Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The Biggest Heart Award

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Thank you, Amel, for choosing me for this lovely award. My choice for those who show how big their hearts are, through their words, thoughts and/or actions, are:

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Be Your True Self - Quote

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“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”


Friedrich Nietzsche

Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Gift of Growing Old

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I got this in an email...

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my father!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose
business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the past, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love .. I will.

I will walk the beach in a swimsuit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet is hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore.

I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (If I feel like it).

MAY YOU ALWAYS HAVE A RAINBOW OF SMILES ON YOUR FACE AND MAY YOU BE YOUNG IN YOUR HEART FOREVER AND EVER!

Coignafearn - Valley of the Eagles

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Last weekend we drove out to Coignafearn, otherwise nicknamed the "valley of the eagles", because of the eagles who nest and hunt in the valley. A beautiful magical place, much loved by bird spotters and wildlife enthusiasts. Hubby took me there in Spring when I first came to Scotland and the river was full of red deer cooling themselves. Then a year or so ago we went in summer and watched about four eagles flying around the valley.

This was the first time we've been there in winter. There was only one eagle, but loads of red deer coming down the hillsides to spend the night in the warm valley along the Findhorn River.

Here are some of the red Deer coming down the mountains. The ones higher up were too small to photograph properly.


Driving into the valley...

End of the road and pretty much the top end of the valley..


Driving back out the valley..


Saturday, 26 January 2008

Failure Quote

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"If you have tried to do something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you had tried to do nothing and succeeded."

~ Lloyd Jones ~

Friday, 25 January 2008

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Nice Quote

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"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. ... Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

New Year's Eve Photos

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These are some of the photos I promised to put in my blog, before i got the flu! These were taken on the 31st of January. We'd heard there was good snow on the Cairgorm Mountains, south of us. Hubby and I planned a special surprise.
;-)

My parents gave us money for our wedding anniversary - to eat out. We took a portion of this money and paid for tickets to go up the mountain in the funicular railway carriage. The queues were horrid (we waited in the queue about 30 minutes for an empty train), but worth it. The view going up was amazing, but hard to photograph through the glass as it was raining. We did get some nice photos at the top... and then the mist came in! Everything went grey. It was very strange and exciting coming down the mountain in mist. My dad took all the photos. :-)

First photo... my mom and I getting seated in the train. It comes in at a steep angle and is hard to stand in (I know because I came down standing and had to hold onto a safety bar all the way).


The next two photos are of the view from the observation deck outside the Ptarmigan restaurant.



Not much snow, but still very pretty. We saw some snow buntings (rare birds), but a silly woman walked up to them and scared them away before we could take photos.

There's a really nice shop and a little museum/hall with all sorts of information on the history of the mountains, flora and fauna. We looked at everything!

This next photo is the cafe/bar area. We had coffee and shortbread as the restaurant was very busy and very expensive.

Going home... it is 4:09 pm and already dark with a little snow and sleet falling. Very pretty! We then drove home through the small towns looking at their Christmas lights and decorations. It was a very enjoyable day.


Monday, 21 January 2008

My Band's CD :-)

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This fun idea comes via Crystal and Juliana. :-) Here's how it works - You are about to have your own band's CD cover. Go to:

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

My results are:

1. The name of my band: Zone Zeal (I rather like that!)
2. The title of my album: Don't Talk too Much (lol)

3. My album cover:

You Cheer Me Up Award

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Amel has given me this very cheery award. I can't think of any better gift than being able to leave someone feeling happier for knowing, reading or speaking to you. :-)

This award originated from Ann, who elaborated the meaning of this award as such:

"Most of us know who and what cheers us up- what we don't know is how we cheer up others or if we're making a difference in their lives. That's because we let too much time go by without telling those we appreciate how much they mean to us, until it's too late and the opportunity slips away."
Amel is the blogger who cheers me up the most, but since I can't nominate my nominee I'll have to list those other wonderful bloggers who "make my day" (to snatch some words from Robert Palmer's song from friday).

My cheer-me-up blog nominations are:
chocmintgirl
BlurTing
Mother Hen
Bassman

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Flustergasted and Tongue Tangled

The Scream by Edvard Munch.



I recieved an amusing true story joke in an email this morning that brought back memories. Let me share the email first... (PS - for younger generation swap "Paul Newman" for Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom, etc)

A Michigan woman and her family were vacationing in a small new England town where Paul Newman and his family often visited. One Sunday morning, the woman got up early to take a long walk. After a brisk five-mile hike, she decided to treat herself to a double-dip chocolate ice cream cone. She hopped in the car, drove to the center of the village and went s traight to the combination bakery/ice cream parlor.

There was only one other patron in the store. Paul Newman, sitting at the counter having a doughnut and coffee. The woman's heart skipped a beat as her eyes made contact with those famous baby-blue eyes. The actor nodded graciously and the star struck woman smiled demurely. Pull yourself together! She chides herself. You're a happily married woman with three children, you're forty-five years old, not a teenager! The clerk filled her order and she took the double-dip chocolate ice cream cone in one hand and her change in the other. Then she went out the door, avoiding even a glance in Paul Newman's direction.

When she reached her car, she realized that she had a handful of change but her other hand was empty. Where's my ice cream cone? Did I leave it in the store? Back into the shop she went, expecting to see the cone still in the clerk's hand or in a holder on the counter or some thing. No ice cream cone was in sight. With that, she happened to look over at Paul Newman. His face broke into his familiar warm friendly grin and he said to the woman,

'You put it in your purse.'


That would have been me too, in fact it often has been! I'm very good at getting flustergasted and tongue-tangled. ;-)

When I worked at a library there was this really amazing (blonde, blue eyes, looked like a male model) student doctor who used to come in to get books on the weekend.

I'd get so tongue-tied I'd avoid the counter, but one Saturday I was feeling calmer and thought, "I'm cool, I can do this."

I took over the book stamping queue. I stamped the books of the old lady before him. She said "Have a nice day!"
I said, "Thanks! Same to you." :-)

He came up... I stamped his books... he smiled a flashing movie-star smile and said "Have a nice day!"
I smiled and said, "Same! Thanks to you."

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

New Year NEWSFLASH

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I was going to do lots of seperate posts about the holidays, but that never happened - see "family" below for the explanation. So, for now I think I'll just do an update NEWSFLASH. With credit to Jeff for inventing NewsFlash..


NEWS FLASH is basically news or thoughts that may be changing over time - an update or an evolution of thought that covers a multiple of topics. It is what makes a blogger tick and it is the reason why we read. So, with that in mind, I came up with NEWS FLASH as an acronym that stands for what is going on in life:

News (or current events)
Entertainment (movies, TV, celebrity, etc.)
Work (thoughts on the job or employer)
Spirit (thoughts on God and/or the supernatural)
Family (or friends)
Love
Anxiety (a rant or a trouble)
Sports (those who have no interest in sports can be creative such as contests, reality tv, recreation, cards, games), and
Home (house, yard, or even another family type of thought.

NEWS

Biggest news is my friend Prema had her baby (daughter, Avni) on the 8th January. CONGRATULATIONS to the new Mommy and Daddy! :-)

ENTERTAINMENT
I bought my husband the set of Pirates of the Caribean movies for Christmas. We laughed so hard in some places my stomach hurt. Johnny Depp is just brilliant as the ditzy Pirate Captain.

WORK
Hubby went back to work on our wedding anniversary (4th Jan), but we had a nice time anyway. I made a fancy dinner and it all came out perfect, thank goodness! Caesar's salad with cold roast beef and smoked cheese cubes, Chicken Breasts stuffed with ham and blue cheese in a white wine sauce and I cheated for pudding and bought a tiramisu from the supermarket. I never heard of tiramisu before coming here. It's an Italian dessert and my new best most favourite pudding. We had dinner with my parents and then they did the dishes while hubby and I sat in the lounge and listened to the music we'd had played at our wedding. I can't believe it's been five years!

SPIRIT
Christmas always makes me feel close to God. Not the human silly Christmas stuff like shopping and cooking and going insane - I mean the quiet between times. When I was a kid/teen I believed God sent me a Christmas present every year. Every year there was something "special". One year a bird flew into my bedroom on Christmas morning and chirped above my head. Another year a very rare moth I'd always wanted to see landed on our back door.

Then in my 30s I forgot to look for my gifts and thought they'd stopped. Lately I've started watching again and realised I still get my gift every year. This year a big white feather flew in. It was really weird, but nice. I was washing the dishes, looking out the window, and there came this white feather. No wind and yet it floated slowly past my window like a butterfly. I went to the door just in time to see it "land" in the back. I put it on the front of a box I have and tried taking a photo, but it is so white it just looks like a blob.



FAMILY
Everyone has been sick, everyone is slowly getting better. It was some kind of flu/virus. My in-laws were sick over Christmas, then my dad got sick just after new year, my mom and I last week and hubby last friday! I haven't felt that sick in a long time. I actually stayed in bed sleeping the whole day once last week. I haven't done that in years and years.

Hubby also had a gastroscopy on the 3rd of Jan for stomach pain. Turns out he has a hiatus hernia, but the medication they are giving him seems to keep him feeling fine so he is pretty happy with his health... until he got the virus too!

The good news is that my whole family are almost better and I feel almost normal. The bad news is that I am now way behind with reading blogs, writing my blog etc etc. Lots to catch up on!

LOVE
Our 5th Anniversary kind of overlaps into here. Hubby bought me a card with five red roses on it and he upgraded my computer. My gift to him was the dinner. We also got money from my parents to eat out. Hubby decided we'd share some of the money and so we used half to take my parents up a mountain! On New year's eve we went up the Cairngorm mountains on the funicular railway. It was great fun. I have photos, but I need to get them sorted and saved onto my computer. I will post some later, I promise!

ANXIETY
We still haven't found a new house to rent. It seems to be very quiet out there, plus we have special needs. I am badly allergic to cats (one house the people bred Persian cats so that was the end of that!) , my mom needs a walk in shower rather than a shower over the bath as she can't really get into a bath easily (hip replacement, arthritis and osteoporosis) and then we have the problem of hubby's "company car" - it's a lorry! The building firm he works for lets him bring the lorry home at night. We live in the country and have enough room to park six cars, but many houses in town only have on street parking for one car. My dad has two cars, we have a car and now a lorry! I keep saying I will only allow myself panic after the end of January (we have to be out by early April). So far I am holding the anxiety at bay... most of the time.

SPORTS
My dad's been watching the darts championship and Snooker on TV. I have actually enjoyed watching the snooker, probably because I enjoy playing snooker (although pool is more relaxing). The same cannot be said for the darts. It bores me mindless.

HOME
See Anxiety.