Friday, 31 May 2013

Sounds familiar?

View_From_Here sent us a timely warning:


Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder.

Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first...

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Pepsi aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

The Pepsi is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye - they need water.

I put the Pepsi on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

The car isn't washed,
The bills aren't paid,
There is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter,
The flowers don't have enough water,
There is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
And I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,
I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day.
And I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail....

Thank you, View.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

This is for the "kitty moms"

TW and Sleuth have their hands full at the moment. This is for them and all the other cat lovers.

So lovely!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Our feathered friends

We have new customers at our bird restaurant since we opened a "take-out" section. The two grease and seed balls that we hung on the window shutters were nearly finished, so I broke them up and scattered the remains on the window ledge. It was an instant hit with the great tits. They had never stopped for a meal before; only the blue tits frequented our fine establishment. The new customers like to get a nice lump of food from the buffet, then fly to the neighbour's (Monsieur Soup) wall to eat their meal.

There's a tree opposite the window, about 50 or 60 ft away. We call it the "launch tree." The birds congregate there, then launch themselves towards our window, flying in an endearing bouncy fashion. They land on the two telephone cables just outside the window and take turns to help themselves to the food. Peter observed one of the blue tits hanging upside-down on the cable, with only one foot on it, the little show-off!  The great tits tend to chase the blue tits away if they dare land on the ledge at the same time, even if they're at the other end, hiding behind my herb pots...

The restaurant

Launch tree and "waiting" cables

A well behaved customer

We know that these things are pretty trivial for seasoned bird watchers, but as beginners, we're fascinated by them. The great and the blue tits are like teenagers from rival gangs; it's quite entertaining to watch their antics...


This great tit turned up after I had published the post. He was facing the wrong way, but he did come to the ledge for a nibble, eventually.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The lightness of marble

I came across these pictures and I find it incredible how the artist managed to create the illusion of lightness and transparency from a hard material like marble.

The artist is Raffaele Monti (1818-1881).



The Sleep of  Sorrow and the Dream of Joy


A Veiled Vestal Virgin


Saturday, 25 May 2013

So proud of my niece!

Guest post by CC

[CC kindly sent us some photos of her niece Laura's time in Africa. I put the post together by copying CC's comments on the blog and what she wrote in the emails.]

Laura is traveling to a small village named Naivasha. It is 1.5 hours from Nairobi and she is going on a volunteer program to help children in an orphanage/school for 4 weeks. I am so proud of her for wanting to do this you cannot imagine it. She had wanted to do something like this and researched it for the past year. She is 19 years old and has traveled extensively with all of us but this is a wee bit different --- She is really looking forward to it as are all of us (her family) and I have no doubt it will be etched in her memory forever.


I want to thank all of you for your prayers and well wishes for my niece Laura --- I am so grateful for them --- and she is too!

My sister has been able to speak with her only once, but she sends her photos and texts when she goes into town every few days (to use their wifi..:-) ) She is extremely happy, she said the kids call her mom and she gets spontaneous hugs all the time... I am soooo happy for her. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I do have a few photos she has snapped and sent:

En route to Nairobi

The resort where she goes to use wifi ... What a beautiful view (and what a difference
from where the orphanage is... poor little ones ... Sigh)

Most of these orphans have HIV---kind of abandoned at this place. It is run by a private couple -- they have no funding -- just donations. Every time I feel humanity is just getting worse and worse, I find out about these stories and smile, realizing there are more wonderful people than not. Thankfully!

[Thank you, CC. Laura is as beautiful and as generous as her auntie... ]

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Safe shopping

View_From_Here sent us this video. It's very funny. Thanks, View.

[You need sound for this one...]

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Quick joke

Two men we're sitting down for a break in their soon-to-be new shop...

As yet, the shop wasn't ready, with only a few shelves set up.

One said to the other, "I bet any minute now some pensioner is going to walk by, put their face to the window, and ask what we're selling."

No sooner were the words out of his mouth when, sure enough, a curious old woman walked to the window, had a peek, and in a soft voice asked,

"What are you selling here?"

One of the men replied sarcastically,

"We're selling ass-holes."

"Without skipping a beat, the old dear said,

"Must be doing well... Only two left."

Saturday, 18 May 2013

We had a lovely surprise this morning!

The weather continues to be disappointing. This morning we had high winds and persistent rain. The last thing we expected was the sight of these most colourful little birds! Apparently, they don't venture this far north and our friend Keith said he saw them in Italy and south of France, but never in the Correze.

There were three of them. It seems they put on a performance just for us, sitting on the electric cables, on the trees, flying around very gracefully and for a grand finale, one of them caught some large insect in mid-flight, sat on the cable just outside our window to show off its prize, then they all simply disappeared.

I had to do a lot of googling, which was very hit-and-miss, but I was rewarded with some comprehensive information in the end. They're European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster). Lovely things, they made our day!

These are googled pictures:

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Where there's a will...

Peter has a pair of cherished glasses. He calls them his "all-purpose glasses" because he can use the computer, watch TV and even see things on my computer from his own seat. They were his second pair of reading glasses, prescribed around 15 years ago. Now he has new glasses for reading small print and for driving, but won't give up the old ones.

The problem started when he sat on them and broke one of the arm pieces. We couldn't really mend it, as it's a rimless frame:

We managed to attach the arm in a very precarious way and it was getting on my nerves, but Peter wouldn't stop wearing them. Yesterday I had enough and rummaged through all the drawers until I found a very old pair of sunglasses roughly the same size as the cherished ones. Peter found these sunglasses on the ground near his car many years ago. We proceeded to dismantle the old frame (the bits that held the lenses together, to be exact). The lenses were slightly larger than the ones in the sunglasses, so Peter went to his tool cupboard and came back with a rasp. I carefully trimmed the lenses (without any measuring or anything) and they finally fitted!

Here are the remains of the old frame and the sunglasses lenses:

And here is a happy bunny, wearing his "brand new" cherished, all-purpose glasses:

It's true: "Where there's a will, there's a way!"

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Will the rain ever stop?

The weather has been very disappointing around here, so I decided to post some pictures of flowers to cheer myself up. I hope they'll cheer you up as well!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

People connecting with people

There's a movie I like very much: "84 Charing Cross Road."

In 1949 Helene Hanff, in search of obscure classics and British literature titles she has been unable to find in New York City, notices an ad in the Saturday Review of Literature placed by antiquarian booksellers Marks & Co located at the titular address in London. She contacts the shop and chief buyer and manager Frank Doel fulfills her requests. A long distance friendship evolves over time, not only between the two but between Hanff and other staff members as well, including birthday gifts, holiday packages, and food parcels to compensate for post-World War II food shortages in England. Their correspondence includes discussions about topics as diverse as the sermons of John Donne, how to make Yorkshire Pudding, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the coronation of Elizabeth II.

I was thinking about it the other day and it reminded me of the friendships that start on a blog, such as this one. We also discuss a variety of topics and many people go on to meet in person, becoming more than virtual friends. The need to connect is part of human nature and people always sought to communicate with each other by whatever means available at the time. Snail mail has been replaced by e-mail, chat rooms, comments sections on blogs and although many people dismiss virtual friendships as not "real," they are as real as those real life connections Helene made with people from across the ocean, even though she never met any of them. Their friendship lasted for nearly two decades, what's not "real" about it?

This movie is also dear to me because the two main characters encapsulate my father. He was bi-polar; sometimes he was as exuberant as Helene, sometimes as reticent and reserved as Frank. The day of his funeral, which I couldn't attend, I went to Blockbusters, rented the video, and watched it at the time of the funeral back in Brazil. It helped me feel part of it, connected to the rest of my family and friends. Needless to say, this movie was also one of my father's favourites.

I'm very grateful to Tim Berners-Lee,  who invented the worldwide web and gave his invention to the world free of charge. "Berners-Lee made his idea available freely, with no patent and no royalties due. The World Wide Web Consortium decided that its standards should be based on royalty-free technology, so that they could easily be adopted by anyone."

Writing about a good movie which deals with long distance friendships and a good man who made these friendships easier makes me feel very warm inside, very close to all of you, my virtual and very real friends...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Food for the soul, from a landfill

View_From_Here sent us this inspiring video. I get goosebumps when I see stuff like this. Thank you so much, View.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Las palabras - the truth

We had another great time with words, this time in Spanish, even though many people knew what they really meant. The definitions and the stories are quite funny:


Pared = peeled fruit
Oruga = intricate dance
Codo = a colorful flightless bird
Uña = similar to seedless grapes
Gorojo = a baseball cap
Sandia = a peasant girl that had a divine vision in 1643
Manguera = the proper name for what is referred to as a 'mangle'
Roble = Upper class street people
Cepillo = Ruffled socks

Used in a sentence:

1. "mrsgunka, here's some apples that I have already PARED for a pie"
2. "I learned how to dance the Spanish ORUGA down at the Senior Center!"
3. "Illegal poachers have just about wiped out the Crested CODO in this area"
4. "Have you tried fresh-picked UÑA'S on your oatmeal?"
5. "Your new GOROJO brings out the color of your eyes."
6. "The church is celebrating Saint SANDIA day."
7. "Plug in the MANGUERA so TW can iron those sheets!"
8. "The riff-raff and ROBLE are about to revolt!"
9. "Those are sure cute CEPILLOS Maria is wearing!"


Pared = the condition of having crossed Paris off your bucket list
Oruga = a klaxon horn to warn of rampaging lettuce
Codo = rabid musical notation
Uña = a tiny onion
Gorgojo = Topo Gigio's big adventure
Sandía = a day at the beach
Manguera = cloud of cat hair
Roble = half of a sexy Latin dance
Cepillo = a garden pest

My story (with accompanying illustration of the world famous Topo Gigio!):

Topo Gigo's Big Gorgojo in Paris

Topo Gigio, in order to top up his chef skills, went to Paris in search of the famous yet elusive Uña.

But first, he stopped at the beach at the French Riviera for a brief Sandía, where he also learned, much to his dismay, about pickpockets whilst twirling and dipping in a traditional Roble.

On to Gay Paree, where dear Topo started visiting kitchen gardens for the elusive yet intoxicating Uña.

Sadly, at the a vigilant Cepillo sounded a Codo, erupting into a full-blown Oruga as the resident watchcat exploded into an almost nuclear Manguera.

Thus, poor Topo Gigio, was able to mark his card "Pared" whilst thinking..."I should have gone to Spain instead..."


Pared = couple
Oruga = Model T
Codo = allergy
Una = halfmoon
Gorgojo = obesity
Sandia = solar
Manguera = heterosexual couple
Roble = criminal
Cepillo = bedtime


Pared - Ladies choice at a dance
Codo - the little lines on the bottom of everything at the grocery store that they scan for price and inventory control
Una - total moon eclipse
Gorgojo - over eating
Sandia - toilet paper
Manguera - men's restroom - the one with the pants
Roble - a fancy beach robe worn after you get out of the water
Cepillo - a soap infused steel wool pot cleaner: also, too, a fancy decorative sofa pillow, not to be used for the head - look but don't touch!


1- Pared: My daddy after a day in the sun.
2- Oruga: The sound my daddy's car makes when he presses the horn
3- Codo: There was a farmer had a fish and Codo was his name-o.
4-Una: What Aussies say when they think you did something well "Good Uña"
5- Gorgojo: A mixture of cheese and coffee
6- Sandia: a country just south of India
7- Manguera: a type of men's garment
8- Roble: a small robe
9- Cepillo: Ze thing Zat you put your head on when you go to Ze bed.


Next month we will celebrate my daughter’s wedding. There will be a big pared with lots of music, wine and dancing. Mike and I will dance the gorgojo. I hope he will not break his codo - we are not as young as we used to be. The Sandia will flow and I plan to get a little oruga and flirt with the bartender Roble. I might even pinch his Cepillo- ; ). I am planning to wear a beautiful manguera on my head. It will be una hell of a great time.


The stories and definitions gain a very special quality when you know the real meaning of the words:

Pared - Wall

Oruga - Caterpillar

Codo  - Elbow

Uña - Nail

Gorgojo - Weevil

Sandia - Watermelon (also known as Pastèque)

Manguera - Hose

Roble - Oak

Cepillo - Brush

I'm sure GrannyJ will look very elegant with a manguera on her head at her daughter's wedding...

[MrsG, in the previous thread I said two items were edible. They are the watermelon and - depending on personal tastes-  nails!]

Saturday, 11 May 2013

La palabras - Another silly game

We're going to play the word game in Spanish this time. I selected nine "palabras" and you suggest your definition for each in English. Again, the object of the game is to be creative and amusing, not to get the words right. Spanish speakers can join in, as long as their suggestions are silly and inaccurate.

It may be fun to make your lists, then use all the words in a sentence.


1) Pared
2) Oruga
3) Codo
4) Uña
5) Gorgojo
6) Sandía
7) Manguera
8) Roble
9) Cepillo

Friday, 10 May 2013

Recycling ideas

Mrsgunka sent us these brilliant ideas for recycling all types of objects. Thank you, MrsG.