Saturday, 20 December 2008

Pre-Christmas Update :)

I've been a horrible blogger lately and have completely neglected this space! Sorry to everyone who normally reads- I'll try to be better.

There has been so much going on it's not even funny sometimes and it feels like I barely have a second to crawl into bed before I am having to shut the alarm off and get up for work. We've been busy little bees but I think our efforts are paying off.

Let's see, the last time I updated was Raime's birthday (holy cow- it's been almost two months! How bad am I?!). I had a blast on my birthday, it was definitely an eventful weekend. I'm pretty sure Jamie had a good time, and I definitely realized how lucky I am to have such a great group of friends here. I should have updated then, as I would have had a lot more stories to tell you then I'm sure.

I've been working like a mad woman, but I love my job. I'm the Admin Co-ordinator at Raeburn and I really enjoy it there. The people are all fantastic and I'm busy pretty much all the time (I have yet to run out of stuff to do and I haven't even picked up all my workload yet!). I've already been to our company Christmas party, which was a blast... it's so interesting to see some of the people who are so professional at work let loose and become more like their normal selves outside the office! I really have nothing to complain about at all which is great! I only wish there were more time in the day to get everything done!

Aberdeen Scoobies is doing really well, we have our Santa Cruise tomorrow. I cannot wait! We raised a little over 3,500 this year so I am very proud to be a part of the group. We are doing well in setting up the charity and I'm really looking forward to what we are going to be able to accomplish next year. I'll post up some pictures probably when we get done with the cruise so that you all can see the kids/presents we bought for them, as I can't wait to see all their faces! (we raise money throughout the year to buy presents for the sick children's hospital here in Aberdeen).

Nic and I were invited to join Deeptrek recently, so we are really excited to be a part of that as well! For those of you who haven't heard me ramble about how excited I am about it, info about us can be found at http://www.deeptrek.net. Nic and I are so honored to be able to be a part of the organisation and can't wait to really make a contribution to the group.

Let's see... what else is new. OH- watch this space because I will be posting pictures of Nic with his Christmas present soon. I am so excited about it and will explain why I'm excited at a later date I'm sure. WOO HOO!

I think that's pretty much it... I will post again soon, but if I am lazy and don't post until after Christmas, I wish you all the best and most Merry Christmas possible. I love you all and will be thinking of you :)

Friday, 7 November 2008

WOO HOO!

I was called back at about noon or so today and the offer was good so I took it! YAY! I will finally be working like a normal person again! haha. I enjoyed my time temping, don't get me wrong, but I'm so glad not to have to worry about finding another job for a while... PLUS I get to settle in somewhere and really get to know the people there. It seems to be a great place to work. I've already received two e-mails from girls at work (one from the lady I interviewed with at first, Lora, and the other from Lynsey- my temp recruiter) saying they look forward to seeing me on Monday. YAY. Lora is pregnant and is going to be going on leave in April. I'm glad I'll already be familiar with two (three if you count Dianne, the director) girls there.

Anyway, I thought I'd update you all before I head out to Dunc and Laura's for tea and some catching up before the meeting.

I hate waiting...

So this morning I was walking through the kitchen to get my morning cuppa and I noticed that the little red light was flashing on the phone. This usually means we've missed a call, sometimes there's even a message. This time there was two missed calls and two messages. What?! I was home all day yesterday- AND I had the phone with me for most of the day as I was waiting to hear back about the interview. So as I go to listen to the messages, I find out they were at 6:46 and 6:48...so basically someone called during the 5 minutes I had left the phone downstairs to go up to put on socks. Damn cold feet! The first was from Cris (Nic's mom) and the second was from Dianne (with Raeburn). ARGH! She said they wanted to make me an offer- YAY!!! but that she'd be out of the office Friday (today). So, now I'm sitting here waiting for a few more days possibly... when in the message she said she'd like me to start Monday if I accept.

So... now I wait. I wait to find out what they are offering pay wise, which position they are offering (the one I actually went to interview for or the higher one...) and for her to call me back to discuss it. I hate waiting.

I called them this morning (a few minutes ago) and talked to Lora about how to get in touch with Dianne if she's out of the office and she said she IS reachable, and that she'll pass on the message to call me at home today... so hopefully I'll know what I'm doing before the weekend.

I'm actually excited, and am hoping that I have reason to be.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

MY BIRTHDAY!

My birthday is coming up soon (it's the 29th of November) and we had made plans with our AS group to go to the club's Christmas Do (gathering if you will..) that night and then go out on the town afterwards. I was really excited about it (and still am!) as I get to spend time with a lot of my friends here...

Well... Now I'm even more excited, as Jamie (my best friend for the past 23 years or so) is coming to Scotland for my birthday! How great is that?!

Bonfires, Covershoots and Interviews... OH MY!

This past month or so has been pretty busy for Nic and I but that's not to say that it hasn't been fun! We've met with our AS (Scoobie) bunch several times, had friends over, taken pictures for the Calendar that AS puts out for charity each year, had our Guy Fawkes Day bonfire with the neighborhood (and Stavros and Fiona too!), and I've attended an interview for a job I kinda hope I get!

I'll start out with the Bonfire... Every year on the 5th of November (Remember Remember the 5th of November) everyone here celebrates Guy Fawkes Day. To give you a brush up on your history, Guy Fawkes was the guy who tried to blow up the parliament building in the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. You are supposed to burn an effigy of Guy but I haven't ever seen that happen. Instead, everyone just gathers around a massive bonfire and eats/drinks and catches up on each other's lives. Last year we were still at the Pitmedden Hotel and got to see some fireworks and that was about it. This year, we got to attend our neighborhood bonfire (everyone carts ALL of their boxes and tree clippings etc from the WHOLE year down to a specific point and we burn it). Everyone was a bit dissapointed with the size of it this year (except Nic, Stavros, Fiona and I... it looked massive to us!) because apparently the past two years it has been almost double in size! Here's a picture of it halfway through (so imagine it about a third bigger before in the beginning).


And here's one of our neighbor Mike lighting one of his flares (he really really loves flares!) to add a bit of orange smoke to it to make it feel more like Halloween. The kids liked them, but I think they liked the fireworks more!


Last Sunday we went to take pictures with some of the AS group for the cover of our charity (Santa Cruise) calendar. We had an ok turnout this year, although there should have been more. We started out with 15 and ended up with 14, as someone had to leave to go offshore! That's alright though. Here's one of the pictures... If you want a calendar (they are 10 pounds each... but 100% of that goes to the charity, as we had the cost sponsored) let me know. Nic and I share a page with Duncan and Laura (it looks great though!) and we are on the cover as well... Ok, well... our car is on the cover! haha. In this picture, our car is on the back row, second car.


We had a bunch of people taking pictures for us so there should be some really good photos from that day, they were taking it from the hill on the golf course. I was going to go up there but some golfers were about to tee up when I was going to go so I had to stay on the side the cars were parked... You can see Nic's shadow at the bottom- haha quality!

Let's see... Yesterday I went to an interview with Raeburn (which is actually one of the temp agencies that I was using to find temp work!). They are looking for an admin so I went to go interview for that position. I sat and visited with the ladies for about an hour and a half and they ended up saying that I'd be better for the role above the position I was interviewing for (for the manager of the admin department basically...) So they are now considering me for that role. I'm really actually pretty excited about it, and if it's offered to me I'll probably take it. Well... as long as they offer the right salary! haha! We'll see how that goes. I do have blisters on my feet from walking to the interview from Stavros' flat (it's .8 miles there and .8 back and I wasn't wearing my nice heels) though so if I do get the job I'll have to remember to bring my trainers everyday!

I think that's about it at the moment... I have to go make lunch, as Nic should be here any minute!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

A little bit closer now...

Today we move our clocks back an hour for daylight savings time so we are officially only 5 hours ahead of those of you in Texas! Woo hoo! I could have really used that extra hour the past two weeks or so when I was always on the phone to my insurance company, but hey- I'll take what I can get now!

We FINALLY got our insurance adjustment back and can now move onward with the repairs on our house in Houston. What a relief! They are covering pretty much everything which is a total blessing... I really had a bad feeling that they were only going to quote us half of the amount that the contractors had given us bids for. They actually have given us more than the original bids were for, so that makes me feel really good about getting things done right. Now all we have to do is figure out how to deposit the check! Ha! I will say that my Mom has been an excellent helper though all of our issues (she deposits all my checks for me and pays my paper bills with pre-signed checks that I've left with her). I'm not sure what I would have done without her help, she's a lifesaver!

Friday was my last day with Ipedex and to be honest I'm a little sad about it. I'm not going to miss being bored at work (I usually finished all my work by 10!) but I will definitely miss the people there. They were really sweet and I've really grown quite attached to them... I am probably going to have massive withdrawls from the work banter and the cups of tea . I am supposed to go to lunch with them on Friday though, so it won't be too long before I see them all again. In the meantime, I'm back on the job hunt for a new challenge. I'm going to be picky so I'm not expecting anything right away but I'm hoping it won't be too incredibly long before something else comes up. I'm really used to going to work again and I am not sure what I'm going to do with myself until I find another job... oh wait- yes I do! I am going to clean my house thoroughly, as it needs it! I think I'll also spend a day or two with Laura and Ella and hopefully get some AS (Aberdeen Scoobies) charity stuff set up for next year. I also have a few books that I've purchased and haven't had the chance to read yet (like 2 or 3), so I want to get that done before I go back as well. Fable II just came out as well, so I'll have a good time playing that while Nic is at work (since he won't let me play while he's home!!).

Anyway- our Tea is about ready so I'm going to go eat... I'm looking forward to enjoying the little extra bit of closeness with you all though (at least for a week until you all set your clocks back next Sunday!).

Saturday, 4 October 2008

It's time

Ok, so I finally have a second and can fill you all in on some of the stuff that's been going on over here. We haven't been home a lot lately so this weekend we've decided to take it easy and relax a little bit.

I guess I should start with the camping trip since that was like two weeks ago and I haven't really said a whole lot about it. We had a FANTASTIC time, or as I've been trained to say here... it was ace! haha. We started out the trip in Aberdeen and drove up towards Inverness and then around to Fort William. The drive was absolutely beautiful (or should I say bonny) and we stopped pretty often to take pictures and look around the little villages. We didn't quite have the turnout that was expected (originally like 16 of us were supposed to go) but we had a blast anyway and I'm almost glad that we had a smaller group. It ended up just being Nic, Me, Duncan (Dunc), Laura (Dunc's wife), Tracy (T), Stu, and Shona (pronounced Show-na). Anyway, the banter was so funny and now the bunch of us have quite a few inside jokes that are making people who didn't go jealous (love that!). We'll definitely be going next time when the trip is supposed to follow the coastline. That should be pretty too! I've put all of our pictures in an online album, you can go see them here: http://s371.photobucket.com/albums/oo156/jen-alvarado/ . We almost got kicked out of the campsite because we were being too loud (we really weren't we were being quieter than some other groups) but it ended up just being funny because the guy running the site was too full of himself. How are you going to expect "absolute silence" at 11 anyway?! ESPECIALLY when the pub on the campsite (yes, you read right... there was a pub on the actual campsite) closes at 11. On the way back from camping we all stopped by the largest gondola in the UK and took a ride up to do some sight seeing. We had lunch up there before heading back down the mountain and getting back on the road home Oh, and I almost forgot- we found an awesome deal and got some sunglasses for 50p! (they were originally 9 pounds, so hey... that's pretty good!).

Ok... so that was the weekend before last, we can move on to last weekend I guess. Last weekend we went to the Colin McRae Tribute Rally and had an amazing time as well. We got to see many of the rally drivers we'd only seen on TV before and probably won't ever see again since they were only there to show their support for Colin and his family. For those of you who aren't into rallying (which I assume most of you sadly aren't), Colin was the world rally champion and is one of the best drivers in rally sport. He is like the golden boy for Subaru and he just so happens to be Scottish. Anyway, in 2007 he died in a helicopter crash (he was trying to take off right by his house with his 5 year old son, his son's friend who was 6, and a family friend when it had a mechanical failure). This rally was put together to remember just how amazing he was and so a lot of the stars of the rally circuit were there to put on a good show (including his brother and dad). We found ourselves an excellent spot to watch from, right at an "s" curve on the 5th stage. We were kind of bummed because we only got to see about 15 teams go by before Jim McRae (Colin's dad) lost control of his porche and went off the road. His car then caught on fire (he and his co-driver were fine and got out ok)... they were going to re-open the stage when one of the fire trucks that was trying to come put out the fire got stuck (who's bright idea was it to bring a fire truck to an off road rally?!) and they ended up having to cancel the stage. We still had a fantastic time and won't ever forget it. We definitely got our exercise as well, as we had to walk about a mile and a half uphill from the car to our watch post. Again, we were in good company because we had a few members from Aberdeen Scoobies come along with us and we met up with a lot of the SIDC (Subaru Impreza Driver's Club) members there. After the rally we went to dinner with Imy and Grant (from SIDC) which was nice... we had a good time visiting with them and the food was good. After that we caught up with the other Grant (also from SIDC... we call him RS Grant) to take a look at his Spec D (it's a "discreet" STI).

I guess that brings me on to the next topic of discussion today... The car. We've been struggling to get by with only one car, as Nic has to be late to work and then leave work a little early to pick me up and drop me off. Not to mention the one day a week that we eat lunch together, he has to take a little extra time for his lunch break... so he's been missing out on a bit of work time because we have to carpool. Because of that, we've been looking around at other cars. We've gone to look at about 3 (an STI, a WRX and another WRX but in wagon form). We had reasons for not being completely intent on any of those (the STI was a little flashy and had racer boy seats, the first WRX wasn't good value for the money as far as miles/price was concerned, and the wagon's brakes were SCARY and it wasn't as clean as we would have liked). Then we checked out Grant's Spec D. I think we both are in love all over again. It's an STI (which means more horsepower...) but it has leather seats, sat nav, a built in tracker, nice wheels, etc. Grant has taken great care of it and is selling it due to the fact he's going back to school and taking a break from work. Anyway... we are pretty sure we are going to buy it from him :) This makes both Nic and I VERY excited and we can't wait until everything is settled. So expect info a little later about our other new addition to the family, a sister for Lexi, haha.

I guess I should also talk about the damage to our house in Houston. We've been in the process of getting estimates from contractors with our property managers (who have been absolutely amazing...), and dealing with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster came and did his inspection about a week ago and everything was going well... then right when he was about to submit his report, our renters found more damage with possible mold on it in one of the closets. Soo.... he had to come back out there again on Wednesday. We should get the new report from him on Tuesday or so of next week, so hopefully that happens and we can get going on the repairs. Our renters have decided to opt out of their lease (we gave them the option to either have free rent and stay somewhere else until the repairs are done or get out of the lease with deposit and September rent in hand). Because we don't know how long the repairs will take that's probably the best option for them to take and we wish them well. We should get the bids from the contractors by Monday, so we're a little anxious to see what they are thinking in regards to cost/repair time. Either way, the insurance company is due to cover everything, including the loss of use (so rent basically)... which is a definite blessing.

Let's see... I can't remember what else I was going to mention except that Nic's Mom is coming for a visit in about a week (well... a week from Monday), so that will be nice. She's going to be here for a week. Nic saw her while he was in Houston for the DIF Conference, but I haven't seen her since they came in May, so it will be nice to see her again.

Oh, we've caught up on movies this past week- we've been going every day pretty much so that we can see them all before they are out of the theatre... We saw Taken, Righteous Kill, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Death Race, and that's all I can think of at the moment. I'm missing a few though I think. Taken was my favorite of that group, but I really liked The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as well. Nic didn't like it as much as I did, but that's partly due to the fact that there were a few improbabilities in the story. Righteous Kill was also good, how can you not like a movie that has Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in it! Death Race was entertaining... I think that's the only way I can describe it.

Ok, that's all I'm going to write for now (like that isn't enough!)... I have to get ready to go to the movies and lunch with Bob! YAY! He's back in town until tomorrow and then he won't be back until the 11th! OOOH that's what I was going to talk about... The expedition. I don't have a whole lot of time to talk about it though so I'll save it until next time.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Wow...

Ok, so I know I've been horrible and haven't been posting lately, but so much has been going on I think most of you will understand. Let's see... there's the damage to the house in Houston, the camping trip, the rally, the car, and the expedition to talk about! That's a lot of catching up to do... unfortunately, it's 10:24 and I have to go to bed for work tomorrow! I will post soon and get you all up to date. I promise. ;)

Saturday, 20 September 2008

AAARGH!

I'm losing my mind...

We are going camping to find it.

Be back Sunday night.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

We don't like Ike

We got news yesterday that our house was damaged by Hurricane Ike. Our renters tried to stay at the house but ended up having to leave on Saturday due to some damage to the roof of our house. Nic and I are bummed and it's definitely hard to see your house like that and not be able to do anything about it. Our Realtors are awesome people and are already on the ball (I'm not sure why it's underlining some and not other bits, and I'm too tired to figure it out...). We have already started the claims procedure with our insurance people, so hopefully everything will be fixed soon! Anyway- here's pictures so you know what I'm talking about (remember the carpet was new, the paint was new... etc).
The above is the right side tree in our back yard...
This is the same tree, but from the other side. The poor thing got torn apart.
Here's pretty much the only part of the fence still standing.
Here's part of the roof that will need to be fixed. This is the back of the house.
Here's the fence, or what used to be the fence. The little girl's power wheels made me sad...
Here's the tree on our gutters (that we had just fixed!)
Here's more branches
This is one of the bedrooms, I'm not sure which one exactly. The renters tore up the carpet so the house wouldn't stink and it was sopping wet (I have AWESOME renters!)
Here is the hallway that leads to most of the rooms and the hall closet.
Here's another room... again, not sure which one.
More roof damage, this is the right side.
Here's the back fence.
This is the left side of the house, it's not too bad.
This is the ceiling that leads to the hallway I think.
Here's one of the door frames. I'm told that all the doors don't close anymore.
Another door frame.
And one more for good measure ;)
This is another problem with the roof, I think it's on the back. I don't know.
Here's pile of shingles from my house... These are just the ones that were on the ground on the side :(
Here's the carpet from one of the rooms.
Here's the big ass hole on the side of my house... Yay for the renters putting up a tarp to protect it!
One of our tree/bushes fell over :(
Another spot to fix (obviously on the front of the house).
Here's some branches they collected.
Here's the side yard... you can see the tree/bush (I dunno) that got uprooted.
This actually isn't my fence, it's my neighbors but I thought I'd add it in anyway.
Here's just some debris...

Anyway- I'm off to work, I'll post more later. I'm glad everyone is safe!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

This is the life!

Nic and I have been having a great time lately... we've been busy, but we have been enjoying it.

I have now been working for about two and a half weeks and I am so happy to be doing so. It is so great to be contributing and doing more than just housework. It was a great experience but I'm certainly happy to be back in the working world. It definitely helps conversational matters some around here... I think Nic is happy to have a break from hearing about what happened on Desperate Housewives and my woes with the washing machine. At least there are some interesting stories to tell now. This week at work is going to be a little bit crazy for me seeing as there will be only half the staff (literally) in the office. I already have stuff sitting on my desk waiting for me... it's been on my brain since Friday. Oh well, it will get done when I get there.

Nic is due to have an interesting week at work as well... he is renewing his offshore certifications this week. He had his physical on Friday and is doing his survival courses Mon-Wed this week. It's pretty much the same as the last time he did them in Louisiana, only they are supposed to be a little bit harder for the North Sea than they are in the Gulf. For those of you who didn't hear about it last time he did it, basically it's a course on first aid, safety procedures etc. and includes an almost amusement park-ish ride in a crashing helicopter. They strap you in the helicopter and then dunk it in the water and you have to get yourself out... a few times. I think it would be really fun, but it's practical too. At least now I know that if the helicopter were to crash (God forbid) he'd be able to get himself out if he was still conscious.

Let's see... what else are we doing? Wednesday is our meet night with the Aberdeen Scoobies, and then this weekend is the camping trip with the same crew. We are still really looking forward to that- especially since now Ian and Jacqui have offered us their tent! We had left ours in the storage unit in Houston and were planning on buying a cheapy one here... but now we don't have to! YAY for great friends. We went out with them both Saturday and Sunday (Saturday was Ian's birthday) and today (Sunday) we met them in town for tea (dinner). They are really fun to be around and we always have a good time. We also walked around town a little picking up little things here and there (like cookware for the camping trip).

On another note- my grandparents got the internet this weekend! How exciting/cute is that?! I'm so proud of them for trying new things and am glad to have another way to communicate and keep in touch with them now.

I just heard the dryer buzz so I'd better switch over the laundry- it's been a busy week and the clothes have been piling up. I still have two more loads to do before bed and haven't started ironing yet.... I'm dropping the ball.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

In need of a little shut eye!

We have been staying up too late too often recently and my brain is starting to take notice. I'm thinking really slowly today and it takes me twice the time to do pretty much anything. So, if I'm not making sense don't hold me to anything... I just thought it was time for an update.

Work is going really well. I like my new job a lot and have really settled in. I'm actually not really doing what they hired me to do, as now I've been trained in a different position basically which is fine by me. This way I'm busy all day and I'm not bored or shredding papers like I was the first day. They've already asked me if I can stay on longer (as I was only supposed to be there until the 24th of September) but now I'm there until the 24th of October. The operations manager (Sharon) is having a surgery done, so I'll stay on while she's on medical leave to help get stuff done. It's all good, I really like the people there so it isn't a problem. There are only a few of us in the office (Amii, Sharon, Mandy, Fiona, Linda, George and myself). We have a good time while we are working and it's been nice to make some work buddies.

Other than that, we've been going to movies and hanging out with people. Last Thursday we hung out with Stavros, Fi, Cameron and Lisa. Friday it was the Fugro bunch (about twenty people from the office)- as we went out to dinner and then to a few pubs. Saturday it was Stavros, Fi, Ian, Jacqui and Allert. Sunday we relaxed at home a little bit and caught up on the laundry. Monday and Wednesday we hung out with Bob. Today we had dinner with Miller and Trevor. I am really ready for a relaxing weekend with minimal activities since we've been packing everyone in and staying up late every night. I think Tuesday was the earliest we went to bed and then it was 12:30 or so. Other than Tuesday, we haven't gone to bed before 1:30... and since I am now up and getting ready at 6:30 it's getting to me.

Let's see.... OOH! We are going to go camping on the 20th and the 21st with the Aberdeen Scoobies (the subaru club here in Aberdeen). I can't wait, neither can Nic. We are going to do a nice drive each day, then camp at night. The first night I think we are staying somewhere Fort Williams, which is beautiful. I am really excited about it... not only to meet all the new people that we have kind of gotten to know on the forums, but to see more of beautiful Scotland. I'll definitely bring the camera and be taking pictures.

Ok, it's now ten till 9 and I'm exhausted so I think I'm turning in for the night.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Ah, the working life...

I haven't updated in a few days... perhaps that's because I've actually been busy! Wednesday I was called and offered basically two different positions (both temporary, which is actually what I want so that I can see what I like to do best). The first position was developing Power Point presentations for company who had some bids accepted and needed the proposals/plans put into presentations for their clients. I passed on that one... while I know how to use Power Point rather well, I wanted more variety than that. The second was in an administrative role for an oil company recruitment service. I decided to go for that one and so far it's been good.

I started working yesterday (Thursday) morning and the job ends the 24th of September and I'll find another placement. I'm working for a company that basically gets a bunch of CV's for people with experience in the oil industry. We then reformat those CV's in a specific way and load them onto a database. That way, other companies (they serve a lot of companies... from Oceaneering to BP to Technip etc) can post a job, search within the database for people with certain qualifications, then contact us regarding them for more information. They come in and do a pre-interview (if they are here, otherwise they go to another office) and we gather and check all their references. What I do is answer phones, format all the CV's that are sent in and send them on to the proper recruiter, handle the mail, file documents, update the database, order supplies, reply to applicants, check to make sure the CV's are current in the system, and make sure all the applications certifications are current. Yesterday they had several CV's for me to do and I finished them all by lunch time... only a few extra trickled in the rest of the day so I was out of things to do by 2:00. I was asking everyone if there was anything else I could do and so I was sent to shred out of date paperwork. I have like 3 more boxes to shred when I get done with all my other stuff today, which isn't so fun but that's ok. I swear they are the most staple happy people I've ever seen. It seems like whoever was working on that stuff back in 03 (that's when the stuff that I'm shredding is from) double stapled EVERYTHING, and felt that each receipt had to be attached to the paper with it's own staple... so it makes for a tedious job pulling them all out before I can actually shred the document.

It's good to be working again, I wish it was a busier place (haha, I'm sure I'll regret saying that sometime), but I like it. The people are all nice and it seems pretty relaxed there. Today (Friday) we are going to have a pizza party for one of the girls who is leaving to go back to France and it's casual Friday so I get to wear jeans. I like that.

I'll update more on it later, I have to go to work :)

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Interviews...

So it turns out that I still know my way around the Microsoft packages. I was a little concerned when I found out that at the two interviews I had (today and yesterday) they were going to be testing me on my knowledge of Word and Excel (and questioning me on Power Point). I haven't used Excel really since, oh I don't know... maybe 2005. I hadn't used Word really since I graduated (2007) and I was feeling a little rusty. However, everything went wonderfully and I was worried for no reason. I only missed one question (out of 60, thank you very much) and I think that was due to the fact that the mouse kept getting stuck down and it wouldn't let me paste correctly on one question before it moved on to the next one. Either way... I'm ok with that. Then the lady laughed at me for apologizing about my typing speed (I'm really used to my awesome keyboard and was a little annoyed with their sticky and loud keyboard). She said she had never had anyone apologize for "only" typing 71 words a minute with 100% accuracy. I guess that's the perfectionist in me. If I was given the opportunity I'd be all over taking the test again. I'm a nerd like that.

The interview part went really well for both places, I really liked both of the women who interviewed me. Maybe it's just because I haven't interviewed in a while or maybe it's due to the fact that I just really wanted to meet new people, but I wasn't nervous at all like I usually am when I'm at an interview. I went in feeling confident and had a great time. I wish all of my interviews that I've ever been to were that easy. What I liked even more was the fact that I didn't feel like I was trying to sell myself, which is one of the things I hate most about interviews. I think I owe a lot of that confidence to Nic. I think because I don't HAVE to work because he provides for me I don't feel the pressure that I once did. In the U.S. I had to have a job to make things work, we both did. Here, it isn't that I necessarily have to work to make ends meet, it's just to make things easier. I think that has really helped me feel better about looking for a position because it isn't a make it or break it situation (if that makes sense). Here, I can be picky about finding something that fits my personality. I like that a lot.

Because the first two interviews of the week went so well, I don't think I'll be going to the last one (at the bank). I'm going to call them tomorrow morning and tell them that I can't find all the paperwork that they requested (which is the honest to goodness truth...) and to remove my name from the list of interviews on Friday. Part of this has to do with the fact that I don't feel like I'll be happy there. I first thought I would be because I love helping people with their finances and I like to be around people. Now, the more I think about it, the more worried I am that I won't like it... partly because you have to try to sell the banks services (travel insurance, car insurance, savings accounts and cds, etc) and I'm just not a pushy person. I just can't bring myself to become what Raime and I call a "bank bitch" because it seems like everyone who works as a teller for a while becomes hardened and mean. And lastly, I really think they are extreme with all the documentation they need and how they won't work with you on anything regarding that paperwork. I understand that they have to be more thorough with their applicants than most places because they are a financial institution, but I still feel like a thorough background check and calling references would be enough.

Anyway, I have the opportunity to work at a place in Westhill (which unfortunately is 28 miles away) starting Monday, but I think I'm going to wait and hear back from the first interview to respond to the offer. The position in Westhill is a project administrator (basically an admin to a group of people in the office) and seems like it would be perfect for me. It looks like the pay would be good (they haven't set an official number yet) and the job description they described would be wonderful. I just really don't want to travel that far. With us only having one vehicle, it would really make things difficult and I don't want to drive almost 60 miles a day... been there, done that. Is commuting distance really a valid reason to turn down an otherwise great opportunity? I don't know. It's definitely something to think about.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Our Clever Boy...

Abraham is a very smart dog... I've always known this. What I didn't quite realise is how far he would go to get what he wants and how sneaky he could be. I received a phone call from Cris this afternoon to fill me in on just how clever my dog is.

Friday morning she went out to feed him like normal. He was in the back yard, waiting for his food and everything seemed normal. Today (Saturday) she went out to feed him again and he was missing. It's pretty scary when you think you've lost someone else's beloved pet (as both sets of our parents have found out thanks to Abe) so Cris and Tony drove around for a while looking for him. They drove around the neighborhood, to the park down the street, to the houses across the ditch, and even to the pound... all with no luck. So they returned to the house and started to work on printing up flyers. As the first flyer was finishing printing a neighbor showed up to say that they had Abraham in their backyard. What's interesting about this (as he is often in someone else's backyard) is that they claim that he was there since THURSDAY. The family has three teenagers and a dog of their own, so Abe was getting a lot of attention and a different option of food. Cris walked over to their house to make sure it was Abe (since she knows he was at the house on Friday and they say he was in their backyard the whole time). Turns out... my baby has been playing some people. Big time. He has dug holes in the back of Cris and Tony's house and in this other family's house as well and has been going back and forth as he pleases. He comes back to Cris and Tony's for food and such, and then goes to the other family to play with their dog and play fetch with the girls... I think it's halarious. Tony has patched the holes in both places and they are watching Abe to see if he's going to attempt to do it again.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Coming home early?

Nic might possibly have the chance to come home early (I'm hoping that he does)... as he's just about wrapped up everything he needed to do in Canada. He's thinking about catching a different flight home (that leaves tonight at like 6 something) and getting home tomorrow instead of Sunday. I would LOVE that, this house just isn't the same without him. As much as I enjoy reading all day, sleeping without someone saying I'm a lazy bum, and watching all the chick shows that I want on TV... I'd honestly rather suffer through Star Trek with my husband by my side.

As for Nic, he's been really busy this week but it seems like he's been having a pretty good time. His trip to Canada went smoothly and he was in Galveston before he knew it. The conference went well, and he got a really good look at the OI4 vessel, which is a nice added bonus. He got A LOT of work done, which is great and got to spend time with people he wouldn't have had the chance to otherwise. He's bringing home some equipment for Jay and is excited because as a thanks for doing so Jay is going to give us a few private Scuba diving lessons. I'm really excited about that, not only because I want to learn to scuba, but because it's with Jay and I can't wait to hear all his cool stories. I'm hoping that Bob will join us and that would just make it perfect! Anyway- other than that, he got to spend some time with his family too which is good. He also made it over to the house and the storage unit and managed to grab a few things that we have been wanting to bring over (some movies, robotic stuff, and 360 games). Cris bought some towels for us too and another bathmat thing for the bathroom, so that was nice.

I really can't wait to see my husband again.

***EDIT- Yay! Nic gets to come home early! He'll be here at 8:40 in the morning and I can't wait. He's a little perturbed at the moment due to the airline people and their baggage restrictions, but other than that I think he's happy to be coming home early too. He's already had to pay $50 or something to bring an extra bag on the flight to Canada because apparently Continental only allows one check in bag now. What the heck? Since when did they only allow one bag? Now he's trying to figure out ways to cut down some weight because to get on the next flight on KLM he has to cut back 8 kilos or he'll have to pay another $50 for that. He's really irritated, I don't blame him. Airlines are getting to be so picky about baggage and it seems like the customers are really paying for it. We'll see if he can cut out the extra weight, but I don't know where he's going to pull it from... all his bags are right on the edge of being overweight since he's carrying all that gear and stuff from home. Regardless of the fees, I'll be happy when he's back. I've already ironed all his dress clothes (except what he has in his bag of course) and done all the dishes. I'm in the process of washing the sheets and cleaning the kitchen and living room. The house should be all fresh and clean when he gets back... maybe that will help him forget his traveling troubles.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I Spoke Too Soon

So apparently all I have to do is open my mouth about not getting enough feedback to bring in e-mails about work. I now have two more interviews (a lot changes in 12 hours...) for next week. I have one Monday at 1:00 and then one on Tuesday at 1:30. I'm hoping those two go well and that I won't have to go to the one Friday. We'll see though. I'm starting to feel better about it and myself for that matter... I was starting to get a little worried that something was wrong with me (or my CV). I guess that's what happens when you don't work for 10 months. Geez... It's hard to believe it's been that long.

On a side note: the harr (sea mist/fog) is incredibly thick and has been for the last two days or so. You can't see more than 10 feet in front of you sometimes... it makes things interesting I guess. I feel like I'm in a sci-fi movie or something. Nic was laughing at me for not going anywhere, even though I have Sexy Lexi all to myself this week, I told him it was because I don't really trust myself when I can't see the end of the car. If I had the camera I'd take a picture of it (Nic took it with him to Canada) to show you all how wacky it is. I can't even see my garage.

I'm hoping that it clears up this afternoon sometime, I need to go get nice paper to print my cv and stuff on and some more yogurt... I flew through the package that we bought Saturday. It's this really good yogurt that is plain but has a fruit compote in a seperate package (but still connected if that makes sense) that you mix in yourself. I like it because that way you can decide just how fruity your yogurt is. It's quite nice. My favorite is the cherry kind.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Busy as a Bee

I've decided that I really want to start working again. I'm looking forward to doing something (anything) outside of the house. I've been submitting my CV to some places that I think I might enjoy working at and have had a little feedback so far, although not as much as I'd like. I have an interview with the Royal Bank of Scotland on the 29th, although I must say I'm not thoroughly excited about that one. I thought I would really enjoy working at a bank at first, especially considering my love of all things having to do with personal finance, but I have changed my mind about that after all the hoopla that has come with securing an interview. I've already had my phone interview (which included a competency quiz where they put me on the spot and had me do "maths" in my head) which I did well in. Now is the face-to-face interview, where I have to provide proof of EVERYTHING I've been doing over the past 3 years. I mean everything. They want pay stubs from the first and last three months of each of my jobs from the last three years (who has that?!), a bill from each residence I've lived in (do they know how many times I've moved?) and proof of what I've been doing, even when I haven't been working. This last bit has really thrown me. I told them that I haven't been working since October of 2007. They then asked what I had been doing- I replied "being a housewife while I waited on my Dependant's visa". They thought that was ok, and said I could prove that by bringing in my unemployment claims. That's where the problem lies... I'm not claiming unemployment (isn't that a good thing?!). The lady sounded shocked when I told her that and replied with "how have you been supporting yourself then?" in which I replied... "my husband pays the bills and supports me financially". This didn't satisfy her and she said that I would still have to prove what I've been doing. How exactly am I supposed to prove that I've been a housewife? Does she want my journal excerpts? I have no idea what I'm going to do there... and she said if I didn't have every document they required (including the "proof"), they wouldn't be able to continue with the interview process. What a pain. SOOO.... I'm looking elsewhere. The problem with that is that finding a job as an administrative assistant is proving to be less than easy. Apparently I have "too much experience", whatever that means for any receptionist job because I understand how to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. I've been looking at jobs as an administrative assistant or personal assistant lately, we'll see how that goes.

I'm not giving up on teaching, just taking a hiatus from it while I'm here since I'm not certified here. I would go back to school for that here so that I could teach, but because we aren't residents here we don't qualify for the free education that the Scottish Universities provide their residents. This means that I would have to pay international rates (think roughly 16,000 pounds for the year which is 32,000 US dollars). No thanks... we probably aren't going to live here forever so I don't think I'm ready to dish out that kind of money when I've already paid more than that for my degree at home.

Nic is in Canada and is doing great on his trip... he'll be heading to the Deepwater Intervention Forum's Annual Conference tomorrow. He'll be there until Friday morning when he'll return to Montreal and then fly home to me on Sunday (well, he leaves late Saturday and gets here Sunday morning). Everything is going smoothly so far, except his taxi drivers haven't exactly been the best lately. When he arrived the first taxi took him to the wrong airport and this morning he had to call two before one showed up to take him to where he needed to go. I think he's regretting not renting a car there, but everything should be good. He has to leave the hotel bright and early tomorrow morning to make his 6:00 flight, so I hope they are on time tomorrow.

I've been reading quite a bit (when I'm not at the grocery store or looking for a job), which has been nice. I am currently reading "My Life With George", which is a book about a woman who's husband has died so she got a dog to make her life (and her young son's) less lonely. George is their dog (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) and is quite a feisty little animal. It's been pretty entertaining, though I'm looking forward to the other books I have planned for this week.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Olympics Maniac!

I know that every four years I get a little obsessed with the Olympics, but it seems like this year has me even more wrapped up in them than usual. I'm guessing it's because I'm not working and it brings me some excitement. Either it's that or the fact that I'm completely amazed by some of the Olympians and don't want to miss anything major. I have been rooting (and by that I mean screaming at the TV like they can hear me over there) for Michael Phelps (and who isn't?!), Aaron Peirsol, Katie Hoff (who has kinda bummed me out a little, but is still doing awesome), Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte, Larsen Jensen, Rebecca Adlington and of course David Florence. I'm trying to cheer for team GB as much as the good ol' USA but I am still VERY biased towards the US... You have to be amazed by them. Watching swimming lately in the games has really made me miss the pool and I wish that I was still actively swimming. I can't wait to watch the next few races for Phelps, he's amazing and I know he'll do well. What I'm really getting geared up about is the fact that the Olympics are coming back to London in 2012 and I am totally going to be there. I can't wait.

Nic is getting ready for his trip next week, I'm still waiting on him to send me his flight arrangements so that I can get everything else prepared. So far all I've done is laundry the past few days. I've been feeling yicky the past week or so and have just been camped out on the couch (yes... watching the Olympics- how convenient) drinking tea. I really need to do a thorough cleaning of the house but I think I'll save most of that work for when Nic is gone so that I'll have more to do (plus swimming will be over by then- so sad).

Monday, 11 August 2008

The new addition to the family...

Ok, so last time I posted I mentioned going to look at a car. We did go test drive that one, but it just wasn't for us. It didn't have enough power for Nic and it was much smaller than I would have liked. It only seats 4 and the boot (or trunk in the US) was teeny tiny. You could maybe fit 3 grocery bags in there. Maybe. So we passed on that one, but we are very happy about that.

We did find the car that we wanted. For those of you that really know us well, you'll know that we had a 2006 Subaru WRX in the states that we absolutely LOVED. Her name was Roxanne (we called her Roxie) and she was beautiful. Nic and I were both really happy with her and it made us really sad (I cried) when we had to sell her to move over here. We have missed her a lot (especially since we've been driving the ghetto volvo) and decided that we needed another one. So, on Friday we bought another 2006 WRX (only this time it's the SL version). We named her Alexandra (we are calling her Lexi or Sexy Lexi). She only has a little over 4000 miles on her so the turbo isn't even fully broken in yet. The guy who owned her before worked offshore and was never home to drive her around. She has a performance package installed giving her more horsepower, better exhaust, an STI wing, short throw shifter, etc. She also has leather seats, a sunroof and an immobilizer installed. We're two happy campers. We have been out driving around the past few days and I haven't really been home to update you all, my apologies.

Here are some pictures of her for your viewing pleasure... I'll post more when it stops raining.





Today is the first day that Nic is taking her to work, I think he's a little excited to not be taking the volvo anymore. We traded the volvo in and they gave us 360 pounds for it, we were really excited about that. Considering we paid 600 pounds for it about 9 months ago and now that the door won't work and the brakes are going bad, I figure we came out ahead.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Pains, Planes and Automobiles...

We think we may have found a car... we'll go to test drive it tomorrow. It's a 2004 Citroen C2 1.6i 1g V GT. In English, it's a cute little black 2 door hatchback. It only has 38,500 miles on it and has only had one owner. We'll see if we like how it drives tomorrow, but as for now it has the thumbs up. I'm happy because it's fairly cheap, gets GREAT gas mileage (40-50 mpg), is in excellent condition, and is small. Nic likes it because it's fairly cheap, has a little spunk (compared to the other cars we were looking at and the good ol' volvo), is little, and doesn't look half bad. I'll tell you all how it goes after we test drive it. We would have gone to test it this weekend but had some scheduling conflicts with the owner and so we opted for tomorrow night.

Meanwhile... I'm not exactly sure what I did, but I must have done something to aggravate my back. I'm hobbling around like I am 102 or something. It doesn't matter whether I'm sitting down, standing up, or laying flat on my back... it doesn't seem to be too pleased with me. I took a hot bath earlier today and that made it happy while I was in the water, but then went back to aching again as soon as I stepped out. I think I may go get an ice pack in a minute to put on it.

Nic is doing well, he's been busy at work. He's getting ready for his trip to Canada in a few weeks and then his trip to the States immediately following that for the DIF annual conference. He should have a good time on the trips, but he'll be super busy too. I think he's trying to cram too much in to such a little time (he'll be gone a week total), but he thinks he can get everything accomplished so I guess we'll see.

Ok... I'm off to make an ice pack.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Officially Scared!

Today I had the pleasure of speaking to a woman from the DVLA (think of the Scottish version of the DMV in the States) about transferring our driver's licenses over. Since the UK doesn't have any sort of relationship with the US as far as driving is concerned, we have to do the whole test and such to get licenses (or licences here...) here in Aberdeen. I was curious just what that entailed and got the lowdown today from my friend Louise at the DVLA. I am now officially scared to death that I'm going to fail. I've had my license since my 16th birthday and I have always been a pretty confident driver. I enjoy driving quite a bit and have done my fair share going back and forth between Texas and Washington State twice, as well as carting around the kids at work. Nevertheless... I'm terrified.

We have 12 months to apply for a provisional license from the day we entered here (she couldn't quite clarify if that meant we had 12 months from October- when we first got here or 12 months from June- when we got our visas). Before the 12 months are up, we have to apply for a provisional license (which costs 50.00 pounds or $100.00) and schedule our driving tests. We have to take two tests: Theory and Practical.

The Theory portion of the test is 30.00 pounds ($60.00) and is in two sections. The first part is 50 questions in 57 minutes based on the highway code here. They don't mess around on that part... you have to get an 87% or above to pass... that's 43/50 or better. Then there is the hazard perception bit. This is pretty hard from what I've heard. Basically they show you little film clips on the computer and there are little hazards hidden that you have to click on with your mouse. You have to click on at least 44 of the 75 that you can see. From what has been mentioned to me, some of them are such little bitty hazards that even the most experienced driver will miss them. If you fail either portion of the theory test you have to retake the whole thing. Eek.

The Practical portion of the test is 56.50 or 67.00 pounds (so $113.00 to $134.00) depending on the day and is actually what has me more worried. First they check your eyesight (not a problem) by having you read a number plate (that's a license plate here...) from a distance. Then they ask you some "show me" and "tell me" questions, like how do you check your fluid levels, can you show me that... etc. These vehicle safety check questions shouldn't be too hard as long as they don't get too specific. Then you have to reverse around a corner, turn around in the road, do an emergency stop exercise and reverse park. AHH! I don't reverse unless it's out of my driveway or a parking spot. This is the part that terrifies me. I remember doing my test when I was 15 thinking that my heart was going to explode when I had to parallel park... it wasn't a good feeling. I think the biggest problem is that I know that someone will be watching me and criticizing my every move. I get really nervous during any sort of test and get major anxiety issues.

I think I'll order the little books to study up on the theory part and maybe practice a little and get more comfortable with the whole reverse parking bit. I'm hoping that it's not as bad as it seems, but from what I heard they love to fail people. I would let Nic get his license and keep mine from the US but he's making me get one too. I'm just really afraid to fail... for pride issues and financial ones.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The continued car hunt and such.

We are still looking for a new car (well... new to us at least). Nic borrowed a bicycle from Jock at work and rode it home one day for lunch last week and decided that he didn't really want to do that every day. I figured that he'd change his mind and I'm actually kind of glad he did. While riding a bike to work is great for the environment and the pocket as far as gas is concerned, I really didn't feel like it was a very safe option for him. The entrance to our street is right by a corner that cars tend to fly around and I wouldn't want anyone to hit him as he got on the road. So we are back to looking solely for a car. The other day we were trying to figure out if it would be cheaper to get our car up to par for MOT but decided that we'd rather not when we saw what all would need to be done to it. We would have to replace all four tires (or tyres as they say here...), at least one of the wheels, and the brakes. We'd have to get the back door fixed, get new windshield wipers and fix the sprayer thing, fix all the rust spots, and pressure wash the undercarriage. By the end of all that... we'd be paying basically as much as we bought the car for (we bought it from a friend pretty cheap). So anyway- we've been looking online for something and haven't found what we are looking for yet. As long as we get something by the end of August we are ok. Bob got back into town today and called us as soon as he landed. He's had a busy few weeks, he had to replace two vehicles in his house (his wife, Jamie's, and his daughter Paige's). Maybe we can get some pointers on speed car hunting.

I've been keeping myself busy around the house, trying not to get too impatient waiting for the office to say they are ready for me. I've been doing laundry like a mad woman, ironing, doing the dishes and cooking- the usual. Other than that, I've been playing sudoku like it's going out of style. I've become quite addicted to the game for some reason. If I'm sitting still, that's what I'm most likely doing. I guess it's a good thing, at least it keeps me thinking and helps me keep sharp. I really enjoy the ones that have 16 numbers per square, instead of just the nine, they seem to be more entertaining.

I'm really trying to stay positive about missing all the fun this weekend back in the States. Saturday is Traci and Grandma Julie's birthday as well as my Grandparent's (Wanda and Frank) 60th wedding anniversary party. It's going to be like a huge family reunion and as far as I know, Nic and I are going to be the only ones to miss it. I'm really broken hearted about that, I would love to be there to see everyone and be a part of the festivities. Then Sunday is Megan and Kevin's wedding... I'm going to miss that too.

I can't think of anything else to add... so I'll leave it at that.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Update Shmupdate.

So a few of you have decided to flood my e-mail with requests for more "up to date" updates. Again, I don't have a whole lot to say- we haven't been up to much.

Nic got his contract completely filled out today, so he is officially employed on this side of the pond now (as opposed to working for the Houston office officially). I guess that's a good thing, we won't have to worry about it anymore. On the other hand, they only get paid once a month from this office so it will be a little different money wise. I think I might actually miss seeing the bigger amount on the paychecks (since he was getting paid in dollars the amount was pretty much double what it will be now). That's ok though, I'm sure the bank account here will look a lot better now that there will actually be money deposited in it on a regular basis. I also finally was completely added to the account at the bank here, so that's good news and great timing.

I am toying with the idea of finding a job somewhere else over here, simply because I'm becoming more and more impatient. Last I heard there were some "hurdles" that needed to be jumped before they could get me on and it was going to take a couple weeks to get everything straightened out. Last time I heard it was going to be a couple weeks was almost 9 months ago. That's not very soothing for me. The thing is, I was really looking forward to working there... hell, I would say I was even really excited about it. I don't know whether I've fully committed myself to looking elsewhere or not, I haven't completely given up hope that maybe- just maybe- they'll get it straightened out sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I'm casually looking around for something else to come my way. We'll see what ends up happening. Until I start working somewhere, I'll continue to be super housewife (I've actually started to like ironing) and keep my house in shape. Nic brings home paperwork for me to do for him pretty often, I enjoy doing that and it keeps me busy too.

Let's see... what else... oh, Nic and I decided to wait a little bit longer to continue officially "trying" to have kids. We had some huge in depth conversations about where we are now and how it's not so bad just being the two of us. We figure we have plenty of time to start a family and that it's nice just being able to do whatever we want whenever we want without having to worry about certain things. This move has really made our bond a lot stronger I think, and it's great to just be happy being alone with each other. Yes, we do still want kids, but we think it's worth waiting to get to spend some more quality time with each other first.

We are also looking to buy a new car (actually really soon... since our MOT will expire on our car at the end of August and we are certain that it won't pass again this year). Nic is really thinking about getting a bicycle to ride to work and has been shopping around for one that he really likes. So far he's found one that he really likes. It's called the Trek Soho 4 and he's been talking about it non-stop for the past 3 days. We've been looking at it online, he's looked at it in the shop, and we are supposed to go look at it together at the store this weekend. I think it'd be good for him to ride his bike to work, I just don't know about it during the winter time. It does get slippery and snowy here, which makes me wonder about how safe it is to ride it to work then. Plus, there aren't sidewalks to ride on and it is pitch dark in the mornings when he has to go to work in the winter. I think it'd be best to get a bike for him to ride when the weather is appropriate and another cheap car for during the rest of the days. He insists that he would ride it rain or shine (or sleet or snow)... I'm not so sure I buy that. The problem with my idea is that it is hard as hell trying to convince my husband to go "cheap" on anything (unless it's something for me or at the grocery store lol). So getting another cheap car is out of the question since this one hasn't even lasted us a year (well, it runs fine, but due to the rust on the undercarriage, broken back door, and brake issues it won't pass MOT and would cost more to fix it than we paid for it in the first place). I think we are going to look around this weekend and see what we come up with.

That's about all I can come up with for today...

Monday, 14 July 2008

Movies

Ok, so recently we haven't been up to a whole lot, besides catching up on movies that we wanted to see. That's actually all we've done lately, besides hanging out with Fiona and Stavros. He just moved into his new flat, so we've gone over there a few times. It's a nice two bedroom two bath flat in town, so it's convenient to a lot of things. We met up at his place and walked to the indian place we really like the other day, which was nice. It's good to sit and chat with them, we enjoy their company.

I think we've got our money's worth our of our movie passes this month (and we aren't even close to being done yet since Batman: The Dark Knight hasn't come out, as well as Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and Wall-E (even though we've already seen it)). So far this month we've seen Hancock, Journey to the Center of the Earth (in 3D), Kung Fu Panda (twice so far...), The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the Forbidden Kingdom, Wanted and Wall-E (the latter 2 in the States). We've enjoyed everything so far. I think my favorites are Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda, and Prince Caspian though. I do love Jet Li though, so that would probably come in fourth. Anyway, I'm about to go to bed- I just wanted to say that I'm not neglecting the blog, I just didn't really have a whole lot to talk about. Tomorrow is a holiday here (I'm not sure for what exactly) so we'll be here or hanging out with Fi and Stavros. We also want to go to a store to shop for a sleeve for Nic's new laptop. OH- I haven't mentioned that yet. We got Nic a new mini book thing. It's a laptop that fits on a piece of paper basically (it fits perfectly in my purse actually, which Nic hates but I think is rather cute. He's been fighting me on whether or not I should get to keep it..lol). He needed a new laptop since the hinges broke on his old one, so it'll be good. I kind of want one for myself.

Anyway- I'm off to bed, I need to clean house again tomorrow before they get here, so I can't sleep in like I have the past few days. Seeing as it's already 1:40 am I should probably get some shut eye.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Time for an update

So I've been lazy the past week or so and haven't updated at all, so I figure now is as good of a time as any (it's either this... or cleaning house).

We've actually been doing a lot since last time I updated from California. I think the last time I updated we had just wrapped up the MATE competition. We still are talking about it and remembering how much fun we had there. It was very busy and sometimes very stressful, but we really enjoyed ourselves and got to know some fantastic people. I'm glad that we got to go out with some of the judges on Friday night (I think I said Thursday last time... which was incorrect). We hung out with about 15 judges at this really great pizza/brewery place called the Pizza Port (if you are in La Jolla, California- be sure to check it out). From there, we went out with Brennan, Khrysta, Peter, and Tad and hung out in the dorms. We all had a really good time and got to know each other pretty well. Saturday night was the banquet, which I've already talked about and when we went to see Wanted with Bob. Sunday, Clete came down to see us. We went to eat at TGI Fridays (they have awesome quesadillas by the way) and watched Wall-E. I loved it and can't wait for it to come out here, so we can see it again. He spent the night and then on Monday we went kayaking. We were going to go skydiving but we opted for something cheaper so Clete could go too, and we had a great time kayaking anyway. We got really close to some dolphins, which was absolutely amazing. If you reached really far over while in your kayak you could have touched them (we didn't because we didn't want to tip over...) but they were right next to us which was really neat. It's one thing to see dolphins that are captured/tame but to see them in the wild where they belong is such an awe inspiring experience. We played with them for a little while and followed them around while they hunted for jelly fish. Then we went to go and catch some really huge waves (not a good idea). I was going to stay back further and let the boys play but Nic convinced me to join in because it was "so much fun" and he felt that I had to try it. So he went ahead of me a little bit and then waited for me as I waited for a bigger wave. When it came it was huge and it pushed me directly into him. Literally. I hit him in the back with my kayak (he had a life jacket on so it didn't hurt him) but it did push him into an awkward position and the wave ended up knocking him over onto some rocks. He cut his knee (and a few places on his feet and calf too) and has been hobbling around ever since. He has quite enjoyed telling everyone the story about how it's my fault he fell out and has been getting sympathy from everyone. I think he's going to milk it for all it's worth, which is ok... I still feel really bad about it. It's healing now so I think by next week it should be good again.

Tuesday was our flight back to Aberdeen and due to Nic's injury we had to really rush in the airports. The good thing about that is that we made a flight that we probably wouldn't have since we got to ride in the cart across the airport instead of walking all the way there. On the first flight (from San Diego to Minneapolis) we actually flew with one of the teams from MATE and they came and thanked Nic again for judging (he was wearing his judge shirt) which was really sweet. We landed back home at like 9 on Wednesday morning and went to bed. We slept until like 6 at night, then got up and ate and pretty much went back to bed at like 10. Thursday Nic went to work and then brought Stavros home with him. We then went out to eat at Pizza Hut with Bob, Stavros, Mike (whom I am now calling Micah-L...), Ian, and Ian's wife Jackie. That was good, it was nice to see people again. We then all walked over to the theater to see Hancock, which was good but definitely surprising. Friday was the 4th of July, which came and went without a whole lot of notice. We said happy Independence Day to each other, and that was about the end of our celebrations. It's hard to find fire works on a non holiday here. Anyway, Saturday was Jamie's birthday, so we called her to say hi and get the latest scoop on what's going on, and pretty much relaxed the whole day. Sunday we went to Subsea 7 to go see the simulator there, and played around on it for quite a while. It was actually a good time, we ended up playing Axis and Allies in their conference room (Nic and I, Stavros, Micah-L and Bob). Nic, Bob and I won (of course) even though Nic and I kept nodding off while it was everyone else's turn, since we hadn't gone to bed from Saturday yet. We also went to the grocery store to replenish the stock. I had cleaned out the fridge before we left for California and so it was pretty much empty. Monday was Ducati cat's birthday (he's 1 now!) but other than that it was work for Nic and reading for me.

I've been reading quite a bit since we got back from California. I think it has hit me that I'm going to go to work soon and I won't have time to do everything I've become used to doing to fill the time. I've read The Pact (another Jodi Piccoult) and Baby Proof (by Emily Giffin) in the past two days... both were good, but I think Baby Proof will be on my mind for a while. It's about a woman who doesn't want to have kids and marries someone with the intent on having a "childfree" marriage. Then the husband changes his mind, and it's about what happens when you really love someone but have a major issue you can't compromise on. It's been stuck in my head since I've read it and it actually has a lot more social commentary than I expected. Anyway... I have been banned from reading for the rest of the week by my husband, he's feeling neglected he says. Haha.

Anyway- Nic will be leaving for London to go see his programmers again on Thursday. He is just gone for the day (he leaves at 8:55 and comes home at 7:20) so it isn't huge deal. Then Friday is Taylor's birthday (she'll be 3 this year!). Bob is possibly coming over tonight for dinner, but I haven't heard anything. Who knows. Wednesday night I think we are going to the movies with Fiona and Stavros, but I don't have that confirmed yet either.

I think that's about it... I need to clean my house just in case Bob does make it tonight, it's already 1:30.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Exhausted

Whew.... what a crazy few days we've had.

Since Wednesday we've been MATE-a-holics and have been busy busy busy. Wednesday night was the judges dinner where we went to the Scripps center and ate with all the lovely judges and got geared up for the competition that would follow in the next few days. We had plenty of food, and yummy desserts (I had the oreo cake that was TO DIE for). It was nice to spend some time with the crew and visit with everyone we hadn't seen in a year (or two). Thursday morning we got up bright and early and made our way over to the pool to start the competition. Nic was sent to judge the Engineering Evaluations (each team had to present their vehicle in front of three judges and answer any questions they threw at them). I was stationed at MATE central aka the AV area were I did a variety of things. Scott and I were announcing everything, updating the website with a live feed of Mission scores, and organizing and entering in all the scores (mission, engineering evaluations, technical reports and posters), plus answering questions, playing music, and keeping tabs on where everyone was supposed to be. We had 72 teams participating this year, from 7 different countries... it was a pretty crazy time and everyone had a blast. The teams did great and I was so very impressed with everyone that came! There were some teams that were really innovative, but what really got to me was how helpful they all were towards each other. I can't tell you how many times something went wrong with a team and another team jumped in to help them out. They were loaning each other monitors, power supplies, cables, and technical support without flinching. It was so great to see everyone working together and just having a great time.

We also got to know a few people pretty well, as Thursday night we went out with a crew of judges to a pizza/brewery that was pretty fun. We had a great time and probably stayed out later than we should have. Friday and Saturday were very busy, especially Saturday for Scott and I (as all scores had to be in before the banquet that night). I haven't worked that hard in a while but I must say it was quite a welcome experience for me. I've been so bored these past 8 months that it was really nice to be busy again. We worked everything out and got everything organized by about 4:15 in time for us to go back to the hotel, take a thirty minute nap, and then get ready for the banquet that night. Everyone was fantastic at the banquet and they even thanked me for my work specifically, which was really nice. I didn't expect any acknowledgment, I was just there to help, but it was definitely nice to be recognized by Jill (she organizes and leads the competition). Everyone asked if we'd be sure to come back next year, Scott even said if I don't come back next year he won't be there. It was definitely an ego boost and it made me feel really good to feel needed again.

Anyway, I'll post pictures as soon as Scott gets the website up again (we took it down to put up everyone's final scores since we wanted it to be a surprise who actually won the competition at the banquet). I'd give them a few days to relax a bit before it's up so it might be a few days. We took our camera but didn't have ANY time whatsoever to snap pictures.

Anyway... now that the competition is over (for this year) we are relaxing today and we are waiting for Clete to get here. We are going to hang out with him today which should be a lot of fun. I'll update again soon, maybe when I have a little more of my energy back. I'm worn out.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Too many options!

Nic and I spent quite a bit of time today trying to decide what we were going to do today. It seems we spend more time deliberating than we do in the car actually getting to wherever we are going. There are so many things that we'd like to do and it seems we are having some scheduling issues. Today we woke up quite early (about 4:15) and waited around the hotel for things to open. We then went to get donuts (we really wanted kolaches but couldn't find them) and then walked around the outdoor shopping center down the street. Nothing was open yet (it didn't open until 11 since it's Sunday) so we just window shopped. After that we headed over to the museum district in San Diego at Balboa Park. We walked around there for a few hours and enjoyed looking at the gardens. We saw some squirrels that were out and about picking up nuts and decided to help them out a little. They were pretty tame (I guess you'd have to be with all the people walking around all the time) and were really cute. We also saw some lizards that looked like miniature alligators. They have an organ pavilion that you can hear from a distance, so we sat by the Japanese Friendship Gardens and listened to the organs play for a little while. We had a good time. We were going to go to the Air and Space museum but then changed our minds as they were charging $25 per person because there was a new Star Trek exhibit. No thanks.

We picked up a bunch of pamphlets on things that we can do here and since then have been debating what we'll do while we are here. There are quite a few kayak tours that we can take which sound pretty fun, both of us really enjoy kayaking and wouldn't mind that. Nic is interested in renting a jet ski for a few hours to play around in the ocean. We went ahead and picked up information on the Birch Aquarium too, since we'll get to tour that with MATE. I'm excited to do that, it looks like fun. What we really want to do and are REALLY considering is going sky diving. They have a lot of quality sky diving schools here and Nic and I have always wanted to sky dive. We think that is something we won't do once we have kids so if we are going to do it, now is the time. We'd do a tandem jump from 13,000 feet... we both are really thinking about it. We are going to see how tomorrow goes (tomorrow is our trip to the Embassy) first.

We have not only been planning what we are going to do each day when we aren't busy but what we are going to eat. We've missed certain American foods, and are planning on eating what we can while we are here. We've already had donuts (this morning), and Papa John's (dinner tonight). We had Mexican food last night and have a few restaurants in mind for the upcoming few days. I'm really looking forward to eating my bbq chicken salad from CPK. I got really used to eating at the California Pizza Kitchen with the kids I used to watch at work and can't wait to go. Nic wants to have an American steak (the beef is quite different in Scotland- so I'm told).

Anyway, we are going to go back to the shopping center that wasn't open this morning to look around some more and maybe to to the beach. We are looking forward to watching the sunset tonight. We are also going to run to Target to pick up a few things (oh, how I've missed Target).

Heat and Headaches

I don't know if it's due to the change in temperatures (going from about 55 to 90 in a day) or if it's allergies or what, but I had a killer headache today. Nic and I are doing pretty well so far in keeping San Diego time (it's an eight hour difference from home), but we are both starting to really appreciate Scotland for several reasons. One, we like the cold weather better than the heat- that's for sure. Two, we miss our beautiful scenery. Although San Diego is pretty in it's own way, Scotland is just so much prettier. I miss the green (everything is brown here, probably due to lack of rain) and the hills and the historical buildings. You just don't get that here. Three, we miss our cinema passes (we paid $10 bucks a piece today to see Mongol which was really good). There are other reasons we miss home, but that's all I can think of to list right now. I think the Excedrin is kicking in which is great. Nic was starting to get a sympathy headache himself, I hope his goes away and doesn't get as bad. I am looking forward to really exploring San Diego tomorrow so I want us both to be refreshed.

We got our biometric scans done today- very quickly I might add. It only took like 10 minutes for both of us and the lady was really nice. She'd been working there for 10 years but she was really quick to adapt to the new procedures (the biometric scan only became a requirement in April of this year).

Anyway- I am about ready to go to bed, Nic woke me up at like 5:30 this morning and it's 10. I'll update again some time (we only ordered the internet for a day because it's $10 per day and we're cheap. Yes, it's only 5 pounds, but neither of us are willing to pay $100 for internet for the week. That's just silly.)