Sunday, November 28, 2010

Frosty walk to the shop...

Christmas Parcel Decoration

I created this today...just a very quick project to pass the afternoon. It's a hand sewn parcel Christmas tree decoration. The parcel is made from creme fleece, thread, twine and the tag is white cardboard. The reverse of the tag reads '2010' I quite like it for it's simplicity and it's hanging on the tree now as I write this.

Christmas Market, Tesco and the Toy Show

Friday evening before the Toy Show, Neen and I brought the kids into town so they could check out the Christmas Continental Market which they hadn't yet seen. Before hand we had a look around in the shops, then had a quick bite to eat in McDonalds!

The first place we stopped in the market was a Finnish stall that sells knit wear, it was absolutely freezing and Neen and I were on the look out for gloves. I had seen a pair of mittens for sale the last time we were there but alas they were gone this time around. I really should have bought them we I saw them. I was looking for mittens in particular because I have big hands and liked the idea of having gloves that fit properly. Usually the fingers are too small...I'll have to keep looking!

Everyone was very cold but had a really good time!

Before we headed home we dropped into Tesco to do the weekly shop. Tuna had a sore foot so we commandeered two trolleys. One for the food which Neen piloted. The other for Tuna to sit in, which Ant and I took charge of. 

Just for fun we played a game, Tuna covered her eyes with her hat and before we put the food in the shopping trolley we handed it to her, and she had to guess what it was...

Tuna then took control of the camera and snapped away, here are some of her photos....

Finally after a long day we made it home in time to put away the groceries, make some hot chocolate and get nice and cozy for the show...

Christmas Starts....Now!

In preparation for last Friday night's Late Late Toy Show. Neen and I put up all the Christmas decorations Thursday night. The kids were coming up to watch the toy show so we wanted it to be extra special. I love Christmas so much, it's definitely my favorite time of year! Our tree is extra nice looking this year I think. We were giving a couple extra sets of lights, one of which we added to the tree. It made a huge difference. Sora the cat absolutely loves Christmas too, especially the tree. When she was a kitten, she spent half of her first Christmas playing/sleeping in the tree. She loves the lights, decorations...everything. The minute we started unpacking the tree this year she immediately began to get visibly excited and before I had even attached the top tier of the tree in place she was over trying to climb up it! Problem is this. The tree is only 6 feet tall, and Sora is Huge! If she manages to squirm her way onto even one of the lower branches she will most certain topple it! I don't mind at all though! I love seeing her enjoy the festive time of year as much as I do!

Here is the mantel piece complete with stockings, lights Nativity and ornaments, Neen really did a great job decorating it. 

Here is Neens Nativity, and to the far left you can see my favorite Christmas decoration. A Charlie Brown Nativity. When you wind it up it plays 'Hark The Herald Angel' I love how the lights have cast it's shadow behind it's larger neighbour!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Poor Hope...Update 2

Hope is feeling a lot better, she is back to her loving, boisterous, talkative self. After tests and X-Rays the vets found no evidence of cancer at all which was such a relief. The swelling in her foot was actually caused by  a dodgy hip. Owing to the fact that one hip socket is bearing the entire weight of  the lower half of her body, it is under extra pressure and wearing down at a quicker pace than usual. We are in fact lucky to have found this out now, rather than later. 

She is now on a couple of medicines. One to help with inflammation and pain (although she doesn't actually appear to be in any anymore) the other specifically assigned to prevent further erosion of the hip socket.  The only real downside to Hope is she's now on a diet. She weighs a little more than she should given the fact she only has three legs and is a little less active than she used to be. She has been looking at me with equal measures of shock, confusion and frustration each mealtime when she receives her skimpy rations, but it's for her best...Neen and I are unbelievably relieved and grateful to have her home again, healthy and happy!

Sora and the Prickly Tree...

When I woke up yesterday morning and entered the dining room, Sora met me at the door and had this stuck to her tail, given she is a long-haired tortoiseshell she often comes in with bits of leaves and the occasional branch but this was HUGE and super prickly....the overgrowth behind our house is full of thorny plants, for some reason they have all developed some serious self-defense mechanisms. This species is no exception.

When I cut it off and got a good look at it, the first thing it reminded me of was the little tree in 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' Sora loves Christmas trees, but obviously wasn't a fan of having this attached to her!

Just Sora chillin' in the winter sunlight as it shun through the dining room window this afternoon!

Sora, sleeping on the tank, as usual, the terrapins didn't seem to mind at all and were quite happily basking just inches from her furry foot. I'm getting the turtles a new tank between now and Christmas...just on the look out for a good deal at the moment. They're both males and don't have a huge amount of growin' left so this could be their last upgrade.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Poor Hope...Update

Hope has gone to the Vet for the day to have a digital X-Ray. We won't find any more news until this evening. Any prayers and positive energy you can spare, feel free to send Hopes way...

Poor Hope

Hope our cat hasn't been well at all this past week and we, Neen and I have been really really worried. Earlier this year Hope was diagnosed with cancer of the bone and had her left hind-leg amputated. Since then she has been brilliant. The missing limb hasn't slowed her at all, and absolutely nothing has changed for her. It was really inspiring watching her deal with a disability many a human, myself included would find life-changing and extremely difficult to cope with.

I have, since the operation naturally been checking her remaining limbs for pain or other signs of relapse but luckily up to this week she has been completely clear. Tuesday morning last she left the house fully fit, but by the time she returned home later that afternoon her remaining rear leg was swollen and visibly sore. We immediately became worried because the injury was identical to the early stages of what we now know to have been bone cancer.

We kept her in for a couple of days and when then swelling worsened we brought her to the Vets Friday night. They were equally apprehensive but initiall inspection of the limb in question found no evedince just yet of relapse. The vet gave her antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory's and we are bringing Hope back in tomorrow for an x-ray which should shine some light on the issue. If it is as we fear, cancer the only option will be to have her put to sleep, as obviously she can't nor should one expect her to live with only two limbs. It's heartbreaking and I have been so worried this week. Besides the foot, she is in a great mood, all we can do is hope and pray it's not as bad as it seems.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Saturday...

Saturday morning while Neen was at her weekly Stitch'n Bitch group I went to see my cousin Mark playing for his football/soccer team Renmore. It's my first time making a match and he played a blinder I'm really proud of him. My grandmother lives just 5 minutes from the pitch so I also dropped in for a cup of tea and a chat with her before walking into town to run some quick errands. Town was really beautiful, all the Christmas decorations were up and the the atmosphere was wonderful...eventually I made it home, cold and tired after the long walk. I was welcomed by a lovely, warm and freshly cleaned house all thanks to Neen who had been working hard cleaning and tiding all evening  Neen the cats and I had a really great cozy night in.

Curious and Curiouser...

A couple weeks ago my Nokia E63 broke, I explained what happened in an earlier post but to surmise water got into the phone and fried the circuits. I was bummed, I looked into getting a replacement but the options available weren't great. Realistically I needed a couple of specific features WiFi, Qwerty keyboard, Camera and large screen...and the current phones available with said features were pretty pricey. I opted to wait until maybe after Christmas and ended up borrowing a phone to temporarily tide me over.

So what to do with the broken handset? The store confirmed water damage such as this can't be fixed, you also can't trade in a non-working handset against the eventual purchase of a new one. I decided instead to recycle it. I remembered a place that recycles old phones, Well I e-mailed them, they sent out a freepost envelope and the day I was sending the phone off I thought to myself..."I know I've checked countless times this week but before I seal the envelope I'll try to turn it on one last time" Well I turned the phone on, and miraculously everything was working again. No more flashing interface and unresponsive keys. I couldn't believe it. It's been working perfectly since and with any luck i'll at the very least get a few more months out of it! The  Fins really no how to make a  hardy phone.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Galway Continental Christmas Market

Friday night saw the official opening of the Galway Continental Christmas Market.This is a first for the city and is taking place the Kennedy Park Eyre Square. Neen and I went in to check it out on the opening night and  the atmosphere was  amazing. The whole event is a wonderful boost for the city. There is absolutely loads to see and multiple visits are a must. I love Christmas so much and the presence of the European style market and of course a traditional Santa's grotto in the very centre of the park will undoubtedly do wonders in lifting local spirits. We sampled loads of food on the night, European potato dishes, German bratwurst sausage, Dutch Apple and Cinnamon donuts and chocolate waffles. Very much looking forward to having a second look around this weekend and maybe buying a pair of mittens or a hand-made Christmas ornament or two.

Galway Christmas Market (19th Nov - 19th Dec 2010)

Market Opening Hours:
Monday - Wednesday: 10am - 8pm
Thursday - Saturday: 10am-10pm
Sunday: 1pm - 6pm

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Candy Corn and Candy Pumpkins

Yum...Hallowe'eny goodness! I love candy-corn, but you can't get in Ireland, Aidan and Colleen, my aunt and uncle livin' in Chicago were visiting Galway last week and very kindly brought us over a bag of goodies, chocolate and vanilla tootsie-rolls, candy-corn, charms lollipops... It's kind of good that we cant get it in Ireland, it means all the more on the occasions we do have some! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mice, Wolfmen and Zombie Cats

I woke up this morning and as per usual found the cats sleeping in the studio. As I entered Sora and Hope gingerly awoke and with groggy, sleepy, snotty-eyes they dragged their furry bodies across the floor half stretching, half walking and rubbed themselves against my legs like awkward zombies.  To the untrained eye all would appear normal but something was definitely amiss. I stood for a beat just listening and realized things were a bit too quiet. Usually the mere thought of breakfast made the cats boisterous and giddy, Hope especially, but this morning not a creature was stirring not even a mouse....

Maybe I spoke too soon! Suddenly I heard an all too familiar rustling noise, then Sora quite calmly walked over to the source, somewhat uninterested and looked back to me as if to say, 'It's in here!' They had once again brought in a live mouse and at this stage had left it for generous of them!

I immediately scooped up the cats and relocated them to the sitting room, shut the door and returned as quickly as possible to the studio. Occasionally animals brought in the house were largely left unharmed. Hopefully this was a similar situation. If I found him, I might be able to give him a bit of grub and release him to safety outside. The mouse was indeed still alive and as far as I could tell in good health all things considered. I proceeded to block off any and all escape routes and cornered the mouse. I assumed it would be a relatively easy capture but alas it wasn't. The mouse was very afraid, but equally intelligent. He knew "if I don't move I wont be eaten." So he stubbornly stayed put no matter how I tried to coerce him out. I offered bread, which he ate, cheese which he didn't but still he stayed firm.

For two hours I sat on the ground waiting with a plastic Tupperware jar, trying everything I could think of to encourage him into the jar. Bread trails didn't work...neither did loud noises. He would not budge no matter how I tried. I became very aware that if not careful I could inadvertently hurt him in my attempts. He was genuinely scared and simply thought me to be a much bigger cat, simply another predator to avoid. Eventually from perseverance, patience and a smidge of trust on the rodents side, the mouse tentatively ambled from his corner and reluctantly entered the plastic jar. 

Relieved and tired I sat down for a minute and the both of us took a rest. I debated whether it would be best to grant him some recovery time before releasing him, but he appeared OK and I thought the quicker the whole ordeal is over for him the better. He had no visible injuries of any sort and appeared alert so I went outside and released him into the safety of the back shed. Relieved he scurried off...unscathed and ready to fight another day!

I was very relieved to have been able to rescue him but at the same time apprehensive that any of my attempts, however careful may have caused him grief or God forbid pain...I genuinely tried my best and as I type I hope he is happily exploring the moon-kissed night.

On a secondary note, look what arrived today. The signed book and pouch Neen and I won, as mentioned in this earlier post. I'm only a couple of chapters in at this stage but thus far it is a hugely interesting read, I'm really enjoying it. The pouch too is very cool! I love them both and will always cherish them. Hopefully Neen and I will be able to visit Shaun's Wolf Centre in England one of these days...