Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Stitchless dog

Cléo had her stitches out today. She is making good progress, hardly limping at all on her peg leg and getting back to all her unpleasant habits so she is definitely on the mend!

Got a lovely pic of Carmen from Andreas today. She is tiny and lovely. I'm sure Andreas is looking forward to having her and Jeni at home at last. Jen said they should both be able to come home by the weekend.

I had been thinking of another book, but I can't remember which or what I wanted to say about it so nevermind.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Lovely shoes

Have got shoes! Found them on eBay. They are pale lilac suede slingbacks and the colour is perfect. Was a bit of a gamble to buy them on eBay but they are such pretty shoes it wouldn't have been a total loss if they didn't go. But they do! Hurrah. I love new shoes. :)

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Carmen Jaeger

This news deserves a post all of its own:

Jeni and Andreas Jaeger are the proud parents of Carmen! She arrived today at 9.28am, and weighs 2.37kg, measuring 48cm.

Welcome to the world, Carmen. You're a lucky girl because you have a great mum and dad, and your family is full of lovely people. And your parents have some pretty cool friends too :)

Another book to read

The "book a day" concept was a bit ambitious, but then no surprise there.

A book for today Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This is an enchanting, harrowing and clever book. It has such a twist in the tail that it's practically U-shaped! I really enjoyed it, even though at times it's quite tough. And the ending is ... well, read it and see.

Freaky science

Watched Horizon last night. It was all about the singularity principle and how one day, soon, scientists will have full understanding of how the brain works and around about the same time, computing power will have equalled that of the human brain.

It was freaky!

Amazingly, I didn't have any nightmares last night, but it was freaky. This one chap was hoping to be able to download his mind on to one of these future super computers. Eek! And another had implanted electrodes in a monkey's brain and then he recorded its brain signals while it played a simple computer game. And a freaky thing happened: the monkey realised that if it just thought about playing the game, its brain signals being sent to this other computer were enough to make the game play, so it stopped moving its monkey arm and just played the game through thought.

And there was this other guy who had created a remote control rat! It had electrodes implanted it its ratty brain, and when the guy clicked left on the computer, the rat turned left!

Am shivering just thinking about it. Hubby said that it was good science because people with severe paralysis could really benefit. I disagree. I mean, it's not that I don't care about people with really severe paralysis but there is no way anyone is plugging electrodes into my brain. Nor is anyone downloading my brain to any computer. Humans as a species are dangerous enough with our current physical limitations, let alone if we could plug our twisted human brains into machines and what have you.

Maybe I lack faith in humanity, maybe I'm seeing the downside only, but it can't be good science. Because even if there are good aspects to it, the potentially "bad" applications of this sort of thing are just too scary.

Surely the world's scientists be better employed at 1/ finding a cure for cancer (could be not far away: see this year's Nobel prize winners), 2/ sorting out our energy/climate change problems, 3/ developing a way to ensure EVERYONE has access to clean water.

Sunday, 22 October 2006

A book a day

OK, a book a day is a bit ambitious, I admit. Having said that, I'd love to have the time to read a book a day.

Today's book is The Beckoning Silence by British mountaineer Joe Simpson. Some of you may know of Joe through his first book Touching The Void, which was adapted to film a few years ago (and will maybe be the book of another day). His fourth (?) book deals with his decision to quit mountaineering. Too many of his friends are dead and he feels the whole game is getting beyond him. But before hanging up his crampons for good, Simpson decides to have a crack at that most mythical of mountains - The Eiger.

I really really like this book. It's quite introspective, it's mature, it's a bit nostalgic, it's just a good read. So have a read.

Saturday, 21 October 2006

Pet hospital

Cléo has had her op, which went very well. She was very dopey all yesterday evening following the general anaesthetic, valium, and three shots of morphine!

Vet put two pins and some prosthetic ligaments in her left knee. She must have only gentle exercise (walks on the lead!) for two months then progressively more active walks for a further two months. Back to the vet on 31 October to have the stitches out.

We didn't sleep very well because we were both listening out for her. She is moving around a bit now but doesn't put her back left paw down yet. She has had a lot to drink and is eating again too. She even had a few barks today so she's getting back to her usual self.

The patient:
As you can see, she has also had a bit of a radical shave. It will grow back soon enough I suppose.

Other news:

There is a caterpillar on my nasturtiums! Proof if it were required that the current weather is far too mild. That's climate change for you eh.

Bought some shoes on ebay. Two pairs in fact. Pair mauve suede slingbacks, pair silvery satin kitten heel court shoes. Hope the silver ones go with my trousers! I don't think the suede ones will but they looked nice so I thought I'd have them anyway.

Monday, 16 October 2006

Photo CD in the post today

Dave and na sent us a lovely CD with wedding photos and some short films of Dad's and Hubby's speeches, and of some of the dancing. It is lovely. Thanks Dave and Léna!

Hubby is on a UMTS training course Paris this week until Thursday. He left at a shockingly early hour this morning and nearly missed his train from the village into Lille. Why was this? Because the train left the station four minutes early. Honestly! Trains must, of course, leave on time, and if possible arrive at the final destination early, but they shouldn't leave in-between stations early. Should they?

The dog was a bit miserable this morning, naturally. We went for a walk when I got in from work, and when we got back to the house I opened the door to let her in and then stayed outside to close the shutters. She's such a glue pot doggy she had to come back outside while I did that, to not be more than three feet away from me. I wonder if she does that to Hubby when I am away? She is curled up in the armchair by the computer right now, and seems quite happy.

Had a meeting this afternoon. It was actually quite useful and lots of subjects were covered. Some in more detail perhaps than necessary, but that's the nature of a meeting. We also heard from JPH on some of the latest projects they have going on at the Foundation. They have just donated 200 bikes to young girls in southern Morocco. The idea is that these girls can continue a secondary education even though they live in outlying villages, sometimes up to 10km from the school. It's great, because it gives them an opportunity to have a brighter future, and, for once, it's the girls who are enjoying a bit of "special treatment" and not boys.

Weather has been ultra mild again. Having said that, it was bloody cold this morning! But lovely sunshine this afternoon, like we've been having for the last six weeks or so. Now I don't know if it's my overactive sense of paranoia that we're all going to die because we wrecked the planet, but when I was little, it was cold on 16 October. Temperatures were certainly not in the low 20s celcius...

I have nearly finished the thank you cards! Only have ten or so left to do, most of which are to French people. This is my excuse, you see, because I have to think a bit to write them in French.

Still have no shoes for 4 November. Went all around Lille on Saturday. I have been in all the shoe shops in Lille. Honestly. I even went in shops that sell shoes for 330 euros, so desperate am I. There were no suitable shoes in that shop, as it happens. But then, even if there had have been, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on shoes. That's a third of a laptop.

On the subject of which (laptops), I have finally settled on one. I don't think it has a toggle thing in the keyboard to use as a mouse so I'll have to learn how to use a touchpad. And I'll also have to save some pennies first. But Hubby and I won't have to squabble over the PC any more!

Right I'm going to go. I need to think about what I can have for tea. Maybe some cornflakes. Nice balanced dinner there.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Three things today

Number one:
Nadia Eweida is suing her employer, British Airways, for religious discrimination after she was asked to either conceal or remove a small crucifix necklace. I hope she wins.
See the story: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/14102006/140/worker-sue-ba-cross-row.html

Number two:
Supply teacher Aishah Azmi has shown herself up as a total hypocrite. She has been suspended because she refused to remove her full face veil (a niqab I think it's called) when teaching primary school pupils. She says she said she would remove the veil in front of pupils but not male members of staff.
Firstly, Muslim scholars say that women are not actually required by the Koran to wear a full veil in the presence of children.
Secondly, Ms Azmi herself admitted to not wearing the veil when she was interviewed for the post, this despite of the presence of a male school governor.
This is not about religious freedom, this is about hypocrisy. Ms Azmir, you are a hypocrite.
See the story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6050392.stm?lsm


Number three:
French MPs seem to think they can dictate to us what we are and are not allowed to say (think?) with their parliamentary vote on an Armenian Genocide (or mass murders) of 1915 denial law.
Denial laws are stupid. If someone chooses to stand up and deny a historically irrefutable truth, they are just making themselves look silly, aren't they? You can't make saying stupid things against the law, because you'd then need to lock about 98% of the population up.
So the deaths of 1.5m Armenians in 1915, like the Holocaust, are historically proven. Why do the French (of all people) feel the need to shore up this truth with legislation to protect it? Do they feel it is such a fragile truth as that?
The real story is the huge anti-Turk feeling in French political circles and France in general. They have already passed law that subjects any further enlargement of the EU to French referendum, so Turkey will never be granted membership. This move is just vote-chasing by mostly left-wing MPs. There are around 500 000 French of Armenian descent, that's a big electorate, right?
I'm not defending Turkey, I'm just outraged at the barefaced cheek of French politicians sticking their noses where they don't belong. Surely some full public investigations into the mass murder of Algerians in the 50s and 60s, and more recently the French involvement in what happened in Burundi and Rawanda (and why not Sudan, which is happening right now) would be a better use of parliamentary time.
See the story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6043730.stm?ls

Oh, and I want a flex-fuel car.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

Dog op scheduled for Friday 20 October

It's not actually displasia (my mistake) because the problem is her knee, not hip. But it's similar. Her left knee is in fact permanently dislocated, because the ball at the top of her tibia doesn't lock into the socket under her kneecap. And her knee cap just slips off the top of the whole assembly anyway.

So the vet is going to cut some bone away, add a new bit, put a pin in and strap some artificial ligament over the whole lot, which should mean her knee will then fit together like it's supposed to. Hurrah.

I know this is pathetic but it's quite daunting all of this. She has to go in at 8 on Friday morning, and we can stay with her while the vet puts her under. When the vet's receptionist said this I had tears in my eyes because in French they say "put her to sleep" (or send her to sleep I suppose). And that of course means something entirely different to my British ears! We can take her doggy blanket in so she has something familiar. Also, she'll need to have a lampshade on her head after because she's destructive and she'll pick her bandage to bits given half the chance. Poor Doggy!!

Other news:

Glad it's the weekend. Weeks would be alright if it weren't for those five days in them where one has to go to work, eh? Still, never mind.

Cold is colonising my throat now. It's not really on the move, just expanding its territories. Need to do something about that.

Spoke to me brother last night. That was nice. He has a blog. Well he has two, but he's forgotten what he called the first one. D'oh. Click here to see his new one. I will be lobbying him for photos.

Spent some money yesterday! That was nice too but probably only in my opinion. Bank probably feels differently ;) I bought a blouse and two tops from Esprit. Blue. All three of them. Also tried on two skirts. One was just not right. The other, a dark chocolate coloured cord skirt, looked fantastic with the tops. But I don't have any suitable shoes (black just don't go). I *did* see some boots that would go perfectly. But I had set myself a budget and didn't want to overspend, so no skirt and no boots. And then when I told Mum about it, she said I should get the skirt and boots and one of them could be my birthday present. Yay! Mum understands these things you see.

Thursday, 12 October 2006

Got a cold

Feel sorry for myself in that cold-y way.

Nose full of snot.

That's possibly more information than you needed.

:(

Monday, 9 October 2006

Boosted Ikea's profits

Hélène and I spent the best part of three hours in Ikea on Saturday. I swear that shop is like some sort of tardis/time machine/black hole. You go in there and time is suspended. Well, inside the shop it is. And outside the shop it whizzes by very fast.

Hélène got stuff for her bathroom, a ceiling light for the hall, and a chair.

I got new covers for the sofa cushions, a new bathmat, an ivy to go in the bathroom, a watering can for my house plants, and a plant and a plant pot for Hélène. The new sofa cushions look pretty good. Isn't that clever how you can do a simple thing like changing the cushion covers and you've got a practically brand new sofa. So the white ones have gone in the wash which is the best place for them!

On a completely different subject, I finally called the vet and made an appointment to see the chap on Friday. Cléo has displasia which needs an operation, and the vet has already explained it to me but I'd like to go over it all again before. Depending on his schedule she could get booked in as early as next week. Poor Doggy. Of course I'm being soft and it's for the best because an operation now will save her a lot of potential arthritic pain later on. But still. Poor Doggy.

I have to order photos from the photographer. Maybe I should have done that this evening. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow.

Outlook at work is "quiet" for this week, which will be nice. Maybe get in a couple of early finishes!


Saturday, 7 October 2006

Ha!!!

Scotland 1 - 0 France.

:D

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Found the iPod!

And guess where it was? Well, you won't guess I'll have to tell you. It was in my jacket pocket!! How crazy is that?? Last night we were round at Jean-Charles' and I was telling Hélène how I'd lost my iPod. She says, "what, the one that's in your coat pocket?". I lent her my jacket on Sunday and she said she'd felt something in the pocket, and, forgetting it wasn't her coat, stuck her hand in there expecting to find her phone. And she pulled out a "pink thing with an apple and iPod written on it". Of course, she didn't know I'd "lost" it, so she didn't mention it. Can't believe it. Hey, they only made one of me ;)

And on a completely different subject - I had an interesting meeting the UK marketing & communications manager today. I learned some stuff that has enabled me to say a big fat "told you so" to some self-righteous ... persons at work and I'm basking in the glow of being vindicated. It's nice from time to time when people get what's coming to them.

Am I mean?

Sunday, 1 October 2006

A good braderie day

Hélène joined us for what was a successful braderie I think. We sold a whole load of rubbish for nearly 70 euros! We also sold some stuff of Jean-Charles' for a few notes too. He couldn't believe people wanted to buy it. I suppose that's the beauty of a braderie, isn't it? Was better than last year I think because it stayed fine despite the doomsayers at Meteo France forecasting rain. One shouldn't listen to the French weather forecasters they always tell stories. It did get a bit chilly at one stage though. Poor Doggy got cold, so we put her t-shirt on, and got her snuggled up in her basket with a cover and a hot water bottle! Took a couple of pics so once I've downloaded them to the PC I'll post if she's cute enough.

I finished On Beauty. It was odd at the end because it just stopped without, I feel, ending. Does that make any sense? I'd say it's worth a read though it's easy enough going and is nicely diverting. It's sort of about these two families and how their paths cross.

Mum says she's enjoying Ghostwritten. Can't say as I'm surprised. I thought it was excellent. A very clever book indeed. It's not really about anything, but it's intriguing. Probably worth a second read quite soon after the first read. You would almost certainly pick up on different aspects and notice more stuff the second time round.

Hard to say what is next on the read list. I did say I was going to finish all the books that are "in progress" before starting any new ones. I have lots of "in progress" books. I think I need to have a methodical approach and do them one at a time. Let's see how long that lasts. Oh, just writing about reading makes me want to scoot upstairs and pick out a book.