Tuesday, August 31, 2004

My Sharona
Bitty Schram is leaving Monk. I don't quite know what the show will be without her, it certainly won't be the same. What's worse is it seems that she won't get closure, the article says she just won't be in the new episodes in January. Naturally I'll still watch, unless I can't take the change. Maybe I should write Tony a letter.

Monday, August 30, 2004

A Fun Link
Strindberg & Helium.I recommend In Absinthe & Women. I got this link from Geoff.
Is It November Yet?
I'm so tired of election ads and election talk, and I just want it to be done. I don't need to tell you who I'm supporting, and should it go the other way, you better believe I'll be praying for the President to be making good decisions. I don't have to like him, but I can pray for the decisions he'll make.

I was very impressed to have Canada excel past the medal goal I set for them. I figured we'd get 10, and we got 12. Not a bad year, and medals in events we've never had before.

Not much else is going on. I had a weird dream that T.D. Baker had a anniversary to celebrate how many years it had been opened, and they wanted the first graduating class there. Everyone looked the same, like no time had passed, and I mostly hung out with my friend Candy. I told you it was weird.

Heather booked her trip and she'll be here in 12 days! Whee! October brings a visit from the Armstrongs, and November brings Rod. And then it's practically Christmas. I actually listened to a Christmas song last week. :) I was in the mood for it. I'd say I'm out of control, but I have no Christmas shopping done yet, so I'm okay.

Tomorrow is the Scrubs season premiere. Yeah! I'm leery about the 8 episode guest appearance of Heather Graham, but we'll see how it goes. I don't know if I'll adopt any new shows, I usually end up getting my heart broken. I may tune into Joey, it did get some good early buzz, which I was surprised by.

We're having Brad, Fiona and Robin over for a BBQ on Saturday, but other than that, no plans for Labor Day.

I guess I'll close with quote from Mallrats.

Shannon Hamilton: I have no respect for people with no shopping agenda.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Harsh Realm Comes To DVD
I guess those letters I sent to Fox made a difference. I'm sure other people sent in letters too. This was a great show by Chris Carter and I'm so glad it's being released. Now if we could get them to release Titus or The Lone Gunmen.... :)

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A Golden Day For Canada
We won a gold medal in gymnastics, which we've never done before. And the guy is from Calgary! Way to go Canada!
Numfar, Do The Dance Of Joy!

Heather is coming to visit! I'll have someone to keep me company while Geoff goes to Breakenridge in September. I'm very excited. I just had to post that. :)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

You Can't Be Serious
I have to start off by saying how dumb I think the summer olympics are. No offense to those athletes competing, but who the heck decided that trampoline is an event? Seriously people, I thought the olympics were suppose to be about skill and strength. I'm happy that Canada was able to get a silver medal in this event, but at the same time, I'm embarrassed. Since I'm on the topic of events that are dumb, I don't think ping pong, soccer, baseball, softball or basketball have a place at the olympics. As much as I love bridge, I hope it doesn't become an event. I just think you can see soccer, baseball, softball and basketball any other time, so what's the point of having it an event at the olympics. I should point out that at this point Canada has also won a silver medal in rowing (which I approve of), and a bronze medal for syncronized diving (which is at least better than trampoline).

Enough of the olympics, new topic. I'm nearly done with my week of living single. I hate this. I'd like to say I accomplished a lot on my own, but I didn't. I watched way too much tv, had long naps with my cat, but at least I did make myself get dressed every day. I made sure to get out and interact with other people. I spent a lot of time online looking at flights for places I want to go. For all the complaining I did this year about traveling too much, I have a lot of traveling planned for next year. We want to take the baby up to Edmonton to meet my grandparents and our friends. And of course we want to take the baby to California to see our friends out there. I think a trip to Ontario to meet Grandma Joyce may have to wait until either later in 2005, or perhaps spring 2006. Sigh. Crazy! But such is life when you live nowhere near your family. :)

I'm annoyed at the fact that we haven't gotten any mail for like the last 3 days in a row. But I guess that means no bills. I am in a Christmas craft kind of mood. I went to Hobby Lobby this week to see what kinds of crafts they have available. I decided to make my own Christmas crackers, so I'm gonna start collecting what I need to make those. I'm keeping my eyes open for fun toys to put in, I already found some corny jokes, and I can get some tissue paper to make the crowns. I just have to check the store to see if they sell the poppers for the crackers. It's not the same if they don't make the noise. :)

Sci Fi Channel is putting out an Earthsea movie, based on the Earthsea trilogy by Ursula K. Le Guin. I read it as a child, and Diane is buying me the series, so it's neat to think that I can see some director's idea of it in December. I am keeping my expectations low, because in general books aren't always adapted well into movies. Particularly fantasy books. It will apparently only cover the first two books, but if it's successful they will consider doing the last book. One of the comments I read online was someone's disappointment that Ged was going to be played by a blond headed actor (from Canada btw, as is the female lead). In the books, the people of Gont are dark skinned. Really, getting the actors to look just as they are written isn't as important to me as getting the essence of the story captured right. Anyways, go out and read the books. I'll be sure to let you know how the movie is when it comes out in December.

I guess I'll sign off now. I'm closing with a quote from Toy Story.

Woody : Look, we're all very impressed with Andy's new toy.
Buzz : Toy?
Woody : T-O-Y, toy.
Buzz : Excuse me, I think the word you're searching for is "space ranger".
Woody : The word I'm searching for, I can't say, because there's preschool toys present.

Friday, August 20, 2004

To Make You Smile

Monday, August 16, 2004

This 'N That

Touching Evil has been cancelled. I'm totally bummed, and mad that I never taped the show, so I can't even have my reruns. I don't really know what USA was thinking, but apparently it feels that airing constant repeats of Law & Order and Walker Texas Ranger are good programming. If they didn't have Monk, I'd toss them like I did the WB. Bruce Willis is allegedly talking to FX about picking up the show, but I'll count on that like me winning the lottery without a ticket. I won't even bother getting excited about a possible DVD, that won't happen. I'm gonna sulk for a few days, then I'll try to move on. It was just getting better with each episode.

I've tried to tune into the olympics, but they don't really show the events of interest to me. I mean I could watch volleyball, or basketball anytime. I really only like the track, the swimming, and the men's gymnastics. Give me sports that require real strength. I mean come on, can you do a routine on the pommel horse?

Geoff is in Irvine, and I'm very bored. I just don't feel much like watching movies, weird I know. I did order some 5x7 photos from our Scotland trip, so I may take a trip up to the scrapbook store tomorrow to get some supplies.

I know there has been some concern for my health while Geoff is away, but I assure you all I am eating 3 meals a day. I am drinking my milk, eating my greens, and taking my vitamins. So please stop worrying about me. :)

So... Denver has bats. Yup, we saw some last week when we went out for ice cream. Now I don't want to walk along the creek after dusk. I get that they are God's creatures, and that they probably don't want to do me harm. But I'd really rather that they stayed up in the air and not swoop. I just don't want to have them come within a set distance of me. Irrational? Maybe, but I don't like bats.

I don't remember if I mentioned it, but I got an email about our 10 year high school reunion. Geoff says he'd rather have shards of glass shoved under his fingernails than go. I am keen on going, pending that people I like will be there. It won't happen unless it happens to coincide with our visit to Edmonton next spring/summer. But there are people I'd like to see. Who? Um, I dunno. Maybe Melinda. Haven't spoken to her since we got engaged. But Jason & James for sure. actually if they combined the 1994 class with the 1995 class that would be awesome. I had such fun catching up with everyone at Doug's wedding.

I guess I'll sign off. I'll close with a quote from Touching Evil in remembrance.

David Creegan: I was clinically insane for a while there, but I'm alright now, near enough. Hey, can I have your goldfish?
Susan Branca: What do you mean "near enough"?
David Creegan: I lost a big chunk of my brain, the doctors say, "Hey, weird." These aren't goldfish, they're whales.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Wednesday, July 28

Having packed the night before, all we have to do is eat breakfast and brush our teeth. We have our last breakfast at the City Inn, and eat out on the terrace by the river. It’s another beautiful day, and it’s hard to believe that we’ll be home that night. We finish our meal, and head upstairs to do one final look over the room. Heading back to the lobby with all our suitcases, we ask the front desk to call us a taxi. The cab has no trunk, the back of the cab is huge and that’s where the luggage goes. It sits in an open space in front of the backseat. Our driver’s name is Marilyn, and when she’s not driving a cab, she’s a teacher in Busby. We mentioned that Grandpa Jim is from Busby, and that’s when she tells us she’s a teacher there. She asks if we made it out there, and we tell her no. She says it’s a lovely town, not at all like Glasgow. She fills the ride to the airport with suggestions of what to do on our next trip. She spent a few years living in Ontario, but she didn’t really like it. We get to the Glasgow airport, which is fairly small, but well laid out, and has plenty to offer. There are no problems, and we make our way to the gate. Along the way to the gate, we pass a play area they have set up for kids. Why doesn’t every airport have that? There are no problems boarding the plane, and it’s a nice flight overseas. They show Starsky & Hutch, which was pretty funny, and I think I am able to have a short nap. Once we arrive in Toronto, we go through customs and I’m a little confused about filling out the declaration form. Since none of our souvenirs are staying in Canada, I’m confused if they will or won’t charge us for them. This all stems from my beef with Fed-Ex & Canada wanting to charge me for the Christmas gifts I sent. Anyways, they are no problems, aside from me feeling completely ill. I feel nauseated and light headed. Once we get to our gate, Geoff checks his watch to see how long it’s taken to get from one plane to the next. Gosh darn if it isn’t 1 hour. There is a restaurant beside our gate, and we decide at 4 we’ll go get some food. We read our books until then. Our plane isn’t due to leave until 5. I have a salad for dinner, and Geoff orders a sandwich. We then return to our seats and wait to be boarded. Before they start to board us they inform us their computers are down, so they will have to check us in by hand. It will slow the process. Also, the pilots are a little delayed, they are coming from a flight from L.A. and have to go through customs. We finally get to board, and the plane is packed. There are other passengers who met the same fate we did on our way to the UK, so we are able to share stories. After sitting on the plane for a while, it’s starting to get very warm and stuffy. We’re all starting to sweat, and get a little thirsty. We finally get an update on the pilots, they are detained in customs, but they’ll get here soon. People are starting to ask if they can work on getting the air turned on. More time passes, the next announcement is the pilots have been permanently detained at customs. They will call for replacement pilots. At this point I ask, what the heck did they buy in L.A. that got them permanently detained in customs? I laugh and say to Geoff, “at least they aren’t asking us to get off the plane”. The crew tells us they will start the beverage service shortly. 10 minutes later, we are asked to get off the plane. Frustrated we de-plane. Some passengers aren’t taking it very well. The desk is empty of anyone, and the phone is ringing frequently. I’m annoyed because we have no information, and no one is willing to stand there and get yelled at. I can be sympathetic to it to some degree. Who wants to stand at the desk saying I don’t know what’s going on, while angry passengers are in their face. But the phone is ringing and no one is there to answer it. I go off to buy a snack with what’s left of my Canadian money. We’re now delayed enough that I think I should call the Mary and ask her to stop in and feed Honey. I realize I don’t have her number, and I’ll need to track it down online. So I call my mom, since she has a computer and she can look it up. Also, talking to her will help pass the time. But she’s not home. I try Colin & Dawn, they also are not home. Glen & Diane are in Victoria, so I have to accept that we’ll just have a hungry cat when we get home. I know we’re going to make it home, it’s not like the last time in Toronto where we’ll be trapped. We will get home. Eventually someone comes to the desk and starts answering the phone. People flock the desk trying to find out what’s going on, and one group of 3 is demanding their luggage be removed from the aircraft, they don’t want to continue with the flight. They are bordering on belligerent, I’m sitting 3 rows away and I can hear them from where I am. They are told their luggage won’t be removed until they figure out what’s going on with the flight. We are told the replacement pilots are on their way. More time passes and I see what looks like two pilots walk towards us. I turn in my chair and sit on my knees with a hopeful look upon my face. The pilot smiles at me and gives a small nod saying, Yes, it’s us. We erupt into cheers and applause. Geoff remarks that they probably don’t get that kind of response often. They are ready to board us again, and they continue to do random searches. Geoff gets picked. I tell him I’m going back to my seat, rather than wait for him. We all file back in, and we all hope this time it’s for good. We’re all very thankful the air conditioning is on. Once we’re all seated, we’re informed there will be a small delay as the luggage is removed form the 3 passengers who chose not to continue their flight. There is grumbling. Geoff sitting by the window, points out they are just now fueling the plane up. I’m wondering why the heck wouldn’t they do that for the last few hours while we were in the boarding area. Geoff points out that I should be glad the pilots are doing their pre-flight checklist. The flight crew alerts all of us that drinks are on Air Canada to compensate for the delay. Well, goody for those who drink, but where’s my compensation? I want free snacks. Geoff takes advantage of free Canadian beer, so it looks like I’ll be driving home. I try to get some sleep so I’ll be able to drive once we get to Denver. By the time we depart from the airport, we’ve been delayed 3 hours. Once we’re in flight, the pilots inform us why we were so delayed. He says I don’t know what you heard but here’s what happened. They are our original pilots, they came from a flight from L.A. and went through customs. At that point they found out the computers were down, so, not having access to the flight plans, they went to hang out in the lounge. They said they assumed the plane wouldn’t be boarded if the pilots weren’t there and they had no access to the flight plans. So they were in the lounge the whole time! I am not able to sleep too much on the plane, and I worry about the drive home. Once we land in Denver, Geoff offers to drive home. He figures he’ll be okay, it’s been hours since he had his beer, and I’m tired, and I hate to drive at night. We head home and I have to keep talking to keep myself and Geoff awake. We talk about the trip, what was our favorite parts. We arrive home to a very hungry cat. She is crying and she devours her food. We brush our teeth, and head to bed. Collapsing into bed, we try to fall asleep. Honey won’t stop crying. Geoff gets up and gives her a little more food, thinking this will solve the problem. No such luck, she’s still crying. I tell her I’m very tired, mommy needs to sleep because I have to get up in 6 hours and go to work. I go into the hallway and pick her up. I bring her back to bed and place her beside me and stroke her until she’s purring. That did it, poor kitty missed her mommy and daddy. She was lonely. We all go to sleep. It takes a few days before I’m all caught up on sleep.

So lessons, learned are…
1. Don’t fly Air Canada
2. Don’t fly through Toronto
3. Pubs don’t necessarily serve food, so don’t count it as a means of a meal
4. You need to have a lot of money if you are going to travel to the UK
5. You need to have a sense of humor for traveling

Friday, August 13, 2004

Heffron Won?
John Heffron won on Last Comic Standing. To say I was surprised was an understatement. I love Heffron, but I really thought that Alonzo was going to take it. Heffron did a bit on Christmas wrapping paper rolls, and the things kids do with them, and it was a riot. Because I did that with Colin. He's a funny guy, I was just surprised. I do think Alonzo will find success, most of the comics will, they got so much air time. I didn't watch it, I tried to flip to it in the last minutes, but it was over. I read about it online. I did watch the finale for Joe Schmo 2, and that was hilarious.

Celebrity Poker Showdown championship game. I picked Dave Navarro to win, and he came in 2nd. But it was a very funny episode. So glad Jeff gordon did not win. A new tournament will kick off in the fall, and Dave Foley will be back as host.

We bought a new phone, a cordless one, as we need to get the phone out of the spare room/nursery. And the device that will allow us to use our cable line as the phone line. So Geoff is giddy to have gadgets/toys to set up before he goes on his trip. We only use the phone to call Canada, we use our cells to call our pals in California. The UPS guy has been here two days in a row bringing us the packages. I like my UPS guy, he's very friendly. (I hate Fed-Ex, don't use them!) He told me he loves delivering to us because I'm always home. We try to plan our packages that way, so that someone is home. I gave him a cookie since I just pulled them out of the oven.

Yay, I baked chocolate chip cookies today, in honor of the passing of Julia Child. They turned out okay. They'll turn out better next time. But I wanted Geoff to have a snack for his trip.

Geoff posted on the baby blog about his feelings about becoming a dad.

I'm gonna close with a quote from Hiding Out.

Andrew Morenski: Do you ever ask yourself "How did I get here?"
Patrick Morenski: Yeah, I used to, but now I just ask myself "How do I get out?"

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cracks Me Up!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Summer's Nearly Over
I can hardly believe that it's August, and that we have only a few weeks left of summer. I don't feel like I did much this summer, but it's been so hot, that I don't really care. My grandparents spend the summer out at the lake, but they are now home. The farm doesn't harvest itself. But it sounds like they had a blast. I encouraged Grandma by telling her we are planning on a visit to Edmonton next summer. Which seems forever away.

Jeff is working on developing a position at the museum for me. It will be very, very few hours, so I may supplement it with another job. I'm so picky about what I want to work, but I think there is something out there for me.

I've been busy reading, and watching tv. Tonight is the finale for Joe Schmo 2, and Last Comic Standing. Who do I think will win LCS? Alonzo. He's consistently funny. Which will I watch since they both air at the same time? Probably a little of both. Or maybe neither. We have 2 DVDs from the library to tackle before Geoff leaves on Saturday. Speaking of...Mona Lisa Smile was alright. When I told Geoff it was like Dead Poet's Society for chicks, he said "and Dead Poet's Society wasn't for chicks?" :) Fair enough.

The coolest thing I got out of the library, that I've been waiting for months to come in Like Omigod! A 7 disc 80's mix. (big grin) Geoff rolled his eyes. It has some really classic stuff on it.

Ben Affleck was on Bill O'Reilly the other night. And I just love Ben. Even being a supporter of Kerry, he had intelligent things to say, and never resorted to mudslinging, as other celebrities are prone to do. So happy he dumped Jennifer Lopez. He deserved someone who takes marriage seriously.

I guess that's all I have to say. I will post the last day of our trip in the next day or so. It's a funny story, so please be patient.

I'll close with a quote from Dead Poet's Society.
John Keating: Phone call from God... Now if it had been collect, it would have been daring!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Tuesday, July 27

Our last day in Glasgow. :( We have decided against a trip up to Loch Lomond, The bus/train ride would take up the whole day, and there are a few last things I wanted to see in Glasgow. Had we not lost Friday, we would have had time.

We decided to break out of our box and have breakfast someplace that offers a little more Scottish. We had picked out a place on our way back to the hotel the day before, and arrive there at 9:10am. Only to find it doesn’t open until 10! Hungry we continue down Sauchiehall Street and find a cute family bakery (Bradford’s) that boasts a restaurant upstairs. By the yummy sugar donuts in the window, I’m sold and we go in. Bradford’s is small and quaint. The menu offers a lot but I settle on a cup of tea and a fresh sugar donut. Geoff orders the simple breakfast, which is porridge, croissant, juice and tea. We have the whole place to ourselves, and our server has the cutest accent. She’s an older lady, but give anyone a Scottish accent, they become cute. Leaving the store, we drool over all the pastries. There are some beautiful wedding cakes, but the thing that sticks out is the pancakes in the front window. How fresh are those pancakes? Does seeing pancakes in the front window make you think, “Mmm, I could sure go for some flapjacks”?

We hoof it up to the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Art, which is the farthest we’ve walked. It’s quite a distance from where we’ve been spending most of our days. I really wanted to see it, as it sounded intriguing. It’s in a part of town called Cathedral Square. This is where I tell you I can’t show you how beautiful it is, because I forgot the camera at the hotel. When I realized I had left it behind, I decided not to turn around. I was feeling cranky, I wanted breakfast. My apologies. The first thing we see is the museum, with the Glasgow Cathedral in the background. Across from St. Mungo’s is Glasgow’s oldest house. We admired it briefly, before we enter the museum. It’s housed in a very old stone building. The first floor contains art, representing a variety of religious beliefs. The highlight is clearly the Salvador Dali painting called Christ of St. John of the Cross. You can’t help feeling drawn it. It was vandalized a few years ago, and it has been repaired, but you can see where it’s been damaged. Almost like there is someone protecting the painting, the portion of the painting which features Jesus Christ has not been touched. It isn’t the only artifact that has been damaged, there is a statue of Vishnu that is now incased in glass. I did read something about on the pieces of art that made me say (A little too loudly) “who the heck believes that?” It claimed it was a common Christian belief, and I realized maybe they are talking about something Catholics hold true. But I certainly do not. Geoff kindly tells me to keep those comments to myself, this is not the place to argue religion. I am resigned to think that people are not coming here to get their facts on Christianity, it’s just to appreciated art. We proceed to the next floor, which features items that are used in different religions. For example, they have canopic jars (Egypt), a menorah (Judaism), as well as photos of customs and celebrations. Most of the windows on both floors are stained glass featuring Christian and Catholic saints. The Third floor offers a fabulous view of Necropolis, a beautiful cemetery. We don’t venture out there, but it’s wonderful to admire from the third floor. The third floor also offers pictures of Glasgwegians celebrating different holidays. Naturally there is a St. Mungo’s Day. I’ll get to who St. Mungo is once we get over to the Glasgow Cathedral, which is our next stop. Before we leave we stop in the gift shop, and Geoff buys a small copy of the Dali painting we were smitten with.

Glasgow Cathedral. This is the oldest building I think I’ve ever been inside. It’s a pre-Reformation cathedral, which I think means it was completed before the 16th century. There will be a concert that night, so there is someone practicing on the pipe organ. It really adds to the atmosphere. I don’t know if you can describe the solemnity of the building, and it’s old beauty. The walls are covered in engravings of soldiers and priests who have passed on. All the windows are stained glass of biblical characters. It gives off a feeling of peace. On the floor below, there is the tomb of St. Mungo. St. Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow. The Glasgow coat of arms features a tree, a bell, 2 fish and a bird. These represent miracles St. Mungo performed. The town’s motto, Let Glasgow Flourish comes from a sermon he preached in which he said “Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the word”. The cathedral has yet another lower floor which houses a lower church, and a Blackadder aisle. You can see pictures at glasgowcathedral.org.uk.

We’ve completed looking around the cathedral so decide to head back towards Merchant City to find a place to eat lunch. We nearly went to the Willow Tea Room, but it was packed and we didn’t want to wait. We settle on a small café. The food isn’t as good, I again have a cheese sandwich, which isn’t as good as the Willow Tea Room. Geoff has an egg salad sandwich that he enjoys, and then finishes off my sandwich. We go souvenir shopping, then decide to take a ride on The Pride O’ The Clyde. It’s a perfect day to take a trip down the Clyde, and I can’t help but sing in my head Song Of The Clyde by Kenneth McKellar. We sit on the top deck and get a history of the Clyde river, and the buildings we pass. We pass by our hotel, and he points it out as being one of the newer hotels in Glasgow. The trip takes 30 minutes, and deposits us in Braehead. There is huge mall there and what looks like a very small version of Klondike Days. It has a version of the rainbow ride, and the thought of carnies with cute Scottish accents is humorous to me. We have an hour to kill before we can catch the next boat back, so w check out the mall. It’s a pretty decent sized mall, over a hundred stores, and even some fast food places we recognize. A few blocks away is an IKEA, which annoys us because Braehead has one, and Colorado does not. Inside the mall, we treat ourselves to Baskin Robbins, then we take a look around Marks & Spencer. Geoff affectionately calls this place Marks & Sparks, and assures me Grandma Bessie used to love this store. It’s a cute department store, and we make our way into the grocery section. I want to get some munchies, ideally for the plane ride home, or for that evening. I settle on a 2 pack bag of cheesy popcorn for £1, and Geoff treats himself to a bottle of Marks & Sparks marmalade. We head back to wait for the boat, and just sit on a bench watching the water float by. Once the boat arrives, we decide to sit downstairs at a table, and I have to talk Geoff out of having tea. He’s out of control! He points out a group of restaurants just across the river and down a ways from the City Inn he wants to try to check out for dinner. After departing the boat, we walk along the bike path beside the Clyde to our hotel. It seems a faster walk than we have been taking. Upon returning to the room, I settle in for a short nap before dinner, and Geoff watches some television. An hour later, I’m awake and we take off to look for food. The walk is a little farther than Geoff anticipated, but it isn’t unbearable. There are 3 restaurants, and we settle on the third. It offers something that we both can agree upon. Brewers Fayre is a little like Chili’s if Chili’s served British food. Geoff enthusiastically orders steak and kidney pie, and I choose the summer platter. It has chicken strips, corn on the cob, chicken wings, salad, and fries (of course I get a side of gravy). This is hands down my favorite meal on the whole trip. Geoff loves his meal, and laments missing his mom’s cooking. Our table looks out over the Clyde, and I say aloud how much I’m going to miss looking at this river. It isn’t much different than the North Saskatchewan, except it’s deeper, and it leads to the ocean. I’m completely stuffed, but Geoff has room for dessert. I watch as he eats this toffee & ice cream concoction, which he swears is fabulous. We finish our meal, sad that we took so long to find such a place. We go back to the hotel and watch some tv. Tomorrow we head back home.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Baby Blog
We started a baby blog for our new addition. I figured for those who want all those details, they can go there. Then my blog can still be about me. The baby blog is at babyarmstrong.blogspot.com There is also a link to it from this page.

Celebrity Poker Showdown. How thrilled was I to catch a rerun of last week's episode and see Bobby Flay go out first! Ha Ha! I really don't like Bobby Flay (or as we call him Knobby Flay). Tonight's episode, I'm rooting for Hank Azaria.

Last Comic Standing. Tonight, we'll find out who advances to the final 3. Tuesday night, I used up my 3 votes on Jay London, Alonzo Bodden, and Gary Gulman. I really like John Heffon, so it was tough to choose between him and Gary, but I enjoyed Gary's set better that night. I just really, really, don't want Tammy to advance.

Joe Schmo 2. Gerald (Jono) got the boot. I was sad to see him go, but the show isn't real, so how can you feel bad? I can't believe I got sucked into watching this show. If you take out all the stuff they put in to appeal to "guys", I'd enjoy it more. As such, I usually flip to another channel until they are done doing their thing.

It's been really hot here, shock! Last night was awesome, it got windy, and cooled off nicely. We had dinner out at the Squealing Pig with Anna, visiting from San Diego. Then ended off with dessert at Cold Stone.

Today all I have planned is to watch Mona Lisa Smile, tidy the house, and maybe take a trip up to the mall.

I'll close with a quote from Runaway Bride.

Maggie Carpenter: Bless me Father for I have sinned. My last confession was...well. Anyway, I have sorta a technical question. I've been having bad thoughts, really bad thoughts.
Priest Brian: Of an impure nature?
Maggie Carpenter: No, No, I want to destroy this man's life, career everything. I want revenge. Now on a sins scale how bad is that? Can I Hail Mary my way out of that?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Monday, July 26

Breakfast at the hotel, we’ve got this all figured out. Geoff has orange juice and a pastry, I have tea and a croissant. Following breakfast we’ll head to city center to catch the bus out to Dumgoyne, to see the Glengoyne Distillery. We go the bus station, and it is very efficiently run. It’s amazing, for such a big bus station that everything runs like clockwork. We end up missing the planned bus, so we wait an hour for the next one. Once it arrives, we’re on our way. A round trip costs us £4.75 each. It’s a lovely bus ride, through the country out to the distillery. On the way out there, we turn a corner, and I see a directional sign letting me know it’s 7 km to Glasgow, and 4 1/2 to Torrance (in the opposite direction). A big smile crosses my face.

The driver kindly lets us off at the front gate to Glengoyne. The first thing you notice is it’s surrounded by farmland and hills. It makes you want to sigh. We walk up to the main house, where the sign says to go for the tour. We pay for the tour (£4.50 each), and are invited upstairs for a complimentary dram before the tour begins. We climb the staircase, and the room is a decent size sitting room, complete with fireplaces. At the top of the stairs is a set of glass doors leading to a balcony that overlooks a small pond and tons of trees. Opposite the balcony is the bar, where a man clad in tartan pants (named Jimmy of course!) offers us our free drink. I politely decline, so he offers my drink to Geoff. He’s thrilled to get two. Now suitably equipped for the tour we sit down on some of the sofas there and watch a short video on the history of whisky making in Scotland and the roots of the Glengoyne distillery. Glengoyne was founded in 1833, which means that the farmer that was making bootleg whisky there for generations finally decided to make a little money out of it and applied for a license. After the video we are escorted outside to the little pond that is the Glengoyne spring. It is pretty stagnant water and we are assured that none of the pond water goes into the whisky. In fact, so much water is required for the process that it is now pumped up from the spring. Also every precaution is made to reuse the water so that none goes to waste. We are off down the little trail now to the distillery. First we go up the stairs to the room where the malted barley is ground up to begin the process. The malting of barley (allowing the barley to germinate to produce sugar in the grain, then halting the process before the sugar is consumed) is explained to us. They no longer malt barley at Glengoyne as it is a very labor intensive process. The germinating barley must be constantly overturned on the malting floor to allow air to get in and moisture to escape. Once the malting is complete, the process is halted by drying the barley with hot air. Glengoyne uses only hot air for this, and no peat smoke as peat is not found in the area. This makes the flavors of the whisky here more delicate than the smoky Islay malts. Once the drying is done, the barley is ground into a fine powder and cooked (called mashing) at three different temperatures with water to remove as much sugar from the barley as possible. The water from this (called wort) is separated from the draff (leftover barley which is sold to dairy farmers for cattle feed), and is left to ferment for two days after yeast is added. The barrels for the fermentation are huge and go down through the floor to the lower level. They look a little like a giant barrel of beer, which is really pretty close to what they are right now. Every once in a while the mixture is stirred to kick down the head of foam that develops. Once the fermentation is complete, the liquid is off to the still for distillation. There are three different stills at Glengoyne, one huge one for the primary distillation, and two smaller ones for the secondary distillation. This allows the most pure spirit to be obtained. The copper that the stills are made out of actually dissolves slightly in each batch of spirit, so every few years new copper is added to the stills to prevent them from eroding away. These new plates are just hammered over top of the old ones. As the shape of the still makes a large difference in the taste of the resulting spirit, great effort is made to preserve these structures. Once the spirit has reached the correct concentration, it is transferred to the spirit safe. Only the best spirit is saved and it is separated from the impure stuff (light wines) in a glass box under lock and key. As soon as the distillation begins, the entire process must be kept completely secure until bottling to avoid unnecessary tariffs. Once the spirit has been separated it is put into used sherry barrels to age. This gives the whisky its characteristic color and flavour. Unfortunately as the whisky ages, some evaporates from the barrels and is lost. This is called the angels share! As the whisky ages the master distiller will sample each barrel to see how it is aging. Most of the resulting whisky is allowed to age for 10 years before it is blended together with whisky from other barrels and water and bottled. Some will be allowed to age for longer before bottling if it is progressing well. Rarely, however, a barrel may be aging particularly well and the distiller will allow it to age until he feels it can give no more. When this happens he will bottle that barrel alone at full strength and provide it as a limited offering. Our tour of the distillery ends up in the gift shop, of course, where Geoff buys a bottle of the 10 year old malt. As we have just missed the bus and have to wait an hour for the next one we decide to walk around the property. We find a small trail up to a beautiful waterfall that feeds the pond. Also we are able to check out the warehouses where the barrels are stored (locked up) and gaze at the surrounding scenery. It is such a picturesque place and we are truly astounded by the beauty of it all. After a short wait for the bus we are off again back to Glasgow where our pub dinner awaits!

We head to the hotel first to drop off the whisky, then back up to Argyll Street where we find the Park Bar. Now “Park Bar” are the only words on the building in English. Everything else is in Gaelic. We walk to the part of the bar that has a row of tables, and look over the menu. We have to order at the bar, so I order a coke, a cheese burger, fries and a side of gravy. Geoff orders a beer, and fish and chips. The beer is local, called Belhaven. He really enjoys it and has two. The food was excellent, but the environment was smoky. I was glad we decided to go early, as I figured there would be fewer smokers there, and it was true. But the time we left, we were surrounded. The décor of the place was a little grittier than Bull & Bush, and Geoff notes that his dad would have loved it. We go back to the hotel and debate ordering dessert, but then decided against it. We stay in and watch cricket, which have figured out now. Exciting game between Lancashire and Warwickshire. Lancashire (who won the game by 2 wickets) has a giraffe for a mascot! We get a good night’s sleep and will decide in the morning what we’ll do with our last day.
Big Big News

Lilypie Baby Days

:) Due Date: March 13, 2005

Sunday, August 01, 2004

What's Going On With Me
Okay, I thought I should write stuff, other than just posting my journal from the trip.

First things first, the Glasgow photos are up! It took a while because I've been busy working, and there are 50 photos. Look away to your heart's content.

As you will read in a few days, the drama with Pearson airport has not ended, we encountered a humorous situation on the way home from Glasgow. I'm just telling you so you'll stay tuned. :)

I think we're finally all caught up on sleep. Today was the first day I was able to sleep past 6am. That was a real treat. We had a picnic after church, and got to sit with Mark, Shannon and Kaylynn and just chat. That was awesome, as I feel like I've barely seen them this summer.

Rich gets back from Peru (allegedly on the 10th), and then my job at the museum will end. Jeff keeps telling me if he had the money, he'd keep me on. But the money would have to come out of his pocket, and he doesn't earn overtime. I'm still holding out hope something else will open up there. Keep that in your prayers.

Geoff is heading out to Irvine in a few weeks (lucky bum), and I'll be living the single life again. You know what that means...au gratin potatoes in a box! :) I would have loved to go with, but no money. His trip is paid for. He'll get to see our friends, and some we didn't get to see last time. I think the next time I make it out there may be next summer, who knows. Right now, I don't even want to THINK about traveling.

My friend Kelly had a baby girl (Emily Christine) this week. Mom & baby are doing just fine. She sent pics, and I'm so glad she had a girl, as she already has a son.

I'm going to close with a quote from Starsky & Hutch, which we saw on the plane. It was pretty funny. Not "buy the movie" funny, but "watch it if it's free" funny.

Starsky: It's 10 o'clock, you're late; I've been here since 8.
Hutch: 8 o'clock? I didn't even know this place opened that early.
Starsky: It's okay though, because crime called in sick, it's going to get a late start too.
Hutch: Crime called in sick, I like that...
Sunday, July 25

We awake at 8am, ready to start our day. We sleep great, mostly because we were tired. Geoff realizes the bed is actually two twins pushed together. You can feel the springs, and the gap between the beds, but usually I’m so tired, I don’t care. We have quick showers, then head downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast is very expensive, and we find that we can order the express breakfast for £3, which is coffee/tea/juice and a pastry/croissant. We eat in the lobby, consult our maps and depart for George Square. George Square is another part of city center, named for King George. It houses several statues, such as Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Robbie Burns, James Watt, but at the center on a huge pillar is Sir Walter Scott. The spot was reserved for King George, but he went mad before his statue was finished, so they scrapped the idea. We find the tourist information centre, which has some cool souvenirs. From there we go to the Museum of Modern Art. Outside the museum there is a statue of Wellington, who apparently always has a traffic cone on his head. I have a picture to prove it. The interior of the museum is beautiful. The ceilings are pretty ornate, and it’s a fairly small museum. Most of their collection is stored at Kelvingrove Museum, which is closed for renovations until 2006. Some of the paintings I see I really like, simple compositions. Some are very dark, and disturbing, but then art can be like that. There are two floors of really out there “art”. Videos of strange things. For an example, a child holding his breath while he travels in a car through a tunnel. Whether that is art is up to the beholder I suppose. Geoff says it is a gallery Grandma Bessie would not like. Reminds him of an incident at a gallery with a pile of felt on the floor, that was supposed to be art, but Grandma Bessie took as trash.

A block away, we head to the Willow Tea Room, which is famous for having been designed by Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. There are actually two locations; this one is on Buchanan Street. Located on the second floor, it has a wonderful design. Tea and nibbles are served in the White room, and we find a seat by an open window overlooking Buchanan. I order a cheese sandwich, and Geoff orders haggis, neeps and tatties (neeps are turnips, tatties are potatoes). Only Geoff has tea, as I had some with breakfast and am not ready for more. From below our open window, we hear some beautiful classical guitar. My sandwich is good, but I am still not feeling well enough to eat it all. Geoff devours his lunch with glee, sighing that he doesn’t get to enjoy mashed turnips anymore. He thinks the last time was before we were married, while he was still living at home. He is convinced it’s the best haggis he’s ever had, and it doesn’t look anything like I pictured. After savoring the atmosphere, and buying a souvenir for ourselves, we leave the Willow Tea Room. Once back outside, we find the guitar player, and give him a pound. We make our way back to the hotel so Geoff can attend the afternoon sessions at the conference, and I have a short nap before taking off on my own for the Botanical Garden. Geoff presents his poster and chats up with Ole Hindsgaul and Monica Palcic from the U of A. They have all you can drink tea, so Geoff takes advantage of that. I start my journey towards the Botanical Garden, not quite knowing how I’ll get there, but pointing myself in the right direction. Along the way I pass Kelvingrove Museum and take a picture. I also cross over the Kelvin River. It takes 40 minutes to get there, and I find it’s not quite what I expected. It’s a little like the Legislative grounds in Edmonton, but not really. It’s a huge open grass area with a lot of trees, and people everywhere lounging in the sun. Families, seniors, and everyone in between is just hanging out in the sun. I make my way into the greenhouse to look about. It’s not too exciting to me, so I head out and find a path that leads down the Kelvin River.
There are some paths you can take to walk along the river, and trees shade it all. I stand on a bridge and just watch the water, stare at deep green trees. I then turn to watch some lady throw away what totals a whole loaf of bread off the bridge. I saw only one duck in the water, and I think the pigeons on the bridge are annoyed. I walk back up to the garden, and have a quick rest. As I leave the garden, I purchase a bottle of water for the walk back because I’m feeling dehydrated. I cross through the Kelvingrove Park and even through my iPod I can hear loud music playing. I follow the sounds to a fair in the middle of the park. I find this very odd since I saw no signs indicating there would be a fair, the park was so quiet the day before when Geoff and I walked through. I pass some more pubs on the walk home and keep them in mind as they clearly are serving food. Encouraged, I think we may have found someplace to eat for dinner. Geoff gets back to the City Inn 40 minutes after me, and we resolve to try to get to these pubs soon. The first pub, stopped serving food at 6pm, it’s 6:45pm. The bartender does say they will be serving food until 8pm tomorrow night. The second pub is all out of food. We can hardly believe our luck. Sunday evenings, most restaurants are closed. I don’t know when these people eat, and I wonder what the rest of our trip will be like. We reluctantly eat at McDonald’s for dinner, solely because everywhere else is closed. But we have a lead for Monday night, that first pub, The Park Bar. We head back home to the hotel after dinner and watch some British game shows. They aren’t as fast paced as ours, and you have to be pretty intelligent to be on them. We try to get a good night’s sleep because Monday we plan to visit a distillery.