Coffee Talk And Blogging Goals

If we were having coffee, you couldn’t help but notice that we’ve blown all the fuses.  Isla is running around going, ‘My house is dark.  It ran out of batteries!’

Five minutes ago, we were watching Alice in Wonderland.  Now, Isla’s face is lit by my phone screen.  No, I can’t buy you that Lego set.  And please don’t post that egg video on Facebook.

In other news, what music do you listen to while taking down the Christmas tree?  Isla went into the living room this week and yelled, ‘Someone stole the Christmas tree!’  Yes, well, until next year.

I finished reading my third book of the year this morning (Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard) and my first read for this list.

While we’re here more bookish things:

I told Goodreads I’ll be reading 50 books, or more, this year.

And for every finished book, I’ll be putting a buck in Isla’s Swear Jar  my book jar.

If we were having coffee, I’d mention that I might be shifting the focus of this here blog, or getting back to writing and not just talking about it.

I’ve looked back on my posts, and my personal notebooks from this year and I’ve written a lot about not writing a lot.

And Neil recently mentioned that I haven’t written any fiction since we’ve been together.

So, there’s that.  Might really get back to writing a story a week.

And I might want to write even more about being a disabled mother, and a mother and  a third-culture kid who grew up to live on an island off another island, in a house that keeps blowing fuses.

Hi.

If we were having coffee I’d ask: What are your writing plans this year, or this week?

And: What would you like to read more of on this blog?

muse
My current read with Isla’s latest art.

Christmas Coffee With The Grinch

If we were having coffee, I’d introduce you to our new as yet unnamed coffee machine.

As an early Christmas present from me to us, the coffee machine Neil bought me when we first started dating has been upgraded to something from the future. Actually, I think we should call it Jetson.

What sort of um, coffee experience would you like?

My favourite so far is a mild double-shot medium-hot latte.

In my house.

What can I get you?

After you figure that out, I’d show you the Christmas tree we put up two weeks ago.

15492392_10154391238049412_2321628323463845313_n
It doesn’t look like that anymore. Isla likes to hide the decorations on us. You might be sitting on one right now.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you we took Isla to see Santa last weekend. It was in the midst of shopping, everyone was in a bad mood, and Santa might have called me the Grinch.

Before we’d lined up, Isla had a tantrum in a coffee shop because they’d run out of orange juice. It was kinda my fault.

We’d been staying in a hotel the night before. It was 300 degrees in the room, so I drank our not really endless supply of OJ that we drag around where ever we go.

We arrived to the mall early. So early, most places were still closed. Except the coffee place with no OJ.

I’m sitting there sipping what just might be the best latte I’ve ever had outside of my house. And my kid is refusing perfectly good apple juice. Because it isn’t orange. I feel kinda bad. I give her my breakfast, because hers doesn’t include anything that is orange juice.

It escalates. I tell her to calm down. Once. And then I don’t say much else. I figure she’ll fizzle out soon enough. But I’m getting looks. I can tell, because if one eye is looking at you, my other eye is looking at someone in New Jersey.

It’s useful. And it doesn’t distract me unless I notice someone looking back at me. Like last weekend. Like I am a horrible mother.

So I turn my head and this woman gets both my eyes. ‘Does she look abused, though?’ I ask.

The woman says nothing.

Neil and I count to ten with Isla and then I ask if she’s done.

‘Yeah,’ Isla says. And we high-five.

And then Isla kind of launches herself at me like she does these days. Because I’m a horrible mother.

As we are leaving, the staring woman offers to help me. ‘No thanks. But Merry Christmas,’ I say.

We are in line to see a grumpy looking Santa. Isla won’t sit with him and I want to leave. Somehow, we all end up sitting for the photo.

‘Bahumbug,’ I said. Sorry, not sorry.

‘No wonder Isla’s in a bad mood. Mum’s the Grinch.’

‘Screw you, Santa,’ I mumbled. And the photo was done.

We left, and I may have cried all the way to the toy store. Because I’m a horrible mother. Obviously. Not really.

Do you want more coffee?

Abstract Sandwiches

On Tuesday, when I picked Isla up from nursery, she hugged my lap as she sometimes does.

‘I MISSED you, Mummy.’

‘Really?’ I asked.  She’s a Daddy’s girl, see.  I am obviously still questioning every bit of affection she doles out.  To me.

‘Yeah,’ she said

‘Did someone pay you to say that?’

‘Uhm.  No.’

When I’m happy, my eyes kinda crinkle up until you can’t see them.  Like Isla’s.  Because, y’know, I’m her mother.

I did a little dance in the carpark, my day made at one o’clock.

‘Mummy funny,’ she laughs.

Yeah, I s’pose I am, a bit.

Isla’s funny, too.  She has my eye crinkle and my sarcasm.

Yesterday, she was loaded with big foam puzzle pieces.  Her arms were so full she was just a stripey sweater on legs.

‘I LOVE you,’ I tell her.  ‘Where did you come from?’

She cranes her neck and looks at me sideways.  It is my own incredulous face looking back at me.

‘From my bedroom,’ she says.

True enough.

I did the pee-pee laugh with that one.  Also true.

Since Isla’s started nursery, I’ve been doing some thinking.  I’ve also been doing some Math, mostly at 4AM.  Mayhaps, more about that later. For now, I will say this: Don’t do Math at 4AM.

Anyway.  This is what I’ve been thinking.  Since Isla started doing things.  Outside the house.  Without me.

This is how life goes.  I’m proud of her.  I’m allowed to miss her.  We need to keep going. And I’m so fucking proud of her.

I’ve been thinking that getting help to do things makes me no less of a mother.  Because I’m the one who misses her when she’s at school.  And also when she’s asleep.

It doesn’t matter that sometimes, I can’t lift her onto the toilet. Because I’m the one who claps when she pees on it.

I’m (one of) the people who reads to her at night. And in the afternoon. She sits on my lap, in my chair. And I can still find that place on her neck that I’ve loved since before she was born.

And sometimes, still, she falls asleep on me.

We wake up two mornings a week, and I make her lunch. Her sandwiches have holes in them, because I have very few knife skills. I don’t care. She eats her lunch.

I might squirt mayo hearts on the bread.

I send her out and she comes home and hands me her empty lunch box. And sometimes her boogers.

She makes me a coffeeshop and a dragon out of blocks.

She goes into the fridge and gets a snack. I tell her not to ruin her dinner.

And she gives me that sideways glance. The one she gets from me.

15232235_10154347376584412_5466926980325662723_n
Kinda like this.  Isla isn’t sure about empty envelopes.

Altoids & Oreos

I figured you wouldn’t want to hear about how I can’t sleep. And then I do. And then I snap awake at 4 AM, and read by Kindle-light. How Isla goes to ‘school’ two mornings a week now, and I miss her after the first hour. How there’s a path around the house now, and that’s a good thing. But how, sometimes we, (OK, mostly I) want to lift this house and the path around it and plant it somewhere where there’s neighbours.

I figured you wouldn’t want to hear that on bad, cliche days my only happiness is my husband and my child, my books and the songs of Lee Brice.

However, you might be interested to know that my Mom came over to visit. And she brought me Wintergreen Altoids. How she stayed for two weeks and we only had two and a half fights. (I knocked half off because she brought me Altoids.)

We drove around looking for salmon and wool and world peace. We listened to The Beatles and she knitted me a sweater. Yes, really.

And after two weeks and two and half fights, I asked her to stay. Yes, really. She didn’t. The sweater’s a little big, but the visit was just the right size.

I’m not depressed. Or at least I know I shouldn’t be. Hell, I live in the most desirable place in Britain.

Scenery has got to count for something, right?

So. Not depressed. I just really like Oreos these days.

This is not a new feeling for me. When I first moved to Edinburgh, I missed my friends in Glasgow. When I was in Glasgow, I missed my student days. When I was a student, I should have stayed there.

Point is, I’m always missing something.

I didn’t grow up in the same place I was a child, and I’ve moved every five years ever since.

My sense of place and belonging has always been jumbled and fucked up. Home is more about people than a postbox. I know that. It makes life interesting, but also well, interesting.

When Mom was here we took her to Edinburgh. We rented a flat for four days. In our old building. The same building Neil and I moved into together, where we came home from work, and our honeymoon and the hospital with Isla.

Edinburgh gave me a bunch of my favourite things. And chip-shop pakora.

I’ve decided that as a place, Edinburgh is as close as I’ve come to home, as an adult.

Today, I’m thankful for Edinburgh, and all my friends there. All my friends and family, and friends who are family, everywhere. I’m thankful for everyone on this island. And my people on Long Island.

For my husband and my kid and for everyone that loves us, weird bunch that we are.

For the people who drink coffee and beer with me.

For the people who ate cookies with me in 1985, and the people who ate cookies with me last week.

Come visit.

13996286_10155113645837067_5233589065947275408_o
Scenic, right?

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.

13015249_10153720402119412_1467444851309200813_n
Coffee, Ma?