name='p:domain_verify'/> The Red Accordion Diaries

Friday, April 18, 2014

Some ALMOST belly pics and tips on riding the bus in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I almost posted this fantastic "After" photo that David and I just took of us post-vacation. Except that we didn't post it because we didn't actually TAKE the photo. If we had, then you would have thought it was a pregnancy announcement from both me AND David. Our bellies have, um, grown a bit, to say the least.

When it was just me and the wee boy in Paris for a week, eating cheese, baguettes, crepes, and chocolates with pure gluttony, I actually LOST weight (or maybe my pants just stretched out a bit -- i don't know because i never actually weigh myself). Odd, I know, but when you walk ten miles a day, you can eat whatever you want.

Then we went to Scotland. 

To be fair, we walked quite a bit the first few days and cooked at our flat. Then we renewed our unlimited bus passes. We definitely still walked our fair share, as the nearest bus stop from our flat was almost half a mile, but we made a few too many pub and potato stops. 

It was totally worth it though. And just in time for sundress season. I don't understand why everyone always panics to lose weight before the summer. Mumu season is the best.

But, yeah, we are off the bread and cheese diet for a while. Thankfully you can't get good cheese in this country anyway.

Travel tip for Edinburgh:
If you're planning on going to Edinburgh for a week or longer, considering popping into a Lothian Bus Shop (27 Hanover Street just off Princes Street is the closest shop to downtown until the Waverley Bridge shop re-opens in a few months) and purchasing a Ridacard. It'll cost you £3 for the card, plus an additional £17 for one week of unlimited rides. Bring a valid student ID, and it'll only cost you £13 -- definitely worth it. Your Ridacard is also good for rides on the brand new trams (just don't mention to any of the locals that you like the trams. In fact, if you want to make friends at a pub, start complaining about the trams.) Another nice thing about the Ridacard is that then you have a little photo ID/souvenir of your trip that you'll be able to use again should you ever return.

If you don't want to buy your own Ridacard, you can still buy daily unlimited tickets for £3.50/day. Keep in mind those daytickets aren't good on the Airlink buses to the airport (that bus alone costs £4). If you need to return to the airport, you'll have to purchase a separate ticket.

Be sure to download the Lothian Buses App, which gives you real-time information on bus routes and locations (why can't every city put this kind of effort into their public transportation??). If you've got a data package with your international mobile, you can buy daytickets or single rides directly from your phone just before you hop on the bus -- no need to hunt for correct change. There is a £10 minimum purchase on these mobile tickets, however, so you'll need to buy several rides in advance for it to be worth it. Still, how cool is to look down at your phone, plan your route, see that the bus arrives in 3 minutes, and just show your screen to the driverto board the bus? I love 2014!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Back in the States.

A little screen time and lot of pretzels on the nine-hour flight.
We pulled up to our Louisville house yesterday, the wee boy wide awake in the backseat after being a rock star on the: 4-hour train ride, 9 hour flight, 2 hour layover, and final 1 hour flight. He casually looked out the window, pointed, and said, "Home."

Yes, my boy, we are home.

I'm still not sure how I feel about being here. On the one hand, I can't wait to get together with my friends here. Then again I felt the same way when I touched down in the United Kingdom last month. I wish Edinburgh were located in, say, Edinburgh, Indiana -- a quick road trip away -- rather than an ocean away. Or truthfully, I wish Louisville could be where Glasgow (Scotland) is, so I could just hop on a train to visit my pals.

I'm tired today, but not really any more tired than usual, considering the wee boy's sleep habits. I must say that, even though we had a few rough nights on our travels, he was absolutely great with all the time changes (there were four) and different sleep arrangements (six or seven). He managed to go to bed fine last night, waking for the day at 6:33am. That's early, but it's no earlier than usual for him.

He may not be a good sleeper, but he's a fantastic traveler. Sure, he said, "Home," yesterday with some relief. But this morning when I asked, "Are you ready to go on an adventure," he just grinned and made for the front door.

I think I'll keep him.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A new attempt at an old task.

It's Monday, the last real day of my holiday. Yes, it's been a loooong trip, but it's also been ridden with business meetings, performances, and research. Still, no complaints: I'd rather be WORKING in Scotland than NOT be in Scotland.

A few nights ago we all pulled an all-nighter. The wee boy had done surprisingly well on this trip so far, so we were overdue for a crazy night. You all know by now that a good night in our house is if the boy sleeps a 3-hour stretch. I'm just used to it by now, have learned how to manage, and I've stopped expecting him to magically sleep through the night. (Please don't offer a suggestion or tell me that at XX months, everything will get better. I have been ridden with false hope for 19 months now, and I'm tired of it.)

Anyway, a nice side effect of being up all night is that I got a lot of thinking done between the bursts of "mouth hurts!" and "dinosaurs swimming!" and "Mommy-o sleeping!! (Giggle giggle!)" I've decided I think I'm going back to the daily blogging over here. It's not a job, but it keeps me focused and provides an outlet. Allowing myself so many breaks from the blog has been bad for my creativity and productivity, the two main things that self-employed artists actually need.

I've got some random days on trains and planes this week, so this may not be my first full week back. But once this holiday is over -- yes, even during Derby festival -- I am back. Hit subscribe again, and check back often. I'm backlogged with stories to share with you. Join me!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Back home in Edinburgh.

Guess what?! I'm still in Scotland. I am so full of blogs for you, but also have been out having so many adventures. The blogs will have to wait until I have a nanny. The wee boy still doesn't sleep through the night, though we did have one random miracle night in Oban after a pint of Haagen-Daz. We haven't had ice cream since then, and we also haven't had much sleep ... Maybe there's a correlation.

I had a really fun gig at the Leith Folk Club this week, filled with good friends and a great crowd. 

Mostly we've been catching up with friends and enjoying the village community that is Edinburgh. It's hard to pin down one thing that is my favorite about this city, but the sense of community is a front-runner. It's a series of small villages, much like New York, with lots of people living in loose quarters (but not like in the Plague, just cozy-like). Maybe it's the magic population density, but it just feels like the best combination of small-town/big-city that you could ever concoct. I've been to a lot of cities, but Edinburgh just has something magical.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Some fun new words the boy has learned.


Anyone who knows me knows that the wee boy is a horrible sleeper. Today I focus on something he's advanced at: speech.*

So here are some fun new vocabulary words the wee boy likes to say:

Eiffel Tower
L'ascenseur (French for elevator)

Sure, they may not be the most, shall we say, NECESSARY words, but I can't tell you how happy it makes me to run down a cobblestone street towards a castle with my little boy, who is every bit as excited as I am to see the haunting castle atop the volcano. 

 *In light of recent discussion on my Facebook page, I know this boastful post might make some of you feel bad about your kid who doesn't talk yet (much like all the MY 7-month-old SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! posts make me seethe with anger and jealousy). That isn't my intention, I swear. I'm just trying to focus on the positive. He may have been up every two hours on the dot last night, but he's got well over 300 words and sentences. Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive. Yawnzzzzzzzzz.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bonjour from Paris.

Good morning from Paris! I know, I know, you hate me. But remember -- this is why you read my blog. Adventure. The adventure-seeking Brigid is back and beginning to feel rejuvenated.

There has been a lot of talk on the interwebs over the past few years about introverts and extroverts. Introverts spend their time on social media posting lists about how to talk to an introvert (guilty). Extroverts spend their time at parties rolling their eyes at the crazy introverts who complain to each other online. I am not sure I'm either one. I think I get my energy from travel.

Back at home, morning is awful. On a vacation, wake me up at six am and let me wander the streets until sunset.

The doubters out there expressed concern that I would be traveling with my toddler. Guess what? It's been amazing. He's a great kid, and I feel like I've gotten something of a break even though I've been on full time baby duty.

So what have we done? We've walked miles and miles through the streets of Paris. We've eaten crepes and gelato and fondue and croissants. We've played on the steps of thousand-year-old churches and chased pigeons through artist squares. We've watched boats speed down the Seine, and we've picnicked on its banks. We've played with countless little French children on hidden, but public, playgrounds. We've had a wonderful time.

I'll fill you in on specifics later this week, but for now I just wanted to check in and let you know I've been silent because I've been out living. It feels good to be rejuvenated.

The simple pleasure of cheese.

There are so many things I love about life in Europe, but, as always, it's the simple pleasures that make life here so good. Today's simple pleasure: cheese.

Cheese, my friends, cheese. 

I've been off and one vegan since I was 18, though certainly more off than on. I rarely eat cheese in America because, well, it's super expensive to buy the good stuff. And who wants to eat the average stuff? (I know, I know -- lots of people, but I prefer small amounts of the best rather than large amounts of the average.)

I was dairy-free pretty much the entire first year of the wee boy's life because he reacted very badly when I consumed milk products. Living in Europe while pregnant made passing by the neighborhood cheesemonger (of course there is a neighborhood cheesemonger) a tortuous struggle. All but two of the massive cheese selections were unpasteurized, ergo no good for a pregnant woman. 

Thankfully, for this trip, I am neither pregnant, nor dairy-free.

My welcome to Paris snack provided by an amazing hostess was a wheel of Brie, a baguette, and croissants, accompanied by a bottle of champagne. Please ignore the toy tow truck in the photo. 

Our meal for the evening was then an array -- and by array, I mean at least ten kinds -- of European cheeses, with various raw vegetables and the freshest bread you've ever tasted. Of course, there was wine and champagne. My hosts knew just how much I needed this trip, and the little bursts of luxury just made me swoon.
Tonight, though I come to you from Edinburgh, I plan on serving our favorite poor-student meal: a baguette, a wheel of Camembert, and a bottle of wine (maybe a head of broccoli thrown in for something green, but I'm not promising anything). Such a meal would be pure luxury back in the States, as I don't know where you can find a wheel of Camembert for less than $10. I picked one up here for $1.50. And a good bottle of French wine? Well, France is a lot closer to the UK than it is to the US, for you geographically-challenged people, so I can grab something delicious for $5. 

It's the little things, friends. The price of cheese. Le sigh.


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