Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving : The Meal

Yesterday we had our first Thanksgiving together. I started cooking Friday, mixing up the watergate salad (minus the whipped cream), and making the pumpkin pie. From scratch. They don't have graham crackers in the UK, and finding canned pumpkin is a challenge. So I had to buy a pumpkin (the last one Sainsbury's had weeks ago) and keep it in the fridge to stay fresh. Friday I cut it up, boiled it, and made myself a pie. The crust didn't turn out the way it was suppose to (oh, how I miss you store bought graham cracker pie crusts) but it was manageable. I left it to chill overnight in the fridge.

Saturday morning first thing I made cornbread and biscuits. American biscuits! I have missed them. I may have to find a recipe for biscuits from scratch and make them occasionally. These ones were from a packet mix my mom sent me. I mixed all/most of  the ingredients for the green bean casserole and the sweet potato casserole and stored them in the fridge for cooking later.

Nid started the turkey, which we cooked in a roasting bag with a half a bottle of sparkling wine. Then Nid made us each a Buck's Fizz which those of you in the US will know as a Mimosa with the left over sparkling wine and the orange juice from the sweet potato casserole. An hour before dinner was to be served I put the casseroles in the oven, baked for 35 minutes, put the bread back in the oven for a quick heat up with the turkey and we served. There was so much food it didn't hardly fit on our table, which thankfully has pull out extensions on both ends.

I suppose it is worth mentioning that Friday night I went to bed with a little bitty clogged nose, and Saturday  morning woke up with a cough and runny nose. I couldn't believe it! I took some Dayquil right away and that helped, so I was at least not miserable while doing the cooking. And the cooking did go smoother than I thought it would. I had a slight mishap with the whipping cream. Because of course here they don't have Cool Whip, I had to buy whipping cream (which Nid and Jacqui helped whip before dinner), but that was after I dropped the container on the floor and spilled half. Which ironically left me with exactly the amount I needed for the watergate salad and the topping for the pumpkin pie.

Anyway, the meal went great, and everybody loved everything (at least they said they did). Here is a list of everything we had.


I remember as I cooked that I kept thinking, I need to put this in my blog and I need to put that in my blog... but whether it just wasn't that important or whether the cold and/or cold medicine is jumbling my brain, I can't remember any of the funny anecdotes I was going to include. Oh well. The meal was a success, everyone was stuffed and happy, and we've got yummy left overs for dinner tonight, so I am well satisfied with how the day went. Thank you again, Matt and Jacqui for coming over. Thank you Briony and Cale for being so wonderful and helping with the cleaning up without complaining. And thank you Nid for putting up with me while I was sick and stressed about the cooking. I am a lucky girl.

Oh! And Virginia Tech beat the University of Virginia 42 to 13 at UVA. Go HOKIES!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: The Tree.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving, but because Briony is out of town this week, we have postponed our big dinner until Saturday. I was not, however, going to give up my tradition of putting up the tree on the actual day of Thanksgiving. I even had a few presents wrapped to put under it, which does make it a little more festive.

Saturday I will be cooking for the four of us, plus two friends of ours, Matthew and Jacqui. I've never cooked Thanksgiving. For the six years I lived in Richmond I alternated between treating myself to Chinese or pizza when I couldn't get back home to celebrate with the family. It should be an experience!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

London & Taylor Swift.

We have had a busy few days! Monday started with us all making sure we had everything we needed. Because the children are in school, we were not able to take them with us, so they had to pack bags for their overnight stay with one of the neighbors. Briony left on a field trip with the school Tuesday so we left her taxi money so she could get all her gear to school. She’s away for three days on an eco challenge type school funded trip that only a few students were chosen for.

So, our taxi picked Nid and I up just after 9am Monday. We got to the train station very quickly, and had a bit of a wait until ours arrived. I was exhausted starting the day, which was unfortunate. Sunday my left foot and ankle swelled up for no reason, so in order to help it, I stayed off it all day, which mainly meant I napped. Because of that, I did not sleep well at all Sunday night, and so Monday morning was pretty hard on me. We were very grateful that we had reserved First Class seats, because the extra room was great. We had facing seats, across a little table, with no seats next to us on our side of the isle. We were served a hot beverage (coffee or tea) a newspaper, a water bottle (distilled or sparkling) and a cake (flapjack, fruit cake, cookie something or other). I chose a spiced gingerbread cake and it was lovely. Just a little something to take the edge off, since we’d already been up for hours and breakfast had been some time ago. We only had one stop on our journey to London, and that was in Market Harborough. It took us about an hour and twenty minutes to get to London.

The St. Pancras station is huge, but it was familiar (from our trip last October), which is always nice. We got day passes for the metro (called the Tube here) and took the Tube to Westminster. As soon as you step out of the station, you are standing 20 feet from Big Ben. Across the River Thames we could see the London Eye. We walked across Westminster Bridge and down by the London Eye. Nid rode it last year, and was not terribly impressed with it. Not liking heights particularly, I wasn’t terribly bothered to not go on it. It’s like a giant ferris wheel that never stops, and it takes an hour to go full circle. We had a bit of drizzle while we were walking there, but I still got some great shots of the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. We went into a restaurant called Enough To Feed An Elephant, which had a London Underground theme. We each had a cheeseburger and chips. It was very good, and very filling. After that, I was already for a nap, but I think it was the heat of the building that did it to me. When we went back outside, the sun was out, and the rest of the day it was dry, but windy.

We walked along the river to the Jubilee Bridge (I think, it is the footbridge adjacent to Hungerford Bridge). We got our only (and tiny) look at the Gherkin through the tubing of the bridge. We made fun of a button in the elevator, that initially we thought said “press alarm button for 3 seconds of assistance” but it turns out it said “for 3 seconds for assistance.” It kept us entertained, anyway. We walked along Northumberland Avenue to Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. We walked under the Admiralty Arch and down along The Mall to… Buckingham Palace. The flag was flying high, which meant the Queen was home. I was surprised to see that the guards are actually up at the building, not at the fence, like you see in movies. Because we all know that what you see in movies is just like real life. We sat for a few minutes at the Queen Victoria Memorial, and I took a picture of the marble, worn smooth where everyone sits on it, but rough and aged where behinds do not make contact. After a little break there, we walked through Green Park to the Green Park Tube Station.

We took the Tube to Kingsbury, which is where our friends Utpal and Sejal live. When we stepped out of the station, it was like we were transported back to Leicester. It looked just like it does around here, which is kind of cool. We were early, so Nid got a pint of Guinness at Hennesey’s, which was run by actual Irish folk (not like the majority of Irish pubs I’ve been to in the States – what a concept!). In fact, it was so traditional, that when he ordered his drink, the barkeep told him he’d bring it to him when it was ready. There is actually a “proper” way to pour a pint of Guinness, I saw it on a Discovery Channel special once. It should take 119.5 seconds to pour, and a few minutes to settle. Here’s a clip I found of what it looks like. It’s quite interesting, actually.  Guinness Settling.

It was a short walk from the pub to Utpal’s house through a quiet neighborhood of houses. Sejal was the only one home when we got there, and we sat and talked for quite a while before Utpal got home. Dinner was egg curry and rice and naan bread. I do love that bread! I wish I’d taken a picture of dinner, because it was just lovely. And I am also very grateful to Sejal, who left out the chili because I can’t handle spices.

As soon as we were finished dinner, Utpal drove us to Wembley Arena and dropped us off. It was only about a 10 minute ride, and I was grateful to not have to walk back to the Tube station and take that, though it was only one stop. We went in and the place was packed with little girls! There was a decent percentage of grown ups there as well, and not just with the little girls. I was disappointed in the number of pre-teens wearing make-up, however. This country has a very high teen pregnancy rate, often attributed to the fact that in years past, if a girl got pregnant the government would give her a house to live in. This has changed a bit in the past years, as apparently they are now moving single parents into hostels, and the rates have gone down slightly. Anyway, my theory on this epidemic is these *children* are not being properly raised. Girls the ages that I saw last night should not be wearing make-up. And I’m not talking lip gloss, I’m talking full on mascara, eye liner, and foundation. Little tramps in training, I think.

Okay, so on to the show. We stood in line at the merch booth and got Briony a t-shirt. I wanted to get her a bracelet, but they’d sold out by the time we got up there. While we were in line, the opening act came on. The crowd went wild. I’m still not sure why. His name was Justin Bieber, and he had to have been all of, I don’t know, 12? His hair was all “done” and brushed straight forward to his face. He hasn’t hit puberty yet, and his voice was all cracky and childlike. He had back up dancers break dancing behind him. It was all very Mickey Mouse Club in my opinion. The girls next to us kept screaming and Nid and I would just look at each other and laugh. His act was cut short, and his little DJ said it was due to technical difficulties. It turns out he broke his foot during his last song before the encore.

During a short intermission, during which music played through the sound system (including a Keith Urban song), we watched guys climb ladders to the lighting rigging. They pulled the ladders up after them and settled in for a night of lighting. In a day and age where computers run everything, I thought it was kind of cool that there were actual people running the spotlights. Later in the night I counted 4 more that had climbed up behind the curtains.

Shortly after they got settled, a video started playing on the two screens adjacent to the stage. The video featured various famous people, including Miley Cyrus, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, among others describe what “Fearless” means to them. The question appeared to have been asked at different events they attended. It was kind an alright intro, as intros go. The last person describing Fearless was of course Taylor, the curtain rose, and she was atop a towering stage wearing a cheerleading outfit singing You Belong With Me. During the song, her dancers ripped off her outfit and below she was wearing a shimmery silver and black dress. I’m not good at remembering set lists, so I’m not going to bother with those minute details. After the second or third song she talked with the audience, said how she’d never forget how she sold out the Wembley Arena (I didn’t know this, very cool).

During the concert, she and her band were very interactive with the crowd. She prefaced some songs explaining a little about where they came from, what they meant to her. Her band seemed to be really having a good time, and they got involved in the costume changes as well. She wore eight outfits total: the cheerleading outfit, removed on stage to become a black/silver shimmery dress, a red sequined dress, a blue floral dress, a red renaissance dress removed on stage to become a white dress, a black patterned dress, and a black finale dress… For different songs, the band would change their outfits slightly as well, it was all very much a team activity. There were also dancers that came out during certain songs, dressed to match/coordinate with Taylor.

During one costume change, a video played called “Crimes of Passion” in which Taylor was the criminal, writing songs about people and “ruining” their lives. It ended with Tim McGraw, and she started performing in the back of the arena right among the crowd, on floor level for a few songs, then made her way to another location halfway up the floor. After performing there, she hugged *everyone* between there and the stage, and it took quite a while for her to make her way back. I thought it took a little longer than it needed to, as those of us not getting hugged couldn’t see a thing. Even the cameras were partially blocked there were so many people between Taylor and them.

At one point, Taylor and her violin player had a “drum off” competing for the guy, and huge oil drums were set up on stage and they banged away at them for quite a while, Taylor of course actually winning the guy in the end.

There was one other video clip that had Taylor being interviewed by a news anchor (I recognized her, but don’t know her name) about how she expects to have guys want to date her if she’s just going to write a song about her. Her answer they shouldn’t do bad things if they don’t want to be written about, and lead her into another song during which she actually threw an overstuffed chair from the upper level of her stage to the lower level.

I did learn something new about Taylor. She plays the piano, as well as the guitar. She played it for the whole of You’re Not Sorry, and then did a cover song on it as well of Justin Timberlake’s What Goes Around. During that part of the performance I also learned why she’s not concerned about wearing those little tiny dresses on stage. She appeared to be wearing a flesh covered pair of bike shorts underneath, which I noticed while she was “dancing” sitting on the piano bench facing the audience while up on the top part of her stage.

The show was theatrical, but not over the top so. And Taylor has the energy to maintain a full action show. The crowd certainly loved her. She got a standing ovation (though really, most everyone was standing anyway) that lasted (according to reports) six minutes. And this wasn’t at the end of the show, this was smack in the middle. It was pretty awesome, and you could tell she was overwhelmed and grateful.

Having been to a lot of concerts in Virginia and the surround states, I have to say that I was impressed by the venue. It was well laid out, with plenty of staff around to help. There were tons of bathrooms, which lead to virtually no lines), and the traffic cleared very quickly. Also, Taylor rocked. She was a great performer, a great entertainer, and an all around good person. I can’t imagine anyone walked away from that show last night disappointed.

Here’s what London is saying about last night’s show.

After the show, we were picked back up and after a few minutes chatting, were ready for bed. I think I fell asleep the second my head hit the pillow. It had been a wonderful day, but a long one, and not having slept the night before, I was ready for this day to end.

We had every intention of getting up Tuesday morning to say goodbye to our gracious guests, but they leave for work at 7am, and though alarms were set, we just didn’t get out of bed until 8:30. Because we thought it was a possibility, we had already said goodbye the night before, thankfully. We had a quick breakfast and headed back to the Tube station. It was drizzling again, but when we got back to the city (40 minute ride) it was clear. We got off at Baker Street, which is where we caught our open top tour bus ride last year. We walked along Baker Street (where the fictional Sherlock Holmes lived) to Oxford Street, one of “the” shopping districts here. I took in the window displays of Selfridges, which is a huge four story, two city blocks store. The window displays were bizarre, and quite frankly, did not make me want to go in to see what the fuss was all about. We walked up Oxford Street to the Bond Street Station and took the Tube to Westminster and transferred to the Circle Line and continued on back to St. Pancras. We ventured outside to find a cheaper place to eat, and had a burger and fries at a really nice little place right across the street from the station.

We got back to the boarding area just before they opened the gates, which was good because there were only a handful of seats and they were all taken. Our car was nearly at the end of the train, so it was a long walk, but oh so nice to finally get to our seats (First Class again) and sit. I slept the whole way, I think, which was well needed. We caught a taxi home and Nid was great and helped me put our things away. We’d only taken a back pack each, so it wasn’t much, but I hate the putting away part after you get home from a trip. He also ran me a really really hot bath. He really is the best husband ever! I started copying my pictures immediately from my camera, and it said it was going to take an hour, so I left it while I went to soak away the travel, as it was still an hour before Cale was due home from school.

Well, that’s the story of our trip to London. It was a really great time, and I am so glad that my foot held up for the duration. It’s hardly swollen at all now (still not sure why it was in the first place). All the emails and news we missed is caught up on and we’ve just had dinner (pizza, a treat for all of us).

All the photos will be published on my Pictures Site tonight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Randomness About Town.

Yesterday we went to town to do a few things, one of them led us here:
This is the Leicester County Court. It was a longer walk than we thought it would be, but thankfully once we got there things were quicker than we had anticipated. We filed for me to have Parental Responsibility given to me as well as Nid. I had my forms all filled out, and all the documents we needed, passports, birth certificates, etc. They must not do many of these there, because the lady seemed a bit lost. I of course had all my documents in order, and in fact she did not ask for some of them (even though the form said they were needed). Oh well, not my problem, as we got her signature and that's what we needed. We are mailing them off to London today, and as soon as they get logged it will take effect.

We wandered around awhile, and I saw some places I hadn't seen before. A really nice shoe store. Too bad I have no need for shoes at the moment :(

We had a soundtrack to a good part of our shopping. Or I should say window shopping, as we were on a mission to find plain silver balls for the Christmas tree, and were unsuccessful. Outside of Marks & Spencer guy was decked out in a kilt "playing" bagpipes. I suppose you can guess the reason I put playing in quotes. He thought he was playing, I'm sure. In fact, he had CDs for sale... for £6.50! There were occasional notes that didn't suck, but they were definitely rare. There are often people set up playing music in the town square, but unlike the bagpipes, when you walk a distance from them you stop hearing them. This noise traveled a long way. Nid made a comment coming out of a store that he hated the bagpipes, in general. I commented that I didn't dislike bagpipes, right as we walked out the door. To which a lady turns around and replies, "not when they're played right, but that guy is not playing them well" or something to that effect. I told her that's what I meant, not him, but in general I like them. Nid commented that I would make a comment about bagpipes walking out of a store and have the only Scottish person in Leicester hear me. I thought it was funny.

So, as we're walking I see this business ahead. I of course jumped straight to PIMP Recruiting, which if you pronounce PMP as a word, not as initials, that's what it says. Not my fault, I didn't name it! Made me laugh, though.

Then we went to Boots in search of ornaments and we decided to ride the elevator down from upstairs... and there was this button.

The possibilities are endless, aren't they? I mean, how boring is a button that says "push to close doors?" PUSH TO TRAVEL... Can I go anywhere I want? Calgon, take me away! Lovely!

We also passed a PRIVATE SHOP but I didn't get a picture of it. I do wonder, though, who is allowed to shop there? Was it always private? Is it invitation only, and if so, how does one get an invitation? It's not a very catchy name, if you ask me. Not like the Pound Stretcher, which is in fact not a Pounds Store (which we do have, equal to the Dollar Tree's in the US). The Pound Stretcher is more like a Dollar General, except they sell everything from candy to beds. Oh right, and also Reindeer Ponchos, which Nid thinks he needs. I'll let you all decide whether or not we actually bought him one :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Little Randomness & A Contest.

There's not a lot to report from my neck of the woods today. The US Embassy has taken payment for our visas, so that's something. Hoping to get something in the mail this week or next so we can proceed to the next step. Waiting is not something I do well. But even if things do proceed quickly, it's still 8 months till the big move. 8 months of waiting. Excellent.

We're back to riding our bikes. My elbow is very nearly back to it's old self, but it still causes me discomfort, so we're only taking short bike trips. I'd like to keep track of our distance, so I've bought TWO bike computers, and neither one of them has worked. That's been a bit frustrating for me. Today was so windy going to the grocery store that my pant leg blew into the chain and got caught. I did NOT wreck, for those of you who think so little of me ;) as to think I'd do THAT again! But I did get a little tiny hole in the ankle of my pants. Nobody will notice but me. As I stare and pick at it until it's big enough for everyone to notice.

That's about it for me, but I do want to share with you a little competition that I'm entering, and you can as well. If you go to Mid-Atlantic English you can read all about it. It's a great blog that I've been following awhile now, and enjoy very much. She's an American Expat as well, only she's been here 20 years. You should definitely check out her blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Town, Bike, Visiting Friends.

Yesterday we returned my bike to the place we got it from. It was a great bike, but just a little too tall for me and my short legs. It was a bit sad to part with it, but the blow was softened by the fact that I have a new bike! Our friend Jacqui had a bike that she didn't use anymore, so she sold me it. It's a Trek 4300 Alpha with front suspension, and is INCREDIBLE! I have been aiming for bumps just to experience the lack of bumpiness. Childish maybe, but satisfying none the less.

Anyway, Nid rode my bike in and I took the bus and met him. The town center is in the process of getting all decorated for the holidays. I imagine at night with lights on, it will be quite pretty. I finally got my day planner for 2010. I was disappointed with the selection and styles of planners they had. It's not what I would get normally, but it will do the job. And the job is keeping us straight in the new year with the move and all that we have to do. So of course I came straight home and spent the afternoon putting in birthdays, anniversaries, days the children are out of school, etc. Then I color coordinated those things with highlighters. After all that was done, I liked my little planner much more.

Today our friend Martin picked us up to take us to his and his girlfriend Karen's home in Burbage, which is just outside of Leicester. They have a very nice home and bunnies! It was a cold rainy day, so we didn't get to go outside much, but we did walk to the pub for lunch, and Martin pointed out historical facts about his little village. The Butler's House Restaurant & Bar was the name of the place, and the food was delicious. We got the 3 course lunch special, which we started with a beer and bread and butter. We all chose the creamy garlic mushrooms for our starter. I had turkey escalopes with an orange and red onion sauce (served with potatoes, cauliflower, beans, and broccoli). It was very nice, but not a taste combination I've experienced before. It's not even LIKE anything else I've had. I finished with chocolate profiteroles! I absolutely love them. There were only two, which was sad at first, but they were HUGE! I got a good 5-6 bites out of each one.

I didn't get to visit with their bunnies Nora and Dora much. Nora (Gnaw-Ra) is so named because when she's allowed to run free she will gnaw on anything. And Dora the Explorer because when she's free she has her nose into everything investigating. It was chilly on their enclosed porch, and they just huddled together because apparently they do not like cold weather. They did let me pet them, which apparently is not all that common for strangers to be allowed to do. I feel honored!

It was so nice to see Martin and Karen again today. They traveled all the way to Virginia for our Wedding, but we've only been out with them once since I moved here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Immigration Process Started.

Yesterday I mailed the first of our immigration forms, the I-130 Petition for Alien Spouse and Children. Now the waiting game begins. Once this form is approved, we'll do another. I'm already gathering paperwork for that one. It would be nice to hear something by the New Year, but according to the online statistics, that could be pushing it.
Anyway, we don't know the actual date that we'll be moving, but plus or minus a week (or there abouts):

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Package Has Landed.

After weeks of waiting, our package has arrived. I was advised yesterday that it had a scheduled delivery date of Nov 6. I was all excited because we'd been waiting to go to town until it arrived. Then I thought, what if they were wrong and we were not here, after days of sitting and waiting for it. So we stayed home. I had actually gone upstairs to take a nap and Nid came and woke me up... with a picture on his cell phone of the box on our couch. What a relief! More than anything towards the end, I just didn't want it to be lost in the mail for all eternity. But now it is here. We unpacked and unpacked and unpacked. It seemed never ending. Then we lay it all out on the dining table. But we didn't want to eat anything until the children got home so we could do a photo op to send my mom. It was a long few hours, I'll tell you that! But they both finally got home.

The whole lot of photos are on my photo site.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Various And Sundry.

On immigration news, the passport applications are off. We had to wait until we could get a "professional" person to verify Nid and the children's identity because of their ages. It was still easier than in the US, where for the first passport (no matter how old) you have to go in person and wait in line and it's only open certain days for certain hours... Am I hostile? Not really... not anymore... it was just a pain when I did it last summer. So they were sent of yesterday. We upgraded to special delivery, because supposedly that means they won't be affected by our current postal strike... it's confusing to me since we don't watch TV news. The postal union is striking certain days of certain weeks, and only some of them on some days and the others on the other days. I'm not really that bothered with it.

EXCEPT that I don't want the birth certificates to get lost in the mail. AND we are waiting on a package from my mom. It was sent 11 days ago today. It can take as little as 6 days (4 business days) for mail and packages to arrive. So now we're at 7 business days (I think). It's not that we're greedy and want the package, though we do want it... it's just that we can't leave the house at the same time while we are expecting it. It's 21 pounds. If we are not here when the delivery people come, they will leave us a slip that says it can be retrieved in 24 or 48 hours (we've had both in the past). But the place we have to go pick it up is about 2 miles away. I don't fancy carrying a 21 pound box home 2 miles. At least getting there is uphill, so coming home is downhill... I guess. So, because of this Nid and I are taking turns leaving the house. Yesterday he went to Sainsbury's to pump up my bike tire. Then I went to Sainsbury's for groceries. When I got home, he went to the post office (other direction) to mail the passport applications. Today I had to stay home while he went to his meeting in town. I was really looking forward to going into town. We had to cancel our last trip because of my bike wreck. And yesterday I was told by our friend David that something else was in the mail to us. It's like Christmas come early!

Speaking of Christmas, I got a new bike. Another new bike, technically. We are making arrangements with the bike place to return the one I got before. It's just not working for me. The height of the frame or something combined with my short little legs is just too much for me. So I'm going to return that. We contacted them over a month ago and they said they'd keep their eyes out for a smaller one, but we haven't heard from them. It was a really nice bike, and I'm a little sad to part with it. It was an event for Nid and me to get them. And on my Birthday even. But it just wasn't working. Our friend Jacqui was recently returned a bike she bought years ago, and hadn't ridden very much. She offered it to us for a bargain. It's a Trek 4300 Alpha. It's a NICE bike! Mine was a Raleigh, and really nice. But this is NICE! It's got front suspension and gears like I've never seen before. One of the tires was low, so Nid walked it up to Sainsbury's yesterday for air. He rode it home, and said it was amazing. I still haven't ridden it because the air is going out again. Hopefully he's going to get a replacement one in town today, as they didn't have any at the grocery store. I did do a bit of PT on my bad arm though. I sat on the bike and squeezed the brake with my left had repeatedly. At first it really hurt, but the more I did it, the less it hurt. I imagine it will be a bit painful initially, but I have found that the more I move my arm (even though it hurts) the less it hurts the next time. I really need to get riding again. I feel myself getting less and less healthy again.

What else is there to say... Oh, our first immigration form, the I-130 will be mailed off by the end of the week. Then the waiting game begins. That is my petition to allow Nid and the children to apply for permanent residency. I guess the point of this form is to verify that they have the right to enter the US, based on my qualifications. After this there will be another form that will be their application for permanent US residency, followed by a trip to London for an interview and medical exams.

On a lighter note, my "fan club" has been entertaining the heck out of us! If you are new here, you can read about my fan club here. So, the day that I broke the news that I had a fan club was a funny day for us. Nid has this software that prevents people from hiding their IPs from us. Two of these programs are Hide My Ass and Hide My IP. Only, there is software out there that prevents people from hiding their IPs when they visit our sites. So not only have IPs not been hidden, but I know when they are trying to be hidden. If you could see this list of visits, it's so funny, the frequency with which they come. Actually, I just checked, and they've been on it since I started typing this. Now, I certainly don't want to discourage visitors. The exact opposite, I want visitors. I want my family and friends to know what is going on with us. I want to share my experiences with others. HOWEVER, I do not want sneaky mean people to think they are getting away with anything. I know every single time you come to my blog. I know when you don't come. I know when you come 3+ times per day. And every time we see you've been there we laugh at your lack of having anything better going on in your life than to snoop on our lives. You are not going to find anything here to make you feel better. To those of you who are not evil, I'd like you to know that the only reason I started tracking visitors was because it was cool to see where different visitors came from, not because I want to be nosy about it.

Alrighty, well I think that about concludes this longer than intended blog today.