English to American Dictionary: VEST


english waistcoat


english vest    =      american wifebeater


stella beater

stella wife beater

Put your waistcoat on over your vest and have a wife beater.

Moments of Wonder

What is sense? What is non-sense?
Is the nonsense the part we don’t understand, or the part we do understand? Is there such a thing as understanding? Is there a ‘thing’?  What is ‘Is’? We might never know, but we can try to not understand the things that might IS.

This isn’t a quote from Philmena Cunk, but it could be. This is the type of British humor I think I do understand! This comes from a series started in 2013 called Charlie Booker’s Weekly Wipe, which I would compare to Denis Leary hosting the Daily Show. I highly recommend it.

If you have some time, I recommend this short of Philomena learning about… time.


Workload: “And Finally, Monsieur, a Wafer-Thin Mint…”

This certainly applies to many professions – I’ve certainly held positions where the “other duties as assigned” clause was used as often as my job description. At least, in the UK, there’s a contractual agreement about how many hours the ‘salaried’ job is expected to require, and the workers have the right to stick within that limit. Not so of the American job, and the traditional American work ethic.

Othmar's Trombone

Maître-D’: Today we have for appetisers: moules marinières, pâté de foie gras, Beluga caviar, eggs Benedictine, tart de poireau — that’s leek tart — frogs’ legs amandine, or oeufs de caille Richard Shepherd — c’est-à-dire, little quails’ eggs on a bed of puréed mushroom. It’s very delicate, very subtle.

Mr Creosote: I’ll have the lot.


Maître-D’: A wise choice, monsieur. And now, how would you like it served? All mixed up together in a bucket?

Mr Creosote: With eggs on top.

Maître-D: But of course, avec les oeufs frites.

Mr Creosote: And don’t skimp on the pâté.

Maître-D: Monsieur, I can assure you, just because it is mixed up with all the other things we would not dream of giving you less than the full amount.

The bilious Mr. Creosote: undeniably one of the Monty Python team’s…

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It’s Halloween, my absolute FAVORITE holiday! Hooray for all those people celebrating. Sadly, I feel I have missed the cursed boat.

Halloween is not a big deal here. How sad and boring.

HOW, how could I possibly have missed the most important holiday of the year?

Point One: I’m Lazy

Point Two: Remember that whole part about dumping all my stuff so I can move to another country? Well, that means my small but effective collection of spooky decor and costume pieces have *almost* all been dumped. And, while there are some options at the local ASDA (read: Wal-Mart), it’s mostly just child-size masks and polyester shrouds.


My sad little Halloween display


The rest of the street – aka NADA


However, I did get more trick-or-treaters here than I have in rented apartments, which is good. I’m also impressed that none of the pint-sized ghoulettes have been Elsa so far.

ALSO – BONUS POINTS TO BRITAIN – They don’t have these B.S. rules here about the precise and acceptable times for trick-or-treating. So, the first spooky child showed up at 6:30 – not 3:30 like around the Chicago suburbs. I still don’t understand what problem the time/ date restriction attempts to solve. I also categorically reject any attempt to understand it, so really, don’t bother – I enjoy that part of my childhood too much to accept any modification to it.

There are Haunted Houses here, but fewer and far between.

Anyway, now that I fully understand the dirth of delightfully dreadful decor and distractions, my planning for 2015 starts NOW.

Step 1: I’ll be cleaning out anything useful on clearance at the store tomorrow.

Step 2: Start my own Haunted House – maybe I can pair up with some charity to run it.

Step 3: If I don’t have enough space to throw a party at our place, I’ll have to rent out whatever the equivalent is of a VFW hall here.

Next year, if any of these fail to happen, please refer to Point 1 above.

Spring in Fairyland

The climate is gentler in the northwest of Britain than it is in the Midwest of the US. Since it’s Spring, which is a mythical season where I’m from, it seems like I’m living in a fairyland.

In fairyland, the blades of grass are thin and delicate. It’s as if nature had golf courses in mind when she created grass in the UK.

The grass used in many lawns is Fescue. It’s cultivated by fairies.

It is soft – not like the thick blades of grass I’m used to. As my husband put it,

“If you sit down for a picnic, that grass will stab you, steal your kidney and nic your wallet.”

Kiss your watch goodbye if you sit on kentucky bluegrass; watch your kidneys if you sit on crabgrass.

In fairyland, a daffodil can be in bloom for 8 weeks. They grow in yards, ditches, sidewalks, and in the medians. It’s ridiculous.





random everywheres!

random everywheres!

In fairyland, the Eency Weensy spider (presumably Isty Bitsy’s British cousin) actually gets a chance to climb up the waterspout a second time, because it’s actually possible for the sun to come dry up rain that fell that very morning. Incredible! More proof that this is a fairytale land where the impossible happens daily!