Wednesday, December 30, 2009

101 Books Returns

So amidst all the Christmasness I forgot to mention I killed another book and am on the verge of another couple. In light of a couple interesting books I got for Christmas I'm also going to change a couple of these on my list that were more space filler. Hopefully that's acceptable. :) They are all still 200-pages-plus so I'm not cheating. The book I have finished was Dreams from my Father by President Barack Obama. I'll cross that off my list, and the entries in bold on this list are the new ones I've changed.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Iran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Paradise Lost - John Milton
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Under the Dome - Stephen King
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. I was a Teenage Katima-Victim - Will Ferguson
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. Snarky Responses to Yahoo! Answers - Matthew Cory
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. The Ultimate Weight Solution - Dr. Phil McGraw
101. Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life - Dr. Phil McGraw

Barack Obama's first book, which he wrote shortly after graduating from Harvard Law School and marrying his wife Michelle, is an absolutely intriguing look into his young life. It does not contain a lot of policy ideas, although it contains some, so much as his history - or more accurately, his quest to find it. As a mixed-race man born to a white Kansan, whose (African) father left when he was a baby, his struggle here to find a place in the black community are detailed, ultimately leading him to Kenya to meet his paternal family.

As Obama's first attempt at book writing it can be a bit lofty and wordy at points - just as the man can be - and as such I can't hold it up as an example of fabulous writing from a mechanical front. He had learned a lot more about the nuts and bolts of writing by the time he penned THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, and if you're looking for a well-written document outlining his policy beliefs, that would be a better choice (although it too contains some of his personal history, particularly from where DREAMS left off). But if you have patience for some soaring rhetoric, and are interested to know who Obama is as a man (as opposed to a politician) then this is your book. Personally I look at DREAMS and AUDACITY as companion pieces; one describes how he came to be who he is, and the other is a look at the world through the eyes of who he is. Nonetheless a very compelling story, which could have perhaps used one more polish before publication.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year

Just wanted to check in and say I hope everyone has had as awesome a Christmas as I have! It's been a challenging month in my little world with a difficult job search, a wonderful but out-of-sorts (for him) little man, and some assorted other drama that I choose not to share at this time (not my story). But having my whole family (yes, my divorced parents, my steps, my brother and his girlfriend) under one roof was the best gift of all this year, suffice to say. Just that alone, I hope, everyone has had the chance to experience - along with some very pleasant visiting with my in-laws as well!

On top of this, however, the generosity of our family has our hands decked out in some fun Canada 2010 mitts, Little Tyke well on his way to a drumming career like his Uncle Kyle, and the three of us going to DISNEY WORLD in the spring, thanks to all of the above parents and my grandparents. Fabulosity. Hearts all around. But while I have been blown away by such a kind gift and expressing as much to everyone, I wanted to take another moment to say that what I am most thankful for, again, has been the gift of time reconnecting with my family, and seeing the friends who have stuck with me through this past eventful year. A look back on 2009 reveals perhaps one of the most rewarding and stressful years since we got married - and we have gotten through it, imho, fabulously. Hope everyone else can say the same.

Either way though, if your 2009 has been great OR stressful, or both, I wish you all an even better 2010! Since I'm still 'at home for the holidays' I don't know when I'll next get to post before New Year, but I will try, and in the meantime hope the holidays are treating everyone fabulously. Xs and Os.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

'Barry from DC'

Gov. Tim Kaine (Democrat - Virginia) received a very nice surprise phonecall on his weekly 'Ask the Governor' radio show yesterday:

And much like these two paragons of politics did for one another, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas - we will be leaving for 'Home' tomorrow and I'm not sure if I'll be posting again before Christmas, so in case not I wanted to take the time to wish you all a great one. I'll post as often as I can while away, and we'll be back up and running as usual Jan. 1. Thanks for bearing with me.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. XO

Monday, December 21, 2009


Has been one of those days - if I wanted to focus on the negative, it could have been considered a not terribly good one. If I wanted to focus on the positive, it was a spectacular one. Me? While I'm for focusing on the positive, I'm also for being real. So here's what my day has looked like, negatives first, so they can be gotten off my chest and I'm left with the positives.

  • Little Tyke slept a lot, while I'd had a lot of fun plans for some structured play today, being my first full day with him (alone - ie no babysitter, no Ari) in about a week. This also worried me from a health standpoint, as anyone who knows LT knows he is a little dynamo.
  • He also had no appetite, and in fact fought me quite hard on food, eating half his breakfast and none of his lunch. Of course, for an insecure dolt like myself, the fact that Ari waltzed in and fed him no problem didn't help.
  • So excited was LT by something as rare and valuable as a diaper change (noted: sarcasm), that as I picked him up he headbutted me straight in the nose, winding and disorienting me and hard enough that it hurt him and got him crying too. A fun time was had by all.
  • Not a good day for dieting as it was easier to order a pizza for lunch and eat the leftovers for dinner, not knowing how long LT would be down with any particular nap.
  • While LT was up he played very well, and I think at a more advanced level than usual, putting his new Little People in the right places on their train, and rolling the ball back and forth with me. When he was inevitably up when my lunch arrived, he sat nicely in his high chair and let me eat while he played with some toys I set out for him. So much like mommy, it wasn't entirely a bad and crabby day, just an up and down one.
  • He drank most of his 'lunch bottle' from a sippy cup, which is our goal to practice with over the holidays. I'm proud of this.
  • LT learned 'Mama' yesterday, and I think has some sense of the meaning, as he patted Ari and I both at one point today and correctly called us "Dada" and "Mama" respectively.
  • His sleepiness and my quick lunch allowed me to get a lot of housework done around here that needed to get done as we have company coming tomorrow.
So ... yes. Clouds in my day today? Sure. Did each and every one have a silver lining? Yup!

Well ... except my nose. That still just hurts and I don't know what good can come of THAT lol.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

As a reasonably liberal/quasi-secular Christian, I doubt I would agree on much this group has to offer, but I did like this video:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Anti-Abortion ad so wrong on so many levels ...

OK I don't get political much in this blog (ahem ahem ...) but check out this ad before reading on so you know what I'm talking about. Admittedly, it is controversial and politically charged and as such could be offensive to some:

Alliance for Life Ontario

Now ... what offends me here is not necessarily the 'pro-life' message. While I am pro-choice myself, I believe some intelligent and coherent arguments can be made on the other side. It's one of those lovely and difficult topics on which 'reasonable people can disagree'. I myself am of two minds, believing there are some times where abortion is the best of a bad set of choices before a pregnant woman, while obviously being an infertile woman who wanted children, it is not something I can conceive of and would encourage almost anyone to look towards adoption first where possible, rather than abortion. But I think there are many thing which can be seen as 'wrong' without being 'illegal', and I certainly don't go as far as some in seeing it as murder or any such thing.

And that's where the intellectual dishonesty in the above ad comes from. I understand this ad is trying to achieve the 'What if?' thinking ... the potential of an unborn child. And yes, that potential lost is sad should the parents do a good job raising the child, or should they be adopted into a god and loving family. But the reality is, it's not like someone you know and love dying. You aren't one friend short because a child was aborted. The inherent comparison in this ad of an abortion to the loss of a schoolchild, or a young bride, is horrible and insulting to those who ARE here and have lived, and were well on their way to that potential themselves. Not to mention, that 'what if?' thinking can go the other way too - what if this child was born as a result of rape to a victim who has lingering psychological issues due to the attack? Or was the result of incest? What if there were drug issues involved and the best thing that young mother could do was abort the child?

And even if all was well, like any of us, that child could have been born healthy and adopted into a happy home, and still suffer through pain, loss, a short life, or what have you, as is true of all of us. The point is, because we can't know the future, we can't know if it was the best or worst decision for that potential child. It could very well be either. We can only judge by what's good for those living here and now, in difficult situations here and now. And by that standard, yes; abortion, while never a good choice, is sometimes the best one. And I wish Alliance for Life Ontario, who put this ad out, would be as considerate to the young women who ARE here and living, to those who have yet to be born.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Badoom badoom badoom ...

So it was a quiet weekend and a quiet couple of days, moreso than we'd expected. With timing of Little Tyke's nap, and weather yesterday, a couple of our plans - particularly seeing the Olympic Torch on Capital Hill Saturday and a Hannukah party last night - so we spent a fair bit of time in. But it was good, we got to catch up on some chores, and took LT out on his shiny blue sled from his Grandma Mo Saturday afternoon. Not unpleasant whatsoever - especially with some nice holiday family time together opening gifts, having nice food and lighting candles. Hope everyone else is having a nice time leading into Christmas as well - and if you celebrate Hannukah, I hope you're having a great on as well. :)

Also, if any of you have any prayers lying around, please hope some Ottawa area teachers get very busy or a little sick (just enough to stay home, lol, of course I wouldn't wish this on anyone) in the next couple of days so I can get some work the next few days leading into the Christmas Break! :) Happy December all - stay warm and safe in the Winter Weather.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009


OK ... I can't really say that. I suppose more accurately I should say our Christmas shopping is done - we still have some Hannukah shopping to do. But I did a real blitz this morning while Little Tyke was at his babysitter's and I didn't have work. We have 3 holiday gifts left ... and I'm thrilled. :D Now just to keep the hubby's from him ... ;)

And by the way ... tomorrow night is the first night of Hannukah, so have a very Happy one to all my Jewish family and friends. :) Light a candle, listen to some Adam Sandler, and have a great evening one and all! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

James Dalorey

My heart goes out to the family of Autistic 5-year-old James Dalorey of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia who died in hospital today from complications due to hypothermia and exposure to the elements. The story as I understand it is that Dalorey followed the family dog, who'd escaped the house, out into the woods without a jacket, hat or mittens, despite the snow and cold. He was found two days later and rushed to IWK Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries today.

There is nothing more tragic than this kind of passing - especially right as hope was being held out. I pray for the family, and their healing at this time, and I encourage everyone to hold their loved ones a little closer ... such things are so fleeting, more than we realize at times I think, and we owe it to ourselves to always and forever appreciate those nearest and dearest to us. While most often those ties last a lifetime, it is how long or short that lifetime is that can change in a heartbeat. God bless.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Looking Back ... Looking Forward

So ... in a few weeks' time we're coming up on not only a new year but a new decade. I don't want to get all schmaltzy on anyone but it's been quite the decade for me. I mean, I guess I'm still young enough they all have been - Obviously the 80s I went from zero to 8 years old lol, which is HUGE, the 1990s took me into my teens which is another big change, and the 00s have been my adult years. So I'm looking towards doing a year-in-review/decade in review, but in the spirit of the season, I don't want it to be all about me. I'll do my part in that, talking about events in pop culture, politics, history, etc, as well as my own personal markers of the 00s. But here's where I get all interactive on you and say I want you to share some of your memories of the last year, or 10. I'm not fussy on the format, length, style. You can send me a few little points by comment; you can email or Facebook-message me a full-on blog entry/essay, a list, what have you. And I will share everyone's thoughts and viewpoints on the decade that was. I'm doing something similar over on my In This Very Ring blog, so I thought it only fair to do so here.

In the meantime though, a bit about me/my life this week as I realize it's been awhile since I've made a personal post; last week was busy, not with work but Christmas-ing as we decorated the house and began the shopping we got most of the way done today. We went to the Santa Claus parade yesterday, and got snowtires on our car today. The week ahead I have some work, a doctor's appointment, and getting some chores done around here; arranging cat-sitting for Christmas as we head home for the holidays, and finishing up the shopping so that next week I can get to wrapping. I also want to finish our thank-you cards for Little Tyke's naming ceremony gifts which I'm already disgustingly late on, and our Christmas cards so they have some prayer of getting to their destination by the holiday. So ... yeah. Busy. 'Tis the season. :)

Hope everyone is taking some time, considering that, to be with family and friends, or at church/temple/etc., or out in nature, or reading a good book or checking out great movies, or writing, or dancing, whatever way you commune with festival-times, and reconnecting with what is important to you. Of all the times it is most important to remember these things in our lives, it is the most easy to get swept up and forget ... the joys of these holidays to everyone. Blessings.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Videos of the week!

I know I post videos from time to time but there are a few I've enjoyed and I wanted to share them.

#1: Is Tiger feeling lucky?

#2: World's biggest idiot calls 911 for police escort to Little Wayne concert.

Great weekend ahead - tomorrow we're checking out a new synagogue and the Santa Claus parade, and Sunday is church and some downtime as a family - much needed! :) Monday I have work. Hurray! Hope everyone else has had a great week and has a wonderful weekend ahead. Be well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009