Jul 17

I had the red beans and sausage

I walked to a restaurant a few blocks from the office for lunch today. Saw these flowers in a lovely flowerbed planted at a church between here and there:

The restaurant has tabletops with giant photos of city posters or people. I always sit at a table highlighting people. This, then, is who I had lunch with today:

I’m going with Doris Day. But I’d be more than happy for someone to tell me who these people are. I’m going to feel like I should have known the answer, but there’s only so much second-half of the 20th century you can keep in your brain at one time.

Especially when your brain is hurting. My brain hurts. Or maybe just larger head part. Sinuses are now a July thing, it seems.

Jul 17

I don’t think I have published these here

These videos went elsewhere to the various social media places which you should follow, of course. They never made it here, though. So let’s fix that.

A few nights ago Allie had a very big play session, which means video, which means Allie’s theme song:

The original version of that was just for my in-laws, but I figured I’d “worked hard enough” to synch up the last bit of the music that I should use the footage elsewhere, so I put the tags on it, uploaded it and now I am using it to pad out a Thursday post.

This video was from the weekend before last. We’d gone up to Muncie for a bike ride where, at a park, we started out just behind a miniature tractor parade. “What are we supposed to do with this bit of Americana?” The Yankee asked, which was a line I laughed at for about 10 miles until I had to really start chasing her. Hey, we passed five moving tractors at the beginning of a 50-something mile ride. So that was good for the ego.

On the way back to the house after the ride, though, we found ourselves stopped at an intersection, by this fire truck that was controlling traffic for another parade of tractors. And, no kidding, on the local radio station at the same time:

My answer to the question about how to deal with that sort of Americana is that you follow them. The person on the tractor knows where the food is.

Jun 17

Top of the world, end of our trip

We went up to the top of the Cairn Gorm today. I made a video for you:

We took some photos at the top. It was windy, but I found some new hairstyles.

We took quite a few pictures, actually. I made a montage:

The Cairngorm range being the physical barrier between the Highlands and Lowlands it seemed a fitting place to turn and say goodbye. Our trip is winding down, which is sad, but what a terrific trip it was. So we headed south, and found a gas station literally in the nick of time. They don’t just put them on every street corner here, and we were pretty close to using the old “coast it in” strategy. But, after a few failed attempts, we found a gas station and made it back in Edinburgh. That’s a city, of course, which means people and stores and traffic and advertising. And I guess this is something you need around here:

Some of it seems like really odd advertising:

You guys do know what happened to that character, right?

We walked around on the Royal Mile and saw The Hub:

The Hub is just that, home to the Edinburgh International Festival, and where you go for information on all the events in town. The spire is the highest point in central Edinburgh. Built in the 1840s for the Church of Scotland, it was then known as Victoria Hall. The church merged with another and moved out in 1929. It has also previously been used as an occasional meeting place for the Scottish parliament. This is the view from the Lawnmarket, the area making up the oldest part of Old Town:

And this is St. Giles Cathedral, just down the road, and still on the Royal Mile. The building itself dates to the 14th century, though there are claims of worship here dating back a few centuries prior. This is considered one of the central locales of Presbyterianism, is full of history and must be absolutely beautiful inside:

I’ve seen pictures, and I wish we had the chance to have a look.

But it was time to eat and then repack our bags and get ready for the flight back to the States. Such a great vacation. It is a shame it is over, but we saw so many beautiful places and neat things and had a great time. We’ll always have those memories. And the slow motion videos:

Also she planned it, and as always, she created a great trip:

May 17

That time a seal scared a submarine

Today we went kayaking in the Atlantic, at Applecross. The water was calm and the sun was out and the weather was lovely. It was a perfect sort of day for it. We paddled in the morning and afternoon, with a local guide, who took this picture:


Our guide, Iian, started out with about 10 clients and we outlasted the rest of them. Late in the day we went to see the seals. It was a full day, covering about 12 kilometers, so not quite eight miles.

I am sending videos home to briefly describe our day. Here’s the report I filed today:

See, what had happened was, our guide Iian was telling us about how out in the main channel the British often come and test their submarines. Sometimes, he said, you can see their masts break break the surface. While we were on our way to see the seals, one of them startled a submarine. And the submarine got startled, rose near the surface and knocked over my orange kayak.

That story is much better than this one: The Yankee had stopped paddling and came to a complete stop. she said. And as I was coming up alongside of her I stopped paddling. Only I was still drifting. Just as I was making some sort of move to not run into her, she said “A seal!” And then, suddenly, I was upside down.

I quickly remembered this video I’d seen years ago about how kayakers roll their boats back over. It has to do with the hips. And then I quickly remembered that I’d never tried that before. Never been in a kayak before. And so I then quickly remembered what Iian told me earlier in the day. You simply reach forward, pull on this strap on the black spray skirt that keeps you in and water out and your problem is solved. That seemed easier. I did that.

So I came to the surface and flipped my kayak back right-side up. Iian, for some reason, told me to turn it over again. So I did, and then he came alongside, flipped it over, told me to swim around the back and held on while instructing me how to get back in.

Hey, the water was cold. While in college, I once dove with manatees in Defuniak Springs in 56-degree water. But today’s 48 is a new personal record. As soon as I climbed out of the water, though, I mean immediately, I was warm and fine.

Off came my hat, down went my sunglasses. Into the water went our snacks. I think I scared Iian, who really wanted me to take it easy and collect myself. But I was fine, naval disaster aside. That’s what happens when seals scare submarines.

Seriously, this is how flat the water was:


We ate dinner under a little tent outside of the Applecross pub. We’re in a part of the world here where your dining options are limited, but all of the food has been grand.

Later, we saw this Highland cow:

Some of the other livestock we saw today:

Highland coo

Highland coo


And some of the things we saw while driving back to our room in Shieldaig this evening:

Highland coo

Highland coo

Highland coo

Highland coo

Some of those will wind up as banners here on the blog. Just as soon as my arms stop hurting from all of that paddling.

May 17

Send sleep

Do you know that feeling where you have things to do and then you try to measure it all out? You know, so you don’t have to do everything at one time?

I’m pretty decent, I think, at pacing these things out. So my week has been fairly successful. I have one, or maybe two, little chores to get through tomorrow, but have gotten the house cleaned, blinds installed, laundry done, and more or less eaten food from time to time.

I could sleep more, but I’m an artist, and sleep deprivation is my canvas this week. I could have ridden my bike a bit more, but I’ve managed to talk myself out of it a few times. One day I learn the biggest lesson about the bike: You only regret the rides you don’t take.

Like, for instance, today. I was going to ride, but I had to work a bit late. And then it rained, and I had to get back to my errands and chores and that was the night. So skipping a ride on Tuesday and Wednesday caught up to me, and so I can only regret those I missed out on.

But I watched a bike race tonight, so there’s that.

Tomorrow, I am getting a new phone. So there’s that.