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One move to America, one surprise pregnancy and a lot of fun later.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The last fortnight – 14th to 27th June

Well I hope everyone enjoyed the guided tour of my house that I posted last week. It felt strange at first seeing all our furniture in a different house but is now starting to feel like home. I would love to see how our tenants have laid out the house in Troon.
Well on to what we have been up to.
The fortnight started with a lovely bbq on Sunday with Kim and Andrew. They live in a new development called Kentlands up in Gaithersburg. In fact Jar and I looked at a couple of townhouses in this area when looking for properties. It is a purpose built community with a market square with shops and restaurants and a community outdoor pool. We decided against it as we prefer older properties and these are all new, condominiums or town houses. Also, there were no gardens on the properties to allow Bobby some outside space and the metro or other public transport doesn’t go near there so we decided on where we are.

This weeks dance lesson was the Foxtrot. Which is basically slow, slow, quick. We picked it up quite well but just need to get somewhere and some time to practice it. The following Monday was the Tango. Unfortunately, Jar was working up in Pennsylvania overnight so it was just one to Tango. This worked out quite well as I go to dance with the instructor and one other more experienced guy so learned some more steps than the rest of the class. There is something quite sexy about the feel of the Tango and I had an amazing urge to put a rose stem in my mouth – lol. I will need to teach Jarlath what I learned as we will be covering it again in our final week next week.

On the first Tuesday I had my first US hair appointment for a cut and a colour. The hairdresser was recommended by a work colleague of Vicki ( a girl I had met in the pub). I felt very comfortable from the moment I walked in and the guy (Mike) doing my hair was really nice and seemed to be really clued up on what he was talking about. My colour is now a bit darker auburn than my last colour as I felt it was too light for me and Mike agreed. He also cut some shape into the sides and back to give it some volume. He really made it lovely when he dried out but I can never get it the same when I do it myself.
After my hair appointment I had arranged a meeting with an Accountancy temp recruiter to get some temp work when I wanted it. It will be at a lower level from my experience but I fancied doing it for the social side as well as the money. I have not managed to make many friends yet and if I work in local offices I will get to meet a lot more people socially. Nothing come through yet but I have not been pushing it that much to be honest.
On Wednesday I had my big night out with Vicki. I met her in the pub a while ago and we are both accountants and seem to have a lot in common. I have been emailing her for a couple of months even before I came over and we have been trying to get a night out so decided on Wednesday night. She recommended a Tapas place in Bethesda called Jaleo (pronounce Haleo) as she loves their White Sangria. The weather this week has been awful with lots of rain and thunder storms so it scuppered our plans a little for sitting outside in the sunshine sipping sangria. We ordered four dishes which was plenty and then scoffed a carafe of the white sangria between us – it has Cava, Spanish brandy, mint, strawberries and soda in it – it was absolutely delicious although fairly expensive. After dinner we decided to walk to the local pub where we met and have a couple of beers and see what band was on. The band was a Country and Western band which I love but we ended up sitting outside in their covered patio and met a couple of guys Vicki knew and just chatted. Jar came to pick me up about half ten so it was a rather splendid night for me and hopefully I have made a good friend.

Well next on our itinerary is Karate summer camp over the weekend. It is basically through Jars Karate club, where they go camping for the weekend and arrange lots of training and belt gradings.
It was at the Greenbriar State park which is on the Appalachian trail.

The Appalachian Trail is a continuous marked footpath that goes from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, a distance of about 2160 miles. Many trace the origins of the Trail to a 1921 article by Benton MacKaye entitled An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning.
It has lots of campsites in the forest and a manmade lake and beach. It was about an hour and a half North of us so not too bad a drive. We arrived on the Friday and set up camp, then there was a Karate training session at 6.30 for just over an hour. I just hung around and watched and chatted to some of the other partners and parents who weren’t taking part. We then had dinner at the campfire and just chilled around for the rest of the evening. There was a thunder storm overnight with a lot of rain but luckily it went off about 9 in the morning so we could emerge from the tents and get some breakfast. There was then more Karate training from 10 to 12 and again I just hung around and tried to read the Maryland drivers handbook for my drivers test. We then had a break for lunch before the Karate guys went back to train further and complete their gradings. Jar decided not to do his grading as he wasn’t happy that he knew the Kata well enough but he still had to take part in the whole session anyway. I nipped down to the beach for a swim and a bit of a sunbathe. I then went back to the campsite to find all the Karate guys heading to the beach for a swim so I headed back with them and played some ball games in the water.
We then all rushed back to get showered and dressed to head out to Hagerstown for some dinner. There was about 35 of us so the service was really poor but the food and beer was good. We didn’t stay too long as we headed back for a communal campfire and just sat around drinking and telling stories. Those that had passed their grading were presented with their certificates and belts. I got to try the delights of S’mores which are basically 2 Graham crackers, a bit of Hershey chocolate, then you melt your marshmallow over the fire and sandwich them all together – delicious and everyone was very kind showing me how to make my first one.
I went off to bed and left the boys drinking whisky and smoking cigars. I met all the guys that Jar trains with and they were all very friendly to me and made me feel very welcome.
Up for a communal football game on Sunday morning and then headed back down the road. Jar and I decided to stop off at some car dealers on the way home to look for a wee runaround for me. We saw a couple of potentials but nothing definite yet. I did a bit more investigation the following week and went to do a couple of test drives so watch this space to see what we decide on.

On Monday morning poor Jar had his first session of root canal work. He was getting poked and prodded in the mouth for an hour and a half, which wasn’t much fun. It has been sore for him all week making his mood quite subdued and he hasn’t been bothered about going to Karate or training so he must be in pain!
I then went to look at a couple of cars we had seen on the internet and did a couple of test drives. Two definite possibilities which I will take Jar to see later in the week.

On the second Tuesday I went to sit my final drug and alcohol awareness test for my drivers licence. I passed but got one question wrong which I was annoyed about as I knew the correct answer but had just read the question back to front so put True when I knew the answer was False. It is still a pass but I like perfection better! As this was up in Gaithersburg I met up with Kim afterwards for some dinner in Kentlands as Jar was travelling home from Pennsylvania and then was straight out to a dinner with the board before his board meeting on the Wednesday.
Wednesday I started the day being super fit by doing a Yoga class and then a Power Pilates class. Great way to start the day. I then decided to get some sunshine about my weary bones so lay out in the back garden for a couple of hours reading my book – the first casualty by Ben Elton – managed to finish it it was really good.
Then spent the afternoon doing lots of cooking. I had to do a couple of Haggis pies and some spotted dick for a multicultural day at Jars work on the Thursday. While the oven was on I also made a fish pie for our tea that night with a couple of portions to freeze and I then made some Cornish Pasties – not tried them yet but they look quite good.
It was my mums birthday today (Wednesday 24th) but I didn’t have a clue what to buy her as she is a 72 year old woman with Emphysema living in a nursing home. I decided to print out my blog diary for her to read to let her hear everything going on in my life. I hope she enjoyed it as she hasn’t been in touch since she received it!

Thursday I started the day with a yoga class run by Linda. It is more spiritual than the other yoga class I go to. Afterwards they meet outside on the balcony at the gym and chat about their yoga practices and centering. I went along and we sat chatting about lifestyles and general chat for about 40 minutes. One lady, Joelle, ended up chatting to me afterwards for a while and I found out she is an avid reader as well and in fact runs a bookgroup. She says she will invite me along to her next bookgroup meeting if I want to join and they could do with some new opinions and ideas. This is great if I can join an already established group rather than having to start my own from scratch. She says they have been going for about 15 years already. Can’t wait for this as it will be a chance to meet a lot more people. Joelle also lives just along the road from me so hopefully we can become friends as well.
In the afternoon I looked up the local library and drove down to scout it out. Joined up which was really easy with proof of address and picture id. They give you a normal credit card library card but also a little card for your keyring that you just scan in when you go, it is really handy. Everyone was really helpful and they had a good mix of books, audio cds and they even had a few of their new concept of audio MP3 players where you book out an MP3 player with an audio book on it. All you need is your own headphones and you are good to go. You get everything out for 3 weeks (except dvds and new releases which are for 7 days) and can return items to any library in the state not just the one you booked it out from. They also have an online request system to reserve books which also lets you search other libraries in the state and when you reserve it they will post it to your local library within a few days for you to pick up. Seemed like a nice relaxed place. I got out an audio CD of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I have read it before but wanted to re-read before the film comes out later this year, so thought this would be a good way of doing it as I have a 7 hour drive to Rochester, NY next week so it will help me pass the drive – as long as Jar lets me listen to it on our drive, but he liked the book as well so is up for trying an audio book with me.
In the evening I picked Jar up from work and took him to look at one of the cars I had already test driven. We took it out for another drive and looked it over and then he bought it for me. He is great at negotiating a deal (well that is his job) and we got what was a good deal in our eyes.

Friday and I did my Barre class in the morning and really pushed myself and boy do my legs ache now! I also had my MBTs on to walk to the class and I could hardly walk in them afterwards – more like a baby giraffe trying to walk!! I must have looked strange lurching back home on legs that could barely hold me up. All in good fun though.
My new car got delivered today. It is 5 years old but in really good condition and the mileage is reasonable as well. It is an Mazda MX5 Miata Speed and is a stick shift with 6 gears. Strange even after a month of driving an automatic to be driving a manual. I have always wanted a convertible sporty car and my darling husband made another dream come true. Feel a bit of a poser in it as it has a souped up engine and is a very bright red with a bit of a boy racer interior and Bose sound system. Now I just need to look out my music with the high bass content to blast out as I drive along – lol! I will still use public transport and bikes to travel as much as possible but this gives me the option without having to work out with military precision with Jar. It will be better for him as he can work whatever hours he wants without having to consider me as much.
Does it suit me:

On Friday evening we decided to take it for a spin and drove it along the canal road towards Great Falls and then back to Glen Echo where we stopped at the Irish Inn for a drink in the sunshine. We left the roof down and were suddenly hit by a thunder storm but luckily we could feel it coming in the air and I ran out to the car and got the roof up just as the first drops of torrential rain came down. That would not have been funny otherwise. Then home for some home-made Fajitas and watched the movie Sophies choice – as recommended on RISI after watching The Reader. It wasn’t the story I was expecting and a bit dated but I can see why Meryl Streep won her Oscar for her performance in it.

Saturday and had a lazy start then drove up to Bethesda for Jar to go to the Dojo and me to pick up my cross stitch that was getting framed. I then wandered around for a bit and got a cup of tea and sat out in the town square reading my book before going back to Dojo to pick up Jar. Got talking to the Sensai, Ivan, whom I had met at camp last week. He is really interesting and full of stories. I also found out that he used to live in Argentina and knew how to tango so we ended up doing Tango round the Dojo. It was quite funny. Then off for a quick game of tennis. It was really hot and my legs are so stiff from the Barre class that I was worse than usual but it was still fun and some exercise. Lazy afternoon around the house and we decided to lie out in the back garden for an hour or so just chatting away, although I got munched on by some bugs and have quite a lot of bites. We then got dolled up and went up to Bethesda for dinner at a Lebanese restaurant and then some drinks at the tiki bar ending the night at our local Irish pub where we met up with some friends – Billy, Beth, Martin, Vicky etc for some drinks. Ended up staying until midnight which was much later than we planned but we were just having so much fun sitting outside chatting to everyone that the time just flew by.

Yet another fantastic week over. Hope you are all well. Xx

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Guided tour of our new home

Thought I would share a guided tour of my new American home. It is not typically american though as it was advertised as having a Tuscan feel about it. It is a small freehold farm and used to be run by the owners as a small organic farm so it still has stables attached at the back from the basement, so plenty of storage space under the house. It is a bit cluttered still as not decided where everything goes yet.
Hope this inspires some people to come and visit.

The photo to the left is in the Au pair suite, which is a self contained bedsit type unit off the basement. Would be perfect if we could rent it out or for people staying to give them their own space.

Through the glass brick wall is the shower room and toilet.

The kitchen and dining area of the Au pair Suite

Below is one side of the bedroom of the AP suite

Other bed in the AP suite. Both these beds pull out to doubles or 4 singles so plenty of room if my nephews and niece some to stay.

The two are the main tv room. It is raised above the back garden and has a lovely view over our back field and lets in lots of light. The bookshelves hold my non-fiction and childrens books and some author sets that I couldn't fit within my A to Z non fiction

Another angle of the tv room

Below is one of my kitchen/dining area. The opening in the wall leads to the tv room and the door down to the basement and stables.

Another angle of the kitchen - spot my recipe books?

The door at back right leads out onto back step where I go to read and the side garden.

The kitchen dining table. We don't have enough room to house our formal dining set so it is stored in teh basement but this one came with the house and does a good job for us.

The back step complete with reading chair

The first of the grapes

the cherry tree

The front garden

the front path which leads out under an arch of Wisteria through a quaint little wooden gate

The front door under another arch of Wisteria and my other reading chair

Bobby asleep on the bed - how cute!

The master bedroom complete with snoozing Bobby.

The spare bedroom

Spare bedroom - the walls happen to match our existing bed covers

Guest bathroom

Music and reading room with doors leading through to study

Music and reading room from other angle complete with cleaning cat!

Music and reading room and non fiction bookshelves all neatly in A to Z order.

Another angle with my piano and barometer.

The fireplace in the music and reading room for a real fire in the winter.

The study and my leather reading chair and stool

the study and new laptop

My old books in the study

The master ensuite shower room

The dressing room - through the ensuite shower room from the master bedroom.

The shoe storage on the top landing - yes and more books

Master bedroom door to ensuite

Well thanks for sharing. Hope you are all well. Xx

Monday, June 15, 2009

Week commencing 7th June 2009

Well I decided to take Mrs Macs advice and stop trying to enjoy myself so hard! So I had quite a quiet week, partially cause by Jar having to take the car unexpectedly to North Carolina for two days. I felt slightly deflated this week, I think this is because now that all the furniture and possessions are here and out in the house it is apparent that I am not on holiday and I think real life has kicked in a bit. Not complaining as I know I am very lucky to be in the position I am in but try telling that to the brains chemical imbalance at times. My yoga teacher also said that she has felt much the same and put it down to the barometric pressure in the air being all over the place. One minute it is gloriously sunny and the next there is an electric thunder storm. It is amazing how you can actually feel the difference in the thickness of the air when you try and breath it, so much more pronounced than I have ever felt elsewhere in the world.
Well will just give you some highlights from this week as it was very quiet and then I thought I would give you a guided tour of my new house with photos so everyone can actually “see” where I live now and because a couple of people have requested it.

We started the week off with a trip to the National Zoo in DC. It is based off Connecticut Avenue just after a place called Chevy Chase as you drive into downtown DC. It is a city zoo so is fairly small in it’s layout but they have made very good use of what space they do have. It is part of the Smithsonian Institiute and is always free to get in – which I think is fabulous.
I am fascinated by zoos because where else am I going to see most of these animals but I am also quite saddened at times as the animals in zoos always seem to have their spririt broken somehow. Can you imagine being locked in an enclosure when you are used to roaming the wilds of Africa! It would break my spirit as well. I read somewhere once that most Polar Bears in zoos are now actually mentally ill and when you see them pace about in their enclosures that is a mark of their mental illness and a form of Obsessive Compulsive disorder manifesting in the need to walk back and forward on the same route! I do find that very sad but I guess most zoos are actually helping to save species in the wild as well and a lot of the zoo animals now are actually born and bred in the zoo so don’t know any different.
I have uploaded some photos to facebook and they really tell the story of our day out better than I could.

This zoo has some Panda bears, which I have never seen before, so I was quite excited about that and as you can see from the photos I got a pretty good view of three of them. I also love elephants and had a giggle at the smaller of the three elephants playing with it’s pilates ball – even funnier when it’s willy came out and I thought it was going to have more fun with it’s ball!!
I have included the photos I took of the cockroaches especially for Anne Cater and the other girls on RISI after the discussion we had about cockroaches. They are ugly little buggers.
Trudie would have hated the butterfly house, which I wandered into without knowing and had a small panic when they were flying around my head. Luckily while I don’t like moths and butterflies flying around me it is not a phobia and once I knew where I was I was ok but I did have a chuckle at the thought of Trudie wandering in by mistake and then either cowering in the corner or pushing poor Adam out of the way as she ran out – lol! Sorry cruel but it amuses me.
Anyway the day out was lovely with the sun shining and Jarlath feeling a bit better once his antibiotics were kicking in.

The chore for this week was to go and register with a doctor. I am finding the whole health insurance thing so confusing as nobody has the same coverage and no-one can fully explain what is and is not covered. Soemtimes it even depends on your doctor what they choose to have covered or not. The good side of the health coverage is that it covers what I would class as more luxurious items like massage, chiropractor and acupuncture and other such things. So anyway, I had booked us both an appointment for Monday morning with a doctor up near Jars work to go for a meet and greet and an initial medical exam – a requirement to register. The lady we saw was very nice (eastern European accent I couldn’t place) and really made us both feel at ease. I had a full external physical exam and have to go and get some full blood tests in their walk in clinic. Quite interested in getting these and I don’t think I have ever had full blood tests, hope they don’t find anything. One thing she did find with me was that I had a heart murmur! She said just to watch and only to think about it if I get any pain in my chest, so she didn’t seem too worried herself so I won’t be as she is the expert. With hindsight I have felt my heart skip beats sometimes when I have exerted myself too much but always thought this was normal as I didn’t have anything different to refer it to.

On Monday night we started our ballroom dancing sampler classes. It was based in the Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo park (mentioned in previous blogs) and it was a beautiful building although it doesn’t have air conditioning so at the end of the class even I was sweating. This week we did the waltz and it was a bit boring for me as I know how to waltz but it was good as a couple because they really gave us lots of tips to improve our form. It was only an hour which was far too short as we were just getting into it when we had to stop and leave. Next week we are doing the Foxtrot.

Well the rest of the week just went by in a haze of yoga, gym , chores and waiting for the oven guy to come for two days. He eventually came on Friday with the part and got the oven partially fixed. I now have an oven but don’t have a broil (which is a grill). I can live with that though. Already started using it over the weekend and did a Greek Lamb Stew on Friday from Nigella Lawson book. Then over the weekend I baked a cheesecake to take to a BBQ on Sunday and a Quiche Lorraine for Sunday lunch – thanks to everyone for the lard help on RISI.

I also started my A to Z reading challenge in the week. Basically, I am going to read an author with the second name starting with each letter of the alphabet in order so I have already read A, B and C and started on D.
Alliott, Catherine – The old girl Network
Billingham, Mark – Lazybones
Chevalier, Tracy – The Virgin Blue
The reason for setting this challenge is to make me look through all my books rather than just sticking to the same predictable authors or new books coming in. My A and C books are two which I probably would not have read for years as there was always something else dropped into my lap first. Thanks to all the people from RISI who are joining me on this challenge and hopefully it will help us all re-address our TBR piles.

Ended the week on Saturday with a trip into Bethesda to have a wander round to see what it has and try and get my bearings while Jar went to his Karate Dojo. I booked myself a hardressing appointment for a cut and colour on Tuesday so will tell you next week how that went. We then had our usual game of tennis – Jar won this one 6 to 3 – but we both feel we are getting better at it and we had some really good rallies.

On Saturday night we were invited to a BBQ by one of the guys Jar had met in the pub. Neither of us really knew him or his wife but decided to go as that is the only way you get to meet new people. It was actually a fun evening as there were some other guys and girls there that we were on nodding terms with but now got to actually speak with them. I don’t think we will be great friends with Scott and Aude who were having the BBQ but at least it is another contact.

Well that ends a rather bland (in terms of blogability) week although I rather enjoyed just sitting around, reading, doing cross stitch and watching the whole second series of the Tudors! Now moved onto the third series which is free on cable on demand.

Will end my post for now and then will add another one with the guided tour of the house probably by tomorrow, cause I am going to cycle on my road bike up to the outdoor pool for a dip , a lay in the sun and a bit of a read. Have a good week. Xx

Monday, June 8, 2009

Week commencing 31 May 2009

Well we were both tired on Sunday after having a couple too many Shandies yesterday so thought we would just hang around the house but in usual fashion we were bored in about two minutes we decided to go out on the bikes. It was quite funny because we both went off to get ready. I came down in halter neck top and little shorts ready for my gentle cycle along the canal paths. Jarlath came down in full bicycle gear and helmet, clearly ready for a major thrash on the mountain bikes. We decided to compromise and cycled gently together along the road to Glen Echo to pick up some burger buns from the shop and then tried to cut back a different route to the canal path which didn’t work. We ended up cycling back along the Clara Barton parkway which is actually quite a busy road and as I was in casual gear and no helmet it was quite hairy for me! Once we got back off this road I left Jarlath and I went home while he continued on up to Great Falls on the canal path. Due to the rain of the previous few days he came home completely covered in mud but has lots of fun blasting along without me holding him back.

Monday morning I decided to start the day with an 8.00a.m. yoga class and I can highly recommend it because it just sets you up mentally and physically for whatever the day brings. Jarlath was heading off to San Franscisco for the week so I had to run him to Dulles airport so I would have the car to myself all week :0). I just dropped him and went to do some messages and chores around the place. So basically just a boring non-eventful day.

Tuesday was sightseeing day. It was a lovely sunny day with low humidity and a cooling breeze so instead of spending it inside in a museum I decided to visit Arlington National Cemetery.
Arlington’s green slopes shelter veterans from every war. Over 320,000 servicemen and their family members rest on the 624 acres of Virginia land across the Potomac river from the Lincoln Memorial. General Montgomery Meigs proposed in 1864 that 200 acres of the Robert E. Lee family property at Arlington be turned into a cemetery.
At the Tomb of the Unknowns, a sentinel of the Third US infantry maintains a vigil around the clock. The sentinel paces 21 steps down the mat before the tomb, pauses 21 seconds and returns. The changing of the guards was taking place every half hour and I managed to catch the midday one where they had an additional laying of a wreath by four children – not sure what for but I assume for a lost Father or Mother!.
I also looked at the graves of John F Kennedy and Jackie Bouvier Kennedy amongst thousands of other lesser known graves.
Here are some photos:


It is hard to describe the feelings I had just seeing all those lines and lines of neat white gravestones – humbled is one word but there was another feeling that I can’t quite put my finger on. I just spent a peaceful couple of hours wandering through the rest of the cemetery, away from the crowds, looking at Grave stones and enjoying the peacefulness of the place.
During my walk I came upon the Columbarium which was like a peaceful garden with plants and waterfalls but gravestones built up into the walls. I am not sure if people were actually buried in the walls or if these were stones where there were no bodies to bury! Anyway, I stumbled across a private memorial service being held by the marines so was suddenly standing in front of about 20 marines and a bugler. I wasn’t sure if I was even supposed to be there and as they couldn’t talk to me while on ceremony I mouthed the question at the bugler who gave me the tiniest nod to stay still. So I just stood and watched the formal occasion with Bugler and full gun salute. No other tourist was there so I felt quite honoured at seeing it.
After that I sat on the gardens of the cemetery and read my book while eating the picnic lunch I had brought. It was lovely and peaceful.
Drove home and then needed some exercise so went along to a Kickboxing class at my gym. It was a proper Kickboxing session on the bags and pads. There was only myself and one other guy with the instructor so we had a good 45 minute blast of punching and kicking. It was good fun but such hard work that I thought I was going to throw up a lung at one point!

Wednesday came and brought our shipment of furniture and belongings from the UK. A lot quicker than I could have hoped for. As Jar was away I wanted to get everything unpacked and the house organized before he got home on Friday. I spent 10 hours on Wednesday unpacking boxes and putting things away and was completely exhausted by the evening. Went to a yoga class in the evening to chill out and to re-align my poor aching back. It wasn’t the normal teacher and I didn’t like the replacement one as much but she certainly helped my aching back so it worked. At night there was a huge electrical storm which kept knocking the power out but it kept coming back on so was not too much trouble. Some people locally lost power all night and into the next day and a tree had come down onto River road, which is one of the main commuting roads so rush hour traffic would have been a nightmare.

Thursday more unpacking and tidying up. I was also left with the problem of what to do with the empty boxes and packing materials. So loaded up the car and found the local dump and recycling centre – which was 20 minute drive away so not that local. This was near Gaithersburg where the Washingtonian centre is located so it actually worked out quite well as I needed to nip into Target for a desk lamp and some sundry bits and pieces. I was then meeting Kim at five to go to the movies, which was in the same centre so the drive was not wasted.
We went to see The Ghosts of Girlfriends past. It was not my first choice in movies but trying to get one we both liked and had not seen and that started at a good time for us was challenging, so we settled on this. It was actually an ok movie for a mid week girlie night out. The funny thing was that the power failed about 10 minutes from the end due to the electrical storms but they eventually got the movie restarted and we saw it. A bit too much of a happy ending for me but an ok movie – just wait for it on dvd as not worth cinema prices.
We then decided to have a bite to eat so went into the Thai restaurant next to the cinema. We ended up chatting for ages as we just seem to get on really well and not even small talk but as if we are old friends. Eventually I drove home and stayed up late watching Episodes 4 to 6 of season 2 of The Tudors. Really enjoying this series so far and can’t wait to get up to date with it.

Friday and guess what – yes more unpacking but more fine tuning and some tidying up to make the house look like a neat home for Jar getting back. I then took another drive to the tip with more boxes and picked up the messages at the Supermarket for the weekend. I am completely exhausted now as it has been a really physical week so decided to chill for a couple of hours with a bath and some book reading before I had to head out to the airport to pick Jarlath up. Jar had to get an emergency dental appointment this week because he was in great pain with his teeth (3 false ones he has). It turns out that he has an abscess at the root of the tooth peg caused by the dentist who inserted them making a f*ck up and not inserting them straight. He is now on strong painkillers and antibiotics until he gets backs and finds a dentist locally. God knows what this is going to cost us because while we are insured you are only covered for 80% of the cost and they charge for everything quite handsomely! There goes any hope of me getting a little car as a runaround but I suppose teeth are more important – although I did try and argue the point with Jar – lol.

Saturday was a bit cloudy still and Jar was not well at all with the infection behind his teeth but in his usual stubborn way he decided to still go to his Dojo to do an hour of Karate and then for a haircut. Ended up with him nearly passing out in the hairdresser so I put him to bed with some paracetamol to get his fever down and then went out some messages to try and leave him in peace to get some sleep. Now Jar is not the easiest of patients as he gets rather stir crazy and impatient with himself and everyone around when he is not well, so I just tried to stay out his way but lets say his moods over the weekend have been rather stressful for me to deal with. He gets quite aggressive in his body language with himself (not with anyone else) but the aura around him does rub off and makes me more aggressive and stressed. Anyway I cancelled a dinner date out with Kim in Bethesda and just made some light pasta and then made him go to bed early so I could get some peace! I don’t make a great nurse either!
I received my social security number card today which is a positive but they have got my name wrong on it – Keatings instead of Keating – so I will have to make another trip to the lovely Social office and wait in line for hours (looked in today and it was a minimum two hour wait) to try and get it resolved. A bit annoying as it came through in four and a half weeks without any of the bother Jarlath had getting his.
Well I will end the week there nursing my rather reluctant patient. Xx

Monday, June 1, 2009

Week commencing 24 May 2009

Link to the photos for Luray Caverns from last weeks blog:

Sunday brought generally good weather but with some clouds. We decided just to have a long lie and a chill morning but Jarlath had to cycle up to Bethesda to pick the car up as we had abandoned it there last night – see last weeks blog. He quite likes doing that as it makes him go out and do exercise even when he doesn’t feel like it. Personally I could think of nothing worth than having to cycle five miles uphill when nursing a mild hangover.
In the afternoon we decided to have a small bbq and invited Kim and Andrew over. Kim is the girl from Jars work that I went out for dinner with a couple of weeks ago and Andrew is her husband. Despite one small downfall of rain we had fun just sitting outside chatting, eating and a couple of glasses of Rose wine. They left to go to the cinema about 8 and we then just chilled outside ourselves.

Monday was a holiday for Memorial day so Jar had the day off. We decided to go and check out the community outdoor pool – after checking the opening times this time! Had a hour of tennis where we actually tried to play properly and came out pretty evenly matched at 5 games all with most games going to deuce. Then drove up to the pool and did some lane swimming and sitting reading in the sunshine. The outdoor pool has a 25 metre lane pool where they do adult swim – so they make children under eighteen leave it ever so often to allow adults to do proper lane swimming. They also have a 50 metre pool with a diving and chute area – although this was just finishing being refurbished so doesn’t open until next weekend. They also have two children’s pools and lots of picnic table, grassy areas and free deckchairs – all for only $6.00. We only stayed a couple of hours and the thunder started and they were evacuating until it passed but we just decided to come home.
In the evening we had been invited to our neighbors house for dinner. Sherri and Neil are close friends with the people that own the house we are renting. They are a lovely couple with two children aged 15 and19. She is an advocate and he is a doctor (not sure what his speciality is). We went over just after six and had a lovely evening just getting to know each other, eating and drinking some red wine. We will definitely invite them back as they were lots of fun and full of knowledge about the local area.

Tuesday and the weather had been awful all night and was still awful in the morning, so I decided that I wasn’t going to do anything all day. I have no idea where the day went to – I read for hours, did some light chores and ironing and watched a movie. It was absolute bliss and I only felt a wee bit guilty about being so lazy for once.

Wednesday I decided to brave public transport again and go sightseeing in downtown Washington DC. Jar had a 7.00a.m. conference call which he decided to do from home, so he then ran me up to the metro station and I got the metro to The Mall at the Smithsonian. I was in by 9.00a.m. and the museums don’t open until 10.00 so walked up to Capitol hill and around the Mall to see what was on offer. Found a couple of lovely gardens that were tranquil oases within the bustle of the city.

Then at 10.00 went into the air and space museum. I decided to take the guided tour, which was free anyway, it was quite good and informative although I had to leave it after 40 minutes as my blood sugar dropped quite low and I had to go and sit down and have something to eat. Luckily I had packed myself a full packed lunch and snacks for the day – to save money- so I went into the cafĂ© and just took ten minutes to feel better. I didn’t pay to go into the Imax theatre as I wanted today to be a budget day out as we have been spending money like it is going out of fashion lately so I am on a mission to save money on anything not necessary (hence the packed lunch). They are actually showing the movie Night at the Museum 2 in this theatre so I might go back next week to see it as I thought it would be cool to see the movie set in the Smithsonian actually in the Smithsonian!
I came out with some time to spare so took some RISI advice and walked up to the Fords Theatre where Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in 1865 (see I was listening). I then went cross to the Shepherd house across the road where Lincoln was taken when he was shot and where he actually died in the back bedroom. All a bit morbid but quite interesting. Between here, Gettysburg and The Lincoln memorial my American History of that era is becoming quite good.

I then decided to come back on the metro as I was then going to try and navigate the Ride on bus system as well to get from the metro station back home. It was really easy and only cost 75 cents, it is just a shame that my bus route only runs in rush hour so only runs from 7.00 to 9.00 in the morning and from 3.50 to 6.30 in the evening, otherwise I would be on it all the time. This was a big deal to me as I haven’t used a bus at home for years and years and always relied on cars and taxis so I was quite proud of myself – probably sounds daft to most of you but a personal achievement for me.
Came home to find Bobby not well. He was down in the basement crying as if he was in pain so I went to him but he just slunk off into the corner and started retching. He was eventually sick and then went for a wee sleep so must have just eaten too much grass or something he shouldn’t have from the garden.
I had also booked myself in for my first yoga class at my new gym at 6.30 for an hour and when I turned up I found I was the only person in the class so I ended up having a one on one personal yoga training with the instructor, which was great as it was my first class. She ended up manually manipulating my toes and hips to help realign them and gave me lots of coaching on not overextending my joints (double jointed) especially my shoulders. I feel stronger already and loved it so booked myself in again for next week. The instructor was lovely as well – her name was Padma and she is 40 years old although only looks about 25. She has two sons, 17 and 15, and has a beautiful tattoo on her back, which she got to hide extensive scarring from when she had cancer treatment when she was younger.

Thursday I decided I wanted the car to go exploring so up early again to take Jar to work. I then drove tp Georgetown. Georgetown began as a Maryland tobacco port on the banks of the Potomac River in 1751. When Congress created the District of Columbia for the nation's capital in 1791, its 10-mile square boundaries were drawn to include this port town, as well as the very similar Virginia tobacco port of Alexandria just across the river. Alexandria was given back to Virginia in 1846, but Georgetown remains as one of Washington's most lively urban neighborhoods. Fresh from the altar, young Jack and Jackie Kennedy called Georgetown home. Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic university in the U.S. A co-educational Jesuit institution, this historic school was founded by Father John Carroll in 1789 and is renowned for its programs in law, medicine, and international relations. The roster of alumni is impressive with ten heads of state on the list, including former U.S. president Bill Clinton; athletes Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson; and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Antonin Scalia. Spurred on by a legendary basketball team and Jack the Bulldog, the athletics program mascot, Georgetown students are a staple in this charming corridor.
I just had a wander along the main street looking at all the shops. It has a big Dean and Deluca deli – anyway who is a fan of Nigella Lawson will be aware of this deli – and as I love cooking I enjoyed looking around all the produce, spices, oils etc so I know where to come to get my Nigela seeds for some of my recipes once the recipe books arrive.
The highlight of the day was visiting the old bookshop called Bartleby’s old and rare books. It is a wee shop with all sorts of lovely old books arranged on shelves and on piles on the floors. I had a good browe although I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I then spoke to one of the owners (the wife part of the husband and wife team) and asked if they needed any part time workers as I explained my love for books. Unfortunately, it was a no as she said business is quiet at the moment so they have no need for help. Well you don’t ask you don’t get. I only stayed in Georgetown for a couple of hours as the parking was so expensive ($12 for 2 hours), just like London prices so then drove up to a supermarket called Wholefoods to get some groceries in. Wholefoods hs lots of lovely produce as well and fresh cakes etc and mostly stocks organic items. A bit pricey but ok for a small shop. As I was shopping in Maryland this week and not Virginia, you can’t buy beer and wine in the supermarket so I headed out to the beer and wine supermarket to stock up on Gin and wine. I then had to pick Jar up from work to take him to the Chiropractor (he has two prolapsed discs in his back, an ongoing problem) and then home. Driving on the Interstate in rush hour traffic was not much fun.
In the evening Jar went to Karate to I decided to go and have a wee gym session. The rain was coming down in sheets outside and I was restless to get out and do something. After that I came home and started to watch the National Spelling Bee. This is a big competition in the US and was held in Washington DC last night. It is shown live on National TV and the kids can win cash prizes of about $50k in total - for their college funds. There was twelve kids in the final all aged 12 and 13 and they basically have to stand in front of an audience and spell back words without writing them down, sounds easy but I had never heard of most of the words. They can ask some basic questions like alternate pronunciations, whether it is a noun, verb etc, the origins (entomology) i.e. whether it came from Greek, Latin, French originally and they can ask for it to be used in a sentence. These kids were really smart 'cause when they didn’t know a word they sometimes worked the spelling out from its origins. So one girl would say if it is based on Latin is it based on the Latin for ...... whatever! It was strangely compulsive viewing and I ended up watching it from start to finish which was over a couple of hours.

On Friday I decide to have a bit of a lie in before going to my Barre class but I got my times all mixed up. I had it in my head that the class was at 10.00a.m. so got up about 8.50 threw on some shorts and a top (no underwear) and wandered downstair for some breakfast. I happened to glance at the calendar on the wall and there I had written that the class started at 9.00a.m., it was now 8.59a.m. what to do? So I threw on a pair of Brikenstocks, grabbed my keys and ran out the door and the 2 minutes along the street to the gym. I burst into the class when they were already on the barre so was a bit embarrassed. At least I didn’t miss it completely but I didn’t feel like I got as much out of it given that I was rushed and hadn’t eaten any breakfast. I was also aware that I had no pants on so when we where stretching our legs out and open I was keeping an eye on the mirror to ensure I wasn’t flashing anything that I shouldn’t have – lmao! It seemed to be all over very quickly and I was back home in my kitchen before I knew it.
As my furniture is probably coming next week I decided to do some cleaning. As I said on RISI I am quite enjoying cleaning and don’t feel it is a chore yet because nothing really has the chance to get dirty. I tackled the Au Pair suite. This is a small self contained Bedsit that is off the basement and will be used for the children’s bedroom furniture for when friends with children come and stay. It has its own sunroom/bedroom, small kitchenette with a sink, units and a fridge, a small area for a wee table and chairs and a shower room/toilet. It also has a patio door directly out onto the side garden. It would be great for the finances if we could rent it out but sadly our lease prohibits this. If you know of anyone needing a place to stay in Maryland for holidays or whatever we would be happy to accommodate them in their own little bedsit.
Then decide to tackle the basement as the owners have left some stuff down there so I was putting that over to one side to keep it separate from ours and I moved all our sports equipment into a double wardrobe that was lying empty down there. Jar has also set up his weights bench and punchbag down there so we have our own mini gym as well.
After all that activity decide to watch episode 1 of The Tudors series 2 which I had received through the mail on dvd and do some of my cross-stitch. Was supposed to be playing tennis with Jar when he got home from work but a big thunderstorm complete with torrential rain started late afternoon so we just chilled in the house with a take out pizza and a movie (The Reader – Bernhard Schlink) which was a good adaptation of the book.

After thunder storms all night we didn’t know what to expect on Saturday but it brought another beautiful sunny day and made even nicer by low humidity and a breeze. We decided to go for a game of tennis in the morning to make up for missing it last night. We are both starting to come on in our playing skills and are still fairly evenly matched with each game going to Deuce. In the end I won with 7 games to 5 but ended up with the sole of my training shoes coming off, so another expense in replacing those!
In the afternoon we packed up a picnic and the tartan blanket and walked the couple of miles down to Glen Echo park. The 29th Annual Washington Folk Festival was being held there and the bonus was it was free! For two days , the festival presents seven stages of continuous performances and workshops for every interest and age. We started off at the Crystal Pool Stage watching Randy Barrett & Dede Wyland who were playing traditional and bluegrass harmonies. It was lovely to sit on the grass having our picnic listening to the banjo and some yodeling. They were then followed by Soul in Motion: Reflecting Africa – interpretation of dances and drumming from Guinea, West Africa. It was interesting.
We then moved over to the Potomac Palisades Stage to see the end of Cruzando Fronteras performing traditional rural accordion dance music from Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. To end the afternoon we stayed to watch Elke Baker and the Potomac Valley Scottish Fiddle Club. I was in my element with some traditional Scottish music but despite my pleading Jar would not get up and dance with me. In fact, he dozed off for a while.

Ended the day by going to the Irish Inn at Glen Echo for some Lager Shandies – can’t beat those on a hot sunny afternoon, then wandered home and spent the rest of the evening sitting out on the back porch having a drink and just chatting. I don’t think we have ever just sat and chatted to each other so much as in the last month. It is lovely as we are rediscovering ourselves together.
Well another week has passed very quickly. Hope everyone had a good one. Xx