Friday, 27 March 2009

Haydn Magnar Knutson

Yesterday at 8:34 am my first nephew was born! I got a call from my mom at 11 am (7am at home) saying that Sarah was on her way to the hospital. We talked on the phone for an hour and then an hour later she called again to say that she had the baby. I think she was in labour for 5 1/2 hours total. What a woman! He was 8 lbs 10 oz and 22 inches. Both mom and baby are doing great.

Now that Haydn is actually here it makes it harder to accept the fact that I won't see him until he is 6 months old. I saw all of my nieces within a few hours of them being born so it'll be tough missing out on that with him. I'll just have to rely on my family posting weekly pictures of him. :)

Here are the first few:


Big sister Emma

Big sister Ada

The happy family of five!

Friday, 20 March 2009

What is wrong with me??

So, I'm still jobless and poor and bored and...poor. I don't know whats wrong with me but no one seems to want to give me a job! I have had some interviews so hopefully things will turn around for me soon.

I had an interview on Monday for a catering assistant at a department store called John Lewis. The interview was a group assessment that lasted for two hours. If any of you know me you'll know I was NOT pumped for this interview. I usually do pretty well in interviews and don't get too nervous, but this one was freaking me out. I made the mistake of google-ing 'John Lewis group assessment interview' and got some pretty good information about what usually goes on at them. Things like introducing yourself in front of 40 people, talking about an item like you're trying to sell it to the whole group and so on. I HATE talking in front of people. It doesn't matter that I'll never see them again, it still gets me all nervous and makes me stumble on my words. Ugh, I'm getting sweaty palms just thinking about it.
With that being said, the interview really wasn't that bad. There were 15 or 16 of us and four managers. We had to do a few group activities while the managers walked around listening in on our conversations to see how well we worked in a group. The next day I got a call asking me to come in for a second interview, which would be more hands on. I went to it yesterday and had a really good time. The restaurant is kind of like the IKEA restaurant except a little nicer and with more food options. I sat down with one of the managers (who is from New York and has read the Diana Gabaldon series!) after a few hours to have a little chat. She basically told me, without actually saying it, that even though everyone liked me and I did well I wouldn't be hired for the full time position. They put a lot of time and effort into training each staff member so she said they wouldn't hire someone knowing they would be leaving within the year. She said that all the training can take up to a year to complete. Totally understandable, but still frustrating. She told me she'd keep me in mind if any part time work became available.

So after the disappointing news I went back to the flat. One of my flatmates, Rachel, was home and told me that her friend is a manager of a restaurant that was hiring. She called him and got me an interview for that night. The interview went well and I have a trial shift on Tuesday. I'm pretty nervous about it because I haven't worked in a restuarant before. I think I'll be working behind the bar (shhh, don't tell my mom!) and I know absolutely nothing about alcohol or how to pour a beer. The manager said as long as I don't drop every glass or spit in people's drinks then I'll get the job. So, lets hope I can keep my uncontrollable spitting problem at bay.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Check out this blog!

Remember my recent post about my 25 random things? And how I said I wanted to marry a cowboy and live on a ranch? Well I just found a blog about a woman who did just that! I randomly stumbled upon The Pioneer Woman's blog and have spent the last few hours reading her stories and looking at her pictures. Her blog seems to be quite popular (a post that she put up today already has 300 comments!) so some of you may have heard of it already but if not I encourage you to go check it out. She also has a lot of recipes if you're into cooking, which I'm not at this spends-the-absolute-bare-minimum-at-the-grocery-store point in my life.

Definitely worth checking out. I can see myself falling in love with this blog!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Katie's 25 Randoms

If you're on Facebook you know that everyone has been writing a note with 25 random facts about them. I'm always trying to think of new blog posts so I thought I would write my list here instead of on Facebook. Hopefully I can come up with 25 things! Here goes: (and I'll try not to make them all about traveling and Scotland!)

1. My parents have four daughters and my two oldest sisters each have two daughters. Sister #2 is due WITH A BOY! any day now. It's about time, eh?

2. I LOVE cowboys. Anything with a cowboy design on it I love. I have a set of sheets that I got from Target with cowboys on them. I got them a few years ago but I still love them...even though I'm now 22.

3. I have dreams of marrying a cowboy and living on a ranch in Montana with lots of horses. I also have dreams of being a big shot book publisher in New York City. I'll probably grow up to be a stay-at-home mom of three with a mortgage, a duplex and a mini-van...which I would be very happy with :)

4. I love visiting my Grandparents in Phoenix. I love waking up in the morning, going into their backyard and picking a grapefruit or tangelo to have for breakfast. If I could move there I would. I've looked into moving and working in the states countless times, but unfortunately, unless you have a uni. degree its hard to get a work visa. If only my parents had gotten us girls dual citizenship back when it was a matter of signing some papers and paying the $100 fee.

5. To go along with #4, I love traveling. My first trip without my parents was a roadtrip from Vancouver to Calgary through the Rocky Mountains. It was amazing! My first trip out of North America was flying over to Scotland.

6. I hate being late for things. I hate it even more when other people make me late.

7. I love baking and I am famous for my Chocolate Lava Cakes. They are to die for, if I do say so myself! They are actually very easy to make and I use the recipe from the T.V. show Take Home Chef (with a few changes).

8. If I could change anything about myself it would be to be able to sing like Carrie Underwood (or someone equally fantastic) and to draw/paint.

9. I love my huge/crazy/fun extended family. The Whitfields usually get together twice a year, with many smaller get togethers in between, and we always have a fantastic time. Every summer we all go to our grandparents farm in Northern Ontario. This summer will be the first time in 22 years that I won't be going to the farm. *tear* We don't get together as often with my mom's family because most of them live in the states. I wish we could see each other more because we always have so much fun together.

10. My favourite TV shows are Grey's Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters and The Amazing Race. I can't live without these shows and watch them online every week to stay caught up with this season.

11. I've never broken any bones.

12. I got my eyebrow pierced a few months ago. My mom thinks its too 'harsh' for me, but I love it!

13. I don't like driving. I would much rather sit shotgun and relax or read a book. With that being said, I am glad I have my license and am able to drive somewhere (the mall!) whenever I want.

14. I LOVE reading. One of my favourite stores is Book Depot in St. Catharines. I love going there to find amazing deals on books. I have a bookshelf full of books at home that I have never read but I still continue to go to Book Depot to buy new ones. It's kind of an addiction.

15. I love spending time with my nieces. One of the hardest things about living so far away is knowing I will miss out on the changes they will go through in the year. I am very thankful my sisters had kids before me because I have learned a lot from them. Kids are hard work but totally worth it!

16. I think I have some pretty amazing friends. Two of my closest friends just booked tickets to Scotland for 12 days for an awesome Scottish roadtrip. I can't wait!

17. My grade 5 teacher, Miss Moore, is a professional curler. In her first appearance at the Scott Tournament of Hearts her team got second place to Sandra Schmirler (a famous Canadian curler, for those of you who aren't Canadian). I just googled her and apparetnly she had her own team for a while before joining another. Way to go Miss Moore!

18. I have no desire to be an actress but I would gladly become one if I could be in a period movie, just to wear one of those fancy dresses...corset and all.

19. When I was three or so I watched Chipmunk Adventure every afternoon for months.

20. Again when I was three or so a babysitter made my sisters and I watch Friday the 13th. As you can imagine it freaked me out and I had to sleep in my parents room for about a year after.

21. I have a really hard time not laughing when I see someone fall.

22. I can't burp.

23. I have always wanted to learn to play the violin.

24. I'm ashamed to say I love reading celebrity gossip magazines, watching shows like TMZ and Entertainment Tonight and reading celebrity news from the MSN homepage. But, I hate that the celebrities get hounded by paparazzi every where they go to get the pictures and stories that I love to see and read.

25. I secretly want to be a celebrity or model for a day or two, just to see what it would be like to be famous. I would also love to go to the Oscars wearing some fabulous gown that some designer like Vera Wang or Oscar de la Renta handmade just for me. It would be the ultimate game of dress-up.

Finally finished! Hope you enjoy it. :)

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Scottish Borders and Hadrian's Wall

One of the worst things about being unemployed is having so much time on your hands. This is especially frustrating when you are surrounded by countless cheap travel options but don't want to spend any money because you don't know when your next paycheck will be. Since we got back to Edinburgh Amy and I have been really good with our money so we decided to reward ourselves with a little day trip :)

Car rentals are rather cheap so in all we each spent about 30 pounds on the rental, gas, entrance fees and a few snacks (it would have been cheaper but Amy got suckered into buying the extra insurance on the car). We packed our own lunch and snacks, but it wouldn't be a proper road trip without stopping at a little bakery for some delicious Scottish desserts.

We had been planning a trip to the Scottish Borders for quite a while but Amy's license got lost in the mail so we haven't been able to rent a car for a few months. Thankfully, when we were back in Canada she was able to get a replacement. So off we went! The area is called the Borders because, surprisingly, it is very near the Scotland/England border. Although, because it is the same country its not really much of a border. There are two big rocks, one on each side of the road, with Scotland and England written on either side to mark the border. But I'm getting ahead of myself...we visited a few abbeys in Scotland before we made it to the border.

The firs abbey was called Kelso. It was very much a ruin, with not a lot to see. This abbey was free to get into, but was closed the day we were there. This wasn't horribly disappointing though because we were still able to take some pictures while standing outside the gates. Compared to the other ruins we've seen it really wasn't all that special and I won't even bother putting a picture of it up. Kelso was about an hour and a half from Edinburgh. The next stop was Jedburgh, another half hour down the road. Amy was very excited to see this abbey. A few years ago she found a picture of it and has been wanting to see it in person ever since. It didn't dissapoint! This place was beautiful and we had great weather to match. We were the only ones at the abbey which added to the beauty. I don't think it would have been as amazing if we had been one of 150 tourists snapping photos.

We both decided that it would be the perfect place for a wedding. I even did a little bridal walk to make sure. Yep, perfect.

As you can see it was very sunny! Amy didn't even have her coat on. Yeah for warmth!

Our next stop was Hadrian's Wall across the English border. This wall is REALLY old. Definitely the oldest thing we've seen so far. The Romans started building it in 112 AD to keep out the Pictish people (the guys in Scotland at the time). Besides the historical appeal, one of the reasons I wanted to see the wall was because it was in one of my favourite movies, Robin Hood. Kevin Costner walks along Hadrian's Wall at the beginning of the movie and eventually comes across this now famous spot, known as the Sycamore Gap. So, we were driving along the road when we suddenly come across this tree in the distance! Yeah :) We found a car park and started walking. And we walked (more like climbed) and walked and walked. I guess we didn't realize how far down we drove to get to the car park. We had to climb up and down four rocky mountain like hills to get to the tree. It was cold and windy and quite beautiful. The wall ran all the way along these hills and most of it is in realy good condition for being so old.

Thats me half way up the next hill. The tree was just over the next hill but Amy decided to stay where she was.

I made it! It doesn't look like much but I'm sure in the summer when the leaves and grass are green it would be a lot nicer. I didn't go down the hill because it was starting to get dark and we had a LONG hike back to the car and I didn't want to be hiking down huge rocky hills in the dark. I didn't really get a good picture of it but if you google Sycamore Gap you'll see some nice ones.

We're almost done at this point. The hill in the background is one of three or four that we climbed. We're crazy.

In other news...Amy got a job! Yippee!!! She starts on Thursday at Gala Bingo! She's not exactly sure what she'll be doing but all the flatmates are excited to hit up the bingo hall with the old people. My job search is still ongoing but hopefully I'll get something soon.

As always, we've put all of our pictures up on our flickr account: