Monday, July 27, 2009

Texas Roadhouse triumphs again

Had a very nice meal (as usual) at the Texas Roadhouse yesterday. We cracked open peanuts from their shells while reading the menu, then ate freshly baked breadrolls with cinnamon butter, and caesar salad while waiting for the main course to arrive. Tony had a 16oz New York Strip steak and I had a 6oz Dallas Filet, with loaded baked potato and sauteed mushrooms. All washed down with a Heineken. Yum....

Shop until you drop

We went to the mall yesterday to look for some new clothes for Tony. I came back with a new pair of trousers, a jacket, two tops, a pair of shoes and a pair of capri pants. Tony came back with a Starbucks coffee....

A healthy salad, with protein

Feeling all self-righteous after my lunchtime walk at work today, I decided to have a nice healthy salad for lunch from the cafeteria. I sat at my desk munching contentedly on my lettuce leaves, when to my horror I looked down and there on my white jeans, wriggling wildly, was Charlie the caterpillar, all green and smug-looking because he had escaped from the curly lettuce leaf and honey mustard dressing. OMG as my kids would say! He was huge!!! (OK, so he was about a half an inch long and 2mm wide, but size doesn't matter right?...) I screeched ever so quietly so as not to disturb my fellow workers, and sent him caterpillaring, I mean catapulting across the office with a swift flick of my fingers. I must confess I felt so nauseous afterwards that I had to nip down to the cafeteria again and settle my stomach with an extra large Snickers bar. You know where you are with Snickers......

Sunday, July 26, 2009

ABBA - timeless

A couple of weeks back I watched Mamma Mia with Emma. This was the second night in a row she wanted to watch it - she loves it. My parents were also watching it the first night and there was definitely some toe-tapping going on behind me. Its amazing that 3 generations can enjoy one style of music. It just goes to show how timeless Abba's music is.

Where, oh where shall we go?

We are trying to find somewhere to spend a week at the end of August. Our original plan was to drive somewhere like Niagara Falls, or Montreal, or Maine. But after much web searching I have given up trying to find anywhere reasonably priced. I could get a hotel on the coast of Maine for a week if I am prepared to pay $2000 for the room! So I started seaching for vacation deals that involved flying. I am amazed that I can fly to Florida and stay in a nice hotel on the Gulf coast for less than a hotel in Maine! So it looks like that is where we will be going. Although, come to think of it, if we are going to get on a plane then that opens the doors for many more places. Maybe I should look about for more deals. Utah looks interesting....

Preparing to travel

The next couple of days will be a whirl of washing and packing. The hardest thing about visiting the home country is deciding what to wear. Just because it is summer in both MA and Wales does not mean that my wardrobe will be the same. There's about 15 degrees F between the two places for a start. At the moment I am living in shorts and sleeveless tops. But I have to search out my jeans and a jacket for my trip back. The only thing that is the same is the rain. We've both had endless rain this summer; at least my rain jacket has been geting lots of wear and will continue to do so for the next 2 weeks.

Empty nesters

We are starting to get into the swing of this life without kids; we ate out twice this weekend! Two times no less!! And we have nothing in the fridge except for beer, wine and milk. Life is good

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Life without kids

Its the weirdest thing being without the kids. When I'm out, I keep thinking that I need to get back to pick them up. Will it always be like that?!

A weekend in Portsmouth

Just back from a weekend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. When we arrived on Friday it was not great weather. We went out for a stroll around the town and had to take an umbrella because it was raining on and off. We spent ages looking for this Irish pub whose leaflet/flyer we had seen in the hotel, which turned out to be a bit off the beaten track and had all the atmosphere of a morgue. Not a great start.

There was a cracking thunderstorm during Friday night and on Saturday we woke to thick fog. However by the time we got our lazy arses out of bed, and finished our "complimentary breakfast as long as you don't take anything from the dishes on the right hand side of the table", the sun had broken through and it turned out to be a nice day.

We spent the morning and early afternoon looking around Portsmouth, pottering in the many quaint shops, watching the boats sail by on the river and making frequent stops for coffee. I was particularly pleased to find a Celtic gift shop which sold that great Irish souvenier, the Crunchie bar! So I had to buy a few bars to nibble on later.

We then drove to Ogunquit, which is a seaside town up the coast of Maine. What a nice town. We took a walk along the coastal path called Marginal Way. The weather was perfect. We had fun watching a couple realize that they had sat on a distant rock watching the sea for too long, and their efforts to get back to the mainland without getting too wet!

On Sunday we took a stroll around the Strawbery Banke museum, which is somewhat like Sturbridge Village (to those of you from Massachusetts) or St Fagans (to those of you from Wales). To everyone else you will have to use your imagination. We then took a tour around the Red Hook Brewery, and tasted a few samplers.

Our biggest mistake was the decision to drive back via the coast road rather than taking the interstate back home. Why didn't we realize that everybody would be at the various beach towns on a hot, sunny, Sunday and that they'd all be heading home at around 5pm?! We were stuck in traffic for miles. The only good thing was that it gave us a chance to see some of the other coastal towns, there were some good ones, and some appalling ones, Hampton Beach being in the latter category....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Walk yourself thin

I saw a couple out walking today in their shorts, t-shirt and sneakers. They were, shall we politely say, rather well built, and were carrying a gallon of milk between them. I thought to myself how sweet it was that they were walking to the store to get milk instead of driving, as a way of trying to lose some weight. Then I noticed that in their hands they were clutching a king size Twix and a Snickers bar. Oh well, I suppose its better to walk to the store to get chocolate than it is to drive there....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Something's missing

Robert and Emma are flying back to the UK today to spend a couple of weeks with their grandparents. This is my first taste of being separated from them. Even though its only for 2 weeks, and I know they are safe and will be enjoying themselves, I felt like a piece of me was missing after they left. The house is eerily quiet. Everything is in its place. The countertops in the kitchen are free of clutter and are clean. The kids bedrooms are tidy. There's no dirty washing on their bedroom floors. I don't keep having to move their various games and books before I put my cup of tea down on the table, or trip over their shoes in the kitchen. Its weird. I'm not sure that I like it....

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Went to Via restaurant in Worcester tonight with parents and kids. We had a nice night, food was all good etc. But we were right next to the "open-style" kitchen so it was extremely noisy. And as noisy as it was from the burners, and the "yes Chef"'s, and the general chatter and clatter, it still amazed me that a group of more "seasoned" women at a nearly table managed to laugh so loud that most diners had to turn round to take a peek. Now its not that I mind laughter, its a lot better than someone else's baby crying at the next table for example. But I did wonder why is it that some women, the older they get, the louder and more course their laughter gets, and the more they feel the need to open their mouth as wide as possible while doing it?

Friday, July 10, 2009

In the news today

From the BBC news today:

A former college head who faced charges thought to relate to inappropriate clothing will not face court, the BBC Scotland news website can reveal.

I'm glad this precedent has been set, otherwise I could envisage many of the people I work with facing court procedings. Trousers that flap around the ankles because they are pulled up over the chest, low pants with muffin top hips, short walking shorts worn with walking boots, velour sweat name it, we have it at my workplace. And I consider it all to be inappropriate.

Police on Tyneside have apologised to a university lecturer after riot officers mistakenly raided his family home. Dr Ike-Elechi Ogba said his wife and three young children were traumatised when officers broke down the door of his Newcastle home. The Northumbria University lecturer said he was handcuffed and told to "shut his mouth and co-operate" while officers searched for drugs. Northumbria Police said they had received incorrect intelligence.

Oh well, these things happen. As long as the police said they were sorry then thats OK isn't it?

A shop owner has said he was threatened with prosecution after displaying joke billboards at his store in Horsham. John O'Sullivan, who owns the Candy Box, put up spoof news headlines outside his store for 10 weeks in an attempt to entertain his customers. The spoof headlines included "Crawley Girl Gives Birth to Pitbull" and "Local Youths Abduct UFO".

I suggest that the next sign he displays should say "Reward offered for lost sense of humour. If found, please contact Horsham District Council"

Smart clothes could take photos
Smart fabrics that may one day be able to take images of their surroundings are under development by US researchers.

Not so sure I want that research to be successful. Just think if they made underwear out of this fabric? Some things are not naturally photogenic, especially up-close....

Friday, July 3, 2009

She's a poet and she doesn't know it

Just came across a couple of poems that Emma wrote last year and thought they were worthy of publishing:


Bats have cats for a pet
Bats have hats on their head
Bats have cats on their hats
Bats do laps and their Coach says "Don't fly, walk!"
I love bats and nothing can stop that!


Owls fly up in the sky
Owls are nice but not to mice
Owls are like Hawks
but are much cuter