30 December 2011

I forgot to mention...

...I recently got photo bombed by a manta ray.

Out with the Christmas, in with the New Year

Like most bloggers, I've decided to take the holidays off from blogging.  This of course hasn't stopped me from checking into my blog daily and cursing the Christmas wallpaper every day since we put the paper hats away.  So here's a bullshit post about nothing in particular.   No, I'll give you a couple Christmas pictures.  There isn't much to tell about Christmas itself.  It came, it went.  I ate (and ate and ate), watched 'Christmas telly', opened a couple 'prezzies', avoided brussel sprouts like the plague and polished off a half bottle of Jamesons.   You know, it was your typical English Christmas.

Henry's very first Christmas present.  Like most babies, he was more intrigued by the ribbons then the present itself.

The tree over at my mother-in-law's.

 A little nap before dinner.

I'm a bad mother as I made Henry eat all the things I refused to, like turnips and sprouts.

One could hardly contain the excitement that evening.

I had my paper hat so I was pleased.  I'm easily amused though.

I was disappointed to know that the ball pit was for Henry and not me.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and hope you have a New Year's that would shame your mother**.
**BTW, here is a formal apology to all those that I drunk texted on Boxing Day.  There were a few of you apparently.

18 December 2011

7 more days to get your Christmas Dachshund!

So you might have guessed from my last non-post that I’ve been a bit ill this week. That basically means I haven’t done anything but moan, blow my nose and make tea for 5 days. We even had to call in reinforcements by the way of my mother in law to watch after the Henbot as moaning, blowing my nose and making tea is apparently exhausting. As the Brits say, I’m on the mend now so I thought I would clobber together some sort of update for you.

The biggest news of the week is that Andy got me a tumble dryer for Christmas. Well, technically he convinced the landlord to put one in and he made this request almost 6 months ago but it’s here now and it’s Christmas time and dammit, it’s the best damn present a girl with a love of laundry could ask for. The complainy side of me could mention that this tumble dryer takes up quite a bit of the dining room and that it takes about 2 ½ hours to dry a single load but I’m going to tell my complainy side to fuck right off as I snuggle my face into a soft warm bath towel. After a bit of a discussion on dryer running costs, Andy and I agreed that the dryer will only be used for the big stuff that takes 3-5 days to air dry (jeans, sweatshirts, fuzzy bath towels, etc) as the radiators work fine for the little stuff like socks and Henry’s clothes (which surprisingly is what I mainly wash). I’m a bit embarrassed to say that yesterday, after running my first dryer load, that I failed to sort the clothes. Having not used a dryer in almost a year I completely forgot to check if there were any sweaters or woolen socks. From what I can tell I didn’t do too much damage but if Andy suddenly thinks his feet went through a growth spurt then oops.

I'm inviting people around to hug my new tumble dryer.  Let me know if you want to come.

The lesser news of the week is that Christmas has finally arrived in our household. We ordered a tree off of Amazon – fake of course, you know, to protect the environment (ha! I’m not the best at remembering to water real ones) – and some lights. There was some fuck up with the first string of lights I ordered so I had to order another set which took fucking forever to get here. The new lights finally arrived this week so the tree finally went up – a mere week before it becomes redundant. To make this blog post longer and because I know how much you like pretty pictures, here’s some:

I love the smell of green plastic.  It's just so Christmassy.

These next two are proof that I lived in California too long:

 Ride'em Santa!

Nothing says Christmas like coconuts as big as your head.

And finally, the Christmas Dachshund. If you do not have a Christmas Dachshund on your tree then you are not properly celebrating Christmas. Of course, if you are Jewish you wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas, but I think a Hanukkah Dachshund would be fine if you would like to participate. I don’t know where you’d pick one up though – maybe Amazon, they have everything.

Because I know you are curious, I wanted to give you a Christmas card update. As it stands today, we have received 4 cards. One from my mom, one from my mother in law, one from the fabulous Almost American who pointedly did not sign the card with any X’s, and one from Yorkshire Tea. Yes, Yorkshire Tea. We don’t actually drink Yorkshire Tea (it’s a PG Tips household) but I once signed up for a free sample and now they send me shit all the time. Not actual shit, just tea samples, which depending on your opinion could be shit. Anyways, they sent me a card and I hung it up on principle.

So that’s all I have for you this week. I’ll be in the kitchen this upcoming week making cookies and breads and a monster trifle to show my love to my in laws by making them fat. It’s the American way.

15 December 2011

08 December 2011


So I finally mailed out my last Christmas card yesterday. I know, I know, compared to years past I’m incredibly late this year. It doesn’t help that most of my cards were heading to the States so that by the time they arrive to their destination it will be Easter. My mother, who is very conscious of postal happenings, sent her Christmas card to us early so that it ended up arriving December 1. The arrival of my mother’s card got me all sorts of Christmas card giddy and I promptly went to Tesco to purchase a Christmas card display unit (fits up to 30 cards using a Velcro system!). Over a week later, my pathetic Christmas card display unit still only holds my mother’s card. It makes me sad looking at that card now – it practically wilts with broken dreams and thoughts of people who I thought loved us who obviously don’t.

In case you thought I was lying.

I inherited my mother’s penchant for guilt by the way.

Anyhow, this week as I was filling out all the Christmas cards to Andy’s family I was very conscious of the fact that I still refuse to ‘X’ my greeting - which brings us to yet another Britishism…the ‘X’.

When I was a kid, I learned that ‘O’ meant ‘hug’ and ‘X’ meant ‘kiss’. I also learned that S.W.A.K. meant ‘sealed with a kiss’ but that is so tremendously lame there is no wonder that any high school boyfriend who used such frivolities was not long for Dating Moe. When I was a kid, I used ‘O’ and ‘X’ greetings very sparingly. Truthfully, the only time I ever used ‘O’ and ‘X’ was filling out cheap Target Valentine’s Day cards to my class of 13 (well, 12 if you exclude me). I might have used ‘O’ to hug a friend (hi Beth!) and if I was feeling particularly daring, I might sign my name with an ‘X’ to a boy I liked. Honestly, I don’t think I was ever that daring. Basically, ‘X’ was off limits – until you had firmly secured a guy as a boyfriend. But then, ‘X’ away. I think I might still have a high school love letter where half a page of college ruled paper is filled with X’s.

With this understanding, you will know why I was a bit shocked when I received my first Christmas card from my first British friend and he had signed his name with an ‘X’. How cheeky! I wasn’t even romantically involved with this guy and he’s sending me kisses in the mail?! Wow!

This is the point where I inform my American readers who might not know, the British sign their name with an ‘X’ for EVERYTHING. Well, I suppose not in a business setting as that would be weird. “Hi Glen, Can you fax over those financial reports by the end of the day? x Steve.” I still didn’t know the extent of this ‘X’ phenomenon until I received not one but TWO texts from women in my playgroup who both signed their names with X’s. Honest to god, my first thought was, “Why do these women want to kiss me? They know I’m not gay, right?”

I obviously figured it out. I think it finally hit home when Andy’s mum asked him to sign some card thing to his male cousin in Australia and she chastised him for not signing his name with the ‘X’.

Now that I’m fully aware that all these random British people have no desire to grab me for a quick make out session in the wardrobe (I’d say ‘closet’ but there is no such thing here) I’m a bit more relax….no, no, it still fucking freaks me out. I know there no logic behind me being weird about it, it’s just there. Kind of like people who are afraid of birds because a goose nipped their finger once when they were three. To me, ‘X’ will always “I want to make out” and not “here’s a friendly kiss on your cheek, we’re practically French.”

Seriously, I don't think anyone really enjoys this practice.

Which brings me back to filling out Christmas cards to Andy’s relatives. Like I said, I refuse to sign my name with an ‘X’ but I was left with paranoia that Andy’s relatives will open their Christmas cards and think, “What an icy bitch! Look Nora, there’s no ‘X’. Where’s the love? Bloody Puritan colonist!” On reflection, this is probably why my Tesco Christmas card display is so empty. Damn you X!

Our Christmas Family Photo

On a side note to that one high school boyfriend (you know who you are); I know you were thinking you were being all sexy signing your card with an ‘X X X’ but really, all I thought was, “why is he sending me some moonshine?”

 Not that I'd mind...

01 December 2011


So, yes. Hello. It’s Thursday. It’s December. How the hell did that happen? As with any prolonged absence to this space, I’m trying to think of the best way to sum up the last couple of weeks without boring you (and myself) half to death. We started recycling – that’s an odd place to start, but there you go. Andy recently nicked one of the famous Liverpool blue recycle bins from the bin farm outside our gate (I’m completely convinced it was our bin to begin with but Andy was all paranoid giddy like a 5 year old that just pocketed his first Snickers from the gas station) and we’ve started putting things that are blue bin approved in it. Badgers strangely are not blue bin approved…they go in the green “nature shit” bin. Of the many countless things that I am completely uncouth about, add “I’m not a big fan of recycling” to the list. Well, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Go Recycling! I’m just one of those lazy assholes that usually can’t be bothered. But now I have to be bothered because Andy yells at me anytime he finds a soda can in the regular trash and with the same amount of angry annoyance that he yells at me when I forget to turn off the switch to the cell phone cord thing when my phone is done charging.

So, yes! There have been quite a few things going on recently and starting from the beginning of it all was Andy’s 41st birthday. I can tell you that Andy turned 41 because he’s a guy and according to him, he doesn’t care about that shit (shit being “growing older and greyer and grumpier and no longer should be wearing skinny jeans”). Andy and I got the whole evening off and we spent it like we used to spend entire evenings off, which is to say that we went drinking. If you are friends with us on Facebook, you will have received all the numerous updates throughout the evening – unless of course you have blocked our updates and if that is the case, shame on you – including all our pub ‘check-ins’ and worry about being shot from a sniper sitting on top of the Echo Arena. If you are only friends with one of us on Facebook then I’m sure whose ever updates you were getting was like listening to one half of a conversation and you have probably blocked us – probably for the best really. If you are not friends with either of us on Facebook, then I can present you with this tidbit of the evening….this is Andy being so emotional about all the Facebook ‘Happy Birthdays’ he was getting that he could barely drink his vodka coke. Trust me, when you are half in the bag, this picture is HILARIOUS and must be shared with the world.

At Barcelona Bar of course.  We live here during our childless hours.

It is very possible that all my “friends” on Facebook have blocked my posts.

When we finally recovered from the haze of our hangover (I’m so out of practice from binge drinking that this actually took me two days) we had to begin cleaning. I might have mentioned awhile back that our house wasn’t going to be properly cleaned again until my sister came into town. Well, she came into town....and she brought along with her Dave, her originally from Liverpool boyfriend.

Maggie: "I hope the house is fucking clean.  I want to eat my Thanksgiving dinner on the toilet seat."

Seeing my sister again was pretty much awesome all around. She’s one of those types of people who love kids – all kids of all ages – and I pretty much had an unpaid but very willing nanny for the 3 days she was here. She changed one of Henry’s big shit bomb diapers! You seriously have to love kids to be willing to do that. I only do it because I haven’t managed to train the cat to do it for me yet. I suspect she’s just playing dumb. The cat that is, not my sister.

She played on the swings with him...

She fed him...

...they became BFFs

Thanksgiving also happened while my sister was in town. Even though my sister and I were both suffering from PMS, we managed to pull off a pretty successful UK Thanksgiving without any crescent roll tragedies. It was also quite interesting to celebrate Thanksgiving with two turkey day virgins (that being my mother and sister-in-law). I was a bit amused when my sister-in-law texted me earlier in the week to ask about protocol. Did she need to bring gifts? I happily informed her that Thanksgiving was simply about eating until you burst, drinking until you can’t drive home and watching some American football. I actually couldn’t believe that both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law sat through an entire 3 hour Packer vs. Lions game on a shitty internet stream without so much as a whiff of a complaint. They also contributed to the typical family “talking about poop, or pooping” story telling that seems to surround most our holidays.

Enjoy the food now folks...the talk of poop comes later.

Maggie (direct quote): I suppose that probably looks bad, huh?

The last night my sister, Maggie, was in town we surrendered the Henbot to his nan for yet another overnight stay and went out drinking on the town again. It was a good time but not Facebook update worthy, even though I balanced a bunch of glasses on my head.

Dave likes me.  Maybe.  Probably not.  People with half beards are hard to read.

Stopping at the chippy that made Maggie sick.  Yay chippy!

I don't know why we are all bending over.  Insert your own joke here.

I've got serious talents.

Alas, three days after Maggie arrived, she left. I was sad, Andy was sad, and the Henbot practically wept. Henry formed a serious aunt crush on Maggie and it took days for him to realize that nobody was going to coo at him anytime he farted. Having Maggie around was great, though it made me realize how much I miss home at times. It also seriously made me wish I had a part time nanny.

On a side note, I’d like to mention that I’ve started a new blog. The new blog is about Henry and being a parent and all that shit that I try to keep off of here. Basically, it’s not for everybody, but it’s there if you’re interested. I’ve only a few posts up at present but it should be updated as regularly as this one.

24 November 2011

This Month's Picture of My Kid

It's Thanksgiving.  I could give you pictures of dinner or of Henry wearing his "My First Thanksgiving" t-shirt or of the cocktail I'm drinking but instead, I give you this.  This is Henry's first go on the swings.  He kind of liked it.  He liked it like he enjoys pulling the cat's tail.  Which is, like, a lot.  That also reminds me, I haven't seen the cat all day. 

16 November 2011

New Habits

So I had a momentous first this past weekend. Well, a first in the UK anyhow. On Saturday, Andy and I had taken Henry to the pub for lunch and a pint. As we were walking our way back home, a girl from one of the playgroup sessions I go to flagged me down to say hello. She and I had just gone for coffee earlier in the week so I was quite pleased she wanted to say hello, instead of hiding behind the table whispering to her husband, “is she gone yet? Tell me when she’s past.” This exchange prompted Andy to take the piss out me for the rest of the day – “Oooooo, look at Ms. Popular”, “You’ve got a friiiiiiiiiend”, “Well, we need to go to the grocery store. Should I be worried that you’ll run into more people you know?” Piss-taking aside, I was really chuffed about the whole thing. This girl and I might even go for coffee again tomorrow.

Running into people I know has always been a common occurrence for me since I tend to live in big small towns – basically suburbs of big cities where you can’t help but know people eventually. Usually after I move somewhere (which I’ve done a lot), this happens, and I mark it off as the point where I finally fit into my new town. As I’ve complained previously, this point of fitting in has never taken so long before; now that it has I feel a bit more relaxed about living here.

This made me start thinking about all the things I do now in the UK (that are almost second nature) that 10 months ago would have seemed so foreign to me. Because I know these things interest you to no end, I thought I’d list them off here.


I would never consider myself a coffee snob. In the States I bought my coffee from the Coffee Bean because they were good and they were convenient to buy beans for home since I was always in there for my daily fix during work hours. I did think Folgers was crap - because it is – same for Maxwell House for that matter – but I would drink a cup of it if someone offered it to me. I always drank the generic stuff pouring out of the machine at work. One thing I refused to do was buy instant coffee. I’ve owned a coffee maker consistently since I was 16 years old. I’ve owned a grinder since I was 28. There is no excuse for not taking the extra two minutes to brew a pot of fresh coffee….

…or so I thought until I moved here. It all started due to finances. We had a kettle that Andy’s mum donated to us. We figured we could live without a coffee maker until we were more flush. I begrudgingly bought some instant coffee and that is what I’ve been drinking since our time abroad. While at this point I’m sure I could convince Andy to get me a coffee maker, there almost seems no point anymore. Truthfully, I get a proper cup of drip coffee from Costa every now and again but it still doesn’t seem the same without the creamy goodness of half and half. Truthfully, instant coffee isn’t so bad if you add a scoop of Horlicks in there with it.



This happened almost immediately after I set foot in England. I think I had heard it so often from Andy that it snuck in the minute I was surrounded by ‘the accent of Andy’. ‘Cheers’ is primarily used when shopping. If you go to the newsagent and bought some chocolate, the transaction would be as such:

“That’s 65 p.”

“Here you go…cheers.”

I still don’t understand why we thank people or say ‘cheers’ to them in either country when purchasing items. What are we really saying? “Thank you for taking my money. You could have refused and gave it to me for free.” Perhaps we are thanking them for their cash register skills – that seems more of a “well done” then a “thanks” though. Perhaps in the UK, we are simply “cheers”-ing them for having their shop open. Since most shops are open for approximately 45 minutes every other Thursday, this would be legitimate appreciation.


I walk a lot. I might have mentioned previously that I don’t really care for walking but I think since it has become my main means of transport, I don’t mind it so much anymore. There used to be a time when I was living in the States (recently) that Andy and I would drive to the pub. If we got too drunk, we’d walk home. If we got really REALLY drunk, we would take a cab back home (only happened twice)(honestly). It embarrasses me to say that the pub in mention was 5 blocks from our house. They were long blocks, but we always took a short cut so it was less than that. I could argue that the US isn’t built for pedestrians (which is true), but it really is no excuse.

I now walk the same distance to get to the grocery store 4-5 times a week. I walk a mile further to feed the fucking ducks in the park – something I do for Henry’s benefit though he typically falls asleep on me before we get there. A mile! I walk from one end of Liverpool City Centre to the other AND BACK AGAIN because of the shops I’m going to and the spot where I catch the bus. I walk blocks and blocks and more blocks, pushing the damn stroller hoping to god that Henry will FALL THE FUCK ASLEEP (I should just take him to the ducks, shouldn’t I?). You get it right? I walk a lot. It’s not so bad.

 A pigeon could land on his nose right now and he wouldn't wake up.


OK, I’m not an expert on this but a few things have helped me along:

0 C = 32 F

10 C = 50 F

20 C = 68 F (England never gets warmer than this, so you can stop here)

200 C = 400 F (For cooking purposes, not gauging the temperature of hell while in the company of an European)

If you know those four conversions by heart, you can usually work out the rest. I could tell you that for every 5 degrees C, it works out to 9 degrees F (thus, if you know 10 C = 50 F, 30 C would be 86 F), but that’s all sorts of boring and math-like and I won’t have such nonsense on my blog.


This one is going to bite me in the ass one day if we ever move back to the States. Imagine this – it’s Thursday night. As usual, all the networks have decided to put all the good shows on the same night in the same time slot. You haven’t had anything decent to watch since ‘Dr. Who’ was on on Saturday, but now you have to decide which two programs are more important to you to record on the DVR. You could watch the third, less important show live – but that goes against all your principles of never watching a commercial again. What do you do?

In the States you suck it up. In the UK, you record your 3rd and 4th less important shows (but still good enough that you must record them) and hour later on the plus one channels.

The plus one channels, you might not know, are the same channels that repeat the same program schedule and hour after it appeared on the regular channel. Here, it’s like this:

BBC One is showing ‘Frozen Planet’ at 8 PM, followed by ‘Case Histories’ at 9 PM
BBC One +1 is showing ‘Frozen Planet at 9 PM, followed by ‘Case Histories’ at 10 PM

When we first got our cable package, I was a bit put off that we had all these channels that were basically repeats of another channel, just an hour later. Now, I can’t live without it. Let’s say the baby is crying and won’t go to sleep. By the time you check the channel listings, you’ve missed the first half of some show that looks interesting (though not interesting enough to record). You simply wait a half hour, and blam, you can watch the entire show in its entirety. Brilliant – and also very useful for Thursdays.


I have more but I think this post has gone on far enough. I’ll come back to this topic later. I will let you know that I will probably be absent next week as my sister is in town to help me celebrate Thanksgiving UK style. In my absence, why don’t you check out a new blog – but obviously come back to me in two weeks like a faithful reader that I know you are. I have paid you to be a faithful reader, right?

14 November 2011

A Quick Snapshot into our Daily Life

This picture pretty much sums up our daily life at the moment.  There's the child, fully awake, ready to cause some chaos.   There's the cat, still quite annoyed that we brought in another addition into the house.  And finally, there's Andy, looking exhausted.   It probably doesn't help that the cat prefers his lap over all others and that I keep passing off the kid so I can write quick blog posts like this one.

09 November 2011

Nothing beats a good protest

The UK loves to protest. It’s in their DNA somewhere, along with the belief that a hot cup of tea cures all known illnesses. You could argue that the UK also loves a good riot, but that’s really a protest on PCP and an overwhelming desire to nick a flat screen.

I’ve actually been quite impressed with the UK population as a whole and how they really get involved in what their government does. The yearly government budget report is televised and watched with great interest. People talk about the council this and the council that and who and what and why of current budget cuts. If the UK population doesn’t like something the government does, they protest about it. I can’t tell you what effectiveness all this protesting actually does because I’m American and for the most part, I don’t pay attention to such things…especially if there’s something good on the TV. I realize that there has been quite a lot of protesting in the States recently with this whole 99%\1% business. After the 1960’s Protest Euphoria, Americans only tend to protest when things have gotten really really shitty and they no longer have any money to buy candles from Pottery Barn. On the flip side, if the squirrels don’t stop shitting on the bike path in Sefton Park soon, there’s going to be a fucking protest – mark my words.

Which leads to me to today, where the Henbot and I both lost our Protest Cherry, so to speak. I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about the Children’s Center that Henry and I go to a lot. (START OF BORING POLITICAL DO-DADS) Due to budget cuts, the council has proposed shutting down this particular center and a couple more due to the fact that we are considered to be in an affluent area and therefore don’t need the services as much as families who, well, are not as affluent. It’s a bunch of bullshit really – just because we might live in a nicer area of Liverpool doesn’t mean that we’re driving Mercedes and taking family safaris to Kenya for a laugh. I mean, I lived in Newport Beach in California which has more money than God, but I was living in a shitty 1 bedroom apartment with a flea infestation and an air conditioner that I couldn’t use because it was so loud the police ticketed me for a noise disturbance (true story) (mostly) (it was just a warning). Plus, this particular center is the most highly attended center in all of Liverpool. (END OF BORING POLITICAL DO-DADS)

You know, normally I wouldn’t give a shit. I’m American after all, and with the latest comedies coming out this autumn my schedule is pretty full (hey State-siders – if you haven’t gotten ‘Spy’, ‘Threesome’, ‘Misfits’ and ‘An Idiot Abroad’ over there, search them out online…well worth your time). But the fact of the matter is this fucking Children’s Center is at the center of my whole social life right now (as much as it pains me to admit that). The few bad or awkward dates aside, I’ve met a lot of people there and it would be really disappointing if it wasn’t there anymore. So, I did what any good British person would do – I joined a protest.

Aww...Baby's First Protest

Just to clear a few things up, protesting is pretty boring. Its cold and it will most likely rain on you. You will hold a sign that no one can read unless they came up to you and asked you to stand still for a moment. You repeat a phrase over and over again until your voice goes hoarse and you lose track of what you’re actually chanting. At one point I was chanting “Caveman Center! Horse is Mostly Hills!” for 5 minutes before I gave up and hid my mouth behind my sign so people wouldn’t know I was trying to locate some saliva to continue on. Most importantly, there was no beer involved. Or vodka. That, my friends, is a sad outing.

Our legions in front of City Hall...oh yes!  The strollers themselves are a force to be reckoned with!

Again, I don’t know to what effectiveness our little protest will achieve. But hey, we tried. I personally think my protesting days are over. While I was a wizard at sign holding, my chanting skills leave something to be desired. I may have to come out of retirement if they ban cheap beer sales in supermarkets but until then, I’ve got the new Radio Times to look through.


UPDATE: We made the evening news! Thank you Liverpool Echo for posting a picture that makes my thighs look like Redwood trunks while also appearing to be wearing tapered 80's jeans. A least Henry looks good.

08 November 2011

One of those weeks

So last week was a pretty disastrous week all around. I can’t say this or that happened, thus making it such a horrible week – it was just a bunch of little things compounded. I suppose my personal worst was when I almost lost my shit at M&S (Marks & Spencer). Picture me in downtown Liverpool with the Henbot in tow. What was suppose to be a quick trip to pick up a couple photos turned into a downpour with no rain gear, a hungry baby, IBS rearing it’s ugly head (pun intended), and a bunch of inconsiderate fuck nuts who think their choice of the red or purple sparkly silk scarf supersedes common courtesy to a pained women with an awkward stroller and a screaming infant. Obviously I was at the end of my tether once I stopped into the Marks & Spencer’s “café” but really -M&S, please train your café staff how to use a fucking cash register.

Part of my bad week as well was that I threw out my back. I seem to pull out my back about once a year and the initial cause of it can usually go on my Stupid Injury List. This recent pull was no exception. Are you ready? No, seriously, are you ready? OK, get this….I sat on the floor. I didn’t sit on a nail on the floor and I didn’t sit on a floor that was covered in Jell-O causing me to slip and slide and break a toe as well as throw out my back. No, I just sat on the floor. To be fair, it was really just sitting on the floor too long. I had been to baby massage in the morning sitting on the floor and then in the afternoon I sat on the floor for general baby play (I really should find an activity outside the Children’s Center) and finally when I got home, I sat on the floor while I put together the chairs of our new dining table (one has to know how cheap we got our dining set if I have to sit on the floor and put the fucking thing together). By the time the 2nd chair was done, I got up to get a drink and…I couldn’t move. I managed to get up but my legs wouldn’t move. Henry, of course, was crying at this point and I cried right back at him because I COULDN’T FUCKING MOVE.

It’s weird when you find yourself in that spot – standing, crying, looking at your child, looking at the cigarette you wish you could reach, thinking about the toilet you need to get to, wondering for a moment if you’ll ever be able to move again. Your mind goes to this strange place where you see yourself being carted around on a dolly for the end of time, pushed by two Hungarian men with terrible mustaches, one of which always tries to touch your butt when you reach for something, the other who tells you that you look like his mother and you know that can’t be a compliment.

My back felt better in a couple days but I’m still having nightmares about mustaches.

Anyhow, by the time our day off arrived, I think both Andy and I were done. All our willingness for intelligent thought was gone. All our efforts to remain upright were stolen. We get precious few hours away from the child each week. Our hours this week were spent at a pub staring into nothing for an hour, then at home where Andy slept and I watched the most boring movie ever and was entertained just because there were moving pictures. It was a really bad week.

This week, thus far, has been much better. So far the worst that has happened to me is that ASDA failed to bring me the grapes I ordered in our weekly delivery. Oh, and I dropped my child. It happens. What’s more important is that we really need to get a campaign together to get those fucking M&S cashiers trained. Who’s with me?

English Engrish

My cousin used to have a blog when she lived in Japan. Occasionally she'd post some Engrish signage - basically signs that a well meaning Japanese person incorrectly translated to English. I'm here to inform you that sometimes you don't need to be in a non-English speaking country to witness such things.

Yes, this is indeed for a child's toy.  What a 'Star Buy'!

02 November 2011


So if you thought last week’s post was boring, this one might just send you to immediate REM. And I’m not talking about the band. Not that there is anything wrong with R.E.M. – just not my cup of tea so to speak. Though I did like ‘Shiny Happy People’ as their video for that had a dance I could actually pull off. I wasn’t coordinated at 16 and I’m sure as hell not coordinated now, so I take what I can get. That really isn’t what this post is about though. To be honest, I have no idea what this post is going to be about, which is why I know it’s going to be a snoozer. I really know how to grab my audience, don’t I?

This weekend Andy and I did nothing. Not a thing. I’m struggling to remember what it was that we did actually do so I know it’s naught of importance. I do know however that I was a big ole flaky flake. I hate being a big ole flaky flake so I tend to beat myself up about it in an effort to not do it again. Obviously, this ploy has yet to work out but I’m still hopeful. You know that horribly overplayed Sunscreen song where it says not to live in California too long or else you get soft? That’s a bunch of bullshit. What that song should have said was “don’t stay in California so long that you become a big ole flakey flake and start thinking no one is going to notice you aren’t a nature blonde with those big black hairy eyebrows.”

So I was a flake. Andy and I intended to go meet the Vegemite Wife (finally) at the Beer Festival in Manchester but we decided at the last minute not to go. The reasons for this were many, which I will include below, but it didn’t stop me from feeling like the biggest lame ass this side of the Atlantic. We could have gone. We should have gone. We didn’t go. All of the below reasons for not having a good time are listed here:

  1. The night before the festival, Henry woke up at 10 PM, 2 AM, and 4 AM. He stayed awake from 4 AM to 6:30 AM when he finally took an hour nap. It was, of course, my turn to do the night shift.
  2.  …......
  3.  ……..

OK, so there was only one reason. I suppose when you’ve only had 4 ½ hours of fragmented sleep, this seems like a valid reason but now it seems, well, lame. My 25 year old self is slapping me upside the head right now. Believe you me, she lives in there (my head that is), still stroking that fuzzy Grover hat asking when the next rave is.

That’s about all I have. I’m a flake. There’s your proof. I could tell you about the cheap ass dining table (and chairs) we just got, or how I pulled out my back yesterday putting together said table and chairs (add it to the stupid injury list) but I think for tonight I’ll just end things on Fuzzy Grover Hat. You’re welcome.

26 October 2011

Henry's Big Week Out (it wasn't that big...)

So this must be Henry’s week because all the interesting things I have to share with you involve him. Henry is feeling pretty cocky about that actually and is currently sitting in a leather backed chair smoking a cigar contemplating writers for his first autobiography.

Thursday is Story and Rhyme day at the Children’s Center. Last Thursday’s Story and Rhyme was cancelled so Henry and I were looking at a pretty boring day with absolutely no songs about bears in it. OK, I might have been less disappointed about that than Henry was. One of the girls that I had a date with the week previous texted me and invited Henry and I out to the movies since we know how children get if there are no songs about bears on a Thursday and there isn’t anything to replace it. (Run-on sentence alert!) When this girl first invited me to the movies I eagerly agreed then tentatively asked if babies were allowed. They were!

Every Thursday morning, the FACT Theater in Liverpool does a showing of the week’s most popular movie, open to families with kids under the age of 1. It’s called The Big Scream. It’s only 4 pounds to get in, which is well cheap compared to the price of a normal movie ticket. You basically go in, and if you are there early, you can get a seat in the first row which has plenty of space to lay down a blanket and some toys for your kid in front of you. And while it’s called the Big Scream, once the movie starts you kind of tune out the rest of the noisy babies and only pay attention if yours is fussing. Henry did surprisingly well during the film – I thought he’d make a right racket. The only caveat is that the movie was the Three Musketeers in 3D. Henry insisted on playing with my 3D glasses halfway through the film and threw a fit if I tried to take them back. The last half of the movie was a bit blurry…but at least it was watched in peace.

Mmm...3D is tasty.

You might be under the impression that since I was invited out on a 2nd date, that my quest for a friend has finally come into being. I’m sad to say it’s not. While the 1st date went very well, the 2nd did not. If I’m to continue with this dating analogy, let’s just say that this woman has her tip in many pots – that is to say that she’s sleeping around (probably fucking your sister as we speak) – and really isn’t looking for a serious relationship. That’s fine really. Truthfully the 2nd outing was a bit awkward coming to a disastrous head when she asked after the movie if I wanted to get McDonald’s and come back to her house where she was meeting up with her friend (who had also joined us at the movies). I heard “McDonald’s” and made a face because that’s what McDonald’s does to my digestive system. Then I freaked out that I offended her and did this horrible Chandler word vomit finally ending the whole spiel with, “I’m sorry, I’m a bit nervous and have trouble with accents.” I was prompted ignored but now felt like I had to get McDonald’s and come back to her place. Everyone – McDonald’s is shit. British McDonald’s is worse than American McDonald’s (if that’s even possible) because the British are required by law to cook all beef until it no longer has a disease…though I don’t know why these same cooking principles have to apply the chicken sandwich I had, but there you go. The 3 hours I spent after the movie with her and her friend (who was really quite nice) was uncomfortable and long…though probably made worse from the fact that I didn’t have a cigarette the entire time I was out as both these women are nurses and had already made comments about mothers who smoke. I’m a bad person! I get it!

To make a long story short, I haven’t heard back from this woman since that day. I think my next friend making effort is to find women smoking outside of pubs and ask if they have kids. If they say ‘yes’ and don’t try to deck me, I’ll think I’ve found a soul mate.


The other item Henry related is that we took him to his first pumpkin patch. Coming from Wisconsin, I tried to make a yearly October visit to the Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago (I love to hear anyone outside of Wisconsin pronounce that name*). Wisconsin is primarily farm land and Halloween, of course, is huge in the States so the pumpkin patch there was acres long. I suppose in someway I thought it would be similar here – there is a lot of farm land in England. Of course Halloween isn’t nearly as prevalent and the pumpkin patch ended up being fairly small. It was fine though, Henry wasn’t very fussed.

 Da Farm  (or really, da farm's shop)

I like making Andy look excited about something in pictures...when clearly he's not.

"Can we go?  There are some 3D glasses I need to chew on."

What was funny was when we found him the perfect sized pumpkin and let him “hold” it. He didn’t seem like he was very interested in it until we tried to take it off him. Then he hollered until we gave it back. He’s going to be that sort of kid, isn’t he? God help us.

 "Mine mine mine mine mine mine mine mine."

*(it’s muhk-guan-ago)

18 October 2011

From my cupboard to you

So once again we didn’t do anything of consequence this past weekend. We cleaned the house. It needed it. As a person who is rather anal retentive about cleaning, having a baby really relaxed my ideals of what is considered “clean”. No worries though, it’s cleaned now-which means that if you want to come over, now is the time to do it as it’s not going to be properly cleaned again until my sister comes into town next month for Thanksgiving. Which begs the question – where the fuck does one find a turkey in this country?

Since I don’t have an exciting traveling post for you this week, I thought I would explore the cupboards of my kitchen to bring you some British product highlights. Never mind the strange look that Andy gave me as I was taking things out of the shelves this afternoon to photograph them against the lovely backdrop of a kitchen towel draped over the microwave.

First things first, we have the staple of any British kitchen: The economy sized bottle of Fairy Washing up Liquid. The majority of households in this country do not own a dishwasher so washing the dishes (UK: “washing up”) is still alive and well. Fairy is by far the most popular brand and apparently they have a catchy jingle (we have a DVR so I haven’t seen a commercial since 2007) and Andy will sing the jingle to you if you happen to mention Fairy Washing up Liquid. Since I can’t be bothered listening to Andy when he starts sprouting these obscure commercial references, I can’t repeat the jingle for you here. But there’s something to break the ice with Andy if you ever do meet him\meet him again.

Another picture of my washing line, how exciting!

Moving on to cereals, this announcement is on every box of cereal sold in the UK. Again, I can’t be bothered to look up the details about it, but it really humors me that someone in this country has the job title of “Purveyor of Cereal”. That just brings to mind Greek Gods or Catholic Saints. “I’m the Patron Saint of Travelers!” “Oh yeah, well I’m the fucking Purveyor of Cereal, bitches!”

The Queen has personally hand picked this cereal for you.

Still on cereals, we have Quaker Oats Porridge. There is no oatmeal in this country, its porridge, even if you get a familiar US brand of Quaker Oats. Not reading the label properly and assuming (“ass” out of ‘u’ and ‘me’) that it was just the same preparation as the US version, I spent an entire box preparing my porridge with water. I should say “suffering through an entire box” as using water instead of milk makes for absolutely terrible porridge.

2 MINS to shitty porridge if you don't read the instructions properly.

Next we have carbonara sauce. I would like to point out for the record that I’m only presenting to you carbonara sauce as I’ve yet to find alfredo sauce in this country. They are very similar, carbonara and alfredo, but different enough. I would have thought being a lot closer to Italy than in the States that the Italian sauces offerings would be huge. Nope. There’s white sauce (carbonara), red sauce (used for spaghetti bolognese which I am convinced is the 2nd British national dish after curry) and pesto. No clam sauce, no white wine sauce, and no mushroom sauce.

More pictures of my clothing line.  Squeal!

What the Brits lack in Italian sauces they most certainly make up for in table sauces. In the States if you go to a typical restaurant, you’ll have ketchup and mustard. You’ll have to ask for your side of mayo or ranch. The service industry here doesn’t want you asking for naught and will put every condiment known to man (save Ranch – boo!) in a handy carrying box to bring to you with your food. I’m showing what 90% of the time will come to the table but even after this you may still get mint sauce and horseradish too.

The ketchup would be more full if it wasn't for chip and pie Sundays.

Speaking of Purveyors, there’s one for HP sauce too.

Now, I’m hoping the next one isn’t actually available in the States. Fuck knows we love our gravy. If America is missing out then someone should take charge and make a fortune. These are gravy granules. You put how ever many spoonfuls of gravy you happen to need in a bowl and pour a bit of boiling water on top. No need to make a sauce pan full of gravy. No need to open an entire can. Just spoon some in and presto! Gravy goodness. They do have meat flavored gravy by the way. I would just like to add that gravy is surprisingly good on chips\fries. Just saying.


Yes, they look like rat droppings, but they are so good.

Any American bakers moving to the UK? If so, please take note of the following so that you don’t have to ask the little old hunchback lady with a deep Scouse accent where to find the baking soda.

Is it just me, or do those gingerbread men look burnt?

This one is for Henry since he hates not to be included on my weekly updates. These are the solids I feed him twice a day now. I tried making my own baby food but I couldn’t get it smooth enough so I resorted to Ella’s Kitchen. I think they do have Ella’s in the States but from what I heard they overcharge for it there so not many people buy it. I hope this won’t influence his taste buds too much. I’ll be damned if I’m going to make him broccoli and pears when he’s older.

The Mango Baby Brekkie is actually really good.  Um, not that I've licked it off Henry's spoon or anything.

Speaking of chips\fries, these pies are the perfect accompaniment. We used to go to the chippy every other week but since we’re trying to save money, I just make the pies and chips at home now. Of course this means that we’ve taken our bi-weekly shitty nutritional meal and turned it into a weekly shitty nutritional meal.

"They're proper pies, asshole!"

If we ever move back to the States I will miss Lilt Zero. Of course I will have to dry my tears with buckets full of Hansen’s.

Now it’s time for my international fruit and veg. I think its common knowledge that most fruits and vegetables in the off season in America come from places like Mexico and South America. I don’t know if by law they are required to tell you that on their label or not. Here, they are required. I don’t know what type of satisfaction I’m suppose to get knowing my grapes came from Italy and Greece (of course), my tomatoes from Poland (that’s tomatosky to you) and my cucumbers from Spain, but there you go.

Henry is playing "Spot the Baby" in my pictures here.

Lastly, if you do decide to come over to my house during this week where it’s actually clean, these are the types of drinks I will offer you. That is of course unless I know you are the drinking sort in which case I will offer you vodka in your coffee. You’re welcome.

 Seriously, Horlicks?  Still funny.