Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog


I logged into wordpress this morning and noticed the top line there and smiled. Back when I started this blog I installed a little widget called “Hello, Dolly” which did nothing other than display a random line from the song “Hello, Dolly” across the top. I loved it because the first musical I had ever been in was in fact, “Hello, Dolly!” and when I first landed on the internet in 1993, I picked Minnie Fay (one of the secondary lead characters) as my handle, and I kept Minnie Fay until I was 23. I think I even still have access to my old email account.

Seeing that made me smile and think, yeah. This is what I should be doing. I should be writing daily. Blogging as often as I can. I was going to do NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo, but I fractured my wrist towards the end of October which put a halt to writing.

I’ve not posted since September….and it’s not because I haven’t done things. On the contrary, I’ve been quite busy! I just never bothered to blog for some reason and I am going to try to rectify that. Maybe I needed that time away. I’ve also not been updating LiveJournal or keeping up with email.

Even though the paralympics were in September, I will be blogging about it. And our trip to Welshpool, and other assorted things I’ve no blogged about yet. I’ll have to make a list!

I’m back where I belong now.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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For those of you who don’t know (and really, unless you’ve stumbled on this randomly, if you’re a friend or a family member you know), I have severe arachnophobia. Spiders make me scream, cry, and run away in fear…even just looking at photos of spiders can cause me to hyperventilate. It all started when I was in high school, at least as far as I can tell. In the same summer, my friend Beth and I found what everyone assumes was a Black Widow Spider while on a trip to Maine, and then a few weeks later when I was away at camp in North Carolina, I woke up from an afternoon nap to have a spider crawling up my arm. I’m sure I probably didn’t like spiders when I was younger, either, but my first real memories of being truly afraid of them was when I was around age 14.

This evening, Tim and I were out in the garden taking some pictures, and I happened to look over at what we now call “my tree” because I dug out all the junk and weeds around the bottom of the lilac and planted some flowers, herbs, and vegetables. I spotted what looked like a ball of something very tiny. I thought it might have been a spider’s web and the spider might have caught a lot of tiny bugs or something, so I asked Tim to get rid of it (fear of spiders = not wanting them around “my tree” because then I wouldn’t be able to even pull weeds there). Uhm. He tried to touch it and about a hundred (Tim will probably say it was less) teeny tiny spiders started to move. A momma spider LAID AN EGG in my garden and the damn thing hatched.

Fortunately, Tim was able to yank up the plant it had formed on (it was only an offshoot of the lilac) and tossed it in the green refuse bin….but now all I can think about is those little spiders and how some of them might still be in my garden, building webs in my flower beds and even possibly crawling into the house.

Sometimes, I really hate my fear. And, it’s stupid because everyone tells me that there are no poisonous spiders in the UK…but I still am scared of them. We bought an electronic “spider repeller”, and while it’s kept away the bulk of the spiders, we still get some…that Tim always has to catch and release outside.

Maybe I’ll be able to sleep at some point tonight….or maybe the thought of the spiders will keep me up all night.

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Feeding Lambs

Since I promised I would blog about this…

My friend Lynne had some lamb visitors at her house a few weeks ago. Her daughter’s husband raises lambs, and these were lambs that were rejected by the mother. Since they were all visiting Lynne this weekend, the lambs had to come along, too. Mom and I got to feed them their dinner!

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One Month!

I’ve officially lived in the UK for one month, as of….well, right now, since my plane landed at 530 in the morning on the 21st of January. I’m settling into married life and life in the UK, and things are starting to get sorted –

*I’ve been added to Tim’s bank accounts and have received my debit card
*I have my NHS number and card and have been in to see the GP several times
*I have an EHIC card, so I’m covered if Tim and I jaunt into the rest of the EU and I need a doctor
*I have my NI number, so I can open savings accounts and get a job (if we decide I should)
*I have a library card, which has proven to be quite useful
*We joined the co-op and started earning a small bit for dividends
*I’ve been contacted by a local choir and have been invited to attend rehearsal this week

….the only thing left is for me to sort out the Provisional License, I think. As that requires sending off my passport for a month, I wanted to make sure I got everything else taken care of first.

It’s been a wild and crazy month, but I do love it here. I love being with Tim and we’re slowly getting the house sorted (and re-decorated) and everything is falling into place. We’ve even got most of the reception here planned already!

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Establishing Myself in the UK

I landed at LHR (London Heathrow) in the wee hours of the morning on the 22nd. We were the first plane down for the day (at around 5:30AM) and I managed to get through immigration and customs before Tim even left the hotel room! Sitting in Business Class (thanks Friend! [you know who you are]) rocked. They passed out these “fast passes” for immigration which goes to a special line only for First & Business class, so not a long wait there at all. I held my passport open to my spousal visa when I walked up to the counter and was asked one question “Where is your husband?” I replied that he should be waiting for me on the other side of Customs, and the I/O stamped my visa and said “Welcome Home, Mrs. L”.

Fortunately, luggage carts are free at LHR, and I piled it high with my bags and managed to get myself through Customs (nothing to declare) and out into the arrivals hall….to no Tim. Granted, it was 6AM, and my plane was supposed to land at 5:55, so I wasn’t upset. Instead I called Mom to tell her I had arrived and then called Tim. Turned out he was just leaving the hotel (since we live about 3 hours away from London by car, we figured a hotel was the best idea).

We were soon reunited and loaded the car…and we almost took the bags of someone parked next to us (who was even on my flight!) who had a purple bag, because Tim is programmed that all things purple must belong to me. heh. We had breakfast at the hotel, then went to our room and crashed for a few hours.

I woke up around 11, and after a shower we decided to head into the nearest town (though not into London proper) to find some Lunch and pick up a few things at Boots (Pharmacy), and tehn it was mostly hanging around in our hotel room until our pre-paid dinner at the hotel restaurant. Unfortunately, my stomach hadn’t figured out the time change yet, so I spent most of my afternoon being sick, but I felt well-enough to go down to dinner and nibbled a bit. Again, we didn’t do much after dinner (partially due to me not feeling well).

The following morning we decided to stop at IKEA in Essex on our “way home”. It wasn’t entirely on the way, but closer than any of the IKEAs in our area, and we wanted to go window shopping for new bedroom furniture.

We wound up spending 5 hours in IKEA! But it was worth it. We now know what we want and have a plan for renovating our bedroom.

We returned to Lincoln….and then the errands started. Oh, the errands.

Monday we went over to the GP (Doctor) so I could register. The receptionist had a little trouble with registering me, as she thought I needed to call the NHS to get a NHS number, but after calling the helpline from the lobby we got it straightened out and I should have my NHS card in a few days. We also headed into town, thinking that we’d be able to add me to Tim’s bank account. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out and we had to make an appointment for Tuesday. We also stopped at the Library though, and I got a library card and then to the Co-Op to sign up for a membership there. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my NI number (It’s similar to an SSN), but I have the number to call to get that, too.

Tuesday we had our bank appointment and after a two-hour meeting overviewing our finances, I was added to the account, we paid off the credit card mostly (we used it for my visa & moving fees), and we have a plan for a new savings account once I have my NI number. I should have my bank card in a few days!

We’ve also been doing a lot just to get the house in order. We plan on celebrating our Christmas on Sunday, complete with putting presents under the tree. At IKEA we purchased a new laundry hamper that ought to handle a week’s worth of two people’s clothing (and it even has a divider), and a cute side table for under the living room window. We’ve also been opening the wedding presents and started to use them – yesterday I made bread in the bread machine and it turned out really good.

Sadly, last night the washing machine decided that this was teh PERFECT time for it to crap out. So today we went off to Comet’s and picked out an inexpensive washer dryer combo. We figured since we knew we needed a new dryer eventually, we might as well spend the money now to get the combo, because buying them separate would have been twice as much. Plus, this gets rid of one of the units in the kitchen, so more space for other things.

Hopefully we’ll have a quiet weekend (other than Christmas on Sunday) and start to get things in order. My shipment got to Felixtowe on the 25th, so hopefully it won’t sit in customs for too long….but hopefully long enough for us to make room for the boxes.

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The Wedding

[This is a re-post to my blog of a post appearing in my personal LJ, the wedding plans community, and on my facebook page. Apologies if you’ve already seen it!]

The fifth dawned bright and sunny. Tim and I got up around 8 and decided to go pick up bagels for breakfast before starting to get ready. Tim showered, and headed to the train station to pick up my MOH, Erin and I got in the shower and put on my something blue (Bra & panties set with suspenders/garters) and then put on pajama pants and a tank top while I did my hair and make-up. Our Best Woman and photographer, Laura, arrived, and I even managed to get down a 6-inch sub from Subway before getting zipped into my purple dress and heading out the door!

We got over to the judge’s office with plenty of time to find out it wasn’t really a courthouse at all. Almost felt like it was made up of temporary trailers, but whatever. We were mostly amused that the courtroom was set up for an actual trial and have some funny pics of us behind the tables (on Tim’s mum’s cam, so I haven’t seen them yet). The judge came in, Laura set up our video camera, and our entire ceremony took 2 and a half minutes. After the ceremony, the judge told us we could stay as long as we wanted taking pictures, so we took a few before heading over to Willow Valley – where we intended to take pictures outside before having dinner together.

It started to rain and got chilly. 🙁 Most of the outdoor pics have people still with their coats on, or look like they’re shivering, so after about a half hour, we high-tailed it inside and stayed in the lobby of the restaurant/hotel. My Mother-in-Law and Erin somehow managed to get someone to bring us a pot of coffee and some cups (we never saw it on the bill, either!) and we all just sat around and chatted and took more photos until it was time for dinner.

Dinner was lots of fun. Laura urged Tim to try crab cakes, so we ordered enough for the whole table. He liked them so much, he had them for Lunch on Saturday, too! We “snuck in” our champagne and had a small toast (the rule was we could bring it in as long as the other guests didn’t see it), and then had a small cake mom ordered from the hotel’s bakery. They sat us in a back corner near the big picture windows, so we had relative privacy until around 6PM, when the big dinner/smorgasboard crowd came in.

Tim and I said good-bye to everyone, checked into the hotel and enjoyed the whirlpool tub! 😀

Friday was such a busy day. We started it by heading into downtown Lancaster to see my friend Ramy and to drop off the marriage certificate at my bank (they changed my name on my account earlier in the week when I added Tim, provided we dropped off a copy of the certificate on Friday). Then, we headed over to my mom’s to load up the cars with our reception stuff…boy were we glad we had been upgraded to a mini suv from the rental company! We spent all day Friday at the reception site prepping the food and setting up the tables. Tim took his dad out to Lunch at the Lancaster Brewing Company since there wasn’t a whole lot of “man tasks” to do, but we later set Tim’s dad to work slicing bread! Our cake arrived around 4, and I swear it was all purple. For some reason, all photos make it look blue. We briefly returned to the hotel to change back into our wedding clothes, and that was the first time Tim and I had been alone since we woke up that morning!

Our reception went off without a hitch. Well, maybe a few minor hitches, but I didn’t notice any other than my cake looking blue in photos when it was purple in real life! Dana and Jilly made a beautiful cake, and the teenage waitstaff did a great job circulating the appetizers and doing all things waitress-ey. My small cousin was there and there was a brief problem with her and my “nieces” (my friend Ramy’s daughters call me Aunt). I had one of my nieces on one arm claiming “mine!” and my cousin on the other! Fortunately, by the end of the evening the two older girls were playing friendly and the youngest was tagging along with them! We also missed a few people…some people had either emailed or texted to explain they wouldn’t be there, but in the end, we only had about 30 out of the original 50. I wasn’t upset, but I was annoyed at all the food we had bought! Fortunately, my mom was able to take a lot of the food over to her office to feed the employees while we were away on our honeymoon.

I put three of my closest friends on the spot and asked them to do the toast. Ramy nicely reminded me she thought I was obnoxious when we met (I was 12!) and Sarah (my practically roommate from college) almost brought me to tears with her kind words. Then Tim decided to get in on the speech making and gave a thank you to everyone who helped us.

By this point, I was hungry. I had everyone urging me to make a plate – and I did, I swear I did! But I only managed a few bites in between running around and talking to people. The only bite of cake I had was the one Tim fed me! We did remedy this by putting together a plate of meat, cheese, and rolls for Tim and I to take back to the hotel that night while we were cleaning up.

I barely did any cleaning up. By 9PM, my feet were killing me. Not because my shoes weren’t comfortable, but because my shoes didn’t agree with the flooring of the venue and I kept sliding around which really hurt my ankles and spread down to my feet. A few of my guests stuck around to help with cleaning up too, which was really appreciated! We had to put all the tables and chairs away and clean the kitchen before we could leave, and of course had to load the cars back up.

We opted to put all the perishable stuff in my mom’s car and anything non-perishable in the rental so Tim and I wouldn’t have to drive back to Mom’s house that night. Fortunately, the rental had dark tinted windows so things like the stereo system were hidden.

Saturday morning we checked out of the hotel and headed back to my mom’s briefly to unload our car, pack ourselves some reception leftovers for the road, and packed up our suitcases for the honeymoon – a road trip down to Orlando to visit my relatives with several days at Walt Disney World and a visit to Miss M.

Unfortunately, the Monday after we returned from the honeymoon I had to put Tim on a plane back to the UK. Currently, I’m waiting for my new passport to arrive, and then we’ll be putting together the application for my spousal visa. We estimate we’ll be together permanently by mid-January. I’ve been spending my time trying to pack up my stuff we’re moving and donating or trashing everything else. Wow, 30 years of life = lots of stuff.

….And we get to do this all over again in the UK this Spring for our UK reception, too!

For those of you who are just in it for the pics….

My cat, Will, with my bouquet designed by Jilly

Tim and his Mum, Jen.

Happy at the Judge’s office, right after the ceremony

Me with my girls – Maid of Honour Erin and Best Woman Laura

What this picture really says: “OMG I’M FREEZING!”

The Mrs Ls – me with Tim’s Mum

After retreating inside. Our whole group from Thursday – Tim’s parents are on either side of us and on the top my mom is on the right and my aunt is between our attendants.

Cutting our (first) cake

— Reception —

Our cake & Topper

Tim and I at our own little table….see? I DO have food in front of me!

Sharing cake! Tim was put under orders NOT to smash it in my face or ruin my dress

Tim, mid-speech.

I’m too lazy to go back and rotate this. The little girl in the front is one of my “nieces” and the little one in the back is my cousin

A picture expertly tinted by Laura, who doubled as our photographer for the ceremony day.

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I’m Married!

You might be wondering why this blog has been so dead lately, even after I promised more entries. Well, as I posted before, Tim proposed to me while we were visiting him in September….and we decided to get married in November! Of this year. Yep. I got married on 5 November 2009. Also known as Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Day, so there will always be fireworks and Tim can never forget our anniversary 😀

This also means I’ll be making the permanent move over to the UK within the next month or so. This blog will NOT go away. It will probably become more of a “life in the UK” type blog with traveling mixed in there…and I still have a list of things I really ought to catch up on, like my mom and my trip back in September! I missed out on NaBloPoMo or whatever it was called since I was planning a wedding, getting married, and then honeymooning for half of it, but I think I’m going to challenge myself to blog daily until the end of December….or until I catch things up, whichever comes first!

Our wedding was beautiful, and everything we wanted it to be. I will copy/paste over the post I made to the Wedding Plan community shortly for everyone to read who missed it. We honeymooned in Florida, so expect some posts about that eventually, too!


For more photos, you can check out the Picasa page of our photographer (and Best Woman) at:

Or, you can check out the photos taken by my mom, me, Tim, and Erin (our Maid of Honour) at:

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An Apology

I’d like to Apologize to all my readers who may have been wondering where the updates about Tim’s visit are. I promise, they’re coming. Tim left to go home 8 days ago. Around this time on the 8th, he and I were on our way to the R1 airport line at 30th street that was going to take us down to the airport, where I would have to part ways with him for a few weeks.

As you can imagine, this has been really hard on me. That’s not to say that I wasn’t sad when I left the UK in April…but there’s something so much worse about taking the return train ride back alone, going to bed alone, preparing breakfast the next day alone, and seeing all the things that remind you of the person who left. So I’ve been taking a break from everything, sort of. Paired with a few days of feeling really crappy (thanks to my stomach, and then getting a brief cold/flu bug), it’s just not been a good week for writing updates.

But I assure you, they are coming. Hopefully before I leave for my trip to Ireland and the UK on September 14th ;).

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Books for Sale

As some of you may know, I will be moving to the United Kingdom at some point, and I do not want to take all my books along. The following is just a SMALL Selection (believe it or not!)

All books unless otherwise marked are $1. Shipping is $2 for the first book, $1 each additional book within the United States ONLY (unless otherwise noted as for large books).

Prices will be higher for international, only because these things are heavy!

If you’re local and can pick up books, no shipping charges.

I will take offers on large lots, so please look over the list and make an offer.

First come, first serve. Cross-posted in several places.

The Dream Encyclopedia – Lewis $3/$4 shipping
10,000 Dreams Interpreted – Capella $3 shipping
Dreams – barns & Noble
Celtic Myth & Magick – McCoy
The Runes – Horisk Svensson (comes with a burlap bag of runes) ($4 shipping – cannot be shipped via media mail)
Runelore – Ihorsson (comes with a velvet pouch of runes) ($4 shipping – cannot be shipped via media mail)

Hello Midnight – Deborah Bishop & David Levy
The Mystical Art of Palmestry – Lauren David Peden
Whole Body Meditations – Lorin Roche
Dragons – Dr. Karl Shucker $3/$4 shipping
Candelmas – Amber K & Azrael Arynn K
How to Read Palms – Gibson
The Witch Book – Buckland $3/$4 shipping
The Book of Druidry – Ross Nichols
The 21 Lessons of Merlyn – Monroe
The Earth Path – Starhawk
The Spiral Dance 20th Anniversary Edition – Starhawk
Irish Fairy & Folk Tales – Yeates $3/$4 shipping
Living Buddha, Living Christ – Thich Nhat Hanh
Tea Cup Reading – Fenton
The Path to Tranquility – His Holynes the Dalai Lama
Eragon – Christopher Paolini

Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek – ”
Lord of the Rings Trilogy + The Hobbit $3/$4 shipping
The Hardy Boys 1-4, 6, 8, 52, 57, 58, 77, 79 $1 EACH
Mother Speak – Christopher Kubasik
Star Wars Trilogy
Star Wars Radio Drama Script
Elizabeth & Mary – Cousins, Rivals, Queens – Jane Dunn $3/$4 shipping
Sleeping Arrangements – Laura Shaine Cunningham
Confessions of a SHopaholic – Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic Takes Manhattan – ”
The Birth of Venus – Sarah Dunat
Portrait of an Artist The Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories – Tim Burton
The Queen’s Fool – Philippa Gregory $2/$3 Shipping
Earthy Joys – ” $2/$3 Shipping
The Boleyn Inheritance – ” $2/$3 Shipping
The Other Boleyn Girl – ” $2/$3 Shipping
The Virgin’s Lover – ” $2/$3 Shipping
The Woman Warrior – Maxine Hong Kingston
Mason & Dixon – Thomas Pynchon $3/$5 shipping (BIG book)
Carpe Jugulum – Terry Pratchett
Soul Music – ”
Witches Abroad = ”
Small Gods – ”
Reaper Man – ”
Wyrd Sisters – ”
Lords and Ladies – ”
Mort – ”
Hogfather – ”
Star Wars: Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina
Coyote Blue – Christopher Moore
Ghost of a Chance – Yasmine Galenorn
Let’s Meet on Platform 8 – Carole Matthews
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Emma – Jane Austen
The Shining – Stephen King
Secrets in the Attic – VC Andrews
Sweet Valley Saga – The Patman’s of Sweet Valley
Sweet Valley High – The Return of the Evil Twin
Babysitter’s Club Special – Graduation Day
Written on Silk – Linda Lee Chaikin
Why Marriages Succeed or Fail – John Gottman, PhD (used textbook)
Love Poems by Women
Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles – Margaret George – $3/$5 shipping (BIG book)
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn – Robin Maxwell
The Last Boleyn – Karen Harper
Please Don’t Go – Elizabeth Benning
Anne of Green Gables – (hardback Barnes & Noble’s Edition) $2/$3 shipping
Rilla of Ingleside – LM Montgomery
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (UK Children’s Paperback)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (US Paperback) $2/$3 shipping
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (US Paperback) $2/$3 shipping
Mary Called Magdalene – Margaret George $3/$5 shipping (BIG book)
A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (second Edition)

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Adding Links and Blogs

I’m in the process of adding blogs and links to the main page of my blog. If you’d like me to add your site, please leave me a comment and I’ll add you. If you have a link to my site or blog on your site, let me know so I can reciprocate! These links are different than the links on the link page for Flutterby Design. Links on Flutterby Design are affiliate/reciprocal links only.

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I am Not a Gamer

farmtown I am not a gamer. I’ve never been able to get into gaming the way a lot of other people do. Even when I was in high school, I think the longest I lasted at a D&D campaign was maybe 2 or 3 meetings. I thought I finally had caught onto gaming while I was visiting my friend A in Ann Arbor. His sister, V, came over and brought along the PS2 game We Heart Katamari. After spending several hours rolling up stuff in the Katamari balls, I thought I finally found something I’d like to play more of. I also would occasionally watch A play one of the RPG games for the PS2. One of the Final Fantasies, possibly Kingdom Hearts, but he usually was in the middle of something when I visited.

I eventually purchased a Playstation 2 (which I’m now trying to sell, along with We Heart Katamari if anyone is interested*) and I honestly think I played with it a dozen times. The controller hurt my thumbs, so I could only go at it for an hour or so before my hands would hurt (I have small hands!). While playing the game was fun, it often cut into my time for doing other things – reading, crafting, other hobbies – but it was still a nice distraction. I even bought a used copy of Kingdom Hearts (which I never played).

Another friend of mine, D, plays Second Life. Since Second Life had a free version, I thought I’d try it out. I also discovered another friend of mine, (another) D, also played it, so I spent some time hanging out with whichever of my friends was on at the time, met some of their in-game friends, and did a bit of exploring on my own, going so far as to create a character for myself that had fairy wings. I think I lasted about 10 days before I deleted the program off my computer and gave up.

Ditto for the Sims. I had the original Sims installed on my laptop when I was in college, and I sporadically played with it so much that my people kept dying on me from neglect. When I got a new computer 6 months later, I didn’t bother re-installing The Sims.

I think I might have even had a Tamagotchi at one point,or at least a cheap knock-off. My pet “died” because I neglected it. Even the hand-me-down Furby a friend gave to me stopped responding the way it should because I lost interest. Funny, I love my real cat and pay attention to him all the time!

Even online role-playing games. I was in 2 Harry Potter related games, and 3 Torchwood games. You would think with HP and TW being two of my main interests that playing an RPG and getting to be one of my favourite characters would hold my attention. Nope. Although, in all fairness, most of these games fell apart on their own through everyone’s lack of participation, and not just my own.

Recently, several of my friends started sending me invitations to play Farm Town on Facebook. I checked it out, and it looked like fun. You set up crops to grow, harvested the crops, and then sold them for “money” which you could use to improve your farm – buying fences for your animals, planting new crops, and when you have enough money (and a high enough level), you can even purchase things like houses, barns, silos, and windmills. You also earn points and money by visiting your friends farms or by helping other farmers harvest their crops. I’ve steadily gotten myself up to level 10 in the two weeks I’ve been playing….and I’m ready to quit. The game is so monotonous – plant, visit, harvest, sell, repeat. The levels are a bit ridiculous, too. You can buy a house at I think it’s level 7…but only if you have 70,000 coins. Since most crops give you 50-200 coins when you sell them, and you have to “buy” the crops to plant, it seems near impossible to get that many coins…yet I know friends who have houses and barns (and even windmills and silos) on their property, so it must somehow be achievable. Then, there’s the “get more coin” offers, which almost ALL require you to purchase something off another site…or you can even buy your coin. $10 gets you 10k coin (I think that’s the correct number). I really don’t see myself lasting much longer. The past two days, I’ve logged on maybe 3 times and that was just to harvest my crops so they didn’t “go to waste”. I didn’t even visit any of my neighbours.

I am not a gamer**. I will never be a gamer. So why do I insist on getting involved in games?

*Playstation 2 comes in the original box with one controller, an 8MB memory card, and We Heart Katamari. I was asking for $75 with local pickup, $90 if shipping is needed, but am considering knocking $10-15 off the price. E-mail me if interested.

**Board games and card games on the other hand….I love.

[Image used at the top of this post is a screenshot of my farm in Farm Town, and is © slashkey.]

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Carbon Leaf at WXPN World Cafe

[I was asked to post this somewhere where it could be linked to, so apologies to anyone reading this who saw it on FB or LJ who is also seeing the RSS re-posts.]

I took the train out to Philadelphia mid-morning. I couldn’t meet up with Erin until later in the afternoon, but I got a ride to the train station, so I had to go when the ride was offered! My plan was going to be to just plop myself on a bench in 30th Street and read for a few hours. I went into Cosi to get some tea and my iPod beeped with a discovered open wifi at the Cosi, so instead I grabbed a comfy booth and alternated between being online on either Jack (the N810) or Ianto (the iPod) and my book (Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry). I even managed to catch Tim for a bit on Skype before Erin was out of bar exam prep class and she finally met up with me.

We were only a few blocks away from WXPN, so we headed over there to pick up the tickets for the show. Surprise, surprise, guess who we bumped into? None other than Barry,who was going out to the van to get something as we were walking past. We stopped and chatted with him for a few minutes and had a fun moment while Barry tried to remember my name and all he could tell me was “you sell merch for us sometimes, but I didn’t need you tonight….” until I took pity on him and reminded him of my name.

Tickets procured, it was time to find dinner. They serve food at WXPN, but we both agreed the prices were a bit on the high side, so we opted to walk around until we came across a food court and got pizza slices the size of my head. I’m not kidding, they were huge! and cheap. We headed back over to WXPN, even though it was early, and got in a small (but growing) queue for the door. Most of the people ahead of us were older adults (which I now suspect might have been the family members of the new bassist) and they all went and sat at the tables to order food, so Erin and I were able to grab prime real estate at the front of the stage. We were *really* early, so we opened a bar tab, ordered some beer and just caught up on a lot of things. Nicole texted me at this point, so we made plans for her to meet us when she got there. I saw someone from S&D III who recognized my kitty ears, but I can’t remember who it was (Sorry!)

The opening act, Alternate Routes, was a lot more than I expected. I know I should give openers more credit than that, but more often than not I wind up not being overly impressed with openers. But Alternate Routes rocked, and the lead played a tool box. I’m not kidding! We saw this tool box on the stage with a cord sticking out of it and had no clue what it was and then the lead picked it up and started shaking it for boom effects. After the opener was done, I made a beeline for the bathroom. Erin and Nicole asked him what was in the box, and apparently it’s just a lot of junk that makes noise when you shake it. Still, pretty cool!

Soon it was time for Carbon Leaf! 😀 I received nods/grins/acknowledgment from Barry, Terry, and Carter (several times), and Barry kept focusing on our group. I don’t know if it was because he talked to Erin and I before the show or if it was because I was one of the few recognizable faces in the front, but no complains from me…until Barry almost took me out with his mic stand, that is.

Barry uses a cordless microphone and he has a stand for it. The stand can be batted around and will (usually) pop itself right back up, sort of like a boxing dummies. Well, a weight must have fallen out of it or something happened to it because Barry batted it and it stated coming down straight at me! If I hadn’t stuck my hand out to catch it, it would have cracked me (and possibly the person behind me) on the head! Erin and I tried to get the thing to go back on stage, but it bounced back and almost hit her, so then we just got it to lay flat on the stage. Whoops. After the song, I shouted “are you trying to kill me?” and Barry grins back at me and mimes being smacked in the face with a mic stand. Thanks.

Later in the show, he had a piece of paper with someone’s birthday on it, and he was trying to figure out if the date was the 26th or not. He claimed his watch said it was the 21st and everyone is laughing at him and people are shouting that he must be drunk, so he comes over to the edge of the stage and leans down at Erin and I to show us his watch to confirm the date. LOL. (and sure enough, his watch said the 21st)

But the funniest part had to be the re-telling of what happened at the Philly Diner. For those of you who follow CL and Terry on Twitter, you might have seen the posts about a guy passing out in the bathroom. Well, Barry proceeded to show us exactly how the man was laying on the ground:


and flops down with his butt right in front of my face (yeah, thanks for that “/)

The BEST part of the show was the encore. A reprise of Learn to Fly unplugged:

Absolutely beautiful.

After the show, we headed outside to the lobby where Erin got to talk to the lead from Alternate Routes a bit more while we waited for the crowd around Carbon Leaf to thin down. Finally it thinned down so we went over to talk to them and so Erin could get her CD signed (I recommended she start with Indian Summer, since she was familiar with a few songs off that album to begin with). Barry apologized for almost whacking me with his mic stand, and then decided it was better it was me and not a new fan, because then there might have been a lawsuit. I told him I’d have PTSD now and dream about mic stands flying at my head. LOL. We also found out that Carter’s banjo is broken! 🙁 He was playing his guitar as if it was a banjo for a few songs, so Erin asked him about it and he told us that it was broken. Oh noes! So I hope he can get it fixed soon! I got a big hug from Terry, and I talked to Terry about performing in the UK….he said maybe next year and asked me if I’d fill the bars with people I knew if they do. heh. I also found out that CL is NOT scheduled to be on ANY of Sixthman’s cruises in 2010, and Carter made it sound as though they had wanted to do BNL’s again before BNL decided to not do one. I asked about the rumors of a Celtic Cruise, and Terry said they’d probably do it if there was one….though there were questions on being able to fill an entire cruise ship, so we decided we ought to charter the Lewes-Cape May ferry for a show. LOL. Love those guys.

We made our good-byes and split off from Nicole. Erin decided since it was so late we’d just grab a cab back to her apartment and we were soon in Pajamas. I think we wound up going up to bed around 1. She has a studio loft with the bed in the loft. I woke up around 4/430 to use the bathroom and decided I didn’t want to climb up the ladder and try to squeeze my way back over to the bed, so I just crashed on her couch (and really didn’t get much sleep. Darn Philadelphia street noise!). I finally decided around 630 to just get dressed and I managed to make it to 30th street just as the 9AM Keystone was boarding. Woo.

So, fantastic day/night. I wish CL was playing more shows near me…they need to come out to Lancaster! 😀

[x-posted to facebook and LJ….with more photos on FB, so if you’re NOT on my FB, add me!]

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There’s a frog in the living room!

I don’t want to take a picture of it and scare it with the flash, so I tried taking a video. I can see him if I look where he is, but I’m not sure if he’s visible on the video or not.

I texted both Tim and his sister, S, because I wasn’t sure what to do and sometimes Tim can’t reply to me from work. S told me how to catch it, but the darn thing crawled behind stuff and I don’t want to scare it if I move the bag he’s hiding behind.

Tim told me he’d take care of it when he gets home from work….unless Prudence (the cat) “gets to it first”…so I’ve been keeping an eye on the kitty and chasing her out of the living room. I’ve been trying to get her to go outside, but she won’t so far.

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Christmas in the UK

Due to work and family illnesses, Tim’s mum invited us over for breakfast on Christmas Day, and dinner on Boxing Day, leaving us on our own for most of Christmas.

We purchased Christmas Crackers (poppers) and I made us a turkey with all the trimmings. A few days before we found fresh cranberries at ASDA, so I made up a batch of cranberry sauce for us to share with his family.

At home, I usually woke up around the time that Mom would get up to put the turkey in the oven – sometimes as early as 6. Surprisingly, even though we weren’t having our turkey until the evening, I was awake bright and early on Christmas and had to wait for Tim to get up!

A few weeks before Christmas, I decorated a stocking for Tim (with a train on the front!) and filled it with candy, (US) railroad pins, and a pair of novelty boxer shorts. Tim took his cue from me, and I had a stocking filled with candy (he filled anything “hollow” like a coffee mug and a make-up bag with chocolate!) and other small items. Tim also gave me a few books, but the best present of all came in a little tiny box from H Samuel. Tim gave me a beautiful ring with a butterfly on it! Apparently he almost didn’t have the ring to give me. He had to have it sized and was told to pick it up on Christmas Eve. He went into town before work to pick it up, and the store was all locked up with the gates down! Fortunately, they took pity on Tim and let him in since he had already picked it up, or he would have been pretty upset on Christmas!

After we exchanged gifts, we headed over to his parent’s house for breakfast and to bring over the gifts we had for them. To my surprise, I had a small pile of gifts to open! Tim’s parents gave me bedroom slippers, a pair of pajamas, and some bath products. His grandparents gave me a purple handbag (that I LOVE!), and I also received chocolate, some Doctor Who related items, and a Pashmina from his other family members. I really appreciated everything they did to make me feel a part of things.

Later in the evening, Tim and I opened a box of wine and popped our crackers. We sat in front of the fireplace and watched the Christmas Doctor Who special, the Wallace and Gromit special, and a few movies before heading to bed.

My new ring!

For more Christmas photos:

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An Amusement

[22:23:58] Sarah says: Joe did say today that he thinks you should come stay here again, since our pantry is disorganized. 🙂

Hehe! Sarah and Joe are the two who I house/catsat for over the Summer. I organized their pantry in a fit of boredom.

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Tim’s uncle passed away yesterday, and before I get back to blogging about trips and things, I wanted to post about meeting him. We stopped by “on our way” to Liverpool and Blackpool to see him. We were expecting to stay for maybe a half hour before he got too tired for visitors, but he managed two and a half hours before we bowed out to leave. I had never met him before, and I think Tim was a little nervous for me meeting his uncle while he was so ill, but I’m glad I got the chance to. While we were there, he pulled out all his old 45s and showed them to us and played a few…at eardrum breaking volume! He had pretty much every single 45 the Beatles released….in original mint condition. It was absolutely amazing to look at his collection and hear him tell us about it and ask his wife (Aunt C) to put on a few records for us.

I’m glad Tim got the opportunity to see his uncle, and I’m glad I got to meet him. Tim’s dad told us he really enjoyed our visit, and that’s what counts.

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UK by Rail: The ‘Pools

Okay, I have no idea if they’re called The ‘Pools or not, but we went to both Liverpool and Blackpool this past weekend by rail from Rainhill, a town about 20 miles outside of Liverpool….and I’ve decided that Northern Rail is horrible! BOTH days were filled with delays and cancellations….and I got locked in a loo!

Day 1, we arrived at Rainhill to take the 10:28 into Liverpool around 10:15 or so….to find out that the train had been canceled and we would have to wait an hour for the 11:28. We debated driving into Liverpool instead, but by the time we got back to the hotel and the car (a 20-30 minute walk) and drove all the way to Liverpool, we wouldn’t have saved any time. Plus, we had special “Christmas Cracker” train tickets that only cost £1 for the round trip INCLUDING access to the Merseyrail electric line though the city. There was no way we’d find parking for that cheap! We had no other problems, and I’ll tell you all about what we did in a later entry, because I know you’re all dying to hear the stuck in a loo story.

Day 2. It seemed to be a typical thing for trains to be running late or not at all on the Northern Rail lines, and today was no exception. We found out we’d wind up missing our connecting train to Blackpool if we stayed at Rainhill, but the station master suggested a short bus ride to a nearby town where we could connect directly with a Blackpool bound train. Once we got to St. Helen’s, we found out the Blackpool line was also running on a delay, but we managed to catch the earlier (now delayed) train as a result.

I really had to use the toilet, and because we arrived at St. Helen’s with only a few minutes to spare, I was unable to use the toilet in the station. The trains are equipped with toilets though, so it wasn’t going to be a problem….only it was.

The toilets on the trains are designed to run with electrically powered doors. You press one button outside to open the door, one inside to close it, and another inside to lock. When you’re ready to leave the toilet, you press the top button that opens/unlocks. I pressed the button and the door moved maybe one or two centimeters. Thinking I hadn’t disengaged it properly, I hit the close and lock buttons again and tried for open/unlock. No such luck. I banged on the door and yelled “Help! The door to the toilet is stuck!” Of course, Tim was sitting in our seats all the way in the back end of the train, so he couldn’t hear me, but someone apparently did and alerted the conductor. I banged and called for help again, and I heard the conductor tell me he was going to try to get me out. He tried squeezing his fingers through the small gap, but was unable. He told me to wait, and he went and asked the driver to reset the toilet door. He then tried to press the open button, and it still wouldn’t budge. The conductor had to use his entire body weight to pry open the toilet door far enough for me to sneak out, after which I am sure a giant “out of order” sign got placed on the loo.

Further updates later!

[note to LJ feed readers: please click on the link at the top of this entry on LJ to leave comments, as I do not see comments left on LJ!]


Crafting in the Wee Hours of Morning

Tim’s on the overnight shift all week, and I somehow managed to put myself on the same sleep cycle as him so I’m awake at home overnight until he gets home at 6am and then we both go to bed until around 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

Tonight after dinner we finished off the last of the ice cream, and since the container was plastic, I set it in the sink to rinse out before putting it out for recycling. Well…it never made it to the recycling bin. I decided I wanted to have arts and crafts time at 1:30 in the morning!

We bought a blanket for £2 at Primark to keep on the sette (US: sofa/couch) because it sometimes gets chilly down here without the fireplace going and it came wrapped in a black ribbon. I saved the ribbon, figuring it could find it’s way onto a Christmas present as a ribbon or something. We also had a huge roll of silver wrapping paper Tim bought, and I had some star-shaped gift tags I had picked up for £1. Also on hand was some glitter glue (leftover from making Tim’s Christmas stocking) and a glue stick.

I laid the ice cream container on it’s side and traced a line onto the wrapping paper to mark the bottom, then cut it out. I used the glue stick to glue the paper all around the side of the carton. I wound up splitting the paper into half, because it was hard getting the long strip around the curves. Then, I laid the lid down on the wrapping paper and traced it to cut out a piece to fit over the lid’s label. I glued that down. Not quite yet satisfied, I spied the pack of gift tags and cut apart one of the stars and glued it to the center of the lid. I outlined the star in glitter glue. Spying the ribbon, I decided to glue some ribbon around the carton to give it some “class”. Still not quite satisfied, I cut apart another star and glued it into the center, again outlining it in glitter glue.

And here’s my project:

No clue what I’m going to do with it at all, but it was a fun and cheap project!

[note to LJ feed readers: please click on the link at the top of this entry on LJ to leave comments, as I do not see comments left on LJ!]


A Milestone!

I’ve made 100 posts to this blog!

(click to make bigger)

Wow! Now, if only more of you would comment so I know this is being read!

[note to LJ feed readers: please click on the link at the top of this entry on LJ to leave comments, as I do not see comments left on LJ!]

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My Nose is a Snot Factory

Ugh, I’m sick.

[The rest of this post is not for the weak. I discuss my cold in detail.]
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