22 November 2010

What I'm Thankful For - A to Z

     In the spirit of Thanksgiving, these are a few things for which I'm thankful.

A - Aidan - my first born who loves to give hugs.

B - Books - I love to read.

C - Challenges - keep things interesting!

D - Dad - my dad who taught me many things and I'm so glad he did.

E - Ears - I love hearing many things - the sound of a wood fire, pages of a book turning, the keys on a computer clicking, "I love You" by my family, steak sizzling, a baby's laugh, thunder...

F - Friends - old friends and new friends.

G - The Big G - the love of my life!

H - Homes - my home and my parents' home.

I - Internet - so I can stay in touch with my family and friends.  And can also answer some of the  questions that Aidan and Josephine ask me...

J - Josephine - the daughter my mother hoped I would have - she is giving me a run for my money!

K - Knowledge.  I'm well educated and appreciate all that I have learned.  I am also smart enough to know that there is a WHOLE lot more I don't know.

L - Love and Laughter - I think they go hand in hand and luckily for me I have lots of both in my life.

M - Mom - my mom who I love, respect and can now understand a whole lot better since having kids!

N - Nose.  Yes, I'm thankful for my nose.  I love the smell of roses, The Big G, just washed babies, line-dried laundry, wood fires, bread baking, the ocean, rain, crisp and clean autumn air.

O - Olives.  How can you not love them?  Every time I have a martini, I am thankful!

P - Patience, although on this one, I could use a little more please!

Q - Quiet.  Oh for that time before everyone else gets up and I have a cuppa and a good book.

R - Relatives.  Really, I'm thankful for my relatives, on both sides of the family.  Even the crazy ones (and you know who you are!)

S - Sense of Humor.  This has helped me through some difficult times and I am so thankful for that!

T - Time.  The past, the present and the future!

U - Usefulness.  This is how I need to feel and also how I need stuff to be.  Thankfully, I am more often than not.

V - Voices of my loved ones.  How I love to hear them.  Yes, even Jojo's incessant talking!

W - Work.  Yes, work.  I am thankful for work.  The Big G's work because he likes what he does and that makes him happy, therefore I'm happy.  My work because I'm a stay at home, home schooling mom.  I have never worked so hard in my life, nor been so satisfied by a "job".

X - X-rated.  Hey, I'm not dead yet and neither is The Big G.  And we're married and have a license, so it's ok according to Nana.

Y - You.  The person reading this.  Thank you!

Z - Zestiness.  Not in a culinary sense, but a part of my life that gives it some zing!

16 November 2010

Politics or Why Politicians are Bad for Government*

*I have to preface this post with a disclaimer that the opinions expressed below are just that - opinions.  They are mine all mine and do not reflect the opinions of my FSO husband or the U.S. Government.  Also, I'm not making any political statements, so don't go looking for any!

     I love my friend C.  She is Scandanavian born and bred.  I am American.  She is left of center and I am right of center.  We have the best political and ideological discussion.  These discussions are highly animated,  last for hours, usually begin over beer or wine, involve a fair amount of laughter (at and with),  and a lot of thinking.  These are the types of discussions I imagined having when I chose political science as a major.  These are the types of discussions I have never been able to have with another American.  I've yet to figure out why, but I do have my theories.

     C and I were not geographically close during the 2008 and the 2010 elections.  I really missed our discussions.  To be able to debate - honestly debate - the sides of an issue is not something I've found in the US.  Maybe it is because Americans are too close to the issues and it becomes too personal.  But that should be exactly the reason why Americans should have these discussions!  Even the debates between political candidates aren't really debates.  They are sound bites squeezed between insults.

     A few nights ago, C and I got together to catch up and catch up we did.  We had two major American elections to discuss!  As per usual, wine and food precipitated the discussion, and then the words just started flowing.  We discussed a variety of issues and came to a conclusion.  That a lot of so-called political issues today are not really political at all.  They are purely personal issues in which politicians have gotten involved and have complicated even more.  C and I did agree that the politicians seem to like it this way - keep issues screwed up and retain power.  We're not sure how to unpoliticize the issues, but that will surely be a topic for future discussions!

11 November 2010

A Summary of My First Week in Oslo - in Haiku*

Well we've been in Oslo for a week now and in lieu of writing a lengthy post of my experiences, I wrote the following Haikus.

Snow on ground today
Coats, hats, gloves, boots in transit
Freezing my a$$ off

Snoring, Snore, Snoring
Nowhere to hide from the noise
Where are the earplugs

Drill, drill baby, drill
Construction on our building
Sounds the same world wide

Left mine in DC
Need to find a running pal
Butt won't fit in pants

UAB is here
Temporary apartment
Where do boxes go

Please, please go to sleep
Jet lag messing with the kids
Mommy needs her rest

Just saw our new house
Holy awesome water view
Can't wait to move in

Crisp, clean smelling air
Smell of wood burning fire
Yes! A fire place

Fly economy
Adds insult to injury
Walking through first class

Meet his coworkers
Everyone was very nice
Think I'll like it here

Smack dab middle seat
Big and tall in front of me
In my lap whole flight

Sponsors stocked our shelves
Flowers, food and even wine
We like the sponsors

Foreign appliance
Need a translator to use
Hope the things are clean

Friends around the world
Computers make this easy
Internet and Skype

What's the exchange rate
It is very expensive
Will lose weight quickly

Do you want a pet
Said in front of my Princess
All she talks about

Home school in new place
All sorts of new distractions
Time for vacation

Time to see old friends
Friendly faces on the ground
Camilla and Pam

PFF to leave
First business trip of this post
Two full days on ground

Mommy, Mommy, MOM
Electronic sitter gone
Where is the TV

Thank a Vet today
Sacrifice and suffering
Include their loved ones

I want a bunny
Perseverating on this
This has got to stop

Shut down on Sundays
Reminds me of good old days
Spend time with family

*I got the Haiku idea from Jan at oglesandobservations.wordpress.com.  Loved your Haikus Jan and Happy Birthday!

08 November 2010

Happy Birthday or Gratulerer med dagen!

Birthdays were such a big deal for me when I was younger.  Approaching 10 was probably the biggest deal because I was going to be two-digits!  Then there was the Sweet 16, then 21, and then it didn't seem to matter as much any more.  The year I turned 30 I was also finishing graduate school and planning a wedding, so the birthday kind of just came and went.  The year I turned 40 I didn't want anything to mark the occasion, so my mom and I did the Avon Two-Day Breast Cancer Walk and had an awesome time.

But that is me.  Fourteen years ago it stopped being about me, and 11 years ago it stopped being about us.  We had The Boy.  Princess followed shortly thereafter (a whole lot shorter than I had "planned"), and now we have birthdays again.  In the US birthdays for kids are amazing.  Amazing in an "I can't believe you paid $XXXXX for a kids' birthday party!" sort of way.  The Boy and Princess, however, don't think about birthdays that way.  They are firm believers in the more-is-more theory for birthday parties.  PFF, The Boy, Princess and I reached a compromise - a big, at-home party when they turned five and then a birthday dinner and a friend thereafter.

So how do you celebrate birthdays when you're a FS family?  You can take the kid out of the US, but how can you take the US out of the kid when it's their birthday?  The first birthday we celebrated overseas was in Iceland when Princess turned six.  We were in the country for all of five days, didn't know any kids, knew few FS people (we were not yet a FS family), and she wanted to celebrate!  I took her grocery shopping and let her pick out dinner (leg of lamb and roasted potatoes - yes at six!) and we got the fixings for a cake (mint chocolate cake with green, mint frosting - what we won't do for our loved ones...)  That was one of the worst meals I've ever cooked.  I screwed up the fahrenheit/celsius conversion so the lamb was raw and then well, well done;  the oven was too small for the leg of lamb so we had to saw part of the bone off to fit; and the cake was minty - I mean MINTY!  We had no decorations, no party guests, but we had the four of us, some presents, and phone calls from the grandparents so she was happy.

Later that year when The Boy turned eight, he and PFF went on a glacier hike and then had man-time overnight.  What better way to spend your birthday when you're a boy than with a pick axe!?!  We did a small family dinner the night before (no lamb this time), some presents, and the obligatory phone call from the grandparents.  He was also happy, but a lot happier with the axe!

So now we are part of the FS family and at our first overseas post.  This may not be her first birthday overseas, but Princess has her 10th birthday in less than two months.  I'm not sure if she's aware of the two-digit birthday quickly approaching, but I am.

02 November 2010

Candy and all those Good Halloween Treats

This year was one of the few that we did not trick or treat with my family.  Usually October 31st means a visit to my parents, with all the grandchildren, for dinner, drinks and trick or treating.  Since The Boy's 2nd Halloween (he was only two weeks for his first so it doesn't count), we've done all but two Halloweens with Grandma and Papa.  One Halloween was spent on a plane and the other was spent in Iceland.  Now that PFF has joined the FS, we (I) have to get used to the idea that things will be done a little differently.  This Halloween really drove that idea home.

Halloween with Grandma and Papa always included quick dinner.  Sometimes homemade and sometimes take out, but always quick and always delicious.  Dinner was followed by the adults filling their red cups of whatever libation we were enjoying; Papa getting the cigars ready for himself, Uncle Jeff and me; and the kids getting their costumes finalized and their goody-bags ready.  Then we were off.  We always had a good time.  The kids enjoyed the trick or treating, comparing their booty, and racing to the next house.  The adults enjoyed the camaraderie amongst ourselves and with other adults along the route.

That is the part I will miss the most.  Or at least I thought I would.  This Halloween, we went trick or treating with some new FS friends.  They have two young children as well and all four kids get along very nicely.  It was a beautiful night for being outside and the kids enjoyed the trick or treating, comparing their booty, and racing to the next house.  The adults, and there were a lot of adults that night, enjoyed the conversation.  I was telling about Halloween back home and when we gave the kids a bathroom break, our new FS friend came back with a red cup for me.  Now it was not what was in the cup that put a smile on my face, it was the cup itself.  It was kind of a sign that our future Halloweens, and all our other holiday traditions, may be a bit different now that we are part of the FS, but  it will all be ok.