Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Taste of Scotland

The most emailed travel article today in the New York Times is about Scotland. A Taste of Scotland highlights a modest culinary tour across the tiny country. Consequently, I have a few more locations to add to my ever-growing list of destinations to see and do.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why the Grossness Continues ....

Frankie is now in a bucket. The bucket is sealed and is wrapped in two plastic bags. The wrapped bucket has also been placed in a garbage can. And the garbage can is in the far corner of the backyard.

However ....

This morning it was raining. And raining. And raining some more. Observing the rain, mom had a lightbulb moment. "Oh no. We're making Frankie soup!"

The dead cat is now drowning in our backyard. More lovely thoughts.

What do you do when cat soup is being made in your backyard??? Honestly. The Frankie saga continues ........
Today is a good day. I started off with a great workout and hit my running goal. Finished a project for work. And am now headed to the spa for a massage with mom!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On Grossness

One of my job's perks is that I don't have an office. I can work in Edinburgh. I can work in Nashville. I could even work in Paris. (I'm working on that one. Please Matt! Next summer!) I also don't slave in a cubicle. Nor do I have to tolerate fluorescent lights or a co-worker interrupting my work flow.

I really like non-interrupted work flow. One of my colleagues even commented on how she could accomplish so much more if she lived in Scotland. Possibly so. However, today my work flow was interrupted.

No one should ever smell what I have smelled today. You see, an ominious odor began several days ago in my parent's home. Tuesday I walked in the door and after being assaulted by the odor I declared that we must find the obnoxious source and rid ourselves of it.

We put my sniffer to work. Is the odor coming from the refrigerator? No. The pantry? No. The second refrigerator? No. Under the sink? No. Upstairs. Downstairs. Attic. Bathrooms. No. No. No.

What could this obnoxious odor be? And where the heck could it be coming from??? We turned over every pot and pan in the house looking for the suspect. And it was not to be found.

Until ....

It then occurred to us that the rotting smell was getting worse, and that we were also smelling it all over the house. The obnoxious odor had moved beyond the garage/kitchen area. My mom even woke up in the middle of the night to grab Ralph Lauren Romance perfume and spray the bed down in hopes that she could peacefully drift back to sleep despite this horrid smell.

One word: yuck.

Like any good son-in-law, Matthew breaks the news to my mom. "Something has died and it's under your house." And like any good mother, my mom responds with: "I have a coupon for that." Yes -- my mother even had a coupon for a pest control company to remove dead things from crawlspaces. Too bad the pest control company couldn't even come to give an estimate until next Wednesday. NEXT FREAKIN' WEDNESDAY. It's Thursday!!! Can you even begin to imagine the odor at that point?? In this 90 degree heat!?!!?!!

Like a superb son-in-law, Matt decides to tackle the crawlspace and see what died. He calls me to the opening of the crawlspace, directs the flash light to a far corner and says "does that look like an upside down cat?" (Gag. Dry heave. Almost vomit.) "Maybe." And I run. I can't handle the smell. Can't handle the possibility that a living thing died. Can't handle what other creatures had probably been doing to the dead animal. (Think maggots).

Thankfully dad returned from his run just in time to find surgical masks for Matt and him to wear as they went to rid the crawlspace of the dead cat. Turns out that the dead cat is a neighborhood cat named Frankie that dad frequently saw running around out back of the house. It appears that poor Frankie was attacked by a dog and found his way into my parent's crawlspace to die. Lovely thoughts aren't they?

RIP Frankie. And thank God for fabulous, smell-good candles that can help me defend the household from obnoxious invaders. Most of all, many thanks to our brave men for ridding our crawlspace from smelly trespassers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On Adam Smith

My husband sumbitted a thesis last week on Adam Smith's Jurisprudence and Moral Sentiments. Congratulations MBA! (Sidenote: this thesis was much easier to edit and review than last summer's thesis on Donald Davidson's theories of truth; epistemology is soemthing we should all consider but it can leave your head spinning!). With Adam Smith on the mind, I'd like to share one of his "lighter" thoughts:

"Nothing is more graceful than habitual cheerfulness, which is always founded upon a peculiar relish for all the little pleasures which common occurrences afford. We readily sympathize with it: it inspires us with the same joy." -Adam Smith.

As I relish my Ginger Tea on this hot summer afternoon, I hope you have a little special something that you've particularly enjoyed today!

Monday, July 21, 2008

What's a Courgette? And where's the Zucchini?

Very helpful tips for an ex-pat American in a British kitchen: Favorite British Kitchen Words. See what I've been dealing with people??? (Note all the very helpful comments! Maybe I should chime in to the discussion ... )

And if you're interested in what British cuisine looks like, take a peek here. Appetizing?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On Lynchburg, TN

This morning as I was flipping through the Tennessean's section on travel, I ran across a blurb about some festival or going-on in Lynchburg, TN and I was reminded of a commercial I saw several weeks ago. Matt and I were sitting in a dark theater at the Filmhouse, an independent movie theater that hosts the Edinburgh Film Festival, waiting to see Hors de Prix, a French film featuring Audrey Tautou. Numerous commercials and previews rolled on by and then there was a several minute feature commercial on Jack Daniel's whiskey. Now it's not surprising to see something about Jack Daniel's whiskey in Edinburgh; Scotland is known for its whiskey and Daniel's products seem to be in every nook and cranny. However, this commercial was practically a small feature film on the life and times of Lynchburg, TN. I basically had to silence my belly-laughing at the special attraction called Lynchburg, TN. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lynchburg, TN (as opposed to Lynchburg, VA), it's definitely a one traffic light town and the commercial portrayed the town as slow, slow, slow and slower. Billy (the overall wearer) even mentioned that they "don't rush thangs" in Lynchburg, TN. As the sole Tennessean in that dark theater, let it be known that the small feature film on the slow times of rural Tennessee life brought me a blip of delight. Two worlds colliding couldn't have been anymore amusing!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Things I'm Enjoying ....

1. Paying $2 for a cup of coffee instead of $5

2. Wearing high heels! Yay! No cobblestone!

3. Cooking in a big kitchen and having acess to a real grill (grill pans are not the same - don't let anyone tell you different!)

4. Watermelon. Can I get an amen?

5. Short sleeves and dresses -- it feels so liberating!

6. $4 gallons of gas instead of $12 gallons of gas (for the rare weekends we hire a car)

7. My mom. My dad. My sister!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” --Henry David Thoreau

Monday, July 7, 2008

I'm Back!

I'm back in the ole' USA! And experiencing major culture shock. MAJOR. There are many reasons to be thankful for America. My mom's statement from earlier this morning captures my sentiments: "It may not be pretty (America/Nashville) but it sure is cheap." Amen mom -- you summed it up!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Morris Dancers

Last Saturday's evening entertainment. This was one of my "Disney World" moments.

East or West, Home is Best!

Back to the states! To me, home is family and close friends. And I can't wait to get some quality time with the people I love!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In Love with England: The Cotswolds

Home in Stanton

Beautiful Street in Stanton

Three Story Gate in Stanway -- the Lord of the Manor still runs this Village!

Upper Slaughter Manor Home


Arriving at the Smith's in the Cotswolds was like driving into a movie! Several times over the weekend, Professor Smith and I laughed about life in the Cotswolds feeling like a life lived in Disney world. It's just too cool to see that some people really live life in a picturesque, beautiful world.

The Smith's cottage, Hill View Cottage, is simply precious. It is an ideal, perfect cottage with an enchanting English garden. The interiors are well-appointed but comfortable and oh-so-very English, down to the blue and white Spode china! A public bridleway ran between the Smith's cottage and a hill covered in sheep. A public bridleway is a footpath where hill-walkers and horseback riders can venture through the Cotswolds, village to village. Several times over the weekend I saw horses with riders trotting down the path. It was great! And these footpaths are everywhere.

Friday afternoon the Smiths took us for a walk through their village and through several pastures on a pathway. We saw the manor home which now hosts the Buckland Manor, along with several other charming cottages.

Saturday we toured a gorgeous home in Stanton -- two villages down from Buckland. It's known as the Beverly Hills of the Cotswolds. We also visited all the following villages: Laverton, Stanway (with a Lord still running the village), Moreton-in-Marsh, Bourton-on-the-Water, Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, Broadway, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Chipping Campden. In addition to the villages, we took in the breathtaking views of lavendar fields! What a dream! We also made a stop at Dover Hill which boasts on overlook to many of the villages. On a clear day, from Dover Hill we could have seen Stratford-upon-Avon. It was pretty cool!

We finished Saturday with dinner at a local pub in Evesham. It's asparagus season in the Cotswolds and every item on the menu included that yummy green vegetable. I particularly enjoyed the hollandaise sauce which accompanied the asparagus. We could have even had asparagus ice cream for dessert. (Imagine that-- but it was on the menu!). Outside the pub, Morris dancers were ready to dance the night away in traditional fashion. The pictures should explain it all. Seeing the dancers in full garb, I had another "Disney" moment. Who wouldn't? We were the only tourists in that particularly joint, the rest were locals, and we watched how the locals spent their Saturday evenings. It was too much fun.

Sunday morning we took one last jaunt through the hillside with the Smith's, had a delicious meal, and were off on the road. I was sad to leave the Smith's. They are the most gracious, giving, loving, hospitable folks one could be around. I will always remember this past weekend fondly -- not simply because of the Cotswolds but mostly because of the kindness of the Smith's. I hope that Matt and I will become the kind of people who are able to give of ourselves in much the same way.
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