Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!

I shall call this photo The Thinker.
I bet no one has ever thought of that.
We went to the Battle of the Bands at River Rhythms.
It was more of a massacre.
The expertise of the bands ranged from brilliant to diabolical.

There were six of them.
There were a couple who were ok. A few who were dreadful and one which was exceptionally good.
One band made much of the fact that they wrote their own songs.
They really shouldn't.
If you are not very good with words then it would be best to just play the notes.......bit like My Lovely Horse (Father Ted).
Example :-
One of their songs had the line....
"She came into the room, preceded by the smell ....(pause) ....of her perfume.

I thought I would choke with laughter.
Sadly it wasn't meant to be funny.

There was also a compare who apart from being a dirty old git insisted we have a quiz in between each band, to allow set up etc.
No one wanted to do a poxy quiz.
He also insisted that when he read out a question, if you knew the answer you had to put up your hand and shout "Downtown".
Then he would give you the opportunity to answer.

Of course people could not get the hang of this and he was getting quite irate. If he told us once he told us a hundred times to put up our hands and shout "Downtown". He then said we had to do it at the same time.
This sent Gary and I into paroxysms of laughter as we tried to put up a hand and yell "Downtown" simultaneously.

Plus the questions were too hard, too obscure and people were really getting fed up with it.
For example :-
He asked "Who was the first inductee on the Summerfest Wall of Fame.
Well, I doubt anyone knew there was a Summerfest Wall of Fame let alone who was first on it.
He banged on and on.
People were shouting out names, without a hand up and "Downtown"....he was getting cross.....then when he asked for the umpteenth time "Who was...blah blah blah".....someone yelled "Yo Mamma".

The crowd was hysterical.
He seemed to lose heart after that.
Anyway, one band stole the whole show. They were amazing and got everyone moving, clapping etc.
They had a panel of 3 judges and when the results were read, in reverse order, we listened to 3rd and 2nd place, just waiting for RayGun (the brill ones) to be announced winners.
They weren't.
We were gobsmacked. They came nowhere. Talk about a fix. People were not happy. The band who won were awful. They looked like a bunch of nerds and the singer sang like Tiny Tim when he did Tiptoe Through The Tulips. You may have to look that up.
Philip was so annoyed he actually went up to RayGun and told them they should have won. I felt so sorry for them. When they came on we had joked that the rest might as well have gone home.
I hate it when things are fixed.

"Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! Looby Loo is saying her prayers."

I know one of my friends tells me off for putting up pictures of the kitties. He once asked me if it was a punishment.
But, this one was so cute with Looby Loo looking like she is saying her prayers.
Perhaps she is praying for him.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lauren Fest Fast Approaches.

This is naughty Lollipop.
She squishes herself in between the top of my computer and the top of the desk because she always used to do that when she was little.
I wonder how their minds work?
Does she wonder why it has become such a tight squeeze?
She also likes to bat my hand while I am using the mouse.
But, she is in for a shock..........her mummy, Lauren, arrives in just 4 more sleeps.
Only 4 sleeps!
She will sort out the naughty Lolly.

Tonight is River Rhythms. I am informed that it is a "Battle of The Bands" tonight.
I don't know how heated the battle will be but I am sure it will be entertaining.

I have booked my flights to and from Jolly Old England.
I am not putting this on Facebook as I don't want to tell the world.
I should be arriving on September 19th and returning on October 17th.
I am hoping to attend an Astro club thingy about looking for E.T.
I am not sure about the Arky 'ology club though.
I remember seeing something on for October 9th but that is the day Glenn and I will be going to a "bit of a do" so I have to scrub that.

My friend Heather should be back from working in Dubai and my friend Fred is back from Spain.
I didn't get to see them last year, so I am looking forward to seeing them this time.
Simon & Sarah are now both working in Shanghai so I won't be seeing them.
Oh well, win some, lose some.

I hope to meet up with some new friends too. That will be fun.
I think I would go nuts if I couldn't get back "home" once a year.

Dave Barry has travelled.
A quote from his time in Beijing.

At the Beijing Opera when the performers sing, electronic signboards next to the stage show English translations of the lyrics, but this is not all that helpful for following the plot.
For example, one of the works I saw was called (really) The Great Immortal Herb Robbery.
The main character, a woman who is also (although I may have this wrong) a snake, sings, in a voice pitched high enough to alarm dogs as far away as Peru :-
"On the dragon boat festival, I drank too much."
Then, after miming around some more, she sings,
"I won't return home unless I get the immortal herbs."
Then, as you have probably already guessed, she gets into a stick fight with the crane-boys and the deer-boys.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jazzing, Rhythiming or Creating.

Over on Manky's blog he has written about the Create Music Festival in Ashford.
He compares their heavy handed policing and supervising of the event with a similar one in Canterbury which was devoid of searches and too many rules.
I know exactly what he means.
We used to attend Jazz in the Park here on a Thursday evening until it became over "managed".
They had "red shirts" walking around telling people where they could and couldn't park their chairs depending on the size of said chairs.
They started roping areas off to be used only by the elite few who's companies had sponsored something or other. Most times these "elite few" were very few resulting in the rest of us riff raff squished into the remaining space.
The "red shirts" patrolled the park all evening dishing out lots of "it isn't allowed to......".

The final straw for us came when they decided that no one was allowed to bring their own wine/beer any more. You had to buy it from the vendors there. Which meant you would pay as much for a glass of wine as you would for a bottle you brought yourself.
They tried to explain that it was a Milwaukee bylaw but they came unstuck when the police themselves declared it not to be and they had no interest in people enjoying a glass of their own wine whilst listening to music in the park.

We changed to River Rhythms which is in a park just the other side of the river. They have no patrolling "red shirts". You can bring as much of your own booze as you want. There are no roped off areas so you can sit where you like.
In fact the bands are (generally) better than Jazz in the Park who seemed to be trying to get too "high brow".
We have much more fun now. It is easier to find somewhere to unwrap your blanket and your sarnies. It is very relaxed and we have not missed the "red shirts" once.
They also do the Movie in the Park on a Friday evening during August.
For this they even provide a magician to amuse the kids while we are waiting for it to get dark enough for the film.

I am glad Manky wrote to the council. Sometimes by having low expectations of people's behaviour you create exactly that which you are trying to avoid.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hi Tech

Woo Hoo....... Alan is online.
He phoned yesterday to tell me that not only had he got his own phone (at last) but that he had now encroached upon the 21st century and got a laptop.
He has a Facebook page and every fink.

I told him he wouldn't want to visit us now as he has all his home comforts right there.
He poo poo ed that and said he can't wait to get over here. Bless him.

I am so pleased he is online. It makes keeping in touch with him so much easier. We used to have to wait for him to call and then phone him straight back.
Now we, and all his friends, can communicate via Facebook with no tribble, I mean trouble, at all.

I am not so pleased with my back.
After my adventure at the physio therapist, I cancelled my appointment for Tuesday.
I had just started to feel a bit better when it went "ping" again this morning.
I do try to be optimistic about it but it is very discouraging when you think it is improving only to have it ping for no good reason.
Bloody back.

Major storms here today with the obligatory "Tornado Warning" on the telly.
I should really pay more attention and I suppose one day I could get caught out if one touches down in Manitoba Street.
Philip is supposed to be playing golf this evening.
I hope he doesn't end up "somewhere over the rainbow".

Time for a Dave Barry :-

A theme park is an amusement park where you pay one blanket admission fee, which is quite steep, but once you're inside, everything is totally free, except all the other stuff you end up buying, which will run you around $11,000 per child.
Every few yards you find yourself stopping to buy high-priced theme-park food, theme-park merchandise, theme-park clothing and theme-park photographs of yourself looking theme-park ugly.
Sometimes you stop and just spontaneously throw money into the theme-park air. You can't help yourself! You're theme-park stupid.

Oops....I need to go. It seems the Tornado Warning is becoming more insistent. I hope Philip has got his ruby slippers with him.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lauren Fest

This weekend it is Festa Italiana.........or Italian Fest.
They fester every weekend in Milwaukee through the summer.
But our most wonderful Fest begins in 2 weeks.
Lauren Fest.
She will be arriving in 2 weeks time on August 1st and staying through the month of August.
Oh heavens be praised .......we can hardly wait.
I have been buying bits and pieces to put aside for her visit. Stuff like books, puzzles, crafting things etc.
She has her own room here and I want her to feel that this is her second home with her own stuff here all the time, just waiting for her visits.
I will admit we are both soppy about her.
She claimed Lollipop as her own cat shortly after we got her.
Lolly is our naughtiest cat and I keep warning her that her mummy will be here soon to sort her out.
I must book my flight over soon too.
I phoned the travel agent yesterday to see if they could get me a cheaper deal.
They came back with the same $973 + $25 fee for their services.
Stuff their services, I shall book online. I could bugger about and save a dollar here and there but oh sod it, I will come when I want to.
As my mum would say "to hell with poverty, throw another pea in the soup".

I went to physical therapy on Thursday .......for my poorly back.
My poorly back which had been gradually improving .................until I went to poxy therapy.
It is all money making over here.
I arrived at 5.15pm and didn't get out until 7pm.
I started by getting them all laughing at me. I do feel I do this as a sort of coping technique.
By saying dopey things and acting the fool I seem to offset the fact that I am hurting.
I wish I wouldn't do it as I am sure I lose a lot of sympathy this way. I do remember my dad doing the same thing though.
So, after telling them I felt "spifflicating" and asking them not to call me "shortly".....sigh I think I had lost it.

They got me doing exercises and then put me on the electric stimulating thingies ("it's alive!!!) plus heat.
When I came out I didn't feel too bad but once I got home I started to feel rather poorly.
Very poorly in fact.
I had sat down at the computer to have a dabble on Facebook and maybe play a little Lord of The Rings when I suddenly didn't feel good at all.
I had to go lie down on the sofa............much good this did as I was almost immediately covered in 4 cats one of which (Lollipop...see above) thought she had to keep tapping me on the nose to see if I was still compos mentis.
The next day I was worse than I had been for the past week.
Well, bugger poxy therapy then. It had set me way back.
I sent an email to my friend who is a tra la posh nursing manager and she said she wouldn't have had the useless therapies on her hand (she had had surgery) if she had known it would cost $8K !!!
$8000 ...........what!!!!!! No wonder my therapist said I should have this nonsense twice a week for the next few weeks. I hope our insurance covers this one visit.

They are all in it for the money over here. Sorry but it is true.
I do feel that OK I injured a back muscle or two, but they were healing. The therapy seems to have jiggled them up and undone a lot of the healing that had taken place.
Today I have been a bit better. I have decided I am going to cancel the future appointments they made me.
They go right through August and I have no intention of being poorly during Lauren Fest.

Tonight I have had a glass of wine and a couple of brandies and I feel that all is right with the world.
I am going for liquid therapy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I made my first venture out to the mall on Tuesday, since my back went pop.
I didn't do too badly actually.
I needed a dress for a "do" I am hoping to attend in England in October.
I had been looking on ebay but couldn't find the sort of thing I wanted.
Anyway, the sales are on in the mall, so I decided to take a peek.

It was brill.
I almost forgot my sore back when I found a beautiful purple dress and chiffon jacket reduced from $100 to $50.
Hmmmm...............I decided to haggle a bit and eventually got the whole set for around $25.
Woo hoo........I love a bargain.
It fits perfectly and is my favourite colour. I knew what colour fascinator to get.
Milwaukee doesn't seem to be exactly awash with fascinators.
Beer and sausages........yes.........fascinators - not so much.
So, back to good old ebay. What did we do without it?
I found exactly what I wanted ........see above.

The auction was going to end in an hour. The price was $5.99 and the shipping was about $7 and it was brand new.
I still hummed and hawwed.
Then I saw that there was another one, exactly the same only being sold by another company for over $50!!!!
So, I bid on it and got it for $5.99.
Another bargain.
Now I am all set up for the "do".........well apart from shoes & handbag but I can maybe borrow those from Donna.

We went to River Rhythms last night. First time in a weeks, due to backs, tooths and tornadoes.
Coo.......that sounds like a rock band.
I actually didn't care who was playing over there, I just needed to get out. Or so I thought.
It sounded alright - Bill somebody, native American singer/musician, won 3 Grammy Awards.
I quite like the native American sound with flutes etc. I find it rather haunting and atmospheric.
It started quite well with him playing a flute and guitar. He was all on his own.
Philip remarked that he didn't say much. went downhill from there.
He never stopped talking. He banged on and on about native Americans and how they were treated........his previous abused life..........his addictions............his post traumatic stress..........oh please.
His songs from then on got more and more miserable. Not much dancing tonight, thought I.
He complained that he hadn't been booked for Indian Summer Festival (actually my favourite one) which is held in September.
I wasn't surprised. This festival is fab. Full of vibrant colours, dancing, music and celebration.
He would fit right in...........not.

I don't understand some people who do nothing but complain, they yearn for this or that and whinge the whole time if they don't get it, then whinge the whole time if they do get it.
Maybe some people just like to moan all the time. Nothing is ever right. I know a couple of people like that. Instead of finding happiness and joy in something they find other reasons to moan.
Do they not realise that people stay away because, to be honest, they are just not fun to be around?
My mum had a good saying...."Oh he is only happy when he is miserable".
By contrast I know other people who have lots of hardships and difficulties they are trying to get through but put on a brave face and try to be so upbeat.
They will always have lots of support from people who admire their determination.

Well, this singer/musician certainly pushed us away. By the interval we had had enough and packed up and left. It was good to see Gary but I hope next week's band have a bit more oomph.
People go to these things to be entertained not to listen to a message.

Oh nearly forgot.
I was waiting at the bus stop to go to work yesterday and was looking at the drivers of cars going by and also stopped at the lights.
Along came this woman, driving an SUV, eating ...............a bowl of cereal.
She had a bowl of cereal & milk in one hand and her spoon in the other - whilst driving.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Flights of fancy..........

Flights of fancy.........well I don't find them very fanciful.

I thought it was time I started looking at flights and booking up for my England trip.
I am hoping to come over in September but bloody hell it is expensive now.

Gone are the days when I could book a return trip for under $300 out of season.
I have been trawling the interwebs and the cheapest I can find for the actual dates I would like is $973.
I like to arrive and leave on a Sunday so that Donna doesn't have to contend with horrid traffic to Heathrow, but I thought I would try mid week as I have been told it is cheaper.
Well it is ...........just a bit.
I changed it to arriving and leaving on a Tuesday and the cheapest I can find is $913.

I am cross because Virgin no longer go from Chicago during the "off season" so I have the choice of American Airways, United or British Airways.
I won't book with British Airways as you can never tell if they are going to strike and leave me stranded.
I even tried doing a non direct flight and that wasn't any cheaper either.

I can understand it being pricey during the summer hols but mid Sept to mid Oct should be cheap. Well I think so.
Plus, now you if take two cases you have to pay $50 extra for the second one.
When you are staying for a month you do tend to fill up two cases quite easily.
But, I shall have to just take one this time.
I will have to book it soon as they seem to be filling up already.

Weather here continues hot. It has been 90+ (according to my little thermometer) for the past week.
Thank goodness for air conditioning. I would never sleep without it.

The back is improving slowly as is Philip's gob.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Anything else???????

Well it seems that everything in my favour was against me.

Yesterday afternoon Philip went off to see the oral surgeon for a "consultation".
While he was gone the weather turned a bit iffy, so I phoned Gary to have a "consultation" with him as to whether we should chance the weather and go to River Rhythms.

We were in the midst of one big thunderstorm or tropical storm as they were calling it on the news but I was hoping it would pass over.
We were still ummm and ahhhhing when Philip phoned on the cell phone.

I guessed something was up when he had been gone for over an hour but as soon as I heard his muffled mumblings on the phone I knew what had happened.
Poxy dentist hadn't let him escape this time and had taken the tooth out without making another appointment.
Clever man.
So, that sort of made up my mind completely and I told Gary we wouldn't be going.
He agreed that it was probably the best thing to do.

Philip arrived home armed with 4 prescriptions for painkillers, mouthwash, antibiotics & some other Toothy Num Num type stuff.
He was not happy. Well, after a bit I think he was quite happy that it was all over with.
I could see the difference in him. This tooth had had an abscess and was really bad. It had been playing him up for ages but it is so difficult to get him to a dentist.
He knew it would have to come out and had been walking around like Perkin with the little black cloud over him for some time.
I could see that cloud had lifted. At least now it was done with. It could go and hurt somewhere else.

Apart from Toothy Num Num we were sure we had made the right decision when the tornado warning flashed onto the telly.
Not much fun sitting in a deckchair in the park in a tornado.
Exciting maybe but fun

Oh I had call from the doctor this afternoon.
Apparently my back isn't fractured. What !!!!!!!!!
I would have been ever more miffed if I had managed to fracture my back getting washing out of the machine.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This is a cute bug....and I don't like bugs. He is waving his little leg.

Ok so I finally accepted that the back was not going to get better all by itself.
But, going to see the quack means two bus rides and a walk. No way was I going to be able to do that.
Philip is off work today as he has to see the dentist.
So, at the weekend he said that I should try to get an appointment for the quack for today.
Of course it was a holiday weekend...........4th July.
This is quite an occasion over here so everything including the quack's was closed on Monday because the 4th was Sunday.

So I couldn't phone until yesterday to try to get an appointment for today.
I wasn't hopeful.
But, I got one for 11.45am this morning.

The doctor looked at me and tested my reflexes. This suggested muscle damage but not a trapped nerve.
She then sent me downstairs for x-rays........8 x-rays. Just how many pictures do you need of someone's back?
The thing I had to lie on was very cold and I was not wearing much.
Heh heh....I kept having visions of a Carry On Film.
I thought I would get very crabby but actually lying on that hard surface was about the most comfortable I have been for ages. I didn't want to get up.

Then she said I should have physio therapy so I am going there next week.
I am also now armed with muscle relaxants and anti inflammatory pills.
I hope the insurance is going to cover all this.

Tonight is River Rhythms and as I haven't been anywhere for about 30 years.......teensy exaggeration maybe.....but that is how it feels........I would really like to go.
I am just having to watch the weather as they predict scattered thunderstorms.
There is no fun in sitting in the park during a thunderstorm, unless, of course, Brother (men in leather kilts) are playing but they were on a couple of weeks ago.

I hope poor Philip does ok at the dentist.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Star Wars Oompa Loompa

I found a picture of one of them thar Star Wars Oompa Loompas I mentioned previously.
I could do with this bloke.
Our chipmunks can empty a bird feeder in next to no time. They run straight up the pole. Amazing.
They are also fussy, so they throw out half of it and stuff their faces with the rest.
A couple of these blokes would sort them out.

The back continues to be a problem.
Mornings and evenings seem to be the worse with daytime being not a lot better.
But, if I look back to Monday, when I did it, then I am definitely better than I was then.
We didn't go to River Rhythms on Wednesday.
Of course the weather turned out to be perfect for an evening outside listening to music, but hopefully we can go next week.
I did manage to walk to the shop on the corner yesterday though.
It was mostly out of desperation. I hadn't been out of the house since Sunday and cabin fever was setting in.
I got to the shop ok and looked around a bit but it was a bit of an ordeal walking back.
I do hope this eases up soon or I could start to get a bit crabby.
You wouldn't like me when I am crabby.

July 2nd today and the celebrating has started already.
July 4th weekend. They seem to like to celebrate this for some reason over here.
Tomorrow (3rd) will be the fireworks over the lake downtown. These are magnificent and we always used to go but it gets so crowded that finding a spot or a parking place is almost impossible.
Sunday (4th) parades and fireworks at other places.
Monday (5th) fireworks in the parks.
We have been going to our local park for fireworks for a couple of years. Of course the weather is set to be sunny and warm right up until Monday (park firework day) when it is supposed to be stormy.
We shall see. I am hoping that I am up for walking and sitting in the park by then. Not in thunder and lightning though.
A lot of people have today and Monday off work. Philip will be lucky if he gets Monday off.
I hope he does.