Thursday, January 22, 2015

Consistent.

I must say, still liking my library card.  For DVDs too!!

New release, grabbed from the 7 day shelf… read like a demon for a week.  Great book.  Robinson is one of my favourite "go to" writers, especially when I am in the mood for a police procedural.  I like what is happening with the characters, and this was a gripping mystery.  I have read this series completely out of order, and it really doesn't seem to matter.  It does have staying power, and I am excited to see what is next for Inspector Banks…

Semester is off to a fine start.  Today was one of the first days in way too long that I felt like I had accomplished 'enough'.  That tomorrow I will be able to chip away at projects, and keep getting things better organized, and start feeling like I move closer to the front of the ball rather than being chased down and flattened by it.  The last few years have really been something else. It is also helping that I am getting out for walks again.  I am aiming for 3-4 a week, and the hill portion of my walk is getting easier. It helps.  It helps not feeling so crazy stressed out at the end of my day as well.

This has been a better week. I am trying to do mornings different, and trying not to arrive at places in such a mad panic.  When things start to go pear shaped around here, I am trying to put the brakes on a little better and just stopping the cycle.  It has helped.  There have been a few moments, but overall, improvements.  It is so much about routines and rituals - truly, the working mom's mantra.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cranky old ladies

Maybe if I hadn't read about that crazy old Swedish guy that climbed out of his window and left the old folks home.. this would have been a little more of an  unique read.

It was slightly entertaining... a good way to pass a few hours.  What it did bring to mind is that I have read a few books in the last year that are trying to redefine aging in a sense.  What does it mean to be "old"? Especially in terms of how we treat and view our old folks.  It raises some interesting questions about aging, our old folks homes, why they tend to get fed bland foods, and other assumptions that get made about our white haired population.

It is intriguing. I had one gramma that was old before her time. My other gran was cool up until the final years when she was well in to her 90s and her marbles were starting to scatter. It also makes you think about your own choices, and how you choose to age, and what pursuits you want to chase in your "golden years".  I want my obituary to read that I went "kicking and screaming from this life" and not that I "went quietly and peacefully in to my final slumber".... I would want to be that gramma that breaks some rules, or that old guy that says enough of this life in a home where everyone thinks you are stupid just because you are old.  Gets you thinking.  I think there is some merit in joining up with like minded folks at a certain age, getting a house together, and hiring some help... the "homes" really don't look all that appealing... or who knows... making a plan with your kids about what happens next... what can work for families working together in a true sense.  Makes you wonder some days...

So this was like beach fluff.  Entertaining, not all that earth shattering, some nice coincidences to bring it all together.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Penguin Plunge 2015!


I must admit to a little humming and hawing, but I took a good look around this morning, and I realized that conditions were perfect. It was time to do a polar bear swim again.  A few degrees about zero, pretty much sunny skies, and a morning with no agenda.  Of course, the decision was made a little late which ruled out White Rock (they run in the water at high noon)... so Port Moody it was!

It was great.  I wore my Team Canada jersey and the helmet hat that I have in... wore my flip flops and brought along my pink robe (it is all about the robe when you get out of the water).   My boys hung out around the bonfire, and waited for me after the run down the boat ramp, the plunge, and then the swagger back.  I got a new pin! I think there was only one year I didn't get a pin.. I am starting to get a collection now (3 from English Bay, 2 from Deep Cove, and 2 from Port Moody)... I think that since 2000 we have done it 8 times??? I think I will be resurrecting this practice..  It did feel like I washed away 2014, and it was a great way to face this new year.  That being said, I have learned that drinking many year old sambucca that was in a  stainless steel flask that sealed shut from the sugar likely isn't the best call.  Next year I will purchase some fireball for this purpose, and we will try out somewhere new, just to keep it interesting.

Cheers to a New Year, hopefully some new experiences, and some great times with friends and family, and maybe even paying attention to my physical health again!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Starting off a year in review..

In many ways, having this blog is like a quick reference of some of things that happened over the year. A quick check in to parts of my mental state.  This has been yet another speedy year.  It feels like the past two years have been intense - filled with many little shifts and a lot of learning.

I think it is funny that although I try to sit down and blog more to track these thoughts of mine, the past three years I am hitting about the same amount of posts - just over 60.  Considering that this is the most I have read in the past decade (50 books, ye-hah!), most of my yearly posts have been about the books that I have been reading.  I will admit, you can track a certain piece of me through the books that I have been choosing, and how my tastes have been evolving over time.  Best thing about this year when it came to books was my library card.  It has saved me hundreds of dollars and exposed me to books I would have never discovered on my own (like We, the Drowned or the Golem and the Jinni).

I was starting to improve with my jogging this year - I got new running shoes at the end of 2013 and we bought an elliptical in April… and then I promptly stopped jogging altogether.  This coincided with me going back to my old job, which didn't last as long as I expected, but led me in to wearing way too many hats at works until the last few weeks.  I will admit to hitting a bit of a burn out somewhere along the way, but I think I also learned a lot about myself, about leadership, and grew up a lot in that timeframe as well.  I need to get more in touch with my physical self again.  I am really missing it, and I think I am feeling a certain level of frustration as a result.  I have told my boss I need to take about a 35 minute lunch every day since that is how long the walk I like to do takes.  I have to make it not negotiable again - it is good for my soul and makes my work days so much more palatable.

We camped a little.  I love camping and getting out there and seeing new things with my family, and we need to do it more. This seemed to be the year of high daycare costs and lots of car related expenses. It felt a bit like a step forward, and then a few to the side.

This has been a great Christmas season.  Overall, things have gone well - I have cooked a lot, and cleaned a lot. I am tired.  I am grateful for this time off because it just gives me more time to be.  I stayed in my jammies all day yesterday and I went through some paperwork and the kids artwork.  It is amazing how fast things accumulate when all you do is the stuff you can see in the middle and you lead the edges for later.

I was so proud of what B accomplished with karate… and so proud of how far C has come in hockey.  Hockey has been far more rewarding than baseball (no matter how well run the baseball was).  A lot of emotional energy went in to the changes from our old elementary school/daycare to our new settings.  It has been great.  It has worked out so much better for all of us. I am also grateful I am done with the childcare board - it was an amazing finish and I got a standing O!!   I am proud of my hubby - how much he worked over the last month because it is demanding for him at this time of the year.  December is wonderful and trying all at the same time.  Next year I need to plan out this time of the year better… I do want to do Christmas cards again, and targeting baking, and to have gifts done early to enjoy more of the little moments in the month.

This is a start.  Lets see if I take more time in the next week to expand on this.

What do I want for 2015?

Every year I could say I could lose weight. It sort of seems to happen, and then I end up about the same weight by the end of the year - up or down about pounds from the same starting weight.  I think this year I will say I want to be 15 pounds less than I am today.  I suspect what I am about now… and I can achieve this with better attention to exercise.  I need to remember to stretch, since I think this is part of what did me in.  Now that I am not a spring chicken, I need to exercise.

I want to continue knitting - this year felt good. I made 3 baby blankets, a pair of socks, a hat and a scarf, another viking hat, and a bunch of washcloths… it was satisfying work.  I really want to make myself the "St. Brigid" sweater by Alice Starmore.  This is a huge undertaking, and I think I would be happy to even get a start on it.  I expect the wool for this to cost about $125-$150 since I want to buy a quality product since I expect to wear this sweater when completed for years to come.  I also want to make myself a pair of socks, and a few things for the rest of my family..

Manage our finances better.  Overall, 2014 was easier/better than 2013 although it still had it's dodgy moments.  I am hoping to keep a better budget this next year, and I really would love to see us take our family to Disneyland in the Fall and for Ken and I to have a weekend away somewhere without the kids.  Love them, but it would be great for us to have a little slice of time to do something different together.  I want to get out camping more this summer too.

I could also tie in helping keep my family healthier.  B to keep up with riding, skating, and karate again.  I am thinking of hockey and lacrosse for C.  I want them both to be in swimming lessons at some point.  More walking/jogging for me and some bike riding for them.  More active than we have been.  More family hikes on the weekends.

Themes - I want to stay a little more organized and on top of things.  Letting the walks go, and the jogging, and my budget at times, comes down to stress management at times, and self management.  I need to set better boundaries so I can achieve what I need to, and feel like I am back in the driver's seat.

Time like this, to sit and reflect.  These kinds of posts are like thinking on my feet - I am not sure where I am going to arrive a good portion of that is the journey, and taking out ideas and trying them out and seeing if they fit how I want them too.

To get to the island a few times and enjoy our family over there and to see perhaps some whale watching? hot springs cove? even to camp or see some new parts… even to go back to NewCastle island… this time of the year is good to reflect upon what was, and to throw out ideas for the next year. Set expectations, utter aloud a few goals and dreams, even if they may change along the way.

Milestone achieved, 50 books for 2014.

I started this book at the beginning of December, and although it took time to digest, this was a very profound novel.  This is the story of the sea, of the Danish city of Marstal, and of 150 years of history and the lives the sea has claimed in one form or another.

It starts with days of the great sailing ships, and ends with the closing of World War II.  I don't think that I have ever read a book quite like this one before.  It seems to have been a year of finding books such as this.

I turned the last page, and I will admit to a few tears leaking out, likely just because.  This was a surprising novel - truly epic. I am searching for the right word - one that will take it's rightful place among the best of seafaring literature… Several stories are woven together throughout this book, and some are more compelling than others.  It is quite fascinating as one life merges with the next, and how our lives can be interwoven.  A story of courage, and disaster, love, and the depths of the human soul.  Definitely not a summer read, and well worth the time spent meandering through these pages and on the journey.  Makes me wish I knew more about my Swedish ancestors - some of the names seem familiar (like Gunnars, and Eriks, and Einars) and being close to the sea… it also made me appreciate in a different way the silence from our relatives about WWI and WWII and why there was a darkness in their lives they didn't speak of.   Makes me appreciate novels like this even more - to have a lens in to a part of history that is unspeakable.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

49... and counting

I am working some time magic to post about this book. 

Time is flying.  I have also been really tired, and I can't really come up with any excuses beyond that it has been a busy, emotionally intense year that has been pretty okay overall.  It has already been almost a month since I finished this book.. but I never dreamed that I would get to 48 books and then completely stall out. 

I started reading "Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrel" and it is a good book, however, it is 1000 pages long. I frankly petered out about page 300 and I have put it to the side.  I think I started it at the beginning of November.


IWhat can you say about a book like this many weeks after you finish it? I would love to have a beer with these two and just talk.  They are both brilliant, and I had a few great laughs reading this.  It reminded me a bit of "Lamb" by Christopher Moore.. really funny, and very intelligent if a bit sacrilegeous. I love that it is almost the end of time, and that the antichrist ends up being able to carve out his own destiny.  Lots of food for thought, and lots of guffaws.  Strangely, it wasn't a quick read.  I am planning to read "American Gods" soon by Gaiman and at some point I would like to read some of Pratchett's discworld books. I am grateful that I love to read and can discover so many different thoughts by being open to different books.
 
I am currently reading "We, the drowned." It is amazing book.. but another book that is well over 600 pages. I am not sure why hitting 50 books has become my Everest this year.  I was at 48 books on November 1st, and I cannot tell you where the last 55 days have gone.  POOF.

 
 

Monday, October 27, 2014

October rules.

I love this month.

I have made it to another Treacherous Tea with my mom, and we took the kids for the somewhat macabre scavenger hunt at our local museum.  Nothing like getting the kids to eat kitty litter cake after finding items like "Crazy Clara", the "Death Beatle", and "Raggety Angry".

We made it out to the Corn Maze, carved pumpkins with some family a week or so back, and our cemetary is standing once again on the front lawn.

We aren't going to check out a pumpkin patch (figured the corn maze and their outdoor activities fits that bill) and we didn't make it for our annual grave tours in Fort Langley (which I did miss). 

I always think of my friend Kelz this month (from Oz).  After our first fall together, I must say that I appreciate the changing leaves more than I ever did before - all the spectacular colours.

We also had great Thanksgiving dinners with family, and one of my oldest and dearest friends made it up here for a long lost visit.  It was amazing to get the chance to reconnect.

All in all, a great month... except the nasty cold and ear infection that came around...

I am really looking forward to Halloween on Friday - it should be a crazy night with lots of kids, especially if it doesn't rain.  I am also looking forward to November, and our usual week off and trek to Seattle.  Fingers crossed, we may make a few trips!

It is hard to believe Christmas is less than two months away.  The time is truly flying.  I am thinking of trying to do more, and less at the same time.  The kids are quickly reaching that saturation point, and it is not just about more things...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

An almost? Replaced by amusement.

I really wanted to like this one... I guess it doesn't help when you are currently reading the Order of the Phoenix to your son, and trying to get in to Rowling's new crime novel under her pseudonym.  The funny thing is, I can't say that I didn't like it.  I only got about 125 pages in to this one before I had to return it to the library.  The jury is out whether or not I would request it again so I could finish the story.  It is well written, and the characters were interesting.  I don't know why I didn't really connect with the story.  I enjoy crime thrillers, but in this current moment of time, I am not all that interested in reading them.  Oddly enough.  I apparently have been in to humour or slightly supernatural reads (when you take a look at the books that have been catching and holding my attention in the last few months).  I am not sure if I just wasn't in the mood, or if there was something there that just wasn't really engaging me.  Perhaps one day I will finish this one.  I don't know.


 Where I found the cuckoo was really hard to turn pages, in this book, the pages were turning themselves.  It is crass.   It is funny.  In weird ways, it made me feel a bit better because I do not always watch my language and have been known to spout off with a few tirades that have been peppered with less than savoury language.  It is even funnier when you consider his dad is a well educated doctor, and he really, truly does come up with some spectacular one-liners.

My pop had a really unique sense of humour as well, which I miss, and I am grateful for him in the sense part of my stiff upper lip is likely from his tough love. This is a great book to get from the library when you need a quick read, or a bathroom book when you only have time for a short story.  I will admit that I did bust a gut with the last story about his dog.  I almost counted this as two books for the yearly total, but I figure that since I didn't really get anywhere with the Cuckoo, and I did get through this one pretty quick (it is really short and not a real novel per say)... this is okay billing.