Thursday, August 30, 2007

Our stay in England has come to a close. We have arrived home safely after a bitter 19 hours of travel from the moment we woke up to the time we arrived home including all the delays and all the driving. We went by train, tube, plane, automobile, and bus! It was an incredible time in England. We saw not only London, but we had a unique chance to see the countryside with the locals. Matt and Suzanne Sear were the couple who initally invited us to England. Logan and Matt had practiced guitar duet music for about a year in their respective homelands and finally got to meet and practice together for the first time in person. After hearing them play together (after having done sessions of practice for hours and hours) others commented that they sounded like they had been doing it for years! Logan and Matt played at Matt's parents house in front of Matt's parents and Suzie's parents-all very nice people. For the next two nights after that Logan and I were invited to stay with Matt's parents (they are more comfortable driving) Matt doesn't drive at all and Suzanne got her drivers license years ago but is only now driving.She isn't all that comfortable driving the roads and highways so it is my understanding that this is why we had a few days with the parents, although it was also something they wanted to do to show a couple of Americans around cause they love the USA- so they were extremely pleased to have us stay with them. We were delighted to experience some of England's best back roads that lead to many small villages and historical sites that only the locals know where to find! Many tourists/newcomers to the country only go to London and that's all they see of England but Logan and I got the real experience to hang out with the locals!!! We went to a few ancient churches which have been around for centuries. In one church in Shoreham, England the locals were there having their afternoon tea and scones talking together and with us. Some of the locals brought with them some goods from their garden, of which was a garden that belonged to the town for the villagers and each household gets a chance to have a section of it. The man we met brought some of his veggies that Matt's parents bought and we later enjoyed for dinner. Logan and I had some orange juice and a delicious slice of fruited bread another local woman made. We later drove down some very narrow roads which only one small car could drive on. The road was so narrow (forget about your Ford F-350) and tight fitting, for example if we had rolled down our window we could very well touch the thick bushes growing alongside the very edge it was one bad turn and your in the wall of shrubs! I have never in all my life seen this kind of road! Even overhead was dense leaves from the trees growing directly over the road just enough space for a small car, like a wormhole! Some other places we went was a Lavender farm where they grow my favorite, Lavender. As of now they were not growing -out of season- but I was able to get some in a sachet to smell. Did you know Lavendar can be used like mothballs for clothes and you can also use it in cooking? I didn't know that! I love it for making a room smell nice or in the shower as bath soap or shampoo!!! While Logan and I were visiting we talked till we were blue in the face about the comparisons between cost of living in the USA and the cost of living in England. The Englanders say that its much cheaper in the US. Well if you want to know and believe it here are some figures: gasoline in the USA= abt. $3/gallon currently, in Enland they spend close to $8/gallon (us money)! That is expensive! No wonder why they don't drive much (Matt and Suzie). We learned that many who reside in England don't have to have a car cause the public transportation is well used and organized either by bus, train, or the underground tube (like the subway). If one lives in a good sized town they can walk almost everywhere(I hope I lost some weight) otherwise they do have to drive! The idea of Logan and I renting a car was out of the question for it was another outta sight expense in two ways, not knowing how to drive on the left--confusing to watch, let alone drive, and the other expense was and would have been $400! No WAY! We didn't need it cause among Matt's good friends and family we were able to get along fine without a car, and thanks to their public transportation and our feet. Off track here, another cost of living example: gallon of milk in my grocery store $2.79 and England's would run me $4.00! However the pay is considerably better for in some ways they were and in some ways depending on the profession not so. Teachers get paid here pretty poorly to start anyways, about $20,000-30,000 in the US. In England, $50,000 and upwards and the pay doesn't stop during summer vacation correct me if I'm wrong but its my understanding that in the US it does, I may be wrong though. But they get paid much better in England, but then they get taxed from the royals way too much 40%! Its comforting to know that we all share even across the ocean we all have the same workplace issues, the nursing industry is the same there, working underpaid and overworked and understaffed for example. I Overall the people in England are a bit more mannered, I can only speak of my own experiacnes here in NH, but if someone bumps into me they usually just keep going without saying anything. In England, people say they are sorry for such happenings. I noticed very little 'BLING" young men acutally wore their pants at their waists what a find! and nobody was so worried about having the better car or toys etc (there's no room for it in that small country), even that naughty "rap" culture we have adopted here in the US which Logan and I find apalling was mostly absent. I never once saw anyone in England with one of those pretentious cell phones that are stuck on the ear, those scream, "I am a pretentious snob". Ulgh. Another topic in another blog. So we really enjoyed the fact that people had some kind of rooted knowledge that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do it.While in England, on our 10th wedding anniversary, we visited Hever Castle. One of the notable kings who lived there was King Henry the 8th and what a beautiful sight; even gardens galore! After the two days with Matt's parents, we returned to Matt's house. We went back to our fun nights at the Conservative Club playing pool and guitar practicing for the boys while the women, Suzie I and, did some shopping and watching movies and going to London. Then it was two nights of performances for the clan, Logan, and Matt played their guitars( and Suzie did some beautiful singing). Logan and Matt had some unique experiences together finding that in many ways they were very much the same in their thinking, the techniques they use in teaching guitar, they had a very similar laugh and similar mannerisims. We now believe they are long lost brothers! Suzanne and I also had some similarities; we like to teach, she's a teacher of special needs kids, she is much like I am a bit quiet and we both are our husband's secretaries and we both have to remind our men about the same sort of things. It was so funny and bizarre at the same time. Suzanne even has the same digital camcorder as me!! I was teaching her how to use hers cause before we came she had just bought it and she hadn't had the chance to read the directions. Even a bounus with that is; I could charge my camcorder's battery with their electric charger cord( the outlets carry different wattage and they have different sockets) and I save money not having to buy a converter! It was strange; out of all the camcorders in the world we had the same! God's hand was in much of our trip, I do believe. The food was excellent! I didn't have any bad food (I stuck to what I knew). Logan did have some toast with Marmite (something I didn't know) piled on (its a yeast extract) and he loaded it on thickly like peanut butter and when he took a bite it made his mouth quiver. Afterwards he was told to spread it on lightly..its like putting on a pile of salt, so can you imagine?? There was nothing really different, I'd say the food there was better than here. Their sodas were not so strong in syrup, it was very light tasting.
England's air, it made my hair feel very thick, it poofed out making it harder to manage my thick locks but I managed. I had a magnificent time in England, we felt so at home, we knew the common british slang and learned some new ones. Logan and I watch a lot of British comedy and dramas by choice and so England was that much better. The new friends we made enjoyed our company. Each night we went to a private club and met some new local friends and made some great bonds there too! We had some late nights talking and laughing and sharing. The best time we've had in years!
Cheers everyone!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

From England

Hi all who read my stuff here. Logan and I have arrived in England just two days ago. I was able to share with Logan his first flight ever off the ground and our first flight together ever!! It was confusing when we got into Dublin airport there was little by way of direct directions as to where to go to thru security but it was finally found in the many lines of people snaking around in various areas. Then in just a few hours we were off and in England. So far we ate at a very nice Indian Restaurant where Logan had his lamb vindeleau, I had an awkward moment when I asked for 'what dressing they had' for my salad order and they looked at me funny and offered me tomato sauce!!! Umm no. Then he offered me after going out to the kitchen and came back offereing me ceasar dressing which is NOT my first choice. But it turned out it had gone bad and I had a dry salad but what an amazing salad it was! My dinner was some chicken dish with some spices and we had my favorite jasmine rice. Very good food, I wasn't afraid. Today we went to church in Orpington a town 10 min. south from where we are staying. The church was a bit small, the ward was about average size but I was told many people are on vacation so not everyone was there. But I noticed that there were considerably not a whole lot of children. Between the ages of 2-18 I could only point out less than a dozen. The men were mostly acting as the decons and two boys involved in the whole sacrament part. Without a gym, the building was very small to what we are accustomed to back in NH. A woman next to me sat together thru all our meetings offered for Logan and I if we ever want to visit Australia we can stay with her and her husband. What an offer! She handed me her address and phone number for there and a phone here in England. She said they were in the process of moving down under. This networking is fabulous, maybe she wants Logan to serenade her to sleep or whatever! Then we scooted off to London for lunch and sought after many music/guitar shops all down a long street. Walked much and saw just a small section of London. The buildings are much like what you see in Mary Poppins, Harry Potter, to name a few it is just so amazing the archetecture. So far we've also had a unique opportunity to visit a real pub, and not exactly what I expected. I imagine a pub being unclean and grubby. But it was clean and attractive.
It was actually a good time but being mormon I don't know how well that goes over. Logan drinking a Lemonade I with my ginger ale. There's an irish man that gives a 20 question test every Sunday night so we got to gather around all the guys and gals and he'd ask the questions and we'd just yell out an answer questions about all sorts of subjects almost like his own trivia pursuit game. Everyone got into it. Real good fun anyways. We are enjoying ourselves and finding that we have a long lost brother here, Matt, who has many of the same things in common with Logan. Its beginning to be a bit of a long running joke. So anyways were having a real blast!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Random writings

So the cast on Mertz's arm is off! The weekend is approaching and I get more and more anxious about our trip. We will be going first by bus, then plane, and then by tube hopefully remembering all our belongings along the way and then we meet our pal, Matt. He himself just went on a gig trip to France and had a boring time with the french. They served him tomato slices and hard boiled eggs for meals! That sounds pretty gross! He also said that the people sat in silence for 6hours at a time! What a horrible time that must have been for him. He said he and his wife had to sneak out while shopping and get a pizza so they wouldn't die of starvation!!! So he chatted with us thinking also of his bad experience he hopes ours isn't like that; on the phone in retrospect he said we are welcome to eat anything (which I am sure he planned on anyways) and come and go as we please and he again sounds like a fun guy to be around. We certainly have a lot of things to share so I don't think we will ever be in silence for any period of time. His parents are also welcoming us to their house in the country for a few days. So some fun will be had in the big city and in the countryside. Logan wants to play some golf if possible with the dad but we shall see... both of them have bad backs if there isn't any carts.
Mertz went golfing with Logan last night at Ponemah Green, a real 18 hole golf course for the big shots. Logan said Mertz did some good shots and did well for a 7yr old some good old Father and son time. Mertz had been wanting to go since Logan picked up the sport a few months ago in May. He's been making some close bonds with some men at church who also enjoy golfing. I have no time for much. My days consist of running errands, housework, cooking making meals(whenever Logan can't fill in okay so 90% of the time) and sleep and taking the kids out for play as much as possible. I have been doing some embroidery work on a scarf you put on a bureau. That seems to be my hobby right now. I've been at it for a month and still have some more to do on it but more than halfway done. I've been wanting to get started on some paintings with oil being the medium, I have some canvases, a wooden easel Logan managed to get for free and was going to be thrown out at AC Moore where my nephew works as a stock boy, the thing is beautiful! What would be more beautiful is if I could do it without worry that the kids wouldn't get into the oils and make a mess of it in our apartment---a huge deal if that happened! I also have plans to make myself a dress to wear at the temple. I have a nightgown pattern fit for the role as a temple dress. That will be after our trip to England and will be happy to wear my own dress again. Well much of this post ran a bit random, my random thoughts I felt to share.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Few NEW links ADDED!

I added a couple of links, one is of music; different music arranged by Logan, and other colleagues some of his own compositions as well! Check it out if you like. Also another site (getting organized) that I found years ago when I almost had a total organizational breakdown. One way I used it to keep my sanity back when I lived with the handicapped woman and others in 2002-03. Occassionally I come back to it, but for me its really all about what she says, make it a routine. If you've never seen this site I recommend it, for it is a system mom once had a book on even the one Flylady refers to (Peggy and Sue's book). Its fun to read all the things people found while cleaning out their homes. But this is a great motivational tool when and if you sign up she'll send you daily e-mails to get going everyday! It helped me make mental notes and no I'm not a total retard but I can get side-tracked with kids demanding things other than what I'm trying to focus on getting done. We were born to a SHE so we have those same SHE tendencies. Don't know what a SHE is? read on the link on getting organized.

Friday, August 3, 2007

My personal facts for Little Criddle

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.
B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
Okay so I'm putting myself out like never before, I think you may enjoy this list of things....
1. I enjoy watching my kids play together
2. I always try to make my kids day with a hug or get right down on the floor to play with them
3. I find the human body and mind in general very beautiful when treated with the highest respect; the most awesome creation of all!
4. I have to wash all dishes before I make another meal
5. I don't like watching 21st century mainstream television (soaps, reality, or sitcoms on abc, cbs, fox cause I don't feel they reflect the way we should behave)
6. I hate to admit but I love to sew, Mom always knew I'd like it but I denied it for a long time
7. I secretly desire to be a model when I grow up...the End.

Okay so these are my little facts/habits about me
I wish not to tag anyone at this time since it will just go around in circles
Have a nice day!
Hope you all enjoyed!