Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a trip to the library

Since I haven't been working for the past 2 months (I'm going back Monday!) I have had some time on my hands. I've come across some good books lately and thought I would share them here. Happy reading!

Title: Snowflower & The Secret Fan
Author: Lisa See
Genre: historical fiction
Summary: Snowflower and Lily are girls growing up in China, back when footbinding was the thing to do. They become “secret sisters” and their lives are forever intertwined. This book tells their story – their lives, their companionship, and most of all, their secrets.

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Author: Mark Haddon
Genre: fiction/comedy/humanity
Summary: Christopher is an autistic boy with an interesting perspective. Written completely from his point of view, this story is about his life as a 15 year old. A very fun and easy read, but also a story that stays with you and makes you think. It’s very real.

Title: White Oleander
Author: Janet Fitch
Genre: fiction/slightly disturbing
Summary: This story follows a girl through several foster homes in California. Her story is heart wrenching, dramatic and funny all at the same time.

Title: Cockeyed
Author: Ryan Knighton
Genre: memoir
Summary: Ryan grew up in Langley, BC. He started to go blind when he was 14. Although I have just started this book, it already makes the list. He is witty and has a very real perspective on his blindness, and how it won’t get him down.

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Genre: historical fiction
Summary: This is the story of Miriam and Lily. They are two women who’ve grown up in different parts of Afghanistan, in different social classes, and whose lives are fated together. Much of the story takes place around 2000 – 2004, and it’s mind boggling to think about what was actually happening just a few years ago in Afghanistan. A great read.

Title: Plain Truth
Author: Jodi Piccoult
Genre: fiction/mystery
Summary: What happens in an Amish community when one of the youth gets pregnant? Find out in this story, which brings an Amish girl’s repentance and the American justice system together in an unusual way. (I will warn you, I found this book a bit slow, and it had some annoying characters, but overall was a pretty good book.) Also, I discovered it was made into a movie in 2004. It was on tv just a few days ago. I didn't watch it.

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Genre: memoir
Summary: You will not believe this is a true story. It follows a nomadic family who seems like they have deliberately chosen to live in poverty. Jeannette is one of the middle children in a family of six, and her life is constantly a struggle – often they are without food, water or electricity, and even more often the children are the ones taking care of their alcoholic father and “artist” mother. Quite the read.

Title: When All You Have Is Hope
Author: Frank O’Dea
Genre: memoir
Summary: This story is about one of the co-founders of Second Cup. Curiously, before he came into his success, he was a homeless alcoholic in his 20’s living on the streets of Toronto. (Alright, I liked the first part of this book, which was about his growing up and his decline to homelessness, but the second half put me off, as it was entirely about how great he was. Still an interesting read, but be prepared for a bit of arrogance toward the end.)

Title: Adam’s Peak
Author: Heather Burt
Genre: fiction
Summary: This story is about two neighbor kids, Rudy and Claire, whose lives almost never intertwine, yet inexplicably do. Set half in Sri Lanka and half in Montreal, this book reveals the lives of some late 20-somethings and the never ending thought that they are going nowhere in life. Interesting read, though I just made it sound boring – but I can’t give it all away!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

room for squares

“Squares,” her voice called from across the dimly lit room. Who did she think she was? This girl whose name I learned from someone else and had since forgotten only 2 hours previously. We didn’t actually meet one another. How dare she brand me with such authority. It felt like a flashback to grade 7, or 8 or 11 or 12 – years when I was desperately trying to be someone I was not – someone who fit in completely with the so called cool kids.

I am, for the most part, ok with me. As best a 22 year old knows how, I have come to terms with who I am. I know my opinions and my beliefs, and I know I don’t know everything. I am ok with not being the cool kid, because I like to think I’ve moved past that whole stage in life, and really, there are no cool kids anymore because we are all adults anyhow.

My dad once told me that the first time he drove me home from college (Briercrest) was when he realized he had had a surly teenage daughter. It’s true, I was like that in high school, but college, college was where I started to be myself and like it. I like that I changed. I grew, I learned, I made friends who were good for me. They loved me, prayed for me, wanted me around and missed me when I wasn’t there. It was good. In fact, it was great. Never before, or since (with the exception of my own family), have I had that community experience – that feeling of belonging, where your heart is light and you know whatever you do, or don’t do, won’t result in judgment – perhaps concern, but not judgment. Not from your friends anyway. Not from your community. I am wholly convinced that my two years at Briercrest shaped my life in ways I still haven’t discovered. The people I was united with shaped my life. (I did end up marrying one of them after all!) They were the people around me and who loved me when I really started becoming a human. Becoming myself.

After Briercrest, when I attended SAIT, things were different. I thought I could maybe find that community again, that sense of belonging, but it was a different school, and different people and a completely different atmosphere. I still loved it, but there were traces of what I dealt with and went through in high school, and I wasn’t interested in going back to that place. I still made some great friends and had some fantastic experiences, but it was painfully clear that my Briercrest experience was just that – a one time thing. Which is ok. I am thankful for it.

These reasons are why last night was so upsetting in a non-upsetting way.

One of Dan’s mates, Stacy, from Australia has been in Canada the last month or so getting her money’s worth from her seasons pass at Fernie. Yesterday she traveled to the Fraser Valley to catch up with Dan and Brandon, an obviously fun thing to do. A whole bunch of us went out for wings – Dan and myself, Stacy and Brandon and a bunch of Brandon’s house mates/friends. Mediocre pub food and people you sort of know always
makes for an alright Wednesday night.

Afterward, we all went back to Brandon’s house, and that is where my realization of things past happened. Someone (the aforementioned square girl) suggested a pipe be lit. Others agreed. I knew I was leaving soon, because I don’t condone (that’s for you Hill) any type of smoking or pipes or anything that looks like it could be drugs but isn’t. I don’t like it, and I don’t mind saying so. Plus, I am not into hanging out in basements sitting in a circle listening to Cat Stevens passing a hukka around. So Dan and I left.

I know everybody changes after college. People move on. You can still keep in touch but it will never be the same. It just amazes me how much people change and in what ways.

I am not exempt from it. I am different too. I’m married and am starting a career and I think about having kids and I live in BC and pay for car insurance. I clean on Saturdays and make meal plans and go grocery shopping regularly. Laundry and dishes are a recurring part of my life. And sometimes my idea of a good Friday night is going to look at new carpet for the living room

And I am ok with that.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

another attempt at starting to blog

Sorry for the looong hiatus. Again there has been nothing too thrilling to blog about. I know that the more I post the easier it will be to post.

Christmas was great. We stayed here for Christmas day spent with Dan's family, and then we drove through the woods and over the mountains to my mom and dad's for a little visit in between Chistmas and New Years. I love my family. It was fun to see them and it was great for Dan to be able to rest and not work for 5 days.

I didn't work at all in December, which was actually really enjoyable. I still have my job, it's just a slow time of year for residential projects. I am supposed to hear from my boss soon though...hopefully I can work again shortly, although really, who wants to work? I think it'll be a bit of a shock to the system when I do go back!

I have been typing up recipes lately from last year's Canadian Living magazines. I get into a "spring cleaning" mode around New Years - just feel like I have to get rid of stuff I don't use and organize what I do use, and it's a good way to use my non working days.

I just saw a bug outside the window. It's January 8th for goodness sake. BC is strange.

I'll try not to make it tooooo long until next time.