The Scottish Games: Wallets out, Claymores Up!

The Scottish Games: Wallets out, Claymores Up!

I spent last Saturday at the Scottish games up in Enumclaw, WA. I had a root beer float, looked at Celtic jewelry, and came home sunburned. It was great. Here are five reasons why Scotland and the Scottish games are fun.

  • They have good sweets. If you want toffee, shortbread, fudge, or salted caramel fudge, this is the place for you. I’d stay away from the Irn-Bru though. It’s bubble gum flavored soda and probably tastes as bad as it sounds. I don’t know. I’ve had the sense not to try it.
  • Their sports are more interesting than you’d think. I watched a group of big, Hagrid looking men fork a bale of hay thirty feet in the air. The crowd held its breath every time they came close.
  • They’re badass. If you want a spiked mace, broadsword, or dagger made into a hairclip, this is where to get it.
  • They’re also nerdy. If you want a replica of Sting from The Lord of the Rings, you can find that here too.
  • They have adorable displays of dogs herding ducks. You wouldn’t think 10 ducks could fit into one pet carrier, but you’d be wrong. They really wanted to get away from that border collie.

I recommend getting there early and leaving before five o’clock. You wouldn’t think everyone could fit onto the two lane country road heading out of town, and you’d be right.



Five Tips for Airport Survival: Holiday Edition

Holiday flying is even worse than regular flying. There are more crumbs on the seat, less space in the overhead bin, and the person next to you is probably sick. This is a list of tips on how to get through it.

1). Bring headphones. One screaming toddler can terrorize an entire plane. The coloring books the stewardess gives them will do nothing whatsoever.

2.) Make sure you have your license before leaving the house. The alternative is shoving three credit cards across the counter and praying.

3.) If possible, use an airport that can handle weather. Rain shuts down SFO. My sister tried to fly in there. She had to wait three hours and her plane was diverted to San Jose.

4.)  It’s perfectly acceptable to squat down in the newsstand and read a book without buying it as long as nobody catches you.

5.) Don’t be too optimistic. A 10:10am departure could easily mean a 1:58pm departure. Even if you’re on the plane, they may turn you around and march you right back off it.

Lastly, if you hear the phrase “we appreciate your patience” more than five times, feel free to scream like a toddler.

Ways to Have Fun in Seattle

My sister is a Huskie, so I’ve been in Seattle a lot recently. First, dear God the traffic is awful. The freeway turned into a parking lot at three in the afternoon. Second, the food is delicious so I’m going back anyway. Here is a list of ways to embrace your inner tourist and have fun in Seattle.

1). See the Space Needle. No, the swaying isn’t an earthquake. They built the Needle so it would move at the top. Have fun messing with any friends/family members who don’t know that.

2). Go for a walk in the Arboretum. Make it quick before all the leaves fall off.

3). Visit the EMP Museum of popular culture/science-fiction. They have a personality quiz where they tell you your fantasy archetype. I got the unlikely hero. But if you expect me to take the ring to Mordor, you will be sadly disappointed.

4.) Shop at Pike Place Market. Tip: The lower levels have fewer crowds. If you like having elbow room, or even shoulder room, those are the levels to go to.

5.) Study the exhibits at the Chihuly Glass Museum. The glass looks like it’s alive. Don’t touch anything for obvious reasons.

Lastly, if you make a mistake driving in downtown Seattle…congratulations, you have a new destination. Because you will never get the chance to turn around.

Tips For When You Get Lost

I get lost a lot; I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself on an entirely different continent one day. Friends and relatives shake their heads at me and wonder: “How did she end up there?” This list is for you, if, like me, you’re liable to find yourself going the wrong direction without any idea how it happened.

1). Bring two different ways of getting directions. Today, it took my printed directions and the maps app on my phone for me to realize I was on the wrong highway.

2.) Slow down. If you go too fast, you will miss things—like the exit to your destination.

3.) If you’re meeting someone, bring some way to contact them. Most times, they can help give directions. Try not to cry over the phone.

4.) Pack food. You will feel a lot better if you have a power bar to munch on. The jumpy feeling in your stomach won’t go away, but it won’t be as bad.

5.) Speaking of that jumpy feeling; don’t panic. The more panicked you are, the easier it is for you to wind up in Timbuctoo. I’ve had mixed success with this advice. I get jittery if I miss my turn off. But I go to the next exit and turn around instead of trying to pull a U-turn on the freeway.

When you get to your destination, don’t be ashamed to get out of your car and kiss the sweet ground. You may get some odd looks, but at least you’re not still frantically sneaking looks at your directions while speeding down the freeway.



Six Tips for Airport Survival

Flying is bearable at best. At worst, you’re forced to choke down wilted airline lettuce before waking up at a time your body tells you is three o’clock in the morning. This list will keep flying manageable without making you pay for overhyped extras like “A list preferred” or “premier access.”

  • Bring food. Airlines feed passengers the bare minimum to keep them from revolting and how much you’ve eaten effects your mood. The more you bring to eat, the less you will want to scream and cry like a toddler.
  • Do not check bags. If they want your luggage, make them fight you for it. One flight I was on, the airport decided to force four planes worth of baggage onto one carousel. Not good.
  • That being said…pack light. The only things you need are your cell phone, your wallet, and your meds. Anything else you can get when you land.
  • Do not put your purse in the overhead bin. This frees up space and makes boarding go faster. The quicker you get on the plane, the quicker you get off the plane.
  • Allow yourself to get excited when the plane takes off. This will help make up for the time you spend fidgeting and waiting for the drinks cart.

If someone offers you a “GOL Smiles Diamond” membership, then go ahead and revolt

What to Do When You’re Stuck in Traffic

Over the past two weeks, I got caught in some horrific traffic jams—the kind where you inch forward for a half an hour, finally see over the next hill, and discover that it still doesn’t get any faster. Five miles an hour was a good brisk pace compared to how fast those jams moved. Because bad traffic is depressingly common around here, I thought I’d write a list of ways to deal with it other than loud swear words.

  • Have something to eat with you in the car. You’ll be a lot less cranky and less likely to make mistakes. I went without food for six hours once and almost sideswiped someone. Then I realized it was time to go home and get food.
  • Crack a window. In the last jam I was in, I got so hot and sweaty my thighs stuck to the seat. A little breeze can make all the difference.
  • Don’t bother changing lanes. The minute you do the lane you move into will slow to a stop. It’s a curse.
  • Look at the cars in front of the car immediately ahead of you. This will make you less likely to rear end someone if traffic stops suddenly. Even if you are able to put on the breaks, the screech your tires make is embarrassing. Also, you’ll get honked at.
  • When you’re out, feel free to shout “hallelujah” and “whee” as you streak down the highway. I certainly did.