15 Reasons Why Every Day Is World Penguin Day

Today is World Penguin Day.

Sarge loves penguins.  If he had a spirit animal, a brother or a higher power, they would all be penguins.  They are all penguins.

I have only just recently established that he loves me more than penguins.  Here are some reasons why that may be the greatest compliment I could ever receive.

15. When we first started dating, he gave me Death and the Penguin.  He called it Required Reading, and said if I didn’t like it; our relationship wouldn’t get very far.  I gave the book 5 stars.

14. Our travel mascot is called George Bailey-Penguin.  Sarge gave him to me for our first Christmas together, to ‘up your penguin/human ratio.’

13. Our favourite ‘Christmas Elf’ is called MC Penguin, he raps.

12. For Sarge’s birthday, I adopted a penguin from Edinburgh Zoo.  It was like Christmas in March.

11. For another birthday, I got him a bottle of BrewDog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin.  We haven’t opened it yet.

10. I proposed with pebbles.

9. We made a special trip to the zoo to notify the penguins of our engagement.  They approved.

8. He thinks our wedding registry should be at Penguin Corner.

7. He’s asked if we could rent a penguin to be in the wedding.  But not really, because people who kidnap penguins make him sad.  He does want our 3-foot plastic penguin called Jemima to be involved somehow, though.

6. Our cake-topper will be a butterfly and a penguin and both will most likely make an appearance on the invitations.

5. He loves penguin books and Penguin Books.  Because they’re all penguins.

4. We have a print of 6 penguins lined up on our living room wall.  We call them our parents surrogate grandchildren.

3. When we do have kids, his favourite name for a girl is Penelope Gwyneth.  PenGwyn for short.

2. Sarge finds peace by looking at Edinburgh Zoo’s Penguin Cam.  He is very sad that some of the penguins have been shipped off and that the parade has been cancelled.  But we’ll both be excited when everyone is back in their new digs and everything is back to normal.

1. Sarge aspires to be Scotland’s answer to Belgium’s Mr Penguin.

How are you honouring your favourite penguin today?

Pygoscelis papua English: Gentoo Penguins at E...
Pygoscelis papua English: Gentoo Penguins at Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


How Are You Doing?

I recently read Fifteen Ways To Make Your Blog Irresistible over at Broadside.

I have decided to take each of Caitlin’s points/questions and apply them to my own blog.

Is your blog overly personal? 

I don’t think so.  More personal than I originally had in mind, though.  Without navel-gazing, I would hope.  There is a difference between my blog and my journal.  When I first started, I envisaged a personal public blog, and I think I’m still there.  I planned to write from the perspective of a wheelchair-user who lives in a beautiful, and yet quite inaccessible city.  Because I am, and I do.  But my life is more than that, and so is this blog.  The desire to connect with all kinds of people is still there, though.  And always will be.

Check your spelling, vocabulary and grammar.

I always read a post and then I read it out loud before I hit ‘publish.’

Is this post really worth sharing?  

What, you don’t want to see photos of my cat?  Or my coffee?  You don’t want to hear about my wedding plans?  Or how much I love Sarge?

Sarge is only so-called on this blog, by the way.  I asked him if he wanted me to start using his off-line name and he said he prefers ‘Sarge’ to ‘Giant Nerd.’

You’re being read worldwide — be inclusive.

As in American living in Scotland who happens to be a wheelchair-user, I think I’m doing pretty well on that score.  Might also be worthy of note that I’m Italian and getting married to someone who hates cheese.  That should score me ‘people are people’ points, no?

Is every comment a big thumbs-up?

Aside from the spam, stuff is positive.  Although, someone did think I was too harsh with my hatred of ferrets.  And while I appreciate the likes, I LOVE comments.  Because that leads to discussion.  Don’t be shy.

Are you playing it too safe?

I’ve said some pretty provocative things.  I admitted that grew up thinking Nina Simone was a man, and I once proclaimed my boyfriend-turned-fiancé is better than coffee.

Considering that one of my mother’s cousins found me and then my mother through reading my posts, I think I’m pretty open.

Are you (even occasionally) funny?

I like to laugh.  Mostly at myself.  And share it with others.  And I think the experiences of getting locked in a toilet and being told your head is too big for your passport photo are pretty universal.  And everybody falls off pavements and drives backwards sometimes.  Or is that just me?

Move us!

I hope I do.  If I’m happy, I hope you are, too.  If I’m thinking, I hope you are.  If I’m being a dork, I do hope you would tell me, so we can be dorks together.  Here’s where you tell me I’m too old to be a dork.

Edit, revise, repeat.

Most posts start as written drafts that percolate for a few days. Some of them stew too long.

When I get to posting, I hate formatting that doesn’t look right, so I end up with a bunch of revisions.  Posts take longer to post than to write, sometimes.

Grab us with the first few sentences.

Well, you always want to find out what happens, don’t you?  Did she make it out of the toilet?  I did.

Use paragraphs. 

I’m always promising real paragraphs, because I like to read them myself.

Visuals matter!

I think blogging has made me a better photo-taker.  I wouldn’t think of posting without some show-in-the-tell now, even it’s someone else’s photo, because most people are better at those than me.

Link to other people’s ideas.

I try to do this when fits in with what I’m rambling on about.  Or there’s my blog roll.  Or that one time I linked to the mating rituals of penguins.

The blog format isn’t sexy enough without great content.

For me, this means I need to write more.  In paragraphs.  Even contemplating a blogging schedule and an e-newsletter with extra info/tidbits.

“Voice” matters most.

I could be talking about the Sopranos, Paris, popcorn or losing my phone.  The common thread is me.  Unless I’m quoting someone else.  Or posting a photo of my cat.  Even then I try to make the captions funny.  Funny ha-ha or funny strange, well, that’s open to interpretation.

All that being said, how am I doing?  And how are you doing?

Cuteness via Google

Instant Coffee Tastes Like Mushrooms

I’ll repeat, instant coffee taste like mushrooms.  Fact.  That’s why, as I write this, there is a cup of zombie coffee by my side.  Anyway, these are, as ever, coffee-fuelled ramblings.

And so, this week, I went out for more real coffee with a friend.  I discovered many things:

  1.  It’s OK that I can’t get through five pages of Saturday or Enduring Love.  It isn’t just me.
  2. Apparently, I can’t go five minutes without talking about THE WEDDING.  And that’s OK.  But somehow less universal an issue than the density of Ian McEwan’s prose.

I’m going to be bold.  This post is not about THE WEDDING.  It’s not about the bike, either.  Or the shoes.  It’s about OTHER THINGS.

I’ve been writing a lot.  My last piece was rejected.  I’ve been trying to find words for this.  It sucks.  That’s two words.  Empty gaping hole.  There’s three more.  In all seriousness, this last knock sent me into a darkened room.  Really.  That’s where Sarge found me when he got home from work.  I tried to switch the light on, though.  And then I threw up.

And so, if I’m not talking about THE WEDDING, I’m talking about THE BIG FAT ‘NO’.  Or not talking about it.  I have since left the darkened room.  To watch Judge Judy.  Or The Sopranos.  Or this video.  Over and over.

Getting back to The Sopranos, Sarge and I are working through the box-set.  Two episodes left.  When the show was first on, I refused to watch the end.  I like to think the characters from my favourite shows live on in some funky parallel universe.  Which is kinda apt.  Because they’re ACTORS.

Coffee cup
Coffee cup (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I’m planning a post that lists my favourite episodes of The Sopranos.  I’ll give you a hint.  Christopher is my favourite character.  So THAT ONE won’t be on the list.  I guess I’ve always had a thing for guys with big noses.

Which reminds me of THE WEDDING.  But that’s another post.

And that was six minutes.  Which is more than five.

Wedding Planning With Skype

Skype Technologies S.A. logo
Skype Technologies S.A. logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so, my birthday dinner was also what we liked to call the In-laws Summit 2012.  (Trust me, I have done braver things.  Like eat cheese in the presence of my future husband.)

In the spirit of togetherness, Sarge suggested we bring Hemingway to dinner so my mother could tune in via Skype.  We did not.  But it made me laugh thinking about it.  And Sarge got major points with Mom when I mentioned it to her.  She also thinks it’s a good idea for a Skype commercial.  (Contact me for my rates.  Ha!)

While this post is not product-placement, I have been using Skype a lot more since The Engagement.  I showed my mother my ring by flashing it in front of the screen.  She then showed me her not-so new dog, Dolly.  Dolly spends her time eating socks and terrorising Mom’s other dog, Daisy.  But that may be another post.  One that I might call ‘Lorna Has Two Sisters’.

My mother and I have another appointment while she knits a shawl that I may need to camouflage my football-player shoulders in what may turn out to be a strapless wedding dress.

It was Skype and hot beverages on our respective continents  for a three hour conversation with a friend to discuss what she might sing at our reception.  And Benedict Cumberbatch.

I also used a screen to tell one of my bridesmaids in New York that she, along with the others, can choose their own dresses/suits/clown costumes.  Because really, on the day, all I want to do is show up and get married.  And in terms of shopping, I have no desire to recreate the food-poisoning scene in Bridemaids.  Although, I did have bad Chinese food once.  But that may not be another post.

Getting back online, my mother thinks I should take Hemingway dress-shopping so she can suck in her breath at all the right moments.  We shall see.  Or Skype.

In the words of my mother, isn’t technology wonderful?

Have you ever planned an event using Skype?

Yes, I’m The Bride. Who Are You?

I have a confession to make.  I have not been planning/dreaming of my wedding since I was six years old.  There are no scrapbooks, files, dog-eared wedding magazines from the ‘80’s.  The first and only time I made any kind of short-lived scrapbook, I glued my fingers together.  True story.

Two and a half years ago, I began to picture myself married.  To Sarge.   Being married, that is.  Not the wedding.

And so, when we began to discuss what the actual wedding might look like, I had only a few ideas:

I’d like to get married outside

To Sarge

He’d be in a skirt kilt

And my dress and I would sit comfortably in my chair, at the same time.

With more butterflies than flowers around

This is the list we took venue-shopping a few weeks ago.

Now.  I’d heard that people selling their services don’t like to talk to the groom and direct everything to the bride.  We went to three places.   Two people directed their questions to both of us.  Super cool.  One person spoke only to Sarge.  Not cool.  He was a bit confused when we both answered back.  Which was cool.

The thing is this.  Sarge isn’t marrying himself.  I would be totally supportive if he wanted to, but he doesn’t.  He wants to marry me.  So, yes, Mr Co-ordinator who doesn’t like his job, that makes me the bride.  Disabled people get married, too.  I read it online somewhere.

For me, this means that if we were to get married outside, I’d need a flat aisle.  No carpets over grass.  We’d even make a platform.  But we’d have to be allowed to use it.  Not being allowed to use it would be a little thing called a deal-breaker.  That means we’re going to take our money and our wedding somewhere else.

We have provisionally booked an indoor venue more beautiful than any picture I could have pasted in a scrapbook, if I had one.  Which I don’t.

I do, however, have  some Pinterest boards, which are less messy.  Maybe.

This was taken a year ago. At a wedding. Do we look like we're practicing?

Reading Through the Stacks: February and March

Four to Score (novel)
Four to Score (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll admit, not a lot of reading has happened in the last two months.  I’ve been busy being engaged, drafting a bunch of my own words and getting older.

I read six books in January.  And seven more whole ones in February and March.


These are them:


Fante: A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving

Four to Score

Post Office

Tortilla Flat

The Snow Child

High Five

The Sense of an Ending


And they weren’t even very long.  Must improve.


What are you reading?