Monthly Archives: January 2010

Off to the Zoo . . .

Well, Debra, Lara, Number 1 and Miss W are, me and Number 2 are home as he doesn’t deal well with such things, so we are spending Sunday catching up with laundry, listening to music and cooking after a big pancake breakfast the children asked for and which I think is going to become a Sunday morning regular thing now.

I can hardly believe that January is almost done with, and it has been a completely out of the ordinary January with none of the usual post-Christmas bluhs, because Lara has been here and now Debra is here. Miss W is enjoying making Debra laugh with her English accent and impression of Nan from the Catherine Tate show, Number 1 is behaving really nicely and even Number 2 is coping well with having a ‘stranger’ around. I have loved having family here but of course am aware that when Lara and Debra are gone my life will return to a more normal and difficult routine. I have been trying to find a car restraint for Number 2 this week, as he hasn’t been doing so great in the car, but I am also doing my taxes. As Debra is an accountant and she thinks the US way of doing things is quite straight forward, I have had lots of pointers. I actually thought I would finish them this morning but every time I clicked on 1 particular thing, everything froze up.

My hope is that this year everything will become easier and more pleasant as frankly much of 2009 was crappy, and I know I have to get to grips with my anxiety and begin enjoying life more otherwise whatever was the point of getting through last year and filing for a divorce?

Today . . .

Overslept a little this morning as I was reading The Little Stranger last night, for longer than I should have. Miss W was not very happy facing Monday morning, but everything went reasonably smoothly . . . Lara and I finished painting the kitchen, and then it was off for some groceries and then when we returned we saw the time, whipped around in a panic, and left for the airport. There was no need to panic as it turned out, Debra’s plane was due to land at 3.25 but it was delayed and she had to be processed through s so actually we didn’t even see her until 4.30. We’ve just had a nice  time chatting, drinking tea and looking at pictures from home, including phone footage of Debra flying and landing the snall plane she’s been practicing in. She’s just gone to bed, it’s about 3 am English time so she’s exhausted obviously, and I am a bit myself, but so looking forward to tomorrow.

Sunday Afternoon

I like Sundays and this one has been especially nice as I’ve been with all the kids, had a lazy morning, then made a shepherd’s pie, then me and Lara and Miss W worked at crafts at the table – Lara on her beading, Miss W on the tile painting kit I got her at Christmas, me on the scarf I seem to have been making forever. I think we’ll be busy next week as Debra is flying in tomorrow, but I will try to post pics of the newly painted kitchen (it’s not quite finished, but I really like having Chinese pagoda red cabinets) and others.

Lara's beads
Lara

Car of the Week: 1993 Vector “Avtech” WX-3

I forgot to do a car of the week for last week, so hopefully this will make up for it. This week we are looking at the 1993 Vector Avtech WX-3, the first real American super-car. It’s like the American variant of the Lamborghini, Ferrari, Alfa-Romeo, etc. Let’s take some never-before-seen looks at this rare Hot Wheels car, which was only released 3 times in 3 colors.

This is the third and last variation of the Hot Wheels brand 1993 Vector Avtech. It would almost look real if that lock of hair had not gotten in the way.

 

Here is another intimadating shot of the Vector, with no strands of hair getting in the way of the shot and thus ruining it. Groovy, babe.

 

This is the rear view. Here you can see the Hot Wheels logo on the top of the rear wing.

 

The third and last release of the Vector was released in 1997, in the Super Showcars Gift Pack. It came with 4 other cars, which were the Zender Fact IV, Audi Avus Quattro, Jaguar XJ220, and a Dodge Viper.

 

Here is the red half-oval on the side. All 3 releases of the Vector came in different colors. The first one, which was 1/500 Limited Edition, came in the original gray color like the real thing. The second release, in 1994, was sort of a lavander/light pink. Nothing too special about it, only the first 2 releases both had a black half-oval and the black Vector V on each side. The Super Showcars variation is the only one that has these decorations in red.-

 

Well, that about wraps it up for this weeks’ Car of the Week. Here are some images from eBay. Enjoy please. All images belong to their respective owners.

(IMAGE NOT MINE). This is the first, and most valuable, variation of the Vector Avtech. It is also the most realistic variation, seeing as how most of the original Vectors from the 90's are gray and black.

 

Here is the opposite view.

This is the second variation of the Vector ever released. While I don't think the color is very attractive or fitting, it's kind of cool.
Here is an image of a real-life Vector Avtech. The Hot Wheels casting, as you can see, is very accurate compared to the real deal.

 

Here is another Vector. Very attractive shot, very attractive color. I really wish the Hot Wheels version had been around longer. It's probably easier to afford.

 

This is an older Vector, from 1987. There isn't much difference between this one and the 1993 version.

 

This is the last image for Car of the Week. It is, you guessed it, another 1993 Vector Avtech.

 

Okay, that’s it for now. Next week we’ll take a look at the Zender Fact 4. Stay tuned. #1 signing off.

Pancakes

Number 1 did so well at Southlands yesterday, bravely enduring being dragged around several jewelry/knick-knack type shops, that as a reward I made pancakes when we came home. It was quite good weather for hot tea and pancakes; very brisk and windy.

The first time I went to a restaurant in America was October 11 1991 and I ordered pancakes, how baffled I was to receive a plate of fluffy odd looking things and I never have really liked them. (The children do, though!) But much, much nicer as far as I am concerned is a proper pancake made with eggs, flour, milk and water. I always use the same recipe, in fact the notes are still in the cook book from the early 90s when I used to whip them up for Mr W, reminding me to use half water/half milk. Yesterday Lara asked if we could use rice milk and half water, this made for a very smooth batter and they turned out perfectly. You sprinkle them lightly with sugar and squirt on lemon juice just before serving and they are delicious – we managed 3 each before the batter ran out.

Mmm . . .

The Little Stranger

I have been quiet lately, mainly because I feel busier than ever before, driving here, there and everywhere . . . I take Miss W to her drop-off each morning, then come home, usually run a few errands during the day, then fetch Miss W in the afternoon. I am slowly becoming a more confident driver but had a set back today as I drove along Chambers at about 6.45 am with Lara in the passenger seat and Miss W and Number 2 in the back. Traffic conditions were normal and I was going along at 40 mph when seemingly out of nowhere this car just swerved right in front of me, just a few feet and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to stop in time, smashed my foot down on the brakes and barely managed not to hit him. Lara leaned over and beeped him (I was more frightened than angry) for doing an illegal U-turn.

But what happened next was worse because my heart was beating so fast and I felt sick and on the verge of tears, I suppose all my fears about driving and managing alone came rushing back and Lara drove us home. But I know I will have to deal with this sort of thing. Not too often though, I hope.

In the past week or so we have been to the movies to see Did You Hear About the Morgans? and The Lovely Bones (I loved this movie, it was quite true to the novel, visually beautiful, wonderful cast), finished painting the bathroom and made a start on painting the kitchen which is transformed now, I no longer have dreary faux wood cabinets and brown flowery wallpaper. I have creamy walls and lower cabinets, upper cabinets are Chinese pagoda red – much, much nicer. I’ll probably be living here for some years so I may as well make the best of it and after recovering from awful driving incident today I came home and made 2 quiches and cleaned up and the JoAnna (ex-coworker who has fed me delicious lunches many, many times) came over and it felt so good to just sit and chat about books, movies etc. We had quiche, salad, coleslaw and chocolate cake for dessert – time went so quickly. I gave JoAnna the small gift I’d bought her for Christmas but not ahd the opportunity to give her, she gave me a copy of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time.

I’m reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters at the moment, and I don’t think this writer can do anything I don’t like. This is a very subtly written novel about a crumbling mansion called Hundreds and the upper class family who live in it, clinging  to a way of life that is fading away in post-war Britain. It is a ghost story so well crafted that the spooky events are starting to get to me, but it is not primarily a ghost story it is a study of this eccentric English family. I love the descriptions of Hundreds Hall which is rotting to pieces around its sad and desperate owners.  I’m not writing much because I am addicted to this novel at the moment.

Miss W is at a social event tonight (Lara is picking her up), Number 1 is having a friend over and Number 2 is his usual sleepy self, actually Number 1’s friend has just arrived and I am being gently ousted off the computer. Friend is someone who has got back in touch with Number 1 after all this time (2 1/2 years) which is really nice for Number 1. Think I will spend some time with The Little Stranger.

Haiti by Number 1

Haiti Earthquake: Haiti Earthquake

I think what is going on in Haiti is very bad. It is beyond bad, in fact. In fact, it so unfathomably horrible that the very thought of it makes me want to unravel my intestines and begin knitting a quilt with them. However, world famous asshole Rush Limbaugh believes that all the donations going to help Haiti will actually go to President Obama(whom I am slightly sore at for deploying all the soldiers to Afghanistan, but that’s not the main argument here). Roger Ebert says that Limbaugh is using the earthquake as an excuse to talk smack about Obama and that he is “twisting their(the Haitians) pain and suffering into an opportunity to demean the character of the president”. Right on, Roger. But really, Rush? You have got to be one of the most repulsive, sickening assholes EVER. I think you should be taken to slaughter and shipped to Haiti to feed all the DYING AND THE HUNGRY. Although I wouldn’t want to eat you, there is probably enough of your fat ass to go around. And maybe  your thick skull could be used as a drinking glass FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE FIGHTING OVER WATER DOWN THERE. I’ve added my 2 cents to this discussion. Add yours in the comments if you’d like.

Zais

Zais are dragonlike creatures that can breathe small amounts of fire. They are extremely intelligent, have their own language, and, sometimes, are taught English. In some cases they are smarter than humans. They are too small to support the weight of a rider, but are useful messengers.

Do you like it??
Zai
text isn't very clear
anatomy of a zai
...
they have tapetum lucidums, which reflect light and shine it back into the eye, increasing eyesight
...Zai!
A cheerful Zai
Zai
Yet another

Highlights from this week

1. I’m not usually a big Wal Mart fan but off I went with Lara earlier this week because I received a Wal Mart giftcard for Christmas. Whilst there I remembered I had received another giftcard a long time ago and it was still in my wallet – I thought there was about $5 left on it. Wrong! There was almost $200!! So that took care of groceries and a decent set of knives (much needed) for the kitchen – with plenty of change.

2. Had a lengthy browse through a designer resale store on Tuesday, I managed not to succumb to temptation, but Lara found these high heeled Marc Jacobs shoes she is very happy about. 

3. Yesterday me and Lara had lunch at Red Lobster. I’d never been there before. It’s just a chain restaurant of course, but having lunch out is such a rare treat these days. We really liked the New England type atmosphere and ordered shrimp . . . I had breaded shrimp with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and the ‘bread’ served with meals at RL is delicious . . . it’s like puffy cheese and garlic scones almost, but with a much lighter and fluffier texture. We didn’t have room for dessert.

4. This morning Lara got busy and began painting the childrens bathroom which was in a really sad state, with 2 different kinds of wallpaper peeling off the walls. I’d bought paint and decided to tackle it – 6 months ago, but never had the time or enough enthusiasm frankly. We listened to music and gave the walls 3 coats and it looks much better than I thought it would . . .

the 'cream' coloured paint turned out to be pale yellow

the artwork is far too babyish really, but I love Maisie

We are going to tackle the cabinet next week and I need to reinstall a shower curtain. Number 2 couldn’t believe his eyes when he returned home from school, he kept staring at the walls in astonishment and then sniffing them!