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.