Weekend Snapshots 43, or: The Ice Queen Cometh

My husband went to Scotland last weekend to give a talk at University of Edinburgh. He got to spend some time with our niece at her new school and he’s been able to check in on his parents in England. He’s also carved out a little time to do some hiking. It seems like he’s been gone for an eternity, a feeling that is only exacerbated when he texts me photos like these:img_7081

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…complete with breathless, rapturous captions about the wondrous beauty he is experiencing.

We’re having much smaller-scale adventures at home. For example, on Friday my daughter spotted this in our backyard:

img_1683We think that rather fearsome bird perched on the run-in shed is a Red-tailed Hawk. I had never fully appreciated what the phrase “sitting duck” meant until recently. My daughter did not at all appreciate my observation that this would make Reason #927 for not getting the pet ducks she’s been pining for…

On Saturday I made shakshuka for the first time, which – miracle of miracles – everyone liked:

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Oh, shakshuka, where have you been all my life?!

I adapted this New York Times recipe for the dish, substituting in ingredients we happened to have. (Sautée an onion, a bell pepper, and a few cloves of garlic. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and cayenne. Add a carton of diced plum tomatoes and stir until sauce thickens. Stir in about a cup of crumbled feta or goat cheese. [I used a little of both]. Crack eggs over the mixture and bake in 375 degree oven for about ten minutes). The kids ate it all up with slices of buttery toasted sourdough bread.

On Sunday morning I picked up my daughter from a sleepover and we headed out to the field for her brother’s game. His team won by a large margin, but in the final moments they failed spectacularly at one attempt to get the ball into the net. A player kicked it from only about a foot away, but instead of going in, the ball got a little too much loft and improbably landed on top of the net.

How in the world did they not get that into the net?” my daughter spluttered, clutching her head in disbelief, “Grandma could have gotten it in!”

“Grandma’s Grandma could have gotten the ball in! I mean…”

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She plumbed the depths of her wildest imagination to come up with an even more preposterous scenario: “I mean…YOU could have gotten it in.”

end of the middleTears of remorse sprung to her eyes as soon she saw the shocked expression on my face. Of course, they immediately turned into tiny little icicles…

Brrrrrr, that was cold, little Ice Queen, but I still love you anyway.

img_7072I’ll probably forgive Mr. Scotland too one day…

Scotland, Pt. 3 – My husband’s first home

My husband has always loved Scotland, where he was born and spent the first twelve years of his life.

He and his dad took a hike around Ben Ledi, the first hike they had done together when he was a little boy. When they first walked the trail decades ago, these trees had just been planted and were knee-high:

Although it’s a little grainy, I was so glad they were able to mark this occasion by taking this photo at the top:

That evening he humored me by taking me to this church we kept passing en route to the cottage, so I could get some photos:

Like the trees, the gravestones dramatically showed the passage of time. On some stones the elements had completely erased the engraving, which once marked the day someone who had been loved and cherished was born and the day they died:

The next day we took a day trip to Dollar. We parked our cars on the beautiful street bisected by a babbling burn, right next to the house where my husband first lived:

We walked to Mill Green and the kids played in the icy cold stream where my husband and his brother used to play as children:

We trekked up Dollar Glen to Castle Campbell, once known as Castle Gloom:

By the time we got there, the kids were exhausted:

They revived with a game of roly poly:

…which was fabulous, until Someone-Who-Shall-Remain-Unnamed rolled right into a pile of dog poop.

We continued our tour by stopping to see the church where my husband had been baptized as an infant:

And then it was back to the cottage, and to an early birthday celebration for both my husband and daughter:

We can only capture these fleeting moments of our “one wild and precious life” imperfectly in photos, in stone, in our memories…but by God we try.

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Scotland, Pt. 2

The next day the kids visited Stirling Castle:

In the afternoon, we took the Sir Walter Scott steamer, first launched in 1899, around Loch Katrine:

Back at the cottage, the kids happily took advantage of the long hours of daylight to kick around a soccer ball:

Look, my photography trick still works like a charm! To get this:

…let the kids do this first:

or this nonsense:

Happy Birthday to my one and only:

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Scotland

The morning after we arrived at my in-laws house in England, we took the train to Scotland. Colin had been in Edinburgh all week singing with his choir at St. Mary’s Cathedral and we were going to meet up with him there.

Colin met us at the station and we walked through West Princes Street Gardens to St. Mary’s.

We walked past the Floral Clock:

Edinburgh Castle perched high on a hill top:

And this statue:

The kids and I cooled our heels at a nearby store while Colin’s group rehearsed for their final Evensong:

“Impressive!” I said when we finally walked into the cathedral.

“Really?” Colin sniffed, “It’s not as if it’s an original medieval church or anything. It might date to the Victorian age.”

Whatever.

The boys had just bought a Tintin Cuthbert keychain and were delighted to discover that their kneeler cushion happened to feature St. Cuthbert.

After the Evensong, we made a pit stop at Tesco to stock up. Colin was excited to find:

And then it was off to meet the rest of the family at the cottage we’d rented for the week in Aberfoyle:

View from the cottage:

Flowers in the garden:

The countryside around the cottage:

We’ll be starting our trip back to the states tomorrow and I’ll start posting again when I can. More adventures ahead…This Saturday we will be celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary and then we’ll head to the beach with my whole clan – all seventeen of us!

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