Wednesday, November 23, 2016

So this is 49

It's my 49th birthday and it's good to know I still look youthful (see accurate portrait above) and, allegedly, I am the best mummy 'in the holl intiyer wold' and I am 'more pretty than the gold on the crab in Moana.' I am not boastful...thank God.

Glorious. You have to swallow these things whole when they are offered with such love. I feel lucky.

It's a funny old age, 49. I feel like I'm looking backwards through a door on a whole decade.  'It's all good,' as my pal, Stuart used to say, when summing things up randomly. Well, it is for the moment, so I won't push it. 

The Puddle, the Deckchair and the Glass of Water...

I love it when the kids ask questions that show evidence of reasoning or leaps of imagination. Tess has been learning about the water cycle in Primary 2 and tonight she announced that she had a science question.

I like how she set the scene - Mummy, if you were in a deck chair, on a hot day, in a pretty dress, in the garden, blah blah.... (she often adds blah blah for dramatic effect)...

...and if you had a puddle on one side of you and a glass of water on a wee table at the other side, why would the, know (holds hands in the air) GONE at the end of the day, but not the glass of water?

I asked her if the teacher gave them that question, or  if she thought of it herself and she said 'myself.'

Well, I don't mind admitting, it took me until age 15 and a light bulb moment in 'O Grade' Physics  to understand the rudiments of heat transference. 

The exam questions asked what would happen if you put a hot saucepan on a metal surface. For the first time, I realised the heat would actually move, radiating outwards from one metal to the next. I almost shouted Eureka.

So tonight, with enthusiasm, I explained to Tess about surface to volume ratio and warm patios, wide puddles and deep glasses. She went off to sleep quite pleased with herself.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Twenty Years On

So here's a photo from 20 years ago when Francis and I first 'stepped out.' Imagine having no grey hair! Youth was wasted on me.

Fast forward two decades - to a Saturday morning in bed with the kids. They are considering trying to send Daddy a present. On Tour. 

Hugh: Like, maybe a bar of chocolate or something?

Me: He gets free chocolate in the dressing room every night (not jealous).

Hugh: A pot of hair gel, maybe?

Tess: An electric guitar?

Hugh: An electric guitar that shoots out electric rays! Like Eaglebones in Aquabats. And it can kill people. (Fits of giggles).

Tess: Drums that shoot out bats and slugs!

Hugh: (regains composure). What about a magazine of pretty ladies?

Me: (Whit?! Where did that come from?! He's seven. Surely he means Vogue?) And what about Mummy?

Tess: We can Sellotape pictures of Mummy in and pictures of Monkey and he can kiss it all day (does demo on mummy's face, while mummy foresees an unauthorized 'Monkey-in-Swimwear' photo-shoot on her iPhone).

Me: Be careful what you wish for...

Tess: Okay, then a robot servant.

Hugh: A garbage truck? (We are beyond justification now).

Tess: I know! What about Galactic Poo? (Yes, everyone's favourite).

Hugh: (Eventually, when giggles subside) You know, I really liked the 'pot of gel' idea.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Where are you going with that Tambourine?

Hipster-Popster Readers, let me tell you 'bout the day I nearly played tambourine on a Belle and Sebastian track but got phased out for  a wee electro clap. It was today and it was unexpected lunchtime fun.

Stu, as I call him now, said I could  pop round to the studio about 1-ish. I thought he was doing lone over-dubs or some such and we'd just go out for a bagel or something, but, as an afterthought, he set me up in a booth with a tambourine and a pair of headphones.

Great, ye think - just get with the groove, hang on to the beat - with your fingernails. But it's nowhere near as easy as it looks!

The band are so good at all that twirly, jazzy, bass-guitar-y spangle. Even without speaking, they seem to know when to drop back. There are flows and surges, highs and lows in the song, with lovely isolated vocally resonances. Any room for someone missing a beat on a tambourine? Anyone want too many beats?

I kept telling myself 1) They can mute my channel or whatever they do in the mix. 2) I am not Madonna at Live Aid. Repeat : I am not Madonna.

In the end, I ran out of time, as I had to rush off to school pick up, and Stuart asked Brian (the engineer)  to, 'pull up a wee electro clap.' (Let's call it a WEC).

The WEC did me proud instead. The gel was on the snare, the high hats were on four  - whatever all that means -and the band were humble and lovely as ever. 

Och, it's Friday. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Kind of like an Upgrade

Darwin would have approved of my after-school chat with Hugh today.

Son: So, mum, do Christians believe in working all week and resting on Sundays?

Mum: Eh, well, who said that?  (Religious Education this afternoon ?)

Son: And...did fish just grow legs and walk out of the sea? (Laughs disparagingly).

Mum: (Rationalist indignant) Well, that actually happened...

Son: (Bart Simpson-esque) What the....?!

Mum: Remember I told you? About Evolution?

Son: Oh, yeah, (Rummages in brain). I love Evolution. (Pauses). What's evolution again..?

Mum: (Recaps on Darwin).

Son: So, when evolution is happening it's called, 'e-volv-ing?'

Mum: Yes! Well done.

Son: So it's kind of like an upgrade?

Mum: Yes!

Son:(Starts to talk about Pokemon characters who can evolve).

Mum: (Pokemon boredom alert). So, who told you the bit about the fish walking out of the sea? Was it the teacher?

Son: It was Sylvia. She put up her hand.

Mum: And what did the teacher say?

Son: She said, 'Exactly Sylvia!'

Phew. Thank the Lord for that.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Buckets of Tenderness

My favourite poet, Paul Durcan, has a poem about a stay in hospital, where the nurses are,

Emptying buckets of tenderness over your head. 

Don't you just love that?! I experienced such nurse-y dedication and kindness this week, (+ NHS gratitude), along with an op to remove an ovary and a cyst that was causing pain - thank goodness that's over (-y).

I've still got one left and a woman of my tender age, should manage on that. I suppose I've nothing much more to say on the topic other than quiet praise for my gender, these women on the ward, getting on with it: a girl much younger than me having a hysterectomy after scary test results. Eighty-one year old Violet in for yet another op and still making jokes.

She says - my husband always said I should get running shoes, and I says, naw, they're for the young, and now he's dead and buried and here's me with ma trainers! 

Whereupon she guffawed, stuffed her thin ankles into a pair of new Nikes and shuffled off merrily to get changed into a surgical gown. Oh, the human spirit.

I'd like to thank the garden for being there to welcome me home. And the family.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day upon Day of this Wandering...

So, there was great fun to be had at the Royal Albert Hall with Stuart and the rest of B&S (who are always kind and welcoming, I have to say.)

 I liked Stuart's story about walking back alone to the hotel, through posh Kensington. He wanted some night air and took a detour down a leafy lane, saying hello to a woman walking her dog. She said hello back....and then -she called security on him.

If it were me, I'd be 'but but but-ing', telling her I'd just played the Albert Hall, thank you very much, but I'm sure he kept that fact to himself. That's what I like about him.

The next day I visited museums and generally took in the London vibe. I loved The Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.

Friday morning, I woke to the shock of Brexit. I walked about expecting there to be a tangible frisson in the air, but everyone just looked the same as the day before - Londoners eating blueberry waffles in upmarket cafes, good-looking teenagers (from Europe!) taking photos of St Paul's Cathedral, guys in suits on the tube scrolling down the Telegraph on their i-phones. 

I had to wait to get back to Scotland to get stuck into the political chat.  I don't pretend to have the answers. I just hope Patrick Harvie and Nicola can grab the oars of the lifeboat.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June Know?

June. June know it's my favourite time of year? It's raining today but at least it's mild and light for about 18 hours a day.

I had a good night out on Monday - I met my Clydebuilt mentor, Liz Lochhead in Tinderbox, where she urged me to have the courage to aim for 'emotional plain speak' and not get tangled up in my own metaphors. What, like a trout riding a skateboard, skim-reading Poetry for Beginners?

It's good advice though. Aim for truth and the metaphor might be lurking around the corner. After our chat, I rushed down to the GUU to see my old pals, Belle and Sebastian do a wee belter of a gig.

It's always great to feel the love for them in the room. I felt like a student again and I always get glassy-eyed at Nobody's Empire.

As if that wasn't enough, I have booked a solo trip to London next week to see them in the Albert Hall (ooh, Missus). This doesn't sound like my life at all. These are my garden flowers though:

And this is my salt and pepper hair, after a year of saying 'beat it' to the hassle and expense of hair dye. Call me crazy. Call me a silver sister. Mind you, I still like to frequent the sun hat.

Lastly - There was a charity collection at school this week. Tess asked if she could bring in 'a Dalmatian'. Thank goodness it wasn't 101.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Alphabetti Spaghetti

Readers, if you are out there, I’m still here.

It’s a fact of life that the quaint ol’ Blogosphere has been replaced the Twitty-Sphere and The Face Place. Mea Culpa. I hang out in the latter and leave the wee blog gathering dust like a roped-off room in a museum display.

Okay then. Let’s try the Alphabet. Free association. Short. Whatever comes up. First take?

A – Asthma, Tess’s. Hell last autumn. Currently stable. Phew.

B – Balance in life. Crucial to stay well. IMHO.

C – Cake. I’m still attempting to eat less of it.

D – Days lengthening. My favourite time of year.

E –Endometriosis. I might have it. 

F – Francis, aka Nice Man. Still the main man.

G – Green Party! Just sayin’. And Grey hair. Nearly there.

H – Hugh. My boy’s getting handsome.

I – Islay. Islands. I still have the odd pang.

J – Justice. Social justice. We need more of it.

K – K. The Letter K has a Seventies feel. 

L – Love. For the kids. Doesn’t it amaze?

M – MacLaverty. I finally like my name.

N – Nuts. I eat them daily.

O – Over half my life done. Oh my, oh my.

P – Parents. Appreciate them more each year.

Q – Quality of life. A crucial quest.

R – Roller skating. Still fun after 30 years.

S – ‘Seriously?!’ Our kids’ favourite question.

T – Thank you. Always worth saying.

U – Ullapool? I’ve never been.

V – Vera. My sister calls me Vera.

W –The only letter with three syllables. Why?

X – Xtreme thanks for bearing with me.

Y - Youth. Make the most of it.

Z – Zzzz. How I love sleep. Really. 'Seriously'. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Inadvertent Poetry - a Happy Life

Och, sorry to be a soppy parent but I have to share a note I found underneath my desk. Written by Hugh, 7, it says:

Top 5 things I want to happen

1) Wach Angry birds movie

2) Go on an easter egg hunt AT SCHOOL !

3) Trade marballs with Lois (marbles?)

4) Have at least a good time at Tess's party. 

5) Liv a happy life.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sweet Poems

Tess (5) has written a 'book' of poems. Translations beneath. 

'Swet Poyims'                      

Sweet Poems

The sno is                            
soft and wit                       
like bed kwvrs  

The Snow is
soft and white
like bed covers                    

and the psychologically insightful:

Sum Chilchrin                              

Sum chilchrin r sad                        
and wun thy r sad it                        
maiks othr peepo sad                     

Sum chilchrin r happy                    
and wun thy r happy it                    
maiks othr peepoo happy       

Some Children

Some Children are sad
and when they are sad it
makes other people sad.

Some children are happy
and when they are happy
it makes other people happy.         

Tess Macdonald

I guess I'd better raise my game on the old poetry front.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ten Things to Love about Celtic Connections

1) It is to January what Christmas is to December.

2) You can go to a gig on your own.

3) Even if you don't know the singer or the band.

4) Especially if you don't know the singer or the band.

5) It will never fail to disappoint. In fact, it'll be heading towards life affirming...

6) So you have to share this fact with the old bloke next to you, who comes every year from England for four nights, because he   already knows it. (He's brought his own biscuits).

7) You'll feel glad you went.

8) You'll feel you've found a hidden treasure.

9) A hidden treasure you have to share.

10) And then you want to go back for more.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

― Albert Einstein

Gig listings here -

Just Do It. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

# GreyJanuary

I agree with our Makar, Liz Lochhead when she says you just have to write the truth and be done with it

So today I'm not trying to eek some 'jollity' into the blog. Tess has been ill for a week with a flu-type bug and the wee soul can barely get out of bed. It feels like one of the longest and grey-est Januarys I can remember. It is just so incredibly grey out there. Scottish people, you know what I mean!

I feel suspended - I just want my wee girl to be better, which, of course is so obvious it almost doesn't need saying. It's hard to concentrate on anything else when you're essentially a home nurse listening out for coughs and cries.

On that note, I better post this before the next call.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Things Needing Done

Once I teased my mum when she said she needed to 'get the paper read' like it was another chore or worldly duty. January is that kind of month. My part-time job is on a lull (waiting on the next project to start). There may be an illusion that I'm 'just' passing my days in the house, but wherever I look, there are still things 'needing done.'

Today it is...

washing (laundry), tidying, cleaning,
thinking of and cooking the dinner
taking Tess to her hospital check up for her get the picture. Painting the chipped skirting boards with have to wait.

It's one degrees outside but the sun is out - for what feels like the first time in weeks. I should be up the canal on a bike, if I had any sense.