29 November 2009

Thanksgiving, 2009

Ooh, this is good!
Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
My sister in law Liz and I threw our English inlaws a Thanksgiving meal yesterday to both celebrate American Thanksgiving but also to celebrate my and my niece (her daughter)'s birthday which was Friday. We had a plan, and then decided to throw caution to the wind and just go tot he store with a vague idea of what we wanted to cook instead of a grocery list.

Our menu consisted of roast turkey breasts, mashed potatoes with onions and sour cream, Caramel and Praline Sweet Potatoes (a brand new dish making its debut at this meal due to the lack of maple syrup or treacle in our sister in law Louise's cupboard), cranberry sauce, my mom's cornbread dressing, cornbread, a bad attempt at green bean casserole, peas and carrots for the kids, with pies and cakes for dessert. It was fantastic!!

I still don't completely feel like I didn't miss Thanksgiving. But I do feel like I know my inlaws a bit better and we had a fabulous time. The funniest part was how surprised they all seemed to be with how full they felt afterward. That's just part of Thanksgiving!!!

16 November 2009

It's not time for Christmas yet!!

Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
Anyone who knows me well knows that We Do Not Decorate for Christmas Before Thanksgiving/Nancy's Birthday (whichever comes last on the calendar). As I child I remember clearly thinking that my birthday (27th November, in case you're keeping track) had been forgotten when people jumped on ahead to Christmas. Nothing red nor green was hung in my parents' house until at least November 28th.

Apparently the UK didn't get the memo. Now, to be fair, there is no Thanksgiving Holiday in the UK, but still...Christmas things were being hung here and there and surreptitiously mentioned on the television and internet back in October. October! That's the month for spooks and haunts, people, not Dasher and Dancer, for pete's sake!

I may not be at home for Thanksgiving this year (or Christmas, for that matter) but I'm still celebrating. Liz's daughter and I share the same birthday, so for our birthday dinner we're having American Thanksgiving! Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, the works...providing Liz and I can get everything done without burning Louise's kitchen to the ground, that is. I'm excited about sharing part of what makes me, me with my in-laws as well as just having a family get-together...to me that's more of what Thanksgiving is than a meal, and it's what I will miss this year about not being with my family.

After that, we can start celebrating Christmas...and shopping.

13 November 2009

New Foray into Expat Nerdiness

Originally uploaded by Nancy Dunne
Just wanted to let you guys know about an exciting new blog I'm working with called Touring Old Blighty. I'm one of the collaborating authors and focus on both the UK as seen by an American expat AND pet friendly travel in the UK. I'm very excited to have the opportunity, but promise not to forget you, my 5-10 Loyal Lettuce Readers.

You have a title now. Please feel free to use it in social situations and put it on business cards. Folks will be impressed, I'm sure of it.

My insomnia continues, and tonight I'm pondering something that we got at the grocery store today...squash. Not the veggie that is oh-so frequently present in "seasonal vegetables" served alongside a main entree at a chain restaurant, nor the strange game that looks like tennis gone mad. I'm talking about fruit juice that is so highly concentrated that you can add, according to my husband, a capful to water and PRESTO you've got orange juice (or whatever kind of squash you prefer, I chose the orange over Strawberry/Kiwi or Apple/ Blackcurrant).

Fellow expats, British readers, and basically anyone that's tried this super duper non-refrigerated alternative to good old orange juice...answer me this: is it going to taste like Tang? It smells a bit like Tang. Not that I have anything against Tang, it's served our astronauts and millions of kids in 1970's America well. But it's not orange juice, regardless of the pulp level or brand name.

I think it's time to try to sleep, don't you?

12 November 2009

Travel and other Developments

Before you say that Simon and I have reached a new low in Strange Hat Photography, let me just say that I was overtaken by the Awesomeville that IS Dawsonville and Simon put the hat on me when I wasn't looking. I mean how could I be looking? I have those huge sunglasses on after all. In November. Indoors.

We are back from our two weeks away in America, and as always I am of several minds when looking back on the trip. There is, and will always be, a huge part of my heart and soul that wanted to stay there and just send Simon back to collect Daisy and Mills and bring them home to the US. This time back I also had a strange feeling that I was in a foreign country, not like last summer when I felt that I was finally back home. Strange that, because I still feel like I'm in a foreign country here in the UK.

I remember before we left thinking how nice it would be to grocery shop in the US again, and commented to Simon how it would be "easy" because I'd know where everything was. Amazing how I was looking for Flora, Tango, and other British brands at Ingles and getting frustrated when I couldn't find them.

Anyway, we had a marvelous time, including trips to the Carolina Renaissance Festival (my home away from home and huge part of my family of choice), the World of Coke (I tried the Beverly, y'all. It was WRONG.), the Georgia Aquarium, and my 20th high school reunion.

I know, the hat in the picture there makes me not look a day over 10 years out of high school, doesn't it?

Simon attended his first American football game, and we had a great time the next night catching up with my high school buddies over dinner. It was funny to me how we all came into the restaurant in a mass, then seemed to separate into the same groups we were in back at CHS when it came time to sit down to eat.

I had the predictable and never ever pretty meltdowns over, I think, being a stranger in my home country. One was at Target/Mecca, when I bought on a whim a new duffel bag to replace one of the ones we brought over that wasn't going to hold all my winter clothes we were planning to take back. I got out to the car with it, and promptly marched back in to return it...only to find that the cashier hadn't charged me for the carry on that I bought at the same time, so I went BACK in again to pay for that. I should have taken the bag and run, I know, but I love Target and didn't want to feel like Undesireable Number One (thanks, JKR) when I shopped there in future.

Meltdown two came as we were loading the car, and three happened as we took off from Atlanta in the rain. After a bumpy and cramped ride back to Manchester, we came home to Keighley and resumed life today...if I'm "fun" at work on normal then I must have been a riot today on jet lag.

Clicking on the picture above will take you to the photo album from our trip. Thanks unending to Susan and Dave and Joy and Mom and Dad and Katy and Kurt and Leah and Anne and the CRF Cast and the Hounds of East Fairhaven and the Commerce High School Class of 1989 for a fab time. See you all in March...well, some of you anyway.

I wonder if I can sleep now?

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