Sunday, January 31, 2010

Missed it...........sigh........

Alanmas continues........another two weeks to go before they both head off for Scotland and the reunion with the older brother.
Alan will miss his chums here.
He will miss playing Lord of the Rings online too.
Philip and I both play this game. Up until last year Alan would play World of Warcraft online. I did too.
But now Philip and I are both playing Lord of the Rings, he had a go.
He loves it.
He is well set up, with his kitty chum, his snacks and of course, his Jack Daniels.
What more could a chap want?

It looks like my pals across the pond had a brill late Christmas party.
I have been looking at the photos and they all seem to be enjoying themselves way too much.
I am so sorry I missed it.
The guest of honour looks chuffed with the celebration. It is lovely to see.

The weather here continues way too cold.
I do have a hard time dealing with these temperatures.
I asked Philip if his company has an office in Las Vegas or California.
It seems they may not.
Oh well it was worth a try.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Anyone who has been following my blog will know my current views on going to the cinema and trying to sit still and pay attention for more than 2 hours.
Philip and Alan had been to see Avatar. They raved about it but failed to convince me of the necessity of seeing it myself.
But then Donna phoned.
She phoned one night at around 11.30pm, her time. She was absolutely flying round the light bulbs having just come in from seeing this movie.
Philip is no match for Donna.
She could not believe I hadn't seen it and had no intention of seeing it.
She bullied me into saying "Oh ok, I will go then"..........her answer...."GO NOW...TONIGHT".
She went on and on about how amazing it was and how fabulous the 3D is ...etc...etc...etc.
I have to say I was convinced. Maybe I would regret not seeing it in 3D. I decided I would go and we went on Monday.
Philip and Alan wanted to see it again anyway.
So I saw it.
It was pretty good.
I was not as blown away as everyone else seemed to be. The effects were amazing. The way they had real people alongside the aliens was flawless. I loved the fact that at last the faces, expressions etc of the images didn't all look exactly the same as every other computer generated stuff does these days.......example........I only could stand to watch about 10 minutes of Bolt as everything was same old, same old.

But it highlighted a bit of a dilemma for me.
How come, and someone else pointed this come I find violence in movies as well as in real life so upsetting, and yet I love to watch ice hockey where they tend to knock seven bells out of each other half the time.
I really didn't like any of the military stuff in Avatar. When it got towards the end and there was a big battle.........I sat there with my eyes closed.
I did find it too long.........but that is me.
I would have loved it if it had been entirely about the alien planet with its exotic flora and fauna.
There will be a sequel, of course, but I think it will be much of the same thing.....goodies against baddies.
The special effects and the use of 3D without being gimmicky are probably the way forward.
I would like to live on that planet but without some of the nastier beasties.

Alan enjoyed watching the American football on Sunday.
He had a friend keeping him company.

This same friend nearly got a wallop today.
The temperature here at the moment is something like minus 23C.
I had to walk to and from bus stops going to work and back yesterday and it was no fun at all.
In fact when I got into work I felt quite ill.
My eyes, the only things I can't cover, were sore and puffy. My leg muscles felt like they were seizing up and made it difficult to walk.
When I got home I had a cup of tea, made by my personal tea master of the moment, then I had a snooze wrapped in a blankie.
But, this wally of a cat was banging on the window this morning because he wanted it open.
Upstairs, there is a centimetre of ice on the INSIDE of the windows..........and this with central heating.
And Thickie, Bubba, Thickie, Banks Thickie...........wants the poxy window open.
The trouble is that it is very bright and sunny and he probably thinks that means it is warm.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pants on the ground........well nearly.

Saturday we set off for the Natural History Museum in Kenosha which, apart from being bloody good, has the added attraction of being free.
Always a bit of a bonus I think.
There was a touch of awkwardness when a faulty belt almost caused a "wardrobe malfunction" of epic proportions.
My rousing chorus of "Pants on the ground, pants on the look like a fool wit' your pants on the ground" didn't go down quite as well with some as with others.
If you don't know this song then have a quick trip to Youtube .....look under American Idol , or Pants on the Ground........and all will be revealed (as it almost was on Saturday).
Bless 'im.
We met up with our friend Ken to do the museum tour.
Philip was rather bemused, see above, by some of the exhibits.
Ken appears to be even more bemused by Philip.
Nothing unusual there then. From here we went to the Jelly Belly Factory.
Always a popular visit.
We didn't do the tour this time so I didn't get a paper hat, but we did buy some sweeties.
The tour is free all this free stuff.

There was a phone call to the long, lost brother in Scotland. They will be visiting him in February.
As you can see Lollipop just had to be in on the act as usual.
In the evening we went to a Mongolian Grill.
Doesn't sound too appetizing does it?
But, Philip explained that you pick out all your veggies, noodles, sauce and meat (or fish if you are me) and then you take it to the chef who cooks it all on a big hot plate thingy.....and you can do this as many times as you like for the one price.
That sounded quite fun so off we went.
In the restaurant we each grabbed a bowl and put some veggies in........first problem.... lots of meat but no fish.
Ok, I will just have veggies, no worries.
Then they brought out some little, scrawny, already cooked shrimp. I plopped some of these in my bowl even if they didn't look too inspiring.
Couple of ladles of sauce........there was a choice........and then to the chef who slapped it all on this hot plate and shoved it around a bit.
He then scraped it all into a bowl and "voila" there was your dinner.
And, it was horrid.
Well, mine was anyway. I picked at it for a few minutes........ugh.......the sauce was yukky......the shrimp had shrunk and turned into bullets.
It was nasty.
I couldn't eat it. I certainly wasn't going back for more. The rest of our party did go up for another bowl but me..........the next time I go to a mongolian grill I am going to McDonald's.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Alanmas Dinner

Today was Alanmas Dinner Day.
Alan cooks us a tra la posh dinner during his stay.
It is always 3 courses.
This time he had some assistance from a very interested Lollipop.
She just leapt up onto his back as he was rolling my goat cheese roulade.
Maybe she just wanted to learn how to make it.

This year our starter was tomato and mozarella cheese with basil.........and jolly good it was too.
Then for main course Philip and Alan had flank steak rolled with swiss cheese and a nuisance veggie.......had a goat cheese, sweet potato and sun dried tomato roulade.
This was all mega delish and I stupidly forgot to take photos of it.
But, this was soon rectified ......with........

Now, stop giggling at the back, it did look a bit rude..........well I don't think he meant it to be rude .......but it was a bit.
Raspberry mousse in a chocolate cup with raspberry sauce, suger squiggly thingie and a long willy........NO.....I mean tuille biscuit.
Again, it was delish.
I didn't tell him it looked like a willy, but you be the judge.
Comments at the bottom of the page please.

This was my dessert. Beautiful don't ya think? Not at all like a willy.....heh heh heh... oh yes it was.

Thank you Alan for a spifflicating Alanmas Dinner.
I am now enjoying a glass of brandy.....cheers everybody.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Off to the Harley Davidson Museum today.
We went there last year but after wandering around for about an hour taking photographs, Alan discovered he hadn't put any film in his camera.
Oh we did laugh........well some of us did.
I actually fell off the one above as I cocked my leg over it.
So, if I can fall off when it is fixed to the floor it wouldn't bode well for me charging up the road on one.
Even pootling up the road would probably be very bad.

It is quite expensive to go in .......around $17 each so we didn't make another trip back last year just to take photos.
But, we did this year.
I also took my camera this time, just in case.
It is quite interesting if you haven't got an inkling which end of a bike is which so it must be fascinating if you actually know what you are looking at.

The Harley Davidson company started out of someone's shed in Milwaukee around 1903.
We have reunions here every 5 years and the bikers come from all over the world.
Milwaukee heaves with bikes over that weekend.
It looks a lot of fun though and some of the customized bikes are pretty amazing.

I liked the blue vroomy one ........our colours even matched.
Philip thought this one was more "me"......blooming cheek.
Alan really enjoyed it and bought some stuff from the inevitable gift shop.
He actually made sure he had film in his camera this year so will, hopefully, get it developed in the week.
There is little point in him having a digital camera as he doesn't have a computer at home.
Just call me Sue Knievel.....or Kan'tnievel.....more like.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No.....ship Sherlock !!!

All is much the same over here.
There hasn't been much shovelling to do lately all is well within our little world.
In fact there has been, although I hesitate to say it, a vast improvement in our weather.
The temperature today is up around freezing point.
A humungous improvement.
It means that, although you still have to put on hat, gloves, boots, scarf, long wundies etc, we can go outside without the brutal cold cutting right through the lot within minutes.
At the beginning of the winter we were told by the nice man on the telly that this would be an El Nino winter.
We had one of these the first year we were here.
It has something to do with a warm air stream that goes somewhere else but the after effects mean we, in the Mid West, have a milder winter.
I do think I explained that rather well considering I have no idea what I am talking about.
Anyway, that first winter was still very cold and very snowy ........for us newbies.
Looking back it was no where near as severe as we have now, reluctantly, become accustomed to.
Well, after the nice man on the telly said all this about the El Nino winter we would have this year, the temperature dropped to about minus 25C and we had our first couple of feet of snow.
This was at the beginning of December and has been much the same until today.
Load of old tosh then.........I hear you say.
Maybe not.
Now, the nice man on the telly says that this milder temperature we have today could go on for a week and it could be the start of the El Nino winter he said we would have in the first place.......just a bit late that's all.
Oh I do hope so.........I really, really do hope so.
Just to be able to wait for a bus without risking 2nd degree frostbite would be so lovely.
And, wouldn't it be brill if these temperatures went right on until Spring .......or as we put it.....May !!!
I shall keep you informed.

The chaps went to see Avatar.
I didn't.
Not because I didn't want to see that film but because I am just not inclined to sit in the cinema lately.
I tend to get fidgety and bored.........even with a good movie.
And apparently it was a very, very good movie.
Philip says it is amazing and he wants to see it again. I feel a bit mean as he did try to convince me to go so that he could see it again but is over 2 hours and 40 has sad bits.............I really don't want to.
Alan doesn't want to see it again so they are going to see Sherlock Holmes next week.
I am a bit of a Sherlock Holmes offician.....erm.......oficialad.........nope...........I have watched a lot of them and from what I can see the film is nothing like Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes solved crimes by using his intellect and powers of detection........he did not leap about all over the place and get involved in punch ups.
Also, Watson was a middle aged doctor........he did not look like a candidate for "Young, Tough and Buffed".
Not that I mind watching young, tough and buffed.........hey wasn't that an old children's programme.........anyway.........Sherlock Holmes it is not.
I know it would irritate me if I went to see it and I do not need anything to irritate me right now.

So, while they are out cheering on Sherlock Superhero Holmes and Doctor Daredevil Watson......I shall be at home having some me time............sigh.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dib, dib, dib, dob, dob, dob, smack Arkela in the gob.

Alanmas is now in full swing.
A teeny bit of discord on Friday that was fortunately quickly resolved.
Shovelling can be a tricky business you know.
Anyway, yesterday it was off to watch the Milwaukee Admirals play the Toronto Marlies at Ice Hockey.
Gary had got the tickets for us and WOW what tickets they were.
They were on the very first row just by the goal.
I have never sat so near to the action before and in case anyone is wondering..............the fighting and aggression is not put on. It is very real and we got to see it all..........FAB.
Some of us were not so enthused about the theme of the evening.
It was soon apparent that there were far more people than usual in the crowd.
Way bigger crowd. Lots and lots of people.
Certain sort of people. Very loud, very squeaky, very squealy people.
The place was heaving.
With girl scouts.
Girl scouts who screamed a lot and had contraptions which made a lot of noise when banged together.
Some of us did and Gary actually.
The Statler and Waldorfs among us were not quite so amused.
But, the game and seats were so brill I think Gary was forgiven for booking us up for Girl Scout night.
We were right behind the plexiglass and it was amazing how hard they smash into it ....often face first. We were also able to spot all the sneaky little digs they have at each other when the ref's not looking. You don't get to see that from farther back.
We had a grand stand view for all the fights too. My favourite player of the moment.......Wacy Rabbit ( I kid you not missus) was sent to the penalty box more than once. We have a theory about his name.
His loving parents must have named him that to make him tough and it does seem to have worked.
At the moment Waldorf, I mean Alan, is watching the Green Bay Packers in their first game of the play offs.........I do hope they win........I really........I really do.

Here is the man in question.
The very start of Alanmas. The boxes and paper on the floor behind us are remnants of the second Christmas we have with him.
Lollipop decided she liked to sit in those boxes so we haven't had the heart to take them away.
Lollipop is never one to reject a warm lap or chest.
She does like a shoulder too. She is like a fat, furry parrot.

Our weather continues terribly cold. Something like minus 15C as a daytime high falling to around minus 25C.
I hear the weather is still pants in England. Hopefully it won't go on too much longer over there as I know they have problems dealing with it.
My friend made me laugh. He said he was in Folkestone as a council truck went by and the guy in the back was throwing out handfulls of grit.
He said the poor soul didn't even have a scoop.
So sad.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


He got here.........just.
Oh how lucky he was that he flew out of Guernsey on Tuesday.
Guernsey airport was closed all day yesterday.
I was really beginning to think he was stuck there.

His flight was delayed though, by about 2 and a half hours.
This time, apparently, was spent sitting in the plane on the runway, which could not have been pleasant.
Only one runway was open so they had to wait their turn.
But, all went well and he has arrived in Milwaukee to be greeted by a major snow storm today which is stretching on till tomorrow.
That shovel will soon be put to good use.

I don't know what the problem is but at around 4am this morning they started digging up our road just a few houses down.
Blooming drills and trucks etc.
Oh Philip did laugh.
Then when I got up I saw they had opened the fire hydrant on the corner and it is gushing water into the road.
That will be fun considering we are well below freezing and likely to stay that way and colder for the foreseeable future.
Skating anyone?

The cats are all pleased to see Alan. Lollipop has already stretched on his lap while he was sitting on the shame these girls.
Looby Loo didn't run away...........amazing that she remembers him.
She runs away from everyone except Lauren and Alan.
I wonder if it could be the English accent......hadn't thought of that before.

Anyway, Alanmas didn't get off to a great start, poor Alan, so let's hope it just gets better from here on.
He is very glad to be here, which is nice.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Is he nearly here yet????????????

Well Alanmas seems to be getting off to a dodgy start.
I am used to keeping an eye on the snow situation over here but haven't had too worry to much about it over there before.
I read the BBC online this morning and saw all the horrendous snow disruption stories.
Hmmmmmmmmm.............what was happening at Heathrow? Thought I.
I looked up the website.......these interwebs are brill, what did we do without them........and it said that there were some delays.
Alan's flight was due to leave around 2.30 pm.
Off went I to work.
I yomped through our snow and ice whilst worrying about the conditions on the other side of the pond.
I phoned Philip from work to see if he could find out if the flight had taken off on time.
No it hadn't.
Then he had a thought..........he has had one of these before so it didn't come as too much of a shock.........what about the flight Alan gets from Guernsey?
A quick shufty online revealed that Guernsey and Jersey airports were closed.
Oh bugger.
We don't know if he was getting the flight from Guernsey today or if, as he has done before, he left yesterday.
Gatwick was also closed. I am pretty sure he gets a flight from Guernsey to Gatwick and then makes his way to Heathrow.
A couple of hours later we found that the flight from Heathrow had taken off, but, is he on it?
Did he get off Guernsey?
Apparently there is no way to see a passenger list so we can't find out.
When I got in from work there was no message on the machine. I feel sure that had he not been able to make the flight from Heathrow, for one reason or another, then he would have phoned to let us know.
I do hope so.
Philip will not be a happy chappy if he drives all the way to .......and waits at.......Chicago airport only to find that Alan is elsewhere.
So, if he is on his way then I don't expect them to arrive here until around 9 pm, which is around the time we are supposed to be starting another major "snow event".
Oh well it will give Alan something to do the next day...............unless he is still in Guernsey, which if he hasn't let us know probably the best place for him.
Poor Alan.
Alanmas is not starting well.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

T'Was The Night Before Alanmas

T'was the night before Alanmas
And out in the hall
A shovel was waiting
For someone to call

The snow it was falling
So deep and so white
Plenty to shovel
For most of the night.

The kitties were listening
As footsteps drew near
When through the front door
A jolly old bloke did appear

The excitement exploded
At last, Alanmas is here!
Show him his shovel
And give him a beer.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Alanmas looms

Well, I hope he remembers his hat and scarf this time.
The shovel is waiting.......the snow is snowing.........the freeze is freezing.
Ahhhhhhhhhh........he enjoys it.

I expect Alan and Philip will have much to talk about with the visit to the elder brother coming up fast.
They will have lots of memories to go over......30 years since they saw each other.
It will be emotional I am sure.
Philip has been talking by phone regularly to Alex, the elder brother, who lives in Scotland.
We have also been chatting to their step father who they had also lost touch with.
I like them both.
Peter, the stepfather, makes me laugh on the phone and we chat as if we have known each other for years.
He is seriously talking about coming to visit Milwaukee during the summer.
I hope it happens. I am always glad of company.

It will be more difficult for Alex as he is confined to a wheel chair due to a spinal injury.
I don't know if he could cope with the journey.
Once here, he would be fine as the ground floor of our house has a bedroom and a steps either.
So, he would be able to get around well. The other bedrooms and another bathroom are upstairs so the daughter (aged 14) would also have a room to herself.
It is just getting here really. It is a long flight and I know he is in pain a lot of the time.
Oh well, we will wait and see.
They may all hate each other in February and vow never to speak just kidding.
That won't happen.

This weekend has been a bit dull. Just popping out to the shops now and again but it is sooooo very cold.
Today, Sunday, is Lauren's birthday. She is 11 today or as I told her onety one.
Where has the time gone?
I have been a bit reflective today, going over past times, people etc.
Ahh......I am a silly sod.