25 November, 2006

"Look, mate- just because you are an idiot.... I know better than to take that soaking wet 30degree bend at 60 miles a hour- and if you don't get off my ass, you will know better- too."

Also- I use the ashtray in my car to hold food.

23 November, 2006


When one of your superiors says "We need to communicate better" and what they really mean is "YOU need to communicate with ME better."

And then you say "Excuse Me? You are the one who fucked up- not ME. So, maybe you should take that bullshit about communicating better and shove it up your ass."

Or...maybe not. Maybe you just smile and bite your tongue instead....

15 September, 2006


It's midnight; we are moving tomorrow, and I have been up since 6am. I am trying to finish packing the kitchen up, and eh, maybe I'm halfway through. In an effort to lighten our load I did no grocery shopping this week and encouraged everyone to use stuff up. Which means that the last glass of water was drunk, 3 hours ago, by me. There is no more water in the house, period. Except for tap water, and we all know that stuff gives you dysentery. I am thirsty. T H I R S T Y. Soooo thirsty. How can I wrap plates and pack glasses and clean when my throat is shriveling up? I can't. I just have to drink something. And my husbands warm coke or the kids undiluted orange squash just aren't options you know. It's time for drastic action. A midnight race to my husbands car for the trusty bottle of water he always has in there. It will be perilous, dark, there will be monsters. I steel myself. I grab the keys. Put my shoes one. Stand in front of the door. I tell myself all will be fine. I open the door. At first, it's ok. Nothing flies at me. But SUDDENLY a Crane Fly swoops through the door, dives at my head, and then races toward the light. Another bashes against the door, obviously not understanding exactly how it works. A huge white moth slams into the glass, I see shadows circling just behind the throw of the kitchen light. I let out a scream and slam the door. Simultaneously ducking and waving my hands above my head to fend off the imminent attack. Nothing. I look up, and around. The crane fly is making his way into the dining room, where ultimately, he will meet his demise.

The door remains closed. And here I sit. Thirsty. So thirsty. Water.

08 September, 2006


I'm feeling a bit sad today because we are moving in a week. Originally I was really excited, and of course I still am. The new house is much bigger, and it has loads of storage space and a fantastic big backyard/garden. But it has really started to hit me how much I'll miss it here. The sheer amount of green space. The huge field right through the woods across the street where we go for evening walks and to play ball with the kids. The woods themselves, which change with the season and are always a pleasure to walk through. The MOD land across the road that just goes on for miles around where we go for long Sunday walks and never know what we'll find or where we'll end up. One Sunday it was at the top of a hill overlooking the entire area, another day it was lost in the pouring rain going in circles. The kids pick blackberries and plums and climb the trees and are always on the lookout for rabbits or deer or foxes. I'll miss the small town ness of it. Of running into my neighbors at the grocery store and saying hi, of the bank tellers knowing my name (and, unfortunatley at times, my bank balance...) I'll miss the kids schools, too. They are really great schools and my son, who had so much trouble back home has just had such a better time here. They both love their schools, they know all the teachers and the other kids. I know the schools, the people there, the other parents, etc. I read the school calendar today and felt sad seeing all the things that my son will miss out on this year.

Our house is to small, our garden completley unsecure (weve had pissed off local kids throw garbage in our yard, people walk through it, and we think people have been sitting at our patio table at night while we are asleep which is disturbing.) The local kids are horrid foul mouthed monsters. So, I know that moving is the best option. But I feel like we are moving to this great house which will become the center of our environment. There are no trees or big fields to play in, or land to walk through. The schools, which we have chosen carefully, are to far to walk to anymore, and while our road seems nice everything behind it seems crammed together and looks like council estates. But, it is all clean and quite. I don't really like the local shopping centre and all the small shops a mile or so up the road look really dirty and...not nice... So, I'm glad we're not really near them.

And while I'm sure the schools will be great, they won't be the same or nearly as good as what we have here.

So, I just feel that this house is it. The only reason we're moving, and is it worth it? Am I going to hate the area so much that even the house will fail to make me/us happy? Only one way to find out I suppose. But, I'll miss it here.

06 September, 2006

I am a bad mother

Really. The worst.

I give my 5 month old baby chocolate. Melted, on the end of my finger, when I'm baking brownies. Sometimes- sometimes- I give him some whipped cream to. And, dear god- he LOVES it.

He is obviously going to develop life threatening allergies, grow up to be morbidly obese, and have apalling eating habits.

Oh, woe is me.

02 September, 2006

I ate all the muffins.

That's right. Today has been a cold, wet, grey day. I have been in a cold, grey mood ever since having a row with my husband this morning, and our silent drive home when he picked me up did not help. After spending half an hour in bed crying, I decided I should probably get up and make dinner, since I didnt know when the horde would get home from the inlaws house.

My motivation was the brownies. Feeling miserable and sorry for myself it seemed only logical that while cooking dinner I should stuff my face with the triple chocolate brownies, and maybe some of the brownies with cream cheese filling as well. But, alas when I got downstairs I couldnt find them anywhere! I couldnt believe it! Not even the empty container. So, I called my still pissed off and also in trouble husband and asked very nicely if he knew where MY brownies had gone. "Oh, the kids took them down to mums with them".

Ah! They STOLE MY brownies! The horde- who were told that one of them could have ONE brownie after lunch and the other could have NO brownies at all since I came downstairs at 6:00am and found her stuffing her face with TWO illicit brownies. The very same children took the whole lot with them! What about me?! I mean honestly! You completley disregard my instructions and disobey my orders- and then you don't even leave me ONE?! They are SO being sold to the gypsies this time. Even the baby- I'll bet he was the mastermind behind it, he's always trying to get chocolate.

And just to get back at them I baked more blueberry muffins, which they love!, and I ate them allll. Hah. I might even bake more brownies and tease them.


15 August, 2006

Little Rafey

Well, tomorrow Rafe will be 5 months old! He is an absolute joy, and every moment with him is amazing. In the last two months he has become extremly vocal and loves to jabber and talk, I've been trying to teach him to say ma ma. Now, he can say mama, but not yet in context. Or, maybe it is in context- he only says it when he's extremly ticked off... And after mama? Aluminum. That's right. Just because he was born in Britain doesnt mean he has to talk like the British- I've got the other boy for that. uncommon the
Rafe can roll over, now (has been for awhile) it really was such a non event- I was a bit sad. Though that's not odd these days... I just put him down one day and he rolled over! "Haha, mom bet you werent expecting that!"

27 July, 2006


My daughter has a lovely wardrobe. It has bookshelves, a cupboard to hang dresses, and three small drawers. She has used it for over a year now, and I am finally ready to take it to the dump. The problem is that the drawers get stuck. And the cupboard door falls off, alot. And it's just plain UGLY. And the drawers are so small, she can't fit most of her clothes in them and I keep finding clean clothes on the floor, in the dirty clothes basket, or shoved in the cupboard. And that is enough to give me a nervous breakdown.

Apparently the majority of the western world choose Ikea for furniture needs, so I figured I'd have a look. A quick browse of their website showed me that their flat pack furniture probably isn't much better than anyone elses- but I saw a dresser I liked.
It's actually a convertable changing table. But, that doesnt matter much, as the changing table part converts into shelf space. Perfect. And the price was right as well. A browse of their storage options showed me something else I liked and it was decided, first thing Wednesday we'd head up to Croydon- the closest Ikea to us.

Rafe had a 10:30 appt. for his shots so after that we were on our way. Or so I thought. Having never been to Croydon before I really didn't know what to expect. Had I known to expect to sit in a horrible traffic jam for a full hour, in the middle of a disgusting, dirty city- I never would have gone. The traffic was the worst part of the day and by the time we got to Ikea, both DH and I were in a foul mood. However, the store was air conditioned and they had a cheap restaurant. Before anyone even so much as said "Mommmmy, I'm huuungry" they were sitting at a table with a plate of swedish meatballs and chips in front of them. And for both kids, including drinks it only cost us £4. Bloody hell, that's cheaper than McDonalds! Unfortunatley adult meals are not so cheap and I elected to go without. DH, however could not resist the call of meatballs in gravy- so I left them to it while the baby and I browsed.

I didn't go anywhere really except the childrens area, and I was pleasantly surprised. The store was well laid out, and well lit. I found the dresser I wanted right away, and the storage options were all close by. The one I originally wanted looked cheap and flimsy so I chose to go with a smaller, more sturdy and nicer looking option. I wanted two, one for each kids rooms, but they only had one left. Plenty of the other one, though. So, I suppose I'm not the only one who liked the smaller one better.

I had found what I wanted and done a little browsing and was back out to meet the horde in about 10 minutes. Amazing. I had been prepared for 2 hours of trudging around a huge store trying to find what I wanted and shoving through crowds of people, while the kids whined and acted up. This was awesome. I was so happy that I practically dragged the horde out of the store before things could go horribly wrong. Poor DH didnt even get a chance to see the dresser and storage unit on display, so lets hope he likes them! The only bad thing about the store was that I didnt get the hot dog I wanted, as they seem to have 500 restaurants and cafes and bistros, and the ones I went to, were never the ones with the hot dog deal. Oh, well.

Leaving meant venturing back into the traffic and our moods soon turned black. As we inhaled the fumes from the guy in front and sweltered in the 39 degree c heat, DH and I soon descended into bickering about his driving and ended up not saying a word to each other the whole way back.

The kids were extremly well behaved, however. And on the way home, I saw a parrot in a tree. Apparently an escapee from Bird World. That was great. :)

So, overall Ikea seems to be a nice place and I would like to go back. They even have a childrens centre, which I love, but it was full when we arrived. But, we won't be going any time soon, as I'm just not willing to sit in that bloody traffic again, it was horrible. I'd love for Ikea to build a store in Portsmouth. Apparently they were planning to, but local residents campaigned against it. Knowing how long it takes to get to Portsmouth (25 minutes to drive down there and park) and how long it took to get to Croydon (2 hours to drive up there and park) I have decided that I really hate those people.

24 July, 2006

At work

You're American?


Oh, man can you believe what your country is doing in Iraq?

To be honest, I'm not very happy with it.

Yeah, you know, the Americans are acting just like a spoilt child who's been slapped, and now is going to slap back much harder. I mean, I know September 11th was really terrible and all- but honestly they're acting just like spoiled children, right?


Spoiled Children!

Well, I'm certainly glad you pointed that out. And next time I see President Bush- I'll be sure to fill him in on your educated, well reasoned and thought out points regarding the Middle East.



22 July, 2006

Little Miss.... something.

Wednesday 7:30-8:25am

"Livvy, go and get ready for school please."

"I'm not getting dressed! I'm NOT going to school!!!

"Livvy, come and eat your breakfast, please."

"I'm NOT eating! I don't want breakfast! I'm NOT HUNGRY!!"

"Livvy, come here so I can brush your hair, please"

"I'm NOT having my hair bruhuhuhushed! I don't want BRUSHY!"

3:20 pm

"Wheres the car, mommy? Did you bring the car? I don't WANT TO WALK HUHUHOME! I WANT TO DRIVE!!"


"Livvy, please eat your dinner."


"Liv- go and brush your teeth."

"NO! I'm NOT brushing my teeth! NOOOOO!"

"Livvy put your pajamas on"


"Liv- go and get into bed, now."



" I love youuuu mommy and daddy and devon and rafey, sweet dreams!!!!"

17 July, 2006


A woman from my daughters school is going to a childrens centre in Mozambique this summer and would like to again bring donated items for the children there. It is quite sobering to read down the list of things they desperatley need, knowing I have access to those things 24/7 either in my medicine cabinet or at corner shop. A recent report on radio 4 discussed the problem of sanitary pads in Africa, and I found myself quite close to tears as I listened. Girls who have to stay home from school because it was that time of the month. Because they simply don't have access to pads. Can you imagine? In most cases it is because they are simply to expensive. And a group has strived to do everything in their power to make pads more accessible to women and girls, but it slow going. They have only just managed to get the government to agree to take tax off sanitary products. But, how much does that help, really?

I put together three shoeboxes of items to send along this summer, and amongst the items I included 6 packs of 20 pads each. 120 pads in total. But those certainly won't last longer than one cycle for 6 girls. I wished I could do more.

I would like for anyone who reads this blog to send one thing to my daughters school, to in turn be passed on to the childrens centre in Mozambique. Please remember while we live more or less in the lap of luxury- these children have nothing.

Here is a list of things that would be greatly appreciated by the childrens centre. If you only send one thing, it is better than nothing at all. So, please....

unwanted childrens clothes (clean)
plasters (bandaids)
underwear (size 2-4)
laundry markers
one piece sleepsuits (large size 2-4)
spill proof training cups
sanitary pads (no tampons)
curly ribbon
glue sticks
dry erase and permanent markers
pencils, pens, notebooks and scissors.

These are such simple items, but would make such a world of difference. And theyre not expensive. I decided to go to Lidl, where I knew I would be able to get most things, and more of them. If you decide to send something, then here is the address.

Bordon Infant School
FAO: Joan Fensome
Budds Lane
Bordon, Hampshire
GU35 0JR

03 July, 2006

Well, despite my desperate pleas to Rafe that he stop that growing stuff, he is now almost to long for his Moses basket, and this morning he rolled over! I know I should be cherishing these very short months, but I just find myself sad with each new day, knowing that soon he will no longer be my baby. I want to sear every smile, every cuddle, every new experience into my memory, it's over so quick and it's so easy to forget.

Yesterday we took the kids to a local fjord(ford?) over at an old milling house. The water was crisp and clear. They ran through it and splashed and watched the Trout that swam by occasionally. Occasionally a car drove through, most were very slow and careful but others, after making sure the kids weren't in the road, would rev the engine and plough through, splashing everyone! These were the most fun. David got some good pictures for the summer magazine he's working on and the kids had a great time. I sat on the side with Rafe at one point and dipped his feet in, and the coldness of the water made the poor thing cry. But, once his feet were warm again, he laughed and smiled in the sunlight.

It's very hot here, they've issued a heatwave alert. That seems so odd to me, as it's at least 30 degrees cooler here than in Arizona, but then I remember that they're not used to it here. As hot as it is, it is kind of nice, just to have the sunlight. But, I'll be happy when it goes. I like the overcast, rainy England. Just goes to show I will never be truly British, as they like to tell me at work.

29 June, 2006

YO YO YO We is healthy, like!

At assembly this morning, at my daughters infant school, we were all handed sheets of paper with the Healthy School Rap printed on them. I wish now I had brought one home with me. It went something like this.

XX Infant School is really healthy
so healthy, we got an award
this is for the celebration.

We are all so healthy
something, something
we love coming to school!

XX Infant School is a healthy school,
and were happy for the award,
and being healthy is really cool!


(ok, not exact but you get the idea)

The rap was made up especially for the awards ceremony and the entire school had been recorded singing it. It was held at the great hall in Winchester, with the local gorvernment present and two girls had been chosen to represent the school, at the ceremony. They had been given microphones and with the accompanying backtrack of the recording, they had rapped to the Winchester Mayor. And as they stood up to lead the school in yet another rendition, I could only think- My god, what could they possibly have done to deserve that?! Poor things.

Well, silly raps aside- Congratulations to all the schools on their awards, I'm sure they could only have done it by vastly improving the quality of the school dinners and then raising the prices. It's heartening to know the 10% of kids who can afford traditional lasagna and chicken chow mein for lunch will be that much healthier than those who bring ham sandwhiches.

*clap, clap, clap*

17 June, 2006

Red Hair!

Ha ha! Little Rafey's hair is growing back and it looks like it's going to be red! (ah hem, giiiinger....)

I can't believe it! I naturally assumed it would be brown, so I'm shocked! It's so lovely!

And before any of you start getting any ideas.... Ginger hair runs in DH's family, at least during childhood, apparently everyone who had red hair during childhood, had brown hair as adults.

Hooray- I'm really excited!

I'd post a picture, but it's really hard to tell at the moment, it looks brown, it's the way the light hits it at times that makes you think "wait a second it's not coming in brown at all! It's red!"

Little Rafe is 3 months old now, weighs a ton and is an absolute joy. He wakes up in the morning and is all smiles. We play in bed for a bit and then come downstairs, he goes into his little mothercare inner tube with the arches over the top and plays with his big mirror and colorful octopus for about 25 minutes. Usually after that he goes into his swing for a nap and will sleep until about 11:00.

He isn't rolling over yet, but he doesn't spend alot of time on his back or stomach, he much prefers sitting up, and is always tring to sit up by himself, or pull himself to a sitting position in the reclining chair or swing. He has an absolutley lovely temperment! This is about the month where he should start sleeping through the night (please!!!) and he has done it once. I'm trying to put him to bed in his basket each night instead of with us, which we used to do, but then I started feeding him in bed, and I'd fall asleep! I hope that not being with us and not having easy access to the boob will keep him from waking up to eat. We'll see!

He just had his second round of shots last week. It was just like the first round, I nursed him while he was "jabbed" and he let out a heartbreaking cry of pain, but then he went back to nursing and was fine. By the time we left the building, I think it had been all but forgotten.

month 3 is looking lovely...

14 June, 2006

Home Sick

I feel like my one year anniversary, of living in the UK, has sparked a feeling of losing my identity. I don't really feel American anymore. And I certainly don't feel British. A big part of it has to do with, I think, not being able to decipher accents anymore. Everyone sounds the same, I cant tell the accents apart anymore, I don't even realize I'm speaking to an American unless they tell me! This is hard because I feel like- these are people I should talk to, and identify and feel some sort of kinship with- and I can't even tell them apart!

The vocabulary difference is getting to me, as well. It didn't matter when I thought of everything in American terms, because I could just laugh at the "silly" things the Brits say. But, now things are becomning second nature to me and I am desperatley trying to cling to the seeming life raft that is the word "pants" and " zip code" and "zee". I don't want to lose how I speak. It's apart of me. It's 23 years of my life!

I feel like I'm losing my grip on everything I've ever known and I'm just completley fading away. Who will I become? Who will I be? When I'm not ME anymore....?

I'm scared and I'm tired and I really just want to go home.

11 June, 2006

Online Groceries!

When I woke up this morning- that is to say when I woke up, extracted the drooling baby from my right boob, my hair from under the drooling husbands* head and took two aspirin for my aching head- I was terribly excited! Why? Two words. Grocery Delivery. My weekly grocery shopping was being delivered to me! By Sainsburys! By two gorgeous hunks in tight tshirts! With rippling muscles! (Or maybe not...)

So, I busied myself with this weeks bread challenge and then cleaned up the kitchen, and hit Tesco for a paper. By the time I got back it was twenty past eleven and a Sainsburys truck was just pulling up out front. Awesome! Yeah! Woo!

In came the balding middle aged delivery guy (oh, well...) with some sheets of paper and explained the process to me, what to do if I abhor their substitutions, who to call if they screw up, what color bags the stuff is in, when to expect deliveries in the future (apparently either late or early, ha ha guess which!), etc.

Then the groceries. |As the Ocado man brought them in, my DH and I inspected the substitution list. Spicy refried beans? Well, o-kay... Duracell batteries for 5.99? No, thank you. Pampers diapers for 40p more? Jesus, I suppose... Cheese Pizza instead of pepperoni? Somehow, my husband will survive.

After that, the delivery man left, and I ran out with a tip for him and his assistant, 2 quid each...

Then DH and I went to the task of putting things away. Except, oops!! Can't make chicken enchiladas without the chicken! And somehow, Strawberry shortcake just isn't the same without the strawberries. The kids might miss their yogurts at lunchtime, too.

All in all about 12 items were missing. |And I had a mysterious extra bag of potatoes and onions I hadnt ordered. So, onto the phone.

Now, before getting on the phone I was a bit annoyed. They charged me 5quid to deliver the flaming groceries and they had forgot half of them! I wasn't sure I'd be trying this little experiment again. But, the guy on the phone was really great. He spoke to the driver, about 30 miles away at this point, who, haha- oops! put them in with the wrong order. She had my dinner staples, and I had her bags of cheap onions and potatoes.

I was told he could be back here around 3:00. When I mentioned the delivery fee- he said he would give me a 10 pound voucher.

Shortly before 3:00, the delivery guy turned up again, missing groceries in hand, chicken and mince still cold. He handed me the groceries, and then the voucher from behind his back. (um, yeah- not amusing.) and apoligized. No harm done, I said. Which really meant "Give me my 2 quid back."

All in all, a good experience and I would recommend it- assuming the missing groceries is a one off mistake. The good customer service, accurate delivery time and competance of the guy on the phone are good things.

The negatives would be the 5 pound delivery charge, obviously the missing groceries, and the not bad but not quite what I wouldve chosen myself quality of the apples. I was also annoyed that the 6 pack of water I had ordered turned out not to be the large 2liter bottles, but the small individual sizes, the pizzas were also much smaller than I usually get. The prices seemed the same though, despite the size difference. Probably my fault, but I tend to think maybe their website could be a bit more descriptive. Does anyone know what size pizza they get? Doubtful, you just grab the box and go.

The negatives seem to outweight the positives, but with the incredible conveinance of it, knowing I won't have to spend 3 hours ordering next time, and having a ten pound vochure in hand have convinced me to give it another go. Though next time, mistakes like that won't be quiet so forgiveable...

05 June, 2006

Why she really should stop whining so much....

As my daughter tossed the small box of coco pops into the recycling bin, it occured to her "I want to know what the ingredients are..." So, she picked it up and turned it over and there on the back of the box was a happy smiling child eating coco pops. To which my daughter exclaimed "CHILDREN!? They make coco pops out of CHILDREN!?"

"Yes", I replied, "Thats what happens when you get sold to the gypsies. They make cereal out of you."

25 May, 2006


Welcome to Orange Snail, my second blog. You may have checked out Gravey and Rice previously, my other blog which is now devoted solely to cooking and baking. Since deciding to go that direction with G&R, I created this blog so I'd still have a place to talk about my daily life, my experiences living in a foreign country and being a wife and mother to a very diverse family.

So, if you check in now and then you'll find, stories, anecdotes, pictures, rants and my own musings.

I've lived here a year now and so far I think England is a really lovely place to live, with wonderful people, beautiful countryside and really great "chips"!