Here We Go Again

 

They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

That said, I’ve started a blog. Not for the fist time, no. I’ve attempted to regularly update various types of journals in my life for a long time. Photo blogs, diaries, even my dusty old livejournal account all show my stabs through the years of my attempts to keep track of my thoughts and god forbid, my time. (This  goldfish memory of mine needs all the help it can get!)

After revisiting the results of my most recent attempts a year ago when I was taking a photo a day, I decided to shake off the dust of my old lofty goal.

So without further ado: the random, inane mumblings of a gal born and bred in Tennessee, living in Edinburgh, Scotland. To my friends and family who I may have inclined to share these silly wee words and pictures with, welcome!

 

12th-14th of February, 2018: Snowy Star Trekking, Aconites, and Couches

Monday, 12th of February

A surprisingly good day considering I woke up, again, to a snowy scene. No snow man or sledging (IDK why Brits call it sledging, but hey ho) for this girl. Instead an early morning of shoveling the carpark at work awaits!

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Still, all things considered it was an okay day. We have a new girl on trial who seems quite nice. However, when she was placed in my care for a while she pinned me with the dreaded, “So, are you happy here?”

To which I responded eloquently: “Ummmmmmmmmmm.”

How does one answer something like that? I said I had been working in the same industry for a while blah blah blah. Either way my answer must not have fazed her much because by the end of the day when she was offered the role she seemed quite excited. Good on ‘er!!

That night me and H watched the season finale of Star Trek Discovery. It was… okay. The series was fun & interesting, but it did get a bit wild there at the end, and maybe I still have some questions about how things panned out. But it was fun enough!

Tuesday, 13th of February

Okay folks, so I’ve got bad news. It’s now been two days since I’ve seen my little feathered friend at work.  If I’m being honest, I’m a bit gutted about it–I keep finding myself peering all around in hopes of seeing a sudden appearance, and I’ve even strolled around the outside bit a few times to see if she would show up.  Nada. I can’t help but wonder what became of her: has she been eaten by the cat? Is she dead? Or is she off building an earlybird nest somewhere with her new boyfriend?

I do hope it’s the latter. Either way, I miss the tiny little thing! I didn’t realise just how much she cheered me up by hanging about!

In other, less depressing news, spring is gradually rearing its long-awaited head. At least work is filling up with early spring colour. Ugh–do you know what I hate? How I get a red squiggle when I spell things the American way. Hence why I just spelled “color” as “colour” cause I can’t handle it. Do I have UK autocorrect or something??

Anyway, here’s some lovely winter aconites.

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Wednesday, 14th of February

Happy Valentine’s Day to meeeee. I was still snug in the covers preparing for my day off when Haitham pranced in, getting ready for work, with a small ginger gentleman at his heels. Mr. Rufus then accompanied me for the rest of the day in various snoozing modes: under the covers, in the living room, and as shown below, at my feet in the dining room on the corner of the electric blanket. ❤️

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And then… finally… our couches landed. Would you look at that? Just look at ’em. We’ve still obviously got a lot to do before the house is just like we want it–but shoo wee the couches really nudges that right along! (Adding a cat to the mix helps too!)

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9th-11th of February, 2018: Bruges, Back Alleys, Bobbins

Friday, 9th of February

It’s pizza-and-movie night! This week was Haitham’s pick: In Bruges. I’ll admit I went into this one thinking it would be a bit of a grimfest. But actually, by the end I was pleasantly surprised.

So In Bruges is the story of two Irish hitmen who’ve been told to hole up in Bruge for a time–no explanation is really given for why. While one of the hitmen is obviously pleased with the gorgeous medieval scenery to be found in their new hideaway, the other (well-played by Colin Farrel) spends most of his time sulking and talking about what a shithole the place is. His expressions the entire film: hilariously on point.

The story progresses naturally with characters revealing more about themselves and what lead them to this predicament. It’s full of gorgeous Belgium scenery, dark humor, and a surprisingly excellent finale. All in all, I dug it! If you fancy watching two Irishmen trying to survive hijinks in Bruges, well, this is the movie for you.

I totally want to go to Bruges now.

Saturday, 10th of February

A fun-filled day of crawling about in the loft doing some loft-scaping–okay, no, that wasn’t me, it was actually H. Do you honestly think I’d know what the heck I was doing in a loft??

When evening rolled around I headed for the train into Edinburgh. One of my main gals is back from a two-month return to her home in Spain, and it also happened to be her birthday, so a gathering took place in Brass Monkey down in Leith. As I left the lesser-used Calton exit of Waverley Station, I took a moment to appreciate the architecture I rarely got to see whilst living in the west end of town. In the evening light it looks particularly gothic, mainly just due to the shadows draping across the old stones–I liked seeing these two buildings narrowing into a spooky alleyway.

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After it was G&T time to celebrate Oa’s return! What a lovely time we all had. So much so that I had to drag myself away for the last train at 11:30–which,  as we all know is full of the drunks. This time I managed to seat myself in a carriage full of drunk white girls, who decided that singing along to Scrubs was the thing to do.

Does this transport you back to the late ’90s early noughties? It sure does me. Maybe I would have found it amusing in normal circumstances… nahhhhh. I’m too old for noise on trains. I wish this was like Japan, where they shush you even if you’re having a quiet conversation on the phone!

Sunday, 11th of February

A relatively uneventful day at work–mostly left to get on gettin’ on, which is fine by me. I’ve finally gotten to the point in my audiobook where I’m quite interested–that’s Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. I will hand it to Atwood though, despite my relatively mediocre feelings so far towards this tale, I will tip the hat to her writing ability.  She knows how to lay some gorgeous thoughts down.

When you’re young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time up in your hands, tossing it away. You’re your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too—leave them behind. You don’t yet know about the habit they have, of coming back.

Time in dreams is frozen. You can never get away from where you’ve been.

It’s pretty overwhelmingly a somber, ponderous sort of story. Have you guys ever read an Atwood story? I think she’s gotten a bit more claim to fame these days with the addition of The Handmaid’s Tale to Netflix recently. Although I haven’t seen it myself.

Anyway,  enough rambling. Here’s a photo of a bobbin on some hellebores. Isn’t that what you really came for? 😉 Too bad she’s a little out of focus here–she only hovered a moment on the wee stem of the flower before away she went.

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6th-8th of February, 2018: Snow, Falcons are Heavy, Pictionary

Tuesday, 6th of February

I woke up to, yet again, a sneaky snowy scene. Seems as though my wee town likes to chuck it down during the night with no one the wiser. I’ll admit I love seeing the wee birdy footprints, especially around the feeder hot spots!

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Oh and then this happened. Did you guys watch the Falcon Heavy launch? Sure that was cool, but this synchronised landing of two of its rocket boosters returning was incredible. Mad props to Mr. Musk. He’s like, a cross between a mad scientist and a freaking rock star.

Wednesday, 7th of February

Hey-oooo, lookit who’s got a new phone! And much like story of modern-day Little Red Riding Hood, it’s all the better to take shameless photos of cats with, my dear.

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In other news, I was boring and did boring adulting stuff like visit the GP today for general complaints. Boooooooo. BOO I SAY! After checking my blood pressure (which was a bit low), she asked if I was fatigued, and I said “yes, but just… as a person, every day.” No big deal, right? Either way, at least it’s not diabetes or a brain cancer like my coworker suggested!

Thursday, 8th of February

Although midway through work today I had a bit of a headache and felt just generally pooped, I caffeinated and Ibuprofen’d myself and by the end of work had mustered up enough energy to drive through to Edinburgh. Worth it, cause I got to see these goofy guys, as well as some of my lady pals (not pictured). We snacked hard, pizza’d hard, pictionary’d hard… and (some of us) put on mermaid crowns.

Oh yeah,  and I dropped my phone in the toilet. #wordup #itsfinetho #samsung8plug #youcandropitinthetoiletitllbefine #thefutureisnow #natkeepsacleantoilet

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3rd-5th of January, 2018: Weddings, Tartan Days, Birds on Bikes

Saturday, 3rd of February

It’s WEDDING TIME.

At a little after 3 PM, Haitham’s brother and my new sister-in-law were wedded in  matrimonial bliss! It was a lovely, short, sweet service performed by a humanist.  Have y’all ever seen a humanist-lead wedding? It seems the main three options here are either religious, civil (very to the point about fulfilling law requirements), and humanist.

According to one website humanism can be summarised as such:  “Throughout recorded history there have been non-religious people who have believed that this life is the only life we have, that the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. They have trusted to the scientific method, evidence, and reason to discover truths about the universe and have placed human welfare and happiness at the centre of their ethical decision making.”

Sounds pretty good to me! I’ve never seen humanists in anything other than wedding ceremonies, but they’ve always done a lovely job in keeping it short, yet refreshingly (and simply) sweet. Sometimes they add special services to the mix. Today I witnessed ring-warming: the wedding rings were tied together with ribbon and passed among all the people attending, each holding it between their hands while thinking warm thoughts about the future of the new couple.

Charming, I think!

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The rest of the wedding celebration was a blur of drinks, buffet-style dining (and desserts made by Sammy, my BIL!), chatting with the entire mixed family, taking oh so many photos, and having our camera(s) stolen by James & Paul, cousins of the family. It was a good laugh and a great time–I even danced two songs in my first ever successful ceilidh–man was that fun!

Here’s how to do Strip the Willow–which was a whole massive mess with like  20+ couples lined up, and a girl who weaved unsteadily on her feet next to me. She made a “hup” noise and puffed her cheeks while staring blearily at me–“Are you okay? Do you want to sit down?” I asked her while shuffling nervously a little further away. She mumbled something, then said, “I’ve got the hiccups,” and that’s when Haitham and I moved away from her to the end of the line!! Not today Satan, with your puke-shoes!!

Sunday, 4th of February

Woke up in a tartan dream. That is the fantastically lush Sherbrooke Castle Hotel. UGH yes please… can I just live here?

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Because we spent the night in Glasgow, we were able to RSVP “yes” to a cheeky lunch with the post-wedding family. We had a few hours to kill before then, so spent it having a fantastic wander through the sunny Glasgow Botanics, hurling suet pellets at blue tits…

(um that sounds inappropriate without context here’s a blue tit)

…feeding bits of granola to gray squirrels, and wandering through the greenhouses.

After a very brief wander through Glasgow University (which looks like Harry Potter), we rendezvoused for lunch at the surprisingly veggie-friendly Burger Meats Bread. They even have veggie poutine, which is like my dream to try poutine at least once in my life. Priorities. We all got ’em.

Monday, 5th of February

Annnnnnnnnd that’s back to reality. Fortunately for me my friend was waiting at work to cheer me up. Birds on bikes anyone?

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After work, SIL and her husband came to see the house! They also came bearing a gift: whisky, which is delicious. Couple that with a wee bag she dragged back from America,  I’d say H and I are sorted to survive the rest of the winter with still more winter bulk (as if we needed help there!). Look at this though! Some of these candy bars I haven’t seen since long before I left stateside. Amazing. They’re good eggs, those two.

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31st January to 2nd of February, 2018: Climbing, Cloverfield, Collaborated Dinners

Wednesday, 31st of January

So I swapped my normal Wednesday off for a full weekend in preparation for Haitham’s brother’s wedding on Saturday (Sunday lie in? Yes please). It only hit me what I’d done when I got home Tuesday night though after exchanging revelries with my coworker Lewis, also off on a Wednesday–you know, “Thank goodness we’re almost there!” sort of stuff.

But I wasn’t almost there. (Weeping.)

The good news is my gal Krista and I had a climbing date lined up that evening! I shuttled straightaway from work into Edinburgh to our local Alien Rock haunt. Although I enjoy bouldering, it was obvious being back in a roping gym just how much I missed it! You can challenge yourself a lot more climbing, because when you have the security of the ropes and your partner you can stretch just a bit more, jump a bit further, that sort of thing. It’s honestly such good fun–I’m thankful Krista seems to enjoy it as much as I do!

Although there was quite a lot of chat in between our climbs, to be fair. And then some shenanigans at the end.

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First of all, no I’m not falling off the wall here!! We were doing some last-minute bouldering and stretches (and chatting) before we left, and what better way to stretch than to do… well… that? It reminded me of being a kid again.

Kudos to Krista for snapping my caffeinated hot mess in action!

Thursday, 1st of February

Boss-lady was all set up to stomp about the place today–but how unfortunate for her, she got dragged away to do a first aid course during the day. Which meant it was a nice, peachy, quiet day gettin’ on with things outside. Yus!

When I got home in the evening it was time to pop in our next movie of the year! This was a pick of mine called 10 Cloverfield Lane. Did y’all ever see Cloverfield when it came out ages ago? I loved it, even though the first-person-shaky-camera-shooting style had me feeling ready to toss my cookies in the theater. I remember even trying to place the blame on the Taco Bell I’d had before–haha!

10 Cloverfield Lane is another film produced by the now illustrious J.J. Abrams, who was only dipping his toe in the water at the time of Cloverfield. Now he’s not only done the new Star Trek film franchise, but also Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Honestly the guy can do no wrong in my humble fangirling opinion!

So Cloverfield Lane is the story of a girl who seems to be in the process of fleeing something at the beginning scenes of the film. It looks to be a lovers’ quarrel, but she’s certainly not sticking around to shed any light on the situation as she drives away into the countryside. She does cave and answer the phone to speak to her jilted lover while driving–and the next thing you know, she’s waking up from a horrific car crash, chained to the wall in a dark bunker.

At this point can ya guess who strolls in but good ol’ John Goodman? Turns out this is his bunker, he rescued her from the wreck, and there’s been a terrible “event” outside. No one seems to know what it was or who it was caused by. But needless to say, our clever heroine is not so easily convinced–especially as John Goodman himself in this role plays a fantastic rendition of an odd, paranoid man with his own secrets. So what’s the truth? Has there really been an event above ground? Is John Goodman telling the entire truth?

It was a good film, but perhaps not quite as strong as some of the others I’ve seen coming from the noggin of Abrams. Still, would recommend it, especially for that badass ending!

Friday, 2nd of February

Finally, it’s almost time for my whole weekend off! Yee-haw!

It was a pretty normal day at work. Moving plants about, getting things organised. And obviously pandering to my tiny friend!

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After work H and I headed into Glasgow for a pre-wedding meal with the family. This was a sort of duo celebration of not only the wedding, but also the return of my SIL and her husband from their new abode in Manhattan. Of course, when we showed up though SIL was nowhere to be seen–turns out she was the last person to be informed of the event, and so was midway through a spray tan application when they finally told her we were meeting! Bless her, hahaha. (She showed up looking marvelously bronzed though!)

Papa Bear did manage to get a photo of the whole crew thanks to the extremely nice staff. I gotta say, I normally don’t see much of a family resemblance between myself & the folks–but in this photo I think I look a lot like Mom!

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28th-30th of January, 2018: Birds on Bikes, Cats in Hampers, & Chattahoochees

Sunday, 28th of January

Oh man, it’s so close to being February. Can you believe it? I’ve seen some friends posting photos of snowdrop sightings, but I don’t believe it myself. Spring feels so far away!

So anyway here’s a bird on a bike.

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Monday, 29th of January

Sometimes I feel like my work is a bit of a madhouse of animals. The owner has a border terrier; his son a beagle; there’s a work cat inside; and of course, my wee bobs outside. Dogs are also allowed inside, but beagle hates it when he’s not allowed to meet ‘n’ greet, so instead he howls at the top of his pupper lungs. You can usually hear him from across the whole store. If it’s not him greetin’ (Scottish: “crying”), then it’s the cat dismembering bits of mouse all over the place.

And yet, they all have their charms. Like when we were all getting ready to go home today and found the cat had a new napping spot. Which, of course, was the most ginormous containers of fleece blankets ya ever seen in yer life. And who could blame her??

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Tuesday, 30th of January

I didn’t take a single photo today–instead I hunkered down inside, trying to avoid the wrath of Boss Lady who at one point slung a bag containing a work shirt several yards away from her in a fit of rage. (If only I was joking, folks!)

Instead I painted things inside a nice mint green, listened to my podcasts, and started audiobook #3 of the year. This one is The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I’ll confess that it’s not my first book by her–I read Oryx and Crake last year and was smitten/unnerved. (Would recommend for people who want a Black Mirror, freaky future, sci-fi experience in book form!) I’ve also read The Handmaid’s Tale, although it’s been a long time and at the time it felt more like a chore than anything.

So far I’m not  entirely sure what to think of The Blind Assassin. It’s sort of like… a story within a story within a story. In audiobook form, that means it has the potential to be a wee bit confusing. But so far it’s not: just kinda sad, mostly about an old lady remembering her past. In between that is a tale that her sister (dead from apparent suicide) wrote–about two lovers. And naturally, one of the lovers is regaling another story within that, which happens to be some sort of sci-fi story, because why wouldn’t you woo a lady friend with a story about aliens?

Boy, I really know how to review these books don’t I? They should pay me for this stuff.

In other news, when I came home today FOR REASONS UNKNOWN I got a little earworm… and then remembered that my earworm is a real song. I decided to serenade H with the only line I know (the first one obviously). In response H says simply, “There’s no such thing as a Chattahoochee.”

25th-27th of January, 2018: Stalkers, Williams, Boulders

Thursday, 25th of January

Whoops! I didn’t take any photos today. Perhaps that due to the return of the prodigal boss, who after being off for a week of holidays, is now back in action. Needless to say a flurry of activity took place today, so we’ll chalk my lack of photos up to that one.

It was kinda a boring day though, really. Although the one highlight was the start of my second audiobook of the year. Boy did I miss them–and so far I’ve picked two absolute crackers to start with in 2018! (Maybe I’ll actually achieve my Goodreads goal this year, eh?)

This book is called, simply, You, by author Caroline Kepnes. The thing about my Goodreads massive To-Read list is half the time I have literally no idea where my choices come from. Did someone recommend You to me? Did I see it on a list somewhere? It’s not even a book that I would normally have picked, so it remains a mystery to me even now.

You is the story of a young man working in a bookstore. One day a lovely young woman breezes into his shop. They exchange banter and some serious flirting, and the narrator’s romantic heart is captured. His thoughts are whimsical and kinda sweet.

“If we were teenagers, I could kiss you. But I’m on a platform behind a counter wearing a name tag and we’re too old to be young.”

She pays with credit card. He glances at the name… and that’s when everything changes. Guinevere Beck. This is the catalyst of the entire story: what’s in a name in today’s technological world? As it turns out, everything. Public facebook profiles, twitter accounts, everything is readily accessible to the seeking eye. And, as it happens, our narrator is very interested. Interested enough to place himself in Beck’s path again and again, slowly and methodically interweaving his life with hers. He’ll go to any lengths to protect her–even if it means taking obstacles out of her life. Friends, old lovers. Nothing is too much for the girl he’s claimed as his own.

“Oh Beck, I love reading your e-mail. Learning your life. And I am careful; I always mark new messages unread so that you won’t get alarmed. My good fortune doesn’t stop there; You prefer e-mail. You don’t like texting. So this means that I am not missing out on all that much communication. You wrote an “essay” for some blog in which you stated that “e-mails last forever. You can search for any word at any time and see everything you ever said to anyone about that one word. Texts go away.” I love you for wanting a record. I love your records for being so accessible and I’m so full of you, your calendar of caloric intake and hookups and menstrual moments, your self-portraits you don’t publish, your recipes and exercises. You will know me soon too, I promise.”

Sound… fascinatingly creepy? Well boy howdy it’s got me. I sort of waded into this one with trepidation, thinking it would take something very different to shake off my zombie book. And yet You is a morbidly intriguing look into a carefully crafted web of “chance” encounters, the right thing said at the right time, and just wondering when the house of cards will tumble down. Caroline Kepnes is a brilliant author. It’s a bit scary to feel so invested in the story of a stalker, and even feeling kinship with him at times (his thoughts on mouth breathers at Ikea, his dealings with customers in his shop). What does that say about us all, or more importantly, me?

“I love Stephen King as much as any red rum drinking American, but I resent the fact that I, the bookseller, am his bitch.”

We’ll see how this one winds up, eh?

Friday, 26th of January

Because H had to work late last night, we postponed movie night to today. Our original choice wasn’t available, so H settled on a documentary called Williams. A pretty ambiguous sounding name to be sure–it could literally be about anything. But, go figure, it was about Formula 1.

I don’t think F1 is a big thing in the south–or is it? I wouldn’t really know, being relatively uninterested in Nascar and cars and things like that (although Nascar & Formula 1 are, I now realize, pretty wildly different). H surprised me when he told me he was into F1. For a guy who isn’t really into sporty stuff, he does dig his F1, and sets aside time to catch up on the races when they happen. I can’t claim to really understand it and often ask him “Who won, hurf durf” when they’re just doing preliminaries.

But thanks to him I now have a very, very rudimentary understanding of Formula 1. Each race happens at big race courses all over the world, called Grand Prix. There are lots of different teams, but it’s the big auto companies that carry the most weight, and more importantly, money to invest into their automobiles. Top teams are Mercedes and Ferrari for that very reason. The more money they have, the more they can shave off the time needed to bag the races, the more money they get, etc.

Williams, though, takes a look at a smaller team with far less expenditure available. Frank Williams was a bloke from England who, despite his lack of money, combined his passion for cars and racing to somehow form a team in the ’60s. He was eventually forced out by his lack of funds, and had to start anew with the current Williams team–which, despite the odds, did manage to go the distance with two drivers, Nigel Mansell (English) and some Italian chap whose name at the moment I can’t be bothered to look up for myself.

If that really shoddy description doesn’t do it for you, well, trust me. This story is about more than that. It’s about his wife Ginny who was always behind the scenes, somehow pulling the strings and supporting her husband despite his absences in her and her childrens’ lives, despite his strong-mindedness and focus on his team over that of his family. It’s about his daughter Claire who now directs the Williams team, about the son left in the shadows. And it’s, most importantly, about a tragic road accident that happened to Frank Williams himself–result in his quadripelegic state for the rest of his life, with only remaining use of some of his shoulders, head, and neck–just enough to push himself along in his own wheelchair, despite the lack of feeling in his arms, and the uselessness of his own hands.

Surprisingly I found this documentary very engaging. F1 is nothing if not a make-or-break sport, and it was incredibly dangerous in the good old days–cars would go up in flames almost instantly. (My only other F1 film I’ve ever watched is called Crash, and about Niki Lauda who somehow miraculously survived his own tragic accident while racing, still to this day sporting the horrific scars of the incident.) I even cried at the end listening to Ginny’s recitation of how it felt to see Frank after his accident. Even more so when Frank said he would probably never read the book. Can  you imagine how you would feel, knowing you yourself were to blame for your accident, not only having to experience your own suffering but knowing that if you read your wife’s words you would have to experience hers as well all because of something you did? Heartbreaking.

Her book is called A Different Kind of Life, by Virginia Williams, if that inspires any interest. And the movie, again, was called Williams.

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Saturday, 27th of January

Ahhhh, another blessed day off. While H managed to cram a few errands into his morning, I contented myself with sitting around on my bum. In fact I was so content it was hard to work up enough energy to do much of anything–but I did, eventually, meander down to the train station to head into Edinburgh.  It takes certain things to drag me out of my hobbit-hole, but seeing my mates and doing some bouldering did the trick!

Here’s wee Natalie doing her thing, bless her. She had a cold and still mustered up the energy to join us, no complaints. Seems a bit unfair really–I turn into a steaming pile of donkey doo when I get anything resembling a cold, and here she is, looking like someone slipped a bouldering model into the mix!

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After climbing, the hunt for grub was on. What we failed to really mind was that it was Saturday night in Edinburgh, and perhaps, just maybe, we should have made a reservation. However, after maybe three places asking us, “Have you made a reservation?” then practically rolling their eyes at us at our answering, “Noooo??” we finally found a place to bunker down and stuffed face with delicious curry. (Shoutout to Shezan for putting up with us!)

I find that something about this gang of friends brings out my loudest American. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was just that I think they’re all so great… maybe both! Either way, a jolly good evening.

 

22nd-24th of January, 2018: The Good Place, Zombies, Rainbows

Monday, 22nd of January

The snow is finally melting. It was a bit slushy at work today, but it’s warmed up considerably and everything is slushifying.

Here’s one of the only photo/videos I took today. It was meant to be a wee video of my friend coming over to have a snack, but he had other ideas–mainly floofing his feathers to dry off, as it was pretty drizzly out. Either way I find it kinda stinkin’ adorable.

In other news… Have y’all ever seen The Good Place? It’s a show on Netflix right now in its second season so far, featuring Kristen Bell as a gal who “wakes up” one day in a weird little room to the discovery that she’s dead. And, lo and behold, because of all her selfless acts and deeds in life she’s wound up in the Good Place–except, of course, that she was actually a pretty hilariously terrible person and there’s probably been a wee mistake.

Haitham and I started watching it recently, and it’s safe to say that we both love it. It’s short episodes each at 22 minutes, and I think it’s probably one of the most bingeable shows I’ve seen in a while. How fun!

It’s also got Ted Danson in it. Here he is talking about frozen yogurt, as you do when you’re in heaven!

So go on then. Give it a watch! I reckon you’ll like it.

Tuesday, 23rd of January

A relatively quiet, rainy day at work. I was mostly left to my own devices, which is fine because I listen to audiobooks on the sly on quiet days. Today’s choice which I started yesterday is the highly engrossing The Girl with all the Gifts… which as the name would imply (perhaps not) is obviously about zombies.

I know! Awesome, right? I mean, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great story. I do like zombies–of course I followed The Walking Dead for about three full seasons before kicking the habit, I read and watched World War Z, and ya know Cillian Murphy kicks ass in 28 Days Later. But this one is interesting, character-driven, and very imaginatively original.  Zombies are inherently creepy in themselves, but The Girl takes it to a level that personally feels not only more believable, but also even  more  disturbing to me.

And that’s through fungus. Y’all ever heard of Cordyceps? That’s a genus of fungus that hijacks the brains of some of its hosts–most famously, ants. It’s this poor creature that upon infection, will then be “driven” to the tip tops of blades of grass, where it sprouts fungal bodies within the corpse of its parasitised victim, producing spores that will carry along the breeze, ready to infect their next host.

UGH!!!!!!!!!

Parasites have always creeped me the hell out. Probably ever since my old days as a youngster at our local library, checking out nature documentaries at random on VHS–imagine my poor childhood trauma when I innocently grabbed the one on parasites.  How do you explain that to yourself as a child? That mother nature is so effin brutal that she may take over your mind and  burst out of your body and it’s just the circle of life? SAY WHAT?

Anyway, I think I may have gotten off target there a bit. You should probably give The Girl with all the Gifts a read if that’s the sort of thing you’re into… you know… fungi and worldwide annihilation.

For now, here’s how I started my morning at work. Had to figure out the price of a slippery wee statue.

Wednesday, 24th of January

I woke up to wind lashing at the windows and rain coming down hard. Ever the saint even though it was my day off and I had been dreaming of my lie in, I offered H a ride to the train station. I had to get some money out for the sparky (translation: electrician as they are called round here) who was coming by to fix some of our electrics. So, ya know. Two birds, one stone.

After running my early morning errands and when the sparky arrived around 11, I peered out the window to spot a rainbow. Gotta love living in Scotland for that reason. There’s the very attractive scenery as well to be seen on the other side of our street–(ha!)–not sure what those guys actually do, it seems to be a mechanic shop/scrap yard. I don’t really mind though, because after all, there’s a canal!

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So it was sort of a boring “adulting” sort of day with errands and cleaning and what not. But I did manage to finish my zombie book. What a satisfying ending that was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19th-21st of January, 2018: Bosses and Babies and Birds

Friday, 19th of January

Oh glory glory, both the bosses were away today… and although the day may have started off with shoveling a whole car park full of slush, well. It was all right in the end–and busy to boot!

There was an interesting (and sort of ominous) lighting to the sky first thing in the morning as the sun tried to burn through the clouds. Not too long after this, a big delivery truck got stuck in the ice and muck trying to drop off some cargo to us and had to wait for half the day to get towed out. It was an exciting day!

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Saturday, 20th of January

It’s BABY TIME!!!

Haitham has now not one, but two sets of his childhood mates that have had babies of their own. He’s made a new year’s resolution to see them more, which I am on board with–mainly because I get to hang out with wee bairns. And they’re just old enough that I’m not terrified of them, either!

It was our first time seeing the most recently wee’uns to join the group, who mostly alternated between snoozing hard, nursing, and staring blankly into space. The second baby we’d met once before at around the same age, but it’s a few months later now, placing her solidly in the babbling and kicking age. (My favorite age!) Eventually we headed out on the promise of food–but somehow ended up doing the full circuit of the Linlithgow loch instead (still not sure how that transpired). A treacherous endeavor considering there was still horrendous patches of ice, and two babies being carted about to boot. But we made it in the end, and got our grubbage.

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There were also some guys practicing their boating on the loch–it’s the sort of thing I admire quite a bit and think dreamily that I’d love to have a shot at, but inwardly know I’d probably hate it based on 1) the coldness of the water and 2) how lazy I actually am.

Still, it made for a pretty picture!

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Sunday, 21st of January

Back to work. We started off the day by some team-building exercises: specifically, shoveling the entire carpark free of snow… again. It’s the logical thing to do after all. Take away the grippy top layer of fresh snow to reveal the slippery ice beneath. It’s the gauntlet, I’m surprised to admit, that our absurdly loyal customers don’t even blink an eye at as they snuffle in. (Honestly folks… stay at home! What’s wrong with you?!!)

Google photos helpfully stitched together a wee gif of my buddy though. That’s the tiny pillbox I keep all his snacks in. Sometimes he thinks I’ve already got treats out when I’m trying to take his photo with my phone–he’s landed on my phone by accident at least once before, bless him!

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16th-18th of January, 2018: Snow-Filled Daze!

Tuesday, 16th of January

Oh my oh my what a day it was. When I woke up, I was greeted with a delightful susprise: a whole winter wonderland!! I had no idea it was meant to snow in the first place, let alone stick!

Even better, today I’d taken off work. (HUZZAH!)

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When I had gathered myself together for my drive to Edinburgh to run some errands, upon stepping out the door I ran into the neighbors. “We had to abandon the car up the road,” they said as we chatted, naturally, about all the snow. “You should probably take the train!”

Psht, as if!! I shrugged their suggestion off and trundled up in the car, thinking how bad can it be? I made it down the driveway to the end of the road all of 10 yards away before my car refused to take the corner, sliding diagonally to stop a few inches away from a stop sign, and a few feet beyond that, the canal below.

Welp. I revered my panda ass and took the train into town. Not today, Satan!!

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It was honestly such a stunning walk to the train station though. By the time I in Edinburgh though there was hardly any snow at all–story of all three years of my Edinburgh life right there! Thank goodness Falkirk-side is further inland, finally I get some snow exposure!

After running some errands about town, I met up with three of my favorite people in all of West Lothian: Anna, Natalie, and Krista. (Team girl squad!) We did some bouldering at the newly minted Alien Bloc in town–despite being mine and Krista’s first time climbing in months, and Anna & Natalie climbing for the first time, everyone climbed like champs! Good times were had by all–by the time most of us were tuckered out (except Natalie who seemed to access some powerful energy reservoir 2 hours in!!) we had scrambled all over the place.

Of course, being girls we followed that experience up with some chocolate. Cause that’s how we roll. Coro Chocolate Lounge, y’all. It’s what should be for dinner.

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Wednesday, 17th of January

My second day off in a row. What a luxury! This one Haitham had taken off with me, and we saddled up the old Panda with a wary eye at all the snow on the ground and headed off for some mum time, specifically my MIL. She had gone to the trouble to make us lunch, and two different desserts. I think the chocolate cake was primarily geared towards me. Maybe because she told me she knew I “couldn’t say no.” Is that a threat or, am I just that transparent with regards to chocolate? (It was actually amazing though!)

I did spot this fantastic little snowman in the neighborhood though. ‘Murika.

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Thursday, 18th of January

Back to the work grindstone today. They’re trying to keep us inside because it’s still pretty miserably cold outside. While I was inside the conservatory area, slapping some paint on tables with my coworkers, I happened to glance outside.

Do you see anything?

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How about now?

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Yep. My lil friend somehow managed to locate us even through a pane of glass! I may or may not have encouraged his dedication by opening a window and hurling some suet pellets outside. Bless his heart. Bless my heart. I’m weak!

After work, Haitham and I watched movie #3 of our 2018 movie list! This one was my choice: Kubo and the Two Strings.

Which I actually thought was Kubo and the Twelve Strings. Turns out Kubo ain’t got no time for all those strings.

So the story of Kubo and the Two Strings is the tale of a young boy and his mysteriously ill mother. He is brought up by her not only with stories of his heroic samurai father, but his evil and cold grandfather & two aunts. He spends his days performing for the citizens of the nearby village, creating origami puppets that dance and fight with the magic of his stringed instrument, relaying the stories his mother has passed on to him.

But he is warned by his mother: never stay out past daylight hours. Until one day, the evening light finds him–and so begins a story of adventure, loss, and hope.

Real talk. I loved Kubo. If that wild-ass synopsis doesn’t get ya, I dunno–maybe give Kubo a miss. But it’s honestly a fantastic film! And it may have reduced me to tears by the end, so that’s saying something. Although this film is probably geared more towards younger audiences, I thought it was a heartwarming and absolutely lovingly made. Not only that–but the production had me marveling. This film is the fantastic fusion of the worlds of stop motion and CGI. And what a stunning result! This is a beautiful film.

I feel like I could watch a film made up entirely of Kubo How It’s Made and would have enjoyed it just as much.

Ugh! Seriously amazing. Anyway I loved this film, so go on–give it a whirl! It does have a talking monkey and a beetle warrior in it. What’s not to love?