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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Day One in the Bag

So as like every November for the past decade or so, I participate in the "ain't nobody got time for that" writing competition, NaNoWriMo. For anyone who doesn't know of it, it is a crazy-fun, worldwide writing incentive with a goal to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Some people use it to help get even a few thousand words onto a page, others just barely slide into the 50,000 word winners seat, others still will devote a month and go hardcore, producing a manuscript over 100,000 words in less than a month.
And the competition has evolved from a fledgling group of people in San Francisco nudging people online to get writing, to a well-funded organization with major prize sponsors and author celebrities writing inspirational blog posts urging on participants. I remember when the 50,000 words was the prize, and now there are publishing and book prizes out the wazoo for writers who can do the deed.
My friends and I always have a mini competition between us, as well. Between the three of us, whoever writes the least amount of words has to buy dinner for the other two. Plus, this year, one of my friends' sister is joining in and she has waaaay more time on her hands, so the ante is really up;)
Yesterday was day one and it went well - I was able to hit my personal goal of 1800 words. Aside from spending the last couple weeks preparing an outline, I also printed and put up a bunch of fun inspirational quotes to keep me motivated. (Yesterday's was the one on the right there:)
More importantly, this month is going to be about me. I've had a hard time staying positive, as writing is part of me, and anyone is going to be unhappy when they aren't doing what they are meant to be doing. So rather than approaching NaNo as something I don't have time for, I'm approaching it as something I'm making time for. Making time for my happiness.
It's about time:)
P.S. If you are battling the NaNo this year, add me as a Writing Buddy! I'm on the site under my maiden name - user KellyChristian. See you on the writing trail!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Booksies!

I've been feeling rather empty lately for a number of reasons, one of which is a lack of time to read! It's frustrating that all the things that bring light to our lives are often the ones that must be pushed to the side when we are too busy.
Thus, not too many books to list since my last reading post:
The Mieville I was reading was sadly set aside as one of my favorite authors' new book came out! It had been a while since her last one in this series, so I was really excited!!!
The third and final in the Shadowfell series, I found The Caller to be a little less...well, just a little less, I suppose. I don't know if she was distracted by other projects in her life, but I found it to be a shade less to her usual standards.
The lore was fantastic, as well as the characters, but I found the story wrapped up a little too neatly, and that this book was just not up to snuff.


While reading this one, I also read a non-fiction on the side - one recommended
by a friend as a 'must-read' for all parents: The Way They Learn. I picked it up right away from the library:) I found it very interesting, and very helpful! I'm often frustrated with how to get through to my daughter sometimes, as well as getting my son to focus. This book basically labels people with semi-specific learning dispositions through a series of questions. It's helpful to label yourself too, and discover better ways to communicate with everyone.
I am also listening to Game of Thrones on Audiobook while I drive to work. I absolutely love the show, and was curious if they had actually stayed true to the books. I'm only about halfway through the 28 discs (!!!) but so far the show has been very accurate - a rarity!
Worth noting too: the reader, Roy Dotrice, is just brilliant.

Now that I'm through The Way They Learn, I picked up a non-fiction
that I thought might help with my tendency to feel overwhelmed in my daily life, called The Organized Mind.
Prominent Canadian author too - win!
Will let you know if it miraculously cures me:)

Now, I always have a novel in my bag, but as my favorite fall event is beginning this Saturday, I usually lay off the fiction and depend on Calvin & Hobbes to get me through November.

Will post in the next few days on all my prep to dominate my NaNoWriMo story this year:-)

Cheers,
Kelly

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Worst Morning.

Ever had "one of those mornings?"
Here's mine:
*warning* This is graphic, and may disturb you. (I'm actually serious.)

Alarm playing. 5-ish am. Lazily hit snooze. Twice.
Murmer to hubby to wake you when he gets up. It's his birthday, can't forget. You want to get up with him and cook him bacon and eggs-something you never, ever do.

Suddenly you are at a hospital. It's not one you've ever been at. 
Walking along the corridor, you see a door on the left holds a post-it note bearing the word, BIRTHS.
You enter.
The immaculate room is exactly what you need. You're in labour, after all.
You sit and turn to your husband that has appeared by your side.
"I don't think she's coming today."
He blows his nose. Stupid cold.
The nurse is on your left handing you chopsticks. You narrow your eyes. Chopsticks?
She makes a motion with them and your confusion clears. Of course.
You insert the chopsticks, spreading open the birth canal.
In a rush of blood and fluids, her body comes barreling into the world.
You are ecstatic and hold her writhing, slimy body close to yours and your smile at your husband through your tears. The nurses take her from you to "clean her" and they ask you her name.
You look at your husband.
"We haven't even thought of it," he admits. How did that happen? You can't even recall any names even being a possibility.
You turn to the nurses, and there, sitting up between your stained thighs, sits your daughter.
Cascading amber hair falls to her bottom, barrettes adorn it throughout.
"Oh, sweet girl, you were born with barrettes," you coo.
Of course she was.
Perhaps she should be called Rapunzel, you think.

But the golden moment is over and you are suddenly in a dank room. Cold, concrete, bare but for a full-length mirror. You are in front of it, nude, a hand on your flat stomach. Where did the swell go?
A grey bed appears behind you. You scramble onto it, laying on your back, frantically pressing into your stomach.
One orange-sized lump rolls beneath your fingers.
Breathe.
Wait, what is that?
Another lump. It rolls freely. Downward. Downward.
You pull it from your loins.
A small fetus, blue and alien, torn umbilical cord hanging...

"Mom. Mom! Look what time it is!"
My son is shaking me now. It is 7:24 am. We usually leave for school at 7:40.
Shit.
"Wake up your sister! I'll take the dog out! Then get yourself some breakfast!"
The dream is still lingering, my hands are shaking as I grab my sweater and get the door into the yard. I quickly wash, yelling instructions to the kids and the three of us manage to leave for school six minutes before the bell goes. 8:19 am.
It sinks in that the hubby left without any fanfare for his birthday, and the dream won't leave me. It makes me ill. The hubby and I decided a long time ago that we were done having kids.
It also takes me a while naturally to just "wake-up." Thus, it's not until I'm done getting the kids to class and driving to work before I actually begin to comprise coherent thoughts.
Text manager: coffee?
Thank God she said yes. This is definitely a Grande Pumpkin Spiced Latte Morning.
With  a Pumpkin Scone.
(And an Oat Bar.)
And wine later.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kitschy

So the other day I was baking scones. As usual, I was multi-tasking and doing 17 other things while they cooked, until I sniffed and realized they were done. Not really thinking, I took them out and went to turn off the timer, only to find I hadn't set it at all.
It's things like this that make me wistful.
You see, I would love to open a bakery. I love to bake - I do it almost everyday, just to give myself a little bit of peace. But I also love books and I think a little bakery/bookshoppe/tea place would be a lovely thing to run. I know I would love it.
But then I think, "oh, this city doesn't need another little kitschy tea bakery, I would likely fail." Or I think, "to run your own shop you would really need a killer sense of business and ass-loads of confidence. Fail."
So my dream-shop falls by the wayside and I just keep on keepin' on.
*sigh*

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Readin'

So I finished up The Time-Keeper by Mitch Album. It was terribly unique, and I quite liked it! Unlike anything I often read, so it was a good one to try. It was also unlike what I had read of his before, so that was a surprise, but a pleasant one:)


I seriously need to reign in my book-buying, as my TBR pile grew into a shelf, and has now taken over a bookcase. Really, I need
help.



So, when looking at the overwhelming pile/shelf/bookcase, I did what anyone would do...I chose a totally different book that technically isn't on that bookcase, Hehe. I felt like tackling one of the Austen's that I haven't read yet, so I began Emma. (I haven't ever read it, so it still counts, right?) This unfortunately became the first of a run of books the began, but were never finished. While I love Austen, my life just did not allow me to become absorbed in Emma. I wanted to read it, but I feel like Austen requires more time than I had at that time. So it went back to the shelf until I can give it the time it deserves.



I searched my TBR shelves again and was too indecisive, and ended up wandering over to my shelves of fiction that I had already read and picked up Diana Gabaldon's first novel, Outlander, as I knew the TV series would be coming out soon. It has been so long since I read the original, I barely
remembered it! But it was a fun, fluffy read even the second go around. I was perfectly content with reading about the drool-worthy Jamie Fraser. I mean, honestly. Such a chore:)
And then looking at the pictures that were coming out to promote the new Starz show. It was fun to re-read with that simultaneously happening. And sooooo hard to look at those...just terrible:) And I just have to post this amazing art by Natira. Seriously. Yum, right? And click on her name to go check out more of the stunning work on her Facebook page.
Anyhoo, got a little sidetracked there, my bad.

After Outlander I picked up Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi. I really enjoyed the translation of the "Evil Stepmother" role into this early twentieth-century, abused protagonist. As I got further into it (about 1/3), I felt again that it required more time and thought than I was granting it, and ended up putting it down. I want to read it when I can truly give it the attention it deserves.

I stumbled back to my shelves, determined to find something that would survive the "5-minutes here, 5-minutes there" schedule that was all I could afford. On a whim, I snatched Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst. I barely read a few pages before I knew it wasn't what I wanted at the time, and put it back.

Let me just state, this isn't like me. I usually find exactly what I'm looking for
and read like hell. To pick up 3 books in such a short time and not find the time/ mood/ whatever to finish them is unheard of in my world. And kind of disturbing. I HATE not having a book on hand that I can delve into. Makes me feel so...bare:-( The only thing I can think that may have contributed was that I was listening to a a lot of audiobooks at the time. I had previously listened to The Hunger Games on audiobook, so while redecorating the kids' rooms and driving back and forth to work, I listened to
Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Although, now to think of it, I tried out Eve: A Novel of the First Woman by Elissa Elliott, but the discs were terribly scratched. I ended up having to return the set unfinished. Maybe the library jinxed me all along...

Next on the chopping block is Railsea by China MiƩville. I mean honestly, what better to curb my indecisiveness than a teen novel in the spirit of Moby Dick, but with trains instead of ships, and monstrous, King Kong-esque moles instead of whales? Sweet:) I'm only a few chapters into this one, but am immensely enjoying it so far. This is my first MiƩville novel, and I love his style of description. And his ability to make what otherwise would sound ridiculous, seem dangerous, mysterious, and even enticing. Cross your fingers for me, folks! And stay tuned!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ella's New Room

So one of the things I wanted to do this summer was redecorate both of the kids' rooms for them. Once we got the okay from our awesome landlords, I went to work! Ella got her turn first:)
As you can see, the room needed some colour!
As many 5-year-old girls, Ella loves Frozen, and requested her room have as much of that theme as possible. I saw that there were a zillion decals, comforters, drapes, and even furniture coated in Elsa and Anna, but I didn't want to spend a fortune. Call me crazy.
One end of the room.

And the other end.
I began by having Ella pick her 2 favorite colours off of her Frozen poster. She picked a baby pink, and what we've titled, "Elsa Blue."
I scored these sheer drapes in "Elsa Blue" for $9 at Ikea. Win!
So Ella really loved this decal of Elsa, but all the places I found it at online would have worked out to more than $40 with shipping for an 8X10 decal. Instead, I whipped out the paintbrush and painted it myself. While it lacks the perfection of the decal, I'm pretty happy with it:)
Elsa silhouette
Instead of buying both the kids' new beds, Ella was happy to take her brother's loft-style Ikea bed. I painted all the (previously) blue panels on it a lovely, dark "Anna purple," as we called it. (Same purple I used for the Elsa silhouette above.) It's quite light in the picture below, but it's just the flash. On the panel at the foot of her bed, I painted the design on Anna's dress.

Anna's dress design.
I had searched on different sites to try and find a way to store Ella's princess dolls in a way so that their hair wouldn't become a rat's nest every time she pulled them from the toy box. I found different pictures on Pinterest that led me to sites where the parents of children with expensive American Girl dolls had come up with ways to store them carefully. While Ella's dolls are nowhere near as expensive, she just didn't want to play with them looking so disheveled, and then, what's the point of having them? 
In the end, I kind of came up with my own idea, then shocked the hell out of myself when it actually worked!
I bought inexpensive moulding, then measured and cut it to comfortably fit 3 of her dolls across evenly. I then painted them in the "Anna Purple" we had been using for accent in the room, and measured and drilled holes the width of the dolls torso's. I inserted cheap pegs (the kind you see in a store on pegboard holding up merchandise) and the dolls hang on the pegs by their underarms. It matches her room, is secure and child-safe, and gives her a great way to keep her dolls (and their hair) pretty and safe! Gotta admit, I was wicked-proud of myself for this one:-D
My mad skillz;)
I had done so well expense-wise, I decided to splurge on one item for her room. She really didn't need a new comforter, so I went for a stroll on the Etsy website and found a super-cute decal with one of Ella's favorite lines from the movie. And it was available in the "Anna Purple" with decent shipping prices! Sold!

Oh, child-Anna, you're too cute:)
So her room is all finished, but for some last minute small character decals I found on sale at Walmart. There is one bare wall however, but I have plans for it. I might have seen a gorgeous Elsa and Anna print at Calgary's comic-con that I will pick up from the artist's site and have framed. Maybe;)

It looks so much more inviting and playful, and Ella loves it, which is most important. And I love that for paint, drapes, decals and new decor, I did it all for under $160 and about 3 solid days of work. But throw on an audiobook, and away I went;)

Next up: Evan's room!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cringer

A bit frustrating that only the
altered American version of the book
is available to us, but I explained the
changes as the story went along.
So my son and I reached an exciting milestone together: we listened to the first of the Harry Potter books on audio book. He is only 7, but his reading and comprehension are quite good, and he's shown an interest in the stories - so we went for it.
He (and my 5-year old, who was half-listening) absolutely loved it! He asked questions and geeked out with me, and it was just a blast. As a long-time lover of all the books, I had been waiting for this adventure to begin for my son and I.
That friggin' picture.
Once we had finished the book, I told him we could watch the movie together. (I would not let him watch the movie without reading/hearing the book first, unlike many of his friends who had already seen the film. I'm a mean Mom like that:) We finally had the opportunity to begin the movie, and as I prepared some snacks, he pulled out my Blu-Ray collection of all 8 films. He opened the case, to reveal a picture in the inside sleeve promoting the 8th movie. This image of Voldemort terrified him and he came into the kitchen and told me he didn't want to watch it anymore.I explained that nothing in that picture was in this first movie, and that there was nothing to be afraid of. He was emphatic; there was no movie happening. I let my anger get the best of me, as I had been so looking forward to sharing this with him, and I was unfair and angry toward him. Not my finest hour.
Now, in my defence, Evan's irrational fears have caused issues before. He isn't afraid of the dark, or being in a basement alone, or speaking/playing music/acting in front of others. He is afraid of scary images, strangers stealing him, running out of gas in the car, and camping during a storm. While kidnapping is a valid concern, I don't want him living his life in fear. It's the same for seeing this picture of Voldemort. I'm aware the other movies are not appropriate for him, and I would never let him watch them right now. So upon discovering that this incarnation of Voldemort is not in the first film, I wanted Evan to accept that, and watch it with me.When he wouldn't, I felt his fear was irrational, and frankly, it pissed me off.
Man up, Cringer.
It sometimes seems like he is too cautious, too anxious, too afraid. A friend has likened him to Cringer from He-Man. But how to I get Evan to discover the Battlecat inside? The next day, I actually texted this friend after the failed HP movie attempt, sharing my frustration.
She completely understood my frustration and was very sage in her reply:
"Healthy fear is a positive. The odd irrational fear is part of the human experience. But literally being so afraid of things, imaginary things, things that can't get you and aren't even part of the experience you're about to have, being that afraid that you can't partake in life? Insane. And problematic. Because what happens when real life throws scary curve balls? Part of fear - most of fear - is learning to live with and through it. Learning to face it."
Reading this calmed me down immensely. She validated my feelings and gave me the fortitude to talk to Evan the way I should have when he first told me he was scared. I showed him a picture of Ralph Fiennes and explained calmly that Voldemort was the result of a lot of makeup, digital imagery, and excellent acting. I
Quirrelmort
also made it very clear that what he saw in the picture was not in the first film. Then I reminded him that he knew exactly what to expect: we had listened to the audiobook and knew exactly what we were going to see. I told him that the only image I could think of that he might not like was Quirrel-mort, (which, granted, is rather disturbing) and if he wasn't ready for that part, we could fast-forward it. But I wanted him to conquer his fear and watch the rest of the movie, at the very least. He listened and decided to go for it.

We hunkered down and began.
Through the film, he exclaimed and hooted in excitement. He loved knowing what was going to happen next, and recognized scenes from the book. After the wizard chess part, Evan practically bolted from the room, knowing what was coming. He peered from a distance at various parts of the scene between Harry and Quirrelmort, but ultimately admitted he flat out didn't like it. I get that. When it comes down to it, it is a terribly freaky thing to see. It's one thing to imagine in your mind while reading it, but seeing a realistic interpretation could definitely be scary for a child.
By the end, as the Hogwarts Express puffed into the distance, Evan was besotted. He threw on his Gryffindor cloak and wore it with pride.
For me, I was so proud that he decided to brave the movie, and saw that there was nothing to be afraid of.
He also asked me when we could read the second book, which I told him wouldn't happen for a while.
"You'd be petrified," I said.
He just raised an eyebrow as I laughed hysterically.
I am just so excited to finally share Harry's adventure with him:-D
On a side note, when I was surfing Pinterest the other day, I found a link to an awesome blog post chronicling a grown man's experience with watching the first movie, for the first time. He subtitled it: "Wood! Balls! Murder! I can’t believe I waited this long." It is hilarious!
Check it out here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/wood-4-wood.
Regarding the subject of kids and anxiety/panic/worry, please share your advice! While this is a bump in the road, he has had legit panic attacks and I know all this worry, etc will continue. As someone who battles with panic/anxiety disorder, I'm equipped ( I think) to help him should he develop it too, but I truly, truly, TRULY hope this is just a passing phase.

Monday, June 30, 2014

RIP

My Grandad passed away just over a week ago.

He was 90 years old and when I first heard a few weeks ago of his unwell state, I was certain there would be a medical breakthrough and immortality would be discovered through him. There was no man more stubborn. But Death won, as He usually does, and my Grandad passed away.

His illness and passing has revisited a number of complex emotions in me and thus, it has been a difficult week. Due to good 'ol family drama, I have gone through blinding anger, terrible remorse and unhealthy doses of anxiety since last Saturday. Mix that with the hectic last week of school for my kids, and you get the emotional, sleepless lump that sits at this keyboard. But more on that later.

Francis (Frank) Ambrose Christian was one of thirteen kids to my Great-Grandparents. Like many other men his age, he lied to enlist to fight for his country during WWII.
(If you find interest in War stories, there's a wonderful online project my Grandad was included in here.)
Grandad worked for the post office, and in the RCMP. He married my Nanny, Pauline, in 1948 and their only child is my Dad. They were married 55 years when she died of cancer a decade ago.

My Grandad kept an extremely active social life right up until the end: volunteering at the veteran hospital, playing cards, and travelling the world with his second wife. He was also a member of several organizations, like the Knights of Columbus. Apparently they gave him a proper send-off at the funeral.
Due to family drama, I could not attend the funeral, but chose a beautiful arrangement to be sent. Had the flower company not royally screwed up my order, my bouquet might be sitting on his grave now, but instead, they did and it is not. My cousin went to the service however, and informs me it was lovely. (I <3 you Scotty).
My relationship with my Grandad was strained as I became an adult, and we always found each other awkward, I think. I certainly admired his no-bullshit attitude toward life, even if I was never quite good enough for him.
Grandad and I, 2010.

Favorite memories of Grandad:
- Images of him lounging in his mushy lazyboy that always looked as though it was swallowing him.
- That he always took us around the corner for donairs at Toulany's when we visited, or brought it to us if he came out west. He reminded us every time that it was he who signed Bash's papers for him to stay in Canada, even though we'd heard it many times before.
- He and Nan would always buy some Little Debbie desert for my brother and I when we visited. And because they wouldn't eat it after we left, they always made us eat like, 7 of them.
- Every visit, right up until the last, included a tour of first: the tiny living room, which held a barrage of framed photos of all his various encounters with famous politicians or some such person, and then the rest of the house, even though I could walk it in my sleep to this day.
- His smell. Even though we had our differences, thinking of his smell brings tears to my eyes.
- The fact that his birthday often coincided with Thanksgiving, and if we were over in Halifax for it, we would have a turkey dinner and decorate his cake with "Happy Franksgiving."
- The fact that children were so completely alien to him, he once gave my kids random slices of processed cheese as a snack one visit. Oh my God, that was hilarious. I think I have a picture of that, it was so ridiculous. Hang on. There it is:)
Hahahahaha!!! Oh, the confused look on their faces is priceless. I think it was the first time they'd had processed cheese.

Yeah, my Grandad was a hard man, but he was very proud of his accomplishments and the many influential people he met throughout his long life. I love you, Grandad, RIP.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Under Pressure

I am learning it is a lot of pressure being a "working in an office" mom. I spend time on my appearance in the morning when I really didn't before. My last job required jeans and a t-shirt, and they were lucky if I brushed my hair. Now that I need to actually look presentable and professional, I spend time doing my hair, putting on makeup, selecting my clothes, etc.
And my daughter is watching me. Every stroke of the hair straightener or the mascara. Every tug at my waistline or turn in the mirror.
And the thought occurs to me: I am her female role model.
And I am terrified.
I have fleeting memories from my childhood of watching my mom putting in her contacts and applying her lipstick. I remember my aunt staying with us briefly and being fascinated by the act of her styling her hair and doing her makeup. Even a friend's older sister getting ready for a date was amazing to me. All these instances had an impact on my womanhood, and all became things to strive for. I was never comfortable doing my hair or makeup-it was never something I was very good at. I feel like it was never something I was shown how to do properly. Even now, my skills are adequate at best.
With Ella now scrutinizing my every move when it comes to my physical appearance, I can't help but wonder if I am doing things right. When we exercise together, or do yoga together, I'm perfectly relaxed. There is no wrong way of encouraging healthy living, but a girl's idea of how she wants to look versus how she does look versus how the world perceives her appearance versus confidence versus...you see what I mean? It's a shit-ton of pressure to realize that my unorganized morning routine might become a memory she refers to regularly when it comes to taking care of her appearance.

By scrutinizing my own appearance, am I teaching her to criticize her own? I want her to grow to take pride in herself, but how do I teach her the difference between dressing and disguising?
I have no problem teaching her about (not necessarily) feminism, but female empowerment and gender equality and confidence, but now that she is getting older and is becoming conscious of how she looks, I am suddenly mortified. Teach her to box? No problem. That girls rule and boys drool? Done. But teach her the difference between makeup brands? No clue. The gaps in my "female" education are more blatant every day. How important is it that she know how to match up an outfit to its accessories?
How can I prevent my insecurities and deficiencies from becoming her own?

So far, I am taking it one day at a time, explaining why I wear whatever makeup or clothes I do, hoping she'll get a positive message from it:
"Mama, why do you put the black stuff on your eyes?"
"I just like how long and dark it makes my eyelashes - it makes me feel good."
"And how come you pull those little hairs out of your eyebrows? That doesn't look like it feels good..."
"No, that is so Mummy doesn't get mistaken for a Tauntaun."

*sigh* I know I'm doing some stuff right. If I wear heels, she wants to wear heels, skirt and skirt, and so on. So I suppose even if right now she is just learning to love being dressy with her Mum, that's okay, right? We can tackle the serious stuff another day.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Reading:)

Clearly I need to post more often on what I'm reading because I haven't in so long and now I'm struggling to remember!!

The last book post had me reading Cress. Which was fantastic and depressing as the book was wonderful, but the 4th one, Winter, is not out yet!


And it won't be out till THE END OF FU&%ING 2015!!


After my days of fury depicted on the right here by my buddy Tom, I have accepted the terms of torture given to me by Ms. Meyer and am trying not to think about how friggin' long this wait will be. Argh.


After Cress, I read Splintered by A.G. Howard. I really enjoyed the darkness and unique spin on my beloved Wonderland tale. It was a quick read, and a fun story. There is a sequel, but since I have the first one in trade PB, I'd like the second to match. Should be out sometime this year, so thankfully the wait will not be too brutal;)


Following this, I read Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I was really intrigued by the plot-line in this, but had a hard time enjoying the author's writing style. Normally, I wouldn't have finished a book in which I found a style so abrasive, but her story kept me hooked, and I got through it.

Somewhere in this time I read The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. My brain is so awesome that I don't remember the order, but I try to genre-jump a bit so it was likely after Cress and before Cruel Beauty. Probably.

This one was excellent and I send a heartfelt thanks and virtual high-five to my girl
Chris for gifting it to me:-D
It was an excellent story, well-written and researched, and just all-around wonderful. Left me feeling positive and that my time was spend well. I HATE when I finish a book and feel the time I invested into it was a waste. Not the case here, and I recommend picking it up!

I believe next was the first book in the super-fun, urban, Celtic fantasy series by Jodi McIsaac. Through the Door was a great read and made even better when I got to meet the lovely Ms. McIsaac at the Calgary Expo. I always find it so interesting to meet fantasy authors, to see where these worlds came from.
Needless to say, once I finished Through the Door, I jumped right into her 2nd book, Into the Fire, which was a fine sequel and even better than the first, I think. What I liked most was that each of these books wrapped up nicely, not leaving you with an author-loathing sense of unfinished business. (RIGHT, Ms. Meyer?) Ms. McIsaac's third book came out a few days ago and is on the way to my mailbox as we speak! Woot!

As I mentioned, I like to genre-jump, but I'll also just simultaneously read 2 genres. Before I finished Into the Fire, I began A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard, which I knew was a stupid move but I did it anyway!
In no way was the stunning memoir stupid, I just knew it would upset me, and it did. I ended up getting no sleep the night I began it, as I had to put it down halfway through and go lay with my daughter. I cried and held her and my heart hurt for the terrible atrocities this brave girl had to endure as a child. Zero sleep that night.
The next day I made the hubby reinforce all the windows and he and I gave the kids a refresher on The Stranger Talk. That'll be a whole post in itself, coming soon. Stay tuned;)
But back to the book, it was moving and horrifying, and all the things that a memoir from a woman who had been abducted when she was 11 by two pedophiles and raped and held hostage for 18 years would be. Definitely worth reading if you can stomach it. I hope you get more sleep than I have! (PS: Please head here to learn about the wonderful charity Ms. Dugard has gone on to begin.)

Currently, I've begun The Time Keeper by Mitch Album. I'm barely into it at this point, but I've read a couple of his other books in the past and enjoyed them. So far, this one seems completely different, but absolutely intriguing. I'll try to post about my reading adventures more often so I can actually remember the book when I write about it, lol.

Hope you're all finding happiness between the pages!

Cheers,
Kel

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sum Mum Fun

So, my last few posts were super nerderific. As a result, this post is all Mommy.

My children attend an excellent charter school here in Edmonton that utilizes the Suzuki music method and applies it to academics. All the children from K-6 each play an instrument, and attend group music classes during school, as well as choral classes. The academics are pushed on them a little more-so than at a public school, therefore there is a lot more pressure on these kids, but (for my family, at least) it seems to be the right way to go. The majority of kids at this school are intelligent, responsible, globally-aware, and immensely talented.
Every spring, the school hosts a massive concert at Edmonton's most prestigious orchestra venue - The Winspear Centre - where the entire school performs in a 3-hour concert. It's an exhausting few days for the kids and teachers, as they rehearse at the school the 2 mornings prior, then attend a full rehearsal at the venue the morning of (7 busloads there and back), before heading back to school for the afternoon, then participating in the actual concert that evening. And there's always school the next day.
This year, Ella is in kindergarten so it was the first year we had both children participating in the concert. And our first year of being able to just sit and enjoy without a young child to run to the washroom every 10 minutes/entertain/feed/keep quiet. :-D
Here are some of the pictures of that day/evening for us:
Ella wanted Elsa's coronation
hair from Frozen.
Evan was pretty excited.
Ready for the concert!
The concert itself is always a remarkable spectacle. An entire school of talented kids!
Suzuki Charter School 2014 Winspear Concert
We were lucky enough to get seats where we had a decent view of our kids among the masses.
My sweet girl was a royal stinker up in the balcony,
causing trouble with her friends. You can tell by the bird
she's flipping in this pic:)
Evan was super exhausted by the end of the concert, but
I still caught him gazing about, clearly awed by the
spectacle around him.
 It is always so wonderful to hear and see the fruition of months of practice and effort. And the looks on the kids' faces as they experience the entire event is always incredible. Not to mention seeing which kindergartner falls asleep on stage, tee hee. (It is a loooooong day for them.)  This year, my nephew in grade one was up front and looked as though he was fighting off sleep like a champ:)
Aside from the pride I felt, I was moved by the effort the school staff went to in order to pay tribute to the former music director (who passed away last year after battling cancer) through an emotional cello performance by her son, a surprisingly stunning duet by members of the staff, and the establishment of a scholarship in her name.
The evening wrapped up with the usual camaraderie of a live auction (to match the silent auction that went on through the night) that featured big ticket items, including the coveted parking stall closest to the school doors:) I always find it remarkable to see how people with money live, lol. I think that stall went for $1200 this year. Crazy, right?!

All in all it was a fantastic evening, and one I always look forward to, despite the exhausted, and therefore miserable children I have to drive home after and deal with the next day. It's a lovely celebration of the work we do all year with our kids, and always memorable.

Next post? Well, instead of resting the day after the Winspear concert, we left the city for several days to take Evan to Calgary for a guitar event! No rest for the wicked;-)