Monthly Archives: December 2008

2008 Signing Off

Whoa! Whoa Whoa! When did 2009 sneak up on us?

Wait! Was it while I was drowning in packing peanuts and cardboard or having my fifth anxiety attack over the logistics of our trans-Atlantic/cross-country move…

It’s funny to think back to my New Year’s resolution for 2008…


Little did I know at the time that all it would take was a few simple changes to my daily routine… drinking more water, fitness boot camp, moving to London, giving up my car, moving back from London…

Little things really.

Of course, I fully expect to gain it all back in 2009, but I’m totally okay with that. (No, really. I assure you, I am very, very, very happy about this pregnancy. Trust me.)

All in all, I really can’t complain about 2008. Employment uncertainty, worldwide economic collapse, and threats of deportation aside, it truly has been great year for us.

I know, I use the word “adventure” a lot, but there’s no better way to describe our past year.  Okay, so we didn’t exactly give it all up to help feed orphans in a third world country, but we took a risk nonetheless and are all the better for it.

We’ve learned a lot… and not just how to pack up and move overseas in 30 days or less. We’ve grown a lot and have memories that we will cherish for a lifetime, provided our family and friends won’t be too sick of our “Well, in LONDON…” stories.

Thanks for everything 2008. It’s been fun while it lasted, but it looks as if 2009 is already giving you a run for your (bailout) money with Baby #2 on the way, a new American city ahead of us, and an OBAMA PRESIDENCY. Whew- Hew!

Happy New Year, everyone!




Filed under Holidays and Merrymaking, Packing Up and Moving

My Fake British Accent Isn’t All Bad

So, I have another very good reason for quasi-abandoning my blog lately.

(Besides playing Santa AND holiday hostess this past week…)

The last few weeks, my laptop has been infected with a heinous virus and it’s called…


The power supply on his computer fizzled out or some such and now, he’s on my “evil Microsoft” laptop no less than every second of every day since.

Apparently, my Linux-loving hubby will and HAS set aside his lofty morals in the name of FAIL blog and/or Digg

With my family in town and only ONE working computer among us, I’ve been sharing my laptop with SIX Internet addicted people.

Last week, Mike called around town for the replacement part for his computer. Only one of the bi-zillion techie shops off Tottenham Court claimed to have it stock and even called back to double confirm the serial number.

Of course, when Mike arrived pick it up the next day, they didn’t have it. They never did. Apparently, the sales guy only PRETENDED to know what Mike was asking for…

Uhhh, I guess, they didn’t think he would actually show up for the exact item he specifically requested to be set aside…

Thank goodness Mike is a much better person than me. MUCH BETTER. If I had been the one to make the 45 minute commute in early morning rush hour to be there as soon as the store opened for business only to be denied, I would have been beyond “call security”…

Meanwhile, Avery and I were running late for his appointment with the asthma specialist. We’ve waited over THREE months for this appointment, ever since his first asthma attack  in August, and there was no way we were going to miss it.

I called the hospital to inform them that we may be a few minutes behind for our 9:05 appointment with Dr. S. The nurse or whoever answered said it was perfectly fine and just come in when we were ready.

We actually weren’t late at all, but it didn’t matter since Dr. S was NOT even there that day!

“What? Why were we not told this when we called earlier? I had specifically stated that we’re coming to see Dr. S? I even asked about him BY NAME,” I asked

After several rounds with the useless drones in the ironically named “patient services” department, their best explanation for the “mix up” was that I had only asked if it was okay to be late, NOT if the doctor was in today….

Oh, and they had moved our appointment to the day before when Dr. S was in, but didn’t bother to tell US about it. I guess I was supposed to just know that…Lovely!

Whether it’s dealing with National Healthcare or a total lack of  common sense customer service, I find myself  less and less tolerant of these daily frustrations as our departure date looms closer.

12 days and counting!

Sure, when I thought we’d be here for a while, I was willing to put up with it… slightly. Just another quirky adventure from our life in London — good for a blog post, great for a laugh… HA! HA! HA!

Obviously turning into a loud angry American doesn’t help matters. Apparently, my accent is hard to follow… or perhaps it’s the high-pitched, inaudible rants of frustration. Hmm…

What does seem to help, however,  is my fake British accent. Bust it out and only then do I finally get somewhere.

(That is, if you call rounds of NHS Twenty Questions “getting somewhere”…)

Yes. You read that correctly. Fake. British. Accent.

It’s not even a good one like… say, Gwyneth Paltrow’s. It’s more like… well, the puppets from  CBeebies’ “The Shiny Show“…

It was never even intended for public consumption, but one day it just came out during another (yet unblogged about ) incident with National Healthcare (there are lots of them) and it worked brilliantly in getting to a speedy resolution!

In fact, it even prompted some rare compassion.

“Oh my, I do understand. You poor dear. You must be so upset. Let’s get this sorted for you right away… will this afternoon work for you?”

For some reason, fake British accent works every single time. Strange, I know, but it makes me laugh so much that I totally  forget how much  angrier (and rantier) I would be otherwise.


Filed under Daily Life, Misconceptions and Mishaps, National Healthcare

Shameless Plug

Hey Look!

It’s a bus ad for The Tale of Despereaux, the MOST adorable movie that Mike (and subsequently Avery and I) moved to London for…


I meant to plug  The Tale of Despereaux over a week ago… you know, when it first opened in theaters, but now is probably a better time for it anyway.

Past the Christmas rush… Gifts successfully returned unwrapped… Why not take the family to see this lovely little book turned  film!

I mean, look how cute it looks?


Don’t you want to go see… like RIGHT NOW!

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Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Boxing Day

There’s been some debate at my house over what the heck is Boxing Day, which just so happens to be TODAY!


My sister says it’s the day we’re supposed to box up all of the Christmas decorations. I say it’s the day you give the servants gifts and the day off.

Since I neither have servants nor the inclination to pack up our (sad) little Christmas tree, we settled for sleeping late, flying the London Eye, and taking a boat ride on the Thames with my family!



Not a bad Boxing Day if you ask me… whatever it is.

Boxing Day is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and countries in the Commonwealth of Nations with a mainly Christian population… It is based on the tradition of giving gifts to the less fortunate members of society. Contemporary Boxing Day in many countries is now a “shopping holiday” associated with after-Christmas sales.

Boxing Day dates back to past centuries when it was the custom for the wealthy to give gifts to employees or to people in a lower social class, most especially to household servants and other service personnel.


Filed under Family, Holidays and Merrymaking

Glad Tiddings To You And Yours…

Four days ago, my parents, my two younger sisters, and one sister’s boyfriend flew in from Texas to celebrate our first (and presumably LAST) London Christmas with us.

The past few days have been a whirlwind of eating, sightseeing, eating, laughing. eating, shopping, eating… and well, more eating… and it has been FAN-TASTIC!

Of course, when my family planned their trip to London back in September, we were still expecting (hoping for) a much, much, MUCH longer stay abroad…

“Who knows when we’ll get to see one another again. Come on over, Mom and Dad!”


It cracks me up that I’m actually going to see them again in two weeks. At least, I’ve  managed to convince each of them to take home an extra suitcase filled with our stuff.

Favors aside, it really has been so much fun to have my family here, which explains the total abandonment of my blog.

Don’t worry. There’s more fodder being generated every single day…

But while we’re in the holiday spirit…  here are the Christmas cards (yes, multiple cards) that I designed in OCTOBER, but no one, not friends, not family, will ever see  them (in print) all because I couldn’t FIND a decent photo developer.

Yes, I’m sure London, of ALL places, has them.

Yes, I could have searched further… asked around more… shlepped myself all over town…

Except that by November, I clearly had several OTHER things on my mind and settled for one designed by

Sorry, I’ll do better next year… Promise.

Still, I’m rather proud of myself for doing something with Photoshop beyond cropping, so I’d like to share them anyway…

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! God Bless us, every one!


Princess Diana Memorial Playground, Kennsington


Leeds Castle




Filed under Family, Holidays and Merrymaking

The Anglification of Mr. A

While Avery hasn’t exactly developed a British accent, he has managed to pick up hundreds of little words and nuances. Here are a few of my favorites.


To pass the time spent waiting for trains and buses, I quiz Avery on his numbers, letters, colo(u)rs, etc…

One day, we came across this…let-z

Me: What letter is that?

Avery: ZED!

Ah, yes… “ZED”, otherwise known as the British “ZEE”…


His breakfast of choice was once pancakes, but lately he’s been requesting…


“Toast and jam, please, Mommy. Thank you!”


… and for lunch, it’s  a “cheese toastie”, which I have to admit sounds a lot cuter than an American “grilled cheese sandwich”.



Usually,  it’s a “truck”. Sometimes, it’s a “lorry”.



Fire trucks go, “Nee-nar Nee-nar”…


…trains “chuffity-chuff!”


… and this is a badger!


(Okay, so it’s probably called a “badger” at home too, but we had never SEEN one until we moved to the UK. )


Filed under Daily Life, Family

Do You Have An Abortion Quota or Is This Just Prenatal Care in the UK?

I think it’s so obnoxious strange when people ask if a pregnancy was “planned” or “expected”, especially since we all know where babies come from… ahem! ahem!

Oh no! How ever could this have happened… eek!

Planned or unplanned, we are no less THRILLED about the it and that’s all there is to know.

However, it did take a few weeks for the news to sink in. I still have moments of denial now and again, but I still managed to book an appointment with my GP (i.e. general care family doc) nonetheless…

In the UK, you go to your GP for everything from a heart attack to the flu to wart removal…

He or she then grants you access to a specialist, but only if you really, really need it and ONLY after the proper paperwork has been filled out, faxed, and you wait the 8-12 weeks for someone to ring you (you do NOT call them) for an appointment…

Oh and by the way, OB/GYNs and pediatricians are considered specialists rather than primary care in the UK, so my appointment with the GP was merely a formality.

Granted we’re only four weeks and counting away from moving back to the US , but I thought I’d try for a referral to a “specialist” anyway. You never know, right?

Still, I was very excited about my appointment. Surely there would be another test to confirm the pregnancy, a prescription for some prenatal vitamins, an official DUE DATE…


Upon telling the doctor my very good reason for walking 30 minutes in the London winter followed by another 30 minutes of sitting in the nasty waiting room, her first question was, “Are you okay with that? I mean, are you happy about it?”

Stunned, I said, “Of course I am.”

“Well, you don’t seem very happy. Are you sure you’re not wanting to terminate the pregnancy?”

“Uhhh….NO! We very much want this baby.”

“Okay. Are you sure?”




I’m not exactly sure what level of enthusiasm I wasn’t registering here. I’m generally a happy person anyway, but not exactly prone to cartwheels and high kicks…

Perhaps it’s because I knew this appointment was a TOTAL waste of my time… hmmm.

Next, she guessed at my due date by counting to nine on her fingers, which I could have done (and HAD done) only a million times on my own.

After several tries, she figured that I was seven weeks along at that point, even though I was only about five based on an actual calendar…

When I asked about prenatal vitamins, she told me I would only need them in the first trimester and since I was already halfway though it (which I wasn’t), I really shouldn’t worry about it anymore… Eh! who cares?!

Oh and I saved the BEST part for last…

While discussing my medical history, I mentioned that I already have son and added that he’ll be three years old when the baby is born.

She looked up, tilted her head “compassionately” and said, “Well… you know, you can’t always plan these things. Sometimes we just get surprised, but I’m sure you’ll do fine. At least you still have your options.”

What? Seriously, WHAT? !


Filed under Family, National Healthcare