Sunday, June 22, 2014

To the woods!

I think I have a sweet place in my heart for this place. The first time I really spent time here was with Ken, and it must have been in our first year together.  We fed the ground squirrels at Lightning Lake, we checked out the Hope Slide, we drove to Three Brother Mountain and did part of the hike, checked out Manning Park lodge and fed the Whiskey Jacks by hand.. it was a magic day.

Jump forward a few years (??!!) and we went when I was pregnant with Brandon and spent Father's Day there with my folks.  I think I even posted about it back in 2006.  In 2008, we spent an awesome weekend exploring Hope and the area around there for a May long weekend and drove out to Manning Park on a whim. There was still snow on the ground, so we more drove in for a while and then turned around to come back since it was obviously still way too early in the season.

It really is hard to believe it has been 6 years since we have been to Manning Park.  To say we have been busy raising two kids, moving, working, and then some is an understatement.  The time has flown.  It is nice to get back out in the woods again, and to be seeing some new things, and to be exploring a bit more of BC again, and not just Washington (no matter how much I enjoy heading south it is nice to spend more time in our province).

Feeding the ground squirrels - cheeky buggers will eat out of your hand, and will also help yourself if you leave the carrot container open..

My handsome boy.

 My other handsome boy.

A little older perhaps, same breathtaking view.  It really helps even just blogging a few thoughts down. To try to remember these kinds of amazing moments so they don't get lost in the shuffle.  Our weeks go by so fast, and at times have to be so structured, it is so great to get out and do something like this, even if it means all my laundry is not done and our meals completely planned for the week.  I probably should not have spent the last few hours blogging, and thinking about books, and not doing those tasks, but it has been really nice to take some time and do just that.

Balance.  Again, it comes to trying to find this elusive thing.  That and being better at setting limits and realizing that not everything needs to be done at once.  I can spread out tasks and things to do.

Today was great.

Tonight B did karate belt testing.  I was so proud of him.  I leaked out a few of those things called tears again.  Watching how hard he is trying, and seeing him getting his legs up, and giving the best he can with his rosy cheeks and sweaty hair.  I love my kids so much.  C fell down earlier and took a knick out of his head in the shower.  Scared the bejesus out of me.  Sometimes it seems relentless, I can talk about trying to find balance and I just seem to go from moment to moment.  I wouldn't trade it, life is interesting, life is going at a crazy pace, and there are so many amazing experiences that we are getting to have as a result.  I do feel pretty blessed.

June has been a very, very intense and mostly wonderful crazy month.

Pitt Meadows Day, MIL 90th birthday and family reunion, friend getting ready to move away to Alberta, the end of the school year, changing daycares, changing schools, karate provincials, wrapping up baseball, karate belt testing, going to Winnipeg for three days, then you add in a few late nights at work, and book club, and a friend's wedding celebration, and my BFF coming to town for a short period of time and you get a really busy month.  There is apparently another 8 days left before the month is done!  I almost forgot to add in C's birthday as well.  The list has been growing all month. I am also trolling a bit for a book to catch me… I have been reading so many good ones lately and now I just finished my last library book. I need more.  None of the books I have that I have not read are really calling out to me right now.  I am going to check and see before I head up, but nothing is yelling out READ ME next.  I guess a lull was coming after the 5 weeks of great reading..

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"No Man's an island. Every book is a world"

That post title is not mine - it is definitely from this book's cover, and is very close to the John Donne poem… No Man is an Islande.. which is one of my personal favourites.

I really enjoyed this book - one of those quirky books you grab because it has an interesting cover and it looks a little bit different.  What a satisfying read.  I have really been enjoying many of the books that have crossed my path this year.  I am also still loving have books magically appear for me at the library. Being connected and being able to put holds on books until your number comes up is pure genius.

I love how books and stories weave their way through this novel, and how the main characters grow and evolve as well.  I think this one will stick with me for a bit - it was also a really quick read.  There were a few places I think I would have liked to have written down some quotes (which is always a good sign in my books) and I was caught up in the story.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finish the next one.. please

One of the best thing about discovering a new author, is reading your way through all the books they have written.  The worst thing is after you have finished reading that last book, and you have to wait for the next one to be published.  Alas and alack, this is where I am at with SAA.  I have enjoyed all of her books, and this one was no exception.  I would say that my one real head scratcher was when I was trying to figure out how the novella/e-short story she released ("Waking Kate") tied in to this novel, since there is a few year gap I think in the story.. (or at least a time break).  I would not call SAA a formula writer, but the feeling her books evoke in me is the same, book to book.  I like the memories that her books stir up - that awareness of perhaps where I come from, the idea of my people, and even the people I am creating with my children and the place we call home.   This is a story about redemption, and finding yourself.. and like the short story, is a book about Kate's waking up.  I often think that the right book sometimes appears at the right time in my life, or that I finally pick up a book from my shelf when it is the right time to read it… what has really resonated with me about this book, is that line "Waking Kate".  

It feels like I am waking up again and see the world fresh.  This last month has been emotionally intense (understatement).  So many extremes in terms of the emotional ride that I feel like I have been on at times.  This book reminded me of how I feel.. like waking up after a few years of being stuck in a crazy moment (some of my own doing) between young kids, responsibilities, changing jobs, learning limits, relearning limits, and a new one, to really trying to learn that I don't need to be superwoman all the time.  I can rest.  I can sleep.  I can slow down a little.  I perhaps can even learn how to ask for help better or set my own limits (especially at work) better.  

It helps that the kids are older.  I am relieved my stint as a board chair is almost over. I am glad I know where my kids are going to school in the Fall and that we have all of our weeks in order for the summer and covered well.  Both kids should have an awesome summer.  OMG my youngest starts kindergarten in the fall and both are in a new school and a new daycare, close to home. I will commute solo soon, and I will have a more regular schedule.  I am sure there will be chaotic moments, but I am hoping they are a little less crazy that what the last two years has felt like.  It feels like more stability is coming, which can only mean that perhaps I will be able to make a change within my career to apply my skills in a new way.

Waking up.  I can roll with this theme for a while.  

I need to get back to jogging again.  Once again, a semester start up that has thrown my regular routine out the window. I really feel like this is the next element to take back.  Exercise and work.  Crashing through limits with exercise, and better defining my limits with work and working better within those.  I should maybe bookmark this post to come back read this.  I am not superwoman.  Having a deadline that doesn't work and just working harder and more hours doesn't make it a realistic deadline. I have to speak up and stop trying to make it better by taking it all on.  /repeat as needed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


This is taken along the Red River, near the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Reading this book, felt like the "right place, right time".

Toews is a great Canadian author, and is a very profound, elegant writer.  Her books aren't always happy, but they are still a pleasure to read.  This book also took place partly in Winnipeg (which I can now say that I have experienced in a very limited way since I was there for three days for a conference), and had Mennonite sisters for lead characters.  Which was also interesting since there is Mennonite history on my mom's side, although her family originally settled in small town Saskatchewan when the west was opened up for Homesteading.  Therefore, the timing was good for me to read this book, and it was a very thoughtful read.

I am glad that I don't suffer from depression.  I really wonder about that black dog sometimes, and how some people struggle so much with it.  I have my pity party on occasion, but nothing like some people I know do.  This book delves in to doe pretty hefty topics (depression, single parenthood, aging, suicide, to name but a few) but this book remains hopeful (really) throughout.  It does have a more or less happy ending, and is a worthwhile read to pick up.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Not quite as original as the first...

Perfect read for a long plane ride across Canada.  BC is very interesting from the sky.  As is Alberta.. in the beginning.. and then the blocks of green start to flatten out, rivers meander and are interesting, greens seem to fade to browns, and then you arrive in Winnipeg.

This was one of the books I choose to read while I went away on conference. I figured I had a fair bit of time to myself waiting in airports (transfer in Calgary) and then in the air, and at night, that I would get some reading done.

It was an entertaining book, but not quite as novel as the first book. If having read several books by SAA in the last two years and I haven't gotten bored and really latched on to a formula… this one felt a little more formulaic and it is only book two by this author.  It was still really interesting, and crazy how different elements come together.. think Tarantino meets book.  Fun, but not quite as quirky and novel as that 100 year old man tale. (grin)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Jump in to this world...

What a welcome surprise! I think I have mentioned that I have been stumbling upon some pretty rewarding books in the last while, right?  This is one of them.  It is also part of a whole series!

This is a lovely period book that is placed in Northern Ireland after the second war (I believe).  It is about a young doctor that has just graduated from University and is deciding whether or not to become an assistant GP to a 'country' doctor.  What a great book.  This is a book about characters, and stories, and about how health weaves its way through a life, and how folks get on in small towns.  A really enjoyable read and I will slowly work my way through more of them.