Thursday, March 26, 2009
While escaping Hurricane Ike back in September, my mom and I spend a fantastic week with my Aunt Diane in Beeville, Texas. One day we went to visit an Amish community--YES, shockingly enough, there is a settlement of Amish in south Texas. I was shocked and also most pleasantly surpised. It was so surreal though to pull up in front of a little shop in my Aunt's hummer and park beside a row of carriages.
I was instantly enchanted--it was like taking a step back in time. There were no electric wires attached to the houses, and we passed several horse-drawn buggies on the road. Too cool. I made a mental note to learn more about the Amish, but so far have not done so. One of the tiny shops was full of handmade goods and a vast array of herbs, spices, jams, honey and soaps. What caught my eye were the jars of bee pollen. I did not realize that this was something people consumed--silly me. So I bought a jar. Unfortunatly I left this jar in Beeville.
While perusing the honey selection at HEB about 2 months ago I was so excited to see a little jar of bee pollen! I bought it and went home to do a little online research on the stuff. I can't say that I found any extremely helpful information about it, but according to my aunt (who knows stuff) it is very nutiritous and is believed to help balance things within the body. For two months I have been eating about a teaspoon full every morning, and have been pleased with the results I have seen... in my fingernails! For at least the past year my nails have been weak, brittle and have had ridges in them, but the new nail that has grown these past two months has been smooth and my nails have been so much stronger! If nothing else, bee pollen is a good source of vitamins and minerals, and just like honey, it can help with alergy problems. I think it's worth trying out, but you should be careful if you are allergic to pollen, I'm pretty sure if you are it's a bad idea to try. I like the taste--it's very earthy.
I would very much welcome and thoughts, comments, information on bee pollen, as most of the information about it online seems to be written by people who probably look into crystal balls.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
So I would really like to know if anyone out there has any packing tips. Or if they feel the same way as I do and what groups they have joined to control their problem. I should probably figure this out before I move to England with two suitcases.
Please... help me.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The quest for entry to the UK to live with my husband-to-be continues! It has been great fun (not so much) calling an assortment of different agencies and requesting certified copies of documents--I just received my birth certificate in the mail two days ago, and am greatly anticipating the arrival of my college transcripts. Sam has been busy gathering papers and just notified me last night that he has almost collected all of the documents I need him to bring when he comes in April. He has been so helpful and organized, and as always a major encouragement to me.
So basically what I have to do is this: gather and organize all of my stuff, then I can apply online and pay the extortionate fee. Then I can make an appointment to get my biometrics taken, then I must send in the enitre stack of papers and my biometrics within two weeks of having them taken to the office in LA. Then I must wait up to 12 weeks to have it approved (because having it denied is not an option here obviously). Seems easy enough. EXCEPT: I booked a 10 day trip to Spain to visit my sister in May before I knew of these details, which means I have to have my biometrics taken the day before I leave, and overnight it all the day I return to make sure I get it in within the two weeks. I have to wait until after this trip because I have to send in my passport of course. But wait, there's more: our wedding is 11 weeks from that time, a wedding which will require me to have my passport because it's in Mexico. So I am really just hoping that 1.) I can make my biometrics appointment for the day I need to have it done, 2.) that it doesn't take 12 weeks to process because then I'm really screwed, and 3.) that it gets approved and we live happily ever after.
I will admit that this causes me daily anxiety. The chances of it all being okay are looking pretty good, but since I have a pessimistic streak, or rather, since I am realistic, those few little ifs and maybes are worrisome to me. It will be so nice when this whole process is over and out of my mind, but until then, I am accepting that it will continue to be the first thing I think of every morning. Fingers crossed everyone...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Anyway, this is an apron I made last night. It had been a while since I put my sewing machine to use so I was itching for some stitching. The design for this one came to me in a dream about chocolate cake, so now since I've made the apron I will have to make the dream come true and make the cake too. Actually, that's not entirely true--it's just that I was thinking of chocolate cake, which is not such a rare thing, and came up with what I imagined would be the perfect apron to make chocolate cake in. I just hope I remember to wear it!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
|ad·ven·ture [ əd vénchər ]|
noun (plural ad·ven·tures)
|1. exciting experience: an exciting or extraordinary event or series of events|
|2. bold undertaking: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or undertaking|
|3. involvement in bold undertakings: the participation or willingness to participate in things that involve uncertainty and risk|
Adventures. I have been on many. I have lived in other countries, taken perilous taxi rides in foreign cities, sailed an ocean in a small canoe with no flotation devices, run cross-country my freshman year of high school and eaten pork bowel soup. The adventure I am embarked on now, however, is an adventure of my mind--and my will-power. I must say, getting married can be stressful at times, and there is a lot to do. There are constantly lengthening to-do lists and little dilemmas that arise (should we go with teflon or calphalon and what's the freaking difference?). It's fun though, and you know the end result will be pleasant and memorable. Heck, a wedding is probably the biggest party you'll ever throw (or your parents will ever throw). But add to the mix a foreign fiance and things start getting weird. Like I did not know when I agreed to marry Sam the hours of work that would be required to even get to live with him. What I am talking about is of course the visa process. Ask anyone who has ever gotten a visa for any reason, and they will probably tell you it's a pain in the back side. And even if its just for traveling you will always wonder, "What if I don't get approved and I've already spent $1200 to fly to Taipei?" So it's basically no fun at all. When I was finally able to get through to a human at Worldbridge, which is the company contracted by the UK Border Agency, I had the pleasure of having a very serious conversation with a person I could not understand. Eventually I was able determine the correct visa application for my situation after spelling out every single word I was saying; "H as in helicopter, E as in Emergency, L as in lunatic, P as in Paul."
The Settlement Visa. This is a visa for spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, etc. Basically this is a visa for those who wish to join someone in the UK with whom they are in a relationship and want to permanently be in a relationship. OR, for people who want to make it appear that they want to permanently be in a relationship. As an application it's pretty straightforward. It's 17 pages of questions that must be answered such as "Have you ever, by any means or mediums, expressed views that justify or glorify terrorist violence or that may encourage others to terrorist acts or other serious criminal acts?" Well that's easy enough to answer. It's understandable this day and age that countries should take very seriously who they let in. Among other documents that I must submit are copy of a mortgage, proof of employment, letters from employers in the UK stating that I'm hirable (an interesting requirement seeing as how you cannot apply for jobs unless you have a visa. Hmmm.), copies of all of Sams financial documents, proof of his job, proof that he has not taken any government funding, proof that we have known each other for at least 2 years, proof that we have met, proof that we can support ourselves on our savings for at least 3 months, and proof that if we are not able we have someone with whom we can stay. I have also been advised to include personal documentation of our relationship such as copies of letter, emails, photos, and anything else I can possibly conceive that might help make my case. So far I have a 2 1/2 inch stack of papers ready to go, and I have not ticked off half the things I need to send in (this is going to be one pricey little priority mailer). I am lucky to have a fiance who really wants me to be able to live with him once we're married so he has been so helpful and encouraging. So I will apply in May and cross my fingers because its a one shot deal--at a rate of $750 pounds per application, and at a max processing time of 12 weeks I have just this one chance. I could very easily be living with my parents again after I become a Mrs. and waiting for a visa to be approved. Even though I have a good feeling that wont happen, I still have this little uncomfortable feeling in my stomach and in my mind almost constantly because WHAT IF???
So back to the definition of adventure at the top. I really do feel like this is an adventure--another notch in my risk-taking belt (but then when you think about what a risk getting married is anyway the whole visa thing really does pale in comparison). It is extraordinary that I am even moving to England, and am so happy to be doing so because it will be with Sam. I am uncertain about it because the last time I became a resident of another country a nice little Asian girl did all the paperwork for me and now I don't know what I'm doing at all. It is hazardous because people get denied for this visa every day that ends in "y". It is exciting because, hey, it just might work out! I'll keep you posted.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
These little drawstring lovlies have so many uses. I think that they are great to use as gift-wrap instead of paper--they're much cuter and greener than paper, and infinitely reusable! I started making these in a frenzy when I realized how quick they are, you don't even need a pattern or to measure anything at all. Just cut, fold and sew. They use so little fabric that they're perfect for all those old scraps from other projects. I even used some of the optional piping you often get with bridesmaids dresses for the drawstring on the one on the right (thank you Ellie). I do apologize for the somewhat morbid way they seem to be hanging from little miniature gallows.
This was one was the perfect home for Mr. Ipod. He looks quite happy there--nice and snug. And maybe tomorrow my cell phone will live there, or my camera, or my lip gloss, or my...
Jewelry? Why not? I could go on and on. And probably will. Before I go I want to share these incredibly delicate spoons that I got at a little boutique--they're made out of sea shells and mother of pearl. They are so fragile and dainty and I love them to bits! You know, the first thing I thought when I saw them was, "Those would be really nice to serve crab dip with." Irony? Perhaps for the little crab that used to live in the shell on the end of my lovely new spoon.
Monday, March 2, 2009
And I also really like that it can look like this:
I made our save the date cards a few months ago by carving out a stamp (the grey lump in the middle) and then finished them by using turquoise-y-blue-y embossing powder and an embossing heat tool. It was great fun and extremely cheap. The only downside was that some of them got scuffed in the mail, which tends to happen with postcards, so I would put them in an envelope if I had to do it all over again, which thankfully I do not! But I really liked the way they turned out. They make me think of the beach. Stamp carving kits can be bought here.