Friday, August 31, 2012

Didn't work....again. was the last River Rhythms of the season.
Wow...where did the summer go.
This has been an amazing summer.  The driest and hottest ( I believe ) on record.  There are usually a couple of River Rhythms where it gets a bit chilly in the evening and we put cardigans on.  Mostly at the very beginning and very end of the season.
Not this year.
We have never had a night where we wore anything more than t.shirts....well, jeans or shorts too, but you know what I mean.
Even on this last night the temps were around 87F. 
This makes it even sadder that it is over.

They had a new act on for the last night.
He had never done River Rhythms before.  He, apparently, is very well known in Milwaukee though.
It takes some doing to get up on stage completely alone and entertain a park full of people. 
He did do that.  It just wasn't really our thing.
He was all for audience participation, which is ok if you like that sort of thing, and he would go on and on about those people who didn't stand up and do the actions to some silly dance he invented or refused to join in the chorus of one of his songs.
It reminded me of a holiday camp compare.
Hi de Hi.
I kept expecting him to shout ...."TED CAN'T HEAR YOU".......
Philip was not at all amused and played on his kindle fire thingy the whole time.
The second half was better, in my opinion, because he did a medley of 80s songs and was very good at it too.   In truth, he worked bloody hard and did get a lot of the crowd on their feet.
I just wished he would have accepted the fact that not everyone wants to dance and do the actions to a song like...."Sex and Beer."   Well, I probably would if I had been in a crowd of like minded

I had all my tests done on Wednesday.
As expected the nuclear stress test was horrid.   I also had an echo cardiagram, which I haven't had before.  
I should get all the results soon.
I tried taking the extended nitro pills.  Never again.   I was ill all day.
I have since found out they are not any good for my sort of angina anyway.   I have found out a lot of other stuff too that I shall blog about after I have seen my own doctor next week.
I am losing faith in specialists.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Took this picture of Philip the other evening as two cats had decided he made an ideal snooze location.
Bubba, the tabby one,  was actually waiting for his subq fluids.
He is so good about it all and we are getting better at it, that if all goes according to plan it takes barely 10 minutes.
We do this twice a week, Mondays and Fridays.
Bubba seems to know when it is and gets himself comfy on a lap in preparation.  He also seems much more his old self.  I hope it continues.

Today, Monday, I went to see the heart specialist.
I have to admit to being very nervous, not just about what he might say, but about the medication he might give me and the thoughts of side effects that seem to doom any treatment I ever have for anything.

He was actually very nice.
After reading my notes, and listening very carefully to all I had to say (they don't all do this do they) he wants me to have more heart tests on Wednesday.  Stress tests and nuclear thingy.
I have had them before in 2008 so it might be a good idea to test again.
He also gave me different statins.  He thinks I might find less side effects with these....we shall see.
I usually take nitro quick pills when I have an angina attack but now he has given me extended release nitro pills that I must take every day.
This is an effort to stop the attacks happening at all.   I can still take the nitro quick if I have an attack.
At least I feel now that I am actively trying to prevent it.
I tend to put up with things ( I have been having these attacks since 2006) and I dislike taking pills.
I was brought up not to make a fuss...or as my mother would say...."Don't make a poppy show of it".   I don't know what a poppy show is but I do know that it meant not to go in for any drama.
So, although I don't want to be a nuisance, there comes a time when you have to take care of your health as it is the most precious thing we have.
Also, as I shall be travelling back to England in a couple of weeks, it will make me feel more comfortable on that long flight if I think I have things a little more under control.

The stress tests are horrid though.  They take you to the point of exhaustion to see how your heart holds up (or not which would be unfortunate).  I really didn't like it last time and I am not looking forward to it.
The nuclear thingy, if I remember rightly, was imaging your heart after injecting some sort of radioactive stuff....or some such.  I don't think that was too bad.
I have to go back to the specialist in a couple of weeks, just before my trip.  Hopefully there will be no side effects.......oh wouldn't that be great.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

14th Anniversary

 Sorry didn't update blog before.
So I did two blogs today.   There is a new one previous to this one.

 Our 14th anniversary yesterday.
Still amazes me really.
Anyway, it happened to be River Rhythms night and it also happened to be our favourite band playing over there.
5 Card Studs.
They are brill.  I have enthused about them before........every song is "for the ladies".....  They have fun sending themselves up and they are also very good musicians.
I have never seen so many people up dancing.

Even Philip managed to stay awake.
This is his favourite band too.
Almost forgot.  We had some rain on Sunday evening.  Quite an event in itself.

But, we got this beautiful rainbow.
There is always something magical about a rainbow.  Well, I think so anyway.

Bristol Ren Faire Sunday Aug 23rd to the Bristol Renaissance Faire.
We haven't been for a couple of years and as we had free tickets, it encouraged us to go.
It is held every weekend through the summer and it is always lots of fun.
It is generally very, very hot over there so that puts me off a bit.
But, Sunday was the first one in ages which wasn't going to be pushing 100F so off we went.
After a bit of confusion we met up with Gary.
This fair has grown so much since we first started going.
Lots of little shops, lots of food vendors,  lots of shows and entertainers, lots more jousting and lots more rides.
They try to be authentic about things though.
All the rides are man powered and it must be a nightmare when the weather is really hot.
The jousting used to be on a couple of times during the day with a 'joust to the death' at 6pm.
Now it is on every hour with a 'joust to the death' at 5.30pm.
They must go through some knights during a season.

The jousting arena has been upgraded and the knights now have full armour.
This was the goodie ....we were up his end (so to speak) and cheered for him.  He looked about 12.

These were the baddies.
There was much slapping with gloves etc and Queen Elizabeth I herself,  had to intervene and tell them to come back at 5.30pm to 'joust to the death'.
We have never seen this last joust.  When we took Lauren she was most upset because we weren't staying to watch it.
"But it is to the DEATH !!", she pleaded.   Charming child.

I was very lucky.
Philip bought me this dragon.  He sits on your shoulder, held on by a magnet under your shirt.  There is also a concealed wire & controller which means you can make him turn his head and open his mouth.  Brilliant for scaring kids.  I love it.

Oh and look.
Edmund Blackadder was there talking to Mary Queen of Scots.   Many people dress up to go to the fair.  Many are very authentic.....others are just plain the Jedi Knight ???  And the guy in a little black kilt that just covered his bum.    A really fun group we spotted were all guys dressed as pantomime dames.  They were hilarious.  This is even more amazing when you realize there is no such thing as pantomime over here.  Americans have no clue about it.
Anyway, a brill day, not too hot and a pet dragon for me.........fantastic.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sleeping Beauty.

River Rhythms last night.
The band was a Scottish rock band and were very, very good.
They were probably the second best band we have seen over there this season.  The first being Brother...also in kilts...must be a theme there somewhere.
Gary is off visiting him mummsy in Arizona.  She had a fall and hurt herself.  I hope she is doing better now.  Anyway, he couldn't be at River Rhythms.

The band was loud and lively.
It prompted some people to do this.

Oh she was so sweet.
She was obviously involved with  the Irish Dance troupes that were having some sort of competition across the river.   She really got carried away with it all and was very entertaining.
Others were affected differently by the playing of the pipes and the swinging of the kilts.

Unfortunately for him ....he was spotted by the band, who took great delight at pointing him out to the rest of the crowd.
They then played a song dedicated to " The only guy they had ever seen sleep through the bagpipes." It was hysterical.
Everyone was laughing, people came up to me and told me it was his 5 minutes of fame and he didn't even know until afterwards.
In his defence....the poor bugger had been up since around 5am and driven to and from Chicago to work (about 70miles each way) he had every right to be tired.
I did tell the band that he was waiting for them to play "Donald Where's Your Troosers", but they didn't seem to have that in their repertoire.
I needed something to cheer me up.

I saw my (substitute ) doctor.  She was very concerned, wants me to take Lipitor and I have an appointment with a different heart doctor on the 27th.
No doubt I will have to have all the poxy tests again but I want something to take to stop these attacks. I still don't feel really well.  My friend in England had a couple of angina attacks and has been taking a one a day pill for 10 years now.  She has never had another attack.  So, I have got the name of them and shall ask why I can't have them too.
Philip says it is probably because over here the doctors don't get so much money from prescribing these pills.  That could well be true.  The health service here is all about money.  Drug firms pay doctors to dish out their pills.  Blooming ridiculous.

I then went to the optician because my glasses fell off my nose an broke into two pieces.  It never rains.....
But, I did have  giggle in there.....see I am not usually a miserable person and I have been lately all over not feeling great....I don't like it.
Anyway, after having my eyes tested, I sorted out a couple of posh pairs of frames and another guy took the details.  During this time he asked where I was from and it turned out he loves English football.  He is an Arsenal fan (well someone has to be) and went on to tell me all the teams he didn't like.  This is so unusual over here.
Then he told me about an English friend of his who when they play video games, gets carried away and swears at him, using English swear words that he doesn't understand.
He said,  "He always calls me a W--ker."
Fortunately, he didn't ask me to explain what it meant but I took great delight in telling him that the next time he does this, he should retaliate by calling him a T-sser.
He liked this and kept saying it over and over so he wouldn't forget. It did make me giggle.
I would love to see his mate's face when he yells it at him.
Donna's husband, Andy (RIP) would have been proud of me.  It was his favourite word.
We had a star named after him ...we called it   Andy T-sser Beal.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Awful weekend.

Tootsie cuddling Lily....or maybe arguing over who was going to sleep in the chair.

Pants weekend.
Friday morning I felt quite perky.  I had recovered from my 'touch of the sun' and was feeling rather happy.
We had a wedding to go to on Saturday and I had an appointment in the afternoon with the optician as my reading glasses had fallen off and broke into two pieces.
I could hold each piece up to an eye but that took two hands leaving no other hand to hold a book.
It was time I had some new ones anyway.

Friday afternoon............angina attack.......nasty one.
This was probably the worse one I have ever had and it was rather frightening.
I was just sitting at the computer when it started.
I believe it is called 'unstable angina'.  
It isn't brought on by exertion.....running for a bus or doing exercise. 
It just happens when you are at rest.  It just happens right out of the blue.  And, there is no way of predicting it.
I have now found out that it is more dangerous than regular angina.
I had tests a few years ago....stress tests and a heart catheter test thingy.
None of the arteries were clogged up or anything.
It seems that in unstable angina they just go into spasm and the blood can't get to your heart.
They tried two different pills on me both of which had nasty side effects that had me in the emergency room in the early hours, which was not pleasant.
They sort of gave up then.   They gave me nitro pills to put under my tongue when I get an attack and said if it doesn't go after 15 minutes and 3 pills then to dial 911.
Which is what I do...well apart from dialing 911.  I would if I had to but it isn't something you do willy nilly.

This last attack was horrid.  I was so ill on Saturday.  I was completely washed out, hurt everywhere and could barely sit up.
We couldn't go to the wedding and I couldn't go to the opticians.  I would not have been able to sit there.
Sunday I was a little better but still very poorly.
Today I am almost my old self but I am, to be honest, a bit frightened.
I have made an appointment to see the doctor (of course mine is on holiday so I have to see a substitute one) tomorrow.
I think they should try to find something that I can take that will stop me having these attacks.
It is scary because I never know when it will happen or how bad it will be. 
I hope there is something I can take that will help.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

State Fair etc

                                                                 Persian Kitty

The above is a mixed media (acrylic and oils) painting I have been working on.
It isn't finished yet but isn't far off.
It has kept me sane over the last few weeks.

Tuesday we went to State Fair.
It wasn't the best day to go because Tuesday was forecast as the hottest day of the week.
Unfortunately, it was the only day Philip could take off.   Well, he could have taken Wednesday but I had to work on Wednesday.
We met up with our friend Gary and started to explore.
You really need to go on about 4 days (and have lots more energy than we have) to even try to see it all.
One day is sufficient for us.
This year they had a couple of new things...........deep friend cheesecake on a stick and beer ice cream floats.
 Both sounded like things I could live without so we searched for the blooming onions.

This is a blooming onion.
It is my favourite thing to eat at the fair.
It is crispy and comes with a dip.  Delish.

Gary and I both had a blooming onion, whilst Philip had a mountain of chicken, cole slaw, chips and a bun.
I am always over ambitious though.  I am always certain I am going to eat my onion, then have funnel cakes and elephant ears, and , and,....
This year, as usual, I managed to eat about a quarter of the blooming onion before I was full.
I gave most of  the rest to Philip and threw what remained away.
Why can't I eat it all?  It is only an onion for heaven's sake. .....blooming or otherwise.

I did manage some ice cream later but the heat was beginning to affect me.
Blazing sun, 95F (37C I think), all a bit too much.  We kept diving into buildings that had air conditioning but by about 3pm we had had enough.
Once more I was feeling quite poorly.  I felt poorly all evening, had a very bad night and was woken by the new neighbour's dog at 5.30am barking at a squirrel up our tree.
They live across the road on the corner so he must have escaped their garden and found his way to ours.  I hope they don't make a habit of this as they have only been there about a week.
Wednesday at work I still felt pants but took some pills. Then, coming home, I waited 45 minutes for the poxy bus (don't know what happened there) which didn't do much to make me feel any better.
I decided I couldn't be bothered to go to River Rhythms that evening and told Gary.
It seems he too had had too much sun and didn't feel great either.
At least now it is back to around 80F, which to us feels quite a lot better.

Our garden is like a wildlife park at the moment.  This morning around the birdie feeder there were,  3 squirrels, 2 chipmunks, finches, sparrows, doves, cardinals and the baby bunny.
I love the baby bunny.  He kept me amused for ages.  He was rolling around in the dust and then suddenly started whizzing around the garden like a thing possessed.  Round the tree, through the bushes and back again.
He is so cute but growing fast.  I haven't seen the mummy or daddy bunnies for a long time though.
I think there are so many birds at the feeder because this drought seems to have limited the insect population.  Virtually no mosquitoes (unusual for Milwaukee in the summer) and I have only seen a  couple of fireflies.  So, I suppose the birds really need the seed.

Today I stayed indoors and continued with my painting.  I have the above Persian and another one on the go.  I also have another dog portrait to do.
Thank goodness for that.  As I said....sometimes it drives me nuts other times it keeps me sane.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Milwaukee mourns

Philip had to go into work in the early hours of Sunday morning.
There was an install he had to supervise.
He arrived home around midday and we went out for some lunch.
Had he not had to go to work like that on a Sunday (and he never has before) then chances are we would have been right next to the Sikh temple which was the target of a gunman on at 10.30am.
Yup....right at the time we would have been there.
We often have Sunday brekkie at a restaurant which is a stone's throw from the temple.

We heard the news on the car radio.   6 people killed, others wounded by a MILWAUKEE !!!
Milwaukee is a quiet town.
The people are friendly, eat too much, often drink too much, but not violent.   Not this scale of violence anyway.
The Sikh community here is small and inoffensive. 
The thought that someone should set out to kill them during their prayers is unbelievable.

The first police officer on the scene was shot several times before he managed to shoot and kill the gunman.  The officer is expected to live and is being hailed as a hero.
The poor guy.  I would imagine a Sunday morning police shift is usually a doddle.  Most people (around here) are in church or still in bed.  
The last thing that policeman would have been expecting would be getting shot.
I do hope he is ok.

The news says the gunman belonged to a neo nazi group.
I bet he didn't even know the difference between a Sikh, Hindu or Muslim.
No one has the right to hurt anyone because of their race, religion or anything else.
To some nutcases it is enough just to look different, to give them a cause.
My heart goes out to the victims, the families and the other 'different' people who must be feeling very vulnerable now.
If you are not safe in your church on a Sunday morning then you are not safe anywhere.

Tomorrow we go to State Fair.
I intend to eat lots of rubbish and enjoy it.  I also intend to buy lots of rubbish if I can.
I hope my next blog is more cheerful.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Battle of The Bands....again.

Wednesday wasn't all wonderful.
It wasn't all bad either.
At work I had an angina attack in the morning........that wasn't wonderful but I had sort of been expecting it.
I had become so stressed at the weekend that I thought it might happen.
The heat was getting to me too.
We are still in a serious drought with high temperatures.
Going home was a bit pants.  It was so hot walking to and from the bus stop.  The dynamite pills (nitro glycerine) I take for the angina leave me light headed and that didn't help.
Anyway, at  least I could look forward to River Rhythms in the evening.

We met up with Gary and found out that tonight was battle of the bands.
We saw this two years ago.  We didn't go to it last year as it wasn't that great the first time.
This time there were 6 bands.  SIX.
The compare was the horrible, slimy old perv that they had the first time.
He thinks he is so great but I have a suspicion that he is the only one who does.

First band.  Girl singing & playing guitar, girl singing along & bloke on a drum.
Mostly pants.  Lead singer had nice voice.
Second band.  Young guys, lively, brilliant musicians but sang like things that couldn't sing at all.
Third band.  Young guys, lively, brilliant musicians who could also sing.
Fourth band.  God rock band.  This immediately infuriated my other half.  They had quite a large following in the crowd.  They were very good.  Too good.  They were older and extremely professional.  It turned out that they had been together for over 10 years and had already made an album.
This wasn't quite fair.   The idea is that it is new talent  (some might not use the word talent but they would be being unkind) and the first prize is a chance to play at SummerFest next year.
This God rock band didn't seem to need that sort of a chance.
Fifth band.  Awful.  Guy singing & playing guitar.  Well, it was supposed to be singing .....I think, unless someone was standing on his toe.
I can't remember who made up the rest.  Probably a guitar player and drummer.  Dreadful.
Sixth band.   They were three black guys.  Guitarist who was brilliant.  Singer who also played guitar - good voice and a drummer.   They were what Philip called a "thrash" band.  They came as quite a shock really.  Very loud.  I didn't think they would stand a chance.
We really wanted the third band to win.

 There were 3 judges who deliberated while pervy commentator got on everyone's nerves.

Results......3rd place.......... band number 6....the loud thrash band.
I will just add here that the God rock band were looking very smug.  All their supporters were standing in obvious anticipation of a resounding win.
                  2nd place...........the God rock band.
Oh they were not happy.
                  1st number 3.  The ones we liked.   I was so pleased for them.

Today, Thursday,  I popped out to the mall.
It is still hot but I needed to get out.  At least the walk to and from the bus stop is much shorter.
I was happy to see that not only did Dollar Tree have their Halloween stuff out but as I turned into the next aisle........there was the Christmas stuff.

State Fair is on now until August 12th.  We are hoping to go on Tuesday if Philip has the day off.
I hear they have deep fried butter, deep fried beer and deep fried cheesecake on sticks this year.
I think I shall stick to my blooming onion and dip.  Yummy.