Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bad Dog, Part II

My friend Jenni is a vegetarian. As such, she does not eat any foods that contain gelatin, because gelatin is made from horse hooves. (Did you know that? I'm not sure I knew that pre-Jenni.) Ruling out gelatin actually eliminates a lot more food than I would guess. For instance, Jenni doesn't eat Skittles or Starburts, both of which contain gelatin.

However, British Skittles and Starbursts do NOT contain gelatin! (Another fact that I would still be ignorant of, were it not for Jenni.) So when I walked to Tesco last week, I picked up a few packs of both kinds of candy to send to Jenni. I didn't have a good box to send them in, so they just hung out in my reusable shopping bag in the dining room for a few days.

Well, Zeus broke into the bag yesterday and went to town. I didn't realize this until I found the following empty bag of Starburts and numerous piles of doggie puke around the house today. Needless to say, Zeus is not his usually obnoxiously affectionate self today. He's a lump of lethargy today. And I'm carrying around a bottle of Resolve For Pet Stains all day. Fun.

Here's the evidence of wrong-doing.

And here's a picture of Caleb snuggled up with a lethargic Zeus on the futon (pre-doggy puke.)

P.S. Jenni, the candy (minus one bag of Starburts) will be going in the mail tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Caleb Clapping

Caleb Clapping
Originally uploaded by kellyangelo
I just want to say that I can't wait to go to bed tonight. I spent all day cleaning the house and most of the afternoon washing my sheets and duvet cover. I took a nice, hot bath and am wearing clean pajamas.

You know how much this means to me. Mmm! Clean Kelly in clean pajamas on clean sheets in a clean house. Perfection!

Unfortunately, I ran out of time to give the dogs a bath, so they will be sleeping in their crate tonight. Sorry, Zeus and Zoey!

In other news, Caleb is clapping! It's really the coolest thing, because he claps at such funny things. He started clapping at the end of the season finale of American Idol. (That's my boy!) Now he claps when he wakes up, claps while he eats, claps in the bath tub, claps at the dogs, claps anytime and anywhere. He's quite pleased with himself, as you can see in this video.

The weather keeps teasing us with nice days followed by many more days of traditional English spring weather--that is to say, wet and chilly! I'm just itching for summer and getting homesick for back yard barbeques!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Americans are Coming! The Americans are Coming!

Well, not for another four months, but my mom emailed me this morning to tell me that she and my dad have booked their tickets to come for two weeks around Caleb's birthday! Hooray!!

I'm so excited. And in fact, I kept saying that exact thing all morning. "I'm so excited my parents are coming!" We went grocery shopping and I started thinking of things we'll buy when they Starbucks coffee!

It'll be so fun to have my mom back. And I can't wait for my dad to get to meet Caleb!

Yay for having something to look forward to! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Every Little Helps

I've been wanting to find a way to walk to our town's Tesco for a while now, but couldn't figure out how to get there without walking along two very busy roads. But the other day on the drive back from Tesco, I had an epiphany. So today I thought I'd try it out and see if my inspiration would lead me to Tesco.

Well, I wasn't spot on. In fact, I got quite a bit lost in the neighborhood just to the east of Tesco and added about 20 extra minutes to my walk. But after nearly an hour, I finally found my way! I spent almost the same amount of time wandering the isles of Tesco in search of tahini. I think can say, with a fair amount of confidence, that the Thetford Tesco does not sell tahini. I guess I'll have to go to Sainsbury's! I did, however, pick up a baby bathing suit (with waterproof washable nappy!) for Caleb so we can start taking advantage of the learner's pool at the leisure centre soon. Woo!

The walk back from Tesco only took about 30-35 minutes, which isn't bad at all! Bonus: it's a gorgeous walk! Here's a few shots I snapped along the way. Can you beleive I live here?! I know! Me either!

By the way, I love Google Earth! Once I got home, I was able to retrace my steps, see where I got lost and confirm the way home was the most direct route by foot. Yay, Google Earth!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This'll be a quick one. I need to get back to studying.

I joined our local Leisure Centre today! Our LC consists of a fitness center and three pools, among other things (including lawn bowling!) I'm super excited. There are a slew of classes I can take from spinning to aqua-aerobics. There are public swim times specifically designated for parents and toddlers. (YAY!) The fitness equipment is really new and nice, and there are lots of TVs to choose from. ALSO!! I can sign up for FREE personal training. Take that, America! Take your stinkin' expensive personal training sessions and stick it up your elliptical! ;)

Best of all, it's almost literally spitting distance from our house. It's probably about a quarter of a mile, so it's super convenient.

Anyway, tonight I had my formal Induction, during which they took my blood and I swore an oath to follow their cult. Okay, seriously it was just an introduction to the equipment. Pretty standard stuff. Then I did a half hour on the elliptical. Oof. I am Out. Of. Shape. It's been more than a year and a half since I've worked out, and boy, could I tell.

Well, here's to new beginnings!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Food-Induced Coma

Is it possible to slip into a food-iduced coma? 'Cause that's what I think I'm about to do.

Tommy's birthday dinner is over, and it went better than I expected. About two steps into the recipe for Penne Rustica, I was kinda freakin' out. It was the most difficult and time-consuming recipe I've attempted.

I like to cook, but I'm not one of those naturals who understands the processes of cooking and can easily make adjustments as needed. I pretty much have to follow a recipe to the T the first time (unless I'm following recommended adjustments in the reviews). After the first time, I can make my own modifications where I see fit.

Anyway, I was worried it would royally suck, but it was actually quite good. But it made SO much freakin' food! And it was SO rich that I think I'm having a minor cardiac event as I type this. (When I say rich, I mean RICH. It called for 8 [yes, EIGHT] cups of heavy cream! I won't even tell you how much butter it calls for!) It also makes enough for 15 servings. Anyone up for leftovers?

It was a nice dinner and a nice cap to our day. But I'm pretty sure I'll never eat again.

Oh, wait. There's still cake... *groan*

Stinkin' England!

Ah, England, you sneaky country, you! More than a week of sunshine and beautiful weather had convinced me to buy shorts and look forward to picnics and long walks with my little man. Of course, buying shorts was the kiss of death. The next day, the weather had cooled off, although it was still pretty outside. And two days later, the British spring returned, in her wet and cold fury.

Oh, well. I'm not giving up hope yet!

We stopped by the base Bazaar today, which (fortunately) is held inside three giant hangars. Picked up some cheese, chocolates and olives. Didn't buy anything un-edible, though. Here's a picture of Caleb in a baloon hat we bought for him at the bazaar. He couldn't wear it in his stroller, so we had to wait till we got home.

Today is my husband's 30th birthday! Happy Birthday, Mr. K! I made him buscuits and gravy with a side of bacon for breakfast. We also enjoyed mimosas, which may be a very girly drink, but is just so yummy with breakfast. I made it with a Peach Bellini I picked up at Marks & Spencer earlier this week.

Today we ran to Tesco to pick up Marsala wine (which is surprisingly hard to find! Neither base had any, and none of the wine vendors at the Bazaar did, either. As it was, Tesco only had one type!) So tonight I'll attempt to make Penne Rustica, Macaroni-Grill style. Wish me luck, 'cause this recipe looks hard! And we'll finish that off with a butter pecan cake. Yum! I feel like it's my birthday! Except I have to all the work. Haha. :)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hangin' Tough

So, it's true. I attended a New Kids on the Block party today at Theresa's house. Six of us mid-twenties and early-thirties women sat around her living room in eager anticipation of hearing "Hanging Tough." Of course, true to the Today Show's style, it was left for the very end. But it was worth the wait!

My favorite part was Theresa's AWESOME NKOTB cake. Seriously! We ate cake with the faces of Jon, Joey, Jordan, Danny and Donnie on it. Theresa's daughter though we were nuts.

Okay, so she's right. But it was so much fun!!

On a different subject, we just finished watching the American Idol perfomances from this week, and darnit, I love that David Cook! I just want to bottle him up and put him on my shelf! I hope he sticks around another week.

(I realize some of you Americans already know the results. We don't get them till tonight, and may not actually watch it till tomorrow. Leave me in suspense!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


It occurred to me this morning that I was never asked to a high school dance. At least, I was never asked by a boy who was genuinely interested in me. I went to many dances with my friends and even asked a friend of mine to my senior prom. He had a girlfriend at the time, and I just needed someone to bring to prom. I felt like I would be missing out if I have never attended a prom. In retrospect, I could have lived without it.

In fact, I never really dated much at all in high school. I had two boyfriends when we were stationed in Italy, and none when I moved to Nebraska. My junior and senior years were boyless, and I was a fanatically boy-crazy. You know the saying, "Those who can't do, teach"? Well, those who don't date, fantasize, journal and write bad, bad poetry.

(On a side note, I truly beleive poetry is an art form created for angsty teenagers. As such, I also beleive that poetry should be left to high schoolers.)

So when homecoming was on the horizon my senior year of high school, I was desperately hoping for someone to ask me to attend with them. I knew of no boys that were even possibly interested in me, but certainly it could happen! It did in the movies! Perhaps some shiney-haired boy was watching me, the blue-haired, flannel-wearing goddess of love that I was, just waiting for the right opportunity to tell me how much he had adored me from afar!

Instead, I went to prom with John.

John was a friend of an aquaintance of mine. We had hung out a little, but weren't really friends. He went to Papillion-La Vista High school in the city next to ours. When he called me to talk about homecoming, for some reason, I mistook him for my friend Dave. Dave was a friend of mine that went to the same school as me. Earlier the same day, we had been discussing our homecoming options. (His: a few girls. Mine: no options.) So when John called that night, for some reason my brain turned him into Dave.

John asked me to homecoming. I verified that we'd be attending as friends, since I wasn't really intersted in Dave, but enjoyed hanging out with him. He said, "Of course!" By the end of the phone call, I realized I had mistaken John for Dave and started to silently freak out. I didn't want to go with John! When I saw John's friend Nate as school the next day, he told me how excited John was to go with me. I was stuck.

John wasn't excited to go to homecoming with me. He was excited to go to another school's homecoming, and I was a vehicle to get him there. This became clear when we got to the dance.

We danced a little, but I was still in my nerdy nervous nelly days where I was scared to dance in front of people. So when I sat out on a couple of dances, John went and danced with whoever else he could find. I spent most of the night sitting at a table with people I didn't know wondering if he was going to come back and ask me to dance again.

The night got worse from there. We left the school and went to Village Inn (which is, essentially, a cleaner version of Denny's, or another version of Perkins.) I knew none of his and Nate's friends and was clearly a notch lower on the high school social ladder than the rest of them. When John indicated he was going to imitate a then-popular commercial for York Peppermint Patties by jumping up on the table to pretend he was skiing, I made a made dash for the ladies room. I spent a few minutes in there desperately wishing myself home.

When I finally emerged from the ladies room, I made it clear to John that this night was over. He drove me home, told me what a great time he had (with everyone but me, apparently), and attempted to kiss me on my doorstep. He got a mouthful of ear.

It had finally happened. An unexpected solicitation to attend a dance with a boy, and instead of passion and romance and a night worth writing poetry about, I got an awkward encounter I'm blogging about more than ten years later.

Sometimes I wonder if I missed out on a high school romance. It certainly wasn't for a lack of desire, but perhaps for a lack of effort. I could care less, at that point in my life, about making myself presentable. Hair gel? No. Make up? Nope. Clothes that fit? Hardly. I suspect, though, that most high school romances are nothing like High School Musical and are probably more like my mediocre encounters earlier in high school. (Although, if you read my journal from those times, it would seem like anything but mediocre.)

But as I only had a few experiences that even possibly qualify as "romantic," I guess I'll never know!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy (Belated) Mother's Day

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day yesterday. I know I did. We went down to Bury St Edmunds after church and had lunch at Pizza Express and then wandered around the Abbey gardens with some friends of ours. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful way to spend my first Mother's Day. I know I've blogged it before, but I feel so lucky to be Caleb's mom. He's so funny and smart and cute and wonderful. He has his fussy moments, but for the most part, he's been such an easy baby (so far!) He's a happy little guy that loves peek-a-boo, belly kisses and bath time.

I also feel really lucky to have a great mom and mother-in-law.

My mom is pretty much the kindest person I know. She sacrificed so much when she left her job and came overseas to spend three and a half months with me when Caleb was born. I honestly don't know what I would have done without her. Beyond that, though, she's always been my biggest fan and best audience. She laughs at all my jokes and loves the stupid songs I sing. She reads this blog like it's on a best sellers list. We certainly had our rough patches as I grew up (as I'm sure most mothers and daughtes do), but she's become such a good friend to me as I've become and adult. She listens to every mundane detail of my life. I love you, mom!

My mother-in-law welcomed me with open arms the moment I met her. She has raised five really cool kids (of which I have my obvious favorite!) and has a house full of pictures to show her pride in each one. All three of her sons have served in the military, and she's waited patiently for phone calls from all over the world. I've never felt like a stranger or guest in her house. From the moment I met her, I felt like part of the family arleady. In fact, there was a time I wasn't sure if Tommy and I would survive a long distance relationship, and then we went to his family's home in SC for the first time. Getting to see my then-boyfriend in the context of his family really sealed the deal for me. I knew walking away from that weekend that I was going to marry him. More than anything, I love Linda for raising the smart, kind and considerate man I now call my husband.

So it's a day late and a dollar short, but Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Oh, those summer nights!

Summer days like today make me glad for my chance to exprience another country. But summer evenings make me miss the states.

It's nights like tonight I can almost smell the barbeque chicken on my father-in-law's grill. I can just about feel the sticky summer heat sitting heavy on my skin as I sit on the edge of the deck, waiting patiently for the chicken to get done. Tonight's the kind of night my in-laws would be playing horseshoes, playing cards, having a few drinks and just enjoying each others company. It's the kind of night they'd be up till about 4 in the morning having a good time. (Being the party-pooper I am, I would have gone to bed about 1.)

I miss my own family just about every day. I miss sitting on my parents bed and chatting about our days. I miss shopping with my mom and telling dad about what books I'm reading or something cool we dicussed in class. I miss laughing with my brother about anything and nothing.

But there are certain days when I really miss my in-laws! When the weather is nice, and I can hear my neighbor kids here jumping on their trampoline, I wish I could teleport to a backyard in Sumter, SC and spend the night in a state of total relaxation.

It's nights like tonight that having a gravel back yard and no front yard are truly disappointing. I'd love to just hang out in the back yard with my margarita and a book. Maybe in our next house!

It's been a beautiful week. The weather is really starting to warm up. I'm going to have to bring out the fans from our garage. Last night Caleb slept in just his onesie. (Here's another inconvenient fact of UK living: no air conditioning! To which Jenni's response last year was, "Do you live in a third world country?!) I'm exciting to spend another summer in the UK, and the good weather certainly does a number for my mood. But boy does it make me miss my family and friends back home.

All this is a long way of saying: COME VISIT ME!!! :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Another Day in Paradise

Yep, you guessed it. Another blog in which Kelly toots her British horn.

It's another beautiful day in England! The temperature is in the low 70s, and there's not a cloud to be seen.

Caleb and I took another walk down to the town center and explored a few new places. We found Castle Hill. It's an ancient groundwork. Essentially, it's a huge, 80 foot man-made hill surrounded by large man-made banks and ditches that was built by two groups between 500 BC and 1070 AD. There used to be a timber castle on top of the mound, but it's no longer there. You can climb to the top of the hill, but I opted not to with a napping Caleb in tow. It's surrounded by a flat meadow, which would be another ideal place for picnics!

We then walked down past the old Gaol House (Jail). It's now two private houses, but it served as the town's prison for many years. You can still see a plaque with a carving of manacles hanging on above the doors.

Then we strolled down Nun's Bridge (which, by the way, is not a pedestrian-friendly portion of the trail. The bridge is barely big enough for cars to pass through, let alone a pedestrian to walk along side the cars!) There is a sign after you cross Nun's Bridge that says that particular road is one of the oldest in Britian. I didn't know this until today, but Thetford used to be the 6th largest city in England!

After crossing the bridge, there is a pedestrial path that strolls along the river. This is such a beautiful and peaceful walk. I've walked portions of the path before, but never this section. It was a perfect day for a sunny stroll. Caleb continued to nap through our walk, but I still snapped a few pictures of him along the way. The path eventually leads you back to the town center.

On the way out of the town center, we stopped in the Ancient House Museum. This is something I've always wanted to do and never have. It's an old home that now houses a museum of all things Thetford- and Norfolk-related. It's not very big, but I enjoyed it all the same. I watched four short videos about the house itself, the town of Thetford, Thomas Paine (who was born in Thetford) and the Maharaja Duleep Singh. We saw various tools, coins, and household items from Thetford's past. By this point, Caleb was getting hungry, so we kind of rushed through the musem. It's a small museum, though, so I don't think we missed much.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this town? We really lucked out. We kind of rushed into picking a house and didn't really know much about the town or the area. We really could have ended up anywhere, and I feel so fortunate that we landed in Thetford. It's such a cute town with so much to see and explore. I really wish I had done more exploring last year with the dogs. It's just too difficult to manage two excitable dogs and an infant. But last year I really stuck to the area around my neighborhood and didn't venture outside of that and the town center much.

Two and half more years left to explore the rest of Thetford and the rest of England. I can't wait to share all of this with someone. Come and visit me!! SOON!! :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hopeful For Summer

Today is the first day in over two weeks that I haven't had to drive out to base for one thing or another. It was my first "day off" in so long, and it's been as wonderful as a day off can be. The sun is out in full force, there's not a cloud in the sky, and there's a sweet, soft breeze blowing the fragrance of so many spring blossoms down the road.

Caleb and I took a nice, long walk today. I think I've already mentioned his unusal fussiness lately. He was having a fussy bout early this afternoon, so I decided it was time to get out of the house. I strapped him in his stroller and headed for my usual route down to the town center.

When we got to the center, I decided to venture down a new route that took me to the Thetford Priory ruins. We had a nice time exploring the ruins. I didn't realize how large and sprawling they are! They are right outside the town center, and this was the first tiem I had ever visted them. I'd love to go again sometime and pack a picnic.

After the ruins, we walked back into the town center and picked up some super cute sandals for Caleb at Woolworth's. They are blue and have a little whale on them. Cutie cute! It was so warm today. It makes me hopeful that summer is really on its way.

I wanted to walk along the river, but by this time it was getting close to Caleb's next meal. But I love the path along the river. Mom and I used to walk the dogs down there when she was here last fall, BC (before Caleb.) It's so serene and peaceful. The Priory ruins were so still and peaceful, too. It was strange to reach out and touch the flint stones from hundred of years ago and hear the traffic from the main road not far away.

Tonight I'm planning on making one of my favorite meals: Spam Casserole! (Sorry, Robin! We'll have you guys over the next time! :) I wish we had a nice yard to sit in so we could enjoy dinner outside. Maybe in the next house. The dogs have been enjoying the sun and working on their tans. Of course, this means they come in stinking like dog. Yech. I guess it's the season of more regular dog baths. But this time my husband's home for the summer, so we can share the doggie duties!

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Caleb is seven months old today, and I can hardly beleive it. I can't begin to fathom that we're getting closer and closer to throwing a one year old birthday party. I can't imagine him no longer being a baby and slowly becoming a toddler. I can't bear to think that some day soon he'll be strong enough, independent enough to push away from me as I pick him up for a hug.

Is it okay that I mourn the loss of his babyhood even as I celebrate his accopmlishments and milestones? Because I don't know how to do one without the other.

Tommy will occasionally say that he can't wait till Caleb is old enough to walk and talk. That's what he's been waiting for. A little friend to rough-house with, to teach to throw a ball, to stay up late watching movies when Mommy's in class.

But while I eagerly look forward to the boy he'll become, I am desperately trying to hold onto to these last few months of his first year. Can't I have both?

There's a part of me that's sad, and a part of me that's scared. Seven months in to this gig, and parenthood still terrifies me. It's scary to think that some day I'll be the mother of an eight year old...or even crazier, a fifteen year old. (Oh, lord, help me!) The early romance and thrill of having a baby seems to dull your mind to the knowledge that evenutally that baby will become an actual person who will have hopes, fears, dreams, and opinions. Yikes!!

Just tonight, Caleb began lifting up on all fours, indicating that he's not too far off from crawling. Even as I clap and praise him, I realize this job's about to get a lot harder!

So today, my dear sweet baby, I am both sad and thrilled. I am thrilled at how much you've grown and accomplished in your short few months on this planet. I'm so proud to watch you as you discover this world of our. I'm so excited to be a part of your journey. But I'm sad at how quickly time is flying by. As you fall asleep in my arms after your last bottle of the day, I love to hold your sweet little body in those perfect moments of stillness and quietness. I try to breathe you in so I can conjur up these images, these sights, sounds and smells when they are no longer available. If I could bottle up your musical baby laughter, I'd store it safely for use on days when my heart is broken. I want to freeze you as you are and yet I can't wait to see you grow. Every milestone is bittersweet. You bring me so much joy, my sweet little man. Thanks for letting me be your mom.