Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Neither Packed Nor Ready to Go

This evening at 7pm, I will be leaving with Amy and Linda, two colleagues from work, for a conference in Texas.  While it's exciting to head out to Texas, as I've never been there before, I can't believe how much I have to get done before then.  1) Hit the Terrberry Library to take out some easy reading for the plane (apparently SouthWest doesn't provide seat back television).  2) Clean out my car so that Joel and Katrina (who will be  using it for the next 4 days) don't have to cart around the box of random stuff that I keep forgetting to bring to our storage place (aka the Speelman basement)...  I also haven't given the car a good cleaning in about a year.  3) Finish the laundry so that I'll have some warm weather clothes to wear in Texas (it's supposed to be between 29 and 33 degrees all week). 4) Make & eat supper.  5) Pack all my stuff.  6) Remember to bring my passport. 

Eesh.  It's going to be a long day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Dear Samantha: Happy Birthday! It is now 46 minutes until your birthday starts, and this will mark your second birthday on the East Coast. I hope that it is a fantastic one for you! I was just looking at our Newfoundland pics when looking for a picture to post here, and they made me want to go back and do it all over again! You guys are such awesome people, and Brian and I are so honoured to have you as friends!

May you have the happiest of birthdays, and I'm sorry I didn't put a card in the mail for you, I haven't been so good with posting things for a few years now. You are an amazing woman, and you are well loved!!
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Has Arrived

It is a very blustery day today, and I love it. I would love it more if I wasn't sitting in my office all day, as the darkness outside makes the day inside go by much more slowly... It's a perfect kind of day to throw on a hoodie and take the dog for a walk outside, or to hunker down inside over a good board game. It's a good day to make soup and applesauce, or to have a roast cooking in the slow cooker. I look forward to my afternoon (after work) and evening at home today. It's a good day to stay home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Going Clubbing

Besides the frivolous reading that I'm doing these days, our book club is also getting under way for the year. This past Sunday evening, we opened the year with my pick from last year, The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. I highly recommend this book. I have read it twice and listened to it twice now (CBC's Between the Covers produced an audio recording of it last spring, it's a staple on my iPod right now). Rumour has it that The Book of Negroes is in the running for replacing To Kill a Mocking Bird on High School reading lists. What do you think?

The books that we'll be reading this year include the following:

October - The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

November - The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

January - The Brothers K by David James Duncan

February- Persepolis by Mariane Satrapi

March - The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

April - Still Alice by Lisa Genova

May - Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

June - The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Apparently one of the books on the list (Persepolis) is a graphic novel, and I'm not so sure how I feel about that genre yet. Of all of the books on this list, I've read 4 so far - I'm looking forward to reading some of them again in the company of others - The Magician's Nephew, for example - if you've been reading this blog for ... at least 4 years, you may recall this post that I did while reading it last time. I'm excited to talk about it with others who are reading it for the first (or second) time since childhood.

Have you read any of the above books? What did you think about them?

Finished Reading:

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. No, it's not the most high-brow literature that I have ever consumed, nor is it the the most useless material I have ever read. This is the first in a series of many "Shopaholic" novels (there are five, at this point) that see Rebecca Bloomwood, financial journalist with the magazine "Successful Savings", try desperately to curb her shopping addiction which is leading her deeper and deeper into debt. She tries to quit cold turkey and ends up bingeing. She attempts to make more money and ends up throwing money away. Credit card bills and letters from the bank arrive and she tries every possible method of ignoring them - tossing them (still sealed) into a garbage truck passing by, collecting them (unopened) in a drawer in her bedroom, shredding them in the office paper shredder. Surprisingly, none of these methods work, and the banks hunt her down. Without saying too much, things do work out surprisingly well for Rebecca by the end of the book, but she does have to work for (almost) all of it.

As I was looking for an image of the cover, I came across this blog in which the writer, Amy, makes an interesting point. Well, actually, she makes a few interesting points, but I'm not so sure about the one that compares Rebecca to the apostle Paul... The point that I'm talking about is the aside that Amy makes when she mentions that if Shopaholic was a Christian work of fiction, she would have her life completely sorted out - she wouldn't be addicted to shopping anymore, she'd magically come into heaps of money, and she'd live happily ever after with her charming millionair husband. The fact that this series continues suggests, perhaps, that Rebecca's (fictional) life does not follow that pattern. The book may be about the mundane and frivolous experiences of a chronic shopper, but the experience of addiction is a common one. Kinsella writes about a fictional character who lives with very real problems and fears - and who knows that while some people have life handed to them on a silver platter, that's one thing you can never count on. Grow up, open the envelope, and start dealing with life.

Besides the fact that there may actually be meaning in this book, it's a lot of fun to read, and I read it cover to cover in just a few hours. I may or may not take the next one out of the library for my trip to Texas next week. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

If You are Free on Sunday, This is Where You Should Be

The Eden Mills Writers' Festival is in its 21st consecutive year this year and will be hosting the annual day of readings this Sunday, September 18. Once again, I will not be able to make it, but I highly encourage you to go! Admission at the gate is $10 / adult, $5 / student. It's worth it - especially if you've never been - an afternoon of wandering around a picture-perfect small community, spreading your blanket on the side of the hill and listening to established and up and coming authors read portions of their works. The food tent is also fantastic; last time I went I had a delicious burger and a sweet cob of fresh corn. Mmm.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Seven Years

Tomorrow, my nephew turns 7 years old. Seven years! 7 years ago, I didn't know Brian. I was in second year of university, living in a dorm with 7 other wonderful (but crazy!) girls. Seven years ago, I hadn't ever flown on a plane before, much less lived in B.C., England, or Japan. Seven years ago I still hadn't even decided what to major in at school.

Seven years ago, I didn't have a digital camera! Unfortunately, I didn't make the move to a digital camera until the summer I left for Japan - a year before this photo was taken. I love this pic - I don't know who took it - Uncle Eric, perhaps? The colours are just fantastic, and it shows off the spirit of this wonderful (and mischevious) boy. Happy birthday, Reuben!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Montreal

The view from the roof of our hotel. There's a heated pool on the roof, but it's not as nice as the one St the ramada in belleville...
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jenn - Your brother called. He said to turn on the T.V.

8 years ago I was in First Year student at Redeemer.  I was working my third shift in the food store (back in the days when we had no price scanner and when we still got special "weekend food").  I think that we first started hearing snippets of what was happening around 9am - the school was still pretty quiet at that point.  Jane, who was managing the food store and caf at that time, turned on the radio in her van just outside the cafeteria and we all sat on milk crates and listened to the play by play of events.  Eventually, we had to go back to work, and as the students started coming into the food store one by one to pick up some groceries for the day the stories kept growing. Four hundred people died.  Nine hundred people died.  They're saying that over eleven hundred people may have been killed. The numbers kept climbing, and no one really had a handle on what was happening, or who did it. 

Back at the dorm after my shift, the TV was already on and there was a note by the phone saying, "Jenn - your brother called.  He said to turn on the TV".  Micah, a friend of ours from dorm 36, was sitting on the couch with the girls.  He was enraged.  Micah is a proud American, and was absolutely dumbstruck that someone who do this to his countrymen.  The TV stayed on all day, playing the same footage over and over again of the smoke billowing out of the first tower as a plane collided with the second tower.  Mayhem and madness.

Everyone has a story of where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with 8 years ago today.  It occurred to me last night, however, that the students in their first year this year at Redeemer were in grade 5 on that infamous 9/11.  Grade 5!  A lot of them had no idea that anything had happened until they got home from school that day.  Many of them never saw any news that day, as parents didn't think those images appropriate for their kids.  But they have all grown up in a world post 9/11.  What does it mean for them to have grown up during the "war on terror"?  How has this affected the younger set of the Millennial generation? 

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Well, really, just published on a blog. And I publish on my own blog regularly, so I suppose that's not so different. Except this time, someone else clicked "Publish Post" and voila! My writing is now on someone else's blog. If you take a look to your right, there is a blog (under "Blogs I follow") named The Advisor Diaries. The most recent post, Third Time's a Charm is written by yours truly. And it's a true story. Unfortunately true. It might not resonate with many of you, but the fellow that I wrote about was the most expasperating student that I have ever had walk into my office.