Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Storms, cameras, birds and helicopters



We've had some really weird weather lately. It's been alternating between being beautiful, dry and sunny, and being stormy. Always hot though! I'm not sure exactly how hot, but too hot for me! The weirdest day - weather wise, I mean - this past week was Sunday though. At one point on Sunday it was trying to rain, but it was so hot the rain was evaporating before it even had time to properly settle on anything. It was strange being out in the rain and not actually ending up wet. I could feel the rain drops landing on me, but the spot they landed on was dry before I could even get my hand to it. The photo above was taken just before one of the storms started.



And the photo above this text, which appears to be of a Collared Dove, was one of the first photos taken with my new camera. Actually, all the photos in this post were taken with my new camera. None of the ones in other recent posts were though... They were all from my old camera. My old one still works OK at the moment, but I got a new one last Thursday. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that my old one is making a weird noise, which we can't even figure out how it's making, and because of that we aren't sure how much longer it will continue to work for (it's already slower than normal to respond when you try and do anything with it). The other is that I wanted a camera that would be easier to carry around with me, and my old one - which was brought for all its functions, and for the fact the screen on it was large and easy to see - is a bit bulky for taking around in your bag with you unless you're definately sure you'll be using it. While I was still able to see the screen I needed the bigger camera, but now that screen size makes no difference anyway - and since my old camera sounds close to giving up the ghost - I wanted one small enough to carry about with me. So, last Thursday - after my hospital appointment - Mam took me to find what I wanted. And I tried it out over the weekend. Oh yeah, for those who are interested, my new camera is a Vivicam 5399.

Anyway...



We think the bird in the above and below photos is a House Sparrow. With the second shot I was actually aiming to get the helicopter as it circled above us... The bird was just a bonus. :)



A close-up of the helicopter...



I did consider trying to use the helicopters to do an interesting post about helicopters. Unfortunately, I know nothing about them (except that they can fly). I've only ever even seen one up close once, and I was only about 10 years old at the time. It was a police helicopter I saw during a class trip to a police station. Anyway, I'm not even sure where to start with looking for helicopter information. Plus, my interest in them only goes as far as, "oh, look! A helicopter!" Meaning that I'm lacking in the enthusiasm required to make someone want to look for information on a given topic. Which basically translates to, "I don't know anything about helicopters, and I really can't be bothered to look anything up." Hope you enjoyed the photos though.

OK, that'll do from me for now... Enjoy whatever's left of your day, and - to those who, for one reason or another, aren't well at the moment - get well soon! *Hugs and healing thoughts* :)

Tori

Monday, June 29, 2009

New eyes

Last Thursday (June 25th) I had my appointment to go pick up my new eyes. The appointment was for 10:00 am, and we were told to expect to be there until 11:00 am. The reason for this was that - even though the moulds were spacifically made to fit my eye sockets - there sometimes needs to be slight adjustments made. As it turned out though no adjustments had to be made, and we were out of there within about 10 minutes. And I don't have to go back for SIX whole months! YAY!!!

We had the camera with us, so Mam took this photo of me with my new eyes in. It was a good time to take it... Just after I'd recieved the great news about not needing to go back for six months. You can see for yourselves how happy I was to hear that. ;)



I did ask Eirona if we could get a photo of her too, but she didn't want one taken.

Six whole months before I have to go to hospital again! YAY!!!

Tori

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Midsummer Sunset



As many of you will already know, last Sunday (June 21st) was the longest day of 2009. The day which, depending on what you believe, marks either the midpoint or start of Summer. Since I follow the patterns for the seasons as suggested in the old Celtic calender, it was - to me - the midpoint of Summer. Anyway, with a bit of help from Kelly for timing, I took this photo of the sky as the sun was setting that night, and thought I would share it.

Tori

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Outside photos

This first photo is just a shot snapped from our living room window. Nothing special, just a shot to show what we can see around the front of the house.

And here are a couple of shots of the back of our place.




As you can see, the plants I still have here are doing quite well (Kelly and Mam are tending to them most of the time though).

Anyway, more photos...



Thought I'd end with a bird photo. :)



Tori

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kero's Korner: In the garden

Hi humans.

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that this is the day that I, Castellan Keroberous (Kero for short), take over the blog. You will also know that I said in last week's post that I would get my humans to take photos of me doing something other than napping. Well, I've done just that. So, this week I have some photos to share of me in the back garden. There are only a few of them, but I promise I was out there for a long time.



I call the next photo, "talk to the butt, I'm busy!"



And this next one, "What was that I just heard?"



There are some very interesting smells in the garden.



If I could just get past this fence stuff then I could get to the front garden all by myself...



And last, but not least, here's one of me trotting along the garden path.



I love spending time in the garden!


Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Madagascar 2

I watched "Madagascar 2" on the weekend. I've seen the first movie several times, and my Mam recently got the second one, so I borrowed it from her last week. Anyway, it was just as good as the first one, which - for anyone who doesn't know - I thoroughly enjoyed.

For those who aren't familiar with the Madagascar movies, the first movie was about a group of animals - a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippo - from a New York zoo who make a bid for freedom, get caught, then end up shipwrecked when the boat that's meant to be taking them to Africa is hi-jacked by penguins. And Madagascar 2 is the next stage in their adventure.

Anyway, they were both excellent movies.

Tori

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 2009 craft update: A horse, a dinosaur and some ducks (LBE)

OK, it's time for June's craft update. :)

So, what have I done this past month? Well...

First I knitted a little horse. The horse was requested for a baby who is due in August. I can't tell you who it is that's having the baby though, because I'm not allowed to mention it on my blog, sorry. Anyway, I wasn't sure what the baby was going to be at the time, so I wanted to make something that would be acceptable to both a little girl or a little boy. It was agreed that a horse would work for that, so a horse is what I made. Actually, it was Shireen who decided on a horse, since she was here when we were trying to decide, and she's horse crazy at the moment. But we figured a horse would work, so I decided to take her suggestion.

Here's a photo of the horse, which was taken before it went to its new home ready for when the baby comes.



I'm not sure what the baby will think of it, but the mother seemed really pleased with it. :)

I also made a knitted dinosaur. The dinosaur was for little Lucas (mentioned in last Thursday's post). He seems pretty pleased with it. That is, if him using it to demonstrate what dinosaurs do (stomp about and roar) is anything to go by. I'd say that's a good sign. ;)

Here's the dinosaur...



Bye Mr Dinosaur... Enjoy your new home...



I also started work on two other items. One of them is the blanket I'm making my Grandma. She knows about it (or I wouldn't be mentioning it on my blog) but she isn't going to get to see it until Christmas. This means that I wont be posting a photo of it when it's finished. I will instead be tkeeping the photo to post in the craft update I'll be doing at the end of December. That way my Grandma will already have the blanket by the time its photo is shown on my blog.

The other thing I've started knitting is a scarf for the hat, scarf and gloves set I'm making for my Mam. I'm quite pleased with myself so far with the scarf, because I appear to have mastered purl stitches, and this means I'm able to make a pattern in the scarf. I've never managed to do anything other than plain knitting before, so I'm quite pleased with myself for managing to do purl stitches. I've only tried stocking stitch so far, and haven't tried any of the more complicated ways of creating patterns in knitted items, but now that I can do the purl stitches it's only a matter of time before I can do the other types of stitches (for example, moss stitch). :)

I'm not sure whether or not to post a photo of the items I'm making my Mam. She does know about them, but I don't really want her to see them. The thing is though, she doesn't visit my blog much, so even if I posted them she might not see them. But then again, she might choose to visit just as I post them. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I might leave posting a photo of the scarf (and the rest of the set) until December's post too. But, don't worry, even if I do there will be plenty of other things that I do post photos of as I do them. :)

Anyway...

You may remember me hinting last week about another craft that I would be mentioning in this month's craft update? It's actually one I mentioned wanting to do in the first place... It was one of the things I mentioned when I said - I think back in February - about finding crafts to keep my hands busy. Do you remember what it was?

Don't worry if you don't, because I'm going to tell you.

The answer is...

Making things out of clay. I suppose technically "pottery" though I've not made any pots. ;)

What I have made though is ducks. Yes, ducks.



I'm not entirely certain why I decided to make ducks my first clay project. I just sat down with the clay after Kelly brought it home for me, and I ended up making ducks.

They're only little ducks (one a bit smaller than the other). But I think they're nice ducks.



What do you think?



I wasn't sure at first what to do with these ducks, but I found out on the weekend that a certain person is a bit of a duck fan, so I'll be giving them to that person. I don't want to say who it is though, because that person often reads my blog. I'm planning on having Kelly help me paint them before they swim off to their new home though. :)

Also, I'm currenttly in the process of making a dragon themed candle holder, which will be a Christmas present for my Dad. I know it's safe to say so on my blog, because he only ever comes to read it if Mam points something out to him, and I know Mam wouldn't tell him about something like that. Besides, even if he does see it mentioned, he'll put it to the back of his mind and forget, then remember again when he opens it that he read about it, so he'd still not actually know what he's getting until he's opened it. LOL!

OK, that's it for this month's craft update.

Tori

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Welsh words

When I was asking about ideas for things you'd like to see on my blog, Iggy mentioned Welsh words. Now, originally I was going to do several posts in which I would post a list of words for a certain subject (e.g. numbers, colours, etc) and the Welsh words for them. And, to be honest, I did start constructing these posts. They looked something like this:

One = Un
Two = Dau
Three = Tri
Four = Pedwar
Five = Pump
Six = Chwech
Seven = Saith
Eight = Wyth
Nine = Naw
Ten = Deg

Red = Coch
Yellow = Melyn
Pink = Pinc
Green = Gwyrdd
Purple = Porffor
Orange = Oren
Blue = Glas
White = Gwyn
Grrey = Llwyd
Black = Du
Brown = Brown (just pronounced differently)
Silver = Arian
Gold = Aer

... And so on...

But then I realised it was going to take me the best part of the rest of the year to do this. But - if I put several themes in one post - the posts would end up quite long in many cases. So, I decided to cheat. How? Simple... I'm going to give you a link to an online dictionary that translates to and from Welsh. There are probably others - possibly better ones - but this is the one I use when I need the spelling for something, or when I can't remember what a Welsh word is in English. Anyway, if you want to check it out then click here to take a look.

Tori

Monday, June 22, 2009

Article: Baffling Sun

Note: If images mentioned in article don't show up, click on the link at the bottom of the page to go and have a look. There's meant to be a video too. I often have issues with those things showing up when I post articles, so I thought I'd warn you so you will know to look. That is, if you want to see them.

***~***

'Quiet Sun' baffling astronomers
By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News
'Still Sun' baffling astronomers
The Sun is the dimmest it has been for nearly a century.
There are no sunspots, very few solar flares - and our nearest star is the quietest it has been for a very long time.
The observations are baffling astronomers, who are due to study new pictures of the Sun, taken from space, at the UK National Astronomy Meeting.
The Sun normally undergoes an 11-year cycle of activity. At its peak, it has a tumultuous boiling atmosphere that spits out flares and planet-sized chunks of super-hot gas. This is followed by a calmer period.
Last year, it was expected that it would have been hotting up after a quiet spell. But instead it hit a 50-year low in solar wind pressure, a 55-year low in radio emissions, and a 100-year low in sunspot activity.
According to Prof Louise Hara of University College London, it is unclear why this is happening or when the Sun is likely to become more active again.
"There's no sign of us coming out of it yet," she told BBC News.
"At the moment, there are scientific papers coming out suggesting that we'll be going into a normal period of activity soon.
"Others are suggesting we'll be going into another minimum period - this is a big scientific debate at the moment."

Sunspots could be seen by the Soho telescope in 2001 (l), but not this year (r)
In the mid-17th Century, a quiet spell - known as the Maunder Minimum - lasted 70 years, and led to a "mini ice age".
This has resulted in some people suggesting that a similar cooling might offset the impact of climate change.
According to Prof Mike Lockwood of Southampton University, this view is too simplistic.
"I wish the Sun was coming to our aid but, unfortunately, the data shows that is not the case," he said.
Prof Lockwood was one of the first researchers to show that the Sun's activity has been gradually decreasing since 1985, yet overall global temperatures have continued to rise.
"If you look carefully at the observations, it's pretty clear that the underlying level of the Sun peaked at about 1985 and what we are seeing is a continuation of a downward trend (in solar activity) that's been going on for a couple of decades.
"If the Sun's dimming were to have a cooling effect, we'd have seen it by now."
'Middle ground'
Evidence from tree trunks and ice cores suggest that the Sun is calming down after an unusually high point in its activity.
Professor Lockwood believes that as well as the Sun's 11-year cycle, there is an underlying solar oscillation lasting hundreds of years.
He suggests that 1985 marked the "grand maximum" in this long-term cycle and the Maunder Minimum marked its low point.
"We are re-entering the middle ground after a period which has seen the Sun in its top 10% of activity," said Professor Lockwood.
"We would expect it to be more than 100 years before we get down to the levels of the Maunder Minimum."
He added that the current slight dimming of the Sun was not going to reverse the rise in global temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
"What we are seeing is consistent with a global temperature rise, not that the Sun is coming to our aid."
Data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows global average temperatures have risen by about 0.7C since the beginning of the 20th Century.
And the IPCC projects that the world will continue to warm, with temperatures expected to rise between 1.8C and 4C by the end of the century.
No-one knows how the centuries-long waxing and waning of the Sun works. However, astronomers now have space telescopes studying the Sun in detail.
According to Prof Richard Harrison of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire, this current quiet period gives astronomers a unique opportunity.
"This is very exciting because as astronomers we've never seen anything like this before in our lifetimes," he said.
"We have spacecraft up there to study the Sun in phenomenal detail. With these telescopes we can study this minimum of activity in a way that we could not have done so in the past."

______

Taken from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8008473.stm

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Article: Fathers' Day (LBE)

Since today is Father's Day I thought I'd make today's post a Fathers' Day themed one... Enjoy!

***~***
History
Father's Day is a celebration inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting, and to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers. Father's Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, and special dinners to fathers and family-oriented activities. In 2008, it was celebrated on June 15 in many countries. It originated in Spokane, Washington.[citation needed] In 2009, it will be celebrated on June 21 in many countries. In a few Catholic countries, it is celebrated on the Feast of St. Joseph

The first observance of Father's Day is believed to have been held in July 5 1908 a church in Fairmont, West Virginia, by Dr. Robert Webb of West Virginia at the Central United Methodist Church of Fairmont.[1]

Mrs. John B. Dodd of Washington thought independently of the holiday one Sunday in 1909 while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in church,[2] and she arranged a tribute for her father in June 19, 1910. She was the first to solicit the idea of having an official Father's Day observance.

It took many years to make the holiday official. In spite of support from the YWCA, the YMCA and churches, it ran the risk of disappearing from the calendar.[3] Where Mother's Day was met with enthusiasm, Father's Day was met with laughter.[3] The holiday was gathering attention slowly, but the wrong reasons: it was the target of much satire, parody and derision, including jokes from the local newspaper Spokane Review.[3] Many people saw it as just the first step in filling the calendar with mindless promotions like "Grandparents' Day", "Professional Secretaries' Day", etc. all the way down to "National Clean Your Desk Day".[3]

A bill was introduced on 1913[4], US President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea in 1924,[citation needed] a national committee was formed in the 1930s by trade groups in order to legitimate the holiday,[5]

In addition to Father's Day, International Men's Day is celebrated in many countries, most often on November 19.

International history and traditions

Argentina
Father's Day in Argentina is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, but there have been several attempts to change the date to August 24, to commemorate day in which the "Father of the Nation" José de San Martín became a father. [13]

In 1953 the proposal to celebrate Father's Day in all educational establishments on August 24, in honor of José de San Martín, was raised to the General Direction of Schools of Mendoza Province. The day was celebrated for the first time in 1958, on the third Sunday of June, but it was not included in the school calendars due to pressure from several groups. [23]

Schools in the Mendoza Province continued to celebrate Father's Day on August 24, and, in 1982, the Provincial Governor passed a law declaring Father's Day in the province to be celebrated on that day. [23]

In 2004, several proposals to change the date to August 24 were presented to the Argentine Camara de Diputados as a single, unified project. [23] After being approved, the project was passed to the Senate of Argentina for final review and approval. The Senate changed the proposed new date to the third Sunday of August, and scheduled the project for approval. However, the project was never addressed during the Senate's planned session, which caused its ultimate failure. [24]

Costa Rica
In Costa Rica the Unidad Social Cristiana party presented a bill to change the celebration of the day from the third Sunday of June to 19th March, the day of Saint Joseph.[25] That was in order to give tribute to this saint, who gave name to the capital of the country San José, Costa Rica, and so family heads will be able to celebrate the Father's Day at the same time as the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker.[14] The official date is still third Sunday of June.

Germany
there is no such thing as Father's Day [26][27] as celebrated in other parts of the world. There are two terms and/or events of an older origin that while similar in name, have entirely different meanings. Vatertag, is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called men's day, Männertag, or gentlemen's day, Herrentag. It is tradition to do a males-only hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower. In the wagons are wine or beer (according to region) and traditional regional food, Hausmannskost, which could be Saumagen, Liverwurst, Blutwurst (Blood Sausage), vegetables, eggs, etc.

Some parts of Germany (such as Bavaria and the northern part of Germany) call this particular day "Vatertag", which is the literal equivalent to Father's Day.

Roman Catholic tradition
In the Roman Catholic tradition, Fathers are celebrated on Saint Joseph's Day, commonly called Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, though in most countries Father's Day is a secular celebration. [28]

Taiwan
In Taiwan, Father's Day is not an official holiday, but is widely observed on August 8, the eighth day of the eighth month of the year. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of the number 8 is bā. This pronunciation is very similar to the character "爸" "bà", which means "Papa" or "father". The Taiwanese, therefore, usually call August 8 by its nickname, "Bābā Day" (爸爸節).

Thailand
In Thailand, Father's Day is set as the birthday of the king. December 5 is the birthday of current king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Thais celebrate by giving their father or grandfather a Canna flower (Dok put ta ruk sa) which is considered to be a masculine flower. Thai people will wear yellow on this day to show respect for the king. This is because yellow is the Color of the day for Monday, the day on which king Bhumibol Adulyadej was born.

United States
In the United States, the first modern Father's Day celebration was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia[29][30] or on June 19th of the same year, in the state of Washington[31]. Today, Father's Day is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June.

In West Virginia, it was first celebrated as a church service at Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton, who is believed to have suggested the service to the pastor, is believed to have been inspired to celebrate fathers after the deadly mine explosion in nearby Monongah the prior December. This explosion killed 361 men, many of them fathers and recent immigrants to the United States from Italy. Another possible inspiration for the service was Mothers' Day, which had been celebrated for the first time two months prior in Grafton, West Virginia, a town about 15 miles (24 km) away.

Another driving force behind the establishment of the integration of Father's Day was Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd, born in Creston, Washington. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent reared his six children in Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Anna Jarvis's efforts to establish Mother's Day. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father's birthday, she did not provide the organizers with enough time to make arrangements, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June. The first June Father's Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, WA, at the Spokane YMCA.

Unofficial support from such figures as William Jennings Bryan was immediate and widespread. President Woodrow Wilson was personally feted by his family in 1916. President Calvin Coolidge recommended it as a national holiday in 1924. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson made Father's Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. The holiday was not officially recognized until 1972, during the presidency of Richard Nixon.

In recent years, retailers have adapted to the holiday by promoting greeting cards and male-oriented gifts such as electronics and tools. Schools and other children's programs commonly have activities to make Father's Day gifts.

According to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, Americans are expected to spend at least $11 billion on gifts for Father's Day in 2008. This is about $7 billion less than the amount spent on Moms for Mother's Day, which is more steeped in traditional gifts, some of which tend to be more expensive than Father's Day gifts. In economic terms, the average per capita spending on Father's Day is expected to be in the range of $27.60 in 2008. [32].

***~***

Happy Father's Day to every Dad, Dadi, Daddy, Papa, or Father who happens to be passing by and reads this. :)

Tori

Saturday, June 20, 2009

More bird photography



Yep, me and my camera have been in the garden again. And look... Two birds this time! :)

One of the birds in the above photo appears to be a House Sparrow (like all of the birds in the photos in my post from Monday) and the other one appears to be a Collared Dove.

But my aim wasn't to get birds sitting on the shed really (though I did manage it quite well). No, this time I wanted birds in flight, perhaps on their way to or from the feeder?

Something like - for example - this photo...



Chow down little House Sparrow! :)



I'm getting good at this! :)

Tori

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kero's Korner: I'm a couch potato

Hello humans. It's Kero here.



The above photo is of me on Mami and Dadi's bed. I seem to spend a lot of time sleeping. Sometimes on the bed, sometimes in one of my doggy beds, other times on the sofa.



Most of the time I nap by myself while the humans do stuff, but sometimes someone naps with me, which is what's happening in the next photo... Hence the foot in the photo.



I don't sleep all day every day though. Sometimes I play with my toys, other times I play in the garden, and other times I go out places with Mami. Also, I sometimes have to bark at people who are too near my property. All this is tiring work for a little dog like me, that's why I need lots of naps. I'm going to have to get the humans to get photos of me doing other stuff though, just so you can see that I do actually do more than sleep.

Licks and snifffs,
Kero

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yesterday AKA Wednesday (FD)

Yesterday (Wednesday) I went to my parents place just before lunch time. Mam and I both had some marmalade on toast for lunch, then we spent the afternoon with Mam's sewing machine.

Mam turned a pair of trousers I had that were too short in the leg in to a pair of shorts for me, and she made me a new t-shirt. She'll be making me another one soon. I was going to do it, but Mam offered, and I hadn't gotten around to taking up the trousers, nor to turning the fabric I'd brought in to t-shirts yet, so I decided to let Mam do it. Besides, she has a sewing machine, I have to do it by hand. That means it takes a couple of hours for her, a good few days for me. You do the math! ;)

I stayed there for dinner, and most of us had salad. I say most of us, because Wayne doesn't eat salad, so he had pasta. Mam, Dad, Nan and I had salad though.

I tried celery, and liked it. Nothing to write home about, but kinda nice. I definately didn't like the beetroot (beets) though! So all of you who like them can keep them!

Anyway, after dinner Mam and I went to take something to a friend. I'd made something for her little boy (will tell you more in next week's craft update) and wanted to give it to him myself. He seemed pleased with it, and that's all that matters. :)

The poor little one (Lucas) wasn't well, but boy can he talk. Lucas talks more than me, and that's saying something! I got a running commentry of the Batman cartoon that was on while I was there (going to have to borrow that kid for cartoon time... *Winks*... LOL!) He also showed me how several of his toys worked, told me his opinions of various superheros and cartoon characters (Iggy would have gotten on well with him... He likes SpongeBob). And so on. It was a great visit, and he's a great kid. I have seen him before, but only a couple of times. First time he was about a week old (I've got a photo of me holding him somewhere) and the last time he was about 18 months old (he's now 3, so that tells you how long ago that was). Mam's seen him a lot more, and was telling me what a sweet kid he is. I got to see yesterday how right she was.

It was around 6:00 pm I finally got home. I then spent about three hours trying to persuade e-mails to send. Outlook Express was allowing me to recieve e-mails, but the ones I wanted to send were just sitting there doing nothing. They EVENTUALLY did send though. But by the time I'd finished sorting that I was tired and didn't want to be on the laptop any more, so I went to bed and listened to a disk from the audiobook I'm listening to. It's "Stonehenge" by Bernard Cornwell. I've listened to it loads of times before, but I love the story, so I'm listening again. It's listen to one of the audiobooks I have here at home, or go to the library, and I can't be bothered to go at the moment.

So, there you go, that was my day yesterday. Not terribly exciting, but still good. And today nothing is really happening, so I wont bore you with details about today. I'll just say that I hope you're having a good day... However you're spending it! :)

Tori

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The A-Z Game

Grabbed this from LadyStyx a couple of days ago, and figured I'd do it today.

A -Age: 24
B -Bed size: Double
C -Chore you hate: All of them
D -Donuts or Kolaches: Donuts
E -Essential start your day item: A cup of tea
F -Favorite color: Purple
G -Gold or Silver: Gold
H -Height: 5 foot 2 inches
I- Instruments you play: None... Though I'd like to play piano
J -Jokes or Rhymes: Neither
K -Kids: Only my furbaby (Kero)... No human ones though. :(
L -Living arrangements: Rented ground floor flat/apartment, shared with hubby and furkid
M -Movie: The Harry Potter movies
N -Nicknames: Too many to mention... Plus it depends who from
O- Overnight hospital stays: Way to many to mention them all
P -Pet Peeve: Liars... I can put up with just about anything else, but not liars!
Q -Quote you like: There are a couple I kinda like, but none that jump up and say, "pick me!"
R -Right or left handed: Right
S -Siblings: I could say anywhere from 2 upwards here (don't ask)
T -Time you wake up: When I do... Depends when I fell asleep, and how long I manage to stay asleep
U -Underwear: Isn't a topic for discussion on my blog
V -Vegetable you dislike: Marrow
W -Ways you run late: People showing up late to pick me up
X -X-rays you've had: Dental, chest, shoulder, ankle (at least twice) and now knee
Y -Yummy food you make: Kelly says it's sausage, egg and bacon pie (I wasn't sure, so I asked him, lol!)
Z -Zodiac sign: Scorpio

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knees, news and nonsense (LBE & FD)

When I spoke to my Nan the other day, she told me her leg is healing. Not as quickly as she'd like it to, but at least it's healing. Besides, injuries on people Nan's age don't tend to heal quickly. I don't know why, but that's just how it seems to work... Young people seem to heal quicker than old people, and Nan's 81, so she's definately not in the "young" catagory any more.

My knee is healing nicely. I'm still getting the odd twinge if I've been walking about for a while, but that's about it. I don't know if it will ever be perfectly fine again though, because I did the same thing to my ankle when I was about 7, and it never fully healed. Still, at least it's the same leg, so the other leg is still good. ;)

I wont bother with a MarmiteToasty update, because she did one herself the other day - as most of you will know, since most of you read her blog - and there's nothing new to say.

Anyway...

It is VERY HOT today. I'm extremely glad I walk Kero in the mornings, because it was hot enough doing it then. If we did afternoon walks then I don't think either of us would be able to cope with the heat today. It's not too bad indoors, because it's like being in the shade. But where we walk gets direct sunlight most of the day with just a few patches of shade from the trees close enough to the path to cast their shadows on to it. Still, we had a nice walk. Kero was definately enjoying it... As usual! ;)

During the dry days we've had we've managed to get people to cut the front garden properly. The back garden still needs work, but at least the front is sorted now. The front is most important, because when the grass gets too long it becomes impossible for me to follow the path (even with my cane). It was getting to that point, which is what prompted us to get it sorted. We wouldn't have let it get to that point normally, but since our strimmer was at my parents' place, and since our mower isn't too great (and hasn't got any blades)... Well, you get the idea. The strimmer is down with us now though, and we paid someone to come and bring a mower. We're going to get our own mower soon though.

We managed to figure out a good place for an indoor airer, so we brought one of those instead of a tumble dryer for those days when - as often happens in Wales - it's too wet to use the washing line. It's a sturdy little thing, and was a LOT cheaper than the dryer would have been. The dryer would have cost us £200 ($400) plus £20 ($40) for delivery. The airer cost £14 ($28) and could be picked up by Mam and myself while we were in town. Yep, definately cheaper! Plus, it wont cost for electric to dry the clothes, so that's an added bonus. And it's big enough to fit about two loads of washing on it without crowding the clothes, so plenty of drying space. We're going to use the money we saved on not getting a tumble dryer to buy a good lawn mower.

Actually, I used some of the money for new shoes the other day. My sandals are almost five years old and in need of replacing. They've served me well, but they're getting really tatty now. So, I brought a new pair. Their usual price is £20 ($40) but this time of year sandals are on sale, so they only ended up costing me £7 ($14)... Less than half price, and they last well. Gotta love that. I also got a pair of what we call daps. I'm not sure what they're called in the states... I think "plimsoles" or something like that? Anyway, they're to replace the shoes I got last year, which already needed replacing. Why? Because when I wear any shoes with much weight to them I tend to drag my feet a lot, which means the shoes suffer more wear and tear than they should. It's weird, but the lighter the weight of the shoe, the longer it tends to last me, because I pick my feet up properly in light shoes. That's why I prefer to wear daps (plus, no laces... LOL!) They're nice and light weight, but good enough to wear when it's too wet for sandals. Yeah, I know, I'm weird. But I'm one of those people who prefers to go barefoot. Anyway, the daps only cost me £5 ($10) so that was a good price too. Two pairs of shoes for £12 ($24) which is less than the price one pair normally is... Can't argue with that! ;)

And, speaking of new things, we got a letter from the council (who own the place we live in) saying we're going to be getting a new bathroom and kitchen fitted some time in the next two years. They didn't tell us exactly when, but wanted to warn us not to do any decorating that wasn't essential - especially in the kitchen and bathroom - until after they've done what they intend to do. Apparently they have to get the kitchens and bathrooms in their properties up to a certain standard before the end of 2011. Kelly's pleased about it, because we only have a bath at the moment (council properties here usually only come with just a bath or just a shower) but - apparently - after the work is done we'll have one of those shower bath combos that come as standard in places in most countries. I've got to say, I'm pleased about that too. I mean, I love my bath, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to just grab a quick shower. Kero and I will probably have to go and stay with my parents' while the work is being done though, because it'll probably take several days, and I expect they'll have their stuff all over the place while doing the work, which will be a problem for me. Plus, Kero likes to "help" people do work, and most people don't appreciate that. LOL!

Let's see, what else...

I've decided I'm not cut out for growing things. My reasons are:

1. Once they get to a certain size it's hard for me to keep an eye on their progress without breaking bits of plant off.

2. I couldn't keep the planters weed free, because I couldn't tell what was plant and what wasn't.

3. It was feeling more like a chore than something enjoyable.

So, I sent those planters that could be moved up to my parents' place, and Mam is tending to them (probably Nan and Dad check on them from time to time too). And the beans - which couldn't be moved because they were nicely climbing the netting we put up for them - Mam and Kelly are keeping an eye on for me. Some of my Sunflowers are still here too, but they pretty much take care of themselves.

I tried, but I'm not a gardener, and I don't think I want to be one after all. I'll stick to taking photos of the plants and flowers, and let other people tend to them. ;)

I'm having much better luck with my knitting than with the gardening. But I'll tell you about that at the end of next week when I do my craft update for this past month. There will actually be more than just knitting updates in this month's craft update post, but you'll have to wait to find out what else will be in the update post, because I'm not telling. ;)

Let's see, what else was I going to post about... Oh yes...

We tried the environmentally friendly cleaning and laundry products that Asda does, and they seem to be really good. They work as well as the types we were getting before, they smell nice, and their prices are reasonable. Plus, all their packaging is recyclable. We've now been using them for close to two months, and intend to continue doing so.

I've discovered that I like plums. I wasn't sure, so I brought one to try. Turned out it was tasty, so I brought more. I'm not saying it's up there with my favourite fruits (which are berries, cherries, grapes and rhubarb) but it's definately something I'd be willing to eat on a semi-regular basis. :)

Tomorrow I'm going to my parents' place for dinner, and we're having a salad. This will be my oppertunity to find out if I like beetroot (AKA beets) and celery. I was meant to be trying it about a month ago, but by the time everything had been done I was tired, so I never ended up going to my parents' place that day after all. So, I'll try them tomorrow.

And, last but not least... Belated happy birthday wishes to Kelly's Aunt Sue for Sunday (June 14th) and to my Mam's friend's youngest son, Nathan for yesterday (June 15th). :)

OK, I think that covers everything. ;)

Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Tori

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bird photography



As most - if not all - of you know, I've been trying to get photos of the birds that visit my garden. I posted a couple of photos some time ago that were taken by other people for me, but I wanted to do it myself. The camera is mine, the blog is mine, and I wanted to prove to everyone that losing my sight hasn't stopped me doing what I love. And I've always enjoyed taking photos and showing them off. I mean, I've owned cameras since I was about ten years old. And I know I have, because I spacifically remember when I got my first one... It was given to me by my Nan when we went on holiday to Cyprus. Anyway, I got my current camera almost three years ago, and had only had it for a year when I lost the sight I'd had. This meant I never learned the functions on it well enough to have them memorised. It also meant that my ability to spot a good shot and attempt to capture it became non-existant. And I didn't see the point of trying. So, I just left the photography to others. That is, until recently.

There have been a few times when - in order to get a shot of everyone - I've been the one holding the camera. And - judging by comments made by various people - I haven't been doing too bad of a job. This inspired me to attempt to take photos myself again. So, for the past two weeks, I've been trying to get photos of the birds in the garden myself.

I hadn't been having much luck. I managed to get some really nice shots of other things, but no birds. But I was determined I was going to get at least one bird photo. So, I sat on a chair in the kitchen and waited, and listened. And then I heard it... The flutter of wings, and the sound of a bird eating seed. There was a bird at the feeder, and all I had to do was get the camera aimed through the open back door and I'd have my photo. I hadn't had much luck with doing this so far, but maybe this time? I tried all sorts of angles, then...



Jackpot! We have a bird! :)

This next one is the same bird, but the photo has been cropped for me.



I'm not entirely sure what it is, but if I had to guess from the description I was given then I'd guess Goldfinch. My Dad is pretty good at identifying birds, so perhaps he can come and take a look and let us know?

Anyway...

Determined to get more bird photos, I settled myself just outside the back door with my camera, and waited.



Got it! Except the camera decided to focus on the tree rather than the bird... No problem! I took more! :)





I even got it to look at me.




It only took me two weeks and about 200 photos to get these bird photos. But I got the shots eventually! :)

Before I close this post, I just want to say one more thing... Thank you Iggy for having the willingness and patience to go through all those photos for me. I really appreciate it. *Hugs* :)

Tori

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Something green



It's amazing what photos you can get accidentally.



Both the above and below photos are just a couple of shots I got in the garden while trying to get photos of the birds. Just some leaves, but I'm told they're really pretty.



Enjoy your Sunday! :)

Tori

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Eeyore Mug



When we were in Cardiff at the start of the month, we went to the Disney store (among other stores, lol). And while we were there I brought myself a mug in the shape of Eeyore's head. I thought it would go nicely with the one I have in the shape of Gromet's head. :)

Anyway, the mug is shown on my desk in the photo above, along with my laptop (the one I recently mentioned, wich Kelly brought me as a VERY early birthday present a month or so ago). And, by the way, the thing that looks like a camera that's also on the desk... That's my mobile phone. Like most mobiles nowadays it has a camera (which I haven't figured out how to use... No idea why, lol) and I'm in the habit of laying it face down, because it has a power indicating light on the front and the light bugs Kelly because it flashes at intervals. So, it's not an actual camera, itt just looks like one.

And here's another photo of the Eeyore mug.



Not bad for £7 ($14)... Especially since it's official Disney merchandise from the Disney store. :)

Tori

Happy birthday Dad

Today (June 13th) is my Dad's birthday. So, I wanted to say a very big happy birthday to him.

So... Happy birthday, Dad! :)

Tori

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kero's Korner: Even cute when I'm napping

Hi there humans. It's Kero here.

I thought I'd share a photo of me that was taken last weekend.



Aren't I adorable? See, I'm even cute when I'm taking a nap!

Anyway, I haven't done much this past week. Between the rain and Mami's knee being bad I haven't had many walkies. Mami takes me in the rain, but she wasn't allowed to take me until yesterday (Thursday) because of her knee. And Dadi doesn't do rain. Besides, I don't tend to like being out for walkies for long with anyone other than Mami, and I think that makes Dadi reluctant to take me. I can't help it though. I get worried about Mami and want to go home and check on her as quickly as possible.

I think the licks I've been giving Mami's knee are helping though, because it seems to be getting better. Mami can now take me for little walkies. She says we have to stick to little walkies for a while though... Until she's sure her knee is up to longer walkies.

Mamgu took Mami out yesterday, and I got really upset. I howled, and howled, and howled. Mami heard me before she left and felt bad that I was so upset, so she brought me a little present home with her. It was a new teddy. I love teddies! Plus, Mami recently cleaned out my toy box of toys I'd torn or chewed up while playing with them, so I'm sure I needed another new teddy. After all, you can never have too many teddies, can you?

OK, I don't really have anything else to say this week, so I'm going to let this do and go have a sniff about in the garden. If I'm lucky Daisy and Mia will be out and we can have a good sniff about together.

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A tribute to rain

When in Wales, always prepare for rain, because the chances are that's what you'll end up getting. Yes, we do have periods of sunny days, but they don't usually last long, and it's only a matter of time before the rain is back. But, you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.



Don't get me wrong, I do love the sunny, warm days. But I'm one of those strange people who isn't really bothered by rain. I still go for walks in the rain. I still go swimming in the rain (or, I used to when we lived near an outdoor swimming pool). And I still try to take photos of birds in the rain. OK, so I was just inside the back door taking the photos, but that was for the camera's sake, not mine.



I didn't have any luck getting photos of the birds - despite the fact I know they were out there, because I could hear them - but I did get these photos, which Iggy (who has very kindly been helping me sort out photos for my blog posts... Thanks Iggy) thought looked pretty good.



I admit it, I do sometimes complain about the rain. But everyone complains about the weather if we've had the same kind of weather for a long time. It's what people do. But rain isn't all bad. If nothing else, it waters the flowers for you.

These flowers seem to love the rain... We've never needed to do anything to them in the whole 15 months or so we've lived here. The rain waters them, and they basically take care of themselves.



And, for those who prefer not to be out in the rain, there is always the benifit of some time indoors to do those things around the house you've been meaning to do, but didn't do because you didn't want to waste the beautiful, sunny, warm days you've been having.

And, don't forget... Rain is water, and without water none of us could survive.

So, the next time it's raining, don't let the grey sky get you down... Beauty can even be found in among the rain drops. You just have to look a bit harder for it.

Tori