TRAVEL MONDAY… In March 2011, I went on my third trip to China. Like most of my foreign experiences they were/are linked to my job. I had a fantastic guide during my Chinese visits, but this last one was extra fun, Amy kept us busy, not just work, but for funs (as Amy calls it).
In Shanghai, I was able to get down to the the Bund, located on the Huangpu River, to see the very modern and updated river front, a complete contrast from some of the other cities we visited.
I met Amy’s daughter, Mumu, who is too cute. She is unbelievably skilled with her chopsticks, she even told Amy, “I use my chopsticks better than the foreign lady”, so true Mumu.
We had a day trip to Nanjing and quick visit to the city wall, built in the 14th century and is the longest in the world. Hangzhou and a visit to the famous West Lake, a popular spot for Chinese honeymooners. The cherry blossoms had popped and the sun was shining, it was perfect for our bike tour.
Beijing was a highlight, I finally made it to the Great Wall. I headed to the Wall on my own and it was amazing to see it up close. It is quite the workout to walk the wall, the incline in some of the sections is so steep and when there are steps, it seems even steeper. There is a Great Wall Marathon from reports is one of the toughest out there. Amy took me to a authentic noodle bar where the noodles were stretched to order. YUMMERS!
I hope with my new position or as tourist I am able to get back to China, there is so much more to explore and eat.
My father-in-law, Dave, sent me a link for a photography blog which featured these fingerless gloves by Etre Touchy (this is a little bit of franglais for you, meaning to be touched) and two days later I saw them front and center on GQ. I think my father-in-law would be the first to admit he has never been on trend in his life!
Continuing the useful glove trend, Dave sent me this how to on transforming a pair or ordinary gloves into a pair that can be used on touch screens, adding conductive thread is all it takes. I first learned about conductive thread during my sewing weekend, the sewing helper used this to make a cuff bracelet with and LED light, here is another use.
I am leaning more towards the Etre Touchy gloves. I must admit I am a bit nervous about the conductive thread, receiving a little electric shock from time to time and never knowing when I would get the little zap.
Kaimal Mark II Lens, Ina’s 1969 Film, Standard Flash, Taken with Hipstamatic
THURSDAY ART FIX… As friends of the Scottish National Museums we were invited to our first preview. It was a biggie, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, it does not reopen to the public until December 1, but last night we were able to visit the refurbished galleries with what seemed a little like Edinburgh’s more-elite-than-us. It could have been that I was decked out in my hi-vis jacket (biking to work has some drawbacks), not high-brow art apparel. We were throughly impressed although we are not in place to make any comparisons, the museum has been closed since April 2009.
They had Dolly the Sheep’s death mask, remember Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned in 1996. She was Scottish and the scientist that cloned her worked at the University, one of our many claims to fame.
I was drawn to the Hot Scot wall (really half a wall) where they had pictures of some ‘attractive’ natives, James McAvoy, Sean Connery, Gerrard Butler, Robert Carlyle and a couple of women I had never heard of.
The one Hot Scot that really jumped out was Paolo Nutini, my former colleague and friend Chloe was a huge fan of Lil Nuts (her nickname for him), the last photo is for you Chloe!
Have a super weekend.
When Ben and I decided he should leave his job to begin his MBA program in 2009, I knew our lives were going to change. I thought of the immediate concerns, can I support us? Is this a responsible choice for adults? Ben had a great job, will he ever find a new one with the economy? We were working and saving, getting set for a future, but Ben needed a change. He was in a rut. He had lost his motivation. He had hit his very own glass ceiling.
We had not never for a second stopped to think about the benefits of his being at home. Since September 2009 I have been had the pleasure of spending so much more time with my adorable husband. Since Ben was completing his MBA at the top-European business school where I was then working, we would walk to school together, he would pop in to see me during the day (my team loved him), we could meet in the school cafe for a quick espresso and at the end of the day we would stroll home together and chat about our days. I smile as I remember these days!
During the thesis portion of his MBA, Ben worked diligently during the week to ensure he would be available to hang out with me on the weekends. He also prepared dinner most evenings so we could eat together when I got home from work. He even joined the admissions team in Grenoble and I was able to stare at the back of his head for 5 months. Ahhh, bliss.
Since arriving in Edinburgh, we have continued to have extra time to spend together. We meet at the gym after work, Ben is able to bring me lunch, we cycle in together for coffees on Friday mornings and there is the excitement of exploring our new city together.
It is now November and Ben has started his job search. I am torn between wanting him to find a job and wanting to keep him at home during the day, baking bread and making my life easier! I know I will be sad when he starts back to a full-time position, but he is motivated again and he found his passion which was our ultimate goal when we made this decision together 25 months ago.
BUFFY… This video makes me start to cringe at the sound of my own name. I never watched the show, I have had to live with the jokes since it aired in 1997 and they still continue, the last one, “How’s Angel?’. Ben found this and thought of me! So sweet.
BEST YET… Last night, best ballet class since I started! No special attention needed, remembered about 75% of the steps without watching my neighbor (I was at the end of the barre, again). I did decide I will not join the recital in early December, but I am considering registering for the next round of classes beginning in January. Have to give my shoes some more wear. I might be ready for a spring performance.
Have a great day.
We went to our first Scottish flea market, very civilized!
In the two we did in France leading up to our move, we had not even unpacked the car and spread the contents of the Ikea bags on the rickety table when a swarm of skinny-French locusts dressed in white Sergio Tacchini wind pants had descended. The bargaining was fierce and due to our lack of negotiating vocabulary we were fleeced, 20 cents for some of our items (by the end of the second flea market we just wanted it gone)! French-Stephanie did manage to sell a first generation ipod for 15 euros, I do not think the new owner knows what a fire wire cable is and the language had been somehow changed to Japanese, but the money was already in our tin box. HA!
Back to Edinburgh.
The building which housed the flea market has a very impressive history, it was built as a military drill hall in 1901 for the Royal Scots Regiment. It was designed by the same architect (Robert Rowand Anderson) who designed two Edinburgh landmarks, McEwan Hall (on the University Campus) and The Scottish National Portrait Gallery (re-opening this week, look for details on this soon). Until 2003 the building was used by the army when it was taken over and bought by an arts charity. It now houses community events and is called Out of the Blue.
We had a stroll around the orderly stands. There were some interesting antiques and vintage clothes. The people watching was worth the visit alone (you can see some of the interesting characters in the collage, love the BIG HAIR!). We left with our hands hanging, no negotiating for us. There is a Farmer’s Market this weekend, so we might go have a poke around.
PINHOLE… Ben ordered some camera accessories for my micro 4:3 digital camera (it’s a Panasonsic GF1). The only one we could use right out box was the pinhole camera adapter. This piece replaces the lens and creates some interesting effects. I will need to practice some more, but these first shots are eery.
Photojojo.com has some great additions to your camera. I cannot wait to try the others, just waiting for the adapter rings.
More interesting pics coming your way soon.
TRAVEL MONDAY… LITE… We had a two day tourist blitz with Will and Ieva during their quick trip to Edinburgh. We spent a day touring the city sites and then on Sunday, headed to the highlands. Ben and I benefitted from Will and Ieva’s willingness to explore some new areas of Scotland. We visited Pitlochry, Fort William and Oban. Amazing scenery, excellent car company, tasty road trip snacks (cheese fondue and pineapples) and a patient driver (thanks Ieva). We left Leith at 8.30 a.m. and were back by 6.00 p.m., a full day, Ben and I are convinced we need to head North again soon.
Will and Ieva left this morning, we were sad to see them go, but fingers crossed the next time will be in Minneapolis for their wedding! Enjoy the rest of your U.K. tour, we had a great visit.