Monday, September 29, 2008

Hospital (AE&D... PTMI)

As you probably know from my Mam's comments in my previous post and her post on her blog, I did - as suspected - end up going in to hospital for my specialist to sort out my eye. I don't remember what Mam said she filled you in on, and can't be bothered to check right now, so sorry if some of this is stuff you've already been told. I'm just carrying on from Wednesday, since I did an update on Tuesday.

***~***

The coral implant they put in my eye socket was starting to become exposed. Because of this my eye was bleeding and had become infected. After one look my specialist told me he wanted me in for another op, then promptly did the reasuring thing of calling to say they had to move his op schedule around for the following afternoon because I was an emergency and if it meant canceling someone then that person would just have to understand. And if that wasn't enough to make me feel fantastic (note the sarcasm) then you can imagine how wonderful I felt upon recieving the knowledge that he wanted me on an antibiotic drip because that was the only thing strong enough to fight the infection.

So I was shipped straight up to a room on the ward. I knew I'd be in until at least Friday, so - since I had a private room near enough to the bathroom to make finding it simple - my Mam showed me where everything was, and we put my stuff where I could find it.

My Mam had to go away for a while and I was pretty much left to do my own thing other than them coming in to finish sorting paperwork. Then they came in to me about 6:30 pm to try and atatch a drip to me. Unfortunately, the best veins in my hands for that were still scarred from last time and therefore unusable. Which meant that when my Mam and Dad got back a little after 7:00 pm they were still trying to find a good vein, and insisting that - despite the fact I was struggling to hold back tears by this time because of the pain - I was fine and my Mam could wait outside. It was only when my Mam told them I wasn't fine that they looked at me properly, I know it was because it was only then they realised I wasn't as "fine" as they'd thought I was. So they decided Mam could stay after all. I think it took them until about 7:30 pm before they finally got the drip in me.

They told Mam that the slightest press of the buzzer and someone would be there. It was lucky though that my Mam had shown me the way to the bathroom. I pressed the buzzer to get someone to take me (figured it would be easier to have help since the drip was in my right hand and using the cane left handed is VERY difficult for me). An hour later - after I'd given up and taken myself - someone pokes their head around the door to ask me if I'm OK and what I wanted. So I told them they were a bit late and I'd taken myself. They said they were sorry but they hadn't noticed the buzzer had gone off until then. I decided it was best not to respond to that. Though I could have said plenty!

I spent most of Thursday morning just trying to find something even remotely interesting on TV to keep myself occupied. Then - around noon - the anesthatist came to see me and check nothing had changed since last time and that sort of thing. She told me that she was concerned about a rash I'd gotten during the last surgery so I told her it was probably from heat and/or stress and not to worry. I could tell by her, "Hmmmm" that she didn't believe me though.

After I'd seen her I saw my specialist and he told me what they were doing and went through the concent form with me.

He said they were trimming some of the implant, then using some of the flesh from the inside of my eye lid to cover up the newly sewn up areas from re covering the implant. Then - in a couple of weeks - I go in for him to see if that has worked. If not then I'll have to go back in for the implant to be removed and the flesh in there to just be sewn up without the implant in it. They prefer the implant in there because it makes for a "better cosmetic result" but the implant isn't essential.

Anyway...

It was only about half an hour or so before my op I finally got a hospital band and a gown given to me (good thing they had that pre-op check list they had to do, eh?) and it was around 4:00 pm they took me down to theater. So I'd been in hospital for almost 24 hours before I got the hospital band given to me.

When I was being prepped for my op they decided the thing from my drip wasn't in enough for the anasthetic to work, so started trying veins to find a good one. By the time I was being put off to sleep I was ready to punch the anesthatist and had a drip in each hand. I told her I'd need to be able to use at least one hand later, but she told me not to worry about that. She also told me that it seems I'm right about that rash, because all the stress they'd caused me finding another good vein had brought it back. So, I delighted in saying, "I told you so," then in telling her exactly when the rash would have shown up during my last op. I could tell by her tone she was shocked I knew. And that she finally believed me about the cause of the rash.

When I woke up in recovery I had a drip in each hand and one in my foot. I was relieved that the mask was being held near my face rather than strapped around my head, so I didn't try and push it away, but I did try to tell them I needed at least one of my hands and since I only needed one of "those things" in then the one in my foot could come out too. They told me it didn't matter. So I - obviously - started getting stressy over it and trying to make them understand that if I can't use my hands I can't do anything because I can't see without my hands. And all they did was hold me down so I couldn't kick out or anything.

I finally managed to make one of the nurses that was there to take me back to the ward understand, so when we got back up there she took out the one in my foot and freed up my right hand. I'd have probably been fine then, but I discovered I was in a room with other people, which wasn't right. And when I asked was told I'd been moved so they could keep an eye on me. Apparently it was the anesthatist's order. Needless to say, I panicked. I didn't know where I was, or where my stuff was. I didn't even know at this point where my cane was. And by the time Mam, Dad and Kelly arrived (about 30 mins later) I was in hell of a state. And all I could say to them at first was that, "first I couldn't use my hands and now they put me where I don't know where I am!"

Mam went and had a word with them, and they said it was so I could be watched more closely. But the room I was in before was right by their desk, and the person in the room I'd been moved in to I later discovered had severed retinas and wouldn't have seen if anything was wrong anyway. Plus, I woke several times in the night and she wasn't even aware of that. And - again - they insisted the slightest press of the buzzer would bring someone to me. But when I pressed it when I woke up it took 45 mins to get a response. So it was lucky all I needed was a pee and that my breathing (which was what they were keeping an eye on) was fine. If my breathing had been an issue I'd have been dead before they got to me.

Apparently I never stopped breathing during the op this time (but they weren't quite as worried anyway, because I wasn't as dehydrated since I'd had breakfast). But because of my asthma and what happened last time they wanted to be sure I was fine and monitor me. How they were doing this when they weren't answering my buzzer is beyond me, but there you have it.

I saw my specialist's assistant around 8:30 am Friday morning. He said everything was looking fine so far, wrote up a prescription for me, had someone come and remove my final drip (thankfully) and told me that I was free to go home as soon as my specialist had seen me, because he wanted to see for himself how things were going before I left.

I asked someone a little before 10:00 am to call my Mam and let her know that I could leave in the afternoon. The nurse said she would, but when my Mam called to ask at 11:30 am she was told I hadn't been discharged and they didn't know if I would be or not. Around 12:30 pm (when my specialist saw me and said I was free to go now) I finally got them to call and let Mam know I could come home.

By the time she got there - around 2:00 pm - with clean clothes and my Dad (and his car, lol) I'd located and packed my stuff and was sat on the edge of my bed waiting for her.

Once I was dressed, I lingered just long enough to thank the ladies who'd come in that morning and looked after me (patients, not nurses) and for my Mam to tell the nurses she was taking me, then I was so out of there!

I've got an appointment to see my specialist next Monday afternoon. I wont really be able to tell you how the eye is healing up until then. All I know now is that it seems to have stopped bleeding, and the bit of gunk coming from it is the clear non-smelly stuff that is normal for a recovering wound. So, as far as I can tell it's so far so good.

***~***

Will catch up on comments and blog posts soon. Right now I'm tired and my hands are aching (still sore from all the being jabbed with needles) and I've already made them type until the point where they're hurting like hell to do this update. Plus I need to take another antibiotic tablet, and for a while after I take those I'm a bit muddle headed (more so than normal I mean, lol) so if I went and commented on blogs after taking that then you could end up with all sorts of rubbish in your comments sections. LOL!

Tori

P.S. In case I don't do a post tomorrow... Kati, say happy birthday to your Tey for me for tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trying to heal - continued (AE&D... PTMI)

Sorry I haven't been around to check blogs properly or reply to comments for a couple of days, but I haven't had the time. The only reason there was a post from me yesterday was because I'd already set it up to be published on 22nd September with the scheduled post thingy. It's one of the posts I was refering to when I mentioned scheduling some things to post in the next few weeks because not much was going to be going on. Anyway, I did make a start on blog checking on Sunday, but other than typing up a shopping list for Kelly and checking my bank to make sure my money was in I haven't been on the laptop since then. You'll understand why (and why I never finished checking blogs) once you've read this post.

***~***

You may remember my "Trying to heal" post from a few weeks back? The one where I mentioned all the yucky eye gunk? Well... On Saturday I noticed that the gunk - which had started to lessen in amount - had increased in amount again and was stickier. Plus, it seemed to smelled different. I wondered if it had gotten infected or something, so when I saw Eleri I told her my suspicions and she agreed that it looked like it (Eleri's a trained nurse). She told me to give it a good clean and make sure I cleaned it several times throughout the day. So I gave it a good clean.

When I got up on Sunday it was more gunky than I'd ever seen it before, so I asked my Mam to come and give it a "proper" clean (I didn't want to bother Eleri to ask her to do it). So Mam arrived with her friend Kelly (Kelly was co-driving, so she had to come too).

Anyway...

My Mam started cleaning the gunk and realised there was blood too. She cleaned it all up though and then handed me the shell thingy to put back in, since I'm better at doing it myself. But when I went to put it in it hurt, and I knew there was no way I could do it. I just said, "I can't," and burst out crying because it hurt so much.

So there I am with blood, gunk and tears all running down my cheek, and nobody knowing exactly what to do. All we could think to do was get Eleri and ask her what we should do. She came and had a look, and it took my Mam and the two Kellys to hold me still so she could look. Not because I didn't want her looking, but because it hurt so much.

We decided the best option was to give me a couple of Paracetamol for the pain and call the out of hours doctor. Only problem was that when we did we got a message saying the surgery was closed and if it was important to call 999. It wasn't really a life or death thing, but with no other way of getting a doctor to look at me we had no choice, so we called 999.

An ambulance came and took me to the hospital I normally go to for my eye treatments. The crew was really nice, but it was obvious they hadn't dealt with blind people before (or not many of them anyway) because of some of the things they asked me on the way to the hospital and before we left. Like the question I've been asked so many times I've lost count about how I watch movies. I gave them the same answer I've given others, "I watch them with my ears."

Anyway...

To cut a long story short, they said I had a bad infection in the eye and gave me some antibiotics. And I've spent the last couple of days back and forth to hospitals.

Today I found out that there's a slight "gap" near where the stitching is from the op, and that's where the blood is coming from, and - obviously - it's the blood being trapped in there because of the shell thingy that caused the infection. Despite that they wanted me to keep the shell in, but I refused. They weren't happy about that, but since it seems to me that shell is the main cause of the problem (especially when you consider the fact I never had this problem with the other one, and I didn't have one of those shell things for that one) and it hurts enough being cleaned right now, so there's no way I'm going to add to that by putting that thing back in. Especially since it's my theory that the shell keep twisting and rubbing on the inside of my eye socket is what caused the problem (I also have a small cut on the side of my eye... Just inside it... About where the side of the shell was scraping before).

So tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon I've got to go back and see the proper specialist (the guy who did my op) so he can have a look and decide if he thinks the tear is going to fix itself or if they need to take me back in to hospital so they can put another stitch in there to close it back up. Since you can't actually see the coral implant the doctor I saw today isn't sure what - if anything - needs to be done, which is why I have to see the specialist tomorrow.

In the meantime I'm on both antibiotic drops and antibiotic tablets 4 times a day to clear up the infection and stop it from spreading to my brain or some other part of my body.

***~***

So that's why I haven't been around over the past couple of days.

If they do want me back in hospital then I don't know how much notice I'll get, so I don't know if I'll have time to come on here and let you know. At the moment we're having to just take things as they come and see what happens next.

Tori

P.S. We found out yesterday there is an out of hours doctor, but the number from our surgery is meant to transfer to the place where he/she is (they did tell us, but I can't remember) and all we can do is assume that the transfer just didn't work, or too many people called at once so the system couldn't transfer all the numbers. Or something like that.

P.P.S. I asked the nurse at the hospital today if it's accurate to say that I have an eye condition when I don't have eyes to have one in. After much stammering she went and asked someone or looked it up (not sure which, but she went somewhere) and came back with the answer that it is accurate to say that. So, now we know. LOL!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn/Fall Similes

Struggling to get your creative juices flowing?

Why not try your hand at writing a poem using some Autumn/Fall similes?

Samples:
The leaves are as orange as a pumpkin.
The weather is as crisp as fresh lettuce.
The scarecrows blow in the wind like big rag dolls.

Not sure where to start? Well...

First make a list of Autumn/Fall words. Examples might include the months of Autumn/Fall or descriptive words dealing with the sights and sounds of Autumn/Fall. Then create a sample list of simile comparisons.

Samples:
the air is as ……… as ………
the trees are as ……… as ……….
the leaves are as ……… as ………
the birds sound like ………………
the animal's coat is as ……… as ……...
the cider smells as ……… as ……

Go on... Have a go!

Tori

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Birthdays and a book review

First of all, yesterday (Friday) was my friend Mel's birthday. So, a VERY happy birthday to her. :)

Secondly, today (Saturday) is Jason (a family friend)'s birthday. So, a VERY happy birthday to him too. :)

It was also Sam (Sam from the "Alliance United" post)'s birthday a few days ago. I meant to say something at the time, but didn't get to it. And now I can't remember exactly which day it was. I know it was the start of the week, but not sure of the exact day now. Kelly's going to check for me later so I can add her to our "Important Dates" page. I did ask him to say happy birthday to her via whispers on W.O.W at the time though. But, anyway, I thought I'd wish her a belated happy birthday on here since I always try and give people a birthday mention (even if it's at least a few days late).

Hope all of you enjoyed your special days (or, in Jason's case, hope you're enjoying your special day). *Hugs*

***~***

I listened to one of my audio books the other day. Actually, I suppose it was "technically" two audio books. It's called "The Adventures Of Charlie And Mr. Willy Wonka" and contains both the "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" and the "Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator" (or is it "Willy Wonka And The Great Glass Elevator"...? I'm not too sure... It's something about a "Great Glass Elevator" though) books by Roald Dahl. So, like I said, it's "technically" two audio books.

Anyway...

I'm sure you're all familiar with at least the first part. It's the story of Charlie Bucket's visit to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory after being one of the five children to find a golden ticket inside a "Wonka bar." And the second part - which isn't as well known as the first part - is the story of Charlie Bucket and his family ending up in space in Willy Wonka's glass elevator.

They're great stories... Very funny and imaginative!

***~***

Haven't really got anything else to say, and I've got a few things I want/need to get done that involve me not being on the laptop. So I'll just say that I hope those who aren't well, and those who had to go for surgery, and those just generally feeling low are feeling better and are soon back to their old selves. *Sending hugs to those in need of them*

Enjoy whatever's left of your day. :)

Tori

Friday, September 19, 2008

Morning musings (kinda R/WP)

It was one of those mornings where you know that Autumn has arrived. The kind where you can not only feel the icy fingers of the morning frost, but you can also smell it's crisp, dry scent. It mingles with the rich scent of the damp earth and the sweet fragrances of the flowers.

Most of the birds haven't gone south for the Winter yet. Some don't even bother, but it's too early for most to leave yet anyway. You don't need to be a bird expert to know this, because those still around are perched in nearby trees. You can hear them singing their melodeous tunes.

"Chirup, chirup, chirpety chirp!"

You'd grab your camera and try and take a photo of them... Maybe someone can identify them for you? But you don't want to move... You'd miss part of their song if you did. And it's so pretty... You don't want to miss any of it. Especially when you know that bird song will soon become scarce. The presence of frost already tells you that. Does it really matter what kinds of birds they are?

You decide it doesn't.

So, you stay stood there in the doorway with a warm, snuggly dressing gown wrapped around you and a steaming mug of tea cupped in your hands, while the dog sniffs and snuffles around not far from your feet.

*Sniff, sniff, snuffle, snuffle, sniffety sniff*

It's while you're nose and ears are being filled with these smells and sounds that your mind begins to wander. You knew it would if you stayed there long enough. You've tried to keep a tight rein on it recently because it has a tendancy to wander in to places you'd rather it didn't go. But this morning you have no control over it. It wants to be free... No! It "NEEDS" to be free!!

You think about the fact that at least most of the birds you are listening to now will soon be off to some warmer country until the Spring, and it makes you think about all the other animals that will soon be settling in to hybernate or doing whatever it is they do to prepare for the Winter.

This, of course, leads you to squirrels. How can you not think of squirrels? Squirrels are everywhere lately. Cute, fluffy, bushy tailed squirrels... Squirrels in the trees, squirrels on the blogs...

The word "blogs" leads you to thinking about your friends.

You think of all your friends who are going through so much... Wishing they could stop their suffering long enough to stand like you are and just enjoy the beauty of nature. It reminds you how lucky you are.

But not all your friends are sufferring...

And it's that thought that leads you to thinking of all your friends not suffering, and hoping it stays that way. You wonder if they have stood like this recently... Just enjoying nature, sipping hot tea and thinking. You hope they have. And those that haven't... You wonder if they know what they're missing.

It's at this point your mind begins to wander in to the dangerous territory you had been trying to keep it away from. You try to mentally shake yourself... But it's too late... And now you're thinking about things you promised yourself you'd try to forget. Things you don't want to think about.

You turn your back on the beautiful smells and sounds outside and head indoors in the hopes that doing so will stop you thinking. It doesn't, and your thoughts race around in your head like a runaway train.

Why do these kinds of thoughts have to spoil such a beautiful moment?

Tori

Why leaves change colour

...as featured on weather.com


From the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry


The Splendor of Autumn


Every autumn we revel in the beauty of the fall colors. The mixture of red, purple, orange and yellow is the result of chemical processes that take place in the tree as the seasons change from summer to winter.


During the spring and summer the leaves have served as factories where most of the foods necessary for the tree's growth are manufactured. This food-making process takes place in the leaf in numerous cells containing chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green color. This extraordinary chemical absorbs from sunlight the energy that is used in transforming carbon dioxide and water to carbohydrates, such as sugars and starch.


Along with the green pigment are yellow to orange pigments, carotenes and xanthophyll pigments which, for example, give the orange color to a carrot. Most of the year these colors are masked by great amounts of green coloring.


Chlorophyll Breaks Down


But in the fall, because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor.


At the same time other chemical changes may occur, which form additional colors through the development of red anthocyanin pigments. Some mixtures give rise to the reddish and purplish fall colors of trees such as dogwoods and sumacs, while others give the sugar maple its brilliant orange.


The autumn foliage of some trees show only yellow colors. Others, like many oaks, display mostly browns. All these colors are due to the mixing of varying amounts of the chlorophyll residue and other pigments in the leaf during the fall season.


Other Changes Take Place


As the fall colors appear, other changes are taking place. At the point where the stem of the leaf is attached to the tree, a special layer of cells develops and gradually severs the tissues that support the leaf. At the same time, the tree seals the cut, so that when the leaf is finally blown off by the wind or falls from its own weight, it leaves behind a leaf scar.


Most of the broad-leaved trees in the North shed their leaves in the fall. However, the dead brown leaves of the oaks and a few other species may stay on the tree until growth starts again in the spring. In the South, where the winters are mild, some of the broad-leaved trees are evergreen; that is, the leaves stay on the trees during winter and keep their green color.


Only Some Trees Lose Leaves


Most of the conifers - pines, spruces, firs, hemlocks, cedars, etc. - are evergreen in both the North and South. The needle- or scale-like leaves remain green or greenish the year round, and individual leaves may stay on for two to four or more years.


Weather Affects Color Intensity


Temperature, light, and water supply have an influence on the degree and the duration of fall color. Low temperatures above freezing willfavor anthocyanin formation producing bright reds in maples. However, early frost will weaken the brilliant red color. Rainy and/or overcast days tend to increase the intensity of fall colors. The best time to enjoy the autumn color would be on a clear, dry, and cool (not freezing) day.


Enjoy the color, it only occurs for a brief period each fall.


Text prepared by Carl E. Palm, Jr., Instructional Support Specialist, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good luck, Iggy

Just wanted to post a quick "good luck with your surgery" post for Intense_Guy.

So... Good luck, Iggy! Hope you heal up quickly! :)

Tori, Kelly and Kero x

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

They're everywhere! (AE&D)

They're everywhere! There's no escape! Nobody's safe any more! There's nowhere to hide!

I'm talking, of course, about squirrels.

They're even on The Hoobs now! I kid you not!

For those who don't know, "The Hoobs" is a kids' TV show where they ask a question then report the answer for "Hoob news" which is broadcast to Hoobs all over Hoob Land. Anyway, the three Hoobs who do the news are on "The Peep Planet" (Earth) and the questions are about things that are found or that happen here. And while searching for the right answer they find out about and explore other possible ideas. The idea is that they aren't from this planet and have no idea how things work over here.

Well, imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV for Hoobs this morning only to find that today's question was about why they'd found some nuts in a hole in the ground. I'm sure you can all figure out the eventual answer, right? Yup! That's right! "Because a squirrel buried them so it could go back to find them in Winter when there aren't any left on the trees."

I'm telling you... Nowhere's safe any more! I think it's too late for us all! The squirrels have invaded our world and they've taken over! The planet's gone nuts and there's nothing we can do about it! There's nowhere to run... Nowhere to hide! Squirrels are everywhere!

Tori

Seasons (LBE)

There are often arguments about the dates the seasons end and start. I myself have been involved in more than one of these arguments. And why? Because both location and religion determine the calender you follow. Let me explain.

Majority of those descended from the Celts (the Welsh, the Irish, the Scottish and people in some parts of England) still follow the dates of the old Celtic calender. As do many of those who follow many branches of the Pagan religions. This calender states that the start of the new year begins on Samhain/Halloween/All Hallows Eve. It also states that Winter begins at the start of November, Spring at the start of February, Summer at the start of May, and Autumn/Fall at the start of August in the Northern Hemisphere, with the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere being the opposite (February being Autumn, May being Winter, etc). Thus placing the Equinoxes and Solstices roughly in the centre of each season. These dates are, obviously, not 100% accurate due to the fact that when the calender was more widely used the dates were worked out differently (using the moon's phases). They are just the closest anyone can come from interpretations of the old Celtic calenders when compared to observations of the moon made throughout the year as we know it. If that makes sense.

Also, there was very little mention of Spring and Autumn in the Celtic calender. Autumn was merely the harvest time, and Spring the time of rebirth of animals and nature.

However, everyone else follows other calenders. Not necesarily the same ones as one another. In some of these other calenders the dates of the starts of the seasons change. As does the date that the new year begins. Although, in some of them the dates do remain roughly the same.

The most commonly used of these calenders is the Gregorian calender... The one which gives us the dates we use every day of the week, every week of the year, every year of our lives. The one that states that the first day of the new year is on January 1st. This same calender is also the one that states that the Equinoxes and Solstices mark the start of the season rather than its mid point.

The old calenders base their dates not only on lunar phases, but also on the point in the year when certain things (i.e. harvesting) needed to be done, and are therefore still widely used by farmers as well as Pagans and the descendants of the Celts.

Anyway...

While browsing the internet for Autumn/Fall themed items to post (recipes, interesting articles, etc) I noticed that there are more dates claiming to be the correct date for the start of each season than even "I" realised (and I knew there were "two or three"). The dates for the start of Autumn/Fall, for example, range from August 1st to September 23rd.

So... With so many different dates given for the dates the seasons start and end, how are you to know which season - or which part of a certain season - you are in? How are you supposed to decide whether, for example, Autumn/Fall starts at the start of August, the start of September, or later in the month of September at the date of the Autumn Equinox (September 22nd/23rd)?

Personally, I have always gone by the dates in the Celtic calender, which means that as far as I'm concerned Autumn/Fall is almost at its mid point. I choose to use this calender because it's the one that makes most sense to me. Many people agree that Yule/Christmas happens "in the bleak Mid-Winter" and that June 21st (the Summer Solstice) marks the mid point of Summer. And since I share that belief, it stands to reason that September should be the middle of Autumn and March should be the middle of Spring. Especially when you take in to consideration the fact that many pieces of text state that the year is split up in to four seasons of roughly equal length. And when you take in to account the fact that the Welsh name for the month of July is "Gorffenaf" from the Welsh "Gorffen" meaning "finish" or "end" and the Welsh "haf" meaning "Summer."

But which calender do you use? How do you figure out where in the season we are? Or, for that matter, which season we are in? Or, do you not care? Whatever the case, I'd be interested in your opinions and your reasons for them.

Tori

Monday, September 15, 2008

Squirrels, a meme and Kero (LBE... FD but AE&D)

It's official... Squirrels have taken over the world! I knew it was only a matter of time, and now I know I was right! Enemies of the little nutters beware!

First they found their way in to posts on the blogs of innocent, unsuspecting humans. Leading everyone to believe that they were cute, fluffy little things that just scampered about among the trees and ate nuts. But after a while they began to show their true colours. And now... Now they're everywhere!

They're taking over everyone's blogs (despite having their own blogs), they're on World Of Warcraft, they're in our gardens.... Where will they be spotted next?

And they're no longer the fluffy, innocent-looking nut gatherers they once appeared! They're armed and dangerous! And one of them unknowingly provided proof that not all fires started near trees are caused by mankind... Some of those fires were started by a squirrel's cigarrette not being put out properly!

Oh, yes! It's all becoming clear now... If only we'd realised sooner! If only we were more prepared! But we didn't know... We weren't prepared... And now it's too late!

Run... While you still have the chance!

***~***

OK... So, moving on - very swiftly...

Whim posted a meme thingy on her blog, and I don't have plans for this evening, so I thought I'd play along. You're meant to tag six people afterwards, but I'm going to take a leaf out of Whim's book and just say that, "if you want to play too, then great! Otherwise... No big deal. It's your call!"

Anyway... The meme is a "six unremarkable things about me" meme.

So, here goes...

1. I'm a very patient person, except when I'm over tired or very hungry. If either of those things is an issue then I become bad tempered, and if both are an issue then you'd probably be best to stay away.

2. I prefer to be bare footed and only wear shoes or slippers if I "have to"... Basically, if I'm going out somewhere or if it's wet or snowy and someone makes me put something on my feet (yes, I have been out in the snow in bare feet... Mam and Kelly weren't impressed with me I can tell you, LOL!!)

3. I don't drink any alcaholic drinks. I'm not saying I never have, I just learned very quickly that you can go too far with it and that I'd rather avoid the stuff.

4. I often try unusual food combinations just to see if they taste good together... Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't! For example: Jam, marmite, marmalade, cheese, ketchup and butter on the same piece of toast doesn't taste too bad, but doesn't stay down too well either so should probably be avoided. Where as Bacon, chips, cheese, gravy and mint sauce is fantastic (and it stays down too, lol!)

5. I try to get up for 6:00 am on a week day morning to watch "The Hoobs" (even if I then go back to bed for an hour or more afterwards). Yeah, I know, I'm a big kid! LOL!

6. I love my little Westie (Kero) as if he was mmy baby, and treat him as part of the family. He even gets cards and presents on his birthday and Christmas. As well as a mention on cards that I send to others.

***~***

I took Kero for a walk by myself yesterday afternoon because I was bored, it was actually dry-ish, and Kelly was busy so couldn't come with us (and I didn't dare wait for him to not be busy in case it rained and we missed our chance for a walk).

We didn't go far, but it was a nice little walk. And Kero seemed really pleased about it. Not that I'm surprised, since - I have to admit - he's not getting walked as often as he should be. I mean, between the weather, other stuff happening, my reluctance to go anywhere, etc... You get the picture, I'm sure.

Anyway...

I'm really proud of him. I think he realises that I can't see a thing any more, because I've never seen him so well behaved. Normally he zig-zags in front of people, going from one side of the path to the other. And when Kelly and Mam walk him he doesn't care about dragging them off the path and in to walls, lamp posts, etc.

But when I took him yesterday... He stuck to one side of the path, he didn't keep trying to drag me on to the grass, and he went around stuff so well that the only thing that touched them was the tip of my cane.

Needless to say, I was - and still am - very proud of him!

He's done simular things with me before, but those times it's been dark so I wasn't sure if he was being good or if it was because he was scared of the dark. LOL! Plus, since it was always me who walked him (and where we were before he could go loose for almost the whole walk) I didn't notice so much. I mean, when he was loose all that mattered was that he was near enough so I could see where he was and what he was up to, and that he came back when I called him.

It just goes to show that I was right to say that if a dog is devoted to their human then that dog will look after the human just because of the loyalty and devotion they feel. And anyone who's seen (or heard) Kero when I come home will be left in no doubt of how devoted to me he is. LOL!

Tori

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No inspiration (FD)

I wasn't able to figure out what to call today's blog post. So I called it "no inspiration" since that's all I could think while attempting to think of a title.

Anyway...

Haven't done a lot the last couple of days. I've been looking for some interesting things to post on here over the next couple of weeks, since there wont be a whole lot going on for me to post about (at least, not unless something unexpected crops up). And managed to catch up on some much needed sleep. But that's pretty much it.

Although, I did listen to "Hard Times" by Charles Dickens the other day. It was an interesting story. I'm sure most of you have at least heard of it. I suppose the simplest form of a plot summery would be to say that it's about a man who thinks the most important thing in life is knowledge of facts, and nothing else matters. But he learns there are other things in life just as important - if not more so!

And I watched "Five Children And It" which I've seen before and I'm sure I mentioned on here at the time, so I wont do so again. But I will say that it's a good movie. :)

Oh yeah... I've also posted some recipes on our recipe page that I found. And there's one there that I got in an e-mail (I think from Kati, if I remember rightly). So those of you who enjoy cooking might want to go take a look at those.

Anyway...

This would have been my Mam's weekend to come and stay with me, but since she's not well and I'm not 100% myself we decided to give it a miss this weekend.

Mam and I were meant to have some duck pancakes and chicken fahettas (I think I spelled that right) for dinner last night. But Kelly and I had them instead. I loved the duck pancakes, but have decided that proper fahettas aren't for me. Even Kelly - who has no problems with spicy food - went through about three pints of drink just to eat the 10 or so little tiny fahettas that were in the box!

Anyway...

I don't know what I'll be doing today. There's probably some blog posts for me to catch up on, so I expect I'll go take a look later on. But other than that... *Shrugs*... I guess we'll just see what the day brings.

Sorry this isn't the most exciting of posts. I promise I've got some more exciting stuff for you to read soon. In the meantime, Kelly's got an interesting post on his blog. It's got some details on creatures from British folk tales and there's a link at the bottom of the post where you can go to the site it came from and read more about the folk tales of England, Scotland and Wales. It's an interesting post and an interesting website. It's kind of a long post though... Just so you know.

Anyway... Enjoy your Sunday. :)

Tori

P.S. Even World Of Warcraft is getting involved in the squirrel chronicles by the look of it. The different races have various amusing quotes they use when you type a certain thing, and I was informed this morning that one of the ones for the gnomes is, "you know... Squirrels can become quite agressive when cornered!" LOL!

But, my favourite of the gnome quotes has to be: "I appologise perfusely for any inconvenience my murderous rampage may have caused you!"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Swansea Jack - Jac Tawe

The subject of Welsh history that is partially lost in myth reminds me of something I was told about when I was still in school. I remember being told the story of "Swansea Jack" (or "Jac Tawe") and then being given a picture of a dog in a baseball cap to colour in. Anyway, while I was on the hunt for information on Dilwyn I decided to look up about Swansea Jack too. And here's what I found:

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Swansea Jack (1930 - October 1937) was a famous dog whose name lives on in the nickname given to natives of Swansea, Wales.

Many people believe that this stems from the famous dog of that name. Others claim that the derivation is from the nickname given to Swansea's sailors, who had a reputation as skilled and dependable mariners. Another theory is that the coal miners of nearby coalfields called the miners from Swansea "Jacks" because their lunch-boxes were uniquely made of Swansea tin and called Jacks. A noted pub in Swansea is also named Swansea Jack, in honour of the dog.

The dog, Swansea Jack, was a flat-coated retriever born in 1930. He lived in the North Dock / River Tawe area of Swansea with his master, William Thomas. Jack would always respond to cries for help from the water, diving into the water and pulling whoever was in difficulty to safety at the dockside.

His first rescue, in June 1931, when he saved a 12-year-old boy, went unreported. A few weeks later, this time in front of a crowd, Jack rescued a swimmer from the docks. His photograph appeared in the local paper and the local council awarded him a silver collar.

In 1936, he had the prestigious 'Bravest Dog of the Year' award bestowed upon him by the London Star newspaper.

He received a silver cup from the Lord Mayor of London and he is still the only dog to have been awarded two bronze medals ('the canine V.C.') by the National Canine Defence League (now known as Dogs Trust).

Legend has it that in his lifetime he saved 27 people from the Docks / River Tawe.

Swansea Jack died in October 1937 after eating rat poison. His burial monument, paid for by public subscription, is located on the Promenade in Swansea near St. Helen's Rugby Ground.

In 2000, Swansea Jack was named 'Dog of the Century' by NewFound Friends of Bristol who train domestic dogs in aquatic rescue techniques.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Welsh Dragon - Y Ddraeg Goch (LBE)

I've been unable to find information on why the Welsh dragon has the names it does. Yes, I did say "names" because it is known by several. The most common (at least, the ones I've heard most) being "Dilwyn" or "Dewi" but I'm sure there are others. I'm pretty sure the "Dewi" is after St David (Dewi being one of the Welsh forms of the name David) but have no idea where the "Dilwyn" came from. I was, however, able to find this bit of information on the history of the use of the dragon as a symbol. Perhaps it will serve as a stepping stone for those who are better than I am at extracting information from the vast collection of web sites out there?

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THE RED DRAGON - Y Ddraig Goch

Although an integral part of the United Kingdom, Wales is not represented on the national flag, or Union Flag, more popularly known as the Union Jack.

The proud and ancient battle standard of the Welsh is The Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) and consists of a red dragon, passant, on a green and white background. As with any ancient symbol, the appearance of the dragon has been adapted and changed over the years, and hence several different variations exist.

Union Flag

The current flag was officially adopted in 1959, and is based on an old royal badge used by British kings and queens since Tudor times. The red dragon itself has been associated with Wales for centuries, and as such, the flag is claimed to be the oldest national flag still in use. But why a dragon? The answer to that particular question is lost in history and myth.

One legend recalls Romano-British soldiers carrying the red dragon (Draco) to Rome on their banners in the fourth century, but it could be even older than that.

It is considered that the Welsh kings of Aberffraw first adopted the dragon in the early fifth century in order to symbolise their power and authority after the Romans withdrew from Britain. Later, around the seventh century, it became known as the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr, king of Gwynedd from 655 to 682.

Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae, written between 1120 and 1129, links the dragon with the Arthurian legends, including Uther Pendragon the father of Arthur whose name translates as Dragon Head. Geoffrey’s account also tells of the prophecy of Myrddin (or Merlin) of a long fight between a red dragon and a white dragon, symbolising the historical struggle between the Welsh (red dragon) and the English (white dragon).

The oldest recorded use of the dragon to symbolise Wales however, is from the Historia Brittonum, written by the historian Nennius around 820.

The red dragon was even said to have been used as the British standard at the Battle of Crecy in 1346, when the Welsh archers, dressed in their beloved green and white, played such a crucial role in defeating the French.

And although Owain Glyndwr raised the dragon standard in 1400 as a symbol of revolt against the English Crown, the dragon was brought to England by the House of Tudor, the Welsh dynasty that held the English throne from 1485 to 1603. It signified their direct descent from one of the noble families of Wales. The green and white stripes of the flag were additions of Henry VII, the first Tudor king, representing the colours of his standard.

During Henry VIII's reign the red dragon on a green and white background became a favourite emblem on Royal Navy ships.

As the national flag of Wales, the red dragon appears to have regained popularity in the early part of the twentieth century, when it was used for the 1911 Caernarfon Investiture of Edward, Prince of Wales. It wasn't until 1959 however, that it became officially recognised as the national flag of the principality.

The Red Dragon now flies proudly over public and private buildings throughout Wales, and thousands still cross the border into England every other year, when the two nations meet for their ‘historic struggle’ on the rugby battlefield known as Twickenham. Welshmen, women and children carrying the dragon as a symbol of pride in their history and culture.



© Historic UK



More British HistoryHistory of England - History of Scotland - History of Wales

Photos from our Sunday afternoon walk (LBE)

On Sunday we managed to get a long enough break in the rain to go out for a walk. And this time the camera's batteries were charged, so we managed to take a few photos.

This first one I took. Kelly says it's a pretty good shot, but he might just be saying it to make me feel good. LOL! But either way... I wanted to have a photo of him walking Kero (don't know why, I just did) so I let them get ahead of me then called their names and snapped the photo... Hoping they'd turned enough before I clicked.

Where we walk here Kero can't be loose for most of the walk. The path and the grass on one side of it is public, but on the other side of the path are some people's open planned gardens, and we don't think people would be too happy to find him scratching up their grass or whatever.

Anyway...

These next few photos are ones Kelly took of Kero when we were on the part of the walk where there's a nice big patch of grass where Kero can run free for a bit.

As you can see from the photos, Kero had a great time and found a few interesting smells to sniff.

He also got very dirty paws from all the muddy grass he ran through. LOL!

Here's another photo I took of Kelly and Kero. With this one I told Kero to come to me. He's pretty good at coming when I call him... Even if he has to drag whoever has hold of his lead - in this case, Kelly - with him. LOL!

I told Kelly before we left that if he saw any "interesting looking bits of scenery" then he was to take photos for me.


Since the bushes block the river from view on one side, and there are houses on the other, there wasn't much in the way of scenic photos. However, he did spot this "flowery bush" and took a photo of it for me to post.

He also spotted these flowers...

They were in one of the gardens, but he figured he'd grab photos of them for me to share with those of you who enjoy looking at photos of flowers, plants and scenery in general.

Tori

Tattoos

Tattoos were mentioned recently, and I said in the comments section of one of AliceKay's recent posts that I had a couple and would look for the photos I had of them. But I couldn't find them (must have put them safe, lol!) So... Kelly took a couple for me. Not sure how good they are, but he did his best (he hasn't figured out the camera settings yet, so tends to leave it on "auto" which doesn't always produce the best result).

Anyway...

This one is on my right upper arm. Carl (my brother) and I had matching Welsh dragon tattoos done (same arm, same spot, same pic) when I was 18 and he was 19... Just before I went to Canada and got married. We'd both wanted tattoos for a while, and since I didn't know if I was coming back we decided it would be cool to have these dragons done. The funny thing is - though we'd arranged to have a tattoo done at the same time - neither of us knew what and where the other was having. We just ended up picking the same picture and same arm, which made it even more special (or, I think it did).

And this one was made especially for Kero a little over 3 years ago (Kero was a little over a year old). I was going to have his photo with his name under it, but to do it to just go on my arm (it's on my left upper arm) he looked more like a cat, and the tattoo didn't do him justice. So I had this one made for him.

Tori

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Naughty Nutmeg Gwiwer

I'm actually in a lot of trouble with cousin Bushytail now, see. Well, he's not my cousin really, see, but I actually just call him my cousin, I do, because I like him so much and we've known each other a long time, actually. But anyway, I'm actually supposed to be talking about something else, actually.

I was supposed to meet up with that there pesky guy, I was. And I was supposed to post about him checkin' in with me so the others could see it, see. And I was supposed to bring a photo of myself too, I was. But I was late, see, because I was actually on my way, see, and I nearly got swept away with all the floods, see. So I actually lost the photo and almost drowned, I did. But cousin Bushytail is mad at me now, he is. He says to me that I better meet up with this pesky guy when he comes back this way or I'll be in big trouble, I will. He says I better not miss him or else, right. So I have to keep watch - even if it means staying up all Winter, see. I don't mind really though, I don't. I've heard a lot about this pesky guy, see, and I want to meet him, right. That's actually how I nearly got drowned, actually. I was running to meet him and wasn't being careful, I wasn't. So I didn't notice the road was flooded, see.

And, actually, Tori says if I can't get to go home to sleep for the Winter because it's too late - which could happen, right - or because of the floods. Then I can stay with her and hibernate in that big cupboard thing she's got, see. The one with the towels in it, see. And she'll make sure I've got plenty of nuts, she will. So that's good, isn't it then?

But I'm actually still in trouble with cousin Bushytail, I am. Yes, he's really mad with me, he is, actually. So I hope I don't miss seeing that there pesky guy when he comes back this way, see. Or I'll be in more trouble, I will. Cousin Bushytail is actually already calling me "Naughty Nutmeg" actually, he is!

Nutmeg Gwiwer

Babbling 'bout books (LBE)

Over the weekend I managed to finish the book I'd been reading and read two short books as well. So I thought I'd do a bit of a book review post.

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Title: The Happy Prince And Other Stories
Author: Oscar Wilde
Synopsis: A collection of four of Oscar Wilde's stories... "The Happy Prince" "The Young King" "The Devoted Friend" and "The Model Millionaire."
My opinion: It was a great book. The only story I actually recognised was "The Happy Prince" and that was from an almost forgotten mentioning by my brother. Anyway, I enjoyed all four stories. They may be difficult for people not familiar with the words of "Old English" to read and understand though.

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Title: The Diary Of A Killer Cat
Author: Anne Fine
Synopsis: The diary of a cat who gets in all sorts of trouble just for being a typical cat.
My opinion: An amusing little book. Don't be put off by the title. It's not as deep and dark as it sounds. And - though there's the odd "not as nice as it could be" type of statement - it's not really graphic. It's just an amusing little book for children and the young at heart.

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Title: The True Story Of The Three Little Pigs
Author: A Wolf (as told to Jon Scieszka)
Synopsis: Alexander T Wolf's side of the story of the three little pigs... It all starts with a headcold and a birthday cake for a beloved Granny.
My opinion: A very amusing version of the story. Definately good for a chuckle!

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For anyone interested, I thought I'd post a list of the books I've got that are waiting to be read or listened to.

Audio books waiting to be listened to:

"Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain
"Hard Times" by Charles Dickens
"The Adventures Of Charlie And Mr Willy Wonka" by Roald Dahl

Books waiting to be read:

"Animal Ark Favourites" by Lucy Daniels
"Marginaliens"
"The widdows broom"
"Why The Whales Came" by Michael Morpurgo
"A Candle In The Forest" by Temple Bailey
"A Stocking Full Of Christmas Stories"
"Treasury Of Christmas Tales" (Various authors)
"The Raven And Other Poems" by Edgar Allen Poe
"Lizzie Dripping And The Witch"
"The Yellow Wallpaper"

Note: Authors included only if I remember them and don't have to get up and look. Otherwise you have to either look them up or wait until I read them to find out who the authors are.

I think I got all the ones I haven't read yet listed... I could be wrong though. *Shrugs*

Tori

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wild leather (AE&D)

It was a cold, wet Tuesday in mid to late August... I'm afraid my memory fails me as to the exact date. But the events of the day are etched clearly in my mind, where they will probably remain forever more!

I had just finished puting away the shopping - which Kelly had braved the weather outside to fetch - and was half way across the front room. And that's when it happened... I was attacked by two small but vicious creatures.

They came at me at the same time, with their tongues sticking out, their laces snatching at my ankles, and their steel toe caps pressed hard against my bare feet. But I knew what to do. I'd been in this situation before with simular creatures! So I flipped them on to their backs and gently stroked their leather seams while telling them how much I admired their sturdy soles.

The creatures - much to my relief - responded well to my affectionate gestures and submitted. Allowing me to return them to the cupboard they called home.

I have come to the conclusion that the cause of their vicious behaviour was neglect. It appears that shoes - especially those with steel toe caps - become wild and vicious if abandoned for too long. A shoe needs a foot and/or sock to curl itself around, and somewhere - like a cupboard, or a shoe rack - to call home. Otherwise it will become wild (like these two did) and viciously attack the first foot that comes close enough for its laces to grab.

I would like to reasure you at this point that the culprit has been reported to the SPCS (Society for Prevension of Cruilty to Shoes) and was fined the cost of 1 audiobook, and forced to do all the housework - including providing the occupents with tea on demand - for three whole days. And has been warned that further shoe neglection will be punished more severely.

Tori

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A squirrel poem I found

I found this poem recently while looking for Autumn themed stuff to post in the next couple of months. And I thought that - under the circumstances - it would be a good thing to share. ;)

***~***

Squirrel

Did you see the squirrel,
racing to the tree?
Must have found a walnut
which had escaped from me.
I saw the green leaves flutter,
The woody branches quake.
Knew he found some treasure,
I'd missed through some mistake.
Yet, I'm glad 'twas he who found it,
Better he than I,
For I would probably eat it,
never asking why.
Just some thoughtless action,
when my mind was buried in,
some fantasies, realities,
some feelings there within.
And then you see, unknowingly,
unwittingly, I would,
Hurt this fellow part of life,
by stealing from his rude.
And taking from his meager means,
I'd cause him seek for more,
I'd trouble him so needlessly,
as I have done before.

But, today I noticed him,
his scramble for his meat,
And feeling somewhat wiser now,
I applaud his furry feet.
I'll trouble him no, further,
Not from this moment on.

But, how often in the past,
Have I done this kind of harm?

May 22, 1970 - Linda A. Copp

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Kero after grooming - Sept 2008

Here are the promised photos of Kero after his grrooming session.

Unfortunately he doesn't stay this clean for long. It's nice while it lasts though, and I always think he smells really nice when he comes back from the groomer. He obviously doesn't though, because he races from room to room rubbing on everything like he's trying to get the scents of "his" house back on himself.

But, of course, he always has time to stop for some photos. ;) LOL!

As you can see from these two photos, he's quite thirsty when he gets home... Which is probably made worse by the racing around the house to rub on everything thing he does. LOL!

I think though that - despite what he'd have us believe - Kero likes being nice and clean... And actually looking like the white dog he's meant to be. Just don't tell him I know. ;)

Tori

Kero with rawhide shoe

This photo was taken early this morning just before we grabbed the photos off the camera and put them on to Kelly's PC to be labeled and such - after which they get transfered across to my laptop via the network so I can post them.

Anyway...





Just before Kelly took the above photo Kero was playing with the rawhide shoe in the photo. But he started posing once he realised the camera was aimed at him. If Kelly'd waited a bit we'd have managed to get a shot or two of him playing, but Kelly doesn't have the patience I have to wait for that perfect shot.



I'd intended adding the rest of his photos in this post. But either Blogger or Jaws (I'm not sure which... Could be either) is having none of it. As it is I've had to retry this post several times already.

Tori

Hobbit photos

Here are the promised hobbit photos. They will eventually be painted... Kelly's going to do it for me. But I'm not sure when that will be. Will post photos of them again when they're painted.

In the meantime...

The hobbit beside the horse in this first photo is the hobbit that will later be mounted on said horse (actually, it's probably a pony... Unless it's meant to be a Shire Horse). But he can't be mounted on it until they're both painted because otherwise it makes painting both the hobbit and the horse/pony very difficult. He's not actually atatched to the base, I just rested him on it for the photo and because that's how he needs to be so Kelly can paint him anyway.

These are the other four hobbits. We call this photo "Four Hobbits Come To Dinner" because, after all, they are on our new table. Besides, I'm sure the hobbits would have no objections to staying for dinner. Anyone who knows anything about hobbits will agree with that. ;) LOL!

Anyway...

The tubby little hobbit is the one I mentioned in yesterday's post... The one that looks just like my Dad. If you've seen a photo of my Dad then you'll know it's true. If you haven't... Go take a look at the photos I posted of my parents at the start of August. Especially the ones I took in the gardens, because Dad's dressed more like himself in that photo and you'll see the resemblence better. LOL!

Tori

Friday, September 05, 2008

Thoughts and things for Friday (LBE & FD)

Firstly... thank you for all the comments on the sleep subject, but I do know what the problem is. I'm not doing enough through the day to make myself tired enough to sleep properly at night. It's as simple as that. And I know it is because - though I had nights when I couldn't sleep before - the actual problem started around the time I lost my eye (and with it my confidence) and as a result began avoiding going places (especially if it meant walking a lot). And I don't think it's a coincidence that the night after our five Hour shopping trip in Norwich (which consisted almost entirely of walking around the city or one or the other of the shops) I slept fantastically. Where as yesterday, for example, I spent most of the day sitting down doing stuff. Yes, my hands were busy and so was my mind... But not my body. If it would stop raining long enough it would be harder for me to make excuses not to go for walks, and that would help. But this is Wales. And it's even a lot of rain compared to what we're used to. When Kelly went in to town today he discovered that some of the roads were actually flooded. We can't take Kero out in floods (and he wouldn't go anyway) and it's hard enough trusting a cane when you aren't wading through water, so going by myself isn't an option in weather like this. Even my Nan (who usually goes to town no matter the weather) stayed home today.

I know, I know... It's not like it's this bad all the time. I've really got to stop making excuses and start going out more. But it's so much easier not to go. And it's easier on people if they don't take me. So it's so easy to make excuses that people will accept.

Like today...

Mam and her friend Kelly invited me to go with them to check out the new shop (£ Stretcher, I think) that's opened not too far from here. I said, "no," because I didn't have a lot of money free to spend there, so I didn't see the point. I could have gone just for the change of scenery and the excercise I'd have gotten walking around the shop (and all the other shops near it that my Mam would have wanted to look in too, LOL!) But nope! I made an excuse. A valid one admittedly, but an excuse none the less.

And that's why I'm not sleeping. Because instead of going out for a wander - be it in to town, along the riverside with Kero, or around some shops somewhere else with my Mam - I'm staying home and just fiddling with my "toys" or messing about on the laptop, or watching a DVD/Video, or reading/listening to a book/audiobook.

Anyway, enough of that...

***~***

My parents were here on Wednesday and my Mam made dinner. She made a sort of pasta bolagnese type thing with some peas. It was OK, but even she agreed she'd have been better off putting it in the oven rather than a saucepan because the pasta all sort of stuck together and became a yucky lump. The Welsh cakes she made are really tasty though!

Then yesterday (Thursday) a lot happened in a short amount of time. LOL!

Kero left with his groomer a little after 8:30 am. The postman brought a stack of parcels about 10:30 am. We'd just finished sorting them out and putting the stuff away when the delivery guy showed up with our table and my Hungry Hippos game (can't have a game collection without having a Hungry Hippos game). He'd hardly left when Kero came home. And we'd just finished doing Kero's after grooming photo shoot (photos will be posted tomorrow) when Wayne arrived (it's his week to spend the night with us to give my parents a bit of time to themselves).

The parcels the postman brought contained the rest of Carl's birthday and Christmas presents. An audiobook I'd ordered, my hobbits (photos of them to come tomorrow too) and a Warhammer box set Kelly'd ordered when ordering my hobbits (the set that's not actually released until tomorrow, lol!)

It was sorting out the books and getting the ones I wanted him to have for Christmas and the ones I wanted him to have for his birthday seporated that took the longest amount of time. Partly - I have to admit - due to my stopping half way through to investigate my hobbits. I've got one that looks just like my Dad... But more on that when I post the photo tomorrow... LOL!

***~***

Speaking of photos...

Rachel (my sister-in-law) posted the info on how to see the photos done by the photographer on the day of hers and Carl's wedding. So if you want to go take a look then go check out her blog (link is on our links page) and scroll down to the first post she did on September 1st 2008 (you might want to stop and look at the photos in the 2nd one first though) and follow her instructions.

***~***

We had fish fingers and chips for dinner last night, and after dinner I listened to some stories on the radio for a bit then went and read a while before "trying" to get some sleep. You all know already how that went.

I did go back to bed for a while this morning. I went back to bed around 7:30 am and sort of dozed on and off between 8:00 am and about 10:30 am, but didn't actually go in to a "proper" sleep.

Wayne left this morning when Kelly went in to town (about 11:30 am ish). And I just alternated between fiddling with things and doing the dishes.

Kelly came home a little before 1:00 pm and it turned out he'd met the postman on his way home, so he came home with a couple of parcels in his arms as well as the stuff he'd gone to town for.

Today's parcels contained most of the books I've been waiting for. There's still one more to come from the RNIB, and I'm still waiting for some from "Future Aids - The Braille Superstore" but most of my books are here now. Most of the ones from Future Aids I'm not worried about as yet since, after all, they do have to make it half way around the world, and the estimated delivery dates haven't arrived yet. I am getting a bit worried about one of them though. It was meant to be here by September 3rd at the latest. It's now September 5th. Even allowing for time difference it should be here by now. I'm giving it until Monday evening (afternoon over there) which gives it two more days that it could possibly arrive (Saturday and Monday). If it's not here after that I think I'll give them a call. I want to ask them about something anyway.

***~***

Kelly and I needed new dressing gowns badly. My Mam did give me one she hasn't really used, but it only just fits and is a bit shorter than I like my dressing gowns to be. I said I'd keep it though since it'll come for either her to use when she's here or for me to use when mine needs washing and Kelly's wearing his so I can't borrow it. LOL!

That was the main reason for Kelly's trip in to town today. When he asked on Tuesday about when they'd have some in they said to give a couple of days to get them out because they had just arrived but hadn't been unpacked yet. So we decided to have him go get us one each now while we knew they had some, since we know from experience that waiting too long for something like that - which they only stock from now until about December ish - means you aren't going to get it.

My new robe is grey and fluffy, and nice and snuggly! I like it! It is a shame that the one I had from my Mam for my birthday last year has gotten very tatty and has to be thrown out though. It's one of those ones you pull over the head and it has a cat picture on it. That one's grey too. My new one is the ordinary kind with the "rope" type thing you tie it closed with. And no cat picture. But I still like it! :)

***~***

Monday we have someone coming to do a check on the heating (and, hopefully, the gas fire too). They sent a letter saying they were coming out, which saves us a call, because we had intended calling soon since I'd like the fire checked before we try to use it "just in case."

I'm hoping they come before 3:00 pm because I've got an appointment for something at 3:35 pm and it'll be easier for them to do the check if I'm here to take Kero off in to the kitchen or bedroom or something while Kelly deals with them. Otherwise Kero will be "helping"... And I'm sure you all know how that works. ;)

***~***

I think I'm going to go eat the Welsh cakes that are left from Wednesday... Yep, that sounds like a good idea! Welsh cakes with some "proper" Welsh butter on them... Mmm! Yup, that's what I'll do. And then I'll finish off with a nice cup of Cocoa and go read some... I've almost finished the book I'm reading, so maybe I can finish that and start the next one tonight?

Enjoy whatever's left of your day. :)

Tori

Sleep Maintanence

I looked up about the sleep maintanence thingy, and this was what I came up with (thought I'd post it here for anyone it might help).

***~***

Waking up in the middle of the night is called sleep maintenance insomnia, and it's a common problem. These midsleep awakenings often occur during periods of stress, but depression could be a factor. Sleep maintenance insomnia may also be due to sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.

To help stay asleep through the night, try some stress-reduction strategies. Make sure to get some exercise into your day, and then set up a quiet, relaxing bedtime routine, such as a warm shower or soft music. Gentle upper body stretches or gentle yoga may help tight muscles unwind. When you wake up in the middle of the night, staying in bed and listening to some soft music or a book on tape with the lights out may help you transition back to sleep. But if you've been struggling to fall asleep for more than 20 minutes, go to another room and do something quiet and relaxing until the urge to sleep returns. It's best to avoid long periods of distress in your bed.

You might also want to avoid foods, drinks or activities that might affect your sleep patterns. Caffeine, alcohol and sugary foods can affect the quality of your sleep. Avoid caffeine after noon, limit alcohol to one drink several hours before bedtime, and pass on late night sweet snacks.

If the problem persists, talk to your doctor. In order to determine the cause and best treatment for such insomnia, you might need a referral to a sleep specialist for further evaluation. Over-the-counter sleep aids rarely offer significant help for this problem. Your doctor may prescribe medication specially designed to help you get back to sleep, combined with specific behavior changes.

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Article: Moon Mistaken For UFO

Found this article a couple of days ago - I think some time Wednesday - while typing random things in to the search engine when I was "between activities" (not exactly bored, but not really having any idea what I felt like doing). It's from a couple of months ago, but thought I'd share it anyway. I think it was from The Daily Telegraph's web site.

Note: 999 is our version of 911 (for those who don't know).

***~***

Moon mistaken for UFO

Police in Wales were called to investigate a mysterious flying saucer, only to discover it was the moon.

By Urmee Khan Last Updated: 11:17AM BST 05 Jul 2008

The moon was mistaken for a "bright, stationary" UFO which had been loitering for at least half an hour, by a confused local in South Wales who made a 999 call to the police.

Today officers released a transcript in order to highlight the time wasted by unnecessary 999 calls.

The bizzare conversation ran as follows:

Control: "South Wales Police, what's your emergency?"
Caller: "It's not really. I just need to inform you that across the mountain there's a bright stationary object."
Control: "Right."
Caller: "If you've got a couple of minutes perhaps you could find out what it is? It's been there at least half an hour and it's still there."
Control: "It's been there for half an hour. Right. Is it actually on the mountain or in the sky?"
Caller: "It's in the air."
Control: "I will send someone up there now to check it out."
Caller: "OK."

After the police patrol car arrives, the script reveals the exchange between the control room and the police officer sent to the scene.

Control: "Alpha Zulu 20, this object in the sky, did anyone have a look at it?"
Officer: "Yes, it's the moon. Over."

A police spokeswoman said: "This was a recent example of an inappropriate 999 call to South Wales Police. "Yes, we can all see the comical side but calling 999 with an unnecessary non-emergency call could block a genuine call for vital seconds and put lives at risk."

Other bizarre calls cited by the police force included someone asking for help voting for Rhydian on The X-Factor and another requesting a pound coin for their supermarket trolley.

It's not even 4:30 am yet! (R/WP)

Wednesday I went to bed about 11:30 pm (maybe a bit earlier) but was still trying to get to sleep at 5:30 am. Soon after that Kelly got up, so rather than getting up at 6:30 am as I'd intended to because of the table coming any time after 7:00 am, I stayed in bed. I finally fell asleep about 8:00 am, and was woken about 8:35 am by Kero's groomer arriving to pick him up. It took me until almost 9:30 am to get back to sleep. The postman came with a stack of parcels about 10:30 am. And that was the end of my sleep attempts.

So last night (Thursday night) I went to bed around 8:00 pm because I was tired. About 10:00 pm I was just dozing off when Kero decided he needed to go out for a pee. So I took him out and went back to bed. I think it was some time around 11:30 pm I finally got to sleep. I woke about 2:00 am... Just before 4:00 am - when Kero realised I was awake so wanted outside again - I gave up and got up.

And that's what it's been like for me almost every night for the past couple of months! Sure, I get the odd night where I manage to get a little more sleep (like I'll sleep solidly from around midnight to about 4:30 am ish). But that's it. I used to sleep a minimum of 8 hours a night.

I wonder if the fact I'm not doing much is causing the problem? Maybe I've gotten in to this vicious cycle of not doing much so not sleeping much, but not doing much because I'm tired from not sleeping much? Makes sense, right?

*Shrugs helplessly*

OK, whiney post over. ;)

Tori

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hobbits are here!

Yay! My hobbits arrived today. :)

Will do a proper post tomorrow... Same goes for checking blogs.

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

The Google game thing

This is the Google game I mentioned the other day that Robyn posted on her blog. You type in the first result, it can be really funny!

Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search:
Tori needs help

Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search:
Tori looks like she is in an insane asylum

Type in "[your name] likes" in Google search:
Tori likes techno

Type in "[your name] says" in Google search:
Tori says 9021 - "no!"

Type in "[your name] wants" in Google search:
Tori wants Dean

Type in "[your name] does" in Google search:
Tori does the big wheel dance

Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search:
Tori hates Haterz

Type in "[your name] goes" in Google search:
Tori goes fishing for goldfish

Type in "[your name] loves" in Google search:
Tori loves her baby girl Madison

Type in "(your name) has" in Google search:
Tori has the baby

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Jayde is 3 today


My Grandma's little Yorkshire Terrier (Jayde Bramblerose) is three years old today. I'm afraid the most recent photo I have of her is one with Kero that's about two years old. But I figured I'd add it anyway. I'm sure my Grandma will have some more recent ones (possibly ones taken today) on her blog if you want to go take a look.
Anyway, I just wanted to post a little happy birthday post for Jayde.
Hope your card from me arrives soon Jayde, and that you're being spoiled and getting lots of pressies like you deserve. :)
Tori

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tuesday's random scribbles

A little while ago I made a note of some interesting things to post on days like today when I haven't done much so don't have much to blog about. It had links to sites with interesting things to post, etc. Unfortunately I don't actually know what I did with that list. I expect I put it somewhere safe... That's a dangerous thing to do... I'm sure you all know what happens to things when you put them "safe"... They disappear and are never found again (or they are, but by the time you find them they're no longer needed). So it appears my idea list has entered whatever realm these items end up in.

Another thing that has entered this realm is a certain poster I mentioned in the comments section of my "Dandelion" poem on my poetry page. I know where the printed out version is... It's in a folder with some of my drawings at my parents' place. But I don't know what happened to the copy that was on the computer and which - as far as I was concerned - was on one of my back-up disks. I'd ask my Mam to bring the art folder for Kelly to scan the poster in for me to post, but I think she's put it somewhere safe. ;)

I was going to do a google search game thingy that Robyn posted on her blog. But I can't be bothered to fiddle about with having two or three windows open in order to do it at this moment. Besides, Sylvester just told me it's 11:00 pm, and I think that's a bit late to start doing fiddly things that will - due to how things work with screen readers - take a while to complete. Maybe when I'm up early on Thursday seeing Kero off to the groomer then waiting for the table to arrive I can do it? We'll see.

My hobbits (I ordered two packs... 5 hobbits in total) should be in the post. Or, if not then they should be sent out tomorrow. They'd have probably been here by now, but when we ordered them we also ordered something for Kelly that's not officially released until Saturday, and the web site says they keep all items until the last item is available. The reason I know it should be today or tomorrow they're sent out though is that the site also says that items that are preordered are sent out about 4 days before the release date so that they should arrive on the date they're released.

I can't think of anything else to say today, so I'll just let this do and say that I hope everyone who's not feeling too good is doing better soon. Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Monday, September 01, 2008

September is here... Now what? (LBE)

Time is slipping by so quickly. August has come and gone bringing us in to September before most of us are ready... Before you know it December will be here bringing with it the joys of the holiday season. But we'll go in to that more some other time. Let's enjoy September first... Before that month slips away from us too!

So, what can we expect in September? Not a whole lot happens in September as a general rule. I do have a few things that need to get done before the month is out though.

This coming Thursday is Kero's grooming session. For those who don't know, he goes every three months... March, June, September and December... It's not so much that his fur grows that quickly, it's just that being a white dog he needs to be given a proper bath regularly and we figure it makes sense to send him to the groomer to make sure he gets "tidied up" on a regular basis. We bath him from time to time at home (if he gets very dirty) but since Kero isn't exactly a fan of water (bit of a problem for a dog living in Wales, lol) that makes bathing him quite a chore. So we're more than happy to pay someone else to do most of his bathing. And she gives him a trim while she's at it, so his fur stays looking nice and doesn't get all long and scruffy looking.

He's got to go for his anual trip to the vet this month too... Not until the end of the month though. It's time for the check-up and booster. But we don't tell him that until we're there and he has nowhere to run (he likes the vet, but only if he only has to go as far as the waiting room... So getting him in the building is easy. Getting him in the examination room... Not so much! LOL!)

We still need to get a few things to sort the flat out. For example:

We need a shelving unit of some description to put the TV and stuff on in the spare room since right now the stuff is just on the floor in a corner. Not sure if it will be sorted out before September is out because there are some things we need more, but it will be done by the end of November since it has to be in order to sort that room out ready for my Grandma and Grandad (and, of course, little Jayde) coming for Christmas.

We still haven't gotten the fencing sorted between our front garden and next door's front garden. All neighbours are in agreement to it being done (though, of course, none of them are in any hurry to help pay) and we especially want it done because next door don't seem to know how to shut gates which means that Kero keeps getting out. It hasn't yet happened when I've been on my own with him - which would make chasing him impossible - but it has happened several times. So that needs to be done as soon as possible... And before any frost or snow that "might" (if I'm lucky) come shows up and hardens the ground too much to get the posts in.

Kelly and I need new drawers for our clothes to go in. The ones we had before wouldn't have survived the move, so we didn't bring them. We've got a few drawers, but not nearly enough, so I want to get some ASAP (before we break these ones with trying to fit everything in to them).

Then there's the sheds. We don't hold out much hope of getting to finish painting the outside of the sheds this side of Christmas due to the weather, but we'd like to get the inside of Kelly's sorted so his stuff can be put away properly. Mostly it's just extra shelving needed in there.

We need to get a table for the kitchen too. The big table we had before I gave to my parents because it would take up too much of the kitchen. I did get a folding table, but the only one I could get without slats is a bit too low to be used regularly. So we planned to get a breakfast bar, but the one I wanted is no longer available, and the closest thing to it (without paying at least three times the price) has a glass top... Not a good idea for me (or for kids when they come along). So we're getting a new little table instead. Should have that by the end of the week (as long as it's in stock still when I go on to order it in the morning).

There are two other things that need doing before Winter sets in too.

One is to get that guard for the fireplace. We're not sure how cold this place gets when the temperature drops very low and I want the guard before we need the gas fire. Espescially since our chances of needing it are increased by the fact my Grandma and Grandad will be here in the middle of Winter and I know my Grandma feels the cold terribly.

The other is a new tumble dryer. For one thing ours is old and dying a slow and painful death, so we're not sure how much longer it's going to hang in there. For another it's not a condenser dryer, which means everything gets hot and damp in the kitchen when it's on. It's not too much of a problem when the weather's not too cold and we have the back door open, but if we need the door closed then it becomes a problem. And, of course, you can't keep the back door open in the middle of Winter... Plus I'd be wasting my time putting the heating and/or gas fire on if we were just going to leave the door open and let the heat out.

We could do with a better cooker too, but there's no rush for that one. The cooker works fine, it's just it takes forever to cook anything and only has one shelf so having room to cook in it is difficult too. But if that's not sorted until early next year then it's no big deal. Most days there are just two of us to cook for anyway.

There are a couple of other little bits that we'd like to get, but there's no rush for them and they aren't important enough to deserve a mention right now. ;)

I'm hoping the bulk of these things at least get sorted before the end of September, so that by the end of October I should have posted those photos I promised you all of the place. Although, if it gets in to November and they still haven't been posted then you'll be waiting until the Christmas decorations go up at the start of December. LOL!

Tori