30 November, 2007

First Songs

This (Goodbye Mister A) is the first song David has really taken notice of - it's all the rage in the playground or the school taxi. He tells me he first heard it on Space Pirates (a CBBC program). I think it's quite catchy myself. The video link above we like because it is performed by a cartoon penguin.

Thinking about "first songs," I can recall several. I don't think of one in particular. I think my taste was greatly influenced by the fact that my sister is almost 6 years older than I am, and played a lot of neat stuff in her room or on our radio. Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack, Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel, Bye Bye Miss American Pie by Don McLean, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Maxwell's Silver Hammer [there's a sick little tune] and so many more by the Beatles. Funnily, or naturally, I suppose, I still like every one of those songs.

I also remember Harper Valley PTA and Lynne Anderson's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, from the time when mom worked nights in a country bar and I sometimes slept in my sleeping bag among the cases of liquor in the back room. Ahhh, the lack of child care for single parents.

The first albums I ever bought were Donny Osmond's A Time for Us and the Beatles' Abbey Road. Torn between pop and the groovy stuff, even at 8.

What were your first songs? First albums?

29 November, 2007

The Day

The Eye - it is going to be fine. Drove D. down to the doctor's today. Surface damage only; vision unimpaired.

The Cold - it is being held at bay, but at night comes back to pummel me with achiness.

The Weekend - it approaches quickly, but not as quickly as I would like.

The Blogging - it lacks a certain something.

On the bright side, I had a really good time at the coffee morning today. It was a chance to chat, and just hang out, getting to know some ladies a bit better. A Good Thing.

Ciao for now!

28 November, 2007

Loooooong Day

Woke up with my lovely cold, doped it into submission and charged into the day. Picked up Chrissie to come over for lunch and a spot of craftiness, as well as some interiors advice. I think her eye for color could really help jazz up some of the rooms in the house - we took some pics of the knitting house to play around with first. Then it was off to pick up kiddies from school and petrol from Tesco, and meet halfway home to hand off kiddies to Dad.

I continued to base with Chrissie to drop her, and D. took kids toward home and fed them. While they were eating out, the road past our house was closing because of an accident, so they took back roads home. I followed, about 20 minutes behind, and even the diverted traffic was absolutely jam-stopped for about a mile before it unclogged. I think that's as bad as it gets here.

D. scratched his eyeball pretty badly with Lily's seatbelt, and as soon as I got home, I loaded everyone in my car to take him to the ER. Which is VERY busy because of the accident I mentioned. Plus two others. He's got at least another hour to wait, so I took the littles back home to put them to bed, and D. will get a taxi home once they patch him up.

It wouldn't be quite so bad, just painful and a pain, if it weren't for the fact he had had surgery on these very eyes not 6 months ago.

It started out as a good day....that seems like a loooong time ago.

27 November, 2007

One Word. Lots of One Words.

Today in single words:
Shower (me)
Bath (kid)
Schoolrun (two words)
Books (located)
Scarf (tie dye, for HP party)
Argos (delivery guys)
Laundry (redux)
Schoolrun (redux)
TaeKwonDo (boyz)
Bedtime (kiddo)
Dentist (forgot to reschedule - crud!)
Knitting (sadly ignored)

26 November, 2007

Four More Years! Four More Years!

No, that's not an election chant. It's news - David got notice that his request to do another tour here has been approved, so we will be here....anyone? Anyone?

Yes. Four More Years!!

I'm just a little happy.

25 November, 2007

Party Planning

We are home from our festive weekend away (good time had by all, and minor wrong turn on the way home didn't delay us more than 30 minutes). Lily slept all the way back, while the rest of us tossed around ideas for David's upcoming Hogwarts party.

[Update on the invite situation - we all decided that inviting his year group plus best friend in the next year up was OK, so 13 invited, Friend of Whom I Blogged invited in that number, and David pleased about all the possible attendees. Moving on, then.]

Parchment printer paper and real sealing wax were scored this past Friday. Tonight David and I finished work on the invitations, with many thanks for wording to the amazing Britta. This is a woman who has thrown three incredible Harry Potter parties and has posted her awesome preparations and pictures from the parties on her site. Wow, is all I can say. I'm not wooooooorthy.

Here you can see the invitation addressed to Lily [who will be put to work during the party dressing as Dobby the House Elf, and manning Honeydukes, the magical candy store. She's stoked.]

24 November, 2007

Fabu Day

IKEA. Pronounced: ILOVEYOUIKEA! Had a super-de-duper day there, with kids getting their 45 minutes in Smaland and lots of time in the more kid-interesting sections of the store. Great lunch. Anyone surprised? Note Hoops and Yoyo enjoying everyone's dessert.

Lakeside Mall - spent a good hour in Starbucks with kids while David checked out some ManTiques. Spent a good hour in line for Santa's Grotto with Lily while Davids checked out MORE ManTiques. Yes, David did not want to see Santa. No, we have not had The Chat About Santa with David yet. Is it time? In denial here. Had an AWESOME dinner at Wagamama - something for everyone there. Miso soup for small D, rice and panko-crumbed chicken for Lily, udon for me, ramen for D the Elder, and yum for all.

Santa pic to follow - meanwhile I'm outta here.

23 November, 2007

We're Off to See Ikea....

...The wonderful IKEA of Oz! We're making a weekend jaunt of it, so I'm hopeful we can go to Ikea on both days. I may have to defer to the wishes of other family members, though.

Ikea has a warm place in my heart, and in all the family's, really. This is because my mother was born and grew up in Sweden. The Ikea in Baltimore opened 19 years ago, on the day my niece was born in Baltimore.
Ever since, we've stopped in often and oftener, to buy Billy bookshelves galore, kitchen gadgets, the best bath towels ever, lighting, and all-important Swedish food.
Mom loved loved loved to have a day out at Ikea, too, so I'm a bit sad at going without her, but I hope it will remind me of a lot of good days together.

Before the days of Ikea, back in the 1970s, getting Swedish food involved a trip to the Swedish Store somewhere in New York City. I have vague memories of stocking up on lingonberries, Swedish fish before you could buy them everywhere, and delightful clogs in perforated red leather. And Dala horses. In my childhood mind, I sort of thought the Swedish Store was an embassy, or consulate, or something official. It was a very important place, at the least.
In any event, Ikea took over that quasi-official Swedish ex-pat destination for mom, and I fell in love with it myself. It will be a lovely weekend, even if we can't buy any flat-pack furniture (No. Room. In. Car.).

22 November, 2007

Thank You for Being

This little image says a lot. I thank you, my friends, my readers, my family. I thank God for being here, and for your presence here. I'm glad to be in this world, and to enjoy it so much. I'm glad that I have known the people I have, even the ones who aren't here with me now.
My love to you, today.

21 November, 2007

The Windmills of My Day

Another fun-filled day here at Casa de Susie. I took small D along for the day, combining our myriad appointments and errands. Woke up at Oh-My-It's-Early O'Clock, to make my 7:10 appointment at the dental clinic. David brought a Redwall book along to pass the time in the waiting room. Appointment result - short and sweet triage to bevel the edge of my chipped molar, and an hour-long session booked for next week for a filling.

After that, a quick stop at the laundromat to put in a bunch of towels and bedding in the Mondo Biggo Machines, before heading to get cinnamon rolls and coffee. Laundry finished up in good time for us to waste some time smelling candles and silliness like that in the exchange.

Then off to David's pulmonary function test, which was conducted inside a little glass box like a phone booth. Apparently he did OK, and we call for an appointment next week to hear the results from the doctor.

Oh, wait...not done yet. We still had to pick up new specs and drop off the old ones to get free replacement lenses. The new frames are spiffy - gold rims and oval lenses. Harry Potterish in a subtle way. The undiscerning might think they were the same as D's old glasses, but we know better. MUCH much different. At least, according to him!

It felt like we'd been on the run for hours, but it was really only lunchtime. On the way back, I took an impulse turn toward the Denver Windmill. I've only been seeing the sign for it for 2 years now, after all. The perfect spot for a nice lunch with my big kid on this sunny day. Afterwards, we climbed up the five inner stories of the mill, and had a nice close look at the workings while it wasn't in use. How fun was that? VERY! I am so glad we did it today, as the stairs were narrow, steep ladders and there's no way Lily could have gone up or down, and no way I could have carried her. David really enjoyed himself, and so did I.

20 November, 2007

Delicious Day

Today, David started his minivacation. Without any specific plans, he and I headed into town for a little browsing and beginning of the Christmas shopping. We have been wanting to eat at Maggie's, a local restaurant, since we moved here 2 years ago, when it was still called Rococo. Today the stars and planets aligned, we dined there, and I had the best lunch I've ever had in England. Potted rabbit to start, with a chutney, toast rounds and cornichons. Then it was a stellar duck breast with medlar jelly and some amazing, life-enhancing veggies. For afters, GREAT coffee (not always found in UK restaurants) and some incredible cheeses. My favorite was the Oxford Blue. Oh. Mah. Heavens. Creamy nirvana, Gentle Reader. I am still reeling 5 hours later.

19 November, 2007

Diary of a Poor Lad

David was given an assignment to write a diary of a day in the life of a poor child in Victorian times. What he produced is a microcosm of his writing style, and I love it.

Note the handwriting, still not very tidy, and note the brevity. Because David writes slowly, he tends to write less, which is sort of a shame because he writes so WELL for an 8-year-old. Note also the humor, and the complicated phrasing and punctuation. I've transcribed it for you, and added paragraph spacing for clarity.
Thanks, David, for being my willing blog fodder today!
Dear Diary,
This morning I woke up and had breakfast - bread with
some of last night's cheese. I took our last shilling to buy a
small meat pie for lunch and went to the market area. After I
took the pie home, I went to get some more money.

"Clear the street for you?" I asked a man, and when he
nodded, I swept him a path through the muck.

At noon I went home and found the rats had eaten my
blanket. I ate half the pie and went back to work. By the
end of the day, I had 10 shillings and sixpence - enough for
10 days!

By tomorrow my hat will probably have been eaten. Ah well
- time for a bit of sleep

18 November, 2007

What Number Are You?

Thanks, Jill for this link. Interesting. I think it's sort of accurate - what do you think, Gentle Readers who know me in real life?

***You Are 2: The Helper***

You always put on a happy face and try to help those around you.
You're incredibly empathetic and care about everyone you know.

Able to see the good in others, you're thoughtful, warm, and sincere.
You connect with people who are charming and charismatic.

At Your Best: You are deeply giving, altruistic, and humble. You devote your life to others while caring for yourself too.

At Your Worst: You are manipulative and enjoy making other people guilty.

Your Fixation: Rejection

Your Primary Fear: Being unworthy of love

Your Primary Desire: To be loved unconditionally

Other Number 2's: Mother Teresa, John Travolta, Princess Diana, Dr. Phil, and Mr. Rogers.

What Number Are You?

Busy Day

Here's what I did today. I drove down to Mildenhall to browse the Christmas Bazaar, which is a huge fundraiser for lots of organizations all over the base. Two airplane hangars full of vendors (crafts, foods, books, antiques, pottery, and probably other things I can't think of now). There's also a fun fair outside, with some rides and games. Today was really cold and windy, so it's a good thing the kids didn't come.

I spent some quality time with the antique book booths; I could have spent hours, but there were so many more places to check out. One vendor was selling dozens of antique sewing machines. He showed me a few I have never seen before, and I took his number so I can take my UK-spec Singer Featherweight in for repair. Then there was Gracie's Toffee. Wow, that's good candy.

After my browsing/shopping, I did a volunteer shift for the squadron, who man a food booth for Filipiniana. Fantastic food, and it was really interesting to be behind the scenes. Good thing I brought a warm hat and an extra sweatshirt to layer, though, because those outdoor food booths? VERY cold.

17 November, 2007

What Do YOU Think?

We can't choose our children's friends, I know. However, how do you approach things when your child tires of a friend?

A little background here: D. wants a Harry Potter-themed birthday party, and he's thought of tons of activities, etc. We talked about different ways to do the party, and have decided to go for a smaller group of invitees and having it here at home. He's limited to six guests so we can do more involved things. He didn't choose to invite one child who's among my favorite of all those he hangs out with. They seem to be irritating one another at school these days, and he hasn't invited him around in a while. I don't know exactly why I'm so bothered.

Yes, I do - when he does invite this boy around, they play SO well together, with focus and creativity. They can set up a train layout and go for hours. One on one, they get on so well, it's a shame it doesn't translate to school time. A lot of it stems from David and Friend being at very different levels in some subjects, I think. I worry that he's dismissive of Friend because "he's not as clever as I am" and doesn't see that although they may be on different math/literacy levels, they're probably the closest-matched when it comes to play. I think that's really short-sighted. But he is 8, after all. From my grown-up perspective, I hate to see him throw the friendship out with the academic bathwater, or whatever.

However, it's not my place to make my child's friends. It's not my place. It's not my place.

How would you feel? What would you do? Or not do? I'm really interested to know other people's opinions and ideas here.

I thought I might ask once, only once, if David wants Friend to come over for a play date this week. If yes, and it goes well, we'll ask him if he's changed his mind and wants to invite Friend to the party as well.

I have a week before we need to send out invitations...

Or should I just let it go, and send the invitations as he's decided already? I lean toward "Let it go" right now this minute. How about you all?

16 November, 2007


I haven't made a lot of knitting progress this past month (too busy having outings, etc.), but here's what I have got done on the Basic Black (that's Khaki in my world) Cardigan. That's 90% of the first sleeve, and it's a 3/4 sleeve at that. Not so much with the progress. I like the pattern, and I can actually knit while watching one of the many millions of episodes of NUMB3RS we've been catching up on. Oooh, dangling preposition. Bad me.

Other wearables are pictured here. The kiddoes wore silly hats at school to raise funds for Children in Need today. Quite fetching, actually....

15 November, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and The Funny

The Good....a lunch meeting for some volunteer work that I do. I thought the meeting went really well, and some communication hiccups are about to be smoothed. The free lunch was a nice plus, as well.

The Bad...does this image give you a clue? I broke a tooth tonight. It's a back molar that's had a root canal, I think, so no pain. Obviously, some urgent dental work is in my future. The Bad here is mostly trying to work my schedule so I can get that in. Tomorrow is not good - it's the squadron Thanksgiving luncheon and I really shouldn't miss it. Then there's the weekend. I'll have to chew one-sidedly and hope for the best.

The Funny...small D. is a major fan of thinkgeek.com, and found this video linked on their website. How to handle your office stress in a most entertaining fashion.

14 November, 2007

Pesky Fun...

OK, having fun is NOT pesky, but the aftermath of catching up certainly is. I realized this morning that I didn't post yesterday's post. Does a draft created then count? Backdated that puppy to midnight and posted it just now. In my defense, yesterday evening was a little mad! Left home at 5:45 for the spouses' meeting and didn't get back till 11 PM, and I was shattered...it was a great night out though.

Lots of tasty nibbles, and we talked so much that the "hostess" ended up flipping the lights out on us to get us to scatter, like little ants at a picnic. There were some new faces, which is always great, and I think there'll be a cool day trip coming up. Christmas markets are getting into full swing now, and there's a Dickensian one in York, a HUGE one in Lincoln, all the German ones which are do-able as day trips, possibly even a King's Lynn one, although I haven't heard about it myself and I practically live there. Doing some research on that puppy today!

Today is set to be full of boring but necessary bits, like laundry, vacuuming, picking up, a trip to the grocery store, some volunteer-related calls, some volunteer-related list merging, and the usual stuff. Lily's got a friend coming over for playtime and tea, so I want to pick up some fresh playdough. If I had less going on, I think we'd make some, because that's a lot of fun, but their play time is limited, so I'll just have some ready. Our old playdough has gone sort of gray from repeated color blending, and sometimes it's fun to have the bright stuff.

13 November, 2007

Pictures as Promised

Here, Gentle Reader, are some pictures from the shopping trek Chrissie and I took yesterday. I love this one of me in my brown sweater jacket (see "I love you Tschibo" post from a few days back). You can see I don't look anything like The Tschibo Model, but I think it's a nicely cut sweater. Isn't the Royal Arcade a gorgeous place? Nice coffee shop; this is also where we bought the Shoes of Expensiveness for David this fall. The other picture is my New Crush....Beautiful Zara Bag, I LURVE You. Seriously, this bag makes me feel special; it's not like all the other bags. Heh. What a fun day.

Today I did a little erranding, a little knitting, and tonight I'm heading out to a spouse group meeting. I always love these - it's so nice to talk to grownups, especially those who relate to your husband's crazy work...

12 November, 2007

Shopping Recap and All That

End of a really good day - started at 7:15 AM when my friend and I met up and headed to Norwich, and ended just now, at 9:15 PM having dropped her off and made it home, after shopping Norwich so well we closed the city down. Fun, fun, time. New jacket, new bag, some other new stuff. I love having input from someone with style when I'm trying on clothes. My caffeine and adrenalin are wearing off now, and I sense bedtime in the very near future...

Pictures of the new jacket and bag and me to come, tomorrow, I hope.

Also, go see David's new game.

10 November, 2007


Some days just feel long and scratchy. Every sound in the house irritates me, even chewing, even laughing. I wish there were a Tylenol Irritation to take that would fix the headache AND the jangled feeling.

Not a big post today as we're heading out overnight. D.'s trying to figure out why our phonemail isn't working...both of us need to be reachable and get messages so it's another annoying thing.

Happy days to all of you, and calm, serene ones I hope.

09 November, 2007


Go see this! Everwhelming Liz is making some teensy socks for tree ornaments, and she's got a pattern, baybee! So cute, so quick. Must. Knit. One. Or. Many.

08 November, 2007

Lovely New Jacket...

This is my newest clothing purchase. I am in luuuurve. Bought it last week at Tschibo in town for 17 pounds 50, after seeing it and thinking a week. I think it actually looks pretty good, although I am not the sleek chickie pictured here. The fitted cut works for me, and I love the chocolate brown wool.

Tschibo is a great shop - I thought it was only a coffee brand until I arrived in England. I've seen brick and mortar shops here and in Germany - the selection of items changes weekly, or bi-weekly and ranges from cooking gadgets to camping gear, jewelry and clothing to bicycles. You never know what's in stock, which makes it quite the adventure to stop in the shop.

FYI, the potentially bad news has turned out to be not bad, thank God. Life goes on, and life is good. Chocolate is also pretty good. And coffee. And Numb3rs. OK, I'm definitely in an "up" state of mind.

I cast on a new knitting thing yesterday. I'm not participating officially in NaKniSweMo ([Inter]National Sweater Knitting Month) but if a sleeve happens to be on my needles, and sweater bits happen to be knitted in November, it's not a bad thing. Working on the Basic Black cardigan from MagKnits, but in an olive khaki color. It's such a clean-lines sort of sweater that I have a teensy but of faith in my ability to add in bust darts. I'll keep ya posted, you lucky readers.

Has anyone out there started an Unoriginal Hat from the Yarn Harlot's recent post? So cute, so simple-looking. I have a ball of chunky wool that would rock out in this pattern. Maybe this weekend.

07 November, 2007

Vocabulary and Rice

This is quite an interesting little vocabulary challenge, and the site donates rice for every correct answer.

Thanks to the Shrinking Knitter for the link.

06 November, 2007

Warm Fuzzies

Friends are a gift. We knew that, didn't we? However, on a day when I'm awaiting potentially very bad news, it was fantastic to be able to meet with a recent acquaintance for our weekly crafty time and end up not knitting at all, just talking about everything under the sun and cementing a new friendship. Maybe even the beginning of a new fitness buddy partnership, too!

Slowly, slowly, I'm gathering good friends here in England. I have tons of friendly acquaintances, but very few friends for just hanging out. Recently, that's been changing for the better, and I am so happy for it.

Thinking Happy Thoughts and Hopeful Thoughts...

05 November, 2007


Still no deep-thoughts posting today...just one burning question:

Do you see in pixels? Stare at something solid-colored - do you see thousands and thousands of little dots? I also see these in busy, multicolored things but it's harder to notice. Comments most welcome - I'd like to know if I'm crazy or not.

04 November, 2007

All Over the Topical Map, but Not Very Exciting

Well, I'm percolating a slightly deeper post, but it'll have to keep perking a while longer as my mind is full of really mundane stuff that must be purged first.

Item one: Great new sweater pattern in Magknits. I like it a lot - simple, classic, and perhaps achievable for NaKniSweMo? I've been backing off the idea of knitting a sweater in November, but if it could be done, this is the one.

Item two: Wow, do we like Numb3rs (Num-thers, as I call it). We've been catching up with Seasons 1 and 2 so far. Great cast chemistry, way cool math and science, and good crime show plots. I love a show that makes math hot. Plus it stars David Krumholz' hair, all wavy and fabulous. If a little too greasy-looking at times.

Which brings me to item three, also hair-related: The Interwebs Nit-festation of 2007 has made its way from the midwest in the USA (see my girl SusieJ's blog) to here in Merrie Olde. Saw nits and a few crawlers in Lily's hair after her bath tonight, and auuuuuuuugh. Nit combing shows none in mine or small D's, and David's hair is so close-cropped you can check visually. But I will have to deal with Lily's, and the bedding, and the soft toys, and the upholstered furniture and carseat, and any coats, and auuuuuughhh again. I hate hate hate hate hate lice. I was very chilled about it with Lily but they really creep me out. Not a fan of the crawlies.

We had a note a couple of weeks ago from the school that there was a case reported so I have been watching but why, oh, why must they hit here? Whyyyyyyy?

Sorry. So, you see. Not a very deep-thoughts sort of post, but what is completely filling my brain tonight. Now, I'm off to have a beer, and maybe watch one more episode of Numb3rs.

03 November, 2007

Frivolous Posting - A Britney Fug-trospective

Let's all indulge our inner readers of Hello! OK! and People this morning, shall we? Remember Britney Spears when she was a cute little pop princess? No, no, I can't say I do, either....the trainwreck that is her life has been so much more interesting in the past 3 years. Check THIS out - the Fug Girls have tracked that downward fashion/lifestyle spiral in pictures and snarky commentary. So delicious, so awful. I hate myself a little bit for being so amused. Hope the poor kid really gets rehabbed soon.

02 November, 2007

Operation Deny Christmas

David came home the other day with the news that, instead of missing Thanksgiving* on a short work trip, he may be gone for Christmas. He referred to these new plans as Operation Deny Christmas. Chances of this happening - approximately 100%.

I don't know exactly why this tickles me so much when it means he will be gone for Christmas, New Year's Eve, David's birthday, his birthday, my birthday and probably Valentine's Day, but I am still amused by it. Whatever makes me laugh, I guess. Now I keep coming up with other fun ways to refer to life events in our house. So far, I've created the following:

Operation Urgent Practice (when small D. has skipped tae kwon do practicing all week and needs to do his patterns a few dozen times to catch up)

Operation Moldy Tangles - tackling all the WIPs I have that are rapidly becoming UFOs in the knitting pile.

Operation Desperate Laundry - the baskets are overflowing and there are no clean schooliform shirts.

Operation Enticing Pizza - proclaiming the charms of visiting Pizza Express in hopes that I will not be making dinner that night.

Task Force Rolling Thunder - me, on a bad day.

* Missing Thanksgiving is no big deal, as there are only four of us, two of whom hate everything about Thanksgiving dinners except maybe pie. Besides, those two have school that day anyway, here in England. I could easily do without the festivities, and be thankful without the added calories.

01 November, 2007

Post-Halloween Reporting

Let's see. There were pumpkins. And Pumpkin Pi. Snork snork.

There was a naughty witch fairy, who went door-to-door with her small friend Piglet (small James, not pictured). There was also a skeleton pirate, who went door-to-door with his vampire friend (named James as well, also not pictured). There was much candy, and even a wandering candy minstrel, who charmed me. She was escorting her children around the neighborhood and had brought her own bowl of candy to hand out, since she wasn't at home to give it out. Very neat.

As we have for the past couple of years, we traveled to the nearest base housing area so that we could trick-or-treat in a concentrated zone of Americans, who are used to this sort of thing. The kids had a great time, and Lily fell FAST asleep in the car by 7:45 PM.