Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why, oh why, did I say, 'success'?

What an interesting month.  Funny that I craft a post about success at the beginning of the month, then a whinging post about what it doesn't look like, and another week later, at the end of another week, I am contemplating another element about success and this success theme in the last month seems to evolved around my kids, and work.  Although breaking from that thought for a moment, I am reading more, I did pick up some knitting (dishcloths count, even if they are simple), I am getting out for more walks, I am eating more vegetables and less wheat, and I am really trying to find some balance.  It does seem that my housekeeping abilities have been sorely lacking this January, we have struggled with winter illnesses, and my motivation at times has been really flagging.  Did I mention that I love coffee, it has kept me going at times?

Our daycare situation for our youngest started falling apart last week, and then completely this Monday.  It got to the point that I pulled him from their care and said he wasn't coming back.  They also had an exit plan for my kid, and I knowing this when I got the call he wasn't behaving and they couldn't cope because they have casual staff on, I was pretty angry and disappointed to say the least.  In a summary vent, not every childcare facility, no matter how praised it is, isn't going to be the best fit for every kid.  I would say that this place wasn't supervised or structured enough for my little guy, because the boy he was there, wasn't the boy he was at night, or during the weekends.  He is back at his old home daycare for a few weeks, and he is acting like he never left there.  Already back to napping, and maybe a little more rambunctious at the end of the day because they don't always get outside, but the concerns have stopped.  Was it him, or was it the situation? I will play nice and say both, but much more on the centre side.  Not the right place for him. I truly should have thought more about what it would be like for a kid to go from a home with 7 kids, to a centre with 50 kids, especially when those 50 kids were in a space that didn't have a lot of toys and frankly, not a lot of boundaries either.  Who knew.  Well, now I do.  If you kid has always been in a big centre, that is one thing, but no matter how new or cutting edge the place is, you have to think about your kid, and how he is going to be there, as themselves. 

Moving ahead, I think we have the best of both worlds coming up.  Wee guy will start at a smaller centre in a few weeks 4 days a week, and then will get one day a week at his old place.  A different kind of balance, but I think an overall better transition to being a bid kid.  We have had other issues with our big guy too.  Time to look at boy scouts, and martial arts.  Time to start scheduling in some of these kinds of activities.  I see our nights getting busier. I have to start thinking about swimming lessons again too.  We are going to pass on baseball this year, B was keen on blastball, but not on regular ball.  We all can't be good at everything.

It has been an exhausting month.  Between childcare issues, norovirus, worrying about the big kid in school, and learning the mechanics of a new job, after Christmas finances... I am really glad a new month is rolling along and that time is marching on.  One foot, in front of the other... some times it is just that.  You aren't running, you are more taking baby steps, and side steps, and sometimes just rocking from side to side.  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Catchy title

First off, this wasn't a book that I would normally pick.  One of the ladies in my book club had a bag of books and invited us to plunder, and this was one cover page that caught my attention.  I had not idea what it was about, missed the baby hat altogether, and was caught up in the names of all those classics against the red background.  Interesting on how one picks out a free book to read. 

This is young adult, and an easy read.  This is a book about friendship, teenage pregnancy and young love, making mistakes, relationships, and even touches upon postpartum depression.  Perhaps a current version of "Are you there God, it is me, Margaret?", but not quite.  There is a big leap between reading about masturbation and your best friend delivering a baby out in a cabin with her brother, whom you have a crush on.  There were parts of this book that were a bit much, such as the religious fundamentalist parents that wouldn't accept their daughter's pregnancy, and some parts that were great, such as a house designed with a special chill out room.  It's a quite read, and I quite liked that each chapter started with the first line from a classic novel.  It was a nice way to frame the story, especially as our narrator, Julie, starts the book contemplating first lines, and then finishes with a similar reflection upon closers.  All in all, a decent read, and I liked that teenage pregnancy wasn't glorified, rather, it was a life changing, terrifying event that created a lot of unknowns in a young women's life.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Caught in another series

The nice thing about finding a new author that writes decent crime fiction, is that you have a new series to delve in to.  The down side is that I keep leaping in to these series part way through.  Of course, they all say that each novel is a stand alone, and you don't have to read them in order, however, it really does help in terms of character development, especially when the author likes to use flashbacks. 

I have to admit that I used to like using italics in some of my writing.  I have come to realize that I tend to skip over what is italicized, even though I am aware that these are generally points that are trying to be emphasized for one reason or another by the author.  A few chapters are like this in this book, and I found I had to really work at reading these sections, even if they included a lot of important past information that shed light on one character actions. 

A thoroughly satisfying crime novel.  Since I have now read a few books in the Cole/Pike series, this one felt a bit familiar.  Again, having read later novels that also use flashbacks, I think some of the familiarity came from that.  I am glad that I am now tracking the books I read.. when I get those moments of deja vu, I can now easily look back to see what I was reading, and when, and try to figure out the connection. 

I find it interesting that I like to go back and forth between crime novels and literature.  Through in the odd romance by an old favourite author, and then a totally random book, and you have a pretty eclectic bookshelf!  I have started a pile of books that I will use as trade ins to get more.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Did I mention success?

Was it only a week ago I was shouting to the world about what a successful morning looked like? I think I had a great big failure of one this morning.  Well, maybe not a failure, but some learning moments! Such as, better to take the trash out the night before, rather than scrambling to do it before I head out to work.  When the kids are up at an ungodly hour with me, it does help to get them dressed earlier rather than later.  Weirdly enough, if everything seemed to unravel for a bit before we left, by the time we started to drive, everything sorted itself out.  We won't talk about whether or not I was on time for work today.

I should be asleep.  I can't believe I say that and it is 10:30pm.  I remember a short time ago when it was a Friday night and Ken and I would be getting ready to play a hockey game at this time.  Seems like a lifetime ago and then some.  I remember being an undergrad, and I didn't do mornings.  I would stay up until all hours, and then try to sleep in as long as I could.  Now a sleep in is 7... of course getting to 7 I usually wake up about 5:45 since that is when my alarm goes off.  Then I try to coax myself back to sleep. 

Long day, meeting at the end of the day so I didn't get home until 9.  A quiet house, I had time to finish my book, and catch up on some posts.  The last few months have been chaotic, and too much winter illness through the house, which has hit us all, takes it toll.  Time to regroup, make sure we all gets lots of sleep (ironic, considering the last paragraph), continue to work on improving diets and exercise.  Speaking of which, I made it 2 jogs again in to 10km running.  Two runs seems to be my magic number.  It felt great.. and then it seems life got in the way.  No matter how motivated I am to try to train to JOG a 10km, I can't seem to get my ass out of bed early to get out for a jog, or to even think about it once the kids are in bed.  Not happening.  I think I will aim for a jog on the weekends, even just to walk and jog and get out in nature, and just breath.

At work, it seems like groups of us end up wearing the same colour at the same time... we joked about the colour blue tomorrow.. will be interesting to see if the idea stuck.  On to transitions, it is really and truly a transition going for a home daycare to a group daycare.  Our poor wee guy I don't think has had an easy go of it, especially since he is deciding to give up on naps.  No naps, means he is melting at the end of the day.  Ironically, now that he is going to bed earlier, that piece is easier.  I also think he has gone through a growth spurt, has been really hungry, and ultimately needs to learn how to become friends with people.  Amazing how much learning we do throughout our lives.  Being a parent is not an easy gig.  All this self-actualization and setting our kids up for success isn't easy, especially when I am still a work in progress.

An unlikley pilgrimage

What an unexpected pleasure.  This will likely be one of my favourite books for 2013.  What a profoundly moving story.  Sometimes light, sometimes incredibly dark.  This was a beautiful story, and even more meaningful for me because Ken picked it out for me.  In life, it isn't the grand sweeping gestures that sweep you off of your feet, I believe it is the little kindnesses one can do, the little things we do to show how much we love someone.  Out of all the gifts I got for Christmas, it is the books I will remember the most (okay I got a really cool Popsicle maker, good for a later post,) because they were totally unexpected, and well thought out.

How to describe a novel like this?  It is so many things it is.  This is the story of Harold Fry, recently retired, whom one day to goes out to post a letter.  The difference being, he then decides that he must go on a pilgrimage to visit an old friend, in the hopes that his walking will somehow keep her alive as she is dying of cancer.  There are some unhappy threads to this story, but they are interwoven with hope, and humour.  This book will catch you off guard, it will catch your imagination, and it will stick with you.  Well worth picking it up and spending a few hours between its covers - great book.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A swift read

Now this was a page turner.  It would seem that the books are starting with a bang, and oddly enough, I read my first Crais novel this time last year.  Funny how things work out!

This is like the literary version of "lock, stock, and two smoking barrels".  Everything that can go wrong, does.  Twists, tension, quick snappy writing.  About as believable and entertaining as Die Hard, LOL.  Speaking of which, it looks like this got made in to a movie in 2005... I am not sure if we saw it, but perhaps this would be good weekend fodder to check out. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Lately I have been reflecting on what "success" means to me.

Such as, what a successful morning is to me has taken on a whole new meaning. 

In the past, a great morning (during the work week) was getting up around 7:30 am, shower, get ready for work, eat, run out of the house, attempt to be at work on time. 

Now, it is get up before 6am, shower, have a coffee, make lunches, kids get up, feed them breakfast, make sure they are dressed, get all their gear together, load the car, make sure they have eaten, make sure they have shoes, figure out dinner, maybe do some dishes, try to remember my breakfast, get dressed, maybe run a brush through my hair, get a second coffee, load the car, cat herd the kids in the car, and leave.  Maybe, remember to ask the kids if they need to go to the washroom, and hope that I don't get stopped by a train as I try to leave our home community.  Hope traffic is good.  Get up the hill. Drop C off at daycare, park car, walk B to his daycare walking group, run across campus, hope that I am close to being on time for work, start my day.

We can get off track in so many ways in the morning. Rebellion about eating, rebellion over clothes.  Get in the car, and one of the boys has to pee.  Get stopped by a West Coast Express.  Get stopped by multiple freight trains.  Accidents, traffic, unexpected pit stops along the way.  Mornings are an adventure.  Sometimes they don't get along, sometimes there is yelling, on any of our parts.  This morning was a great morning.  Traffic patterns have positively changed for us, and I think I am slowly getting the hang of this morning gig.  Success is getting to work, almost on time, no yelling involved, kids faces somewhat clear of breakfast, and not forgetting jackets, hats, gloves, lunches, library books, and my own breakfast.

Some mornings I get in to work, and I am already tired.  Or still tired.  Some mornings I just wonder.  Speaking of which, did I mention today was a good morning?  Ultimately success in all parts except that it is now snowing.  Dropped off B with only shoes and no snowboots.  I hope he avoids the  puddles at lunch and when he walks to daycare...

On the same note, for Christmas, I got two things that have really stood out.  The coolest popsicle set (Star Wars light sabre set) and some books from my hubby.  I love to read, and the books he picked were awesome.  Well thought out, a total surprise, and well, romantic as a result.  Weeks later, makes me happy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

You can tell I had a few days away from work...

Well, here we are at the beginning of another year.  When I was a kid, 40 seemed old.  My folks used to talk about how fast the years went by, and here I am, echoing their sentiments, and now that 40 is staring me in the face, I will say wholeheartedly that 40 isn't even close to being old.  Maybe a little wiser, maybe a few more miles on the body, but not old.  New Years has come and gone, and I am glad that work is quiet, traffic has been good, and I am slowly easing in to 2013.   I was looking through the books that I read in 2012, and although I wished I posted more throughout the year, I am glad that atleast I tracked what I read because it is interesting to reflect back upon what you have read, and what were the stand outs, and what books I have already forgotten that I have read.

I will remember books like Girl in Translation, Unbroken, The Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Lamb, Terry Fallis books, Peter Robinson series, and others, that I was surprised to realize they were books I had read only months ago.  Either time moves that fast, or those books didn't leave that much of an impression.

Speaking of which, first book of 2013 was a perfect choice for holiday reading.  Somewhat in the same style of Da Vinci Code, a good, fast paced read.  Characters aren't completely rounded, but it is a page turner without a lot of depth and it made for interesting reading.   Next!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflections, 2012

Looking back, it is nice to have a post from the start of the year, if only to remember what that year started off like.  Nice, quiet evening to ring in the New Years.  We took the kids to the Stanley Park, Bright Lights train, and then came home and ate popcorn and watched movies.  I banged on pots, we both called our folks, and it was lovely.  For this year, that was the perfect way to celebrate a new year.  Next year, I think I will be looking for a Polar Bear swim again... ultimately, this year I was so glad for a break and to not have to leave the house to come back again today.

2012 was a busy year.  A year of adjustment to change (between the move, and changing daycares, and shifting jobs, to name but a few elements).  A year of a few new thoughts, or different thoughts.  Such as, we brined the turkey this year, and it was amazing.  We are rethinking how we eat, and the thoughts circle around wheat, and to a lesser degree, sugar.  Jumping on the "wheat belly" fad, lifestyle, (whatever you want to call it), reading this book can't  help but open your eyes a bit as to why we are so much unhealthier than we were in the past.  We have significantly cut down on our wheat consumption, and I am trying to make different choices when it comes to my baking.

I had no idea of how much of an emotional connection I had to wheat, that was enlightening.  I never questioned why wheat was great, and why things like spelt were weird.  Where did I get these thoughts?  Spelt is actually a lovely grain, and pastas made from rice and other grains, taste pretty darn good!  I hope that by the end of 2013 I can say that I am down a few pants sizes.  Between a longer walk to work from my parking spot, to rethinking how we eat and loving veggies more than anythign else, it will be an interesting year.  This post may get edited in the future when I have more time to add some reflections from 2012, but for now, this is a good start.

Speaking of which, for 2013 I want to see new things, get  out camping more, get a little fitter, pick up knitting again, and continue to take risks in books and food and try out new things!  Spend more quality time with my family, get out on more dates with my hubby, spend quality time with my dearest friends when I can.  Okay, now the list is really taking off.. ttfn.