Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tally Ho!

What a fun weekend we've had. Last night we attended a birthday dinner party in honor of our friend Chris who is a fellow PhD student in ethics at New College. Chris is an exceedingly kind Londoner with a keen intellect and a humble disposition ... but I really adore his girlfriend Lizzie who's a true gem due partially to her amazingly fantastic wit. One cannot help but be delighted and amused in the company of these wonderful people. Lizzie made authentic Northern English cuisine complete with dumplings and roasted butternut squash and potatos. Dessert, or pudding as it referred to over here, was yummy baklava. One fascinating thing about Chris is that he attended primary school with Prince William and even witnessed Princess Di run in the "Mum's Race." Apparently, Di was quite athletic, as she was the winner in the "Mum's Race."

To top off a lovely evening, Matthew suggested we take a taxi home. God bless his soul -- that simple taxi ride was such a happy moment for me! Not having to wait for public transportation and be bothered by all the intoxicated locals on the way back to our flat was just too good. And the time it took us ... wow ... that was fantastic. What usually takes about 30 minutes turned in to about 10 or so minutes.

When I awoke this morning, my sweet husband informed me that it was "Ashli's Day" and that whatever I wanted to do today would be done. How fun is that? So, instead of working or doing household stuff, we set out for Morningside in Edinburgh. Morningside is a charming area of town comprised of antique stores, chocolatiers, stone cottages, gourmet food markets (French and Tuscan -- I was in heaven), bakeries, art galleries, churches, restaurants (we stopped here but the wait was a bit too long), florists, theaters (we saw this one and a few of these) and much, much more. It might be needless to say, but it was so much fun exploring this area. It might just be our next neighborhood.

After lunch at Two Thin Laddies, we went to the Filmhouse to see The Kite Runner. The book had been both telling and gripping, and I felt prepared to see the movie, having a sense of what to expect since I had read the book. But the cinematography, the acting, the scenery ... it was all so moving. I definitely recommend reading the book and seeing the movie if you haven't already done so. It's a good story and one needing to be told.

So here I am ... sitting on our couch ... feet propped up ... having just finished grading for the week and enjoying all the beautiful memories from this fun, fun weekend. I do hope yours is as equally delightful!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thoughtful Movie Recommendation

Just finished watching Lions for Lambs.

Entering the U.S. website for the movie, the question is posed: What do you stand for? It's an excellent watch and one that will encourage you to think.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wishing You a Blessed Resurrection Day

Happy Easter! This morning Matthew and I worshipped at St. Mary's Episocopal Cathedral. While we've been attending Eikon, we decided to celebrate the day of Christ's resurrection at a historic, traditional, reverent church. St. Mary's is a magnificent cathedral - the meaningful service boasts all things symbolic - the church building in the shape of a cross, incense as the presence of the Holy Spirit, stain glass windows, and the glorious, sheer magnitude of space. We received communion at the High Alter to Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. We exited the celebratory service to Widor's Toccata. Matthew articulated it best when he stated, "The beauty of the room sensually captures you; it intends to bring your senses into the beautiful reality that you are surrounded and immersed in God."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Would you believe it if I told you that it is snowing? It looks like an absolute blizzard outside. Earlier this afternoon it was sunny and in the 40's. Now it's a snowy blizzard.
This morning I awoke at 5:47 with the sun shining so brightly I felt like I needed to jump out of bed because it surely had to be at least 9:30 ... but it was only 5:47 ... so strange!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Who Would Have Thought?

My last semester at Union, I took 21 course hours. Crazy - right? I remember a post-it note I had stuck to the shelf above my desk. Each paper I had to research and draft that semester was listed, along with how many pages the draft must include. Yikes ... I think I had close to 200 pages to write that semester.

What's amusing is now I write for a living. I research a matter and then write about the matter, forming something similar to a research paper. And on top of all the research and writing, I teach a class on research and writing. Oh how life changes. How stressed I felt several years ago during my last semester of college. My posture towards research and writing amounted to getting the paper "over with." Now? I might not go so far to profess a love for writing ... but I do enjoy it. Especially with all the personal endowment of stress removed.

Isn't it interesting how humans have a much larger capacity for things that "stretch" them than originally anticipated? Sure life events condition humans for growth, but is it not true that we seem to be able to handle much more than we believe we can handle? All it takes is a testing moment to experience the so-called stretch. The next thing you know, you'll go from a stressed co-ed to writing research papers for a living. Strange how life unfolds.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ansel Adams

Yesterday we toured an Ansel Adams exhibit in Edinburgh. It is absolutely amazing the landscapes that man captured during his lifetime.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Everything I learned about St. Patrick, I learned from an e-card. Such as ...

1. He was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in 387 A.D.

2. At 16 he was forced into slavery in Ireland where he worked as a shepherd.

3. He escaped to France where he attended seminary and was ordained a priest.

4. He then returned to Ireland on a mission... and before he left, over half the country converted to Christianity.

All that from an e-card. Amazing.

Click here http:// for more info on St. Patrick.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Future's Looking Bright

Although I have about six hours of research and writing ahead of me... then about five 15-page papers to grade ... and an entire flat to clean ... the future's looking bright. Six vibrant red daisies were given to me this morning by Matthew. A dear, dear friend of ours arrives this Thursday -- we simply cannot wait to spend time with him and his lovely girlfriend. And, more family and travels have recently been forecast for the coming May. Oh yes- the future is looking bright.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Big, thick snowflakes are wafting across my window. I love the setting of my desk. It's set in the middle of this large bay window, and from it, I can see our little village and the Pentland Hills (mountains) in the distance. This morning once I situated myself to begin work, I noticed the Pentland Hills in the distance were covered in snow ... absolutely beautiful. And now, the snow has begun to move into the city. It seems like the snow may already be drifiting away. However, the Pentland Hills supply our drinking water -- so one thing is for sure about this snow: it will provide more of the yummiest drinking water I've ever had.

Living on an island you learn about the supply of goods, the demand for those goods, the rise in price for those goods etc. etc. It's an inadvertant lesson. One can simply notice that the price of a product is simply twice as much as the same product elsewhere. Which can be especially disheartening when you're trying to stretch an American dollar in the United Kingdom. However, something is just so cool about knowing where your drinking water comes from. And not only knowing where it comes from, but seeing where it comes from. How cool is that?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Calling All Tips Please

The only time I've moved off my couch today was to sit in the bathroom while the shower was on and breathe in the steam. Having a cold can be such a bummer. I'm already working on my second box of Kleenex. And yes, I made sure we purchased the real 'Kleenex.' I wasn't going to risk off-brand sandpaper on this nose. As if having a cold wasn't bad enough ... I don't need raw skin surrounding the infected area!

Does anyone have any tips on the fastest way of getting rid of a cold?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Museum of Modern Art

Today we visited the Museum of Modern Art. While admittedly not huge fans of modern art, we were still a bit disappointed with the local collection. However, we did make a wonderful discovery: The Scottish Colourists. Notably, Samuel John Peploe, John Duncan Fergusson, George Leslie Hunter, and Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell led this particular artistic movement in their native Scotland. Explore Art writes that the painters became known as "the Scottish Colourists because they grafted their knowledge of contemporary French Art – Monet, Matisse, and Cezanne - onto the painterly traditions of Scotland, redefining the qualities of light and colour in their still life, landscapes, figurative paintings and drawings into their own singular styles."

Here's a sampling of the vibrant, happy Scottish Colourists' work:

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