lothiriel_1: (cutter john aaiigh)
If nothing else, it has been a very productive day, and it's not even over yet. boring domestic crap follows )

boring love life crap follows )

not-so-boring-but-far-off trip planning follows )

Anyway, those are my activities and musings for the day - it's dinnertime, and I have one last serving left of the venison stew I made last week (mmmmmmm...). Then it's back to MP/comp exam studying for the evening.

Hope you've all had a great weekend!
lothiriel_1: (human priorities)
So my 20th (OMG!!!!!) High School reunion is scheduled for September 13. Thanks to the various financial issues of this past spring (both planned and unplanned), I'd sort of written off doing anything else "fun" pretty much until the end of the year. Still not sure whether I'm going to make it to Stones Rising, but I hope to.

Tickets to the reunion are just under $40. I can stay at Mom's house, and probably use her car for the evening, too. I checked JetBlue for flight costs - R/T would be about $230. Not cheap, but certainly not exorbitant either. I'd only need to take a total of 3 days off from both jobs.

Here's the kind of weird part - I haven't seen a single one of my classmates since the 10th reunion. I don't keep in touch with any of them. The only person from my high school years that I keep in touch with on a regular basis is [livejournal.com profile] genevieve2006 - we met in 7th grade and I switched schools after 9th grade. It wound up being a good move (I literally HATED people at my first high school).

But that isn't the case with where I graduated from. I got along with most people. Sure, there were people I didn't like, but that's true pretty much everywhere.

I know what you're thinking - Gee, Heather, why do you want to go and spend a whole evening with a bunch of people you haven't seen in 10 years? Honestly? I don't know. I had a good time at the 10th reunion - got to see who got skinny, who got fat, whose hair receded, who was married, who was still single. All I know is that I would really like to go.

So what's the problem? I really want to go to Stones Rising, too. Costs for that weekend will wind up being about the same, between registration fees, meal plan, and gas to get there and home. Oh, and SR is only 2 weekends prior to my reunion.

So there's the dilemma. Making sure that I only use the money I make at the store, I COULD swing both weekends. But I also still need to (continue) to pay for a certain overseas trip I just took.


Any advice? Input? Anyone?
lothiriel_1: (bill milquetoast opus)
According to the results of the poll, those of you who voted want to read more about Scotland. So, I am complying with those wishes and therefore offer you details of Falkirk and Stirling. Enjoy!

May 21 )

May 22 )

Lodging Review )

Next chapter: Macduff!
lothiriel_1: (opus singing bon jovi)
I promised you all longer, more descriptive posts about my trip, didn’t I? Well, here you go. I’ll try to do this in an organized manner, so we will start with my stay in Edinburgh and my activities there and in that area.

May 17 )

May 18 )

May 19 )

May 20 )

Lodging review )


Stay tuned for the next chapter, "Falkirk and Stirling"!
lothiriel_1: (Banzai)
Last night was my last work night at the store before my trip. WOO HOO!!! I love my p/t job, but I really need a break.

Tonight I'll head straight home (no gym time this week, alas) and start on the following:

1. Clean out the car
2. Dinner
3. Empty dishwasher, do any dirty dishes by hand
4. Clean the laminate floors/vacuum the rugs and carpet
5. Take photos of stuff to-be-packed in my checked bag and print them out
6. Strip the bed/put fresh sheets on

Tomorrow night will be devoted to laundry and packing.

My Citylink Explorer Pass arrived in the mail yesterday, so that's taken care of. I called the Aros Centre in Skye this morning to confirm the time and pick-up location for the tour I'm taking through them. I got travel insurance yesterday. I got a couple of bills off in the mail today.

Everything specifically Scotland-related is done. I'm ready. I'm so ready.

I've been checking Scotland's weather on weather.com off and on this week, and it looks like the weather and temperatures are right on target. Daytime temps in the 50s and 60s, nights in the 40s and 50s. Kind of like camping at Bealtainne. :)

Sunrise and sunset is going to be different, though. I've never been as far north in latitude as I will be in Orkney. By the end of this month (when I'll be in Stromness and Kirkwall), sunrise (not just the pale grey of dawn - actual sunrise) will be at 4:15am. Sunset is at 10:00pm.

I also checked the website for the Macduff Arts Festival, and it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. There's even a sandcastle-building contest on the beach at Banff. There will be plenty to see and do and eat. And a lot of the activities are free!

lothiriel_1: (Default)


Okay, it's nearly freak-out time.  I've been doing pretty good about getting things done over time instead of waiting until the last minute (got passport and flights done in January, made most of lodging/activity reservations by March, got any supplies needed by mid-April, etc.), but I still feel like I have a million things to do and next to no time left to accomplish them in.

So here's yet another Heather-do list, just to get it out of my head and somewhere I can see it:

1.  Write checks for the petsitterCall her to confirm dates againType up instruction sheet for her.

2.  Clean the floors in the house

3.  Clean my bathroom

4.  De-clutter my bedroom

5.  Set out ant bait traps (just to prevent any problems)

6.  Clean out my car

7.  Arrange for my grass/weeds to be cut

8.  Confirm reservations at hotel near BWI for night of return

9.  Take photos of everything to be packed in my large pack, print them to take along in case bag is "lost".

10.  Make 2-sided copies of all my necessary travel info computer print-outs

11. Call credit card company to notify them of upcoming overseas use.


13. Run dishwasher (Wednesday night)

14. Do laundry (Thursday night)

15. Start for-real packing (Thursday night)

16. Finish packing (Friday morning)

17. Unplug all my electronic stuff (TV, computer, etc.)

18. Set the thermostat at a happy medium


I'll be leaving the house by about 1100-1130 on Friday, to give me PLENTY of time to get to the hotel where my car will be parked, and get through security at the airport.

It's almost time!!!

lothiriel_1: (dandelion break)
Busy busy busy...

yardwork )

Yesterday afternoon's level of activity has continued into today here at work.
work work work )


ZOMG, only FIFTEEN days and a wake-up left to Scotland!!! )

Basically, I'm ready. I have a few things to do before I leave, like some house-cleaning, mail and paper holds, writing checks for the petsitter, and arranging for grass-cutting whilst I'm gone. I need to make sure that all my electronic equipment/computer stuff is turned off AND unplugged. And a few other little tasks.

Almost time, almost time...
lothiriel_1: (try to grasp this)
Next time I plan a trip to, say, the Outer Hebrides, make firm decisions on where to stay and make the reservations several MONTHS in advance, especially if said planned trip is between June and August.

Holy CATS, that was a bit of a fiasco. The initial B&B I contacted in Tarbert let me know via e-mail that the room I was interested in wasn't available. Okay, how about your other rooms (this B&B is in such a great location for getting to the ferry)? Second e-mail states that all rooms are booked. O-kay. Whip out the ol' tourism guide and hit the listings.

June is a busy month in Tarbert, apparently. I called no less than FIVE different B&Bs either in Tarbert or the immediate area (most of them, somewhat amusingly, run by someone with the family name "Morrison"). All five completely booked up. Try the internet. Find another B&B, this one about 5 miles outside Tarbert on the Isle of Scalpay (linked to the "mainland" by a bridge built in 1997).

SUCCESS!!! Thank the gods! Otherwise I might have had to cop a squat in the ferry terminal for the night. The nice lady I spoke to is aware that I need to get to the ferry early in the morning and said she'd help me with that. YAY! So I'm booked for that night. Now I just need to cancel that second night at Laxdale and I'll be all set for the Lewis/Harris leg of the journey.

So, for this situation...

The pros: I get to stay in a real Scottish crofthouse, with Gaelic-speaking hosts. I also get to see another island, even if it's only briefly. The fare isn't cheap, but it's still a lot better than taking a taxi from Stornoway.

The cons: The distance from the ferry pier. I would have happily walked a mile or so, but 5 miles with my pack and a deadline of 7:00am is pushing it. Mrs. MacKinnon said that Tarbert has a taxi service now - it's fairly new, from what I understand.

Almost ready... 57 days and a wake-up.

ETA: Laxdale Holiday Park in Stornoway has been contacted. One bright spot about all these overseas phone calls? I get to hear those lovely accents!
lothiriel_1: (opus singing bon jovi)
... or in type, whichever the case may be.

***Quick note so that the rest of this makes sense: Lewis and Harris are in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. Despite the two names, Lewis and Harris are actually the same land mass as opposed to two geographically distinct islands. Lewis' topography tends to be flatter, with lots of moors and marshes, while Harris has lots of mountains.***

Okay, the Outer Hebrides portion of my trip has a bit of a kink in it, in particular the part where I actually leave Lewis/Harris and go to Skye. I am currently reserved for 2 nights in Laxdale Holiday Park's bunkhouse, just outside Stornoway, on Lewis. The day I leave, I need to be at the ferry terminal in Tarbert (on Harris) by 7:00 am. It's about an hour from Stornoway to Tarbert by bus, but there's a major problem with that - the buses don't run that early in the morning.

Here are my options:

1. Drive to Tarbert myself and leave the rental car at the pier. This really isn't a good option, since the fee for doing so is pretty high. In fact, it would double my rental rate. MEEP!

2. Take a taxi from Laxdale to Tarbert Pier. A possibility, but an expensive one - about 55 pounds or so. MEEP!

3. Cancel the second night at Laxdale and find a place in Tarbert to stay for that night, greatly facilitating my on-time arrival at the pier. And it costs considerably less as well.

I've already done some work regarding option #3 - I contacted a B&B that's spitting distance from the pier about their single room. Unfortunately, that room's been booked for several months. I've e-mailed the nice lady back about other rooms/area B&Bs, and I plan to follow that up with a phone call in a couple of hours.

I ironed out the other travel wrinkle yesterday - same type of thing, only in Drumnadrochit/Inverness. I also made my Orkney ferry reservations.

There's really not much left to do at this point, arrangements-wise. I plan to stop at the local AAA office this week to get my international driver's permit and some British sterling. I also need to get my travelers' checks at Navy Federal (that won't take long).

Only 58 days and a wake-up left to go...

Um, what?

Mar. 18th, 2008 08:57 am
lothiriel_1: (bill milquetoast opus)
I stayed home with the sick fridge today, which is now fixed, to the tune of $265 (ouch...). I'm going to give the temperature a chance to settle for a couple of hours, then I plan to head out to the crappy Food Lion and pick up some staples to put into it (OJ, milk, yogurt - that sort of thing).

Now that the repairman has come and gone, I have the rest of the day to myself. Whatever shall I do with a WHOLE DAY OFF mid-week?

Well, for starters, I tried making a couple of phone calls to Scotland to make some reservations. This was not a successful venture. I looked up the country code, called the number listed, and got the same message each time I tried - that the number I was dialing was not in service for the country I was calling. Huh? I was using the code for the UK, which, as I recall, Scotland is a part of.

Okay - I just figured it out. All numbers in Scotland and the UK start with a "zero" that needs to be dropped when being called from outside the UK. I now have a car reserved for Lewis, a day tour reserved for Skye, and I changed my lodging for Loch Ness/Inverness slightly (so I can make an early bus to Ullapool and the Outer Hebrides). It was fun calling the Aros Centre in Skye to arrange the tour - the guy who answered the phone answered in Gaelic! Feasgar math!
lothiriel_1: (dandelion break)
It was a quiet, but fairly productive weekend. Friday night I worked the crop at the store - good sales that day, plus I managed to get out a bit earlier than usual.

Saturday )

Sunday )

In other news, More updates - refrigerators, cats, travel planning, etc. )

That's it for now, I guess. I expect to be hearing from [livejournal.com profile] genevieve2006 about her newest pending arrival (son #3), whose due date is next week, but could probably show up at any time.
lothiriel_1: (cutter john aaiigh)
Who the hell is the ref who's officiating this game?!? I need to call for a do-over! I can't recall if this sort of crap was in the Wheel of the Year reading that [livejournal.com profile] etainwilson did for me on New Year's - I need to check the notes she sent...

All right, I've got a little good news to crow about and plenty of bad news to whine about. Let's get the crap over with first.

Refrigerator is dying )

Windshield is dying )

Tax refund is dead )

Cat is dying )

Hey, if you've been glossing over the bitchy parts, stop now.

Highland dance weekend in review )

So now I'm at work. At the moment, no one else is here, so it's very quiet. It would be nice if it stayed that way, but the way my luck's been running, I'm not holding out much hope of that. Anyway, if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading.

Only 80 days until Scotland...


Feb. 20th, 2008 06:34 am
lothiriel_1: (bill milquetoast opus)
Busy, busy, busy...

New-sy, but kind of boring )

I guess that's it for now. Time for another cup of coffee. At least I get to leave early today for a dentist appointment - I have a feeling I'm going to be in bed by 8:00 tonight...
lothiriel_1: (Default)
Because I just KNOW you're all dying to read more about them!

Item 1: My Historic Scotland membership handbook and card arrived in the mail yesterday. YAY!

Item 2: Lodging arrangements are confirmed for the following: Edinburgh - Budget Backpacker's, Stirling - Willy Wallace Hostel, Macduff - Park Hotel B&B, Orkney - Peedie Hostel in Kirkwall and Brown's Hostel in Stromness, Inverness/Drumnadrochit - Loch Ness Backpacker's Hostel, Lewis/Stornoway - Laxdale Holiday Park, Skye/Portree - Bayfield Backpacker's Hostel.

Item 3: Put my request for time off into the store (it's not necessary for me to do it this early at the Base - besides, my boss already is aware of the time period).

Item 4: Ordered a Gaelic phrase book from Amazon - should arrive by the end of January (it will come in handy in Lewis and Skye). ETA: It arrived 1/28 - looks like a nice, well-organized little book!

Still need to: Hunt one more time for my wayward travel pillow (will look again tomorrow - will order a new one if the fairies have decided to keep it). Get to Gander Mountain or Dick's Sporting Goods and look for a rain hat. Try to find a decent pair of travel-worthy slacks or a skirt to bring along. Buy powder laundry soap, fabric softener sheets, and travel clothesline/bungee cords to pack. Get an iTunes card and download some more music so I can bring the iPod along on the trip to listen to during long bus and train rides (and remember to add the USB computer cord to my packing list so I can recharge it with the wall adapter I got a while back). Make sure both camera batteries are fully charged (and pack the charger). Buy a monopod for the camera, if I can find one that collapses down small enough to fit into my pack.

And on and on and on...
lothiriel_1: (going nuts)
Have you ever looked for something in your house/apartment/tent/shack/whatever that you absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt KNOW is within those four exterior walls somewhere, yet you can't find it to save your life?

I've just spent over an hour searching just about every conceivable spot in this house, looking for this:


I bought one WAY back, when I was stationed in Hawaii, prior to going to Australia in August 1996. It is the best travel pillow EVER. I can't remember when I used it last, but I know I've looked for it before, and I'm certain it made the move with me. I even had an eyeshade that I got in a little complimentary bag (along with socks, toothbrush, and paste) that I got from Qantas when I flew to Sydney tucked inside the outer cover.

Gone. Without a trace.

There's one more spot I can look, but I'm not holding out much hope - it's possible that it's in my seabag, which is full of uniforms that haven't seen the light of day in over 3 years. I guess I'll drag that thing out of my smaller bedroom closet tomorrow and dump it out. At least I know where I can get another pillow if my old one doesn't show up.
lothiriel_1: (yipes)
 This is going to be a running list for me to keep track of what I need to do and/or get for my trip.  Feel free to comment or make suggestions as you deem fit.

1.   Renew passport
2.   Make flight arrangements
3.   Make arrangements for long-term parking/night's stay on return  Ramada Inn reservations confirmed
4.   Make reservations for room in Macduff  Confirmed
5.   Make reservations for Falconry Scotland Hawk Walk  Confirmed for May 18
6.   Sit down with bus/train/ferry timetables and figure out the logistics of my in-country transportation.  Mostly done.
7.   Figure out where to stay in Stirling, Inverness/Drumnadrochit, Orkney, Lewis, and SkyeDONE!!
8.   Contact my grad school advisor about that B&B he stays at in Glasgow for my last night's lodging  Need to make reservations
9.   Buy electric converter and digital camera card reader
10. Buy new TSA-approved luggage locks
11. Buy a padlock for luggage lockers in hostels
12. Look into getting ScotRail pass (which includes train and bus fares, and ferry discounts)
13. Look for that damn travel pillow again...  *sigh*  Ordered a new one.  It arrived - it's a very pretty blue color, and the cover is nice and soft.  They even come with a stuff-sack now!  WOOT!

Additions as I come up with them...
lothiriel_1: (opus singing bon jovi)
(Or, "The Post In Which Heather Goes On And On Ad Nauseum About Her Travel Plans To Scotland")

Seriously. This is a lengthy post. Consider yourself warned. )

Well, this is certainly long enough, so I'll stop making your eyeballs bleed here.

ETA: Passport arrived today! That's gotta be some kind of record - I only sent it about a week and a half ago...
lothiriel_1: (bonehead dork)
Story of the past hour. I've been alternately on hold or speaking briefly with a non-native English speaker (oy...) since just after 0900.

Travelocity sent me an e-mail over the weekend letting me know that my flights to Scotland next May have been changed, and please contact them immediately. I tried calling yesterday and didn't get anywhere. I called earlier this morning, was put on hold, and got disconnected. Called back (note: I am currently on my 4th phone call and 4th non-native English speaker since yesterday - oy...). He ("Peter"?) is on hold with US Airways, whose system is apparently down.

Meanwhile, I'm on Travelocity's website looking at another available flight that would work out fine for me.

Now US Air is telling "Peter" that my ONLY option involves sitting in the Dublin airport all day before getting a connecting flight that night.

Um, no. My only requirements are to leave via Washington National and arrive in Glasgow, Scotland. I have no personal needs or desires to go through Philadelphia as originally scheduled. I can go through Boston. Or New York. Or Newark. I really don't give a damn.

Fucking HELL. Apparently US Air can't (for whatever reason) fix their own damned problem. So I need to drive down to Richmond, go to the US Air ticket window, and cancel my flights myself.

Fuck US Airways. Fuck Travelocity.
lothiriel_1: (holy crap)
In light of the lovely morning I had last Friday, I decided to indulge in a little retail therapy. Well, it isn't really retail, but it certainly was therapeutic.

I finally nailed down the dates for my trip to Scotland and bought my tickets for my flights. Departure from Washington National (yes, I still refuse to call it Reagan National) to Glasgow on May 16, arrival back in the states evening of June 7. I've pretty much also figured out where I will be on what days whilst I'm there, too. I had a couple of date priorities - being in Banff/Macduff from 23-25 May for their first annual Arts Festival, and avoiding being in Lewis on a Sunday (because EVERYTHING is closed - you can't even take a ferry to the mainland). I think I've got everything worked out for the most part. Now I just need to obtain my Historic Scotland membership, contact the falconry course company about reservations, and make my room reservations in Banff/Macduff. Pretty much everything else can be played by ear.

Only 6 months away!
lothiriel_1: (yawn)

I'm back from Stones (Okay, that's been over for what, 3 weeks now?) AND I'm back from Massachusetts as of 1830 last night. And yes, I'm back at work this morning. Oy...

Full report (with pictures, once I get them loaded onto my computer) later.


lothiriel_1: (Default)

October 2009



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