Saturday, December 31, 2011

Edinburgh Castle, Part 2

Lookie here, I'm back with the last post for 2011.  As promised, today I've got pictures that Mom took at Edinburgh Castle.

This is the top of Royal Mile; if you turn around the castle is right there.

And here's what I looked like taking pictures all day.  I know my hat is goofy-looking, but a.) I like the bright colors on it and the pompom, and b.) it kept my ears toasty.

Here we all are, just about to go into the castle, except I think maybe Lee sprinted on ahead since he's not in the picture.

I thought this was a nice picture of the parental units; this was taken up on the battlements.

And then Mom took one of Missy and me : )  I have a bit of hat hair going on...well, hat hair combined with wind hair.  I'd French braided my hair that morning but so many wispies had escaped by lunchtime that I took it out and went back to a standard ponytail.  'Cause I'm sure you're interested in my hair.

Oh look, it's a butt picture!  Except Bennet, since he's getting his picture taken by Missy.

Hehe, here's Lee's butt again; not sure what Dad's doing but I thought it was kind of funny.

Edinburgh Castle is also home to the Honours of Scotland (the Crown Jewels) which are older than the English paraphernalia because the Scots were quick to hide their jewels from Cromwell, who melted down the English Crown Jewels.  You go through an exhibit to get to see the Honours and the sign said no photos, but a bunch of people were taking pictures so Mom did too.  I didn't, I'm a good girl.

This thing was kind of cool; it was a procession of figures that started out as flat paintings and as you move along the line, they gradually become more three-dimensional.

It's like they're walking out of the wall, huh?

This shows King James IV receiving the new sword of state in 1507 at nearby Holyrood Abbey.

The scepter dates back to 1494, but King James V had it lengthened in 1536.  Maybe he was having a contest with the English monarchs as to whose scepter was longer...

And there's Mary, Queen of Scots, shown as a 9-month-old baby which is when she was crowned.

I don't know who this lady is but I liked her sheer little shawl thing.  She looks pretty severe; I'm getting kind of a Jane Eyre vibe off her.

This scene shows the Honours being smuggled out of the castle by a pair of women to keep them from being melted down by Cromwell and his men.  I don't remember who the women were and my exhaustive two minutes of Googling hasn't turned up their names either so they shall remain nameless for now.  After we went through the exhibit, we got to see the Honours of Scotland in person, but of course you can't take pictures in there and they had a castle employee standing guard to make sure you didn't.  But you can see bunches of pictures of them here and I got myself some postcards with photos of them.

I think that dude on the left was in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which was in fact filmed in Scotland.

Here we all are in the Great Hall, which is decorated with lots of weaponry because that seems to be the thing to do in a castle's Great Hall.  I love how Lee and Bennet are pretending they don't know they're having their picture taken.

Hey look, it's another butt picture.

Holy smokes, here's proof that Salazar Slytherin was from Scotland!!  Aaauughhhh!

Last photo for the day, Missy and I walked into the little alcove to get out of the wind and cold while everyone else was taking a potty break.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I'm glad I didn't arrive on the scene until *after* indoor plumbing got popular.

So that's all she wrote, for now anyway.  I just made a pan of brownies (more so I could eat brownie batter than the brownies...don't judge) so I've just totally negated my kickboxing workout today.  But I'm going to go chill out and watch some more Lois & Clark.  Hope you have a great New Year's!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Edinburgh Castle, Part 1

Been slow with the blogging lately but I figure most people are still so busy with holiday stuff that they're not online as much as usual.  Which is good, because it means that they're spending time with other people face-to-face (at least, I hope so).  But I'm back today, partially because it's been a while but mostly because I'm procrastinating about doing my workout today.  I've started P90X (again) and today it's yoga--and I don't like yoga.  All those stinkin' push-ups hurt my wrists.  And my balance ain't the best.

But that's neither here nor there.  Let's get on with the pictures, shall we?  Another reason it's taken me a while to post more photos from my parents' and Missy and Bennet's visit is that there are so MANY to go through, it takes almost an hour to pick out pictures for one blog post.  And I don't even have Bennet and Missy's yet.  So today I decided to just share the pictures from my camera; that seemed easier to me than trying to put up pictures from my camera and Mom's and get them in chronological order.  So here we go, Edinburgh Castle!

We took a taxi to the castle right after we had breakfast at Sainsbury's, which is a British grocery store chain.  The stores usually have a cafe too, and breakfast there was cheaper than at our hotel and it was really good, too.  I've developed a real taste for English Breakfast tea and of course, what's not to love about scones?  Probably why I need to work out more often, but I digress.  We got to the castle right around the time it opened, so while there were some people already milling about it was nowhere near as crowded as it got a bit later in the day.

I took pictures of several monuments just outside the castle; Lee really liked this shot.  The sky in this one makes it look like we're about to get drenched, but surprisingly, I don't think we got rained on hardly at all that day.

Teehee, I took a butt picture!  Which is funny to me because MY butt isn't in it.

Still outside the castle; this is one of my favorite pictures from the day, is that weird?  I like the warm colors of the wall and the rust against the cool gray of the sky, and the juxtaposition of different textures and stuff.  I don't know, every once in a while I just get a picture that really appeals to me and this is one of them.

Those are the Scottish Royal Arms displayed over the main entrance to the castle; the red lion is on my address labels.  The Latin motto means "No one attacks me with impunity", or to put it another way, "Don't no one mess with me, dude!"

There was a statue on either side of the main entrance; this is the one to the right as you're facing the castle.

Kind of a view of the courtyard area once we entered the castle proper.  Skies are looking more blue, huh?

Mom, Dad, Missy and I did a short little battlement walk which had some great views of the city.  Edinburgh Castle is up on Castle Rock (obviously not the same Castle Rock as is in Nottingham) well above the elevation of the rest of the city.  The city used to be even lower than the castle, but the current buildings are built over the top of the older city; we did a tour of the underground city later on this same day.  More on that later.

Bennet and Missy are checking out the cannons; Bennet is pretty much in the center of the picture with the bright red hat and the blue jacket.

Another view of the city from the castle walls.  I took the pictures through an opening in the wall, so I was kind of surprised how well they turned out.

More city stuff.  The dome is the East Register House, according to the guide book.

Hey, I know those people!

I know them too : )  We waited for several minutes but the dude right behind Missy just would NOT move out of the picture.

This is inside St. Margaret's Chapel, built in the 12th century by her son, King David I.  It's the oldest building, not just within the precincts of Edinburgh Castle, but the entire city of Edinburgh.

The stained glass was added in the 1920s.

One of the windows depicts St. Margaret herself, although I didn't get a picture of it, and this one is William Wallace.  The picture is a little bit blurry; hard to get a good photo of stained glass especially without a tripod.

For the past few centuries, Edinburgh Castle has been used more as a garrisoned fortress.  This is the dog cemetery which holds the tombs of the dogs who were unit mascots or belonged to the officers living at the castle.

Kind of a cute picture of my parental units : )  I haven't read all the way through the guide book to know where we were when I took this though.

Another coat of arms from somewhere else in the castle...I wanted to read all through the guide book before posting but it took a long time just to get through the pictures so whatever.

How lucky are we, blue skies in Scotland!!

Mom and I walked around a corner to take pictures of this side of the building and the wind funneling down through there was just incredible.  I felt like I was going to fly off like all the nannies at the beginning of Mary Poppins.

The unicorn and the lion are on either side of the entrance to the Scottish National War Memorial.  The guide book says it's a unicorn anyway, though it looks like a horse to me; nevertheless it's always a lion and a unicorn in the coats of arms.  I first saw this one from the front side of it and it looked like the unicorn had its hoof up to its nose to stifle a sneeze or something, I didn't see the shield until I got to the other side of it : )

And here's the lion.

One last picture for today, this is the statue that's to the right of the entrance to the castle, this was the last picture I took as we were leaving.  So I'll be back at some unspecified date in the future with Mom's butt pictures from Edinburgh Castle.  Ta-ta for now, peeps!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Annual Christmas Card

I'm pretty tired right now, thinking about going to bed soon, so I'm sitting here eating a cranberry white chip cookie and drinking a Coke.  Hey, the new diet/exercise regimen starts tomorrow ; )  Anywha, I figured that now would be a good time to share this year's Christmas card:

I made these using the Stampin' Up stamp set Bright Hopes from the holiday mini catalog.  I think the cards turned out okay, but they didn't really strike me as spectacular or anything.  Oh well, can't win 'em all.

I had to make a Hanukkah card to send to Sarah and her family, and since she loves polar bears using this stamp was a no-brainer.  I really liked this one, but no way would I have watercolored 50 or so cards to do this for Christmas was fun to do once, but I imagine the fun would wear off around card 3.  I put some Stickles on it for snow.

I found myself in need of two more really fast Christmas cards today, so I looked through my scraps and pulled out the stripey piece and paired it with one of my super-simple go-to layouts.

This was a really fast book of cookie recipes I made for my friend Renee.  It's a 4x6 picture book that was only $3, so I just picked some bright colors to kinda go with it and made it really simple.

The front page is the only one that has any patterned paper on it other than the window in the front cover.

And here's one of the inside pages.  I don't have 24 cookie recipes so I only used the right side pages; I picked out four colors of cardstock and just typed up the recipes and cut them out on regular printer paper for the insides.  That part was easy too, I just made two text boxes that were 5 1/2 inches tall and 3 1/2 inches wide, and then I was sure that the recipes would fit when I cut them out.  Some of them were really short but I didn't have enough time to really make this a big project, so I kept it super-simple.

Well, I'm off to bed.  I want to get up kind of early tomorrow to get started with my workout schedule...I'm going to give P90X another hack and see if I can give up Cokes and not eat so much sugar.  The sugar part will be easier once I give away all the pumpkin muffins and cookies in my kitchen...I got like 10 giant cans of pumpkin puree before Thanksgiving (I have hoarding tendencies, hey, they don't stock that stuff here year-round) so I thought I'd try out a few recipes for pumpkin muffins.  If there's any interest, I can post more about the search for the perfect pumpkin muffin recipe at a later date.  For now, I'm going to bed.

Merry Christmas, y'all!