Friday, November 29, 2013


I haven't blogged in a while.
It is just that I have been so busy.
We spent last weekend putting up the outside lights and decorations.  It was perishing cold and snowy.
Way colder than it usually is in November.  It is more like January weather.
All week it has been around minus 10 to minus 15C in the morning and not warming up much during the day either.
After being outside at the weekend, I felt poorly again.
I think that, as I was not quite over the lurgy I had picked up in Vegas, I must have just got chilled.
Whatever it was I felt pants.
But, the lights were all over the house, the reindeer, sleigh, snowmen, Father Christmas and various other novelties were all established, so it was a job well done.
We shall do the lighting ceremony on Sunday December 1st - Griswold style.

I have been also busy doing pet portraits.
I managed to finish the last two Christmas orders this week.
One I have already sent off and the other I am trying to stop tweaking.
This is one of the hardest things for me.   I reach a point when I have to tell myself...."LEAVE THE BLOODY THING ALONE", or I will keep on and 'overwork' the picture.
The danger is it will lose its 'freshness'.
The one I sent off has already arrived and the lady loves it.  Phew....that is always a relief.
Portraits, be they pet or people, are by their very nature, a very personal thing.
Portraits have to look like the person or pet that they represent.
This last one I have 'almost' finished is a Basset hound.  He is gorgeous, but naturally, the owner wants a picture of him, not of any old generic Basset hound.
Fortunately, I am a stickler for detail so I do make major efforts to ensure that each portrait looks as exactly like the sitter as I can.
It is still a worry though.
The previous one was a cat, a very striking looking cat, that the lady ordered for her daughter as a Christmas gift.
I am so pleased that she said she is thrilled with it and can't wait to give it to her.
Mister Basset is a gift from a lady to her husband.
I can't post photos of either of them on facebook yet in case I spoil the surprise.
I will put them on here soon I expect.
Anyway, with any luck I can seal the Basset picture over the weekend and send him off.
No more before Christmas.  They are a process so they do take time.  I would never rush one.

I have also been printing and glittering my Christmas cards.....oh and I have started putting up the indoor decorations too.
Oh it is all go innit.

Thursday was Thanksgiving.
The picture above is our friend doing his 'James Bond villain' impersonation with our Lily.
Lily likes him.
Well, to be honest, Lily is something of a trollop (even with her pedigree) and seems flirt with anyone.
We had a lovely dinner, ate too much, of course, and spent the evening watching QI on the telly via a gadget Philip had bought that allows us to watch Youtube on TV.
That don't have quality like QI on our American telly.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fingers, arms, legs & eyes crossed.

I haven't mentioned it but I have had a problem with a tooth for a while.
Well, ever since the dentist decided it needed a root canal and crown actually.

I needed a bridge.  This is a contraption that is attached to a couple of teeth to replace lost teeth.
You can have permanent ones or detachable ones.
My dentist designed a detachable one that would fix onto this particular tooth.
It has to be strong.
So, he did the root canal and crown and added a little thingy that would secure the bridge.
Then the bridge was started.
Many impressions and visits later, it was finished.
I loved it.
Trouble was the tooth it attaches to doesn't like it at all.  Now this tooth should not be able to hurt.  It should not have any nerve.
Well, the bloody thing has the nerve to hurt.
This whole pallarver has cost me a mint.  I am now totally out of any insurance help.
Not that it was much help anyway.
I have a tooth that hurts and a bridge which I cannot use.
I think it sits there smiling (laughing) at me.
My dentist after reviewing yet another x ray sent me to a specialist.
Oh now we are talking money.
But, what to do?
If I say bugger it and have the tooth taken out - then I have totally wasted all that money (over a thousand dollars....rather a lot over) on a bridge that will never, ever be usable because the tooth it attaches to will be gone.
Or, do I pay the specialist to figure out why the tooth is still hurting and to fix it (so I can wear the smart arse bridge)......only what if he can't fix it and then I have paid him a fortune only to have the poxy tooth out anyway?

I have been so worried about all this.
Anyway, I saw the specialist yesterday.
I have seen him before, some years ago  when I had a root canal fail.  The bone all around it was infected and in the end it had to go....the tooth not the bone.
He is a lovely guy and listened carefully to all my woes.
He thinks there must be a piece of nerve that my dentist missed.  He plans to do the canal again and try to fix it.
If that fails he says he can surgically cut the root off thus disconnecting it from the other nerves.
Now, all the time he is saying this, believe it or not, I was not concerned about the effects of the treatment rather than the cost of it all. 
So, I told him my insurance had run out and I was just going to ask if he could wait until January to  put in the bill, when he stopped me and said.............

"ABSOLUTELY NO CHARGE.  THIS HASN'T BEEN RIGHT FROM THE START SO WE WILL PUT IT RIGHT.  TANTY (that is my dentist...the one who sent me to this guy.) CAN BUY ME A BEER."
I was so shocked and so relieved.
I told him, if he fixes it I will buy him a case of beer.

This is a like a weight lifted from me.  I may actually get to sleep at nights now.
I love this guy.
Now I really hope that it works and I can wipe the smile off of that smirking bridge.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blogging again.

This is where we stayed in Las Vegas.
The Excaliber.
We have stayed there before and it is one of our favourites.
Las Vegas was fun but it has become so expensive.
It used to be so cheap to eat and drink there as the casinos jostled for your custom.  Each one wanted you to stay so you would, hopefully, lose your money in their machines and on their card tables.
So, they all had cheap food and drink.
Not now.
The hotel/casinos have been taken over by conglomerates.
Luxor, Excaliber, MGM and New York, New York, for example, are now all owned by the same company.  They no longer need to compete.
So, they all charge the same.
$18 for a breakfast buffet !!!!!
That would be ok if it was a super, duper, deluxe breakfast buffet.
But it wasn't.
It was awful, limited choice and the food was cold, dry, overcooked and almost inedible.
We paid for it once.......and I tried to eat it........failed and finished up with a banana.
Evening meals were very expensive.  It cost us over $90 per evening to eat.
Drinks...ha...they used to give them it is $12 for a vodka and tonic or a whisky.
Ridiculous prices.
We still had a good time.
The weather was fab and I spent a couple of afternoons around the pools.
Outside the entrance to Caesars Palace.
Can you spot me at the back?
I have a black t.shirt on.
Inside Caesars Palace.

They do have a lovely fish tank inside too.

This is inside The Venetian....yes I said INSIDE.
The gondola rides are very expensive but the gondoliers do sing beautifully all the way round.
The ceiling in The Venetian.
Absolutely astounding.

Can you guess where this is?
I bet you can't.
This is actually inside the airport, by the gate as we were waiting for our flight back.
They don't want you to take any money home with you.

We don't gamble as such.  Philip had a couple of flutters while I was having a swim and I think I spent 50 cents in a machine. 
We went to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.  We got married in The Candlelight Chapel.
We made a pilgrimage to visit was gone.  Pulled down and something else was under construction.
The hotel we stayed in when we got married - gone.
They had built a McDonald's where it once stood.
We were a bit sad about all that but it didn't stop us having brilliant memories of how Vegas once was.
The plane going and coming back was packed.
Coming back it seemed everyone around us was coughing and sneezing.
We left warm, sunny weather weather and arrived to minus 10C and the ground covered in snow.
I then got sick.
I wasn't totally surprised.
That, and the fact I have portrait orders to complete, have stopped me blogging.
I have been really poorly though.   I haven't felt this rough in years and today is the first time, since I got back, that I haven't fallen asleep in the afternoon.  Not me at all.
Then yesterday, Sunday, was The Day of The Tornadoes.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where's Alan?

No the Chipmunk isn't called Alan.
I spotted him yesterday filling his cheeks with the corn I put out.
I thought they had all gone to bed for the winter but I think they are doing some last minute shopping.
The squirrels and birds have been infrequent visitors to the bird feeder since I have been back.
Philip said he hadn't seem many while I was gone either.
The mystery was solved a couple of days ago when I found squirrel fur scattered all around the bird feeder.
Lots of it.
A red tailed hawk must have been lurking about for a couple of weeks.
He thinks our bird feeder is some sort of buffet table laid out just for him.
"Hmmm....what will it be today,  doves, finches, chipmunk........oh I know...I fancy squirrel."
Poor little squirrel, I am so glad I didn't see it happen.
Now, a couple of days have gone past and the hawk will be looking elsewhere, the visitors are all back at the feeder.
I hope that hawk stays elsewhere for a long time too.

I called this "Where's Alan?" because Alan phoned last night.  We hadn't heard from him in quite a while so had lots to catch up on.
Bubba also needed his 'zoomie juice' so Philip put Alan on speaker phone so we could chat and see to Bubba at the same time.
The strangest thing happened.
Looby Loo, our very shy, former feral cat heard Alan's voice and was fascinated.
She always amazes us how she remembers him from year to year and doesn't hide away from him.
I tried to get some photos but this was the best I could manage.

She kept staring at the phone, at the sound of Alan's voice and then started gently tapping it.
She must be wondering where he is.

Anyway, he seems fine and has booked his flights for Alanmas.
For a while there it looked like Alanmas was going to be much shorter this time as the hotel is staying open all year instead of closing for about 8 weeks.
He has managed to get enough time off to warrant a visit and will be with us about 5 weeks.
We will have his shovel ready and waiting for him.

We are off to Las Vegas on Thursday morning......very early.
We should be back late on Monday, so I doubt I will update this blog until after then.
"This time next week Rodney, we will be millionaires."

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I have been having some odd dreams lately.
A recent one would be classed more of a nightmare to me.

I dreamed that I was back in England and working in a school.
Not the one I used to work in, affectionately known as "The Factory", but an altogether different school.  A posh one.

I had been given this job wait for it, for this is where the really, scary part comes in......PE. & PE !!!!!!

I have never, ever been of a sporting 'ilk' and know little (by which I mean 'absolutely nothing') about sports, rules or even blowing a whistle.
Oh that reminds me of a friend many years ago, she was a PE teacher,  who, on seeing some sort of rule infringement, blew her whistle so hard and for so long that her knickers fell down.
That in itself would have been enough to put me off forever.
Back to my dream.......
As if it wasn't bad enough finding myself cast as a sports teacher in a posh school ( my mind was racing as to how I was going to get away with it), but the other staff kept 'bigging me up'.
They introduced me to people as if I was some sort of 'celebrity teacher', an amazing prize that they had been so lucky to recruit.
I was becoming more and more terrified.
There are many subjects that, in a pinch, I could get away with for a while.
I am truly skilled and talented in, what is known in the trade as, 'making it up'.
P bloody E......not a clue.
It got worse.  Among the staff I spotted a couple of former colleagues.  This just made it worse.
What if they gave the game away?
They would have collapsed into hysterical laughter if they were told I was there to teach P poxy E?

As I frantically tried to figure a way out of this vision of hell, I heard the headmaster talking to someone about me on the phone.
He too was going on about how fantastically lucky they were to have me on staff now.
I then heard him say I was so amazing that a school in Canada wanted me and I was going to be sent there.
Bugger that.  I had only just made the journey to England from the States.  I wasn't doing that again so soon.
Fortunately, I then woke a a panic.......but not in Canada with one hand holding a whistle and the other holding my drawers up.
Phew !!!!