Like the Year of Doing Things I had in 2010, this year turned out to be my Year of Going Places (Quebec City, Kingston, Toronto, Ottawa, New York City). What I didn’t expect was how much I didn’t actually BLOG about GOING PLACES. I was sure I had. Sometimes updating facebook and twitter makes it feel like I updated my blog. I think for 2013 I am going to make a better effort to blog more and update FB less. I miss blogging, and I don’t actually like FB. I need to kick that habit.
So… here’s my 2012 in review, point form.
January (6 posts)
- as in 2011, I didn’t blog much that month
- turned 36 and had some friends over
- tried to cook more often, that went up and down
- was still trying to get over the stress of the strike & stuff in the office
February (4 posts)
March (6 posts)
- my macbook pro died and I lost a bunch of photos. *sniff*
- I had a horrible plague, that the doctor said wasn’t a lung infection
- my husband had a birthday and I love him very much
- my sister & I threw our parents a surprise going away-slash-40th anniversary party at a Cabane a Sucre at the end of the month. They were moving & celebrating their anniversary in May, so we wanted to get this in before they left.
April (6 posts)
- I grieved over the loss of a Bull Dog I had never actually met in real life, and was thankful for the friendship I had formed with the dog’s human. The internet can be an amazing place sometimes.
- Shawn & I went on our first ever trip to Quebec City over Easter weekend and although we relaxed, we didn’t really think it was a Big Deal while there. And of course I never did blog about this trip. Ugh.
- Sophie turned 2, and ate all the corners off our coffee table, and some shoes.
May (2 posts)
- apparently this was not a blogging month =/
- my parents moved to Kingston, ON
- had a central air unit installed & OMG bliss!
- planted what would soon become Jinx’s Garden
- I went to Kingston by myself & by train, over the long weekend in May to see their new place.
June (4 posts)
- went to New York City to see Kristi and attend BEA 2012 and visit my cousin
- let Jinx take over the garden
- spent a lot of time outdoors, which is unusual for me in the summer
July (11 posts)
August (18 posts)
- attempted to do Blogust – blog every day in August, with my internet bestie Yoj. Failed, but did a lot of soul searching at the same time.
- might have failed at Blogust, but I rocked the August Photo A Day. =P
- played in the garden some more with Jinx
- had a blast at the All Star Reunion Dance at my old church
- I didn’t have a very eventful August 😉
September (3 posts)
- didn’t blog much, but a ton of Big Life Events happened
- Shawn & I visited Kingston over the long weekend (didn’t blog about it. Ugh.) we fell in love with that place & are sad there are no real jobs so we can’t move there.
- went back to school for the first time since 1995. Scared out of my mind, only one course to start, but still. Did it.
- got that pesky tree cut down in the front yard & FINALLY had the HOLE IN MY DRIVEWAY filled in.
- joined weight watchers, though I don’t talk about it with people and yes, that’s what those protected posts are about
- went to Montreal Comic-Con for the first time ever. It was ok.
October (13 posts)
- didn’t do much because I was pretty swamped with that one course I was taking – had to hand in a research paper that nearly made me give up out of extreme panic and anxiety. I didn’t though and I got an A!
- started to reorganize my kitchen so it was better suited to my cooking more often. Kept the slow cooker out on the counter, instead of in a cupboard so we actually USE it often now. Whee!
November (8 posts)
- did school stuff
- doubted myself
- went to Toronto to visit friends & an amazing sticker store (didn’t blog about it!)
- decided to hand-make all my Christmas cards
- lost weight, gained weight, lost weight
December (16 posts – including this one)
- went to Ottawa to visit Monkey (didn’t blog about it!)
- had a super fun 24 Days of Tea advent calendar from DAVIDsTEA – loved it!
- Jill came over, as usual, during the Christmas break and her boyfriend Jinx was very happy & we played a rude card game that made us laugh and laugh and laugh. Jinx WON!
- 45cm of snow on Dec 27 (the day Jill came over) – so happy we didn’t have to drive anywhere!
- had an amazing Christmas with the man I love. Didn’t blog about it, like I normally do. To tired to blog.
And there you have it… my simple and quiet year in review. I’ve been making some changes to my life, to help me see things in a happier light. I’m eager to see where 2013 leads me. Not only do I tend to do better in odd-numbered years, 13 is one of my favourite numbers.
I don’t really do the New Year’s thing and I never make resolutions, but I am looking forward to improving the changes I have made so far and just becoming a better person all around. Part of that is to try and be less negative and try and stop getting so angry at everything. Just accepting and changing when and where I can. I feel like a better person that way. My soul is happier.
And spending time with loved ones, both family and friends. I want to do lots of that next year (and forever). Reminding myself what the important things are once more.
Happy New Year, my friends. Thanks for sticking around.
PS – Our driveway STILL isn’t finished… just in case you were wondering. Although the hole did get cement poured in it. Cement. NOT asphalt. And they never came to take the asphalt and crap off our lawn either. Not that happy about this. Ugh.
Christmas vacation means that I get to spend time with one of my dearest friends, Jill. We’ve been friends since the first day of high school, way back in 1988. Yikes. We’re old. Jill is also Jinx’s girlfriend. He looooooooves her so much. More than I have ever seen him love any other female we have had over. Jill’s visit this year was during our huge snowstorm (45.5 cm in one day!) and it was iffy getting her to our house, but we managed. Sadly, our traditional meal of St Hubert BBQ chicken wasn’t a reality since the restaurant was closed due to the storm. (It takes a LOT for something in our area to close for snow, so that’s an idea of how bad it was out.) Jill brought with her a card game, much like Apples to Apples only for people with sick and twisted minds. Cards Against Humanity is a game of association. Everyone gets dealt a hand of 10 white cards and with each turn one person turns over a black card and you have to put down what you think would go best with the prompt. The person whose turn it is picks which response is best. If your card is chosen, you get to keep the black card.
Jinx started off all sweetness and light, with “cuddling”.
You need at least four people to play this game so Jill dealt a faux hand, then Jinx settled himself down next to the cards on the table. We called that Jinx’s hand. We would just toss a card from his hand on to the table to mix in with ours. It started off as a joke but quickly dissolved into more when the Jinx hand began to crush us all in winning plays!
I won, Mummy! I won! Can I have a treat now?
There are some really crass, crude and politically incorrect cards in this game. It happens to be hilarious. It’s especially hilarious when the cards played from Jinx’s hand fit perfectly with whatever the prompt was. Or when they were just so horrible it was too much to handle coming from the Gentleman Jinx on the floor.
My name is Jinx and I am SO GOOD AT THIS GAME! *waggle*waggle* I’m beating Mummy AND Jill!
Seriously. Jinx’s hand just kept winning and he was laying, sitting or standing right there almost the entire night. We laughed so hard at the answers being played, both by human and dog, and we were stone cold sober. We played until we hit the bottom of the black card deck, which means we did this for almost FOUR hours. It was hilarious. I think I burned a zillion calories just from laughing.
One of the answers to one of the prompts was “Puppies!!!” and Jill joked that Jinx had played that card – turns out, she was right (photographic evidence above). The next time Jinx played an awesomely funny card was during this hand:
You call me Billionaire Jinx Puppy, of COURSE I’d play BATMAN!!! (Also, he’s just cool.)
The fact that the Batman card is in all caps with three exclamation marks just made it extra hilarious that it came from Jinx. Also, he totally won that round.
Some of the cards are fill in the blanks. Some are random questions and some cards get a little personal…
Not funny, game.
I don’t think there were many rounds without laughter. This was just so fun and if you follow me on twitter, instagram or facebook you’ll have noticed I kept posting these photos. Turns out I desperately need this game. So I signed up on their website to be notified when they are back in stock. This game sells out. Fast.
Jinx’s hand started off really sweet and innocently. The cards from that phantom hand were all nice like cuddling… then Jinx began to concern us. He had an awful lot of answers about BALLS! and not the tennis kind. We think he might be a little bitter about getting “tutored” when he was a puppy. And sometimes, his answers really concerned us and we might want to consider getting him some therapy…
Ethnic cleansing? Really, Jinx? Really??
I am sure playing this game with 4 actual people (or more) will be just as entertaining, but honestly, having Jinx laying next to “his” hand in this game made for a lot of extra laughs. Not to mention – he beat the pants off all of us. He came in first, second was Shawn, third Jill and I was last place.
Snowstorm or not, this was one fun evening. Even if we were beat by our dog. 😉
Good boy, Jinx. Don’t mind us, we’re just removing all sharp objects from the house now…
by Kathleen O’Dell
Twelve-year-old Clara Dooley has spent her whole life in the crumbling Glendoveer mansion, home to a magician’s widow, a cage full of exotic birds, and a decades-old mystery. Clara loves old Mrs. Glendoveer, but the birds in the aviary frighten her—they always seem to screech and squall whenever she’s near. And then one day, the mynah bird speaks, and a mystery starts to unravel.
Clara discovers dark secrets about the family, and about her own past. Somehow the birds in the aviary seem to be at the center of it all, and Clara can’t shake the feeling that they are trying to tell her something. . . (goodreads.com)
Read: November 2012
The OCD part of me is freaking out over writing these blog posts way out of order, but I am trying to fight that part of my brain and just get these stupid reviews out there. Not that this review is stupid! I wanted The Aviary to have its own post because I enjoyed it ever so much and I feel like it needs its moment to shine. I also enjoyed it so much I left it at Monkey’s house when I went to visit the first weekend in November. I had just read this book cover to cover on the train ride there and I told her she had to read it.
I had first seen this book mentioned on April’s blog (Good Books and Good Wine). Something about the review caught my eye and I knew from then on, I needed to obtain this middle grade book. It sat on my wishlist forever until I finally bought it.
This is seriously one of the best MG books I have ever read. Clara is charming and the mystery of the talking birds is riveting. The entire story sucked me in on that train ride and I felt like I was actually there, in the big, empty house, right along Clara and her new and only friend Daphne. I wanted to know more about the birds, more about the locked rooms, more about Clara’s mysterious heart-condition. And although I had guessed some of the ending of the story, other parts were a pleasant surprise to me.
My only trouble with this novel were the letters that were read throughout the book. I found the cursive script used to depict these letters very difficult to read and I had to hold the book up reeeeeally close to my face to try and decipher the text. I felt old. Only, I don’t think I’d have been able to read it as a child, either. In fact, that part of the text might have turned me off of the book when I was a kid. If it’s hard to read, it’s not worth reading.
If you’re looking for a charming, historical, magcal mystery then look no further than The Aviary because it has everything you could want and more – including some surprises even when you think you’ve figured everything out. This book is a delight and I wish it had been written when I was 10 years old. 😉
Enchanted (Woodcutter Series, #1)
by Alethea Kontis
It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.
The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past – and hers? (goodreads.com)
This is the first time in what feels like forever, that I have sat down to write a blog post about a book I have just finished reading. As much as I had hoped to do nothing but read during my week-long Christmas holiday, that’s been proving to be difficult. I have cleaned out closets and rooms, cooked, baked, and had one of my dearest friends over, and time for reading has just not been found. Although I did pick up Enchanted. The book I was delighted to receive with a matching bookmark from the Book Depository in November, which prompted the author to send me a matching signed bookplate… I finally picked up to read this week!
Bad lighting, but trust me, it matches the hot pink on the cover (and my HAIR)!
Honestly, as much as I had read reviews saying this book was charming, I was really worried that it was going to be the same-ole-same-ole when it comes to girl meets boy and wants nothing else but said boy from the second they meet. The summary on the dust jacket (and above) just does not do this book justice. I bought this book because people whose opinions I trust completely wrote positive things about the story. This made me curious because I love fairy tales and magical stories and I wanted so much to find that within these pages.
Oh, boy did I find magic and charm and was honestly enchanted by Enchanted. The way the story is written, paced and plotted just swept me away. The characters were ever so charming and delightful and I loved Sunday to pieces. I loved her mother, Seven, despite how severe and cold she seemed. I loved the story of Sunday’s family and her sisters; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I loved the Prince, Rumbold. I loved his three friends in the castle. I loved Sunday’s brother Trix. I loved so much about this book. I truly, truly did.
I swear to the gods that I could hear this book narrated by Julie Andrews as I read it. I felt like I was reading a really fantastic Disney movie. It just made me feel so happy. Even then ending brought tears to my eyes – tears of happiness. That feeling you get when you just experienced one of the best movies or tv specials that just made you so happy. The kind of tears I get when the Sesame Street gang shows up at Fozzy Bear’s mother’s house on A Muppet Family Christmas. Tears of joy and excitement.
Some of this book reminded me of the brilliance of Lisa Mantchev and her Théâtre Illuminata series. There are the same kind of FEELS and MAGICS throughout these pages that I felt in that other series.
I just love the way so many fairy tales were woven together through this story. I had so much fun trying to pick out what references went with which story. I felt like I was finding hidden treasure each time I recognized a reference to a well-known tale. I’m silly that way though, I get excited about stuff like that. Some references were pretty obvious but others, slightly more subtle and I loved trying to find them and figure them out.
Enchanted was such a delight to read, it truly was and I am so happy that I bought it, even when I thought I would be disappointed. It’s books like this, a hidden gem of a book, that make me so happy I love to read.
One of the many awesome things about this book is that it reads like a stand alone novel. There are some open ended whatnots that can be pursued in other books, but you don’t have to continue on the journey if you don’t want to. I think Enchanted would make a great bed time story for kids – it’s really not risqué or tasteless at all. You could do a chapter (or half) a night. It’s so sweet and magical, I wish I had had this read to me as a kid. Although, if you DO want to continue on the journey, Goodreads has shown me that there are another two books in this series on the way. Yay!
Goodreads also showed me that there are a bunch of not-so-happy reviews of this book. This makes me sad because I loved it so much I felt heartbroken that others couldn’t connect with the story. I am also happy that I looked at these reviews AFTER I had read the book because they may have added to my worries of what I would find when I opened the book. For example, so many people are going on and on about INSTA-LOVE! And you know what? Generally I would be all over that band wagon, because you, my readers, all know how much I loath that element in a novel. But, people, this was the Frog Prince story. And ALL fairy tales have people falling in love with their One True Loves all the time. There’s something about the setting of a fairy tale that makes this less…annoying? I didn’t even think insta-love once while reading this book. I saw a young girl befriend a talking frog who would listen to her. A young girl, who was the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and seemed to have a million people in her family, therefore she would be GRATEFUL to find a FRIEND who would listen to her and not judge her based on her family. I didn’t see INSTA-LOVE I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOUUUUU!!!! at all when I read this.
Then again, I had a fairy tale state of mind going on. I didn’t have a young adult romance novel state of mind. And now that I am thinking about it, I honestly feel these are two different sort of “insta-loves” and yet I can’t quite figure out how to explain WHY they are different. They just ARE. (So deal with it.)
If you want to read a charming, fairy tale, fantasy, then by all means, pick up Enchanted and let your imagination believe in magic for a while. Meanwhile I shall be be counting the days until I can get another book from this series in my hands. (And I can’t help but wonder if the next books will feature different daughters?)
- Hero – 2013
- Beloved – 2014