A Very Public Thank You

My mum and step dad left today after being here for 16 days.  They arrived a few days after Adam’s birth.

Their arrival was fraught with some anxiety, for me and for mum.  We have had a less than perfect relationship over the years.  A relationship that, at times, consisted of nothing but shouting and swearing and slamming of doors.  A relationship of worry and anxiety and my mental illness and her anxiety on top of it.  It was pretty horrid, actually.

So we were both anxious about her being in my space, with my husband and my brand new baby for 16 days.  And I had sent her an email to that effect before she arrived, reserving the right to send her to a hotel if it got to be too much.  And she reserved that right, right back.

Instead, when she left this morning, we were both crying.  So sad to have her leaving.  She was sad to be leaving Adam, for sure, as they definitely bonded over the last 16 days.  But also sad to be leaving me.  The daughter I think she finally saw as a competent grown up with a great marriage and the best baby in the world.

So I wanted to say thank you.  Thank you mum for: –

  • Walking into my flat and immediately cleaning the outside of my toaster and letting me tease you for it for the next 16 days (who cleans the outside of the toaster???).
  • Cleaning both of my bathrooms.  Twice.
  • Doing the laundry.  Over and over.
  • Creating a great changing pad for Adam.
  • Buying two adorable Winnie the Pooh prints for his room.
  • Sacrificing a nights sleep so Simon and I could both get one good night.
  • Taking me to see the Vagina Monologues.
  • Respecting my wishes when I asked you to stop saying how good it was for me to not be able to breast feed, due to my lack of exhaustion.  It still hurts, and you respected that.
  • Dragging Step Dad out of the flat when you knew Simon and I needed some space.
  • Buying lots of wine.
  • Telling me that you are proud of me, proud of my partnership with my husband, and how much you adore my son.

I love you mum.  Can’t wait to see you again.

Wow, I Did Lots Today!

Haircut at 9.

Boots the Chemist, Waterstone’s Books, Marks and Spencer’s for food, Sawyers for other food, Smithfield Market for a poke around, Debenhem’s for frying pan and sheets, Tesco for yet more food.  And then home.

I was so tired, I took a 3 hour nap this afternoon and am nearly ready for bed now at 10 to 9.

In other news..


Not A Good Weekend

My Aunt died Saturday night.  She had MS and caught pneumonia and she never recovered from it.  She died in her daughter’s arms.

I am really wrecked.  Not just because I am sad to lose her but because I can’t be with my family.  Her funeral is tomorrow in Boston and there is just no way, in time or money, I can afford to go.

This is the mother of the cousin who came to visit this past summer.  We are very close.  And I can’t even imagine how much she’s hurting right now.  And I want to be there.  And I can’t be.

So the weekend sucked.  I’m exhausted.  And taking the day off work.

Safely Back Home

Had a lovely visit and a very nice Christmas.  Mostly received things to make a pregnant woman pretty, like lotions and a voucher for Top Shop, who sells maternity clothes, as well as baby things.

Still have a week off until I go back to work, so going to try to start organizing the baby’s room a bit.  In-laws are giving us a rocking chair, I am so pleased.  They bought it when MIL was pregnant with Simon and it was an antique then!  Now 35ish years later, it is still in great shape, very comfortable.  And considering all of the rocking chairs I’ve seen are at least £400?  Very very happy to get it!  They will be bringing it down with them in the next month or so.

GP wanted me to try to go off my trazodone, only now I’m not sleeping again, so I don’t think it will work.  She is concerened that the baby will be born addicted to it.  I can see her concern, but I need to sleep!  I think I’ll give it a few more nights and see what happens.  I know it is the trazodone because I had actually started to sleep like a normal person before I started stepping off of it!

Pregnancy Dreams

I have had two now where the baby was a boy.

The one last night started out normal enough, with boy baby.  Then there was this nurse who thought there was something odd going on at the hospital so she went to speak to the head of the hospital about it, but before she could the building he was in blew up.  My brother turned out to be the guy investigating the explosion.  Which is very strange because my brother works in marketing.  Not law enforcement.  I do actually have a brother who used to work in law enforcement, but it wasn’t that brother in the dream.

My psyche is odd.

On and I’m 11 weeks today.

Our Trip – 13th September 2008 and 14th September 2008

So the next day was very lazy.  Lunch in the village, naps.  Time by the pool.  Just a very lazy day with not much happening.

That night there was another wedding having their reception at the restaurant of the villa, so we ordered masses of pizza and ate on the veranda.  It was fun.  And full of wine!

On Sunday we all packed up and headed home.  Simon and I have an uneventful trip back, with the exception of the delay from Gatwick to Belfast.  I think we arrived home about 12:30 or 1am.  Not fun!

As I’ve said before, immigration always causes me stress, since I have to carry two passports (my visa is in my old one and doesn’t need to be moved).  But I always approach the desk with both passports open to the right page.  On Sunday, the immigration official was impressed with my organisation!

So safely home.  Back to work today.  Back to regular life.

Now if I could just get back to Tuscany.  Like today…

Our Trip – 12th September 2008 – The Wedding Day!!!

On Friday I once again woke up at OMG!Early!  So I got to spend some more time with baby Bela and his mum and dad.

In Italy you have to be married in a civil ceremony before you get married any other way.  Anna and Jeremy had asked that only the family come to that part, so the 10 of us who were family piled into cars to go to the Civic Building in Carmignano.  We were a bit early, so we took some pictures.  Anna was wearing a very pretty red dress and Jeremy suit pants but no jacket.  The rest of us were neat, but hardly dressed up.

Anna’s wedding planner met us there, as she was also acting as translator, although Anna did live in Italy for about 7 years and still speaks fairly fluent Italian.  The registrar (or whatever they call her there!) arrived and we all gathered for the ceremony.

The location of the ceremony was a bit odd, as it was in the entrance hall of the building, so people kept wandering through, including a police officer with his gun and several men in those reflective vests!  It was a bit like witnessing a wedding in a bus station.

After about 20 minutes of various legal stuff, Anna and Jeremy were officially Husband and Wife!

We then got stuck waiting for about 20 minutes as two trucks had pulled into the little car park in front of the civil building, blocking us in, and no one could find the drivers!  We finally left to head back to the Villa to have lunch and start getting ready for the rest of the wedding, which was to start at 4:30.

We once again piled food on the picnic tables on the veranda and dug in.  Then headed up to shower and change for the wedding.

Problem.  No running water in the villa! None! Not a drop!  Uh oh…

Carol, one of Anna’s bridesmaids, is Italian, so she went to try to find out what the situation was with the water.  It turned out that there were road works below the Villa and that the Villa didn’t have a big enough water tank, so the tank had been drained with the Villa being full of guests.  Maybe we’d have water by 4.  With the wedding set to start at 4:30.

Carol and Simon went to the kitchen and acquired a case of bottled water, so we could all at least sponge off and so that the bridesmaids could get their hair washed.  Our bottle was full of fizzy water, which was slightly strange to wash with, and Simon said was *very* strange to shave with!

As I was getting dressed, Anna knocked on our door and asked me to run over to her parent’s room to get some of her make up.  I threw on my dress and dashed over there.  As I was coming back, guests were beginning to arrive, with my make up half done and no jewelery on, I sort of waved as I dashed back upstairs!

Just as I put on the finishing touches, Woosh! Water.  At 4:05.  Simon stripped off the bits of his suit he had already put on and dashed to take a shower.

We finished getting dressed and headed down to say hello to everyone.  About 50 people made the trip to Tuscany for Anna and Jeremy, which I thought was very nice.

At 4:30ish, Anna’s bridesmaids appeared, followed by Anna and Tom, her father.  She was gorgeous in an ivory coloured strapless fishtail dress with lots of tulle, her hair pinned up with curls escaping.

The ceremony was pretty much a repeat of the one that morning, with the addition of two readings by Jeremy’s sisters, Dakota and Jessica, and this poem read by Simon and me:


Author: Thomas Moore

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear;
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose.

I found out later that it is actually a very old song, Scottish maybe, which a friend of Tom and Grace’s sang to me at the reception!  I read the first stanza and Simon the second.  Anna and Jeremy’s theme was sunflowers, so it was very appropriate!

After that Anna and Jeremy were married and we headed to party!

We started the party out by the pool with champagne and nibbles.  Then we all headed over to the tables set up on the veranda and the speeches began.  Tom, as always, made a wonderful speach, then Jeremy, then Chris then Helen.  And then we began eating: –

First course – antipasto by the pool

Second course – risotto with courgette

Third course – pasta with boar (you read that right, boar.  Wild boar, in fact.  Jeremy claimed he had hunted it down the day before)

Fourth course – Sea bass

Fifth course – Lemon sherbet mixed with champagne

Sixth course – beef with mozzarella

All served with red and white wine, which they produce and bottle at their own winery on site.

During dinner, as a thank you for doing the reading, Anna and Jeremy presented us with this. In black.  It is waaaaaaaaaay cool!  We shot a bit of video and I’ll try to get it up on YouTube in the next few days!

We then moved back to the pool for more champagne, wedding cake and dancing.  Jeremy and Anna kicked us off with their dance to ‘Wonderful World.’  They took lessons and everything!  Here is You Tube version of it, but you have to kinda turn your head!

After that, Anna danced with Tom and Jeremy with his mom.  And the bridesmaids and groomsmen danced.  Then we all rocked out!

The dancing ended about midnight, since it was outside there were noise ordinances to consider!

After that, we wished them well again and fell into bed!

Tomorrow – 13th September 2008 A day to recover!!!

Our Trip – 11th Sept 2008, A day in the lap of luxury…

Let me start this post with the note that it never occurred to me that it was 911 on this day.  I don’t think anyone mentioned it once, although there were plenty of Americans (Jeremy is half American, half British) at the wedding.  In some ways I think this is a good thing, a sign of healing.

On to the story…

Woke up at my usual OMG!Early time on Thursday despite the late night.  Snuck out of our room and headed to the veranda at the front of the Villa.  I had forgotten my journal, but had picked up a cheap notebook at Gatwick and wrote for awhile, then read.

I was joined in about an hour by Chris and Dominique and their son, Bela, who is four months old, so also gets up at OMG!Early.  We had a lovely chat and played with the baby.  After awhile they went down to the pool, but I thought it was too cold.

At 8:30 breakfast is served so I had a wonderful croissant and some excellent coffee, joined by many others over the course of the morning.  I then headed up stairs and put on my bathing suit, as the sun had risen and it had gotten very hot.

The rest of the day was spent by the pool, lazying about, swimming, layering on the sun block.  It was a wonderfully quiet day.

Jeremy, Simon, Paul and I think Chris then headed to town and picked up bread and cheese and salami and olives and other wonderful things for lunch.  We piled it all on one of the picnic tables and dug in!

Jeremy’s dad, mom and one of his sisters arrived and we all socialized and started drinking some wine, again down by the pool.  It was at some point during the day that I realized that our camera was not working correctly.  We finally came to the conclusion that there was just too much sun and no way to change the shutter speed or aperture on the cheap thing we own, so we gave up!!

That night we were joined for dinner by about 10 more people, for a total of about 25 people at dinner.  Another long lovely meal and off to bed.

Tomorrow – 12th September The Wedding Day!!!

Our Trip – 10th Sept 2008, Travel Day…

So we left for Tuscany OMG!Early on Wednesday 10th September 2008.  Our taxi picked us up at 6:30am!

We met up with Simon’s Parents at Belfast International Airport and all flew to London Gatwick.  We then had about 5 hours at Gatwick, which is a good thing because Simon’s mum has mobility issues and we didn’t need to rush, but also a bad thing as Easy Jet does not: –

A.) check bags through to your final destination, you have to collect them and re-check in; and

B.) Allow you to check in earlier than about 2 hours before your flight time.

So there we were in Gatwick, no chairs anywhere, all of our luggage with us (including my Mother in Law’s hat and her special ‘wedding’ stick!), for about 1.5 hours.  We did manage to find seats in the ‘Special Access’ area (its helpful at times to have a Mother In Law who needs a stick!).

We eventually were able to check in for the flight from Tuscany, and Simon and I left the ‘rents to find their own way and took off to find some lunch!

Gatwick actually has a fairly nice waiting area.  We had lunch in a little restaurant, a real sit down, waiter bring you food lunch!  It was rather good.  I had a club sandwich and Simon had a burger.

We then wandered a bit and did some shopping, including mosquito spray as Simon had received a text message from his sister when we got off the Belfast – London flight telling us we’d need it!  So we purchased some mosquito spray!

I have been in many airports over the years, both pre and post 911, and I must say, as I predicted 7 years ago, the security measures they have enacted since both that and the liquid bombs incident have worked themselves out fine.  At Belfast you could buy little plastic bags for liquids from vending machines for about £1, I think.  At Gatwick they give them away for free all through the airport.

Anyway, we eventually got on the flight to Pisa airport.  And then we were in Tuscany!

I am always a little nervous going through immigration any where other than the US.  My visa situation is a little complicated and requires my old and my new passport and blah blah blah.  So I was amazed when we went through immigration at Pisa.  First of all, all passengers together, no EU/non EU split.  Second of all, the woman took it, barely glanced at it and sent me on my way.  No questions.  Nothing.  I am, however, *very* disappointed that her stamp was running out of ink and you can barely read the damn thing! My first non-English visa and I can’t read it!!!

Anna met us at the Airport, which was very handy as the Villa was a bit hard to find.  We all piled into the car and off we went!

We stayed at Agriturismo La Borriana, along with all of the family, the wedding party and a few additional guests.  We took over the whole place for the 5 days we were there!

Simon and I were in the Gheppio room, which is Kestral in Italian.  All of the rooms, as you can see on the website, are named for birds or animals!

If you look here, our window was the very last one on the upper floor on the right.  We were on the corner and our view was right over the vineyards.

That first afternoon we spent sitting around the pool, drinking wine and getting caught up and meeting the people who were already there.  I am terrible at remembering who arrived when, but there were about 8 of us the first night for dinner!

I am not going to detail every meal we had, suffice it to say they were *all* excellent.  Many courses with much wine and talk and laughter.  And I will state here, for the record, I didn’t gain an ounce.  Must be the mountain air!!

After a very long dinner (we finished eating at about 11:30 or midnight!) we headed off to bed.

Tomorrow – 11th Sept 2008, A day in the lap of luxury…

When My Cousin Was Here Two Weeks Ago

We found this picture:


The adult is my uncle and the rest are me and my cousins (I’m the one in pink with her hands in her mouth on my uncle’s lap.  I was about 2 years old).  I’ve emailed it around to them all and we are having a debate…what makes this such a great picture?  Is it: –

  1. My uncle’s shirt?
  2. The fact that my uncle’s shirt matches the wallpaper?
  3. The look on my brother’s face (he’s the one in yellow at the end)?
  4. All of the above?

My cousin who was here isn’t actually in the picture.  The littest person in the picture is her big brother, she wasn’t born yet!

So that’s me and my cousins.  Man we were cute!!!