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Its finally sunny in England. Its been a good two years since I have felt the warmth of Summer. The last two years has been so wet… you couldnt call it Summer.  We have been out in the garden most of the day. All I felt like doing was sitting and baking in the sun. This is not me at all. I have never been a sun worshiper. Never liked sitting out trying to tan when I was a teen. I always like playing in the sun, doing things, but not baking. After so long I just want to curl into a ball and sleep in the sun.

As I sit there feeling the rays on my skin all I can do is wonder if this is it. Will this be the last weekend of sun we have until next year? That is the bit that gets me. The unknown. Its times like this I miss California so much. I miss knowing that next weekend will be sunny. So wil the weekend after that and all the ones for the next few months.

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Here is a little friendly reminder about basic hygiene.  Really, with all the talk of swine flu its a good time to remind people how to be clean and how germs spread.  I don’t care if Swine flu comes to anything or not, flu, colds, and other things, especially food poisoning are here living with us all the time. So stop and take a few moments to remind yourselves, dear reader, that we do live in a modern world with running water and soap. Wash your hands. Say it again. Wash your hands.

I do not know how many times I have seen someone come out of the bathroom stall and open the door, leaving without washing their hands.  You know who you are. Common decency should make you wash your hands.

Then you see the person sitting at a table in public coughing and coughing. Not covering their mouth. I don’t care if you swallowed wrong, smoke to much, or have a cold. Cover your mouth. Then get your lazy arse up and go Wash your  hands.

I have worked with the public on and off in my life. ( I prefer off) I once worked in a Casino in Lake Tahoe when I was young. I sold change for the slot machines. I had this woman hand me a $20 bill and just before she handed it to me she sneezed, using the $20 bill as a tissue, then proceeded to hand it to me.  I can think of several hygiene no nos there. Not to mention the fact that she was a disgusting pig who will forever be burnt into my memory as a disgusting pig.  If slot machines could show you the germs you would be heaving.  If cash tills showed you their filth you would feel ill.

That leads me to money. The most disgusting thing of all. Think about it. If some drops a £1 coin in a toliet at the pub they will fish it out. Then hand it to the bar staff. This then gets distributed. In the UK there is a tradition to hand a £1 to a baby for good luck. Dont. Just dont. I had many a person try and shove a £1 into my tiny baby’s hand. Sweet thought, but money is filthy.  Stop and think and if you are out using money then try and wash your hands.

So my fellow humans. Please have the decency to think of others. If we all think of each other and how to not spread diseases and illnesses then the world would be a better place. Just think of what could happen if you sneeze in your hands and grab a shopping trolley. The next person that uses it could have a lower immune system and become extremely ill. It could be a child that sits there and will put his hands in his mouth, or like my kid, lick the handle. So do stop and think of others. Wash your hands. Carry alcohol gel. If your sick, stay home.

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I have suffered on and off for years with a Hiatal  Hernia . Such intense stomach pain. So many nights I have wondered if I was having a heart attack. My esophagus in spasms. Never, ever feeling well. How many days, weeks, months, or years would it total up feeling so horrible. I have lived on stomach pills for years to keep the acid at bay. All the doctors say is that the ring at the bottom of my stomach isn’t closing properly and its letting everything come back up. Major surgery was about all they could do. Oh, loose weight. Yeah, I need to lose weight. Who doesn’t. Its hard to think diet when you cant eat anything anyways except the odd piece of toast. You haven’t slept more who knows how long so you have no energy. Grrr.

Desperate I searched the web for anything that might help me. Something caught my eye. Just a blurb really. Something I had in the fridge? It couldn’t possibly be so simple. Could it? An Apple. A red apple? What the hell, I would try anything at that point.

So every night I would have an apple. When my stomach started burning I would eat an apple too. I could feel it cool down. It seemed to be working.  I started eating more fruit in general but always with a red apple in it. My lunch now consists of a bowl of cut up fruit with cottage cheese.

Now I am not going to say this is a cure. I know its not. All I know is that the only time I have to take my stomach medicine is when we are having a spicy meal. For some reason its working for me. Its been about 4 or 5 months now and I can tell a major difference. My husband notices to. I am not telling him I unwell. I have energy. I haven’t felt like I was having a heart attack in a while now. Who would of thought that an apple would change my life.

*I am not a doctor. I am not trying to sell you anything. I just thought that if it could help someone else like it has helped me then I had to blog it. Good luck to those who are searching for some relief.

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There is the most special feeling when Spring finally comes to the UK. The gloom of the last few months lifts. Everything feels so light.  The flowers start to come out. Starting with the Snow Drops and then the daffodils. Pretty soon the whole of the UK is covered in the most amazing blooms. Every pub has huge window boxes with colour dripping down. Every round about is rainbow.  Flowers are the thing I think of when I think of  the UK in its glory. I hold my hand up and admit that there is no other place I have been that is as glorious as the UK on a sunny late Spring or Early Summer day.  By May the days never end. Its light so late you can be out until 10pm washing your car. Its still dusk at 2am and really, the sun never fully sets. By 4 am the sun is coming up.  I love this.

Its only a few weeks away. I am going to try and keep my sanity until then. For the last two years we have had the worst Summer. It never stopped raining. I have faith that this year will be a good one. I will be loving it and will have my camera at the ready.

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Every weekend my step daughter comes and stays Saturday night and heads home on Sunday.  My son usually starts asking for her around Thursday.  The count down begins. Saturday comes and he waits, looking out the window, very excited that his sister is coming. They sit together on the couch, hugging, happy, playful. My step daughter will get on the floor and play. She will give him horse back rides. When we go out they sit in the back seat holding hands. My son lovingly looking at his sister, his sister lovingly looking back. So sweet.

Come Sunday morning the whole world has changed on its axes. My step daughter is up, spiralled across the couch, watching Spongebob or High School Musical. My son is in her face, climbing on her, poking her in the eyes, pulling her hair. She yells at him to leave her alone, he dive bombs on her from the arm of the couch. They bicker. They yell. They argue.

What I can not figure out is how they can change in a matter of a few hours and a bit of sleep. Saturdays are great. Sundays are stressful. Its night and day.

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There is nothing more adorable to me then to see the kids heading off from school in their school uniforms. Especially the young kids. The uniforms look like something out of a movie or a childhood book. In the summer the girls are in a checked dress, boys in a shirt and trousers or occasionally short pants. Every person in Britain who has gone to school here has worn their uniform. Even my own 3 yr old son has a nursery school uniform. A little polo top with the school logo embroidered on it. They said that it was so that he gets used to a uniform and so none of the kids feel left out. Oh, and its so they don’t get their regular clothes dirty. He got one. I can buy more at £7-50 a piece… seven bleedin pound and 50p for a shirt to get dirty? I can get him a shirt at ASDA for as little as 75p.  Its a good thing that this ” uniform” isn’t mandatory. It will be when he is off to normal school. This is the first drawback on the uniform. The true uniform is expensive.

I have observed that the uniform sets up a mentality here in the UK. Its supposed to keep the kids from knowing who has more money. Its supposed to keep them on a level playing field. It doesn’t. They know. They know whose blazer is  second hand. They know who has the real uniform and who has a uniform from ASDA or Matilan. The teens all do their bit to keep some from of individuality one way or another. This is nothing compared to how we dressed in the states in high school. Jeans, T-shirts, and Birkenstocks. We wore what we wanted. We wore what was comfortable. Its no wonder I feel uncomfortable in a uniform.

This uniform mentality is set in them for life here in the UK. It sets them up for the working world. This is so true. Me, personally, I actually cringe at uniforms on adults in the work force. I only even had a uniform when I worked in fast food as a young adult. I hated it. Yes, offices had a dress code. Some more casual then others, but I never had a uniform outside of fast food. Here the uniform is in pretty much every workplace. The doctors surgery have a uniform, the nursery school teachers wear a uniform, pretty much every business that has a lot of women working there will have a uniform in place. I even had gone into a recruitment agency here. I noticed all the women had the same thing on: Black trouser or skirt, white blouse, black jacket. So I asked one of them if they had a uniform to wear and she said no, but they did. The mentality has become so ingrained they didn’t realize it. Without having to wear a uniform they wore one. I was the only one in the room in a suit that wasn’t black. This is a real difference in mindset for me to adjust to. The uniform. Everyone has their place. Everyone in their station in life. It does go against my American mindset of being who I am. Dressing for success doesn’t go hand in hand with a uniform in my mind. Ah well, when in Rome as they say.  I still think the kids look adorable in them.

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In the past 5 yrs of living abroad I tend to brace myself when someone on telly brings up the US. It usually has some form of America bashing attached. I had to stop watching shows like Loose Women because there was something nasty said about my homeland daily. Subtly quips. Underhand bashing. Very fashionable to bash the US. Jeremy Clarkson lead the way.

So its one week into the Obama’s taking over the White House. Things have already started to change. I turn on ITVs This Morning to see two US flags and the segment is all about the lovely wonderful First Lady Michelle Obama and her fantastic fashion. I dont remember anyone saying this about Laura Bush, or  even Hilary Clinton. Man, Hilary had comments about how unfashionable she was. I remember tremendous makeovers on her.

So it begins. The world is beginning to look up to the US again, instead of down. What a lovely time. How nice to be an American abroad.

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