Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 475

Homecoming!

Apparently, it’s nearly time for Homecoming in the US high schools. Despite hearing this phrase a lot in movies and wot not, I don’t actually know what this means, since we don’t have it in the UK.

It means this: ‘Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back alumni of a school. It is a tradition in many universities, colleges and high schools in the United States. It usually includes activities for students and alumni, such as sports and culture events and a parade through the streets of the city or town and the traditional Homecoming dance.’

Right, so if I get this straight, older dudes and chicks who have experienced something of the world come back and impart their knowledge and experience about what actually happens in college, fraternities and sororities and all that shenanigans with the innocent young high schoolers. And as an innocent young high schooler you get to hang out with college dudes. Excellent, sounds like fun! Where can I get a ticket to the dance? ;)

Don't tarnish their innocent young high school minds! ;)

Don’t tarnish their innocent young high school minds! ;)

The USA does chicken wings

My British mate over here loves American chicken wings. He says he doesn’t know what he’ll do to find an equivalent back in the UK. I admit, they’re pretty special on the old Americana menu. But just why are they soooo popular?!

I think Buffalo chicken wings may have become the country’s favorite football-watching food, cos every match I’ve seen they make an appearance. There are rumours that the USA is running out of wings because the wings have become the most expensive part of the chicken due to their popularity when fried and covered in Buffalo sauce. Ah, that Buffalo sauce, or Old Bay Spice (a Maryland fave!).

A Buffalo chicken wing, hot wing, or wing, in the cuisine of the United States, is generally deep-fried, unbreaded, and coated in vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter in the chicken. They are traditionally served hot, along with celery sticks and/or carrot sticks with blue cheese dressing for dipping. Yes, they aren’t that healthy, but they are very ruddy tasty!

That's them wings!

That’s them wings!

There are several different claims about how Buffalo wings were created, but the most popular one is this:

Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, by Teressa Bellissimo who owned the bar along with her husband Frank. This is the story….

Upon the unannounced, late-night arrival of their son, Dominic, with several of his friends from college, Teressa needed a fast and easy snack to present to her hungry guests. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings (normally thrown away or reserved for stock) and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce.

They say: “It was Friday night in the bar and since people were buying a lot of drinks he wanted to do something nice for them at midnight when the mostly Catholic patrons would be able to eat meat again.” He stated that it was his mother, Teressa, who came up with the idea of chicken wings. There was mis-delivery of wings instead of backs and necks for making the bar’s spaghetti sauce. Faced with this unexpected resource, Frank Bellissimo says that he asked Teressa to do something with them.

However they were invented, they are a certain staple of the American eating-out diet and I can’t think of our British equivalent just yet…..

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 474

Footie podcast

The dulcet, and very British, tones of the UK Desperate Housewife USA have been used to introduce a very funny footie podcast called Canons and Cockerels. Smashing!

footie

Do check it out here! :)

Annapolis

I can’t express how much I love Annapolis. Every time I go there the pleasure of walking in the cobbled streets and seeing the mish-mash of fascinating houses and glorious history increases. This is a little part of America that I will be coming back to a lot this year – I didn’t visit it enough last year (I think of American years as August-July, only because I arrived in August 2012!).

Lovely houses, but can someone tell me the story of the all the wreaths?

Lovely houses, but can someone tell me the story of all the wreaths?

What a town!

What a town!

The Governor’s Mansion is always worth a peak to see if Martin O’Malley is up and about early for brekkie or doing his push ups on the front lawn. Dammit, he wasn’t today! ;)

Morning Governor!

Morning Governor!

Oh, and boat rides in the rain and thunder storms with the #hocohomos are certainly part of the Annapolis experience!

rainstorm

Now, the boat we went out in Annapolis Harbor was called DELTA SPIRIT, which, my British friend pointed out, are actually the names of the two worst (cheap as chips) airlines that fly from Baltimore. Thus, he concluded, this would be the same as calling a British boat after our two worst airlines: EASYJET RYANAIR. Not so glam is it?!

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 473

CHiPs!

OMG, I totes forgot to tell a California roadtrip story from July.

It went like this, as we were coming out of Santa Barbara to Carmel.

Husband: ‘Look at all those signs saying that the California Highway Patrol are out on the roads today.’
Me: ‘Oooh, CHiPs! Cool! I hope we get pulled over.’

Twenty minutes later…..

Me: ‘Uh oh, that cop car just spotted you speeding.’ [Looking in the mirror]. ‘Yep, he’s totally behind you. Yes, he has his sirens on. Oh yes! [Excited now] He’s pulling us over! Can I take a picture?’
Hubby: ‘No you bloody well can’t.’

Anyway, the long and the short of it was that we weren’t going THAT fast and the cop had been to the UK and so we had a lovely natter in our best British accents, and, along with the fact that I was wearing my Daisy Dukes at the time and had purposefully put my legs up on the dashboard (excellent distraction technique ;) ), we got a warning, but no ticket.

And, sadly, I didn’t get a picture.

They were dudes!

They were dudes!

Being a Housewife in the USA

Sometimes, when the sun isn’t shining and I’m not gadding about doing super fun UK Desperate Housewife USA things, I have to be a proper housewife and actually clean the house, which I am not very good at. Fact.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds in the USA. This is mainly owing to the fact that I have carpets (unlike at home, where we have laminate flooring – ahem, I mean proper oak ;) ).

It’s also because of the electricity here. It makes the hoover totally rubbish and it picks nothing up whatsover. My dad tried to fix it whilst he was here, but the long and the short of it is that because of the electricity power surge wotnot being less than back home that vacuum cleaner isn’t doing what it should. I’ve given up on the American one and resorted to my British one.

In addition, I have tried and tried to work out what American household cleaners do what to get stains off the carpets, but none seem to do the job. Oh, how I miss my easy-to-clean laminate (read as ‘real solid oak’ ;) ) floors back in the UK.

Anyway, these are my top tips for other UK Desperate Housewives in the USA!

Enough of This Mess — Cleaning Hacks for a Happy Home

Some people just hate having to clean. It might be nice to keep a tidy house and it might be satisfying to see everything sparkling, but the actual act of cleaning can be enough to bring some people out in cold sweats! (Sound familiar, Desperadoes?!) What I have found is that you can keep some of the mess under control with a Dyson Hoover (British made, don’t ya know!) to ease the pressure, but what about all the places a vacuum can’t reach? Hoorah for British hoovers!

cyclone

Here are a few top cleaning hacks that can make your life easier come your cleaning day!

For a cleaner kitchen
It’s really important to keep the kitchen pristine if you are a Desperate Housewife. But it’s also one of the toughest rooms to do this in! A whole colony of grease and dust can build up on your kitchen cabinets if you’re not careful, but here’s a great tip to get rid of it. Using vegetable oil and baking soda you can scrub the gunk off your cabinets with a toothbrush to get them looking good as new. How cool is that?!

And when it comes to burnt pans, why not try boiling some rhubarb in there? How utterly lovely and British rhubarb is! The acid from the rhubarb will clean off those ghastly black stains leaving your pan sparkling.

Grease – and lint-free clothing
No sooner have you lifted your fork and the food has slipped off on to your clothes, leaving big greasy stains that the washing machine just won’t get out and that’s no way for a Desperate Housewife to look. The best (and cheapest) way to get rid of grease stains? Rub white chalk over the top of them. Chalk has near-magical absorbing properties and will leave your clothes looking good as new! Fact!

oil stains

Another annoying thing, or rather things, are those tiny lint balls that collect on jumpers and cotton t-shirts making them look old and worn before their time. To get rid of these, take a disposable razor and shave ‘em off! It’s simple, it’s cheap and it’s very effective. Go on, grab your hubby’s now and give it a go!

Dispensing with pesky pet hair
Love them as we do, cats and dogs tend to leave our homes dripping with yucky looking hair. I should know, I brought my cats over from the USA and their cat hair is all over my American carpets! If you have pets and your vacuum isn’t getting everything up off the carpet, get a handy squeegee and run it over the floor. You’ll be left with a large, easy to remove ball of hair and a clean carpet. That is a top tip that would earn you 10 excellent British pounds in the Woman’s Own advice column.

So there you have it, a few top cleaning tips to keep your house and you feeling and looking fresh just like in Wysteria Lane! With the help of these and your best British vacuum cleaner, you can keep the mess at bay for longer.

Now breathe… isn’t that better!?

And go and put the kettle on! ;)

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 472

A blog post dedicated to all the ‘Randy’ men

There are a lot of men called ‘Randy’ in the USA. I don’t think there are many men at all called ‘Randy’ in the UK.

This is probably due to the fact that ‘randy’ means this:

Overly excited in a sexual manner, lustful or horny.

So, when a British wife in the USA opens her door to a salesman who greets her with the phrase: ‘Hi, I’m Randy!’, how is she supposed to react?!! ;) (True story!)

We Brits love a bit of naughty innuendo and that’s probably why the name Randy has never caught on in the UK. One would be teased mercilessly in the playground and there would be soooo many office jokes about you. Fact.

Actor, Randy Quaid

Actor, Randy Quaid

Randy is short for Randall in the USA and always gets shortened to Randy, and as far as us Brits are concerned, that word has one meaning, and one meaning only: horny.

It’s probably fair to say that there aren’t many ‘Dicks‘ in either country…..

Chipotle

I’ve not yet been to a Chipotle here in the USA.

Tell me, Brits, how did you say that word in your head? I’ve been saying it thus for two years now (in my head): ‘Chip-ott-ul.’.

Be honest, Brits, how did you say it?! (Tell me I'm not alone! ;) )

Be honest, Brits, how did you say it?! (Tell me I’m not alone! ;) )

Nope, that is now how to say it. I found this out when I said this very word out loud, as in: ‘I’ve never been to a Chip-ott-ul.’

How my American chum laughed at me!

‘It’s ‘Chip-oat-ley’, silly,’ she said.

Oh. Silly British me! And I’ve still not yet been to one.

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 471

Knives in America

This is not a post about stabbings in the USA. Oh no, this is a post about superstitions about knives in the USA!

In many places in the United States it is considered bad luck to hand an open, folding blade knife to someone. Yes, I guess it is pretty bad luck, because your hand will probably get cut. Just saying.

Anyway, this is especially true in more rural (read as ‘redneck’?!) areas where carrying a pocket knife is as common as carrying a set of keys.

It is also believed that allowing someone to close a folding blade knife that you have opened is bad luck. I would so close it cos I’m hot on health and safety.

Watch yer fingers!

Watch yer fingers!

Read this bit, cos you have to read to the end: ‘Just as with swords, regional and cultural superstitions exist regarding the treatment of knives that are used in combat. One common superstition states that it is bad luck to return a combat knife from its sheath without using it to draw blood. A variant myth exists surrounding drawing a knife without drawing the blood of a cultural enemy (e.g an Englishman).’

Read that last bit again. Yes, an Englishman. I’m guessing they are referring to back in the day when we were fighting and burning down the White House and wot not and not right now, as in present day, else I’m in trouble.

In some parts of America, it is considered bad luck to sharpen a knife, or any blade, after dark. Well, that’s that late night steak eating out the window, then.

The Desperate Housewife does the #icebucketchallenge for #als

I decided to undertake two challenges and donations since I was challenged twice – firstly by my American friend, and then by my British friend. Hence the two videos and the two outfits.

Enjoy! ;)

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 470

Mooching USA stylie

The other day I wrote a blog post about living in America as a Brit and I used the term ‘mooching’, as in I was going to mooch around the new Whole Foods supermarket that has been built in my little ‘burb of America-land. (And, for the record, it is very nice indeed, and I ate a whole meal there with all the tasters, but it is still JUST A SUPERMARKET, ya know ;) )

For us Brits, the term ‘mooching’ is a pretty general term, used in the same way as ‘meander’ or ‘browse’ or even ‘plod’. Not so for my American readers. This was the response that I received when I wrote said blog post:

‘I just read a UK article where a woman suggested “mooching around the shops”. I thought that was pretty brazen; then I learned that in the UK that means what we call “browsing”, just aimlessly walking around seeing what’s to see. Be forewarned (if it isn’t too late) in the US a ‘mooch’ is a sponge, a leech, someone who never pays for anything. Always shows up at dinner time, doesn’t have their wallet at the restaurant or the theatre, etc. Don’t tell people you want to go mooch at Whole Foods. You’ll end up with your Polaroid by the cash register.’

Well, how funny that one word can have such a different meaning. But what other words do I use in the USA that have a completely different meaning for my American chums?

Bangers? Probably! I am either referring to boobs or sausages. Fact. :)

These are bangers :)

These are bangers :)

My son has encountered sniggers at school when he has asked for a ‘rubber’ in class, that I know. Yes, even in First Grade, the old Johnny jokes are appearing. And in our first week here my husband ordered a burger and chips and was devastated to see that there were crisps, not ‘fries’, on his plate. We have, of course, since learned many things are not the same and yes, we’ve become used to it. Cos that what’s happens when you integrate as an expat, innit.

School’s in!

Yep, school started in the USA on Monday and I am fairly (okay, very) happy about it. UK schools don’t start till next week and they only got 6 weeks summer holibobs (lucky buggers!).

Schools in session!

Schools in session!


I am already preparing the for inordinate amount of days off there are during this term though. Gordon Bennett, can’t we just have them at school?! ;)

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 469

Back with the Amish

One of the places in the USA that made an impression on me the first time I visited it was Lancaster, PA and the Amish country.

I wanted to go again to feel its surrealness and other-worldliness. Even on a Sunday, when the Amish are at church and nothing much is open, it feels like you’re entering another decade, domain or parallel universe.

Plus, which is most excellent, I got a buggy ride from a hot young Amish guy who had dropped out and was in the final year of his ‘Rumspringa’, or ‘running around’. If I had been a 20-something gal, he could have run around all he wanted with me! ;)

He shared quite a compelling story, coming from a strict Amish home of six children, and, as the youngest, has witnessed his offspring doing all sorts of things they shouldn’t during their Rumpspringa. He went off the rails completely, he said, getting into all sorts of trouble with the law, but he was kind of back in the fold training horses and wotnot, but I’m guessing he won’t stay from the way he talked about the lifestyle. And he looked way too hot in jeans, Wayfarers and a polo shirt to be hiding it all under a hat and beard and half-mast trousers.

This was the best pic I could get of him!

This was the best pic I could get of him!

Amish land still fascinates me.

The farm land

The farm land

Buggy rides

Buggy rides

Amish land

Amish land

British Embassy cock up

Oh hahaha, heeheehee, this is what’s known as a right British COCK UP!

British diplomats in the US have been forced to apologise after revealing they were hosting a party to celebrate the anniversary of the burning of the White House. Yes really!!!

The British Embassy in Washington held a ‘White House barbeque’ yesterday to mark the two hundredth anniversary of Britain capturing the US capital and setting fire to the President’s iconic address.

The Embassy even sent a message on Twitter from its official account with a photograph of a White House cake, flanked by British and American flags and surrounded by sparkler fireworks.

Here is that tweet that has now gone viral.

Oh my.

Oh my.

So, er, sorry about that American folk. We still friends?! :)

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