Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Random Game of Tag

Raise your hand if you think summertime takes a long time to get here but once it arrives it moves like a speeding locomotive...winter arrives and it hovers. Why is that?

Moving know it just wouldn't be Wednesday without a little bit of random so here you go...

1. People in the south like to talk about the weather almost as much as people in England like to talk about the weather. We won't mention how often I talk about the weather. Hey-it's Wednesday people.

2. It is so humid here that talking about the weather is completely know its bad when you step outside at 7 am and your sunglasses immediately fog up.

3. I wish we could grow crepe myrtle in our little corner of the Northeast...they are so beautiful all across the south...even the tiniest shopping center has a patch of them blooming in all their pink, white, or lilac glory.

4. My mom is turning 80 next week and I'm hosting a family party to celebrate. Does anyone else have trouble thinking of their mother as the age she actually is? In my mind when I think of my mom she is about 40 years old. She will always be that age in my head.

5. My girls have tried on a lot of clothes in the past two days and every single thing looks positively adorable on them. How is 00 petite even a real size?

6. I think red ripe watermelon is one of the best things ever created. It satisfies my sweet tooth yet its not chocolate. Plus, it is packed with anti-oxidants and has blah blah blah lots of other health benefits (you can read more about that here if you like). I eat a ridiculous amount of watermelon in the summertime.

7. I believe I've mentioned a time or ten that I'm hanging out with my girls this week which doesn't leave a lot of time for the ole blog. Last weekend Mary over at Life in a Small Town tagged me in a game of blog tag. I figured today was the perfect day to play along...the next five questions are part of the tag and they are for sure random so it works for me. Thanks Mary!

1. (aka 8.) What’s your staple meal (ie. what meal do you cook most often when you can’t be bothered to be adventurous)?

In the summertime it's all about the vegetables...a plate of tomatoes usually with fresh mozzarella and home grown basil, squash fixed some way and of course some sweet Jersey corn and we're good to go...hubs will throw something on the grill...does that count as my staple meal?

In the winter it's definitely a pot of soup/chili/stew or spaghetti and meatballs...comfort food.

2. (aka 9.)- What do you want to be when you grow up?

I fear I am grown up.
Just in case author...a grandmother...a million things.

3. (aka 10.)- What book are you reading at the moment (if any)?

I am always reading at least one book. I have a couple going now but just finished The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister and I liked it a lot. Her writing is lovely plus its set in a cooking school which speaks to me.

4. (aka 11.) How do you relax?

Reading is probably my number 1 way to relax and if there's a beach involved so much the better. I guess I'd also say cooking...I know some people find that really stressful but I love to cook. Then there's blogging, working crossword puzzles, sudoku, napping on my sun room couch...I'm not really a person who has trouble relaxing.

5. (aka 12.) What color are the interior walls of your home?

bold-navy blue, gold, and a warm red downstairs with mostly warm neutrals upstairs although our bedroom is a sagey green which I love. I'm not a pastel person when it comes to paint color. Or life.

Monday, June 28, 2010

"Monday good to me...

Monday was all I hoped it would be." Remember that song by the Mamas and the Papas? Well it was a good one and it seems appropriate.

I'm spending a few days with my girlies and here's how I spent Monday....

shopping with daughter2
much conversation
more shopping with daughter2
more conversation
get in and out of car no less than ten times
it's hot
and steamy
but we don't care
we talk so much we forget it's 99 degrees
and 100% humidity

lunch at Paneras
more talking
so much talking the woman at the table beside us gives up working on her laptop to get a better listen...I fully expect her to weigh in on a conversation we are having about a boy
she doesn't...but I know she wants to

apparently we haven't had enough shopping so...
more shopping
it's still hot
and steamy
we need to cool off
pit stop at Rita's Italian ice...even the fat free and sugar free are yummy

back to daughter1's apartment
book flights for girlies to spend next weekend at home in NJ
their mema is celebrating her 80th birthday and needs all her girlies there

daughter1 arrives home from work
big smile because daughter1 has a job
leave daughter2 on the couch to recover from shopping
and all mom's questions
take daughter1 to supermarket to restock her frig
no need to fill her gas tank today since that was on Sunday's list
two girls=two cars=always on E when they know mom is coming to town
I don't mind

feel impressed at daughter1's cooking skills
and her interest in trying her hand in the kitchen
unload groceries
a lot
spend time watching boys swim in the pool outside the living room windows
discuss said boys
walk over to pool and say hello to boyfriends
as a mom of daughters and not sons I enjoy watching boys be boys
leave boys in pool and go to dinner with daughters
we never run out of things to talk about

hurry home so as not to miss a minute of The Bachelorette
do happy dance because we get to compare thoughts on all the drama/insanity/totally real true love in person instead of via text message like we normally do on Monday nights
Justin Justin Justin...tsk tsk tsk
Istanbul=pretty...hubs will be sorry he missed this one since he was in Istanbul just last week
to my knowledge he did not do any olive oil wrestling while there
we laugh
and cringe
a lot

we move on to bigger and better? drama
NJ Housewives
oh dear
boyfriends stayed in their own apts.
for some reason they did not want to join in the reality programme fest
I'm pretty sure sports are all the reality programing they can handle

I usually stay at my sister's house when I'm in town but I spent last night at daughter1's apt.
daughter1 has the day off on Tuesday
you know what that means
more shopping
and still more talking

Monday was a good day.
Tuesdays are good too.

Really, any day spent with daughters is a good day.

Weekend happiness...courtesy of The Palmetto State

Weekends go by so fast, don't they? We woke up early Saturday like everyday because apparently when you hit mid-life your body clock really kicks in and says, "Hey, you're getting not waste time sleeping." What is up with that??? On the bright side, the humidity is not 800% at 7 am so we took the MG out for a ride and then decided to stop for breakfast. Of course this meant by 10 am it kinda felt like the day was half thing you know we'll be eating dinner at 4.
Saturday afternoon I went to a bridal shower and while I was out hubs met friends to watch the US-Ghana football match which of course we won't discuss. And we for sure will not be discussing the England-Germany match and Fifa referees. Back to the was lovely...a luncheon held in a nearby winery (who knew there were so many wineries in North Jersey??) and it was a surprise for the bride which is always fun. Her bridesmaids will be wearing navy blue in the wedding so the bridesmaids all wore blue dresses to the shower and the bride's mom brought a white dress for her to wear which made for really cute shower pictures.
You know, I'm thinking of starting a new tradition. I think when you hit the 25 year married mark someone should throw you a shower. Because there is nothing like a bridal shower with its shiny new blenders and thick soft towels to make you realize just how worn out things become after many years of married life...hmmm....there's an analogy in there somewhere and I didn't even mention the bridesmaids and their tiny waists and perfect skin. Anyway, don't you think it would be great to get new linens and cookware and counter top appliances right about now?
Of course my favorite day of the weekend was Sunday. Because at 10:25 am on Sunday morning I was greeted by this...
Need I say more?

Friday, June 25, 2010


Thanks for all the sweet comments on my previous post. I feel like I must add that I truly was not having myself a grand ole pity party. Here's the thing...I like to put my thoughts and feelings into words sometimes and a blog is a good place to do that. Believe me when I say I never lose sight of the many blessings I've been given and I certainly don't want to sound ungrateful.

I guess what I was trying to say is that this too is a season of life to be lived. Some bloggers write about how tiring their infants and young children are, the tediousness and exhaustion of those days that feel like they will never end. Others write about their tweens and teens and dealing with back talk and sloppy bedrooms and demanding adolescents. And I write about this season...a suddenly empty nest combined with a transatlantic move and some raging hormones all of which occasionally combine to form an emotional cyclone. I wasn't complaining...just observing. Sometimes intent is hard to pin point in the blogosphere.

Anyway, it's Friday evening and you know what that means...dinner out. House rules say I never cook on Friday. Hubs likes it that way so we're heading out shortly to welcome the weekend. Hope yours is grand!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is she ever going to shut up about that?

Mmm....probably not. We've been back in the states for just over a year now. Some days it feels like we left England yesterday and some days it feels as if that life never happened. It's been a year filled with figuring out a life that is different than the one I left behind. Moving was not something new for us... we've moved a lot. And we've left behind people and places we loved every single time. But this time a whole way of living was left behind too and that, I think, has been the challenge.

I know with every move I make I need to give myself a year in order for a place to feel like home. To find doctors and dentists and the all important hair stylist. To learn the roads, the supermarkets, the find the fun. It's probably because we have moved a lot that we tend to get out and see and do whatever there is to see and do wherever we are... life is meant to be grabbed and savored and lived. We think we'll be in this house for the next several years but we've been surprised by opportunity in the past so Carpe Diem it is.

Besides the obvious, this move has been different than previous moves in a couple of big ways, the first one being no kids living at home. When you move with school aged children, like it or not, you have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with it. They need to get up and out the door in the morning. They need lunches made, dinners cooked, rides to ballet, the ball field, to have play dates and friends over. They connect with people and consequently you connect with people who are in a similar place in the parenting spectrum. Suddenly I have days to fill and very little of anything that is required. I could stay in my pjs all day every day. I could lay on the couch and watch tv all day every day. Did I mention that this move also coincided with the hormones going berserk?

Now, rest assured I don't stay in my pjs all day. And I don't lay on the couch and watch tv all day either. Some days I want to but hey, don't we all? The thing is I'm not a lay around kind of girl. I'm a person who needs to be doing. I know that some of the things I've felt this year I would have felt anyway. My kids would be off at school whether I was here or there. My big birthday would be rolling around regardless of where I was living and that's a good thing, right? And I'm pretty sure hormones are a worldwide phenomenon.

I mentally make lists of the good and the not so good. The things I loved there that aren't here and the things here that I missed there. I definitely fall into the glass half full camp in life and even though this post may make you question that I do stay focused on the good these days...for instance-

I can get in my car inside my garage without sucking in my stomach and standing sideways.
I can swing the car door all the way open without hitting another car/stone wall/person/hedge.
I never have to pull onto the verge on a two lane road in order for another car to pass while I fervently pray we don't lock side mirrors.
I can pull my car into and out of a parking space without doing a twenty five point turn.

But the roads are not charming. And I get honked at for not hitting 0-60 in .7 seconds when a traffic light changes. And people are not courteous when you are trying to pull into fact they quite often pretend they don't see you.

I can get in my car and be at the mall in 15 minutes. Or Target. Or the library, bank, post office, supermarket. Anywhere. And when I'm there I can buy just about anything I want. And I can go any time of day or night...the shoppes don't close at 5 PM. And there are banks open seven days a week.

I have to get in my car to get anywhere. No more walking into town. Do I really need the bank to be open seven days a week?

I love my house. I love the way it sits on the lot, the colors, the ginormous closets and lots of them, my central vac, reading in my sun room, my own sink in the master bath and hubs own sink way way way over on the other side of the master bath...the counters and cabinets underneath the sinks with lots of drawers and cabinets to hold all my 'stuff', space for the pool table...oh and did I mention the closets???

Renting means when something breaks you call the landlord and say, "something is broken" and they get it fixed. And they pay for it too.

It's beautiful here. I love the woods behind our house...

I love to look out my kitchen window and see deer and fox and chipmunks and birds of every type and color and even the occasional bear.

I love the changing seasons. The autumn was so pretty here it sometimes took my breath away. And snow piled high and dripping from the trees like icing on a wedding cake...just gorgeous.

There is nothing like a big beautiful English garden.

So much happened in that English garden.

Birds hung out, fish were observed, flowers bloomed...

Bees were stalked...

croquet was were strummed

Countless Frisbees were thrown and countless soccer balls were kicked by countless teenagers every. single. week.

Meals were eaten, newspapers were read, and naps were taken on warm sunny days.

There were no mosquitos to bother us and daylight in summertime lasted til forever.

I think of our English garden and I think of that quote by Thomas Fuller that says,

"Many things grow in a garden that were never sown there."
So very very true.

I could go and on. And on and on. Our house here feels like our house. It's comfy. It feels good to walk inside after you've been away. The town and roads have become familiar. We love the nearby big city. We've had friends for dinner. We work in the yard and have flowers blooming in pots on the deck. We do feel at home here now.

Except when we don't.

And perhaps that is part of the legacy of ex pat throw your whole self into wherever you may be. You open your heart big and wide to new people, new places, new customs, new scenery, new experiences. And when you leave it a tiny little piece of you remains in that place. In this new old country, new town, new home you are almost completely yourself and at home. Except for that tiny little piece. Most days it goes unnoticed. What you do grow to realize is that while you lived away a subtle shift occurred in the way you see life and the world and most of all yourself. And after a while you realize the shift was not temporary. And you're okay with that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just the usual

And by 'the usual' I mean it's Wednesday and once again time for summer's version of the Random Dozen...

1. It is foggy up here this morning. I'm sure it will burn off because its supposed to be 9,000 degrees today with equal humidity. Lovely. And what would the weekly random be without an update on the weather?

2. Hubs and I attempted to synchronize our calendars last night. I thought my head might explode.

3. Seriously. His travel schedule for the next three months is ridiculous and we're trying to squeeze some life in around it but did I mention I thought my head might explode? And why do we live so far from our kids?

4. You'll be happy to hear I won at Bunco yesterday. Most losses. I love a game where even losing is competitive.

5. I'm going to a bridal shower for a friend's daughter this weekend. I love weddings and we have two on the calendar in the next few months, one being a destination wedding that I know will be a lot of fun. The save the date card was a mock up of an airline ticket...very cute!

6. I may have booked myself on a flight to see my favorite people next week. Sometimes mothers just need face time with their daughters daughters just need face time with their mothers.

7. I have to tackle yet another tax organizer today. Yuck. We complete online organizers for the accountants and they figure it all out and send us the tax 'book' to autograph when they're done. Our UK organizer is due next week. The UK tax year runs April -April. We moved one year ago in June. You'd best not get me started on the subject of taxes.

8. Jake and Vienna broke up. Are you shocked? They were last season's 'true love match' on The Bachelor. And how about Kasey being left on the glacier in Iceland in this week's episode of The Bachelorette? I mean he definitely was getting beyond scary and needed to be sent home but yowza! that was harsh. And who besides me now thinks they need a trip to Iceland?

9. We grilled fish last night. Well hubs grilled it. Only he says it's not real grilling if I put the food in foil packets which is one way I like to grill fish. He says a girl scout could do that (No offense girl scouts! We were girl scouts here too!) and its only real grilling if you can see the food. What is it about men and bbq's? And did I mention he was a little stressed out last night? See #2. And #3. Anyway, I love fish 'grilled' this way-it's moist, delicious and best of messy pan! I found the recipe here but have added it below to make it easy for you. Here you go-

1 lb cod fillets (I've used other mild white fish...whatever looks good-Tilapia, Flounder, etc)
1 medium onion sliced (you can add other veg too if you like-zucchini, red peppers, etc)
2 Tbsp. butter ( I used slightly less)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
  • Cut heavy aluminum foil into two large squares. Place equal portions of fish on each piece of foil.
  • Melt butter, then stir in lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Pour mixture over fish, sprinkle with paprika and top with onion slices.
  • Fold foil around the fish and seal very tightly.
  • Grill 5-7 minutes per side. Fish flakes easily when its done.
10. I came within millimeters of hitting a brand new baby deer on my way home from the gym on Monday. He wobbled right out of the woods in front of my car. Fortunately I was paying attention and managed to stop because that would have totally ruined my day. He was adorable. We had three humongous turkeys stroll thru the back yard yesterday. Remember that scene in Snow White where she's in a clearing in the woods and the animals come out of every corner and sing and dance around her? Well, essentially that's our back yard. Winter is over and the critters are back.

11. Do you ever click on the free downloads on itunes? I like this kind of reminds me of Shania Twain...apparently they used it on Grey's Anatomy this's catchy-

12. I'm going to see my girls next week. Did I already say that?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Not just a 'bunch of rocks'

Yesterday was the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year. Naturally it would fall on a Monday. When I hear the words summer solstice I think of Stonehenge. We lived just over an hour from the site and we visited with every set of house guests often.

Sorry 'bout the photo quality but I scanned them from my scrapbook.

The first time we went out to Stonehenge it was just the four of us. Our kids had been 'warned' by their classmates that this is a place they would be sooooo tired of seeing by the time they left England but at the time it was still new to us. As we drove out into the beautiful English countryside they asked what exactly we would be seeing to which my hubs replied, "It's a big bunch of rocks." Yeah, we didn't exactly know what we were going to see either. They said, 'We're driving an hour to see some rocks in a field?" Oh you can just imagine how excited teenage girls were to hear this. Plus it was gray and windy. In fact, every time we went to Stonehenge, which, did I tell you was ALOT, it was gray and windy. And sometimes drizzly too. And actually 'big bunch of rocks' pretty well describes it.

I'm not sure what we were expecting but essentially you are rolling along thru the beautiful English countryside and suddenly you see a 'big bunch of rocks' sitting in a field. There they are...just plunked right down in the middle of the lush green grass and the sheep and not a lot else. We parked in the car park and got headsets and you might not think there is a lot to be said about a 'big bunch of rocks' but its actually pretty interesting/mysterious/not boring.

There are many theories as to the how and why these rocks are set in a very purposeful pattern in this particular location but they know for certain it was associated with burial grounds. And it is pretty much agreed that the alignment of the stones marks the summer solstice which is what brings literally thousands to Stonehenge on the longest day of the year. Modern day druids, pagans and party people turn up every year to view the sunrise here on summer solstice. Did you know there were still people who call themselves druids?

Course, in my mind the best thing about Stonehenge is that it is only a short drive from one of my favorite towns in all of England...Bath-

The town of Bath is beautiful and old and filled with so much to see and do and wonderful little shops and restaurants...

The Abbey is spectacular and the Roman Baths are amazing. If you're a Jane Austen fan you can do a walking tour and see the houses where she lived and the settings for some of her books.

The baths are very cool...they are underground and the first spring was discovered here sometime back in the 800's BC. That's old.

And let me just add that when you travel around Europe you definitely realize that those Romans were an industrial lot. There is hardly a city around without Roman ruins of some kind. As I was reading the signs telling you not to touch the water (for your own safety) hubs informed me they were hot. And daughter 1 chimed in with 'really hot'. There are rule followers in this world and there are rule breakers. We have both in our family.

Course if you visit Bath you must have lunch or tea in The Pump Room. I miss English tea. And lots of things. However, I'm off to play Bunco this morning and that's fun too. Did you know Bunco originated in England as something called the 8 dice cloth parlor game?

Hey, this blog is nothing if not educational.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sweet Summertime

I feel a little bit like a slacker blogger because I didn't post something sweet and meaningful in honor of Father's Day yesterday. If you read here you know my husband has been traveling to excess and we try to catch up, run errands, and have fun on the weekends so I tend not to blog on those days. My daughter1 did write something sweet on her blog so click here if you'd like to read what she had to say about her dad.

I'm so grateful to be in the parenting boat with my hubs. He is an excellent father who works hard in every way, who lives with a houseful of women and mostly understands us and the rest of the time pretends like he does, who can offer a less emotional perspective when its needed (and with three women in the house that is often the case) and, most importantly, he can make us all laugh. Even when we don't want to. Maybe especially when we don't want to and that is a gift. He has been a completely devoted dad from day one...he has changed diapers, styled little girls hair, buckled shoes, read stories, played games, sung lullabies (maybe mixed in with a little rock n' roll), danced across the kitchen with little toes atop his shoes, written special notes and letters, chaperoned field trips, encouraged, praised, advised, texted, listened and loved his daughters from the moment they took their first breath. Plus we all know who puts the fun in family fun at our house. All his girls are blessed.

We had a fairly low key and time zones have to catch up with a person sometime. Saturday afternoon we took a drive to a nearby winery located about 30 miles from here in the pretty New York countryside. We had a tasting and then ate lunch in their outdoor cafe. They have live music on the weekends so we listened to music and enjoyed our beautiful surroundings. The winery sits in an apple/pear orchard and you can also pick fruit in season.
This little corner of NY State is so pretty. There are lots of sod farms and onion farms up here and the dirt is dark black and looks so rich and healthy.

We meandered back thru the cute town which just happens to be where daughter2 was born almost 20 years ago and we reminisced about our drive to the hospital behind a John Deere that was moving very slowly and the hubs being annoyed that I'd waited a little long to say, 'time to go to the hospital'. He was more than a little concerned he was going to have to deliver the baby on the side of the road himself. He didn't. I'm sure daughter2 doesn't remember the hospital but I'm pretty certain the nurses remember her...such a beautiful baby who did not want to be out of my arms for a single second. She may have let everyone know it too.

Sunday was another low key day...we went out to breakfast to celebrate Father's Day (and also because I love to go out to breakfast). If you're not from the northeast you may not be familiar with the institution known as 'the diner' but NJ is kind of king of the Diner States. I know other parts of the country have diners but the best are found in the NJ/NY area. Its true...if you're in that part of the country you must eat in a diner at least once. Sunday we had breakfast in one that is actually has been voted one of the 5 best in the state of NJ and that's no small thing since I'm guessing there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 3257 diners in The Garden State. Okay, maybe an exaggeration but not by much. This particular diner was started by a Greek family as are most of the best diners I think, and its still family run.

A good diner has a menu that is no less than 10 pages long. Seriously. You can have omelets, a club sandwich, a turkey dinner, really good Greek and Italian food, a lobster feast, a big fat piece of homemade name it and its most likely on the menu at a good diner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack,'s all good. And you can get anything you want anytime of day at most diners. The place we ate yesterday was featured on the Food Network Program Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives back in November and the host, Guy with the crazy hair, gave it rave reviews. Their blueberry pancakes did not disappoint Sunday morning. Later we watched some golf, some World Cup, and we went to see the movie Killers with Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher. It was cute and rest assured, that whole 30 day shred thing has definitely paid off for Ashton Kutcher. Just sayin'.

Happy First Day of Summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I ain't missing you at all

It's a gray day here today. What is up with all the crazy rain lately? We haven't had the flooding like some places but we've had a lot of rain and I've got the yellow tipped leaves on my tomato plants to prove it. They are screaming for sunshine. We aren't getting gentle rains either....none of those lovely soft summer showers. It's been more like dry skies one minute and a deluge complete with thunder and lightning the next. Then it quits just as suddenly and the humidity cranks back up. Did you come here to read about the weather? Sorry.

I skipped my weekly random dozen yesterday because it was our anniversary and I wanted to write something anniversary-ish. It's a day late but here is this week's random dozen...

1. I think I'll count the blurb about the weather as item #1. It was pretty random.

2. In spite of the rain my dahlias are finally blooming.

I guess they're rebels.
They are beautiful.

3. Speaking of beautiful...these were delivered yesterday...

I always get yellow roses on special occasions...they are opening up nicely today and are definitely a bright spot on this dreary Thursday.

4. Does anyone else find it completely unfair that I ate a salad at home for my anniversary dinner while hubs had an exotic something in a restaurant in Istanbul? A restaurant with an underground cave that has been around since 300 something AD? Yeah.

5. I've been reviewing the budget hubs and I made last summer when we were buying this house. We've been in almost a year now so I thought I'd see how we did in allocating monies to various categories. Here are my conclusions-
  • owning a home is expensive
  • our lawn/snow plow guy should be taking a nice holiday this year
  • so should our hair dresser
  • and probably our dry cleaner too
6. When hubs is out of town I stay up ridunkulously late.

7. When hubs is in town I am generally in a Rip Van Winkle sleep on the sofa by 8:30 PM. Come home hubs...I need my beauty sleep. Seriously. The circles are so dark and deep you are not going to recognize me.

8. What in the world was up with all the singing on The Bachelorette this week? And it was really bad singing too. And Awk-ward. With a capital A. Remind me again why I watch that show?

9. I took a yoga class on Tuesday evening. I know the rest of the world has been doing yoga since 1972 and I'm a little late to jump on the bandwagon but I really enjoyed it. It's not held in a gym which is part of its appeal. I belong to a gym but I'm not really a gym person. Actually I'm more of a chocolate cake person which is why I joined a gym in the first place. And I love to swim which is why I joined this particular gym but I detest all the rigamarole associated with it...I know some people live for their gym workouts but I much prefer a hike outdoors.

10. I went to the library on Tuesday and checked out out a few hundred books, mostly mysteries...see #6.

11. Daughter1 is starting a job today. Yay for grown kids working! It's a nice job but not what she wants to do forever. Its good to start somewhere though, especially when you have a car and an apartment and electricity and stuff.

12. I miss my girls. It doesn't feel like summer without kids sleeping until noon and me complaining about it and then making lots of noise to try to wake them up and then yelling, 'Are we ever going to get out of the house???!' while they take two hours to get showered, fix hair, and check facebook. Then we get in my car and they shriek MOM!!! because I have my radio a little bit, ahem, loud, and we head out to lunch/shopping/movie/bookstore and we talk so much I go past the road I need to be on and I also maybe annoy them a little bit but in a sweet way that they kinda want to laugh too. Then later I look in their bathrooms and see their pjs on the floor and their hot rollers and makeup and contact solution scattered all across the counters and I ask them if this is how they live at school and they roll their eyes and I sigh. Then we'd play Wii and I'd be over zealous and they'd make fun of that and we would laugh. A lot. Later we'd all lounge on the big comfy couch with popcorn and Twizzlers and watch that silly Bachelorette or that silly NJ Housewives or that old favorite The Little Mermaid all together and I'd get hugs and kisses and not feel off kilter.

Well now...that was surprisingly therapeutic.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Remember When

Today is our 26th wedding anniversary. I think this is the first anniversary we will celebrate apart. On different continents. Sigh. You know, this was not in the manual I was given on my wedding day.

Actually lots of things were not in the manual.
Actually there was no manual.

While the media loves to talk about what a drudge marriage can be I have found it to be full of surprises. I'm sure that has a little something to do with the boy I married but I bet most people married a long time would say something similar. When we said I do 26 years ago we had no idea what the future would hold. But we committed to find out together, to face the challenges and share the triumphs. Our married life has been full of both.

In honor of our special day I'm going to quote that world renowned Georgia poet...Alan Jackson. He wrote a beautiful song ( you can listen here) and I absolutely love the words.

Remember When

Remember when
I was young and so were you
and time stood still
and love was all we knew...

Remember when...
we vowed the vows
and walked the walk,
Gave our hearts...
made the start and it was hard

We lived and learned
life threw curves,
there was joy and there was hurt
Remember when

Remember when...
old ones died
and new were born,
And life was changed,
disassembled, rearranged....

Remember when...
the sound of little feet
was the music
we danced to week to week...

Remember when...
thirty seemed so old,
Now lookin' back
it's just a steppin' stone

To where we are

where we've been

Said we'd do it all again
Remember when...

Remember when
we said when we turned gray,
When the children
grow up and move away

We won't be sad
We'll be glad
For all the life we've had

And we'll remember when....

Happy Anniversary hubs...I love you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

At least they're both red white and blue

Almost as soon as our company left on Saturday another co-worker of my hubs phoned to see if we wanted to meet them at a nearby Irish pub to watch the World Cup. Now a few years ago I would have turned to my husband and said, "What is World Cup?" but I've lived in England and I know better now. Because in England life stands still for World Cup. Well in an insane flag covered, jersey wearing, song singing kind of standing still way. On the other side of the pond World Cup fever makes people slightly crazy.

Here's a little story-the first year we lived in the UK we went to a local Italian restaurant for dinner during World Cup. This particular restaurant was always loud and packed and very lively and so we were slightly surprised to walk in and discover we were the only people in the place. We saw all of the staff in a back corner huddled around a tiny little TV set they had rigged up so they could watch Italy play. We sat down and my daughter ordered some sort of pasta dish. The owner came over with her food and without removing his eyes from the TV screen for even a split second he asked if she'd like Parmesan cheese on her dish. She clearly replied, "No thank you" and again, without ever taking his eyes off of the TV he proceeded to grate out a literal mountain of cheese on top of her food. We all kind of sat there with our jaws dropped until hubs finally came to and said, 'Uh, that's plenty.' Note to selves-eat at home during World Cup. Or head to a pub that is showing the game but if you do be prepared for some singing and some beer splashing and a little trash talking. Or maybe a lot of trash talking. Oh it is fun! Think about it...practically the entire country is cheering for a single team. That's a lot of spirit.

So anyway, we met friends in the Irish Pub Saturday afternoon and the friend's wife is from England and hubs wore his England shirt. I declared it too hot and humid to wear mine so went like Switzerland and was neutral in navy and white. The pub was packed and about three quarters of the crowd was American and maybe one quarter hailed from the UK. The atmosphere was a lot like the pubs at home in that there were men in jerseys with their England flags wrapped around their shoulders, there was singing and there was beer splashing and there was more than a little trash talking. In fact, we hadn't been there five minutes when a charming American man came over to the table and mooned the Brits. Believe me, there is not enough beer in all of Great Britain to remove that image from my head. Not pretty. At all.

We were snatched up by the British tables when they saw hubs shirt and we were sorta rooting for England anyway because its so huge over there you kind of get caught up in it all. Plus I love how smooth the coach of the England team looks in his suit and ultra cool eye ware.

No sweatsuit and beer belly for Fabio Capello. With a name like that he was born to be a footballer. You may in fact be surprised to learn that I know who almost all the England players are and I might also know more than a little bit about their personal lives too. They are huge celebs in the UK and you read about them on a regular basis in every magazine and newspaper published. I've read details of Wayne Rooney's wedding, Ashely Cole's infidelities, Steven Gerrards arrest after a brawl in Liverpool, and Frank Lampards super high IQ test results. I couldn't tell you a single player on the US team.

Until Saturday.

That's when my daughter texted me (yes indeed my girls were watching World Cup play) to say that two of the US mid field players were from her teeny tiny university and that was kind of exiting so I wavered. I mean I never root for the US to lose...I just didn't want England to lose either. Sigh. I think I'm far too emotional for professional sports. What do you think?

Anyway, the match ended in a tie which just does not feel right. Imagine an NFL playoff game ending in a tie prior to the Superbowl. In World Cup play teams get 0 points for losing, 1 point for a tie, and 3 points for a win so the top team at the end of the whole tournament is the one with the most points. Once they get past this first group round of play ties will be settled with penalty shoot outs. And I'm sure FIFA officials are choking on their ale as they read my scoring summary but I'm breaking it down here for the masses who just want to understand how a huge match can end in a tie. At least I didn't call it a game. Match is the correct lingo. You're welcome. And also, I'm pretty sure FIFA officials aren't reading my blog.

While a tie does seem odd I was kind of thrilled because that cutie who scored the goal for USA is in fact one of the two players who attended my daughter's university so Go USA. Except Yay Eng-a-land too.

And in case you aren't confused enough, Clint Dempsey, the player who scored the goal for the US and plays on the US National Team? Yeah, well his regular club is Fulham. That's in England. A lot of the US team play for clubs in England. Or Germany. Or Spain. Or places other than the US. Like I said, it's complicated. But its exciting too. And sitting in an Irish Pub on a sunny Saturday afternoon surrounded by the England flag and the sounds of grown men singing Eng-a-land...well, we may just have felt right at home.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Peaceful Easy Feeling Never Gets Old

Our weekend kicked off early with friends arriving from Maryland Thursday afternoon. The two hubs work together and we've known each other for manymanymany years. Our friends also have two daughters and our four girls have been pals since they were tiny tots, our youngest girls since birth. We've shared countless meals and numerous beach houses and we even lived thru our oldest girls 7th grade year together. This was our first real visit since we moved back to the states last summer and those 7th grade girls are now both university graduates. Oh my. How did that happen??? Sigh.

Anyway, it was fun to catch up again this weekend and since we also share a mutual love of music we were all excited about seeing The Eagles. The concert was held in the brand new Meadowlands Stadium (home to the Giants and Jets) and the hubs was meeting us there. Thankfully another friend drove because NJ traffic is NJ traffic at rush hour heading into or out of NYC or points nearby. We had a little tailgate in the parking lot before the concert and then the rains came followed by a beautiful double rainbow over the ugly highway and we figured we should get inside the stadium while the getting was good. The stadium is super nice and will host the 2014 Superbowl. If you're a football fan best start saying your weather prayers now because NJ in February can be a teensy bit snowy.

Just sayin'

The concert was absolutely fabulous. Here's my brief recap...yes, I can so be brief. And my pictures aren't great because I was too busy singing along so words are all I've got.

First up-Keith Urban. He is adorable and we were all happy we remembered the binoculars so we could get a closer look. Well, maybe the guys didn't care but we girls did. At one point he went out into the audience and sang while playing his guitar all the way round the entire perimeter of the stadium. Did I mention he is adorable? Even when he's all sweaty from singing and entertaining the crowd. Maybe especially when he's all sweaty from singing and entertaining the crowd. Anyway, he talked briefly, just enough to introduce his band. Raise your hand if you love the Aussie accent like me. He sang all his hits and sounded great. And he's adorable. Did I say that already?

Next up-The Dixie Chicks. It's kind of a shame the first thing that comes to mind when I hear Dixie Chicks is Natalie's rant back in 2003 because these girls are so talented and can really sing. And they are amazing musicians and changed out their big guitars for little guitars for fiddles, for banjos etc etc etc. all throughout their performance. I absolutely love Natalie Maines voice. They sang almost all our favorites...we wanted them to sing There's Your Trouble because we love that one but even without it they did not disappoint. Speaking of trouble....Natalie did not look like she did when last we saw her...Thursday night she had her hair cut EXTREMELY SHORT and dark. Remember Demi Moore in GI Jane? Well, we all kinda thought Natalie had the identical look going on. Whatever... the girl can sing and they didn't say anything controversial so, yay!

Finally-The Eagles. Wow. They are still so awesome. I saw them way back when and they sound exactly the same. Just like they did in 1979. And 1994. Seriously, they have the best harmonies and they can all step in as lead singer and flip flop who plays what instrument. So happy to have seen them again. Their music is beautiful. They had a nice camaraderie on the stage too and they seemed to enjoy singing the songs I'm sure they've sung a bazillion and ten times before. When I hear music like theirs I wonder what bands if any are out there now that will be as timeless as The Eagles...can't think of many.

And of course since it isn't 1979 or even 1994 anymore we all agreed that a corporate box with big comfy seats, away from the elements, with easy access to food and drinks and a restroom with no line is now our preferred way to see a concert. Remember when you wanted to be on the front row and you didn't mind standing for five hours and you didn't have to worry about your ears ringing the next day? Yeah. Corporate box is the way to go people.

Our friends who were visiting used to live in this area back when we were here years ago so Friday morning we did a little drive around tour of the town followed by a nice lunch overlooking the lake. Later that evening still more friends joined us for a bbq at our house. We had all been at the concert together the night before and I suspect its unusual to be so chummy with so many co workers for so many years but we are and I love that about hubs company. The weather was nice and we sat out on the deck before dinner and because The Eagles never get old we might have looped their music ten or a thousand times during the night.

As per usual I'm long winded and I haven't said a word about World Cup...I think I will save that for my next post. In the meantime World Cup is 'soccer' for anyone who doesn't know. Except soccer is football everywhere but here. It comes around once every four years and its kind of a big deal. Particularly on a small island affectionately known as Great Britain.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You want random on Wednesdays? I got Random on Wednesdays...

Normally on Wednesdays I participate in the Weekly Random Dozen but our hostess Linda is taking the month of June off so I'm on my own with random stuff today. Fortunately random is more or less the theme of my blog so I'm not too worried.

Here's my own 'random dozen' thoughts this morning-

1. In a funny coincidence it turns out the restaurant where we had dinner last night is the very same restaurant where Danielle and Dina held their tete-a-tete on Monday night's episode of Real Housewives of NJ. I learned this piece of trivia from a guy my hubs works with which just goes to show you that you never know who is watching Real Housewives.

2. Our dog is a bird dog. We've never hunted with her but the instinct is there and every once in a while we're reminded of that fact. Like Monday night. She was out in the yard when hubs arrived home and he could tell she had something in her mouth so he called her over but naturally she ran the other way. He finally managed to get a look only to discover it was a baby bird. Ewww! We're pretty sure it fell from a nest and was already dead when she got hold of it because she is much more of a super model than a successful hunter. She loves to stalk birds, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, and chipmunks but the only animals she has ever actually caught were injured, thus unable to escape.

3. I had a birthday cake delivered to daughter1 on Monday and I had to smile a little. When I placed the order the lady asked what I wanted on the cake and I said 'Happy Birthday Daughter1' (except I inserted her name). She then asked me if I wanted an enclosure card delivered with the cake and if so what should it say. I told her the card should say, " Happy Birthday Daughter1 (insert name of course). Love, Mom and Dad". So daughter1 sent me a pic of the cake and right there on the top it says 'Happy Birthday Daughter1's name, Love Mom and Dad'.

Ha-have you been to the website Cake Wrecks?

4. One year ago this month we moved back to the US from across the pond. I have a few thoughts about this (shocking I know!) which I think I'll save for another post.

5. Twenty six years ago this month I married my honey. Go us!

6. Tomorrow night we're going to a concert and I'm super excited. We'll see Keith Urban, The Dixie Chicks and my favorite band ever, The Eagles. Kind of an interesting combo of musicians but whatever. It will be at the brand new Giants stadium and yay! for corporate boxes.

7. I'm rooting for the Flyers in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I know they're the underdog but don't count them out yet. There's a reason their nickname is The Broad Street Bullies. And in keeping with my random theme, here's a piece of useless information for you...I spent four years of high school sitting beside the son of the Flyer's then coach, Fred Shero. The Flyers won two Stanley Cups when he was boss. It ain't over til its over!

8. I had a pedicure yesterday. I heart pedicures. To the nth degree. One of my favorite ways to spend an hour. When I eventually get to China with my hubs I will be having a foot massage for sure. They come highly recommended.

9. Speaking of is a picture of a squirrel fish prepared for my hubs on his recent trip to Shanghai-

It looks a little bit like a blooming onion but tastes nothing like a blooming onion. Because its a fish. According to my hubs, it is also delicious. The part sticking up is actually pieces of the fish that have been breaded and deep fried. And hey, this post may be random but you can't say it isn't educational too.

10. I am in love with a plant called trailing verbena...

It is beautiful in a pot or basket and comes in many gorgeous colors. My mom had some purple and white trailing verbena in pots at her house and they were just jammed with blossoms. Of course my mom can look at a plant and it will grow. I have two hanging baskets filled with shades of pink and so far so good.

11. I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow and that makes me happy. As long as my hairdresser doesn't do anything crazy I mean.

12. We also have house guests arriving tomorrow and then more arriving on Friday and as a result I have a zillion things to do today errand -wise. Which means I best get off the computer and on to my to do list. Ciao!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Real Housewife from NJ

Yesterday I was cleaning out my refrigerator because that is what real housewives from NJ do and as I was cleaning I saw a couple of episodes of the show by the same name and it got me to thinking about something. Do people who read my blog watch that program? Do people who read my blog think all NJ housewives are like the women on that show? Does anybody think I sit around with my friends every day and every night and talk about other 'friends' who aren't there? Excessively. To the point that you want to cover your ears and sing lalalalala when they start talking? Does anybody think I would spend over $1900 in one fell swoop in a children's boutique? Does anybody think my hubs would be okay with it if I did? Uh...he wouldn't, just so we're clear.

Speaking of reality programming (and I think 'reality' is now a misnomer because seriously, editing is not part of 'reality'), are you watching The Bachelorette this season? Last night was something. Not sure what word to use but let's just say the new bachelorette is definitely the touchy feely type. Can we say awkward? I can't help myself...I always think of their mamas watching and cringe. Alot.

And my poor hubs.

I saw the first two episodes when he was out of town but when we were channel surfing over the weekend (yeah, the life of a NJ housewife really is pretty exciting) I told him that they were replaying last week's episode if he wanted to catch up and he said, "I am NOT watching that!" Last night he had a business dinner and I was secretly happy because it meant I could watch the new episode and text my daughter back and forth with commentary throughout the show because that's what we like to do.

Except hub's dinner ended early and he came in while the show was still on.
Oh dear.

So he sat down on the couch and began telling me about some stuff at work and before you know it he is commenting on the wrestler's hair and all the tears and whoa, she's friendly isn't she? Again, it's like a train wreck... you just can't help but get sucked into the drama that is reality television. And fyi, boy drama on The Bachelorette is different than girl drama on The Bachelor. And I know it sounds sexist but it feels different watching a Bachelorette audition potential husbands than it does watching a Bachelor audition potential wives. Different in a sleazy icky sort of way.

Okay, back to the real housewife from I'm headed to the gym and then will finish up some cleaning in preparation for house guests arriving Thursday, plan menus, indulge in a pedicure, vote in the primary (yes, real housewives from NJ vote), and meet hubs and some friends for dinner later. There will be no swearing, no table turning, and no excessive bling in case you are wondering. Just another glamorous day in paradise NJ.

I really don't understand why I don't have my own show?