Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Moving House Is Kinda Like Having A Break Up

When you move into a new house you fall in love with it and you over look things that might annoy you, glossing over them like a young lover would do with their new suitor. No dishwasher, no problem. Carpet in the kitchen, eh no biggie. You accentuate the positives like the huge living room and the lovely back garden with no overlooking neighbours.

But after you have settled into the relationship, the cracks in the foundation of the relationship may start to show, as the dodgy windows let your heating straight out into the fenlands and the boiler plays up every night. Then in your head you start toying with the idea of finding a new relationship, scouring estate agents websites, mentally cheating on your beloved home.

Then when the end is nigh, you just stop caring. Bloody boiler. Stupid muddy driveway. Ugly carpets! And you just can't wait until the whole thing is over and done.

Then after a few months, you can start to remember the good times with your house. The memories made with each other. Remembering that you once did love the house, but you never want to go back. Ever.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Moving House! At Christmas! Again!

When we moved to the UK four years ago, we got all our household contents that had been shipped from the states delivered to our home on December 22nd. We spent Christmas surrounded by boxes stacked to the ceiling containing the contents of our old life back in Missouri. We are about to repeat this again, only this time 20 minutes down the road, not across an ocean. I'm not exactly looking forward to the prospect. My kids are really excited though.

The new house is in a neighborhood and there is a large park across the street for them to play at when the weather gets a little less....icky (let's be honest the uk weather is awful). They are gonna be able to ride their bikes and make friends with kids who live a couple doors away instead of having to jump in a car just to go have a couple hours of play.

We have decided to keep them in the same school they are currently attending. It is more of a drive for me in the morning, but keeping some aspects of their life stable right now I think is important. Plus I adore their school. I'm sure it will be worth the commute.

Now, back to sorting out the detritus in this home before the packing crew arrives next week. Here's hoping to a smooth move.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ha! My Crap Luck Returns!!

The moment I decide to start blogging again, disaster struck my poor lovely MacBook.  Well, actually, it happened before I decided to come back, but I thought we had the issue sorted out.  You see my lovely cute adorable bastard of a kitten knocked an entire glass of juice into the keyboard of the MacBook about 2 weeks ago.  I did what I have done after the two previous spills(beer and coke),battery out, computer pulled apart, mopping up the mess, cleaning with a damp sponge and then letting the computer dry for a week, and the MacBook came back to life.  Then on the 4th day of it being alive, although track pad no longer working, the entire keyboard decided to DIE.  Then my OS decided to error.  I managed to fix the OS, but not the keyboard. 

So  here I am typing on my husbands teeny tiny little Gateway Netbook with the dodgy charger.  It's less than ideal, but I am going to have to deal until I can take my MacBook to the Apple store over in Cambridge to see if they will be super duper nice to me and fix my baby without charging an arm, leg and first born child.  Actually they can have the child.  I'm joking*.

*Mostly joking.  Seriously, holy cow, nobody warned me how much 8 year old girls talk.  I swear, she just talks and talks and talks and talks and talks so more.  And then just when you think she has stopped talking, she starts singing.  Also, what in the blue hell with the random off the wall questions?  No, I don't know the answer.  We can google it later.  Maybe.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm Not Dead Yet

September turned into October ,then October turned into November and as November faded by, I decided that maybe I should take another whirl on the blog-a-coster.

These past few months I have been really thinking about the direction I want to take my blog.  I honestly thought about scrapping the Bungalow entirely and either A) stop blogging altogether or B) start a new blog.  However, the Bungalow is my home.  It's my baby.  Ultimately, even if I don't know what I want to write about or not write about, it's mine.  So, here I am.

I have decided however that I am no longer going to take reviews at all on this site.  I know reviews and getting paid to write are all the rage right now in the blogging community, but honestly, it isn't what I like to read.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not being all judgey mcjudgerson about it, because I know times are tough and any way that a mum can make a little money to bring into the household is important, but it just isn't something I want to read- or write.

Also, I am only going to write about things that matter to me.  No jumping on the bandwagon and trying to do every linky in the blogosphere.  In fact, I'm killing my own linky (that obviously hasn't been around in a loooong while) Dear So and So.  If I ever feel the need to participate in a linky, it will be because I want to do it, not because her, her and her are doing it.  I've never been one to follow the crowd and I am certainly not going to start now.

Also, I'm not going to pull any punches anymore.  If I see something and I think it is complete bullshit, it might end up here.  Sorry in advance.  If you don't like it, click the X in the corner.

(sorry for swearing, Granny)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm Not Complaining But....

This was they layout of the bed last night while I was sleeping....

Purple- Me (knee actually hanging off the bed)
Pink- KiKi
Orange- Lizabeast the overweight dog.
Blue- Mr Tibbs the 2lb kitten.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

She's Very Observant

This weekend the bungalow crew and I headed down to the British Museum.  It is actually quite embarrassing that we have lived here for four years and this is the first time that we have made our way down there.  We did however, finally make it down to see the treasures stored there.  And it was amazing.  Absolutely amazing.  I know we didn't even cover a third of all the collections and I am already dying to go back and see the bits we missed. 

But that isn't the story I am writing about, just the setting. 

We were walking around the classical Greece section of the museum, admiring the beautiful statues and friezes, as you do, and my kids didn't even bat an eyelash at all the statues being naked.  I bet you're all thinking "how cultural!" well, yeah I guess.  I mean, it is certainly a bit highbrow for my children and I was really proud of how mature they were acting. 

Caroline in particular was really taking it all in.  Then she turned to me and said very seriously and said "Mummy, he doesn't have a penis!" 

Then out of my mouth popped "Well, he is very old."




Monday, August 20, 2012

Just Like Kids

Imagine this conversation between adults....

Person 1 of a Christian family- "Hi, how old are you?"
Person 2 of Muslim family- "I'm ___"
Person 1- "Cool, I' ___.  My birthday is December 22nd.  Just three days before Christmas!"
Person2-  "Awesome that means you get a Christmas and Birthday presents all at once!!"

And off they go skipping and working together completely uncaring of each others differences. 

Cause that is what I saw the other day between my daughter and a little girl on the playground the other day.  I just wish adults could be so cool. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It Was An Accident I Swear!

The first thing you all need to know is that I have a major fear of authority.  I am seriously scared of pissing off "The Man"(not as in my husband.  I am perfectly good at doing that on a regular basis) or any sort of person with even the slightest bit of authority over my life.  So when it came time to renew my visa to stay in the UK, I made sure that I started it early so that I wouldn't accidentally overstay. 

So my husband got the forms from the passport/visa office on base and sent them to me and I filled them out and went into the office and they told me that the forms were out of date and that the UK Home Office had changed the forms.  So I filled out the new 23 pages of forms.  While I was filling out the new forms I took a look at the old visa inside my passport only to have one of those moments where my stomach literally shot into my throat and I thought I was going to heave up my dinner onto my ugly kitchen carpet. 

My visa had expired.  In NOVEMBER.  I am here illegally. 

So at this point I did what any sane person would do.  I started panicking.  First I told my husband, who wasn't amused.  He gave me the stern "how the hell did this happen?" face.  Then I called my best friend who tried to reassure me that everything would be fine surely.  Then I called Liz who told me that "We never throw anyone out".  Skyped with Nickie who kinda helped me not panic so much by making me laugh and distracting me by making rude cucumber jokes while she was cooking.  And then internally freaked out until this morning when the realization that I had to go into the passport office and admit that my paperwork and my children's paperwork was immensely screwed up.  The whole time thinking "They're gonna deport me!" 

So I Facebook messaged Liz and jokingly asked if she knew anyone who sold Xanex on the down low.  To which she replied "We're British, we just drink gin." And I told her that I couldn't drink gin because I was going to have to drive to base and didn't need to get nicked for a drink driving offense on the way down to sort out my visa issues because I didn't want to end up as a story plastered across the front page of the Daily Mail.  Which she acknowledged was a fair point.  To be fair though, I bet I could have sold my story for a good bit of money and taken some properly trashy photographs of me with my boobs hanging out and a cigarette in my hand for the front page. 

So I headed down to the passport office still feeling like I was going to be sick on my nice semi new black flats.  I filled out my information on the computer queuing system and when the lady called me to be seen I walked up and said "I have a big big big problem.  My visa has expired and I didn't realize it til I was filling out my visa extension paperwork because..." and then she interrupted me and said "because your orders said you were here for four years and your visa was only issued for three years.  Don't worry you won't be deported."  And that is when the whole situation became kinda funny for me and I didn't feel sick anymore.

Apparently the consulate in New York doesn't know how to read American military orders very well and this has happened a number of times.  Now I don't feel so special. 

But since I am still scared of "The Man" I am going to distract them with cute pictures of our new kitten, Mr Tibbs, until I am legal in about 12 weeks give or take depending on the bureaucracy involved.  The paperwork is in the mail so to speak.




Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

From The I Can't Make This Crap Up Files...

The husband comes home from work yesterday, set his things from work down, and then came and gave me a conspicuous inspection.  It was like being seen by a doctor- only this doctor was wearing Air Force camo and had gigantic combat boots.  He was obviously looking for something on my face...

Hubby-  "Did your cheek or eye hurt today?"
Me- "Umm no...should it have?"
Hubby- "Well, last night when I was sleeping I rolled over and elbowed you straight in the eye. It woke me out of a dead sleep.  You didn't seem to notice but it had to have hurt.  Then this morning I checked to make sure I didn't give you a black eye."
Me-  "You elbowed me in the eye?"
Hubby- "Obviously I didn't mean to elbow you in the eye...."
Me- "How in the world did I not feel you elbow me in the eye? You would think that I would at least kinda feel it."
Hubby-  "Dunno, but you look fine."
Me- "Yeah, I think you might have gotten a call at work if I had woken up with a black eye!"

I find it completely weird that if my kid even breaths wrong in their sleep I hear it, but my husband elbowed me in the eye (according to him "pretty damn hard") and I didn't feel a thing.  I seriously was completely unaware that this event took place until The Man came home and gave me the once over.  How bizarre.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Being A Mum is Hard Work

My kids love playing in dirt.  The like to dig in it, build things with it, fill things up with it, shift it around my garden and plant things in it.  I can hardly begrudge them liking to get dirty.  I remember countless hours that my brother and I spent sitting in my grandmothers driveway, next to my grandfathers big white Ford pickup truck, merrily building roads and hills in the dirt for our collection of matchbox cars until we were covered in black silt sand.

However, my kids love of dirt has gone off the rails a bit.  You see they took charcoal bricks, meant for the BBQ and decided to crush them up into an ultra dirty mess on the deck at the back of my house.  Before I had a chance to sweep this pile of charcoal dust off the porch, my dog found the pile, and decided to have a good roll around in it.

My blonde Cocker Spaniel was covered thickly in charcoal.  Charcoal is great for cave paintings, eyeliner, wonderful works of art; not so much for the coat of an overly sweet pooch.  So, off to the tub she went.

As I was wetting down her fur, most of the large chunks of charcoal fell off her and sank to the bottom of the tub, and with each additional jug  of water I tipped over her, the water got blacker and blacker, leaving me with a false hope that really, this wasn't going to be that bad.  However when I soaped her up, the suds were a deep dark grey.  So, once I rinsed her, I let the water out and had to rewash her again, to make sure that all the charcoal was off of her.

I should also mention that the dog is not a fan a bath.  So each time I poured a jug of water over her back, she started shaking off.  Essentially I got as much of a bath as she did.  By the time I lifted her out of the tub, we were both completely soaked.  All I got in return was a look of betrayal out of her puppy dog eyes, for daring to stick her in the bath.

That about sums up all the thanks I get around here most days.  I still wouldn't trade it for the world.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dear So and So....My Mojo Has Gone Missing

Dear Anyone and Everyone,

Have you seen my mojo?  As you have seen, it's been a bit quiet around The Bungalow lately.  It's not that I don't want to write.  I desperately do.  I have opened a fresh blog post countless times over the past few weeks, wrote a couple of lines, then deleted it, and closed out Blogger; not because I don't have anything to say, but I can't seem to find my words.

For a supposed writer, it feels immobilizing.  Almost like a part of me isn't working properly.

Maybe it is confidence.  You see, I start writing a post, then read it back and say to myself "What a load of rubbish.  Even I find that dull.  You couldn't write your way out of a wet paper sack at this rate."  So I erase it and try again.  Then again, what I have written doesn't hold up to my internal standard and then I erase it.

Now I sound like one of those tortured writers; like Poe or Hemingway.  I am far from tortured.  I have in fact done quite a few very fun things like going to High Lodge at Thetford Forest, having coffee mornings with my friends and having a wander about one of the towns near me with one of my photographer friends.

However, when I start to write about these things I feel like I am starting to get repetitive.  Blah, blah, blah, here we go again.  Delete.

Oh, well, we all know that sooner or later my life will give me a story that I will just have to share with the world.  Then magically, my mojo will appear, just as it has always done, and I will write something nearly brilliant.

Until then, I will just have to keep my blog fodder eyes peeled and wait for inspiration to hit me.  It's what us bloggers do.  Just don't forget about me while I am waiting.

Ta, Kat
------------------------------

Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters, please link up.

Love, Kat
------------------------------






Monday, June 25, 2012

The British Eccentric

When I moved to England, I thought the term "British eccentric" had to be a falsehood.  Let me tell you, it isn't.  I thought I had seen eccentrics when I was living in South Carolina. The southern United States has a long tradition of eccentrics. We had a man who we thought was an American Civil War reenactor. It turns out he was just a guy with a really long beard who wore a confederate war hat and carried a brief case (containing God knows what), who sat at the local barbers shop to shoot the crap and trade fishing stories with the local folks...cause he could.  Believe me, we're loaded with eccentrics.  Here though, I can't throw a stone without hitting a colorful person.  For the record, by colorful I mean off their rockers and don't give a flying crap.  

When I first moved here we had a neighbor who would mow his lawn while wearing loafers and a tweed jacket...in the middle of July.  Then we had builders of a certain age (above 40 years old) who would blast loud techno music while they were laying bricks at the neighbors house.  There was also the man at the market who had shorts so short that I nearly saw "the twins".  This past week however took the cake.  The entire chocolate cake.

While I was doing my weekly errands in the local town, I saw two older people walking down the sidewalk.  They were the cutest elderly couple ever in the history of ever.  There was a dear old lady and a sweet old man. As they approached I could hear a jingle bell.  Odd.  Then I noticed there was a bell around the older gent's ankle.  Yes, a bell on a rope around his ankle.  He was jingling and jangling as he walked.  No, he wasn't a Morris dancer.  Well, at least he wasn't dressed as one and by my estimation he probably would have broken a hip if he tried to Morris dance.  There was a BELL AROUND HIS ANKLE!!  

At this point I couldn't help but kind of laugh to myself and wonder if it worked like a cat collar with a bell....

"Hush Mabel, Henry is coming.  I can hear his bell."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Diamond Jubilee

The closest thing the USA has to the Queen is The President.

There have been twelve US Presidents in the time that she has been on the throne.  60 years of continuity.

To this American it boggles the mind a bit.  One person, albeit "non political", who has guided a nation FOR 60 YEARS!

A nation who for the most part adores her.  Yes, there are some republicans here (not Republicans, mind you) who are against the crown, but for the most part, everyone respects if not loves The Queen.

I even find myself adopting an affection for The Queen.  She isn't my monarch, but she is a symbol of continuity in my life.  There has never been a moment in my life she hasn't been queen; I have gone through five Presidents though.  In fact, I remember telling my brother when we were growing up to call me The Queen, just because I thought she was the coolest.

I just have to say, it has been an amazing experience to be here in the UK for The Queen's diamond jubilee.  An experience that I will not soon forget.

I wish The Queen many more years of good health and a happy diamond jubilee.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dear So and So...Bazinga!

Dear Kids,

If I have to shout or repeat myself anymore...well let's just say it won't be pleasant.  I am so sick of it.  When I give you clear directions, I expect that they be followed.  Capice?  *pretends to be a mob boss*

Love, Mom (or mum...whatever you feel like calling me at the time)
------------------------------

Dear Everyone,

The news out of Syria is making me ill.  Seeing the bodies of children...  I just can't believe in 2012 that nothing can be done.

Sign the petition to stop the killing.

Heartbroken, Kat
-------------------------------

Dear Everyone (once again)

There is a food shortage in Niger and it is dire.  People are starving, but it hasn't hit the mainstream news. It was brought to my attention during the CybHer conference.  Recently my friend, Sian, travelled to Niger with World Vision to document the plight of the people of Niger.  Please, have a look at her blog, spread the word, and if you can, donate to feed those who can't help themselves.

Love, Kat
----------------------------------

Dear Weather,

Ok, so it is meh...kinda warm, but this rain is really harshing my mellow.  Sun?  Please?

Love, Kat
---------------------------------

Dear Lizabeast,

I know you don't have fleas, but the scratching you are constantly doing is making me go a bit well...bat shit insane.  If you don't stop, I am going to have to take you to the vet and we both know how much you enjoy THAT.  So, please, for the love of God, stop.

Love, Your Human Mom
--------------------------------

Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters, please link up!

Love, Kat
--------------------------------






Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Random Tuesday Thoughts- Throwback Edition

Way back when there used to be this girl name Keely who started a blog meme called Random Tuesday Thoughts, and then she passed the torch to Stacy, who now keeps the random alive.  Since my thoughts are all disjointed right now and I can make a single blog post out of one of them, I decided to hop on the RTT train.  Join me in the randomness.

Stacy


So, The Man, put a little wooden cross up in the back garden for Sam Kitty (even though I had him cremated).  I don't know if I should keep it up or take it down.  It makes me sad every time I see it.  On the other hand I don't want to step on my husband's toes so to speak.  

This was an actual conversation the other night when the girls were supposed to be going to bed...

LaLa- "MOM, KIKI BIT ME!"
Hubby going in to see to the situation- "What were you thinking, KiKi?"
KiKi- "I was trying to hug her but she wouldn't wake up!!"

Imagine being married to a girl who bit you every time you didn't give her attention.  Yeah, think on that one a bit.

We went to Great Yarmouth this Sunday.  It was very nice on the seaside.  Parking was easy to find.  Not too many weirdos out.  Kids had a good time.  Didn't break the bank at the arcades and attractions.  All together a win win.






Monday, being Memorial Day back in the States, The Man didn't have to work.  So we spent the day reading, sleeping and did a bit of shopping.  Not a bad end to the holiday (for us) weekend.  Oh, and yes, I sent the kids to school. 

I think I am in love with Starbucks Raspberry Blackcurrent Frap.  IN LOVE, I TELL YOU.  I WOULD MARRY IT.

My leg is asleep up to my cheek so to speak, so I am gonna go get started on my day.  Happy Random Tuesday.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dear So and So...No Clever Title

Dear Readers,

You know what is good about a spectacularly crap week?  It really gives you perspective on the world. I have seen the best of people with their outpouring of support for me in my time of need and I have seen pure deceit and underhandedness from someone I thought was an alright person.  I mean she wasn't an amazingly good person, nor was she a person I would avoid, but I will be now.  Hindsight being twenty twenty and all that.

I guess you have to take the good with the bad and roll with the punches of life, but this week just seemed to blindside me.  My soul is a bit battered right now.  I'm not just a "bit sad" about my cat dying.  My heart literally feels like it is going to burst out of my chest and I get a big lump in my throat when I remember little things about him.  I keep expect to see him greet me in the morning by jumping up onto the sink for his morning drink of water.  It is hell.

The utter rage (not an emotion I am very familiar with) I felt at the other person, well, unfortunately that is something I can't and won't blog about. Even though I REALLY want to shout at the top of my lungs and write the meanest, nastiest, most spiteful rant ever published in the history of rants.  Seriously, I would be filibustering my own blog.  I really do hope karma exists and that someone really craps on this persons parade one day.

Anyways, yes, life it can suck.  Right now it really sucks.  It will get better though.  It will get better because I have an amazing family and friends and people who love me for me.  I have people who will stand behind me and support me when I don't know if I can cope.  Everything will work out for the best and tomorrow is another day to try to make perfect.  And with a little luck, support, and this brilliant sunshine we are having at the moment, anything is possible.

Love, Kat
----------------------------

If you have any of you own letters please link up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

For Sam Kitty

It's amazing how the mind works.  How it protects you until what needs to be done is done.  All feeling goes.  You get it together and you get done what needs to be done.  Then your brain gives you permission to break down.

So I did.

RIP Sam Kitty.  Blast those damn cars.  Blast that damn road.  Blast my heart for loving you so much.  I will miss you so much.




Friday, May 18, 2012

Dear So and So...Proving A Point

Dear The Man,

I am so damn proud of you!  MSgt in 10 years!  I know I said I would be happy even if you didn't get the promotion this year.  I know you said you could probably use a bit more time at your current rank.  I knew you could do it though.  I KNEW you could.  In fact, when I used to find you asleep with your study guide for the test, I knew it was probably not a big deal.  You know how I knew?  Cause your absolutely brilliant.

Love You, Kat
-------------------------

For Those Who Aren't Military Types,

Making Master Sergeant in the US Air Force under 10 years is like being the Bobby Fischer of the Air Force.  It isn't done very often.  It is freakin' amazing.

Love, Kat
--------------------------

Dear Student Loans,

Do you know every time I pay you I feel a bit ill.  What's worse is I was talking to someone here in the UK and out of curiosity they asked me how much I pay each month...it was more than her mortgage.

Just Sayin', Kat
----------------------------

Dear Student Loans (again),

Do you want to know the worst part?  I only went back to school to prove a point to myself.  I knew I was smart, but I needed that damn piece of paper to prove I wasn't a quitter- even though I had a 3 year old and a 6 month old baby at the time.  Now me would kick then me's ass.

Once Again Just Sayin' Kat
----------------------------

Dear KiKi,

This thing you are doing lately where you completely lose your temper and lash out to get your point across.  Yeah, that's not cool.  In fact, it will land you in time out for extended amounts of time with me completely blanking you until you calm down.  That doesn't sound like a lot of fun does it?  So maybe you can figure out how to express yourself other than raging at the people nearest you, mmkay?

Love, Mom- Keeper of Time Out
----------------------------

Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters, please link up!  Have a safe and wonderful weekend.  Remember, don't run with scissors and no, we aren't there yet.

Love, Kat
---------------------------

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Organically Growing Your Audience

I suppose all bloggers by nature, even if they are introverts in person, are people who want to be noticed.  We're all metaphorically screaming with our posts "Look at me!  Aren't I the greatest.  Aren't I special?  Don't you LOVE me?  My opinion is important, dammit!", and that is just those of us who aren't the middle child in our families.  I have never met a blogger who doesn't want their posts read.

I thought maybe since I have been doing this blogging thing for a while I might be able to help other bloggers increase their readership without resorting to any fancy blogging techniques.  Lord knows, I don't know any of those.  Also, I know I am breaking a blogging rule by blogging about blogging.  Didn't you know, blogging is like Fight Club?

The first rule of Fight Club is that you don't talk about Fight Club....


Anyhoo... Here are some of the things I have done over the years...

When I first started blogging, I found a group of bloggers that commented on each others blogs.  This wasn't like a special organized group mind you.  It was just a small group of people who were in a similar stage of blogging as me, who had children near my children's ages, and seemed sort of a natural fit for me.  I left a comment.  I don't mean a comment that said "LOL".  I mean an engaging comment.  A comment that commented about what that person was going through and then left a snippet about myself, so that maybe if they liked my comment they might come visit my blog.  Guess what?  It worked AND I made life long friends.  Some of these friends of mine don't even blog anymore, but we are still friends through emails and Facebook.  Most of them still read my blog.

Then, I started clicking on other commenters they had on their blogs.  I figured if their commenters commented on their blogs, then they might be interesting too.  I left comments.  Good comments.

Take Capcha/Word Varification off your comments system. NOW.

For the most part I avoided blogs that had a huge established audience (like The Bloggess) when I was leaving comments.  Not that I didn't comment there, I just never expected anyone to say "hey I made my way here via The Bloggess", because she is a freakin' legend.  It is too easy to get lost in the comment mix over there.  I leave a comment for my own satisfaction there and hope it puts a smile on her face.

I then found FeedBurner.  If you don't know what FeedBurner is, google it and install it.  Go ahead.  Do it now.  I'll wait.  Enable people to read your blog through RSS and email notification.  Make reading your blog as easy as possible.

The number one tip I have for building an audience is be authentic.  Write in your own voice.  As you are reading this, you are hearing me.  You know, that American chick living in the UK.  That mom who loves her kids, but also pulls her hair out when things start going off the rails.  You know, that woman who loves her husband, but takes the mickey out of him at least once a day to keep him from getting too high in the instep.  You are reading me and really all your readers want to read is you. An authentic you.

So go out there and read and comment.  Keep plugging away.  Don't stress yourself out and most importantly, do it for you.  You are your most important reader.

Monday, May 14, 2012

CybHer- Ask A Blogger Geek Session (Or Why I am A Nickie O'Hara Fangirl)

I very rarely want to get onto a table top and shout someone's praises, but this year at CybHer I might have become a Nickie O'Hara fangirl.  You see, at most blogging events that I have been to everyone bangs on about Wordpress this and Wordpress that, well you know what?  I don't have Wordpress.  I am on Blogger.  I like Blogger.  I know how to use it, I've never properly broke it, and it works for me.  So, when Nickie did a session on the technical side of Blogger and all the new nifty features, I was all ears.

You see, when it comes to the technical side of blogging, I'm a big ol mess.  I can write a post and add a few pictures, but when it comes to the coding and all that technical stuff, well not so much.  The thing I like about Blogger though is, I don't need to be.  I can be as into figuring out the technical bits, or not, as I see fit.  There however, are some really great new features that have been added to Blogger with the new interface and I would have completely ignored them if I hadn't gone to Nickie's session at CybHer.  No, seriously, I would have just stuck my head in the sand and completely ignored all of them.

One of my favorite tricks that I learned was how to imbed a message into a photograph, so that when you hover your cursor over the photo you get a little text box with a message.  I had seen this before on other blogs, but I just figured that it was entirely too hard for me to learn.  I did learn how to do it though!  In fact, on Sunday morning when I was barely awake I managed to post a picture and embed some text into the photo using the Title Text feature.  You would have in fact called this amazing if you saw me on Sunday morning.

I also learned more about the posts and comments section of Blogger.  I have waffled back and forth for a while now about if I want to change the way that posts are displayed on my blog.  Mostly I have been waffling because I didn't know if I had the technical know how to make the changes I wanted on my blog on my own, or if I was going to need to beg my lovely techie friends to help me.  Now, I have the confidence and the basic knowledge I need to make the changes I want.  So if you see some changes at the Bungalow, don't worry, they're probably on purpose!

So, do you want to know the best part?  If you are a Blogger blogger like me, you can find out all the same information I learned and more on Nickie's new Blog/Pet Project "Ask A Blogger Geek".  You want to know the even better part?  She is going to be adding new parts and you can ask her your own questions!

So, now you know why I am a Nickie O'Hara fangirl.




CybHer Weekend By The Numbers

1 weekend.
1 tenth wedding anniversary.
1 CybHer blogging conference.
1 incident with a SatNav with no sense of direction.
1 feisty train buddy
1 foodie train buddy
1 amazing roommate
1 stomach doing flip flops
1 amazingly brave conference organizer
300 bloggers
20 amazing sessions  (Seriously, I haven't even heard one complaint!)
2 trains
1 Mother's Day

times that by....

countless laughs...nay cackling
too much booze
a huge hangover
a swearing cabbie
an invisible cash point
and more stories made than can possibly be posted (and some that shouldn't be...)

equals...

An absolutely amazing weekend that I will never forget.  I have walked away feeling that this community that we, bloggers, have formed can inspire, support, and cultivate creativity and friendship.  Thank you, Sian for organizing CybHer.  Thank you to my blogging friends- old and new- for being some of the most amazing people I have ever met.  I will carry all the little moments in my heart forever.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

That's So Straight!

"That's so gay!"  is what LaLa heard in school.  So, during bath time she asked me, "What's gay?"  

Three of my best friends are gay, but I have never felt the need to discuss with an eight year old what "gay" meant.  They are my friends, just like any of my straight friends are my friends, so it isn't exactly like I have said "oh this is my friend and they are gay" and explained it.  I was a little unprepared for this conversation to say the least.  

I asked her to repeat the question so I could get my thoughts straight and then answered her as honestly as I could.

"La, gay is when a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman."

"So are me and my best friend gay?  Cause I love her, cause she is my best friend."

"It isn't like best friends loving each other, it's like how boyfriends and girlfriends love each other.  It isn't a word to use as an insult.  You can say something is silly or stupid, but gay isn't a word you should say as an insult."

"Oh, alright then.  Well, this boy in my class said it."

"Well, you don't need to say it, and next time tell your teacher, OK?"

The subject was then dropped.  I, however, was seething inside.  

Having been around my friends when this insult has been hurled, muttered, or whispered at them- well, lets just say when I hear it now my blood boils.

It is NOT OK to call something or someone "gay" if is stupid, lame, silly, uncool, or not to your liking. It is not cute for a kid to say something is "gay", it's disgraceful.  

Parenting is hard, parenting on your back foot trying to find the right words because someone else has backed you into a corner is harder.  Stand up for what you believe in, don't bull shit your kids and keep it real with them.  That being said, don't give them too much information, just enough for them to make correct decisions.  Also, let's give them a bigger vocabulary to use so they can find some better insults.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Should Get Paid For This Stuff

So I was minding my business catching up on the television shows that I had missed over the past week when I heard my husband swearing- loudly.  Not an unusual occurrence around here, but this time  I could tell that something was seriously amiss.  So, I finally figured out that my husband was swearing because the door on the washing machine was locked and would not open and his uniform was inside.  No bueno.  No bueno at all.

So I did my fiddle with the controls thing- turned the machine off then on, waited a second and the door opened. The uniform was completely still soaking wet and the machine was still half full of water.  Odd.  So I decided to run it again for another cycle to see if it had been some sort of fluke.  At the end of the cycle the machine got stuck again.  So I fiddled with the knobs turned it off then back on, the door came open, same result.   This point The Man was completely losing his temper because the only uniform he had left to wear is filthy from last week.


Me to self- "Think, Kat!  Think fast.  This has happened before...kinda.  Yes, I shall try to empty the filter and see if that fixes the problem.  Now...how to I do that?"

I grabbed the screw drivers and pried the kick plate off.  Ha!  See this isn't so hard.  Then I tried to open the filter and when I did water started pouring out of the washing machine.  CRAP!  * grabbed a bowl and started collecting the water*  Only, the water kept coming, so I started yelling at Tom to get me another bowl.  Second bowl started to fill up to the brim.  So I dumped the first bowl and slid it under the machine and caught the rest of the water that came out of the machine.  Who knew there was that much water in a washing machine. Go figure!  So, I emptied the filter.  By the way, at this point my husband assessed that I had no idea what I was doing and had left while water was still pouring out of the machine. Oh ye of little faith.  I screwed the filter back in, reattached the kick plate and then restarted the machine.

An hour later I had one freshly washed uniform, perfectly spun out and ready to go into the dryer.  I think I have retained my title of reigning domestic goddess.  I still might not be able to sew, but I can fix a washing machine.  Take that, Martha Stewart!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dear So and So...Bon Voyage!!

Dear LaLa,

So I am having a bit of a mild panic attack because of your school trip this weekend.  This is the first time you will be away from home for more than one night not in the company of a family member.  I trust your teachers and the camp that you are attending, but I am still freaking out.  I keep running over the packing checklist and adding more items to make sure that you have everything that you could possibly need over the weekend.

Remember:

You have a snack in your bag
Your disco clothes are not with your other clothes, they are in the rucksack not the suitcase.
Brush your teeth!
Try to brush your hair more than once a day so you don't look like a heathen.
Listen to the adults
For heavens sake BE GOOD!

Love you, Mom
------------------------

Dear KiKi,

We're gonna have fun this weekend.  Promise.

Love, Mom
--------------------------

Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters link up!!

Have a Spiffing Weekend, Kat
----------------------




Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Failed Brownie Mum

In 8th grade when I was 13 I took a home economics class because it was considered an "easy A".  I got the A, but I think it was mostly due to my ability to follow a recipe and not muck up the end result too much, not my ability to wield a needle in thread.  I remember that we made a t-shirt using a sewing machine and that mine was at best a bit wonky with uneven seams that wanted to split.  To this day I can only in theory sew on a button.  In fact, I had to consult both my mother and granny when they were in town to make sure that I had the premise correct on how to accomplish this so called simple sewing task.  I still haven't put in into practice, mostly because I am a lazy moo, but also because I have a fear of absolute failure.  I can just see myself yelling "Drat!  Foiled by a button!" I really should try to mend my winter coat though, because I look a bit like a hobo walking around with every other button missing.

This brings me to my current failure as a mum.  LaLa is in Brownies.  She has memorized the Girl Guiding Oath and the Brownie Promise.  She is so proud of herself.  She has also earned her first badge in crafting (oh the irony), and expects me to sew it onto her sash.  The enthusiasm when she announced my task was so genuine that if I didn't know how serious she was I would think she was taking the mickey out of me

So now I have a persistent kid, a sash, previously unsewn badges, and a new badge.  Wonderful.  So my goal this weekend is to look up Youtube videos and teach myself what an entire semester of home economics could not- how to sew.  Watch out Martha Stewart and Kirstie Allsopp I will be kicking crafting asses and taking names.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dear So and So...A Pot Of Gold

Dear British Weather,

Despite the fact that you can not find it in your heart to quit deluging us with rain, you have seen fit to provide just enough sunshine to create at least one rainbow a day for the last week.  I can not recall ever seeing so many rainbows in my life.  Yesterday's rainbow was especially brilliant, not a thin little rainbow that you can barely see through the clouds, but a nice thick fully formed rainbow that arched it's way though the sky.  It was so beautiful that my children couldn't quit staring at it though the car windows and wondering aloud about where the ends of the rainbow were as we drove towards the air base.  So, if you can't stop the rain, could you please at least continue the artwork in the sky?

Thanks in Advance, Kat
---------------------------

Dear LaLa,

You are not leaving for your school trip for another week.  We don't have to start packing for your trip yet.  I know you are excited, but seriously, your clothes aren't going to grow legs and walk away before we can get them in a suitcase.

Love, Mom
-----------------------------

Dear Angry Birds,

I knew I shouldn't have downloaded you onto my iPad.  Now I spend my evenings launching pixelated birds at pigs while watching all the TV shows that I have Sky+d.  I am sure there are more productive things that I could be doing with my evenings, but I just need to beat one more level.

Slightly Addicted, Kat
---------------------------------

Dear CybHer Attendees,

I can't wait to see you on May 12th.  Let's see what sort of trouble we can get into this year!  I am not sure you can beat a drunken dwarf singing Bon Jovi at the top of his lungs though.

Love, Kat
--------------------------------

Dear Readers,

I hope you have had a wonderful week and have a lovely weekend.  If you have your own Dear So and So letters, please link up!

Love, Kat
-------------------------------







Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Say Ma-Ma, Say Ma-Ma"

I have been a parent for a little over 8 years now and I clearly remember back to when my oldest daughter was just a squirmy little babe in arms.  So cute and cuddly...and mute.  Well, mute-ish.  Now, not so much.  The girls chatter as they wake up, as they eat their breakfast, as the walk out the door in the morning; I assume they chat all day long at school and when they get home they keep chatting all evening until they finally fall asleep.  LaLa even talks in her sleep.  Probably reciting another awesome factoid that she has learned about the solar system.

As much as I love my children and all the wonderful, humorous and insightful things they have to say, sometimes I just want them to try to be silent for more than 20 sustained seconds.  Barring that, at least take a breath before they start speaking again (I swear they don't breath).

 I am pretty sure they are chatting even in this photo.

(As I am typing this LaLa is standing next to me telling me about a program she saw on CBBC; mind you she is supposed to be in bed.)

My house is always teeming with the noise of two little girls with the gift of gab.  It is no wonder that sometimes at night I sit in complete silence at my laptop and wonder "Why was I so insistent on teaching them how to speak?"

Am I the only one?


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kinda Like a Rampant Lion on a Field of Azure...Sorta

So, my husband has this annoying habit of wanting me to lay in bed and just cuddle with him at ridiculously early hours in the evening so that he can fall asleep.  He has to be up before the butt crack of dawn and apparently my soothing presence helps him fall asleep.  I think it is a load of rubbish, but sometimes I indulge him.

We were laying down on Sunday at around 7:30pm and if you are anyone who knows anything, you would know that The Voice UK is on at this time, so I was not a happy bunny about: 1) laying down in bed with him for no reason 2) forgetting to record The Voice UK 3) do I really need another reason?  I then made the comment "I would like you to know I am here under duress.  We really need a house flag that I can hang upside down during these situations."

He started giggling.

"What is so funny?" I asked.

"It could be a penis.  Then when you were laying in bed with me "under duress" it could be flipped so it pointed up!"

.....and people think I'm the one with jokes.

*If you get the Big Bang Theory reference in this post you get an extra bonus point.

Monday, April 23, 2012

RIP Cheeto Bandito

Some of you may have seen my Facebook status.  Cheeto Bandito was killed last night.  He wandered up onto the road in front of my house and got hit by a car.  My neighbor was kind enough to ring my doorbell this morning to let me know so that my kids didn't discover his little body on the side of the road.

I know a lot of you come to read funny stories here on my blog and I promise to tomorrow I will try to write something funny, but right now I am going to climb into my bed with a cup of tea and cry a bit more.  Today...today is my day to bed sad.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Potato Salad Saga

Gordon Ramsey has nothing on this kitchen nightmare.

So on a Tuesday, as in four days before Saturday, my husband came home and said "So I either signed you up to make potato salad or pasta salad"...understood to be for the Spring Fling that his squadron is hosting on Saturday.  Here I am praying "please let it be pasta salad".  It was POTATO salad.

Here's the difference between potato salad and pasta salad- you don't have to peel pasta.

I went to the grocery store and procured all the ingredients.  After my first batch I realized that I had severely underestimated how much of each ingredient I was going to need to finish all three roasting pan sized trays of potato salad.  In the end I used...

6 kgs of potatoes
60 grams of mayo ( 2 HUGE jars)
2 dozen eggs
2 bottles of sweet relish
half a squeeze bottle of yellow mustard,
and four onions.

There was a lot of potato salad made.

Around 4pm my husband called (while I was making the last batch) (mind you I had been at work since 10 am) and said they might need 10 trays instead of three trays.  To which my response might have been "Yeah do one. You and the horse you rode in on."

And while I hope they have plenty of potato salad...I hope to goodness I never see a potato EVER again in my lifetime.





Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Things I Never Knew I Needed Before I Moved to the UK

1. An electric kettle.
2. Clotted Cream (not very often though or I would be as big as a house)
3. Cornish Pasties (see #2)
4. Sausage Rolls (see #2 and #3)
5. An assortment of tea cups and mugs. I used to drink coffee in the states every once in a while, but I have become a tea-aholic. (See #1)
6. Various scarves in different colors and weights. It isn't the cold or rain. It's the wind. The wind is a killer.
7. Wellies. Or as we call them in the states, rain boots. There really is nothing like sloshing about in the English countryside in a nice pair of rubber boots.
8. Tea. Real tea. Not Lipton or Luizianne.
9. Scones, crumpets, malted bread and tiger bread.
10. A sense of humour. Or humor.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Holidays Were Meant to Be Conquered

Hit play on the video and read along with the music. It works better that way.



So we meet again, School Holidays. So far, I seem to have gotten the best of you. A wonderful visit by my grandparents complete with trips to Scotland






and London,



but I have just checked the weather forecast and it is predicting rain for the rest of the week. Rain! Rain during the school holiday! How very...inconsiderate.

But, I have a plan! I shall foil your attempts at my sanity, School Holidays. I shall have activities planned out the wazoo for my progeny. I will be mentally prepared for the wails of "Mum, I'm bored!" and "I don't want to clean my room!" I have steeled my nerves again spills and messes. I am invincible. HA! You will be conquered!!! Conquered I say!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Oracle (The Man Guest Post)

I swear my Grandmother In Law might be The Oracle from The Matrix. That would be Kat's grandmother. This is why....as told my The Man.....

The Man's Words.....

So I asked LaLa to help me pick up the yard so I could mow. Let me sidetrack from the Oracle for a minute... She was excited to help and she started before I went outside. I was getting dressed in my get-the-yard-mowed outfit when she came inside crying...WTF...the shovel hit her in the face. I told her..."Well I have told you 100 times don't play on the shovel!" It is the same old story...stand on the end..the stick will hit you. In any case, I did my fatherly duty and helped her calm down. So I finished cleaning up the yard and got ready to mow.

Let me tell everyone how this usually goes. I fill the gas tank up on the mower and mow the back yard and MAYBE part of the side of my driveway. I fill the gas tank up again and MAYBE finish the side and front yard. So it usually takes me 2-3 tanks of gas to finish the yard. Not to mention, it had been 2 weeks since I mowed. The grass was about lower shin high. Last time I mowed when the grass was that high, the damn lawnmower died 20 times on me. Keep those facts in mind....2-3 tanks of gas and lawnmower dies 20 times. Here begins the Oracle story....

So the yard is cleaned up and ready to be gotten. I bring out the mower and the gas tank. I think "Damn I don't know if I have enough gas." Well I fill the mower up and get to work. The MFing mower takes 20 pulls to start but it eventually starts. Well, time to get to work. I start mowing the back yard...about 10 minutes into it I look up and see Kat's Granny looking out the window smiling at me. I give her the nod...I am listening to my iPod smoking a cigarette at this point..and continue on my way. I finish the back yard and move to the side of the driveway (this is the point where the mower usually dies) and I finish it. I then move to the outside of my front yard fence...surely the gas will run out now...but it doesn't. I am thinking WTF but I continue into the front yard. All I can think of at this point is "Kat's Granny done blessed my mower." I think about her just smiling out the back window and it reminded me of the Oracle from the Matrix (I don't think the Oracle had magical powers but she knew the future). I finished the whole damn yard without a single refill or the mower dying on me...WTF......Kat's Granny knew the future and blessed my mower. It was awesome. I guarantee the next time I mow without her Granny smiling at me, my mower will take 2-3 refills and die 20 times...Not sure how to explain it, but the best I can come up with is that Kat's Granny is "The Oracle."

Peace out,
Tom

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dear So and So...Spring!!

Dear Weather,

I don't want to tempt fate by saying you have been lovely, but you have. 4 days of sunshine before April? Unheard of! If this is how nice you are in March, I bet it is going to be boiling by July. Here's to a hot summer of sun!

Love, Kat
-----------------------

Dear Sprained Ankle,

Ok, I'm over it. Can we just heal so I can quit with the zombie limp? I would hate for anyone to think I was going to try to eat their brains. Plus, I can't wear any cute shoes! So unfair.

Hobbling Around Still, Kat
-----------------------

Dear Sam "Ninja" Kitty,

I used to think it was Cheeto provoking you into fighting, now I see that it is you taking preemptive measures. How about you stop instigating the fights in the house and we will see if he attacks. If he does, by all means kick his little kitten hind end, but I am sick of hearing you two fighting every morning.

Love, Human Mama Kat
---------------------

Dear Children's Taxi Driver,

HA! I got you to smile this morning. My job here is done.

Made You Laugh, Kat
---------------------------

Dear House Elves,

You have been replaced. Thank goodness for that. This replacement even does windows, which is more than I can say for you miserable lot!

I Hope You Don't Need References, Kat
-----------------------------

Dear Over Active Imagination,

I love you. You make me laugh so hard when I am conscious, but seriously we have been having some mighty odd dreams lately. So what do I need to do to make these stop? I haven't been eating spicy food or watching Ghost Hunters before bed, so I am stuck for ideas.

Tired of Waking Up With A Racing Heart, Kat
---------------------------

Dear Readers,

I hope you have had a wonderful week; I have minus the hobbling and random afternoon migraines. Hey ho! If you have any of your own letters, please don't forget to link up!!

Love, Kat
-----------------------------


Friday, March 16, 2012

Dear So and So...I Got 99 Problems but a Kid Ain't One

Dear Cheeto Bandito (formerly Gingerbread Rogers),

Whilst knocking the cat food bowl off it's perch into the dog food bowl for easier access is an admirable strategy, we the Governing Council of the Bungalow, are issuing a cease and desist notice. Reasons being 1) Elizabeast is getting fat from eating all your cat food. 2) It is messy. 3) I hate cleaning up after you. If you do not stop the following action will be taken: nothing. Lets face it, we're push overs and very rarely follow through with threats.

Love, The Governing Council.
---------------------

Dear Hubby,

I love you, but I really can't wait for you to go back to work on Monday.

Love, Kat
---------------------

Dear Kiddos,

I am so extremely proud of your school reports and the glowing praise I got from your teachers on parents night. You are both thriving and doing brilliantly. La your reading is really taking off and your maths are astoundingly brilliant. KiKi you are doing fabulously in maths and science and your handwriting is getting much better than last term. So proud, really!

Love, Mum
----------------------

Dear Readers,

I hope you have a fantastic weekend. If the rain holds out on Saturday, The Bungalow Crew and I are heading to the seaside. So excited.

If you have your own letters don't forget to link up!! Happy Friday!!

Love, Kat
-------------------


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Promotions Test and Things

My husband, better know as The Man, has this week off of work. He is supposed to be studying for a test to determine if he will be promoted to the next rank in the Air Force. So far there hasn't been much studying going on. There has instead been cleaning, lots of TV watching, and chasing me around the house like a hormonal teenager. Not that I mind that last bit. Too much.

Of course last year when he was studying for this same test Libya kicked off, he got called back into work off of leave and deployed a couple days later. Ah the joys of Air Force life. This resulted in his missing his promotion by 12 points last year. 12 points!!! Soooo close. It was enough to make me swear a little bit. Ok, a lot.

This year I am trying not to get my hopes up. A promotion would be nice, really nice. It is a pay rise and would lead to MAYBE shorter days at work for my husband. Maybe not shorter days but at least maybe a little less crap rolling downhill in his direction at work.

And I know this post is a bit rambling, but as I said, he's been chasing me around the house like a teenager.

I guess I should be thankful that after nearly 10 years of marriage he is still like that...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Short Story That Will Make My Mom Cringe

The other night we had sausages and chips for dinner. It was extremely yummy because the butchers near our house make some mighty fine sausages. About 30 minutes after we had finished dinner, LaLa came back into the kitchen looking for more.

LaLa: "Hey Mum, do we have anymore of those sausages?"
Me: "Umm no, I think your dad ate the last one."
LaLa: "Dammit."

Of course at first my brain didn't process that my 8 year old daughter had just said dammit; albeit a minor swear word, a swear word none the less. Once however my brain engaged and I picked my jaw off the ground I launched into the mandatory "That's a naughty word" admonishment. To which she replied "Oh, alright then." and walked on her merry way.

I can feel the grey hairs looming in my near future.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dear So and So...Brace Yourselves

Dear Edinburgh and York,

The Bungalow Crew and Granny and PaPa will be visiting you during the Easter Holidays. Consider this fair warning.

Love, Kat
-------------------------

Dear Thinking Slimmer,

I have lost nearly 5lbs since I have started listening to the SlimPods. It's amazing. I don't even feel like I am on a "diet". Which I guess I really am not on a "diet", I am just making better choices and listening to my body without thinking about it!

Love, Kat
-------------------------

Dear Formerly Gingerbread Rogers Now Cheeto Bandito,

Are you angry because we thought you were a girl? You seem to have some anger issues. You have got to stop harassing Sam "Ninja" Kitty. He doesn't want to play as much as you. In fact, I am convinced that he hates you. The hissing and swatting at you is not a sign of endearment.

Love, Human Mama Kat
-------------------------

Dear Body,

Get ready, we're gonna do some Zumba today on the Wii. Maybe some Just Dance 2 as well. I plan on making you really sweaty. It's for your own good!

Love, Kat
------------------------

Dear Readers,

I have had a brilliant week and I hope you have too. Enjoy your weekend. If you have your own letters please link up!

Love, Kat
----------------------




Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Boy Named Sue

So, we've had a bit of a SNAFU (in case you don't know what that means it is a US Marine acronym that means Situation Normal-All Effed Up) here at the bungalow. Apparently the kitten that my friend gave me under the pretense that she was a she is actually a he. We've had the kitten since November and yes, I *just* now realized that she is a he. In my defense it isn't exactly like I went poking and prodding down there to examine it's bits, I just took my friend at her word.

Let me set the scene for you- I'm sitting on the sofa in the living room watching my recorded episode of Got To Dance and I looked to the left towards my kitten who was standing up and facing away from me. In my head all of a sudden I was screaming "OMG does she have crown jewels?" and then simultaneously saying "surely not!" Then I got up and did an Internet search for "How to tell a boy cat from a girl cat" and found a youtube video and after watching it sat there shaking in a giggle fit. A boy cat named Gingerbread Rogers--classic.

I then posted about the SNAFU on Facebook...as one does in these situations. To which my dad left a comment asking if I was sure that he had two granddaughters. Very funny, Dad. Then I went to bed thinking about how I was going to explain this one to my kids in the morning.

Lucky for me my kids were only vaguely interested in the fact that their kitten was actually a boy. They were more interested in renaming him. So...Gingerbread Rogers is now Cheeto Bandito.

For the record, I would like to say that 10th grade biology classes apparently did not cover sexing kittens.

Monday, February 27, 2012

That Was Not OK--End Of.

I am not exactly sure how to write this blog post. I have started and deleted it five times already. If you are a friend of mine on Facebook you may have seen a status update that said:

"Let's get something clear. If you are going to say something nasty, racist, bigoted, slanderous, malicious, homophobic or hateful near me or around me or on one of my status updates go ahead and unfriend me now. I don't put up with that mess"

When I wrote that I was absolutely livid about a racist comment that was made on one of my status updates- the one where I said I was really craving Chinese food. I will let you drawn your own conclusions about what was said because I refuse to even entertain the idea of repeating it.

Here's the thing that really bothered me, it was said by a person that I barely know. She was a friend of a friend who I had met a couple of times. I was trying to help her out when she moved to my hometown. I don't know how she got it into her head that saying something like that to me was OK. It actually bothered me to the point that I was up until nearly 2am stewing it over in my brain.

Did she think it was OK because I am from the stereotypically southern USA? Did she think it was OK because I am a white female like her? Did she think it was OK because both of our husbands work in the same sort of job? Did she think it was OK because she used to know some of the same people I know. If she assumed it was because we know the same people, what does that say about those people? On and on I dwelled on all the reasons that she would think it was acceptable. It really really bothered me.

Here's what I came up with in the end. It is not OK. It is not OK for her to think for any reason that it is acceptable to assume that I am like her and would have found her comment amusing. If she had really known me, she would have known that I would find her comment absolutely disgusting. She would also have known that I don't believe in hate. I believe in love. I also believe in deleting horrible comments and nasty people from my life-- that includes my Facebook profile.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dear So and So...Happy Birthday To ME!!

Dear People,

It's my birthday! You can leave gifts on that table over there.

Love, Kat
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Dear Readers,

You know what really stinks? Having to bake cupcakes on your birthday and you don't even get to eat them! Bloody school disco!!

Love, Kat
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Dear Guy Who Runs the Corner Store,

Thanks for the lovely birthday chocolates. I am glad you wife was standing there when you gave them to me or it might have been awkward. Just sayin'. I will try not to eat the lot in one go.

Thanks, Kat
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Dear Local Friends,

I love you lot. Seriously, you are the best friends ever. FB conversations with all of you are a hoot!

Love, Kat

PS- I really don't mind if we can't do girls night out on Sat. But SOON you hear me!
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Dear National Rail,

£580 for 4 adults and 2 children to Scotland in April? Really? I could get everyone to Spain for that and actually be warm. Yeah, I think we're driving.

Love, Kat
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Dear Mom and Dad,

Thanks for the camera tripod and quick release plate (for the tripod). It is exactly what I wanted and I can't wait to try it out!

Love, Kat
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Dear Readers,

I hope you have a lovely day. If you have letters of your own, don't forget to link up!

Love, Kat
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

How Did This Happen?

I never realized how living here in England was going to effect my speech patterns. After being born in America and then living there until I was 27 I figured I was throughly American and I was quite happy with the slight southern twang in my accent. However after having lived here for three years I have found that I have picked up a bit of an English accent. It isn't very predominant. I certainly haven't got as bad as Madonna when she was married to Guy Richie. For the record when she used to do TV interviews I would stand and yell at her through the TV "YOU'RE FROM DETROIT!!!". I just didn't realize how easy it is to find your accent changing when you live here.

I first noticed it when I would say words that had and "ight" at the end of them; such as light. In fact my husband used to point it out and poke a bit of fun at me. I should also ad that my group of best friends here in England are from East London, Manchester, Wisbech, Surrey, and Essex. It is a muddled up little group and so has become my accent and speech patterns over the last three years. Where as my daughter La has a very posh "Queens English" accent (she reminds me of an American actor in a film doing a "proper" English accent), I have been known to say things like "ket-le" instead of kettle and "I nearly snapped me debit card". When did that happen? When did "me" replace "my" in my speech pattern? Mind you I am not complaining here, it's just a comical observation.

I admit, sometimes I purposely use words that are common to the UK instead of American words because it generally makes my life easier. Things can easily get lost in translation. It has even happened here on my blog. However, because of the composition of this area of Suffolk and the large population of Americans stationed here at the air bases, I don't normally have to use UK phrases usually to get my point across. So it just strikes me funny that I now think in an Cockney/Mancunian/Suffolk/Norfolk accent. And sometimes what I am thinking actually comes out of my mouth the way that I said it in my head, which then sends me into fits of giggles.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 Tips For Not Losing Your Mind During Half Term

For some mother's half term is a blissful break from the school run where they can spend their days baking cookies with their children and basking in their maternal glory. For the rest of us it can and usually does turn into some sort of bad 1970's B horror film starring our children as the villains. My plot would include me shrieking in horror as my children of the corn overflow the bathroom sink with potions and bubbles....

Now because I have become an expert at thwarting my little monsters during half term I have decided to share my 5 tips for surviving half term nearly sane.

1. Have at least one activity that takes more than 15 minutes planned for each day. So far this week we have played on Club Penguin together and started researching a project for school that is due after half term. If you plan for doing something for 15 min with the kids most likely it will take at least and hour. That is one hour less for them to tornado your house.

2. Get the kids out of the house for a bit. This doesn't have to be expensive, just a trip down to the local park or to a friend's house for an hour is enough. Just let them not be cooped up. Remember just cold weather does not give kids colds.

3. Rent a movie. 2 hours of blissful peace. Unless your kids won't watch a movie. Then you need to think about trading your kids in for a new model or putting them on Freecycle. I kid of course...

4. Take a break for a bit. Seriously your kids are school aged, they should be able to find something not messy to occupy themselves for half an hour or so. Go enjoy a cup of tea or a couple chapters of a book; they can't make that much trouble on their own for a bit.

5. Do something silly with your kids. You would be amazed at how entertaining having a silly face contest with your kids can be. Doing something completely zany can break up the monotony of half term and make you less likely to completely lose your mind.

oh and wine. ;)


Friday, February 10, 2012

Dear So and So...Rewiring

Dear Readers,

You may have noticed that I have been sparsely blogging lately. Mostly because I need to rewire my brain a bit, also because there has been relatively little drama at the Bungalow. Wouldn't you know it the week after I was Parentdish's Blog Of the Week, I of course can't think of anything to blog about...figures. So, I spent the week reading trashy historical romance novels and going about my daily life (which is so completely boring sometimes that watching paint dry would be more entertaining). All the while I was lamenting in my head my lack of posts, as one does when they are a blogger. Writers block, you are the bane of my very existence.

So then I was sitting around and thinking and talking to myself (like you haven't done that before *scoff*) and decided that I need to do a bit of rewiring. More living, more activities and more blogging (See living your life and more activity equals more blog material. Fairly easy equation), less sitting around and reading trashy romance novels and swearing at the snow on the ground. Live to blog not blog to live. Time to get out of the house, freeze my bootay off, and do a bit of life rewiring.

Love, Kat
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Dear Mr Taxi Cab Driver,

Did you think you were going to get off so easy because I sat there and wrote that note to my readers first? Oh you are soooo wrong Mr. Let's go over correct shuttling children to school procedure. You show up and wait for my kids to get out to your cab. If they do not show up after lets say 2 minutes, you knock on my door. You do not just leave. I have NEVER not told you when my kids will not be in the taxi. I have always given you notice by either calling my friend who lives the stop before me, or told you the day before. This morning was a NIGHTMARE because I had to defrost my car and shovel the snow off of it before I could get it out of my driveway. My kids were late to school for the second time ever. Not acceptable if you know my anal retentive nature about punctuality. Needless to say it's a good thing that there is no school next week and I might have time to reign in my fury before I see you next.

Grrrrr, Mad Mummy Kat
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Dear Readers (Again),

If you have letters of your own, don't forget to link up!

Love, Kat
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Dear So and So...Time Management

Dear Fledgling Business,

Thankfully you are going to plan. My schedule is filling up and I am excited! Yay!

Love, Kat
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Dear Creative Writing Club at Primary School,

I am so glad you kids are taking to this club like ducks to water. I love reading all your amazing stories and ideas. I even love it when you just write a sentence and draw a picture because you are using your imagination and THAT is brilliant. Most of all, I love that I can share my passion with young eager minds. You guys are stars!

Love, Kat
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Dear Weight Watchers,

Sorry, I quit. Too many other commitments. I will be watching what I eat, but I can't afford the time out to go to weigh in. Cest la vie.

Not Quite So Thin, Kat
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Dear Bible Study Friends,

You lot are amazing. Thank you for supporting my new business, understanding the stresses that I am going through and encouraging me. It is such a blessing to have like minded women in my corner.

Love, Kat
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Dear Readers,

If you have your own letters, please link up. Now, I am late for a coffee date, so excuse me as I leave unceremoniously. *Grabs bags and heads out the door*

Love, Kat
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Earring Saga Continues...

LaLa is still walking around with one earring. She won't let me remove it. On Friday we attempted to get the other earring placed, but she went into freak out mode and wouldn't let my friend even get the earring gun near her head. She made the decision that she would like to just take out the first earring, but the ear was still tender so we decided to wait a couple more days before removing it. No big deal. If she doesn't want to attempt the second earring again, I'm not going to push it.

Flash forward to Sunday night.

"Mum, can your friend come back and pierce my other ear?"

I think my head just exploded a bit. Is she having a laugh?

It wouldn't be a big deal if my friend lived locally, but she moved away from the immediate area and now lives about 30-45 min away. So, it isn't like she can just pop round anytime she likes. So, I thought about my answer before I responded to LaLa.

"You know she lives far away and that it is very out of her way to come over here and for you to waste her time. Before I ask her to come all the way over here are you SURE you want the other earring done?"

"I do, but I might freak out again."

"If you're gonna freak out I'm not going to call her. Why don't we wait a few more days before I call her and you have a think about if you are going to sit still and let her do it or if you are going to spaz again."

(Believe me, spaz is the appropriate word.)


"Alright. Maybe if I just cuddle my huggle buddy, then I won't care about the sound of the earring gun."

"Good plan, have a think about it."

So, she is still thinking and still walking around with one earring. I gave my friend a heads up and told her that I would come to her if it would be more convenient. Oh the joys of parenting...