Friday, May 29, 2015

Family Time.

Lately, a lot of my Netflix watching has been shows that I remember watching as a kid. Shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-air (raise your hand if you can still sing the entire theme song from memory?), Party of Five (the angst!), and Gilmore Girls (I desperately want to live in Stars Hollow). All great shows centered around families!

Family can mean a lot of things. It can mean the people you're born to. It can mean the friends that you grow up with. It can mean the people you bond with at work. It can even mean the minions that your scientist partner created, or the children you adopted under false pretenses to further your plan to steal a shrink ray to facilitate you stealing the moon.

If you're at all intrigued by that last one, you might want to watch one of my family's favourite movies of all time, Despicable Me.

Not into cartoons? How about Raising Hope? Jimmy Chance, a well meaning guy with a big heart has a one night stand with an escaped convict. He later finds out that she'd gotten pregnant, and decides to raise the baby, Hope, by himself. He's not *all* by himself though, as he still lives with his parents and grandmother. It takes a village after all.

There's also a great new series, exclusive to Netflix about redefining your definition of family later in life. Grace and Frankie have lived and raised their families parallel to each other for years, their husbands being partners in a law firm. They couldn't be more different though, and don't exactly get along. When, after 40 years of marriage,  their husbands leave them for each other, Grace and Frankie are forced together to reevaluate their lives. Despite their abundance of differences, they discover that having one huge thing in common can be the basis for a meaningful friendship.

How about you? What are you watching?

Monday, May 25, 2015

I Just... I Can't.

I've been getting things into a better state around here. There are still boxes hiding in the laundry room, but I was going to get to them after I finished sorting out my office/craft room/etc. Which, I remind you, was about to get underway. The living room looked like this:

This past weekend, Husband went home to visit his mum. He came home with a van. This happened.

These are boxes of stuff that has apparently been festering at his mum's during the 15 years that we've been living together. They are full of things like old magazines, books, toys, and games; basically assorted junk. They are now in my living room.

There are two of these. What the hell, man?
I'm going to have a nap now.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Verdict Is In.

Three weeks in the cast, three weeks in a splint, then an as yet unspecified length of physio.

It's pretty though, right?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

At Least I've Painted?

I swear, I had a plan for today. I finally finished painting the baseboard in my writing/crafting/whatever-room-that-is-all-mine yesterday, so today I was going to start shifting things around.

I drifted off to sleep thinking about which wall the shelves with the doors should go against, and where would be the best place to find a really big table top for cheap. I dreamed that I was putting supplies away in well organised, and pretty, containers. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Today, I moved the paint cans and trays down to the basement, and I scraped a couple of drips off the floor. Then I looked out the window for a bit. I looked at the pile of stuff in the middle of the room. I sat on the floor and played a game on my iPod for a bit. Then I left.

Hopefully, next time I go in there, I will actually pick objects up and move them. I think that part of the problem is I really don't know quite how I want to set it up yet, and I feel the need to have a plan before getting started. I also know that I'm going to have to pull shelves and things from other parts of the house, and find places to put the things that are currently on those shelves and things. It's a bit daunting, and apparently just too much for me to deal with on a Thursday.

I can, however show you the before and after of the paint:

Notice the dirty grey and royal blue two-toned paint of the before, versus the lovely (very slightly) off-white of the after. I wanted to have a colour in there that wouldn't reflect too much onto whatever I was working on in there, but still had a little warmth to it. (It looks a little yellower in the picture than it reads in person.)

I really am looking forward to working in there, I swear. I'm hoping to have a better update (you know, where I've actually done something) early next week.

Here's a question for you though - any organisation tips? I'm pretty much starting from scratch in here, so any suggestions would be helpful!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ruminations on Reading. Or Not.

I've always preferred print books to e-books. They just seem more "real" to me. Nothing beats the feel of a brand new book in your hand. Cracking it open for the first time and immersing myself in a new story... bliss. I held out on the e-reader thing for a really long time, actually, not even giving them a chance. I was quite the snob. Then I got given a Kindle. I grudgingly tried it out.

The fact that I can get books out from the library in the middle of the night, and carry six different books in my purse while only having the weight of one pretty much sold me.

I've stayed away from audio books though. I mean... e-books are one thing, but to not even read the words myself? Well that's just lazy.

And then I started getting frequent migraines. To add insult to injury, my migraines come with these really interesting visual disturbances that make everything look as though I'm looking at it cross-eyed through a tank of water filled with sparkles and strobe lights.  All I can do when I've got one is lie still with my eyes closed and wait til it goes away. It's very boring. I've tried reading through one, but even with my e-reader set at the largest font and line spacing, I couldn't. So I sucked it up, put aside my worries about sub-par voice actors and bad accents, and tried it out.

The first one I tried was awful. I didn't even make it through the first chapter before I was so annoyed with the voice actor that I gave it up. Put me right off unfortunately, and it wasn't until this past weekend that I tried again. I had somehow managed to get book one and book three in a series, and the only book two available immediately from the library was the audio version. *sigh*

I listened. I suppose the trick to audio books is finding the voice actor to suit the book, and Moira Quirk was the perfect choice for Gail Carriger's Finishing School series. She has single handedly revived my interest in audio books. Brilliant.

Do you listen to audio books? Any recommendations? Any favourite voice artists?

Oh! And I've finally joined GoodReads, so feel free to come find me over there

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Victoria!

So. Here in Canada, we just had a long weekend. I spent Saturday in bed, nursing a migraine, so I can't tell you what went on, but the rest of the weekend was pretty great.

On Sunday, the girls and I walked (the girls scootered) over to my sister's to check on the progress of the painted lady butterflies that we're studying. At this stage in their life cycle, they look like nasty little greyish pickles.They're kind of neat, but only for about five minutes.

Then, after the girls picked dandelions for an hour, we headed back home. On the way home, Kee hit a bump and had a rather spectacular wipeout. (Why is it that when there's one kid was ahead, and one behind, it's always the one you're not looking at at the moment who does something weird?) I ended up carrying both scooters home, while trying to reassure Kee that her hand probably wouldn't fall off. I was so focused on scooters and children that I went right past my husband who had walked out to meet us.

That, or I don't recognise him at all when he's wearing sunglasses and/or not in the proper context of my house or the car.

Not a pickle.

We got ourselves a pizza, then put the kids to bed at around eight or so. That's also about when the fireworks started. Around ten o'clock, it became entirely obvious that they were not, in fact, going to be able to ignore the multitude of fireworks going off in the neighbourhood and settle down for the night. Knowing when we're beat, we told them to get dressed and took them for a walk around the neighbourhood, taking advantage of the fact that all our neighbours were setting off explosives in their yards. It was a beautiful night, and we managed to find a great spot in the school yard that let us see fireworks going off in the yards surrounding the field.

On Monday, nothing was open, it being a holiday and all. Wait a minute! The Ontario Science Center is open every day except Christmas, and we are lucky enough to have a membership!* So we packed a lunch, and headed down for a day of science. That place is awesome. There truly is something for everyone, and they get new exhibits all the time. (I'm anxiously awaiting the Myth Busters exhibit opening in June.) We were there for the entire day and there are bits that we never got to. I really do need to go spend a day there by myself.

We got home, I went upstairs to change into pajamas (yes, the second I stepped in the door), and before I even got back downstairs someone had broken their arm. No, really.

Sister incurred fracture.

Apparently, Beege was on the floor, under a duvet, pretending to be a rock. Or maybe hiding? I'm still not sure. Anyway. Kee did what Kee does when confronted with a big pile of comfiness, and flung herself off the couch, onto the duvet. There was a crack, and screaming, and now the poor kid is in a cast for the next six weeks.

Lessons we learned this Victoria Day Weekend:
1. Chrysalises look like tiny pickles.
2. There is no point trying to sleep when there are fireworks going on.
3. Free stuff is awesome, especially when there's science involved.
4. Always check under blankets before hurling yourself on top of them.
5. Maybe don't hide on the floor under blankets.

*Thanks, Mum and Dad!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Seven Things About Writing.

My friend Lillian tagged me for this, and you know I can't resist a list...

1. I am always writing. I may not be sitting in front of a computer, or holding a pen, but there is always a story working itself out in my head. A lot of writing is sitting around with a cup of tea/coffee/whatever, staring off into space, so it looks pretty easy. But...

2. It's hard. Having an idea is one thing, sitting down and writing it is another. I can play out entire novels in my head, the details of someone's entire life from start to finish, but as soon as I sit down in front of a blank screen I have trouble. For example: I'm writing a novel. I have the whole of the story in my mind, down to the shoes the protagonist is crunching leaves beneath as she runs across a darkened street. But sitting my butt down in a chair to finish it off is giving me trouble. It's also scary. It seems to me that any creative endeavour would be. Imagine ripping out a little piece of your heart, tying it up in a bow and handing it to someone to see what they think. That's what showing someone else my work feels like.

3. It's kind of lonely. I need to be alone to write. I have trouble concentrating if there's anyone else even in the house, whether they're near me or not. It bothers me that someone might be reading over my shoulder, and I can't stifle the niggle in the back of my mind that tells me not to get too into what I'm doing because someone is going to come and ask me for a snack any minute. However...

4. Writing can be a way to meet people and make connections. If I hadn't started this blog, then I never would have even known that some of my favourite people (Lillian being one of them) existed. 

5. Everything is a story. Everything. Whether it's Husband being late home from work (late meeting? accident? traffic? detour?), or an interesting town name (why is it called that? do they have a rivalry with another town? is it a poor town? rich town? does a serial killer live there?), or even a chair on a lawn (why is it on the lawn? whose is it? how long have they had it? was it a gift?) everything is a spark.

6. You need to read to write. At least I think you do. I feel like exposing yourself to as many different genres and styles of writing as possible expands your vocabulary and your world view, and makes you a more interesting writer.

7. It's like therapy. Writing, whether it's a blog post or a short story, is a way for me to work out all the tangled thoughts in my head. My mind is constantly jumping from idea to idea, like an overly caffeinated grasshopper. Writing makes me sit down and focus on an idea or feeling, and that's something I need to keep my head on straight.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Stop Playing in the Butter!!

Yesterday, I was a jerk. For pretty much the entire day.

It was one of those days when nothing seemed right to me. It started first thing in the morning.

For no reason I could think of, EVERYTHING was irritating. I was awful. I couldn't let any little annoyances pass without comment. I was snarking at everyone and even though my head was yelling at me to shut up, the nitpicking and grumping kept pouring out of my mouth.

Luckily, I realised what an unbearable ass I was being and, in the interest of not alienating my entire family, took myself and my shitty attitude back to bed where I lay around and wondered what the hell my problem was.

You know how little kids can be total a-holes, for no discernible reason, and then they run a fever, or have a rash, or are generally under the weather, and you kind of forgive their jerkiness because "awww... the poor little guy was getting sick!"?

Well, this morning, I woke up feeling awful. Throat full of spikes, nose running like a faucet, and a body that felt as if someone had been using it as a punching bag. I did feel relatively cheerful though.

I was so relieved.

I'm not a jerk, I'm a toddler.

*Really though, don't play in the butter. Gross.