Friday, February 27, 2009


So, it's the weekend again... which is odd as the last one has only just finished. Or at least it feels that way as this week has been so busy and has flown past. I have been so tired in the evening that I haven't been online much and didn't even manage to muster up enough energy to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Anyway, it's Friday at last and so far I appear to have been glued to the sofa. It's just so comfy and I'm sooooo tired. I can just about muster up enough energy to give anyone that may be reading this and is interested a small window into my week:
  • Dessie, my bearded dragon is hardly eating so I took her to the vet. It appears the cold snap we had has meant that she is partially brummating (kind of like hibernating without the deep long sleep). I have to give her vitamin baths and take some steps to help her think it's spring.
  • The vet did say Dessie is a beautiful beardie, which of course she is. The markings on her back are gorgeous! I will have to take some photos.
  • Bob the cat saw to it that I did not get a good nights sleep on Wednesday and that I was woken up on Thursday in the wee hours. I love him very much but was quite willing to throttle him. he has taken to yelling at the top of his lungs from time to time. Not so bad in the day, but around 3am it is not so welcome. Or at 4am.
  • Work has been very busy. I launched a new initiative at work which is a 'surgery' where project teams can come and get advice on certain issues. I got great feedback from those that attended.
  • I also ended up compiling a report at short notice, but made the deadline.
  • Today, I ended up helping the boss map out our tasks and outputs against our customers as part of the input to our team restructuring. Yet another last minute request. It's a time of great change.
  • Yesterday I was so tired I had take away Chinese food as I couldn't face cooking.
  • I also fell asleep on the sofa and woke up an hour later with Dessie asleep on my neck and Bob asleep on my hip.
  • I seem to be tired a lot these days and wonder if it has something to do with my recent thyroid lobectomy.
  • I am off tomorrow to a 'Living History' fair. It's a market where you can buy traditional leather, glass and wood craft items as well as traditional clothing and assorted traditional weapons for history re-enactors. There is usually a wonderful jewellery stand there too.
  • I am also going to buy a new fish this weekend as my poor male Apistogramma Cacatuoides suddenly took ill and died recently. I tried treating the tank but without any obvious outward signs of illness it was hard to know what to do. The other fish are fine happily.
  • I lost a Follower from my blog. I know who it was and I think I know what it relates to but I cannot for the life of me think why. I always respect other people's view even if I have a different one and treat my blog friends with the respect they deserve so I am at a complete loss over this. Perhaps I just wasn't interesting enough?
  • I badly need a break so I am hopefully going to be booking a short break away this weekend for March. More on that once it's booked.
That's about it for this week. I am trying to get round to people's blogs to say hi. Bear with me. I am feeling quite exhausted. In the meantime why not pop by Netchicks' Blog and take part in the Meet & Greet? It's a great way of meeting new bloggers :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday

Today is Pancake Day in the UK otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday and therefore the day before Lent begins. It is the one day of the year where it is obligatory to eat pancakes and therefore they have no calories. Or at least that's what I like to believe!

Pancakes are eaten on this day as Lent is a period of fasting, during which only the plainest foodstuffs may be eaten. Therefore
traditionally, rich ingredients such as eggs, milk, sugar and flour are eaten immediately prior to the commencement of the fast and pancakes and doughnuts were a great way of using up these things. The word shrove is a past tense of the English verb "shrive," which means to confess and therefore Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confession) that took place immediately before Lent and is not an old English word for pancake as someone once tried to convince me! Note, just because someone speaks with authority does not necessarily mean they know what they are talking about!

I like my pancakes with lemon juice and sugar and I promise faithfully that I will then give them up for Lent. After all, they get their calories back tomorrow!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Forty Questions

I have been remiss. Nikki-Ann over at Notes of Life tagged me to do a meme some time ago but I haven't got round to doing it until now. It's a basic Q&A meme, which turned out to be quite amusing to do despite one or two of the questions being a little strange. We start off with smelly cheese and travel through guns, fizzy pop, sheets, pirates, Christmas songs, items of clothing, drink and end on funerals. How about that for a mixed bag?

1. Do you like blue cheese?
Only if it's not bright blue all over.

2. Have you ever done something you regretted?
Far too many. I am human!

3. Do you own a gun?
I'm British so this is a weird question. I'm not a gangsta rappa!

4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite?
Don't have this in the UK but I liked Cherryade as a kid. I like Lilt now and diet coke or tonic are my mixers of choice.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Anything medical gives me the heebie jeebies. After all, you're not there on the whole because everything is fine.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I think they should lie in the shade!

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
Die Hard or Scrooged.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Water or juice.

9. Can you do push ups?

10. Favorite hobby?
Photography and Western Martial Arts.

11. Do you have A.D.D.?
No. But I think far too many people are diagnosed with it these days.

12. What’s one trait you hate about yourself?
I find it hard to ask for help.

13. Middle name?

14. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
I don't know what to write; I'm tired; I'm hungry!

15. Name 3 drinks you regularly have?
Water, Coffee and Wine (not all together).

16. Current hate right now?
Poor manners. Always poor manners.

17. Favorite place to be?
In my head.

18. How did you bring in the New Year?
I was at home watching a film and having a nice glass of sparkling wine.

19. A place you would like to go?
Too many to mention!

20. Name three people who will complete this:
I don't like to tag but if anyone reading wants to do this then please feel free and let me know in the comments.

21. Do you have slippers?
Yes. Furry and warm.

22. What shirt are you wearing?
I'm not. I'm wearing a plain black long sleeved T-shirt.

23. Do you like sleeping on satin?

24. Can you whistle?
Nope, much to my chagrin. I tried so hard as a child. I had loads of people try and teach me but I. Just. Can't. Do. It.

25. Would you be a pirate?
Definitely! A kind of Robin Hood type.

26. What songs do you sing in the shower?
Whatever is in my head at the time.

27. Favorite girl’s name(s)?
My own.

28. What’s in your pocket right now?

29. Last thing that made you laugh?
Can't remember, I laugh a lot.

30. Favourite bed sheets as a child?
This is a really odd question to me. I didn't have any favourites, I just had cotton sheets.

31. Worst injury ever?
I broke both bones in my lower leg as a toddler.

32. Do you like where you live?
It's okay.

33. How many TVs do you have in your house?

34. Who is your loudest friend?
You want a decibel reading?

35. How many dogs do you have?
A small stuffed fluffy one but no real ones.

36. Does someone have a crush on you?
Doubt it but how would I know?

37. What is your favorite book?
Lord of the Rings or Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

38. What is your favorite candy?
We don't call it candy in the UK but it has to be chocolate, the really good stuff.

39. Favorite Sports Team?
Don't have one. I would rather participate than watch others do things.

40. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Wonderful World.

Hope you enjoyed reading. Let me know if you do this one and I'll pop by :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sixth of Sixth

I have been tagged by Pink Dogwood over at Wandering Mind to share a picture and talk about it.

Specifically I have to locate the sixth picture in my sixth folder and talk about it. Not in a descriptive sort of way, but what it means to me, why I took this picture and why I kept it.

The way my photos are grouped at the moment meant that this one of Times Square in New York is the sixth photo in the sixth group of photos (I use iPhoto so my pics are grouped).

I had long wanted to visit New York. It is a city I had seen so much of and heard so much about without ever setting foot in it. It is in so many TV programmes and films that you can't help but feel you know the place. I had to see for myself though. I wanted to look out of my hotel room at night and see if the city did sleep and if it really is like it is in the movies.

One of the first places I visited after checking into my hotel was Times Square. It was early evening in November and I couldn't wait to explore despite being tired and hungry. So off I went in search of food and I found it along with bright lights and flashing adverts and people and yellow cabs and noise and bustle and music. I couldn't believe I was actually there. I took a few pics and then found coffee and food before heading back to my hotel where I also took in Grand Central Station and a fine view of the Empire State Building. I was actually in New York. Wow.

I would love it if some of my blog friends could do this fun little meme. It can be a nice quick one to do! I therefore break my 'no tagging' rule and tag:

Melody of 'Biglittlesister'
Diane of 'Forks of the Moment'
Randall of 'Musings from the Hinterland'
Kenju of 'Imagine...'
Rashbre of 'Rasbre Central'
and Nikki-Ann of 'Notes of Life'

Don't feel you have to though. If anyone else wants to do this then I'd love to see what you post!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wit and Wisdom

When I am at work I am never, ever in any doubt as to what day it is. It simply isn’t possible with 3 calendars and a diary. I use my diary for all appointments. It is the single place where my daily schedule resides along with future appointments and significant dates. The other calendars are around or on my desk and are gifts.

I have one which was a lovely gift from Naomi of ‘Here in the Hills’. It features photos of many bird visitors to her wonderful garden and others that she has encountered in one way or another. Even on the greyest day it brightens up my little area of the office.
I have another which is purely functional. It tells me the day, month year, date. That is it. The third was another gift for Christmas and is a mini page a day calendar which divulges the wit and wisdom of women. Each day there is a new quote from a noted female and they are not all about hair, clothes, shoes, handbags and babies. In fact that vast majority blow that stereotype clean out of the water. I thought I would share a few quotes that have struck a chord or made me smile here:

Whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too. Believe in yourself enough to accept the idea that you have an equal right to it ~ Diane Sawyer

To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and try not to understand her at all ~ Helen Rowland

What the vast majority of American children need is to stop being pampered, stop being indulged, stop being chauffeured, stop being catered to ~ Ann Landers

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much ~ Mother Teresa

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I think Housework is the reason most women go to the office ~ Heloise Cruse

We choose those we like; with those we love, we have no say in the matter ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow ~ Mary Ann Radmacher.

I kept the page this last quote was printed on and pinned it next to my desk. It reminds me to cut myself some slack on those days where I fall short of my high expectations of myself.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Here We Snow Again

Well, no sooner had the snow that had fallen at the end of the week melted, than the world where I live was painted white again. And this time there was more than before. I love it when I wake up and look out of the window to see the street where I live has been transformed into a winter wonderland. Everyday things look so pretty when covered in snow.

Of course big kid that I am, I had to go out in it and take some photos despite the lack of sun and threat of more snow (which came again the next night!). I just love the crunch of snow beneath my feet as I sink through the layers of freshly fallen fat flakes.

Of course, the flip side of the coin is how disruptive the snow has been here. As we get snow so infrequently (and when it does come it usually thaws the same day) we are often ill prepared to handle it. My little car is real wheel drive and so it likes to slip and slide around in the ice given half a chance, even when I weigh the boot down.

Our side roads have largely remained ungritted (as the UK is running short already) and so only main routes are passable, schools are closed, the mail hasn't been delivered for two days, public transport is cancelled or delayed, my rubbish bin remains unemptied, I have been working from home and my social plans have had to be cancelled.

And yet, I am still happy to see the snow. I think it must be the novelty of it all. Even though I have to go out and clear my drive. The photos here were all taken in my back garden. I think even my rusty old wheel barrow looks good with a dusting of snow! I thought about making a snow man but couldn't bring myself to disturb the perfectly smooth white blanket draped across my garden. It will rain later today and it will all melt away. I am glad I got to take some photos. Apparently this is the most snow we have had in this part of the country for 20 years!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snow today, gone tomorrow

I am always inordinately jealous of those of you who live in countries that have real winters. With snow. Lots of gorgeous white fluffy magical flakes of snow that crunch beneath your feet. Snow that is abundant and perfect for tobogganing, skiing and snowman building. Here in the southern parts of the UK we usually get freezing rain, sleet at best. It's wet, cold and miserable and totally unsuitable for making snowballs. Yesterday however, we had snow, direct from Siberia. Sent from Russia with love.

Unfortunately it was all too transient. The world as far as I could see was white for less than 48 hours and there wasn't enough even for a snowman, let alone winter sports. I had to go out in it though and I couldn't help taking a couple of photos to capture it. The top one is off the snow falling in my back garden. Big fat flakes swirling around in front of my garden shed. The last two are of snow on a couple of my garden plants. If you look very closely you can even see a star shaped snow flake right in the middle of the second photo. I love that.

Today the sun came out and the snow melted away until only patches are left in shadowy corners of my garden. I enjoyed it immensely though, even the coldness of it all. It's an odd thing to say, but I am so glad we are having a proper winter this year. The constant rain and greyness of the last two years (summer too, just warmer rain) has really been miserable. Here's to a proper summer too.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I heart my Macbook

I had had enough. It had let me down for the last time and so I traded it in for a better model. Sleeker, whiter, faster, cooler and most importantly it worked. Yep, I traded my Windows based laptop in for a Macbook and I couldn't be happier with my decision. In fact, I wonder why I didn't do it earlier.

My laptop with Vista has been the root of all my frustration, annoyance and the cause of my need for anger management. The number of times I have just wanted to chuck the darn thing out of the window! Vista is just too slow and buggy. Fun little things I had to deal with were; the cursor regularly freezing, the screen not coming back after snoozing and the keypad not working after snoozing along with a multitude of other little annoyances. I thought about re-installing XP and getting a bigger battery but in the end I realised I wanted something quicker, more reliable and Macbooks also have iPhoto which is a much better system for dealing with digital photos IMHO. It's 13" screen has great clarity and colour and it's the right size for my lap (whereas my other laptop was a little large). The battery lasts for over 3 hours and I love it.

I can feel my stress levels decreasing already and using my computer is a pleasant experience. Time to take a relaxing moment with a cup of tea and visit some blog friends methinks! Afterall, I won't be going out much for the next few days with this Siberian weather front bringing icy temperatures and snow.