Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mad Hair Day

I woke up this morning with "mad cat lady hair".........I know it is hard to believe.
I mean ......why would that happen to me?
My hair had exploded during the night and was flying out at all angles.
I have no idea what caused it but I have since tamed the stuff.
Talking of cats..........
I poured myself a drink of water the other night, ready to take my vitamins etc, when I looked back there was Lily drinking my water.
I wouldn't mind but we bought them a water fountain thingy just because of her.
She likes the water to be fresh ( something to do with being a Princess I think) so we bought this appliance that keeps the water flowing through a filter.
Then she drinks my water.
I am glad I saw her though. Oh......just thought.......I wonder how many times she has done that and I didn't see?

Philip went fishing on Lake Michigan on Thursday after work.
One of his chums arranges it once a year. There are some big fish out in that lake too.
They charter a large boat and whatever they catch is cleaned and filletted for them when they get back.
Bit woosie I suppose but the alternative might be me cleaning them and that ain't gonna happen.
Anyway, he came back with lots of salmon.
Whole sides of salmon.
One of his mates caught a king salmon (whatever that is) and he said it was enormous.

I shall give some to my mate June, who takes me swimming. Pat wouldn't want any because she doesn't eat fish.
I have wrapped it and put it in the freezer. I bet you can't guess what we will be eating all this weekend.
Salmon and ............... chocolate...doesn't sound bad.
We are going to Chocolate Fest tomorrow. This is held every year over Memorial Weekend.
3 days of chocolate, music, food & fun.

We will take Gary too. I don't know if he has been before.
I think the kite thing is on this weekend too but the chocolate is calling to me.

It seems that Lauren will be staying with us for the month of August. That will be brill.
Donna checked flight prices with Virgin Airlines and they were double what they were last year.
She was quoted over a thousand pounds just for Lauren.
I know it is expensive to fly during the kids' summer holidays but that was ridiculous.
Of course no one wants to book with BA at the moment because they keep going on strike.
I checked out American Airlines and United Airlines.
They were almost half the price that Donna had been quoted.
I usually fly American and when Donna and Lauren came over in February they did too.
I think when they came in February it only cost around six hundred and fifty pounds total for both of them.
This is one of the reasons I try to come over to England after the kids' summer holidays. Such a rip off otherwise.

Looby Loo is getting better at this hiding mallarky.
Now if she could just remember she has a tail.

Monday, May 24, 2010

International Rescue

On Saturday we went to Cedarburg.
Cedarburg is an small, old American town that is just so pretty.
It has been "tourististified" but that really doesn't detract from its charm.
There is an old mill which has become a winery downstairs and then various little shops on the two upper floors.
There is also a little cafe in there but we have found that expensive in the past.
There is a beautiful river and just one main street to walk down.
We always seem to go to Cedarburg in the winter and shiver up and down that street very quickly.
It was a pleasure to stroll along it on Saturday, nosing into all the little gift, candy, garden and antique (or as Philip calls them "old toot") shops.
We stopped for a cup of the best iced coffee ever,as it was a little warm, and then made our way back to the car.
Alan likes to visit Cedarburg when he is here so, now I think of it, that is probably why we usually go in the winter.

On the way back I saw something on the road ahead.
At first I thought it was an old rag or a piece of junk but then I thought I saw it move.
Oh....oh........a "Major Tom" moment was approaching.
Do let me know if you haven't heard the Major Tom story and I will recount it on here.
I just don't want to bore those that have heard it many, many times.
As we drew nearer I saw that the thing in the road was a huge turtle.
A huge, slow, determined turtle who had made it to the middle of the road but looked highly likely to get squished any minute.

I was having heart failure every time a car just missed this poor creature who was desperately trying to cross the road.
I yelled at Philip to stop. He did. This stopped everyone behind us too.
I knew it was too big for me to lift so I asked him to take it across the road.
He knows better than to argue with me where animals are concerned. Not that I think he would have.
I did tell him to be careful as I have heard that they can bite.
Out he got, and crossed to the middle of the road. The cars coming the other way stopped now too....... which was rather fortunate really.
Anyway, he picked up the turtle, carried him across to the other side and put him in the grass.
The turtle then continued on his way into woods, which were right there.
The other motorists didn't cheer him but they didn't honk or shout at him either so they must have thought he was a bit of a hero.
I think he is a hero.
The turtle would think he was a hero, if turtles could think.
A friend of mine, who lives in Michigan, told me he spends a lot of time on "Turtle Patrol" at this time of year.
He said he hoped we had taken the turtle in the direction he was heading, which we had, as it is mating time and they know where they want to go.
So, turtles can think.
This one looked like he was on a mission and I don't think he was thinking about our Hero Philip.
His thoughts were somewhere else entirely.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bun Bun

Here is a picture of Bun Bun.
I know it looks a bit foggy but I had to take it through the window. The creature behind him is not a rare American Mammoth Golden Frog but an ornament.

The basement inspector chappy came yesterday with the boss man from Crackbusters, who did the repairs.
It seems that all is in order.
The walls really need painting now but I don't think Philip is inclined to do this so we may have to find a man who can.
It is such a large area to paint and Philip has never pretended to be any sort of DIYer.
The "man who can" will also have to be a "man who is cheap" as we have no spare money now.

Blaine, Boss man of Crackbusters, has offered to find us a condo in Wisconsin Dells during the summer.
He says he could get us a week there for around $400 - $500.
This is VERY reasonable for Wisconsin Dells.
We would have to pay this much and more EACH to stay in one of the big resorts.
I asked him about it yesterday and he said each condo is part of a complex with swimming pools etc.
So, as soon as I have firm dates for Lauren's visit I shall give him a call and see if we can arrange something.
I would prefer to stay somewhere will just regular swimming pools as when we have stayed in the waterparks the pools are magnificent but there is nowhere you can actually swim.
You can hurtle down flumes, sit in an inflatable and float around a lazy river, dodge huge waves, play water basket ball/volley ball or try to balance your way across on big, slippery stepping stones, but swimming........why would anyone expect to do that?
Also, Lauren always hurts herself bumping down the flume rides. We almost finished up in the Emergency Room last year.
No, pucker pools where you can actually swim will be much better. When we stayed at Disney there were just regular pools and she loved that.
That was a little mad though.
We would be out at the theme parks all day and when we got home she would still want to swim.
It was the only time I have ever been swimming in an outdoor pool at night.
We even got Philip in there. Actually, now I think about it, it was sort of relaxing after a busy day.
Donna should be booking her flights soon.
Once we know exactly when she is going to be here we will book a week mid way through her stay.
The weather here is meant to climb to the upper 80's over the weekend.
I am not sure what that is in "old money".
I feel the need for some summer.
I planted out our Azalea bush yesterday. It is so beautiful. I do hope it will survive the Wisconsin Winter.
It could be a bit iffy. I looked at the recommended zones and I think we just get in. But, they shouldn't sell the things if they are not hardy enough.
We shall see.
Having decided not to go with a "Glorious Carpet of Flowers on a Roll" this year, as the 6 weeds and a daisy that grew from one last year were far from glorious, we will be putting bedding plants down the side of the garage as we have done before.
That worked well in the past. I am thinking we will do that Memorial Weekend which is next weekend.

Looby Loo thought I couldn't see her under here.
I think she was going to ambush me as I went past but I took her piccie instead.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I was watching the news this morning and they were talking about the Milwaukee Family Kite Festival.
Now I knew there was a festival in September but I hadn't realised there was one at the end of May.
Apparently, it is a rather splendid affair too.
I think it is on for 2 or 3 days and they have kite flyers coming from all over the country.
Canada sends a team too.
They said that the Chicago Kite Flyers will be there and they are world champions.
I don't know about that.
They are probably very, very good but it is the habit over here to say that a team of any sort that are American champions are "world" champions also.

The festival is held right on the lakefront. Hopefully the weather will be like it is right now....warm, sunny and a little windy.

Anyone who would like to go another year only has to let me know.
I know some friends from Blighty used to be into kite flying in a big way.

On another note.
The bunnies are back. `
I am so glad. Our little Bun Bun has taken up residence in the back garden again.
The squirrels have been busy too. There were babies chasing each other up and down the trees.
That really keeps the cats amused.

On a final note.
The American versions of Wayne and Waynetta were on my bus this afternoon.
They were having an almighty row and finished up sitting in different seats.
Unfortunately, he decided to sit a bit behind me and took out his frustrations by punching and kicking the seat right behind me.
I did not turn around or make any eye contact.
When they had boarded the bus I couldn't help but notice his jeans.
The waistline of said jeans was just above his knees.
Had his trousers been any lower he would have been dragging them along behind him.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An odd week..........

Bit of an odd week really.
The little yellow birds are back.
This picture looks a bit dark but it is taken through the window screen.
Good job we have window screens or there would be far fewer little yellow birds about.
The kitties drool at them.
Looby Loo growls and snarls. It seems to keep the cats amused and the little yellow birds are oblivious to their threats.

Monday I went swimming with my mate June.
We usually go on Fridays but we couldn't last Friday as she had a previous engagement.
Going on Monday sort of threw me out for the rest of the week.
I have become such a creature of habit that doing a Friday activity on a Monday put me in a tizzy.
Oh dear........I can remember getting cross with Granddad for having too rigid a schedule about minor things.
I shall have to watch it.

I have been a bit poorly too. All my joints were aching and my get up and go had got up and gone. Philip said something similar was doing the rounds in his office.
It had seemed to skip him but hitched a ride home to me.
Nah.......must have been because I went swimming on a Monday.

It was the American Mother's Day on Sunday.
I don't know why it is different.
Father's Day is on the same date as Britain. So why Mother's Day should be different I don't know.
As usual, both Mother's Days had managed to escape my son's notice despite reminders from me.
Again, as usual, he phoned full of woe as to why a trip to the post office had been an impossible expedition for him.
I expect he lacked the required team of sherpas to reach the summit of Mount Post Office.
Bless him.
He tells me he has bought me season two of Outnumbered, which is supposed to be the best one.
I have been watching the first season which he got me for my birthday.
He says he will send it.
I hope the postman doesn't steal it as he must have done with my Bombay Mix which another certain party said they would send to me a couple of months ago.
I ask you, why else would these things not arrive as promised?

The kitties bought me a gnome, some posh popcorn and a pair of lovely earrings. So I did alright in the end.
In the picture, Lollipop has laid claim to the gift bag but may soon be ousted by Lily.

Today the galloping lurgy caught up with Philip and he is home from work.
He is also unable to play golf this afternoon either.
I don't know what the weather is like over there but here it is bloody cold.
We had major storms during the night too.
I do hope it warms up soon as before long we will be heading back to snow.

Another gem from Dave Barry.

If a man buys something for somebody - his wife, for example - it is going to be something he believes she actually needs, such as an extension lead.
Maybe, if he is feeling especially romantic, he will get her the 20 - footer.

I wonder if when Hannibal lead his army and elephants across the alps he was going to post a Mother's Day card?
His mum must have been really proud.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thelma and Louise

This is my friend Pat with her two new kitties.........Thelma and Louise.

She got them on Thursday.
When she phoned me she said she had got a big one and a little one, from the same litter, thinking that they would be boy and girl.
She then told me their colours.
They are calico.
Calico cats are always female. It is something very complicated to do with genetics or plumbing or some such.
So they finished up being called Thelma (big 'un) and Louise (little 'un).
Louise has a spot on her nose so she will be able to tell them apart with that if they finish up the same size.
They are very different personality wise.
Thelma (big 'un) is shy and timid and wanted to hide away.
Louise (little 'un) was not at all shy and was climbing about all over the place.
She is going to know she has that one.
They are very pretty and Pat is thrilled with them.
I am glad as she has been a bit down (crabby) lately and I am hoping they will cheer her up (happify her ).

We didn't do too much this weekend. Sunday was Mother's Day over here.
The cats bought me a garden gnome and some posh popcorn. I was very happy with that.

I would like a recumbent tricycle.
Really.......I would.
I have seen one and it looks so comfy and cool.
Riding a bike doesn't seem to suit me. I found out why. I have a problem with my neck and apparently the way you sit on a regular bike means you sort of lift your head at an unnatural angle to see where you are going.
When I tried it I found it to be true. That is why I have so much back/neck pain when I ride my bike.
I looked at recumbent bikes, which are very good, but they are a bit harder to balance as your centre of gravity is all to buggery (technical term)......or so I am told.
I have a problem balancing my gravy at the best of times so that put me off.
Then I saw the trike. have them if fab colours.
Black with flames - Pink - Flaming Pink.......oh lots.
Trouble is I can't afford one right now (see poxy basement).
I found Target sells them for about $219 but that is still not possible at the moment.
One day I will get a Sexy Recumbent day.

Lastly a little quote from one of my favourite writers of humour. Dave Barry.

Men in Wisconsin are using artificial means to make their cows' udders more attractive in order to win livestock shows. These are competitions in which cows are judged on various characteristics, kind of like human beauty pageant contestants, except that the cows are more likely to know what "Iraq" is.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Operation Basement Complete

This is the after picture.
It is the side of the basement we use as a rec room ( not a wreck room although before the repairs it could have been).
Look at all the lovely supports and the lovely wall.

The men arrived at 8 am.
They had two huge trucks pulling two trailers. The trailers were as big as caravans. They also had a big tipper truck.
Now of course it had to be that a water main had burst on the corner, right outside our house that morning, sigh, and there were already about 3 city (council) trucks all parked there.
The water was gushing out, creating white water rapids that I was expecting to see Venture Scouts kayaking any minute.
The obligatory 4 blokes were standing around giving this a very hard stare.

My chaps, who I think all went by the name "Ace" were totally unfazed, parked further up the street and commenced "Operation Basement".
It was like a military maneuver only better because they didn't shoot their own blokes.

There were about 6 of them. I say about 6 because they moved so fast I couldn't count them.
In through the back door, straight down into the basement and to work.

Oh but the noise. The noise was horrendous. It sounded and felt like they were knocking the house down.
I think they had bought their drills from the guys who built the Channel Tunnel.
Well, it sounded like that anyway.
By about 9 am I was ready to cry.
The house was shaking. I wanted to run away.

Workmen here never expect anything. No tea.......nothing. They just do the job.
I have to admit I did miss having someone say ...."Is that kettle on?"
I always felt more involved in household repairs in England.
Amazingly, by about 12.30pm it had gone quiet.
I then saw 3 of the guys outside looking at the basement window well that needed sorting.
I wanted to see what that was all about and went out.
The boss man was happy to explain to me what they were doing. Basically, they were drilling out a big hole down to the drain, testing it to make sure the water would run away and then filling it with stones.
By now one of the chaps from the burst water main (which fortunately our house wasn't connected to or we would have had no water) came over for a butcher's too.
While they were drilling down he made a few comments about finding oil, then they pretended they had found bones........little buggers.
The biggest puzzle was.............Where was Merv?
He should have been out here by now letting us know what we were doing wrong, what we should have done in the first place and how it could have all been prevented.

I told the water main man that I was surprised that Merv, the guy in the house across the street hadn't been out.
He replied "He has .....twice. There is always one in every neighbourhood. The Sidewalk Supervisor".
I did giggle.
When I looked I realised that the City truck was blocking Merv's view and he couldn't see my chaps working outside or me talking to them.
Phew!!! That was lucky.

By 1.30pm it was all done. They had cleared up, cleaned up and were on their way. I couldn't believe it, still can't really.
The dust is still settling so I will wait until tomorrow before washing all the floors but they have done a marvellous job.
The neighbours and the water main man thought so too. The water man told me he was impressed as soon as he saw them arrive with all their equipment.
He took their card, as did the chap next door. I have a couple to give out.
I think we did the right thing not going for the cheapest option. We would probably have got cowboys who would have taken an age to get the job done.
They are arranging for the building inspector to come in and check their work.
That should be one day next week.

I am so glad it is over with and just want to wash the floors and put everything back in its place now.
Best part is that Merv has an official title.
Sidewalk Supervisor........I like that, it suits him.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Basements, Barbeques and Thumbs ......oh my.

What an exciting weekend.

Saturday was spent clearing stuff out of the basement ready for the men who should appear on Wednesday at 8 am.
We won't be able to finish it completely until Tuesday evening as we have to move the computers and desks away from the wall in the other part of the basement because that is cracked too.
I am not looking forward to moving these.
My desk is quite small and reasonably tidy but Philip's is a big desk and "tidy" doesn't apply to any part of it.

In the evening we decided to have a barbeque.
We bought an large gas barbie last year with the money from the change pot.
Amazing how much was in that simply from emptying pockets.
We only "cooked out" as they say over here, a few times last year and on Saturday I remembered why.

We are crap at it.

We really are.
It seemed like such a good idea.
Philip got a steak and I got some prawns.
I had seen a recipe for potato and halloumi skewers which looked fab so I pre cooked the spuds and marinated them with the halloumi.
I marinated the shrimp (prawns) and some mushrooms in roasted herb and garlic. These were going on skewers too.
Then I marinated some tomatoes in balsamic vinegar.
To go with this (can't believe this was just for two) I cooked some garlic & herb pasta and vodka sauce.
I should have just cooked all this in the kitchen or better still ......gone out for pizza.

Philip went off to do the actual cooking. Men love all this outdoor cooking mallarky. It is the only time he cooks so I make the most of it.
But, of course it didn't go according to plan.
The mushrooms, halloumi and pots were done. So I had to keep them warm in the oven.
After a bit the steak was done, he likes it medium rare, but nothing else was....oh stick that in the oven too then.
I cooked the pasta which is difficult to keep hot as it turns into a squidgy lump.
Just then Philip informs me that the gas has run out.
Sigh.......he bought a gadget that fixes on the gas bottle that is supposed to tell you how much gas you have.
It did. It said "Half full".........then it said "Empty".

So, now I have half of the stuff keeping warm in the oven but the shrimp (prawns) are not done.
He put the lid of the barbie down thinking that the residual heat might finish the shrimp.
It didn't
I had to bring them in and cook them under the grill which took forever to heat up but made a good job of drying out the shrimp.

We eventually sat the dining room table because no one over here actually eats outside and we have got into that way too.......although to be fair all of our stuff was inside anyway.
Philip had a well done steak.
I had dried shrimp.
We both had a lump of squidge in vodka sauce.
The best bit was the potatoes and halloumi.
The bottle of wine we put away wasn't bad either.

After this disaster what could be better than another.
Whilst clearing everything away and putting it in the dishwasher I happened to jab the fleshy part of my thumb onto a knife that was sticking up in the cutlery basket.
Of course, it couldn't be any old knife could it?
It had to be the only knife we possess that would cut anything other than soft butter.
It was the knife I use to devein the shrimp. It is thin, curved and very sharp.
It made short work of my thumb.
Fortunately it is my left thumb. Even so it is very painful and you might be surprised how much you miss being able to use the little bugger.
I can't open things because I find it hard to hold things in my left hand to be able to twist the top with my right.

Next time we think about having a barbeque we are going to have Chinese.