Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snow Bunnies.

Donna phoned me this morning, very excited.
It seems England has got snow.
She could have been upset about it. She had been at work and they weren't sure if the next shift would make it in.
In her sort of job, caring for people with learning difficulties (I think that is the current phraseology), the staff can't leave until the next lot of staff arrive.
So, she had to make arrangements for Lauren to be picked up from school etc......just in case.
She has quite a drive home too but she made it ok......and she was thrilled with the sparkly white stuff.
I have to be honest that even though we get an awful lot of snow, see above, and it lasts for 4 - 5 months of the year, I still think it is so magical to watch it falling.
Unless you are likely to miss your once in a lifetime flight to Florida or something, due to snow, I really don't know how anyone can complain about it as soon as it starts.
OK we get a bit cheesed off with it by February but since we have generally been buried in the stuff since December I think that is fair.

So, people of England, enjoy your snow.
It won't stay around long.......maybe a week at the most.
Look at the beauty of it. The magic. When I look out of the window at falling snow it feels like I am inside a snow globe. So pretty, so quiet, even the light is different.

Donna even enjoys driving in it. She said she noticed a definite sort of camaraderie between drivers as they drove more slowly and carefully.

I went to the mall today.
I have spent most of my life around kids, and I still love them......well most of them anyway.
I was in a department store when I happened upon a little boy of about 3.
He looked at me and said cheerfully "Hi".
"Hello", I said.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"I am shopping. What are you doing?" said I.
At this point there was no adult in sight...........we continued.
"I am shopping for a present for my daddy", he said.
"Oh that's nice", I replied.
"Well yes but I think my grandma is going to buy the present for him", he informed me.
" I am sure he will like that", said I.
By now I was looking around for a grandma when I saw a young woman and an older woman heading our way.
They told me he was with them........he all the while was still talking to me.
"Oh well, you enjoy your shopping", I said to him as they started to walk away.
"Thank you, you too", this little angel replied.

What a smashing little kid. So friendly, so polite.
I looked at his smiling mother and said "Oh he is so lovely, I want to take him home".
The grandmother was smiling too as they left.
Actually, I really meant it. He was lovely, and it isn't often I think I would like to take them home.
Ahh.....he would probably have turned into a monster.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Hats

My Christmas hat. I have had this for quite a few years now. It is still my favourite.

Oh.......poo......the Christmas Craft Fair is over.
I shall have to wait another year for the next one.
But, it was very good.
There seemed even more there this year although my other half assured me that there wasn't.
Things were just laid out differently.
Still looked like more to me.
There were some reasonable prices too.
This is refreshing as, I know crafting supplies are not cheap, but some of the vendors do have some pretty steep prices.
This year there were more sensible ones.
So we bought stuff.
We bought Christmas decorations (like we don't have enough of those already), and some gifts.

Elvis wasn't performing this year. At least not while we were there. There was a reasonable band and then a brill choir who had lovely voices.
I did enjoy that.

We did the whole circuit and then stopped for an English Toffee Cappucino which was delish.
We then did a second circuit (as I couldn't bear to leave yet) before we came out.

Sunday we mostly spent putting the lights on the house.
The last couple of years we had changed over to LEDs as they are cheaper to run.
They are also pants.
They kept going out and we kept having to buy new ones to replace them. I can't stand to see Christmas lights on a house with some not working.
Anyway, it does not work out cheaper with LEDs if you have to keep buying them.
So, this year we have gone back to regular lights.
We have done the house and the garage with multi coloured icicle lights.
They look so pretty.
We didn't get round to putting up the reindeer, snowmen, spiral trees etc......time was running out and we were getting cold.
Hopefully we can finish them off during the week because the weatherman forecast what he euphemistically called our "first significant snow event" for this Saturday.

Oh we have Operation Catstorm that day too.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Time Flies

Can it really be?
Can it really be only a few weeks away from Alanmas?

Yes it can.
Tomorrow is the Christmas Craft Fair at the State Fair Grounds.
This is always the weekend after Thanksgiving.
It is one of my favourite times.
The Christmas Craft Fair.........sigh.

I will admit it does vary.
Sometimes it is fandabbydozy...........sometimes it is not so good.
Last year........it was not so good.
But, it always signals the real start of Christmas for me.
I am always sad when we leave......it is over..........won't happen again for a year.
So sad.
Maybe tomorrow I will find lovely stuff to buy.
I hope so.
Lovely stuff that isn't a ridiculous price. Lovely stuff that I don't see for half the price in the stores............I hope so.

We had a phone call from Alan this week. It seemed strange to say....."see you soon". Already!
Time flies faster and faster the older you get. Scary.

Donna and Lauren should be here in about 3 weeks.
I have been spoilt this year. They came to stay with me for two weeks in February. Then Lauren came for all the summer. I was over there for 6 weeks (when only 4 weeks was planned) now they are both coming back to us for another two weeks. Brilliant.
Next year I doubt I will be so fortunate. Lauren will probably ( I hope) still want to spend the summer with us....but I doubt we shall be together as much as this year.

But as they say "Time flies like an arrow........fruit flies like a banana".

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Real Father Christmas.

Today after brekkie we went shopping again.
I wanted to go to Mayfair Mall........not to buy anything but just to see their Christmas Decs.
Oh joy of joys.......


Many years ago when Lauren was a toddler, they all (her, Donna and Andy) came to spend Christmas with us and on one of our outings we all went to Mayfair Mall.
We really went for the 'Build a Bear Workshop' so that Lauren could build her own teddy, fill it with stuffing, add a heart, kiss it to bring it to life and then adopt it complete with adoption papers.
To be honest I think we adults enjoyed the whole process way more than she did.
She just sort of looked bewildered all the way through.
Anyway after all these shenanigans we made our way to Santa's workshop.
He was there.....not just any old pretend Santa .......but the real one.
His beard and hair were real. His clothes were real.
It was HIM.
I remember Andy being blown away by seeing the real Father Christmas and we couldn't stop talking about it.
Well, he is still there.........AND.......he waved and called "Hi"......to me...TO ME !!!!
I went all soppy but did manage to call "Hello Father Christmas".......back to him.
I was beside myself with excitement after that.
Philip was probably ashamed to be seen out with me......but that is so often the case. :)

When Donna and Lauren are over this Christmas we will take them again to see the lights in Candy Cane Lane.
I hope it is 'Firefighters Night' again.......when the fireman take donations and give out sweeties.
It was their night when they were over last time and I can remember Andy getting the arse and asking why it couldn't have been "Bay Watch Night" instead.
Dear Andy.........sadly missed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I have been dreading today.
This morning we had to take the first two of the cats to the vet for their vaccinations.
It is such a performance.
I had booked Lollipop and Looby Loo in for today. I did warn the receptionist that this was only in theory.
Looby Loo is the feral one and if she so much as sniffs that something different is going on, she can disappear into the depths of this house and we would never find her.
It actually went really well and we caught her and put her in the carrier.
She immediately started to scream "NO"......seriously........"NO"......and didn't stop.
She gets so terrified.
This in turn put the wind up Lollipop who hid under Lauren's bed.
We prodded her out and off we went.
She is also very frightened but doesn't make a sound which is just as well because Looby Loo made enough noise with her "NOs" all the way to the vet's and all the time we were in the waiting room.
I will admit to having a little bit of fun with her.
We say things like :-
"Do you like the vet?"
"Do you love mummy?"
"NO!" and so on.

Once on the table she tries to melt into it and doesn't make a sound or move a muscle.
Lollipop having seen this also tried to melt into the table and practically covered the thing (she is the fat one.) This time though she had actually lost over a pound which is quite a high percentage of a cat's body weight so they were very pleased.
We also picked up some sedatives for Lily in preparation for "Operation Catstorm" which is scheduled for two weeks time. Lily always explodes in the vet's but last year's eruption of wrath must never be repeated.

Then to Toys R Us.
It was a tad busy..........I wonder why.
Two families were just coming out as we arrived and both of them had screaming kids.
We got inside and all you could hear around the store were bawling children.
You would think Toys R Us would be a great place for kids but obviously there were things they saw and wanted but couldn't have.
I get a bit smug as I pass a grizzling child, thinking to myself "I am glad that's not mine".
We got a couple of things but it is all very expensive. I wonder how people with 3 or 4 kids manage at Christmas.
We bought a couple more things in Walmart and then headed home and spent a bit of time putting garden ornaments away ahead of the white stuffs arrival.
I expect we will start to put the outside decorations up next week. We can't leave it much longer or we could be up to our armpits in snow whilst trying to put lights on the roof .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Belated Halloween

We had some friends over last night for dinner.
We usually have them over for a Halloween dinner but this year I had to stay in England longer than I had planned so it was postponed.
We did have a lovely time though.
I did...
Starters......... wonton cups stuffed with either Italian sausage, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese & basil.........or wonton cups stuffed with curried mushrooms + proscuitto & cheese whirls + salad.

Main course........roast beef marinated in roasted garlic, with stuffed tomatoes, snow peas in orange liqueur, carrots in wine & herbs, crushed potatoes, mushrooms and cheese and garlic scones.
(I had the vegetarian alternative......Quorn.)

Dessert.........chocolate & raspberry mousse, topped with fresh raspberries & brandy snaps.

Was yummy. I spent most of the day cooking but I so love it. It is even better when everyone seems to really enjoy it.

On a Halloween note.......this spider was enormous.
Its web was right across the porch of Donna's house when I stayed there.
We so hated to disturb it that we would do "Indiana Jones" style crawls to get underneath it.
There were a couple of "Argghhh" moments when we almost touched the web.
The postman kept knocking it down but it would reappear in the morning. Then one day it seemed to get the message and spun its web in the bush at the side.
We were relieved.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A bit of nosh.........

Philip's stepfather.
Doesn't he look dapper.
I met him for the first time on my trip to England.
We got on really well. He is a smashing bloke.
Really friendly and lots of fun.
I am hoping he will be visiting us next year. The poor chap does have a heart condition which means he wasn't able to get health insurance to come over here.
He is currently waiting for surgery and if it all goes well, he is hoping the specialist will sign for him so that he can travel.
I do hope so.
Me and my mate.
We worked together for many years at an educational establishment.
This establishment has recently become an 'academy'.
Oh my goodness........the dear little creatures I dealt with every day back then, could never, with any stretch of the imagination, have been classed as 'academics' ......bless.
We (and another mate who accompanied me on a trip to Dover Castle) met up a few times while I was in England.
We would have got together even more often but Glenn had other ideas.

Anyway............a bit of a nosh.
On Saturday we went to my favourite restaurant for dinner.
We went because we had not got round to celebrating our anniversary, which was back in August, and we wanted to celebrate me being home again.
The food was lovely.
When the waitress was taking our order she told us that they had a Chardonnay wine on "special" that night and did we want some?
Well, I wasn't fussed. I would liked a vodka & tonic but as she was banging on about it .....I said I would give it a try.
Philip having been told that there was no "Spotted Cow" (beer) and having been offered Miller Light as an alternative (YUK) said he would have a glass of the wine too.
Well it was on special.
The wine came.
It was nothing special.
Half way through the meal she asked if we would like another glass.
Philip said no......he was driving. I hesitated and thought ....oh well it is a celebration .....so I had another.
When the bill came I saw Philip studying it and looking puzzled.
The manager noticed this too and asked if there was a problem. Philip told him it looked like we had been charged for more glasses of wine than we had had. The wine is generally around $6 a glass for a decent one.
The manager disagreed and pointed out that the Chardonnay (ON SPECIAL) was actually $12 a glass and we had had 3 = $36 !!!!
WHAT !!! $12 for a glass of mediocre white wine!!!!
Those 3 glasses of wine came to more than the two meals.
The manager assured us they would cost $15 anywhere else.
Maybe so, but we pointed out to him that it would have been fairer for the waitress to have indicated the cost of this wine rather than to imply that as it was "on special" you were getting value for money.
We would at least have liked the chance to make an informed decision before paying over the odds for wine.
The manager offered us a couple of free drinks which we refused.
The custom over here is to tip 20% of your bill.
This time we left no tip and Philip wrote on the bill why this was.
We shall not be rushing back there again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Here is the proof that I got Alan to dance with me at the wedding.
This might not seem like much to you but I am reliably informed that it is totally unheard of.
It is a good job I have this evidence as Philip would never have believed me.
It wasn't easy to do but in the end he caved in and got up.
And..............he is a lovely little mover.

This is Glenn showing off his war wounds.
If you know Glenn, and have seen him recently, you will know that he takes very little prompting to show off his scars.
Thankfully they are all on his belly.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back home.

I am back.
The flight was uneventful.........almost.
When I checked in at the airport I was given the option of an upgrade for 59 pounds.
Had I been on my own I would not have taken it but with severe urging from Donna I did.
I had an aisle seat already booked in economy.
I now had a aisle seat booked in economy plus ..............only I didn't.
When I took my seat on the plane it turned out I was stuck in the middle of two big blokes.
I didn't go a lot on that.
So I spoke to a steward and asked if they had another economy plus which was an aisle seat.
After a few minutes he came to tell me they had and moved me.
I was now sitting next to another big bloke who had the window seat and I had the aisle.
Only it wasn't.
When I tried to watch the film on the little screen on the seat in front I couldn't get any sound out of my headphones. A very nice man across the aisle tried my headphones, his headphones and then a spare set..........none worked in my connection but they all worked for him.
So, I had to tell the steward.
This was all going wrong. I would have been better off saving my 59 quid and staying in my original seat.
But, the steward found me another aisle seat in economy plus and gave me a free drink.
This was a good seat.
I was by the aisle and there was a vacant seat next to me.
I must admit though that economy plus wasn't what I was hoping for. It wasn't one of the big, comfy, posh seats you pass on the way to your cramped little seat with the riff raff.
It just had slightly more leg room.
Oh well.
It was good to get back though.
Sunday night was a 4 cat night. Bubba on my right shoulder, Lily on my left shoulder, Looby Loo at my side and Lollipop at my feet.
Philip was around somewhere too.
I think they missed me.
Tomorrow I go back to work. That will be fun.