Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday, I suppose

Lainie challenged all her blogger friends to do this 25 random things about yourself list. I was going to do it, but then I remembered that I did something simular to it before. Besides, I can't decide what to write about myself that I haven't already said several times. LOL!

Anyway...

I listened to an audiobook called "Songbird" by Josephine Cox. It's about a singer whose life is turned upside down due to certain events that cause her to end up going in to hiding. I can't really tell you more than that without giving too much away. But I can tell you that it's a pretty good book. :)

I'm now in the process of listening to "The Beatrix Potter Collection"... And if you don't know the stories in this collection then you ought to be ashamed of yourself! Beatrix Potter's stories about walking, talking, clothes wearing, mischevious wild animals have been around for YEARS and are well known and much loved stories. I was over the moon when I discovered the entire collection was available as an audio CD box set. I wont bother telling you about the stories themselves since - as I've already said - you should at least know of them, even if you've never read them or had them read to you.

Speaking of people who's names end with "Potter"... If you go to www.harrypotter.co.uk the intro for the site is a trailor for the sixth Harry Potter movie. You know? Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince! The one that was meant to be released in November 2008, but will now be released in July 2009.

OK, well, that's all I've got to say for now.

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

P.S. The title is exactly what sprang to mind when I was thinking of a title. I said to myself, "what shall I call this post?" And after some time I answered myself with, "Saturday, I suppose." So, that's what I called it. ;)

Friday, January 30, 2009

The text adventure and today

While browsing the list of audio accessable games my brother gave me the link to, I found one that looked interesting. So I tried it out last night.

It's called Hogwarts Live and is a browser based roleplaying game based on Harry Potter. It's set several years after Harry himself has left the school though.

Anyway, it seems to be a pretty good game. There are a couple of annoying things, for example:

1. If you die you lose 5 points for your house. Because of this they wont allow you to fight anything again for at least an hour after you die. You do need to fight when you can though, because that's how you gain xp points and money.

2. There are ads on the site, which means some annoying ads to scroll through for people like me using a screen reader. You're meant to be able to set up short cut keys with Jaws to skip between the window with your options in it and the window that tells you what's going on. But I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

However, despite these things I have found it to be a nice game, and I'm actually enjoying playing it.

It also has a feature where you can talk to and send owls to friends while you play, which is pretty cool.

***~***

For anyone interested, here's what I've done so far today (Friday).

Got up.
Took Kero out in the garden.
Put away the dishes I'd left on the draining board last night.
Fed my birdy friends.
Spent some time on the rowing machine.
Had some food.
Walked Kero.
Played the Harry Potter game for a bit.
Checked and replied to posts on Dad's forum.
Checked and commented on blog posts.

And now I'm going to go back to playing the Harry Potter game.

Enjoy the rest of your day! :)

Tori

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sheds

I spent most of today tidying up the other shed. Kelly has his shed, and there's another one that's got left over paint from decorating the flat, our few gardening tools and a couple of other bits in it.

We'd just been shoving stuff in there, but I needed to get it tidied up. Partly because then stuff will be easier to find, and partly because I have a couple of projects I'm going to be starting in the not too distant future and I needed to tidy that shed so I will have the room to work on them in there.

I don't want to use Kelly's shed because of the fact that it will stop him getting in there to work on his figures. There's also the fact that he needs to be able to leave his figures out to dry if he's been using glue or painting them, and it would mean they would either stop me doing what I want to do, or get knocked or damaged if I don't realise they're there. So I decided to tidy up the other shed to make room for me to work in there.

It will make it easier for Dad and Kelly to finish sorting the lights and such in the sheds now they're both more organized anyway. So it was a good thing I tidied the shed for several reasons. :)

It's not completely tidy, but it's a lot better than it was!

Sorry, but I don't have anything else to write about today.

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crazy or not, here I am! (AE&D)

Me: Wish I got some crumble out of the freezer, I fancy some right about now!
Kelly: More crumble?
Me: Yes, more crumble!
Kelly: You're going to turn in to crumble!
Me: Better that than an orange chicken I suppose
Kelly: An orange chicken?
Me: Yes! An orange chicken
Kelly: Er... Ooookkkaaayyy!
Me: I suppose now you want an explanation or something?
Kelly: Ya think???
Me: Well, Iggy posted on his blog about a squirrel who realised he was nuts because he realized "you are what you eat"
Kelly: Right... But what's that got to do with orange chickens?
Me: Well, I'd just had an orange and we were about to have chicken for dinner. So I wondered if that made me an orange chicken. Especially with all the oranges and chicken I eat.
Kelly: You dopey buggar!!!
Me: Well, you married me, so if I'm a dopey buggar, what does that make you?
Kelly: I'm not going there!
Me: Coward!
Kelly: You're a nut! You know that?
Me: No! I just told you... I'm an orange chicken!
Kelly: You're crazy, that's what you are!
Me: Yeah, but you love me!

As it turns out though - despite what people may say - I'm actually sane... See...


My result for The Crazy Test...

You're sane!

You scored 5 Sane, 5 Insane, 5 Crazy, 5 Weird and 3 NeedHelp!

You might survive. Just don’t close your eyes.

Deep down inside: you are confused about circles.

Your great abiding passion is: payday

Your innermost fear is: payday

Your greatest strength is: clear thinking

Your deepest regret is: politics

Your most sincere hope is: world peace

Your best quality is: having your feet on the ground

Your weakest trait is: changing the oil

Your reason for living is: perfect teeth

When your house is in Uranus, you will find insight and wisdom. Watch for toothpicks on the 5th. Prosperity is around the corner, but you must turn on the sprinklers before you leave. Look for a sign in the peanut butter on the 16th.

When you grow up you will be the President.

You will have 2.3 children and 4 SUVs.

You will have a nice house in a neighborhood.

Your spouse’s name will be known.

You will enjoy a long and healthy life.

Everyone will love you.

Wisdom will follow you all of your days.

The Jack of Trades indicates your present. The Card of Death represents an ending. The Nine of Branches turned clockwise shows your future.

You were born in the year of the Lily Pond. Your Sign is Big. In your past life, you were alive. Your wrinkles tell the story of your life. Your destiny is unfolding.




Take The Crazy Test
at HelloQuizzy

Yes, that's right, another award! :)

I got an award from Wifey (yep, again!) You can see the post where she gave me the awardhere. Thanks Wifey! :)

The rules are that I am suppose to link who gave this to me and give it to 15 other bloggers.

OK... Well... It's a good thing it's not more, because I only know about 15 people that Wifey didn't give it to. LOL! So - in no particular order - here are my 15 people:

1. MarmiteToasty
2. Kati
3. WhimsicalBrainPan
4. Karen (Mam)
5. Guineapiglou
6. Punkn
7. Matt
8. CelticSpirit
9. Kayla
10. Jayde_Bramblerose (Grandma)
11. Jess
12. Lainie
13. Rachel
14. AliceKay - private blog, so you may not be able to read it
15. Kelly_Z (hubby)

I wont be surprised if many of these don't pass it on, because several of them don't follow many blogs. But other than wifey herself - and a few of the people she gave it to - the only other people I know from the blogs haven't posted in eight or more months. So, I kinda had to pick the 15 I did (no offense guuys, but it's the truth). Still, at least it made the decision easy for me. LOL!

Tori

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stories and stuff

I've read two short stories and listened to another on audiobook over the past couple of days.

The first is the one I shared yesterday - The one called "The Seeing Stick" - so if you haven't already read it and want to know about it, check out that post.

The second story is called "The Widow's Broom" and is by Chris Van Allsburg. It's a story about a witch's broom that is abandoned by the witch in the farm of a widow after it loses power and crashes. The widow keeps it - assuming it's now just an ordinary broom - and it turns out to still have some magic in it. But the neighbours decide the broom is evil and want to destroy it, despite how helpful it is to the old widow. It's a cute little story.

The audiobook is called "Tom's Midnight Garden" and is by Philippa Pearce. The story is about a boy called Tom who goes to stay with his aunt and uncle and thinks he's going to have a very boring holiday, until - that is - the grandfather clock in the hallway strikes 13. It's a really good - though kinda strange - little story.

Anyway...

Haven't done much the past couple of days, hence having the time to get through three short books.

Yesterday (Monday) I was meant to have had a checkup with Mr S (the eye specialist who did my operations). But we got a letter saying the appointment had to be rescheduled and was now on Monday February 16th instead. Not sure why it had to be rescheduled, they never gave a reason in the letter.

It doesn't really bother me, but it means that other than working my way through my books all I've really done is gone on walks with Kero, spent a bit of time on the rowing machine, and done a few chores. Nothing exciting. So, I'll let this do for today.

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Seeing Stick (LBE)

written by Jane Yolen

Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there lived an emperor who had only one daughter, and her name was Hwei Ming.
Now this daughter had carved ivory combs to smooth back her long black hair. Her tiny feet were encased in embroidered slippers, and her robes were woven of the finest silks.
But rather than making her happy, such possessions made her sad. For Hwei Ming was blind, and all the beautiful handcrafts in the kingdom brought her no pleasure at all.
Her father was also sad that his only daughter was blind, but he could not cry for her. He was the emperor, after all, and had given up weeping over such things when he ascended the throne.
Yet still he had hope that one day Hwei Ming might be able to see. So he resolved that if someone could help her, such a person would be rewarded with a fortune in jewels.
He sent word of his offer to the inner and outer cities of Peking and to all the towns and villages for hundreds of miles around.
Monks came, of course, with their prayers and prayer wheels, for they thought in this way to help Hwei Ming see.
Magician-priests came, of course, with their incantations and spells, for they thought in this way to help Hwei Ming see.
Physicians came, of course, with their potions and pills, for they thought in this way to help Hwei Ming see.
But nothing could help. Hwei Ming had been blind from the day of her birth, and no one could effect a cure.
Now one day an old man, who lived far away in the south country, heard tales of the blind princess.
He heard of the emperors offer. And so he took his few possessions - a long walking stick, made from a single piece of golden wood, and his whittling knife - and started up the road. The sun rose hot on his right side and the sun set cool on his left as he made his way north to Peking to help the princess see.
At last the old man, his clothes tattered by his travels, stopped by the gate of the outer city.
The guards at the gate did not want to let such a ragged old man in.
"Grandfather, go home. There is nothing here for such as you," they said.
The old man touched their faces in turn with his rough fingers. "So young," he said, "and already so old."
He turned as if to go. Then he propped his walking stick against his side and reached in to his shirt for his whittling knife.
"What are you doing, grandfather?" called out one of the guards when he saw the old man bring out the knife.
"I am going to show you my stick," said the old man. "For it is a stick that sees."
"Grandfather, that is nonsense," said the second guard. "That stick can see no farther than can the emperor's daughter."
"Just so, just so," said the old man. "But stranger things have happened." And so saying, he picked up the stick and stroked the knife blade back and forth three times to sharpen its edge.
As the guards watched from the gate in the wall, the old man told them how he had walked the many miles through villages and towns till he came with his seeing stick to the walls of Peking.
And as he told them his tale, he pointed to the pictures in the stick: an old man, his home, the long walk, the walls of Peking. And as they watched further, he began to cut their portraits in to the wood.
The two guards looked at each other in amazement and delight. They were flattered at their likenesses on the old man's stick. Indeed, they had never witnessed such carving skills.
"Surely this is something the guards at the wall of the inner city must see," they said.
So, taking the old man by the arm, they guided him through the streets of the outer city, past flower peddlers and rice sellers, past silk weavers and jewel merchants, up to the great stone walls.
When the guards of the inner city saw the seeing stick, they were surprised and delighted.
"Carve our faces too," they begged like children.
And laughing, and touching their faces as any fond grandfather would, the old man did as they begged.
In no time at all, the guards of the inner city took the old man by his arm and led him to the wall of the innermost city and in through the gate to the great wooden doors of the Imperial Palace.
Now when the guards arrived in the throne room of the Imperial Palace leading the old man by the arm, it happened that the Emperor's blind daughter, Hwei Ming, was sitting by his side, her hands clasped before her, silent, sightless, and still.
As the guards finished telling of the wonderful pictures carved on the golden stick, the princess clapped her hands.
"Oh, I wish I could see that wonderous stick," she said.
"Just so, just so," said the old man. "And I will show it to you. For it is no ordinary piece of wood, but a stick that sees."
"What nonsense," said her father in a voice so low it was almost a growl.
But the princess did not hear him. She had already bent towards the sound of the old man's voice.
"A seeing stick?"
The old man did not say anything for a moment. Then he leaned forward and petted Hwei Ming's head and caressed her cheek. For though she was a princess, she was still a child.
Then the old man began to tell again the story of his long journey to Peking.
He introduced each character and object - the old man, the guards, the great walls, the innermost city. And then he carved the wooden doors, the Imperial Palace, and the princess, in to the golden wood.
When he finished, the old man reached out for the princess' hands. He took her tiny hands in his and placed them on the stick. Finger on finger, he helped her trace the likeness.
"Feel the long flowing hair of the princess," the old man said. "Grown as she herself has grown, straight and true."
And Hwei Ming touched the carved stick.
"Feel your own long hair," he said. And she did.
"Now feel the lines in the old man's face," he said. "From years of worry and years of joy."
He thrust the stick in to her hands again. And the princess' slim fingers felt the carved stick.
Then he put her fingers on to his face and traced the same lines there.
It was the first time the princess had touched another person's face since she was a very small girl.
The princess jumped up from her throne and thrust her hands before her.
"Guards, oh guards," she cried out, "come here to me."
And the guards lifted up their faces to the princess Hwei Ming's hands.
Her fingers, like little breezes, brushed their eyes and noses and mouths, and then found each one on the carved stick.
Hwei Ming turned to her father, the emperor, who sat straight and tall and unmoving on his great throne. She reached out and her fingers ran eagerly through his hair and down his nose and cheek and rested curiously on a tear they found there. And that was strange, indeed, for had not the emperor given up crying over such things when he ascended the throne?
For each tomorrow as long as he lived, the old man dwelt in the innermost city where only the royal family stays. The emperor rewarded him with a fortune in jewels, but the old man gave them all away.
Every day he told the princess a story. Some were tales as ancient as the city itself. Some were as new as the events of the day. And each time he carved wonderful images in the stick of golden wood.
As the princess listened, she grew eyes on the tips of her fingers. At least that is what she told the other blind children whom she taught to see as she saw. Certainly it was as true as saying she had a seeing stick.
But the blind princess Hwei Ming believed that both things were true. And so did all the blind children in her city of Peking.
And so did the blind old man.

The End

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just stuff

I've finished listening to the two books from the Worst Witch series that I ordered the other week. So I need to decide which book I'm going to read or listen to next.

My Mam is going to see about making me a jumper with a tactile picture on it soon. We've decided on the picture, but I'm not going to tell you. Once she's finished it I'll have her take a photo and post it on her blog. It'll give her something to post about. And if she decides to do a post and tell you what she's putting on it in the meantime then so be it! :)

We've been figuring out what we need to buy in order to finish the things we want to do in the flat and in the garden. Most of what needs doing is sorting out the garden, although, there are a few things we want to do inside. I'm hoping I can persuade people to help me get things done sooner rather than later.

I've gone over a week now without having a "monster" issue while everyone else in the house is sleeping, or when I'm home alone. There's been the odd stirring of monster related thoughts, but I've managed to push them to the back of my mind before they get out of hand. I don't think I'll ever be completely monster free. But I'm definately doing a better job of dealing with the monster issues. :)

I got tagged by ChicagoLady... The post for the tag is below this one, if you haven't already seen it.

I've added a new recipe to my recipe page. Many of you would have already seen it though... It's one of Matt's recipes. Haven't tried it yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so! :)

Can't think of anything else to say, so I'll let this do for today.

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Photo tag thing

ChicagoLady tagged me to do this photo thing. Here are the rules as posted by her:

1. Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer.
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag four people to do the same.

OK, well... The fourth photo in the fourth folder where I store my photos is this one:



This is the back garden at the place we're living now. The photo was taken several months ago... In the Summer, I believe. I intended having people help me sort the garden so that soon after this photo I could have taken a new one to show the garden looking nice. But the work still hasn't been done. *Sigh* Maybe this year we'll have more luck? *Looks hopeful*

Anyway...

I'm running out of people to tag here, since a lot of people I know have either already done it or probably wont play. I've decided to tag the following people though: Kati, WhimsicalBrainPan, CelticSpirit and MarmiteToasty. Why? Because I can! ;)

Will they do it? I have no idea! But what the heck! I'm going to tag them anyway! :)

Tori

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Worst Witch

"The Worst Witch" series is a series of books by Jill Murphy, which I have mentioned a couple of times over the past few weeks. The series is about a girl named "Mildred Hubble" who attends a school for young witches called "Cackle's Academy" where - despite her best efforts - she has a reputation for being the worst witch in the school, since trouble seems to follow her everywhere she goes, and no matter what she does something always goes wrong for her. Or, she gets blamed for someone else's bad behaviour or accidents.

The books in the series are - as I mentioned a couple of weeks back - as follows:

1. The Worst Witch
2. The Worst Witch Strikes Again
3. A Bad Spell For The Worst Witch
4. The Worst Witch All At Sea
5. The Worst Witch Saves The Day
6. The Worst Witch To The Rescue

I have read them all at various points over the years, so - despite only having the first five in my book collection at present - I feel I can say with confidence that it is an enjoyable series, and well worth reading.

Tori

Friday, January 23, 2009

Birds, books, weather and canes (LBE)

Kelly took this photo for me yesterday.

After I got home from the hospital I let Kero out for a pee and waiting in the yard for me was this little guy... My Blackbird friend... And a few other birds. See, I hadn't fed them before leaving because of how early I left. So, I gave them their breakfast and this little guy seems to have literally only waited long enough for me to shut the door before coming for his fill. Maybe one day this little guuy will even come down for his breakfast while I'm still out there? :)

Kelly just missed catching him actually pecking at food. He moved along the garden to where Kelly couldn't get a photo of him without opening the door after this shot though, and we didn't want to open the door in case it scared him away.

The rest of the birds are still reluctant to stay in view for long enough for a photo. Well, other than the Chaffinch who sits in the hedges and trees nearby singing (the one who was in the post with the first photo of the Blackbird).

We've been looking at prices for bird tables so we can get one to put the food on instead of me just throwing it on the ground, since some birds don't like to eat off the ground. It's amazing how much people want you to pay for something that's literally a pole with a bit of wood on top. They range from about £20 (US$40 aprox) and up! *Looks shocked* I'm wondering if I can get someone to commit long enough to fetch some wood and make one for me... It would be a damn sight cheaper, that's for sure! Especially since we need some wood for other projects in the garden anyway.

***~***

I've just finished listening to an audiobook called "The Life Of Pi" by Yann Martel (I think I spelled his name right). It's the story of an Indian boy who survived for seven months on a life boat with a Bengal Tiger after the ship he and his family were traveling on sank, taking every other passenger and crew member with it. It was a pretty good book. I have to admit though, it wasn't quite as good as it was made to sound. I did enjoy it, don't get me wrong. It's one of those "good book, but it wont make it in to my favourites" type of stories though.

It turned out I finished it just right for the arrival of "Oath Breaker" which - as I mentioned yesterday - arrived not too long after I got home. Which I was VERY pleased about because I'd been dying to find out what happens to Torak, Wolf and Renn next! So, I spent the evening and in to the night listening to it (Oath Breaker, I mean). I figured I'd listen to a couple of disks then go to bed. But how could I go to bed when at the end of each disk Torak, Renn or Wolf were either in trouble or about to make an important decision? I couldn't! I ended up staying up until I'd listened to all six disks. LOL! Luckily I started them around 5:30 pm (ish) so it was only about 1:00 am when the last disk finished. LOL!

I wont bother telling you about the book, because I did a post about the series it's from (The Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness) not long ago. I will, however, tell you that it was as good as the first four books! And that I can't wait until September when the sixth and final book comes out!

The two books I ordered from the Worst Witch series have arrived too, so I think I'll listen to them next. I also have a few others to listen to, and a few braille books I haven't read yet. Will tell you about them as and when I read or listen to them.

I'm still waiting for delivery of an audiobook I ordered last week that I'd wanted for some time but only recently remembered where my Nan got Carl's copy. The book is called "Stonehenge" and is by Bernard Cornwell. If you're eager to find out what it's about then look it up (it's available in print in plenty of places that sell books) otherwise wait until I get it and listen to it and I'll tell you about it myself. :)

Mind you, many of you may actually know at least of the story, even if you haven't read it. Bernard Cornwell is a well known author, so it's quite possible many of you have even read the book yourselves.

Anyway, my Nan says it can often take up to 28 days from ordering from this particular place to get your audiobook though. I hope it doesn't take that long. Although, if it does then at least it will give me time to get caught up with my pile of books and audiobooks that I haven't yet read or listened to. Especially since I have listened to Carl's copy of "Stonehenge" before, where as many of the titles among the ones I haven't read or listened to yet are ones I've never read or listened to, but liked the sound of. If you get what I'm saying.

I still haven't gotten around to listening to the tapes I got off of Carl over a year ago (at the end of 2007). The ones by Terry Pratchett. I've heard some of them in the past, but there are about 30 of them, and I've only listened to the first ten or so. And that was when I was in my very early teens. Since I got them off Carl I haven't gotten around to listening to them. I need to take my construction toys in the bedroom (where my stereo with the good tape player is) and start listening, I guess! ;)

I've also got a couple of non-fiction books coming in braille. One on Stonehenge, which is supposed to have a couple of other stone age monuments and facts mentioned in it too. And one on the Ancient Egyptians. It's taken me this long to find decent sounding books on those topics. As I mentioned the other day during my interview... Titles available in braille or audio are limited in number. Especially in braille, which is the format I'd prefer to have non-fiction books in, because it makes just looking for a spacific fact a lot easier.

Now if I can just find good ones on Native Americans, dinosaurs, astrology and astronomy, and a braille dream dictionary then I'll be happy. I wont hold my breath on the dream dictionary though. I may have a chance with the other two if I persevere, but the dream dictionary is a lot less likely to become available. Well, I'll just keep looking and buy one if I ever find one! :)

Anyway...

It's kinda cold again today. Not as cold as it has been though. And last night it was quite stormy. They've stopped promising snow now and are talking about thunder storms, rain and strong winds instead. So - if they're right - then the light dustings of snow we've had will be my lot for this Winter. :(

Well,that's unless it snows around Easter like it did last year. LOL!

Anyway... For those interested in cane related babbling...

My new cane arrived on Wednesday. There's a little piece of paper in with the spare tip that gives the code for it. So we left it in its little bag with the little piece of paper and put it in the tool box. Wasn't sure where a person would store a spare cane tip, and the tool box seemed like a logical place to me. So, in it went! LOL!

OK, I think that covers everything for today... Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Birthdays, eyes and quiz results (AE&D... PTMI)

Two friends of mine have their birthdays today... Jess and Kati... So, before I say anything else I want to say, "Happy Birthday," to the two of them! Hope you're both having fantastic birthdays! :)

***~***

I had the appointment today for my artificial eye. We had to be there for 9:30 am and it's a 45 minute drive from my place. Good thing I've been getting up really early, because it meant a very early start to the day.

Anyway, today I had an eye given to me to get the socket used to having something in it. Apparently - despite all the hastle we had with it - it looks fantastic and has healed really well.

She also polished my existing artificial eye. That's meant to be done from time to time and it's long over due, really. I hadn't gone since before I got married because I wasn't sure how to get in touch with them and was having problems getting to see an eye specialist. But that's not important now...

I've got to go back in March some time (I'm not sure of the date until I get an appointment through). And when I go back in March they'll make moulds of my eye sockets so as to make me a pair of new eyes.

It feels weird having an eye in that socket. And the eye's been a bit gunky this afternoon because of it. It's my body trying to get rid of the "foreign body" that's in my eye socket. It'll settle down after a bit. The other one was like this too, if I remember rightly.

I've gotten so used to having an eye in the left one though that it felt weird having it out while it was polished and used to help find a matching colour. We agreed it was easier to take the eye out and take it over to the eye box than keep bringing eyes over to compare them... Especially since it had to come out for a clean and polish anyway.

I could have picked my eye colour if I wanted, but when I had my first one done my Mam asked for it to be matched to my real eye colour, and everyone seems to think it's a lovely colour, so I asked them to give me one that matches that colour.

For anyone who cares - and is still reading this, lol - my eyes are a dark-ish grey. I know, because after my first artificial eye was made and I was told it matched my real eye colour, I examined the colour closely to see what colour it was. My Dad's eye colour is the same as mine, though his is a shade or so lighter.

Anyway, that's enough of that...

According to the quiz Styxie and Chicago have done on their blogs, I'm 74% addicted to blogging. I'd have thought it would be more than that, but there you go! LOL!

Also, according to a quiz I did from a link on the page below my results for the quiz I just mentioned, I've apparently got a 53%chance of surviving a zombie attack. So, that's good to know, I think! ;)

OK... Going to leave it at this today, because "Oath Breaker" arrived today and I want to get things done and curl up with Kero on the bed to listen to it. I'm dying to know what happens to Torak, Wolf and Renn next!

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Matt interviewed me

Matt was interviewed and I said he could interview me. So, here are his questions and my answers. :)

Matt: Being visually impaired, can you please explain to us how the reader you use works? Does it have a computer voice like Stephen Hawkins? Also, do you feel that more can be done to help the visually impaired in the world?

Me: The screen reader I use - which is called "JAWS" (Java Application With Speech) - works by using different key strokes to find links, scroll through text, etc on the PC. And, yes, it does have a computer voice. There are options for a couple of different computer voices, but believe me when I say the standard one is the best one... The others try to do British accents and stuff and fail miserably at it.

It took some time to get used to which keys did what, and having things read out to me by a droning computer voice after so long of having enough sight so that I didn't even feel the need to purchase Jaws. But it was that or no computer! So, I just got used to it. You should hear how it pronounces some things though! It's really funny sometimes!

As for the second part of the question... Yes, I do feel that more can be done to help the visually impaired in the world. Those who are completely blind more so though. There are plenty of "low vision aids" and large print books available for those with just low vision, but the items available for those with no sight are sadly lacking in number.

Many books, for example, aren't produced in braille or audio, which means that those of us with no sight at all don't have access to them unless someone with sight reads to us. Plenty of people offer to do so, but other things always come first and the book stays un read - or partly read - for at least a couple of months usually before the person "can find the time" to read it. Yes, I understand people have other things to do, but it's very frustrating!

And the lack of things available doesn't stop at books... Children's toys designed for the visual impaired need colour recognition nine times out of ten. Outings organised are limited to one a year through specialist organisations and - once you're over 16 years old (adult age here) - that outing is just a dinner out just before Christmas, which I never attend, because in my experience the only people who do are there to compare medical news, and quite frankly I'd rather miss the outing than sit there discussing my hospital trips between mouth fulls of dinner.

And that's basically the extent of what's available... Other than the obvious like the screen readers, braille writing equipment, canes, and a couple of kitchen gadgets (like a liquid level indecator, a talking microwave, talking sscales, that kind of thing). But even what's available is VERY expensive! Just the liquid level indecator, for example, costs almost £7 (that's around $13 ish). Then they go right up to things like my Jaws programme that cost £700 (about $1300).

*Waits for people to pick their jaws up off the floor* (And I don't mean the programme, I mean the one you just dropped).

Anyway, there's also the fact that - despite the large number of blind people in the world - people are sadly mis-informed about the limits of a blind person. People seem to be convinced that disabled means dumb, and that not being able to see the world means not being able to understand it. I've lost count of the number of times I've wanted to thump someone for speaking to me in the patronizing tone people reserve for disabled people. And then - when people can finally be convinced to let the blind person try to do things for themselves - they wrap them in cotton wool and act as though the mere act of buttering a piece of bread is a huge triumph. And go in to panic mode if something is tripped over, knocked over, dropped, walked in to, etc.

So, here's what needs to be done:

1. More books should be made available on audio or in braille.
2. More equipment - from baby toys to activity items for adults, and beyond - should be made available for people with no sight at all.
3. The equipment available - including the items that fall in to #2 - should be made more affordable.
4. Instructions provided with the equipment should be sent out in braille as well as print. That may sound like common sense, but trust me, it doesn't seem to be. The instructions provided with equipment for the blind come in print only nine times out of ten.
5. More outings should be arranged and to more enjoyable places, such as museums, theme parks, zoos, etc.
6. People should be more educated on the abilities of disabled people... #5 may help with that, since seeing blind people out doing the things they themselves do could be a good way to show the world that being blind doesn't stop us being normal humans.

Unfortunately I think at least most of those are light years away.

Matt: Please describe how you met Kelly and if you hit it off right away.

Me: Well... I wont go in to more detail than I "have to" on this one... Kelly was having an online relationship with someone who was a family friend and who's kids I used to baby sit for. One time he phoned and I was there but she wasn't. We got to talking and became friends. And when things didn't work out between them I provided him with a shoulder to cry on.... And things just progressed from there. Then I flew to Canada to spend Christmas and the New Year with him, and knew when I met him I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. He obviously thought the same, because he asked me to marry him. We've now been married almost 6 years.

Matt: You are an avid Fantasy novel reader, what is your favorite fantasy creature and why?

Me: Actually, this is the hardest question of the lot. I really, really, like them all! I think though - if I "had to" choose just one - it would have to be... Fairies/pixies. And I say it like that because there's a very thin line between what's a fairy and what's a pixie, and quite often that line is blurred, crossed, etc.

Take Tinkerbell, for example, is she a pixie? Or is she a fairy? It's hard to be sure, and even during the story of "Peter Pan" they seem confused. I mean, when the children are sprinkled with Tinkerbell's dust, it's "pixie dust" but when people are urged to save Tinkerbell's life by clapping the words recited while clapping are "I do believe in fairies!" So which is she?

There are many other examples of confusion between what's a fairy and what's a pixie... Some people, for example, argue that the "little people" who are portrayed as fairies are pixies and that fairies aren't as pretty. Others argue to the contrary. Hence grouping fairies and pixies together.

As for why... Because they're small enough not to be noticed if they don't want to be, but can make their presence known if they so choose, they care for and about nature, and they can fly!

Matt: Have you ever been to America? If so, please describe your trip, if not, are you interested? Do you have any opinions of Americans?

Me: No, I've never been to America. I nearly did once. I was going to move to Texas (long story... Don't ask!) I'd like to visit though. I want to go to Florida to visit Disney Land, but I'd also like to travel to all the states I have friends in and meet them. I doubt it'll ever happen though... I don't have that kind of money!

As for my opinion of Americans... I don't really have one. I'm a strong believer in not judging people until you've met them and had a chance to get to know them, or at least their personalities. I've met some really nice Americans, but I've also met some horrible, selfish, and generally unpleasant Americans. But the same can be said for British people. You get nice people, you get horrible people. You can't really group them together by a single nation - especially one as big as America - because that wouldn't be fair. If I'd used my first encounter with an American to base my opinions of an American on, for example, I never would have wanted to speak to another American again, and - as a result - would have missed out on meeting some wonderful people. So, I don't really have an opinion of Americans as a whole.

Matt: Where is the farthest you ever been from home?

Me: Canada! I have been to a couple of other countries (France and Cyprus) but Canada is definately the furthest I've been from home. Luckily I was so excited about finally meeting Kelly that I was actually there before I realised just how far from home I was and nervousness set in, otherwise I might not have gone... Especially not on my own like I did!

______

So, there you have it. That was my interview.

If anyone wants me to interview them, then leave a message saying "interview me" in the comments section of this post. Don't forget that if I don't have your e-mail I'll need that too! :)

If you want to take part then the rules are as follows:

1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me"
2. I will respond via e-mail with five questions (I get to pick the questions)
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed you will ask them five questions via e-mail

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All sorts of stuff (LBE)

I was pretty sure it had snowed a bit last night some time, but since there seemed to be more ice than anything I thought maybe I was wrong. As it turns out though, I was right. It's just that it was so cold the snow froze and just added to the ice we already had. *Sigh* So, I did get snow, but it wasn't a lot and I didn't get to enjoy it! *Pouts*

It's really slippery out because of all the ice, so I'm VERY glad I don't have to go anywhere today! I took Kero for a walk yesterday (even though it was raining) so it doesn't matter if I don't take him today. Especially since I spent about 40 minutes on the rowing machine this morning (only 40 because I did some chores before going on it, and had only been on there 40 minutes when Kelly got home with the shopping).

Anyway... Since I haven't done much today, and didn't do much yesterday (I've just covered the interesting points of Monday and Tuesday in those two paragraphs, lol!) I figured now would be a good time to get caught up on the things I was going to mention last week but never got around to mentioning. So...

Wednesday's walks:

The first one - the one we took Kero on - was along by the river, although we followed the path around the whole way so Mam could show me where it went so I didn't have to just go to a certain point then turn around like I had been doing (unless I decide I want to, that is). It turns out that if you keep following the path around you'll eventually get back to where you started (in our case, our front gate). But I didn't know that before so wouldn't follow the path further than the point I knew. We've decided we don't want to be going past the point I know when it's really windy though. The trees and such by the river on the part I know shelter you from most of the wind, but as you follow the path around you leave not just the river but also the shelter the trees offer you behind. But on a nice day it'll make a nice change to follow the path all the way around instead of just walking a little way then turning back and retracing our steps.

The second walk - the one Kero didn't come on - was me showing my Mam that I could still do the walk to town on my own if I wanted to. The last time I did the walk I still had light perception. You may not believe this, but light perception really does help a person a lot! I never realised just how much until i no longer had it to use. So we weren't entirely certain I would remember without the use of the shadows from buildings and such. If that makes sense. I was pretty sure I knew, but didn't want to go on my own "just in case"... Better safe than sorry, right? So Mam went with me. We didn't walk all the way to town, but the bit we didn't walk is simple enough so that we're not worried about me remembering it... You just follow that road, crossing the little side roads on it, until you find yourself at the bus stop (which is VERY easy to recognise). It was all the cross here, turn here, etc, etc, you have to do before you get to that point that my Mam was worried about me remembering. And, if I'm honest, so was I! But I did it... There and back! :)

Monsters:

I've known all along what the "monsters" actually are. They're the noises of every day (or every night) items and goings on. Noises I'd have known about if I'd taken the time to do what I posted about the other day. But I didn't! I did what so many sighted people do and took my sight for granted when I still had it. So once it was gone I was thrown in to a strange and confusing world full of darkness and strange noises. And that's where the monsters came in. Fear of the unknown noises of the world. And fear of what might be lurking around the corner that I can't see, and so wouldn't know was there until it was too late.

I'm finally learning to identify most of the noises, and as I do so the "monsters" are becoming less frequent visitors. For almost a week now, for example, I've managed to take Kero out in the early hours of the morning without getting scared while imagining some vicious monster coming to get me. The incident i posted about yesterday was from several weeks back.

Monsters are still around, but I think most of them will go away as I learn the "real" sources of the noises. Of course, there will be some (like The Beast) who aren't that easily chased off. But as long as I can get rid of most of them I'll be happy! :)

Food:

I've added a couple more recipes to my recipe blog. I think there's three of them. And, I'm pretty sure they're all vegetarian recipes, which means they shouldn't be too bad for calories, so may be useful to those of you watching what you're eating. :)

Also, there's a book of Mam's down here for us to go through when we have time. Mam read out some of the recipes to me on Sunday and I liked the sound of a couple, so when she's down here and not busy some time we'll type them up and put them on my recipe blog too. Will let you know when that happens. :)

I think that's it... Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Bogart treatment (AE&D)

It was a cold and stormy night. The wind was howling like a pack of wolves in mourning, and the sound had atracted The Demon Wolf. He was howling along with the wind, prowling the garden awaiting his chance to get inside. Eventually, he knew, the door would have to be opened. He'd wait all night if he had to.

He'd only been waiting for a few hours when the door finally opened.

The white dog came bounding out of the door, forcing The Demon Wolf to retreat to the far end of the garden. But he knew he'd have a chance to run inside after the white dog... If he was quick. So he prepared himself for the race for the door.

After a few minutes the white dog went back inside. The Demon Wolf seized his chance and began to run towards the door. But just as he was about to cross the threshold... *SLAM*... The door was closed in his face, and he hit the door with a loud *THUD* and with enough force to squash his nose flat against the door.

He slid to the floor in a crumpled heap, where he lay for some time before slinking away to lick his wounds.

______

And that, ladies and gents, is how to deal with Demon Wolves. LOL!

After I got that image of him having his nose squashed against the door (you know? like on cartoons where their nose gets flattened and later springs back to its normal shape) i laughed so hard I could hardly stand up! LOL!

Carl (my brother) calls it "The Bogart Treatment!"

No, this isn't the same monster I mentioned a couple of weeks back. This is a different one. One that only comes when the wind howls. Wolves themselves I like, but this wolf is different to other wolves. I wont go in to detail though.

Tori

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Award and chit chat (LBE & FD)

Guess what? I got another award from LadyStyx. Thanks Styxie! :)

I've spent some time thinking about it and decided that I'm going to pass it on to Celticspirit, Guineapiglou and MarmiteToasty. :)

***~****

My Mam came down to my place yesterday (Saturday) morning and stayed the night while Kelly went up to my parents' place. Most Saturdays there's something going on with my Dad's gaming club, and we decided that this week Kelly would stay up there after club and Mam would stay down here.

Mam came to grab Kelly and drive him up to club then came back (she thought it would save him messing about with busses). And when she got back I was on the rowing machine. I spent about 20 minutes or so on it (it might have been 25, I'm not too sure, because I couldn't remember if it was 10:45 am or 10:50 am I started on it). Anyway, Mam checked the calories for me and I'd burned 321 calories! So if I burned that much in that amount of time, I've got to be burning a good 700 minimum when I go on it while listening to a CD, because I'm on it for at least close to an hour each time. :)

Anyway, Mam and I were going to take the dogs to the park, but it was VERY windy, quite wet, and quite cold, so we changed our minds. And when I say "VERY windy" I'm not kidding! According to the radio the winds were averaging 150 miles an hour (sorry, don't know what that is in any other measurement, so if you don't know miles... *Shrugs*... Then there's not much I can do about it!)

Mam did brave the weather to attempt to take Kero for a walk, but they gave up quickly and Mam said she was glad she decided to take him on her own because it meant they could run back the bit they'd walked before giving up. If I'd gone there would have been no running... I don't run unless it's an emergency, and getting home when it's cold and wet isn't enough of one as far as I'm concerned. I mean, you'll get wet whether you run or walk, so why run when you're going to get wet either way? Besides, I'd have been using my cane, and there's no way I'm running with that thing! That's just asking for trouble!

Speaking of my cane, I've had to order a new one. The tip on this one is almost worn right down. The tips are replaceable, but where I wasn't using it for so long we have a problem. Actually, two problems. The first is that we don't know what kind of atatchment the tip has, but that wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the second problem... The tip's been on for so long (about 12 years or more) that we can't get it to come off. If we could we could check, but since we can't...

Cane tips come off one of two ways. Either there's a hole you can use to put an alan key through to unscrew it, or you pull it a bit and a hook is exposed which is atatched to the elastic that's in the cane (all folding canes have elastic because it's what gives them the ability to fold). But neither way is working. And if we can't remove the tip then we have to get a new cane.

So, Mam measured me (cane's are meant to come up to a certain point on you) and I ordered a new cane. I wouldn't mind, but having to buy a new cane means it cost me £27 (for a cane - which comes with a tip - and a spare tip) instead of the between £3 and £7 it would have cost (depending on the type of tip required).

You can often get them free through a mobility officer, but since I don't have one (nor do I want one) I have to pay for it. My choice is, pay for the cane and only have mobility lessons with family or friends when I want them, or possibly get the cane for free but have to have a mobility lesson at least every couple of weeks with someone who I don't know who will lecture me if I so much as relax my hand a bit while using the cane. Hmmm... I think I'll just pay for the cane! I've had mobility officers before... I have a tendancy to get fed up with them and... Er... Say things that one should refraim from saying to mobility officers. *Whistles innocently*

Moving swiftly on... LOL!

Note to self for future reference: The code the R.N.I.B. uses for the tip the new cane needs is MP26!

Anyway...

Mam and I ended up spending most of the day not doing much due to the weather changing our plans for us. We did, however, get the laundry caught up, clean the kitchen and watch "Open Season" (again).

Also, Play gave me a refund for "Oath Breaker" since it's still out of stock with them and they don't know when they'll get it in stock again, so I went on Borders (UK) and ordered it off of there instead. It should be sent out early next week - possibly tomorrow - so I should have it by the end of the week! :)

I also ordered books three and four in the "Worst Witch" series by Jill Murphy. I have the first two books, and I have book five, but I didn't have the others (there are six). I'd have ordered book six too, but it was out of stock right now. Will get it when it's in stock.

For those interested, the books in the series are:

1. The Worst Witch
2. The Worst Witch Strikes Again
3. A Bad Spell For The Worst Witch
4. The Worst Witch All At Sea
5. The Worst Witch Saves The Day
6. The Worst Witch To The Rescue

I also ordered some tape for my braille labeler, because I'm almost out and will need to be able to label the new audiobooks when they arrive. I put my last role in to label the audiobooks and DVDs we got for Christmas.

So, that was yesterday... As for today...

Despite not going to bed until almost 11:00 pm I was up and wide awake by 4:00 am. I did stay in bed until about 4:30 am hoping to fall asleep again, but was having no luck, so I just got up. I listened to the radio for a bit, then watched "The Hoobs" and "Pokemon" while waiting for my Mam to get up.

When Mam was up we looked through a recipe book I had that I was giving her to see if there were any recipes in it I didn't already have on my recipe page that I'd like to have. The only one we found was Flash In The Pan Bangers, which I added to my recipe page before we started getting ourselves sorted ready to go out.

Not out as in out somewhere like shopping or anything, but out as in up to my parents' place for dinner.

We figured it made sense for Kelly and I to eat up there today since Mam had to drive back to her place for Kelly anyway, so rather than her driving all the way there, all the way back, then all the way home again, then still having to cook dinner for herself, Dad, Nan and Wayne, we figured we'd bundle Kero in the car and have dinner together before Mam brought Kelly, Kero and I home again. She made a turkey roast dinner, and it was very tasty! :)

We came home more or less straight after dinner, and since then I've just been on the blogs.

OK, well... Now you're all caught up with my weekend! So I think that will do for now.

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Senses (R/WP)

My brother posted something on my Dad's forum telling people to stop, close their eyes, and use their other senses to explore their surroundings for a few moments. Be it in a busy city or in a secluded clearing in the middle of the woods. I think it's a fantastic idea. Not just to help sighted people to understand what it would be like without sight, but also to teach people to enjoy the beauty that's around us with all their senses.

However you believe that this planet came in to being... Whether you believe it was created by a God or by some other means... You have to agree that the planet is beautiful. So take the time to thoroughly enjoy its beauty during your stay on it. After all, you don't know how long your stay on this planet will be. And i'm sure that when your time comes you'd like to say that you lived your life to the fullest, right? Then do it!

Smell the scents, listen to the sounds, see the sights, taste the flavours and touch the textures the planet has to offer. Take a lesson from the hunter gatherers of the past and learn what the Earth has to say.

Tori

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (LBE & FD)

Wednesday:

It ended up being a damp day... Actually, the weather's been damp (and cold) the last few days. And the wind... That's one strong wind... Especially when you're in an open area!

Mam and Dad came down just before lunch time. So, my Mam made us all some egg sandwiches. Then they stayed for the afternoon, and Kelly and Dad played on one of their online games while Mam and I went for a couple of walks. We took Kero on one of the walks, but because of the damp weather and the direction we were heading the second time (up near the busy main road) we didn't take him the second time. He wasn't happy with me for that.

Mam also brought her sewing machine down to do some sewing for me. And they stayed for dinner, which was gammon, chips and peas. I think it was about 6:00 pm that they went home, and I only stayed up an hour or so before going to bed because I was tired (I'd been up since 4:00 am).

Thursday (yesterday):

I ended up getting up really early because of how early I started my very annoying new sleep routine. I've gotten in the habit of going to bed early, sleeping a couple of hours, waking for a couple of hours, then sleeping a couple more hours. That would be fine, but it's not solid sleep. I'm waking several times - only briefly, but still - during these sleep periods, and the least little thing has me wide awake. Still, at least I'm sleeping at sort of the right time, I guess.

Anyway...

I never got around to checking posts on Dad's forum Wednesday because Mam and Dad got here just after I finished catching up on blog posts. So I spent all of yesterday morning going through posts on the forum and replying to those I wanted to reply to. And I do mean "all" morning. Actually, it was early afternoon when I finally got caught up. I really need to visit the forum more often if I want to stay up to date on it. LOL!

After that I checked for any blog posts published since I'd checked the day before, had a short ride on the rowing machine (I was too tired for more than about ten minutes - if that). Then I more or less went to bed.

Obviously I had food in there somewhere... I had an orange and a yoghurt for breakfast and cheese sandwiches for lunch. Don't remember what I had for dinner though... Food, I guess. LOL!

Friday (today):

Got up, checked for replies to my posts on the forum, then got ready to go out. Mam needed a few things from Asda and I said I'd go with her. After all, I had no other plans. LOL!

Before I went though, I checked with Play to see if they'd recieved the copy of Oath Breaker that I sent back because it was missing most of its disks. They had. And because the audio book is out of stock with them right now they're giving me a refund (they're also refunding the cost of postage for returning the copy I'd been sent). So now I have to find the book again and get myself a copy so I can find out what happens to Torak next.

I also ordered a copy of Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell. Not from Play but from another place. I've been wanting it for some time but there are so many books I want that I hadn't gotten around to getting it. Anyway, I finally have it ordered, and was delighted to discover that it cost less than I was expecting. :)

Anyway...

On our way to Asda we stopped off to see an old friend of my Mam's (Julie) who's daughter (Jade) I used to know really well. I haven't seen them in years though. My Mam bumped in to them a couple of months ago though and has been popping in from time to time ever since. Jade has recently had a baby, and Mam thought I'd like to see him and have a hold. He's now about a month old and weighs about 8lbs. Apparently he weighed 6lbs 3oz when he was born. Anyway, we stayed there for long enough for Mam and I to get decent cuddles in with baby Blake, and with a little one named Louie who was also there (he's 10 months old). Louie is Julie's honorarily adopted daughter's baby. Both of them are very happy babies. Jade says Blake is already sleeping really well, and Louie was happily playing with his toys and investigating (and tasting) everything in sight. Michael (Jade's other little one) was also there, but I'm not sure how old he is and other than noting that he loves to climb stuff (which, of course, he falls off of and ends up crying because he's hurt himself) I never really had a whole lot to do with him since he was wanting to be with Jade. I think Michael's about 2 and a half ish though.

Anyway...

I went up to Mam and Dad's place for lunch. Mam made me a roll with goat's cheese in it. I've never had goat's cheese before. It was kinda nice. A bit stronger than I usually like my cheese though. I definately couldn't eat it too often or in too large a quantity.

When we finally made it to Asda, we did the bits of shopping Mam needed to do, and had a look in the clothes section to see if we liked anything. I found a t-shirt I liked, so Mam brought it for me.

I'm not a fan of shopping - especially clothes shopping - but my Mam is, and I enjoy spending time with my family, so I go with her. Mam gets so excited when she finds some item of clothing or other that she likes and they have in her size that it makes the trip worth while for me anyway. :)

After I got home from shopping, I took Kero for a quick walk. Then I came online to catch up on blog posts.

I think that covers everything... Besides, I'm tired and thinking of getting ready for bed (it's now about 8:00 pm). I know 8:00 pm is early for bed, but... *Shrugs*... Gotta sleep some time, I guess! :)

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A couple of my birdy friends

As I briefly mentioned in yesterday's post, Kelly took a couple of photos of my birdy friends for me. They aren't the best of photos (or so Dad and Kelly say) because they had to be done through the kitchen window since the birds didn't seem to aprove of Kelly being out in the back garden with them. And we only got two of the birds, because the Robins and Bluetits had either just had breakfast and then gone, or not visited us yesterday (not sure which). But these two are my most regular visitors anyway. :)

This first photo is a male Blackbird. This little fellow is the bird I mentioned in yesterday's post who I have my discussions and arguments with. My Dad says he's definately a "he" and my Dad's usually really good with birds. Plus, he double checked on the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) website.

Dad says he's not surprised I couldn't tell if it was a Crow, a Raven, or some other kind of black bird, because the difference is in the size more than anything.

Also, Dad says that - judging by the description of it - the bird I'm pretty sure is a Magpie does sound like a Magpie to him. He can't be 100% certain without a photo (and right now the Magpie bird doesn't want a photo taken of it). But if he had to hazard a guess then he'd go with Magpie too.

Anyway...

This little guy is a Chaffinch (Dad says he's also male). He's a VERY regular visitor. I think he may have his nest in the trees bordering one side of our garden.

He sings beautifully and is almost always singing away in our back garden. It's comforting hearing his chirpy little songs. :)

He's pretty much the only one of the birds who doesn't fly off if someone makes a noise or moves quickly in the garden.

Anyway, just thought I'd share these photos with you. :)

Tori

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shopping, monster defenses and more (LBE & FD)

For those of you who haven't seen it and want to know what the "other thing I could post about" was that I mentioned on Monday... Check out my Mam's blog.

I was too tired to post last night myself. I'd had a long day and other than a quick comment on Mam's blog and a reply to an e-mail I'd promised to reply to I didn't bother with the PC. I just turned it on, replied to the e-mail, commented on Mam's post, then turned it back off again.

I did have a good day though. Tiring, but good.

Mam picked me up a little before 10:00 am and we went to Swansea. I needed some new clothes, which was the main point of the trip. Although, it was also a nice mother daughter day out. :)

I brought a new jacket. There was nothing wrong with my old one, but Kelly got a new one the other day and it's so much like mine I can't tell the difference. So I had a look to see if I could find a new one that I liked. I did. I found one that's a thin fleece jacket with another more waterproof layer that atatches to it to make it warmer or more waterproof on cold or wet days, while still allowing you to have a light jacket if it's a bit too cold to go without a jacket, but not cold enough to need a particularly warm one. I also got a zip up tracksuit top for if it's a little chilly but I need to get my other jacket washed for some reason. Or, if it's a bit chilly but I can't be bothered to seporate the layers of the other jacket. LOL! And I gave Kelly my other one so he has a spare if one needs washing or something.

I also got a couple of t-shirts, a few pairs of trousers and a couple of new pairs of PJs. I didn't need the PJs as such, but since we were able to catch the Winter sales I figured I'd grab them while they cost a bit less... At least then I know I wont need some for quite a while. I could do with getting a couple more t-shirts though. Will sort that next time I go shopping.

Anyway...

Mam and I went to Subway for lunch. I don't remember what my Mam's sub was, but I know mine was tuna, cheese and onion on the Italian herb and cheese bread (with tomato ketchup, of course). It's what I have from Subway pretty much every time. I've had that same sub since I first discovered Subway when I was in Canada (it's only been over here for about four or five years). The only time I don't have that sub is if they're out of tuna, in which case I have bacon or something like that instead.

After we were done clothes shopping and having lunch, Mam and I went to Asda (our version of Walmart) to do some food shopping. We were also going to go to Farm Foods (a low price frozen food shop) but we got to Asda first and figured that since Asda isn't much different in price than Farm Foods (just a bit less choice) we might as well just do all the shopping there and have done with it. Especially since we were both getting quite tired by this time. And we'd have had to go to Asda as well, because though Farm Foods is fantastic for frozen goods it's really hard to get anything else there.

It was very close to 5:00 pm when we got home. In fact, it might have been a little after 5:00 pm by the time Mam got herself home, because she had to drive from my place to hers and that takes a good 15 minutes or more even when it's not rush hour.

As we were coming home Mam said that an ice fog was starting to form over the fields and mountains. It seems that once the sun began to set there was nothing to keep away the ice fog. As far as I can tell it stuck around all night. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it did. The icy chill that comes with it certainly stuck around.

And my birdy friends weren't singing in the garden this morning. They've only just shown up. Normally they're out there by 6:00 am at the latest. There's Bluetits and Robins, and a bird that Kelly says is black and white that I don't know what it is. There might be other birds too, but I'm not sure. They sit in the hedge and on the shed roof and sing, and I give them some food so they'll keep coming back because I like to hear them singing. I missed opening the door for Kero and hearing them singing. It's almost 8:00 am and only now are they there (I just went to check). So I gave them their breakfast.

There's an owl that comes some nights too. I don't feed the owl though. And there's a bird that I'm not sure if it's a Crow, a Raven, or one of the black birds that are simular to Crows and Ravens. He comes and caws at me from time to time. So I caw back at him. Then I end up having a chat with him.

Kelly says I've lost the plot. But I don't care. I like my birdy friends, and chatting with them and listening to them sing makes me forget about the monsters for a while.

And, speaking of the monsters...

Thanks to something Iggy said in an e-mail I was reminded about something my brother and I discussed a while back. I originally dismissed this item
as a useful tool because I was looking for something that made light and noise, and the idea of using something to just detect existing light sources never occurred to me. Plus the fact my brother said that the one he used had to be pointed at the light source to work. So, I dismissed it and forgot about it. But then it occurred to me - thanks to Iggy's comment - that if I was to use something that I knew where the source of the light came from (like a torch) then it might actually work to scare away The Beast.

Anyway...

I'm doing pretty good on the eating better thing. I think it helps that all the times I was "nil by mouth" for operations and then doped up on pain killers and with anasthetic still in my system throughout last year have curbed my apetite a bit, which means I'm not so tempted to snack.

Actually... And, you may want to be sitting down and not eating anything for this bit... I really don't fancy any of the snack foods. I expect I'd eat them if they were put in front of me "just because they're there" but I don't fancy them.

I wouldn't necessarily eat them though... I had a tin of shortbread biscuits for Christmas and I have most of them left. They were even in front of me when I was on the PC the other day, and I only ate about two of them. I don't think Mam believed me at first, but I told her to check and she was able to see how few I'd eaten. And those are one of my very favourite biscuits mind you! :)

***~***

I got another award from Wifey. You can see it in this post. Thank you Wifey! :)

I really can't decide who to pass it on to though. So, I'm just not going to bother. Short of listing all my favourite blogs there's no fair way to decide. Usually in situations like this I just list the first few that spring to mind, but today my mind seems to go blank when I try to decide. So if you like it and want it, and nobody's given you one... Take it and call it a gift from me! :)

I also recieved this one from LadyStyx. The rules for it are:

1. Say a nice thing to a man in your life.

2. List at least six ways you measure success in your life.

3. Asign five other worthy blogs.

Well, number one is really easy. Kelly's just taken a couple of photos of my birdy friends and I thanked him very much. I'm sure that counts for that one. :)

Number two though... I don't thinkk I can answer that one. I don't think there are ways I measure success in my life. I mean, I have a wonderful hubby who I'm happy with, so I guess maybe marrying him was a great success. But other than that I can't think of anything.

As for number three... Most people I know have already been given it. So... If you want to be included with this award and haven't yet had it... Help yourself! :)

***~***

I think that covers everything - for now - besides, I want to go catch up on blog posts and on Dad's forum. I'm WAY behind on posts there.

Enjoy your day! :)

Tori

Monday, January 12, 2009

What's your word?

LadyStyx did this on her blog, and I wanted to do it too. So...




Your Word is "Love"



You see life as possibility to form deep connections with a few people.

Relationships are the center of your world, and you always take time to bond with those you love.



You are caring and giving. You enjoy helping those you love.

And when it comes to romantic love, you feel passionately ... even in a very long term relationship.

Recipes and other rubbish (FD)

For anyone interested, I've posted some new recipes on my recipe page. If you want to take a look then you can either click on the link on the sidebar, or use the links I'm about to post here for you to go directly to a spacific type of recipe.


The recipe catagories available are: Desert, Drink, Meal, Other, Sauce and Snack.


You'll need to click on "older posts" at least once in most of the catagories to view all the new recipes since only 14 recipes are displayed on a page at any one time.


***~***


It's a VERY wet day today. So wet that it's next to impossible to even convince Kero to go outside. So I'm not taking him out. I don't see the point in getting my shoes and coat on just to get as far as the gate - if we even get that far - before Kero decides to do an about turn and head back indoors. So I decided to forget the idea of going anywhere. Besides, I got so caught up with finding new recipes that the morning got away from me, and - as a result - I only had my bath about lunch time, which means that my hair is still damp. It might sound stupid to worry about going out in to the rain with damp hair, but I was always taught not to do it. So... *Shrugs*... And my Mam and Dad popped in today and Mam agrees, so that's good enough for me. LOL! Besides, I'm going shopping with my Mam tomorrow, and since it involves clothes shopping I'm sure I'll more than make up for the calories I didn't burn today. ;)

I did consider going on the rowing machine, but I haven't gotten there yet... Maybe later?

Speaking of the rowing machine... Mam did go to check how many calories I'd burned while she was here on Saturday. But the machine resets itself after a few minutes of inactivity, so she couldn't find out for me.

***~***

I've lost a day somewhere... I was convinced that today was January 13th for some reason. It took until early this afternoon for me to be persuaded otherwise. I'm not sure why I got it in to my head that it was the 13th instead of the 12th. I mean, I was on the blogs earlier reading posts from yesterday with "Sunday January 11th 2009" written above the titles. So you'd think that would give me a clue, right? But... NO! I was having none of it! LOL!

Anyway...

Since we've established that today is - whether I like it or not - the 12th of January, that means that it's my friend Angie's birthday today, so... Happy birthday Angie! :)

***~***

Um... I think that's everything I've got to say today.

Well, there's another thing I could post about, but I think I'll let the person in question post about that themselves. You'll just have to wait to find out. ;)

So... Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Random question: You and the story you're reading

When you read a book, do you imagine yourself as one of the characters? Or do you imagine yourself as a sort of extra character watching events unfold? Or do you just imagine that someone's telling you the story later and not place yourself anywhere near the characters and events of the book?

Tori

How well do you know me? - Answers! (LBE & FD)

Here are the answers to the questions I posted this time last week.

______

01. What's my favourite Colour?
Answer: Purple... And the fact I can no longer see the colours doesn't change that! It's still purple, purple and more purple... Any shade will do! :)

02. When’s my birthday?
Answer: November 13th

03. What’s my middle name?
Answer: I have two of them... Michelle Louise

04. What colour is my hair?
Answer: Mainly brown, but I have natural red and blonde highlights in it, so it depends how the light catches it to whether it looks light brown, dark brown or somewhere in the middle with a reddish tint to it.

05. What is the name of the eye condition I have?
Answer: Congenital Glaucoma

06. What’s my favourite kind of music?
Answer: My favourite kinds of music are country (both old and new) and pop/rock. I'll quite happily listen to oldies, easy listening, new age and even the odd bit of classical or jazz music though.

07. What kinds of movies do I most enjoy watching?
Answer: Children's animated movies and any movies involving fantasy and magic (like the Harry Potter movies). Although I will quite happily watch anything from the sloppy romance movies to action movies and horror movies.

08. What kinds of books do I most enjoy reading?
Answer: My favourite kinds of books are children's stories, books about magic, books about animals, books about mythalogical creatures and books about how people lived in the stone age. Some of my favourites are the Harry Potter books, books by Terry Pratchett, Jean M Auel's Earth's Children series and books by Roald Dahl. I will, however, read just about anything... From books about ancient times to books about space exploration, and from books of poetry to autobiographies. There are very few books I don't enjoy. ;)

09. What’s my favourite way to spend a cold, Wintery evening?
Answer: Curled up with Kero on the sofa with a mug of tea or cocoa and a good book... Something to snack on - like chocolate, marshmallows, biscuits/cookies, etc - would be great too! ;)

10. What do I drink first thing in the morning?
Answer: Tea or orange juice... Sometimes both. (No, not in the same cup!)

11. What do I often have to drink before bed?
Answer: A mug of hot chocolate or a cup of tea

12. What’s my favourite kind of biscuit/cookie?
Answer: Pink wafers and shortbread, closely followed by ginger biscuits and choc-chip cookies.

13. What’s my favourite snack food?
Answer: It's a toss up between chocolate, marshmallows, fudge, biscuits/cookies and crisps/potato chips... Oh heck, I love all snack food... Don't make me choose!!! ;)

14. If I could live anywhere in the world, where would I live?
Answer: Right where I live now... In Wales! I'd own my own house though.

15. If I could have any job in the world, what would it be?
Answer: Either a famous author or a nursery nurse. Although, a lion tamer would be cool too!

16. What are my main hobbies/interests?
Answer: Writing, reading/listening to books, listening to music, watching movies and TV shows, and blogging. If you said any of those - or any of the others mentioned on my profile - then you got this one right! :)

17. Am I a night owl or a morning person?
Answer: It varies, but a night owl as a general rule.

18. Do I have any kids?
Answer: No human kids... Yet! But I do have a little furbaby... My West Highland White Terrier, Keroberous (Kero).

19. How long have I been married?
Answer: Just over 5 & 1/2 years... It will be 6 years on May 22nd 2009!

20. If I could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be?
Answer: A lion.

______

Tori

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Beast

As dark as the shadows themselves, with eyes that glow like Emeralds and teeth of gleaming white, The Beast prowls the shadows looking for its next victim. Spotting a victim it stalks them silently, its eyes shifting to a murderous blood red as it draws nearer.

Only one thing can save you from the jaws of The Beast... Light! The Beast fears the light and will flee at the first sign of it... Only the light of the moon fails to chase away The Beast!

______

The Beast has stalked me regularly since I was about 10. It was an accidental invention of mine.

I was on holiday in Cyprus and laying awake one night looking up at the ceiling. I'm not sure why but I was able to see the street lamps through it (or possibly reflecting on to it?) I thought to myself how their red-ish glow looked like eyes... Angry eyes on a vicious beast that was ready to kill. And thus The Beast was born.

I'm not sure where the changing of the eye colour came from... I guess it just seemed logical to me... Nor am I sure why The Beast has stayed with me when so many of the things created in my mind have long since gone. All I know is that The Beast is a regular visitor, and that I fear it more than anything else. I would even face a Leaf Monster in place of The Beast!

The Beast stays away in the day because of the sun. But at night it comes searching for its next victim. Its visits used to be few and far between, but lately The Beast has been a regular visitor. So far it hasn't gotten inside because the windows are closed since it's so cold. But soon the weather will warm up and we'll want some fresh air. Then The Beast will have a way in!

How can I chase away a creature that fears only light when I can't be sure the light is on?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Random rubbish and a review (LBE & FD)

We're already a week in to 2009... Can you believe it? I'd only just gotten used to it being 2008 and now it's 2009 and I have to get used to saying 2009 instead. Not that I want to go back and go through 2008 again. No way do I want to go through those hospital trips again! But I'm sure you get my point about how fast time is going and how weird it feels saying 2009.

Before I start rambling on about who knows what I want to post a quick happy birthday to my Nan. I know she wont see it, but I want to post it anyway. She's 81 today... Happy birthday, Nan! :)

Anyway...

The weather's been VERY cold lately. We've had a light sprinkling of snow... Actually, we've had a few sprinklings of snow. There's been enough so we can say we've had snow, but not enough to satisfy me, Kero and Willow since there's not been enough for games of "catch the snow ball" (humans throw snow balls, dogs try to catch them). But at least I can say we've had snow, I guess. Mostly we've had ice though. Oh yes, there's been plenty of ice. It's been so icy that even Kero slipped a little during our walk the other day. It's times like this I'm glad of my cane... It's pretty useful in steadying yourself if you slip a little on the ice. ;)

Yes, even in these cold and icy conditions Kero and I are still going for walks every couple of days. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't. I used to walk Kero in all weathers before, so why not now? And if I fall and break my leg then I have my mobile phone to call for help. So far I've not fallen once though. My foot's slipped slightly, but that's about it. And, like I said, Kero slipped the other day, but he soon righted himself... He was so intent on a smell he'd found that he wasn't watching where he put his paws, I guess.

I have my Mam's rowing machine down here to use on the days I'm not walking Kero. Eventually I'm hoping to get it so I do both each day, but I've not done much in the way of exercise since May, so I thought I should start off gently so as not to over-do it. I mean, first of all I wasn't going anywhere because of the pain from the light, then I spent up until November in and out of hospital... You get the idea.

Actually, Mam brought the rowing machine down here in about November, but after my last op I was on a six week ban on anything that would put strain on my body so as to allow the wound to heal properly, so it was only a couple of days ago we set it up. And - I admit it - today was the first time I actually used it. I listened to a whole CD while rowing away though, so I was on it for about an hour. I was only going slowly though, and I took a couple of breaks in the middle somewhere so as not to over-do it. Sorry but I don't know how many calories I burned, miles I traveled, etc.

The CD I listened to was the last CD of an audiobook I've been listening to. It's one I mentioned that I was looking for a few months ago. Some of you may remember me asking about it. The author is Michael Molloy, the series is called "Night Witches," and the book is the first in the series and is called "The Witch Trade"... My Nan (the one who I said happy birthday to at the start of this post) got it for me for Christmas... It's every bit as good as the second one - which I heard on the radio - and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's about a young girl called "Abbey Clover" who - with the help of a boy named "Spike" and a man named "Adam Starlight" - helps the light witches to stop the evil plans of the night witches and discover a store of ice dust (which is what gives the light witches the power to do their spells).

Nan asked the place she got it from about the other two books in the series... Apparently they aren't available on audio just yet. She's keeping an eye open for them for me though, and says she'll grab them for me when they come out.

On the subject of audiobooks...

I did have a copy of Oathbreaker (book five in the Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness series) or I thought I did. It turns out the first four CDs are missing from it. I contacted the place I got it from and told them. They gave me details for returning it and are sending me a replacement copy just as soon as they have one in stock. I half expected them not to because I actually brought it a couple of months ago, but I explained that I'd only just opened it and they were very understanding and appologetic. So I have to wait to find out what happens to Torak next. :(

Anyway...

I've started being more careful about what I'm eating and making my dinners a bit healthier. I refuse to go on a diet, because I know that as soon as I start telling myself I can't have this or that I'm going to be craving it so badly that I end up having it. So instead I'm just changing my eating habits so that I'm eating more of the healthy food (like fruit and veg) and less of the unhealthy food (like sweets). And we're limiting fizzy drinks. We're not buying any in the shopping (we're having juices instead) so any fizzy drinks will be if we grab a little bottle of pop when we're out or something.

My Mam made me some rhubarb crumble yesterday. The bit I've eaten was really nice. Mam took a couple of pieces of it home for herself and my Dad, and I put the rest of it in the freezer in portion sized freezer safe containers so I don't get tempted to pig out on it. I've got three portions of it in there that I just have to defrost and heat up when I want them.

******

Kelly's gone to Swansea today to spend a gift voucher he got for Christmas and get himself a few items of clothing he needs. That means that until early to mid afternoon I'm home by myself. Well, apart from Kero, of course.

So far all I've done since he left is gone on the rowing machine, fed Kero and worked on this post. This post is taking a very long time to write because I've had a few interuptions in the form of Kero wanting outside, two phone conversations, the post coming and my decision to stop writing the post so I could make myself a cup of tea.

OK... I think that will do for now.

Enjoy whatever's left of your day, and - if it's as icy with you as it is with us - be careful out there! :)

Tori

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Kero and my train set

Just wanted to share a couple of photos with you that Kelly took for me.

The first was taken late Sunday/early Monday and is of Kero with the Christmas presents we kept aside for when Jayde went home. He's tried them all out and declared them to be to his liking. His favourite things of what you can see in the photo are the reindeer with the rawhide bone and the big candy cane. But I'm not surprised about that. My little man loves his rawhide. There were a couple of other toys (and several other treats) but the toys just never ended up in the photo, and the treats were put out of sight so he didn't try and eat them all now... After all, we do want some of them to last a bit. LOL!



The other photo I want to share is of the wooden train set I had for Christmas. Mam, Dad and I ended up discussing train sets when we were in Tesco one time, and I happened to mention that it wasn't fair that the boys had at least one train set but I didn't. Well, I did have a Hogwarts Express, but I had hardly gotten it out of its box before it got broken and then some stuff of mine got stolen... Anyway, I guess they got the hint because I got this one for Christmas. There are a few other bits to it, but I wasn't playing with them when Kelly took the photo.



I was going to blog about a couple of other things too, but I'm too tired to bother now. I'll post about those tomorrow or something. Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

The deleted picture thing

We appear to have gotten rid of the deleted picture thing (Kelly says it's gone anyway). We weren't sure what it was at first and I tried everything I could think of (including changing my template) and it wouldn't go away. But then I realised where Kelly was saying it was... Right where the floating myspace layout graphic used to be. Jaws never realised it was there, but Kelly had mentioned it several times. Well, I knew what that was from... It was from my Welsh Flag cursor. So, I removed that and it seems to have done the trick. My guess is that the cursor isn't available any more (I mean, I've had it a good two years) and that was what was causing the problem. Anyway, it seems to be gone now... Hopefully it will stay gone. I removed the "special cursors" from our other pages too... Just in case we end up with the same thing happening on those pages.

I'm posting to tell you so that any of you who have cursors like that can know what the problem is if you have the same thing appear on your blog.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness

The Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness is a series of books by Michelle Paver. The series is set 6000 years ago (in the stone age) and is about a boy called Torak and his struggles against the forces of evil that killed his father.

I discovered this set by accident when out shopping with my Mam and Dad a couple of months ago, but I've only recently gotten around to listening to them. I've so far listened to the first four books in the series, and found that they were a very good find! This is an excellent series, and I can't wait to listen to book five, and for book six to come out! :)

The books in the series are:

1. Wolf Brother
2. Spirit Walker
3. Soul Eater
4. Outcast
5. Oathbreaker

And book 6 - which is due for release on September 3rd 2009 - is, if I'm not mistaken, called Ghost Hunter.

I have it on good authority (from an interview with Michelle Paver herself on the last disk of "Spirit Walker" after the end of the story) that there are only the six books in the series.

If you haven't already read it then I highly recommend that you do! :)

Tori