Friday, 31 October 2008

Day 31 of 365: Something Old...

This is the dress my mom wore in 1974 when she was only 22 years old. I can't get over how tiny she was. I remember as a little girl sneaking into her closet to try the dress on and thinking I would some day wear it at my own wedding. However, I didn't inherit my my mother's additional four inches in height, let alone her much flatter chest, so wearing it for my own wedding day just isn't an option. I just always loved the style though -- she was such a hippie.
I'm borrowing one of the lace-up strings from the front of this dress to keep with me tomorrow as my "something old." It will also be a way for me to keep a bit of my mom with me on the day. To be honest, this will be the most difficult of life transitions to experience without my mom. I'm envisioning the next one being the birth of any children -- but this one is something special I would like to have her here with me to share in. I want her to meet Matt and see what a wonderful person he is and how happy he makes me. I suppose in a way she already knows though, right?

I was also able to get my hands on a silver sixpence from Matt's parents. The rhyme goes...

Something old, Something new,
Something borrowed, Something blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

I had only heard the last line a few times, but learned through some web-research tonight that a silver sixpence is supposed to bring wealth and financial security. Hmm, yes please!

Less than 24 hours now...

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Day 30 of 365: Coincidentally...Red

I did a double-take when I heard the music and saw what was outside of our window. Nearly November and still peddling creamy goodness!! In fact, it made me think of a card I sent a friend a couple months back...

"As Jen heard the distorted tones of 'Teddy Bears Picnic' drifting through the bedroom window, she realized she was caught in the ultimate female carry on making love to her man, or chase after the ice cream van."

I voted the ice cream van, hands down.

The lithium batteries died on the camera as soon as I snapped this one from the window, so it was my only choice in piccy for the day. It also happens to be red...just like the Thursday Theme.

It's going to be a very busy Friday. I'm not sure if I will even be able to get new batteries, let alone have much time to post another before the wedding. We'll have to see...stay tuned. Pasta mess tomorrow night anyway at Em & Daz's...mmm!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Day 29 of 365: They See Me Rollin'...They Hatin'

It's no wonder this song popped into my head when we passed this fine masterpiece today. I was waiting for Chamillionare to come cryp-walking out from the bushes or something. But seriously...WHO does this? It's a VW BUS!! Not exactly built for speed, yet, the owner must like to think so -- with the checkered "racing flag" bra on the front and the tacky flames down the side. I'd really like to see the chav who drives this. It's almost as bad as putting racing stripes or a big-ass fin or exhaust on a Ford Fiesta!!

This picture was taken on the way back from my appointment this afternoon in Stourbridge at Spec Savers. They have to order my trial pair of contacts in first (thanks to my astigmatism) and the optician said they should be here by Friday. They better be, because I wasn't planning on wearing my coke bottles to the wedding. If I need to, I'll just put on the crap contacts in that I can't see as well out of. I know it's vain of me, but I really don't want to look back at pictures of my day at myself wearing a pair of crooked glasses. I'm also hoping to find a place in the next day or two to get my eyebrows done. It's like wild kingdom up there. Wouldn't be surprised if I have a small animal in these things nesting already.

It's all coming together! Only THREE more days!!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Day 28 of 365: Walk This Way

I've been practicing a little every day to make sure I don't trip and fall Saturday. You can't even see them under my dress, which is a shame because I love the look. The original ankle straps that were on the shoes when I bought them were uncomfortable, so they have been replaced by ribbon instead. I just hope the ground isn't too soft when we go to take photos at the Priory ruins.

Oh, and it started to snow tonight just after 5pm. I've barricaded myself in the front room of the flat with the heater. It's 34 degrees at the moment and I'm avoiding opening the door to the front room for fear I will turn into an icicle. I suppose this isn't really cold for England, but having just spent the past 2 years in North Carolina, it's cold for me.

Anyone wanna make me an afghan blanket?

Monday, 27 October 2008

Day 27 of 365: Hail...But Not to the Queen

Woke up this morning to sunny skies and then...out of nowhere...the showers came.

Ah, but England wasn't going to let me down. Not today...

It also managed to HAIL within the SAME hour I took the last photo (oopsie on the slight reflection). Click on the photo to see the little hail "pebbles" in the road. I guess 'so much for my walk.'

Get this as well -- they're forecasting snow for this week sometime as well. Matt commented that we may just have a "white wedding." Eek! No way! I've been monitoring for the past 5 days on the 10-day forecast to see what they project for Saturday. It has changed every day from sunny, to partly windy, to I really don't know what to expect. Right now it says only a 10% chance of precipitation, but that could change in the next 8 hours.

What's next anyway...LOCUSTS?!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Day 26 of 365: Stourbridge Olympics

Oh the JOY a new video game brings to a household...

Em & Daz have now acquired 'Beijing 2008 Olympics' for the Xbox. Inappropriate comments were made and fun was had by all as both controllers were pulverized by vigorously moving palms to gain maximum speed/distance/strength. In fact, I think Matt even got a blister! Em and I then disappeared upstairs for a bit to watch the trailer for Twilight and some Stephen Lynch on YouTube while the guys brought out the heavy artillery on Ghost Recon.

Oh, and check THIS out...

They're here!! We were supposed to be picking them up from the jeweler on Tuesday this week, but they called yesterday to say they were in early. The problem we ran into was getting to Merry Hill and into H. Samuel just before 7pm, but they had already closed the till and said we would have to come back today. I would show them to you, but I would rather keep everyone in suspense until Saturday. Only 6 more days now!! Squeee!!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Day 25 of 365: Girls Just Wanna Have...Quiet?

This is the result of nothing to eat all day and a quick stop at the garage on the way home for snackage. Matt went to meet up with Daz at a friend' Em and I enjoyed a night in without gunfire and without feeling as though we were under attack. Unbelievably the telly remained off nearly all night.

Em was midway through Twilight and cursing me because Stephenie Meyer had also claimed her as a "reading victim." She, in turn, handed me a book by James Patterson called The Quickie and we proceeded to sit in silence reading our books, stopping every now and again to chat a bit. I do enjoy spending time with my future sister-in-law and I love that we get along so well. Plus, it was a nice change from the boys playing "macho vigilante" on the Xbox all night. As a result of finishing The Quickie in a record-breaking 6 hours, I have been sent home with another good 'un...Double Cross (see photo).

In other news, Em & Daz have an escape artist on their hands. Their cat, Sweep, has figured out how to unlock the cat-flap and simply lets himself out now. He has apparently been doing this the past couple of weeks and it isn't uncommon for them to wake up in the morning and find that he has disappeared. The trouble is, he unlocks it to get out, but it is still locked from the other direction making it impossible for him to return inside. They have tried blocking the entrance with large things, such as his covered litter tray -- but alas, this is no match for Sweepie-cat.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Day 24 of 365: Spider Cat

This is a fun little game Matt does with Myst. He waves his hand back and forth and up and down the wall and Myst positions himself, locks his focus, and leaps to reach Matt's hand. He can really get quite high and it's hilarious to watch. By about the 9th or 10th jump, however, he will get bored...

...and retreat to chill out and show his disinterest.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Day 23 of 365: ...Get Yer Hurr Did

However, unlike Missy...I did not "put my thang down, flip it, and reverse it." No, none of that nonsense. But I did go with Emma, bling-bling tiara in hand, to see/discuss my wedding "hurr-doo" for next weekend. This is my backup tiara in case the one I am borrowing doesn't fit well with my dress.

I have to admit, I felt a little silly purchasing it in BHS this week. Not because I didn't like it, but because as a little girl, my mom always refused to get me silly little costume jewelry-type tiaras or the little plastic high-heeled shoes sold in the toy section at Kmart. I don't even think I showed interest in any of it, really. I never went through any phase where I wanted that or "jellies" or anything of the like. Although now, I must admit, I feel a little bit "princess-like" when I put it on. I wanted something simple, yet sparkly...and this definitely fits the bill. Can't wait to see how it looks next Saturday...when I "work it" of course

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Day 22 of 365: Ding, dong...Avon Calling.

Matt was being solicited by Scottish Power today (as I spied on them from upstairs) after our "dry run" to Birmingham to get the marriage authorities. They were trying to get him to switch from British Gas, but then we later discovered it wouldn't be much of a savings. Since we'll only be in the flat (hopefully) a few more months, I think we're gonna wait. Last month the visit was from the RSPCA. I don't like answering the door here mainly because I'm always nervous it will be a scam. I guess I'm just paranoid.

You see that I mentioned it was a "dry run" today? That's because we didn't make it. With Matt's odd hours this week, he tried to stay awake after work and we would have gone this morning, but his energy was completely depleted by 9:15am so he came to bed. Unfortunately, it's not so easy getting him awake again so by the time we were out the door and on our way, we realized we wouldn't make it to Birmingham before the office shut at 4pm. So we're gonna have another go tomorrow.

*crosses fingers*

I thought I would throw this in for good measure, since this blog already has one of Matt...

Matt snapped this one of me this morning when he came home from work. He says that he thought it was funny I was cuddling the teddy bear. This was the bear he sent me for Valentine's Day one year and it's SO soft and I LOVE it! I grabbed it when I went to bed since he wasn't getting home until the morning. The flash on the camera woke me up, but I was too tired to fully open my eyes so all I saw was a blurry Matt turning off the light and walking out of the room. Then again, even if my eyes were open he still would have been blurry. Thank goodness for my Spec Savers appointment next week!!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Day 21 of 365: It's BACON!!!

Mmm...mmm, for bacon sandwiches! This was dinner tonight. I'm still quite hungry, but I'm also too sleepy by now to make myself anything more than a bowl of cereal.

There is so much to be done in the next 11 days! Matt and I have to pick up our marriage authorities from Birmingham in the morning and drop them off at the register office in Dudley, our rings will be ready next Tuesday, and I have an eye appointment next Wednesday so I can finally get my contacts again. Also, I think I go with Em this week to meet with the hairdresser to decide on a style for the wedding while she has a skin test before having hers colored again and somewhere before the 31st, I'd like to get my caterpillars-- I mean eyebrows done so I don't look like friggin Peter Gallagher on my wedding.

It's really for everyone's benefit. Honest.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Day 20 of 365: Another Rainy Day... "sunny" Kingswinford of all places -- imagine that!

We spent the day in, well, most of it anyway. Matt's shift this week is 10pm-6:30am so we stayed up a bit late last night and I let him sleep a bit longer this morning. I contemplated a walk, but it was so bitterly cold inside the flat, I couldn't tear myself off the sofa and out of the front room for most of the morning.

We popped out later to run errands at Merry Hill and get something for tea. Tonight's menu, courtesy ASDA, consisted of Southern Fried Crispy Chicken and Potato Waffles -- all drenched (well, mine anyway) in vinegar...mmm! The grill and I are not friends at the moment -- we're fighting, because it burnt the waffles in a matter of 10 seconds as I was standing there checking and getting ready to pull them out. They didn't taste too awful, but I think we will do them IN the oven next time to avoid the same waffle-demise.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Day 19 of 365: Submersed

Thanks to Christine (no, really...THANK YOU, CHRISTINE <-- shout out, hehe) I have been completely consumed for the last 36 hours reading this book. When we first began our chats on MSN after going through our visa dramas on UKY, she asked if I had read the book and although the dinky local library didn't have it, she didn't give up and sent me a copy instead -- which is awesome!!

It is, in fact, a really good book and I haven't been able to put it down for very long since I started it -- one of those books where you're drawn in and feeling like you're one of the characters. Emma is borrowing it off me next and Matt may have a little read as well. The movie is due out in the states in the next month and then won't hit the UK until December.

If you haven't read it already...GET A COPY!!

Nothing else to report today as this pretty much covered the span of my Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Day 18 of 365: Kleenex for MEN?

Are you SERIOUS?! Is there really a need to differentiate tissues for men and women? Just because they're not in massive boxes big enough for shoes...they couldn't be sufficient or masculine enough for men?! You've got to be joking!!

This display in Spar made Matt and I crack up when we popped in tonight to pick up something on the way to Em & Daz's. I can just imagine reaching inside and pulling out a ginormous bed sheet to blow my nose. Has marketing really come to this?

Also, came home later tonight to see this just up the road from the flat...

Apparently some kids thought it would be great fun to set fire to a mattress inside the staircase of this set of flats above the shops. Earlier in the evening we even saw some kids setting a small fire under a bus shelter with a pile of leaves. We phoned the police just to make them aware as it wasn't far from people's homes.

Freaking pyros...go find something more productive to, I dunno...a JOB maybe?

Friday, 17 October 2008

Day 17 of 365: Canal Walk

Thanks to Google Earth, I've discovered a new addition to my walk towards Wordsley. If I walk my reverse route via Cot Lane to Lawnswood, then up Bells Lane, there is a small strip of grassy area enclosed by a perimeter of trees on either side of a bike path. That path then ends at Foxhills Road, which feeds to Kinver Road, where a lovely park stands towards the left (adjacent to Ashwood Primary School) with the canal running on the other side.

It was gorgeous outside today and I calculated that if I didn't get out on my walk early, it would cloud over by 2pm...and I was right. I'll have to post the rest of my pictures on Facebook or MySpace.

The walk by the canal was so relaxing. Matt was a bit nervous about me walking along the towpath since he wants to know I am safe, but judging by the amount of women pushing prams about, I figured it was okay. The canal was pretty active with narrow boats as well -- which I love to watch. I stopped for this photo just as a narrow boat was exiting the final lock in that stretch of the canal. At one point, I saw a flock of Canadian Geese (wondering if they call them "Canadian" Geese here) and this little terrier pup came yip-yipping down the path and scared them all into the canal. The owner wasn't far behind walking a German Shepherd and commented that she didn't know what he (the terrier) would do if one of the geese were to turn on him. It was quite funny to see such a confident little dog show his "alpha" side and take on over half a dozen geese.

When I returned to the flat a couple hours later, my pedometer was just over 4 miles -- so not bad for branching a bit out of my normal route. It was 6.83 mi. by the end of the day, which includes the 2.5 miles racked up from walking around Merry Hill later in the afternoon to find the lads some shirts for their suits and to check on our rings. I sure hope this nice weather holds up for the next 2 weeks.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Day 16 of 365: Intrinsic & Extrinsic Motivation

Managed a brisk 5.27 miles today as I combined my Wordsley and Wall Heath circuit. This time, instead of coming down Broad Street and crossing Stream Road to head up to the flat, I kept walking past the pub on the corner of Cot Lane and Broad until I got to Summerhill and then went left towards Kiddeminster Road (A449). Just after I passed Summerhill School I decided to take this photo. I have seen people walking down this gravel lane, but it looks to be private property so I don't dare venture that way. Still, put the word "cottage" on the end of just about anything and it makes me think of the quaint little cottage where Cameron Diaz stayed in The Holiday. (Great film, by the way.) So, each time I pass this this drive, I picture a tiny little house tucked away in the trees...maybe a cute little thatched roof and smoke billowing out of a chimney from the fire. How cozy!

Also, another double piccy day because I couldn't resist...

You may wonder why this is such a big deal. Well, it's my first "silver seven" and quite literally! This is my weigh-in booklet for Weight Watchers (also what I affectionately call "fat camp"). Since I have been in England (1 Aug) I have lost half a stone, which is 7 lbs! It's not melting off as much as I would like, but slowly and surely, it's coming off. Last week my loss was 1.5 lbs. and I had another 1.5 this week as well -- so I'm stoked about 3 lbs. in just the past 2 weeks. Of course, I am careful as I don't want my wedding dress to fall off me in 16 days, but I'm happy nonetheless for an overall loss. Plus, look -- I got a shiny sticker!!

Day 15 of 365: Blustery Day

This tree stands right outside our front window and every day I have been watching this branch become more and more visible as leaves fall to the ground below. The sky leaves little to be desired, but I do love this time of year. In the States, this is the perfect season for tailgating and cook-outs...or better yet, HAY RIDES!!! I miss those. The past couple days though, I've stayed in. I'm completely unmotivated to go on my little walks. I don't mind cold weather, and I don't mind cloudy skies...but I do miss the sun.

Instead of walks, I've been able to keep myself busy with my usual social networking standbys and THIS. It's actually quite fun. Anyway, hoping for a little bit of sun tomorrow (especially on the way to "fat camp")...and a lot more funny. :-P

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Day 14 of 465: Comedy or Tragedy? You Decide.

Working on the registry. It kind of goes like this...

Setting: Front room of our flat
Characters: Matt & Meg
Supporting Role: Myst

Matt: *obstinately watching X-Files - Season 5*

Meg: *points to towel set in lilac*
What do you think of these, hon?

Matt: *nods in approval & turns attention back to TV*

Meg: *points to electric can opener*
Wouldn't this be nice? And it's only 8 quid!

Matt: *hesitates before looking quickly and nodding again
in approval*

Meg: *does fist pump*
Hell yeah...check it!!

Matt: *glances momentarily away from TV to see Meg pointing at battery-operated spaghetti-twirling fork & smiles before shaking his head at the realization of what the rest of his life will be like and the nutter it will be living it with*

Meg: *realizes the same and grins*
You're stuck with me!!

Myst: *chases his tail*


Monday, 13 October 2008

Day 13 of 365: The Intrepid Traveller

Myst got a taste of freedom when I returned from the library this afternoon. As soon as he hears a key in the door while Matt or I are away, he bolts down the steps to greet us at the door. In most cases, he sticks his little kitty nose in the crack of the door to smell the outside and even though we keep him as an indoor cat, sometimes we'll let him step out onto the front garden and have a mooch around.

Today's mooch lasted all of 1 minute before he legged it back inside after the neighbor started his car.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Day 12 of 365: Stubby Nubbs

I am not to bite them for the next couple of weeks. Provided I follow orders...I get some purdy weddin' nails y'all!

Em's lovely talent brought me some nice french tips a couple years ago, on my first visit to the UK, and I LOVED them. Unfortunately my rigorous work duties coordinating birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese's made for some earlier-than-expected casualties.

We picked out Em's bridesmaid dress today and it looks absolutely gorgeous on her. I'll save showing photos until the day of the wedding. Here is one of the contenders that (although lovely on Em) didn't make the cut...

A little too "springtime"...but we were still keeping with purple theme. The one she ended up with is the same color as her shoes. A "royal" purple almost and a solid color as opposed to a pattern. I wanted to make sure she could pick something she would wear again and not be forced into something just for our wedding.

Also, I purchased these for a lovely £16...even though the little sticker said £3... (I'm not bitter at the saleslady)

They have a strap that goes around the ankle, but I haven't decided if I will use it. They're actually identical to Em's shoes aside from the color. I think they will take some breaking in within the next couple of weeks and I should keep an eye out for a backup pair if the pain becomes unbearable. The really nice thing is that they add TONS of height, which every garden gnome needs on her wedding day. :-)

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Day 11 of 365: Day Late, Dollar Short...

Every week it's a mystery when we will get our THURSDAY papers delivered (look closely for the date the paper is printed). This week, like many others, it happened to be Saturday evening. Now, you may think, "what's the big deal," right. The big deal is that if there is something going on in the community, say on a Friday night or Saturday a live band or car boot sale...we don't find out until AFTER it has happened!! This honestly frustrates me to no end.

Matt and I have turned it into a game where we guess each night if it will be delivered and then try to rush to the door to have a word with the delivery girl before she scurries off. I nearly got her today, but she's a quick little vixen.

As a kid back in Hilliard, Ohio, I had the HUGE responsibility of delivering The Northwest News on my street. Trust me, people were on my shit about it, too. If they didn't have their paper by 6pm on Wednesday night, I got an earful and was likely to not get any extra pocket money from them when I collected for the paper each month. *sigh* The smile an extra dollar would bring to a 12-year-old.

Anyway, I think we finally need to break down and make a formal complaint about it. I didn't want it to come to this, but she leaves us no choice.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Day 10 of 365: I'm Not Eating Flipper!

This was from the trip tonight to Aldi to pick something up for dinner for when Emma and Daz came over. Matt points this out (photo above) and I had told him how "mahi mahi" is actually dolphin. He throws it back into the freezer saying, "I'm not eating Flipper!" We chose some pork escalopes instead, which we plan to have with mushrooms and curly fries.


To my surprise, when I get home, I learn on Wikipedia that although "mahi mahi" is commonly (and incorrectly) referred to as "dolphin" it is just a fish and not even related to the mammal. *gasp* My my, you learn something new every day, huh? All this time I thought it was dolphin and it's really just dolphin-fish. Thank you for educating me, Wikipedia!

In that case, break out some chips and let's douse these puppies in vinegar!!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Day 9 of 365: So Spot On!!!

B E H O L D ! !
Dunsley Hall Country Hotel & Restaurant

How many ways can I express complete and utter euphoria?! This place was an absolute Godsend!

Matt and I made a trip to Kinver this afternoon to check out a few restaurants for our little reception after the wedding. There will only be 6 of us (Matt & I, his parents, his sister, Emma, and her fiance/Matt's best mate, Daz). We had checked out a few places in Kinver and after leaving a pub called The Vine, we thought we had found our place (compared to other options). They sit quietly outside the main street along the canal and the inside had a very nice ambiance.

On the way home Matt suddenly said, "Ooh, what was that place?" and he immediately put on the brakes. We turned around on a one-way street and headed back entering a gravel drive with an old country brick manor in front of us. I was impressed already.

Once we entered, we were shown to the dining room and simply fell in love!! The place was gorgeous and exactly what we had in mind. In fact, even more so what Matt wanted me to have for our wedding night celebration.

We had a wander through the bar area and the garden, but by then we were sold. This HAD to be it. It was absolutely lovely!! So, we booked our dinner for 7pm on the 1st of November, planning to arrive an hour or so before for drinks. We honestly couldn't be happier. In fact, I type this now over a couple of celebratory glasses of wine and I am absolutely ecstatic! It's made our day.

Later, we stopped down Merry Hill to H. Samuel to pick our wedding rings and found the perfect pair! What a productive day!!

Honestly, it makes no difference to me that this will be a register office wedding. I couldn't have asked for better company or better atmosphere to celebrate something so wonderful!!

**EDIT: Here's their website if you'd like to take a gander...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Day 8 of 365: No Problem.

Today's adventure brought us to Victoria Passage in Stourbridge, where Matt and I went with his parents to check out Luciano's for possibly having our dinner there after the wedding. A guy from the kitchen allowed us to take a peek around the dining room and every time we asked a question he would reply, "No problem." I'm not sure he even spoke much English, but he certainly had that phrase down.

I also found out this afternoon what Royal Mail needed someone to sign for...

It was a Marks & Spencer gift card from my friend, Teresa and her fiancé Sean -- and our very FIRST wedding gift!! (Teresa and I had attended school together from Kindergarten through high school -- so we've known each other our whole lives.) Matt & I were both so pleased and really appreciate how thoughtful it was to find a local place to send a gift card from. In the meantime, we're thinking of registering a few places online, one being, to make it easier for friends and family in the states if they wish to send something.

I suppose this will all start sinking in within the next couple of weeks -- the reality of what is about to happen. We've been on such a roller-coaster up to this point that I think we're a bit overstimulated at what we've each been through to get to present day. The main thing is that we are both completely elated that I am finally here in the UK and we no longer have to be apart. How's that for sappy?

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Day 7 of 365: Sorry, You Were Out

Matt and I heard a knock at 10 this morning, but couldn't be arsed to get our butts out of bed. We suspected it might have been the guy to come read the gas meter -- which would mean Matt would have to disconnect the dryer and move it out of the way. We weren't prepared for physical labor before noon and once the reading would have been taken, they would have worked at light speed to immediately supply us with a fresh bill demanding payment.

So we ignored it.

Wouldn't you know, it was an attempt by Royal Mail to deliver a parcel to me!! Argh!!

Please Note: I love, love LOVE getting packages...and I hate, hate, HATE missing them.

Matt tried popping down to the post office twice before they shut at 1pm, but the lady had not returned from her deliveries with my parcel. Guess I have to wait until tomorrow.

Please Note: I struggle, struggle, struggle with the waiting.

Also, if you were wondering...Myst likes to inspect all mail that enters the letterbox. Quality control, baby.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Day 6 of 365: Done. And. Done.

Step one...completed. Matt and I arrived on Holliday Street in Birmingham shortly before 1pm today. We paid the meter and walked on to the registry office (above) . A man called Steve conducted our "interview." He asked us questions about where we were from and if we had been married before and managed to get a chuckle out of us both when he asked if we were related in any way. Forgetting I was "not in Kansas anymore" I made a reference that I was from Ohio and not West Virginia. Steve didn't laugh. He explained how giving notice was similar to that of Banns in a religious ceremony and that it was strictly a formality to give notice of our intention for marriage and then wait a period of 16 clear days before we can marry. This is to allow anyone objecting to our union to plea their case -- for instance, if they discovered Matt's secret underground harem. Shhhh!

It took about 45 minutes in all for Steve to hand-write all our information, ask us more questions, and make photocopies of our documents. Apparently I passed the test on whether or not I was a true American by the way I sign my name. Matt signed his first initial, last name...mine was first name, middle initial, last name (more neatly than Matt, I might add). The other example Steve used for signature format was 'George W. Bush.' To be honest, I was nervous to be so closely associated with the President...even if it was just for example.
(Note: Please, no jokes/comments about the President. I'd like to keep this blog lighthearted and fun.)

So, we're all set now and all we have left to do is confirm an available date with Dudley Register Office. We're both very excited. I can't wait!!

Also...I'm not good at sticking to JUST ONE picture for each day (if you haven't noticed).

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Day 5 of 365: Festival of Water & Light

It was pants. I was sorely disappointed. I had been reading in the paper about it since I arrived in the UK -- The Festival of Water and Lights at the Merry Hill Waterfront. Canal boats were set to each be decorated as a different country. The one pictured above was Holland.

We must have missed the boat parade by the time we got there so we followed the canal path past the bridge to where we saw the remaining boats mooring up. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the boat decorated for America...but the Canadian one was blocking it (grr, Canada). I was not impressed at all by the decorating. I guess I thought there would be a little more to it.

Here's the one for the UK. They had England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales in little flagged off sections. The only thing working in their favor was that they used glitter. Still a pretty crap job on the double-decker though.

The only good thing out of this was seeing Mariah Carey (circa "Glitter")...

HAHA! I'm SOOOO joking. Looked like a fun ride though.

At the end of the day, I think this whole event would have been more fun if I:

  • was a child between the ages of 4 and 10
  • had money to buy doughnuts or chips with vinegar
  • could get my face painted (see above, re: having money)
Oh well, free admission...I'll stop.

In other news...the people-watching was fun. ;-)

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Day 4 of 365: Game on!

With the help of his trusty side-kick, Myst (fat cat to the right), Matt carefully scans the map to make his next strategic move. Who would have thought a video game could be so elaborate and require keen map-reading skills. I guess Grand Theft Auto's not all about bitches and hoes after all.

Also, we received a bit of good news today! Below you will see our reaction after said "good news."

We're even happier than the photo portrays. One of the main reasons is we've been dealing with a lot of extra stress lately on top of worrying about getting things sorted for getting married and then me getting my FLR(M) (Further Leave to Remain for Marriage) -- which is basically an extension on my 6 month Fiancé visa that allows me to continue living in the UK for 2 more years, but also gives me permission to work. It basically costs a liver or kidney (maybe even one's first born) to pay for this special extension/permission. And now a bit of a weight has been lifted as we are finally making our first of two big trips to Birmingham --this one will be to give notice of marriage at the register office on Monday. From there we must contact our local registrar in Dudley to book the wedding, and then wait 17 days before we can get married. Once we're married, we get to go back to Birmingham to apply in person for my FLR(M) and hopefully walk out that same day with approval. It will cost more to do it in person, but at the risk of sending it through the post and having to wait an additional 8+ weeks to work, it will pay for itself once I'm working.

With that in mind, we are two VERY happy and grateful bunnies right now. Everything is finally falling into place.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Day 3 of 365: Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See

Where were climbing "webs" like this when I was a kid? Seriously?! I was limited to "penny drops" off the rusty ass monkey bars, where I would then fall into a pile of splintery wood chips.

The photo was taken at a park just off Cot Lane (not far from our flat). I keep joking with Matt that I want to come here with an open container (yes, alcohol) and blatantly drink it in daylight whilst playing on the playground equipment (did I mention I'm five?)...since there are no "open container" laws in the UK. Yep, you can pretty much crack open a 40 walking out of a shop and drink it on your walk back home. So this is definitely a UK experience I need to have.

Today was absolutely GORGEOUS!! I couldn't fight the sun teasing me from the front room window for long and shortly after noon, I set out for a walk on my Wordsley circuit. I was hoping for one photo op in particular, but the conditions weren't right...and I'll leave you all in suspense because I WILL get the photo someday...after all, I do have 362 more chances.

My Wordsley route takes me down Stream Road to The Old Cat Pub where I turn right and always walk up past King George V Park. I finally decided to go IN the park today since it always looks so inviting with vast green lawns past the old brick walls. I read the "Welcome to..." sign and learned that the area was originally part of Ashwood Haye, a part of the Royal Forest of Kinver dating back to the 18th century when it was basically fields belonging to farmers. I took a gander around the football fields and up a path towards the bowling green, but didn't see much to photograph.

By the time I got home my pedometer read that I had walked 3.67 miles...GO ME! Tomorrow is supposed to be "Breezy with Rain" and 55 degrees by 2pm. I reckon if I can get out before 10am, I can beat the showers.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Day 2 of 365: Forecast is Calling for...Yes.

If by yes, I mean 'all of the above.' If you click on the photo or look closely, you can see the rain. It called for rain yesterday and it was sunny...and today it was supposed to be sunny, but then a large, ominous looking cloud suddenly appeared and chose to piss it down just before my walk. Boo, rain. This photo was taken after Matt's dad dropped by and we couldn't believe the sun was beating down and the second shower seemed to come from nowhere! I'm pretty certain the neighbors also might have thought I was casing out their houses for later.

Dear Neighbors,

Don't mind me. I'm American.

Love, Meg

I'm adding this photo just for funsies. We have been up early every day this week and this was taken today around 7:30pm. He was simply exhausted and although he didn't intend to fall asleep, he couldn't fight it any longer. I know that makes two photos for the day, but I couldn't resist sharing this precious Kodak moment. I love this man!!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Day 1 of 365: The Beginning

This is a very important "starter" photo as these are the keys to Matt's our flat -- something very symbolic to represent the beginning of our lives together. The England keyring was purchased on my first trip to England in the summer of 2006, whereas the Wales keyring was from last summer (2007), when I stayed here two months. We took a day-trip through the Cambrian Mountains to Aberystwyth (Wales) the day before my flight left.

Welcome to my Project 365.

Intro to Me

Hiya! I just moved to the UK exactly two months ago from the US to join my British fiancé. I'm originally from Columbus, Ohio, although I lived in North Carolina for the last two years where I taught primary school.

I've been looking for ways to occupy my time (until after I'm married / can work) and since I'm always carrying around my little Kodak camera and snapping pictures like a stinkin tourist, I figured I may as well make use of my photos and do a 365 project to journal my first year in the UK.

I hope you'll come back from time to time and leave comments as you please. xx