Category Archives: Vanna

Vanna’s musings.

Summer is almost here!

Vanna here.

To get into the summer mindset,  I stopped by my mom’s house yesterday and took a few pictures of Marley with our pets 🙂
A nice light blog post to suit this beautiful Friday.

(You may notice Lyla’s nose area doesn’t look the healthiest. We don’t neglect her. The previous day she had a meet-and-greet with a porcupine and had to go to the vet to get a boat-load of quills removed.)

Marley and Lyla


Gretta never stops talking, so it’s hard to get a picture of her with her mouth closed. She’s a bit of a goon.


Princess is our only remaining pet from when our family was a unit. She’s getting pretty old and grumpy so she only tolerated one picture to be taken.


Cat butt. Toddler butt. What else do you need in a picture?


Classic pitbull/hot rod shot


The cows across the road


Vanna here.

Yesterday afternoon, Alex and I went to a pantomime! I had never been to (or heard of) one, so I was going in having no idea what to expect.


It was a comical musical, basically. The humor was very slap-stick and geared towards children, but it was enjoyable for the adult audience as well. I normally hate forced humor or any type of comedy, it makes me frown in disgust more than smile; if it is written in a script and rehearsed, it isn’t funny to me.
But I was pleasantly surprised with how easily I was sucked in to the humor of the show.

As all theater experiences go, we had a large group of young children on a field trip behind us (two rows worth!) (4, 5, 6, and 7 yr). I was unhappy at this to start (the chair kicking didn’t help), but once the show started I was glad they were there. Children always have dramatized reactions to jokes and thrills, so it helped me feel engulfed into the atmosphere.

We went to the Theatre Royal, Newcastle Upon Tyne to see Jack and the Beanstalk.

WITH AMAZING 3D SPECIAL EFFECTS! Actually, I was really impressed with the 3D – I even had the urged to stick my hand out and push the image away (scary spiders!) like you see in advertisements.

The story was very well put together, and there was never a dull or bland moment throughout the entire show. I was able to understand the actors accents while talking and singing, so that was an added bonus. The Geordie accent is very very hard to understand when you are not from the area. The only disappointment I had was that I didn’t fully get the jokes that were made, as they were geared towards the area (which I obviously am not they went over my head). But even with that, I still really enjoyed the show.
I thought the actors were brilliant and the amount of theatrics they put in were outstanding.

There was a lot of audience interaction (one woman even had popcorn thrown upon her… I was so glad it wasn’t me) which kept the show lively. We even helped Jack battle the giant by throwing “stottie cakes” at him. I wasn’t originally given any to throw, only the children, but because they were all behind me I was hit in the back of the head with most of them, giving me a chance to throw them and defeat the giant!

We weren’t able to take pictures during the show, so here are some pictures I stole off the website:

the cow, Moo Moo, was my favorite character
Princess Apricot and the Queen
the tall man in yellow was the “town idiot” and was Alex’s favorite character
pie throwing – kids LOVED it
every story needs a fairy godmother
As the norm with pantomimes, men play the female characters
the giants main man… he actually scared me when I first saw him. I wasn’t expecting the villain to be so creepy when there were children in the audience!
The finale


So yeah, I really enjoyed the show. Next year they will be doing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which I would love to see if we were in the country.

After the show we caught the train to Durham and ate at Chiquitos (Mexican restaurant) and had a delicious meal! Alex also managed to have 6 alcoholic drinks, so he was a bit giggly the walk home. It was our second time going to the place, and I wish we could go back a few more times before we leave the country.
I had a beautiful peach daiquiri, which was the best drink I have ever consumed in my life!
Click here for their website so you can see their deliciousness for yourselves.

That’s about all I have to say for now, I guess.

Winter Book List

Vanna here.

After being here for less than three weeks, I have managed to acquire quite a large portion of books. Last Saturday, as mentioned by Alex, we visited Barter Books, an old train station converted into a second-hand book store. (click here for a direct link to their website.) Although  I had not intended to buy any books, I browsed the store reading various titles and summaries; I wasn’t finding much that suited my reading style, so I had given up and  started aimlessly wandering the various sections with the intentions to kill time while the rest of the family searched.  When impatiently pacing through the aisles for the third or fourth time, I stumbled upon the perfect Vanna jackpot: the cat section! (and even better luck, it was at my height. A lot of the books are on tall shelves out of my reach).  I collected more than my arms could hold and started the long difficult process of choosing which to purchase and which to sadly put back on the shelf; I narrowed down three books (Alex wouldn’t let me have any more…), all in brand new condition!

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen (I had looked at it in Waterstones book store a few days prior but was put off by the price (Alex said no) so it was a double bargain for me!)
originally £7.99   paid: £2.80   It was brand new – practically unopened (could tell by the crease-less spine)

Cat Counsellor by Vicky Halls
originally £6.99   paid:£2.80

Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa
originally £7.99   paid £3.20 (also an unopened, crease-less spine)

Then today while walking Durham, we went into Waterstones to find two titles Alex wasn’t able to buy at Barter Books. Of course I could NOT enter a book store without a bit of browsing, and I ended up buying two more books.

The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
£8.99    It is about 600 pages so the price was fair I thought, and it was a British author so I knew I wouldn’t have much luck finding it in Minnesota

Quiet by Susan Cain
£8.99  Luckily the books were “Buy One Get One Half Price” so I received somewhat of a bargain.

And to top it off, I found some books in Alex’s collection that I’ve decided to take back with me (we eventually will have to bring all of his books across, as we are going to permanently be living together, so I used that as an excuse to bring them home with me).

Pure by Andrew Miller

Joyland by Stephen King

The Long Song by Andrea Levy

Northern Lights by Phillip Pulman (Golden Compass books)

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Alex hasn’t read most of those yet (not surprised, he has crates and crates full of books), so I’m excited to get the first read!

I also brought a book with me for the plane which I need to (start and) finish:

Rise by Anna Carey     it is the third and final book of the Eve triliogy and I have been waiting about a year for the paperback copy to be released, so I’m excited for that!

So that will keep me busy for the long winter days we’re stuck indoors. I’ll be sure to give my opinion of each, here on the blog, once I’ve finished. I’m not sure how I’m going to fit all of these books in my suitcase (along with loads of other large heavy items I have purchased/received here)…. looks like my carry-on bag will be jam-packed to the limit. I should have brought a larger bag, darn it!

side note: the site won’t allow me to indent the beginning of my paragraphs, so apologies for that

My strange fashion.

Vanna here,

In two weeks time I will be landing in the U.K!
Aside from the 30 things Alex listed, I have another bonus: it’s warm enough there that I can wear sweaters without a coat! Yeah!
The last month I’ve been really wanting a sweater dress but am having a hard time finding one in the area that is below $60
Because of this I started searching thrift shops, and instead of finding sweater dresses I found incredibly amazing sweaters!
So I am now in an obsessive phase of wearing tacky, baggy, over-sized sweaters…which I can now finally show to the world! (Adding more reasons why other countries hate Americans) (Hah and Alex thinks I’m going to dress nicely for family meals…be prepared Brits!)
I’m not fashion forward, obviously, so I wear what I feel is most comfortable. Along with my poor fashion choices, I have currently been attracted to the 80s perm…
(Yes, I’m one of those people you see on What Not To Wear)
Yesterday I decided to get my hair permed. I had permed it a year ago and adored it:


But this time because I wanted 80s, so I got the tightest curls they offered:

what I look like at this exact moment…leftover from yesterday because I could not wash it today…it was better looking yesterday when it was washed and styled…but you get the general idea.


My goal for the week ahead is to get my hair as poofy as possible and look somewhere near this but with tighter curls:

I have to get lessons from my mother who at one time wore the 80s perm (for too long actually)

Wish me luck!
I’ll put up pictures once I’ve mastered the look. 🙂



Marriage Update

Vanna here.

Recently, Alex and I were informed by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) that our marriage petition has been approved! This means that our case has been sent to the department that schedules Alex’s interrogation at the nearest U.S. embassy (London). They estimate it will take around 4 – 6 weeks for them to look at our case and start scheduling!

We’re hoping they will accomplish this sometime soon, as Alex will be here from January-April…can’t really show up for an interrogation in London when he’s in Pequot Lakes, MN. Hopefully everything will work out smoothly for us.

This is way sooner than we had planned; the USCIS originally told us that our case wouldn’t be approved/denied until 8-13 months after we sent in the petition (which was only in September). I am glad we were instantly approved, but now it causes problems with our recent plans.

ANYWAYS this means I can now confidently (well almost confidently…there is still a  chance we will be denied) start planning our wedding! 😀

9 and 1/2 months until our big day! I’m so excited to start trying on dresses! I am trying my best to save most of the planning until Alex is here in January so we can do it together. I plan on doing a lot of DIY so its time to get my craft on! (I’m sure he is dreading this, but I’m excited enough for the both of us!)

Once I figure out how to add a countdown to the blog, I will put one up for our wedding!

Sierra’s New House!

Yesterday I went to Sierra’s new house and took some pictures for everybody to see 🙂
Its a very old house, built in the 1920s; as you may know, I have an obsession with old/forgotten/abandoned/under-appreciated things…like this house… and is the coolest house I’ve ever been in!
It has loads of secret doors and cupboards! and the bathroom storage is incredible! AND its on a farm! what more could you want??
Needless to say, I am really excited about this. I wish I would have found it first so I could have it instead. I just love it so effing much!


The front of the house (and Sierra filling the heating fuel thingy)


View from the driveway


The awesome looking garage!
Inside of the garage; it also has a giant loft but it was too dark and scary up there for me to go take pictures…needed more daylight


The barn
The barn again


Marley accompanied me during my journey (covered in pen ink smudges…toddlers.)


Awesome shed that is perfect for a playhouse for Marley!


bathroom (the house is messy because they are still moving in – nothing is out of boxes yet etc.)


boatload of storage space in the bathroom (that door is a closet for the bathroom)


Built in hutch…so pretty!


Awesome doors (again, that chair doesn’t go there…they’re still moving in)




Secret door in Marley’s closet…one of many in the house. COOLEST THING EVER


again, coolest thing ever!


Upstairs is all one open area and then a room (Marley’s) Notice another secret door closet thing!


Almost forgot to show their outdoor grill thingy


I’ll show more pictures of the inside once they have everything moved in and ready 🙂