Friday, June 29, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday #6


1.   The last movie I saw was   Thor.  Teh Bear and I watched it on our 6 hour Skype date!  :) 

2.  I want to   go on a real vacation..  not sure where..  or when.. but eventually. 

3.  Surprises are   awesome.  Sometimes I'm hard to surprise though, and I think that sometimes people just don't want to have to put the effort into keeping things from me, so I don't get surprised as often as I'd like (if we're talking preferences here).  I also love to surprise people.  Example: Christmas 2011 when my family had NO CLUE I was coming home..  And I even cut my hair short and didn't tell anyone so make for even more surprises..  :)  I win! 

4.  The best accessory is   awesome earrings.  I'm really excited about wearing my bomerrang earrings from Australia soon!! 

5.  My favorite warm drink is   either a peppermint mocha or pumpkin spice latte...  

6.  My favorite cold drink is   SWEET TEA, like every good Southerner. 

7.  Currently loving   Teh Phil boy being particularly sweet and awesome.  Except for Tuesday morning when both of his front feet dug into the top of my foot as he stretched...  OOOOUUUUCCCCHHHHHHH.  I'm also extremely particial to his "Dobby ears"...  /swoon.   

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Little Notes #3

Dear cold front,
I love you. Please stay all summer. My idea of a good time is 60°F or less. Shorts aren't a requirement in my life. If you looked at these legs you'd see why, they'd blind you. I don't need the beach. I just need some cold to be happy. Preferably with snuggles and snow, but in the middle of the summer, I'm not that picky.

Dear Creamsicle-colored pouf/loofah/whatever you want to call yourself,
I was very happy to have you in my life. You were orange and white and had soft spots and scratchy spots and I really liked that. I knew your demise was imminent when your string slipped one day. The next day when your mesh started to come out of place, I knew our relationship was doomed. I was crushed to have to put you to rest. PS. You made me consider going back to plain old washcloths.. :(
Dear extremely scratchy pouf/loofah/whatever you want to call yourself,
We've been together a long time. Since Bahrain long time. Shoulda Been a Cowgirl shunned your cousin (we brought you both home on the same day!), but I held you near and dear to my heart because you seemed to take a lot of abuse and still managed to hold up. You've never had a leaky mesh problem and your string always stays tight. Thank you for always being my backup despite being replaced so many times. Also, you're the best mosquito bite itcher I've ever had. I love you as long as you love me.
Dear mosquitoes,
The back of my neck isn't a nice place to have a HUGE red bump. It's awkward and people probably think I have a huge zit back there. It also kinda itches which then makes me look like I have lice. So now people definitely think I'm gross. I hate you. Seriously. LOATHE YOU WITH ALL MY BEING AND DIDN'T MISS YOU WHILE I WAS IN THE DESERT!
Dear crockpot,
Thank you for giving me a whole new lease on potluck dinners. Despite the fact that it took me more than 30 minutes to peel and dice 3 sweet potatoes, you worked diligently through the night to ensure that I would not go to this potluck empty handed. You stewed my potatoes and chicken all through the night and then with the help of Bets, I showed up with shredded chicken and sweet potatoes all in one pot and all I had to do was put the items in the same container. Genius. <3 forever.

Dear Adobe,
Thanks for making photo editing so easy!  Can you please also create a tool that generates motivation to use all your awesome products?  That would help me to further enjoy your current products even more.  You're welcome for that idea, it was free.

Just a koala.  On a log.  Within touching distance.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scotland Adventures... #7

Despite how far I traveled to see castles, there were several castles within a 30 minute drive of Lossiemouth.  One was even complete!  But first let me explain the Battle of Brodie Castle.... (some of this was explained in Scotland Adventures... #1, so bear with me)

On the first day that I went with the group to Loch Ness, we saw a sign for Brodie Castle and decided that on our way back, we'd check it out.  So, we did.  We pulled in, couldn't figure out how to pay for parking (never could figure that out), and we headed on towards the castle.  There was a Daffodil Festival at the castle that weekend, and since we'd arrived at 4pm, we'd only caught the tail end where the people were leaving and the tents were still up...  On the other hand, we did catch a couple in their tartans/kilts and we snuck in the back door through the gift shop and had tea.

We'd heard that the tour was amazing, even though you had to pay for it.  So, I vowed to visit again.  One day after I got off work at 0800 (I'd worked from midnight-08), I had breakfast, went up to my room and changed into normal clothes, and decided to head to Brodie and see if I could get my tour in before passing out.  It was 930 when I left Lossiemouth, so I arrived at the castle at 1000.

There were no cars in the parking lot, but I ventured up to the castle anyways to see if there were any cars at the castle.  Nope.  Nada.  The door was also locked.  I searched high and low for hours posted anywhere, but they weren't posted/I couldn't find them.  I gave up.  I assumed they opened at 11/12 and I couldn't be sure which.  By this point it was 1015 and I had a debate with myself if I wanted to nap in the car and set my alarm to go off at 11 so I could wake up and check again, or just go back to the hotel and pass out.

Back to the hotel it was.  I was crushed.  I was also tired, which might have contributed to the crushedness.  How could a castle get me 2 times?  Seriously?  When I went back to the hotel, I checked the tour guide book that had been in our room and found out that Brodie Castle opened at 11.  Good to know for my next trip there.  Le sigh.

On my 3rd trip there, I was finally successful at being able to tour the castle.  Someone else from our group was interested so I invited him to come along, and we stopped to pick up breakfast in Elgin before heading to Brodie.  I wanted to be certain that they were going to be open.

When we got there, we waited until 1130 for a tour in case more people showed up, but we did walk around the grounds and get some photos of a little entrance room with some old stuff on exhibit.  When we walked out of the room and I started to take a picture of something in the entryway/lobby, I was informed that photography was not allowed, period, with or without the flash.  Me=crushed again by stupid, Brodie Castle.  Nonetheless, the tour was amazing.  So much old stuff, so much history, so many additions, so much money!!

The original castle was only the middle section (with the door) and the 2 pointed cones/spiral staircases.

The skeleton of a dead baby.

Just some old armor helmets. 


Some swords

Brodie Castle grounds

The eastern? side of the castle.  The small section on the extreme right is where you can actually pay to stay at the castle.

One of my very last days in Scotland, I worked the 1600-midnight shift, which meant that I got to sleep all night, wake up just in time to catch breakfast, then head out and have adventures!  I chose to use one of those days to see the local castles, both of which were actually ruins, but still cool nonetheless.

Apparently, my close castle day was also fly-over day for the Tornado's.  They were doing circles around the base.
I passed a group of photographers with SUPER BIG lenses taking photos of the planes flying over, so it was probably a coordinated event associated with the Joint Warrior exercise.

These suckers were LOUD.  

First up was Duffus Castle.

So many planes.

Standing strong...ish.


They started to fly over 2 at a time, and I wanted a photo of that, but missed it.
In this photo, that little grey dot way in the background of the sky is a 2nd Tornado.

This scene made for an awesome panoramic.

The castle had a moat!
Duffus was really just a grassy hill with some rocks on top.  The coolest wall was the one that had broken free from the castle and start to slide down the hill.  I'm not sure home insurance covers those kinds of things...

Next up was Spynie Castle which was associated with Elgin Cathedral while the cathedral was still in use.  The clergy had to have somewhere to live, so Spynie was it.

One of the main towers.


This castle surrounded a courtyard, but there is still evidence that buildings were there.

Entryway from the east side.  You can also kinda see the rounded out area from the spiral staircase in the top left.

View of the main tower from the courtyard.

The white stuff is some of the original plaster that was used on the walls.

Mossy window sills.

Guarding the castle meant someone had to be the lookout!

View from the highest climbable point at Spynie Castle.
Not sure what river that is.

An archway that was growing.

View from the main tower.  Sheep!

This was a sign over one of the doorways.  Even I had to mind my head!

The ceiling of the basement.  I just thought the circle was interesting.

Me standing beside a door.  Maybe Teh Sister could have fit through these entryways with no issue?

Corner of the main tower.


Creepy lookin' trees.

All this was growing on a tree stump.

Snail shell between the rocks of a fence.

Rock fence that lined a property on the walk to Spynie Castle.

I'm not actually sure what this red critter is.  But he was very contrasted against the rocks, so we were friends as long as he didn't decide I needed to give him a ride somewhere.

This was the last of my tourist adventures.  I definitely had a blast in Scotland.  Despite the cold, rainy weather, which everyone but me hated, we even got some snow, so I was in heaven!!  I would love to go back and visit Edinburgh and potentially London, places with old stuff.  But next time, I'd want to take Teh Bear with me.  He is a most excellent travel partner!

And the final shots of my trip were right as we were getting ready to take off!  Shh, don't tell the UK-ians that I was taking photos on their tarmac!

It was raining and the wind was blowing the rain sideways, but that wasn't going to stop us!

Goodbye P-3's!!  See you at home!

Canadian P-3's are the dark grey ones.

We were the last US aircraft to depart!  YAY America bound!

So 2 months later, which did include an almost month long DET to Australia, the Scotland Adventure is finally complete.  Hopefully you enjoyed at least a few of the photos and I explained everything well enough.

Soon, I'll be starting the Australia Adventures, which weren't as many, but there were more photos due to a layover in San Francisco on the way and in Sydney on the way back... and a very awesome rainbow building that I found in Perth.