Wednesday, January 18, 2017


No matter how hard I try, I can't get a hold of the time... I have really tried. I clear my mornings, I clear my afternoons, but they don't stay cleared. There are an innumerable number of worthy, and even extremely worthy ways to encroach upon the time I am trying to dedicate to creative endeavours. I've read, planned, carved, scheduled, tracked, promised, committed - done all sorts to save the time... but it always withers away. There isn't time to get ready in the morning, eat, tidy, write an email, take a call, let alone the avalanche of 'everything else' that follows. The 'everything else' (wrong word but can't come up with another...things, people, events, appointments, errands, etc.)  that call are important and I want them in my life... I choose them, but I want a little creative time, and I can't get it to consistently happen.

To do it I would have to get militant, as in "Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Call, Write, Interact, or Ask Me Anything etc.,  Before 1 PM Ever.", or, and maybe this is the key, accept that the only time I really have to myself is late at night, and just schedule that time for myself. The problem is that I am tired often by then, so I looked, (longed) for the morning time... but I'm not an early morning person, so that is the crux. By the time I'm ready - it's 11 AM and the encroaching occurs shortly thereafter... If I could save 11-1 PM that would be 2 hours... it's hard my friends... it's hard.

This is a quote that I like from Kathleen Norris' book called The Cloister Walk, which is quoted in the book Found: A Story of Questions, Grace & Everyday Prayer: Micha Boyett
(previous post):

"Norris describes a monastic perspective that perceives time as a gift to be welcomed, not an enemy to be wrestled."

I wrestle still, I wrestle. I try not to... do things in the spirit if Huggye, yet for this creative time that I crave, I wrestle.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kindle Makes Me Read Faster

I am beginning to believe that Kindle makes me read faster... maybe it's the swiping, rather than page turning? I suspect it's more to do with the fact that the words are lit up and I can actually see them better - at any rate, though it took a few years to really get used to my Kindle...I am flying through books now.

But if pressed... yes, I love a print 'hold-in-your-hands' book the best.  I am a slave to reading glasses now though, and very good light, and that glowy Kindle is making my reading life easier. What of Audible? Has it a place? Yes it has. I love Audible too, just like Kindle and real books..  it's not so fast... audio books are definitely the slowest way to get through a book (I can't stay tuned in with speeded up narration...1.0 or maybe 1.25 at the most if I don't have to follow too mind will go its own way) but you can 'read' whilst folding clothes and doing other jobs where you would otherwise not be able to read.  So I listen to books, and read books. I always have a motley pile of books on the go.

Books that are good enough to reread are bolded. Books I highly recommend are asterisked**. Books I enjoyed, and are good enough, are single asterisked*. If a books isn't 'good enough' I generally abandon it, but not always... so they will be listed but not asterisked. A complicated method of evaluating books perhaps... some books I really do like, but I can't really recommend them exactly. I wonder if that makes sense.

Recently finished:

**Daily Rituals  by Mason Curry
**Pray, Write, Grow  by Ed Cyzewski
*Writing Day In, and Day Out  by Cindi Cumbo-Fford
*Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Coming Clean: A Story of Faith by Seth Haines
*The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Edberg (Kindle)

Still in Progress:

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Hoopla, audio)
The Broken Way by Anne Voskamp (print)
The 100 Year Old Man That Climbed Out of the Window by Jonas Jonasson (print) (I don't love this one... but it's a book club read so I'm reading on... it's not awful, but for me, it's not my favourite as my Isabelle would say.
The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson (Hoopla, audio)
Found: A story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer by Micha Boyett

This is a quote that I like from Kathleen Norris' book called The Cloister Walk, which is quoted in the book Found (above):

"Norris describes a monastic perspective that perceives time as a gift to be welcomed, not an enemy to be wrestled.

This fits in nicely with the huggye concept that we (Manochehr and I) have been reading about (The Cozy Life - above). I think this is an insightful way to approach our cold Canadian winters, with a mindset of taking pleasure in simple domestic life by making your surroundings cozy, warm, comfortable, being reflective, enjoying the social season with home-cooked foods, and informal gatherings among people you love and are completely yourself around.  Huggye is a much more concise way to say all that! So you are kind to yourself all winter... and let's make that all year round... but it's a Fall and Winter kind of mindset... that I think would help to ward of the effects of seasonal SAD for some or many. I gave the book a 'good enough' asterisk because it's short and doesn't go into a lot of depth, but I found it to be probably the most thought provoking book of the week... along with Coming Clean, so it kind of deserves ** but I suspect that there are more in-depth books on the subject out there, but perhaps not, it's a simple idea really. Two or not two... I can't decide :)

Something funny... yesterday in the car we were discussing this idea of SAD and Huggye with our Mark and he laughed... "I have the opposite of SAD" when the first snow flies. He's a winter person... and doesn't begin Huggye until the snow begins to melt! What will he do all Summer!

Lastly... to pronounce Huggye..try saying Une in French... then add the H in front.... Hune (still in French) and drop the n.... now add the hard 'g' where the 'n' was, and add the 'ae' in Michael to the end... I learned this on Youtube here:

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Books in Progress

I finished The Eyre Affair - not my favourite, but I can see how it would be interesting for someone else. It's a little whimsical, and far-fetched.

Also completed Tribe - a fabulous book - a little along the lines of Malcolm Gladwell's' Blink. I enjoyed this more because of it's theme of community and exposing what we as a western society may be missing in terms of true happiness amidst the conveniences and blessings we enjoy. Tight families probably help to lessen the effects... and, even more so, happy large extended families. An insightful read that I'm glad I came upon.

Still in Progress are:

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
The 100 Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson (paper, book club choice)
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (paper, bookclub choice)
The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson (Hoopla audio)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Books, Books, Books,

It's Jan 5th, 2017 and I haven't posted much lately... ahem, since 2014, and the post before that was in 2010... whaaaat?

 I've been reading a diverse range of books that I would like to track, and I've been going down the rabbit hole of my own interests like Bullet Journaling, and Calligraphy and would like to record some of what I learn breathing new life into this page.

My primary interest has been reading lately, and I'm enjoying the gluttony as a result of my current stage of life where it's possible to read a book a day if I choose. (5 books since Jan 1 completed and a pile in progress). I have always been a multiple book reader... a non-fiction, and a fiction title on audio as well as in print, so usually about four at time, at a minimum. Sometimes more, like now.

My favourite from this week is News of the World by Paulette Giles. This has a 4 star rating on Goodreads... why I don't know; it s a five star book for me. A short book, it reminds me of Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, or All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, with a touch of Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt. I'm now reading Tribe by Sebastion Junger, which is a fascinating work on what ails western society in terms of our soulful need to be part of a tribe...this is also a quick read, and is an excellent pairing with News of the World. It's apparently a little-known fact that when 'captives' of  Native American tribal societies (there were many of course) were returned to Western society, they invariably wanted to go back to their Indian families. There were hundreds (or thousands?) of cases where white people defected to Indian society, however not a case in reverse. Junger explains phenomenon far better than I can, but a very interesting book to follow, or precede, News of the World.

I also finished, in Jan. 2017, Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes (it's all about the carbs people), and the latest by Liane Moriarty called Truly, Madly, Guilty and Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe (better than expected, though I chose it b/c it's well reviewed.) 

In progress:

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp (paper)
You'll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein (library) (abandoned)
Tribe by Sebastion Junger (Kindle, book club choice)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (recommended to me but I'm close to abandoning) (Kindle)
The 100 Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson (paper, book club choice)
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (paper, bookclub choice)
The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson (Hoopla audio)

Books from recent 2-3 months, to catch up.

Bolded if I loved enough to potentially reread - there are many books I have enjoyed, but would I reread them? That's the litmus test!

* for Recommended

* Unglued; Making Wise Choices Amidst Raw Emotions by Lysa Terkeurst (Hoopla audio)            Deserves it's own blog post - amazing book.
* One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood (library)
* A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Hoopla audio)
* Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banarjee Divakaruni (Kindle)
* A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Kindle)
Flash the Homeless Donkey by Rachel Anne Ridge (Kindle)(abandoned but was cute for a while)
* 11/22/63 by Stephen King (Kindle)
* Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Kindle)
* The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Kindle)
A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg (Kindle)
* Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (Hoopla audio)
* The Art of Memoir by Mary Carr (Hoopla audio)
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout (Kindle)
* Still Life by Louise Penny (Library)(Will read more of this series - mystery for sensitive persons).
Throw Out Fifty Things by Gal Blanke (Hoopla audio)
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
*Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
*A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
* When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
*Ex Libre by Ann Fadiman

Want to Read:

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wallis
The Liar's Club by Mary Carr
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Several books  were abandoned... not sure if I want to track abandoned books or not?

That catches up my reading.... my further interests lately have included Bullet Journaling, and Calligraphy. In college I used to take an interest in pen and ink drawing and lettering, and so have taken it up again, for fun, and because there is the opportunity to 'pretty up'  Bullet Journal pages if one is inclined. I love the BJ concept for it's complete way of capturing all the fly away thoughts, lists, projects, and schedules that float around in my head all day (and night), so this idea is an exciting development for me. I wish I had thought of it. Here is the video link that I stumbled across that began this journey for me:

Now if you liked what you see here, try googling Bullet Journal, and prepare to have your mind blown... there are so many variations on this theme that it's mind boggling, but the beauty is that you make this journal to suit you... in the detail that you require for it will be a creative outlet or not, but it will have only what you want to detail, track etc. Plus it's fun.