A blog… I used to have a blog…

Hi Blogging friends,

Life is stressful and hectic and not always fun at the moment, hence my lack of blogging, but I thought you would want to see the latest addition to my (extended) family.

This is Pup. Daughter broke up with her boyfriend and got a puppy. Good call daughter. 🙂

Flynn lowres

Dawg loves him. Dawg loves him maybe a little TOO much. Dawg doesn’t care Pup is also a boy dog. I think it’s time for Dawg to get neutered….

 

 

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Just checking in…

As Ronan Keating once said “Life is a rollercoaster”, but as I can’t even remember the tune to the song, never mind the rest of the words, it somehow becomes jumbled into 10cc’s song ‘Life is a Minestrone’ and MY words end up being “Life is a rollercoaster, mixed up with parmesan cheese. Life is a bowl of pasta, suspended in deep freeze”. Feel free to sing along with me. Correct lyrics are optional.

I think that just about sums life up for me at the moment.  A rollercoaster is right. My body is falling to bits; I’ve had bronchitis, then influenza and now I’ve twisted my knee and am finding it hard to walk. The other dips in the rollercoaster ride called life are that I’m selling my house and IT’S EXTREMELY STRESSFUL! Come buy my house people!!!! Don’t get me wrong, I have loads of plus points in my life too, actually too many to mention, but sometimes I wish the rollercoaster would just trundle along at 15mph on a straight bit for a wee while.

I read something today that feels right to share with all you lovely bloggers – “Take 30 seconds to think of three things you’re grateful for at this moment in time”.  Well I thought about it and I have plenty of things to be grateful for, but at this precise moment in time these are the three things I’m grateful for :-

  1. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day
  2. My puppy
  3. This is my birthday week

Tell me three things you’re grateful for in the comments if you want. I’d love to read them.

Owl
Barred Owl

An owl. Nothing to do with the post at all, apart from the fact it was so cool to see him in the trees. Actually he was sitting on the grass till my dog decided he was trespassing and chased him off. This is a huge crop with my 300mm zoom at it’s longest length so not the best photo, but still very exciting to see it in real life.

Happy May Day Bloggers.

 

Greetings Bloggers

Life. Not so long ago I had all the time in the world, to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was sometimes even *whisper* bored. What a young fool I was….

Only kidding. I love being busy. Life is good my blogging buddies. I have more work than I can do. My kids are both happy, settled and living life to the max – daughter just road-tripped during spring break to Texas and now wants to move to Austin – son is busy learning to blow up the world studying nuclear, atomic and plasma physics (well, he might not be blowing up the world, but I have no idea what he actually does at university). Husband got head-hunted and just started a new job and we’re about to sell our house and move to the next State over (Help!!) Oh and I’ve been ill and it dragged on for a whole 3 weeks. I don’t have TIME to be ill! All of which leaves me very little time for photography or blogging. But as a friend said to me, surely I can spare a few minutes (42 to be exact) to talk about life, the universe and everything.

So a couple of weekends ago, after 8 years of vague “oh yeah, we’ll come visit you soon!” we actually did go visit some friends in Cincinnati. A 3.5 hour drive from where we currently live was just far enough to be enjoyable but not too far to be “are we there yet?” I loved Cinci and enjoyed being touristy, but 2 of the highlights of the quick trip were Jungle Jims International food store and Nicholson’s Scottish Pub. Jungle Jim’s has a whole aisle of British food so $210 later we were sorted for crisps (potato chips), chocolate, biscuits, more chocolates, Magners Pear Cider, a tin of Quality Street (chocolates) and a tin of haggis. You can take the lassie out of Scotland… etc. etc.

Photography wise I was snapping away with my Fuji compact camera as I didn’t want to lug my DSLR all over the city. It does a fabulous job and it’s so easy to stick it in auto for night shots or when you don’t have time to mess about with the manual settings. Another thing on my ‘to-do’ list when I get some free time (hah!) is to look into Topaz Editing Software. I downloaded a free trial but haven’t had time to play about with it very much but for the five minutes I have used it for it was SO much fun! These pics were all edited with Topaz and I can see me having endless hours of fun with it.

Anyway just saying hi “Hi!” and letting you know life is good from where I’m sitting. Hope it’s good for all of you too.

Alba.

Cinci topaz 2
Cincinnati buildings
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Cincinnati bridge
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Cincinnati Ball Park

 

Burns Night (25th January)

In honour of my Scottish roots I thought about making a Burns Supper tonight for dinner (haggis, neeps and tatties) but due to the lack of haggises in Illinois (there are no mountains for them to run around), and my unwillingness to pay $10 plus delivery for a tin of haggis from Amazon, we’re having lasagna instead.

True fact: Haggis only run round the mountainside in an anti-clockwise direction, therefore they have 2 legs on one side shorter than the other two. That’s how you catch them. Chase them clockwise round the mountain and they fall off. It’s a well known fact in Scotland. Ask The Google. Ignore the Wiki answer though and read the others. YW.

So the traditional Rabbie Burns poem that we read tonight is called ‘To a Haggis‘ but I’ve made my own version called ‘To a Lasagna‘….

Fair fa’ yer honest sonsie face, 
Great Chieftain o’ the pasta race.’

That’s as far as I got. It’s a work in progress.

tomatoes

Tomatoes. Absolutely nothing to do with Burns Night, haggis or even lasagna (except it’s an ingredient) but I didn’t have a photograph to match the blog post.

Anyway enjoy some traditional Scottish music brought into the 21st Century by Paolo Nutini.

Slàinte!

WPC : Silence

This week’s theme of silence has left me with an earworm to “The Sound of Silence”… the Disturbed version though.

As for a photo to match the theme – this is a portrait I took a couple of years ago and is still one of my favourites. He’s actually a pretty smiley guy but I asked him to look melancholy and despairing which he happily did. Listening to the lyrics from The Sound of Silence just seems to fit with this portrait. What do you think?

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“Hello darkness my old friend”

Silence

WPC: Weathered

How fortuitous that this week’s photography challenge came in my email the same day I got an message from STV (a Scottish Television Channel) asking my permission to use one of my photographs in a programme about doors. Yes, sounds rivetting, doesn’t it? But it’s still nice to be appreciated, even if it is only watched by 50 or 60 people in the country.

Newmilns Keep Front Door
A nicely weathered door

Newmilns Keep is a fortified tower and the oldest building in the town – built in the 16th century c1530. It was in the possession of John Campbell of Newmilns, who was summoned to appear before King James IV as one of the Lollards of Kyle. In 1685 it was being used as a barracks for dragoons and a prison for Covenanters when it was attacked by local men who succeeded in freeing 8 prisoners. It has been used as a grain store, a doocot, a band hall and a beer cellar and is now a private residence.
Weathered

New Year (new me?)… Nah!

Greeting Bloggers,

How goes it in the land of Blog? I have missed all your lovely blogs lately but hopefully I’ll do better now (sounds like my school report card – Alba could do better!) I’m definitely going to go back to the Weekly Photo Challenge and hoping to blog in-between as well. No New Year resolutions for me this year though, they just get broken… although last year I did manage to log into MyFitnessPal every single day. Every. Single. Day. Are you impressed? I’m not saying I actually lost any weight, plus some days I might only have logged my breakfast, but I did it, and still am. I’m currently at 375 days in a row. Go me!! This year I just intend to eat healthily, work out a couple of times a week (I’m just back in from my first cycle ride in months today and even though it was a close-run thing, I didn’t puke up my lunchtime lentil soup. It was touch and go for a moment, but I didn’t disgrace myself. I do have jelly legs now, but stomach is fine) plus keep working away. I would love to say I could make enough money for my husband to retire, but that isn’t going to happen. Not that I want him hanging around the house God forbid, but he can go get a less stressful job as a golf-course greenkeeper, tiling bathrooms or raising chickens (all things he’d be pretty good at but won’t make us rich).

Anyway as this is supposed to be a photography blog here’s a few pics from my Ne’erday celebrations and a short trip we had to Chicago to meet up with 4 Scottish friends who came over to the US to celebrate one of their birthdays. Unfortunately the birthday boy got stopped at the US Immigration in Dublin and got questioned so long him and his wife missed the flight (thanks Immigration!) but they manged to get here the next day in time for the train back down to my house. They’ll laugh about it eventually….

We made up for it on Hogmanay with a party night at a local hotel and loads of fun, laughter, (bad) singing and good food (when I wasn’t cooking anyway). Christmas was also good – spending time with my wee family, Skyping or FaceTiming my extended family and of course eating far too much (that would have been one of my breakfast only days on MyFitnessPal)

I hope you all had a lovely festive season and are raring to go in 2018. Cheers everyone!

NewYear16
Hogmanay Shenanigans
NewYear29
Kinda ironic this was the view from my hotel window seeing as one of my friends wasn’t allowed through US Immigration!
NewYear9
Chicago at night
NewYear3
Celebrations