Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
|This was good.|
|Devastation lies ahead.|
|King of Clutch.|
4. The flowers OMG.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Nonetheless, you can make it 75% of the way through a midday outing to buy more food--how can you have thought about broccoli and apples when you had no cereal and therefore no breakfast? The remaining 25% of the outing is constructed out of sheer gritty, upright character and also the fact that you have to complete your transactions and drive home--otherwise, you will have to wander the aisles of the grocery store forever.
You get home, throw the fresh food into your newly clean refrigerator (thanks sons and son-in-law and friends of son!) and fall back into bed. You complete a deep perusal of the catalogs that arrived while you were gone. You drift.
If you calculate, you may have spent 50% of your waking hours supine and drowsy. And sniffing.
You pull up 0.5% of the morning glory in the flower bed. You note that the weather in Utah is slightly less warm than the weather you left in Scotland. Weird. You talk to almost all the kids, you eat a boca burger at a lowkey family barbecue, you deliver some of the candy you brought back for grandkids. You take note of how many things are blooming in the yard. Roses upon roses upon roses. And...you're back in bed.
(So glad to have gone. So glad to be back.)
Sunday, May 27, 2012
It's that special form of numb that's the result of being awake forever. Airline/port food. Cramped muscle madness. It is so choice.
But we will sleep in our own bed tonight, and see the Bruise, and tomorrow we can think about everything else.
For now, it's just a few more hours of Houston. That's right: HOUSTON. Over and out.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
"It's coming to an end," said Miriam, turning away from the middle of the Eurovision final competition.
"Let's not say that, not yet," said I.
And thus you see, in this single interchange, both the melancholy and the denial. Ta da!
It goes without saying, I suppose, that there are so many more things I could write about here than I have. For instance, the Queen's 60th Jubilee is happening right now, and in all the shops there are special, limited editions of all sorts of products, particularly cakes and fizzy drinks. Today, I had a diamond sparkle berry drink, just such a limited edition. The juice was filled with food grade sparkle, which, I must say, dramatically enhanced my juice-drinking experience.
"You could replicate it at home, if you were able to put your hands on some food-grade glitter," my daughter pointed out.
"See, there you go. I wasn't even aware that there was such a thing," said I. Well, I wasn't. And somehow, I don't think it would have the same effect in America, where we have no queen and no jubilee, among a number of other things and people that America lacks.
But let's not say that, not yet. Instead, I will tell you what we did today.
There was face-painting.
When we came home, we had a swell party. This was Miriam's idea from a few nights ago. We barbecued and had candles and flowers and we made special cookies and watched a pile of Eurovision. I combed out the girls' hair after the hair-washing. We had prayers and good night hugs and kisses.
Hugs and kisses, prayers and good night.
Friday, May 25, 2012
This beautiful class II Pictish cross slab, carved in pink granite, is thought to date from the second half of the 9th century AD.
On one side is a very damaged carving consisting of: a circular knot work and spiral pattern at the base; a ringed cross in the centre panel; a man with "sea monsters" to either side of him at the top - possibly Jonah and two whales...a not uncommon theme.
The other side has splendidly carved Pictish symbols: at the bottom is a mirror and comb; above this, a Pictish beast; then a notched rectangle and Z-rod; and at the top is a damaged panel with a centaur and other less clear beasts.
Down either side of the stone are interlace patterns.
The stone stands about ten feet tall, three feet broad, and six inches thick.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
"Don't," he said. "There's no point."
"I mean," he continued, "if there were a point to thinking about it, it would be fine. But since there's no point..."
"Right," I said.
Well, the people, it is not over. But we are drawing nigh to the end of this visit which has been splendid in every, every way.
A visit this long means you can be more than an event, you can be part of the day-to-day. For instance, the village of Inverurie is highly walkable. We've walked the girls to school almost every day, and then we've met them at the end of the school day and walked them home. We went to a park yesterday after school; today, we met them for home lunch, which meant that we brought a picnic and ate it in the park, getting them back before the bell to assemble for afternoon lessons rang. We've eaten breakfast and dinner together. We've done projects. We've read an entire chapter book together before bedtime.
Of course, it's enchanting to fall into daily life with children, to see their beauty, their willfulness, their flights of fancy; to watch them play, to play with them, to see them run and climb and bounce on the trampoline. And this life of theirs will go on when we leave. Once we get home, we too will fall into our own life together, its comforts and joys. But still, it will be hard to leave them.
We have a few more days to celebrate being here. Tonight there were many forward rolls, aka somersaults, performed in the back garden. Homework done. Dinner made. And both yesterday and today, the children showed great bravery in scaling and grappling with the most challinging of the playground equipment, and conquering it at both of the two parks.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
I have been thinking about how things last.
But I'm interested by the fact that some of the old places we've visited--medieval castles, Roman ruins and remnants--get picked up piece by piece, stones carried off, used for other things.
I remember being struck by this, that artists were recyclers, both metaphorically in terms of aesthetic ideas, and literally, in their materials. I saw a painting by Toulouse-Lautrec, I think, that had a whole other painting underneath it. These pieces by Andy Goldsworthy, installed in the National Museum of Scotland, use scrap wood salvaged from the construction of the museum, and slates rescued from demolished buildings in Edinburgh.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought: