Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A decision.

I think I have made a decision.
Oh I know does take me a time.
This week is my fourth (I think) without any work.
I had been doing only one day a week for some time. Then it was reduced to one day every couple of weeks.
I sort of knew I would need to find something else.
Now I haven't had any days for all this time then I really must.
I am limited in as much as I don't drive over here and, at the moment, buying a car just for me is out of the question.
I have been scouring the paper for weeks now. I have also been searching online......but no luck.
I did have that one interview for teaching English to foreigners but it seems I am not qualified enough to teach my native tongue and besides that.......the pay was crappity crap crap.

So, today I had a bit of a brain fart.
When we first came over here I wasn't allowed a work permit. So, what did I do?
I volunteered.
I worked voluntarily at the Humane Society and also at The Milwaukee Theatre.
I enjoyed it.
I made new friends, which I really needed coming to a totally new country and having left a busy full time job I had been in for years.

I am going to volunteer again. I had to leave the last two as we moved too far away for me to get to them on the buses.
But, there are a couple of places near here that need volunteers so I am going to apply after Donna and Lauren go home next month.
My thoughts is often who you know rather than what you know with jobs.
Volunteering will give me the opportunity to meet new people and who knows, maybe have a chance of a paying job that way.
I certainly can't continue as I am so it is worth a try. With luck I might make some good contacts.

The picture above is Golly. He is the first cat we had over here obtained from the Humane Society when I was volunteering.
Bubba also came from there.
There is a Wolf Sanctuary not far from here that needs volunteers.
With my past record of bringing animals home...........probably better if I don't apply there.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Harry Potter woz ere.

Wands that I made from big chopsticks.

Saturday was the much anticipated Harry Potter themed dinner party.
All the usual suspects were there, they just looked a little different.

Philip had decided to be Snape. He was dressed all in black and I had a black wig which worked rather well, so all we had to buy was the cloak.
I went as Bellatrix which, to be honest, was my second choice.
I have a brilliant Hermione wig and I really wanted to be her.
But, it would have cost me a lot of money to get the uniform (which they don't have over here so I wouldn't be able to pick one up in the charity shop) etc.
I did happen to have a spooky sort of Halloween dress and a mad black wig so Bellatrix seemed the obvious choice.
I also bought a cloak and false eyelashes.
I can't believe I used to wear false eyelashes all the time years ago.
They were a bugger to put on and a bigger bugger to get off.
I have to admit I looked dreadful in a black wig. I shall never ever dye my hair that colour.

Nick & Julio arrived and we discovered we had another Snape.
Philip was better at the accent though :)
Julio made a fab Harry Potter. Gary, we decided, came as an 'extra'.
I think he would have made a decent Dobby.

They all liked their wands, which were waved about willy nilly. They also liked the bookmarks I bought them.
We had Harry Potter movies running continuously and spent the evening watching, chatting and asking the Americans questions from the citizenship test.
Gary was really good at them. Nick & Julio........not so much.

It was decided that next year the theme would be ............Super Heroes.
This sounds like fun.
You can either come as a recognised Superman, Spiderman etc. Or make up your own.
Gary suggested that Philip could come as The Spleen (from the movie Mystery Men I think).
I have a good idea why.

Sunday, as it was my birthday, we went out for brunch.
This is a bit posher than breakfast or lunch.
It was very nice, plenty for me but I suspect it wouldn't have been enough for some of the "Buffet Professionals" we get around here.

I got lots of cards and lovely pressies from Philip.
Then just to make sure I wasn't getting too carried away with my own importance.......Bubba had a case of the trots and I had to spend ages cleaning poo out of his tail. He is long haired too.
I could have done without that really.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blow the snow.

Been a varied week.
Wednesday I went to the dentist to sort out my gob.
As expected, it turns out I have an infection on a root of a tooth.
This tooth already has had a root canal and is crowned.
So, he said I would need antibiotics and then an appointment with a specialist to sort out what was wrong with the tooth.
No way do I want this tooth taken out as I have already invested a load of money it, plus, I hate having teeth out anyway.
I told him I was a bit miffed as we are having a dinner party on Saturday and the antibiotics would mean I couldn't drink.
He thought some were not as bad as others and disappeared for a bit.
He came back with a prescription for, as he put it, "wine friendly antibiotics".
Bless him.
I am not looking forward to seeing the specialist though. I hate teeth.

Thursday Philip had to go to the quack's to sort out why he is so poorly.
It seems he has some sort of inflammation in the sockets where your ribs join to your sternum.
He also has some stomach acid problems.
He has got steroids and acid reducers. He is feeling a bit better already.

Today we had to have our biometrics taken. Rather exciting in a way.
I got quite stressy about this. I know it was silly but officialdom has this effect on me.
We got there early and had to go through a screening, just like you would at security in an airport.
We filled out yet more forms and handed over our green cards and documents.
The man was a lovely.
He chatted about his trip to England in the 80s, all the while he was doing my fingerprints.
Apparently, they toured the countryside staying in bed & breakfasts.
His strongest memory was of hating kippers. I told him I don't like kippers and actually don't know anyone who does.
He told me he had asked many English people and that he could find no one who liked kippers.
He then said he wondered who was eating them then.
Does anyone still eat kippers?
Philip says his mum liked them and I remember my mum did too.
Survey.......who likes kippers?

We then had our photos taken, again. I think I look worse every time.
I would look better if I was allowed to smile.
They gave us a pack of stuff and a cd telling us what to expect next and how to prepare.
The next step is the interview and test. I am still studying for that.
I don't know what they ask at the interview.
The final part is the swearing in ceremony. I wasn't aware of this.
I told Philip I don't know the words and he went into fits of laughter. Fancy me not knowing the words.
So, I challenged him to say them.
He said "I pledge allegiance to the United States of America................ermmmmm......don't know the rest".
I knew that much, for heavens sake, and he had laughed at me.

I wonder if people taking British Citizenship have to go through so much rigmarole.

It has been snowing again for much of the day and it is extremely cold.
Spring needs to hurry itself up as I shall be glad when I have had enough of this.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gob Trouble..

Always something.
This week is a bit fraught.
Tomorrow Philip's stepfather goes into hospital for an operation on his heart.
He has waited a while for this and it should make a huge difference to him.
He actually has it done on Thursday and should come home on Friday.
We will all be thinking about him even though we know he will be fine.

Friday Philip and I have to go to the INS office to have our 'biometrics' taken.
Fingerprints, photos etc. This is for our citizenship thingy.

Saturday we have our Harry Potter Dinner Party.

So, of course I have got gob trouble. I don't really know what the problem is but the gum under a tooth that has had a root canal and is crowned , has suddenly become very tender.
It is right at the back at the bottom. It doesn't hurt to eat but my whole jaw that side feels odd.
It doesn't hurt all the time, just feels strange. It does hurt like buggery if you press the gum.
I am thinking I might have a abscess or something brewing there.
Just what I need this week, what with having my photo taken and having a dinner party.
If I have to have antibiotics I won't be able to drink either.
And great fun will be had by all.

Philip has made a doctor's appointment for Thursday.
He has had chest congestion for weeks and now has a pain too.
Poor Philip.

Sounds like we will be a right couple of bundles of fun by the weekend.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Warming up

I have been having a bit of a sort out.
The weather has improved and it is most springlike. The temperature yesterday was a whopping 65F. my mum would have said "Cooo....never have there been such times - not since old Leatherbum died."
My mum must have been a little bit coy because an old friend of mine told me his mum used to say "Old Leatherarse".
My mum wouldn't say arse.
Actually, now I think about it, she did.
I remember, if she felt unwelcome anywhere she would say "I am not going round there. I am not putting my arse where my head's not wanted."

Now why did I start talking about that? Who knows.

Anyway, in the course of my sorting out, I found some old photos. I love it when I find photos I haven't seen for a while.
Back in the day, I used to do a bit of make up & stuff.
Oh we did used to have fun.
We didn't care what anyone thought either. We would go off to London on the tube, dressed as various aliens. Funny thing was one seemed to take much notice.

Would I do it now?
Course I bloody would.

But, I don't have the opportunity any more.
Above is a photo of our Klingon Wedding. Please note the dead flowers. I think they add a finishing touch.

We have loads more photos tucked away in boxes at the back of the basement. My brother has asked me to send him some of the family ones as he is creating a family tree.
While Donna is here in April I will ask Philip to get them out. That will make him laugh.
Donna and I can have a sort through them.

So, beware all my old chums. There will be more embarrassing moments on Facebook.

Oh bugger. The blooming weather man just told us not to get carried away with all this warmth as statistically we get another 6 - 10 inches of snow before the end of April.
Pah......statistics .........rubbish..........I hope.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A bit of a do.........

Well it is that time of year again.
We have had many themes. A couple of years ago it was a pirates party.
Last year it was the Susie Awards party.
This year the theme is Harry Potter.

I have been out and about searching for items to complete the look.
I have found a Harry Potter tablecloth, napkins and plates...........all at very reasonable prices.
I don't have money to waste on expensive items that will probably be used only once.
I decided it would be nice to give everyone their own wand to take home.
I had found bookmarks and plan to give everyone one of those.....but I wanted to give wands too.

I looked in the party supply shops........phew.
Cheap and nasty looking, plastic Harry Potter wands were upwards of $15 each.
I couldn't do that.
So, I looked in toy shops with much the same results.
I looked online and on ebay. Nope........all way too expensive to buy one for everyone.

Then I happened to be in World Market which as the name implies, sells all sorts of crap...I mean stuff.
I found in the oriental section, some extra long bamboo chopsticks. $2 for a pack of two.
Brill. I scooped up enough packs for everyone.
At home I painted magic symbols on them in black and gold. I painted gold handles. Still not quite good enough for me though.
So, on my next expedition I found golden tassels at $1 for two.
I wound sparkly pipe cleaners around the handles and attached the tassels.
They look brill.....well I think so. I will take photos later.

Philip and I have got our costumes sorted. We didn't buy anything except a couple of capes (from ebay....whatever did we do before ebay?).
I won't tell you which characters we will be. I will wait until the night and take photos.
All this hocus pocus is taking place on March 26th.

I just have to work out what I am serving for dinner...........eye of newt and toe of frog springs to mind.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Oh no exams.....

In case I haven't mentioned it, and I honestly can't remember if I have, Philip and I have applied for American Citizenship.
We actually plan on having dual citizenship.
But, citizenship will be good for us. It gives us way more rights than we have now as Green Card Holders or Residents.
We had to fill in and send another bushel of paperwork, plus photos and copies of everything.
We now have a date for our biometrics to be taken.
This means fingerprints & more photos.
We have had our fingerprints taken so many times, but what if they have changed?
I am ok with this so far.
It is the interview and the test that worries me.
I am not sure what they will be looking for in the interview but I have been doing a few practice tests that are available from the US Immigration website.
Ooooh.......they be hard.
Well, not all of them. Apparently there are 100 questions they could ask but they will ask only 20 of them.
Trouble is you don't know which 20 so you have to know them all.
Some of them are really easy but some of them have stumped my American chums.
In fact one said she would never pass and be given citizenship even though she was born and brought up here.
Who was president during World War 1 ?
What does the judicial branch do?
Who is the speaker of the house of representatives?
How many justices are in the Supreme Court?

My former pupil Robert springs to mind. Will they let me get away with.....
"Well, I wasn't far out was I ma'am."

This is a bit of a worry and I will study. Trouble is I don't seem to remember things as well as I used to.

In case you are the snow hasn't gone yet. A English mate of mine talked about how he had been doing some gardening and mowing his chance of doing that here.
I would actually like to be able to do a bit of gardening.
Our clocks go forward tonight, which seems a trifle early to me.
It will seem strange with it staying light until around 7pm with snow on the ground. I am sure it isn't usually this early.
Roll on Summer........I want to go to River Rhythms, drink my wine and listen to music.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Foiled again .

Firstly.........I thought they may have forgotten us.
I thought it might have got lost in the post.
But, it has arrived. Our invitation to the Royal Wedding came all the way from England a couple of days ago.
I must go and fish out my posh frock and fascinator. I never knew I would get to wear that outfit again quite so soon.
I do hope the Queen doesn't wear purple. I so wouldn't want to clash.
You may notice the note on the invitation advising me of the yodelling in the abbey ban.
This may have something to do with my mate, Fred, in England.
Whenever I phone him, if I get his answer machine, I always leave a short yodel and hang up.
I really don't know why. It is just something I have done for years.
Similarly, I am likely to find a cowboy song....something to the tune of "Yippee, kai ai ayyyyy" on my machine.
Sad really.....what we have been reduced to. He used to be Head of Music at my place of employment in England. At least this means he is generally in tune.
This does give me a hint as to where the invitation originated.

Yesterday I ventured to the mall. The weather was our standards.......the sun shone and some of the snow was beginning to melt.
Oh it was lovely. I even heard a couple of birdies who sounded like they were getting twitterpated.
In the evening Philip said "it must be Spring .....look..", and sure enough, in places you could see the curb again.
Oh dear.........they be fighting words mister.
This is what we woke up to today......and it was not forecast.

I took these pictures this morning.

I was meant to be going in to work.
I only had one day last week and I was happy to have another day this week.
It wasn't to be. The stupid weather man now says we have a severe winter weather advisory (they put it so nicely) until 6pm.
Mrs Merv must be happy. Merv will be busy for hours sorting his hole out again.

If I see that Mrs Merv doing her snow dance...................things could turn unpleasant.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Question for astronomer friends?

I have been meaning to attend an astronomy type club in Milwaukee for quite a while.
I just don't seem to get round to it.
Of course at the moment the thought of standing outside in the cold and snow, looking at the sky has little appeal.
We do get a lot of clear skies though.
Anyway, they send me emails letting me know what is going on.
I know very little about astronomy but I am very interested. I just don't want to look like a wally.
This email came today.

Our next scheduled meeting of the Urban Stargazers is on Thursday March 10th at 7:00PM at the Urban Ecology Center (1500 East Park Place Milwaukee).

We have rescheduled the items we were unable to present at the last meeting.

Steve Marshall will discuss "Viewing the Cassini Division of Saturn's rings".

In addition, we will discuss and demo using the Drift Method for Astro-Photography.

If skies permit we will set up at 5:30PM for those of you wishing to observe before the start of the meeting( if you plan on coming early please check with us about early setup).

For those interested, Steve Marshall will set up his 12-1/2 inch scope for observing at his house after the meeting.
Hope to see you there.

Does this sound interesting?

Would it be something I would appreciate without getting totally you think?

I might have to twist my better half's arm into going to one of these meetings sometime.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When should I start worrying?

A friend's blog reminded me of something that was on telly a little while ago.
You see this friend said he had looked at some "Death Clock" (doesn't sound like anything I would want to look at) on the interwebs and it gave him another 28 years.
Well, on this telly program I saw it said the end of the world was coming on December 21st 2012.
One of them has to be wrong.

The telly program was very insistent though. They seemed to have a lot of facts & figures.
They laid out a very strong argument for this event due to alignments of things.
The sun and various planets (I think....I wasn't really giving this the attention it deserved considering the scale of its importance...what with everything being annihilated and buggered up etc) ....are going to line up or line dance or something on this day and then things will all go pear shaped.
I have heard line dancing can do this.

Now I think this will be most inconvenient.
I mean .....why couldn't it have been after Christmas.
It leaves me with major problems........well apart from being engulfed in solar flares etc.
Do I or do I not buy Christmas presents?
Think about it.
If I buy all the Christmas presents for all the people I usually buy them for it will be a complete waste of money if we are all going to be sucked into a black hole or something a few days before Christmas.
But...........what if I don't buy any?
What if I don't buy any and then nothing untoward happens on December 21st?
How will I feel if I have no presents for people at Christmas and they bought some for me?
The alternative would be to rush out on December 22nd and try to buy them all then.
Hah, can you imagine how the prices would be hiked up for all of us who chose to believe the Four Horseman were on the horizon and didn't shop?
There would be no sales on then matey.

This leaves me in something of a quandary. It needs more thought and less TV shows.

Friday, March 4, 2011 ain't what it used to be.

This picture is dedicated to Darren.

I received an email from the father in law a couple of days ago.
It was a series of jokes re a "Ralphy" and his exploits with his teacher.
It made me start to reminisce about old times.

Some of my old friends will remember I usually had a tale to tell on a Tuesday evening regarding things that had happened in the classroom back then.
One lad in particular featured heavily in those tales.
My old chums will remember him......Robert.
I don't know that they got to meet him. He wasn't one of the ones I trucked around to go to Planet Lazer nights.....that wouldn't be allowed now. I probably have to fill in a million forms for health & safety etc.
Some of those were a little rascals too, but Robert was special.
He was hopeless at almost everything but had this indestructible optimism.
On being told that his answers were wrong again........he would smile and reply "Yes but I wasn't far out was I ma'am."
Would that I could maintain that outlook on life.
I wrote back to the father in law with a tale one of Robert's escapades.
As my dad would have said "Everything in his favour was against him"..........but you know I bet Robert did well.
He is probably worth more than I will ever be.
I have bumped into many kids from back then when I visit but never Robert.
I hope I do one day.

I then got drawn into reminiscing and I reminisced about Darren....see picture above.
This kid also had nothing going for him.
He had big sticky out ears, was as thick as a very thick thing and even found staying upright in a chair totally impossible.
He was also a bit of a clown........had to be to survive really. Anyway, back then, we staff had methods of keeping sane. You wouldn't get away with it now.
This particular day Darren was driving me and the rest of the class nuts so I wrote a note and sent him on an errand to another class.
The note said please keep him for a while as he is driving me crazy.
I told Darren to ask Mr Jones (in Design & Technology) for a long weight (wait).
Mr Jones told him to "stand over there for a bit" and then added to the note and sent him for a "packet of gusto and a tin of elbow grease".
Peace reigned.
Just before the end of the lesson Darren returned looking puzzled.
On asking if he was ok he replied.
"Yes ma'am, I was on my way back when this little fat bloke asked me why I was out of lessons, so I showed him my note and he said to get back to my class. I dunno who he was."
I did.
It was the headmaster..........oh bugger.