Thursday, January 31, 2008

OK...who wants THESE???

Thank you to Tonya for sending the information on the newest clothing rage in Japan. They are not see through skirts but rather prints on them to look see through. I know many of you will wait HOURS in line to get your hands on one of these...the question is..which panties to get ~ the sexy or the granny ones!!

However, I do have to disappoint a few of you as these are not actually for sale. It seems they are photos that can be seen in cheap porno magazines in Japan and not a product you can actually buy. I would certainly say they are cheap...who wants to look at underwear???

Monday, January 28, 2008


The UK government is giving McDonalds {along with a rail company and a discount airline} the right to award credits toward a high school diploma to employees who complete on-the-job training programs. According to the news reports, employees will initially be offered a "basic shift manager" course to train staff in everything they need to know to run a McDonald's store — from hygiene to customer service. Hmmm, shouldn't they know that BEFORE they are given a management position?

Depending on the course, successful completion would be the equivalent of passing the GCSE, the standard exam taken at the age of 16 in England and Wales, or the Advanced Level, the higher exam taken at 18. Here, in the UK, a student is able to stop their schooling at the age of 16 and enter the workforce, stay home or go on to higher education.

I think this is a step in the right direction for those who otherwise would not hav enough qualifications for higher learning or those who can't go to school because of the need to work. It will be interesting to see if it is a successful program.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I HATE doing laundry

Ok, I am sure I am not the only person who does not look forward to doing laundry. But while here I really dread doing the laundry.

To show the point I give you these tidbits of information:

The average washing machine here in the UK has a front opening of just under 10 inches while in the US it is 15 inches.

The average depth of a UK machine is 10 inches deep and a US one is 17 inches!

So you see what I am talking about? It takes much longer to get it done here. I have to do a ton of little loads rather than a few larger ones. I am SO over it. I cannot begin to explain my excitement of a new washer and dryer and doing laundry in the new house.

How sad is that?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Step Closer...

The inspection on the new house was today and it all went fine as nothing major was discovered. We were not too concerned as the homeowner appeared to take great pride in his home. The things that did pop up were minor and can be remedied quite easily and with little expense.

A HUGE thank you to Karen for going to the inspection and acting on our behalf. It sounds like she had a very nice time...the homeowners wife made them muffins and coffee ~ gotta love that!

I am still surprised that I am moving to a house that I have not even seen in person...what am I thinking? After speaking to Karen, I truly believe that we are making the right decision on this house and Tim really does know what I like.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

$1 Starbucks Coffee??

According to news reports, Starbucks is experimenting with a smaller, "short" $1 cup as well as free refills for brewed coffee. This is a great thing as Starbucks currently charges around $1.50 to $4.00 for a coffee, depending on size and flavor. The reason for the testing of the lower priced cup of Joe is to compete with other stores that offer the 'cheap' cup and free refills. The only flaw I see with this is that people, myself included, would stay WAY TO LONG in their local store.

Health Warning....

I just received this via email and as nothing exciting is happening here I decided that it had to be shared here......

This is why you should not swallow your bubblegum

Monday, January 21, 2008

Odd Weather

The mystery of weather never ceases to amaze me. The weather here locally has been rain, rain and more rain. In fact, there is quite a bit of flooding and even the roads in our village are flooded. Yet, if you travel 20 minutes north of here it is not rain you come across but SNOW! **the photos were not taken by me but from our local news**
Here is a little FYI for you too.....

If you don’t like Mondays, you’ll really hate today, Monday 21st January. It’s officially been named Blue Monday by a psychologist at Cardiff University, who has used a mathematical formula to prove that it’s the most depressing day of the year.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Bit of Sightseeing...

Tim is traveling in China for the next few weeks on business and today he was able to get a little sightseeing done. He is currently in Wuhan, known as one of the six large ancient cites in China. As the capital city of Hubei Province, it is the biggest hub city and industrial, agricultural, financial, educational and cultural center in Central China. . He has been there before but I guess he was not able to get out and have a look around the area.

One the sights of interest was a local memorial garden and while there Tim made a snowman! According to Tim, the amount of snow they currently have is unusual but he says it makes everything look very pretty and great for photos. I don't know if he was making the snowman just for fun or to show his local host a tradition from home in the US. I will have to ask him when he phones later today.

Next stop, Yellow Crane Tower, located on Snake Hill. Enjoying the fame of 'The First Scenery under Heaven', it is one of the most renowned towers south of the Yangtze River. Its cultural significance led to its being made the symbol of Wuhan City.

According to legend, Yellow Crane Tower was built by the family of an old pot house owner living in Wuhan City, named Old Xin. One day, a shabbily dressed Taoist priest came to the pot house and asked for some wine. Old Xin paid no attention to him, but his son was very kind and gave the Taoist some wine without asking for money. The Taoist priest visited the pot house regularly for half a year when one day the Taoist said to the son that in order to repay his kindness, he would like to draw a crane on the wall of the pot house, which would dance at his request. When people in the city heard of this, they flocked to the pot house to see the dancing crane. The Xin family soon became rich and they built the Yellow Crane Tower as a symbol of gratitude to the Taoist priest.

Originally built in 223, it was destroyed and rebuilt many times including its complete destruction in 1884. It was not rebuilt until 1981 where it can be seen in its current state. Today, the tower which stands today is based on the one designed during the Qing Dynasty (1664-1911). It stands about 168 feet high and has five floors. The appearance of the tower is the same regardless of the direction it is viewed from. The roof is covered by 100,000 yellow glazed tiles. With yellow upturned eaves, each floor seems to have been designed to resemble a yellow crane spreading its wings to fly.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Name

Found this today and thought it was quite funny. It is appropriate as the joke back in Indiana is that you will always come across a hillbilly, as Tyler would say HB, or two when out.So ~ here is my new name for our return. Go on, try it for yourself.....I bet you spend a lot of time on the website playing with the quizzes etc. I know I did.

Your Hillbilly Name Is...

Molly Sue Birmingham

Thursday, January 17, 2008

By Request....

I have received requests wanting to see the house so here you go.....I will post more once we have the inspection.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I am thrilled to say our offer on the house has been ACCEPTED!! Now we just need to have the inspections etc and we are good to go.

I cannot belive it...we are 1 big step closer to our move back to the US. I will post photos once the inspections and other paperwork is complete.

For Kathy...

A week or so ago in a post on Kathy's blog I made a comment about Gordon Ramsey and I had a story to tell about him. Well, she reminded me that I need to make the post about that and I am sure she is thinking it is really much more exciting that what is really is but you go.

One of our TV stations is doing a 'cooking' think the month of January and Gordon Ramsey is involved in it. This Friday there will be a real-time, live cookalong show with him. You can get all the details here and there are even cooking masterclasses you can watch online too! The gist is that good family cooking can be easy and tasty at the same time. The menu for this program looks very good and I will be cooking along too!
So basically, the story is YOU can cook with Gordon in your own home. See, I told you...not very exciting!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Oh so Cozy

I read about this in a newspaper article from Columbus Indiana, where will be moving back to, and had to share. This is such a NEAT idea and I am hoping it really takes off and a certain someone, hint hint, will go and take photos and post them on her blog. I can't wait to see the finished projects.

The details of the project are as follows: Participants will be assigned a tree on a designated street in downtown and will knit a blanket to cover the first 5 feet of the trunk. On Feb. 22 the blankets will be knitted together to form a tube around the tree. The city expects the cozies to remain on the trees a maximum of eight weeks. During that time the public can vote for their favorite cozy. The winners will receive a donation to their charity of choice.

How COOL is that???
Photo Credit: Paige Harden, the Republic Newspaper

Here We Go...

Well I can happily say we have started the new house negotiations! Oh my goodness......our initial offer has been submitted to the home owner and it is now in his hands. We fully expect a counter offer as we did not offer him full price and the home has only been on the market for 2 weeks. I am hoping that a 'meeting of the minds' will occur and by the end of this week we will be one step closer to life in the US again.

Once again we seem to be buying or selling a house when we are away ~ this time, rather than being on vacation, Tim is away on business in China :-} Go figure.!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sticker Shock!!

OK...I guess I am a bit naive when it comes to the price of kitchen appliances and was SHOCKED to see what it could possibly cost me to put new stuff in our new house ~ {you know, the one we don't have yet and won't know until we see paperwork and formally submit and offer} ~ so of course I have started my 'research' just in case.

WOW is all I can say...I wasn't even looking at the top of the line stuff and I was coming up with a price tag of over $4000, not $400 but $4000 and that doesn't even include counter tops, sink or a faucet. OUCH!! Oh well, I guess we will just have to get beyond that and think about the end result. At least that is what I am telling myself, I cannot wait to hear what Tim has to say about it. I sure hope Sears or Home Depot have some great sales this spring so I can actually get it all at once.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

To Buy or Not To Buy??

Tim was able to look at one final house before he came back from the US last week and I 'think' we have found a house. Now the issue is when do we make an offer? Tim called the home owner this afternoon and asked a few questions and we are now waiting for an email with some paperwork that Tim requested. Once we get that and look it over we will make an offer and then the negotiations begin. The house has an amazing yard and the house is very nice. Of course, we would need to do paint and carpet, not because we have to but rather that we would want to. What really amazes me is that this is being done without my even seeing the house in person but rather through photos only!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Too funny...

You know the feeling when something is SO darn funny that you have tears streaming down your face? Well, I have done just that after reading Diana's blog post {HERE}. I was sitting here alone in the house and tears were running down my face as I can so hear her saying this. It is a good thing that Tim 'lost' it with her and not some other strange woman.

We are finally adjusting to the time change after our trip and getting back to a 'normal' schedule. The kids went back to school on Tuesday and are back in the swing of things. The weather still is bad but what does one expect it is the winter in England. We have a had a lot of rain and the river looks like it could possibly flood over the banks. Up in Scotland they are getting snow rather than the is amazing how different the weather can be especially since we are about 2 hours from the Scottish border.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It seems inevitable that upon our return from a trip to the USA I have a period of just the blahs...I am not homesick per se but coming back just seems to put me in a mood for a week or so and I get over it. This time is no different except that I think I am just very excited about the move back later this year and knowing that it is definitely going to happen makes it that much better.

Don't get me wrong our time here has been very good for various reasons but I can honestly say I am ready to move back. I am tired of living in a house that is NOT MINE. I want to be able to paint a room over the weekend just because I want to. I know it is trivial but for someone who likes to paint rooms on a is a huge thing.

I made ZERO progress in cleaning out the kitchen today, in fact, I didn't even work on it. I hope to get on with it tomorrow as the weather here at the moment is cold, rainy and very windy so I'd rather stay in and clean rather then venture outside. I am probably making the kitchen to sound so much worse that it is, in fact, it is the easiest room to start with ~ maybe that is why I chose it??

Monday, January 07, 2008

Time for a clear out.....

Yes, I admit it we have TOO much stuff and I need to reduce the amount of things we have that are 1) never used, 2) broken , 3) too small, 4) too get my drift. I came to this revelation, ok not really a revelation but an admission, as I was putting things away from Christmas. Have you ever moved something from one place to another so you can use said place for the new item? I really don't know how all this stuff fit in our house in the States as it was smaller than the house we are in now.

I have decided that now is the time to start getting rid of things. The stuff will be going to the dump, recycled or donated. There are things in boxes from 3 years ago we still have not used...BIG HINT that its time to get rid of it.

The first room of attack is the kitchen ~ I am sure there are cans of food that are past their expiration date in the back of cupboards YUCK and what a WASTE. I know there are dish towels, old pans etc. that I have not used since unpacking them.

My goal is to do 2 rooms per week until it is all done...this way I won't have to bring crap back to the US just to then get rid of it. I will do this rather than some type of New Years Resolution as this is a more practical thing to do plus it needs to be done.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Life by MY rules??

This about says it all I think!

While we were in the US over the holidays we were able to spend some time looking at houses for our return. We did not find anything that we just LOVED. Tim spent yesterday again looking at homes and still found nothing. So now this puts a wrinkle in my planning for our move back. I had hopped we would have found something so that would be one thing completed for our move, but it has not worked according to MY plans so now adjustments need to be made. Mind you, the changes are minimal and really do not have a huge impact on things but still it is a change.

This just puts pressure on us to find something on our next trip and we will no longer have the luxury of time on our side..oh well, that's life!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Another Tooth Tale....

I was reminded that I forgot to mention a small tale about Christopher's tooth while we were in the US over the holidays. Tim had called Diana when we left the dentist to just give her an update and Tim decided to tell her the following tale:

Well, Christopher's tooth was really bad and the dentist thought it would be best to remove the tooth completely. He was able to put a temporary one in until it could be properly fixed. However, he was out of ceramic teeth so he had to put in a GOLD tooth instead! Tim spoke so convincingly that Diana believed him. So much so she repeated the story to those she spoke to on the phone throughout the day. The truth was finally uncovered when I asked her if she looked at Chris' tooth and she said not yet. I told her tim was telling a tale and her mouth hit the floor...she was shocked. It was very had to have been there.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

We are back from our visit to the US and I know I am a bit late in wishing everyone a Happy New Year! I hope your 2008 brings all that you wish for it and more. Our trip home was very good and we enjoyed seeing our family and friends.

Andrew was able to spend a lot of time with his best friend Nicholas and I know Andrew really needed to see him. The two of them share an amazing friendship and even though they have been seperated by distance their friendship continues to grow. It also helps that I like his mom too ~ Hi Diana!!

While we were home Christopher had a minor tooth emergency which we were able to sort out prior to our return. To make a long story short, the tooth he damaged a couple of years ago the nerve has finally died and he had developed an infection that got pretty bad. His face was swollen and he was in a lot of pain. Our family dentist was out of town so we had to try to find a dentist who would see him. We were able to locate one and he came in to his office on his day off to see Christopher. {Talk about going above and beyond}. The dentist performed a pulpectomy on his tooth. Basically, a small hole was drilled in the back and the infection was removed. I guess it was quite a bit of fluid the dentist took out...Chris will need a root canal in the next few months to finish the repair work. OUCH!! I must say I was SO impressed with this dentist that I am seriously thinking of switching our entire family to his practice.
That is all for now as far as an update goes...I have another whole post just on our return flight back to the UK but I will leave that for another day.