Monday, June 20, 2011

Mobile accessibility: And the answer is

A while ago someone contacted me requesting that I look at ways to make my blog more accessible for the mobile/cell phone community. The web version is so cumbersome that he was unable to post a comment. Aah! How disappointing!

It made me realize that many people might be using their cell phone instead of a laptop. Because I mostly use my laptop I didn’t think of it that way. Therefore finding a solution could actually mean broadening my audience.

So I am happy to let you know today that I have found something AND it works. Tested and approved!

Just to be safe I will give both options of how you can do it:

Firstly, I’ve selected this setting for my blog: On mobile devices, show the mobile version of my template. By this I understand then that when you open my blog on your mobile device it should show you the appropriate version. This is what it should look like:

If it is not what you see (1) please let me know, and (2) I encourage you to use the second option: Add the mobile blog address to your favorites:

Option two is what I’ve opted for on my own phone so I KNOW that one works. Not only does it make viewing the blog that much easier, it also simplifies comments – reading them and leaving one of your own.

No more excuses, WG! ;) I’ll be keeping an eye out for your contribution :)

If anyone still find that they have a problem please let me know so that I can look into it.

Enjoy the read! And don't forget to drop me a line. No more excuses ;)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Birthday Bubbles!

It was a cold winters day in June 2006. I was finally ready to put the past behind me and try again.

Rewind 8 years... September 1998

Peanut died very suddenly in the middle of the night. He was an eight week old African grey and my first feathered baby given to me as a birthday gift. I didn’t know that he had the flu when we brought him home from the pet store. I loved that bird with all my heart! I only had him to love for thirty days. I didn’t know that a vet could save him. I thought that if something went wrong with a parrot it was tickets. The flu turned into meningitis and by the time I realized it he was gone. I grieved for a long time. How could I not know? What might I have done differently?

April 2000...

Then there was Cheeky, the cutest white cockatiel. He had the sweetest two orange cheeks and an attitude to boot, but I didn’t raise him. I was strolling by the lake one afternoon; turns out so was he. I don’t know where he came from, how old he was or who he belonged to, but someone’s sad loss became my best friend for nearly four years. I don’t know how he died exactly. Maybe simply old age...

June 2006...

So there I was staring at the tiny little bundles of fluff through the window. They were only six weeks old, a brood of Senegal parrots. They were huddled together in one corner trying to stay warm. The little one furthest on the edge of the huddle wanted to get a little closer but all he got was a cold shoulder – literally. Very determinedly he backed up a couple of inches and with all his might nose dived toward the huddle. He was getting in (or under) no matter what; He wasn’t taking no for an answer!

Next thing there he was, snug right at the bottom of the (now) pile. Right then I knew he was the one for me!

But could I do it? He was so tiny, so vulnerable, so dependant. What if I did something to cause him to die like Peanut did? I would have to keep him at a constant 22*C in the middle of winter (he didn’t have any feathers, just fluff) and feed him three times a day (day job and all) – with a syringe and a thin rubber tube into his tiny crop. What if I hurt him? What if he didn’t want to eat? What if he got sick? He was so small. I paced up and down the aisles of the pet store for nearly an hour before I finally made my decision: I would risk taking him home with me.

And so, with one fluffy baby parrot, a wooden breeder box, wood shavings, baby food and syringe under one arm, and all the courage I could muster under the other our journey began... five years ago. Oh, and don’t forget the cuddly lion bear!

I celebrate that day as his birthday since I don’t know the date for sure when he actually hatched. So happy birthday, baby! Mommy loves you to bits!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Perhaps a little too bright

“The future is so bright I have to wear shades.”

Initially I thought of this as something that I had heard Oprah say but when I Googled it I found out there is also a song about it! Now it’s a quote that you can tap your finger to :D

Right now, however, it is not the future that is so bright but rather the light that is causing me to feel a need for shades. The past few days I’ve been struggling with an awful headache that I have not been able to completely be rid of, and I’ve been unable to spend as much time in front of the glaring computer screen. A few things have fallen a bit behind, including my blog, but hopefully it won’t be a distraction for much longer. In the meantime I’m wearing 'shades' albeit not the kind for a bright future or the sun, but rather reading shades.

Who knows? Maybe there is some purpose in the quiet of a less busy space.

I hope everyone else is doing well. With this song stuck in your mind may you have a finger tapping jolly day!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Small minded in a big world

“The most remarkable species of all living in the wildest places on earth struggling to survive”...


A friend of mine sent this video clip to me recently. As I was watching it I realized (I should probably say ‘again’) just how small my mentality is in terms of the world: its places, its people, its cultures, its value systems and beliefs, its animal kingdoms, its climate. Even as I speak I’m probably being narrow minded. The picture is just that big! The detail too overwhelming to digest it all in just one lifetime; worlds that we never even imagine.

There is so much that we can so easily loose sight of. Our ignorance can sometimes be astounding!

When last did you consider something that is outside of your world as you know it?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thinking on my feet

I can’t believe it’s been six days since my last post. I think this cold weather is a serious cause of brain freeze. Let’s not forget the freezing tootsies (toes). It certainly hampers my ability to think on my feet. All I want to do all day is hibernate under the covers.

The great thing about portable computers is the places that it allows you to write from. Tonight I’m snug under the blankets and grateful that it is not outside.

Sometimes – just for a moment – I try to imagine what it must be like to be homeless in the middle of winter. What it might be like to have only one set of clothes to your name and still be cold when you’re already wearing all you have. What it must be like to not have the modern amenities of a kitchen with a stove to prepare a warm meal or the nutrition that your body needs to keep you from getting sick. How do you sleep when you have no blanket, or the one you have is not sufficient to warm you. How do you sleep when your body can’t relax, trying to generate enough heat for you to survive till morning. How tired you must be? If you barely sleep, do you ever dream?

What it must be like for your life to be threatened over a piece of clothing, a blanket or maybe even a cardboard box shelter on a freezing winters night. They’re not interested in your Rolex watch or your diamond ring or your Mercedes Benz; just a blanket that could cause one to see another sunrise and one not to. My feet are freezing as it is, but imagine having no shoes, or shoes with no socks. Then imagine the one set of clothing you have or the only blanket you own being soaked in the rain and for the next three days – if you make it – the sun don’t shine and the temperatures don’t rise.

Sometimes I want to fix all the problems of the world and sometimes I just cry. Sometimes I’m just glad I’m not God because there are a lot of problems in this world. But every time it makes me grateful for the warm bed that I sleep in, the roof that shelters me from the elements, a hot shower, a full belly, a hot cup of coffee, the shoes, the jacket, the love that fills my life.

I might not be able to fix the world, but I know that somewhere, somehow I can make a difference. Someone can be warmer. Someone doesn’t have to be hungry. Someone’s life can somehow be better because of me. How about you?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In case of winter wear a hat

In 2010 I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the USA. It was going to be interesting for me to compare the winter to the winter here in South Africa. Snow is simply beautiful but it is more beautiful to look at than it is warm. In the process, however, I have learned a few simple things about keeping warm. Considering the temperatures we’ve had the past few days I thought it suitable to share them with you. Here we go!

1. Keep your FEET warm. It is a good idea to invest in some thick woolen socks if you can.
2. Can be a bit tricky sometimes, I know, but keep your HANDS warm – wear gloves whenever you can.
3. Keep your CORE warm: your chest and your back from your waist to your neck.
4. Keep the back of your NECK warm. Not only will a scarf help but it can double up as a beautiful (and fashionable) accessory to your outfit.
5. Keep your HEAD warm. This is – in my opinion - the most important tip. You’ll be amazed how much warmer you are by simply wearing a hat.

Usually I wouldn’t think to sleep with a hat though because it would come off during the night. I can’t lie awake trying to keep a hat on.

That’s what a Coda is for!

Apparently the pillow is one of his favorite spots. HECK! In this weather I'm not complaining! ;)

What are your winter warmer secrets?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flu shot: Do or die... or pass me by?

It is that time of the year again: Winter in South Africa. W-e-l-l.... supposed to be autumn but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. It’s on the radio, television, brochures, posters, newspapers... just about everywhere they are advertising for people to get a flu shot.

Please note that this is not a research paper based on medical or statistical facts. This is just me saying I don’t think it is such a good idea - for adults anyway...

There are those who firmly believe that getting a flu shot is good for you. Apparently, from what I hear, it is supposed to strengthen your body’s immunity somehow by letting it create anti-bodies that is supposed to help it fight flu. And, apparently this happens by your actually getting sick. Isn’t that precisely what we are trying to avoid?

How do you know who got a flu shot? Simple! Just watch for those who are sick (in my experience).


They went to get the flu shot and within a few days they are as sick as dogs. After paying to get sick you now have to pay to see the doctor for a prescription and pay to have it filled – which nowadays could cost you an arm and a leg. Some get to stay in bed for a few days and some are not that lucky. Some refuse to and they are often the ones who stay sick all winter long. What a lot of good the injection did them? And to think that they had to pay to get sick to begin with...

From what I’ve seen it would seem that most people get the flu once during winter. Then, if the flu injection makes you sick to build anti-bodies for something you are likely to only have once anyway... then tell me again: what is the anti-bodies for? Your chance of getting the flu again is slim – even without the injection.

From where I’m standing your options – under considered normal circumstances - would be between having flu once vs. not having it at all, right? My choice is to not have it at all! Therefore – for me - it only naturally means to avoid the flu injection at all cost.

What is my game plan for the winter then? I opt to continue taking (or start taking) a nutritional supplement / multi vitamin – especially vitamin C. I usually increase my intake of citrus fruit (i.e. oranges, naartjies, etc.) – nature's own winter medicine. Isn’t it fascinating how that is the fruit for winter – precisely in the season that we need it most? How wonderful! (and certainly much cheaper than doctor’s bills and the expensive medicine that they prescribe). Drinking lots of water remains very important. I prefer water at room temperature in winter. It is cold enough as it is. Why discourage yourself from drinking water any more than you may already be? Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Your body needs all the help it can get. And dress warm of course.

Do you believe in the flu injection and if so, why? Or have you maybe been an exception where you got it and actually did not get sick? What do you do to take care of your health during the cold winter months?