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Archive for April, 2008

Garden

Five years ago, when I first stepped foot into this house, we had a nice garden. It was pretty simple. Nothing fancy. Neat. We had a patio at the bottom that my husband only used to put pots on and we never sat on it. The cats loved it though. So the first two years I set about trying to get that English garden feel. Loads of flowers. Tons of color. I spent a small fortune on plants. Loads of pots all over the patio. I just didn’t work right for me. That patio was in the only really sunny spot of the garden. It had to go. I spent the whole of the next winter watching every Titchmarsh show on telly on how to put together a garden. I had my plan.

So the next year, good and early, I planned on tearing it out. It was early May when I had nagged my husband enough to get a skip and get it done. We spent a weekend tearing out one ton of concrete, stone slab, bricks and a bunch of other builders rubbish that had been dumped there. We brought in a huge truck load of top soil. We worked our asses off. What a job that was. But I had a perfect patch for my soon to be flower garden. A lovely spot where I could spend hours away just lost in the joy of gardening. I was so happy. One week later I found out I was pregnant.

That year I had a nice garden. I planted all the flowers that I had planned. It looked like a young garden. It had flowers. I was pleased. I made my plans for the following year.

The next year I had a little tiny infant. You guessed it, gardening with an infant in 90 degree weather doesn’t happen. I watched from the window as my flower patch grew weeds. I got out a few times on the weekends that wasn’t raining to get something done, but that didn’t give me any results. Then the next year passed and I had plans. My son was older. Learning to walk. He could play outside and I could try to garden and make sure he didn’t eat anything he wasn’t supposed to. That went out the window with the wettest Summer in the history of Summers in Britain. We spent the summer watching it pour as we sat inside going stir crazy. Town where flooded. People all over lost everything. I shouldn’t complain as we still had a roof over our heads. But the Californian that I am went nuts. No sun all Summer. It rained until late August. The best we did was a hanging basket out front that never really took off.

This year things will be different. I am willing it to be a wonderful summer. It WILL be like my first Summer here. Summer in England is unlike any other place. Its amazing. The air smells sweet. The sky is bluer then anywhere else. You still get rain, but its Summer rain. The kind that you sit and actually watch the grass grow in the back garden. You have to be out. This should be, if all goes to plan, my last British Summer.

Today, there was sun. Not constant sun but enough. The weather was in the low 60s. I couldn’t help myself. I put on an old pair of trainers, put my son in his Wellies and out we went. I was a bit worried that my son would be underfoot. In to things that he shouldn’t and making it hard for me to get things done. We spent an hour cutting out dead vines. Cutting back dead wood. Just general clean up. Guess what? My son loved it. He ran around and picked up little sticks. He put them in the plastics recycling bin. He was an amazing helper. My son never ceases to make me proud.

My hope is that in a month or so the garden will look like a garden again. Right now its a massive weed patch. As the weather gets better and things dry out we will spend a bit of every day out there. Its good for me, and its good for him, to get in the garden. At this moment I am so excited about Summer.

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I started packing today. One box. Getting some of the stuff out of the way for painting the kitchen. So it has begun. We have so much work ahead of us its not funny, but we are making a dent slowly. Its not as easy with a child. My son, as an only child, requires a lot of attention. I am sure all 2 yr olds are like that, but without another child around I am the only one to interact with. So getting stuff done during the week isn’t as easy. When I sold my home in CA to move to the UK I painted day and night for nearly 2 weeks… felt like it. I only had a pug underfoot, but she just slept, happy that we where back together after 4 months of being apart and living with my sisters family. Every move in life is a diffrent experience. I am just getting excited that we are getting it going for this one.

Here is to new beginings!

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My mom has been in and out of hospital with pneumonia. She has been in three times. She has now so weak that they have moved her into rehab. My two sisters have been making sure that she is being cared for properly. I have been sitting here, on the other side of the world, waiting for the other shoe to drop. That dreaded phone call that says “you need to get on a plane NOW”. My husband and I have talked about it. I have looked at flights to get a good idea of who to go with. I have even been mentally packing bags. What to pack for my son. Which toy to take. What to get at the store to take on the plane. Oh, how I dread the whole thought of it.

I have been told she is settling into rehab. If she gets stronger then she can go back into an assisted living apartment, if not… I don’t know.

Fingers crossed.

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I have come to the conclusion that if I want this move to happen it is down to me. My husband just gets overwhelmed and shuts off. Great. Thank goodness that when ever I have decided that I want something in my life I figure out how to make it happen. I just need to get the ball rolling. Inform him of what he needs to know when the time comes, and move on. We have been looking at moving back to the states since last July. We started the visa process then. Its getting really close to a year and I am getting anxious to start a new life and frustrated with living in limbo. This is a feeling that I hate more then anything. Limboland. I have taken back the visa process as I have done a visa before and know its all about baby steps and checking off boxes. I am going to find out about contractors licenses in the state we are looking for because S would like to do tiling. I will figure all this out because this is what I am good at doing. All we need to get a mortgage is a letter of acceptance for a job. All we need to do is sell our house here… and that is going to be harder and harder the longer we put it off. If we would of just did everything last July we would be in the states now. House sold. New home. New life.

Fear is a big thing for my husband. Because he has never just up and left his life behind he is very afraid. I, on the other hand, have done this more then once or twice (or more) to one degree or another. Moving from country to country, state to state or just city to city. Starting over and starting new is nothing to me. I believe last count I have moved 32 times that I can remember in my life of 40 yrs. The longest I have ever lived anywhere is 6 yrs. So moving is a go with the flow and get rid of junk collected process.

This may actually be a really good thing for me. It may just be the ticket to feel like I am taking my life back, so to speak. As I feel like I gave up a lot of my independence and strength moving abroad. I have loved an awful lot about living in the UK and I am ever so grateful for the experience, its not the place to make a long term home out of. We can have so much more in life in the states. I want my son to grow up in America, near my family. It became very important to me when I had him. I want my husband to experience a different life as well. Its only fair as I have experienced Europe. So, I will make this happen. I will get all this figured out. Get done what is needed to be done. Then move on.

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Keep up with Corrie

Coronation Street Previews and Catch up

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I was looking at the Mystarbucks site and I was struck, once again, how so many people have such a low view of children. A lot of comments along the lines of ” There is a place for mothers to get coffee with their children, its called McDonald’s” leave me frustrated, pissed off, and confused. Like Starbucks is a place for adults only. Yes, they sell coffee, but they don’t sell beer. I have sat many a time in a Starbucks with teens and twenties who are acting like loud mouthed idiots causing people to scurry out the door fast. But, as they are no longer ” children” then I guess that its fine. After all, I have a feeling that its these same people who make this type of comment. I do remember my twenties. The world belonged to us. We knew it all. Get out of our way. But I soon grew up.

The other comments that I saw quite often was “make Starbucks feel more like the European cafe culture”. Probably written by someone who has never been to a cafe in Europe no doubt. How you can make a Starbucks in Chicago with people coming and going in the fast paced busy lifestyle of America feel anything like the laid back cafe in Spain drinking a Cafe Con leche watching the world pass by is beyond me. The two worlds can not mix. Especially with the children not welcome attitude.

It did make me stop to think. Europe and its cafe culture. I have spent quite a fair bit of time in Spain. Home of the best coffee on the planet. The one thing you will see at any cafe bar in Spain is families. From grandma to the baby. Family is everything in this culture. You see children having their evening meal at 10pm with the family. Kids are everywhere. They don’t hide them away. Its one of the main things I love about Spain. Children are very welcome. They dote on them. They include them. When my step daughter was four she walked up to a Spanish family she didn’t know in Spain at a cafe bar and they pulled out a plate and fed her. They didn’t get upset and look around angrily for the parents who let their “brat” disturb them. What a difference. The one time it really really hit home the difference between Spain and the US/UK anti child attitude was when we went into a “Family” restaurant in Spain. This was when my son was 7 months old. We where seated and then noticed that everyone was British. Mostly elderly. We where the only “Family” there. From the moment we walked in we got icy glares. Dirty looks. Whispers. This was the first time on the whole trip that I felt uncomfortable because I had a child with me.

So I go back to the comments on the Starbucks site. How on earth does a child learn to be an adult without seeing how adults behave? If all we ever do is expose our children to the likes of McDonalds then that is all they will know. How will they know how to behave? As a small child my parents took my sister and my self to many very nice restaurants. We where expected to behave. You just didn’t become loud or run around. It just was not done. I clearly remember sitting in places eating things such as lobster or steaks and my parents having fancy cocktails. I had my Shirley Temple feeling very grown up. If a child is taught from very young how to behave, and it is expected then they will. Don’t get me wrong. Not all children are built for fine dining. But they are all built for better then McDonald’s as their only choice.

So if you think about it, Starbucks is the perfect place to take your child for a hot chocolate and sit for a while. The time is fairly short so the attention span lasts. They can learn how to behave in public by watching the adults around them. And, best of all, you can stop for a bit and have a chat with your child. What is more important then that?

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