Sunday, 28 October 2012

Project 365+1: Days 287 - 300

Once again I'm behind with my photos. This time it's mainly because we had Tara spayed the other week and so we've mostly been at home with her. I've had opportunities to sort out my photos and probably could've gotten a blog post together but I've been lazy and working on OU and reading and reading and reading - I've been in a bit of a reading funk for the last month but I've blown off the cobwebs and I'm back on track.

So here come the photos.

Day 287: Moving On
I've been back at the books again during the last couple of weeks. Having time off work for Tara's recovery was useful because it meant I was able to power through some of the Duchess of Malfi stuff and get a rough draft of my first assignment on Othello written almost three weeks ahead of submission. Of course, my being ahead has led to a touch of laziness so I need to pull my socks up this week, but at least Draft 01 is finished now. By this time next week I'll hopefully have it all ready to go - the hardest part is always getting something onto paper to start with.

Day 288: Snow Problem
Mr Click picked up these lovely snowboots for me the other week. He'd got himself some ready for any cold and icy weather that we might have as I have welly boots and he doesn't. Of course I started bemoaning the fact that his snowboots were infinitely nicer for cold weather than my purple wellies (you can see his snowboots behind mine in the picture). So he got me these.

I was under instruction to wait to wear them until we had actual snow or ice. So when we did end up with a little snow flurry on Friday night, I was in such a hurry to get Tara out for a walk that I didn't actually put them on (well, technically I didn't really know it was snowing when I was getting ready to go and it would've been unfair to drag the dog back in so I could change from trainers to fleece-lined, fur-topped boots.

So I've been making up for it by wearing them all weekend. They are the comfiest things ever! It's actually like going for a walk in my slippers, and they keep my feet so toasty warm that I only need one pair of socks. The one downside is that all that fake-fur is shedding at the moment, so I look like a hobbit when I take them off. But now I can't wait to get some proper sticking snow so I can go out tramping in the snow with them.

Day 289: VIP: Very Important Patient
This is Tara on the day of her operation, by the time this was taken she'd been home for hours and had pretty much recovered from the anaesthetic. She got sleepy very easily, would sort of sit and droop or dribble (which you can kind of see in the photo). But she slept very well that night.

In all, the hardest part of her op has been keeping her occupied. She's used to getting walks somewhere in the region of three to five miles each day, while she's had her stitches it's been five minutes at a time. And she can't get them wet, the way Tara walks she kicks water up onto her belly if she's walking on wet ground, so even if it's not raining at the time, we've had to be very careful about where we walk her.

And by the weekend after her op she was pretty much back to her normal, cheeky self (I knew she was on the mend on Thursday when I caught her making off with a sock from the laundry basket, though she didn't have the energy to run off with it at the time). Which meant she's had her usual energy levels and no way of burning it all off. Thankfully the stitches came out on Friday and aside from the marks from the stitches themselves being a little bit red and weepy at times, she's been fine.

Day 290: Iambic Pentameter
And this is how I spent my day off while Tara recovered from her op. Basically I went over the text we're to analyse for the assignment and broke down the lines into individual syllables so I could look for the metre as well as making notes on anything I could actually use in the assignment.

It's been a long time since I last did anything like this (the last time being when I studied Doctor Fautus for my AA100 course about four years ago). But I remember that this was the technique I used then and it seemed to serve me well. The only downside to my attempts at a first draft of this assignment was that I very cleverly overlooked the guidance notes until after I'd actually written the draft so my Draft 01 is very heavily weighted in the wrong direction at the moment. Luckily it's also very repetitive so it shouldn't take too much work to slot some of those earlier points into later paragraphs.

Day 291: Reorganised
This was the other way that I spent my day while Tara was in surgery. I'm not used to not having her in the house (getting under my feet, running off with socks or bits of newspaper, letting us know that there's a car driving past outside just in case we hadn't noticed...) so when she wasn't there suddenly the house felt really quiet and empty and I couldn't focus on my OU like I'd planned. So I flitted from one thing to another.

And this was the first thing I flitted at. For the last few weeks or so I've been taking ages to get through books, struggling to decide what to read (even though I have a system where I read a book from a different shelf, occasionally alternating with a borrowed book or ebook in between shelves). Mainly the problem seems to be that I've ended up with a bunch of books that I'm just not in any great hurry to read and so I've not been motivated to get through the ones I do want to read because I'm not looking forward to what's coming next.

I've been holding off rearranging the bookcase until I finish the Terry Pratchett books - I'm so close to the end now. But I've been piling books on top of other books and everything's getting into a bit of a jumble. So I dragged everything off and now Terry Pratchett is followed by my OU set texts, linguistic books, Kathy Reichs (I've removed the other crime books for the time being, I'll get them back out when I'm done with the Temperance Brennan books), then a selection of children's and adults books covering everything from The Wind in the Willows to The Queen and I, I've located my copy of The Hobbit as well as some funny Tolkien-related books as well.

So I'm back on a roll again now. Whizzing through the bookcase again so quickly that another rearrange probably won't be far off.

Day 292: Comfy Cosy
My in-laws have let us have a  lovely new throw for our bed. Normally in winter we throw a blanket over the bed or, as we've been doing recently, using our 'lion rug'. Unfortunately Tara's been trying to sleep on the bed, though we've more or less broken her of the habit (again) so lion rug is looking a little hairy and needs a wash.

So we've acquired the one above. I'm very sensitive about covers on the bed, certain fabrics irritate me if they're touching my skin (the lion rug has to be pulled down slightly so he's not touching my face), but this one is so soft and cuddly that it feels lovely. It's a bit of a fur magnet, but it's thinner so won't be as difficult to get washed and dried (Scottish weather permitting) and considering how thin it is, it makes the bed lovely and toasty.

Day 293: Feeling Linguistic
Ever since I did (the now defunct) OU U211 course about the history of the English language, I've been fascinated by the subject. Actually, that's a lie, I've always had a bit of a geeky love for words, the way they're used, how they came into being and all that jazz. It's something that genuinely interests me and which I can talk about for hours (so please, for the sake of your sanity, don't ask me, unless you really want to hear a potted history on how the English we speak today came to be shaped).

Or better yet, read this book. I'll post a review of it sometime soon (I've got a bunch of reviews written I just need to get them scheduled), but in short it's a timeline of when particular words entered the English language. It's very interesting and it's part of a set of four so I'm curious to see what the others are like.

Day 294: Bedtime Viewing
This has become part of our bedtime routine now. The grey box lid is where my laptop goes and right now we're watching the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series. I'm enjoying these ones more than the Basil Rathbone one's we were watching earlier in the month, I think largely because they're closer to the books. They seem easier to follow somehow as well, so I can sit and read while we're watching and tune in and out as they interest me.

The downside to this is that it means some nights we've gone to bed at 8pm. Seems I can't handle my late nights anymore.

Day 295: All Creatures Great & Small
This is our other evening viewing, usually we watch one or two episodes while we eat our tea/I do my OU on an evening, depending on what shift I'm on or the time we have to get up in the morning. This was a Christmas present to me from Mr Click a couple of years ago and when I first got it we made it as far as somewhere around the third episode, before losing track of where we'd gotten to and setting it aside for some other time. Now we're almost at the place where we left off and I'm looking forward to seeing some new episodes.

The funny thing is, both of our regular evening programmes (this and the Sherlock Holmes DVDs) have featured episodes set at Christmas. The temperature drop has made me feel all festive and this has not helped to improve matters at all!

Day 296: Souped Up
With the colder weather (and windy weather which threatens trips off the island), we've been stocking up on soups and other tinned foods. This also helps to cover us in case of any more power cuts since my in-laws have a gas cooker and we can always use that to make hot meals. When our local supermarket had a sale on soup, Mr Click said he wanted to get a few tins to stock up. A few actually turned out to be three carrier bags full which left us with somewhere in the region of 45 tins of soup.

At least I don't have to worry about going hungry this winter.

Day 297: Puppy Dog Eyes
This is a look which probably says something along the lines of 'why do you keep following me around with that camera?' or perhaps 'please can I sleep on your bed' or maybe even 'but why aren't I allowed to eat the tassels on your new throw?'

I've actually got to put together a post of all of the really bad photos I've taken of Tara recently. Some of them are really hilariously awful.

Like this one, for example:
Day 298: How You Doin?
I can't help but think of Joey from Friends doing his chat-up line when I look at this one. I mean look at her, she's got the wink, licking her lips, Tara's got this chat-up thing down!

Day 299: Feeling Festive
As everything is pointing in the direction of Christmas right now (and that's my favourite time of the year) I've been preparing for our Christmas Movie Marathon which will be the same as last year but with three more DVDs. Of course there are certain films in our collection that you can watch before December, those being Holiday Inn, The Holiday, Hogfather, Love Actually and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The latter being set in 'Halloween Town' means that you can watch it around Halloween time without feeling guilty. Holiday Inn features a number of different holidays so can be watched at any time of the year, The Holiday and Love Actually are romantic comedies which just happen to be set at Christmas and Hogfather is about Hogswatch which is a fantasty holiday which just happens to be similar to Christmas.

At least, this is the excuse I'm using to watch Christmassy films all through November (we started with Nightmare Before Christmas yesterday). It's all part of the Christmas build-up.

Day 300: Christmas Crafts
The other night I dreamt that I was making Christmas decorations, using up newspaper and pages torn out of magazines to make collage-effect pictures. It stuck with me all day and I decided I'd have a go at making something along the lines of what I was thinking of, except I couldn't find anything star-shaped to trace/draw around and I no longer have the Christmas Crafts book I used to use for Christmassy templates. So I improvisated and made snowflakes by drawing round the lid of a glue stick.

They were very tiny and fiddly but it worked well as a prototype for what I was planning on doing. I'm thinking I'm going to play around with this a bit more, might make interesting Christmas cards. Hopefully we'll get a chance to stop in somewhere crafty when we go shopping next so I can get some PVA glue (I also think that using something a little more festive than the business and sporting pages will improve the newspaper background technique).

And that's me for this week. Coming up is National Novel Writing Month, my first assignment submission fo A230, Christmas shopping and lots and lots of reading for the HTV Reading Challenge. Phew!

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