Friday, October 31, 2008

What's your tarot card?

Found this quiz at Gatochy's. For what it's worth, this is my tarot card...

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Halloween 2008



This time round only Clara braved the elements to go out trick or treating with her friends. Ana had a bad cold and so she stayed at home and answered the door to the little pranksters that came calling after nightfall. The devil costume worn by Ana last year was this year's costume for Clara and she looked really cute in it and not devilish at all. In spite of the cold, her group of friends had a great time going around the neighborhood in the dark and there was plenty of excitement, giggling and candy. When Clara saw a shooting star in the sky she suggested that everyone wish for Nia to get better soon and so everyone did. Sweet, isn't it?
Hubby's birthday was celebrated with his favourite dessert and birthday cake. They came out tasting exceptionally good this year.

Happy Halloween!

The Promise - Girls Aloud

My kiddos love this!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

i carry your heart

Paul Klee, Red Balloon (Roter Ballon), 1922.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

-- e. e. cummings --



Now you hear what the house has to say.
Pipes clanking, water running in the dark,
the mortgaged walls shifting in discomfort,
and voices mounting in an endless drone
of small complaints like the sounds of a family
that year by year you’ve learned how to ignore.

But now you must listen to the things you own,
all that you’ve worked for these past years,
the murmur of property, of things in disrepair,
the moving parts about to come undone,
and twisting in the sheets remember all
the faces you could not bring yourself to love.

How many voices have escaped you until now,
the venting furnace, the floorboards underfoot,
the steady accusations of the clock
numbering the minutes no one will mark.
The terrible clarity this moment brings,
the useless insight, the unbroken dark.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On love

I enjoyed reading Mariana's post on what love is, tricky subject...

As popular wisdom goes, you've got to love yourself to be able to love and be loved. If, however, you're just not too keen on yourself, then - the irony of it! - you find yourself impermeable to love when you're most desperate for it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pollo alla Cacciatora... for JC


1 tablespoon garlic oil
1/2 cup pancetta cubes
6 scallions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 pound chicken thigh fillets, each cut into 4 pieces
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 cup white wine
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon sugar


Put the garlic oil into a pan with the pancetta, sliced scallions and chopped rosemary and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the bite-sized chicken pieces, stirring well, and sprinkle in the celery salt.

Pour in the wine and let it come to a bubble before adding the tomatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Put the lid on and let the pan simmer for 20 minutes.

Cook time:25 minutes.
Serves 4.

It's snowing!

it's snowing!


Time to get the woolies out


The kids are on their mid term holiday and there's lots of preparations under way for Hubby's birthday and for Halloween. We were thinking about going to Kent, to the Brogdale apple harvest festival and that lovely Windy Ridge b&b in Whitstable like we did three years ago but ended up deciding against it. Too much going on at the moment...

Nia is being admitted to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children on Thursday to undergo her bone marrow transplant. She'll be in complete isolation for 6 weeks and can't have any visitors. We're all keeping our fingers crossed everything will go well and that chance finally sides up with her so that by Christmas she'll be well set on the road to recovery. She's been through so much already and she's so frail and so brave... I struggle to make any sense out of life sometimes.

More warmth badly needed

IMG_1600, originally uploaded by europa70.

A steaming hot drink may be all it takes to see the world through rose-tinted glasses, psychologists have found.

Holding a warm cup of coffee was enough to make people think strangers were more welcoming and trustworthy, while a cold drink had the opposite effect, a study found.

The warmth of a drink also influenced whether people were more likely to be selfish or give to others, researchers report in the journal Science. A team led by John Bargh at the University of Colorado set about testing whether hot and iced drinks influenced perceptions of others after noting how frequently "warm" and "cold" are used to describe personalities.

In one test, 41 volunteers were asked to hold a cup of coffee while they took an escalator to a fourth-floor lab. Once there, they were asked to read about a fictional character and give their impression of them. The test was then repeated using an iced coffee drink.

The psychologists found the volunteers perceived the fictional strangers as significantly warmer characters after holding the hot drink. When ranked on a scale from one to seven, with one being cold and seven being warm, they rated people on average 11% warmer after holding the hot drink.

Scientists also checked whether temperature influenced people's own behaviour as well as their perception of others. They asked volunteers to pick up either a frozen or heated therapeutic pad used for sports injuries. After handling the pad for a few minutes, they were offered a drink for themselves, or a voucher to give to a friend. Those who handled the hot pads chose more often to give the voucher.

From the Guardian.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nomadic living

A house on legs, designed by a group of Danish artists, has been strolling around Cambridgeshire.

WALKING HOUSE is a modular dwelling system that enables persons to live a peaceful nomadic life, moving slowly through the landscape or cityscape with minimal impact on the environment. It collects energy from its surroundings using solar cells and small windmills. There is a system for collecting rain water and a system for solar heated hot water. A small greenhouse unit can be added to the basic living module, to provide a substantial part of the food needed by the Inhabitants. A composting toilet system allows sewage produced by the inhabitants to be disposed of. A small wood burning stove could be added to provide CO2 neutral heating. WALKING HOUSE forms various sizes of communities or WALKING VILLAGES when more units are added together. WALKING HOUSE is not dependant on existing infrastructure like roads, but moves on all sorts of terrain.

Reminded me of the Hotel Everland concept.




Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

-- W.S. Merwin --

May justice be done

ML Valencia 20060820


And may you rest in peace, dear friend.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our American Dream

Alvera Court
(click to enlarge)

View Larger Map

26 years on.
Beavercreek is unrecognizable in these You Tube videos.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quote for today


A pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered.

--C.S. Lewis

It's freezing outside...

freehands-leather-4_large this should come in handy:
Freehands is a brilliant and stylish accessory for anyone wanting to use a mobile or camera on cold days without freezing their fingers off. Flip back caps to expose thumb and index fingers and then text, email, game and take photos while keeping warm. Magnets keep caps out of the way. Available in fleece, stratch or leather here.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Pride and Joy

There once was a Square, such a square little Square,
And he loved a trim Triangle;
But she was a flirt and around her skirt
Vainly she made him dangle.
Oh he wanted to wed and he had no dread
Of domestic woes and wrangles;
For he thought that his fate was to procreate
Cute little Squares and Triangles.

Now it happened one day on that geometric way
There swaggered a big bold Cube,
With a haughty stare and he made that Square
Have the air of a perfect boob;
To his solid spell the Triangle fell,
And she thrilled with love’s sweet sickness,
For she took delight in his breadth and height—
But how she adored his thickness!

So that poor little Square just died of despair,
For his love he could not strangle;
While the bold Cube led to the bridal bed
That cute and acute Triangle.
The Square’s sad lot she has long forgot,
And his passionate pretensions ...
For she dotes on her kids—Oh such cute Pyramids
In a world of three dimensions.

Robert W. Service

School of Everything

School of Everything

School of Everything is a social learning network that connects people who can teach with people who want to learn.

Whatever you want to learn, and whatever you teach, we'll connect you to people near you (or online) who can teach or learn with you. And since it's completely free, there's no reason not to explore further...

"...a beautifully simple idea using the web to connect those who have something to teach with those who want to learn. It could be knitting, writing sailing etc. In some ways it could be a home educator's dream ticket as it grows. You can teach or learn anything through the site - as long as it's legal! Clever use of web tools makes it easy for people who want to learn and people who want to teach find each other." --- John Davitt in the Guardian (March 2008)

Getting kids involved

We are what we do
Yesterday my thirteen-year-old daughter sent me an email with a link to this site, urging me to take part in the We Are What We Do movement (changing the world one small action at a time). She was quite impressed by its motto "small actions x lots of people = BIG change!" and is already taking on a few good actions of her own like turning off the tap while brushing her teeth and not leaving her mobile/iPod charging overnight. A welcomed helping hand with raising kids' awareness to some of the big issues around and getting them involved in the quest for a better world.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I sit and think

Staying put

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall never see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

J.R.R. Tolkien


(Click picture to enlarge)

Good morning!

test tube vases
Zen Inspiration Rock Garden Test Tube Vases. On sale here.

As you might have guessed, I've started thinking about this year's Christmas shopping (a chore I dread year after year). I don't want to leave everything until the last minute because even though choice abounds not everything fits this year's rather tight budget.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Common sense advice

smile Ridibundus Smiley Cushions, available here.

CONNECT: With people around you

BE ACTIVE: Exercise makes you feel good

TAKE NOTICE: Of your surroundings and savour the moment

KEEP LEARNING: Try something new or rediscover an old interest

GIVE: Do something nice for a friend or a stranger

Some free common sense advice to ward off mental illness, found in this article about the psychological effects of the workplace rat race.



This stunning centrepiece chandelier is not only uniquely distinctive in its design, but each of its Staffordshire bone china components is uniquely shaped by its response to temperature variations as it is fired.

The resulting vitrified unglazed material is surprisingly soft, strong and irrestibly sensuous. Hand-assembled (assembly required) to maximise the impact of this subtle, organically-sculpted variation, no two Kou are identical.

Designer: Emma Welsh
Price: US$5,909.00

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


LONDON (Reuters) - Four young children and their parents died when their car burst into flames in an accident involving three lorries and another car on a motorway in Cheshire, police said on Tuesday.

The accident happened on the northbound carriageway of the M6 between junction 16 at Barthomley and junction 17 at Sandbach late on Monday.

The victims have not been identified but police said the family were from Llandudno in north Wales. No one else was injured in the crash.

The driver of one of the lorries, a 46-year-old Portuguese man working for a Spanish company, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Goodies from Belgium

Hubby is back from Antwerp, leaden with scrumptious chocolates (Godiva, Leonidas, Neuhaus, Del-Rey, you name it, he's bought it) and fantaaaaaastic beer! Too bad they're not all for me...
Eat your heart out!

Where I wouldn't want to work


Burj Dubai is a skyscraper under construction in the Business Bay district of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is the tallest man-made structure ever built, despite being incomplete. Construction began on September 21, 2004 and is expected to be completed and ready for occupation in September 2009.

The architecture and engineering firm SOM is in charge of the project. It also designed the Sears Tower in Chicago and the Freedom Tower in New York City, among numerous other famous high-rises. The building resembles the bundled tube form of the Sears Tower, but is not a tube structure. The design of Burj Dubai is reminiscent of the Frank Lloyd Wright vision for The Illinois, a mile high skyscraper designed for Chicago, Illinois. Burj Dubai is expected to rise to 150% of the height of the Sears Tower. Emaar has also engaged GHD, an international multidisciplinary consulting firm, to assist with the design, review and assessment involved in the construction process.

The design of Burj Dubai is derived from patterning systems embodied in Islamic architecture, with the triple-lobed footprint of the building based on an abstracted version of the flower hymenocallis. The tower is composed of three elements arranged around a central core. As the tower rises from the flat desert base, setbacks occur at each element in an upward spiralling pattern, decreasing the cross section of the tower as it reaches toward the sky. At the top, the central core emerges and is sculpted to form a finishing spire. A Y-shaped floor plan maximizes views of the Persian Gulf. Viewed from above or from the base, the form also evokes the onion domes of Islamic architecture. During the design process, engineers rotated the building 120 degrees from its original layout to reduce stress from prevailing winds. The tower, at its tallest point, sways a total of 1.2 m (3.9 ft).

The exterior cladding of Burj Dubai will consist of 142,000 m2 (1,528,000 sq ft) of reflective glazing, and aluminium and textured stainless steel spandrel panels with vertical tubular fins. The cladding system is designed to withstand Dubai's extreme summer temperatures.

The interior will be decorated by Giorgio Armani. An Armani Hotel, the first of four by Armani, will occupy the lower 37 floors. Floors 45 through 108 will have 700 private apartments on 64 floors (which, according to the developer, sold out within eight hours of going on sale). An outdoor zero-entry swimming pool will be located on the 78th floor of the tower. Corporate offices and suites will fill most of the remaining floors, except for a 123rd floor lobby and 124th floor (about 440 m (1,444 ft)) indoor/outdoor observation deck. The spire—itself over 200 m (700 ft) tall—will hold communications equipment.

It will also feature the world's fastest elevator, rising and descending at 18 m/s (59 ft/s).[26] The world's current fastest elevator (in the Taipei 101) travels at 16.83 m/s (55.2 ft/s). Engineers had considered installing the world's first triple-decker elevators, but the final design calls for double-deck elevators.[1] A total of 56 elevators will be installed that can each carry 42 people at a time.

Outside, and at a cost of Dh 800 million (US $ 217 m), a record setting fountain system is to be designed by WET Design, the California-based company responsible for the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel Lake in Las Vegas. Illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors, it will be 275 m (900 ft) long and will shoot water 150 m (490 ft) into the air, accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary Arabic and world music.

The total budget for the Burj Dubai project is about US$4.1 billion. Mohamed Ali Alabbar, the CEO of Emaar Properties, speaking at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat 8th World Congress, said that the price of office space at Burj Dubai had reached $4,000 per sq ft (over $43,000 per sq m) and that the Armani Residences, also in Burj Dubai, were selling for $3,500 per sq ft (over $37,500 per sq m).

(Source Wikipedia)

I loved going up to the World Trade Center's observation deck in the summer of 1982 - I really felt elated - but hated going to the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago on a windy night back in 1991. I was almost sick because of the unnerving swaying of the building.

However tall the Burj Dubai may come to be, a new mega skyscraper that will dwarf it is already on the drawing board: The Nakheel Tower. Man's ambition never ceases to amaze me.

The bic daisy vase


This little vase was hand blow-molded using a BIC™ ballpoint pen. If you really, really like it you can buy it or else you can just see the-making-of.

Good morning!

Our X-Files

Alien Invasion

"What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What is the truth?" Sir Winston Churchill - July 1952

Nineteen files covering UFO sightings between 1986 and 1992 are being made available online by the Ministry of Defence. Last May, files covering the period from 1978 to 1987 were also made available to the public. If you believe that The Truth is Out There, you won't hesitate to visit the National Archives. Plenty of intriguing reading...

Monday, October 20, 2008

I am

Edward Hopper, "Morning Sun”, 1952

I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.

John Clare

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Stayin' Alive

US medics have found the Bee Gees' 1977 hit Stayin' Alive is an ideal beat to follow to perform chest compressions on a victim of a cardiac arrest.

Research says it contains 103 beats per minute, close to the recommended rate of 100 chest compressions per minute.

An author of the study said many people were put off performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)as they were not sure about keeping the correct rhythm.

He said CPR could triple cardiac arrest survival rates when performed properly.

The study by the University of Illinois College of Medicine saw 15 doctors and students performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on mannequins while listening to Stayin' Alive. They were asked to their time chest compressions with the beat.

Five weeks later, they did the same drill without the music, but were told to think of the song while doing compressions.

The average number of compressions the first time was 109 per minute; the second time it was 113 - more than recommended by the American Heart Association, but better than too few, according to Dr Matlock.

"It drove them and motivated them to keep up the rate, which is the most important thing," he told the Associated Press.

A spokesman for the American Heart Association, Dr Vinay Nadkarni, said it had been using Stayin' Alive as a training tip for CPR instructors for about two years, although it was not aware of any previous studies that tested the song.

Via the BBC site.

Happiness is contagious

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

"What are these humans doing? Dancing. Many humans on Earth exhibit periods of happiness, and one method of displaying happiness is dancing. Happiness and dancing transcend political boundaries and occur in practically every human society. Above, Matt Harding traveled through many nations on Earth, started dancing, and filmed the result. The video is perhaps a dramatic example that humans from all over planet Earth feel a common bond as part of a single species. Happiness is frequently contagious -- few people are able to watch the above video without smiling."

Via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Happiest Book


"The Happiest Book" by Alex Ostrowski.

"In one way or another we are all looking for happiness. Some people even say that man's sole purpose for existence is to hunt down and capture this intangible and elusive treasure. In 2006 researchers at The University of Leicester concluded that Denmark is the happiest country in the world - this was good enough for me. In March 2008 I made the decision to visit happiness, and embarked upon a pilgrimage to find it. My experiences are presented in this book.
Only one copy exists. "

Quantum of Solace

I just love 007's new incarnation, Daniel Craig.
Best Bond for a long time.

It's cold outside...

Henkel Advertising shot by Vincent Fournier

Only you

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Craddle Song

John Whalley, Refuge, 2005

The angels are stooping
Above your bed;
They weary of trooping
With the whimpering dead.
God's laughing in Heaven
To see you so good;
The Sailing Seven
are gay with His mood.
I sigh that kiss you,
For I must own
That I shall miss you
When you have grown.

William Butler Yeats --

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

R.I.P. Boom Economy

Street artist K-Guy put up this touching tribute for the economic good times, called "In Loving Memory of The Boom Economy." It’s outside the Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, Central London.

This week we've all become shareholders of the country's biggest banks but with inflation at 5.2% and employment at its highest since 1991 no one feels like celebrating much. No one is expecting dividend checks...

Covering Two Years

The four rooms
Vilhelm Hammershøi, The Four Rooms, 1914

This nothingness that feeds upon itself:
Pencils that turn to water in the hand,
Parts of a sentence, hanging in the air,
Thoughts breaking in the mind like glass,
Blank sheets of paper that reflect the world
Whitened the world that I was silenced by.

There were two years of that. Slowly,
Whatever splits, dissevers, cuts, cracks, ravels, or divides
To bring me to that diet of corrossion, burned
And flickered to its terminal. - Now in an older hand
I write my name. Now with a voice grown unfamiliar,
I speak to silences of altered rooms,
Shaken by knowledge of recurrence and return.

Weldon Kees --

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chart a song

Here is an original concept I stumbled upon in Flick: pick a song, create a chart or graph that illustrates the song and share it with the world here.

Some examples (I'll let you guess the songs - one of them, a favourite of mine, shows up twice):

made by twgiv, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by knight_errant, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by metacub, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by brianmn, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by genxcub, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by xianjessen, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by ranger1, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by greasybiker, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by huckie, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.

made by texaspenguin, originally uploaded by boyshapedbox.