Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Next Generation

In all honesty, I want O to become who she wants to be, but selfishly I want her to love all that I do. So today I took O to Cambridge to explore some of the free museums at the University... the science ones. Can't help it, I want her to think rocks, fossils, and smelly preserved invertebrates are COOL. I think I might have succeeded. We first went to the The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Olive was welcomed by a dinosaur skeleton and was completely won over. She loved the Allosaurus and then asked all sorts of curious questions about the ammonites, ancient bear, and other oddities in the collection. We also got to see some of Darwin's collections with his script beside the specimen. The enormity of this was lost on her, however, but I stood a gasp. (picture- O making Dino face as seen above)

Wanting more, how could I refuse, really, we went down the block to the
Museum of Zoology. More bones and specimens awaited us. I had to read ALL the names no matter how obscure the Latin, and help reinforce the differences between turtle and tortoise, moose and deer, and parakeet and parrot (I don't know that one do you?). She even sat down for a half hour lecture on skeletal importance and evolution. Seriously, I wanted to got to lunch. She sat there very politely listening and watching the slides. Score for patience when she got to handle a 3000 year old deer leg and got to wiggle elephant tarsals.

Here's to the next generation of nerds and geeks. Smart girls rule.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


This morning we went to our first antiques and collectible fair. See, all the other expats have a hobby of hording over-priced old junk as a way of infusing local culture into their homes. I've been to two functions now where women have sat about gossiping about the great deals they have found and how they managed to come about them. So, in self preservation and personal interest, I needed to know a little something about it to. Never should one find herself at a hen party and lack the necessary small talk filler in her repertoire.

All in all. It was a bunch of silver, jewlery, gaudy figurines, old tidbits from barns and garages, and some waxed up old furnisher. People were oggling and quietly observing. We were on the fast look and dash route with Olive in tow, but did manage to nab one random Christmas gift while there. Olive's highlights included going up and down the stairs at the Rowley Mile's paraide circle (the venue was one of the racecourses in town) and looking at very expensive antique rings that glittered and called her name. The man who's stall it was kept answering her questions to which stones were which. Afterward we were told she had exquisite but very expensive taste.

Oh what our future holds.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The ONLY Pumpkin Patch in East Anglia

There are 3 lovely orange pumpkins sitting on our stoop from a little pumpkin "patch" nestled between the bases. A smart farmer has capitalized on the dense American population wanting these iconic gourds for October 31st. Olive did prove us wrong in the existence of purple pumpkins when we came upon a heap of them (we now own one because supposedly they make tasty pies.. we shall see). And she did get herself a pony ride. NOT a donkey ride, just a pony ride because he had a proper saddle.

As nice as it was to have a little taste of home traditions, it wasn't as filling as a long morning out at a family farm feeding the goats and plucking the pumpkins from the vine. I enjoy the differences living here, but sometimes nothing is like home. So, come October 30th, not 31st, we'll be on base, bag in hand, begging for candy from other expats for my favorite holiday of the year.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Great Yarmouth Treasures

This past holiday (well, US holiday) weekend we took to the sea side to the tourist town of Great Yarmouth for 2 days in the sun with the sea. Destination was driven by 3 things in my mind. 1)Finally no rain, we MUST do something outside 2) Since there is no mountains, it would have to be the sea and 3) a last minute B&B room had to be available. Hence, Great Yarmouth.

We loaded the car and was there under 2 hours. Along the route, the ever not-so-surprising views of agricultural lands. Look Olive, Horses. Look Olive, Sheep. Look Olive, Cows. Look Olive, Tractor. Look Olive, Windmills... I believe we are lucky to be here during Olive younger years when she still gets excited to see these things over, and over and over again. If she was 12 instead, we'd get the eye roll, exasperated sigh, and then hear music flood from her ipod in protest. Can't wait for those days.

So we made it there before 10am. And anyone who's ever been in England knows NOTHING is open before 10am. People leave there house at 10am to go where ever they are headed. We walked a bit in the cold foggy morning waiting to do something (sun, where are you?). We ended up in an arcade. Basically a training ground for future gambeling habits. There were pence pushers, claws for manky stuffed animals, video games, basically the works. Olive and Josh quickly went to work attempting to win big, waiting for the landslide of coins... they never came. Introduced O to skiball (not yet the arm, we'll get her in training) and whack the shark with a mallet game. She love it. More importantly she was content just shoving coins into slots.

Later we moved on for lunch in a tea shop with old toys. We found several interesting items in GY.

Exhibit A: Why is he so Jolly sitting there with his hands in his pockets?
After lunch we checked into our B&B. A four star establishment with great reviews. We were greeted by the owner, Gary, and taken to sit in the leather sedet and booked in. Looking around there were black and white photos on canvass from the US 1950s and 1960s movie icons, karate awards, mini bar, plastic toys, small TV, ton of kitsch, and about 15 air fresheners in different forms and all of unique odors. Nice people and really care about the place. Nice room. Like the food was good enough as well. Olive had Gary's special fruit parfait for breakfast the next day, you'd of thought we'd given her ice cream.

That afternoon we took to the beach. Olive scored herself a pirate bucket & played in the sand (the sun did grace us for a little while) After a nice Italian dinner in a basement restaurant, we took Olive to see all the lights- the beach in rainbow colors, Circus Circus and all the other arcades. Then we found these.

Exhibit B: What does one do once you win 1 booby?

The next morning we went to go see the Brittish Navy's new ship, the HMS Dauntless. Que time to get on the shuttle bus =2 hours. Arrive at dock to get onto the ship, que time = 1 hour. Tour = 25 minutes. Que time to get back on the return bus = 1 hour. Therefore, DONE with ques for awhile.

Hit up the amusement kiddie rides, grabbed a fish and chip lunch, and headed back to the beach. More digging holes and making of sandcastles for Olive to squash and we were ready for ice cream. A whole whippy Olive devoured on her own while Josh and I had difficulty containing laughter. A stereo-typical football jersey, bad teeth, ugly faced, thug looking man out of Austin Powers was standing waiting on some friends. Every time he opened his mouth, egad, it was the stuff running gags are made of. Tried to get a photo, but at that instant he finally shut his mouth. Also on the walk along the beach we found this equally disturbing bit.

Exhibit C: Just a Pound!

That about concludes are trip to the seaside. This weekend we're staying in, meeting with a few folks, and going to purchase the most expensive runty bruised pumpkin ever. Here's to autumn!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

the past few weeks

Josh was away for two weeks to the glorious state of Alabama. Oma came in near the end of Olive's and my "quality time" alone with one another for little over a week. And since then, we're re-adjusting to schedules, personalities, and shuffling of the mundane chores of life. So I shall not boar you with all of that.

So, for more notable tidbits of our lives:

-Olive and I start Little Duck 3 swim lessons on Wednesday. The Drill Sargent instructor who looks like my 7th grade gym teacher (egg shaped body, short polyester shorts, and barking voice) will be a GREAT fit. Should be fun right?

-Apples on the tree are becoming ripe and we've made a few tasty apple pies. Olive is becoming spoiled and wonders where dessert is every night. The pears keep hanging on and are the blandest things ever. Could be the lack of sun the past few weeks. One can not be sure.

-Autumn is here. No one ever told me that an electric lawn mower could act as a vacuum cleaner for your lawn. I would have totally ditched the push mower ages ago if I knew I never had to rake leaves again.

-Olive is slowly adjusting to her pre-school, Little Acorns. She's getting lessons in phonics and I was told by her teacher today it was "alright that she learns both ways of speaking at home." She has funny little voice she uses when she talks "British" I do need to get a video to share.

-Spiders live in the cracks between the windows and the sills. So, on nice warmer days when you open a window, they go skittering about into your house. Just had to share that.

-Now have black lady bugs with red spots (rather than the traditional red with black spots) invading the house too.

-Been counting horses in the mornings while were out. Averaging about 150 horse/rider sightings per 30 minutes near the gallops. Olive's horse fascination is growing. There's a place a village over that starts lessons at 4 years. Seems like that might be her next birthday gift.

-With Josh away, I had a little time to start EntWorks up again. Check it out on ETSY when you have the chance. Share with friends, please. AND if you want anything, let me know BEFORE you buy, I can get you the "friends & family" discount ;)

Looking forward to taking an over night trip somewhere this weekend. Will post stories and pictures when it happens. Until then, this shall do.