Posts Tagged ‘pictures’

*horror movie scream*

October 23, 2008

Something I’ve never quite gotten over is the whole household cleanliness honesty thing, particularly where in-laws are concerned. I always envisioned myself becoming, certainly by my late 20s, someone who would have the household rhythm down and everyone more or less clean all the time. It eludes me still, but rather than just accept it, I have quasi-panic attacks just before visitors come. OK, admittedly not all visitors, and this all depends on how well I’m feeling (which affects my ‘give-a-sh*t’ levels to a high degree), but generally I try to nurture the fantasy that I’m not a complete slob. So in the interest of evolving honesty, I post the following–the photo of my laundry closet after I gutted the house of all the dirty laundry I’d managed to pretend didn’t exist..


It seems though that I might have a good out for being a bit immature about the housework. A neighbor came from across the street the other day to introduce herself. She greeted me, sort of looked me up and down, and asked, very nicely I should add, if my mom was home. Good god. I sort of feebly replied that I was indeed the lady of the house, tada. Granted, it probably didn’t help that I was wearing camo pants, pig tails, and bright lipstick, but come on. I’m 30 years old.

Certainly old enough to vote–which I did!

I find it fairly charming that they must assume that everyone, from the sorority girl to the old farmer, is going to be keen on getting a sticker. I put that in the mail the other day, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t get home in time. I’m a good citizen, w00t.

Speaking of good citizens, here’s a very good little world citizen, learning about her planet. She loooooves her geography. She cuddles her geography. I suppose that’s one benefit of homeschooling–you can engage with your material in any number of strange ways and there are only a few people who will give you wierd looks for it.

Another demonstration of good citizenship–here are the kids walking back from doing the recycling. I like the ‘No Golf’ sign just on the other side of our wall.

Being a good citizen also involves reusing. What the hell am I doing to this guitar with knitting needles, you ask? This is yet another example of my awesome McGyvering skills. I was reading about lap steel guitars, and decided I need to play around with one. The only reasonable course of action at that point was to take this crappy £5 guitar we got at a knick-knack shop, put a wooden needle under the strings to raise them, tune it, then use an aluminum addi knitting needle as the bar. Do you know what, it worked just fine. The guitar being incapable of holding its tune for more than 2 minutes is what did it in, not my elite instrument building skills. Hehe.

To be a good citizen, one must also support small business. To that end, I just bought some more knitting needles. These are beastly *15mm* addi circulars. Yeah, woah. You know, they’d make mighty fine steel guitar bars…

As a responsible citizen, I also support the arts. Would you take a look at this?

This is a typical example of James’ doodling. That’s right–his doooodling. I finally convinced him to stop doing them on envelopes and I ordered him some proper paper. I don’t think I’m merely husband-proud in saying that he is quite talented. He has an extraordinary sense for forms and lines, and he’s doing all of these with a set of Sharpies. He refuses to let me buy him proper artist markers, and I think that’s a pity. Could be that I use the holidays as an excuse to get around the ban.. In any case, I’ve told him that what I want for Christmas is a huge one in a frame.


Quite possibly..

October 17, 2008

..the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever made. And that’s really saying something. From recent memory, you may recall my Ghetto Yarn Swift. And a lot of you saw the neo-romantic nightmare of a bathroom in my trailer, complete with victorian crimson walls, tiles, and an angel motif. *shudder* This is pretty goofy though–

I look sorta like an X-Men character and my super power is turning into Cookie Monster. The idea was to have cozy mittens to wear in my chilly house that didn’t impede my typing. For this they actually work fairly well. Being palmless, my hand is also not completely useless with the mouse. Now I am the envy of the cats–grippy skin on the underside like them, but with opposable thumbs! Beat that kitties! …

…Or just plant your ass on the hama beads. Touché, Mitu, touché.

Having gotten some sleep..

October 15, 2008

..morning deliveries notwithstanding..Ugh. Here are pictures from Nyssa’s birthday!

Nyssa grinning in anticipation of trying her bike.

James is good at this. 🙂

I swear, they did manage to be upright at times.

Victory strut.


Birthday lunch–PBJ on white and mac and cheese!

Looks cute enough, but it was a Tesco cake. British supermarket cakes are dry as sawdust. I’ve done this a few times. Even M&S is sub-par. It’s not even like I expect the fantastic shortening-laden creations from back home. After a few years of break from making those insane theme cakes it seems I’ll have to get back in the kitchen, so to speak.

Birthday battle. Battle is a recurring theme in my house 😛

It appears I didn’t really take many photos of her birthday. In a way that’s a good thing–it means things were low key. We’ve all been after that lately.

A few other things..

Harvesting potatoes at the farm yesterday. Kids did good, even with the midgies biting. I’m so itchy today! On the recommendation of Kosmick, Skin So Soft is in the mail!

Tubby cat a tub.

James wasn’t home last night, so I made a classic–tuna casserole. Nyssa was less than impressed. Joseph it ate it all up. I ate the cheesy topping :P.

Mittens posing with my new yarn. I ordered some Christmas crafty presents for Nyssa and Mirasol’s (fair trade!) baby alpaca yarn was deeply discounted. I couldn’t resist, as Grandma R had indicated that it was that sort of fibre that made James’ scarf she made so lovely. I have just a skein of each, so they will probably end up as fingerless mittens or something.** it turns out, Miski is baby llama. How funny that I didn’t notice *boggle*

Poor Nyssa. I think she’s getting sick. The other day she finally decided what to get with her Amazon money (thank you Grandma MK!) and it came today, but she can’t dredge up the energy to be excited and complains of feeling depressed. A combination of missing James and not feeling well, I think. I’ve got a killer headache myself. Why am I sitting at the computer then? The sunshine is warming this spot, and I’ve got a sunsoaked kitty next to me.

Sale at Purlescence..

October 12, 2008

I’ve had some very pretty Rowan yarn sitting around that I got at a huge discount (as it’s discontinued, meh) and the weather getting cool has reminded me that perhaps something made out of it would be very nice.

I found the pattern Alpine in the Rowan 42 magazine, and was contemplating having to buy the thing (they always cost £11 or so) when I came across a link to the pattern for free on Ravelry! If you make it up, note that the last stitch on row 37 should be K1, not K2.

I’ve made up one of the triangles. I think the yarn works rather well, though to get what I’ve worked out the measurements to be, I knitted 4 fewer rows. Shall see how it ends up fitting.

After doing one section on straight needles, my wrists were dying. A combination of too much typing, gardening, and such is just too much for the puny things, and the only 10mm circular needles I have are 1. much too short and 2. MIA. The UK lux knitting webshop Purlescence happened to have a sale on needles, so I picked up a few sets..

Some indian rosewood Colonials, 10mm

Coconut palm Lantern Moons, 12mm.

I got some 10mm dpns as well, as I’m always wishing I had some, some bag handles, a couple buttons..

A few other things..

Mitu shares my feelings about the news recently..

Gratuitous paw shot

We’ve tried to make Mittens any number of bespoke beds. This is what he goes for *sigh*

Or this, aw

The couch is also a part-time venue for war-making. *sighsighsigh*

That would be before they rounded up the pillows and all chaos ensued. This would be the real reason I try to keep non-essential items in the living room to a minimum.

Where’s the Nikwax??

October 10, 2008

I don’t know if you’ve noticed in the sidebar, but there now a link to a little blog I keep for my garden. It’s where I indulge my need to post pictures of robins and roses and suchlike. I made a post detailing the things I ordered from a nursery a week or two ago. Anyway, point is, they all came today. The weather was not good. Very windy in the AM and very rainy in the PM. Before the weather switched over to the afternoon’s downpour I went outside to try to get some of them in the ground. I started with the items going along the perimeter of the house, which was probably a mistake. For some reason, someone thought it a brilliant plan to put 6 inches of pokey red rocks all around the house, even in areas obviously meant for plant bedding. Rocks are not good mulch, even crappier as soil! Also, as the garden hadn’t been tended for a while, there were many stubborn things to be uprooted. We now have several square feet of dirt where I pulled out things that had invaded the lawn. I like naturalized gardens, so long as everyone knows their place! I also found yet another random pipe coming out of the ground. Nobody knows anything about the workings and history of this house as it’s so old so there’s no chance of my knowing if it’s important or not. I managed to get in the salix (mini pussy willow!), the two jasmines, and the australian mint bush (smells gorgeous, truly). I was wet, but doing alright until the rain soaked through my army coat (stupid me, not having waterproofed it..) and water dripped down my soaked hair and into my eyes. I started to dig up more rocks but finally admitted to myself that I had probably best go inside. I tend to get a bit obsessively focused on things, sometimes ignoring good sense (people who know me are probably pointing and laughing :P). So I sheltered the remaining plants reasonably, and gave up for the day. I really hope the weather improves tomorrow. BBC weather is being a tease.

Joseph, my dear child, has developed some interesting Britain-specific quirks. I found him a couple hours ago sitting on the couch with a dozen or so stuffed animals watching Mock the Week, one of the UK’s more cynical current events quizcoms.

So, I have some photos. I may as well post Nyssa’s birthday pictures separately, as there are quite a lot.

In a bid to save money and make Jamie proud I redid an old purse that was missing its handle. I love the tacky owls ever so much. The handle is also in that fabric.

The new stripes in my hair. The lady didn’t want to lighten my hair all at once, so she’s going to do a few sessions of highlighting. That would be the reason for the evil blonde. I dunno, now that it’s got a weird red in it, I don’t hate it nearly so much. My hair is finally growing out as well. The ladies said my hair was a such good shape. I had to laugh. It’s because I never style it and don’t wash it any more than I absolutely have to. It’s nice that there are *some* areas of life where the path to health is laziness.

This just makes me happy. Organized gift wrapping stuff.

Last week we went to the zoo! Joseph took our pictures. Not bad! This is the first time I hauled out the winter coat this season.

What’s this? What poor little thing is the losingest animal today?


In the education building. Hmm..

A homeschool mum was nice enough to organize a talk for us on the Budongo chimpanzees and the local villagers.

Carrying things on your head is harder than it looks.

Aw…a stuffed penguin is extra pathetic.

Maybe he misses his friend.

I wonder what he’s thinking about. I find it interesting that he puts his hands between his knees when he lays on his side as I do.

This is a nifty sculpture.

They have just one polar bear.

I heard an enormous amount of screeching and thought the chimpanzees were running riot. Turns out a bunch of kids from a primary school had turned up at the playground. At one point a chimp, who was in the cage adjacent, did come up and yell at them in a ‘hey you kids, get off the lawn!’ sort of way. The photo above is telling. If *Nyssa* thinks people are being too loud…hehe.

Gorgeous male leopard. His spots are visible in the sunlight.

I just don’t know what to make of this. The poor cat was obviously stressed, as he was pacing back and forth endlessly.

That said, they are in a desperate situation. There have got to be some in captivity with those numbers to ensure that they aren’t lost forever.

Another beautiful cat.

Badgerbadgerbadgerbadger…this little guy was so hard to photograph! He just trots and trots all about.

I had never seen a Pallas Cat before. He is just completely charming!

He was even obliging enough to wash his little face while I was watching. He is terribly covetable, I must admit.

A fairly excellent facial expression.

Jamie loves lemurs. We found him a wee one in the gift shop on the way out.

He has such a fascinating face. OK OK, I realize my commentary is lame. I’m no Attenborough. Moving right along..

On the train home, we had to stop for a while on the bridge. That’s always fun. At least I had the leisure to get some pictures of the road bridge.

On Tuesday we went to help at Pillars. Our chore this week was a most excellent one-we got to harvest the rest of the cucumbers and tear down the plants. The kids were very pleased to get to take a few home.

I do so love polytunnels.

I also like an excuse to pass an afternoon in an army jacket, garden gloves, and a weird hat.

I covet this house and its climbing maple-looking plant.

Joseph designed, built, and painted a really fantastic lightsaber. Does this mean I don’t have to buy him one for his birthday? 😉

My hopelessly spoilt cats–I’ve made them beds next to me at the computer. Well, it makes them so happy! And I have no shame when it comes to my kitties.

Fringe ’08

September 29, 2008

As promised, I’ve been trying to catch up with the summer’s photos. I’ve become one of those annoying touristy people, always snapping pictures of things (albeit strange things usually), but I’ve found that if I take a picture I’m much more likely to remember some commentary on the lives we lead. I could scribble notes, but they get lost. And let’s be honest..photoless posts are a lot more tedious to read.

So, our first show of the season was a Star Wars-themed drama workshop for Joseph. He thought that was quite grand, so well done me. He generally gives me that ‘no thank you’ with the hopeful ‘please don’t force me to do this’ expression on his face when I suggest drama activities.

Then, once we managed finally to find the venue (a most awful little box constructed in a parking lot), we saw A History of Scotland in 60 Minutes or less, which was really really brilliant. The cast is just charming. I never would have thought of so many prop uses for a crappy Argos rolling clothing rail. We then found the next venue. The kids didn’t mind waiting, the reason for which you can see below:

There were bins of candy. Freee candeeeee.

The show itself was a sort of experimental dark comedy for children called ‘Shut Up Stupid.’ I thought, from the description, that it was going to be a semi-educational show that focused on the naughtier side of linguistics. It was, er, not. It was a play about a fantastically, violently dysfunctional couple. There were a lot of parents sort of looking around a few minutes into it, wondering if we were indeed in the right place. Now, I’m not one to talk down to kids, but I do believe certain forms of humour evolve at certain ages and wasn’t sure the kids would like it. They appreciated the absurdist elements, predictably, and had a good time so fair enough I suppose.

Our last show was Bale de Rua, a dance show put on by a couple dozen men and one female from Brazil.

Quite the venue.

Nyssa reveling in the rain.

It was fantastic. Joseph initially was really upset by the loud drumming and I hoped and hoped I could convince him to tolerate it, because Nyssa and I were really enjoying ourselves. The performance included elements of samba, hip hop, capoiera, break dance, interpretive dance, etc. etc. The following two videos are ones I found on Youtube of the group from their tour in Paris. The last one shows the opening number as we saw it in Edinburgh. Granted, it’s a crappy audience member video, but the music and smiling dancers make me quite happy, and the troupe in their trilbies and white suit jackets are quite, quite attractive.

Our next day in Edinburgh was less successful. We had a great deal of flooding in Scotland this summer, and this was Edinburgh’s day for it. This is a shot of the tracks I got on the way home:

The flooded tracks meant we got into and out of the station at a crawl, and we managed to miss Nyssa’s drama workshop, boo. We did have just enough time before the next show to run to Cafe Nero where the most notable occurrence was my not seeing the ‘no debit or credit cards’ sign and having to go find an ATM to pay for my coffee. We hustled to see the drama class’ proper adult theatre company put on a Star Wars-themed showing of Rapunzel. Honestly, it was painful. I didn’t know it was possible to mangle an American accent so badly, but there it was, plus bonus bravado. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if they hadn’t taken away my coffee.. In any case, the kids adored it, so I suppose it was worth going. I can’t remember what we did for the rest of the day, but I imagine it involved warm drinks and indoor activities. We tried to get a pre-rush hour train home, knowing how awful getting out of the city was going to be, and did succeed in getting home at a reasonable time.

The next week our day to Edinburgh was sort of a wash..sort of literally. My public transport alarms should have gone off as soon as we got on the bus:

Your eyes are not deceiving you..the floor of the bus, the first run of the day, is flooded. I should have known better. I told the driver I had heard that there was flooding on the way to Ladybank, where we were to catch the train. He said he hadn’t tried it yet. *sigh* So I paid him the money and we were off. A couple miles out and we practically needed oars.

At least Nyssa enjoyed the huge sprays of water hitting the window. Goof. We did make it to Ladybank. The bus pulled away, and we made our way to the station. We got as far as the parking lot when a Scotrail lady came and told us that there would be no trains. The way north to Dundee is flooded and there has been a landslide on the way south to Markinch. FFS. So we went to see about catching the bus to Edinburgh. We waited a couple hours until we were finally informed by those cripplingly uninformed people at Traveline that no buses would be coming either. We waited for a bus back home. We waited and waited. We dinked around in a town with only a corner shop to its name for a couple hours until we were informed that there wouldn’t even be any buses back home. How they managed to get us there in the first place was some great mystery to them. So, I grudgingly paid the £20 or so to get a taxi all the way back. I was a lovely storm cloud walking in the front door.

I was really disappointed because we had the kids’ expensive circus skills workshop booked, Nyssa and I were going to see Hair, Joseph and James were going to see some kid-oriented standup comedy, and then James was going to see a talk by one of his favourite authors, Iain M. Banks. Hoping I could salvage something, I rang around and around, trying to get a hold of someone at the circus company. They were kind enough to let me use the tickets for the next day’s workshops. Hooray! So I penciled in some other shows the kids and I could go to afterward and we tried once more to get into Edinburgh.

This time we were successful, on time even! It required my first navigation via Edinburgh’s city buses, and that wasn’t any trouble either. For the circus workshop we had to go to a Scout Camp on the edge of town.

Some definite contrast in scenery.

And now for some skills!

(I love the smile on his face!)

Joseph was really hesitant to come and try this stuff, but he put on his bravest face and he did it! He can be his own worst enemy at times and will cripple himself with self-doubt. Sometimes we have to be really mean and push him fairly forcefully, but so far he’s had no regrets and has more reasons to be confident. Fingers crossed that this sort of parenting doesn’t land him in therapy later..:P

The next show is something I picked because it was at the right time and looked intriguing. It is called Wheels of Life and is comprised of fantastical machines made by eccentric Russian sculptor Eduard Bersudsky (creator of the Millenium Clock Tower in Edinburgh’s Royal Museum) which are choreographed by Tatyana Jakovsyaka to sounds and music that is vintage, charming, frenetic, old worldly, at times a bit frightening.

Please, please look through this gallery and the other collections to see his ‘kinemats’ (kinetic sculptures). If nothing else, you’ll never have seen more unique repurposing of old sewing machines.

I adore this kinemat, called ‘Self-portrait with Monkey’, who moved along to a gorgeous, husky Russian folk song.

Our next stop was a production of Seussical the Musical put on by kids from an American high school in Utah, of all places. They were quite wonderful, the boy who placed The Cat, in particular. Horton had a beautiful voice, and his little bird friend was adorable. We hung around afterwards to chat with them, give our grateful congratulations, etc. It’s sometimes just nice to see Americans en masse. Not too often, mind. 😉

This face makes all the trouble of making her happy worth it.

A few other random things we saw..

African children singing and dancing and drumming in Jenners. No, the irony wasn’t lost on me, thanks.

The Fringe wouldn’t be the same without silver 80s dancing guy.

A more familiar sight, though far, far from home.

I dunno, a double-decker bus with learner plates struck me as funny.

Two nice enough girls being accosted by some creepy man.

Meeting Francesca Simon, the author of Horrid Henry, Nyn’s favorite series of books.

A more modern take on Highland Dance at the Royal Museum.

The weekend of the book festival friend Kirsten was hugely kind enough to take Nyssa and Joseph to her house for the night so James and I, gasp, could do something grownup. So we did–we saw Rich Hall (who made fun of my coming from Idaho..which is really something as he comes from Montana, generally seen by us as the hick neighbors, but I digress) who I adore and Jimmy Carr, who was actually a bit obnoxiously offensive. I must be getting old. Particularly as we left early due to a guy behind us making life unbearable. Imagine the most grotesque, nightmarish snoring you’ve ever heard. Translate that into a laugh, plug it into an amp and sit right in front of it. It was either leave or get myself arrested for assault. Fortunately, we had a nightclub sort of event to go to in the very same building, bless. I danced for ages to vintagey music and James, er, drank Moscow Mules and watched all the very pretty people. After that we bought crepes from a street vendor and, oh my goodness, went to a hotel without kids in tow. I ordered a huge room service breakfast. Our now very funny-seeming end to our day was stopping into the Bank of Scotland museum. I took a long look at the big engraved chart showing its history of acquisitions and changings of hand, haha. I love morbid hindsight. James had wanted to visit for a while, so I suppose it’s good that he did before the place shut down. I can’t imagine they’re going to keep it open and rename it the Lloyds TSB Museum of Buying Up Scotland’s Fiscal Heritage…

Oh yes, on a slightly less dour note (sorta), James and I did hang out in the National Museum for a while. There was a special exhibition on life in the Arctic North. I took this picture of a picture to show the kids when they start whining about their chores:

Nyssa’s new room, random things

September 22, 2008

The situation of our house is a bit odd. Our house faces sideways, with a long pie-shaped garden to the front. We look out directly onto the Lomond Hills ahead, and to the right is farmland. At the bottom of the garden is park area with a burn (stream). This is the view when you walk back up the hill a bit and look off to the right.

Looking down at the stream. Our house would be sorta behind that. There’s quite a lot of water at the moment, no doubt from earlier flooding still draining into the Eden.

I did a lot of present wrapping this week. This is Mitu inspecting Nyssa’s birthday present haul from Mum and Dad and Joseph. Dad was so excited for her to have the Lego Hospital (the purple one) that that one’s already been opened, 7 or so days short of her bithday. Sillies.

Apparently I decided that buttons are excellent wrapping accessories. I do love them, I have to admit..

Also wrapped some things to send to the States, because Cody’s had his baby girl, aww. Hers is on the left–I’m not one to stick to baby wrapping paper convention, as you can see. Big brother also needed a present, I decided. Cody also needed a copy of The Twits in Scots. Hilarity!

I’ve discovered the merits of super glue as a lazy-ass alternative to proper measuring and sewing. This is a pencil box I made for Nyssa by glueing fabric onto a microwave popcorn box. Hehe.

Nyssa’s room was basically a box room for the first few months we’ve been in the house. I decided to completely gut it out and decorate it in her chosen style before she came home from her trip with the grandparents. Most cooperatively, Elvis was dressed in Hawaiian garb on the September calendar page.

Another button-fabric-super glue creation. I love the fabric. Nyssa’s already using it, which makes me happy.

If you couldn’t guess the theme already, here’s a big smack of tiki tiki. The Ikea shell light looks sort of insanely lit, not sure why. The butterfly lights are quite nice, actually. I need to stop using my phone’s camera. I was fairly proud of deconstructing the patio parasol and wrestling it back into the required 1/4 of its original size. The floor to ceiling curtains and very, er, bold.

More of that nifty fabric. Bonus hula bear.

This is by her door, so when she comes and goes she can be reminded of what a pretty girl she is. 🙂

This is quite pathetically sad. The blue and yellow smudge of feathers is from a blue tit flying at full tilt into my window this afternoon. I jumped up and saw the little guy in a pile of wings on the grass, shaking his head as though he had those cartoon stars circling above it. I ran outside to hopefully save him from a neighborhood cat-related death, but he had already flown away. Poor stoopy little thing, I can’t imagine the headache he must have.

Smitten with Robin

September 17, 2008

*A* robin, to be more precise.

I’ve been putting bulbs into the ground this week, and made a very charming little friend. This is probably same old to the British, but I was quite taken with how friendly this little guy was. I would dig out some ground, and as soon as I moved out of the way, he would come and find all the little insecty snacks I had dug up. The first time, I thought he just must not have seen me. I moved onto another bit of the garden, dug a bit, and sure enough there he was right behind me to snarf up more little bugs when I rested.

So, when I went in of course I looked him up on Wikipedia. I’m accustomed to the American robin, which is a completely different species. The article reads, “Well known to British and Irish gardeners, it is relatively unafraid of people and likes to come close when anyone is digging the soil, in order to look out for earthworms and other food freshly turned up; when the gardener stops for a break the robin might use the handle of the spade as a lookout point.” While my robin isn’t just smitten with me, it’s nice to know I haven’t lost my mind. 😉 If you ask me, this rather rotund little bird is much more charming than the robins of my American youth. Apparently he’ll hang around all year, and so being a sucker, I happily went online and bought him this:

Tom Chambers Rockin’ Robin Pitched Roof Nest Box

That’s right–I bought a house especially for one little bird in my garden. Well just look at him..


We’ve got lots of other birds in the garden as well. I can identify the (unfortunately named) blue tits, which are so pretty. There are some brown speckly birds, and some larger darkly colored birds that won’t sit still long enough for my near-sighted eyes to get a good look at. I’ve strategically placed a bird feeder just outside the living room window, so I’ll have to sit very quietly sometime with a bird identification book. For Robin I also bought a ground-feeding tray so perhaps they’ll hang about there as well.

I’ve been having what for me are almost heretical thoughts–I’m now not nearly so keen for the neighborhood cats to come visiting and potentially abusing my little birdies. That’s a new one for me.

Speaking of cats, I’ve been amusing myself this afternoon by pulling the bird sound .mp3s off this site. My cats find them very, very confusing. Poor things, it really is sort of a mean tease, particularly since I’m also encouraging birds to flutter about just outside our windows.

Crieff and suchlike

September 9, 2008

The kids’ grandparents were nice enough to let James and I tag along on their holidays with the kids. We weren’t able to go for more than a couple days, due to James’ work and Joseph’s prescription fiasco (still don’t have it, btw), but it was nifty to get out of town.

The place we stayed in Crieff was something else. It was the tower flat in the St. Ninian’s church conversion (see link)–that’s right; for two days I had a tower! Buahahahaha. I did plot mightily the myriad ways I could use such a lair. I need one now.


My superstar in front of the building. They had a trippy color-changing LED light thing. Was very tacky and cool.

Window and chair in our bedroom.

A feature I was NOT impressed with. Why am I gasping? Forget that this was a wetroom and all the unpleasantness that entails–this window, beautiful though it was, did not block people from outside peeking in from the bedroom. If you’ve lived with James, you’ll know why this is neurosis-inducing. If you look carefully, you’ll see not one, but two naughty faces depriving me of privacy. I’m not impressed with Joseph for succumbing to James’ teachings.

Nyn enjoying the trippy tower.

On the road to Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest ‘mountain’.

I’m not sure what I was doing, probably grinning and saying, “Whaaaaaat?” I’ve been overly fond of photographing James since the beard went (YAYAYAYAY). He doesn’t share my enthusiasm.

On the gondola. Aint he cute? I can see why he’s a bit paranoid people will think he’s a lot younger. Maybe it’s my age, but I have no sympathy. Only, as evident in the picture, an apparent inability to keep my hat on my head.

The view from the top. Have to say, this sort of scenery doesn’t do anything for me. In fact, apart from farmland and forests, not much about the Scottish scenery is that exciting to me, visually. I think I’ve sussed it out–it’s the color scheme. I don’t like yellowed greens. I really really don’t. They remind of things that are unpleasant. It occurs to me now the reason perhaps that those strange sort of colors always end up in Rowan tweed yarns. The air is also fairly oppressive–for the most part there’s a sort of haze that washes out the color, at least to my eyes. It’s like I’ve not seen anything clearly since I moved abroad. Yes I’ve had my eyes checked. Yes, I’m also probably overstating the point. It just makes me happier still with our house, as our view is over stone walls and wheat fields and trees that are dark green for the most part. The rain and haze just make them more picturesque.

I think the gondola workings are pretty interesting to look at. Thinking about it detachedly helps me forget that I’m about to willingly step onto a glorified zip wire.

Neener neener.

My lazy, surly kids. Hehe.

Jamie’s cunning new way to torment and confuse monitor the cats when we’re not at home: the USB Missile Launcher with Integrated Spyscope Webcam. He can log into it remotely from anywhere he has an internet connection. I’ll let your imaginations run wild. Poor kitties.

The kids are now in Nairn with the grandparents, hopefully having seen porpoises yesterday! I’d be jealous, except that I know how windy and cold it probably is out on the water. I’m such a wimp.

Friday I’ll be going with Kosmic (more interesting than just K, and she’ll surely know I’m talking about her, buaha) to the Learning Without Limits conference. They’ve managed to snag John Taylor Gatto as keynote speaker, which is quite something. It also means there’s been a lot of interest outside our little homeschooler network. Have I actually read Dumbing Us Down…, etc.? No, but I can appreciate reputation I suppose. It will also be funny to see the mommy worship. Should make cheeky fandom t-shirts or something. Pfft.

Other than that, not really doing much. When the weather is nice I work in the garden, and when it’s not I work on gutting Nyssa’s room. Ugh. Speaking of Nyn, I’ve taken delivery of most of the presents we’ll be giving her:

She’s still got a CD player coming as well as a few other small things, along with all the mountains of things she gets from her adoring family. Is she not utterly spoilt? The Sylvanian set is actually very, very cute. It’s from the Japanese range and is a little house with a cafe on the front. Sort of ideal for her, really. Also got her a little juice bar, a teeny sewing machine, a wee bureau..hee hee. I do wonder how much of this is my living vicariously through Nyn the childhood with all the toys I would have wanted…ah well.

Speaking also of gardening, I plucked a pretty orange flower the other day and wondered what else I might come up with for a bouquet. I was quite impressed at the variety of things I found!


September 4, 2008

I have a very hedonistic love for raspberries and variants thereof. When we moved in I did a sweep of the garden to see if I was lucky enough to have some already growing, but was disappointed. Yesterday I was wandering along the hedge inspecting some rather odd things growing out of it. There are some very exotic flowers that have managed to grow up through the hedge and poke their heads out about 8 feet off the ground. I followed ’round to the street side and was astounded to see this:

There are blackberries growing out of the top of a 10 foot hedge, the fruit dangling tauntingly just out of reach! I fully intend to squirm my way into the hedge to extract them intact. What a world..

Some other things from the last couple days of no kids around..

I always enjoy seeing this sort of thing out my front window. This is our first ever lawnmower, btw. Awwww. It’s a Bosch, but it was 60 quid, but it’s Bosch, but it was freaking 60 quid…this goes through my brain when trying to reason how long this thing is meant to last. Our lawn was totally overgrown, and when I told James to go get the huge Tub Trug to help him gather the grass, he was confident that it wouldn’t be needed. Ha, fool. Or, ha, grownup boy who never had to rake a lawn. Hehe. About three passes across the lawn and the thing needed emptied. And also dug out with a stick. 60 quid mower doesn’t like 10″ high grass.

One side is a perfectly respectable but BORING tomato and olive. The other is my newest sensation: beans on toast pizza. And don’t you dump shredded cheddar on your beans and toast? Yeshhh. James mocked me. And then wanted my pizza. Ha.

I cleaned out my candy box and consolidated it into a box about 12″X18″. Don’t be fooled by scale–those red hots, twizzlers, sour patch kids, etc. are the mammoth sizes. I am a spoilt ex-pat.

I have fantastically nice American in-laws. One night soon I’ll make fries with ranch sauce and root beer floats and watch major league baseball. Woo!