Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Cherry Blossom Magic

The Flowering Cherry trees are in bloom here and this weekend I managed to get some photos to share. These were all taken in Elgin, Moray. A whole row of trees outside the hospital...

...and even closer!

More trees in town.

The flowerbed full of tulips behind the cherry trees. Aren't the colours amazing?

And finally - I couldn't resist this cheeky Spring Sparrow, who has a nest in the bush below this sign and was NOT going to be scared off by a silly human taking photos. ;-)


Friday, 24 April 2009

Up-dates and Adventures

Recently I posted probably my least upbeat post in a long time - my Spring Newsflash. Part of my recent gloominess comes from the medication I'm on. I've been doing research and found out that this medication really is the best and safest option, way safer than surgery, but I'm getting almost every side-effect listed. That list includes anxiety-irritability mood swings, tiredness, aches and pains, forgetfulness and confusion.

Since I'm fairly famous in my family for being forgetful (wow, look at all those f words!), this has been a HARD time. In the past month I've forgotten so many things and I can't even tell you about them, because I've forgotten what most of them were!

Being a mindless butterfly with mood swings, at a time when I am trying to get somewhere with my writing and hubby is trying to start a new business, has been... difficult to say the least, but things are improving, in part because I'm determined to make them improve. I owe a thank you for that change in attitude to my husband, who said something last week that really made me think. He said he got thinking (after the park incident in my Newsflash) about manifesting.

"Manifesting" seems to be the new craze lately, thanks to movies and books like The Secret, but it's really not a new concept at all. Jesus was basically putting forward the very same idea when he spoke about faith moving mountains. I've always believed in the concept, as has my hubby, and sometimes I've managed to manifest exactly what I need or want. But lately? Lately it hasn't worked at all.

To cut a long family chat short, hubby's thinking brought him to realise that whenever he tries to manifest a better life for us his thoughts are kind of vague and mostly based on fear, worry, anxiety or hope. No demanding, no specifics. No direct, "I want..." statements.

He made me think. I also thought about all the people I know who say, "I wish..." I realised, with surprise, that wishing implies failure. Think about it, people tend to wish for the "impossible dreams." The things they think they will never have, never obtain, don't deserve... It's actually a negative thing - wishing.

You wouldn't say "I wish I could have some cake" and expect a waiter to bring you a slice, would you? The Universe doesn't listen to wishes. It needs simpler more obvious things. You say to the waiter, "I'll have the cake"... and he brings you the cake.

So, the night after the duck food incident, I put in my order to the Universe. I made my demand. I left out any whining about how I DESERVED it, because I had TRIED and WORKED and BELIEVED. I kept is simple, direct and to the point. Since lately my biggest whine is "WHY ARE WE SO UNLUCKY?" I turned it around and said out loud,

I want to be lucky from now on.
I want to be the one people say 'Wow, that was lucky!' to.

Has anything changed?
To be honest?
Yes, it has.

The camera I spilt a drink on is still under warranty and we're now waiting to see if they can repair it.

I've discovered that my medication may make me feel bad now, but long term it is the best thing for me. And I'm finding products to combat the side-effects.

The day of my Newsflash we discovered our one vehicle tax (for an old van Hubby used to use for work) was out of date, which carries a fine of £80. The day after I demanded good luck hubby phoned to see about paying the £80 fine and the girl says there's no fine because we phoned within the ten day "grace period". A day later and we'd have had to pay the fine.

Last Friday there's a knock at the door. It's an old friend of hubby's who was retrenched last year, he's got two weeks holiday. This friend now works at a computer games shop and says he chats to people with computer woes. He's going to take a pack of business cards for hubby's new computer-repair business (blog news on that coming soon!) to hand out to anyone who needs computer help. ;-)

On the weekend I bought baby potatoes to make salad. I wanted tomatoes, but forgot. We get to the counter and the cashier says, "Don't you want your free gift?" She explains that with every bag of baby potatoes you get... a free pack of tomatoes on the vine. She sent a girl off for them. A whole pack of the "posh" tomatoes for free!

Yesterday I finally got to see the surgeon about my hernia. I'm now scheduled for surgery August, but if there are cancellations he promises me I get first chance at going in for surgery earlier.

After seeing him I went into town to buy herbal tablets, to help with some of my medication side effects. I had two main ingredients I wanted to buy, but the shops here don't stock the one kind. I bought the ones they did have. When I got home, and read the label properly, it turns out these tablets contain BOTH ingredients I was looking for. :-)

AND... today there was a knock at the door. A big envelope from a distant land. I sign for it, open it... inside is a smaller envelope. And inside that? A letter and a cheque for quite a bit of money! A very dear friend recently came into a small inheritance. She has decided she wants to use it to make others happy and is sharing it. I am one she shared with. She already is a friend who shares her love, time and talents (she's a healer) and now this as well! I hope she is blessed with a hundred gifts for every gift she sends out in love. XXX

Of course all this good luck hasn't taken away my mood swings and aches/pains, or our financial woes, but things have changed for the better and I definitely intend to make sure it continues. I'm reaffirming my order of good luck every week and promising to...

...and be thankful for all the blessings I have.


Prema, of Kombai blog, has created a new blog for recipes called "The Imperfect Cooks".

She has invited me and another mutual friend, Stephen, to post there. I'm signing myself MichelleCF (CrowsFeet), so that my friends from here will know which posts there are mine. ;-)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Newsflash for Spring

Time for another Newsflash for March/April.

ise words

Spring is finally here and the trees are starting to turn green with new leaves. The daffodils and tulips are out everywhere, but I haven't had a chance to take any photos. No chance of photos from hubby because I accidentally "killed" our camera a few weeks ago. :-( I knocked over a drink and we didn't realise some of the liquid went on the camera. It was new too, bought middle of last year.

I have a video clip that I'd like to recommend as brilliant entertainment. A friend sent it to me and it really is worth watching. Embedding has been disabled so you'll need to click HERE to listen to Susan Boyle sing. What a lovely voice and such a nice person. I hope she does well, but most of all, I hope this adventure brings her lots of fun and happiness. :-)

My favourite quote for the month, with one important twist - they have to be words from a fellow blogger. My Wise Words choice for Spring comes from Hayden of Lyric Flight.
It is only in this dullness of vision and spirit that we are able to commit suicide by planet.


I can't really think of anything for this one. :-\

My dad's part time job is still on the go, a month after they said it would end. So far so good. I've been editing my book, to have a near-as-perfect edition ready for the printers. On top of that hubby and I have been working on trying to get him up and running with a new career, since he was retrenched in February. Hopefully I'll have good news to blog on all these topics in the future. Keep your fingers crossed! :-)

This month's lesson comes from my husband... or through him to be more exact.

We've been under a lot of stress lately, with hubby being made redundant and trying to figure out how he can bring in money before we run out of savings. Added to that my medication (hormone stuff) and side-effects of my fibromyalgia have made me cranky, forgetful and similar in mood swings to your average horror movie monster.

Not pretty.

It all imploded this week. Hubby and I had a huge fight, probably our most serious to date. I retired to the bedroom, to wallow in gloom, and hubby went for a drive. He ended up at a local park with a little loch. He went for a walk around the loch, before stopping to sit on a bench in the beautiful Spring sunlight. He sat and watched the ducks, a pair of swans... it was beautiful, but he felt CR*P. People came by... he ignored them. He was too busy thinking how life was cr*p, his hopes were cr*p, his future was cr*p.

Then two women with dogs came by. Hubby ignored them too. When they'd passed he looked down and there, right in front of him on the path, is a little black bag.

A doggy-do, pooper-scooper bag.

Hubby says the rage just OVERWHELMED him. Here he was, his life utter cr*p and the universe sends him... real cr*p! He was angry at the Universe, God... EVERYTHING. So he gets up, finds a stick, goes over to lift the horrible bag and toss it into the bushes. He said that as he lifted it his brain said, "This is too light", but his arm was on automatic. He hurled the bag... and duck food rained down all around him.

As he put it later, when he told us all the story, "Ya think there's a message there?" ;-)

This section is for what I'm reading, love, or want to read someday. In this case it's all three as what I've recently read and enjoyed is part of a book not yet published. If there are any publishers out there with sense, they'll snap this one up!

This Science Fiction/Fantasy book is titled "Wanted" by Jeanne M. Haskin.
"While their parents fight the war that has come unprovoked, two children flee in the care of a single man.
They are the God-touched, without whom their people will perish,
and keeping them alive is a dark and desperate struggle that the man may not win."

You can read the first chapter (and judge for yourself if I'm right about this being a great read) by clicking HERE.

Smile of the month goes to our smart crow family for being even smarter than we realised. First of all, Mr Crow has started waking me up by CLACKING on mornings I try to sleep in. It seems as if not seeing me up at the right time bothers him. Is he worried? Is he hoping for a late breakfast? I have no idea, but it does make me laugh when I hear him.

Next week I finally go to the surgeon to set my operation to fix my hernia. It should have been last month, but I forgot what day my appointment was and went a day late. I was so mad at myself for that. :-( This forgetfulness, my Dr says, is probably a side-effect of my hormone injections. It's also probable that my mood swings and extreme irritability (I've been pretty scary lately). Not much I can say about that, except I'm fairly sick of my body at this stage. I'm not dying or in extreme pain, but I am in constant discomfort. One way or another, I'm not really enjoying life at the moment. Hope things improve soon.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Photos

These first two photos were taken on Friday. I wanted to get both horses in one pic, but by the time I'd got the camera out they'd drifted too far apart as they grazed. I had to take two photos.

Yesterday was nice and sunny, so we all hopped into the car and went for a drive. It was sunny all the way to Inverness. We had lunch (toasted sandwiches) in Inverness before taking a drive along the river Ness. From there we branched off along the shipping locks and up the far side of Loch Ness as far as Drumnadrochit (just before Urquhart castle).

Sadly there are not that many places you can stop along the way, which makes photo taking frustrating. Here's the photos I took every time we did have a chance to stop.

This first is going along Loch Ness. You can see one of the boats that take people out on scenic cruises below. It's a fairly big vessel, which gives an idea of how utterly small Nessie would be down there, even if he/she was the size of an elephant. Loch Ness is BIG and very deep as well.

At Drum we went through the village and up the hill as far as we could, for a better view of Loch Ness from above. We all love Drumnadrochit, it would be my top place to live in the world if I won the lottery. :-)

Up above we stopped on a tiny bridge on a windy road up the mountain and I got out to photograph the waterfall below the bridge.
Beside the bridge there were tiny "waterfalls". You see this all along the Loch Ness area, as it is a naturally damp and wet place... all that water seeping down the mountains and into Loch Ness.
Further along we found an old well beside the road.
The view itself, Loch Ness is the blue-ish "V" between the mountains and hills.
I took another further down, but it didn't come out, for some reason. :-( We hope to get back near the end of April, because the bluebells should be flowering then. The bluebells around Loch Ness can be amazing - whole carpets of blue under the trees. If we do I promise to take LOTS more photos. :-)

Friday, 10 April 2009

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Birthday Treats

It was my husband's birthday recently. Our family tradition is that every birthday person gets to choose their "treat" meal. This year hubby wanted a beef Mardas curry "with all the trimmings". I took some photos...
This first photo is of the "trimmings."
From the left :
Sliced banana with raisins and fresh ginger in lemon juice with a dash of sugar and cumin seeds.
Diced tomato and green pepper.
Toasted coconut.
Cucumber in plain yoghurt.

Here's the beef curry, on yellow rice, with the trimmings. The naan bread on the right was the only thing I bought. We all over ate!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Good Grief

Today was definitely a Charlie Brown day. You know... some days, no matter how hard you try to see the bright side, just leave you sitting there with nothing better to say than...
"Good Grief!"

It started with a cryptic email from a friend that said simply... "Google HR 875 S425."

So I did... and discovered things happening in the USA that not only I didn't know, many of my American friends didn't know either! If you have any connection to farming or you eat Organic food - Google HR 875 S425. There are things happening you need to know about.

My personal GOOD GRIEF moment came next. A friend on Facebook posted one of my poems, which was really nice of her, but then someone came in and told her how they "recognbised it as a poem they bought at a market.


Bought my poem?

I've never minded sharing my stuff, I've always enjoyed the fact people want to read what I write, but selling my work? Without me even knowing? That's just so not right.

The next Good Grief moment arrived with the post. There was a letter for hubby from the lawyers. Hubby's been trying to seek compensation for a work-related injury for 4 1/2 years now. To cut a long long story short this last letter was (more or less ) an attempt to depress hubby into giving up and not taking it further. Hubby spent the whole morning researching all details of similar cases before writing a very careful reply as to why he is NOT giving up.

Looking back at today I realised there's another theme, beyond the Good Grief moment. It's
about all of us simply wanting a fair deal... or a fair chance.

That's all.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

I did start this early on this morning of the first of the month, but it was a busy day and so this has become a slightly belated rabbit good luck greeting! There are so many versions of what to say on the first of a month, and why, that I gave up and decided to simply link to the list of all the possible choices.

And the reason for this bunny-theme? Another photo of Bun Boy. This time indulging in a smorgas-bun-bord of leftover salad from our weekend eating. :-)