Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Say a Little Prayer

Your guest blogger for today is my long time friend, Leisl.  I met Leisl like OMG, 14 or 15 years ago.  When I got married, I eventually and unfortunately lost touch with some folks, but Leisl and I managed to catch up with each other again. 

She is a fabulous writer and a brilliant poet in my opinion (you'll get a taste of her poetry a little later in the week).  So enjoy her as much as I do!

Say A Little Prayer
By Leisl K. Miller
This evening I was blessed with the company of my Pastor and 5 of the Elders from my church.  They came to my home at my request.  I asked them to come and pray with me, and for me.  I felt that I really needed their enlightened wisdom and kind prayers to help me with the anxiety I have been having about my current health condition.  It was really nice to have them here.  We chatted for about 15 minutes about various people in the church who needed to be reached out to.  There is always someone who needs help.  I just hope that I can be as helpful to others as others are to me.  This is my wish.
Then I was asked to reiterate, to all who attended, what my health issue is.  They all listened intently with hope in their eyes.  It was good to feel �at home� with these people.  They are God loving people and with every gesture and sigh you can see it.  Their love for Christ is incredibly moving too.  They spoke of Him as if he is their best friend; and He is!  They live by Christ�s example and it shows.  The Pastor then read various passages from the Bible that spoke about healing of the sick and anointing the sick.  It was very helpful to my understanding of the gift of healing that only God can give you.
Next I knelt down on the ground, as did everyone. The Pastor and the Elders and my husband surrounded me and put their hands on my shoulders, neck and arms.  Then each one of them said a prayer for my healing and my peace.  They included prayers for my family as well.  Tears were running down my face as I listened to their inspired words. My Pastor was the last person to pray for me.  As he was praying for me he anointed me with oil on my forehead.  I could feel the healing energy swirl and spin around me and through me and it was the most wonderfully peaceful thing I think I have ever felt.  There really is power in prayer.
So when someone says, �Say a little prayer for me�, do it.  There really isn�t a prayer too small or too big that God can�t handle.  God is a giver.  When we pray he gives us his full attention.  I pray that your prayers will be answered in a favorable manner.  God Bless each and every one of you.  

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wedding Thoughts

Today's guest blogger is Mike, who I met working for Corporate America back in the very late eighties.  We fell out of touch for many years and then reconnected on Facebook a few months ago.  When I asked for help with my blog for the mission trip, I am so grateful he was one of my first volunteers. 

So, give him some love and encouragement as he is now thinking of starting his own blog.  From Mike:

Wedding Thoughts

Before I start the discourse related to the official title I want to just say thanks.  Kim, you may have started something here. I have always enjoyed writing but always have found excuses to not write. I tend to keep it as that thing out there I want to do but do not do. Maybe it is that last item on the bucket list. I do know that the hardest thing about writing this blog was to settle on one topic, in other words I do have a lot to say. I just may have to start blogging. Now I shall go on with the wedding thoughts.

I have been pretty busy for a few weeks or I should day weekends. I have performed three weddings in a row this June. For those who do not know me, I am an ordained minister. I do not work as a paid minister, I did at one time but for many reasons I retired. I have maintained my license and ordination and have performed many weddings over the years. Why do weddings? It takes lots of precious time and it is not really a business for me, yet. It started as a favor for a friend and quickly the word got out that I could marry people. I realized that so many people do not have a minister to perform their wedding. Some do not go to church and cannot find a minister because of that and others have a church but have been living together. Their church wants them to marry but will not marry them because they live together. That �logic� makes no sense to me. I began to realize that I could fulfill a need for so many people.

I may have a different way of thinking than most ministers but I feel comfortable with my thinking and that is what is important to me. I love weddings, Jesus loved weddings; remember he chose a wedding feast to perform his first miracle. Weddings are truly a celebration of love. I enjoy the casual outside wedding much more than the stuffy and formal church wedding but I will do either. I have the best spot in the house. I get to look the bride and the groom in the eyes and feel the emotion. I wish every person would have that opportunity. It is my feel good moment. I am addicted to the love. Even if the marriage later fails, I know that there was love in that moment.

Weddings need to be a time for love; I believe people worry too much about the ceremony and the occasion. I think the smartest move I have ever seen was when a friend of mine eloped and later threw a party for all of their family and friends. That was probably 25 years ago, they are still married. It wasn�t the ceremony that kept them together, it is the love.

 I have traveled the United States from coast to coast and points between to perform weddings. Some of the places I have performed a ceremony include: a hunting camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania, a winery in Maryland, the San Francisco Zoo, the Bad Lands of South Dakota, the streets of Sturgis during bike week, the Gulf Coast of Florida, various beaches on the East Coast, numerous homes and backyards in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and yes, even in some churches. I have been dressed in a tux for a ceremony and I have worn shorts and a t-shirt. All of that has been interesting and fun even but the item that makes any of them a wedding is the love. It is not the words I say, it is not the cost of the event, nor the location, it is the love between the bride and the groom.

 �Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, and it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails.�  I Corinthians 13:4-8

 These words are included in most ceremonies, the love being spoken of here is not the love of romance, but is the love of a Christian what the Greeks called �agape�.  I believe that is the love that is missing when a marriage fails. Romantic love can sustain us for only so long; if we do not have a wedding/marriage that includes �agape� there will be more of a struggle. My advice and intent in writing this is if you are not married be sure that you have the type of love mentioned in 1Corinthians on top of your romantic feelings. For those of you who are married, do not forget the �agape� yes the romance is important but do not neglect the �other love� it never fails.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Walking for a Cure


I met Cindy when I worked for Corporate America many moons ago and she was my sounding board especially when The Brit and I were getting to know each other via email and telephone.  Like many other friends, we have reconnected on Facebook and she offered to share a little blog post with me.

Most of you know that I have been involved with Relay for Life in the past and I hope to be involved with it next year.  Last year, was my surgery, so I couldn't do it and this year we were in England for it.  But as more and more people I know battle cancer, the more this cause means to me.  It means a lot to Cindy as well.

This weekend, June 20th, Hampshire County West Virginia held our annual Relay for Life Walk.

One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life® is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people across the country each year to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that takes too much.

Between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009, Relay For Life® communities nationwide are hosting special �Show Us Your HOPE� activities that visually depict the passion Relayers have for the fight against cancer. Ideally, these activities are separate from Relay For Life® events and demonstrate how the American Cancer Society in our community celebrates survivors, remembers loved ones lost and fights back against cancer through Relay For Life®.

Learn more about Show Us Your HOPE or about Relay For Life® and how together we can Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back against cancer!

Tomorrow I will walk in memory of my Father , Coach Honey Crites, my mother,  Ruth E. Crites and for all of my dear friends who have battled cancer.

I hope that each year, more and more of you will become involved with this cause which is so important.  My friend, Lisa, has been a team leader for Relay for the last three years and I now also know that a girl I went to high school is also involved with one locally, so my hope is to be very involved next year in one way or another.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

On the Road Again

So tomorrow afternoon, I am off for my second adventure of the summer: Mission trip 2009.

This will be my third year as a chaperone and I love these trips.  I love the helping others and I love the spending time with the youth kids.  The whole experience, as exhausting as it is, is uplifting at the same time.  We have all always come away from it closer and wiser, more aware that there is a world outside of our corner of it were things are not nearly as good as we have it.

Of course, my oldest son is going with me but I think he will do well.  He works hard, especially for people other than his parents, and it will be a learning experience for him.

I am contemplating taking a notebook with me to journal each night and then when I get home, sharing my thoughts and experiences here on the blog.  I may give it a shot, but the days are long and the nights are short, so we'll see how it goes!

Okay, that is it for me till Friday.  Give my guest bloggers some love in the way of comments as you may be encouraging another would be blogger!  Hope you all have a great week and for those of you on Facebook, I should be able to post some updates via my mobile phone.

Peace out!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Getting Back On Board

So there has been a lot of chatter around the C&P girl blogs about getting their eating back in order.  At least I am not the only one who has struggled the last few weeks.  Now granted, I was on vacation and granted, the things I ate compared to how I would have eaten as a pre-op are not too terrible in comparison.  I ate things like fish and chips, and some crisps and some chocolate and OMG the bread in England is wonderful.  But now I am working on putting myself back together again and getting back on target. 

It's kind of interesting that before my surgery I would also beat myself up when my eating was especially bad and though my "bad" eating now is not nearly as bad as then, the beating up has not changed.  It makes me crazy to know I am not doing what I should be doing.  In fact, it is worse than crazy.  It scares the bejezez out of me. 

I looked at my Before and After pics this morning and my resolve was heightened once more.  Never again am I going to be THAT girl physically.  It's not an option.  I am happy here though not yet satisfied.  There is still work to be done and now I have to backtrack a bit to get where I was before England.  The difference now is that falling off the wagon does not mean giving up; it simply means getting it right again.  Pulling myself up and shaking off the dust and plowing onward.  There is no giving up anymore.

Travel, stress, unplanned circumstances, all of these things can throw healthy habits out the window, but now for me, that only happens for a moment in time.  A moment can last a few days or a few weeks, but in time, still only a moment.  It cannot be any different.  I've come too far to turn back.  109 pounds lost is nothing to sneeze at and it has done amazing things for my health and overall happiness and abilities.

So I'm back on board the health train and hope to soon be back on board the workout train too.  Time is still not on my side with that, plus I have kids for the summer, which makes things complicated, but I'll work it out as soon as the mission trip is over.

There are no other options.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Promise....

....I will get back to my England stories soon, but life has yet to slow down even a little.

I am terribly jet lagged. I went to bed last night at 10:30, which though it isn't late, with my body being on UK time, that made it 2:30AM for me.  I feel asleep immediately and slept soundly until 2:30AM, which is 7:30AM UK time which is close to the time I woke up many mornings while we were on vacation.  I managed to doze back off until 5:00 this morning, and at 5:30 gave up trying to sleep and showered, dressed and went grocery shopping before work.  The upside is that Walmart is so not busy at 6:30! 

So then I worked, had hair and nails done, came home to finish the unpacking and putting away and sorted out some clothing for the church yard sale.  Then had dinner and am ready for a coma.

Really, really sad how we have lost three celebrities in two days.  Ed Mcmahon yesterday and Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson today.  What really freaks me out a little and I might be wrong, but I am sure when we were in England and The Brit's friend, Lee came over, Lee told us how he had tickets to one of Michael's UK concerts, but that he would be surprised if Michael lived that long. 


In other news, starting Sunday, when I leave on the mission trip, you will have some guest bloggers.  Show them some love as some have never blogged before but were more than willing offer their services when I asked for volunteers.

I am still trying to catch up on my blog reading, but again, jet lag and preparing to depart again in a few days has been posing problems.  I can barely place two thoughts together, so bear with me.  I'm hoping to be feeling more like myself tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Short and sweet tonight.

We are home.

It's 9:33pm

My body time is 2:33AM, so I'm really tired.

Last night was awesome.

Today was really long.

Better blogging tomorrow after sleep.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Packing it in

So the bags are nearly packed, the last of the shopping is completed and now we are just trying to sort out tonight.  We have to be up butt early in the morning in order to leave for Heathrow by 6:00.  The kids are currently with Adrian, which was a Godsend as it gave us the ability to pack and do laundry today without them being bored and underfoot.  The problem now is that we have to work out getting the kids back from Adrian's but not miss out on saying goodbye to anyone else.  It could be tricky.

So that is it for me until I am back in the USA.  We fly out at 11:00AM UK time and arrive home at 3:00pm US time, so it will be a long day. 

But the visit here was wonderful.  Much fun and many awe-inspiring moments.  Favorite things had to be London and The New Forest.  Special thanks and much love to all who made this visit so special.  

See you on the other side of the pond. 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Funny

Today, they made me go look at cars at Beaulieu.  Now I can respect that there are women out there who are enthralled with cars throughout history.  I get that.  However, I am not one of them.  It would be the equivalent of me taking The Brit to a yarn shop and oohing and aahing over different colors, textures and worsted weights.  He would simply not get it and that is okay with me.  On the other hand, I don't get the male fascination with cars; it is just one of the those male/female differences. 

So I enjoyed the first part of the day to the very best of my ability.  The second part though we did get to visit the abbey, the Palace House and the gardens, all of which were lovely.  We then drove the kids to Stonehenge so they could see it and then onto a pub for dinner.

JJ must have been under the impression we were going some place else as this conversation happened in the car...

JJ: Are we at dolphins yet?

Me: What?

JJ: dolphins.  Are we at dolphins yet?

The Brit: Dolphins?  What are you talking about?

JJ:  You know, dolphins!  Where granddad was born!

Aaron:  JJ, you mean Wales.

Tomorrow is our final day here and we will be doing laundry and packing and I still need to pick up one thing for someone back home.  My mind is already making up lists of what I need to do when I get home, what I need to pack for the mission trip (still cannot believe I am off again on Sunday!) and the things I want to do once my life settles down again.

And you know what else I have discovered today?  I am sick and tired of food and eating.  I'm not even enjoying it much at the moment.  I have eaten more in the last three weeks than I have eaten in a year.  Okay, slight exaggeration, but it feels that way.  I have had a few meals here that were fabulous and that I truly enjoyed.  But when you are on the go all the time, especially with male children, you have to manage three meals a day.  At home, they can fix themselves a sandwich and if I'm not hungry, I'll just grab something when I am.  When you are traveling and sight seeing it is more complicated. 

Thankfully, all my clothes still fit and nothing is tight or uncomfortable, but I am not going to weigh myself until three weeks after being home.  Let me have the same amount of time I have had here, to get myself back in proper eating/exercising order before I see where I stand. 

Bloggy friends, I will catch up with you though it may not be till after July 3rd.  I will also continue with my England exploits after that date as well.  Days are suddenly numbered and things are getting busy again in a different way.  I have to get home and get myself over any jet lag in three days.  I am also back at work the day after we fly home, then need to have myself mentally ready for five days of mission work.

I'm ready for my plate to not be full...in more ways than one.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Coming to a close

Well, we are down to our final days in England and I meet them with both sadness and an urge to get back home.

There are so many parts of this country I find enchanting and beautiful.  The quaintness appeals to me greatly...little villages and few chain stores unlike in the USA.  Sure, there are some parts that are very commercial like the mall we can walk to from the house (tho the majority of the stores we don't have in the USA).  Yet across the road from this mall is a church that is older than my country.

That leaves me in awe.

It is easy to get comfortable here; the laid back country roads, lunches at little pubs that seem to round every corner, the busyness and appeal of the city.  I love it all.  I love the experience. And there are so many people here I genuinely like and love spending time with.

Yet it is time to go home. I look forward to seeing my cats and my friends.  I look forward to kickboxing and a mission trip...holy crap, a week from today.  I look forward to doing a little nesting at my home after July 3rd after being away for so long.

But I will miss people.  I will miss the clean air and the ever changing weather.  I will even miss riding on the opposite side of the road and roundabouts.

But my To Do list has grown since being here...writing, gardening, hanging clothes out to dry, running, learning some new things.

I look forward to all of it.

And one day I will look forward to a return trip to my favorite country.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Laughing Til I Cried

Don't worry, I will still cover London Day 2, but right now I am too tired to download and resize photos.  We spent the night in London last night at Ade's place.  For Susan, Ade is an old friend of The Brit's.  Adrian is a few years older than I am (two and a bit) but is one of the most genuine people I know.  Ade has been with a long time partner, Chris and I think it is great to expose my kids to positive role models like Ade and Chris because we all know our children are going to encounter homosexuals in their lifetimes.  I would rather my kids have some experience with some folks a bit different from them but no less normal, no less kind and no less genuine.  It's important to me.

The Brit and I went to see Avenue Q  and then took the tube and train back to Putney, at like 11:00pm. 
We were then instructed to meet up with Ade at Ole for wine and we left Ole at like 1:30 to hit another pub for more wine before walking home.  Let me say that drinking is not a regular pastime of mine but with Ade I have a wine buddy and we have great fun together.  Last night, we laughed harder than we have in a long time and it was wonderful.

I came to the realization that if I am in the UK and feel homesick, all I need do is to spend some time in London and life is perfect again. I love that city beyond measure.  It makes me feel alive like no other city can, even New York.  London is alive and full of life and people and fashion and history,  It gets into my veins and my heart is filled with great sadness at the thought of not seeing it and experiencing it again for awhile.

Okay, must sleep now.  My fun last night did not end till nearly three in the morning and this old body is no longer used to that!  More later though my time in the UK is rapidly coming to a close.  I believe I shall miss it greatly.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ignoring My Own Blog....

I'm ignoring my own blog to blog for Kim again!!  It's a shame Kevin Spacey isn't in London at this time..because she would have to be chasing him down for me - lol!!

Speaking of Kevin Spacey, he has a new movie coming out (several actually, but this one looks very good):

And that's my post.  Been moving into a new office the past few days - extremely tired.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

On the road again

Coming back from dropping the kids in london for the night. I have
felt more or less like crap all day as I woke up with not only a head
cold but with auntie flo as well. Just very tired and out of it
today. Plan for tomorrow as the kids will be with ade is to go into
london and do dinner and a show. Hopefully laura will blog for me

Sent from my mobile device

"If you have a flat tire, are you going to get out of your vehicle and
slice the other three tires, or are you going to get out change the
flat, get back in your car and keep moving?" Jillian Michaels

Come blog with me at http://knitten-kittens.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

London Day 1, Part 2

Okay, where were we?

Right...London.  Finished up seeing Buck House and then started walking in the direction of Westminster Abbey in order to meet up with Ade's partner, Chris.  We didn't go inside the Abbey because they wanted 30-something pounds for four of us to go inside and I can't bring myself to pay to go into any kind of house of God.  Something about it bothers me, but anyway, here is a picture from the outside:

We did go into a smaller church just down from the Abbey, St. Thomas, but no photos are permitted inside the church.

We then walked to the Thames to catch a boat tour to Greenwich to see the Meridian Line.  Took several photos along the way, but you will probably recognize the follows structures:

At Greenwich, we had quite an uphill climb to reach the Meridian Line.  Once at the top, you can see from whence we came:

Thankfully, this bloke was part of the way up the hill to break the monotony:

Then when we reached the top, we waited in line for the prize:

By the time we got back down the hill and caught a tube back to Putney, it was way past dinnertime, so we hit an Italian place for awesome pizza and plenty of red wine for Ade and myself, thus my lack of blogging that night.

I will try to hit London Day 2 tomorrow, but we have a long few days coming up that involve some travel, so I'm not sure of what kind of time I'll have to blog.  I'll do my best but it is very up in the air!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

London Day 1, Part 1

First off, thank you to Laura for her impromptu blogging for me last night as we were on the way home from London and I was already exhausted.

We drove to London Sunday morning and began our tour going through Richmond Park, which is this huge park in the middle of London.  Scads of bicyclists, walkers, joggers horseback riders and cars tour through the park on a daily basis.  The park is also shared with many herds of deer. 

From the park we headed to Adrian's place.  Ade, the party animal he is on weekends had been out the night before, so he was racing around getting ready to be our tour guide. We purchased day travel tickets which enabled us to work our way through London on trains, tubes and buses. 

Our next stop was Harrods.  I had advised the kids before we ever got there that they would not be purchasing anything in this store...because they don't have eight figure incomes.  I looked at a purse that was over 1000 pounds and a bottle of wine that was 8000 pounds (about $12,000).  I mean how could one pay that much for wine and then actually drink it?  Harrods has everything though; clothing, toys, accessories, coffee, sushi, a bakery...you get the picture and if not, well, here's one:

Just one of the many food halls, on one of the many floors of Harrods.

We left Harrods and hailed a Black Cab, the most reliable cab drivers in London.

Anyway, Black Cab to Buckingham Palace.

I've always loved this fountain, but probably only Robyn knows why.

Stay tuned tomorrow for London Day 1, Part 2...but for now it is late here and I'm bushed!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Just Got Home!

I just got home from the movies and had an email from Kim asking me to blog.  I'm entirely unprepared for this so I'll movie review.

Went and saw "The Taking Of Pelham 123" with John Travolta and Denzel Washington.  Very Good Movie!!  John Travolta plays bad very well - and he is still one handsome dude. 

Plenty of action in this movie, some things are a little predictable or maybe it's because I see so many movies, I tend to pick up every detail.  Sometimes too much detail, as I had the whole ending rewritten...still think my ending would of been better!!

Everyone have a good night!!



I asked laura to fill in for me tonight but in case she does not get
the message in time just wanted to say I will blog properly tomorrow.
Very late here and still on the road back from london....but let me
assure you all, it was fabulous and we are going back friday.

Sent from my mobile device

"If you have a flat tire, are you going to get out of your vehicle and
slice the other three tires, or are you going to get out change the
flat, get back in your car and keep moving?" Jillian Michaels

Come blog with me at http://knitten-kittens.com

Sunday, June 14, 2009


So where in reality I would love to say "Here are the photos of everything we did in London today..." I can't.

Because though we did lots of great and fun things in London today, I waited far too long to eat and drank far too much red wine and now am absolutely knackered and just want to go to bed.

I did do tons of walking today and feel fab because of it.

But still need to sleep.

More tomorrow, peeps.

Life is good but I am still a wee bit homesick.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

BBQ Saturday

Blue skies.

Warm temperatures.

Clothes drying on the line.

Cousins up for the day.

Lamb, burgers and bangers on the barbie.

That was today.  Early tomorrow morning we head to London for two days.

I had my first burst of home sickness today.  I love it here.  Love spending time with dad, Gina, Gareth, Gail, Ade and the rest of the British family.


I miss my cats.

I miss my friends.

I am longing to work in my garden and to put up a clothes line.

I want to return to eating right and working out.

I miss kickboxing.


I love traveling and experiencing new things.


All of the above things are still true.

I miss my mother-in-law too.  She was the only other female when we are all together and it's always nice to have someone else who more or less thinks the way I do. Men are great...


We don't think the same.

We see things differently.

So I not only miss HER, but I miss a second woman being around.

So, I'm missing a lot of things right now.


then again, I'm feeling tired.

Tomorrow is another day and a new adventure and I know I will embrace it and love it.

I also know I have the beginning of an original work forming in my soul.

We'll see how it all goes.

Blogging next from London!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shopping with Gina

So today the boys took off to look at cars and the concord and other manly bits, so that left Gina and I to conquer shopping.  The original plan was for us to go to Andover and hit the charity shops (second hand stores; my personal favorites) and then carry on to Southampton for more shopping. 

Well, after finding seven charity shops to browse (resulting in two tops for me at two pounds each and a book for The Brit for 1.99) we headed to Asda for coffee and scones and then more shopping which resulted in a top and a cardigan for me.  Then we decided to go to Gina's and pick up her dog, Lucy and then head to our
FIL's house to wait for them to arrive home.

We picked up Lucy, arrived at the FIL's house only to discover that Gina had left her handbag and her keys to the house at her house (25 minutes away in Whitchurch).  After trying unsuccessfully to locate a family member with a spare key, we headed back to Whitchurch for the keys to find Gareth home from work and as we were all going to dinner later, we waited for him to shower and change so we could all ride to Basingstoke together.

While we waited for Gareth to get ready, Gina called the boys and told lies on me.  Something like:

"Yes, well, we're going to be a bit late because I'm having a bit of trouble getting Kimmie out of the shops....No, Kim, put that sweater down!  Yes, Allen, you see, she is looking at buy two cardigans get one half price and...Kim!  Those are cashmere!"

You get my drift.

So everyone got home and we went to dinner, followed by tea back at the house.

Now I am all shopped out and exhausted. 

Tomorrow, Gail and her family (cousins) are coming to visit and Sunday morning, we head to London for two days.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Forest and Bournemouth

Though this is my fourth trek to England, I can honestly say that I am seeing more of the country than I ever have before.  

Ade joined us today and we started out at New Forest and the semi-wild ponies:

From there we headed to the seaside:

Here you can see the Isle of Wight in the distance, another place I hope to visit...

Ade needs to get some sun on these legs...

Then Ade took us all to dinner at a little Italian place and by this time, JJ had decided that
Ade was his new bestie.  He even said in the car, "Ade, my buddy...."

Tomorrow, The Brit, dad and the boys are going to look at cars or some manly thing like that, while
I get a girl's day out with Gina. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Windsor and the Castle

The funnies of the day....

When touring the castle, we hit the room with the suits of amour.

Me to JJ: So what do you think of the suits of amour?

JJ:  It's good, mom.  You can't go wrong with amour.

Guess not when you really think about it.

Coming home, we passed a house that was a pale pink alongside of Windsor Great Park.  Now England has lots of little idiosyncrasies, so keep that in mind with this story,  I was sitting in the back with the boys as my FIL was up in the front with The Brit and my window was down partway and the air was blowing in my ear and my hearing is not the best already.

So, I hear Aaron ask The Brit what the pink house was.  The Brit responded and as I didn't hear the answer, I asked Aaron what he'd said. 

Aaron:  Is the lodging house for the gay people.

As he smirked, I launched into my mini-sermon....

Me:  I have no problem with gay people...some of my best friends are gay men.

The Brit:  A lodging house for GATE people!  Not gay people.

Me: Oh, well, that makes me feel better.  I was thinking that was a whole new kind of segregation....

And more pictures from today:

And if anyone has any idea what kind of statement this dude was making, amuse me and post your thoughts:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bread, Chocolate and Narrow Roads

My eating is sucking big wumpus (or however the Indians would have spelled that).  Breakfast?  Bring on the
English bread, baby!  And put some of that creamy UK butter on it as well!  Dinner tonight?  Cheese sandwich.  Craving something?  Nothing like a bite of Cadburys.


I did about a mile walk today however, which is the small bit of good news.  I know, I know, everyone will say "Hey, you're on vacation!  Enjoy!  But I'm on vacation for a really long time!  A week?  Okay, fair enough.  I can eat as I'd like for a week and fix it quickly enough upon arriving back home.  Three weeks is going to take serious fixing and unless Jack is going to be my personal kickbutt instructor seven days a week for a month, I could be in deep dodo.  Yet, dammit, it all tastes so good over here!  I guess I should be thankful Maryland does not have the goodies that England does.  But that doesn't help me now.  What would help me now would be some control for myself, which has been a terrible issue, but getting out of my comfort zone of home makes things complicated from an eating perspective.

I have been good on some occasions; bypassing something I'd like to eat or better yet, taking a bite of something and discovering that I no longer like it; that it is too rich or too sweet for me now where before that would not have been an issue.  But with two weeks left, I need to be better.  Help me, C&P girls...I need a good kick in the rear end! 

Today was low key.  A little exploring mostly.  Tomorrow most likely we will either go to London or Windsor.  There is a possibility of Tube strike in London, so we are waiting to see where that goes if anywhere (Tubes are the underground transportation system, like our subway or metro) as if they strike it could be a mess in the city.

This is a two lane road, believe it or not that is so typical of English roads:

This one is self explanatory

Monday, June 8, 2009

Visions of Portsmouth

Today we visited Portsmouth, home of the HMS Victory and the HMS
, as well as the Spinnaker Tower.  The kids also got to play at Action
.  So for today, just some photos from the day's activities.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Simultaneous rain and sunshine

Last night we celebrated Adrian's birthday in a pub in Putney.  He reserved a little section in the back with three two-seater sofas and a handful of chairs and invited 53 people.  Thankfully, 19 didn't turn up! 

Ade is one of my favorite British friends.  He's funny, super-brilliant and just great to be around.  I'm so pleased we were able to celebrate with him!



The birthday boy boogied down after we sang Happy Birthday.  A good time was had by all.

Today we headed to The Kite Festival, which was very cool.  Some simulator rides and other fun stuff for the kids and loads of synchronized kite flying, which was amazing!

I loved these butterfly kites.

Boys getting ready for some dare devil trampoline action.

And coming off the race car simulator.  JJ didn't want to get on it and first but I think he changed his mind at the end!

Tomorrow, Portsmouth.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

England is Known for Rain

Today has been rather low key, though I did find the shop I was looking for.  The mall was packed today so though I found the shop, I plan to wait till during a week to actually shop in there.

Tonight, The Brit and I are going into London for Adrian's birthday party, so that should be fun.  I'm trying to blog now as I'm not sure what time I am getting home tonight.

For some reason, I sleep much better in this country than in my own.  Yes, even I get that is a zero on the sense scale, but yet it is oddly true.  I don't wake up in the middle of the night and I fall asleep quickly. 

Nine year olds are hard work.  They want to have an answer for everything, then when they get disciplined for being cheeky, they cry...like we are being mean for no reason.  It is utterly maddening on a good day.  We are currently having this reading battle.  He is so close to being where he should be in his reading ability, so we are again enforcing that the kids have to do some reading each day of the summer.  So today, when instructed to do his two pages of reading, he got lippy and The Brit made him start the book over and reread what he had already read yesterday (the book starts on page 11 and he was on 17, so this was no big thing).  Then of course, he cries. 

Hoping that the rain clears up as there is a kite festival tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ugly Weather; Lovely Day

I was wide awake this morning at 6:30...gotta love jetlag.  I was awake and alert and locked in The Brit's room next door to his dad and locked out of my FIL's house due to the early morning.  I lied awake til a bit after 7:00 and then decided to doze for a bit until The Brit woke up.  The next thing I knew, it was nearly 10:00! 

After breakfast of spice bread (damn English bread!) we headed out to Winchester to see King Arthur's Round Table and the cathedral. I had seen the Round Table before but it is still very impressive:

The Cathedral though is magnificent for lack of a better word.  We have two cameras with us and some better photos are on the other camera so they will come later, but for now...

There are so many beautiful details to the cathedral and hopefully we captured some of them on the other camera.  Aaron loved it as he loves history and JJ was all freaked out as people are buried down in the crypt.  Even stood over the place where Jane Austin was buried (photos on other camera of course!). 

Not sure yet what tomorrow holds, but you will have a full report on it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Exhausted, but here!

I think I am most amazed that it is nearly ten 'o clock at night here and it is still not completely dark!  Having never been here in the summer before, that is a new one for me!

The first day in England is always exhausting because we fly over night and arrive in England at three am to our bodies but to the Brits, it is eight am.  Then there is the very long jaunt through Heathrow Airport to Immigration, then to baggage claim, then to catch the bus to go the rent-a-car agency and then the 45 Minute drive to Basingstoke.  Then breakfast at dad's and then down for a two hour nap, which refreshes for us a time, but now, ten 'o clock at night, the lack of sleep is catching up to me.

We did some grocery shopping today, and I took the kids across the road this evening to the mall, but other than that today has been low key.  Tomorrow, I will try to take some photos, but today was too tired to think about working the camera

More tomorrow after a decent night's sleep!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

T Minus 9 hours....

and my sanity is still fragily intact...I think.  More hoops to jump through last minute, such as:

JJ lost his ipod so we have been trying to track that down.  It was on my desk as I was supposed to put a few CDs on it for him before we left, but he elected to take it to the Y with him last night and now we can't find it.  I called the Y and no one has turned it in.

Our boat, which has been in the shop since before Christmas was ready finally....YESTERDAY.  So we had no place to put it and weren't real comfortable putting it in the church lot.  So I made some calls and a church member has kindly allowed us to use his place for three weeks so we have to get it out there in an hour.

Neither kid packed toothbrushes (go figure) so I was doing that this morning.

I told Robyn last night there were two things I needed to find and I can only remember what one of them was.  I need to email her.

Other than that, I think I am good to go.  I think I have packed all the things I was afraid of forgetting and if not it is safe to assume I forgot it.  Tod is picking us up at 2:00 to head for the airport, so I just need to say bye to my furbabies (I'm so gonna miss them!  Robyn, love them lots for me!) and to pray for the plane to stay in the air.

I will blog to you all from the other side of the pond tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Teenage Amusement

Allow me to set the scene for you:

It's a kabillion degrees outside.  We are leaving tomorrow, and I still have stuff to do and so do the kids, but only one is home from school thus far...the teenager.

He comes home with "Twenty coats" from his locker that are in his book bag.  Either these are baby doll coats or he exaggerates. We'll assume the latter.  He is instructed to hang up the coats and then go out back and weed whack.  He farts around making a sandwich, which is fine and then goes up to put coats away.  He then comes downstairs with two or three coats and says "These can go to the Salvation Army."

(We're leaving TOMORROW)

I nicely explain to him that he just needs to hang them up for now and we will deal with them later.

He comes back downstairs a minute later and says "I don't know if dad can fix this tonight but the zipper on this coat is stuck."


I again tell him to hang it up and we will deal with it later....like when it's COLD.

So he half does the weed whacking and then pulls a 'tude when instructed he needs to do a better job (I never even  heard the weed whacker so I think he just stomped on the grass growing beside the fence).

I had asked him earlier to clean up his room, so while he was outside, I went up to do it (this is how it works in my world.) and found a note he had written to his girlfriend, Polly, when he was suspended for the Hit List, explaining his absence.  It went something like this:

"Polly, I suppose you have been wondering where I am.  I got suspended from school for getting into a fight with some seniors (Kim's note: because in middle school, you have so much access to high school seniors).  Of course, I lost because there were 12 of them and only one of me."

I know that life is tough when you are a teenager, but the parents have to have some amusement too.

This time tomorrow I will be sitting in an airport!

Monday, June 1, 2009

T minus 45 Hours

It doesn't matter how much planning goes into a vaca, there will always be people who want to trip you up in those last couple of days by wanting things at the last minute or out of the ordinary.  This was work today.  A report I have tried to get folks to complete for two months was today finally ready to be filed.  An additional article was added to the newsletter.  Little things that are generally no big deal unless you are trying to safely get away for three weeks and have everything completed before you go.

So I still have odds and ends to finish up at work.  At home I am in pretty good shape.  I scrubbed out six litter boxes today (totally gross job), the fridge is cleaned out, the house is fairly tidy, my clothes are laid out for The
Brit to pack.  We did our final shop at Walmart tonight, picking up bits and pieces that were needed or that we were taking over for other people.

The Brit is a bit cranky tonight as the trip is expensive, the exchange rate is currently not in our favor, but I think he is just cranky and tired and trying to get things ready at work and that when the time comes to leave, he will be more excited, as he has been the last two weeks.  We'll just have to buckle down a bit once we get home and forgo some non-essentials for a bit.  You only live once and spending time with our family in the UK is overdue.  It's difficult living so far apart from people I enjoy spending time with and while it is certainly not a trip we can make often I'm glad we can do it now.

So tomorrow is our last full day here and my last Jack kickboxing class until July.  Wish I could take him and my cats with me!