Sunday, February 27, 2011


What a charming read. It has been a while since I could say that I have read two books in a weekend, and gotten the laundry done.. but I did! It helped it snowed, and then the monsoon hit to melt it all, and with my little guy under the weather, wasn't the time to have a big weekend. It helps that both were what I would call easy reads, and this one was totally charming.

The narrative structure took a bit to get in to, but once I did, I really enjoyed how the story played out. It isn't a hard hitting novel, but it does delve in to some pretty serious topics. The story focuses upon the folk of Guernsey Island (one of the British Channel islands occupied by the Germans during WWII) and a writer, Juliet, whom becomes a vital part of their community by chance.

Having done a course on the holocaust in uni, in which the books we read were as incredible as they were hard to read, in a way, this is a different way to learn about another facet of the war - a different kind of human face and reflection. I enjoyed this book - I don't really want to say it was light-hearted fun, but it is a feel good novel as you turn that last page. I feel like I am going through a bit of a reading renaissance right now - I am reading different kinds of books than I have been, ranging far and wide and I am loving it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A little something for the rain...

Well worth a gander, and a quick read to boot! Why is it most books about animals end up with tears being shed? I just thought of the Edgar Sawtelle book (meh), and then there is Yeller (never read, didn't need to cry that much) to the Hunters of Cherokee County by Wilson Rawls (I read this one over 25 years ago and it still sticks out in my mind.. I remember Little Ann and Big Dan.. ) I had a feeling some leakage from my eyes would happen because of this book, but it wasn't a terrible thing.

This is told from the perspective of Enzo, the dog and not the human. See, when Enzo finishes this life, he believes that he will be reincarnated as a human. This is his story as he tries to be the best dog growing in to a human that he can be. It is about his people, and his human, and their partnership. It is a lovely read, a heartbreaking read at times, and a profound read. I laughed (crow scene) and I didn't cry in the middle, but I did cry at the end. A book about perseverance, of love, of being true to yourself.

It seems the message I have been getting from the universe (seems like I am getting better at decluttering and that isn't coming up as much anymore) is to look in the direction that you want to go. Not to dwell too much right now, but focus on the place you want to be, and you unconsciously move that way.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I should have read it in less sittings

This was a decent read. It feels like a throwback novel - crafted in a different time (even if it is a recent novel). The language is quite lovely, and it was a quick and pleasurable read. I was not so sure how I felt about Flavia, our cheeky 11 year old narrator, but she grew on me by the end of the novel. At times I didn't know if I would want to read another in this series, but I think I would...

It was a jarring book to read a few pages at a time, and I finished the last 1/3 in one sitting, and I found that as I hit my reading stride, I enjoyed this book more. It wasn't profound, nothing earth-shattering, but good. A mystery, not quite like a Nancy Drew, not like a modern thriller either - somewhere in the middle. If you want a book that will draw you in, a little history sprinkled in, some enjoyable characters (literally), this is well worth a dive in to.

Settling in

It is amazing how there are moments in life that you wish you could just freeze frame them to take the moment, wallow in it, and then move on. Life is not like that though - it keeps on rumbling along. It is also different when you have young kids - they don't always understand why mom's mood can be a little off.

Thank you for the positive thoughts and support about my gran.

It is a different grieving experience - it is different when the person is older, you have said what you needed to say when they were alive, and your last goodbye was pretty awesome (at Christmas when we were out on the island). I hate to say it, but it is not as heart wrenching as it is with a younger person. When people find out she was 96 their first response invariably is "wow" and I can't argue with that - we should all be so lucky to be pretty healthy for as long as she was and to have had a downward slide just at the end..

It feels odd - I am part of that middle generation. Our parents are now the oldest. Our kids are the youngest... not so young anymore, and old enough to be dispensing advice and mothering the almost 20 year olds out there. When did this happen?

Going back to work is strange - your world has shifted and yet you are in your car, heading in, and the routine starts up again. A little shift in perspective, extra hugs for your loved ones...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A moment to remember

Well, situation puts it mildly. My dad isn't always great with words... but I guess when you are searching for the right word situation will do.

I sit here and write because it seems to be the thing to do in this moment - staring at the white screen. My gran passed away tonight. Startlingly quickly. My cousin and her husband where there, and I am grateful that my gran was not alone.

96 years, that is a pretty damn good life. A husband that loved her, kids, travels, grand kids, dogs and birds, great grand kids, a nice place to hang your hat in the later years, and a love of life, and curiosity, and a smile. Much of me is because of my gran - and I am missing her as I write these words. I think of so many things, beach combing together, a love of the sea, a love of picking up rocks. Her poodle Mokey, whom I really despised... Her love of turquoise, and little bits and bobs and interesting things. Her plants, the cigarettes she used to sneak when no one was watching, the happy hours, the woman who loved the attention of a man...I think of her ugly feet, and beakish nose, and kind brown eyes, and her delicate skin. Everything perfectly came together creating my gran - in all the juxtapositions that create a dynamic self. I think of her books, and the clutter, and the papers... I think of Charley the cockatoo eating everything he could and crapping all over the place. I remember Sunday breakfasts when we were all younger, and I remember every time I had to say good bye in the last few years - holding hands and looking at each other. I knew you, and you only knew you loved me and were loved at that point. You loved each of the boys when they came to visit, and reveled in their youthful enthusiasm. You would always look at me, and tell me how much it meant that we had our special connection, and you always wish for more time, and it would never be enough.

Adieu, but not goodbye Gran, you are already missed and it is a crazy thing to imagine the world without you.

We have a situation.

This morning I take my big guy over to my folks since my dad watches him on Thursdays, and my dad says "we have a situation."

First thing that runs through my head, is WTF?? I have no idea what this means, but there is something in the tone that I am not liking. Turns out that my gran is not doing so well and that the care home she is at has asked for palliative orders for her. Nothing like having this kind of conversation moments before you have to paste on a smile and head on in to work. My gran is 96, she has had a long and colourful life, and it is time. However, it doesn't make it any easier hearing that the time is actually almost near.

Folks found out last night, and it floored me they didn't call me last night. I don't get it - better to tell me in the morning when I come up to see them rather than call the night before and just give me some mental preparation? Out of all my relatives, my gran is one of my closest- even if I haven't seen so much of her in recent years (she lives on the island) doesn't mean my heart isn't there or that we haven't gone for visits when we could.

To say that I have been scattered today is putting it mildly. My first instinct is to drop everything and run to the island. I did call the centre, and the nurse said that she feels she still has some time (not a lot, but maybe weeks instead of days) and that the care centre is under lockdown because of Norwalk... so, waiting and see is about the only approach open to us at this point.

Such is life.

The day has gotten better from there - it has been snowing off and on, I just found out payroll did a data entry error that will cost us about $200, and I feel bloated.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Who said you couldn't teach an old dog new tricks?? I learned how to make bobbles last night! I even got a chance to read for a bit, and watched a bit of a show...

Who knew?

I am making a very cool hat for my hubby and I had to learn how to make bobbles. Pictures to follow in a few days.. should be a cool hat!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Ah, a few blissful moments of peace before the day takes off running. Of course, I have run my tank near dry and I need to hit the gas station before I venture too far away... but it isn't raining and I can see some blue sky (which is always a bonus this time of year).

Yesterday I had an individual in my office that irritated me from the moment I saw her - chatting on the phone, oblivious to the fact that someone was standing in front of her, waiting to take her in for an appointment. It got better from there - whining voice, lazy, questions that were really asking to abuse the system, and then the gall of taking a phone call in my office. She asked part way through, are we done.. I said yes, so she continued to talk. So I pointedly stared at her until the call ended, she asked a few more lame questions, and I was more than happy to see the back end of her leave the door. Folks like that make you appreciate the quiet times that much more.

Funny, after all the folks I see, there are so few that get under your skin... but the total lack of respect, that is something else. Karma is a beyotch and when you approach life like that.... interesting to see what comes full circle for that gal.

Actually, now that I reflect on it, yesterday certainly had it's less than stellar moments - I wanted Friday off, got shot down. Asked my boss a question, and apparently I have been asking too any questions lately (which ended up being positive since conversation went well and was more affirming than anything else). So the day was all over the board, some good (to follow, this post isn't just a whinge), some blargh, some ugly.

On to much more positive things - got a really cool mug from my boys with their pictures all over it and a few chocolates, and I got to decorate cookies at work for my guys. It was fun - felt like being a kid sitting around decorating and eating heart shaped gummies. I feel like I had too many sweets yesterday... and my back is stiff... I need to find some more hours in my day to get my body moving more!! We seem to still be going through a cycle where Connor is not going to sleep at a decent time - it makes such a difference to have a few minutes to yourself at the end of the day, to just be... decompress, whatever you want to call it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A monstrous love affair

I knew that I would finish reading this book tonight... Everyone else fell asleep early, and knowing I only had a 100 pages left, and it was 10 o'clock... I knew that I would be finishing this one before midnight.

This is the righteous cover of the The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. What a book. I have no idea how to truly describe this book and do it justice. Well worth a read. Well worth a second read. Definitely not even close to what I expected it to be.

It was also, ironically enough, a fun book to carry around. This cover screams pay attention to me and a few folks made comments about it. My dear friend KW recommended this book, raving that it is one of her top 5 books of all time... I shrugged before I picked it up, and now I understand. This is a book like Heart of Darkness, rich with meaning, layers of symbolism, and threads of different stories woven together. I cannot believe my luck in the books that I have read so far this year - outside of the first book which didn't live up to my expectations, all the rest have shattered my expectations and preconceived notions.

I could describe this book as a joy from start to finish, but it wasn't. At times it was hard, almost gruesome, at times, so beautiful I had to put it down and just revel in the moment. I wish this wasn't a library book because it would look fine on my bookshelf. Another cool tidbit is how much Davidson was paid for his book (big bucks, especially for an untried Canadian) and the other thing is that he is Canadian. This book will make it's way in to post secondary reading lists if it hasn't already.

I feel myself moving away from more of my escapist reading and moving in to books with a bit more teeth right now. I am sure that the pendalum will shift again, but it will be interesting to see how my next read measures up (book club read, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

TGIF can't come soon enough

I am officially sitting around frittering away some time at the end of the day because I have run out of direction. It has been one of those wonky weeks - I have done lots of editing at work, and considering how things should be done, and been motivated to get lots done (and I have).. and it all seems to have vanished!

Last few nights have been rough - broken sleep, trying to get Connor to sleep in the other room, and then random cat accidents, and then watering the plants and then over-watering and the water leaks everywhere, to not getting all the laundry put away last Sunday and some of it is still in piles, to the pile of stuff on the kitchen floor that just keeps moving around the room.

I think it would help if both kids would be asleep by even 9:30.. and give me some time to just be. You know, to spend some time with my husband, read my book, watch some mindless TV. Do more than just go to work, make dinner, throw a kid in the tub, child herd a bit, sit on couch a little tired, and then herd them to bed... it is funny how some weeks are great and everything falls in to place, and other weeks you just struggle to find yourself in there.

I find the hardest thing of sticking around as my youngest falls is asleep is that once my guard is down, and even if I wasn't that tired at the beginning of the process, I am that tired by the end of. Yes, I know I could let him cry it out... but it just isn't all that appealing. I know eventually we will get there, but there are some days you just have to whinge a little about it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A messy end

2011 is looking pretty good as far as my reading list has been concerned A friend recommended this one heartily, and I must agree, it was a great read. It was really well written, the language was luxurious and the characters were well crafted.

The story focuses "in the woods" - a mystery thriller that takes place in small town Ireland. The lead detectives aren't perfect, they are flawed, and a little more believable than some of the leads that I have been reading lately.

There was a lot of lead up to this story, and in some ways, the end felt a bit rushed. It doesn't end all wrapped up neatly, there are unresolved strands and you are left to wonder what happens to the characters after the last page has been turned. The next book written by French continues on with one of the main characters from this book, and then the next takes a character from her third book, but in many ways... there are still things I would like to see play out from this first novel. Well done, the last page has been turned and I want to read more.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

We have two.. now two more!

Ahhhhhhh. Two of those troublesome teeth are in. Amazing, the wee guy's appetite is coming back, and his cheeks are not so flushed. Funny how that works.

It is only Thursday and it already feels like it should be Friday. At work I have been crunching numbers and looking at stats, and brainstorming some ideas of how I want the program I run to work... it has been brain numbing in some ways, frustrating, and then you just wonder how far to take your audit as well.

I think this weekend I am going to rearrange the furniture in the boys room and it is time to start the transition out of our room. It is time. I want my bed back. The boys need to be in their own room. It is also time to actually start to rotate toys, and not have so much stuff in their room, and tucked around all the corners of our wee place. I am there.

It has also been one of those weeks helpful souls tell me I look tired, and they can hear that I have been fighting a cold. I made the mistake of looking in a window on Tuesday.. and the outfit I was wearing did nothing for me - felt dumpy and frumpy for the rest of the day. Wednesday morning, that created a "five shirt" morning until I settled on the one I wanted to wear. *SIGH* Today I went for the Johnny Cash look (all black) and of course, I have toothpaste on the right, front. I seem to doing well in some ways, and just not in others.

I am also really enjoying the book that I am reading right now... but it is starting to go in a direction that I am a wee bit disappointed in, and I am not sure how it will all work out. I only have about 100 pages left, so it will be interesting how I feel once the last page is turned. It is a good read, will have to see if it stays a great read.

To continue on my really long ramble - I really can't wait to have our own place that we do not co-own. No sharing, no deals to be cut, no having to go and forth and make sure everyone is happy with how things are working out. No strata, and no tenants - this is what we are aiming for. It will be amazing - no more stressing and feeling like I am caught in the middle between people I love. At the end of the day, I am just trying to achieve what is best for us, what makes sense even if it isn't perfect, it is still an improvement of sorts. It helps knowing we are at a year, that things should start happening then, and we should be able to look for ourselves. It feels like an intoxicating dream - to know we can put down our own roots, and watch our kids grow, and plant some bulbs, and watch them grow, and fix up our place, the way that we want it. Yup, I am feeling a bit done where putting stuff like this down helps keep it in focus, or out of focus...