Thursday, May 31, 2012

Where should we travel next?

The urge to travel is upon me again, except this time there is this bizarre limitation on my ability to flee the country. It has nothing to do with physically being tired. I can rally for a new country, but I can't change the airlines policies on traveling in the third trimester. They vary, of course, but I'm also starting to wonder just how smart it is to wander too far from the land of free health care.

Which gives me just a few weeks to collect a few more countries.

I know it's not the most responsible thing to spend your kid's college education money on a trip to France or Spain, but I'm pretty sure it's something I need to do. I've been obsessively browsing the last minute airfare sites (don't even consider the Chunnel, way too pricey), and I just can't decide. An overnight ferry to Amsterdam? Then rent a car and head to Germany and Switzerland (I've never been). A flight to Paris? (I've been twice, but never with David, and isn't holding hands with your lover a prerequisite to a good weekend in Paris?) Or fly straight to the Spanish coast? (Also, never been.)

I think we'll have to save the Hebrides for later this summer when I'm not allowed to fly.

Where would you go? Any cheap travel sites I may have missed?

In fun internet links, try taking this quiz inspired by the immigrant naturalization test. The questions are beyond easy (sorry to make you nervous in advance), but make sure you pay attention to the percent of Americans who got the answer wrong when asked.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day drinking -- a thing of the past.

You know what I miss? Day drinking. I've known plenty of pregnant women who tell me they didn't miss alcohol at all during their pregnancy. "I just didn't even want it!" they laugh, nonchalantly, after also telling me how they ran five miles a day until their seventh month. Well, I walked on average 5-10 miles a day until about a week after conception, and I've pretty much been in bed ever since.

Except for that month-long tour and that transatlantic flight, I suppose.

Wandering around the city in gorgeous weather with David has been blissful torture. I would smile at my blessed life and cringe as every little molecule in my body screamed, "Have a margarita!"

What's even more amazing is how David also resisted it. I know that things aren't better with alcohol, but a margarita on a summer day is kind of perfect. This kid better be better than a margarita.
Texas Martini from Chuy's Louisville
Virgin Daiquiri. It's okay. If you like that sort of thing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is this flower?

It's been a gorgeous few days in Edinburgh. Today we are back to clouds, but still have t-shirt temperatures. I was getting sunburned anyway (as was most of the fair-skinned population, it seems), so that's cool. The weekend was spent basking in the sunshine (which lasts until nearly 11:00pm these days!),  walking about the city, holding hands, hitting various farmers' markets, churches, castles, and making people sick by telling each other how much it sucked being apart for a week.

We also spied on lots of neighborhood gardens and discovered a rose tree two stories high, as well as this flower. Does anyone know what it is? Its AudreyII-looking buds are one for the scrapbook.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Back from a week abroad.

I'm here! Thanks for your concern. Despite the Google analytics, I guess I'm still not quite convinced anyone out there is reading. But you are, and I owe you some blogs. I just needed a vacation.

I'm not very good at vacations. Even when I travel for "fun," it usually consists of waking up earlier than I ever would back home, walking miles and miles in a strange city, and seeing everything I can possible cram into a short time frame. I know it's not relaxing, but I like to get the feel for a new city. I don't always have the luxury of living there for a year (yay for Edinburgh!), so I never know when/if I'll be back.

Last week I spent some time in Louisville, and I didn't see my friends for very long. I was probably a pretty bad friend. But I was there to visit my parents, not to have a week of coffee dates. It was hard for me to reconcile the two, but I managed to ignore my phone and spend a lot of time sitting around my parents' living room. I think I pissed some people off, but I fit as much as I could (without collapsing -- remember, I'm pregnant!) into the week. It was really fun.

My parents, who were celebrating their 40th anniversary at some friends' house, were totally surprised to see me (see video below, but only if you want to cry!), and it was a fantastic visit.

Generally, I'm fine with west-to-east travel, but with a seven-hour delay at Newark making my flight not leave the US until 3amEST (8am GMT), I was pretty messed up for a few days. Also, and here's where you're really pity me, I had to fly coach! (I know, I know...)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Louisville for the week!

I showed up in Louisville on Sunday night, much to my parents surprise, to tell them Happy Anniversary in person. Since then I've been eating at my favorite restaurants, hugging friends, and wearing sleeveless shirts. It's been a good week.

More on that later, but if any of you are reading in Louisville, consider coming to the Monkey Wrench on Friday, May 18 (that's tomorrow) for a Brigid Kaelin Band show, starting at 9:00pm. Should be a fun night! I can't wait to play with three of my favorite people, Peter, Scott, and Steve.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rockin' in the Living Room and a modern classic.

While David is away in meetings, I've been getting out all of my toys and playing with them. Back in Louisville, the piano was always there in the living room, along with a fiddle, bass, and guitar readily available on the dining room wall. Over here we don't have things like a guitar stand or a piano, which makes playing music more difficult than it should be. But several times this week, I've made a mess of our one-bedroom flat and strewn my accordion, saw, keyboard, and ukulele all about. It's been a good week.

I should lay off this whole writing-thing that I've been into lately and go back to playing. This morning I spent a little time with Bach and a little time with the Beatles and a little time with Bonnie Raitt (apologies to my new neighbors who may have looked through the window inquisitively when I was belting a ballad).

But speaking of Bonnie Raitt, a much more interesting blog for you to read would be Peter Cooper's blog over at The Tennessean. It's all about the birth of "I Can't Make You Love Me," and it even references Stephen Sondheim. Swoon! So you read that article, and I'm going back to my metronome.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Grocery Store comparison ... cans and bottles.

One of my favorite things to do when I'm traveling is to go to a grocery store. I love the Farmers' Markets too, of course, but I like to see what the average person buys in whatever country I'm visiting.

Today I thought I'd bring you some finds from the Waitrose. Granted, I know Waitrose is considered more of an upscale supermarket (I mean, Princess Kate shops here.), so it's kind of like showing you Whole Foods finds rather than Kroger. But I'm a bit of a Princess myself, and Tesco is just kind of icky to me.

Here are some treasures you might find at a Scottish grocery store that I'm pretty sure you won't find at your local American supermarket.

Sure, America has its share of canned meats, but I'm pretty sure haggis isn't a staple at your local store. Y'all know I'm not a meat eater, nor am I a fan of canned foods in general, so all three of these things particularly disgust me. But I'm sure there's something equally disturbing back home, so no judgment here.

Meatballs: £0.79 = $1.27
Haggis: £1.09 = $1.73
Hot Dogs: £1.29 = $2.08

I've 'fessed up before that the one thing both David and I crave when either one of us finally recovers from a horrid migraine, is horribly processed macaroni and cheese. This stuff, however, has managed to be disgusting enough to evade even our impulse purchases.

Back home when I think of Heinz, I think of catsup and that's pretty much it. Over here, Heinz makes everything.

Price: £1.08 = $1.74

... especially beans. Or "beanz," if you will. 

If you've ever tried to replicate a Scottish/English breakfast back in the States, it's these that you need.

£0.53 = $0.85

This is pretty much what makes Scottish grocery stores better than American grocery stores. The variety! The flavor! The price!

Ranging from £29.50 - £42.95
($47.47 - $69.12)


I've tried to load a few more photos for you, but the server seems to be having problems. Once I got to the Scotch, everything else seems less important anyway.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A little secret I've been withholding...

I haven't been entirely honest with y'all. I've been slacking in my posts, and, even more sadly, slacking on my other blog ( because there's been quite a bit of other stuff on my mind, mostly Punnett squares and protein. So here it is: I've spent all of 2012, thus far, creating a tiny human.

That's right, David and I are expecting a wee Scottish addition to the family on September 7.

Seeing as this blog is more of a travel/music/cooking blog, I feel a bit out of place writing all about how tired I've been and how often I eat. So that's why I haven't posted as often as usual in the past five months.

I promise not to post any more photos of my insides, but for now, here's proof of what I've been up to. Now it's time to make a snack and take a nap.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DERBY WEEK! Abroad. Is not as fun.

That's pronounced "DUR-by" to you folks in the UK. (It's "DAR-by" over here.) It's like the all the festivities surrounding the Diamond Jubilee, except it's only in Louisville, Kentucky, and they have lots of Derby Princesses rather than two Princes. Oh, and there's a horse race.

I'm missing home this week because people over here aren't so excited about the Kentucky Derby. There are no balloon races, bed races, art fairs, or music festivals. People are still working, and the kids are still in school. It's bizarre.

We're pretty excited about the Derby coinciding with Cinco de Mayo this year and are planning a Tex Mex-themed buffet for, um, ourselves. There was a "Kentuckians in New York" club when I lived there; why no "Kentuckians in Scotland?"

I guess if anyone out there is googling "Kentuckians in Scotland," and you stumble across my blog, then shoot me a message. We'll be watching the races on our TwinSpires accounts.

At least there are lots of fascinators over here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It is good to me. Also, live music rules.

It's been a long, dark winter, but I am up to at least three totally separate, but all really exciting, surprises. And I'm not telling you about any of them today, hee hee!!! So tricky of me. I'll reveal them all eventually the next, say, two weeks. But for now, let's just say it is, yet again, really really really really good to be me.

If you aren't totally disgusted by my optimism, and you live in the Edinburgh area, come say, "Hi," tonight at the VooDoo Rooms. It's not a Brigid show, but I'm playing keys and accordion for Adam Holmes. As I say often, there's nothing better than live music with good people! Hope to play a few more times this month.

Also, May 23 at the Edinburgh Folk Club, I'm playing a wee support (re: opening) slot. I promise to let you know if, um, anything else comes up...