Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christingle



Anyone ever heard of a Christingle?

I sure hadn't, until Sunday evening. They had been advertising a very special evening service at church, and I orginally hadn't planned to go (if I go to an evening service it's usually closer to home)-- but I was intrigued. There was a play, I knew, and I knew most of the people in it, of course. So I braved the dark and cold of the shortest day of the year and turned up at church.

I got excited when the play first started, as it was about the 'littlest angel', and one of my favourite stories growing up was also about a 'littlest angel', and is also a Christmas story. This, however, turned out to be a different story-- but that's okay. It was quite cute, perhaps mainly because I knew the folks in it. =) Anyway, this little angel has been trying for a very long time to win his wings, and so Gabriel gives him one more chance-- to go to earth and help three people. The poor little angel isn't too good at it, really-- although he does manage to help people (Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men) without meaning to or realising it. Each time he receives a gift for his help: an orange from Mary; a candle from the shepherd; a red ribbon, four twigs, and exotic fruits from the wise men. He decides to make a gift for Gabriel out of them, and gives it to the head angel at his wing-pinning. Gabriel is impressed, and names the angel Christingle, because he has helped so many people AND because his gift will help many others remember and share the story of the baby King born that night in Bethlehem.

And then we all got Christingles! We were warned to be very careful and not set anyone's hair on fire. We were all very careful, and no one caught on fire. Whew. Here's my Christingle (with the flowers my mom sent. Thanks, mom!):


The orange reminds us of the world-- not perfectly round, because our world is fallen and not perfect, but sweet nevertheless. The ribbon (or in this case, red electrical tape) represents the blood of Christ, born to die for us and our sins in order to draw us back to God. The four twigs represent the four corners of the earth, and reminds us that Jesus came for all people. The fruits remind us of the Fruits of the Spirit. The candle represents Christ, the light of the world, who came to us and for us, so that we may not only walk in His light, but so that we likewise might share His light with others. So we take the Christingle away with us, taking the light into the world.

May the light of Christ shine in your life today, and every day.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Many Moods of... Me?

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Because my sister was not happy with one of the photos I chose of her in an earlier edition of ElfYourself, and because I simply cannot resist the ridiculousness of these dang videos... here's one of me. And not completely flattering. But I'm okay with that. Because it cracks me up. =D

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Monday, 15 December 2008

These ARE our happy faces....

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Sorry, dear brother-in-law... I just can't help myself! Your straight face on these just cracks me up! And I don't have many pics of you smiling, anyway... so I think you must be smiling on the inside. =)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

We Practiced For Months...

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Okay, so we didn't really. But we COULD have. I mean, considering the hidden talents in this family (and not so hidden, truth be told), anything is possible. We would have if we'd thought of it.

We did spend a good bit of time singing 'Puttin' on the Ritz', though... that's gotta count for something!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Why I Love Tuesdays

Tuesdays are one of my two favourite days of the week. I look forward to it all week long.

Why, you ask? This is why.

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Every Tuesday is just like this. Honest.

Okay, just kidding. But every Tuesday IS like this:

Every Tuesday, around 3ish, I meet Liz and Paige and Kristianna (or some combination thereof) in Zeste for coffee. Usually a gingerbread latte, or a mocha, or a caramel latte, or a... well, you get the idea. This past week it was a Merry Minty Mocha, and it was delightful! But as lovely as the coffee sometimes is (and sometimes isn't...), it's knowing that at least once a week I get to hang out with friends and feel like a real human person that makes it worth going.

New jacket to keep out the rain and wind and bitter cold in Aberdeen: $170

Flavoured latte: $3.25

Spending and hour or two with good friends once a week: priceless

I have been so lucky to have had this kind of regular fellowship with the other gals here (mainly in Divinty, but we let Paige in anyway). Some years it's been for dinners once a month; other times it's been coffee or lunch-time meetings once a week; yet other times it's been less scheduled while still remaining a common occurance. I honestly don't know what I would have done without these times to laugh, cry, complain, rejoice, be silent, chit-chat, catch up, wind down... or without these wonderful friends to do it with.

To those of you who are no longer around or able to come for our little get-togethers (Carolyn, Carrie, Lo, Laurie, Barb...), know that I miss you! And I'm thankful for the times you were here.

To those of you who are here now? Thanks for making Tuesdays my joint-favourite day of the week. =D

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

As If I Didn't Already Love Chocolate

With adverts like this, I love it even more! I've seen these in the cinema and on tv lately, and just had to share. They always make me smile.



Kenny always gets a big tin of these for Christmas, and they don't last long. I get the Bountys (like Mounds) because Kenny doesn't like them. They are my favourites! =)

The rest are all by the same very creative folks at Cadbury, God love 'em.



And here is another version, for us children of the '80s...



and one more (this one unofficial). Because I can't stop laughing.



The latest from the gorilla... and I'm wondering, after seeing all the 'remixes' of these adverts on YouTube, if Cadbury picks the ones they like that fans have 'made', and then uses them for real. That would be very cool, so get creative and you, too, could made a Cadbury advert! =D



Finally, because it is still just classic...



Mmmmm... I love chocolate. =D

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Christmas Present Versus Christmas Past

I love this time of year, with all the lights and festivities and mince pies. Mmmmm... mince pies. *drooling*

Sorry. Got a little distracted there. As I was saying, I love this time of year, for many reasons. Aside from mince pies (which are, I think, my favourite UK holiday tradition), one of the things I look forward to the most are the decorations all over the city. Perhaps because it is dark for quite a considerable number of hours a day (much more than it is light each day), Aberdeen goes all out with lights. Not only does it make me happy to have a little more sparkle in the dark winter days, it also reminds me that it was at this time of year, long ago, that wise men followed the light of a star, that shepherds were surrounded by the glorious light of the angels, and that Christ came into the darkness of our world to be the Light of Life for us. It never hurts to be reminded of these things.

Rebekah, Paige and me

A couple of weeks ago, I met friends Paige and Rebekah in town for the Christmas Parade and lighting festivities on Union Street. This is the first year I have gone into town for the actual event itself, and I was looking forward to it. After all, I'd been hearing for weeks that the lights were ALL NEW this year. Woo hoo! Funny, though, because the lights were also ALL NEW my first year here... but nevermind. Anyway. I met the gals in town, and we grabbed a spot to watch the parade and the lights coming on as the parade progressed. It was freezing out, but I had coffee.

My first gingerbread latte of the season, to be precise. All was well.

Until they turned the lights on. This is what we had last year:




Colour and variety, sacred and secular. I loved them. If I had known it would be their last year, I would have taken more photos.

This is what we have this year:





I mean, seriously? It's just a little too tacky, a little too Vegas, a little too disco for my taste. The blue is just too... electric. Or something. I don't mind blue and white lights at Christmas one tiny bit. But these are just not the right blue. And they are all pretty much the same, which is boring. *sigh*

That's not to mention the slightly bizarre parade. This was the best part of it, pretty much:

Okay, not really. It was... different. And I'm glad I went. But my vote goes to the Lights of Christmas Past-- the ones from last year in Aberdeen, yes, but mostly the one born in a manger in Bethlehem. He is the real reason I have joy in my life, this season and every season.

Friday, 5 December 2008

I Have No Life (Otherwise known as, Films Are a Big Part of My Life)

SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 films, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 239 films on this list.

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
(x) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane
Total: 9

(x) The Princess Bride
(x) Anchorman
(x) Napoleon Dynamite
(x) Labyrinth
(x) Saw
(x) Saw II
(x) White Noise
() White Oleander
(x) Anger Management
() 50 First Dates
(x) The Princess Diaries
(x) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far: 19

(x) Scream
(x) Scream 2
(x) Scream 3
() Scary Movie
() Scary Movie 2
() Scary Movie 3
() Scary Movie 4
(x) American Pie
(x) American Pie 2
(x) American Wedding
() American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 25

(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
(x) Resident Evil 1
() Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
() Little Black Book
(x) The Village
() Lilo & Stitch
Total so far: 32

(x) Finding Nemo
(x) Finding Neverland
(x) Signs
(x) The Grinch
(x) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
() Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
() White Chicks
(x) Butterfly Effect
(x) 13 Going on 30
(x) I, Robot
(x) Robots
Total so far: 41

(x) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
() Universal Soldier
(x) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
() Along Came Polly
(x) Deep Impact
() KingPin
() Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
(x) Meet the Fockers
( ) Eight Crazy Nights
() Joe Dirt
(x) KING KONG
Total so far: 47

() A Cinderella Story
(x) The Terminal
() The Lizzie McGuire Movie
() Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
() Dumber & Dumberer
() Final Destination
() Final Destination 2
() Final Destination 3
(x) Halloween
(x) The Ring
(x) The Ring 2
() Surviving X-MAS
() Flubber
Total so far: 52


(x) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
(x) Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
() Ghost Ship
(x) From Hell
(x) Hellboy
(x) Secret Window
(x) I Am Sam
() The Whole Nine Yards
() The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 59

(x) The Day After Tomorrow
() Child's Play
() Seed of Chucky
() Bride of Chucky
(x) Ten Things I Hate About You
() Just Married
() Gothika
(x) Nightmare on Elm Street
(x) Sixteen Candles
(x) Remember the Titans
() Coach Carter
(x) The Grudge
() The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
() Son Of The Mask
Total so far: 66

() Bad Boys
() Bad Boys 2
() Joy Ride
() Lucky Number Slevin
(x) Ocean's Eleven
(x) Ocean's Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremecy
() Lone Star
(x) Bedazzled
() Predator I
() Predator II
() The Fog
(x) Ice Age
(x) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
(x) Curious George
Total so far: 74

(x) Independence Day
(x) Cujo
() A Bronx Tale
(x) Darkness Falls
(x) Christine
(x) ET
( x) Children of the Corn
(x) My Bosses Daughter
() Maid in Manhattan
(x) War of the Worlds
(x) Rush Hour
(x) Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 84

() Best Bet
(x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
() She's All That
(x) Calendar Girls
(x) Sideways
() Mars Attacks
() Event Horizon
() Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
(x) Big Trouble in Little China
() The Terminator
() The Terminator 2
(x) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 91

(x) X-Men
(x) X-2
(x) X-3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
() Sky High
() Jeepers Creepers
() Jeepers Creepers 2
(x) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday
(x) Reign of Fire
() The Skulls
() Cruel Intentions
() Cruel Intentions 2
() The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total so far: 102

() Swimfan
(x) Miracle on 34th street
(x) Old School
() The Notebook
(x) K-Pax
() Krippendorf's Tribe
() A Walk to Remember
() Ice Castles
() Boogeyman
() The 40-year-old Virgin
Total so far: 105

(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 110

() Baseketball
() Hostel
() Waiting for Guffman
() House of 1000 Corpses
(x) Devils Rejects
(x) Elf
() Highlander
(x) Mothman Prophecies
() American History X
() Three
Total so Far: 114

(x) The Jacket
(x) Kung Fu Hustle
() Shaolin Soccer
() Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
() Willard
Total so far: 120

(x) High Tension
() Club Dread
() Hulk
(x) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
(x) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
() Waterworld
Total so far: 125

(x) Kill Bill vol 1
(x) Kill Bill vol 2
() Mortal Kombat
() Wolf Creek
(x) Kingdom of Heaven
() the Hills Have Eyes
() I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
() The Last House on the Left
() Re-Animator
(x) Army of Darkness
Total so far: 129

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
() Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
() Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 135

(x) The Matrix
(x) The Matrix Reloaded
(x) The Matrix Revolutions
() Animatrix
() Evil Dead
() Evil Dead 2
(x) Team America: World Police
(x) Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
() Hannibal
Total: 141

Right. I was just curious. A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook account, and I wondered how many I'd seen. Out of these, more than half. But I've seen oh-so-many more than what's on this list... and I've seen some of these more than once. I don't even know what to do with that. =D

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

My Holiday Wish List

No, I'm not just being greedy. If you don't want to buy me a Christmas gift, that's okay. And you don't have to read this post. But because I have been asked, I'll list some things I'd like. Just in case. =D

Electricals
~~ a nice new fancy-schmancy digital camera
~~ memory cards for said camera =)
~~ a flatscreen TV for Kenny and me
~~ a working DVR box (grumble grumble stupid old one...)
~~ external hard drive/memory sticks/etc
~~ wireless mouse
~~ Wii and games, or a handheld game thingy, or an iPhone/iTouch
~~ a cool new mobile


Media
~~ TV show box sets (Doctor Who, Torchwood season two, CSI's, Smallvilles, Lost, Heroes, etc etc etc... I am a TV addict, remember)
~~ books (classics, kids books, cookbooks, anything with words)
~~ Christmas films (A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, Elf, Santa Clause...)
~~ Disney films (anything Pixar minus Ratatouille, Cars, Toy Story & Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc; plus the classics like Sleeping Beauty or whatever else they have released lately, as well as the good live action stuff-- I only have the first Pirates film so far, for instance)
~~ films (anything you think I'd like. I pretty much like anything but romantic comedies.)
~~ music (anything by Paul McCartney since Driving Rain; anything by Keane since Hopes and Fears; soundtracks; anything new by old favourites; Christmas stuff)
~~ iTunes gift cards, to buy said music with, if you don't want to ship cds over

Food and Drink
~~ coffee money (I have reloadable cards to both Starbucks and Costa, but new ones work, as well. And good coffee from good places-- I can grind the beans myself.)
~~ marshmallows
~~ spiced cider mix
~~ pumpkin (although I do realise it's heavy....)
~~ wine, or money to buy wine sometimes. A treat I don't indulge in often enough. =)
~~ other stuff that can't be gotten here, but I can't think of to list right now...
~~ neat mugs... you can never have enough. At least, I can't.
~~ powdered flavoured coffee creamer (anything but hazelnut, but the fancy holiday flavours especially)
Bold

Miscellaneous
~~ a nice pen/pencil set, preferably a fountain pen as they are very cool
~~ an embosser for all library... so if stuff gets 'lost' at least the thief knows where they stole it from.
~~ knitting stuff-- I want to learn. That's my winter project. So a good how-to book, and supplies and stuff.
~~ clothes-- fun socks or tights, cool shoes (like red converse, or more crocs), nice trousers, warm pjs....
~~ games and puzzles (but not strategy stuff like risk. blech.)
~~ picture frames, and/or money to buy prints (mostly of the kiddos, of course)
~~ travel money or travel-related goodies
~~ anything cool you make, or from your neck of the woods, or that you think I might like.
~~ a nice jewelery box, and nice jewelery ;)
~~ a down mattress topper (basically a feather mattress, for on top of my very sprung spring mattress-- or rather, money for one. Shipping would be ridiculous.)
~~ the coloured Burt's Bees lip shimmer tubes of minty stuff... obviously I don't know their real name, but I love them.
~~ a new stuffed animal to keep me company and double as a pillow when I travel. And yes, I know I'm a dork.
~~ a nice wall calender
~~ cool wellies


That's all that is coming to mind right now. If I think of other things, I'll add 'em. And really, I just love the surprise of getting something... so if you think it's cool and that I'd like it, the chances are good that I will!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

No Turkeys Were Harmed In the Making of This Post

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

I've been remiss in my blogging duties of late, and I do humbly repent and promise to begin anew with regular at-least-once-a-week posts forthwith. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

As proof that I am back on the blogging wagon, I wanted to share a little of my Scottish Thanksgiving. It's been a good day, and the first time in a couple of years that I've actually celebrated on Thanksgiving. Well, last year I celebrated-- with Pizza Hut buffet and three films at the cinema. But many of you said that just wasn't the same... so this year, I feasted. With other people. =)

I have this friend, named Paige. Actually, I only met Paige three weeks ago, when I came back to Aberdeen. But she is from Wilmore, and we graduated from Asbury the same year, and know people in common... it's a good thing, having someone who knows the same things and people you know, even if you don't know each other. She's here studying this year (and hopefully longer!), and if you've been following along, you'll know that she was the gal I went to see the fireworks with. Anyway, she volunteered to host a Thanksgiving dinner at the flat she shares with Kristianna (who, sadly, had to miss the festivities for another dinner with another friend... but we were kind enough to save her some pumpkin pie), and she did most of the cooking. Here is what we had:

~~roast chicken (I wasn't kidding in the post title; turkeys here are for Christmas, and you can't really find them this early. Bah.)
~~stuffing, from scratch, with veggies in (never had it like this, but quite liked it)
~~tatties (mashed potatoes, for the non-Scots in the audience)
~~sweet potato casserole (nuts and brown sugar, but no marshmallows. Can't really get them here, anyway.)
~~broccoli cheese casserole (mmmmm... the Southern gal in me thinks you can't go wrong with casseroles!)
~~herb bread rolls
~~gravy
~~cranberries (not a log, or a relish, but the whole things, cooked and syrupy and delicious)
~~wine (red and white)
~~coffee (caf and decaf, instant and brewed)
~~sweet tea (yes, you read that right... Paige made sweet tea! There were three Southern gals there, after all.)
~~pumpkin pie (with Dream Whip... my one contribution to the feast.)
~~Kentucky Bourbon pecan pie (oh my word... kind of like Derby pie, but with bourbon. Wow.)
~~homemade apple pie (with vanilla ice cream)
~~mince pies (UK-style, which means little individual tart-sized pies. My favourite Christmas tradtion here, and my other contribution to the feast. Sorry I lied earlier. =D )

I think that's all. As if that's not enough... I am so full I could hardly walk home. And it was a good thing I was walking home, after all that I ate! Wow. If there were football on here, I'd be dozing on the sofa with it in the background for sure. And Paige sent me home with a lot of leftovers, because there were a lot of leftovers. Score! =)


This is our table. We ate buffet style, because no one that I know of has a flat that is actually large enough to have people sit down around a table for a meal this size. But it was nice and cozy and worked just fine.

And see the bear there, surrounded by food? That's Inca John, and he travels all over the world, seeing new sights and taking in new experiences. Today was his first Thanksgiving, and he seemed to quite enjoy it. He belongs with my friend Liz, who came today for her second ever Thanksgiving, and she quite enjoyed it as well. Her first Thanksgiving was in Bolivia, with a group of Americans there, and the pastor of the group stole her piece of pumpkin pie when she turned her head to speak to someone. Right off her plate. Not a very pleasant experience. (Kind of reminds me of my dad, though... always have to watch your food around him. ;) ) Liz is a fellow Practical Theologian, and over the past year we have become good friends. She's English, but we don't hold that against her. =D

Also joining Paige and Liz and I were Rebecca (another American who is here for six months as an intern, cataloguing the extensive library that a retired professor is donating), Nicole (Paige's partner for class projects, who is also English but spent some time in North America) and David (Nicole's boyfriend, but I can't remember where he is from... ooops.), and Anne (a Finnish girl who has recently moved here to work, and has randomly run into Paige enough to become friendly acquaintances, at least). It was a fun crowd.

That's Paige, Liz, Nicole, David, me, Rebecca, and Anne in the middle. A good looking group, no? =D

So it's been a good day, full of food and fellowship. I hope that your day has been equally lovely, wherever you are and however you spent it. I am thankful to have people in my life here to celebrate with, and thankful to have you-- my friends and family, virtual or actual-- to share in my life from wherever you are. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

'Remember, remember the 5th of November...'

Which is what I'm doing today, because I've been meaning to write about this since the 5th of November. Sorry... I'm a slacker. =D

Perhaps many of you aren't familiar with this little rhyme, and perhaps some of you are only familar with it from 'V for Vendetta'. But here it is in full (thanks to Wikipedia):
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I can think of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hallowe'en? Not such a big deal here in the city. Guy Fawkes Day (aka Bonfire Night) on 5 November? It's huge. Traditionally there were actually bonfires, and burning of Guy in effigy. Nowadays it's mostly just fireworks. Not that I'm complaining; I LOVE fireworks. But it seems like everyone in the city goes, and I'm always on my own... and since I don't like crowds of rowdy drunks (which tends to happen, lol), I've never gone myself.

Until this year.

AND I didn't have to go on my own! My new friend, Paige, very kindly consented to go along with me for the cultural experience. And boy, was it that! We headed down to the beach esplanade around 7pm, for the start of the fireworks at 7.30. We made it to the end of Urquhart Road, and that big open grassy area just behind the hotel. It was PACKED! There were people everywhere, and music, and sparklers, and glow-in-the-dark everything.




We didn't have to wait very long for the fireworks to start... and, as Paige put it, they were like the grand finale at home-- for the full twenty minutes! It was pretty darn grand, that's for sure. And the Bond musical theme cracked me up. The heart-shaped fireworks during 'From Russia With Love' was particularly cool. ;) I got some good shots, and some not so good... there was a huge plume of thick black smoke that obscured a lot of the beauty of the fireworks. I don't know if that was because the air was so thick that night, or because of some pyrotechnic malfunction. Either way, it was a pity-- but what we did see was fantastic.




This is Paige...
and this is me.

I also took some video, but if you don't like fireworks, don't bother sitting through it. Because that's all it is. =) I have a couple of them, but I'm only posting the actual finale... although it's a little long. Sorry. I just LOVE fireworks. Did I say that already? ;)

video

It was chilly, but not freezing. It was crowded, but not out of control. I got to see fireworks, and go with a friend. All in all, a very good night. Even if it was in celebration of someone's execution. =)


Sunday, 9 November 2008

Extreme Flat Makeover, Aberdeen Edition (aka 'Welcome Home!')

Well, no one can say life is boring here in my flat! =D

I got home last week after a quarter of a year in the States (egads! Time sure does fly...), and Kenny very kindly came to pick me up at the airport. And he waited there for me, for more than an hour, because my flight was delayed out of Manchester. Due to fog (of course... what else?!). And even though he didn't get my text letting him know because he changed mobile numbers while I was gone and I only had the old one. He's the best flatmate, I swear. (And I'm not just saying that-- I mean it!) He did, however, warn me that the flat was a mess. But that he had cleared a path to my room for me. ?!?!

I knew he had been redecorating the lounge, and that he wouldn't tell me what he had done/was doing, in order to surprise me. But thanks to a few untimely repairs in the midst of the remodel (like coming home one day to find a huge crack from one edge of the newly plastered and painted ceiling to the other), things... um... weren't quite finished. I wasn't sure what that meant, exactly: 'weren't quite finished'. But oh, I was about to find out!

Behold, the entryway:




And my room, with a lot of the stuff that should be other places...


Of course, some things never change... Dillon is always *up* to no good, among other things.


And then there's the lounge...









New flooring, new walls, new ceiling... and soon, new skirting board and finishing touches. I like it, but it's definitely different. I'll post more pictures as we go along.