Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Over in a Blink

I want to be here - now.
My trip to New York was over far too quickly. I was so worried about leaving the kids which, of course, was fine - they lived, they had fun, they missed me, no problem. Sometimes I'm my biggest problem!

I was so looking forward to the flights more than anything else. I just was so excited to have 15 hours all by myself to do whatever I wanted. I packed loads of work to carry on the plane figuring I might as well make the most of the solitary time. Well, as luck would have it, both flights were almost empty. I had a whole row to myself and boy did I take advantage of it. I stretch across all three seats, chucked my work under the seat in front of me and watched movies the entire way - BOTH ways. I never get to watch movies uninterrupted, hell, I never get to do anything uninterrupted. It was bliss, sheer and utter bliss. I want to do this every month now!

Once I landed in Newark, I dashed right to my office to hold a meeting. Then I toiled away until after 6, rushed off to have dinner/drinks with good friends at their recently renovated gorgeous apartment. I went over to my friend Maura's after that to tuck myself in by 9pm I was dead tired. But at 4am I was wide awake. I did my yoga routine twice, logged on, worked for a few hours, showered, dressed, etc. and by 6am I was twiddling my thumbs. Maura, who is training for an iron man (!!) was up, we had coffee and she was off to Central park to run for an hour before teaching a spin class. Honestly, I don't know how she does it! Just listening to her I wanted to nap!

I had two busy days in a row - meetings, conference calls with clients and publishing houses, lunches with editors, in office meetings, phone calls, my accountant for taxes, my attorney for business stuff, the dreaded DMV to renew my license, shopping very briefly for gifts and shoes for the kids, the all important Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for Fen, and my must-have magazines.

On my last night in NY I went down to the old 'hood in Brooklyn and met up with four of my favourite people Vic and Jane the old neighbours who lived below Tracy. They showed me her old flat which has been completely redone and looks amazing. Tracy would have loved it. And then I went next door to my old landlords - spied through the windows at our old place. We had a lovely visit and then I collapsed in bed. Was off at 6am the next morning  to the airport and back to London.

The one thing I realized I miss the most is the buzz of the city. As soon as I got off the plane I was in NY mode. I started walking faster, talking faster and felt like I had drank fifteen coffees. Being in the office, which is beautiful and so inviting, I was just zinging with energy. I loved being with all my colleagues and right in the thick of it. One of the agents was in the middle of closing a deal and it was nice to be there watching it unfold (and it was a great deal!). We all had drinks at a surf bar in the building and it was nice to just be around people I like and admire and who understand what I do for a living and can talk the talk. I just found it all so invigorating and reassuring. I miss being a part of a team. Working from home can be so solitary that sometimes I forget what I'm actually doing and feel like I'm just fighting for time alone at the computer so I can work. I have to say, I want it back. Soon.

One of the highlights of the trip: I was joking around with the flight attendants (as I'm wont to do), the head attendant went into first/business class, brought out wine and truffles for me. He said I had made his day! Well, he certainly made mine too! What a nice guy.

Bottom line: I'm enjoying London - have made great friends and really loving it. But my heart belongs to New York and the USA.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Enough already!

Okay Whitney Houston fans - look away.

I'm so tired of hearing about her death. Didn't watch the funeral, haven't watched any of the tributes, nothing. I just don't care. I think it's absolutely ridiculous that the flags were at half-staff in New Jersey for her funeral. She was a singer - albeit a great one - but that's IT. She hasn't had a hit in decades, she was a serious drug addict and a mess. For that I am sorry but I am NOT sympathetic to her demise at all.

Here was someone who had it all: beautiful, great family, one-of-a-kind voice and more money than sense. She threw her life away for drugs with no concern for her daughter, mother or family. That's selfish. Now, I know you're probably thinking that she had an affliction - yes, she did. But I have seen friends with worse cases than hers - a childhood friend who lived on and off the streets - a heavily addicted coke/crackhead come back to life - beating his habit after twenty years. And I've seen other addicts who seeked help and are now drug free. Alcoholics do it daily. She had the money to try to overcome her addiction but she didn't do it. Maybe she didn't have the strength, who knows? Whatever the case, I'm sorry she died, it's tragic, but it's her own fault, really.

Harsh? You bet. When you sit by and watch your own sister fight mightily to hang onto life as a terminal disease literally eats her alive - sympathy for someone who had no regard for their own life is hard to come by. My sister would have done anything to live a few more years and fought right up to the day she died to live. It crushes my soul to see others piss their lives away - like Amy Winehouse (who died the same week Tracy did) and Whitney Houston.

Then there was my friend Brenda who unexpectedly died leaving two small daughters and a devoted husband behind. It's not fair.

When I read facebook posts of friends who were waxing on about watching the funeral and getting choked up I delete them, and when I read about the 'moving' tributes at the Grammy's etc., and how Kevin Costner spoke at her funeral I roll my eyes. They starred in one movie together 20 years ago! Its' amazing how people are martyred in death and not held responsible for their demises. She was just a singer, people! Get over it. She's no hero - she's a cautionary tale.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

So Nice They Named It Twice

I'm heading to New York City in two days. I'm so, so, so excited and absolutely nervous at the same time. Excited because I'm going to my old stomping ground, the place I called home for 20 years, the place I have always loved and miss dearly every day. I'm seeing friends, going to my office (!!!), seeing my colleagues, meeting clients, having lunches, coffees, dinners, drinks - and I'm going solo.

That's where the nervous comes in - I haven't been away from X, ever - well, there were five days when I travelled to my sisters funeral with Cate and left him and Fen to fend for themselves at our house in PA. I've only spent a few nights away from Cate - travelling for business a few nights before X, and then for the few nights I was in hospital have X (as well as having my gall bladder AND then later my appendix out). However, I've never been an entire ocean away from my family and it makes me ill thinking about it.

Fen is taking the week off. I'm more comfortable having our wonderful nanny stay and take care of things but he has insisted. he's being a tad difficult lately and I think it's because I'm leaving for three nights. It's only three nights - not the 57 he took to go to New Zealand for work last year. Still, there's so much for me to prepare for this trip. Here's a running list:

  • Stock fridge and larder
  • Prepare enough meals for four days
  • Do all laundry
  • Make list of numbers, addresses where I can be reached
  • Make list of important phone numbers here
  • Write down the list of things Cate needs for school and what days they must go with her
  • Get all my paperwork together for accountant and lawyer
  • Pack NY driver's license as it needs to be renewed
  • Bring work to read/do on plane (15 hours solo, baby!)
  • Bring something fun to read
  • Mail shoes to eBay winner
  • Mail coffee to friend
  • Take X to doctor in morning as he's had a viral infection for three days and it doesn't seem to quit.
  • Buy more Calpol
  • Pack business cards
  • Make list of things to buy in NY
  • Call all parties to make sure meetings/dinner/drinks still on
  • Google new office address so I know where I'm going when I get there
  • And, oh yeah, pack.

Not too much to do in one day. I've already done most of it anyway.

I'm concerned about the trip for two reasons - 1) I haven't been in New York City on my own in forever. I'll have three nights to myself with no kids, no one to answer to. I may never come back. 2)Will my kids be okay? (I know Fen will be). I hate being without them and I think I may miss them so much it will dampen my trip.

Whatever the case, I think I may be over thinking it. For now - I'm going focus on the positive. NEW YORK CITY BABY! SOLO! WOOO HOOOO!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Two year anniversary

It was two years ago this past Monday that we arrived in London to stay indefinitely. Wow, did that go quickly. The photo above was taken in May 2010 in our old kitchen, in our first apartment after corporate housing - the house we were basically evicted from. You can read that rotten tale here.

When I think back and read this blog from two years ago I'm astounded at how far we've really come. I cannot believe I agreed to move to London after JUST having a baby. X was only 11 weeks old when we boarded the plane. What was I thinking? And then we moved into that flat, which I was so unhappy with from day one. It was so full of troubles. It was truly a blessing in disguise that we moved.

Our next place was bigger but it was like living in a dorm. We knew everyone in the building. Remember Frenchie? Boy, he was a pain. There were wars between neighbours, friendships formed and people in my window - day in and day out! It was fun for a time, but we're much happier here.

We moved here in late June last year. And it feels like home. It's been eight months and I'm still not unpacked. But we've signed on for at least two years here so I don't feel the pressure to set up house. That's the trouble with knowing you're not going to stay forever -and not owning. I'm making do.

This kids are quite happy here and so are we. After two tumultuous years, it's nice to finally feel settled. I have a good group of friends, the kids are quite content and happy, my job is going gang busters (just got promoted to SVP), and Fen is happy with his job. We're in a good place.

I look back at the photos of  us and cannot believe how much the children have grown. X is almost the age Cate was when we moved! Here we are when we first got here:
And here we are now.
Funny, I still haven't lost the baby weight. Curious that! Well, I've broken down and I'm putting X in nursery two mornings a week. I'm sick over it, but it's better for both of us. I can go to the gym (or wander the streets aimlessly for a few hours). He is ready to get out and socialize.

Things are good. Hopefully, we're over the worst of it! here's to two more years of good fortune and happiness!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Silent Sunday

ttp://www.moillusions.com/2006/09/national-geographics-shadow-camels.html

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cash Cab is here!

I am so excited. My sneak peek copies of Cash Cab just arrived in the mail from the editor today. It's gorgeous. I love it.

While this may not be a big deal to you, it's a huge, huge deal for me. My sister, Tracy, who passed away nearly 7 months ago was their biggest fan. She could answer just about every question correctly and we would hope against hope that one day we'd be picked up by Ben Bailey and the cash cab. Unfortunately, we never did.

When the opportunity to pitch the book idea come up - I was adamant. It was finally okayed and I went ahead, wrote the proposal and sold it. Tracy was overjoyed. Unfortunately, in the midst of production, she lost her battle with cancer. I had already requested that the book be dedicated to her - which she was really excited about. So when she died, we changed the dedication to her memory instead.

And now here it is. In black and white. Both exciting and heart breaking at the same time. Whatever the emotion, she would love this book. I'm just glad that it's here and I hope it sells like hot cakes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Grand Inquisitor

Cate is becoming more and more fun to be around. She's curious, smart, fearless and is developing a wicked sense of humour. It's so nice to see her developing into a little girl - and not just any little girl - a delightful one. Granted there are the outbursts, meltdowns and sibling squabbles but over all - she's just wonderful.

The other day we were walking up to school. She was in one of her 'Why?' moods. It's a 25 minute walk up hill (just one way!) and she trooped along quite happily asking 101 questions. Here's a snippet of our walk:

Cate: Why is the snow melting?
Me: The weather is warming up which makes it too hot for the snow to stay frozen so it melts.
Cate: Why does it have to melt?
Me: Snow has to melt to make way for Spring and the flowers.
Cate: But why now? Why not next month?
Me: Who are we to question God's design?
Cate: Huh?

And later:

Cate: Why can't I jump in the puddles?
Me: Because we're going to school and you don't want to get all dirty before you get there.
Cate: Why not?
Me: Because you'll be cold and dirty which is very uncomfortable. Do you want to be cold and wet at school all day.
Cate Yes.

This went on for the entire trip. She questioned why we didn't walk on the dirt road (real answer: too much mud and too many construction trucks), wanted to know why we couldn't walk through the church yard (real answer: because I don't want you tramping on the snow covered graveyards), she questioned me on why she can't have a sleepover at Miranda's house (real answer: because I don't feel like getting up at 4am to go and get her when she gets scared and because she still has the odd accident at night) and on and on and on.

When we got to school I was running out of 4-year-old appropriate answers to her many questions. But when we got to her classroom she kissed me goodbye and said, 'Thanks, Mommy. That was fun!'

And it really was. Just please don't ask me why!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Good, Lazy, Happy Day

On Saturday night it snowed, and snowed, and snowed. It was wonderful. I have always been a fan, since the first time I saw it at 16 (hey, not a lot of snow in the Bahamas, y'know). It was the second snowfall of our time here in London and it was just heavenly being inside warm and cosy with a mug of chai tea, lights off, candles lit (no working fireplace, dang!) watching the snow come down. There's just something so comforting and happy about it to me.

The kids were over the moon about it. They pressed their noses against the glass and marveled at it. It was too late on Saturday for them to go out and Fen was at work until late and there was no way I was going out with the two of them by myself. So first thing on Sunday we were up and at 'em! The photo at the top is in our front path. We made a sad little snowman that I won't embarrass myself by showing. Here they are out back:



Afterward, we went inside, had a nice hot lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches with grapes. X went to for his nap and Cate and I made a magical castle.
Once he woke up and the castle and crew were safely put out of X-danger zone we pitched the small tent in the lounge, piled in the pillows and blankets, set up the portable DVD player with Toy Story 2, gave them chocolate milk and chocolate chip cookies. It was lovely for about an hour then the fighting began (of course). But it gave me enough time to put dinner in the oven, clean up the crafting mess, sweep the kitchen, read a proposal and wipe down the baseboards in the hall (they get so scruffy so quickly).

I'm rambling, but it was just a nice quiet day at home with the kids with the snow outside. We all enjoyed a lovely dinner and then Fen and I snuggled up to watch a documentary about France's King Louis XIV and the building of Versailles. It was just a good day all around.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ferris Bueller is BACK! Hooray!

Oh, how I loved Ferris Bueller back in the day. And here is he again, all grown up! LOVE this.