Thursday, July 26, 2012

I no Spy


I wanted to join in on the pictury fun this week.
.... but I haven't seen a single creepy crawly in England...
Not a single one! I've heard stories about them, even in the news here recently they were talking about the sudden boom in the insect population. Oh wait I take it back, I saw a honey bee and a fly today when in BigBen's Parent's garden (that's what they call the back yard).

Sooo My Choice?

Ah whatever, Here are some England pictures.


 We had tea/lunch at a little place inside a woman's clothing store. Not kidding it was like having a bistro in the middle of a JCPenny's Misses section


 And this was in the middle of a place called Kingslyn there was this church. I love Circles and the window was full of them so I had to take a picture


When I saw these signs my mind played havoc with me. Apparently my brain doesn't care to read in straight lines. My brain decided that the signs should read: "Keep mad as a Rock and Carry a Hatter"
 

Why Yes I am... If Scrummy is a good thing...


 This is right up there with Moss Burger in Japan. Wimpy burgers for everyone!



The light heart lives long.... and carries a hatter.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

12

Warning: Super Emotional Content

Soft Hearted, Emotional, Crazy, Empathic... call it what you will. I cried when I heard about the Aurora Dark Knight shooting. Then I shoved it all down, said a prayer, and  moved on with the wedding stuff with my sister. After all, I'm in the U.K. my tears won't help their friends or families deal with their loss or get passed the shock of the sudden void in their lives.

Then Elff and Rocker start talking about when they are going to go see Dark Knight Rises. BigBen chimes up and says in his very brittish accent: "Well I'm not sure I want to go, not with all that what happened in Colorado."
My mom assured him that it's not likely, that Aurora is a very shady place to begin with.

Well... I followed some links on Facebook some of my friends posted. Apparently some things that were said by others, namely of the 'Christian' persuasion, really ripped at the soul of a particular blogger. I felt for her, but as is my curse I have a tendency to see from both sides of the fence, there were a few of the quotes that I thought she was maybe  missing the point of (namely the "where are the brave people" quote near the end, I didn't think it was blaming the victims I think it might have been a call for people to see beyond themselves and try to 'save everyone' at the cost of their own safety... but hey I could be reading into it too much myself). I was flustered so I tried to find happier things. How does one respond when one can't give a hug? Or a smile or anything really? I'm a stranger. Sure my family is from Colorado, I have friends there who I love dearly and worry for every time I heard anything about the wild fires (and you too Dazee, but I don't think you're in Colorado). What can I do/say that would mean anything?

Then I found pictures. I'm visual. Images last a lot longer than any other form of input for me. They stir my heart and soul. Maybe you could even say that they make things real.
And I cried again, even though it's been days and these people are complete strangers to me. I'm actually still kinda crying. Because these people will never get to share a laugh again, burn their tongue on coffee or what have you, kiss, hug, get frustrated with traffic. The shooter took away everything the had and everything they would have had (Unforgiven 1992, just in case you're wondering why it sounds kind of familiar).
So I have to say something, even if none of the people effected ever read it, even if Veracity never sees this. Even if it doesn't really matter in the end.

To the wounded in body, mind, and heart,
To the ones robbed of the most precious people,
Even if you don't believe in my God (and I understand completely if you're pissed at him, and I think he does too) I pray for you. My wishes are for you, to find peace, to find freedom from hatred for the man who took so much away, and to live with your memories as treasures instead of chains.
Losing a person is one of the hardest things that gets thrown at us in life; and when you come over this horrific hurdle I hope you will be stronger for it. Not broken but remade.
My tears are for you all who knew the 12 who were taken from this place and into the next. If I could I would also give you a hug, but that would probably creep you out.
All my love, prayers, and hope for you all,
Ashes

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hen Party Emergency!

It's July and I saw my breath today. The ladies from my family's church all got together and ate at Pizza Hut and went shopping at a store called Range. Range is like the bastard child of Ikea and Michaels.
The sky was grey and it drizzled; it didn't stop us from having a good time.
While in Range I bought some ceramic paint for the party favors we're going to give out for my sister's Hen Party. The idea was to use the paint with some Alice in Wonderland stamps to make the tea cups I brought with me all themed like the party.

I'm sitting on my mother's mac talking to my buddies from high school when my mom hands me the phone. On the other end is the Maid of Honor, JP. JP is half asian, I don't know if you know what this means; if you have asian friends then ignore the next bit. This means that JP is very excitable. I don't know what it is but EVERY one of my asian friends has been spring loaded in a way that friends of a different genetic background aren't (unless they've lived in an asian culture for a goodly chunk of their lives.... stop looking at me!). So, she's all like: "Ashes! Oh no! I have an Emergency!"
Being the kind little heart I am I think: why are you talking to me? isn't my sister your best friend? before I say "What is it?"
"The paints and the stamps, they don't work!" She says. "I tried them and all I get is a blob!"
I tell her I'll be right over and take a look at the situation.
She's right they don't work. The stamps are made for paper and are therefore very linear, the cups are very convex, and the paint is very stupidly slick. I tried a few times with my steady as a rock artist's hand (ha! I wish) and realized it was going to be a pain even if we did find the trick to it.
Luckily I am a little bit crafty. Since we can't use stamps I can make stencils, on contact paper. You see I can make what's known as a Graphite Transfer Sheet (thank you Mr. Atkins, you're the greatest art teacher ever!) once the contact paper is on the cups smoothly I can transfer the patterns I printed out onto the outside of the paper and use an exacto knife to cut the shapes out. From there we can just paint over it then remove the stencil bits! Yay!
We haven't actually tried this; as awesome as the idea sounds it may not work the way I think it will work. I hope it will though. *fingers crossed*

Other than this we've got everything taken care of.
Should I give you the juicy details?
Maybe?


Yes I think I will.

The Hen Party will be in two parts.
First, a Mad Hatter Tea; where I will be the Games Mistress.
We're making cake pops, cherry cupcakes, irish car bomb cupcakes, and maybe lemon elderflower cupcakes, tea sandwiches that are going to be filled with awesomeness like bacon and cream cheese. We'll drink tea and giggle and have silly hats and outfits.

Second, zur Disco. We're going dancing, which loosely translates as clubbing into American vernacular but not really. We're honestly just going out to get buzzed and dance till our arms go numb while giggling like little schoolgirls.
I was going to wear my Mad Hatter outfit when we went to the Disco, but everyone else has a dancing outfit and I felt a little out of place. Luckily I thought this might happen so I brought some stuff that can be turned into a rockin' dancing outfit. Yay!
Then we have a few days to recover before we dance down the aisle. Really, we're dancing down the aisle in purple princess dresses. To the song Dynamite, google it, my mom's mac hates anything that uses flash. Hee hee.
Purple Princess Dresses and techno music. Makes me giggle.

The Light Heart Lives Long. <3

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dear...

Dear Mr and Mrs Feet, I'm sorry I made you run around in high heels two days in a row. That was stupid of me considering you're usual posh accommodations. So please please PLEASE stop swelling! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

A few small differences

Being in the U.K. is fun!
However sometimes it can be a little hard on the brain. Truly the U.S. and the U.K. are separated by a common language. I'd like to share some of the silly small differences that make the world so confusing sometimes.

Petrol = Gasoline
Boot = Trunk
They pronounce 'Garage' weird.
There is no such word as 'Thrift' in the Queen's English, it simply doesn't exist. You should've seen the look on my sister's fiance's face when I told him we had been out 'Thrifting'.
As you can imagine from the above statement Thrift Stores are called Charity Shops.

And I took a few pictures... and a dorky video...

video


Celery Root


Turnips (though my mom says that they taste different and BigBen said he thought the American word for these was Rutabaga)

And of course Eggplant

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wedding Showers Bring... fake flowers?

The longer I watch/help my sister with her wedding the more thankful I am to have completely omitted this bit of life. Knowing me I would have turned into a proverbial dragon and eaten everyone before all was said and done. Between guest lists, seating arrangements, RSVPs, things to print and buy and set up and colors to pick and songs to choose, I don't know how Elff hasn't just up and exploded. Which is saying a lot for my very... um, passionate... yeah passionate sister.

Today was the wedding shower, hosted by Lady Uppercrust II. No really her house and garden and demeanor just radiated privilege. We got to watch my sister open super cool kitcheny gifts for upwards of two hours and then everyone took a handful of hershey's kisses and put them in Elff's hand while wishing something over her.
You wouldn't believe how many people reiterated "Don't go to bed angry."
Then we got to D; who is having issues of epic proportions poor lady, and she wished for Elff and BigBen to have no shortage of forgiveness in their marriage that there would be no nights with some one on the couch. It was sweet and heartfelt and I just wanted to hug the crap out of her.
I wished for Elff and BigBen to be best friends, to be able to have fun with one another just as much or more than they were serious with one another.
My mom wished for them to put God first. A lady I can't remember her name wished for them to have a date night once a week (with a jamaican accent added: "To keep things fresh.").

It was sweet. There were lots of womanly tears shed. I felt really out of place; these things are not for me.

Ah and I said I was going to upload some pictures of the adventures I've been having. So, as promised here are a few.


The first thing I saw when mom and dad took me from London-Heathrow to Methwold
Le~Stalker Service Truck!


Here we have BigBen trying to climb a ruined flint manor wall, while Rocker plays with his jackett and Elff turns her face away from the camera without realizing it. 
 A Pub sign that made me happy.
 The cereal section in the U.K. isn't very much different than our own. With the exception of this interesting little gem.
 My sister did T-man's 11th birthday cake. He wanted a Modern Warfare 3 cake and Elff rose to the occasion with a nifty little number.
 This is a church. Most all of them are pretty like this.
 A little corner store cafe my mom and sister took me to. It served a really nice cheddar and ham panini (pinini? penini? ponini? ugh stupid spell check what is the right way to spell it?!), and of course Tea.
 And the best for last.
Mom and Elff nomming on some freaking phenomenal belgian style 'chips' / pommes/ french fries.
Oh were they ever so good. (^_^)

Friday, July 13, 2012

How Time Doth FLY

I've been in the U.K for a week. A WEEK!
What the crap? I feel like I just staggered off the plane yesterday.

Not so.

Today was dress fitting day. *Le~GASP!*
Since the whole moving back to Jex's home state adventure I haven't kept up with my physical conditioning. Somehow over the course of a month and a half I gained back the inch I fought so hard to lose; and I had given my sister my measurements for the bride's maid dress when my exercise plan was in full swing. I was afraid the dress wouldn't fit.
Thank God for weird size differences.
I fit! I fit i fit ifit I FIT! *happy swirly princess twirl*
The top had to be adjusted a little to fit over the top of my boobage properly and the skirt had to be hemmed a little because I guessed the height of the shoes I was going to wear when I gave the measurements.
I'm so happy I fit into it!

Even though I'm happy I fit into the purple princess dress that is my sister's choice for her bride's maids I still want to re-lose that stupid inch. Not to mention I want to be smoking hot for when Jex get's back from his mini-deployment. Thus some things have got to happen.
V is over on her blog beating my pants off at being healthy already (good job by the way). That's ok though she got an early start. I was that girl who ate 6 doughnuts and 4 slices of pizza before polishing off a 2 ltr of some fizzy soda drink that has enough dye to kill a tank of goldfish (cheerwine anyone?). While this pattern of (delicious) eating isn't something I do (often) anymore I find that my body is changing. (O.o)!
What? You think I'm a 13 year old girl?! Nope, I just have the LONGEST PUBERTY EVER.
No really, after I got married (and after 21 years of virginity, not a lie. YOU read the S.T.D portion of a pathophysiology text book and tell me that sex is still worth the risk. *shudders*) I grew hips and stuff. I also now (so depressingly) have to exercise or I put on a little pudge.
I'm a gamer. I have the tan of a vampire and the most imposing muscles on me surround my thumbs. Till my body decided to transform I was also in the category of "I will never be any bigger than the middle finger you wave in my direction as I eat that super fattening, and magically delicious, food you just can't bring yourself to enjoy" metabolisms.
Damnit.

The plan is: Do the power 90 thing with my mom every day she does it. Every day but busy wedding planning/fixing/burning days that doesn't have a work out I run for 20-30 minutes. Which, since I'm in the wettest place on EARTH, means I get drenched at least twice a week.
So far I've stuck to eating fruit every morning, and I really don't like fruit.
Naturally I have a Paleo type diet. I eat meat and veggies... with gravy and sometimes really good cheeses. That's about it. Jex teases that if left to my own devices I would live off of meat, meat, and more meat, with a dash of broccoli. So cutting out the soda, sugar, and generally not so good for the waistline foods probably won't be a daunting as it looks right now.

For the record I will count the 4 hours I spent walking around Norwich (pronounced Norrich) in heels today (I don't wear heels!) as my work out.

Hopefully I can get some of the pictures I took over the week on here come Monday. Unless some one else wants to take me to some place whose name I can't pronounce. I swear British people swallow the majority of their consonants. Swallow them alive!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where We Stand

There is an article that has recently come to my attention.

Why Women Still Can't Have it All ~ by Anne-Marie Slaughter

I only read the first page and will probably wait to read the others tomorrow after wedding prep stuff for Elff is finished. (today we burned the edges of the programs, they look pretty cool)

It's a really thought provoking piece for me so far because of my experiences early in life and the reactions my elders had to them. You see, I've only ever wanted to be a GOOD wife and a GOOD mother; along with learning every language in the world and being a botanist that specialized in healing plants. Honest and truly being the pillar for my family to be built around I saw as a challenging and rewarding goal.
 Dear God. One would think that I had just told some one that I longed to start my own cute baby animal drowning service. Even the men who had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up were horrified: "That's all? Surely a smart girl like you would want to be more than that." And this is one of the more mild reactions. One woman outright yelled at me as if I had broken something sacred.
Well, yeah I also want to learn languages and become a botanist, but those were secondary dreams. I figured I could chase them and wait for the right guy to drop into my lap. Language school turned out to be too pricey, and I still haven't found a botany degree that meets what I'm really interested in (as least in the U.S. we like to deny that the natural world can be any real good without first being refined and genetically altered). Good thing I found my man. (^_^)

I understand that my maternal predecessors had to bite and claw and fight with all they had to get any rights to anything other than: Teacher, Nurse, Housekeeper, Cook, Wifeywife. I get it, you want me to rise to the heights that are available now. However, it's an option that has been made available to me that I have honestly considered. I get how my choice to stay within the traditional gender role can be disappointing to that generation of women.
Is my admiration not enough?

Sometimes I still find myself cornered and, well, chastised by other women and men even for not going all out and trying to take the professional career path, or rather invade it like one would if one were a conquering army, AND have a family on the side. One the side, like salad dressing.
It makes me think of the move Mona Lisa Smile. It was really hard to sit through at first but one scene gave me hope. It's near the end when one of the girls decides to get married and not go to law school and the whole conversation is awesome. I tried to find it on YouTube, apparently no one else thought it was worth cutting out and posting. The only clip I found cut off right as the conversation got really good and I couldn't find the continuation. But here's the bit I could find. Clicky?

One blogger Garalog, an older and super rad gentleman, had some really great thoughts on the whole 'woman: family vs career' thing. I really really enjoyed reading his insights; not to mention his writing style was like really good chocolate to my brain.

As much as some people tell me that I'm wasting myself being at home I don't think I'll ever regret my decision. I know me, and when I come to the end of the road sitting on the porch with hands that are well worn and soft over old photos I won't regret a thing. Because I will have been the heart of my home, the strength and love that kept my man and children going in the face of the monstrous world that looms over us.

The Light Heart Lives Long~ Ladies. <3

P.S. Let me know what you think if you read either the piece or Garalog's thoughts on the piece. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hooka

I've always wanted to try Hookah. Ever since my German 3 teacher Frau Nicholson forgot that American 17 year olds weren't legal smokers and told us all about the great Hookah bar in downtown Bitburg. Smoking in Japan was nice because I could buy vanilla cigarettes and other tasty options. If it doesn't taste good I don't want it. This goes for food, liqueur, and everything else. Frau Nicholson described Hooka as: "breathing a strawberry cloud." Now THAT sounds pretty flipping awesome.



Lucky for me my little brother has a Hookah and some mint tobacco. Rocker set up his Hookah for us last night in the garage. It was awesome! He and his friend Jake had smoked all the "good" flavors the few days before I got here and all he had left was Mint. I like mint.
You know what? Frau Nicholson was right. I got to breathe a delicious mint cloud.
Rocker showed me some tricks with the smoke. I can't get a grasp of the smoke ring but I can do the waterfall now. He says it makes me look like a pro. I think he's just getting a giggle out of his big sister who doesn't know what the heck she's doing.
Oh and you know how Helium makes you're voice super high pitched and silly? Well, Hooka smoke makes you're voice all low pitched and strange. It weirded me out at first, but then I was goofing off and talking like some one had hit the 'slow mo' button. It was so much fun!

Now he has me seriously thinking about getting a little water pipe, or maybe just a regular pipe. I don't know if one gets the same smooth, nonsmokey, smoke from a traditional pipe or if one can even smoke the same tar and nicotine free tobacco. Hmmmmm.

Well, time to go stretch, working out with my mom the past three mornings has awakened some very angry muscles.

Till tomorrow,
The light heart lives long. <3

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Land of the Eng's

Yesterday I landed in London Heathrow Airport; and promptly threw up the banana that they served us for breakfast on the plane. My sister's wedding is at the end of the month and I'm here for the little tiddly bits that need to be polished. In the mean time I'm sure to have a lot of fun adventures.

Today I tried on the Bride's Maid's dress and was ecstatic that the inch I put on didn't make the dress too small for me. Yaaaaay! I did the power 90 work out thing with my mother. My littlest brother, T man, took me on a walk to see the: "Church that is for sale because everyone died." then the sky opened up and bawled on us. And I got my butt handed to me playing Mortal Kombat with Rocker.

Think my Jet Lag might be kicking me in the face, because today has felt more like three. The best part of it all is the fact that it's in the 60's here versus the 107 degree weather I came from. I like it! And there's the most delicious chocolate ever here. Mmmm, Turkish Delight, Cadbury, Bounty... *sigh*
I just have to move further north. Maybe Alaska or close to the Canadian border somewhere.

The Light Heart Lives Long.