assuming I’m coordinated. And that I have whatever skill is required to win compete. We’re dreaming here right?

I love to swim so if we’re talking summer Olympics I’d say swimming. Although I cannot say I feel the same way about myself in a swim suit as I do in ski clothes.

2. Do you remember a specific Olympic moment from the past?

I loved seeing Dan Jansen finally win a gold medal in speed skating in 1994.

3. Have you ever known anyone who competed in the Olympics?


4. If everyday activities were Olympic-worthy, which activity would you have a gold medal in?

I’ve just taken a quick inventory of my everyday activities and I can’t come up with a single one that is gold medal worthy. That was more than a little depressing. Cooking? Silver maybe.

5. Do you know anything about your ethnic heritage?

yes-more on my dads side than my moms but essentially I’m English, Irish, French and German…my maiden name is English. That makes me very happy.

6. Do you enjoy sleeping late?

I love to sleep but I am not a late sleeper. I wish I could sleep late but I am an early riser and it doesn’t matter how late I go to bed, I’m still up early.

7. Have you ever performed CPR on anyone? Do you know how? (Yes, that's two, I know. Whatevs.)

yes I do know how and no I’ve never had to-thankfully!

8. Name one country you'd like to visit and explain why.

Uh…do you know me? Actually no you probably don’t but do you read my blog? Well I’ve written ad nauseum about my love of a small island called England and also about my happy place which is Italy and I may have mentioned France a time or ten so those countries are always at the top of my list. I’ve seen a whole lot of them in the past seven years though so if I have to pick somewhere new, hmmm….how about a trip around the Greek isles…I’ve been to Athens but I need to see the islands. Really I’m generally up for a trip just about anywhere. It’s a great big world and I’d like to see it all.

9. Have you ever fixed up a couple romantically?

no…unless you count my attempts at arranging the future marriages of my children.

10. What is the last book you read?

I read a lot. I generally have more than one book going. I recently read The Help by Kathryn Stockett (fantastic!), Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (couldn’t put it down) and South of Broad by Pat Conroy (he has a way with words that I envy)

Currently I am reading:

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (fiction)

His Excellency by Joseph Ellis (a biography of George Washington)

11. Do you enjoy sleeping late?

hmmm…I’m thinking whoever wrote these questions really really really likes sleeping late since Lid someone asked this question twice.

12. What is your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant?

Oh this is practically impossible to answer. I’m not sure I can even tell you my favorite restaurant….I love a crab feast at Cantlers on the river in Annapolis…I love a curry at Bawarchis in our little village in England….I love fish and chips at The Royal Standard…I love an excellent steak in many a steak house. I am not hard to please when it comes to dining out. Or dining in for that matter.