Thursday, July 29, 2004

Okay, so I may have over reacted... I went to the bus station that I had previously bought my bus pass for Musselburgh. That system doesn't even go to Haddington. I went to the train station and could not find a record of Haddington even having a train station.

So I called the temp agency and explained that Haddington is in fact much, much further than Musselburgh. In fact, it is so far that the Lothian Buses don't even travel there. So she suggested the other bus line First Buses. I popped in to hear what they had to say. A bus would arrive in Haddington at 9:10. Too late. The one before that arrives at 8:15. Far too early. Maybe I'm a bitch, but that reallllly ticked me off and I was fuming. I don't care if anyone from Office Angels ever sees this; but lets discuss a couple of the issues I have had with them...

"I would like to work in the city centre."
"Great! We'll see what we can do. But are you willing to travel?"
"Sure, but not too far."

Not a single job I was offered was in the city centre. Musselburgh was fine, but a weeeeee bit far since I was doing public transport.

The train ride to South Queensferry was only fifteen minutes, but the train times were bad and I was always a half-hour early for work and had to wait at least twenty minutes for the train on my way home.

Oh oh, and lets not forget that I was told the wrong start time for my second job. The Office Angel staff member on the phone told me my hours would be 9 - 5. Great, okay! I get my info pack in the mail the following day and it says 8:30 - 5, and I would get paid seven hours a day. It also said there were some health and safety issues... So I call 'em up to discuss what the real hours are. The chick on the phone suggests I do 8:30 - 5. The girl on the phone had no idea about the safety issues. Fine. I guess I get paid seven hours a day, and have 1 1/2 hours of breaks or something. I do arrive at work the first day, and I'm told the hours are 8:30 - 5 and I get paid for eight hours a day. The lady also told me that she had frustrations dealing with Office Angels from the other end. (I.e., the employer end rather than the employee end.)

Anyway, I texted Shan as I was getting really pissed off. I took the job because I was told on the phone that Haddington is only twenty minutes from Edinburgh (MAYBE BY PLANE) and is actually closer than Musselburgh! Do these people not have a map? I mean, honestly. Should they not find this out? I specifically asked travelling time, did she just randomly pull that number from her ass? Shan's advice was to quit.

So I did.

Maybe a bit extreme, but sometimes I can be extreme. Lets put it this way: I would be starting my work commute at 7:10 and would probably get home, at the earliest, 6:00. I would make about £206.50/week. However, £16 would go towards transportation and 8% of that is actually my vacation pay (they put it on top of your hourly rate). My transport allowance is also included in that. (Chick on the phone is new and said it wasn't; however, I know it is because I was blind-sided by that before.) So that brings me down to £190, and then we remove taxes so I may get £175/week. And I'm actually gone, at minimum, 10.5 a day. So, considering the amount of hours I would devote to work per week (travelling and what not) I would make £3.33/hour. Or I could work at the McDonalds down the street and make more since I could WALK there in fifteen minutes.

So my ties with Office Angels may have been severed. On the phone she said it was the only job they had for my skills at the moment. The other jobs were financial jobs. Oh oh oh!! Guess what I did in university?! FINANCE. Get what classes I won an award for? Oh!! My FINANCE CLASSES. And she wasn't even considering to put my name forward for them. She didn't even know I had a degree. Hello, look AT MY FREAKING RESUME. AND THE NOTES FROM MY INTERVIEW. FINANCE.

Anyway, my library time is up.

End rant for today and cheers to yet another week of unemployment that lies ahead of me.


Guess who finally got a job? Okay, I had the WORST luck receiving job calls. On one day alone I missed three calls: one when I was in teh shower at home, one when I was in the shower at the gym, and one when I decided catching a 4:45 movie was a grand idea. (I figured they would never call that late in the day... Whoops.)

I am working at the East Lothian Council. Think municiple government. As per usual, I will type, answer phones, be hot, etc. Pay is slightly lower than before, but whatever. It's still decent! £5.90 and I may get some travel reimbursement.

It's kind of funny, all the employers I have had so far are connected.

Balfour Beatty East Lothian Schools Project: the client for the project was, unsurprisingly given the name, the East Lothian Council.

Balfour Beatty Forth Bridge Refurb Project: duh, still BB.

East Lothian Council: Currently a client or "sponsor" of BB. (See job 1.) I actually already know its address because I have sent people there mail. I even already know a few names!

Okay, I cannot for the life of me figure out where I am working. Haddington. I was told it is closer to Edinburgh than Musselburgh (where I worked previously).

Okay, now I'm pissed off. I just found it, and it is even further east than Musselburgh! Like, MUCH further east. Cue cursing. Believe it or not, if I'm off work at 5:00 I would like to get home before, oh, I don't know, six freaking thirty. Well slap me on the ass and call me bitter. This calls for a trip to the temp agency, as it will be far more than a twenty-minute bus trip.

I guess this will have to be continued. Sigh, way to foul up my good mood.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Hey hey hey,

Oooh, the things I have to tell you. I could give you a quick run down of the weekend, but that really wouldn't do it justice. So here is the loooong version.

Friday was my last day of work at the Forth Bridge. I wanted to catch to 4.02 train (I get off work at 4:00) so I left a minute or two early and huffed it over to the train station. Happily, I made it, at least judging by the many people still standing around to catch the train. Then I heard an announcement, "The 4:02 train to South Gyle and Edinburgh is running approximately nine minutes late." So the rush was for nothing. I could have spent those extra nine minutes picking raspberries, but alas, I eventually made it back to Edinburgh.

When I got home from work and the gym it was time to get ready for Mr. TOM JONES and the rest of the night's events. First we met up with a few of Shannon's workmates at a bar called Edwards that has surprisingly good happy hour specials on Fridays until 9:00. Note to self: remember that for future Friday nights. We stayed there for a little bit, then got our pictures with some kooky Spanish band that was dressed in funny outfits across the street. We walked up to the Edinburgh Castle then to do some fine listening. We missed the bulk of the concert, but we got to hear Sex Bomb, What's New Pussycat, She's a Lady, It's not Unusual and a couple of other songs I didn't recognize. Considering I know very few Tom Jones' song, I actually got to hear all the ones I wanted to hear! Then we went to the Walkabout. I made the unfortunate choice of wearing sandals. Some drunk lady was wearing some god-awful stilleto sandals and raked the back of my ankle and cut it. Stilettos = Scotland's new weapon of choice. Of course, the cut was high up and she would have got me even if I was wearing sneakers. The band at the Walkabout was good, but they didn't really play music you could dance along to so my mood started to sour a bit and the lack of space didn't help.

Saturday morning we got up at headed to the Edinburgh Airport where a car was waiting with our names on it. We got nailed with an extra insurance cost when we picked up the car (bastards) and our first trouble came when Shannon couldn't get the car in reverse. Flashback to right before I left home: we couldn't figure out how to get our new standard into reverse. It turned out you had to pull up on the stick. So I poked around and realized that in this car you had to push down in order to get the car into reverse.

Our next problem arose when we pulled off too early when entering a roundabout. We were all rather unfamiliar with how the highway signs were placed thus the error. We eventually sorted ourselves out and our first stop was Kinross due to my excitement of seeing a giant billboard that said, "CAR BOOT SALE IN KINROSS EVERY SATURDAY." For the non-british, a car boot sale is basically a flea market. I got excited so we pulled off and went to the car boot sale. It had lots of stuff, but unfortunately we arrived towards the end when people were already putting stuff away. However, Keri spotted a true gem: a microwave for £5! A new microwave seems to run, at minimum, £25. The guy actually sold it to us for £4 seeing as it was the end of the day. He said we could pick it up after we wandered the building and we said thank you, to which he replied "Nae both-ah". To our ears, no bother actually sounds kind of rude. Like, "Don't bother". Really he meant, "Don't worry about it!"

Our next stop, also in Kinross was a BK and cafe thing. Uneventful. We also had stopped at the Kinross tourist info centre earlier to get info where the car boot sale was located and Keri had taken a list of hostels located in Inverness from the info centre. So we booked a hostel from the glorious backseat of the car and continued on our way. Our next stop was Perth. This city/town was nice and we spent about an hour wandering around. I'd like to go back sometime when I have more time. Then we drove up to the Highlands and headed for Inverness, "The Capital of the Highlands". The Highlands is the stereotypical Rob Roy Scotland you see in the movies. They are absolutely amazing to drive through and you can't help but feel really small. A lot of rocky mountains covered in trees. The engineering work that would go into somehow making roads there would be a very daunting task. We also had a laugh over what the Scottish call divided highways: Dual Carriageways. We say some rather bizarre road signs over the weekend...

We got to Inverness and our goal was simple: food. In our journey for food we passed a rather new-looking castle, Loch Ness, some pretty bridges that pass over Loch Ness and travelled about the High Street. (High Street is what the Main Street is referred to in many Scottish towns.)

After we filled up on overly-pricey Thai food (you actually had to pay extra to get the rice!) we fled Inverness and headed for our hostel in... Drumndrachit. Or something like that. It was a really great hostel, the Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge, I believe. Highly recommended! About a five-minute drive away is Urquhart Castle. The chick working at the hostel (side note: she was from Georgia) told us the Castle would probably be closed, but we should just hop the fence and walk around the grounds anyway. So we brought our two French roommates with us and hopped the fence. DEFINATELY WORTH IT. I'm really not into castles and pretty scenery too much, but it was absolutely beautiful. The Castle is slightly different as it is at the bottom of the hill and the east side of it overlooks Loch Ness. The Castle is largely ruins, but more than enough is still in tack to get the jest of how it would have looked a few centuries ago. At night, they turn on floodlights and light up the Castle. I knew my pics wouldn't do it justice, so my goal for the following day was to get a postcard of the Castle at night. After this, we went back to the hostel and went to bed.

The next morning we got up and drove to the Loch Ness Exhibit. We got in for half price since we were staying at the hostel. Keri and I chose to go through it, and it was pretty well done. Bizarrely, it pointed out how all the evidence supporting the Loch Ness monster’s existence could be wrong. Then it exited into a gift shop where we were supposed to buy merchandise of the monster that the exhibit just showed us did not exist. Of course, I bought stuff. I wanted a stuffed Nessie (they are all over Edinburgh but I wanted to wait and buy one when we explored Loch ness) so I bought that and a few postcards.

Our next stop was up a narrow and windy road (we almost got stuck) and then a short hike through a path to see a waterfall. It was really pretty, but I was having problems with my camera (it was going through batteries like mad and was working rather randomly) and didn’t get any pics. However, Shannon took a few so maybe I’ll scan ‘em or something when she gets them developed. Then we hopped in the car and took a drive to… I can’t remember. But we drove through a Fort Augustus on the way! We stopped for gas (£25 for ¾ of a tank… that’s about $65… ugh…) and munchies and then continued on our way. Our next stop was Glenfinnan. This place was featured in a few films you may have heard of, such as all three of the Harry Potter films. This place is home to the train used as “Hogwarts Express” and was used during the train portions of the film. It also has a large monument and some absolutely amazing scenery. You may think, “Oh, I saw the scenery in Harry Potter so I don’t need to see it face to face,” but you are terribly mistaken. Water between mountains and the standard pretty stuff like that. After this, we hightailed it west to Fort William. We were really running out of time, so we basically just grabbed something to eat and went along our way. We did get to see the town while walking for food, and we sat and ate it in churchyard. Much to Keri’s delight, there were some tombstones.

We drove through a wee bit of Glasgow on the way home, and I’m looking forward to spending a weekend there. There are lots of places I want to see and I really feel like I’m running out of time! I want to get down to Nottingham/Manchester/Liverpool sometime, as well as France, Spain, blah blah blah. So last night at 2:00 in the morning I decided to draw a calendar (since I don’t own one) and today some of my internet time is devoted to figuring out train/plane schedules/prices and the like.

The Festival season is starting up soon! Yesterday Shan and I dumped £25 each on Festival tickets for the first weekend in August. We actually got good deals as many shows are in previews that weekend or have a two-for-one special. We are attending two shows on Friday evening/late night (one starts at 12:30am), one on Saturday night, one Sunday afternoon, one Sunday night and one Monday evening.

Oh right, I am unemployed. Funny how I don’t really care… So, plan of the day: plan a trip. And go to the gym. And possibly go see Shrek 2 by my wee self since I missed seeing it with the flatmates. I was supposed to see it with someone else, but it seemed he sobered up after he mentioned it and decided the invite didn’t count or something. (This was awhile back; I’m not hung-up over it or anything.) However, I will be mature enough not to mention this person’s name.

Sorry I have been slow emailing some of yas, but I hadn’t checked my hotmail in at least a week until last night. Whoops… But I’ll eventually get myself back on track. I was going to yesterday evening, but the only computer available at the library had this crazy keyboard meant for the visually impaired. The keys were huuuuge, and it took way too long for me to type anything.

Till next time…

Friday, July 23, 2004

I had more than two hours of work to do this morning! It was exciting. And I'll have a wee bit more to do this afternoon! I also had a couple hours of work yesterday morning and some more in the afternoon. I am dead serious about being happy about this. Doing nothing makes the day drag and also makes one feel worthless. It has also forced me to use my old UPEI email account since I can't access hotmail here. However, I think I have been figured out as now I can't seem to connect to the UPEI mailman server... Hmm... Of course, it could never have to do with UPEI's somewhat-unreliable servers, eh?

I also forgot my phone today. Usually this wouldn't matter too much, but seeing that I am unemployed next week it would be nice to have my phone handy in case a temp agency calls. Sigh. It also would have be handy to figure out some tentative after-work plans! So if Miss Shannon reads this, I am going to the gym after work; but I still want to listen to Tom Jones at 6:30. I could meet you and Keri on Princes Street right by the junction that heads up to the Mound, perhaps at 6:30.

Oh yes, that is right, TOM JONES, Mr. Sexbomb himself. The man who is always wondering what is new with the pussycat. He is playing at Edinburgh Castle tonight! Of course, I did not buy a £35 ticket, but I am more than willing to wander the area and listen to him for free. I really have to make up for missing Donny Osmond when he played here ;)

No Sam Roberts for us last night. No Cats either. I am a wee bit disapointed but that's fine. Tom Jones just better make up for it.

This weekend we are "hiring" a car and heading north to visit Ms. Nessie in her glorious loch. We are doing some west-coast and Inverness exploring. I am not allowed to drive as I cannot drive a standard nor do I have my international drivers liscence. Shannon; however, is blessed with both the skill and necessary paperwork. I am the navigator because I have this awful ability to look at maps for a long time, analyze, not get bored, and get a happy mental boost when I successfully get someone somewhere. This is much different than Charlottetown Jen who still can't figure out exactly where Stonepark Junior High is.

Do we have toffee yogurt in Canada? I don't recall it; but they sell it here and it is bloody good! Sure, not as healthy as, say, strawberry or PLAIN (barf) yogurt, but who the hell really cares? It's freaking yogurt, it's not going to kill you. Besides, it's too good... Mmmm.

I went raspberry picking this morning. The path that connects my workplace to the train station is littered in raspberries! I have 25 minutes to waste every morning, so this morning I decided to pick some raspberries for myself. And I saw a big black kitty who let me pet him. He was soft. And black. I heard on the telie here that it is bad luck when a WHITE cat passes your path in Britain, the black cats are fine.

The discovery of the raspberries earlier this week was quite brilliant. I was walking the path and a glorious smell drifted into my nose... Kind of like strawberries (a smell I recognize all too well given the many pints of them I eat), but a wee bit different. I look at the bushes to my left. Bushes upon bushes of bright raspberries.

Okay, so I'm making them sound better than they actually are. There weren't exactly miles of berries, but I don't fill up the empty space in my tuppeware dish around the bread in it. (Yes, just bread, not a sandwich. I was running a wee bit late this morning because I decided sitting in bed eating candy was more important than making lunch. PS: I am healthy.)

I am now putting together a list of things I want sent to me from home.

1 - Friskey. Although not as nice as the black cat mentioned above, he sure is darn cute and "entertaining" in a he-is-attacking-me! kind of way.

2 - Pictures. I do not have a single picture of ANYONE with me.

3 - A pony.

The pony would be useful in getting me to the train station. I officially HATE the hike up to Princes Street. I am always rushing in the morning and the hill absolutely murders my shins and calves. I know, I know, I could leave earlier, but I don't. Besides, I'm usually five minutes early for the train anyway. I am just a rusher. Sort of... a dawdler, followed by a rusher because dawdling has slowed me down then I have no choice but to rush.

Yesterday I got off the train a couple of stops early to join Shannon on an adventure in the South Gyle Shopping Centre. When I got off the train I saw the sixth hottest guy EVER (prob cause he was poshed up in a suit and actually had nice hair) get on the train. Sigh, he was probably my soulmate. And I missed him and now all I get instead is toffee yogurt and a pair of 50-p earrings from the mall.

Anyway, I have some work to do now. (!!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Woo Wednesday!

Being an optimist, I decided to give each day of the week an optimistic name.

Marvelous Monday
Terrific Tuesday
Woo Wednesday (Perhaps Wonderful Wednesday would be better)
Tantilizing Thursday
Fabulous Friday
Super Saturday
Smashing Sunday.

I am at "work" feeling incredibly guilty about doing nothing. But there is nothing for me to do. I was ambitous at first and asked people if I could help them with anything, but alas, no one needed help.

This morning my alarm went off late... It was weird. Yesterday I hit snooze and today my alarm went off at the snooze time instead of the actual time. I still managed to catch the 7:45 train and was even a few minutes early! Of course, I was fabulously sweaty by the time I got to the train station. (Most of the walk is uphill except the very last block.) On the train I start to doze off a bit (that's what I do on trains) and all of a sudden we were in South Queensferry. As usual, I would be 25 minutes early for work. However, I had planned in advanced! Armed with the household copy of the Edinburgh A to Z Atlas (the household bible, really) I decided to take a walk into the town of -

Oh my god. The phone just rang and I did some work. Huh.

Yeah, so I decided to wander through South Queensferry, or at least the main street of it. It totally has a small-town look and feel (quite possibly because it is a small town) and very.. un-modern, but not in a bad way; in a cute way. Anyway, the walk took a little longer than expected, but I got a nice view of the two bridges. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera. (I should have thought of it... especially since I would fooling around with it last night until the batteries died.) So maybe I'll take another wander about tomorrow morning, but walk a bit more quickly this time. Plus I won't need to look at the map. The last part of my journey involved taking a walking path through the woods that had a good 45 stairs perhaps for me to climb. Shitty stairs carved into the ground. At the mere hour of 8:30, I was gross and sweaty for the second time today.

I looked at my photos today. I miss my tan. This means I will cut my gym session short after work (or at least not waste time at the grocery store or EasyNet) and play some footie (socc-ah) in the sun with Shan if she is still feeling up for it. Unfortuanately, getting a tan in Scotland is laughable if one is not willing to go to the tanning salon. I am not willing. Maybe I will invest in brown paint instead.

Shoot, I think I messed up the phone somehow. It's a weird phone and given the phone didn't ring much on my training day I don't know how to get someone I have transferred to another line back to my line or something or other.

Eek, I also just got a call from a temp agency. It was about a position that has been confirmed until the freaking end of May. Umm, no. Waaaay too far into my future to decide on that. Stupidly, I should have asked what it entailed... Shit. Where is my head? Oh there it is, on top of my shoulders right where I left it. ;) Sometimes I just forget to turn it on.

The throat and ears are getting better! Still woke up with bad pains last night and they were getting sore when I was trying to fall asleep, but I'm doing quite well right now. See? It's a mental thing. I know they'll go away so I just rev up the ol' immune system and let it do the dirty work. Viruses don't stand a chance against it ;)

I like having a gym membership again. Especially at a good gym. UPEI's gym was, well, lacking.

Tomorrow night this terrific trio is either going to attend Cats, (you may have heard of it, it hold the record for longest running broadway play in history and has won many awards. You probably haven't seen it thought because Ch'town is too meager to have a performance of Cats callibre. I am a snob. ANd nae worreez, I am only pretending to be a snob.) or we are going to see Sam Roberts in Glasgow. Yes, it would have been easier to see him when he played at Myrons in January but it's too late for that now, isn't it? It's a bit of a novelty really - to come all this way across the ocean and then see someone perform who performed in your hometown mere months ago. Ya know, we'll probably be best friends by the time the show is over.

The end.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

"In advertising, the Scots are hot".
Keri found out last night that her brother got engaged!  (This is unrelated to the above article, btw.)
I just figure it would be nice of me to warn my parents.  The trend seems to be once the youngest sibling leaves the country, the other (s) get engaged.  See exhibit A: Shannon's sister.  See exhibit B: Keri's brother.
Watch out Jeff... heh heh.

Well, I just spent waaaaaaaay too much time changing my blog template.  Blogger likes to make it easy so you can just pick a template and go, but I wasn't completely happy with the one I chose so I decided to modify it.  And it took awhile.  My self-taught html skills are decent for some stuff, but the guy who wrote the template is, you know, a professional who gets paid to do stuff like this thus his coding was more advanced than my own.  I almost have it how I want, but not quite...
Today I answered the phone a few times, got someone an ink cartridge, collected a few faxes, sorted the mail and said hi to some people.  Oh, I lent someone a pen as well.  It's been, sigh, quite the productive day...  It's actually kind of a shame that I am here and wasting Balfour Beatty's money.  It also makes me wonder how many full-time jobs there are out there that are, in reality, part-time jobs.  Or jobs that are "just in case" kind of jobs.  I'm here in case the phone rings or someone needs something typed.  Would it be easy for them to pay on a per-document basis when wanting something typed?  Oh well, it's just money for me.  Too bad I feel guilty about it.
I woke up last night with absolutely throbbing pains in my ears and every time I swallowed I wanted to cry because it hurt so much.  I think it has a bit to do with lying down, so I was confident that I would be better come 6.15.  I was semi-right.  The pain is there, but not nearly as bad as last night.  And don't bother feeling bad for me, I'm too stubborn to actually admit that it hurts.  However, cute males are allowed to find me and "take care of me".  And by take care I mean cook for me and put away my laundry.  And put a satellite dish on top of our flat.  And braid my hair.
Random thought of the day: how long can I got without a haircut?  Probably not too much longer; it has been over six months.  I'm trying to grow out my hair since the weather here is far nicer to it than anywhere else I lived.  I would like to see how it looks, and then I'll get it sheered off when I get home and it returns to its frizz-ball-like state.  I remember this time last year in Ottawa: my hair was disgusting in pics.  Anyway, I must be turning into a true Edinburger with all this hair talk.  End shallowness.
I've been hunting around for some cheap flights today.  It turns out cheap flight is a bit of an oxymoron when trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean in December.  In unrelated news, I cannot believe July is almost over.  Seriously, where the hell did the time go?!?!  Crazy.  And I am awaiting Scotland's summer (aka August) with great excitement.  Could we finally hit the glorious 20C mark?!
Anyway, will likely post more later, judging as I still have five hours of "work" to get through! ;)

Monday, July 19, 2004

Gaaaaaah... I had practically nothing to do at work today.  I asked people if they needed help with anything, but nope.  I sorted the mail (all, like, seven pieces of it), answered the phone a few times, photocopied a couple of sheets...  Generally, stuff that takes very little time to do.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say God Bless the Internet.  I have done very little net cruising in the past couple of months as most of my net time is occupied by emails and blogs.  I am now up to date with the American boxoffice, some news, Clever Jim Hill and some other stuff.
I don't have too much to say.  I've been waking up a lot during the nights since we have moved to our new place.  And it seems no matter how tired I am, trying to fall asleep before 11:45 is worthless.  Whatever.  I semi-slept on the train on the way to work this morning so I'm good!  The train runs on only half-hour intervals, which kind of sucks.  I can either be about five minutes later for work, or, like, twenty minutes early.  So far I have been early and take my dear time during the walk from the station to work.  So my morning is...
6:15 - Alarm rings, I wake up.
6:16 - I groan.
6:17 - I debate going back to sleep
6:18 - Sigh, grab some clothes and head to the washroom.
6:19 - 7:15 - Eat breakfast in a daze, do hair, think about what to wear, wear it, pack lunch, etc.
That is right.  I actually leave at 7:15.  Well, I did this morning since I had to buy a train pass.  Tomorrow morning and the following mornings I won't be quite so keen.  I got to work at about 8:15 after poking about in the streets.
I wish I had some gum.  GOOD gum.  The flavours here are quite limited: spearmint, peppermint, gross mint, boring mint, etc.  Where is cinammon when you need it most?  Or what about cherry?  This country goes waaaaaay overboard in the variety of chip ("crisp") flavours it offers, why not on gum as well?
I think I am starting to get a cold... Swallowing is becoming more difficult, the glands by my ears/side of face/neck/whatever they are are a bit swollen and sore, my ears were a bit sore... Oh well!  Mere colds do not slow down MacPhails - it only makes them more stubborn.
I looked at Balfour Beatty's org chart today.  At the executive level there is only one female and she is head of personnel.   Yaaaaaay.  How inspirational.
I got off at 4:00 last Friday!  Oh, oh!  And the train for my 15-minute journey home was twenty minutes late!!  Isn't that precious?  My, I was thrilled, especially since I was fifteen minutes early for the train.  So I wasted phone credit and texted people.
I bought curl cream on Saturday.  And low and behold, it was actually a good £1.50 investment!  Shan was getting her hair cut and I read one of those silly hair-cutting magazines while I waited for her.  It suggested "curl cream" for those wavey/curly heads that do not want to waste thirty minutes on her hair every morning.  I fall into this category VERY well.  I still need to do some experimenting, but I think we may have a winner...!  Or, I could just by a straightener, get a weird variation of a mullet, and look like most of the girls in this city.  Which brings me to my next question:  do guys actually find the excessive 80s looks here hot?  The hair cutting mag was talking about the "feathered mullet" being back in style for girls.  Is this a good thing?  And who actually freaking decided this?!  Some 80s stuff is okay, I totally encourage and applaud the bright colours, but "feathered mullets"?  It goes to show that we, as humans, sometimes fail to learn from previous mistakes.  As well, high heels are hot and all, but only if you can walk in them.  To the chicks who are on the dance floor but can barely dance: yes, you do look stupid.
My current dilema: plane ticket home.  Do I get a one-way or a return ticket?  Scary, eh?  Right now I'm enjoying myself, but who knows if Glorious January or Fantastic February will bring me the same joy?  At the same time, I can picture myself coming home in May.  Maybe it's because last year I went home from Ottawa in late April/early May.  Just a sidenote though, I wouldn't just come home for a week and a half this time; I will definately be home for a good month.  (Woohoo EI!)
On that note, I have a wee ten-minutes task to do then I'm going to check out some airline prices.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Blog blog blog.
You know you can eat a LOT of food?
Keri and I went to an All-You-Can-Eat Chinese Buffet on Thursday at lunch time.  I probably ate about three times as much food as her.  In dessert alone, I had two (small) pieces of cake, four scoops of ice cream, and a bowl of strawberries, grapes and melons.  I am officially a pig, oink oink.  I also had two and a half very full plates of chinese food.  I am also officially disgusting.
I'm going out on a wee date tonight with my favourite flatmate whose names starts with 's': Shannon.
We are going to an All-You-Can-Eat pasta buffet and then to Spiderman 2.  And no, we don't gorge at buffets that often: Thursday was the first buffet I have been to since an adventure at Pizza Hut with Jeff back in early May or late April.
It's weird how cheap little things can make one happy - I bought a £4 green halter top and completely heart it.  NOthing special about it, just your standard green cheap cotton shirt.  I guess I am easy to please!  In other purchases, I bought a six-week gym membership.  By PEI standards, it was kind of pricey, but by Edinburgh standards (and even Ottawa standards) it was a pretty good deal at £39 for six weeks.  I was going to buy a small weight set, but decided this investment was better.  The weights were about £15, plus £4 for delivery since they would be too heavy to carry home.  After the glorious money conversion, it would basically be a $50 weight set.  At home, $20 would probably get me the exact same thing.  The gym I joined is really nice, it's in the basement of a hotel.  It has all sorts of weight machines, lots of cardio equipment and A POOL.  Oooh yeah, take that UPEI! 
Last night I wore a green watch with my green shirt.  Shannon said I was very european since girls here like to make sure every accessory matches. 
We went to the Walkabout on Friday night for a bit and for a longer bit on Saturday night.  I believe our Irish-pub Filthy McNasty days are becoming fewer as we grow to love the Australian-bar the Walkabout.  And, of course, someone on Friday night spoke spanish to me because he thought I was, surprise surprise, spanish.  I probably confused him by responding in spanish, and when I said I was canadian he said I had good spanish for a Canadian!  Saturday night, someone asked me (at the same bar) if I was spanish.  Okay, seriously, what gives here?  Do they have my pic up somewhere and it's just kind of a game that people there play?  "Asked the big-haired Canadian if she's spanish!"  (Sidenote: my hair isn't that big, but chicks here are big into stick-straight hair that is pratcially mulleted/plastered to their heads.)  Anyway, the guy told me I was beautiful so he is forgiven for mistaking my nationality. ;)  (I really don't care, I actually get quite the kick out of it.)
Anyway, time to go play in the sun.  Seriously - the sun is SHINING here today.  Hell has officially frozen over and the pigs are flying at full speed.
Hasta luego!
Jen la canadiensa

Friday, July 16, 2004

Oooh, blogger has changed... But only for those that actually have blogs and actually write in them.
Already I like our new place better than our old one.  There is something comforting about not wondering if one will fall through a floorboard on her way to the kitchen.  Shockingly, the windows actually open at our new flat.  After our last flat, this is now considered a luxury!  Only problem was I woke up at some random hour throughout the night and couldn't manage to close my window.  Luckily it was open only a couple of inches.
I am at work right now.  That's right, today was the big day on which I make the transition to a new BB (Balfour Beatty) site.  I must say, the view from my window is nicer here, I can see the Forth Rail Bridge which is apparently quite famous!
I took the train to work today.  Crazy, eh?
Another nice perk (aside from the view and train trip) is the lack of line for the womens' toilet.  Besides myself, the only other female here is the head secretary/receptionish and she will be gone next week and I shall be her replacement.  Already I have received many comments about making coffee and one about the hoover (vaccuum cleaner).  It's funny, because I'm sure most of the men here can make far better coffee than myself.
Oh, just remembered another important note:  our shower at our new flat is sooo great.  I am more of a bath/drown myself in warm water for 45 mins kind of girl, but I heart this shower!  This should make Shan and Keri happy, because it means less time of me in the bathroom.  Although honestly, we have never had "timing" issues when it has come to the bathroom in the morning or evenings, or anytime really.  Only time it's mentioned is on the walk home from some places (*cough* bars) and someone yells, "Dibs on the toilet!"
Last night I had my first can of IrnBru... Unofficially Iron Brew, they just can't legally call it that.  Anyway, it's a kind of soda-pop that is basicaly a cross between orange and cream soda.  This is quite possibly the god of all carbonated beverages, especially since I have not found Root Beer here anywhere.
Oh, another job perk:  someone is going to take me up on the rail bridge by the end of next week!  Pretty cool, eh?
Ooh, side note to Chris: there is not a document controller here.  Or at least, not one that I have met or noticed.  That means you officially retain your title of Favourite Document Controller.  Felicitations!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Our new place:

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

And oh, who managed to score the perfect flat?

Umm, ME.

With Shan's help.

I am signing the lease and fetching the keys today and we are going to move in over the next two days. I'm looking forward to reliable hot water... Today's bath was quite the luke-warm disapointment.

I am also employed now! Starting Friday I am working with... Balfour Beatty. This name may sound familiar to you because it is the company I worked for the five previous weeks. Except this job is out in... drumroll... South Queensferry. Opps. FOr those unfamiliar with Edinburgh, South Queensferry isn't really even in Edinburgh. Turns out it is really north-west of the city. I, however, got it mixed up with Queensferry Road, which is almost smack-centre in the city. So instead of my planned fourty-five minute walk to work, I have a 20-minute walk to the train station and a 15-minute train ride.

Let me take this moment to ask how many Islanders have ever taken the train to work. Oh right, none of you because we don't even have trains.

And in glorious news, it will cost me more to get to work (train passes are more expensive than bus passes) and I will be getting paid less. But I'm not worried, I have many pounds (monetary and body weight) floating about. Besides, it's for only a week and it'll give me a chance to experience something new: the previously mentioned train trip to work. And seeing somewhere new! I'll be working on the Forth Bridge Rehabilitation project. If I don't do my job well the bridge could fall down or something. You may not realize it, but many key projects rest soley on the hands of the typist. If he/she makes a typo, the whole project could collapse. In this case, more than metaphorically.

In an I'm-officially-british story, I now subcontiously look the right direction before I cross the street!! I'm actually quite proud. And yes, it is a big life-saving deal. Looking left, then right, had been drilled into my head for many years. It takes awhile to reverse that automatic action.

This computer has a webcam... Hmmmm...

Actually, I don't think I'm nerdy enough to figure this one out... I can't save it to a disk... Oh, brain storm! Anyway... Maybe I'll post a pic... But for now, I'm off to get my pic done in a little photo booth for my new TRAIN PASS. It will compliment my bus pass and Balfour Beatty security pass quite nicely.


Monday, July 12, 2004


Well, I looked at four flats today and I completely heart the last one!! After flat #3, I was a bit discouraged. I am an awful person for flat hunting because I generally don't get excited about accommodation-related things. However, the last place was too nice and too great and so close to where we are now! Basically we are now a 17-minute walk from Princes Street instead of a 12-minute walk or however long it takes. Basically it's five minutes further than where we are now.

There are even pics of it online!! If we end up getting the place I post the url. Otherwise, if we don't get it, the url would just be a painful reminder of the fabulous flat we lost.

Anyway, the weekend was good. You may have read on Shan's blog that she and myself took personality tests. It turns out I am an awful, but happy, person and only the church of scientology can save me.

Hee hee, just kidding. But apparently I can be withdrawn (e.g., not discuss my feelings or not tell others when I am mad at them), irresponsible, ungrateful and NERVOUS. Umm, what? Whatever. I am also extremely happy and stable. However, they chose to focus on the fact that I'm nervous and can be withdrawn from others. My own opinion on the personality test: they don't take into account the different stages of life people are in, and I think they may emphasize the wrong points. Basically I'm good with "myself" and "work", but weak when it comes to "others". So, I shall try to be more appreciative. But I will not buy a £15 book to learn how to do it.

As some of you may know, my purse of five years broke about a month ago. I finally bought a replacement on Saturday. Freaking £10. However, the steep investment was necessary. I wanted a purse with a long strap (not a handbag-style thing) and that was small and could basically hold my camera, phone some cash and maybe something crucial like lip gloss or a passport. Miss Betty Boop came to my rescue and I am now the owner of a white, Betty Boop purse with a removable strap. This is good in case I find another purse I like (sometime within the next five years) that lacks a long strap.


I am unemployed! Yay! I enjoyed wandering about aimlessly today. Tried to find some new shoes. I found some I liked, but the four-inch heels inspired me to leave them in the store where they really belong.

I can't think of anything good to write about. On Saturday night I saw a guy that I had a crush on a couple of weeks back. I confidentally stated during the week that I was over him.

I was quite wrong.

Ha! Anyway.

Turns out Edinburgh has a freaking softball league that I didn't know anything about. Sigh. It's too late to join now, but Shan, keri and I are going to watch a friend play tomorrow night.

Let me explain british clothing terminology to you:

Scottish = Canadian

Boob Tube (my fav!) = tube top
Vest = tank top
Petty coat = vest
trousers = pants
jumper = sweater

Anyway, internet time is up. Brought to you by Jen and the Stockbridge Library. Connect! library and internet centres.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Ahh, look at these studly PEI men

PEI men with big shoulders

I miss home.

Hey all,

Today on the walk to the library I could see by breath. Allow me to examine a calender: Oh, July, exactly what I thought. This is why I need to go to Athens in August.


because of the Olympics!!! I had a brainstorm at work this week when reading about the Olympics set to take place this summer: why am I not going to Athens to take in the Olympic atmosphere? AM I STUPID?!


However, upon flight checking, it turns out, unsurprisingly, that flights for mid August during the height of Olympic greatness are not cheap. Hitchhiking, however; is very cheap. Just kidding, I would never hitchhike. Do you see stupid tatooed across my forehead? Of course you don't because none of you can even SEE my forehead. But Shan and Keri can attest that stupid is not scrawled across my forehead.

Scottish word of the day: plaster.

I had blisters on my feet at work from Keri's AWFUL shoes (no offense Keri) and someone told me to go get a plaster. Huh? You mean one of the men outside? Well, only if he's hot. ;) Plaster is actually a bandaid. Clever, I guess. Both are actually BRANDS, not products. Thank you business 341.

Yesterday, in an Aussie bar called The Walkabout a man came up to me and asked if I was Spanish. Okay, should I start lieing about my nationality? Seriously. Anyway, I don't think it was an attempt to hit on me as he just talked to us for a few seconds, was amused, and we parted ways.

Today is try #3820703 to get a bank account. On Thursday night there was no one at the bank who could sign me up. Yesterday evening I recalled that I will probably be moving sometime next week. Not good. They told me that it takes about a week for them to send me the proper stuff in the mail. Sigh. So, no good. This morning I'm going to walk around Edinburgh and go to some different banks and see if I can get something better, i.e., something that doesn't take seven days to arrive in the mail.

Saw the movie/doc Fahreinheit 911 last night. (Not even going to bother to attempt to spell it properly.) It was... long. I have trouble handling excess negativity because I think it's a bad way to go through life. Hello negative documentary, although I understand why it was. Shan nailed it saying that it felt as though the flick was tossed together more quickly than it should have been, likely because Michael Moore wanted it to have an impact on the election that is to take place in November. I did like the documentary, I just felt it was long and tried to hit too many different points. It wasn't, as one reviewer put it, a giant advert for Bush's opponents. And there were a few things I sort of disagreed with, but anyway.

Next up: either Shrek 2 or Spiderman 2.

Sidenote: We were at a bar before we went to the movies. We were really early, and the building that houses the cinema actually has a few restaurants and a few bars in it. It was actually a pretty good bar, I would like to go back there sometime when I actually want a beer or want to sing/hop around dancing.

I saw someone who looked like Jeff the other day and it made me slightly homesick. Sigh, when am I going to see everyone again?!?! I need to find some more friends here. Not to replace the ones at home (they are irreplaceable!) but to, well, give me people to hang out with, obviously.

We may go FENCING on Wednesday night, depending on whether or not we have to move the following day.

That is all. Now I have a bunch of emails to work on... woo! I'm behind, but keep sending 'em folks as I LOVE hearing about what is going on back home!

Friday, July 09, 2004

Last post from the fabulous world of Balfour Beatty!

Five weeks goes fast - really fast. Before I know it, it'll be another five weeks, than ten, and then FIVE HUNDRED. (Which is approx ten years... but anyway.)

No new flat yet.

The people at work gave me a box of chocolates (they noticed my bad eating habits) and a card today! I feel so loved =)

I don't have a job lined up for next week. Monday is dedicated to looking for a flat and I wouldn't mind having a couple of days just to waste.

I still don't have a bank account. It's kind of starting to piss me off. Yesterday I had ALL the proper documentation so I ran to the only bank open late... However, in their brilliance, no one currently working was able to set up an account for me. Umm, why bother being open then? Seriously. It's like having a store open but having no one who can work the register. Smaaaaart.

I forgot to mention my "adventure" in the Aberdeen grocery store. Some guy hit on me. But it was just weird... "Excuse me, Laura?" "Huh?" "Are you Laura from Espionage last night?" "Nooo...." Anyway, he continued to talk to me, asked me if I was Venezuellian, (sometimes people have trouble believing a mere canadian lass can tan easily) tried to talk to me, asked for my email address ("I have one at work, but I'm through of my job on Friday... Nope, no hotmail acccount.") asked if he could give me his phone number. I said it didn't really matter... He asked if I would actually *call* his number and I said I don't know. I then kind of left him... It was weird and oddly inconvenient to be hit on in a grocery store, espcially since it made me forget a couple of things I needed.

This morning seagulls woke me up at 5:30. They were soooo unbelievebly loud. I looked out my window and they were tearing up the garbage bags that were to be picked up this morning. Quite the mess. And quite the noise. I don't really have troubles sleeping through street noise anymore, but they were insane. I actually closed my curtains (rare) and wore EAR PLUGS. For the second time in my life. At least they did help, and I did eventually fall back asleep.

It's crazy how quickly the evenings come and go here. All of a sudden, it was 9:30 last night. And then it was 11:15. Sigh. Then it was 12:15. Then I fall asleep. And then, unfortunatelly, 7:00 hits. Sigh! Ah well.

I got to go for a drive today in a really nice car that had an even better CD player! I got to go to Tranent for a "site visit". Oooooh. It was uneventful, but the change of scenery was nice!

Shan and I went for a jog on Wednesday night and got soooo lost. Well, not so much lost, as ended up going much further than anticipated and it took us too long to get back. My throbbing shin splints did not help. Can anyone tell me what causes shin splints? Because they absolutely murder me and hurt soooooo much. I'm thinking wearing heels has something to do with it... And yes, I do stretch.

Weather still sucks.

Well, not much else to say. Hope all is well at home. Oh! And Happy belated birthday to a certain Roy MacPhail. ANd yes, it actually is his birthday this time.

There is not water at work this afternoon... It had to get shut off for some reason. A reaon which, I am assuming, is related to the construction outside.

Schedule for the evening: try to get a bank account (yup, again), go jogging, go grab a bit to eat with flatmates and other random Canadian, perhaps a movie.

Yup, good bye.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Hey everyone:

I'm still alive and kicking. I think I'm brain dead. Focus.

This is my last week of work, and we have nine days to find a new flat. I'm not worried; both Keri and I will be unemployed next week which we give us lots of time to search.

Aberdeen: even gray-er than Edinburgh! Seriously, almost all the buildings are gray except for a red one that is apparently the most expensive place to live in Aberdeen. You know, to really get the economy going (although I don't think it needs much help since it seems Aberdeen has been built up around oil as of late) they should make a GREEN building or something and charge through the roof for it. Anyway, its gray buildings match its gray sky.

The weather is starting to make me bitter. It rains almost every day on the way home from work. If it doesn't, rest assured that it rained on the way TO work. It is pretty much guaranteed to rain on any given day. The permanent Scottish forecast: Sunny breaks with scattered showers. I miss thee, summer. However, the late evenings are generally nice. I'm never cold when walking home later in night. And I can't recall it ever raining after 8:30.

Last night I kept waking up to these weird cooing noises... But I actually think the noises were occuring in my dream... But I'm not going crazy, really.

I have new red streaks in my hair curtesy of Sheena! Woo! Right now they look kind of purplish, but I know they will fade.

It's my dad's birthday on the 8th. If you see him give him a hug since I can't. Or a high five, if you would feel more comfortable doing so.

I haven't checked my hotmail account in a week. It must be some kind of record for me. Except for the times when I'm on holiday. But living here is kind of like a permanent holiday, isn't it? I'm not sure... I'll say no since I have never been on a holiday where I had to find a job and set up a bank account.

Speaking of bank accounts, I still don't have one. Soon, however, soon. I am taking care of it today...

Shan and I went out with some of my work folk last Friday. Had a great time! Spoiled Shan got carried home =P (No worries, she actually could have walked no problem, but she got carried home for fun, I suppose.) However...

Carrier: Are you passing out back there?

Shan: (eyes closed, hunching over) Noooo.... AJeoaibha....

But even better is the Keri Shields mmy-burger-is-laced-with-cocaine story as scribed by Shan on her blog.

I, of course, have no humourous nights-out-drinking stories because I'm a good girl and drink only milk and water.


In the meanwhile, I need more friends here. Last night I was bored and was going to text everyone on my phone list. I didn't bother. (Sidenote to Shan: I did text one person (already told Keri but you had went to bed) and didn't get a response. However, I don't really care. People lacking eyebrows are actually quite scary. End secret girl code.)

Time to work. Actually, ten minutes ago was time to work... Oops...


Friday, July 02, 2004

So yesterday was Canada Day. Kind of wished I was home, but still enjoyed it here. We went to The Globe, and the place was littered with Canadians. Seriously, it was crazy! Lots of red and white.

Scotland is going to make me fat. Before we went to the Globe, us three went to Kathleen's place for a mini fiesta. Shan and I gorged. I have no idea why, but it was like I could just not eat enough. I'm not a big chips ("crisps") person, but I tried extra cheesy something or other Doritos for the first time and they are ungodly addicting. Anyway, as a testiment to a fondness for beer and sugar, the pants are getting tighter. I need a gym membership. Or for the rain to stop. Read in the paper today that they had the rainiest June this year since 1963 or so. Ugggggh....

Tonight some people from work are heading out since it is someone's last day. Shan and I are going to tag along (Keri is going camping). Dilema: what to wear? As much as I heart my orange skirt, I wear it obsessivly on the weekends. And I have to look at least remotely professional as I'm with work folk. But I'm also probably heading out to other bars afterwards. Anyway, this post is making me sound like the biggest airhead, which I am not.

Lets talk about something intelligent:

Gah, too tired.

Tomorrow morning we are heading to Aberdeen to hang out with Sheena, Julie, Natasha and the other UPEI students whom I do not know.

Hmm, still tired.

We are in the process of looking for a new flat. It's a boring job, but it has to be done.

Keri wants to live in a box. When she went to take a shower one morning and discovered we lacked hot water she said, "I would rather live in a box than here right now." My reply, "Yes Keri, because the box would definately have hot water."

I'm hungry. In the past couple of weeks I have gotten in the habit of stuffing my face at breakfast. Generally two pieces of toast and a bowl of cereal and maybe something else. (Yesterday the something else was a brownie. Mmmm...)

Today I had two pieces of toast and a small pear. And less than two hours later my stomach is whirling for some more food. Or maybe it's just whirling in general because I'm ruining my liver.

My alcohol tolerance has skyrocketed here. Just so you know, by the time I come home I will be able to drink you all under the table. ALL OF YOU. And I will point and laugh. Anyway, guess I should get to work. Yes, okay.

End humourless, deadbeat post.

Mmm, post cereal. Sigh. I need groceries.