Friday, December 23, 2011

I finished book, just in time to wrap and bake





I think this took me a few weeks to read, although it doesn't really feel like three weeks have passed since I read the book before this one. How many different ways can I say that December sped up this month, and I would swear that every day was really only 20 hours long?


This is another new author to me, and I really enjoyed this book. It is definitely small "l" literature, and I really enjoyed Patchett's voice. I have "Bel Canto" lined up for when I have some time to read in the next few days... A very different book, and it starts off with an ending, which of course leads to a new beginning. I enjoyed how this book unfurled itself, and would have almost liked it to have continued on a bit longer.


Yesterday was the Solstice, and I am grateful to see the days getting longer again, YAY! I can't wait to enjoy the neighborhood in a different way.


I am busy working on my list for the next few days, I hope I manage to get some sleep, and that everything is wrapped before 3am. I can't wait to see the looks on the boys faces when they check out some of their gifts.. should be a great year with their ages.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What day is it?

I was doing so well this year, staying up to date on my blog. Then we had a health scare, and then we sold the house, and started kindergarten, and then we had to pack up the house, and move the house, and adjust to the new house, and a new drive, and new routines. Now, Christmas.

Damn, the days go by so fast right now. I get up before 6am, I get home about 6pm. We scramble through dinner, sometimes a walk, sometimes some clean up, a few books, bed, and then maybe a moment or two before collapsing in bed and then the routine starts all over again.

I am really truly looking forward to the break between Christmas and New Years, a few days to do just not much of anything. Okay, who am I kidding? Maybe to do some stuff around the house, to putter, to take the kids for a walk and feed some ducks. Hell, maybe even finish the book that I started a few weeks ago. I am so tired at night that I am lucky if I can make it through 10 pages before I get sleepy drunk and need to go to sleep.

Our new house rocks. It is so nice having more space, and living somewhere flat where you can walk outside your door and go for a nice, easy walk. I love being able to take the kids out to look at the lights and then they sleep better at night. I love having a living room, even if I don't get to hang out in there very often. I see little projects around the house, and I am glad that they are ours to fix.

I hate blinds. We have been slowly replacing all the ugly blinds with curtains. Amazing how much better a place looks with curtains. I am not fond of the 8 'clock train that seems to need at least three engines to pull its load. I love Christmas traffic since it doesn't matter if I get stuck by that train I can still make a good effort to get in to work on time. I am so glad I am getting though my list, and things are starting to calm down a little at work. Although I know it will be a lot of work over the next few weeks, I am really glad that we are hosting the Christmas dinners this year, it is nice to have the space to have everyone over.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Finally figured out the last book from the pile I read

This was the last book that I attempted to blog about the other day. It was a fast, light and fluffy read. There were some issues with this book that I found a bit strange and odd, but it was an amusing read (and quick).

Now I am on to the People of the Book and it is great. Last few nights I have been barely able to read more than 3 pages because I have been so tired by the time my head hits the pillow. Once I relaxed last night, giving B a cuddle, I think I fell asleep for a bit, woke up, stumbled around, went back to bed.

I think moving "catches up to you". We have a bunch of plans this weekend, however they should be pretty mellow. YAY! (B's last riding lesson for the Fall, a birthday party to tire out the boys, B and Ken get to do a Christmas event together).

It has been nice this week as routines are starting to get established again. The boys were asleep before 9, first time in a while! The house looks pretty good, and I must admit, when you feel a lot of pride about your place, it is much easier to keep clean. I find that I want to keep it looking nice, rather than letting it go like I did a few times at the old place (nothing worse than 3 days of dishes to get caught up on, it never ends). Pretty much up to date again with laundry, first time in six weeks. It seems crazy that Christmas is in 4 weeks, it seems unreal because although I have done some planning for it, I am really not quite there yet.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A few more words.

I love our new house.

I love having more space (and more than one bathroom), I love that there is a wide street outside, I love that we have a pretty decent sized backyard. I can't say that it feels real yet. It still feels like we are on a working vacation, because it is just so much nicer than our old place. I have to say, our old place wasn't bad, but this is just such an upgrade that the novelty has not worn off yet. I really enjoy having a gas fireplace, and hardwood floors, and a really nice kitchen (amazing how much easier it is to keep clean when it looks good).

Last week, my first commute day (Monday) was HELL. It was snowing, I had to wait for two trains, there were a few accidents along the way. I just sucked at getting to work on time. To say I was already frazzled and not knowing where I was supposed to be by the time I got in to work is an understatement. We also had a power outage Monday night going in to Tuesday, and then our shower was acting up (there is a trick to getting it going), and I made up the time I missed Monday on Tuesday morning so had another day that never ended. The rest of the week got better as I got used to our new routine, although I am still trying to figure out the best new way to get to work.

To say it has been a learning curve, and a transition period is putting it mildly to say the least.

I am grateful to my dear friends that helped us move. I don't know what I would have done without the helping hands. We are now almost done unpacking, and it feels weird driving past our old place and moving on. Life is definitely moving forward. We had friends over last night, and it was nice to spread out through the house and not just be cramped in to one room. It was a totally different experience for us adults to again be sitting at a table together, and not at a noisy restaurant (although that is now starting to look really good as the kids are getting older and probably more capable of being babysat).

This was a great weekend of starting to really feel settled. If not settled, at least mostly moved in. We can almost park a car in the garage, most of the leaves are up, and there aren't that many boxes left to unpack. We have a lot of stuff, and then, not so much stuff too. We have done a pretty good job of sorting and letting stuff go, and I think there may be a few more rounds of that to come. It feels good to be at the end of the process instead of the beginning. This has been so many months in the making, it is surreal it has come and gone. Here we are, a house that is a home, a place where we will dig in some roots and stick around for a while. I can finally work on getting some photos organized, figure out this whole kindergarten thing before B gets to grade one, and maybe even learn how to relax a little and not just fall asleep from exhaustion.

All that to say and you talk about books?

Books, my dear friends I think I would be lost without them. The hours of escape, imagination, dreams, tangents, new thoughts, explorations...

I found a stash of my old Nancy Drews (and not sure what I am going to do with them) but I have not found my old Black Stallions... You win some, and you lose some I suppose.

Just because the last month has gone incredibly fast, I think I will hastily write a note about the books I have been reading lately to track them, since that is one of the things I was shooting for this year. Speaking of which, now that November is starting to draw to a close, I am really glad I didn't attempt NaBloPoMo. I would have failed miserably this year.

I just did a scroll past and then last book I made notes on was back October 21st!! That feels like a lifetime ago... Moving with 2 kids under 5 is really something else. I think I am just used to moving, and working, and sorting, and unpacking, and doing laundry. I finally did a real shop this weekend I am still in a state of shock at what I managed to spend between Costco and Superstore. I am not sure if I can even remember everything I have read since my last book entry.

To get caught up (I hope), I will start with October/November's bookclub read, which was amazing: Any Known Blood. I really enjoyed this book, and I really like Hill's writing style. I find it very easy to read, and I found that I really enjoyed this multi-generational story. Well worth reading, this is an author that is much more than just the book that he is known for (The Book of Negroes) and over time I look forward to reading more of his novels.


This was a perfect book to read while moving. Not all that deep, fast-paced and entertaining. I found myself interesting reading this because Crais is a new author to me, and I think I go through an adjustment period when I read a new author to see how they "fit" and whether or not I like their style. I found similarities to the Lee Child Books (Reacher series) maybe not in contact, but about an everyman hero(s) and a job that needed doing. I will certainly read more in the series because they are entertaining and a break from other kinds of reading (and the day to day grind)

Well, our library has quite a few Robinson's, so I flew through another one. Damn, I am getting to the end of the Banks series. I really enjoy these books and this one is as good as the rest, another good tale. Great series, good character development, very entertaining in a different way than Crais. A little less explosive and fast paced, more about character and how a mystery unravels. It has been a few weeks since I read this one, so that is about all I can say in this moment...


I enjoyed this one, although it wrapped up a little quickly to my liking. I can't say that this was an "oh my god this was one of Cricton's best" because IMHO it wasn't. It was entertaining, and insightful to an era of privateering. I found it interesting because it reminded me of a younger self that used to devour the bodice rippers almost nightly. Of course, where this book was about politcs and strategy, those books were about girl meets boy on the high seas, adventures arise, some drama, and then lots of steamy scenes. This was an adventuring novel of a different sort and it was good, but not totally satisfying. It was a book that was said to be found written prior to Crichton's death, so who knows how much he would have tweaked it prior to publishing submission if things had turned out differently.

There is one more that should be in this list that I will probably have to come back and edit in... The title is just not coming to me. I tried doing a search.. but it just isn't there. It is about a mom and daughter that run a boarding house, and for some reason, different heroines from books stay at their "boarding house" for a rest, to get away from the drama in their books. It is a sweet, quick read and it is kind of interesting to see a few famous ladies appear in print again (like Scarlett O'Hara and Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights).

It is interesting that through the absolute craziness of the last month, I still managed to read about a book a week. I am surprised.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Officially changed hands

What a ride October has been.

It is official, we are now tenants until we move out in a few weeks.

It feels strange looking at these walls and realizing that they aren't mine anymore to do with whatever I want. That all of our things have to be moved, a big clean, and then a good bye to this house that really and truly has been good to us.

A true time of change. We have bought some new furniture, and already, the cleanse has begun and we have gotten rid of a fair bit of stuff. It feels like leaving disposable furniture behind and fully embracing another step in to adulthood. By this time next weekend, we will be homeowners again. It will be fully our place, all of the space will be ours. We can entertain, and more importantly, we can live and not always be on top of each other, all the time. I think that will be an interesting transition - having choices. More than one bathroom, more than one room to hang out in. Then the yard. Somewhat intoxicating.

A big bank transaction happened today, and a lot of our pasts were wiped out with it. This feels like a fresh start, and I find it ironic we were are moving to, it is like a new beginning but in a familiar place. I am curious as to how things will evolve. Not really scared or nervous, but more curious. The only thing I have to get geared up for is the commute... Everything has changed since I moved away 11 years ago, but so many more people now live further east that time will tell how the commute impacts us.

I can't get over what we have already packed, and what is left to pack, and how quickly our little place looks cluttered by what is left. Of course, Karma and Chaos have something to do with that! That is something I look forward to as much as having more space, less clutter. I am so over having everything packed to the rafters.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A different kind of mystery

Atkinson has a totally different writing style, one that requires a bit of patience but the language and the wit is well worth it.

This is the beginning of her mystery novels, and there is a miniseries based (at least) upon this book that I have heard is pretty good (will PVR over the weekend). There are three case histories described in this novel with various lead characters whose lives intersect in obscure ways. Like the previous book of hers that I read, you need to see through the different threads to understand the intricacy of how this novels works. A good read. This is definitely one of those days that I do not feel like I have much profound to say.

Again?

Really, wasn't the show that you put on earlier this week enough? Thank you oh random bug or virus that is kicking my butt again this week. I could have done with a good night's sleep and no more sweats and chills. I wish I could say welcome back, but I can't.

I think one of the hardest parts of having young kids are the random bugs you get exposed to (and not just their little friends). The other part is when you are sick, they generally tend to get what you have because they tend to stay pretty close. So I think my youngest has inadvertently caught part of what I have had, judging from his behaviour. *SIGH*. This feels just like last October before we headed off to Hawaii when it seemed like the flu and croup and ear infections flew through the house.

*Mental note, don't plan holidays in October. Not worth it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The fast, and the furious

Everything is happening fast right now.

Yesterday was a day of extremes. When I got home from work on Wednesday night, everything hurt. I tried having a shower, it kind of helped. Dinner didn't really sit all that well, and tried to get to bed at a decent time. Work up Thursday morning and everything hurt (including my toes). By 7:30 am I knew it was a good day to call in sick. My DH ended up home with me, which was really nice to be home together without the joyous company of our kids.

Now, to some background noise. Over the last few weeks, my cat Murphy's health has taken a bit of a nose dive. It seemed like he got really skinny and quite terrible a few weeks ago. I spent some time giving him lots of loving and he seemed to come around a bit. Over the weekend we tried to see if we could coax him out of whatever was going on - we tried tuna, his favourite cat food, grass and clover (seems to cure everything) ... nothing seemed to be helping. Murphy had stopped eating, spent all his time in the bathtub, or wedged in beside the toilet, or hiding under our bed. He had given up his spot as sentinel near my head, and really didn't want to be cuddled. In his eyes he was still there, but you could tell something was really wrong. This wasn't my normal cat. I hate to admit, but I knew something was up. This wasn't a random virus. I have been in denial of things since the weekend, and I figured that today I had needed to act so had already made an appointment to see the vet for after work.

So, it was a day where I was completely under the weather. Ken and I did some errand running because we could without our kidlets, and then I got a call at 2pm to pick up a sick kid. So I went up to get and and then we hung out for a few hours watching kid movies (I wasn't up to entertaining my dearest and he was just overtired more than anything else) and then to taking my wee friend to the vet. I had been worried about cat diabetes because of Murphy's desire for water and for laying in the bathtub and the guilt of making a decision of what to do, but in the end the decision was out of my hands. The vet found lumps on his kidneys and diagnosed kidney failure more than likely due to cancer. In his condition, she recommended the best thing to do was for us to let him go. There was nothing else we could have done, and taking him home for a day and then to bring him back again would have been prolonging his lingering and degeneration. It is hard to say goodbye to a friend you figured would be around for 20 years and you only had them for 11. He was the coolest cat ever, and I am glad I could hold him up to the very end. This is part of being a responsible adult that truly sucks.

RIP Murphy. You were an awesome four-legged friend and have a special spot in my heart.

I was grateful my parents had offered up some stew for dinner since I didn't really want to cook, and Ken jumped in with both feet. By 7pm I had a raging headache (on top of the body ache and nausea) and no attention span whatsoever and needed to lie down. By 11pm I was freezing. At 1am I was sweating. At 3am my fever must have broken because I was wet and clammy but the worst of my headache had lifted and I seemed to be on the mend.

All I can say is "what a day". A day of total extremes (the good being the errands we accomplished and a nice lunch with my dad, and the bad, well feeling nasty, Murphy, sick kid). This morning I was looking for my buddy and he wasn't there. I am still tearing up (will be for a while) and just missing him. It is amazing how our four legged friends become such an integral part of our families. Just because you have done the "right thing" doesn't make it any easier, but in a sense, it does make it easier because you think of everything you both had because of it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A new trilogy

This is a book that I think my bookclub should read. I suspect it will be one of those "relevant" novels describing a particular time and place in culture. This is also a book that would have been great to discuss in a literature class, to see how people responded to this novel, and what layers of meanings different individuals took from this.


I will definitely read the following two novels in this series to see how things evolve over time. This takes place at some point in the future, it involves a love triangle, it is a coming of age novel, it is post-apoplectic, it is about survival, it is about interpersonal dynamics. Apparently the author was inspired to write this novel flipping between coverage of the Gulf War/Iraq War and watching reality TV. Interesting juxtaposition that you can take a few steps further and look at it as a form of Survivor, with a deadly twist. I couldn't help but think of the alliance between Rob and Amber a few years ago when she won a round of Survivor at times when I read this novel (although different kinds of connections).


What does this novel present in terms of a social commentary - once again, this is a book I think would generate a lively discussion. I enjoyed it, it well paced, I found the end a bit choppy, you can find some editing issues, but it stands as a good read. It is interesting in the same way that Wall-E has something to say about where culture is headed, and our appetites for entertainment.

Thanks, Bra

Not often I warn folks about this, but this is a rant. I am ranting here because I can. I am also struggling to define how I feel about this, and this seemed as good a place as any to just "go off" about this since my brother leaked a lot of personal news on a social website and bypassed telling us, his immediate family in person.

Labour Day weekend, my extended family went fishing for a weekend, and I had a lovely time with my bro. Things seemed really good. Didn't really talk about anything serious, it was just a nice time.

Then he more or less disappeared for a few weeks and stopped talking to my folks, and I just never saw him.

I found out my brother got back together with his ex on the social website. To say it was a surprise, was an understatement. Last I checked he had been dating someone else, and when they had broken up the last time (of three times) it seemed pretty final and that both were moving on to (better) things. At the time, this wasn't a healthy relationship for either of them.

Last week, there was a picture that looked suspiciously like an engagement celebration that appeared also on the social website. Again, nothing from my brother.

He headed out to her family's place for the weekend, in a panic the night he left because he had lost a "ring" she had given him. Nothing really concrete out of him, just that he had to find this ring because she was really choked at him.

Found out this morning, again on the social website, that he is engaged. A few hours later, the wedding date appeared.

Thanks Bra, I love finding this stuff out on the internet. It was all I could do not to call our mom, and tell her to see what her kid had done.

Regardless of how I may or may not feel about her, the lack of respect you have shown us all has been pretty enlightening. End of the day I want you to be happy in your life, and how you have handled your news with your family has been pretty low. It isn't something I understand at all. I couldn't imagine not sharing that kind of news with my brother, and my parents right away. Instead, it was posted to a social website for the world to see, your family be damned. What makes it worse is that you have always said this website was lame, and wasn't for you, and yet, here you are, in all your glory. At the end of the day, he is my brother and what he does with his life is up to him, but now, moving forward, what does one say? It will be an interesting conversation. I had imagined that when my brother gave me news like this I would be thrilled for him. I would not describe how I feel today as such.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quick read

This was the first JP Beaumont mystery that I have read by Jance and it was a really quick and easy read. Just what I had needed at the time. I have read several of the Joanna Brady series, and I found this one a total departure from that series in tone, and in overall readability, which is an interesting juxtaposition for a writer! The mystery was decent, and the characterizations were good. Very much a vacation type book, not too taxing but an enjoyable read.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oh Blog, Where are thou?

I see a flurry of catch up posts coming my way.

As summer ends and fall begins, a whole rash of changes has happened over the last month. Hence, my silence here on my blog.

We found a house, and then the seller wasn't all that great at negotiating. Then we found a better house and these sellers were awesome to work with, and over the last week, I have signed my name more times than I can count, produced reams of paperwork supporting our purchase, and have dreamed a few dreams about our own space, more square footage, new paint colours, and debt (although it will be good debts, har). It is a split level, big lot, great back yard, and it even has a shed and a man cave, a play set for the kids, and an ensuite. No more four people living on top of eachother in a measely 800 square feet, one bathroom, and laundry upstairs. It will be a total shift for all of us. I bet we will all hang out close to each, since this is what we know. We lift our subjects by Monday.. and then we are no longer co-owners but rather the King and Queen of our domain.



The big dude successfully started kindergarten. This start was almost anticlimatic compared to his start in his new after school care. The principal and teachers are awesome, what a supportive, collaborative place! I couldn't be happier how things have worked out. Of course, now comes the behaviour tweaking as we guide our boy in to being a good kid, aware of himself, and no pushing and shoving. You have to love transition, and transition, and then a whole new group of kids to get used to, to learn, and then adjust to.


Of course, what is September without a semester start up? This year has been so much better than last year, but holy shit, what a busy month. Coffee is my best friend right now and I can't wait for the meetings, the changes, the inability to sleep for long periods of time, and the adjustments to end and have a chance to assimilate it all. Ultimately, I figure that will happen during the week between Christmas and New Years when I get a chance to catch up with myself.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A foray in to something different

This is one of those novels that grows on you. In some ways it is a bit confusing, convoluted, and it takes a while to get in to. By the end, I was thoroughly charmed, really enjoyed the book, but was glad that it was done.

This is the story about Ruby Lennox and the relationships around her that form part of her matrix and who she will become (eventually) as an adult. At times I found this book fascinating, and at other times I had to skim read through sections. The prose is well-written, and I think that Atkinson really captured something here. This is a woman's book, a woman's history. Although technically about Ruby, this book delves in to her mother and grandmother's lives, and the family that surrounds them - their successes and tragedies, and their movement through time. I think this is a novel that will stick with me for a while, and the end is rewarding as all the threads come together.

It reminded me a bit of some of my family history - the stories you hear about your aunts and uncles, your grandparents... those whispered bits of history and half-truths that you are semi-conscious of as a child growing up and the history you fabricate for yourself as an adult. Well worth a read and I have heard that her later books (a mystery series) are quite good and you know how I feel about a well-written mystery! Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another in the series



Another fine novel in this series.

Although you do not need to read them in order, in hindsight, it would have been nice as this is one of his earlier books that answers some of the questions I have had about character development from newer novels. The prose continues to be great, the characters easy to relate to, and the plot well woven.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Since I know what to expect.

After taking a break from reading, it seems the pages have not been turning fast enough for the past week. I just knocked off another book in the Inspector Banks series, Innocent Graves. Another fine installment in a series that continues to deliver great reads without falling in to formula writing.

Since I discovered about 10 of them in my closest library, and not really being all that keen on reading some of my intellectual stuff waiting on my shelf, I figured that it being a scorcher of a weekend that I should just take out another book in the series. Next up, Cold is the Grave.

Weekend is supposed to be amazing weather wise. I am tempted to head back to the beach again tomorrow since it was just so awesome last week. Is that overkill? Risking disappointment? I am just not sure, I will see how things shake out in the morning and how motivated I am feeling. Another week down, and B's first stomach flu since his surgery. We all survived. I had no idea I would be so thrilled to see signs of a bacterial/viral infection, but they are welcome to see since it means that it isn't something else.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Words to live by.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” Jack Layton

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reading through a series

There is something to be said about the familiar when it seems that everything else in your life is in a state of flux. I finished another book this weekend (Wednesday's Child by Peter Robinson) and now I am moving on to another one in the series, Innocent Graves. These are highly satisfying mysteries to read, not predictable, well thought out, easy characters to be drawn to. I am also leafing through Weird Washington. I wish they wrote more books like this about BC, I would be more inclined to travel more in our province.

If Saturday felt like a bona fide vacation day, yesterday was muggy and irritable. Neither kid slept in, and neither one had enough sleep. Went grocery shopping early, then to a birthday party, and then home, and then to the park because the boys were climbing the walls, and pieced together dinner, and then the day was over. I could not imagine living out east where you get humidity like that all the time. You could feel the rain coming, and it is a welcome break today, as long as it doesn't stall too long here on the coast. It feels strange after so many beautiful days to be looking out in to gray again.

Elementary school is looming closer. We need to buy a backpack, and figure out lunches. Next week I will have to call in and see how things are going and if there is any more paperwork I need to complete. We need to try out the walk to school, since our kid can truly say that he had to walk, both ways, uphill. I guess we will also need to start working on learning how to tie his shoelaces! It feels strange going in to this fall - I am not planning activities up the woo-hoo since I figure too many things are about to change.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Knocking them off

The joys of waking up early and having the house to yourself. I am holding off making my coffee just in case it wakes up one of the boys.

Last week felt like a turning point at work. I am feeling somewhat on top of things right now (novel experience since I returned from my mat leave) and that my confidence is making a comeback. Got a big project wrapped up (for now) and what I need to get done for semester start up is well under way. A far cry from last fall, or even last spring. It is crazy that in my job it truly takes a year to get back in to it.

Last night was a different matter - B was up a few times, I think it was the heat. His waking up crying reminded me of what it was like when he used to wake up every night and I would worry about him. It used to be pretty unsettling when he would wake up when he was a bit younger, that unknown factor. I will admit, it got to me a bit last night when he was waking up crying for reasons unknown (like me, the kid gets nightmares), but he settled about 1 am and then was out for the count. Once again, I am grateful life moves forward because it was tough when he was younger, and would wake up nearly every night - and him being a first child, you don't know what is normal and perhaps what is just him, or what you should be truly worried about because B does have some challenges. I used to worry when he woke up all the time that something was wrong (even if I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong). Now that he generally sleeps through the night, I had forgotten what an impact that worry energy was. Amazing how going through a shunt revision can put it all in perspective, and then you get a night like last night, and you recognize some of that fear you felt was just that, fear something was going on with his shunt that you couldn't control that would lead you down that path. Seen it, and fingers crossed, we don't ever go there again.

I also finally finished a BOOK again! Half-Broke Horses was a good book. It was a quick and easy read, and you couldn't help but wonder what really happened to Walls' mom along the way. Moment over, my youngest is up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Half-Finished Books

I can't remember the last time I had not read a book in a month, or even one in six weeks.

Currently I have three on the go:

Half-Broke Horses, Jeannette Walls
Wednesday's Child, Peter Robinson
An Echo in the Bone, Diana Gabaldon.

All of them are good books, but I have not had the energy or the time to read more than a handful of pages at any given time. It feels strange. I suspect I will shelve the last book until Fall when I am more in need of a long and detailed book... I just started HBH and it is a great book, and I suspect a really fast read which should get me out of my reading slump, then I can go back to the Robinson book.

This summer is blitzing past. It is hard to believe we just passed the midpoint of August and that September is looming closer. My baby starts kindergarten! O M G !!! I also just found out that the first week is pretty lame, all parent-teacher interviews. Lovely. Busiest week of the year for work and I need to figure out a way to get out to the school for an hour or two. I am sure it will work out, but I sort of figured that would happen a little later in the term. Since first week is all interviews, the daycare will not be taking the kids to and from school, so outside of our interview in the first week, B will not be going to class in that first week. It feels just a little anticlimatic (although I get it, still not really what I had expected).

I also got out for a girl's night last night and saw The Help. I was pretty impressed. It was faithful to the book, and the performances were great. I couldn't imagine living in the deep south where the colour of your skin was so important back then. Amazing all the different forms of racism and fear there are out in the world. On a lesser note, the period style staging was really nostalgic - I could easily recognize the furniture, glasses, bedspreads (etc) from my grandparents homes, it felt like from another time altogether although I could recognize some of the bits and pieces of the time (if that makes any sense).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pitfalls

Ah yes, my blog. Long forgotten place to quickly jot down some thoughts before I continue running. It seems like I have had less and less time to breath as this year has progressed. My vacation time was fast, and I hope to eventually make some updates and post some pictures of our adventures. I have already been back to work for almost two weeks, and the ball of knots in my stomach is proof of it. I can say with feeling that it is not easy balancing a career type job with two kids, especially with a few added challenges thrown in. I can't get over how 95% of my job seems to be going great, and 5% just sucks, and it is what I am being continually called out about. Small errors or misteps that are becoming larger issues, and trying to figure out how best to communicate with some.

It has been a struggle, especially when you are trying to claw your way in to good graces, and yet the communication piece just doesn't seem to be two ways. I am not sure how to articulate this, or what has changed in the two years since I left - and in the year since I have come back, but it has been different. I don't mind taking stuff on the chin - taking a while to learn new tasks, lapses in judgement, perhaps unrealistic expectations at times, but I have also worked my ass off, and tried to work through any thing I have had going on with my kids and tried to limit the impact on work. I guess what I am trying to say is that I am surprised by what a shift the last year has been - learning how to balance work and family, and to keep my head above water. It feels like a real cornerstone piece to all of this is a good night's sleep. Running on next to empty just makes everything harder.

All of this whinging aside... a day after I started this post, everything seemed to shift at work. It felt like the sun coming out after a long period of rain. Things have eased off a bit, and I am not feeling quite so anxious or so lacking in confidence. I don't feel so close to a knife-edge of falling off and going splat at work, but it does feel like I have to be aware and fully present in a different way. I so feel like a work in progress, figuring out balance, and how to fit in to my role at work.

Time and time again I return to the theme of "balance". My latest goal has been to get out of the house earlier and try to keep up with the dishes and day to day chaos as much as possible to just help things run a little smoother. I think this too is helping shift my frustration and not feeling like I am on top of my game to feeling like I am in control a bit more. Although not huge, I am getting out for a walk at work at least twice a week now, so it is a start.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Packing.

Chapter two of our holidays started today with a kickstart. I have been off work for almost two weeks, and it has been a blur. Between the weather, various appointments, sorting of different things, and just being a little scattered, it has felt like we have been waiting. Waiting to find out if we sold our house, waiting to go on holidays, waiting for the day that will come when B will have the botox injections and see what difference it makes.

Yesterday, the damn broke. We sold our house. We couldn't ask to do it under better circumstances, although it has been strange. The buyer never looked inside our house, it was bought for the land and not the building - easy to assume it will eventually be torn down and replaced with either a duplex or two smaller homes. Right next to the property beside us, where the same thing will happen. It was strange not getting our house all gussied up for sale, or considering "curb appeal" or "staging". It didn't matter. Makes our new roof seem superfluous (too bad we needed it two years ago). It is a long, long closing which is nice, we will have lots of time to make a decision as to where we go next. Although that being said, too much time speeds up until O M F G we have to move... and it isn't just us anymore, we have the little ones too!!

Fingers crossed we get a good rate, find a great place, and the rest of the pieces fall in to place.

Today we had a few other appointments, and then a lovely visit with a dear friend and her daughter. It is amazing watching friend's kids grow up - her daughter is pretty darn cool. I see parts of her, and parts of her husband in her. Amazing where you reach the point where you have decades long friendships and you watch your friends move along their lifepaths, and you move apart only to move together again. Too cool.

Celebrated B's 5th birthday tonight, and I am packing to go away in a few hours. A few days in the Seattle area and then up the Olympic peninsula for some camping. I wonder if I am bringing the right things, I am out of practice! Although we have been on trips (and stayed in cabins) first time since I was 8 months pregnant with Connor that we have been out. I can't wait. I still need to pack toys, toiletries, and whatever other bits and pieces I can think of in the next few hours.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A not so Dirty Apron

Four hours of cooking and eating bliss last night.

For Christmas, Ken got me a cooking class at the Dirty Apron. Looking at the cost, I don't think I would have sprung for one of these for myself (I have a really cheap streak at times, I enjoy spending on holidays but at home at times seems to be a different story, damn daycare costs!!!)... but as a gift, it was an awesome since that choice was taken out of my hands. From the beginning I wanted to do a class where I learned something new - I wanted to cook something I didn't normally cook but really enjoyed. Like Thai. I lurve Thai food. The wrapped prawns? O M G they were good. I will learn how to deep fry in my wok at home for this one and make in a batch of 30. SO GOOD. We would watch how things were done, make a course, eat a course (and have some yummy Thai beer with it) and then repeat the process for the next course.

It was an awesome night. There can be up to 22 students in a class, and everyone gets their own station. In between courses, you come back to your station and it is magically cleared! I wish I had this ability at home... It is a great space - clean, crisp lines, and very modern. David, the head chef, is a good instructor and the course is paced well, and the courses were awesome and I think will be decent to repeat at home. I see making a huge batch of green curry paste in my future to go with those prawns... Did I mention, SO GOOD? The cooking school is attached to the restaurant, Shambar, and I foresee a trip there in the near future. Well, near future may be optimistic since we seem to have issues finding babysitters. The joys of kids under 5, they are a wee bit high maintenance.

Would be fun out with my hubby to do something like this again, or to make it a girls night out.

Here is the write up for my cooking class:

The mastery of Thai cooking is an irrefutable art, but The Dirty Apron Cooking School believes even the most novice culinary student can achieve the delicate balance of spicy, sweet, sour, and salty. Chef David shares his love for the land, its people, and its tantalizing cuisine in My Thai, a cooking class for those who long to create Thai delicacies in the comfort of their own home. Feel the heat and surprise your taste buds with the complex and zesty flavours of Thailand: Crispy Wrapped Prawns with Hot ‘n Sweet Sauce, Thai Beef Satay with Coconut-Peanut Sauce and Vermicelli Salad, Chicken Green Curry with Stir-Fried Baby Corn

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bacon Jam, and a rainy saturday

The beach BBQ we were going to attend got canned because of our ongoing terrible weather. It really, truly rained hard today. The kids have been climbing the walls because they have either been cooped up inside, or stuck in a car running errands. Not a lot of fun for a vacation week in July.

In true Kazzy-style, knowing the best way to get C-man to sleep is to tire him out, the three of us went to the park in the middle of the downpour for a walk. We were completely soaked. The boys were happy, hence, I was happy. They ran, jumped, and tried to swim in puddles. They terrorized the geese, stopped for a few ducklings, and pushed the rain from their faces. Home for a shower, soup, and then a nap (for one of them). B requested to make some cookies, so that we did too. Looking for a recipe I ended up sorting and getting rid of a huge bag of paper to recycle. I try to stay on top of it, but it is amazing how fast paper accumulates.

Once I cleared the kitchen of my cookie making mess, my hubby was inspired to try out the following recipe... It has bacon in it, can you go wrong?

Thank you to dinnerwithjulie.com for this husband friendly recipe. When you are cooking it down, watch the temperature so you don't overcook that sugar!

Bacon Jam

1 lb good-quality bacon
1 small onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup coffee
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 Tbsp. grainy mustard (optional)

Roughly chop the bacon and cook it in a heavy pot; transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon, draining off most of the drippings. Saute the onion and garlic cloves in the rest for 5 minutes, until soft and starting to turn golden. Return the bacon to the pan, add the brown sugar, coffee, maple syrup, vinegar and mustard and cook over medium heat for half an hour, or until deep golden and thickened to the consistency of jam. If you like, cool and pulse in the food processor for a finer texture. Serve warm or cold.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pronto Purple

With a name like that I am most definitely referring to nail polish.

My final post of the night. It has been bothering me for weeks and I have finally repainted my toe nails. After many months of blue, and the occasional foray in to metallic pink.. hello PRONTO PURPLE.

Dry fast so I can go to bed, I think I am going to read The Echo in the Bone next. I won't admit how long it has been on the shelf waiting for the "right" time to be savored!!!

Painting rules.



In all fairness to my youngest.. this is probably where he got some of his inspiration from...

I love painting - the freedom of just spilling the colours and letting go. I like seeing what my kids can carelessly create without telling them what they can and can't do.

Plus, get messy. Last I checked they were boys and I would rather all of us get our hands dirty than just sit back and watch.

This is what happens when you ignore someone...


My karma.

All painted up and purdy with finger paints (and the floor, cabinet, and chair) when he should have been sleeping.

This is what happens when life is just too damn busy during the day and your coffee habit is flourishing. You start posting, because you can, and the house is silent, and it is just so nice to pay attention to your blog.

Granted, one of these nights I also need to start paying attention to our growing accumulation of pictures as well.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Get over it already.

Being a parent has been the most amazing journey. Being the parent of a kid who has a few extra challenges (I rarely if ever say the words in here, the scary words being hydrocephalus and spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that affects the lower limbs. For B this means muscle tightness that makes him walk with less coordination and makes balance a little more difficult, this is why he was a late walker. The hydrocephalus is managed by his shunt, which knock on wood, will not fail again but if it does we will cross that bridge when we get to it, I have one helluva strong boy and we are a strong family and can deal with it) thrown in to the mix has been an incredible journey with a few extra pitfalls to take in to consideration. Talking to some of our various professionals, I think a lot of what they need to do is support the parents because they are the ones that are frankly scared shitless for the first few years until they realize that their child is really and truly going to be okay. It really isn't so much about the kids because frankly they don't know a different reality, but for parents trying to be the best people they can be, and balancing work and finances, their relationships, and home, they are the ones that need a little bit of extra support and sometimes just listening to as they evolve in to their slightly adjusted parental role.

Getting over it all... (taking it on the chin, making margaritas...) time moves on... Then, somehow, you grow to arrive in the present moment, no longer as fragile as you once were as a new parent with a whole different set of challenges than you anticipated, more confident, and more capable. You adjust, you grow, you find that you have evolved in to a different kind of parent and person than you ever imagined. Life evens out, hell, it moves on. A few scary words put in to perspective when you envision your cool little person who shrugs off those labels and continues to play and be a kid. You recognize again your dude is really cool, as is your second dude, and you not really knowing any different, discover different strengths and talents.

Moving on to the next chapter as you are where you need to be as a mum, now that it seems your life has moved on and you have grown up a little, you now get to deal with the people who are going to take care of your kid when you are at work. You have to deal with the people who are going to be "teaching" your kid. You realize that even though you have been getting on getting over it (and have moved on and life continues) there are a bunch of people that get stuck on the scary words and their eyes seem to glaze over and their judgment becomes clouded over. The last few weeks have been about transition as we have moved in to a new childcare centre in our place (next age group), and we are getting ready for kindergarten. I see meetings in my future with a bunch of professionals to create a plan. On one hand the plan is about making sure B becomes the best person he can be and to create a education plan for PE, and on the other hand, it is to ultimately support our educational role models (teachers, etc) in figuring out that my kid has a few extra labels that don't really mean much at the end of the day - yes, they could, but the reality isn't quite what they first sound like when you try them out.

It just has been weird how this transition has gone. It has really done me in emotionally between dealing with the new staff (the casual staff and the program head have been great but the regulars freaked out a bit), dealing with a few issues from the past (when B had his surgery and how it was not handled by his last centre), and then with getting ready for kindergarten and making sure they know what to expect, and then setting goals with our physio, and our supported childcare person, and then getting ready for botox injections in a few weeks (which should help B's tone in the sense that it should just help him even further standing tall and get his legs going better, more retraining the brain). It doesn't help we got in to this care program in the 11th hour, or that we got in to our desired kindergarten program 17 minutes before they closed for the summer... One of the biggest deals is that it is a 1km walk from B's centre to school, and we will be walking it. The staff are concerned about how fast he will be and that at the end of last year the kids could do it in 22 minutes. They wanted to march the kids out the 1km and turn around and come back and not even play or rest or take a break in between. Their concern was that B wouldn't make it and make people late. It was "my problem" to deal with... things were looking pretty bad there (nothing like walking to work after a morning like that and wanting to do nothing more than go to your car and have a good cry). I pushed back, talked to the program head, etc... is it reasonable to ask any almost 5 year old to walk 2 km with out a real break? Not so much. 1km B can do.. he certainly is not fast, but he can do it. Will we compromise, absolutely, and yes, we are taking him on nightly walks to work on his endurance (okay, it also helps to tire out C) - if he needs more time, we can come early, or hell, bring a wagon as a "just in case".. take a few elevators, modify your route.. let us see what will work. This is just such a process. It is exhausting on top of everything else. Let him just be himself, he can do it - his way. This is what it comes down to, a similar process to what I went through, you see the words and get scared, and then you realize you are still just dealing with this really cool kid you love more than anything who isn't those words. So over the last two weeks I have had to help the staff get over themselves, and just kick back and enjoy and learn about my son. As if just dealing with ourselves wasn't enough, I get to help a whole new batch of people get over every year! a strange journey I must say.

Bloody hell, I start typing out all this stuff and it is no wonder I am feeling a bit crispy around the edges. And this is just stuff with B, not C, or his daycare, or his needs as a busy two year old - nothing to do with my own work, or selling our house, or dealing with a potential move, or trying to get all my laundry put away the day it happens and not five days later, and oh my god, maybe even getting a few hours with my husband ALONE one of these days..

Okay. Breath. Still with me? This is a longer ramble-rant.

The irony of it all, the second baseball team that I weaseled our way on to (after the first team crumbled at the end and this second team adopted us and continued playing up until this week), those two coaches who weren't professionals were amazing and didn't need to have all these meetings to figure stuff out. They welcomed our kid, played with him, taught him how to hit the ball, catch, and be a goof with a bunch of other kids his age. The other parents were rock stars and didn't question or ask what was up, they just accepted us at face value. What the hell is wrong when 5 of us have to meet to create a "strategy" to make sure that staff in an educational setting feels comfortable dealing with a kid with a few barriers that at the end of the day, are pretty minor barriers that he has already overcome? I don't get it. What the hell do the parents whose kids are so much farther down the spectrum have to deal with? I could not imagine. we are dealing with gross motor stuff - ultimately balance issues and endurance... not life threatening illness, or behavioral issues, or mental health issues. Woah.

We are going on holidays next week, and apparently there are some ciderys along the way. Never heard of a cidery? Like a vineyard only they make specialty ciders.. much more up my alley. I want to check this one out, and a few others. Find some nice craft brews, ciders.. some fresh seafood, have a campfire.. this is the stuff that matters and puts it all in to perspective.

Modigliani Scandal


I just finished this one and you can see a glimmer of the writer that Follett evolves in to. This book didn't tax my energy, it almost felt like a "light and floofy" read, perfect for the beach. Nicely written, clever twists, engaging enough. Not one that will stick with me forever like a few of his other books, but a decent enough diversion.

I am not sure what to read next. I have a few "heavier" novels on my shelves, but nothing is really grabbing me right now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mercy Rule

This is one series that I really enjoy. There is something to be said about following a set of characters over time, watching how their lives unfold. I enjoy the blend of police procedural, legal thriller, San Fran novel populated by some great characters. Defintely a pleasure to read.

I couldn't help but think while I read this novel that it is an example of how a writer can progress. I think of his first novel (Sunburn) that I read at the start of the year and how much better Lecroart's writing/plot/character development is now, it is night and day. If I had started with Sunburn, I don't think I would have picked up another one of his books... Speaks to change, and how a novelist can move forward and continue to improve in their trade. Of course, there are authors that move in the other direction ( formula writing, hit success and then their novels slide in to rote books lacking a spirit, etc... ).

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wet, cold gray. Warm, cold, gray.

Maybe we haven't broken a lot of rain records this year, but it has been truly dreary. It is good for my man since he works in the elements, and not being baked to a crisp is a good thing, but I would love to have even a few more sunny hours to enjoy outside. I do like the drama of stormy clouds clashing in different shades, and then intermittent rain showers... but really, it has been so ongoing, it is getting to be an old soundtrack.

I am so grateful it is a long weekend - I am planning to stay in bed late tomorrow.. of course in the world with 2 kids under five, working full-time late now means sometime around 8 o'clock. Kind of like 10 at night is like the new 2 am. I saw Bridesmaids with a friend tonight, and well, the romantic thread was good, and it was funny (at times, I did laugh out loud) but there was a comical edge to it - almost farcical where edges were pushed to not quite so funny anymore, I am feeling a little uncomfortable here... It was decent, IMHO, but not OH MY GOD I HAVE TO SEE IT AGAIN. That being said, I had a few flashbacks to when I was young, and when Wilson Phillips played, I thought of one of my dearest girlfriends, and driving in her car when we were 18, ready to conquer the world.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Good doesn't always mean an easy read

Another classic novel that I have been curious about... Indeed this was a good novel, and a different take on Chinese culture and society than others that I have read (Snow Flower, Bonesetter's Daughter, Jade Peony to name but a few). It is simply written, and although it doesn't specify the timeframe, this is early twentieth century as revolutions begin to happen.

This is the story of a farmer, Wang Lung, and his family. Starting out poor but with land, this is the story of Wang Lung's coming of age in China, and follows the arc of his life. I found this book hard to read at times, frustrating because of how women were treated (as slaves, as fools, as worthless daughters) and I found that when O-Lan (Wang Lung's wife that he is given from the great house of Hwang) dies in the book, the quiet heart beating in the story went with her. This book is powerful in the story it tells, the quiet irony of it's pages as Wang Lung's fortune rises with the downfall of one great family, and his family ultimately moves towards a similar outcome. This story weaves several themes throughout, and one worth paying attention to is what happens when a parent/father sacrifices everything for land and prosperity, and the kids don't value it all, and think the parent is misguided and foolish when they reach their own maturity. That the parent makes their own mistakes in their own marriage, in their own discovery of free time and pleasure also makes an interesting backdrop to this book. I can appreciate how this was given the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932.


After reading this, and the last few books I have read, I have a need to dive in to a good suspense novel... Lescroart here I come!

Back to that list of 100 books...

It was just about four years ago I tackled this meme - and bolded the books I had read from one of those lists that list the "100 best books of.. " . I have been trying to knock off a few of the titles I hadn't read to see if they were "all that". Here is the updated list.. 64 then... now 69... looking at the list, I am not sure how many more from this list I will end up reading.. some I have no interest in trying.. ah well, it was an interesting exercise to say the least!

*Look at the list of books below.
*Bold the ones you’ve read.
*Italicize the ones you want to read. NOTE to self- I made them RED
*leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
*If you are reading this, tag you're it.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) (tried, didn't finish)

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees(Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible (not the whole thing)

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) - I tried, couldn't get through it
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb) - I tried here too, didn't go it for me
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) (tried, didn't finish it years ago)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) (tried)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) (once again, tried)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) (may have read already)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth(Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Two.

My baby, I can't believe you are two.

I have been back to work a full year now. Where the hell did the time go? No more mat leaves for me! My family is complete with you two boys.


I am so happy that you are weaned, in your own bed (most of the time) and that your words are starting to come fast and furious. I love your curiosity, and I laugh when you say "I want". We are still working on cutting those two year old molars, and when you are quiet, I am truly worried at what you are up to. You are a true joy, except when you have your meltdowns, and even then, I love you so. You are a mover, and you rarely sit still, you are captivated by our water cooler, and absolutely love bath time. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Worth a chance...

A few weeks ago I handed the Book Thief to a friend and told her to stick with it, and get over the beginning of the book, it was worth seeing it through. This book became a version of this for me... I really struggled through the first 100 pages, and I kept recalling my friend who recommended it, saying that it was a good read, albeit a different one.

I am glad that I stuck it out - this is a book that will stay with me for a while. Like a few of the books I have read this year, I think that this one is hard to pigeonhole in to any one category. Part mystical and magical, part family drama, part love story, part tragedy. Beautifully written, pissed me off completely at times, and tugged on my heart strings at other times. This is a highly unusual book, and if you check out reviews of it, it tends to have a polarizing effect on it's readers, people either love or hate it. I would say that any book that evokes a reaction, and also distracts you because you want to see it's conclusion is a good book. Would I shout from the mountaintops that you have to read this one? No, but it is a really good book. Amazing for someone who is ESL, amazing that it is written by a man. The archetypes in this book, the poetry, the relationships, okay, this book caught me off guard. This is Setiawan's first novel, and I can't imagine what his next one will be about.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The season is done.

The cup run is over, and for this I am somewhat grateful. Unlike 1994, I cannot say that I am bitter about this loss. At the end of the day, the Bruins outplayed us - it wasn't the refs that lost us the game, we did that on our own. You can't get outshot 16-1 in 4 games and expect to win.

Then there was another riot in lotusland. To say I was appalled when comments began to appear as the cup was being hoisted on FB hinting to the mob is an understatement. Watching the images unfold on tv, seeing our city being trashed by a bunch of hooligans, bloody stupid. What happened wasn't about hockey, anymore than it was in 1994. The difference now is social media, and a different kind of finger-pointing and justice that is emerging and being questioned. It's unreal when you think of the events that happened that night, the blatant disregard for property, personal safety, and the seductive permission and amnesia of a crowd hellbent on distruction. I could go on - but there are already so many words penned about this.

Disgusted by the few, proud of the folks who turned up the next day to clean up and take back their city. Pretty amazing what comes from great bad things, and then the great good things. Life does seek out balance, even if it isn't always obvious.

Besides all the images of what people did, I can't help but think of all those people, milling around, holding up their phones to take pictures or videos. Standing around, curious, and taking pictures. Some people tried to intervene, while most stood around and took pictures. I am not sure about this whole social media revolution and phones with cameras, and ICBC with face recognition technology.... there is an underlying thing happening here that makes me a bit nervous, for lack of better words. The extent to which people have been "outed" is something to behold, but I also question all those who stuck around to watch - who is more quilty? The hand that acts, or the hand that stays?

So many unanswered questions, it will be interesting to see the social fallout of an experiment like this. For one, I am glad the season is done, our Nucks gave us one helluva run, and I hope the weather improves and shows us something of a summer. Time to literally move on.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thoughts to reflect upon

I was speaking to one of Brandon's team members yesterday and getting ready for kindergarten, and we got to talking about attitudes. They mentioned a poem that I should look up, since I could probably appreciate it - and I could. I must admit I stumble over the word disability - you can substitute "challenges" or whatever word suits you. The attitude I have discovered is that people enable and disable themselves every day, and this is a poem by someone who is walking forward, head held high, looking the world in the face. Here it is:

WELCOME TO HOLLAND
by Emily Perl Kingsley
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Decent.. but not over the top

This was one of those books where I alternated just really enjoying the language and the read, to places where I skim read through sections, and to others where it felt like the plot was being tied up in as quick a manner as possible. I still really enjoy Smith's writing, but this is not one of his best. I think that the first 3/4s were better than the last 1/4, and I could have done with less safari kills. The last 1/4 in some ways just didn't measure up and took on an increasingly rapid pace to the final page. Like another one of my favourite authors, Slade, I miss their longer novels (you know, the 7-900 page books it takes a long time to read). It just seems that with the shorter novels, you miss something along the way.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wickedly delightful

It should come to no surprise that I love live theatre. I saw Hairspray a few weeks back, and it was better than what I expected. It was also a great day because I had a really good outing with my mom - which doesn't always happen.This time I went with a dear friend, and I think we both really needed a day out with a good girl friend. If we were willing to empty our pockets (Wicked was not cheap to see) we could have had better seats, yet even higher up, you didn't miss anything. The voices were clear, the music good, and the sets amazing. This is a musical that starts slow, and like a ball tumbling downhill that gathers up momentum, it sweeps you off your feet with it's magic. It was awesome.

Yet another musical that makes seeing Phantom in Vegas seem to pale in comparison. Wicked is worth every penny and is a wonderfully crafted play. I like that it flips the traditional tale on it's head, and that you see that the "Wicked Witch" truly wasn't quite as evil and nasty as they say. This musical did more 'showing' than 'telling', and it was just a marvel to watch unfold. I would go again. Right up there with other memorable plays/musicals that I have seen over the years.

See it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Buzzzz Kill

Of course we get great weather on blastball Mondays and Wednesdays just as the 'Nucks make the final round of the playoffs. First two games, awesome.

Last two games = buzz kill.

I am grateful I was at the blastball diamond, trying to teach my kid to throw, catch, and hit. Each time after the second period, it was 4-0 when we got in to the car to come home... WTF?? Do we really need to do this the hard way, every time? Yah, yah, I believe... I knew we weren't going to sweep (one could hope though) but to lose your shorts like that. Bah.

So, rather than watch the last moments at home, we bundled ourselves together to head over to our MILs for her birthday celebration. Truly, the game took a backseat to enjoying family, especially since the 'Nucks at that point were not even in the chase. *SIGH*.

I think Friday night, we will be back to wearing our jerseys (which we didn't get in to because of b-ball practise), some homemade pizza, some wings, crack a cold one or two, and watch the game. It is the final after all, can't expect it to be easy. To not have lost 8-1 and 4-0 would have been a bonus though!!

On a total different note, this week has been chaotic. Blastball, working at both alternate locations, birthday celebration, graduation, Stanley Cup finals, a physio appointment, and then on the weekend, chiropractor for me, eye check ups, and the riding. I can't believe another session is just about done! Almost time for Brandon's second horse show! Talk about time flying... needless to say the house looks like a clothing and toy bomb has exploded

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Get out the paint brushes!

There is something to be said about kids art. Check out this young prodigy - she just opened her first art show in NYC at the ripe old age of 4!!!

For some reason, I have the urge to buy more paints! more canvas! throw down an old sheet and then let the boys have at'er.

I admit it, I love their art. I love that Brandon loves to paint (and seems to have a different knack than I do for blending colours), and Connor seems pretty keen on it too. Seeing this is a reminder to make more time for painting, and art in general. Colouring is cool, but painting is that much of a better medium to work with. Weekends seem to pass by in such a blur, it is a good reminder to maybe set aside a Sunday every month and make it a day to make an art project...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hello Sunshine!

I had to water my plants last night instead of waiting for them to be beaten down from more rain! It is sunny - glorious sun! Shortly I will head outside for a walk to get some exercise and just enjoy being outside in a skirt and not being cold. Yay for the little things.

I figured out what I am going to read next: Assegai by Wilbur Smith... another book in a series I have followed over the last few years. I must admit a certain fondness for this series in particular, and I would also grudingly admit that Smith's style appeals to me - the adventure of it all.

GULP, game 3 goes tonight.. we are already two games up.. that balloon of hope has been swelling!!! Here is a picture of my two boys, singing the anthem before game 2. Around our house we are a little cup crazy about now. After work it is get the boys, run home, figure out some dinner, watch some hockey, go to baseball, watch the rest of hockey, get the boys to bed, fall over and rest for another day.

This is something that came across my desk today: students between the ages of 18-27 feel empowered by student debt. At age 28, somehow they start to realize that maybe their student and credit cards debts aren't a good thing. Looking back, I can't remember a time where I thought my student debt or credit card debts were a good thing - it was a way of life to get me through school because I could not have afforded it any other way. This is CRAZY!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

After a little arm twisting in the beginning, I liked it.


I found it really hard getting past the first twenty-odd pages of this book. A few friends have said this is a good book, and knowing this got me through the first part. Although I also have a friend whom hated this book (although that being said, when I talked to her about it last week when I realized I was really enjoying the book and I was surprised she didn't like, she admitted she read the first 10 pages, rolled her eyes, and took it back to the library).

The first part isn't smooth, it is a rough transition, and not just because Death declares themselves to be the narrator. It seems that once part one officially starts, this book finally takes off and the story ropes you in.

This is a good book - I find it strange that it is often marketed as a young adult novel. Is this because the characters are young? I think it is an important book for youth to read (as is Frey's Million Little Pieces) but I wouldn't exactly call this a kid's book.

Once again, a different take on the holocaust. I enjoyed this much more than Sarah's Key and I found the story that much more engaging, and that much more believable (or accessible for lack of a better word). Sad, dark, and yet uplifting this story told from the perspective of a poor, fostered girl in Nazi Germany. This book is many things, and I think it is one that will stay with me. I find myself grateful that I have shifted slightly what I have been reading - the books I have been reading in the last year are just so much more fulfilling than some of the others I have blitzed through all in the name of escapism. I must retract that statement, I have read a lot of great books, the ones I have been reading more of lately are just more "big L" literary than a lot of the mystery and suspense novels I was going through so quickly. I am still reading them - just not as much.

I am not sure what to read next - I have a few on my shelf that are beckoning me...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Potential for another rainout.

Tuesday and Thursday blastball appears to have had far better luck than us. It's Monday, and once again, it is raining. If this continues, we will have our 7th rain out thus far. It is hard to build momentum for a sport when you miss at least one practice (out of two) a week because of the weather.

Have I mentioned how humbling it is to try to teach an almost 5 year old how to play baseball? I take it for granted that I can throw well, and hit, catch, and understand the mechanics of the game. The kids dog pile on each other for the ball, and wrestle when they are waiting to try to hit, and watch the ball when they throw.. you have got to be kidding. When they run the bases they jump on first and then run in an ellipse until they get back to home base.. it is a sight to see!!! I had forgotten that baseball actually requires a fair bit of skill. Running, hitting, throwing, and catching sounds easy.. until you see a bunch of five year olds trying to master this skill set!!!

Should be another busy week - my mom is getting her knee replaced, the Don will have a CT scan to make sure the shunt is doing it's job, a birthday party in the middle of it, some allergy testing, and work, work, work!! It seems like the weeks are rolling by faster and faster.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A sign.

There is a sign out front of our house.

For the first twenty years of my life, I dreaded when that sign would go up because it meant we were moving again soon. Now, it means the start of a new chapter. In the past, I would try to avoid this change because it was another move in a series of moves.. Now, the for sale sign represents a change in the right direction - a home totally of our own, more space, more everything. I am holding out for two bathrooms.

We were originally thinking it was going to be early next year, but timing has come together that the time is now, and we could potentially make a great deal on selling our house. Fingers crossed it happens soon, that we get what we need, and we find a great place to move to. It feels like this is going to be a year of milestones and hurdles crossed.

O M G !!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another chapter in the saga


Well after so many literary novels, I need to go back to a thriller. This is another chapter in the Agent Pendergast series, and delves in to the murder of his wife, a decade ago.

Once again, these writers deliver a well researched, fast paced novel that ends on a decent cliff hanger. Of course I can't wait to read the next one... which comes out in a few weeks. The worst part of their books is that I have read all of their collaborations - although I haven't read all of their stand alone novels. I like their blend of realism, history, and then the fantastical. Makes for some great reading.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

End of a nice day

38 has started out just feeling so much more positive and together than 37 did.

Had a great day with friends today - watching the game, eating, laughing, and watching our kids play and hang out together. It was pretty sweet. It was strange that it was a noon hockey game - by the time everyone was gone at 7, I think we are were all done, but not in a bad way. The kids are all able to go to bed at a decent time (okay, maybe not mine but I am flaking out and letting them watch a movie) and the house is even in decent shape. O M G, I am finally getting better at this.

I feel just a bit more self aware than I did a year ago. I think part of that is getting more sleep (no more b'feeding, yay) and Connor transitioning to his own bed have made a huge difference to me overall, that and starting to get my confidence back at work too. Something to be said about not being so tired all the time, so ragged around the edges.

The 'Nucks dropped their game on Friday night, and I wasn't all that surprised.. this means Tuesday could be a really big night! DAMN!!! I just realized my book club is meeting on Tuesday, and ironically enough, we are going to see a movie... PVR?! Fingers are crossed we make it to the next round... quickly!!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Unclipped

I am just so *proud* of my boy, Brandon

He isn't even 5, and his horseback riding is going amazing. Not only is it "good" for him (stretching out his leg and hip muscles, working his balance) he is getting good at it and it is building a different kind of confidence.

The yearly horse show is in a month, so we are starting to prepare him for the classes we are going to enter him in. One of the classes is pole bending, and he will be doing it "unassisted" without someone leading him through the poles. AKA - unclipped from his lead walker (she is just an awesome gal). He practiced leading his horse Midnight through the poles today, and him doing it solo (around the poles and back again)- was inspiring, even his lead walker was all choked up. What a victory.

I am also getting a lot of being at the barn and talking to the other parents, volunteers, the people who work for PRDA - very humbling, very inspiring, very grounding. Talking to other parents who have had unusual paths (not the norm) like us is empowering, and it just helps to talk to people who may not have the same story, but there is a common thread there. It is an amazing place and I am so glad to be involved and I can't wait to read what I will be writing about Brandon's equestrian abilities even another year from now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Balance

It feels like I am starting to get caught up on all my projects at work this week, and making some breakthroughs too (of a sort).

I have been back to work almost a year, and I must say, it is a challenge. I look back at the last year since I came back, and it has really been a journey. I have learned so much - about myself, about what I do, the people I work with... again, I have shifted from the person I was a year ago. It isn't easy getting back in to the swing of things, getting up to speed, changing gears at work, getting over disappointments in work and life and then still performing. It has been tough. Hawaii was tough - I put so much importance on the trip and then both kids were so sick, it was a bummer of trip. Christmas break was tough - once again, sick family just throwing things for a loop. Then my gran dying, and Brandon's surgery... and then everything seeming to lift, and live just truly moving on.

Work has been frustrating at times, and the rewards have been hard fought for, when I have found them (LOL). It isn't that bad, but it has felt that bad at times. I have felt pressured to be faster, or be better up to speed, or to have my business writing skills honed to perfection immediately, or to be a good team player all the time when I am caught up in my own head, and own things that have to be done (especially when I am the one to take this lead in this, not my coworker). I gave up lunches there for a few weeks, did some work from home, and I am glad I did since I can see things starting to ease, but it has not been easy. Plus it feels like I am a bit at odds with my manager, and at some point we will need to have a conversation, but it won't be an easy one. I think there have been some hurts/misunderstandings along the way (probably on both parts) and things that both of us could have done better over this year, I am willing to take some stuff on the chin, but not all of it. I haven't initiated this conversation yet because it is still too raw, and I don't have the words. I suspect when it happens, I won't have all the words, but I will know what I want to say. I had a conversation with my overall director the other day, and we are all good, and they know where I am coming from, and that is truly key. The rest will work out, and be awkward at times, but you know, that is what you grow from and that is what I am trying to keep in mind. This last year has been all about growth, and shifting, and I have made some mistakes along the way, and then I keep making new ones, but I think that this is part of my own development and hopefully makes me a better person at the end of this part of my journey. So there, enough of this inner rumination and run on sentance... again.

The themes of my life are now time management, balance, and trying to stay on top of everything. The list is a powerful object in my life. As is my calendar. All about management. I am taking my lunches again, and some of my breaks, and I am trying to sort of the rest of the details, like getting some exercise. My next goal is better balance, and to drop 25 pounds by fall. Wouldn't that just be great?!

Looking forward to a little TGIF tomorrow, and a long weekend!