Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This & That

Rascal & Treacle Versus The Box

Been a quiet few days.
The weather continues gorgeous but we could do with some rain. NOT WEDNESDAY.
Wednesday is the last night of River Rhythms, the free concerts in the park, and it is a brill band.
5 Card Studs.
We have been looking forward to this one........in a way, and at the same time dreading it as it heralds the end of the season.
Next weekend is our "bank holiday" as it is Labour Day weekend.
Traditionally, families get together for picnics in the parks or have barbies at home.
We will be doing neither of these as Philip has to monitor a work process from home.
Poor thing but he can play a computer game at the same time so he won't mind that much.

Sunday we went cheese shopping. Wisconsin is known as the dairy state and famous for its cheese........which is pants.
I suppose it is a matter of taste but the cheese round here doesn't taste of much.
There is a fab shop about 20 minutes away that has proper cheese. They charge proper prices for it too so we don't go often.
We found some Caerphilly.........I think that is how you spell it and a lovely blue cheese.
I have been fancying, of all things, a ploughman's lunch.
I wanted to do it for tea on Sunday.
So, we had cheese. This shop also has good beers so Philip got some proper beer.
I spotted some "suspicious looking sausages" in there too but could not get Philip to try one.
He bemoaned the fact that there was no such thing as Gala Pie over here.
I think he was regretting not trying the Scotch Egg on a Stick when he had the chance.
We also managed to find Branston Pickle and Pickled Onions.......in the World Market shop.
$5 each.........worth it.
We did pay $12 once for a jar of pickled onions. Now if they would only import pickled red cabbage from England then all would be cultured and genteel.

Bit of a giggle with my old mate yesterday.
She is a sweetie and the most amazing, true Christian I have ever met. She really tries to live her life helping others.
She picks me up on Monday mornings to go swimming. As the weather is so lovely we decided to go in the outside pool. There was no one else in it........at first.
Then along came these two very young guys. Very young, very attractive, very pretty.......young guys, one of whom carried a handbag.......'are you with me so far?'

My old friend greeted them, although we didn't know them. The one with the handbag said "Oh hello, how are you today? What a lovely day "....etc, etc.
They then had a dip in the pool before lying out on the sunbeds to soak up a few rays.
Along came one of the maintenance men whom my old friend knows. She started to call out to him to tell her husband to do something or other.
The maintenance guy was laughing at her and said "oh you are the boss then. The women are always in charge even when we don't think they are".
At this point my dear old friend called out to the young guys lying in the sun.


I didn't know where to look......so I looked at the young guys who were looking at each other out of the corners of their eyes and smiling awkwardly.
I did try to make eye contact to wink at them but I don't know if they saw me.
Oh bless her......she is 73 years old and such an innocent.

Friday, August 26, 2011

River Rhythms

So, despite feeling a bit crappity, crap, crap, I went to River Rhythms on Wednesday.
I had no idea who the band were.........just wanted to get out & about.
We met Gary over there and discovered that the band were called.........wait for it.............

Reverend Raven And The Chain Smoking Altar Boys.

Personally, I think we should have reported them to the 'Trade Descriptions Police'.
The Reverend Raven was like no clergyman I have met..........and considering I myself belong to the clergy - I do.........I should know one when I see one.
And, the Chain Smoking Altar Boys may have been chain smokers but they were definitely not boys and hadn't been boys for many a long decade.

Here is proof in case you doubt my word as a minister.

Anyway, they were not to my taste.
They are apparently a well known Milwaukee band.
They are very good musicians.......but........it was all blues with a pinch of jazz thrown in.
They played their own songs, which, of course, we had never heard before.

We stayed for a couple of hours by which time, I was getting tired and Philip was thoroughly bored. It was good to see Gary though. We gave him the 5 Card Studs t. shirt we bought him.
He has strict instructions to wear it next week when they are at River Rhythms.
We have them too so it should be a bit of fun.
That will be the last River Rhythms free concert for this year. It is always tinged with sadness as it heralds the end of summer for me.
I suppose we shall be thinking about Halloween soon. I have noticed the spooky stuff in the shops already.

Gary did bring me an interesting clothing catalogue.
Remember this is Wisconsin.
The sizes were as follows.

X. Large

Oh I bet they sell way more Amples than Smalls around these parts.........or those parts for that matter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arse our sads...........

They have arrived safely home.
We were up around 3.30am yesterday as they had an early flight.
As Philip works in Chicago, he dropped them at Chicago airport on his way to work.
I tried to go back to sleep but found I couldn't.
That month flew by.
It is hard to believe they were here for four weeks.......and it has gone.
So, I threw myself into stripping beds, doing washing, hoovering and generally getting the house back to normal. It kept me occupied.
I say back to normal.............as normal as we can be with 5 kittens hurtling around.
I miss Lauren's help with the kittens. She is a terrific kitten wrangler.
She would gather up an armful of the little buggers to take up to bed with her. I think they are missing her too.
She may come back again at Easter time.
They can't come for Christmas this year as they spent Christmas with us last year.
Speaking of which........I bet that will be coming at us at speed.
Must put the brussel sprouts on soon.

It was our 13th wedding anniversary on Monday.
It never ceases to amaze me how he has put up with me all these years.
I got him a brilliant card.
It said on the front.

"If I hadn't found you"

Then inside

"I'd probably be driving somebody else nuts"

Then this morning I had a poxy angina attack. Again......out of the blue.
I might be seeing a bit of a pattern though.
The last one I had was the day after our citizenship swearing in ceremony at the courthouse.
I was very stressed over that.
Yesterday I was very stressed over Donna and Lauren leaving and also that they should have a safe trip.
This morning......the angina.
So, maybe it doesn't show up on the day of the stress but the day after.
I wish I didn't stress over anything then I would be ok, but I think everyone stresses over something so that isn't likely to happen.
I am feeling a bit washed out now but it won't stop me from going to River Rhythms this evening.
I will have fun seeing Gary and I might as well be washed out there as be washed out indoors.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Festering and Irish Festing

This weekend was Irish Fest.
It was as well that we decided to go on Sunday as Donna was in no fit state for festing on Saturday.
She was festering.
She had been out on the razzle on Friday night and her chums had taken her to a bar that had "live Karaoke"............I didn't know what that meant and in case you don't either it means instead of singing with a karaoke machine, you sing with a band.
A real band.
A real live band.
She thought she was in heaven. I don't really get this whole karaoke shennanigens.
I do know though, that people who do the karaoke thing, do seem to be very passionate about it.
I have an inkling that the drink helps things along.

So, Sunday after the steak & eggs brekkie.............not for me of course........it was off to Irish Fest.
I had a banana split sundae waffle.
This is..........a waffle, with bananas, strawberries & sauce, two scoops of ice cream and mounds of whipped cream.
I thought I would eat healthily this week :)

Another hot sunny day meant we were soon thirsty.
We bought some cokes but for some reason I cannot understand.....I felt a bit queasy.
But, I didn't make a fuss. I just bought some stomach pills and carried on.
We saw all the Irish dancers, many bands, some traditional and one band which were a lot like The Pogues.

We also spent some time watching the above.
This is a sport. Donna likes watching any sport.
Well, that was her excuse for spending so much time here.........and who am I to disagree.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hangovers are us.......at least some of us !!

Last weekend was a bimbling weekend.
We pootled around shops etc. Nothing too strenuous, as Philip had to monitor a work process we couldn't go far from home.
Donna has made a habit of having steak, eggs, hash browns & toast for brekkie on a Sunday whilst she is here.
She starts looking forward to it around the previous Monday morning.
So we went out for that and then did a bit of shopping.
She had had a bit of a late night on Saturday so she was happy to come home for a kip.

Wednesday was River Rhythms.
They amaze me at the variety of music they have.
This week was a Scottish band who are over here for Irish Fest........work that one out.
Irish Fest is this weekend and is reputedly the largest Irish Festival in the world.
Who knew?
There is much boozing and merry making, as of course, suddenly everyone in Wisconsin is Irish.
Anyway, this week's band were called The Red Hot Chilli Pipers !

They were described as high energy and a mixture of rock and bagpipes.
Bagrock they called it.
They were bloody good. Philip groaned initially when I told him it was bagpipes but combined with the rock theme, guitars etc, they really put on a show.
One thing they lacked though.
A singer.
Very often they would start an instantly recognisable rock song and you can't help waiting for the singing to start.
Donna and I both agreed it was missing.
They were very good at getting the crowd going though. There were a lot of people there to see them too.
We were a bit puzzled at their references to the Irish though.
They tried to tell this American crowd that back in the day when the Irish and the Scottish would do this or that together...tra la........rubbish.
We knew it was because they would be playing at Irish Fest over the weekend. This crowd mostly have no idea where Scotland and Ireland are and certainly not a clue about their history.
But it gave us a giggle.
We all shouted "Aye" instead of yes as the band had requested, whenever they asked if we were having a good time or something.
Well, I did anyway.
We speculated on how many times they would drink their hosts under the table over the weekend.
They were a lot of fun and very different. Not in the same league as Brother.........."steady....nurse the screens!!!.", but very good.
Rotten Lauren would not go up and request ... "Donald where's ya troosers?" ....for me.
Wasn't she mean?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

....when a plan comes together.

Thursday the kittens all went off to the vet for their surgeries.
I felt really bad about them going and the house was really quiet all day.
You could open a cupboard without having to empty it of kittens before you shut it.
You could put things down and they would still be there when you wanted them again.
But it wasn't nice really.
I was told that when they returned in the afternoon they should be kept quiet for the rest of the day.
Yeah right.
The boys bounced out of the carriers and Treacle almost bounced too.
She immediately removed the dressing on her belly.
Poor Tootsie was not bouncy at all. She was very subdued and trembling.
We let her sleep.
Next day, Friday, Lauren didn't feel well. Sore throat. So she stayed in her jim jams all day and snuggled with the kits.
They seemed to enjoy it and so did she. Notice Benny lying on her legs in the photo.
Today she is much better and so are the monsters.
We decided a trip to Toys R Us was in order.

Actually, it has acquired a different name. Sometimes when someone gets their words in a muddle, the result is better than the original.
This was a case in point.
Philip meant to say Toys R Us but it came out more like 'Arse Our Toys'.
This caused much amusement in our 12 year old and it has been quoted as Arse Our Toys all day.
At Arse Our Toys she picked out a construction kit. It was a stable block. She is horse mad and has quite a few plastic horses at our house.
Splashed across the front of the box were the words "Two Horses Included".
It had been about $100 but was in the clearance at $60.
Lauren has been saving her money so this was perfect.

She couldn't wait to get home and said kit was duly unwrapped as soon as she fell in the door.
Oh calamity.
There weren't two horses in the box.
There wasn't even one horse or the hint of a recent visit by a horse.
OK back to the store ........was my idea. Philip and Donna made excuses and implied it wasn't the stores fault and it wouldn't be any use.
That be buggered. It says two horses included and so there should be two bloody horses. What good would a stable block kit be without any horses. Arse Our Toys weren't to know that she has a dozen horses at home.
I checked the receipt. It stated very plainly that it was for a stable and TWO HORSES.
This child would have her horses.

Back we went. Philip chose not to come in the shop with me. Wonder why?
I knew I wouldn't be rude or belligerent. I don't think it is necessary.
It was the last stable block they had so they couldn't exchange it. I suggested that maybe they could give Lauren a couple of horses from off the shelf.
The girl called the manager over who checked that it did say quite specifically that the horses were included. She then disappeared and came back with a selection of them for Lauren to choose from.
She told us she would need to put it through the till in a complicated way, voiding this and that. I told her whatever worked was fine with us.
She then gave us back........the stable kit.............the two horses..........and ..........and ........$21. 34.
I was a bit surprised at this but we thanked her and made our way out of the store.
I said to Donna "What has she given me this money back for?"
Quoth Donna, "I don't know........just keep walking".

So, thank you Arse Our Toys. We will do business with you again........maybe not just yet though.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Something of theme going on here.

Tuesday we went to 6 Flags Great America.
In case anyone isn't aware........this is a theme park.
The theme being 'white knuckle rides'.
I have been to a lot of theme parks and where Disney and Universal are fab because they are very beautiful, 6 Flags is more for your serious roller coaster fans.

Disney is very pretty and has some fabulous rides but they are very, very spaced apart and you find yourself doing more walking than riding.
They have a couple of big coasters and then a lot of kids stuff and a lot of themed stuff and even more 'getting your money off you' stuff.
We found that we would be walking all day and maybe doing 4 or 5 rides.

6 Flags is almost all BIG coasters and they are all next to each other.
There are a few kids rides and a couple of shows but it is about the coasters. Donna and Lauren loved this.
There are coasters where you lie down as if you are flying - Superman ride. There are a couple where are hanging underneath. There are dark rides, backwards rides and even one where you are actually standing up.

I used to love coasters but since I have had this dodgy ear I have been unable to ride them.
The last time I did I got vertigo and could barely stand.
So, now I get my fun watching them have fun. That works for me.

Wednesday wasn't much fun for Philip.
He phoned me on his way home, as he usually does, to give me a heads up as to what time he will get in.
He wasn't a happy bunny.
He said he was running late and would phone me when he has finished cleaning the car.
He and a couple of mates car pool to work as it is such a long drive.
It was Philip's turn to drive.
As they had got onto the freeway his mate in the back, without any warning to anyone, upchucked.
He hurled all over himself, the back seat and the floor.
When asked why he hadn't mentioned he felt like blowing chunks.........he said he hadn't known until it happened.
They had to stop at a services to try their best the clean it up and lessen the smell.
Off they went again.
He did it again.
They had to find somewhere to stop........again.
Rinse and repeat.
Off they went again.
He did it for the third time. Personally I think I would have made him walk the 70 miles home by now.
When Philip got home he tried to clean the car yet again but it wasn't good enough.
Well, to be honest it wasn't good enough for me. I am very sensitive to puke and I told him that no way would I be able to travel in the car until it had been cleaned properly.
So, today he is having the car professionally cleaned.
We are hoping that we are now done with Malodorous Women, The Vomit Comet and The Upchuck Kid.
No I didn't send Gary to photograph the Malodorous Woman. I took that photo but I zoomed in so I took it from quite a way away.

Monday, August 8, 2011

State Fair.

On Friday night we went to a church festival so that Lauren could see her favourite band.
5 Card Studs.
They are not only good, but also a lot of fun.
Before each song the lead singer, says in his sexiest voice...."This one is for the ladies".
He says this about every song.
We bought 5 Card Stud T. Shirts and we shall be going to see them again the Friday after next, when we shall proudly sport our T. Shirts.
I hope they don't think we are groupies.

Saturday it was off to State Fair.
This is huge.
The running joke is that you can get most anything fried or on a stick.
They outdid themselves this time.
There was chocolate covered bacon on a stick, deep fried Mac & Cheese, deep fried Oreo biscuits, deep fried pickles, bacon cheeseburger in a krispy kreme doughnut, deep fried beer ( I think they must freeze it and then coat it in batter) and the one I thought most heart stopping - literally - Deep Fried Butter !!!!
This IS Wisconsin you know!

I thought the dog on the motorbike was so lovely.
She was so laid back. Just had to take a picture of her.

Lauren had a pork chop on a stick.
Donna had a steak.
Philip had lots.
I had a Blooming Onion. Oh it was delish.
I look forward to it all year but then I can only eat about a quarter of it. The others shared it though so it didn't go to waste.

Then to the fairground part.
Donna and Lauren went on a roller coaster - fine.
They then went on a whizzy round thing. I don't know what it is called ...........I know what it should be called and I will let you in on that in a mo.
They got whizzed up and down, round and round...........then as the ride came to a standstill.....the boy sitting opposite them started pulling funny faces.
Donna said she wondered what he was doing. She didn't wonder for long.
He threw up. Projectile.......all over himself and his mates either side.
The guy or 'Carnie', who was in charge of the ride was furious and started yelling at this kid.
Of course the boy couldn't help it but can you imagine having to clear up after him. It was about 95F.
I wouldn't have been thrilled at the prospect of that clean up.
Can you imagine having those kids in the car with you going home?
The smell was enough to make me want to hurl so we quickly moved on. Donna was just so relieved that he hadn't thrown up during the ride as he would have covered everyone in it.
I wonder if he had been eating deep fried butter.
Henceforth said ride shall be known as 'The Vomit Comet.'

Friday, August 5, 2011

Somethings once seen.............

River Rhythms.
It was good band tonight although the bloke above wasn't playing.
This Bono look a like had Donna in quite a flap.
Poor Gary, who has a tra la posh, all singing all dancing camera, was sent to take pictures of him.
Donna told Gary that he should take a little walk and whilst walking sneak some photos of this poor chap.
Dear old Gary duly complied. He set off with his wondrous camera, complete with bells and whistles, and snuck.
He snuckled whilst we chuckled.
1, At the cheek she had to send him off.
2, At the way he meekly went.
3, At the guilty look on his face and he snuck (like this word) through the crowd.
He wouldn't get a job as a spy but he did complete his mission.

We all enjoyed the evening.
The band were pretty good and Donna then got the hots for one of the guitarists.
Gary got some piccies of him for her too.
Good old Gary.

There always has to be a fly in the ointment though.
In fact there were probably more than a few flies around this particular "ointment".
The woman below sat quite a way in front of us.

But the aroma lingered on.
Oh it was disgusting. Every now and then the sweet summer breeze came laden with the stench from the gates of hell themselves.
What we couldn't understand was the fact that she was part of a group of people who looked like they were family.
Children and grandchildren all at the table together enjoying the exotic perfume she excreted.....to coin a phrase.
Couldn't they smell it?
Were they so used to it that they had become desensitised? Hard to believe.
There were times when she was cuddling a very young baby...........oh it shouldn't be allowed.
The only good thing to come out of this is I get the chance to use a word I have been itching to use for years.
Malodorous. She was a most malodorous woman.

That goes back to when I worked at a certain establishment in Ashford.
One girl in the class was very, very stinky.
At a staff meeting one day someone put forward a question.
"What should we do about the 'malodorous child'?
I have loved that word ever since.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Three generations.

We are having a lovely time.
The weather is very hot. We'd thought about going to the Bristol Renaissance Faire at the weekend, but it is always extremely hot there.
It must sit in a very sheltered spot which magnifies the heat. I always feel so sorry for the people who work there as they wear the most amazing costumes but must really be melting under it all.
Take a peek.


So, on Sunday after an enormous brekkie, we decided to play some crazy golf.
This too was very hot, but there are trees dotted about that you can shelter under whilst waiting for a party member to attempt their eighth shot at a par 3 hole.
We all had a touch of that.
I am always pants and came last, as usual, but I really don't care. I think Lauren won, Donna was second and Philip third.

Lauren and Donna went for a dip in a neighbour's pool when we got home. Donna didn't stay in it long as the kids were all thumping her with the pool noodles.
She has had a couple of nights out karaoke ing with her mates.
On Sunday she took my phone with her, which was just as well, as Lauren had inadvertently locked the screen door and she couldn't get in.
She phoned from outside at about 3.45 am..........we did laugh. She did this last time too but that time she had lost her key.
I said that maybe that is something she will do every visit so it is good that it is now over with.
Wednesday is River Rhythm's and then State Fair starts for around 10 days so that will keep us busy.