Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zeph's Garden- Calton Hill

Zeph's Broad Beans

I am an official Edinburgh resident! I have a lovely, bright flat on St Stephens street and will be splitting time this month between there and St Andrews. You know the church in North & South? St Stephens? That spire is all up in my face from my living room window. 

It's a gorgeous, sunny day here in Edinburgh, so we've been doing errands and hanging out in Zeph's garden. Time to go get ready for the ball. We'll be having Pimm's in this garden at Sunset beforehand. Have I mentioned how much I love life? Because I do. Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wedding What The....

don't have much to say in print about the Royal Wedding, which I watched this morning in Edinburgh, after viewing a flat. In person, I might have lots to say. But in print, I leave you with a sad sad moment in Ferguson history. Sadly, Princesses Beatrice & Eugenie are half Fergusons and they were.... really special today. Beatrice's antlers seem to be a trend in her overall fashion sense. Sigh. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Wedding's Most Ridiculous

Even though there's no beer at the wedding, Kate Middleton Beer!
(It was not great.)

My essay's turned in and now I'm off for Nettle Soup parties, flat hunting, and Edinburgh balls. (Also, Paris! On Monday!) But tomorrow is the much-talked-about-day. A part of me is sad to miss the shenanigans here in the city where Kate & Wills fell in love. But I've been collecting photos of the most ridiculous stuff I've seen. Ah, capitalism. For your enjoyment, I present them to you now. 

(And speaking of weddings. It's one of my all-time favorite couple's anniversary today! And I set them up!!! Go me! Happy Four Year Anniversary, Erin & Joel!)

and my fave: Knit Your Own Royal Wedding

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Fact: Beautiful Spring days like we've been having in St Andrews really make me thankful that I live in a castle with a garden next to it! It's great to wake up and go sit outside to do a bit of writing. That's what we did yesterday during class, as well. 

We persuaded Jacob to have our poetry class (on the topic of "the meaning of meaning"....ooh.) out on the grassy lawn behind Poetry House. After our discussion, Jacob led us in an 11 verse poem exercise that yielded some really interesting stuff from everyone, myself included!

First, he had us write down four facts. He also had an envelope labeled "Facts" (in case we couldn't think of any good ones) with cool tidbits such as "the average speed of a raindrop is 17 miles per hour."

Then we wrote 11 four-line stanzas with specific instructions for using the facts and referencing back to the previous stanzas. It was amazing how they cohered around some facts-- just like-- as we learned-- snowflakes have to cohere around a spec of dirt (completely pure water = no snow) or sand dunes that need seaweed in order to form. 

Mine was around facts, timetables and distances on a drive to Skye. And my poem became a fictitious, yet oddly truthful, carpool to Skye with all my favorite people. Here is a bit of it:

"You'll pass Eilean Donan," she said,
"Where six sisters live,
And all the furniture
was crane-lifted in."

The drive to Skye 
takes six hours by car
unless the deer
are out in the moonlight

I can hold a steering wheel
but not a pen, for too long
because of the long scar
on my ring finger

"Unlucky for a writer," she said,
"Not to be able to hold a pen,
but you get off easy
with Tennessee Williams as  your cousin."

How long until Ardverikie?
How long until Portree?
An hour and a half,
Six hours...unless there's deer

Jacob said he was going to send the steps, and when he does, I'll give them to you. I highly recommend basking in the sun and writing a long poem. That's a fact. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Women in Love

I gotta say... I wish any channel in the United States made a fraction of the lit-to-screen adaptations as the BBC. Because, when I'm really busy, (which is kind of always) I'll only allow myself TV watching privileges if I can justify its literary or historical merit. 

Recently, I had a late-night viewing of the BBC adaptation of DH Lawrence's Women in Love. It really wasn't just Women in Love-- it sort of rolled the experiences of the Brangwen family from that novel, as well as The Rainbow into one really gorgeous, but ultimately unfulfilling event for me. 

In fact, watching it, I found myself grasping to remember what I ever liked about DH Lawrence. Nevertheless, I'm still pretty sure I do enjoy some DH. And I'd just love to study him and Ford Madox Ford & Aldous Huxley for my research project on literary friendships. I wonder what kind of crazy stories that might turn up.

And I'm glad i watched it for the lovely, lovely Rosamund Pike (I have a girl crush on her!) in period costumes and sun-soaked in Africa. It's making me long for June, when I'll be making my own sunny journeys. 

If you care to watch the misguided love affairs of Ursula & Gudrun, you can do so here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Paris is always a good idea

Thanks, Audrey Hepburn,  for that quote. I agree. That's why I'll be headed back there in just one week. I have a lot to get done before then, so I'd better get back to it, but in the meantime, I'll leave you some photos of Paris at night for this lovely Spring Monday. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Morning

I woke up this Sunday morning to some lovely youtube postings from the dear Morgan. His EP comes out next month. Guess who's! New Yorkers should all hit up his release concert at Joe's Pub on May 13th. 

I'm thinking of him today as I get ready for another great VOTE! St Andrews performance tonight at 5PM. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Story

Here's a good theatre story: The day I got to Paris (ie: just one week of rehearsal days before opening) we had to replace our Muffin (read: lead, sings about 50% of the show) due to illness. We're technically doing a script in hand performance for this "musical in miniature" as I'm calling it. Nevertheless, everyone knows everything flows better when you're off book.

Vicki Robertson sat down in one day and just learned that part. Vicki's parents want her to be a doctor. She, as you can probably guess by now, has a real knack for the musical theatres. A bit like Muffin. 

Come check her, and the rest of  this fine group of people sing and "dance" today and tomorrow at the Barron. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Link Round Up

You know how the slow decay of iconic buildings just gets me right in the heart... The LA Times covers the demolition of Long Island's 'Gatsby House.' Said to be an inspiration to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Click here for further reading. And here are some more links from this week.

1. A novelist on the TIME 100 most influential list?? And a female one at that?! (Maybe I shouldn't be too excited-- also on that list are Blake Lively, Justin Bieber, & Michelle Bachman.)

2.The best part about having a widely acknowledged love of something, is that it sort of sucks other people into it. Everyone always knew what to buy me for holidays growing up (Gone with the Wind stuff-- duh. They still do!) and people are always sending nice little things my way. So people are always sending me David Foster Wallace articles. And with The Pale King out now, there's PLENTY of it. But I like this one about why DFW inspires such devotion in his fans.

3. A lovely little write up of Steven and how VOTE! is coming to Houston! Hurrah! (Speaking of which, don't forget your tix to VOTE! in St Andrews. I hear Saturday is sold out maybe?)

4. Thanks to NYMag's Approval Matrix for acknowledging that Gone with the Wind fans are called "Windies." Duh.

5. Is anyone watching The Borgias? I was excited about this before I left the states. You know... with the costume dramas and all... All those tails of Vatican corruption! But the trailer looks a little much. And I see they've got Joanne Whalley Kilmer (or did she drop the Kilmer?) overacting her way through this. She sure knows how to camp up a strong female lead. (Yes, since you asked, I AM still bitter she ruined Scarlett O'Hara in the TV Adaptation of Scarlett. But but but, Ryann, you say.... that was 1994. You were 12. To which I say, Yes. The first cut is the deepest. Nobody messes with Scarlett.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sleep & Poetry

I have very few beefs with my life. It's pretty perfect. The only thing that sometimes impedes my ability to enjoy it is how frequently I'm unable to sleep. So much of my writing life is about sleep and not sleep. The difference between working insomnia and restless insomnia. Feeling alert or feeling dull based on how rested I feel. 

Since I got back from France, I've found it hard to really feel like I got a good night's sleep. It may or may not be because of my single bed. Either way, I'm definitely a bed connoisseur. I spend a lot of time thinking about beds. I'm always checking out bedding. And even though my bed might be a joke, my bedding is NO JOKE, sleeping on love letters (See below). 

Last night, man, I really slept. It was great. Even in my little ol' bed. So I thought I'd go through my big folder of design and pull out all the beautiful beds to give thanks for that dreamy, fluffy place where creativity goes to hibernate and rejuvenate. 

I need all the rest I can get. This Spring is insane. Don't forget! VOTE! St Andrews is THIS Saturday and Sunday! Tix are going fast, so make sure you get yours now! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When I have fears...

My life is significantly less anxiety prone than it once was. But when the gears of my brain turn, unable to sleep at night, (as they still do, and probably always will) the same single anxiety always returns to me. That even if I write all day, read all day, everyday for the rest of my life, I still won't get to everything I want to write and read. Statistically, it's true. Which makes the anxiety all the more severe. 

For example, I really miss reading the New Yorker every week. But sometimes, when I go to the website to try to catch up, I feel so overwhelmed, I just need to hit the eject button. 

NPR wrote about this very issue (just one of  the many, many, many reasons we should fund NPR) and what it means to be "well-read." As an impatient person, it was nice to see this in print: "It is the recognition that well-read is not a destination; there is nowhere to get to, and if you assume there is somewhere to get to, you'd have to live a thousand years to even think about getting there, and by the time you got there, there would be a thousand years to catch up on." And I'll just say, as daunting as it is, I'm going to keep culling. I'm not going to surrender. 

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love! - then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

John Keats Posthumous and Fugitive Poems [Read the biographical context.]

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Versailles Rainbows

Versailles wasn't even a little bit on my short list of things to do while I was in Paris for such a short, first-time trip. But that's the beauty of traveling light and throwing new people into the mix. So instead of going to the Rodin museum, Cameron from Texas convinced me to go. 

I'm really glad I did. You can add it to my list of credentials in the Sofia Coppola appreciation society. The interior of the palace was beautiful and a much needed chance to  get out of the sun. Something about the way Versailles sits in the gardens-- it feels very exposed. There's not much shade or cover.

And actually, I think the orange juice I had made from oranges grown on the estate was worth the price of admission. But on top of all that, there was this (cheesy, yet fantastic) musical fountain show. The spray was so cooling and I thought (as I've thought many times before) if only ALL my activities could be underscored with a symphony on palace grounds!! And then! The best part! RAINBOWS. Everywhere. There were rainbows all over the place. It was magical. Exactly why I love castles

And as for the Rodin, I'm heading back to Paris in less than two weeks! So maybe good old Rob Shafer and I will check it out then!

Can you see me in the mirror?

Monday, April 18, 2011 a very reel sense...

Back in St Andrews today, on the other side of genuinely one of the funnest weekends of my whole life. I went, I reeled, I survived. It was great. There were a few moments when they were teaching us the reels the night before where I felt downright dejected at my own incompetence. 

And who knows, maybe there seemed to be less pressure at the actual event, maybe it was the sight of my friends looking so smart in their dresses and kilts, or maybe it was the excellent leading by Sandy, Hugh, Frankie and even occasionally Torc (when he wasn't trying to trick me- j/k) but I think I did okay. Iona gave both me and Taylor a gold star afterwards, so that's gotta count for something. 

All my limbs are still sore, but it was worth it. There's a special camaraderie of looking for the person you're dancing with while you're spinning in a crowd of other people. Knowing that you're a little bit responsible for each other. And that-- in the context of this small thing--  you're either going to sink or swim together. I loved getting the moves right equally as much as when the whole thing broke down-- when Torcuil and Iona's dad, Hugh, would deliberately make the circle go faster than necessary, to make us all laugh. Or when Hugh spun me so fast, my feet were literally off the floor. Or when Torcuil spun me so fast, I slipped and hit the floor (Torc's body count was two that night, in fact!) 

And so my point is this: so much of my life, and indeed American life, is this "making your own way"-ness. But I've found in Scotland something only barely glimpsed in America. These days of togetherness and being responsible for each other. Of agreeing it's okay to mess up in front of each other. To laugh with, at, and for each other. 

Because after all, at the end of the night, we're all going to go back and drink whisky together. Listen to Sophie sing together. Get up in the morning and go for a beautiful hike with picnic lunches together. And it's times like this that remind me why I am most freely happy here as I've ever been. That where my mission may take me as years go by, there will always be a piece of my heart and soul dancing and spinning free in Scotland in a room full of my friends each with their arm out to catch mine.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alison Krauss & Union Station- Paper Airplanes

Alison Krauss was a pretty big part of my childhood. I remember my dad and I playing her very first CD full blast on brisk, bright Las Vegas weekend mornings shortly after I moved to live with him. Alison had a really bad perm then and I actually think she looks younger now than she did then-- almost twenty years ago. 

I'm always really glad when she puts out a new album with Union Station and this time I'm super super especially glad because she's sort of quoting me with the title. (VOTE! in St Andrews is next weekend, too, by the way. Get your tickets here for Saturday & here for Sunday. )

I'm still listening to Alison Krauss twenty years later on a bright, brisk morning here on the Isle Skye. Hope you're having a great Sunday!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A French house party

Some of the most fun we had in Paris was doing the local thing with my friend, Kate. She took us to a lot of great places (more on the later) including a fun birthday party for her friend Margaux in Republique. I'm not normally much of a dancer, but my baby-faced, chain-smoking, blonde, curly-haired French twin, Raphael was so much fun with the playlisting (including La Roux!), I couldn't help but boogie. 
Hope you have a fun Saturday! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Taste of Scotland in SoCal

Hello hello, McC here! While Miss Ferguson's wanderlust continues to Skye this weekend, I thought I'd drop in with a little Scottish love from sunny El-Layyyy.

Robert Burns eats at The Gorbals, no joke!

Do you watch Top Chef? I don't, but that doesn't keep me from loving Ilan Hall's Scottish/Jewish fusion restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. The Gorbals is named after the neighborhood in Glasgow where Ilan's father grew up, and its odd mash-up of cuisines makes for a fantastic dining experience. Sneak through the lobby of the Alexandria Hotel, order yourself a Rosemary's Baby at the bar (rosemary rum, milk, the king's ginger, and cinnamon...mmm), and prepare yourself for an oddball evening.

I'm no food critic, but I will say there's something particularly delightful about a menu that includes haggis burgers, paella, chicken skin sandwiches, gefilte fish ‘n chips, and bacon-wrapped matzoh balls. Matzoh balls. Wrapped in BACON. Some highlights for the table: the buttery-butter butterfest that was the roasted bone marrow, the bánh mì poutine, and surprisingly, the broccoli, soy, chilies, and vinegar. I found the sticky toffee pudding underwhelming, but that is more likely due to my strong bias for the Edinburgh version than any fault in Mr. Hall's recipe.

Open invitation to any Fergie & Fifers who would like to visit LA and take me back to The Gorbals! Happy weekend from California. xoxo

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taylor & Ryann in Paris

Some of my favorite photos of all my 400+ Paris photos are these great ones of Taylor and me on the first day we were there. It was a perfect day. I had on my treasure hunted skirt, (thanks, Dena!) we were on a boat, all our meals were perfect. And as we sat in the park in the shadows of the Eiffel, eating a Raspberry-Pistachio pastry, I said, "When I die, and I look back on my life, I will remember this moment as one where I was truly happy." 

My best pal Tay and I are off on another adventure today as well. This time, a return to the beautiful Isle of Skye. I'm so excited to have practically all of my Scotland friends in the same room! Yay for Iona, Sophie, and Zaza! We're going to a reels party, which makes me a little nervous. Let's hope I don't trip over my feet. At least I'll have the pure schadenfreude glee of seeing Taylor in a (MacGregor!?) kilt. Delightful. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Royal Romance- The Other Guys

While pretty much everyone in St Andrews has already seen this little gem, I couldn't resist posting it for all my readers Stateside. Especially as we get closer to this Royal Wedding Circus, I'll be posting more about the truly silly and hilarious ways people have tried to be capitalists about it. 

But this video is a treat for the reverent and not so reverent. I've watched several times. And not just because I saw the guys filming it on my street several days in a row, or because my adorable pal Mark Gregory (Moritz in St Andy's Spring Awakening) appears here (in underwear, no less.) Yep, this vid has quite a few of my favorite things: beautiful St Andrews scenery, boys singing in suits, boys singing a chorale arrangement of the James Horner Braveheart theme, boys attempting the choreography from "Bad Romance," a gentle mocking mixed with reverence of the Royal Wedding and just the right amount of dorkiness. 10,000 plays in one day. Nice job, gents!

It made me smile-- as almost almost everything does these days. There's so much to be happy about. Wow. For more LOL's, here is the trailer for the Lifetime Royal Wedding movie, where St Andrews looks, incidentally, more like Rice that St Andrews. Le Sigh. 

Why Stop Now?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...