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.