31 January 2010

Good Riddance!

I don't think I've ever been more excited to say good-bye to a month as I am to January 2010!! The past 4 weeks have made up some of the longest weeks I think I've ever lived through (well, as an adult anyway). Between the abnormal amounts of snow we've gotten this year (I think in January alone snow fell more days than all the other days of the previous 2.5 years we've lived here!), the cloudy days (which seemed more abundant in recent days than past winters I remember), the short days (which are always hard), and Mark and I being sick for a combination of 2 weeks, it has been a very, very long month. I have been counting the days until February gets here. Not exactly sure why, because I'm sure February will bring more of the same, but at least there are usually some flowers that start popping up by the end signaling spring will eventually get here. Plus, according to this website, the sun now sets after 4:30pm and before long will be rising before 8am! I've noticed this week that there are even little bits of light left at 5pm most nights now. Hurray!!! The longer days are fast approaching!

But, before January left, it thought it would bring more snow,  so here are some happy moments from the past few days. It started snowing Friday and due to a co-worker stuck on a bus for nearly 3 hours trying to get to work from outside the city, I spent the morning at the Town House in her place. Here is a photo of one of the snow squalls from the front door:

It snowed off and on most of the day until late afternoon. Overnight we got around 6 inches more. When I cleaned the car off the next day, I realized how insufficient our tiny (think hand-sized) scraper was. It was taking me ages to clear all the snow from the roof of the car, especially (it's law here you are supposed to get it all off your roof so as to not blind those driving behind you when you start moving and it starts blowing. This Yank laughs at this. You'd never get anywhere if you did this where I grew up! But I digress). I resorted to just using my entire arm to scoop snow off. Much quicker! Good thing I brought an extra set of gloves for my photographing excursion on campus. To see some images from that trip, go here. They are some of my new favs! I had tons of fun creating the images thanks to Photoshop Elements I got for Christmas and have been trying to learn how to use. While you are at my photo blog, be sure to check out all the portrait posts I've put up this month. There are a few more from this fall still to come so stay tuned!

Here are a few more photos from my trip to campus:

When first walking on after parking on the street. I love this walk!

The sun was just starting to get far enough above the horizon to see it. Still the "sweet light" hour!

It's hard to see here, but I was enamored by the way the snow stuck out from the walls in small drifts, sometimes a couple inches away from the wall. See the above pic for what it looked like at a distance.

Do you see that BLUE sky?! It was a glorious morning in Old Aberdeen!

A fun tree I saw and added some texture to!

And last night we had a couple over that just moved here from Wake Forest and SEBTS, so that was fun finally getting to meet them (for me - Mark had already met them). So weird to talk about road names and places. It almost hurt my brain to come up with some of the places. Have we been gone that long?!

Now bring on FEBRUARY!!

22 January 2010

View From Where I Sit

Or should I say "from where I lie?" (or is lay?)

No news to report on this week other than what you see. BBC iPlayer has been trying to keep me company and I've discovered a half decent BBC drama called Lark Rise to Candleford. Definitely not for the men :)

I called a friend today and I was surprised she didn't hang up on me, considering about all she heard was "e...o.....ow.....u?" (And that wasn't a-e-i-o-u!) I hadn't spoken to anyone in several hours and didn't realize my voice was as intermittent as it was. Yesterday it was better, but today it is touch and go.

Just a quick hello to say we are alive (though more alive some moments than others) and now off to partake in my favorite past-time in recent days -- the afternoon nap.

Here's to hoping next week will be a sick-free week for our family and yours....

13 January 2010

"Blanahoolie" (blahn-ah-who-lee)

You know those days where it takes every ounce of energy and willpower to get out of bed and into the (cold) bathroom for a (not hot enough) shower? Yeah. Today was one of those days. A bad night's sleep and too much darkness. I barely made it to work on time - and definitely not in the best of moods.

The office next to mine is in the middle of a refurbishment. It was, of course, supposed to be done over the two weeks the University is closed, thus minimally impacting workflow. Yeah, that didn't happen. So 12 or so of my colleagues have been without their own computers and phones for over a week now. They have been displaced to desks of other colleagues who are away on holiday or business. But for the most part, it's just been mayhem.

There is one lady who has been in dire need of a computer due to time sensitive work, so she's been using my computer in the afternoons when I leave. But the past two days she's needed one in the morning too so I offered my desk since the work I have been doing hasn't required a computer. Instead, I've been next door in the office that is in upheaval. I like getting to work in there from time to time because there are some entertaining characters that work in there that are also known as my co-workers. Since there are desks in there, we've been doing non-computer related work while the electricians string wires and make weird noises with saws and drills.

Most of the other secretaries in Nov. pre-refurbishment when we took a picture to send to a former secretary who moved back to China.)

Today we were talking about how I need to learn more Doric (the Scottish dialect in this area) before we move away. Two of above said characters are fluent and fast Doric speakers. I have to listen hard to keep up with what they are saying when they talk to one another. But I absolutely love listening to it! One of the ladies previously taught me to say "scoofin' oot a bott-le" (drinking out of a bottle...water bottle, in my case, lest you get other images in your head). So we were "havin' a carry-on" and a little bit later the other lady says, "It's blanahoolie." They she looks at me and says, "There's one for you to learn."

They explain it means the wind is blowing hard. I proceed to repeat it. (It's easier to say than "scoofin' oot a bott-le," by the way....they were entertained at my accent saying that.)  I decide this is my new favorite word. It's fun to say and it describes something that happens frequently here, so why not make it fun to say?! So I ask them to spell it. It's really "blawning (blowing - but you drop the "ing" when saying it) a hoolie." I ask what a "hoolie" is. They say it can also mean "party." To which I reply, "the wind is having a party."

The past couple of days I read something in a book that was expounding on Psalm 23:5, "My cup overflows with blessings" (NLT). I have been pondering how full my cup is and how God has blessed me. It was a day I was glad I went to work. It reminded me that I do love living here amongst the Scots. I have to remember that on days like today. Things (especially the weather!) may not always go how I want, but I am indeed blessed and my cup is overflowing. And I am grateful.

So if you ever hear me say, "It's blanahoolie" (which most certainly you will), you can be in the know and even use it yourself.

11 January 2010

A New Sign & Some Snow

Those of you who have been around for awhile on here know that I have enjoyed finding "fun" (or more appropriate, perhaps, "funny") signs. Yesterday I found one that about tops them all.

I am not quite sure how that works, but it sounds scary. For all involved.

After we'd had a good laugh about it, Mark remembered that the place where we were (Lochter Activity Centre) had team building type activities. I just looked it up, and he's right, it is one of their fun activities. But still sounds a bit dangerous/scary. Nice of them to give a wee sign to warn you :)

Mark had the itch already to get out of the city and see some countryside. Well, more like snow covered fields. I wasn't quite as excited to go as he was, but at some point it hit me that I grew up with feet and feet of snow each winter in Ohio and he didn't. Maybe I got jaded at some point?! But after putting him off Saturday I agreed to go yesterday since it was nice and sunny. It was a beautiful day, albeit rather cold. We drove somewhat aimlessly until we ended up at the above mentioned place. I was glad we went, though since it offered a few new photos. And the fields and hills really were lovely. Maybe not as jaded as I thought.

That tiny speck in the centre is the orange life preserver. While Aberdeen city only had about 1-2 inches of snow in the past few days, it seems all the shire received more like a foot. We drove through various parts and couldn't believe the amount of snow they had. The fishery/pond below looked very different than when I was there in Oct. 2008.

Sunset reflecting off the snow rows.

Frozen Tundra covered in sunlight.

I'll spare you the rest :) I took the new header while driving in the car. Unfortunately, I only had a second to react (thus not having time to adjust the settings) when I saw it so it is slightly blurry at the bottom, but something about that makes it all the more intriguing to me.

08 January 2010

Pictorial Update

I really, really wish that when I think of blogs they would automatically post on here. Most of the time anyways. I have written numerous posts over the week, in my head of course. I write them while doing dishes, walking, driving, cleaning house, falling asleep, etc. But rarely these days do they actually make it to the screen nor to you. So I thought I'd give you the best kind of update there is (in my mind), a pictorial one with some descriptions.

But first, thanks for your prayers for our flights back to Aberdeen. All went smoothly and no ice packs were procured by security agents. No one even asked to look at it. We were so grateful! So thank you for remembering us.

Now onto the good stuff....

I finally got the nice portrait shot of a rooster I was looking for. This guy was so kind to let me run into the house, get my camera and still be there when I returned, and even to pose. Bless him.

The Birthday Cheese. Alison on her 1st birthday. She wouldn't usually smile until the flash went off, so my quick fire camera was one of the only ways to catch her hamming it up for the camera since she wouldn't smile on the first photo.

Can you tell I enjoyed being Auntie Rachel :) No one was wearing their party hats except Alison, so I got Dominic and Chad to join me in the fun. (That's Mark's mom enjoying the entertainment provided by her daughter-in-law.)

One of my requests of our last week at my parents was to go back to Opryland Hotel and get some photos of the outside lights. They were AMAZING! It was so cold this night and I was in a hurry so most of them didn't turn out, but these two weren't so bad. But the photos don't do it justice. The lights were sooooo thick and beautiful!

Yafi "twirling" for his treat. When his nightly biscuit (around 8pm and he will bark and bark until he gets it) time comes around, my parents have trained him that he has to "twirl" for it. This usually consists of him doing a half twirl in excitement as he hops to the rug (so he has better traction). He often is too hyper to do a good job, so then he gets reprimanded with "gracefully." My parents crack me up. The dog too.

I love when Yafi does his "Ewok Ears" (as I dubbed them). It's even better when he isn't lying down but just looking up at you, but I couldn't ever get that on film.

"If I close my eyes maybe she will go away." (I was trying to get a picture of his adorable long lashes.)

Airplane Sunrise (reflected from the other side of the plane onto the engine)

Since there isn't much to do towards the end of an all night flight and there is a nice sunrise, why not take photos?!

It was a small miracle that I got to see London in full SUN and BLUE SKIES!!! It was my 6th or so time there but this was the first of its kind. It was very cool flying in and trying to pick out landmarks. I really had my doubts that it was ever nice in London, but now I know differently.

This is what you do when you are bored and waiting for your last flight.

And this. Take photos of someone else's abandoned Costa cup and your knees thinking it will be artistic. Delirium was setting in, I know.

And this is what you do while circling 3 times over Aberdeen City/North Sea while the runway is approved for landing after the most recent snow squall. (For those locals, pretty sure this is East Tullos/Torry area.)

It was quite picturesque flying over the city with the snowy fields and sun peaking out of the clouds. Note the snow shower on the left side. So much for sun like London. It was somewhere around here that reality set in that we were back.

And what do you do when you wake up Friday morning after a long, challenging, cold, snowy, icy, jet-lagged week? You praise God for the clear sky and sunrise and His many blessing of the week in-spite of the hardships.

And then you praise Him again in the late afternoon as the sun sets - praise Him for your life and that He knows best and is Sovereign and Good.