Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Actually, I'm sitting at the library right now because we don't have internet at home yet. I haven't even left my house for nearly two weeks, other than a half day out with Tim last Saturday, because we only had one vehicle we could legally drive and Tim was using it for work. Today the second van passed inspection, so from here on out I'll have more freedom to leave the house, and I plan to tote the laptop with me in search of wireless internet on base so I can check in more often.
I hope you and your family are feeling better, Heather. Give McKenna a big sloppy kiss for me, and search her armpits for those ladybugs that I told her lived there! LOL!
It's Mother's Day this weekend here in England. I'm thinking of cashing in on it, and going back for round two in May. What do you think?! Is that fair?!
ALSO... anyone have Leap Day plans this year? Shouldn't we all celebrate that day when it rolls around? I just heard today that February 29th is the only day women are allowed to propose to men, but since I'm going on 15 years of marriage, I won't be celebrating that way. I'm thinking about something really bizzare (as any celebration of a day that is only a day once every four years should be) like eating purple oatmeal breakfast or skipping rope while singing the national anthem or making all my meals lemon-centered. Any other ideas?
Monday, February 25, 2008
I talked with my doctor today and was informed that this lasts about 3 weeks and frequently turns into pneumonia or bronchitis.
Well, I am done. My poor children are done. They can't miss so much school, I'm missing a lot of work, this is just overwhelming.
Anyway...see what I mean about my whine fest!
I'm going to take a little blog break (I think) but will be back when my family is well and I can think clearly enough to blog about something not as depressing as my family right now. Hopefully my next post will be about the wedding and the time spent on the mountain. It really was a highlight for me, one that I am not sure how to put into words, but I will try.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I can't wait to see the pictures, they took some pretty creative shots. If the bride lets me, I will share a few here.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I am headed out tomorrow morning to go to my friends wedding. She's getting married on beautiful Mt. Hood. I am destined to be freezing, but hey, whatever the girl wants...there is NO DOUBT how beautiful it will turn out.
I am assuming that Reese does not have internet access right now. I have not heard from her since the 15th. I am missing her terribly. Anyway, unless Reese suddenly re-appears then I will not be posting until Sunday.
Thanks so much for your prayers. I am feeling much better, I sound horrible but feel better. Two of my kids were home sick today and I'm hoping we are all better by Saturday. The girls are coming to the wedding with my mom and Mark is staying home with Dad for a boys day..so, we all have big plans and all need to be feeling much better!
Have an incredible weekend!
Post by Heather
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The other night as I was sitting down to blog, McKenna came and sat with me. As she was looking at the picture of Reese & I she said "When is Reese coming back to be with us?". I told her I had no idea, that she was back in England and that I wasn't sure when they would be back. Her response was "If you ask her, she will come."
Oh, if only it were that simple.
Post by Heather
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
The first thing you would notice about A.M. was his gigantic grin that was always on his face and his extreme love for people. He was a teacher and a track coach. He loved to help people reach their full potential. Many of the people that spoke at his funeral had been a part of his track team 30 or 40 years ago. The one thing they all remembered was his love and fairness. A.M. would celebrate everyone's personal best, even if that person didn't win an award.
The thing that struck me as I sat on the opposite side of the sanctuary, watching the family was his legacy. You take one look at his family, and our church, and you see it. You see his sons, with the same grin, love their children and are helping them be the best they can be. I am thankful that my oldest is good friends with one of A.M.'s grandchildren and Amanda benefits from A.M.'s legacy whenever she spends time with this family. One son is now the high school PE teacher and track coach, taking over for his father. I saw A.M.'s teaching and love first hand as his son, and teenage grandson would rock and walk my terminally ill nephew during church services so that my sister could sit through a service.
A.M. did not feel it necessary to preach at people, they closed the service with the words of the man who said "Preach the gospel, and when necessary, use words". A.M. was a man of few words but Christ's love shone through in the way he loved and treated every person around him.
So, I can't help but wonder. What is my legacy? Is it one of love and compassion for those around me like A.M.? I don't think that I am even remotely capable of loving to the extent that A.M. did, but I have had the privilege of having a wonderful example and I can strive to be like that.
Post by Heather
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
In the spirit of celebrating this societal mandate, Tim and I went to a couple's dinner at the chapel on base last night. It was a chance for us to meet some people, as well as to have some time alone without the kids. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. We ate salmon and drank iced tea and sampled red velvet cake for the first time. The guest speakers were very good, being funny and to-the-point.
Their point? The 3 A's of dealing with your spouse's differences: Acknowledge, Accept, Appreciate, and..... something else I can't remember, but you get the point. Admit that we're all different, get used to it, and rely on the way your spouse is different to enhance your life. Great advice, and well-timed in light of all my recent displays of direction-sensing challenges. Yes, I've done it again: I got lost in the UK.
On the morning that we moved in, I went with the Little Boys to meet the movers at our new house while Tim stayed behind to load up the last of our stuff from the hotel and to check out. I know exactly how to get to our house from base- if I go out Gate 1. As fate would have it, Gate 1 was closed. Luckily, or possible unluckily, I knew were another gate was. I managed to find it with minimal trouble, but this gate is on the other side of the base and I had never been on that side before. I figured that if I went either way, right or left (straight wasn't an option, thankfully, or I may have ended up in London) I'd be able to follow the outside of the fence and make way to the outside of gate 1 and continue on from there.
I should have realized that there was a reason all the traffic was in the left-turn lane. I took advantage of the clear right-turn lane, and off I went. This road led me far from the sight of a fence, and into a town in which the road swerved east and west, north and south until any slight idea of the direction I was facing (or should have been facing) disappeared. As I left the town and traveled the country roads, I left the county I was in (which I supposed to do), and was greeted by a "welcome to Suffolk" sign. Before long I was welcomed back into Norfolk, then back into Suffolk. I lost track of how many times I skipped between the counties. I was finally able to stop and ask directions at a base north of my town and way out of my way. Your town? the guards replied. No problem. Go back the way you came, take a left and continue on for 11 miles or so. They neglected to tell me which way to turn at the light, so I went the wrong way again and had to ask a kindly, amused British bloke how to get there. Go back the way you came, he replied, take a left and continue on for 6 miles or so. By the time I arrived it had taken me nearly an hour to complete a 25 minute journey.
You'd be wrong to assume that Tim appreciates the difference in our direction deciphering abilities. He appreciates it about as much as I appreciate his inability to clean a toilet or make piping hot Irish potato bread from scratch. The thing is, I realized as I mulled over the encouraging message from last night that sometimes we can accept and not appreciate our spouses differences- when those differences are weaknesses. Tim will never appreciate that I can't find my way out of a paper bag to save my life, but he can come to appreciate that God saw fit to pair me with him, who has a sense of direction that is almost magical in its instictiveness. Without him, God only knows how much time I'd spend holed up in my house, afraid to go out lest I end up in another time zone while trying to find a store down the street. On the other hand, if Tim didn't have me, he may never sample the joys of tall, fluffy homemade biscuits, or have a wife nutty enough to talk to him for hours at a time in funny, foreign accents. I'm a nut, he's sane and we're different. Oh, joy!
(posted by Reese)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
There is nothing like watching the kids smack their dad in the head with a raquetball! It's almost as good as smacking your hubby over the head with a limp dead fish when you are mad at him...nothing says love like that!
Despite the fact that I can't stand it....
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
There are a few people that really stood out to me this evening. I tend to like people with more of an edgy voice and there were several of those. The story that I loved is the story of Josiah. He's lived in his car for over a year just traveling around singing and he's only 18. I have to admit that I was shocked when they put him through to Hollywood. I didn't think he was that good, plus he's an American who sings with an English accent - go figure! But, tonight I thought he did great. Plus, he seems really sincere and desperately wants to be there. He's not my favorite, but I think it's pretty awesome that he's received so much encouragement from the judge's and I'm excited to see how far he goes.
Post by Heather
Monday, February 11, 2008
I love "out there" shows. Some of my all time favorites are anything with Steve Irwin, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Survivorman and my new favorite is Man v. Wild with Bear Grylles. Man v. Wild is similar to Survivorman. Bear goes out into the wilds and survives. Survivorman goes out into the wild on his own, films himself and teaches you how to survive. Bear goes into the wild, but he goes with a camera crew. Consequently, he can take more risks because he has a camera crew around him.
Several months ago they had a show on about the things he has eaten in the wild. Some of the things include bugs, camel spiders, dung, fresh raw fish, sheep eyes, and..well, you get the picture. 10 minutes into watching the show I thought to myself "I would love to watch Tim watch this show". Tim is one of the most entertaining people I know. He's very loud, very dramatic and you know exactly what he is feeling. Plus he gets grossed out really easy.I saved the show on my wonderful DVR and waited for Tim and Reese to come to town. Well, come to town they did and one of the first nights of them being here, we tortured them, literally! I have to be honest that I didn't think about how gross the show is..I love it! I watch it constantly, and consequently I must be a tad immune to the grossness of it all. Hey, I'm not eating the stuff so it's no biggie in my world.
Well, let's just say they did not love the show! LOL! In fact, eventually (I believe when Bear was about to eat the sheep testicles) Reese left the room..she had enough!
Notice Reese hiding - she spent most of the show like that
Well, I think the pictures are proof. I was right, they were entertaining, but they truly were miserable. Sorry guys!
Here is a small taste of what they were watching.
That's a long post. I think I'd better go get a drink of milk!
Post by Heather
I didn't grow up learning housekeeping skills- that ability runs rather shallow in my family- that's how I am fairly confident that I must have a natural ability lurking somewhere beneath my skin's surface. After this move I am determined to force it out of hiding. How much easier my life would have been in the past two months if my house was as hyper-organized as my office once was. With another move facing me in 3-4 years, I don't think it's too early to get started.
I plan to become a faithful follower of Laura, of I'm An Organizing Junkie. That's why she's listed in the blogroll, and why I am adding her Monthly Organizing Round-Up button on the sidebar. I'll post about my adventures in finding my hidden inner Monica (all you "Friends" fans know who I mean), and hopefully find some peace of mind along the way. Feel free to join in, if you have the need and will to do so!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
- Many Brits finish their sentences with "yeh?" "You'll want to try the spotted dick from the sweets menu when you're done with the fish and chips, yeh?"
- Spotted dick: click here for a description. Rather a disturbing thing to see on a dessert menu for us Americans.
- Chips: fries
- Crisps: chips
- Biscuits: cookies
- Pudding: cake
- Mushy Peas are on many, many menus and I mustered the courage to try them just last night with my fish and chips. My verdict? YUMMY!
- Holding up two fingers in a V (with the back of the hand facing outwards) is the same obscene gesture as using only the middle finger in America. According to our driving teacher it came from when the French would cut off those two fingers of the British to keep them from using a bow and arrow during times of war. Those who still had their fingers would show them (from a distance, I'm assuming!) to the French and mean more than simply "I still have my fingers."
- Fag: cigarette
- Faggot: meatballs
- Hob: stove top
- Tumble dryer: clothes dryer
- Torch: flashlight
- Sticky Toffee Pudding: my new favorite dessert, especially served with hot custard, a welcome change to cold ice cream. I was thrilled to discover this from my beloved Haagen-Dazs:
- Ginger Beer: Of the two I've tried (both non-alcoholic), my favorite is Desnoes & Geddes Old Jamaica Ginger Beer.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Right off the bat, yes, he is a very good storyteller. This novel was perfectly timed, all the way to the climax when the reader is able to put all the pieces together and suddenly see the big picture. All the tiny glimpses of plot, that often I hadn't realized were actually crucial chunks of information, finally made sense.
But as a Christian reader, well, it's not a book I can recommend. King's imagery is often crass, the book is riddled with profanity and there is a very strong sexual theme throughout. There are ghost and ghouls and psychic abilities that come to the main character as the book progresses. In the end, there are two scenes involving the drowning of kids that I skipped over, and the brutal gang rape and murder of a woman (several pages I also skipped). It's all central to the plot- the murders and the rape- and it works to make sense of the whole book, but it is detailed and disturbing.
And with that I complete my foray into Stephen King novels. One was more than enough for me.
Friday, February 8, 2008
So far I haven't had any trouble with staying in the left lane, though we were warned in driving class that drunk or extremely tired Americans will drift into the right lane because it's what feels normal subconsciously. Let's hope I don't meet up with any of these people as I dutifully stay on the left side of the road.
Staying on the "wrong" side of the road is one thing, finding my way around is entirely another. Some people are born beautiful, smart, talented, or with a distinctive sense of direction. On the other hand, some are as "ugly as the side of a barn" (as Pastor Clear, God rest his soul, once told me), a few Pepsis shy of a Heather (or a cup of tea short of a Reese), dull as a crossword puzzle (sorry all you crossword puzzle fans), and with no more sense of direction as a blind, deaf, lame dog in a thousand square mile maze. That last one there- the poor soul without a sense of direction- that's me. Feel free to question Holly or Heather about my sense of direction; Holly saved my compass-deprived bum several times as we wandered around Germany when they visited last fall. No kidding, I walk into a store in a mall and don't know which way I came from when I walked in. It isn't uncommon for me to walk all the way to one end of a mall to see if that's where I parked, only to have to walk all the way back to the other end. I'm hopeless; certainly not a candidate for tour guide or nature walker, and certainly not fighter pilot as I would assuredly bomb our allies.
You can imagine my sense of depressed resignation when Tim insisted I go from one base to the one we're staying on to meet the kids after school. I wasn't panicked; I surrendered to the inevitable. I was about to get really, really lost. Tim had a few more stops to make on base before leaving and I'd be late to meet the kids if I delayed, so off I went.
First, I wandered around the base, looking for the exit. There were signs all over the place for the commissary, the BX, the library, the community center, the gas station, the shoppette, you name it, but no signs for the exits. There are a complex series of roundabouts that take you all over, and I went around several of them over and over, in circles, trying to decide where to go. Finally, I ended up on a road that left me nowhere to go but out; there were those tire-puncturing spikes pointing the same way I was driving so, even though I didn't know where I was at this exit, it was my only choice.
You might be thinking, Why don't you own a navigation system? Well, we do, but it's new and I don't know how to work it. Still, I pulled over right after exiting the base and dug out the navigator that was designed for people like me. I managed to seek out the base I wanted in the history, but I couldn't change the view. All I saw was a map, sideways, of the route I was to take. But the soothing voice of Jason was there, directing me forward, so off I went.
About half a mile down the road, I was directed to take a right turn. It was an unmarked intersection with only a few houses on the road. As I traveled on the houses disappeared and I found myself on a tiny, one lane, dirt road in the middle of two huge fields. As we bumped along The Boys rattled from the back seat, "Wh-wh-what-t-t- ar-r-r-e w-w-w-e-e-e-e d-d-d-doing-g-g?" I plowed on. After a mile (maybe two), I made a left turn along yet another one lane road, only this one ran down the middle of gnarled trees and vines that bent in on the road. Very creepy. At the end of that road, I made another right and continued on past a couple of abandoned houses and barns, through a couple of other huge fields, past cows and ponies, and finally entering a roundabout that took me back into civilization. The navigation system apparently was taking me on the shortest route, without consideration for potholes or lane size. Even as I approached the base, it tried to have me turn down little country roads that certainly led me in the general direction of the base, but not at an approved entrance where I am required to show my military id. I had a mental picture of sitting in my car staring at a high fence and Jason soothingly telling me to carry on.
The real bummer came as I pulled into the hotel parking lot. Not only were Sean and Kristine waiting for me, but Tim was immediately behind me. He had finished all his errands at the other base and still managed to arrive at the same time as me. To quote my sometimes soulmate Charlie Brown, "Good grief."
God is urging me right now to bloom where I'm planted, with the abilities and lack thereof that he gave to/withheld from me. There's no sense in beating myself up over it, eh?
Thursday, February 7, 2008
ARTICULATED LORRY n. 1. A semi truck. This is almost always shortened to ARTIC (pronounced AR-TICK with the emphasis on the second syllable).
AUNT SALLY n. 1. A person at a carnival game that you throw sponges etc. at. This is often generalized to be anyone that is commonly castigated or insulted. To quote a BBC radio broadcaster: "Well, you know, the Post Office is everyone's AUNT SALLY".
BELISHA BEACON (be-lee-shah bee-con) n. 1. A traffic signal consisting of a yellow sphere with a flashing light and mounted atop a black and white striped pole. This is used to indicate the presence of a ZEBRA, but not a PELICAN. The term is named after Hore Belisha who was the Home Secretary at the time when BELISHA BEACONS were introduced into the U.K.
BOB'S YOUR UNCLE phrase. 1. Everything is complete. There is no more to be done. As in, "Set up register 13 and BOB'S YOUR UNCLE". (I had to add this one since I do have an Uncle Bob!)
BOOB TUBE n. 1. Slang term for a tank top or knitted sleeve top. This never means TELLY. "The men were all glued to the BOOB TUBE" would raise a completely wrong image to the British.
RHUBARB n. 1. Nonsense or noise spoken by a person. The origin of this term comes from the stage. People in crowd scenes who are to make "crowd noises" might say, "RHUBARB, RHUBARB, RHUBARB...". This is exactly the background sound one hears in the houses of Parliament. Whether the other MPs agree or disagree with the speaker of the moment, one hears a rumble which sounds remarkably like "RHUBARB, RHUBARB, RHUBARB ...". I'm told the reason for such Parliamentary grunting is because the MPs are not allowed to clap or boo.
SICK AS A PARROT phrase. 1. Very displeased. This is the exact opposite of OVER THE MOON.
FLYOVER n. 1. Overpass
This is only just a few..there are many more here: http://www.hps.com/~tpg/ukdict/index.php
Posted by Heather
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
My son Mark finally talked me into allowing him to open an email account. Of course, I monitor it very closely and he only emails a few friends and myself. The other day I opened my email and this was what he wrote.
elo-moto mother. ive ben bored on the computer and i havent texed u so i did . so is your back feling better? um... i dont relly know what i should say so love ya by-by
Isn't that adorable? There is nothing like a note in your inbox from your kids. Mark is so compassionate. He always wants to make sure I've had a good day, or I'm feeling okay. I hurt my back a few weeks ago and he of course wanted to make sure my back was feeling better.
Going in another direction (because it's my ramble, and I can). Is anyone else surprised by Simon's behavior on American Idol. He's being so nice all the time. I am a huge Simon fan. I love the fact that he's very straightforward (and the accent doesn't hurt), he doesn't waste time trying to make other's happy. He tells the truth as he sees it, and that's it. Lately he's clapping along with the music, giving out numerous hugs and just being nice. LOL! I'm looking forward to another evening watching American Idol tonight, and trying to used to Simon's new niceness (if that's even a word - I'm sure Reese can tell me if it is).
Post by Heather
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
"What does that mean?" I asked.
"I don't know," he answered, "I guess they eat pancakes today."
"I don't know."
"Have you seen anyone eating pancakes?"
"No, but they said if we go off base we'll find everyone eating pancakes."
"I went off base," I said. "I didn't see anyone eating pancakes."
"Huh." He replied.
And that would have been the extent of our first celebration in the UK if not for Wikipedia. A quick search (click here) informed me that Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the tame British way to celebrate the day before Lent, just as the Germans have Fasching (a wild, drunken, national party that I have personally witnessed) and New Orleans has Mardi Gras. According to Wikipedia: The word shrove is a past tense of the English verb "shrive," which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by confessing and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confession) that Anglo-Saxon Christians were expected to receive immediately before Lent. The reason that pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent is that the 40 days of Lent form a period of liturgical fasting, during which only the plainest foodstuffs may be eaten. Therefore, rich ingredients such as eggs, milk, and sugar are disposed of immediately prior to the commencement of the fast. Pancakes and doughnuts were therefore an efficient way of using up these perishable goods, besides providing a minor celebratory feast prior to the fast itself.
You learn something new everyday!
Monday, February 4, 2008
So, despite the fact that there are so many Air Force folks who watched the Super Bowl in real time here (meaning they watched it in the middle of the night) that late reporting was approved for Monday morning, we didn't give a crap about the game. Without giving a crap, I was hoping the Giants would win simply because I heard on the radio that they were the slight underdogs, and because the Patriot's quarterback Tom Brady left his pregnant girlfriend and hooked up with that supermodel. I just can't bring myself to cheer for his team, even halfheartedly.
How about you? Who were you cheering on, or didn't you care about the game either?
Sunday, February 3, 2008
See, when we moved to Germany after Tim got stationed at Spangdahlem AB, I had a positive view of settling in and making friends. In the short few months we had been at Keesler AFB in Mississippi I had made a good friend and I didn't anticipate things being any different at a new base. But it didn't take long for me to change my mind. With people leaving all the time, the social landscape was always changing and it unnerved me. In the five years I was there, I would meet people that I really liked and hit it off with, just to be told that they only had a few days/weeks/months until they moved. A few stayed a year or two, but everyone, even the chaplains who held our base church service together, moved on. I decided that wasn't the life for me. I withdrew, with the very conscious intention of not making friends.
Along the way, I made friends anyway. Jasmine became my closest friend at Spang, and there were numerous others that were friends though not close ones. When these friends that I strove to remain distant from left, I would often make a point of not being around when they said good-bye. That was my way of reinforcing my inner feeling that I didn't care. If I didn't invest anything, there was no way to get hurt.
It turns out, now that it was my turn to say good-bye, that the one person I loved there, Jasmine, made my leaving sweet. It hurts to part from friends, but the parting is also a comfort because the fact that there is pain means there is love and it's being loved that makes us matter. I cried to leave Jasmine, and she cried when I left. That doesn't hurt me so much now, but it does touch my heart and fill me with good feelings and the glow of warm memories.
The pain I feel concerning people at Spang is from those who didn't care that I left. That's the way I wanted it, and now that decision hurts me more than the loss of loved friends would have hurt me. While an acquaintance meant something to me, in my rather lonely and lowly life in Germany, I meant nothing to them. I was a blip on their radar screen, but they were all I knew as friends in those years (besides Jasmine). There are several people from church (that I would have considered to be distant friends) who didn't bother to say good-bye, even though they knew it was my last Sunday and they were at church too. That hurts. And I take blame for it.
I've learned my lesson. The pain of not being cared about, in retrospect, isn't worth the saved "pain" of parting with a beloved friend. A full life is one lived without all the boundaries we tend to put up to protect ourselves. I refuse to live like that again.