Sharing Is Caring

And so.  Happy 18 months to my sweet, funny, already-geeky girl, Isla Madelyn.

This afternoon, I found myself sitting with a bag of ice on my foot.  The kid throws a mean sippy-cup.  And then she came up and stole a piece of ice for her teeth. Sharing is caring.

Here she is inspecting some of her Christmas haul.


Complete with Christmas penguin deely-boopers.

And here she is decorating her Daddy’s beard.


Hope you’ve all had a great few days, or months.

Here’s to more words in 2016.  Maybe even tomorrow.

Lorna xox


The Hallowe’en Special

Hallowe’en and teething has arrived at our house.  Isla is just over 4 months.   For her current trick, she grabs both her cheeks a la The Scream.  Makes me laugh and cry all at once.

Neil/Daddy carved a penguin for the monkey/pumpkin.  It looked like this:
We like books and penguins.  And Penguin Books.  We carved because we love.
And this is Isla:
She was thoroughly impressed with her outfit.  Honest.

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?

My Island Diaries

Tuesday 28th December 2010

We say we’ll be on the road by 10.00.  It is noon before we set off.  I am wedged in the backseat between some bags, two tires and Sarge.  By 3.00, I have lost feeling in my ass.  I find it again when twisting to take photos through the windows.

My father has never been good at time-keeping.  The fact that he has his own time zone is part of his charm.  We always get where we’re going though, and rolled onto our first ferry of the day with ten minutes to spare.  We were actually early for the second ferry, one of the two cars on board.

It takes us about an hour to find the cottage in the dark, perched on the egde of Sarge’s GPS.

Anne getting out of the car and guiding my father’s driving with the light from her mobile phone added to the adventure.

So did needing to pee.

Wednesday 29th

Sarge is out looking for wildlife and I am watching Dad attempt to make pancakes without a Teflon pan.  We have cereal and make a list of things to get at the one shop on the island, which also serves as the post office.

Dad and Anne venture out, list in hand, leaving me and Sarge to pretend we live here.  We curl up on the couch, and start to read books found on the well-stocked bookshelves.  I promptly fall asleep.

I wake up and the light through the windows has made shadows on the walls.

‘How long have I been asleep?’

‘About five pages.’

I love how my boyfriend measures time.

Friday 31st

I am watching Sarge make porridge.  Dad and Anne have gone to Portree to find relief for Dad’s untimely toothache.  As Sarge explores the cupboards, I am pretending that we live here again.

Last night was whisky and music and laughs and a poker game, played for chips.  And bacon rolls and Clementine oranges.  I spent quite a few of my growing up years in house on a farm with a kitchen not unlike this one.  If I close my eyes at just the right moment, in just the right breath, these walls and this air feels just like home.

I went to bed last night and dreamt of inviting our friends up here for New Year.

And so, today.  We are left to drink coffee and read books and eat pate.

I started the fourth Harry Potter this morning, and Sarge is on The Odyssey.  After 200 pages for me, and 30 for Sarge, I look up and remark that the pate looks like petrified meat.  Funny, considering that’s exactly what it is.

Dad and Anne returned from the sea with penicillin and popcorn and more booze for the night’s festivities.  Which will begin in two hours when they wake up from a snooze.  Ferry journeys are a tiring business.

We are left with a fire to stoke and dinner on the stove.  My first text to arrive in days beeped through at 6.30.  It was Anne, saying they’d be home by 5.  Now we know.  Time slows and stops on islands such as this.

At the midnight bells, I think of my past and my future and how the two might mingle and meet.  I listen to Auld Lang Syne and Sarge’s heart, twirling my grandmother’s sapphire ring, on my finger since I was 13.  And I am happier than I have ever been.

Saturday 1st January 2011

Another reading day today.  Also watching birds investigate birdseed on the fence.  So are they.  The house-phone rings and we first wonder where it is, and then who would be phoning us.

It was the couple in the next cottage inviting us over for mulled wine.  Bundling up, we took the long trek next door.  We were welcomed with the promised mulled wine and actual roasted chestnuts.  There was also wonderful conversation swirling around like the embers of the outdoor fire we crowded around.

My camera hasn’t been one foot away from me this entire trip.  I regretted leaving it at our cottage when people began lighting paper lanterns and starting a race in the sky.  I made a wish on one, as it floated higher and higher.  The last to disappear.

And I am writing this as Sarge makes dinner for the four of us.    I’m still in my coat and scarf.  Fire and hope is still all around me, even in my nose.  And I’m scribbling this evening’s moments so I don’t forget them.  Somehow I don’t think I ever will.

Sunday 2nd January

Sarge went for a walk to the lighthouse today.  Brought me back a bluepurplewhite shell.  And I don’t want to go home.

We all pile in the car and drive up Calum’s Road.  Looking out the window, I start to cry.  And I have a moment like the one I experienced while lighting a candle in the Duomo in Florence.  But as much as I love stained glass windows, God isn’t one old bearded man haunting old buildings.  God is the air and the mountains and the sunset.  God is all my good memories and my Grandparents.  God is everyone’s good memories and everyone’s grandparents.  God is sitting in the car listening to epic movie soundtracks and crying because life is beautiful.  God is on holiday.

Monday 3rd January

PJ day today.  I finish the fourth Harry Potter while Sarge got further through The Odyssey and Dad and Anne snoozed in the living room.  We had pancakes for dinner and I asked Dad to retell some family stories.  One last poker game during this Island trip gives me a new nickname, Four Aces.

Tuesday 4th January

After last night’s epic card game, I am almost too tired to be sad.  But I am sad.   Sad to be leaving, but happy it happened.  I’ve already dreamt of our next trip.

(Taken from my journal of a family holiday trip to Raasay and Skye.  No holiday recap would be complete without a slideshow.  Just a few of my photos!)

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Nothing Says ‘I Love You’ Like WD-40

We went back to Glasgow last weekend to help Dad and Anne decorate their tree and see some friends.

The younger-than-us people sitting across from us on the train thought we were Mormon, because of Sarge’s beard.  We figured they meant Amish, but further figured they were too drunk to compare and contrast.  We arrived in Glasgow laughing and cold, with some doughnuts to test on my people.  The second batch looked more like doughnuts.  So much more that Sarge wanted me to get a picture of them.  I didn’t.

We got to the house and had doughnuts with eggnog.  And I actually got that warm feeling inside that meant the holidays had arrived in my heart and mind.   And maybe it meant I was a little tipsy, too.

We then decided to put the tree in the stand, and spent a lot of time and problem-solving skills trying to make it fit and not fall over.

‘If we wedge a door-stop in there, saw a bit off the end…’

Sarge volunteered to do the actual sawing, and ended up with a band-aid on his hand, after ‘grazing’ it.  I said his injury meant he had to repeat it next year.

For my part, I sat in the middle of the living room eating chocolate mints and saying, ‘No, it’s crooked…yes, it’s fine…no, it’s crooked again.’    I’m not the best person for the job.

When we went to bed, the tree was up.  Without decorations on it.  I wonder if naked Christmas trees will be a new family tradition.

The next morning, the gift I ordered for my Dad arrived.  Before we left, he asked to open it.

Glasgow Green on Saturday

On the way to meet friends at a coffee-shop, I took a picture of what the world looks like.  It’s one of my favourite shots of the year.

I then had hot chocolate at the coffee-shop and talked about the snow and other things with friends until it was time to get the train back to Edinburgh.  The train stopped, and we met friends at the pub, where I declared, ‘It’s too cold to snow tonight.’  I’m eating those words.

On Sunday, there was another snow dump on the way to the book-group.  Even though Invisible was my choice this month, all I remember saying at the meeting is, ‘I can’t feel my face.’

Sarge and I went to the shops after books and coffee and thawing out.  Christmas shopping that isn’t online might not be the best thing for even the strongest relationships.

‘Right, wanna break up?’ I asked.

‘WHAT?  No.’

I then realised what I’d said.

‘I meant, in the shop.  In the shop.  For shopping.  On second thought, let’s shop together.  Don’t go.’

I wanted to get something else for him in case the stuff I bought online and without misunderstandings didn’t arrive.  I told him to pick a DVD .  Because I didn’t want to break up in the shop.  Or  anywhere.  He picked something.  And his real gift arrived the next day.

That was the day my front wheels began to squeak and rebel against all the snow and salt they’ve had to contend with.  Beautiful and photogenic snow makes for angry wheels.

And Sarge came home with a can of WD-40, saying it was the least romantic gift he would ever give me.  It actually made me giddy.  Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like a can of WD-40.

One Year Ago Today

This time last year, I was moving into my fifth flat in Glasgow.  I’d lived there since 2006 and had five addresses.

The reason I moved so much wasn’t because I’m fickle.  It was because two of my five landlords neglected to pay the mortgages on the flats I occupied.  And the secure places had lifts that liked to break down when I needed to go to work, or on nights I had tickets for concerts.  During one particular breakdown (with me in it), my friend and I had sushi we’d just bought while waiting for the engineers to arrive.  It was a stair lift that was continually getting vandalised or broken by people who weren’t me/didn’t know how to use it (you had to get in, spin around twice, clap your hands three times and ask it nicely to work.) In the end, the management stopped short of asking me to leave, not very nicely.

I’d found a coveted ramped access place after looking for ages.  I’d looked for ages only to find the perfect flat in the building next door.  On the day I got the keys, I celebrated with Sarge and my Dad, and toasted with vanilla lattes.

And on this day last year, I moved in.  With the help of my Dad and my band of crazy friends.  CJ, on the cat equivalent of tranquilizers from having to move, yet again, was no help.

I set up my bookcases that first night, and it really did feel cozy.   Sarge stayed for a week in the run-up to Christmas and I had a pretty damn good flat-warming party.

We went to see It’s a Wonderful Life, and had vanilla tea and left-over party food every night.  I secretly pretended we lived together already.  I bawled when he left, I’d had such a good time.

For Christmas that year, he gave me his favourite book, which I read on the train on my way to spend New Years with him.  I finished the book sitting in my reading chair at home.  It was my first read of 2010.

A few months later, we were watching a DVD (as we like to do), and he asked if I would ever move to Edinburgh.  ‘It is not outwith the realms of possibility,’ I said.

Two weeks later, he said that the reason he was sorting out his spare room was so he could rent it out, and we could find a place together.  We’d been having dinner at an Indian restaurant and the naan bread stopped short on it’s way to my mouth.

‘Did you just ask me to move in with you?’

‘I think I did, yes.’

‘Well then, I think I’ll say yes.’

After my birthday we started looking in earnest.  We found one building with a set of steps at the front, and opposition when we asked for a ramp.   I figured there was another place for us.  We found this flat and moved in during the first week of May.  With the help of my Dad, my crazy band of friends, Sarge’s friends, and a van.

I have now lived here longer than the flat I moved into a year ago today.  Crazy.  Awesome.  Crazy awesome.

Post inspired by a Reverb10 prompt.

My books, before we put up the bookcases.