Saturday, 30 December 2006

2006 greatest hits

  • marrying Mark in Washington DC at the Tabard Inn
  • my bridal sushi & cupcake shower
  • 2 weeks in CA, Chicago & NY on honeymoon trail
  • Calistoga country & Carmel beach
  • celebrating with all my WI relatives
  • near and far familial wedding support
  • marrying Mark in Cambridge at King's College
  • dirty martinis
  • living in Edinburgh
  • our fab flat with conservatory and garden
  • Mark's glasses
  • the smell of malt in the Edinburgh air
  • smart, brave and funny clients
  • my dear old friends remaining just that (all of you)
  • my new friend Lexie becoming an old friend
  • my new new friends, especially to Pauline, Louise and Janet taking care of my social life and making me feel at home
  • my spouse visa
  • Crombie's sausages
  • Mark n Kat as neighbours
  • universe, Hudson's and SLB providing productive and not too painful employment
  • Valvona & Corolla pastries on Saturday morning
  • being married to Mark
  • being happy

Thank you for being a part of my wonderful year.

Here's to 2007!

Hollyrood Park Big Walk
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

3 not so wise men

I awoke with a start hearing Mark yell “F*** off, A********s” at 1:38 a.m. after being tucked in nice n snug since 10:30. Was I dreaming? This yelling came from outside! Had Mark gone OUT after I went to bed? WHA? I was very confused and a little scared.

Mark finally came back in to report that 3 drunken guys thought it was HILarious to piss all over our entryway, complete with Christmas lights. Ho Ho Ho- that is always a good one!

So Mark scared them off (my hero) and doused the entryway in bleach. And we are hoping for a good rainstorm.

Lesson learned to turn OFF the cheery Christmas lights before pubs close.

Sigh.

Monday, 18 December 2006

countdown

  1. Scotch pine tree- bought from Tree Empire on the corner near Tescos, decorated
  2. outside lights-hung, (the icicle ones were all that was left at B&Q)
  3. inside lights -hung in conservatory
  4. wreath-hung on door
  5. flower pots-now free of dead ones and have new greenery
  6. Christmas cake-made. brandy enriched. wafting nice odors into the home
  7. work night out - last week
  8. team dinner- to be complete with fajitas on Wednesday
  9. work days left-3
  10. gifts- bought/posted; cards- written/posted
  11. local-gifts nearly done
  12. cleaning to commence this week
  13. restaurant bookings for xmas lunch/nyeve complete
  14. nails- red
  15. husband back! exams complete (beard gone)
  16. fun awaiting

Friday, 15 December 2006

work night out


a few of the many fine and handsome folks I work with

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Ho Ho Iron Bru


Suddenly it is December and I am knee deep in Christmas thoughts.

Nigella had a cooking special on TV this week. Did you know that Brits totally make Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas? Traditional dinner is actually a giant roast turkey! Can you image an American making turkey again after the Thanksgiving day hoo ha? Granted, they roast potatoes and have that damned fruitcake and Christmas pudding and no pumpkin pie, but it still sniffs of similarity.

And, I have the bleedin’ “Santa Baby…. “ song stuck in my head. (Which admittedly, is better than “Super Freak” which lived there for days)

Maybe it is because Edinburgh is chock full of cutely decorated festive streets. And trees strewn with lights. And that nice German market. And has shops everywhere I walk. Or I am bored and the beast of commerce is alive and well in me. But, for me, it is all adding up to making lots of lists and my mind wandering wishing I had dough to blow on presents.

But the feeling is in the air. And is compounded by the onset of holiday parties, which begin TONIGHT. Suddenly people are online shopping at work without caring. The mood is lighter. People are more animated. And more tired.

My office is festive. Most departments have tinsel and little trees and load of chocolates everywhere. What a difference from the US, where it is all generic and PC Happy Holidays, with nary a Santa in sight.

Also, in the US, if you show up to work hung over, you don’t announce it. (Ok except maybe to your chums). Here every morning I hear at least 2 or 3 people chatting about how shattered they are and how late they were out, with an
Iron Bru (the Scotland hang-over soft drink of choice) in hand and a sausage roll in the other. It is just accepted that people will drink and play and go out and indulge. It is nice feeling actually. But also reminds me why alcoholism is a problem here. And is fine for me that Xmas is in my face – I like it! But if I were a non-believer or a really Bah Humbug, it would indeed bug me.

They have a commercial on TV here from MasterCard (US probably has it too) about all the people flying Home for the Holiday, with big welcome home scenes and fervent hugs in the airport arrivals, and how much each flight was… and of course the chance to spend time with family and friends is priceless. It does make me sad that I am not with my own nuclear family for the holiday. I am a bit home sick. We have lost what traditions we had and I'd like us to hold on to some of them... like all getting together more than once a decade.
But I also remember that I AM in a new family now… Mine & Mark’s. With a chance to start our own traditions and celebrate in our own way. And that will have to do. After all, I am host to my new parents-in-law this year. And we ain’t having turkey.
We are going out for Christmas lunch!

Saturday, 25 November 2006

carol's first céilidh


And that is pronounced "cailee" for your non Scots.

And I went to my first one last night at the Assembly Rooms on tony George Street with my pal Louise and a gang of her compadres.

One of the things I love most about living in Scotland is that it really does have a celebrated cultural identity... and one that they gladly share with visitors and new residents as well.

The closest thing I can compare the ceilidh to is like a line dancing/square dance/polka on steroids. And man, is it FUN!

You get spinned and twirled and crash into people and learn the steps as you go. It is a total hoot. AND many true Scots wear their kilts the way god intended, sans undies, so if a guy does a bit of an enthusiastic spin, you get a little show.

According to Wikipeida, a céilidh is actually the traditional Gaelic social dance in Ireland and Scotland. Before discos and nightclubs, there were céilidhs in most town and village halls on Friday or Saturday nights and are still common today. ( Hello, I went to one on a Friday night and it was packed!) Originally céilidhs facilitated courting and prospects of marriage for young people and, although discos and nightclubs have displaced céilidhs to a considerable extent, they are still an important and popular social outlet in rural parts of Ireland and Scotland, especially in the Gaelic-speaking west coast regions. Céilidhs are sometimes held on a smaller scale in private or public houses, for example in remote rural hinterlands and during busy festivals.

The formality of these can vary. Last night I saw girls in jeans and guys in full -stop head-to-toe highland wear. That's the fun is that you can came anyway you like! (I wore a skirt, although not as twilry as I'd like). It was great because you could easily not know a thing (hello, me) and still participate.

Céilidh music is provided by any assortment of fiddle, flute, tin whistle, accordion, bodhrán (which is like a drum.) The music is cheerful and lively, and the basic steps can be learned easily.

The general format of céilidh dancing is the "Set". A Set consists of four couples, with each pair facing another in a square or rectangular formation. Each couple exchanges position with the facing couple, and also facing couples exchange partners, while all the time keeping in step with the beat of the music.

However, about half of the dances in the modern Scots céilidh are couple dances performed in a ring. These can be performed by fixed couples or in the more sociable "progressive" manner, with the lady moving to the next gentleman in the ring at or near the end of each repetition of the steps.

Anyway, if any of you come to visit, it is a must. You sweat, you laugh, you spin and you feel like a kid. And there's beer. What could be better than that?

Friday, 24 November 2006

christmas is coming in Edinburgh





The lights came on last night... making it a different kind of Thanksgiving for me. Grateful, too.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

stealing from Kelly

In honour of her birthday and her fab blog.

I am a pinching koala and tree!
Find your own pose!

Sunday, 19 November 2006

highlights of the weekend



1) Daniel Craig both clothed and unclothed in Casino Royale

2) my home made creation of broccoli stilton soup

3) addition of the portable heater to the conservatory, making it nicely useable without wearing coats

4) dinner date with M Saturday night at the Outsider corner table with view of the castle

5) chilly enough to wear my green suede gloves

6) the Observer, the Sunday Herald, a new chick mag and a nice library book

7) No plans ALL DAY

8) AND I have one more day tomorrow!

Saturday, 18 November 2006

wille couldn't say it better

Up until now, most of my Scottish understanding has come from Willie the janitor on the Simpsons and Fat Bastard from Austin Powers.

But having real Scottish friends is giving me the real deal. The below is my litmus test to see how many years it takes me before I understand any of the below, shared by my pal Louise.

See how you do.

You know you are a true Scot if …

1. Ye can properly pronounce McConnochie, Ecclefechan, Milngavie,Sauchiehall St, St Enoch, Auchtermuchty and Aufurfuksake.

2.Ye actually like deep fried battered pizza fae the chippie.

3. Yer used tae four seasons in wan day.

4. Ye canna pass a chip/kebab shop withoot sleverin when yer blootert.

5. Ye kin fall about pished withoot spilling yer drink.

6. Ye see people wearin shell suits with burberry accessories –pure class!

7. Ye measure distance in minutes.

8. Ye kin understaun Rab C Nesbitt and know characters just like him, in yer ain family.

9. Ye go tae Saltcoats cos ye think it is like gaun tae the ocean.

10.Ye kin make hael sentences jist wae sweer wurds.

11. Ye know whit haggis is made ae and stull like eating it.

12. Somedy ye know his used a fitba schedule tae plan thur wedding day date

13. You've been at a wedding and fitba scores are announced in the Church/Chapel.

14. Ye urny surprised tae find curries, pizzas, kebabs, fish n chips,irn-bru, fags and nappies all in the wan shop.

15. Yer holiday home at the seaside has calor gas under it.

16. Ye know irn-bru is a hangover cure.

17. Ye learnt tae sweer afore ye learnt tae dae sums.

18. Ye actually understand this and yurr gonnae send it tae yer pals.

19. Finally, you are 100% Scot if you have ever said/heard these words;

how's it hingin

clatty boggin

cludgie

pished

get it up ye wee beasties

erse bandit

amurny away an bile

yer heid peely-wally

humphey backit

baw bag

dubble nugget

finally …

A wee Glesga wumman goes intae a butcher shop, where the butcher has just came oot the freezer, and is standing haunds ahint his back, with his erse aimed at an electric fire. The wee wumman checks oot the display case then asks, "Is that yer Ayrshire bacon?" "Naw," replies the butcher.

"It's jist ma haun's ah'm heatin'.

Monday, 13 November 2006

indeed

A nice message.
Especially for a Monday.
For even more for the fact that it came in the post.
On a pretty long sleeved blue t-shirt.
From Mary Jaffe.
That's her hand writing too!
She gets the press and the kudos as she is starting to make these fun shirts in a semi-professional way. They are whimsical and cute and the shirts feel nice. She gets even more props for taking her ideas and making something happen with them. I admire the her creativity and even more her follow-through. I can't wait to announce when you can buy these online... but if you are wanting more information, contact mary@charmingmaeve.com Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 12 November 2006

shorter, browner, better

This is how people forget their natural hair colour. Once again, I ventured to a new salon for a re-browning and a bit of a cut. Here's the result. I am oddly UN-bothered. Kicky and a bit sassier. Mostly I have lost the will to care too much. Glad to get the red out.

Besides just sharing my hair saga, this photo has an actual purpose.

It is going to be for my UK provisional driving licence. After 2 + years of driving with my white knuckles here, and making it up as I go, I have to bite it and take the test. Or should I say tests. Theory and practical. My US licence expires in January so I need to get the real deal here before that. It involves way more than you'd imagine and I may even take actual driving lessons here, which is what most folk do. I did the
math and I have been driving (wait for it) 22 years. Time to un-learn the bad habits and get back to Mr. Kedrowski's drivers ed mantra of keeping hands at 10 and 2. Except all on the other side of the road. Maybe even the motorway.

In other news, I am now officially working a 4-day week which I think may save my sanity and my life. I've only have one Monday so far and it was booked solid with coaching and the aforementioned hair. This week's Monday promises to be exclusively my own -- for books and a movie and the gym and catching up or shopping or all or none of those. Sigh. Shades of yesteryear.

It is hard to believe we have only been here 4 months. We are shoulder deep in life. Work, school, schedules, routines, go-to handlers sorted like acupuncturist, hair, dry cleaning, cobbler, butcher, florist, bakery, hardware store, manicures, gym, movie theaters, doctors. We need a dentist. But other than that, we know who and where we are. It is amazing how comforting that is to have sorted. In retrospect it took a lot of psychic energy to make our way. Now on to the next phase. Get to the things on my list that are more deeply connected to the future... not just running to keep up with the present. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 29 October 2006

from charming maeve

God bless Mary Jaffe and her keen understanding of the power of the Mary Jane and her keen sense of kindness.

I am modeling my Mary Jane slippers which I have not much taken off since she sent them to me a week ago. Ridiculously adorable and they make me disproportionally happy. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

sucked in

It seems as though my perspective has shifted. I remember when I first got to the UK and everything was new, interesting, a puzzle or an amusement to discover. Novel. Different. As was my approach to my new world order. I was curious, detached, thoughtful. I really enjoyed the sense of wonder and the view of myself as explorer and brave for taking on new life.

Hmmm. I find myself now after 2 years slipping back into not noticing things in the same way. I am being sucked in. Sucked down and reshaped. My world perspective is shrinking again. And I don’t like it. Old habits, comfortable patterns, smaller thinking.
Why do we only get really interested and curious about our world when we are on vacation or in new situations? After a while we filter out the new and readily trade it in for the familiar. Where we operate in autopilot. And comfort. We know what to expect and that’s what we get.

I am struggling a bit with the realignment with an actual job. With my new identity as worker. People ask what I do and I am not sure if I would say coach or marketing person. My self-notions are blurry. And that in itself is not familiar. Or comfortable.

I feel like I am getting the chance to right the wrongs of my former corporate life. Do it now in a new way. In a way that calls me forward with my whole self. I have a chance at reinventing and being called forth in an active way. Less safe then coaching from home on its own. More exposed. More tricky too. I now have to practice the balance I preach to clients. Exercising the same awareness and principles. It is cloudy from the inside. To keep my perspective of curious wonder.


And not drown.

Monday, 23 October 2006

teeth and lipstick

Pauline and me in coordinating tops at Tigerlily. Dirty martinis.  Posted by Picasa
Babs with fab crochet dress and pink alcohol at the George Street BE Seen bar Tigerlily Posted by Picasa
Glasses askew self portrait Posted by Picasa

modeling

the new grown up, seats 6 dining room table and the newly rebuilt conservatory. (which is already leaking) ... Mark & visiting Babs Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 19 October 2006

trying to master

Climbing down the stairs on the double decker bus while bus is in motion.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

big saturday

  1. we bought a new dining room table and 4 chairs! sturdy pine and the kind you want to read the paper on or linger over actual meal with potential to invite guests over. Charity shop 85 quid.
  2. custom made knee high boots for those whose calfs are, um, shapley. Or athletic! Glory be... just in time for those fall skirts. www.dioboots.com.
  3. these are reasons to keep working. I am afraid I have awoken the material giant who wants to own things again. dangit.

linking to the world

Technorati Profile

Thursday, 12 October 2006

I am not Madonna

But I find myself assimilating and unavoidably using these words like an insider or, in otherwords, trying to be understood.

Leave it with me – I’ll take it from here.
That lunch was a bit dear
Regards
in signing off emails
I am a wee bit fillintheblank – hungry, upset, sleept, etc.
How do you spell the surname?
Here’s moBILE number
Let’s take the lift
I like your jumper
Please check your diary
Hold on a tick
Has the post come yet?
Do you have a plaster?
Have you had your tea?
Did you get your fringe cut?
Chuck it in the bin
Ring me later

who's that girl

lil spicy and big crunchy at club jump, circa 1990, courtesy of cherry sunshine, a.k.a. Mike Fields.

A true bucky badger flashback. Whoever says I haven't aged needs to look at the fresh face of what was once me at 22.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

bit of both

Bad things

Good things

Mark has to study all the time

I get to watch all the Will & Grace reruns without comments from the peanut gallery

Time is more fun together cuz is novel now

Autonomy

Time for new pals

Time for new book club

Focus on coaching in off hours

Everything closes at 5:30

Spend lunch hours doing errands

Predictable

Everyone seems to know everyone

Everyone seems to know everyone

Streets a bit rubbish strewn

Gives jobs to street cleaners

Snacks at the workplace

Snacks at the workplace

No time to cook

Making big batches of yummy things over the weekend

Working for a living

Productive member of society

Money

Human interaction

Challenge

Learning

Still copper haired

Stopped caring

NLP class lame – dropped out

New client for Tuesday nights!

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

almost 10:30 a.m.

and I am NOT eating the PB&J I have in my drawer.

It is called Progress.

P.S. I won't mention that I am eating a baggie full of Oatabix cereal instead.

on the way to work

Do you have a place that you eyeball on your daily commute and think, “Oh how I wish I could just go THERE instead of the office today.”

Mine used to be the Brothers Coffee in Cleveland Park. As I trudged to the red line metro everyday I would peer in and dream of long and relaxing time with coffee and the Washington Post. Maybe a scone. Look out the window onto Connecticut Avenue at all the DC commuters and passer-by, hustling and heads down. And just sigh contentedly knowing I could stay put.

I have found my new spot here in Edinburgh, and I believe it is a nice upgrade from the strip mall coffee place full of odd seniors and crazy people from my building in Quebec House.

Princes Steet Gardens

My a.m. walk to work is about 35 waking walking minutes, so I take the bus. Or I sweat on it anyway. (Why will no one open the windows?) The route takes me down the high street here – Princes Street. One side is shops and stores and commerce and the other side is Princes Street Gardens. I try to position myself to face West and the gardens, so I can take in the view to the castle and Old Town. Hilly and old beautiful buildings and green and just makes you want to breathe deeper. The gardens have meandering paths and benches every step of the way in case you want to stop and look at one of the many statues/monuments or take in the view, read the paper or dream or rest. I dream of just getting off the bus there and spending the day being calm and of course, reading the paper with a lingering hot beverage. (All my fantasies include a leisurely hot beverage, which says something about me that is perhaps sad.)


Apparently, Princes Street was once a residential area. The wealthy class of Edinburgh had chosen it for its panoramic view: the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle. One of the reasons the Old Town was preserved so well is because the rich didn't want their home views spoiled by shops, so the Old Town was never touched.

Thank god, as now it keeps me morning fantasy alive. And the view from the 11 dreamy.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Saturday, 23 September 2006

new 4 eyes in the house

Yep, just as Mark is starting school, he had to get glasses! (to see the blackboard no doubt... or whatever they have in MBA programs...the white board? The powerpoint?)

He is excited for his new FCUK fashion accessory, but also troubled by the aging eye syndrome. I think he looks just the right combo of smarty pants and loveable nerd. And I've always had a soft spot for a man in good eyewear.

So you tell me -- is this the face of an aging git or fashionable man with newfound sight? I think the funky stripes on the side say it all.
 Posted by Picasa

copper top

After 2.5 hours of various methods of hair cruelty, that I was feeling certain would render me with large clumps falling out in protest, I am semi brown, semi copper. But feeling more normal. My roots are a bit orange, but the stylists claim "it'll calm down" after a week. More likely, it'll surrender. After all, the quiet life it usually leads has been terribly disrupted. I feel I ought to feed it tea and toast and brush it with silky feathers and put it to bed.


Much like this topic of my hair colo(u)r.

 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Sunday, 17 September 2006

plus it makes me look old (er) . Possibly even my age. Posted by Picasa