27 December 2010

A Christmas Foregone

So Christmas has come and gone and all and all it was a very good day. Truth be known, Andy and I consciously decided to forego Christmas this year. Half of the reason behind it was we knew that with a child joining the family, we would never again have the luxury of foregoing Christmas. The other half, as I told my friend earlier this week, is that with the move and the baby coming I just don’t have any room in my brain for anything else. Foregoing Christmas basically means that we sent out Christmas cards and nothing else. No tree went up, no stocking were hung on our shoddy 70’s black railing with care, and no presents were bought or wrapped. In hindsight, I probably should have told more people about the no presents thing as I felt like a right heel when we received a few gifts this year. There were a couple times when it was all, “this is an awesome gift, thank you so much! Sorry I only brought my appreciation for your thoughtfulness.”

On Christmas morning, Andy and I hung around in our pajamas doing chores. Eventually I got around to making the Bird’s Strawberry Trifle mix that I had bought to bring over to Dave’s later thus sending Andy out to the grocery store multiple times when I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed. I would like to issue a formal complaint to Bird’s Strawberry Trifle mix. While I can certainly work out a milliliters to cups conversion with great thanks to the internet, I do not know how much “About 700 ml” is, nor to I know what you mean (I’m talking to you Bird’s) exactly how much “some of” the milk is. When I complained to Andy about the directions on the box, he laughed at me stating that Bird’s was assuming I could decide for myself how runny I wanted my custard to be. If that is the case, Bird’s failed to realize that someone may have not had their delicious custard before and would have NO IDEA how runny one would enjoy their custard thus making “about” and “some of” the single handed worst cooking directions you could give to someone since the invention of the “pinch”. ANYHOW. I managed to make the trifle with some success after having to buy additional pound cake and whipped topping since the mix was severely lacking in these two items. Sadly, I failed to take a photo of my efforts so you will have to imagine that it was lovely looking.

It was a bit like this, but without the weird acorns on top.

Around 3 PM, Andy and I headed over to Dave’s apartment for the annual orphans’ dinner. I would say Maggie and Dave’s apartment, but Maggie went back to Wisconsin for Christmas and Dave’s father, Jim, was in from the UK I guess making it Dave and Jim’s apartment for the time being.

Dave gets out his aggressions on the poor bird...

...while Jim just flips me one.

Jim had made sausage rolls and since I was hungry and obviously pregnant, I ate three of them right off the bat prompting a day long joke of “where did all the sausage rolls go to – there was a least 50 more before Moe arrived”. Ha ha. Assholes. Eventually a bunch of other orphan Brits arrived (the only Americans being myself and McGurk’s girlfriend whose name I have since forgotten) and dinner was served.

Bish with beer and Andy doing his Sears Male Model shot.

McGurk with girlfriend (sorry I can't remember her name)

Look!  I do exist!

Me, attempting to show off 'the bump' but failing miserably due to the huge shirts I insist on wearing.

I tried to get everyone to sit down for a group dinner shot but they were being difficult. 

We stayed for about an hour after dinner, then stopped home, then headed out to the Harp since we had thought some of the group would be there. However, no one showed up so we just had some beers (O’Douls for me) and started to head home at 9 PM. While we were sitting in the Harp parking lot ready to leave, we got a call from Michele and Patrick inviting us over for a drink.

PATRICK: "Did you get it when the nose was blinking?  No?  Take it again!"

While we only intended to stay for one drink, we ended up staying quite a bit longer playing a board game and talking until Patrick kicked us out by falling asleep in his chair almost knocking his head on the coffee table. Can’t say we don’t know when our invite has run out!

PATRICK: "Please leave before I fall asleep on you."

I would have to say it was an awesome way to end our Days of Foregoing Christmas.

22 December 2010

I have no idea what to call this post so I'll just call it 'Ted'.

So it’s been raining a lot recently. I don’t suppose that means much to anyone outside of the Southern California or Sahara Desert region but it really is a bit of a Big Deal to us here. That’s mostly because nobody knows how to drive in Southern California, much less with a bit of rain. As well, everybody has holiday brain on so it’s just that much worse. I would also like to point out that Southern California has a whole isn’t equipped to deal with rain, no more than Philadelphia would be equipped to deal with a volcano-lava eruption so it’s been a sad state of affairs this past week as Poseidon has gone ahead and released the Krakken on our pansy asses.

While I could show you the flooding and the mud slides and the cars in sink holes and ditches or some poor ole lady walking to the bus stop getting soaked, I’ve instead decided to give you a bit of a personal visual that is pretty unimpressive compared to mud slides and sink holes but I’m too damn lazy to go searching for those types of photos online at the present moment. So here is our beverage bucket that we use to keep beer cold when we are having a BBQ. A week and a half ago, this bucket was empty:

I can see how impressed you are from here.

Here is a picture of the cat just because I felt stupid taking a picture of just the bucket:

Chloe wanted me to delete this photo because she said it made her look fat.  I refused.

It was raining pretty hard this past Sunday when Andy and I went to the Harp for the annual Christmas party as demonstrated by these two young lads who obviously have no clue what that crazy liquid shit is that is falling from the sky nor does the one know what the fuck a coat is.

The young lads of Southern California are mystified.

Andy and I are a tough sort of lot and our group as a whole would rather suffer a bit of blowing rain than go inside where one can’t smoke cigarette after cigarette in between doing shots and taking shit about young lads who don’t know what the fuck a coat is. We just all sat outside and Dealt with It. I tried to take pictures but everyone was hiding from the camera or making faces that I’m sure that once they were sober would not appreciate me posting on the internet so all I have is Andy being charming (as usual).

My prince...

In completely unrelated to rain news, Andy and I bought our plane tickets this past weekend. We leave the sunny shores of California February 4th to head to the snowy shores of Milwaukee for 5 days. On February 9th, we leave the snowy shores of Wisconsin and head for our new home on the icy shores of Liverpool. With the tickets bought it feels Really Official and I’m starting to mentally go around the house regarding my things as Keep, Toss and Sell. The cat still has no takers for temporary 4 month housing though my mother has reluctantly offered to take her for 4 months if absolutely no one else will. My mom and Chloe are truly oil and water and I’m sure this arrangement will force Chloe to log onto Roommates.com to submit a full complaint of her living situation.

In case I’m absent until next week, I hope you all have a very pleasant holiday. Remember, there is no such thing as “too much booze” when it comes to Christmas, especially if it falls over the weekend.

17 December 2010

Friday's Pointless Point

I could also title this, "Why I Love the Internet".

More awesome randomness found here.  Also, if you find the chicken one, THAT'S what I want for Christmas.

15 December 2010


So this past weekend was pretty exciting* – or as exciting as my weekends are nowadays (read: not very). On Friday, I met Andy at the Harp and I had a celebratory little glass of red wine in honor of my visa being approved. Sadly, the Harp was pretty dead Friday night. Only American Dave was there hanging out with us and he didn’t get excited over the visa news. I didn’t take that to heart as Dave doesn’t really get “excited” about anything really; he’s a bit of a cool cat that rides motorcycles, wears cool motorcycle gear and has a fanny pack. Anyhow, Andy and I didn’t stay for long – we were home watching crap television by 7 PM. But hey! I was out on a Friday night – that’s exciting*!

On Saturday it was a lovely 82 degrees and the sun was shining and I just felt like taking a drive. I left Andy at home to finish up some of his chores and drove the Pacific Coast Highway south. I managed to get lost twice, ran into a bit of construction, got cut off by an aging hippie from Oregon driving a VW Eurovan, had an emergency pee at an out of the way coffee shop (which made me guilty enough to purchase a coffee even though it was the last thing I needed), got stuck at a non-arrow left turn lane for 20 minutes, and absolutely devoured a taco, enchilada, rice and beans like only a pregnant woman can at some crappy Mexican restaurant in Dana Point. It was awesome. Even with all that, it was 3 hours of blissful sunshine, looking at the ocean, and singing my heart out to my iPod until the battery went dead. Once I got back, Andy and I headed back to the Harp to see Patrick’s band play. Obviously when I say we saw Patrick’s band play, it really means we sat out on the patio talking with the group and telling Patrick how awesome he is when he came out during the band’s breaks. That’s how we roll.

On Sunday, we slept in late then lazed around in the morning watching crappy cable shows. I ended up getting suckered into watching this show on the Travel channel (or Food Network) about the best hot dogs in the United States. One of the segments was on Pink’s Hot Dogs up in Hollywood, which I’ve been meaning to go to for a long time but am always put off by the long line. Of course, watching the show made me hungry, so we rode our bikes to the Little Knight to watch the Packer game and have some breakfast.

Normally I would have stayed to watch the Packers, but as far as NFL games go, the Packer game last Sunday might as well have been watching two girls playing hopscotch. It was boring and dull and frustrating. We left before halftime, rode home, and tried to decide what to do. It was still a gorgeous day out weather wise, so I suggested we take another drive, which we did by ways of PCH going north.

What is there to say about taking a long, leisurely drive? We talked, and sang, and took loads of pee breaks (me). I started to make a joke of getting really excited every time we passed a Ralph’s. After an hour and a half, we were nearing LAX and I made the suggestion to Andy that since we had gone this far, why not drive all the way to Pink’s for some hot dogs? He agreed.

This is a true testament to not only how much Andy loves me but how much of an awesome husband he is just in general. First of all, Andy is a vegetarian. While Pink’s does offer a vegan dog, hot dogs as a whole are not topping Andy’s favorite food list. Second of all, he knew that we’d be waiting in line at Pink’s for at least a half an hour, if not more – and it was hot out. So take a guy who doesn’t like hot dogs or heat and make him not only drive for another hour to get to a hot dog place but make him stand in line for a half hour for a food he doesn’t even like in heat that he has a hard time tolerating. That’s love if I ever saw it. I’m a very lucky girl.

The Holy Grail of Hollywood Hot Dogs

The hell that is waiting in line for the Holy Grail of Hollywood hot dogs.

They had CAKE??  How did I miss that?

My awesome husband being a very good sport.

The bounty: The Patt Morrison Baja Veggie Dog & the Nacho Cheese with Chili Dog

After Pink’s, it took us another couple hours to get home with a few emergency pee breaks thrown in and a bunch of Los Angeles traffic. We were both exhausted by the time we made it back at 6:30 PM, but it was well worth it. It was a great day – and exciting*!

*(The term “exciting” will return to its normal meaning sometime in April 2011)

10 December 2010

Suddenly, it's a very good day.

It appears the Consulate reads my blog. I received the following 15 minutes ago via email:

"Your application has been approved and the visa has been issued.
Please check your visa immediately on receipt to ensure that we have completed your visa correctly. Please send details of any errors or omissions to complaintslavisa@fco.gov.uk ASAP."

I'm assuming that I'm still not going to get flowers, but honestly, I think I can forgive them.

Blighty, here we come...

09 December 2010

An update, if you could call it that.

Since this is now technically an expat blog, I figured I’d give you an update on how the process is going. The update is…there isn’t any. We are still waiting patiently for my Settlement Visa to be approved. It’s currently Business Day 25 of a projected 50 Business Day wait (half way!) and it’s not like the consulate is sending me flowers with a little note attached, “Sorry love! There are still 143 applications in front of you. Blimey! That’s a lot, innit?” While we could be approved tomorrow, we aren’t holding our breath. I think that we’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to pushing the leave date to mid-February as I don’t think we can take the risk of buying plane tickets and moving out of our apartment without the evidence that I’m clear to go.

As anxious as I am to get going already, truthfully I’m a bit grateful as it gives me another month of paychecks. I do miss my passport though. I feel a bit naked without it. It’s not like we can afford to spend a week in Mexico at this point in time, but I like the feeling of knowing I could if I wanted to. (This reminds me that I should tell you my Mexico story sometime.)

We haven’t really done anything much in the way of packing or selling. Last weekend I did get a front hand brake installed on my beach cruiser. For months Andy has been going on about how coaster brakes are completely illegal in the UK which in turn would make me cry inside since I love my bike more than is probably normal for a 36 year old with butterflies and flowers on her bike. I did a bit of research though and found out that it’s not illegal to have coaster brakes; it’s just illegal to not have brakes on both the front and back wheel. We took my cruiser down to the bike shop and $15 later the most Awesomest Bike in the World (that has butterflies and flowers on it) is UK compliant. Of course, now I just have complete paranoia that my most awesome bike (with butterflies and flowers on it) will get stolen the first time I take it out in Liverpool but I suppose I’ll cross that sad lonely bridge when I come to it.

My cruiser on her maiden voyage.   See?  Awesome.  Who wouldn't want to steal this sweet ride?

Oh! I did do some shopping for dual voltage flat irons this afternoon since I’ve made the executive decision to risk a dual voltage US flat iron with a converter plug in the UK. I bought a flat iron at Argos last Christmas when we were there, shelling out 40 pounds for a hair appliance that had all the effectiveness of trying to straighten ones hair with two heated up toothpicks. 40 pounds! That’s like, a billion zillion US dollars! Figured I could risk spending $30 American dollars for the chance of silky luminous locks. That’s a farce really – my hair does not do well with moisture, something England has plenty of. Its hats, ponytails or butch haircuts til Oz I think.

So there, you are officially updated. And nary a swear word in sight.

07 December 2010

It's called a bandolier, but that's a boring name...

A conversation between Andy and myself last night while watching “The Good, the Bad, and the Weird”*:

ME: Do you think there will ever be a time when wearing a sash of bullets is a good idea?

ANDY: I doubt it.

ME: Well, you never know. I mean, what about an apocalypse? You might need a sash of bullets if there were zombies or whatever.

ANDY: Of course with an apocalypse a sash of bullets would probably be helpful.

ME: …like a wrist watch is now.

ANDY: I don’t wear a wrist watch.

ME: Exactly. Who says you have to wear a sash of bullets? It would be handy, sure, but you don’t have to. I mean, a sash of bullets is pretty heavy. It’s probably pretty poke-y in the skin-y.

ANDY: …depending on what kind of bullets you had.

ME: Shotgun bullets might be nice. Heavy, sure, but they come in that nice red color…I think I could match a blouse or two with that red.
I could totally match a purse with this.

*I don’t have a stenographer so some of this conversation may vary. The general gist is there.