Saturday, October 28, 2006

Uncle Josh and Aunt Deliverance

**I typed this up yesterday, but blogger wouldn't let me post it**

We were just informed (one of the first, I believe, since it was too early to call anyone else in the States!) that Josh's sister Liz gave birth to their first baby, and the first grandchild of the family. A wee lass. Congratulations Liz and Aaron!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sixth honeymoon

We always try to go somewhere for our anniversary and call it our honeymoon. This year was our fifth wedding anniversary, so our sixth honeymoon. Since we are on a tight budget we just went somewhere nearby for one night. Our Am Ex forum Scotland travel expert suggested an area called Dunkeld/Birnam. We missed autumn back home and Josh was really wanting to get into the woods again, not an easy task in Scotland. Scotland had been deforested for agricultural purposes thousands of years ago. By the first World War, only 5 percent of Scotland was covered by trees BUT, Dunkeld actually has forests! And we were hoping to catch a little autumn color action, like this:

We got up at 5am for a 6:30 train. We missed it. And the next one was two hours later. Guess what you can do in city centre at that early hour? Walk. So we walked around until Starbucks opened at 7:30. We were early for the next train.

When we got off the train in Birnam we had to walk through a little wooded path to get to the town. I knew then that it would be lovely! We walked to our B&B and checked in: Birnam is quite small (under 300 I believe) but Dunkeld is much larger (over 600 I believe) so we headed over there to get some food. To get to Dunkeld we walked over the scenic River Tay.

We did a lot of walking through the town (or village) and the woods on the first day. The interest point of the town was ruined Dunkeld Cathedral: We were so nackered from all of our walking the first day that we didn't really attempt our ambitious desire to walk up the highest hill. It was pretty foggy during our entire trip anyways that we wouldn't have been able to see much. We had heard about Birnam Wood, made famous by Shakespeare's Macbeth: so we spent our final hours in the wood and on a trail along the River Tay.

It was short and sweet. We walked to much and after we were kicked out of the B&B we had to keep our backpacks on us, so we were ready to get home. Oh, and never take the Perth train to Edinburgh on a Sunday afternoon. Josh stood and I had to sit on the floor much of the way.

I have lots of pictures on flickr now (click here). Have a browse. (There is more than one page so be sure to flip through!)

Oh, and PLEASE leave your comments. Unfortunately I had to get rid of the tagboard and haven't been able to find a new one yet. We want to hear from you. You can leave comments on flickr, too!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Challenges Ahead

Thank you, everyone, for your support in so many ways. It has still been a slow process finding gainful employment, but I have another promising round of applications out again. Hopefully I'll have something by mid November, there have been some interesting positions available working with Edinburgh's homeless population. This will probably be my last round of attempts to find employment here, so if nothing materializes from it, some of you may get your wish to have us come home sooner rather than later! Yes, the sad reality is one can't be on holiday forever without a little $$, so we may be home in time for Christmas if I don't find a way to contribute to our household income!

Please keep Deliverance in your prayers as she has been pretty stressed about her job. Various aspects of the job are quite enjoyable, but there are significant problems with management that make it a challenging place to work. I imagine her problems will only be for another few weeks or so since either I will get a position and she can decide whether she wants to continue working there, or I won't get a position, so she can quit and we'll find something else to do back in the States. I think she is feeling more stress about it than I am, but hopefully we can both just adapt to changes and challenges as they come along. This has been an exciting time in our lives and as always, big transitions come with some measure of stress. So hopefully we can just "roll with the punches" and enjoy what this period in our lives has to offer.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Officially finished!

I am going to take the liberty to brag on my husband just now. He got his marks yesterday and he is going to graduate with distinction. This is the equivalent of graduating with honors. He did very well and got wonderful remarks on his dissertation from the markers.

"A thorough and penetrating study of a complex concept"
"A very, very high standard of work for this level, showing clear doctoral ability."
"An excellently creative piece of work."
"Showing real intellectual flair and insight."
I am sure Josh will be embarrassed that I posted these remarks, but he worked so hard and I am proud of him.
Thank you to everyone for your support during the past year. Please continue to pray for us as me move on to the next stage in our life.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's days like this...

when I love my job.

I was training a new hire. Out of the blue she said, "You are a very good supervisor!" :) Later she went on about how nice I am and she wanted to ask to work with me more. Then she ran to the rota to see when she works with me again. She came back and said, "I don't work with you again this week!" Later I told her I was going on holiday soon and she frowned. Then she went on about how the time was going so slow when she was working with other people, but the time went by so fast when she was working with us (me and another barista). :) I told her to be careful what she says because she might decide she really doesn't like me after a couple of weeks. The other 'green bean' working with us tonght likes to work with me. A customer had a problem with his frappaccinos, so I remade them without a problem and gave him 2 coupons. My barista came up to me afterwards and sighed, "You have SO much patience!" It's just nice to be appreciated, even if I don't get it from the one I work under.

I was very proud of the girls working with me today. All of them are new. Just minutes before one of the girls was meant to be off we get a crowd of about 30 school kids all at once. I immediately fill the ice bin. So, they all order frapps, which are rather difficult to do in successive order, but we got a system and we managed. The above mentioned girl wasn't trained in anything yet, so she just kept asking me "What can I do?" I showed her how to make cream mix and she just kept making them one after another. I positioned myself of cold bar putting together the frappaccinos in the blender, after they were blended I passed them to the barista (who was supposed to be going home) and she dumped it in the cup, topped them with whip and passed them on to the customer. Of course, half of the kids did not pay attention when the drinks were called out and just took whatever they wanted. So we got kids coming back saying, "You didn't make me the right drink!!" Not only did we have to make 30 frapps, but we had to make half of them over again!! AARGH! (side note, when you get a drink from Starbucks, make sure it is YOUR drink!) But amidst all the caos, they did great and we were never backed up.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Birthday to Josh!!!

Happy birthday, Josh!
We had a few friends over tonight to celebrate Josh's birthday. Josh didn't know about it until today, and even then he only thought I invited 2 people. I'm so sneaky. He thought I was really overdoing it on the food for just 4 people! We ended up having a cozy group of about 8 people from church and Bible study (so nice to have Emma back!). It really is nice to relax with a group of friends. And it is VERY nice to finally have the space to do it!
Josh has been such a tremendous help lately since work has been rough for me. He has been doing the dishes every day, and the laundry and hoovering. He is a regular house husband! I just can't manage to get him to do the cooking though. If only we had a grill. I know I could get him to fix dinner once or twice a week. :) Thank you for all of your help, Sweetie!
Well, the party's over and I've got to get up at 5:30 tomorrow...

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I actually have 4 days off in a row for once and I am sick! Bummer.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Simple things

We went to a DIY store the other day. They have a garden center like Lowe's or Home Depot. Josh spends what seems like forever looking at tools and things that he has to think up excuses to get, so I spend my time in the garden center. It was to therapeudic! I walked out there and it was sunny, the birds were chirping, it was peaceful and relaxing with their displays of waterfalls, and it smelled so nice. I could have lived out there! Except when it started raining. Yes, the sun was quickly dispelled. But it really was therapeudic to be out there. I was greatful for that.

So now we have a crazy little succulent for our desk next to the computer, a lavender, and a gardenia that is about to bloom about 10 flowers!

Monday, October 02, 2006

If 'community' cannot be online, then why do I feel so gutted?

I have been told that it is not possible for community to exist online. I would agree that it may not be ideal, as one cannot see, touch, and talk directly to the othe members of the community. It may be easier for misunderstanings to occur. But I also believe that it may be easier for people to get 'real' with one another.

Here are some definitions of community from

a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists

A group of people having common interests

Sharing, participation, and fellowship.

Many of you know that I belong to an online community called American Expats inthe UK. It is a forum where people with a common interest join together daily to share struggles and joys. Since I joined the group I have been supported in the whole process of moving to the UK. I was warned that I would not find DILL PICKLES here! I was told I might want to bring my US measuring cups and to be sure that I get a stamp from customs when we arrive (good thing because we had to ask for it). After arriving I learned where I could find cornmeal and black beans. I could rant about the crazy foot traffic and they could join in with me. When we were looking for a flat I could post daily on the progress (and if I didn't, I was asked!) and rant about how difficult it was. Everyone was so supportive. They assisted in our decision on a broadband provider. And now with work being an issue, I can post long rants about that and receive comments like "how about selling your crafts?" because they just know me that well. Some have guided me in how I should handle certain things. People post pictures of their kids and we watch them grow up. New moms post about the woes of midnight feedings and seek advice on other parenting issues. Anytime I have a question I first think to post it on "MY" forum because I know somebody there will know.

Now I feel like my community is falling apart. There has been a contraversy and many of our long time members, big time posters have left. I just feel so gutted. I don't want to leave because I feel like I have a history there. I don't want to get wrapped up in the contraversy because it is above my head (having to do with the moderators and such).

So, why did I tear up at the first announcement of someone leaving, and why does my stomach drop at every other good-bye I see? I am really wrapped up in these people's lives and I feel close to them. I have recieved so much support and I am fearing that it will all be gone. This IS my community at this stage in my life. I have no other community. I have a couple of friends who have been an amazing support to me, but it's not the community where you can allow yourself to be weak and vulnerable, even when your friend feels weak and vulnerable, too, because you know there will be others stronger who can support you.

I know some of you who have online relationships will agree, and those who don't will disagree. But believe me when I tell you this: there has always been someone there for me in the past two years of this journey we are taking. I am very, very sad to see some of them go.