Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tickled Pink

At a lovely dinner party last night, I taught our eloquently proper English hosts(Oxford and Cambridge grads ... which they call Oxbridge) a new phrase: "shoot the breeze." They gave me a completely blank stare when I originally used the phrase. So, Matt decides to explain the meaning of the phrase saying it's much like "chew the fat." Another blank stare.

Matt's heard that the United Kingdom and the United States are two countries united by a different language. I can't agree more. After explaining ridiculous American vernacular (probably quite Southern), everyone was quite tickled. Maybe I'll instruct our English friends in the meaning of "tickled pink" at our next dining experience.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Did not such strong connections draw me elsewhere, I believe Scotland would be the Country I should chuse to spend the Remainder of my Days in."

- Benjamin Franklin, on visiting Edinburgh

Monday, February 25, 2008

"To lose the scar of knowledge is to renew the wound."

- Wendell Berry in What Are People For?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Work Hard, Play Hard

After a week of work, work, work, Matt and I decided to use the weekend to work a bit and play a bit. The weekend was filled with falafel wraps at our fav little hole-in-the-wall, a viewing of Let There Be Blood (Daniel Day Lewis film), a fantastic discovery that the FX show 'Damages' is coming on tv here (very exciting to me and my mother who tivo'd the season for me all fall only to discover it had been erased), Saturday at a desk staring at a computer screen (but not blankly staring), stopping by the international market for a purchase from both the French cheesemonger and the French baker, church at a potential real possibility, brunch with Scotty and Rebecca (yummy french toast -- go Rebecca!), and finally, making homemade salsa this evening and having Scotty and Rebecca over to watch a show on gardening. Which sounds strange. Who has friends over to watch a show on gardening? Sounds a bit dull. However, this particular show, 'Around the World in Eighty Gardens' keeps my interest. Monty, the British host, travels the world, revealing gardens that tell something of their host country. This evening Monty was in America. Starting in NYC, he made his way from a garden in the Hamptons, to the Monticello in Charlottesville, to the prairie plains in Kansas, all the way over into Southern California to places such as the Lotusland.

Monty was particularly interested in how Americans used their wealth and power in the garden. Sadly, he maintained that average Americans care little for their garden (also known as yard in this circumstance). When we first moved here, I was so curious when people made statements like, "My young son doesn't have enough room to run in our garden." I was thinking, "Why would you want your destructive 5 year old son running amock in a beautiful, quaint English garden???" In this mind, 'yard' simply connotates altogether different things than 'garden'. Anyways, gardening takes not only a degree of skill but also a fair amount of time to invest in the yard ... that's simply the reason why we don't have our fair share of gardens. Maybe if we had the Europeans' vacation time, we could satisfy Monty's quest for American gardens!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pictures of Breathtaking Stirling

Church of the Holyrude

Stirling Castle

Argyle Lodge, a Renaissance Home at the Base of Stirling Castle

Beautiful Stirling

He Speaks My Language

After a full day of work yesterday(and lunching with new friends), Matthew and I headed in to Old Town to attend a church small group. We visited this particular church for the first time this past Sunday and were excited about what we would encounter. We knew we were headed to Osama's house -- this would definitely be the first Osama I had ever met. Little did I know that a man named Osama and I would have so much in common. After the group was over and Matthew and I were headed out the door, Osama invited us over to have a "cheese lunch." Lots of cheese and lots of bread. What a wonderful and novel idea. Even though there may have been a moment of difficulty in understanding my new friend, once he threw out that fantastic "cheese" idea , I knew that he definitely speaks my language!

Constitutional Thought of the Day

The Court in Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789 stated that “The First Amendment, U.S. Const. amend. I, forbids the government to regulate speech in ways that favor some viewpoints or ideas at the expense of others.” Modern philosophy and culture has produced the idea that life can be compartmentalized and dichotomized. However, historical and orthodox Christianity subscribes to a paradigm in which religion cannot be separated from any aspect of life. Therefore, when asking orthodox Christians not to speak of religion, God, or spirituality in a public forum, the official is really suppressing the viewpoint against dichotomizing Christianity, therefore, resulting in favor shown toward certain philosophical and religious views (that life can be dichotomized) and a discrimination against other philosophical and religious views (that Christ prohibits dichotomization of life with Him).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Visiting Stirling

Waverly Train Station in Edinburgh

Matt and I had the most enjoyable day in Stirling, Scotland. Catching the train in Edinburgh afforded us the opportunity to soak in the sights of the Scottish countryside along the way to Stirling. We passed through small villages such as Linlithgow and Failkirk, enjoying all the many castles along the way.

Upon arrival, we pulled out our faithful 'Best of Scotland' guidebook and followed the official "walk." And it was amazing! The walls surrounding Stirling are the oldest standing defense walls in all of Scotland, and they hold true gems within them: the Church of the Holyrude (Where King James I was crowned), the Stirling Castle, and the Argyle Lodge.

After touring the castle, Matt and I descended upon the city and found some great Scottish fare to satisfy our appetites. Matt had homemeade Scottish Pie ... and I think I ate more of his dish than any of my Macaroni and Leeks! We then caught a bus to the other side of Stirling and caught the sites of both the William Wallace monument (dates back to 13th Century) and the University of Stirling. Before heading back to Edinburgh, we had to enjoy a proper tea at one of the local establishments. This particular restaurant prides itself on making cakes and scones from scratch... and it was yummy!

Matt and I are now highly inspired to explore all the many day excursions from Edinburgh. I'm crossing my fingers for good weather and many travels this spring!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Love Day

Happy Valentines Day to You!

After a full day of work, Matt and I came home to cook dinner and enjoy an evening in. As I'm placing a pot of water on the stove, my dear husband says "I've got a surprise for you." He pulls out his laptop, places it on the dinner table, and starts to put on some music. (You the reader are now concerned that I'm going to share a sappy love story about how we danced to 'It's a Wonderful World' and 'Unforgegttable') ... the next thing I know... my very unhip-hop loving hubby is playing Outkast's 'Happy Valentines Day.' Classic.

Monday, February 11, 2008

These boots were made for walking ...

I returned to Edinburgh this time prepared with Uggs and Wellies!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Time to Celebrate!

This sweet man planned a happy return for me!

First there were flowers ...

Then there was yummy L'Occitane Cherry Blossom Bath Gel and Lotion...

Next came Whittards of Chelsea Tea ...

And finally, the beautiful, antique china!

What a wonderful 25th birthday!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Like I've Said Before ....

International travel with me is never without adventure. I left Nashville on Monday and encountered ... cancelled flights, long lines to rebook, rerouting through the airport I was trying to avoid (Heathrow ... Dublin would have been a bit easier), delays on the runway in London, taxiing past the British Airways flight that crash landed at Heathrow (and some aboard thought it was just a rough landing!), lost luggage, and finally, the stomach bug upon arrival in Scotland. What a whirlwind!

Highlights include seeing hubby, coming home to a clean flat, clean flat containing beautifully wrapped birthday presents, fresh flowers already placed in a vase, enjoying Matthew's new gourmet specialty: Chicken Curry (he had time to perfect it), and beginning to watch Season II of Arrested Development. (Which I hear is the most critically acclaimed and popular comedy sitcom no longer on air -- which is so, so sad).

Amongst unpacking, getting situated, and seeing friends, I've begun full-time work. I love meaningful work. (I wish I had some wonderful Wendell Berry quote to plug-in here.) There's nothing like the urgency of completing a task because someone depends on your assistance.

Until I come across that wonderful Berry quote, I'll leave you with a statement from Soren Kierkegaard:

"For he who loved himself became great through himself, and he who loved others became great through his devotion, but he who loved God became greater than any of these."
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