Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thirty Years ago today I left home. A very naive, shy 18 year old. I left home to study Chemistry and Chemical Technology at The University of Bradford. This changed my life. I learnt a lot about who I am and diversity in life. Yes, I learnt some chemistry, but, I think the whole experience, the making of friends, the meeting of so many different people, learning to live on my own above all experiencing a much more diverse, exciting, understanding and deepening of my Spiritual Walk.

They are good times for which I will also have happy memories and will always be grateful for. So much of who I am, even now, goes back to those days. Yes, the were ideal and, in some ways, we lived in an Utopia, but, the foundations were set.

For the my first year I lived in the Revis Barber Halls (left) of residence which was a blast and for the last two years lived with some friends in a house in Number 36 Grantham Road (right). Great times!!


Saturday, September 29, 2007

I finished reading:

"Hunting Badger" by Tony Hillerman.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

The next cat we fostered was Venus. She came to us from the main foster home on Valentine's Day 2006. She was adopted out the week of April 11th 2006. Unfortunately this home did not work out for her and she came back to us the week of July 18th.

Not long after she came back to us we noticed that she was not acting right and had turned a yellow colour. We took her to our vets in Durham. She was diagnosed with "Fatty Liver Disease" a very serious illness in cats where the liver basically is not working properly. The chances of recovery were very slim. It treatment involved a process of intravenous fluids and eating several times a day. Jenn and I tag teamed it. To the vets amazement she started to pull through and now several months later she living in our house very happy and healthy. There is a major concern that this could reoccur so we will probably not be adopting her out as the risk of the change on environment is to great. She is happy playing and mixing with our animals. In fact, she is the only one of our foster cats that is out freely in our house. The rest are kept separated in different rooms of our house (every room is utilized!!).

This again another story why we believe in Snowflake as most other organisations would not have proceeded with the treatment, but, as there was a chance she would recover her quality of life we made the decision to proceed. As you can see from the story and the photograph above, taken earlier this year, it was worth it.

National Poetry Day

One day set aside,
One day to encapsulate
The thoughts,
The hurts,
The art of many
Experiences past and present.
How can it show?
How can it demonstrate
In twenty-four hours?

13th October 1995 - Uxbridge, Middlesex, England.


Sports Update:

Some Seasons or competitions have finished over the last couple of weeks.

International Cricket: England won only one game on the World Twenty20 Cup. This was enough to get to the second stage. The competition was eventually won by India who beat Australia in the final.

Cricket: Durham's remarkable season came to an end on Saturday. Apart from winning the 50 over competition and the Second Division of the 40 over competition they finished second in the Premier Championship, the County Championship by far their best every performance. They only lost out the last day of the Season when Sussex, the reigning Champions beat Worcestershire. They finished with 7 wins, 5 losses and 4 draws for a final points total of 197.5 points only 4 1/2 behind Sussex. A great Season.

Football: The Carolina RailHawks inaugural Season is over. For an expansion team I though it was a big success. At times they played very good football. At times they played like an expansion team. I think the nucleus of the team should be kept the same. Where improvement is needed is up front where they need better goal scorers, but, more importantly forwards who know how to run off the ball to create space. My only real complaint about the Season is that the forwards were far to static.
They made the semi-finals of the US Open Cup beating Chicago Fire of the MLS on the way, which was probably the best performance of the Season. They eventually lost to MLS's powerhouse New England Revolution in Extra Time.
In the league they made the play-offs, which is a good achievement in a teams first year. They finished 8th in the league with a final record of 8 wins, 12 losses and 8 draws. They lost to regular Season Champions, Seattle Sounders 3-0 on aggregate in the first round of the play-offs.

Rugby League: Bradford Bulls Season came to crashing end after Wigan Warriors knocked them out of the Super League play-offs with a 31-30 victory. This was after Bradford were leading 30-6 after an hour.
In the league table they finished third with a record of 17 wins, 1 draw and 9 defeats.

I finished reading the Bible Book of Joshua. This is for my reading a chapter of the Bible every day. This book contains one of my favourite verses. It is the verse that myself and Louise, one of my best friends use to encourage each other. It is verse 9 from Chapter 1:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" NIV Version.

Easier said than done, but, it is something that I try to do and especially remember when there are difficult situations going on.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

I finished reading:

"Moscow Under Lenin" written by Alfred Rosmer.


Monday, September 17, 2007

I finished reading:

"A Thief of Time" written by Tony Hillerman.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

The North-East of England lost one of it's Sporting Football Legends last week. Ian Porterfield. He scored the winning goal in Sunderlands shocking 1-0 defeat of Leeds United in the 1973 F.A. Cup Final at Wembley. This is considered the greatest final shock in the history of the competition. Although, it was three years before the first final I can remember watching (1976, also an upset with Southampton beating Manchester United 1-0) I have seen the match many times as it is often replayed. It is also hard to imagine today that this could be an upset with Leeds in League One and Sunderland in the Premiership. However, in 1973 Leeds where the juggernaut and where considered one of the best teams in Europe and in fact where the reigning League Champions , in todays language, the Premiership (they won the league in 1969, 1973 and 1974 during their hayday). Sunderland on the other hand where struggling in the then Second Division aka The Championship. I guess it would be like say Hull City beating Manchester United in the FA Cup final in todays language, next to impossible,

Below is the goal captured from You Tube.

Thanks for the memories!!!

Sports Update:

Durham County Cricket Club won their second Championship of the Season. This time it is a Second Division Championship. They won the Natwest Pro 40 (4o hour each side one day games) 2nd Division Championship by beating Glamorgan yesterday whilst Somerset lost to Middlesex.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

I finished reading:

"In Flanders Fields, The 1917 Campaign" by Leon Wolff.

I Finished Reading:

"Listening Woman" by Tony Hillerman.


Monday, September 10, 2007

In Memorium,

We lost a kitten on Thursday. Cumulous. She came into us four weeks ago. We rescued her from behind the local Red Lobster in Raleigh. In fact, this is the same place that we rescued eleven kittens from a couple of years ago, including Nimbus who is still with us.

She was a wild little spitball when she came in, but, became really sweet and friendly and was ready to get her "forever" home. We took her to be spayed, but, unfortunately towards the end of the operation her heart stopped and they could not resuscitate her and she did not make it. This is the first kitten that has come into our house that we have lost. She was a pleasure to foster and will be missed.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

I finished reading:

"The Indian Heritage of America" written by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr.


People we look up to,
Those that are worshiped
Fail so badly
Yet, we still praise;
Cheering the the adulterer
Hoping the murderer is released
Because he stared in films.
Then we ask why!
Why the world is a mess;
Societies crumbling?
We're breaking Gods basic laws.
We dare ask "Why?"
We dare to ask:-
"Where is God?"

3rd October 1995 - North Acton, London, England.

Sports Update:

Yesterday was an historic day to be an England fan!!! All three of the major international teams played at the same time AND WON!!. I had fun jiggling between different matchtrackers and listening to the BBC Audio of the cricket team.

The results were:

England 28 USA 10 in the first game of the Rugby Union World Cup. Not a very good performance, but, a win is a win.

England beat India by 7 wickets in the deciding one day international match of a seven game series between the two countries. England win the series, the first in three years by 4 games to 3.

England 3 Israel 0 in a European Championship qualifying game. England move up to third place in group E. They have a MASSIVE game against second place Russia on Wednesday.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

It's been a while since I have posted about one of my favourite places that I have visited. As, I am taking the day off work today I figured it's time to do it.

This place is Arizona. We have been through it twice. Once, when driving from Texas to California when we relocated to the Bay Area and the other when we were re-locating to North Carolina. In both cases we stopped in Flagstaff and fell in love with place. It is just breath taking scenery. On the way to California we did a detour via the Grand Canyon. Sometimes when you visit one the famous tourist places there can be an anti-climax. However, the Grand Canyon was beyond my wildest dreams. It was awe inspiring and I don't have the words to describe it. If anyone has the chance to visit I would one hundred percent recommend it.

Jazzy was the next cat we fostered. She was a return. By this I mean that she had been adopted out by Snowflake, but, for some reason the people that adopted her did not want her anymore. This is one of the traumatic things that we go through because we give all the cats in our care everything that we have and try our very best to place them in the right home. So, when they come back it hurts. It is generally very, very stressful for the cats. In fact, the first cat that Jenn and I adopted, Jubilee, was the first return we ever saw. She was so stressed and upset that we took her home. If, the people saw how badly affected there cats are I think, I hope they would think twice. In some cases there are genuine reasons, such as bad allergic reactions or illness not allowing them to take care of the cat properly, but, most are very tenuous and very, very weak. In Jazzy's case she came back due to "medical" and "temperament" problems that needed medication. Once she was in our home she was great and did not need any medication and was a very sweet cat. She came to us the week of January 31st 2006 and was adopted very quickly the week later. She is doing really well in her new home.

One of Snowflakes requirements when we adopt out is that if the cat is to be given up for any reason even if it a long time later they will be returned to us. The reason is that we once found a situation where one of our cats was taken to the local animal control and would have been euthanized but for sharp attention from someone there who recognized the Snowflake medical record and new that we would take them back.

Another Day

Same Day.
Another Day.
One minute one day
The next another
(No it's not midnight!!).
One minute one life
Another minute a different life.
We live for the change
From day to the next.
Not the tick of a clock,
But the click of a turnstile
To the other side;
A new day!

2nd September 1995 - North Acton, London, England.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I finished reading:

"Dance Hall of the Dead" by Tony Hillerman.


Monday, September 03, 2007

The next cats that we fostered, and in fact are still fostering came to us in January 2006. They came to Snowflake in 2005. They are actually related to Rollo our own cat. When Rollo was rescued Hannah, Hallie and Archie went somewhere else. Unfortunately that situation did not work out well and the person who took them went through some major problems and could not take care of them. They came to us completely freaked out, very sick and malnutritioned. In fact they were only 4 lbs. Because they were struggling in the main foster home they came to us so that they could go in a smaller room with fewer "roommates". We nicknamed them "The Little Rollo's"!!

Archie (above left), a very shy and timid orange tabby has heart problems so is basically unadoptable. He lives in my home office with Fred and Nimbus where he is happy and doing well. Hannah (above right),who is a very shy tabby girl and is deaf and her sister Hallie (left) is a very shy and scared little tabby girl. They share our adult foster room with Katrina, Addison, Mac, Splish and Splash and are doing well. Hallie, especially is staring to really blossom.

An American in London

At last she's here!!
Dreams of showing her
My country,
My culture.
I'm nervous waiting.
What will she think,
Will she like it?
It's all so different
Although we speak the same language
(well, reputed to be):-
Driving on the wrong side of the road
Or is it right?
Who knows, I don't
I guess she won't soon.
Is it gas?
Is it petrol?
I could go on and on.
Do we speak anything the same?
Christ on the Cross.
And of course:-
Our love!

2nd September 1995 - North Acton, London, England.

I finished reading:

"Three Who Made A Revolution" written by Bertram D. Wolfe.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

The next cats we fostered were a mother and six kittens that came into us on October 10th 2005. A pregnant mom was left behind in a rental home in Garner, NC. Fortunately the lady moving in was an animal lover and took care of the mother, and then mew born kittens until we had room. When they came to us they were healthy except Serenity (centre), the mother who was dehydrated. Fortunately she pulled through. The family was named after characters from the "Firefly" show on TV. We had Simon (top left), a grey tabby who was adopted out November 7th 2005, River (top right), a fluffy grey girl who was adopted by Dr Green, one of our vets on October 31st 2005. Mal (left) and Inara (right)two tabbies were adopted the week of November 7th along with Jayne (below left) an Orange tabby boy. Book (below right), another tabby boy, was actually the first to be adopted the week of October24th 2005. Their, mother, Serenity was herself adopted on February 13th 2006.


The same old story.
Words so simple,
Words so brief
Can heal,
Can hurt.
I love you.
Fuck off.
Meant or not
Go into the heart
And ferment, developing
To form and perhaps
Shape a character.

13th August 1995 - Uxbridge, Middlesex, England.

Yesterday there was a big upset in College Football when Appalachian State, from North Carolina, beat one of the most storied programs and the 5th ranked team in the country in their stadium. I love upsets (unless one of my sides are on the losing end!!). I think this is why Soccer is so special. It is arguably the major sports where upsets are most likely to happen on any given day. There are so many examples. Hereford United non-league team beating Newcastle United, York City beating Arsenal even my Hartlepool beating Crystal Palace. It's part of the excitement. This year I was there when the Carolina RailHawks beat the Chicago Fire.

In other sports American Football, Rugby, Cricket, Basketball etc... yes, upsets can happen, but, how regularly? For example the game yesterday was the first time a non-1A team had beaten a ranked opponent and as I mentioned in my previous post, Durham as a Minor County beat Yorkshire in cricket. Fans of lower teams, dream of the big one and in Soccer the dream has a little more chance to come true.

Sports Update:

Durham County Cricket Club with their first "Professional" Championship. The won the Friends Provident One Day competition after destroying Hampshire in the final. It's been a tough 16 years since the County turned first class from being a very strong minor league team. They won the Minor County Championship several times. They are also famous for being the first minor county to beat a first class county when they beat Yorkshire in the Gillette cup in 1973.