Friday, 29 May 2009


Went to Alcatraz island today. It was fascinating. Got a ferry from Pier 33 and it took about fifteen minutes. Did an audio tour round the island, looked at the prison and the wildlife, and the amazing views. Saw the Golden Gate Bridge. What a moment!
It is cold and windy at times, with the odd blast of sunshine. I was very glad of my new SFC fleece: I see lots of people wearing them. Obviously lots of people get 'caught out' with the weather.
We met up with the Travelling Typhoon and went for an all you can eat dim sum and chinese food buffet in China Town. It was $5.99 and packed. That included green tea and soup. It was great.
We then went to the Grace Cathedral. It was brilliant. I loved it. I walked the labrinyth.
We got a trolley bus and a tram, and saw all the famous hills. We also saw all the wonderful hotels up that way too. We went into the Fairmont. It was beautiful.
Tonight other half and I are going to a fish restaurant near here ( I forget the name but I will blog about it tomorrow). It is at Ghiradelli square near the hotel. We went there last night for a drink and the menu looks really interesting.
Only problem is: the manager is a Manchester United fan ( poor man). He and other half were chatting about it ( commiserating about their spectacular loss to Barcelona the other night).
Tomorrow we are going on a San Francisco movies tour and to Union square. And then to the airport for the return trip to Seattle.
Photos posted over the weekend.
Over and out!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

where in the world?

Other half and I promised ourselves a short trip somewhere while we are over here in the lovely US. We hadn't made any firm plans, but though Vancouver would work well because it is fairly near Seattle.

However, we decided to do that next time,when teenager is with us.

So, an opportunity came along to meet up with the Travelling Typhoon. And we have !

Clue? Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Fisherman's Wharf. Dirty Harry, Mrs Doubtfire....


We hopped on a plane this morning and it took two hours. Back on Friday. I keep pinching myself.

One surprise: it is really cold cold cold at night ( folks- think Tynemouth beach temperature in winter). We have both bought cheap fleeces with SFC on. Not expected.

More tomorrow. Over and out from Fisherman's Wharf.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Lead me not into temptation

Ok folks. Tell me this. How do you American girls resist all this wonderful food?? I have had the will power of a saint no doubt about it.
The portion sizes in the US are a legend, so we have been sharing dishes quite a bit of the time. I have tried to stay off carbs other than:
  • two root beers ( so hard to get in the UK, and I love it)
  • a few bites of blueberry pancake ( with a bit of syrup)
  • a few forkfuls of corn beef hash ( breakfast dish)
  • a spoonful of warm Tollgate cookie and ice cream

Other than that.... I have been very good indeed. I have no access to scales ( my friend does not have them) so I need to find some today to check on progress.

Now let me tell you what I have resisted.

  • pancakes, muffins, hash browns, toast with the wonderful breakfasts
  • cakes cakes cakes ( everywhere and the displays in the supermarket are amazing)
  • Lays crisps ( I can eat a whole yellow bag- keeping well away)
  • Fries ( everywhere, with everything) and every style of potato
  • macaroni cheese ( in big pots hot and fresh in the supermarket. It's a wrestle every time)
  • fascinating fast food outlets and diners everywhere

The worst temptation was the Brown Bag Cafe near where we are staying. What a wonderful place. We had breakfast yesterday. The plates were HUGE. Check the menu out ( but not if you are on a diet).

Yesterday we went to an outlet mall. I went to my two favourite US shops: Lane Bryant and Coach. Lane Bryant does plus size clothes and wonderful colourful underwear. I have shopped there every since my first trip to Chicago ( hello Expat Mum) and have spend a fortune over the years whenever I can find one ( Orlando, Boston, Chicago and now Seattle).

The good news with my diet is that the stuff is nearly too big for me now. Even their size fourteen trousers ( pants here) are a tad too big but still ok for now. I fit their size 16/18 tops still too, but much of what I tried on was too big. I know this is a good thing. When the other four stones I need to lose have gone, my visits will be history.

So just as well I have found Chico's. A store my friend introduced to me. Lots of bright clothes. I bought a few interesting things yesterday. Their US 14 crops fit me fine.

And as for Coach. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these bags. It is a brand that has not taken off in the UK ( for some bizarre reason) so I love coming the the US to choose one. Yesterday I bought a wallet. I am still thinking about WHICH bag. What a problem to have. I love being on holiday.


I suppose I had to pop a quick post in about the Toon Army's relegation to the Championship next year.

Controversial perhaps. But they deserved it. The last match against Aston Villa was dire. It was a reflection of an awful season.

I know a lot of fans will be heartbroken. It is disappointing. But the attitude of 'we deserve success because we are big club' has to stop. We deserve to be relegated. No excuses.

And hopefully, they will rise up and fight next year in a spirited way until they deserve a premiership position once again.

Until then, we will enjoy visiting some new football grounds. Preston North End- here we come!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Second Home?

Here is a house near where we are staying. Isn't the garden fabulous?

I would like to have this for my second home!! Just need to win the lottery now.
It is so hard for ( the majority of) Brits to imagine having such space. It is so damned crowded in the UK. We are more fortunate than many living in the Lakes.

The house prices here are eye poppingly cheap compared to where we live. This is the heart break of it.

Maybe I should apply to work for Microsoft, Amazon or Expedia ( only kidding mum, only kidding).

Today we are going to a 'cook in' with some friends of B and S ( who we are staying with). I am very excited about it. I love to see how other people live and what is important to them. I am sure the food will be marvellous. Apparently our host is a wonderful baker.

Watch this space.

( PS- for those who are wondering, what about the diet? I have actually lost quite a bit more since my last post on it. I am eating lightly and avoiding carbs in the main. I am determined not to put on a single pound while I am here. However, I suspect this might be a challenge today!!) Oh yes, the food poisoning has meant Other Half and I have lost quite a bit since we landed, especially OH. He hasn't eaten really since we landed).

Six important things that make me happy!

Thanks to the wonderful Renie for this one. She is such an inspiration. Be sure to pop over and see her.

Six important things that make me happy!

  • my wonderful son. I love him to bits. Hello over there in Oz.

  • my wonderful husband. I love him to bits . Even though he supports Man Utd.

  • my wonderful mum. I love her to bits. Hello over there in Windermere.

  • my favourite aunt. I love her to bits. Hello over there in York.

  • my wonderful friends: I am so lucky to have you there- all over the world.

  • wine. A toast to all of you.

We are having a great time in Seattle. I could live here no doubt about it. After one day I am totally in love with it. As teenager would say, it rocks.

Green, spacious, colourful. Very clean. No litter. Everywhere well kept and tidy. Lovely shops. Today we went to Redmond town and Woodinville. We ate lunch at Ruby's diner, and had coffee in Starbucks ( pike place blend of course), shopped in the Whole Food Market ( what an amazing place- I could stay in there for hours and hours). I went to the bath and body works and bought loads and loads of lovely things ( it is so inexpensive in there I can never believe it....). I love their warm vanilla sugar range.

I went into the White and Black store and bought some leggings to slouch about it. We looked in a shop called Chico's : it has some great stuff in there and I will be back.

We also went to a garden centre called Molbak's. It is huge and so beautifully merchandised. It seems folks are very into gardening here. The gardens everywhere are lovely to look at.

Tonight we are having a barbecue. The weather is warm, and the garden is lovely to sit out it. First glass of wine being lined up ( as you can see the food poisoning is a distant memory). Chops, ribs and sausage from the Whole Food Market. Does life get any better?

(PS- if you are not partisan to any sporting team, please pray,cross fingers or whichever of your customs helps in times of crisis..........Newcastle United need your support tomorrow. If we lose,we will be relegated. I will be watching on cable here in Seattle.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

First day in Seattle

We are in Redmond in Seattle. It is fabulous. Here I am on my first walk around the neighbourhood. I will never get over how much space there is. It is very green with huge tall cedar and fir trees and lovely plants. The rhodedenron is the State flower- wonderful.

Our friends have bought a house in this neighbourhood. It is really beautiful and very comfortable.I think we are going to have a brilliant holiday.

Other half and I got food poisoning on the plane on the way here. We think it was scallops that were served as a starter. Other half was on oxygen for an hour because he nearly fainted. I spent most of the first night here being rather ill. What a state we were both in. Happy to report we are feeling a lot better today.


I have just deleted lots of comments on my blog by mistake instead of publishing them. Boo! Have never done that before. Must be the jet lag. Anyone know how I can sort it out or are they gone forever?

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Days of mixed fortune

The last few days have been a roller coaster.

The bad things:

  • The weather ( boo hiss)

  • The Newcastle United versus Fulham game result ( we lost one nil and still face relegation)

  • The traffic in the North East- awful. It never fails to amaze me how dreadful it is. It took me 1.5hrs to get from Darlington to Newcastle City Centre on Friday

  • Jonny Wilkinson finally announces he is leaving the Falcons for Toulon. ( I don't blame him but he will be such a miss)

  • suffering from a very late night on Saturday- not enough sleep and the old bones can't deal with it these days

  • did I mention the ( dire) weather?

  • my wonderful friend facing breast cancer. Damn that wretched disease. You know who you are- I am with you every step of the way girl!

  • shutting down the office when you are self employed... so much to think about... will we ever get away...?

The good things:

  • going to the test match at Durham on Saturday, England beating the West Indies,and teenager seeing us live on the TV all the way from Oz

  • a night out in town watching all the fashions, and having a good laugh with friends

  • staying with our good friend M in Newcastle in his lovely city centre flat- what a convenient urban treat, and only minutes from Starbucks. He is a great host. Cloudy Bay with dinner, Champagne to kick off our night out, haddock and poached eggs for breakfast. Lovely!
  • being out on the town and being three and a half stone lighter, and feeling very confident

  • the decorator starting in teenager's room. We have somewhere found the time and strength to get it all stripped down. It is going to look brilliant. And the paper has arrived!

  • looking forward to flying out of Heathrow on Friday to Seattle ( a couple of days work in Birmingham first)... we are all packed.

Just need to finish all the office work, and check we have remembered everything....

Over and out!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

A lovely wife

Traditional 15th wedding anniversary gifts have a theme of Crystal.A contemporary or modern 15th anniversary gift has a theme of Watches. The flowers associated with the 15th anniversary are Roses
On Saturday other half and I have been married for fifteen years! I can hardly believe it has been fifteen years- where has the time gone?
Apparently is is the crystal anniversary. Any offers?

My present to other half is a day at Durham Cricket Ground on Saturday watching the Test Match. England versus the West Indies.

I am quite looking forward to it. My dad played a lot of cricket and I do find it quite absorbing when I have the time. Other half is looking forward to it immensely. The weather forecast is dodgy.

I get the chance to get a treat at Fenwicks in Newcastle ( fab department store) and a night out 'on the toon' on Saturday night. I have a trendy new outfit to wear: three and a half stone gone and ready to party! The first time in about twenty years I have been to a night club.


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

unimportant happiness- a pinched tag

Can't say I was tagged. I just pinched this from Expat Mum's blog. I knew she wouldn't mind. Anyway she lives too far away for me to be really worried. Unless she sends the boys round.


( We are not getting into the 'how can something that makes you happy be unimportant?' paradox... oh sorry...I just did). Anyway...

  1. coffee
  2. beautiful cars
  3. magazines
  4. Jack Reacher novels ( author: Lee Childs)
  5. handbags
  6. a clean house

I nearly put down wine. But that is important.

Taking no chances

A man, his wife, and mother-in-law went on vacation to Jerusalem. While they were there, the mother-in-law passed away.The undertaker told them, "You can have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here in the Holy Land for $150.

"The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home.The undertaker asked, "Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your mother-in-law home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and you would spend only $150?"

The man replied, "Long ago a man died here, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can't take that chance."


A drunk man who smelled like beer sat down on a subway next to a priest.The man's tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, anda half empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket.He opened his newspaper and began reading. After a few minutes the man turned to The priest and asked, 'Say Father, what causes arthritis?'The priest replies, 'My Son, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol, contempt for your fellow man,sleeping around with prostitutes and lack of a bath.'The drunk muttered in response, 'Well, I'll be damned,' then returned tohis paper.The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man andapologized. 'I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?'The drunk answered, 'I don't have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope does.'

The Angel of the North

The Giant Angel

Theres a greet big rusty angel
On the hill in Gatehead toon
It stands there doin nothin'
Just blottin' oot the moon

There are some who think it's beautiful
And some who disagree
But the pigeons and the seagulls
Knaa exactly what ti' dee

The Geordie population
Have been shaken to the core
We've had Roman Waals and Lampton Worms
But nowt like this before

Noo angels are God's messengers
Aa've aalways understood
They sit in clouds and play their harps
And tell us to be good

Heaven's full of angels
Superior to man
But if this is what they look like
Aa divvint want to gan

Aa've been aroond the world a bit
And seen some funny things
But Aa've nivvor seen an angel
With a pair of oblong wings

How many years I wonder
Will this angel have to stand
Before it is accepted
As part of Geordieland

Poets of the future
Will sing the Angel's praises
Men like Geordie Ridley
Who gave us the Blaydon Races

Just a part of Geordie history
Like Stotty Cake n' Broon
And the world will pay homeage
To the canny Gateshead toon

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Newcastle United 3 Middlesborough 1

We won. Thankfully.
Mind you. I don't want to see any of the North East teams relegated. Controversial to some of the Toon Army I know, but for me it makes no sense to wish for the demise of your neighbour. So- not out of the woods yet my friends, but it's looking better.
And can the media please stop calling Alan Shearer ' the Messiah'. We all know what happened to the last one.
Teenager loyally got up at just after half four Oz time to watch the whole thing. There's commitment for you. Bless him.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The ( very ) big match

Tonight Newcastle United play Middlesborough. It's a relegation battle and will be very tense. I think I am too much of a coward to watch. Teenager in Oz is getting up in the middle of the night to watch it.
May the best team win. Sigh.

Sunday, 10 May 2009


........will it warm up so I can turn the heating off?
I am sick of feeling freezing cold
Moan over
( until tomorrow)


Hop over to Expat Mum's blog- she has a great post on mothers/mums/ mams ( for the Geordies in the readership- good morning expat, clippy, tismee and hadriana).
Good fun- check it out.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Wii - fit update

It's official- I love the Wii fit and it is definitely toning me up. I love all the balance games especially the heading game. Other half and I are battling it out to be first on the leaderboard on the slalom. I also love the stepping, and the hula hooping ( great for toning the tum and the waist), and I getting into the yoga slowly.
And the best thing- it is inspiring me to go for more walks. Since it has been lovely evening, other half and I went for a brisk walk up and down a couple of small local hills. The fresh spring air and views were just wonderful. We were just in time - the weather cracked up pretty quickly after our return. The weather has been odd- very windy, then loads of rain, and then warm sunshine. Difficult to know what to wear, and the heating is on then off in quick succession.

We spoke to teenager today. It is always a joy to hear his voice. He thinks he has grown over an inch!! He says his exchange is going over all too quickly which is a sure sign he is having a really good time. He is playing Aussie rules football, and basketball and seems to be enjoying school. It is hard to believe he has been in Melbourne for nearly four weeks. And it is four weeks since I have seen him. It is really tough, but I am really happy he is getting a lot out of his visit.

Diet is going well, though I have eased off a little. When I get back from my holidays, I will go on it again strictly. In the meantime, I am enjoying a glass of wine.

In the spirit of Tommy Cooper

I met this bloke with a didgeridoo and he was playing Dancing Queen on it. I thought, 'That's Aboriginal.'

This lorry full of tortoises collided with a van full of terrapins. It was a turtle disaster.

I told my girlfriend I had a job in a bowling alley. She said 'Tenpin?' I said, 'No, permanent'.

I went in to a pet shop. I said, 'Can I buy a goldfish?' The guy said, 'Do you want an aquarium?' I said, 'I don't care what star sign it is.'

I bought some Armageddon cheese today, and it said on the packet. 'Best before End--------

I went to buy a watch, and the man in the shop said 'Analogue.' I said 'No, just a watch.' ------------------------------

I went into a shop and I said, 'Can someone sell me a kettle.' The bloke said 'Kenwood' I said, 'Where is he then?' --------------------------

My mate is in love with two schoolbags. He's bi-satchel. ------------------------

I went to the doctor. I said to him 'I'm frightened of lapels.' He said, 'You've got cholera.' --------

I met the bloke who invented crosswords today. I can't remember his name, its P something T something R.

I was reading this book today, The History of Glue. I couldn't put it down

I phoned the local ramblers club today, but the bloke who answered just went on and on.

The recruitment consultant asked me 'What do you think of voluntary work? I said 'I wouldn't do it if you paid me.'

I was in the jungle and there was this monkey with a tin opener. I said, 'You don't need a tin opener to peel a banana.' He said, 'No, this is for the custard.'

This policeman came up to me with a pencil and a piece of very thin paper. He said, 'I want you to trace someone for me..'

I told my mum that I'd opened a theatre. She said, 'Are you having me on?' I said, 'Well I'll give you an audition, but I'm not promising you anything.'

I phoned the local builders today, I said to them 'Can I have a skip outside my house?' He said, 'I'm not stopping you!'

This cowboy walks in to a German car showroom and he says 'Audi!'

I fancied a game of darts with my mate. He said, 'Nearest the bull goes first' He went 'Baah' and I went 'Moo' He said 'You're closest'

I was driving up the motorway and my boss phoned me and he told me I'd been promoted. I was so shocked I swerved the car. He phoned me again to say I 'd been promoted even higher and I swerved again. He then made me managing director and I went right off into a tree. The police came and asked me what had happened. I said 'I careered off the road'

I visited the offices of the RSPCA today. It's tiny: you couldn't swing a cat in there.

I was stealing things in the supermarket today while balanced on the shoulders of a couple of vampires. I was charged with shoplifting on two counts

I bought a train ticket to France and the ticket seller said 'Eurostar' I said 'Well I've been on telly but I'm no Dean Martin.

I phoned the local gym and I asked if they could teach me how to do the splits. He said, 'How flexible are you?' I said, 'I can't make Tuesdays or Thursdays.'

I went to the local video shop and I said, 'Can I borrow Batman Forever?' He said, 'No, you'll have to bring it back tomorrow'

A waiter asks a man, 'May I take your order, sir?' 'Yes,' the man replies. 'I'm just wondering, exactly how do you prepare your chickens?' 'Nothing special, sir. We just tell them straight out that they're going to die.'

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


For 2 years an Italian man was having an affair with an Italian woman. One night, she confided in him that she was pregnant. Not wanting to ruin his reputation or his marriage, he paid her a large sum of money if she would go to Italy to secretly have the child. If she stayed in Italy to raise the child, he would also provide child support until the child turned 18. She agreed, but asked how he would know when the baby was born.

To keep it discrete, he told her to simply mail him a post card, and write 'Spaghetti' on the back. He would then arrange for the child support payments to begin. One day, about 9 months later, he came home to his confused wife. 'Honey!,' she said, 'you received a very strange post card today.' 'Oh, just give it to me and I'll explain it later,' he said.

The wife obeyed and watched as her husband read the card, turned white & fainted.

On the card was written: Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti. Three with meatballs, two without.

Send extra sauce.'

Monday, 4 May 2009

Teenager in Oz

As you can see - he is having a wonderful time. The picture is of teenager and his exchange partner.

Doesn't he look well? He has nearly been there for three weeks..............

Zen teachings

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me,
for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow.
In fact, just p**s off and leave me alone.

2. Sex is like air. It's not that important unless you aren't getting any..

3. No one is listening until you fart.

4. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

5. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

6. If you think nobody cares whether you're alive or dead, try missing a couple of mortgage payments.

7. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

8. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

9. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

10. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

11. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

12. Some days you are the bug; some days you are the wind screen.

13. Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.

14. Good judgment comes from bad experience ... and most of that comes from bad judgment.

15. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

16. There are two excellent theories for arguing with women. Neither one works.

17. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

18. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

19. We are born naked, wet and hungry, and get slapped on our ass ...
then things just keep getting worse.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

I think number six is the best one. How about you?

The Hormone Guide

The Hormone Guide Women will understand this! Men should memorize it!

Every woman knows that there are days when all a man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life in his hands!

This is a handy guide that shouldbe carried like a driver's license in the wallet of every husband,boyfriend, co-worker or significant other!


What's for dinner?
Can I help you with dinner?
Where would you like to go for dinner?
Here, have some wine.

Are you wearing that?
You sure look good in brown!
WOW! Look at you!
Here, have some wine

What are you so worked up about?
Could we be overreacting?
Here's my paycheck.
Here, have some wine.

Should you be eating that?
You know, there are a lot of apples left.
Can I get you a piece of chocolate with that?
Here, have some wine.

What did you DO all day?
I hope you didn't overdo it today.
I've always loved you in that robe!
Here, have some wine.

13 Things PMS Stands For 1. Pass My Shotgun 2. Psychotic Mood Shift 3. Perpetual Munching Spree 4. Puffy Mid-Section 5. People Make me Sick 6. Provide Me Sweets 7. Pardon My Sobbing 8. Pimples May Surface 9. Pass My Sweatpants 10. Pissy Mood Syndrome 11. Pretty Mean sister 12. Pack My Stuff and my FAVORITE one: 13. Potential Murder Suspect

Forward this information to all of your friends and those who might need a good laugh and men who need a warning.


Saturday, 2 May 2009

Saturday sniggers

One evening a Husband, thinking he was being funny, said to his wife,

'Perhaps we should start washing your clothes in 'Slim Fast'. Maybe it would take a few inches off of your butt!'

His wife was not amused, and decided that she simply couldn't let such a comment go unrewarded.

The next morning the husband took a pair of underwear out of his drawer. 'What the heck is this?' he said to himself as a little 'dust' cloud appeared when he shook them out.

'April', he hollered into the bathroom, 'Why did you put Talcum Powder in my underwear?' She replied with a snicker.

'It's not talcum powder; it's 'Miracle Grow'!!!!!!