Boo! Did I scare you? Let's talk about ghosts. Last night I joined David and his MBA class on a Ghost Tour through the Old Town of Edinburgh. I absolutely love a good ghost tour. I'm not quite up for a sleepover at Waverly Hills or anything, but I'll go inside a locked mausoleum at midnight in a five-hundred year old graveyard surrounded by the old City Wall. Especially if it's occupied by a poltergeist.
The best part about Ghost Tours is that, truthfully, they are Architectural/History Tours cleverly marketed as "paranormal" because what kind of nerd would pay for a history lesson (besides me)? There are plenty of ghost stories in a walled, ancient city with a past like Edinburgh's -- plague-infested with thousands of years of hangings/battles/religious zealots. (Don't worry, Mum, I've gotten my plague-booster shot.) The history lends itself to tales of murder and mystique, so you are tricked into learning Scottish History via tales of blood and spirits.
This leads me to a bit of advice if you ever go on a ghost tour: I've been on just about every ghost tour in Edinburgh over the past twelve years, some small groups, some large groups. If I know one thing, it's that if you go in to the tour as a believer, you will have a fabulous time. If you go as a skeptic (or worse, go WITH a skeptic, or, ugh, a whole group of them!), then it's a silly, miserable, long, boring tour. It's much more fun to believe, at least for the hour you're walking down the closes, cobblestones, and graveyard paths. Don't think about science or alternative explanations. Think about ghosts.
Last night was pretty fun. I had been on that particular tour before (the City of the Dead Graveyard Tour), but this tour guide was exceptional. We learned at the end of the tour that he is an archaeologist by day and comes by his love of history honestly.
I did feel kind of bad about him having to deal with a massive group of students who had been, um, "celebrating" for hours, shall we say? He dealt with the hecklers well though. It reminded me of some bad pub gigs I've played when you spend half the night responding to "Freebird" requests. The crowd was in cheerful spirits, but they just didn't believe!
You gotta believe, people, even if deep down you know it's just silly. It's more fun that way. "I DO believe in spooks!"
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