Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve!

It's 5:00 pm on Christmas Eve and it's already been a full day! We were out the door by 9:20 am and drove to the local Vue cinema to see "Frozen" and we loved it! After the movie, we crossed over the river and through the doors, to Pizza Express we went--where I used my Tesco vouchers to prove that there really IS such a thing as a free lunch! An hour of shopping brought a couple of excellent gifts we snuck into the car without the children knowing. We're so clever that way...

And now it's Christmas Eve evening and Christmas music is playing, lights are lit and I'm feeling very Christmasy, especially after sipping a lovely eggnog cream from Starbucks while we were in town (thank you, gift card given to me by my friend Julie!). 

I'm temporarily avoiding the wrapping frenzy by writing this, Tim is at the local Waitrose grocery store looking for last minute Christmas bargains and the kids are watching TV, guided by the annual Radio Times Christmas edition. Peace on earth, at least for now.

Looking forward to tonight's Carol Service at 11:30 pm, then Santa duties, and then a short sleep (because I have a feeling the wrapping frenzy won't end very soon), and Christmas Day! Presents, dinner prepared by Tim, family time, watching the Queen's Speech and the Doctor Who special, relaxing, eating leftovers and doing whatever else we feel like doing. Ah, bliss!

Merry, Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Where Did You Come From?

Quick tip for my British friends (because American children are taught this in school. At least when I was going to school. But who knows what they teach them now with all this No Child Left Behind and Core teaching and newfangled mathematics and Pluto isn't a planet stuff. But I digress.):

Please, PLEASE include a return address on all your cards and letters, especially at Christmas! We love to hear from everyone and assume everyone would love to hear from us. What can't be assumed is that we have all your addresses so we can send something back to you.

...and then you think we're totally rude when we really don't have any idea how to get in touch with you.

(And in some cases, frankly, we don't know who in heaven's name you are and your address would help us figure that mystery out. Pat, I'm talking to you, buddy!...er, or lady!)

A return address on the envelope is also really helpful if your post goes astray and ends up going to the wrong person (us) because you mistakenly put the wrong address on it (ours)--BUT DIDN'T WRITE YOUR RETURN ADDRESS ON THE ENVELOPE SO WE CAN SEND IT BACK TO YOU AND YOU CAN GET IT TO THE RIGHT PERSON!

Poor Carol Dawber & family will never know that Roger, Anita, Martin and Lara send their "love and best wishes always-kiss!" (Because when you send something to the wrong person at the right address, the wrong people at the right address just might accidentally open your Christmas Blessings card featuring wise men and read it. And then toss it. It can happen.)

Let's all practice good posting form, shall we? Always, always write your own address on the back of the envelope or in the upper left-hand corner of anything you send. Then the Pats and Carols of the world will get the cards they so richly deserve.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On Being the Other Mother

I read a blog post I really liked about the transformation a woman has when she gives birth and becomes a mother. The author said that the woman she had been effectively "died", and that she needed to discover who the new woman was. She also wrote about the intimate moments of bonding with her baby and the love you fall into, like "quicksand", that you fall deeper and deeper, even if you sometimes long for your pre-baby life.

The difference in the birth of my motherhood is that I didn't give birth. My introduction to motherhood wasn't hours of labor and the solid knowledge that the child in my arms was mine--flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone--but only the solid knowledge that these children weren't. And the solid knowledge that there was nothing solid about any of it. They didn't have to like me. They didn't have to connect with me. They didn't have to call me Mom or Mommy or anything the least bit maternal. They didn't have to accept me as their other mother. They didn't have to do anything at all.

But I did. I knew without question that I was supposed to be in their lives, and that while I didn't know exactly what I would be to them, I did know that I was the only physically-present "mother" they had. I also knew that I loved them. I wasn't really certain how to define that love, but it was strong. Since I never gave birth, I couldn't know if my love was truly maternal. I just knew I loved them.

While I can't possibly relate to the relationship between birth mother and birth child, I can definitely relate to loving my children. I can relate to that love deepening and changing over time. And I have come to believe that my love for them is maternal.

Because they are my children too, no matter how we came together.
Kathryn had a homework assignment to choose a country and find out about how it is governed. 
She chose The United States of America.
Who did she ask to help her?

Her dad.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

And Another Thing...

I had no idea that teenaged behavior could start in one so young. I wish I was referring to my 15 year old, but I'm not. Someone told me that maybe she was getting it all over with now and she'd be a lovely teenager. I view this comment with a cynical eye.

 If I drank, I'd be glugging down some Wild Turkey about now. So I'm guessing it's a good thing I don't.

Don't look too closely, but grey is a-comin. And it's stayin'. I gotta find a colorist.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Military Time

Military time is more frequently used here than in the US, and sometimes it's confusing. 5 pm is 17:00, 2 am is 2:00, 2 pm is 14:00. Get my drift? I think I have a grip on it though. It's all about subtracting 12. I've gotten very good at it. That and subtracting 7 so I know what time it is for family in the States. I rarely use my fingers anymore.

So Kathryn was invited to a birthday bowling party (and why it was held in a bowling alley 30 minutes away, who can say?) and asked to be there 12-15. That's how it was written. So my original thought was that she's supposed to be there by 12:15. Then I realize there's no end time listed. Then I begin to wonder if the party started at noon and ended at 3 pm. 12-15. 12:00- 15:00. Get it? I called another mother to share rides back and forth and asked what she thought. She was under the same impression I was so I started feeling pretty good about myself, all smart and everything, figuring out the code. Any indication that I have retained even a shred of intelligence through this whole thing is a victory, believe you me.

The other mother picked up Kathryn for the party. I received a text from her saying it took 40 minutes to get there and they barely made it to the 12:15 pm start of the party. And the party was ending at 2:30 pm. (or "Half 2" as is said here). 12 freaking 15! Who uses a dash for time??

And so I was wrong. Again. And I'm not a code breaker after all. And maybe I let that shred of intelligence slip through my fingers because of a blasted dash. And maybe I had to hold my tongue when I picked up the two girls at 2:30 pm, which was not indicated on the dang invitation. Any maybe my husband actually drove so I can't complain with the same vehemence that I could if I'd been the one following the GPS through random narrow streets with tiny roundabouts and random speed bumps and random cars parked higgeldy-piggeldy on those same narrow streets getting to a place I'd never been! But I feel like it.

When I moved to England, I knew there would be some adjustments. I just didn't realize that not only would I have to learn to drive in a different way (and actually take driving lessons, for cripe's sake!) and learn to speak with a different vocabulary (because now I'm all "put it in the rubbish bin!" instead of "put it in the trash!"), but that I'd also need to learn to tell time all over again. Really? I mean, seriously?

Monday, August 05, 2013

It's pronounced "igyuwahna" here. And "jagyuwire". I don't think it's "orangyutan" though... Go figure.