Friday, October 31, 2008


1. Boy in Striped Pajamas - per my madre and padre. But I wanted to see it when it was here. It will open in Nashville in November -- so keep your eyes peeled!

2. Burberry Scarves. They truly are superior when in a cold climate. (And I mean cold!!!) These gems may be an investment, but you'll actually have and use the scarf for a lifetime.

3. Celebrating Reformation Day! Cheers to Luther! (And if I don't chat with you tomorrow -- Happy All Saints Day!)


Did You Know?

Did you know that a U.S. District Court has ruled that a school board's policy to present intelligent design to 9th graders in a biology class violated the Establishment Clause?

Just in case you're not familiar with the Establishment Clause, I've highlighted it below:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." - The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

So, what do you think: Is presenting high school students with the intelligent design theory an establishment of religion?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Why I'm Spending a Good Chunk of the Winter in America:

It's already dark outside. It's only 5 o'clock. And it's still October.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Pumpkin Carving Party Results!

Matt's Finished Product

Rebecca and Me

Trudy and Me at Mussel Inn

Matt and Me

Trudy and Mike

Yesterday afternoon we had a blast at a pumpkin carving party. I had never carved a pumpkin and left the highly technical pumpkin carving moves to Matt. He did great! Then, last night we joined our friends Mike and Trudy for dinner at Mussel Inn. I had a half kilo of fresh mussels in a blue cheese sauce. Yum! We really do get some spectacular seafood here!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

MBA and I are enjoying this show. It's fun learning about America through a Brit's perspective ... and ... while sitting on my couch in Scotland!

Friday, October 24, 2008

North Berwick & Beyond!

Look where we were today! We went to an ancient abby, four castles, the beach, several small towns, and Roman ruins. Wow. What a day!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Did You Know?

Did you know that while the First Amendment provides absolute protection to religious thoughts and beliefs, the Free Exercise Clause does not necessarily prohibit Congress and local governments from validly regulating religious conduct?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brushing Up

If you ever want to brush up or learn a different language, check out the BBC's Language Site. It includes a host of the basics such as Spanish, German, and French but also includes Greek and Chinese.

Help! It's a Gorgeous Monday ....

Help! It's a gorgeous Monday -- the sun is shining, the leaves are turning, and the air is crisp -- and I'm stuck inside! I just want to be dashing all over town, soaking in the goodness known as fall! Where was this weather yesterday when I had duties all over town and was amiss in successfully attending each and every one of them???

Oh well! Despite yucky weather yesterday, we did have a glorious weekend. I have successfully maneuvered another British haircut. And this time I really like it. Really like it. Two gold stars for that victory. We had Josh and Becky over for dinner on Friday night to plan our upcoming trip to Dublin in November. It should be great fun traveling with friends. Saturday morning Matt and I headed to the Farmers Market. We were completely soaked by the time we purchased our punnets of strawberries. After a few more errands we had lunch at Queen Street Cafe at the Portrait Gallery -- this is a great cafe -- put it on your list of places to eat while visiting Edinburgh. Saturday night was fabulous. Rebecca and I decided we were going to have our own progressive dinner -- dinner at her house then desert at ours. After pork tenderloin, potato-leek mini gratins, roasted veggies, pickled shallots, marinated olives, and cheese galore ...we were off to our flat for apple crisp. Nothing says fall like apple crisp -- especially when you cannot buy pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. And yesterday I helped a new friend shoe shop -- my new friend moved here from Holland about a month or so ago with one suitcase. She also had just gotten married a week before her Edinburgh arrival. Crazy right??

I hope you have a fabulous Monday!

xx Ashli

P.S. -- Here's a description of how crazy our Scottish weather is!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Did You Know?

Did you know that the term "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I voted today! International absentee voting is certainly a process and one that is now behind me. I even got to vote against an initiative that would limit politicans length of service to the public. I figure, if someone is doing a great job at serving the public, why not let them continue serving???

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Please Don't Vote

This video is blogworthy: Please Don't Vote

If you don't know how many states there are, please don't vote.

If you don't know how many senators there are, please don't vote.

Furthermore ...

If you don't know the basic philosophical underpinnings of the parties platforms, please don't vote.

Anybody else have a suggestion as to who should not vote?

* Video Courtesy of 20/20

Vacuous Ramblings

Last night Matt and I were at home. We had Indian takeout. I started some grading (I *heart* 15 page papers -- kidding, kidding -- I really do feel for my poor students that have to write a 15 page paper in 200 level course), then read a bit. It was a nice, peaceful evening.

What am I reading you may ask? For starters, I'm reading Three Cups of Tea. I also read this insightful article by Roger Kimball earlier today (first book of his I read was Experiments Against Reality -- highly recommended). But you should take a look at that article. Good stuff. I also picked up Plats du Juor, The Witch of Portobello, and Bel Canto this past weekend. From this selection, can you tell I'm trying to escape the swirling vortex of bad news about the economy and endless commentary on the campaign???

Meanwhile, I'm working on a legal memorandum and helping draft language for a decency ordinance. I should go get back to the grind ...... but maybe I'll go locate a cup of coffee first ...... cheers!

Did You Know?

Did you know that forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for your business could help shield your personal assets if you were ever sued?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Whirlwind Activity

What a whirlwind of a week! Other than Wednesday night, Matt and I have been out every night this week ... and we have plans this evening, too. Monday night we celebrated our American friend Josh's 30th birthday. At the party, they had a pub quiz. I'm usually not too great at pub quizzes. Not great at all --- more like, awful. Plain awful. (Side note: they even play these games at church. I've never actually played a pub quiz at a pub -- only at church. They love pub quizzes over here!) Anyway, back to the story. So at this party they split everyone into groups for the pub quiz. Matt and I were naturally on the same team. The first 11 questions on the quiz were about Oregon. Of course everyone on our team thought that we should know all the answers about the state of Oregon since we are from America. I tried to explain to our team members that that was analogous to them knowing everything there is to know about Latvia. Amazingly, we didn't do too shabby on the Oregon round. Well, the second round came up and it was on American Sports. We ruled that round thanks to Matt. Next round was on the year 1978. Nothing short of a miracle, we still won that round.

So .......

Matt and I are now officialy pub quiz winners.

Everyone in the room then hated us.


We shared our prize with everyone else -- chocolate eclairs -- and regained many friendships.

Other important things to share: Made these last Saturday night for a dinner party. What a smashing success! They were so good, my friend Rebecca and I are making them again for dinner tomorrow night. Yum!
I made this shrimp dish on Wednesday night. Matt loved it. Plus, it's super healthy!
Are you catching on to the seafood theme? Silly thing is, I walked into our fishmonger -- after having lived here an entire year -- and asked for shrimp. Shrimp are called prawns over here. The fishmongers gave me quite the dumbfounded look and tried to joke with me about my wellies.
P.S. -- I'm loving going shop to shop in our little neighborhood for all our grocery needs. Too fun! This is where I go for our bread.

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Case You're Curious

University of Edinburgh ranks #23 in the worlds top 100 universities in 2008.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Beautiful Edinburgh

Ruins of an Abbey (could date back further than 14th century -- the first record of the abbey is a recording of the Pope granting money for its refurbishment in 1426)
Holyrood Palace

On our way up Arthur's Seat
Top of Arthur's Seat with the Firth of Forth in the Background

Backside of Holyrood Palace

Monday, October 6, 2008

A List of Musings

1. I could wear a long-sleeve J.Crew t-shirt everday. Honestly.

2. There is no Pumpkin Spice at Starbucks here. Sad day.

3. I'm enjoying Jango.

4. Have you heard of Empire of the Sun?

5. My sister is at the beach in Florida. I'm wearing a winter coat today. Sigh.

6. We hiked Arthur's Seat yesterday.

7. I was told by two very fun and friendly Dutch that I'm "very American." And they meant it as a compliment. They're going to cook us Dutch Pancakes soon. I think eating Dutch Pancakes will be lovely.

8. Do you know what Legal Positivism is? My life (and the life of those I love) would be very different right now if it wasn't an acceptable jurisprudence. Who you vote for will affect the progression of the application of this legal theory.

9. Does anyone know of a good search engine that's not Google or Yahoo? If so, please do let me know.

10. I love life. I'm so very grateful for all the blessings in my life. It's just so good!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My wonderful husband, who's worthy of all kinds of bragging, surprised me with dinner reservations at Cafe Marleyne, a rustic French restaurant, and then tickets to opening weekend of Mary Poppins. We had such a fun time! Musical theater is a rich tradition in my family. I have so many fond memories of going to the theater. We were reared to the tunes of Les Mis, Phantom, all things Disney, and everything in between. So, my sweet husband knew exactly what he was doing when he surprised me with a night of song and dance with the famous Mary Poppins. We clapped along to Supercalafragilisticexpealidocious, were nostalgic over ChimChimney, were mesmerized by Step in Time, enchanted by Practically Perfect, and almost teary about Feed the Birds. (Maybe the use of 'we' is a bit of stretch -- but Matt did enjoy the performance!) And get this. In British theaters, you can bring concessions into the theater. So I even got to munch on chocolate while enjoying the show. What could be better?!?!

Friday, October 3, 2008

*** Estate Sale ***

Tomorrow morning at my parent's home. Lots of fabulous things. Furniture in fantastic condition. Wall hangings. Go find yourself a deal!

Email me for more information

Look who I had lunch with today!

Rebecca, Alethia, and Me

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mackie's: A Bowl Full of Goodness

Best ice cream ever. Hands down. No competition. Not even Cake Batter at Coldstone Creamery compares. I could even be obsessed with Mackie's vanilla, and I have never been a plain jane vanilla girl -- I always wanted chocolate with all kinds of extras. Not anymore.

Matt and I bought a tub of Mackie's Honeycomb ice cream yesterday in honor of Mom's birthday. Mom suggested we have cupcakes but the bakeries were no longer open by the time that suggestion was seriously considered. However, I think Mackie's is exceptionally appropriate for a celebration day. Or an average day. Or a bad day. Or a sunny day, rainy day .... you get the point: this stuff is good!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom! I hope you have an absolutely fabulous day!
You are a such virtuous, fun, strong, and kind-hearted woman and I am so glad to be your daughter.
I love you!
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