Monday, April 25, 2011

i heart faces. [pets]

I had to enter this week's i heart faces photo challenge. Not because I have the perfect photo, but because I have the perfect pet, whom I miss dearly. This is Cael, for those of you who do not know him. He's about two thousand miles away from me right now, staying with my brother while my husband and I are in Edinburgh while I get my Master's degree. He's also recovering from a back injury, and it has been hell having to worry about him and know that there is nothing I can do from this far away for his fear and pain.
I have literally thousands of photos of Cael, but this one struck me as I was perusing them. Waiting to go outside, his favorite place, he is giving me his usual brown-eyed plead to just open the door. I called his name as he was looking outside, and he immediately flipped his head up to where I was, his ears flopping behind him, and I loved the way the sunlight illuminated his face. Cael is the best pup anyone could ask for, so this one is for him. Love you, little guy, and miss you. See you soon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

the spring has returned.

I meant to write on these things soon after I got back from experiencing them, but time, it seems, never ceases to find ways to elude me and my intentions. It was this past Sunday that I finally was able to get out and enjoy what spring has brought to this city. I've been feeling it, knowing it was here for a few days, maybe a week, but I hadn't gotten the opportunity to go out and give it its due attentions. But Sunday, Sunday is a day a rest, and it was resting in the beauty and warmth that had been bestowed finally upon us here in Scotland that I intended to take advantage of. I donned a skirt, easily removable shoes, and a sleeveless shirt, as well as packing the essentials: moleskin notebook, pen, book, and music-listening device, blanket, and food and water, of course, then I trekked down to Holyrood Park and its extensive green spaces, gorgeous views, and sun-warmed patches of earth. I spread out my blanket on an appropriately unoccupied, perfectly balanced spot of shade and sun, and basked in the glory of the return of the prodigal spring. The spring cursed for leaving us once summer's warmth encroaches a little too heatedly and then again when autumn's crisp nip becomes a vicious bite with winter's arrival. But finally, that which was lost is again found and the rejoicing becomes that much sweeter for its absence and the extremes borne in that absence. I read, I wrote, and I simply reveled in the symphony of sunshine on my skin as I listened to whimsical music fit for an afternoon of such revelry. I occupied my little patch of gold for an hour or two then retired and left the spot for someone else to enjoy. With the sun still warming my face and skin, I walked the extra few minutes out of my way for the perfect finish to the first springtime frolic, a proper Mr. Whippy ice cream cone. I returned home refreshed and with a new array of very lightly evidenced freckles, not to mention on smile on my face and a satisfied sigh in my heart.

My little patch of golden springtime.

The first time these have been used this year.

The essentials.

Hoping for just a little color...
The perfect end to a perfect revelry.

Welcome back spring time! You've been missed.


Monday, April 11, 2011

i heart faces. [shadows]

This week's challenge on i heart faces is 'shadows.' As shadows and contrast are two of my favorite artistic elements, and ones I use quite often, I thought that entering this week would be a great idea. Shadows have always fascinated me. Ever since seeing Peter Pan as a child, the idea of shadows having a mind of their own piqued my imagination. This shot was from a wedding I did a few years ago, Emily and Matt. Their love was so physically present and tangible, it wouldn't have surprised me to see that manifesting itself independently in their shadows as well. Maybe it did...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

good for the soul.

I just spent three hours talking, laughing, and reminiscing with my closest friend on Skype, and I had no idea how much my soul needed that. She makes me laugh and lifts me up more than anyone except Jeremy, and knows just what to say to keep me encouraged and confident in my studies and intellect. I got further bouncing dissertation ideas off of her than I did with professors at school. She knows how I think and knows the questions to ask to get my thinking in the right direction. And sometimes we are just insane together, and I miss those silly times in front of photobooth taking ridiculous photos of ourselves. God blessed me majorly when he gave me Chelsea as a friend, and I pray that I am as much of a blessing to her as she is to me. Thank God for bosom friends, right Anne Shirley?
One of the first photos of us taken.

One of the last photos of us together before our lives took us to separate places.

We have way too much fun.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

my hairs.

They have been cut. Actually, I let Jeremy cut my hair. This isn't the first time, and he didn't do too bad. I figure, he lets me cut his hair, so why not show him the trust he shows me and let him cut mine? I realize that logic could have backfired, but fortunately it did not. I've tweaked some things here and there, but all in all I'm quite happy with it. It was time for a change, and I was honestly getting so sick of pulling my hair every time I put my bag on my shoulders. I'd have to fight to get it untangled, and it was just becoming a burden. So it's been chopped off and now I can enjoy a painless time as I shoulder my bag and head out the door.

Keep praying for Cael. Things are still unclear as to what has happened, and how serious it is.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

a day in the highlands and other such happenings.

This past week has been a whirlwind of emotion, of fun, of fellowship, and of sight-seeing. As you know from my last post, my parents came to Edinburgh last weekend to visit Jeremy and me, and to celebrate my birthday as well. It was wonderful not only seeing them, but being able to see Edinburgh through the eyes of a tourist again. I know there's a stigma attached to being touristy, especially when you live in a place, but there's something special about looking at a place through the lens of the expectant and awe-filled tourist. So it was nice to get another glimpse of this amazing city--and Scotland itself--with that doe-eyed wonder of newness and awe. We did a number of things in Edinburgh itself, and also went to Stirling, which was brilliant. On Wednesday we went on a tour at the Whisky Experience at the top of the Royal Mile, and I have to admit that it was quite well done. They have the largest single collection of single malt whisky in the world, which was quite impressive in its back-lit glass shelving. My father and Jeremy enjoyed a tasting session of the four biggest whisky regions in Scotland: Lowland, Highland, Speyside, and Islay. I personally enjoyed my tasting of whisky from the Highland region, a distillery called Ben Nevis--named after the highest peak in Scotland. I can't say the same for my mum's tasting, she declared that it just tasted like rubbing alcohol. She's never enjoyed alcohol though, so to expect her to enjoy a single-malt was unfair. I'm proud of her near-perfect ability to not screw up her face at each sip of her glass though. Way to go, Mum.
A very small part of the largest whisky collection.

The lads' whisky tasting.

The lads tasting their whisky.

Then on Thursday my parents booked a trip that Jeremy and I would have never done ourselves--as 'locals' that like to think they can't do anything touristy at the risk of exposing our real state of long-term and awe-struck tourists desperately trying to be locals (mostly for want of money to do touristy things). Ahem, anyway, my parents booked a day trip to the Highlands with Haggis, yes Haggis, Tours. We piled into a bright yellow midi-bus at 8AM on Thursday morning that had bright red letters on the side that said 'Wild and Sexy Tours'. Luckily, it was easy to forget what the bus looked like when you were inside of it. Also luckily, it was actually a really great tour. Our guide was really funny and engaging, and really knowledgeable as well--full of stories and history. We drove up through the countryside to Glencoe, the site of the infamous and terrible Glencoe massacre by the Campbells of the MacDonalds. We stopped there briefly, then continued on up to Fort Augustus and the southern end of Loch Ness, and we went on a cruise of the loch and hoped for a glimpse of Nessie, but we had no such luck. But Loch Ness is gorgeous and daunting, at nearly a mile deep and the waters as black as a moonless night. I have no problems imagining a kind of 'monster' able to keep itself hidden and elusive down there. After we left Fort Augustus we came back down the other side of the Highlands, and saw the Glenbogle house for anyone who has seen the show 'Monarch of the Glen'. We went through Perthshire, and had a quick stop in Pitlochry. Back on the bus and around the city of Perth, then finally through the Kingdom of Fife and over the bridge back to Edinburgh. It was amazing to see the differences between the west and east Highlands, but to also recognize the beauty and glory of both--and all in the same day to boot. It was nice to finally get up to the Highlands, if only for a wee taster session, and Jeremy and I are looking forward to finally get up there to spend some real time in the countryside camping, walking and backpacking over hills and through glens.

How'd you like that house in Glencoe? Yes, please.
Loch Ness.

The east Highlands. Any Western North Carolinians recognize something familiar?
 My dad even connected with his Scottish roots and bought a Harris Tweed flatcap. That, and drank plenty of Scottish single malt and beer. Aye, he's got a little Scotland in him all right.
The handsome Scotsman.

I'm still trying to pin down my elusive dissertation topic, which seems to have taken a dive into murky waters to imitate Nessie--but I'm confident in my ability to track it down and force it to succumb to my will, and unlike Nessie, it will be broken and tamed. Hah.

On a more serious note, Jeremy and I received word last night that our pup, Cael, was taken to the emergency vet yesterday (mostly because it was the weekend, and no other vet was open) due to his unexplained whimpering and crying, and inability to move around very well. Drew tells me that the vet can't find anything specifically wrong yet, and worst-case scenario it could be a slipped-disc. So please, please pray for Cael, and the vet looking at him, and also for  Drew and Kelsey who are having to deal with all of this. Pray for Jeremy and me and well, because as it was hard to be away from the Cael before, it's even harder knowing that he's in pain and scared, and I'm thousands of miles away from him. Cael is on bed-rest of a couple weeks, and on some pain-meds so pray for his speedy (and honestly, pray inexpensive) recovery as he'll be going back to the vet in a week's time to see if he has improved.
Pray for this little guy.