Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year

Well here comes 2014
I wonder what it holds?
This time last year we didn't know we were going to lose our little Lollipop.
I missed her so much at Christmas.
She used to love 'helping' me wrap presents and had an addiction to ribbon bows.
She would tear them off the gifts under the tree and chew them.
We could never put bows on until the last minute as we knew she would soon have them all off again.
This year I didn't have a little 'bow biter'.
I did put a little Christmas bow in the small box that she is in now.
Soppy I know, but I can't help it.

Saying goodbye to Lollipop did mean we could save another life.
So we welcomed Sally.  She had been in animal control and would have been put to sleep.
She has turned out to be one of the sweetest kitties ever and has fitted right in with all the others.

New Years Eve.
I have a feeling we won't be going out tonight.
I thought we might go to a neighbour across the road but it seems it is going to be a family get together now and we don't like to intrude on family gatherings.

Alanmas begins on Jan 7th.
Poor Alan.
He will be coming from mild (ok it is probably wet & windy but still mild) Guernsey into the frozen tundra that is Milwaukee right now.
Temperatures have been exceedingly low now, even for here, for about a month.
The snow started back in November.  I remember coming home to it from sunny, warm Las Vegas on November 12th.
But, Alan seems to love it.  It is just a shame he has never seen Milwaukee in all her glory in the summer.  State Fair, festivals, River Rhythms etc. 
Summer is quite short here really so it is just as well that it is generally good.
It seems our natural state is to be buried beneath feet of snow.  Snow which is now frozen solid and I can, once again, walk on top of it.
I think we spend more of the year with snow than without it.
Alanmas will be fun.
He makes me tea !!!!  
He isn't visiting the UK this year as his holiday has been shortened somewhat.
I am glad he can keep in touch with his mates on facebook.  What a boon that is for people living miles apart.

So, finally to everyone (or should that say anyone) who reads this blog.
I wish you all a Healthy New Year and hope that any surprises 2014 holds are all good ones.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Isn't this cute !!

One of our neighbours gave me this.  She made it herself and it is filled with hot chocolate powder.
She also gave us a bag of homemade cookies.
Her girls come over every year and I always make sure I have a couple of gift bags for them too.
We are fortunate to live in a friendly neighbourhood.

The snow doesn't want to let up.
This is what happened on the 22nd, Sunday, the day we were meant to be going to the theatre downtown to see A Christmal Carol.

We couldn't get out.
The road wasn't ploughed so I phoned the theatre.
They started off by saying there wasn't much they could do.  They couldn't give us credit towards another performance.
These tickets were $75 each.  I persisted, very politely and then he said "Oh well, he could give us seats for Christmas Eve if we liked."
Yes we did like.
I fed the squirrels.
Poor little sods have a hard time in Milwaukee in winter.
I thought squirrels hibernated but ours don't.   The chipmunks do.

Perhaps we have stoopy squirrels.

My stomach is still poorly.
I am getting a bit fed up with it now. 

Christmas Eve came and we were off to see Christmas Carol.
I am so glad we managed to see it as it was marvellous.
It was by far, the best performance we have seen.  They had a different actor playing Scrooge and had added a lot more humour.
When we came out it was still snowing.
The house is now growing icicles.
This is early in winter to have icicles.  I wonder how big they will get.
On our way back from the theatre we stopped by another neighbour to give them the Christmas gifts we had for them.
I say 'we', but I couldn't get out of the car.  I was blocked in by the snow banks on the side of the road so I couldn't open the door.  Philip jumped out and delivered the parcels.

Once home from the we prepared the veggies for Christmas Day.
Gary is coming so I will have to do enough ......

Christmas Day dinner........I think I did enough.
Lol....we had eaten half of it too by the time I took this picture.
My belly was very painful today. 
Sort of took the edge of Christmas for me.

I got lots of lovely pressies though, including new nail colours, a necklace, Hello Kitty watches, bracelets, pajamas etc.

Oh and this............

Isn't it brill ?????
It has little plastic cats to collect.   Fabulous.

This is one of the pressies we got for Gary.
Doesn't he look thrilled?
Yes it is a toilet seat.......but, oh, what a toilet seat !!!!
We did buy him other things too.

We played a round of Crazy Cat Lady.
I won !!!!
The winner is the one who can collect most cats (now there's a surprise).  Gary collected 18, I collected 20 and Philip didn't have any.
Anyway, enough hilarity, it was time to settle down to watch the Christmas Doctor Who.
So we did.
Trouble was we didn't understand any of the damn thing.
What on earth was it all about?
Gary seemed to have a little more idea than we did, but then he watches Doctor Who way more than we do.
Anyway, there is another new Doctor now.  
He looks interesting.

Today is Boxing Day and my belly still hurts.
I hope it settles down soon.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Stoopy steroids

We set off to see the Christmas lights and railway exhibition at the Country Springs Hotel on Wednesday evening.
It was lovely as usual but hard to believe that it had been a whole year since we had been here.
Time is flying way too fast these days.

The outside lights, set in woodland, were magnificent as always, but it was lovely to get inside for some hot chocolate.

I finished our Christmas cake.
I always think I won't get everything done and maybe I should just buy a Christmas cake in England and bring it back with me.
But, I never will.  They really don't taste as good......and it is only once a year.

Philip took the little cakes into his team at work yesterday (Thursday).  They all seemed very happy with them.
I am a little concerned because I sent all my Christmas cards out on the same day and it seems some people received theirs where others haven't.
I sent them ages ago too at the start of December.
I do hope they are not lost.

Poxy steroids.
They made me bloody ill.  I took the first day's, two in the morning, one after lunch, another after dinner and two at bedtime.
I was up nearly all night with stomach pains and nausea.
I had taken them with food etc.
I took one the following morning and then felt so bad I had to phone the dentist.
The upshot was.....to stop taking them.
I was going to anyway.  I felt really bad all day, even though I took no more after the one in the morning.
Today my stomach feels ok.
I shall have a glass or three of wine instead tonight.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Baking

I have finished the small Christmas cakes........at last.
Philip will be taking them to work tomorrow.
He gives them to his team.
I did it one year and so now it is expected.  I gave them all mini chocolate yule logs one year and they were all disappointed they didn't get a proper fruit cakes.
You can't buy them here.
There is no such thing as a Christmas cake.
I can't even buy the ingredients here.  I have to bring them back with me from my England trip every year.
Marzipan is a biggie.
No marzipan in Milwaukee.  So, I bring that back too.
I had some left over and it was a pity to waste it.
Philip adores marzipan.  It seems to be a bit like the Marmite phenomenon - you either love it or hate it.
I love it too.
Anyway, I did something I used to do with the kids in my classes in England, many moons ago.
I doubt they do such things in Home Economics now.  Well, even when I was there our department was changed to Design and Technology.  This seemed to consist mostly of designing labels for snack bars. The kids would much rather make something they can take home to mum and dad.  Shame really.  They all seemed to enjoy cooking.

I made marzipan fruits.
Philip loves these so it is a special treat.
I had food colouring etc so it was a fun thing to do.

Look who was on the birdie feeder with the sparrow.
It is our friend the Cardinal.  He had his wife with him too.
The seed and nut wreath is no more.
It took the squirrels just a couple of days to demolish the whole thing.
I am sure they are supposed to last a lot longer than that.

I saw the dentist today.
He had another look at my tooth.  He says there is no infection, no nerve and no blooming reason why it should keep hurting.
He thinks it is something to do with the gumline.  He said he thinks it is inflammation.
I did ask if it meant I would have to have my gums out ........he had a little chuckle at that.
Anyway, I am now on a six day course of steroids.  Hopefully, they will help.
I have to go back anyway on January 2nd for the root canal to be finished.
If it still hurts then he has all sorts of tortuous treatment lined up for me..........sigh.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Birdie Food

We got a surprise present.
It is a beautiful wreath made out of seeds and nuts.
It is also meant for birds.
No one told our squirrels that.   I put it up on a pole, thinking the squirrels wouldn't be able to get it.
I do put food out for the squirrels but, obviously they prefer this wreath.
The birds have been nowhere near it.  They prefer the regular seed and seemed quite nervous of the wreath.
I expect they would get used to it given time, but I doubt there is going to be much time.

He certainly is enjoying it.
I wonder just how long it will last?

Saturday it snowed rather a lot so we stayed in for much of the day.
This was a bit annoying as there were places I needed to go and things I needed to get.
We did nip out in the afternoon and main roads were relatively clear.
Sunday, we went out to breakfast and then did our shopping as usual.
The tooth that I am mid way through treatment on ...again....has started hurting........again.
This morning (Monday) was so bad that I could barely swallow my tea let alone eat anything.
Just my tongue brushing up against it was so painful.  It was throbbing away all the time.
This is not right........thought I.
So I phoned the dentist and explained that I have the next appointment for January 2nd but really could not wait.
The earliest they could see me with my own dentist is Wednesday.  Apparently he is in Green Bay on Mondays and Tuesdays.  That is too far to go.
So, today I have mostly been taking pills.
I don't like to do that as they make me feel queasy but I have little choice.
Lord knows what he can do to stop this tooth hurting.  If it wasn't for the fact that my whole bridge is designed to fix onto this tooth I would tell him to get rid of the damn thing.
But, I have spent an awful lot of dollars on a bridge that I have never been able to wear yet.
Getting tired of soup though.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Looby Loo deduced the imminent arrival of her Christmas tree at the first sight of the base.
I think her face is brilliant.

I am already tired of this winter.
I know, I know....I have heard the "it's Wisconsin" mantra enough times.
But, this is the coldest that I can remember since we arrived 16 years ago.
AND, it is never this cold in December.  It usually waits until January before getting ridiculous.
Don't get me wrong, I do not mind the snow.
I really don't mind it at all, especially as it gets close to Christmas.
It is this brutal cold I have had enough of.
Last night it went down to something like minus 35C with windchill.
And, it doesn't get much better during the day.
The news is full of warnings of frostbite etc.
For me, it just means I don't go out, unless I have a lift.
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to get a lift to work. I would not have gone otherwise.
I cannot walk to and from bus stops in this cold or, wait for buses.
So, this means I cannot get to the mall either.
I love the mall at this time of year.  It is inside.  It really doesn't need to be any more than that.
Inside and warm.
But, I cannot get there.  I love the Christmas decorations, having a coffee in the food court and people watching........people avoiding too at times.
I love to window shop.
I love to see the kids lined up to see Father Christmas.  This year I have not been nearly enough.
Bloody hell, I don't even like to go out to the dustbin.
Today, I have been mostly...........wrapping, ably assisted by various cats.
I think they work in shifts.
The sitting on the paper, stealing bows, attacking the sticky tape etc must all be on the rota.
Sally saw the tree for the first time.
Donna said it looked like she was thinking "I could do that in two jumps."
Amazing how slim the tree looks when you first bring it in.
After it had relaxed overnight it was twice as wide.

Then the lights went out.  After a little bit of swearing they were soon back in all their glory.

Looby Loo had a slight panic when we had to pull the tree out from the wall to fix the lights.  She must have thought we were taking it out already.
She doesn't totally hog it though.
She does share.
There is Lily sitting at the back.
Keep warm everyone.
I feel so sorry for animals that are outside.  Many must die in this weather.  Poor things.
Oh and sorry for going on about the cold.....but it is horrid.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Taters & Christmas Decs

This is one side of the house.
We have bought some more decorations and lights this year.
Under the tree, at the side, is Santa in his sleigh with a couple of reindeer.
We also have a Christmas tree at the back and more lights.
They do seem to be in danger of getting buried.

This is looking from the other side.
We have new, lighted candy canes and more reindeer, which you can't see.

On Saturday all the lights on the big Christmas tree indoors went out.

It had looked like this.
On investigation it transpires that hooking 10 sets of lights up together on one switch is not such a good idea.
It had burnt out.
We bought a new set of extensions and a surge protector.  Fortunately,  the lights themselves had not burnt out. 
If I had had to take that lot off the tree to put new lights on I would not have been a happy bunny.
It is now back in all its glorious illumination.

Sunday, was our first big snow storm of the season.
We did venture out in the morning but it was a mistake really and I was very glad when we got home again.
I heard the snow plough come along our road at 4.30 this morning (Monday).
It is chuffing cold.  Even for us.   It is so cold the chemicals do not work and the ice and snow won't melt.
Tonight it is going down to minus 25C with windchill.
I shall not venture out tomorrow at all.  I shan't be going in to work on Wednesday either, unless a lift can be arranged for me.
No way will I walk to and from bus stops and wait for buses.

If we really need to warm up we could sit in our freezer as it is warmer in there than it is outside.
This is unusually cold for us in December.  We don't usually get this cold until January, just in time for Alanmas.
There doesn't seem any prospect of it improving any time soon either.
Winter drawers on.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


This is Wilson the Basset.
I just adore him...even though we have never met.
This is this year's final pet portrait.  I haven't got the time to do any more before Christmas but I have already got another order for the New Year.
Well that's nice.
The lady who ordered Wilson received the portrait today and, fortunately, just emailed me to say she loves it.
She was very flattering, bless her, and said it had brought tears to her eyes (joyful ones I hope) when she opened the box.
This is for her husband for Christmas.  She said that she, and the family, will treasure it always.
I found this very heartwarming.
It is such a bloody relief when the client says they like the work you did.
I just hope that I never have a dissatisfied customer.

Anyway, it cheered my day up to hear nice things and it could do with some cheering  too.
A friend is having a bit of a hard time and the moment and it is rather worrying.

The weather is horrid - freezing fog for the last two days.
This is very unusual for Milwaukee and I think I would prefer more snow.
There is a huge snow storm that looks like it is going to pass just north of us.  It is dropping 2 -3 feet of snow in some areas.
I hope it does miss us.  That is rather a lot in one go.
Plus the temperature is set to drop a lot tomorrow and on into next week.
Never mind..........winter drawers on.

Tomorrow isn't going to be very pleasant either.
I have to go to the dentist to have this poxy root canal done again.
Won't that be fun.

Sunday, December 1, 2013