Tabby Brown


I have a new friend. Their name is Tabby Brown. Who exactly Tabby Brown is remains a mystery to me. I was greeted with the cutest envelope in my mailbox yesterday, obviously written in a child's handwriting. When I opened it, it was a class project about Flat Stanley (who is in the picture). This class project is to see where Flat Stanley can go. I am supposed to mail a postcard back to Tabby's school and forward Flat Stanley on to someone else. I definitely will participate in this class project, as I can't deny anyone who writes me in cute little handwriting. But as to who Tabby Brown is, I still don't have a clue. Anyone know this child?

And on a side note, if I forward Flat Stanley on to you, you better participate in the project too!

I Did It! I Finally Did It!

I applied for the "best job in the world"! After turning in my application video, I received a note letting me know my video will be looked at and approved over the next few weeks. Few weeks?!? I don't know if I can bare to wait that long. But, once my video is up, you all will know, so you can start voting for me...despite how dorky I am in the video! You know you all want to read my blogs from the Great Barrier Reef!

When Sickness Strikes

Yesterday I was working, minding my own business and I got sick. It started out me just not feeling well. Before I knew it, it was full blown pain, with me in a ball on the floor at work (which I am pretty sure freaked my coworker out). And me, being the person that I am, finished the day out. In my defense, I had like an hour left and it would have taken that long to find someone to cover for me. Then, after work, I decided to take the bus home, since it was right there. I spent the entire bus ride hunched up in a ball. I did use my brain enough to call and meet me at the bus stop by our house. When I got up to get off the bus, I could barely walk. Seriously, everyone was staring...I am pretty sure they all thought I was drunk. But, I made it off the bus and into Ian's arms, before deciding that I needed to lay on the sidewalk.

After making it home, I thought I could battle out the pain on my own. This turned out to not be true. So, Ian called NHS (National Health Insurance) to get their advice. They were able to book me an appointment with a doctor at the hospital. I didn't even know this option existed! So, we phoned a taxi (I wasn't going to do the bus thing again!) and went to the hospital. At the hospital, I was able to see a doctor within five minutes. I didn't even have to fill out any paperwork, show ID, or anything! The doctor was nice, though she probably thought I was a crazy person, given the fact that I was rocking myself on the floor and throwing up (or perhaps just a semi-crazy person in pain!). Anyway, after a couple quick tests, two shots and two prescriptions later, I was sent on my way. At this point in the story, I would like to point out that I didn't have to pay anything for the hospital visit, shots or the prescription. I did have to pay for the round trip taxi fare (28 GBP), but I am pretty sure that is less than most people's copay in the states!

After my hospital visit, I thought I would wake up this morning, symptom free. That did not happen. After an agonizing day in bed, Ian called our doctor and she got me in within 45 minutes! Ian walked me over to the doctor, which is about a block away. She determined that I had a kidney infection that got out of control. How it got out of control, I don't know? It's not like I spent days in pain, just hours. Anyway, she added another drug to the mix and said I should be feeling better within 48 hours. Here's to hoping!

I would like to point out that all together I spent 28 pounds on a taxi and 5 pounds on a prescription, bringing my grand total to 33 pounds! AND, never will I see a bill in the mail for the portion that my insurance company didn't pay! Even though I don't always see eye to eye with the NHS, I would have to say it was a winner in this situation.

What's the first name of your first child?

SAY WHAT?!? I didn't even know I had a first kid!

So, I go online to do some banking today and the following security question pops up:

What's the first name of your first child?

Being the person that I am, I actually tried to guess the answer to it. After a couple tries, I gave up and called the husband. The question threw him for a loop too. After a little bit of troubleshooting, it turns out I was trying to log onto someone else's account. I was relieved. I was seriously afraid I had a first child floating around out there that I didn't even know about!

Kind of Cool


So I was playing around online today and came across a picture of Pink and low and behold, she is wearing the same shirt I have! Now, I don't feel that I need to dress like a celebrity, or even be anything like a celebrity, but I thought it was cool that she felt like she wanted to be like me and went out and bought the same shirt as me! What do they say, imitation is the best form of flattery? Thanks Pink!

Appreciating the Parents

I came across this article yesterday, Your children will appreciate you (when they've reached 22), and I thought it had a lot of truth and insight to the parent/child relationship. Basically, what the article is getting to is it takes leaving the home and experiencing real life before you start appreciating what your parents have done for you. Of course, the article says it takes having a child or reaching the age of 27 for women, 29 for men, before you actually start respecting your parents, but at least the appreciation comes on before that! This got me thinking...

When I was a teenager, I wasn't very nice to my parents. I didn't see them as trying to protect me, but more as trying to stifle my social life! And, looking back at it now, it wasn't even a big deal. But we all KNOW now that the things that matter at 16, don't really matter in real life! Anyway, fast forward a couple years...I can't tell you the exact time I started to appreciate my parents, but I would say it happened before I was 22. When I was 22, I got married and that forever changed my relationship with my parents, for the better. I no longer felt they had to be my parents and they were all the sudden my friends. And I truly love and value my parents wholly. They are so great and I can be 100% honest with them, which makes the relationship work so well.

Anyway, all that to say, I think this is a good, and true, article; worth taking five minutes of your time to skim. Even though part of it applies to me, not all of it does. Marriage really was the key to the next step in my relationship with my parents...I love those two!

SNOW!

It snowed today! I was very excited. I know you can't tell from the pictures, but it was snowing hard core for a couple hours. I threatened to make snow angels right outside my work. My coworkers really wanted me to, but they pretty much encourage me to do anything stupid, so I decided not to! Even without the snow angels, the snow was beautiful and exciting.

Sunday Morning


I learned something new about Edinburgh yesterday, just by getting out of my bed early. I got up to restart the dryer (yes, you don't really need to know this, and yes, I am a dork for setting my alarm to restart it) but then couldn't go back to sleep. After an hour of playing around in the house, I woke Ian up with a cup of coffee and told him we were going to go get breakfast. We left our house at about 8am to head to one of our favorite coffee/breakfast places. When we got there, it was closed. So we decided to go somewhere else, which was also closed. We spent an hour wandering around the city from restaurant to restaurant, in the FREEZING cold nonetheless, before our original choice opened at 9am. Ian and I both found it greatly ridiculous that we couldn't find a single restaurant or coffee shop that opens before 9am on a Sunday!

Now fast forward to later in the day. I am at work and telling my story to my coworkers. And, how do they respond? One says, "Why would you EVER be up that early on a Sunday?!?" Sometimes I am totally baffled by the "hours of operation" of businesses around Edinburgh. Everything closes early and even food places don't open early. All I can say is next time I decide to get out of bed unusually early on a Sunday, I will make breakfast in my own kitchen...lessen learned!

Seriously.

I went to the store tonight on my way home to pick up some essentials. You know, OJ, laundry detergent and beer (okay, so maybe this one wasn't so much of an essential, but Ian wanted it). I get to the checkout counter and the lady carded me! The legal drinking age here is 18, do I really look that young?!? Then, I hand her my drivers license and she sarcastically says, "So, you're from California" in a way that she totally thought my id was fake! Come on lady...I am obviously over 18 and DEFINITELY not from here. Oh the joys of life!

I Smell Poo* and Other Random Musings About My Day

I had such a good, yet random day, so I thought I would share some of the highlights with you:

1. I woke up at 2:30am and was never able to get back to sleep. This wasn't a huge deal since I had to get up at 4:30am for work anyway.

2. This regular at my store that I talk to all the time knows one of my good friends in LA (hi Katie). What a small world is it when you meet someone in Scotland who knows your friend in California? Loves it!

3. A certain Scottish celebrity noticed my hair and made a comment about it. I thought that was cool. Of course, he also made fun of his in-laws this morning too! (My thinking his in-law jokes were funny has nothing to do with my feelings for my own in-laws...)

4. There is this man that keeps coming into my store and peeing all over the bathroom. We told him today that if he can't keep it in the toilet, he isn't welcome in our store. On a side note, he never buys anything from us, just uses our toilet. Any of you ever been kicked out of a store for such?

5. I learned that I have more self control than I thought. This guy at my work dumped coffee grinds in our dishwasher (yes, on purpose; no, he didn't think it would break it) breaking it. I got to spend three hours washing it out before it finally started working again. This greatly tried my patience, but I was able to keep my cool.

6. I took a four and a half hour nap today, so will probably never go to bed tonight!

I now realize after putting my day down in words, it shouldn't have been that great of one. But I was seriously in such a good mood today and really having fun at work, so that helped. Now the poo smell, that could really ruin many a days ahead if we don't get it fixed!


* About the poo smell, one whole floor of my store smells like it and we don't know why. I called it in to maintenance today, actually letting them know the problem was "the smell of poo". They let me know they would send someone out to investigate!

My Hair


While I was at home, I parted ways with a good foot of my hair. And, for those of you that care to know, I donated the hair. I must admit, donating my hair wasn't my first thought, but I felt guilty and decided to donate it after someone (oh, you know who you are!) brought it up. But back to my hair.

The haircut has received mostly rave reviews, but some people haven't hid their true feeling about the hair very well. When my mom first saw it, she gave me the most awful look. She has tried to deny it, but I have Chandra as my witness on that one! Anyway, today I had a funny encounter about my hair with a regular customer at my store. This family lives right behind my store and drops in a couple times a day.

Regular Customer (RC): OMG, look at your hair! It looks so great!
Me: Thanks!
Regular Customer's 5-year-old Daughter (RCD): I liked your hair better before.
Me: Ummm, thanks RCD for telling me like it is.
RC: RCD, that's not a nice thing to say. Women like complements.
RCD: But I'm being honest, I did like it better before.

Oh kids, they certainly don't do a good job of hiding their true feelings! And about my haircut, I love it, and isn't that the only opinion that really matters?!?

Toilets


So I came across this toilet in the Chicago airport that has an automatic toilet seat cover on it. You wave your hand in front of a censor and voilĂ , a new seat cover moves on. Now, this may be my influence from being in the UK for too long, but is this really necessary? Honestly people, if you want to save some trees (well, not in the case of the automatic seat cover, since it is plastic, but you get my drift) and get a work out at the same time, squat and stop using toilet seat covers! In the UK, toilet seat covers are unheard of. But, I also must admit, their public restrooms always seem clean and we all know this is not the case in the states. But still, is it necessary to always use a toilet seat cover? What exactly is it protecting you from? Think about it…when the seat is wet from what someone else left behind, it soaks through your seat cover and the germs are all over then anyway. And, at the end of doing your business, you have to touch the seat cover to get it in the toilet. Then, with the germs on your hands, you grab your purse and leave to wash your hands. Squatting is much easier and much more germ free. But, back to the automatic seat covers. My question is, how do you know you are getting a clean one? What if the little machine just recycles through used ones? What happens when the machine runs out? Oh so many questions for just one little invention.

I would love to hear other peoples take on this. Are you a toilet seat cover user or not? And if so, do you really think it protects you?

Friends


I feel so loved. That really is the summary of my trip home. Reconnecting with so many friends has really been great. I wish I could pack all of you up and take you home with me. Each one of you is special for such different reasons. I have people to be sarcastic with, shop with, chat with; people that challenge me, help me grow and give me someone to lean on. It is so nice to walk into old situations and feel like nothing has changed. To sit down for coffee with friends, and feel no weirdness and just be able to talk. Even though so much has changed, so little has changed at the same time. Sometimes I imagine what life would be like if I was still in LA, but I realize I can’t go there. My life has changed in ways I could never have believed and I have friends that have weathered the changes with me.

Chandra – You are the longest friendship I have and we have watched each other change. I am always amazed about how we have never let anything come in between our friendship. Every time I see you, it feels like I have just seen you the day before. You always let me talk and don’t judge me (at least not to my face) no matter what I say.

Katie
– You have really become a special friend to me. When I think about you, I smile. You and I have watched each other walk through some not very fun days, yet somehow talking to you about it always makes things better. You really are the reason I was so on board with the move to Scotland. You give me perspective in life, and that is important.

Kelly – You constantly amaze me. You stretch me in ways no one else can. You help me challenge my own views, which every person needs to do from time to time. Anytime I am with you, I feel like I never left. I always feel comfortable with you and feel safe that everything we talk about will stay between us.

Lisa – Having a friend I both admire and can have fun with is a blessing. I can sit around and laugh with you, talk about the bum on the building across from your office (which, is he still there?) or talk about real life stuff. You always encourage me to move forward in life with a smile on my face.

Laurie – Having a friend that I can laugh histarically with, then pray with is the best. Who else would feed me popsicles and pickles, let me laugh when their kid is in trouble and still talk to me at the end of the day?!?

I feel like I could keep going down the list. There are so many of you that have helped make me what I am and help me enjoy life every day. I am thankful to each one of you. Reconnecting this trip with some friends I hadn’t seen in years was great. I truly feel like a lucky person to have met and connected with such great people in my life.

The Grass is ALWAYS Greener


What is it that makes people think the grass is always greener on the other side? It seems like people think it is "fabulous" to live in Scotland. I am not saying that I don't like my life there because I do, but it is life there just like anywhere else. I still have to clean my bathroom, work and do dishes just like the rest of you!

It doesn't matter where we live, or what we do, everyone seems to think someone has a better, more fabulous life than them. It's as if there is something in us (possibly doubt), that causes us to think our life isn't fulfilling. The problem is, by living this way, we aren't enjoying life as it currently is. We are constantly thinking about how our life would be better "if". I think it's time to change not only my perspective, but help others around me to realize, the time is now. Now is the time to live life...enjoy the radio during traffic by being thankful for a car, enjoy those hard days at work by being thankful for having a job.

Perspective is really what it's all about. And, the power is in your hands. If something in life is making you miserable, DO SOMETHING about it! What's the point in sitting around and complaining when you can actually change your life and fix the problem? Of course, that is assuming you don't like complaining. So here is me, standing up (well, really curled up in a chair) saying...The grass really is greener on MY SIDE!

The New Year


I'm not the type of person to make new year's resolutions. What's the point of trying to change yourself once a year when you should be working on yourself all the time? Though I don't believe in new year's resolutions, I do believe in new beginnings. I also believe in setting myself up for a really good year. Even though I don't predict anything too crazy happening in my life this year, I do have some things I would like to accomplish...

1. Travel - Amsterdam, Disneyland Paris, northern Germany, a European snowboarding trip, New Zealand and Australia. I don't know if there will be time in the year to hit up all those places, but hopefully the list gets checked down a bit.
2. Visits - I am also hoping to have some friends come visit. I know the economy sucks right now, but it is the only time you can have free housing in Edinburgh (even if I do make you clean while you are there...ha, ha!), so think about it, okay?
3. Photography - I got a great new camera for Christmas and a fun new lens, so it is time to learn everything about them and use them.
4. Sleep - My sleeping patters have gotten all messed up working at the 'bucks and it is time that I find some sort of regularity in there and make sure to consistently get good nights sleep. Lets face it, I am not getting any younger here!

See, like I said, nothing too crazy. Though, I am thinking I should make one resolution about being less sarcastic, but there is always 2010 for that one!
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