August 4, 2012

Sam, The Super Flash Cat.

We got a kitty. He's our family's first pet.

We *love* him.

Also, and in no way related to the new kitty, there was a really cool sunset the other evening. (There was also a hummingbird sighting but I didn't get a good picture of that.)

August 1, 2012

Rage against the beauty machine.

Some women walk out of a salon looking and feeling beautiful.

I am not one of those women. I blame it on having curly hair, but have never, ever walked out of a haircut looking like Normal Andrea. This is the closest I've come. (I also came in second at the local Farah Fawcett competition. Thank you, thank you.)

This is how I normally leave a salon. Glossy-straight-hair Andrea. Passable, but not me.

Once I left a salon as What-was-the-point-of-that-in-all-this-rain Andrea.

Despite all that, the cuts themselves are generally good and I look forward to my salon experience. It's an hour where I can read a magazine and not get my kids juice. I don't go for manis or pedis or other womanly maintenance rituals, so feel a nice haircut is a justifiable indulgence.

Let me take you back to North London for a moment... My previous stylist was the lovely Paola; she greeted me warmly with coffee in the AM and a glass of wine in the PM. She shampooed with care and addressed my curls with knowledgeable concern. She was Italian, cool, and let me quietly read a magazine or chat with friends while she was worked away. There was a lot of primping and adjusting before she was prepared to let me leave. She was my ideal stylist.

Unfortunately the lovely Paola does not live in Denver. Today's experience has left me jaded, flat and angry at the suburbs. I went for an Aveda salon where I had certain expectations. They were not met. The standard scalp massage was lackluster, the wash water was cold, no conditioner was used, and the actual cut took a paltry 15 minutes. There was no primping to make sure the sides were even and no final fussing over a misplaced curl. 


My hair and I are raging.

July 15, 2012


Start of the show.

God Bless America.
 These horses were doing their damndest to get these guys off their backs:

This is why you don't get too close to the guard rail.

Horse trick, Fig. 1

Horse trick, Fig. 2

Look at that!

Hot day = huge ice cream, one each.

Hayride, minus the hay.

July 11, 2012

S'more fun.

Must get sprinklers sorted out. Must get garden sorted out. Must deal with CSA crop. Must buy curtains. Must buy curtain rods and hardware. Must choose paint colors. Must paint rooms. Must get Elliot a bed that actually fits him. Must choose boy-themed rooms that will not drive me aesthetically crazy. Must get my children enrolled in all kinds of crazy activities because we're all getting on each others tits and school doesn't start for another month.

No time to think. No time to take pics. No time to write.

Nevertheless, some time to have fun...

The Smyth boys' first S'mores:

Family trip to Mt. Evans / Echo Lake. Elev 14,260 feet and only an hour away from our house!

July 3, 2012

Declaring Independence?

London. Did I ever really live there? For 10 years? A new job, new friends, new language*, new nuisances, two homes, a marriage and two children? Did I really get my citizenship? My passport? Am I really a British citizen?

It's been 9 weeks (63 days) since we left and my previous life feels so remote it's frightening.

That said, London is in our face this summer - I'm doing my best to remain stoic in the face of secret BFF letters, Instagram pics, and knowing that life "at our London home" has moved on.

Hooray for the Jubilee and the Olympics. I love the enthusiasm the Jubilee brought out in the county (a day off will do that, I know). Unfortunately, I missed the wedding street parties last year and, unfortunately, I missed them again this jubilistic-year. The British do not celebrate without due cause - both events were pretty special - and I am truly sorry to have missed the country express any level of joy and/or camaraderie. Love, hate, or be completely indifferent to the monarchy, both were a great excuse to get out some picnic tables, cold beer (warm ale), and meet your neighbours.

I remember London winning the Olympic bid; it was right at the time my dear friend Meabh told me she was knocked-up, as well as the Tube and the Number 30 getting blown-up. WTF; talk about muted, short-lived celebrations. (FYI - Meabh has gone on and borne three lovely daughters.)

I know the Olympics have been met with lots of grumble since (as a former London-resident-a-mere-four-train-stops-away-from-the-fecking-park, I didn't even get tickets), but they are great for the city. If nothing else, the British need something - at a cellular level - to quietly grumble about, and it's a nice change from weather commentary and the M25 traffic. Seriously, the Olympics might not bring long-term solutions to a rather unlooked-after area, but they are good. The world is looking at you, London! I can contest to that - I'm now 5,000 miles away and they're talking about it more than when I left. (Good news though: the 2012 logo and that weird cyclops mascot...? Not used abroad.)

So. What I am I trying to say? I'm saying that I can't believe I lived in London. I can't believe I moved out of London. I can't believe I love Colorado. I can't believe I wish London were in Colorado. I can't believe that I think that every Colorado Olympic athlete needs my advice on how to make the best of their time in East London** as well as how to behave in front of the Queen. Does that make sense? No? I know. [sigh]

Happy 4th of July. I hope all my London friends are having some kind of wet, windy and cramped BBQ with key lime pie and chili dogs. I hope all my American friends have electricity and some kind of local celebration without the threat of wildfires.

* YES! British English is not the same as American English. Anyone who uses auto-correct to translate for their intended audience understands. 
** For any American Olympic Athlete who might be reading: my boycott against a certain child-unfriendly coffee shop still stands. Devote your patronage accordingly.

July 1, 2012

Week One.

The end of week one in Colorado*.

It's been quite a week and, despite my fervent resolve, I just haven't put pen to paper. I've only had the energy for weak iPhone pictures and 140 chars or less. If you follow me on Instagram, you know we've unpacked our ocean shipment, I've joined a CSA, and that Elliot and Noah are in swimming lessons. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that it's hot here and I can't wait to try whitewater tubing in Golden.

I'll do better.

In the meantime, it's worth noting what a pain in the ass setting up a new house is. I won't go into the mundane details, but let's just say that an exciting day involves sorting through superheros to determine whose room they go in, purchasing a new food processor, and wiring up a British TV into USA plugs. Also, my new house doesn't seem to have very adequate lighting (was it a thing in the 90s not to install ceiling lights...?) so all this is done is semi-darkness. It's also worth noting that bananas go bad faster in CO; I'm trying to determine whether it's heat or altitude. Lastly, I LOVE having a garbage disposal again but it's spiting me by constantly clogging. Oh, and whoever invented sprinkler systems surely deserves an accolade, but a set of usable instructions would be nice.

So today we relaxed.

* I need to stop saying "Denver" because we are not in Denver. I'm pretty sure I haven't even set foot in the city limits yet. Hello, suburbia. Let's be friends.

June 19, 2012

Six weeks later.

Still in Lancaster, but only just barely. Elliot, Noah and I leave for Denver on Thursday. (Donal will join us this side of the Atlantic on Friday).

* phew*

Six weeks is a long time to be back at the family home, (I'm sure my parents found it equally tough having their empty nest squawking at 6:00 AM each morning...) but we've had a great vacation...