Monday, February 28, 2011

Cooking up a storm....

It hasn't been a very exciting week............oh apart from my adventure on the bus.
On Thursday I decided to attempt the north face of the mall so I hiked to the bus stop.
A journey remarkable only in its lack of excitement.
The view from the window was mostly........white.
Anyway, after a trot round the mall and a cup of coffee from Micky D's (it is the cheapest and the best......Starbuck's tends to be very bitter on a Tuesday when the mall isn't busy), it was time to get the bus back again.
I know the excitement and the anticipation of this tale must be killing you.
The idiot magnet was in fine form and a friendship was struck up (whether I wanted it or not) at the bus stop.
This young chap wanted to know about everything English.
As he was travelling on my bus, and we were the only two on it ....I couldn't get out of it.
The bus pulled away and was exiting the mall ring road........this guy was in full flow....
"What did I miss?"
"What was the same?"
"What was different?"
Suddenly...........................I noticed our bus had been sat sitting at the junction for rather a long time.
I halted my tormentor in mid flow and said................"I think our bus is broken".
The bus was making an interesting noise and the bus driver was clearly agitated.
My young friend thought it was stuck in the snow but I didn't think so.
A call to the depot prompted this advice to the bus driver.

Turn it off , wait a few minutes, then turn it on again.

This really made me chuckle. It must be the universal answer to everything.
My little mate was getting upset but I told him to think of it as an adventure and enjoy this unexpected treat.
This is my philosophy on life really.
As luck would have it, after a few false starts, we conked out completely in the middle of a wide and busy junction.
All the cars were honking (this is America) as we coasted gently through at around 3mph.
I decided to have a little more fun and proceeded to wave in a mostly queenly fashion at the irate honking drivers as we glided through.
We came to rest just on the other side and the driver had to call for another bus to come and rescue us.
What an exciting day.

Today hasn't been quite so exciting.
Shepherd's Pies.
They don't exist on this side of the pond. Oh you can't go willy nilly into a store and pick up half a dozen frozen ones here you know. No frozen Yorkshire puds either....or any sort of meat pie come to that.
So, today I made 6 shepherd's pies to freeze. I had lots of taters that needed using up and I hate to throw anything away.
A tip to all other would be shepherd's pie makers.
I put some garlic powder along with the butter in the taters when I mashed them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Enough already.............

Here is our Mr Cardinal.
He looks about as ticked off as I do right now.
We have now had almost 3 months of snow and ice, with no end in sight yet, and we are getting tired of it now.

It isn't just the snow etc but the winter air is so dry.
This might not sound like a major problem but it really is. In England the air is damp during the winter so you don't realise what happens when the air is so very dry.
You skin suffers.
Big time. I have to have a humidifier going all night or my eyes are swollen shut in the morning.

Your skin gets very itchy. You have to keep putting lots of lotion on.....everywhere.
Summer isn't like this.
Today I was going to make an attempt to get to the mall. The weatherman said it might get just above freezing so I thought the paths might be ok.
He lied.
When Philip went out he told me that if I was considering it then I should wear the ice chains on my boots. Well, that made it sound tempting.
But, my bigger problem is my leg.
The skin on my right thigh is so sore that I barely slept last night.
I have special cortisone cream that I put on it before I went to bed but this morning it was awful.
It feels like the worse sunburn.
It is agony even rubbing the cream in. I couldn't wear my jeans as they rubbed too much so I have resorted to soft lounging around type trousers.
Walking makes it worse. So, what with that and the fact that I didn't fancy trudging to the bus stop in ice chains.........I didn't go.
This sore skin is the worse I have had since we have lived here.
Maybe you have to have been born in Wisconsin to be able to stand all this nonsense.
Last week when we had a couple of thaw days (a few degrees above freezing) we saw idiots ..oops I mean people, out in shorts.
They are obviously made of sterner stuff than I am.

So, I am stuck indoors again today. Yesterday I had a mad day cleaning. I couldn't stop. If it stood still long enough.......I cleaned it.........I even cleaned the basement.
At one point I was wishing someone would phone me just to break the cycle.
Today I am not doing that.
Bugger it. My leg hurts, I am cold and I am fed up with being stuck indoors listening to snowblowers and snow ploughs.

Philip is tired of Wisconsin winters .........very muchly.
It would be lovely if we could move somewhere warmer but it isn't easy right now. Jobs, houses etc.......
I have a friend in Texas and it sounds rather nice there.
Oh well........dream on I suppose.

Monday, February 21, 2011

From Big Moons to Black Holes.

You have to feel for Merv.
He has spent the last couple of weeks searching for his hole.
We had a bit of a thaw for a couple of days and Merv has been in and out like a fiddler's elbow.
Above we see him chipping away at the ice, determined to locate the lost hole.
Finally, success.
Merv found his hole .........on Friday I think it was.
But the gods have been toying with Merv (oh err Matron).
His joy in the success of his mission was short lived.
Yesterday morning it started to snow. We had to go out to do some shopping ..........and get brekkie of course. My better half can't cope on a Sunday without a good brekkie from one of the local family restaurants. A glance at the sky determined that if we were going to go we had better get a move on.
We were not wrong.

It snowed all day and I think all night.........right now ..........yup it is snowing.
Poor Merv. The elusive hole has elused again.
Still it gets him out from under Mrs Merv's feet. I bet she was in the garden doing a 'snow dance' on Saturday night.

I doubt we will be getting any Spring flowers anytime soon.......maybe just some snowdrops.................get it.........SNOW drops ? Oh never mind.
Alan........where are you? Your shovel is missing you !!!!!!!!!!!

Speaking of whom. Alan is having a fab time in Whitstable from what I hear.
He has visited Hendon museum where he astounded everyone with his knowledge of WWII.
He has also been to Belgium where he visited a whisky distillery (I think it was that or a posh shop).
He had a fab time in Ashford with old chums and is going to Wildwood to see some wolves next week.
Guernsey will seem pale in comparison when he goes back.
I am glad he is having such a fab time though. It will help him recover from the rigors of Wisconsin in Winter.

I had answers to my "big fat low down moon" question.
I am not sure I really understand it still. All sounds a bit complicated.
Optical illusions and such.
Still seems strange. That moon looked bloody big. Plus, it was very clear....I could practically see all the little moonbeasts walking about on the surface. The craters were clearly defined.
If it is just an optical illusion why did all the details show up like that?

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Question.....sorry if it is stupid.

This is for all the clever 'astro' types out there.
Coming home from the shops this evening we noticed how huge the moon was.

It is a full moon tonight and not only is it enormous, but also very low in the sky.
I know I am astronomically challenged so I would like to ask all of you clever clogs......why?

It looks very beautiful but I don't remember seeing such a huge moon before.
There is probably a very well known explanation for this that has passed me by.
A mega gap in my education.

If no one here can answer I will ask on Facebook.
I haven't yet as I don't want everyone to know what a thickie I am.
Ta muchly.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

He's baaaaaaaaaaaackkkkkkkkkkk..........


Not Alan.
Alan is enjoying himself in Ashford right now.
He should be out on the beer with Steve who is having his 40th birthday.
I think he went to France yesterday.
I am sure he will tell me all about it soon.

Arnie is back.
I saw him last night eating the grub I put out for him.
I haven't seen him in weeks and I thought something bad must have happened to him.
I still put the grub out but I think the crows were eating it in the morning.
Anyway, it must have been the Fig Rolls what doned it.
He was munching away like a munching thing when I looked out around 10pm.
He also looks bigger than ever so wherever he has been he has been well looked after.
I shall put some more Fig Rolls out tonight.
I bet Philip wouldn't mind one of those if Arnie leaves any.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where's Spring?

Are we nearly there yet?
We have a short thaw in process at the moment.
Oh it is glorious.......mostly.
Yesterday the temperature was above freezing for much of the day and some of the snow melted.
Not a lot......but some.
So today I planned to walk to the bus stop and go to the Mall.
It wasn't quite as easy as I had anticipated as the snow that did thaw yesterday must have washed away the chemicals on the sidewalks.
Then, the temperature dropped below freezing over night and there was tons of ice about today.
But, intrepid me managed to walk, sometimes on the path, sometimes in the road and often clambering through snow.........I got to the bus stop.........brill.
Coming home was easier as it had warmed up a bit and the ice had melted.
I do wish this would continue and we could be done with the cold but I know it is too soon.
But, to help things along I put some Spring flowers (artificial of course) in the front window and put my English, tra la posh , flowered table cloth on the dining room table.
There that should do it.
I had to smile when I looked at my flowers in the window.......the backdrop is still snow....but who cares.
It makes me feel better so it must be good.

Alanmas is over.
Philip and Alan left at 6am yesterday morning to go to Chicago airport.
I got up to say goodbye to Alan and wish him a safe trip.
I have heard today that he arrived in Whitstable safely.
I do hope he has a lovely time.

Next lot of visitors will probably be Donna and Lauren.
I think they are coming over for a couple of weeks at the beginning of April.
Oooooh.......just thought........I will be able to play The Easter Bunny......fab.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Alan's Birthday

February 10th was Alan's Birthday.
As usual I made him a birthday cake. This time I made a carrot cake as I had heard him say he likes them.
It was a hit.
We took him out to Red Lobster for his birthday grub.
It was luvverly.

The local wildlife also took part in the celebration.
The squirrels uncovered the top of the bird feeder.
That top part is around 5 feet tall so you can see he is sitting on about 4 feet of snow.
I can't actually get to it to refill it....well I could if I was prepared to wade through it but I am not.
So, I have put a temporary arrangement out on top of the snow which I can get to.

This is Mr and Mrs Cardinal. I am so glad they found the new seed supply but I am still a bit concerned as Arnie the possum hasn't be around for quite a while.
The crows seem to be making a meal of the stuff I put out for him though.

Alan will be heading back to England on Monday morning.
This six weeks has flown, in some respects, but if I think back to when he arrived, shortly after Christmas......well ......Christmas seems ages ago.
He will be spending a week or so in Whitstable before he goes back to Guernsey.
I am glad he is doing this as I always feel so sad for him when he leaves. I know he doesn't want to go back and usually looks so miserable.
This time I know he is looking forward to the week in Whitstable so it has taken the edge off the sadness and I don't feel so bad about him leaving.
Before we know it Alanmas will be upon us again.
The way the years fly by is pretty scary really.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Adventures of Pointy

The Adventures of Pointy + George & Mildred.

On looking out of my bathroom window today I noticed that Pointy plus his minions, George & Mildred, had disappeared.
Oh the humanity of it.
The poor, innocent souls must have met their demise.
They must have fallen onto the frozen tundra below, otherwise known as the garden path.
I was ready to pen a suitable epitaph for the gallant band.
But wait............
When I came downstairs and looked out of the window.................
Joy of joys !!!
There in all their glory were our brave crew. They had obviously grown tired of the view over the back and decided to move to the front of the house.
Maybe, they wanted to help Merv find his hole, which by the way hasn't surfaced yet but if you notice .....none of our snow has diminished in any way.
Temperature today in case you are interested, is a balmy minus 25C (with wind chill).
Anyway, back to the important issues of the day.
Pointy, George & Mildred seemed to have made other acquaintances. How lovely. How sweet.
We've got a luvverly bunch of icicles.
See above......lots and lots.

NOT SO Fast.
Later I discovered this unholy plot.

This view is from the front door.
Yes, there he was....the not so wonderful, sweet or kind Pointy (along with George & Mildred but not so much), had moved yet again.
This time the motive was much more sinister.
Was he looking for Merv's hole?
No he was not.

It seems that he is lying in wait for the postman.
Oh wicked, wicked icicle.
The Icicle of Damocles ....if ever I saw it.
Alas and alack the dreaded Cabin Fever must have affected his chilly little mind.
This can happen I am told........never experienced it myself though.

"Wibble wibble".

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Packers Won...........Woo Hoo.

Well, we went to the bar. I had all my gear on....shirt, hat, beads....even green and gold nail varnish.
It wasn't as packed as I thought it would be, but that was good.....I don't like it when it is too crowded.
I think a lot of people were having parties at home.
I was surprised (not being in the habit of frequenting bars) that they put lots of food out...for free!!!!
They also kept dishing out shots .........for free!!!
Any excuse soon as a Green Bay Packer so much as wiped his nose.........out came the shots for everyone.
Trouble is I don't like shots. I sipped one and it was horrible.
Pat and Alan seemed to like them though and they slipped down quite easily alongside the beer.

It was a nail biting game. Although the Pack were in the lead all of the time, that lead went from fairly good to downright close on several occasions.
One minute we were celebrating the next there were groans.

When they eventually won the bar erupted.
Everyone was singing and dancing.
I know I am little but one guy kept picking me up and swinging me around like a kid.
It felt like he was crushing my ribs.
I have to admit I feel like I have been hit by a truck now and hope I don't feel rough tomorrow.

I am so pleased they won though.
The last time they were in the Superbowl was Alan's first visit to see us over here and they lost.
Go Pack Go.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Aftermath.

Poor old Merv.
He can't find his hole.
This morning I saw him out there with Mrs Merv, pointing and gesturing towards the place where there was once a hole.
It is gone. I don't know if he will find it much before April.
Bless him. He looked mortified.

Poor old Alan.
After he and Philip spent hours clearing the drive yesterday, the snow plough eventually came along this morning and ploughed the whole thing in again.
This sun is shining brightly but it is chuffing cold out there.
Philip managed to get the car out of the garage and got into work ok.
He said all the major roads are now clear.
The trouble with our snow is that it doesn't behave decently.
Does it melt? Does it buggery.
It will just sit there becoming more and more frozen........then more snow will fall on top and that will freeze .....
Never mind it should be gone by May.....with any luck.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Community spirit lives.....

They said we would have drifts of 4 - 8 feet and they didn't lie.
The blizzard raged all night. The winds were tremendous.
We even had thunder snow.
I have heard this spoken of before but had never experienced it.
We were just getting ready for bed, the wind was howling, the windows rattling when there was an almighty flash of lightning and then booming thunder.
It was a little bit scary really.

The storm kept me awake for much of the night but this morning all sounded calm.
Too calm.
Then the snowblowers started.
Outside truly was a Winter Wonderland.
The snow had drifted up the front and back doors. It had come in through the screen door and was in the gap between the two.
I couldn't open the front door as it was about 4 feet deep.

The birdie feeder had disappeared, as had two of the reindeer.
The third reindeer still had his head poking out of the snow........poor thing.
The mailbox seems to have taken a hammering too.
The back fence is around 7 feet high and the drift there was higher than the fence.

Alan and Philip tackled the digging out before brekkie.
Actually, it was rather exciting. Everyone was home from work as many roads are impassable.
This is the first time I can ever remember things closing for snow since we have lived here....over 13 years.
All the neighbours were out digging out drives, paths etc.
The community spirit was lovely to see. Everyone was helping each other, cracking jokes and generally making it not such a drudge.
I loved to see this.
The big problem now is where to keep piling the stuff up.
We are all running out of space.
The road hasn't been ploughed yet but ours is usually one of the last as we are a small road.
Once the road is ploughed everyone will have to go dig out again as the drive ways will all be ploughed in again.
Such fun.
No one seems to stress over it. At the end of the day it is only snow........lot of snow....but still just snow.......and it has been quite exciting, the storm, the thunder snow etc.
Winter can be very dull. Something like this does liven things up a bit.