Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Well, we're off in a little while here to Naperville nr. Chicago (by Cricket St. Thomas nr. Chard, English people out there) to have my finger prints and photos taken for my Employment Authorization. We're leaving tonight and staying in a hotel about 1/2 mile from the USCIS to make it a little easier to make the 8:00am appointment. Upside is, we get to swim in the hotel pool and have breakfast! Wahoo! It's really hot again today, but thankfully the van has EXCELLENT air-con. I'm so glad we don't have to drive up in Amy's old, albeit sporty, Ford EXP which also had air-con, except it was only in the form of windows. Not much help when it's 95 degrees outside. :) Anyway...

Wish us luck, a safe journey and we'll let you all know how it was when we get back.


Jim and Amy

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Boo! - gotcha.

WOW! It's a hot, hot, hot day here today - as hot as something that's 93 degrees. It's a holiday weekend here - Monday is 'Memorial Day' - which means (kinda like U.K. Bank Holidays) that everyone gets Monday off! Read all about Memorial Day here:


And it's luvverly! And hot!

We took Maddie for a walk (and little swim!) by the lake today, and then came back and pootled in the backyard for a while. Maddie was very hot, so of course the only option was to dump a bowlful of water upon her little beagle-head. Of course. And, of course, this moment needed to be videoed and blogged for all to see. I'm trying a new video hosting service, so hopefully this'll work okay. I think there might be some weird black borders on there, but other than that it's fine. Look....!

AAAAAAAAND, as if that wasn't enough value for your click, here's some footage of Jim Rennie's soccer genius, which still burns within him like a beacon of... um... genius. Years from now people will say "Look at what this guy did with his feet!" without ever knowing that I used to chew my toenails. Oh, and btw - Amy asked me to assure everyone that she does not have T.B. - the heavy breathing is caused by the camera being so close to her face as she filmed.

And, here is a bonus picture of Sammy looking extremely picture-postcard in our flower bed.

Tomorrow we are going to Amy's parents for a Memorial Day cookout and lounge about, and may swim in their pool. If I am not too shy. Eeeeeek, etc.

Love you guys and hope the weather wherever you are is as good, or getting better.

Bye! Jim and Amy

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Check out the storm we had! There was a tornado about one mile from our house - this was as it, and a bunch of other weather nastiness passed by...


Well, I am back to step one on my quit smoking crusade - I messed up and had a cigar last night. I think it was worth it though - it proved a lot of things I needed to realize about how little satisfaction it brought me. I want my seven day quit back! So, off we go!

Secondly, there was a reason it was 93 degrees and cloudy yesterday evening: a bloomin' big storm was on it's way. For about 1 1/2 hours we had some very cool high winds, and major rain and lightning stuff. It was quite exciting until we lost power, and we started to panic that we might miss the finale of American Idol and Lost. Hehe. It left quite a mess in the street - a number of large branches had come off trees, and one from the tree in our neighbors' yard is now resting comfotably on a telephone line.

Anyhoo, I took some video footage, and I'm gonna try and see if I can get it online somehow for you all to see.

Take care!


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hey all...

HOLY CRAP! It's 93 degrees here today!!! And the sun is in!!?? Sheesh.

Anyway, excellently, I also got my biometrics (fingerprinting, photos, etc.) appointment letter today. It's on May 31st at 8:00am in... Naperville.

A suburb of Chicago.

2hrs45mins away.

So, a nice early start for that one, I forsee through my magic telescope (inner tube from used kitchen roll.) The more exciting part is that it seems that typically it takes about a month from biometrics appt. to issuance of EAD, which means I could be starting work within the next 6-8 weeks! I hope it gets a bit cooler by then. Seriously, 93 degrees WITHOUT THE SUN SHINING is HOT.

:) But kinda fun!

I had a massive test of my Smoking Quit last night, but I am very, very proud to say that as of this moment I have not smoked for 6 days, 9 hours, and 9 minutes or, in terms of my previous 20-a-day habit, I have not absorbed the poisonous crap from... wait for it... ONE-HUNDRED AND TWENTY-EIGHT CIGARETTES. Isn't that insanity in foolish garb?

Anyhoo, take care everyone, and love to you all, and wish us luck on the whole being melted alive by the 93 degrees thing.

Jim and Amy x

Monday, May 22, 2006

Long time no blog!

Well, hello there! Well, it's almost a month since we posted here - hope you are all well, and weren't worried we'd been masticated by next-door's pitbull. We weren't, and we're still here and things are going really good!


Note: Must stop calling he/she Flipper.

After our latest appointment on May 5th, all is still present, correct, and heartbeat-y. Amy's nausea has been, in the main, better, apart from, ironically, the day of our last appointment where due to a combination of a chest-cold and pregnant-itis she managed to waste a whole bowl of Golden Grahams outside the OB/GYN clinic, a crime for which she was not only forgiven, but given a big hug for. To add insult to injury the nurse asked if she was feeling 'sicky-poo'. Amy was restrained, the nurse lived, an ultrasound was carried out and everyone went home happy. Our next appointment is in about 2 weeks, when we have another video-type sonogram, so we'll put the pictures up for everyone. As much as us, you probably can't wait to see how much he's grown since the last one! Well, okay, maybe not QUITE as much as us. We are a little closer to deciding names now too. We are fairly certain we have decided definitely for a girl, but we still have a little list of boy names. AND DON'T ASK, 'cause we are keeping it a little bit of a secret until arrival. :)


Our landlord came 'round about 1/2 hour ago to fix our kitchen faucet, JUST at the moment I decided to visit the bathroom and 'lay my burden down'. The poor guy made a good show of it, but in a house this size - and given my unique abilities - the rudeness of the odor that accompanied our otherwise pleasant conversation was undeniable. Sorry, Matt. And WAAAAHOOOO! I feel strangely happy!

SMOKING DEPARTMENT............................................

Well, I don't know how, but I am part way through my FIFTH day without even a puff of a cigarette. Hoorah! Again, don't know how, but after the initial 48 hours during which I was tied for first on the anti-sociality index with the Stonefish....

The Stonefish, most poisonous fish in the sea. Isn't he a cutie?
Nope. But his Mom loves him just the same.

.... I don't feel I'm missing it quite as much as I expected. I am using Nicotine Gum, which I think is helping alot, less as a symptom/craving alleviator, rather more as an object to transfer the addiction to that is far less harmful, and far easier to quit than smokes. So, hooray! It's kind of become a point-scoring game to me - the more days I can rack up, the more excited I feel about quitting. Smoking is like falling into the bear enclosure at the zoo: It's not that you don't want to leave, it's just hard to say no when a bear says 'Stay awhile?" Keep ya posted...


On May 14th Amy celebrated her very first Mother's Day! We all had a lovely meal at Amy's parents, and I made Amy a card featuring pics of famous achievers as children, captioned with Future Composer/Physicist/Ladies Man (Bill Clinton) etc., followed by a picture of her captioned: Future Great Mom. 'Cause she will be. :)

WEATHER CENTER.............................

Nice! Has been cold, few rainy spells. Now sunny and pleasantly warm! Oh - we went to Minier (pronounced My-neer) to dry laundry about ten days ago and a HUGE thunderstorm passed perhaps ten miles east of us, and as we came back and drove through what must have been the surrounding weather phenomena we experienced some very bizarre conditions. It was sunny, save for the background of this enormous storm system, and quite breezy, but all around us were very localized areas of extremely high wind and pressure, lifting huge swathes of dust and debris from the fields and across the road. We found out a day or so later that there had been two tornadoes between Minier (Hold on...) and Hopedale (A-haaaa!) At the time Amy (sensible) was very concerned about the clear tornado risk, while Jim (man-child) kept saying "Let's drive back and see!!" In the end Jim relented and drove home, and once again, history will record that a wife saved a husband from being sucked up into the sky, blasted with lightning bolts, and deposited fifty miles away on the roof of a cow-shed. You know, that old story.


In recognition of my newly resurrected Orange Julius music-making hobby, we decided last night to make real Orange Julius-es (the drink). And, for some reason, we decided to take photos of the event! This is how you make an Orange Julius:

You need:

6 oz. can frozen concentrated orange juice
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 large ice cubes

First, put ice in blender.

Next, put lid on blender (important):

Blend for 30 secs. You may dance. :

Then serve, and enjoy! (Amy is saying 'Mmmmmmmm!')

Orange Julius-es are DELICIOUS!!!

LAST BIT VISA SECTION...........................................

We finally sent off our final bunch of visa/Employment authorization paperwork (for a year or so) on May 5th. We have got a receipt letter back already, and now the wait (again!) begins. Hopefully Jim should be working sooner rather than later, though. Send all prayers/good thoughts/crates of Red Bull to the USCIS, Missouri.

So that's that! We'll drop in again sometime soon. God bless you, and hope you are all very well indeed.


Jim and Amy and Flipper