Saturday, April 28, 2012

Royal Weeeeee

A mixed sort of week.

When I went to the mall the other day there were two ladies standing by the bus stop.
One of them had a gorgeous blood hound on a lead.
Drawn by the dog, I finished up in conversation with them.
They were not friends but the dog had broken the ice and they were chatting.  
It seemed the dog had been rescued from someone who was using it as a 'bait' dog for dog fighting.
She was lovely.  Her name was Sarah and she was so sweet natured.
We all stood chatting about this dog, cruel people etc and then the lady who didn't have a dog, said,
"I have breast cancer and am undergoing chemo.  My hair is all falling out and that is why I am wearing this woolly hat.  Do I look ok?"
I was so upset for her.
I reassured her she looked lovely, which she did actually.  We both wished her well soon, but when the bus came she didn't get on it.  She stayed at the bus stop looking lonely.
I felt awful all day.  She was such a sweet lady.

Then some good news.
A friend of mine, from way back when we all did dopey things.........getting dressed up as aliens and getting left behind in writing a book!!
I think it will be brilliant.
He is an excellent writer.  His blog keeps many people amused every day.  I am quite excited for him as I know he has had a rough time of it lately and has been a bit down.
I have no idea what the book is about but I just know it will be good.
When I studied English, I was taught that it is best to write about a subject you know really well as this always comes across.
This guy knows so much about so many different subjects that I think he could write lots of books.
"This time next year Rodney, we could be millionaires."
I can't wait.

Then I got fed up again.  (I found out the other day that the term "fed up" comes from medieval falconry.  Apparently, when the falcon has been eating it becomes quiet and uninterested, also its crop is full to the top.  It was then said to be 'fed up'.)
This wasn't why I was fed up though.
I had planned a Jubilee Celebration.  A friend from England had sent me the items in the photo at the top of the page.  I was so excited as you can't get this stuff over here.
I had invited friends and planned the menu.   A very British menu.
Then I found out that because of some previous squabble between them that they wouldn't take part together.  Sigh............well, I am not going to do two celebrations, so I have called it off.
I don't know why I bother really.
Instead I have decided to have my old mate June over for tea  (only at lunchtime).  We shall have dainty sandwiches, vol au vents,  little banoffi pies and cupcakes.  She won't let me down.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012



Here is a picture of one of our Erics.
We have several.
There is Eric, Small Eric, Little Eric, Big Eric, Large Eric, Just Eric and Eric the Loon.
I think this Eric looked so lovely sitting on our fence, with our tree in full blossom just behind him.
Truly springlike.
We think the Erics (and Ericas) have been a bit on the busy side as there are noticeably more this year than last.
Eric the Loon is one of the newbies.
I think he has special needs so he should fit right in with me.

The chipmunks are back too, filling their little gobs up with the birdseed.  I expect they have many mouths to feed waiting in the little burrows in the lawn.
I saw a woodpecker hammering away at the tree that has the goldfinches nesting in it.
They must get so annoyed if he wakes their babies up.

This is the daddy goldfinch.
I do think he is rather magnificent.  
It will soon be time to put out the hummingbird feeder.   I hope they show up.
Our ducks didn't come back this year. 
Donald and Daisy.  
The guy a couple of doors up told me they visited him every Spring for a couple of years and then decided to leave him in favour of me.  Maybe I put better food out or something.
They came to me for a couple of years but perhaps they have found even better grub elsewhere...or maybe they have gone back to our neighbours.  I will ask him when I see him.

The house has returned to normal now.  I have got used to it again.  It will be even quieter next week as Philip will be away all week on a course.

We are going to have ' a bit of a do' for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Official Birthday combined.
The jubilee is on June 5th and the birthday on Saturday June 9th.  My friend, Heather, sent me some wonderful jubilee napkins, jubilee cupcake cases and a jubilee cupcake stand.
So, I decided to ask a few friends over and we shall wear our tiaras and toast the Queen.
We have to educate these colonists.   It is the British way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

All gone away.

I love this picture.
We went to the Milwaukee Zoo with our friend Gary on Sunday.
We had almost decided not to go as the weather man insisted there would be strong storms on and off all day.
I have learned not to take too much notice of the weather man.
He sometimes fibs.
He was fibbing about Sunday.  We took a chance, went and it was a lovely day.
Oh did storm about 10 minutes after we got home but that was not 'all day'.
Back to the picture.
Our friend, Gary, is a photographer and caught this picture of a fish playing 'peek a boo' with Lauren.
This fish had such a funny face and he was peeking out from behind the wall of his tank.
There were 3 lion cubs born at the zoo not long ago and we had a lot of fun watching them get up to mischief.   One was teasing his dad, who gently let him know his place. It was a pleasure to see them.

Sadly, early Monday morning, Lauren and Donna went home.
We were up at 3.45 am to get them off to the airport.   I must admit, it was tough for me this time.
I love having them here.  Lauren is no trouble at all and we have a lot of laughs with her.
I suppose it seemed worse because she is not coming back at the end of July.
I hope to go over there later in the year but September seems an awfully long way off at the moment.
I am excited about our trip to Phoenix in a few weeks though.

Donna phoned to tell me they had a great flight back.
When they checked in there were only 2 seats left and they were not near each other.   This wasn't good for a single mother travelling with her child.
They arrived at the gate to be given new boarding passes and when they got on the plane they found they had been upgraded.
They were in the posh section with seats that reclined right back.   They were thrilled.  Donna said she even managed to fall asleep because the chair went back flat (like me, she can't sleep when sitting upright).
While she was asleep the stewardess came round and covered her with a blanket.
Oh how the other half live.
I wish I could get upgraded.  It has never happened to me.
I am always back with the riff raff.   I know my place.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago.
I don't make a big fuss about birthdays but I do love to get cards.
As well as a lovely card, I also got this cute cat ornament from my father in law.
I really do love it.
Always happy to have another kitty but decorative ones only right now.

My friend, Fred, who I worked with for many years in a certain educational establishment (he was head of music and I was a peon), sent me a book.
I wasn't expecting a pressie.  We usually just exchange cards.
We do speak on the phone about once a week, often talking about old times.
He lives in Folkestone again now, but did live for a while in the US, near Boston.
He makes acoustic guitars from scratch. They are beautiful things and whilst he was living in Boston, he used to get specialist tools from a company over here.
He can't get the same things for the price in England, so I send him the catalogues, he orders the things he wants - delivered to me, and then I send them to him.
I don't mind doing this at all.
Anyway, he sent me a book for my birthday.....and I was very pleased.

I started reading it the other day.
After a few pages I noticed a glint of colour on one of the pages.
I found this.

 I was so surprised.
There stuck to a page with a post it note was a $10 bill.
How sweet of him to do that?
I flicked through the pages.
I then found this.

 A $20 bill was stuck to another page.
I was dumbstruck.
I wasn't expecting the book let alone a book with $30 inside it.
I have spoken to him since I got the book but I hadn't started reading it yet so I hadn't found the money. He didn't say a bloody word.   I would never be able to do that.
I would have been saying things like, "Oh did you start reading the book yet?".... and trying to sound innocent.
He said nothing.
He is on holiday at the moment but I shall be phoning him as soon as he returns.
I expect he is trying to thank me for sending his stuff over but he really didn't need to.
I can't help thinking :-
What if I hadn't liked the look of the book?
What if I had decided not to read it?
What if I had taken it to our local bookstore where they buy books from you?
They don't give you much for secondhand books and someone would have had a real windfall when they bought it.
Thank goodness I started reading it.

I did the review for Philip's friend's book today.
I chose my words carefully..........very carefully.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

Alright....this picture isn't from Las Vegas.
It is Lauren with a very startled looking Tootsie.  Lauren had decorated her with an Easter bow.
I don't think she was terribly impressed.

Donna left for Las Vegas early yesterday morning.   She is meeting up with a friend she hasn't seen in many years.
He used to live next door to us in Ashford when they were kids.
He now lives in California and was able to drive to Vegas.  He has been a few times before and is going to show her around.
He has already booked a couple of shows.
They phoned me yesterday from The Harley Davidson bar and sounded rather merry.
I was relieved that he had found her at the airport as I had nightmares about something going wrong and that Donna would be stranded alone in Las Vegas.
She is returning late Wednesday night and I know she will be worn out.
Las Vegas is so amazing that when you are only there a few days you try to see too much.
I do it every time.   I am totally natchered after a few days in Vegas.
Good job we are going to Phoenix Arizona for our trip away.
I have dreams of having a lovely relaxing time but I know that once I am there I will start chasing around trying to see everything.

They don't go home until the 16th.  So I will have some time with Donna after she gets back.  I think she has a couple more karaoke nights to squeeze in.

Lauren is now 13 and a half years old.
Where did that time go?
She has decided not to spend the summer with us this year.  I knew this would happen as she got into the teen years.
I am sure she has much more interesting things to do than to hang out with me and Philip.
Even so, I was pretty devastated by the news but I didn't let her see that.  I didn't want her to feel bad.
She probably has lots of friends and dare I say, boys, she wants to spend time with in the summer.
They say they are coming over at Christmas and I am hoping to go to England around September time, so it isn't so bad.
She went to a moonlight Easter egg hunt at a neighbour's house on Friday.   She had a great time and came back with a bucket of goodies.

The summer will seem strange to me without my little mate to keep me company.  We do get on well and have lots of laughs.
Remember, make the most of kids while they are young enough to still think you are cool.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Real art.

Lauren did this picture yesterday.
She worked from a photo and I think it shows real artistic talent.
I am just a tiddy bit proud of her to be honest.
I would put it on an arts & crafts page I belong to but to be honest it is getting on my wick lately.
Instead of people showing their artistic hobbies and skills, it seems to be full of people wanting to sell us their pictures .  Most of this stuff should still be in the "hobby" department to be honest.
There are a couple of good artists on there but mostly it seems to be "same old, same old".
I only ever put one of my pictures on there and despite getting lots of comments & 'likes', I don't think I will put anything on there again. It made me very nervous.
There seems little point really.  I don't ever sell anything to friends.  If ever a friend has expressed an interest in one of my pictures, I give it to them. 
Maybe I just have a different outlook on this sort of thing.
But, I still think Lauren is talented. 
It is fab to have a talent but, to be honest, there is rarely any money to be made with it.  Maybe, if you go into commercial art or something.
Other than that, unless you are an outstanding artist (very, very, few of them about.....I most certainly do not come into this category) or you are dead, then you will not make your fortune from painting pictures.
Bob Ross is a prime example.  He was a lovely guy and a talented artist.  He figured out a way to make oil painting so simple that anyone could do it.  Problem is ..........anyone can do it.  There are more Bob Ross wannabees out there than you could shake a stick at.
And they all look much the same.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Donna & Lauren are here !!

It has been a while since my last blog.
That is because I have been busy with company.........and other things.

They arrived on Thursday and, as always, I cannot rest until I know they have landed.
Isn't the internet a wonderful tool?
I can track their flight all the way and it notifies me when it has landed.

Philip was on support all the weekend (AGAIN) and so we couldn't go far.
Donna went out on the razzle on Thursday night and Sunday night.  It is fab because she has so many mates over here now.
We took Lauren for a stroll around The Domes.   My friend, Gary, (the one who gave me the annoying Christmas decoration) gave me a year's pass to the Domes which is a really brill place.  3 different climates under glass.
Look here if you like.

They have different exhibitions on in there too and even have live music at times.

Lauren has been having fun catching up with Tootsie.  The last time she was here she had 5 tiny kittens to take to bed with her.  The only one left of that bunch is Tootsie but she is still happy to be tucked in with Lauren.

Monday I had to go for an ultra sound on my carotid arteries in my neck.
I had gone to see the doctor with a bad leg !!!!!
I only went because people were nagging me.  I thought it was a muscle problem but as I have had it several weeks (I had pain in it when Alan was here) some thought it could be a deep vein thrombosis so should be checked out.
The doctor agreed with me and gave me advice about keeping hydrated and maybe taking magnesium etc, but during her glance through my notes she noticed that my blood test in January had, again shown I have high cholesterol.
She pulled a face at me.  We have had many discussions about this.  She wanted me to go on statins but as they have been proved to be on no use in preventing heart attack and as they really bugger your liver up, I have refused.  Statins are big business over here.
I have been a vegetarian for 25 years.  I exercise.  I am not overweight.   If my cholesterol is high then it is hereditary.  Cholesterol is actually manufactured in our bodies as it is essential for our muscles.  Everyone I know who has taken statins have had to stop through muscle cramps and liver problems.  You have to have a blood test every month to check for liver damage if you take them.
Hmmmm........cholesterol is essential for muscles.........hmmmm...what is your heart?  
I have also had a heart catheterization which did not show any clogging of the arteries.
But, there is a history of stroke in my mum........her sister..... so the ultra sound was to check the arteries in my neck in case they were getting blocked up.
Bugger....she was determined to get me one way or the other.
When, the tech was just going to start my ultra sound she said "Oh yes, your doctor sent you for this test as she could hear something odd on the right hand side when she examined you."
"Oh yes," I replied with an air of nonchalance.
That blooming doctor hadn't said a word to me about hearing anything 'odd'.  Now I was worried.
The test was easy.  Much easier than most tests I have had for various things and I was sent on my way.   But now I was 'un' easy.
I just got a phone call from the doctor's office.  When I saw who it was I was a bit concerned.  I only went yesterday.........this was bloody quick.
"All normal" they said.   Phew. That was a relief.

This morning I had to go to the dentist for my crown prep.
It is pants. 
My dentist is lovely and the assistant is lovely, but there is nothing lovely in being in that chair for an hour and a half with a ton of junk in your gob having your tooth ground down to nothing.
Now I have a temporary crown fitted and will get the permanent one at the end of the month.

Too much typing.  My fingers ache.........I can't even begin to tell you the conversation I overheard in the dentist's waiting room.