Sunday, January 26, 2014

Burns Supper

Alex and I were delighted to get an invitation from some of our new sailing club friends to a Burns supper. 

Then we fired up Google to see exactly what a Burns supper is and got a little nervous.

 But, as it turns out our nerves were totally unfounded and the food and evening was fabulous!

Our hosts Janet and David are amazing cooks and wonderful hosts.
 It was a sit down dinner (with assigned seating, that seems to be the norm here) and each course was better than the next. 
Every time my glass was empty it was refilled without hesitation. We had Cock-a-leekie soup (delicious) for a first course. Then came the neeps, tatties (turnips and mashed potatoes) and cabbage and finally out came the haggis. 
Janet had prepared a beef dish for those that didn't like haggis, but it really wasn't necessary. I tried the haggis, and it was tasty but I couldn't really get past the psychological barrier I have against eating it. I ate about a third of it and Alex ate all of his, he liked it! 
I was so full by dessert I couldn't finish the dessert of raspberries, whipped cream and oats which was also delicious.

Liz and I had agreed beforehand that we would devise a plan to put the haggis into a potted plant on the windowsill since she had never tried it before either and wasn't sure if she would like it, but as it turns out we didn't have to resort to that plan at all. Liz's husband John who was sitting next to me politely inquired if he could finish mine for me, and I politely accepted! Of course we were kidding about the potted plant, but we were having fun and it was that kind of evening. We also devised my next potential business adventure: "The Haggis Baggis"! A lovely bag made from tartan on the outside with a removable plastic bag on the inside to deposit your haggis if you are in a situation where you don't like haggis but don't want to be rude about it. (Do you think it will be successful?)

David addressed the haggis before we ate and I have no idea what he said because his Scottish accent was pretty convincing. I think usually there are poetry readings and such but we had a slightly more low key evening than that with lots of good conversation. Liz and Bernice both have Bernina sewing machines and love to sew so we had plenty to talk about and the boys  of course talked sailing.

It was really fun and now I can check eating haggis off my list. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We're Adjusting

It's been 6 weeks since I posted anything on the blog, not that I haven't been thinking about it every day, because I have. There has been a lot has been going on with a real mixture of good and bad and while I hesitate to get too personal here, I thought I'd give a run down for those interested.

The Good:

 We had a wonderful Christmas with a lot of company. My parents came for a weeklong visit and it was superb. We had the right balance of low key time for chats and walks in Bury showing off our new town  and whirlwind sightseeing.  They came to visit during the darkest week of the year so we had to take advantage of the available daylight before 4:00 to get it all in and  we did!
picture of Dad taking a picture
 I'm pretty sure the highlight was touring our local brewery and then the tasting session after wards.
Dad and Maureen, our brewery tour "elf"
Mom looks anxious at the responsibility of  holding up the beer
We spent a week with Alex's Mom, and Eva and her kids at Christmas in Hastings. The weather was atrocious on quite a few of the days so we hunkered down and did  a lot of cooking, searching for good movies to watch on TV (cable here is about as bad as it is anywhere else) and sitting by the fire. My nieces got bicycles for Christmas so we did manage a walk in the park when the weather cleared after Boxing Day.
new bikes!
Alex and Nani

We had a wonderful New Years Eve. We scored an invite to some of our new sailing friends house for the evening and it was great! Whenever the conversation lagged (which was hardly at all...) our hostess brought out a poem to read, word puzzles were provided, singing happened and limericks were recited. (Note to self: learn some limericks for next year) Then there was fireworks, billiard games and much wine and champagne and singing of Auld Lang Syne which everyone knew ALL the words to! Very fun.

I love my job. I love hanging out in the alterations shop (who knew? I always said the one thing I would NEVER do is alterations, or wait, maybe that was sail making that I swore never to do...seems I swore I would never do a lot of things, but never mind I'm doing them anyways) and meeting people from the town, getting to know my new boss and my co-workers. They are extremely hard working, wonderful people and I have learned  not to complain about minor things in my life because they will set me straight for sure on challenging life situations. In the shop we are all immigrants to the UK and they have seen it all and been through a lot, a lot more than my problem of not being able to find good Ranch dressing. By the way on the Ranch dressing, I've started making my own and it is delish!

We've been exploring the area a bit and getting to know some of the small towns and coastline in our region. Alex, Eric and I are learning to compromise when sightseeing so we all can have fun and enjoy the experience. Translation: the boys tolerate Thrift Shops, I tolerate "Transportation Museums" and Eric Tolerates pubs. Win, win, win.

Eric likes his school. That's all I know because he is 15 and stops talking about himself after about 4 words.

The Bad:

We've had extremely bad luck with our home  in the US with lots of things breaking, the basement flooding, trees falling in the yard etc. We are essentially paying for two homes on one income. yuck.

We miss Jordi and don't have much communication with him. 

We miss our friends and family terribly but  at least we have Skype which makes it tolerable.

Not much sailing for Alex. It's cold and wet and the tidal limitations make it a rare occasion when we can actually take the boat out. He's had Nani out 3 times since August and is definitely looking forward to summer.
sunrise at the marina, no photoshop involved with this photo!
After New Years I had a bit of a slump trying to stay positive, but I feel better now, we seem to be getting into a groove. Little things like finding a favorite place to buy bread, driving to the grocery store by myself  and making a new friend at an art festival make me feel like I'm getting adjusted, maybe putting down a root or two and feeling normal.  I've got a few projects in the works to keep me busy and the days are getting longer, it is still light at 4:30! I hung a horseshoe over the door to change our luck on our Oakwood house and so expect that will improve that situation soon. 2014 will be good.

I hope everyone is well, please keep in touch and come see us soon!