Thursday, May 31, 2012

Almost time....

Well everyone it's almost time....
Time for myself, the boys and S to drive into LA for our interview with USCIS....

I have to say that I am a little perturbed as to why we have been called for interview - but we have, so there is no sense in worrying about it. I received notification of the interview at the beginning of May. It arrived the day after I received notification telling me that they had approved my authorisation for travel and work - and this was why I am perturbed. The email saying my work and travel authorisation was approved also said that my green card would naturally follow, so I figured that we were done and dusted. The email and subsequent letters telling me that the boys and I had to attend an interview was a shock - even more of a shock was that it also said that S had to come with us. The boys have separate interview times from myself, G is at 8.30am, I am at 9am and then H is at 9.30am - but they can't legally interview the boys without me being present because they are only 13 and 14, so why not just allot one time - Does anyone know?

As well as having to go for the interview, they have also requested another truck load of info that we have to take with us, to prove that we actually live together and are a family. This in itself is a pain because as you all know S was here 6 months before the boys and I, so the gas and the electric bills are all in his name; to change them now would just look dodgy, so we basically we can't use them. We do have a joint bank account , so we can take statements, and we are both insured on our cars so that's another plus. As usual one of us is always behind the camera, so there are no real photos of us together, although I can find a couple from our wedding, but that's about it. I am meant to produce my passport showing my entry documents to the US - this is now impossible, because having got married and taken S's name, I sent off my passport to get the name changed and the photo updated - I haven't had it back yet, but even if it does arrive back, it will be a new book and so won't have my visa or entry docs in it any longer as they are now out of date! Hopefully they will let me off on this - after all they did let me into the country, I am living here. Crazily, they have asked me to take all the documents I have received from them! Do they not know what they have sent me? They could argue that I am an impostor, but if that were the case, how did I know to turn up for the interview, toting all the various bits  and bobs they have requested, and why do I look suspiciously like the photo they have on file for me?

As you can see I am trying my very best to see the comical side to this whole thing. I am sure that they probably have spies lurking in the bushes watching us come and go, and making assessments on whether we fit their black and white description of a family...Is there a 'normal' behaviour for families? If there is I certainly hope that we tick all the boxes, because this interview will, I suspect, be the 'yay' or 'nay' point of finalising our application for residency!

Fingers crossed everyone, and until then interview on the 11th, I will be busying myself with cooking, cleaning, sewing, ironing, washing, weeding, watering, there there-ing etc and anything else that fits the matriarchal bill in between making copies of everything we have to take with us to the interview!

Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sunshine.....Honestly

At first glance my photo for this weeks The Gallery may not quite look like it fits in with the remit of 'Sunshine', but I 100% guarantee that this is indeed a photo of sunshine!

Last weekend, we were fortunate her on the Pacific West coast in California to have an eclipse of the sun, and this is it, as taken by myself using a pair of welding goggles are protection and to knock out the glare of the sun!

Enjoy & when done please don't forget to head over to The Gallery and see some more great photo's

Solar Eclipse - 21st May 2012

Have a fantastic day

Friday, May 25, 2012

Saturday is Caption Day...apparently!

OK so this is something new for me, but I thought as I don't seem to be able to find time to write posts as often any more, I decided it was time for something new and possibly exciting...OK so it isn't exciting...just come up with a caption will you?.....lol


Don't forget to go and have a look at all the other other caption day photos Mammasaurus

oh yes...Have a fabulous weekend!

Isn't it funny....

Isn't it funny how some weeks are just full of weird and wonderful things?
This week has been one of those weeks...
On Wednesday I got into quite an intense debate on Facebook of all places after a comment that was made about healthcare here in the US and healthcare in the UK which if course is free. The debate was innocently started by my new friend C, who although English has lived here in the US for the last 20 years! Anyway, as a fellow Brit she has friends and family back in the UK, and during our intense debate one of her English friends suddenly pipes up that she has noticed that apart from C, we also have another friend in common. Of course I asked who, and she quickly replied that it was B, someone I have known since I was a child because we used to swim at the the same club as kids...Talk about a weird co-incidence, turns out that this lady actually only lives about 6 miles from where I lived before moving here, and there is a good chance that we know more of the same folks outside of Facebook! I am still in shock that I move 6,000 miles from home, make a new friend here who just happens to be friends with a lady in the UK who is friends with a friend of mine in the UK! Talk about 6 degrees of separation - it's amazing!....

Then going on from that, for some reason the other day I felt the need to go onto the Friends Reunited website. Not sure if there is a Friends Reunited.com or if it is just a dot co.UK thing, but it is similar to Classmates.com here. I haven't been onto the site for yonks, and have no idea why I felt compelled to the other day - but go on I did. I found 2 people who I have looked for in the past on Facebook but not found - there they were on Friends Reunited, and I was able to get married names for them both - looked them up on Facebook, found them, and have now got them both on my friends list - one is a girl I was at school with and the other is a girl I used to swim with - How cool is that? And now I am going to totally embarrass myself by posting a photo my class during my first year at High School (I am on the back row and my old friend is next but one to me) and one of the team at the swimming club, again taken many many moons ago (I am on the far left of the pic, looking down at another child, and my old swimming buddy is standing just to my right), but I am feeling so on top of everything this week I am willing to feel embarrassed.
Can you find me? Back row third from the right...lol

Then today, I am blog reading and trying to catch up because the whole blog thing seems to be getting away from me at the minute, and I find out that the writer of a blog I love to read and feel so like, far from living in another state as I thought, may well live right on my doorstep, which is pretty cool I think. I t may not be so cool for our families if the 2 of us were to get together because we are both crazy, but she has boys and I have boys or similar ages so it could be pretty good - we will see what transpires.

Finally a funny tale to end with. This week has been my youngest 13th birthday, and as always he got presents from my sisters and his sister and us here and also my Mum and Dad. Because I like to think that the boys are polite and well mannered, I said to him this morning - if I dial the number to the UK are you going to speak to Nana and Grandad and thank them for your present. He of course said that he would, so I dialled the number and passed him the phone. He doesn't like the phone so usually chats to family in the UK via Skype which he doesn't mind so much, anyway the phone is ringing at my parents house and eventually gets answered. My Mum says hello and H answer her with "Yo" - you can tell from the way he went scarlet that my Mum had no clue who it was on the phone, she's 68 and is not used to people saying "Yo" to her. She obviously asked who it was and a scarlet little boy at this end goes all quiet and shy and says "Nana, it's Henry - Hhhhiiiiiii"....well I was beside myself laughing, the big brash boy who said "Yo" vanished in a puff of Nana smoke and was replaced with a timid little boy I haven't seen in a long time.....I think we need to phone Nana more often, because even though she is 6,000 miles away her power to subdue the boys still reaches all this way! Way to go Mum!

Have a great day




Saturday, May 19, 2012

Birthdays....

Yesterday was my birthday - WOOT!....
I turned 45.... f-o-r-t-y-f-i-v-e....how did I get to be so old?....
I don't feel 45, and I sure hope I don't look 45....
Still I guess age is something that comes to us all....
It does make me laugh when I see friends of mine on Facebook horrified at turning 25 or even 30....If they aren't happy now what on earth will they be like when they hit 45....!

On a nicer side of having a birthday, I did get some great presents. My boys got me a gorgeous Willow Tree keepsake box entitled 'family' as well as some Handmade 'Reese's type chocolates (only 1 a day though or the diet will be ruined). My gorgeous daughter sent me some trendy silver bangles which I love, and which I love all the more because she has the same bangles, so we match! My Mum and Dad send me a really fantastic 'Kipling' handbag which is perfect for all my handbag junk and goes with just about everything, so will be my use all the time bag now! My sister here in the US sent me some earrings and a necklace from 'The Paper Store'. We don't have that store in California, but I can see myself buying lots more stuff from their online store because the earrings and necklace my sis got me are beautiful and very me....Just need S to take me to dinner now and I can wear them (I did try wearing them with my scruffy jeans and t-shirt but it didn't quite work, so will save them for when I dress up a bit more). My baby sis in Scotland must be psychic because she sent me a gift card for QVC where only last week I was eyeing up some rings  and wondering if I could treat myself...I am now well and truly treated! My new and good friend took me to lunch and insisted on paying as it was my birthday which was lovely but weird, because we were meant to be celebrating the fact that after 13 years of searching, she has finally found her son, and is practically bursting with the excitement of it all! I think I would be as well to be honest! I plan to dedicate a post to my friends story, but obviously need her permission first, but just to give you the gist. she was given full custody of her son after her divorce. She let her ex see their son every weekend, and when she found out that she would be moving to the other side of the country for work, she allowed her ex to take her son for a holiday before the move - she never saw him again. She has never given up hope of finding him, and this week her determination and complete trust in her own belief that she would find him paid off and she received a phone call from her now aged 17yr old son. How magic is that?

Anyway, as I can see through the window that S has taken it upon himself to water my baskets at completely the wrong time of day, I am going to end my post and go and stop him before the poor things get burned in the California sun!

Some things never change, no matter how old you get....

Have a wonderful day



Monday, May 14, 2012

Raising Money & Awareness for Christie's Hospital....

Some of you may well remember that last year, myself, my boys and both my parents took part in the Annual 'Walk of Hope' for Christie's Hospital. If not here we all are at the end of a long and enjoyable day....

Sadly, my baby sis was not able to take part in the walk last year, but she wanted to do her bit to raise money for this wonderful hospital, as the work they do with Cancer patients and in Cancer Research is unrivalled throughout the world, and to be perfectly frank about the whole thing - without them, my Dad might not be with us today! As a family, we owe them by the bucketful!

My Dad, who is retired, now does a lot of work for them to help raise awareness of Bowel and Prostate Cancer, and to encourage people to get themselves tested. A bowel cancer test can be done in minutes at home, then sent off in the post, and you get the results a couple of weeks later. It so simple, and yet so many people have no clue about how to get it done!

Anyway, back to my sister. Some of you may or may not know but my sister taught dance for many years - and when I say dance, I mean she taught ballet, jazz, modern and tap. My sister is by all accounts a beautiful dancer, and to this day I cannot watch her dance without getting choked up because I am so proud of her and in awe of her dancing. However, teaching dance is the same as any teaching job - something you do for the love and not for the pay packet, cos the pay stinks! so my sister being uber fit has retrained and now works as a personal fitness trainer at the University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, UK. Here she is hard at work, and also what the University website has to say about her
My sis is the skinny milinky on the right!

Erin MolloyErin has 15 years experience in the world of dance and fitness instruction, delivering classes in aerobic exercise, pilates and stretch. Erin has gone on to gain her Level 3 qualification in Advanced instruction and Personal Training, as well as Mat work Pilates. Erin has a passion for exercise, good health and well being which is reflected in her work. Affiliations: Register of Exercise Professionals (Level 3)

So not to be outdone my her much older and less fit sister, parents and nephews, my sis, along with her also uber fit partner, and one of their closest friends, is going to be taking part in the 'Sprint Triathlon' in aid of Christie's Hospital on September 2nd at Tatton Park in Knutsford Cheshire, England, UK. The triathlon consists of a 750m open water swim in this stunning lake


Followed by a 19km cycle ride and a 5km run through the stunningly beautiful park grounds
Tatton Park

The object of this Triathlon is obviously to help raise money for the Christie Hospital. In the UK healthcare is paid for by the NHS, and as such research hospitals like the Christie rely heavily on public sponsorship and donations, because their patients receive ground-breaking treatments at no cost to themselves.

My sister needs your help to raise sponsorship for the event. She has set herself a target of £1,000 or $1600 US. Any help is gratefully received and appreciated. To help anyone who would like to sponsor her to do so, she has set up a just giving page HERE. It doesn't matter how big or small your donation is - only that you make it! I think that these days Cancer is something that touches everyone's life in one way or another, whether it is through family members or friends, and the work done at The Christie is helping Cancer sufferers not just in the UK but throughout the world, and that is something worth supporting!

Have a wonderful day






Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Boulders....

Last weekend was my Father-in-Law's 80th Birthday and to celebrate we all went for a long weekend of luxury at 'The Boulders' a Waldorf Astoria resort in Scottsdale, AZ.

I knew it was going to be pretty fantastic from the website (see link above), but I had no idea just how fantastic this place was. Rather than drone on about how beautiful everything was, I am just going to show you in photos. I apologise to my Facebook friends who will probably have already seen these, but for the rest of my faithful followers, enjoy!

The road was long and empty - and hot as hell

Kind of makes you wonder where you are exactly when you see prehistoric looking  mountains like this one

The Dining area and kitchen of our 3 bedroom villa

The living area - apologies for the casual walking through of the husband...lol

Henry posing for me in the 2nd living area with pull out bed that the boys shared

Anyone for a bath - I was worried about this window in our en suite until I was told that it was one way  glass!. We also had a huge walk in shower big enough for about 4 people...lol

Our bedroom for the 3 nights


One of the other 2 bedrooms in the villa

The main patio area

But it also extended down the side of the villa where there was a huge built in BBQ

This was the view from our patio

The golf course was quite stunning

These views have made me reconsider my hatred of golf, and have asked S to teach me to play

The reason the resort is called the Boulders!

The guys putting on the green below the boulders

S with his Dad, brother and brother in law

Giant Saguaro cactus that are literally everywhere. The birds were using nesting inside them

More stunning golfing views

It really was the most amazing place

Just stunning

Hanging out with family and sampling a little wine!

And a little more wine

We had a wonderful BBQ as well 

Here we all are - the shuttle driver turned up at just the right time for us to grab him to take a few shots for us

The boys played 'Hearts' very loudly, and their language was choice - these guys take their cards very seriously!

Another view of the boulders as we walked to breakfast

This is one of the reasons my son is constantly saying "I still can't quite believe we live HERE!"

Finally a photo of the Super moon from Saturday night - when the moon was at it's closest to the earth for the last 100 years. S and I spent so long trying to get good shots of this wonderful bright full moon
This really was the most wonderful trip. My boys were introduced to the rest of S's family who thankfully seem to think that the boys are as fantastic as the boys think they are! It was 3 nights and 3 days of intense family fun with everyone spending time with each other, and I don't think I heard one harsh word the whole time - except when the boys played cards, but even that was only in the spirit of the game rather than true anger at each other!

I haven't spent a lot of time with this new side of my family, but they are all wonderful people and I hope that it won't be too long before we can organise something and get together again. A huge thank you to my Mum-in-law for organising the whole thing - it's no mean feat to get a family together when they are spread from the east coast to the west coast and both north and south and somewhere in between!

I hope you have enjoyed the photos
Have a wonderful day

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A fabulous day....

Today is a good day!....
Today I got this....


This basically says that my application for Employment Authorisation has been approved, and that my card will be issued to me within the next 30days. It also says that if I have applied for Green Card and Travel Authorisation, their status will remain as is until the card is produced and will then change - at least that is my interpretation of the legal lingo!

This means that as of today, myself and the boys are legal residents of the United States....which is fab!....

It also means that now I am officially resident, I cannot avoid a trip to the DMV to take my driving test and get my California licence....

I am in shock and so excited all at once - it has taken 6 months and 1 day since our arrival to reach this point, which although it seems to have taken forever, is not actually very long - and some of you may remember it took 6 months and 1 day for our initial Visa to be approved as well......I think the USCIS like their 6 month waits.......thank you thank you thank you USCIS!....

Have a wonderful fantastic day everyone