Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog roll time again

Every now and again I point out some blogs that I enjoy reading. I've done it a few times (here, here, and here). It's been a while so I'm eager to share a few favourites with you all.

Delia at Real Delia. She offers great reading: on Wednesdays she features Tips for Adulthood - always wise. And on Fridays she does a round up of recommended reading for the weekend - and it's ALWAYS fantastic. This is a can't-miss blog. In fact, my next blogger I found through Delia.

Jennifer Mendelsohn at Clever Title TK is very, very...well...clever. She's a professional writer and all of her posts are interesting and beautifully written. I highly recommend her blog on her favourite things - all of them are spot-on fantastic.

Spencer at Donkey Trousers. He's a single dad making his way through life. He's interesting and seems like one of the last decent guys around. Sorry ladies, he has a new love. Check him out.

Becca at Bekicklesie. This is a relatively new blog but she has everything under the sun: humor, parenting, recipes (her partner is a chef), giveaways, insights and observations. It's fantastic.

Kenneth at Grumpy Old Ken. He's not really that grumpy - a retired school teacher in the UK who has a wealth of interesting posts. He's a delight - although I don't think he'd like me saying so!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ladybird review

The lovely folks as Ladybird sent over a parcel filled with Ladybird goodies. Cate was over the moon with the package - like Christmas day. She's a big reader - well, she loves books and hopefully one day soon she'll start to read and love them as much as her parents do. X grabbed the stuffed ladybirds and dog and started gnawing on them happily.

The books have certainly captured both children's imagination. Whose Ears? is a darling little folding book where you have to guess who the ears belong to. Cate can't get enough of it. She loves guessing what ears belong to whom - the best part is flipping open the fold to reveal the truth. She gets a kick out of it every time.

Then there's Peek-a-Zoo - another folding book that Cate loves. I've watched her read this to X, she won't let him open the flaps but he loves being the center of her attention. She makes all the animal noises which has him in stitches laughing. I think this may be my favourite.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star is one of our favourite nightime story books now. We keep a stack on Cate's bedside table and she's often reaching for this colourfully illustrated classic. It helps with counting using cute classic nursery rhymes like Baa, Baa Blacksheep, etc. I just read it to her last night for the umpteenth time.

The last book isWhat's the Time, Mr. Wolf?  Cate received a Tinkerbell watch from Fen while we were at JFK airport (he cannot resist her sweet little innocent face! I can). Whenever she's asked the time she says, 'Nine o'clock.' This book is actually showing her the differences in time. She doesn't quite get it but it's great for counting and she'll get there eventually (she's only three!).

The Spot DVD is a big hit but we're reserving that as a 'special treat.' In my latest attempt to potty train (which is going quite well, I say proudly with great relief) she receives a flower when she successfully uses the potty. Once she receives 10 flowers she get's a special treat. Spot is one of those special treats. So far, so good.

Also included was a lovely Ladybird camera. She took all the photos and we're off to Snappy Snaps this morning to see what she captured. I think it is a gallery of doll portraits. Ah the joy of film cameras. She really enjoyed it so I think we're going to have to get her another one.

She wants to use the Ladybird bag as her school bag when she starts next week. We'll see...

Overall, I've been really thrilled with everthing they sent over. The kids are enjoying each and every goodie and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Much thanks Ladybird and gurgle.com!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Guest Blogging on Pond Parleys!

Toni and Mike, hosts of Pond Parleys invited me to do a guest blog today. It's all about my adventures as an American expat in London. Please go and check it out - and leave a comment, please!!!

Mike Harling is a terrific writer, author of Postcards From Across the Pond - as well as the blog of the same name and the blog The Life of Writing.

Toni Hargis is also a fabulous author: Rules of Brittannia as well as the blogs Rules, Britannia and Expat Mum.

Both of their books are about being an expat - Mike in the UK and Toni in the USA. Check them both out and BUY THEIR BOOKS - they're both really fantastic!

And they are not paying me for this endorsement!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

One Year Anniversary is approaching


On Wednesday, September 29th I celebrate one year of blogging on 'Cross the Pond (or Jollyoldengland.blogspot.com). I can't believe it's only been a year. A lot has happened since I sat down (plopped is more likely) last year to pen a blog to help me through my pregnancy and the move/transition to London. It seems like a world away. Here is that first post.

A year ago on September 29th that terrible Samoan earthquake and tsunami happened. My husband's father and family is from Samoa (not American Samoa) and his uncle went missing. He's okay but it was weeks before anyone heard from him.

I was seven months pregnant with X who was a big fella (still is). I was traveling to and from the office on the F train to Manhattan every day. How I managed those subway stairs is still a mystery to me. I can barely trot up the hill to the High street every day and I'm about as far from pregnant you can get!


We were happily living in Brooklyn in our large, comfy two bedroom apartment with the fireplace and GIANT washer and dryer. (Sniff...I need a minute to mourn these things).

The NY Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-3.

The Senate Finance committee rejected two Democratic proposals for a Public Option for Health Care reform debate (which I find interesting seeing how things are now for the Health Care system in the US).

My daughter was an only child. My sister thought her cancer was in remission, my husband worked every night - including Friday and Saturday, I was poring over boy names and Fen and I were already packing for our baby-moon trip to the Bahamas.

Since then we had our little man X, packed everything we owned and moved to London where we got rid of half of it almost immediately (remember the boxes?) . We're in our fourth apartment (and hopefully final). I've potty trained Cate, found her a school, found her a great nanny, several sitters, a ballet class, art class and even found a music class for X. Things are coming along.

It's funny, last year at this point I was full of wonder and hope. Who would my little baby be? What would London be like? I was in the honeymoon stage. Now I'm here and X is an adorable, good baby and while London isn't quite what I expected, it's good!

Who knows what the next year will bring? So raise your glass for a wee toast to 'Cross the Pond. We're one year old!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Conkers


Imagine my delight when I read this post on how to find a good conker and play the game to win. I grew up as a huge fan of Enid Blyton. In the autumn, the kids (Famous Five, Secret Seven, et al) always hunted for conkers and played the game.

Being on an Caribbean island I had no concept of what a conker was. A conch (pronounced conk), in the Bahamas, is a pink shell which makes a fabulous salad, stew, fritters, etc. So I was at a loss.

But now, many years later, I'm living in London and have noticed kids with their conkers and I can finally have a visual on it. It's a very popular afterschool game which can be fun or serious! I've noticed a few little ones crying as their conkers were conquered. Ah well, the agony of defeat 'n' all.

This might seem small, but it made me smile from ear to ear. My kids will play this game that I often envied and wanted to play. Poor me, I had to make do with the beach, the sun and the sea. The grass is always greener, I guess.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The never-ending search for schools....


For the past two weeks I've been touring primary schools, nurseries and daycare centres. It's been maddening. Cate is 3 years and 3 months and is very, very ready to start some sort of structured learning. Every day we play learning games so she knows her alphabet, colors and can count to 20 (well, thirty if you don't mind going from 20 directly to 30). But she's craving more than that now and I'm currently teaching her to read - we're sounding out letters which she's catching onto quickly.

I'm not a teacher - at all - so I know my child is ready to move to the next level but it has to be the right fit. Earlier this year she was accepted to two excellent schools - but both are all girl schools. Fen attended an all boys school and hated it and for two years I was at a different school that my three siblings and hated it. We decided that our children would attend the same school. We almost cast that promise aside until this week.

We've found a wonderful nursery for Cate to attend. They have structured classes and have loads of games and crafts - exactly what Cate is craving. It's very diverse with children from all types of backgrounds and ethnicities. I love that. She will be only one of two Americans in the class (although she is technically a passport carrying American/Bahamian/New Zealander/Samoan - we're a bunch of mutts). It's only for a year until she moves to reception in September 2011.

She was accepted just the other day and they are coming for an in-house meeting next week. They'll give us a start date then. Best part is that there is no uniform for nursery so I won't have to buy a uniform for this year and a different one for next year (that can get quite involved!).

She loved the school and pulled up a chair in the classroom when we entered so we know we made the right choice.  I'm SO excited for her.

But the decision for next year still hangs in the balance. I've turned down both of the girls schools which I was a bit sad to do. If we had two girls it would be a no brainer and Cate would be at one of them right now. But I have some great feelings about all of the seven schools to which we've applied. We'll be happy with any of them. We'll find out in November.

I'm not worried about it anymore. She has me as a mother - she will do well. Fen and I are big readers and we both did well in school (Fen did a little better than I did in primary-high school - I was more interested in boys, ah well - I came right in the end). We're both avid readers and see that both of our children are very interested in books. Fingers crossed - you can see the world through a book.

Next week my last application goes through and I will just sit back and wait to see what November brings. It was a long, tough process but I'm hopeful it will all work out well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Halloween's A'Comin'.....

500x244 Halloween Golden Ticket

I'm so excited. I've been invited to come for a private screening of a classic horror movie. Fen is over the moon. The choices were many but we've narrowed our choice for the film to:

1. The Thing
2. Nightmare on Elm Street
3. Psycho

It should be a great evening and we're really looking forward to it!!

And when she was good, she was very, very good...

It doesn't get much better than this:
or this:
or this:
What would you give to be three again for just a day? I'm happy to just watch my little gal jump and play! Can't wait until X can join her. For now he just bathes in the cottage sink:
Ah! What fun!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Seven Year Bitch

Fen and I have been married for 7 years, 3 months and 14 days. The first year was difficult - getting to know each other - we didn't live together before we got married so it was quite a transition. The toughest things for me were giving up half of my giant walk-in closet (we moved into my place) and not having control of the remote. But we persevered and made it relatively unscathed to year 7.

This was the year we moved to London with our 2 1/2 year old daughter and newborn son. I know I've harped on about how difficult it was - and it has been.

I think the hardest thing is dealing with the kids at this stage. Cate is a handful. The other day I counted how many times I said some variation of, 'Get off your brother', 'Don't hit the baby', 'Give hin back his toy': 42 times between 9:30am and 7:30pm. I was DONE. I practically threw X at Fen when he walked in the door.

Fen worked almost every night last week and by the time I put both kids to bed I was just spent. So Sunday I wanted to run for the hills and have a little time to myself. So did Fen. To be fair - he has been working a lot with little time to himself. But I did not care. I wanted time away from the kids. Just an hour - 45 minutes even.

We had a humdinger of a 'discussion' which resulted in me having a guilt ridden hour and a half to myself. I went to the library and read. It was great to just sit and do a little work (I'm desperate for time to work - which challenges me and calms me down) but I kept wondering if I was wrong to demand time to myself.

I've decided it wasn't. I deserve to have an hour to myself every now and again and I'm going to take it. I told Fen to go to the movies or the gym when I got back but he declined the invite (guilt, I wonder?).

Being with the kids day in and day out is hard. And anyone who does it has my utmost respect. Trying to get a little wilful toddler/child to just behave or entertained takes everything you've got. Pile on the responsiblities of running after a recently crawling/cruising baby, including the never ending pile of laundry.... well... it's no party.

My kids mean everything in the world to me. They are both very sweet and adorable but after three solid days of fighting, crying, defiance, back talking, sassiness and anyone would need to take a breather (or a bottle of scotch).

We're just going to have to continue to discipline Cate (the hardest thing I've EVER done, EVER) and keep her in line until this awful, demanding, challenging, defiant stages passes into the next tough, challenging, defiant stage. Which, I'm hoping, isn't for another 10 or so years. That should be enough time to regroup... right? Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, September 20, 2010

And the Winner is....

I enlisted Cate's help to pull the winner:
And the winner is:
SuperLucky! (how ironic). Congrats to you! Please email me your email address at: jollyoldengland@gmail.com

Sunday, September 19, 2010

99 Followers


My goodness - I just noticed I have 99 followers! Almost 100! I can't believe it. I'm THRILLED. Want to just take a moment to thank you all for following me. It's so flattering that you want to read about the erratic life I lead. And I hope I don't disappoint you all in the future.

I follow all of my followers (if I don't let me know!) and love reading about you as well.

Come on... sing with me 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's The Little Things That Make a Difference...


Since moving to London we’ve been acclimating to all things British for kids: cereal, TV, toys, etc. We’ve found it awfully amusing that some of the US and Canadian shows (Super Why, etc) have been switched to British accents, which actually makes sense to me.

One thing we’ve missed is Elmo – my daughter was somewhat addicted. She’s in love with Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly’s little Kingdom now. But there is a character here in the UK that I personally find amusing and my daughter likes as well – the Honey Monster! He’s the mascot for Honey Monster foods which makes a bunch of different cereals including Honey Waffles, which has graced our table on more than one occasion.

The latest ad is an absolute crack up – he feels about Honey Waffles what I feel for wine, chocolate and a good book! Take a look  – hilarious! 


Another thing we’re slightly addicted to is tea. I was a mediocre tea drinker before moving here but the tea is just in abundance and delicious!  The coffee’s off the charts great too. And I'm in love with M&S food court which I've mentioned before.

We’re still exploring and adjusting but there are things that are making England feel like home. These are just a few.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One of THOSE mornings.


This morning I woke with the promise of a new day - I had the kick-off meeting for my women's club and I wanted to rise early and get to the venue early to help set up. I volunteered to be the PR person and I'm running the creative writing group so I wanted to get my table ready to receive interested parties.

Well, due to jet lag I've been going to bed around 1am and waking up at 9 or so. This morning I did manage to get out of bed at 7:55. I dragged myself to the bathroom to shower and put in my contacts. Last night I made a pretty big mistake. About a month ago I had an eye problem and received a special contact lens solution to only use with a fancy case. The solution is NOT saline and should never be used on it's own. But at 1am when I finally felt tired enough to go to bed I used that solution instead of the regular stuff. When I put the first contact in my eye searing pain shot through my entire skull and my eye refused to open. I flushed it with warm water and about 5 minutes later I pried my eye open to take it out. It was so painful I felt weak in the knees! Needless to say, I'm wearing my glasses today.

After that I  turned on the computer and went to make coffee. We're out. Darn. Went back to the computer checked email, cruised over to my blog to see if anyone new has entered my giveaway (please enter - it's a great giveaway) and noticed I had two comments on my last post Cherry On Top award. It was then I noticed through my swollen, drooly, red eye that I had not changed the thing I would change if I could portion! OH NO. Not only was it not really true - it was written on Sunday when I was severely jetlagged andseriously homesick and half asleep. I meant to change it later and just forgot. I often write blog posts that are generic or can stand alone early and store them until I need to update but haven't a creative thought. I've received very sweet emails from several people and comments from more and I thank you all for being so concerned for me. I'm really touched. But, I am FINE - truly. I wish I had changed it but alas I did not. I can't change it as 400+ have already read it! I do like London - please know that. I AM happy and I will be happier soon.

I did make it out of the house - albeit late, with a red eye and glasses. The meeting went spectacularly well and I had a great time chatting with the ladies and signing up more writers than I imagined. So it was a smashing success.

Then Fen showed up with the kids. He had to head to work so he brought them over. The nanny doesn't start until 2pm so I took them which was no problem. But as soon as we left Cate announced she had to go potty. I practically ran home with my new cape billowing in the wind behind me (I'm rather fond of it and just bought it in Pennsylvania so I like to think I at least made a fetching site as I dashed through Belsize village square).

Once home Cate did her business - was praised mightily and fed a Smarties (similiar to a plain M&M). This is my current attempt to potty train as many have failed before. Cate is a stubborn one. We've resorted to hiding her pull ups as she would take off her underwear and put on a diaper. She's also taken to hiding her underwear, now we've had to hide them as well! Oy - the joy of parenting.

Ten minutes later as I was making their lunches, Cate called out that she went potty. Uh-oh. She sure had - all over the bedroom floor. Cleaned her and the floor up and then went back to lunches. My mother and sister in NY called on Skype. As I chatted with them, Cate came dashing in to say hello. She kicked X in the head, knocking him over and producing his first red welt of the day on his sweet little forehead. She got a time out for her efforts. Then I noticed she smelled. She had pooped in her drawers. I hung up and carried her to the bathroom only to see that she had thoughtfully dropped some in the hallway and smooshed it into the wood work. Changed her, gave her new underwear, cleaned the hallway floor and put on a load of laundry.

My glasses, which I thought were so fancy, do not have hooks that go over the ears so they slide off my head the minute I look down (but they were so expensive I have to wear them as I cannot justify the expense to Fen and God forbid I mention vanity and style!). The clean up took longer than usual as I took them off to clean (with my one good eye) and then put the glasses on to make sure things were up to snuff. Such a lovely task.

As I was cleaning up after lunch, X crawled over to a bookshelf, wasn't looking where he was going and keeled over smacking his little head into the corner of the shelf. Welt number two. This one is a doozy - it starts over his right eye and crosses his brow ending at the outer corner. He looks like he was: a) in a bar knife fight b) clawed by a bear c) whipped by a lion tamer  It ain't pretty - the poor thing.

Finally, the nanny showed up and I handed them both over. I have a massive headache! But I'm happy. London's swell!

Cherry On Top Award

The lovely Melissa over at An American Girl in Bristol sent me the Cherry on Top Award - thank you so much. There are rules, of course. I must pass it along to six other bloggers and they too must follow the rules. Here they are:


Answer this question: 
If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you, and what would it be?

Thank the person who gave you this award.

PICK 6 people/blogs and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have received this award.

There are many things I'd change but the one I'd change is that I would not have agreed to move to London. It's been unbelievably hard and I'm alone alot more than I was in the US.  It's getting better but I really am not that happy and wish I had my old life back. Hopefully that will change - it's only been six months.

And here are my six folks:

Spencer at Donkey Trousers
Hazel from Hot Cross Mum
Delia at Real Delia

Okay - that was eight - so sue me!! They're all fabulous and I could go on and on but figured I had to stop somewhere.

Enjoy fellow bloggers!


Monday, September 13, 2010

£30 CSN Giveaway!

I'm delighted to offer another giveaway from CSN stores. CSN Stores has amazing online stores where you can find everything from cookware to lights to furniture. 

I love this site and everything CSN. I bought an amazing Tiffany-esque lamp from CSN and I've been thrilled with it. It's beautiful, practical and makes me very happy whenever I turn it on. Infact it is illuminating my desk as I type this.

The £30 gift voucher can be used at any of the CSN sites which include the main csn store, All Modern, Cookware by CSN, Furniture, lighting and TV stands.


To enter just follow me and leave a post letting me know you are. If you already follow me, just leave a post telling me what you'd like to spend the £30 on - be it lighting or something else from CSN. For extra credit tweet about the giveaway and I'll give you an extra chance to win.

I'll pull a winner at 4pm on Monday, September 20th! Good luck! It's a great giveaway!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

X is on the move!

My little man is mobile! While we were in NY he decided to start crawling. After weeks of rocking back and forth on his hands and knees - he decided to go for it. Now he's an unstoppable crawling machine. It's CUTE but we're not baby proofed yet.

This afternoon I'm getting on my hands and knees with the babyproofing paraphenalia to secure anything that looks problematic.

I guess I should be happy that he's not falling on his head much these days. He was starting to look like he'd gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson with all the bruises on his forhead from falling over. Now he's more stable, thank heavens.

He's delighted with his new freedom and can now wander from room to room at will. We're putting up gates today as well so this will be upsetting to his majesty but I'm sure he will survive.

The only one who is NOT happy with the recent development is Cate. X's favourite thing to do it crawl over to her and start exploring whatever she's playing with. He's even reached up and taken the pacifier out of her mouth. She is over this and I've heard her saying sternly, 'Naughty baby. Naughty, naughty baby.' Yesterday she gave him two minutes on the naughty chair. I thought it was so funny I sat him up there with a cookie for a few minutes just to make her happy.

I think the wars between siblings are going to take off in earnest soon. Not sure how to handle that but I'm sure I'll wade through. I hope they become close and loving toward each other at some point. Cate seems to love her little brother - or lil brudder as she says. She likes to show him off and hug him - sometimes a little too tightly. It's sweet to watch. X thinks Cate is the cats pyjamas! Everything she does is fascinating and no one - not even me, can make him laugh as much as she can. He adores her. Very sweet.

Right now X is napping and Cate has a tea party set up on the lounge floor: all her dollies are in attendence. I've warned her to pick it up before X wakes up. She won't. I'm prepared for tears and disappointment but she'll have to learn the hard way if she won't listen to me!

So for now I enjoy the peace and blog a little before we head out for the day. It's beautiful weather and I'm anxious to get out and see the village and get back into the swing of things.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm a Gurgle Girl!

Now that I'm back in the UK and armed with a working computer (hooray) I can finally announce that I am a Gurgle Girl - something I'm very excited about. A few weeks ago I was approached by the team at gurgle.com to see if I would be interested in becoming a Gurgle Girl - to which I eagerly accepted. Here's the official badge.


I'm not along in this venture - there are ten of us all together and we'll be reviewing products, attending events and then sharing everything with you. We'll also be meeting up to talk about all things 'Gurgle' and then report back to all of you again - so keep an eye out for updates, news, reviews, contests, giveaways - you name it.


Here is the full list of Gurgle Girl blogger advocates - all of the blogs are fantastic - go and check them out.

Leanne from Second Time Mum
Pippa from A Mother's Ramblings 
Emily from Baby Rambles
Hoi-Tse from Tea With One Sugar Please
Hazel  from Hot Cross Mum
Holly from It's A Mummy's Life
Laura from Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy
Peggy from Perfectly Happy Mum
Jen from Mum in the Madhouse

Read all about us in this article on gurlge.com


And to find out more follow me on Twitter and look for the hash tag #gurglegirls!

I'm so excited about this. I hope it's beneficial for everyone! And I can't wait to meet all the other 'girls' at our first event.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

We're outta here

Our flight takes off this evening and we'll be back bright and early in the morning. It's been a great trip but I'm looking forward to getting back into the thick of things. Most looking forward to seeing friends and having a fantastic autumn. Out for now ... see you 'cross the pond!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Almost time to pack it up and head back to reality

Once again I'm on the front porch looking over the lake and just relaxing - it's so nice. But we're heading back to New York City again tomorrow for a few nights before our flight back to London and reality.

It's been absolutely lovely sitting out here in the country without a care in the world. It's been maddening being cut off from the internet and the world via my computer but I think it's been a great lesson for me. Sometimes you just HAVE to disconnect. I am a little to addicted to the internet, Twitter, my blog and reading everyone else's blogs. It's been a lifeline during the very trying move to London and there is no way I'm going to abandon it. But this has been a true vacation and I'm happy to have had it.

On Wednesday I'll be in my office toiling away like a real New Yorker and I'm looking forward to it. But after a great deal of thought I know moving out of the city at this juncture in our lives was a wise decision. Fen and I never wanted to raise children in the city- not even in Brooklyn. So we'll raise them in London and who knows where else. I think it's great for other folks if that's what they want but Fen and I were raised with back yards, streets you could ride a bike on, friends in the 'hood and general sense of community and neighbors. I'd like that for Cate and X. And I'm finding it in London.

I'm not looking forward to the flight back - X was a nightmare, unfortunately. But I am looking forward to getting back to London - something I never thought I'd say. But it's home now - and there ain't no place like home.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I'm a top 10 blogger on gooverseas.com

Gooverseas.com has named me as one of the top 10 expat bloggers in England. How unexpectedly exciting and flattering. I'm stunned but thrilled.

Check them out. Three of my favourite folks have also been named: Michelle at A Mid-Atlantic English, Ponds Parley and Smitten by Britain. I've started reading all the other blogs and they are all great. Read them if you can - it's worth it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rocking on the porch

I'm sitting in a rocking chair on my front porch looking over the lake sipping coffee first thing in the morning. It's lovely. I love it here at our cottage. I've been coming here since I was born and it always has the same effect - calming.

My two sisters and I own the cottage now. We are the fourth generation of three sisters to own this property - a man has never owned it. Granted men have always been fixing the roof, and doing the heavy labour - in fact, my great grandfather oversaw the building of the cottage and it's built to last. But it makes me proud that I come from a long line of independent, property owning women. Not sure when the cottage was built but I think it's coming up on 100 years. It's about 95 years old now - I'll have to double check. But it has changed very little in my lifetime. We have a new dock, deck and boathouse as well as new steps but the cottage itself - other than a new coat of paint and new mattresses/furniture from time to time - it's the same as it ever was.

I love that.

So even though I have piles of work to do and my kids are getting a tad cranky - I sit out here rocking, typing, reading blogs and email and just enjoying the half hour of solace. Ahhh - every morning should be so peaceful.

I Heart NY but I love my computer more...

Finally I have access to a computer! On Saturday I offered up my computer to charge a friend's iphone and it was just too much power for the transformer so my computer was fried. I was devastated! I took it to a computer repair place and they told me it was just a write off. I could have cried. I was supposed to work this week but I haven't had a chance to do anything work/blog/email related.  I never realized how addicted to my computer I am. It's a problem! I didn't know what to do with myself.  But my sister showed up yesteday with her computer and I'm back in business - sorta.

Well, NYC was wonderful, wonderful. As soon as we were in Manhattan I was in heaven. I truly love that city. It has a hum and a heartbeat unto itself. I felt so excited to be 'home'. We were staying at a friend's flat on teh upper east side and took to the streets in search of Chinese food and a grocery. We found everything we needed as well as a huge playground within a block. The kids were in heaven and we were just as happy.

It was a cool evening so we slept with the windows open and I just laid in bed for a good hour listening to the city. The traffic, the hum of air conditioners, the sounds of people and life just buzzing around us was something I didn't even realize I missed.

The next morning I was up at 5, out the door at 6:30 in search of coffee and bagels. As soon as I stepped out onto the street I was happy. Across the street is a flash apartment building where a line of towncars were waiting for their bankers or whomever to come down and be whisked off downtown, there were two of NY city's finest in the Dunkin Donuts, everything was open. There was a line at the bagel place where nattily dressed people barked their orders in rapid speech. Women wore the most fabulous dresses that I adored and could have fit into five years ago (thanks kids!)

Later I joined in and headed to the subway to commute to my office for a few hours of work. I loved it. It was nice to be back at the office and see a few of the folks. I'm back again next week for a meeting and I can't wait.

I have to run but there is more to come! We're having a wonderful time at our lake house and visiting with friends and relatives and shopping (loads of Labour Day bargains to be had). Stayed tuned for the drama!