Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Last Post and My New Site

This will be my last post on this blog. I have since moved back to the USA. But please check out my academic blog at www.bonesdontlie.com


Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Last of the Daytrips?

It was another bittersweet day. While the parents are editing and checking the dissertation, I had the urge to get out into the sunshine and see something awesome. Grabbed a friend and off we went for a picnic at Blackness Castle. It's a little sad thinking that this is probably my last day where I can randomly flit off to a castle. Lunch was fantastic, not really the food (PB&J pita and fruit), but the view.

Blackness is beautiful, not the castle itself, but the view of the Firth of Forth. The castle is fairly cool, and has been featured in lots of movies, both good (Hamlet) and bad (Doomsday). The inside is fairly neat because they haven't leveled the ground, it still is all craggy. The castle is shaped like a boat, and the towers are named accordingly. The back tower is the Stern Tower, and the center is the Mast Tower. The front tower was not the Bow Tower, although it should have been.
The best part however was the firth itself. For some odd reason the Scots of Blackness decided not to take their sailboats out of the water when the tide went out. So the entire bay was full of boats stuck in sand. It was hilarious to see them all perched on their rudders. I like this one the best because they had tied about ten different lines from the boat to the dock. Don't worry boys, I don't think she's going anywhere.
Now its back to the dissertation. I'm completely worn down from all the editing and writing. Luckily I got to back some strawberry shortcake this afternoon and that always helps with the stress!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Random Moments of Fun

Well, this Saturday started off like any other day. Woke up at 5 am because the damn sun was up at 4:30 am. Had a long breakfast, and then worked on the dissertation from 8 to 12. Farmer's market again. Buffalo burgers, the usual. Picked up my last strawberry jam. Honestly, not as impressed this time. Its way to sweet. I think I might just toss it, or use it in a dessert.

Then it was back to work until... the Innis and Gunn beer tasting! The bro is soooo jealous. We got to sample all of their beers in a nice tasting. There were only six of us, so it was really personal and loads of fun. My favorite is either the triple distilled or the classic. Hopefully all of them will be available in the states soon.

Then it was back to the room for another few hours of work (and maybe a wee nap). But when 7:30 rolled around it was time for the World Cup!! USA! USA! USA! My group headed to 3 sisters because they had a huge beer garden, and the weather was nice enough to want to be outside. I couldn't believe how busy it was.
When we scored the whole place went wild. It turns out the Scotland roots for USA more than they do for England, so I didn't end up having mixed feelings about who to root for. Had it been USA vs. Scotland I don't know what I would have done. The game itself wasn't great, sloppy play on both ends. However, being in a huge crowd watching it was a blast.
This week however isn't going to be as much fun as this day was. It's literally my last free week, so I have to spend the time getting ready not only for Champagne and mom visiting, but also have to finish my dissertation! We're on rough draft number two, and it's looking pretty good at the moment. Big thanks to the parents for reading through my 30 page research paper.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Trekking the Highlands!!!

Four straight days of tourist trekking and highland happiness!

Day One, Thursday June 3rd
Edinburgh Castle, Rosslyn Chapel and Portobello BeachDay Two, Friday June 4th
William Wallace Monument, Lochs, Glen Coe, River Coe, Loch Ness and the Clan Show
Day Three, Saturday June 5th
Waterfall at Loch Ness, Eileen Donan Castle, Isle of Skye, and the Monster Boat tour of Loch Ness
Day Four, Sunday June 6th
Urqhardt Castle, Loch Ness Tourism Center, Culloden Battlefield and Dunkeld Cathedral
There are no words...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How to survive dissertation writing...

Writing a dissertation is a challenge. You spend all day every day working on the same topic thinking about the same thing. Don't get me wrong, its a lot of fun to have the chance to focus so much on something I love, but you burn out very quickly. That is why we need weekend diversions and short breaks throughout the day.

Last weekend was the Three Harbors Fest, complete with Seafood Fest at Prestonpans. It was a chilly day, but totally worth the ride out there. The food was amazing and it was fun to experience a community gathering. I finally feel like I am a part of the Midlothian community. We heard some great fiddle music, and saw some bad belly dancing. We also got to try some local beers. The food was amazing, especially the fish pie with huge chunks of salmon, crab and mussels.

Another great diversion is cooking. Here is our memorial day fest! Crispy spicy breaded shrimp, homemade mango-radish salsa, homemade guacamole, and chips and tortillas. A nice little Tex Mex feast to celebrate the day and get away from studies.

Dissertation update: Rough Draft #1 completed!!!! Now I'm formatting and changing everything to the Harvard system. Ugh. Not going to look at the actual essay again until next week. Brain needs a break.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Getaway to Guinness!

Here's a run down of my trip to Dublin with the ladies!

Day 1: Arrive at 10 am, drop off bags and do a walking tour the entire city with Garvan our fantastic tour guide. We lounged a little in the park afterward. For dinner we went to Porterhouse and had an amazing meal with microbrews from Dublin. I know, city of Guinness and our first beers are microbrews. We tried the porter, the oyster stout (amazing!), the temple brau ale and the red ale. All were fantastic and very refreshing after the long walk.
Day 2: Immediately get out and head to the kilmainham gaol, the Dublin jail for the historical tour. Then a walk through some gardens and then.... GUINNESS!!! We definitely got our money's worth. We did the tour, drank the fresh beer in the tasting room and learned to do the perfect pour (with attempted shamrock). After this was lunch outside of Christchurch cathedral. Then we did the Dublinia viking museum and Christchurch cathedral, which had the cat and rat mummies. Then St. Patrick's cathedral. The day was ended with the Jameson Distillery where we tried three type of whiskey, comparing flavors, had a tour, and a complimentary mixed drink with Jameson. The night ended with dinner at a small italian place (we shared pizzas) and then drinks at Grogan's in a busy area.
Oh, I mapped out this day on mapmyrun.com and not counting the fact that every building we went into we walked in and did countless stairs (Guinness is 7 stories), we walked over 8 miles. Ouch! No wonder my feet hurt.

I guess the night didn't end there. Our fire alarm in the hotel room started leaking and went off. Yes- you are reading that right, leaking. So we had to move to another room for the night. But nevermind the drama.

Day 3: Woke up early to fix the room problems and headed off to the Archaeology museum for the bog bodies!! Amazing!! So well preserved and so much fun to look at. This was followed by the Natural history and national gallery museums. Both were fantastic. Then it was off to lunch at the same place as yesterday (because we loved it so much). Also got the chance to get real soda bread! Then we were back on our feet and headed to the wax museum, dublin castle, the chester beatty library, and the dublin city hall. To end our day off right... back to GUINNESS, for round two of tasters and free guinness pints. Dinner was at a fun pub where they had taps at the table. We did an irish tapas, trying out all the classic dishes, complete with another Guinness round. Then off on the town to the No Name bar (literally has no name).

Day 4: Woke up at 3:30 am to catch our flight at 6:30 am. Back in Edinburgh in my apartment at 8:15 am. Now I'm going to spend the day doing a little reading, watching a little tv, and not moving.

More pictures:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring/Summer is here!

Edinburgh is finally experiencing a little bit of spring and summer! We have trees in bloom, sunshine and every park is full of people. While this has definitely done wonders for my spirit, I can't say the same for my dissertation. Sure- it's nice to eschew work for a day and head to the beach (yes, there are beaches in Scotland). It does wonders for my mood! However, the dissertation does need to be completed at some point. Must avoid giving into the sunshine every time I see it.

The last couple days have actually been pretty busy. I spend the mornings plowing through the dissertation (8,000 words so far!), and then in the afternoons take care of necessary errands, such as baking shortbread cookies or going to the beach. Okay, not so necessary, but still worth it!
First off, lovely blooming trees out by West Mains. Photo taken happily after baking cookies before heading out on 2 mile walk back home. Luckily I had tons of sugar in my system to keep me going.
Tuesday was beach day! We set off around noon, grabbed the bus, and walked along the beach until we found a spot to nosh. We ate at the Beach House, a cute little place that seemed straight out of Cape Cod. I had a wonderful ham sandwich with veg chutney and a salad. Desserts looked fantastic, but lunch was too filling!
The beach is wonderful, and a return trip will be necessary.

Now back to the dissertation. Working away on the climate section.