25 April 2009

Laundry Line Lottery

I've played "Laundry Line Lottery" 3 times this week....and lost twice. As I walked home in the rain from work one day (bemoaning the fact that I had laundry on the line I was hoping would be drier after work than before it!) I was contemplating how hanging laundry out on the line here is a form of gambling. You hang your laundry out. You hope to cash in big. (I mean, who living in Aberdeen doesn't long for clothes to dry within hours of coming out of the washing machine?) Your hopes are high. The sun is out. Your luck is good. And then. Disaster. The clouds roll in quickly and start to drop pellets of water onto your almost dry laundry. And just like that your luck has run amuck. That my friends, is my take on drying your clothes outside in Aberdeen.

19 April 2009

A Wee Catch-up

Just a random update on our lives...

-Mark's cold is much better and we are so thankful I never caught it though several times I thought I was.

-The sun was shining today again after a good 5 days of not seeing it. It felt like Easter all over again since it was gorgeous here last Sunday also. We decided to take advantage of it and made a quick trip to a large estate about 40 minutes away called Haddo House. We'd never been there but there were lots of paths to walk on, complete with all sorts of fun things for me to take photos of. Perhaps my favorite of the day is below.The shots I have to admit were rather lucky (all of a sudden I saw him do this and just starting shooting) and I was so excited they were actually in focus in the right place :) He reminds me of a dog standing on his hind legs and begging for more treats. I wish I could say that's what he was doing since there were people nearby tossing bread to the ducks but I think he was just flapping his wings to get the ruffles out...or whatever birds are doing when they do that.

On the way back home Mark was so kind to let me take a few shots on campus. There is this gorgeous tree blooming and I've been wanting a shot of it. Today was perfect with the blue skies and no one on the lawn when we went. I've been wanting to try this infrared filter I got on-line to go with my editing software. Very fun! It's nice to take some editing liberty at times.

-My counseling class finished a few weeks ago. It was a good class that has challenged me to think through various issues in my life and also about counseling in general. Not sure I'm really ready to counsel anyone yet, but I have a good starting place should the need ever arise. I'm still not sure if an actual center will open where women in the community could receive free counseling, but we'll see.

-My parents booked plane tickets to come see us June 29-July 10! Visitors (mom/dad no less) is always something to celebrate! Mark and I are busy planning out some travels around Scotland while they are here.

-I didn't win the photo competition with the theme "Seasons" that you all helped vote on your favorite sheep photo. Go here to see which photos did win. Maybe next time :)

I'm sure there is more but we'll leave it at that so I can keep "wee" in the title.

15 April 2009

Man Cold/Flu

One of the best things about living overseas (in an English speaking country) is picking up new words/phrases that I am sure we will have in our family for years to come. One of favorites is the phrase "man cold" or "man flu," as we also sometimes hear it. We have the same thing in the U.S. I'm just not sure I've heard a name put on it. It's appropriately named here.

Unfortunately my man has a cold. Not fun for either of us really. But back in November when Mark was sick for what seemed like an eternity, a friend sent Mark this super funny video. Maybe it is only funny after you've watched it repeatedly (which we have, probably at least 50, no joke). We both have it memorized. It gets the point across well (minus using the Lord's name in vain) and is rather entertaining. Hope you enjoy! (Oh, and you may have to listen a couple times to understand it! Also, "999" is like our "911" and "Lemsip" is like "Thera-flu.")

Also, here is me and my "poor little bunny" on Easter day (see how lovely it was here?!) before he was feeling so poorly. See how cute he is in his new glasses?!

10 April 2009

Forgiven at the Cross

We just came from a simple, yet effective Good Friday service. What a blessing to sing, meditate and listen to words about the cross and Christ's sacrifice upon it. These words echo in my head: "This, the pow'r of the cross: Christ became sin for us. Took the blame, bore the wrath - we stand forgiven at the cross." So perhaps that's why the below photo (taken about 6 weeks ago) resonated with me a few moments ago as I looked through my collection.
I love the light and dark shining on the cross. That's truly how it was. A dreadful event, and yet the most wonderful thing to ever have taken place for you and I (well, when followed with the Resurrection, of course!). Awful because Christ had to die for us. He had to become sin for us. And yet most amazing because His death and subsequent resurrection allow us life! We might die physically, but we who believe will live eternally! And I also love the bird (pretend it's a dove, not a dirty seagull!) atop the cross.....like he's free to fly and live. He's standing forgiven at the cross. That's how I want to live - forgiven and free!

08 April 2009

My Fly Dresser

Mark's love for fishing is no secret. He grew up fishing and, as he says, has fishing in his blood - generations of fishing-blood flow in his veins. I also come from fishing-blood, so maybe it's not surprising that I married a fisherman.
Mark's latest fishing passion is fly-fishing, which is supposed to be world class in Scotland. How can he not learn this unique type of fishing while here? My dad is a fly fisherman and has taught Mark some basics on a couple fishing trips while in Missouri visiting my extended family. But a few months ago Mark decided to take his learning to a new level. Using some Christmas money he invested in some equipment, started reading books and watching You Tube videos (sounds like me with photography, huh?). This, naturally, prompted him to want to tie his own flies (see his first fly below).
So here we find ourselves, in the midst of brown trout season and I have not only a fly fisherman on my hands, but a "fly dresser." Hmmm....I've never heard that term before so I laughed the first time Mark called himself that. Guess it is a posh word for fly-tier. I told him it should be called "hook dresser" because that is more accurate. (See below for some examples of Mark's handiwork.)
I used to spend evenings watching my dad tie flies in our small, unfinished basement in NE Ohio. He even let me tie some of my own from time to time. I learned (and remember!) a surprising amount from those evenings together. It's been unusually pleasant to actually hear Mark talk about "dubbing," "whip finish," "nymph," "hackle," etc. and have it conjure up childhood memories with my dad. All in all, I think Mark has found a great hobby for himself. It combines his love for fishing with his technical and creative sides....if only......
it didn't include a dead rabbit's face (mask) hanging out in my living room....or dinner table. Ugh.

A few other things worthy of mentioning. Today Mark got to escape his studies and go with one my co-workers' husbands to fish at a fishery. Despite the wind with some rain (and some cold, of course) I think Mark and Doug really enjoyed themselves. Doug has been fly fishing for probably about 35 years so he is full of knowledge to teach Mark, which works out very well for Mark, and I don't think Doug minds it too much either. Everyone needs a fishing buddy. Mark came home with a battle wound on his nose. Apparently the wind got ahold of his tiny fly, drug it across the bridge of his nose and left a wee scratch. I was glad it wasn't his eye! At least Mark got to reel in two trout for all of his efforts today - one being around 3lbs, which I'm told is a pretty decent size for a brown trout. Good job, Mark!

After dinner we had a discussion about "dry flies." I was again stating this was an inaccurate concept because the fly is obviously wet after it has been in the water. Mark was trying to explain that it was "less wet" because that particular fly stays on top of the water. Less wet? I'm not convinced.

Stay tuned, I'm sure there will be more fishing stories as the season goes on. Maybe I'll even get to go sometime to photograph him in action. Happy fishing!

02 April 2009

When Tragedy Strikes

It's always shocking and painful to hear of a tragedy in one's community. Yesterday afternoon such a tragedy struck the Northeast of Scotland when it was reported a helicopter crashed into the North Sea. Aberdeen's livelihood and very nature is very much enmeshed in the oil industry so a disaster within the oil industry touches many who live in the city. They are still searching for the helicopter and remaining passengers on board the helicopter that went down, but chances are all 16 will eventually be pronounced dead. In a small city like Aberdeen, with so many involved in oil or off-shore work, it doesn't take long before you know someone who knows someone who's loved one died. My new co-workers old colleague's son was among one of those who lost his life. It is a grave reminder of the brevity of life and the need for all to hear the gospel of Christ. It's also been a day of remembering another day when this region suffered even greater loss. I pray our church, other believers, and I can be a light to bring hope and comfort in this time of grief. Please pray with us as we minister to those who might cross our paths during this tragedy.

Out Like a Lamb

We ended March with a bang this year, and perfectly in sync with the saying "In like a lion, out like a lamb." (Speaking of lambs, here's the photo I decided to submit for the competition. It didn't have the highest number of votes, but I picked it anyways! Thanks for those who did put in their two cents. It was neat to see who picked what.)....Back to "out like a lamb." Snow on Saturday, then low 60's on Tuesday. March ended more like summer glory (Scottish summer, that is) than a spring lamb, but hey, I'm not complaining! It was amazing to see the sun most of the day, feel it's warmth beating down on me when sitting outside with some friends after work and just enjoy being alive! This afternoon has been much of the same. These warm days are rare treats here and have interestingly enough made me homesick for NC. I'm afraid we are getting spoiled with all the good weather this week. On my walks to and from work I can't keep my eyes off the bright colors of the daffodils, the buds of pink bursting from tree limbs, nor from whispering to the tightly wrapped new leaf growths begging them to unfurl and show us their green bodies. God is so good to give us spring to enjoy!