Friday, 30 September 2011

Chip Shop

As far as fast food goes, there are far fewer options in the UK than in the US.  We've got McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC.  I think that's pretty much it.  Any other's I've forgotten?

I think one reason for that is British institution of a Chip Shop- also known as a "Chippy".  This is a place that sells the classic fish and chips.  And by chips they mean fries.  

There are a few chains, but they seem to be largely independently run.  They range from sketchy-as-all-get-out to fairly posh.  I do have to admit that I've never actually been to one... I've been to a place called Metro (mixed reviews!), but it's a bit more restaurant than chippy.  Ross doesn't really do fast food, so my exposure has been limited.  (This guy is good for me in lots of ways!)

Then, it's my impression, that this lead to the general "take away" style restaurant that is prevalent here.  Some of them still qualify as chippies because they do serve fish and chips, but they also serve... well, every other kind of fast food imaginable... seriously, burgers, pizza, even Chinese food... Yep.  All from the same "restaurant".  

So there are all these Chip Shops filling the gap that, in America, is filled by Wendy's, Whataburger, Taco Bell, Sonic, etc.  Anyway, that's my theory.

I now leave you with a song that plays on the radio from time to time.  It's got a fun rockabilly feel and it makes me smile.  It hope you do to.

It was apparently released (in a limited fashion) to DJs in America with the lyric changed to down the truck stop, but never got much notice... It was Kirsty MacColl's first hit in the UK in 1981, going all the way to #14.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Waiting Game pt. 3

written June 25, 2011

I've mostly kept my promise from last month and am being much less insane.
I'm over the halfway point in this month's two week wait.
I admit to trying actively to avoid putting too much focus on any symptoms I'm having (part of this whole "less-insane" plan).  This month is COMPLETELY different than last month.
Which in some ways makes me feel positive...

I'm feeling slightly superstitious and so I'm leaving the symptoms out for now... but I've got my fingers crossed.

written June 29, 2011

I was doing a pretty good job of staying "not insane".  Or at least keeping up appearances.
Last night I posted a funny story on facebook.  It went something like this:
Ross told me he had accidentally killed a baby grape.  He showed me a tiny squished grape.
I pretended to be really upset by this and burst into tears (I'm a totally awesome fake cryer, y'all!) and lament the fate of the poor grape.  I went on to demand a grape funeral, complete with a tiny casket. (Those dramatic improv skills are good for something!)
Ross looked at me bemused.  Well 80% bemused and 20% terrified.
He admitted at that point that he wasn't entirely sure whether or not I was genuinely crying.
I then busted out my evil laugh and declared victory.  I apparently like to declare victory- over what?- I'm not so sure.  Over sanity?

Well that's only half the story folks.  The other half of the story takes place 2 days prior.
Ross is always riding me for not telling him when I don't feel good.  I hate complaining and it doesn't help that his general response is to tell me how much worse he feels than I do, which just irritates me.  I swear- the man can top any ailment with something either form the current hits or his back catalogue!  I've been about 100 times more whiney lately than I'm comfortable with.  This is all very important background.  Oh wait!  One more bit.  Remember when "Anonymous" accused me of being very whiney in the comments of a post?  Well that's become a running joke 'round these parts.  I know!  A running joke!  How shocking...

So anyway.  We were getting ready to go do a little extra work at the warehouse and I was feeling a little yuck.  Ross suggested that I didn't have to come help and I was welcome to stay home.  I got a bit weirdly defensive and said, "What's the point.  I was sooo bored yesterday.  What would I do all day?"  Ross instantly replied, "Well, you could whine."  He was of course, implying that I could work on my blog.  He was making a joke.  I, however did not take it that way.  I did my patented, withdrawal and silence of anger.  Ross knew he'd said the wrong thing and that I was pissed.  He explained what he meant and apologized for hitting a nerve.  I was still irritated when we left.  We got about 2 minutes down the street.  Ross again, apologised and said many soothing words.  (He's like the best husband ever.)  I took the opportunity to freak the f out.

Seriously, I went from tight jaw of anger to this:

in about 10 seconds.  We're talking shuddering gasps and sobs.  Not sweet little deweyness of the eyes like last month.  Nope- raging floods of tears.  Ross was totally bewildered (and I'm sure more than a little freaked out) and pulled over the car into a side street.  I spewed some nonsense while he rubbed my hand an said reassuring things.  I remember wailing  "I'm not even that upset about it!"  It was like some crazy intense storm and had diffused into the pitiful staccato intakes of breath that happen when a child is wrapping up a tantrum within less than 90 seconds.

So that is why the grape-crying story was so funny.  We were both poking fun at my insanity.  

Did you read all that?
If so you get a reward.  Guess what I did today in the Costa Coffee bathroom?
I took a pregnancy test.
And before I even finished washing my hands I saw this.


*Ok, so that has slightly less impact now, since you already know I'm pregnant... but when I wrote it, it was very VERY dramatic.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I'm back!

Hi y'all!
We landed back in the UK yesterday morning and I think I'm stumbling out of my jet-lag haze now.
I have to say that international pregnant travel wasn't as bad as I was secretly fearing it would be!  Huzzah!
I think the timing of the trip helped, as I have generally entered the stage of pregnancy where I feel really good.  Is it tempting fate to say that I kind of dig being pregnant?  Maybe I'm just in the early 2nd trimester honeymoon stage...
I've got lots to tell you about, but for now I will leave you with a picture of me at the Anne of Green Gables house on Prince Edward Island.  The grounds and weather were absolutely gorgeous and it is the first picture I saw where I though "Holy crap!  I look pregnant."

PregMeg (my new nickname from Ross)

So in talking with other people, I've found that most people disagree with me...
I always think that going from the US to the UK is harder (jet-lag wise).
What do you think?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

So here's the deal...

I'm going on vacation tomorrow.
I was going to be all super-blogger and get posts lined up in my queue so you'd have something to read during my absence, but well....
That didn't happen.

I'm going to blame it on the baby.  That's ok, right?  I mean... that's what kids are for...
built in excuse...

Anyway.  I'll be back in a couple of weeks.  Promise you won't forget me?  Pretty please?
I'll have lots of great stuff to share when I come back.
-More pregnancy stuff, including bizarre differences between the US and UK way
-Info on my trip and and cool family tree stuff I'm finding out about on the trip
-More wedding flashbacks.  (Will they ever end?!  Spoiler alert:  Yes.  And in the end we wind up happily married.)
-More ramblings and whatever the heck I like!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Mom hair part 2

Hey Guys...
Thanks for all the comments on the last post and for letting me know I'm not alone in my crazies!
So my dramatic chop didn't exactly happen.
I asked Hailey what she thought, explaining my state of waiver.  She decisively proclaimed that we'd trim about and inch and put in some more long layers.  I was sold.

Ross likes to call me Mrs. Flouncy Bounce when I'm fresh from the salon.

At that point, I hadn't actually told her I was pregnant yet.  (I actually lost enough weight during the first trimester that it's nearly impossible to tell if you don't know- unless of course, you are looking in my bra where I've managed to go from an E to an H in 15 weeks.)  I let her in on the news while she was cutting, which was strangely awkward.  I mean what do you say:  "Oh, by the way, I'm pregnant."?  That's what I went with.

As I was getting up from the chair, Hailey said something to me that cracked me up.  Especially given my post yesterday.  "Just so you know, if you come to me at any point in your pregnancy from here on out and tell me to chop your hair off, I'm going to say no, give you a trim, and send you on your way.  You'll thank me later."

Gotta love having a hairstylist you can trust!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Mom hair

I've needed a haircut fairly badly for awhile now.  I finally have an appointment for tomorrow.
For some reason, I tend to "save" having a haircut.  For example, I'm leaving to go on holidayvacation on Thursday- thus I'm having my haircut on Tuesday.  I guess my rationale is that I want to look nice for my trip.  Who knows?

I love having my hair cut.  Going to the salon is a woman ritual- the pampering, the idle chatter, the glossy fabulous hair.  It's soothing.  I consider it a treat.  Perhaps that is a reason for my "saving" behavior.  I do the same thing with gift cards.  I "save" them for something special- which means that they languish in my walletpurse for months.  My darling Ross is a different situation altogether.  He too puts off having haircuts, but not for the same reason.  He isn't delaying gratification.  No.  He is delaying sheer torture (at least according to him).  I've never seen such an intense and (don't tell him I said so) ridiculous fear.  He has to psyche himself up for a few weeks before he's able to actually have his hair cut.  His shoulders go up.  His neck tenses.  He goes quiet and humourless (shocking!).  He says that he's always hated having his hair cut and that he remembers screaming and throwing fits as a young boy.  I've decided that I'll be in charge of the children's haircuts :)

So back to my appointment tomorrow...  I've been wavering lately.  For the last few years, I've had pretty long hair (for me at least).  Over the course of my life, I've had every length of hair- from pixie cut to around the length it is now.

past my shoulders in Blackpool last month

I've been digging my longish hair for the last couple of years.  So part of me wants to keep it long.  Which would mean I'd get my fringebangs trimmed up and the layers neatened.  Boring, but nice.

But then... but then!  Perhaps it's some hormonal calling now that I'm pregnant, but I'm feeling myself drawn to a "mom" hairstyle.  A short, sassy bob?

Or maybe something shorter, but less drastic?  I don't know.  I don't think I'll know until I talk to my hair dresser tomorrow.  I'll lay out my scattered thoughts and then get her professional opinion.  This is one of my favourite things about having a good and trusted hairstylist.  I don't have to make the decision on my own, I can get some valuable insight to ease my mind.  

Did you get a mom haircut while you were pregnant or after you had a baby?
Do you make your mind up before going to the salon or get input from your stylist?
Do you save up haircuts too?  Or is this just more of my crazies?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Word of the Week


Definition:  a rubber and plastic baby item that a child sucks on to soothe itself, also known as a paci, binky, or mute button
Used in a sentence:  A dummypacifier just looks wrong in the mouth of any child over two years old.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Comedy Songs

The British seem to have a soft spot for comedy/novelty songs in an entirely different way than Americans.
Americans tend to reserve novelty songs for Christmas- how else can you explain "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"?

I'm always tickled when Ross exposes me to one of the many historical comedy songs that take up his valuable brain space.  Some are annoying.  Some are funny.  Some are charming.  Some are catchy.  The best are all of the above.

Below are a couple of my favourites:

I hope they've given you a little chuckle and a smile.
What songs make you smile?

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Waiting Game pt. 2 (a serious case of the crazies)

TMI series.  It was funny reading this back just before publishing... ah the craziness of trying to conceive...

written May 22, 2011

So I'm completely convinced that I'm pregnant.
But don't tell me.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

I'm in the dreaded 2 week wait.  What master of torture devised this timing structure?
Not long after I would have actually become pregnant my boobs went crazy.  Like in a way I've never known.  It wasn't soreness as much as sensitivity.  Particularly in the nipple area.  (Hey I told y'all this was part of the TMI series.)  It was driving me to distraction.

I've also been fairly emotional.  For no reason.  Like earlier today, I burst into tears because Ross said I looked pretty.  That's normal, right?

So basically- I'm making myself crazy.  If I am pregnant, I won't know for another 12 days or so.  And then all of my craziness will make sense.  But.  BUT!  What if I'm not pregnant?  Then I'll be super-sad.  And I'll be having weird symptoms for no reason.

When I told Ross this, he said to just assume I'm pregnant.  So I sort of am.  But I'm also bracing myself for disappointment.  (But I secretly don't think I will be.  Disappointed that is.)

Cause I really think I'm pregnant.
But keep it a secret from me.
I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

written May 24, 2011

So I'm still pretty sure I'm pregnant.  If not, I'm possibly insane.
It's amazing how many things are "symptoms" of pregnancy.
I'm pretty sure if you google anything physical (or even emotional) "+ pregnancy" you will find several results.
I think I might need a google ban...

written May 26, 2011

I'm half way through the two week wait.  I'm becoming riddled with doubt.  Sure I'm still having "symptoms", but what if it's all in my head?!  What if my period starts next week and I've just been crazy?
This is lame.  Lame.  LAME!

written May 27, 2011

So I hit a tipping point earlier today where I decided that- NOPE- I'm definitely no pregnant.  It lasted about 5 minutes.  I was absolutely positive for those 5 minutes and I was very sad.  Then I realized that I was being weirdly emotional, which then brought the doubt back.  Then I noticed that my boobs hurt, then I felt like crying.  Ok- I'm back on the doubt train.  Bleh.

written May 28, 2011

Yesterday I did some more crazy obsessive internet searching about early pregnancy symptoms.  I try not to buy into the craziness, but sometimes I just can't help it.  It actually ended up making me feel a bit better about the amount of my insanity.  I mean, sure I'm flipping out, but at least I'm not writing logs that include tidbits like this:
-slight pain in my left ovary area (possibly egg releasing?)
-twinge in my back
-I was lying in bed and my right leg fell asleep!  It didn't stop until I rolled on my side and went to sleep.  Weird!!
I'm obsessing, but I'm not tracking every tiny pain or strange feeling I'm having. I also haven't taken a pregnancy test yet.  I can't believe how many women take them ridiculously early!  Sure, it's taking all my willpower, but I haven't taken one yet.  That means I'm only a normal amount of insane, right? :)

written May 29, 2011

I was sure my period was starting last night.  A little bit of light spotting and I was ready to throw in the towel.  I figured it was only a matter of time.  It's now been 18 hours and there's no sign of any more friendly visit.  Bleh!  I'm holding it together pretty well, but the waiting is killing me.  I've always been this way about hating the "limbo" period of anything.  Not that I know many people who are good with it...  I keep telling myself that I'd be fine either way- as long as it was a definitive answer.  But Mother Nature don't play fair.  Have I mentioned- bleh!

written May 30, 2011

Still no sign of my period.  I had a killer migraine last night.  I haven't had one in ages.  It is so frustrating to try and maintain composure when you're waiting to find out.  I mean, I know I've done an amazing job of it so far, but I wanted y'all to know that this kind of grace doesn't come easy. :)  I'm trying not to read "symptoms" into everything and obsess, but I'm failing.  Not failing miserably, though, just failing.

written May 31, 2011

I'm not pregnant.  Hmph.

written June 1, 2011

Well this month has been a total roller coaster.  I can't say I was a fan.  As you can read- I went from being absotively sure that I was pregnant for a while.  I still think that something was different this month.  Perhaps I had a fertilized egg that didn't implant.  Who knows.  I'm vowing to be more sane next month.  I've been a little sad yesterday and today, but I'm ok.  It's only been 5 months of trying- and really only one month of non-passive trying.  Also, my husband is sweet and wonderful.

The end of the worlds longest and insane-ist post ever.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

WFW: The Boys Portraits

While the girls were still getting pretty, the photographers wrangled to boys into the church's lovely courtyard for the boy portraits.  As usual, they weren't quite sure what to do in the pictures and it took them awhile to get warmed up.

Once they loosened up, they were their goofy selves.  Complete with classic facial expressions.

This gave way to some traditional "pointing pictures".  What?  You didn't get those at your wedding.  They're totally in right now.  Or not.  And Ross is just and odd duck.

At least one where people look happy.  Well, everyone except my brother.

And finish the group shots off with a nice laughing shot.

Next came a shot of Ross with each groomsman.

Of course, Ross couldn't resist needling my brother a little and they took some nice hand-holding pictures (much to Matt's chagrin).

 Some pictures with Uncle Jeff.

And then my handsome groom got a quick moment in the spotlight.

And with that, they were done with their portrait obligations and headed back down to the basement for some final touches.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Fiddle faddle

So if you pay attention to the news at all- at least here in England- you know that there have been a spate of MPs who got in serious trouble for claiming things on their expenses that they shouldn't have.  It's been going on for quite a while, but there are still occasionally news stories about new developments.

These news stories tend to bring out my husband's crazies.  I've told you about a few of mine, but don't worry, Ross and I are a well-matched couple.  He's got his own crazies!

Every time a story related to these scandals comes on the radio, they very proper, well spoken, BBC news casters say a phrase that sets Ross' crazies into overdrive.  They'll say that an MP was accused/found guilty of/sentenced for "fiddling their expenses".

This makes Ross' shoulders go up and his hackles go up.  He gets all ranty (and cute) and yells at the radio.  It drives him crazy that, in a serious news story, they use such casual slang.  He has a point that these MPs are not charged with "fiddling" anything.  As best as I can tell, they are charged with "false accounting".  Ross claims it's just a matter of time before the reporters are saying things like:

"He got done for fiddling and is now banged up."
"The bitch is in the chokey for fiddling."

I have to say, though it doesn't provoke my crazies like it does his, that he's right.  It makes me wonder why the hallowed BBC continues to use such slangy and ugly (and for that matter inaccurate) words in their reporting.

What do you think?  
Would that bother you, or is my husband just special?
Is there anything you hear in the media, that gets your crazies?

Monday, 5 September 2011

TMI: Waiting Game

Now that I've shared this with you, I figured I'd give you the back story.  In full over-share style.  I'll be labelling posts like this with a TMI warning, so consider yourselves warned.

This post is part of the TMI series.  If you don't want to read about personal stuff like makin' a baby, you might want to skip these.  Most of these posts will be posted well after they are written.  I don't mind sharing with y'all, but I gotta keep some things a bit private...

written Monday, April 25, 2011

So my period is due today.
At least according to the fertility tracker app on my phone.
We've been trying since January.  Trying isn't the right word though.  Trying implies more effort than we are giving it.  We are letting nature take it's course.  We figured we're not in a rush and figure we'll just see what happens.  We aren't making any effort to time when we get friendly.  I'm not taking my temperature or any of that.  I'm 32, so I've got a little time before we need to get all serious about this.
I don't feel pregnant.  As I told Ross, I'm expecting my period to start any minute now.  But...

But... What if this is the month.  I'm super-excited to start a family with Ross.  I feel like we're going to be awesome parents.  Now that we're "trying" (or whatever you call it), I feel like I'm attentive to things that I never noticed before.  All these "symptoms" that you start noticing... and how irritating is it that PMS and early pregnancy symptoms are so similar.  I took a 4.5 hour nap today.  Is that a symptom?  Or was I just tired?  I've been really stuffy and lost my voice.  I've been reading lots of blogs about pregnancy and many of them mention stuffiness as a symptom... but it's more than likely my allergies from all this darn cottonwood.

Argh... tick tock tick tock.... I'm waiting...

written Tuesday, April 27th, 2011

Still no news... strangely, the more time that passes, the more convinced I am that I am not pregnant.  Though that sounds counter-intuitive I can almost feel my period coming.  I wouldn't feel like that if I was pregnant, right?  And wasn't my period a day or so later than the stupid calendar app said it should be last month?  Yeah... it was because I bought a pregnancy test.  I decided that if it hadn't started by the next morning, I'd do a test.  And I never needed to open the box.  So I've got a test... I like to succeed though, so I don't really want to take a test that I don't think I'll pass.  Hey- I never said I followed logic.

written Friday, April 28th, 2011

So yeah... I'm now 4 days late.  It seems a LOT longer than that.  We just watched the Royal Wedding and it was lovely.  I'm prepared to take a pregnancy test this evening.  I'm not sure how I feel... 20% hopeful, 20% terrified, 10% excited, 10% nervous, 40% numb?  That sounds about right.

and at 11:45PM
So I just took a pregnancy test.  I've never done that before.  The directions said that you are recommended to urinate in a clean, dry glass container.  I didn't fancy peeing in one of our drinking glasses, so I went with the alternate directions of just holding it in my urine stream.  We're anxiously waiting.  We've got a control line, but no 2nd line.  It's definitely been over 3 minutes... no line.

Wop wop.

Well where the hell is my period then!?
Ugh.  The waiting continues.  I told Ross that, on the one hand, I sort of feel vindicated because I really don't think I'm pregnant.  But on the other hand- where the hell is my period? :)
Ross says, "It's not that unusual is it?"
I said, "I can't remember a time I was 4 days late. "
He says, ever helpfully, "It's probably your age."*
I said, "You're right.  It must be menopause."
He says, "I better start looking for a younger wife."*

written Sunday May 1, 2011

After the longest 6 days of my life, my period finally started.
Ah well.  I'm not surprised because even though it was a long wait I was truly convinced that I wasn't pregnant.  I guess, on reflection, I've only really tracked my period the last few months.  It never really mattered before.  Either I was on birth control or it was coming... Maybe I've got a funky cycle every few months or something...
The bright side is that we are now officially in the clear for a family cruise that's being planned for my Grandmother's 85th birthday.  We'd said we were in, but if I'd gotten pregnant before now, I would have been too far along to be allowed on the ship.

written Monday May 2, 2011

So just a little informative coda.  When I was in the height of the waiting game I emailed my friend C for advice/insight on the situation.  She gave me just the reassurance and support I was looking for.  She offered this tidbit after my period finally showed up- apparently if you are really stressed out or sick just before you are supposed to ovulate, the process gets put on hold.  This means you ovulate late and then your period shows up late.  Ah ha!  I had a major cold earlier this month.  I love having an explanation for things!

*Ross is not a jerk.  1. He makes inappropriate jokes when things get to heavy.  It's a coping mechanism.  2. We have a running joke about my age and pregnancy because my G'ma (who is awesome and I love dearly) told my younger cousin that she and her husband were the only hope for great-grandchildren because Ross and I are "too old".

Saturday, 3 September 2011


Definition: a large vehicle, generally comprised of a cab and a good storage area.  Generally used for delivery or transport of goods.  In America these have up to 18 wheels.  In England, not more than 12.*
Used in a sentence:  It doesn't make me nearly as nervous to drive next to a lorrytruck in England as it does in America because they're smaller, which makes them seem friendly.

*The number 12 was based on a deeply researched and highly scientific google image search.  In other words, it was mostly made up, but it sounds right...

Friday, 2 September 2011

Tough cookie or meanie?

On our recent trip to Blackpool, Ross booked our B&B after checking out online reviews.  One establishment had simply outstanding reviews.  It had perfect marks across the board on Trip Advisor.  We figured this was the place to stay!

In my post about the trip, I expressed my confusion as to the superlative nature of the reviews.  Let me explain.  It was  perfectly fine B&B.  It seemed on par with other B&Bs that I've seen.  It was fine.  The proprietors were very nice.  The location was good.  The bed was pretty uncomfortable.  It was a little dusty.  The towels were rough.  Nothing terribly wrong.  Just little things that made it fine and not great.  It was certainly not as nice at the B&B that we stayed at when we went to the Lake District for Ross' birthday last year.

After we left, Ross and I both wondered about the reviews we'd seen online.  Though we'd found the experience acceptable, and would even consider staying at this place again, we were baffled by why people had scored it with the highest marks across the board.  We probably would have still booked it with slightly lower (in our opinion, more accurate) reviews and would not have been left feeling a bit disappointed.  We resolved to post a balanced review.

Ross forwarded me the feedback form when it arrived in his email a few days later.  I endeavoured to leave the kind of review I would have found helpful.

I ended up with the following text:
A pleasant stay
This was a perfectly pleasant place to stay in a charming little town. The proprietors are very friendly, though the accommodations are nothing particularly special. Seems like a better place for a family stay than for a romantic couple's weekend.

I ranked them on several categories, on a scale of 1 to 6.  On most categories, I gave a 4.  On customer service a gave a 5.

I read the review to Ross for his agreement and approval before I hit submit.
A few days later, I received another email (forwarded from Ross).  It was from the owner of the B&B and she was asking about our rankings.  She apologized that we were disappointed with our stay.  She questioned my low ranking of "cleanliness" and "quality of food"- both of which I ranked 4 of 6.   She framed it as being interested in improving the B&B.

Now, to me, 4 of 6 means the equivalent of "good".  That's a good score to get from me!  5 would have been "very good" and 6 would have been "outstanding".  Those two rankings really mean something to me.  A rank of 6 is the equivalent of saying "I can't imagine anything better!" in my opinion.

Perhaps I'm just a tough cookie.  I know reviews are very important to businesses such as this, but that doesn't mean I'm going to give a rank that I can't stand behind.  I used to have a boss who was tough and when you got a high score on an employee evaluation it really meant something.  And that's how I view ranking systems like this.

Now I feel pressured to defend my rankings and opinions.  I'm finally composing my reply to the owners email and am going to strive to be helpful and kind (rather than defensive).

Are you a tough rater?
or do you hand out 5's and 6's like they're candy?
Have you ever felt pressured to defend a review after being contacted by a business?