Monday, September 17, 2012

Spirit Matters

Check out this video introducing my Christian home, Trinity United Church. It's every bit as amazing a community as this video implies. If you are in the Ottawa area, I invite you to join us Sunday mornings at 10am. There is something for everyone, and all are welcome.

"Come in, come in and sit down, for you are a part of the family!"

Spirit Matters - Trinity United Church from Trinity United Church on Vimeo.

Friday, September 14, 2012

More Reading List Progress

I just finished Gregory Maguire's "Wicked" today, about 6 weeks after having seen the musical. FULL DISCLOSURE: I began this one several months ago, put it down for awhile and came back to finish it while away on vacation/the week or two I've been back. My review is at the bottom.

1. Deadlocked - Charlaine Harris 
2. The Last Week - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
3. Speaking Christian - Why Christian Words Have Lost their Meaning - Marcus J. Borg
4. The Spiral Staircase - Karen Armstrong
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong

6. jPod - Douglas Coupland
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt

9. We Need to Talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver
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. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
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. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian

27. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood

30. 1066 and All That; A Memorable History of England - W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman
31. Have a Little Faith - Mitch Albom
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

36. The Holy Bible - Various
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 Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren

47. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
48. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
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. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
56. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow

58. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
59. The Trial - Franz Kafka
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser

61. The Man Who Made Us - Richard Gwyn
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin

65. Nation Maker - Richard Gwyn
66. The United Church of Canada: A History - Don Schweitzer (ed.)
67. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
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. Committed - Elizabeth Gilbert
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. Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman

87. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland

90. The Girl who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson
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. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik

100. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

Definitely a different take on The Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, the daughter of an overzealous preacher and his flighty wife, who ends up going away to school where she is responsible for the care of her disabled sister Nessarose, and begins a strange friendship with the beautiful and popular Glinda. Perhaps not so wicked, Elphaba's main crime here seems to be advocating for the rights of Animals (note the capitalization - picture thinking, talking, intelligent beings like the Cowardly Lion), whose rights are being restricted by the despotic Wizard of Oz, killed accidentally by an innocent girl from Kansas who happened to get caught in the crossfire between Elphaba and the Wizard's grudge.

Much darker than the musical version, with (spoiler alert) a less-neatly-wrapped-up ending, it's nonetheless an interesting take that leaves everyone just that touch less innocent, that smidge less sympathetic. This is, largely, about decent people trying to survive in an oppressive system, and the choices they make. From that perspective - and keeping in mind the tale we're all familiar with - it's a very creative and thought-provoking exercise that I enjoyed reading very much despite having gotten sidetracked.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

We picked this book up when we visited the World Trade Centre memorial last week, and it is Little Tyke's new favourite. You should check this out if you have a few minutes, it's lovely, a happy memory, and a way of introducing the WTC to youngsters in a happy and gentle manner.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wildwood Days

So we're back from our wonderful trip to Wildwood New Jersey and life slows down for no one. From our drive down to Philadelphia and getting to spend a morning exploring that city, to enjoying the Jersey Shore for 5 days and all that entailed - the beach, the rides (new rides for both boys as they grew this year - Little Tyke went on his first roller coaster even!), the hotel pool, the deliciously crappy food (ask LT what kind of pizza we ate - Mack's!). A visit to New York - both relatives on the upper west side and the sights of south side, as we explored the 9/11 memorial, Staten Island Ferry and Battery Park - was fabulous, and even though it resulted in a long through-the-night drive home, none of us would trade anything.

And now we're back and life slows for no (wo)man, as Little J gradutes to a toddler bed ...

Amd Little Tyke begins Junior Kindergarten!

Today we went to meet his teacher for a half hour one on one interview; on Friday, he has a 'gradual entry day' where he attends school with half of his class. Tuesday will be his first 'full' day of school with all classmates etc. He is so excited and ready to go - he loves Mrs. R., his new teacher, and I think we're looking ahead to a great year.

Now, to get me back into routine ... with supply teaching, my children's ministry, and just generally life as a mom, wife, grownup ... I think I'm having more 'back to reality' pains than the kiddos!