Line By Line

If we were having coffee, we’d be hiding in the kitchen while Isla counts the balls in her ball pit and Neil plays the shit out of Isla’s toy guitar.

You’d be convincing me that I can write a mystery on a wharf including a dog collar for NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge.  While I do feel better about this assignment  than the Short Story Challenge, it would seem that the only story elements I can work with these days are:

Coffee

Peppa Pig

and

Angst.

Isla just wandered into the kitchen, opened the fridge and took out a yogurt.  She grows a year older every night.  Today, she is a teenager shuffling around the house and raiding the kitchen.

Pass me the tissues.

So, the TV is on in the backgroud.  Neil has traded the guitar for turning on the washing machine.

Yes, I know I’m lucky.  I’m lucky my husband does things around the house, I’m lucky my child does her own thing, even if that thing changes every five minutes.  And the things don’t stop until she zonks out at 8.30pm.

I’m lucky we live in the country.  With the peace and quiet.  And the sheep.

I’m lucky to have people come into my house every day to help me wrangle my very active child.  I’m lucky she goes for walks and brings me back flowers.  I’m really lucky if she gives me a kiss with those flowers.

I live for those kisses.

But I’m lucky Isla isn’t clingy.  I’m lucky she likes people who aren’t me.  I’m lucky I’m the one who cries when she leaves the house.  I’m lucky I’m the one who needs hugs.  I’m lucky she likes to read.  To herself.

I’m lucky we have all these friends to visit in other places.  I’m lucky shopping and coffee and looking at those friends has become a treat.  Because y’know, seeing your friends all the time can be really fucking boring.

I’m lucky that Neil is taking Isla out for awhile, so ‘Mummy can write.’

Before they left, Isla brought me some paper.  Apparently, she’ll kiss me if there’s words on it when they get back.

youshouldbewriting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Need A Break From My Phone

Hello,

I’m looking to take photos without my phone and need suggestions on digital SLR cameras.  Want to learn and do more with my photography.

Camera must be chunky for my spaz hands.  And I could use auto-stabilise.  And point-and-click.  Any thoughts?

Will mainly be used for toddlers in the wild.  And for epic scenery.

Thanks in advance.  Longer posts coming soon.

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More of this.

 

 

Around Here

And so, Isla is nearly two.  I’m finding this harder to deal with than last year.  But I’m hoping she’ll let me share her cake.  That’ll help, yeah?

In related news, Neil and I recently celebrated three years of marriage with a seafood dinner and the same message he’s been writing in all my cards for nearly seven years.  And just so he knows: You’re welcome, Dude.  The pleasure (and heartburn) is all mine.

In my absence from blogging, there’s been a lot of Peppa Pig, and library trips.  And ‘Isla, sit forward, please.’  Netflix and very little chill.  Gotta work on that.

But Isla’s good.  She says ‘peas’ and ‘tank you’ and ‘beshew’ when people sneeze.  And fart.  She loves to read and then pile all her books on you.

She has her father’s eyes and her mother’s sarcasm.

Last week, we were counting pennies for the piggy bank  fart tin.

‘One, two, three, six,’ she says.

‘How much are you?’

‘Too much!’ she says.

True enough, I thought.  But keep going, kiddo.

She’s funny and smart and she grows in her sleep.  I cry every time she leaves the house without me.  Even when she brings me home flowers.  Because she brings me home flowers.  And coffee.

Isla knows that I’m fuelled by coffee and hugs and Judge Judy.

Isla sleeps better than I do these days.  She sleeps through the night and I don’t.  I do my best worrying, and reading, at 4 in the morning.

I distract myself from swirling thoughts by reading and taking pictures of my books and messaging friends to ask, ‘why am I awake at 4am?’

I also yell at The Gilmore Girls and The Batchelor.  I yell things like:

  1. You’re a dick.  Don’t be a dick.

B. Does anyone ever not accept the rose?  No, say no.  Don’t stoop.

iii. Well.  That was awkward.

D. Why am I watching The Batchelor?

And then it’s not 4am anymore, it’s 9. And Isla, who now sleeps in a real bed, shuffles through and it starts all over again.

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Coffee, Ma?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 5-star Reads, or Gin & Tears

I’m quite generous with my 4-star ratings, but 5-stars is harder for me.

I have a shelf on goodreads labeled ‘ten stars’ and another one called ‘there were tears’ and those ones are the ones that I’ll throw at people, so we can talk about it.

‘There will be a test,’ I tell them.

Recent 10-stars have been:

Dept. of Speculation – Heard a bunch about this, and bought it while in NY.  Maybe that’s why it’s a tenner.  But really, pure poetry.  Found myself reading bits aloud to Neil and then threw it at him.  He hasn’t read it, yet.  But I haven’t finished Stone Junction, so we’re even.

The Last Summer of the Camperdowns – This book found me on the NY trip, too.  I loved it so much.  My gin-soaked prose shelf on goodreads was invented for this book.  I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers that don’t really move me, but this one quietly creeped me out more than any of them.  Families will do that to you.

The Interestings – I wanted to go to that camp.  I did for a while.  I lived with this book for as long as I read it, same feeling for me as May We Be Forgiven, also ten stars.  I have yet to experience a book like those two, since I read those two.

Now.

Here are some of my 4-star reads.  They might be 5-star reads for people who don’t have other requirements.  Like gin and tears.

Fates and Furies – Beautiful, but aloof.  I didn’t mind the length.  Or that nothing really happened.  That’s how life goes.  The book was worth it, but missing something.  Perhaps a heart.

American Housewife– This is a 4 because Neil bought it for me for Valentines Day.  Because he is a funny, funny man.  And because he says he has trouble finding new books that I haven’t found first.  And because I don’t like short stories, but these were great.

The ones I liked best reminded me of all the times my mother called me up wondering, ‘How’s life in your condo?’

‘It’s not a con…it’s great, Ma.  Thanks for asking.’

The Quiet Game – Sometimes I get notions.  I get notions to read new-to-me crime series set in the South.  Sometimes, I feel like staying up all night to finish a book.  That doesn’t happen much anymore.  Because, Isla.  But with The Quiet Game, I hit bingo.  Twice.

The Whites – A crime story, wrapped in New York.  Some of my favourite things.  Also, recommended by Caitlin at Broadside.  Thank you!  Anything else?

And.

Here are two pure 5-star reads.  Because, y’know, I like to be conventional.  Or something.

River Road – This one has rekindled my love for stuff set in the land of Academia.  Not the best ever, but almost, well, cozy.

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark – I very rarely read one book at a time, all the way to the end.  But this weird little thing had me at one.

So.

That’s mine.  What’s your list of 5 or 10 star books?

Gin and tears welcome, but optional.

(Post inspired by The Broke and the Bookish)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isla’s Mural

My best friend from Uni has been staying with us for the week.  She thinks she’s a physiotherapist, but she’s actually an artist.

This mural appeared on Isla’s wall in two and a half days.  Acrylic, emulsion, and magic.

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And Isla loves it.  Of course.

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Emma doesn’t have a website yet.  But I’ve decided she totally should.  So that’s pending.

Isla says thank you, Auntie Em!

The Frosty North

Since we moved in we’ve had a gas leak, the washing machine won’t drain, the toaster blew a fuse.  And today, the boiler has packed in. But it’s still our house.  And apparently, it’s well, sensitive.  So.  Leave it alone.  Unless you’d like to come and fix the heat.

Actually, the same guy who fixed our farting stove two weeks ago is making another trip to fix the heat.  Don’t worry, he knows where we live.

In other news, we are online.  And we have cable TV.  And in a fit of DIY, my husband put our spare TV on our bedroom wall.  I know, I’m embarrassed enough for the both of us.

And I’m sitting here at the kitchen table.  We have one of those, too.  In related news, the new word for ‘distressed’ is ‘reclaimed’.  Furniture is now politically correct.

Neil and I spent Valentines weekend picking out and ordering our new socially-acceptable furniture.  Because we are middle-aged romantic like that.

In related news, before we braved the shops, I said if we came home with one of those entertainment centre thingies, we’ll have crossed a line from which there’s no return.

But we were safe.  Every bleary-eyed but somehow super-charged salesperson said, ‘they don’t make those any more.’

The thing was this.  Every shiny, pointy bit of bark that passed for a ‘TV table’ was the perfect height for Isla to fist-bump any TV off of it.

And so.  We found a sideboard thing and we ordered it without the ‘ornate’ top half.  That’s what passes for creative thinking these days.

So there’s a kitchen table for the laptop, a place for the telly box and a sofa big enough for three whole butts.

I still have my old faithful bookcases crammed with books.  They’re even slightly more organised than they were when I was 18.  Not really.

But I do have a TBR bookcase now.

And there’s a bird-feeder stuck to the kitchen window.  A seagull came to investigate it one day last week.  Isla learned a new word that day.

Apparently, the boiler needs a new part.  That’s another word.

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Isla is cold.  And unimpressed with her book.

 

Do you have any funny or not-so funny stories about moving and setting up home?

 

 

Telly On The Blink

Loving:

Our new house.  Open spaces.  Boozy milkshakes (Galliano and ice-cream.)

My new MacBook.

Reading:

American Housewife, Helen Ellis.  Campari For Breakfast, Sara Crowe.

Watching:

Nothing.  We have yet to plug in the TV.  Today, Dad and I took Isla to the Peanuts movie.  Neil and I went to see Deadpool over the weekend.  Loved them both.

We should be watching season 2 of Better Call Saul.

Listening To:

Chet Faker.

Working on:

Longer blog posts.  Unpacking.  Not becoming a cliche.

Anticipating:

Being online in my own house.

Making Me Happy:

All of the above.

 

What about you?