Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm gonna get you, doggie...(Day 63)

We so lucked out that fateful Thanksgiving eve when we adopted Veli. Our little Bosnian street pup has the most fantastic temperment. Although she's knocked me to my knees on countless occasions, she's always so careful with Ollie.

Ol wrestling away Vel's blue teddy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

To all outward appearances. (Day 62)

We're fine. Not panicked. Not stressed.

At least he's not stressed.
He'll never remember England, which makes me sad, as I have so many memories.

When I was first pregnant and could barely make it out of bed, I would take the dog for her morning walk around this park.

When I entered my blissful second trimester, I would take the dog for more leisurely strolls. In the park. In the fields...I'd tuck my ipod into some part of my expanding waistline and tune into a Suspense podcast or Norah Jones or even Russell Brand.

You heard me. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Not seeing these places again...That's hard. I felt the same way about leaving Bosnia, the mountains, and my morning walks around Bentbasa. They were such a part of my life, gave me structure when I had none, gave me routine and beauty. Apart from dear M., I will miss all of this the most.
Here's to finding something new and special.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yesterday this happened. (Day 61)

My "Surprise!" goodbye party at work.

You know. There's never a guarantee with jobs. That you'll like it. That the people will be lovely and sane. That the work will be interesting.

This was a good one, though.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

That strange English weather. (Day 59)

It was sunny.

It was windy.

It was rainy.

It looked like snow.

And a tree splintered in the park.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I like this wine. (Day 58)

And I'm still not moving.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Stress Baking. (Day 57)

At least it was healthy. Ish.

I could have done a little sorting, a little spring cleaning, a little prep work for the move, but I have decided to believe that I am NOT moving in three weeks. Nope. No way. I'm going to sit on this couch, watch CBeebies, and look for healthy Baby Momma muffin recipes for the Baby and his Momma.

Which brings me to this recipe for Morning Glory Muffins, with my substitutions:

2 cups all-purpose flour I used wholemeal
1 1/4 cups white sugar I cut this substantially, 1/2-3/4 cup
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins Didn't have, used dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 apple - peeled, cored and shredded
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil Natural applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the carrot, raisins, nuts, coconut, and apple.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into the carrot/flour mixture, just until moistened. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

They weren't bad. I thought they were delish with a bit of butter, and Ol liked them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I wouldn't normally post twice in one day, but the most terrible, horrible thing happened. The single-most soul destroying baby body emission that was ever emitted...

In my bedroom.
On my rug.
On my shoes and on two separate cans of deodorant.
On my person. And his person.

Befoulment. Befouler! I cast thee out baby butt.

What do I do? I allow the baby to buff his little neked body around the bedroom while I prepare the bath. This is my crime. I turn around and there is...befoulment everywhere. Everywhere. After intensive cleaning, there is still the spotty brown mustard evidence and two cans of deodorant that need replacing.

Baby thy name is Befouler.

How to Hammam (Day 56)

There are drawbacks to travelling with a toddler. The amount of time I could have spent lounging around Cogalaglu Hammam was seriously curtailed by the image of my husband wrangling Ol in the hammam's cafe. Speedy though it was, I was so SO glad I went. And please don't let your fear of nudity prevent you from going. It's not a stick insect convention. There are ladies of all shapes and sizes, and everyone does their own thing.

First. Do your research. I think if you wanted a local's experience, you wouldn't go to the hammams advertised to the tourists. (Too expensive for the locals; tourists are their primary stock and trade.) That said, if you want to see some of Istanbul's truly beautiful hammams, you need to suck it up and pay the 60-80 odd Lira. I figured if I was going to spend THAT much, I wanted to go to the cathedral of hammams. Be blown away by some architecture while soaking up the steam. Like a gift from the spa gods, the latest issue of Cornucopia was all about Istanbul's most beautiful hammams. The hotel was probably most convenient to Galatasaray, but as the woman's section was an add-on in 1965, I thought, "Eh." It was a toss-up between Cemberlitas and Cogalaglu, and since the Lonely Planet guide liked Cogalaglu a little better, I went there.

Finding it was another matter. Sheesh. The cabbie was not sure where it was and hubby and I must have taken half a dozen or so side streets before finding the sign. (And, btw, you do not need to make an appointment if you're going to one of the more tourist-y hammams. The local ones may be another matter, especially if you want an assisted bathing experience.)

When you walk in, you choose the service you want. You can go cheap and bring your own shampoo and soap, but if you're going to a Turkish hammam you should try the assisted bathing service. Frankly, if I had the time, I would have gone the full monty and had the massage, but, you know, antsy toddler in tow. So. Paid my cash and was shown to a cubicle to change. You place your shoes outside and go inside to, well, do your thing. There's a towel you wrap around yourself, and I stripped fully--no undies.

You have to wear the wooden clogs provided otherwise you may slip on the wet marble. You take the key to your cubicle with you and follow the bath attendant into the steam room to wait for your bather. You can go over to the fountains and poor warm water over yourself or lay on the hot marble and look at the ceiling. What a view, huh?

After about fifteen/twenty minutes of relaxation, your bather lady comes in with the shampoo, soap, bathing mitt and such. She will lead you over to the fountain, sit you down, and pour warm water over you. She will then lead you back to the marble, have you lay down, and scrub the bejesus out of you. After the scrubbing, she will lead you back to the fountain, pour warm water over you again and wash your hair if you choose. And, if you're lucky, she may massage your head and face a little. Then, voila! Your finished. At this point, she led me from the room, took away my wet bath towel and re-wrapped me in a new one. Now, I have to say the one piece of this process I was not totally sure about was the tipping. I mean, you can't take your paper money into a hot steamy room, right? (I did tip after I changed and gave the money to the senior bath attendant, but I thought my bather lady looked a little disappointed when I initially clogged away.) Anyway.

I slowly made my way back to my room, where I could have rested on the bed inside and taken a little nap, but, again, toddler, husband, no time. Just as I opened my door, one of the bath attendant's handed me a goody bag and asked whether I wanted a coffee or tea. Again, toddler, husband, no time. I changed, dried my hair, and made my way to the hammam's cafe. An hour all in all, and that was me moving speedily along. What a fab experience.

And what was inside my goody bag, I hear you asking? Underwear. Clean underwear. They think of everything.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Istanbul was cool... (Day 55)

...but I'm way too tired to do it justice. Our impending transatlantic move is driving me doolally. Too much to do; too little time. Anyway. I leave you this image of the Basilica Cistern and the upside down Medusa. I have to say. This may have been my favorite sightseeing spot. Felt a little like Indiana Jones, except I had to pay admissions and I wasn't being chased by a giant boulder.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We interupt our regularly scheduled programming for...


Going to Turkey next week so no blogging guarantee!

Ollie, your second 1st bday party. (Day 48)

NCT Group, Little Paxton Scout's Hut

Friday, March 13, 2009

Those wacky English...(Day 47)

Note the red hair and the new funky glasses!

It's Red Nose Day!

I know, right.


These are a reserved people, and they need a day to break loose. Red Nose Day kinda gives them that permission.

And so I was hosed down with red hairspray, had some red nose stickers slapped on my personal bits, and was threatened with "salsa-cizing" at lunch. (I hid in my office instead.)

I do really like the whole charity/costume thing. Think we can do this in the States? Hmm? It's fu-un.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Get that branch (Day 46)

She was just doggedly determined. Get it? "Doggedly?" She's a dog! Oh my, funny stuff.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

St. Neots Museum (Day 45)

Alas, stock photo, as, duh, forgot my camera. Wouldn't you know? And there was a mammoth femur on display and all! I so-ooo wanted to snap that baby. A most decent local museum.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Remembrance Day Poppies (Day 44)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Alas, Woolworths...(Day 43)

I have a very nice memory of eating at a Woolworths' lunch counter in South Carolina, but that's about all the memories I have about Woolworths in the States.

Here, though... :-(

I will miss our local Woolworths. I often forget how often I used it until I need something like a roll of duct tape, AA batteries, The Guardian, baby socks...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Little Barford, Bedfordshire (Day 42)

What an eerie little village. Would loved to have explored more and would for the pounding, driving rain. Followed by hail and sleet. (Note Hubby and Baby sheltering in church doorway like hobos.)

I know it's blurry, and you can barely see it in the background. But. What a cool (abandoned)manor house. After hubby ran crying for the car--"Oh, the rain, wah!"--I sprinted with the dog up to the perimeter, only to find that it was pretty well gated. Shame. A friend of mine had a chance to see it before security measures were put into place, and, apparently, it's chock-a-block with old furniture.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Four little penguins all in a row...(Day 41)

A massive blowout necessitated a full-out penguin wash. That's right. The whole penguin army was dumped into the washing machine. The two in the middle have been through so many cycles, their necks are barely attached to their bodies and it looks like one has cataracts.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Satisfying. (Day 40)

Enjoyed a very nice Indian take-away with Phil and Melissa. I think we may be ten pounds heavier now. Finally tried Gulab Jamin. It tastes like...pancakes! Pancakes in lots and lots of syrup.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Pens are delicious...(Day 39)

(Maybe not so nutritious. But. Eh.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I be stylin' (Day 38)

Check out my new frames, dudes.

I think waiting three years for new specs is fair. And since I can't get the dirty mucky goop out from my wire rim glasses, I think others will appreciate my new purchase as well.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

What my lazy ass made for dinner tonight....(Day 37)

Remember that quorn I bought a few days ago in a fit of wild experimental passion?

Ate it.

Actually. Wasn't bad. And I will buy it again.

You know what else I ate? This stuff.

There wasn't even a number to tell me how much time to cook it. I guessed 6 minutes. I think I guessed wrong.

I shan't be buying this again. Though, really, it wasn't bad. Just mushy, and we'll mark that down to operator error.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Oh, Edward Monkton, what did I ever do for cards before you came along? (Day 36)

I love shopping for cards, and I swear this man has a card for every occasion. Lunacy? Female chocoholics and shoe lovers? Ninjas? Check, check...and check.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

What do YOU do when your husband's away? (Day 35)

I go out and treat myself to...

A scrapbook
1/2 priced Christmas cards
(Wanna party?)