29 March 2011

Be Kind To Yourself

Go for long walks.  Indulge in hot baths.  Question your assumptions.  Be kind to yourself.  Live for the moment.  Loosen up.  Scream.  Curse the world.  Count your blessings.  Just let go.  Just be.  - Carol Shields

28 March 2011

I went to watch Rango yesterday with my friend D and her family.  It was awesome.  Had some good laughs. 

I was going to post this last night, however BT has STILL not sorted out the ongoing problem with the connectivity (or lack thereof!) and I lost connection and couldn't post.  *sigh*  It will have been 8 weeks on Friday since this problem began. . .  And still no end to the problem.

I am happy to report that Baby Victoria is over her jaundice and is at home and has become an angel baby - she feeds well and then sleeps. . .  She loves her hands - they are in constant motion and in her mouth and doing all sorts of little signals.  She really is a precious little girl.

26 March 2011

 Mishka the cat enjoying the scenery on a beautifully sunny morning during the week.

I had arranged for my lovely car 'Pea to have a service on Friday, and had to drop her off at the garage.  The garage I chose is about 45 mins drive from where I live.  Excessive you may think, however the chap who owns it is good, honest and reliable.  He doesn't rip me off or treat me like a stupid woman who doesn't know anything about cars.  Especially as he knows full well that I know a good deal about cars and engines.  Anyway, I digress.

So I drive there and arrive a little before they open at 8:45am.  Being anxious to get to work (I start at 9am) and seeing the man who owns the car dealership on the same property opening up, I ask him if I may leave my keys with him and if he would please show me which vehicle I may use of theirs to get to work.  I get this old Rover sedan-type of car - no petrol and the petrol light is flashing ominously.  So I drive off down the road worrying that it will run out before I get to a petrol station.  Luckily I get to the petrol station, put £15 petrol in and pay.  Get back in the car and promptly set off the alarm.  Why?  Because I don't know how to use it, and am pressing every darn button on the remote to try and get it to stop.  The chap at the cashiers desk at the petrol station is eyeing me out (probably wondering if I've stolen the car or something), and it takes me three attempts of repeatedly setting off the alarm, before I figure out how to stop it and start the car successfully.  STRESS!

I then try and adjust the seat to move it back as my knees are pressed against the dashboard (all 5ft 11" of me does mean requiring some leg room!).  No such luck, the seat is locked in position and will not slide back AT ALL.  *sigh*  I pull off and start the long drive to work (about an hour in the opposite direction).  Tootling along in this strange car and the driver in front of me slams on breaks.  So I do too, only the car doesn't slow down much, let alone stop. . .  I'm pumping the brake pedal like a mad woman, praying I don't hit the car in front, heart beating in my mouth, cursing under my breath . . . and manage to get the green monstrosity of a car to stop in the nick of time.  Whew! 

Carry on going, starting to feel very warm from the heater blasting out hot air into the car.  Start fiddling with the temp guage for the fan - it doesn't work and is stuck in position (much like the car seat.  Ack!) and start sweating.  Open the window, and the window starts tilting at a strange angle....  Oh my.  At least I'm getting some lungfuls of ice cold air, mixed with the heat blasting out on my legs and feet under the dashboard...

Decide the radio might help ease my stress levels somewhat.  Switch it on.  Nothing.  Press buttons for pre-set stations. . .  Nothing.  Press every button on the radio whilst doing my utmost to keep my eye on the road.  The car is having none of it, and neither is the radio.  Make it to work by 9:45, shaky and perspiring like it's a hot summer's day.  Eep!  What an experience!  LMAO.  Needless to say the drive back to the garage in the afternoon to collect my beautiful Polo was just as hair-raising and I was most grateful to have my darling car back =)

I was lucky enough to see this hot air balloon last week-end, whilst waiting to catch the train in to London.  Isn't it lovely?  Just a pity about all the cables in the way.  Oh well....

Woke up to an incredibly foggy morning again today.  After the sunshine this week, I was rather disappointed to not have sunshine again today.  Although this image sure makes everything look pretty.

I went to London again today to visit my beautiful niece.  She is doing much better than she was during the week.  She was admitted to hospital with jaundice, but luckily is home again now and doing MUCH better.  She is sleeping well and feeding well and generally is an absolute angel of a baby.
This is the card I made for my brother and sister in law, to welcome baby Victoria to our family.  The stamp I used is another Lili of the Valley, as is the sentiment stamp.  Image coloured with ProMarkers and papers are My Mind's Eye.  Daisy stamp is a Martha Stewart one and I used flat-backed pearls from The Hobby House.  Paper flowers were in my stash, not sure where they are from.

Hope you all have a wonderful week-end.  Take care now.

24 March 2011

The Land of Rain and Fog. . . sometimes  ;-D  

Maximus and I went walking at 5.30am and were 'swallowed up' by the fog.  It was really cold and quite eerie because it was so thick.  It seems to distort sounds and I could only see a short distance in front of me.  This photo gives you some idea of how weird it was this morning (although it had cleared somewhat by the time I took this).  Of course, the sun did make an appearance by about 10am and shone bright and long the rest of the day.

20 March 2011

My brother's wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Thursday 17 March at 08:10am.  Her name is Victoria.  I am an aunty for the first time!  :)  She is healthy and strong and weighed 3.8kg (wow!). 

I got to meet her for the first time on Saturday when I caught the train to London and went to visit them at home.  She is such a precious baby and we are all so very blessed.

I have had a busy week-end, and spent the afternoon today with two friends catching up over a pub lunch.  It was awesome.

The thought of work tomorrow, does not fill me with happiness!  lol

16 March 2011

Square your shoulders to the world. . .

Square your shoulders to the world, be not the kind to quit;
It's not the load that weighs you down
but the way you carry it. - Unknown

15 March 2011

Thinking about those working on the nuclear reactors in Japan, trying to do repairs, knowing the risk of exposure, taking the risk in the hopes of preventing more damage to their communities. I keep grounding here & breathing courage & protection to those who are on the ground there, gratitude saturated with love like air saturated with cooling mist surrounding the reactor & all life in the area. - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

14 March 2011

It was my sister's birthday last week - this is the card I made for her :

The little ballerina is from Lili of the Valley Cute Squares - Party Girls.  The 'On Your Birthday' stamp is also from Lili of the Valley.  Paper flowers are from Hobbycraft and the papers are from my stash.  The silver dotted on purple, and the white flowers on purple are handmade papers from India.  I tried to make a 'lace' border with my Martha Stewart punch, however I didn't line it up properly - although I quite like the finished piece.  This was an idea I got from Edna Taylor over at 'Another Day Another Card' -

Another soldier killed in Afghanistan - my tiny way of remembering and paying tribute to all our soldiers do is by mentioning it here on my blog.  Perhaps some find that morbid, or do not wish to be reminded.  However I believe it is very important to be reminded that the British forces have lost 359 lives to date in Afghanistan.  These courageous men, women, and dogs proudly and courageously serve and they are owed honour and gratitude.

Lance Corporal Stephen McKee, from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, was killed in Afghanistan on 9 March 2011.

13 March 2011

I find myself increasingly happy that spring is FINALLY making an appearance here in the UK.  For someone who grew up and spent the majority of my life in the southern hemisphere, all these dark, cold days are all very well but by the end of the winter they seem to drag and the perpetual darkness really starts getting to me.  Here are some photos from my week-end :

Of course, Maximus has insisted on going for a quick swim each morning (even though it's still rather cold)....  Bit of a blurry photo, but such is life  ;-)

I spied this cute little bird when I was out and about on Saturday, and managed to get a photo through the car windscreen...  On occasions like this, I really wish I had a fancy camera which I could zoom in closer with.  But these aren't too bad.

I bought myself some daffodils to brighten up my work space - aren't these lovely?
I am so filled with gratitude.  My 'new' car (used, but new to me ;D) had a big problem with the clutch, and I had to return it to the dealers and eventually threaten that if it was not repaired they could return my money in full - it was repaired and I have my dear Sweetpea back and she's a dream =)  My brother is finally home and safe from Afghanistan - his wife is due to give birth to their first baby this week.  They're all healthy and strong.  My Dad was rushed to hospital on Thursday night and it was thought he had a minor stroke.  Luckily, he is a very healthy and strong man and he is recovering well and will soon be home again.  I have the most incredible friends who have checked in each day to find out how my Dad is and how my family are, and how I am - how very blessed I am to have such kind and caring friends.

For the people in Japan and all the other countries affected by the devastating earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis - I thought this was quite a beautiful song which was posted on facebook.  I continue to send love, light and blessings to the animals and people suffering through the devastation.  May the angels keep you in their care.

Just for today I will focus on what I can do, not on what I can't. I can breathe deeply into heart & belly, I can care for myself & rest; I can offer words of support; I can gather & share information; I can send prayers for others who are suffering; I can ask for help & receive it with gratitude. I can let joy find me in the little things . . so much I can do, worry about what I can't drops away. . . - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

6 March 2011

Introducing 'Pea - short for Sweetpea  ♥  I do love my car :)  And we had a few brief, but oh-so-lovely, hours of sunshine today.  Yeah!

The company I work for is going through various financial problems, and they have been laying off staff.  As we've now lost three staff in our department, it's a tad worrying.  Especially when you've just taken a loan to buy a car...  *sigh*  Oh well, onward and upward.  Will face the problem if it arises.

Maximus and I had a good walk this morning, despite everywhere still being very muddy or completely sodden from all the rain.  Crazy dog that he is, it was only about 3 degrees out, but he went swimming in one of the ponds in the village.  Here is a photo of his favourite pond which he enjoys swimming in :

This photo was taken in summer - it doesn't look like this at the moment ;)  Winter has taken all the leaves from the trees.  Hopefully it will start looking lush and green like this again over the next few months.

'If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high.  Look it squarely in the eye, and say, "I will be bigger than you.  You cannot defeat me." ' - Ann Landers

5 March 2011

I sure love happy endings - and this is one of the best I've read about in a while.  This is Courage the German Shepherd, who was chained up and left without food and water for five weeks.  I cannot fathom how people can be so cruel to helpless animals - I have to console myself with the fact that karma will bite them in the ass for what they've done.  Anyway!  Courage is on the mend and has found an awesome forever home where he is being loved and pampered.  Such a heart warming story

I applied for a loan recently to get myself another car (simply because the existing one is so old and is proving to be expensive with repairs which cost more than the car is worth...).  After looking for over a month, I finally found one which is in a good condition with not too high a mileage and has been looked after and maintained reasonably well (or so I hope!  haha).  I'm very pleased, especially as it is a VW Polo, and I just love VW.  As it's been raining most of the day, I haven't attempted to take a photo of it.  Will do so when I can :)

I finished reading a Dean Koontz book today - From the Corner of His Eye - awesome book.  Touches on the subject of quantum mechanics which is fascinating for so many reasons.  I think my favourite line in the whole book is this :
'Brighten the corner where you are,
and you will light the world.'

2 March 2011

 Another soldier killed in Afghanistan, together with his faithful four-legged working dog.  My deepest sympathies to his loved ones.

Lance Corporal Tasker deployed to Afghanistan on 8 September 2010 as part of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment. Having trained as an Arms and Explosives Search dog handler, he was attached to 1st Battalion Irish Guards on 19 February 2011.
On 1 March 2011, LCpl Tasker was taking part in a patrol with his dog, Theo, when they were engaged by small arms fire, during which LCpl Tasker was struck and died from the injuries he sustained. Sadly on return to Camp Bastion, Theo suffered a seizure and died.

Maximum Respect to both ♥  I will not forget the sacrifices you and all the other brave souls have made to keep us safe.