Saturday, November 28, 2015

Great book. This is a movie I look forward to watching.

This one surprised me.

I loved it.  This was fun, just about the right length.  Just about technical enough.  The narrator is great.  He isn't perfect.  He isn't arrogant.  He has pity parties, and then movies on.

This is book about resilience,  hope, and how humanity will strive to help humanity.

I have read some great different genres this year.  I look forward to compiling my top five books for the year when we get closer to the end of December.  This was a book where it lived up to it's hype.  I will read more books by Weir as they come out.

That being said, I have waited a while to watch San Andreas.  Not as much of a waste of time as Spy... but truly, a disaster flick, with the layer of cheese spread out really thick. This was a movie that didn't live up to my expectations.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Blackfish .. worth seeing

I had never heard of this one.  Ken brought it to my attention and we grabbed it for the weekend.  We have two extremely different movies to watch... this one, and San Andreas tomorrow.  A movie I expect to be moved by, and hopefully one that will entertain us.

This is a powerful movie.

Truly, it is a privilege to be able to see whales, dolphins, sharks, rays, turtles in their natural environment.  I feel a bit shameful for my 11 or 12 year old self that would have seen Tilikum in 84 or 85 at the Sealand of the Pacific.  I can say with meaning - I didn't know any better and at the time, I was just so impressed to see the whales, I didn't what else to think. I went to Sea World in 91, and then again in 2001.  I remember going in 2001, and feeling somewhat uncomfortable with it.  My attitude was already changing by then, and how we saw the Orcas perform didn't sit well with either of us at the time.  Most people didn't question these things back then, and I think many still don't.

I appreciate what places like the Vancouver Aquarium strive to do, and the teaching and educational components of their business, as well as their outreach and rescue programs.

I remember being enthralled by my Jacques Cousteau book, and with a desire to be a marine biologist (until genetics convinced me that this was not my life calling). I am grateful to have my diver's ticket, and I have had some amazing experiences in nature.  It is on my bucket list to get to Stubb's Island on Vancouver Island and do one of their orca trips.  I don't need to see them in an unnatural environment where their lives are a shadow of what they could be.

Watch this.  Think some big thoughts.  Change some of your behaviour about entertainment and these amazingly sentient creatures.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Decent thriller...

For some reason, it is never truly easy starting a new series, and trying to figure out if you actually like the writing style, and the main characters.

As I may have mentioned in reviews, Gillian Flynn is a good writer, however, I think she has a pretty dim view of humanity overall. I will admit to my rose coloured glasses, and I guess I like my stories realistic, but my view of humanity is a little more hopeful. In a nutshell, I am happy to report that the writing combination of Nicci French is not nearly so dark.

Enter this novel - this is a solid, good read.  It took me a while to warm up to the main character, but as the plot started to thicken, I enjoyed it more.  I was a bit worried about how the ends would get tied up.  There are some  great twists, and the end is satisfying.  I would read more from this series.  Reminded me a little bit of the Alex Delaware novels by Johnathon Kellerman that I used to read eons ago because of the psychotherapist elements to the story.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Downside of being a working mom, volume #1

When your kids get sick, and are miserable, it sucks when you have to go to work.

We were lucky today that my DH had the day off, so he could stay home with our son.

It is hard hugging them when they are crying because they feel like crap, and you know you have to leave and you have rubbed them with Vicks vapour rub and applied all home treatments that you can but your magic wand is out of juice. You still have to go to work and you know they are in the best hands they can be. They frankly don't understand or care you have to go to that work place.  They don't have to care at their age, but it is a kind of hurt when you have to hug them, and love them, and put on your professional face and leave.

Leaving isn't easy.  We don't always talk about that, except in the sense of 'leaving' someone in a relationship.  What about all those little moments, every day when we are in an act of leaving? Those moments you drop them off at daycare, and their faces crumble.  Those moments they really just want to stay home, and you tell them they have to go to school, "it is good for them".  All the while knowing you would just love to play hookey as well and just have a fun day.

It is equally tough when you have very little vacation time to use to cover your kids' sick days, and then when they happen, the shuffle that has to take place, and the work you know that is waiting for you. Sometimes know you not being there is going to cause issues for your coworkers. It is nice to have vacation days for a vacation and not to cover daycare, sick days, and appointments.

It is a tricky balance - multiple responsibilities, being present both as a mom, and as an employee, then as a spouse, a friend, a daughter, a coworker.  Maybe even being present for ourselves.

Now this is a strange ramble.  Moments like this build character for all of us (in the rose coloured glasses sense of the world) and it makes me appreciate that sometimes the best thing that you can do is get off of the routine, no matter how important it is most of the time. It is also important when your kids are truly sick to not be at work (which we do, no questions ask when it is serious). This almost sounds like whining, but it is also the way it is. Sometimes it helps to acknowledge those moments, and then you ultimately move on.  Usually with a hug and kiss and you do the best you can.

Monday, November 16, 2015

When to let things go...

"You gotta know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em, know when to walk away, know when to run... " I love this song.  It reminds me of being a kid, and my folks liking country music, and I love that it is one of the few songs (outside of Christmas songs) that I know all the words to and was one of the few songs I sang to my kids as babies.

My mom and I went to the Little White Tea House in Fort Langley yesterday, and for the most part, it was lovely.  Maybe the conversation could have been easier at times, but the food was good, and it was good to spend time together, for the most part.  I also said the things I needed to say, and I also gained some really important insights along the way.  Hence the song.  I think we are in a better place as us, and I am in a better place for me.  I needed yesterday, even if I didn't think it would be as it was. Reflecting, I feel a few different emotions about it all, but mostly, just moving on.  It is high time, and I choose different.

The truth doesn't always set us free, but it does bring a release, and it hopefully can also bring awareness of what is our mess, and what is someone else's mess, and what is your responsibility to deal with.  I feel good about where I am at, what I have said, and where my family unit is at as well. It feels good being able to move forward, and I think this will be a turning point to mark things differently.  I know my head space is different, and if nothing else, that is the real gift.

This also comes around to other 'gifts'.  We are going to do Christmas gifts for the kids, and for us adults, gifts of time.  Movies, or fishing, or going to plays.  We have enough stuff, but it is the time you spend together that is truly a gift.  That or homemade things that are chosen and crafted with love.  A little more simple, and less extravagant, and way more flush with meaning.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Totally tubular!

I am on a mission to learn a new knitting trick.

This is where youtube rocks.

I am learning how to do a tubular cast on for a hat I want to make myself.  With the weather turning... I want a nice hat for me.  Then if the boys want a new hat - so be it.  Then maybe some socks, and some dishcloths again. I haven't knitted since I finished my last baby blanket... I think I am now starting to miss it again.  The hat is called "Columbia Gorge" and I found the pattern on

Maybe 2016 will be the year that I actually knit myself the St. Brigid sweater that I have been coveting for fifteen years. I think it will be an epic project that will likely take me at least a year to knit.. but I suspect that once done, this will be one that I will wear forever.  Literally.  I am still wearing the Irish sweater that I bought in Blarney in 1995... so I really don't rule this out.

I think I am distracting myself from learning this new task. I am blogging, cruising through sweater patterns, and patting the cat instead of learning how to do this cast on technique. The joys of teaching this old dog new tricks.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Time I can't get back

Damn. I really should check some of the comments on IMDB before I watch *some* movies.

I remember reviews of the movie Spy saying it was funny.

Liars. Maybe a few cheap laughs, but all in all, the time spent watching this movie is like watching Slap Shot 3, time you CANNOT get back.

It was cruel, and unusual punishment. I think I cringed more than a few times at the script, the acting, and the impression I had that this movie was funny. It really wasn't.

Give me the likes of Arctic Air, The Vikings, Game of Thrones, Furious 7 even... not this.  Hell, we see so few movies, it is a shame that this was one I figured might be good.  We watched Rise of the Guardians with the boys earlier, and it is an unexpected lovely show.  The opposite of this show.

I am more Hot Fuzz and Star Trek than this crap. Not funny.  Bridesmaids was vulgar with cheap laughs.  It will take a lot to get me to watch another movie with Melissa McArthy in it.  Just because you are plus sized, doesn't mean you can't be beautiful or be in the starring role without being crass and demeaning yourself.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Things are starting to get even more interesting...

I am enjoying this series. Definitely fantasy, definitely intriguing.

Outside of fiction, how do people really and truly learn about things esoteric? It seems that I have learned what I have through conversations with like minded people, and through reading.  However, to delve in to some of these topics,  you really have to wonder about what are the most reliable sources and how to find them.

It is amazing how many words are written, and how it can be to find the ones that are meaningful.  I could ramble on in this vein for a while, and wax poetic, but it is something that niggles at my thoughts at times.  I think there is more out there than meets the eye, and I do believe in 'mysteries' and that we can't explain everything logically away, and I do believe in leaps of faith.

This is book 2 in a series of 4.. and with the 4th book not due out until February 2016, I was half hoping to not really want to order book 3 right away so there is less time to wait before the next book comes out. Alas. I am really enjoying this series, so the book has been ordered and will likely arrive at the library way too quickly.  If I was lumbering through some books there for a while, I have been setting a blistering pace lately. I see that 50 books this is a reasonable goal.  It is interesting how the four main characters play out - and the characteristics they all seem to be embody. As a reader, to also see who are the more appealing characters, at what time.  This is an entertaining series if you enjoy paranormal fantasy.  There is a bit of this book that is a bit farfetched, in the sense that there are two characters (almost the good/evil split of one quality) that can bring items out of dreams, the 'greywaren' ... but in this world, it works.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Nablopo - almost??

An idea occurred to me.  It was the 2007.. I had just returned to work with a one year old, and I attempted and completed NABLOPOMO.  The challenge that gets you to make 30 posts for the month of November.  I had no idea it had been 8 years since I did this until I started looking through my old blog posts until I reached all the way back to 2007.

Driving home, it occurred to me with how fast I was reading books this month, I was blogging more than normal.  I was almost thinking that I would likely blog about 65 posts, 50 of which would likely be book posts.  Judging from the past few years, this is pretty typical for me.  It dawned on me, I could very likely challenge myself to crafting 30 posts in the coming weeks, almost within the November timeframe.  Then again, maybe not in the 30 day time limit within November (since that would involve some creative time shifting and I don't really feel the need to do that as much as I likely did back in 2008) and the fact that I am now having this idea on November 12... ok, I will admit that I time shifted this post to November 12 just because this was when the idea hit, and it hasn't been until now that I have actually had the time to sit down and actually get the words, and the thought out there.

I am somewhat rusty with this stream of conscious approach to articulating my ideas.  It may be a good idea to throw some stuff out there in the next 4ish weeks, and see what sticks, if nothing else.

Therefore for the next 4ish weeks, I will attempt to get 30 posts accomplished.  Not all books.  Not all knitting.  Not all complaining about my mother.  I think I am over that. Although that could be a different post, that isn't time shifted.

This is a year of new beginnings.  Speaking of which - I think it is time to do the Polar Bear Swim out in White Rock.  What a novel concept.  I am putting it out there.. January 1, 2016... time to hit White Rock for the annual crazy, cold, cleanse to start the year out right.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Do you see me?

November rain.  I can hear the wind blowing what leaves are left around our yard, and the rain hitting the windows.  It seems like November snuck up this year.  I am almost startled that it is November. I want to murmur that time should slow down, and please let us have a chance to catch our breath.  This has been a year of character.  I can think of no other way to describe this in the way that I feel like I have learned a lot, had a clenched stomach a few times, worried about money a lot, and worried over aging cars, homes, and our loved ones.

I have thought some about women's work lately.  The quiet chores that make up motherhood, especially when you add in the extra workload of working full-time.  So much of women's work is stuff that gets done in the background.  It isn't flashy.  It isn't sexy.  It has to get done.  Like clean sheets, a clean bathroom, and the dirt swept up off of the kitchen floor.  It doesn't always get done daily or weekly, and maybe some chores monthly.  Some times it is like I am waking up and realizing that I haven't done some chore for months.  Or organized bills when I realize that I have them squirrelled all over the place and our filing cabinet in two years out of date. It is amazing how much time being organized can take.  The energy it takes to pick up after yourself, and put things away, and then to find a little bit of time somewhere for something that you love too.  I love my family, however, I think this listing of the books I have been reading also serves to remind me of the time I have taken for myself, in one of the greatest joys I think there is - reading.  If I was better at it, I would catalog the items I knit as well - it is so rewarding to see a piece of string turn in to something beautiful, serviceable, or both.

These kind of chores aren't really missed when they aren't done.  They make life a lot easier when they are done though. Some days I struggle to get them done.  Like the dishes.  Not a fan. Yet a clean kitchen is a big deal, but it doesn't come naturally to me, even if I love to cook and bake.  Speaking of which, we made an amazing chocolate peanut butter cheesecake today.. K's traditional birthday cake. Hot damn, it was good.  Way, way too decadent, but since it is once a year... bloody brilliant.

Years ago I figured if I write my own book, it would be called relentless.  Now, I think I would call it practise.  I have come to appreciate how important practise is in every element of life.  I think this is hysterical. It is so simple, and yet at times, we seem to forget this simple lesson.  That, coupled with routine.  Both are so important.  Routines, and practise, and the little things.  Three pretty important things in my overall, emerging life philosophy.

I think we all struggle with being noticed for who we are, and what we bring to the table.  Especially when your kids are young and so much of yourself it given to others, freely and with love.  I think this is the part of growing up that changes you.  A decade ago I can remember loving getting gifts, now it is truly better to be the giver, and even then, what I want to give, and to whom, has changed.  What I want to receive has also changed.  

Things are not as important.  

I remember when my dear friend PWB was slipping and fading, all I had for him was time.  It was't about money, it was about love, and acceptance, and time.  The stuff that money can't buy. Now that it is out there, you would have been 43 this year and it still moves me to remember your smile, and how much you taught me.  You were an amazing friend, and I see and feel your influence in my life still.  You are remembered. 

When I think about my true friends - they are scattered around all over the place, not all of them physically close.  There is a space in my heart that they have, and words aren't always needed, and time apart doesn't drive us away.  It makes the time we have so much more special.

I think about our families, and what they choose to share.  

I think of the communities we belong to, and what generosity of spirit means to me now.

This last decade has been quite the journey.  It appears I still wax poetic as I am trying to sort out how I feel, and to track some of it here in words, and thoughts, so I have something to look back on and say, hey, look, I was here. I loved, and was loved.  I made some marks, even if they were in the sand, and a wave came and moved them.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Look up, way up, can you see Magonian ships?

I love surprises like this.  Then again, when J recommends a book highly, I tend to take notice.

What a lovely, fantasy novel that embraced me for a few days.  As I started getting to within 50 pages of the end, I really starting hoping that this is not a stand alone novel, and it appears that it should be the start of a new series.

What a huge leap - from the romance novels of my youth, to literature as a degree, to not really reading anything all that interesting, to reconnecting with an old, dear friend and calling it book club to take some literary risks, and crime thrillers, and now to be a in a full-fledged fantasy kick, some YA to boot.  I love books.
This is one of those books that captures your imagination right away.  I love that there are elements of this book that you could actually research.  I love that in life, when you have the luxury of time to think and reflect, there are so many more things that we don't know, that it is truly an adventure that never ends if you remain curious, and open, and questing for something more.

I am pondering how much to gush, summarize and type out here.  I like books like this because they are more than just an escape. You can't really be sure of where you are going to end up.  This is the story of a girl, Aza Ray, who doesn't really seem all that suited to life on earth.  Her life seems to be a miracle, and every day is a fight to stay alive since her lungs don't really seem to work and no one knows why.  This is the story of her core unit, and her best friend, Jason, and of her untimely end, which isn't an ending, but rather a beginning or a remembering as she is brought back to her homeland, Magonia, a land in the sky which we humans barely get to glimpse.

Isn't it amazing to be filled with a sense of wonder at the miracles and complexity of life?  Books like this are a true joy, and in pushing your own boundaries and thinking new thoughts, you don't know what new doors are going to open.

Yes. Dammit. I do like my rose coloured glasses. They have kept me sane and grounded on more than one occasion.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A classic for a reason

Is this the point in the year where I actually start to feel like I will fully, completely, with no scrolling through the list of books that I have posted about reach 50 books read in a year? It tickles the cockles of my heart that this is a possibility.  I told B tonight I will likely read 50 books this year.  His response.  "When have you read all those books???!!"  I told him every night before bed.  I feel proud being able to read about a book a week.  Actually using my library makes it easier.   I know this is something that I return to frequently, however, I am so grateful to have made this connection again.  I like having access to so many different books, and to new DVDs.  I miss having DVD rental shops... strolling through the titles, browsing for whatever catches your attention.  Sitting on your couch and live streaming anything is not the same.

In a way, you can say it is only fair since I have challenged both kids to reading 50 books for B and 100 books for C by the end of their school year.  B is blitzing a path through books, and will have no issues at all making it.  In fact, I have to pull him back a bit since he half cheat and includes Geronimo Stilton books which he chews up and spits out for dessert,  For C, it is such a bigger deal because this is the year he is truly making the inroads to reading.  Reading for C is B's learning how to walk. Slow progression, but moving in the right direction.

For me, it is all about their letters and their numbers.  To have numeracy and literacy... and the rest will fall in to place.

I start with a picture of the book, and then I go on a tangent. However disparate, I think these different trains of thought are somewhat linked.  If I think all teens should have to read Frey's book A Million Little Pieces and hopefully scare them off of drugs (or take your kids on a road trip down to the Vancouver East Side for a dose of the dark side of drugs)... this is a book about humanity. It is truly timeless, and a classic, and I was entranced. What a book.  Thank you, Cher for recommending this one for us to read. I loved it.  I may even be a better person having read this book.  Well, that may be a stretch, but this book deserves it's title of being a classic and it too should also be required reading for teens for an entirely different reasons - this is a book about the human condition and it doesn't get old.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Moody, period piece

If I was rating this one... I would have hovered between a 3 and a 4.

I think I am very stingy with my 5 out of 5 stars.. a 4 is really rock solid entertaining read, and a 3 is a good read.  2s are very average, and 1 I likely flung across the room and refused to finish.

Another different take on WWI.  Life is about stories, and the more you read, the more you appreciate how many different sides there, especially when you think about sweeping historical movements.

This has a bit of a gothic feel in the sense it is very well written, and there are unhappy ghosts.  It feels a bit like a Kate Morton book, however, the pages do turn a bit more quickly. I enjoyed it, but I can't say that I thoroughly loved it.  This is a glimpse in to the lives of the broken men after the war(s) and the people who made a business out of taking care of them.  It raises interesting thoughts about what society was like after each war, and how the men that survived were changed a result.  We all know our grandparents didn't want to talk about those years, however, books like this help you appreciate the horrors a little more, even if this book isn't about the war per say.  This also describes a time of flux - where the rules were changing, just before the depression, and during a time where good help was truly hard to find, and not everyone could deal with the realities of caring for people how had seen truly the depths of human depravity.  Interesting.