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!
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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).

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Wednesday HodgePodge – Round 44

It’s Wednesday, and it’s HodgePodge day! Click on the button below to get to Joyce’s blog and link up your blog and find the links to other HodgePodge bloggers. :)

1. Labor Day weekend (in the US of A) is approaching…what’s something you’ve laboured over this year?

I think what I’ve most laboured over has been really working on getting a programme and communication system in place to increase opportunities for the girls in the Girlguiding units I help with. It has been so worth it.

2. What is one word to describe your ‘job’ or career?

Mental.

3. What was your worst or least favorite job ever? Why?

I can’t pick between being a Clerical Assistant for the Community Phlebotomy office at a hospital in Aberdeen (I basically was paid 6 hours a week to sort faxed forms by GPs and file them. It was deathly boring stuff, and quit after a few months because I couldn’t stand it) and being a Salon Assistant. The latter was not so much about the work as the boss I had who was extremely fickle. I also realised that I hated massaging people’s hair, and disliked my hands stinking of hair dye and perm chemicals when I went to dance classes straight after. I was also paid under minimum wage as well.

4. How do you measure contentment?

Um. I don’t know if you can.

5. Pickles-like or dislike? What is something you eat that requires a pickle? Dill, bread and butter, sweet gherkins…what’s your favorite kind of pickle?

Boak!!! There’s nothing worse that when you order a burger and they’ve put a gherkin on it. It makes everything taste like gherkin. *Shudder*

6. In your current house-town-state, what is it you like living close to?

I love being close to an express bus stop. I love being a short cycle ride from Edinburgh Zoo. It’s handy to live near the airport. I love that Edinburgh has so much to offer in arts, architecture, history, loads of free museums and galleries, plus fun stuff like the Book Festival, Fringe, Hogmanay celebrations…

And I’ve got the beach, the mountains, hills, beautiful lochs all a relatively short drive away. So much beauty on our doorstep in Scotland!

7. What is one thing on your ‘want-to-do’ list before summer draws to an official close?

Summer kinda finished for me last week, schools have been back for a fortnight now, the Edinburgh Fringe finished on Sunday/Monday, the weather is cold sometimes now and the nights are already starting to close in. It was pitch black when I came out of Guides on Monday night!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday was a sad day as I had to say goodbye to my colleague, Sarah, who I’ve job shared the role of manager with for over 4 years. Now it’s just going to be me, though my work plans to employ an administrator but I’ll be ‘in charge’. It was much nicer to have shared responsibility, plus Sarah has become one of my closest friends and confidantes. I’m really going to miss her. On the plus side, I get to meet another online friend today, Holly who is visiting Edinburgh from New Zealand. We plan to have a wee look-see around Edinburgh Castle. :)

Wednesday HodgePodge – Round 43

 

 

Hi HodgePodgers – I’m having problems trying to leave comments on anyone whose blog is hosted by ‘Blogger’ AGAIN. I’m sorry. I don’t know why Blogger is so against non-Blogger bloggers.  I’ll try again when I get onto my laptop rather than using Phoebe phone but I’m at work and then Senior Section Guides so it won’t be til late probably! :(

1. What’s your worst food memory?  How about one of your best?
I try not to think about my worst food memories! I remember being devastated going to Little Italy in NYC – worst Italian food ever! A certain handmade burger restuarant wasn’t so great in my hometown either – both my friend and I were ill after.
Best food memories – my friend Kathy’s chocolate brownies. My friend Vicky’s butternut squash risotto. Yummy in my tummy!
2. Do you appreciate people telling it like it is, or would you rather a speaker temper his/her words and maybe beat around the bush a little?  How about when you’re the one communicating…which type are you? 
I appreciate saying it like it is. I don’t think that means you need to lose your temper or find no positives though. I cannot stand people placating or lying or pretending they’re ok with something when they aren’t. Solutions don’t come when you don’t say it like it is!
3. What’s your favorite place to hang out?
The Beach or anywhere with a comfy seat, a fleecy blanket and lots of books. And cake.
4. When do you most feel like you’re a slave to time?
Pretty much any Monday during term time. I call them ‘Manic Mondays’. I’m usually sleepy after the weekend, get up go to work (Mondays tend to be the most stressful days at work), finish at 6, have to run to the airport bus get home just before 7, cook, eat, grab my leader hoodie (in winter this also involves adding layers under the hoodie as the church hall is always BALTIC) and be out the door by 7.15 for Guides. We’re usually finished by 9.30 and I’m home by 9.45 p.m. This term I might not have my Mum’s car as she’s taken up going to the gym on Monday nights, so this is going to make life a bit more interesting…
5. What was the last concert you attended?  Who’d you go with? Was it any good?
I’ve not been to a concert in a long while. Probably last gig I went to was Rend Collective at The Caves last year. I need to get that sorted, but it’s finding friends to go with who have similar music tastes.
6. Reality TV…harmful or harmless?  What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to reality TV?
Reality TV…the trashy stuff is just well….trashy. There are real life documentaries that get made that can actually be really informative, educational and helpful. Like 65_RedRoses, Blood Relative,  Love on the Transplant List or Ben
Guilty pleasures? I occasionally watch Gok Wan’s How To Look Good Naked shows. I remember one show with a woman who’d had a mastectomy and gone through chemotherapy. She had lost confidence in her body, and one of most poignant scenes was when he took her into a room with a line up of women  in their underwear asked her which one she thought was wearing a breast prosthesis. ‘You can’t tell can you?’ she said tearfully. It turned out they’d all had cancer, and 3 of them had a full mastectomy and on a later show Gok met with her again, and she’d auctioned off the wedding dress the show had got for her for a cancer charity and now began working with local hospital to help other women who had breast cancer. You can get the whole episode here – it’s an emotional one.
7. What’s something you think is overrated?

Pintrest. I really don’t get it!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I’ve had lots of fun going to Book Festival events in the last week, finally got my new dress and…I got accepted to do my Postgraduate Diploma in Community Learning and Development at the University of Glasgow! I’m going to be a (part-time) student again come September, and this will enable me to be a QUALIFIED Community Education worker and get a job in what I used to do before I moved home to Edinburgh again.

Wednesday HodgePodge – Round 42

1. My daughter earned her Master’s Degree this past weekend…what’s something you’ve ‘mastered’ in recent weeks or months?

I’m trying to master the art of time management and getting my body to sleep at more appropriate times (ie nighttime rather than halfway through the day). I think my body has a mediterranean clock and would very much appreciate the sunshine and siestas of Spanish life.

2. What song most reminds you of your childhood?

Ooh. Now. There’s a question…because music is so important to my life, there’s not ONE song to pick. I could tell you about The Locomotion and singing ‘I should be so lucky‘ (both by Kylie Minogue) in the playground. Or dancing in the playground to ‘Baggy Trousers’ by Madness. Parties with the cheesy songs of Black Lace – Superman, The Conga, The Birdie Song, Agadoo. I was a huge fan of ’50s Rock n’ Roll music and listened to lots of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Bill Haley and The Comets. The Grease soundtrack. Or singing Don’t Look Back In Anger by Oasis with my fellow P7s on our last ever day of Primary School concert.

3. What do you think about single gender groups and/or events? Should everygroup/event be open to both genders? If not, what sort of exceptions do you think are appropriate?

I think single gender events should be limited more than groups. I think growing up it’s especially important for girls to have their own boy-free space and that’s why I love Girlguiding. Girlguiding gave me a place to make friends with non-girly girls. And I know for a fact the some of the more self-conscious girls I work with wouldn’t dare try some things if boys were present. However, Girlguiding and Scout Association work closely together for things like Gang Show and large international camps which are great opportunities for everyone to mix. My Ranger unit did a lot of things with a Venture Scout unit when I was 16-18, and we liked our ‘girls only’ time and our ‘mixed’ time equally. I think the guys did too. It’s important for genders to learn how to work with each other and spend time together.

However, on the flip side, Christian women’s events do my nut in and I’ve found it really tough to make friends with Christian females over the years. I have now got some really good Christian female friends now, but it took a really long time to make those friendships to find some common ground other than Jesus!

4. What’s your favorite spice? Your favorite dish containing your favorite spice?

I’m not a spice fan really. Cinnamon would be my favourite, and I like making my Honey and Spice cake in the wintertime.

5. I saw this question on Marla’s facebook page and asked if I could steal borrow it for the Hodgepodge…thanks Marla!

Chevron patterns are everywhere! Do you like it or think its just a little too much? Do you own anything ‘chevron’?

Chevron as in the ‘v’ shapes you get on the roads? Or the Oil company? Uhhh….can’t say I’ve seen those everywhere or that I own anything chevron.

6. What’s something you disliked as a child, but can fully appreciate now?

Vegetables. I’m discovering as an adult part of this is that my Mum and I have completely different tastes and likes when it comes to vegetables. I love peppers which I was never given as a kid because my Mum detests them so much she can’t bear to eat food that has even been cooked along side peppers. For me – peppers and baby leaf spinach (another vegetable I don’t remember ever being offered as a kid) are staples of my diet!

However, the vegetables I disliked as a kid (onions, peas, carrots, turnip) I still cannot stand!

7. What can irritate you very quickly?

Drivers who do not use their indicators properly (if at all). And a current daily irritation due to Edinburgh Festivals going on at the moment: Selfish tourists on the Edinburgh Airlink bus. And I’m generalising here but you can’t help after travelling back and forth daily for 6 summers make some observations: Americans (sorry American friends) seem to be the worst for trying to be the first off the bus and bashing everyone with their ridiculously sized suitcases in the process despite the announcement to ‘remain seated until the bus comes to a complete halt’ and talking loudly about how they are now in “Edinboro” I do understand because of the Americaneze style of English why some folks from the Southern states in particular may get this wrong, but it does make me twitch, and one time a guy was practically yelling the word Edinboro so many times I couldn’t hold it in any longer, and had to say ‘Dude, it’s actually pronounced ED-IN-BUH-RA’. I like to think I was doing him a favour, because I could see other folks on the bus ready to explode too.  However, the continental Europeans (French and Spanish especially) are equally as bad as (if not worse than) the Americans for putting their luggage in seats so people can’t get a seat when there are plenty of spaces for luggage storage on both decks of the bus usually. GRRR. And English businessmen. They like to put their laptops/briefcases on seats. Japanese tourists tend to move in packs and stop with maps/cameras  in a massive gang you can’t get past on the street. South Africans tend to be the most dour-faced and grumpy tourists. Indian tourists are normally very polite but do have a habit of taking forever to get on and off of buses usually because they don’t know where they are going and do this kind of ‘should I get on/should I get off’ dance. I’m trying to be proactive with them if I see them looking confused to ask if they need help, so commuters get less passive aggressively annoyed with them. :)

Australian and Canadians tend to  be the nicest and most pleasant, polite and unselfish tourists. Please observe them and emulate them visitors!! :)

It does however make you realise what other people might think of you when you’re the tourist in another country…What are your experiences of Scottish visitors to your country/city/town HodgePodgers? 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Having had that big moany rant, I do really love that so many people love coming to Edinburgh each year, and love to chat to the tourists of all nationalities. Especially Americans and Australians. I always try to help them find their way and give them my ‘insider tips’ on Edinburgh, which is why I started my ‘Edinburgh blog’.  So this is not so much a random thought, but a random gallery of the last week and a day’s time at the Edinburgh Festivals with my friends (or on way to work!). Hope you enjoy the wee insight to Edinburgh in August…

Wednesday HodgePodge – Round 41

It’s Wednesday, I’m off work for the week (but weirdly more busy…I guess that’s the Edinburgh festival effect) and you can join in by linking up at Joyce’s blog and visiting the other HodgePodgers (click on the HodgePodge button to take you there!).
1. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week…what’s one thing you could do this week to qualify as a participant?

Get rid of some of the shoes that are falling a part or are too small for me (weirdly, after my feet not growing from age 10, and even shrinking when I did ballet from age 14-16, my feet grew when I was about 24!)

2. It’s also National Peach Month…peach pie, peach cobbler, or please pour me a Bellini?  What’s your peach pleasure?

We don’t eat a huge amount of Peaches here, and ‘raw’ I prefer nectarines. Bellinis have always sounded nice (but I have to be careful because of the wine allergy) and peach pie also sounds yummy but I don’t think I’ve ever had some.

3. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Agree or disagree…explain.

Agree. But I don’t think it needs to be like jumping out a plane or anything. Sometimes it can be as simple as going on your own to the cinema. Two of my favourite quotes are from great authors and both talk about fear and how it can stop us leading a full life. Going to Australia and going to South Africa really scared me – from a money perspective, flying on a plane/sharing room with possibility of ‘what if they throw up’ perspective… But also I remember early this year being scared to apply for my dream job because I was afriad of rejection. In the end, I did apply and didn’t get it, but now I have no regrets or ‘what ifs’ about it.

4. What’s your favorite household chore?  Yes-you have to name one.

Cleaning the bathroom – I don’t know why, but there’s something therapeutic. It was the first thing I did after finishing my university dissertation at the end of my undergraduate degree! Submitted it, came home and cleaned the bathroom (household chores had fallen slightly by the way side in the 2 weeks I had to finish writing up my project!)

5. Fodors recently listed (what they’ve dubbed) the ten most beautiful sunset spots in America. Click here to read more and see the pretty pictures, but this is their list:

Butterfly Beach in Santa Monica CA, Mount Haleakala in Maui HI, Old Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe NM, Laguna Beach CA, Hopi Point in Grand Canyon AZ, Four Seasons in Miami FL, Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica CA, Gay Head in Martha’s Vineyard MA, Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City UT, and Mallory Square in Key West Florida.

Have you seen the sun set from any of these spots?  If you could choose to watch the sun set this weekend from one spot on the Fodors List, which would you choose?  Where was the prettiest sunset you’ve ever seen?

I think I’d choose Maui, but that’s mainly because I’d love to see Hawaii! The prettiest sunsets and sunrises always occurred in Aberdeen. Strange, as it’s not really a ‘pretty city’ with all its grey granite (I laugh out loud at Bill Bryson’s comments that there’s no granite anywhere, he must either not have known what granite looked like or walked around Aberdeen with his eyes shut). But Aberdeen had the most unique and stunning sunsets.

One of the most memorable sunsets (because that’s a different question) was at Cape Otway, Australia. Watching the parade of penguins waddle up the beach as the sun went down behind the 12 apostles at the end of a day driving down the Great Ocean Road was spectacular. The other memorable one was watching the sunset in the Sahara Desert.

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6. What’s your favorite or most used app?  If you don’t use apps how about your favorite or most visited website?

I just got my first smartphone at the weekend, after my Dad called me last Wednesday and told me he was buying me one whether I liked it or not. Whats app is great since my Dad lives in Spain, my sister now lives in Cameroon and we can use it to communicate with each other very easily. My most visited website is probably Twitter. I don’t understand why anyone follows me!

My Dad said I needed to name her like I named my car…so everyone meet Phoebe (she’s now got a white wallet like case to protect her from my clumsiness!).

Photo on 2013-08-03 at 15.33

7. We’ve recently passed the halfway mark for 2013…write a seven word sentence that sums up your year thus far.

Lots of death, fun and unexpected twists.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

So the other week, I  went into a shop and bought a postcard to get some change for the bus. Given the lament of people saying they miss getting mail and postcards, I’m having a wee silly competition sort of thing where if you share a wee tourist story, you might just get a postcard sent through your mailbox. :)

**Additional thought: sadness to hear the news that my Britain’s most decorated gymnast and the most successful British female gymnast EVER, Beth Tweddle has officially retired. Beth is almost exactly a year younger than me, so I’ve been aware of her since Athens Olympics. I was so excited to see a British gymnast in contention for INTERNATIONAL medals. British Gymnastics has done a lovely job of paying tribute to her as the news was announced this (Tuesday) morning – just after I’d written this post. I was almost in tears reading the announcement on British Gymnastics website on ‘Phoebe’ while waiting for an appointment. Part of that being these emotional videos ‘The Making of a Champion‘. Anyone who has spent a day following me on social media will know my passion for gymnastics and Beth has been an exceptionally inspirational role model both in and out of the sport, and I’m sure will continue to be even if retired from competition. THANK YOU BETH!**