Archive for November, 2009


A beautiful November day
Here we are, in early November, and it’s a day more beautiful than any I can remember in London. It’s sunny, warm, but not too hot, with a light, crisp breeze.

During a trip to Trader Joe’s, I ran into a fellow preschool mom wearing shorts. While living in London, I only wore shorts to the gym. The weather was rarely good enough to expose legs.

Atlantans don’t know how good they have it.

Election Day Gratitude

I'm a Georgia VoterI took my toddler to vote for the first time today. But that wasn’t the only novelty of our trip to the polls today — it was the first time in nearly a decade that I’ve come face to face with an American ballot box.

For the past eight years, I have been voting by absentee ballot from London, so I had forgotten just how grateful campaign volunteers are for voters.

A truck covered with campaign signs and bumper stickers drove by as we left the polling station. People leaned out and shouted, “Thanks for voting!” even though they had no idea whether or not I had voted for their candidate — or even if I had voted at all.

I could have just been loitering with my kid outside the polling station, which was also a school, so that would not have been unusual.

The poll volunteers handed out free “Georgia Voter” stickers to adults and children. And they all smiled and told me how wise I was to introduce a little one to the practice of voting.

Of course, who enjoys pushing buttons more than a toddler? Choosing city councillors, judges and a mayor by touching a computer screen provided us with several minutes of entertainment, if not a lifelong commitment to civic duty.

As dual British/American citizens, my kids will be able to vote in not one, but two national elections. Last year, I was in awe of my newfound ability to cast ballots in London’s mayoral race, the US primaries and of course, the all-important presidential election, all in 2008.

Before I became a British citizen, I couldn’t vote in local elections — but of course, I was required to pay taxes (I learned why taxation without representation was so very irritating to the colonial settlers).

Now my British husband has to bear the burden of paying taxes to a local government he can’t elect. He will have to walk by the polling station, his shirt empty of the “Georgia Voter” sticker, without a single “thank you for voting” shout out ringing in his ears.

But when the UK elections roll round, I’m sure he’ll be pleased for an opportunity to cast a ballot in a hotly contested race for Prime Minister, long after the local election hoopla in Atlanta has died down.

Vestiges of Halloween Hoopla

Trick or treatingAfter spending more than $100 on candy and costumes, hiking up steep wet driveways to procure treats and watching the kids eat way too many lollipops, I can safely say that Halloween ’09 was a success.

It was the first official Halloween for the kids, and for my British husband, and it came with a reminder of home — the drizzly rain that fell through most of last night’s festivities was just like London’s autumn weather (and actually, spring, summer and winter weather, too).

We were mildly alarmed when the double buggy slipped on wet leaves while heading down our neighbors’ driveways, but that added to the spookiness.

Our house was by far the least decorated on the block, but the locals patronized it anyway. When I saw how much trouble our neighbors had gone to in stringing lights and cobwebs around their yard, I resolved to be better prepared next year.

We left a big bowl of unattended candy outside our front door while we took our kids trick or treating, and it was empty when we returned at 8:30.

So was one of the three mini pumpkins I had put out in a last ditch attempt to look festive. I hope the thief found a good use for it — I am stumped about what to do with mini pumpkins post Halloween.