Sunday, April 30, 2006

Good news, bad news

    Good news: I looked great in my vintage, 40s inspired dress from Armstrongs my volleyball night out.
    Bad news: I had to hobble home, finally taking off my sexy new wedge shoes. (See blog New shoes and my dilemma, 07/04/06.) Damn things.

    Good news: I won an award.
    Bad news: I won an award for being a dick by bring chocolate covered macadamia nuts to share at a training session when Best Volleyball Pal (BVP) is highly allergic to nuts (enough to have an anaphylactic shock if around the right nut).

    Good news: Only paid £20 for dinner, three courses and drinks.
    Bad news: It was a shit meal.

    Good news: Went back to my coach's huge flat for drinks -- free!
    Bad news: Aforementioned BVP nearly gets killed again when dicks don't realise that eating peanuts around her is not cool.

    Bad news: No ATMs have any money and I can't take a taxi home.
    Good news:Don't once get harassed walking home, with a guy even offering to carry me on his back!

    Good news: My team's dream coaching candidate has announced that he IS going to be our coach next season.
    Double good news: He wants to have a one-setter system!
    Bad news: I'm not the setter. I could cry.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Heatwave, and other anomolies

This is me turning British: Man, it was hot yesterday. I was sweating as I walked to get the dogs (and it has nothing to do being fat, thanks) and had to take my coat off several times. The sun was shining and it was really nice. As I am now turning British, I am obsessing about the weather and counting and looking forward to every sunny day, like a crack addict looking for her next hit. The weather is the only topic of conversation you can have with a total stranger -- please know that visiting Americans. You may not speak unless it is about the weather: how crap it is, how lovely it is, how "not bad" it is, how it's been worse this time of year. Even to ask for directions. Yesterday, in the land of the United Kingdom, it was a heatwave.

Now here's me still American: get a hold of yourself people, it was not that damn hot. Temperature yesterday: 15° Celsius. And in real measurement: 59°F. There are some people in the States that won't even leave their beds if it's 59! I mean, people were going crazy. The Meadows was chock-a-block with people yesterday. But that's on the student side of town (and where Boy works). I don't know how many damn Frisbees I saw out, sailing through the air. And people with shorts and shit. One girl even had the nerve to only have her sports bra on. Bitch, please!

On my side of town, things were a little more reserved:

Another way I'm still American: I have an afflnity for American flicks. I have to see them even more now that I did while living back there. I miss hearing a wonky American accent and sometimes I need (bad) American jokes. Plus, it's the only way I get to hear any Black people's voices. Yesterday was 16 Blocks. I would have probably never gone if living in the US. The alcoholic drunk thing with crazy, yammering pest of a Black sidekick? Liked it the first time when it was called 48 Hours (yeh baby, I'm going back!). We were supposed to see Junebug, but my heart told me I needed something... less. If 16 Blocks were on a bell curve, 100 being average and standard, it would get a 105 or 110. The other thing weird about the cinema experience here is that people don't whoop and clap. To get a unified guffaw is a lot. I embarrassed myself (and the Boy) by whooping at one bit of the film. Which bit, I don't remember. That tells you what kind of film it was: entertaining, but entirely forgettable.

Pet walked me two-thirds of the way to hip-hop dance class. On the way, we called in at Valvona and Crolla, this shop stocking food from Italy. It's the only place to buy provolone cheese. It also the only place to buy sourdough bread, and as Pet is from the West Coast, this was a big find for her. Not just sourdough, but SAN FRANCISCO sourdough.

Unfortunately, there was none left when we arrived. I didn't tell her this at time, (but as she reads this, she will soon learn) I'm a bit dubious about anything that claims to be American and you have to be doubly dubious if it claims to be something from a specific place in the States. I mean, they can't even realise that bison don't go to the ATL (unless they're into rap), so how can they get our food right? I've tasted many an "American" food product over here and they are all shite. AB-solutely, every single one of them. Shite. But hey, good luck on the sourdough Pet!

Tonight is Jets' big night out and awards night. We are all dressing up and having an Italian meal. But its all a pretence, as the real point is to get hammered big time. Why don't we just wear our jeans so it's easier to when we have to bend down to vomit? Anyway, I've got this fantastic dress from Armstrongs', the vintage dress shop. Here's my rule of thumb when shopping vintage (shopping period): looks good on hanger - looks crap on me; looks crap on hanger - looking great on me. Actually, it's what I live by. Anyway, this dress looked like pure shit on the hanger, but I gave it a go. It has a very 40s, glam feel to it. I feel like Veronica Lake in it - v curvy. I'll wear the sexy black shoes and I'm hot baby!

People, this is my 100th blog. Thanks to all who've read all 100 -- you're MAD!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Say and Play

First, I've finally finished assembling and commenting on my pictures from the Yorkshire weekend. Click here to see the slideshow.


Let's play "Say Then Play". I'll show you a British word (actually, I think these are all Scottish, but I'm not entirely sure). You try to say it, then listen to my pronouncation to see if you're right. We'll start with an easy one -- it's the name of a restaurant on the Southside that services nice Scottish fare:


You might have been able to get that one. It's quite easy. Try this one, a girl's name:


Now try another girl's name:


You won't see that one coming. Well, this one might throw you as well, the name of a a mainly pedestrianised avenue and one of main streets for shopping in Glasgow:

    Sauchiehall Street

(The first picture shows Sauchiehall Street, circa 1890; the other is modern-day Sauchiehall Street.)

How are you doing so far? Well, two more. This one is the name of a neighbourhood in Edinburgh:


I've saved the best one for last my friends. If you get this, you should think about changing your citizenship. He's the leader of the Liberal Democrat political party:

    Sir Menzies Campbell

And here are the answers. Hope you had fun.

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The ill and the guilty

this is an audio post - click to play

Weird dreams

I rarely remember my dreams, so I have to share from last night.

I'm in a race, like an all-terrain type, fell-running thing. Except I'm wearing Doc Martens. Somehow, I pass everyone when we get to the uphill section. Then on the way back down, this girl from my volleyball team starts to gain ground and I only when by throwing one Doc Marten-shod foot over the finishing line. It was a very short course, but we were all running it like we it was a long distance course.

I also dreamt that I was in another race, this time properly attired. After the race, I hung out with this girl I went to uni with and that I have no contact with anymore.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dog-ological clock ticking

As I walked Sarah and Samantha along the Water of Leith, we came across this stray Jack Russell. It was so lovely and adorably gentle. I didn't see anyone looking for it and it had a collar with its address on it, so I decided to take it home. He wasn't keen to be on the lead, plus I like to have Sarah on the lead when walking along the road (she has been known to take off running after a motorbike or skateboarder) and I didn't think she'd fancy walking along this unknown dog. I didn't know how I was going to get this dog home. As he seemed really gentle and willing to come along with me, I decided to try to pick him up. It's not something I would recommend with unfamiliar dogs, especially if you have two, potentially jealous, bitches. But he let me do it and the girls didn't mind so much.

He was so lovely and warm against my body and offered very little resistance. He just wanted to be held. I was sad to have to give him back, especially since his owners didn't seem too bothered with his disappearance.

I've always wanted a wee dog. Not some obnoxious Paris Hilton-type rat-dog, but something like a Scottish terrier and preferably a boy. Scottish terriers are so cute, like little teddy bears. I love how they do this awkward waddle for a walk, kinda like a robot. And I have a name for my Scottish terrier: Rabbie.

I love Sarah and Samantha, so much that I can't imagine my life without them. They mean so much to me. But part of my wants my own dog, not just step-dogs. I want Boy and me's to have our own dog. Boy will be very upset reading this, as he hates the thought of anything taking the place of the girls. But I have to be true to myself! I want my own dog! Before the Boy and I get too old to have a puppy of our own. Then our life and family will be complete.


My friends, I heard some news last week that pleased me to the core. Now I have proof of it and I can reveal all:

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah. No more excuses people! You can come right here, without dicking around with a London flight.

I know I make you feel bad about not knowing much about British geography (or "jog-raphy", as they like to call it), but, as you can see in the picture, the British equally have no clue about America. Actually, a majority of Americans might not even realise what is wrong with the picture accompanying the words. Let me give you a hint: you're not going to see too many bison roaming downtown ATL. And that's not Stone Mountain in the background.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Scottish Plate finals, the abridged version

    Egg and bacon sarnie for brekkie.
    Girls nervous; feeling ok.
    Me, cappie, announced to the crowd, very cool.
    Bad first set.
    Shit second set.
    Leading in the third set 16-10.
    Boy arrives.
    Slid across the floor to retrieve ball, receiving burn in the process. (Looks worse than pic, or at least feels worse.)

    Bottle it and lose third set 20-25.
    Gutted, AB-sol-utely gutted.
    Received medal, no spoon. (Pictures do lie; I was not happy.)

    Lots of friends supporting.
    Feels nice, but loss is devestating.
    Shouted wildly at other match.
    Will lose voice tomorrow.
    And coming down with a cold.
    Throat on fire.
    Still gutted and feeling v emotional.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Losing my cool

Big game tomorrow. I have borrowed the video camera from school to film the game and you can see me in action. Purchased the appropriate cable to download said film and hopefully you'll see it soon. You'll have to wait a bit, cos I'll be furiously editing out my fuck-ups!

I'm terribly excited and terrifically terrified. I think the latter feeling is going to kick in much later. I'm packing a very nutritious lunch, à la my volleyball coach from high school, Mr Lacar. Tuna salad and cheese (couldn't get the provolone) on bagels are a must. Even when I smell the tuna salad, I think... volleyball. Also lots of fruit.

Volleyball Pal and I have hatched a plan to form a team for next month's volleyball tournament in Perth, about an hour or so north of Edinburgh. It's the biggest tournament in Scotland and, stupidly, they insist on playing the majority of it outside. Hello, it's Scotland and it will be pissing it down. I personally hate playing volleyball outside anyway. Usually outdoor volleyball is on the sand and I have always had issues with sand, even with living on a semitropical island as a child. But mostly, I hate outdoor cos players are too casual. Beginners are often encouraged to join in and it can be dangerous: I've been injured by new players who aren't sure what to do. Even with experienced players, form is dropped and all kinds of playing is seen -- double hits, lifts. Really annoying.

VP wants to camp out. I don't know if my old body can take it. I stayed in a B&B last year and want to do the same this year. I just think that with having to deal with playing outside, the lack of playing form, and the vast amount of encouraged drunkenness, sleeping on the floor of a tent is going to push me over the edge. And I can't stand the out-doing that is going to go on: "I've only slept 5 hours in 3 days!" "I drank 17 cans of lager last night!" "I haven't showered ever and I'm so minging!" Oh, just get a fucking life, you morons. Cos this did happened last year and cos these people are British. Your shit is irrelevant compared to theirs -- it can't be that bad for you, cos they've had it worse. And my coach is bad for that shit. Turtle was out for 2 weeks during the season with a chest infection. His response to her absence: "I don't understand it. I played with pneumonia once."

Watch this space, as I'll blog as soon as to let you know how the game went. I just know you're on the edge of your seat. If we don't win the Plate, maybe they'll send us home with a nice spoon. The winners of the Silver Spoon. Hmmmm...

Friday, April 21, 2006

How did I let it get this way?

I love your eyebrows. We'll call them Frida and Kahlo. If Brooke Shields married Groucho Marx their child would have your eyebrows!
-- The Princess Diaries

Left school today having to deal with first things first --


Looks like I'm trying to grow a second eyebrow under the first. My eyebrows are as bad as MiJa's.

Can't find my tweezers cos of the madness of the house and waxing can be a nightmare. It's hard to find a place here that can deal with whacked out Black-Hawaiian-Chinese brows. The first place I went was utterly forgettable. The second I went to here was the spa in the Balmoral. The Balmoral is the poshest hotel in the city -- Beyoncé stayed there in 2003 when she performed at the MTV Europe Music Awards. I don't have visions of grandeur (much). They were the only place that would see me without an appointment. While I waited, I sat in the "Relaxation Room" (Oooooo!) and the treatment girl was really nice and chatty. But the place didn't have change and I had to give her a fiver for a tip. It wasn't all that and I realised that less than a week later when my pet eyebrows grew back, more ferocious than ever. "Is that all you's got?" they snarled.

Thankfully, found a new place that's good, but no appointment for today. New tweezers were bought on Princes Street and managed not to buy any clothes! And all the new spring stuff is out too! Will get to work on them shortly, but they will take time. I'll probably need a break between brows.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Miracles and other British stories

TI's song "ASAP" sounded out from my mobile -- Boy's ringtone. It's meant to be ironic, as the Boy has no clue about doing things as soon as possible. Been talking to Rory the Mortgage Guy -- he says RtMG's name with our usual disdain (thinking about adding a Noo Yark 'pppt'-spit at the end of that). Rory didn't sound positive about the Valuation Dude's valuation. Remember, we were looking for £150K -- quite a feat, considering the flat selling above us, with better particulars, is looking for a £130K sale price.

And the valuation? A quite unbelievable, staggering and astounding £148,000. Just enough for us to remortgage everything -- the loan and mortgage. I shall say the obvious now: holy shit! Somebody musta had the biggest prayer chain going for us. Like Hands Across America for Their Mortgage.


Okay, this story in the Guardian from a few days ago amused me and I have to share it with you. The British National Party, a political party, is divided over the candidacy in a local election of one of their members, Sharif Abdel Gawad. Just imagine if the KKK had a political party in the US. Obviously, they wouldn't be able to go around burning crosses in lawns. But they would espouse completely racist ideology and policy. (Shit, aren't I just talking about the Bush administration?) Well, that's the BNP.

And the story gets better. See, the people at the top of the party realise that overt racist sentiments will not get them votes and they are trying to appeal to a general audience. They are the people who would say, "Some of my best house cleaners are Black!" However, down in the grassroots, they are old and racist and itching to put on their proverbial white hoods and burn some crosses. They don't want no coloured dude running for office under their name.

In Mr Gawad's defence, the party's issued statement says that he is a "totally assimilated Greek-Armenian". Well, he doesn't look like it to them (or to me either). Mr Gawad, you stupid, stupid man, it doesn't matter where you're from, you've got to know that you're just a towel-head to them.


The British try to act like they don't care about the movies and Hollywood and that they are above it, as they spend most of their time on their country estate walking about in their wellies with their spaniels (English scenario) or are too busy robbing some old pensioner of his last £3 (Scottish scenario), but they are just as celebrity mad here.

I don't want to give any more press to self-absorbed, unnaturally young-looking people (unless it is myself), but two people have just had a baby yesterday. And they have given it a sweet, slightly absurd Hollywood name, which the British will undoubtedly view with laughing contempt. Americans will poke fun at Southerners by calling them Bubba and the British do the same.

    Mock names for British white trash: Kevin or Tracy
    Mock names for posh English: Tarquin or India
    Mock names for Americans: Chip or Tad.
Don't think any American has meet anyone anywhere ever called Chip or Tad, but this is the idea that British have of us -- that we name our children after bits. I personally get a lot of praise for my name, much more here than in the US. This is mostly because Autumn means something, where in the US, it's just an alternative name for something else. It's like the word shag. It's really rude to use over here, but in the States, it's a weirdly jokey word. Shag, shag, shag. I'd like a shag. Doesn't mean a thing to you, does it? And neither does this: you bloody wanking tosser twat! (No, I don't want me to translate that.)

Anyway, back to celebrity babies and their names. So what is the media's response to it? Obviously, to issue (or reissue) their "Match the crazy baby name to their crazy celebrity parent" quiz. Some names are well known, as they are so bizarre, so downright wrong that we thought about calling Social Services -- Pilot Inspektor (usual in the fact that his parents spell like 4-year-olds) or Moxie Crimefighter, instantly spring to mind -- that it reduces the quiz to near pointlessness. Anyway, here's the Guardian's. I got 10 out of 10. This really has no reflection on me, merely indicating the effectiveness of the media.

Hubris? Stupidity?

I am so tired and I've only just arisen -- it's just turned 7 AM. I went to bed around 11.45 PM, the same time I would have gone to bed last week during my holiday. The only change is that I'm waking up two hours earlier. I know I shouldn't bargain with God, but I will anyway. God, if I make it though the day, I promise to give up crack. I'll never do the stuff again. Forget the fact I've never done the stuff, but I promise I'll never do it again. Ah, the sleep on the bus on the way home will be sooooooo nice.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Like an episode of the Simpsons

You know how they go (well, at least after Season 3 or 4). The intro scene or two only leads into the plot and has no bearing on the rest of the episode. So goes me now...

It's been a fucking big pain this floor sanding. I haven't cooked a decent meal in three days and I'm really yearning for -- shock, horror -- something good for me. The only thing I have to cook is the microwave and whatever they say about the microwave, ya can't cook shit in it. Baked potatoes, that's about it, and those have ran their course. The stupid floor is even causing a strain in my relationship. Boy and I rowed last night cos I did not show enough enthusiasm about the work he did on the floor (No, darling, really, it's LOVELY) -- it's pushing me over the edge.

We even forgot to buy the newspaper two days in a row and Friday and Saturday's the best Guardian days! (Monday's shite, save the Digested Read.) So I got online and put a wanted email for Saturday's edition. The next day, two nice people -- complete strangers -- replied and I managed to pick up Saturday's paper, albeit two days late.

And how in the world did I manage this? Freecycle. I love, love, lurve me some Freecycle. Here's the premise: you join an online group who's aim is to limit the amount of crap they put into landfills by offering their unwanted things to others. It's living up to the motto of one man's trash. All transactions must be free, so for a tightwad like me, it's really delightful. I managed to get a breadmaker by putting in a wanted email. First loaf was shit, but still, it was FREE. I managed to get rid of a TV, a screen and some frames, at least. But I have been stood up a few times by people promising to come and get something and not doing it. And I've done it too... I forgot to pick up the hot water bottle and I'm too embarrassed to contact the woman again. Free or not, it doesn't stop being from behaving like arseholes.

I was very Freecycle mad initially, but I've eased up a bit. And Freecycle isn't an exclusively Edinburgh thing. It's a movement around the world. Go to and you should find some info about your local group, if it does exist. If not, create one! Get some free crap and do something good for the earth. Go on, be crazy.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

My weekend adventures

It's my last weekend before going back to school after the two-week Easter holiday. I don't like being off from school too long -- it makes me not want to go back. The weekend's been filled, though.

Friday, I went to the Turkish Baths with friend, Pet. She had this idea that it might be similar to Roman baths, dunking yourself in progressively hotter baths and occasionally going to a cold one. No, but she wasn't far off. Instead of baths, we went from sauna to sauna, each one increasing in heat until we were in a steam room. There still was a cold pool to dunk yourselves in, though. Despite my father being a total sauna/steam room addict (I think he might have been the founding member of SSR Anonymous), I have never been in either one. Pet and I actually enjoyed the saunas quiet a lot -- made us nostalgic for warm US weather (she's from Cali). The steam room was another story for me. Pet wanted to do 10 minutes and somehow I did, but not a second more. I really wanted to fall out! Between each room, I tried to venture into the cold bath with limited success. The first time, I could only get my feet in. Then up to my thighs. Third time: up to shoulders. After the steam room, I managed to swim right the way across it. Oh, it felt lovely. Plus, after our session, I weighed myself. 11 stone, 3 pounds (154 pounds)! Wow. There's the entrance and the cold pool there.

This weekend marked the start of sanding the floors in the flat. It's a very popular thing to do in urban flats and does raise the value. The Boy and I have already done the hall and spare bedroom and were moving on to the kitchen. I was hoping to get the living room done, but as it is Sunday morning, quarter to eleven in the morning and I am blogging and he is just getting out of bed, I don't think so. The kitchen is huge and has an island kind of thing sticking out, making it more difficult to do a nice job. I do the prep work and the edges; Boy does the large sanding and gets all the glory. It's a job that we both hate to do, so we both get a bit pissy with each other.

Saw 'The Squid and the Whale' -- an incredibly disturbing film about the effects of divorce on a 1980s New York family. Jeff Daniels was brilliant as the selfish and self-centred father. Here's us on the bus at 9.20 trying to get to the Cameo for the 9.20 start. Generally, this is how we usually roll, really annoying me. The Boy's sussed out the British cinema experience, so he doesn't feel the need to hurry. They usually show 5-10 minutes of adverts -- like ones you would see on telly -- then film trailers. It gives us more time to come in late. However, this system fails if we don't pre-pay for tickets or the film is popular and all the seats have sold-out.

And night out with volleyball comrades, including Pet (cheesy grin). Yo's the one with the glass -- she's Espanish. The British girls were shocked when Pet admitted that she had to go to a speciality online site to buy an electrical kettle for her place in the States after the first time she lived here.
    "What do you to make tea then?" asked Turtle (on the left, with Macca).
    "Uh... get a stove-top kettle or boil the water in the microwave," said Pet.
    "God... " said Turtle, as if we said we washed our clothes on rocks in the nearby river.
Well, Americans drink coffee, not tea, so we all have coffee makers, which is a bit of a novelty here. Loads of drink and frivolity shared, nonetheless.

Make any comments on the following entry.

What am I doing here?

Everybody's changing and I don't feel the same...

I'm a bit tiddly. I apologise if things sound a bit funny. Tonight was the night of the team bonding session. It was lovely, though small. I got tiddly, as I don't drink very much. I'm at the point that I've had enough to drink to feel giddy and not sick. Good, I think. V pleasant.

Maybe you shouldn't ever come for a visit. I'm just saying this cos life here in Edinburgh is too much like England. Posh Edinburgh (and most are posh) peeps sound too much like English. You get nae chat from them, as it's been said. After our bonding session, we met one girl's boyfriend and friends at the pub. Their from Glasgow and properly Scottish. Not only do they have chat, but they like me. English (not really northern English) and posh Edinburgh don't, really. You'll meet many a Weegie that's been to the States -- more places than me. I've been taught many new words to add to 'British word of the week'. Sadly, I don't think I'll remember most of them and I think most are words that either mean 'to get drunk' or are sexual.

The Boy spent most of his day going back and forth from work and sanding the floor in the kitchen. I helped, honest. I did most of the prep work, removing nails and staples. I also did most of the initial edging. He did the real work, though, cos he's a man, baby. I don't think he was pleased about my night out, but v gracious, nonetheless.

I also took the dogs to the vet. Here are some pictures from our walk to the bus -- I'll show you later cos I can't be bothered to download them. I also rode home LISTENING TO MUSIC ON MY PHONE! I didnae think it would happen, but thanks to Roof'a, I bluetoothed. Currently listening to Keane, Everybody's Changing -- so melancholy and appropriate for a little drunk like me.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Bookcase problem solved

Talking to pal Roof'a (Hey muthafucka!) and she gave me a super idea about the bookcase: paint it a far-out colour. Far out colour choice: glossy red. This means the orange feature wall will have to be painted back to cream. Right, I shall do such thing. Supa idea, Roofs. Well, it seemed like it tonight at the pub. Maybe in the morning, I'll wake up and think, "What the fuck?"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My newest row, and other annoyances

My Easter holiday is nearly over and I've done nae wit it, as they say. My day revolves around certain points: the free "Brainteaser" online quiz at 1 pm, "60 Minute Makeover" (why there is no dash between 60 and minute, I do not know and it drives me mad) at 2 pm, the free "Deal or No Deal" online quiz at 4.15. Then there's dogs to be walked, blogs to be blogged, competitions to be entered, shite to be read and commented upon. How I work nearly full-time beats me.

Well, I have been trying to get a new lock for the downstairs storage cupboard, as I want to store Boy's bicycles (yes, he has two; I have none) there, instead of crowding my already crowded and tiny flat. But it can't be a padlock, as the last one was smashed off and the neighbour's even more expensive bike was stolen. It has to be a rim lock, but the last place I went didn't have the right size. Let me get this straight: you only have ONE size in rim locks? These are the days I yearn for Wal-Mart. Now I know you must have heard of Asda, the UK company Wal-Mart took over? And you think to yourself, "Girl, get over your damn self and get over to Asda." Well, let me tell you, Wal-Mart's usual diligence in stocking 18 separate varieties of one product has not been extended to Asda here. In short, Asda's equally shite.

The Boy can't wait for me to get back to work. No work = spending money. Tis true, I try not to, but I do. It also makes me realise what a state this flat is in and how much work needs doing to it. Which means I want to get rid of something or other, which really annoys him as well. The lastest idea: Get rid of the large 6-foot long bookcase in the sitting room (cos it does not match any of the other wooden furniture) and replace with wooden boxes screwed into the wall, creating a funky feature, as well as storage.

So this is the latest row: I want to have a big party for my 30th, as I might have expressed several times previously. And you should know then that I want a ceilidh. Well, he looked into booking the functional hall at his work (really nice place) -- only £120 for the entire night! Wow, what a terrific price. He thought so too, but balked at the potential price for the ceilidh band (£300). And he doesn't realise that we could save loads of money by not even having any food or drink -- we're in Scotland and everyone will bring their own drink and won't want any food. Am I the only one who thinks that's not too much money? Let me know with your comments and by voting in the new web poll. C'mon people, back me up.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Smoking ban update: 3 weeks on

It's been more than three weeks since the smoking ban took effect and I've gone out to a few boozers and seen for myself how people have been behaving. Happily, I can report that I've not seen one person smoking in a pub -- hurrah! I am so acclimated to this ban that I was having a hard time while on holiday in Yorkshire, where they don't have the ban. Why don't Yorkshire have the ban? Cos they're in ENGLAND, which is a different country from Scotland. (Pay attention people, there could be a quiz afterward.) I did, however, see two people get thrown out of places last week, but I'd only be speculating that they were thrown out for trying to smoke. Unfortunately, the rubbernecking did not yield any definitive answers.

Despite these two incidents, it's been reported that takings in pubs are UP since the ban started, contrary to what people believed would happen and contrary to what occurred in Ireland when they banned smoking. I think a reason for this is that analyst-people overestimated Scotland's interest in smoking. Really, smoking was a means to an end: the drink. And perhaps the many smokers who have decided to quit because of the ban are now drinking more to hold off the shakes. Either way, people have hugely underestimated what enormous alcoholics the Scottish really are.


Happy birthday to my Sissy who's turning 28 today. Hope you got my prezzie -- I really did send it off this time. Thinking about birthdays, I'm trying to do some planning for my 30th coming up in October. As previously stated, ornate, over-the-top, and ostentatious gifts (we'll shorten it to the 3 Os from now on) will be the order of the day. I've been looking at invitations cos I want to send out really nice ones to reflect the nice do I'm hoping to have. I think the Boy is slowly freaking out with the enormity of my plans. At least I'm not doing a Nicole Richie and wanting elephant rides and shit like that. Anyway, back to Dandoo... happy birthday, kid. Trust me, it only goes downhill from here. Just ask Boy.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My Sunday

Our ISP was down all day yesterday, so that's why I couldn't blog. I was going to send an audioblog, but my phone wouldn't co-operate. I actually think the Boy did something to the computer so that I couldn't access the internet, as he wanted us to spend the day cleaning. If you don't know my Boy, then you won't realise how absurd that statement is. He never wants to clean and tries very hard to avoid it. We are still bouncing around the idea of hiring a cleaner, for goodness sakes. But we have cleaned the house yesterday for a visitor... someone we've never met.

Today, between now and 11 AM (as I am sitting her in a camisole and drawers), some valuers are coming by to value the flat. We're remortgaging and there's very little that is more stressful than that -- and I've been through unemployment by me and Boy, a wedding and a transcontinental move and flat purchase, and moving my dogs here in less than three years, so I know about some bloody stress.

We want a valuation of £150,000 ($260K), cos at 90 per cent of that, that will completely cover the original mortgage and our payments will be £250 less a month. However, we will probably not get that. The guy upstairs is selling his place. When we met him on the stair Saturday, he said he was looking for £130K for us. He offered us a look in his flat. But nosey me has looked at the particulars online already. He's listed his flat, same size as ours, as a 3-bedroom. We have one bedroom and a bedroom/study, which is called a boxroom here; a boxroom is a bedroom that has no windows to the outside. So how can he have 3 and we only have 1 and a half? Well, he's on the top floor and in his boxroom, he installed a skylight. So there's a bedroom that we can't have (we're on the third floor here). And the other bedroom? He's made the living room a bedroom and the kitchen/diner into a kitchen/lounge. Very crafty.

So this guy, on paper, has a 3-bed and wants £130K. We have a 1-bed and want £150K. See how your little friends are screwed? Nevertheless, we will push on for it and we cleaned furiously yesterday. I've had multiple guests over, Boy's parents, and 20 people for Thanksgiving -- I still didn't clean has hard as I did for this valuer coming for, what, 10 minutes?
Pray for us. Put healing hands, feet, etc on us. Shoot, I think the Boy would do that, if it meant getting this remortgage.

Other notable Sunday endeavours:
  • Watched Arsenal lose to Manchester United. Double boo, cos love Arsenal and hate Man U. The British boys that I watched the game with (an Englishman, Scotsman, and a Northern Irish bloke) thought it was hilarious that an American was vehemently anti-Man Utd. If you don't know, they are the most popular Premiership football team in the US. I don't care. I'm a real fan. I support Leeds, who are Boy's local team, and if you support Leeds, you cannae support Manchester United. It's that simple. Plus Arsenal have Thierry Henry, who is cool, cool, cool.

  • As there was no computer to occupy my time, I spent the rest of the evening listening to music (the only thing my computer was good for without the internet connection). It took me back to my days in high school and university, sitting alone in my room and listening to the radio or tapes. (Or 8-tracks! Listen to me -- tapes. Crickey!) And my music choice was reflecting all of it. It was nice just being quiet for one night and I shall endeavour to do it more often.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Newest obsession: entering online competitions.

They are everywhere over here. Not only that, there's this money saving website that has a forum where people list competitions. I've spent the past two days trolling through it and entering every competition under the sun. The key is that you don't use your regular email address to sign up for the comp, cos then you'll be inundated with spam. If you want to set up a comp email address, I'll give you an invite to googlemail. Just email me.

Went to the sale room (aka, auction house to Americans; I don't think people call it that here) with Mil on Thursday as that is when they sell all their tat (picked up a laundry basket for dirty clothes for only £1). While there, we spied two dining sets that were nice and being sold in the Saturday sale.

The problem: I liked the table from the first set and the chairs from the second. After consulting Boy, we decided to go for the first set, as the table was a really nice, solid pine farmhouse-style and, although I hated the chairs, I could always cover them with fabric or paint them. The guy in the sales-room thought it might go for £60-£100 ($100-$180), so we set £100 as our limit.

Wish I could tell you that we won, but alas, no. Went for £150 ($260). I wasn't really bothered, like I said, I hated the chairs. They had this wicker thing going on that was a little too rustic for me.
The other set sold for £75 and while the bidding was slowing, the Boy was wildly waving for me to bid. I was reluctant to do so, even though loving the funky 1920s chairs cos I impulsively bought two of these chairs. They are called Edinburgh chairs, which I'm pretty sure are Victorian, and they were only £20 ($35) for the set! At least this way, we don't have to get rid of our old (well, really new, just had it a few months) Ikea table, have to find a mover to move the new table and chair, don't have to think about where to store the old table until someone bought it/came to get it, etc., etc. However, they are a bit knackered and Boy wasn't keen on them. Oops!

After the sale-room fun, we took the dogs for a walk to the beach in Portobello. The weather went hay-wire today. It was hailing, raining and snowing with gusts. Then, as we took our walk, it was beautiful. Crazy. The weather was mad. Any minute I thought I was going to see Moses say, "Pharaoh, let my people go, or I'll be sending the frogs next." Truly wild. Here's a picture (yes, Samantha was eating the sand, that's why her nose is covered in it):

Many entries ago, I told you about my mad Boy's plan to clean the world of litter. You might not remember it, but as it was so mad, I'm not sure how you could forget. He wanted to hire litter stalkers to follow litterers around for the day, picking up their rubbish. Then, at the end of the day, the litter stalkers would dump all the rubbish in their garden or on their doorstep, the idea that people would be shamed into not littering. Or know that it would always end up back with them. Today, my Boy had his first chance to try out this plan.

As we went for our Portobello walk, we saw this old man who was cleaning out his car throw two hubcap covers into the woods. The funny thing was was when he saw us walking by, he pretended not to be doing it and feigned a huge interest in a flowering tree. I mean, he knew it wasn't right! So, on the way back home, the Boy fished the hubcap covers from out of the woods and put them on the man's car. Hope it scares the hell out of that stupid old man.

I'm so proud of my Boy.

Friday, April 07, 2006

New shoes and my dilemma

In the past week, I've gotten six new pairs of shoes. Most of them I bought when I was in Leeds, but I bought these foxy ones here. You must give an Eartha Kitt-type growl when you see these:

I know that six pairs in a week is excessive. I do agree with you. And I barely have the room to hold them, but I assure you, (just about) every single one of them was needed. I bought these four in Leeds.

Top left: My annual brown strappy summer sandal - I will wear the hell out of these shoes until September.
Top right: My old hiking boot was falling apart and Fil, who knows about these things, says this was a good buy from TK Maxx.
Bottom left: My old knee high brown boots are looking shabby. These were £10 at Leeds Market.
Bottom right: Okay, no point in these peep toe wedges, but they are damned cute and half price from George (which is Asda, Wal-Mart in the UK).

They were all bargains, but I think while in Leeds and in my frenzied and addled shopping mind, I might have been a bit hasty. The peep toe wedge felt good in the shop, but I fear I won't last the whole day in it. Ever since the 2001 accident, elevated shoes have caused me problems. I hope that wedges are okay, but not always. I think the brown gladiator sandals might be pinching me on the pinky toe. And the knee high boots are too big, bordering on way, as are the hiking boots. Even the foxy black wedges are too big. The problem lies in that I am an 8½ in US sizes -- translating to a 6½ here. But sometimes they use continental sizes and I'm somewhere between a 40 and a 41, depending on the maker. Actually, 41 is too big, but 40 is usually too small. And they don't always carry UK-sized 6½ in the shops anyway. So it's either a size 6 or 7.

So I've shown you five new pairs, but I did say there were six, and here it is -- I love it.

And here in lies a bit of a dilemma. Mil came back to Edinburgh with us -- Fillee was off at a conference and she was going to be by herself. Boy bought her ticket, which I think made her feel really chuffed, knowing that we wanted her to visit. I enjoyed by trip. As much as I love Fillee (and I do, cos he's the only one in the family remotely like me -- openly affectionate -- and we have clicked since we first met), it was nice to have Mil on her own. I felt like we bonded during her short visit.

Thursday we went to the Portrait Gallery, had a nice lunch there and went shopping. I needed new pillows for the beds, a dust pan, and some measuring spoons. She needed some new shoes, as the ones she had were rubbing her Achilles raw. She has a brand she likes and there was luckily a shop in Edinburgh selling them. She was debating which pair she liked (she saw two red pairs), when the shoe above caught her eye. She tried it on and loved it. I admired it, then tried it on, as I've been feening for a pair of green trainers for ages, and these were so great and funky. I thought a blue pair might suit Mil more and she tried those on. And in the end, she bought the two red pairs of shoes she was mulling over, the blue pair (like the ones above) AND my green pair.

Friends, I will not disclose the price, as they were a gift, but suffice to say, they were not dead cheap. I felt guilty for letting her buy them, but I did let her buy it anyway. Should I have protested more, put my foot down more? I mean, she's retired and not like she's making loads of money. And I don't want her to think that I want her visit solely for what she can buy me. I want her to visit because I like having her around. I have a feeling she's the type of person who shows her affection with presents. But I don't want her to go into debt for my sake.

Anyway, I decided to make it up by buying her some bowls she was admiring in Lakeland for her birthday. What do you think about it all?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

So much to say, so much to say

Sorry I've been away friends. Maybe in my absence, your heart has grown fonder? Can I hope such a thing?

Mil came back with us from Yorkshire. I left with the dogs three hours before Boy and Mil so that I could get to training. I raced home to clean the filthy flat the best I could before I rushed off to practice. Mil still spent most of her two days cleaning our flat. Sigh. How embarrassing.

So much has happened since we left that I could talk about: my trip, the shopping I've done, Mil's visit, bird flu that has infiltrated -- aye, bird flu is here and not very far from where I live (like 30 or so miles as the crow, if alive, would fly). But no, I will not talk about this, yet that is. I'm going to spend time compiling my photo albums so you can see what I've been up to.

Here's a little something to keep you going. It's interactive. Post your responses in the comments box (I think it should hold it). I don't really need to tell you to copy and paste this following section, putting your responses in, do I? Good, I didn't think so.

    Four jobs you have had in your life:
    1. teacher
    2. cashier at the BX
    3. "security guard" (who am I gonna keep out?)
    4. scribe/notetaker

    Four movies you would watch over and over:
    1. Roman Holiday
    2. Sabrina (the original)
    3. The Thomas Crown Affair (the remake -- it's always on some channel on the telly and I always watch it for some reason)
    4. The Breakfast Club

    Four places you have lived:
    1. Okinawa, Japan
    2. Durham, NC
    3. Triangle, VA
    4. Edinburgh, Scotland-land

    Four TV shows you love to watch:
    1. House
    2. QI (a UK quiz show not currently on)
    3. Match of the Day (football highlight show)
    4. Any sort of house makeover show

    Four places you have been on vacation:
    1. Hong Kong
    2. Cayman Islands
    3. Rome
    4. Hawaii

    Four web sites I visit daily:
    1. Myspace/Blogger (to do the same thing)
    2. Boondocks
    3. IMDb
    4. Fifa World Cup (trying to get tickets) or The Hunger Site (ok, it's six -- so what?)

    Four of my favourite foods:
    1. Dim sum
    2. Japanese food
    3. Tapas (Spanish version of dim sum)
    4. Mil's cooking

    Four places I would rather be right now:
    1. Barcelona
    2. On the beach/some place sunny and warm
    3. In bed
    4. In a restaurant, having a nice meal

    Four friends I am tagging that I think will respond.....
    1. You
    2. You
    3. You
    4. You?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Trip summary on the train home

I was going to call it 'Musings on the train home' but isn't musings such a friggin' pretentious word. C'mon -- I'm not the only one thinking this, am I?

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Still here

Still in Yorks, but have snuck away while the fam is watching some Harry Potter film to get here. I'm a friggin' crack addict and the blog is my crack, baby -- I can't handle a break!

Now at Mil's place with Fillee, Boy and Bil2 and his wife Sil and their sons, Zebedee, Dougal and Dylan. Actually had a really nice lunch and while Bil2 and Sil are doing the dishes, Boy and I are not. It's nice being the young marrieds of the family, as we can be completely irresponsible. Bil2 and Sil might actually be enjoying doing the dishes as it gets them away from their demon spawn, but that's another story...

I want you to know that I am safe and have not been made to do needless walks in the rain. The Boy did walk over the moor from Fil's place to Mil's place and I did not go with him as it was, surprise, surprise, pissing it down. Bad Wife Thing To Do #1. Bad Wife Thing To Do #2 as to be blog instead of hang out with fam, but we will ignore that, won't we?

And know things haven't been too bad. I'm manic when it comes to hanging out with family, or at least Boy's family. I think we are getting much more used to each other, so interactions are not as strained as I remember and portray. The comedy aspect is not there when I admit that I like my in-laws, which I really do.

As I am on Mil's PC with its cute little antiquated dial-up service, I am limited to what I can do. I have a few pictures that are amusing, but I don't think I'll be able to upload them until I get home. Until then, my friends...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Leeds City Centre

this is an audio post - click to play

You do the maths

It's 7.12 AM. We are not doing well. If you know anything about my Boy, do know this: he is not a morning person. Never has been and, unfortunately, probably never will be. Two problems: a) he married a morning person; b) he has good intentions. Plus we went to bed at 1.30 last night.

Because we are keen on seeing Grandma as soon as, he has booked the tickets for 8.30 AM. Yes, in a little more than an hour. We have to walk the dogs to the station, so they can have a bit of exercise before they have a 4-hour trip. He is also bringing his bike so that he and Fil can have a ride. No-one will be there to pick us up from the train station, so he will have to cycle the 5 or so miles to Grandma's house. And he never sleeps on the train.

So here's the equation:

Early train(Late night +Non-morning person) + No nap + 5-mile bike ride



But I'm no mathematician.