Monday, January 31, 2011

Article: What is Imbolc? (FD)

The Fire Festival of Brighid and the Origins of Candlemas
As the first festival of spring, this pagan sabbat heralds the dwindling of winter and the coming of warmth and new life, celebrating the Celtic fire goddess Brighid.

Imbolc falls at the beginning of February. Some sources state the official day as February 1st, while others prefer the 2nd. According to Cassandra Eason in her book The Modern Day Druidess (Piatkus, 2003), “Imbolc is celebrated from sunset on 31st January to sunset on 2nd February”, while others shy away from calendar constraints altogether and mark the festival when the first snowdrops and crocuses start to blossom, as they signify the first emergence of spring. In the Southern hemisphere, Imbolc falls on July 31st.

What Does Imbolc Mean?
Imbolc literally means “in the belly of the mother”, while its original Celtic name, Oimelc, translates as “ewe’s milk” or “the feast of ewe’s milk”. Both refer to the turning of winter to spring, as marked by the first milk of ewes as lambs begin to be born. Other names for this sabbat include Gwyl Fair and the Feast of Pan.

Why Celebrate Imbolc?
Imbolc is the special day of Brighid, the Celtic goddess of fire, and thus is deemed a fire festival. Its transformative powers of the flame signify change and the setting of new goals. As the Crone of winter gives way to the Maiden of spring, this festival of light cleanses to make way for the new. Nature starts to come back to life, and the new agricultural season begins.

Who Celebrates Imbolc?
Imbolc is a pagan festival, celebrated by witches, druids and other pagans as part of the wheel of the year. It is traditionally a time for new witches and druids to be initiated into the Craft, falling in with its association of change and dedication to new goals.

There are many Imbolc rituals and celebrations, including the custom of what has come to be known as spring-cleaning. Now is the time to begin thoroughly cleaning the house inside and out, as well as conducting a house blessing to remove any negative energies or spirits left over from winter.

What is the Difference Between Imbolc and Candlemas?
Many people will know this time of year as Candlemas. As with most Christian festivals, it has its origins in paganism. The Church put many of their own festivals in place of pagan ones, to encourage easier conversion to Christianity. Candlemas falls on February 2nd, marking the day when Mary returned to her people, cleansed after the ritual period following the birth of Jesus, 40 days after his birth.

Honouring Brighid at Imbolc
Many pagans work with Brighid to focus intent on their resolutions for the coming year, as well as welcoming in changes. Burning a white candle and crafting Brighid’s crosses are some of the rituals associated with this goddess. It is customary to leave a piece of cloth outside the front door on the eve of February 1st; if it has been marked in the morning, then Brighid has passed by and blessed it.

Ways to Celebrate Imbolc
Cleansing the home, preparing for the coming year, hands-on healing and enjoying a seasonal Imbolc feast are some of the ways in which this festival is celebrated. Traditional Imbolc foods such as bread, milk and apples will be included in special meals, and practitioners of magic may cast spells for change or meditate within a circle of candles to absorb the light of the new season.

The weather may still be wintry, but with the promise of spring around the corner, inspiration, creativity and fresh energy will once again begin to flourish.

(Above taken from here where there is more information, if you're interested).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

News... If you can call it that

It's really cold here. They say there'll be more snow soon after we get in to February. I do love snow, but I kind of hope no more comes, because the roofers and other workmen are actually doing some work, and I'd like to keep it that way until they've completely finished.

Kelly reatatched the bit of fence that stops Kero getting around to the front garden, and we're hoping the workmen get the hint and leave it alone. Still, at least during this weekend Kero can have free run of his own garden, since the workmen don't work on weekends. I think Kero's pleased to be able to run around in his garden properly again.

I've almost finished knitting baby Max's blanket. I'm hoping to have it finished in the next couple of days so Jane can take it to Pia when she goes to see her next weekend.

And, unless you want to hear about how I came to hit my head on the washing machine, or how I came to drop a solid wooden table top on my foot, then that's the extent of the news from my little corner of the world. Sorry I don't have anything more interesting to post about. Also, I'm sorry I've not been around the blogs properly recently.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Toy Story

"A little boy named Andy loves to be in his room, playing with his toys, especially his doll named "Woody". But, what do the toys do when Andy is not with them, they come to life. Woody believes that he has life (as a toy) good. However, he must worry about Andy's family moving, and what Woody does not know is about Andy's birthday party. Woody does not realize that Andy's mother gave him an action figure known as Buzz Lightyear, who does not believe that he is a toy, and quickly becomes Andy's new favorite toy. Woody, who is now consumed with jealousy, tries to get rid of Buzz. Then, both Woody and Buzz are now lost. They must find a way to get back to Andy before he moves without them, but they will have to pass through a ruthless toy killer, Sid Phillips."

(Above taken from here).

I've seen this movie loads of times, but I don't remember reviewing it on here. So, now I'm going to. Anyway, it's a really good, pretty funny movie. I thought that Toy Story 2 was pretty good when I saw that before too, though I haven't seen that one recently.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Furkid Friday: Kero's Christmas (FD)

Hi there humans, it's Kero here.

It's my turn to post about Christmas, and share the photos the humans took on Christmas day.


So...

When we got up I discovered Santa Paws had snuck past me - again - and there was stuff in my stocking... "Hey, look humans! Presents from Santa Paws! Christmas is finally here!"



"Come on... Open the presents!"



"What is it? What did I get for Christmas? What's under the bright paper?"



"WOW! Is this mine? It smells like it could be!"



"Look at all the great stuff I got for Christmas!"



After I had my presents I watched Gwydion opening his (for more on that, see last Friday's post, because he posted about his Christmas last week), then we took a nap. After nap time, I had a good chew on one of my new treats while the humans watched TV, then we had our dinner, and I had a special ham, biscuits and gravy dinner, which I enjoyed!


I love Christmas!


That's it for my Christmas, but I do have one final photo to show you. This photo was taken two weeks ago while I was cuddled up with my new duck teddy - which makes, "quack," noises when you squeeze a certain point on its tummy - for a nice nap with Mami.



Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bedknobs And Broomsticks

"During WWII in England, Charlie, Carrie, and Paul Rawlins are sent to live with Eglantine Price, an apprentice witch. Charlie blackmails Miss Price that if he is to keep her practices a secret, she must give him something, so she takes a bedknob from her late father's bed and places the "famous magic traveling spell" on it, and only Paul can activate it. Their first journey is to a street in London where they meet Emelius Browne, headmaster of Miss Price's witchcraft training correspondence school. Miss Price tells him of a plan to find the magic words for a spell known as Substitutiary Locomotion, which brings inanimate objects to life. This spell will be her work for the war effort."

(Above taken from here).

I hadn't seen this movie since I was young. From what I can remember I didn't think much of it when I was younger. I quite enjoyed it when I watched it this time though. So, I'm thinking it's pretty good, but more enjoyable to those of us who are kids at heart than to those who are actually kids?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Thoughts on eating habits (FD)

As I mentioned yesterday, nothing exciting is happening lately, so I'm sorry if you find today's post boring. It's what's on my mind though, and what I've been thinking about a lot lately, so I'm going to post about it anyway. If you don't want to read about it, that's up to you. But this is my blog, and this is the topic I've chosen for today.

I think this is a common thing to do this time of year, but I've been looking at what I eat, what I don't eat, how much of it I have, etc. I think my Mam would like me to join Weight Watchers with her and Jane, but I don't do well with diets. I'm one of those people who does well for a while, then I'll start missing something I wasn't meant to be eating, then I'll decide I can have some as a treat, but I'll go mad eating the forbidden item so much that I end up putting on every bit of weight I lost, plus a load of weight that wasn't there before. I've tried diet after diet, and it's always the same. So, I'm taking a different approach and just looking at what I eat and doing a few tweaks to make any changes required to make my eating habits a little healthier, but without saying I can't have certain items. I need to be able to have that bar of chocolate I'm craving, or that cake that calls out to me as I walk past the bakery. So, I spent the last couple of weeks writing down everything I had to eat or drink so that I could properly evaluate my eating habits. To be honest, all this actually did was to confirm what I already knew, but in a strange sort of way it helped to have the information written down. Like the confirmation was what I needed to be able to make myself do something about the nasty eating habits I'd gotten in to in recent months.

The biggest issue I have is a snacking issue. When I'm bored, fed up, whatever, I snack on something. This wouldn't be much of a big deal, only I'd gotten in to the habbit of buying snack items that are probably not the best things to have in plentiful supply, and had gotten out of the habit of having healthier snacks on hand. So, I need to swap the biscuits/cookies, crisps and chocolates for fruity snacks (be they fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit yogurts, or whatever). I did at one point have a plentiful supply of non-perishable, relatively healthy, fruity snacks available, and some fresh fruit on hand to snack on too. But in recent months I've let myself get out of the habit of doing that. So, I guess I need to get back in the habit of doing it. To help me with that one I had my Mam take me to Asda to buy a few bits. Most of the stuff is meant for childrens' lunch boxes, but I don't see why adults can't have them as well. Things like banana chips, little packets of raisins, and strawberry and oat chewy bars. Some of them say, "one of your five a day," on the packets, so at least they count as fruit portions, so when I'm snacking, at least I'm getting an extra portion of fruit in at the same time. And most of them are at least mostly just the pure fruit, so that's definately got to be better for me than things like chocolate bars and such. Like I mentioned above though, I have no intention of not having chocolate bars at all. No. My intention is simply to have healthier options more readily available to me than not-so-healthy options, then - when I'm looking for something to snack on - it will be fruity snacks not chocolate bars that appear beneath my fingers when my hands are exploring my treat tub for something tasty to snack on. Obviously, if it's something new that I haven't tasted before I'm just getting a small amount to sample, because I'm not going to want to eat it if I don't like it (like the date and apple chewy bars Emma-Jane and I tried last week, and neither of us liked) but I've managed to sort out a nice variety of things that I do like, so I have plenty to choose from.

My other issue is drinks. I used to buy a load of small bottles and cartons of stuff, because then I drank more, and I also often grabbed one of them instead of a snack. I make such a mess when pouring from full cartons and bottles that if I finish up a carton or bottle then even if I'm thirsty I'll often decide I can't be bothered with sorting myself a drink. But, when I have small bottles and cartons I can just grab and drink from, it's so much easier to just grab one. So, I've got a load of small cartons and bottles again. I know this means more cartons and bottles to throw out, but we recycle them, so at least that's not so bad. Besides, you need a certain amount of fluid throughout the day to keep your body healthy, so... Whatever works, right? So, I've got a load of little bottles of water and cartons of fruit juice for myself to drink.

For the next few weeks I'm going to keep track of what I eat again, and we'll see if my food diary looks better with these little changes I've made. They aren't huge changes, but I think they will probably make at least a little difference. Whether they'll make any difference to my weight, I don't know. I'm hoping they will. But - if nothing else - they should at least make a bit of difference to how healthy my eating habits are.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Workmen update

Someone did come and have a look at the leak issue yesterday (Monday). They asked us where the water was coming down, looked at the area for a couple of minutes, then went upstairs to have a look at his pipes up there. They were up there maybe 20 or 30 minutes (OK, it might have been a little longer, but not by much) then they came back down to us and said there was no sign of any issue, and we should call again if it happens again. *Sigh* Basically, we need to hope it happens at a time when they can come right away, because then they can see where the water is actually coming from, and "hopefully" actually do something about it. In the meantime... All items that don't "need" to be in that area, and that don't do well with water - like my DAB digital radio, which narrowly missed being soaked - have been removed from that area for their own safety.... And ours!

Oh, and if we didn't have enough water all over the kitchen... The hot water tap that some washing machines need was - when they redid the kitchen - moved from under the sink to behind the washing machine, and given one of those push to turn on instead of twist to turn on type taps. Anyway, guess what happened? The washing machine was pushed back against it closer than we thought, and I guess the vibration of the washing machine as it was working was gradually pushing against the lever of the tap, because the tap got turned on. It happened Sunday evening, and I was still here on my own (Kelly was at the gaming club) and I wasn't sure where the water was coming from, and couldn't move the washing machine on my own to check. So when Kelly came home we had quite a puddle forming on the kitchen floor (despite all the towels I'd put down to try and soak it up). Turns out they hadn't even provided a cap for it to stop it just pouring out if the lever got knocked. So we sorted out a cap for it (with the council's track record we didn't dare wait for them to sort it) and made sure not to push the washing machine right back. Hopefully that will be the end of that issue at least.

Staying on a similar subject...

There's still no sign of the guys coming back to do whatever it was they were doing to the walls (something about removing loose stones and cleaning it to put water proof stuff on it, I think) but some guys finally came to do some roof work. They even came two days in a row! *Looks shocked* Of course, they only worked until about 3:00 pm, and they had a long lunch in the middle there. But I suppose I should be glad that they did at least show up. Hey, it only took them six months to get to the roof work! ;)

Oh, and today the electritians had to come and check all the fuses they put in when they did the electrical work, because they recently found out they'd had a bad batch, so they had to check every fuse from every place they recently did work in to replace any fuses that were from that bad batch. It turned out we didn't have any from that bad batch (apparently they can tell by a serial number on the fuses, or something like that) but I guess it's better to check and be safe. We had no idea until they showed up why they were coming though. We just got a letter at the end of last week telling us they were coming today (unless that wasn't convenient for us, in which case we needed to call them and arrange a time and day for them to come instead).

What's bad is... These have been pretty much the most exciting parts of these past few days! Of course, other things have happened... I've watched a couple more movies (reviews for them have been put in draft, and will come in the not too distant future), I've done some work on Max's blanket, had a couple of walks with Kelly and Kero (can't go on my own right now because of the scaffolding) and, obviously, there's housework, pet playtime and things like that. Not to mention attempts at sleeping (sometimes even successful attempts). Not really very exciting, but there you go.

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Complicated

"During her son's college graduation, Jane hooks up with her ex-husband, Jake, who's married to a younger woman. As if being your ex's mistress isn't tough enough, Jane also finds herself drawn to Adam, a smitten architect."

(Above taken from here).

This was a pretty good movie, with some quite funny parts. Definately not one to watch with the kids or grandkids around though, because it definately deserves the "R" rating imdb gives it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I want to be a squirrel!

I finally got some decent sleep. I think all the lack of sleep must have finally caught up with me or something. I got a little over six hours sleep Friday evening (I can't really say night, because the sleep ended around midnight, so it was more evening than night) and I managed to get about 7 hours in last night (now that one actually was during the night). I haven't slept that well in ages! And it's very unusual for it to be two nights in a row! Like I said, I think the lack of sleep finally caught up with me or something.

That leak coming down the wall near the back door is back. Only it's worse this time, because it's happening in a couple of places along the area near the window. Judging by the fact that it was the only thing on, and the issue stopped when it was turned off, we're thinking it's got something to do with the pipes from upstairs' heating. When he puts his heating on, it rains in our kitchen. When he keeps it off, it doesn't. We called the council's maintenance people... They said they had enough jobs to worry about this weekend, so we should call back Monday (bearing in mind this was Saturday). I'm not impressed with that attitude. If they'd said something like, "we have a lot of jobs to get to, so we might not manage to get to you today," then I could deal with that. But they practically told us they didn't care because it wasn't a desperately urgent, life or death type situation. They're lucky it was Kelly talking to them and not me, because I definately wouldn't have been as polite to them as he was about it. And if they don't come tomorrow, then I will make sure it's me who talks to them, and I'll be telling them exactly what I think about their attitudes towards repairs, and the fact that they obviously didn't get the work done very well back in the Summer if so many repairs are needing to be done already. It's ridiculous! They claimed everything other than painting work was done completely and properly when they came in July and August. Well, it couldn't have been, could it? I mean, this is the third time we've had to call them out on a similar type of issue. Don't they realise that if they did their jobs properly to start with it would be better all round? We wouldn't have it raining in our kitchen, and they wouldn't have us phoning them all the time.

On a similar topic, there's still no sign of the other workmen - the ones who needed the scaffolding up - coming back to do any work. We had some dry, though admittedly kind of cold, days last week, yet they didn't come and do the work. This is getting beyond a joke! It takes them about six months to come back and get the scaffolding back up, then they don't even come and do the work! I'm telling you, I'm really getting sick of it!

I wish I was a squirrel! Why? Because then I could be curled up asleep right now, and not have to be dealing with things like leaks and scaffolding!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy birthday wishes for friends

I remembered to mention my Nan's birthday earlier this month, but I neglected to mention other birthdays that happened this month, and since two more happen today, then I figured it was time I caught up on birthday wishes for January. So... Happy birthday to my friend(s)...

Sarah, for January 1st
Dorkys, for January 11th
Angela, for January 12th
Jessica and Kati, for today (January 22nd)

Also, anyone else who celebrated their birthday - or will celebrate their birthday - this month!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Furkid Friday: Gwydion's Christmas (FD)

Hi there humans, it's Gwydion here again.

Kero and I decided that we will post our Christmas posts separately. This week it's my turn to post about Christmas and share the photos the humans took during present opening.

So... I heard a load of fuss going on from the living room, and started weaking to remind them I was there. Then Mami came to get me and I realized there were presents for me. Mami placed me on the sofa, and I watched impatiently while she opened my presents...



Come on Mami... Hurry up and get the present open...



YAY! Treats!



Mmm... Tasty treat!



Shortly after that - when I was nicely settled back in my cage with some of my new treats - I got given a huge bowl of fresh veggies with carrot and everything in them! So I spent the rest of Christmas day alternating between munching on the yummy things I'd been given, and making sure to keep up with all the naps I need. Of course, even having all that tasty stuff in my cage didn't stop me weaking expectantly every time the humans went anywhere near the fridge. What can I say? I love my food!

I could get used to this Christmas thing!

Squeak soon,
Gwydion

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Fox And The Hound 2

"The Fox and the Hound 2 is a 2006 direct-to-video midquel to the 1981 Disney animated film The Fox and the Hound. It was produced by DisneyToon Studios, directed by Jim Kammerud, and features the voice talents of Patrick Swayze and Reba McEntire. The story of the film takes place during the youth of Tod and Copper, in which Copper is tempted to join a band of singing stray dogs. The film was released on December 12, 2006 and had an official soundtrack album released on November 21, 2006."

(Above taken from here... WARNING: Link contains spoilers).

I've seen The Fox And The Hound loads of times, but it took me until about a month or so ago to get around to seeing this one. I absolutely loved the first one, and really enjoyed this one too. It wasn't quite as good as the original, but pretty close.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scattered thoughts (FD... Kinda R/WP)

I'm still not feeling 100%, I'm still not sleeping properly, and I'm feeling like 2011 is so far not my year. This is why I've not really been around the blogs... I've been feeling really down, and I don't want to bring you all down with me. Plus, when you find yourself feeling as I have felt lately, you don't tend to want to do much of anything.

***

Nine times out of ten I have either the radio, the TV or an audiobook on in the background. With the TV and radio I'm not always paying proper attention to them, but the noise is a comfort to me, especially when Kelly isn't home. It's not essential that I have them on, but it helps with the "monster" issues, and sometimes there's even something decent to watch. LOL! There are times when I don't have the radio or TV on, but it's always my choice. Anyway, with that in mind - not to mention the fact I worked out it costs me about £2 (somewhere between $3 and $4) per day for my Sky subscription - I'm sure you can imagine how unimpressed I was when the guys came to put up the scaffolding to do the outside work last week, and they didn't bring anyone to move the dish (like they did when scaffolding got put up at my parents' place) so the scaffolding blocked my Sky signal, and left me with no TV. I was even more unimpressed when I found out that they knew they'd blocked the signal, but it took my Mam having a go at them to get them to care about it. They assured her - almost 24 hours after the scaffolding had gone up and blocked the signal - that by the time her and I got home we'd have our TV back. It was another 24 hours before someone sorted it though. Had they taken any longer I'd have been contacting them and complaining. Like I said, it's not essential I have my TV, but the noise is company for me, and I like it to be my choice if I don't have the TV on. Plus - as I also said - it does cost me about £2 per day! It was a week ago Monday the scaffolding went up. I think they've done maybe 3 days of work since then. No, they aren't fixing the roof, they're doing something to the walls (something about weather proofing). I wish they would get on with the work so they can get the scaffolding down. For one thing, it means I can't go out on my own, because it's too easy for the cane to miss the poles, and me to end up walking in to them. For another thing, they removed our bit of fencing stopping Kero getting around to the front garden, which means that - especially since nobody seems to know how to close gates - Kero can't just be let loose in his own garden or he'll be off in to the neighbour's garden (or worse... Off down the road) so we have to clip his lead on just to take him in the garden. See, I wouldn't mind most of this if they'd said something. But we only found out about the TV because we had no signal and when Mam asked them if they knocked the dish they admitted the scaffolding blocked the signal, we only found out about the fence being missing because I let Kero out and heard the sound of his tags disappearing in to the distance (I had to fetch Kelly, who caught up with him just as he was heading out of the open front gate). Plus, we only found out that the scaffolding was going up because a couple of the cars belonging to neighbours were in their way, so they knocked on our door to ask us who they belonged to and told us why they needed to know (the cars were in the way of where they wanted to park their van). It turned out it was lucky my sleeping pattern is all over the place, because if I'd been sleeping at night for a change then about when I was heading home from my walk with Kero they'd have been starting to sort the scaffolding, so I'd have come home just right to fall over it, walk in to it, or whatever. Mind you, the council themselves don't help matters by neglecting to mention to them about the fact the people in most of the properties in this area are either elderly, disabled, or both. *Sigh*

***

I went clothes shopping with my Mam last week, because Kelly and I both needed a few new bits of clothes, and I wanted to take advantage of the January sales to get us some. Among them were some Minnie Mouse PJs, and some Tinkerbell PJs that I got myself. It was a nice outing - well, as nice as clothes shopping can be for someone like me who hates clothes shopping - but lunch wasn't as nice as it could have been. Not either of our faults. Asda used to do a really nice Mac and cheese as their vegetarian option, but they changed it to a bean chilli. I don't like chilli, because I find it's usually too spicy for my liking, so I asked if they had anything else. To cut a long story short, I ended up just having some chips (as in fries) because they seem to be convinced - like many other places - that all vegetarians like spicy food, and that vegetarians eat fish (their only other option that wasn't actual meat as such). Most places seem to assume that for some reason. It's extremely annoying. Not to mention that you'd think a shop that sells a large variety of vegetarian meals - like Asda does - would think to provide a variety of vegetarian options in their cafe too.

***

I've been working on knitting the blanket for baby Max, and - despite how I've been feeling lately - I've managed to get about a third of it done. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of February, then I can get on with finishing knitting my own blanket.

***

With Gwydion living indoors now we needed to get him an indoor cage. For one thing, we're ending up with sawdust and hay everywhere because he keeps pushing it to the front of his hutch as he's running around, so it falls through the bars, or falls out as we open the door to feed him or get him out, where as the indoor cages have a plastic base that's a few inches deep, and which it's difficult for sawdust and hay to be pushed out of the cage (we'd have to have it pretty deep for it to end up getting through the bars further up). For another thing, the hutch - which was "meant to be" weather proof - is in really bad shape already from all the rain it's been exposed to. So, I ordered him a new cage on Monday, and it arrived today. It took us a bit to figure out how to put it together, but we got there. I got a little stand for it too, because I figured - since they had one for the exact cage I was getting - it would make sense. The stand has wheels on it so you can move it about if you need or want to. I figured a stand would be a good idea. I mean, it gets the cage up off the floor, and puts him at a better level for us getting him out for cuddles, or getting access to his cage to feed him. The stand was actually easier to figure out how to put together than the cage. LOL! It's all put together now, and he's currently settling in to his new cage. Kelly took a couple of photos, so I'll see about sending them to Iggy to sort for me, and will post them in the not too distant future. Probably not for a couple of weeks though, because for the next two Fridays the boys are posting their Christmas photos.

***

The weather here has been absolutely awful the past couple of weeks! The snow melted around the new year, and we've had rain almost every day since then, with nasty winds and hail sometimes too. That's probably not helping how I've been feeling lately... Miserable weather usually does make people feel really miserable, after all!

***

I think that's all I was going to say. I'm going to leave this here anyway, whether it is or not, because with how I keep getting side-tracked it has so far taken me more than 2 hours to write this post. Well, actually, I originally started writing the post this morning, but I ended up just saving it to draft when Gwydion's cage came, then I went out to run some errands with my Mam, so it was only this evening I got back to continuing the post, and yet it's still taken more than 2 hours to finish writing it. Like I said, I keep getting side-tracked with doing other stuff (like checking Gwydion, taking Kero out in to the back garden, going to have a drink, etc). Anyway... I hope your day was a good one... Enjoy whatever's left of it, and stay safe and warm!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

100 Greatest Toys - Results

Back at the start of November I posted about a 100 Greatest Toys vote that Channel 4 was doing. The programme mentioning the winning toys was on before Christmas, but I've had so many other things I want to post that I'm only now getting a chance to post the results. Anyway, for those of you who want to know, here are the results:

"How The Toys Were Ranked
In order to get a broad spectrum of opinion on what were the greatest toys ranked 1 - 100 we ran two polls; one was an online vote on the Channel 4 website and we also commissioned an opinion poll carried out by ICM. We added the results of these polls together and it is the results of this amalgamation that can be seen in the programme. The 6 tied placings were decided by a panel of judges.

The Final Results!

1 Lego
2 Monopoly
3 Dungeons and Dragons
4 Wii
5 Nintendo consoles
6 Playstation consoles
7 Scrabble
8 Scalextrix
9 Trivial pursuit
10 Gameboy and other
11 Star wars toys
12 Transformers
13 Microsoft X-Box
14 He-Man & Masters of the
15 Cluedo
16 Meccano
17 Hornby train set
18 Connect 4
19 Airfix
20 Action man
21 Matchbox cars
22 Etch a sketch
23 Teddy bear
24 Rubik cube
25 Atari consoles
26 Play-doh
27 Plasticene
28 Subbuteo
29 Spirograph
30 Risk
31 Roller skates
32 Top trumps
33 Yo-yo
34 Teenage mutant ninja
35 Chemistry Set
36 Twister
37 Pokemon
38 Battleship
39 Hot Wheels
40 Mousetrap game
41 Sylvanian families
42 Fuzzy Felt
43 Jenga
44 Frisbee
45 Pictionary
46 Chopper Bike
47 Barbie
48 Mastermind
49 Yahtzee
50 Playmobil Play people
51 Slinky
52 Operation
53 Super soaker water pistol
54 Tamagotchi
55 Game of life
56 Tonka toys
57 Space hopper
58 My little pony
59 Kerplunk
60 Care bears
61 007 Aston martin
62 Mr Potato head
63 Evel Knievel stunt set
64 Hungry hippos
65 Thunderbirds toys
66 Hula hoop
67 Sindy doll
68 Tiny tears
69 Buckaroo
70 Power Rangers
71 Buzz Lightyear Action
72 TY beanie babies
73 Six million dollar man
74 Furby
75 Escape From Colditz
76 Polly Pocket
77 Simon
78 Cabbage patch kids
79 Weebles
80 Trolls
81 Stylophone
82 Girls world
83 Crossfire
84 Tickle Me Elmo
85 Stretch Armstrong
86 Magna doodle
87 Dr Who Cyberman mask
88 Pop-O-matic Games
89 Clackers
90 Johnny 7 machine gun
91 Beyblades
92 Striker
93 Pippa Doll
94 Peter Powell kites
95 Bratz dolls
96 Major Matt Mason action
97 Ben 10 Action Figures
98 Holly hobbie
99 Teletubbies
100 Raving Bonkers"

(Above taken from this site).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snowy photos from December

I took these photos a couple of days before Christmas. This is basically the snow we had over Christmas... It was a couple of days after Christmas when the snow started melting.




These next photos were taken on the Winter Solstice/Yule, after we scattered food all over the snowy garden for the wild birds. They seemed to enjoy the food we put out for them.



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some of my 2010 Christmas presents

When I did my post about Christmas last week, I mentioned a couple of presents that I would be mentioning when the photos were sorted for me. Well, Iggy very kindly sorted them at the end of last week for me... Thank you again, Iggy... So here they are:

With how cold it's been here lately I've been missing my cuddly Eeyore slippers, which used to keep my feet nice and warm. A few months back they had an unfortunate encounter with a sharp nail though, so they had to be thrown away. Anyway, Kelly went looking for some new ones for me. I guess he decided to give me a change from Eeyore this year though, because this is what he brought me:



Homer Simpson slippers (yes, they do keep my feet nice and warm like the Eeyore ones did).

On Christmas Eve a parcel arrived for me, in it were these:



Plus two more identical birds.

They have little pieces of wire atatched to their little feet so they can be tied in the branches of a tree, or tied to something else. But for this year I just placed them nicely where they could be seen. They've now been put away with my Christmas decorations, and next year they will be placed in the branches of my Christmas tree.

The birds weren't alone in the box though. They had a little friend in the box with them:



Hey... It's Kero! :)

Thanks Iggy for the beautiful birds and Westie ornament!

I did have - as I mentioned in the other post, the one about my Christmas - a bunch of other stuff, but these were the only ones I felt needed to be photographed and shared.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Me and Emma-Jane - Christmas Eve 2010

I thought I would share these photos that were taken of me with Emma-Jane on Christmas Eve.





I'm told this one is the best of the bunch, so I saved it for last.



Hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I was enjoying the cuddle time! :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Furkid Friday: nothing much to say

Hi humans, it's Kero here.

This will be a short post this week, because Mami is sleeping weird, so I have to keep an eye on her in case she tries to sneak off for a nap without me or something.... I wouldn't want to miss out on a nap with Mami! Besides, there's not really much to tell. Mami is mostly better, so I'm hoping we'll be back to proper walkies soon. Dadi is willing to do walkies, but I don't like to leave Mami for too long, so I don't go for proper walkies with Dadi. Gwydion seems to be liking it living indoors, and hee goes mental with squeaking whenever the humans so much as touch the fridge, because he knows the fresh veggies are in there. Mami and Dadi think it's funny, and they call him "the guinea pig alarm" and say about how it would never be possible to sneak anything from the fridge with him anywhere nearby. As for me? I'm doing OK. As I said, hoping proper walkies starts happening again soon, and wishing Mami would go for long sleeps so I could relax in to a proper nap without worrying she'll try to sneak off somewhere. And that's about it really. Well, I did say there wasn't much to say, didn't I?

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Thursday, January 13, 2011

new year, new resolutions or lists

We're not usually big on making a fuss on New Year's Eve. When I was in my teens we usually had some kind of a New Year's Eve party, and some of my family - such as Mam, Wayne and Carl - like to do something special to celebrate (some kind of party, some time at the pub with friends, etc). But Kelly and I aren't big on parties, and we don't drink alcahol any more, so we aren't usually eager to join in with the celebrating. In fact, most of the time seeing in the new year for us involves just a normal evening, only with e-mails and texts sent out to say, "happy new year," to friends and family when we hit midnight.


This year we did even less than usual though. I think my being ill had something to do with it... In fact, I know it did. Anyway, this year I switched my phone off, sent out the e-mails early, and just went to bed. It was the following morning before I turned on my phone again and sent out the text messages. My phone went mental when I turned it on, with text messages galore that would have come through during the night if my phone hadn't been switched off. Actually, that's why I switched it off. I usually never switch it off (if it's off, it means the battery died and I haven't managed to get an oppertunity to charge it yet), but I was having enough issues with sleep because of how I was feeling, and I didn't want to be woken by texts if I finally did get to sleep.

Anyway...

I don't actually make new year's resolutions, but I do usually make, "things I would like to achieve this year," type of lists. I don't make any resolutions, because I figure if I don't make them, I can't break them. The reason I say, "usually," about the lists though is because this year I didn't even really bother with the list. I'm thinking that probably had something to do with how I was feeling too... It's kind of difficult to think about things like to do lists when you're busy alternating between struggling to breathe and feeling like you swallowed a razor blade and a lit match. There are a few things I hope to achieve this year, obviously, but mostly just the things I've been trying to get in the habbit of doing for some time, and put on my list every year for the past couple of years. Things like eating healthier, working on my writing more often, etc. Anyway, if you made any resolutions or lists, then I hope you manage to keep the resolutions, and/or achieve the goals on your goals for this year list.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yule and Christmas 2010 (FD)

We're almost in to the middle of January, and I haven't even grabbed the few photos we took over the holidays off my camera yet, but I figured I'd do the holiday post today anyway.

Normally we make a big deal of the Winter Solstice/Yule, but this year we didn't. Between the fact it took until that day for Kelly to be able to get to shopping, so that's how he spent most of the day, combined with the fact that we had agreed to put aside some money rather than buying each other much... Not to mention the fact that I usually bake with my Mam on or around the date, but she was busy trying to get Carl and Rachel home... Well, our usual plans for Yule just didn't happen. I had planned to do some kind of meditation ritual or something, but I just couldn't clear my mind for it (a problem I've had a lot lately whenever I've tried to meditate... I have the same problem when I try to sleep). So, although we made a point of putting out some nice treats for the wild birds, we didn't do anything for Yule this time. I feel kind of bad about it actually, but it was just a whole load of things stacked up to make it that nothing happened, and - with the exception of the present exchange thing - it wasn't really under my control. Well, I suppose the meditation thing sort of was, but I did try... It's not exactly my fault I just couldn't clear my mind and concentrate, is it?

Anyway...

Christmas Eve Mam, Dad and Emma-Jane came for a visit. Actually, the reason for the visit was for me to see Emma-Jane. Originally I was to give her the elephant toy I had brought her for Christmas that day, but because of the weather - and her not being well - I'd sent it to her place while I had the oppertunity the weekend before, only to discover a few days later that it looked like the baby would make it for the visit after all. Instead I just had some cuddle time, and gave her some chocolate buttons I had. I was going to eat them myself, but I felt bad not having something to give her after all, so I gave them to her. I'm sure she appreciated that... She loves her food that one! Anyway, after she left I read some Christmas stories, then my Mam - who still had her until late afternoon - called, and I talked to her while Emma-Jane had her first try of a sweet mince pie. For anyone wondering... We're not sure if she liked it or not. She ate it, so she couldn't think it was that bad, but she kept taking it out of her mouth and saying, "yuck," before putting it back in again. Like I said, she ate it, but we aren't sure if she liked it, or just ate it because it was food. Personally, I think she liked it, but wasn't sure of the unusual spiced taste. I mean, if she didn't like it at all, I'm sure she would have spat it out, and wouldn't have wanted more of it when my Mam offered her more once she had eaten the first piece. Anyway, after that I read more Christmas stories for a while. I did then plan on watching a couple of movies that were starting on Sky Movies Premier that night, but I had a phone call just as the first was starting. I did watch the first on the plus 1 channel an hour later, but it then meant I was too tired to stay awake for the second movie. The first there will be a review of soon, the second there wont, because it was "Avatar" and - though I did watch it in the end, a different day - I've reviewed it on here before, and I don't see the point in reviewing a movie I've seen before. If you missed the review though... It's awesome! And, if you haven't already, you need to watch it!

Christmas day we were up early, which is common for me when I go to bed at a normal time (plus, Kelly is like a kid at Christmas, and keeping him in bed until even 5:00 am is hard work). We had our stockings, then our presents, then I fell asleep on the sofa and Kelly woke me up when it was time for "Terry Pratchett's Hogffather" to start a couple of hours later (I've reviewed that one, so no review to come) and while watching that I had some sweet mince pies and some date and walnut pudding. After that we watched another Terrry Pratchett movie (review to come) while sorting stuff ready for dinner, and I'm glad I put it on record on the Sky box, because I missed a lot of it while helping Kelly to sort dinner, and missed even more while we ate dinner. Dinner was fantastic (ham, roast potatoes and mixed vegetables for Kelly, nut roast, stuffing, roast parsnips, roast potatoes, sprouts and mixed vegetables for me) and there was some leftovers, so we put dinners aside for the following day. Then we had fun with some Christmas crackers, cleaned up from dinner, washed dishes, answered some phone calls, and fell asleep watching "Terry Pratchett's Going Postal" (again, I reviewed it before, so no review to come). Not a bad way to spend Christmas day, at least that's my opinion.

Boxing day morning Kelly and I sorted some food items we were putting out for when my family arrived. Then, when they did arrive, Mam sorted the bits she had cooked for the buffet. There were cheese straws, pizza pockets, sausage rolls, mini sausages, mini bacon puff things, peanuts, crisps (potato chips to those of you not in the UK), chocolate chip cookies, pickled onions, cheese cubes, and some chocolate cake. Anyway, Mam, Dad, Nan, Wayne and Willow were with us for a while to exchange presents and have a bit of a buffet. They didn't stay that long though, so most of the food was left for us to try and get through. Something that would have been achieved better had I not started to get really ill that evening. As I said just after the new year, I had started coughing Christmas evening, but by Boxing day night I was feeling very ill. I wont go in to illness details in this post though. I already did a post about that before.

So, what did I have for Christmas? Money, a couple of Airborrne Apes for my Monsterpocalypse army, some bath stuff, a Practical Magic DVD (I had the video, but wanted it replaced on DVD), a couple of audiobooks, a mouse teddy, a load of chocolate, and a few other items that I took photos of, so will tell you about when I post those photos.

That's how I spent the holidays. Maybe not exciting to most of you, but it worked for me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mrs. Santa Claus

"Neglected by her husband during the pre-Christmas rush, Mrs. Santa Claus takes the reindeer and sleigh out for a drive, only to end up stranded in the multi-cultural neighbourhood of Manhattan's Lower East Side of the early 1900s."

(Above taken from here).

Though I don't mind musicals, I'm not a huge fan of them. However, I absolutely loved this one! It was a lovely movie, with some funny parts in among the slightly emotional theme of the movie.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Moonlight and Mistletoe

Moonlight and Mistletoe
"Comedian Tom Arnold (True Lies) takes the holiday spirit to new heights starring in Moonlight & Mistletoe, the heartwarming and hilarious story of a father and daughter who single-handedly attempt to save Christmas in Santaville. Arnold plays Nick, the owner of a year 'round Christmas theme park. After three years, his estranged daughter Holly (Candace Cameron Bure) returns home to find the spirit of Christmas in Santaville has dwindled, taking the family business with it. What starts out as an attempt to bail out her dad, ends up rekindling Holly's belief in Christmas all over again."

(Above taken from here).

I enjoyed this movie. It was definately - as mentioned in the quote from the site posted above - heartwarming.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Santa Buddies

"In Santa Buddies, Disney’s irresistible talking puppies return in a heartwarming all-new holiday adventure! Take a fantastic journey with your beloved Buddy friends to the magical world of the North Pole!"

(Above taken from here).

This was a really sweet little movie, and I really enjoyed watching it.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Happy 83rd birthday, Nan

Today it's my Nan (Dad's mother)'s 83rd birthday.

My Nan has several health issues, had her hips replaced about six or seven years ago, and has become prone to falling quite often (ending up all bruised and battered, and taking ages to heal... She's still bruised from a fall she had almost two months ago). But she's hanging in there, and is still determined to do everything for herself... Despite all our efforts to persuade her it's fine to slow down and let others do things for her. She's a very determined woman, but we do wish she'd slow down a bit. Anyway, I know my Nan wont get on here to read this, because her knowledge of computers doesn't extend to checking blogs and such, so she never reads my blog. But I wanted to wish her a very happy 83rd birthday.

So... Happy 83rd birthday, Nan!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Furkid Friday: my thoughts on Christmas (FD)

Hi there humans. This is Gwydion again.

Well, I didn't spot that Santa Paws person, and - as he mentioned last week - neither did Kero. But he definately showed up, because that Christmas thing happened, and Mami said it couldn't happen until after he had been, so logically he must have slipped past us.

I quite like the idea of that Christmas thing... Brightly wrapped packages containing treats, extra portions of fresh veggies... What's not to like? My only issue was that it didn't last for long enough, and I'm told there's a whole year before it happens again. That's a shame... Getting all those extra treats and portions of veggies was fantastic!

Right, OK, well... There are some really tasty treats waiting in my cage for me, so I'm going to let this do for this week so that I can go and eat them. Yum, yum!

Squeak soon,
Gwydion

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas

"Sequel to Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas

Mickey and the gang team up for a new holiday adventure and for the first time ever they are all computer animated. There will be five mini films that include: Belles on Ice, Christmas:Impossible, Christmas Maximus, Donald's Gift, Mickey's Dog-Gone Christmas."

(Above taken from this page).

This one was also sweet, and worth watching.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas

"A Christmas themed, three-part anthology-style video. The first part, "Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas", is essentially a retelling of Groundhog Day, with Huey, Dewey, and Louie reliving Christmas ad infinitum. Next is "A Very Goofy Christmas", in which Goofy tries to overcome his son's skepticism about Santa Claus. Finally, "Mickey & Minnie's Gift Of The Magi" recreate the classic tale of ironic Christmas selflessness. The stories are linked together by narration by Kelsey Grammer."

(Above taken from this page).

This is a really sweet animated Christmas movie, which I definately think is worth watching!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Basically babbling 'bout blankets

Other than the item I made for a friend for Christmas - which still hasn't arrived with the person, so I'm still not saying what it is - and the Christmas ornament I made for my Mam (and totally forgot to give her), the only craft items I made for Christmas this year - well, technically last year - were the things I made for the babies. The soft shaped toys I made for Michael, the blanket I made for Michael that I did consider keeping here to use when I babysit Emma-Jane, but did end up giving to Michael after all, and the blanket I made for Emma-Jane. I don't know about the babies, but I know the adults absolutely loved the blankets. In fact, Emma-Jane's was so much loved that her Auntie Pia (Emma-Jane's mother, Louise's older sister, and a long time friend of mine) has asked me to make one for her little baby boy, Max, who was born in October. So, I've put the blanket I was knitting for myself on hold - I'm almost half way through it now, but decided it can wait while I work on Pia's request - and have now started knitting Max's blanket.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Bits, bobs and babbling

So, that's it then. The holidays are all over for another year. Just a load of, "this is what I did over Christmas," posts to come. Speaking of which... I'll get to mine soon.

***

I ended up finding a couple of other Christmas movies I hadn't seen before (or hadn't seen for so many years that I know there's no way I've reviewed them on here) so the reviews of those will be coming soon. Along with reviews from other movies I watched recently.

***

Emma-Jane took two unaided steps on Christmas day! I wasn't there, since I didn't see her Christmas day, but I got told about it afterwards. Looks like our predictions of her walking before she makes it to a year old are probably coming true, since she's 9 months old and already able to walk with help, and take a couple of wobbly steps by herself. She's a very bright little baby, and she knows a lot of words. She now says, "yuck," "ta," and "ta-tas," (as in "goodbye,") on top of all the other words she already said before. Also, she attempted to wipe my Nan's nose for her on Christmas Eve when she was visiting them, which we all think was not just smart, but really cute too! I can't believe how fast she's growing up! It seems like it wasn't long ago she was a tiny little bundle who couldn't even hold her own head up, now the only thing stopping her being up on her feet is the fact her legs aren't quite strong enough for her to do it yet. She's definately putting in the effort, and determined that it wont be long though... Then we'll all be in trouble, since I know she's going to be in to everything!

She wasn't well over Christmas either. Actually, we think it was her I got it from, since we had the same thing and she was just a little ahead of me with symptoms. Poor little thing! Her first Christmas and she's not well for it. Mind you, that didn't stop her trying to walk, nor did it stop her trying to demolish the Christmas tree. LOL! So, I guess she wasn't letting it get her down. Bless her, she was even still smiling while she wasn't well. I wish I could have been smiling while I wasn't feeling well! I'm still not feeling smiley, and I'm a lot better today, but Emma-Jane... She's almost always smiling, and I guess even being really ill doesn't change that. Bless her!

***

We had a white Christmas, but the rain came Monday evening, so everything turned to ice and slushy stuff. Then it all started melting. By the end of the week it was gone. Never mind though, we had at least close to 2 foot of snow, and I had a white Christmas. That's good enough for me! Besides, when I'm better I'd like to be able to take Kero for his walks again, since I couldn't with all the snow around. I mean, it was hard enough for Kelly to find the path in all that snow, so I'd have had no chance. Not that I'd complain if we got more snow, since I do love snow. But I do miss my walks with Kero... Plus, we could do with them actually coming to get the rubbish, since they couldn't get the truck in here when we had all that snow. Luckily it was the recycling stuff they missed picking up and not the "other" rubbish, because the recyclables don't stink. But it would be nice if all the bags of recyclables that have been on the curb for a couple of weeks now could actually get picked up this week. Especially with how many more of them there are this month with all the rinsed out pop bottles, Christmas present boxes, wrapping paper, and other Christmas related rubbish.

***

OK, I think that this will do for today. Like I said, I'll do my, "this is what I did over Christmas," post some time soon. Some of you will probably find my post boring. But it's my life, and my blog. And you don't have to read the post if you don't want to.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Kinda R/WP and kinda PTMI

Going to make this short, because today kind of got away from me. Sorry I've not been around the blogs lately, but first I was busy, and then I ended up not well. I started coughing Christmas evening, had a sore throat Boxing Day, was coughing worse that night, and by the following evening (Monday evening) I felt like my throat was closing up while at the same time it felt like it was on fire, and I was struggling to breathe properly. The sneezing didn't help much with the throat pain either. I didn't eat much most of the week, and most of what I did eat didn't stay down, and even now I'm coughing so much it sometimes makes me feel like I'm going to be sick, and my throat still hurts a lot. I can breathe properly now though, and it doesn't hurt to breathe, so that's a definate improvement. Anyway, I'll get to replying to comments you've left on my blog and catching up on the posts on the blogs that I follow when I can. Hopefully during these next few days.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome to 2011

Happy New Year to all my bloggy friends.

Welcome to 2011! I hope this new year turns out to be a wonderful one for you and your family!