Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Friend

Today I went to Canterbury to meet a new friend.
I have been wanting to meet him since this time last year when Philip made contact with him.
It is Philip's stepfather, who he saw for the first time in around 30 years back in February when he came over to visit his long, lost brother.
His stepfather lives in Whitstable and we were meant to meet last Saturday but a twist of fate decided that that couldn't happen.
Glenn had planned to go with me to meet him. Instead he had other priorities.
Namely, being discharged from hospital.

I was excited and a little nervous about meeting him.
What if he didn't like me?
What if he thinks I am not good enough for Philip?
I mean........I don't think I am good enough for Philip so why should he?

I really shouldn't have worried. He was lovely.
I don't know if he liked me but if he didn't he did a damn good job of disguising the fact.
I appreciate that. At least he made me feel like he liked me.
We spent the day chatting, very easily.
There didn't seem to be any awkward silences. We had coffee in the ...erm....railway works...shed or something which is just outside the station. I had never been there.
He then took me on a tour of Canterbury. Lots of little out of the way places I had never seen.
He is also very knowledgable regarding the history of the area.
We had a fab lunch in a little Morrocan restaurant that again I had never seen, before going into the museum.
Eventually we made our way back to the station. I so enjoyed today.
The conversation was good and flowed wonderfully. I didn't feel it was forced at all.
I love it when you meet someone who can carry on a conversation.
I really appreciate it as I have known some people who are very "hard work" and it can be really tiring.
Today the only tired things are my aching feet.
I think ( and hope) I have found a new friend.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Coo...over a week gone by now.
It has gone by very quickly.

Glenn is home and doing well. I think he wasn't expecting to feel quite as rough as he does.
After having the operation in the early hours of Friday, he thought he would be able to go to work on Monday.
I think he knows different to that now.

I sat with Lauren on Saturday night so that Donna could go gallavanting.
Then her mate turned up and asked if she could stay as her mum was going gallavanting.
Oh well, one more wouldn't make much difference.
They were fine.
Loads of noise & giggling.......girls!
I had to blow up an inflatable bed for her. That was a bit of an adventure in itself.
It eventually cooperated.
I didn't worry about bed times but when Lauren asked at around 11pm if they could slide down the stairs on a duvet..........I had to disappoint them.
They were still in giggle mode when Donna came home at around 12.30am.
We eventually all turned in after 1am.
Donna did tell me the next day that when Lauren's mate stays she makes sure they are in bed by 10.30 pm.
Ooops............they had fun though and they weren't any trouble.

Sunday we went out for a Sunday roast in a pub.
Glenn wasn't up for it yet. His dad was collecting him to have lunch round at his house.
We were going to some place in Aldington but on the way passed the Queen's Head in Kingsnorth which had a sign outside.
"Home cooked Sunday roast. All fresh vegetables", it proclaimed.
So we decided to give it a go.

It was fab. This is one of the few things I can't get back in Milwaukee.
Sunday roast is unheard of. It is strictly a British tradition.
Even at Christmas they don't traditionally have roast. I have never seen a roast potato anywhere. Odd isn't it.
At Thanksgiving, although they do have roast turkey, they have mashed potatoes with it.
Ok so I can cook a roast dinner at home but for me to have someone else cook it and plonk it in front of me is a luxury indeed.
I look forward to it all year. I was not disappointed.
We would definitely go back again, hopefully next week and we can take Glenn with us too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

He;s home

Glenn had his naughty appendix out at midnight on Thursday.
I spent Friday at the hospital with him.
Dave came to see him..........which was nice.
He took a rather apt picture of the "special notes" or something which was on the wall by his bed.
One of my very good friends had taken me to the hospital in the morning. She came to collect me at 1pm as visitors have to leave at that time to give the patients a rest. I went to her house and had a lovely lunch.
This was the perfect time for me to leave for a while as Glenn was getting grumpy and was just verging on one of his famous "Basil Fawlty" meltdowns.
I didn't want to be there when that happened.
A nap would do him the world of good.
She then very kindly took me back to the hospital at 3pm.
Glenn was asleep when I got back. I went for a wander until he woke up.
He had the cheek to say I should have woken him.
It would take a braver person than I to wake up a sleeping Glenny Wenny.

They were keeping him there overnight, which I thought was a good idea, so we picked him up this morning.
I think we are all relieved it is over with and all he needs to do is recover now.
Thanks to all for the good wishes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Surprise !!!!!!

I had a phone call last night.
I had been waiting for Glenn to ring as I had asked him to take me to Astronomy Club on Friday.
He promised to phone me to let me know and I was actually getting cross as it was almost 8pm before he phoned.
He said that he was sorry he wouldn't be able to take me as his stomach was "playing up".
When I asked what the problem was he said, "well actually I am in the hospital just waiting to have my appendix out".
To say I was shocked really doesn't quite describe what I felt.
I was ready to rush straight to the hospital but Glenn said it was pointless as they were throwing all the visitors out at 8pm.
I then realised he had waited until this time so I wouldn't go up there.

It is now around 9.20 am and he has just phoned me from the hospital.
He is very groggy and enjoying the morphine.
My friend Sue is coming for me soon and I shall be going up to sit with him. We have no idea yet when he will be coming home but from the sound of him, I doubt it will be today.
But, you never know.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mellow Yellow

I am feeling rather mellow this evening.
Donna is off gallavanting in Brussels.
She is attending a U2 concert. She has never been to anything like this before and the excitement has been intense.
She left this morning at around 6am leaving Lauren in charge of me.

I have had a washing and ironing sort of day.
I thought Donna would appreciate it if I got her up to date with the laundry.
She works hard and it is difficult to keep up with everything.
So today I got stuck into the chores and I think she will be chuffed when she gets back tomorrow evening.
I am hoping I have got over the jet lag now.
Tomorrow is meant to be rainy so I won't venture far.
Donna should be home late in the evening tomorrow.

Tonight I have attacked a cheap bottle of wine, some mini cheddars and malteezers.
The crowning glory was...........Midsomer Murders on TV.
Oh let joy be abounding.
I rarely get to see a Midsomer Murders in the US....and only then when they are years old.
Lauren is an angel so it is absolutely no hardship to babysit.

I am hoping to go to astronomy club on Friday but Glenn phoned this evening and his stomach is playing him up.
So, unless he improves it is doubtful that I will be able to go. This is a shame as I have been looking forward to it since I went last year...........sigh.
Poor Glenny Wenny.

Steve & Trudi....I am so looking forward to seeing you.......maybe next week or the week after?
Let me know when would be a good time.
I want to give a hug to that little dog too.

Andy & Heather.......please let me know a good time to visit you and meet the baby.
Any other mates that would like to meet up......let me know and I will do my best to see you.
The time I am here always seem to fly by and I hate to miss anyone.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm hererererereerrere

Well, I had an uneventful flight..........which is just the way I like it.
No one wants an eventful flight.

I am almost over the jet lag.
Yesterday, my first full day, I got the bus into Ashford town but found myself going a bit wobbly now and again.
I love Ashford town centre.
I love the fact that I can bimble around for a couple of hours.
The Pound shop is amazing .........I think the 99 pence shop is a bit downmarket though.

Last night I didn't sleep much but I got the bus into town again.
Donna was working yesterday and today.
Tomorrow she is off to Brussels to see U2 in concert so today I went and got her some Euros.
I couldn't believe how few Euros she got for her Pounds.

She asked me to change £50.
She got ...........55 Euros.
That is awful. Well, I think so.

She will be leaving at 6am tomorrow and returning Thursday evening.
Lauren will have to look after me while she is away.

I will be staying up a bit later tonight as Philip is phoning me. He gets in from work about 5.45pm but of course the time difference means that will be 11.45pm for me.

I expect I will start to visit people (if I am invited) next week.
I hope this weather continues for me. It did last year.
Sunday we are going out for a roast dinner at a pub. Oh I am so excited.
That is one of the few things you can't do in the States.
I am really looking forward to it.
The food in the supermarkets is much better here too.
Going around Sainsbury's, Tesco or Asda are all such treats for me. The choice of veggies, the variety of everything and the fab veggie meals..............there are so much more here than back there.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Up, up and away...........

Tomorrow, Saturday, I leave for the Motherland.
I always have mixed feelings at this time.
On the one hand I am so excited at the thought of seeing my family and friends again.
The year does roll around quickly.
I really miss all my old mates.
Some I won't see.
Many of my former work friends are scattered around the globe :-

If I had enough money I could visit all these places but sadly funds won't stretch that far.
One of my very dear friends is now back in England after working near Dubai for a couple of years.
I am so looking forward to seeing her. I am having a "sleep over" at her place. It is somewhere I once lived when things were particularly tough for me.
It will be one heck of an evening.......the booze will flow.

There are other friends I will spend time with. One of my bestest friends lives minutes from Donna.
We spent many a happy and not so happy hour in Duncan Bowen and then Christchurch.

I also have a "bit of a do" to attend and a posh frock plus fascinator to wear.
I am relieved that Philip is ok and the heart tests proved negative as I would not have left him here if he had been poorly.
This brings me to the other hand.
I hate having to leave him here alone to fend for himself.
I know he hates it. He hates coming home to an empty house.
I feel so bad that he can't come but he gets very little vacation time (no one over here gets much blooming vacation, they wouldn't stand for it in England) and what days he gets are precious.
Work has been stressful for him lately so I am hoping it will calm down a bit while I am away.
He knows I need to visit my family and would never try to stop me but I still feel sad to leave him here.
But, when it gets time to come back I am sad to leave the family/friends in England too.
What a pallarver.
This year Donna and Lauren are coming to spend Christmas and New Year with us so I shall have that to look forward to.

I am hoping for an uneventful and boring flight. Nothing would please me more.
Hope to see you soon mates.
Sue -x-

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Commencing countdown engines on..........

Oh bugger.
In the words of a lady who gamed with us many years ago....
"I sense ..............a Major Tom moment rapidly approaching.

Nick sent me a message asking me if I would like another cat.
His brother had found 4 teeny, tiny black kittens in a barn where he was working.
He had brought them home and now Nick's mum is bottle feeding them every two hours.

"NO".....said Philip.

I saw Nick last night and he said that by the time I get back from England they will be old enough to be rehomed.

"NO"......said Philip.

I told Philip that it will be very difficult to find homes for these kittens as :-

1, It is kitten season and all the rescues and shelters are overflowing with them. They won't even take them in.
2, They are black and for some reason the shelters find black cats very hard to rehome.

"NO"......said Philip.

One more kitty really wouldn't make any difference to us. There are only us two and the kitties in this house.
In the grand scheme of things one more won't mean much to us but would mean a lot to a kitten with no home.

"NO"......said Philip.

Nick is coming round tomorrow morning to take me to see them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tougher than I thought

I haven't started packing yet but I have started to put things out that I know I will need to take with me.
It isn't going to be easy.
I usually bring two large cases which are totally filled with stuff.
I stay for a month so you tend to need a lot of stuff.
Well, the airlines have now limited the checked luggage to just one case per person.
And........they have lowered the weight limit.
The one case I can bring mustn't weigh more than around 20 kilos.
It isn't a lot when you factor in the weight of the case to start with.
I have told family etc that I cannot bring all the little gifts that I would usually.
Absolutely no sweeties. Sweets are surprisingly heavy when you start buying bags of them.
To be honest no one ever really seemed to appreciate half the stuff I lugged over anyway.

I am attending a "bit of a do" whilst I am there so I have to bring the posh frock, fascinator & shoes. I also have to bring the gift. I have got something small and light.
I shall put out all my stuff and then probably have to throw out half of it.
This is going to be a nightmare. How will I get what I need into just one case and keep the weight within reason.
Coming back will be pants too.
I like going over at this time of year because the Christmas supplies are just in the shops and I usually stock up on stuff I can't get here.
I doubt I can bring back, regal icing, marzipan, Bombay mix, pot noodles, wine gums etc this time.
If I was prepared to pay another $50 I could bring a second case.
Blooming cheek. The airfare has already almost doubled so they can forget that.

I am hoping to attend an Astronomy Club meeting while I am there.
Glenn said he would come with me. I think it is quite an interesting topic.
I am not sure about the archeology one though.
I also have various friends in Folkestone and Ashford that I want to catch up with.
The "bit of a do" is in Whitstable........I don't know if I have ever been there so that should be interesting.
Is Whitstable interesting? I hope so.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Bit of a Do

Wow only just over a week until I venture back to the Motherland.
I am so looking forward to it.
My back is better than it was and I hope it survives the flight.
My thinking is that the airline seats will be ergonomically better than the seats at the hospital so that I shall be ok.
Alright........I am an optimist but really, I would rather think positively than negatively.
I am also looking forward to meeting up with Alan.
We have a family "bit of a do" to attend.
I was surprised that he was able to get away at this time of year but happily he has arranged it with his boss so that he can have a day or two to attend the festivities.
He is bloody well entitled to a couple of days as I can't ever remember him having any time off during the year before.
Glenn and I will meet up with the old bugger for the day/evening.
Ashfordians take note...........he truly will be over for a day or two so I doubt very much that he will be able to catch up with you.
I think he is hoping to do that after Alanmas next year.
Alanmas begins, for us, on January 5th and continues until February 15th.
I think he is planning on spending a week in Whitstable from where he will sally forth to Ashford for a day or two.
I will let you know definitely nearer the time.

I had a crappity, crap, crap day at work today. I am seriously thinking of quitting.
I have been looking into the possibilities of other gainful employment.
It isn't easy.
I need to be able to take a month off every year around now.........to go home.
And, I need to have a month off in the summer when Lauren is over.
Sigh..........as Americans are lucky if they get more than a week's vacation..........this isn't easy.

I am now looking at temporary jobs.
With this sort of employment I can say when I am not available and when I am.
This would work for me.
I will look more when I return.


It said on the news this morning that it is Star Trek day today.
Can't remember how many years ago but supposedly it all started on this day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pants back.

My back has been really pants for the last couple of days.
Philip and I spent 9 hours at the hospital on Thursday.
He needed a heart test which, thankfully, was completely ok.
But, because I spent so much time sitting around and the chairs were far from comfortable...it has left me with a very bad back again.
I did try walking around a bit but it didn't really help.
I am now not looking forward to spending 8 hours plus on the plane over to England.

Tonight I decided to try brandy therapy.
I have to admit I feel better now than I have since Thursday.
Is it because my back is better?
Or is it because I no longer give a toss?

I shall have to have a couple of drinkie poos on the plane. Maybe that will sort it.

In case you are wondering...........Philip is fine. He had had some chest pains, which should always be investigated, but his heart/arteries etc are completely clear.
I had the same test a couple of years ago.
The doctor seems to think his pains could be muscular or even indigestion.
As I said..........this is a major relief.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I have just had the best time.
We usually go out for something to eat on Fridays.
Nowhere posh, just for a soup & sandwich etc.

Anyway, when we got into the cafe I noticed a family just sitting down at a large table and I decided they looked interesting, so sat down nearby.
They had seven kids with them.
The oldest, a boy, may have been just about 8 years old.
They went down in steps, 4 boys & 3 girls the youngest being a baby about a year old.
It was hilarious.
Well it was from where we were sitting.

It reminded me of the TV series that Glenn sent me from the UK "Outnumbered".
Only it was "Outnumbered" on steroids.
All the kids were chattering, the baby was eating a napkin, the 3 oldest boys were trying to stamp on each others feet and seeing who could do the loudest burps, my favourite, a little girl of around 3 named CoCo was de-noodling her soup.
She was fascinated with stirring it so hard that most of it slopped out onto the table.
She then started to wail that there were no noodles in her chicken noodle soup.
The frazzled mum said "Well there were before you started stirring it".

I have to say it was the best cabaret act I have seen in a long time.
At one point the long suffering dad leaned over to us and said " I am sorry if you thought you were coming out for a quiet meal".
To which I replied that it was the most fun I had had in a long time and thanked him for it.
At one point I was literally crying with laughter and had given up trying to stifle it.
Even Philip was giggling.

I was sorry when they eventually left and having heard the dad, as they went out the door, tell them all to get in the car, I suddenly realised..........bloody hell, they had to have all that lot in the car with them.
Can you imagine?
I smiled when the mum did a quick check to make sure they hadn't left anything behind....she looked under the table.
I suppose she was checking for stray kids.
I can't begin to imagine what it must be like at home.

They certainly livened up my evening anyhow.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here I am with my 4 kitties.
Of course I think they are the bestest ever. I never intended to have four....it just sort of happened.
They are like Pringles...you can't have just one.
A friend's kitty in England has been hit by a car and is missing.
I am very worried about it.
But, I do know that if a kitty is scared like this then he will go and hide for a while.
I am hoping he shows up soon when he has got over the shock.

I sometimes question Wisconsin State Law which prohibits cats being allowed outside but then I hear of accidents and know it is probably for the best. Our cats do not miss going outside as they never have....well apart from Bubba who was picked up by the Humane Society at age 2 years.
We have now had him for 10 years.
We have never allowed him outside, but, every few months he will go and sit at the back door and meow as if it is the most natural thing in the world for me to let him out.
He isn't the brightest bulb on the tree and I always ask him where he thinks he might be going and offer to make him a spotty hanky on a stick.
One very deep, dark, snowy winter when we lived in an apartment, a friend of mine said if I let him on the balcony in the deep, cold snow........he would never ask to go out again.
Yeah right.
I let him out on the balcony, in about 8 inches of snow.............and he took off like a rocket.
I just grabbed him by the tail before he was over the balcony wall and away.
Of course it is different here to lovely, safe England.
Here we have coyotes, raccoons and possums.....none of which are very cat friendly.
So, kitties are considered to be "inside pets" and they do not venture out.

I also thought of a couple of other things I meant to mention before.
Austin........bless him..........the littlest lad in the photos of McDonald's.
When Philip was trying to keep him in his seat he engaged him in conversation.
He asked him........"So, are you going back to school next week?"
He replied.........."NO, we go back on a Wednesday."
Cracked us up.

Also, whilst we were at Racine Zoo we stopped by the penguins just as a keeper was giving a talk about them.
She asked if there were any questions.
A middle aged lady had a question.
"Why don't the penguins fly away?"
I kid you not. She really said that....seriously.
The keeper was so puzzled.
Just as she was starting to explain to her that penguins don't fly I told Philip we really had to move on as I couldn't stand it.
Such ignorance..........amazing.

Missing Lauren muchly.
Very quiet and very tidy here at the moment.