Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Among many other things, today I am so thankful to be in Italy with my husband and wonderful in-laws! We're having such a great time!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Word on the Street

This is the latest in the design magazine world: Lonny.  Very fun!

In other news, I'll be escaping the Scottish winter tomorrow for balmy Italy. Three cheers for the Tuscan sun!

Friday, November 20, 2009

We Love Sully

Check this video out. It's a video stimulation of Captain Sully's miracle landing on the Hudson. I could practically have a heart attack just watching it. How did he remain so cool and calm in this emergency?


We also love NPR!

I've also been listening to a free preview of Norah Jones' new album on NPR. It's great! Here's the link to the album: The Fall. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What I'm Listening To

Brian Setzer Orchestra's The Ultimate Christmas

The Christmas Jug Brand - especially the Tree Side Hoot

Zee Avi's No Christmas For Me in This Warm December

Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm going to a wedding this spring -- and with much anticipation -- I have a very serious choice to make:

What fascinator will I don?

A bit much? 
More me?

What do you think? What choice would you make?

Let is be known: the hunt for a proper fascinator is on.

While we were at Jenners yesterday, I also checked out the 40 foot Christmas tree:

Why no ornaments? Maybe they're coming? 

I also made a stop by the Food Shop and guess what I saw -- some Aunt Jemima's for no less than $10 US Dollars!

Y'all better cherish that Aunt Jemima's!

[P.S. - I think this is the first pack of Oreo's I've seen in the UK. Jenners really does have quite the stash of American food: from Crisco to Hamburger Helper!].

Meanwhile, we also discovered a Lindt chocolate boutique at Jenners:

So much chocolate! MBA enjoyed trying a new sweet.

Look what else I saw out on Princes Street yesterday:

And I took this picture after walking out of church yesterday:

Blue Skies + Gorgeous Castle = Happiness in Scotland

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"America was wrong in believing that the terrorist movements are expressing animosity against the West and are not, rather, an expression of the social, economic, and political problems of the Muslim world."

- Burhan Ghalioun, a professor of political sociology at the Sorbonne in France.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free Stuff in Edinburgh

If you're in Edinburgh, a few places are opening their doors for free in the upcoming days:

  • Loads of castles and other historic places have free entry the weekend of St. Andrew's Day. While St. Andrew's Day falls on November 30th, most of the entities are opening their doors on the 28th and 29th. While we won't be in town the 28th and 29th to enjoy some of the festivities, one thing I won't be missing is the fireworks over Edinburgh Castle on the 30th. How picturesque! Plus - all the Christmas markets will be in full swing. We'll have to get Scottish hot toddies to keep us warm! 

Happy Veteran's Day!
~ And ~

Happy Remembrance Day! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dangerous Discovery

La Dolce Vita in a Jar!

This stuff is good!!!  I picked up a canister at M&S on my way home this evening. MBA offered to make toast swathed in the brandy butter as an appetizer (so healthy -- right???). It was delish! While typically an accompaniment to Christmas desserts, I think it tastes splendid with toast. The special butter also consists of brown sugar and brandy. It's definitely a new UK favorite!

What I'm Reading and Purchasing

Who Is a Jew? Court Ruling in Britain Raises Question - A court case in Britain is allowing the UK government to determine who is a Jew for purposes of admission into a publicly-funded Jewish high school in North London. Religion in the public square is just as fascinating in the UK as it is in the US. In the article, Lauren Lesin-Davis, chairman of the board of governors at King David states, “You cannot come in and start telling people how their whole lives should change, that the whole essence of their life and their religion is completely wrong." 


Going Muslim - An equally interesting read in Forbes about Fort Hood, political correctness, and assimilation by Muslims into the US. The article ends with Tunku Varadarajan writing, "The U.S. Army has to be a PC-free zone. Our democracy and our way of life depend on it."


Brrrrr........ it has become so chilly here! To fend off the chill, I purchased a pair of Scottish-made Johnstons' gloves.  Johnstons is another fabulous Scottish company specializing in making all things warm and cozy! (P.S. - my gloves are the shade of #7)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that the first public school in the United States was established in 1635? Five of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence attended this school known as the Boston Latin School.

What's curious about this information is that it's inconsistent with some of the Establishment Clause alleged facts and case law. In 1971, the Court formulated a test, known as the Lemon test, to determine when the Establishment Clause has been violated. The Lemon Test's inquiries are whether the regulation has a secular purpose, whether the primary effect of the regulation is to advance religion, and whether there is excessive entanglement with religion due to the regulation. However, this test was not applied in an Establishment Clause case in 1983 when the Court was considering whether it was constitutional for legislatures to have prayer before their official proceedings. Marsh v. Chambers. The Supreme Court did not apply the Lemon Test in Chambers because of "unique history" of the United States. Specifically, at the time of the formation of the US when the First Amendment was codified, legislatures were praying publicly before their official sessions. Hence, how could the courts now rule that it is unconstitutional to pray before legislative meetings when the ones who drafted the law were doing that very practice? 

Courts argue that the reasoning of Marsh v. Chambers cannot be applied to issues regarding public schools as public schools were not in existence at the time of the codification of the First Amendment. Really? The founder of Boston Latin School was a puritan minister. Are we really to believe he wasn't leading the students in prayer and other religious activities? This unequivocal application of Lemon seems inconsistent to me ... but law can be an inconsistent, muddy mess.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

If it wasn't so ridiculous, I'd be donning my New York Yankees hat today! What a fantastic ending to the first season in their new stadium!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Everywhere I go these days, I see people donning poppies in honor of fallen soldiers from both World Wars. In 1918, poppies were sold in order to fund the recovery of injured soldiers in the Great War. Now the poppy symbolizes remembrance of fallen soldiers. Many don the flower around this time as Britain's official Remembrance Day, also referred to as Poppy Day, falls on November 11th. It just so happens that some in America recognize veterans on November 11th as well. Next Wednesday, all federal parks are waiving entrance fees in order to honor veterans' service to the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is religion at all times and in all places a matter between God and individuals?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Winston Churchill

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." 

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."

"Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old."

"Great and good are seldom the same man."

"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."

"If you are going through hell, keep going." 

"If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law."

- Winston Churchill 

Tidbits, Morsels, and Musings

The highlight of my weekend was creating the perfect bowl of potato soup. And no -  it's not the kind with leeks and veggies. It's just potato, onion, and lots of bad-for-you stuff. I'm sure it's high in fat, sodium, and all kind of other things you don't want to know about. However, since we've joined the gym and the rain is no excuse to workout, it was a lovely treat to tweak an Epicurious recipe into my own and enjoy!

Speaking of working out, I've discovered that it's really nice to take a swim after a run. I've also discovered that it's pretty awkward to step into the steam room when there's someone else already in there and they clearly wanted to be alone. Oh well. Lesson reinforced: Don't talk to anyone in Edinburgh. Just leave 'em alone and pretend they don't exist. Everyone will be much happier that way.

On to other news -- I think I'll finally be receiving a library card this week. This is big news folks. When we first moved here, I tried three or four times to get a library card. I would go to the library with my passport, my visa, my lease, and an official letter from the British government with my national insurance number --- all the things I needed to prove who I am and what I'm doing -- and I still got rejected. I probably was just dealing with an ornery individual who had it out for the new guys. But I'm going to be victorious this week. I feel it in my bones. You know why? I applied online! This could be the secret step to success. I, too, will soon be borrowing dvds, uploading cds onto my computer, and reading books that I didn't pay for. It's going to be revolutionary.

And finally: we're about to go make our first visit to a British dentist. (Yes - I was still going in America on all my visits home. A bit unnecessary???) Anyway, I just heard last night that they'll probably only clean two of my teeth. Apparently, they'll look in your mouth and then decide what needs to be cleaned instead of cleaning all your teeth. Is that weird or what?

Update: I have now been to the dentist! I can enthusiastically recommend a visit to a British dentist -- it's a hoot. They do look at your teeth and determine what should be cleaned. I had to request my dentist to clean the back of my front two teeth. He said he usually doesn't do that because the teeth there are so sensitive. He told me I was brave, and that if at any point it hurt to tell him and he would stop. What?!?! I have never before heard a dentist utter those words: If it hurts, I'll stop. He probably also thought I was loony for asking for more work to be done.  But whatevs ..... in less than 20 minutes, I had x-rays, a check for TMJ, and my teeth cleaned. Now that's efficient.
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