Beachy HodgePodge

1. What summer activity most takes you back to your own childhood?

Probably being on the beach.

2. What’s your favorite summer smell?

Suntan lotion. Especially when it smells a little coconutty. My Mum would use this Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil when we were on holiday, and it just makes me think of summer. I also love the smell of campfires and barbecues (charcoal ones ;) )

3. It’s beach season in the US of A…so how do you feel about sand?

I love sand. The key is to wear flip flops. Wearing shoes and socks on sandy beaches is just not a good plan as you’ll have grainy feet for weeks afterwards. I love to cartwheel and build sandcastles – though these days I let my friends’ kids build the castles and I just sit there making suggestions to them and admire them. Or fix them when someone else (or a dog) squashes/knocks it over to stop any tears of distress falling.

4. Sun tea, SunChips, sunflower seeds, Capri Sun, Sunny Delight, Sun-Maid raisins, sun-dried tomatoes…your favorite food or beverage with sun in its name?

Let’s go with sunflower seeds and sun-dried tomatoes! I’m not a raisin fan, and the rest sound kinda processed. Like Sunny delight (boak! So glad that isn’t available in the UK anymore…I think that had like oil in it?)

5. What’s your favorite way to cool off on a hot summer day?

To be under a shady umbrella or tree with a book and some iced drink. Or to paddle in the sea.

6. Share a favorite song with the word sun or sunshine in it’s title.

I’m walking on sunshine?

7. Tell us about a time you had an exceedingly good or truly awful customer service experience. If it was awful, did you report it? Ever go back there again?

Last week was filled with bad customer service. If I can find a bank for our Girlguiding unit where I don’t have to deal with the treasurers department then I will! Though the branch staff gave excellent customer service. Sainsburys Active Kids helpline had polite staff but shocking customer service. If these experiences had been seeking services for JUST me then I would not be going back. But because they were for groups I volunteer with, it makes it tougher because there isn’t an alternative.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

3 more working days to go ….and then…. unemployment.

I have NO idea what I’m going to do with all this free time I’m suddenly going to have! It’s quite disconcerting.

But before that our final campfire of the school year. Have my fellow leaders making their Guide Promise tonight, and one of our Ranger Guides making her promise too. Very excited. Please pray that the clouds and rain will stay away from Edinburgh tonight!

Summertime HodgePodge


1. Since you weren’t Hodgepodging last Wednesday, how did you pass the time?

I was at work, then had a meeting with the one of the Girlguiding District Commissioners to get my leadership qualification book signed off and then I helped her run a Guide meeting as one of the volunteers had bailed on her at the last minute. (For context Girl Scouts is the American equivalent of Girlguiding).

2. What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say marriage? Yes, one word. 


3. Summer officially arrives in the Northern hemishpere later this week. Does it feel like summer where you live? Describe your idea of the perfect summer day.

Bizarrely – YES! Although the haar (that’s a misty fog that is unique to Edinburgh living) has moved in this morning. We had some gorgeous weather the last two days, and enjoyed having our Tuesday night food & bible study with Soul Surfers in our friends’ back garden toasting marshmallows I had leftoever from the Guides Campfire on Monday night.

Perfect summer days are ones spent at the beach with my friends, paddling on surfboards, cartwheeling on the sand and drying in the sunshine while my friends’ kids build some sandcastles.

4. “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”(Sam Keen) Is laziness ever respectable? Do you have a lazy summer planned, or something semi-ambitious?

Rest is not laziness if you’re not doing it all the time. Rest is needed, and summer is a lovely time to take a breath, rest, recuperate and so on. 

This summer is weird as a few weeks ago I was made redundant, so come July 1st I will not only be finished with Girlguiding and my Spanish classes for the summer, I’ll also no longer be working. I have plans to go see the gymnastics at the Commonwealth Games and check out some Book Festival events – and of course look for a job!

If I have a job by the Autumn (I hope I will) then it’s going to be a crazy year ahead with changes to my schedule I think if I end up auditing some classes on top of my own at university.

5. Past or present, who’s your favorite television dad? Why is he a favorite? Is he anything like your own dad?

My favourite TV Dad. Hmmm. I’m going to have to go with (and please don’t judge me I was 20 when I watched this show) but Sandy Cohen from The O.C. I loved how he parented his kid not in accordance with the other parents who threw money at their kids in Newport Beach. I loved how he championed his kids to do the best with the gifts and talents they had and accepted his kids for who they are. I liked how he gave them freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, but would also reel them in when need be. And I liked how he brought Ryan into the family and treated him the same as a biological son.

6. June 18th is International Picnic Day…share a favorite picnic memory.

Some time in the early to mid 90s and we were on one of the trips we took with my Mum’s friends to visit their friend in Liverpool. We went on a day trip to Llandudno in North Wales in February. It was freezing, and I remember us all parked on a cliff huddled in the car eating our picnic, my Mum’s friend suddenly realised she’d made a flask of tea but failed to put the teabags in and at that point we saw two seagulls flying backwards because it was so windy they couldn’t fly forwards.

7. The travel site Trip Advisor lists the top five islands in the world for 2014 as-Ambergris Caye in Belize CayesProvidenciales in Turks and CaicosBora Bora in French PolynesiaMarco Island Florida, and Lewis and Harris in The Outer Hebrides (Scotland). Have you been to any of these? Of those listed (and if price were not a factor) which would you most like to book for a holiday?

Shockingly, no. I say shockingly because my family originate from Lewis and I’m the first generation not to grow up speaking Gaidhlig. I’ve seen pictures of some of the beaches in Lewis and Harris and they are stunning. However, do aim to go in summer – I wouldn’t recommend a Western Isles winter!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My kiwi friend and I were having a giggle on twitter about last HodgePodge’s question on the Barbecuing and my shock that anyone would have a gas grill and then the realisation that apparently outside the UK this is very common! It just isn’t common at all here. It’s discovering quirky differences in culture you don’t even realise are there that makes me  like the HodgePodge!

Wednesday HodgePodge – the June edition!

1. I’ve read several posts and status updates recently describing end of year school field trips. Do you remember taking school field trips as a kid? Where did you go and do you recall a favorite? For any parents responding today, have you ever chaperoned a school field trip, and if so where?

I did so many field trips. A memory from primary school is going to Edinburgh Zoo in the middle of winter every. single. year. There’d be snow on the ground and we’d be eating packed lunches outside shivering. 

In high school there were less field trips, but I took part in two amazing trips in my last year of high school. A work experience exchange in Sweden where I got to teach dance, and a Geography trip to Morocco where we climbed the highest mountain in North Africa, rode camels and slept on the edge of the Sahara and I almost got kidnapped in Marrakech.

2. What’s something you’re tired of seeing online?


I’m tired of seeing it in magazine after magazine too. And I’m sad that people buy those magazines. I’m sad that I used to be one of the people buying them because I wanted to conform…

3. June is the month for roses. Which of the following expressions would you say has most recently applied to your life-‘everything’s coming up roses’, ‘there’s no rose without a thorn’, ‘came out smelling like a rose’, or ‘wearing rose-colored glasses’? 

There’s no rose without a thorn.

Because good things can always come out of the crappy things!

4. When grilling outdoors do you prefer gas or charcoal? Who does the grilling at your house? What’s the last thing you ate that was cooked on a grill?

Gas? Who barbecues/braais with gas? Charcoal people. Charcoal. I’ve never been anywhere that is posh enough to have a gas lit barbecue outside!! Oh my goodness. 

5. Are you afraid of the dark?

Not really. I got used to it camping, and I now find it really difficult to sleep if it’s not totally dark.

6. Share a favorite song with a number in it’s title.

23 by Jimmy Eat World.

7. “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”(C.G. Jung). Do you agree? Why or why not?

I totally agree. I’ve realised that often what irritates me is stuff that I want to change in myself and also what I can be really judgmental about!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I can’t believe it’s June already, this year is going crazy fast. My best friend is almost due to have her baby and I’ve only seen her a couple of times since she became pregnant, and feeling sad because I was around so much for her previous pregnancy. We now live an hour’s drive away in a small town and I don’t have a car anymore. It totally sucks!

Wednesday HodgePodge – the May edition!

1. It’s still May, right? When were you last in the middle of something that might be described as mayhem?

That’s just about every Monday night when I’m at Guides! (Guides is what the Girl Scouts are called in the UK). We’re doing the Commonwealth Games Challenge at the moment, since our country is hosting this summer, and the girls were doing a find the commonwealth country on the world map challenge… we would shout a country and the girls had to find their label, run to their world map and stick the label where the country was. Cue screaming of things like ‘Granada is easy to find. That’s in Spain! No Grenada the country, not the city in Spain’ or ‘It’s a country in Africa…where’s Africa?…The big continent in the middle’ or ‘I can’t find St Lucia! Where’s St Lucia?!’ ‘Uganda? No, not Uganda – RWANDA’.

2. When did you last feel dismayed?

This afternoon when I was walking down the road with my friend and we saw crazy dark clouds and lightning streak across the sky. I was ages from home and my Girlguiding hoodie was hanging out to dry on my washing line. I should really know after 30 years living in Scotland that you can never go out and leave your washing to dry outside if you aren’t going to be in the house to run out and retrieve it and hang it up indoors instead!

3. What’s a food combination you like, but other people may find strange?

It probably isn’t strange to Americans, but Peanut Butter and Banana. People in the UK find that weird, but I love it.

4. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Do you think that’s true? Why or why not?

Well it some cases it might be true…like you can’t be an Olympic gymnast when you are in your 40s if you never did gymnastics in your life! But for the most part I think it’s never too late to try the things you’ve always wanted to do. Too many people avoid trying things for fear of failure.

5. US News and World Report listed the best historic destinations in the US as follows-Washington D.C, Philadelphia PA, Williamsburg VA, Charleston SC, Boston MA, Richmnd VA, Savannah, GA, Santa Fe NM, Yellowstone, San Antonio TX, San Francisco CA, New Orleans LA, and Charlottesville VA.

Of those listed how many have you seen in person? Which two sites on the list would you most like to see in person?

I’ve never been to any of them, as the only two places I’ve been in the USA are Orlando and New York City. Savannah, GA is one on my bucket list. I’d also love to see Yellowstone National Park, Boston and Washington D.C.

6. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. If you had to participate in a single fitness activity for the next half hour, which activity would you choose?

Dance. I love, love, love to dance and I really miss going to dance classes. I’ve been looking into doing a ballet class again, but at the moment there isn’t one that I could fit into my schedule.

7. What did you like best about the city, town, or neighborhood where you grew up?

I love the culture of Edinburgh. We are a city that has inspired so many authors…Kate Atkinson, J.K. Rowling, Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith all live here. We have the biggest Hogmanay Street Party in the world every year. We have the largest international arts festival(s) (because it is many festivals running all at one time)  in the world every summer which doubles the population of our city each August! I am so lucky to have grown up in such a historical and beautiful place with so much culture to consume on my doorstep.

I grew up in Leith (which is now part of Edinburgh), and I loved the community spirit there. Leithers have a strong identity, and the culture of Leith is much more working class and friendlier than the rest of Edinburgh.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I’m super excited to be headed to London then Paris this weekend where I’m going to be catching up with a friend who I roomed with on a trip to South Africa with Soul Action five years ago. My friend is from Nigeria, but she’s been studying in Paris for the last year. I got a great deal on Eurostar seats and it’s an Edinburgh holiday this Monday and have no uni classes on Tuesday – she finishes her final exams this week and heads off on summer internships next week so it worked out really well. Now all we need is for that Parisian weather forecast to improve to being less rain and more sunshine! :)

Wednesday HodgePodge 4 for 6

1. April 22nd is Earth Day. Are you inspired by nature? In what way?

Yes. The amazing work of evolution that has meant plants and animals have adapted in strange and wonderous ways to be able to survive in their environment (heck, us humans too!). Like anteaters. Their back looks like it could be their front so other animals don’t know what bit of them to attack. The beauty of things that are beautiful just ‘because’. The amazing landscapes we have in Scotland (and in other countries) that have been carved out by glaciers past and present. The power of things like tornados, hurricanes, the ocean currents that can literally take our breath away in a few seconds and yet in other moments we can paddle in a calm still ocean or sit in a breezeless garden.

I also believe that it is important that we look after this earth. As a Christian, I believe that God commanded us to do this. I do get angry when I see people driving crazy gas guzzling cars, chopping down forests, building on flood plains, not recycling etc. We do so much that is against nature, and there is such a delicate balance….we are ruining it for our own convenience, then get shocked by months of crazy weather!

2. Down to earth, four corners of the earth, move heaven and earth, not have an earthly chance, or salt of the earth…which earthly idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Much like my friend Rebecca, these past few weeks have been a huge bump down to earth as my Dad started getting gradually more paralysed on his right side and because he didn’t seek medical attention more quickly and stuck his head in the sand, almost ended up paralysed permanently. An untreated herniated disc and trapped nerve turned very nasty as fluid and swelling pressed down on his spinal cord – in the neck. One scary operation later he was en route to recovery – until he got rushed into hospital with what turned out to be a nasty lung infection causing a high fever and the worst pain he’s been in his life. He now (thankfully) on back on that road to recovery (I hope).

3. Share one piece of advice you might give a newly engaged couple.

Don’t get so caught up in planning the ‘perfect’ wedding that you forget to be planning for your marriage.

Keep it simple, and don’t become bridezilla. Although it’s a hugely important moment in your lives, friends will have their own important moments. (Like, not all your friends will have a spare £500+ to spend on going to your expensive once in a lifetime hen/bachelorette weekend).

4. When did you last engage someone to perform a job, task, service, home repair, or improvement? On a scale of 1-10 (ten being the best) how would you rate their work and/or your satisfaction with the job or service provided?

I guess the last time I did that was when I got a friend of a friend who is a joiner to refurbish the kitchen in my Aberdeen flat. It looks great in the photos, and my tenant was super happy with how he did the work at minimal inconvenience to her.

5. When did you last find yourself engaged in small talk? Are you awkward or an expert or somewhere in between?

I find myself engaged in small talk all the time. I find it awkward but I’m used to it.

6.  What was the last historic place you visited?

I was at Glasgow University yesterday. As it was founded in the 15th century it is one of the oldest universities in the world, that is pretty historical!

7. The world would be a better place if we just__________________________.

thought more about what we were leaving behind for future generations to sort out.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

It’s been a busy few weeks, but I finally caught up on the A to Z challenge last night. Also hope I’ll have the chance later to visit some fellow HodgePodgers! The last one I joined in I came down sick that day so never managed to visit anyone… :(

Wednesday HodgePodge – 3 for 3

1. Since these questions are posting on the first day of April it seems only right to ask-when was the last time you did something foolish? If you can’t answer that one, try this one-when was the last time someone fooled you?

Hmm…I do foolish things all the time really. But one of my favourite memories we were talking about last Friday was on the middle weekend of Winter school. We were all exhausted from early mornings and brain mushed days and looking forward to our one and only lie in of the two weeks. Only on Sunday morning I woke to someone screaming aloud. And 10 minutes later some giggling. Eventually my bladder got the better of me and I had to accept defeat that I wasn’t going to get back to sleep and just get up … I went out to go to the toilet and discovered what I thought at first was a drunken student who’d been locked out his room:

Pillow man

We’re pretty sure that ‘Pillow man’ was a creation of one of the Hungarian students. Later on I came back up from breakfast to discover he was wearing my earmuffs. I was told ‘he walked in and got them himself’ but pretty sure that our American classmate was responsible for that particular accessorizing of the pillow man!

2. What’s the last biography or non-fiction book you’ve read? Was it any good?

The last was probably Pedagogy of The Oppressed by Paulo Freire. I needed a dictionary. And I didn’t read it by choice, it was for university. I agree with a lot of Freire’s theories, but how I wish he’d written in a simpler fashion!

3. Garlic-friend or foe? What’s your favorite dish made with garlic?

A foe. Garlic is not my friend but man does it taste good!!

Garlic bread would be a favourite quite honestly – I did have some a few weeks ago.

4. Several Spring flower festivals happen in the US during the month of April. Of those listed, which would you most like to see in person…The Skagit Tulip Festival in Skagit Washington, The Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville Tennessee, The North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington North Carolina or the Daffodil Festival Weekend on Nantucket Island, Massachussets?

Um. Can I say none?

5. How do you choose which blogs to read?  What is something that will make you stop and read every time? Something that makes you say, ‘eh, think I’ll skip this one and move on to the next’?

I like reading about people’s lives. Anything which shows me their culture (micro or macro) and that they don’t take themselves too seriously. I love to learn new things! Usually I skip if it gets a bit too much about consumerism/marketing and how I apparently need to be wearing the perfect outfits and kids should also be wearing the perfect outfits. Like I don’t mind people sharing something they’re excited about like the dress they’ve got to wear to a family wedding or a great book or something but you know the blogs where every day it’s about a new product? Not my thing. Oh and blog music really gets on my nerves. I’ve also found that some blogs look great, but take so long to load up…

6. April is National Mathematics Education Month so tell us, when did you last use math?

Trying to calculate my time sheets for work. Thank Goodness for calculators.

7. In honor of the A-Z challenge kicking off on April 1…choose one word beginning with the letter A to describe your yesterday.

April Fools! (ok that’s not a word, it’s a phrase?)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It’s currently been freezing cold, pouring with rain or super foggy. South of the border temperatures were more than double of that in Scotland at the weekend! Selfishly I’m hoping for an improvement of the weather as I’m having a birthday gathering on Saturday and would love, love, love for folks to be able to play in the garden if possible.

Wednesday HodgePodge – 2 for 2!

1. March is known as the windy month. Which of the following phrases best fits your March so far…’throw caution to the wind’, ‘three sheets to the wind’, ‘run like the wind’, or ‘see which way the wind blows’?

Three sheets to the wind. Not because I’ve been getting drunk, but the stress and sleepless nights of the last few weeks have turned me into a brain mushed person that may seem like she is!

2. Your favorite green food? Your favorite dish made with your favorite green food?

ooh. Now. I love so many things – broccoli, sugarsnap peas, spinach…

I’d probably have to go spinach. I love spinach in my pasta, I love to make salad with it, I love the Higgidy Piggidy Spinach, feta and red pepper quiche…

Or there’s avocado…I LOVE AVOCADO!

Spinach. No. Avocado..yes. Avocado. No….spinach… Sorry I can’t decide!

3. Ever been locked out of your home-car-office-anywhere? Do tell!

When I lived in Aberdeen, and had not long had my beloved car – a blue vauxhall corsa named Cassie – I got a call from my mother in Edinburgh (which is about a 2.5 hour drive away). My Mum had been wandering the 24hr supermarket for a few hours in full evening dress (she’d either been at a charity ball or some posh work thing) and on coming home discovered her house key was no longer in her teeny tiny bag. Her husband was on an oil rig, her sister was in Spain – I was the only person on the mainland of the UK with a key to her house. Hence the call at 7 a.m. to ask if I would please drive to Edinburgh to rescue her.

I dutifully got in the car, and began the drive to Edinburgh. But I needed petrol. So I stopped in a petrol station just South of Aberdeen.

And discovered I couldn’t get the door to the petrol cap open.

Cue me getting out car manuals, trying to prise open the door flap…I could not get that thing to open. I was starting to panic slightly…would I have to call the breakdown service? I didn’t have any petrol in my car to get home or to Edinburgh, and I couldn’t find a way to get petrol into my car to resolve the issue!

Eventually I swallowed my pride and went to ask someone for help. Here I was a 20 year old blonde student just not helping the stereotypes of blondes or women drivers (I’m so sorry).

What was the problem? Well…

Turns out that the central locking system of my car also included a lock for the petrol cap flapdoor (I have no idea if that’s what it’s called, but I’ll call it that). One click of the key opens the driver door only, 2 clicks opens everything else – the boot, the passenger doors…and the petrol cap door!

As I wasn’t putting anything in the boot like I usually would for a long journey, or if I was putting shopping in my car and getting petrol while at the supermarket like I normally would, I hadn’t done two clicks. So the petrol door was still locked.

How stupid did I feel? Very.

However, I did not feel as silly as my Mum who had had to go to our neighbours in her evening dress at 8 a.m. and stay there until I arrived a few hours later.

Needless to say, our neighbours now have a spare key for our house in case such a fiasco ever happens again…!

4. Yoda, Kermit, Shrek, The Wicked Witch of the West, Oscar the Grouch, The Grinch, or Mike Wazowski (Monsters Inc.)…of the green characters listed, which one’s your favorite and why?

I have to pick between Yoda, Kermit and Mike Wazowski?

I love Yoda for his wisdom, and I love Mike for the fact he never let himself be pigeon holed due to  his lack of height or ‘scariness’ – he proves that if you really want something bad enough you can work hard and make it happen. I love Kermit, but I wish he wouldn’t let Miss Piggy treat him like crap so often!

5. “The first task of a leader is to keep hope alive.”~Joe Batten Do you agree? Why or why not?

I think I agree? If you don’t have hope or belief in a team’s ability to achieve something, nobody is going to work towards it. And it’s probably why Saul Alinsky always said that community organisers should have achievable goals to help bring communities together to find solutions.

6. Share a favourite song with an emotion in it’s title.

Oh my word. This was tough. I’ve just gone through all my favourite playlists and not one song had an emotion in it’s title.

I’m not sure love is an ‘emotion’ but it’s the closest I could come and this is one of my favourite songs by Noah & The Whale, “Give A Little Love” used beautifully in a scene from Cougar Town.

7. What’s a road trip you’d like to take?

I’d love to road trip down the coast of California, I’d also like to road trip from New England to the Southern States of the USA too, although I will likely avoid Alabama as I still remember this episode of Top Gear.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

A bunch of us were hoping to be at an anti-racism day march against fascism and racism in Glasgow on Saturday. I was telling my friend about it, but I forgot the ‘anti’ part. So I basically told her that I was going to a ‘march for fascism and racism’ and she just stared at me horrorstruck at what I just said and I couldn’t understand why. And then I realised what I’d actually said as opposed to what I meant to say.

Oh dear.

I’m a terrible leftie hippie.

I was also really sad to hear the news that James Rebhorn died at the weekend. He plays one of (many) lovely characters on White Collar - head of the FBI White Collar Division Reese Hughes (and yes, he’s also Carrie’s Dad on Homeland…but dudes…White Collar). He actually wrote his own obituary before he died, and to me it just shows that he was clearly one classy fun guy. Much thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues.

Wednesday HodgePodge makes a brief comeback

It’s been a while since I did a HodgePodge as most Tuesdays for the last 6 months I’ve been travelling through to Glasgow at 8 a.m., going straight to our Soul Surfer community evenings and getting to bed around Midnight…and going to work the next morning. However, today I’m at home writing an essay sooo I thought I’d spring back into the HodgePodge this week… (others might call it procrastination).

1. Thursday marks the first day of spring…to celebrate would you rather plant a garden or go for a walk in the woods? Would either of those activities be possible on Thursday where you live?

I’d rather walk in the woods. I’m most definitely not a gardener. My friends Nicola and Vicky have over the last few years inspired me with a desire to try out growing my own fruit and veg, but I do not enjoy gardening at all so I think this is more of a fantasy notion than something that will become reality! Technically it is possible, there are some woods on a hill that go around Edinburgh Zoo, but I’ll likely be at work or at home/cafe/library studying.

2. When did someone last spring something on you? (or when did you last spring something on someone?)

My uni lecturer sprung on me that I wouldn’t be conducting my ‘Freirian Learning Experience’ on 25th Feb as I previously thought on my last days in Germany. Which I found out through another classmate rather than from him. Instead, I had to do it last week, and so I’m only getting to do my assignment now the same week as a lot of things are going on at work. I wasn’t too chuffed!

3. We often think of spring as a time for new beginnings. What’s something you’d like to start doing this spring?

Spring isn’t usually that time for me – Autumn is.  However, I have decided to try and go ‘indie’ - by shopping more locally. It’s something I’d like to continue doing, and it’s quite challenging and really making me think about organising myself, where I’m spending and what I consume out of convenience.

4. Where do you like to sit in a movie theatre? When did you last sit there, and what were you watching?

I like to be near the back. I went to the cinema on Saturday with my Mamma Bear and we saw The Grand Budapest Hotel but we ended up being more in the middle of the room where it was being screened. I missed a number of films being busy with uni, work and being away at university in Germany for two weeks last month. I was in the back row in January when my friend and I saw The Railway Man which meant I got to view the entire theatre just sitting in silence as the credits rolled. It was a powerful, poignant moment.

5. When you meet someone for the very first time, what do you want them to think about you?

I hope that they find me friendly, kind and care about things.

6. March is frozen food month (yes, really!). Besides ice cream (gotta make you think a little) what’s your most often purchased frozen food item?

I rarely buy anything from the frozen food section. I buy ice lollies (popsicles to you Americans I think?) and ice cream in summertime. I may buy some frozen berries to put in my porridge (oatmeal) in winter time. But that’s it.

7. What’s something you avoid?

Anything that might make me be sick or mean that I’ll see or hear someone be sick. I’m severely emetophobic. My classmates were awesome about it when we were flying to Germany which I really appreciated.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I was super pleased that the Today Show shared the PSA from Dublin Airport about how you should NEVER call Ireland’s patron saint ‘Patty’ yesterday (Monday):

dublin airport notice

Just in case you’re still confused, Irish name for Patrick is Pádraig  and people called Patrick in both Ireland or Scotland are known as ‘Paddy‘ which is a diminutive form of Patrick.  Patty is short for Patricia.

There’s even a twitter account now @PaddyNotPatty pointing out tweets like these:

“It is st patty’s day for st Patrick. Paddy is an old slang for an Irish person” 

“When did the internetz change it to Paddy?”

So if you were one of the people that has been getting muddled, they will forgive you. But please correct your greetings next year. And the paddynotpatty team correct you in good jest (and because it’s a major pet peeve of the Irish). Spread the word to fellow celebrators of the blarney in the continent of North America. :)

Wednesday HodgePodge – Round 46

1. What’s one thing you learned in September?
That trying to highlight sentences on an academic paper while reading it on the train is a bit of a wobbly squiggly exercise.

2. Acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, yellow squash, zucchini squash, or blech! hold the squash… what’s your favorite squash? What’s your favorite way to prepare your favorite squash?

Squash is diluting juice here. I don’t really like diluting juice as most of them have no sugar and use unhealthy sweeteners instead (but branding makes ‘No added sugar’ sound so healthy!). But on the vegetable stuff I do LOVE butternut squash. I just don’t know how to get into one, so usually rely on other people to cook with them. My friend Vicky’s Butternut Squash Risotto is AMAZING!

3. The older I get the_______________________________.

…clumsier I seem to become!

4. What’s your favorite television theme song ever?

Now that’s a tough one. I think it’s a triple tie between Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Gummi Bears. I don’t know if you got Gummi Bears in the USA, so just in case…

5. What do you wish you’d spent more time doing five years ago?
I’m trying to remember what I was doing five years ago. It was 2008. To be honest, I was pretty much doing as much as I could in life back then! I lived in a flat in Leith, went to a ton of weddings, became a godmother, was working two jobs, starting singing with Powerpoint, trying to be more ethical in how I spent my money, building friendships and trying to hold it together as my family fell apart. I’m happy with the choices I made back then.

6. What item do you most need (or want) to add to your wardrobe this fall?

I really do need some comfortable winter shoes/boots as I had to chuck out my beloved Doc Marten wedge boots last year (I managed to get 2 more years out of them despite them starting to get leaky and would creak when I walked!) The hand-me-down boots I got from a friend are just not suitable for commuting to and from uni and when it gets icy trying to get up the steep hill around the campus could be a recipe for disaster. I’ve come home with a blister on the sole of my foot today.

7. On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts cartoon was introduced to the world. What was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid?

In terms of TV cartoon – I loved Gummi Bears and DangerMouse (or the Gaidhlig version ‘DonnieMurdo‘). In terms of paper cartoon, the only one I ever read was Garfield.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I did consider saying the thing I’ve learned this month is that I’m not a morning person. However, I already knew that. The commuting days to university have just reaffirmed this truth. Last week I took a tumble trying to catch a bus. Today (yesterday) I was walking along the road when I suddenly got pulled back…my crazy hair had got caught in a hedge. Not many people can literally say that their ‘hair looks like it got dragged through a hedge backwards
Never mind, last week I got to try out my new koala gloves while ice skating for first time in ?? years!

Wednesday HodgePodge – Round 45

1. What’s one thing that’s still the same about you as when you were young?

I’m still talkative, I’m still stubborn and I still like making sure people are included (my friend says she still remembers how at my first day at our nursery school, I immediately came in and got everyone involved in some kind of play game!)

2. What’s more important-history or science? Why?

I don’t think either is more important than the other. Science teaches how things work. History teaches us what we did right and how people truly screwed things up. Both are key to innovation.

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?

Um, half of those beans I’ve never even heard of. I use kidney beans a lot in making veggie chilli, but I’m more of a chick pea girl than a bean girl. On Monday nights when I have only 20 minutes between getting home and getting to Guides, baked beans on toast can be quick and handy! :)

4. What’s something people come to your town to do?

They come to discover their genealogy since we’re home of the Scottish National Archives and Scotland’s People centre. They come to discover Scottish history. They come to experience the biggest arts festivals in the world. They come for the biggest New Year’s street party in the world. They come to visit the only pandas and koalas you’ll find in the UK.

They don’t come for the weather.

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less.

I guess I was in one today with a group of folks likely to become my peer group.

6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

The World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

7. What’s one piece of advice you’d give a writer?

Open your eyes to see what untold stories are around you. Don’t be afraid of offending or shocking people with the truth.

In fact, I’d not only say that to writers, I’d say that to artists in general. :)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It’s my first day HodgePodging in weeks. Things got a bit crazy, and this week I began life as a postgraduate student, which involves commuting to Glasgow twice a week. Glasgow is only about 50 miles away, and it takes me about 1hr45 mins each way. I get a bus, a train and a subway, then walk up a wee hill to the campus. It’s mental how much university has changed in the 7 years I’ve been a student – EVERYTHING is online. I had to upload a photo for my ID card online, enrol for my classes online, pay for printing online, download all my handouts and reading lists from online (and then print them off – 52 page documents some of them!). It’s all very overwhelming and confusing. Today I finally worked out how to use the university library printers (which looked like photocopiers). I feel like I need to do a course in being a student before I do any other kind of learning. :) However, I’m loving the course so far, and the people are lovely (teachers and students alike).