Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s Not A Tie

When I was a kid, and Father’s Day or his birthday rolled around, I would buy my Dad a tie.   Or a wallet.  I wasn’t very creative back then.  At Christmas, people would get something from the craft-fair at school.  Nothing with glue or dried macaroni on it, because I thought that was a waste of food.  But if my Grandparents needed a magnet or a bookmark with a purple tassel on it, they knew I would hook them up at Christmas.

The big decision for my Dad was whether the tie would have stripes or zigzags on it.  Or how many photo slots would be in the wallet.  Would this year’s shirt have one of those little green alligators on it?  Who knew?  Ask Grandma.

My father doesn’t like surprises.  Back then he would use sneaky tactics such as the Alphabet Game to find out what I saved up my allowance to buy him.

‘Does it begin with a T?’

I looked at him sideways.  Because I could.  ‘Yes.’

‘Is it tiger?’

‘Yes, Daddy.  I broke into the Zoo and got you a tiger.  Because six year-olds can do that.  Real guesses, please.’

‘Is it a tie?’

‘Yes!  How did you know?  Oh, no.  Now you know.  I’ll have to switch it for a wallet.’

This happened every year.  One year, I was particularly devastated.  I had kept THE SECRET for two whole days.

Since he knew about the tie, I also got him a heart sticker.  Which he put on the dashboard of his Blazer.  I have never been a hearts and flowers kind of girl, but I loved that heart.

These days, I ask for a list of books he wants to read.  One year I found him a not-so-tiny model car.  And the year I surprised him with The Sopranos box set, Sarge and I watched it first.

I’ve always known it’s not about the stuff.  I like gifts people will appreciate.

For the past few weeks I’ve been going to spend Tuesdays with Dad.  Watching old movies or tennis after his radiation.  I’ve always loved hanging out with my Dad.  I appreciated him before he got cancer, and I still do.  I cherish all my time with him.  But I wish we didn’t have to share this time with 24 different medications.  And even though this stuff will make him better in the long run, I wish he didn’t have to take it in the first place.

The only thing I want to give Dad for his birthday in a few weeks is, ‘Dad, you are cancer-free.’  That and a six-month supply of his favourite rice pudding, as it’s the only thing he can eat right now.

That’s it.  And it’s not a tie.

Well, there is one more thing I’d like to give him.  I figure Sarge and I can work on that next year.

Proof that Dad and I have kept up the sappy-but-still-true magnet tradition.

Top Ten Tuesday: Stacked For The Summer

I have no business going to the library.  Or maybe I should work at one.

The self-imposed book-buying ban is still on.  Sometimes it slips off.  Such a tease.

I got three more books from the library yesterday, and this is how I’m stacked for summer reading:

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The Family Fang

The Echo Chamber

Dandelion Wine

The Psychopath Test

Cat’s Cradle

The Magicians

A Discovery of Witches

Moneyball

The Best of Everything

Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda

I’d also like to finish American Gods, Cat’s Eye and Kafka on the Shore.

And maybe I should work on a summer writing list.

What will you be reading this summer?

(Post inspired by The Broke and the Bookish.)

A Blessing Of Flames

My new favourite sound is the pop of a champagne cork.  There was lots of popping this weekend to officially celebrate the engagement of The Butterfly and The Penguin.  Saturday saw 364 days until the wedding.  Not even a little rain could damper our mood or the bonfire.

Sarge’s best man has a burning twice year.  Bits of wood and old furniture go up in flames in the name of friendship and film references.  This time, we called it an Engagement Burning and toasted marshmallows and bubbly.

A lot of the photos featured a chicken hat.  And me stuffing my face.  When I wasn’t eating, I was laughing.  Or exclaiming ‘I’m getting freakin’ married’, at which point I would hug Sarge. Or a member of the Bridal Crew.  Or my Dad.  Whoever was with closer.

At various points during the day, I thought of people who couldn’t be there.  And I had a moment for each of them.  And then we got serenaded under a gazebo by the only friend I have who has curlier hair than I do.

Dad wore his beard hat, which looks surprisingly like his own beard.  There in the rain with Dad on one side and Sarge on the other I thought, best day ever.  And then Dad said, ‘I’ll be alright.’

‘Yes.  Best day ever,’ I said aloud.

‘So far,’ said Sarge.

Most people left to catch the last train, but there was dancing and singing in the living-room until 3 AM.   Everything from Queen to Edith Piaf to Starship.  And nostalgia mixed with YouTube and cider results in The Macarena.

‘Lorna, turn off the video.’

‘It’s not on.  Iforgottopressthebutton.’

The next day, after coming home with cards and flowers and a patched up flat tire, the conversation went something like this:

‘If you delete the video, I’ll delete that photo of you and the marshmallow skewer,’ said Sarge.

‘Deal,’ I said.

Our relationship is based on love, respect and lack of blackmail evidence.

Photos courtesy of my future sister-in-law and FotoRus.

Words On Love

Since Sarge and I decided to have our wedding invitations printed, the next question is:  What awesome and entirely appropriate quotes will we include on the invitations?

Last night at the pub I may have said, ‘I’ll arm-wrestle you for that one.’  And now I can’t remember which one was on the block.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some words on love that we both love:

 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Lao Tzu

 

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”
Robert Fulghum, True Love

 

“I have a million things to talk to you about. All I want in this world is you. I want to see you and talk. I want the two of us to begin everything from the beginning.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

 

“I love you also means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.”
Jonathan Safran Foer

 

And the epic and so very true ‘Date A Girl Who Reads’

 

What are some of your favourite quote/words on love?

penguin and heart

penguin and heart (Photo credit: Scorpions and Centaurs)

Scenes From The Mall

I was at the mall for five hours yesterday.  No, I don’t have a job there.  And I came home without a book.  Since my mall trips usually revolve around Starbucks fixes and buying books in bulk, my extended stay is worthy of note.

Sarge and I have had rival mobile phones since I got an iPhone two years ago.  Didn’t want it at first, but because I hadn’t upgraded for years, I got one ‘for free’.  The dudes in the shop practically threw it at me.

They threw me another one yesterday.  Only this time I asked for it.  I now have an iPhone 4.  My Siri is a dude.  This confuses me, because Siri is a girl’s name.  But whatever.  It’s just a phone, people.  A very cool phone, but still just a phone.

I signed my name to lots of bits of paper yesterday.  Then I left both phones in the shop so my contacts and photos could be transferred to the new phone.  That would take an hour.

So I went shopping.  I might have bought what my mother would call a ‘cute top’ for the engagement bonfire this weekend.  I may have discovered I am a whole two sizes smaller than I was at Christmas, the last time I bought clothes.  I may have sat, phoneless and bookless in Starbucks. With a tall hazelnut latte and a skinny (yes, really) blueberry muffin.  I haven’t been trying to lose weight, but it may as well stay gone.

I went back to the phone shop.  ‘Another hour,’ they said.  ‘Lots of photos, over a thousand,’ they said.

893, I thought.  Because my phone is with me when my digital camera is not.  And my phone takes better photos.

And so, I went off in search of yesterday evening’s dinner.  And there was nothing skinny about the chocolate mousse I picked up for dessert.

I circled back to the phone shop.  ‘Three minutes,’ they said.

And then my phone rang.  The new one.  It was Dad.  The conversation went something like this:

‘HelloDaddyI’minthephoneshop.’

‘Did you get my message?’

‘No.’

‘Have you read your email?’

‘NoDaddyI’vebeeninthemallForAllTheTimes.’

‘Oh.  Carry on, my dear.  Have Siri call me later.’

I signed some more bits of paper and took both phones home.

This is what happened when I tried to ‘train’ the new one:

Call Dad.

Call Dave?

Um, no.  Please don’t.

Text (Sarge).

What would you like to text (Sarge)?

I’m texting using my voice!

Text Izuzu my voice?

Well, maybe.  I have always wanted to do voice-overs!

Check the weather in Edinburgh.

Check in with Bro?

I wish, Siri.  Thank you.

What time is it in New York?

The time in NYC, USA is 11.41 AM

Buy Doritos.

I can’t do that for you.  Sorry to disappoint you.

That’s OK, Siri.  You’re just a phone.  And I should probably have grapes instead.

Image representing Siri as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

 

Domesticated Penguins

The Boy With The Penguin Tattoo. Or something.

I’m getting old.  And I don’t care.  I’m not going out with Sarge anymore.  Because we’re too busy staying in.  I can’t remember the last time I went to a club.  These days, the highlight of my Friday night is a new episode of Come Dine With Me.  And that’s OK.

Take this weekend for example.  For about five minutes, Sarge and I thought we’d make our own wedding invitations.  We got a penguin stamp and a butterfly stamp and a butterfly ‘punch’, which is apparently a Martha Stewart product.  I feel dirty.  I might hate myself.  A little.

Then we went to a café that played Frank Sinatra tunes while we waited for brunch.  A full breakfast for Sarge and Eggs Benedict for me.  I might not hate myself for that one.

After that, we went to use an engagement gift certificate.  We did need some stuff for the house that wasn’t covered in cat hair, and ended up with two robes/dressing gowns and a grill pan.  Yes, really.

I picked mine first.  Sarge carried it around for a while and said, ‘This is nice, I hope they have a man one.’  And he got one.  They don’t match.  Because that would be silly.

We arrived home feeling domestic.  Eager to try out the stamps and ‘punch’ some butterflies.  And it wasn’t just me.  The first thing Sarge did was ink the penguin and stamp his arm.  And the current Filmhouse brochure has a butterfly on the front.  Because we can.

After beer and butterflying all available bits of paper, we decided to send away for printed invitations.

This is why:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crafts and beer. Craft beer?

 

Cheesecake For Breakfast

In an update to this post, and then this one, and finally this one, CJ has gone to live with some friends in Glasgow.  She is not hunting rabbits in the country.  She’s in Glasgow.  I know and trust the people she’s with.  I am now the cat’s Auntie.

Dad delivered her on Saturday, taking along her favourite blanket.  I was not upset when she left, as I’d said goodbye many times before the day arrived.  It was hard to believe she was actually gone.  We opened all the doors and windows.  Because we could.

The flat seemed bigger.  And empty.  So we put our sunglasses on and left.  Pulled out of our funk by friends and food and beer.

I felt fragile, but happy, too.  Happy that she got such a sunny day for her new start.  That she was on her way to cuddles from non-allergic people.  I was also happy that I would no longer be confronted with Sarge’s actually bloody nose.  Although, after this morning when I blew my own nose too hard, and showed him, I can no longer complain.

‘Should I be worried?’

‘No,’ he said.  ‘It’s just sympathy snot.’

Last night, I reclaimed my reading chair.  The one that CJ used to sleep on.  I felt slightly guilty, but I read half a book.  My windows are open, people can come in the front door without playing defence first.  We called it Catch the Cat.

I don’t have to feel bad about keeping CJ out of the bedroom.  And even worse when she zoomed in anyway.  I don’t have to wave smelly packets of food to coax her out again.  I can have cheesecake for breakfast, because she isn’t here with the disdainful cat-face that said, ‘Don’t you have a wedding dress to fit into?’

My mother asked me if I missed CJ.  I do, but I love living in peace and fresh air with Sarge, his nose and our books.

This is our idea of an open plan flat!

What Made You Happy Today?

I’ve spent the last few days seeking out stuff to make me happy.  I thought I’d share what I’ve come up with.

1. Searching for ‘Groovy Wedding Invitations’ on Google.   Because, well, I’m getting married.

2. Reading. And reading this.

3. The Penguin Fort

4. Cheese Doritos.  Sarge hates having them around. Therefore, I must eat them.  For the good of my relationship, you understand.

5.  Twisted logic.  See (4)

6. This video. Although I have to say, our pebbles were better.   And not captured on video.   PS. Should I do a video post?

7. This man:

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My reading rock. After book-group. Which also makes me happy.

What made you happy today?

Shoot The Moon

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These photos were taken with sunglasses and friends.  On an iPhone.  At an evening picnic.  Complete with disposable barbeques.

From My Heart To My Toes

Sarge’s eye-view.

Last Saturday, Sarge and I got up early to see our wedding venue decked out for a wedding.  The sun was out and I could picture next year, our people in that room.   ‘And we’ll announce you from here,’ said the events planner person.  And I cried.

We headed toward breakfast and I wondered again why I order pancakes anywhere that isn’t my Dad’s house.  Sarge finished them off for me, and I made him shoot some cherry blossoms on the way to a coffee-shop, where I drank coffee, read David Sedaris and eavesdropped on some tourists.  I couldn’t help it.  They were loud.

We went home and had dumplings while watching Manhattan.  Life is good.  I said so on Facebook.

Dad and Anne picked us up on Sunday and we went to the bridal shop so I could pet my dress.  It was hidden in the back of the car before Sarge came out of hiding.

We take them back to the venue; Dad sits at the top of the room.  Has a moment.  ‘Well done,’ he says.  ‘It’ll be a beautiful day.’

We have a late lunch, and are the last to leave the cafe.

‘Want to come up for coffee?  We can kill some zombies for you.’

I expect Dad to say no, but we all troop up to the flat.  This is Interesting, because they usually just go home.

Dad is on the couch, Anne is next to him.  I’m parked in front of the books, Sarge next to me.  ‘I have some news,’ Dad says in his This Is Interesting/Sit Down voice.

‘What?’  I actually gripped the frame of my chair.

‘Now…’

‘What?,’ I say.

‘I’ll definitely fit into my kilt for the wedding, that’s the good news.’

He explained how he’d had a sore throat and then there was a lump.   And he’d gone to the doctor and had to wait for results and I’m sorry if this doesn’t make sense because all I heard was cancer.

And then Dad said, ‘Please don’t break because if you do, I will.’

Anne is saying he’ll be alright and Sarge is trying to hold me and forgive me but I’m pushing him away, because I’m trying to focus on what Dad’s saying.  Because it doesn’t make sense.

‘Once they get it it’s gone, and it isn’t going anywhere else, and if you moved up the wedding I wouldn’t enjoy it, so next year is fine, better even,’ he said.  ‘I want four whole hours for my speech at the wedding and I’d like to name all my Grandchildren, thank you.’

He’ll have to shave his beard and he’s on morphine with more energy than ever because his chronic back pain is gone.  His diabetes and hypertension will go away.  ‘Maybe this is my next lesson,’ he said.  ‘This’ll mean I’m healthier in the long run.  It’ll give me my life back.  Chemo is my liposuction.’

‘It’s a pain in the ass way to do it, though.’   I said.

‘Actually it’s a pain in the neck, sweetie.’  He hugged me.  And then I broke.

After they left, Sarge asked how I was doing.  ‘I can’t feel anything from my heart to my toes,’ I sad.

I get up the next day.  And I’m surprised the world is still happening.  I stay off the computer in order to avoid Google.  I try to write in a journal Dad gave me.  But there are no words.   If I had any, I would say that I know cancer is treatable, or else there wouldn’t be treatment.  After the treatment, people get better.  People laugh and go to weddings and have Grandchildren.

People get through it.  But this is my father, my best friend.  He has to go through this.  My Dad will get better.  We just have to get there.

On Thursday, I went to the cancer centre and met one of his nurses.  The place was nicer than at least one of the wedding venues Sarge and I looked at.  I asked questions and cried and hugged a stranger.  But she isn’t, really.  She’s one of the people looking after Dad, and that makes her awesome.

And because I’m me, I got stuck in the bathroom.  To make it homey, they put a rug in there.  It got caught in the wheels and came with me through the door, along with a basket of towels and a small table.

I backed out of the room.  ‘Hey you guys, I’m stuck.’  Sarge reached me first, and then laughed and said to Dad, ‘oh, you gotta see this.’

My Dad’s laugh is the same as always.

He’ll be in remission by October which also marks three years of me and Sarge.  Stellar month.  We’ll get there.

My mission today is to find Dad a beard hat.

Dad and me. The last time he was without a beard.