Friday, November 30, 2012

Photo problems

OK so earlier today I read that Maggie at Finding myself couldn't upload photos because she had run out of space.

Now it would seem the same thing has happened to me - I am at a loss. Can we delete stuff to make more room, I don't want to have to pay for online storage, I wasn't aware I was storing anything online as such.

I am not happy :-(

Homeowners at last.....

Anyone who follows me on Facebook will already know this and I apologise for the repeated info, but as of Yesterday my wonderful S and I actually own our first home together. No more renting for us - Yay!!! I am SO excited. They boys and I can't wait to join S in Arkansas and get moved into our new home. I think the next 2 weeks are going to go so slowly because we are so desperate to get moved in.

I am kind of out of jobs to do again as well. When S rang yesterday to say we had closed, I opened up my 'To Do' list and seem to have reached the end of it already.

  • Phone new schools for the boys and confirm their start date.
  • Phone school bus service to confirm boys start date and routes.
  • Source and sign up for Internet & TV service.
  • Call Vonage and check out number transfers etc for the phone.
  • Call new Electricity & Water companies and set transfer date for services.
  • Call current Electricity, Gas and Cable services to arrange cancellation dates.
  • Send out change of address details to the folks that need it.
  • Confirm packing and loading dates with the moving company.
Admittedly some of these things had me flummoxed for while there, like discovering that because we are so far out of town, there is no cable and no DSL service, so our only choice for internet is satellite which is something neither of us wanted. Satellite for TV is fine and is what we are used to from our previous 'SKY' service in the UK, but satellite for the internet is a big unknown and we suspect that if the weather gets bad, we may well lose service - but it is the only choice, so we are duly signed up with DISH and will have the 'Hopper' and internet installed next weekend.

The water company was a hoot - Again we live too far out of town to be supplied by the main company. After several phone calls, I get given a number which I call and the guy answers "Yep this is David". My first response was that I must have the wrong number, I am trying to sort out taking over water service, to which he replies "You got the right number - you out offa the 12?" I said "Yes off the 12 on the 303 and about 3 miles down" David says "Yep that's us, we're only a small company, there's just a couple of us and we work outta our trucks and houses - I don't do no billin thou, I 'll get Rusty t'a give y'all a call back and sort y'all out". This is pretty much confirmation of the Redneck people keep telling me about, but hey - at least we know we are getting a personal service, and that's a good thing.

Vonage - well what can I say. They are brilliant! If you live in the US and you don't get your phone from Vonage, you seriously need your head looking at. They are cheap and give amazingly good physical service as well as customer service. We pay for their International calling package which costs us around $35 a month all in, and I can call 72 countries throughout the world for no extra charge. I have their extension app on my cell phone which means that I can use it to call my friends or family in the UK from my cell phone for free too, and when I asked them about changing the number, they were able to change it there and then for me, install call forwarding from our old number, verify the new address for 911 calls, and we are all good to go. The phone number is assigned to the Vonage box which I plug into the phone line and router, so even though I am still in California, I now have an Arkansas number, and anyone who calls my old California number, will also still get put through to me as well - they charged me $10 to do all of this for me, and it took about 5 minutes. Now all my change of address cards are going out with  anew number on them as well as the address. I think that's pretty cool.

School stuff for the boys took a few minutes to sort since I had made calls previously.
The lovely Carole at the moving company has confirmed that they are good to go on the 12th-14th as agreed, so now I am twiddling my thumbs again wondering what else I can do, since the moving company want me to do nothing!

Oh well, maybe I should just sit and look at photos of my lovely new home. S emailed me this one the other day. He had to go and do a final walk through before the signing and took this because he realised we had not photos of the back of the house full on, and you can see it really well now that the tree has finally lost most of it's leaves. I know it's a big house (3,620 sqft) but it looks humongously huge on this photo.

Hurry up time, and pass, we want to get in there and get settled before Christmas.

Have a great day

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This morning I am waiting in for FedEx to arrive. I have no choice but to wait in because I cannot miss the FedEx man. He is bringing the documents for me to sign for the purchase of our new house and I have to to sign them, get them notarised and then overnight them back to the bank via FedEx, so they have them ready and waiting for when S goes to sign and complete on Thursday!

I guess it will be almost like I own our house before S does. I say almost because it is his signature that is the important one. I just have to sign because I am his wife and the state requires it. Still this means that in only 2 more sleeps, we will own our first proper home together.

Obviously it is not our first home together, but it is the first home we have bought together, having spent what seems like an eternity living in rented houses. I am looking forward to being able to paint walls and landscape the garden without permission from a landlord, and to finally adding some value to our own home instead of someone else's house - cos lets face it, when you rent, it may well be your home, but it is always someone else's house and that can be pretty tough. Now we have bricks and mortar for the children to fight over after we are gone as well as all the personal stuff!

The really good bonus thing about our purchase is that although we are paying asking price, our house was valued at significantly over the asking price, and the seller is paying 95% of the closing, so we already have a huge chunk of equity in our home which in this economic climate is a wonderful thing!

If I am being honest though, I really don't care about equity or any of that, I am just thrilled to be setting down some proper roots for our family. Even though my beautiful A is living in the UK, hopefully this house will be the place that she knows she can always come home to, no matter what. The boys will both come to know this as home really quickly, and they will finally have their own bedrooms which I am hoping will reduce the 'bicker' factor significantly. We will be able to invite people to come and stay, knowing that we have the room to accommodate them without us all being on top of one another.

The other marvelous thing about moving, is that we finally get to have another dog. The boys have waited patiently for us to be in a position to get another dog, and we are hoping to give a home to this lovely lady. She is a 5 month old German Short-Haired Pointer, who we plan to call Jude (she is currently known as Lola). She is a rescue from a family who found out they were having a baby after they had her and could not provide a home to a dog as well as a baby - which is wonderful news for us! She is unusual colouring, which is known as Gelber Brand and is extremely rare and dates back to the origins of the breed in the 1800's. S and I have both owned GSP's previously, although not together, and we are hoping to train her as a working hunting dog as well as her being a loyal and lovable family pet. The training is all new to S, but it is something I have done before and so am looking forward to teaching to S and the boys as well as the dog herself! But whether she hunts or not, we just think she is gorgeous.

Now I just need this FedEx man to arrive....

Have a great day

Thursday, November 22, 2012


OK, so on Thanksgiving you are meant to give thanks or be thankful for things so here are things I am thankful for - in no particular order of importance because they are all equally important:

  • My 3 wonderful children, who make every day of my life worthwhile
  • My fantastic family, who no matter what - stick together, love each other unquestionably and are support to each other even though we are now spread across the globe.
  • My fantastic new family - who have welcomed us with open arms and who love us as much as we love them.
  • My wonderful S, who has shown me what true relationship happiness is all about.
  • My fantastic friends, old and new. My list of true friends is short, but they are people I can count on no matter what and that is more important than having a hundred of them.
  • I am thankful that my Dad is well and his cancer is staying in its rightful place - the background shadows
  • I am thankful that my brother-in-law, and honorary big brother is also well and still very much with us, proving that the Docs don't always get longevity issues right!
  • I am thankful for my new life in the US. I had no real expectations of what life would be like here, but life is good and I am looking forward to owning our new home and setting down some real roots for the children.
Well our turkey is in the oven, and all the other prep is done. This is our first Bradt family Thanksgiving, and hopefully not our last. It is a wonderful experience, and I hope spending it with family, wherever they are is something that we continue to do.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
Have a wonderful day

Lou :-)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Smooth Sailing....pffffttttt!

OK so my wonderful S finally landed at LAX on Saturday lunchtime after exactly 3 weeks away...
I didn't get lost en route from home to the airport, taking the 210 then the 110 and finally the 105 into the airport.
However, like the muppet I am, I totally forgot that here in the US you pay for your parking as you leave the car park and not before you return to you car like you do in the UK, and I put the car park ticket into my phone case along with my phone! This would have been fine had S not called me as I was walking down the pavement towards Terminal 7, and had I not several 100 feet later realised that I had lost the car park ticket, obviously when I took the phone out of it's slip-in case to answer it!
It could have been worse I guess - it only cost us $30 to get off the car park instead of the $3 it should have been with the ticket...ho hum...At least I am pretty sure I will remember not to take car park tickets out of the car in the future!

So, S is finally back at home and it is so good to have him back with us. I hate the mis-alignment that slowly creeps in when we are apart, and I love the fact that it vanishes again in an instant when we are back together! However, on this occasion the return of my husband means that he has also brought with him more of the stresses of buying our house, and also some of his personal stresses that go hand in hand with starting a new job and learning the lie of the land and settling in. One of the good sides of our relationship is that I do not get stressed the way that S does... I am the peace to his chaos and so I am working hard on remaining as calm as I possibly can do. It is fair to say that we are both just wanting the 29th to arrive so that it can all be over and done with and we can be the super proud owners of our first proper and un-rented home together. There are however spanners being thrown into our 'works' and nothing seems to be plain sailing. There are no major issues, but hearing today the the underwriters will not sign off on our mortgage if an issue with the banister on the deck steps is not resolved was a little worrying. However a call to the realtor reassured us that this issue is one of the ones agreed to be covered on the addendum to our contract with the owner, and is already in hand and will have been completed by the time S goes to do his final walk through before completion - Phew! That's one had us both going for a little while there, especially since S is now at home here until the 26th for Thanksgiving and our Anniversary, and so would only have had a few days to resolve the problem if the realtor did not already have everything sorted!

I am hoping that this is the final little niggle and that from this point forward it will be smooth sailing, and in 27 days we will all arrive at our new home, just in time for Christmas, and ready to make ourselves a proper long term home!

Until then, we will try and distract ourselves with a Thanksgiving spent with family in San Francisco, and a mouth watering lunch stop at Espanias in Los Banos on the drive up..... I know it sounds crazy, but I am looking forward to lunch at Espanias, as much as I am looking forward to a family Thanksgiving. Their food is to die for!

I hope, if you celebrate Thanksgiving,that you have a wonderful one, and if not - do something special on the 22nd anyway - any excuse for a celebration, that's what I say!

Have a wonderful day

Lou :-)

PS: Please don't forget to check out my website

Lou Bradt Photography

I am now taking bookings for January onwards and would love to hear from you

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Home today....

My wonderful S is arriving home today....

In fact as I write this he is somewhere overhead on the first of the 2 flights to get to LAX. He has to fly via Houston, so it will be a long day for him.
I woke to a text, saying he was waiting in the lounge at NW Ark, and would call when he touched down in Houston.
The boys and I will drive to LAX to meet his 2nd flight which lands at noon, all being well!
I can't believe it is only 3 weeks to the day since he set off for Arkansas - some days it feels more like 3 years, and it is true that the stress of the house buying and separation have not been kind to us. We are both feeling a disconnect that neither of us like, so it will be good to have a whole 10 days together for Thanksgiving before he heads back to work and finalizes everything on the house.

The last time I drove by myself to LAX, you may remember I got horrendously lost. This time, I am feeling much more confident, and I will have the boys with me to set me straight if it looks like I might be going wrong somewhere. I am less worried about navigating the airport itself, than I am the 3 freeways I need to take to get to it, which is slightly strange seeing as the airport is a maze of off roads and car parks and too many lanes going to too few places. Still Terminal 6, here we come.

So - Thanksgiving is only next week - Thursday for anyone who doesn't know!
We are going to be spending it with family. We are driving up to San Fran to spend a few days with S's Dad and Step-Mom, his brother and his family, and his sister and her husband. S decided that he really wasn't up for the chaos of fighting for the bathroom and sleeping on a blow up on the floor, so has booked us into a hotel for our time up there. To me, coming from a family where big get togethers are par for the course and sleeping on a blowup mattress a compulsorily part of family life, I think that he has lost the plot somewhat here. However, he assures me that the hotel is only a mile from the house, and that we will spend all of our time with the family, only returning to the hotel to sleep......We will see! I love the atmosphere of having everyone together, and with our move taking place in less than a month now, this may be the last time we get to see this side of the family for quite a while, so I want to make the most of it!

What are all of you planning for Thanksgiving?
Whatever it is I hope that you all have a fun time and get to make the most of the holiday time.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Windows 8....Part 2

Well it's installed
it's working!

I spent 2 hours on the phone with a Microsoft support person, who could nt make my little pc say "yes" to the upgrade...

Finally  in total desperation, I started googling "Why won't my windows upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8" and thankfully the answer presented itself very quickly!

S and I are both computer geeks, and do not buy our computers pre-made as it were, preferring to build our own from scratch to incorporate exactly what we want, rather than purchase something generic that only satisfies half our requirements, and I am thankful of this fact now with the Windows 8 fiasco!

The problem with the upgrade lay in the BIOS settings of the motherboard - namely that the "Plug and Play OS" was not enabled, which quite simply prevented my system from upgrading! I set it to enable, saved and exited, my computer started up and I set off the upgrade to Windows 8, and 'Bingo!' an hour later, when I came back to see how it was doing - it had finished and was asking me to choose a colour scheme for my new operating system.

Now I just have to keep playing and figure out the best way to get it all set up.
There was one slight hiccup, that was more frustrating than anything else - Despite my choosing the option to keep my programmes, files and settings as they were, the upgrade decided to keep only my files and wiped the rest. I have no clue why it chose to do this, but it would appear that I am not the only one that this has happened to. So after setting a colour scheme and having a teeny look see around the new layout, I set about re-installing all my programmes which took me a few hours to complete, but was not difficult at all. I am just thankful that I had the forethought to do a complete backup onto a separate drive before beginning and also that it was only the programme files that were lost and not everything!

OK here you can see the new tile screen on the left and the more traditional screen on the right. Obviously because I have 2 monitors I can choose to have both of these up as once, but with 1 monitor you have to choose. The new tile menu can been reached by pressing the 'start' button of by hovering the mouse in the bottom left corner of the normal desktop display, it kind f comes up minimized and then you click on it.

This is the main view of my photograph folder - a huge thumbnail of each file with one photo on the front instead of the much smaller thumbnails we are all used to with XP, Vista and 7. This comes up when you choose photographs from the new tile menu. If you use the 'normal' desktop your files open the old way

This is the mosaic option for looking at your photo files - kind of cool as they change every few seconds but not practical for my use.

This is one of the new menu's that comes up from either the classic desktop or the new tiled one. The bottom shows the small tile menu that I mentioned earlier, and the top icons are the programmes that I had running. When you open programmes from the new tile menu, they don't come with the option to close them (that I have found), the simply vanish and are minimized off screen when you open something new. With this mini-menu you can click on an icon to open it or right click on it and pin it to either the left or right of the screen or close it. 
OK everyone recognizes this a close up of the classic windows desktop with icons and the toolbar across the bottom

This is the new menu that pops up on the right of either the classic or tiled desktops, and this is perhaps the most significant change I have found so far. You can actually access this menu from within any programme, by swiping down the right side of the screen with your finger if you have a touch screen, or like me, by dragging the mouse down instead. The search option here will become your friend when things need changing because the old control panel is gone with Windows 8. You open the search tool and search apps, files or settings for what you need. To uninstall I programme, I searched for uninstall and chose add/remove programs icon from the options that came up on the screen. You can still right click on the screen anywhere to make changes to the display etc, but everything else has to be found through this.

The share button is pretty cool, you can use it from within programmes to instantly share things with other people - either people on a network or via email or social networking. When you click share the options available for the given programme as displayed. I think this is good for emailing photos to people etc - the email programme opens to the right of the main screen your photo is attached and you just write the email there and hit send - no need to open up your email programme. You can also upload photos and docs etc to the Sky Drive using the share option which is cool

Start is just that - the start button, and opens the tiled desktop , amking changing between programmes really easy.

Devices opens a list of devices that you can use with a programme - eg. a printer or scanner

Finally this is what my lock screen looks like. After a period of inactivity the system goes into standby and this screen appears for a period of time before the system decides to go to sleep and you have to click the mouse to wake it up and return it to this screen. Clicking on the screen will bring up a pin box, and windows 8 gets you to assign a 4 digit pin that you can use here to unlock, rather than entering passwords like older operating systems needed. The lock screen shows the date and time as you can see, and there are a few options for other info that can be displayed.

All in all I am glad I made the decision to take advantage of the super cheap upgrades that Microsoft is offering. I paid $39.99 to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8, by download rather than disc, which is pretty fantastic if you ask me. I understand that this offer is only available until January 2013 and is designed to encourage users to take the plunge and go '8', but for me it was a no brainer. We are techno geeks in this house so Windows 8 is a must have! 

If you do decide to take the plunge like me, Microsoft has a cool download assistant that checks out what you have now and tells it's servers what version of 8 you need. I previously had Windows 7 Ultimate, 64 Bit installed, so the Microsoft site automatically downloaded Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit for me. It also gave me a print out of any of my programmes that would have compatibility issues, so I could get updated drivers etc without having to investigate where they were needed - thankfully there were only 12 compatibility issues and 53 none issues with my computer so it had been very smooth sailing!

OK - off to learn a bit more, as I am sure I have only just cracked the surface of what Windows 8 can do!

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Windows 8....

I decided to take advantage of the Windows 8 Pro upgrade from Windows 7 that was being offered on the website for $39.99...

This morning I told my desktop to back itself up and create an image of itself in case anything went wrong and I needed to bring it back from the dead. This in itself took 6 hours to complete!

Following my backup, I downloaded the Windows 8 installation assistant which went through my programme files and gave me a list of ones I would need to update manually after the upgrade. There was nothing significant on the list and so I decided to proceed. I set the pc off doing its long winded download and upgrade thing. It went through the whole installation procedure before deciding "Don't like it" and reversing itself back to my previous state.

"OK" I thought. These things can be temperamental, so lets set it off again for another attempt. during this attempt I had to go out as my boss had asked me if I could work tonight, so I left my Gorgeous G monitoring the upgrade. 2 hours later he called me to say "Mum - it don't like it!"

I have returned home, and it is now 11.58pm. We are on attempt number 3.

I will let you know how we get on, but somehow I just know that my computer is going to say "No"

Have a good one

Lou :-)

PS. My English friends will already know - but my US ones may not. My references to "Don't like it" and "Computer says No" are from a very well known and loved English sktech show called "Little Britain" written by and starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams......It is hilarious - You should try and You Tube it if you haven't seen it before

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I've had enough now....

I've had enough now. Enough that is of being away from my wonderful S. Neither of us do well when we are apart, which in a weird way is a good thing I guess. 
Lots of couples enjoy spending time apart, but we just don't function well without the other for more than a couple of days. 
 Sleeping is the worse thing. When we are together, staying up past 10pm is a rare thing, and we both sleep well. When we are apart, S goes to bed early, sometimes as early as 8pm, sleeps badly and then finally gives up in the early hours of the morning. I go to bed very late, usually well after midnight, toss and turn for what seems like forever and then wake around 5.30am. The result of this is that both of us are constantly tired and crabby! The longer the time apart, the worse it gets. 
 My Mum used to joke about me being 'joined at the hip' to certain boyfriends throughout my youth. S and I are most definitely 'joined at the soul' and being separated again so soon after being apart for 6 months last year feels cruel and almost like a punishment for some unknown crime.
Of course this isn't a punishment - it is a means to an end. This is a relatively short separation that will culminate in our finally making a home that is ours. A home that hopefully we will be visited in by our grand kids in the decades to come. A home where we can do what we want, where we want, how we want and when we want, without needing permission from a landlord.
I am actually very excited about finally getting to the light at the end of this particular tunnel - I just don't like the tunnel itself. 

Thankfully, there are only 7 more sleeps until I see my wonderful S again. He has booked holiday so he can fly home next Saturday morning, and won't have to fly back to Arkansas, alone, until the following Monday, giving us nearly 10 days of precious time together to celebrate Thanksgiving and our first Wedding Anniversary.

Roll on next Saturday!
I miss my husband!
The boys miss their Papa!
I can't wait for us to all be back together again!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Edit Me Challenge 11.7.12

I haven't entered one of these for such a long time, as time seems to just be slipping by at sound breaking speeds!

Nonetheless, today I have made the time.

Here is the original image, which was supplied by Marilyn...

 and here is my edit.....
I basically,clarified, sharpened and really emphasised the colour of the sky and the light on the canoes. It was quickly done because I have a busy day, but I am quite pleased with the result, and it was good to be participating in the Edit Me Challenge again.

Don't forget to head over to Amy's blog and look at the other entries using the link above my entry.
Have a great day

Edit Me

Monday, November 05, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close....

Wow - what can I say!

I don't think I have watched anything quite so powerful in a very long time.
This was one of those films that you just know you have to watch from the first moment of the first trailer you ever see - and I have to say upfront - this is NOT a sponsored review. This film just moved me so much I felt compelled to write about it.

Thanks to Redbox and my decision to try their free movie on Mondays text thingy - we got to watch it this evening. My only regret is that S wasn't here to watch it with me, because I think that this is one film that he would have found hard to find inaccuracies and improbabilities in. It is one of those films that 'just is' - and somehow without trying very hard, manages to touch even the most battle hard of us. It certainly touched me, and has left me feeling.....I can't actually describe how it has left me feeling...Unbelievably emotional, is probably the best description I can come up with.

It has left me wondering how people I love will feel if something completely unexpected and tragic were to happen to me. Would they know that I loved them with everything that I am? Would they have imagined images of what occurred or would they have images based on fact? It actually doesn't bear thinking about if I am being honest. But then what if something tragic were to happen to one of those people that I love - How would I react and cope with the loss?

The events of 9/11 shocked the world, and I can vividly remember the horror I felt as we watched the images unfold on the TV screen, from the comfort of my living room, several thousand miles away. I can remember dreaming about people falling and jumping to their deaths and being crushed under mountains of rubble for weeks and weeks after it all happened. I never quite reconciled in my own head whether it must have been worse to have been on one of the planes, knowing that you were being flown towards imminent death, or if it were worse to have suddenly been hit by a plane and trapped knowing that there was no escape, and desperately trying to contact loved ones to tell them just that - you loved them!

The only thing I can be very sure of, is that I am so so glad that I was one of the lucky ones who remember the horror, but did not lose anyone I even knew to something so horrific, and I can hardly begin to imagine the pain of those who did lose someone dear on 9/11, and also on that fateful day of the subsequent London bombings on 7/7.

If you have a soul - I would recommend you watch "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close". It is a wonderfully moving, upsetting and thought provoking film about a young boy dealing with the loss of his Father in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and dealing with his own shortcomings in an attempt to find answers. It is a film that has left me determined to ensure that those I cherish most in life have no doubts just how much I do love them!

Another week....

Well my wonderful S has been gone for a full week now, and life is no more fun being apart on this side of the pond than it was on the other side....

The good news is that things are progressing well with the house purchase. After our investigation showed up a few minor problems and we submitted an addendum to our original purchase agreement, we are waiting to hear back from the seller, but until she responds, we carry on as per the purchase agreement. This means that we have a proposed closing date of  November 29th (my wonderful S's birthday), and we have agreed that our mortgage is a very apt 1st Anniversary present for us both - the first one being

S went for a drive out into the countryside today and just happened by the course you can't really just happen by the house as it sits at the end of a dead end road, that is 3 miles off the very minor single lane 303 highway...Still no-one seemed to take much notice and he was able take some more photos of the house and yard now that the trees are in full 'fall' colour.
You can just about make the house out
In other news:
Having put a massive 10lbs on during my beautiful A's visit and also my parents visit afterwards, I have started the month in earnest to get myself back on track weight wise. A friend of mine in the UK, who can only really be referred to as 'The Wild Woman', has set up a wonderful Facebook page called 'Flabbylicious' and myself and some of her other friends and their friends, and friends of friends etc have all joined with one single aim in mind - to get our overweight asses back into shape! It's really wonderful, because some are doing Weight Watchers, some are doing Slimming World, and some, like me, are going it alone for whatever reason. Some of us know each other, some of us don't, but the group has 2 rules and only 2 rules:
  1. To be 100% supportive to everyone else in the group.
  2. To not bitch about other members because we are all in the same boat
This has given me the kick I needed, and I have today completed Day 5 of Jillians Michael's 30 day Shred. I have attempted this fitness DVD a couple of times in the past, but uncontrolled Hashimoto's led to a massive build up of Lactic Acid in my muscles and the most horrendous pain I have ever felt with the exception of childbirth, and so was short lived. Day 5 is a new record for me, and on the advice of my baby sister, the drop dead gorgeous, and body to die for Personal Trainer, Miss E, I am duly rolling my legs after every session, to encourage them to dispel the nasty acids, and so far it is working! My weigh-in day with my little Facebook group is Wednesday and I am confident that I will be showing a good loss for week 1 which will hopefully spur me on for more successful weeks, and by the time my wonderful S returns home on the 16th November for Thanksgiving week and our first Anniversary, I will be back to my pre-relative visiting weight!

This week is kind of busy, and kind of not busy. I am trying to get my brain into gear over Christmas, as I need to get presents etc bought for family back in the UK, as I really need to get this stuff in the post before we move, preferably in the first week of December. Once we hit the road for Arkansas on the 15th, I think life is going to morph into something unseen by me in the past. 3 or 4 days of travel across, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and possibly Oklahoma, will both be exciting and dull at the same time. Exciting because I finally get to visit our friends M & R at their home in New Mexico. The boys have been out there for a week while I was in the UK (remember S's motorbike incident?), but I have not been yet, so it will be good to spend a day with them enroute! It is also exciting because we will get to see another 1500 miles of the US that we haven't seen yet, and a few more states as well. Of course driving for hours each day is where the dull comes into play - but there will be a massive reward at the end of it all, and we are so excited about actually getting into our house, and making a home that hopefully our grandchildren will look forward to visiting, in years to come. The movers should deliver our belongings the day after we arrive, which is good, but also means that we then have to try and get ready for Christmas whilst unpacking and organising, and S will have work as well. My brother-in-law is going to come and have Christmas with us. Before we knew we were moving, we had planned to spend Christmas in New York with him, but obviously that isn't going to happen this year! Hopefully he will come prepared to muck in, and we can have some laughs as we try and get the house straight. It's definitely going to be chaos - I'm just keeping everything crossed for good chaos and not bad chaos!

One thing is for sure - one Christmas Eve night, I plan to curl up on the couch in front of a roaring fire with a glass of wine in my hand, and look out over the beautiful Arkansas countryside and our own little slice of heaven!

Have a great week

PS. Please take a moment to visit my new Photography website: Lou Bradt Photography
I would love to know what you think & I am now taking bookings for the New Year.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A history Lesson as Bonfire Night Approaches

In England, on the 5th November we celebrate Bonfire Night....
It is a wholly English tradition, and it is one that I missed last year and will miss again this year, and for every year to follow while I am living here in the US....

Over this weekend and next week, thousands of  the English will attend big organised Bonfire & Fireworks displays, or perhaps even have their own at home. children will wrap up warm and put their wellies on because it is always down-right freezing, and they will trail along behind their parents and stand for hours in the cold waiting for the lighting of the bonfire, whereon they will suddenly become way too hot and start to peel off layers as the heat of the enormous bonfire starts to eat the cold night air around them. Once the bonfire is well and truly blazing the first of the fireworks will be lit, and the sky will be filled with light and smoke and the unmistakable smell of gunpowder. There will follow an amazing demonstration of beautiful fireworks that will be seen from miles around, and that people will talk about for at least the following week. If everyone is really lucky, the rain will hold off, although even if it doesn't it won't dampen the spirits of the crowd - for they are English and they are used to the wet and cold. They will watch in awe and munch on hotdogs and burgers, and big pink puffs of cotton candy. Then when it is over they will walk jubilantly back to their cars and drive away back to their homes and the warmth of a roaring fire. Occasionally is it so cold on Bonfire night that the ground freezes and the cars get to ice skate around the fields on their way back to the roads, sometimes even needing to be towed by the friendly farmer and his tractor, who always seem to be waiting for such an event.

So why do the English celebrate Bonfire Night?
Well it dates back to 1605 when Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. He and his co-conspirators were planning to blow up the Parliament Buildings. They were subsequently tried by Judge Popham, as traitors for plotting against the Government. Guy Fawkes was sentenced to death by one of the most horrendous means possible. He was hung drawn and quartered, which was a sign of the magnitude of his crime of 'Treason'.

The following year, 1606, it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. This practice, together with the Nursery Rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten. In England the 5th November is still commemorated each year with Bonfires and Fireworks displays, culminating with  the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes, now just called the 'Guy'. The 'guys' are made by children in the weeks leading up to Bonfire night and are paraded around the streets asking with the children asking "Penny for the Guy".

Remember, remember,
The 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason & plot
I see no reason why
Gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot!

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

New Photography Website...

My new photography website is up and running and I would dearly love to get your opinion on it.

Please take a few minutes and have a look for me. Obviously it is geared for once we have moved to Arkansas, but if you spot any huge mistakes I would love for you to point them out to me.

Thank you so much