Thursday, May 31, 2012

Working that mom hat

After an environmental scan, I have decided that I just have to break and completely embrace routines and making the most of  my mornings  before I leave for work.  I think internally I have been fighting this for a while, in a way, my own Peter Pan ambition to never grow old.

Well, I may never truly grow up (embrace that inner child I say) but there is something to be said about meal planning, and doing the dishes in the morning so you come home to a clean kitchen (rarely do they happen right after dinner in my house), and organizing the trash and recycling, and doing the laundry throughout the week, and trying to keep the house a little cleaner along the way.  Damn it all, I am trying to pick up after myself, and the kids, and put things away, and not let things get wildly out of control.  Spending your whole weekend cleaning house when the weather finally gets good sucks. 

It never ceases to amaze me that success is part luck, part hard work, and a lot of personal discipline and management.  My current goals are to continue reading good books, knit a few pairs of socks for loved ones, connect with my body again and start exercising so I can trim down a bit, some swimming lessons for the kids, a few dates with my hubby, and to have a great summer.  Some parts of this are easier to achieve than others.  Other goals include actually taking my breaks at work and using my time more effectively.  Days seem to slip into weeks, and then months.  Everything is speeding up and I am finding that the more structured I have things, the smoother everything runs.  At times I want to rebel against the structure and the routine... but it is starting to become more and more clear that is what vacations are for, and especially how important they are.

Monday, May 28, 2012

50 shades of something...

Word of mouth seems to be spreading the news about this book (and the trilogy it belongs too) like wildfire.

This article captures a few of the reasons why.

I will admit, I was curious to read the book.  It has a lot of the hype surrounding it like the Da Vinci Code did a few years ago.  People are actually talking about this book.  Even here at work, copies are being devoured in cubes all over the place.  I can't say that I had high expectations of the book... as I had heard terms like "mommy porn" being bandied about, as well as a few comments about the lead character's "inner goddess" that gets a fair bit of attention.

This is not stellar literature, but I think I can understand why it is so popular.  It is easy to read.  In many ways it is very idealistic.  In other ways, it is a fantasty book where you can see the glimmer of a happy ending at the end of the trilogy.  In a way it reminded me of reading the "second chance at love" books of the 80s that I would steal from my mom, or like a racier harlequin novel for pure escapist reasons.  It is easy to skim read through the novel, and some of the sentences make me roll my eyes.  It isn't a very deep novel, and I did snicker when I saw the display of the series at the local Coles store.  I had to laugh.  I think this novel's popularlity has something to do with it's cover.  It is innocuous.  It doesn't look like a racy book.  It looks acceptable.  Add to this that people are talking about it, therefore, people are reading it.  Hell, my neighbours were talking about it and one of their dad's has read the whole series.  It is all a bit odd IMHO.  Entertaining?  Fairly.  Pretty vanilla, and as I said, very idealistic.  It is at it's heart a boy meets girl story, with a bit of a twist, where the boy is broken and needs to be healed, but the girl also needs to have some life experience along the way.  Will it change your life, nope.  Was it a quick read, and somewhat entertaining? Yes.

You couldn't ask for a different kind of "fantasy" book considering the last book I read was The Golden Compass.    I believe we are going to read it for book club, and I am curious to see all of our reactions to it.  I think it is curious to read because of it's popularity and the attention it is getting and the fact that this is a book pretty much about two folks and their developing sexual relationship.  Outside of this, the plot is pretty thin, as is some of the character development.  I was chatting to a coworker about it, and frankly, neither one of us really get the popularity of this book.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not sure if I am going to finish this one...

One thing I love about having a library at work is that I can take out books by authors I haven't read or know anything about, risk free.  I have only invested my time, and not some of my hard earned dollars for a book that I am not sure whether or not I am going to enjoy.  Hence, this book, for instance.

I am just not sure about this one.  I got about 100+ pages in to it... and well, a few other more interesting books have come along since I started reading this.  So, I put it aside a few weeks ago.  Then it fell behind my bed, and I rediscovered it this weekend (should be a hint).  Yes, it is interesting.. but it just isn't pulling me along. Rather, I feel like it is dragging me along.  I have checked out some reviews, and this is a well reviewed book... but I can't quite convince myself that I want to finish it.  As a so called intellectual mystery novel.. it is falling short for me and I am not that engaged with the characters.  In a way, it has a Dead Poet's Society feel to it.  It also feels like being back in university when I was reading Greek and Roman literature, and exploring the classics and thinking luxurious thoughts when I wasn't worried about feeding the kids and commuting to work.  Although this isn't really a great nostalgia, hence my struggle.  Other art forms bring me back to my youth in a much more effective and rewarding way (like listening to the album "Gordon" by the Barenaked Ladies or the Hip).

Especially when I know I can grab book 2 in the dark materials trilogy tomorrow.. and a friend is going to loan me 50 shades of gray.. which is supposed to be scorching up mom's bedrooms all over the place.  When I know I have at least 3 or 4 books that I could jump right in to... the appeal of this book just isn't there for me.  Hell, since I can return it to the library, if I am ever so moved, I can go and take it out again, and finish the damn thing.  I think this post has talked me in to taking the book back with the Golden Compass tomorrow.

Foray in to fantasy

It has been a while since I have read a fantasy novel... and I have been curious about Pullman's "Dark Materials" trilogy.

It took me a little bit to get in to the book because fantasy is just such a break from what I normally read, but once I was in to the book, I can't wait to head back to our library to take out the next book in the series.  It is truly darker than many of the fantasy novels that I have read, and it would be interesting to spend some time delving a little deeper in to some of the religious and symbolic meanings of the text.

I am not sure if I will watch the movie, but as for good reading, I will continue in the series.

Friday, May 18, 2012


It seems that it isn't only my kids that like a good routine.  It has only taken me 39 years to discover that I too, love my routines.  I like my PB&J sandwiches, and I lurve my coffee on the couch in the morning.  I love being able to read before bed... I think after each kid was born.. part of the issue going back to work is that there is many, many months of flux as the whole family develops new routines.  Which is chaos trying to get 4 different routines to figure each other out.

So, I am trying to figure out the addition of t-ball twice a week. Some days, success! Other days, total fail.  Like last night... forgot B's glove and jersey.  So, in to the truck they went when I got home.  I am learning that I have to get on it in the morning and use the time before I leave for work to clean up the kitchen, and get organized, and plan out my dinner meal, and prep the veggies.  It all very pedestrian this getting organized for the day.  The big pay off, it does help.  It does help for things to go along a lot smoother.  It just feel like I am kicking and screaming my way there.  I could say that I am a late bloomer, or late figuring it out... but I think it does take time, and you have to be enough beyond the transition and crisis (for that matter) to actually bring about change and effective routines.

Then you get nights like tonight... t-ball... if Tuesday I forgot some stuff but we still had a great time.. today B was brutal.  You would think he cotton in his ears and he just didn't care.  He didn't want to listen about anything.  I ended up being a mean parent and I took the kids home instead of playing.  Man, that was hard because I was organized... but I knew I couldn't give in.  They were little shits!  Nothing like trying to have a quick chat at daycare and find out how your kid is doing when your oldest unlatches and roams your vehicle.  Then after getting mad at your youngest for grabbing the sunscreen and trying to paint the window.. climbs out of the car so he could do it, and wastes a bunch on the window himself.  Oh the tears and the drama.  I get I need to not spend time chatting because the kids get restless and part of it is my fault... but it was like Spring Fever for B.. he didn't want to listen, he just wanted to goof off and do his own thing. 

Blargh.  Not one of our finest family moments.  I don't think anyone won... it was such a moment in the truck - I pulled over, had an honest talk with myself, and my DH.. and decided to turn the truck for home. It has been a shite week at work (really busy) and then to cat herd a kid that doesn't want to listen while chasing the other one down? Sorry, not happening today.

/rant over

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An enjoyable sequel...

With great intentions, I had meant to post about this a few weeks ago when I actually finished this book.  Alas, life got in the way.  Life seems to keep getting busy on me, and I am left scrambling and trying to get a handle on the day to day.

This was a great follow-up to the Best Laid Plans.  This is very entertaining, and I love that it is Canadian.  Of course, now I impatiently wait for book 3.  Come on Terry, write faster.

A passage that captured my imagination (from page 183) was this:

"Aye, and there were many doubters who told us all it was never to be. The mountain, simply too high to scale. But a life without challenge, a life without hardship, a life without purpose, seems pale and pointless. With challenge come perseverence and gumption. With hardship come resilience and resolve. With purpose come strength and understanding. And tonight, with victory come elation, gratitude, expectations, and a wee spot of trepidation."

Well said.  Much of this could be borrowed to describe a few trials and tribulations and the reward of perseverence.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1st?

Already?  Time is really clicking along at a frenetic pace. 

Baseball season is underway, and I am proud, and pleasantly surprised with B's team this year.  A much better group overall.  Although, I had heard that the Tuesday/Thursday group didn't get rained out at all last year, so I figured I would pick these days instead of Monday/Wednesday... and so far, this decision isn't really panning out for us.  Spring showers has put it mildly.  I would say La Nina has been in full force over the last year and has delivered a fair share of rain to our fair, left coast.  I feel rejoice when we get a few hours of blue skies, because they have been pretty rare in the last six months.  I digress.  Back to baseball.  B's skills have come a long way - I remember how frustrating last year was between the short attention spans of the kids and just lack of coordination.  Things have come together so much better.

It is definitely tricky managing both boys at ball.  At this stage it is all about parent participation, and C's attention span is very, very small for this.  Luckily there are enough parents to go around, and a few younger sibs, that last week it worked out that one of the parents watched him at the playground, allowing me to focus on B and helping him get his skill set going.  You forget one day, you had to learn to throw and catch a ball, and how to swing a bat.  Up until last year, I thought that this was innate.  However, like learning how to ride a bike, somewhere in our distant past, someone took the time to teach us.

It does make it tricky trying to figure out meals on the go, and what to cook fast when we get home.  Having kids in activities and the work thing is all about personal management.  If you want to get things done and get more out of this crazy thing called life, you have to have a plan, and you have to manage it.  Damn lists are a life saver.  Who knew I would be spouting this off a decade ago?