Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Typical Spanish Dish.

In Park Guell.
Freshly squeezed kiwi juice at the market off of Las Ramblas.
The Cathedral.
My dear, sweet husband drinking from the doggie fountain.

Performers on Las Ramblas.
Another Gaudi building.
'92 Olympic Pool - now home to birds.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yummy breakfast! Croissant con chocolate, cafe con leche ... and freshly squeezed organge juice.
Montjuic Park - where the '92 Olympics were - on the zipper -- too much fun! We were upset when those other girls showed up, and we had to share!

La Sagrada Familia - still under construction

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pleasant Surprise

This afternoon was spent at the Meadows Park in Edinburgh -- with about 10,000 of our closest friends. With the temp a balmy 60 degrees, a group from church headed to the local market to pick up a few items for a picnic in the park. It was so pleasant to experience community, fresh food, sunshine, and an amazingly comfortable temperature out on the Meadows lawn. Our group, consisting of about 12, was joined out in the Meadows with literally about 10,000 other people -- each group circled together -- some playing guitars, others playing American football, some playing Scottish football, and others playing things like Chinese yo-yo. What a delightful afternoon!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Barcelona Bonita

Barcelona is amazing. Pack your things and head there immediately. The spirit of the city is contagious -- it's a happy-chill place. People are so kind but not too rowdy. Food is simple but has such rich flavor. There are gorgeous plazas (which double as parks) every other street. The city also boasts tropical beaches surrounded by moutains, speckled with distinctively Spanish buildings. The port is crowded with sail boats, and the plaza surrounding the port is covered with tapas bars.

Speaking of --I love the concept of tapas. We ate patatas bravas (potatos with a spicy sauce), croquettes, jamon (thinly sliced pieces of ham drizzled with olive oil), olives (and not just any olives-- mixtures with both green and black olives sprinkled with miniature pickles and garlic--yum! we also had olives stuffed with anchovies, which was so divine!), chorizo, goat cheese, bread rubbed with garlic, tomato, olive oil and parsley .... it was all so yummy!
We completely enjoyed our time with James, Matt's good friend from college. Having lived there for several years, James was basically a local expert and we completely detoured the typical tourist path. Instead of eating on La Rambla, we sought out the little hole-in-the-walls in Barri Gottica and Gracias. We took pictures of Gauid's buildings and places like La Sagrada Familia, but also headed to Montjuic, the site of the '92 Olympics, Park Guell, the Barcelona Cathedral, the Roman ruins, the Jewish Quarter ... and we did our absolute best at seeking out every plaza for a stroll and a sit. The street performers range from violinists and opera singers to headless men and freaky clowns. They, too, were interesting and entertaining.
I'm having difficulty with blogger this evening ... it doesn't want me to post pictures! I'll have more posted soon on beautiful Barcelona. We also saw things like a car go up in flames, little old ladies in plazas placing dainty handkerchiefs on their laps for their dogs to sit on, Matt drinking out of a street fountain .... only to find out it's really a fountain meant only for dogs. So stay tuned!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"... the world forgets You its Creator and loves what You have created instead of You." - St. Augustine

Only 5%

I'm not one to keep tabs on politicians income and charitable giving ... so this could be the norm. However, Obama gave only about 5% of his income to charity this past year. Come on people! Average Americans making 1% of what the Obama's made last year give much more than 5% of their income to charities. His example of generosity is pathetic.

***This blog is not intended to be a forum on politics. However, when something is this outrageous and wrong, I just have to say something about it!!!***

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring Pictures

Here are a few random spring pictures. Pictures of Jalvis, Megan, and Matt are actual proof that Meg and Jalvis truly came for a visit. The last two pictures are from the Museum of Modern Art, which is not that great of a museum but the exterior of the building is quite nice ... especially the geese. And the final picture is of my new talking alarm clock.
Yes- I am the owner of a talking alarm clark. I love the scene in the Holiday where Kate Winslet awakes to some stellar jams coming from the alarm clock in her short-term holiday let in L.A. Nothing in the world is comparable to being wakened by something that makes you smile. I think I've discovered my source of morning smiles with this new alarm clock. Not only is it hot pink (a color altogether different from any other boring digital clock I've had), and not only does it talk to me ... but it cockerdoodledoos at me in the morning. It's too funny and makes me smile. However, the night before last, we weren't exactly sure how to set it ... and it talked to us all night ... but by the time it started talking (as in 1 am), we were too out of it to care. So "elevator lady" kept telling us the hour on the hour all night long. Nevertheless, we figured out how to set it properly and slept soundly till the cockerdoodledoo. Special thanks to my fabulous Aunt Lisa (one of the best gift givers) who gave us a gift certificate to Habitat upon our arrival in the UK.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This One's for the Books

Here's the short of the story:

Hilary, my fabulously talented sister, landed her first professional theater gig last spring. She's currently in the midst of the equity contract and from all the rave reviews I've heard, she's doing quite well. The latest script she received was something all together different than what she was willing to do or say on stage. Considering it somewhat of a Grand Gesture, a defining moment in her life, she objected and made a request not to perform portions of the current script to her director. This director happened to be insensed. (Insensed as in he was going to fire Hilary for the remaining period of her contract) After I caught wind of the scandal, I too was quite insensed. Of course I don't appreciate anyone treating my sister in a condescending manner, but I was especially disturbed by the blantat disregard for my sisters civil rights. I promptly told Hilary that she could not be fired because of her religious beliefs. And then I promptly penned a letter to said directors explaining Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. And voila: Hilary's not fired. Nor does she have to perform what she does not want to perform.

Call us a team. That's how we roll.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Visit to St. Andrews

We had a lovely visit to St. Andrews today. We caught the train from Edinburgh into Leuchars station and a bus from Leuchars into St. Andrews. However, before arriving at the train station in Edinburgh, we came across a very large Chinese protest against the Tibetan/Olympic protests. Interesting indeed. There were several thousand protesters.

We met up with our friends Josh and Becky at the train station and had a lovely ride north across the Forth of Firth into the Kingdom of Fife. It was absolutely lovely riding along the rocky coastline of eastern Scotland. Many students seemed to alight the train with us in Leuchars. They were arriving back at university after their three week holiday. [Side note:Can you imagine getting a three week spring break? Don't get too jealous. Their exams are way harder than ours! Oxford and Cambridge have exams in their third year that cover all the courses one took in their first and second years.] St. Andrew's University is also where the royals often attend, including both Prince Charles and Prince William.

Once arriving in St. Andrews, we stopped for bridies and donuts at a charming and busy bakery but were quickly out the door and on our way to the St. Andrew's Castle. Ruins are all that's left of this castle by the sea. During the Scottish Reformation, there was a cardinal residing at the Castle who was overthrown by the "local gentlemen." These gentlemen built an underground mine in an effort to capture the castle and overthrow the cardinal. Meanwhile, those defending the castle built an underground mine in an effort to stop the hostile gentlement. While the castle is mainly ruins, the mines are in tact. We were able to go underground and basically crawl through their cave-like spaces. So fun! St. Andrew's Castle is also the place in which John Knox was captured and forced into the French galleys.

Next we headed to the Cathedral ruins where we saw both the ruins of the Cathedral but also many famous gravesites. Matt was especially thrilled when I spotted Adam Ferguson's grave. Ferguson served as a moral philosopher at the University Edinburgh and was anti-modern before it was fashionable to be anti-modern. Matt just finished reading his Essay on the History of Civil Society this past Thursday and will most likely be using Ferguson's works in his upcoming research. We also climbed a tower on the Cathedral's grounds and were able to take in some amazing views from up top.

After touring the Cathedral ruins, we wondered through the campus of St. Andrew's. It's a beautiful campus! Unfortunately, there were not too many students to be found since many are still away on holiday. An Edinburgh grad student previously attended St. Andrews for undergrad and told us that the students wear regalia to all their classes. How very regal!

After a quick stop for coffee, we headed out to the famous golf course. Even though I'm not a golfer, I felt a bit of nostalgia just seeing the course and thinking of all the history and happy moments that have occurred there. Not being content with only looking at the course, I hopped over the small fence onto the 18th fairway for a quick picture. How could I not??? Then I talked Matt into making his way onto the course for a picture, too. I mean, you never know if you'll have the opportunity to have your picture taken on that course again!

Before heading back to the train station we stopped for a proper British dinner of steak & ale pies at the local pub. Next thing I knew, we were back on the train and then back on the streets of Edinburgh. Climbing the steps back home to our flat, it felt like such a treat to get out of the city for the day and be reminded of the goodness of that great big world out there.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thought of the Day

"Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. - But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one's mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation." - Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just Made a Purchase!

And we're headed to Spain soon. Barcelona specifically. Any tips?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Historic Scotland Freebie!

I just found out that Historic Scotland is opening the door to all this weekend! Each property will will be open and available to all for free ... and I am thrilled. Matthew and I have already visited Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle. However, there are supposedly over 300 historic sites from which to choose. In the Edinburgh area, there's also the Blackness Castle, Cairnpapple Hill, Craigmillar Castle, Crichton Castle, Dirleton Castle, Hailes Castle, Linlithgow Palace, and Tantallon Castle. Looks like we'll be headed to a castle this weekend!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


First of all, Matt and I were walking home last night after dinner at a friend's home. Honestly, we were speed walking, as we were trying to catch the night bus home. And we walked past a pub, and I heard a familiar tune. I thought to myself, "could I really be hearing the swoons of Sweet Home Alabama?!!?!?" It's confirmed. Scottish pub karaoke life, right in the middle of Queensferry Street Scotland, enjoys some Sweet Home Alabama.

Second of all, if you want to place a piece of heaven into your mouth, try these. My delightful and spunky friend Elspeth blessed us with "irresistably smooth" milk chocolate truffles. Amen!

P.S. - Just found out these chocolates cost $12.99 in the U.S. but only 99p (equivalent to a bit over $2 USD). Most of the time, I'm feeling quite sorry for myself over here in terms of the cost of things. Like a Quarter Pounder Meal at McDonalds over here would cost over $8. But, you better believe I'll be stocking up on the Lindt Lindor Swiss Chocolates before heading West!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


We made it back to Cafe Grande in Morningside for brunch this morning. I had the french toast. So yummy! Cheers to whoever invented leisure Saturday brunches! For they are not overrated.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I'm always thrilled to run across something written by Lauren F. Winner: To Hell and Back.

In light of the Winner article and in line with my ad fontes education, I ran across another interesting account today: A Journey in the Seaboard States: A Free-Labor Farm in Virginia.

The Birthday Girl

My super talented sister Hilary turns 23 this Sunday. Happy Birthday Miss Hilary Lynn! If you're going to be in Roanoke, Virginia anytime between now and June 29, go see Hilary perform at Mill Mountain Theater. I'm hearing absolutely rave reviews on her performance!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Earlier this week I learned that only 5% of the population of Edinburgh attends a religious service anywhere at any time. The attendees include not only Catholics, Protestants, and Jews ... but also non-Western faiths such as Hindus and Muslims. What a different statistic from that in America.
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