Happy Easter!

Okay, so a brief update on the hot flashes — they’re not as bad.  Thank God!  and Heather.  She told me to try Swiss brand HRT.  So I did.  Dr. R had recommended I try a progesterone cream, but I was a little leery about that.  I started out taking 4 capsules of the Swiss HRT and am now down to 3/day.  I still get the odd flash, but they’re no where’s near as bad as they were a week ago.  At least I’m sleeping through the night (mostly) again.

Had a great break!  Once I goSpringt back from convention in Lethbridge.  Had a sore throat, which I think was allergies.  Kind of knocked me on my ass for a day or two.  Or, maybe, I was just run down from all the runnin’ aroun’ I do.  Who knows?  Anyway, after I got rested up I was rarin’ to go.

Last Thursday we picked up Timothy and Hailey and had them for 1/2 day.  We flew kites, baked cinnamon buns, played loud games, went to Hailey’s Tae Kwon Do and then had ice-cream right before taking them home to bed.  We had a blast!  They made me better, I swear.Learning to fly

Friday, Tim and I took off for Jasper.  via Mayerthorpe, cause we’re a little dopey and don’t know how to read signs very well, apparently.

anyhow. . .  we figured it out before we got to Grand Prairie, which was a good thing.  Don’t really know what we would have done there for fun.

The mountains were great.  We went for a hike at Old Fort Point, I got some lovely shots of the river and the bridge and a gnarly old pine.  Then we stayed in an overpriced, but very roomy suite at Whistler’s Inn, (where we generally stay when in Jasper).  We had a lovely meal at Cassio’s and then went for a short walk before turning in for the night.  No wild and crazy antics for us.  We were bushed.

Got up late Saturday and packed everything out at 10:30.  Had an expensive, but tasty breakfast at the Soft Rock Cafe, where someone stole my orange juice when I got up to go to the bathroom.  Crazy!  I guess they were thirsty and couldn’t afford their own.

We did another short hike up Patricia Lake trail but got wierded out by a ranger who told us a cougar or wolves had killed a deer on the trail and he was there looking for it.  (the carcass)  He was all nonchalant about it, but I couldn’t help listening for stealthy sounds in the trees around us — which is really quite pointless when the wind is blowing and things are scritching and scratching everywhere around you.

Tim finally spotted the carcass while I was busy setting my camera up and whistled for the ranger.  He came trudging up, said thanks and dragged it off.  Sheesh!  I got a few decent, but boring shots of the mountains to the east of Jasper and then decided enough was enough.  We finished our hike and then made a bee-line out of town.  Got back home around 8 p.m.  Tired, but happy.

Yesterday, we had a nice brunch with Landon, Jenn and the kids.  The kids were all hopped up on sugar, but what the hey — the Easter Bunny only comes once a year. Once again, the kids made my day. Ethan is really beginning to develop a personality.  He’s just like Landon was as a baby.  A ‘pudger’ as we called him.  But happy?!  OMG! he’s a happy little guy.

Later in the day we went to my niece, Lisette’s, for a barbecue with her and Scott and Michelle.  Scott’s on his way to Mexico again.  Then he gets home for four days and heads off to Pennsylvania for 3 weeks.  A busy guy.  Looks like things are really starting to go his way.  Very happy for him.  Michelle, too.

on to other things. . .

. . . last night finally got around to watching The Road.  I’d read the book in the summer and thought it was an amazing story.  The movie left a lot to be desired.  Viggo was good (when isn’t he?) but the story is so bleak and depressing, it just didn’t work on film.  Also, and I’m grateful for this, they chose to leave out a lot of  the really horrific stuff that made the book so compelling.  Much of the time you couldn’t hear what was being said because the characters spoke so softly. My advice — don’t waste time on the movie — read the book.  It’s amazing.

I am so glad it’s Spring.  Tim and I went for a nice walk in the early morning sunshine today and it felt like all was right with the world again.  I am so happy that winter is once more behind us.  The dark, cold mornings, the dark, cold evenings a thing of the past.  From now on, it’s steadily increasing daylight and sunlight and warmth.  Soon, the early flowers will be out and the birds will be singing in the big pine outside my bedroom window. I’ll be able to get out and get my gardening gloves on and muck around in the dirt.   Yay!

Because it’s Spring I feel compelled to try something strange and renewing.  So, I’m not going to watch TV from Sunday to Thursday.  If there’s time and I don’t have better things to do I’ll watch television on Friday night and Saturday.  I want to see how much more I can accomplish by not sitting in front of the ‘boob tube’ every night.

Granted, I don’t watch TV that much anyway — never enough time, really — but I have found myself plunking down in front of it a little more than I want to, these days.  Normally, we PVR everything and watch it later so we can skip through the commercials, but that can still eat up 2 or 3what it's all about hours a night.  When I started thinking about it, I was sort of appalled by how much TV we were watching.  So, this morning, while I was folding sheets I decided:  Time for an experiment!

Tim’s not thrilled.  I’ll probably be doing this one by myself, too.  Oh well, to each his own, I say.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Happy Spring everybody!

It’s a sunny Sunday mornin’

Spring is coming -- I promise!
Spring is around the corner -- I promise!

Good day, all!  I’m sooo happy, because the sun is shining!  Two days in a row!  Can you dig it? 

Consider this:  CBC reported recently that since the start of the new year, we (Alberta, in particular the north-central region) have had 28 days of fog.  28!  In the middle of bloody winter!  Now, if we were in Vancouver, or Halifax, I could understand, but here in the middle of the prairies? 

So, my happiness aside, this brings my thoughts back around to the end of the world.  Strange correlation, I know, but humour me. . . 

Lately, there’s been a spate of end of the world pictures — 2012, The Road, 9 — to name just a few, and I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe . . . but that’s just conspiracy-think, so I’ll try and stop it. 

Truthfully, though, when we were experiencing all that fog and gray skies and gloom, I couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to have to live in a world with no sunshine.  I’m telling you, my mood sure started to tank quickly, and I pop 2000 IU’s of Vitamin D a day.  Living in that kind of bleakness perpetually we’d see some strange social dysfunctions manifest in short order.  Hopefully, not as dire as those Cormac McCarthy thought up for his post-apocolyptic world.

One thing I know for sure, is that this weather really affects kids, and this comes from working with them.  Their behaviours ramp up, they become increasingly restless, increasingly difficult to motivate and far more emotional than usual.  More school yard fights, detentions and just plain dumb stuff happened during those dark days than we’ve ever experienced before.

Add to that their extreme impressionability after watching movies like 2012 and guess what?  Their imaginations and their naivete gets the best of them.  I’ve got one kid asking me doomsday questions just about every day.  Like, if I knew the world was going to end, would I choose to die or to fight to live?  If, after surviving, I knew that something terrible would happen and there was no way I was going to live, would I want to die quickly or live as long as I could? 

I try to treat his questions with a measure of seriousness, because, after all, he’s asking because this is something he’s given a lot of thought to, but at the same time, I try to instill a little of the old you-know-the-world’s-not-going-to-end, that’s-only-a-movie, right? reassurance in there, along with a bright, sunny smile so that he doesn’t catch on that adults sometimes have those same thoughts, too. 

. . . that was one helluva long run-on sentence! . . .

. . . anyway. . .

I’m doing my best today to just be gloriously happy that the sun is shining and that this is 2010, the end of February.  Spring is a mere 4 weeks away.  Soon we’ll have rain and green and sweet smelling air.  The birds will be back, and I’ll be able to have all my windows open again. 

I will not dwell on the fact that there has been another massive earthquake and another tsunami.  No, I won’t.

The Road

Book  Review

©2009 Kathy Larson

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Read this book.

Then give it your brothers, sons, husbands, fathers, any male you are relatively close to, to read.  It’s not because it’s that good (which it is) that I say this, it’s because this is a book that will touch any man who has ever had a close relationship, or wished they’d had a close relationship with a son, a father, or a brother.  But, it’s not just a story for men about men, it’s a story for people, so, on second thought, give it to anyone you care about.

Basically, this is a survival story, but in a setting where survival is ultimately hopeless.   Some terrible, cataclysmic event has taken place, McCarthy is careful to never say what it was, and the earth is essentially a wasteland.  The only survivors are humans, and not many of them.   Better that they should have all died considering there is no food, no drinkable water, and no sunlight.  And, as in all apocalyptic sagas, there are roving bands of men who have decided that brutality and bestiality are the only ways to survive.  Into this world McCarthy throws his dying protagonist, whose sole companion is his young son.

Somehow, this pair has managed to survive for about nine years.  The wife/mother abandoned them years before, choosing suicide over hopelessness.  Her memory is not a source of comfort for either the man or the boy; there almost seems to be a sense of anger directed at her for leaving them alone to struggle in this hostile world.  The presence of women in The Road is minimal and when it is it is ugly and terrifying.   There is no room for equality in this bleak nightmare world, and there are no sensitive concessions for being deemed the weaker sex, only despair.

What is at stake in The Road is not merely the survival of this father and his son, but the survival of faith and all that it means to be human.  That, and the meager supplies of food and water they manage to scavenge once in awhile, is all these two wanderers have to sustain them on their journey.   For the man there is no returning to life as he once knew it, and for the boy the only hope is to reinvent the world he was born in to.  They are the ‘good guys,’ and ‘carriers of the light,’ in search of other good guys.  The boy must survive if there is to be any hope at all.

McCarthy’s stream of consciousness writing moves his story along at a relentless pace.  His short staccato sentence structure and sparse use of punctuation draw you along, sometimes unwillingly, into places you’d rather not go, but like gawking at a bad accident you just can’t stop yourself.   Despite the elements of darkness and despair in The Road there are also moments of indescribable beauty and emotion.  One such is the scene in which the father bathes his son; it achingly represents an act of pure and simple love, something they really have no luxury for.  It, more than any other moment in the novel exemplifies all that has been lost, and all there is yet to hope for.

The Road was one of the considerations for the Canada Reads competition this past summer on CBC Radio and I wish it had come out on top.  More people should read this book, it will make them appreciate those they love and the tenuous nature of what we all take for granted and call life.