Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Latest painting

Female viagra

I read today that the US FDA has approved a pill known as the female Viagra pill. The drug is called Flibanserin, and is produced by Sprout Pharmaceuticals. Apparently when taken daily by men, it reduces their beer bellies down to a six pack, silences their farts and gives them a six inch tongue. Sounds pretty effective...

(Apologies to my mother for this post)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pumping iron

On June 19th I posted an entry declaring my intention to return to the gym. Well I'm pleased to report that I did join up, and have also attended a weights class. After just one session I don't look quite the same as the model whose picture I posted, but the micro bikini is quite fetching...

More art?

We spent an hour or two wandering around the Centre Pompidou, Paris' modern art museum. The Musee National d'Art Moderne, France's national collection of art dating from 1905 onward, has  100,000 pieces on display, including the work of fauvists, cubists and surrealists as well as pop art and contemporary works.

I enjoyed many of the exhibits, such as those by Matisse and Monet, puzzled at the Picasso paintings, and was positively appalled by these little gems:

Sightseeing in Paris

Paris was everything I imagined, but was made even worse by the 90+ degree temperatures. It was hot, crowded, noisy and worst of all, full of arrogant French waiters. We barely got inside any of the attractions due to the 3hr ticket lines. However we saw the outside of many of Paris' finest landmarks. Here's a few pictures...

And on to Paris...

We took the high speed train from Amsterdam to Paris. It was relaxing looking out of the window at the passing scenery, although like most train-lines it passed through the worst, graffiti covered areas as well as open countryside. Navigating the Paris metro with a large, heavy suitcase was difficult (at least for Tony who was the one carrying it). But we eventually made our way through the crowds to our hotel, the imaginatively named, Paris France Hotel.

What to say about our hotel? Well, as Tony stated, "I kept expecting Basil Fawlty to make an appearance". Nuff said...

The hotel has been around since the 1920s. The rooms varied, we had one with a really big, modern bathroom, and one where the shower was so small, if you dropped the soap you were guaranteed to be gripping the shower hose between your buttocks once you'd stood up.

We did have some great views from our hotel balcony though...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Time for dinner

Here we are connecting as a family at the rooftop restaurant "Floor 17" in our hotel in Amsterdam...

I believe its called "Art"

Today Tony and I returned to the Anne a Frank house to see if arrival before it actually opened would avoid the queues. How wrong we were! The line was three times as long as yesterday, so we gave up on that and went back to the hotel to enjoy a morning coffee on the rooftop terrace of the hotel ( floor 19). Later we went to visit the Rijksmuseum, which was in a very impressive building and contained pictures and other exhibits from Dutch artists.

I enjoyed seeing the 3 Van Gogh paintings, I assume the rest are in the aptly named Van Gogh museum. I was not so impressed with the other exhibits, but here's one painting that did catch my eye. I captured the main essence of it in this picture...

And here's a couple of pieces of modern art. The first one needs no explanation other than to note that this is not a model of an owl...

I believe for this last one, the artist had visited one too many " coffee shops" beforehand. Don't you just love the effort that's been put in, especially with the pubic hairs made out of nails !!

AmsterDAMN (thank you Robert!)

The first day of our vacation went well. After learning how to use the Amsterdam tram system, we made our way to the old town to take in the sites. A canal tour seemed in order so, after a false start on a boat whose propellor broke within the first 5 minutes, we set off on an upgraded boat where we were served a glass is something sparkling whilst navigating through the waterways of the city. Very relaxing, especially in the 100 degree heat!

We were amazed at the number of bicycles around the city, hundreds if not thousands. There were bicycle lanes everywhere and you were as likely to get run down by a bike when crossing a road as you were by a car or a tram.

Later we went to a photography museum, which included a section called people are strange, here's a couple of my favorite exhibits.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Three point five hours of creativity

Today we had to go into Newport to open bank accounts and other riveting activities. Newport is the town of my birth and quite frankly, is a bit of a dump, but it's essentially what I remember. However the entertainment seems to have changed somewhat from the druken haze that was my youth. We saw the below notice board, being scrutinized with some disbelief by two old ladies..." Good grief!" One of them said, "I'm still trying to get my knee fixed, I've got no time to fix that!".

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Back in the home country

Just arrived back in the UK after traveling from Boston last night, via Dublin. Here's a couple of things I heard on the way:

In Dublin from the stewardess at the gate ..."passengers for Bristol, please proceed true gate tree tree tree"

In England, from my GPS/Sat Nav ... " at the roundabout take second exit to the roundabout, then enter the roundabout"

Aye, it's good to be home!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Latest masterpiece

Just finished this painting of Trafalgar Square. Its almost like you were there!!!

Senior prom

High School prom....what in gods name is that all about? Emma got asked to the Senior prom this year by a guy who she didn't even know. Of course she accepted...

So what's involved in preparing for the prom? We, obviously we had to get her a dress. I thought that might be fun. We went prom dress shopping with her and her friend. Hundreds of net and tulle long dresses which, frankly, all looked the same apart from slight variations in color and amount of bling attached. After trying on a bazillion, and her friend having to try them on too (whats with that?), a dress was selected. But this was only the start. We needed silver sandals to go with the dress (ka-ching!), a small clutch bag in just the right shade of apricot (ka-ching!), a sparkly necklace (ka-bloody-ching), a hair decoration (ka-you get the gist), a boutonnière (huh?). My wallet was empty and my enthusiasm drained.

The day of the event arrived. Emma's entourage of friends came to help her get ready. There were 8 girls in my bathroom, perched on the side of the bath, the toilet, wherever, doing her hair and makeup and generally offering advice. I was tempted to join them and see if I could pickup a few tips...Then we had photos in the garden. Each friend needed a photo taken with Emma. Then the group shots of varying combinations. By the time her date arrived we'd all forgotten who he was and why he was there. More photos...

Thank goodness it only happens once per year -  I (and my wallet) need time to recover.

Fun at Armsby Abbey

Spent a very enjoyable evening at the Armsby Abbey pub in Worcester last night (http://armsbyabbey.com). We went with 2 other couples,  never been before but what a fun place! Good music, excellent food, lots of atmosphere, dimmed lights, eclectic crowd. They even had homemade pork scratchings/cracklin'!! The Armsby Abbey specializes in beers from local micro-breweries. I had "Weihenstephaner Hefe Dunkel" - the glasses were huge (as shown by the picture)... I would've had more than two glasses but it got too difficult to pronounce...

I detect a problem

Is there anything worse than being woken up at 4AM by the small beep of a smoke detector indicating its battery is running low. Thats what happened to us this morning. We have approximately 9 detectors scattered over the 4 floors of our house and its impossible to tell which one is emitting the beep. The beeps are about 2 minutes apart. The only way to tell is to stand under each one staring up at it on the ceiling, waiting for the beep

I lay in bed thinking, I can sleep through this....it will stop in a minute. But it didn't stop. Thankfully I have a husband who is much better at this sort of thing than me, so I graciously let him do the honors. Hopefully this will explain to the neighbors that the naked man standing on a stool looking skyward at 4AM was not us trying out a variation of a 50 Shades scenario...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Not a piss artist any more

In the past 2 years I've started painting, not my usual walls and wood trim, but watercolor painting. I took a few lessons and liked it. I'm not great at it but I'm improving. Heres a few of the paintings I have completed (and that I'm prepared to show here!)
Makes a change from being a piss artist I guess (non-UK visitors go here for a translation: http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/p.htm)

Saturday morning musings

There is nothing better than a Saturday morning. With the sun coming up around 5AM, I've been waking up early these past few weeks. I'm not someone who can doze for hours on end so I get up. I love being the only one awake in the house. I put on the radio (BBC Radio 2 obviously), feed the cats and make my favorite tipple...a nice, strong cup of tea. Bliss!
What is it about the British people and tea? And why is it impossible to get a good cuppa in the US? I am always amazed at how some people in work make their tea. They fill their cardboard cup with hot water, add milk, then eventually float a sad-looking Liptons tea bag in the mix. It never changes to a shade deeper than oatmeal (for the guys reading this, thats pale brown), whereas it should be a beautiful, dark tan color (guys....thats dark brown). A cuppa is the antidote to everything...broke up with your boyfriend? Never mind, have a nice cuppa tea. House been burgled?...Never mind, have a nice cuppa tea. In my house the biggest disaster I can imagine would be to run out of teabags...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Squat till you puke

I used to be a bit of a gym rat, and at one time went to workout sessions up to 5 times per week. For the past three years I have done nothing, but all that is about to change. I caught site of my back view in the mirror and it was decidedly too middle-aged mum like for my liking. So back to the gym for me. I've written this in my blog so I can't back out. Watch this space...

By the way, I don't actually look like the attached picture, but I figured I will in a couple of weeks...

It's a mans world

Just back from my yearly mammogram where my boobs have been squished into shapes only otherwise seen in the Rorschach ink blot test. It struck me how barbaric and archaic this technology is. I'm sure if a guy had to go through similar humiliations and pain getting his nuts squished between 2 electronic plates, something more humane involving soft music and gentle massage would've been invented by now.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I'm so fucking classy

One of the great things about being in this country is that the locals LOVE my accent! Unlike in the UK where it is not so cherished! I've been told that even when I swear it sounds classy. So I shall remember that the next time I get pulled over by a cop for speeding; when I tell him to go fuck himself I shall look forward to him telling me how cute that sounds...

Wildlife in my garden

Just took this picture of a deer that wandered onto our back garden. It was pretty big, although it doesn't appear so in this picture. They are usually very shy so its strange to see one in the open like this. We get a number of animals in our back yard that would be unusual in the UK. Here's some others that are regular visitors:

Opossum - The Virginia opossum is North America's only marsupial. The opossum is about the size of a large house cat. It has a triangular head and a long pointed nose. It has grayish fur everywhere but on its ears, feet and tail. We've seen Opossums on our deck at night, usually stealing food from the cats bowl. 

I tried to take this picture of one through the window, you can just about see him..

Chipmunks - Chipmunks are small squirrel-like rodents that are native to North America. 

Chipmunks construct extensive underground burrows which can be more than 3.5 m in length and these chipmunk burrows often have several well-concealed entrances to keep the chipmunk burrow a secret from unwanted predators. Most of these burrows seem to be in my garden.

Northern (red) cardinal - we frequently see these beautiful birds on our bird feeders, especially if we have sunflower seeds in the feeder

Hummingbirds - We hang hummingbird feeders on our gazebo every year, and every year the hummingbirds come visit us. These really are beautiful birds, very bold but so tiny. Some are the size of your thumb. The feeders are filled with a sugar solution, sometimes colored red to attract them.