Archive for November, 2008

Contrast: The House

November 30, 2008

November has shown a lot of variety out here.

A deluge of incredibly heavy wind and rain early in the month robs us of what would have been a spectacular display of autumn colour, but it was still quite pretty.

It properly snowed one night! It even lasted most of that day. Living farther inland we’re definitely going to see more winter weather, I think.

This is how things have been looking for the last week or so, quite misty and a thick frost on everything.

Me and the Girl

November 30, 2008

I like December because Christmas shopping gives me an excuse to take the kids out singly, which I always enjoy. Yesterday, Nyn and I went to Edinburgh.

That’s right, those are a US 6.5, so she’s certainly fitting into adult shoes now.

The German Market is in town! Pretzels and pyramids for everyone!

Put a moon in the door instead of a heart, and you’ve got something I seriously need to own.

Warm pretzel love.

Possibly the best thing of the day–all bedecked with garland was this kid with a sign that said ‘free hugs’. How could we not? Reminds me of the Seattle ‘smile’ guy.

Nyssa really wanted a trip to the salad bar at Pizza Hut. The waitress convinced her to get the kids meal because it included one for free. See here her puny salad. I love the ‘I’ve been gipped’ look on Nyn’s face when surveying her meager bowl. Hehehe.

We had a very nice time, and public transport actually more or less worked (it’s been real touch and go lately). We got our gifts, wasted all sorts of time in shoe and perfume departments, and drank plenty of decaff lattes. Having a daughter is excellent stuff.

Me vs. the Cat: Sewing

November 30, 2008

Mitu has needs. Most of them involve being the centre of attention, particularly when I have things I want to get done, *most* particularly when I have things I want to get done without the addition of cat hair…

whether it’s napping on my very nice Scottish tweed…

or sitting on top of my neatly stacked, and equally nice quilting fabric…

or seemingly trying to open an artery on the rotary cutter. *sigh* He IS pretty cute though.

Halloween–Scotland Style

November 2, 2008

This year we decided to fully participate in Halloween. When we lived in a downtown area, it didn’t really make sense to. Now that we’re in a village, with streets with houses with front doors and porch lights, I thought we’d finally have our first British trick-or-treat.

Difference one: I don’t know how things have progressed in the States, but out here in the Scottish sticks, you’re not necessarily out of luck if you need huge amounts of groceries and don’t have a car. What this means is that we had our Halloween pumpkins delivered, which obviously took away a key aspect of the activity back home–getting to pick them ourselves. No matter, they worked out well enough. Here James is helping the kids plan their designs. That is, he’s trying to explain why perhaps carving a Darth Maul face is a bit ambitious for the amount of energy he had that evening.. I’m glad he was willing to do it, because I still had to sew up a rudimentary costume so Joseph could dress up as the aforementioned Sith.

Even in trying to be scary, Nyssa is incapable of not being cute.

You wouldn’t expect it, but Joseph will play to a camera..

On Halloween the kids were hopping around all day waiting to get dressed and go out. I was still fairly nervous about going, partially convinced that I had heard wrong and people would open their doors to us with utter bewilderment. The plan was to wait until well after sundown, but what I was actually waiting for was for some kids to come to my door first. Joseph pointed out the obvious logical flaw there–what if everyone does the same?? I told him I was fairly certain that no one else would be as out-of-the-know and neurotic as his dear mother. He wasn’t terribly impressed, but at about 6:30 some kids turned up and that was that.

Darth Joseph.

Cute devil fairy? I dunno, it was the best I could find on ebay at the last minute.

So off we went. I was unsure which houses to knock at, so I went with the old standby of only going for houses with porch lights on. This is a bit problematic, as most houses don’t actually have porches, but we made do. Some houses in the village were actually quite decked out in Halloween decorations. And at most houses the kids were invited in by older women who insisted that it was too cold the kids to be mingling about outside. That of course would be huge difference number two. I was strictly instructed as a child to never step over the threshold. Child molesters surely laid in wait if I did. At one house, there were some 20-somethings that had decorated, from what I could tell, their entire house and asked kids in to have a cookie and gave them each a party bag full of treats. I have to assume that this doesn’t happen in larger towns, particularly the unwrapped baked goods and fresh fruit we received (also huge no-nos from childhood–apples can contain razor blades, don’t ya know!).

I had made sure the kids had memorized a couple jokes because I had heard that a remnant from the old Scottish tradition of guising was that some folks expected kids to do some sort of trick–song, dance, joke, whatever. It’s a good thing I did, because that indeed was the norm. My assumption growing up was that trick or treat meant give me a treat from that big WalMart bag of candy or I’ll play a trick on you. This of course was bolstered by that lovely ‘trick or treat, smell my feet..’ rhyme that we all enjoyed so much. The kids’ small efforts were inordinately rewarded, I have to say. Between them, from not more than 15 houses or so, they had earned in excess of 8 pounds. There were also many full-sized candy bars in their stash.

Here they are with some of their spoils.

It was sort of amusing to run into other trick-or-treaters. I did notice that there were no fairies, Elvises, clowns, etc. Everyone was dressed ghoulishly, which I suppose makes some historical sense. I mean, a Tinkerbell wasn’t likely to scare anyone into giving her anything. Since all these kids go to school together, they all wondered, quite loudly have to say, who the heck Nyssa and Joseph were. One surmised that they were those American homeschooled kids he met once at the park, but that was quickly dismissed by his friend. Hehe.

The trick-or-treaters to my house were more confusing than anything. I certainly wasn’t going to make them tell me a joke. The majority of them were teenagers, I noticed. Back home that tends to get dirty looks. At one point I opened the door to a dozen or so teenage boys with horror masks on, standing around with their hands in their pockets. I looked at them, they looked at me. I finally asked them if they might like some candy. Some shuffled forward, some refused, saying that they were good guisers. One asked if I wanted to hear a joke. “Go on then,” I said. His joke: What comes out of your nose at 250 mph? A Lamborgreenie. *sigh* Another kid offered one: Why do you look down the toilet? To see poo. “Wow, that’s crap. Get it?!!” I replied. He just looked confused. Teenagers, eh? Most of the rest were less awkward, and we actually managed to rid ourselves of a big colander full of treats. I was quite impressed, and more than that I know what to expect for next year. I also don’t need to worry myself over the fact that the kids have missed 4 years or so of trick-or-treating–if we stay in this country they’ll be able to go out guising until they leave for university, apparently. 😛

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!