Tuesday, 27 December 2011

It's time to meet the Muppets

I would be lying if I didn't say I have had anxiety over picking what would be the first movie Oz would see at the cinema. I would see previews and think maybe this or maybe that, but it would fall through. I would decide he wasn't ready. I wasn't ready. For some time I was sure that it would be the new Winnie the Pooh that was released at completely different times in the UK and US. Not by weeks, but months. So when I missed it go round in the UK, I had plenty of time to try again when it was in the US. But there was always an excuse.

Then the Muppets came back. I love the Muppets. I have loads of memories or watching The Muppets with my sister and Dad. I remember my Dad singing "The Rainbow Connection", and to this day, the song makes me want to cry (as you all know, I do not cry, but sometimes I feel that inkling and the moment passes. I'm not completely a robot).

We went to see the Muppets early in December along with my sister, Mimi and her husband, Brent.

Ever the film geek/mom, I had to take pictures of The Process. "Us with Movie Poster", "The Theater", "With Tickets"...sadly, none in the theater itself. I didn't want to be hassled for getting my camera out.

I was worried of it being too loud, too overwhelming. Oz loved it. He took turns sitting on everyone's lap, eating popcorn and watching the movie. He made it over halfway through before finally becoming cranky. I nursed him and he fell asleep. It was an excellent evening and I couldn't be happier with the final choice as his first trip.

Now, for a note on the movie itself. I loved it. I laughed and wanted to cry the entire time. There were so many nods to what the Muppets were, how their time had passed and why they are such a treasure to the hearts of anyone who grew up watching them. They are magical. Period.

I do read the credits tho, and in the opening I noticed that MUSIC was done by Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Conchords and NOT Paul Williams, the musician who worked on so many other Muppet movies and wrote "Rainbow Connection". I was disappointed and for the rest of the film I couldn't help but notice how obviously "McKenzie"-ian the score and songs were. But disappointment aside I was still able to enjoy the movie because it really does just make you feel incredibly happy.

...and I have teeny tiny crush on Jason Segal now. The end.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Knitting: Griff's Hat

I don't know why I was in a big rush to make Griff's hat. He's so hot natured he doesn't really need it yet.


I love the hat, thank you so much. Also, if you had waited until I needed it, it means I would go at least one night without it and be freezing.

Travel Rewind: The Ben & Jerry's Factory and Other musings about Vermont.

Vermont is fucking gorgeous. But for the most part, we found the people to be assholes. I guess we're partly to blame but I don't really care. It all started with getting to our campground later than we planned. Most campgrounds have a 10pm quiet time, sometimes 11, but for the most part 10. We were got there just around quiet time and Griff had to set to finding us a campground and setting up the tent with on a head lamp for light. It fucking sucks, but sometimes this happens. We both hate it, but it's the only option we have. I sat in the car with Oz, getting him dressed for sleep and nursing him.

We finally get into the tent and Oz is a bit fussy, and all I can do is offer the boob. Eventually he settles and falls into sleep. We all do. It was maybe 6 am when Oz wakes up and is upset and crying. While trying to soothe him, some asshole the site over yells out "SHUTUP!!!!". Fucking dick. No doubt he heard it was a baby, and who the fuck yells out for a baby to shut up. That is one classless motherfucker. It took me not even 5 minutes to get Oz settled back to sleep.

Another hour or so later, our peeved off neighbors start making a big stupendous noise of packing their gear up. Lots of pots and pans clanging around. I'm' sure this was piss us off, but we're hardcore sleepers. If we want to sleep, we sleep. Their planned failed! Middle fingers to them!

Well, in the morning when we're all awake, Griff makes his way to the office to let them know where we are on the campground and to pay for our site. The woman informs us that our site is actually reserved for that day and we'll have to move. He checks that the site next to us is empty and we use the tarp to drag our tent over. It's a pretty big park and plenty of spaces. We're annoyed but we move on with the day.

Once the tent is moved we start the normal day routine. Or we thought about it. I was pretty pissed off and decided FUCK BREAKFAST, let's go to the Ben & Jerry's factory. O, and on the way out, let's stop and ask if we can stay 2 nights instead of another 1. Well, sure you can! But the spot you're in (you know, the one you just moved to) is actually reserved for the next night. What. The. Fuck.

I honestly do not understand why, if we are there and set up and PAID, we can't stay there. Why can't the people coming be moved to another site, since they aren't currently occupying a site. They are all pretty much the same! I said screw it, we won't stay the extra night...ON TO THE FACTORY.

And the Ben & Jerry's Factory smells like heaven. You walk in and you just feel good and want to roll around in ice cream. I had forgotten about their S'Mores flavored ice cream (vanilla with swirls of chocolate and marshmallow and chunks of graham cracker. SO GOOD.).

The tour was pretty short, but we had a great time. I think I will enjoy Ben & Jerry's more in the future simply because I think the actual people (you know, Ben & Jerry themselves) are pretty decent human beings that are trying to run a good business.

I don't remember *exactly* which ice cream I had afterwards. I know it was peanut butter ice cream and had marshmallow swirls. I know I had hot fudge and whipped cream on it. Griff had a banana split with three different types of chocolate ice cream and hot fudge and caramel sauce on it. Ice cream for breakfast is never a good idea, but now we know this for any future great ideas of ice cream for breakfast. It was awesome, but damn did we feel sick!

Afterwards we found a Sear's to get the car an oil change and tires rotated. We then went a Barnes & Noble to use the wi-fi. Pulling in a woman thought my car was taking too much space while she was pulling out and she flipped me the bird. Fucking Vermonters.

I was excited that I was able to meet another Imaginary Friend, Suzi, for dinner and then we sat outside downtown and talked till 11 pm.

The rest of Vermont was cool too. We went to a tiny town called Montpelier and enjoyed wandering around and had breakfast at a cute little diner. We bought maple syrup (SO GOOD). So while we enjoyed the state itself, but the people kind of suck. O well, no biggie.

(I need to take it easy with the parenthesis).

GRIFF--- I have to add a comment about the Ben and Jerry's factory:

You enter through the gift shop while you wait for a tour to start and they have a cowbell to let people know when the tour will start. I saw Ashley eyeing the cowbell jealously, so when the tour guide came round I asked if Ashley could ring it. He agreed and I so wish I had a picture of how excited she was, she really gave it her all on that cowbell.

Also, as sick as we felt all day for having had a huge ice cream for breakfast, I totally don't regret it and would do it again if we ever go to another ice cream factory.

Travel Rewind: Ferry Ride Part II

After getting through the Adirondacks (which were fucking beautiful, by

the way) we decided to cross on the ferry from New York to Vermont.

Further evidence that my kid loves boat rides.

Fuck off Skinny Bitch

Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous!Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous! by Rory Freedman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I picked this up off the library shelf because I had heard that it was a pretty funny, informative read. I found it to be wrong on both counts. If I had known about it's "Vegan or Bust" attitude towards nutrition (and fear-mongering) I probably wouldn't have bothered.

This book isn't funny. If anything it only perpetuates woman-on-woman hate and self loathing for one's body. If you want to be skinny, you have to really hate yourself and be willing to no longer enjoy eating food at all, ever again.

They actually suggest holding off eating until you are absolutely ravenous. Don't eat breakfast until you can no longer stand it, and don't eat lunch until you are insane with hunger. How is that healthy?


When a book suggests "Donate Blood. You can save a life and lose weight at the same time" (pg. 182) something is wrong. Very, very wrong.

View all my reviews

Travel Rewind: Black River Drive In

After Canada we crossed back into New York and made our way towards

the Adirondacks. Along route, we passed an operating Drive-In theatre.

We were both cursing it being the middle of the day and our dumb

unfortunate luck that we wouldn't be around to stop and see a movie

that evening. They were playing Final Destination 5 and Fright Night.

Neither would have been my first picks, but fuck that...IT'S A DRIVE

IN. But it didn't matter, because we couldn't go.

We started driving and it was getting later and later. We found a

campsite and it turned out we were only about 30 minutes down the road

from the Drive-In. You may be confused at this point. How could we

whining about seeing the Drive In and not going early in the afternoon

and then be camped out 30 minutes down the road? All I can tell you

is, there was a LOT of around your elbow to get to your ass driving

that day. I'm only glad we stopped when we did.

I went online and found out showtimes for the Drive In and it was

settled that after dinner we would go. I don't remember what we did

for dinner that night. I do remember that we put on our PJs and made

sure Ozzy stayed awake so he would be good and tired and sleep on the

drive there (so hopefully he would sleep through the movie).

We decided to miss the first feature, Final Destination 5. I haven't

seen any of those movies and I don't understand how you can have a

title that has the word "Final" and is number 5 in the series. I

wasn't over the moon about seeing a re-make of my beloved Fright Night

either, but it's the lesser of two evils. Either way, I thought it was

fucking cool to see a horror movie at the drive in. That just felt


We pulled up within minute of the film starting. The girl at the booth

was about to shut for the night, so we barely made it. Unfortunately

we missed the concessions. BOO. We were really excited about popcorn,

nachos and soda. We had a tiny dinner to make room for all the junk

food we would now not be having. It didn't kill the mood tho. WE WERE


We found a place to park, adjusted the seats and started the movie.

You didn't have to open your window and adjust a speaker into the car.

They told you what station to tune your radio to and you were able to

listen to the film that way. It was awesome. Ozzy slept through the

first half of the film and woke up around the second half. What's

great is that we were able to enjoy a film and not "disturb" those

around us. I was able to put Oz in the front seat with me and nurse

him back to sleep, where he stayed until the credits rolled.

And my film nerd self can't help but take a minute to reflect on the

film itself so here goes:

Of course it was no where near as good as the original. Re-makes

rarely, if ever, are. A really great cast did the best they could with

some pretty crap material. Colin Farrell was gorgeous, but had zero

charisma. I'm going to put this down to him using a bad American

accent and not being all sexy-brooding in his natural Irish accent. An

Irish vampire would have been sexy (something that I always felt was

lacking in the original. Chris Sarandon is a great villain, but he is

never sexy. Or maybe it's an 80's thing I don't get. Because I don't

think Michael Douglas is sexy either and his ass was always naked

during the 80's.). David Tenant was sorely underused, but hilarious.

It wasn't until I was listening to BBC Radio 4's Mayo/Kermode podcast

when it was pointed out that Tenant is doing a Russell Brand

impression, that the light bulb went off. Fucking brilliant and


The film is pretty clunky and uninspired. I was disappointed with

Sarandon's cameo as a motorist who gets bit. I think it would have

been cooler if he and Farrell had passed a knowing look in the dance

club scene. The 3-D sequences were pointless.

So while it sounds like I didn't like the movie, I had an awesome

time. Being at a Drive In made a bad movie completely worth it, and I

enjoyed it 1000x more than if I had seen it in a cinema or on dvd.

It was so refreshing for us to be seeing a movie. In our pre-baby

days we went to the movies almost every single week without fail. We

had thought about trying to take turns seeing movies while on the

road. Or going to an early showing during the week, when the cinema

would be all but empty. We haven't had a chance to do that yet. But

our eyes are always peeled for another Drive In.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Travel Rewind: Boldt Castly & Ferry

One of my favorite things about our trip is that I've been able to
meet some of my Imaginary Friends (aka Friends from the Net, for those
of you not in the know). On our trip to Boldt Castle I met imaginary
friend Christie and her husband Phil. If we hadn't met up with them I
wouldn't have any idea about Boldt Castle and it was a lovely day out.

It was also Oz's first time on a boat and he LOVED it. He loved the
rocking and sway and how it messed up his balance slightly. He loved
being out on the front deck and feeling the breeze (no, let's be
honest, it was wind and it was rough!) on his face. He was just a
squealing ball of excitement.
The trip to the castle takes about an hour and along the way you see
the Thousand Islands. What's so cute are all the houses that are set
up on these teeny tiny islands!
If you didn't follow the link to the castle itself, I'll fill you in a
bit. Mr. Boldt was building it for his beloved wife and when she
unexpectedly died, he ceased all work on their future home and there
it sat. Unfinished. Several years later (after Mr. Boldt) it was
decided to resume work, and the over the years the house has been open
from it being in complete disrepair. It's one of Christie's favorite
days out and I thought it was very cool that she has seen its
progression of renovation with subsequent visits. It makes her a part
of its history by being a frequent visitor. There are so many beautiful
details to find throughout the Castle. Christie pointed out all the
hearts that have been worked into the design, so I spent a good
portion of our visit hunting out all of the hearts. Unfortunately, I
didn't get a good picture of Christie and I together. When Phil was
taking a photo of us, I assumed that Griff was taking one as well. I
assumed wrong.

After the trip to Boldt Castle (and it's a full day!) we decided on an
easy dinner back at the campsite. Ozzy was really fucking tired and
C&P were kind enough to go pick us up a pizza. Griff decided to try
the Canadian dish Poutain, which is fries covered in cheese and gravy.
Not my thing, but Griff devoured it and when we were up in Maine he
found another resteraunt that served it and gobbled that up too.
Pretty much anything covered in gravy and cheese is a good meal to

(*I have no idea why that last paragraph is underlined in blue. )

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Look to the Future

I've started and deleted this entry a few times. I'm homesick. For England.


That doesn't make sense. I wasn't really expecting it to fall on us this hard, but Christmas has always been a *HUGE* deal for us. We go completely overboard on the decorations, the food, the presents. We always talked about how big and tacky they do it in the States and we always looked forward to the day when we'd be here with our kids at Christmas. So why does it feel so weird this year?

Well, we're not settled. All of our decorations are still packed and we just don't have our "home" yet. It's lovely to be surrounded by family, but I guess for nest-ers, it's difficult to be out of one's nest.

I looked this song up on YouTube tonight because in the UK they play it nonstop this time of year and I miss it. So here it is, Merry Christmas.

Friday, 18 November 2011

I've been everywhere, man

So we're done. I have a lot of posting to do and I still intend on posting all of it. So it may be weird for you to read about travels that have already happened, but now I'll have pretty steady, reliable internet access it will be so much easier to post about all the things we did and places we saw.

So how did coming home come about? Well I guess you could say it started in California.

We spent 4 lovely days in the same place, staying with a friend and her family in a very comfy home. Our kids played together, we still did some sight seeing, but in the evening we came back to a house with indoor plumbing and kitchen. It was nice. Very nice.

From there we traveled further down Cali and had a pretty good time. Griff and I came down with colds and it was pretty rough going. Oz didn't catch the cold, but he was teething and those canines were just starting to peak through (and at this moment are still taking their precious time coming through. Canine incisors, I shake my fist at you!).

Then we were working our way to Vegas. And when we got to Vegas we realized, "Hell, there is not a lot you can do with a baby in Vegas". We *knew* this going there, but then it was really sort of a let down when we got there.

(FYI there were a lot of things happening in all these places and I fully intend on expanding on each and every one of them.)

So in Vegas we broke down the last few things that we really, really wanted to see and decided that after Roswell, New Mexico we would just book it home and not tell anyone. We had originally wanted to be home for Thanksgiving anyways, so this was really just cutting the trip another week short. But funds were running low and so was our will to carry on. So done. We really enjoyed our last week and now we have a little money left over to get our hair cut. I'm done with feeling like a dirty hippie all of the time and eating camp food or road food.

It was a fucking awesome journey.

We got into Greenville at around 11 and scared both my Mom and Dad to death. There were a lot of screams, tears and laughter. I love doing stuff like that.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Happy Trails

My Poor Blog!

Would you believe me if I told you that I've actually been writing things about our trip pretty consistently, I just haven't been able to upload them WITH pictures? It's true. I know I have left you all dangling with us in Canada, while at this moment, I am sitting in a basement in Olympia, Washington.

This journey has been so crazy. A big surprise was how much we loved the midwest. Initially we wrote that part of the country off and wanted to just shoot across to get to the West Coast.


Kansas had some of the kindest people ever, Nebraska had some lovely surprises, South Dakota was breathtaking and we had the best time driving through Wyoming and Montana. We've seen snow peaked mountains. It's an image we can't seem to get enough of.

I am hoping I will get an opportunity to sit and catch up on all my blogs soon. I always feel like if just had that ONE DAY, to sit and catch up, I would be happy. But we move. Every. Single. Day. It's hard enough to find an hour's quiet time to one's self, let alone SEVERAL hours.

I've done loads of knitting, and I keep collecting yarn from all these amazing shops and my list of things To Knit just keeps growing longer and longer. I hope I will be able to get most of it accomplished for christmas. I'm sort of counting on it.

I'm also looking forward to the day when the trip is over, I've had a long soak, and I can start taking photos of all the things we've collected on the trip. I hate that it's eaten into our budget of things to do/see, but Griff and I are collectors. We like to be surrounded by things. Not fancy, expensive things. But we love trinkets, christmas ornaments and books. O the books. And yarn. So there will probably be many posts explaining all our awesome finds.

AND THE HAT. We have so many stickers. My car will be tat'd up to make all the teenagers jealous.

So just know, I haven't forgotten about this space, and I've written 20 or so blogs about the things we've seen and people we've met. Sometimes I don't realize how amazing this trip has been until we sit and talk about some the encounters we've had. Let's just hope blogger pulls its finger out and lets me start uploading photos again, soon enough.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Just 2 Guys...

Enjoying their breakfast in the morning. It's visions like this that make me want to live on the road forever.

The 'Other' Big Apple **

This is one of those things about the Road we were really looking forward to and always enjoy. Bizzare roadside attractions. We had been driving for a fair few hours and Griff needed us to switch. I spend most of my time in the car knitting, so I'm always happy to switch with Griff when he needs a break. Just as we were coming up to an exit, we spotted the apple. It's like the Peach, but an Apple, and less butt-like.

But it's wasn't just an Apple. It was an Apple Pie store. We had fun going up the big apple, and we did eat a not so great but completely edible lunch. I didn't buy an Apple pie, but Apple dumplings (which weren't that great, I should have gone with the pie. My bad.).

The Apple was great.

...O and I should probably mention that the Apple was in Canada.

**New addition to the blog! You may notice below, that Griff is going to start commenting and adding his own little notes here and there. So enjoy!

I actually loved the food, it was basically a cheeseburger covered in BRown Gravy and a precurser to the canadian specialty of Poutine which I loved.

Family on top of the Apple

In case you didn't notice, it's a big fucking apple.

Monday, 19 September 2011

It's going in the favorites pile

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls. There's not a whole lot you can say about gigantic waterfalls. They are...ginormous. They are loud. And they are hard to get a decent picture of because of all the mist coming up! Regardless, I'm glad to say I've seen them.

These are the falls from the New York side. You can't actually get a decent shot of the Canadian side all rainbowed up at night. But while it's tacky, it's also awesome. I loved the rainbow falls!

Beanie for Oz

This was the first knitted project I was able to finish since being on the road. Unfortunately, I didn't bring enough skeins along to knit up the jumper for Oz that I was planning on. I might order it anyways and just stash it away to do when I get home.

Welcome to Canada!

I can not tell a lie. We made a lot of Canada jokes while driving towards border patrol. We were beyond tired and I know we smelled bad. We looked like dirty hippies and we hadn't showered in what must have been a week. So no doubt the car smelled funky. We looked funky. The following conversation ensued:

Border Patrol: Do you have any marijuana with you?
Griff: No
Border Patrol: Not even a little bit of marijuana?
Griff: No.
(Ashley is stitching up a knitting project)
Border Patrol: Ma'am?
Me: No.

So apparently we looked like we might just have some marijuana with us (even a little bit). We had a huge laugh about it afterwards, but we did take 2 showers each after checking into out hotel. I'll remember this for visiting Canada next time.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


The Corning Museum of Glass is now one of my favorite places ever. It was amazing for my family as a day out. On a personal level, it turned me on, like only good art can. I was completely enthralled and inspired.

This particular piece was featured in the gift shop. THE GIFT SHOP. So before we even began the experience of going through the different galleries I was in love.

The Museum begins with pieces of modern art. I will admit, I enjoyed this much more than Griff did and he was very patient to entertain Oz while I looked, read and photographed pretty much every piece I saw.
I loved how this piece was a wonderful example of how something completely inorganic, such as glass, can be manipulated into something just as beautiful (and as fragile) as actual plant life. The attention and quality of detail moves me deeply.
Then pieces like this I want desperately to touch. It looks soft and smooth, rough and distorted all at the same time. It's a medium I know I could never attempt to work with because of my intense fear of being burned and I am completely in awe that people are able to create such amazing, beautiful things out of heat.

After Modern Art, there is a very long gallery about the history of glass and the display is long and thorough. Griff was interested in the earlier eras and I was more interested in the later. I could probably dedicate an entire blog just to beautiful glass objects. But anyways, here is a small sample of later displays of glass work that I found inspiring.

As I mentioned in the blog before, the Museum also has several hands on workshops that you can pay to partake in. It also has several demonstrations for watching by experienced glass workers. And while I enjoyed the art aspect, they Museum also has a section about the practical and scientific uses of glass (for example fiber optics) which really appealed to Griff. We could have easily spent many many more hours there, but Oz wasn't happy for an entire day. But without a doubt, our family will certainly be returning in the future.

Blown Away

One year on Channel 4's Kirsty's Homemade Home or Homemade Christmas or whatever, Kirsty went and did a bit of glass blowing. Griff thought it looked really neat and wanted to give it a go. It's one of those things you say you want to do, but it's a lot harder to get around to ACTUALLY doing.

So when my friend Emily told me that the Corning Museum of Glass has different glass workshops I knew immediately I was going to book Griff in for one. I didn't care which one, I just really wanted him to be able to do SOMETHING. And they did have a glass blowing class! SO I signed him right up as soon as we got there.

Of course, he wanted to make an ornament for our tree and we agreed on the rather traditional colors of Green, Red and White. I can not wait to see how it will look (because it takes so long to cool, the ornament was shipped from the museum to my parents house so it's waiting there for us! We haven't actually seen the finished product yet!).

Griff did enjoy the glass blowing. I think he would have enjoyed actually handling the glass, but because it's an all ages class, they do make it very safe. I think I will look into finding him a more instructional, hands-on class where ever we may end up.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

It did feel Magical. I think the Gardens could only be best enjoyed on a bright sunny day to see all the amazing light reflecting through the glass pieces. We didn't do anything else in Philly that day (we're trying to limit big city days- they're just too difficult and exhausting with Oz), but this was an easy enough stop. If you can, go there.

The National Christmas Center

In Amish country they have a National Christmas Center. It was a rainy afternoon and it seemed like a good idea to spend the day somewhere Oz could run around. When we arrived it was all but empty and we raised our eyebrows at the cost (it was something like $10 per person) but thought "what the hell? what else are we going to do today?"So we paid our admission and began.

The Center begins with the story of Yes, Virginia (which yeah, I got a little teary eyed!) and then sets off to tell you about all the different Christmas traditions and interpretations of Santa around the world. Then you proceed and see some wonderful Santas and ornaments.

There is a Santa's workshop full of toys and elves and at the end of the room is Santa's chair. I can only imagine the line up at Christmas when Santa is actually sat there.

Then there is a very "interesting" bit where it's a Christmastime story told thru a village of animatronic animals being very festive. Oz loved this whole section and spent a lot of time waving at all the animals. However, he did not like any animals actually being on eye level with himself and would dash away. It was cuteness overload.
The center ends with a nativity walk through where you would have retraced the steps of Mary and Joseph. Past that there is a whole room full of miniature nativities from around the world. My favorites were the African and Asian ones.

So it was a great visit. The gift shop was tiny, but we did buy a pickle for our Christmas tree.

It's odd visiting something like this. Either people will love it or hate it. Griff and I are unabashed Christmas fans. We love the decorations, traditions, shopping, music...all of it and we go all out every year. (If you asked Griff what his favorite type of music is, he will answer "Christmas music". He's very Scrooge in that he is the type of guy that keeps Christmas all year). So if you are a cynical anti-Christmas "it's soooooo commercial" type of person I wouldn't recommend it. I doubt it would thaw your tiny frozen heart.

We had an awesome time there and I was happy it was pretty much empty. It meant we could take our time and enjoy. We will definitely return.