Thursday, December 24, 2015


This popped up on my facebook today.
It is a photo of our garden taken on Christmas Eve 2 years ago.
This year we have no snow.
It all seems very strange not to have snow in Milwaukee at Christmas.

This is a photo of me with the real Father Christmas.
He is at Mayfair Mall every Christmas.
I was very excited to meet him.  Such a nice man.

Today has been difficult.
I am not at liberty to say why but I have shed many tears today.
Not that anyone in this house would know.
I have hidden myself away so that I don't put a dark cloud over anyone's Christmas.
I have been near to tears all day but every time I felt I couldn't contain them I found somewhere to hide until I was back in control again.
Oh well.........this too shall pass.

I wish a very Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year to you all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

For auld lang syne

Firstly.....a few photos of this year's house decorations.
I have been waiting for the snow, as they look more festive in snow.
But, it seems our visitors must have brought the UK weather with them and we have had mostly rain, winds and fog.
It is extremely mild for us.
The lake isn't frozen.  Nothing is frozen.
Will this last into Alanmas?   I doubt it.

So, I took these photos without snow.
It is extremely odd for us to have these mild temperatures at this time of year.
It has made Christmas not seem quite so Christmassy.

As much as I am enjoying being able to get out and about easily.........I will admit I am missing the snow.
Even Wisconsinites, who got cross every time Donna mentioned she couldn't wait for snow, are starting to complain about the rain and fog.
We never usually get much rain, but we have had loads lately.  I suppose, if it were colder, it would have been snow.
How odd.

I wonder if Alan will get to see grass this visit.
That would be very unusual.

For auld lang syne......... I had a phone call the other day.  I recognised the number.  It was my former friend....the one who threw a hissy fit at me because I didn't mind children having free school meals.  Do you remember?
She sort of lost control and was really awful.
She did try to phone a couple of times afterwards but I was too upset to answer. 
Anyway, would you believe that was over a year ago?  16 months in fact.
I have wondered about her from time to time as she is getting older and isn't in the best of health.
Anyway, it was her number.
I will admit I hesitated for a few moments, but then I is Christmas........goodwill to all ........peace etc.  so I answered it.
She had phoned to explain why she hadn't sent me a Christmas card.
I had sent her one last year, even though the friendship was dead, and she also sent one to me.
I sent her one again this year but I did think it was getting a bit late for cards so I thought she had maybe decided not to send any more.
But, she explained that she had had surgery on a heart valve and hadn't been able to send any cards.   She said she didn't want me to think she just hadn't sent me one.
We didn't mention 'the episode' and chatted quite normally.  She asked me about my family etc and I asked about hers.  I wished her better and we agreed to speak again in the New Year.
I have to say it felt good to talk to her and to heal some wounds.
Who knows what had got into her that day?  Who knows what might have happened in her life that made her explode at me over nothing?  It wasn't like her but it was very upsetting.
It must have taken a lot of courage to phone me after all this time.  I take my hat off to her for that.  So, this friendship may recover.  It may not be the same as before but life is too short to nurse grudges.
It wasn't like a facebook "I unfriend you", which seems a rather childish,  adolescent thing to do.  It had been a parting of the ways, but maybe those ways will join up again.
We shall see.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ha Bumhug..........again.

Yesterday, Sunday, we went to see Christmas Carol at the Pabst theatre, shown above.
It is an old, beautiful theatre that I adore.
We sat in the front row of the balcony......brilliant seats.
The story is, of course, always the same but they change little things every year, just to keep it fresh.
We have been almost every year since we came here over 18 years ago.
Last year there was a new actor playing Scrooge, the others change from year to year but Scrooge generally stays for a while.
Last year was amazing.  Philip and I thought it was awesome.  The reviews agreed with us.
So, we were pleased to see excellent reviews again this year, before we went.
The reviews said it was even better...........well they lied.
It wasn't better.
It wasn't anywhere near as good as last year.
I know they make changes from year to year but they had taken out so many good, little bits that the whole thing seemed a bit flat.
For instance.........there is a scene in the house of Scrooge's nephew where they are having a party.
The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to see what is going on.
Now this is usually a lot of fun....lots of humour ....and it started well.......
Mr Topper, who is making eyes at Miss Lucy, was played by a brilliant actor.  He reminded me of Rick Mayall when he played Flasheart.
He was so funny as he made his advances on Miss Lucy.  She was equally brilliant, getting all of a twitter over it.
Usually, this is continued as they play the game Blind Man's Buff........with Mr Topper manipulating the game to be able to steal a kiss from Miss Lucy.
But, it didn't happen.
Just as we were all chuckling at the antics of Mr Topper and Miss Lucy and waiting for the game to start........they all started singing Christmas Carols.
They had taken that whole part out.  Why?
Apart from this, the actors all seemed a bit fed up.  Apart from Scrooge himself and a couple of others....they were all a bit lack lustre.
I wonder why?   It isn't at the end of its run yet so they shouldn't be tired of it.  We have seen it much closer to Christmas before and it has always had lots of energy.
But, who knows what goes on backstage.  Maybe there are problems with the cast.
I did notice when they all came out to take a bow, that one of them actually pulled a face as everyone was applauding.
After the spectacle of The Nutcracker, it was a bit disappointing.
Maybe next year we will have a break from it and find something else to see.

I did finish off the Christmas Cake.
I cheated this year and ordered a small British fruitcake online.
I then soaked it with brandy and sherry, added a thick layer of marzipan and iced it.
It smelled wonderful by the time I finished tarting it up.
If it tastes better than my own I shall be bloody annoyed.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Sunday it was off to see The Nutcracker ballet at the Milwaukee Centre for Performing Arts.
It was spectacular.
The costumes, colours, dancing and athleticism are all quite amazing.

Before the performance started we spent some time in the foyer of one of the downtown banks.
They put on a magnificent display every year.
We try not to ever miss it.

They change it every year and it just gets more beautiful.
The foyer is kept open right over the weekends so that people can come inside to see it.

It made a change this year not to be fighting our way through snow and ice to get there.  This is much to Donna's disgust as she can't wait to get cracking with her shovel.  This is the warmest December we have ever known.  Just one of those things........or global warming?  We shall see.

Then into the theatre where we were greeted by some of the children taking part in the ballet.
Bit fierce looking.

We were also treated to Christmas Carols played by a Milwaukee youth orchestra.  Some of the kids were very young ......and bloody good.

It was then time to enter the theatre where I took this photo of the stage....and then I got told off for taking it.  I thought this was a little bit silly as, of course, I wouldn't have taken any of the performance but it wouldn't hurt the stage.  
Never mind.

We then settled down to watch The Nutcracker......I didn't take the photos of the honest.
I found these last two and the first one on the internet and used them.

If you have never seen this ballet I really do recommend it.  It is stunningly beautiful and funny.

This Saturday we will be off to see Christmas Carol.
Last night we did Candy Cane Lane.

Donna gave me a massage last weekend too.  It was lovely.  If only she wouldn't say it was like massaging a twig.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

All good things...

Tootsie isn't a lap cat.
She is, however. a box cat.
So, Lauren figured out a way to get a cuddle that both of them could live with.

Bit of a pants day yesterday.
Got to work and had an angina attack.  I hadn't felt all that great when I was waiting for the bus but I suppose the walk from the bus stop didn't help.
I think I am going to have to re think doing that for the winter months.
It might have been stress though.
I miss little Ellie (the dachshund).  She was my office buddy.

I felt a bit rough for the rest of the day.  Today I had intended to go to the mall.
I still intend to go.
I don't feel too bad this morning.  It is quite likely I will feel worse tomorrow.
This does seem to be the pattern.

Philip took the presents we buy for the underprivileged children in to work today.   They will then be taken to the school to be handed out just before Christmas.
Underprivileged is really not a strong enough word.  These children are well below the poverty line.
The gifts we send will probably be the only ones they get.
We managed to fulfill the wishes they had sent us in their Santa letters.
This year we gave to two kids, both aged 10, a boy and a girl.
It breaks my heart that there will be those that get nothing and haven't even got enough clothes to wear.
It shouldn't happen over here.

Finally, a thank you to all those who contacted me re the facebook unfriending etiquette.
It is as I thought.  You all seemed to be in agreement and I do appreciate the advice.
I will not be publishing your comments, messages or conversations as I don't want you to be 'unfriended' too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Getting festive

Lauren giving TommyJones a cuddle.
He can stand a lot of that.
Christmas seems to be galloping up.  I can't believe it is now only a couple of weeks away.
Sunday we will be going to see The Nutcracker put on by the Milwaukee Ballet Company.
We haven't been for a couple of years.  It really is quite spectacular.  Lauren wanted to see it so we got tickets a while ago.
Now that is almost upon us.
The following weekend we will be seeing Christmas Carol at the Milwaukee Pabst Theatre.
This is something we do every year.  I have read that it is supposed to be even better this year.
I am looking forward to finding out for ourselves.
We have also to fit in a trip to Candy Cane Lane and The Country Springs see all the Christmas displays.

 Looby Loo under her Christmas tree.  
She so loves the tree.  I always feel so bad when we take it outside.
I am not so in love with this tree this year.  The needles are not falling off but the branches are bending already.
That doesn't usually happen for, at least, another couple of weeks.
I am watering and feeding it twice a day, so it shouldn't do that.

It will soon be Alanmas.
He arrives here on Jan 5th.  I shall be so grateful for another pair of hands to help take all the decorations down.
I know Philip will welcome his help with the outside display.  That is, of course, if we are able to get the stakes out of the ground.
Santa etc was out there until almost Easter last year as the ground was so frozen.  I had visions of putting Easter Eggs in his sleigh.
It has been much milder, so far, this year.
We have had only one major snow storm.  
I probably shouldn't have said that.  It is probably all waiting for Alanmas.  
Isn't QI great for finding things out.  Apparently, the decorations don't have to be taken down on January 6th.
They are traditionally allowed to stay up until Candlemas, which is February 1st.
Who knew?
We might not have to rush so much now I know.

I just had a lovely phone call from one of my old friends in England.  We have missed seeing each other this year.
I really want to get over there next year.  I love bimbling about around Ashford, Folkestone and Canterbury..........which raises a question.
Ok, all you facebook experts.....I have a question on etiquette.
What does it mean if someone 'unfriends' you on facebook?
Does it mean that they have 'unfriended' you from their life?
If you have known someone for 20+ years and they 'unfriend' you then does that mean that if you bumped into each other in the street you are likely to be blanked?
There wasn't a blazing row, in which case, of course the friendship might be totally over.
In real life you wouldn't say to someone, "I unfriend you."
I have 'unfriended' people before but it has always people I didn't really know in the first place.
Sometimes I have found people on my list and I have no clue who they are.   That is different I think. I doubt they even noticed.

Anyway, I am looking for opinions.  What does it really mean?
What is the protocol?  Do I stick my nose in the air and walk on by.....or what?
Private message me and let me know what you think. I shall be interested to see what others think.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A sad farewell.

What a crap week.
Well, friends of mine will know that this week is always very bad for me.
It is full of terrible memories, feelings, emotions and indescribable pain.  These are from many years ago but return each year as if it all happened yesterday.
Time has not faded them in the slightest.
So, this week, every year I am always on the verge of tears so I try not to get upset over anything as I have enough to deal with.
This year that was made impossible.
The picture above is of Ellie.
She is my friend's little dog. The friend I work for.  Little Ellie had back problems at the beginning of the year.  She did seem to get better and for a few months she seemed pretty good.
Just lately though she was having problems.  First with one back leg, then with a front one too.
The vet said this was all related to her spine.
Dogs like Ellie has long spines and little legs.  This puts a strain on them and you have to be careful about the sort of exercise they take.
Well, for the past couple of weeks Ellie has been getting worse.
Then I got a phone call on Monday to say she was totally paralyzed and would have to be put to sleep.
So, when I got there Wednesday I was told they would be taking her that day....while I was there.
I really didn't need that.
I sat and cuddled sweet Ellie, who was always  my little office buddy, and cried and cried.
I cradled her and rocked her.  She couldn't walk at all but she was so pleased to see me.  She kissed my face and made the little noises she always made when she was so happy.
I was heartbroken when they took her.
When my friend came back we both wept together.

Another little mate gone.  I will miss her. Poxy week.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


For Our Lost Children | A Poem

Butterfly and dandelion
Another morning dawns bright and clear,
a winter’s day, cold and still.
I should be glad,
but I’m gripped by fear,
heart heavy, slowed by an aching chill.
I feel only empty and sad.
I miss their smiling faces.
They smiled a lot. I see them everywhere,
just a fleeting glimpse, a flash of light,
then they move on to other places.
Stuck in the moment, I can only stare
into the void left behind by their flight.
They were too quick for me, for us.
They lived their whole lifetimes
before we were ready to let them go.
So we endure, comforted by memories, pained by loss,
guilty of love, of ignorance, of hope, our human crimes.
We did our best, I hope they know.
Life goes on, we are told,
but for a while it passes us by.
Lazy is Time; sly, cruel, unkind,
beating us with remembrances, ragged and bold,
softening emotions, smoothing grief while we cry,
eventually bringing peace of mind.

Time doesn't heal........not at all.