I Don’t Get Work/Life Balance

And so, I have a new day-job.  I mostly work from home.  More on that later.

This is my official spiel:

Lorna is a wheelchair-user, who travels extensively at home and abroad. She is an American who has lived in Scotland for 20 years, so she isn’t really sure where home is, though.

She is fueled by coffee and creativity and is a recent convert to bubble tea.

Proof of Barcelona.  And bubble tea.
Proof of Barcelona. And bubble tea.

Her favourite travel experiences have included a solo Amtrak journey from New York to Seattle and back, Hogmanay on Raasay, gin and lemonade in Florence, and her honeymoon in Bruges and Barcelona.

Her professional interest in accessible travel began on the night she found herself sleeping on a bathroom floor at an airport outside of Paris. She thinks Paris and Shakespeare are overrated but she loves Shakespeare and Company bookshop. She’d like to visit all the bookshops in the world, and maybe even open one.

Lorna’s more realistic goals include writing books in an open-plan but cosy cottage on Skye and/or counting penguins in Antarctica.

She used to be the Equality and Diversity Assistant at VisitScotland. As the Customer Support Manager here *at new place*, (site still in development) she will be available to answer all your questions on how to get the most out of our site, as well as any general travel enquiries you may have. Just please don’t ask her where she’s from!

*Photo courtesy of my husband, who is actually in it.  Tea from wow!boba 

What do you do?  What do you want to do?

We Need To Talk About Re-Reading

Cover of "We Need to Talk About Kevin: A ...
Cover of We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel

I don’t remember the first time I read We Need To Talk about Kevin. It was either at University while I was meant to be reading something else, or it was an old book-group choice.

While I’m fuzzy about what brought me to it, I do remember being physically disgusted by it. Back then, I really did throw it against a wall, turn off the light and did not sleep. I turned the light back on to make sure it was still there on the floor. Just a book.

It gathered dust, buried within my shelves. Until I did a book-cull. I do have those, really. As a mater of fact, Kevin prompted my first one, I remember that now.

Before you get all proud of me and think the book-hoarder finally admitted she had a problem, and did something about it, think again. Because I only got rid of Kevin. So, that doesn’t even count.

I don’t remember who I threw the book at, but I’m sorry, whoever you are. I just wanted it out of my house. Not unlike the first time I watched The Exorcist, for 6 minutes, when I was ten. I stopped the tape and told my friend to ‘get this thing out of my house.’

And so, Kevin was on a very short list of things I wanted to throw around.

When I heard we’d be reading it for my current book-group, I started doing laps/generally stalking around the house repeating: NONONONONO. Neil was intrigued.

And I can tell you that my email to the book-group went like this:

Excuse me while I curl into a fetal position and lose the ability to speak.  But it’s been awhile since I read it, so I could go there again.  

And I did. I’d forgotten that I gave my original copy away, and it wasn’t at the library. So, I grudgingly bought another one. Neil needed to read it, if only to understand my initial um, reaction.

It arrived and sat there unread.

‘Who’s gonna read it first?’

‘I’ve read it. You read it.’

‘But it’s your turn to read the group book first.’

‘I don’t wanna.’

But I did. In three days. I might even up my star-rating on Goodreads. From 2 to 3. Because you know, changing the star-rating on a book is a big deal. A girl can change her mind. It might even mean I’ve dare I say it, grown as a person.

Since I read Kevin the first time, I’ve learned that you don’t have to like the story to appreciate the book. That leaving the reader with a sense of disquiet isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s a good thing. For book-group discussion.

This time around the book was less grueling, the writing more nuanced.   And even though I prefer short sentences, these days long ones don’t make me want to poke my own eyes out. Sorry.

I suppose it was always well-written.  But the first time I read it, I was so focused on what happens, I didn’t see how we got there.

I can’t say I love ‘that damn book’ all of a sudden, but I hate it a little less now.

Have you ever given a book a second chance?

Fire, Wind and Wasps

And so, yesterday Neil’s toasting bagels. And then we smell something burning. And then I hear, ‘Babe, the toaster’s on fire.’ And I look up from my non-blog writing to see flames. Flames in the middle of my toaster.

Neil runs over and unplugs the toaster. Throws a damp cloth over it. My ‘Oh shit!’ was very helpful, in case you’re wondering.

And our smoke detector works. There’s that, too.

The toaster is now downstairs waiting to be taken to The Island Of Burnt Out Appliances. And we’ll be grilling bagels for a while.

We hang around the house, waiting for something else to spontaneously combust. When nothing happens, we go to The Edinburgh Mela to eat curry and see friends. And eat curry.

Here’s something else you may not know about me, if I’m not driving, I’m an easy target for leafleters. If my hand is up in front of my face, they think I’m really interested in their bits of dead tree. But really I’m just trying to block paper-cuts. In my eye. Yes, that has happened before, in case you’re wondering.

I’m perusing my pile of free crap. ‘Do I look depressed?’ I’ve discovered that post-wedding blues is a real thing, and I need a new project. But no, I am not depressed.

‘Do I look like I’d be interested in t’ai chi?’ Unless it’s in Central Park, or adapted for a seated position, then no, I’m not. Maybe that could be my new project, though?

Anyway. We eat. And then I eat some more.

Neil and I go home, after saying we’ll come back to see The Orb perform. I not-so-secretly am only interested in hearing Little Fluffy Clouds. No, I have never lived in Arizona. In case you’re wondering,

On the way home, it would seem that summer has disappeared. That’s OK, I like autumn. That morning, I liberated a turtle-neck sweater from the back of my dresser. Because it was cold, and if I say it’s cold, then it’s cold. And so windy that the trip home felt downhill all the way.

Neil and I have curry for dinner. Because we’re really not creative when it comes to food.

There’s a text saying the Mela’s closed because of the wind situation. No Orb. But it might re-open, so we leave our green paper wristbands on. Maybe Orb.

What I really want to do is stay home and light candles that smell like autumn and apple pie. But there was a wasp buzzing around the lights, and pretty soon the buzzing was all I heard. And so, we go out again. The tents are all ripped and windblown. No Orb.

We meet up with more friends and suddenly need a place to go that is kid-friendly, beagle-friendly and accessible. And so, we go home again.

The wasp welcomes us back. We don’t give him a name.

‘This will always be the day we nearly set fire to the kitchen and didn’t get to see The Orb,’ Neil says.

Popcorn is made. We listen to The Orb. In our house.  It’s all very quaint. Until.

‘Yo! Ow. Dude.’ I’m clawing at my turtle-neck/doing interpretative dance/practising t’ai chi. And I don’t know why. But it hurts.

Neil pulls me backwards through the hallway and into the bedroom. And I’m laughing, because it hurts.

‘What?’ Neil says.

‘Wasp! Boob! Shit!’ It’s all I can manage.

‘What?’

And then we pull the stinger out. Of my bra.

‘We’ll have to watch and see if it swells,’ Neil says. And I just kinda look at him.

‘How will we know? Because, y’know, it’s my boob.’

We go back to our friends. ‘Yeah, so. The wasp is gone.’

Later, I’m in bed with some ice. And Neil says, ‘So, fire, wind and a wasp.’

‘Memories are made of this.’

I fell asleep and dreamt of this song:

 

You’re welcome.  And I’m sorry, in case you’re wondering.  Maybe.