Monday, 31 August 2015

Happy Kitty, Sleepy Kitty...

This is a story of myself, some cuddles, and one dumbass. For purposes of clarification we'll call this dumbass Rilla.

I came into the flat this evening and Rilla, who usually runs to the door to greet you, jumped down off the bed and collapsed in a puddle on the floor. She then just lay there, yawning and blinking at me. Clearly I had to go to her.

Which I then did. I picked up the molten, liquid form of my kitten and tried not to drop any stray paws or tails that could not support themselves currently. Rilla still has a lot of play and fight left in her, so when you catch her like this you sure as hell make the most of it. So I lay down on the bed with Rilla on my stomach for a cuddle. She started to purr.

It was all warm and snuggly and lovely and fluffy and all the good things. Purr.

I was scratching under her chin and she had her head stretched right forward, you know that way all cats do. Eyes shut and everything. Her little fluffy head got lower... and lower. Little fluffy paws padding on my collarbone.

Some cat hair floated down and settled on my nose. Now, I only have two hands, one holding the cat so she doesn't fall off and the other the bliss machine at the chin end. I moved the latter for one second to scratch my nose.

What I didn't know, is that Rilla had fallen asleep. I had not realised that I was the only thing holding her head up. When I moved my hand, her head fell straight forward and she head-butted me right between the eyes.

She woke up hissing at my face, at the bed, at the whole nasty world where bad things happen to lovely, darling little kittens that fall asleep. So much hissing. So. Much. Hissing.

I did what any self-respecting pet owner would do. I laughed my ass off. I laughed till tears were streaming down my face.

She has since then been in a huff. She jumped down from the bed, went through into the living room and crawled into her favourite cardboard box. She doesn't seem to have any plan on coming out.

For the record, I tried to check that she's ok, but the little black furry boxing gloves coming swinging out of the box were having none of it.

Which I guess means she must be fine.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The One When My Father Got Arrested.

Here is a lovely Father's Day story for you all to enjoy. It rather fittingly takes place when I was born.

Meet our hero, Nick.

We join him one January night in 1989, walking home from the hospital where his wife and newborn daughter are. The streets he is walking down are paved with gold, whether from the sun setting over the Edinburgh skyline or from the glow in this happy man's heart, no one will know.

Looking up, he sees the sinking sun over the castle. This he wants to capture forever. This moment. This feeling. Luckily he has his camera in his bag. Fantastic.

He starts to line up the shot. Not quite right. Hmm. I'll try over here. No, still not right. Could do with being higher. Oh look, this building has scaffolding. That would be perfect for this photo. Yeah, I could make it up there. Great idea. So, securing his bag around him, he climbs. Two floors up he stops. The view is wonderful. Out comes the camera again, and he settles in to capture the scene.

Meanwhile, a curtain twitcher across the street has been watching a man walk up the street, stopping every so often outside buildings, then pick one, and climb up to a window in darkness. The man disappears in shadow outside the window. The curtain twitcher phones the police.

The station only being round the corner, the two policemen are there in minutes.

"Excuse me" comes the call from the street.

"Yes?" replies the voice from above.

"Would you come down here sir?"

"Hang on a minute, I'm not done". Completely unaware of his new status as a burglar, our hero wants to finish taking his photos. He does so, packs up his camera, and climbs down to the two, increasingly annoyed police officers.

"Hello," he says.

As they begin to grill him on who he is, what he was doing up there, and other pertinent questions, he starts to realise he might be in some sort of trouble here.

"What is in the bag sir?"

Uh oh. He thinks to the woman's clothing in the bottom of the bag, stained and a little bloody from waiting till the very last minute before going to the hospital. Oh dear.

"You probably don't want to look in there. I can explain." As soon as he says it he knows that he's really gone and done it now. There is no easy way back from this.

Before long he is in a police station, feeling a little like he'll never see another sunset ever again. He is also wondering what he is going to say to his wife in his one phonecall about why he might not be there to pick his new family up from the hospital the next day. Luckily it doesn't come to that, as sometime between then and the morning his story is verified. Grudgingly he was let go by the cops who probably had thought they had stumbled onto the case that would have made their careers.

Luck was on his side once again when his wife didn't notice that he was wearing the same clothes as yesterday when he turned up at the hospital. As if nothing had happened, he took them home.

A week later, he comes through to the living room and hands his wife a cup of tea.

"So," he says, "funny story..."

Sunday, 14 June 2015


I am noticing a trend in myself in regards to the TV and films I watch, and in the books I read. I always fall in love with the nerds. What can I say? Smart people make me happy. So here I have compiled a list of folk that have made me air-punch with joy at least once.

Data - Star Trek TNG
He's not just a freaking cool android, he's a freaking cool android that loves his kitty.

Hermione Granger - Harry Potter Series
Hermione is bad-ass. There's no other way round it. Clever, intuitive and strong. The first time I ever cheered out loud while reading a book was when she punched Draco Malfoy. What really gets me about her is how resilient she is. All the she goes through with her parents in the latter part of the story to keep them safe, and she never lets on. Quite honestly she makes Harry's stomping, shouting and grumping look like a whiny bitch. And her face right at the end when she says "I'll go with you". Geez.

Giles - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Every single time it looks like Giles was going to die in that show (which was surprisingly often) I could feel myself pouting at the screen. He is almost too knowledgable to communicate, but he tries his hardest. In his polite, professor-ish sort of way. Every library should have a Giles. Particularly because sometimes he just can't hold himself back...

Neal Caffrey - White Collar
This one sort of surprised me. At first look he's the frustratingly handsome but typically mainstream male protagonist. And then he breaks out all this passion for art and the history surrounding it and I sat back and went "Huh". Then I realised everything he does is part of some well thought out long term plan. This guy has the smarts. So Neal Caffrey is my nomination for secret, hidden nerd.

Charlie Bradbury - Supernatural
Because a) Felicia Day and b) Felicia Day.

Daniel Jackson - Stargate SG-1
With this one comes my confession that terrible sci-fi makes me happy. Deal with it. What I like about this guy is not only does he possess the major smarts, but he is ethically intelligent too. He seems to be the only one in the show that reminds them all that there's more to Earth than America, and that there's more to exploration than technological and military gain.

Penelope Garcia - Criminal Minds
All hail Garcie, Queen of the Geeks. I love her. I am so glad women like her are represented on tv. Her world is bright colours, awesome shiny things and good people. And Doctor Who. I've said it before and I'll say it again; Penelope Garcia is my spirit animal.

Surprised someone wasn't included? Who would you add?

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Hobbit Hair: An Unexpected Journey.

For anyone that missed the news, I got all my hair cut off. I went from this:


To this: 


I was so done with having long hair. It seemed to take so much time! Washing it, drying it, working out what to do with it, then trying to do that with it. I really wanted something that was much less effort. That was my only criteria. I wasn't expecting it to be quite the learning experience it has been though.

Here are some things I have encountered on my journey:

* It is cheaper. I am no longer burning through hair bobbles. I am using less shampoo. This is very much ok with me.

* It dries amazingly fast. This is a bit of a novelty as my long hair could take all day to dry out completely.

* I am having far too much fun in front of the mirror just brushing it different ways to see what it does.

* On a related note, it is fun to see how easily I can turn myself into one of the Beatles, a five year old boy on picture day, Peter Pan, 1960's Twiggy, Liza Minnelli (brown points), Charlie Chaplin...

* I have discovered I have about one minute, maybe two, to brush my hair after I've washed it. Otherwise it points wherever it damn well pleases until I wash it again.

* I now have need for a comb in my life.

* I went outside in the wind and didn't end up eating half my hair.

* Hair gel is a confusing substance. Need for further study.

* All my earrings look fantastic. It's like an art gallery for my ears.

* I don't get my hair tangled in anything anymore. Earrings, necklaces, clothing, bra straps, scarves, hairbrushes... Being a girly girl just got so much easier.

* I have an easy way of telling who the painfully unobservant people in my life are. One person in particular has been particularly stunning at this.

* There is no hair in my lip gloss. There is no lip gloss in my hair. Those of you who have experienced this curse on your lovely day will know the wonder of which I speak.

* I am experiencing bed head like never before. Seriously, it is amazing.

* And lastly, that it loses all grasp on gravity when it has been towel dried.

Monday, 11 May 2015

To a Britain That Chose to Hate

With all the name calling, blame flinging and general bad behaviour seeping out of the mouths of people who should know better, people who have fought these fights before, I feel compelled to make the following statements:

I am female.

I am young.

I am emotional.

I am strong.

I am not a villain. Do not blame the young because they are young. Do not blame a woman because she is a woman. Do not criticise me for feeling something. Do not criticise me for feeling nothing. Do not criticise me for feeling different.

I am Scottish.

I am proud to be so.

I voted for the good of my country.

I voted for the good of my conscience.

I am not the enemy. Do not blame the Scottish because they are Scottish. Northern Ireland and Wales did not vote Labour either. Do not blame the Scottish because we are as proud of where we live and who we are as you are of where you live and who you are. Do not blame us because our cultural identity is strong.

I did not vote for our current government.

I could not vote for our current government.

I could not vote Labour.

I am not sorry.

I am not to be hated. Do not blame the people who did not vote tactically. Do not blame those who refused to jump on a bandwagon. Do not blame the people who did not vote the way you did. This is why we have a vote. We all want different things. Do not blame the people who voted Conservative. They are entitled to. Do not blame the people that did not vote. They also are entitled to.

The answer is simple. Blame the politicians. They have shown us how to hate each other. Blame the media. They have allowed themselves to be bought. All we have to make decisions with is biased propaganda. 

Blame the entire electoral system. It is surely broken.

Saturday, 2 May 2015


Hands down, the question I have been asked most frequently in the last six months is "How is married life treating you?"

"Exactly the same as before except now I have more paperwork to store" is apparently not the right answer, even though it is the truth. Nothing has changed. Personally, I'm glad; I didn't really want it to. But in every conversation I have about this, I come away feeling like I'm doing it wrong, like I am being silently judged, like that one kid at the party who pops one of the balloons and the whole room goes quiet and stares at them because that is not how you balloon.

Well you know what? Sod that.

Before we got married, we were happy. We cared for and about each other. We treated each other fairly and with respect. We wanted to spend all our spare time with each other. We made each other laugh - sometimes on purpose. Why on earth would I want that to change? After being together, and living together, for years, why would six months with an additional piece of paper in the cupboard make any of that any different?

I think I was "supposed to" change, to adapt to fit a gender roll. Be Mrs Wifey McWiferson. To do laundry because I Am Wife. To wear cute dresses and do my hair to look lovely because I Am Wife. To start reading blogs, books and magazine articles written by other wives because I am now part of some elite club that the poor unmarrieds cannot simply understand or relate to. Oh sorry, did I say that out loud? I meant to say because I Am Wife.

I won't let myself be one of those people who changes their entire identity into being just a wife. I have more to offer than that. I am first and foremost Squarah. My relationship status cannot come before that.

I hear so many people around me saying things like "I should learn how to bake muffins so I can be a good wife", or, "I was a good wife today, I hung all the laundry out on the line and now our house smells like daisies and kittens and lovely girly wife smells." Paraphrasing of course. There is nothing in this world that could inspire me to want to be a "good wife". I think I have a good relationship and I try to be helpful and do my bit, but I just can't bring myself to be so freaking hetero-normative.

Somebody told me recently that I should do something because it was "my duty as a wife". Naturally, I did not do it. I did not even consider it. I do not believe I have a "duty", but if I did it would be to be true to myself and do things that I believe to be meaningful in my relationship, regardless of what any other jobsworth thinks.

The biggest thing in all of this, I think, is that I don't identify at all with the word 'wife'. Toben and I agreed to call each other Thing One and Thing Two because we just weren't 'husband and wife'. And 'hubby' makes me feel squeemy and icky, so that's out. I know it makes it sound like we weren't ready to get married if we can't deal with being husband and wife, but that isn't it at all. We are completely committed to each other, just not to gender stereotypes.

I'll leave with this glorious little nugget. An older woman on the island said to me it must be about six months I've been married now. I did a quick count up because I have really not been keeping track (see above with the whole fail wife thing) and said that was about right. Her response?

"Well, you're looking awfully well for it, considering."

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Broken Hollywood

Just a short post today, but with some big questions...

There is a trend I've noticed in the way films are marketed, and as usual with Hollywood it isn't exactly fair. I have noticed that on DVDs covers, movie posters, and all the other pieces of advertising that often the main picture is of a very beautiful (airbrushed) woman. Whether you are watching action films with the seductive double agent or period dramas with angelic faces in bonnets, the beautiful woman takes precedence.

So why, when I look closer at the ad, click on it, look up who stars in it, are the first names listed invariably male? Why does the woman whose face it is appear sometimes third, fourth, fifth down the list? If she is so important, why isn't she first? If the first two or three listed are the main parts and those are men's names, why can't their picture take pride of place?

This doesn't necessarily apply if the main female is say Angelina Jolie or Kiera Knightly, when their fame is also the draw. In that case their name, face and body are often plastered everywhere. I would also like to point out that this is not the case in some genres, like indie films.

More to the point, why does this kind of advertising work on us?

Monday, 19 January 2015

I am a bad Christian.

Disclaimer: This is what I think. This is what I believe. My goal is not to convert you. You can think I'm wrong, you can even tell me so. You do have to be nice about it though.

If ever there was a "getting it all off your chest and maybe offending people" post, this is probably it. Here goes.

I believe in a higher power. For ease and clarity I call this higher power God. Most of my belief is rooted in Christianity, but also vastly differs from most forms of organised religion. I dislike organised religion. I find it can be quite unhelpful and exclusive.

I do not regularly go to church. When I do go, I go to the services at Iona Abbey, which does not belong to any one tradition or denomination. People need to go to the church that best suits their own beliefs and worship style, but I do not believe there is, or should be, any actual difference between the denominations. I have sat in services and talked to people that claim their church is the "one true church" and everyone else is wrong. I flat out do not believe in their God. I believe in a God that I can find every day of my life. I believe in joy, learning and fellowship I can find in a book, in a walk on the beach, in a cup of tea with a friend.

I find God-speak embarrassing. I will never say the word 'blessed' in ordinary conversation. I don't know what to say to people who do. I feel gratitude and try not to forget to be thankful, but having 'blessings' makes me feel weird inside. I also feel uncomfortable with "everything I have comes from God" people. Some of the things I have came from Toben, my parents, my friends or the random stranger on the bus who gave up his seat for me and I point my gratitude towards them. The gratitude that I have them in my life needs to be directed to the Universe I call God, but people need the points for the good things they do.

I need the points for the good things I do. I have skills, interests and thoughts that I want to offer the world. Not "for the glorification of God," but because what a waste it would be if I didn't. I need to do what I think is right and fair because it is right and fair, not because some guy with long hair and sandals told me to. To be honest it is pretty sad that we had to write a book about how to be nice to people and call it the bible. And even then we get it wrong. 

As a perfect example of this, the word 'love' is said in the bible 551 times (NIV). There are 4 verses about being gay. Only 4. It also states a couple of times that women on their period have to live in a hut alone outside the village or they will be stoned to death. Can we get over ourselves yet?

I believe in tradition. It has value and resonance. 200 years of everyone singing that same hymn has to mean something. I think tradition can be pointless. Women can't come in unless we're wearing a hat? Bugger off mate.

I think that some Christians are some of the most judgemental, unkind people I've ever met. I think that some atheists are some of the kindest, most generous souls I've ever met. I do not believe in a God that will punish these people. I can not believe in a God that will punish these people.

I believe in doubt. I find it difficult to trust people who are unshakable. I ponder, reconsider, every so often realise it sounds like complete codswallop and then discover I believe it anyway. I believe in thinking it out for yourself.

I think we all have to agree that science is the truth. It can be proven. Its also really freaking cool and interesting. If more churches could look at science as proof of a higher power instead of a conflict then more people might think church is really freaking cool and interesting.

I really, really, really hate John 3:16. You people have to stop sewing that verse onto EVERYTHING.

I am a bad Christian. I am delighted.