Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hello from England

Hello all! I know I have been rather absent from the blogsphere, but frankly, I am so enjoying my time here that anything having to do with computers, blogging and real life simply does not interest me one little bit.

Since I arrived, I have felt happier, calmer and more at peace then I have in a long time. Being with Dan is absolutely wonderful, as is getting to spend more time getting to know his amazing family. It is my home away from home and I feel so, so lucky.

I have lots of pictures and stories to share, but it won't be until I get back to the US because I don't want to waste a minute while I am here. I hope you are all well, my lovelies, and take care.

Cheers!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Love, Love, Love


With my departure now 26.5 hours away, I am getting more excited by the minute. Knowing that I will soon be with the man I love means more to me than just about anything at this moment in time. I've got love on the brain, and the heart, and there is not a damn thing I can do about hiding it.

As much as I want to devote this entire post to Dan and why he is so amazing, I am going to instead express my feelings through this adorable list I found on the internets.

And yes, I meant to say internets.

A group of 4 to 8 year old children were asked to describe love and their answers are pretty fantastic. Leave it to children to give some of the most honest and true answers I have ever heard. I hope you enjoy this little ditty as much as I did.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8

2. "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different.

You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4

3. "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5

4. "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.
Chrissy - age 6

5. "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4

6. "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7

7. "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"
Emily - age 8

8. "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7

9. "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,"
Nikka - age 6

10. "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7

11. "During my piano recital, I was on stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8

12. "My mommy loves me more than anybody . You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6

13. "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5

14. "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7

15. "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
Mary Ann - age 4

16. "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4

17. "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." (what an image)
Karen - age 7

18. "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross."
Mark - age 6

19. "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8

Have a Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Right now I SHOULD be...

1) Doing laundry

2) Packing my bags

3) Doing more laundry

3) Working out

5) Painting my nails

6) Packing more bags

BUT - what am I doing? Watching a crappy entertainment show that is analyzing the every move of Jon Gosselin and reading blogs online. 

Mmmmmkay...

I am so going to wait until Friday night to get it all done. What can I say - I work better under pressure!!??!?!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Antique Appreciation



Oh how I love a good antique shop. Call me too old for my age, call me a Grandma or call me boring - I don't care one bit because there is something about roaming through antique shops that I find insanely relaxing. 

I have been like this since I can remember. My Mom used to go to antique shops often when we were younger and I always loved when she would take me along. It would send me deep inside my own imagination and I would pretend I was all different characters looking for my lost key that was the only way to finding my kidnapped brother or my porcelain doll that the evil head-mistress of my French boarding school took away from me for no good reason. 

Alright - so I was a dramatic child with a flair for theatrics - perhaps my choice of a career in film was the correct decision. 

Anyway, I think it is just the anticipation of what you might find that adds so much to the experience. Possible treasures lurk around every corner and I was delighted to have the chance to check out an antique store in Portland that I had never been to - and let me tell you, this place BROUGHT it!



I LOVED these old scales. I find myself quite attracted to everyday items that people used without thinking that it would one day be in an antique store. 



I wish they still made tubs like this. It was so deep - you could really find some serious relaxation in this bad boy. 



Who can resist a simple, white little girl's dress from back in the day? Ah - I love it!



Reclaimed windows and frames. Dan and I have dreams of owning a home that we can do up with reclaimed items - there is so much more character with this stuff!!!



This is for all you sewing fans out there - it's an old sewing organizer thingy. I really sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I? There was a place for everything and I loved all the little drawers.



This doll's face was pretty beaten up, but that is how a loved doll should look, if I do say so myself. My bald Barbies would probably disagree, but what do those little 39"-18"-33" freaks know anyway? 



Chairs. Call me crazy, but they put a smile on my freckled face. 



All sorts of delights to please the eye...



...spark the imagination...



...and enchant the past. 



This place just went on forever, but out of it all, apparently I was all about drawers that day because the following 3 items had me happier than a kitten with cat-nip



Oh baby - come to Mama...



Just THINK about the organization that could be had with all these drawers!!! Oh how I love organization. 

 I am still fantasizing about what I could put in all of them. 



Why do I love these so much? They are drawers for goodness sake - but they call my name, loud and clear. 

Now all I need is a house big enough so I can actually buy some of this stuff and have a place to put it! Until then I will be left to dream and drool over these fab items. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tales from Tangier, Morocco

Not that I need to really mention it AGAIN, but my darling fiance Dan is currently living in England while we wait for our visa to come through so he can come to the States and we can get hitched. Tie the knot. Jump the broom. Take the plunge. Buy the cow.

Ohhh - that last one hurt. Do people really say that?

Anyway, while he has been over there he, also working in the craziness that is the film industry, has been working on some films, commercials and whatever other odd industry gig that has come his way.

About a week ago he got a call from an old film connection he has and was asked if he would be interested in helping to drive a crap load of film equipment to a set in Morocco. Despite the obvious straying from his usual Assistant Director work, Dan is never one to turn down a job and he of course said yes. The job, he was told, consisted of driving a Land Rover packed with equipment from London to a ferry that would take him to Spain. He then would drive South across Spain, get on another ferry to Morocco, drop off the equipment and fly back to London.


You can see in the above picture a general idea of his route. Aren't you impressed with my photoshop elements work? Damn, I'm good :) All in all, he was excited to drive across Spain and check "Africa" off the ever growing list of continents he has been to. Easy as pie. Right?

Hmmmm...maybe not so much.

All was going great until they had to get the cars and trucks off the ferry in Tangier, Morocco and cleared through customs. As it turns out, the "government" officials who patrol the docks are about as corrupt as it comes and my poor baby, as well as the rest of the crew, were subjected to an environment where bribery is law. They had been warned about this situation and luckily had stacks of Euros ready to hand out, but they did not anticipate the intensity of the situation.

The entire group had to leave the convoy of cars, trucks and film equipment at the docks overnight, which was fine. They all took their valuables with them to a hotel with the plan of returning this morning to retrieve the cars complete with a stamp of approval from the customs "officials".

Anxious to get the film equipment to the movie set ASAP, they arrived at the docks bright and early. They were told to not wear any jewelry, bring any cell phones, wallets or anything of value that could be seen as potential collateral for their equipment. Despite these measures, trouble started as soon as they arrived. The port guards wanted bribes for EVERYTHING from getting papers out of a bag to yawning. The man in charge of the film crew refused to pay and just started demanding the cars/trucks.

Now, I don't really know exactly what went down from this point because I don't think Dan wanted to freak me out any more than I already was upon hearing this at 7am this morning and thus omitted some details, but one of the dock guards got so mad that they were not getting their bribes that a knife was pulled on my fiance and his crew. There were also other "government officials" threatening to throw bricks at them.

HAD I BEEN THERE, I WOULD HAVE PEED IN MY PANTS AT THIS MOMENT. I'm not even joking - I would have.

Luckily, the head of the film crew had dealt with these guys before and was able to successfully defuse the situation and get the gear back. When I spoke to Dan via Skype this morning, it was 3:30pm his time and they had just gotten back safely. He tried to act like it wasn't a big deal as I blurted out a continual stream of, "OH MY GOSH YOU HAVE TO GET OUT OF THERE NOW DON'T LEAVE THE HOTEL DON'T GO ANYWHERE I LOVE YOU WHEN ARE YOU FLYING BACK TO LONDON CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME IT'S NOW???!!?!?!?!!"

Thankfully they head back to London tomorrow and all seems to be well now. The movie set has their equipment. The guys all seem to be fine. Nothing was stolen and they avoided paying the massive bribes. HOWEVER - I HATE THINKING ABOUT HIM IN THAT SITUATION AND I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL HE IS OUTTA THERE.

***Quick disclaimer - I do not in any way want to offend the people of Morocco. The experience above was directly related to the corruption of the dock guards. That is all. Thank you.***

Thankfully he is safe and all is well. There were also two other things that he saw which I found particularly interesting:

1) Cars and trucks with DIY cages on the top made of wire holding goats. Goats. Goats in cages on the top of cars. While the cars are moving.

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

2) On the opposite side of the customs, massive semi-trucks (called a 'Lorry' in England) get BACK ON the ferries to return to Europe. Very young children stand along the line of vehicles and when they see a chance, these children will try to run under the massive trucks and hide up in the inner workings of the trucks near the wheels as a way to get into Europe. So, so sad.

Anyway - sorry about the length of this post. It was just something that I felt was worth sharing for a variety of reasons. Dan is chalking it up to a life experience. I am just glad that he is okay - but however you look at it, it is surely a glimpse into a world that many of us do not know.

This whole thing has made me even more excited to be in his arms in exactly 9 days and counting.

Cheers everyone and give your loved ones an extra squeeze when you see them next :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wine Tasting


Wine and wenches empty men's purses - English Proverb (That's for you, baby)


Like the proverb? Ah yes - we are bringing out the class here today on Wingin' It. It really has nothing to do with my post, except for the wine part, but since I have fallen in love with an Englishman I have become increasingly interested/entertained by all things English and this proverb cracked me up.

Do you think a man or a woman wrote it? I could really see it going either way, depending on how you look at it. Anyhoo...moving on...

This past weekend was my sister's birthday on Saturday and mine on Sunday. That's right, we are born a day apart. Well - 2 years and 1 day apart. This used to cause many a fight back in the day as my sister and I wrangled for the spot of who could draw their birthday out the longest without the other one stepping in. Neither of us has ever been very successful at this, however, and we have both resigned to the fact that we are in for a life of sharing birthdays and cakes with both of our names on it.

So, on Saturday for my sister's day, a bunch of her friends and our family all headed out to Oregon wine country for a day of beautiful scenery, good laughs and amazing wine. Oregon is famous for the amazing Pinot Noir that is produced here and is considered some of the best in the world. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly suggest you spend a day wine tasting - it is an absolute delight.


We started our day at Winderlea Winery which is one of my favorite wineries. The pinot wines they produce are delicious and the couple that owns the whole operation have only been doing it since they moved out here from Boston in 2006 to make wine. In three short years they have created some of the best I have ever tasted.



Their tasting room is as beautiful as the wine. It is a super modern building with large garage-door style windows that open up onto the vineyard below where you can see the vines that produced the wine you are holding in your hand. This picture shows our entire crew getting their first taste. We practically took over the entire space.




Here are some views from the deck. It is stunning. Rows upon rows of grape vines surrounded by lush evergreens are about all you can see. I love to imagine myself living out here and seeing this every morning - can you imagine?


Here is a view of the deck. You can see in the background a table with a bunch of chairs. Apparently they host fully catered lunches there which are all paired with their wine. Uhm...where do I sign up?


Enjoying wine on the deck. The day was a bit cloudy, but it was warm, which made it perfect.


View from the deck looking inside. Isn't this place full of awesomeness? I decided that I actually want to live here, in the tasting room. I wonder how they would feel about that?


Here is the birthday girl (second from the left) with some of her besties. I too have known many of these girls for a looooong time and so it was great to spend the day with them. See the girl in the pink dress? Well, I will just say that she, my sister and I got into ALL SORTS of mischief in our younger years...and I do mean ALL SORTS. I will just leave it at that, but the laughs from those stories could go on for days.




Next we went to Torii Mor Winery where one of my bestest friend, Ari, works. They were having an all day event with live music, local BBQ and GOOOOOOD wine. I know I am bias because she works there, but I am telling you all, this place in insanely delicious. Especially their port...don't even get me started on the port. Unfortunately, I was too busy visiting and enjoying the wine that I hardly took any pics. Oh well!


Dad and bro about to enjoy some Texas-style ribs and chicken. Now - you may be thinking BBQ and fine wine? Really? Trust me - it works.


With full bellies and a slightly more lively crowd (ahem...wonder why) we visited De Ponte Cellars which also has a great deck. We spent quite a while here just hanging on the deck and enjoying the scenery.





I love this picture. It sums up this girly in more ways than one. Aw shucks Megs...we love ya!

Group shot.


PRETTY! I will never get tired of all the greenery we have here. Sure, we pay for it with buckets of rain, but I think it is worth it when I see views like this one.

After this we headed to the final winery, Archery Summit. It too was beautiful, but it definitely was the most oh-la-la of all the places we visited (wine starts at $85/bottle!). They also had a bit of a, let me see...how should I phrase it...high opinion of themselves and we were a tad put off by that, but whatever.

The cool thing about Archery Summit is that you can go into this above ground cave where they store all of the wine. It is HUGE and the barrels seem to go on forever.

After this we were all tired and hungry and made our way home. It was a really great day capped off with dinner in downtown Portland.


And...apparently I hadn't had enough wine for the day so I ordered more...sheesh.

So - now my sister and I, 25 and 27, are another year older. I am still grappling with the fact that I am 27. 27. Late 20's. High school reunion soon. NOT OKAY - but out of my control.

By the time my parents were my age, they had 2 kids, a mortgage and careers. I am childless, mortgage-less, working in the ever-unstable film industry and about to marry an Englishman who wants to see the world with me.

On that note...maybe being 27 isn't all that bad :)

Have a good one everybody!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thought For the Day

"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together." ~Erma Bombeck

That pretty much sums up my thoughts today and is all I feel like sayin!

Happy Monday-Is-Almost-Over!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Temporary Change of Tune

For the first time in what feels like forever, it is cool outside. The sky is grey, the air is crisp and the relief is divine. I actually slept with my down comforter back on my bed last night and I was one happy lady.

The cozy deliciousness of down comforters makes me swoon.

It feels as though things are back to normal. We made it through the insane heat wave alive and are all the stronger because of it. This may sound ridiculous to many, but we North Westerners are delicate little souls and cherish our slightly gloomy summer days. Sure, they can be a bit bothersome at times, but these days nurture the inner desire to sometimes have an excuse to curl up with a blanket, in the middle of summer, and watch a movie. Or read a book. Or catch up on blogs :) Pick your poison.

However, today is also having another affect on me that I did not expect quite this early in the year. I have always been someone who LOVES the different seasons, which was one of my main issues when living in Southern California. By the time any of the seasons come to an end, I am ready and waiting for the next one. What can I say - I thrive on routine, almost to a fault.

So, with this cooler weather, my mind has suddenly been transported to thoughts of changing leaves and carving pumpkins, kids back to school and hearty stews in my slow-cooker. It's ridiculous, I know, but I can't help where my mind goes some days. I am sure that once the warmer days return, I will forget all about this lapse in rational thinking, but for now I am just relishing the self-imposed daydreams of Fall.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Men men men men, manly men men men

Conversation I just had, via Skype, with my man:

Me: "So, any more plans on the stag-do front?"

(Please note that in England, what they call a stag-do is what we in America call a Bachelor Party.)

Dan: "Well, I found this stock car racing thing during the day. You get to each have your own car and race it around a track and just crash them into each other - it sounds brilliant."

Now - I am not sure if I have ever heard a sentence that was more obviously said by a male. Can you imagine saying, "Oh yeah honey - the girls and I are going to the track to crash cars into each other. Be back soon!"

I think I would rather clean all the windows in my house with a toothbrush than purposefully put myself in a situation in which cars will be crashed into me. You have got to be kidding.

I have learned, however, that this is the way it is going to be with my husband-to-be. The ever-so-cautious-because-I-don't-want-to-get-hurt-little-old-me is about to marry someone who likes to mountain bike, surf, ride really fast motorcycles, wakeboard, water ski, snowboard, kite board, drive anything with 'turbo' and has base jumped off of a HUGE cliff in Switzerland. While I too enjoy some of the above listed activities, I think that I have definitely found myself a bit of a dare devil who is bound to keep me on my toes over the years. Oh me, oh my - I hope my nerves can handle it.

Except for the motorcycles. I HATE motorcycles. Sorry baby. (cue eye-roll from fiance)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Countdown to Happiness


In exactly 20 days from today, I will be in England for 16 days with my darling fiance. By the time I get there, we will not have seen each other for 3.5 months. Ugh - that is far too long.

Dear US Immigration,

I would really appreciate if you would approve our visa soon as we miss each other terribly. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Jocelyn Stott

While I understand and appreciate the immigration process, when it is you going through it, it seems painfully slow and drawn out. You are told nothing except that they will contact when it is approved. When that will be? We have no idea.

I can tell you what I do know though - ALL about the 129-F petition for an Immigrant Fiance. Oh boy, could I go on and on about that one. I could also go on and on about how suddenly every email, every greeting card and every ticket stub of things you did together suddenly becomes more valuable than gold as the government decides if you are really a legitimate couple. Oh yes...I could go on and on...but I will stop.

It is what it is Jocelyn. Leave it at that.

In the face of such uncertainty, we are forced to try to focus on the positive. As my amazing Dan always says in his lovely English accent, "We found each other darling, and that was the most difficult part." I love him. I love him oodles and oodles. I CANNOT wait to be on that plane outta Portland en route to Birmingham, England where we will finally get to live our life together, away from skype and in real life - if even for only 16 days.

The official countdown has begun.

Sometimes it is countdowns that save me from going totally insane. Anyone who has been in a long distance relationship knows what I am talking about. They are like oxygen.

PS - I know the photo above doesn't really have anything to do with my upcoming trip, but I am still in somewhat shock that I was taken to Paris and proposed to. I mean - are you kidding me? I am a lucky, lucky lady.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wisdom - Dr. Seuss Style

This weekend is super busy leaving me very little time to tend to me blog, but I will just share a little jewel I came across recently.

My sister posted this on her twitter account a few days ago and it has been floating around in my head the past few days as I have mulled it over and determined it to be one of my favorite quotes of all time:

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." - Dr. Seuss. 

Simple. Perfect. Honest. 

May you all have a great weekend and enjoy being just who you are!

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