Tuesday, 15 April 2014

march book review

Halfway through the month of March, I decided that reading needed to become more of a priority for me again.  It is one of those things that I will immediately push aside when something else comes up, or time that I will forfeit in exchange for sleep at the end of a long day.

That stack of library books that I took a picture of in this post?  I've slowly started working my way through it.  Some have already been renewed because my goal was a bit lofty, but I'll get through them.

The first one that I finished was Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.  I loved her on The Office.  I had no idea that she was also a writer of the show (that tells you how little I look into the television shows that I enjoy).  This book was a great light read - if I only had five minutes to spare while I was eating a sandwich, it was fine because there was no plot to dive into or characters to keep track of.  I thought that it was humourous, but not funny.  I didn't laugh out loud very often, and I wanted to.  After listening to Bossypants by Tina Fey on my iPhone while I was out walking and literally having to stop and put my hands on my thighs because I was doubled over from laughing so hard (yes, out in public, by myself....great visual), I wanted to laugh like that at this book as well.  And I didn't.  That's not to say Mindy Kaling isn't funny, because she obviously is, I just wanted this book to be a bit funnier.

The second book that I read from that stack was Butter by Erin Jade Lange.  It's a young adult novel, so I read this partially for work, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Young adult novels are usually pretty quick to get through, and even though this one was longer than most, it was no exception.  An easy read for an adult, but such an interesting plot.  Without giving away too much, the main character - Butter - is an obese teenager who, after a very bad day at school, creates a website where he announces that he will end his life on New Years Eve with one final (extreme) meal.  The majority of the book deals with his classmates' (note: not friends, but classmates) reactions, as well as his own reactions to what he has decided to do.  There are a few different paths that the plot could take towards the end of the book, and Lange does a great job of not making the ending obvious.

I still have quite a few library books to get through, but next on my list is Crime and Punishment (also for work).  I've started to read Animal Vegetable Miracle at the same time as well.  A person can only take so much psychological drama in one sitting...

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

a weekend in vancouver

I am not much of a traveller.  Sometimes I wish that I was, but the fact is that I am a homebody and after four or five days away, I usually just want my own kitchen, my own bed, and my own stuff back.

Since I don't like being away from home for long periods of time, but still love to explore new places, I have become pretty good at weekend trips.  Give me three days in a city, and I'll attempt to get to most of the major tourist attractions.  I absolutely get that this robs me of the thrill of finding amazing spots that locals have come to love, but for now, I'm okay with that.  I'm pretty much the quintessential tourist - major art galleries and museums, local zoos or aquariums, that "thing" that all tourists get their picture taken in front of, and of course, some magnet/keychain/tchotchke purchases.  But frankly, I think there is usually a reason why these things become tourist attractions in the first place, so I like to see them and find out why.

A few weeks ago, my guy and I went to Vancouver.  I had never been before (but always wanted to go) and he hadn't been since he was much younger, so it was a good place that was nearby and full of spots to explore.

When we arrived, it was snowing.  Wet, heavy snow.  And we were not prepared for that.  We had just left -30 something in Winnipeg and were positive that Vancouver would be so much warmer.  Well....when you're soaked with wet snow, +1 can still be pretty cold.  So it took us a bit of time to adjust (i.e. dress properly - including a stop at a Winners for me to buy some tights) and get used to carrying an umbrella constantly, but once we figured that out, we were good to go.

The weekend looked something like this...


The amazing view from our hotel room
(The Hyatt Regency Vancouver - I completely recommend staying there)

The gorgeous Vancouver Public Library (because places full of books that also happen to be very cool pieces of architecture make me very happy).
The Granville Market

The harbour outside of the market (still snowing out)

Stanley Park in the morning (yup...in the snow)

At the Vancouver Aquarium


Despite the constant snow (it literally stopped snowing about three hours after our plane home took off), we had a fantastic time. And still discovered that Vancouver is a beautiful city....we'll just make sure that the next time we go back is in the summer, when there's more of a chance of sunshine.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

full throttle

Some people go through life on a pretty even setting - they don't get worked up over many things.

I'm not one of those people.  Sometimes I wish that I was - at least when I have to deal with stressful or upsetting situations.  When I get really mad about something, I cry.  Some people express their anger through yelling....I sob.  Not by choice.  Life would probably be much simpler if I didn't overreact to situations and the actions of other people.  Give me a few minutes and I'm calm again, but my initial reactions....not always good.

But on the other side of that coin is the fact that when something good happens, I thoroughly enjoy it.  I get excited about little things in life - and I'm not just saying that to use a tired cliché - getting to have dinner with a friend, getting home in time to catch my favourite tv show after a long day at work, finding out that something that I need to buy is on sale - all instances that will make my day better.

I recently took a trip with my guy to Vancouver, and last week we were talking about some of the memorable moments from that weekend.  He said that one of his best memories was my "unbridled enthusiasm" that he witnessed over and over again, whether it was at seeing beluga whales or figuring out the subway system or buying the perfect souvenir.  The weekend was filled with new sights and experiences and I'm pretty sure I was elated for most of it (once I got over walking around in the pouring rain all day long....I can admit that I was pretty grumpy about that at first.  I bundled up and got over it though).

If the flip side to getting (potentially) overly upset or stressed out about something is that I get to feel more excited and happy about things that might not actually be that exciting, then I think I'll take it.  So much of life could be filed under "completely mediocre".  Maybe my reactions to everyday events are a bit extreme, but I would rather do a happy dance in the grocery store when I find out the paper towels are on for half price than not dance about anything at all that day.

I'll just be sure to keep some Kleenex on hand too.

Monday, 31 March 2014

a simple word....a complicated idea

The prompt: Spirit

"Meditation, prayer, gratitude, faith, comfort. How is this a part of your day? Do you pray? Meditate? Express daily gratitude? Go to church or participate in another sort of faith community? If none of this is a part of your life, think about where you find meaning and comfort. What does that look like in your life?"


I can say yes to some of the questions in this prompt. I can say "I don't know" to others.


I know that I think spirit doesn't have to mean a religious practice with regular attendance at church. But I know that for some people, that's exactly what it means.


I know that I see people who take great comfort in their beliefs, and that I sometimes wish that I held as much faith in something that brought me such assurance in the times that I need it.


I know that taking time to acknowledge the things I am grateful for each day is important to me and it has an impact on how I view the events and people in my life.


I know that meditation is hard, but something I should probably work at.


I know that I believe in being mindful, and I think that it can affect a person's spirit.


I don't know exactly what I believe "spirit" to be. I cannot define it or describe it.


I don't know exactly where I stand in terms of religion.


I don't know how to put blind faith in something that cannot be proven, isn't tangible, or cannot be explained.


I don't know how to quiet my mind or be patient when I attempt to meditate. Song lyrics start running through my mind (on a loop sometimes) and no matter how many times I acknowledge them and center back on my breathing, they start up again.


I know that spirit matters. I know that taking care of your spirit is important. I also know that I don't have it figured out yet.


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Prompt #4 in Ali Edwards' class "31 things" through Big Picture Scrapbooking is spirit.






Sunday, 30 March 2014

currently - march 30th

time: 5:30 p.m.

location: my office.  Using a laptop and a desktop computer....that's a first.

watching: season one of Community.  After crying at the finale of Friday Night Lights yesterday, I needed something a little lighter on Netflix today.

feeling: excited about this upcoming week off of work and actually having time to do things that keep getting put on hold.  A little sad that my guy still won't be home for another week.

loving: Netflix.  I held off getting it because I had heard that the Canadian content wasn't that great, but as someone who prefers watching a full season of a show as opposed to waiting for it to air each week, there are so many options.  I've barely turned on my television in the past month and have cancelled half of my cable packages.

thinking:  about writing and this blog. I've been thinking about writing a lot lately....how to get better at it, how to make more time for it, what I have to say, and how to say it without sounding like an idiot.

making: there is a substantial list of the things I would like to make/work on in the next week.  I just started working on Project Life for this year, I have a scarf that I would like to finish (even though I won't need it much longer.  Hopefully.), the table in my entryway needs a table runner, all of my photos from Vancouver are waiting to get into an album, and the list goes on and on.

wanting: to not waste time this week, for my guy to come home

needing: to find some new recipes.  I'd like to cook more actual meals, but I need a place to start.


This idea comes from Tina at Life Love Paper

Monday, 17 March 2014

books

I have a thing with books.  I have a whole different thing with bookstores.  My brain releases endorphins when I walk into a bookstore.  I have always loved the smell of a new book and turning the crisp new pages for the first time.  I have a hard time walking out of a bookstore without at least one purchase, and I have been known to leave with three or four or even five new titles.

When it comes to books:

1. I have good intentions when it comes to non-fiction, but on a random night when I am looking for a book to dive into, I will almost always choose fiction.

2. I own at least 80 books that I have yet to read.  My reading rate has not kept up with my shopping rate.

3. In the past ten years, I have read more young adult literature than adult literature.

4. Of the adult literature I have read, it has probably been an even split between "chick lit" (a label I'm not fond of) and classic literature.  Crime and Punishment is up on deck right now.

5. Starting a daily routine of reading before I fall asleep is forever a goal.  It probably happens 3 nights a week right now.

6. Despite the number of books I own that I have not read, I still regularly take books out of the library.

7. I try to "work" the hold system at the library.  I'll pick a book that's available right now, then one that has a short waiting list, then one that has a long waiting list.  In theory, they should all arrive at different times and be spread out enough that I actually have a chance to read one before the next one gets here.  This theory rarely works out and I usually end up having to take books back without having a chance to have read them at all.

My current stack of library books

8. My current list of books to read (within the next couple of months) include more young adult lit, some classic lit, books about food and its effect on health, books about writing, and books about investing money.

9. I have only learned how to start parting with books within in the past year.  If I didn't enjoy a book (or wasn't even able to get through it), then it should go somewhere where someone else might.

10. I am fairly certain that for every book I have donated in the last year, there are now one - or sometimes even two - in its place.

11. I am not sure that I will be convinced to switch from actual books to an e-reader.  I like the idea of carrying an e-reader around in my purse (much easier than a big hardcover book), I like the convenience of space that an e-reader offers (versus shelves and shelves of books), but I just don't think I will ever give up turning pages in exchange for looking at another screen.

12. I am envious of people who are incredibly well read.  I am working on it.

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Prompt #3 in Ali Edward's class "31 Things" through Big Picture Scrapbooking is Read.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

morning routine

6:05 - first alarm goes off
6:10 - second alarm goes off; I start reading Twitter to see what is in the news
6:15 - third alarm goes off....I really should get out of bed at this point
6:20 - shower, put make up on, etc.; always listen to a podcast while I get ready
7:00 - eat breakfast


7:20 - stretch and do some work on my weak weak core muscles (nothing near a work out....more like some basic physio moves)
7:40 - finish getting ready for work
8:15 - realize that I have somehow lost about twenty minutes of time and am now running late; pack some lunch
8:35 - leave for work


The only real change in this routine that happens on the weekends is that I will sleep until around 7:30, and I don't rush out the door for work.  But that's about it.  I'm completely a creature of habit.

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"Morning routine" is the second prompt in Ali Edwards' 31 Things class through Big Picture Scrapbooking.