The best book I have read lately is called, The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett. I put it on my hold list at the library back in November. Five days ago I bought it home and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish reading it.
All the action in this story takes place in Jackson Mississippi from 1960-1964.
The story unfolds from the eyes of two black domestic workers, Aibileen and Minny, they spend their days cleaning up after white families, cooking their meals and raising their children.
Skeeter, a young white woman just returned from college, is struggling with the racial inequalities she sees all around her. As well, her mother would like her to be like her friends and settle down with a husband and kids. But Skeeter is desperate to become a writer. Read More …
Why did whoever invented time decide to be against me in every possible way?
Each and every weekend flies by in a blur of food, kisses, Netflix series and general good times
No matter how hard I try, I can’t get everything done in the day at work.
When I know I’m attending a meeting, course, training afternoon, the time seems to stop for the few hours I’m attending.
I was all proud of myself Friday morning when I woke up in New York, pulled on my running clothes, and left the vacation house for a run. And then I got two feet up the cliff of a driveway and thought I would die. I huffed and puffed (walking) to the top of the steepest part of the cliff, then got myself running again.
So here I am back at home, completely covered in scratches and bruises. I can’t tell which injuries are from my “run,” and which are from my hot tub antics. I’m pretty much a mess.
I’m due back at the gym tomorrow, and I’m sitting here thinking to myself, “Maybe next day, maybe now let’s take another test… ha ha ha, Am I just looking for a reason to sleep in a little tomorrow?
The other day, while shopping, I got a craving for licorice allsorts, actually I’d been craving them for days, and decided to satisfy it right then. However, the only licorice allsorts I could find, came in a giant box, like the sort of box one might find under the Christmas tree. I briefly considered going to another store, hoping they would have something smaller because I don’t need a whole kilogram of licorice allsorts. But going to another store was not in my plan, so I thought, what the hey, and I bought them.
I managed to eat quite a few on the drive home. Feeling somewhat sick I hid them in the bottom of the freezer, forgetting all about them until today. So HELP ME, because now I’m forced to blog about my licorice allsorts self-made addiction, in a supreme effort to take my mind away from eating every last one of them right now! Read More …
Anxious to get going with this wristwatch-like GPS, designed for running, I took a hasty look at the quick-start-guide, strapped the Garmin to my wrist, put on my running gear and went outside.
The device took a couple of minutes, or less, to find a satellite. I pressed the start button and I was off.
What it keeps track off
You can keep track of useful things like how far you run, the time it takes you to do the run, your pace, your heart rate and not so useful things like how many calories you burn.
The GPS comes with software to program the Garmin for the type of run you want to do and the pace and heart rate zone you want to do it at. The software keeps track of all your runs and also comes with a set of prepackaged workouts.
When I saw this I could almost taste its sour sweetness. I got an intense craving to make one for myself. I couldn’t find a recipe I liked so I ended up inventing my own.
I used lots of sweet butter, 4 lemons, 4 free range eggs, white sugar, white flour and cream. I made the crust in the usual way cutting the butter into the sugar and flour, adding just enough water to bring it together into a soft pastry. I rolled it out, put it into my pie dish and placed it in a hot oven to partially cook. I grated the rind off the lemons, squeezed out all their juice and beat them up with the eggs, sugar and cream. I took the partially cooked pie shell out of the oven, poured in the filling, turned the oven down to medium and put it back in. Read More …
I used to drive my car around my running route using its odometer to calculate the distance I was running. Since the distance I run varies and is also increasing in length every week using the car’s odometer was sort of overkill, then I heard about runnersworld.com
If you join their site you can keep track of all kinds of running related things. The main thing, for me, was to be able to use google maps to calculate how far I was running. However, signing up on their site was a pain. When I finally succeeded I mapped my run by clicking my mouse at intervals along the road. It told me the total number of miles I had run. Mileage or should I say kilometrage is also available in kilometers which I prefer. I saved my map and logged out. Later, when I came back to the site to make another map, or rather gloat about the extra distance I was now running, the site refused to recognize me. It told me I did not exist, even though I entered my coordinates a couple a times, fearing typos. Humpf. Read More …
More than two years ago I packed all my books into boxes in preparation for moving. They sat in the basement of our new house until today. They withstood a flood when the connection in one of the water pipes blew apart luckily the plumber was still on contract so he fixed it the next day although he did nothing for the books.
The years the books spent in boxes compressed by other books in boxes was such that some of the paperbacks buckled and curled I hope they straighten out on the shelves.
most of our books
Having all my books in boxes was a pain. I was constantly being reminded of some book I wanted to get a quote from, or reread, or lend to a friend. I was forced too go down into the basement, rummage around in the boxes, in desperation throwing books aside trying to remember which book the particular author quote was in. The book I wanted to lend to a friend was always in the last box I looked in. Now they are all on shelves I’m looking forward to rearranging them, perhaps this time by the author.
As usual, we managed to fill two boxes with discards, books I know I will never read again. I only keep books I read more than once. I only try to buy books I think I want to read more than once. Sometimes I make a mistake. Read More …
So now I’ve moved back to the country my sources for locally produced food from the Peace have all but dried up; something to do with the new shortsighted rules for farm gate sales. I’ve started to look for food closer too home which is smart given our current worldwide crisis (there are plenty to choose from)
My first thought was I would have to construct a fenced in hen house, buy a bunch of baby chicks for eggs as well as the cooking pot and maybe a DIY book to ease my new parent anxieties. I really was not looking forward to it even though I know, in a couple of years, the whole enterprise would pay me back, in the taste department as well as my pocket book. Then, I saw a sign on the community bulletin board for free-range eggs, score. Read More …
Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal Vegetable Miracle is about a family’s year-long experiment to produce all their own food or buy whatever they couldn’t produce from local sources. Usually small farms like their own and farmers markets. Sometimes their definition of local had to be expanded to include their whole state or another country for food like coffee and tea produced under a Fair Trade agreement.
I enjoyed this book. It inspired me to want to really take up vegetable gardening in a big way, try and plant as much food as possible so as to avoid buying out of season produce at the supermarket. Because if you are eating right you will not be eating tomatoes from Mexico in February. With a freezer, you would have been able to freeze your tomatoes in August, when they were ripe, for use in stews and soups all year long.
For a while, I was almost convinced to buy some laying hens and a couple of roosters. Robert soon set me straight by pointing out how much of a hassle it would be finding someone to look after them when we wanted to go away. Read More …
This new squirrel proof bird feeder is so successful I feel my budget will not be able to keep up with the demand for black oilseeds. It holds ten pounds of seeds which the birds are going through in about a week.
The birds hang out on the ground beneath the feeder and the surrounding trees bickering about whose turn it is to actually get a feeder perch. Periodically the squirrel runs between its seed cache, behind the shed, and the ground under the feeder chasing off any birds who are pecking through the seed shells looking for whole seeds so it can get the seeds for itself.
So far the cat is pretending disinterest in the whole setup.
Either someone has stolen my Plants of Northern British Columbia book or I stupidly put it away in one of those thirty two boxes of books, taking up space on my basement floor. I don’t like having my books in boxes. A while ago I bought another copy of one of my books. I badly wanted to read it and I couldn’t find it in the boxes, even after taking almost every book out and putting them back again. What a pain. I really don’t want to make a habit of buying duplicate copies of all my books. Read More …
I couldn’t wait to get home from work, put on shorts and a tank top, grab a coke from the fridge and my book, Unaccustomed Earth. I took them outside to sit on the deck in the hot sun. You have to take advantage of the weather when it is acting like summer.
I was prompted to pick up this book after listening to Vicki Gabereau interview the award winning author, Jhumpa Lahiri. Lahiri writes about first and second generation Bengali families -immigrants to the United States coming to terms with their adopted culture.
I was a bit taken aback, after reading the first long chapter, to find the book wasn’t a novel but a collection of short stories. I had become so completely immersed in the characters of that first story I had just wanted it to go on and on. However, the rest of the stories were just as mesmerizing.
I find it amusing that the Bengali characters were always lighting cigarettes, or openly displaying bottles of scotch on their dinner tables. It was almost as if they had to do this to prove how Western and sophisticated they had become. Read More …
To celebrate the end of my two week stint of full time work, a biggie for me, we are going to blow our climate action dividend cheques on dinner in an expensive restaurant.
On Wednesday I listened to a program on CBC. The minister responsible for the carbon tax on gasoline, the resulting lower taxes meant to offset the carbon tax and a $100 dollar cheque for each tax paying British Columbian, was defending his governments attempt to force us to adopt greener habits. According to the minister this means something like blowing the entire climate action dividend cheque on low energy lightbulbs, weatherize our doors and windows, getting our car tuned up. You get the picture. Read More …
“it is the self contained, independent nature of guerrilla fighters that make their battle so effective. Free from cumbersome bureaucracy and chains of command, a guerrilla is unplugged, off-grid and powered by common sense. “
writes Richard Reynolds in his book, On Guerrilla Gardening. His well organized informative book outlines the answers to all ones questions, who what when why, would bother planting seeds and cultivating vegetables and flowers in next doors vacant lot only to have the whole thing plowed under by the authorities. The second section is a manual for all would be guerilla gardeners. Throughout his book Reynolds cites many examples of individual guerilla gardening activities, how they succeeded or did not succeed against the establishment. Read More …
I’m sitting in the library trying to cool off. I can feel sweat beading under my chin, running down my back and dampening my under arms. My bra is sticking to my body like suction cups on a wet window. I unhooked it at the back then pulling down each strap I was able to pull the whole thing off through one of the armholes of my t-shirt. luckily there is no one in this particular corner.
I was running back to my car, which in this heat is idiotic. This seesaw weather is nuts. For some reason I had a vision of my laptop bag, left on the front seat of my car, door locked but the sunroof wide open and someone with long arms reaching inside to swipe it off the seat. Read More …
We first looked at this house in April. Now it has green grass, pots full of flowers and stairs leading up to the front door. The builder was there and so were a lot of other nosy people like us. Inside, the floor was finished in slate, engineered hardwood and carpet in the basement. Some rooms had vaulted ceilings and there were quirky windows everywhere, although the windows faced the wrong way so the light coming in was cold. At one point I was in the kitchen, opening cupboards, admiring the solid black granite counter top when a chill come over me. Out I went into the sunlight. The house faces west. The big overhang on the long south side (RHS in the photo) prevents the sun from shinning into the house. I doubt even in winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, will it be able to stretch its rays underneath and far back enough to shine on the kitchen floor. Read More …
I’ve just arrived back from a long drive up the Bowron lake road. We took the turnoff towards the Vineyards a beautiful alpine area full of sparkling lakes, meadows of colourful wildflowers and views of snow capped peaks in every direction.
It was a typical Ramblers hike with several diehards and a few newcomers. One of the newcomers, an older women a good deal older than any of us, rode in our car. She bragged about other hikes she had done. We talked about future trips and reminisced about past trips. After parking the vehicles we started hiking up an overgrown road toward the trailhead. I was in my usual position at the head of the pack. The weather was warm with a slight breeze so there weren’t any bugs.
After walking about a kilometer we waited for the stragglers except it took longer than the usual five minutes for them to catch up. After what seemed like an eternity, to impatient me, the last two rounded the corner one of them, the newcomer could barely catch her breath. Read More …
I’m back from tromping up mountains, every steep pitch, then down again, through hellebore covered slopes, slipping backwards onto my butt more times than I care to remember, Fat hellebore leaves are a bitch to walk on especially when the slope is steep. Luckily there was enough snow and lateral moraines to keep things interesting.
Sometimes flowers like Valarian, Paintbrush Fleabane, Aster, Potentilla, Columbine and bog Orchids managed to push their way up between the hellebore leaves filling the meadows with colour.
The hike leader packed two boxes of red wine for us all to enjoy thus our campfire conversations were lively and fun untill my eyelids shut and I had to pry them open with my fingers so I could see through the gloaming, back to my tent. Yesterday, the third day, we came down the Red Mountain trail. I was reminded of all the skiing I have done there and all the skiing I have yet to do there. This slope is usually covered in snow not hellebores. Read More …
I had never heard of Robert Weaver until a couple of days ago. I was plugged into my iPhone while I did housework, the Ideas podcast came on and I learned Robert Weaver had devoted over fifty years of his life to nurturing the development of Canadian literature. As I listened I realized almost all of Canada’s literary talent had been influenced by this men.
Munro had heard Weaver was looking for short stories to read aloud on his CBC radio program, Anthology. She wrote him a letter and included two of her stories. He wrote back suggesting ways she could improve them and subsequently bought them both. Munro says, “That was probably the greatest moment of my life,” appearing in print and being paid for the privilege. Read More …