lands before time

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I’ve returned from my brief trip through time to the Pleistocene–I mean, my birthday week hiatus! You’d be forgiven, though, if these photos did give you the impression that I’d popped back a few aeons.

I’m still yearning for those lovely mid-June days spent with the dearest companion, but I’m consoling myself by reliving our trip to a local natural history museum. These archaic bones and stone impressions comfort me: at least our time apart will be nothing more than the smallest blip on a geologic scale!

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walking with dinosaurs

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Nothing says “cute lifestyle blogger aesthetic” like a series of photos of open-mawed animatronic dinosaurs, right?

Last weekend, I took a road trip four states over for an important family event–that also included an obligatory stop at a certain Pennsylvania attraction that we’d been eyeing for years. It’s probably no secret that, like the eight-year-old I am at heart, I have a soft spot for all things saurian, and this outdoor jungle of prehistoric beasts sent me into a glorious state of raptor–I mean, rapture.

(Also, yes, in case you were wondering: I did indeed wear my dinosaur dress.)

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you have my hart, linlithgow

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I promised you castle photos–now, castle photos ye shall have!

Linlithgow Palace in Linlithgow, Scotland, isn’t quite the oldest castle you’ll ever encounter–though in a ruined state, it’s actually looking pretty good hundreds of years past its heyday in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Back then, it was a part-time royal residence, and today, it allows visitors (especially weird historians like me) to enjoy a thrilling opportunity to roam labyrinthine Renaissance halls and towers and dungeons completely unaccompanied. You can basically do whatever you want here, provided you respect the architecture! I even sang approximately three notes of a Palestrina motet to test the acoustics.

Most importantly, as the title suggests, there is a ridiculously adorable deer sculpture on its very ornate, extant, and functional fountain!

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wonderlust

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Because I studied abroad in Scotland during my college days, folks keep asking me if I was going back to Edinburgh to reunite with some faculty members or friends I’d met in 2013. (They underestimate how much of an extreme hermit I was while on my semester exchange.)

The best buddies I made during my first time in Edinburgh all live in the same place, which makes visiting convenient! They also all happen to be either fossils, ancient Celtic art objects, or other curiosities on view at the National Museum of Scotland. Oh, the company I keep!

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north berwick beachcombing & bones

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Whenever I spend idle minutes organizing the hierarchy of my “Favorite Places on Earth” list (a frequent habit), the tiny Scottish seaside town of North Berwick always maintains its permanent place in the top three.

A week ago, I returned from a wonderful trip to Edinburgh, a brief six-day venture filled with unprecedentedly perfect weather, moderately tolerable air travel shenanigans, and exceedingly lovely company.  It was such a quick getaway that I sometimes am overcome with the sad sense that it was all a dream–but perhaps sharing some photographic evidence will convince me otherwise!

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monterey haul: here comes the sunfish

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An alternative title for this post could be “PLUSH MOLA, PLUSH MOLA, PLUSH MOLA.” In fact, I don’t know why I’m even bothering to write any content when I could just type look at this mola ad infinitum. Who is the genius responsible for mass-producing a cuddly version of the world’s heaviest bony fish?

My soft little sunfish, however, wasn’t the only treasure I picked up at the Monterey Bay gift shop! Hey, if people can blog about what they’ve hauled back from Disneyland or Sephora or whatever, why can’t I share the ridiculous souvenirs I picked up from my favorite tourist attraction? As one might say in a sea shanty–haul away boys, away!

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seventeen-mile drive

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Yesterday, Western Massachusetts suffered a messy and miserable mix of sleet and snow and hail: so please believe that I’m taking any opportunity to send my mind back to California!

Of course, we couldn’t stop in the Monterey area without winding our way along the scenic Seventeen-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. The afternoon began misty and grey (why is that so much more beautiful by the sea than among the gloomy bare trees of New England winters?) and blossomed into another glowing sunset.

And although I can’t teleport myself back to the other side of the country, at least you can follow me on a multi-mile journey around a meandering coastal road!

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