Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weather and Willow

It's trying to snow.

It wasn't snowing when Kero and I went for our walk to the park, but just after we got back Kelly went to go out to run some errands, and announced that it was snowing.

I told him it didn't matter unless it stuck, but after he left Kero and I went out to see it anyway. LOL! I figured I'd rather see snow that doesn't stick than see none. I hope we get a decent snowfall this time.

I could have done with it not starting until tomorrow though. The thing is, my Mam and Willow are currently half way between Wales and here; they should arrive around 11:30am.

It's been trying to snow in Wales since Thursday, but it's not sticking because of the rain. It hasn't rained here in a few days though, so it might stick. If it looks to be sticking Mam will have to turrn around and go back home.

She's only staying until tomorrow though. She's just coming to bring Willow.

Willow will be staying with us since Mam isn't in a position to keep her. We asked our landlord if it was OK, and he seemed positively excited about the idea actually, LOL!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Card I made for Emma-Jane

I thought I'd share a photo of the card I made for little Emma...


Can you believe she's almost 2 already? Seems like just yesterday she was a tiny little bundle who couldn't even hold her head up, and now she's fast approaching her 2nd birthday! She's a bright child; always has been. She was walking - unsteadily, but still - shortly after turning 9 months, and very quick to pick up words too!

But enough of that, since this post was only to show you the card I made her ready for her birthday in March. I dare say I'll talk more about her on her birthday! ;)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Who are "they"?

It's a sunny - but VERY cold - Sunday, and I think I lost my creative muse while out on my walk with Kero; before and during the walk I had all sorts of ideas floating about in my head, but when I got home and sat down in front of the laptop... Nothing! I'm guessing my muse was enjoying it at the park too much to want to leave yet?

They say when you have no ideas you should just write anyway. So, here I am, writing whatever pops in to my head in the hope of luring back those ideas that were fighting to get out of my head earlier. You never know, I may even come up with something that's worth the time you're taking to read it. Stranger things have happened!

Who are "they" anyway? I mean, everyone always says "they say" but does anyone actually know who "they" are? And why do "they" get to decide what's right or wrong? I for one don't remember putting them in charge. In fact, I know I wouldn't have; why would I put a mysterious person or group of persons in charge without even knowing who "they" are? It's all a bit suspicious if you ask me!

OK, I'm going to go and check on any posts people have left since yesterday; maybe by the time I'm done doing the rounds on the blogs my muse will have returned? *Shrugs*

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Susan's 2nd bloggerversary giveaway

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!
Make your own banner at MyBannerMaker.com!

Grab a Hot Cuppa or your fav cocktail, and head on over to Susan's blog for a fantastic giveaway that she's doing to celebrate her upcoming 2nd bloggerversary. There are three catagories, and loads of prizes for each one, so there's bound to be something you'd love to be entered for. So, what are you waiting for? Click on the banner at the top of this post (or on my sidebar) and go check it out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Books of fairytales and fantasies

I have a couple more reviews for you again today. Here you go:

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard" by J K Rowling
I have no page to link to for this one, since all websites seem to say is, "A collection of wizarding fairytales," which I can tell you just fine myself. Anyway, this is the collection of wizarding fairytales that Hermione Granger is given by Albus Dumbledore in the final Harry Potter book, and which J K Rowling made available to us. It's taken me this long to read it purely because I needed to wait until I was in a position to do so; nobody ever got around to reading it to me, and it's only recently that I discovered it in braille (I'd looked on and off since the book was published more than 4 years ago). It contains stories such as "The 3 Brothers" (the tale you can read in "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows") and "Babbity Rabbity And Her Cackling Stump" (which Ron Weasley mentions the title of in that same book) among others. As for my personal opinion... I thought it was an amusing take on the kinds of fairytales I grew up with. I especially found the antics of the pot in "The Wizard And The Hopping Pot" amusing, and enjoyed reading the interesting - and sometimes amusing in themselves - notes that Albus Dumbledore wrote on each tale, which were published at the end of the tale they were refering to.

"Snuff" (Book 39 in the Discworld series) by Terry Pratchett:
"According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is on holiday in the pleasant and innocent countryside, but not for him a mere body in the wardrobe. There are many, many bodies and an ancient crime more terrible than murder. He is out of his jurisdiction, out of his depth, out of bacon sandwiches, and occasionally snookered and out of his mind, but never out of guile. Where there is a crime there must be a finding, there must be a chase and there must be a punishment. They say that in the end all sins are forgiven. But not quite all..."

(Above taken from this page on Fantastic Fiction's website).

I absolutely love Terry Pratchett's books, and this one was no exception. Even while talking of serious things, like murder, Terry Pratchett can make you laugh. Seriously, if you haven't yet read the Discworld books, then you need to do so!

***

I've also recently re-read a book I reviewed only a couple of months ago. The book was "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield, which tells the story of Vida Winter finally telling the truth about her past. There's a lot more to it, obviously, but since I've already reviewed it not even two months ago I don't feel I need to go in to much detail. Anyway, I'm now re-reading the first of the first 5 books (I'll only be re-reading the first 5, because I don't have the 6th) in the "Kingdom Of Landover" series by Terry Brooks, which tell the story of Ben Holiday's adventures in the kingdom of Landover, which he buys after seeing an advert for a kingdom for sale in a catalogue that had arrived for his dead wife. You can tell which are my favourite books; I re-read them over and over again! ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Potential new groomer for Kero

I found a groomer who comes to the house to groom the dog; she's coming to groom Kero on February 9th. She says she'll be with us some time between 11:45AM and noon.

The woman does also offer pet sitting, but I think before I trust her to take Kero away for a sort of "doggy daycare" type of session I want to meet her a couple of times. After the last time I'm not as eager to leave my baby boy with someone I bearly know. That's why I like the fact she comes to the house to groom him; I get to meet her and see her with him properly.

There are loads of other groomers around - many of whom offer pet sitting or doggy daycare to their customers, but I like the idea of being able to be around as he gets to know her. The thing is, the groomer he had in Wales he'd had since he was a puppy, and we knew what she was like from other dogs being taken there.

I'd like to have somewhere he can go so we can go out together without him. But I think I'd prefer to know that where he goes is with someone he feels comfortable with, and also someone who will treat him right, if you know what I mean.

Keep your fingers crossed this one works out!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

4:48PM

When I checked my e-mail this morning there was a suspicious lack of lessons for my courses. I'd finished 2 of the classes, but there should have been 10 lessons waiting for me in my inbox. There were none. But when I went to go to the site it said the account had been suspended. I had Kelly go look on his computer, but no matter what link we clicked on (any of the courses I'd linked to the other day, or the link to the main site) we were getting the same message. So we searched Google for free online courses (since I knew it would come up if we did that) and when it did, we clicked on it via the search engine's link. Sure enough we got the same message. So now I'm not sure if it's temporarily suspended or suspended for good. Either way I'm a bit annoyed at the fact I've now got 10 incomplete courses. They shouldn't havve allowed courses to be signed up for if the site would be suspended. I mean, I guess it might not have been their fault, but whoever's fault it was should have considered those of us in the middle of getting lessons (in fact, I think most - if not all - of the courses only had a day or two left to go). *Sigh* Oh well, I guess there's nothing I can do but see what happens over the next few days.

***

Kero seems to be loving having me to himself for our morning walks. In fact, he likes it so much that he was even willing to go for a short walk in the rain with me yesterday. We didn't go far because the rain started to get a bit heavier, and we aren't total idiots - despite how it might seem sometimes, especially in my case, lol - but we went a little way. And most days we've gone to the park.

***

Still no snow here; plenty of frost - especially in the early morning - and a fair amount of wind and rain, but mainly sunny but cold days. *Sigh*

***

I've not done too bad yesterday and today with fitting everything in. Of course, today it was helped by the absence of my lessons, but still.

OK, so my "writing time" is taken up most days with writing the next part of the e-mail stories I'm doing with people; one of them one that's been going for a while with my friend, Tom, the other a recently started one with my brother, Carl. But part of the reason for that is that I hadn't allowed much writing time at the moment, because when I start doing the courses rather than just collecting them - which it looks like will be happening sooner than expected - they mostly involve writing exercises. And when I'm done with them I planned to make my "homework" time extra writing time. Besides, the e-mail story replies don't come every day.

Still, I'm managing to be on top of things a bit more, and have even managed to find time to join in with a play by post roleplaying game that's just starting up on my Dad's forum. It's one of the systems from the "World Of Darkness" system, which is called "Hunter" and involves us being people who end up investigating and - as is usually the case in roleplaying games - defeating the sources of weird disturbances (usually involving things like werewolves and vampires, apparently).

***

I broke one of my teeth a couple of weeks ago. It didn't bother me much at first, but it's starting to bother me more now. We haven't had a chance to get registered at the dentist due to a combination of weather and lack of doggy daycare, but we're going to have to sort it soon, I think.

The thing is, without doggy daycare we have to take Kero with us, which means one of us has to stay outside with him while the other goes in. That would be fine, only we can't do that when it's raining, and - of course - every day we've gone to do it it's been raining. OK, I admit we haven't exactly tried that hard - I've seen so many doctors in my time that getting registered with a doctor and a dentist doesn't fall high on my list of priorities while I'm in a position to allow it not to be a priority - but the rainy days when we need dry ones don't help.

Like I said, I'll have to see about it soon; even I can only ignore pain for so long.

***

OK, I think this will do for today.

Stay safe and warm (or cool, as the case may be). :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reviewing 4 recent reads

I have a few book reviews for you again today.

Ready? OK!

Twilight - book 1 of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer:
"About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him----and I didn't know how dominant that part might be----that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."

(Above quote taken from this page on Fantastic Fiction's website).

I watched the movie ages ago, but it was only recently I read the book. I'd heard it was better than the movie, and since I enjoyed the movie I was all set for a good read. I wasn't disappointed; it was a fantastic book, and is even better than the movie!

The Star Of Kazan by Eva Ibotson:
"In a tiny alpine church, on a June day in 1897, an abandoned baby girl is found by a middle-aged cook from Vienna. So begins the unusual childhood of Annika, brought up in the house of three eccentric professors by their two domestic servants. By the age of seven she can bake and ice a three-tiered cake and polish parquet floors to perfection. Her life in this golden city of music, fabulous food, and the beautiful Lippizana stallions who dance before the Emperor Franz Joseph is greatly blessed - until her unknown mother tracks her down and comes to claim her... Here is another Ibbotson masterpiece of wonderful adventure, packed with dozens of unforgettable characters who weave their way through a faultless, intricate plot of enthralling events - sometimes hilarious, sometimes bleak, but always marvellously entertaining. It offers every reader who loved Journey To The River Sea an enchanting new world of fictional riches. It is a timeless classic, for readers young and old."

(Above taken from here).

This is only my second encounter with an Eva Ibotson book (the first being "which Witch; mentioned in yesterday's post) and I wasn't disappointed. I don't need to say more though... What I grabbed from the page on Fantastic Fiction covered it, I think.

A Small Place in Italy by Eric Newby:
"This book is a lush and beautiful memoir of a very special house and a superb recreation of a bygone era. In 1967, veteran travel writer Eric Newby and his heroic wife Wanda fulfiled their dream of a return to life in the Italian hills where they first met during World War II. But this fulfilment would not come easy. The dream materialised in the form of I Castagni ('The Chestnuts'), a small, decrepit farmhouse with no roof, an abandoned septic tank and its own indigenous wildlife reluctant to give up their home. But in the foothills of the Apuan Alps on the border of Liguria and Northern Tuscany, this ramshackle house would soon become a hub of love, friendship and activity."

"It lovingly recounts the quickly disappearing lifestyle of the idiosyncratic locals, and the enduring friendships they forge, whether sharing in growing their first wine harvest as novices or frying poisonous mushrooms for a feast."
(Above taken from this page on Waterstones' website).

I thought it was a really good - sometimes amusing - book; I didn't realize it was a memoir until afterwards and just thought it was a well written and interesting story at the time. But regardless, it was an enjoyable read, which - as I already mentioned - was amusing in places, and a little emotional in others.

City of Gems by Caroline Harvey:
"1879. Maria Beresford, the selfish and difficult but beautiful daughter of a failed tea-planter in Bombay, devotes herself to pleasure and social advancement. When her father is sent to Burma and she has to accompany him, she becomes embroiled in an exotic world of political intrigue."

(Above taken from here on Fantastic Fiction's website).

It wasn't too bad of a book; I wouldn't count it anywhere near my favourites though. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, especially the way the stories of the people didn't fully tie together until the end so that you were left wondering throughout most of the book. Like I said though, not one of my favourites of the books I've read recently; or at all, come to think of it. Still, it wasn't too bad.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recently re-read

These are some books I've recently re-read, which I know for a fact I've reviewed on here before, but thought I'd give another mention to today, since I love them so much.

So...

Michelle Paver's Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness series:
A series of 6 books that tell the story of Torak who finds himself alone in the forest and bound to complete a quest he'd promised his father he'd do as the man lay dying after being mauled by a demon bear. Only 13 Summers old, Torak is forced to face the fact that he's destined to rid the forest of the evil that has come to it. It's a fantastic series that's officially meant for children, but which most lovers of Fantasy novels will enjoy, I think.

J K Rowling's Harry Potter Series:
For anyone who happens to have been underground for the past 15 years or so - which is the only way you could possibly not know of these books - I'll tell you that this is a series of books about a young wizard named Harry Potter; a wizard who doesn't know he is one until his 11th birthday, despite the fact he's famous, since he - at the age of 15 months - somehow survived a killing curse, leading to the downfall of the darkest wizard of all time. However, having grown up with muggles (non-magic folk) Harry knows nothing of this, and is under the mistaken impression that the death of his parents and the lightning scar on his forehead were caused by a car crash.

Which Witch by Eva Ibotson:
Arriman The Awful is the typical evil wizard, but being the most feared wizard of the North is hard work, and now he wants to retire. After waiting several years for a new wizard whose coming was foretold to him by a fortune teller Arriman decides he'll have to take the only option available to him; he'll have to get marrried and produce an heir. But which witch should he marry? He decides to hold a contest to decide.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Time turners

I've come to the conclusion that I could really do with having a time turner like Hermione Granger used in "Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban" to be able to repeat hours so that she was able to attend all of her classes. I don't think I'd need, or want, to use it every day as she did - judging by her exhaustion that's something that should be avoided - but I think there are days when I could do with a bit of extra time. I thought, perhaps, that some days I could simply re-live the day in order to use it to catch up with things. Days like yesterday for example I could do with being able to go back and re-live so as to do the things I neglected doing in order to spend most of the day on the phone with various people catching up on how they were, etc. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge a single one of those people the time I took to speak with them. I was just thinking how nice it would be to have the option to catch up with people and still fit everything else in to my day (which - for some unknown reason - seems to be a tricky task in general).

I'm pretty sure that some people must have already managed to get their hands on a time turner. After all, some people seem to be possessed of the ability to put in a full day's work and still achieve all the things that those who don't work struggle to fit in to their day without the loss of the time spent out at work. Not that I'm saying the time spent at work is a waste of time - of course it isn't - just that some people seem to be able to do more in a day with... For the sake of argument, 8 hours... Missing from it than some others manage to do with having access to those 8 hours, if you know what I mean. And, quite frankly, I'm rather jealous of those people!

So... Does anyone know where I can get my hands on a time turner?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Knight Bus

"Just stick out your wand hand, step on board, and we can take you anwhere you want to go."
-- Stan Shunpike

The Knight Bus is a triple-decker, violently purple bus which has The Knight Bus written over it's windshield in gold letters. The Knight Bus provides emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard; all they need to do is hold out their wand hand. It is also possible to book a seat on the Knight Bus for trips around Britain (PA, OP).

The conductor of the Knight Bus is Stan Shunpike. He wears a purple uniform, has large protruding ears, and quite a few pimples. Stan is about 18 years old. The driver is Ernie Prang, an elderly wizard wearing very thick glasses. In the film version, he is aided by a talking shrunken head hanging in the windshield (Brit.: windscreen). This does not occur in the book, however.

The driver and conductor sit in the front of the bus in armchairs. During the night, there are no other seats on board, rather the Knight Bus provides a half a dozen brass bedsteads per level. In daytime, the beds are replaced by armchairs for the passengers. Lighting comes from candles in brackets on the walls. A small wooden staircase leads to the upper floors. The ride is very bumpy as the bus seems to jump erratically from one place to another. If you're not careful, you will find yourself thrown around the interior of the bus during it's travels. One frequent passenger, Madam Marsh, has been known to actually throw up while riding the bus.

The fare from Little Whinging to London is eleven sickles. For an extra two sickles you get hot chocolate and if you pay two more besides, you get a hot water bottle and a toothbrush to boot.

According to Stan, the Knight Bus travels anywhere you want to go, as long as it's on land.

(PA3)

Where does the name "Knight Bus" come from?
by Morag Traynor

"Knight Bus" is a play on "Night Bus" - Night Buses run through the night in London and, after the Tube and trains stop running (around midnight) are the only public transport available. They are a very welcome sight when they (eventually) turn up to take you home, and are the traditional red double-deckers, so it can feel as if a knight in shining armour has come to rescue you. The roads being clearer at that time of night, once you are out of the centre, the bus bounces along at a considerable pace, for a bus, tree-branches rattle along the roof and you're sure the driver's never going to make that corner (but he always does) so the whole experience is not unlike the Knight Bus - apart from the comfortable beds, panelling and chandeliers, of course! I also love the name Ernie Prang - "prang" is old RAF (based on Malay, I think) slang for "crash", extended to road traffic, and is associated with a rather insouciant attitude to crashes, as in "pranged the Jag last week - what a bore!". The Knight Bus is another example of JKR finding the magic in the everyday, or, in this case, every night.

Above taken from http://www.hp-lexicon.org/wizworld/knight_bus.html.

My newly aquired version of the Knight Bus is a little different to how it appears in the books and movies. But then, to make it in to Lego it would be tricky to make it exactly as it appears. It's still cool to be able to say I have a lego Knight Bus though, and I do have one. Here it is:

Right side:


Front:


Left side:


It comes with a lego stan, Ernie, Harry (in muggle clothing) and Headwig. Plus a trunk for Harry, a little version of the shrunken head, and a couple of flat pieces to put in the trunk that have pictures of socks on them. LOL!

This time I put it together properly, and it's staying like it for a bit. But it will end up among my lego collection soon; the Harry in muggle clothing can join the couple of Harry Potters I have in wizard robes. I now have three Harry Potters (2 in robes, 1 in muggle clothing) a Ron Weasley, a Hermione Granger, a Draco Malfoy, two Hedwigs, an Ernie Prang and a Stan Shunpike. As well as two brooms, a sorting hat, a shrunken head, a Hogwarts trunk, and about four wands. I still have a lot of Harry Potter Lego to collect though; there's a Lego set for Hogwarts, another for The burrow, and a few other little ones. And the good thing about Lego is that it doesn't matter if you get doubles of sets; just means you have more pieces to play with. ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Magaly tagged me (LBE and FD)

In a post she did yesterday, Magaly tagged me. I'm supposed to post 11 random things about me, answer certain questions Magaly set for me in her post, then tag 11 people and set 11 questions for those people to answer. And since I'm usually game for these things, I agreed to play along. So, let's see...

11 random things about me (I've tried to find things most people who read my blog wont know, though some of my long-time readers will probably know at least some of these):

1. I alternate between wanting to live in a gypsy caravan moving about all the time, wanting to own a smallholding with goats and chickens and things, and wanting to live in a huge place (like a castle) where I can have rooms for different things (a library, a craft room, etc) and space to spare. Which I'd prefer depends on my mood, though the caravan thing is my prefered option most of the time.

2. I absolutely love banana milkshake, banana smoothies and banana flavoured yogurts, but I'm not a big fan of bananas in general. I used to be, but after I spent two years having to have one a day on doctors orders because of pills I was on having a side-effect that lowered my patassium level I went off them a bit.

3. The thing I miss most since losing my sight is reading "proper" books, and writing on "proper" paper with a pen.

4. My childhood monster still scares me.

5. I stopped drinking "proper" tea for a while so as to wean myself off it a bit since the caffine in the large quantity of tea I was drinking may have been contributing to my anemia, but now I can't stand the taste of it, as a result the only types of tea I will drink are herbal or fruit teas.

6. I detest coffee after accidentally taking a sip of my Dad's, which he drinks cold. It was my first experience with coffee, and my last!

7. I wish I could have met and been friends with Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books. I even worked out the dates; I'd have been 2 years behind her in school if I'd been able to go to Hogwarts.

8. I wish I could have a pet owl to deliver my post. I'd call it shadow, because owls move as silently as shadows unless they want to be heard. Or maybe I'd call it Hedwig, in honor of Harry Potter's owl. Either way, I'd like to have my post delivered by owl each day; it would be so cool!

9. I have 2 tattoos; 1 on each of my upper arms. On my right arm is a Welsh dragon, which my brother and I had identical versions done of before I went to Canada when I was 18 and he was 19. On the left arm is a heart with a bone across it that has "Kero" written on it and a few little blue flowers near each end of the bone; I had that one made especially for Kero when he was a little over a year old and I was forced to rehome him (thankfully only temporarily).

10. I was given my very first pet when I was a tiny baby. It was a black cat, and her name was "Third Time Lucky" or "Lucky" for short (my Mam named her, obviously, since I was - as I already said - a baby).

11. I've been writing since I knew how, and won my first competition at the age of 7 (still have the medal I won).

And the questions set for me (plus my answers, of course):

Q: What is your favourite kind of foreign food?
A: Chinese Sweet And Sour Sauce.

Q: What is your favourite movie of all time?
A: Practical Magic.

Q: What weird items would I find if I went through your wardrobe?
A: None; my weird stuff isn't hidden away. ;)

Q: Which God or Goddess annoys you the most?
A: None of them do since I don't give them much thought; I don't feel the need to worry about them, so they don't get a chance to annoy me.

Q: Where is your favourite place?
A: I don't have one, though I suppose home, because it's safe and where all my stuff is.

Q: What is your favourite scent for essential oil?
A: My all time favourite scent for anything is lavender!

Q: What foreign country would you love to visit?
A: America, because I have several friends there who I would like to meet.

Q: Number one song on your ipod/CD player/whatever you use to listen to music?
A: I assume by this you mean favourite? In which case I'll have to pick "Ottawan - Hands Up"... It's been my favourite since I was small.

Q: What is your favourite smell?
A: Lavender, closely followed by the smell of freshly baked bread.

Q: What is your favourite computer game?
A: BG Scrabble; a version of scrabble, which I have on my laptop and play a LOT!

Q: What ingredient do you most love to cook with?
A: if you mean herbs, mint for savoury items, cinnamon for sweet items. Otherwise my answer is potatoes; I love to eat them done just about any way - especially made in to chips and fried, or baked - and there are so many ways to cook them!

Q: Which time period do you feel a calling to? Do you think you could have a past life there?
A: I can't say there's one particular time period, although I do often find myself wishing I could have been around before all the technology came in to being; back in the days of candles for light, fires for cooking, and cosy nights wrapped up in blankets in front of said fire. As for a past life; I think I've had a couple, but since I haven't really tried any past life regretion techniques - and even they aren't guaranteed to be fool-proof anyway - I couldn't possibly know for sure.

Magaly had us answer some of the questions others had put to her, but please don't make me mess about with adding links to everyone who the different questions came from. They are questions 3 and 9 set by each of the people who tagged Magaly, so if you want to know who they came from, check out the people who tagged Magaly, which you can do by checking out the post I linked to on her blog at the start of this post.

Now for the people I'm tagging. Sorry if you're one of those people not keen on being tagged, but the rules say I have to tag 11 people; it's up to you if you play along though... I hope some people do at least, but I wont force you. So, I'm tagging:

1. Intense_Guy.
2. Rita.
3. Celticspirit.
4. LadyStyx.
5. Furrybottoms.
6. Alpha Betsy.
7. Deanna.
8. ChicagoLady.
9. Susan.
10. Call Me Cate.
11. Stephanie At The Co-Exist Cafe.

And these are the questions you need to answer if you're playing along:

1. What was your first pet? And what was its name?

2. What's your earliest memory?

3. If you could live anywhere in the world, in any type of home, where would you live? And what kind of home would you live in?

4. If you had to pick just one meal to have every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? And why?

5. What would your ideal job be?

6. Do you love to read? If so, what are your favourite types of books?

7. Are you a fan of watching movies? If so, what are your favourite types of movies?

8. It's a cold, dark night in the middle of Winter; the snow is falling thick and fast outside the window... What are you doing?

9. It's a beautiful, hot day in the middle of Summer; there's not a cloud in the sky, and bearly a breeze... What are you doing?

10. If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be? And why?

11. If you could have a conversation with any person - alive or dead; just as long as they really exist (or have really existed in the past) - right now, who would it be? Why them? And what would you discuss?

Like I said, none of you who I tagged are obligated to play, though I'm hoping at least a couple of people do since I'd like to read your answers to the questions. I know some of you don't usually do these tag things though (a couple of people got tagged because I needed 11 people who were still around on the blogs who there was at least a slight chance of wanting to join in).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Furkid thoughts: Kero at home

Hi humans, it's Kero here.

I have a couple of new photos of me hanging out at home, so I thought that I would share them. First, one of me standing beside Mami's basket of wool in the living room.


That basket of wool is what's left from the huge stack of wool Mami got from Daisy and Poppy's human ages and ages ago; she's knitted so many things that there's nowhere near as big of a pile of wool these days. There's still a good few balls of wool in there though, and I think Mami has plans for at least most of it.

And here I am laying on the floor; keeping alert for any noises I can bark at.


Anyway, I just thought that you would enjoy seeing these photos.

Licks and sniffs,
Kero

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Almost noon on a Wednesday (kinda FD)

For anyone interested in seeing photos of the penguin ornaments Kelly made, you'll need to go to Kelly's blog and check out this post.

***

Thanks to Kelly's help with the word verification,I'm signed up for another batch of courses from E-Mail College. I grabbed a dozen this time - since it seemed like as good a number as any - and they are:

Fairy Tales
Fantasy & Sci Fi Worlds
Fantasy Genre - An Introduction
Fantasy Novel Writing
Fighting Writer's Block
Film Reviewing
Flash Fiction
Freewriting A Book
Getting Creative
Getting Your Non-Fiction Published
Ghost Writing
Gothic Fiction

I'm grabbing all the writing ones - as you probably noticed, especially if you've seen the older posts where I was signing up for courses before - since they're free, and I figure I'll grab them while I can. After all, just because I don't plan on writing a spacific genre now, doesn't mean I never will, right?

Anyway, I got the first lessons today.

***

I'm trying to work out a sort of routine that will allow me to fit a bit of everything that I want to fit in time for in to each day. Of course, this would work better if I'd sleep to a set routine, but there you go.

Anyway, I've long since given up on setting times for things, so I've decided to go with setting aside certain length chunks of time rather than saying I'll be doing something at a certain time, if you know what I mean. Obviously if I've done everything and I have a bit of extra time to spend on one of the things then I can spend some more time on that, but the idea is to get in some time to work on everything (craft projects, courses, writing projects, blogs, etc) and get other things done (housework, any appointments, preporation of and cooking of food, etc), then obviously spend any extra time doing whatever needs my attention most (if I've ended up behind on blogs and need some time to catch up properly, spending a bit of extra time working on craft projects, etc). My plan is that I don't end up too behind on blogs, get all the projects I want to get done finished, and actually get to writing down and trying to make something out of the ideas floating about in my head.

Obviously I've also set aside some time for a bit of Yoga, a daily meditation session, and walks with Kero (which he'd never forgive me if I didn't make sure to get in each day; especially since he now knows I can do them).

***

I only have about three CDs left to listen to of the final Harry Potter book, then I'll be reading and listening to a couple of new books I have, and after that I plan to re-read a couple more of my favourite books. I didn't, for example, listen to the first 5 books of the Earth's Children Series by Jean M Auel when I got the 6th book for my birthday and listened to it, and I think it would be nice to listen to them all one after another. Besides, I love the series!

Plus, it gives me something entertaining to listen to while I work on my craft projects.

***

I re-watched a couple of movies on DVD yesterday too (while working on making a couple of cards). One was "Lilo And Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch" and the other was "How To Train Your Dragon"... Both really good movies. Well, I think they are, anyway!

***

This will do for today... I need some lunch!

Stay safe and warm!

Penguin ornaments

I thought that I would post the photos of the penguin ornaments Tori mentioned in her holiday posts myself. A front view first. And now a side view. Hope you like them. Kelly

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday's scary moment

I stopped at the edge of the curb and shifted my cane in to the position it belongs in while I wait to cross a road. There was no sign of any traffic, but still I didn't cross; something was holding me back.

A shiver ran down my spine, and I couldn't decide if it was due to the bitter wind that was biting in to my flesh; finding its way through the fabric of the thin jacket the sun had fooled me in to thinking would be enough, and making the fingers of my bare hands sting, or the tight knot of fear that had settled in my stomach; twisting and coiling inside it like a nest of restless vipers.

I took a step backwards, away from the curb. I couldn't do it. I wanted to, but I couldn't.

As I turned to head back home I heard a soft whine from near my feet.

"What?" I asked, looking down at Kero; of course, I couldn't see him, but I always look anyway... It's a habit from when I could see, and besides, it's polite to look.

He whined again, pulling back in the direction of the curb.

"But..." I protested, attempting to take another step in the direction of home.

He whined again, and continued to pull in the direction of the curb.

I stood there for a moment, trying to decide what to do. I'd done the walk to this point a few times, but I'd never gotten up the nerve to cross the road to the park's entrance. I knew if I did Kero would expect to walk around part of it, and I wasn't sure I was ready for that. I could do it; I'd done it three times during mobility lessons while my mobility officer watched from the park's entrance. But still I was reluctant. Still I was afraid. I wanted to go home.

But Kero was still standing by the curb, whining softly and trying to pull across the road, and as I stood there I felt sorry for him; it must be awful, I thought, to see the thing you want so badly and not be able to get to it. So many times in the last couple of weeks we've headed in this direction and turned back instead of crossing the road; sometimes before even reaching the point where we need to cross.

"Alright... Come on then," I said to him, reluctantly turning back to the curb and again positioning myself and my cane ready to cross it.

This time when I was sure the road was clear we crossed; Kero excitedly pulling me across as though worried I'd change my mind and turn back after all. But I didn't change my mind. We kept walking, and within a minute or so were walking through the archway entrence to the park.

***

This was what happened yesterday.

There was more to it, like the neighbour who stopped us so she could admire Kero, the neighbours walking their own dogs who stopped to say hello, and the other neighbour who took a bit of convincing before he'd accept that I was able to cross back across the road by myself (I'm pretty sure he stayed put to watch me across actually).

Not to mention how I managed to take Kero around the grassy area I'd been practicing navigating during my last couple of mobility lessons, back out of the entrence of the park, and home without any issues; even finding our gate by myself without difficulty (I'm getting pretty good at finding the gate).

I was scared; monsters were trying to force themselves out of the dark corners of my mind and in to the front of it, and I was barely keeping them back. And I was cold; my hands - especially the one holding my cane - were aching and going numb by the time I got home (as I said, it was sunny, but a lot colder than I'd thought, so I hadn't dressed as warmly as I should have). But I did it.

I'd managed to get to a point over the holidays where I could walk to the corner of the road and get myself home (I was able to do it by Christmas). I knew the walk beyond that; my mobility officer had left me to do different parts while she watched from a distance for a couple of weeks now. I just couldn't bring myself to do it and would make excuses; always genuine reasons in a way, but ones that wouldn't have stopped me if I hadn't clung to them as reasons not to have to do it. In short, I hadn't done it because I was scared. But Kero knew I could do the walk, and this time he wouldn't let me turn back... I guess he decided it was about time I faced my fear.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A blanket, a card, and a couple of toys

I thought I'd show you photos of some recent craft projects.

On November 24th Emma-Jane became a big sister (which you'll know already if you read my Mam's blog; I can't remember if I mentioned it at the time, but I know she did... I think I did, but I'm really not sure). Anyway, Emma's baby brother is called Harrison, and I promised I'd make him his very own blanket. Well, the holidays were approaching, Harri was almost a month old, and I hadn't finished his blanket, so I promised myself I'd finish it before the start of the new year; I thought it would be nice to go in to the new year without a load of unfinished craft projects (which I achieved; I wasn't in the middle of any projects when New Year's Day arrived). Anyway, here's the blanket:


It got posted to my Mam last week, and she'll be delivering it to Harri for me.

Anyway...

Remember how I said on Friday that my Nan recently celebrated her 84th birthday?

Well, here's the card I made her:


I also made a start on some of the handmade presents I plan to give out this year. I had planned to do my things first, but I was done with Harri's blanket before my blue wool arrived, so I figured I'd make a couple of small presents while I waited.

So I made this bear:


Which is to be Emma's birthday present (her birthday is in March).

And then I made this ball:


The blue wool I'd ordered arrived the day I finnished the ball, so that was well timed!

I'm now about a third of the way through the scarf for my scarf, hat and mittens set. But it's currently been put on hold while I work on something else. I can't tell you what I'm working on though, because it's for a swap I'm doing, and I don't want to spoil the surprise. Once it's finished though I'll continue working on my scarf. And, don't worry, you'll get to see what I've put my scarf on hold to make, but not until after it arrives at its destination.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mid January scribbles

We've had several nasty "sea storms" and it's extremely cold, but no snow. There's often a fair amount of frost in the mornings though. Perhaps it's too cold for snow? I'm no weather expert, so I don't know the right sort of temperatures for snow. Not that it would help me much if I did, since I don't know what the temperature has been lately. All I know is that it's really cold, and I don't really need to know more than that. I would like some snow though... Please?

***

For a few minutes this morning I wasn't sure if it was really Sunday. Why? Because we got post. Not special delivery type post, but the normal post. I only remember one other time that happened, and I'm pretty sure that was around this time of the year too. I can only guess that they're doing a couple of Sunday deliveries to get caught up on all the stuff that usually piles up with the holiday deliveries. It threw me for a few minutes though, and I had to check what day it was before I was satisfied I hadn't added or lost a day somewhere, which - I have to admit - would have been a possibility, hence the need to check; it wouldn't have been the first time!

***

I'm almost done with my Harry Potter book marathon. I would have been done before now, but I figure I should do things like sleep too, and I can't listen to it while I use the laptop. I can't remember how many disks it is in all, but I know they range from about 10 disks to 24 disks, and I know I'm about a third of the way through the final book (with plans to listen to a couple more disks later).

***

OK, well, I know this isn't much of a post, but I'm going to let this do for today anyway; I need to spend some time catching up on reading the blog posts I haven't read from the past couple of days.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thank you Jeannie, Rita and Karma

I wanted to post a couple of photos of cards I got recently.

First, the Christmas card I got from Jeannie, which didn't make it in to my holiday posts, since it came the day after Iggy sorted all those photos for me. Here it is:


And now a card from Rita and Karma to say, "thank you," for the presents we sent them:


Thank you both for the beautiful cards! :)

And thank you Iggy for sorting my photos for me yet again! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy belated start of January birthdays

We haven't even made it half way through January, but already there are 5 birthdays I haven't mentioned this year. This post is to wish a happy belated birthday to...

An online friend of mine named Sarah, who celebrated her birthday on January 1st.
Jeannie, who celebrated her birthday on January 4th.
My Nan (Dad's Mother) who celebrated her 84th birthday on January 8th.
Dorkys, who celebrated her birthday on January 11th.
And an online friend of mine named Angela, who celebrated her birthday on January 12th.

I hope you all had wonderful birthdays!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The other 2012 "to do" list

I told you earlier about the projects I hope to get done in 2012. Well, now I'm going to tell you about the other things I'd like to achieve this year. So...

* Establish a routine in which I manage to do a bit of each of the things I want to each day (this includes a bit of Yoga and a daily meditation session).
* Finish collecting the courses I want to do from E-Mail College.
* At least make a start on doing the above mentioned courses.
* Start working on the writing projects I keep promising myself I'll do.
* Improve my skills with tarot reading.
* Learn to read runes.
* Improve my knowledge of herbal remedies.
* Get to a point where I can take Kero for a walk to the park by myself.
* Learn the routes to the seaside and town.
* Start checking off things from my "what I want to do before I turn 30" list.

Nothing spectacular or impressive, I'm afraid, but there you go.

Project list as it stands at the start of 2012

OK, I said yesterday I'd post my list of projects I'd like to get done this year, so...

* Make a handmade gift for each family member (and a select couple of friends) for Christmas.
* Make a matching hat, scarf and mittens set for myself in blue and gold.
* Make a cardigan/jacket for myself.
* Stitch a few items of clothing for myself.
* Knit a couple of blankets/throws for us.
* Make a clay Dalek.
* Make birthday and holiday cards for everyone I send to.
* Have a go at candle making.

Of course, things may be added throughout the year (in fact, I'd be surprised if they weren't). But those are the things I would like to get done at the moment.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Of fireworks and sleep

There was an awesome firework display going on somewhere near here on New Year's Eve. Well, I thought it was awesome, anyway. Apparently not everyone shares my opinion; Kero wasn't as impressed. I forgot to give him his calming treat, so I was up half the night with him still trembling with fright from the fireworks. They were really close, and really big ones, so I'm not surprised he was so scared. Poor little guy! I ended up falling asleep in the early hours of New Year's Day, curled up on the sofa cuddling Kero. I suppose it's just as well we didn't need to be up early to entertain guests for a new year's dinner or something. LOL!

I was going to add my list of projects I hope to get done this year to this post too, but I didn't get to writing them earlier, and now I'm too tired; my sleep schedule is all messed up again. Still, at least I'm sleeping, even if it's not when I would prefer to be sleeping (I could do with it happening a couple of hours later so I get up a couple of hours later, if you know what I mean). Anyway, I'll post the list for you another day, along with a few other things I plan to post. Right now though, I'm too tired; it's just about my current bed time (in fact, I'm only still up due to being determined to get a post of some kind up on my blog for today).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tales From The New Inn

For ages I've been hoping that Owen (a family friend who is a storyteller) would do an audio CD with some of his stories on it. Then, last month, I got this e-mail:

"I have good news,

Just got off the phone and am pleased to announce that my first Audio CD has just gone to press and will be available in just a matter of days. The cd features all the tales from my 2010 Edinburgh fringe show and a bonus story as well. Its called "Tales from the New Inn -stories from the dark heart of the Valley".
This is a real dream come true time for me, all the stories are based out of the New Inn in the Swansea valley as chronicled by the Landlady Rhian harris between 1810-1812 . its a lovely introduction to Welsh folklore and features almost a full hour of Tale telling.

The Cd packaging has been designed by the wonderful Eleanor flaherty (www.eleanorflaherty.co.uk) and the audio was recorded and mixed by Dic Uplands from Swansea so this truly is a fantastic local product.

Although this will not be officially released until the 9th of February 2012 , I have a limited amount available to you NOW."

Naturally I had to get one, and - as it happened - there was one present Kelly had yet to get me. So, we ordered a copy right away. OK, so it meant I knew one of my Yule gifts, but I didn't care; I was going to have a CD of Owen's stories!

Owen managed to get the CD to us just in time; it was to be my fourth present from Kelly, and it arrived the day before I would have been opening it. A couple of days later the three of us - Kelly, Kero and I - listened to it together.

It was a wonderful CD; almost as good as having Owen right there in the room with us telling his stories. Of course, nothing beats the real thing, but it was the next best thing, and - as I said - almost as good as the real thing!

To get your hands on a copy, please go to http://www.owenstaton.com/tales-from-the-new-inn/.

Note: The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own; they are neither influenced by others' opinions, nor by the fact that Owen is a friend.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Celebrating Yule 2011 - Part 4 (FD)

The 26th of December (Boxing Day)...

I had a full vegetarian roast dinner; cranberry nut roast, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, sprouts, carrots and peas. I even took a photo of it for you:


Kelly said I was mental for doing that, but whatever. LOL!

I also made a pan of Wassail; didn't manage to get a photo of that though.

Kelly and Kero had a chicken and vegetable pie and a glazed ham. Though I think what actually happened was that Kelly had the pie, and - after some was taken off it for Kero - the ham was just sliced and frozen for them to have another time.

Anyway, we also had crisps (potato chips) peanuts, and still had a decent supply of the cookies and mince pies I'd made (though none of them are left now).

Once everything was over with, I decided to take photos of my cards...







I think I got them all, but I'm not sure.

The only one I know for sure didn't make it in to the photos is the one from Jeannie, because it arrived after Iggy had sorted the photos for me. I'll post a photo of it when I can though.

Among the photos above should be handmade cards from Rita, Deanna and Susan though, as well as cards from most of my family and friends. There was also a card from Iggy, but I don't know if it made it in to the photos. Anyway, sorry if I missed getting your card in the photo (if you sent me one, I mean).

And, speaking of Iggy...

My present from him arrived just before I sent him the photos:


It's a kit to make a keepsake print of your pet's paw. So we can do a proper imprint of Kero's paw and have it to keep long after he's gone.

Anyway...

Since I had the final Harry Potter movie on DVD among my presents, I "had to" then have a Harry Potter movie marathon, so I watched all eight movies back to back... Just because I "had to" and, well, because I could, basically! ;)

And there you go; now you know how we celebrated Yule in 2011! :)

We don't usually bother with New Year's Eve; there were some awesome fireworks on New Year's Eve and the first two days of the new year though!

I've still not had snow thoughh (well, apart from the light dusting we got three weeks ago, but that barely lasted long enough to be noticed)... *Sigh*

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Celebrating Yule 2011 - Part 3 (FD)

And then it was Christmas Eve.

My presents were an audio CD I'd been dying to get, which Kelly brought for me (review and more information to come soon) and even more glitter stuff from Kero.

And we spent the day watching holiday movies while I worked on getting this hat finished:


It's one Kelly asked me to make; says he needs one now he's had his hair cut shorter. And, yes, the colours were his choice.

Anyway, we watched all my favourite holiday movies:

Terry Pratchett's Hogfather
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
Miracle On 34th Street
The Littlest Light On The Christmas Tree
One Magic Christmas
The Polar Express
Santa Claus - The Movie

(That last one is my all time favourite Christmas movie).

I was going to also watch "The Grinch" and "Elf" but I got too tired.

When I was taking Kero out before bed that night I heard the bells from the nearby church ringing (for the start of midnight mass, if I'm not mistaken) so I stood and listened while I drank my mug of hot cocoa and gave Kero time to find the perfect spot to do whatever he might need to do before bed.

Then I went to bed and read "The Bear Father Christmas Forgot" before I settled to sleep. That's another favourite of mine; Carl gave it to me, and I've read it every year since; it's a cute little story. I was going to also read "A Candle In The Forest" but I was too tired; I fell asleep almost as soon as I laid my head on the pillow and snuggled in under my blankets.

Of course, I left the holiday lights on though...


...They always stay on on Christmas Eve!

So... Christmas Day arrived.

We got up and had our stockings, which "Santa" had very kindly filled with treats for us; chocolate coins, nuts, chocolate Santas, then some of our favourite treats, which in my case meant some fudge, some coconut ice, and a selection of dairy free chocolates.

Then we opened the last of the presents under the tree.

My present from "Santa" was some craft stuff; some stickers, more glitter, and some wooden shapes I can stick on things. From Kelly I had three more audiobooks (review and information to come in a later post) and the final Harry Potter movie, and from Kero I had a book about candle making, a book with meditation ideas in it, and another book (again, review and information to come in a later post).

Most of the family gave me money, but my Mam also gave me some presents, and my brother, Carl, wanted to give me presents rather than money, so I let him.

These are what I had from Carl.

Soaps in the shapes of animals:


(A hippo, a turtle, a fish, a bear and a dolphin).

And some moulds for making jelly (jell-o) or chocolate, or whatever:


(A normal jelly mould, a rabbit one, and a car one).

My Mam gave me some scented pillows (sort of like the lavender ones I made at Litha) and some pot puree (will have to get a pot to put it in). Also, I know I have a couple of other things from her that she forgot to send because they were in a different box (the first box wasn't big enough for them too).

Anyway, most of the 25th was spent phoning and texting people to say, "Merry Christmas," and swap details of who had what and from whom.

Then I spent most of the evening doing the prepwork for the holiday feast we planned on making the following day to finish off our celebrations.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Celebrating Yule 2011 - Part 2 (FD)

Thursday December 22nd arrived, and it was time for us to start our second full day of holiday celebrations! :)

We exchanged another present; I had an audiobook from Kelly (review and information to come in a later post) and more glitter stuff from Kero.

Then we started having fun with crafts. We wanted to make at least one holiday decoration. In my case this was a couple of glittery baubles:





I used the gold glitter paint I'd had from Kero that morning as the main colour, then decorated one of them with some glitter glue too; only I did it lightly so you only get the hint of the colours. I used amathyst, ruby and aquamarine, but I'm not sure if you can tell from the photos above.

Kelly made some sledding penguins. Well, started to; they're really fiddly, so they weren't done by the time I sent these photos to Iggy to be sorted, and I haven't had a chance to have him sort the photos yet. I'll post photos when I can though.

We finally got to our roast chestnuts after that; turns out Kero likes chestnuts too!

Anyway, that evening I did a meditation I'd planned to do. Well, sort of.

My plan was to take my quartz thumb crystal (which I hold when meditating)...


...Then meditate about the old year, and the new one.

In the back of my mind though was something I'd heard a lot of people saying about recently; a word for the coming year. I had heard someone mention it last year, but this year several people had. Enough, it seems, to have it firmly planted as a suggestion for me in my own mind. I tried several times to stop myself thinking about the word for the coming year - since that wasn't what I planned to meditate on - but my mind kept coming back to it. In the end I got the hint and decided to go with it; if my mind was that determined to pick the word (and it was the same word each time) then what else could I do?

So, I have a word for the coming year... Hope!

Anyway... It was a little after eight in the evening, I was done meditating and had just gone back in to the bedroom to listen to my new audiobook when the doorbell went. Who could it be? I was in my PJs (I usually am by that time if I have no reason not to be) so Kelly answered it. He was in PJs too, but that's not as bad for a man. Sorry, but it isn't.

When he opened the door, someone shouted, "come carol with us!" and disappeared in to the night before he could say or do anything. I wish they'd hung about; if they had then I'd have liked to go with them, but though he saw which way they went, by the time we could have thrown some clothes on and been ready to go they'd have been long gone. If he'd stuck around I'd have asked him to wait a minute and we'd join them, but he just didn't give us time. He seemed to think we'd be ready to drop everything and follow him. I wish we could have! I told Kelly I'd like to find out next year if someone will be doing that again, and if so be ready to follow them. He seems to like the idea too, so hopefully we can find out if or when they'll be doing it and join in next year.

OK, moving on...

On the 23rd we planned to be doing some gaming, but instead ended up doing more work on our craft projects, since we had to keep doing a bit then letting it dry and so on. Plus, we'd planned to do a bit of roleplaying, but my laptop decided it wasn't having any of it; I managed to catch up with blogs, but when we were about to try and do the roleplaying session (which I needed my laptop for since my character sheet and GMA Dice are on it)... Well, the laptop just refused to start. By the time I got it working again it was too late to be playing really.

My presents that day were more glitter stuff and a small pair of craft scissors from Kero, and some candle making supplies from Kelly to bulk up the starter kit I got myself for my planned attempts at candle making; I'm thinking I'll try it on Imbolc (February 2nd, for those who don't know) since that's a good time for candle making.

And I spent the evening reading a book called "A Treasury Of Christmas Tales" which has short versions of stories like "The Little Match Girl" and "A Christmas Carol" and "The Nutcracker" in it, as well as a few cute little Christmas stories I hadn't heard of before like "The Christmas Bear" and "The Wishing Star"... I love the book so much I got my brother a copy so he could read it each year too, if he wants to.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Celebrating Yule 2011 - part 1 (FD)

OK, now that Kero's had his turn at posting about the holidays, it's my turn! ;)

On December 20th we kicked things off by making that the first night to have the candles lit for a while. We planned to light the two scented ones we had, but decided we'd also light the plain white one we'd found on the windowsill when we moved in. It didn't look like it had been used, and I did purify it "just in case" because of the fact it was sort of being used for a ritual; the candles, after all, were a symbol of the sun now beginning to strengthen, and warmth and light returning to the Earth. Anyway, here are all three candles lit:


The bits of wax from the edges of the wider ones; which didn't end up melted away as the candles burned, is now in small pieces with the candle making stuff I have, and I plan to melt it down to use to make new candles at some point.

We'd also planned on having roast chestnuts, mince pies and cocoa to kick things off, but we didn't get to the roast chestnuts and mince pies that first evening; we were too full from dinner, and too tired by the time we weren't. LOL!

Anyway, the following morning we had our first present; in my case this was some new cookie cutters and a tub containing some craft supplies (pipecleaners, pom-poms and such) from Kelly, and some glitters and glitter glues from Kero.

Then we made cookies!

First we made some "cinnamon sun cookies"... Cinnamon cookies cut withh a cookie cutter I have that sort of resembles a sun shape.


Then we made some "chocolate walnut trees and bells"... Which are chocolate cookies containing chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, cut in the shapes of bells and trees using a couple of my new cookie cutters; a bell and a tree, as you probably figured out.


Then we made "ginger choc stars and snowflakes"... Ginger cookies with white chocolate chips in them, cut in the shapes of stars and snowflakes (again with a couple of my new cutters... Though I did already have at least one star shape).


We decided to decorate the ginger choc stars and snowflakes; we spread butter icing on them, then sprinkled sugar sprinkles in various shapes all over them. I put a few of them on my penguin plate so you can see them decorated.


We also made some sweet mince pies.


I used my Mam's mince pie recipe, but I made the pastry myself.

I still had a couple left from the last batch, but while I was baking... *Shrugs*... Well, you know; I figured I might as well! ;)

We ate some cookies and mince pies that day, but we still didn't get to the roast chestnuts.

Just after sunset it was time for me to do my planned ritual.

So, I took up my bell and the special candle I'd brought for doing it...


...And went around the house with the candle in one hand and the bell in the other, holding the candle up and ringing my bell while repeating a single phrase:

"Be gone all those who wish us harm; welcome those who don't!"

And when I was done I placed the candle in the kitchen window (which is near the door) and made sure its twin was lit in the living room window (which, because of the positioning, is "sort of" the other side of the door). I left both candles on all night to see off any unwelcome houseguests, and to serve as a welcoming light for those who we would welcome. Plus, as it was the night of the 21st, that's a good night to leave the candles lit all night anyway (and the fact they're battery candles - which I thought was safer since I would be walking around with one of them - meant that there was no fire danger while I went to bed and left them alight).

And that's it for the start of our celebrations; I'll tell you more tomorrow.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Alexis' Story, Part 2: Blessed To Death

I'd planned to start doing my own posts about the holidays today, but I'm interrupting myself in order to post this, because I want to post this today.

Do you remember that I posted Alexis' story as my virtual Yule gift as part of a blog party on December 21st? Well, Magaly has written a sequel - with my permission, of course - and I wanted to share the link with anyone who is interested and hasn't yet seen the post for it, which was published on her blog a couple of days ago.

So, I present to you...

Part 2 of Alexis' Story: Blessed To Death!

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Furkid thoughts: Kero's holidays 2011 continued (FD)

Hi humans, it's Kero again!

OK, so I told you about the first few days, now I want to tell you about the final couple of days of my holidays; the part where Santa Paws came!

As I said at the end of December, despite my best efforts, I didn't catch him. He left me a stocking full of treats though; here I am seeing what he left me with Mami:


There were some yummy treats in that stocking; here I am with one of them:


In my stocking were all my favourite treats... Jumbones, schmacos, rawhide treats, and several other treats. That Santa Paws seems to know exactly what my favourite treats are; he knows me as well as Mami does!

After stockings it was time for the last of the presents from under the tree.

Santa Paws had left me a present under there; the turkey teddy in these photos:



It's a squeaky turkey teddy; I look confused because I was trying to figure out how he snuck the present among the ones under there without me noticing they'd been moved; he must be really sneaky, or very magical!

I also had a big package - which I'd been sniffing at longingly since it appeared - waiting under the tree for me from my humans; there were three things in it.


A polar bear teddy that squeaks...


A selection box (alright; more treats!)...


And a new bed...


Here I am trying out my new bed:




My new bed is now in the living room, and my old beds (which are actually small beds; they're meant to be decent sized cat beds) are in the bedroom; Mami put them side by side with my blankets spread over them so I can stretch out better. They're looking a bit tatty, so Mami planned to throw one away, but I got upset, so she used them to make a big bedroom bed instead. I'm not quite ready to part with them yet!

When my humans had their holiday feast I had some ham; I love ham!

And that's it for my holiday post. I know the holidays are all over with now, because on Monday Mami put away the decorations. She says she'll pull them out again when it's almost time for Santa Paws to come back. I'm already excited about him coming back; especially if we'll be having lots of present days again... I love presents!

Licks and snifss,
Kero

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Furkid thoughts: Kero's holidays 2011 (LBE and FD)

Hi humans, this is Kero here.

I persuaded Mami to let me do my post first; I have lots of photos to show you and wanted to get to it. I've split my post in two though, so you'll see the second half tomorrow. But, for now, on to the first half!

Note: I might have the photos of me opening presents with Mami in the wrong order, but I've tried to get the presents I had each day around the right way. Just don't worry about it if I say I had one thing in the package, but it looks more like another thing, if you know what I'm trying to say. Anyway...

Mami told me that before Santa Paws comes we'll have a few days where we get a present each; which was just fine with me!

So, the Wednesday before Santa Paws came, we got up and had our first present:


"Treats? YAY!"


"Give me a treat, Mami!"


This is just Mami checking she has all her fingers after I got a bit excited when taking one of my treats... Oops!


"Wait a minute... There's more in this package!"


"Mami, will you play with my new squeaky cracker with me?"


YAY! She played...

Here's a couple of photos of me and Mami playing tuggy with my new squeaky cracker toy:



That first day, I got a squeaky cracker, and a cracker shaped box containing some chewy dog treats in various shapes (snowmen, trees, etc).

The next day, we got another present:


This one had some dog biscuits shaped like snowmen in it; I liked them!



Along with the snowmen biscuits, I also had a squeaky bone; it didn't make it in to the photos. And it no longer squeaks; I'm still enjoying playing with it though!

The day after that we had yet another present... What can it be this time?


A squeaky Christmas pudding!


Mami and I then had a great game of "fetch the pudding"... See:



And what was in the package with the squeaky pudding?

Smells like mince pies...


It was; doggy mince pies!

So my third present was a pack of doggy mince pies and a squeaky Christmas pudding. The mince pies were very tasty, and the Christmas pudding - which no longer squeaks, but is still being played with - was great fun!

Day four, and another present:


WOW! My very own doggy chocolate Santa!


And a rope tuggy toy:


I had fun playing tuggy with the rope with Mami, and the chocolate Santa... Well, it wasn't bad, but was definately not one of my favourite treats. It took me a few days to get around to eating more than a few nibbles, where as the snowman biscuits and mince pies were gobbled up quickly, and they only lasted a few days because there were more than one of them. And - more to the point - Mami wouldn't give me both.

Not a bad pile of stuff though; three squeaky toys, a rope toy, a chocolate Santa, some mince pies, some biscuits and a pack of soft shape treats. And tomorrow you can find out what Santa brought for me, and what was in my final package from my humans.

That's it for today though.

Oh, apart from one more thing...

Thank you to my pal, Iggy, for sorting out all of mine and Mami's photos for us!

Licks and sniffs,
Kero