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Monday, 26 April 2010

Flying home.

First day back today and I quite well expected to fall asleep in class! But no, it went fine :)
The sleeping tablets obviously did the trick for us all!

So anyway, the flights?

Before leaving the house in the morning, brought all of the cases down stairs and Auntie Mandy said "you've done well to fit all of your things in three cases between you!" ... then my case came down the stairs. You could just about lift it! To be then followed by the comment "well then, I guess that explains it..!"

Set off from the house in Phoenix at 8am on Saturday, got to the airport around half past  then once the cases were off and out of the boot (yes it is a BOOT Lorrie!) Then it was time for more dreaded goodbyes!

The guys were worse, typical. Uncle David and dad go to shake hands but then it turns into a big man hug and lots of crying :') bless.

The girls were of coure more civil, but just as sad!!

Our first flight wasn't too bad, got on it fairly quickly and had no problems; although we were flying over Kansas which had lots of tornados at the time which caused lots of dips and turbulance on-board!

We arrived in Newark sooner than expected, the flight from Phoenix only took four and a half hours so we figured we'd have longer to wait (which was good because origionally we only had an hour and thought we'd have to get through security etc!) but no security or customs, which was good! So of course, a trip to get some more food was in order.

Second flight.

Not too bad, went really fast actually. Because of the time difference it became a night flight, it was nice to see the sunset then all of the stars in the bitch black sky above the Atlantic ocean, followed by day break nearer to England where you could clealy see all the volcanic ash clouds below!

Got out of Manchester airport by about half eight in the morning, then back to our cold and very small looking (in comparrison) house for around ten fifteen :)

busy day(s) eh!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Currently waiting at our departure gate at Phoenix Sky harbour, despite eating a load of food this morning before we set off we were soon off to a trip to wendys for a minuscule sized breakfast burrito and hash browns - much ton dads disappointment!

Saying goodbye is always so horrible! The guys pretend to be all manly but in fact, dad and uncle David were the first to break down! Bless.

Currently 85 and sunny in phoenix outside! And we are returning to england where it's cold and dismal.. Lovely.

Got through security in less than 25 minutes now we now have a two hour free! Our flight departs at 10:45am for our first five hour flight of the day to new York!

Post again when landing in Newark hopefully! Less time to wait there.

Sent from my (dads!) IPad.
You know you're beginning to get the airport blues when waking up at a crazy hour of the morning to watch the ceiling fan go round as it begins to mysteriously turn into the Star Alliance symbol! - and that's not even who we're flying with!!

Need to get up and get ready, we leave for the airport in an hour and a half! :( I'm sure the dogs are aware of this as they are both currently lead on each side of me!

To Starbucks for breakfast?

oh yes.
Ended the night by coming back to the house where Lorrie, Dona, Keith and Lisel all came round for a big meal :) Oh and of course, we had our second dessert, that Dona made and ohh it was good! It was a 'refrigerator cake'  which was basically pound cake with this chocolatey-coconut moose in between the layers; it was apparently 'low fat' (unless you proceeded to eat half a cakes worth)!

It felt so surreal to be saying good bye to everyone as this final week has just gone by so fast, well, the entire time we've been here has; it just seems to go slow at the time but then you look back at it and realise that some of the things we did when we first got here were a month ago! It's crazy.

Exchanged our emails and everything then of course, Lorrie waited till everyone else had left so that she could get the last hug! - Really just so I could get the last hug from my beloved adopted American-Auntie! :)


We just had a pretty chilled out day today, the dogs are not at all happy that we're leaving tomorrow; they can tell too! Toby sat on my bed refusing to acknowledge my existence when I was packing my suitcase this morning as he's seen me do it so many times, and not just because I was literally going to have to jump up and down on it to fit everything in - but because he knew we were leaving :(

Although, all was soon made up with the dogs with a good run around the pool :) Simple things eh.

Even the cats noticed something, which is quite an achievement if, for the likes of Ringo, you spend your days asleep and occasionally waking up to go and eat something; for him and the other cats to do their usual - wondering into my cupboard to steal a sock or shoe (or to lick the shoe if you're Ringo?! he has issues) they were walking out looking rather confused at the severe lack of clothing now in there from me!

Oh and, I managed to fit everything in my case! (and maybe a bit in mums..) but I proved to Uncle David that I would! He stood in my doorway watching me giving me the great encouragement of 'you're never going to fit all that in there in a million years!' - well guess what ;)


Had our last:

'stuff yourself form head to toe full of food and even more cake which you really didn't need, meal ' just then.

We went out to the lovely Mimis which isn't too far from here and came back whilst stopping off at Keith and Lisels house to speak to them about me possibly being able to come over for a month or so in the summer to dog and house sit for them! They of course think it will 'be awesome to have an English dog nanny!' ha!

I think it's now a case of flopping onto the sofa with our extremely full bellies and watching an episode of House. Nicely done.

Friday, 23 April 2010

So, yesterday: we had an early start as we were catching a ride into central Phoenix with Keith on his way to work where we would there get some breakfast, then go round some museums and galleries there and meet back with him for lunch and at the end of the day.

To start we spent a good hour and a half sat outside Starbucks in the sunshine :) ! For some strange reason they didn't sell most of the drinks they do in England so I had to settle for a vanilla-bean frappuchio, which, by the way..was so so good! They even wrote your name on the cups as you waited for them to be made! Needed to spend so long there as we were waiting for the museums and galleries to open as it was so early!

Next stop was the Phoenix Art Museum, which we were there early for but oh well! Walked around the gardens in another section of it first then just sat around waiting for a while before they let us in. That was really good, although mum wasn't too impressed at the modern art as she kept claiming that anyone could whack some acrylic paint on a board, swirl it around into a mess then sell it for millions... hmm. Anyway! They did have some interesting things in there, and not just modern art either: much to mum's joy. They also had an Ansel Adams photography exhibition on too of all his black and white work regarding Yosemite National Park and a few colour commercial ones. The museum also included fashion relating to times, this particular one was of women who began to have the opportunity to work in the war, and other 40s fashions etc.

We later met back with Kieth for lunch at this old 50's diner called "Durant's" which used to be a mob hang-out! It had quite dark inside and had a red kind of lighting to match with the themes of the place which had been kept original including the chairs and fixtures - which took your eyes a while to get used to, especially when we had just come from the extremely bright sun!

Once sat down Keith presented to us what looked like poker-chips, for us to then discover that they were 'free dessert for life' coupons! So of course, we took advantage of that, and after eating our main meal we each ordered a huge dessert which we all shared parts of each! : yumyum.

Thoroughly stuffed after lunch we then waddled our way to the next museum, leaving Keith to go back to work in his rather snazzy looking tall building across the street! This next museum was called the 'Heard Museum' and exhibited lots of tribal cultural items regarding the south west. It was full of beautiful turquoise jewelry and tribal masks of all different cultures and information regarding their history. It was certainly bigger than the last museum as we kept getting lost in it!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

I'm slacking with posts again! Sorry, I'm terrible, I know. But these past two days have been fairly relaxing as so I've not really had anything to talk about!

Lorrie and Dona came over for dinner on Tuesday, we spent the night eating and finished it by talking, yet again, about food! So typical of us. Also, needless to say, the banana bread I had baked just hours before, was completely demolished.

It would appear that the pets of this zoo house have taken over my bedroom, once again. Woke up at 5am this morning to a cat (Ringo) walking all over me, to then finally sit curled up in a little ball by my feet once satisfied he had clawed at my leg enough. The dogs attempt every night to steal my bed, on both sides too! They don't just lay at the bottom either, oh no, they lay on their backs with their heads on my pillows. Ruined.

Tia tried it on tonight, I took the liberty of re-arranging all my cushions to form a bed for her on the floor as she's such a moose and does not fit on my bed when I'm in it, Toby laying aside and most likely Ringo. But no, instead she left me on the floor whilst sitting happily on MY bed - her on one side, Toby on the other, looking at me as if to say 'well, I'm not sleeping down there'.

After ten minutes of receptively going 'Tia, come here, lie on your bed Tia, Tiaaaa, please Tia. TIA!!' She finally moved her big furry butt.

Spent most of my day today doing revision and coursework as my teachers thought they'd so very kindly send me x45703453453 files of work due in for Monday (hopefully if we're back!). They didn't think to send these at the start of the holiday becauseee? Because,  primarily when it comes to my devious ICT teacher, he likes to make sure I'm not missing out on the joy of doing past exam papers. My ICT teacher of whom I have to put up with THREE times a week, despite the fact that he does not even know what a Mac is - this is why I did all of my coursework on one. Yes, I am dropping it next year, thankyou.

Anyway, less of that..! It's an early night tonight as we (me, mum and dad) are getting up early tomorrow because we're catching a lift with Keith who lives down the road, into downtown Phoenix for some breakfast and to then go on and see some native Navajo American art galleries there and other various bits and pieces. Meeting back up with him for lunch at this tiny place where he gets free dessert for life (how good is that!!) then at the end of the day we're all coming back to the house, including as his wife, Lisel, and of course..Lorrie and Dona!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Another fairly relaxed day spent around the pool worshiping the sun in Mum's case, or... being pale shade creatures if you're me and dad.

Nothing interesting happened I'm afraid, but all is good - because tomorrow Lorrie and Dona (yes it's those people again!) are coming round for a wii night :)


Only just got round to posting sorry! But anyway, Sunday we just had a fairly relaxed day which we spent in the garden taking in the suns rays, as ever! Decided to later brave the pool as it's temperature had gone up to 75 due to the outside temperature being at pretty much 100 degrees fahrenheit! Now that's just crazy.

Taking the opportune moment to push mum into the water I did so every so swiftly. Auntie Mandy was already in and quite content with her little pool lounger, however mum - the sun worshiper, was still on the steps debating getting in fully, of which, I 'assisted' with by pushing her in which caused a very loud screech followed by a 'LOUISE I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!' thanks Mum :) She of course also gave dad the all mighty glaring eye as he chuckled to himself  after giving approval of such an act.

After all deciding to get in, - and when I say 'all', I mean everyone apart from Uncle David who gave the pitiful excuse of 'I don't know where my swimming trunks are' to be commented on by Auntie Mandy who claimed 'David, what do you mean you don't know where they are, you have a draw full of them!' - he still didn't come in. - [anyway...] even the dogs joined us as Toby happily swam lengths with us in the pool, whereas Tia was just more interested on jumping on peoples heads and biting their toes as they swam. Thanks Tia.

We later got ready to go out for a meal at 'Black Angus' - a steakhouse. Did they cater for vegetarians? No. Does anywhere in the South West of America? No. Another night of chicken it was then.

Although, the triple chocolate with chocolate chunks and grated chocolate on top covered in melted hot fudge sauce with vanilla ice cream for dessert, did make up for it.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Jazz and Blues festival.
- Glendale, AZ.

Went down into old-town Glendale this afternoon for the Jazz and Blues festival being held there this weekend as it's been jazz and blues month in Arizona.
It was very hot but also a very good afternoon out! They had tie-dye galore and hippies re-living their past everywhere, but I think they're the kind of things that make it. And it was free, so who can complain!

Found somewhere to park but then became confused by the sign which, as usual, did not make sense, and so we decided to move; whilst we all waited on the park (photos below) Uncle David meanwhile, drove off and didn't return for about fifteen minutes... we concluded that he had parked about ten miles away by the football stadium!

One of the main stages we were at was the blues tent, that was really lively and certainly got people dancing! Especially the two mad drunkards who were also obviously seemed like they were taking something... but, they provided even more entertainment. I don't think they were even aware of the people filming them as the danced in and out of crowds so dramatically and involved with the music - even if it was just the musicians warming up! Managed to get a video of one of them, 'that weird grey shirt guy', I think in the end he must have just burned himself out (similar to the hyperactive Tia) and fallen asleep somewhere! He got pulled off the stage too, oh you have to love them trying.

Oh! We even managed to spot a Snoop-Dogg look-a-like in the crowd too! hah.

And after all that we STILL forgot to put the Arizona lottery on! After all, when you're left with one dollar left to you name... there's not much else you can do! So, a debate over dinner went on as to why we didn't go to a shop and get one, which basically led to Auntie Mandy stating how there wasn't one anywhere in sight of where we were at the festival, for Uncle David to return with another of his brilliant one line-ers, "Mandy, it was so close to you, you could spit on it."
Enough said.
Started off the morning by meeting Lorrie, Keith and Lisel for brunch at the Black Bear Diner! A huge waffle with strawberries, yum yum! mum went crazy and had the biggest sandwich(s)! they did on the menu, a chicken avocado club. Decided she was going to go all out before the diet which is 'apparently' starting on Monday. Good luck with that..
Lorrie complained that there were not enough food photos on this blog (I disagree) and so, below is one of her pulling a lovely face for us with her breakfast consisting of a hugee omelette, AND pancakes! this morning! HA.

...I should mention that before we went out for brunch, Lorrie came over and we were already pretty hungry, and so we had an apple between us, nutritious enough? yes. Followed by a white chocolate cookie left from yesterday? ...umm. Maybe not.

A great way to start our (no longer) last day!