Friday, April 28, 2006

My bro's big day - 13 April 06

And so to the event that propelled us out of NZ across the globe to arrive in good old Blighty...a little bleary but very cheery.

BECAUSE my brother was getting married. YEY. And to the lovely Christa, his girlfriend of er, many years (bit hazy on the details). Yes she has been brightening our family events for the past few years now and been a very charming, fun and beautiful presence. And my brother seems rather keen on her. So an all round excellent decision to tie the knot!

James proposed by cunningly wording the question as part of a scrabble game they were playing while sojourning in, er, Malaysia I think it was. Somewhere exotic anyway. So seeing as Y has a higher letter score than N, Christa agreed. Or actually cos she is rather keen on my bro. As well she might be, he is clearly a hunk and a very amusing hunk at that.

James and Christa lived in London for about 5 years and wanted to get married in the big smoke. They had a tip off that the Westminister Registry Office was the nicest in London and turns out it was the place that Mick Jagger got married, and also Paul McCartney. Sadly I didn't spot any stars there on the day (other than the wedding party, clearly).

After the wedding ceremony at the registry office (which was short but very sweet - also luckily unruined by me despite the fact that when they started to play the music that Christa was entering to I yelled out "It's the theme from Bagpuss" and started squeaking like the mice "we will marry you, we will marry you"......it's a good thing I amuse myself, and that I have no voice projection)

Er anyway, where was I? Yes, after the wedding ceremony we tried to lodge rice in James' nose (what? it's a tradition?) and succeeding in making him look he has a swarm of lice around his head (WHAT? It's romantic) Heh heh...anyway we had fun. Just check out the photos.

Ooh and I forgot to mention that the bride looked flipping FANTASTIC in a classy, vintage, ivory Karen Millen dress with fab beading and divine ivory Karen Millen (I think) shoes. And her gorgeous sister Vicky looked fab in her Karen Millen Navy outfit. Yep, just see the photos.

So then we were whisked away in cabs across London town - seeing loads of sights on the way, like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben etc - and arrived at our chic destination - the OXO Tower. Talk about a place with 'buzz'. Could be the trendiest place I've ever been in. So we had champagne (orange juice for moi) and toasted the bride and groom...and then James and Christa (with some help from Italian bro in law Andrea) cut the cake which was a super fabulous chocolate torte.

Then we all sat down to dinner in the Bistro - with fantastic views over the Thames. The food was amazing...the service was amazing....it was just a great time!

So congratulations again to my fab brother and new sister in law....I am SO happy you are officially part of the family Christa. Proud of you bro. Definitely worth crossing the globe for!

















Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And finally, the low-down on being downtown TO...

Ok, let's all take a deep breath and pretend the previous post didn't happen.

Let's go back to a simpler time when all I have to report is who I saw, where and eating what....

We are traversing the annals of time, back by, er, about 2 weeks when Dave and I left LAX (having just seen Prince - the popstar, not Dave's parent's dog) in transit to TO.

And because I am trying to erase squeamish images from your brain I am now going to pepper it with inconsequential details to lull you into greater forgetfulness. This is the blogging equivalent of Men in Black's black sticky thing that makes you forget. (A sentence which would have sounded a whole lot cooler if I knew the name for the 'black sticky thing'.)

Anyway after seeing the petite and glowering Prince, Dave and I hung out in the smallest Air Canada lounge in the world...so small you have to leave it and cross several hallways to get to a bathroom. (I forgive Air Canada.....I forgive Air Canada).

Strangely the smallest muffins in the world that they were serving up for breakfast weren't filling me up and so I was absolutely forced, ney, compelled - almost dragged with my arm twisted behind my back, as it were - to Starbucks. There I ordered a Venti Latte (with 1 shot...don't hate me, I don't really like coffee). Meanwhile Dave ordered his bafflingly complicated Chai latte (one of the joys of being in the US is that the Starbucks staff actually understand our drink orders first time round.....oh ho, not so in UK or NZ).

Yes I tell you this fascinating detail about me ordering the latte for 2 reasons:

1) I have learned from the great blogger Alyn Jones that it's all in the details

and

2) I am preparing to brag that I made that extra hot Venti latte last for 2 hours into the flight.

Yes, ladies and gents...I was still enjoying that beverage 1 hours and 59 minutes AFTER Dave had guzzled down his thermo-nuclear-reactor-hot chai. This is particularly pleasing as it was one of those flights on which they serve you no food....even though it is about 5 hours long. (Repeat after me...I forgive Air Canada....I forgive Air Canada)

Ok I am seriously going to have to rein in the level of detail from now on or this WILL be the never-ending post.

Anyway eventually we arrived into Toronto....with a frenzy of excitement that was making my hair curl...and stampeded out of the immigration and luggagey places to meet our smiling friends.

Who weren't there.

Huh?

Quickly we deduced that we'd come out of some weird alternative portal and that Sarah, Lynley & Stuart were waiting at another place down the hallway. This gave me the opportunity of rushing at them from an unexpected angle and throwing myself on Lynley before any of them had spotted us. Now THAT was fun.

Then there was lots of screaming and hugging (that was just Stuart)....and admiring of Lynley's bump and Sarah's new jeans...and lo and behold...we were back!

OH MY GOSH. It was just so amazing...and totally weird. I think cos I'd imagined it for so long, it was totally surreal to actually be experiencing it. Clearly I was all about eating at Milestones...not that I'd been craving the spinach and artichoke dip for the longest time....so off we went.

Happy sigh.

Anyway, it was just so fab to catch up. And I realised that Toronto feels like home...seems like home only feels like home after we leave it. What is it with that? Will we ever catch up with ourselves and feel at home where we are?

And I nearly cried when I saw the multiplex cinema at Queensway - in all its huge, multi-screened-ness. Such a far cry from Taupo cinema and its glossy advertising.

So that was Thursday evening.

Friday, Stu and Lynley had taken the day off and we started by going to TACF (how's that day off coming there Stuart?) and having a tour of the new school building. But oooh, oooh, ooh, I forgot to mention my FIRST TIM HORTONS BAGEL. Can I describe the joy of its toasted wholewheatness and it's gloopy cream cheeseness? No I cannot. It was divine.

Yep anyway so we saw the new building (gorgeous) and went around TACF to try and say Hi to people. Sadly we seemed to pick the day when no-one was at work....but we did get to see Robbie and Jon P...and Laura again...and Kimiko...so that was cool. But no Russ, Jo, Caroline, Bill, Nicole, Joanna or Peter.....sniff, sniff....

Then we headed off for lunch, kidnapping Sarah on the way. Clearly we had to go to the Thai Royal Orchid. I re-introduced my stomach to thai food for the first time in 3 months....KAPOW. (Or was this Saturday? I forget)

Then I think we went to Yorkdale just to bask in it's glossy bigness. Again I nearly wept with joy. If I wanted nail polish remover or pot pourri - I could find it in this town!

Lynley, Sarah and I went to Thyme Maternity...while Dave and Stu went to the Mac store. There I got ambushed by the manager of the store who clearly recognised fresh blood when she saw it. She herded me into a changing room and brought out, conservatively, about 800 outfits for me to try on. Lynley explained the pregnany clothes options....something about banded, roll uppy things...and er....I seem to have forgotten the rest. Then they gave me this weird pad that you strap around your tummy to add 3 months of pregnancy....and I saw myself in the mirror.

That took 10 minutes to recover from. I mean it's not like I looked horrible with a giant distended stomach. I think pregnant woman look fab. It's just seeing yourself pregnant for the first time....is pretty freaky!! Anyway, I got over that and with Lynley and Sarah's help we managed to steer clear of the bright pink tie dye tops the manager kept thrusting on me...and I bought my first maternity clothes. AW. A proud moment indeed. I got a pair of dark blue jeans, some smart brown trousers and a couple of tops.

We had dinner at Stu & Lynley's and watched a movie...and it was all just SO totally amazing to be there again and be with them.

Saturday night I had some girly hang out time with the beauteous Sarah Dalley which was, again, amazing and wonderful....and I am going to cry now I've written this stupid post cos it was all so fab and I miss you all so much.

Ok.

What else?

Another highlight was seeing Cathy...she was just back from Dallas...and she took Monday off to hang. So we went to Milestones and ate eggs and then went shopping for boots. Cos when you're needing winter boots and Cathy's around - you know you are going to score the jackpot. We went to Dixie Outlet and found a plethora of divine boots at half price and below. So I bought a fabulous pair of Aldo knee length light brown suede boots with furry lining for FIFTY BUCKS....and another pair of ankle boots for half price....woohoo.

Then to Starbucks for more catching up and chatting and as always being inspired by Cathy's view on life and God and her compassionate heart. Oh my gosh it was Sooooooooo good.

I've lost track of days but sometime, Jon P took us out to dinner at the Queen Mother Cafe where we had just too much fun to shake a stick at. I mean is anyone more fun than JP???

I had Starbucks with former student Joy who had driven up from Michigan to see me....wow, now you feel valued when someone does that! It was so great to see her...and then I bust into Carol's cell group and disrupted that for a bit before having lunch with the lovely Carol.

Oh, and Sarah cooked dinner for Stu, Lynley, Gordon, Cathy and me and Dave...and then Alyn and AJ showed up cos they'd just arrived back from Australia and it was a room full of my favourite people (not exclusively you know)....and ok, going to cry again.

Yeah so, in conclusion it was great. Managed to get a few hugs with Linda Cho....missed Shannon...missed Bill & Caroline....missed Peter and Joanna...oh and so many people, which was really sad. But I guess when you come back for 4 days what do you expect? Bah.

And then we had to say goodbye again...and not know when we were going to see each other again...and bla bla you know how that goes. Well if you don't, I know enough for the 2 of us.

So yeah. It was a dream come true.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A post that is probably a little too much on the anatomical side with certainly too much gratuitous honesty

Ok, ok, so eventually I will get around to filling you in on our trip to Toronto (TOO fabulous), my brother's wedding (WONDERFUL) and my birthday (modesty prevents me from blowing my birthday trumpet on this one).....but first I just wanted to do a bit of off-roading on the subject (yes you guessed it) of being pregnant.

Now before we get started, if you could go behind the screen and slip into this backless white shift and lie down...that would probably put you in a good recovery position for what you are about to read.

So here we go (and remember you can call the nurse in for a sedative at any time...but I can't guarantee that it will take away the scary mental pictures I am about to introduce you to. In fact if you have a heart condition, high blood pressure or are on any medication you probably shouldn't read on).

I love being pregnant. No, I really do. Despite feeling rubbish most of the time...the puking, the nausea, the weird taste in the mouth, the sudden inability to climb stairs, the fact that I can no longer digest and speak at the same time. Yep despite all that, it is SO FLIPPING COOL. I mean you just can't get past the fact that there is a BABY growing inside you. I mean it's just the most wonderful thing. Also, you don't have to do anything to make sure it grows the heart ventricles correctly or that the nerves all go to the right places - cos God is taking care of all the actual detail. All I have to do is try and keep some food down occasionally and not go sky diving, rollercoast riding or bungee jumping. It's not a big sacrifice.

Mind you, people say some weird things to you when you're pregnant. And they keep staring at your stomach. Which is kind of a new experience...especially when the baby isn't really showing yet and so what they're actually staring at is (as my midwife puts it) displaced fat. MMM...nice. Check out my 'displaced fat' people!

Actually, ever the aspiring advertising exec, I've decided to put a spin on it and call it my 'mummy honey'. Yep the mummy honey is spreading around. Some people seem to mind this as it makes them feel fat - honeyfied - but I am enjoying the podge. I mean you've got to have some evidence of things changing haven't you?

Yeah so now people are talking to me about whether I can feel the baby move. Well I'm 17 weeks and most women don't feel anything till 20 weeks...but of course some CAN...so I thought I'd give it a go.

The problem is I've kind of lost track of my stomach. I mean where is it these days? It's migrating up my body so that eventually it will end up kind of under my left armpit (and I'm not even exaggerating). But where is it now? And where is my bladder at exactly? Cos you see I don't want to be gripping the wrong body part trying to feel a 'fluttering'.

I think it goes in this order: displaced fat (mummy honey), stomach, uterus, bladder, toenails....or something like that. In which case I think I do sometimes feel a fluttering in the right place. Hmmm....it's all a bit tricky. A girl at church who is preggers too, tried to show me yesterday where my uterus is (while we were having a cup of tea after the service)...and she kept talking about squishy bits and firm bits and feeling something.....but I couldn't work it out - all feels the same to me. I did tell her about Lynley making me put my hand down her trousers to feel the baby move....heh heh heh...which sounded suitably shocking. Mind you considering we were groping our stomachs in church I don't think we were exactly on the modest end of the scale.

Do you need that sedative now? Cos it's only going to get worse. This is the home stretch.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the time when I can definitely feel the baby kicking me and elbowing me and headbutting me and all that good stuff. This is not a guarantee that I won't be moaning about it constantly when it starts to happen. I excel at moaning and I won't waste a good opportunity.

In the meantime the only really good fun anatomical development is a little higher up in the SPHERE of things. (Sorry boys, but seriously this IS going to turn into a breast feeding blog so you might as well get used to the unwelcome images now...or just quit reading - it might be better!!!)

This is GREAT. I have turned from a 'cup half-empty' kind of girl to a 'cup definitely full' kind of girl. And I am anticipating my cup running over.

Yep, being pregnant is great....and more importantly I can't wait to see the cute little munchkin that arrives at the end of it all. So today when I've finished barfing I'll sit around looking content and bovine, with my hand on my bladder....waiting for the little kicks.

Cool.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous....

The mantle has been passed.

My dear friend Laura has the gift of star spotting. If I am out with her the odds of bumping into someone incredibly famous become 1 in 4. For the rest of us, the odds are 1 in 64,973.

But I am now operating in a new level of her gifting...and airports are my place of discovery.

Last year Nick Parks of Wallace and Gromit fame walked right past me at Heathrow...which was a mildly interesting moment. Sadly I didn't have a pocket full of plasticine or else I would have created an amusing creature and dashed up to audition it for him. Dang, fame eludes me again.

But this year in the last few weeks I have SURPASSED myself.

It all started at LAX airport, LA. Dave and I had just spent a few days with James and Denise at the Father Forum in Pasadena...and we were on our way to Toronto for a long overdue reunion with our loved ones there. As we stood in the line for the X Ray machine, I noticed in the corner of my eye that someone was cutting in line. Being British I am constantly on the alert for queue jumpers. In the UK jumping the queue is the height of bad manners and will inevitably lead to no end of trouble. Being British howvere the trouble looks like a whole line of people muttering under their breath, the uttering of a few sarcastic comments (not quite loud enough for the perpetrator to hear) and on a particularly wild morning in the post office a little bit of argy bargy and body blocking the push in. God forbid that we would actually SAY anything to the person in question.

Anyway, with my eagle eyes set on 'stun' I span round to glare at the push in...and was somewhat flabbergasted to see that it was none other than the artist formerly known as Prince, then squiggle and now as Prince again.

Quick off the mark I elbowed Dave in the side and hissed..."It's Prince! Look it's Prince" as Prince jumped the queue and waited to walk through the X Ray machine. No one else appeared to have noticed him so I was the only one hopping up and down in excitement. Dave was confused. "Where's Prince?" he said. "In the X Ray machine....look the man in the X Ray machine...the one who looks like Prince...it's PRINCE!" I hissed back. Dave looked around the room and still couldn't see him. This despite the fact that Prince was now about 15 feet away from us going through the only X Ray machine in operation in the room. (Turns out Dave thought I was talking about his parent's pet spaniel who is coincidentally named Prince - but not after the popstar. I think the odds of Dave's parent's dog being on the loose at LAX are somewhat more remote than seeing an actual Prince. But explains why Dave couldn't see the popstar Prince...he was looking for a dog.)

Driven to an inarticulate frenzy by such proximity to an international popstar...I could only intone "It's Prince, over there, it's Prince."

Then 'it' happened. THE moment. Prince came through the X Ray machine and was waiting for his bag to come through. He was facing me almost directly and I seized the moment. I fixed him with the biggest cheesiest grin I could. Not the top half of the teeth baring smile. No the 'you can see ALL my teeth, including the ones I had removed 3 years ago' kind of smile. I transmitted the smile at him across the room, willing him to respond. And respond he did.

He glared at me.

Directly at me. Not at Dave. Not at just anyone. Prince glared at me.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, it was a defining moment.

I have been glared at by Prince.

And that is why I am changing my name to the 'The Copywriter Formerly Known as Adele'.



(And yes it was definitely him as I asked the security guard when I went through....oh and I also bumped into Gillian Taylforth - Kathy from Eastenders - while waiting for a shuttle from Heathrow....just a few days later. But I wasn't impressed enough to elicit a glare from her. When you're used to stars the calibre of Prince....it's hard to get excited about just any old famous person you know......)

Dead Air

No this is not a reference to the airline on which Dave and I have just flown back in to NZ.

"Fly Dead Air - we'll get you there...but not alive"

Come to think of it, this could be the new slogan for Air Canada. (Sorry Air Canada but you really surpassed yourself on this last trip with the menopausal air hostesses, broken down video equipment on 2 diff flights and worst choice of films ever...not that we could watch them cos the equipment went down....)

No the title of the post refers to the dead air that I have been serving up here for the last few weeks. Despite all my good intentions I never did manage to get my hands on a computer as we hopped from LA to TO to London and back again. Not that surprising really considering our crazy shedule with an average of 4 days each in 3 different countries.

Anyway the good news is that I now have about 15 posts stacked up in my mind and so there will be a FEST of updates coming your way in the next few days. Or else this will just be the most stupidly long post in the world and half of you will lose interest part way through and so I'll have to save my most shocking news for near the end to see who actually makes it the whole way through.

I haven't decided yet.

And I'm feeling a bit ancy.....antsy....ansy? So you'd better leave comments or else I will enter into the world's largest sulk thereby creating a vacuum effect and the world's oceans will all be sucked into the black hole that is my moodiness and then where will all the fish live?

You didn't realise the full implications of not leaving a comment did you? But now you do and so the fate of the globe is on your hands. Except that I wrote 'the fate of the glove' twice by mistake.

Anyway let me blame the mardiness on the 40 hour journey home (Heathrow - Vancouver - LA - Auckland - Taupo) and the fact that I was sick as a dog yesterday, puking 3 times in violent short succession and that I now feel horrible.

And you are not here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

So long and thanks for all the fish...

Well cherubs the hour approaches for us to shuffle off this country and mount on the wings of the great white bird in the sky.

(Nearly time to get on the plane)

In an unprecedented move my suitcase is packed and zipped up already...with 3 hours before we need to leave.

True to form, Dave is currently in a business meeting....3 hours before we need to leave.

But nothing can dint my joy at the prospect of seeing many of your shining faces in the next few weeks.

I have a carry on case stuffed with survival rations. I know that on most airlines they serve you sumptuous meals with alarming regularity (say with about 8 hours gap in between)...but the situation is that I start to gag after 2 hours of non-consumption. Sadly the gagging leads to another reflex which I don't need to elucidate further. So BOY I am really keen not to be ill on a plane...especially as the stomach boiling comes on all of a sudden and then it is all over.

Hence the reason I have in my carry on:

1 box of crackers
3 small cheeses
1 pot noodle
1 bag of mixed fruit & nuts
2 sesame snaps
2 muesli bars (edible)
2 muesli bars (inedible...the health store variety)
1 small can of Pringles

If Jesus were on the plane (in physical form) and wanted to feed the crowds who had not eaten for 5 hours and were famished. I would be in a strong position to be the little boy who stuck his hand up and proffered some fish and bread rolls. Except in this case we would have baskets of Pot Noodle left over.

Speaking of fish. I am so relieved to read today in the news that the Swedish Delicacy, surstromming, has now been banned from many airports and planes. It is tinned fish which has been fermented and smells like 'garbage left rotting in the sun for several days'. Surprisingly enough the connossieurs of the surstromming disagree with this description and are outraged!

Never having been afflicted by a surstromming attack on a plane....it seems today will not be any different.

This is good because:

1) if the person sitting next to me merrily cracked open his surstromming while I was tucking into my pot noodle....my pot noodle would not stay down very long

and

2) If Jesus appears in physical form....and the surstromming guy got his hand up before me....

Well the miracle of the bread and surstromming...might not be as popular as the original.