Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Once again we find ourselves vacating this little space. 

Thank you for reading along during the past year or so, it has been lovely to read your comments and know that you were enjoying reading along with us and our lives. You can still find Jen under the big blue sky and Debbie in London, as always. We'd love it if you popped by. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday 28th June

Everlasting peas, in our front garden this morning. 

I'm back! The British Telecom engineer just left, having fixed the phone line. Despite his protestations that there was NO WAY that the fault on our phone line could have caused the broadband to drop out as well, somehow mysteriously and miraculously when he fixed the fault on the line, the internet came back. 

So here I am. I have really enjoyed my internet-free week, I have done more book-reading, as opposed to blog-reading, done some gardening and organising indoors. I love the internet, and use it daily to check things, look things up, do banking etc, as well as blog and read blogs, so it is an inconvenience to be without it, but also somehow life has seemed quieter and more simple, and I have got more done. 

It was lovely to see a full length photo of all three of you in your last letter. I would love to see the light display. One of these days I am going to make it over there...I keep planning my itinerary...few days in New York, Amish country, New England in the fall, your house for Thanksgiving including pumpkin pie and succotash and now I am adding  fountain gardens to the list. The Prof and I haven’t been out of the UK together yet, it would be great to, just the small matter of money! Minor details ;)

You made me laugh what you said about, my boy doesn't eye roll or slam doors. He is actually really easy to get along with  (although saying that feels like tempting fate!), he does what I ask, and is always happy to hoover/change his bed/take out the rubbish/pick up after the dog though sometimes it  gets done on the second third fourth umpteenth time of asking...

Last Friday, Sara and I met up in London. We hadn't seen each other since the Prof and I went to visit her and her family last year, and it was lovely to catch up. Cake was of course an added bonus, despite my diet healthy eating plan!  I am so glad that you paired me with Sara when you organised that Christmas swap in 2010 between the online course participants. 

Speaking of my diet  healthy eating plan, I am in my third week of it now. It is based on the glycaemic load, which is an approach I have never tried before. Well, I don't know if it is because of the diet or what, but I have been considerably more well than usual for about ten days now.  I would actually say I feel 'normal',  and this is extraordinary for me as I have not felt this way for more than one day at a time in about three years,  and even that is extremely rare.  This is quite remarkable and I am loving it, and equally, I am terrified it will go away. 

So, with my new found energy and wellness, I have been out more, got more done indoors, been gardening, and am all-round feeling like a normal person!! Long may it last. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Look forward to hearing from you,

Debbie  x

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

Sorry friends, we are on hold again as Debbie's computer is on the fritz. 
Let's hope she's back soon!

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

Another Monday again?  I can't believe sometimes how quickly the weekends go by.  Truth be told I just wanted to stay in my nightgown all day today.  I woke up at 6:45 a.m. threw on a sweater, high of 68 (20) degrees today, made a cup of tea and sat down here at the computer with my Pandora station  to some really soothing music, but as dutiful as I am I dressed and went to work and fought with an ages old printer most of the morning.  Patience is NOT my strong suit.

The weather forecast is saying that it will be highs of 97 (36) degrees later this week.  I really don't know what to think of Mother Nature these days, she's fighting off global warming I suppose.  You seriously don't know what season to prepare for each day.  So are you telling me England's reputation is holding true?  I'm sure though your sweet peas are loving all the rain.  I had to smile when I read that you had them growing I remember you telling me they were a favorite.  

Reading back over your letter, I am trying to imagine you there with all those boys.  Sometimes I wonder how I would do this with boys and then I think about you raising the young philospher by yourself, wondering how you tackled all those "boy" things.  As hard as I think raising girls is sometimes I can't help but think I am lucky that I don't have a mysterious boy slinking off, hiding from me, not that I love the rolling eyes and the slamming doors.  Don't know are boys door slammers?

So we were off to the gardens for an evening light display.   This is the three of us outside the fountain gardens Saturday.  If you ever would make your way over the sea, this is one of the first places I would show you, it's amazing.  Sunday I was a bit off, don't know why.  Not much sleep, disagreement with my father, feeling a bit lonely again.  I think people don't really realize how lonely being a single parent can be sometimes.  The world seems full of pairs and you don't have the freedom to just go out and seek out friends and relationships.  It passed though and today is much better.  I just had to reframe my mind.  

I am trying to write a bit each day and work on editing one photo per day.  Like always, I try to remind myself to slow down and take it one thing at a time, especially when I get overwhelmed like I did this past busy weekend.  I hope you are regaining some of your energy, though our situations are different, I feel like we go through the same patterns.

All for now, the girls are finishing a movie and I'm about ready for bed.  It's 9:00 pm here and it's just only gotten dark, another good thing about summer coming.

Until next time,



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday 14th June

Don't talk to me about insects!! Although fireflies sound lovely, from a distance. I have yet to see a maybug this year, thank goodness. Last year we had one in the bed! Thankfully I wasn't there at the time, the Prof had gone up before me, and found it there, urgh. I am so jealous of your bluebirds, we don't have them. In fact since the people next door acquired two cats we don't get many birds in our back garden at all. The garden is so small too, and for the last few years I have had two washing lines strung the length of it, I wonder if that is also a factor, it might be hard for the smaller birds to fly down. It seems that these days just the pigeons and ring-necked doves come down to feed at the bird table. Ever since a friend of mine years ago said it to me, I hear pigeons saying to each other 'How awful. Oh, how awful'.

The Young Philosopher has two friends coming to stay today, so we will have a houseful for a couple of days. This house isn't really big enough for company, but I think one of them will probably sleep on the bed with him (he has a double) and the other on the floor, probably with the dog! They don't seem to mind! I have always been happy for all his friends to come here, sometimes when he was 13 or 14 there would be lots of them here, we had about six stay over once, no mean feat in this house! I moved furniture out of the way and they lay side by side on the living room floor.

It is a lovely sunny day here today, at last. Honestly we have had several nice days in a row just twice this year, and the rest of the time it has Rained. Every. Day. At least the unusual amount of rain means that some of the water companies are lifting the hosepipe bans, its a pain watering the garden with a watering can. Not that I have bought and planted any summer flowers to speak of yet, except the sweet peas! It's on the list. I have two lines of washing already this morning blowing in the breeze, have done some tidying and cleaning, and am sitting here with a nice cup of rooibos tea planning my afternoon. I think I will make scrambled eggs on toast for my lunch, then watch Lark Rise to Candleford and do some cross stitch. I have a lot of Lark Rise to get through, I borrow them from the library a series at a time and then have a week to watch twelve episodes! I am trying to take things a bit easy, having overdone it last weekend and not been so good for a few days.

How proud you must have been at the graduation last week! I have a few friends with much younger children than mine, and it makes me think back to when the Young Philosopher was younger, and I wish I'd had a blog back then. I found the baby book I kept for him in the loft last week! I will have to scan some of the photos and share them with you. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about when my boy was little, and then not so little, and then goodness where did those 21 years go?

Make the most of them. It goes so fast.

Take care

Debbie  x

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012

It was graduation here this weekend.  Busy times.  I tried not to cry as I watched my girl make her way across the stage being promoted out of elementary school. (Here we have three schools, Elementary-Grades Kindergarten-Fifth, Middle School-Grades Six through Eight and High School-Grades 9-12).

I have really been struggling a lot lately with her sense of Independence and well know-it-all-ness.   She has definitely hit that age of rebellion and attitude. YET...this weekend was delightful. They had a little party at her best friend's house after graduation on Friday with about ten kids from their classes and it was a blast.  Water balloons, super squirt guns, games, music and food.  It was a great thing for both of us as we tend to spend a lot of time by ourselves; we don't necessarily have a tribe of friends that we spend time with.  Over the course of the day I realized how I have been moved more to the sidelines. As they sat on the deck and sang, laughed, ate and threw things at each other I took some photos but then without the camera in front of me, I felt the need to move off into the house and give them their time. No longer am I in the mix of their playtime, coordinating and joining in.  But I was so glad to see her so happy and energetic.  That is her crouched in the chair in the halter dress. And that is the boy she likes in the blue shirt. Her first crush and once I met him at the party I saw why, she has good taste my girl.  It was all cute and elevenish where they follow each other around smashing water balloons on each other and moving and grooving alongside each other but not really talking much.  She is shy my girl, just like me and he seemed a bit too.

Her stomach got the better of her after about three hours.  Too much sun and excitement and noise and junk food. I felt bad for her at first having to leave the party before the games or the sleepover but the truth was she seemed so relieved to be home.  She just has a sensitive nature, too much of anything just sets her off kilter even the good things.  I asked her later after some rest and some coolness if she wanted to go back for the sleepover and she said no, she was so tired.  In a way I am glad that she is able to know what she needs versus needing to keep up with the other kids.  She curled up in my lap and we watched a movie and she snuggled in close and I could have done anything to just hold onto the day, it was so perfect, stomachache and all.

Saturday we had a high school graduation for my cousin's daughter with the rest of my immediate family about an hour's drive away.  Another great afternoon of food and family. It's amazing I guess sometimes what just getting out of the house does for you and I had Sunday to rest and clean up a bit, and eat off graduation leftovers, so I wasn't completely overwhelmed.

So now school is out.  Hooray!  For me it means no homework to do in the evenings, no papers to remember to sign, no lunches to pack, no children to wrestle from bed in the morning.  We can stay out while the sun is still shining about 8:30 pm these days (nice) and the girls are thrilled that I am not forcing them to summer camp again this year and they are spending the majority of their days next door with Great-Grandmom and Grandpa.

In other news, I am still seeing the bluebirds flittering among the trees.  The chickadee babies that we have been watching diligently in protection from the outside cats seem to have flown the nest while we were away on Saturday.  Sunday morning we no longer saw the parents landing on the house and hopping in to feed them.  So we are sad our little neighbors have flown off into the world.  Summer is arriving early.  Almost all our flowers have bloomed already.  Half my grandmother's roses are already fading away and my hydrangea bush is already flowering, something that doesn't usually happen until late July/August.  It seems our mild winter threw everything off schedule.  I expect we'll start seeing the fireflies any time the way things are going.  I know how fond you are of insects.

Hope you aren't drowning in your business of decluttering.  Until Thursday, happy days.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday 7th June

How wonderful, a weekend at the ocean – it is so long since I went to the beach properly! We visited Sara last year, and had a little walk on the pebbly beach near her home, but it was rather a chilly day. Since my boy is grown up (21 this year!) I don’t go to the beach any more, really. We live an hour or so from the beach, (technically it's an estuary) and we drive through occasionally, but it’s been I don’t know how many years since I sat on the beach, tried to skim pebbles, paddled in the sea, made sandcastles. I guess I will have to wait for grandchildren. I would like to manage a day at the seaside this summer. Oh, and I know the boards you mean, only I have heard them called belly boards. I remember one in our shed when I was a child, I think it had been my Mum's.

We've only been back a few weeks from our break in Hay-on-Wye, and already it seems so long ago. What is it about being away from home? Everything becomes so laid back, peaceful, easy, and so do we. There is a simplicity and an ease to being away that I long to incorporate into our everyday life. Our favourite escapes into the country at the weekends helps - somehow as soon as there is all that green space around me I feel I can b r e a t h e, and for once I have space in my head.

This past weekend, as well as getting involved in the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, we spent a lot of time decluttering in our loft. It's surprising how cathartic getting rid of all that stuff really is, once you get stuck in. Most of the stuff up there has been there so long it's a no-brainer,  easy to throw out, but I did find a few old treasures.  Getting rid of stuff is another thing that makes it easier to breathe, I think. Maybe decluttering is the key! Although 2011 was the year I chose simplify as my word, I am still working on it. The word I chose for this year was peace, and I don't think I will ever have that until things are more simple.

It was lovely to hear about your weekend, I hope you haven't had to come back to earth (and work) with too much of a bump this week. Here in London, of course, it is another grey day. We had a week or so of sunshine a while ago, but it's back to murky and miserable now.  I have washing to hang on the line, so I hope it stays dry at least. 

It was my WI meeting last night and I won a jar of home made lemon curd in the raffle. I think it could be time for elevenses.

I hope you are having a good day!

Debbie  x

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012

Happy Monday, my friend.  In this case it is as we've just returned from two days ocean side.   I cannot get used to the way my new phone takes these super long photos, but in any case here is Ems and I from Saturday.  Looking at this photo just slaps me on the head with how much she is growing up.  It was a much needed retreat though this little spur of the moment mini vacation we took.  I think we were all going slightly mad and quite ijity with each other here at home.

The Atlantic Ocean is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours from us depending on traffic of which we had none which I was thankful for and it seems we picked the right weekend.  Memorial Day weekend (last weekend) is the official "kickoff" of beach season with "Labor Day" in September closing it out, so it appears everyone was too worn out to be there this weekend so it was relatively quiet and the beach fairly free of the mobs of people usually there.

I didn't spend much on the trip.  I booked an okay room about a block from the ocean and packed a cooler full of breakfasts and lunches so we wouldn't have to eat out the whole time and of course the ocean is free. The girls though acted as if I we were flying to Paris.  They were thrilled when I told them Friday we were staying at a hotel which we rarely do and you should have seen their faces pushing the elevator buttons, jumping on the beds and staring out the sixth floor windows.  They oohed ahhhed over the view (of the back parking lot and neighboring houses) which made me think we really need to get out more.

It was all quite stress-free.  Ems had one of her anxiety attacks over her stomach after eating some greasy boardwalk fries (remind me never to do that again) which caused a meltdown on the boardwalk that lasted an hour and a half as Karelyn finished her shopping and we picked up pizza (for K and I) to take home, but later she felt better.  The girls didn't slouch around, we were up both days at 6:00 am and out on the beach by 7:00, Saturday we actually had a sand castle built by 9:00 am.  Karelyn spent her day with her boogie board (heard of them?  miniature surf boards you body surf with) in the ocean being tossed about and Emily built mermaids in the sand and then had me videotape her dramatically impersonating a mermaid desperately trying to roll back to sea.  Good gosh, they are two completely unique personalities.

Regardless, I think I am the one who most enjoyed it.  There was no stress (minus the boardwalk/stomach incident where I behaved a bit horribly out of frustration) It was amazing to spend a weekend where there was nothing I "must" or felt I "needed" to do.  I spent a lot of my time just watching the girls or staring out at the ocean.  I didn't think about home, or chores, or work, or what I want to do with my life.  I just stared at awe of the magnificent big blue and listened to the waves crash and spent time being silly and caring for my girls.  

So the sand is rinsed off of everything.  The clothes have been washed and everything put away.  I'm trying to hold on to a bit of that easy feeling.  It's almost 7:00 a.m. now and in five minutes I'm up and away to wake the girls for school and to prepare for work.  I'm hoping some of the calm stays at least for today but we'll see what happens when I get to work.  I've decided I pretty much like the natural world much more than the world of people, more quiet, but more on that another day.

Peaceful week to you, cannot wait to hear from you.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Holding Pattern

This is an art installation not far from my home, which is called 'Holding Pattern'. The dictionary says that a holding pattern, apart from being the circular flight path of an aircraft waiting to land, is a state of waiting, or delay. 

Jennifer and I, after getting to know each other online in the Autumn of 2010 when we took part in the same e-course, started this joint blog in May 2011. I am sure I speak for both of us when I say it has been good fun and a rewarding experience.  Lately though, we have both become busy with real life, other projects and our own personal blogs, and Notes Across the Sea has become a bit neglected. 

We will leave our words and photos here, and may well be back in the future with more.  In the meantime, this blog remains in a holding pattern. You can find Jennifer at under the big blue sky and me at Debbie In London. Come over and say hello, we'd love to see you! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


goodbye january, adieu
hello february, may you please me so
that i rejoice in having you for one extra day


Yet another grey, cold, foggy day.  
I fold January up, pack it away in a drawer
and breathe 

Monday, January 30, 2012

reprieve please

best laid plans have gone scattered. the whole household disrupted by illness. even i, who have somehow maintained my health, feel out of sorts.  i ache for normalcy.


As I drink my tea,
the washing machine churns, clean shirts for my menfolk.
A big pot of chicken soup simmers.
On the television they are talking about the Queen. 
I am knitting a tea cosy. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

getting things done

i am a whirlwind of productivity, where this burst of intention is coming from i do not know, but will not question.


Today I am grateful for the afternoon sun, even though it is in my eyes as I sip my coffee. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


she said sincerely and with best intention  "i am so sorry about the loss of your husband"
the reply:  "i'm so glad the bastard is finally gone"

and another, he was held with contempt when he left his wife for someone else, so many with their hateful words on his character.
one year later, he is married and a father.   she is working late nights hanging out at the liquor store.

Favourite colour

I have to go out on this nasty cold day. I paint red nails and feel better. 

still sick

one week later the word "virus" seems like a joke. surely, the end must be near, but still, no easy remedies.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

not a cat person

A huge ginger tom sits on my back fence, poised to jump.  He eyes me balefully as I watch from the window, then leaps on to the roof of my mini greenhouse, which collapses.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

stepping out

returning to work after four days of sick duty and homekeeping feels like stepping out of the right life into an alternate universe.

Written in frustration after two hours ransacking the house

How is it that I can remember all the words to songs I haven't heard since 1982
and yet I can't remember where I put the gift for my friend who is visiting tomorrow?

Monday, January 23, 2012

a trip to the doctor

i love having a pediatrician that prescribes chicken soup and hot tea with lemon over antibiotics and over the counter medications, but more than that i love having a pediatrician who talks directly to her nine-year old patient then looks over and says, you did good mom.

The Sky is Falling

Measuring her garden for a chicken run, I am concerned about the apple tree overhead. “Oh, they’ll be fine,” she says, “It will keep them on their toes”.  I remember the tale of Chicken Licken. 

Friday, January 20, 2012


there were two calls to be made
one to school, one to work
egg and bread
chicken soup
a movie on video
and perhaps a couple of chapters
of harry potter
tucked up under mama's arm
today i do what i do best.

My first vegetable box

My first vegetable box delivery arrived,
stacked full of lovely organic produce.
I opened the box to find, amongst the familiar items,
strange alien objects I have no idea how to cook.
Artichoke sandwich, anyone? 
Chicory soup?
Chard risotto?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

the man in the organic section

he was a big burly man, with wild messy hair and a football jacket
i was standing there lamenting that my favorite cereal was no longer
anywhere in the multitudes of other breakfast options
he looked at me and implored
"nutritional yeast, why don't they have nutritional yeast
it's different then the regular kind you know"
there was quite a lot of dissatisfaction this day in the organics aisle

but suddenly my irritation left me
i felt like this strange man
who i never would have imagined seeing
coming down the aisle
was meant to bring a smile to my lips

i hope he found his yeast
and i went home and made my own granola


I think of a deliciously simple lunch.
Salted tomatoes on soft white bread.
A cup of tea.

But the vegetable box isn't here yet.
The fridge is bare
And we have no milk.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

winter chill

toes frozen like something left forgotten in the back of the freezer, hairs standing on their ends at attention, it is time to break out the woolly socks and the fleecy blankets.  winter, it seems has arrived.


For days I have watched the hyacinths 
Growing inch by inch
Slowly unfurling.
I got up this morning to pretty blue flowers
and no scent. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

measuring a day's work

instead of the usual work dread, i counted how many times they made me laugh.  a fine way to measure a days work.

blast from the past

A Christmas present from my brother,
I spent this evening  in 1982
with the Kids from Fame.
I still remember the words to all the songs.

Monday, January 16, 2012

From where I stood

Sunday afternoon 
on our way out to lunch
A hot air balloon.
And for once, serendipity. We were able to stop and park the car.

Up close
I expect I would have heard the roar of the burner,
the voices of the passengers.
But from where I stood
it was beautifully soundless

winter morning

jack frost visited for the first time last night, crystals caught the sunlight this morning. the leaves finally made a crunch under my feet on the back path this morning.  "hurry up", i told the dog "it's cold out here without a fur coat"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

warm apples

the scent of cinnamon and apples rising from the pan this morning, lifted the lid, and invited in a bit of calm and warmth.  simple pleasures.

Friday, January 13, 2012


The hyacinth bulbs on the mantelpiece grew two inches overnight, 
speeding their way towards glorious beauty and scent.
I can’t wait. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

wake up call

6:00 a.m., woke up for once before the alarm, the little lying next to me, soft, sweet and warm. will one day miss waking the girls this way, sneaking up with kisses and smushing hugs and nuzzles and warm love.

January blues

Baubles, tinsel and twinkly little trinkets are finally put away in their boxes for another year.
Right now  it seems that the peace and joy of the season was packed away with them.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


8:30 p.m, curling into  a soft bed with the rain smattering upon the roof, no laptop, no book, no video to distract me, just the raining rhythm. blissful ten hour sleep; this post will appear to you late, but so worth it.

breakfast on this grey day

Soft hummus and garlicky mushrooms, the crunch of toast and the sweetness of honey in my tea

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

going out

girls night is calling.  less than an hour away.  i will close the door behind me and forget all that lies within.

A shaft of persistent watery sunshine, repeatedly thwarted by grey, apathetic clouds, finally manages to climb over the windowsill and tumbles gratefully into the room 

Monday, January 9, 2012


tiredness weighing heavy on me like a.....
i want to say stone, but it feels more like a boulder. 
will it ever cease?


The promise contained in the muffled thud of a brand new book onto my doormat.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

friday nights

bleary eyed after a grinding ten-hour work day, the sight of her running toward me with a wide grin as I walk in the door at almost 7:00 pm is enough to fuel me for just a few hours longer.


Lashing rain and howling winds insert themselves endlessly between me and blessed sleep. I surrender and go downstairs to make coffee. As I sit drinking, bleary-eyed, the cacophony ceases.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

wishing to hibernate

the hippity-hop of that fluffy-bunny feeling in my chest this morning made me want to pull the covers back over my head and burrow back down for the winter.  instead i tucked myself into the comfort of my robe and went out to brush the snow that had settled on my car overnight for the drive down dusted back roads to a day of work.

just one more day, please

The lights on the tree still twinkle as I read on the sofa in the glow of the fire, feet tucked up and glass of Baileys in hand. I am holding on to the last vestiges of festivity and peace until Twelfth Night forces me to stand up, shake off last year, and move on. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

the best start to the day

Immersed in warm water, the scent of roses rising with the steam. Cup of tea at my side and book in hand. 
Twenty blissful minutes.


sunrays slicing through the clouds like a divine spotlight

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Hot chocolate with vanilla, warming my insides as my bare feet freeze on the tiled floor.


The lichen had multiplied since last I looked.  For a moment, I felt sorry for the tree, as if the lichen, as beautiful as they are, were choking it.  One glance upward told me different.  The tree was dead.  A spoke stuck skyward.  The lichen had taken death and made it beautiful.

Monday, January 2, 2012

bird flight

a great band of birds, flying low over the trees across the field, united in their journey, bound for one destination.  

most days i bless them, today i shared a hope that humankind would follow their lead.

seven years on

This rain is relentless 
 as I stumble over the sodden ground 
to set down the plant I have brought.
Fitting weather for my birthday: it's never the same without you.