Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Saturday 25 December 2010: Ribbons, Christmas and Gifts of Peace

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! ~Author Unknown

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. ~Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur

Well, yes. Once again I have fallen behind on blips. Between Dixie not being able to go on walks until the Vets have some idea of what illness has befallen her, my relapse and exhaustion, and Mr. D's dreadful cold, ie Manflu, I haven't even been outside. In fact, I don't think the camera has left the kitchen table for days. I did think about taking a photo of the Lemsip box... May be forced to do so at some point.

However, I do miss my photos of the sea side and the South Downs and the wood and walks with Dixie...

In the meantime...

Peace begins with a smile. ~Mother Teresa

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Peace, Love & Christmas Day

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens
May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! ~Author Unknown

We are busy rushing around getting ready to have dinner with Gary's parents in the pub and after we will open our pressies.

I wanted to take the time to wish every one of you a very Happy Holiday.

Dixie has looked in her stocking and found a turkey flavoured chew bone and is in heaven.

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.  ~Peg Bracken

Friday, 24 December 2010

Friday 24 December 2010: Christmas Eve Thoughts and Reflections

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~Carol Nelson

I try to stay busy at Christmas. I treat it like a job or one long to-do list. This is not really ideal and I don't do it consciously. I believe it is a coping mechanism.

Nine years ago I moved to England, a truly beautiful land with beautiful people. I am so very blessed.

At Christmas, however, I miss my son who lives thousands of miles away in New Orleans. I want to celebrate Christmas with him. I want to hear him laugh. I want to feed him pie until he begs for mercy.

I miss my three sisters who live equally far away in Oklahoma and their children whom I adore and their children's children to whom I wish I had the opportunity to be that eccentic Great Auntie in their lives. I miss my brother who used to make the most incredible pot of Chili for our Christmas Eve family get together. He had a shy smile, a deep voice and a laugh that made you laugh. He has passed on now but we still celebrate Christmas with him in our hearts. I do sometimes wonder if anybody thought to get his Chili recipe. Just like after 33 years I still have questions I wish I had asked my Mother.

I will have a lovely Christmas with my husband and his family and of course the irrepressible Dixie (even if she is laid low with illness at the moment). Tomorrow I promise to regale you with joyous tales of an English Christmas. But for just this moment, I would like to remember and hold in my heart family and friends I am unable to touch...

I have let my mind
stroll through Christmases past

With a promise that I will not linger
That the misty sparkle of images
I cannot quite make out
Will not make me mourn but rejoice

For Christmas present is filled
with the light of Christmas past

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Thursday 23 December 2010: Lancing Manor Park with Dixie: Late December

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? ~ Dr. Seuss

The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart. ~Nikolai Lenin

My best friend is sick.
How can I think about anything else?
How do I put words on paper?
I spend hours just watching her sleep
She sleeps a lot.

In the rare moments when she smiles
and wags her tail
My gaze turns into a mad stare
as I try to memorise the moment,
sear it into the brain
Just in case
those moments are numbered.

The experts have placed
a limit on her movements
But today we took a brief walk
in the park with her red coat on
Alas, no ball throwing
Even so, she was in heaven.

The park was bleak and wintery
with seagulls playing the part
of carrion crow.

I paused from my worry to take this shot.

She pays a price for that twenty minutes of joy.

Now she sleeps...


Dixie in Healthier Times

The results from yesterday's blood tests came back and they are normal. However, if she had Atypical Addison's they would be normal.

Unfortunately, once you start giving them steroids, you can't really stop so they have decided to run the ACTH stress test again. To complicate matters even further, they noticed when looking through her records that she had been given ear drops for an ear infection. I thought they were just antibiotic drops but it turns out they also had steroids in them. Apparently, if there were any residual steroids lingering around in her system, it would affect the results...  You need a good clear 3 weeks before test...

So, she is scheduled to retake her test on Wednesday.

In the meantime, we are supposed to keep her calm with a minimum amount of exercise and continue the Hill's Recovery food (which, sadly, causes some quite smelly flatulence which I think she finds quite embarrassing).

On a positive note, she does seem brighter but gets tired very easily. So short periods of playfulness are followed by 5 hours of sleep.

I had promised to keep a number of you updated on her condition and decided writing a Facebook note would be the easiest. However, several of my friends on Twitter had problems accessing the link (my security settings are probably too tight) so I decided to post it on the blog which means everyone can see it.

Basically, we are currently in a holding pattern...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Here Comes The Sun - Beatles

My Thursday According to StarIQ

  Thursday could be a interesting, dare I say 'good' day for me according to:
 StarIQ Forecast

 Dec 23, 2010

Transiting Mars Trine Natal Jupiter

Invest your energies fully into adventure, romance, the love of life and the desire for knowledge. Any one or more of these activities reaps fruitful reward. Demonstrate generous and magnanimous acts with your energy. Give freely of yourself. Share your experiences. Invention, innovation and dramatic creativity burst forward with nova-like expanse. Write, design, articulate and create. Your efforts are rewarded and heralded. Take time and effort for the things you always say you'd do "if so and so happened." It is.

In addition, other influences can add complexity to the day.

Transiting Mercury Trine Natal Pluto 

Your mind is very deep, able to probe below the surface and come up with information not visible to the rest of the world. You know what's essential now, and what needs to be cut out. This suggests great focus, clarity and power that can help you move the minds of others with relative ease. You understand how much to push and exactly where to apply pressure to get the results that you want. You are able to take in difficult news with objective detachment, and to share it with great tact and discretion.

Transiting Mercury Conjunct Natal Sun 

Think you have a good idea of who you are? Great. Let everyone know. Spit it out there. No need to hold back. Be clear. Be succinct. Be forthright. This burst creates a chance for you to clarify everything that you ever wanted anyone to know about you through your personal declarations. Eliminate the feeling that people do not understand you. Remember, a little goes a long way. Avoid tendencies to repeat a joke when well received. Same rule remains true with self-proclamation.

I almost feel hopeful!!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Orange and Cranberry Muffins from the Hopton House

Orange and Cranberry Muffins... baked by me & photo by me :)

 A Fabulous Recipe from the Hopton House Blog:

 Orange and Cranberry Muffins

Posted by Karen Thorne on 15/12/2008 16:00:43

My gardener, Bernard, was here for his last visit before Christmas so I decided to give him some muffins to take home for him and his wife to share. He was shocked one morning when I gave him a muffin with his coffee and it was still warm. Muffins really are best fresh out of the oven.

I've been using one of Ina Garten's scone recipes and cooking some very nice cranberry and orange scones when it occurred to me that an orange and cranberry muffin would be a good combination - nice and christmassy. They are lovely and, for the moment, my favourite muffin flavour.

225g Self Raising Flour

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

60g Caster Sugar

110g of Dried Cranberries ( fresh are too tart )

zest of 1 Orange

200ml milk

1 egg

55g melted butter

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees ( fan ). A bit hotter for non fan.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar, cranberries and orange zest and mix well.

Beat together all of the wet ingredients, then stir them quickly into the dry ingedients. The key to light muffins is not to over mix - the mixture will look lumpy.

Spoon into 6 to 8 paper muffin cups and cook for about 20-30 minutes until they are lightly browned on top.

Murphy says "Eat a Hopton House mufifin and you'll be raring to climb up to the top of the hill in the snow!"

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Saturday 11 December 2010: Winter Skies

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. ~Andrew Wyeth

During the winter my attention was attracted to the changes in the stars and planets in the sky. ~Paul Nurse

Winter skies remind me
of places I've been
of moments in time now lost.

In a cold winter's breath
magic slipped through my fingers.

Now when I look down
I see an old woman's hands
with the same desires
of a young girl.

December can be cruel.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Thursday 2 December 2010: Snow in the Trees

And finally Winter, with its bitin', whinin' wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow.
Roy Bean

Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.
Andy Goldsworthy

What with worries, personal sadness and dreadful illnesses, I have fallen woefully behind on my daily blips. This one was taken quite some time ago. The snow pictured here has melted ...a long time ago. Now, according to the weather stations, more is on the way... Children will dream of more snowball fights. A White Christmas is a 'foregone conclusion,' they say. The gritters will be moving out...

...while I dream of summerland.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Dreaming of the healing waters of Chalice Well, Glastonbury

I have been dreadfully ill...
An illness is like a journey into a far country; it sifts all one's experience and removes it to a point so remote that it appears like a vision.~ Sholem Asch

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Wednesday 1 December 2010: ...and today it snows

Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.
Andy Goldsworthy

And so The Snow Queen also became a story about the need to seek equilibrium, in our own lives, with the natural world, even within the universe at large.
Joan D. Vinge

We have been watching from the warmth and protection of the Sussex Coast as the rest of the country struggles with the snow. It has taken on a life of its own and seems disinclined to move on anytime soon.

Today it is our turn. We awoke to a lovely white winter wonderland. Easy to think of it in terms of visual poetry as long as you have nowhere you need to be. The airports are closed while the roads are extremely hazardous. Or so I am told, as I have yet to go any further than my front door. This was taken from my front door.

In addition to waking to snow, we also woke to colds and sore throats so a lot of tea is being drunk.

The snow
reminds me of Christmas
Reminds me of racing across
cold wooden floors
flannel nightgown
flapping around my ankles
Warmth given barely a thought
While listening for the
sound of sleigh bells.

I will drink hot tea
Think about presents
I have yet to buy
And cards I have yet to send
And wish Santa came for me.

Sunday 28 November 2010: A Tree Embraces the Dying of the Light

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day. ~Vincent Van Gogh

Dreams are only thoughts you didn't have time to think about during the day. ~Author Unknown

I relax
at the coming of night

I always have

These days
they come faster

have less meaning
Less fear

The anxiety
is still there

for a wrong step

At night
my soul whispers

And sighs
at the silence

Friday 26 November 2010: Dancing with Myself

ids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. ~William Stafford

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters
Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop.
~W.H. Auden

Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order. ~Samuel Beckett

Gary's niece turned 18
There was a party
There was cake
There was laughter

There was a DJ
There was a disco with flashing lights
There was a little boy dancing
He danced and danced and danced
An elemental force of nature
The perfect gift.