Friday, September 17, 2021

I Spy: Week 36

Well, I'm not as late with this post as I was with the week previous to this, but I'm still not on time for my "I Spy" contribution. I'm really blaming September over here :) It's been good but insane. Again, I'm linking up with Lysha (and the other dedicated "I Spy" bloggers) at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2021

{remembrance}

The main point of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) is not "remembrance" but there is a plea to God to remember Jews when God seals the Book of Life. And although I am not Jewish, I find this prayer a powerful one.

{dainty}

Dave had been fasting all day and was clearly in a slightly silly mood after eating supper :) When I told him I didn't know what on earth to post for "dainty" he said, "I'll daintily take out the garbage"!!! I'm not sure he thought I'd actually use these pictures! Hahaha!!!

{heart}

Rachel found this obsidian heart on one of our hikes in Kenya. That was over four years ago and it still has a place of honour on her desk.

{TV}

We don't have an actual TV although we do watch a not insignificant amount of screen on our computers (mainly Blue Jays baseball and Disney+ movies and shows). This means that our kids are forced to get a little more creative with their time. Rachel has been trying to teach herself to do the splits (and just be more flexible in general) with YouTube videos and I'd say it's going fairly well :)

{your choice}

While I don't love hot peppers on my food, I have been LOVING them in this fall planter. I don't know if I will ever be able to have a fall planter without them again!!! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

I Spy: Week 35

I'm so late with my I Spy post that this one is actually from a few weeks ago. Sam and I got sick, school started, the Jewish holidays have been happening, and everything got thrown for a loop, including picture taking and blog posting. Most of these pictures were taken around the time I should have posted this which was at the beginning of September. As always, I'm linking up with Lysha at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2021

{clip}

I really struggled with this prompt and finally took this picture of the "clips" I've been using to easily put my hair up for most of the summer.

{dear}

There is not much as "dear" to me as these two kiddos walking along the railroad tracks and talking to each other. This makes my heart melt every single time.

{handmade}

Rachel made chocolate chip cookies by herself (mostly) on Labour Day weekend and these "handmade" sweets were delicious!!!

{starts with D}

I really thought I'd taken a picture for all the prompts, but when I went to write this post this morning (yes, this morning!), I realized I'd forgotten one for this prompt. So here is a quick picture of my Disney magnet board. We got all these magnets on our two Disney cruises. It was either a picture of this or my desk. Hahaha!!!

{your choice}

This mural outside of Starbucks caught my eye. Something about it speaks to me.

Thanks for reading my belated I Spy post. I'm going to try and post another one tomorrow but we'll see what tonight holds because I haven't looked at the prompts or taken any pictures for it... Hello September craziness!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Combination Post -- Not Just A Mom AND 10 On The 10th

I am joining up with the "Not Just A Mom" bloggers to talk about my morning routine, and since it was recently the 10th of the month, I am combining this post with my "10 On The 10th" post too! I will confess that September 10th this year was insane and there was nothing good to take pictures of -- I went to work, I napped, we had fast food for supper, and then I watched a little bit of baseball before going to bed. So I actually took these 10 pictures of my Saturday morning routine on September 11th.

For me, every morning starts in the bathroom. I brush my teeth and wash my face, using just a washcloth and water. I'm so addicted to this routine that when I travel to Europe, I make sure to bring a washcloth because they don't really have them there. 

Since it was Saturday, it was time to tackle the laundry mountain. Sadly, our dehumidifier in the basement is a little broken and doesn't always turn off when it's full so it ran onto the basement floor. Thus you can see a line of water on the left, heading under the dryer. It wasn't the most fun way to wake up.

As much as possible, I use the dehumidifier water on my outdoor plants. I bought these pots of chrysanthemums last weekend and they make me so happy! (And yes, I have a couple of pots of annuals mixed in there too because they still look okay.)

It was time for coffee-hot chocolate. Every morning I choose a mug from my collection. This day I chose my "get things done at home" mug. I don't know why this mug has become that for me but it has :) While I drank this, I also had a conversation with Rachel about the potential of biking to school.

I make my bed every morning and then I lay out my clothes for the day. I have to lay them out on a made bed. I know -- it's odd. I also open the curtains and tie them back.

I'd been up for about an hour by this point so it was time to wash my face with water for a second time and put my contacts in. Yes, I only ever wash my face with water. No, I don't wear make up. This "minimalist skin care routine" has worked for me for over thirty years now.

It was time to hang laundry outside, drink some more coffee-hot chocolate, and catch up with Dave a little.

 We gathered everyone together and, while Sam and I ate breakfast, we menu planned for the month, made a grocery list, and made a list of weekend things to do/get done. And we had a separate list for our morning errands. I really love lists and I think my family does too!

We all got dressed and headed out for our errands -- we walked to Wal-Mart for school supplies (and a few other things) and then to the libary.

Here we are, just shortly after noon, heading home from the library with the Chariot full of library books, school supplies, and a few miscellaneous items.
 
So there you have a small sample of my weekend morning routine. I really meant to write about my weekday morning routine, and may still do so, but last week got away from me and so you get this instead.
 
Thank you to the Not Just A Mom bloggers for hosting a fun link up!

Thursday, September 09, 2021

The Rest Of My August Reading

Well, I definitely read a lot less when I'm working full-time! Hahaha! However, even though I didn't read as much as I did in the first weeks of August, I did manage to read a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction for the last of my August reading.

The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park

This book pairs really well with The Rose Code. It takes you further into the stories of Bletchley Park and I'm almost positive Kate Quinn read this book and used it as major source material. It was so good and I sped through it.

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

This book was a powerful book -- it talked about mental health openly (which I loved), it talked about undocumented immigrants and some of their stresses, and it was a great story about the power of family and food. I just wanted to sit down and eat Pen's food.

The House on Mermaid Point (Ten Beach Road, #3)

You may remember that I read Ten Beach Road in July about a trio of women who lose everything, thanks to a Ponzi scheme, and then renovate a house that has somehow become their sole valuable possession? Well this was another book in the series. It was okay, light entertainment, BUT... I don't care if you were writing in 2014 and you cast a main character as partially Native American -- it is NEVER okay to use some of the descriptions that this author used to described this character's moods. I would be reading and getting a little lost in the story and then BAM! A majorly racist description would appear. It was jarring and I almost put the book down a few times because of it. I really don't think I'll read anymore by this author because I was so turned off. (And 2014 me wasn't perfect, and 2021 me isn't perfect, but I'm not going to perpetuate that crap.)

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know 

For my Blog Friends' Book Club, not once has one of us not read the entire book. However, due to some miscommunication, I hadn't read this book the night before we were supposed to meet. Everyone graciously re-scheduled so that I could read it and I'm so glad they did. This book was hilarious, pointed, and I thought it was sooooo good. I love how Grant used examples from his own life to show his points, I loved how he challenged people kindly (and hilariously) to re-examine their assumptions -- I just loved it all. This will likely be one of the books I highlight again at the end of September as one of the best books I read this quarter. You should read it too!

Dear Martin (Dear Martin, #1)

I had this book out a few months ago and didn't get it read. Then I picked it up again and couldn't put it down. This is a teen book about police brutality, about a young man trying to sort out what he believes and where he belongs and how to walk the journey of being a black man in a white world. I thought it was a little old for Sam so I didn't recommend it to him yet, but I will in a few years. And I'm definitely checking out the second book in this series, Dear Justyce.

Enigma: How the Poles Broke the Nazi Code

Yes, I ended the month with more World War II code breaking! Hahaha!!! I tell you, when I go down a rabbit hole, I really commit to it! This book was not what I expected. The first part was more interesting but definitely filled with Polish pride, which is fair. For the longest time, because of wartime secrets almost everyone gave the British the credit for breaking one of the toughest German codes of World War II. However, in reality, a group of three Polish mathematicians broke it in the early 1930s. Their contributions, which they shared with the French and the British, allowed the rest of the world (read: Bletchley Park) to make even bigger gains during World War II. So, all this to say is that the idea of setting the record straight is really important.

The small press which published this book thought it would enhance the book to add a few appendices of extra journal articles about code breaking for the last half of the book. I didn't enjoy them and slogged through them. If you want a readable book about code breaking, read the first one I recommended in this post. If you want a book which is more academic and provides a more solid foundation, then read this one.

So this is what I read the last weeks of August. Have I interested you into following me into the world of World War II code breaking yet?!?!? What's the last reading rabbit hole you fell into? Tell me, and maybe I'll join you!

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

One Sentence A Day: August 2021

Welcome to One Sentence A Day for August. We spent the first part of this month enjoying visiting my parents in Saskatchewan and I spent most of the rest of the month working. It was an abrupt ending to summer :)

1- Sunday -- It was a relaxing day in Saskatchewan, although Dave did do some "road work"!

2 - Monday -- We got a lot done this day including shoveling bark mulch and trimming trees and eating rollkuchen!

3 - Tuesday -- We did a mini road trip around Saskatchewan and saw some twisted trees, a national historic site, and did a ferry crossing of the North Saskatchewan River.

4 - Wednesday -- We got ready to see family and hugged my cousins and my aunt!!!

5 - Thursday -- We had a very full day of visiting and laughing with family.

And we ate Low Country Boil!!!

6 - Friday -- We had a very quiet, recuperative day and it was exactly what we needed.

7 - Saturday -- We made homemade ice cream using my grandpa's ice cream maker from 1915 and it was delicious.

8 - Sunday -- Dave wasn't feeling well this day but the kids and I shoveled a ton of mulch.

My dad is an excellent bartender and I enjoyed daily Happy Hour drinks!!! 

9 - Monday -- Dave still wasn't feeling well, I diagnosed him with dehydration and made him drink a lot of water, and he started to improve significantly. (Second sentence: It was this morning that we started panicking about our upcoming flight and wondering about Covid tests...)

10 - Tuesday -- We packed, we made more ice cream, we got sad about leaving Saskatchewan.

11 - Wednesday -- We flew home and it was a rough day.

12 - Thursday -- We tried to settle back in at home -- unpacking, grocery shopping, and sleeping.

13 - Friday -- The kids went to a PJ Party at the pool and Dave and I had a date!

14 - Saturday -- I did a lot of overdue yard work in the front yard.

And we sorted out all Rachel's dance uniforms for the upcoming season.

15 - Sunday -- We went swimming in the late afternoon and the kids did not want to leave the pool.

16 - Monday -- It was a full day of swimming, tennis, dance, and ball for the kids and driving them to all the things for me.

17 - Tuesday -- It was my last day of summer vacation (boo) but I didn't know that until 10am this day.

17/18 - Tuesday/Wednesday -- Our fire alarm went off twice (for no discernible reason) at 11:50pm and 12:40am so I had to call 911 and firefighters came to inspect our house for smoke and carbon monoxide. (More sentences: They didn't find anything, deemed our house safe, and suggested it might be our expired smoke detectors which Dave replaced the next day. Ugh.) 

Firetruck at our house at 1am. 

18 - Wednesday -- Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's back to work I go!

And Sam had his last baseball game of the summer.

19 - Thursday -- I worked all day, was exhausted from working and the Tuesday/Wednesday middle of the night craziness, so I had a nap and then went to bed early.

20 - Friday -- This day ended an incredibly exhausting week so we celebrated with ice cream.

Rachel worked really hard on her dance exam classes all week.

21 - Saturday -- Rachel had her dance exam in the morning and then we walked to Tim Horton's for iced lemonade and doughnuts and then we walked to the library and for ice cream in the afternoon.

22 - Sunday -- It was a full day of grocery shopping, muffin baking, and getting ice cream.

I got a new lunch bag!!!

23 - Monday -- I worked a full day and had two interviews for permanent hours.

24 - Tuesday -- It was a super hot day and we picked up our CSA share.

And I went running in the morning.

25 - Wednesday -- I got a permanent position at 28 hours a week!!!!!!!!!!

My family bought me this beautiful fall planter as a congratulations' gift.

26 - Thursday -- It was another hot day and we were just about to go to the pool when it started thundering :(

27 - Friday -- Today was a great day with more excellent work news and Dave and I enjoyed a walk to the library.

28 - Saturday -- We spent three hours at the pool and ended with pizza in our backyard and it was perfect!

29 - Sunday -- We walked uptown for supper after a day of getting things done and then barely made it home before a massive thunderstorm hit.

30 - Monday -- It was my first day at a new school and I unpacked all the office supplies and started getting to know people.

31 - Tuesday -- We had a meeting for Rachel's dance company and I am excited about this fall of dance. (Second sentence: If all goes according to plan, Rachel will be dancing in three different Nutcracker dances this year!!!)

Rachel picked out a beautiful bouquet at CSA.

In some ways, August felt like a really long month and it other ways it felt like a month of whiplash from vacation to work to everything in between.

As always, I'm linking up with Rebecca Jo and the other Sentence A Day bloggers. You can see the link up here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Currently: September 2021

How is it already September?!?!?! Where is 2021 going??? Since it's not only September, but also the first Wednesday of the month, it's time for "Currently" with Anne at in residence.

[beginning]

 Oh my goodness -- it's the beginning of so many things right now. I just got hired four days a week to permanent hours after a year and a half of working as a substitute secretary for our school board! I'm so excited to get to really know, and invest in, one school. So I'm beginning to get to know the teachers and helping out with the beginning of the school year.

I recently began the Couch to 5K program so I'm beginning to run a little more these days.

Last night we had a meeting for Rachel's dance company and next week they are beginning Nutcracker rehearsals which is Rachel's first time to participate in this ballet. And Sam is beginning middle school next week!!!

So many things are "beginning" for our family right now.

[ending]

Our summer has been long and wonderful but it is ending. I wanted to get a beautiful picture of the sunset but we were talking to my parents on the phone and I forgot until the last minute. Thus, you get this rushed, you can hardly see it, picture of a sunset and that kind of describes how our summer is ending -- it feels rushed and "is this really it?!?!?!" School starts back for the kids on Tuesday so yes, summer is ending.

[loving]

I am loving the variety of tomatoes we're getting in our CSA (community shared agriculture) these days. I love tomatoes in general and I found these ones so visually appealing. The end of summer produce is some of my favourite food of the year.


[picking]

Speaking of CSA, Rachel enjoyed picking flowers as one of our choices. She was very intentional about making her bouquet and she did a fabulous job!

[posting]

This quote inspires me at work every time I go to the bathroom (hahaha!) so I am posting it here to share with all of you. It perfectly describes why I've started running and am being more intentional about getting more exercise these days. Can any of you relate to this as strongly as I can?


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

What I Read The First Part Of August

The first part of August I was reading on my Kobo in Saskatchewan. I took out books that I had wanted to read for awhile or, books that I had out from the library in physical form and could get immediately as an e-book. Thus my reading for the first part of August was a little eclectic! This was also the blog post where I didn't realize that some of the books I was reading were non-fiction. Ooops.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

I actually finished this book in July and forgot to include it in my July reading. I broke the book down into chunks and read a chunk every day. This is a very academic book and I probably need to read it again as I know I didn't take everything in. However, this is a good book to have read, even if it is a struggle to read. I currently have Stamped (for kids) out from the library for my kids to read because the ideas in this book are something we all need to know, and talk about.

Lady Clementine

This is a fictional account of Winston Churchill's wife. This book made me want to know more about Clementine Churchill. From the impression I got from this book, I think she would have made an excellent politician in her own right. And she definitely fought for the rights of women, especially during World War II. While this book doesn't focus solely on WWII, it definitely covers it. I also like how it openly addressed Clementine Churchill's mental health struggles.

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

I read this book in one sitting. I CANNOT imagine spending 31 years on death row for a crime I hadn't committed, especially a crime where I clearly could not have committed it. This book was so engaging, I started reading it at 10:30pm and, before I knew it, I had finished it (and it was 2am). Ooops. Be warned though -- it is hard to put down.

Reasons to Stay Alive

After reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, I checked out almost every book of his I could get from our library. One thing I don't like about my Kobo is that I don't have a "blurb" of the book to read so I just jump right in and don't know what the book is about. After about three chapters of reading, I thought, "Is this book non-fiction?" Yes, yes it is. It's a very real account of Haig's struggle with depression. It is beautiful and I think everyone should read it.

 The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project, #1)

This was a fun rom-com and I already have the second book in the series on my TBR. This was just a feel good book.

Mean

This is another one I didn't realize was non-fiction until after I'd finished reading it and was doing some Google research on it. I found this on a list of "Books to read instead of American Dirt." It was a good book, with hard stories, but I wish I'd realized it was an autobiography. Again, the hazards of reading on my Kobo :(

Boyfriend Material (Boyfriend Material, #1)

This book was just really fun. Another love story about opposites attracting. There were moments which made me cry (but I might have been overtired as it was another late night read) and moments which made me laugh. There's another book coming in this series and you can count on me checking it out.

 The Rose Code

Kate Quinn is back to her The Alice Network best in this book. I LOVED The Alice Network, did not enjoy The Huntress, so was wary of having too high expectations for this book. Honestly, this might be one of my favourite books I've read this year. It was soooo good!!! And since it focused around Bletchley Park, you can count on the fact that I've picked up some non-fiction about code breaking, Enigma, and Bletchley Park to continue that theme. I really think the best books send you down paths you weren't expecting.

Feels Like Falling

I started this book before we went on vacation and just couldn't finish it. It's a fun book but didn't suck me in and I was okay to finish the last sixty pages once we got home. This would be a good beach read and I did like the story of female friendships. However, almost every female ends up with a male love interest so you know... predictable.

Faithless in Death (In Death, #52)

Sometimes JD Robb's In Death books can be a bit formulaic, which is why I love them. And then sometimes, she writes one which has depth and a gripping story line and you realize why she is such a good storyteller. If you are an In Death fan, be prepared for a GREAT book in this one. I thought the story was really good and I didn't want to put it down.

The Canterbury Sisters

I picked up this novel because another blogger was reading it and it looked interesting. In short -- I loved it and read it in one day. It was a weekend and I just kept sneaking away to read it. This book made me want to walk from London to The Canterbury Cathedral with a group of women and hear their stories. This was such an unexpected surprise of a book in the best way.

Rick

I didn't know Alex Gino had more books out until Sam showed this to me at the library. "Hey Mommy, here's another book by that author." We both read it and I really liked this one. I really want Gino to write more books about pre-teens exploring their gender/sexual identity. I liked that while this book had some of the same characters as George, it was a fresh story.

So that's what I read the first half of August. My last half of August books are coming on Friday (I hope) and let's just say, with not being on vacation, and working full-time, I have not read near as many books. Oh well.