Sunday 31 March 2013

Events collide!

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. Yes, Easter is early this year... still in March (just). 
He's a week late - donkeys are more Palm Sunday
Chicks emerge from eggs - symbolising resurrection
If you're in the UK you'll also have gained some sleep last night as the clocks went forward an hour at 2am. 
Our badly behaved radio controlled clock which takes time to adjust!
If all that wasn't enough... tomorrow is April Fool's Day. So keep an eye out for internet tomfoolery (possibly less than usual as it is the Easter Monday Bank Holiday).

Sunday Social (43)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
  • What is your favorite type of workout to do?
    I've been going to the gym quite regularly recently. I do use some of the equipment (recumbent cycles, treadmill, etc.), sometimes I do laps in the pool; but my favourite workout is the 'Water Workout' (aqua-aerobics). I get to stand up when I'm in the water and do all sorts of exercises that crutches would make impossible... plus it is a really good workout for so many muscle groups; and when we get going it's even a good cardio-workout. Oh yes, and all the other people who do it are really friendly too!

  • What is your favorite guilty pleasure candy or sweet?
    There is only one Guylian chocolates. I love them so much. Luckily the Better-half knows this and I get a regular supply. Christmas lasts to Valentines. Valentines lasts to our Anniversary. Anniversary lasts to Easter. Those have to last... well a long time!

  • What is one thing you continuously forget to do?
    Take my Tuesday tablets. I take a tablet every morning; but on Tuesday I have to take my massive horse-pill dose of Vitamin D. Every week I forget the tablet I take every other day as well as the Tuesday tablet!

  • Do you prefer post-its or phone reminders? Why?
    Phone reminders rule. I live and breathe Toodledo which is both web-based and an app. I have it on my iPhone and my iPad. Work reminders, home reminders. Always with me. Post-its lose their stick and float off; and are anchored to the location you stick them.
  • What is your favorite picture currently on your phone that always makes you smile?
    This photo of Casper reading the notices! The back of his head looks so thoughtful!

Sunday 24 March 2013

Sunday Social (42)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
  • What is your favourite thing about spring?
    New life. Wildlife getting together - hatching eggs, having cubs and so forth. I love the baby foxes and squirrels as they get to know the new world.
  • What is your favourite kind of flower to grow or receive?
    Sunflowers and geraniums. They are the only ones I have any success with growing. I do also love my rose bush (Peace rose) and my fuchsia (Phyllis - honestly named after my grandmother). To receive; well roses.
    One of my sunflowers

    Phyllis after the rain

  • What is your favourite nail polish colour?
    Pink. Pale pink, bright pink, sparkling pink, deep pink. I don't wear it much because my useless hands make it hard to apply.
  • What is your favourite outdoor activity?
    Sitting. I don't much do activity other than my Healthwise gym programme. A nice walk in the park if I've got the wheelie-walker but I'm a bit inclined to go too far and tire myself out!
  • Do you have any fun spring plans? Details! :)
    Not really. This year is all about the Summer when the Better-half and I are getting married. We have lots of plans for that!

Saturday 23 March 2013

Earth Hour 2013

Earth Hour 2013 - "Uniting People to Protect the Planet". Turn out your lights for one hour -it's a little bit of electricity but it visibly shows you care about the planet. Watch on-line as landmarks around the world 'go dark' - some already have (as it happens local time).

Google the phrase and it will tell you: 


The Panda made me do it! 

The week that was

Another busy week. Monday started too early with hot-chocolate in the middle of the night. I went to the gym and joined a 'Water Workout' class. As I was there I popped in to see my friend who lives round the corner on the way back; very excited daughter whose birthday was on Friday; the little girl had the cutest slippers - I'd love a pair of those clogs!

Tuesday was back to work. Horrendous traffic; took over two hours to do a 50 minute journey - it is all the fault of the Rotherhithe Tunnel and its new width restrictions... although the horse drawn carriage in St James's didn't help!

I also had to take a trip to the basement at work. Terrifying. Full of all sorts of junk that really needs disposing of.

Things that cheered up my week; the cat not wanting to get out of bed; finding a cat toy in the bathroom; a picture from my niece; earring made by my God-mother.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Sunday Social (41)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
  •  What is your favourite thing to do on a rainy day?
    On a rainy day... anything that keeps me indoors. Actually I rather like to sit in the kitchen (which I can now do on my 'perching stool' by the open door and listen to the rain fall. I stayed in a hotel once in Compeigne in France - the room had an up-stand and massive inward opening french-doors and sitting listening to the rain took up a good few hours of that weekend!
Watching the rain from the back-door
  • What is your favourite thing to do on a summer weekend?
    I'm not a fan of summer at all. The heat aggravates my MS and saps me of strength and energy. I don't mind some gentle sitting and reading in a shady part of the garden... or if energy returns some light gardening.

  • The view from one of my 'shady corners'
  • What is your favourite spring activity?
    Spring I like. Out and about enjoying the activities of the wildlife finding new mates and the green shoots everywhere. Sitting in a park watching the birds and enjoying some weak sunshine... perfect! 
Spring is sprung in Batley Park, Blackheath Standard
  • What is your favourite way to spend a winter day?
    Warm and tucked up on the 'sofa of sloth' with some good TV, and movie or a book and the Better-half next to me. Hopefully a big mug of hot chocolate too... and maybe some nice cookies!

  • The Sofa of Sloth
  •  What is your favourite season and why?
    I like Autumn the best. The weather isn't too hot or too cold - and even though it Spring that is supposed to be all about new beginnings for me it has always been Autumn. New academic years start in Autumn; school and University. New beginnings in new places. I can almost taste crisp fresh Autumn mornings at my first University (where I only spent a year) on my way to class.
  • On the way to class...
  • What is the best birthday you ever had?
    It is hard to choose... I'm 37 so I've had a lot of birthdays! I had some pretty good childhood ones. When I was 12 a group of my school-friends came with me to a wildlife / adventure park; we had a great day out (and I still know those three girls!); lucky for them my mum has those photos! The first birthday when I knew my Better-half was pretty special; we got dressed up and went out for dinner. 

  • 25th Birthday

Thursday 14 March 2013

Bye bye Reader

Anyone who knows me knows I am a Google girl. That is why the Better-half wasted no time in letting me know that Google is shutting down its Reader. Because he knows how much I use Reader he also sent me an article by CNet suggesting some possible alternatives.

I've met quite a lot of the alternatives - and the one I like the look of the most is Feedly. I use Feedly, Pulse and Flipboard already (the other two suggestions seem variants on these themes) and don't like Pulse or Flipboard for blogs. 

If you use Reader you may want to go looking for your own alternative in the grace period before it is gone forever. Goodbye Reader - you served us well.

Monday 11 March 2013

The week that was/is

So here we are - another Monday and no work. Last week was my first week as a three day worker, it is going to take some getting used to!

Tuesday felt like Monday. All the annoying admin (like Petty Cash) and things had to be done. The Team Resource Meeting had moved from Monday so that I could be there (!) and before I knew where I was the day was over.

Wednesday of course felt like Tuesday. Fooled into thinking there was more time left in the week than there really was. Short staffed (still) loads of annoying admin jobs came my way and I didn't get as much done as I would have liked. The Senior Partner was down too for a presentation; which gave me the delightful opportunity to embarrass myself by missing my chair (sometimes happens as I can't feel the backs of my legs and don't realise I haven't hit the seat of the chair) sat on the floor and laughed, and reassured him that I bounce!

Thursday was Wednesday and should have been the middle of the week, but because I don't work on Fridays it was also Friday and the end of the week. Totally confusing!

I did accomplish to goals, which is good. But now I have an uphill battle to get the office ready for its next internal audit (oh dear) in two weeks.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Sunday Social (40)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social
  • What is one movie you are terrified to watch?
    Actually pretty much any scary movie... I hate horror movies! I don't ever want to see 'Silence of the Lambs' again that's for sure!
  • What is one TV show you have always wanted to get into but haven't yet?
    Everyone tells me 'The Wire' is really good. I saw about one episode and really didn't take to it... makes me wonder what I missed!
  • What is one daring activity on your bucket list?
    Doing a Fire Walk. I have a friend who has a different auto-immune disease than MS who has trouble walking and did one last year, so she has inspired me!
  • Would you ever travel alone?
    Totally, I have. The first time (just after I split up with my ex- and realised that I'd never done anything 'young') I went to NYC for two weeks. Amazing. I've done quite a lot of shorter trips when the Better-Half couldn't come for one reason or another. I went to Kyiv for work for a week (although my work colleagues were there I suppose). I drove across Ireland (in a hire car) for some friends' wedding. I've been to Scotland a few times (work again though). For me travelling at all (let alone) is a nightmare; herding bags and so forth using a pair of crutches... going through airport security whilst the crutches go through the scanner... standing in lines... you get the picture; when I can avoid it I can.
  • What activities do you like to do alone?
    I like gaming alone. I'm an Xbox slob (!) but I really can't bear all the online/social aspect that seems to be an option in most games now. If I'm playing Ezio (or whoever) it's just me and the game.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

I dreamed a dream...

Screen shots from my latest DVD
From a young age I wanted, more than anything, was to be an actress. More specifically, I wanted to be in musical theatre. In my teens the extent of this ambition extended to a subscription to The Stage which had to be ordered specially by the newsagent in my village. I belonged to the local amateur dramatic society. I even attempted to learn ballet and tap... I was already singing.

At the end of the day (you're another day older) what it came down to was that a lot of people want to be on the stage; and only a few are really good enough. I wasn't one of them. Not a thick enough skin to take the inevitable slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. 

It never stopped me learning almost entire librettos of my favourite musicals. From old musicals (The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, High Society, Singing in the Rain and the rest) to the more modern fare - most particularly Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera; I did (and i some cases still do) know them all.

My acquaintance with Les Mis extends back to owning it on vinyl... and learning the songs and incidentals almost by osmosis. 

My love affair though, was with Phantom. This was rekindled on Friday when I found a DVD for sale of the 25th Anniversary celebration. Not a concert at The O2 like Les Mis; but a fully formed production at the Albert  Hall. Such a happy afternoon. The years had not dimmed my recollection of the libretto (although some of the lines have changed!). I was right back to wanting to be Christine Daa√©. 

All my life I've had a habit of forming an attachment to a thing, a hobby, a book whatever - I immerse myself in it; I find out everything that is to be known; nearly always one thing at a time.

For me, the adoration of the story of Phantom went beyond Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. I read the novel by Gaston Leroux both in English and French. I watch the old silent movies. I read the several further books "Phantom" by Susan Kay and "The Phantom of Manhattan" by Frederick Forsyth. When I went to Paris, I was sure to photograph the famous opera house. 

I drew the mask and the rose that were so symbolic of the musical; I wrote out the libretto painstakingly listening to it one summer holiday in Wales on the tape deck in my Dad's silver Volvo. I even used to address my diary entries to Erik (the Phantom). For about a decade of my life it was the  thing that consumed my attention.

As these things come and go, so too did my obsession. My all consuming attention turned to Beanie Babies...after that it moved onto London (the city, the history, the buildings) and now I think it must have settled on the internet (!).

It was good to have Phantom back for an afternoon... as it was Les Mis with the new movie the other week; but they are only playing understudies in my life now.

Let's see if we can drive away the ghost of some many years ago with a little illumination... gentlemen!

Monday 4 March 2013

A whole new Monday...

So from today a whole new week starts. I work three days... Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday had become part of the weekend.

I'm sure after a few weeks I'll get used to it... but right now it is like having a whole extra Sunday.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Sunday Social (39)

Linking up with Ashley and Neely for the Sunday Social

  • 5 songs you'll listen to the rest of your life
    Louis Armstrong: What a Wonderful World - I love the sentiment
    Allegri: Miserere Mei, Deus - Beautiful soaring voices
    Morecambe & Wise: Bring Me Sunshine - Always reminds me of my Dad
    Frank Sinatra: My Way - Again, I love the sentiment
    James Darren: Here's to the Losers - James Darren, love all his stuff

    I chose a classic list rather than the stuff I like 'this year'.
  • 5 things on your bucket list
    - Go back to New York and maybe see a Yankees game
    - Visit Boston and maybe catch a Red Sox game
    - Walk the Camino de Santiago: the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried
    - Do a fire walk
    - Remodel my kitchen
  • 5 celebs you'd love to hang out with for a day
    Does it matter if some of them are dead celebs? I don't really do celebs! My list would be:
    - John Lennon; we were all so into him at school. We even went to Abbey Road on a pilgrimage!
    - Mariano Riviera; Yankees all-time super closer.
    - Christian Bale; always subtitled in movies as "The Lovely Christian Bale"
    - Audrey Hepburn - total style icon and amazing actress
    - Grace Kelly - see Audrey Hepburn
  • 5 things you always carry in your purse
    Ah, an easy one!
    - my cellphone
    - my wallet
    - my iPad
    - my hairbrush
    - my bus-pass

    I'm set for anything!
  • 5 books on your reading list
    Ones I haven't read? There are currently 93 books on my Kindle in the 'queue' and a few actual books in the space behind the bed. Shall I give the highlights?
    - I'm about a third of the way through David Copperfield (trying out the classics)
    - I'm somewhere in the middle of the Sherlock Holmes books (again with the classics, although I'm enjoying these!)
    - I want to read the new book by Mitch Ablom who wrote Five People You Meet in Heaven (if you haven't read it, read it)
    - I'm in the middle of Stephen Baxter's Bronze Summer
    - Half a Yellow Sun; my mum lent it to me forever ago and said it was really good, but because it's an actual book it is way down the pile!

    For enthusiastic readers I really recommend Goodreads - come and find me there!
  • Share the last five pictures on your phone
Sun puddle cat
Spring late afternoon sun (at last)!
The rainbows are back!
Handle with care - delicate or grumpy?

No, not squashed. Full and still drinkable!

Ed - reposted with pictures!