Saturday, 12 November 2011

Oh dear...

Where have we been? What have we been doing?

Well, neglecting this blog, that's for certain. Not even 100% sure why :-( Almost a whole year since my last post...can I find my mojo? I hope so.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Black Friday

Today is known as "Black Friday" here. Imagine the Boxing Day sales but before Christmas!  Anything and everything you could possibly want will probably be on sale today.  Christmas shopping at knock down prices!

Not everyone, but lots of people probably got up in the middle of the night to queue for bargains as the shops were opening their doors at 3am, 4am and 5am.  Today will apparently be a good indicator as to whether or not the US economy is strengthening.

The bargains are also there to be had on-line.....Ian is currently updating his wardrobe in a virtual Macy's!

Thanksgiving Day 2010

So. Imagine having a full dress rehearsal for a British Christmas minus Father Christmas but with all the stress....that is the way I'd describe Thanksgiving Eve. Traffic at a standstill, supermarkets rammed, turkeys flying out of freezers, stroppy shoppers and everyone dreading the arrival of the 'problem' relative.

Ellie learnt even more about Thanksgiving at school this year and we even received a class video of their rendition of TheTurkey Trot....actually the Hokey Cokey cleverley disguised.  I'm only sorry I can't share it but have to respect privacy rights.  After their song each student was asked what it is that they're thankful for...lots of different answers...Ellie said she was thankful for her toys and the new ones she 'hopes' to get!  Ha!  She'd better be good then!  When we watched the video I asked if there was anything else she was thankful for.....her answer "Sausages", then she remembered something, rummaged in her school bag and presented me with this....

Ellie, I didn't just give them to you, I had to make them too....from scratch!  We no longer have a Greggs around the corner!

As for me I was pretty thankful when the Thankgiving fairy disguised as my neighbour presented me with this.....

A homemade PECAN PIE, this, by the way is the ONLY dessert that I can NEVER refuse!

Today was strange for us, we obviously new there was something seasonal going on and could feel the anticipation of everyone we know here, but the traditions of this holiday are slightly removed from us, we've all seen movies with Thanksgiving references and TV shows with Thanksgiving specials blahdy blah but this holiday to Americans is even bigger for them as Christmas is for us. 

So I did the usual clearing up and washing, the kids played and did art, Luke made an almighty mess in the playroom and they both watched Mary Poppins.  Ian strung up the outside Christmas lights (a little early for us but he's going travelling and won't be back until near on Christmas Eve) we both ate a Mince Pie each...because we felt we should do something festive!

This evening we were invited to Bruce & Sandy's for a Thanksgiving dinner to remember.  We spent time with and enjoyed the company of good friends and were treated to the finest Prime Rib Roast you have ever tasted....and maybe just another little slice of homemade Pecan Pie.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

There's A Moose Loose Aboot This Hoose

Some people personalise their holiday homes with little touches here and there.

And some people just don't know when to stop....

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NB  The song is of Scottish origins and the Moose is actually a Mouse, but hey it fits!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Lots of Stirring and Many Wishes

Christmas pudding making time around this neck of the woods, I struggled to find some ingredients but hopefully managed to improvise.  Only on the big day will we be able to tell.  Everyone had their stir and everyone made their wishes.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Red, Gold and Green...and Steam

Autumn is my favourite season and October was a busy month.

We had our first real live visitors to stay with us here in North Carolina! At last the spare room got a good airing and a makeover, well a scrub and a hoover anyway. We're really very sorry our visitors didn't quite manage to get a hot shower, yep, really sorry about that, we've fixed that little problem now!

They came via New York where they did their best to boost the American economy as they shopped for England, they then came here, shopped some more, they ate, drank and were very merry, they were patient in carpool line and great with spellings!

As a thank you for travelling all this way and to reward their good behaviour we took them to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina at peak Fall colour time. None of us were dissapointed. With a distinctive chill in the air we ooohed and aaahed at the lovely leaf displays like it was the 5th November. We visited the Tweetsie railroad, Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak in NC where we saw some bears. We were really intrigued by the Woolly Worm Festival and races In Banner Elk but while fighting the traffic we took a slight detour into a winery...ooops now how did that happen Julie?!

Thank you for coming to visit Ray & Julie, it was a pleasure to have you here and we were sorry to see you go!
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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Caught Between a Rock and the Middle of the Pond

Something not so strange is happening to us. And, I mean ALL of us. Inevitable really.

Now this is no big deal, just an observation and par for the course, but in varying degrees the four of us are all speaking more and more Americano.

Kids are kids and they talka the talk and walka the walk to fit in. I did exactly the same thing moving around the UK when I was a child; from Yorkshire to Durham to Scotland to Surrey to Warwickshire. A childhood journey that was probably only the map size of North Carolina but had more regional accents than the melting pot of NYC. In fact I set myself goals each time we moved. 'In two weeks I will fit in', and invariably I did. The only spanner's in the works were my parents who would invariably remind me in front of my peers to 'talk properly'. Grrrr. So I do get it!

So, here we are. For me it's not about fitting in anymore but more about being understood and...just making life a little easier and easing the frustration. For example when, in a restaurant, you are met with blank stares when you ask for a glass of water several times you give in and it becomes "a glaass of warrter", when you tell the landlord the garage, it becomes "the garragge". It's all in the vowels and rrr's you see. No wonder then that Luke needs some speech therapy. But then here lies another problem, names for things vary alot too...for example, the speech therapist showed him a picture of a hoover and expected the answer to be 'vacuum'.

Then there is the North side of the Pond, the North being "OMG I LOVE YOUR ACCENT, WHERE ARE YOU FROM?" Great for conversation starters...for a while...but now, after 15 months, 15 times a's wearing a little thin. Honestly, I find myself just wanting to blend in or just shut the h* up - a difficult concept with two children with primed inter galactic selective hearing when out in public. Somedays I apparently sound English. Somedays I'm Australian and other days I'm between the devil and the Ukraine. Yep, if you're in the habit of saying you're from the UK just answer either England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales if you're asked where you're from because the UK, for some Americans is apparently the Ukraine.

I asked for tom'A'to in my sandwich, it was subconscious right up until the word spluttered out of my mouth but probably I'm now conditioning, because it was just easier, would attract less attention and there would be no doubt. Ellie announced that she needs to go back to England soon because she "can hear" she's getting an American accent and she's not 'surrre' she wants one! She's not wrong, she can roll those rrrrr's like a local and Pledge Allegiance like the best of them. I'm trying really really hard not to make an issue with pronunciation like my parents did....but it's not easy. And although Luke spends 95% of his time with us he can yell 'Momeeeee' and be heard a mile away and shout 'Awesome' whenever he achieves a result.

In the South of the pond, to the right of the rock is a little school of fish. At age 6 it's all about the 3 R's and spelling....Ahem 'color'? I think not!