Thursday, September 30, 2004

Chris Rock once said....

If you've been dating a man for four months
and you haven't met any of his friends, you are NOT his girlfriend!"

You know, this throws a WHOLE new light on Tim and I.

And on a similar topic....

This is flipping AMAZING. I'm gonna go practice it.

UPDATE 10 MINUTES LATER: I did it! I'm awesome! I have conquered the folding!

Note: Sorry if some of you (maybe just Firefox users like me?) are seeing (or not seeing) my page all weird-like. I'm not sure what the problem is but I'll work on it....

Michaela @11:17 PM :: Comment

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Will you recognize it when you’re old?

(Currently Playing: "Something in the Way She Moves" by James Taylor)
(Currently Reading: "Drive Thru America" by Sean Condon)

Sometimes, I really do miss being a kid.

I remember being a kid and hearing adults tell you to enjoy being a kid, because next thing you know you're stuck with your nose to the grindstone, and there are mouths to feed and cars to get inspected and of course the dreaded tax man, waiting outside your front door in full Grim Reaper attire, except with a smart tie, a pocket-protector wire-rimmed glasses.

And now we know that was pretty much all a lie, and being an adult is pretty great, especially the fact about being able to do pretty much whatever you want (within reason) and being able to stay up past the Cosby Show. (I miss the Cosby Show.)

But still, there are a lot of things about being a kid that you just never really can appreciate WHILE you are a kid. I remember a comedy routine by Mark Lowry who thought it would have been much smarter for God to have made life go backwards (sorta like Mork and Mindy, when you think about it), so we start off as being unable to do anything, but that's the part you mostly forget about anyway, and from there it only gets better, because your last 15 or so years you have zero responsibility and you can ENJOY it.

The biggest of those things that are "unappreciateable" as a child I think has to be our innocence, and ability to dream. And I hate saying it like that, because it sounds terribly cliche, but that's all I got. It was before we got all jaded and realistic. It was before the prevading "life sucks and then you die" mentality we have, even those of us who know better....

When I was a kid, I was definitely a tomboy. (You'd have never guessed, would you have? Boy did I fool you! It was the tutu, wasn't it?) I remember being GLUED to the TV during the 1992 (Barcelona) Olympics, watching mostly swimming and gymnastics. I'd sit at the end of my bed, where my TV was, on my pine chest cabinet with the NBC logo (which wasn't the original idea of the design...I think it was older than that....but that was definitely the effect), and I'd make my best attempts at back flips off my bed. I'd use masking tape to tape up my hands and wrists because that's what the girls did on TV. (And let's face it, they were only about 4 years older than I was.) During the moments when swimming or gymnastics or a similarly exciting sport was not on TV ("MOM?! WHAT'S DRESSAGE?!" *click*), and for several weeks after the Olympics were actually over, I sidewalk-chalked around a 2x4 on our back porch, making the outline of a balance beam, on which I could...well, do a cartwheel. And a round-off. But I could definitely point my toes and keep my legs straight and make sure I had a jazzy dismount for the judges.

I also remember being quite bitter at my mom then, for allowing me to quit qymnastics at the age of 6. (I think I went all of about 2 weeks, and then I got sick for a while, and I was behind. But I was terribly uncoordinated, really, so it was probably for the best. Oh, and I was about 5'9 by the time I was 14, so that wouldn't have worked so well either.)

Somewhere in there, around the 1994 Olympics I think, I remember writing some "pact" to myself that I would be in the Olympics before 2004 (Boy did I screw that one up, eh?), "probably in swimming or volleyball" I wrote, despite the fact I'd never competitively swam before. I also remember being highly doubtful, even at the time, of it actually coming to pass, but thinking it would make a REALLY cool story to tell to the commentators on TV. Or even to sell. (Man, think of the killing I could have made on eBay.) I mean seriously, I was SUCH a dreamer.

Among the things I wanted to be when I grew up, was a chemist. In the American sense of the word, not the UK sense: the kind of job where you sit in a lab and create new medicines for people. (I'm fairly sure I was leaning towards this because *I* got sick so often. It was pretty much selfishness disguised as compassion for others.) I mean, my chemistry set was pretty cool...I could blow things up! Of course, I later actually took chemistry in high school and....well there went that idea. (Though it had gone out the window long before that.)

The other big idea, besides the obligatory ballerina job, was to be an Air Force Pilot.

These days, I'm really glad I didn't go for that one, since I now hate to fly, which would have pretty much put me out of a job. Besides, I'm not so good at following completely illogical orders. (With apologies to anyone who has ever been in the military: I know every single one of those orders are VERY important. And I LIKE my shoes shiny. REALLY.)

But gosh, the world seemed to big and yet so small, didn't it? Paying the bills wasn't a priority: getting as dirty as possible was much more important. Almost as important as trying to cook a baked potato over an open fire (that never did actually light) in the sandbox. Or making the perfect "house" out of the new refrigerator box. Or getting up early (which for me was about 10) with my blankie in tow (perfect waffle-weave, with the satin torn off so as not to disrupt the perfect warm/cold ratio to which my thumb and I had grown accustomed to) to watch Saturday morning cartoons, about 5 inches away from the monitor (while Mom wasn't looking). Or planning for the Lemonade Stand Extravaganza that took place at my friend Kaylan's house during her mom's garage sales. (We made a KILLING! I used to BEG my mom to have a garage sale! Alas, she wasn't the garage sale type.) Or writing plays. (Yes, I did that as a child.) Or establishing a plot line for my childrens book. (Yes, I did this too.) Or burning ants with the magnifying glass. (I'm seeing a pattern developing here....I was a bit of a pyro as a kid, wasn't I?)

These things were MUCH more important.

Ah....those were the days.

But at least now I can stay up late, and watch "White Men Can't Jump" and drive and buy chocolate when I want to and go see my friends when I want and put off homework until later and kiss boys.

Not all at once, mind you.

Michaela @11:51 PM :: Comment

Monday, September 27, 2004


You know, I've thought long and hard about it, and I'm pretty sure that if I was going to start any kind of company, I'd go for toilet paper. Everyone needs toilet paper. And most people continue to need it. And when you think about it, there's a HUGE cost-price markup too. So it's a win-win situation.

In other news, I had a mostly crap day, but there have been a few nice parts. I have to say the highlight was my coming home at 11pm after church and hanging out at Tim's place to find my flatmate Dave had done ALL my dishes. And there were a lot of them. Big pans and everything. I was gobsmacked, really. I went into the living room and told him he was a saint. He just smiled.

Also, Ruth, I haven't been finding and new presents from our mouse (not Mouse, but mouse), so it seems I must have scared him away with my late-night threats.

I'm a scary sorta girl.


Michaela @1:24 AM :: Comment

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Beneath the sun in the summer a sea of flowers
won't bloom .... without the rain

"the one thing that Ive learned in relationships is that there isnt anything to figure out.. its something new everyday.. something else to worry about.. something else to laugh about.. something else to love.. something else to hate.. there is no handbook.. there are no specific set of rules.. so dont waste time trying to figure them out...It always works out.. one way or another..

trust me.. take heart..."

Last night, I mentioned to Tim that I haven't written much in my journal. He said he didn't like that so much...he knows how important writing is to me overall, and journaling has always been a part of that. But I tried to explain that it was simply because I didn't know how to put it into words. And when I say "it" I suppose I mean...pretty much everything. I can't say that life has been overwhelming, because that has by no means been the case. (I've been overwhelmed before, and this ain't it.) Work has been light, and my days have been lazy. But at the same time, it just seems like I have an awful lot to DIGEST. But even that doesn't seem to really put how I feel into words. Perhaps its something that just can't be explained. After all, I am a female, and we don't always make sense.

Which is to say, I sorta feel like I'm struggling with writer's block.

A large part of it is probably that I just have too MUCH time on my hands, which allows too much thought. Only one more week to go anyway, and then I'll be back to busy, with classes starting and work stepping up.

But life is complicated, no matter what, especially when there are adjustments to be made. I remember my friend Marian, when she was dating Andy, talking about single people (of which I was at the time) and the misunderstanding (or forgetfulness) they have - that relationships are sometimes as much of a struggle as singleness and that it is certainly more hard work. (Or, she said something of that nature anyway.) The quote above is from my ellipsis-happy and capitalization-impaired friend Trey, whom I was talking to earlier today, and was of great encouragement to me. (Thanks, Trey, and I hope you don't mind I used your words here.)

It's wonderful having Tim here, by the way. It really is. Today was a beautiful day, and we decided to meet up in the park to get some reading done. There are few things more pleasant and comfortable than reading a book on your grandmother's quilt in the park next to someone you love. (At least, until the sun goes down, and you're left remembering one of Scotlands weak points: heat.) And due to a washing machine, I was about an hour earlier than Tim was to the Park. He kept me updated, but I kept expecting him to walk up the hill...and he didn't...for ages...

I was annoyed (not at him, but in general) til I realized what a blessing it was to be able to care about someone enough to have SUCH expectation, just to see him. And we see each other nearly everyday.

But while expectations and love and admiration and respect and honesty and trust are all included in this, and are all blessings in their own GOODNESS... it's a job and a half to adjust to a serious relationship. Granted we were a "special case" and so that may or may not have made our adjustment harder. But there's a lot of pressure - from inside and out - to get things all figured out and sorted. Which is funny, when you think about it, because we are never really going to get ourselves - as individuals - sorted and figured out during this life.

The blessing comes when you realize this, and choose to love from the love that God has granted to us. He knows each of our weaknesses and faults better than we know them, and yet he loves us completely and unconditionally. And that, to me, is a huge and sobering thought. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 Jn 3:1)

And so. I'm realizing that perhaps I'm way more screwed up that I'd like to admit. But I'm also realizing that everyone - Tim, parents, friends, not-so-friends - in my life is there for a reason, and that those people are a part of the process God working both in me and through me, to make me holy, and to bless others through me.

I had a rather odd thought today....I'm pretty good at being a single person. I don't/didn't really mind it. (I say that because I'm technically still single, because I'm not married.) I mean, I can kinda entertain myself. I've known people who really NEEDED to have someone around ALL the time and have gone from boyfriend (or girlfriend) to boyfriend. As much as almost everyone wants someone to love and love them....I've never really felt that "desperate need", maybe because I didn't date much in high school anyway, so never started that ball rolling. Or because I'm still only 22. It's AMAZING having Tim, don't get me wrong. But I think its more amazing because its HIM, not because I have someone around.

So at first, the thought was a bit scary. "Maybe I'm not supposed to get married?" (Fleeting, since I definitely feel called to be a mother, and those kinda go hand-in-hand...) "Maybe I'm more suited to the single life?" Upon further reflection, I think that being content in singleness, while by no means being a prerequsite to being a relationship, can be a good and healthy thing.

And you know, its nice to find good and healthy things in my otherwise screwed-up-ness.

But oh how blessed I feel, even in my screwedupness. I really do. I feel blessed that I'm learning so much, even when its so very hard. I feel blessed that I am so loved by my Father. I feel blessed that I've managed a newfound desire for the Scriptures, which I've been lacking for a good while. I feel blessed that I am loved DEARLY by so many people - even those who are closest, and who know my secrets and who know my failures, those like Chrissy and Tim and Ruth my family.

To feel redemption and hope in the MIDST of brokenness....that is a true blessing.

Michaela @1:16 AM :: Comment

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

You know you're a theology nerd when....

....You stay up til 2am reading about Dispensationalism and Preterist and Amillenial Eschatology.

....And actually find it interesting.

(In my defense, the only thing on TV is "Evita".)

I'm actually looking forward to classes starting in two weeks. What's gotten into me?!

In other news, why is it that almost ALL Christian theological web pages (with some exceptions of course) look horrible?! (The easy answer is that they are usually made by people interested in theology rather than in web design, but that's NO EXCUSE!) Seriously, stop using GeoCities, people. We don't need twirling cross graphics or Don Moen songs playing in the background. I promise, those things are not making your page - whether they are doctinally sound or not - more attractive. Not that you people read my page anyway.

Michaela @2:06 AM :: Comment

Monday, September 20, 2004

Now don't start THAT again.....

My good friend Trey is a very funny man. He thought these up all by himself....and I ripped them off...because I thought they were funny.

Titles for Harry Potter books that you wont see...

Harry Potter and the Burning Sensation
Harry Potter Learns Golf and Becomes Harry Putter
Harry Potter and the Porcelain Throne
Harry Potter becomes Mary Potter
Harry Potter and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat
Harry Potter Gets Contacts and Realizes the Value of a Decent Haircut
Harry Potter and the Temple of Discrimination

Michaela @11:13 PM :: Comment

Saturday, September 18, 2004


I'm fairly sure that we have a mouse in the house. (Again.)

He keeps leaving little "presents", despite the fact that I've been keeping the kitchen relatively clean.

Whatever you do, don't tell Ruth.

Michaela @9:40 PM :: Comment

Friday, September 17, 2004

Auld Reekie

You know, as much as I HATE McEwans beers, the brewery (which lies, incidently, across the street from Tim's flat), along with the Caledonian brewery makes the city smell LOVELY when the wind is blowing in the right direction.

Ahhhh yes. The smell of Edinburgh.

Michaela @1:55 AM :: Comment

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

And this is an art that I know by heart...

Two days of being sick following the weekend away have been kinda good for me. I needed some time to not do anything, and besides setting up the new site and coughing my brains out, along with some breaks to watch The Blues Brothers with Tim and go to eat, I've not done much. (As the overflowing dishes in the kitchen can attest to. That said, I've gotten caught up on laundry.) I often need time to let things soak in, and I often learn things after reflection. I'll try to not be too forthcoming here, so as to embarrass Mr. Goldsmith, but my favorite posts by Kari are the ones where she's most honest about her relationship with Mike, so maybe there's a bit of room to stretch here too.

Weekend away type things can make or break you as a couple, I figure. Or figured. In a sense, I don't think we ended up with either. But I do think that I learned a lot....or at least came to a better understanding of things I might have known.

Things I learned:

1) Boys will be boys.

I learned that if there is a mountain, Tim will want to climb it, and if there is a waterfall, Tim will want to swim in it. I like this about him.

2) I am not always pleasant.

I was telling another friend not long ago, that one of the harder things about being in a relationship is that you find your weaknesses completely exposed, as if for all the world to see. This can be a great thing, since many of us - especially me - lie to ourselves about our weaknesses, or just plain ignore them. But it can also be difficult. I've never been a hugely insecure person, though like everyone I suppose I've always been more so than I let on. The complexities arise when you find someone who does love you, weaknesses and all, but you now see yourself differently, weaknesses and shortcomings exposed even to yourself. So in spite of this love, you end up just as insecure, if not more so, than you were before. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

Perhaps insecurity isn't the way to look at things. Maybe its humanness. It's in these types of things that I can see how our earthly relationships were made to be a shadow of our relationship with God. In God, we find unconditional love, from the One who indeed knows us better than even we know ourselves. And yet he loves us better than anyone ever could, with a perfect love. Knowing this, I see more clearly my shortcomings in loving God, and working at that relationship, and I find myself more in awe of his grace.

In both, I end up with thankfulness. I'm thankful - so much so - that Tim has chosen to stick with it for the time being, even when I'm a childish brat, or picking petty fights, often because of my own lack of grace or patience or trust. By the same token, I'm thankful that God has chosen to love me unconditionally for eternity, in spite of my own lack of grace and patience and trust and just about everything else that is good. All that is good in me is from Him.

3) Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecc 4:9-10)

One of the highlights for me this weekend was walking up the Pap of Glen Coe. At the time, it was tiring and frustrating. In a sense I felt like I'd lost that fearlessness (and fitness) I had when I was a kid, when I wouldn't have had to step so carefully as to avoid mud or mess, when I would have trusted (for good or bad) my own balance and strength and stamina. I also get frustrated when Tim bounds up so far ahead of me on the path, leaving me behind. By the same token, he gets frustrated at how slowly I go. (For the record, this happens even when we're simply walking down the street, its not just up mountains.)

As the time wore on, I got a little less frustrated at his going ahead of me, and he made more of an effort at times to stop and wait for me. But all in all, what mattered is that without his being there, I simply wouldn't have had the desire to keep going. At one point, we hit what we thought was near the top, but ended up being a false summit. But at that point, it seemed very tall and very steep, and there was no path. I wasn't sure I could actually go much further. Tim said I could wait here, but that he needed to go to the top (or, what we thought was the top then). And I did know that he NEEDED to. I followed anyway. And I followed up the next false summit, much further than I thought I could go, pushing through near-tears at least two points.

The point is that he didn't try and psych me up or tell me I was a trooper or call me "Champ" or anything of the sort. He led by doing, and that made me want to follow as far as I could have.

4) Homesickness and contentment are not mutually exclusive.

I've not lived at home in over four years. Nearly all that time I've lived overseas. I don't often get very homesick, the kind where you get a twang in your stomach and a heartache. But on the few times it has come, it comes for no reason at all, really. It's usually a combination of many things....

On our drive home, we were in a mellow mood, having just left Edradour Distillery, making our way through the Speyside region, where the hills are lower, but still lovely. The countryside was covered with rain and mist and grey, which made them actually a lot more beautiful than I'd previously noticed. (Though Tim pointed out that the fact that we didn't have 10 teenagers in the back like we did last time might have also had something to do with it.)

It was the perfect weather for some Nickel Creek, but Tim beat me to the punch, by putting on his iPod to play some Jake Armerding, and mentioning that he thought that I'd like him. It was completely surprising to me, as it's just not the kind of music Tim tends to listen to....a bluegrassy, singer-songwriter type. He doesn't dislike it, but I tend to love that kind of stuff. It was all quite perfect, so much so that it almost hurt. In order to get a glimpse of it, I suggest you download his beautiful song, "Color You In". Now imagine that alongside misty purple/grey mountains, a touch of rain, and a person you love in the seat next to you. Getting the picture now? I was, above all, content.

At the same time, I felt the twang of homesickness. And I'm not even sure that it was a homesickness for the States, as much as it was for a time when things will be that beautiful and perfect, and will continue to be, for Eternity. It seemed quite close to heaven.

Except that I hope heaven is a little warmer.

Michaela @1:51 AM :: Comment

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Oh, and welcome to the new blog.


Big mondo thanks goes out to Paul at Wiseacre Design.

Michaela @1:43 PM :: Comment

Further Down the Road

It's already late again by the time I'm getting around to this, so I may not be able to finish up here, but we'll see how things go. I'm doing a more chronological run-down, but Tim has gone into some greater detail (and from his POV of course) over on his blog, along with a few photos, so be sure and visit him over there (site).

Where was I....ah, Glenbrittle. Isle of Skye.

Yeah, so we loved the hostel. Then again we probably would have loved just about anything that was an improvement on the Glen Coe youth hostel, but either way, it was nice. (In other news, I've realized the term "youth hostel" is a bit of a farce, really. They should be known as "cheapskate/poor people/student hostels", as I was seeing loads of folk over the age of 40 around. Not that I minded of course....they're groovy too, usually keen hikers and hill walkers. And by keen we mean SERIOUS and DETERMINED. They read maps to their children when they were growing up, I'm sure.) But a series of fourtunate events (there was only one other female staying there at the time, and she was part of a couple, so they got their own room...we got the girl dorm) we ended up with a split room (wall between us) room to ourselves, and since neither Tim nor I snore, that made for a heckuva better nights sleep.

We woke up to some crazy wind and rain though. I had to shut my window, it was so bad. However, it wasn't all bad, since it managed to keep Tim from climbing that scary mountain, and we'd planned to spend some time at the Talisker Distillery, which is a good indoor activity, we thought.

But before that, Tim had a job to do.

As much as Tim is a man who wants to climb a mountain if he sees it, he also wants to jump into a waterfall -freezing or not - if he sees it. This was his Mission of the Morning. (Shame I didn't come dressed for it, but you know SOMEONE had to take the pictures. Ahem.) And so, what was a beautiful flowing waterfall in front of our hostel the night before was now a roar of white water. But this did not dissuade him. No sir. In he went. For the record, I have a HILARIOUS photo that I'm sure few people will ever see that does in fact give the correct impression of the effect of the cold on Tim - the look on his face was priceless. Alas, he has control of those pictures. ;) I do kinda wish I had done so as well, but I'm not THAT broken up about it. But he was happy he did it.

Soon enough we were on our way to Talisker. Now, I'd heard a lot of good things about Talisker (single malt whiskey), so I was really looking forward to it. Sad to say, it was kinda a bummer. I wasn't impressed with the whiskey itself, to start with. Besides that, the whole process seemed very impersonal, and it was obvious they were going for quantity over quality. And we had to pay 4 POUNDS to take the tour. Our thoughts are that the product should sell itself, man. (And it didn't, which would explain why they had to charge I guess.) Tim walked away without even buying a bottle, which is rare for him.

From there, we drove to Portree, which is the biggest village on the island, and made our way to Dunvegan Castle, Clan Seat to the MacLouds. Another slight disappointment, especially for the price (6 GBP), as we probably only got to see about 1/3 of the actual place, the rest of it being closed and still in use. (Which is uncommon, actually.) The best part was the gardens, which I would easily recommend, but even that was less than desirable, due to the sour weather. (My shoes were introduced to more mud.) But they were really stunning, I must say. And The Walled Garden was like walking right into The Secret Garden, somehow fulfulling a long-standing childhood wish!

Then there was more driving, this time to Loch Ness, in search of Nessie, with a stop at another famous castle of which I forgotten the name - only for a short walk, since it was closed. I've not felt wind like that in a very long time though, so that was interesting. And I won't tell you what Tim did there.

So Loch Ness. I liked it. It's very pretty. The hostel there wasn't as "nice" (by that I mean a little more "cheap") but it was a pleasant stay, with a BEAUTIFUL window view onto the Loch. We did our best to look out for Nessie, but we didn't catch a glimpse. (I do however, have a friend who claimed, in all honesty, to have seen her. Scouts honor.) Drumnadrochit and Urquart Castle were nearby. We were in complete awe at the lighting of Urquart at night, on the way to Drumnadrochit for a chippie. The plan was to get some food and find a good place to sit and view it at night, but they make that nearly impossible, so we had to wait til the next day. And the chippie there was crap by the way. Don't eat there. They even make you pay extra for brown sauce. What kinda place is THAT?!

It's also a VERY touristy town, with Loch Ness Monster exhibitions everywhere, and tourist shops, and extremely overpriced cafes and resturants. Besides all this, its a nice little town.

The next day we paid MORE money to go to Urquart Castle, which was so touristy and slightly kitch that I felt like I was at Disneyland in a way. We were fighting German touists at every corner. The views were nice, but we could have gotten those pretty much for free. By this time, Tim and I were realizing we were getting "castled-out". We've seen at least 5 castles now, (not including a few I've seen without him) and they start to all look alike. Hey look, its another stone thingy that used to do something. And it IS amazing, but its just a little less amazing the 18 billionth time. (Or even the 6th or 7th time.) Besides, Historic Scotland is making a KILLING off us.

From there, it was on to Inverness, and we started our way back home to Edinburgh. We just did the same drive last weekend (from Aviemore) with the youth group, so we were kinda bummed that we couldn't take another way, but we just didn't have the time. We stopped in Pitlochry, a town I quite like even if there are too many tourists. We found a tea shop I like for lunch, but for some reason (probably the cold) the outside tables weren't decked out, so it wasn't as nice. And the food was just average this time, where last time I REALLY liked it. (Except the Millionare Shortbread was still really good.) I hate when you talk something up as being great, and you take a friend, and then it turns out to be NOT great that time. They just make you look kinda stupid.

Ah well.

So on our way down, we'd been searching for another distillery to visit, and we were getting met with closed doors, it being a Sunday and all. Dalwinnie was out, as well as most of the Speyside region. So we didn't have huge hopes set on Edradour Distillery, one we saw on the map outside Pitlochery. But it proved to be a definite highlight.

Not only was it open, it was AWESOME. It was a beautiful little place. And I do mean "little", as it touts itself as being the "Smallest Distillery in Scotland" producing less than 70 casks a week, if I remember correctly. (They do in a year what the big places do in a week.) They do all their work by hand, instead of by computers that you often see in other distilleries (like Talisker), and only three men actually work there to produce the whiskey. And Tim was more than happy to see the Clan Campbell tartan just about everywhere, as it used to be owned by a Campbell, and retains its heritage. Needless to say, many photos were taken, and Tim left with two bottles (a 10-yr single malt, and a bottle of creme liqueour, since he knows I like Bailey's so much), a glass, a keychain, and a mail-order form! Both of us were more than satisfied with a happy ending to our weekend.

Now, I do realize this (along with the last) is much more of an information post than one that tells much of the real story, of impressions and memories. But I'll save that for tomorrow. I'm feeling really unwell, so plan on not doing a lot of moving tomorrow anyway. I'm about to go enjoy newly washed sheets in my familiar bed.


Michaela @1:02 AM :: Comment

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Highlands and Islands

Now, for once, I'm going to try and beat Tim to the punch here. He's been a lot better these days at updating, and has been quicker than me. But tonight he's (I'm assuming, at his flat) sound asleep, resting up for his first day at his new job at the Radisson. He's up at 5:30am ...ick. But he's glad to have a full-time job, and this one seems to suit him. was a really nice weekend. Long though, because I feel like we did a lot of stuff in that amount of time. We'll take it by days....

Thursday, Tim picked up the rental car from Thrifty, and we were off to the races...stopping, of course, at Ikea first. The man was in desperate need of sheets, a duvet (doona, for you Aussies) and a chair. He got all of the above. Now one thing I do like about Tim is that he gets excited about little things. So from then on during the weekend, he had those new bed covers and his new reading chair to look forward to! By early afternoon though, we were on the road, with a strange deja vu back to March, and our road trip with Dave and Chrissy.

It was a pretty drive. We only got lost (my fault...and Mapquest's) once! And it was a fairly pretty drive anyway. And I did end up catching my mistake. We stopped here and there for a photo or two, and to stretch our legs. As we got further north, up into Glen Coe (website), we found ourselves repeating over and over: "THAT is pretty", which seemed rather trite for the amazing mountains and valley's we were seeing. I was feeling bad for being able to view so much, while Tim had to drive the whole time (I couldn't drive the rental since I'm under 25). We didn't get to Glen Coe til nightfall, so it was getting a bit late. And then it took us over an hour to find the actual hostel. That wasn't fun. But the good news is that that was probably the worst bit of the weekend. And it wasn't that bad.

And the end was capped off by a stunning view of the stars that I hadn't been able to see since I was on the Doulos. It's just never clear enough in Edinburgh.

Sad to say though that neither of us had a restful night of sleep that evening. We were both in large dorm rooms, and everyone was asleep when we got in - making things difficult in the dark to scramble onto top bunks, into inner sheets and get situated. And somehow a guy ended up in my room, which I found odd. But he was asleep at 8pm when we first came, and still asleep when we left the next morning at 8:30, so just as well.

But man, it was miserable. Two girls snored LOUDLY in my room. It was steaming hot. I was on a top bunk. The matress wasn't great. It all left much to be desired. (Tim will tell you about his experience, which was similar.) AND I left my favorite alarm clock there! I'm bitter.


Friday was a pretty great day, I gotta admit. It wasn't always FUN, but very worthwhile. Tim really wanted to do some serious hiking, and I was up for it. Though I really had no idea what I was getting into. The Pap of Glen Coe (website...the Pap is the pointy one on the right middle side of the photo) is apparently a popular hike, so after breakfast in Fort William, and with a little needed info, we made our way to where the path started, about a half mile away from our hostel. It starts off nice enough, on a big gravel road. Then we run across the REAL path - straight up. Tim turns around: "You ready?" Course I suppose I had to be, didn't I?

So up we went. I didn't find it easy at all, to be honest. I'm fairly unfit, and this proved it. Plus...the guy told us it was "a little muddy" at parts, but I had no idea I'd end up sunk into mud halfway up my calf, in my new(ish) New Balance shoes! (Though the good news is they seem to clean up nicely.) Tim is naturally a faster walker than I am, and I struggled to keep up. The really disappointing part was, though, not one false summit, but two. Tim was pretty disappointed that we didn't have time for him to make it all the way to the top, which I understood. As for me, I was just proud of myself, having made it as far as I did (if only barely, and there's no way I could have gone much further, even with more water). Though I would have liked to have made it to the top, I'm afraid a bit more training will prove useful for the next time.

The view was stunning though. If I had any breath left by then, it would have been breathtaking.We were blessed with beautiful and sunny - close, even, to hot - day, and I even said then to Tim, that it may be one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen with my own eyes.

So I made it down in one piece, even though I was muddy and dehydrated, I wanted to do a little dance. I refrained, however. (We were a funny pair, him being bummed at not making the summit, and me just glad to be alive!) From there, we spent a few minutes rehydrating and getting unmuddy at the hostel, and we were on our way in the car again. (Thank goodness for CD players and iPods!)

Through Fort William, we were off to the Isle of Skye. We made the last ferry from Malliag in time, and hit the island. I think I have to say I was maybe a TEENY bit disappointed in Skye at the beginning. The mountains are pretty, but very barren, which I wasn't expecting, I don't think. I was a heckuva lot happier, though, when we found our beautiful little hostel, in Glenbrittle, in the middle of nowhere, but in stunning scenery, complete with its own waterfall. (I will let Tim share about the waterfall. That one is all his. ;) ) Tim looked at the VERY high and steep mountain next to us and declared he wanted to climb it, to which I declared in truth that I would be scared pooless if he did so. (He ended up not being able to, due to the weather the next morning.) We went inside to find the hostel was really as nice inside as out, with a nice rustic log cabin feel to it. (And it wasn't very busy, which was a plus.)

Okay now at this point I'm going to have to call it a night, even though I realize I'm not even halfway through the weekend. I'll finish up the story tomorrow (this is already pretty long), or Tim may even beat me to the punch. He took some amazing photos, too, which he will post shortly I assume.

As for ME, I am in desperate need of sleep!

I need a vacation to recover from my vacation!

Michaela @11:57 PM :: Comment

Thursday, September 09, 2004


I meant to get you caught up this week, I really did. Last weekend's Weekend Away with the youth group (up to Aviemore) was fantastic, and went really smoothly. Hurrah! The bad news is that Tim and I are about to leave for a loverly weekend in the Highlands and Islands, so I'll have to tell you all about both when I get back. In the meantime, you can be entertained by Tim's photos of last weekend on his website. And there's sure to be more to come from THIS weekend!!!


Michaela @11:06 AM :: Comment

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Nightmare Before Labor Day/School Daze

Man, I had such a scary nightmare last night.

I dreamt I was back in high school.

Seriously, is there ANYTHING SCARIER!?!

It was the first day of my Senior Year....but of course it didn't even look much like my real high school, and as far as I remember bears no similarity to my actual first day of my Senior Year. I remember a few peripheral people that I knew in school being in the dreams (the ones you probably couldn't actually place, if you saw them at the grocery store), but not really any of my actual close friends. Though I do remember seeing a guy named Ted, whom I had a crush on in 8th grade, and never went to my high school (we went to middle school together...and sat next to each other in art class....oh the swoon!). I remember thinking it had been AGES since I'd seen him. And there were TONS of ROTC students, or our school had merged with a military school or something. Kinda weird.

But what was REALLY freaky was all that uncertainty that comes with school, all the way right up to your Senior Year, even when you rule the school. You don't know where all your classes are or what routes you will take across the sprawling building, or if you will be with your friends or if you will like your teachers. It's seriously frightening. I can't believe that we subject our own children to such fear! Not that we have a choice of course. I mean, its real life. But STILL.

I'm so glad that's over.

Speaking of schools, I think I failed to mention me and Tim's recent trip in KC to visit my old elementary school, Muncie Christian School. I had heard nothing about it, nor had I been to visit in at least six or seven years. From Kindergarten to half of 6th grade, I spent on the hollowed grounds of Muncie, in Kansas City, Kansas.

And so I almost BURST into tears when we drove up to find it completely abandoned and overgrown with weeds.

First of all, you don't really think that your elementary school will be gone before you are even 23 years old. That's one of those things you deal with when you are 78 and read in the local paper that they are razing it in order to build a new MegaBowl. So I was counting on a few more years to get used to the idea. I mean, I knew Muncie always struggled financially, but to just close? And it looked as though it had been closed a few years. That was what was REALLY see my old playground (not a single piece of equipment had changed....the entire playground still made of piping, hard metal and all proper playgrounds SHOULD BE!) completely overgrown with WEEDS!

Over there, under the slide, was where we used to dig holes to pretend it was stove and play house!

And over there, on the field...that was where I caught the ball in kickball, not knowing that was an out (yay!) but being happy indeed to have impressed Joey, a big fourth-grader that I had a crush on.

And over on the hill was where that scary 6th grade girl first told me what condoms actually were. ("GROSS!") Needless to say, my mother was unimpressed with this (true) story and went straight to the principal to let them know what was going on in their playground.

And there, near the window to my old first grade classroom (Miss Francis!) was where Mr Mesler, a high school teacher, used to teach me long division and multiplication. On my recess time. In first grade. I loved it. (Miss Francis and Mr Mesler got married a few years later by the way. CUTE!)

It's amazing, the amount of memories I still have of when I was so young. And most of my memories are good ones. Though maybe you tend to want to forget the bad ones: getting teased for being too tall or being ignored by the boy you liked or even by your "best friend" whom you even swapped those little split-heart necklaces from Claire's Boutique. This was back when I LOVED school, because it came so easily for me, and because I was known as the smart one AND the sporty tomboy, which was fine by me. Most of the time.

Tim and I parked in the lot overgrown with weeds, right in front of the broken basketball goal. We looked in the windows, and I pointed out (as he patiently listened) where things were...those were the bathrooms...that was the office...and the nurse....the gym was through there......I remember waiting on this porch every single day for Mom to pick me up from school.....

We walk around and run into a woman, who says with a slight annoyance: "Can I help you?", with a slight southern tint commonly known as the "WyCo White Trash" accent, since we were in Wyandotte County. (Hey, I can make fun, I are one.) I explained I used to go to this school, and all.....

"Oh, they didn't CLOSE, they just moved to another building."

"REALLY?!" I said, with probably a little too much excitement.

She went on to try and tell me where the new one was located. I thought I knew where she was talking about, but in the end we couldn't find it, and we needed to get back home before it got too late. But one day soon I play on making a trip back out there, to check on things.

So I'm glad there is still a Christian school around in My Old Ghetto.

And that my childhood isn't COMPLETELY overgrown with weeds.

Michaela @1:10 AM :: Comment

"In the city you will find that the poor and the broken are often much, much more open to the idea of Gospel grace and much more dedicated to its practical outworkings than you are." (Tim Keller)

"Always On Your Side" by Sheryl Crow