Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006 Thursday

I received a very good, very funny email from a great friend and in it he mentioned that he'd observed that the blog entries have become less frequent as I've become more comfortable with my surroundings. I don't know if I can use that excuse. I think I just started to become a little self-conscious about writing down all my thoughts and all the little details about my life here assuming that they were interesting to someone other than me. I felt a little self-indulgent, really. But, evidently I need to push those thoughts aside and once again become a more regular blogger. Because really...how could I ever really and truly be used to all of this and why wouldn't it be interesting to others? Hmmm??

Women here are tougher than women in the US. I see more bicep tattoos on women here than on men in the US. And they say shut up to their kids more frequently and with much more fervor than I ever witnessed in my previous life in the US. Perhaps I notice now because I wasn't a parent then. Perhaps it is because I didn't frequent school yards where many parents gather until very recently.

I can tell I've adapted because during my visit to England last year before I was married, my husband was getting petrol (see???) and I ran into the nearby Tesco grocery store to get us drinks and I remember thinking it was sort of a dive. I just shopped at that very same grocery store a week ago and thought it was actually quite lovely and was a little surprised that I ever thought it was lowly.

Did I tell you that even in the most posh food stores you are expected to bag your own food? The patient cashiers will generally open several bags for you and wait for you to catch up bagging if you get behind.

They don't have pickle relish here. They have stuff they call "pickle" and stuff they call "relish" but neither one resembles good ol' Nalleys.

Due to a private request, I will elaborate on The Wall O' Cheese that is present in every food store here. Let's start with the cheddars, shall we? They are white, not the neon orange that Americans are accustomed to. The mild is more like a really nice medium and they have a grade called "strong" cheddar or "mature" cheddar that is really tasty. The kids and Tim like sandwiches made out of it. Sidebar: they think it's weird to have both meat and cheese on a sandwich. One or the other should be sufficient, don't you know...

So, the cheeses...there are cheeses from Lancashire, Cheshire, and just about every other "shire" in England. (And please pronounce that "shure", not "shire". And Gloucestershire is Glostur. Don't question it. Just accept it and go on with your life. I have.)

There's a section of Mozzarella that includes buffalo, fresh, Italian and some mixed with other things. There are cheeses mixed with cranberries or herbs, smoked cheeses and at least eight variations of Swiss. They do not have Monterey Jack, though I found some that tasted a bit like it. There's a smoked cheddar called Applewood that I like quite a bit. I have yet to try them all, but I am doing my best to. The cheeses we consume the most of, much to your disappointment, I'm sure, is mild cheddar and the big bricks of mozzarella we get at Costco. Kathryn calls it scrunchy cheese. Or was that squidgy cheese? I can't remember. I must take notes the next time I'm near a Wall O' Cheese to give a comprehensive list.

And they still don't sell Ortega chilies here.

Speaking of Kathryn, her prayers have taken on a very stream of consciousness quality, now that she is saying her own. They contain a mix and variety of every element known to human life. Today in succession she thanked Heavenly Father for pigs, for the people who don't have any food and for the sky. She often mentions horses, especially Magic and generally asks after she's finished, "Wasn't that a beautiful prayer?"

Tonight we read a version of Red Riding Hood that she's requested so often she can recite all the words. She giggled and laughed as I paused and she would fill in the last few words of each sentence. As I leave her room at night, Kathryn has taken to flashing a huge smile and saying, "See you in the morning, Mommy!" That's too cool for words.

Tim just called me from downstairs and reminded me that I had potatoes boiling on the stove. I put them in...oh...about two hours ago--and promptly forgot them. I was so proud of myself for thinking ahead for tomorrow for the potato salad I'm making. Maybe we'll have mashed potatoes instead. Dang it! At least the sloppy joes will be good for dinner. I think. I'm getting a slow cooker recipe from the internet. What's to mess up there?

I have to go and put the potatoes in cold water. Perhaps they can be salvaged. Perhaps I will have to start over. So much for thinking ahead.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

27 June 2006 Tuesday

I should be embarrassed by how long it's been since I've written, but heck, I didn't bring any new writing to FOB for about...well...at least 8 months at the end I think, so this is just a little, itsy, bitsy pause.

Alright. I am. Embarrassed.

So much has happened that needs to be written about and yet, with the additional knowledge that my sisters are most likely aware of this blog now and may even be reading as we speak, I think about the idea of a blog and the idea of anonymous complete exposure and I wonder if there isn't a better way. I mean, the sad thing is, I really want people to read what I write. That's part of the reason I write, right? But then again, as the name implies, I am often too darn revealing in what I say, or at least a little too personal. "TMI! TMI!" I imagine some readers (all 2 of them) shrieking as they cover their eyes in an exaggerated and (let's be honest) overly dramatic gesture of revulsion and dismay.

But, what the heck. Anybody could be reading this and do I care? And...do I need to copyright this to keep someone from using it to make the heaps of money I should make from spilling my guts all over cyberworld? (Because oh, so many people are lining up to steal my words and ideas, don't you know.) And how does one copyright one's musings that one has willingly thrown out into the public eye with no sense of remorse or intelligent thought?

I'm just saying...

Now I must go pick up the girls from school. As usual, I have run out of time and haven't even begun to start to write about what I really intended to write about....VENICE!!

I'll get to it. Maybe even before I forget what it was like.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thursday, June 8

Out of the blue, Kathryn looked up from eating her muesli this morning (she likes to call it rabbit food) and declared, "Pencils don't work on your face." She promptly put down her spoon, picked up a convenient pencil, commanded, "Watch!" and attempted to draw on her face. She's right. Pencils don't work on your face.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

June 7, again

About half the time she addresses me, our youngest has taken to calling me "Mommy" with an exaggerated O. I'm okay with that. Here, usually they say Mummy. It feels right that there is an English Mummy and an American Mommy. I'm starting to get what it feels like to be a parent. And I'm starting to get used to being called Mommy. Pretty cool, both things.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

It's suddenly warm here in England and I've never witnessed so many bare arms that really should not be...and bare bellies. Fat ones, thin ones, pregnant ones, too. I realize that the fashion has moved away from pregnancy tents toward form-fitting tops, but I hadn't realized that baring one's baby-filled abdomen was a fashion "do". Who knew?