Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween/Samhain 2007


Happy Halloween/Blessed Samhain
to you all!!!

Tori

Samhain Lore (October 31st)

Samhain, (pronounced SOW-in, SAH-vin, or SAM-hayne) means "End of Summer", and is the third and final Harvest.

The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat. It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st.

It is one of the two "spirit-nights" each year, the other being Beltane.

It is a magical interval when the mundane laws of time and space are temporarily suspended, and the Thin Veil between the worlds is lifted. Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort.

Originally the "Feast of the Dead" was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the "wandering dead". Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition. Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them. Turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits, for this was a night of magic and chaos. The Wee Folke became very active, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits. This was the time that the cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating in the ensuing winter months. Any crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo, and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with peoples names. Then they were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. The condition of the retrieved stone foretold of that person's fortune in the coming year. Hearth fires were also lit from the village bonfire to ensure unity, and the ashes were spread over the harvested fields to protect and bless the land.

Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Third Harvest, Samana, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest (Strega), and Samhuinn. Also known as All Hallow's Eve, (that day actually falls on November 7th), and Martinmas (that is celebrated November 11th), Samhain is now generally considered the Witch's New Year.

Symbolism of Samhain:
Third Harvest, the Dark Mysteries, Rebirth through Death.

Symbols of Samhain:
Gourds, Apples, Black Cats, Jack-O-Lanterns, Besoms. Herbs of Samhain: Mugwort, Allspice, Broom, Catnip, Deadly Nightshade, Mandrake, Oak leaves, Sage and Straw.

Foods of Samhain:
Turnips, Apples, Gourds, Nuts, Mulled Wines, Beef, Pork, Poultry.

Incense of Samhain:
Heliotrope, Mint, Nutmeg.

Colors of Samhain:
Black, Orange, White, Silver, Gold.

Stones of Samhain:
All Black Stones, preferably jet or obsidian.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Did you know that...

... A duck's quack doesn't echo.

... More men than women fall out of hospital beds.

... A cow can be led up stairs, but not down.

... Daylight SavingsTtime was introduced back in World War 2, to give our men (and women) extra light to perform tasks they needed to perform in the mornings.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The long weekend

On Friday afternoon, Mam and I started home from Carl and Rachel's place. It was getting quite late when we got home, so I basically walked in the door and crawled in to bed. LOL!



On Saturday, Mam and I took Kero for a walk through the park. We were very proud of him, because he allowed me to use the cane while holding his lead, and (other than a couple of times when he stepped back a couple of steps) didn't make a fuss. He even came back to me when I called him. I think it helped that I dropped the cane on the floor when I got home on Friday and never picked it up again until when I got up Saturday morning, which gave him plenty of time to give it a good sniff.



When we got home from the park, we installed Jaws on my PC. It took next to no time to do, so once we'd done a couple of other things we wanted to do (like putting some tacktile blobs on buttons I needed to be able to find easier, and eating lunch) Mam played World Of Warcraft on Kelly's PC while I checked some blogs. The only thing I haven't worked out how to do yet is doing the word verification that some of you have on your blogs. There's meant to be a button to make it say some numbers or something for me to type, but I can't get it to work I had to have Kelly come read the letters for me earlier.. So, those of you with that on your blogs will have to forgive the lack of comments, but it can't be helped at the moment. I also had a bit of trouble making it add a picture for me, and ended up getting Mam to add the picture that's in my Harry Potter book review post. But other than those two things, I think I've managed to work out how to work all the things I need to work to do all the things I usually do online.



Yesterday (Sunday) Kelly, Kero and I went to my parents' place for dinner. We've started to do that every week, because my Mam likes to cook us a roast dinner each week, and we like having a day when we don't really have to do much. LOL! We go up there on a Sunday, and they (Mam and Dad) come down on a Wednesday. Then, after dinner (both days) Kelly and Dad do something together (usually on the computers) and Mam and I do something together (usually involving a walk with the dog, or dogs if Willow is with us).

Yesterday, Mam, Kero, Willow and I went for a walk together. Willow behaved excellently. She left my cane alone, and even nudged my leg gently to get me back in a straight line if I went crooked. Mam and I were very proud of her. In fact, we're very proud of both dogs right now.



Kelly, Kero and I stayed for tea with Mam, Dad, Nan, Wayne and Willow, then Dad drove us home. Mam made cheesecake for tea, which was very nice.



Our washing machine hasn't worked for the best part of a month, so we've been taking our laundry up to my parents' place to do on a Sunday when we're up there. We're having a new one delivered on Wednesday though, so we wont have to do that any more. I bet Mam and Nan can't wait, since it was them having to do my laundry most of the time (it was easier for them to do it since it is their machine).

Today (Monday) I don't really have much to do. Mam was going to come down, but she's tired, so I told her not to. Instead I'm having a lazy day, where I don't have to do anything unless I want to. LOL! Well, unless you count working out the menu and shopping list for the week ready for when Mam takes me shopping tomorrow.

I know I still haven't done those book and movie reviews that I promised to write, but I can't be bothered at this very moment. I think I'd rather go for a little nap right now, to be honest. But I'll get to the reviews soon, honest. I've got some poems to post when I get around to it too.

This will do for now. Have a good day.

Tori

P.S. Happy birthday to everyone who had their birthday over the past month or so.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling


Since I am now at home where I can access my computer and the photo Kelly took of the front cover of 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows' I thought I would write the promised review.

I really enjoyed the book, but have to agree with the very popular opinion that seems to be going around, which is that J. K. Rowling seemed to be in a hurry to finish writing the book. I felt she left a few things not properly answered/explained. Don't get me wrong, it was a great book, but it wasn't the most satisfying of endings. The majority of the book lived up to the standards I've come to expect from J. K. Rowling, but the ending could have done with a little more work in my opinion.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Getting you up to date on things

As you may have guessed from the title of my last post, I am in Norwich at the moment. Norwich is where Carl and Rachel live, and where we (Mam and I) will be until some time tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, after which we will begin the LONG journey back to South Wales. We've been in Norwich since late Monday night, after an exhausting journey that started a little after 2:00 pm, and didn't end until around 10:30 pm.

Anyway, my speach programme was here waiting for me when I got here, and as you probably saw, Carl showed me how to use some of it on Tuesday evening. Carl has been using the programme (called Jaws, by the way) for a few years, so knows his way around it well by now, lol! I think I'm getting the hang of it. This is the first post I've been able to do solo for a good month, and man does it feel good to be able to do blogs again. Who'd have thought I'd miss my blog so much? But then, it combines two things I'm known for enjoying (writing and making my opinions known) so what's not to miss? LOL! I've missed knowing how my friends are doing too. I think when I've done this blog post I might go check out some other people's blogs.

I've watched a few movies, and read a few books, which I'll post my thoughts on some time after I get home (along with the Harry Potter book review, of course) so for now I'll just get you up to date on other stuff.

We FINALLY managed to get my talking phone sorted. It only took about four day sshort of a calender month, that's all, LOL! Ah well, it's sorted now. It turned out not to be the same make as Carl's phone, it seems to be a newer model, not that we mind that. I don't know at this moment in time if I did get the line rental for the first month for free or not. I left the money in the bank for it "just in case" but haven't had the time to check if it got taken out or not. Not bothered either way at the moment, because all I care about is being able to have the phonetalkingg to me so I can text and call friends again.

I have discovered that Kero is a bit scared of my white cane. I've always hated the thing and avoided using it when possible (which was most of the time when staying around home) so he's not really had to deal with it. Unfortunately I have no choice but to use it now, so until we can get him to stop trying to run away from it I can't take him for walks by myself. Kelly and Mam have been doing his walks with him for me, but he's my dog, so for one thing I feel guilty making other people walk him for me (my dog, my job, that's my opinion) and, for another thing, he wont stay out with them for long I think he is convinced that if he stays out with them too long I will sneak away or something. We're working on getting him used to the cane though, because apart from anything else, I am missing my walks with him. Even if we can just get him so I can take him once a week or something. Then I'll feel a bit more useful. LOL! It's not like I don't know my way around where we live, because I grew up in the area where I'm living now, so that's not a problem. I can't take him for all his walks though, because I can't risk letting him off the lead when it's just us, because of keeping an eye on where he is. But, I'm hoping we can at least go for a little walk together on a Saturday afternoon (when it's often just Kero and I att home).

OK, moving on.

Mam, Rachel and I went in to thre city for most of the day on Tuesday when Carl was at work. We went to the bear factory and made some teddies. I have two, because one I paid for myself and the other was an early birthday present from Mam and Dad. The one I paid for myself is a Westie who I named Kera, and she has a puppy that can be held in her mouth with a magnet. I named the puppy Rosie. The one Mam and Dad got for me is a bear, and I named her Teylah. Kera and Teylah have birth certificates, which I think is really cute, but Rosie is considered an 'accessory' so isn't entitled to a certificate. Mam says she'll take a photo of them when we get home (not straight away, obviously) so I can put it on my blog to show you all. Maybe she'll post a photo of her leopard (Simba) too?

We got a few other bits too. For example, I got some rawhide treats for Ker oand some new PJs. My PJs have dogs on them. One pair has Westie dogs on (three of them lined up across the chest) and the other pair has a big picture of a sort of mixed breed thing. I was going to get a fluffy robe with Scotty dogs on it too, but they didn't have it in my size. Shame, because it would have been longer and warmer than either of the robes I have at home. Ah well, never mind.

Yesterday, Mam, Rachel and I went out for dinner to an all you can eat Chinese resteraunt. Carl had friends coming over, plus he doesn't like chinese food, so he didn't come. I think I ate a bit too much though, because I had a bit of a stomache ache last night, and other than some carrot cake (donated by Carl's mate, Johnny) I didn't eat anything from when we had dinner (around 2:00 pm) until when I got up today (around 10:30 am). LOL!

For those who don't know, in about two weeks time it will be "Guy Fawlks" night here, which means fireworks. Carl, Rachel, Mam and I love fireworks, so we got some and had a little display in the garden Tuesday night. Then Ollie (Carl's other mate) brought some with him yesterday so we had some more. And, Rachel's parents (Hazel and Bernard) are coming to dinner tonight, so we're going to have more. YAY!

Right now Carl, Johnny and Ollie are having a Warhammer battle, and Mam and Rachel are clothes shopping, which leaves me free to amuse myself. I could have gone with Mam and Rachel, but I had my fill of shopping on Tuesday thank you, lol! So, I decided to take the time to do this nice, long blog for you all. And now I think I will see about at least reading a post or so on a blog or two. Not sure how many of the blogs I usually visit I'll get through, because I only have a couple of hours, but I can see what I can get done in the time I have. Then I can get caught up properly when I'm at home.

I think I've done enough of a blog for today, LOL! All being well I should be able to start blogging properly from Saturday night. Fingers crossed, eh?

Tori

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hi from Norwich

Hi there. Just wanted to do a little blog to figure out how things work with the speach programme and blogger. I also wanted to take the time to thank all of you for the hugs, thoughts and prayers you have been sending my way over the past month or so, since I haven't taken the time to do so before now, which I should have done.

Tori

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just a short post for you

My Mam is away so unable to update you on things, so I had Kelly get me all signed in to my blog and such so I could do it myself.

I should hopefully have my speach program by the end of this month. I hope Carl and Rachel don't mind me saying, but I have them to thank for it. It would have been at least the start of next year before I could have afforded it otherwise. It turned out to be more expensive than we had expected it to be, so there was no way I could have afforded it this side of Christmas without help. We thought it would cost only a couple of hundred pounds, but it actually costs about £630. Carl and Rachel have money they had put away ready for their wedding next year, and have agreed to let me borrow it to get the program I need. I have to pay them back as quickly as possible, because the money isn't exactly spare money, but it's money I don't have that they do. I'm very greatful to them for the help, and hope to get them paid up very quickly. I promised them I'd have them paid by the end of March at the latest, but if I can do it sooner then I will.

We (Mam and I) are going to visit Carl and Rachel in about a week, so all being well the program will be waiting there for me when I get there. It's ordered, but we've had postal strikes lately so it depends on the amount they can get delivered between strikes to how long it will take to arrive. I hope it arrives before I leave though, or I'll have to wait for Carl to send it to me afterwards. If you're wondering why we didn't have it sent just to me, it's because Carl wants to show me how to do the basics on it before I get it on my computer, and we didn't want me fiddling before someone's shown me how to at least do the basics. Plus, we thought it would probably be easier to have the billing address and delivery address being the same. It was my choice to have it sent there. Although, if I'd known they were going to start all these postal strikes I would have just had it come to me and put up with having it sitting there as if to say "Nah, nah, I'm here but you aren't allowed to use me yet." LOL!

We're trying to get a talking phone sorted out, but there was some confusion as to what the problem was and so we spent almost three weeks just going back and thorth to the shop trying to get some answers. Turned out the phone wasn't compatable with the software. They're now supposed to be putting it on a different model of phone, which is, as it turns out, the model that Carl has which I'd asked for and was told they didn't have. Grrr! Anyway, it 'should' be ready to be picked up on Tuesday, but Mam and Dad can't get in to get it until Thursday. By way of an appology, they're supposed to be letting me have this month's line rental for nothing (I normally don't like contracts, but it's the only way to get a talking phone). Dad reckons I should try and get some kind of compensation for all the traveling and such, since the shop is all the way in Swansea, but I told him right now it'll be enough to just get the phone and have it talking to me. LOL!

I finally know how Harry Potter ends. I'll write up what I thought of it when I get home from Carl and Rachel's and have my speach thing on the computer. Kelly's put his opinion of the book up on his blog last night though, so you can go read that if you want.

I think I've covered everything that matters, so I'll get this published for you all to read. Will do another blog when I can. Maybe Mam will do one again soon too. Depends if she has the time, which she doesn't at the moment, becuase she's so busy trying to do everything for everyone and tiring herself out. Plus, like I said, she's away at the moment. She had the opportunity to go away for a long weekend with my Grandma, and we told her to take it. She wanted to anyway, but was worrying about everyone else. We told her not to worry about us and to just go and enjoy herself, so she went. I assume she is enjoying herself. I hope so.

Tori