Friday, July 29, 2005

A whole lot of Harry...Spolilers in the links!

I'm just trawling about for Harry Potter stuff. I tend to mourn the end of a book, miss the characters and it can take me a while to get over it before I can pick up another book. When reading Harry Potter, it's not just the one book, I'll go and re-read all of them. Lame? Maybe, but then I'm a housewife; what else have I got to do with my free time?

Anyways, I found all this great Harry Potter link stuff and I thought I would steal it and share with all my pals, since adding you all to my private e-mail is folly.

Most links were nicked from Mugglenet.

This is what'll happen if Voldermort wins.



Harry Potter ruined for Tom Hanks

Dallas Bastard...

What we think about those who spoil books...

Some people take this stuff too far...

I can see why everybody hates this guy...

This is fun for about three seconds...

I'm sure I could waste a few more hours on this stuff, but I'm hungry and really want to make some coffee. Besides, it's not like I'm the only one who can search for silly crap like this.

See what I found

I was walking up the street, rushing to collect Sassy-Face from school back in April when I looked over, like you do, into the front yard of a house that had a "For Sale/Sold!" sign out front. The house didn't interest me, it was the large laundry basket filled with battered toys left out near the curb that caught my eye.

I looked but kept walking. I stopped. I went back. Looked again. Star Wars toys. Nice. Kept walking. Stopped. Went back. Thought to myself; If I could get those for Husband he'd be kind of surprised. Must get Sassy-Face though. But what if the trashmen come and take the toys. But I can't be late to collect child from school.

The guy who owned the house must have seen me doing this weird dance outside his house (I was pushing the baby is her stroller the whole time) and he came out to see me. He asked if there something he could do for me. I asked if he was throwing these toys away. Yes, he says. Can I have them, I asked. Sure, he says.
I then did another couple minutes of funny dancing thinking, how am I going to get this basket on the buggy? I had just about decided I would carry the baby and strap the basket into the stroller when his neighbor, a Mommy with a kid in Sassy's class, asked what I was doing. I told her. She said I could put the basket behind her hedge and I could come back for it later. Hooray!

When Husband and I got back home, with the basket, this is what we found. They are original 1977-1983 Star Wars toys. They're in an awful state, very much played with for a couple generations at least (and definately in a sandbox), but I thought Husband could have fun restoring them. He's always said the one thing he really wanted as a kid was Star Wars toys, but they were so expensive he was never allowed to have them. Ebay sells replacement parts for cheap and it could be a great project.

Sassy-Face found them today. She's got them out and is happily playing away in the sandbox as if she's just got all the best X-mas gifts. She is over the moon. I don't think Husband will mind considering he's pretty much ignored them since we brought them home (although he was psyched to see them and did spend some time thinking about how to restore them) and to see his little girl so happy will make it worth while.

Isn't that what these toys were made for? (Husband was very happy Sassy was playing with them BTW and he even looks forward to the end of the rain so he can join her in the sandbox. Ain't they cute?!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

56 things I'm sure you're dying to know about me...

I stole this from Sylvana back on 25-7-05

56 Questions


1. Nervous habits - frowning, chewing nails
2. Are you double jointed -
Ha! I wish.
3. Can you roll your tongue -
4. Can you raise one eyebrow at a time -
Not really.
5. Can you blow spit bubbles -
Yes, but why?
6. Can you cross your eyes -
7. Tattoos -
8. Piercing -
Ears, but don't wear earrings often.
9. Do you make your bed daily -
Yes, if you count pulling the blanket back straight as making the bed.


10. Which shoe goes on first - I don't care.
11. Speaking of shoes, have you ever thrown one at anyone? -
OH YEAH! I once tried to brain my brother with a cowboy boot.
12. On the average, how much money do you carry -
Emergency tenner and my cash card; who needs more?
13. What jewelry do you wear 24/7 -
None, in fact, where's my wedding band...
14. Favorite piece of clothing -
Jeans. No; slutty bra. No; pink satin head band...oh I don't know!


15. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it -
Twirl it.
16. Have you ever eaten Spam -
Yes, and corned beef out of a tin.
17. Do you use extra salt on your food -
Not if I can help it.
18. How many cereals in your cabinet -
6. (Cheerios, Frosted flakes, Weetabix, Muddles, Shreddies and Shredded wheat bite sized.)
19. What's your favorite beverage -
Coke~Cola, but I can't drink it much, so I drink water and Robinsons Hi-Juice in cherry, apple and raspberry blend.
20. What's your favorite fast food restaurant -
Burger King.
21. Do you cook -
Absolutely and every day.


22. How often do you brush your teeth -
2-3 times a day and floss every other.
23. Hair drying method -
4 minutes with slow dryer. (not a slow setting just a crappy dryer)
24. Have you ever colored/highlighted your hair - have to ask??


25. Do you swear -
I live in Scotland, what do you think? Although with little ones around it's become more cussing in code.
26. Do you ever spit -
YUCK!!! I HATE SPITTERS!!! (well Sylvana said it best)


27. Animal -
28. Food -
Curry. Jalfrezi or Korma or hell, all of it's good.
29. Month -
30. Day -
Monday (Husband to work, Sassy to school, house to me).
31. Cartoon -
Kid Notorious
32. Shoe brand -
Fit and feel is far more important than brand. Oh, and they've got to be red.
33. Subject in school -
34. Color -
35. Sport -
Rugby or gymnastics. Does Nascar count?
36. TV shows -
Scrubs, General Hospital, CSI (Vegas and NY) and any cooking show.
37. Thing to do in the spring -
38. Thing to do in the summer -
Beach, sport, barbeque and play with the kids.
39. Thing to do in the autumn -
Hiking, site-seeing, cycling.
40. Thing to do in the winter -
Stay warm (I hate winter)


41. In the CD player -
Eagle Eye Cherry, but will change to Go-Go's Greatest Hits soon.
42. Person you talk most on the phone with -
Husband or the lady at telephone banking.
43. Reading -
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (as suggested by my MIL)
44. Do you regularly check yourself out in store windows/mirrors -
Of course
45. What color is your bedroom -
Ugh...lime green, but it's a legacy of the previous owners. I can't sleep in a freshly painted room because it gives me a sore throat. I'll get around to it one day.
46. Do you use an alarm clock -
47. Window seat or aisle -
I don't care. Window for something to look at probably.


48. What's your sleeping position -
side or back, and then other side but not tummy, it hurts my boobs.
49. Even in hot weather do you use a blanket -
Yes. Can't sleep without one.
50. Do you snore -
I'm told I do but the source is completely unreliable and he snores too.
51. Do you sleepwalk -
No, but I used to as a kid.
52. Do you talk in your sleep -
No, but I used to as a kid.
53. Do you sleep with stuffed animals -
Only my Husband.
54. How about with the light on -
No, I need total darkness; any bit of light and my internal clock wakes me up.
55. Do you fall asleep with the TV or radio on -
I prefer silence so shut the fuck up.
56. Last interesting person you met -
I'm chatty so I always meet interesting people. I'll just never remember their names. I also attract weirdoes, if there's a demented someone within a one mile radius of me, they will seek me out and introduce themselves and their alien friends.

Monday, July 25, 2005

As promised.

I did say I would include the other Geezer's ass photo. I just didn't want it next to the picture of my new hair-do. No need to link my face with Geezer's butt. So here's what I won for playing "Find Maja".

it's a good thing you won...

And just so you know, I got an E-mail from my Mom mentioning she was looking at the pictures on my blog for updated ones of the kids, and she made no mention of your bum Geezer. She's got class, my Mum.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


When Husband kissed me goodbye this morning, I looked like this.


Not very pretty. I've noticed recently I'm starting to look my age, which I've never done before. I've always been told I look younger. I'm now 33. I'm not suffering with wrinkles, but then I have a chubby face which plump any wrinkles out. I'm going to have to accept that I've now reached the age where I require a certain amount of cosmetics to make myself look better. I've never been keen on putting on make-up because I find it really boring and the stuff is expensive.

Occasionally I get inspired to change everything. Today was one of those days. Hair trimmed shorter, and colored dark brown. A bit of lippy and mascara and voila!

I think I'm looking all right. I wonder what Husband will think. Why did I change away from the red hair, I hear you ask; well, it was all getting really tiresome. I have to update the color every two weeks, and it just bleeds everytime it gets wet. I've ruined all my white shirts with pink drips. After five months of that, my hair is a bit of a mess (hence the short trim) and my scalp is not pleased with me either. I keep saying I'll let my natural colour grow out, I haven't seen it since I was 12 and it would be interesting to see it again. I know I have plenty of grey hair, well more white really judging from what I pluck out of my eyebrows.

I should start paying closer attention to Badger's cosmetics blog
Lipstick is my Crack.

So, whaddaya think?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I've nicked this from Louise's blog.

"Your mission if you choose to accept it: You have to sleep with 10 celebrities, 5 male and 5 female, I don't know why, maybe your life depends on it, maybe you just enjoy swinging both ways. Fact is you do. Pick them and tell me who and why. "

Well, okay. Since you asked nicely, but I'm sure there's going to be a few gag reflexes because I know I've mentioned before my taste in men is pretty unusual. My taste in women is fairly pedestrian though. Here they are in their picture layered glory:


Who are they? Men first...

1) Jerry Lewis. It would have to be the 1950's version of Jerry Lewis so he's a bit more age appropriate for me, plus he was at the height of his zany humor. I'm a sucker for a slapstick comic, but not just any ole' prat fall man (like you'll notice Jim Carrey's not here because the man is way too needy!). He has to have intelligence and Jerry is incredibly clever, and he has to have confidence; again Jerry's got it in spades, baby. He was my first love, at the age of five I saw him in a black and white movie called "Visit to a small planet." and my heart has never left him.

2) Penn Jillette. Well he's tall, I like tall. He's funny, I like funny. He's also incredibly smart. I'm weak in the knees already. Add a huge smidgen of confidence and ego and I'm giggling like schoolgirl and blushing up the neck.

3) John Cusack. He's just so sexy. He's tall, funny and unassuming. He speaks from the heart and spares all the bullshit. He's honest and raw, but sweet and charming.

4) Rik Mayall. I know lots of folk are going to disagree, but he fits my formula of funny with smarts. He's also shown himself to be extremely tender and affectionate as well as a dirty pig. The man is a genius and he loves life, you can just see it in his eyes. Happy people are a luxury.

5) Russell Crowe. Here comes the odd one. He's not zany, or even known for having much of a sense of humor. He always seems angry and arrogant. This is the guy I would want to take in my arms and try and make him see the good and shining beauty in life. I would want to help him. Haven't we all found someone we liked, but wanted to change in some way? I would try and change Russ into a happy guy.

The Women...

1) Aimee Mann. I love her music, she's a very gifted songwriter/performer and think she's quite brilliant but not appreciated the way she should be.

2) Claire Danes. What is it with her eyes? Ever since she was in that show "My so called life" I just seem drugged when I watch her. It was even worse when I saw "Romeo and Juliet". She's the closest I've ever come to having lesbian feelings.

3) Alyssa Milano
. She seems like she'd be a lot of fun. She's spunky, fit and always smiling. She has amazing energy and she's got confidence without being bitchy. She'd be a great pal.

4) Dr. Tanya Byron. I was shocked to see Louise had her too! She is the ultimate mother figure. Someone who would give you endless cuddles and whose lap would always be there for you to rest your head upon. She'll always listen (being a psychologist helps) and she'd be the perfect babysitter. She's really pretty too!

5) Jo from "Facts of Life" (Nancy McKeon). She was tough, and not afraid of anyone or anything. She was smart and never expected to have things just given to her; she worked for everything she had. What an awesome role model. I know I would have to have sex with her, and neither of us would like it but she'd understand.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Media Blackout Lifted.

I've just finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, so I'm able to read and talk to folks again.

I loved the book, but I didn't like the ending...

Have no clue what book 7 will be like.

Must go to chat room and... chat.

(hangs head. So lame. But gotta.)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

For all you Ass-loving Gaylords!

Here's my prize for winning Geezer's caption competition, along with my winning submission and congratulations note from Maja and Geezer.

Hi Lyvvie,

Congratulations on your brand spanking new picture of geezer's ass complete with not one, but TWO hand prints, and special guest star Obi Wan Kenobi!!!! I was quite amazed by the way welts developed on his arse from the slap I gave him. He screamed like a three year old girl when I did it, too. We are starting to question our respectability these days what with all these sick photos we're taking.. but it's all in the name of fun fun fun, and we don't care what anyone thinks anyway. Obviously!!!

Can't WAIT until you post the pic... hell you may find yourself so inspired that you decide to take some similar photos of your hubbies arse next time you're bored and feeling a little bit fruity.

Take care, have fun and ENJOY!

xox Maja and Geezer

My winning submission to Geezer's caption: "Geezer,let me help you off with those grimey,3 week old under garments with what appears to be nutella smeared up the really like to........... [Lyvvie] "Make you wear them on your head and parade your dirty ass through the town streets so everyone can see what a filthy bugger you really are until you can learn the "Wipe and peek until your bum goes squeak!" method of bottom cleaning!"

My ass pic prize, complete with TWO red shiny hand marks...

Geezer's Arse

And I've noticed today that Geezer's put up a picture of said pants on his head, looking sullen (geezer, not his pants...the pants look like they need drowned in holy water, torched and the ashes buried on sacred ground.)

I really love how Obi-Wan has his light sabre drawn, as if to "None shall enter here!"

Thank You!!!

Media Blackout

I'm currently on a media blackout until I finish reading "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." because I don't want anybody, anywhere to ruin the surprises in the book for me. I'm not, even though desperately tempted, going to peek at the last few chapters.

I'm going to page by page skim the book for general content and find out who gets killed (I'm thinking Snape, Dumbledore or Mr. Weasley but honestly have NO CLUE) and then I'll read it again and at a proper slow pace to get all those little things I missed the first time around. It's the only way I can read these stories. Actually I read most books this way. I'm like a starving person who greedily gobbles up everything on their plate, and then eats a second helping with a bit more relish. (Although I prefer brown sauce.) (ouch)

I'll not be looking at any blogs, news reports, newspapers or even my mobile/cell phone until I'm done so I don't see any spoilers or hear some dumb fuck say "Oh and isn't chapter seven a complete surprise?!" when I've only finished chapter two because I'll then just jump ahead to chapter seven because I'm weak. I know some saddo has already read the whole 600 plus pages and will have started spouting spoilers a la "Hardy-Har! I always knew!" so fuck them all, I'm going into the bomb shelter.

See everyone in about a week!


p.s. - see you fellow fans on the mugglenet chatrooms to discuss how book seven will end.

p.p.s. (As I write this the twat hosting the kid's morning tv show is saying he's read the book four times. I'm putting ear fucking plugs in!!)

p.p.p.s.- Yes, I'll still put Geezer's ass up if it comes smellin' up my mailbox a la nutella.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Oh No.

Hm, well, apparently Amazon has forgotten that I cancelled my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, because I just got an e-mail saying my copy has been dispatched. I also got an e-mail from Tesco's telling me my copy has been dispatched.

How pissed off do think my postman is gonna be to have to deliver two copies of heavy big book to my from door tomorrow morning?

Now I'll have to bump up money to post the damned thing back to Amazon. No, I didn't say damned, it's lovely, wonderful...well I fricking hope it is.

I'm a Winner!

I've just won Geezer's caption competition! I'm so...Happy!

What's my prize? A picture of Geezer's ass with a ripe-red hand print from his beloved Maja, AND a surprise Star Wars figure to be nestled between his sweet cheeks. I'm so *honoured* (note, I even included the useless "U" in honoured, just for Geezer)

As soon as I have my prize, I promise to share with everyone, right here.

You can see the previous winner of a picture of Geezer's ass here on Corinna's Blog.

If anything will scare the kiddy-fiddlers away it's gonna be a picture of Geezer's hairy ass.

(Remember all cautionary posts on this blog are to be posted in saftey orange. you've been warned)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Information for Parents and the Curious.

Just like those who commented on my previous post about the search term that hit my blog where someone was looking for "baby porn 6yo", I was horrified. I had a very teenage illusion of "It couldn't happen to me" what I put on my blog isn't interesting to that sort of perverse element. They may not have been interested, but the search engines brought them to me nonetheless.

I wouldn't have even known about it, if I hadn't recently installed the "BlogPatrol" counter at the bottom of my blog. I've had Site Meter since January, but you have to pay a subscription fee to view the search terms that bring folk to your webpages. It's free with Blog Patrol for the first 25 terms. I'd gotten used to seeing several search term hits for "Paula Radcliffe Pee" since I had a wee post about it ages ago (only got one comment though) and it seemed there's loads of folks interested in a woman taking a pee in public. *shrug* I feel so blessed-boringly normal now. When I saw that someone was on my blog looking for kiddy-porn I felt sick. Guilty too - have I exposed my family to this?

When I started putting pictures on my blog it was after a lot of thought, a lot of discussion with Husband and we finally decided that it would be good for my family in the USA to have the ability to pop into our lives whenever they wanted, so we would have photos too. We decided to never put nude pictures up (save for myself but that was tame)so no girls in the bathtub covered in bubbles or bathing suits, bare bottom potty training shots; those can stay in my own collection. But, "they" still came looking, didn't they. Invited, but unwanted.

I used the FBI website to look for information. I highly recommend you look at the site, it's fantastically informative. The section on Crimes Against Children has loads of information, advice and history of the initiative. You can also view the national and state sex offenders list to keep yourself informed.

I don't want to stop blogging, or run scared from this. I like having a blog, I like the friends I've made. They're the ones who are in the wrong, and I'm not going to punish or deny myself this one pleasure. I'll keep being careful of what I put up, and keep a close look on what comes my way.

I'm going to look at what Scotland Yard has to offer the UK, and if I find similarly important information/links, I'll post an update.

Update: In the UK you can make complaints to the Internet Watch Foundation. There's a sexoffender register but I can't find how to see who's on it; I'm not even sure it's available to the public which kind of defeats the purpose, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Just so you know...

To the creepy, sick, deserves to be killed slowly-kiddy fiddler who hit my blog with the Google and AOL search term "baby porn 6yo" I want to let you know I've reported your IP address to the FBI.
Burn in Hell.

Some Things just makes me laugh!

This is one of them: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince leaked in Canada (and I don't mean he peed on a tree). that's not even the funniest part, it's this bit from Mugglenet...

P leaked in Canada
"Raincost Books, the publisher of the Harry Potter series in Canada, has released a statement regarding a leak of up to 15 copies of Half Blood Prince. The leak occurred when the retailer, the Great Canadian Superstore, accidentally put the copies out for sale. In response to the leak, Raincost Books has filed an injunction to protect the plot and is urging anyone who obtained a copy to return it until July 16th.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!"

1) They got a shipment of a dozen books and "Accidently" put it out on a table to sell?

2) Folks who actually bought these books (lucky Buggers!), we can trust them to return the book so we can give it back to them on the 16th:

How delusional are they?? I can smell the lawsuits over any of those lucky folk who bought one, sold it to a newspaper for the scoop of the year and made a fortune.

Poor J.K. Rowling; doesn't pay to be so damned talented. (Well actually it does pay, she's worth more than the Queen.)

And they're not alone; it's happened in New York too

Sunday, July 10, 2005

What I have now that I wish I had then...

In the comment section of my previous post, Aughra asked me "What do you have there that you love, and that you wish they had in the US." It's such an excellent question, that my response was getting a bit long for Haloscan, and it deserved a proper post of it's own.

A lot of the things I love here, are food. I'm an eater, I love food, I love the social part of eating with family, I like the chemistry of cooking and I love seeing my family enjoying a meal I've prepared. Some on the foods I've come to love are: scones, haggis, tablet
, Irn Bru, butcher's sausages where the recipe is displayed next to them.

But it's not just food. I'm grateful for the NHS. People give it such a hard time, but they've never had to worry about whether they'll be able to afford to have an emergency treatment done because your HMO may not cover it. They've never had to worry if their job will earn enough to cover insurance payments. That fear is gone, and replaced with a hefty tax that takes the money strait out your paycheck before you even see it. I definitely prefer it this way. I have an NHS dentist who is amazing, and my cleaning only costs £11 (around $20-$25), both my girls were born in NHS hospitals that had superb nurses and doctors. I know it has it's downside with waiting lists for procedures, some people can't get cancer treatment quickly enough and suffer, but there is alternative health insurance one can have as a supplement (which we do have for those types of emergencies should one arise) to the NHS. The only bummer is that it's taxed really heavy; why tax us when were investing in taking the cost away from the NHS for cure/treatment of a major illness? Stupid.

When I lived in the city convenience was a joy. I couldn't go to the grocery store and buy everything in one trip because it was a small shop. I had to get my fruit and vegetables at a different shop run by an Iranian who had anti-Iraq cartoons everywhere and pictures of Rambo with Clinton's head pasted on, and my meat from Butcher Joe where he actually met the animal he's offering up for your dinner (He loved to tell me he didn't have any Brazilian, hormone injected beef for me and he hoped Scottish beef was good enough. Not in a mean way, just a sassy Mo-Fo, which is why I called him Mo-Fo-Joe.)

Now I live in the country, and I only have a Tesco Superstore, and it's soulless in comparison. I know it would be same back in US, a superstore and no local fruit guy and no Butcher Joe. Occasionally we would see a guy selling sweetcorn on the rotary and it was good, but it was only in August. This kind of giving over to the Superstore, is sad. It breaks up the community, and impersonalises service. The eighteen year old behind the meat counter at Tesco's doesn't know my name, or even care so why should I give him any attention?

I moved to Scotland on 11-August-1995. I was twenty-three years old. The first five years I suffered unbearable home sickness. The first couple of years at least once a month I would be crying hysterically, unable to stop and just consumed with a hollow, disconnected feeling of having nothing I belonged to. My family's lives went on, cousins born, aunties died, brother got married, sister struggled post-divorce and it all happened without me (Actaully, I went to my Brother's wedding in San Francisco and it was great!). I came home yearly for vacations but I soon felt like a guest. My Mom and Dad sold our family home in '98 and I was really upset by it, although I completely understood why they did it. I felt uprooted, I'd lost my foothold to my old life knowing that some stranger was turning my old bedroom into a sauna and jacuzzi. My father died suddenly in December of 2000, and I didn't get go home; my Mom told me I didn't need to, there was no funeral or anything and she was okay on her own, she had my Brother to stay with for a while. (They made arrangements for Dad's cremation, we don't believe in wakes/funerals because let's be honest, they suck and are way too painful to endure. The same will happen when my Mom dies.) Having none of my family to share my grief with was incredibly painful, but my Husband did an amazing job.

We flew over in June 2001 to scatter my Dad's ashes into Cape Cod canal. Okay, it wasn't so much a "scattering" as a dumping. My Brother did the honors and I think we were all afraid that the wind would blow Dad's ashes into some folk fishing a few yards away, and can imagine that conversation:

"Hey, what the hell are you doing, you got stuff all over me and my kid."

"So Sorry, it's, just, we're...uhm..."


"Nevermind, sorry. We'll pay for any dry cleaning."

Really how do you tell someone they've got your Dad dusted on their clothes?

We stood there on the side of the canal for several long minutes, watching Dad's ashes just settle onto the seaweed covered rocks of the canal, I half expected a current to sweep them away, but it didn't. Dad just dissipated a bit getting used to his new home, who knows where he is now, he's probably seen all of the world by now.

With Dad gone, the family is starting to break apart. Mom has a new boyfriend now, who makes her very happy and takes up all of her attention. She's absorbed in falling in love. I know it must feel fantastic, I've been there. She's sold her home in Massachusetts and moved in with him in Tenn. I now have no home in Mass. at all to go to, talk about disconnection. I flux between being happy for her and feeling sad for me which makes me feel guilty so I try and feel happy for her again. We miss her. She didn't call for either of my girls' birthdays, and I'm wondering if she remembers us at all. I've found it very hard to find my own way here in Scotland, to scratch out a life for myself. I feel that, after all that's happened, what's there for me to come back to?

In the beginning, back in 1995, I was a dog and cat groomer by trade and worked at that for a couple years. It's very lonely work, it's just you and the pets. Contact with people is fleeting and impersonal. I got it in my head finally that this was not going to help me establish here if I had no friends, and I was tired of seeing my Husband's guilt ridden face; he always felt it was his fault I was so depressed because I moved here and not to the States and financially we couldn't afford to move. I quit my grooming job without having another lined up, worked my four weeks' notice and then went home. I got off the bus near my house and stopped into the health food shop for a snack. I told my story of woe to the owner, a young red haired girl I'd chit-chatted with lots of times previously, and she offered me a job to startMonday. She said "If you can talk to my customers as easily as you can talk to me, you'll be great." That's my luck, I always find work that easy, that quick, and so started a career in customer service.

I made my first friends in that shop. I got to know my locals too. It was only a five minute walk from home and often I got to take home the sell-by date food home for dinner. I was making pennies (about £60/$100 a week) and often by Thursday I had no food in the house. There was one day, I remember, where I was really worried because we literally had no food to eat, and I was ashamed. I offered up a prayer (I'm not a religious person or a God botherer); with only a few pounds I could buy something for a meal or two before payday- veg is cheap I'll come up with some recipe, but I only need a few pounds. I got my coat, and walked up to work. On the way,I happened to look down and there was a five pound note on the sidewalk. I looked up and down the street to see if someone had dropped it, but I was completely alone save a few birds. I picked it up, said thanks to God, and walked on to work. I was able to buy enough pasta, veg and tinned chopped tomatoes to keep us fed until payday. (My Husband was working really hard trying to get a business off the ground with his Dad, so he was working from home and kept the roof over our heads)

This experience taught me many things:
1) If you pray, your prayers get answered, one way or the other and not always the way you want. 2) You can do plenty if you're prepared to lower your standards and accept things for the way they are; it's where you learn the most about yourself. 3) Sometimes, you just have to get over yourself to see what's really important in life. Take a job that you think is beneath you so you can make ends meet and never give up.

I worked in the health food shop for about a year and got my self-esteem up enough to be able to move on to another job, a job at the time I was extremely grateful for but have since realised they'd have hired me back on 11th of August 1995 because they love people with a gift of gab and who smile. I got a job at the Gap. I absolutely loved working at the Gap. I was part of the GapKids/Baby team and got to play all day. I made lots of new friends and within six months, I was in charge of the Baby dept. I wasn't a manager, I didn't want to go down that route, I didn't have the confidence, but Baby was showing a profit for the first time, and they just let me do what I wanted. I listened to every piece of advice that was slung my way, or I could eavesdrop.

I bought a notebook was working out statistical information to try and increase the daily profit by 10%. It gave me something else to do, it got my mind working. I organised an easy way to control the stockroom so you could ask me how many of a certain thing was available, I could tell you off the top my head. After one year, I'd managed to increase the profits of my dept. by 120%, and I had my book to prove it. That came in real handy when the president of the company came to visit to see what we were doing to have such a major turn around. My manager at the time tried to answer his questions, but didn't have the info. He was a glory hound who didn't want me around while the visit took place, but he had to call me over, and I brought my book with me and was able to answer everything.

I was able to negotiate a nice pay rise when I said I was thinking of going somewhere else. I was also made one of the new-staff trainers "Teach them to do what you do." I was never able to go much further than that though, because I didn't want to become a manager. At this time Sassy-Face was about 1 year old and my number one concern. If I became a manager, I'd never see her and I already felt guilty about having her in daycare for 28 hours a week.

After that, the confidence was there. It still is, maybe a bit humbled but I know what I can do when I put my mind to it. I left the Gap after three years and got my job at the bank. It's a similar story; starting out low and then became a staff training manager with a book of statistics to prove my way was working, only difference was the bank was much more supportive. It's a place where anyone's success was everyone's success so I didn't have as many egos to obstruct me, and a lot more help.

So, where does all of this history, and waffle, fit into Aughra's question of
"What do you have there that you love, and that you wish they had in the US." ? I guess the answer you were looking for were things, or traditions or something more tangible. I think what I have here that I love, is 10 years of history, personal growth and my adulthood. These life experiences would have happened wherever I'd settled, but they happened here. Every year we talk about moving back to the USA, but I've always said if it was going to happen it should be before Sassy-Face starts school. I don't want to uproot her from all her friends and family here, it'll crush her. Now there's Baby-Noggin to consider too.

I guess I just don't think about what we have here in Scotland that the USA could benefit from, because it's assumed the USA has everything bigger, better, cheaper and easier. Other than aNational Health Service, what does the USA need from us, that they don't already have themselves?

It's taken 10 years, but I've settled here. This is now my home. Everytime I say "Back home blah blah blah..." I'm working on 10 year old memories. I'm stuck in the 90's in the USA, and life has moved on away from me there. I find myself more often then not aswering questions about the USA with "I don't know, I'v been away for a while." It won't ever stop me saying that certain things are so much better in the USA (Cars are way cooler over there), but it's all becoming nostalgia for me.

I'm finding life to be a bit like a game of Pick-Up-Sticks. You pick one up, and watch how that affects your next move. Someone else has a turn, moves the sticks, and you have to change tactics again, pick up another stick. The game changes with every choice.

I can't predict what I'll do next. Right now, it's someone else's turn.

Friday, July 08, 2005

I am a kick ass dessert cook...

What Reject Sith Are You?

I always ask for Jell-o pudding when family come to visit,
"Bring me some Chocolate and vanilla Jell-o pudding!"

"Don't they have pudding there?"

"No, not Jell-o pudding, and butterscotch too. No pistachio...that's gross."

And I am a brilliant sweet-chef, My specialties are muffins, cheesecake and anything chocolate. I also make a fantastic lasagna, but not for dessert. Well, in this house could eat lasagna for dessert: layers of crisp filo pastry filled with whipped cream, crushed nuts, honey and sprinkled with brown sugar (It's like a lazy baklava). It's my lasagna-lasagna special.

Who's coming to the dark side with me? That would be dark chocolate by the way...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Is it just me or...

Does this commercial make absolutely no sense what-so-ever?

What are they trying to sell me?
What are the benefits of the product?

What does the lady with the big hands have to do with mobile phones?

You watch the ad and then let me know what's going on, because I have no clue!
Click on the
MilkMaid Ad basketball make yourself a cup of something hot while it loads (maybe some toast too if you've not got broadband) and let me know you're thoughts.

Are they showing this ad worldwide?

I'm flummoxed.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth of July!

I'm all excited!

This will be the first Fourth of July in Scotland that we've had a bar-b-que. We've never been able to justify the expense and have taken nearly two years to hem and haw over what type to get; gas or charcoal, big or small, q-grill or George Foreman, cheap and cheerful or full monty?

We ended up, after much debate, with a medium sized charcoal kettle grill that cost £30.00 from Tescos. We figured if we turn out not to like the whole bar-b-que experience, we're not out too much cash. I figure we'll be out there every night, even just to light it and warm our feet in the glow of the coal. I'd love to show you a picture of it, but it's so cheap they don't even bother advertising it on their website.

Last night we fired it up and Husband had great fun making big flames with the starter bag. We didn't know you needed extra charcoal to put on top of the starter bag, so we just had that, but it was enough to cook five hamburgers (premade and frozen, but really nice!) some homemade pretzels on sticks, and attempted to toast marshmallows, but they just melted off the stick, becoming pink napalm.

We stayed outside in the windy grey weather wrapped up in fleece jackets until almost 9pm. Husband was tying knots in some twine, Sassy was kicking a football around and body surfing on her space hopper and I was telling her the story (very badly and with huge gaping holes much to Husband's amusement) about how the thistle became the flower of Scotland.

None of us really wanted to have the fun to end, but it was getting cold, the embers had burned out and with a little struggle, we got Sassy inside. I think she enjoyed having Mum and Dad all to herself as her little sister went to bed at 7pm, there was no competition for our attentions; she was glorious. For that reason alone I think the night time BBQ's will continue, even if it's just to warm our hands and feet.

I can't wait for the Perseids now!

Happy Fourth of July!!