Saturday, March 26, 2011

The wrath of grapes

Feeling a bit under the weather today. Thumping headache, delicate stomach. Must be a virus. Oh by the way, had a great night last night with neighborhood friends. Lots of talking, eating and drinking until the early hours. I used the fact that I was slurring my words as my indicator that it was time to leave.....hey, wait a minute. Don't suppose these events could be related do you?...

I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This blog post contains complaints and wingeing

Lately we have been irritated by the BBC evening News which gives reminders before every report that "this report contains flash photography". Whats all that about? I assume they are worried that someone will be affected by the flashes and will sue them? I think there should be some more warnings given prior to each news report to let us know about undesirable content. Examples would be " This reporter has an unfathomable accent", "this report contains useless statistics and facts",  "this presenter has seriously bad dress sense" , and one I would look out for would be "this report contains soccer".

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

15 years!!

Happy Anniversary to my husband Tony.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Alive again!!

I feel like a dormouse must feel when waking up from hibernation. For the first time in many months its been possible to spend time outside and its been great! The snow has gone from everywhere except the shadiest spots, the sun is out and although its not exactly warm, as long as you wear a thick sweatshirt, the temperature is comfortable. So yesterday I spent a few happy hours tidying up the flower beds in the backyard. My back was aching, and my boots and gloves were filthy, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Today I am going to tempt fate by buying and planting out a few hardy pansies and primroses to add a bit of color to the beds. The chairs are out on the deck (albeit sans cushions...) so Spring better be round the corner now. No more snow please (or if you must snow, sprinkles only...)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Old fart

I logged into Amazon today and the DVD it had recommended for me was "Easy yoga for arthritis". All I need now is the "Blue Rinse for all" and "Zimmer maintenance" DVDs and my collection will be complete.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Funny for some

I am listening to a Bill Bryson book on my iPod called "I'm a stranger here myself" and I have come to the conclusion that, to enjoy this book at its fullest you really need to have spent some time living in both the UK and the USA. The book is a series of articles that he wrote for a UK newspaper (The Daily Mail) and it focuses on observations of his life in the US and the differences between that and his previous life in the UK (he is an American who spent 27 years living in the UK, where he met his English wife). Some of the articles are pretty funny but possibly would not be understood by all readers. An example is one entry he wrote about the agonies of visiting the hairdresser/barber. He leaves the barbershop looking like, in his words, a lemon meringue with ears. When he gets home his wife asks him what on earth he has done to his hair. He explains that he told the barber he wanted to look "like a banker" to which his wife replied, "well at least you rhyme". How many Americans would understand that I wonder...this would probably explain why, when I told a couple of my work colleagues that I was reading a Bill Bryson book they replied "why?", and proceeded to describe how they had read his books and found them boring.

It seems to me that one of the big differences between the Brits and the Americans is that the Brits love gardening and can probably give you the botanical name of most flowers in your backyard, whereas the Americans are obsessed with their health and can probably tell you the pharmaceutical name of every pill and potion in your medicine cabinet...

Making choices

Hmm...Chinese or Ceramics?
Robert is in the final year of middle school and as such, has to make choices about the courses he wants to do next year in high school.  The school have really made a meal out of something that should be so simple. Tony and I went to a parents evening last week which was intended to tell us about the program. It lasted 2 hours. The students were presented with a 70 page book, outlining all the possible subjects and levels. I came to the conclusion that it could've been summed up in the following simple statement: "Your child must take a series of mandatory subjects next year, such as Math, English, a language and a science. The appropriate level (honors, A or B) will be selected by their current teachers. Theres a small number of elective subjects they can choose from".

I must say however that I am impressed with the selection of electives offered to the students. They look so interesting! I don't recall being given this sort of choice. Web Design, Theatrical  design, TV production, Interior design, Digital imaging, Exploring technology, Robotics & Electronics....makes Needlework, Cookery or "Craft, design & Technology" seem somewhat bland doesn't it?!

Spring has Sprung, the grass has ris' (I wonder where the flowers is...)

So the clocks went forward an hour this morning, and  yesterday I saw some snowdrops growing under some trees. The snow is mostly gone. Would it be too optimistic to think that Spring may be on its way?

Corned beef hash, pasties and history

Corned beef hash (yum!)
Corned beef Pasty (yum!)
This week Emma decided that she fancied some corned beef hash. To those that don't know what that is, this is a mixture of corned beef , fried onion and mashed potato, and its very tasty. It is sometimes used as the filling in a pasty (pasty: a filled pastry case, associated with Cornwall, in the south west of England, UK, made by placing the uncooked filling on a flat pastry circle, and folding it to wrap the filling, crimping the edge to form a seal. The result is a raised semicircular package....thank you wikipedia).  

So we bought a bag of potatoes, some onions and looked for corned  beef. Do you think we could find any? We looked in all the local supermarkets, plus Walmart and Target. Not a can to be found on any shelf. Whats going on?. Is there a world shortage of corned beef or a ban on this product? Then we realized that St Patrick's day is in a few days time (March 17th). This means that Americans who aspire to be Irish, and even those that don't, eat a strange mixture of corned beef and cabbage, believing this to be a traditional Irish dish. Maybe it is, all I can say is that I have never seen it on a pub or restaurant menu in Ireland. I think its a load of old blarney...
Corned Beef and Cabbage (yuk!)

 St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland (although he was born in Wales...). The patron saint of Wales is St David, and St David's day is March 1st (oops! I missed it). So what is a patron saint? I hear you ask. Its a saint who is considered to be a defender of some group or nation apparently. So there you have it. Recipes and general knowledge all in one blog post. It does not get any better than that, so it doesn't...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A modern day Jackanory

I am loving listening to audiobooks on my ipod at the moment. I am new to this form of entertainment but am an immediate fan. It is extremely relaxing to drive to work with Bill Bryson's easy-going and slightly bemused voice reading from his books. So far I have listened to 'A Walk in the Woods' and 'In a Sunburned Country', both excellent; funny and informative at the same time. I can't help but laugh out loud at times, I don't know what the driver in front thinks. My journey to and from work each day flies by, and I sometimes have to wait in the parking lot or garage while I finish listening to a chapter. Isn't technology great!