Update

So the big meeting went ahead on Wednesday to decide the future of those who are left (including me), and the decision that was made..... Let's wait and see what happens. In the mean time though if you could just try and absorb the work of all those who have left it would of course be appreciated. Well I'm still in a job, let's look on the bright side eh.

Time for a Whinge


This car is parked outside my house, it's quite nice, a sporty little number, an MG, probably worth a few quid. It's been there for a month now, hasn't moved, not once. Its owner pops out every saturday and starts the engine and lets it run for a few minutes then goes back to his house. He has another car, which he uses every day, a nice BMW. What is it with the MG, it's just rotting away. I accept that I don't have a divine right to park outside my house, I don't have a problem with that (honestly!). What really bugs me is the sheer waste of it all.

Daydream, n., v.

n. A dreamlike musing or fantasy while awake, especially of the fulfillment of wishes or hopes; a visionary creation of the imagination experienced while awake; especially : a gratifying reverie
intr.v. To have dreamlike musings or fantasies while awake

I think daydreams keep us sane; just as dreams help us work through problems in our subconscious, daydreams help us find rest and peace where there is none.

I usually have vivid dreams, and I can often remember phenomenal details, especially the dreams that are entire episodes of Star Trek or Stargate SG-1. (Yes, I have dreamed episodes of those shows, with people I know supplementing the regular cast. I've also dreamed M*A*S*H episodes. I have a very strange brain.)

My daydreams, on the other hand, tend to be a blur. Some people say they "go" to the same place in their daydreams. But I don't go to a "place." Rather, I take on a feeling.

My usual trigger for daydreaming is the sound of birds singing; I'll stop and listen. And in the listening, I rest and start to breathe deeply. I then enter a reverie of clean air and strong arms around me. Sometimes it's desert air, sometimes ocean; sometimes it's the air after a summer storm, sometimes the air of a midwinter night. The air in my daydreams changes, but the arms are always there: strong warm protecting inviting supporting.

Then the dryer buzzes, the phone rings, a car honks, the boys scream. The moment is lost, the transcendence broken.

Daydreams. Where do yours take you?

A random haiku

Little boys are strange --
I blame the y-chromosome
How else to explain ...

Putting crushed ice down his shorts?!?!?!



Disclaimer: It was not one of my little darlings who did this, but an 8YO neighbor who thought it was just hysterical.

BTW, the blog jar works! ;)

The Shins - Australia

My kind of music, and I bet Don's chuffed to bits now I can post videos again!

Sad

A sad day today as 2 much loved colleagues left for ever. The remaining few (including me) learn our fate tomorrow. Having said that, if we're treated with the same sensitivity as those who were leaving, they'll probably leave it a few weeks before deciding our fate. So good luck to Don and Mel for the future and I look forward to the big bash on April 20th.

Robin or Robin?



Nessa recently posted a photo of an American Robin on her site and allthough there is an obvious similarity between it and it's British cousin, I was quite surprised at how different they are.

Early Starter


Took this photo of a Red Admiral in the back garden today. Strange thing is they're not supposed to arrive in this country until May. So this one either forgot to go home last year or got an early flight this year.

Run, run, as fast as you can

But the gingerbread boy only laughed and shouted, "I've run away from a woman, a man, a cow, and a horse, so now I'll run away from you!

"Run, run, as fast as you can,
You can't catch me,
I'm the gingerbread man!"

The men joined in the chase but no one could catch the gingerbread boy. He raced far ahead until he came to a river and had to stop. There he met a fox who wanted very much to eat him.

Run, run, as fast as you can!

I use that refrain all the time to get the boys to get moving on the way home from school or the playground. Run, run, as fast as you can! You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread mom! It doesn't work with N so much any more, but S still giggles and trit-trots after me.

Run, run, as fast as you can!

That's what I want to do right now: Run fast, run far. Except I don't know where to go. Because no matter how far or how fast I run, Nick will still be gone, and I will still be missing him, and I will still be crying while I fold the laundry.

And sooner or later, I will come to that river, where the fox is waiting.

Run, run, as fast as you can!

Run to the arms of the man who loves me. That's what I want to do. To be loved and held and comforted. If only I could figure out how to get across the river.

Watch out Lamp, here we come.


It's a strange day at work today, lots of people are expecting to hear whether they have been accepted for voluntary early retirement and voluntary severance. In my office, 4 out of 7 have applied for it (not me!). If they all get it, our office will be severely depleted, which may have implications for those left behind (ie me). Still, look on the bright side, it's a good excuse for a piss-up.

Tree


Up river from the stepping stones at Egton Bridge.

Gulliver's moving on

I'm not sure why, but Gulliver clearly needed to head out to Ali today.

I thought about sending him a few days ago and forgot. I decided to send him today, but I couldn't find the right-size box, so I said, "Eh. A few more days won't hurt." Less than 10 minutes after my fruitless search for a box, FedEx delivered a package. A plant I had ordered back in the fall and forgotten all about. In a box that was custom-made for Gulliver.



Now, if only I could find some packing tape ...

Not to worry, I will buy some tape en route to the post office. So, my five faithful readers -- time to let Ali know why YOU should be the next recipient of this beloved bear.

sacrament, n.

Middle English, from Old French sacrement, from Late Latin sacrāmentum, from Latin sacrāre, to consecrate; a Church Latin loan-translation of Gk. mysterion, mystery.

1. Ecclesiastical. a visible sign of an inward grace, esp. one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace
2. something regarded as possessing a sacred character or mysterious significance
3. a sign, token, or symbol
4. an oath, a solemn pledge

A sacrament makes us sacred, makes us holy; it draws us closer to the divine. The western church (thanks to St. Augustine) worries a lot about how it makes us holy, analyzes everything to smithereens. The eastern church says that it is not possible to understand ... it is all a great mystery. In fact, we don't call them sacraments, but holy mysteries. It is not for us to understand how God makes us holy; it is enough to receive the sacraments in gratitude.

I hesistate to say this, but I don't think that all weddings -- not even all Catholic/Orthodox weddings -- are sacraments. "Let no man tear asunder what God has joined together." Well, not all marriages are made in heaven; not all couples make each other holy.

The marriage on Friday of my good friends Tim and Carol was a true sacrament: Two hearts brought together in faith and love, making each other holy and bringing each other closer to God. It was beautiful to witness.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And it made me miss Nick so very much.

Radio goo goo

Another gem from Radio Viking's Fact of the Day team. Sam, "did you know, Venus is the only planet that orbits the sun clockwise". Co-presenter, "you mean all the others go anti clockwise". I feel insulted that the presenters feel the need to state the bleedin' obvious in case the thickies out there didn't understand the first time round. So I'd just like to say that Radio Viking is rubbish, and by that I mean it's crap, in case you weren't sure what I meant by rubbish.

Mother's Day


Took wifey to Whitby today so the kids could buy her some Amber ear-rings. This image caught my eye.

The morning after


I took this at approx 5.30am the morning after the full eclipse of the moon, which of course is probably irrelevant. It was taken from our back bedroom window.

Great joy

I'm heading up to Philadelphia in a few minutes for a WidoWedding... I have been looking forward to this day for soooooo long.

Prayers of blessing on Tim and Carol... and eternal memory for Anna and Jeff.

Luke the Lion


Luke the Lion came with us to Sewerby, he enjoyed meeting the penguins.

"Is this a stage?"

"You'd better believe it is!" I thought in response to the title of a thread on the widow board. Shakespeare's words echoed in my mind.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
...
And then the whining school-boy, ...
... And then the lover,
... Then a soldier,
... And then the justice,
... The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon
... and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble
... Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
-- Jacques, As You Like It

Yes, indeed, widowhood is a stage and all eyes are on you.

Everyone is watching to see how well you perform, waiting for you to trip over your lines or your feet. Everyone is a critic, analyzing your every move, every gesture, every tone of voice. Everyone has an observation to make, a suggestion for improvement.

How is your pacing? Are you moving too fast or too slow? How are your responses? Are you too dramatic or too restrained? How are your costume and makeup? Are you too stylish or too drab?

What is wrong with you? And why can't you do it right? You know, according to the norms established by society. Established by a society that prefers to keep death and grief in a closet. By a society that is ever looking for haste and quick resolution of life's problems.

Widowhood is a stage, and you will always have two identities: The character you don when you go out into the world, acting the role of widow, and the person you are backstage, when you get to take off the makeup and costume. Some of us slip between the two identities with ease; others are never quite comfortable with either. Some of us spend more of our time on stage than off, spend more time in the role of widow than in just being ourselves. Some of us say we don't give a care how the world sees us, but I suspect even that attitude is a role assumed to shield our true selves from the observing public.

Being on stage is exhausting -- being the focus of attention, having to be aware of every movement, sweating under the glare of lights and the weight of makeup. It can also be eminently gratifying to get rave reviews. But nothing feels so good as getting out of costume, leaving the roaring crowd behind, and relaxing with a glass of wine.

----

I opened the thread, ready to respond. What a disconnect it was to realize the person was wondering about all the anger she was feeling, about how she felt she didn't belong anywhere. Oh. THAT kind of stage. Yeah, anger and loneliness are a stage, one you'll climb onto time and again, rehearsing and performing until you get it right, throw the script in the trash, and head for the cast party.

Wonderful Great Good News

My sister decided a few weeks ago -- after meeting with her surgeon and oncologist -- that she would not pursue chemo or radiation. Her reasoning was twofold. First, all the lymph node tests came back clean. Second, if the cancer does recur, it will be in the liver or kidney or lung ... basically an automatic death sentence. She decided that if she's going to die of cancer, she wasn't willing to sacrifice her quality of whatever life she has left.

Yesterday, she met again with the surgeon and oncologist and told them her decision. They agreed with her, that chemo is not necessary. And they took out the feeding tube, which is a huge morale booster for her. She will be monitored very closely and have CT scans and bloodwork done on a regular basis. But for now, as long as she can manage to eat enough to maintain her weight, the only treatment she requires is for healing of the spiritual and psychological trauma.

Thanks be to God.

Dega?


Also spotted these chaps at Sewerby Hall, I think they are called Degas, but I stand to be corrected. Not sure if they were cold or whether they just like each other!

Connections

Abbe and Ray











Lois and Barry











Ann

Betty

Alicia and Nick











Mae and Scott











Diane and Peter











Lenny and Lena











Beverly and Larry











Mike and Cathryn











Bob and Mary











Terri and Mike











Lorie and John

Roland and Marija












The Blog Jar, or

What To Write About When I Have Nothing To Write About

Welcome to my blog jar: When no topic is pounding at my fingertips itching to get out, I'll reach in and pull out a strip of cyberpaper.
  1. Words: human, divine -- added 27 March 07
  2. Civic responsibility as a virtue
  3. My blogging community
  4. Lost dreams
  5. Widow musings on dating (added by B in Boston)
  6. Latest kids antics
  7. Latest kids frustration
  8. Poetry corner ... pick a poem, muse on it
  9. Scripture of the day ... pick a passage, illuminate it
  10. Word of the day ... pick a word, define it, cogitate on it
  11. A day in the life of
  12. Meme of the day
  13. Random haiku
I have concrete things to say about the first items; I just haven't gotten the burning need to write about them. The rest are more like templates: I can pull one off the shelf and it will write itself. I'm going to try to add to this list as I read things elsewhere that I want to comment on.

Oh yeah -- if there's something you want me to write about, feel free to contribute cyberslips to my jar! And feel free to pull a slip from the jar when you need a topic.

Up close and personal


Met this fella at Sewerby Hall today.

Fame


Found this article hidden away on page three of the Times (or was it the local free rag, I forget). Anyway, you might think with a population of around 250,000 it would have generated a few hits, but no, not a single one. I guess that makes me a bit of a geek, either that or no other bugger reads the paper, no wonder Laurie left for pastures new. I suspect this may have been his parting shot. Good luck in Louth, young man.

Meme, n.

Can any of us resist a meme? You know, those lists of questions that ask us to tell interesting things about ourselves? We see them everywhere on the internet: in emails, on bulletin boards, on blogs, yes, even on this blog. But do you know what a meme is?
  1. An idea considered as a replicator, esp. with the connotation that memes parasitize people into propagating them much as viruses do.
  2. A cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes."
  3. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.
-- Dictionary.com
    Isn't that interesting? I always thought that the word was unique to the blogosphere. Think about it: I answer everything from my perspective; I want everyone to know about me; about what I think, what I have accomplished. Just like blog entries, memes are all about me ... me me ... meme. Its meaning seemed so obvious.

    So it's intriguing to contemplate that the MEness of memes is actually how I insert myself into the USness of the blogosphere and of our society at large, into the vast cultural consciousness. Perhaps that is, in fact, why they are so irresistible: We want to proclaim our uniqueness, tell everyone what makes us special, while at the same time being part of the mass, following the lead of the person who gave us the meme. We want our individuality to stand out in the context of the whole.

    Fascinating. Or not.

    Modern London


    I know most people like the traditional old buildings, but there's some quite groovy new ones too.

    Stupid birds

    Flocking, chirruping...
    They seem to think Spring is near --
    My heart knows better.

    More London



    The top picture is Southwark Cathedral, it's old and it's Gothic apparently. The bottom picture is a boat. The thing on the front of the boat is a deer (also known as a Hind) and it was Golden in colour, see if you can guess what it's called.

    And the winner is ....

    Ali!

    I'm so surprised that nobody else wanted Gulliver. B in Boston had lots of disappointed fans when she chose to send him to me. So, Ali, my beloved soul sister, send me a PM with your mailing address. Gully won't be shipped out for awhile, but I know he's looking forward to going back Down Under!

    In the meantime, he's been having fun with the boys and me. HardPlace arranged the setup for these two pictures.


    And Rock took this one.

    Have you ever ... ?

    I saw this on Suzy's blog and thought it looked fun. My achievements are highlighted.

    1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
    2. Swam with dolphins
    3. Climbed a mountain
    4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
    5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
    6. Held a tarantula
    7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone you love
    8. Said "I love you" and meant it
    9. Hugged a tree
    10. Bungee jumped
    11. Visited Paris (I guess an airport layover doesn't count...)
    12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
    13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
    14. Seen the Northern Lights (Like Suzy, I really want to see this!)
    15. Gone to a huge sports game
    16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa (I was lucky enough to visit there before they closed access to it!)
    17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
    18. Touched an iceberg
    19. Slept under the stars
    20. Changed a baby's diaper
    21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
    22. Watched a meteor shower
    23. Gotten drunk on champagne
    24. Given more than you can afford to charity
    25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
    26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
    27. Had a food fight
    28. Bet on a winning horse
    29. Asked out a stranger
    30. Had a snowball fight
    31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
    32. Held a lamb
    33. Seen a total eclipse (of the sun and of the moon)
    34. Ridden a roller coaster
    35. Hit a home run
    36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
    37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
    38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
    39. Had two hard drives for your computer (What can I say? Nick was a geek.)
    40. Visited all 50 states (How about all 48 contiguous states?)
    41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
    42. Had amazing friends
    43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
    44. Watched wild whales
    45. Stolen a sign
    46. Backpacked in Europe
    47. Taken a road-trip
    48. Gone rock climbing
    49. Midnight walk on the beach
    50. Gone sky diving
    51. Visited Ireland
    52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
    53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them (at an airport, but we actually had a conversation, so I think it counts)
    54. Visited Japan
    55. Milked a cow
    56. Alphabetized your CDs
    57. Pretended to be a superhero
    58. Sung karaoke
    59. Lounged around in bed all day
    60. Posed nude in front of strangers
    61. Gone scuba diving
    62. Kissed in the rain
    63. Played in the mud
    64. Played in the rain
    65. Gone to a drive-in theater
    66. Visited the Great Wall of China
    67. Started a business
    68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
    69. Toured ancient sites
    70. Taken a martial arts class
    71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight (never played D&D at all)
    72. Gotten married
    73. Been in a movie
    74. Crashed a party
    75. Gotten divorced (but I've been widowed -- trust me, it is NOT the same)
    76. Gone without food for 5 days
    77. Made cookies from scratch
    78. Won first prize in a costume contest
    79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
    80. Gotten a tattoo
    81. Rafted the Snake River
    82. Been on television news programs as an expert
    83. Got flowers for no reason
    84. Performed on stage
    85. Been to Las Vegas
    86. Recorded music
    87. Eaten shark
    88. Eaten fugu (pufferfish)
    89. Had a one-night stand (Ugh. Do I have to remember the sins of my youth?)
    90. Gone to Thailand
    91. Bought a house
    92. Been in a combat zone
    93. Buried one/both of your parents
    94. Been on a cruise ship
    95. Spoken more than one language fluently
    96. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show (Never even seen it!)
    97. Raised children (actually, it's a work in progress)
    98. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
    99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
    100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
    101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
    102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
    103. Had plastic surgery
    104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
    105. Written articles for a large publication (I've edited them; does that count?)
    106. Lost over 100 pounds (45.5 kilograms)
    107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
    108. Piloted an airplane
    109. Petted a stingray
    110. Broken someone's heart
    111. Ridden a bike
    112. Won money on a T.V. game show
    113. Broken a bone
    114. Gone on an African photo safari
    115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
    116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
    117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
    118. Ridden a horse
    119. Had surgery (unless you count oral surgery... root canals)
    120. Had a snake as a pet
    121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (This is on my short list of things I MUST DO)
    122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
    123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
    124. Visited all 7 continents
    125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
    126. Eaten kangaroo meat
    127. Eaten sushi
    128. Had your picture in the newspaper (the school newspaper...)
    129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
    130. Gone back to school
    131. Parasailed
    132. Petted a cockroach (but I've squished them!)
    133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
    134. Read The Iliad and the Odyssey
    135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read (Tolstoy!)
    136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
    137. Skipped all your school reunions
    138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language (I spoke Spanish to an Arab farmer who was speaking Portuguese!)
    139. Been elected to public office
    140. Written your own computer language
    141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
    142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care (Does watching my husband die in the ICU count?)
    143. Built your own PC from parts
    144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
    145. Had a booth at a street fair (political literature)
    146. Dyed your hair
    147. Been a DJ
    148. Shaved your head
    149. Caused a car accident
    150. Saved someone's life

    If you copy this list, leave a comment and let me know. I'd be interested to read about you!

    The touristy bit



    St Pauls Cathedral and Tower Bridge.

    Going down, down, down


    This is the underground, the little blue sign says keep to the right. This is because people who live and work in London run every where. It's quite strange to be going down, or up an escalator, to have people running past you, and I'm not talking fast walking here, I'm talking running. And another thing, this picture doesn't do it justice, but these escalators are frighteningly steep. Having said all that the underground is brilliant, getting from a to b couldn't be easier, and it's cheap too.