Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Busy busy

Big fishes at Boerner Botanical Gardens.

Thursday night Donna took Lauren with her to her karaoke thingie.
She didn't stay all night, Philip picked her up at around 11pm, which was quite late enough.
Apparently, she had a blast and is going next Thursday too.

Saturday we bimbled about during the day.  They bought new tops and t.shirts in the mall and then in the evening Donna was out with another lot of mates to a cocktail lounge.
Apparently it is the oldest one in Milwaukee.  It has no list of cocktails, you just tell the barman what sort of things you like and he makes you one that he thinks you will enjoy.
It seems he does a good job.
We took Lauren out to eat at Noodles.

Sunday after another brekkie of steak and eggs (Donna) we went to Boerner Botanical Gardens.

Donna's brekkie.

The botanical gardens are lovely at this time of year and are good for a gentle stroll to help one's "steak and eggs" settle.

Lauren is an avid music fan and 'twits' with various bands, one of whom is based in Milwaukee.
They are fairly well known and we were surprised when they invited her to their studio to meet them and hear their latest album.
So, on Monday evening we took her and Donna amid great excitement.

They were really lovely.
They made Donna and Lauren really welcome and answered all Lauren's questions.  She wants to be a music journalist so this is a good start.

They also gave Lauren a couple of t.shirts and a goodie bag which included a couple of their albums, guitar picks, stickers and a set of the drummer's sticks.
To say she was thrilled would be a huge understatement.

Today, Tuesday they are off to a barbeque at another of Donna's friends.  He also plays in a band and runs the karaoke.  He has invited Lauren to bring her guitar along so she can play it there and hear what it sounds like through his professional equipment.

Tomorrow is Warped Tour.........this is turning into quite a holiday for them.  I am so glad.

Gary is coming to Warped Tour with us but did send a message to Lauren regarding it.  It went something like this.
"When we go to the Warp Speed Tour, should I wear my red or blue Star Trek uniform?"

I wonder if you can imagine how that was received?

Friday, July 25, 2014


This is a photo of Tootsie - just because I think it is a lovely picture of her.

The fiasco?
The fiasco was River Rhythms on Wednesday night.

After spending much of Tuesday and a lot of Wednesday preparing food for River Rhythms, it was pants.
Donna and Lauren had a previous engagement but it was cancelled and they wanted to attend River Rhythms too.
Brill......more of us.
Gary, of course, would be there.
The band were not Yeehaw's so all should have been well.
We arrived to find Gary already had secured a spot and we set up our chairs, tables etc and shared out the grub.
Then the band started.
They were awful.   They were possibly the worst band we have ever seen there.   The leader singer was nowhere near as good as he thought he was and it was so loud, his piercing voice hurt my ears.
I looked at Donna and she had her fingers in her ears.
The soundman at River Rhythms is usually very good so it was quite a surprise that he had totally messed this up.
After getting tired of sitting there with our fingers in our ears (Lauren was ok because she was listening to her ipod so she had her earphones in her lugholes), someone had the brill idea of stuffing tissue in our ears.
We scrunched up bits of napkin and poked our ears full of the stuff...........ahhhhhhhh....bliss.
Trouble was - we couldn't hear each other speak.
The interval came and was a blessing.  We managed to have a chat and the decision was made to leave as soon as the band started up again.
Which we did.
This was probably only the second time we have ever left early.
Strange thing was that there were far fewer people over there than there are normally.
Obviously they knew something we didn't know.

Now for something completely different.
We have another cow bird baby in the garden.
I thought we might get another as I noticed an adult cow bird during the Spring.
They are like cuckoos and lay their eggs in another bird's nest.
It amazes me that the host parents don't realize something is up when the baby grows to more than twice their size.
I expect they blame each others side of the family for the "black sheep".

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Safely here

They arrived safely on Saturday at around 5pm.
They flew into Chicago and then had another flight to Milwaukee.  This was very kind of them as they wanted to save Philip having to drive to Chicago again on a Saturday.  He drives backwards and forwards to Chicago every week day for work.
He wouldn't have minded going to Chicago again but Donna insisted they would fly into Milwaukee.

It wasn't long before the Rock Band came out.

Lauren loves the new guitar we bought her too.  She can now practice while she is here.  We have already been treated to a concert.

Donna went out with her Milwaukee mates on Sunday night.
They all gathered at a karaoke bar to welcome her back.
She went out with them again last night, Tuesday, and we are all going to River Rhythms tonight.
We shall meet up with Gary there.  I wonder if there will be any more celebs there tonight.

I have given Lauren my purple Doc Martins boots.
How many grandmothers can say that I wonder?
She is thrilled with them and has hardly taken them off since.

They were actually just like brand new (even though they are quite a few years old), because I had only worn them once or twice.
I didn't realise she liked them until I saw her gazing at a pair in a shop in the mall.
They were $150 !!!
I remembered I had the purple ones stashed away somewhere and asked her if she would like them.
It seems she does..........big time.
I was a teensy bit sad to see them go but I would rather she got some use out of them than to have them sitting in a box here.
She is wearing them to Warped Tour.
Which is next Wednesday - sigh.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

U2 Zoo

At long last we managed to get to River Rhythms.
There wasn't a "Yee Haaa" band in sight.
Oh, River Rhythms how I have missed thee.
To sit outside, by the Milwaukee River, on a warm evening, listening to music......brilliant.
I haven't felt so relaxed in a long time.
I had had a particularly bad day at work ( one day I will just walk out ), so it couldn't have come at a better time.

The band was U2 Zoo -  a U2 tribute band.

Bono seems to have put on a little weight but after a wobbly start they warmed up and were bloody good.
Donna was pig sick that she won't be here until Saturday as she is a huge U2 fan and only just missed this lot.
She has seen U2 live so although she may have been a bit picky, I think she would have appreciated it way more than we did as she would have recognised all the songs.
They have a website - in case anyone is interested.


There were a few new celebs there as well as our favourites from previous years.

Looks like our hard winter was tough on Johnny Depp.
He was definitely looking a little the worse for wear.

There was a new face in the crowd, however.

Billy Connolly was looking really well.
He seemed to really enjoy the music and a few bevvies.
Nice to see the celebs are not too famous to sit on the grass and enjoy River Rhythms.

The Warped Tour looms ever nearer.  Apparently, Lauren can speak of nothing else and is popping with excitement.
Donna, Gary and myself don't seem to have captured the spirit of it much, but Donna has made us feel a whole lot better about the ordeal - oops, I mean experience.

Firstly, it doesn't go on into the wee small hours, as I had imagined. It starts at 11am and finishes at 9pm - quite long enough I think.

Secondly, as it is primarily a music fest for teens, and under 16s have to be accompanied, - they will have a "Parents Day Care" area.
Oh now that sounds fab. 
I wonder if they supply ear plugs and valium?

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Shadow

On Friday I got "Merved".

I might have to start calling him Ninja Merv.  I had gone out to water the sunflowers when I noticed the gasmen had filled in the holes they had dug in the lawn and put grass seed down.
This would need watering too.
I dragged the hose round to the side of the house and starting watering.
I swear there was not a soul in sight.
Suddenly there was a voice at my shoulder.  Merv....or more precisely Ninja Merv.
Had he popped up out of a man hole?

Being Merved is quite an unnerving experience, and I don't mean the creeping up...silently....like...like.....a........ninja.
No I mean the type of conversation or dare I say, lack of it.
Merv launched into a discourse regarding the gasmen and their methods of work, what they had done etc.  He described all the machines they'd used and how they'd used them.  I heard all about the cameras they put into the pipes to see if there is a fault.  It was most informative.......but there was a distinct lack of understanding of how a conversation works.
Every time there was a pause and I tried to put in my two penn'orth - he disregarded me completely and just carried on from where he left off.
It was uncanny.
He had started to tell me all about the neighbours across from me...the ones on the other corner.  I have merely waved and smiled since they have been here, but Ninja Merv knew all about them.  He knew where they had moved from (California) and that they originated from Wisconsin.  He even started to tell me about their dog, who must be older than they thought (around 12) as he was having a lot of trouble.
At this point, a pause appeared and I tried to say something like, "Yes it is rotten when our pets get old.  One of our cats is 17 and.....................".
Nope, Ninja Merv was only broadcasting....his receiver must have been turned off or not functioning, as he just carried on, totally changing the subject to the building work by McDonald's.
I couldn't help but smile, almost giggle.  It takes you one of two ways I think.  You either knock his head off or you find it amusing.  I did the latter.
But, I am now the proud possessor of new knowledge.
I am reliably informed (although I shall never disclose by whom) that they had to dig up the petrol station next to McDonald's because the big underground petrol tanks were leaking.
Apparently, a certain stealth like apparition who lives across the road from me, takes his sandwiches to a bench outside McDonald's and watches the men work.  He also, quite proudly, boasted of badgering them into telling him exactly what they were doing and why.
They must love him.
Anyway, he seemed quite miffed when I "made my excuses and left".
"Yes, well, I suppose some people do have things to do.", he snipped.
I would have asked him about his hole only he wouldn't have paid attention.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yeeeeee Haaaaaaaaaa

We were going to River Rhythms tonight.
Note I said 'were'.
Gary, thoughtfully let me know that it will be a country & western band playing tonight.
I am sure they will be very good - if you like that sort of thing.
But Philip, absolutely, doesn't like that sort of thing.
So, I wasn't wrong when I told Gary I doubted we would be going.
Gary knew this anyway.
But, we are meeting up for a picnic in another park by the lake - without any yee haaaas, yahoos...and stuff like that there cowpoke.   I wonder why they called people 'cowpoke'......sounds dodgy to me.

The other thing to be taken into account is that people are now allowed to "open carry" their guns.

A park full of over excited, drunken, country music fans complete with guns just doesn't sound the safest place to be really.
Funny, I never had to worry about things like that when I went to the Kingsnorth Village Fete.
The most exciting thing that ever happened there was the year the kids dancing around the Maypole got so tangled that they tied themselves into a knot. They came to a complete standstill and burst into tears. Their mothers all rushed forward to untangle them and the day was saved. The only other memorable event was when I won the 'Guess the weight of the cake" competition.
Pretty exciting stuff.

If Kingsnorth Village had ever done a country music fest they would probably have hired this lot.  I would have preferred them I think. I do miss the old fashioned, genteel, English Fete. 

It is Bastille Days in downtown Milwaukee this weekend.  They erect a small Eifle Tower every year and have "storm the Bastille" races around the square.
No I don't know either.
We haven't been for a couple of years so we thought we might attend this time.
There are quite a few bands, food, stalls etc.
The highlight, for me, the last time we went, was a lady announcer who thought she spoke fluent french by putting "Oooh la la" at the end of every sentence.

"Sans serif Rodney, you know it makes sense."

Friday, July 4, 2014


I think I am really fortunate to be able to sit at my window and watch all sorts of wildlife.
Donald & Daisy, the ducks, still visit, the bunny, Bun Bun, also visits every day.
The Chippies are still filling their little faces with all the bird food.

Here is a Chippy who is quite unconcerned about Bun Bun being there.
The squirrels, on the other hand, chase the Chippies away, but they don't go far and soon sneak back.
We have baby squirrels now.
They are so funny.  Philip and I were watching one today.  He was hanging from some low tree branches in the garden, swinging and then dropping down to do roly polys.
He was flying around the garden and then found one of the flags that the gas men had put in the lawn to indicate where pipes were.
Oh he did have fun with the flag.  It is on a flexible stick.  He was bending it over and then letting it go so it boinged backwards and forwards.
It makes me smile just watching the fun they have.

Today is July 4th.
This is something of an occasion over here.
We were going to watch the fireworks in the park but after spending the day steam cleaning the carpets, poor Philip didn't feel like getting changed and going out.
I can't say I blame him.
So we ordered pizza and stayed home.
I have seen fireworks before.
Also, I was brought up with having fireworks on cold, foggy nights. Soup and hot, baked potatoes rounded off the evening.
It just isn't the same to me to be sitting outside, in the heat, waiting for it to get dark enough to be able to see the fireworks.
November 5th will always be our favourite time for fireworks I think.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Justice for the kids.

Apparently there are more people abused by this vile excuse for a man, coming forward now. 
It seems it was well know in Australia too.
The people who have covered for him and his ilk should now be prosecuted too.
These perverts have caused peoples lives to be blighted and still there are those who will doubt the veracity of the evidence.
Evidence that has been through a court of law.  He didn't even care about the extra pain he put his victims through in the courts.
He is convicted.  Good.  Nothing is 'alleged' any more.   He is convicted.
Those victims, and it seems there are many, who thought they wouldn't have been believed, now have the right to be heard.
They also have the right to any compensation (such that it might be) that comes their way.
That compensation will never ever make up for what they went through or for what they go through every day.
Every child deserves to be heard.  Every child deserves the support that gives them the courage to speak out.  This can only be served by listening to them with compassion.
It is beyond me how anyone can have any sympathy for someone who commits such repulsive acts.

I will not rant any more about this............bloody good job I hear you say.
It is just very close to my heart and grieves me to think it doesn't upset everyone else.

So, on another note..........less than 3 weeks until Donna and Lauren arrive.
So excited.  We have lots of things lined up to do while they are here.
The Warped Tour being one of them...........sigh.