Blue lake and rocky shore…

I got a call this morning at 8 from my dad, inviting Sophia and I on a road trip.  It would be 5 hours in the car,  but I couldn’t say no.  Because my dad was going up to the cottage.

My Opa and Oma, along with my parents and my aunt, built the cottage.  Almost entirely by themselves. They hired someone to blast the rock for the foundation, and maybe to pour the foundation,  but everything else,  they built themselves. My Opa got crates from a massive printing press the Star had recently purchased to use as construction materials. My Oma envisioned my dad and aunt’s rooms with single beds and desks (something my mum was able to change).

I spent weeks there every summer in my childhood, with my siblings, cousins and aunt – she always looked forward to the weekend, when the child-adult ratio was less than 7 to 1. I left for camp from the cottage, and I came back to the cottage.  I had friends up, and spent relaxing weekends there with my husband.

But about 2 weeks ago, my dad and aunt sold the cottage. It was time…  The dock was dying,  the decks were dangerous, and the gardens were grown over. But most important,  it had become a terrible stress.  It had become far more work than fun, and it was,  sadly,  time to let go.

And so when my dad called at 8am, saying he had to do about an hour of work at the cottage,  and did I S and I want to join him for the drive, I knew I wanted her to go up at least once in her life.

It was a great trip. It started snowing at around Barrie,  and there was accumulation by the time we got to Gravenhurst. We skipped Webber’s, in favour of a BBQ place, and S was SO good…  She slept almost the entire 2 ½ hours each way. At the cottage, I got to say goodbye, which had been my one regret. Even though I have sort of said goodbye to the place every time I’ve been up for the past…  decade? This time it was a lot more final.

The sale of the cottage closes Feb 1st. I

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When I write

I only write here when I have a lack of outside conversation. I posted when I was living alone in Ottawa. I was basically just trying to keep a journal of my time. I posted when I was writing my thesis at home. Again, I was at home all day with no one to talk to, and I was using it, in part, as an organization method. To be writing something for fun, rather than because I had to. Once I was working, I had other things to do… Other outlets for my thoughts…

But I’m at home again, with thoughts running through my head, and in need of a place to put them. A way to organize them. A way to keep me thinking.

I don’t write when I’m interesting, because I’m busy doing interesting things. I write when I’m bored, to give me something to do. Which means that the things that I write about aren’t necessarily things I want to (or need to) remember. They’re just the random thoughts that I’m trying to get out. Maybe they’re a way to try to remind myself that I’m actually doing SOMETHING.

I’m wandering around the house with a sleeping girl who refused to nap all afternoon. She needs to sleep, she’s exhausted. And I can’t really DO anything right now. But that’s what I’m doing. I’m helping my daughter sleep. And this is when I write, not when important things are happening (if that were the case, I’d have written a lot in the past few years), but when I have the chance to slow down and just exist.

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At home

It’s very odd to be at home again all day. I’m on mat leave, and it sometimes feels like I’m not adding to the family. I spend my days sitting on the floor playing with S, and maintaining the house while she’s sleeping. I love my baby, but her level of conversation leaves something to be desired.

I know I’m doing important things, stimulating our baby, teaching her, feeding her, and keeping care of her. But I am not cut out to be a stay at home parent.

I try to fill in the time as best I can – grocery shopping, making dinner, I’ve started making bread. Even writing this certainly goes into that description. But what I really need is more interactions with people who can reply.

I go to the library with S on Mondays, and we do the Baby Time program. I’ve signed us up for a baby sign language course starting later this month. I’m hoping that I can make some Mum friends through that. Because I’m lonely.

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The morality of work

So, I am preparing to join the world of work. I’m in the enviable position of having two job offers, and I think I’ve made my decision. The main difficulty that I’m having is that I’ve started the paperwork for the job I’ve now decided not to take,  and I feel extremely guilty about that.

I know that I have to chose the job that will suit me better in the long term,  and that the job I turn down won’t be on my employment history,  but I feel that you should also honour your promises, and I feel I did make a promise.

The job I have started the paperwork on is highly reputable,  and interesting,  but the one I’ll accept has more responsibility and honestly,  a much better title.  It also already has 3 years of funding lined up, while the other only has one lined up.

I know what I’ve decided, but I have to work up the guts to turn down my first acceptance.

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I started reading this book at my brother’s while I was visiting to meet my new nephew. The book really does go all over the place with math and philosophy and science fiction. But it all starts with odd religious over tones. A cloistered community with each member only having three possessions, which only interacts with the outside world every 10 years. So it starts out feeling very calm, and hushed, and almost dusty.

By the end though, there has been a trans-polar voyage, not-quite aliens, the most interesting space flight ever,  and parallel realities that converge, with individuals remembering those alternate truths.

Just remembering the story makes me so ire because as disjointed as it seems from the description above, it all flows in a very natural and believable way from the cloister to the conclusion.

Another interesting aspect is that at three points in the story, there are ‘scalas’ – diversions from the main story to a detailed lesson (between the characters)  about mathematical theories. I don’t know if they are fully necessary to the story, particularly the first one, though I read and enjoyed them.

I think the author originally wrote them into the text,  and the editor felt they were too much detail, so they compromised and put them as ‘optional reading’.

This is definitely a thinking book, and not a breeze through it just for the story. But definitely worth the time.

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Jay and Silent Bob Are Getting Old

So Dave and I went to a live broadcast of a podcast and Q and A with Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) last night.  This sounds sorta strange, but here’s the explanation. They were at the Scotia Bank Cinema in downtown Toronto (we wanted to go there, but it was sold out).  We were at a theatre closer to our place, and it was being simulcast to about 200 other theatres in North America.  I guess that doesn’t actually explain it better, but whatever. This is what it was:

These guys were so funny.  Extremely raunchy, and with lots of swearing, but so funny. It always amuses me that my mild mannered husband loves the most foul-mouthed humour. He doesn’t swear, but really likes it when others do that for him.

If I must give an overall description of the night, it would be about Snappy and Snipper and tortoise rape, or maybe just tortoise mating (“But maybe Snipper liked it,” Jay kept saying), and how Squeeky the hamster should have been named Pink Nuts – you know, cause he had huge pink nuts that he had to drag around with him.

High class?  No.  Not at all.  Amazingly hilarious? Yes, absolutely.  Remembering you got in using Scene Points?  Priceless

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The Dispossessed by Ursula K LeGuin

Now,  I usually read books for their stories, rather than their themes.  But when reading this book, the comparison between the two settings – socialism (which was referred to as anarchism) vs capitalism – was so obvious and all consuming that I almost didn’t even notice the climax.

It just felt like the author had a point to make and then decided that the best way to make the readers think about it was to beat them over the head with it until all that there was was this social commentary.

It was an interesting premise – twin planets, with the older one being capitalist, and the more recently settled being isolationist and socialist.  And someone decided to go back from the isolated planet to their “home” planet – the first to person to go back in the 170 years of the colony.

The story goes back and forth between the main character growing up, and getting to the point of leaving his planet, and him being on this other planet.  All the rebellion that took almost 40 years to develop at home, he repeats within about 2 years being on the other planet, so it has some nice parallels.

But I didn’t much enjoy the book.  The copy that I got from the library had clearly been used by someone who was a student of literature, who was analyzing all the differences between the locales, and it distracted me.  But even so, I understand why I didn’t finish it when I tried to read it years ago.  It’s just too dry.

I loved LeGuin’s EarthSea Cycle (I think I will add it to my “To Read” list in fact…) but I felt that there was much more storyline going on there, and much less preaching.  Or maybe it’s still there, and I didn’t notice it because I was younger.

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Afghan update

So, the last time I mentioned my Forever and Ever Afghan, it was October, and I’d finished 3 squares.  I have been chugging along mightily since then, mostly since after Christmas.  I won’t give a blow by blow of when I got everything done, but there are 7 new squares finished, and I’m working on a beautiful blue cable square right now.

So, without further ado:

So, the purple one beside the blue has the same pattern, the camera just didn’t pick it up well.

I’m trying to decide if I should block and sew together pieces as I go, or just do it all in one painful swoop at the end. I think it’ll be more even if I do it all at once, but I think I might go crazy doing all that piecing together.

But I’m 20% done, more done than I’ve ever been before, and I haven’t run out of steam.  But I do want to do socks soon.  I may have to steal a needle from my mum.

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Tracks in the snow

Last week, as I headed out for a run, there was a dusting of snow on the ground.  It was my third run that week, I was feeling good, and I ready to do a nice 5km run.  The whole time I was out, snow was gently drifting down.  It was only -2 or -3°C, and there were very few people out, and I didn’t hit any traffic lights, and it was bright and beautiful out.

When I was coming back to my house, I saw my tracks from the way out in the snow on the path.  There were boots and running shoes, and then there were mine, that looked like footprints.

And I thought of the other people who had gone along that path, and wondered if they’d noticed, and thought that there was someone out there, wandering barefoot on a snowy Friday morning.

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So, my husband has been at me for the past couple days to organize our hats/mitts/gloves shelf in our closet, and because I’ve been reading financial blogs, and they keep on saying you should “declutter,” I decided to actually take a look at what I have in there.

This is all the winter hats, mitts, and scarves my husband and I own.  Actually my husband has a pair of earmuffs as well, but they went with him to work.  Belonging to my husband are the Olympic mitts and the black gloves at the bottom of the page.  Everything else is mine.

I have 7 scarves, 7 hats, and 4 sets of mitts/gloves/hand warmers.  And to make it worse?  5 of the hats are associated with running.  FIVE!!!  I think I have to get rid of two right now just to make myself feel like less of a glutton.

Ok, down to 5 hats total.  I think that’s a bit better.

But the point of this is that I feel that I just have too much stuff.  I don’t need any new pants or sweaters or shirts.  I don’t need any new vases or appliances.  If I get something new, I feel that I really need to be getting rid of something that I already have.  I have a storage tub in the basement full of shirts that I haven’t worn since I moved here three years ago.  Someone else might want them, because I haven’t missed not having them.

But what do you do about items that you “can’t” give away? The extra appliances people get you for Christmas presents, or that ornamental clock that REALLY isn’t to your taste that you got at your wedding shower.

Is it realistic to just keep on collecting things forever?  For people to think that you’ll keep things forever?

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