Sunday, 17 January 2010

"Watch What You Eat" - Anthony B, 1997

We've finally thawed out here in North Oxfordshire. And so this afternoon, I made sure that all of our bird feeders were refilled with seed, peanuts and suet balls...oh, and that the water bowl was full, too.

Some time over the past year or so, somebody (I think it was my sister-in-law Claire) kindly gave us a really interesting feeder log full of fat balls. We'd debated where to hang it and just never got around to putting it out before. But today, I found a location in the back corner of the garden. You can see where it's been put in the middle of the first photo here.

When I unwrapped the log, I read the information on the wrapping material. Here's a photo of the label...

To save you from having to magnify that image to read the fine print, let me do it for you. Note the warning shown below the storage instructions...

John and I can't help but wonder how on earth any birds with a nut allergy are supposed to be able to read the manufacturer's warning!


Sunday, 10 January 2010

"Nights a Brighter" - Breakerz, 2007

We have had loads of snow here in our part of England over the past week. As the temperature hasn't ever gotten much above the freezing point in that time, what little melting has occurred in the daytime just freezes over during the night. And because our district council hasn't yet done anything about the road into our cul-de-sac, John and I haven't gotten a vehicle out of our driveway since last Monday.

We've been told that we might get some more snow during the night tonight. I just peeked out the window to see if there was any sign of it yet, but there isn't.

But what I did notice is the brightness of the back garden, even though it's now dark outside. It isn't because of the moon, as there isn't much moonlight. And it's very cloudy.

What I'm seeing is simply the "glow" from all of the snow out there.

It's so beautiful. Nature gives us such wonderful presents, if we choose to see them.


Saturday, 9 January 2010

"Cosmik Debris" - Frank Zappa, 1974

Hello, dear readers.

I'm sorry for my absence. I'm stunned that I've been missed (I've been told that a few people have noticed I'm not updating this blog), and I'll try to do better this new year.

Perhaps I'm now ready to talk a bit more about the "debris" that affected me during the second half of 2009.

See the photo I've posted here? Well, as a sort of inside joke, I printed this out and put a copy on the wall next to my desk at work back in May last year. The origin of the image? Well, I think it was Hurricane Katrina in the USGC several years ago. The reason? It was the sad and (I think) unwise "redundancy"of beloved work colleague last May.

When situations feel a bit out of control, sometimes I feel the need to regain some sense of control. My posting of this jpeg file at work was my response. Little did I know, though, that it would lead to the most difficult 6 months of my life.

Gavin's dismissal was only the beginning.

In June, my best friend Claudia experienced a bad fall at home in Texas and did a lot of damage to her shoulder. It required serious reconstruction. She's still recovering.

As I've written before, at the end of June, dear Marcella chose to end her own life. I still mourn the loss of such a special person.

In August, while my brother and his girls were with us, John experienced a loss of vision in his left eye because of a couple of serious retinal tears. After FIVE surgeries (4 of them at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London - the final one in November 2009), he's left with decent vision...but with a realization of how fragile our senses actually are.

Because of John's eye problem, we had to cancel our trip to the States last October. That means that 2009 was the first year in my life that I didn't spend even one second in the US during the entire year.

It continued. Another valued work colleague/friend was let go in the autumn. I began to have problems with my shoulder in September (and I probably have an impingement). And in December, my brother lost his ex-mother-in-law, and good friends lost their unborn baby.

And it hasn't been an especially good year for the financial world either.

So where does that leave me? Madly in love -- married four years -- loving life in the UK -- and more convinced than ever that the only way to stay sane is to remain as positive as possible.

But I'm tired. My shoulder hurts like hell most of the time. I mourn those who have left this world. And I wonder sometimes why we're all suffering all of these trials.

That's where I am today. Shall I try to write more regularly from now on, or is anybody really reading anyway?