Friday, February 27, 2009

How smart am I?

Apparently not very....

A few times a year I get "homesick" for London. No biggie. I usually pull out my "book" (former Pax Lodgers know what I mean) and I flip through it. Maybe I pull out my photos albums. Maybe I make a phone call, send an email, or chat with one of those Pax Lodgers and in a few days, I'm over it. London was a place I lived, oh, seven years ago, and it's a place I've visited a few times since and plan on visiting again in the future.

Yeah, so tonight, smarty pants that I am, I decided Google Earth was a good way to get my (woken up every 45 minutes to an hour last night) brain ready for bed. Why I thought Google Earth was better than pjs and brushing my teeth and actually getting into bed, I'm not sure. But it seemed like a good idea at the time. Famous last words.

Now I miss is even more. I would love to go for a walk on the Heath, eat some crepes, hang out with some friends, wander the city, visit Paperchase. You know, just be in London.

walk on the heathwalk on the heath

eat crepeseat crepes

hang out with some friendshang out with some friends

hang out with some friendshang out with some friends, some more

wander the citywander the city

Yeah, I miss it. And Google Earth made me miss it even more. Now, to find that bed I mentioned earlier....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Norway

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Postcard from Norway from Lexidh

Description: None

USA - Texas - Texas Chili

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Postcard from Texas from heatherbabe84

Description: Recipe from "Home on the Range" by Louise Henderson

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What I (apparently, according to Google) like to do

And because I lost all ability to think of good things to blog about during pregnancy (and no, it has not returned), here's a list for you. "Shannon likes to" + Google gave me these results. These are just the top 20 as of right now. They may have changed. Go see for yourself.

So, apparently the following are things I like to do:

  1. Shannon likes to yell at people.
  2. Shannon likes to spend the week conditioning her horses out in the pastures.
  3. Shannon likes to hike and hang out with her two lively Dalmatians.
  4. Shannon likes to capture those adorable grins and giggles for that special baby portrait.
  5. Shannon likes to keep the colors bright, the illustrations bold, and the stories entertaining.
  6. Shannon likes to yell.
  7. Shannon likes to get dirty…on her ATV.
  8. Shannon likes to move around a lot.
  9. Shannon likes to travel and read.
  10. Shannon likes to go for hikes, camping, spend time with her family and friends and go horse back riding.
  11. Shannon likes to sing while video by deserae!
  12. Shannon likes to play handbells and the balalaika, play on the internet, as well as work on improving her Bulgarian.
  13. Shannon likes to sit under the mulberry tree.
  14. Shannon likes to create an atmosphere in her dining rooms for people to connect with each other and with the food that she prepares.
  15. Shannon likes to get in some of her favorite activities... skiing, hiking, golf and tennis, with her husband and daughter.
  16. Shannon likes to drink margaritas and walk her rescued dog Cooper (sometimes simultaneously).
  17. Shannon likes to be mean!
  18. Shannon likes to play fetch with Austin but finds it a challenging activity due to her limited arm movements.
  19. Shannon likes to joke that she's slowly, but surely, "moving south".
  20. Shannon likes to spend his time in the garden: digging holes, trimming shrubs and chewing mulch.
Okay, so
  • I don't like to yell at people or otherwise (#1 and #6)
  • I don't have horses (#2 and #10)
  • I don't have Dalmatians (or any dog for that matter (#3, #16, #17)
  • I do like to hike, I just haven't been in a very, very long time (#3, #10, #15)
  • I do take a lot of pictures, but not portraits, and just of one baby! (#4)
  • I don't illustrate books. I can't draw worth anything! (#5)
  • Again, I don't like to yell (#6)
  • I don't have an ATV (#7)
  • I don't know if this refers to moving my place of residence or fidgeting, but since we've lived in three different places in the last 13 months and I squirm a lot, both currently apply to me (#8)
  • I love travelling and I love reading! yay! one that's actually fairly accurate (#9)
  • I don't like horseback riding much, maybe has to do with an incident with a sliding saddle when I was about 3 or 4 years old, but the rest are true, even if I haven't been hiking or camping for a while (#10)
  • I'm not sure what this means (#11)
  • I don't play handbells and the balalaika and I don't speak any Bulgarian (#12)
  • I like sitting under trees, but I don't have a mulberry tree (#13)
  • I only have one dining room, not multiple. But I do like cooking and sharing what I've cooked (#14)
  • I haven't skied in years, I've commented on the hiking already and I don't like golf or tennis (although tennis on the Wii is okay) (#15)
  • Margaritas are good (#16)
  • I don't think I'm mean. I hope I'm not mean. I don't want to be mean (#17)
  • There's nothing wrong with my arm and I don't have a dog to play fetch with (#18)
  • No comment (#19)
  • I'm not a male and I don't have a garden, but I wish I did. Have a garden. Not wish that I was a man. (#20)
Please tell me you don't agree with the yelling and meanness. Please!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

China - Ancient Banyan

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Postcard from China from lachlan

Description: Ancient Banyan

Germany - Hannover

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Postcard from Germany from Lindwurm59

Description: Hannover an der Leine...and a long German description

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Finland - Lappeenranta

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Postcard from Finland from mmombasa

Description: Lappeenranta Villmanstrand Suomi Finland

Six percent?

Okay, I stole this from Hans' Facebook page...apparently most people will only have read 6 of the books on the list. Hans has read 16 which I think is pretty impressive since most, but not all, were originally written in English which is not Hans' first language.

Thanks for giving me something to blog about Hans!

  1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - Yes, in high school, university, for my book club and just because I liked the book
  2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien - No...I've read The Hobbit a couple of times, but could never get into Lord of the Rings for some reason
  3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - Yes - In university
  4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling - Multiple times
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - Yes, many times. I love this book!
  6. The Bible - Yes, most of it actually because I took one class devoted to the entire Bible and its literary influences and one class devoted to the New Testament in university.
  7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - Yes, in university
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell - Nope. I've read Animal Farm though.
  9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - No
  10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - Yes, this was the first Dickens novel I read and I love it. I read it in high school first, then university twice and at least once, maybe twice, just because I felt like it.
  11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - Yes! Lots and lots and lots and then once in university for a class and then lots and lots and lots more!
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy - Most of it. I liked Far from the Madding Crowd better.
  13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller - No
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare - Not the complete works, but a large portion of them
  15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - No, but not because I didn't try, many many times! I just couldn't get into it.
  16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - Yes. I loved it.
  17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk - No
  18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - No
  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - Yes!!!!
  20. Middlemarch - George Eliot - Yes. For university. I hated it!
  21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell - Yes
  22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - Yes, for the first time for my book club.
  23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens - No
  24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - No
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - No
  26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh - Yes. For a university class.
  27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky - No
  28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck - No
  29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - Yes
  30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame - Yes
  31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - No
  32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - No
  33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis - Yes, a long, long time ago!
  34. Emma - Jane Austen - Yes
  35. Persuasion - Jane Austen - No
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis - Yes
  37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - Yes
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres - Yes
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - Yes
  40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne - Yes
  41. Animal Farm - George Orwell - Yes
  42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - Yes
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - No
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving - Tried to many times, but never finished it.
  45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - No
  46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery - YES! I think I've read almost all of her novels.
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - Yes
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood - Yes
  49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding - No
  50. Atonement - Ian McEwan - Yes
  51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel - Yes
  52. Dune - Frank Herbert - No
  53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons - No
  54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - Yes
  55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth - No
  56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - No
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - No
  58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - No
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon - No
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - No
  61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck - No
  62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov - Yes. But it was hard to read.
  63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt - No
  64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold - Yes
  65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas - No
  66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac - No
  67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy - No
  68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding - Yes
  69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie - No
  70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville - Yes
  71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - No
  72. Dracula - Bram Stoker - No
  73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - YES!!! I loved this book so much, mine barely has a spine left!
  74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson - No
  75. Ulysses - James Joyce - No
  76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath - Yes
  77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome - Yes
  78. Germinal - Emile Zola - No
  79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray - Yes
  80. Possession - AS Byatt - Most of it.
  81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens - Yes
  82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell - No
  83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker - Yes - for summer reading at HPA
  84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro - No
  85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - No
  86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry - No
  87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White - Yes...for the first time not as a child, but in Children's Lit. I liked it then, but never got into it when I was little.
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom - No
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - No
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - No
  91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - No
  92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - Yes in English and French
  93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks - No
  94. Watership Down - Richard Adams - No
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole - No
  96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute - No
  97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas - No
  98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare - Yes (Isn't this part of the Complete Works of Shakespeare?
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - YES!!! I still love this story. Danny the Champion of the World was probably my favourite Roald Dahl book though.
  100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - No

I think that's 45/100 plus six that I've attempted or haven't read all of (Complete Works of Shakespeare), but I should qualify that by saying I did do a degree in English Literature.

So, it appears I have my reading cut out for me. There are a bunch of books that I would likely put on my own favourite 100 books of all time...and many on this list that wouldn't be on my list, but that's for another day!

How many have you read?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Germany - Hambacher Schloss

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Postcard from Germany from komet83

Description: Hambacher Schloss - with a lengthy description in German...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Time to blog?

Huh? what? blog? I wish! I didn't realize how much of an outlet blogging was for me. It gives me a place to write and to work out whatever is rattling around in my brain, but lately, well, there just doesn't seem to be time. When Baby J goes down for the night, I usually have 2-3 hours for myself before I need to crawl between the sheets, because, really, she might sleep until 7:00, but it may only be 6:00 or if I'm lucky it could be 8:00, but I won't know until I hear the summons ...waaa ... waaaaaaaaaaaaah ... waaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAH ... WWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH ... and then, believe me, I know!

But I think I've missed it. Lots.

The last few months have obviously been full of change. Baby J has been a part of our lives for almost six months now...well, longer than that, but before six months ago, she just pummelled my internal organs and gave me heart burn, she didn't require attention. Five minutes ago. Jeepers Mom, can't you read my mind?

Now, six months in, I think maybe I have a handle on things. It helps that Baby J pretty much sleeps through the night. Not having to drag myself out of bed at 2:00 and 5:00 to feed her means most days I can handle getting up with her and staying up for the day. I still occasionally need a nap when she naps, but not every time like I did for a few months. The kitchen has been clean almost every night this week hours before bedtime. For a while there it felt like dishes were a once a week kind of job and thank goodness we had a dishwasher. We're not eating out of the freezer anymore, although I still make double batches of soup, chili and other freezable foods because, inevitably, when the freezer is empty we have a day that forbids cooking!

I have started reading again...it took me two and a half months to read The Flying Troutmans. It took me six weeks to read The Hour I First Believed. Then I read Gods Behaving Badly in three days and I'm on another book (bad Brit Chick Lit with a title I can't remember) that will only take three nights too.

I have a routine! and being able to read for half an hour to an hour every night before I go to sleep means I sleep better and I get to read more. Both important things for me!

So, maybe, just maybe, I'll be around more in the next little while. We'll see. I'm rusty, so posts could be blah, but bear with me! That is if you're still out there. I've been gone so long I might not have any readers left!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Finland - Churches

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Postcard from Finland from Suhina

Description: 1 - Turku domchurch, 2 - Tampere domchurch, 3 - Porvoo domchurch, 4 - Helsinki domchurch, 5 - Oulu domchurch

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Hour I First Believed

I just finished reading The Hour I First Believed and I was a little surprised at how long it took me. I read I Know This Much Is True and She's Come Undone a couple of times each and they were both fast reads. Now, there are 700+ pages in The Hour I First Believed and I do have a baby, but it took me six weeks! I found it was a bit long and there almost seemed to be too many threads. I did like it and will probably reread it at some point, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped.

Switzerland - Snoopy

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Postcard from Switzerland from amala

Description: Snoopy.

I'm amazed by people like this woman - she has sent almost a card a day for over two years - that's a pretty darn expensive hobby. Especially when stamps in Switzerland are almost $2 Canadian each!

Australia - Active with Asthma

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Postcard from Australia from Laurent6

Description: First day cover

This is a bit strange - this is the second card I've received from this guy - he has more than one Postcrossing account, so it's not totally strange. Technically it's from someone else - or at least the computer program thinks so! Seems he likes first day covers too.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

One Word

Challenge: Use only ONE word to answer these questions...not as easy as it sounds

1. Where is your cell phone? pocket

2. Your significant other? love

3. Your hair? independent

4. Your mother? wonderful

5. Your father? excellent

6. Your favorite? family

7. Your dream last night? nonrecallable

8. Your favorite drink? water

9. Your dream/goal? happiness

10. What room you are in? bedroom

11. Your hobby? baby

12. Your fear? birds

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Kelowna

14. Where were you last night? home

15. Something that you aren't? single

16. Muffins? tasty

17. Wish list item? summer

18. Where you grew up? Kelowna

19. Last thing you did? sang

20. What are you wearing? clothes

21. Your TV? off

22. Your pets? none

23. Friends? friendly

24. Your life? changing

25. Your mood? happy

26. Missing someone? yes

27. Car? Alex's

28. Something you're not wearing? hat

29. Your favorite store? bookstore

30. Your favorite color? blue?

31. When is the last time you laughed? today

32. Last time you cried? recently

33. One place that I go to over and over? save-on

34. One person who emails me regularly? Charlotte

35. My favorite place to eat? Mom's

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Finland - Kaj Stenvall

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Postcard from Finland from luckyman

Description: Kaj Stenvall - Meeting of the Unreasonable, 1996.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Portugal - Alcobaça

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Postcard from Portugal from luiscordeiro

Description: Alcobaça - Rota do Sol.

Spain - Bayona

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Postcard from Spain from digoldigol

Description: Bayona - Monterreal Castle.

The Netherlands - Smiling Sun Flower

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Postcard from The Netherlands from swift

Description: none

Twenty-five random things about me

As posted on Facebook

25 Random Things About Me

1. I ignored this note thing until Minda harassed (okay, gently prodded) me about it!

2. I love staying at home with Baby J and would like to be able to do it all the time and never go back to work, but part of me is actually looking forward to going back to work...I may not feel the same way in September, but we'll see.

3. I have a serious book addiction. I have put myself on a book diet which means I am not allowed to buy books for myself unless someone gives me a gift card to the bookstore. I've been borrowing books from my aunt and uncle's collection instead. I tried to pare down my collection when we unpacked this time, but I only managed to find three books I could bear to part with.

4. I have a love-hate relationship with our new place. I'm hoping the hate part will go away once we paint and maybe get a couple of pieces of new furniture...

5. The smiles I get first thing in the morning from Baby J make getting out of bed worth it and bearable...even when she decides to wake up before 6:00 am.

6. I only lived in London for just over 1.5 years total. I've lived in Vancouver for 10+ of the last 13 years. London feels more like a second home than Vancouver. I still feel a bit transient in Vancouver. I have good friends and family in Vancouver, but I feel like many of the special people in my life are scattered around the world...probably because of the time I spent living in Hawaii, London and Switzerland!

7. When I'm working, I only get to see Alex for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half everyday - it's hard and we try to make up for it on weekends. That's part of the reason I'm enjoying maternity leave so much - now I get to see him for four or five hours a day and we even get to eat together!

8. I love going to bed early and getting up early, but I also like staying up late and sleeping in. I need 8-9 hours of sleep to function...unfortunately it usually works out that on the days I stay up late, I need to get up early. Not so good for the sleep quota.

9. I worked in an industry that required talent and skills that I know I don't possess. Thank goodness I was in administration not production, because I have those skills. When I told people where I worked, the looks of disbelief I got from the people who knew me were great. The looks of relief when they heard I was in administration were even better! They made me smile every time!

10. I have an irrational fear of birds. All birds. Alive birds, dead birds, stuffed birds, photographs of birds in books.

11. When I was a kid I thought there was a monster/bad guy/bird living under my bed. I'd turn the light off and take a running leap from the door to my bed so the monster/bad guy/bird couldn't grab my ankle. Good thing my bedroom was tiny.

12. We shared the Blue House with at least two ghosts.

13. I learned more about the Bible from my AP Lit class than I did from Sunday School.

14. When I was in high school, I used to go camping at least once a month. I miss it and I'm trying to convince Alex that camping is fun.

15. I don't like condiments, but our fridge is full of them because I married a condiment fiend.

16. I love that my family is large and that we enjoy spending time together.

17. I had my first migraine when I was ten or eleven. At the worst, they were coming every seven to ten days. My usual trigger is abrupt changes in barometric pressure or altitude. Sometimes lack of sleep, too much sleep, dehydration or food can also trigger them. They have varied in severity and frequency since I started getting them. One of the best side effects of being pregnant was the complete absence of migraines, even when the Vancouver weather was crazy!

18. When I was admitted to the hospital three weeks early to have Baby J, our coworkers knew, but we didn't tell our families until she had arrived safely.

19. I'm a pack rat. Really and truly a pack rat. It's mostly organized, but I know I don't need all that stuff. I'm trying to be more ruthless at getting rid of stuff. It's working better in some areas of my life than others (see #3 above and #20 below).

20. I also have an addiction to stationery and all things related to it. I have three drawers and a bread box full of stationery. I have more pens than I could possibly ever use. But certain types of paper demand certain types of pens. Too bad we're no longer a society that uses the postal service much. I'm kind of on a stationery diet too, but it's not working so well.

21. I have a big postcard collection that started when I was seven.

22. When I was at boarding school I got so much mail that they were surprised at the bookstore when there was nothing for me to pick up from my mailbox. Even when I lived in London I got lots of mail. Not so much now...but that's okay!

23. Maybe my addiction is to all things paper - books, stationery, postcards, letters? Hmmmm...

24. I love having an empty laundry basket but I hate doing laundry, in particular the folding, hanging and putting away part. I never iron, but when I lived in London, I found ironing sheets to be very relaxing and a good time to think!

25. Everyday I look at Alex and Baby J and I can't believe they're my family or how happy they make me! I think I'm pretty lucky to have both of them!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mulling it over

It, I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I'm mulling it over.

I just finishing cuddling a little baby with peach fuzz for hair. A little baby who whined for twenty minutes until I went in to give her a cuddle and promptly fell asleep. Like in two minutes. What is better than cuddling a sleeping baby with peach fuzz hair?

And then, then I walked out into my living room in my very own apartment. As recently as two years I wouldn't have thought I'd be here. Heck, a year ago I knew the peach fuzz baby would be part of our lives, but certainly didn't think we'd own a place. Our own place. And in this part of Vancouver.

Wow.

That's all.

Portugal - Estoril

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Postcard from Portugal from Liliana-Roxo

Description: Estoril.

Groundhog Day

If I was a groundhog and I lived at my house, well, I'd be predicting an early spring. Let's hope the groundhog got it right this year...I'm tired of winter and would love to see some spring sunshine. Lots of spring sunshine.