Friday 30 November 2012

Link-up week

This has been a week of Link-ups. I've found one for every day except Saturday. Link-ups are fun because it focuses you mind when writing the post; it also gives you a chance to read other blogs that you don't normally read; it gives your blog a wider audience than it might normally find and hopefully, if you (dear readers) click on the link button, you will also find something new to read.

I'm much improved health-wise, and am starting back to work next week - so hopefully I'll have more exciting things to write about than the view from my bedroom window and the adventures of Casper K Cat!

Skywatch (66)

Blue cloudless sky, sun low and weak - it's Autumn

Thursday 29 November 2012

It's OK Thursday (5)

Linking up with Neely and Amber for "It's OK Thursday" again

It's OK...

  • that I have entire conversations with my cat
  • I haven't been out of the house is a week and a half
  • we have our Christmas decorations up already
  • I sleep almost as much as the cat
  • in the last three weeks I've watched over five seasons of Friends
  • I haven't written my Christmas cards yet

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Tackle It Tuesday: Photo Chaos

Once upon a time... a long time ago I had a fairly simple system for dealing with my photos. I took them (12, then 24 to a roll) they got developed, I wrote notes (if I was organised) on the back and they got stuck in an album. Simple. There were never that many photos as film was expensive and so was developing... remember Tripleprint where you got one regular size photo and two wallet sized photos to share with friends?!

Then a revolution happened. Digital photography. It was slow to start at first. My first digital camera was a webcam (probably one or two megapixels). The next few cameras weren't much better although the next was an actual camera and the one after that had the now familar LCD display and a flash. You can't print most photos from that age as the size is about 320x240 and the resolution too small.

I changed my digital cameras about as often as my mobile phone got upgraded, sometimes more often. It was sometimes for an upgrade in performance and on occasion because unfortunate accidents befell them (once technical, twice physical) and once because I just didn't like the camera.

The upshot is in the early days when the cameras weren't 'all that' I took about as many photos as with an old style camera. As the cameras improved (and I think significantly the cameras on my cell phone improved and automatically synched to my PC) the amount of photos has exploded.

This is a screenshot grabbed this morning. That is right, over 20,000 photos in nearly 1,000 folders. Little wonder I can never find anything. The top level structure looks deceptively organised, but it hides (it would appear) total mayhem. Most of the pictures have no titles, few are tagged - finding anything in a hurry requires the luck of knowing where you last saw it.

So today (as it can be done almost lying down in bed) my task is to try and organise the photo folder into something that might resemble the albums of old. And seriously... the oldest photos don't have Exif Data, but there seems to be about 8 years worth of folders... over 20,000 - I think some of the rubbish ones need throwing away!

Distressingly there are also photos in other places than the 'My Photos' folder, which need to be gathered and sorted.

It is only slightly better organised on Flickr who took the file structure largely from the upload folders, but hey - problem for another day!

Monday 26 November 2012

Miscellany Monday (2)

  • Enforced bed rest may be good for the body but it is not good for the soul. Nearly half-way through watching the whole of Friends from the beginning even I have got bored now... so different TV or more reading...
  • Thank goodness for my Kindle, I can read without the effort of holding up a book (which given the current fatigue levels in my limbs can only be a good thing) - I've done more reading being sick in bed in three weeks than I'd managed in the previous three months (even though I love reading)
  • My cat is totally insane. He has random inclinations to run around the house like a lunatic jumping on and off furniture, he stands at the edge of the bed and shouts at me for no discernible reason... but then he falls asleep in the afternoon and is totally ten types of cute!
  • The weather needs to make it's mind up. We had beautiful sunshine and blue skies for a while yesterday morning... and overnight and this morning there was more torrential rain (still forecast until tomorrow) but then we appear to be getting sunshine again. What could be more English than talking about the weather?!
  • It was pointed out to me that this is the last week of November. This is alarming to me as it seems like yesterday that it was October... that is what a glut of bed rest does to you... you lose all sense of time (and when you can't feel large parts of your body, space)
Casper thinking (or bird watching)
Autumn leaves fall, not yet swept out of sight
Thanksgiving Dinner

South London Parrots
The famous flying sheep
More tail than cat

Happy Monday everybody!

Talking to cats

Cats, so they say, have the ability to make 100 different sounds. Any cat owner, after only short acquaintance with their feline companion begins to distinguish at least some of these.

Casper's favourite form of verbal communication is purring. He has loud purrs, little soft sleepy purrs, quiet purring to himself purrs... when as a kitten at the vet the complaint was often made it was hard to check his heartbeat as all anyone could hear was purring!

We also have 'miaows' of many colours. There is the conversational miaow that we have whilst I am preparing dinner, there is the cross miaow when anyone takes too long about anything (I think it is possibly bad language). 

We also have squeaks and chitters. These are often reserved for intruders in the garden and during playtime.

Then there are the 'yowls' - this is Casper's preferred form of communication. It is akin to shouting. If he is somewhere else and wants to play 'yowl'. If  he is on his own and wants some company 'yowl'. It is not to be encouraged, he has a very loud voice.

He also excels in body language. His tail is extremely expressive from being held as a flagpole when he greets you to content swishing to angry 'intruder alert' swishing and twitching. He does the long slow 'I love you' blink (although not so much the head bumps); when overcome with delight at tickles he sometimes grabs my finger with his paw... and he loves to get physical sometimes when we play.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Sunday Social (25)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
1. Name 4 jobs you've had in your life.
I have had so many it's hard to remember them all... I did a lot of part time jobs paying my way through University. Current job: Chartered Quantity Surveyor; apple picker (lonely, boring, and surprisingly hard work); filing clerk (often for many companies, very good at filing); cleaner (some excellent jobs there - I liked the one where I cleaned a tall Edwardian office conversion, alternate floors on alternate days and delivering coffee/tea twice round the building... otherwise sitting in the kitchen and reading. I also liked the one where we had to keep the toilets stocked with paper and empty the bins and spent the rest of the time hiding in the basement corridors reading).

Tools of the trade

2. Name 4 movies you would watch over and over.
Gone with the Wind; High Society; Groundhog Day and Heaven Can Wait. The actual list is much (much) longer.
3. Name 4 places you have lived.
Village in Kent where I grew up; student halls at the beautiful Royal Holloway College campus (although not in the most beautiful building) Dartford (several student houses in the best parts of town); South London (current residence).
Kentish Country Village
View from my bedroom in Dartford... that's the motorway
London's country campus... I didn't live there
South London 'village'

4. Name 4 of your favorite foods.
Avocado; chocolate mouse; steak and kidney pudding; Camembert cheese - there's a strange meal in there somewhere!
5. Name 4 things you always carry with you.
iPhone, bus pass/Taxicard, wallet... look at that, there aren't four! Gloves at a push.
6. Name 4 places you have been on vacation.
New York City, Prague, Paris and Norfolk (there are more exotic, but Norfolk was the last holiday I had with my Dad so it was special).
NYC: Looking down from the WTC
Paris: La Tour Eiffel
Norfolk: on the beach

Saturday 24 November 2012

On hiatus

My MS and I have been having a falling out (read relapse) which has confined me to bed for the last fortnight. The only exceptions have been medical related trips... two teeth filled at the dentist, two toes having nail surgery at the podiatrist, a hospital visit to see the nurse and a doctors visit. Phew.

The rest of the time I've been lying in bed reading, thankful for the Kindle so I don't have to hold a book or watching TV (working my way through Friends).

If it wasn't for the iPad and iPhone I wouldn't have used the Internet as sitting up with the laptop is far too tiring.

Happily I have the Better-half to take care of me and Kitten-cat to keep me company, steal the best bed spots and generally amuse me.

Monday 12 November 2012

Poems I love (9)

Desiderata isn't really a poem. It used to hang in the downstairs toilet of my childhood home - hung there because it was already there when my parents bought the house.

I always thought that it must have come from somewhere ancient and undiscovered although Wikipedia has since disabused me of this notion. I can still recite huge chunks due to my continued and prolonged childhood exposure!
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. 

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

It is still a beautiful world

Sunday 11 November 2012

Sunday Social (23)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
Although we're not American we enjoy the three football games we get on that Thursday night, and we have our own little Thanksgiving meal.
1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?
My first Thanksgiving was in 1999 when I visited New York. One weekend I visited friends upstate and shared a Thanksgiving meal with them. It was a lovely warm experience when I'd been travelling alone to be amongst a family sharing a meal.
2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Sweet potatoes with melted marshmallow topping. If you've never tried it you don't know what you're missing.
3. What is a Thanksgiving tradition you and your family have?
I get home from work, which as I don't work Fridays is the end of my week. I cook us our little turkey breast and sweet potatoes and pigs in blankets - and settle down to watch as much football as I can stay awake for!
4. Show us a favorite Thanksgiving picture(or 5) from years past

Mmm, sweet potatoes with marshmallows

Thanksgiving 1999
5. What are you most looking forward to about this Thanksgiving?
Is it bad that it is three football games? My excuse is we're English (well the Better-Half is Scottish) and we're stealing your holiday America!

Lest We Forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Those who remember the 1st World War are practically none. The generation who fought the 2nd World War are fading. Although there are veterans from other conflicts we remember in the hope that there will never again be veterans from conflicts such as those from early last century.

When I was younger I didn't really understand Remembrance Sunday, it is only when you get older that you can truly appreciate the amazing sacrifice that those who fought for our freedoms made; what they risked, and for some what they lost.

It is thanks to the sacrifices made by them that I can sit in my pyjamas on a November Sunday morning and quietly give thanks.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Sunday Social (22)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social

  •  What is currently on your wish list?
    Ah my wishlist, curated by Amazon. It is long and varied and contains such disparate items as books (mostly on London), ornaments (mostly frogs), subscriptions (to websites and magazines) and all sorts of other random stuff.
  • Share a new iphone, droid, ipad app you have recently discovered that we all need.

This blogging App Nuffnang X (for iPhone and Android) gives a whole new aspect to interacting with comments and blogs. Watch out for a post on great iPhone apps coming soon!

  • What is a new fall TV show you have added to your DVR?
    I've been watching the new season of Red Dwarf... missing and presumed dead after 9 seasons, resurrected briefly by a TV special and now currently enjoying Season 10 - it is great to have Lister, Rimmer, Kryten and The Cat back (even if they are beginning to look their age, sorry boys!).
  • Share your Social Media links for us to follow you on (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc). Tell us which is your favorite and why

    Twitter is my favourite to use - I just enjoy the endless conversation and have met some fabulous people. Facebook is best for social interaction; I know the Timeline is generally not liked, but I like it - it is easy to share photos, thoughts and all sorts of other things!
    Most of my links can be found on my About Me page.

  • What is a TV show or movie or song you could listen to or watch over and over and over and never get tired of... feel free to name one of each!

    TV Show - every Sunday morning (nearly) so it must be true - Friends. It never gets old, even though I must have seen every episode a dozen times.

    Movie - There are quite a few, I think definitely I'd go with one of the old musicals... probably 'High Society' - it is like comfort food; I've seen those old films so much I can practically recite most of the scripts!

    Song - again there are quite a few. I have thousands in iTunes, but only a short playlist on my phone so I hear the same ones quite a lot... probably Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" as it has such positive lyrics and always gives me a little smile. The BBC used it in a fabulous advert which you can see on YouTube.

Saturday 3 November 2012

What I found there... (4)

A quirk of architecture in our house means that there is a strange little corridor that leads to our bedroom from the top of the stairs. It has two bookshelves (which need a clear out) and a collection of ornaments and photos on top of them.

Blue pig guards the staircase

Corridor to the bedroom

Guarded on the bookshelf side by a cat!

Wooden zoo, a gift from my brother

The golem. Bought on a trip to Prague back in my youth.

Even further back in my youth... from Portugal.

Crystals with properties and smell,
rocks from Mount Etna and pebbles.

Fish comes from Jamaica.
There was a sea-shell thrown away when it started to smell!

Glass perfume jars - again from my brother.
Ginger jar because I like crystallised ginger!

Napkin ring from my christening.
Angel from MiL - dedication or aspiration?!

When I was young my Gran had a music box that played
Eidelweiss. This one does too.

Beethoven, one of my favourite composers.
We had a bust at school who wore the music room headphones!

My parents had a bigger shinier one of these... I have two smaller
ones which I generally put earrings or ear-plugs in!

These were table decorations when we celebrated my Grand-parents'
Emerald (55th) wedding anniversary.

My most eclectic bookshelf.