Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011....Time to Review

A blogging buddy of mine has done are look back at the last years ans I thought it was a wonderful idea and so have pinched her idea (I did let her know I was going too)

2011 started out as being a year that was full of promise, but I don't think for one minute, I could have ever realised how much.

I was content in my relationship with my wonderful S. I was working at the Nursery with some wonderful people, S was working for USAFE in Germany, although we knew his contract would be coming to an end soon. Life was bright and shiny, and I was happy happy happy.

Then Feb/March we made the decision that if S could find a job in the US, we would all move together. It was a huge decision to make, but in the end it boiled down to just one thing - did S and I want to be together? Of course we did, so that made the decision easy - wherever the work took him, the children and I would follow. So in April (the 16th to be exact), S took off from Birmingham airport to spend a few days with his brother in NY before driving west to LA to start his new job. It was the worst time of my life - I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest, and I had no clue how I was going to through the months that we knew we would have to spend apart.

April was also the month I started my blog - thanks to the advice of my truly beautiful daughter A. My blog started out it's life as a kind of chronicle of feelings and emotions and procedures that we would go through in order to enable us to make the move to LA and be reunited with S. I think that my encounters with other bloggers helped to turn my blog into what it is today - pretty much a view of my life, my family and my gripes and moans about life around me. It is fair to say that I have met some wonderful people through the world of blogging, and I hope that perhaps one day, we will be able to meet in the real world as well as this virtual one (although not as virtual as Second Life I know oh wonderful daughter!) - that would be fantastic!

Months flew by, and before I knew it, my dreaded interview at the US Embassy in London arrived and went and the boys and I were on final countdown to our move. October was actually quite a traumatic month in the end, and when I look back at it now, I wonder how on earth I got through it without a truck load of drugs and alcohol.....My visa interview was on the 20th. This day was also my Mum's birthday! From that moment we knew that our Halloween move was going to be a real thing - that only gave me 11 days to finish organising my daughters 21st which was on the 28th, organise the movers to come and collect our belongings, and also pack our belongings. There were also final vaccinations to get sorted for the boys which in itself was a complete nightmare - but we did it, and on the 31st October, my Mum and Dad drove the boys and I to Manchester airport and deposited us at Terminal 2 for our flight to NY.

We finally arrived at LAX at around 10pm on Halloween night - shattered and dishevelled, but ready to start our new life. Since our arrival it has been a whirlwind of events. The boys started at their new school, a full physical at the doctors revealed that my body is incapable of converting vitamin D, and so I started to take a hugely enormous dose of Vit D (50,000 units per week) which I will have to take for  the rest of my life. I also found out that I have a thyroid disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - an auto immune disease which destroys the thyroid gland. It won't kill me, just my thyroid, but it does mean that I will have to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life. I am being positive about it though, as it is almost certainly the reason why in recent years I have struggled so badly with my weight, and have had to live on fresh air in order to lose even a pound. Once my medication is finalised, my meds will enable my metabolism to work properly and I may actually get back to a more reasonable weight which will be wonderful.

Then the really huge news - my wonderful S and I got married on the 25th November, and I am still wearing a huge grin. I sit here now typing this and he is sitting adjacent to me working away on his laptop. I can't help but glance over in his direction every few minutes, and I smile to myself because I am so fortunate to have found someone so wonderfully right for me. I have always believed that everyone has a soul mate somewhere out there, but every day I am gobsmacked that I have been fortunate enough to actually find mine.

2011 has been a wonderful year that started out brightly and is ending with a light so bright I can barely see past the glare. I have a wonderful husband, 3 beautiful and intelligent children, parents and sisters who I miss terribly, and a new family that I am just getting to know, but already feel so much a part of. S has a wonderful new job that means although he will have to travel more often, when he is not travelling he will be working from home rather than the office, so we will be able to spend much more time together and I will be able to work with him on his new venture. We have a lovely house in a truly beautiful part of the world, and life is just about as good as it can get.

2012 looks like it could be just as wonderful

I wish everyone a fantastic 2012
Remember, life is all about the choices we make, so choose wisely and live life to the best of your ability.

Love & Hugs to Everyone

Lou :-)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It's been a while since I blogged and to be honest I have felt stumped, as to what to blog about, but this morning something has happened that has led me to put fingers to keyboard and finally write....

I am an avid Facebooker - probably more so since my move west, because with no job and the kids being of an age when I don't stand in a playground chatting to other parents, my opportunity to meet new people seems somewhat limited...Anyway, that is another topic all together and one I am actively seeking to rectify on a daily basis....

Back to Facebook....
I do not have a monumentally long friends list - at this moment I have 110 friends on there. Of those 110 people there are relatively few who know me really well - I would say perhaps only my family and a few close friends. The rest of my FB friends are people who I have met either though work or through other friends....

I go on FB for a bit of fun and a giggle and a general chit chat about his and that - pretty much the same as most people. Occasionally there is a bit of an argument going on but it is usually quickly resolved and tends to be over trivialities because the majority of people on FB seem to take it as red that it is not the place to grandstand. If you feel the need to grandstand on there, set up a page on which to do it, so that all of your 'friends' can choose whether they want to see it or not...

One thing that I very rarely see being discussed on there is politics or religion - lets face it, these 2 things alone are responsible for more disagreement in the world than anything else, it is pretty much a known thing that if you start to discuss other on an open forum like FB, you are asking for trouble....

One of my FB 'friends', and only one, constantly posts videos and newspaper excerpts to do with politics and religion. This friend, is very passionate about his beliefs, and has no problem with sharing them with all of his 'friends' on FB. Some mornings I can log on and go to my home page, and there can be half a dozen or more clips that have been posted with sometimes very offensive remarks added to them. Today, along with a couple of other people I decided to say something about it. I would never in a million years try and tell someone what they should or shouldn't believe in, but equally I don't want someone shoving their opinions in my face on a daily basis.... I don't force my opinions onto other people - so I spoke out, and basically said that it was getting a bit much and whilst I respect other opinions, I don't wish to see it all the time and that some of the remarks being made were actually as prejudicial as what was being complained against...I didn't see that there was anything wrong in me speaking out - I wasn't rude, I wasn't angry, I just stated my point - after all I am entitled to make my opinion known just as my friend is surely! I said that for me politics and religion were personal things - that is what I honestly believe. There is far too much fighting in the world in the name of religion for me to ever want to join that fight.... The response that I and other people who made comments got was as unbelievably shocking as the initial offensive comments were - basically we were told it was our choice to be friends and if we didn't like the opinion being offered we knew what we could do. Whilst I have to agree that it is our choice who we have as friends - I think that my life would be an extremely lonely place if I chose to 'unfriend' everyone who had a different opinion on either politics or religion, or both. It is our views and opinions that make us what we are as people, and to shun anyone who thinks differently is in reality a very scary prospect and would lead to a world where quite frankly, I don't believe I would like to live. Diversity in life is an essential part of life and we teach our children to embrace diversity - not to block it out at every turn....

Because I questioned the need for all of this confrontational-ism on FB, myself and others were called ignorant and personally I was told that I appeared passive, and would be suited to peaceful sit-ins whereas this person was going to be on the front line marching for their beliefs. This person doesn't know me, this person is a friend to me because of another friend I have who also does not know me through anything other than a similar situation - and yet they are choosing to pass a judgement on me that anyone who does know me would laugh at and call ridiculous - and why, because I questioned the need to be quite so vocal about something that to me and to other people is a personal thing, and also questioned that in being quite so vehement in their opinions, they were making themselves look as prejudiced as the opinion that had upset them in the first place...

Was that wrong?

I will be taking up this persons offer of removing them from my 'friends' list. To be quite honest, I would much rather log onto FB and smile at something someone has written rather than be saying to myself "oh no what's causing a problem now"

Have a good day everyone - and remember, not everyone shares our opinions - so embrace diversity and try not to be too narrow minded when people don't share your views! After all it is good to be individual....

Lou :-)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

All in a few weeks...

Well the boys and I have been here for nearly 5 weeks now and when you think about it, a heck of a lot has happened in those 5 weeks....

I had my first full physical at the doctors, and whilst it was not the most pleasant of experiences, I am glad that I had it as it uncovered some stuff that I really needed to know about, such as:
  • I am really really deficient in Vitamin D, and because my levels are crazily low (22 points below the minimum range) it looks like I have been deficient for a very long time - the doctor put me on a monstrously high dose of the stuff for 10 weeks to boost my levels and then she will retest, and we will start a maintenance plan - I will have to take Vitamin D supplements for the rest of my life - Ho Hum!
  • I have something called Hashimoto's Thydroiditis, which is an auto-immune disease that kills the thyroid gland. Again my TSH levels were crazily off the scale, and I have now seen a specialist who has started me off on drugs to help to regulate my TSH levels and bring them back down to the lower limit of expected levels. Hashimoto's will not kill me, just my thyroid, but it does mean that once again I will have to take drugs to control things for the rest of my life - Ho Hum!
Other than these 2 things, thankfully nothing else was discovered and both of my doctors have said that I am really quite healthy - Woot!!

On the major plus side of things - my wonderful S and I finally got married. Apart from giving birth to my 3 beautiful babies this is the most wonderful thing in my life, and I couldn't happier. After years of gross unhappiness, I finally feel completely at peace with myself and in my life. I feel truly loved for being me and have a freedom that I had forgotten existed in relationships, having spent 15 years living in a relationship where permission to breathe was not always a given let alone anything else! and for those who suggested that the level of conversation between S and I was only due to the distance between us.....we still talk, all the time...being back together has done nothing to dampen our love of just sitting and talking an discussing anything and everything!

I have gotten used to sitting on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road, and can now been seen whizzing around the streets of Sierra Madre, Arcadia and Pasadena in my tank of a car. I haven't braved taking my driving test yet, but we're getting there. It isn't the driving part that bothers me, I think I've got that part now in both the manual and the automatic; no it's the written paper that worries me. S says he believes that you are only allowed to get 4 questions wrong in the whole test - that's scary! When I took my test in the UK back when I was 17 (oh so many years ago), there was no written paper, only a few oral questions thrown at you, the number of which usually depended on how well you did the driving part of the test. I got asked 3 questions when I took my test, and I got them all wrong - the tester said that he was passing me because I was extremely confident and safe as a driver - that won't happen this time round. Thankfully because I cannot be classed as a resident until I get my adjustment of status through, there is no immediate rush for me to take the test..However, once the adjustment comes through, California law says that I have only 10 days in which to get my licence sorted - Ho Hum!

I have also done stuff with the car that are completely new to me in their form over here. Because my car was registered in South Carolina, we had to register it here instead. That meant getting a smog test done (an emissions test), and they have specialist centres to just do smog testing - I never in a million years thought I would be sourcing smog tests and driving into unknown territory to get it done this soon into my move. Then I had to make an appointment at the local DMV office (don't go to the DMV without and appointment
  - it's crazy in there) to finish off the registration process. I also had to get the vehicle verified which although not scary in itself was traumatising because of the woman who did the verification - I think she was a woman anyway. a lady in front of me had  a really old car and she was really struggling to get the bonnet up for the verification woman. She was rudely told "no bonnet lift, no verification, and NO I won't help you". The lady in front of me was a teeny tiny oriental lady, I wanted to go and help but the scary verification woman was just too scary even for me! Anyway, I got all of that done and got the new plates for my car and it is now registered in California so we aren't paying 2 lots of insurance on it anymore which is good.

Our neighbours house disappeared under fallen tree branches
On Wednesday we were told that we would be hit by the expected 'Santa Ana' winds. The weather forecast said that we could experience winds on Wednesday of between 50 and 60 mph. The winds hit late on Wednesday - the power went out for us at around 9pm, when the winds started to really pick up. Wednesday night I did not sleep much at all. The floor shook, and the wind growled like a hungry animal. Throughout the night there was the noise of crashing, and breaking glass, and emergency vehicles going crazy....I kept pacing the house in the dark trying to see what what going on in the pitch black of the night, feeling grateful that there were no tree branches coming through the ceiling - yet! Thursday morning brought light to the devastation - Sierra Madre and Pasadena declared States of Emergency, and later that day the whole of LA County (of which we are a portion) declared a National State of Emergency... We were really really lucky, we lost the fence in the back yard, a Camilla tree and one branch off the tree in the front garden. The giant fir tree lost huge branches that came down on top of our neighbours house and the front of it vanished completely! The whole City lost power, many houses were completely trashed, many cars were completely trashed! we got our power back on Saturday night - some people won't get theirs back until the end of this week, we have heard! I took the gorgeous G to see the doctor here yesterday and had a consult by candlelight! It's a good thing there wasn't actually anything wrong with him, and we just needed to get his UK prescriptions reviewed for his asthma meds. The clean up crews for the city are doing a fantastic job - trucks are coming around every day to remove tree and plant debris - as long as we get it the curb, they will take it and will continue to take it until the 15th of the month. Edison our power supplier have been working 24/7 to ensure that power gets restored as quickly as possible. The whole city is pulling together to help each other out, there is a wonderful community spirit the likes of which I have never seen before!

Huntington Memorial Hosp
More stuff on the upside of things that have happened, is that my wonderful S has handed in his notice at the hospital and will leave at the end of the month and take up a new position that promises to be everything the hospital job should have been and wasn't, and has a heck of a lot more added onto it. This is really good, because the whole point of our move to the US was so S would be working at something that he loved in an industry where he would be able to make a difference - he would go to work in the morning with a smile on his face and still be wearing a smile when he came home at night. Sadly, the job at the hospital did not fulfil all that it promised, but this new job most certainly will, and that is a fantastic thing that can only have a positive effect on us all....Role on the 1st Jan - well the 3rd really but you know what I mean!

And that my friends is what has transpired in just under 5 weeks of time since we landed at LA on Halloween night!

Right now I'm off to sand my front porch so I can clean and then paint it - no rest for the wicked - right???

Lou :-)