Just Frances

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All entries tagged with “nature”

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    DC in a nutshell - Nov 7th, 2017
    I spent last week in Washington, DC for an academic conference. But as luck would have it, I was able to catch up with several friends whilst I was there, too. This post is about that week, in a nutshell. [more...]

    Exploring the past: Greenwood Cemetery - Sep 29th, 2017
    I spent a bit of time exploring the “old” Cle Elum cemetery when I was in the Homeland this summer. And in doing so (and talking about it with others on Facebook) I realised that not many people know about the place. So I’ve decided to share as much information as I can—with a hope that others will chime in to share any information they have. The abandoned graveyard, Greenwood Cemetery, was an active burial place for people in the Upper Kittitas County area from 1903 until 1923 when Laurel Hill Memorial Park became the main cemetery. When Greenwood closed, most of the inhabitants of the graves were moved to Laurel Hill. Most, but not all. [more...]

    Caching up with Parker and Haden - Aug 26th, 2017
    Holidays to the Homeland means time with my nieces and nephews. I treasure that time as it allows me to catch up with what everyone is doing—especially as they’re all growing up and starting to live their lives as adults. My catching up time with Parker and Haden was especially treasured, as I got to introduce both of them to geocaching. So in addition to catching up, we got to cache up! (I am so punny!) [more...]

    Caching up on the Old Highway - Aug 24th, 2017
    Before my trip to the Homeland, I checked out the local geocaches to see what new adventures I could enjoy. That’s when I found that there was a trail of 24 caches along the Old Highway that links Upper and Lower Counties. But as my holiday has progressed, I began to wonder if I would have time to enjoy the trail. [more...]

    Casting shadows as the sun disappears - Aug 21st, 2017
    Today was one of those “once in a lifetime” moments that I hope (and expect!) will happen more than once in my lifetime: A total eclipse of the sun! It’s something that happens fairly often in the grand scheme of things, but it’s not all too often that it happens at a time and place that allows me to enjoy the wonderment. Of course, if it weren’t for the fact that I am in my Homeland for a holiday, I would have missed this year’s Spectacular Event! [more...]

    A Sunday hike to Pete Lake - Aug 13th, 2017
    I always knew how lucky I was to grow up in the beauty of Upper Kittitas County. I loved that I could escape into the woods around town during the summer. I loved that I could relax in the quiet bliss of nature. I loved knowing that my backyard was the whole of the Cle Elum Ridge and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. I loved that I could just hike in the great wilderness that surrounded me. Anywhere, anytime. [more...]

    Child at play - Aug 9th, 2017
    I’m in my Homeland for three weeks and that means I’m ready for some playtime! This is my first visit home since my Daddy’s 70th birthday party and my first visit home in nice weather. And that means that my beloved bike, Sarafina, gets to come out to play with me! [more...]

    Caching around Rosshall Park - Apr 8th, 2017
    I’m in Glasgow for a much-needed writing retreat (and a bit of cat-sitting). And one of the things that helps to keep me going on writing-intensive retreats is getting out for mini-adventures. So once I finished today’s to-do list, that’s just what I did—I went on a mini-adventure! [more...]

    The law of adventure - Apr 1st, 2017
    I have a personal outlook on life—a law, if you will—that says I will have as many adventures as possible. It might be a 5-minute adventure that sees me popping into a wee art exhibit on the way to the dentist. Or maybe it’s a long weekend to somewhere fantastic or a long-term move to a foreign land. Whilst long weekends away and moves to foreign lands can’t happen on a regular basis, mini-adventures can! [more...]

    Bordering on 43 - Feb 20th, 2017
    This past weekend was my birthday weekend, so I enjoyed a wee road trip to the Scottish Borders to explore in and around Kelso. It was a great way to shake out the cobwebs and a fun way to celebrate the end of another year. And, it was a great excuse to eat lots of holiday food! [more...]

    A visit to Crookston Castle - Feb 11th, 2017
    I’ve been away in Glasgow house and cat sitting for the past week. And as the ruined Crookston Castle is only a mile away, I decided it was high time I made a trip to see it. [more...]

    A Dunfermline day - Jan 24th, 2017
    I spent a day in Dunfermline over the weekend and am now wondering what took me so long to make the journey*. After all, it’s only a wee 30-minute train journey across the firth. But now that I’ve been, and now that I’ve realised there is so much to do and see, I am sure I will be back! [more...]

    Preparing for cosy - Dec 4th, 2016
    Winter is sneaking up upon us and that means cosy nights in front of a crackling fire. But in order to enjoy those cosy evenings, I need fuel for the fire. So today, I combined my much-needed daily exercise with gathering fire-starters. (Also known as pinecones.) [more...]

    Finding calm - Oct 10th, 2016
    My time at Serenity Lodge is coming to an end, and I am finding that the calming serenity I found here is starting to fade away, too. Not because this has become a less calming place, but rather because I know that the calm will (mostly) end when I re-enter my reality later tomorrow. [more...]

    Banishing the gloom at Castle Campbell - Oct 8th, 2016
    I spent today doing vital ankle rehabilitation work, in the form of walking to and from Castle Campbell in the hills above Dollar. It was a much-needed outing and a great way to rid myself of some of the gloom I’ve been feeling from missing out on all of my 2016 running goals. (Broken ankle = no races. How gloomy, indeed!) [more...]

    Weir walking - Oct 7th, 2016
    I’ve been staying at Serenity Lodge since last week where I am house- and pet-sitting for a while. I am using the time to catch up on my PhD, but I’m also taking some time for my ankle’s rehabilitation work. And what better way to do that than a bit of weir walking? [more...]

    Zadar: Everyday life for an everyday girl - Sep 30th, 2016
    Travelling to new places is quite exciting; you get to see new places through the warped lenses of tourism. So when I travelled to Zadar, Croatia, for an academic conference last week, I was very excited to have a free day to explore the city on either side of the conference. [more...]

    Serenity now - Sep 29th, 2016
    I’m writing this post from Serenity Lodge, my home for the next two weeks. My view from the deck overlooks the River Devon as it flows through Clackmannanshire on the outskirts of Dollar. It is peaceful, despite the three Labradoodles and chatty parrot I’m sharing the space with, and I am sure the location will help me find a bit of my own serenity! [more...]

    A Kelpie day - Jun 25th, 2016
    I’m house-sitting in Falkirk for a couple of weeks, so when a friend asked if I wanted to enjoy a day out, it seemed that visiting something local would be the way to go. When she suggested The Kelpies, I was really excited as I hadn’t seen them yet. [more...]

    Darting around Devon - Jun 5th, 2016
    I was invited to speak at a conference in Devon this past week, so decided to take the opportunity for a bit of sightseeing along the River Dart whilst I was down south. After all, you should never pass up the chance to explore and learn something new! [more...]

    Digitally medieval - Jun 3rd, 2016
    I’ve spent the last two days at the 5th annual Discover Academic Research, Training, and Support (DARTS) conference in Devon, England, where I was invited to speak about my PhD research into online reputation. The conference, with a focus on engendering a (digital) research culture, was held at Dartington Hall—a medieval manor house that was built between 1388-1400. [more...]

    West coast weekend - May 30th, 2016
    This past weekend was the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. But I decided not to run the half marathon because I didn’t have enough time to recover after having been rather ill. So instead, I headed west to enjoy a weekend on the coast with a friend. [more...]

    Dream day - May 21st, 2016
    Eleven years ago, I entered a beautiful dream world: The dream of happily ever after with my amazing new husband. And whilst being a Mrs had never been a childhood dream, being Mrs Ryan was the answer to my dreams of being happy with my life’s course. And together, we build a wonderfully happy dream world. [more...]

    Bonjour, Bordeaux! - May 16th, 2016
    Bonjour, Bordeaux! Or rather, au revoir… as I’m already back home in Scotland after enjoying a mini-holiday to France these past few days! In fact, this was my first-ever trip to France and I am now wondering what took me so long to get there. More importantly, I’m wondering how soon I can return! [more...]

    April flowers - Apr 26th, 2016
    Another year has passed since my beloved Paul died. And so, another year has been spent making the journey to lay flowers on his grave. I’d like to say that it gets easier with each passing year but it doesn’t. I’m just used to it now; I’m just (mostly) prepared for the waves of emotion that take over. [more...]

    Conquering the law - Feb 21st, 2016
    I arrived in North Berwick yesterday for my birthday weekend, with a plan to conquer The Law as part of my visit. And since yesterday was spent exploring Tantallon Castle and the coast, today was the day to climb the hill! [more...]

    Tantallon to end - Feb 20th, 2016
    Today is the start of my birthday weekend, and my last day as a 41-year-old woman. So to celebrate, I’ve taken myself away for the weekend. Not far—just to North Berwick. But it’s a nice little village that I’ve been meaning to explore for a long time, so my birthday was a good excuse to do that. [more...]

    Dilapidated beauty - Feb 17th, 2016
    With my birthday just around the corner, I am more aware than normal that I am getting older. I am ageing; I am becoming more and more dilapidated as time goes by. I’m not upset about it, I’m just more aware. And, I suppose, I’m a bit wistful. [more...]

    Caching Oban - Feb 14th, 2016
    The first time I was in Oban was for a quick lunch stop as part of a bus tour with my best friend, Rachel, when she came to visit me way back in 2002. I’ve been meaning to return for a while now, so when my friend asked if I was up for a weekend break to Oban I couldn’t say no! After all, there were a few fun geocaches I was hoping to find! [more...]

    Happy hills - Jan 24th, 2016
    One of my hopes for 2016 is that I can keep myself motivated. Motivate to succeed. Motivated to stay active. Motivated to work harder. Motivated to accomplish many, many goals. And motivated to be happy. [more...]

    Filters, finds, and falls - Jan 3rd, 2016
    I enjoyed a nice wee wander up to the filter beds near Glencorse Reservoir to find a geocache near a waterfall today. I even saw a filly along the way. As it happens, it was the first time I’ve left the house all year, and it really felt good to stretch my flexors! (I’ll leave the alliterations alone now.) [more...]

    Wrapping up 2015 - Dec 31st, 2015
    With 2015 quickly coming to an end, it’s time for a bit of reflection. And as I look back at my hopes for the year, I am pleased to say that I’ve succeed in all but one of my hopes—the desire to learn how to sew a skirt. But I didn’t even attempt that one, as I realised it isn’t a truly important goal for me. And so, I’m calling the year a success! [more...]

    Combing the Ayrshire coast - Dec 30th, 2015
    I spent the last three days beachcombing in Ayrshire with a friend and managed to find all sorts of cool things. (And, sadly, a cold!) Our walks took us north to Ardrossan and as far south as Culzean Castle. It was my first time exploring that area of Scotland, but I’m sure it won’t be my last! [more...]

    A selfie Christmas - Dec 25th, 2015
    Hello and merry Christmas to you all! As I mentioned the other day, I am spending my Christmas (mostly) alone—but I am doing so with new and old traditions to keep me company! [more...]

    Gastropod grief - Dec 17th, 2015
    It started a little over a year ago. Every few days, I would wake up and there would be faint, shimmering lines on the carpet in my bedroom—always along the path of my laptop’s power cord. My first thought was that maybe there had been an electromagnetic something-or-other that interacted with the man-made fibres in the carpets. I didn’t really give it much thought, especially as it wasn’t a daily occurrence. [more...]

    A Wales of a day! - Nov 9th, 2015
    I’ve been down in England spending a few days with my brother-in-law, John, and on Saturday he suggested we drive across to Wales for a wee day of adventuring. And as I can’t resist a good adventure, I happily accepted the idea of a pilgrimage. [more...]

    A very a-peel-ing day - Sep 5th, 2015
    I was chatting with my friend Iris yesterday and learned that she’d never been to—or heard of!—Linlithgow. And as it’s one of my favourite places, I needed to remedy that. (Which also means I'm keeping up on my desire to be more adventuresome.) So we boarded a train this morning to make the 20-minute journey to the ancient royal burgh. Once there, we wandered around the Linlithgow Peel—with a wee stop off at St Michael’s Parish Church and Linlithgow Palace, of course. [more...]

    Over the Pentlands - Jul 30th, 2015
    Remember when I mentioned I am going to have more adventures? And that I am going to fill up my diary with all sorts of fun things? Well, today was one of those adventuresome days! Even better, I managed to visit two of the 14 places BuzzFeed says I should try to see this summer. (Yay!) [more...]

    Making plans - Jul 28th, 2015
    I’ve talked a few times about my desire to build healthy routines for myself, to get out and be more active, and, of course, to prioritise myself a bit lot more. And I’m pleased to say that I’ve been working on all of those things over the past few weeks. In fact, I’ve been making all sorts of plans to ensure I keep filling up my diary! [more...]

    Carving out time - Apr 6th, 2015
    I carved out time in my Easter weekend to travel to Stirling for lunch with friends today. Afterwards we went for a wee wander around the Back Walk at Stirling Castle and, to my pure joy and amusement, there were several new carvings along the walk to enjoy! [more...]

    Always the sun - Feb 22nd, 2015
    The weather forecast today was for sleet and snow. But I was enticed out for a walk with a friend, so bundled up to face the elements. I admit that part of me hesitated to go because I was in a mildly sulky mood. But then I remembered that spending time with dear friends always warms my soul. So when my friend arrived to pick me up, I happily went out into the sleet. [more...]

    Castles and hillforts - Jan 4th, 2015
    Between yesterday and today, I’ve managed to get a bit of walking and sightseeing in. It’s been a great way to spend my first weekend of 2015—and my last weekend before heading back to the office tomorrow after two weeks’ holiday. [more...]

    Berry nice; bargain price - Dec 28th, 2014
    There’s something berry nice about a wee nip of flavoured vodka on a cold winter’s evening. Only if you’re a starving PhD student who is working hard to trim her budget, it’s difficult to justify the extra costs. [more...]

    It’s parliamentary, my dear - Oct 21st, 2014
    When I first arrived in Scotland in 2001, the new Scottish Parliament was quite new. In fact, they didn’t even have a permanent building! But finally, in 2004, the building was completed and the MSPs moved in. [more...]

    A day at the Kelvingrove - Oct 5th, 2014
    I spent yesterday in Glasgow visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It’s one of those places I can return to over and over again. In fact, I’ve probably been there a dozen times over the last 12 years. I kind of feel like that’s not often enough, but as the friend I was with has only been twice in the same time span, I guess I’m doing OK. [more...]

    Perambulating in Perth - Sep 15th, 2014
    I had a wonderfully fun weekend in Perth, where I did a lot of perambulating. (But you could probably guess that from the title of this post.) A friend met me at the train station on Saturday, and then we made our way to St John’s Kirk before heading out for a nice meal. Then on Sunday, we wandered along the “William Souter Walk”. [more...]

    Inch by inch - May 18th, 2014
    I spent a wonderful day on Inchcolm Island, exploring the abbey and surrounding grounds. It was one of those happy days, despite there being a slight tug on my emotional heart strings. But I knew that would happen as the first (and last) time I was there was nearly 12 years ago with Paul. [more...]

    Where blooms the sweet bluebell - May 17th, 2014
    Today is the start of a four-day weekend for me so I’ve made a concerted effort to get out of the house so that I don’t spend the whole time hidden away in my room. So I asked my housemate if he was up for a wee walk somewhere. [more...]

    Retreating to nature - May 7th, 2014
    On the second day of the retreat, we had the morning free for activities before an afternoon of presentations. Once again, I was left solo on my activity choice because I didn’t fancy sailing or mountain biking, and it seemed no one else fancied a wee nature walk and exploration of an old burial ground. [more...]

    Retreat to the castle! - May 7th, 2014
    The first day at the retreat centre began just after lunch, and we were all given opportunities to participate in an activity prior to a short presentation before dinner. I wasn’t keen on the idea of playing on the water, so opted to take one of the bikes into town to check out the old ruins of Finlarig Castle. [more...]

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