Saturday, December 31, 2011

In between holidays

This was our first official Christmas together as a married couple.  (Previously we had celebrated before and after the 25th.)   It was nice to spend Christmas in England for the first time.  I was a bit homesick for Florida but after I had my turkey dinner and watched Doctor Who I was okay.  (Well, Doctor Who and The Snowman both made me cry. Why does the snowman have to leave at the end? Why?) Being together in our home was so, so nice and I’m thoroughly content to be spending these days with one another.

For our holiday we’ve just been at home mainly but we have gone out to do some grocery shopping here and there just to get some fresh air.  Today we went to see the Turner Prize at the Baltic.  We got in a special line to go up to the third floor and had to wait as they only let a few people in at a time.  (Ironically or not, we ended up in line behind an American family.)  I am a novice when it comes to contemporary art so even when I may not “get” what the artist is trying to do, I appreciate seeing it.  I did like George Shaw’s paintings though.  I’m an old fashioned gal – I like paintings and photography the most.

We had snow before Christmas but it’s now melted and left us lots of rain.  The presents have been unwrapped and now it’s time to start making resolutions. So since I now have my Kindle Fire (absolutely love this thing!), my Noel Fielding book, my bath soaps from Boots and Lush, plus my new coat from Debenhams (such a lovely thing it is), I’m ready to figure out what I want to accomplish in 2012.  I know I’ll need to make a separate reading list for the year so that will be left a little loose.  Otherwise, here’s what I’ve come up with to have done by this time next year:

1. Have the first draft edited and ready to look for publishing: Steve’s already reading through and giving me feedback. 

2. Get my full UK driver’s license: I miss having a car and listening to music with a trunk full of shopping.

3. Get my Leave to Remain status (unless they say we have to wait until all the way to Jan 2013.)

4. Start another project….or two…or three:  I have ideas!

5. Read more classic books as well as books I liked as a kid: I downloaded a lot of free books to my Kindle and I ordered a couple of 80s pre-teen books in paperback.  I have to finish Breaking Dawn, The Hunger Games, Matched, Shiver, Linger, Harry Potter, and Stephen King’s 11/22/63 because it looks interesting.

6. Start jogging again: Again. I’ve started jogging so many times already.  *sigh* I’ll go to the gym as long as I don’t get more germs.  I still have to try this whole jogging outside thing again too - totally unsure about that one.

7. Work on freelancing from home: Seems like something people do so I’ll give it a shot.

Not an extensive list but some attainable goals there. 

Anyway, I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year.  A special Happy Birthday to my Dad on Jan 1st as well.  Happy 2012, everyone! See you next year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11 more sleeps

First of all, let me say that I cannot express how happy I am to be feeling better.  The sickness started right after Thanksgiving where Steve and I sat on a couch for days just trying to get over our cold.  Then he had a relapse while I stayed the same. Then we both felt better, thought everything was fine, then I got the sinus infection. Hooray for me! After fighting the alien pods that were living in my head for a week, Steve took me to the walk-in clinic down the street for some doctor drugs. Antibiotics are my friends.

I must say that I’m impressed with how easily medical care for minor issues works around here.  There were no massive amounts of forms, no long waits, no payment up front and proof of insurance.  I was seen, I was given medicine, we paid £7.50, we left.  I was only out of the house for an hour and 45 minutes and that included the walk to the clinic and back.  If America can get a handle on something that makes this kind of treatment easier, I’m all for it.  (Of course I don’t know how it works for more serious illnesses and hopefully never will, but for the normal doctor visits, this is awesome.)

So since I had the sickness I haven’t been reading or writing as much as I’d like to. My time has been on the couch or in bed.  I’m glad to know that my eye fatigue was more than likely just down to my sinuses being crappy.  I finished Shiver so that will have to go on my book blog soon.  I’ve started Breaking Dawn but I doubt I’ll get through it by January.

Now that I’m starting to feel more human, I’m happy to be sitting at the computer in my warm study, looking out over the chilly Wednesday morning from my window.  There has been no snow yet but it’s been quite cold with the North East winds.  Luckily I have my big, white L.L. Bean coat and my new found collection of hats and scarves to keep me warm. 

It’s not long now until Santa comes over to leave our presents. It’s my first British Christmas and I’m getting more and more excited.  The picture above is of the Catholic Cathedral Church of St. Mary’s in Newcastle and the statue is of Cardinal Hume. We went there during our walk around the city last Saturday after our visit to the Christmas Market.  We saw Santa with his reindeer, drank hot toddies, and walked through town to see the ice skaters at the Life Centre. (That picture is blurry because I had to stand on my toes to my camera lens past the tall barricade.) 

We also went to see Saltwell Park lit up for Enchanted Parks last Sunday.  That was very neat, especially to see the kids enjoying themselves.  I must say, there are so many things for children around here that really makes the place even more awesome. 

Anyway, we have next weekend for the Beamish Museum and Durham Cathedral then it will be getting prepared for Christmas at home.  We’ll send the last cards out this week and then we’ll be all set to enjoy Steve’s ten days at home. The Pringles and Doctor Who special await!