Well!  I got the nicest surprise. . .

Well!  I got the nicest surprise when I checked my blog today.  Grandmalin has nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger award.  I am so tickled.  Thank you!

I really, honestly was surprised, because most of the time I don’t feel like I’m being very creative at all.  Mostly just blithering away about stuff that I think no one will find interesting. (Well, maybe one or two people who know me and humour me, but that’s it.)

Lately, I haven’t had a lot of time to blog or to catch up on other’s blogs.  It’s been a very busy time here at Casa Larson, in the wee town I live in.

Work has been nuts — we’re heading into the last two months of the school year and everyone starts getting very nervous and stressed out about jobs and assignments for the next school year.  Education is often not a pretty career choice.

I have big exciting news that I can’t share yet — it has to wait until after Father’s Day.  Suffice it to say it involves travel and my favorite musician.  I am so stoked I can barely stand the fact that this ‘event’ is 4 months away.  How, oh how, will I make it?!

So, now on to honouring, or attempting to honour, the requirements of my award.

Here are the rules for those nominated:

  1. Copy the Kreativ Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. List 7 things about you that people might find interesting.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Kreativ Blogger Award.
  5. Leave a comment on the blogs you nominate to let them know about the award.

Seven interesting things about me:

1.  I love red cars — once wrote a piece about them that I read on-line for CBC radio.
2.  I always root for the underdog — it’s just so much fun, and worth it when they come out on top.
3.  I dabble in many things — but never really master any of them.  I blame it on time — the lack of.
4.  Being a mother and a grandmother are the two things I’m most proud of in my life.
5.  Back in the days of drive-in movies I was a lover of drive-in food — corn-on-the-cob, foil-wrapped burgers, fries in little card-board boats.  Yum!
6.  I weighed 104 lbs when I got married.  165 lbs when I gave birth to my son.  Yikes!
7.  Reading Mark Helprin’s A Soldier of the Great War changed my life.

There you go — some stuff a little personal, but the best I could do.  (It’s hard!)

Now to nominate bloggers I admire (this is going to be harder — I admire them all):

1.  SoulDipper
2.  KateShrewsday
3. Wightrabbit
4. Sweetandweak
5.  LyndaJeffersPhotography
6.  Grandma 1947’s Blog
7.  The Laughing Housewife.

For those I didn’t nominate I will still give a shout out to you as being great motivators and wonderfully creative human beings.  Reading your blogs often gives me a lift when I desperately need one.  Anyone who dares to put themselves out there in front of the big ol’ scary world deserves an award.

I hope you are all having a lovely Spring weekend.

Ciao for now.

. . .and now, for something completely different

. . .we had a terrific weekend.

It was my husband’s birthday on Friday.  I kidnapped him and took him out for dinner and a night on the town.  I booked us a hotel room for the night right smack dab in the middle of downtown Edmonton.

We went to Lux for supper.  Had a fantastic meal.  Steak, lobster mac (homemade macaroni and cheese with lobster– sounds weird, but it was fantastic!) potatoes gratin, asparagus, hollandaise sauce and a Cabernet  demi glace (which neither of us cared for).  We also had, by far the best caesar salad I’ve had in nearly 20 years.

Dinner was a leisurely two and a half hours and two bottles of a lovely Gewürztraminer.  We finished up with a an absolutely divine creme brulee with homemade almond shortbread cookies. When we finally left the restaurant, it was close to closing.  We wandered back to our hotel — a mere 5-minute walk away.  Then we decided that, what the hell, we’re on the town, we can stay up late and go back out.

We walked another 5 minutes to the Baccarat Casino, where we spent a couple of hours just playing the machines.  We broke even in the end and left just 15 minutes before the place was closing.

This little escape from normality was exactly what we needed.  We didn’t get out of bed until nearly 10:30 the next day.  With no phones to jangle us awake it was a real treat.

We went and had a really late breakfast and then decided to go shopping for a bit.  Out to IKEA we went.  I was bored after an hour and wanted to leave.  But I got a new rack to hang my pots from and a cute little shelving unit for the laundry room.

After that we went to check out barbecues, because I am in the market for a new one now that I have a new deck.  We checked out a couple of different ones, and I’m pretty sure I know which one I’m going to buy, and it’s not the $3500 Bull model, though, I am sorely tempted.  If we had won the lottery this weekend then I’d spring for it.  But, for our budget, I think I’ll go a little (quite a bit littler) cheaper. Really the barbecue I’ve decided on is a lovely one, much, much, much nicer than the one I’ve had for nearly 25 years.

If I can convince Tim to go order it tomorrow, I may have a barbecue by next weekend.  I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

So, that’s enough about the bbq.  We got home and spent the evening just relaxing some more. Watched the latest Mission Impossible movie.  It was okay.

Then today the kids came out for supper. Tim went for a bike ride with some buddies and I cleaned and cooked.  Got to sit out on my deck in the sunshine and read some more of The Help.

I am loving that book. I’m having no trouble keeping separated from the movie.  Both are excellent, I couldn’t recommend one more than the other, and I’d have to say it doesn’t matter which you do first.

We had a great time.  Took the kids to the park for a bit, then had supper and cake.

The hockey game came on, Landon and I argued a little bit about the worthiness of the Canucks.  His best friend came by with his new baby girl.  She is the cutest little peanut I’ve seen in a long time.  I got to cuddle her for a while, it was lovely holding a baby in my arms again.

Then, everyone left, and once again it was quiet.

It’s back to work tomorrow and my lovely, enjoyable, relaxing weekend will have become a memory.

 

 

Sunday, and it’s do or die time

Well, it’s overtime in the Canuck’s/Kings game.  It’s win this or go home for the Canucks.  I want them to win, sooooo badly.

I can’t say that they’ve played their best game tonight.  If not for Cory Shneider, i think this series would have been over quite a while ago.

I’m getting so tired of hearing “and the puck goes to ______________, but he couldn’t handle the pass”  Seriously!?

OMG!  the freaking puck just hit the post!  The chances in this game are unbelievable.  I’m trying to remain calm, but it is incredibly hard.

Come on boys, that’s all I can say.

They just lost.  They’re out of the playoffs.

Oh, well.

It’s up to the Senators now.

I’ll be there next year.  To cheer them on.

Please, please, please, though, Vancouver, get yourself some hitters.

Thursday morning, very Spring-y

Ah, it was lovely on my walk this morning.  Plus 3, cloudy skies, but you could see them clearing nicely with a blush of pink in the west.  Maybe today I’ll brave a pair of capri’s — or, a skirt.  Decisions, decisions.

I am oh so happy this morning.  Both the Senators and the Canucks pulled magic out of the hat last night and won their games.  I watched both games — that’s a lot of hockey — and I was nearly apoplectic at times, but my hopes and dreams have survived intact.

Daniel was back on the ice for last night’s crucial game, and though it took him the better part of the first period to find his rythym, find it he did.  He and Henrik were unstoppable; watching them play together is something very special.  You could see and feel the change in the entire team.  But, as Henrik said afterwards, this is one win, they need to concentrate now on the game ahead of them.

It’s a long shot, but I Believe. And that goes for the Senators, too.

Happy Canucks.jpg

Photo source:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1151644-nhl-playoffs-5-key-takeaways-for-the-vancouver-canucks-following-game-4

 

PS — Oooh!  I get so frustrated when I try to download and insert images from the internet.  Don’t know what goes wrong, but if you follow the link you’ll see some happy boys.

Wednesday morning, it’s chilly but. . .

. . . we were promised a high of 17 degrees today!

I really debated about breaking out the capri’s this morning, but I think I’ll hold off for a week or so.  For the time being I’ll go sockless or in sandals.  Oh, and I’ll wear short sleeves, too.

I’m kind of in a funny place right now.  I’ve been spending a lot of time spring-cleaning my house and just trying to get back to a more settled way of life.

What that has amounted to really, is me sleeping a lot.  I’ve been incredibly tired for the last week or so and though I’ve pushed myself through it and got a lot of stuff accomplished, I find that by nine o’clock I’m pretty much done in.  And then, trying to drag my hiney out of bed in the morning?  What a chore that is.

It’s probably just the weather, the change in seasons; I only hope it passes soon.

On the writing side of things:  my novel is going nowhere.  I have, in fact, abandoned it for the moment.  I did, however, begin a new children’s book.  And I’ve surfed out some contests that I could enter.  If I get up the energy.

Perhaps a big part of my problem is the fact that we’ve had a great deal of time off from work the past month.  A week at the end of March (our Spring Break), followed by two four-day work weeks because of the Easter holiday.  Then, added to that I was away at a convention for nearly a week prior to Spring Break.

I sort of get into this fantasy world of what it would be like to be able to be at home every day, and then, when it ends I’m left a little confused and disoriented.  It’s a bit of a struggle for a few days to get back into the routine of leaving the house for work.  Prepping the coffee the night before.  Making sure my lunch is ready.  Leaving enough time to iron a blouse, put on makeup, straighten my hair.

I so much prefer just waking up and padding about the house quietly with a cup of coffee in my hand, trying to find the brightest patch of sunlight to curl up in while I sit and ponder the day ahead.

It was nice while it lasted.

Have a great day everyone — and don’t work too hard.

It’s late on a Saturday night. . .

Just a quick post to review a book and a movie.

First, the book:  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

This was an okay book.  I was more than a little disappointed in it, because I had heard such great things from others who’d read it.

It should have been a wonderful story, but, for whatever reason it lacked real emotion.  The truest parts in the story take place in the nursing home where the elder Jacob recounts his tale of life in the early 1900’s working for a travelling circus.

The story has all the elements of a great story — love, betrayal, hardship, cruelty, mental illness, circus life, depression-era trials and tribulations, animals — it truly has it all.  None of it, though, ever connected with me.

And, I think, after having a couple of discussions with other people who’ve read the book, the reason is that it was written with a screen option in mind.  It doesn’t say that on the dust jacket, but while I was reading it I would come across a scene and immediately I’d think:  Well, won’t that play out well on the screen.

Call me jaded, cynical, harsh, whatever you want, but I find this to be true with a lot of the books being written today.  Anything popular, that is.  It’s like the authors are giving us the outline of a story, they’re providing a bunch of scenes that are loosely connected, but they lack any real art.

I find it very difficult these days to find books that really grab me.  Even The Hunger Games (which I recently reviewed), good as I thought they were, were obviously written with a movie in mind.

Gruen’s writing is solid, though I found it seemed to plod where it should have sung.  For some reason I can’t fathom she chose to throw in various sordid sex scenes — usually portraying grotesque or deviant behaviour.  These were rather jarring and other than acting as a contrast to the ‘pure’ love Jacob feels for Marlena, I couldn’t discern any reason for including them.

For me, this book, which should have been so full of life and emotion, fell flat.  It began with an anti-climactic whimper; and ended on an absolutely improbable and ridiculous notion; it was, when all is said and done, about as second-rate as the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth was.

I’d rate this book:  2.5 stars

___________________________________________________

Now, for the movie:  War Horse by Stephen Spielberg.

This is a lovely movie.  I was afraid to see it because it deals with: war, and horses in war.

I did not want to see animals suffering; I just can’t stand that.  And, I can’t stand movies about war — I can’t stand thinking of humans suffering.

So, usually, I do my best to avoid both those themes in movies, but, I had heard how good this movie was and had been assured that it wasn’t very graphically violent.

It isn’t.  The worst part involves the Germans’ treatment of the horses, how they used them til they died in the hauling of heavy artillery.  But, thankfully, that is a very small part of the movie.  The British are shown as being far more compassionate towards the horses, but I think there just might be a little historical bias involved.

The hero of the story, a horse named Joey, is a ‘miraculous’ horse.  He was raised and trained by a young English lad who treated him with kindness, intelligence and love.  Those traits were imprinted on Joey and when he goes into service as a war-horse he continually demonstrates a depth of character that astounds all those (save the evil German in charge of getting the big guns up a steep hill so that he can shell the peaceful French community below) he comes in contact with.

While I was watching this movie I couldn’t help thinking of stories like The Black Stallion, My Friend FlickaBlack Beauty and Beautiful Joe.  All great stories about the plight of much-loved animals who because of unfortunate circumstances suffer mightily before they finally find peace and protection with people who love them. It took me back to the days when I was a girl and couldn’t get enough of the Famous Dog or Famous Horse Stories compilations.  (I used to make my mother crazy because I’d either be blubbering about the horrible treatment the animals I was reading about endured, or, I was wandering about enraged and fraught with righteous indignation because of it.)

I know this movie was a play before it was a movie, and you can easily see how it would play out on a stage.  Whether or not a make-believe horse would have the same emotional wallop as a real one though is something I’d have to debate.

It’s a beautiful, heart-felt story, something big and lovely and innocent.  It made me cry and it made me smile.  What more can you ask from a good story?

I’d rate this movie:  4 stars