Monday, February 28, 2011

Of photos, projects, and everything in between

I hope you enjoyed the photos over the past couple of days. I didn't want to bother Iggy - who usually sorts my photos for me - since I knew about his shoulder, so I had to try and talk Kelly through doing what I knew how to do myself - and used to do myself before - but can't do now, for obvious reasons. I hope he did a good job with the photos.

***

In between doing chores and stuff yesterday I spent a lot of time reading the posts on A Joyful Chaos. The blog was recommended by Deanna for anyone interested in the Amish way of life. Now, I'm not one of those people who have a fascination for the Amish as such, but I am a nosy person who likes to have a peek in to the lives of others, so I went to have a look. As I said, I spent most of yesterday reading the blog posts. I read every single post (yeah, I know, I need a life) and found them to be very interesting. I'm saying about it mainly to tell those who - like me - are nosy, both what I was up to, and that it's worth reading.

***

The workmen are still here. A little quieter today though, so at least I can come on here when I want to be on here. They were meant to be done by now, I think, but even with coming on Saturdays too they still aren't done. I hope they're done soon, because I'm getting fed up of not being able to go out for my walks with Kero at the times I want to.

There was a broken pipe we had to have someone come out for the other day (we think the workmen broke it, but have no evidence, and they weren't paying much attention). When the plumber came out we mentioned the water that sometimes comes in and makes it rain in our kitchen, and he thinks the reason the other plumber couldn't find a problem was because it's caused by the rain getting in through the gaps in the walls (old building and all that) and that the work the workmen are doing will stop it, because what they're doing - apparently - is closing up the cracks and putting some kind of weather proofing stuff on the walls. I hope the plumber is right, because if he is then it wont rain in our kitchen any more once the workmen are done. That doesn't make me like them being here any more than I did before we had that conversation with the plumber, but I'll be pleased if it doesn't rain indoors again, that's for sure! I mean... Who wouldn't be?

***

I've had a few more nights of sleeping at night and getting a decent sleep. I wake on and off - though usually only long enough to turn over, then I go back to sleep - but I end up getting a good six hours sleep in the end. That seems to be plenty for me though, since I'm actually waking up feeling like I can face the day, rather than the, "is it time to get up already?" feeling I usually had when morning arrived. It's also a lot easier to deal with the noise of the workmen when I've had a good night sleep. I hope it continues!

***

It looks like that could be it for our Winter. We still keep having cold winds and a lott of rain, but we're also having days where it's mostly sunny. The sun isn't warming things up that much, but it gives hope that some time soon things will start to warm up.

***

I'm quite a way through the throw thing for my Mam now. When it's done, I'll be making matching ones for the armchairs. They wont take me long to do though, since each one will only be about half the size of the sofa one. Well, actually, slightly smaller than that, but not by too much. If I continue at the rate I've been knitting things recently then I'll be done with all three before the end of March, and be starting my next project! I swear my knitting is getting faster... Which, I would think, is a good thing! I have a few other projects lined up to do once I'm done with the throws, and by the time I've done them it's probably going to be time to start working on Christmas presents. Too early to think about Christmas right now though, so I'm just thinking about the other things.

***

OK, I think that's just about all I have to say for today. Besides, this blog post has already taken longer to write than it should have (I kept getting side-tracked). So... Stay warm, stay safe, and enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My red and blue blanket

As promised, here is the blanket I made for myself. There are two photos because one is the top half, the other is the bottom half.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Valentine's card and teddy 2011 - photo

Here is the promised photo of my teddy and card from Valentine's Day this year:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Furkid Friday: furkid fun

Hi humans, it's Kero here.

Gwydion and I are really hating those noisy humans being here. We're getting really frustrated with all the noise. We are trying to get on with naps, play times, etc though. Like how I was trying to get Gwydion to play with me when he was out of his cage the other day...




... And how I was playing with my rattle teddy that I got when Gwydion got his new cage, and Mami was calling me a nutter, because I was playing by myself and kept throwing it up in the air and trying to catch it. Or how Gwydion's figured out that if he doesn't completely empty out his bowl when having his, "give me some more greens," tantrums he can amuse himself by rolling the dish around on its side so that the bits of food still in it make a rattly noise (which is fun for him, until the dish falls and lands upside down, and he can't even pick it up to use it to get the humans to come to him... But it's OK, because he just squeaks loudly for them instead). It just goes to show... Even when life is frustrating, strangers are upsetting your routine - and much too close to your family - and the weather isn't nice, you can still have fun!

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Thursday, February 24, 2011

February 2011 birthdays

As far as I'm aware, the only birthdays I need to mention for February are Barefoot Gardener's daughter ("Big Sprout")'s birthday, which was February 20th, and my nephew, Devin's birthday, which is tomorrow (February 25th). I doubt either of them read my blog, but I'm sending out a wish for a very happy belated birthday to "Big Sprout" and an early happy birthday to Devin. Anywayy! If I've missed any other birthdays this month though, then a very happy birthday to whoever else had their birthday as well this month!

Thursday - 4:45 AM (LBE and FD)

OK, so I didn't know what to put as a title... LOL!

Anyway...

I finished my post yesterday with the words, "back later..." because I had planned on coming back online yesterday evening while Kelly was at a roleplaying session with my Dad and some of the guys from the gaming club. Some time around 7:45 PM I even turned the laptop on to come on here. But then I decided I just didn't feel like it. It was probably because I was tired, since a little over an hour later I fell asleep. Kero then woke me a little after 10:00 PM by standing on his back legs beside the bed, putting his front paws up on the bed, and making the, "arf, arf," noise he makes when he has to go out (I swear it sounds like he's saying, "out, out," when he does that noise). After I took him out I thought that would be it... I'd been woken now, and that was it for the night, right? Wrong! I climbed back in bed... "just in case... And was asleep within a few minutes! I did wake enough to acknowledge it was just Kelly coming home when he got home, then enough to know he'd gotten in to bed when he came to bed, but other than that - and the usual wake up, turn over, go back to sleep moments that happen all the time - I slept until a little after 3:30 AM. So, that's two good nights of sleep in a row! I can't help but wonder though... How long will it last this time?

Anyway...

There is one benifit to the workmen being here... I'm already quarter of the way through knitting the throw type thing for my Mam. Mind you, it's not a project that will take too long, really. I mean, I had Max's blanket knitted in under a month, and wasn't well for a lot of that month, so made slow progress with knitting it at first. Let's see... I think it was about a week ago I started Mam's throw? So, if I continue at the pace I have been, it will be done in another three weeks. Then it will be time for the next project (which I will tell you about when I decide which thing to do next).

Speaking of knitting...

There's a new magazine out called "The Art Of Knitting" which looks good. First issue is 99p (roughly $2) and comes with a DVD, some needles, a ball of wool, and a magazine filled with knitting tips and patterns. The second issue is £1.99 (roughly $4) and comes with more wool, another magazine, and something else I can't remember. And every issue after that is £2.99 (roughly $6) and they all come with wool and other stuff, plus the magazine itself (obviously). I thought it sounded good, and pretty reasonably priced. My only issue was... It's in print. Kelly has agreed to find a way to make it so I can read the patterns and such though. He's either going to scan the pages and save them as pdfs (which I can then convert to text files to make them easier to use when attempting to follow the patterns), or - if he can't figure out how to do that - sit and type the stuff out for me. I warned him that it appears to have about 120 issues, but he says that's OK. So, I've subscribed to it, because if you subscribe then you can be sure to get all the issues... Plus, they give extra free gifts if you subscribe, and even more still if you pay via a credit/debit card or direct debit. Do people use other methods of payment these days then? I mean, I thought all transactions that weren't one-offs were paid via a credit or debit card, or direct debit these days? *Shrugs* Anyway, I have a debit card so I used that and should now get the extra free gifts. The first issue should come in the next couple of weeks, then Kelly can get to work on making it so I can read the patterns and such. That way when I've finished the projects I currently have lined up, I can work on some of the projects in the magazine. I don't know all of what will be there... It just says something about "things to knit for your home and family" (or something like that). I do, however, know there will be a large throw to work on, since they give you a ball of wool and tips on different stitches each time so you can, "knit your throw, square by square," (I assume as a way to try out the new stitches?)

I've not done anything other than knit, purl or rib intentionally yet, so I'm looking forward to getting tips on how to do other stitches. And - now that I've had plenty of practice with things like blankets, scarves, hats, and simple baby toys - maybe I can tackle something a bit more complicated? I'd like to be able to make Kelly and myself knitted jumpers (sweaters) for example. I do have a knitted cardigan that's new, but I didn't make it... My Nan did. She made it a bit big for herself, so - knowing I prefer things big - she offered it to me, and I accepted it. She made it with a wool that changes colour from white to green then to yellow (possibly not in that order) and back again, so it's in stripes of green, yellow and white. Anyway, I'd like to get to a point where I can make knitted cardigans and such... So that - for example - as long as I can get hold of wool, I can make some kind of clothing for myself and my family. Perhaps not the best sort for warm days, but definately good for cold days. And also an option for if all else fails. I can sew enough to make rough items of clothing, fix holes in things, and sew together parts of knitted items to make the whole thing, so that could prove useful too. I like being able to do something useful like that. And I obviously don't do too bad of a job - with the knitting especially - since people are now requesting items. My sewing can't be too bad either. I fixed a hole in Kelly's robe more than a year ago, and it's still holding, so it can't be too badly done, can it?

OK, enough of that...

The plan I had for making sure to have plenty of small bottles, cartons and cans of stuff on hand to grrab quickly seems to be working well. I'm drinking a lot better, which is good news. I'm also getting a drink when I go to get one, rather than grabbing a snack instead, so I'm snaccking less too, which is also a good thing.

I'm also happily munching on the healthier snack options. I'm not going to even pretend that means no cakes, chocolates or crisps (potato chips). But there are definately more fruit based snacks happening. I've learned I quite like apple crisps and banana chips, and there's a "strawberry oaty chewy bar" that I'm quite fond of too. I've always liked having raisins, but tend to be put off by huge bags... "If I open the bag, I have to eat it within x amount of days, and what if I don't want to?"... So I've got all sorts of snack sized packs of raisins... Plain raisins, yogurt covered raisins, cherry infused raisins, strawberry infused raisins, raisins mixed with other fruits, raisins mixed with nuts, raisins mixed with both nuts and other fruits, and even raisins mixed with other fruits and nuts with a few chocolate drops thrown in there (great for keeping the snack relatively healthy while at the same time giving in to that chocolate craving)... I figure they're good options for snacks, but also useful for helping to keep my iron level up, since raisins are good for iron boosts, apparently.

It doesn't seem to have done much to help with my weight as yet, but that could be at least partly due to the fact Kero and I aren't able to get out for our walks properly right now. I'm hoping that once the scaffolding is gone and we can get out for our walks properly, the combination of things will start to slowly take the weight off me.

I do know I need the weight off, but I don't want to do it with diets or anything like that. Partly because I struggle to keep to them anyway, and partly because otherwise the second I go off the diet I know the weight will pile back on. But if I can do it with gradual changes to my eating, drinking and exercising habbits... Healthier snack and drink options (while still allowing myself any "treats" I want), more - and sometimes longer - walks with Kero, and that sort of thing... Then it will become habbit rather than something I'm only doing for the weight loss, and - in theory - any weight I get off "should" stay off (at least for the most part). And there wont be a question of what will happen when I go off the diet, because it wont be one, so there wont be a diet for me to stop. It also illiminates the feelings of guilt when I have those "treats" because there's no rule about not having them or only having them on set days or whatever. Stopping yourself having things you want to be eating only leads to a vicious cycle happening in which you eat the item, feel guilty about it, then end up eating something else you aren't "meant to" be eating to make yourself feel better. But, if you have no reason to be feeling guilty, then you wont end up in that vicious cycle.

The intention is there, but now I have to get myself to a point where I do it for long enough to make it become a habbit. They say that things become habbit if you do them every day for a month, but I'm pretty good at coming up with excuses not to do things, so getting me keeping things up as I intend to for over a month is the big hurdle I need to climb. I'd also like to have some kind of rough routine, but with my sleep so irregular I'm not sure how that would work out. I'd like to try though. Not one of those where you "have to" have this done at 9:00 AM on the dot and can't be late with it or it will put you behind and you'll get stressed over it. Just a rough routine with some flexibility, yet some basic guidelines for getting things done by a certain time. Like... I'd like to be at least getting up by 8:00 AM (if I'm not up already) so I can have plenty of time to get dressed, have breakfast, wash breakfast dishes, etc, and be able to walk Kero by about 10:00 AM (ish), then have some time to do whatever needs doing around the house in the morning (when I tend to have more energy). But, if I'm done earlier than planned, why not take Kero out sooner? Then chores will get done sooner, and I can have some me time for a bit before lunch. But, also, if I don't take Kero out until a bit later because there was a phone call, or because I decided to sort the household chores first, or whatever, then that's OK too. The point is to make sure that the things that need doing in the morning get done in the morning. That way Kero can get another walk later in the day, because I'll have plenty of free time, since all of the household chores will have been done already.

I used to - even when I had three dogs to walk at once - walk them all about mid to late morning, then again in the evening. But then two things happened to make me start making excuses. One is that I lost my sight, and the other is that we moved. The walk here is shorter, so in theory I should be walking it more if anything, but I make excuses not to go, and I need to change that. I mean, with it just being quite a short walk - especially compared to the walk we used to have - there's no reason why I can't fit in a morning walk, an afternoon walk, and an evening walk... Especially on nice days. I'm sure Kero would love that, and I know it would do both of us good. I also used to walk the dogs in any kind of weather. Now, I can't do snow any more, because I can't follow the path with my cane in the snow, but there's no valid reason for other weathers being used as an excuse. That's why I know it's just lame excuses I'm making not to do things. And why, what it all boils down to, is that I've allowed myself to develop some really bad habbits over the past couple of years, and I need to break them.

OK, this will do for now. I have a birthday themed post coming up later today though.

I hope you have a good day... Stay warm and safe! :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sleep themed ramblings

Well... The good thing is, I got a decent sleep last night. The bad thing is, the sleep ended a little before 3:00 AM. Still, having about 6 hours sleep - despite waking for a few minutes every hour or so - is really good, even if it doesn't happen exactly when I'd like it to. And, hey, it did basically happen at night, so I suppose I can't complain really!

So... Now it's a little after 5:00 AM, I'm wide awake and ready to start my day, but everyone else is snoring happily (and will probably stay that way for at least another 3 hours... Likely longer). I've caught up on blog posts and comments, so now I think I'm going to see about some breakfast. Maybe if I have it now I can enjoy my breakfast and a nice cup of herbal tea before the workmen come and start being all noisy again?

The workmen are usually here by 8:30 AM. That will wake Kero - if I don't wake him before that so as to take him for a pee before they arrive, which I probably will - but it wont wake Kelly. He's one of those lucky people who falls asleep as soon as he tries to, gets back to sleep easily if he wakes for any reason, and sleeps through just about anything... Workmen, Kero barking, Emma-Jane crying... Lucky buggar!

Back later...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hey Arnold! - The Movie

"A fourth grader and his best friend set out to stop an industrialist from bulldozing their town."

"When a powerful developer named Mr. Scheck wants to knock down all the stores and houses in Arnold's neighborhood to build a huge "mall-plex", it looks likes the neighborhood is doomed to disappear. But with the help of a superhero and a mysterious deep-voiced stranger, Arnold and Gerald will need to recover a crucial document in order to save their beloved neighborhood."

(Above taken from this page).

I always enjoyed the Nickelodeon show, "Hey Arnold!"... I enjoyed the movie just as much as I'd enjoyed the show in the past!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rugrats

I'm a big fan of the Rugrats. Yeah, I know it's a kids' show, but in my defence, I was a kid when I started watching it. Those babies are funny, get in to all kinds of adventures and mischief, and... Well, I just love watching them! Anyway, I've posted about Rugrats (the TV series) and The Rugrats Movie in the past, but only to say, "I watched it, it was great." I have not, however, posted about Rugrats In Paris or Rugrats Go Wild. So, I'm now going to post about them all together.

The following come from the links in the above piece of text:

Rugrats (TV series)
"Rugrats is a show about 4 babies, Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, and Phil and Lil Deville. As we see their lives unravel, we get to hear them talk. On the sidelines are Tommy's mean cousin Angelica, their friend Susie Carmichael (same age as Angelica), and everybody's parents."

The Rugrats Movie
"Tommy faces responsiblity when Dil, his new baby brother is born. As with all newborns, the child becomes a bane to Tommy and the rest of his gang. Even Phil and Lil don't like them. So they decide to return Dil to where he came from, the hospital. But they get lost along the way, REALLY lost, and get into even more trouble with a circus. Can they find their way home and can Tommy and Dil just get along?"

Rugrats In Paris
"Wishes come true in Rugrats in Paris The Movie, and love makes its way into the hearts of those young, old and overseas. Chuckie's dad, Chazz, starts dating again, and it's Chuckie's wish to find a new mom. When Stu Pickles is summoned to Reptarland, an amazing new amusement park in Paris, to work on his Reptar invention, Tommy, Chuckie, Angelica, Phil, Lil, Dil, Didi and the whole gang tag along to the city of romance. But the Rugrats' big adventure turns out to be more than glamour, fashion and smelly cheese. Chuckie learns that when it comes to princesses and potential mommies, things are not always what they seem, and for Chazz, finding the right woman can be difficult in any language. As the Rugrats' travels take them from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and everywhere in between, the world's favorite babies learn new lessons about courage, loyalty, trust and above all, true love."

Rugrats Go Wild
"The Rugrats and family become stranded on an island, and Stu is blamed. The kids wander off into the jungle, and Spike loses his sense of smell due to sneezing. This becomes a problem when a clouded leopard named Siri finds out about the babies and goes after them, and the situation only gets worse when the kids become trapped underwater with an amnesic Nigel, losing oxygen fast..."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weather, walks, courses, crafts and werewolves

It's actualy sunny today. Not particularly warm - in fact, not warm at all - but at least the rain is taking a break, and the wind isn't doing its impression of a pack of howling wolves.

Kero and I took advantage of the reasonably nice - though cold - weather to go for a decent walk. Kelly didn't really want to come (he'd hardly gotten out of bed when we were ready to go), but he walked us to the gate then met us back there again so as to guide me around the scaffolding. I think if we'd waited until later to go he might have actually joined us for the walk, but I didn't want to wait because I wanted to go for the walk before it decided to rain (just in case). Plus, it was early on a Sunday morning, which means not many people around, where as there are usually more people about in the afternoons on a Sunday (on a Sunday morning most people seem to either sleep in or go to church, so around 9:30 am on a Sunday morning there aren't that many people out for walks). I don't mind meeting people while I'm on a walk as such, but it's so much easier to enjoy the walk when it's not interupted, or when I don't have to navigate around small children who are riding their little trikes up and down the path.

***

I've so far gotten all the parts for my courses. A couple of them did try getting themselves marked as spam, but I had them marked as "not spam" and then it was all fine. The Vegetarian Eating course is completed, because it's only got four parts to it, I have all the Alternative Medicine course sections because I was only missing the first part from before, but the other three are still needing lessons to be sent. The Yoga and Storytelling ones will be finished in the next couple of days though, so then it will just be a matter of getting the ones I'm missing from the Creative Writing one. I think that one is 20 parts, I had lessons 2, 4, 5, 9, 10 and 12 from before, and now have lessons 1, 3 and 6 too. Lesson 7 should be in my inbox when I get up in the morning (assuming I sleep at night tonight). Anyway, by this time next week I "should" have all the Yoga and Storytelling lessons (and have officially finished the Alternative Medicine course again), and have another week left of the Creative Writing lessons.

It's lucky really that it's just a case of them giving me all the lessons and me doing the stuff in my own time, because I'm behind on doing stuff for the courses. I knew I would be, but since I knew the courses can just be done in my own time then that's why I decided to go ahead and sign up for all five at once... While I had Kelly on hand for word verification. There are a couple of others that I "might" do in the future too, but I figured five were enough to keep track of whether I had all the lessons for at one time. Anyway, I do read the lessons every day when they get to me (or when I come online and find them) but am behind on doing the actual work parts. Like I said though, it doesn't matter because of how they work (the work is for my own benifit and doesn't need to be submitted), and I did know it would be the case before I signed up for them all. Once I have all the parts they're mine and I can do them in my own time, and I can share any parts of my work that I want to with you on here. That probably wont be much - if anything - from the Vegetarian Eating, Alternative Medicine and Yoga courses mind you, since most of them are either information only, or involve things that would be difficult to share to say the least... Such as meditation exercises.

***

I've finished my blanket. Kelly helped me to get a photo of it, so I'll post that when I can. Actually, that's part of why I'm behind on the courses... Been knitting instead. Partly because I didn't have much choice though. The workmen have been working from quite early in the morning until dinner time, and they make so much noise I couldn't hear Jaws speaking to do anything involving the use of the computer, and meditating is completely out of the question with that noise! But I can knit, so that's what I've been doing. Anyway, I've finished my blanket, and have now started working on my next project, which is a sort of decorative throw. My Mam wants one for the back of her sofa, and I have some wool that I want to use in the basic colours she wants it in, so I agreed to knit it for her now that I've finally finished knitting my blanket. It's the same as knitting a blanket. Actually, she's asked me to do the same as I did for Max's blanket, only she obviously wants different colours, and we're calling it a throw.

Speaking of which... I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but Pia loved Max's blanket. Also, she showed it to Emilee (her little girl, who is almost 6) and told her that the person who made it was blind. And what did Emilee say? "Well, she's cleverer than you, Mummy." LOL! I now officially love that kid! ;)

***

Dad was here again Friday, and we had a roleplaying session in which we played Werewolves.

It was a fun session, though a bit confusing for me since I'd had no experience with the system, and since it's similar to another that I sat in for a couple of sessions with it was assumed that I knew what I was doing. Mind you, I'm just as much at fault for not saying anything, but I'd kind of assumed there would be a bit of an explanation before we got started. Anyway, I was just starting to get the hang of things when that familiar feeling of, "I need to go to sleep," showed up. In all fairness it was around 9:00 pm by that time. So Dad went home, and I went to bed. And, guess what? I got in to bed and was suddenly wide awake... Figures! It turned out to be around 1:00 am before I finally went to sleep. Actually, a bit before that, but I'm not entirely sure how much before... I remember it being 12:30 am, and I remember I was awake for a bit after that. But I know I was asleep by 1:00 am, because I had the TV on quietly, and CSI was on, and I know I didn't see the end of the episode that had started at midnight.

Anyway... I enjoyed the werewolf session... Despite being rather confused for most of the session - until I got the hang of things - and despite the fact I was a bit disappointed to discover that my change from human form to werewolf form depended on the luck of a dice roll, and had to be repeated after a certain amount of time. I was hoping I could just say, "OK, I'm turning in to werrewolf form," and then I'd done it and could get on with doing other stuff. Ah well, you can't have everything, I guess.

***

I'm going to let this do for today. Stay safe, and enjoy whatever's left of your weekend!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Alice in Wonderland

"Alice, an unpretentious and individual 19-year-old, is betrothed to a dunce of an English nobleman. At her engagement party, she escapes the crowd to consider whether to go through with the marriage and falls down a hole in the garden after spotting an unusual rabbit. Arriving in a strange and surreal place called "Underland," she finds herself in a world that resembles the nightmares she had as a child, filled with talking animals, villainous queens and knights, and frumious bandersnatches. Alice realizes that she is there for a reason--to conquer the horrific Jabberwocky and restore the rightful queen to her throne."

(Above taken from this page).

I have only one thing to say about this movie.... It's fantastic! And the collection of actors in it... Well, I've never recognized so many actor/actress names from one movie in my entire life. Take a look at the cast list on the above link and you'll see what I mean, I'm sure!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Furkid Friday: guinea pig grumbles (kinda FD)

Hi there humans, this is Gwydion here.

The humans say I've been a little brat in the past week or so, because I've learned a new trick they don't like. It involves me picking up my dry food bowl in my teeth and slamming it down on the floor of my cage - sometimes tipping it over in the meantime - so that the food tips out of it on to the floor of my cage. My plan is that if my bowl is empty the humans will take pity on me and fill it with extra veggies or something. It's not working though. The first couple of times - before she figured out what I'd actually done - Mami put fresh dry food in my bowl, but after she figured out why my bowl was empty she just started telling me to, "quit being such a brat," and that if I was going to do that I could put up with eating the food from the floor of my cage. I tell you, these humans are very difficult to work with! Why can't a guinea pig get proper treatment these days?

If that wasn't bad enough, my naps are being interupted by some very - and I do mean VERY - noisy humans who are doing stuff outside. I don't know - or care - what they're doing out there, but I wish they'd quit so that I can get my 18 hours or so of sleep a day... Which I need to stay as handsome as I am! Kero's not impressed with his naps keep being interupted either. Nor with the fact those humans have caused him to have to have that "lead" thing on every time he even wants to go in the garden for a few minutes.

OK, those noisy humans have gone quiet for a moment, so I'm going to take advantage of the peace to get a nap in. Not sure how much of one I'll get before they come back to make more noise, but I'll get what sleep I can while I can.

Squeak soon,
Gwydion

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

"The world famous singing pre-teen chipmunk trio return to contend with the pressures of school, celebrity, and a rival female music group known as The Chipettes."

"Pop sensations Alvin, Simon and Theodore end up in the care of Dave Seville's twenty-something nephew Toby. The boys must put aside music super stardom to return to school, and are tasked with saving the school's music program by winning the $25,000 prize in a battle of the bands. But the Chipmunks unexpectedly meet their match in three singing chipmunks known as The Chipettes -- Brittany, Eleanor and Jeanette. Romantic and musical sparks are ignited when the Chipmunks and Chipettes square off."

(Above taken from this page).

The movie was fantastic, but not quite as good as the first one. Still, it was good enough that I watched it several times, so it can't have been too bad, can it? Seriously... It is a pretty good movie. Just - as I said - not quite as good as the first one. But that's how it often works witth sequels, isn't it?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Beauty and the Beast

"Belle is a girl who is dissatisfied with life in a small provincial French town, constantly trying to fend off the misplaced "affections" of conceited Gaston. The Beast is a prince who was placed under a spell because he could not love. A wrong turn taken by Maurice, Belle's father, causes the two to meet."

"Belle, whose father Maurice is imprisoned by the Beast (really an enchanted Prince), offers herself instead and finds the prince inside the Beast."

(Above taken from this page).

I've seen this movie so many times I've lost count, but I don't seem to have reviewed it on my blog before, so I'm doing it now. What can I say about this movie? It's a fantastic, beautiful movie, and - quite frankly - I don't know how anyone could fail to enjoy it! If you haven't seen it... Where have you been? And, also... If you haven't seen it, then you really should!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weather, workmen, courses, crafts, etc (kinda FD and LBE)

I had planned on posting this earlier in the day, but I didn't sleep much last night (I rarely do when I know I need to get up in the morning... Not that I sleep all that well as a general rule) so I ended up having a bit of a nap this afternoon. Anyway...

Before I start rambling on about this, that and the other, I just want to offer an apology for how much I've been slacking in the blogging department lately. Yeah, I know, I don't "have to" apologize, but I feel better for doing so.

***

Yesterday - as you know - was Valentine's Day. We don't tend to do much to celebrate, we just have take-away, buy cards, and buy each other a little present. This year we decided that we would give each other an IOU for something we wanted next pay day. In Kelly's case a game that comes out next month, in mine one of the audiobooks on my list of books I want (I'm thinking the final one from the set my Dad got me for Christmas... The one I mentioned last week). Of course though, eager to spoil me - as usual - Kelly came home from town with a couple of iced cupcakes and a little teddy for me. He just couldn't resist spoiling me, I guess? He helped me get a photo of the teddy, so when I can get photos sorted I'll post it on here for you to see it. It's just a little teddy, but I love it, because it was brought especially for me!

***

The weather has remained quite nasty... Cold, wet, and windy. No sign of the snow they said was coming though. I have to say, though I absolutely love snow, I'm pleased about that, because at least as it stands the workmen are doing the work between the heavy showers (luckily the heavier rain seems to be happening in the evenings and at night). I'm sure they'd just go home if it snowed. It makes walking Kero tricky though, because I can't take him out very easily - even with Kelly's help - when the workmen are doing their work, and he wont go out if it's raining too much (not that I blame him).

I miss our proper walks, and I feel really guilty, because the workmen have - by order of the council - removed all the fencing we put up to keep Kero in the back garden. We were told we could put it up as long as it was easily removable, but now they've decided it has to come down. This means that Kero can't go out in the garden at all without his lead on, because he will run off. We did try to trust him, but both times he ran off. The first time we had no idea where he was, and after we'd been searching everywhere for him, asking people for help to find him, etc, he eventually brought himself home, tail wagging, and proud of himself for taking himself for a walk. The second time he was met by a woman who I talk to sometimes when I'm walking him, and - knowing I never allow him loose, because he doesn't always come back, and we're too near the main road to take chances - she grabbed him, so Kelly was able to catch up with him quickly. I meant to mention it in his post Friday, but I only remembered about it after publishing the post, and I couldn't be bothered to go back in and change it afterwards. I'm annoyed, because they didn't even tell us they were removing the fence. We just noticed it was gone, and when the workmen heard us mention it they told us they'd been told to remove it. They could have at least had the decency to let us know before hand that it would be removed. What if I'd taken Kero out on my own?

On the bright side though... It hasn't rained in our kitchen again in the past couple of weeks, so I guess that's a positive thing. Perhaps whatever they're doing to the walls and roof have done something to at least stop that issue for the time being? Permanently would be better, but even temporarily would be a step in the right direction!

***

Almost two weeks ago our washing machine stopped working (again). And, no, it wasn't because I accidentally pushed the wrong button this time either. LOL! The drum wouldn't spin. It kept trying to, but would just make a whining noise, then stop trying. So we sent our clothes to my Mam for her to wash them for us and called someone out to look at it. We figured the brushes or belt that are involved in making the drum spin had worn down or something, but it turned out that wasn't the case. All that was wrong was that the drum had gone off balance. To cut a long story short, £40 (almost $80) later we discovered that all that it needed was for us to spin the drum a few times one way, then the other, before turning it on. Anyway, it works now, but only if you remember to do the drum spinning thing before putting the clothes in to wash.

***

Back in the Summer I started doing a couple of courses online. One was a Creative Writing course, another was an Alternative Medicine course, and the third was a course on Vegetarian Eating. Half the course work didn't show up, and when I contacted them and they re-sent all the lessons, I was still missing lessons. I later found out that the e-mail provider I was using often marked things not spam as spam and didn't let third party clients (Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, etc) know they existed. So it was possible the e-mails were delivered, but hadn't been downloaded from the server properly (I get my e-mail through Windows Live Mail). By the time I learned of this it was too late to check though, because they would have been deleted from the spam folder after that amount of time. So, I signed up for the courses again a couple of days ago. Actually, I've signed up for five different courses, since they are all ones that you get a certificate just for participating, and do in your own time, so I figured while I was getting Kelly to help me with the word verification I might as well try all the ones I wanted. So, I signed up for:

Creative Writing
Alternative Medicine: A Guided Tour
Vegetarian Eating
Story Telling
Yoga Explained

So far I've only had the first lessons of each, but I only signed up late on Sunday, and it takes about 24 hours for you to get on the system, so lesson one is all I should have so far. Anyway, lesson one was the only one I was missing from both the Alternative Medicine and Vegetarian Eating courses, and was one of the ones I was missing from the Creative Writing course, so that's a promising start, right? Fingers crossed that this time I'll get the entire course! Then I can take some time to work through each section properly, and actually feel I deserve the certificates this time (I didn't last time, because... How can I when I don't even have all the course sections?)

I think some of the Alternative Medicine coursework and Yoga coursework will probably be able to be combined, but will need to be done during some quiet time... Perhaps at night... When everyone else is asleep and I'm unable to sleep?

***

When I changed internet providers I changed my e-mail address. I had trouble sending with it through Windows Live Mail at first. I figured I was doing something wrong. Nope... It just wouldn't work properly until my account with them was fully activated. I didn't think that would be an issue, but apparently it was, because no matter what I did it wouldn't send, then - on the weekend - I replied to an e-mail, and suddenly it clicked with me that I'd just replied via my new address through Windows Live Mail (actually, it took a while to register with me, and a couple of e-mails had gone back and forth between me and the friend I was e-mailing before I clicked on which account I was e-mailing via). So, I sent a test e-mail to myself - making sure I was using that account, since my old one isn't fully deactivated yet, so is still on Windows Live Mail too - and it worked right away. I've had no issues with it since. So, that just goes to show that it wasn't anything I was doing wrong, which I feel good about. ;)

I'm pretty sure I sent everyone a change of e-mail notification a couple of days ago, but - if you didn't get one - then e-mail my old address and I'll give you the new one. I'm still checking my old address until the end of the month, after that the chances of a reply if you send to any old address of mine will be slim to none, so, get in there now if you want to be sure you have the right e-mail address for me.

***

I've done some more work on the blanket that I'm making myself, and I'm quite close to having it finished. I'm hoping to have it done in these next couple of weeks, but we'll see. Although I'd like to have it done, I don't want to try and rush it... That's the quickest way to make mistakes, drop stitches, and generally make a mess of it. So, I'll keep on knitting, and get it done when I do. Then I'll get on with my next knitting project, and - in the meantime - at least I can't say I have nothing to do. I mean, between the knitting projects, courses, and usual daily things like trying to get to take Kero for a walk, housework, etc... Yep, I definately have plenty to do! ;)

***

The stacks of reviews I have to post are piling up, so I've scheduled a couple each week so that they can gradually get posted. I'm really behind on posting reviews, and still have a small stack of audiobooks to listen to, so I figured I had better start getting the reviews posted. I will be coming and posting in general, or posting other stuff from time to time, but I have an average of two to four reviews a week set up for the next... I think it's about six weeks or so (and that's if I don't add more before the ones I have set up get posted). I did say there were a good few reviews to post! ;)

***

We got a new Hoover today... Literally, because that's the make too. LOL! We had a Dyson, but we left it with Dad because the house has stairs and we don't, and the hose of the one my parents had wont come out properly, so though it was working when we swapped, it couldn't be used for the stairs. Anyway, now it wont work properly. It is old mind. I mean, the one we swapped them with was a good five or more years old, and theirs was older than that. Anyway, we got fed up of it not picking stuff up properly, so we got a new one. It arrived today. We didn't get a chance to try it out today, but we will tomorrow. Well, actually, Kelly will, because he does that chore (it's better for him to do it, since he can see if there are big things left on the floor that might get sucked in to it, then block it up). It's a Hoover Hurricane... I'm sure Mam and Kelly said it's red, which I think is great, because I like red things almost as much as purple things. I went for a Hoover instead of the Dyson, because they're both really good makes, but the Hoover is a heck of a lot cheaper than the Dyson is.

***

I think that's all I wanted to say, but, before I end this, I just want to add some positive thoughts for those who need them. So, if you - or a family member - are ill, have recently had surgery, or are having some trouble(s), then consider yourself - or your family member - in my thoughts. If I know of the illness, surgery, or trouble(s), then healing energy and positive thoughts will be being sent out to those in need of them!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

Happy Valentine's Day to all, be you friend or family!

Tori, Kero and Gwydion

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dark Heart of the Valley

"Called the 'greatest storyteller of his generation' (Stockton), Owen Staton has enthralled audiences the world over. 'Dark Heart of the Valley' explores some of the oddest fairy stories from Welsh folklore. Here you will meet the capricious fairies of Wales, the Mari Llwyd and the Devil himself in a valley of ancient oaks, craggy ridges and haunted brooks. Sit back and enjoy storytelling at its spellbinding best in this superb collection of old tales told as only Owen can tell them. If storytelling is your thing then this truly is your Grail."

The above text was taken from this page from when Owen performed the show at the Edinburgh Festival a few months back, but it wasn't the Edinburgh Festival I went to. It was the same performance, but a lot closer to home.

You may remember that back at the start of July of last year I went to watch a storyteller friend performing. I posted about it here. Anyway, Owen Staton and The Sleeping Giant Foundation arranged for the above mentioned stories to be performed just a few days ago not too far from my home. So, Dad and I went to see it. Owen is a fantastic storyteller, and I'm glad I had the oppertunity to do so.

As I mentioned when I posted about the last event of his that I went to, I'm not just saying he's a fantastic storyteller because he's a friend of my Dad. He really is fantastic! If any of you who are in the UK ever have the oppertunity to go to an event he's performing at, I urge you to grab the oppertunity with both hands... I promise you wont regret it!

Thank you Owen for a wonderful and entertaining evening!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

"An eccentric professor invents wacky machinery, but can't seem to make ends meet. When he invents a revolutionary car, a foreign government becomes interested in it, and resorts to skulduggery to get their hands on it."

"The most fantasmagorical musical entertainment in the history of everything!"

(Above taken from here).

I'm not sure how I managed to end up not reviewing this movie before, but I can't find any review for it among my old posts, so I guess I didn't review it. Anyway... It's a funny, fantastic movie, and if you haven't seen it then you really should!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Furkid Friday: strange humans outside

Hi humans, this is Kero.

There's been lots of that nasty rain, and I don't really like going out in it, so it's been hard to get to enjoy walkies. It doesn't help that some humans are doing something strange outside, which makes getting out there even for a quick sniff and such in the garden difficult. I have no idea what they're doing out there, but I wish they weren't out there. They wake us up early with their bangs and shouts, and make lots of noise all day. I watch them, but I'm still not sure what they're doing out there. All I know is that they keep spoiling my naps and stopping me going for walkies properly - not to mention the fact they're on my territory - and I don't like that!

I don't really have anything much to say, because not much has happened around here recently, plus the strange humans who are doing the work outside are quiet right now, so I want to get a nap in while I have a chance to do so. So, I'll leave it at this for today, I think.

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Annie

"In the depths of the 1930's, Annie is a fiery young orphan girl who must live in a miserable orphanage run by the tyrannical Miss Hannigan. Her seemingly hopeless situation changes dramatically when she is selected to spend a short time at the residence of the wealthy munitions industrialist, Oliver Warbucks. Quickly, she charms the hearts of the household staff and even the seemingly cold-hearted Warbucks cannot help but learn to love this wonderful girl. He decides to help Annie find her long lost parents by offering a reward if they would come to him and prove their identity. However, Miss Hannigan, her evil brother, Rooster, and a female accomplice, plan to impersonate those people to get the reward for themselves which put Annie in great danger."

(Above taken from here).

I've seen both the 1982 version (linked to above) and the 1999 version of Annie loads of times. I think they're both really good. I can't remember if I reviewed them before or not, but I couldn't find any reviews when I looked in my old posts, so here you go. Like I said, they're both really good.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

No internet meant no post

I usually like to have a post on my blog every day, and on days when I know there's a chance I wont be around to do a post, I usually schedule a post from one of the ones I have in draft. Only, I didn't do that for yesterday. It's not because I had nothing to post - I have LOADS of movie and book reviews saved that I need to get posted - it's just that I had planned to come on to post, but doing so was impossible, and by the time I thought that maybe I should have set up one of the reviews for yesterday, I was powerless to do anything about it. Why? Well, because we had no internet connection yesterday, so I couldn't get online. Actually, we did "sort of" have an internet connection, only... Well, we've changed providers for our TV and internet, and the day for switching over was yesterday. I didn't give it a thought in the morning and concentrated more on doing things around the house. Then - about lunch time - I was about to go online to come and post something, then... Well, there was a beeping sound from our old modem, and no more internet access. No big deal... Time to swap modems then? So, we plug in the new one and... Nothing! To cut a long story short, it took until this afternoon to get the new one sorted out properly, in the meantime I had no way to get online. It turned out to be a settings issue due to us being given the wrong username and password information for the setting up process. It seems to be working now though. Well, it better be, or I'd like to know how I'm managing to post this. ;)

I'll post more another day. I've spent so much time on the computer trying to sort out the internet that I really don't feel much like being on here right now. Besides, I'm listening to a set of books I had from my Dad for Christmas, and I'm enjoying them so much that I'm desperate to get back to listening to the story. I think how involved I am in the story is partly to blame for my not thinking about sorting a post for yesterday. It really is a good story though. I'm so in to it that since Sunday night I've listened to the first three books in the set, and I'm half way through book four. There are six books in the series, but I - unfortunately - only have five out of the six books. Anywayy, I'll tell you about the series another time. I guess I'll add the review to the queue of posts waiting to be published. I will get to those... Eventually! ;)


Anyway... Enjoy whatever's left of your day... Stay safe and warm! :)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Up

"A young Carl Fredrickson meets a young adventure spirited girl named Ellie. They both dream of going to a Lost Land in South America. 70 years later, Ellie has died. Carl remembers the promise he made to her. Then, when he inadvertently hits a construction worker, he is forced to go to a retirement home. But before they can take him, he and his house fly away. However he has a stowaway aboard. An 8 year old boy named Russell, who's trying to get an Assisting the Elderly badge. Together, they embark on an adventure, where they encounter talking dogs, an evil villain and a rare bird named Kevin."

(Above taken from here).

This movie was made to look better than it was. Don't get me wrong, it was a pretty good movie, but I thought - by the clips I'd seen of it - that it would be awesome. It definately wasn't awesome. It was good, but that's it.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Wolves at the window

It sounded as though a pack of wolves was howling outside, rattling the windows, and knocking on the glass panes... Trying to get in. But she would not let them in. She wouldn't even get up and go to the window. It was safer to stay away from it... Safer to pretend she didn't hear. But she did hear. It was only a storm though... Wasn't it?

Yes, it was. It was the storm we had last night... Howling winds, and pouring rain. Winds that rattled the windows, and rain that pattered against the glass window panes. It may have sounded like a pack of wolves wanted me to let them in, but there were no wolves. Of course, nothing could have persuaded me to go outside and check... Had Kero asked for a pee at that point, I'd have told him to forget it. While curled up in my bed with the TV on low (for company, since Kelly and Kero were sleeping, and I wasn't) it was easy enough to remind myself that it was just the wind and rain. Standing by the back door waiting for Kero to finish doing what he needed to though... Well, that would have been more difficult. That's when I'd have probably been imagining wolves prowling around in the darkness, figuring out that I had the back door open, and silently making their way closer to it...

OK, enough of that!

Yes, I have a very vivid imagination, and sometimes that's a bad thing. Mostly I can remind myself that the noises aren't monsterous creatures coming to get me, but sometimes... Well, sometimes it's safer to curl up in bed listening to a story, or watching TV, and staying away from the firmly locked windows and doors. Just in case, you know?

Anyway, this is just a more fun way of saying... We've had some really nasty weather lately, and - though I've slept at night for most of the last two weeks - the time I've fallen asleep has varied. Some nights I'm asleep around 10:00 PM (if not before) but other nights - like last night - it's more like 3:00 AM I fall asleep. Still, I'm sleeping at night (for now) and sleeping a good 6 hours (though often with an hour or more gap in the middle). I'm happy with that though... It's sleep, and it's at night too!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Fantastic Mr. Fox

"An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers' retaliation."

"It is the story of one Mr. Fox and his wild-ways of hen heckling, turkey taking and cider sipping, nocturnal, instinctive adventures. He has to put his wild days behind him and do what fathers do best: be responsible. He is too rebellious. He is too wild. He is going to try "just one more raid" on the three nastiest, meanest farmers that are Boggis, Bunce and Bean. It is a tale of crossing the line of family responsibilities and midnight adventure and the friendships and awakenings of this country life that is inhabited by Fantastic Mr. Fox and his friends."

(Above taken from here).

Another Roald Dahl book converted in to a movie. It was a fantastic movie, though very much changed from the book.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Furkid Friday: Gwydion's inside cage

Hi there humans, it's Gwydion here again.

Mami mentioned a couple of weeks ago that she got me a new cage to live in now that I live inside. So, here are the photos. Sorry I didn't post these before. Our pal Iggy sorted them really quickly for us (thanks for that, Iggy) so that wasn't the reason. It's just that Kero and I wanted to get our Christmas posts done before we got too far in to the year, so we decided to leave posting these photos until after they were done.

Anyway...

This bowl has my dried food and treats in it. It's the bowl that I had in my old cage. I'd love for Mami to fill it completely, but she never does. She thinks this much dried food and treats with a bowl full of veggies and plenty of hay is enough for me. Personally, I disagree, but she just wont listen. Anyway, here's my dried food bowl.



The other bowl - the bowl my veggies go in - is the one that came with my new cage. It has a special slot to fit in on top of the platform above my little sleeping place. Mami thought if she made that my veggie bowl then I'd get some excercise while climbing up there for it, but I caught her out by figuring out really quickly that I could reach it just by standing on my back legs and stretching up high while stood in the entrance to my bed. When the food starts getting lower in the bowl I do have to then climb up, but at least I can grab some veggies for energy before I have to do any real work. Anyway, here's my sleeping place with the platform on top, and my bowl full of fresh veggies.



And here's a proper picture of my new cage where you can see the layout of it.



And, finally, here I am in my new cage.



I really like my new cage. I was a bit scared at first, because I'm not used to the humans being able to see me so easily, so every time anyone came within a certain distance of my cage I would panic and run for my sleeping place. I'm getting braver now though and don't run and hide as much as I did at first.


Kero likes being able to see me easier, and he runs over to check on me when I have one of my squeaking sessions, then he gets upset because when he's beside my cage he's not quite tall enough to see in to it - even if he stands on his back legs - and he doesn't seem to understand why he can't see me, nor what's actually wrong (usually that I want food).

Anyway, this will do for this week.

Squeak soon,
Gwydion

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Max's blanket

I finished Max's blanket on Monday, Kelly helped me to grab these photos of it, and Iggy sorted them for me. There are two photos because where we could get decent light to take the photos there wasn't much room for Kelly to move away from where I was, so to show the two different coloured thick stripes I knitted through it he took a photo of each end. Normally we'd wait until the next day to use the light of day so we could have more options of places to take the photo, but the following morning (Tuesday) Mam was hoping to pick the blanket up to give it to Jane, for Jane to give it to Pia. If I hadn't finished it she would have come for it another day, but since I had, then she wanted to pick it up. Anyway, here are the two photos of the blanket I knitted for Max:




Sometimes photos don't show colours well, so I'll tell you that it's meant to be lemon coloured, with a mint green stripe and a blue stripe through it. There's also a little gold trim at each end, but I'm not sure if you can see that in the photos or not. I couldn't decide whether to do the stripes mint green or blue, hence doing one of each, and I thought the little bit of gold trim at each end would be a nice little touch. I mean, how often do you get to knit with gold wool?

Anyway, Pia hasn't actually got it yet (she gets it either later today, or some time tomorrow). But, I'll let you know what she thinks of it when she gets to see it. I hope she likes it as much as she liked Emma-Jane's blanket!

I'm now back to working on the blanket I'm knitting for myself.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

"Imbolc"

By Ulrike Gerbig

Frost has already packed his bags
Yet does not want to leave
The garden still is wrapped in his old rags
They hang from branches
Bushes lie on grass
The trees still wear their spider’s webs of
Frozen hopes and dreams
The sun’s fierce tongue already
Gently licks all back to life
Sets juices free and lets them rise
Birds again call out for daring deeds
Shy flowers speak of beauty yet to come
The heart throws open wide its windows and its door
Drinks in the smell the sound the sight of
The old dance that never ended never has begun

(Above poem taken from this page).

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Imbolc Traditions, Symbolism and Lore (FD)

It's a time to get ready for spring's arrival. Light is noticeably overpowering darkness. Celebrate with customs of the day while the groundhog's prediction is made.

Imbolc is a festival of preparing for renewal and growth. It’s symbolic of fertility and ridding of the old, making way for the new. Farm animals have given birth or will have their babies soon. This is the midpoint of the dark part of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden Brighid. Her snake emerges to test the weather, the basis for Groundhog Day. In many places, crocus flowers bloom, a sign of spring to come.

The celebration is also called the Feast of Lights, Feast of Torches, Feast of the Virgin, Feast of the Waxing Light, Festival of the Ewe’s Milk, Festival of Lights, Imbolgc Brigantia, Lupercus, Candlelaria, Snowdrop Festival, Greater Sabbat and Solar Festival.

Imbolc Traditions
Straw Brideo'gas (corn dollies), are created from oat or wheat and rest in baskets with white flower bedding. Girls carry them from house to house where gifts are bestowed upon the dollies.

Afterwards, older women make acorn wands for the Brideo’gas. Brighid's Crosses are created from wheat stalks and exchanged as symbols of protection and prosperity. Hearth fires are put out and re-lit. Besoms (brooms), are placed by front doors to symbolize sweeping out the old and welcoming the new. Lit candles are placed in each room to honor the re-birth of the Sun.

The plough is a traditional symbol of Imbolc. In areas where this is the first day of ploughing, a decorated plough is pulled from home to home. Costumed children follow, asking for refreshments or money. If they are refused, the house’s front garden is ploughed over. In other places, ploughs are decorated and whiskey is poured over them. Cheese and bread are left by the tools as offerings to nature spirits.

Imbolc Activities
It’s a time to hike in nature to find signs of the impending arrival of spring, perhaps a crocus or a robin. Priapic wands, symbols of fertility, are made from sticks, acorns, small bells and gold, yellow, green and brown ribbons or yarn. Bride's beds and Brideo’gas are created and ploughs, decorated. There’s feasting, candle lighting and bonfires aflame.

Of Things Imbolc
* Symbols: white flowers, snowflakes, besoms, candle wheels, Brighid crosses, Priapic wands, Brideo’gas and ploughs.
* Colors: white, light green, yellow, brown, pink, red.
* Crystals: ruby, garnet, amethyst, bloodstone, turquoise and onyx.
* Flowers: violets, wisteria, heather, iris and white and yellow flowers.
* Herbs and incense: Bay leaves, angelica, cinnamon, basil, celandine, myrrh, coltsfoot, laurel, vanilla, blackberry and tansy.
* Food and drink: all dairy products, breads, cakes, scones, muffins, raisins, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, greens, bell peppers, onions, garlic, herbal teas, ale, mead and spiced wines.

Groundhog Day
Brighid’s snake appeared on Imbolc to test the weather. Over the years, the snake became a hedgehog or a badger. It was the immigrants from the Palatinate region of Europe, known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, who brought the custom of Groundhog Day to America. Hedgehogs aren’t native to America and badgers are very aggressive. Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, were plentiful, so they substituted for hedgehogs.

The town of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania has celebrated the day since the 1800s. Phil, its groundhog, is probably the most famous of the predictors. On February 2, he emerges from his burrow. The question in onlookers’ minds is whether or not he’ll see his shadow. If he does, winter will last for another six weeks.

(Above taken from this page).