Thursday, October 27, 2011

The whole world has gone mad.

Today has been a most peculiar day.
It started normally enough with a trip to the mall for a manicure.
Whilst sitting amid the throng of 'ladies' having their nails done, a young woman came into the salon and asked for if she could get her nails done.
Cindy, the manageress, who was in the process of doing someone's nails, told her it would be about 5 minutes.
Pretty normal still.
After a minute or two the young woman approached Cindy and asked if she remembered her previous visit and did she remember her baby son, whose picture she waved under her nose. Cindy didn't seem to.
She then announced very loudly that he had died.
All the eyes in the place immediately looked up. You could feel the tension in the room.
Cindy, obviously shocked , asked what had happened.
"He died in his sleep last week and they can't tell me yet what happened. It was probably a cot death," she replied, "and I want my nails done for the funeral".

I would be the first to say how grief affects people in different ways. So, I was not about to judge this woman.
I had a personal tragedy in my life. It was many years ago and I still find it almost impossible to talk about.
Whoever said time is a great healer had never experienced mind numbing grief. Listening to this woman, the years flew away and I was right back there at my worst moment.
The tidal wave of emotion hit me hard. My stomach went into a knot. I was in fight or flight mode but could do neither.
The woman asked for Cindy to do her nails. The collective sigh of relief that came from the other manicurists was almost audible. They didn't want to do her nails...what would they talk about?
I wrestled with my conscience.
I felt I should talk to her, maybe offer some words of comfort. Pah....what words of comfort could I offer? I had none.
What could I say ............after all these years it doesn't get any easier!!!!! The wounds are obviously just as raw as they were back then. How would that help the poor soul?

Back then, when my tragedy occurred, I didn't leave the house for weeks. I couldn't face the outside world and then when I did it was worse.
I would be walking along the street and would see someone coming towards me whom I knew.
Inevitably, that person on spotting me, would cross the road.
Now I do not condemn them for that. They must have been scared to death of bumping into me.
What could they say? There was nothing anyone could say. But, the thing was I didn't want them to say anything. I only wanted them to say stuff like "Isn't the weather horrid" or just hello. I needed things to at least seem normal.
It gets very lonely when people constantly avoid you, even though their motive isn't to be horrid.
When someone who is older passes away....granddad, grandma, even mum or dad...well that is the natural order of things and you can quite easily say "oh dear I was so sorry to hear about your mum, dad, granddad" etc. It seems ok.......when it is a child or children then the whole game plan changes. This shouldn't happen and it is impossible to know how to deal with it.
Actually, there is no prescribed way of dealing with it or if there is no one told me.
There was no counseling or anything offered. You just had to get on with it. Which I a fashion.
I was thinking that she must still be in shock and denial. I was thinking what she would go through when it did hit her. Then it got even more bizarre.
She sat down to wait and started an equally loud conversation on her phone.
It went something like this.

"I don't know, babies do that. If I go to jail over this you had better all f---ing stand by me. No, he didn't. He didn't kill him. I know he has been mean to me and was jealous but he didn't kill him."

By now I had had enough and needed to leave. I was shaking when I walked away from there. This was all too much.
After a few deep breaths, I decided I needed some Christmas therapy.
I made my way to one of the dept stores and immersed myself in the Christmas stuff. I was vaguely aware of some Elvis music in the background. After I had quenched my thirst for all things shiny and sparkly I came out of the store to find a small stage had been set up. It was surrounded by chairs for the audience and there on the stage was an elderly man who was belting out Elvis songs. He was excellent.
His voice was amazing. I then noticed that the audience was rather elderly too.
I went to the floor above and watched from the balcony as he finished his bit. I was just going to leave when I was intrigued by about a dozen elderly ladies in Hula outfits (no bare midriffs thank goodness) who made their way onto the stage.
Then accompanied by suitable music they started Hula dancing.
It was surreal.
Most of them were pretty good........oh ok the Margaret Rutherford look a like on the end wasn't really with it most of the time but she was having a go.
As I watched them, with their colourful outfits and flowers in their hair I came over tearful.
Just like I do when I watch the primary school kids put on their Nativity Play.
Bloody hell..........I thought, I must be a wreck if I get emotional over a group of old biddies dancing. Time to grab a coffee in the food court.
Curiouser and curiouser.
It hadn't ended yet.
Having got my cup of McCoffee I was doing a spot of people watching and trying to make sense of the mornings activities when I noticed a young couple looking for a table.
She was carrying a very new baby wrapped in a blanket.
As they sat down the blanket slipped back a bit and I could see the baby's head. It's hair looked odd. Then as she tried to adjust it's blue hood and pull the blanket back up I could see it was a doll.
What next?
I'll tell you what next.
She fished around in her bag and came up with a baby bottle full of milk which she pretended to feed to the doll on her lap.
I kid you not.
This went on for quite a few minutes before they got up and left, still pretending to feed milk to the doll.
By now I had decided that I or the world had gone completely bananas.
I came home.
What will tomorrow not to ask.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pee, po, belly, bum, drawers.

If you can't find a cushion - a Bubba works well in a pinch.

A bit fed up today. I was a bit fed up yesterday too.
After weeks of planning and recipe searching, I have had to call off the Halloween Dinner.
People are ill or having to work so it really wasn't worth all the effort when only a couple could make it.
It is better to put it off for another time when everyone can attend.
It is pants though.
I had worked out a fab Halloween menu.

We were going to start with grilled goats cheese on grave stone toast with a bloody salad.
Main course was to be bowls of chili covered by pastry spider's webs and spiders.
This served with witches' fingers fries in spooky goblets.
There were also going to be various dips, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and ghoulish cole slaw.
And ....cheese scones. These sound a bit out of place now so I shall call them ....ermmm .... Zombie poops. How appealing.
Dessert was going to be tiramisu cheesecake covered with a green spider's web, chocolate bats and spiders.
In case anyone didn't want chocolate (well someone might not) a second dessert was going to be blood jelly oozing with gummi worms.
It would have been a lot of work but I was so looking forward to it.
I have a fab outfit to wear too.....I got it at the charity shop.
Oh well at this time of year there is a lot of illness about.

Also, I wasn't required at work today. So, that meant I was sad and bored.
The cure for me in these cases is to do something useful.
So, I cleaned the basement. Coo that was a job and three quarters. Certainly didn't have time to be miserable.
It looks pretty good now.........well except Philip's desk.
I don't touch that. He probably has some method to his mess........I mean creative environment...and if I go tidying it up he might not ever be able to find his collection of sweet wrappers and assorted computer bits again.
There could be a tribe of pygmies living in there for all I know. If I were to delve too deeply I might never be able to find my way out.
Far safer to let it all sit there and fester.
Makes for a peaceful household.

I may wear my Halloween outfit on Sunday and scare the kids when they come round Trick or Treating.
That would be fun.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall is falling.

Autumn or Fall...whatever you choose to call it is in full swing.
There are advantages to Autumn.

The stifling heat of Summer is past.
The need to spend hours watering the garden is over.
The grass doesn't need cutting every week.
The kids are back in school.
The days are crisp, the nights are cool, the snow hasn't arrived yet and Merv (across the street) has put his shirt back on.
That last one, just in itself, is a reason to welcome fall.
I can now peer out of my living room window without the fear of being confronted by the belly and silver matted nest of hair that is Merv's frontage.
We should be grateful for small mercies and seeing a properly attired Merv is anything but small.
Speaking of Merv.
As my regular readers will know, Merv gets upset about the leaves at this time of year.
They fall.
They also have no consideration for where they fall, and what is worse, they blow around too.
At this time of year Merv is, once again, in and out like a fiddler's elbow.
Philip tells me he is often out there at 6.30am raking those pesky leaves.
The big problem for Merv, is that no one else rakes their leaves as often as he does. This includes us.
You see, the leaf collecting truck comes around maybe once every couple of weeks. So, you rake or blow your leaves to the side of the road and they are scooped up and taken away.
Works for us, works for everyone else down the street........does not work for Merv.
Anyway, at this time of year I am used to seeing Merv popping in and out to remove a rogue leaf from his lawn. I have even seen him picking up leaves in the road in case they blow back onto his garden.
The guy next door to Merv, Chuck, obviously couldn't give a hoot about leaves. He seems oblivious to leaves. His garden is buried under the things.
And they blow around. They blow over Merv's lawn. This must drive Merv nuts.
Yesterday I couldn't believe what I watched Merv do.
He was out there, as usual, raking and picking his leaves up, but the other side of Merv's drive is a strip of grass, about 3 feet wide, that must belong to Merv even though it looks like it is part of Chuck's lawn.
As I watched, Merv raked this strip, gathered up all the leaves, walked across Chuck's lawn and dumped them on Chuck's doorstep.
He repeated this procedure several times.
Oh Merv !!! They are only leaves.
Fortunately, Chuck (young guy....big) was at work. I doubt he even noticed the leaves on his step and if he did he probably thinks they blew there.
I shan't tell him.
Never mind Merv, soon the snow and ice will be upon us and you will have your hole to look after.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Times they do change.

Funny how things change.
We were watching America's Funniest Home Videos last night and one of the finalists was a toddler who was pretending to shall we say "break wind"......and going into fits of giggles.
It was very funny.
During the commercial break they showed this ad....

Do take a peek. It is hilarious.
Did you look? Well do it now, it is only a few seconds. looked then? Really?

It got me thinking. If my mother had seen that advert she would have had an attack of the "vapours".
Breaking wind, puffing, blowing off.......and especially farting (such a bad word), whatever you choose to call it, did not exist in her world.
She would not acknowledge anything as nasty as that.
I remember one time we had a puppy which was asleep in her lap.
"Oh dear," she said whilst wrinkling her nose, " He has made a 'bad smell'. I think you should take him outside as he might want to go 'uttars'."
What was that all about.
I can remember getting the chuckles over that for years. I still have to smile even now when I think about it.
I must have had a sheltered upbringing.
Once, as a child, I was playing with a friend of mine when she told me this story about her brother. Apparently, the local bully had been walking past their house.
She said " My brother hid behind the fence and when he went past he blew a raspberry at him."
Me, in my serene innocence replied, "Oh, did it hit him?"
She then explained patiently to me the meaning of the phrase "to blow a raspberry".
How sad was that?
I wonder if I ever trod on her foot?

I have read that in Japan, whilst it is totally unacceptable to blow one's nose in public, it is perfectly ok to fart.
Good job my mother never went further than the Isle of Wight where I think farting is practically a criminal offence. She would not have done at all well in Japan with all those people needing to go uttars every five minutes.

Swearing was another big no no. I hadn't heard most of today's favourite colloquialisms until I was about 14.
No one in my family said anything worse than poop. Oops...I do fib. I remember my mum saying quite blatantly....arse.
Only, I might add, when she was running late for something she would utter (not uttar) the phrase "Oh, I am all behind like a cow's arse."

One day as a child, I remember overhearing her and her sisters being horrified that one had started to read a book only to find it contained 'four letter words'.
FOUR LETTER WORDS......I was intrigued. What could they be? They were obviously really terrible because of the scandalous way they whispered about them.
I finally decided at least one of these 'four letter words' must be shit.
I never could figure out another one and it remained one of life's mysteries for many years.

I have noticed on my visits to the motherland how often some of the, hitherto unknown to me, four letter words are being used on TV.
I found it rather shocking at first, as that is something, unlike farting, that is unacceptable on regular TV over here.
When I am in England I do get used to it but, to be honest, I would prefer it not to become commonplace over here.
If my mother had heard this language on TV she would have been in a permanent vapouric state.
Times do change and so must I.
Oh....pee, po, belly, bum, drawers to it !!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cakes & Puds and yes toofs.......

I had been doing rather well with my hole.
The one where there used to be a tooth.
I had progressed beyond mashed potatoes and left the yoghurt way behind. I was hanging on to the ice cream, well you would wouldn't you?
Then last night I got over confident whilst brushing my remaining teeth. I have been very careful not to get the toothbrush near the hole but I must have been feeling particularly exuberant last night and must have touched the stitches with the brush.
Not a good idea apparently.
Bleeded and everyfing.
I was not happy.
Today it is sore again and I am back on the yoghurt........sigh.

On a totally different topic..........Sunday I made the Christmas cake.
I eventually managed to acquire the ingredients, even if a couple of substitutions had to be made.
Why don't they have sultanas over here? I made do with golden raisins. I can't get mixed spice either but fortunately I had stocked up on that during my last visit to the homeland so that was covered.
Treacle......they have never heard of it. In fact, when we called one of the foster kittens Treacle the head of the rescue centre told me she had googled the word to find out what it was. Maybe she thought it was something rude that they wouldn't want to put on their website.
Or a swear word !!!
"You treacle you!", sounds like something Frank Spencer might say.
I have found that molasses works as well so I used that.

Today I am making the Christmas pud.
I have got washing in the machine, more washing in the dryer and all the ingredients for the pud laid out on the kitchen work top.
It will take my mind off my gob.
I am not good at sitting around doing nothing at the best of times.

There is no such thing as a rich fruit cake or Christmas pudding over here so everyone is amazed that I am making them so early. I have to explain that they both have to mature and that the fruit cake has to be fed brandy for weeks.
I am sure they think I am making it up.
There are no mince pies either. I shall make those too, but at Christmas.
They do make cookies at Christmas.
Lots and lots of cookies. It is amazing how many different sorts, shapes etc that they make.
The kind lady across the street brought me a whole tray of them last year.
I made a couple of little Christmas cakes too so I think I might give her one of those when they are iced etc.
I worry a bit though as rich fruit cake is something of an acquired taste and they may hate it.
Oh well, I am sure the squirrels will take it off her hands.
As long as they don't get drunk on the brandy (because that hasn't cooked out) and fall out of their trees.
Squiffy squirrels :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Toofs again.........

As my loyal readers will recall, I have been visiting a dental specialist (endodontist/ orthodontist/ upyourdontist...whatever) since April.
My regular dentist/dentist had referred me to him when I had a crowned tooth which had already had the luxury of a root canal, fail.
I had an infection in the bone next to the roots of this tooth.
Many visits, many treatments and much money later, on September 1st to be exact, he told me I was all done and it was all ticketty boo.
He would see me next summer (bliss and joy) for a check up on it.
He was wrong.
A mere two weeks later something evil stirred in that vile root ridden jungle.
It started to ache.
Not the just the tooth but the jaw, ear and right up to my eye.
I tried to put up with it thinking that maybe it was just some left over inflammation kicking around in there but by Wednesday last week I had had enough.
I phoned him and told him and arranged another visit for that afternoon.
He really couldn't figure out what was going on and as a last resort he could (you might want to read this bit through your fingers) surgically cut into and fold back the gum, drill out the bone of my jaw, bugger about with it a bit (technical term that I don't think he used) and then stitch it all up again.
Of course this too might fail.
I told him I didn't actually fancy this too much.
So we agreed the tooth had to go.
He said the oral surgeon was still about and if I stayed where I was he would get him to look in on me and explain what they would do as this being a tooth that had been so worked on ( and what with it being weighed down by its little bags full of money), it would be rather brittle and could cause problems.
So, I sat and waited.

I heard another lady come in and go into the next room.
I then heard another male voice in the room with this other lady.
He started explaining to her, in gory detail, how best they could remove her tooth. He explained the sedation, how long she would be asleep, how this carried some risks and how she would be afterwards. She would need someone with her and wouldn't allowed to drive for 24 hours etc.
I could hear the lady hesitantly agree with everything he said.
But, I was bloody sure he was supposed to be saying this to me.
He went on to explain to her how he had done 5000 of these procedures. How they would put her under but only lightly, not dangerously so.
She nervously agreed.......again.
After a few minutes I heard my bloke go in there. There was some mumbled chat followed by profuse apologies to this poor woman.
The surgeon then came into my room.

"Oh dear," he said, "I have just terrified the woman in the next room who is only here for treatment".
"I know," I replied," I heard you."
"Oh well," he said, " there isn't any point going through all that again.
I did my best not to laugh.

This type of thing happens wherever I go. Nothing is ever straightforward.
Anyway, the upshot was that I went in at 6.45am the next morning, Thursday.
The nurse sorted me out and the surgeon stuck the needle in my arm. The next thing I knew I was awake with a stitched up gob. I left armed with painkillers and antibiotics.
Philip brought me home and I slept most of the day.
I know I complain about the cost of everything over here (and this poxy tooth has cost an awful lot of money) but you do get service.
The surgeon phoned at around 9.30pm that evening to ask Philip how I was doing.
I was impressed with that.
The swelling is starting to subside now and the stitches should dissolve after around 10 days.
Hopefully I will be able to eat something more than yoghurt , scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes soon.
Good excuse to eat ice cream though.

Friday, October 7, 2011


On Tuesday I cranked up the idiot magnet and set off for the bus stop.
I was on my way to do my shift at the animal shelter.

Picture the scene.................
There am I, sitting on the bench at the bus stop.
Standing in front of me.......just in front of me,.........about 3 feet away and facing a little, chubby Chinese woman.
She has her eyes closed.
Next to me, on the bench, is her iphone/pod/whatever, which is blasting out plinky plonk Chinese music while a morose Chinese male voice droned something which sounded like the "Ying Tong Song" in very slow motion.

Traffic is whizzing by and sometimes even stopping at the traffic lights where we are situated.
The little Chinese woman is going through a set of manoeuvres which are triggered by the bloke's voice.
For instance ....he would announce "Ying Tong Piddle Aye Po" and she would proceed thusly.

Set movements and what they appeared to represent.

1. Reach down to the ground, feel around for loose elastic and pull drawers up.

2. Wrap large invisible towel around you.

3. Pick up invisible baby and hurl it over your head.

4. Do up invisible buttons on invisible shirt.

5. Whoops, elastic has gone again. Reach down and pull drawers up again.

Sigh. It is odd but the length of time I seem to wait for that bus seems to be directly influenced by the magnitude of the idiot who shares the bus stop with me.
There should be a maths equation about this phenomenon.

She looked so smug too. I don't know why the orientals think they are so superior when it comes to Tai Chi etc. We Brits have our own ancient set of movements which are known by people throughout the land.
We don't waste them alone at bus stops. We use them when we all gathered in celebration.
It is called The Hokey Cokey.
It is way more fun and I bet that is older than Tai Chi.

I was amazed this week to realise just how far back my idiot magnet goes.
It is a much older garment than I thought.
This is what happened.
I got an email from Friends Reunited. I haven't had any contact with them for years. I have made a few contacts from the past and they have been wonderful. Now, if I am looking for anyone I tend to use Facebook which seems to work really well.
Anyway, this email from Friends Reunited said this person had left me a message. So, I had a look.
It was from a girl I vaguely remembered from my Primary school. PRIMARY school....remember that.
She just said her name, mentioned a few teachers and asked if I remembered her.
I wrote back and said I thought I did remember her (we were never really chums but were in the same class), I asked how she was etc, etc. and hoped she was doing know the sort of stuff.
I got a reply.
She said "Were you the girl who trod on my foot?"

I almost wrote back to ask if she was the girl who borrowed my pencil but I decided not to bother.
To think my idiot magnet was already working when I was 8 years old.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

This job's too hard.

Been a bit of a dull week.
My dodgy ear has been playing up and I had a poxy angina attack on Wednesday. They were probably the most exciting things that happened.
After Philip (Phil The DIY Guy, as he is now known) successfully installed the cat flap on the basement door, it should have been all systems go for kitties flapping in and out willy nilly.
It wasn't.
We taped the thing up for a week so they got the idea of going through the hole.
We thought once they became accustomed to going through it then gently pushing the flap open would not be a problem.
We thought wrong.
We didn't think about Big, Thickie, Bubba, Woosie, Thickie, Pussy, who wouldn't be able to tell a willy from a nilly if it smacked his bum and called him cupcake.
The girls figured it out in minutes.
But Bubba........sigh.
We waited to see if he could work out what to do.......the result of that being he sat there banging on it with his paws. The bloody flap was swinging like Tarzan on a jungle creeper but would Bubba go through - would he buggery.
He just bashed it again and got more and more frustrated every time it came back at him.
So, it was time for a bit of gentle persuasion.

We were like the line from the song "Delaney's Donkey"

"There was Philip pushing it, shoving it, shooshing it."

We pushed him through a few times but he still can't do it. I even opened a can of tuna on one side of the door whilst he was looking through from the other.
He went nutso on the flap......banging away doing a drum solo, but he couldn't figure out how to come through.
Poxy thing is taped up again. We will try another day.

Autumn is here.
What does it mean? Windy weather, leaves changing hue, cooler temperatures, Halloween costumes in the shops, houses festooned with decorations, pumpkins, mists of mellow fruitfulness and the bloody squirrels pinching all the bird seed out of the feeder.
I had changed the feeder onto another pole as the squirrels could climb the other one.
Then, as I watched this one, he climbed the first pole and jumped across to the feeder which swung around like Bubba's flap scattering seed all over the place.
Oh well, at least it keeps the cats amused.

Just added this last picture of our little snow leopard. I still love those feet.
I worked out what they reminded me of the other day.......Monster Munch !
I told Philip who then got all gloomy because it made him really fancy a bag of Monster Munch.
No such luxuries over here......poor chap.