Wednesday, June 27, 2012

edinburgh graduations

England misses their penalties

the graduate

the goodisons

in the NLS



Perhaps it's cheating simply to post pictures. I suppose I should just get pinterest, but what another distraction. Yesterday I spent 4 hours in the ER waiting for someone to see my arm. It turns out I do have a bad sprain and I'm now wearing a wrist brace. The last time I had thoughts about a wrist brace I was in school and they were definitely much cooler then in my mind than they are now.  I have unpacked and repacked and not read anything for days now.  I roll over and there are boxes. I dream about boxes. It's like real life tetris.Yesterday was also my last day to nanny Thing 1 and Thing 2. I don't want to think about it. Old friends in town: Liz whom I will just call my doppelganger. Sophie's birthday.

Fran's graduation was similiar to mine. I was excited I got to go and see him and other close friends graduate. But I was so confused. No one at Edinburgh apparently receives a BA, but you can get a BSc. Most receive an MA. Several people got an MA in Mathematics. I am not quite sure how this is possible. Then again, I'm not sure how a person like me can have an MSc, but I do not complain. We had a lovely lunch and the day was kind and the view from the Tower of the National Museum was wonderful because you were on eye level with everything. On Arthur's Seat one feels like God watching over the inhabitants, but there it was just eye to eye with spires.

Let me tell you more about the ER or A and E. I was not thrilled to go. I had let this injury go for three weeks but now it was nigh on unbearable with many a night me curled up in my bed whimpering like a whipped child. So we went, and I expected it to be terrible. It was terrible because I was hungry. But the doctors and nurses were supportive. I had to explain what skim boarding was and I don't even know what it is really, you'd have to ask my brother, but I couldn't say that to the nurses "Please ask my brother" so I just told them I was surfing though that's a very poor parallel.

At first I was angry they wouldn't x-ray my arm. But when I finally got to see the doctor, initially his first opinion was to do so. However, the Macleods (parents of Thing 1 and 2) had a friend in the ER and he stopped by ("Are you the American I've been hearing about?") and examined it as well. So I had not only one but two doctors see my arm. He explained how swollen tendens put pressure on the nerve; they pulled out books and diagrams; they prodded my arm. I had never thought it was broken, but now I was convinced they were right: a bad sprain. Then he brought me lots and lots and lots of pain killers and I was so happy to have them. And he gave me wrist brace. And codine. All for free. And they were so nice and unharassed and thorough. Afterwards I hunted for the bunnies in the jungle of the garden in the rain and had pizza and watched Star Trek and was very happy. It was the beginning of a paradigm shift. Perhaps I will be converted yet.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Eight Days and Counting

I have just packed my second suitcase and how I want everything to be neatly packed in cowhide trunks with manila placards and hatboxes. Instead, well, there is only one leather case and that was a carboot sale find in need of great repair.  I am miserable. Everytime I come home, it's silly, but I fight back tears as I'm so ready to leave now all my flatmates are gone. That and I resprained my wrist doing cartwheels in Bristo Square. We had just come from Banshees at the sky was lightening, and oh, it was invigorating and I just wanted to run up Athur's Seat, but instead, I did cartwheels and ran home. Very silly of me.

Let's see... today, I helped Lisa paint her flat. Ran across a Scottish Tin Tin in Omni Furnishings.  Read a hilarious passage about God performing a miracle on a bad brew made beautiful, like the Wedding at Cana.  Love me some ginger beer and Jeremiah Weed came highly recommended on both sides of the pond: lovely. And then I've been climbing Arthur's Seat nearly every day this past week. I saw a red hen and a baby bunny and the sun set.

Springsteen was recently in Glasgow, and man, do I wish I could have gone.  That'll be one of the other good ol' life ambitions. I don't think I appreciated him until I moved out of America and he makes me love home.

Today was my second to last day to nanny and it was one of the best days ever. Can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. But now, I'm determined to listen to music and pack up my room until everything is in boxes or bags.  Tomorrow, Fran returns from the West Highland Way and I'm rather excited.  Monday he graduates. After Tuesday I just want to go somewhere: maybe grab a train and go to Wimbledon.  Friday is the grad ball and excited is an understatement. There is going to be a CELIDH. Sunday next we'll be off to the Lake District for some camping and then to Southampton. Is it terrible to say that living out of suitcase feels more normal somehow? I'm excited.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In Scotland and Durham

Coming back to Scotland from the States has been an easy reacquainting.  Friends have come to visit, really lovely people, friends of friends, curled up in pillows and blankets like we're 12 years old and at a sleepover. A hasty trip down to Durham to meet the landlord. My new flat is going to be so lovely. It's much smaller, but will be cozy.  The weather has dumped months worth of rain in three days, leaving the city clean. It reminds me of a clear-all tablet. We celebrated Alex's birthday on Wednesday at Illegal Jacks which, if you chose their pork option, is the closest thing I've ever had to Southern BBQ here. I cried when I tasted it, it was so delicious. Home group, a church picnic. And many, many trips up Arthur's Seat. On Saturday, it was full of rain, and it was shrouded in cloud, and Fran and I looked at each other and said, yes let's. And we climbed it and ascended into cloud and found wild fox gloves (which are poisonous) and water descending in tiny streams. All my lovely housemates have moved out (the last one on Thursday) and it's now just me and people I don't know, which makes me ready to leave. Yesterday I packed up an entire suitcase. That and the internet has been down. Felix's fur is now so ridiculous that slugs get stuck and rolled up in it, and we desperately need a hedgehog for that back garden to eat the nasty slugs. I am looking forward to Fran's graduation, a graduation ball, and camping in the Lake District. I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to Holy Rood Abbey or any of the people here, especially Thing 1 and Thing 2.  I have just finished reading Slaughter House 5. Poh-ta-weet. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Beach Endings

These pictures are a conglomerate of whoever had dad's camera. Attempt to cite follows. 










[1]All three of us in what can only be a dad inspired photo in extremely characteristic postures for each of us. It rained three days and we found the grey relaxing and calming. [2] No one wandered the beach and it was ours for the taking.  Perhaps months in Scotland has taught me that much enjoyment can be sought from a grey day, and perhaps aren't as tiring as the sunny ones. [3] Abby collected sand dollars, all broken, paper thin, and fragile.  [4] Abby with the skim board.  Mitchell by far excelling, making it look graceful and easy.  Abby, ever determined and fierce, improves the most.  And me?  I gather courage from a graduation gift to Abby: Do one thing every day that scares you.  By the third day, I've practiced enough to feel confident, and I'm getting the hang of it, when I wipe out, spread-eagle, spraining my wrist.  It's not until evening the pain sets in, and then, I'm very glad mama is near as I just want to curl up in her lap and cry. [5] Each night we supped on the widow's watch and watched the sun set.  Sometimes the full moon rose over the waters and it seemed as if it belonged to a Poe story. [6] Mitchell scampered like a monkey into hammock, flipping over.  I once made a hammock of my own and I loved flipping over. I felt something between a vampire and a winged bat, hovering over the ground, swaying.  [7] Our attempt to walk to bird island was confounded but we did see this lovely [stork?] stalk through the marshes, snipping up prey. [8] I love live oaks: their gnarled limbs that extend finger like in any direction.  These seemed naked without Spanish Moss.  In Spain I never saw Spanish Moss, but it makes the oaks here more elegant and eerie.  When I was young, I used to pretend it was old women's hair, the three sisters of MacBeth made of this stuff.  It frightened me.  Now it's home.  I made that dress and I get irritated it still doesn't fit well. [8] Finally, a few precious days spent with my cousins.  We are notoriously bad for taking family photos: Abby and Mitch both left, as if dropping out like Ten Little Indians, and this remnant here, taken just before we too, returned home.  Aunt Jayne is right. This is the end of an era of sorts. Mitch and Abby graduated, me in Great Britain, Mom and Dad with an empty nest. The next few years seem less straight than the branches of the live oak. 

Yet here we are and tomorrow I leave to go back. If I stop to think about it, I'll get desperately sad.  Perhaps life as an MK with a myriad of goodbyes and hellos makes it easier to cope. [The one thing I remember most about growing up is living out of a suitcase. I've never lived in one house for more than three years. Rootless if you like.]  But it doesn't. Not really.  It makes me less fussy to the prospect of goodbyes, to greet them like I do strangers on walks: the side-eye, the nod, the slight wave. Gruff and short.  But no less emotionally wrought. Goodbyes are easier when they aren't acknowledged, and I know I often leave seeming unemotional or without saying goodbye directly. But that isn't the case at all. After years and years of goodbyes, one can only take so much. Besides, all true friends, and especially Christians, know that it's never really goodbye, but merely, in the words of Kipling and the Bastables, "Good Hunting." 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I've finished three novels in three days.  It was not until this afternoon that I reached a deep inner quiet from rest, on a walk to the point of the island in the few rays of sunshine from a mildly gray day.  I will say I've finished the Hunger Games and I'm sad at how they deteriorate in quality of writing, plot, and resolution.  I was all quieted and resolved this afternoon, but the poor ending has shaken me from that.  The beach has been full of life, with birds nesting and young ones about, crabs, clams, birds, and even porpoises. My favorite walk is to the point and at times no other human is around and the solitude is delicious. Our house has a widow's watch, last night we ate dinner on it, and watched the sun set.  The night before we saw four planets in the sky. What is this ever human need for isolation and companionship, and how one never tires of looking at the ocean?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mitch Graduates!

Last night we had Mitchell's baccelaureate dinner: seven awards. He wore a bowtie and suspenders.  Today Mitchell graduated.  He gave his class speech which made all of us in the pew just cry, people coming up afterwards asking for copies of it, and Mitchell being accosted by every grandparent in the reception. He did real good. Somewhere there are more flattering pictures of all five us (and my dear aunt and mema who drove up for his commencement) but they are not on my phone.  We will drive separately to the beach, and the thought of six glorious beach days hasn't even sunk in yet. But, true to my nature, I've left all six books I have to read til this week: medieval academic tomes. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little excited to peek into one and scribble a few notes. But I'd also by lying to say I didn't get the newest copy of Vanity Fair featuring Marilyn Monroe.

Do your families call you be their sister or children's names? For example, mema. To get to me, it's a hodgepodge of familiy names, passing generations, in-laws, and the once, twice, thrice removed. Yet I will be judged by the same standards as it's hard enough for me to keep Thing 1 and Thing 2's names straight. I do like growing older, growing more comfortable in myself and my decisions, even with my faults, inherited or not from my great host of predecessors.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Since Home

Making Cornhole

Enjoying the spoils


Downtown Waxhaw

Highlight of the town

Cooking 13 Chickens

Riverstreet with Sister

The Waving Girl: Our favorite
- Dad (mostly Dad) and I made cornhole
- Fran came to visit and we explored downtown Waxhaw
- Mom and Dad threw a graduation party grilling chickens on a killer bbq
- Then Savannah and Statesboro to see family

Tomorrow, I'll descend to the ninth level of ---- as I go to the DMV, renew my license, and then, the highlight of the day, a visit to the annual library booksale. Tomorrow, we'll then see Mitchell graduate (and give his valedictorian speech!) and go off to the beach for a rather rare family vacation. This is especially exciting as we'll get to have the company of some of our cousins we rarely see. All in all I'm enjoying home, sunburnt, but, deep down, looking forward to going back to my little hobbit hole and getting back to work.