Adore yourself.

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Photoshop lies.

There was a recent spate of graffiti near one of my work sites. I liked this one. The sentiment is good, of course, but if you’ve watched more than a half-hour of television here lately you have also seen this particular advertisement often. And it is as insipid as only a perfume advert can be. I like Charlize Theron’s acting but I’m not sad about this graffito at all.

Random moments, catching up on the past eleven days (whoops) of Holidailies:

  • It is really boring to hear about how ill someone has been, so I will save you that part of the update. But I can assure you of one thing: it is even more boring to be the person living it.
  • The fireplace gets fixed tomorrow! Lately I have deep appreciation for my hot-water bottle, electric blanket, ratty old bathrobe, fleece infinity scarf, and cats, especially at bedtime.
  • Suddenly getting choked up in the Tesco Metro upon hearing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is one way to make a new friend, or at least to test the customer service abilities of a patient cashier.
  • Never underestimate the restorative power of Skype calls.
  • I finally get why you are all raving about Serial. But do you get why I continue to rave about Judge John Hodgman? (Note: these two podcasts are about as different as podcasts get, but they’re both outstanding.)
  • Adore yourself for exactly one minute today, no more and no less. Then you can go back to self-loathing and crippling doubt about your place in the world.
  • Never mention the referendum at a work holiday party, not even in passing, not even as a side comment you were making about something else. “Too soon” doesn’t even begin to cover it. I surprised myself at the mistake, and it went quickly from “oops” to “o god what have I done” to “please someone set off the fire alarm so I have an excuse to run out of here”. And then the fire alarm went off. But it was only a drill, and we all stayed seated, and it never got any better.
  • To settle my roiling stomach, I drank an entire can of ginger ale. It was weird, but not entirely unpleasant, and I think I have finally gotten over my distaste of carbonation. Also, that trick really works!

And a teaser for next post, mostly to tease myself into actually writing it: I found treasure for only £7 in the Grassmarket on Saturday.

Waking up the cats.

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Waking up the cats.

The cats are cold. I’m cold. We’re all cold. Zen was born in Alabama, and Torgi in California, so they aren’t used to it, but I really have no excuse. I was born in the snow belt of the northeastern US and lived in Chicago, and somehow I’ve lost all ability to function in not-even-freezing weather.

I am wearing fleece trousers over leggings, a fleece jumper and scarf, and a bathrobe, and I’m still cold.

We’re all cold and because we’re all cold we’re all sleepy, all the time. But that’s no good, see, because then the cats are wide awake at five in the morning and at that time Torgi has taken to shoving his paw into my ear canal as far as it will go as his way of saying, “Hello, I am hungry now.”

So it is my job, several times a day, to wake up the cats. I do it gently because they are old, more fragile than they used to be, and waking up from purr-lined, fur-lined sleep is a cruel enough experience.

Today I read on Facebook that a friend lost her cat in the most horrible and violent way I could imagine. In fact, I have imagined something similar, whenever we leave the cats in someone else’s care. And I am not a fool; I know that there is a big bad world out there full of nasty things that can steal our loves away. But the reality of it, even removed from thousands of miles and to someone else’s cat, was gratuitously awful.

I woke up my cats this evening whispering into their fur, “Thank you. Thank you for being okay.”

So we are cold. But we are okay. And today that’s enough.

Edinburgh at Christmas.

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Edinburgh at Christmas.

I wasn’t feeling particularly creative today, so I went with the Holidailies prompt, which is: “What are you most looking forward to this holiday season?”

You likely already know that I am FunkyPlaid-less this holiday season. (I am also currently Internet-less, which is nearly as dire.) Right now I am not looking forward to much about this holiday season.

Shortest. Blog post. Ever.

No, no. There are some things I am anticipating. And I think I can kickstart the holiday mood by spending more time at the European Christmas Market. FunkyPlaid and I went once the night before he left, and had a wonderful time hanging out with our friends and drinking hot glüwein. That night I was in the holiday spirit. And if I was there once, I can get there again. I just have to work at it a little.

Writing from: the drafty lounge. Listening to: “American Pie” in the background, glitching out so much it sounds more like a horror film. I guess the TV signal is going soon, too …

Gift of significance.

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One of the best presents in the world is an autographed copy of a book. I was reminded of this just last week. My friend V and I Skype regularly and the last time I was telling her that I’m not in the best mental health lately. No stranger to dips in mental health, I have lots of coping mechanisms, and one of them is re-reading a collection of Ray Bradbury’s essays called Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity. I have a cheap Bantam paperback that I dog-ear and mark up to my heart’s content, and it is cathartic, this reading and mangling of pages, over and over again. She wrote the title down because she was feeling a bit out-of-sorts as well, having just moved to a new home for a new job and learning to establish a new social circle and the rest.

So last week we had an unexpected parcel delivered, which is a strange occurrence because on the rare occasions we do receive parcels we are expecting their arrival. But inside this parcel addressed to me was a copy of the Bradbury collection. It was a nicer edition than my own and in excellent condition, but I was perplexed: I thought certainly someone I had recommended this book to had made a mistake and accidentally had it shipped to me instead of themselves. Then I opened it to the title page: Ray Bradbury’s autograph, which made me gasp, and dated 6/26/1996. 1996 was the year I left everything I knew and moved to Alabama for a guy I met online, a significant pivot-point in my development as a person and as a writer. V didn’t know that about the date, I’m sure, but she opened the door for that lovely coincidence.

Two Bradbury Collections

I’m struggling this year to find gifts of significance instead of convenience for the people closest to me, and I had forgotten the power of an autographed book until now, gripping an old paperback to my heart with tears filling my eyes.

Writing from: a very chilly lounge, as the fireplace is currently broken. Listening to: SomaFM Christmas Lounge. Yes, it’s Holidailies time once more, which means with any luck you’ll be hearing from me every day this month.

11 Reasons why you should go to Stevenson Unbound

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Stevenson Unbound is this afternoon! Here are 11 Reasons why you should go to Stevenson Unbound, courtesy of writer, musician, spoken-word performer and event mastermind Andrew C. Ferguson. (I’m reason #7, fancy that!)

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