July 19th

Day 201 — An unsettled day here in Alberta.  Sunny, but not very warm, then thunder and rain later in the day.  Managed to get some more weeding done — God, will I ever be done? — and then ran off to an appointment.  Things are shaping up all around.

A quiet evening at home.  Finished the first book in the Game of Thrones series.  Loved it.  But am going to go on to something else now.  Read the book on my Kobo.  Also loved it.  But, I miss the weight and heft of an actual book, and the slippery, whispery sound of pages turning.  There’s a secret sort of anticipation in that turning of a page with your hand.  The eye follows anxiously, wondering with a thrill what is coming next.

So now all I have to do is decide which of the twenty or so books I have left to read will be the one.  Choices, choices.

What I did on summer vacation this year

Well, not everything I did, but I’m going to list the books and movies I watched/read and give a brief review of each.  One or two sentences, that’s it.

So, here goes:
Books

1.  Fifty Shades of Grey, E.l. James — great summer read.  Wonderful inspiration for the bedroom.  Total fantasy, but addictive as hell.

2.  Blue Shoes and Happiness, the latest book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith — these books always make me smile.  They’re sweet and gentle and full of lessons on how we should live our lives.  Finally, Mma Makutsi finds happiness, although not through her new blue shoes.

3.  Fallen, by Karen Slaughter — a crime drama.  My mother gave me this book.  It’s a good read.  Fast-paced, action driven.  Surprising ending.  Strong, capable, believable female protagonist(s).  I’d read more of Slaughter’s books.

4.  The Friday Night Knitting Club — can’t recall the author, sent this one home with my mother because she’s a knitter.  Not a great read.  Dull, plodding and sappy.  Sure it was written hoping to be made into a movie.

5.  The Fall of the Templars, Robyn Young — this is the third book in a trilogy.  It’s slow and plodding, reads like a history lesson.  But, it is interesting for the historical facts it imparts.  Glad I didn’t read the first two.  Characters are wooden and uninteresting.

Movies

1.  Batman, The Dark Knight Rises — loved it?  No.  It’s too dark and very disturbing.  Is it a good movie?  Definitely.  Christian Bale is excellent as Batman, and the story was strong and well-paced.  I’m convinced Jeremy Renner has a cameo as the evil Bane character during one of the prison scenes.

2.  Brave — absolutely fabulous.  I don’t care if it is an animated movie!  Loved everything about this movie — the story, the perfection of the images and the flawless recreation of animal and human movement.  Not just a ‘girls’ movie.  An ‘everybodys’  movie.

3.  The Bourne Legacy — latest of the Bourne movies.  You can’t compare Jeremy Renner to Matt Damon.  And neither can you their characters.  This was a complete departure from what we got with Matt as Jason Bourne.  If they keep making these movies they’re not going to be able to keep trading on the Bourne name.  Was a great summer hit — story driven but with just enough action to satisfy our needs.  Only complaints — didn’t explain the connection between Aaron Cross and the doctor well enough and the motorcycle chase scene was too long.

4.  Dark Shadows — dreadful.  First time I’ve ever been disappointed by a Johnny Depp flick.  (He was good, though.)

5.  Singing in the Rain — what is there to say?  This is a one of my all-time fave’s.  Have seen it on television numerous times, but WOW seeing it on the big screen is an experience and a half.  Woke up singing “Good Morning, Good Morning” this morning.  And Gene Kelly — sigh.

And that, folks, is my entertainment diary for the summer of 2012.  What books did you read?  What movies thrilled you?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A month of my holidays is nearly done.  But I can’t sigh about it.  No, I’ve been having a wonderful time.  And, I’m looking forward to the next four weeks with a happy heart.

Am I looking forward to going back to work?  No way!  But, unless I win that fabled lottery, that’s where I’ll be heading.  And, it will be okay, because I’ve had such a great summer.

I managed to get the basement bedroom painted and redecorated before my parents arrived — which was a big job.  I decided to cover the ceiling with wallpaper — a pretty idea, but a bit of a trial.  I scraped stucco, I washed until I thought I was going to wash all the paint off and then I re-painted.  Patched and painted.  In the end, I was very pleased with my (and Tim’s) efforts.  I learned how to install a light fixture (got a shock for my efforts — nothing I ever want to repeat), and learned how to install baseboards and trim.  I have now decided I need to go out and buy my own set of tools to handle small repair jobs around the house.

Why have I waited until I’m 54 to do this?  The mind boggles.

But, anyway.  On with my wonderful summer.  I have read three books!  Three!  Sitting outside on my deck in the sunshine.  It has been totally wonderful to do that.  Some of that time was spent in the company of my mother.  The two of us, noses in books just sitting there enjoying the pages and the warmth.  Lovely.

We took my parents up to the mountains for a few days.  Stayed in Canmore at the gorgeous Lodges at Canmore.  Very comfortable condo-style accommodations with a full kitchen, two bedrooms and baths, a balcony with a bbq.  Was nice to be able to get up and have coffee without having to run out to a restaurant.

We spent a day just taking Mom and Dad around sight-seeing.  We went up to Lake Minnewanka with the idea of going out for a boat tour, but it was ridiculously expensive and Mom didn’t really relish the idea of being on a boat anyway, so we opted to take a short walk along the shoreline.  Dad, Tim and I walked to the lower falls at Johnson’s Canyon, a spectacular walk along a board walk built alongside the mountain wall.  We got some pretty shots of the water rocketing its way through the canyon.

We also went up to Banff Hot Springs and had a soak.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t very crowded.  I think the water had a wonderfully soothing effect on my Mom’s knee, which she recently had replaced.  Because of the knee she wasn’t able to do as much walking as I had planned for us, but we still got to see a lot and had a wonderful time together.

I tend to forget sometimes that my parents are in their seventies.  I think of them still as being able to do anything.  The truth is they can’t, and this trip showed me that.  Dad’s hair is white, Mom’s is salt and pepper.  They tire quickly and take lots of little naps.  They’re content to sit and read, or do crossword puzzles or watch the Jays on tv.  There’s no more go, go, go.

Dad still goes out for a walk everyday — he still has some reserves of boundless energy — he just has to pace himself in spending them.  He took my bike out for a ride one day and also went golfing by himself.  Mom, on the other had is quite happy being sedate.  In all, my parents were out West for a few days over a month.  Two weeks with my sister and her family in Manitoba, then a week in Lloyd, then the rest of the time with Tim and I.

I was happy that they got to see their great-grandchildren for a couple of times.  Grandpa played harmonica with all the kids — the noisiest, most raucous, out-of-tune concert I’ve ever heard!  Whether there’ll ever be such an opportunity again, I don’t know.

This coming week I’m going to have my three darlings staying with me.  I have been looking forward to this 

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Spring when I hatched the idea.  Just to have them come and spend a week with us, hanging out, going to the beach, playing at the park, eating ice-cream.  They arrive this afternoon and I can hardly wait.

After they return home I’m going to spend some time just puttering around getting small maintenance-y things done before Fall arrives.  I am determined to have this house ready to go for the coming winter.  Tim will be working hard to finish part 2 our deck, which will be nice.  No more dirt, weeds or ants to contend with.

At the end of August we’ll be heading to Toronto to see Bruce Springsteen and his Wrecking Ball Tour.  I am so excited about that!  I love the Boss — can, and have, listened to his music all day.  I own darn near every album he’s ever made and I marvel at the man’s talent, musicality and social awareness.  He is a modern-day troubadour of the highest caliber.

I have been trying to put together a list of songs I hope to hear him play when we’re in TO, but when I checked out the set-list I haven’t seen any of them on it.  There are SO MANY songs I’d want to hear him play — maybe if I had a private concert?  Oh, one can dream!

Well, friends, that’s my blog for today.  Just a rundown of my happy summer.  Hope yours has been as wonderful.