"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

I know I said "blog like no one is reading" but it's nice to know these people are

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Books of 2011

Okay, this is by no means a complete list but I thought it would be fun to try to list them by those read digitally on my Kobo and those in actual book form. More an exercise for myself as anyone else. My bookshelves are less crowded but I'm definitely not spending any less money (when will libraries get the rights to lend ebooks?) I was speaking to our local bookseller before Christmas and was not only she being hurt by the lack of snow (no tourists or skiers coming in to browse or buy) but because of ebooks she said that now, instead of ordering two or three of the bestsellers in hardcover she was only stocking one. I am as much to blame as the next bookworm. It is just way too easy to sit at home or anywhere else with wifi and download a book and especially the ones I read like some people go through a bag of chips in one sitting (see The Fever Series) and a few others I will only admit to here but I did buy my most favourite book of 2011 in hardback from her (see this post). The other downside is that you can't lend them to your friends but you can read my reviews for some of these on my GoodReads page which is linked to on the right under "I Just Finished"

Read in Book Form

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Best Laid Plans and The High Road by Terry Fallis

Planting Dandelions by Kyran Pittman

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger

The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Read on Kobo

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

Annabel by Kathleen Winter

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers

Still Life and Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

A Whole Bunch of Very Funny Books by Jen Lancaster

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Miss New India by Bharati Mukherjee

Another Bunch of Books by Elin Hilderbrandt

Confessions of A Bad Mother by Stephanie Calman

The Evolution of Jane by Cathleen Schine

Books I Started but Could Not Finish (digitally or otherwise)

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Illusions by Richard Bach

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (One of the 100 or so that came pre-loaded which I haven't read)

Wow, that's a rather telling list isn't it? There are a few more that obviously aren't memorable enough for me to, well, remember. Seven real books versus over fifteen ebooks. Hmmm ... guess my dream of opening a bookstore one day isn't meant to be.

Funniest book ever from my funniest (and only) sister!
Check out it out here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Little Drummer Boy

This has always been one of my least favourite Christmas songs but I love this young man from Winnipeg's very Canadian version.

“People have been asking... so, yes, I played all the parts, sang, arranged and recorded the whole thing. I had my sister run the camera for specific shots, then I edited the video and posted it here!”
~ Sean Quigley

I hope you all have a very happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Words to live by

After stumbling across this I decided I have to sign up for the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop next spring. Started filling out the application two days ago but didn't finish and all the spots were filled yesterday. I have to be willing to take more risks and think less about doing it. I'll try to get in on the wait list.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Construction and Creation

Every year the kids and my Other Half build a Gingerbread House from a package but this year Number One Son found a recipe and instructions to build a Ski Chalet and so we decided to give it a try.

Step One - Baking

Step Two - Assembly

Step Three - Decoration

More blanket pillows

Santa's Little Helpers at the Parade

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Barefoot in the Snow

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

- Albert Camus

Friday, December 2, 2011

And, once again, I lost it

Last night as I was lying beside Number Two son before he went to sleep he dropped a bomb. This is his MO every night. He desperately wants me to "sleep with him" and when the boys were little this was my favourite time of day, I would lie next to them in their beds and fall into that wonderful half wake/half asleep place where you are warm and cozy and relaxed. The downside was that sometimes I would really fall asleep and then have to wake myself up to go get into my own bed where I would then be wide awake for the next hour or so but still it was nice. Now? it's a nightmare of demands from all three boys but Number Two has raised it to an art form. There are three kids (what were we thinking?) and only two parents. Numbers One and Two generally get into bed around the same time but I usually start by lying with Number One Son because he is younger, is ready first and calms down more easily than his middle brother. This is a sticking point, of course because although No. 2 doesn't like going to bed at the same time as his little brother he also doesn't me lying with him first. Problem with the logistics? Yes but, of course, he wants his cake and be able to sleep with it too.

So back to last night, my Other Half lay with No. 3 while I went into No. 2's room steeling myself for whatever issues might come up this time. It started out fine until he said, "I don't want to go to Vermont." Now he and I are going skiing with his team for a week, something he has been looking forward to for months. He counts the days off on the calendar and he has already started packing. Where the hell did this come from?

I took a deep breath and asked, "Why?"
"I just don't want to go now," he replied. Sticking his face into the pillow to hide.
Again, breathing deeply, I asked, "Why?"

Nothing. Now I was getting mad. He has been bugging us about ski trips and camps and everything else under the sun. His Christmas list reads like Best Buy catalogue and he has demanded everything under the sun from guitar lessons to workout classes which he does for a while and then gives up. I couldn't believe he was now saying he didn't want to miss school for a week to go skiing with his friends. He had already complained about the fact that we were driving with another mother and her son and sharing a condo with them to cut down on the expense and we would be making our own meals instead of eating out which had not endeared him to me. YOU ARE GOING TO MISS SCHOOL TO GO SKIING! What else do you want?

So now, ten days before we leave, you don't want to go? Huh? I lost it. Yelled about how ungrateful he is and how we don't have to go or maybe I would take one of his brothers instead. Finally he said, "I don't want to go because we have to play hockey and I don't even know how to skate and everyone is going to laugh at me."

This is when I should have calmed down, been understanding and made him feel better about his legitimate, if slightly ridiculous, concern. But I didn't. Instead I left the room and told his father to go in and explain why playing hockey while on a ski trip was going to be fun and not everyone will know how to play and it certainly isn't a reason not to go. He did all this and No. 2 calmed down somewhat and I did go back in and tried to be sympathetic but in the end I went to bed mad at myself, mad at my son for making me mad and generally feeling like once again I had let everyone down.

It's so hard. Right now it feels like there is no upside to this whole parenting gig and with Christmas around the corner the stakes are even higher. We are supposed to be fostering peace and goodwill towards all men and I can't stand the three junior versions I live with. I should be looking forward to decorating the tree and being together as a family and all I can think about is running away. My Other Half is incredible and he steps in when he knows I am going to lose it but what I need to do is break a really bad pattern that has developed around our house. One of jumping to conclusions, anticipating that someone is going to say something hurtful and generally being a very grumpy mother most of the time.

I should look at this week away with only one boy as a pre-Christmas gift. We will have time together, one-on-one. We are travelling with a fun group and I will have some time on my own while the kids are skiing and I will only be cooking for two not five. My Other Half and Numbers One and Three will have a more laid back time without us in the mix. It may, in fact, be the best thing in a while for all of us.
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