Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Can you belieeeeeeve it???

Yes, I'm actually posting on my blog. It's been 1 year, 3 months and 18 days since my last post. I think it's safe to say I officially suck at blogging.

So, where do I start? I just had a quick read through my most recent posts (if you can call them 'recent'), and the last time I wrote I had just received my permanent residence visa, we hadn't begun our kitchen renovation, Paul was working in Ayelsham, I hadn't even won the magazine contract yet, we had just started the Quest for a Martini (that would be the IVF process in Donna-speak), and Elijah was waking us up with lectures about monster trucks.
Elijah is still waking us up with lectures about various boy-related things, but all the other topics mentioned above have, um, evolved is perhaps the word I'm looking for?

Elijah is all growed up - he can ride a big boy bike without training wheels. It's one of those parenting milestones that I never expected to make me emotional, but it did (yes people, I do have emotions). He's been practicing for a while, but this weekend when he had a sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's, he took the leap from little boy to big boy and doesn't need any help anymore. Sniff sniff. I'll get a video of him soon.

A little while ago we went to Dover Castle - here are some pictures from our day. They've done loads of work to the castle, and now it's a real attraction type thing rather than just an empty cold building. We had a lovely time, we did.



Onto other subjects - our kitchen is completely done (though it has been for about a year or so). Here's the before, under construction and after pics:


Before (with the garage door still there) - that's our whole kitchen on the right:




















During - ceiling & wall are down, garage door is blocked up:




















After:





















Here's another one, for some added drama:


























There's still a lot that needs doing to our house, but it's all little stuff. We're probably gonna move to another house anyways, so I'm happy to say that all the major work is done.

Last time I wrote Paul was working in Ayelsham. Well, he's not only no longer working in Ayelsham, he has a totally different job. He was working as an electrician in Ayelsham on residential houses - now he has a job pricing huge commercial projects at hospitals and things. Don't let him fool ya, he don't like it none. It's a big boy job with lots of responsibility and he's always stressed out and has to deal with idiots all day long. He sometimes gets to wear proper office clothes and looks quite nice, but he doesn't seem to think that's a job perk. He's just waiting for me to make enough money so he can quit and be a domestic queen. That would be nice. Then maybe I wouldn't have to iron no mo'.

Ok, onto the next subject. Last March I was approached to design a magazine (I've been running a design studio for, um, a while now). I won the contract and coordinated the design for about 6 months, and then moved into an editorial role with it. I was havin' a grand ol' time with it, but, to make a really long story short, the magazine's publisher was another one of those business guys I seem to attract - you know - the dishonest, crazy, sketchy, bad guys. He never paid me on time, the magazine was always printed late, he was allllll talk, and was bound to ruin my reputation at some point or another.

Sooo - the magazine's publishing director (Adam) and I left the dishonest, crazy, sketchy bad man and have started our own magazine and publishing/design/digital communications company. Despite weeks of legal battles with the sketchy bad man and thousands in legal fees, we've come out on the other side and had our launch party for the magazine on Tuesday night, which was faaabulous. We gots clients comin' out of our ears and I might just get an ulcer from stress, but hey, it'll all be worth it when we can sell the company for £5mil. I've finally found someone that works as hard as I do, wayhay!

My job is pretty stressful and I work about 80 hours a week, but it's definitely not all bad. I get some amazing perks. No one tells me when to be at work or when I can and can't take time off. Paulo and I got to go to Bruges and Greece a few months ago, and we're always getting posh nights at nice hotels, gourmet dinners, and all sorts of press passes for cool stuff. Here's a visual selection of some of the perks of being Editor of a lifestyle magazine - all these experiences and meals were free. You are allowed to be jealous (just ignore the working 80 hours a week bit).




The only problem with all this free posh stuff is I'm gonna get supa chubby if I don't watch out!

The most recent freebie event for the magazine was the Leeds Castle Open Air Concert last Saturday. Here are a few videos of the night. It was amazing - set right next to Leeds Castle with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and everyone has picnics and just has a lovely time. Here's my biz partner Adam being patriotic (nevermind Paul's superb singing):




Here's the concert finale - fireworks and cannons to the 1812 Overture:




I hope you're all enjoying every letter I type, cuz it'll probably be another year before I do it again.

So, onto the last subject mentioned above - the Quest for a Martini (a baby). Where do I even start with that one? Paul and I have gone through months of poking, prodding, shelling out ridiculous amounts of cash - and in the end we found out we have to have IVF with ICSI & PGD.

Don't know what that is? I shall enlighten you.

I think most people know what IVF is (test tube baby - well, more like a petri dish baby). We also need ICSI - which means they actually inject the eggs with sperm rather than let the sperm swim anywhere (don't want them to get tired, you see). Then PGD is where it gets really crazy.

PGD stands for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. After fertilizing the eggs, they let them grow in a petri dish until they're 8-cells. Then they take a single cell from the embryos and do a biopsy on that one cell to make sure the embryos have no chromosomal abnormalities. Hopefully there will be at least one embryo with balanced chromosomes, which will then be transferred back to me and hopefully I get pregnant, though there's definitely no guarantee.

I've been on the IVF drugs for 19 days now, and hopefully only have about 8 or 9 days left. One of these nights I'll video me doing my injections (2 every night), so you can feel really bad for me. Here's a picture of all the crap I have to do every day. It's making me quite moody. Irritable. Emotional. Bitchy. Yes, that sums it up. I'm going to eat some chocolate.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Monster Trucks

Howdy ya'll. This morning Paul and I awoke to something like this, "GOOD MORNING! When I'm a grown-up, and I can drive, I'm going to have a monster truck. Not one that goes in the sea or the water, but a big one, one where the whole top flips up like this [uses hand motion to illustrate that his monster truck will be a convertible], and one that can knock down buildings. And know what, know how you get in it? It's really huge. And know how you have to get up it? You have to climb on it. Not with a rope, you have to climb up on the wheel and then get on, not on the roof, at the back of the door, you get in and close it and if you want you can open the whole top off."

He's so awesome.

Oh - most exciting news! We got our passports back yesterday with shiny new visas inside. Indefinite Leave to Remain - awww yeah, we can come and go as we please with no conditions forevaaahh! Though it's not ALL over yet - I will be applying for citizenship for the both of us in a few months so we can get British passports.

Even though I haven't written in a long time, there's seriously nothing much new. We're starting the crazy house demolition in April - taking the wall down and building the kitchen. We're having a kitchen designer up to the house next week, so hopefully he'll have some amazing ideas to maximize the small space!

Elijah is doing well. Grammy sent him some books to read, and it makes me realize how much better English schools are (this is a generalization based on the books she sent and reading I did on American school curriculums, so dont' get all upset about me saying that something is better in England). The books she sent are for 1st and 2nd graders (ages 6-8), and he's 5 and can read them with no problems whatsoever. He read me a Curious George book the other day. And his cursive writing is amazing! I gotta show E off every now and then. Woohoo for English schools whooping the kid's butts & making them wear cute little uniforms!

Paul's still working on residential houses in Ayelsham - a bit worried that he won't have a job when this contract is finished, but I think he's being a drama queen. There's no use worrying about it. I'll just have to step it up a notch with my biz.

Things are going well for me - got some new things ready to launch, and have a meeting for a potential big contract next week. It's for magazine design for multiple publications, and would just be plain awesome. Will keep you posted (maybe).

Ok, sorry this is short - but I gotta go feed Elijah - I'm taking him to a Saturday morning movie at 10am. They play second-run movies for a pound at the movie theatre here - cheap date! We're going to see The Tale of Desperaux.

Byeeeeee.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Punks

Are you so excited I'm updating my blog!?

Well....

All I have to say is...

All ya'll in my family are slacker punks and haven't updated YOUR sites in like, 4-eva. No Christmas pictures, no pics from the family visit, nothin'. So yeah, that's all I have to say.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fog and toothpicks and babies and things

Howdy doody ya'll. Tis a very foggy day in Capel - I guess that's why they call it "The Village in the Clouds". It's quite cold out - about 38 degrees, and it smells like snow. No snow in the forecast though, just cold gloom - such is England.

Ok, now it's the next day - didn't get far with yesterday's post! It's not foggy today - there's a lovely blue sky and sun, but it is quite cold. Only a few more days and Elijah is off for 2 weeks, and Paul gets off from Christmas until after the New Year - so it'll be nice! I'm taking the time off too; ahhhh, vacation.

So, as some of you know, and some of you do not, Paul and I have been referred to a fertility consultant because of various issues to see where to go next with this whole baby thing. We went for our first appointment in October, they referred us to another doctor, and we had our second appointment on Monday (yes, 2 months later - stupid NHS). To make a long story short, we were explained something by an Indian doctor that we couldn't understand, but at least understood we have a lot of tests to take. Our next appointment isn't until March. I did some research and reading, and the average wait time for IVF in the UK is 3-5 years (on NHS). Holy crap. Elijah will almost be ready to move out of the house when we have another kid! We'll have a think about going private, but the cost is exorbitant. Dunno what's gonna happen, but whatever decision we make, it will need to involve having a child before the end of a year or two - I ain't having a newborn when Elijah is 10. It's great having a kid that can dress himself and wipe his own butt - after too long I think I won't want to go back to square one.

So Elijah and I went out shopping for Paulo's Christmas present the other day, and I told E he could choose whatever he thinks Paul would like (for under a certain amount of money of course). After searching and searching, he saw this larrrrrge package of toothpicks; 1,200 toothpicks to be exact, all in 12 separate little containers of 100, and he said "Oh yeah, that's what I want to get Dad". I asked him why, and he said with a slight nod and a very serious face, "Because it's really cool, and Dad can use them to poke holes in stuff". Heck yeah, Paul's gonna love poking holes in stuff - and it only cost me £1.

Elijah had his Christmas play last week - here's a video of him with his attention span of zilch.
And here are the words so you can sing along!
"He's a hopeless camel, can't you see,
a very hopeless camel, oh dear me.
He's witty and he's funny, can't be bossed,
but the very hopeless camel keeps getting lost.
Harumph, harumph, wiggle the hump.
Harumph, harumph, now do a jump.
Harumph, harumph, wiggle the hump.
And don't forget to swish the tail."

video

Here's one of him reciting his lines:

video

Monday, November 03, 2008

Steven Spielberg's crack-fried brain

Paul and I watched Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last night. I could write a long and mighty post about how embarrassingly awful it was, but I'll just say Steven Spielberg has smoked too much crack and it has severely damaged his creative and general mental capacity, and I'll leave it at that.

My house is clean. ish. I called in sick to work today. Wait, no I didn't, I just didn't go in cause I don't have to if I don't want to. Yay for not having a boss. I had a stomach bug over the weekend and still didn't feel all that great this morning, so I worked from home and caught up on some housework. I still have forty two loads of laundry to do, but that doesn't really count.

We're all doing well - it's getting cold out, winter is here. It snowed up in the midlands and Scotland last week. I hope we get it here - there's such great sledding hills around that we didn't get much fun out of last year, at all.

Elijah was out of school all last week for the October holiday. He had 2 Halloween parties, and we went trick-or-treating even though it's lame! I'd say only 1 in 6 or 7 houses actually give out candy, and half have signs that basically say to piss off if you're a trick-or-treater. How sad. We went up one street, and he got a decent amount of candy and was a happy boy. It was cold and raining, so we were all pretty happy when it was over.

I put up some new pictures, and here's a video of Paul & Marc Zorbing!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Conkers & chestnut pickin'

Have you ever heard of conkers? I hadn't before I moved here. Kinda sounds like it would be used in this context: "Paul put Nutella on his chicken, you'd think he'd gone conkers!" No no, conkers are large nut things that fall off conker trees, and in England, you play a silly game with them where someone inevitably ends up getting injured (read about the game of conkers here). Anyways, yesterday me and E and Emma and her boys went out horse chestnut & conker pickin'. We ended up not getting any conkers really, but got a load of horse chestnuts to roast on an open fire. It was a lot of work, and they were gross in the end. Oh well, we had a great time with the boys out in the wilderness - you can see the pics on my Picasa!

Today is an awful blustery rainy day, but we may venture out into the warren anyways and get all soggy wet. Paul has decided not to do any work on the house today, so we must take advantage! We'll see if actually end up going out - we may end up playing games or something inside. Yeah.

This week is gonna be a week of selling for me. Matt and I are venturing out door to door - yuck. It must be done though - gotta make people aware of our amazingness. Haha. We're putting together a Folkestone Christmas Coupon book, and have to get advertisers. We're donating to Operation Christmas Child for every business who includes a coupon, so that'll be fun to get all that put together and donated! We need 34 advertisers for Folkestone, and we may also do Canterbury depending on how this week goes. Wish us luck!

Paul's birthday is in a week - he'll be 32. I'm planning something fun for next weekend, I'll tell you all about it (not on my blog) if you wanna know!

That's about all that's happening here - aren't you so impressed I've posted twice in a week!?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I like to singa...

about the moon-a and the june-a and the spring-a.

I'm quite surprised how many English folk have seen that little Disney cartoon with the jazz-singin' owl and his operatic parents. I love that little owl.

Sooo...for all of you who read this and might not read Brian's blog - go to it now and check out Dominic's Halloween costume. It's pure glory.

Ok, so, where do I start? I need to write on this more often so I can ramble about my every day issues and complaints and happenings and things, rather than try to cram the previous 2 months into one blog. I say that, but I can almost guarantee I won't write more often. I'm terribly sorry, I have no excuse that will satisfy you blog-hungry beasts.

I'll start with today. Today I woke up, took a shower, got ready, got Elijah up and ready, took him to school, went to the office, worked on some stuff, picked Elijah up, came home, cooked dinner, ate it, did Elijah's homework with him, and put him to bed. Now I'm sitting here, Paul is grumpy for some reason or another, watching mind-numbing TV, and there ya go. A typical day in the life of us. Our cat is growing her winter coat and looks quite hearty, verging on chubby. So, in the summer, her name is Iaia (said "Yah-yah"), and in the winter, her name is Jaba. So, for those of you with no real seasons (such as Florida), you can call her by her full name of Jabaiaia. Actually, I may call her that all the time too.

So, as you've all asked, I'll tell you alllllll about my business stuff, cause I know it excites you as much as it excites me!! I only wish. I think I know how Brian feels now when he gets really excited about some geneology thing, but no one's as interested. Yeah, that's how I feel about business, but eh, I'll just be all excited on my own and bore you all to death with business jibba jabba! Speaking of jibba jabba, we got a GPS for the car, and it has a Mr. T voice, and it's awesome. Check it out (watch the whole thing)...

video

So, yeah. I started something new, again. Well, not really new, but sort of new. Uh, yeah. I've stopped the stationery business (taken over by my lovely friends the Bates'), and have merged with another local business guy who I was sharing my office with. I don't want search engines picking up this personal blog of mine, so I'm gonna just gonna give you the link to my new site here. Matt owned a company that does advertising bikes, and with what I already do, we've created a super marketing & design powerhouse! We're very busy indeed, lots of new clients coming in, lots of new plans in the works. Let me know what you think of the new site, and I'll let you know when we pull in our first million pound contract!

Ok, so by this point in my blog writing, I seem to run out of interesting things to say. I've posted some new pics for you to see...so that should satisfy you a bit. I'll write some bullet points below of things I think you'd find interesting, useful, or amusing:

  • We got a parking ticket the other day
  • My pastor and his wife are kind of like dark-haired barbie & ken dolls
  • I have found a new favourite thingy to eat, called "Fruit Flakes" - little processed fruit bits in yogurt, kinda like yogurt covered raisins, but raspberry and strawberry instead
  • I feel a draft - it's really cold in my house and Paul won't let me turn on the heat
  • We took out the fireplace in the weird middle room in our house
  • Our washing machine died and we got a new bigger fancier one. Now we just need a new bigger fancier dryer.
  • I got a new unnecessarily large iMac
  • Becca & Ward are coming to visit in the Spring
  • Mummy Martin has Colitis - pray she feels all better and can manage it soon
  • Elijah can read the book "Go, Dog, Go" all by himself
  • 45% of Americans don't know the sun is a star
  • Paul has beaten me at Hand & Foot about 21 times in 3 week.
Speaking of Paul, I'm gonna go give him a wet willy and see if that takes him out of his grump. Good bye!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I'm actually posting!

Howdy all - I know, I know. It's been longer than ever since I last wrote. I was sitting here, designing a postcard for a new client, and thought, "What the hey, I'm gonna upload some pictures and write a little something exciting for everyone". Aren't you so happy!?

We just said goodbye yesterday to my Momma & Pops who were here visiting for 2 weeks. We had a nice time - just hanging out, didn't do anything touristy, so we were able to just relax. It was really nice to see them - hopefully we'll start planning our next trip to the US soon.

Well, the past few months have been exciting and productive for all of us over here on New Dover Road. Elijah finished his first year of big boy school, and just started Class 1 on Tuesday. He can write legibly (most of the time), and can read mo' betta all the time. He has his 5th birthday party last weekend - it was amazing. We had about 40 people over, including something like 18 kids. We had a bouncy castle, and Elijah got to show all his friends his new amazing birthday present - a crazy pimp swingset playground park thingy. I put pictures up on the picture part of my site. He's a spoiled boy indeed. That was his present for the next 8 years. He not only got that, but he got about 15 presents from me and Paul, Grammy & Papa, Grandma & Grandpa Martin, and other various family members and friends. Then he got another 15 or so from his little friends. Toy overload, lemme tell you. He now has multiple laser guns that make obnoxious noises, a bunch of new weird looking Ben 10 figurines, about 64 Power Rangers, and all sorts of other stuff. He's a lucky lucky kid.

Paul has been kind of a nomad at work. He's been working at the Pfizer plant for the past 6 or 7 years, and now all the electricians at Pfizer have been relocated. He's been here and there in London and in Kent, not really happy about it all, but what can ya do? I think he'll be up in London next week. Yeehaw! His leg is almost all better - he still has a cankle sometimes, bahaha. And he still has a small lump where he really hurt it (we call it his 'baby'). He has yet to give birth. Speaking of birth, his birthday's coming up for all those who don't know - October 13th to be exact!

Little kitty Yaya is good too, if you care (and you better). We've decided she's a satan-worshipping murderer; she kills various living breathing cute furry animals per day. Voles, mice, birds, etc. The other day I even saw her with a motha huge caterpillar. Anything that moves, she kills. Siiiiiick.

Things have been going really well for me - lots of exciting things in the mix. I got an office - long story, but I was looking at a specific office last year that I loved, but waited too long and someone else took it. I went up to see if it was possibly still available, and someone from a marketing company had taken it (saw his business card). Well, months went by, I was lightly looking for another office, went into the Chamber of Commerce one day to get my mail, and met a random guy named Matt. He gave me his card, and I was like, "HEYYYYYYY, you're the guy that stole my office!" So, to make a really long story short, he sublet it to me, we've been sharing the space, we compliment each other's businesses and have decided to join forces and merge. I have a shiny new business partner. Exciting exciting! New business name to be decided, I'm sure you'll hear about it when it's all up and running. :-)

That is all! Goodbyeeeeee...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hello I'm Alive

Hey yaaa'll - of course I don't really have time to write much of anything, it's 10 o'clock and I still have lots to do before bed! But, I'm alive and well, and everyone is doing well. Paul's leg is still pretty bad, he's off work for 2 weeks just laying around playing video games. Elijah is good - school's out in a few weeks. I'm working my butt off and have lots of exciting things in the works. That's about all - I'll try reaallllllly hard to get on this soon and write a super duper update from Engerland!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Life is just THAT exciting.

Yes yes, I know how much of a slacker I am with this blog. It's been about 2 months since I wrote anything. But life is just THAT exciting. Yeah. I'm even gonna put up some pictures. How very exciting!

I've been so busy lately, I feel like I haven't had time for anything during the week. It's a good thing though, got steady orders coming in, I'm stepping up my advertising, and Monday was the "official" launch of the new biz. I say new biz, but it's been in the making for about 8 months really. I'm planning a full-day Creative Thinking Workshop for July, so I've been spending loads of time doing that - getting the word out, writing press releases, sending out invitations, etc. Mary's been a huge help - she'll be going around town with me next week to go into businesses in person to try to get people to sign up. Aw yeah, it's fun - it'll be a fun day, already have 1 person signed up! The goal is 30. We can doo eeet!

So I won't bore you with talk about my biznasses anymore. Let's see, what's happened in the past 2 months. Last weekend Paul and I spent some time up in London - we stayed overnight and went to see the Foo Fighters at Wembley Arena. They're not my favorite band, but it was still fun. There were 86,000 people there - holy moses! I put a few pics up of it, and our time in London town. We had a chance to just stroll along the Thames, visit Covent Garden, and I saw St Paul's (never made it there before when visiting London). It was beautiful, but not quite as impressive as Canterbury Cathedral. It was really nice getting away from Folkestone for a night - I do love going up to London. We need to do it more often for sure!!

Elijah is doing well - he's getting great at reading and much better at writing. I put a picture up of some of his writing for school. He knows it's summer and keeps asking me over and over when his birthday is. And he's become obsessed with dancing lessons - he's constantly asking me if I've looked into it yet. He wants to do 2 kinds of dance, "the one with the shoes that make tappy noises", and "the one where people spin around on the ground". I'm assuming he means tap and break dancing, so I'm gonna have a looksie into those. I'm sure he'd love that.

Wow, so now it's about 9 hours later, I got really busy and forgot about my blog. It's 9:30pm now, Paul and I are about to eat dinner nice and late, so I'm off. I'm gonna spend a few minutes uploading some photos to appease my family though. :-)

Oh, and here are some videos!


By the way, Elijah had "Sports Day" on Wednesday, where all the kids get into teams and do little fun activities, and the parents are allowed to go and watch and take pictures - so here are some videos. The skipping rope one is the best.