Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Very Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas to all from pine Bush NY - Most of you will already be part of the way through your Christmas morning, I do hope Santa brought you everything you wanted. Except for you Ruth, I hope Jesse has not given birth yet this morning.

We are planning a very lazy day, pancakes for breakfast with bucks fizz followed by a light lunch and then we are off to the movies with our good friends Gil and Sara. We will round the day off with that traditional Christmas treat .......... meal at the local Chinese.

I have had a lot of fun this week trying to find tins to cook my mince pies in - the US does not have an equivalent you can buy just about everything here except jam tart tins - I managed to improvise with some muffin tins. I also had fun baking ginger cookies for the neighbours (well that's if Rob does not eat them all first)
Mum -- it took us really hours to get the deer to stand still long enough to wrap them in Christmas lights, I hope you appreciate it.
The snow has been quite heavy with multiple storms since last Thursday. Monday the temperature dropped to 10F -12C on Monday and the wind chill made if feel even colder. It has certainly warmed up a bit more now. We should be in for some great skiing this year.
As you can see I decided to try out my snow shoes in the garden !!
Hope you like the Christmas tree -- go figure, after years of nagging the "bob" decides he wants a 9ft tree and we spent all last weekend making bows and decorating it

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One year on …....

I'm typing this from a very snowy Montreal. I'm up here for the week and it's definitely winter. I've left Rob in Pine Bush waiting for the snow to arrive but he has some painting to keep him busy. Oh, did I tell you that I have the most gorgeous granddaughter and she has just had her first birthday. Well I couldn't miss it so we made a flying visit to celebrate. More of that later.
Our very good friends Paul and Robyn invited us back to Atlanta for another Thanks Giving holiday. It's just like a UK Christmas lunch without the hassle of the presents. Just family and food. We were very honoured to be included. Robyn's a great cook with gadgets for everything coming from a giant store cupboard otherwise known as “aisle 7”. It's given me ideas for some bits and pieces that I didn't know I was missing. Rob will have to get to work on that storage project now.
We were kept entertained and amused by Blake, Missy and Ali. Blake is a demon on the Wii as well as being a fine breakfast chef. The girls put on variety performance like only young girls can and were just sugar and spice. We all went down to the arts centre in Atlanta to see an exhibition of the "Terracotta Warriors”. Fascinating! It had the desired effect and we now want to visit China to see the whole thing. The list just gets longer ….. must give up work some day. To balance out the high culture, Paul and Robyn took us to the local comedy club. As advertised, it was side splitting, cringe worthy and “oh my god, did she just say that” in equal measure. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Robyn made big efforts to support my bid for a dog. Despite having a good time with both dogs Rob is still holding out ........ and I'm still working on him.

We finally left Atlanta, bound for Gatwick and England. Bob* felt at home right away in the BA lounge with a host of UK news papers and biscuits to keep him quiet. It's so important to keep him out of trouble on long journeys. BA in flight service was a joy compared to the complete lack of any service on US flights. It was a real system shock, joining the M23/25 at 8.30am. So much traffic … so many people all crammed into such a small space. We had a long “to do” list and started right away with visits to the bank, letting agent and accountant. It was quite a strange feeling to be back in Maidenhead with no Toni to shop with and no home to go back too. I mean, it's still there (we drove past) but someone else is living there and there is a strange car in the drive. We visited Robs most missed shops, WHSmiths and M&S, to stock up on PC magazines and underwear. Rob claims that the UK (and these companies in particular) are world leaders for these items. He has a point.
Having got the “business” out of the way I could then get to see Sarah and little Alana. Oh how she has grown since I last saw her. I know that I'm very biased, but she is gorgeous …. almost edible. She is such a happy baby. All smiles and giggles. A real credit to Sarah's hard work as a young mum. I'm very proud of the way she cares for Alana and the bond they have developed. I miss them both very much. Our trip was a whirlwind of family visits an lots of driving (1500 miles) and was over too soon. Sorry to anyone that we couldn't get to. Especially Caitlin. Hopefully we will get to see you for some skiing later in the winter. Back home to Pine Bush and both Rob and me have succumbed to after flight head colds. At least it didn't turn into flu. Our quest to see as many old 70's stars as possible continued on Monday night. We saw Neil Young at Maddison Square Gardens. I like the more acoustic stuff but the screaming guitar bit were a bit too much. Mind you it was funny to see all those old Bobs rocking out as if they were teenagers. Needles to say, Rob came out grinning from ear to ear. It was 1am by the time we got back to the hotel and I was ready for shut-eye. The next day Rob saw me to an airport taxi and he took the train back up the Hudson valley. So it's back to the grind and looking forward to a white Christmas.

I was really lucky to get back from Montreal on Friday - I literally flew back to Newark about half an hour ahead of the snow - Rob picked me up at the airport and within an hour of getting home we had a foot of snow. Rob cleared a path to the hot tub and we braved it for a token 5 minutes.!!

*Bob .......... Boofy Old Bloke aka Rob