Friday, September 30, 2011


We have some gorgeous bamboo in our new back garden.  It's one of the things that I've had to do some reading up on though, as I've heard that it can get out of hand pretty easy.  It already seems to have grown in the two weeks we've been living there.  Although, from what I read, they grow anywhere from 1ft to 5ft a year, depending on the type of bamboo.

Looks like one of my activities this weekend might be to get outside and give our bamboo a hair cut.  While reading I also found out that is possible to grow from cuttings, which I think I might try out. There's another area we've been talking about extending the bamboo too.  It might be a fun way to get it done.  Time consuming of course.

It is wonderful to sit outside and listen to the breeze rustling through the bamboo.  It's impossible to be anything other than relaxed sitting outside with that in the background.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gardening - for worms?

Two more days left with the girls.  They really have been so great.  I've had a good time, although it is quite tiring.  I just wish that there was a way to bottle up our energy when we are children so we can save it and use it later when we get older.

This weekend will be quite eventful.  My cousin is in town (at least I think she is).  She planned to arrive today, and is staying with someone she met when she was out here at my wedding.  I haven't heard from her yet, but we have plans to meet up on Saturday.

She's such an interesting character.  She's a hoot.  Never a serious moment when she's in town.

Other than that, there's more house things to do.  I need to get out into the garden and figure out what's in the veggie patch.  A Vietnamese family had our house before us, and they planted the veggie patch.  From what's above the ground I don't recognise anything.  So I am going to have to dig and find out what's underneath.  Hopefully I haven't left it too late, and there will still be something edible under there.

I will start posting photos of my gardening fiascoes.  I haven't dug in a garden since I was a child.  No doubt I'll end up all dirty and muddy.  I used to dig a lot as a kid.  My cousin and I (the same one mentioned above), used to dig and collect worms, then make worm gardens.  However, when we got back to our grandparents house the following week, there'd be no more worms in the worm garden, and back to digging again we would go.  I think we did this for weeks on end.  Not really sure why, but it was fun and made sense at the time.

Shame my grandparents didn't have a compost heap, we could have made that into the worm garden. Then there would have been happy worms, and some really good compost.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie

As mentioned in my previous posts, I am looking after my friends kids this week, and staying at their house.
The kids grandpa also lives here, and he enjoys cooking.  Which works out great for me.  Tonight he made a pot roast, and sweet potato pie.

I was honestly not sure what I'd think of sweet potato pie, its not something you get growing up in the North East of England.  As soon as he started to bake it, the smell was amazing.  I had forgotten how long it takes to make a pie.  The better the pie smells the longer it seems to take :).  (Of course that is all just perception),   it felt like hours before the pie was cooked, then cooled enough to eat.

We ate it with whipped cream and boy was it good.

Here is the recipe that he used


You know, what I have just realised, after re-reading this post, is that when I started this blog, I would never, in a month of Sundays have thought there would ever be a post about sweet potato pie on my blog.  Not least, because I didn't even know there was such a thing as sweet potato pie.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Count Down

I am looking after  my friends 2 girls this week.  1 is 10, the other is 6.  For the most part they are pretty easy to look after, but every once in a while, one of them like to see how far they can push their boundries.
I don't have kids of my own, but I do remember trying that act myself.

I also remember the countdown.  So figured I'd give it a go last night.  "You've got till I count to 10".  I didn't even get as far as 1.  I have no idea what I would have done, if I'd gotten all the way to 10... but seems it worked out OK.  I've never really understood why the countdown works so well.  But it certainly does.  Even the mention of it, seems to drive panic deep into the child.

Other than some minor things the week so far is going well.  I honestly have no idea at all how working parents manage to do this.  I have to take the kids to school, around 8:30 am, then pick one up at 3, the other up at 4.  Luckily the school is right around the corner.  But still, if I wasn't working from their house this week, and was actually trying to make it into the office, I'd be having huge problems.  I'd only be in the office for about 4 hours, or I wouldn't be able to get them to and from school.

I suppose theirs after school care, but from what I hear, its really expensive.

Guess I should consider myself lucky to be a DINK household.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back Again

Well, I am back after almost 20 days of busyness.  I've spent the past few weeks moving house.  Husband and I just bought a house, its the first time we've bought, we both been renting up until now.  It is such a different feeling to be living in a place that is really ours.  We are really enjoying it.

Last night we ended up at Home Depot at 8pm, to buy stuff for garden maintenance.  Lawn rake and broom is all for now.  I was embarrassed by the amount of leaves on our lawn compared to our neighbours, so something had to be done.

This morning I was up early raking the leaves, and sweeping the drive way.  My cat Henry was out keeping me company.  To my neighbours I may have looked like a witch, broom in hand, and black cat rubbing up against my legs.

I left my house behind in the care of my husband for this week. I am staying at a friends house while she is in Germany, I will be looking after her children playing "Auntie Caroline".  This should be interesting :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New home - hopefully

So, we had good news today.
Hubby and I put in an offer on a house a few weeks ago.
The offer was accepted, and we have been waiting for the appraisal to come through.
Well, it came through today, and it came back looking good, so we are good to go.  Closing will hopefully be next week.
We are first time buyers, so it's all quite exciting but scary.

 The past few weeks have been a bit stressful  I am hoping when it closes it will be a bit calmer.

I don't want to let myself get too excited about it until we have the keys, but it's sort of hard not too.  I can't help but think about the things I want to do to it.

It has such a nice garden, and I've already started reading up on how I need to take care of it.  I've never had a garden to take care of.  I am sure I'll be able to provide some interesting stories of my mess ups,  over the next few weeks, months etc.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sepia Saturday

For this week the choice of theme for Sepia Saturday is little girls, Spain, holidays or ... whatever.  As I am on holiday in Vegas this weekend...
Photo credit is to: Vintage Vegas on Flickr

I love old town vegas, and will actually be staying at the Golden Nugget this weekend.  I've only been to Las Vegas once before, and I fell in love with the vintage feel of downtown.  Even though it has grown over the decades, I love the way that the new is combined with the old.

Looking at this picture I can just imagine the types of things that went on in Vegas back in the day.  Of course no one will ever know for sure.  After all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

The Golden Nugget opened in 1946. It was the first structure designed from the ground up to be a casino. Steve Wynn took it over in 1972 and built the first tower in 1977. The hotel now has 1,900 rooms.   Also in 1946 the Eldorado was built, Benny Binion purchases the Eldorado Club in 1951 and renames it the Horseshoe. It is currently owned and operated by his son, Jack Binion.   It was the first casino to have carpeting and comps available to all gamblers.

Please pop on over to Sepia Saturday and see what everyone else posted.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some things just don't translate.

When I came back to revive Song of Happiness, I made myself a promise to try and post every day.  Well, today I was a little lost as to what to write about.  Then I decided just to do what I used to do. To start typing and see where it goes.  Want to take the trip with me.  I figure my brain never stops, I am always thinking of something, so I there must be something in there I can write about.  I probably sound like a crazy person.  No doubt I am to some extent, but no more so than anyone else.

Ah-ha, I think it just came to me. 

This time last year I was in Hong Kong, on a business trip.  I have been working on a project for the last 18 months, where we are implementing a new HR system, globally, in 52 countries.  This time last year a small group of us traveled to Hong Kong and Amsterdam to meet with HR peeps from all 52 countries in 3 weeks.

Our goal was to collect all legal and local HR business requirements.

While in Hong Kong we were in a room with all our Asia Pacific region representatives.  We were going through all the leave types.

We got to Korea.  It seems Korea has a type of leave for sterilization.   Japan, was a little perplexed by this. They looked at each other, spoke amongst themselves then asked the group. "sterilization leave, is that when they close down a factory for a few days as it is cleaned".  It was then one of my co-workers tasks, to explain what this leave is really for.  Somethings just don't translate, verbally, so hand gestures were required.

If only I had photos, but imagine a snip snip gesture, and some pointing.

Japan then then thought that sterilization leave was for men getting sex  changes.  We finally got it resolved.  With many giggles and much awkwardness.  It was a concept that apparently does not exist in Japan.