Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Girls

Just returned from a visit back to Cali. Although I love going back to see everyone, it never seems to get easier saying goodbye to everyone, especially my girls. I could never begin to describe how much I miss my California girls!
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I've Done It!

I am officially a British driver! After several months of expensive lesson (which apparently paid off) I am now legally driving again as I just passed my driving test yesterday and am the recipient of a UK driving license! Hooray!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

One of the best days...

For those of you who don't know, I have started taking riding lessons. I have returned to my equestrian roots after nearly a 26 year hiatus and am completely loving it. I go to a place called Drumbrae riding centre which is just behind the university where I work. One of my colleagues just started riding there as well as so we go together to our weekly lesson. Yesterday would have been my third lesson but when I got there, our instructor, Ron, asked if we wanted a lesson or to go on a hack (joy ride). Since it was another fine Scottish evening (sunny and warm if you can believe that) we decided to go on a hack. There really is almost nothing better than galloping through a Scottish forest and then coming out of the forest and watching the way the sun shines through the clouds in rays all over the countryside - sounds corny but it really it quite incredible.

Stay tuned as next week, Sonia and I have our first jumping lesson!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The saddest thing ever...

David, Sophie and I were at the lake on Saturday because it was a gorgeous Scottish day (pictures to be posted later). A gorgeous Scottish day isn't like a gorgeous day back home in California, they're better. Maybe it's because the light is different (and it really is quite different) or maybe it's because gorgeous Scottish days come along so infrequently, that we appreciate them a bit more.

Anyway, we took the boat out and had a lovely picnic on the shore on the far side of the lake. After a lovely lunch, Sophie and I left David napping on the beach while we went out for a nice leisurely row so that we could read our new InStyle magazine in peace. Glorious! Nothing better than rowing and reading about what I should pack on my next vacation. Eventually we went and picked up David, rowed some more, and went for a swim (freezing cold) - a perfect day. As we were admiring all the babies from the boat (baby sheep and baby geese) we spotted what looked like two giant plastic bags that were strewn on the shore. I was actually hoping it was garbage because the alternative was too miserable to think about. Lying on the shore was a dead swan and beside it was its mate, laying beside it just waiting for something to happen. Only makes it worse to think that swans are one of the few animals that mate for life. Wow, that really sucked.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Thanks for all the birthday wishes this week! Can't believe I'm 39 and can't wait to turn 40 next year. Since I've moved to Scotland I've been celebrating my birthday on the downlow in part because I have no friends and no friends means no party! Anyway, David asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said I wanted him to make me a birthday cake - I didn't want him to ask Sheena to make one me and he wasn't allowed to buy one at the store. I requested a chocolate or chocolate/vanilla combo with no fruit or fruit sauce (bananas would have been okay) and with whipped cream frosting. I also requested that it be made with a Betty Crocker ready to go cake mix out of the box - I love Betty Crocker.

Here's what happened...

David came home from the grocery store after having spent over £50 on ingredients and supplies which included: fruit and fruit sauce and caster sugar for the seriously sweet icing and no whipped cream whatsoever. HMMM...

Was I wrong to be slightly miffed that he wanted to make the cake that he wanted rather than the one I wanted? It was my only request this year. I admit, I was a bitch and said no fruit on my cake and you had better go back to the store and get some damn whipped cream for my frosting.

David never made it back to the store. After labouring with the ingredients and putting it in the oven, it all went horribly wrong. When I went in to the kitchen to take a peek at it, I opened the oven door and as the smoke poured out of the oven, discovered that it was quite burned on top. David took it out of the oven, put in on a cooling rack, and at some point flipped it over after which the middle came pouring out because it was a bit undercooked.

The Final Result

We both had a really good laugh.

The date is set...

The Happy Couple on a Walk at Gleneagles.

The wedding extravaganza will be taking place on June 27th, 2009! Can't wait to get everyone over here for a seriously fun soiree. Will possibly be getting hitched at the church in Port of Mentieth which is where David grew up and the family home is. The church sits right on the lake and is about 20 minutes from our house in Stirling which is where we will be setting up a marquee for the reception.

The Lake of Menteith

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Philosophy Weekend Away

The Philosophy Reading Weekend is a student event which is supposed to inspire great philsophical discussion while also presenting the students with the opportunity to bond with their peers. In reality, it's a great excuse to hang out and get excessively pissed in a really pretty place. While I was intrigued with the student presentations (there were 6 over the weekend), I really only wanted to go to hang out with my students and see what they were like outside of my cocoon which is the office.
Friday, I put in a fairly good performance - lots of booze and to bed at 2:30am (early by student standards) but Saturday I didn't fair as well. Woke up too early, hungover and hungry but rallied in order not to miss such a beautiful day. I went with Sonia (RCUK Fellow) and Mike (student) for a two hour walk, had lunch, then had a lovely horseback walk through the meadows. Lovely day but then had to go back to the hotel for 3 presentation (at an hour each) and by 10:30, after a coke and 2 redbulls, I still passed out because of the sleep deprevation. One thing about my students (other than they're absolutely lovely) is that they have got stamina for drinking and whooping it up like you wouldn't believe. i'd had to be on crack to keep up with them!
Anyway, this was my first solo drive in the UK and I managed neither to crash or get lost - a gret success!
My "philosophising" look.

Horseback riding near Aviemore. I was on Wizard.

Sonia and Mike

Me and Matt Linaker

Me and Chris Keane

Me and Ed Gregson

Me and Lottie Hanson (PostGrad student)

The Philosophy students.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

April Showers

Video of what I woke up to last weekend! Makes yard work a bit more difficult...frozen fingers and all but the day actually ended fairly warm. The weird thing about Scottish weather id that it changes at the drop of of a hat but I suppose that's what I love about it.
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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Long Weekend in London

So David and I went down to London for the long Easter weekend so see Sophie and go to show. I love going down to London. Even though I love living in Stirling, I do sometimes miss the city...the hordes of people, the great shops and the fantastic food available on every corner - you'd be surprised how hard it is to find a great salad in Stirling! We were able to stay with Alison, David's sister, and her husband Nicky which is always a treat as they are absolutely lovely (like all of David's family) and their house is located in South Kensington which is not only perfectly located but is quite a posh neighborhood.
We didn't do too much sightseeing as Sophie now has ME and couldn't quite manage alot of touring around but we nevertheless had a great time...a couple of IMAX films at the Science Museum, lots of movies and went to see Wicked! Loved it!
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Here are some pics from our trip to Belize. Although it looks spectular (and it was), it was blowing a howling gale, it was raining and it was cold! Although I was able to get out the old sundress, I had to wear it with a sweathsirt and legwarmers.
David managed to get certified which was a miracle because the swells were so big. And I've never in my life seen someone throw up so much. Who would have guessed that this strong, brute of man could have such a sensitive tummy?
After lugging all my dive gear around first to SF and then onto Belize, I was only able to get in a couple of dives but they were pretty amazing. The reef here is spectactular...corals like I've never seen. And sharks! Upon descending on my first dive, I looked down and saw half a dozen nurse sharks (harmless) circling below me. So cool...
Of course the weather got so much better right before we were leaving to come home!
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First Christmas in Scotland

I love Christmas and I was so excited to celebrate my first Christmas here. One thing to note is that Scotland celebrates Christmas on a more conservative note than we do in the states. No garish light displays (well, there was this one house that managed to display about twenty years worth of Christmas lights and displays all out at the same time), really charming lights through the town centre, and mostly just Christmas trees in windows.
Sophie was here so we went to Edinburgh for the Christmas festival. Edinburgh is beautiful at Christmas time and we had a blast although it was about 26 degrees outside. It was so cold that the fog was crystallizing. It's a very strange feeling to have iced fog in your eyes.

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