Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I was lucky to be able to spend it with friends.  We had a traditional meal with a gloriously delicious turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, corn, homemade stuffing, and dinner rolls.  We finished it all off with pumpkin pie and apple-pear pie.  We enjoyed each other's company, laughed and watched some great movies: Eight Crazy NightsThe Tale of DespereauxAddams Family Values and last but not least, The Color of Magic.  I take photos of holidays and special occasions because I get sad that Vernon is not there with me, so I bring him with me by taking pictures and talking about him.  Last night was even better because they turned on The Color of Magic, which is a movie based on the Discworld Book series by Terry Pratchett.  Vernon and I have read all of the Rincewind books together and then watched the movie together on one of my trips to England.  But, to be honest, he and I weren't very impressed with the movie and quickly dozed off.  There was so much missing that we got frustrated.  When watching the same movie last night, everyone liked it so very much.  I enjoyed it and happily talked about the Terry Pratchett books with everyone.  It was like Vernon was there and at one moment during the movie I felt emotional and wanted to cry.


The next day is.... you guessed it... Black Friday.  I did this once several years ago.  I stood out in a parking lot with a friend at like 4am and I don't think either of us were really planning on getting anything specific.  We just wanted to have the experience.  I don't think I'll ever do that again, especially with the crazy stories that I hear every year  and the scary videos that I see. I can't imagine what the rest of the world thinks of us crazy Americans fighting each other, stepping on children and grabbing and shoving like a bunch of starving wild dogs over a freshly killed deer carcass. It's pretty sad when you think about it.  Just so you non-Americans know, we all aren't like that. 

Today I did go out on Black Friday, but later in the morning when the psycho craziness had died down; but the parking lots are still full and stores are still busy, but it's all civilized.  I stopped at the Goodwill store and found a couple of beautiful teapots for my reception centerpieces.  I want to find used ones and I don't want them to match.  They only cost $1.50 each. I feel like I got the best deal of Black Friday! I was so excited to find these.  I'm going to go back a few times a month to look for more. These are the only ones I'm going to share because I don't want to spoil all the fun.  So exciting!

Tomorrow I have a second Thanksgiving dinner with my parents so that will be fun.  I was able to have some face time with Vernon today after I came back from my Black Friday shopping and he said to me, "Darling, I'm glad you get to have multiple Thanksgiving meals".  Yeah, me too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's 10pm and I Should Be in Bed

I'm planning a wedding.  I'm going on no sleep because nothing is booked yet.  I'm up til 2am looking for cake ideas, music, centerpiece ideas, dresses, you name it.  Vernon doesn't want to wait until October so we agreed to pay the extra cost in airfare and do it in July.  I'm really excited about becoming his wife, but right now all I can do is cry.  He's not here.  He's been so supportive but he's not here.  I can't IM him now because he's sleeping and works in a few hours.  The reason I'm crying is because I just realized that I can't have the one thing that I have always wanted at my wedding, the thing that I have been building everything else around and that is daffodils.  I just assumed that they were grown in warm places and in green houses and they were available anytime.  I went to a florist and she tried to talk me out of them until I told her how important they were to me.  Every time I go to England in the spring, I leave here ass deep in snow and arrive in England to daffodils everywhere.  If the florist can get them she said they may be super expensive.  We can't do super expensive on anything.  I know this is a stupid thing to be upset about but Vern and I have waited 13 years for this... will be closer to 14 when the date finally gets here.  You would think I'd be able to have the flower that I want.  I thought I'd look for wholesale flowers, that came up empty too.  I want to plan something that reflects us and our personalities and daffodils are it.  Vernon is so tired when he gets home from work and I bombard him with links and questions and prices and  pictures and he doesn't complain and gives me the feedback that I need.  He feels bad he can't be here to help and I'm trying to not be obsessive but I want it to be special for him.

I've also discovered something else.  We can't be together when we buy our wedding rings.  It's like going out to buy a pair of shoes.  I'll go out and pick it out and try it on, and Vern will do the same and then we purchase them.  We are supposed to do that together and we can't.  My ring will have to be put together and Vern will need to try his on for perfect fit.  Next time I see him will be for the wedding.  This entire process has been fun but stressful and emotional.  The LDR veterans who have done this before me... I have no idea how you did it without falling apart.  I think maybe I'm just tired tonight.

It's Thanksgiving this week.  I can't be with my daughter and I can't be with Vernon.  That's got me down as well.  This is one bummer of a post and I apologize but I needed to get this out so I can go to sleep.  I'm so tired.  Thank you for listening and I promise I'll make the next post more upbeat and wedding like.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Summer Vacation 2012: S'mores, Sunken Ships and Monkeys Riding Dogs.

We are nearing the end of our vacation together and I wanted us to spend some time with my parents.  They were thrilled with the news of our engagement.  They were the last ones to tell before we made the news public. 

I had a big surprise planned for both Vern and Yaz, and couldn't wait to see the looks on their faces.  First, we spent the day and a fun evening at the lake. We had a campfire and made s'mores.  This was their first time having s'mores.  I think Vern really liked them... he had two!  While we were there the girls went four wheeling.  It's something Heidi likes to do when we have visitors.  Vernon has fallen in love with the U.P. and its scenery.  He also really came to love the hummingbirds.  He was insistent that there were no hummingbirds in the UK. I thought that was crazy, of course there are hummingbirds in the UK, with all those flowers... and after some research, we found there were no hummingbirds in the UK.  We even came across a story about a guy who tried smuggling a bunch of them wrapped up in his pants... and got caught in customs.  We thought that was amusing... poor little birds. I nearly convinced Vernon to get his mother a hummingbird feeder as a gift. What a sad gift that would have been. LOL  

Dad and Vernon did some bonding.... dad was teaching Vernon how to grill.  I enjoyed watching them.  Vern looked like he was having a great time grilling.

Ok, now for the surprise.  I took them to the rodeo! The rodeo comes to Iron River every year.  It doesn't get more American than that does it?  Everyone enjoyed themselves, from the barrel racing to the bull riding.  The girls were a bit creeped out by the clown running through the stands, but that's pretty normal right?  

At the rodeo, Yasmine asked me a very interesting question.  She asked me why we sing the national anthem so often and also noticed that so many people have the American Flag hanging outside of their homes.  Vern and Yaz were only here for two weeks, and in those two weeks, they had heard our national anthem three times.  At the car races, the water ski show and then at the rodeo.  It has always been normal for me so I never really thought about it. I just told her that we sing the national anthem before all sporting events and that Americans are very proud and patriotic. 

The coolest part of the trip for me was the Shipwreck Tour in Munising.  It was fascinating, interesting and eerie all at the same time.  The boat we were on had glass windows on the bottom and you could see the shipwrecks so clearly.  If you are ever in this area, I highly recommend it.  The views are amazing as well.

Kid Rock made a video up in this area.  When I hear this song I think of Vernon and the fun we all had up here as a family.


I miss you Vernon.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our Summer Vacation 2012: Mining, Skiing, Golfing & Racing

Yes, that is a mannequin dressed in uniform. LOL
Vernon and I saw the largest steam driven pumping engine in the country; the Cornish Pump. This photo really doesn't do it justice.  You feel like a miniature person like in Honey I Shrunk the Kids when  you see the giant pistons.  Yes, you may be thinking, oooh, a giant pump, how... um... boring!  Well, Vernon enjoys mechanical stuff and history and I am interested in the history of Upper Michigan. We stopped at the Cornish Pump museum after having lunch and picking out my ring so it was a day with just the two of us.  The girls were perfectly happy sitting at home on Facebook... and when we came home later that day, they were right where we left them that morning.  In addition to all the cool mining stuff, the museum has another warehouse showing planes, gliders, old cars, military uniforms and other cool military stuff.  Apparently the Ford plant here in Kingsford built the gliders they used in WWII.  We watched a really interesting video of people actually working in the Ford plant here... which is now empty and deserted.  These gliders did not have engines in them, and they carried personnel, vehicles and equipment.  You have to see one to actually appreciate this concept.  The way they were picked up by other planes was really cool too... one plane would pick up 2 or 3 at a time.. you have to see it to believe it.  I found a video below, not the one we saw at the museum but one that shows how cool these gliders can be.

After our history lesson, we picked up my ring, and Yasmine and we went to the Ski-Ters show.  I knew they would enjoy the water skiing. I make sure to go to at least one show every summer.  I should go to more.. they are FREE! The radio station was there giving away door prizes.. I had entered Vernon's name without him knowing and his name was called! He was like, HUH? It was funny! He won a cd of some old country western singer, and it was autographed.  He thought it would be a perfect gift to bring home to his parents. I thought that was a great idea as well.

There is this place just across the Michigan border in Spread Eagle. (Yes, that is the name of the unincorporated community) and there is a strip club in Spread Eagle! Pretty genius... anyway... I have always passed this place called the Bears Den and wondered if it was any good.  Well after living up here for nearly 12 years I finally tried it out.  This place is AWESOME! It's clean, well kept, and the people are nice.  We spent an afternoon playing mini-golf  and Vern kicked all our butts, but I came in second. Woo Hoo!

Next were the go-karts.  Vernon was a speed demon and passing up the girls.  Yasmine was holding her own and zipping around the track, and then there was Heidi... I laughed so hard every time she came around, so very cautious.  Vern and Yaz would try to get around her because they lapped her a few times and Heidi would have this "Oh Shit!" look on her face. It was great.  She drove right in the middle which made it difficult for anyone to get around her. Vernon's face was very serious and he was so focused.  I loved watching him drive, I'm glad I chose to sit on the sidelines to take pictures.

I tried so hard to find a car show for Vern. He loves American cars, especially old American cars.  I looked for weeks on websites, facebook, for anything anywhere in the U.P. or north eastern Wisconsin, I couldn't find anything.  Then I remembered that there was a racetrack in Norway, MI so I looked in to that.  We went to the races one night, and what we thought was only going to be a couple of hours was hours and hours and hours... I never knew these races took so long. UGH!  The girls got sick of it really quick and ended up in the truck, Vern and I got tired after a while and left before it was over, but we had fun while we were there.

This post was a bit longer than I had planned, but I'm hoping you found it interesting or entertaining.  I again tried to fit things into our schedule that were "American", or "Upper Michigan".  I think I managed to succeed at that.

Do you have tourist traps, attractions or museums where you live? Do you ever go to them? I have been driving by the Cornish Pump/WWII Glider museum for 6 years without stopping in.  Don't wait for company or out of town visitors to go... you may learn something about where you live and actually have some fun.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Big News

On the evening of Tuesday, July 31st Vernon proposed.  There will be no story or video.  It was a private, intimate and one of the most amazing moments in our lives.  One that neither of us will ever forget.  He is such a beautiful wonderful man and I am honored to be his future wife.

We went ring shopping the next day at Ericksons in town and they had it ready for me by 5pm that day.  We walked in and I thought it was going to be difficult and stressful, but they made it so much fun. As we looked at the different bands and diamonds, the perfect ring just fell into place. 

We do not have a date set, nor do we have solid plans as to living arrangements but I will keep you posted.  This engagement isn't just about Vernon and I, we have our kids to consider and as you may know, they always come first in our lives... (hence the 13 years of living apart).

I have a Pinterest board with wedding ideas.  My profile is in the "Follow Me" button on the right.  The wedding will be small and private.  We traveled to Copper Harbor, MI one year and loved it so we would like to be married up there.  I love daffodils because they remind me of England; and I would like to wear a raspberry colored dress.  Any suggestions, ideas, or comments will be appreciated.  I'm so excited and can't wait until our big day.

What's even more amazing is that our kids and families are thrilled.  I'm a very lucky girl.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Summer Vacation 2012: It's Fun Being a Yooper!

Yooper:  a common term for residents of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  

It was important to me to show Yasmine what I could about Iron Mountain and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I thought the Iron Mine would be interesting for everyone.  Heidi and I have already been down there, but we surely didn't mind doing it again.  I knew Vern would enjoy it, he loves that kind of stuff.  Of course we had to stick our faces in the wooden cutout... it isn't a true tourist trap without one. (Right Kim M? LOL)

The next day we went out on the Menomonee River with a friend of mine.  He was more than happy to give us a ride in his speed boat and show us some  amazing scenery.    The Menomonee River is the natural border between Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. In the photo to the left, we are facing west.  Wisconsin is on our left and Michigan is on our right.  Pretty cool.  I've been living up here for quite some time, but I've never done this before.  I had a blast! The girls really enjoyed it too. Vern went on and on how beautiful it was, and how awesome the houses on the river were. "If I lived out here I sure wouldn't be inside watching crap on TV, I'd be out here every day."  He also pointed out one of the houses and said that if he were to win the lottery that is the house he would buy and he would move up here.  Keep buying those lottery tickets Honey.  Again, like the relaxing day at the beach, it was nice seeing Vernon sit back, relax and enjoy a beer.  He really deserves it.

Look!  He's wearing his Loving From a Distance "Worth It" t-shirt! We both have one.

After spending an evening out on the river, we went home and had pastys for dinner.  Of course Vernon has had real Cornish pastys, but they wanted to compare ours to the "originals".  Everyone seemed to have enjoyed their dinner.  Considering the drought, the corn from a local farm in northern Wisconsin wasn't too bad.  

I wanted to squeeze in the ski jump at Pine Mountain but I never got around to it. I really wanted Yasmine to see it.  I believe I have already taken Vernon there.  Maybe next time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our Summer Vacation 2012: Pictures, Porketta, Pizza and a Perfect New Swim Suit

Vernon was here for two weeks in July/August.  He brought his daughter and the four of us had a wonderful time.  We started out on day one with family photos!  We were sad that Vernon's son was not able to make it but we really wanted to do this and it seemed like the girls enjoyed it as well.  My friend Nick of NJ Freelance is ridiculously talented and I so badly wanted him to take these photos.  We were so grateful that he said yes!

The first few days they were here it rained.  Here I told him it was going to be sunny and hot and it was just as it was back in England... rainy.  The midwest was experiencing a drought at the time, so it wasn't much rain, and in England they were having severe flooding which was causing mudslides and the like.  Two extreme weather conditions both with devastating results.  Fortunately we didn't suffer from the drought as much as they did in southern Wisconsin.  We just saw it in the produce department with the pitiful looking ears of corn and higher produce prices.

When I go out I like to be prepared, especially when it comes to weather.  Living in the midwest all my life that is the way it goes.  Still raining off and on when they first arrived I thought we'd try "Out to Lunch" in downtown Iron Mountain.  The city sponsors free music entertainment, vendors come by selling food and from 11-2 people can enjoy music while eating their lunch.  We all dressed warm and I even brought an umbrella. The second we got to the concert, the sun came out stronger than I have seen it all summer.  Poor Vernon burned his head and I was hot in my jeans.  Poor Yasmine had long sleeves on.  I blame myself for telling everyone to dress warm.  Heidi and Yaz went to the downtown shops and looked around.  Yaz found some cute souvenirs to take home to friends and family and she got herself a really cute sweatshirt.  Oh... and Vernon had his first Porketta from Crispigna's and he loved it!  They make great Porketta!  I love how he trusts me when I get him to try new foods.  Me... I'm not so adventurous.

Our first weekend together we took the girls to the mall in Appleton, WI.  We had a great time.  We were surprised at how long the girls were gone.  Vernon and I stopped at a few places, but ended up in the food court, hanging out, people watching.  It was nice just hanging out together.  The best part was when we all had lunch at Rocky Rococo's!  It is my most favorite pizza in the entire world.  Some days I actually consider driving the 2.5 hours to Appleton just to have their pizza.  It's so so good.

Vernon enjoyed his pizza, and I believe that Yasmine did too.  It was awesome that they tried out my favorite pizza place. 

Before Vernon and Yasmine arrived I had purchased the most amazing swim suit.  I had not bought a swim suit in probably over 10 years.  I really wanted something that would support my chest and be comfortable.  Well, after searching and searching which seemed like for months, I found Linda the Bra Lady who specializes in garments for women blessed in the "chestial region". I found a beautiful suit top. I found a matching skirt bottom on another site. Vernon loves it and I got many compliments.  Vern and I went to the beach at Lake Antoine here in Iron Mountain.  It's a nice family oriented beach and park and it was not crowded at all.  We had a relaxing quiet afternoon.

We had a great start to our visit together and to Yasmine's first time out of the UK.  It was really important to me that I show her as much as possible, focusing on what we have and do here in the beautiful Upper Peninsula.  

Monday, July 23, 2012


Vern will be here with his daughter tomorrow night.  I'm very excited and very stressed because I have so much to do yet.  I hate that I'm a procrastinator but I usually get done what I need to get done.  I did a countdown on my personal facebook page.  My friends and family that follow our relationship have been very excited for me which is really nice.  I posted a number photo or graphic that I pulled from Google Images every day.  I started on day 42 which is a number with a very important meaning to us.  It really feels like I just posted number 42 yesterday.  

I have an itinerary posted on TripIt so Vernon can see what I'm adding and provide feedback and input.  I live in a pretty cool place, although all I seem to do is complain about where I live in the winter time, which lasts from October to May.  But, between June and September, I really do like it up here.  We will do things that are very American and very north woods. We may even throw a bit of Yooper in there to make it even more fun.  Lots of family time is a must, which will include games, cooking, Wii, the beach (need to show these Brits that even though we are land locked, we still have beaches) and of course the free activities around town like concerts at the park.  I think we will have a great time. 

I apologize it has been so long since my last post. I will blame it on work and school.  I really enjoy blogging and reading and interacting with my fellow bloggers so I'm not really sure why I would put that off for so long. 

If you are in a Long Distance Relationship, when are you planning on seeing him/her again?  Otherwise, if you are one of the lucky ones who has ended the distance or never had distance between you in the first place, do you have vacation plans in the works? 

We will be taking lots of pics and video so there will be more for me to post after the visit. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Cultural Moment

I wanted Vernon to watch a video that I saw for the first time today. He stopped 1 minute into it....

Me: "Why did you stop the video? I want you to watch the whole video."

Vern: "I don't want to watch any more."

Me: "Why?"


Me: [laughing uncontrollably]........................................ [still laughing uncontrollably]

It's moments like this I love that he is English and I am American. We will forever keep each other entertained.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm a Lucky Girl

Tonight's communications class discussion was "gender".  We divided the class into men and women and we asked each other questions about the opposite sex.  I couldn't think of any questions.  Personally, I don't think men are that complicated.  I truly believe the words of Jeff Foxworthy when he reveals the answer to the big question, "What are men thinking?" to which the answer is "I want a beer and I want to see something naked."  I found the women to have negative feelings toward men, that they are for the  most part insensitive, selfish, forgetful, and thoughtless.  The girls in my class had all sorts of questions for the guys, questions that I thought were pretty easy.   Then I realized... these questions are easy to me because the man that I am in love with doesn't do any of this stuff. I just sat back, and listened.

Question 1. Why do men love video games so much?
The guys couldn't even really answer that one. The instructor helped them along by suggesting maybe it was because it was a challenge or competitive and the guys thought that was pretty accurate. Otherwise they were just saying, "cause they're just fun".  Vern appreciates a good video game, but he wont sit there for hours. He doesn't like to be stationary, he's more versatile in that he will play video games, read, cook, watch a good movie, or chat with me.  If anything causes him to sit for a long period of time it is because he is working on one of his computers. He gets caught up with it, wants to fix what he is working on and on occasion loses track of the time.

Question 2.  Why do men not throw away torn underwear or socks?
The guys thought this was a pretty funny question.  They both said they replace their undergarments when needed, but sometimes something can have a special meaning or memories attached to it which one guy stated.  I don't think Vernon has worn out socks or undies, he's too tidy of a person, but if he does, it's simply because he doesn't think to pick any up.  He takes pretty good care of himself for a single guy.

Question 3.  Why is it the mother's job to change poopy diapers?
My thought on that is what kind of guy are you with that can't even change his own baby's diaper?  We weren't able to get to this question, but then I don't think any of the guys in the class have kids.  Vernon was the type of dad who changed his kids and didn't complain.

Question 4.  Why do men get to go to camp for 2 weeks and the women can't take off when they want to?  
My thought again is what kind of guy are you with that wont let you go anywhere?  I find this to be very sad.  I know for a fact that if I were physically with Vernon, and I wanted to visit a friend or go on a girls weekend or whatever, he'd not only tell me to have fun, he'd make sure I had enough money.  I don't understand couples that get all bent out of shape over stuff like that.  Couples should do things as couples AND as individuals.  I honestly feel like there is something wrong with a relationship if one does not like the other to do things without them, ever.

Question 5. The king of all the questions asked. Why do men forget birthdays, valentines day, anniversaries but they remember opening day for gun season and muskie fishing?
This question was asked and one of the guys said, "Oh thanks for reminding me, I forgot about Valentine's Day." That was funny! Then his answer was "Because it's just like any other day. You women are special to us every day, all the time. We love you just the same." As he smiled his adorable smile.  I thought that was a good answer. I do think that men get the short end of the stick when it comes to these days.  But.... I will say that in the 12 years I have been with Vernon, I have been spoiled and treated like a princess for all of my birthdays and Valentine's Days since.  I haven't always been able to send him something because of money, but he has always managed to send me something whether it be a single rose in a vase or a stereo system I had my eye on. He always makes me feel special. If you want to see what I got last year, check out my blog post Happy Valentine's Day to Me.

Before I met Vernon, I was alone. Most single folks who are alone hate Valentine's Day and curse it. I LOVED it! I sent Valentines to my friends, got my daughter Valentine themed clothes and gifts, gave out heart shaped candy, wore red or pink and just really enjoyed the day.  I liked to hear about my friends who got spoiled by their husbands or boyfriends. It made me happy.  Now I'm the one getting spoiled, but then he makes me feel special each and every day.  He loves me, what more could a girl want?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday and Other American Traditions

Photo taken by my cousin Holly while enjoying the festivities in Indianapolis.

Sometimes I wonder that if I were in England, what traditions would I bring with me as an American. Every family has their own traditions but overall, Americans have the same traditions when it comes to holidays and certain times of the year. Why am I picking American traditions as a topic today? It is the Super Bowl today! Although my team (Chicago Bears) is not in the Super Bowl this year, it is still a day I look forward to every year. It is awesome when your team makes it to the Super Bowl. The last time the Bears were in the Super Bowl was 2007 and they lost against the Indianapolis Colts. I DO remember the year they won the Super Bowl. It was 1985. I miss those days!

Chicago Bears - Superbowl Shuffle by jpdc11

So how would I bring the Super Bowl to England? Well first unfortunately we would have to record the game because it wouldn't start until 11pm. Then we would probably have the party the following week. I would invite Vernon's family, our friends, and encourage the kids to stick around too. I would make beer brats and hamburgers and have all the snacks anyone could want like cheese, sausage and crackers.. and not English sausage, it would be summer sausage. Not sure if they have that out there or not... I would definitely have to plan ahead to make sure I had all the foods necessary to make this a true Super Bowl experience. Then there is the football pool. I am participating in my first office pool so I'm anxious to see how that turns out. My next favorite thing about the Super Bowl are the COMMERCIALS! My most favorite commercial aired last year.

The halftime show entertainment can be great, or it can really suck, or it can involve a wardrobe malfunction that people will talk about for years to come.

Another American tradition which is also a holiday is Thanksgiving. I really want to show Vernon and his family what I love so much about Thanksgiving. Getting together with family, turkey, mashed potatoes, and all the extras with dessert featuring pumpkin pie! There is also the traditional Thanksgiving Day football game. It would be such a wonderful day and I would really enjoy cooking a traditional American Thanksgiving meal for my English family.

Another tradition / holiday would be the 4th of July. I never really got into this holiday because fireworks scare me and annoy the crap out of me when I'm trying to sleep at 1am, but I do like the picnics and all the stars and stripes.  Maybe that week we'd have an American Day and go out that weekend for a picnic or something. That would be fun. This past 4th I was in a parade and I admit to having fun.

Well, the game will be starting in another hour so I'm going to finish up this post and get out my football pool sheet to see if I win any money. I have some good numbers so we'll see how I do.

Wish me luck!