13th-15th of January, 2018: Cats, Birds, Birfies

Saturday, 13th of January

An exciting day for sure in the Fatmo household (which is what I call us in my head, it works I think). We did chores, ran some errands, nearly set fire to the newly discovered loft… yeah. Good times!

I didn’t take many photos. But I did snap one in the morning when we our most treasured guest came round to pay us a visit. It’s funny how this small tiger manages to warp H’s well-defined “house rules” when he’s around. Such as, “No cats on the bed,” becoming, “No cats on the bed, unless he’s tired.”

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Later Mr. Rufus found another spot to hang out. We won’t tell H. I think even he would draw the line with letting the fuzzbucket onto his most treasured possession, the ironing board. But just lookit his big floofy face. How could you say no to that???

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Sunday, 14th of January

Spent most of my day painting tables and dealing with houseplants at work. Although, during the few moments I spent outside my wee friend naturally showed up.

Here he is doing the fixed-head thing some birds do!

Monday, 15th of January

Another somewhat quiet day at work. Completed my next bird target though: the bird selfie. And yes, this definitely constitutes as work!

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10th-12th of January, 2018: Bobbins, Away We Go, Black Mirror

Wednesday, 10th of January

There was lots of stuff to do around the house on my day off today. So, naturally, instead of doing any of it I snuck off to Edinburgh for brunch, birds, and botanics with my gal pals Anna & Natalie. I mean honestly… when life presents you with lemons, you make breakfast plans with your mates.

We met up and did what I legitimately consider Clarissa’s Perfect Day. That’s 1: a Blue Bear brunch (delicious). 2: Walk round the corner to the Edinburgh Botanics… which is free. (Does it get better than a free garden?) 3: Leave botanics, go ingest chocolate at Coro Chocolate Lounge.

Like I said. Perfect day material.

Despite the somewhat cold and drizzly weather, we had a fantastic wander round the botanics. My pal Nat even ushered us into a greenhouse that is free for wandering–the big, fancy glasshouse though costs to get in, so I was on board to see this one since I knew nothing about it! Before long inside amongst the palms and giant banana fronds, we noticed a little guy keeping up with our progress… can you guess who it was?

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Ha!!! Who knew. The horticulturalist inside spotted us hurling suet pellets his way (a girl must always be prepared), and said, go figure!, that he would take them from your hand. What transpired for the next hour or so was my gal pals doing some sketching and attempting to coax him to take a treat. (He did!!)

And that’s how you win others over to the bobbin dark side.

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All in all, a lovely day.

Thursday, 11th of January

Work work work. Didn’t take any photos today. So I’ll fall back on my media intake. Today was our second week of 2018 Movies! This one was Haitham’s pick, and he (rightly) chose a movie Jessica gave to us while visiting her in Little Rock. It’s called Away We Go, and it was a lovely, funny, wee slice of life film that sort of encapsulates modern relationships and all that come along with them. We both enjoyed it!

The story is about the relationship between two 30-somethings who discover that they’re pregnant. As couples go they’re adorable and quirky–but it’s also worth noting that the guy is played by that one chap from the Office, and the gal was in Saturday Night Live. There’s also some delightful guest appearances–one of my faves was from comedian Jim Gaffigan, who is honestly a treasure.

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Anyway, the couple (Burt and Verona) decide around the 6-month mark that it’s time to find a new nesting ground, and plan a multi-trip adventure to scope out several different potential cities to move to. They visit Arizona, Florida, even Canada. These are all places where they have family or friends, and ultimately where the humor of the movie take place. Needless to say every experience they have is… perhaps not quite what they’d been expecting. My absolute favorite is when they go to visit Burt’s childhood playmate, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, a young mom taking the “return to nature” type of parenting style just a little too far.

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So thanks Jessica for pushing this one into our hands. I’ll try not to offend you by purchasing any strollers in the future!

Friday, 12th of January

It’s funny to see how distracted everyone is at work now that there’s a cute cat around. Me too. Wee Molly really knows how to steal the show–but it’s really adorable seeing how our customer’s faces light up when they spot her. Either that, or they scrunch up their faces in confusion when they see her pop up somewhere strange.

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After, we watched an episode of Black Mirror. This one would’ve been perfect to get us in the mood for Christmas if we’d timed it right. White Christmas… the episode that I counted at least five people’s lives getting ruined, all rolled into one episode!

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7th-9th of January, 2018: Birds, Birds, More Birds

Sunday, 7th of January

Work work work.

At least this happened!

Monday, 8th of January

Well, it sure has gotten cold here. Woke up to -7C (19.4F) weather. Brrr! Although, perhaps not as brrr as the folks back home are experiencing, especially in the north!

I spent most of the day inside doing still more packing away of Christmas. But I did get my photo of the day, yes sirree bobs.

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Tuesday, 9th of January

Ugh, is anyone else having troubles with uncontrollable eating of sweets? I swear winter is the worst. Especially post-Christmas winter. You think that your holiday eating madness is over, but noooo, there’s like thirteen gift-tins of chocolates to be dealt with. And you’re cold, and bored, so you just stuff that face. Make it stop!!!

Have I mentioned that Haitham and I are watching the new Star Trek: Discovery? And, even though I’ve never really been a Trekkie having only watched the new J.J. Abrams films and literally one episode of anything else (The Trouble with Tribbles for those curious), I actually think it’s pretty good. H thinks it misses the more light-hearted, self-contained episode plots that the older series have. But I like its grit, characters, and modern graphics with regards to spaaaaace. Also there was a giant space tardigrade, so there’s that.

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5th-6th of January, 2018: First Film Week, Glen Lyon Walks

5th of January, Friday

Oh my goodness! It was another day at work, and I failed to take any good photos, so here’s a cute moment I saw happen yesterday instead. That’s the owner’s son and his wee beagle… in case you’re wondering about who rules the roost in this place, it’s obviously Bear (the dog).

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What I did however forget to talk about in my last post was one of our new year’s “goals.” Hmmm, maybe not even a goal, but a plan–and a simple one at that! It’s to sit down every Thursday and watch a different film. Each week we alternate who chooses, and there’s no complainin’. I thought it would be a good idea when I started thinking about how many movies I wanted to see that had slipped by me, from recent blockbusters to movies I missed in my childhood–Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, anyone?

So we saddled up the old telly yesterday for my first choice of the year.

Get Out.

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Get Out is the story of a black man in America, facing a looming nightmare scenario: a weekend meeting his white girlfriend’s parents for the first time. It’s listed as a horror comedy, and you can see why right off the bat. It is a bit spooky at times, but more intense and edge-of-the-seat than more typical horror films. Not only that, but you’ll feel so unsettled by the tone and the general off-ness of the film, by the end you may be pointing at the screen and shouting (or maybe that was just me!).

Honestly such a brilliant film. Go out and watch it at once!

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6th of January, Saturday

Well–that was an interesting one.

Although my day got off to a somewhat rough start (new house teething pains), my gal-date with ladyfriend Krista was sure to take the edge right off of that! She was just back from holidays, so after taking her around a brief tour of the house, it was off for our weekly walk-n-talk session. This one was at a town 30 minutes away called Glen Lyon–the views crossing the Forth along the way, along with seeing the Ochils finally so much closer, made this a great walk to do. There was even snow on the ground that we had to crunch our way through (also boggy bits but hey ho this is Scotland after all!).

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Eventually when Krista had enough of me, I drove us both back through to Edinburgh where I met up with other friends who were kind enough to teach me how to play mahjong–I was at least familiar with the pieces having grown up on the old Windows 98 mahjong tiles and whatnot. Turns out mahjong while not exactly super complicated, does have a lot of interesting rules that can vary on the province you come from if you’re in the games’ home country of China. I think I picked up on the rules okay, but was lucky to be co-playing with someone else who knew what she was about!

2nd-4th of January, 2018: Cats and more cats

Tuesday, 2nd of January

Another day free from work, as we were closed both the 1st and 2nd, and lucky me, the schedule lined up so I’m also off the 3rd too! Huzzah!

I’d like to say that Haitham & I carpe-diem’ed the heck out of this day. But my absence of photos of any kind and lack of any real memories of this day now tell me otherwise. Despite that, and despite basically running errands most of the day, looking back now the only thing that showed up in my Google photos backlog is actually this photo. Funny considering that even though I still have another solid day off left, I was starting to think about the inevitability of returning to work!

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Wednesday, 3rd of January

Haitham’s birthday! And boy did we get wild. And by wild I mean, yeah. No. I think comedian Hannibal Buress sums it up pretty well, even more so because it was actually his 33rd birthday… shhhh!!

I did make him some loaves of banana bread though. Which is sort of lame, because we’re trying to save money, and the bananas were on sale for like 20p at Tesco. So uhhh… the family that frugals together stays together? (Either way, for any folks interested, here’s a really excellent recipe for bananer bread!)

And here’s a photo of my willing assistant in the kitchen, making sure the vanilla extract hasn’t gone off. (We won’t tell H he was in the cupboard!)

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Thursday, 4th of January

Back to work where Christmas is being carefully packed away, to spring out with a vengeance once more next December (ugh). It takes a while to sort out all the madness, but I did have a wee buddy to take the edge off. And before you can ask, NO it’s not my bobbin, it’s the resident mouser at my work, a wee cattin and murderer of all things rolled up and tossed across the floor (aluminum floor, paper, you name it).

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Cats and birds, y’all. This is my life in a nutshell these days.

 

31st December 2017, 1st January 2018: So It Begins

Sunday, 31st of December

New Year’s Day bitches!!!!!!

I had to work tho. At least I had this little guy around to distract me. It’s fine though, since he’s the owner’s dog, it’s technically still work. Even if it involves tug-of-war with a squeaky biscuit.

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After work it was obviously time to get prepped for me and hub’s third running wild night out. Or rather, wild night in… First up, using my brand spankin’ new gel nail kit with UV kit. Which, as it happens, was one of the gifts I put into the dirty santa pool for Christmas–and may have deliberately stolen back cause it’s legit. (Working outdoors with cheap nail polish=crappy looking nails with dirt very visible!)

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And then it was time to pull out all the stops.

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Happy Hoggers, y’all. Here’s a great video we found last year featuring a Scot celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh… Mum & Dad, you should at the very least recognize Greyfriar’s Bobby!

1st of January, 2018

Well, well, well. Hello there 2018–are you going to be kind and gentle to us folk? One can only hope.

Last year Haitham and I decided that a nice walk was just the ticket to ring in the start of the near year. We did have a fantastic walk then along Gullane beach in nice (if cold and windy!) weather, taking a peek at some old WW2 submarines half-buried along the sand at low tide. This year we decided to continue the tradition, albeit in our new neck of the woods. After casting about on Walkhighlands for some ideas, we chose a short, sweet walk in a wee town nearby called Duone.

Naturally by the time we completed the short drive to our destination, it was absolutely chucking it down with rain. I had to suffer hubby’s whinging and tippy-toeing through the muck along the path around Duone Castle–fortunately for the both of us, the weather cleared up just as we made our way back into town. We decided to explore a bit further, and wound up on a lovely path featuring a fantastic look back at the Ochils. Not only that, but I saw a particular ridgeline I’d seen once before while standing atop the Wallace Monument, this time draped in lingering clouds. It was really something, and worth suffering out the rain for.

So here’s to you all in 2018. May it be merry and full of new experiences!

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29th-30th of December, 2017: Snow, Sofas

Friday, 29th of December

Work day. But lo and behold ladies and gentleman. What’s worse than having to go to work at all… is having to go to work when it was SNOWING OUT.

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I’ve been waiting for three damn years for it to really chuck it down in Edinburgh, with visions of beautiful old stone architecture draped in white. Finally it has happened–and I’m at work, naturally, out in the boonies no less! I did manage to make a teeny tiny snowman though. And saw my little cheeky friend have a tiny groom sesh while sitting on top of a penguin. So all in all, I guess it could have always been worse!

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Saturday, 30th of December

There was a little bit of snow left from the day prior, although that quickly turned to mush when it started to ran around midday. Bummer. We did find a tiger who seemed happy to be out of the cold though for a time.

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THEN we went to Sofology and, like the home-owning adults we are, bought a COUCH. Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh y’all!!! (how has this happened who is letting us make expensive decisions like this)

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27th-28th of December, 2017: Homeward Bound, Worktime Bobbins

Wednesday, 27th of December

The last day in Oban for most of us, as H’s father had to resume work that day. I woke up to H furiously attempting to tidy up the house, having packed away the Christmas tree, done the dishes, and also managed some hoovering. I swear y’all, you don’t even know. I’ve never witnessed so much hoovering done in one household in my entire life.

After having a slightly cramped lunch squeezed into the staff lounge of the hospital with H’s dad before leaving, we hit the road for our return home. It’s nice leaving a bit earlier and being able to see the scenery in the daylight for a change. And what scenery it is! Here’s Oban’s Caledonian MacBrayne ferry traveling from port to some mysterious island off the coast. I love that stinkin’ ferry. Mainly because it took us all to see some puffins once. Good times.

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Thursday, 28th of December

A relatively quiet day back at work, thank the gods. I mainly tidied up the mess that had been left in my wake on Christmas Eve–seems as though when I was busy cleaning up the mess in the break room for the benefit of all, others were busy making disaster areas in other locations for later. Huzzah!!

At one point while I was inside I saw a little peeper gazing through the automatic doors. Perhaps wondering when his next handouts were arriving. I think he’s too small to set off the motion activator even. So stinkin’ cute ughhhh.

 

 

 

25th-26th of December, 2017: Oban-Style Crimbo

Monday, 25th of December

It’s Christmas! My third Oban Christmas as a matter of fact. And boy did we have a doozy of a day. We had: two rounds of Dirty Santa (my prizes: a sloth calendar/gel nail polish/manicure lamp, and a GIANT BAG OF JELLY BEANS); a special round of present-giving just to H’s dad who got lousy presents last year; a family quiz led by H himself that was literally like eight rounds and took hours; the traditional Christmas walk to the beach (which takes all of 2 minutes and is just to pretend we did any real activity more than anything); Christmas dinner; and of course, finally, the results of the quiz…

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That’s right folks. Sharif & I actually won the family quiz 2017. And, I’ll be darned if Haitham hadn’t had trophies made for the winners. I mean, this is no ordinary quiz I’m talkin’ folks. These 8 rounds included three picture rounds (one of which was Robert Deniro films, like, are ya havin a laugh I’ve only seen like one), a smell test of “name that essential oil” and even though they came from my own house we still bombed that one, an orange examination (don’t ask), AND a figure out the whisky round based on its tasting notes (aced it).

And no one even stomped out of the room in a huff this year over misspelled quiz answers, either. Huzzah!

It was a lovely, jam-packed day. I hope everyone reading this had an equally lovely Christmas!

Tuesday, 26th of December

A slightly softer day at the Oban household than the rigmarole of Christmas. There were leftovers (a thing called “Bubble and Squeak” for H & I) to be eaten, a tower of cakes and cheeses for nibblin’, Boxing Day films (The Little Mermaid as it happens), some gaming via the mobiles, a nice family walk (in which I accidentally wandered off and was abandoned in the hills for a time) and eventually, My Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

Would y’all like to try a few questions from the quiz? Not the family quiz, that is. But Jimmy Carr’s quiz of the year. Here’s a few to test your UK haps of 2017!

And here’s a reason why everyone should visit Oban… a lopsided, google-filtered photo for yer viewing pleasure!

23rd-24th of December, 2017: It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like… Cold & Damn Scottish Christmas Weather

Saturday, 23rd of December

Let’s recap my day off today:

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Okay okay. It may not have been quite that bad but it certainly involved a midday nap. I did go and get the car washed as H desired–a fair trade-off as it involved me sitting inside a parked car whilst young lads did all the work for me for a fiver. That’s because we are going up to see his family tomorrow evening, and ya know. A clean car is a … ummm… I dunno, it just has to be done. It’s the family way! “Do you want me to clean inside it or is this a task you would like to do yourself as I will do it badly?” I asked him later. “I’ll do it,” he said quickly, with a panicked gleam in his eye at the very notion of my doing anything involving the words “cleaning” and “badly.”

Needless to say I didn’t take any photos (of anything besides cats). So here’s a video H showed me the other day that is still cracking me up. It’s an element of Iranian culture that is called “ta’arof.” It’s a cultural tradition that involves showing deference, politeness, and respect to others by declining offers of hospitality (tea, food, even paying for a meal) at least three times before it is deemed proper to accept. For some reason this video regarding a tricky ta’arof situation just tickles my fancy.

Sunday, 24th of December

Is there anything worse than having to work on Christmas eve? Yes probably: working on Christmas day! Which luckily for me was not the case, so I toughed it up and slogged my way through the workday this Christmas Eve. Luckily for me I was mostly outside hangin’ with my little cheeky feathered friend, so it wasn’t so bad!

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I managed to squeak out a bit early so that H and I could hit the road first to Glasgow to pick up one of his brothers, then onward to Oban for our Christmas destination! It was an uneventful ride through the evening dark, which is good considering how windy and icy the roads leading up to Oban can be. We made it quite late in the evening, but still H’s dad had prepared us his traditional “welcome home” meal: maqluba! What a dear he is.

However, he had failed at yet again putting up the Christmas tree (I put it up last year!), so H’s sister Caroline and I threw together the Christmas tree, shrugged our shoulders, and put literally every single Christmas bauble he had available on it. Why not eh!!

So Merry Christmas eve, y’all!

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