Saturday, December 30, 2006

I Am A Dull Person

Sorry gang, just nothing interesting going on these last few days. So I will apologize right now for today's posting.

Let's talk hair.

Today I worked up the courage to walk into a hair salon and book an appointment. It's a funky looking place that's just a few blocks down the road. I've had so many experiences with bad haircuts so I was pretty up front in speaking with the owner about wanting someone that is good with long hair. The owner was super nice and put my mind at ease. He introduced me to Lynne who would be my stylist, offered me a cup of coffee and told me to sit down for a consultation so I could talk over with her about what I wanted and look at the colour charts. I've got an appointment booked for next Saturday morning so I guess I should do a before and after picture to document the occasion. If it's a bad hair day, I guess you'll all find out.

Now let's talk about the men. What is the deal with all the shaved heads and brush cuts here? I can understand that with the wind and rain it's very low maintenance but it just can't be warm. Not a big fan of that look though, it just makes me think of thugs. Give me a head full of thick soft curls any day. The brush cut just doesn't work for me.

But that's just my humble opinion.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hiya


No I'm not about to karate chop you but "Hiya" is a very common Glaswegian greeting. Not sure why but that's what they say. From the cashier at Greigs to the person calling in with a pension question. It just doesn't roll off the tongue yet for me.


Pet peeve of the day... why do they only sell coffee in tiny 227 or 250g packages? If anyone is aware of where I can purchase a pound of coffee I'd sure appreciate it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day


Started off the day by FINALLY doing the dishes left from our party Christmas eve (ick). Then we walked around to try and find a place to get a good cup of take away coffee as we weren't sure what would actually be open.


Got back to the flat and caught my Aunt Barb and Mom on the computer and had a nice 3 way chat compliments of Skype. It's a pretty cool program and saves on long distance costs.


Then, I know this is soooo exciting.... I balanced my bank book, budgeted grocery costs, ate some left over turkey dinner and watched Pirates of the Carribean on BBC1.


Yes, life here is more exciting than you can imagine ;>)

Christmas Day

Santa came, Santa came!!!



It's Christmas in Glasgow. Brenda and I did stockings in our lounge and then packed everything up and headed over to Andrew & Jen's to spend the day with them. It was a very long day but great. Complete with traditional turkey and all the fixin's, Carl having fun with all the Christmas paper and spending time with friends.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas

Sunday - Christmas Eve

It seems weird that Christmas Eve is on a Sunday, although I guess that is the case every 7 years. The day starts off as per any normal Sunday. Church in the morning, brunch after, then a little window shopping. And then picking up the last few things needed for the party and for Christmas (I was missing one stocking stuffer).

Back to the flat and then I hit the kitchen and start putting my menu together for the evenings festivities.

Here's the end result:



So the food it out, the flat looks festive... what if no one comes? Everyones big fear when you plan a party. But wait, yes everyone came - and even a few extra!



Andrew didn't make it into the picture as he ran back to his place as we ran out of wine and I'm not sure where Brenda is. It felt really nice to have a house full of friends.

We went to the midnight mass at St Mary's. It was a bit different as it was a High Communion so men in funny hats and robes. Lots of standing (still not sure what the significance of that is). But the one nice thing was after you went up for communion you were given a candle you lit it and then sat back down in your pew. When everyone was done they dimmed the lights in the sanctuary and it was very cosy. But I did think it was a huge fire hazard. After the service Brannon & Gloria came back to our flat for another drink and some more visiting. I think we got to bed around 3AM.

Saturday

Just playing some catch-up with the blog, so here's Saturday...

I walked into city centre to finish up my Christmas shopping. It was pretty busy but not as packed as it's been before so I guess not as many people leave their Christmas shopping 'till the last minute. There's always some buskers playing along Sauchiehall.

There's this rock band that I've seen a number of times.

And then always a bagpiper or two.













I picked up what I needed and then headed back to the flat to drop off my bags. On the way I stopped at a store called Au Natural which is kind of like Wonderbucks from Vancouver and purchased some candles and decorations to try and make our flat look a bit more festive for our Christmas Eve party.

After coming home I scarfed down some lunch then headed back out again to buy the groceries I needed for the party. I started to head towards IJ Mellis to get some cheese but there was a line-up out the door of the shop halfway down the block (who new cheese was so popular). I picked up some spicy olives from a Mediterranean deli, fresh veggies and then wine was the last thing on my list for the day.

Back to the flat again and up the four flights of stairs to drop off the groceries. I'm done shopping for the day so next I grab my laptop and pack it up in my backpack and head down the street to Beanscene to grab a coffee and some free wifi. They give me a card for 15 minutes free access, but after that you have to pay. So I spend most of the time editing my pictures that I've taken the last couple of days and when they're all done then I go to log-in to load them up.

There seems to be a bit of a problem, I can see that I've got a strong signal but the log-in menu is taking forever to load. I give up after about 10 minutes as my coffee is cold and I'm just not in the mood to fight with a slow system. Note to self, don't go to Beanscene again for wifi. There are a couple of other coffee shops in the area that have free wifi rather than charging you after 15 minutes so I'll try those on another day.

Back to the flight and up the stairs for the last time. Brenda's home now and we just zap leftovers for dinner and focus on finishing the tree and decorating the flat. I think it looks good and it's starting to feel like home.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It Didn't Seem That Far At The Time

Last night I got a Christmas tree. I got home from work a little bit early as I promised myself I would get the Christmas tree. There was a guy selling trees off Byers road that I remembered his trees were already discounted so I headed off that way. I passed Roots and Fruits on the way but their trees were still full price.

I got to the place and there were only a few trees left. I asked if he had any small trees left and he said no, only big ones. Well how big, so he showed me the few that were there and the one was about my height (a little over 5' 2"). I picked it up and thought, that's not too heavy - no problem. The price was right at 15 pounds and I had the guy help me put it up on my shoulder and off I started.

I got about 5 blocks and it started to slip. But that's OK, the tree was wrapped up pretty snug so I sort of hugged it. But another couple of blocks and it started slipping again. At this point I'm thinking I should flag down a cab, but I'm too cheap for that. So I switch arms, another few blocks and I need to rest. Try the tree hugging thing again and I make it as far as the bridge and I have to put it down.

I'm just in the process of grabbing my phone to call Brenda to find out where she is when she texts me with "need a hand?". Hallelujah! My arms and hands were shaking so bad I was having problems handling my phone. So she came by about 6 minutes later and we carried it to the flat, up 4 flights of stairs and got it through the door in one piece.

We borrowed a pretty cool Christmas tree stand from A & J it comes from Germany and you know about that German engineering thing. Got most of it decorated tonight and will finish tomorrow.

Saturday's plan is to finish up the Christmas shopping and then I'll come home, pick up my laptop and head to a coffee place with free WiFi and then I'll finally be able to post some pictures.

My body hurts today, I should have taken the cab.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Old Habits Die Hard

Well it didn't take long that's all I can say.

I didn't leave the office until close to 8PM tonight. Reports needed to be run, a letter drafted but I did take a lunch today and I actually managed to eat my sandwich. I had 3 1/2 staff off today which meant I had to help out with phones and forgo my scheduled training.

I needed to pick up some groceries on the way home so by the time dinner was finally on the table it was after 9PM and I'm only in my 2nd week. I don't know whether to feel revitalized by the challenge or curl up in a little ball thinking I've made a huge mistake.

I think things will get better after the new year. Only 2 weeks in and already I'm looking forward to the holiday break. But to be fare there are a few people that I work with that have been great and offering me lots of help and answering my 1001 questions of the day and trying to keep me in the loop. It's just been so long since I've had to learn a new job that it's all a bit overwhelming. And even though it's with the same company, procedures and protocols are not the same. I had to figure out how to use a letter template tonight, something that in Vancouver an AA would have done. Here I have less support but more responsibility.

I just need some time and then I'm sure my instincts will kick in again. Still, it was awful nice being on vacation for 2 months. But until I become independently wealthy or find my sugar Daddy I need the paycheque.

Still no Christmas tree, just didn't get home in time.

The Status Quo

We're pretty much moved in but as mentioned in my last post the Internet signal I'm getting here is only accessible from my bedroom and it's very weak so I'm not able to upload any pictures.

Still extremely frustrated with the bank at the moment. I sent my paperwork off almost 5 weeks ago, I've missed my first pay date as a result and now I'm not getting paid until Dec 29th. We aren't able to get any phone/TV/Internet hooked up until I have a bank account as that is the first question they ask "Do you have your banking information with you".

So if worse comes to worse I'll have to pack up my laptop and head on down to the Beanscene on Friday night, order a coffee and post pictures there.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Score! I'm picking up a wireless signal from somewhere so I'm able to do a quick post. It's a weak signal, but it's doing the trick. It's 11:37PM and my suitcases are finally unpacked :>)

Tomorrow I hope we are able to get a Christmas tree as the big bay window in the lounge is the perfect place to put it. I'll take some pictures tomorrow so ya'll can check out the new digs.

It's good to be home.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas At St Silas

Went to the Carol Service at St Silas tonight. I decided to attempt to use the movie function on my camera for the first time so here is the result.



It's not much to see but I liked the drum rhythm being played for the hymn. It felt very Celtic to me. If you listen carefully you can hear my alto line in the background.

There may be a slight interruption in my posting for the next couple of days. We move Tonight (Monday) and I need to order our phone/internet connection for the new flat and I'm not sure how long it takes to get a service guy out to do it. I'll try to post from the office or perhaps an internet cafe, but it's the Christmas season.... we need to get a tree, finish shopping, parties to attend etc etc etc.

Trimming The Tree


Had a very lazy day today. I'm just really tuckered out from my first week back to work. So I stayed in all day catching up on emails and doing mundane stuff like on-line banking. Caught my Aunt Barb, then my Mom and lastly my Dad all on MSN Messenger later in the afternoon. If any of you out there are on MSN Messenger let me know and I'll add you on my list and maybe we can chat.

In the evening we were invited to Andrew & Jen's to help decorate their tree and enjoy some Christmas goodies and some mulled wine and finished the evening off with a dram of Glenmorangie. Heather came over as well and it was really nice to visit with her. She flys back to New Jersey tomorrow morning to spend Christmas and New Years with her family and friends.

So just a nice relaxing Saturday.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Men In Skirts


Tonight was the staff Christmas Party. I have never seen so many men in kilts before, it was a bit surreal. Yet I found it strangely attractive on some. I didn't stay much past the meal as it was a room of 250 people, 98% of which were complete strangers. Dinner was nice and I had a good chat with Debra beside me (Mom of 2, works in a different department and location from me so I won't see her again until next year's party).

I think for me what was more beneficial was going to the pub with a few of the boys from the office beforehand. There I was at least able to get to know people I'll actually see and work with on a daily basis. I did receive one proposal of marriage after about half an hour into the evening when it was discovered I was a whisky girl and I liked the good stuff and drank it neat. I guess it doesn't take much in this town.

So one marriage proposal down, but still no date for Saturday night.

Strange

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Hugging The Porcelain



It started Friday night.

Poor baby Carl got sick after he had gone to bed. They weren't sure if maybe he ate too much or perhaps the tri-coloured corn pasta didn't sit right with him. He seemed fine afterwards and no fever. But then as I found out the next day, he'd been up sick all night.

The stomach flu had hit.

Then Sunday night Andrew got it and was down for the count. Wednesday night Brenda was hugging the porcelain (am I a bad flat-mate in that I didn't hear her get up?). Thursday it was Jen's turn.

I feel quite confident in saying I will NOT be next. I've had no contact with patient zero and Brenda and I have separate bathrooms so no cross contamination. Plus I had a flu shot in September.

But only time will tell. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lists

As the year is coming to a close, people are starting to make lists.

The latest one I saw today was a top ten songs of the year. I have such a hard time narrowing down music to favorites as I just have so many. I love all the music I have.

One of the things I found very hard to part with was my stereo and all my CD's. I tried desperately to get all my CD's converted to MP3's and loaded onto my laptop but as I started the moving process I just ran out of time and was only able to get up to the M's.

Now that I'm living in a different country I'm being exposed to new artists. But darned if I could tell you who they are. Usually I'm just listening to the radio for a bit while cooking dinner so I'm a bit preoccupied and DJ's these days are not all that great at telling you who it was they just played.

But back to the list comment.

I don't think I could narrow it down to 10 songs or even 10 albums. So here's my list of random number of Albums I love.

1 - Ryan Adams, Love Is Hell Volumes 1 & 2
2 - Amos Lee, Amos Lee
3 - Gillian Welch, Hell Among The Yearlings
4 - Bebel Gilberto, Tanto Tempo
5 - Beck, Guero
6 - Bill Frisell, The Intercontinentals
7 - Jack Johnson, On And On
8 - Richard Buckner, The Hill
9 - Interpol, Turn On The Bright Lights
10 - David Grisman Quintet, The David Grisman Quintet
11- Pilate, Caught By The Window
12 - John Mayer, Inside Wants Out
13 - Soul Coughing, Irresistible Bliss

* Note, Soul Coughing isn't around anymore so I've put the link to the Yahoo Music site for some info on the band.

A bit of a wide range of stuff, some current, some not and pretty much all over the map. Perhaps in future posts I'll go into what it is about each album I like. But not now. It's getting late and I gotta work tomorrow. But one more music note.

Weird Al Yankovic - I just love this guy. His latest video is on My Space. Watch it for a good laugh. And no, I don't own any Weird Al CD's.

White and Nerdy

Add to My Profile More Videos

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Spirit


Today's picture is a small school choir that was serenading me during my lunch hour this afternoon. They were raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Yorkhill Glasgow. I feel bad, I didn't give any money. But I don't get my first paycheque until Dec 29th and cash is tight so I'm trying not to feel too guilty.

I'm still very impressed that these kids can freely sing about Jesus, son of God, Saviour of the world in a shopping mall. In North America too often the PC police are forcing Christmas to become Xmas and kids can only sing about Santa, snowmen and flying reindeer.

The office Christmas Party is this Friday at the Oran Mor. I walk past this place on a daily basis as it's just 2 blocks up the street from our current flat. It's a restaurant. bar, theatre and live music venue (Ron Sexsmith played there not too long ago) that is a converted church, formerly Kelvinside Parish Church.

You have no idea how common it is for churches, beautiful churches, to be converted into restaurants, theatres, lecture halls etc. It usually comes down to the parish not being able to afford the cost of running/repairing a very aging building. I can't decide what I think of that. Architecturally speaking it's great that they are being converted for other uses rather than being torn down. But I find it sad that congregations aren't able to financially support their parish. Yet, quite literally there is a cathedral every 2 blocks or so.

What do YOU think?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Where Can A Girl Sit To Eat Her Sandwich?

The office building that I work in does not have a lunch room. It has a very wee kitchen that has a microwave, a sink, broken dishwasher and bar fridge. It's the size of a long skinny broom closet. So come lunch time where does one go to eat a sandwich?

In the summer there are many options as the office faces a lovely little park, and all along Sauchiehall there are benches. But this time of year everything is very very VERY wet (see yesterday's picture/post).

I wandered down to the Buchanan Galleries, which is the big mall in city centre, but unlike the malls in Vancouver it has no seating at all in the corridors. There is one very small area on the upper level that has a couch and 3 chairs. I completely lucked out that someone left just as I got there.

I guess I'll have to learn to eat on my feet. I can walk and chew gum at the same time so how hard can it be?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sideways Rain


Today has been a very very wet day. And, depending on what block you are on, very windy as well. Umbrella's aren't of much when they kept blowing inside out when a sudden gust comes at you from underneath of all places. So tonight I ditched the umbrella and pulled my hood down and just relied on my Taiga to keep my upper half mostly dry. As you can see from the picture my lower half didn't do so well.


Tomorrow (Monday) is my first day of work. I'm a bit wired at the moment with anticipation. That isn't a good thing as I need to get a good night's sleep. They're being nice to me and I don't have to arrive until 9:30. But I'm looking at the weather forecast and it's kinda iffy as to if I will arrive mostly dry or not. I've got about a 20 minute walk from the underground station to get to the office so I'm hoping I don't look like a drowned rat when I walk through the door.


Speaking of weather.... initially both Brenda and I were thinking that these Glaswegians were a bit of wimps in that they were always complaining about how wet & windy it's been. We were expecting this kind of weather so couldn't understand why everyone was complaining about it. I did some digging on the BBC and it seems that although it's been warmer than normal it's been extremely wetter than normal. In fact this last November was the wettest on record since 1938. I think if we survive this autumn/winter we can handle anything.

The Living Room Tour


Why have I not heard of this concept before?

A group of musicians books tours in peoples living rooms and plays a live acoustic set to a small group of 20 - 40 people (depending on the size of the living room). Tickets are 10 pounds at the door and bring your own booze. It's an intimate venue, with lots of anecdotes and the band is actually able to connect with the audience rather than being seperated by a stage and blinded by lights. There's no overhead so 100% of ticket sales (and any CD sales as well) goes directly to the band.

So give up on doing the coffee house or brew house circuit, book your living rooms now!

The group we saw this evening is Lies Damn Lies, 2 guys on guitar and a girl on keys.

Pops this tidbit is for you: - the guy on lead guitar plays a Martin HD28V You will be proud of the fact that from the first finger-pattern he played, my ears recognized that it was a Martin and I guess correctly that it was a D28. You've raised me well.

Friday, December 08, 2006

December Rose


It was another lovely day out, sunny but a bit on the crisp side of cold. Still, no rain so that meant I had to do some walking. I decided to try and find an area I had been to once before on Hyndland Road but I had been driven there so wasn't sure which way to go. But I walked out the door with my Glasgow Pocket Map book and felt confident the day would not be wasted.

I'm still amazed by all the historic architecture everywhere. Found some nice little neighborhoods that looked very expensive. Even found a blooming rose bush, yes - a blooming rose bush IN DECEMBER (today's picture). As I was navigating the streets I'm amazed that more people don't get lost. Glasgow was NOT built following a grid pattern. Plus it also adheres to the 'lets change the name of the street every 2 blocks' rule.

Met up with Brenda and Carl in the early afternoon and we walked into city centre and grabbed some lunch at Princess Square (it's just a high end mall). All the Christmas decorations were up, the centre courtyard had a massive Christmas Tree (artificial I'm sure) and we lucked out that there was a girls school choir singing for the enjoyment of the shoppers.

Not a big fan of the tune 'Jingle Bell Rock'. Just my luck that they did it twice, complete with choreography.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Cards



I cloistered myself away in my room today to try and get all my Christmas cards written. I'm sad to say I only got about half done which means I will be doing the same tomorrow. But those I did manage to write have been dropped off at the post office so I guess they'll be going out in waves.

I really find writing that many cards quite tedious. Not boring, but I'm one of those people that can't see the point of sending off a card with just a signature in it. I need to actually write some stuff inside. I try to be witty, or funny or thoughtful and that's tough work. Plus I need to try not to repeat what I've blogged about as you'd know that already. Man, I am one tough critic. Maybe you guys aren't worth the effort....... OK, you are.

I received a very large envelope from the office today with the official letter telling me I've been hired and I start Monday. Along with it came the regular blurbs on professionalism and a CD ROM that I need to review on the company. I guess when they put the package together they didn't clue in that I've been working for the company for 10 yrs already. But it should be interesting to review the info just to see if there is anything different between the UK offices and North America. It also looks like I'll be heading out for a few courses in my first 3 months in Croydon which is just south of London.

I guess now would be an appropriate time to warn you all that once I start working I may not have all that much to blog about. That is unless you are all REALLY interested in the wonderful world of Pensions and Call Centre's. But we'll see, maybe it will be a fun office full of many hijinks and mayhem, but I doubt it. However, I will attempt to keep up with my picture of the day. Or maybe I'll revert to CD & Movie reviews or cultural observations of the day. I'll have to think about it.

Right, I forgot to mention today's picture. That's me back in 1969 and in closer inspection of the photo I can see that even back then I had a thing for red shoes.

Let the jokes begin....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Modern Architecture

Today was all about seeing the new Glasgow. I hopped the SPT to Cessnock station and walked to the Science Centre to start the day.

It looks like something from a Lunar Base Camp. It was a beautiful clear day with lots of sun. The buildings are metal so I had fun playing with the reflections.

Another building that compliments the Science Centres is the SECC - Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre or the Armadillo as it's nicknamed.



When I was done with the Science Centre (I did catch an IMAX film in 3D no less for a bit of a break) I crossed the River Clyde and just started walking. There is an extensive walking/cycle trail that follows the river for approx 70 KM. It reminded me very much of the seawall in Vancouver. Most of the building down on the riverfront is very modern in contrast with the Victorian architecture in city centre.

Also all along the river are numerous vehicle and pedestrian bridges. I have seen book in the tourist shops on the bridges of the River Clyde. In time I'll look up the info then I'll properly be able to label the photos.

Today (or this week really) has been about taking lots of pictures and playing with the camera. I'm trying to recognize good lighting when I see it or interesting compositions. Lastly, it's about following through when I hear that little voice in my head that says: "That might make an interesting shot".

For those that don't know, I post all my pictures (well most of them, I don't post the awful ones) on Flickr. So just click on the link and that will take you to them. Feel free to leave comments on them as well. I'm always interested in what other people have to say.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

So that's where that is....


More exploring today. I'm starting to finally figure out the city and get my bearings. I went to St Enoch Square today to check out the wee Christmas Market there and take a look around.

The first week I arrived in Glasgow I went to a concert at The Arches and to get there took the Underground to St Enoch Station. But of course it was at night and in the dark so I had no visual references to see where I was. Today I saw.

I keep forgetting that maps can be really misleading in terms of distance. Something will look far away, but when I walk there it only takes 15 min or half an hour. I got there via the underground but really I could have walked, it just would have taken longer. Had I not met Brenda and Carl for lunch I would have done just that as it was such a nice sunny day (well most of the day). But by the time I left the restaurant I knew I had limited sunlight as it starts to get dark around 4PM so I hopped the SPT.

If the weather is nice tomorrow I want to do some more exploring on the other side of the River Clyde. Who knows what adventures lurk over there. I'm hoping to find the Glasgow Science Centre to take some pictures of the exterior.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Happy Feet


Today's post is dedicated to Josh Gemmell.


At the suggestion of a friend I headed off to the Dennistoun area along Duke Street. My mission... to take pictures. I felt bad that I'd been slacking on that area for a while so I made up for it today. The sky was ever changing between black clouds, rain, brilliant sun and even a rainbow. I wandered through many different architectural styles and even came across a pink elephant or 3.


Stopped in at the Tapa Coffee & Bake House for a cup of tea and a bite to eat. Once I placed my order, sat down and looked out the window the rain started so my timing was perfect. I must go back there as the cup of tea I had was wonderful and I'd like to purchase some for my home brewing pleasure but can't remember the name of it.


On my way back I stopped in at the GOMA and walked through all the galleries as last time I was there I only managed the main floor. When I was done the sky was already darkened and the Christmas lights were on. Another opportunity to take a night shot. I'm really happy with the results.


Feel free to check out the photos I took today (and every day) on my Flickr page.
As to the Happy Feet reference? I'm sure my feet will be anything but come tomorrow morning. Oh well, I need to get my Christmas cards done anyway.


Simon - thanks for the suggestions, it was a great day!


Oh and for those that haven't heard yet - I got the call from the office this afternoon. I start work Monday December 11th.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Children's Wear

I really didn't think shopping for clothes would be such a challenge. I know the UK sizing is a bit different but everything here is huge on me, and I'm not a skinny girl.

I'm always on the look out for warm sweaters (or jumpers as they're called here). I picked up a warm wool turtleneck from Mango in the House of Fraser that was an XS (extra small for you guys out there) and it fits big. Socks, well I have UK size 3 feet so I know I need to get those in the children's department. But here's the best purchase...



I picked up a V-Neck sweater & T-shirt from the boys department in Next sized 'age 11/12' and it's still big. The size 'age 8/9 fit me in the body but the sleeves were too short.

I am smaller than a Scottish 11 year old boy.

If Everyone Had A Cat There Would Be No War

The one thing that I'm missing more and more is my cats. This one is Staccato



And this one is Ginger




I know that sounds lame and all, but they were my family as I lived alone - OK that sounds even more sad.

They would greet me at the door when I got home from a hard days work and they provided companionship. Nothing cheers you up more when you're feeling blue than having a warm furry purring cat rubbing her head on your hand asking for a pet. Spending the days by myself I really miss having a cat to cuddle with.

My cats are now living with my parents and have adjusted just fine. This picture is of my Dad with Staccato.



She's a bit 'different' in that she goes just squirrely when the mobile rings. It must have something to do with the tonal frequency but it's fun to have her crawl all over you purring and yowling as the phone is ringing.
She also likes the sound of voices singing. I can remember a few years ago my friend Paul and I were doing some recording in my apartment and in the middle of this one tune she walked into the room where we were and started meowing with us. After 3 failed attempts at trying to finish the tune I finally had to lock her in the storage room until we were done.

Not much to report today (thus the reason for talking about my cats).

Went into city centre to finish up purchasing Christmas cards. I need to work on those this week and then get them in the mail. I do believe this will be the first year I've ever mailed cards before February. Seriously, that's usually when I would get around to sending them out. So this will be a huge improvement. But they aren't in the mail yet, so if you don't get your card before Christmas then check your mail box around February.

Friday, December 01, 2006

How many days 'till Christmas?!?!?!


I can't believe it's December already!


The big discussion around the dinner table tonight was plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I'm feeling a bit conflicted about the whole thing. I come from a very small family (I'm an only child) so I don't have a strong "family tradition" as it's always just been the 3 of us.


I guess the only tradition I've come to have is that of being an orphan. When I moved to Vancouver I was on my own so I would be invited to various friends homes to celebrate the holidays with their family. It would be nice to extend that invitation out here only for me to be on the hosting side of things for a change. But so far the only orphan I've met (Heather) is flying home to be with her family for Christmas so I'll need to find some more. I'll have to keep my eyes open.


The other weird thing is this will be the first time in I don't know how many years that I'm not involved singing for the Christmas Eve service. I have this friend Paul that I would collaborate with and we'd always try to pick some obscure tune to do (Dave Matthews - A Christmas Song, Joni Mitchell - River, Gordon Lightfoot - A Winter's Night). The more unknown the better and preferably not typical churchy sound. I think only once we did an actual Christmas Carol - I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day, but of course it was a 'different' arrangement by Pedro The Lion. I always loved harmonizing with Paul as we blended so wonderfully AND he was/is such an amazing guitarist (and mandolin & fiddle).


Paul - if you're reading this, I miss you :>(


Anyone know of an acoustic guitar player with a nice tenor voice looking to work with a folky alto vocalist?


Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

This Just In


I was just logging into my Yahoo account to check email and found this story on Tim Hortons in Afghanistan as a news item. For my new UK friends the Tim Hortons chain is part of our Canadian Culture.


I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Ninja Handyman

It had to happen sooner or later..... Today I got bored.

The day started out OK, made some good coffee, headed back up to the Mansion to finish up the laundry and prepared a meal for Brannon & Gloria so that they would have dinner waiting for them when they arrived home from the US. I got back to the flat here on Cresswell around 3:00, wet, tired and well bored.
I didn't really have any time to do anything excursion wise before having to start dinner #2 for the day (mine). So I just curled up in my small space and watched a little teli with a hot cup of tea to warm up.


I've determined there is no good TV programing anywhere in the universe at 3PM on a Thursday. You know you're grasping at straws when you find a character named "Ninja Handyman" entertaining. But an interesting thing about that show (Planet Sketch), it's a UK/Canada co-production.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Self Portraits



I figure I should try to get into the habit of taking a self portrait at least once a month so that y'all don't forget what I look like. Had some fun with that task today. I found a mirror that had some good lighting so I wouldn't need to use flash but it still requires a steady hand.



I managed 2 shots, one is obviously clearer that the other but aside from that they both have pros and cons based on my expression, camera angle, the posed vs candidness of the shot etc. However I'm my own worst critic and rarely like pictures of myself.

Thoughts?

Comments?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Moving Day


Not much to report today as mentioned in my last post today was moving day. Had to try and stuff everything back into my 2 suitcases and 1 backpack after being strewn all over the floor for the past month. I should clarify it wasn't strewn in a messy way, but nice neat piles as I didn't have a dresser (I just desperately wanted to be out of a suitcase so the floor seemed like a good option).


Andrew came over after dinner and the resourceful man that he is he managed to fit all our bags, boxes and bodies into one load so the move didn't drag on for hours as I had envisioned. I'm back in my old room now sitting on the bed with my laptop & the wireless connection that I'm getting from somewhere.


Tomorrow I'm heading back to the 'mansion' to grab the few things out of the freezer that I forgot and to also make some dinner for Brannon & Gloria for when they arrive home. They will be extremely jet lagged and in no mood to cook I'm sure. It's the little bit I can do to say thanks for their generosity in opening their home to us.


Grandma update - she is back in the nursing home again after her short stay in emergency. They drained the fluid out of her lungs so she's feeling more comfortable. However, now my Mother is sick. She went into the emergency clinic herself and they confirmed she has strep throat - as if she's not having a tough enough time dealing with her Mother's illness, now she's sick too.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Random Musings on a Monday


- What's the deal with putting sweet corn in everything?

- Why are black Christmas trees now the trendy thing in all the shops?

- Why do the grocery stores insist on prepackaging everything in plastic containers and then wrap the container in cello-wrap (none of which can be recycled)?

- Coffee is very very very good here.

I wandered down to the Museum of Transportation today. It's a place I know Brenda has absolutely no desire to visit so it was a safe excursion for me. It was kind of cool, but I only got about half way through it. There were trains, trolley cars, double decker buses and lots of cars. The part that I found most interesting were the personal notes from the people that had donated their vehicle to the museum.

No today's picture is not of the Museum of Transport but of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum across the street. I'm currently fascinated with trying to take pictures at night. A bit tough without a tripod so most end up blurry unless I can find a fence or gate to rest the camera on.

Tonight is our last night in the mansion on Claremont Terrace. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we have to pack up everything and move back to the flat on Cresswell. We'll be there for about 3 weeks before we move for the last time to our more permanent flat. Although we are still working on the paperwork for that. I'm still waiting for my bank account to come through so the details get complicated.

Getting back to the original point.... my Tuesday will be spent packing & cleaning. In the evening we will then start the actual moving of possessions. Last time we did this it took 2 trips with the car jammed full. This time I think it might even take 3 trips as we've accumulated more things (groceries being one and the odd personal purchase). I am glad the Cresswell flat does have a lift as my suitcase alone is close to 50 pounds.

Got a quick email from my Dad today saying my Grandma is back in hospital as she's having trouble breathing. Please continue to pray for my Mom as she's there with her (it's got to be tough) and also for my Grandma that her depression would lift and she would feel comfortable. Thanks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday's Summary


Had a most wonderful brunch after the St Silas service this morning. Went back to the Grassroots Cafe and had French Toast stuffed with Goat Cheese & Cinnamon with real maple syrup. Mmmmm, the taste of home.

The sun was out in all it's warm glowing glory today. But I did my walking yesterday. I'm trying to stick to my walk one day, take the next off routine so as not to aggravate my running injury from last year. But too little too late, I could feel my right adductor muscle tightening as I walked up the hill back to the flat after brunch. Brenda on the other hand did get outside and went shopping in city centre.

I didn't really mind staying in for the afternoon. I opened the blinds so I could appreciate the sunshine and I continued to work on some Christmas gifts I'm crocheting. Yes, I know that sounds oh so dull and domestic - but remember..... I have red shoes! I also spent the afternoon listening to some Gillian Welch and Sufjan Stephens. I really miss my CD collection and stereo from home.

I went to the evening service at St Silas by myself tonight as Brenda wanted to stay in. It was a wonderful service. They had a different worship team on and they were great. The sermon was on 1 Corinthians 5 which can be a tricky passage to handle. I thought the Vicar did a great job of it. Lots of food for thought.

I caught my Dad on MSN Messenger tonight and while we were chatting my Mom called (she's in Oliver with my Grandma) so that was kind of fun. Dad would hold the phone up to the microphone in the computer so that I could hear what my Mom was saying. I don't have a mic on my laptop so I still have to type my replies but it gets the job done.

I guess my Grandma is really not doing that well. Her lungs are filling with fluid again and there is the possibility that she may refuse treatment and not allow the fluid to be drained off as she has a DNR request. She is very depressed and I don't know if she's going to make it to Christmas or not.

She's 85 and has lived a very full life. I got the travel bug from her. She was very excited when she heard about my plans to move to Glasgow. I was able to stay with her for a couple of days this summer before I left and I'm really glad I did. But it's still quite tough being this far away.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

48 Seconds




The picture on the left was taken at 2:03:11PM, the picture above was taken at 2:03:59 this afternoon. Quite the difference in lighting conditions a mere 48 seconds can make.


So what did I do on my Saturday other than watch the weather patterns change? Don't laugh it really is kind of fun to watch. Even better is looking up at the sky when the clouds are zooming by at break neck speed. It was cloudy today but no rain. No let me clarify that statement. It didn't rain while I was outside. It did rain later in the evening but I was in at that point so that doesn't count.


Due to the lack of precipitation at the moment we headed out the door we decided to take advantage and walked a good portion of the Kelvin Walkway. It's a beautiful path that follows the River Kelvin (thus the name). The river level was quite high and the water was moving very quickly due to all the wet stuff. Most of the leaves are off the trees thanks to those gale force winds. But the odd tree was still decorated with bright gold and red colours making the walk quite picturesque.


We walked a bit of a circle so as not to get lost as I didn't bring the map book with me (I was feeling dangerous). We took the walkway as far as Queen Margret Drive and then went up to street level and continued until we hit Maryhill Road and went right. We've driven with Jen a couple of times along this road so a few things were looking familiar. Saw the Church that Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed at Queens Cross. Unfortunately it's closed due to renovations but the scaffolding was finally off and it's scheduled to reopen in 2007. From what I could see on the exterior it looks very interesting. Something to look forward to next year, and now I know it's within walking distance.


By the time we got back to the Woodlands area we realized we hadn't had lunch yet and it was already after 3PM. Found a great little place called the Grassroots Cafe. Kind of like the Naam on 4th Avenue but without the stoners. It's a vegetarian restaurant (but I won't hold that against them) and they have an affiliated grocery store around the corner that sells organic produce, fresh baked bread and a great little deli. Lunch was yummy and we ran into Abigail (it's her flat we will be renting in December) and her father - too funny. We had a nice chat with the two of them which again to me is just another sign that this is all going to work out.


For dinner we had company. Heather came over for what was supposed to be dinner and a DVD but we never quite got around to watching the movie. Too much fun just sitting around the table chatting.


Still not sleeping all that well. I'm tossing and turning most of the night and when I do sleep I'm having very bizarre vivid dreams of which I will NOT go into any details. I'm really starting to feel it as I've only been averaging about 3 to 4 hrs. I guess sitting here working on the computer this late isn't too smart. So this is a good a place as any to end the post.


But one more thing..... Can you believe that Christmas is only a month away?

I Have A Problem

OK I admit it. I have a thing for Red Shoes. What can I say, it's the one way I feel I can be a bit wild and funky even though deep down I'm the most conservative person I know. Yesterday I broke down and bought a pair of Cherry Red Doc Martens (seen on the left). I love them.

Here is my Friday report. I made my way to the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art today. I was here briefly last year but got there just as the Museum was closing so had only zipped through it. Today I spent a good chunk of the afternoon there viewing the exhibits. There was a photography exhibit on Voodoo in Haiti that was quite interesting.

The sun is starting to set at 4PM now so by they time I walked back to the City Chambers it was pitch black already. They have George Square all decked out for Christmas already. The big tree is lit up and it looked like they have built a skating rink as well, but I didn't see anyone on the ice yet.

In the evening we attended a fashion show for a friend of a friend of Jen's. It was in a cool venue with lots of 'beautiful skinny people'. The collection was called the 'Joan Barron Collection' http://www.neverthesametwice.com/jbCollection.htm . It's fashion created out of vintage fabrics found at the estate of a lady named Joan Barron. Very interesting but I think I've decided I just don't fit the High Fashion scene.

Afterward when Brenda and I got back to the flat we decided to go down to the neighbor hood pub on Woodlands Road called the Uisge Beatha which is Gaelic for Water of Life - which is where the name whisky comes from. Last time I was there was on our last day in Glasgow before flying home the next day. I was so sick with the worst cold I've ever had and the non-smoking laws hadn't come into effect yet so I remember it being very very hazy and dark inside. This was a much nicer experience. It was still packed so nice to see that the ban on smoking hasn't hurt business at all. This pub has over 125 single malt whiskys. Our challenge is to see if we get get through all the good ones found on the top shelf in the next year.

No problem.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Adventures on a Thursday




The Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre was the day's cultural event. Braved the gusting winds and torrential rain to Merchant City to where the warehouse is that houses the exhibit space. The artist is Eduard Bersudsky and his wife Tatiana Jakovskaia was our guide.


First impressions, cool but kinda creepy. You can go to the website to get the particulars on the artist and how the collection came to be. We (new friend Heather, soon to be the downstairs neighbour when we move into our new flat) completely lucked out in that we showed up just as a seniors tour came in so there was a special scheduled show that we were able to catch. Much thought went into the music that accompanied each pieces little performance that made the experience that much cooler or creepier depending on the piece.


Well worth the 4 pound price. But if you go when there is not a show, then it's free. However, the downside to that is then the sculptures aren't moving, which is kind of the point of a kinetic sculpture don't you think?
In the evening we tried the Italian Film Festival again and were joined by another new friend Simon. I did much better with the movie this time. The film was called 'The Consequences of Love'. Loved the cinematography and set. It was also a film that really kept you guessing and you never really new where the story was going. However, I'm not sure that everyone else enjoyed the film as much.
All in all it was a good day despite the weather.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

We Got It!!!

The owner of the flat (see below post) slept on it and decided she wanted to offer her flat to us. Brenda was able to negotiate an earlier move in date of December 18th. Now the next big hurdle is the letting agent and the reference checks. Neither of us have a UK credit history and I'm still waiting for my bank info to come through. I'm hoping this won't be a huge issue and that they will be understanding as we've just moved here from Canada. So I'd appreciate your continued prayers as we try to slog through the paperwork.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Flat to Let

Christmas is coming, in fact it's coming soon, really soon. I really want to be in what will be my home by then. We had a conversation about this today at dinner so we decided we really need to start thinking about rentals now.

Brenda had seen an internet post last week that seemed in our price range and the location looked right. We went to view it tonight and it's in a great area - still within walking distance of the office/city centre, a 7 minute walk to Andrew & Jen's flat for Brenda, St Silas is a block and a half away and the Biblio Cafe is on the corner.

As we were going up the stairs one of tenants in the building was speaking to someone in the hall. Just as I was passing the door I happened to catch her eye and we recognized each other. Her name is Heather and she's one of the 3 people that we've gotten to know this last month. How weird is that? So I quickly said hi and that we were viewing the flat right above her. So I said we'd pop down for a quick visit when we were done.

We walked into this flat and all I can say is that when I had visions of what our place was going to look like - this was it. Very Boho Chic, 3 original fireplaces, original cornicing and hardwood floors. A very large flat with good sized rooms and an eat in kitchen (very rare). The girl that is renting is going to be travelling around the world for a year. She seemed very nice and I think we connected with her. The sad part is we were not the first people to express an interest. There is one guy ahead of us that is coming back on Sunday. So everyone out there - pray hard that he doesn't want it.

As promised we popped into Heather's flat for a quick visit. Well it ended up not being quick. It was so nice to just hang out with the girls and yak for an evening. Heather has Thursday off so we are going to get together for lunch and then go to a gallery after. In the evening we are getting together with another friend Simon and go to the GFT for another movie from the Italian Film Festival (culture, culture, culture).

This just seems right, and everything seems to fit. I really hope it works out. Sorry, never got around to taking out the camera today.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Days are Getting Shorter


As mentioned in my post from Sunday my head was starting to give me grief again and by Sunday night I was in full blown migraine mode (not happy about that). So Monday I spent most of the day in a very dark room drugged up on T3's and Gravol. In between doses I managed to get all the paperwork completed for my bank account application and the offer of employment I received from the firm I worked for in Vancouver. Everything seems so complicated when you are coming from another country. I can't say I'm surprised by that but when it comes time to sit down and sort through all the forms and questions it's all a bit overwhelming. Mind you that might have been the T3's causing some of that, but don't worry, I double checked everything again once I was in a lucid state.


Today I woke up feeling a million percent better but wanted to take it easy. Got up before Brenda headed off to Nannyworld and made some coffee and ate breakfast. I called the office to see if I could pop by to drop off my passport/visa documents for them to copy for Head Office (it's only a 15 min walk from this flat). Then I wandered into city centre, went to the Post Office to mail a letter to my Grandma, and then picked up some wool for some home made Christmas gifts I'm getting a head start on. Then to finish off the days errands I did some grocery shopping.


On the walk home there is one hill I walk up that is just behind Claremont Terrace where our flat is. As I reached the top of the hill today I noticed a very pretty sky as the sun was starting to set. Voila - the picture of the day.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life)


This movie poster hangs on the wall in the flat we've been staying at this month. So imagine my curiosity when in reading up on what's showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre I see that this movie is coming to town as part of the Italian Film Festival. In doing a bit more digging I also find that the American Film Institute has it listed in the top 100 films of all time. Well that's enough to pique my curiosity and decide to check it out.


Let's back up a bit first. Today is Sunday and I finally got myself out of bed in time to make the 11AM service at St Silas. The format is very similar to the evening service with use of the worship team and the casual atmosphere. The congregation is a good mix of generations and the worship is heartfelt. I do enjoy the sermons from Rev David McCarthy and the message today is on how the church should be welcoming. In previous weeks we've always just zipped out the door at the end of the service usually because we haven't had dinner yet. But today we were going for brunch so I decided to stop on the way out and have a quick chat with the Rev. He seems like a nice guy and it turns out he has been to Vancouver before and was at a course at Regent college for a few weeks back in the late 90's. He also has a blog:




This was my third Sunday attending and to be honest I haven't really met anyone yet. But this morning as I was standing waiting to take communion I had this overwhelming sense that this is where I need to be. Once Brenda and I get into our own place and I start work my life will be a little less chaotic and I will start to see if there are ways that I can get involved.


So, went to church, chatted with the Pastor and then went to get some brunch. That special meal in between breakfast and lunch on a Sunday isn't all that popular here. Lots of places offer brunch Monday to Saturday but only a few have it on Sunday. And those that do it's not the typical fare of Benny's and Omelets. Sure they have your traditional Scottish Breakfast (or heart attack on a plate as I call it), but there is also eggs and chips, Omelets (with chips). Not sure what the obsession with chips is all about - it's not like they were invented in Scotland. Today we went to a place called DiMaggio's because in walking by I noticed on the sandwich board it said that they had French Toast dusted with Cinnamon. Brenda loves French Toast so in we went. It did look good and was made of thick cut sour dough bread but - no syrup, no jam, no honey. Just dry French Toast. Maybe it would be a bigger hit with the brunch crowd if they realized that if you serve French Toast you need something gooey and sweet to dip it in.


Unfortunately from the moment I woke up this morning I felt a looming bad headache coming on. I'm in denial that it was a migraine as I felt the same yesterday but it went away once I got outside. So as we were walking to church Brenda was scolding me (and rightly so) that I should have taken my Tylenol 3's right away. But I hate the way they make me feel and I didn't want to experience church in a drugged groggy haze. So I struggled through the service and didn't feel half bad (but not great either). What got me was just before communion the Pastor said that the prayer team was off to the side for those that needed prayer, those with neck and back pain - hello, that's me. I thought about walking over and asking for prayer but I could feel myself start to tear up and I wasn't psychologically ready for an emotional outburst just yet. So after brunch when we came back to the flat I took my Tylenol 3's and Gravol chaser and napped for the rest of the afternoon. When I woke up at about 5:15 I was feeling a bit groggy but better.


I had roughly 30 minutes to perk up, grab a bite to eat (the codeine in the Tylenol 3's do a real number on my stomach so food is a good thing) and then head off to the theatre to catch the movie. It seems at some point during my nap the floodgates opened up and the rain was pouring down. I admitted defeat and wore my Taiga to the theatre. An umbrella is pretty useless if there is the slightest chance of wind as the gusts are so strong they blow it inside out. The temperature had warmed up a few degrees so I was warm and soggy by the time we got to the theatre. A new friend, Neil Quinn (just moved into Lansdowne Cres and is a colleague of Jen's), was joining us for the movie and we met him inside. Lots of ads before the movie (just like in Vancouver) and the seats were comfy but not much leg room. I have no idea how Neil managed as he's a tall guy and if I found it restricting he must have been miserable. Also, no drink holders in the armrest. When we walked in we were given a bottle of water, which was nice but in sitting down had nowhere to put it other than on the floor or on your lap.


So on to the movie - La Dolce Vita - a film by Frederico Fellini, one of the American Film Institutes top 100 films of all time, winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and the 1961 Academy Award for Costume Design, clocking in at 3 hrs and 15 minutes.


I didn't get it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Sunny Saturday


Although you'd never know it from today's picture.


Today's big adventure was FINALLY catching the tour of the Glasgow School of Art. Last year when we were visiting we missed the tour. But today we were lucky, as we were walking past the school I said "why don't we just pop in and see when the tours are". We lucked out in that the next one was starting in 30 minutes.


For those unfamiliar with the school here's their website:




Right in the middle of the tour as we were on the top floor of the building they decided to have the 2nd fire drill of the day. Good thing it wasn't raining, but we had to traipse down 4 flights of stairs, stand outside until the all clear was given and then go back up the 4 flights of stairs again to finish off the tour. It's a great building and its worth doing some digging on the Internet to research Charles Rennie MacIntosh's architecture and furniture design:




As it is getting close to Christmas I'm already starting the think about Christmas cards. So if you'd like a real card - something that has a stamp on it. Mmake sure you email me your mailing address. Unless you were at the Bon Voyage party at the Hass house as there you would have typed that into my lap top. But - if you weren't at the party (why didn't you come, I missed you !) then I won't have your address.


I send very interesting cards - just ask Tammy or Leona

End of my 4th week

I've been here a month now. It doesn't seem that long really. I'm starting to feel a bit settled and falling into routine (well as much of a routine as possible until I start work). Meeting a few people but still not making any strong connections yet as still in the search mode and haven't really had the opportunity to get involved in anything yet - church wise.

Got an email from my Mom today as she's in Oliver to see my Grandma who's been in the hospital. Grandma's health is not well and her spirits are pretty down. Being this far away it's a bit tough as I feel like there's nothing I can do other than pray and send her letters to keep in contact. I know it's been tough on my Mom, but I'm glad she's retired as now she can take the time to drop everything and go stay with her for as long as needed. It looks like she will be moved into a care home so my Mom & her sister are charged with all the details involved in facilitating the move and then dealing with her condo.

I haven't been sleeping well these past few night. I've had some pretty unsettling dreams that seem to revolve around moving and possessions. I think it has to do with the fact that I'm still homeless and living out of a suitcase for a month and probably for another month as well. Or it's just hormones - some days it sucks to be a girl.

Tomorrow is the weekend and I think the weather is still going to be cold, wet and windy. I'll need to find something warm and dry to do.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lets Talk Crisps


In the UK Potato Chips are called 'Crisps'. They have your regular plain, salt & vinegar and even Pringles but then there are the gourmet crisps. These are my favorites, Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli. This brand's other flavours are:


- Slow Roasted Lamb with Moroccan Spices (haven't tried yet)

- Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon & Thyme (they really do taste like chicken, not sure what I think about that)

- Vintage Cheddar & Red Onion Chutney (haven't tried yet)

- Thai Sweet Chilli (my favorite!)

- Caramelised Onion & Sweet Balsamic Vinegar (fabulous)
- Gently Infused Lime & Thai Spices (lovely)

- Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper (the pepper is a nice touch)

- Simply Sea Salt (haven't tried yet)


Now before you go thinking that I'm spending all my hard earned cash on crisps these are a regular snack found in Andrew & Jen's cupboard and I've only had a few tastes. Brenda bought 2 bags when we did the ASDA run 2 weeks ago and we are still on the 1st bag so we are behaving.


But they are soooooooooo goood!


(suitable for Coeliacs & Vegetarians)

HGTV Presents......

Today was spent trying to determine a decorating scheme for our flat that we don't have yet (you can never start too early). Jen was going to IKEA - my FAVOURITE store, and asked if we wanted to tag along. I was very good and didn't spend any money but I could have if we had a permanent home.

After our adventures in the store it was time for Carl's nap so Jen dropped us of at a UK store called Next which was where this pic was taken. They have lots of funky things and these great cushions that looked like the fabric came from hairy yaks. Here is the black Christmas tree that we keep seeing in the shops.

Please take notice Brenda's lovely handbag.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Tale of the Mysterious Steeple


One thing about Glasgow, if you don't have a map - just follow the church steeples. I can see this steeple from the street outside of Andrew & Jen's flat, but I didn't think it really looked like a church steeple. Well today I came upon the actual church quite by accident.

I was going to be meeting up with Brenda in the late afternoon for a coffee break. But I was ready to head out before Carl woke up from his nap so I decided to go off hunting for a wool shop I had heard about that was located on Queen Margaret Drive. So off I went walking in the rain. I found the store, and believe it or not it is owned and operated by a women from St Catherine's Ontario - I keep running into these Canadians :>)

The shop was a great find with amazing wools, but I practised restraint and only purchased a pattern book. I also took a business card as she mentioned that she posts patterns on her website and offers mail order if I don't feel like walking in the rain. When I was done I decided to live dangerously and walk a different way back. I followed the Kelvin River - no way to get lost as I know the river runs right past the block Andrew & Jen live on.

So I'm just merrily walking along the sidewalk and I notice I'm getting closer to the mysterious steeple and before I know it - there it is. Man that is one spooky looking church. And with the dark rainy sky and leafless trees it looks very eerie - but it does make a great picture.

When I got home I did some searching on the net and found some interesting details on the interior of the building. Now I need to go back and check out the inside. But I'll save that for another days adventure.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Looking for 17 - 27 High Street


The Tolbooth Steeple
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
My Dad sent me a link to an old photo of the 17-27 block of High Street taken in 1868 (see the link)

http://www.photogravure.com/collection/searchResults.php?page=2&view=medium&individual=8

So I put on my good walking shoes and Taiga coat to prepare myself for the long walk in the rain and wind. It took me close to an hour to get there but I couldn't find that address. From what I can see that block is now a bank building. If you look at the photo I took the block should be where the grey brick building is on the left. As I crossed the square High Street was no more and I was now on Saltmarket Street.

I just kept walking and found myself on the River Clyde and I could see an interesting architectural arch, a monument in the background and something way off that looked like a greenhouse. I later found out that what I had discovered was a place called Glasgow Green and the greenhouse was part of a museum called the People's Palace.

I was cold and wet and there is free admission for all museums here so I decided to go in and check it out. If you go to my Flickr photo site you will get all the details on what I saw on the Green and what the museum is about but I digress. Let's get back to the original story.....

One of the displays in the museum was on the history of tenements in Glasgow. In looking at the display I found the same photo my Dad sent me. In reading up on the area it was mentioned that the conditions in the district had become so awful that entire blocks were demolished. So that explains why I couldn't find that block of buildings. Here's a quote from the Glasgow Merchant City website:

Tackling the Old Town Slums

The eastern end of Trongate and the backlands reaching towards the south were, with the High Street and its interface with the Merchants City core, a different matter, "Although the population had increased fivefold between 1801 and 1860 .... there was in the centre of this rapidly expanding conurbation a medieval city covering about 100 acres with narrow winding ill paved streets which were quite unsuited to the requirements of an industrial city. The central business district, including the new City Chambers (ie County Building) had moved west, leaving the declining areas to the poorest classes. Virtually no demolition took place, and .... former middle-class gardens were filled with jerry-built back tenements.

The Corporation's own minute tools (18 November 1875) confirmed that, by the 1860's between 500 to well over 1,000 persons occupied each square acre. In 1871, it was revealed that there were some 200 houses of ill-fame and 150 oshebeens within the small area around Trongate, Saltmarket and Bridgegate.

From the 1840s the Police Acts allowed the municipal authority some power to intervene to improve sanitation, control overcrowding and to demolish decayed buildings, but it was not until 1866 that the City of Glasgow Improvements Act made Glasgow the first British Council Authority to plan slum clearance on such a scale as that proposed. It was intended to be "the largest and most comprehensive single undertaking of this kind in the 19th century ten years before Birmingham on an area twice as big" 18 By 1874, 77 acres had been bought at a cost of £1,317,700 and the homes of 15,425 people destroyed. By 1876, 25375 people had been displaced into significantly better homes.

So, going back to the photo my Dad sent me the link to and taking a closer look at the date and the condition of the buildings (notice the tops) I think this may have been taken either just before the mas demolition took place, or as it was taking place.

So there you have it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Grey & Blustery Day

No picture today - sorry.

It's been wet and very blustery these last few days but every now and then the blue sky does make an appearance, but then it goes away. Other than the blustery part it feels just like Vancouver.

Had Sunday Brunch at a cafe on Woodlands (can't remember the name) and had a traditional Scottish breakfast. They also had omelets on the menu but they came with chips and I wasn't really in the mood for chips for breakfast. Instead I had the heart attack special. 1 fried egg (but I requested scrambled as I can't stomach fried eggs), 1 banger, 1 piece bacon (but really it's just a fried piece of ham), fried mushrooms, fried tomato, 1 piece white toast, beans and a potato scone. The scone isn't what I would expect a scone to be. The potato scone was kind of like a flat thick crepe but made from potatoes. I quite liked it. With that also came coffee - I was expecting a horribly weak cup of brewed coffee but here (I don't think I've found a restaurant yet that brews coffee) they all make espresso. This is such a civilized city :>)

So all that grease and carbs kept me going all day. Brenda and I had poured over the Glasgow map book I purchased to try and find High Street and headed off in that direction. However, we got a wee bit sidetracked at the Buchanan Galleries. No not that kind of Gallery - it's a shopping mall. I needed another ball of wool for a Christmas gift I'm in the midst of making, then Brenda needed some trouser socks and also a bigger purse (her little bag just isn't big enough to hold all her stuff and as a result she keeps loosing things). By the time we were done we looked outside and it was already dark and it was only 4:15. Oh well - I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Michelle - this blog is for you!

Michelle is a friend of mine originally from Belfast but I met her in Vancouver through the Songs In The Night services. Now Michelle is currently in sunny LA while her husband Patrick is working on a film. Michelle is great with keeping in touch but she keeps going on about how much she misses the 'junk' chocolate and the Saturday Guardian paper from the UK. Also she misses red wine due to the fact that's she's currently with child. So me being the good sport that I am decided to bring everything together and take a picture.

Michelle - this is for you. The wine was wonderful, the chocolate... well it is 'junk' chocolate as you say but I do believe for milk chocolate is is much nicer than what I could have had in Canada (it was very smooth - but a little on the sweet side). Haven't read the paper yet, I'm saving that for Sunday morning with my coffee or maybe I'll have it with tea. I'll have to see what I feel like in the morning.

Meeting the boys for a pint


Meeting the boys for a pint
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
Met up with a friend from home today - oops I mean to say Vancouver. I'm trying to reference Glasgow as home now. Rick is an ex-Mercer colleague and he's in town for 2 weeks so we hooked up today for a visit.

We met for lunch and then walked to the Kelvingrove Museum. Sorry to say after all the beautiful weather I've experienced so far today was absolutely awful. Trying to use an umbrella was a useless task as the wind would whip up and turn it inside out. After 3 times I decided to forgo the brolly and just get wet. So we walked to Kelvingrove and dried off and viewed some of the exhibits that I hadn't seen yet. The last time Rick was here was pre-renovations.

After the museum we intended to walk up to Great Western Road to go for dinner but on the way the floodgates opened and we ended up having to duck into Beanscene in Ashton Lane to wait for the weather system to pass. I have NEVER been that wet before. As I type this my jeans and socks are still wet. Once we finished our warm coffee & tea the rain stopped and we met up with Brenda for dinner at a great little pizza place called Gambrino's. Very nice flat crust pizza that's just the right size to fill you up, but not too full.

After dinner we met up with Rick's cousin Fraser and his 3 mates from University at the Junkyard Dog pub across the street. Quite a nice little pub. Spent most of the night just listening to the boys talk. The more beer they consumed the more chatty they became and the wilder the stories. Let's just say it was culturally educational. We closed this pub down as well (we're 2 for 2 on the weekends). They are a fine bunch of lads and it was a fun night.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Finally A Smile!


Finally A Smile!
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
Sorry, didn't get a chance to post a blog entry yesterday as the Internet access dropped out in the flat. I got in contact with Gloria to find out how to fix it and after flipping some switches and wiggling some wires I'm back on-line today. Nothing like feeling cut off from the world for a day.

I met Brenda and Carl for coffee today at this cute little place nearby called the Bibliocafe. The cafe is lined with bookshelves and you can swap a book from off the shelf and read while sipping your coffee and munching on your pastry. The guy that works behind the counter is super nice but has one of the strongest accents I've encountered so far so I need to concentrate really hard when he says something. He makes a great Americano and his customer service is amazing. You get a little chocolate covered coffee bean on your saucer with your coffee - mmmmmm.

Carl was all smiles and a bit hit with everyone there. Such a charmer he is.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Glasgow City Chambers


The Marble Staircase
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
It was back to being a tourist today. A free guided tour of the Glasgow City Chambers was something that I missed doing last year so I took the opportunity to do it today. I didn't need to worry about Brenda missing it as she's done it already on a previous trip to Glasgow.

I won't go into too much detail as I've got all the info on each picture in my flickr site but I will say this - WOW. What a beautiful building and it's still being fully used as it was intended so it's not just a museum piece but a fully functional City Hall.

The current Lord Provost is Liz Cameron - yes Glasgow has a woman for Mayor. In fact this is the 3rd woman Lord Provost the city has had - take that Vancouver!

It was a good tour in that it was only 45 minutes long, you could take pictures and it wasn't information overload.

Monday, November 06, 2006

No Picture Today

I had a very lazy day today. My feet have been telling me lately that they have not appreciated all the walking I've been doing so I decided to have the perfect Monday and do nothing. I didn't even get out of my PJ's until 3PM - isn't that absolutely decadent! Sorry to all you working stiffs out there.

I took the opportunity to get caught up on some emails - yes some people do choose to email me to say hi and let me know what's going on in their lives. If you aren't one of those people then shame on you. You're missing out on a very special personal reply from yours truly with special anecdotes and trivia not released on previous blog entries. Try it, for the next 3 friends to send me an email you will receive a special hand written card - yes a real snail mail, something that require postage, card mailed to you and should arrive in the next 10 to 15 working days depending on how Canada Post is fairing these days. So email now, email often, it's a habit that's good for you (and keeps me from getting sad at looking at my empty inbasket).

Today's blog has been brought to you by the letter E - for Email.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Goofing Around on a Sunday

Today I didn't really accomplish anything, but I never really set out to in the first place.

This was the first weekend that Brenda has really had off so we just did a bit of exploring of the surrounding area. We went for brunch first (it's tradition) at a Crepe place on Byers Road. In getting there we took a different route that took us through the University grounds and we found the Huntarian Art Gallery. Unfortunately it's closed on Sundays - but now we know where exactly it is. Then we walked to the Kelvingrove Museum and looked around a bit. They have this very hands on area called the 'Mini Museum' which is meant for kids but I had fun goofing around with the footwear display as you can see from the picture.

Autumn is definitely in the air and it was a grey and extremely windy day today. We made the evening service at St Silas Church ( http://www.stsilas.org.uk/index.html )and it felt like a regular service from home which was nice. They had a worship team that did choruses (most of which we actually knew) and a good sermon. We hadn't made the morning service due to our late night on Saturday but we'll try and make it next week. But I have a feeling it will be a fairly liturgical service like the other Episcopal churches we've been to so far - that seems to be the norm for the AM.

One observation I've made is that the churches here are really supporting the whole Fair Trade initiative and will quite often have little booths set up after the service where you can purchase Fair Trade products or get more information on what Fair Trade is. Also the grocery stores here have Fair Trade, Organic and Green products well stocked and available, much more so then at home. I'm really impressed with that.

3 Guys - all size 11 shoes


3 Guys - all size 11 shoes
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
The South Garden Society of Lansdowne Cres held a BBQ tonight to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day (or Bonfire Night). Brenda and I went as representatives of Andrew & Jen's flat. It wasn't raining but the wind picked up and it was a bit chilly. So the warmest place to stand was right in front of the BBQ. The man in charge of the hot coals was Andrew from Australia. When the BBQ coals were not up to snuff he stepped in and took over and got everything going again so that the sausages could cook properly. In chatting with Andrew it was discovered that he doesn't live on Lansdowne Cres, but is just here visiting & staying with friend Lewis and his flat mate Dave.

In standing over the warm coals we started chatting with the boys and discovered that Lewis & Dave live across the hall from Andrew & Jen. Once the coals started to die down we moved over to the Lansdowne pub to continue the conversations and we ended up closing the place down. I think this is the first time I've actually been kicked out of a pub - but they were ever so nice about it.

In the course of the evening it came up that all 3 guys all had size 11 feet (size 12 North American). So that just begged a picture. You know what they say about guys with big feet.........



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