Monday, February 23, 2009

Zing Zang


We decided to take Isabelle to the circus. As Paul gets into in his post, we know there are many arguments against circuses; however, we felt it was an experience for Isabelle. I was also unsure whether she would like it since, in the past, she has shown an aversion to animals and loud noises. Well, I think she found the animals were at a safe distance and the noise was fun.

Here, for the record are some pictures of what Isabelle saw at the circus:P2071740 P2071672 P2071677 P2071681 P2071708 P2071711 P2071724 P2071733

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Results are in!

I was in two seminars yesterday which convinced me my exhibit would get a bronze or maybe a silver-bronze. As a two frame exhibit, it has gotten a silver but I wasn’t sure how it would do as a single frame.

So, it got a Silver again. I am pleased I didn’t get something lower and not surprised I didn’t get any higher.

MMMMmmmmm, steak

I arrived in Texas with no issues (ok, a little late). It was a great flight with clear skies the whole way. I took a few pictures from the plane, I think this is the Mississippi around Greenville, MS, on the Arkansas border.P2190006P2190019This is likely all I will get to see of Dallas since the show is actually in Arlington and my days are just packed here.

The stamp show is great – I even have found a few Nova Scotia items for my collection and  some familiar faces. Today I find out how my exhibit did.

Last night a group of us went to dinner – the proposal was steak, the recommendation was Saltgrass. It was perfect – I started with a spinach salad and had Pat’s Ribeye with grilled asparagus. I wasn’t sure if I could eat 12 oz of steak but that wasn’t a problem, it was so good. 

Well, back to the show, I made it to about 1/3 of the dealers yesterday so lots of work today!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Texas Bound

I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Dallas, Texas! I am excited! Granted, I am not going to see a lot of Texas. I am off to AmeriStamp Expo so will likely spend most of my weekend at the stamp show. Plus, I am going to be Arlington which sounds like it is just the strip between Dallas and Fort Worth so I could probably be just about anywhere in urban America.

So why am I going to this show? Well, after the show in Atlanta in the fall, I was invited to put together a one-frame exhibit (16-8.5x11 pages) as part of a team. Over the last few months, I have redone my Milford House postcard exhibit to fit in one frame. It was hard since even as I put the exhibit together I found a card from 1902 predating my former earliest card by 2 years.

My teammates are members of a group called “Women Exhibitors” (WE) which is focused on encouraging more women collectors to exhibit. The name of our team – Not Grumpy Old Men.

Last weekend, we were at a friend’s house and I was asked about my collection – the usual why and what do I collect. I gave a short answer, not wanting to bore my audience but Paul kept adding things in – I am really lucky he is so supportive of my odd hobby.

Oh, and don’t worry the crowd at home will do fine without me for a few days – it may be a much needed change for everyone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I spend a fair amount of time in the car – dropping off, picking up… In the mornings driving Isabelle to school, I listen to NPR, it’s not Liz and Don and there is no weather forecast but at least I get some news. Plus, there is the Radio Reader, who for the first time since arriving here is reading a book which does not involve – cannibalism, plane crashes, Alzheimer's or terminal cancer. Other than that I stick with one station, except when they started playing Christmas music 24/7 on November 1! It is not a great station – nothing new or noteworthy but reasonable, and the 80s at non is fun with Isabelle “Mummy, who taught you that song?”. I noticed a while ago that I was hearing a fair amount of Canadian music, before Christmas – when I decided I was ready to hear Christmas music - Anne Murray was getting a crazy amount of airplay, who know she had put out some many Christmas songs.

I decided to do an informal survey. It is pretty limited but so are the times I spend listening. Also, this is what I recognize as being Canadian, there may be others I don’t pick up on because I don’t recognize the song or someone is chattering in the backseat! So, this is what I heard in the last week:


10:11amBryan Adams, Please Forgive Me
11:37amNickelback, Far Away
11:46amBryan Adams, Heaven
11:57amMichael Buble, Lost
10:30amCarrie Underwood, Jesus Take the Wheel (written by Gordie Sampson)
12:04pmBryan Adams, Cuts Like a Knife
1:02pmNickelback, Far Away
12:05Bryan Adams, Run To You
5:58pmSarah McLachlan, I will Remember You
8:55amBryan Adams, Please Forgive Me
9:10amAvril Lavigne, Complicated
10:44amNickelback, Far Away
4:57pmAlannah Myles, Black Velvet
6:05pmAvril Lavigne, Complicated
6:008pmShania Twain, Man, I Feel Like a Woman

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sugar Cookies

I just finished making sugar cookie dough for Isabelle to take to school tomorrow. Several times this year a note has come home from school asking parents to sign up to bring something for a party - this time it is Valentine's Day. Each time this requests are very specific.

At Christmas, I signed up to bring cupcakes - notice I am saying 'bring' not 'make'. I was told to bring a very specific cupcake from a very specific store in a very specific colour. As you can imagine - the cake (as it turned out after several trips to said store and discussions with the teacher) was the typical supermarket cake with a pound of very sugary icing on top. Since I was only one of three parents who brought cake, there was a lot left over even after I forced people to take some offered it several times (as requested). Hey, Isabelle and I were leaving after the party, the teacher was the one who was going to have to deal with all those kids on a sugar high all afternoon...

So, this week when I signed up, it was fairly obvious from the words "roll of sugar cookie dough" that the teacher wanted the kind you buy in the grocery store. Since I was to bring it in a week before the party, I assume the class is going to cut out and decorate their own cookies. I said I would bring a roll of dough but that I would make it. I got the same look I got when we made muffins for her birthday and Halloween, it only muffins and cookies - it's not like I'm making some crazy cake with umpteen layers and fillings.

So maybe it will mess everything up that my dough will be different from what the others bring, but at least I know what went in it and I feel like I have done something for her class...

Did I mention the teacher wants me to come to in one day to make the muffins I made for Isabelle's birthday - a whole orange in a blender - fun with preschoolers! Now, I have to go find that recipe - wonder where I put it...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Visiting Greenville

I found out today that a new IKEA is opening in Charlotte, NC. OK, I know IKEA is not everyone's favorite place to shop but we have gotten Isabelle some fun things there.

Anyway, it is often cheaper to fly into Charlotte rather than Greenville so if you are coming to visit us definitely consider Charlotte. It is about a 1.5 hour drive from our house to the airport. We have only driven through on the Interstate and meeting someone at the airport would give us an excuse to see Charlotte.

2 Four Year Olds; One Week!

Shortly before Christmas, we had a visit from the Hennigars. Between Dawn's visit, the Hennigar's visit, our trip to Connecticut and my parents trip here, we actually had guests or were guests from mid-November to mid-January and it was a lot of fun. We like showing people around and it motivates us to see more of Greenville and the surrounding area.

It was great to see the girls together - they picked up just where they left off in July even without the third amigo, Sophie. Isabelle has lots of imaginary friends who travel with us and, usually, Hayley and Sophie are among them.

We had a busy week with trips to the aquarium in Atlanta, Monkey Joe's, some of the Blue Ridge in addition to Isabelle's usual schedule. By the end of the week, everyone was exhausted but also looking forward to the next visit.

One of our discoveries during their visit was take out from Bucky's BBQ. Bucky's is only about 5 minutes from our house and has great BBQ pork, ribs and chicken. The guys went out one night to get takeout and came home with a mountain of food including sides of potato salad, coleslaw, mac and cheese, baked beans, green beans, cucumber salad and sweet potatoes which lasted us two meals. I am not a fan of sweet potatoes but with that much butter, brown sugar and pecans, who could go wrong.
The requisite tub shotBunking in for the nightAt Monkey Joe'sCrafts at the aquariumIn the tunnelIn front of "the wall"Running around by the World of Coke - there was a skating rink across the street in Olympic Park - something to do next yearWe had good weather, some cool days but lots of sun
The girls at Caesars Head

Routines and being Stay-at-Home Mom

I grew up with a SAHM - most of my childhood friends did. I can't imagine having grown up with bag lunches and afterschool programs but I never thought I would be a SAHM. Granted, if you asked my university friends, I never thought I would be a mom. I have never had the overwhelming desire to have a child and tend to sort of go out of my way to avoid holding other people's babies. Babies are just not my thing - confirmed, in part, by the ten tearful months after Isabelle was born - you mean that doesn't happen to everyone? And by the relief of returning to work and reclaiming some of myself.

So here I am, living in a new country as a SAHM. The key, I have found to everyone's happiness is routine. But, I think the routine is what keeps me from blogging much. I guess everything is so routine that I figure no one really cares. Plus, Paul blogs about the fun stuff so sometimes it feels like there is not much left of interest.

So, for those of you who are interested this is what our average week looks like, most days Paul leaves the house at some ungodly hour and gets home between 4:30 and 5:30:

Monday - get Isabelle up, dressed and fed and drop her at school at 8:30am; stop and get groceries, hopefully for the week, on the way home; get home and throw laundry in. Putter around until 11:30am when it is time to go and pick Isabelle up from school. Lunch and then we have a quiet afternoon doing laundry, making beds etc. and getting supper started until it is time for Isabelle's swimming lesson (this month her lessons are from 5:20 to 5:50). Home from swimming, quick supper and then it is usually just about bedtime.

Tuesday - morning usually the same except instead of laundry and groceries, I try to get to the Y. Afternoon - sometime errands with Isabelle sometimes just playing at home. The other kids on the street get home from school around 2:30pm so if it nice out she can go outside to play. Supper around 5:30 or 6 then Isabelle to bed at 7:30 or 8.

Wednesday - morning the same maybe another trip to the Y for me, afternoon quiet again, sometimes a trip to the grocery store for milk and bread, otherwise she is too tired for the swimming lesson then rush home for supper and bed.

Thursday - Isabelle to school, often a trip to the dog park for Maggie and maybe a walk through Cleveland Park. Pick-up Isabelle, then home for a quick lunch and change for gymnastics. Getting home from gymnastics isn't the best timing wise since we usually arrive home at the same time as the school bus which stops at the top of our street. Isabelle knows to be quiet when we come home so I can concentrate on not running over any children!

Friday - Morning the same - sometimes another trip to the Y for me or to the dog park if we didn't make it earlier in the week or groceries for the weekend or something else that needs to be done. By Friday afternoon, Isabelle and I are pretty bored with each other so she often is outside playing when Paul get home from work.

When I write it all down - it doesn't look very busy but as one woman told me when we first moved here - "It doesn't matter where you are going in Greenville, it takes a 1/2 hour to get there" - and she is not far off.

My sister would be appalled by the amount of time we spend in the car and when it comes right down to it so am I. But I think somewhere in the American Constitution, in the fine print under the amendment about the right to keep and bear arms, there must be a clauses about the right to drive a car, the right to not give the right of way to pedestrians or bicycles and the right for developers to not build walkable communities. Ooops, was I ranting....