Fun at Home


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This is what I did today. (Link leads to a topo map with hiking route and altitudes.)

It was hard.

Obviously, I’m working very hard to bring you new content for the blog. A.k.a. visiting with my family in my annual trip home.

There will be pictures. Cross my heart. But now it’s time for bed.

Moebius & Klein, inc.


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“If Möbius weren’t dead already…” I said, holding up what would (eventually) be a pair of trousers.

“You’d punch him. Repeatedly,” finished my husband.

“Oh, wait a sec. No, it turns out I’m just not old enough to wear pants.” Having wrangled them to a more trouser-like mien, the murderous look faded from my eyes.

“It would have been interesting, though, to have Möbius pants.”

“It would, until I tried to wear them. Wearing Moebius pants on a plane is like… bringing whisky to school in a Acme Klein Bottle. It doesn’t work.”

“Bringing whisky to school. In a Klein bottle. Right.”

o O o

“If Möbius & Klein isn’t the name of a company, it needs to be. I”ll have to start it.”

“Möbius & Klein, hm?” He clearly wasn’t seeing the potential here.

“Yes, Möbius & Klein.” I went on with some regret. “The logo probably won’t be able to be rendered in 3D space, though.”

My Home Office is a Tent, or Tiny House Living


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Really, the question is, why isn’t yours?

Let me introduce you to 8 meters of olive green linen.

It came, with all of its other friends who are destined for Raglan (a week-long re-enactment at a castle in Wales), in these beautiful bags.

moose and bags

I had had some difficulty with the order, but these unexpected bags wiped it right out of my mind. I’m easy that way. I really dislike animosity, and I really like bags.

Moose and bags

I also like moose. (But I am not collecting moose; let’s be very clear here.)

Naturally, I prewashed the linen before cutting, and naturally, I didn’t put it in the dryer. Partially because I don’t have a dryer, but partially because it’s really not good for linen. 8 meters of linen, meet 4.5 meters of living room.

green linen

Tent! And my scouting mug. It seemed to match the tent.

green linen tent

And here’s its cousin, 6 meters of grey herringbone, with which I have fallen madly in love.


This is hanging across the hallway–the hooks for the drying rack are on the left–and draped over the door to our bedroom. In a house this small, you do what you have to.

Since I’m leaving for the US in less than a week (!), I’ve been working on all of the small things that need to be done before a big trip. Buying summer clothes was the first item on the list. Since I moved here, I’ve worn out (dance class) or grown out of most of my summer clothes, but since I haven’t needed them since the last time I was home, they fell by the wayside. Until I remembered that it’s likely to be in the eighties in the Boston area in July. After the 50-odd-degree days that have characterized this summer in Scotland so far, I am so ready for some summer.

So to prepare, I did what comes naturally in the summer: I wrapped Christmas presents.

penguin-wrapped Christmas presents

No, I have no idea where your penguin calendar went. Why do you ask?

You know, with this color scheme, penguin paper would be even better for Channukah. It’ll be the new big thing. Tell your friends.

Happy June.

Vacation in Scotland


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Mumsy Dearest and one of my little sisters came to visit us in Scotland, which is one of the reasons I’ve been so little around lately. Wave hello:

phone box

We found a phone box.

We spent the first few days seeing the sights in Edinburgh while they got acclimated to the climate and the time zone. Happily, those first few days were dry and even, on occasion, sunny. I believe they started with the impression that we had exaggerated the extremes of Scotland’s summers. (They were disabused of this notion the first night we set up a tent. But that’s later.)

The first night, we walked around a bit to get a feeling for the city.

Edinburgh Castle

This is Edinburgh Castle. You’ll see it again.

Look at all the phone boxes!

phone boxes

Truly, we are now in Britain. (But not England. Definitely not England.)

The photos from this trip are a collaborative effort, in that we have no idea who took most of them.

public garden

A public garden, established circa 1912.

Stay tuned for further adventures and gratuitous photographic evidence!

View from the Trenches: Hard Science


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Some snippets from my research lately:

o O o

So, what did you think of [university]?

Well, the linguistics faculty was in the humanities department…

[General laugh]

Yeah, all those students walking around, talking about books.

o O o

Every so often something happens to bring it home to me that at heart, I’m not so much a researcher as a scientist. Most often, this happens when I scoff at questionable research methodology. Or statistics abuse. Sometimes I have to remind myself that qualitative research is research, too.

I have a feeling I’m going to be in for a shock when I move to another university and end up immured in the humanities.

I’m pretty sure this is all just more evidence that every syntactician secretly wants to be a physicist, a condition known as physicist envy. (Not quite the same as physics envy).

o O o

How would a microfiche concordance of Old English even work? Basic corpus work was a lot more difficult in the past.

o O o

“The time frame under investigation will be primarily the first millennium before and the first millennium after the birth of Christ.” Since I was translating, I did a double take here. Yes, it really said millennium. That’s a whole lot of ground to cover. We’ll see how that goes.

In the same paper, I discovered that the change from BC to AD is called Zeitwandel in German, which translates to ‘timeswitch’. I don’t know why this doesn’t exist in English, and suggest we start using it forthwith.

St Andrews, part 3: Waves and Corbies


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You can tell when the sun is out because the pictures become nice and crisp. Scotland seems to provide a particular challenge for photos because the amount of light doesn’t correspond particularly well to the settings you would normally use. Most places get darker when clouds block the sun, but somehow in Scotland, the light just gets more diffuse. I never thought to distinguish between ‘light grey’ and ‘dark grey’ skies before I came to Scotland. Here, though, ‘light grey’ skies characterise many nice summer days. Sun is the best, of course, but I’ll take what I can get.

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Some cities have pigeons. St Andrews has crows.





St Andrews, part 1


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Last weekend NTs and I met some friends in St. Andrews for breakfast and a turn around the farmers’ market. Then NTS and I poked around. A lot.

St Andrews

St. Andrews is tiny and charming. It’s possible that I have now been inside all of the shops save large clothing and shoe stores. It may be just as well there weren’t more, or NTS would have had to get cranky.

St Andrews

At the end of the main streets is the ruined Cathedral of St Andrews. The original section was started in 1158 on the site of the older church of St. Rule, whose square tower still stands. In fact, you can climb to the top of the tower still… provided you don’t run into anyone coming down. The stair is an impossibly narrow spiral. We were lucky, and only ran into someone when we were quite near the single landing and had a place to squeeze by.St Andrews

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St Andrews Cathedral

This is the first post of several. I took a lot of pictures.

The Only Scotsman at the Wedding is No True Scotsman


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Scotsman Hotel

NTS has been hankering for a kilt for some time now. (This image may or may not have been in the back of my mind since we first decided to move to Scotland.) When some dear friends of ours invited us to a wedding at the Scotsman Hotel, we knew it was time to take the leap.


I confess myself delighted with the spectacle.


As the bride is American, the groom Welsh, and their academic colleagues English, European and American, there were almost no Scots in the entire party. Some of the guests were charmed by the gentleman in the kilt and asked to have their picture taken with him.

Stained glass, the Scotsman

My husband, part of the local colour.


But really, how could you not be charmed by that smile?


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