Proof of Hat. Because Dad Said So.

And so, I’m friends with my Dad.  On Facebook and in real life.  After I posted my post yesterday, he posted this on Facebook:

Me, St. James Park, London,1985, age 4 (not 8)


It pays to be friends with your Dad, people.  It means a lot.  It means, amongst many other things, that any baby picture of you he decides to share will be of the non-embarrassing sort.  You hope.

I love you, Dad.

My Head Is Too Big For Hats

Let’s say, just for laughs, that your boiler is busted today.

Here’s a list of stuff you might do while waiting for the repairman/contemplating said repairman’s actual existence:

You may decide that it is colder in your flat than it is outside.  And, not only is the water cold, it also tastes weird, making your coffee, for lack of a better word, funky.

You may then ask your PA, if you have one, to go to Starbucks and get you a latte that’s warm and does not taste funky, at least not to you.  You feel bad, but then you consider that her hair isn’t a mess and she isn’t wearing two sweaters and socks with cocktails and umbrellas on them, to give the illusion of a more tropical climate.  She has heat and hot water in her house and therefore looks more presentable and less scary than you do.  You send her out on this solo coffee mission for the good of humanity.

You might turn on some music.  Maybe bluegrass. Because at least the fiddle is hot.  You may dance around your living room.  For warmth.

You may pick up the phone when your Dad calls and have to explain that no, the boiler will not explode and yes, a repairman (or woman, you don’t care at this point) is on the way.

You may pick up the phone when your mother calls, because at least the gossip is hot.  Or lukewarm.  You might have to explain that no, the boiler will not explode and yes, a repairperson is on the way.

You may type at your computer with weightlifting/driving gloves on, and decide it is actually too cold to think.  You might contemplate wearing a hat.  But your head is too big for hats.  You know this, because you tried one on.  When you were eight.  Your big head isn’t your fault, though.  Both your parents have big heads.

And so, you may go back to bed, and write in a notebook, with a pen.  Under two duvets.  You might end up writing your deepest fears, which at this point include frostbite, and the thought that the illusive repairperson was definitely abducted by aliens.  And you might have missed the phone call from the not-abducted repairperson because you were in your bedroom writing your hand off to keep warm.

If I were you, that’s what I would do.  What would you do?



My feet are not too big for socks!



The Thanksgiving Duck

And so, last weekend I started a healthy eating kick.  For me, this meant leaving the lettuce and onions and one or two peppers on Saturday’s burger, and not having sour sweets while watching Tin Tin at the cinema.  I took fruit-bars to work and came home to rice-cakes and grapes.  I may have asked Sarge to boil spinach pasta and then left the tomato chucks in the sauce.  I was doing pretty well.

And then Thursday happened.  I’ve told my mother several times that Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Scotland.  There are no turkeys ‘til Christmas, and you must hunt The Great Canned Pumpkin in specialty shops and then come home to your Actually American Girlfriend with Empty Scottish Hands.  Just ask Sarge.  I wanted him to make pumpkin pie, and then pumpkin pancakes, but there was no canned pumpkin.  I couldn’t even console myself with a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  But the Chinese duck on Thursday night was pretty good.  So much for the healthy eating, then.  But I can always pretend the holiday season has already started.

See, this time of year, nostalgia is a physical ache that I live with and indulge.  The tears start in early November and don’t dry up until January.  I don’t miss America, I miss what my America was.  Around the holidays it was the smell of Nana’s cooking and baking and the scent of the tree and the wreaths and incense at my Grandma’s house.  A few years ago, Dad got me a candle that was basically my Grandma’s holiday house in a jar.  After I broke down and sucked it up again, I decided that was damn-near the best present there was.

November is a lucky month, I feel my good ghosts every day, but they are louder in November.  I got some good news on Thursday, and I might have had a celebratory white chocolate chip cookie.  I then sat on Facebook and shared in virtual Thanksgiving.  I’ve always known that real thanksgiving isn’t only one day in one country.  And that spirit I’m going to share what I’m thankful for, every day:

My family and friends, wherever you are and whether I am 40 miles away or 4000, thanks for remembering who I am and reminding me every so often.

Sarge, again, for everything.  And your face.  And for only giving me half a strange look when I slip and call you Sarge in our living room.

My independence.  I’m grateful for every day I get to get up and rock the chrome and wheels.

My writing, both truth and fiction.  The sentences that narrate my life.  And the proof that you don’t need to be depressed to write good stuff.  Because I did wonder for a while.

The New York trip that Sarge and I took, and the love we felt while there.  I still need to write about that.

Good coffee, but not as good as New York coffee.

Good books, and bad ones, because I need them sometimes.

Good films and bad movies.  Because I need them, too.  But not as much as bad books.

The clarity that comes with writing in a journal.  Especially when you look up and see mountains out your window.

Stone cottages with no phone reception.

Streets that are not cobbled.

Tools and tire pumps.

Open fires and stars to wish on.

Judy Garland songs that aren’t sad, but I love the sad ones, too.

Everyone who reads my rambles and these lists that make sense only to me.

What are you thankful for today?

Open To Interpretation

What follows could either be a. a snippet from my NaNo novel or, 2.  a recent conversation between Sarge and me:

I need to write.

Then write.

How do I get out of the way?

Write in the bathroom, on the toilet, in the tub. Write in bare feet, using a pencil with no eraser. Stick your head out the window, shut your eyes and breathe. And don’t take breaks to talk to your mother about goat wool.

That wasn’t my fault. She called me.


And it’s rabbit wool.


Angora. It’s rabbit wool. Not goat wool.

Who gives a shit?  Just write.

Joey, Giant Angora Rabbit Buck
This is not a goat. Image via Wikipedia

A Little Friendly Competition

And so, I’m ‘doing’ NaNoWriMo this year. We have always had a strange relationship. Past attempts have seen me bang out 20,000 words and then well, edit them. Note to self and others: Don’t. Do. That. I have a penchant for abandoning projects in favour of others which I think ‘sound better’, and I don’t finish anything. Except really short stories or ‘novel excerpts’. Novel excerpts are short stories that wouldn’t shut up.

See, I don’t like writing that sounds like writing. The minute I’m aware of words on the page, I stop and write another scene playing out in my head. I have a lot of computer files and notebooks and thoughts. Most are non-sequential. Really. Try having a conversation with me.

This year, I promised myself, and Sarge, and my Dad that I would see one single novel to the end of its first draft. Because everyone is fed up with the frustrated writer. I’d just love to be a writer.

First, I said I’d hit 2k a day. Not so much. Then, because my brain goes faster than my typing speed, I thought I’d dictate the thing. Not so much. Last week, I just parked it and started typing. And the phone rang.

It was my Dad. And this was the conversation:

Dad: You may be interested to know I am writing a novel. (That’s how my Dad speaks. I kinda love it.)

Me: Really? Cool!

(He tells me about his novel…)

Me: Really? Cool! (Inside: Aw, shit. Really? For real, really? I know we’re psychically linked, but this is like, ridiculous…this whole line of thought took 5 seconds. I told you my brain works fast.) Well, Daddy, you’re not gonna believe this, but…(I share my plot.)

Dad: Oh. Well. Every book is different. Good luck! (I’m paraphrasing. Or something.)

I couldn’t write any more that afternoon. Because my mother called.

And when Sarge arrived home I was writing in actual notebook.

I told him about the conversations with my parents. And then the plot of my book.

‘Oh. That’s basically your Dad’s book. But not.’

‘This is what I’m saying,’ I said

‘Well. Every book is different.’

‘That’s what he said.’

‘Would you be upset if your Dad finished his book before you finished yours?’

‘No, I’d be happy. Having said that, shut your pretty mouth.’

What I have now is a book that sits at 5,861 words. I also have a supportive boyfriend who keeps plying me with gingerbread lattes, new notebooks and other things. And a father who is writing a book, which may or may not compliment my own. The only way to find out is to finish it.

A note to my Dad, and anyone else who may be writing a book: Please don’t stop. And I won’t, either. Back to it.

Back before the Word Wars...

Hemingway Thinks I Should Be More Interesting

I talk to my computer.  Depending on my mood, my headset and speech recognition are optional.   When I’m not apologising  for the coffee stains, procrastinating, shall we say, positively willing it to hurry up, or punching the keys, I’m dictating.  And sometimes, I’m misquoted.  Hemingway thinks I should be more interesting.  Or grammatically incorrect.

Some recent examples are:

I Said:  She wished she could speak French like French people.

He Heard:  She wished she could speak Brent like I was winners.

I Said: Quick and mysterious

He Heard:  Quaking and WRONG

I Said:  There was nothing mysterious about her.

He Heard:   There was nothing is doing well.

I Said:  She worked in a flower shop, and had a cat.

He Heard:  In working order and bed-head (found poetry?)

I said:  Whose idea was death-metal first thing in the morning?

He Heard:  Who’s idea was death-metal first thing in the morning?  (Interesting)

I said:  She stole her lipstick.

He heard:  She stole her relative’s take. (More interesting)

Has your computer ever misquoted you?

try again
Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr