Monday, August 31, 2015

Diana, Princess of Wales


On August 31, 1997, 18 years ago today, Diana, Princess of Wales, passed away in the early morning hours. Do you remember where you were when you heard the news? Sophia and I were in Florida, Vic was on deployment in South America and when the phone rang very late at night,I thought it was just another instance where he hadn't paid attention to the difference in time zones. It was my friend Denise in California, however, calling to ask if I'd heard the news. The first time we met, years ago, Denise and I found that we had a common interest in the British Royal Family and we had kept in touch over the years, always talking about the Royals, Diana in particular. I turned on the television and pretty much stayed glued to it all week as there were countless programs about her life and the worldwide reaction to her death. 


This is how I will always remember her, a loving, doting mother, lavishing her sons with all the love that had been missing in her young life and sadly, in her adult life as well. She became the People's Princess, but she was first and foremost, William and Harry's mother. She was right when she said in her Panorama interview that there had been three people in her marriage but the one who should never have been there was Diana herself. Of course, if there hadn't been Charles and Diana, there wouldn't have been William and Harry.

I don't begrudge Charles and Camilla the happiness they found. They should have been together from the beginning. She's done a lot to soften him up and make him more in touch with the people, and she has risen above the people's animosity and become an integral part of the Royal Family.

Life Last Week 2015-34


Bests:

1. Another great week at work - I love to stay busy, it just makes the time fly.

2. Dinner with my friend Yasmeen on Friday - she's a trainer for Family Readiness and we met when I took the class some time ago. She's got a delightful British accent and as we chatted, I found out that not only was she from Manchester, but she was actually from Bury, part of my old stomping grounds. Anyway, I haven't seen her since I started work and she had been to Victoria, British Columbia recently so we had a lot to talk about.

3. Shopped at Macy's with my Shop for a Cause discount (25%). We woke up to rain and wind on Saturday morning and I think it played havoc with some of their electrics. My discount card wasn't working but fortunately, the March of Dimes was also having a Shop for a Cause day that day and the cashiers were able to scan their discount cards. Bonus...their discount was 30%. I managed to score a nice pair of navy dress pants and a Seattle Seahawks infinity scarf. It's Blue Fridays at work during the football season and since I didn't want to pay $100 for a Seahawks jersey, a navy blue top and my infinity scarf will work perfectly.

4. Absolutely poured down with rain yesterday afternoon - light rain in the morning but it turned into bucketloads in the afternoon and evening. That's a good thing because even my East Coast and UK friends have been commenting about the wildfires in this part of the northwest and it is a huge relief to the exhausted firefighters to see rain.

5. Not really a best for me, but one for Sophia. One week to go before she heads back to Bellingham and her own apartment. I'm excited for her.

Worsts:

1. Poor MudLynn got stung by a wasp again. These are paper wasps that have built a nest in the wood of a raised bed in the garden, right at her level. The landlord came out to take a look and he's going to take care of them.

2. Another icon of my childhood in the UK has died - Stephen Lewis has gone to the great bus depot in the sky. I remember him fondly from "On the Buses", a great British comedy. He was the last surviving member of the crazy trio below.

RIP Stephen Lewis (left) with Reg Varney and Bob Grant
3. Absolutely fed up with a silly little chit of a girl at work who is so unpleasant, it's ghastly. Found out that someone else could help me with what I needed to ask her so this really should be in the Bests section. Why do some people go out of their way to be so unhelpful?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge Volume 233


1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September. What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends?

I have no idea. We don't go in much for the usual round of barbecuing, camping, boating, beach days, or other such things that one associates with summer. We're pretty quiet homebodies. It will be nice to have Vic home while the evenings are still light since he's been gone for most of the summer. I think we'll put some steaks on the grill and sit out on the deck with a glass of wine and just relax.

2. When were you last at 'your wit's end'?

I'm at my wit's end right now at work - I've walked into an office where most of the employees have been in this environment for 15+ years. They know everyone, every process, every acronym, and there I am, the constant question-asker. There are days when I think I'm not going to survive until the final whistle blows! Despite that, I am keeping a sense of humor and a positive attitude. It's helping, I hope!

3. Describe a time you were figuratively thrown into 'the deep end'?

Six weeks ago, when I started my new job without what I would consider to be the type of training to help me succeed. It's a learn-as-you-go set-up and I'm not entirely comfortable but I'm learning to work with what I know and go from there, asking lots of questions.

4. Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means? Explain.

I'm too tired to think this one through so I'll just say yes, maybe, sometimes, rarely. How's that for vague?

5. What makes your hair stand on end?

Clueless parents who let their screaming children run wild.

6. I read an article on the website Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods. Basically it's a feed your brain so you're less anxious, grouchy and lethargic. The foods are-mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes, grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut. Which of those do you think would most help end your own bad mood? Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you into a bad mood?

Grass-fed beef (as in a big steak) and grilled asparagus. I can make it myself and end a bad mood but it would be so much better if someone cooked it for me, and served it, and cleaned up afterwards. Blue potatoes sound just weird, I think they would put me in a bad mood which is odd because I love potatoes. It's something about the blue that's off-putting.

7. What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is 'no end in sight'?

Oh my goodness, my office. It's just a catch-all for you name it and it's in there.  There are craft supplies galore, planner supplies (my new obsession), scrapbook albums, pages, photos, and memorabilia, filing to be done, things to list on Ebay, more filing to be done. I'm not sure when I'll see the floor or an uncluttered surface again. I'm beginning to feel like the people from Hoarders will soon be knocking on my door.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Well, typing all that certainly gave me a chuckle and that's just what I needed. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #22

Beachside Cottage, Staithes
I have no idea where I found this cottage but I have a feeling a fellow blogger had a holiday here and wrote about it on their blog. If it was you, please let me know and I'll link to your post.

Staithes' claim to fame is that it was once the home of Captain James Cook where he worked as an assistant to the merchant William Sanderson for 18 months from 1745. The charming seaside town was formerly a bustling fishing center and is now a tourist destination. You can read more about Staithes here.

Beachside Cottage sleeps 6 and has some wonderful original features, as well as many modern conveniences we wouldn't want to be without!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-33


Bests:

1. Step one of my official passport paperwork complete - Japan, here I come, maybe? There are some travel opportunities coming up at work and I'm in the running for a spot. Feeling very chuffed that they're even considering someone as new to the group as myself.

2. Fun with the Navy Wives at our end of the year annual picnic - pool time for the kids and lots of chatting among the members. I love getting to know everyone.

3. The last of my swap packages from my planner group came in - lots of fun goodies to share with Sophia.

4. Stunning new floors at the Rhode Island rental house - my contractor did a beautiful job and the bill so far (with not too many more things to be added) is within the budget.

5. The weather is cooling down and that's always a good thing.

Worsts:

1. Took a fall at work last week that has left me black and blue - nothing broken thank goodness but I did feel a right fool lying there on the ground. Thank goodness the brim of my hard hat stopped my head from hitting the concrete. Two men came rushing over to help me get up (good grief, how embarrassing!) - no idea what happened, one minute I was walking along, the next ka-boom, down I went. Must have hit an uneven spot that threw me right off balance.

2. Really frustrated with Shutterfly - I've been working on the Navy Wives History Book that we will submit at the National Convention for judging and it must have a plain cover. I thought Shutterfly's cloth cover was an option but it has a spot on the front to insert a photo. Apparently, if you don't insert a photo, you'll get an album cover with a great big blank grey rectangle smack in the middle. My only option was to pay an exorbitant price for a plain leather cover - even with a healthy discount, it was still more than I wanted to pay. Lesson learned, look for another company for next year.

3. Still adjusting to working and my blog life has suffered terribly. Please bear with me, followers, I will be around to visit you all soon and thank you for continuing to read my very sporadic posts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-32


Bests:

1. Work continues to be great - learning more each day, taking on more each day. I'm really enjoying it.

2. Another yummy new color, Watermelon by Essie.


3. An enjoyable day out at the Navy Wives Clubs of America Area Council. I traveled across the water on the ferry with two of the elders, our affectionate name for the ladies who have kept the club running for years. It was nice getting to know them better.

4. Lovely chats with Vic from out on the high seas - I am fortunate that he has a phone right in his office and that it can still reach from wherever he is to here. Not too much longer now.

5. More fabulous planner supplies - Sophia's hooked too so we're sharing the loot and having a lot of fun decorating our pages.

Worsts:

1. Still waiting for the full cost of the house repairs - so far only the cost for refinishing the bedroom floors has come in and that's enough to send me into a swoon.

2. As much as I am enjoying work, I have yet to find as much pleasure in getting up at 4:00am every morning.

3. A paper wasps' nest in the backyard and poor MudLynn got stung the other day. The landlord will get it sorted.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

If this is Tuesday, it must be England #21


Presenter Roy North with Basil Brush

A childhood memory today - Basil Brush. Basil was a fictional fox character, portrayed in my era by a glove puppet (he was later an animated character) and much enjoyed on BBC children's daytime television. There were several actors who accompanied Basil but Roy North is the one I remember watching.

Check out this site to see more about Basil Brush.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-31


Bests:

1. A busy week at work - finally got full computer access and started timekeeping for the various supervisors who work in our product line. It is going quite well and I am feeling more comfortable in the environment. There is still a lot to learn but everyone is very helpful.

2. Still tweeking my planner although it is going to be so handy when I get it up and running full-time. I loved Caroline's vlog How I Stay Organized - having a planner really is the key. I just have to figure out the best way to make it work for me. The planner industry has really exploded here in the USA with a whole list of companies who make planners, companies who make planner-organizing embellishments, and Etsy stores that have taken planner stickers to a whole new level.

Still tweeking - I need to move those strips with the hearts over to the left-hand side of the boxes and use them to check off To-Do List items - menu-planning at the bottom is very dull as I grill up some meat on Sundays and just pop it in the microwave during the week - will expand on that when we resume regular family meals (FYI, Sam is Sophia's fish and I have to put Aquarium Salt in his tank in the evenings)
3. Sophia finishes up her Wrangler job for the summer and will be home tonight (this should really be featured under next week's LLW but hey, it's my blog and I'm excited to see her!). She will continue on at the camp until she heads back to college but only on weekends. It will be lovely to have her home during the week.

4. Our tenants in Rhode Island moved out and after three years, took good care of our house. There are a few things that need to be fixed but they are in the normal wear and tear category. I am very thankful for a super property manager and his contractor son who will take care of everything. Having to pay the bill, however, will come under the Worsts category! Our new tenants are scheduled to move in on August 29th.

5. A great meeting of our local Navy Wives Clubs of America chapter with another new member joining us. Nominations for officers for the new year are out and I am on the list for Secretary which is perfect for me. Looking forward to connecting with some of the members from our region at an event this coming weekend.

Worsts:

1. As I said above, repairs on the Rhode Island house. Ka-ching!

2. Poldark's last episode on PBS' Masterpiece. Although I loved the original, the new series grew on me and I was sorry to see it end. I am looking forward to Season 2. The Crimson Field also ended and there will not be a second season.

3. More 80+ degree days featuring in the week's forecast. No, no, no, no!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

If This is Tuesday, it must be England #20


Ever since my parents rented a holiday cottage for Christmas in 2001, I have been fascinated with publications and websites for holiday cottages. There are just about every kind of accommodations featured, in every corner of the United Kingdom and beyond, and in every price range. Barnacre Cottages are billed as "Luxury 5 Star Self Catering Holiday Cottages", and I have to admit the prices are in the luxury category, but who can resist the idea of an Aga? I certainly can't! So, into my Favorites they popped, and from time to time, when I'm feeling particularly nostalgic (I grew up in Lancashire) and hoping to win the lottery, I take a little wander in Neverneverland and imagine a fortnight's holiday at The Piggeries or The Old Stables or Mole End.

The Piggeries Lounge
Mole End's Kitchen (with Aga!)
The Old Stables Conservatory
So, my recommendations here are purely virtual, but one day, I hope to visit Barnacre Cottages and tell you what they are really like.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-30


Bests

1. A great second week at work which ended with my first payday in many years. #$$laughingallthewaytothebank$$ (I don't tweet but I couldn't resist putting that in there!)

2. Sophia came home for the weekend and we had a lovely lazy time but we also ran some errands aka shopping. #lookatthedamagethechildcandotothebankbalance! OK, last #!

3. Modeled the latest in industrial fashion for my Facebook friends and received some hilarious comments. I think we all agree that it needs a plume and a touch of plaid!


4. Had a fun time decorating my first set of planner pages since all my sticker orders came in last week. I'm not quite happy with the final outcome so we'll see what next week's set looks like and then maybe I'll share.

5. A bit of royalty/aristocracy goodness to share. Princess Caroline of Hanover's son, Pierre Casiraghi marries Beatrice Borromeo in a religious ceremony (civil ceremony preceded this event). What a stunning dress!

Hello Magazine
Worsts

1. RIP Cilla Black - an icon from my childhood.

2. Hot, hot, hot, hot...go away! Wretched weather for grey-cloudy-rainy lovers like myself.

3. Not really a worst, but a disappointment - Sophia and I took a look at the house we were offered on the base and it didn't appeal to us at all. Small, not in a great location, on the fringe of an office building, just not for us.