Friday, 28 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! It's my 8th year of celebrating it in the UK. Some years have been really low-key (i.e. just having a turkey-cranberry pasty!), but this year we celebrated in my favorite way, by having friends over for a big traditional dinner. We were too busy cooking and eating to take many pictures, but here are a few:
Caitlin, Adrian, Jemma and Nada--Biscuit was friendly and loved being the centre of attention

Me and Jace on the left and Yang on the far right

I made my traditional Paula Deen Ol' No. 7 Yams and Green Bean Casserole, my mom's awesome rolls and her cornbread stuffing recipe, and the usual pumpkin and pecan pies. This year I tried brining my turkey crown, modifying Nigella's instructions to suit a much smaller bird (and I left out the anise--ewww). It came out so juicy and delicious! I wish I'd taken a picture before I carved it, but I was just too busy running around setting up at that point. At any rate, it was amazing and I'll definitely do it next year, too!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Christmas Light Switch-On!

Last night was the Leeds Christmas Light Switch-On in the city centre

They had a few musical acts, as well as this Harry Potter sequence with Santa which was fun (the guy really did look like a slightly older Daniel Radcliffe--very well done!)

Santa wasn't quite old enough for my taste, though--I want to see wrinkles!

They also had Anna & Elsa doing songs from Frozen, and the little girls (and grown women...) in the audience were freaking out and singing along. 

Harry Potter, Santa, Elsa, Anna and Professor McGonagall...fair enough...

The big moment of the Christmas lights coming on :)
Only 40 days until Christmas! I'm done with my shopping now (mostly finished in early October!) and my iPod has exclusively Christmas music on it. I'm always adding to my YouTube playlist, too!

Bonfire Night

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November! 
We went to the Woodhouse Moor bonfire again this year

The bonfire was huge--you can see the people standing at the base for comparison

The fireworks display was really good and lasted quite awhile

They don't play any music during the display, like a 4th of July fireworks show does in the States

When we went to the York Dungeon recently, they had a bit about Guy Fawkes (because he was from York), and they really did kill him in such a gruesome way...I thought burning him in effigy was a grim tradition, but it's not nearly as bad as what actually happened to him! At any rate, the modern celebration has nothing to do with the Catholic vs. Protestant debate, and much more to do with parkin and toffee apples...

The Leeds City Museum has an exhibition on the Roman Empire at the moment, with pieces from the British Museum and the York Museums Trust. It was really good! There were lots of artifacts that had been found locally, like coins, pottery and carved bone combs.

Halloween 2014

We went to York a couple of weekends ago--this shot shows just how mild it's been, as I'm carrying my coat! It's been the warmest October on record. I'm ready for cooler temps and a change of wardrobe!

I love York...Definitely one of my favorite places in the world!
My bat jack-o-lantern :) I carved it while watching Ichabod & Mr. Toad, as is tradition!

Biscuit was fascinated! She didn't try to stick her paw in and go for the candle, but she was sniffing the pumpkin itself for awhile.

On Halloween night, we went to my friend Carly's house party. I hadn't dressed up in years--we got our costumes at Asda a few weeks back, and it was so fun! I tried Monster Munch for the first time at the party, too, and it was great--very strong pickled onion flavor but surprisingly good!

Biscuit wasn't very cooperative with the hat, but my costume came with a silly little pirate hat on a headband (I upgraded to the men's pirate hat) and we just had to try it on the cat.

Happy Birthday Biscuit!

October 23rd was Biscuit's first birthday!

She liked her wet food treat, but didn't seem to understand why we were taking pictures and why she was eating in the living room...

It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since we got little Biscuit. We're so happy with her--she's very affectionate and cuddly, friendly with strangers and only occasionally naughty. She doesn't get up on the table or the counters, but she does still try to chew on power cables and buttons (not completely grown out of the kitten stage yet!). In the mornings, she's underfoot and thrilled to see us. She gets cuddly around 9:30, so it's nice to have her on my lap while I work at the desk. If I watch a movie or take a nap on the couch, she usually cuddles with me then, too. She's still fascinated by laundry--I throw clothes from the bedroom into the hallway and she tries to catch them in mid-air, and she still likes to look in the washing machine door when it's filling up with water. When she hears Richard coming up the stairs at 5:30, she always goes to the door. She's always underfoot when we're in the kitchen, and she'll play with anything we drop--a potato peel, a bit of onion, etc. Richard gave her a piece of asparagus once and she carried it around for three days (I threw it out when it started to look manky, or else she probably would've kept right on playing). 

It's definitely been an adjustment to go from having an 18-year-old very sedate cat to having a kitten again. Biscuit has so much energy and needs dedicated playtime. I can't even remember when Cookie was like that, it was so long ago! I still miss Cookie, as she was part of my life for so long and we were so close. Biscuit is a very different cat, in both looks and personality, and I think that's been good for me. It's also been nice for Richard, even though he loved Cookie, too--she was alright with him and would sit near him, but never really cuddled with him the way Biscuit does. 

She's been sitting on the dining chairs lately--I love how her fluff spills over the sides!
It's amazing the difference 10 months makes--she's grown up so fast!