Thursday 26 February 2009

NEWSFLASH for Winter 09

I'm hoping to encourage Spring with that title. ;-) Time for another Newsflash update for January/February. I'm revamping the word themes as some used to overlap and some were becoming boring.

ise words

It's been fairly quiet in our area the last few months, nature-wise. The crows and occasional rabbits are our only guests lately. We haven't even had any snow, but I do have a pretty photo of mist at twilight that was taken at the end of January to share. :-)

We've been watching "Master Chef" on TV. The final is tonight, but I'm not that worried who wins. I enjoy the imaginative recipes the most. Some of theme have sounded too weird for my tastes, but some sounded delicious. Only problem is I feel hungry every time I watch the show!

My favourite quote for the month, with one important twist - they have to be words from a fellow blogger. My Wise Words choice for Winter come from G~G of Guyana.
In one big ocean of division, that is where we seem to live, running into separate islands of beliefs, cultures, unconscious of the fact that what happen in that vast ocean does affect all of we.

Yet, despite that space, despite bad history, India and England pool talent to tell one story. Ocean does unite too as it wash from this shore to yours. When you spin the globe, all you see is one body of water linking lands.
I haven't a clue what to write for this one. Either the stories are too long, too complicated or too personal. So I'm going to cheat and post a link to World Prayers. They offer prayers of thanks as well as prayers from different cultures and religions as well as meditations. You can browse, search or simply spin the wheel and see what you get. Here's what I got spinning the wheel today...

This new Bible shall be written
On the hearts of all mankind,
Not by pen or book,
But by acts of Love.
For to Love as She does
Is to truly know who He is.
The unchanged truth is eternal life
For all, without exception.
For no longer do we wander lost in the Word,
But live the word in eternal life.

justina m. pernetter
The last two months have brought a deluge of relatives. Ok, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but it did bring a very long lost relative in America via an email from another relative AND a reconnection to a long-lost aunt in Canada. Added to that my cousin in Australia now has a new business (GOOD LUCK CUZ!) and a new email (I'm getting loads of photos). I'm trying to keep up with replies and "what I have been doing the last .... years" updates, but I've still at least three relatives sitting waiting for replies. If any of them are reading this - sorry, I haven't forgotten you and will get around to replying as soon as I can.

The biggest lesson I've learnt these last two months is that I have amazing friends. To follow on G~G's quote about this planet being lapped by one ocean... my experience has been that the ocean is made of love and friendship and that it does cover this entire globe. Without the internet I would be so much the poorer. All I can say is a very heart-felt... the creators of the internet and to all the marvelous friends it links me to every day.

This used to be "anxiety", but that's a depressing topic so I've changed it to "author." This way I can chat a bit about whatever I'm reading, read and loved, or want to read someday. In this case I'm starting with an entire bookcase. I've added a book case to this blog at the very bottom, thanks to a place called SHELFARI. I've cheated a bit with my book ratings to keep certain books up on the shelf. Some of my four stars are actually five stars, but I had too many to fit so had to "demote" them. If you're a book lover Shelfari is fun. I had a great time finding old favourites to put on my shelves and I intend writing more about some of them in the future.

Smile of the month is another photograph. This one is oldish. I took it on holiday in Scotland before I moved here. The sign the buffalo is scratching his rear on is a big arrow saying CAR PARK.

Home life has been complicated lately. In November we thought hubby was losing his job, but instead dad was retrenched. Then in January dad finally found a job, but it's temporary... or not. They aren't sure and dad's hoping that's a good sign! Then last week hubby finally got the news he's been fearing since last year - his job ceases this Friday. In some ways it was almost a relief as he's been living on his nerves, and not sleeping well, since last November. The dread was just kind of "hanging" there over us all this time.

He's one of several to be retrenched this month... and one of thousands to be losing their jobs in the UK... and one of more than thousands losing their jobs worldwide. In our case this isn't the first time for either my dad or hubby so at least we're aware that you can be retrenched or made redundant and get through it. We've been here before and got through it, we'll get through it again.

Prayers and sympathy to everyone out there going through the same experiences.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

The Planetary Awards


Twilight, inspired by the Oscars, has created her own blogland award ceremony. Being an astrology enthusiast she has called them "The Planetary Awards."

I was thrilled to be selected for The Venus Award "for beautiful writing style." Thank you Twilight! :-)

I am passing this one on, as I just love the different categories. So... *drum roll as the velvet curtain slowly rises* are my choices for The Planetary Awards, with quotes and links for each blogger:

The Sun and Moon Award

for finding inspiration and beauty in the balance of Nature.
I'm awarding to: Rima (a deep Moon artist) and Vita (a warm Sun artist) ;-)

The Mercury Award"for enabling communication and learning" though their blogs.
I'm awarding to Shastri and Grace

The Venus Award
"for beautiful writing style."

I'm awarding to Guyana Gyal and Emma

The Mars Award
"for fighting spirit and unflinching opposition to the wrongs of this world."

I'm awarding to: Amias and Mimi, for her Blogblast for Peace.

The Jupiter Award"for volume, quality, and quantity of excellent, thought-provoking content."
I'm awarding to: Cliff and Amel

The Saturn Awardfor dark humour or the ability to weather life's woes with a wry smile.
I'm awarding to: Andy and Nick

The Uranus Award"for reaching beyond the obvious, putting a new twist on ancient materials."
I'm awarding to: Jeff, for Druid Journal and Sadiq

The Neptune Award "for imaginative, creative content linked to photography."
I'm awarding to: Kerry, Genie and Tint.

The Pluto Award... "for penetrating insight, occasional dips into darkness, a tinge of the mystical."
I'm awarding to: derik and Hayden

Saturday 21 February 2009



As I've mentioned before, our garden and surrounding area is owned by a crow family - mom, dad and teenage kid. I put out our left overs and bread bits for them. They're nervous of people and usually fly off when I go out, returning ages later to check for food, which means the gulls get it first a lot of the time. The gulls here are bullies!

I've been trying to get the crows to understand that it's safe by making the same noise every time I leave food for them. I always click, like a rider does to a horse. I do that because it's a fairly easy noise to make and I can "click" pretty loud. Loud enough for crows at the bottom of a field to hear me. Over the last few months they have lernt to come when they hear me. The moment I "click" they fly over fast, wait nearby until I go inside, then dash for the food.

Last week that all changed. I was outside putting out food, but couldn't see the crows anywhere. When I clicked I heard a really odd noise. I clicked again... and there up on the wires was Father Crow, clacking back to me! He sounded like someone hitting a metal pipe with a hammer, but it was definitely a reply clack to my click every time. How thoughtful of him to try to communicate back in my "language"!

I can't wait to see if he keeps it up. I wonder if the rest of the family will learn the new language as well?

Saturday 14 February 2009


Although most of the UK has been having snow our area has had very little. That changed this week when a lot of snow fell... all around us. Yep, once again our own area, and garden, were fairly snow-less. So we decided to take a drive South, towards and up into the mountains, to go snow hunting.

We drove South to Granton on Spey before turning and going back home. It's a drive of about 30 minutes, but with the roads icey we took it a lot slower. Unfortunately all the parking areas were full of snow so there weren't many places we could stop to take photos. Here's some of the nicest ones we did manage to take. :-)

A house on the hillside...
The view looking left...
A tree sticking out of the snow...
Going through the forest we were able to stop and take this picture...

The road home. I joined two photos together here. If you click on them you should get the BIG version.

Friday 13 February 2009

Here at Last!

Yesterday my book finally arrived! Well... to be exact, three copies arrived. I bought one for myself and two family members ordered copies for themselves. To prove it is really HERE, in my house, I took some photos...

Here in the lounge I went with a casual pose of "Poochy" (Christmas gift) holding all three copies.

...then I took my copy upstairs and stuck it by my computer. I rather like the double-up effect of having Crow's Feet showing on Crow's Feet. ;-) It's a bit dark and in shadow, because my computer desk has a top portion for a printer or other office equipment.

For the curious. The monitor was my Christmas gift, 2008, from hubby. The "cat" is a snow leopard. His name is Chester and he was my Christmas gift from hubby in 2003. Can you tell our finances have improved over the years? ;-)

In front of my monitor is a card with a nice poem (wedding anniversary gift), a quartz crystal and a green glass heart. On the right is a cute little black box my dad bought me for Christmas. It has a gold design of flowers and butterflies on it, but it doesn't show up in the photo. I'm going to go put MY book on my book shelf. :-)

Saturday 7 February 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I had a lovely surprise today. Daisy has given me the Honest Scrap Award, for blogs considered "brilliant in content or design." Thank you Daisy! :-)

The rules for this award are: Choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.

Show the winners' names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Scrap".

Lastly, list at least ten honest things about yourself.

Since this is an "honest Scrap" award I'm picking blogs that strike me with their honesty as well as their brilliance. My choices for this award are:
1. prema - for her brave and honest memories of her childhood in India
2. vita - for her wonderful magical honest art.
3. mother hen - for her honest chicken-scrap humour.
4. vince - for his honest opinions and stories about his life.
5. Andy and Mel - for sharing their lives on the road honestly.
6. Amel - for her honesty and honest dedication to everything she tackles.
7. Cliff - for his honesty and sincerity.

Gosh, now I have to list ten honest things about myself... I've done two versions of that recently. Like Daisy, I'm going to cheat and twist the rules a little. I'm going to use prema's blog on childhood and list ten honest things about my childhood. Plus a photo of my junior school playgrounds. :-)

1. My first memories are of my gran's cat, Whisky, and my dad's parents' parrot. Both were gone before I reached three so this is a very early memory.
2. I thought fairies lived in the roots of a tree in our front yard.
3. In Junior School I loved Fridays because they showed movies (documentaries) in the afternoon. (in the boarding school section, top centre behind the trees in that photo)
4. My favourite colour was sky blue right up until I was in my teens.
5. I loved spinach, but hated peas.
6. I didn't like sweets at all, I'd rather eat crisps.
7. I was so skinny my uncle used to joke that I was invisible when I stood sideways.
8. My dad offered to build me a Wendy house, but I wanted a log cabin.
9. My favourite TV shows were Bonanza and Star Trek.
10. I never bothered to learn how to tell time until I was in high school. (I still don't wear a watch unless I have to)

Thursday 5 February 2009

Train of Thought


Replying to emails from friends the last few weeks I’ve been noticing that many people I know are facing this new year in a state of restlessness. They’re all looking for which is the right train to board, the one that will take them towards the brightest happiest future. One way or another, they are all searching for way signs - those glowing arrows pointing at the train schedule saying…

The only problem with constantly looking for signs is that if you’re tired and worn out by stress you often can’t see clearly enough to recognise a real sign, even if it’s ten foot tall and covered in flashing lights! Then there’s the problems of doubt, those people who sit there undecided thinking, “Is that really a sign? Is this truly the best train? Should I wait for the next train rather?” …so they sit and wait for the perfect timing.

They wait.... and wait... then years/days/weeks later they realise that they were so busy waiting for the sign saying...
...that they never get to leave the station! I have, in the past, suffered from that problem. Sometimes I’ve so feared making the wrong decision that I’ve sat frozen in my seat while one train after another arrives… and departs… without me.

I have come to realise that sometimes you need to stop waiting for the perfect moment, perfect timing, perfect train. My husband (an Aries who leaps off the mountain in complete trust) helped me realise a few things. His advice is - just do it, just get on the train. If it's the wrong train, you get off at the next station and catch another one, because even if it does turn out to be the wrong train you never lose. Every journey has lessons you can take and grow from, every train takes you to a new destination full of new adventures and possibilities. Every train stops at a station where there will be other trains. Or, to use his own words…

“There are no wrong decisions, only different lessons.”

That’s why I now have a book instead of a 15 year old manuscript still sitting in a box. Is the book perfect? No. Is it going to be a success or a flop? I don’t know, but one thing I am sure of is that I’d have never found out if I hadn’t run after that publishing-offer train.

My advice to anyone sitting on the station worrying which train is right for them would be to catch it and see where it takes you. Maybe you'll stay... maybe you'll move on... maybe you'll catch another completely unexpected train. Don't worry about it too much or you'll lose the wonder of today worrying about a train trip whose ticket hasn't even been booked yet.

You will grow and learn and experience life. You’ll meet lousy people, great people, you’ll get to experience a whole range of emotions and definitely make friends amongst the other travellers taking the same route. Think about it – What will you have experienced if you stay on the platform and never step onto a train? How much richer is your life for the journeys and trains you have taken so far, how much richer are you within yourself? Nothing is a waste unless we chose to make it so.


Tuesday 3 February 2009

Save the Words Meme

Betty, of Howling in Silence, sent me the link to Save The Words over the weekend.

Every year hundred of words are dropped from the dictionary, to make room for newer words. Save The Words is a website campaigning to save obscure or old words before they vanish from the English language forever. Once you join you can adopt any word you want and even have it printed on a T shirt! :-) I went with the free option of having them send me my adoption certificate only. Once you adopt a word you also promise to use it.

I am going to use that idea to create a new meme.
Go to Save The Words and adopt a word, then find a way to use it in a sentence or as a theme for a blog post or photograph. This time I will be tagging some friends at the end, but anyone else wanting to join in is most welcome to steal the idea and run with it - as long as you let me know so that I can add you to my list of tagged bloggers, please.

My first word turned out to be absolutely perfect. To explain why I'll have to back up a bit. I recently wrote on my blog about my dad's father, the sacred clown of the family. After he died his son, my dad, took on the role of clown in the family. My dad's a terrible tease, but last year that finally caught up with him.

One of my dad's jokes is to bray like a donkey. The guys at his last job caught him doing his best donkey impression on their cell phones and threatened to put him up on YouTube. They didn't... as far we know, but at least two of them have kept his donkey bray as their phone tone!

Last Saturday my dad went out to do some shopping. He bumped into someone he knew from where he was working last. This guy had his little niece with him. He told her, pointing at my dad, "This is donkey man." and the little girl giggled and giggled. It seems dad's donkey call has become a favourite amongst all his little nieces and nephews.

When my dad came home and told us the story we all laughed, not realising it was going to become even funnier. Saturday night I went to browse the Save The Words website. There were so many words to choose from that I just shut my eyes, swirled the mouse around, and clicked....

n. the loud and harsh cry of a donkey.
"The oncethmus coming from next door can only mean happy hour has ended."
What are the odds on me picking THAT??? In honour of my perfect word I am posting a photo that seems to sum up the whole spirit of dad making an ass of himself. ;-)

photo kindly shared by Ray Forester of Morguefile

I decided to adopt another lost word, but this one was deliberate. It sums up the other side of Scotland, that travel books rarely mention...
adj. full of prickly shrubs or bushes.
"The veprecose desert is not a great place to play hide and seek!"
I have often commented to hubby that Africa may have dangerous beasts, but Scotland has dangerous plants! Prickly thistles, spiky brambles, lethally thorny gorse bushes, stinging nettles... a walk through the countryside can be quite an experience in open sandals! I don't have any photos of summer spikes so I am posting a recent picture of gorse bushes covered in frost. It is now titled "Frosted Veprecose Fantasy." ;-)

I am tagging...
1. Shastri
2. Russell
3. Mimi
4. Cliff
5. Daisy
6. Derik
and finally...
7. ALL crows (you know who you are!), because all crows love collecting unusual sparklies, including words. :-D

Shastri adopted jussulent
Pete adopted latibule
Russell adopted aretaloger and tremefy
Daisy adopted stiricide
Martha adopted crocitation