On Monday morning, our little group took a brief excursion to see some standing stones. We hopped a stone-and-barbed-wire fence — some of us more gracefully than others — and trudged out to the middle of the field.
One moment we were inspecting and photographing these amazing menhirs, and the next we were briskly approached by a small herd of horses.
I was a bit bemused, so I only had the sense to take one shot before they wandered off again. Here Azra is inspected while trying to keep her phone out of the horse’s snuffling path.
Azra took this amazing shot of FunkyPlaid with two of the herd. Please observe the phone-snuffling! O, and the standing stones behind him.
As soon as the horses had determined that we were largely inedible yet inoffensive, they wandered off again.
Moments like this seem to be commonplace in this country. I hope I never get used to them.
I learned a new acronym today: ICYMI (In Case You Missed It).
For FunkyPlaid’s birthday last year, I enlisted the help of his wonderful friends and family all over the world to create a lip dub to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”. ICYMI, here it is!
It is a wet and chilly evening in Edinburgh, but we are warmed by birthday wishes and belly laughs.
Greetings from the pastoral splendour of rural Scotland. We took a walk around the estate with Kieran and Azra and their pup, Pippa, and I learned a new word for cattle: kye.
After being in the house for most of the week, my errand excursion into the world of the living today was quite eventful. I got over the initial disappointment of the library not being able to find the book I placed on hold, and headed off in the general direction of burritos! For there was a birthday burrito to bring home to a nearly-birthday-having FunkyPlaid.
Somehow, and I am still not sure how other than thinking, “I need to be down a level from here,” I figured out how to get from one part of my mental map to another part of my mental map with no wrong turns. I even got to wander through the Grassmarket on the way. Here, the Castle doesn’t so much loom as it bear-hugs your eyeballs.
As often happens when I stop to take a picture, someone else stopped and took the same picture. (This is because I am extremely new and thus taking all the touristy shots.) I attempted to joke with the suit-wearing snapper next to me, “Thanks for stealing my idea.” He replied soberly and with a thick burr, “Grrrreat view.”
Tonight we began FunkyPlaid’s birthday weekend celebrations with friends, eating much Thai food and drinking many liquids. There were great views on the way there and back, but I let someone else take the pictures.
FunkyPlaid alerted me to the presence of a weird foreign bug in the kitchen, and I let out a whoop of excitement. Aside from some tiny moths, I haven’t seen many bugs here, and I really like bugs.
This little guy was on the kitchen tile near our kettle. I think he was a weevil of some sort. I took his photo and then trapped him between a glass and an index card to release him outside.
Do I have any bug identifiers who can confirm my guess? After some research, it looks like a black vine weevil to me.
If my level of excitement over a weevil is any indication, I need to leave the house tomorrow. Good thing I have a library book to pick up: Dan Simmons’ “Hyperion” is the May pick for the Sword and Laser book club. It has been recommended to me countless times, less than a week ago by Gingiber, and so I am going to go for it.
These reminders on a card by my computer are from Cat Rambo’s fantasy and science-fiction story-writing workshop. Each week right before class I experience that wonderful mixture of excitement and dread, the kind that comes from caring too hard with a tank low on confidence.
Also pictured: the lip balm I apply obsessively now that dry lips distract me so much. Don’t know when or why that happened.
From thousands of miles away, I attended my graduate school’s annual recognition ceremony tonight. Although I am fairly skeptical about this type of event, it was wonderful to see — even virtually — so many students and professors I usually only interact with online. And I admit it also felt good to be recognised for my board position.
I let myself get pretty wrapped up in the negative aspects of grad school, but there are positives. I’ve learned from some terrific professors, and I’ve made some great friends. Plus, because it’s all online and asynchronous, I never have to worry about falling asleep in class!
Where does contemporary cynicism come from? I have a tough time cutting it any slack these days. Used to be, I could justify anyone’s way of thinking or feeling with a “hey, that’s them, not me, and who am I to judge?”
But now whenever I encounter cynicism — especially in words coming out of my own mouth — I get sad. Not the stubbed-my-toe sad or the can’t-figure-out-what-to-eat-for-dinner sad, but the real sad that lurks around the edges of true things.
I just don’t think we as a species have time and energy to waste on cynicism anymore. All of that could be spent on things we genuinely find fulfilling. “Because life sucks and I am disillusioned” is not an excuse. Life doesn’t owe anyone happiness or anything else. That is its most frustrating and most liberating aspect.
Dunno, I can’t figure it all out tonight, so here is a picture of some dried teasels and a black swan on the mantel.
I always have such lofty plans for the day after the semester ends. I will read an entire book! I will restart my knitting projects! I will finish my pen-pal letters! I will go for an extra-long run!
Not quite. I barely moved. I did venture out for mini-pizza toppings. While walking down the street, I like to peek inside the windows of the ground-floor flats. Whilst being a nosey neighbour tonight, I accidentally made eye-contact with a gentleman smoking a cigarette in his garden. We were both careful to pretend it did not happen, something I am beginning to understand is an important aspect of life here.
I pass this corner sometimes. It just looks a bit run-down in the evening, but it gets truly spooky-looking at night, so I’ll have to bring my dSLR and tripod back sometime.