Sunday, September 30, 2007
So here's to you, Philadelphia! Cheers!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
There's an afa (awful) rumour that copper wire was invented by two Aberdonians fighting over a penny!
An Aberdonian is out for a drive in his shiny new red Mini Cooper. As he drives through Royal Deeside he marvels at the luscious greenery of the trees and grass. He pulls up to get a bit of fresh air and a break from driving. It is only then that he sees a destitute man with his wife down on all fours munching on the grass. "Why are you eating grass" he asks the tramp. "I haven’t been able to find any work for months and this is all I can give my wife to eat." "Ah I see, tell you what, you and your wife get into the car and I’ll get you some extra food." The man and his wife are overjoyed and jump into the back seats. "Oh this is so kind of you, dear sir" says the wife as they drive through Garthdee" "Och, think nothing of it wifie - I haven’t been able to get my grass cut in weeks!"
The first people in Scotland to get double glazing (double paned windows that provide excellent insulation in the cold northeast) were Aberdonians so that the bairns' (children) couldnae hear the ice cream vans!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I've been going back through the pictures we took last year of our home and I'm really eager to do updates although the true final updates won't happen until the carpet is laid. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
They didn't have options for babies. Plus, there's just no way to duplicate Davis's sweetness.
Last Wednesday we went to Dunnottar Castle with Grandma Nina. As many times as we've been, I never tire of seeing it, and this time we had one of the most exquisite days you can imagine -- warm temperatures, brilliant sun, no wind. I've added all the photos to the Dunnottar Castle album, but here's a little preview.
I've been really struck by the way having workmen in your home can make you feel like a stranger there. Thankfully, today seems to be a nicer day than yesterday, so I should be able to get Addison outside with his cycle and sandbox. We can certainly manage for another couple of days, and I can't wait to post the before and after photos.
Monday, September 24, 2007
These renovations make life in an already small dwelling interesting to say the least. Addison and I have holed up in our bedroom with DVDs and toys (the internet for me) since it's raining. The painters are only supposed to be here today and tomorrow, so we'll manage because the final result is definitely worth the minor inconvenience.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
I never thought I would, but now I've gone and done it. However, I'm blaming it completely on Trey. A few weeks back we bought the boys a couple of matching outfits presumably for getting their professional picture taken this fall, but probably in reality because they look so darn cute dressed alike. We do, however, draw the line at the whole family dressing the same.
Yesterday at church they were wearing the same sweater and several people commented, "Oh look. They're wearing matching jumpers." Every time I hear a Scot call a sweater a jumper I laugh. It just sounds so funny. Anther one to add to the ever-growing list of vocabulary differences.
Another one I found out recently...they don't call it fall. It is strictly autumn. Fall is apparently an Americanism. Who knew?
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Trey, our resident photographer and now videographer, did a fabulous job capturing all the different aspects of the Highland games in Braemar. Besides the videos of the Queen driving by and the caber toss, we have many more to share. I wasn't quite sure how to categorize them, so I thought I would just put them all in one post with a brief explanation for each.
Stadium, Highlands, and Scottish flags.
More piping in formation. Scottish marching bands, if you will.
A piping band from Ballatar.
Another view of the stadium, its pageantry and the sunshine which kept peeking in and out all day.
A panoramic view of the stadium and surrounding Highlands. The green house around the track is the Royal Box from which the Queen watches the games.
Directly behind the spot where we watched the games was the solo piping judging. Interestingly, the piper's footwork was all part of the performance.
The Queen exits her vehicle and enters the Royal Box with Prince Philip followed by the singing of God Save the Queen.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
By far the most impressive game showcased at the Braemar Gathering was the caber toss. We had never seen anything like it. Imagine a huge log called a caber roughly the length and girth of a standard telephone pole balanced on its end by one man, a burly Highland man in a kilt and a tight-fitting single malt Scotch t-shirt. This man proceeds to run with the caber perfectly balanced in his hands and then fling it with the object of propelling the bottom end over the top. This video captures a successful attempt beautifully, and even better you can hear the announcer remarking in the background, "This Highland air up here must be doing them well."
Tossing the caber involves the following 4 steps, which you can see demonstrated in the video.
- The PICK where the competitor lifts the caber off the group
- The APPROACH where the athlete gets momentum going by running forward
- The PLANT when both feet take root to provide a good throwing platform
- The TOSS where the caber is actually flipped end over end (or at least attempted)
I could have watched these guys toss the caber all day long. It was truly primitive and yet completely amazing.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
At long last here is the promised video of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip leaving the Braemar Gathering. They arrived around 3pm to much fanfare and a singing of God Save the Queen accompanied by bagpipes. I missed the entrance because I was back at the car feeding the baby, but I could still hear the strains of the National Anthem even a mile and a half away. The Queen was wearing a grass green suit with the inevitable matching hat. She stayed for an hour, and then, as is her custom, left at 4pm. A woman in the crowd clued us in to this fact, so we made sure to line up along the drive ahead of time in order to get a good view. The Queen is a little hard to see in the video because there is a lot of glare on the car's glass, but as the car passes you can very distinctly see her hat. She is on the other side of the car. Prince Philip is closest to the camera, wiping his nose on a hanky. It was a thrilling moment. I never would have thought that I would get to see the Queen of Great Britain in person, another thing to check off my list of things to do before I die. We were all waving like a bunch of Beatles-crazed fans. It was fabulous!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
As is the case with all such 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles, assembly required a degree in astro-physics, but in the end the Rough Rider tricycle was ready to be ridden (every time I say Rough Rider I think of Ralphie from A Christmas Story). It is like an Addison magnet. His feet just barely reach the peddles, and he's not quite sure what it's for, but he knows that he loves it (he told me so) and it's all he can think about. He calls it his "cycle" and first thing this morning he bounded into the living room and a look of dismay crossed his face as he realized it was nowhere to be found (when not in use the trike lives in the basement to save us some living space). I promised him that after breakfast and getting dressed he could go outside and ride it. In the meantime he probably asked me 62,000 times if we could go out. Needless to say, it is a huge hit!
There are quite a few new photos added to Addison's album that show him enjoying his new cycle. Most hilarious of all though, there are also quite a few of him enjoying the box!
Monday, September 10, 2007
My mom left in the wee hours of the morning. As is always the case, the journey to Aberdeen and then home again involves many steps. She was taking a cab from our house to the bus station, catching the bus to Edinburgh at 6:35am, walking from the bus station in Edinburgh to the shuttle that goes to the Edinburgh airport, flying out of Edinburgh at 12:40pm, arriving in Newark late-afternoon east coast time, and then getting a ride from my dad back to Haddon Heights. Whew! It tires me out just writing about it. We will miss her so much. The first thing Addison asked me this morning when I got him out of his crib was, "Where's Nana?" It breaks my heart every time.
In the meantime, let me give a couple of other updates. Fall is here! I can't believe it. It's arrived much sooner than last year. I didn't notice the first colorful foliage changes until well into October, but trees are changing everywhere already in early September. This morning as my mom departed into the waiting cab and Trey, Davis, and I waved goodbye from our doorstep, the air was chilly and brisk. Chilly and brisk, you scoff! Yes, there is something different about an autumn breeze, an almost indescribable change even for the cool northeast of Scotland. It's as though the wind changes somehow. There is an urgency and expectation. It even smells different. I am excited for fall. Things are starting to come alive again. Students are arriving. The campus is busy once more. My calendar is booking up. I love the fall. It reminds me of apple cider and hay rides (not that I've taken one in a long time). Plus, it means that Christmas is just around the corner.
The other bit of news is that we have changed internet providers. Yes, that's right. We are now customers of TalkTalk. The transition hasn't been entirely smooth. I tried to install our wireless router on Friday without success. It appeared I was going to have to call in the Geek Squad for £25, a sticker price that made me completely balk especially since I've set up a wireless router with no help and no problem before. However, after letting it sit over night, thinking it over, uninstalling our anti-virus and other BT software, and trying once more, lo and behold, it worked! Now, the new problem. We are having major problems viewing streaming video from the internet, like the NBC nightly news or the Tenth worship service. It keeps freezing up. I've called TalkTalk and we are in the process of rectifying the situation. I am hopeful but not holding my breath. The thought of going back to BT nearly sends me into convulsions. I will do almost anything to stay with TalkTalk, not just because we'll save $700 a year on our combined phone and internet bill but largely because of the complete lack of customer service. And at the very least I am delighted to report that I only sat on hold for a few minutes waiting for tech support through TalkTalk.
Anyway, it's good to be back!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Here, however, is a little tidbit to keep you checking back. On Saturday while at the Braemar Gathering we saw the Queen. Yes, that's right -- THE Queen of Great Britain. We got within a few feet of her motorcade and Trey captured it on video. I just haven't had time yet to upload the video, but I promise to do it soon along with all sorts of other pictures and footage from the Highland games. They were phenomenal and definitely blog-worthy.
Until then, God save the Queen!