Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another Month

Another month has passed. I don't know where time goes. Perhaps the six weeks I worked this last month is part of the sense of fleeting time. I'm still struggling with balancing work and and life and work and life and love. Fortunately love is patient and kind and it is working out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Alien Princess

I realised this morning, after reflecting on my weekend, I'm in transition. It is difficult, whilst enjoying the spotlight of princessdom, to remember that when partnering, the focus is the partner. I've not been in the realm for a very long time. I didn't plan on entering it again for a goodly amount of time and least of not whilst here. Still slightly feel caught off guard, but realising the precious jewel of which I've been entrusted.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When Another's Desperation Is Your Agravation

My heart is grieving. Just from the sheer existence  of the comments I've heard lately.

My county, Essex, is having a rash of jumpers onto train tracks. The suicides are wreaking havoc with the schedules and people are angry at the disruptions to their commutes/travel plans.

Those people who died were so desperate they chose a painful and disheartening way to end their lives. Their families, friends and co-workers are left with more questions than answers and are grieving with every fibre of their being. People like me, who weren't  affected, other than by the stories, are hurting in their hearts.

Blessings to those who have felt so sad and worthless. Blessings to those who are left behind. And most of all blessings to those who need it the most, those with the hardened hearts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

When Extraordinary Is One's Ordinary

I noticed it's been ages since I last posted. It's hard to keep up, to find time to post. Life is moving at the speed of light, with extrordinary things continuing to happen week in and week out. I've not found a suitable way to journal it, electronically nor in print.

So, all's well on my small and exquisite island.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kindly Pocket It Sir

What is it with guys and their "members"? In the last month, I have seen enough "parts" to write a book...OK just a blog.

1) On a conference call, in the conference room at work. Guy howling outside (apparently out of relief). Finally look out the window and a man is relieving himself on our dumpster. Missed the opportunity to bang on the window and let him wet himself. He was less than a block from a public toilet.

2) On couch heading to Lourdes. Pulled into a to pit stop and there's a guy, watering the grass. Back to road, but wide open space, proper loo about 50 feet away behind him. 41 people cheered him on.

3) Sitting at an outdoor restraunt two days ago. Two guys are on the bank of the river with their bottles of booze. Man stands behind rock, back to river, front to me. Thank goodness for the rock.

4) Walking in the countryside, not totally alone as I've met several others along the way. Walk up on a guy again. Not in the trees, just at the side of the path. Embarrassed him. And on second thought think he wasn't just doing a wee.

And there was the time I was hiking with my daughter's boyfriend and he decided to just stop and go. Hello....? Fortunately daughter did NOT think that was a wise move on his part. Can you say H-I-S-T-O-R-Y?

Grown men can wait. We ask little tots to do so. And if you must, because you do have the "gear" to allow an easy outdoor "exit", pop your butt out of the way. You're way more enamoured with it than I am.

And not to be sexist.....the "comedy" act "Busting Out"...dud to the nth degree. I really don't need to see tit tricks done by 50 year old women's exposed boobs on stage for two hours. Totally unimpressed.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Where Am I?

I was decending some castle steps today and thought " Wow! There were 3x (6x) as many twirling steps in this castle as the one I was in last week and this one was so much easier!" Oh yeah. Last week the 105 (one way) were in the Pyrenees. This week in Durham, it was 300+ each way. And then I thought "last week's castle" and then "this week's castle" (this week was the Cathedral tower and not a castle, but I did visit the castle too) and I truly had to laugh out loud. I'm not on an extended holiday, really. This is my life and I've made it a holiday. Every moment is precious. Every moment is a gift.

I didn't always have this outlook. Once I did the festivities began.

Love today, look forward to tomorrow. Be ready.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Greatness and Gratitude

This last week was a challenge of the best kind. Work was busy, all cylinders seemed to fire and the end of the week was a crescendo where the silence at the end contributed as much as he cacophony leading to it.

I was frantic that I wasn't getting to my home evening tasks. Work was eating away at my home time, like it so often did in the past. The feeling was familiar, but I didn't want it. I wanted a leisurely stroll in my preparation for leaving. Come Friday night it all came together. Work done, home tasks minimised and under control.

Friday evening I sat on the balcony, wine glass in hand, read a magazine and experienced the beautiful weather and departing sun. Then with a movie on the tube, plucked off taks.

Saturday, I, with all the mellowness of a glam girl, shopped for some clothes that fit and finished my errands. I ate an appetiser lunch of a fig, goat cheese and prosciutto appetiser and a pinot grigio. The tiny Italian restaurant had outdoor seating. Again, soaking in the beautiful spring day.

Because of the impending weather being rumoured to be so nice and then dipping slightly in planned temperatures, my packing was a bit of a tempest in a teapot frolic. Clothes for three seasons everywhere! Down to some Spring picks with a tiny winter backup (jumper, hat, gloves) and a dose of summer for those "own time" moments when I can escape the group and head out into the countryside.

Heading to Southend Victoria today. Beach and solitude. A great start to a pilgrimage. Probably dinner with my morning taxi partner, Joe. I'm anxious to meet him. He was one of the people selected to give a prayer at Westminster Cathedral  Mass with the Pope. Holiness by association!

I know this next week will challenge me. I'm so used to doing things on my own and not with a coach load of faithful and infirm. I will be sharing a room with a stranger. I've done this before, but not paired with someone for a whole trip. I have a timed itinerary - gulp. Also, lunch and dinner won't start until the last person shows up. I'm used to eathing when the tummy growls.  Thank GOD there will be some blocks of free time. I will be able to wander about the parts in my own way. My faith is quite private while this trip is all about the Hail Mary's (and I'm not talking American football). And the coach will have a toilet, we're asked not to use it, unless an emergency (hygiene reasons). I'm contented with a small patch of bushes, will you pull over please?

Above is not to complain. I know they will challenge my psyche. I want to be ready with grace humor, laughter,  and a helping hand and create prayerful and graceful week for myself and others. Isn't that what every pilgrimage and experience has done to me? Changed my reflection?

May the peace and joy of our Blessed Mother fill my heart and yours with joy, laughter and light.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Do

I'm reading Ree Drummond's book: The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--A Love Story. I've followed Ree's steamy love affair with her husband and her recipes for years. I can't put her book down. And I'm thinking, while reading it, "ooohhh to feel like that". And I woke up this morning and thought...."damn it woman, whatcha thinking? You have had it all and more!"

25 years ago today I was in Las Vegas. Eloping. Driving all night Friday after work to do "the deed" on Saturday. Our arrival coincided with Spring Break and the the motel we ended up staying in was at the far end of the strip....further down than the  famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign. The Klondike. (No that wasn't the peeky bubble pool hotel). No room at the proper inns for us. The proposal, coming out of the blue, the previous Tuesday evening went like this:

Future sister-in-law: So when are you guys getting married?
Me: Drop Jaw
Future husband: I don't know. You want to get married?
Me: Playing along. Sure. Why not?
Future husband: OK - how about Saturday?
Me: Playing along. Oh - OK.
Future husband: Really, let's get married Saturday.

And so it began.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Coming Home

I love (and appreciate) how when I come home from my work trips, I'm so happy to be home. Home being Brentwood. This is my home. I have a house in Utah, but for now, this is my home.When I travel to the U.S. it will be to Colorado and Utah and to visit my family, but it won't be to go home. Not now, not yet.

I arrived HOME from my work trip this week to many confirmations that this is HOME. Confirmations of my trips (yes, plural) to Italy later this year, my European health insurance card and the UK Census. Sounds pretty established, eh?

The funny thing is about my credit cards, my insurance cards, my bank cards, my visa, all carry the same end date. My "times up Teri" departure date from the UK. The date that this fantasy ends. I used to take comfort in that date, that if I hated being here or hated the job that I'm doing, that I had a target date for returning to "normalacy". Now that date is a deadline. A deadline of all the things I have to do, see, experience, eat and breathe in before I have to leave my fairy tale life in Great Britian.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Market Day

I love Saturdays in England! Choices. Choices. Choices!

I think it is Brentwood's market day (every other week). I thought about going to Romford as theirs is big and every week. Around here you don't have to hoard, you just have to remember which week it is and where which town you found it in and then plan to head back.

I think though I'm going to head to Billricay. I've only been during their Christmas market, but here's a fancy grocery store I'd like to peruse. If I find a Saturday market, excellent, and if not, I will be armed with a map.

I'm heading to Scotland next week for work, so I'm not in dire straits for groceries. Just trying to figure out where the the special things can be found and remember my whats and wheres.

This aspect of my life fulfills a dream I had of being able to live near the Pikes Place Market in Seattle. I wanted to be able to buy freshly picked farm grown vegetables, find fresh meat and fish, purchase nuts so soft and flavourful that you turned to look for the tree. Seattle wasn't the goal, the market was. Check.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Weepy Week

This week is wrought with emotion.

Robert died 11 years ago on Friday. I miss his friendship. He was always behind me. I hope that I can someday find someone who will love me like he did.

I think about the girls. How lucky I am to have them in my life. They are only my step-daughters when I have to explain that I did not shove five down MY birth canal.

I think about my girls - who were  lucky enough to have a spare Dad.

I think about my extra Mom and the sister I gained through Karen.

I'm going nuts over my dream that woke me earlier this week that was about a letter I received from him....from Montana, no less. Realising the letter came from HIM (OK, that he actually wrote more than a paragraph) and that it was from all places, Montana,  woke me up. I didn't get to read what it said - I have no idea what his or my possibly made up/imagined  message said.

There was another "incident" this week that I would attribute to his presence. I acknowledged it at the time, but then forgot it. I can't remember it and I desperately want to.

I would have thought, like with other's passings, it would get easier. Sometimes it is. Sometimes not so much.

Robert, I loved you with all my heart. Your presence on this planet is missed by many. May your soul be at peace. May yours and my dear Mary watch over you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Not As Quiet As It Might Seem

Apologies to any of you who might be followers of this blog. I've not fallen off the face of the Earth nor fallen into a rut so many people believe to be common with the British. (They are the most active and scheduled people I know!)

Quite the contrary actually.

I'm settled into my kitchen and the tools and gadgets I've either brought, are available or that I've chosen not to repurchase on this side of the pond. I began a "diet" a couple of months ago that has me wishing I had some rope to keep by breeches up. (I'll tell more about that later.) I look forward to market day in Brentwood or seek them out in other towns. I've joined a hiking group and walk weekly with them. This has me trundling all over the English countryside. I have a Parish nearby and am enjoying the weekly attendance and I've reconnected with my all time love of Jazzercise. And then there is my job. New application, challenging work, lots of work involved.

As for the "diet". I'm eating healthier and more food than I ever have. Not a single "artificial" anything and only a couple low fat items (Greek yogurt and a balsamic salad dressing). I'm taking in all the fruits, veg, grains (bread, crisps, blah, blah) and dairy that my tum can hold. Who knew?!?

Today is a rainy Saturday and I think a nap is soon to hit the top of my list.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Precious Day

I think I knew. I knew that it would come together.

I had planned to go to the British Museum today to see the Book of the Dead. But it seemed like too much effort. So I went to Romford instead. I intended to check out the shopping center.

Instead I found a HUGE street market. Perfect for my mood. I bought most of the groceries on my list from vendors. I wandered the street and stalls and had the best jacket potato ever. I found freshly picked rhubarb and a butcher shop with lamb meat all cubed and eady to go. It's Persian lamb and rhubarb stew for dinner tonight. A perfect welcome to Spring.

I slept with my window open last night. I opened the windows and doors today. Cool, but doable and the fresh air is a treat.

Tomorrow I go to London for my hike. Just enough.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Next week I will have been working in the UK for a year. A year! I just re-read my posts for that first frightning, estatic week in Inverness. I'm so at home now and I don't feel like a visitor. I'm happy when I get to go home to Brentwood, although Scotland is my love and I love working here. And fortunately, since I've moved here, have only had one bout of home sickness. I'm so fortunate and so grateful and really, really, happy.

Happy best year ever, almost anniversary to me!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Pilgrimage...... :)

This past Sunday there was a posting in the parish's newsletter about a group going to Lourdes. There were 10 places remaining. I called on Monday and captured the last remaining spot. The price was listed in Euros and seemed very reasonable. When I did the math it was even better in pounds.

I've always wanted to go to Lourdes. I think the story is a beautiful one. I thought about walking from there to St. Jean Pied de Port or Roncevalles or from Paris to Lourdes. I hadn't researched it much and I didn't know how I'd fill a week of a trip. It was one of those "I will when the time is right". Apparently that time is now.

I've been to Fatima and was greatly moved. The skepticism going in and the resulting marvel of the holiness that eminates from the area is indescribable. Add my pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostella and I find myself seeking the "internal fire" that ignites beginning when the bookings are done and my feet hit the ground to start the journey.

This one will take us to St. Bernadette's grave, another holy place in the Pyrenees, and then on to Lourdes. A ferry to France, coaches, and a flight home. All new experiences. All familiar ones too. 

As agnostic and athiestistic the United Kingdom is, it is equally fervent about it's Catholicism and Church of Englandism (don't know the proper term). My faith has found a dynamic place to thrive. I am looking forward to traveling with a bunch of Catholics to a place that is dear to all of us.

And as their token, unreserved American, I'm sure I can get a rousing chorus going with "The Wheels on The Bus".  Perhaps  with slightly different rendition: "The wheels on the bus go to Lourdes, go to Lourdes, go to Lourdes, the wheels on the bus go to Lourdes all through France! The people on the bus hope for miracles, hope for miracles......."

Sunday, January 09, 2011

I've Joined A Walking Group

In the States I always had to limit my hikes to walks or find areas that posed little risk or find friends who could hike with me.

With busy Mormon lives, finding women with the inclination or time to hike was a rarity, but a blessing when it happened. Those chickies, when they do hike TAKE IT ON.

Anually, I headed to Washington to hike with my daughter. A most blessed event every year. She hikes alone in the Washington mountains and forests. It scares me to death, but I understand.

And then there's Spain. My safe, familiar, invigorating, faith restoring refuge. But...I don't want to waste all my England experience there. Not that it is a waste, but there's more to see.

My next big hike will most likely be Hadrian's Wall. This will take a week. I've sent an inquiry to my "cousin" to see if she cares to join me. If not....I'll do it myself.

And then there's the walking group I found here. All over the UK and very active in my county (equivalent to "state). Easy to get to by train to join other area's groups. There hikes every weekend, short one on Saturday, long ones on Sunday. There are weekday hikes, should I choose a day off to join.

I now get to see the countryside, the cities, the places I'm timid to go. On foot, with people. Perfect.

My boss, when he hired me here, made me promise to bring my gear. He said this part of the world was designed for me. He's right. So glad he did.

I'm off today to walk to the next town. It's chilly and sunny and a perfect day to "practice".


Saturday, January 08, 2011

Sweet Memories

I was walking in a country park today. I followed an "unofficial" trail up to the top of a hill. I love this time of year when the trees are bare - the true soul of the land is exposed. I could see the rolling hills, the shrubbed "fences" of the countryside, the townhomes (I was still in the city, really), the boggy dampness of the ground.

I could hear the wind coming. Something that I treasure when hiking. You can hear it working up the canyons or hills, making all strong like and finally reaching you, unseen, but ever so tactile. I recalled hiking with my daughter and especially my week in the desert with my husband's cousin. The day looked dreary and cold, but was actually quite warm. The wind was a tickly one and didn't have a bite.

An oak leaf broke off a tree and tumbled willy nilly in the air and across the landscape. I recalled staying at the convent in Federal Way in the fall and walking in their gardens. The only sounds I could hear were the tide swishing on its way to low tide and the fall leaves actually breaking away from their limbs to spiral down in front of me.

I always try to take in the views, the scents and the feeling of the land when I'm out walking in a precious place like this. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be mucking around in Wellies (delightfully pretty ones at that), in England.

On my way back to reality I found a man crouched on a little bridge. He looked a little guilty and I hoped I'd selected a safe way to return. I had. His cat had caught a frog and he was releasing it, hoping it would overcome the shock and survive.

Life! Live it!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Things I've Learned

In addition to learning a new application for my job in a whole new area of an industry I've lived and breathed for 30 years, I've had the most fortunate opportunity to learn things in my new country. Now this list would be much larger and much more complicated if it were not an English speaking country, but you'd be surprised the differences I learn every single day. Here are some of the more notable "learning experiences".

Currency: British Sterling Pound - Pennies, 2 pence, 5 p, 10 p, 20 p, 50 p, 1 pound and 2 pound coins. Bills are 5, 10 and 20 pound increments. A pound was roughly equivalent in $1.50 this past year.
A quid is a pound. 5 quid = 5 pounds. A tuppence is 2 pence.

Weight: Stones. A stone = 14 pounds. 15 pounds would be stated as 1 stone, 1 pound.  Drop a stone and you're a whole lot lighter!

Temperature is stated in centigrade instead of farenheit.

A hob is a stovetop.

Clothes clips are clothespins.

I wear a size 6 shoe here which equates to anything between 7.5 and 8.5 in US.

Teaspoons and tablespoons are measurements in recipes here and they are the teaspoons and tablespoons that you put on the table. Most English recipes offer recipes in American, English and Metric measurements.

Mustard is yellow and it is HOT. A little dab will do you!

The most popular washing up liquid (dishwashing liquid) is Fairy.

Most washers and tumble dryers are one unit that does both. If your appliance is in the kitchen, like most flats (apartments) offer, a single load will take about 3 hours to do. To dry the clothes the appliance needs to both suck out the moisture, dry it a bit, suck it out, dry it a bit etc. No heat and outside vent for the apartment dweller.

Phone numbers in the country, outside your area start with 0 and they look like this: 01234 123 123 or 01234 123123.

Everyone pays an annual "TV license". This lets the BBC channels run commercial free. If you don't buy "cable" you can buy a Freeview box and get 40 some channels instead of five. There are additional adult channels that are available after midnight. Yes, they are HBO quality adult channels - for FREE.

Fruit and Vegetable stores and stands abound! Fresh, ripe and ready to eat. Yum!

England uses miles for distance and litres for petrol.

McDonalds offers Flurries with Cadbury and popular seasaonal candies like Cadbury Eggs and Terry's chocolate oranges. 

Cadbury eggs are available the first of January. By the end of the month, Mini Eggs will be in abundance. Cadbury makes dozens of kinds of chocolate/candy. All is absolutely fabulous. It is made differently from the US Cadbury version and much, much, much better.

Brown eggs are the only ones I've seen and they are date stamped right on the egg.

Electric "over blankets" are hard to come by and very expensive. Underblankets are readily available and inexpensive. Be prepared to tie the strings under the mattress to secure it. Most people will look at you and ask why you're seeking an electric option anyway and then ask what's wrong with your hot water bottle.

Hot water bottles are available everywhere. Many offer "designer" type covers. Seriously.

I have yet to locate a top sheet. Every linen set comes with a duvet cover. The sets are: fitted sheet, duvet cover and pillow cases. Duvets are wonderful - a bed is made in 10 seconds flat.

Face cloths are rare in all of Europe.

If you plan to use the loo in a public place, changes are you'll drop a few pence for the honour. And the location will be clean.

England adds a few letters and now then: Colour, behaviour, honour, whilst, etc.

A voucher is a coupon. And advert is an ad.

Aubergines are eggplants and courgettes are zucchinis.  I can carry a "large" pumpkin in one hand without the aid of the other.

I can buy Koala Yummies again!

I drink whiskey, but you'd call it Scotch.

Most country land in the UK gives walkers the right of way. You're free to walk on it, in it, and through it. You are expected to close the gates.

In the summer, in Scotland, it is still partially light at 11:00 pm and the sun starts to rise again around 3:00 am. In the Winter in England it is dark as pitch at 4:30 pm.

Porridge is as common on the breakfast table as roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, Marmite, and beans (as in pork and beans). One stirs porridge with a spurtle.

Cream tea is 1) a scone, 2) filled with clotted cream, 3) served with jam and 4) a cup of tea. It is heaven.

It is NOT cool to NOT take your shopping bags with you to the store. You get all kinds of perks for having them and charges if you don't.

Cookies are biscuits and McVitie's Digestives are The Bomb!

Cell phones are called Mobiles - and that they are.

Electric kettles adorn every house. Tea is most popular, drip coffee isn't so much. Instant coffee comes in many different brands, types and takes up most of the isle.

Choices exist, but you won't have to pick from 12 of each kind. One or two maybe.

Z is pronounced "zed", not "zee".

You get to pick your own electric and telephone companies, even in an apartment building. An apartment is called a flat.

And best of all, I've learned that England and Scotland are a lovely place to be!