Friday, June 29, 2007

The Cost of War

Take a look at the counter to the right. A friend of mine showed it to me the other day and I was completely dumbstruck. That's billions of dollars, folks, not millions. I'm making it a permanent fixture on the blog as a little reminder about where our hard-earned tax dollars are going.

One other interesting tidbit out of DC yesterday. While the President's so-called "amnesty" bill for illegal immigrants died in the Senate, the divided House was able to patch things up enough to reject a block on their annual automatic "cost of living" pay increase, which this year amounted to $4,400.

It sure warms my heart when Democrats and Republicans can agree.

The Yanks

There is little of baseball here in Scotland. In fact, the other day while grocery shopping, I spotted in the seasonal section what looked like a nerf bat and ball but turned out to be a "rounders" bat and ball, a similar game played mainly by small children here.

However, while baseball is nowhere to be found, the Yankees are everywhere. Yes, the logo of that most loved, or most hated, American baseball team can be spotted all over town mainly adorning caps but also the occasional jersey. I'm dying to go up to the offending individuals (am I betraying my bias) and ask them if they really support the team, do they know anything about the sport, can they name one player? The reality is that the Yankees organization has successfully launched the team as a globally recognized brand, like Coca Cola, for whose wearers the emblem is nothing more than a status icon akin to the Nike swoosh or the Ralph Lauren polo rider. Even so, it's enough overexposure to make this Phillies fan misty-eyed on the rare occasion that I've seen an Atlanta Braves hat.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm Laughing, But I'm Not Laughing

My favorite line from the movie Alex & Emma, and oh so appropriate for how I feel right now. Bear with me. This is another laundry post.

Yesterday, I had wash hanging on the line. Late in the day it started to sprinkle a little, but I've learned through experience here that the best thing to do is leave the laundry on the line because showers on a sunny day last but a moment, blow out, and the laundry will re-dry. Sadly, yesterday was the exception to the rule. The brief shower did blow out only to be replaced an hour or two later by a torrential deluge. I dejectedly gathered my damp clothes off the line late last night promising myself that I would put it right back out on the line first thing this morning. And, oh blessed day, the sun was shining this morning and out the laundry went. Alas today has been a repeat of yesterday evening. Showers have been blowing in and out all morning. My laundry is now wetter than it was when I first took it out of the washing machine. At least then after a 5 minute spin at 1000 rpms, it isn't sopping wet.

So what to do??? I'm at a loss. I keep clinging to the hope that the showers will finally and ultimately blow away since as I look out the window at this very moment to big fat drops of rain I can see that half the sky is the clearest shade of blue you've ever seen. It's teasing me.

Is it possible to laughing and crying at the same time?

Stop Whining!



As a mother I have now had the uncanny experience of opening my mouth and hearing my own mother's voice emerge. Nothing can prepare you for the moment when you realize that you have become your parents. However, almost as bizarre, but perhaps slightly more amusing, is hearing yourself parroted by your own children. You suddenly become aware that your every action, nay every word, is noted, absorbed, and often repeated verbatim. This has happened, as you will recall, with Addison calling Trey and me by our first names. The most recent example involves our frequent admonition to him to "stop whining", an activity common to your average two-year old. In this video I get Addison to perform a little, but trust me. He says it plenty on his own without any prompting.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The New Resident at 10 Downing Street

Today at 1:12pm Tony Blair tendered his resignation to the Queen, stepping down as Prime Minister, a post he has held for the past 10 years. I've tried to do some research in order to understand how a person becomes Prime Minister, how long they are entitled to hold the position, and under what circumstances they leave their post, and I can make neither head nor tail of it. As I was reading about the workings of Britain's government, my memory jogged, and I had this flashback to high school history class where we learned about the curious nature of the British constitution, which is really a collection of traditions and customs rather than a formal, written document.

Blair is leaving to serve as Middle East envoy on behalf of the EU, US, UN, and Russia. Gordon Brown, his chancellor, is now the new Prime Minister, leader of the Labour Party, and resident of 10 Downing Street.

I find this all so interesting since Trey and I recently watched the movie The Queen, a film about the days surrounding the death of Princess Diana. Tony Blair figures prominently in the film beginning with his appointment as Prime Minister in May of that year and culminating in his leadership role during the days immediately following the princess's death. I didn't realize it, but he was the one who dubbed her "the people's princess", a title which has stuck to this day. In the movie, which is quite good by the way and definitely worth watching, Blair's wife provides a bit of comic relief as the anti-establishment, anti-monarchist unable to properly curtsy before Her Majesty. Over the years, she has been the center of several controversies, and I was amused to discover that as she and Blair left number 10 for the final time she quipped to the journalists present, "I don't think we'll miss you."

I am very interested to see what Blair's departure means for the UK's relationship with the US and especially how that will affect the War in Iraq. Blair was often criticized as being Bush's "lap dog", and now with the 2008 elections heating up and a new Prime Minister here in Britain, I wonder what the global implications will be. Only time will tell.

Gordon Brown and Tony Blair

Blues Brothers



I haven't posted videos of the kids in a while, so here come a bunch. While this is a short one, it's a good one. It gives you a real flavor for the way the two of them relate to each other right now. Oh, and the matching navy blue jammies were not intentional.

Busy Davis



Here's one of Davis doing what he does best, looking cute. One of the things I love about this age is that they express enthusiasm not through words but by kicking their arms and legs. He's started to take a real fascination in objects, so in this video I've put a couple of Addison's toys in his hands, a ruler from the tool box and a race car. Hmmm...perhaps I should dig out some more suitable baby toys, like rattles and stuffed animals.

Scu Me!



In this episode Addison removes all of his Thomas books from the shelf, lines them up on the couch, and then flips through one, casually identifying the trains he sees. But the best part of the video occurs halfway through when Trey, the videographer, gets in Addison's way, and in his most commanding toddler voice Adduson says, "Scu me!" Talk about bossy.

Sorry it's so dark. Unfortunately, on the digital camera, the videoing options are a bit lacking. Oh, and if you look closely out the bay window, you can see the ubiquitous bowlers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wild Washer Woman

Yes, that's me. My second load of laundry's on the line and the third is washing right now. Thanks to sunny skies and an average wind speed of 24mph, I might just finish washing every piece of dirty clothing in the house. Days like this are a true gem, a drying miracle, if you will. And the best part is the clothing comes inside smelling so fresh and clean. Tide and ALL can try to imitate the smell and bottle it up for your purchasing pleasure, but there really is no substitute.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Disappointment

Friday afternoon I told Addison we would go to the library. With a pile of books to return tucked under one arm and Addison's little hand clasped in my other, we set off. We had a lovely walk over. He was such a big boy, crossing the street when the little green man blinked the OK and enjoying the roses along the path. But, horror of horrors, when we arrived at the front door, it was locked, our fun outing ruined by the early Friday closing time of the library, a fact I knew nothing about. Addison was devastated. Tears filled his eyes. He just couldn't understand why the library was closed. Why couldn't I open the door and go in? I felt completely helpless to explain to him in a way he would understand what had happened. I let him run around for a few minutes in the field outside the library to help distract him and then we went to a nearby store and got him his first lollipop, which went a long way towards helping his disappointment.

This is the second time in just a couple of weeks that Addison has experienced his first few tastes of disappointment. The other incident involved Trey. They went on a walk together up to Seaton Park and Trey told Addison he could swing on the swings, Addison's favorite past-time. When they arrived at the playground, the swings were gone, evidently away for repair or replacement before the beginning of the summer season. Addison dissolved in tears and kept saying, "Swings broken." He just couldn't quite wrap his little mind around his dashed desire. Trey said he felt awful and totally incapable of fixing the situation.

I know both of these experiences are just the first in a long string of disappointments that he will experience in life, and that brings me to my own most recent disappointment. Today was the day of our return flight home. When we originally booked our flight to Aberdeen last year, it was cheaper to buy round-trip tickets rather than one-ways. At the time we thought we would be coming back for a visit in the summer, but as time went on, we realized it was not going to be possible. Instead, we are coming home at Christmas for a nice long visit, something we are all looking forward to very much. I think about it every day. While I've known for a long time now, that we were not going home today, the thought of those empty seats flying back to the US is a little hard to swallow. Both Trey's and my homesickness goes in cycles. Sometimes we don't even notice it, and then other times it's so strong you can taste it. Right now, we're tasting it partly because we're missing the warm summer weather we've always known, partly because we've been here so long without a trip back, but mostly because we just deeply miss our loved ones.

So in these moments when it is easiest to turn inward and wallow in self-pity, I turn to the life-giving Words of our Savior, the God of all comfort, the One who watches over us here in far northeast Scotland at the same time that He's watching over all our family and friends across the pond. "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12.9)

Disappointment manifests itself at every age. It is part of life in a fallen world. It is a lesson that our young 2 year old is already learning and one that we will continue to wrestle with ourselves. As I look out the window this morning at the pouring mist (yes, it pours mist here) which has been with us for three days straight now, I turn my gaze upward and say, "When I am weak, then I am strong."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tool Box

I love a good bargain. I just can't help myself. It's the Scottish blood that flows in my veins. Yesterday, on our daily walk as a family, I dropped into the local VSA charity shop to see if they still had a child's toy tool box I had seen there the day before (when I got a beautiful tea cozy for £1 -- sorry, Mom, I know that's going to make you jealous). Amazingly, it was still there and for its £1.50 sticker price, I couldn't pass it up. Complete with a hammer, saw, several wrenches, level, ruler, screwdriver, vice, and other assorted tools in a brightly colored carrying case, it was a little boy's dream come true. Addison was enchanted. With a quick explanation to him of the name of each item (so far as we even knew since neither of us are particularly tool literate), Addison had the names memorized in minutes. Everywhere he went yesterday in the house, he had to bring the tool box with him, and first thing this morning, he didn't want his breakfast. He wanted me to open the tool box so he could "fix" things. I could hardly pry him away to eat his oatmeal. As I type this, Davis is lying at my feet on the living room floor while Addison literally plays tools with him. He's piled them next to Davis and manages to get a wrench or ruler into Davis's little fist. He then takes his hammer and taps away at whatever Davis is holding. I had no idea a 4 month-old and 2 year-old could play together, but it is clearly a match made in heaven.

I just hope that we can employ some of Addison's new-found handyman skills around here. Both Trey and I are hopelessly helpless when it comes to home repair.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Solstice


Today the sun rose at 4:12am and will set at 10:08pm -- 17 hours, 55 minutes, 42 seconds of daylight. It's truly remarkable to go outside at 11:30 at night and still see light in the northern sky. It hit me the other day, though, that the first day of summer is actually rather melancholy since it marks the beginning of the days becoming shorter. When December 21st arrived this year, we knew the days were getting longer and the darkness would dissipate. The flip side is that every day of summer gets a little shorter than the last, leading us one step closer to the dark days of winter. It's an odd cycle. Although the contrast in seasons is hardly noticeable temperature-wise, the difference in the amount of daylight is astonishing. While I truly love these long spring and summer evenings, I may be in the minority when I admit that I find something warm and cozy about the dark winter nights as well. There is incredible beauty in each season.

Happy summer everyone!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dogs

As a dog person, I have certainly come to the right country. The relationship that the Scots have with their dogs is, indeed, special. I continue to be amazed at how people bring their dogs to the supermarket and tie them up outside while they shop. It is not uncommon to see several dogs lazing on the sidewalk waiting for their owners. A few weeks ago an unusual situation arose thanks to a careless owner and a hyper dog left outside Lidl. It was a very large Springer Spaniel who proceeded to bark the entire time it was tied up and so ferociously that a little old lady was too frightened to leave the store with her purchases. An employee had to go outside and run interference between the dog and the woman so that she could leave.

Dog lovers enjoy bringing them to the many beautiful parks here in Aberdeen and letting them run free without a lead (leash). I have to confess that it makes me nervous at times because you just don't know if you can trust a strange dog; however, we've never had a problem. They all seem fairly well behaved. Sadly, the bigger problem seems to be the owners who do not always pick up the presents their dogs leave behind. A little warning...always look where you walk!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Great Bishop Continued

Ironically, just as I was finishing my blog entry about William Elphinstone, Trey returned from a trip to the QML (Queen Mother Library) with a print he had purchased of the revered Bishop. Trey's love of all things medieval is well established, so it should come as no surprise that he would delight in finding and framing the print to admire in his study. The original portrait, seen below, hangs in the Marischal Museum at Marischal College and a copy of it hangs at St. Machar's Cathedral.



Keeper of the Privy Seal



Last year at this time, Trey, Addison, and I spent a week vacationing down in Cape May. We had 2 keys to our French Turret Suite, and Trey would joke with me that the caretaker of the keys when we left the apartment was the "Keeper of the Privy Seal", a reference to the founder of the University of Aberdeen Bishop William Elphinstone.

All joking aside, however, he is a pretty remarkable man. Amazingly, despite his illegitimate birth in 1431, Elphinstone became one of the leading minds of his day and the father of Scotland's third medieval university, the University of Aberdeen. He was educated in France and then returned to Scotland as chief officer of the diocese of Glasgow. He then went on to found the University of Aberdeen wooing scholars from all over to teach at his new institution, a real departure from the norm of that time in which only priests typically were educators. He was very concerned to train lawyers, statesmen, and clerics, as well as physicians, establishing the University's distinguished tradition for cutting-edge medical research. Perhaps most important of all, however, and fairly unknown by most, is Elphinstone's contribution to printing. He introduced it to his nation realizing the significant impact it would have on all areas of scholarship.

The video above is footage that Trey took the other day showing Elphinstone's monument resting in front of King's College Chapel. Although a fairly recent tribute to the great Bishop dating from the beginning of the last century, it is as imposing and stunning to behold as the Chapel in front of which it rests. And despite all efforts to find out just what "The Keeper of the Privy Seal" did, it appears to be a title of distinction with little work involved for its £1200 per annum compensation. Hmmm...I need to find that kind of job.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Man of Few Words



He may not say much, but I think that's because he's wise. Either that or his big brother is just drowning him out.

Budding Artiste



Don't let the lines stop you, Addison!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The New Me

I alluded to my weight loss goals a few months back. Well, with 2 stones lost since I started trying and the haircut that I got today, I'm ready to reveal the new me.



Bowling


This entry is done especially in honor of my brother Nathaniel, who was completely fascinated with the lawn bowling that goes on across our street at the Northern Bowling Club. He would sit on our couch and stare out the bay window at the bowlers or even go across the street and press his face against the bars of the gate watching their games intently. In such manner he was able to figure out the rules and strategies of lawn bowling and one evening some ladies from a women's league told him he could join them if he put on a skirt. He seemed tempted by the offer.

Yesterday was such a gorgeous day that Trey thought it would be perfect to get outside and film the bowlers at their craft. And if you listen very carefully with the volume turned all the way up, you can hear their Scottish brogue between the North Sea wind gusts.

Four Month Sticks

Yesterday morning I took Davis to get his four month injections or "sticks" (they don't call them shots here). He did well considering that this time he got three. I think the third one was a total surprise. He wailed as is typical during the first two, the number he normally gets at these visits, but when he was stuck a third time he got MAD! Poor little guy had three circular plasters (bandaids) on his two skinny thighs. Which brings me to the next bit of news. In the three weeks that have passed since his last weight check, he's gained another pound! He is still just above the 5th percentile line but is gaining steadily, which is what they want to see. The health visitor is not concerned if he's small as long as he finds his percentile line and rides it. She also thinks that he may go up to about the 10th percentile once he starts solid foods. I have decided to wait a little before introducing solids this time. With Addison we started as soon as he was four months, but I'm in no hurry. There is nothing more nutritious for Davis right now than breastmilk. It has all the fat and calories he needs. We'll see how he's doing in a month's time, but more than likely I'll start him at six months, which is the new World Health Organization recommendation.

Once we got home Davis conked out. Unlike other children who get fussy or run fevers after their injections, Davis sleeps like he's had a night of hard drinking. Three and a half hours later he woke smiley and happy, the sticks but a distant memory.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Addison's Turn


Since I featured Davis's bath the other day, I thought I'd share with you Addison's bath from last night, his first in a week thanks to his cast which couldn't get wet.

The Heat in June

And by heat I don't mean, "Oh wow, it's 95 and 100% humidity! Let's put on the AC." No, I mean the fact that I've had the heat on almost every day this month. Yes, that's right. in Aberdeen we still need the heat at times since daytime temperatures max out at 52. I had a little mini crisis of faith yesterday over it. We hadn't seen the sun in weeks -- just a monolith of gray, which in a granite city can make you forget there is color at all in this world. As I was hanging the wash yesterday morning it started to mist hard. A hard mist is the worst kind of rain. It completely soaks everything in a most deceptively subtle way, and it's a form of precipitation that this island has down to an art form. My perpetual laundry dilemma is this. In order to dry the amount of laundry we generate daily, I need to run at least two radiators, but it's just not quite cold enough to do that. However, if I hang the wash out on a gray day in the 50s, it can hang there for 10 hours and still come back inside with that tinge of dampness that makes you yearn for a fluffy, hot dryer. Thankfully although it was mostly gray yesterday, the mist ended quickly and the wind picked up, which completely dried my laundry by bedtime.

This morning the sky is a brilliant shade of blue and we're all squinting at it like moles who have been underground too long. But the current temperature? 44 degrees...sigh. I had been warned repeatedly that the winters here were bleak and depressing and that summers were mild and glorious. I have found it to be EXACTLY the opposite. The winters were dark but cozy at the same time. They were not freezing cold like people said. In fact we never even accumulated more than an inch of snow. And so far the summer -- OK, technically it's not summer yet, but you know what I mean -- has been disappointing, cold and drab. I long for a beach blanket in Cape May and a good summer read, the smell of sunscreen, sand, and sea air. True, I can smell the sea from here, but I assure you that a warm sea breeze smells quite different from a cool one. Trey keeps telling me it's going to warm up and the sun is going to come out. July and August are the glory months they say, whoever THEY are. We'll see...

In the meantime, I have laundry to hang. Got to take advantage of this sunny day while it lasts.

PS Before you think to yourself, "Be thankful for the cooler temperatures. The heat here is just oppressive and you can't even go outside," let me tell you that I LONG for that kind of heat, the kind that sticks to your skin and makes you feel like you're breathing underwater, but if I couldn't have that -- and in Aberdeen I can't because I think their record high here EVER has been 82 -- I would settle for a day in the 60s where I could wear a pair of capris and short sleeves instead of wool sweaters.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Cast Is Gone

We have good news to report. Addison's cast came off this afternoon, and he is doing well. Although reluctant to walk for the doctor at the A&E, once we got home he started limping around. This past week he had adjusted his walking to accommodate the cast, and now that it's gone he has to transition back to normal walking. He is still complaining about it a little, but I think it's phantom pain all in his head. I fear we have a bit of a drama queen on our hands. The doctor chose not to x-ray his leg again and expose Addison to further radiation since the original x-rays were absolutely crystal clear.

And so now begins the new challenge of running around after a boy who has been held at bay for a week by a cast. By the end of his time en-casted he was running. I can only imagine how hard it will be to keep up after him now that he is completely unimpeded.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

OK, rolling, rolling, rolling may be a bit of an overstatement. Even so this afternoon Davis rolled from his tummy to his back -- mainly because he doesn't care for being put on his tummy. I have sorely neglected the requisite "tummy time" and consequently Davis has a bald and flat spot on the back of his head. In an effort to correct this, I've been trying to put him on his tummy more, and lo and behold he reached that first of a series of milestones -- rolling -- trying to thwart my efforts.

Way to go, Davis!

Good Morning, Sunshine!

The two smiling faces that greet us each morning. You can find more of these photos in the new Holloway Boys 2007 photo album that I just added.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Baptismal Sweater

After three months of diligent labor, I am delighted to announce that this afternoon I completed the sweater for Davis's baptism in December. This is my very first sweater and was an incredible challenge, but now that I see the finished product, it was worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tears (all metaphoric, of course).

View of the front.

View of the back.

Close-up showing moss stitch detail around the edges.

Close-up of the neckband.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bath Time


Davis gets "roasted".

No More "T" on the High Street

You may remember that a few weeks ago Trey attended the Old Aberdeen Town Council Meeting. A number of issues important to the local residents were brought up, including the proposed removal of the Tennent's Beer sign newly hanging outside of St. Machar's Bar. Well, a few days ago, on one of his regular walks up High Street, Trey returned with the exciting news that the sign had been taken down.

Score one for the historians, antiquarians, and for all those who love the old medieval town!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Dunnottar a la Braveheart


Today, since we still had the car, we went to Dunnottar Castle and got some great footage out on the cliffs. Believe it or not, it actually cleared while we were there and the wind wasn't too intense. I've compiled the clips into a little video montage set to none other than the theme to Braveheart. Corny? Maybe...but also thoroughly fitting. I'll wager a tear might even come to your eye.

Easier than...the DMV

In 25 minutes we were able to complete all of Davis's paperwork for a passport, social security card, and certificate of birth abroad -- less time than I typically spend renewing my driver's license at the DMV. How is that possible?

Our trip to Edinburgh was a great success. The car we got this time was a roomy Vauxhall wagon with a third row of seats that could be collapsed to create a large trunk perfect for our double buggy. We were able to find the Embassy with no trouble and ample parking was available. It was so refreshing to walk up to a building flying Old Glory outside. After we took care of Davis's US documents, we drove through Holyrood, which is the residence of the Queen when she stays in Scotland (except for the time she spends up by us at Balmoral Castle, of course). We didn't visit the residence itself. Instead we drove through the property which is like the Highlands in miniature right in the middle of the city. It's rugged and beautiful and Trey was dying to climb the mountain. Hopefully he'll get a chance when we return to the capitol in July.

Our last order of business was a quick trip to the National Library of Scotland where Trey needed to consult letters for his research. Once he was done perusing the manuscripts, we found a great playground nearby so Addison could get out a little and swing on the swings. The boys did amazingly well considering the 6 hours of driving to and from Edinburgh and then all the driving we did in the city. I'm always pleasantly surprised by their travelling resilience.

In 6 weeks' time, Davis will receive his passport, and then we will start the process to secure his visa.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Off to Edinburgh

We're off to Edinburgh this morning to make Davis a legitimate citizen of the USA. I'll be back on tomorrow hopefully with pictures.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

More Laughing


Here is a great video from this weekend of Davis. He is such a joy!

The Cast


Here is a brief clip from this morning showing Addison hobbling around on his new cast. (He picks up a stray piece of yarn at the end, in case you were wondering. I'm almost done Davis's sweater. More on that later.) Told you he wouldn't let this get him down.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

My Poor Baby

Last night while I was making dinner I heard Addison let out that cry that every mother knows too well -- the cry that means you drop whatever you're doing and run to them. He had been playing contentedly in the living room with the new matchbox cars that Daddy had gotten him on Saturday -- his latest obsession. I found him sitting on the floor next to an overturned, empty laundry basket and his new Leapfrog Basketball Hoop. There were no obvious signs of a fall. I hadn't even heard a thud or crash. However, Addison was lifting his foot up to me and saying, "Owwy. Foot. Kissy." I took his shoe and sock off to inspect the foot, and it looked fine. But the requisite kiss didn't do the trick -- a first. Once he stood up and tried to walk, he limped a couple of steps and then through tears refused to go any further. For the rest of the evening he kept complaining about it and wouldn't walk on it. I gave him some Calpol (Tylenol) and he went to bed early. But this morning, he was exactly the same and flatly refused to walk on the foot.

I got an urgent appointment at our GP's office for this morning. The doctor couldn't see any evidence of a break, but since he wouldn't bear weight on his leg, she felt we needed to go to the Children's A&E for evaluation. So Trey and I piled the kids into the double buggy and trudged the 45 minutes up hill to the hospital. There they x-rayed Addison's foot and could find no evidence of a fracture. The doctor felt that it could possibly be sprained or so slightly broken that it was not showing up on the x-rays. He decided to put a "walking" cast on Addison's leg to give it an opportunity to heal. Next week we go back to have the cast cut off, and they will x-ray the foot again at that point. If it is broken, then evidence of healing should show up on the x-ray. If not, it was probably just a sprain and should be fine.

The good news is that once we got home Addison was finally willing to walk on his leg. It has slowed him down just a tad, making it slightly easier for me to keep up with him, but no doubt he'll figure out how to run on this cast in no time.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Streaking on Orchard Road

Evidently, Scotland has a streaking problem. I can honestly say that in the 25 years I lived in the US, I never once encountered a streaker while in the 9 months that we have lived here we've seen two. Last night I was quietly knitting in the living room when, all of a sudden, as Trey entered the room he exclaimed, "Oh my goodness! That guy's streaking!" I looked up just in time to see the fellow's bare back, and then he was gone. It stopped the bowlers momentarily, who sauntered over to get a better look. End of term excitement, perhaps? Not sure how else to explain the lunacy of running around nude on a chilly northeast Scottish evening.

Sardoodledom

The 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee crowned its new champion this past week. While he wasn't the ultimate winner, Kennyi Aouad stole the show. I guarantee if you're having a bad day, this will bring a smile to your face.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Haar

With the advent of warmer weather in Aberdeen comes the haar, a thick sea mist similar to fog which plagues northeast Scotland. It can ruin an otherwise crystal clear warm beach day. We've encountered it a couple of times so far, today included, although nothing like what we've heard about. We've been told the haar can get so thick you can hardly see your own hand. It is the cold Scottish equivalent of a sweltering summer day in Hotlanta. The air is so humid you can hardly breathe and the moisture clings to your skin, except here the mist is very, very cold.

So what exactly causes the haar? It generally occurs between April and September when pockets of warm air come in contact with the cold North Sea. The air at the bottom of the pocket is cooled by the ocean and becomes "saturated" beyond what it can hold. Remember cold air doesn't hold as much humidity as warm air. The excess moisture is released as vapor. Add some wind and the mist intensifies and spreads inland. The haar is usually thickest at the coastline and lessens as you move further inland. Today on our walk along the beach Promenade we could look to our right over the city and see beautiful blue skies and then look to the left and see a cold, gray day over the North Sea. In fact, we couldn't really see the lighthouse to our south or the Bridge of Don to the north.