Tuesday, 29 December 2009

New Moon Book Review

New Moon the second book in the Twilight Saga.

How many pages can an author write about depression in a novel that is geared towards teenagers?? Well apparently around 400 pages or so. Can you find a more pathetic child in all literature?? You want to tell me that Bella is suicidal because Edward left her??? Huh?? It doesn't work with the character they began to create in the first book.

Bella in the first novel started out as some what of a loner. She was boring and a little plain. Maybe that was the authors intention to make her so plain in comparison to her Vampire family, if it was then she succeed!! But to have Bella turn into a snivelling zombie in New Moon, well that's ridiculous. You mean to tell me that Bella can't be whole without a boy in her life??? Is that really the message we want to send out to teen age girls?? Then Bella becomes happy again because she's hanging out with another BOY. She couldn't hang out with her girlfriends and become happy, she can only be happy if she is with a boy. A boy who developed into quite an interesting character. I really enjoyed Jacob, he was a great character, well developed and exciting. I just don't understand how these secondary characters always seem to get so much more life than her protagonist.

However, New Moon was more interesting then Twilight. My only issue is that again in this novel she left all the action for the last 200 pages. It's like she drones on and on for pages and pages about nothing then realizes that she should end the story before it reaches 1000 pages but she hasn't even laid any real plot progressions until the end.

If you are a mother of teen age or tween aged girls make sure you sit down and talk to them about how not to be like Bella. We don't need a bunch of snivelling girls in society that become obsessed with a boy and get buried in depression when it doesn't work out with him.

Christmas Celebrations

This year was a busy year for Christmas in our house. Not as busy as some people's Christmases but busy enough. We had Christmas at my mom's house first and then we came home and had Christmas at our house with Adrian's family.

Christmas travelling is interesting. The boys and I flew to Saskatoon on a seat sale with Westjet, then Adrian drove out on Christmas Eve. Adrian, Leigham and I then drove back to Red Deer on Boxing Day. And no I am not sad I did not go Boxing Day Sale shopping. I hate shopping during Boxing Day.

While in Saskatchewan I was able to make it to Prince Albert to do some visiting with my Aunty Lila, my step-dad Emile and my friend Estelle. Then my Grandma, Leigham and I drove back to Saskatoon to prepare for Christmas. I was not able to see everyone I wanted to visit in Prince Albert but next time maybe I will stay longer. While in Saskatoon I was able to visit with Karen and Michelle but I was not able to meet up with Sharon or Roxann. Next time they are top on the priority list. Christmas is sometimes a bad time to try to get together because we are all growing up and expanding our families.

This experience has really allowed me to appreciate what my mom used to go through with us children. Hauling us around with all our gifts and then having to haul all those gifts back. Not a lot of fun. No wonder my mom started hosting Christmas and then taking us to see Grandma and Art on Boxing Day or later on Christmas. It just made things easier. So now the torch has been passed on to me. As of next year I will be hosting Christmas at my house and my family will come to me. I think this will be much better.

Leigham was so not interested in Christmas, he slept through his gift opening. It was nice seeing him interacting with Adrian after being away for a week. He was happy and all smiles for Dad, he may be a momma's boy but he loves his dad. Now Christmas is over and it's time to get back to every day living. Next up New Year's Resolutions.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Twilight Book Review

So after much delay I have finally read the Twilight Saga. I have a few concerns with this series, and I am not sure how any parent of a teen girl could let their child read this story without having a conversation with them either before or after. Seriously, I...... well I will break down this series review to each book, that may keep my rantings down to a minimum.

The overall writing of the book was moderately pleasing. She was able to create a setting that was believable and well described. It was easy to picture the story as it played out. The plot was interesting if nothing else, but not especially captivating. Her description of the characters was clear and I was able to picture these four vampires trying to blend in with society. I am not sure if the casting director of the movie made the right decision, but I was able to mold my view of Edward into the actor from the movie. As for the main character of Bella, well I didn't like her. I don't like her and I had difficulty finding any redeeming characteristics in her. She was whiny, and obsessive and plain. Not liking the main character makes it difficult to enjoy reading the book.

I didn't like Bella because of the message she was sending to the girls that would read her book. It's hard enough being a girl in today's society, you don't need authors writing stories about weak girls who can only find happiness on the arms of some guy. That is Bella's greatest fault. She could only be happy when she was with Edward. She avoids her friends when she is with Edward. She is self deprecating, she doesn't see her own worth.

I do not read a lot of romance novels, so I will not remark on the romance part of this story, but I will say this I was not interested in the story until Chapter 17, that is 3/4 of the way through the novel. I pushed myself through the story, and I can't say I am happy I did it, but I am not a quitter so I am proud that I made it through the book. I do not think a book is a good story if it takes 400 pages before it gets interesting. Much of the novel was unnecessary fluff.

The other complaint of this book is the overt foreshadowing. Certain characters are thrown in to the story and forcefully shown to be important. The lack of subtlety is discouraging.

Overall the first novel in the Cullen saga was ok. I do feel that Edward was a more endearing character and it would have been a better story told from his perspective. Maybe some fan fiction could tell the story of Edward and Bella from Bella's perspective.

If anyone can tell me what they liked about Twilight I will listen and contemplate your opinions, maybe it will help me see what was so enthralling that caused teen fever in so many young girls.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmas Shopping

I think I may finally be done Christmas shopping, well almost. I feel like I say that every year. Every year I want to be done early and every year I am still buying Christmas presents right up until the last moment. It's ridiculous really.

I am not sure if the people in Red Deer have heard this or not but we are in a RECESSION!!! I am sure that most of the citizens of Red Deer did not receive that memo. Point in fact today, today is a Monday, schools are still in session and people have JOBS that they need to be at. So I was surprised, shocked really, to find that half the population of Red Deer had converged upon Costco this afternoon. It was Saturday afternoon busy in there today. I wanted to go on Monday because I thought it wouldn't be as busy. Boy was I wrong. What should have been a fifteen minute trip in and out took an hour because I stood in the check out line for twenty minutes, and then another ten minutes in the get out of the store line. I also spent a little more time inside because I had nothing better to do. I think after this Christmas the economy should be fine, I mean the good citizens of Red Deer are stimulating this economy and I am sure it looks the same everywhere else.

Now I have one more stop to go for my Christmas shopping then I am done, one more stop. Well maybe two more...maybe three.. lol who knows I am trying to be done, but I just like buying my children presents :S

Christmas Cards

So it is the season to send out holiday greetings to those near and dear to us no matter how far away. It is at this time that my road to hell is paved. I have the best intentions to send out cards and most of the time I actually do write these cards out but it takes acts of God to get those cards to the post office. Seriously, I found a card addressed to my cousin that had a picture from Chandler's first Christmas, that's how bad I am at this.

So I have all my Christmas cards written up now and I am gathering all the addresses I need and I am going out to deliver the other ones. That is my plan and I hope that I accomplish it soon. I am going to go this week and send out those cards because I have to do it this year!!

Wish me luck!!!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Renovations

So this year I was able to purchase my first house. It is a four level split with a huge yard. Well I think the yard is huge. It's on a corner lot and faces to the north. The only real downfall of the house is that it faces a trailer park. But the trailer park isn't that bad at least what I can see of it look esthetically nice. It's a little sketchy in who lives in that trailer park and the problems the city has with some of those residence but other residence in the same trailer park are working to make it a safer place to live. So really it is six of one and half a dozen of the other.

The house was built in 1980, next year it will be thirty years old. So needless to say, but I am going to say it anyways, it has some projects that need to be completed to make it a real home. I am not sure what the guy who owned the place before we bought it was thinking but he was insane. He painted a huge room sunflower yellow and a hallway. It's not a horrible colour but in that large an area it was overwhelming. That was the first project, paint the hallway and the room. Which we did. The shingles on the roof were done, they needed to be replaced so we got that done as well. We had two furnaces, and neither of them worked, so we had them replaced with one high efficiency furnace. Those were projects that we got onto right away.

But that was not all that needed to be done with the house. He laid down laminate in almost every room. The laminate isn't bad, but the joints in the laminate that lead from room to room or cover tops of stairs, aren't even the proper joints, so those have to be replaced. I think he had something against baseboards as there are very few throughout the house. The deck is an accident waiting to happen, the railing posts are so far apart a two year old can fit through them and fall the two and half feet to the ground. My neighbour has informed me that their toddler did just that as well. We have one level that needs to be redone, it's the basement level, so it's not too bad. Our bedroom needs new carpet or flooring and the hallway needs the flooring replaced as well. He laid down laminate tiles and strips but didn't lift the old laminate up so the "new" stuff is lifting and needs to be redone. And countless other little projects to really upgrade this home into something that isn't found straight out of the eighties.

It's a big undertaking and I think it's something that will keep me busy as soon as a start choosing projects to work on. I am excited about it but I only want to do a little at time. One reason is so that I can pay for these projects and not use credit and a second reason is I don't want to start lots of projects and then not get anything done the way I really want it because I get frustrated with living in a construction zone. So let us enter into the world of renovations....

If anyone has any ideas or websites that offer advice and suggestions for unique renovation ideas I would appreciate your input to directing me there. I will keep a running commentary and supply pictures as these projects get under way!!!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

WHY oh WHY

So I have places to go and things to do... as everyone does, but in the winter it's so damn difficult to get anything done. Not because of the busy holiday season, or because there's more events coming up that you have to plan for. No none of those things make it difficult to complete tasks, they force you to be more organized with your time, but as soon as you think you are organized that evil entity enters the picture. You know who I am speaking about, Mr. Weatherman. I refuse to blame this situation on Mother Nature because a Mother would know how important it is to be able to complete things in a timely manner.

Today for example I wanted to take a quick trip to Innisfail, it's a small town, twenty minutes from my driveway. To get to Innisfail I must drive on the Queen Elizabeth 2nd(QE2) Highway or take Highway 2A. Now the QE2 is a double lane highway and it basically runs from one end of Alberta to the other north and south. The 2A is a secondary highway that was replaced by the QE2 long ago, but it's still a decent highway. Just not today! I had chosen to do this quick trip to Innisfail today because I had to leave my house anyways for a Doctor's appointment for little man and myself. I figured since I had to go out anyways I might as well do it all in one day that way I don't have to do it next week.

It is December in Canada, I understand that it snows, I even acccept it. What bothers me is that stupid Murphy guy. You know Murphey's Law, if it can happen it probably will happen. So yeah, today it's snowing, not a blizzard, but snowing enough to make the roads slick and to increase the stupidity of other drivers. I did a bit of driving today from the Northend of Red Deer to the Southend, I took the QE2, I thought well AMA is saying the roads are in poor conditions but that hadn't been updated since 6:00 am, I thought maybe something had changed. Nope I was wrong!!! The roads were slick, ice covered, and there was blowing snow and the IDIOTS on the road. In a six kilometer drive I saw four vehicles in the ditch, two Hondas (which is neither here nor there) and two trucks (one of the trucks was a Kal Tire truck the other a dodge Ram 4x4). So that kiobosched my plans to go to Innisfail today and now I have to try on another day.

I am going to stop planning these trips and just go when it's nice, because whenever I plan ahead something comes up to foil my plans.
Why oh Why does this always happen to me????

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

December 8, 2008

So yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my father's passing. It was a horrible day. The only good thing about it is last year the temperature was warmer where I was.

I was in California trying to get my dad's estate organized because he was on life support in the hospital and the doctors refused to cooperate with the family so as it looked like he would be there indefinitely we were planning on heading home. We had already been down for five weeks by this time. The doctors said he was not going to come off life support but because of outside influences the hospital would not move him to comfort care where he could pass away with dignity and with his family surrounding him. While my mother and I were taking care of his business so we could keep his house up and running from Canada my dad laid in his hospital bed alone. Only the sounds of the ventilator and cooling blanket for company.

Traffic sucked on the 580. There was a big accident and it literally took us an hour to drive a mile. We were tired, driving from Fremont to Discovery Bay is a long trek with good traffic, but when you are in bumper to bumper traffic it is horrendous. We stopped at a Target to do some shopping (I love Target, why is there not one in Canada?!?!) I bought some Christmas presents and some clothes. It was of a small comfort to do some retail therapy. We got back to my father's house in Discovery Bay and fixed supper. My friend Darlene came over with her children and we had a little supper. I had forgotten my cell phone in the truck so after Darlene had left I went to go grab it. Not because I thought any one had called but I was hoping for some text messages from home. I looked at my phone and there was a voicemail on it.

The voicemail was from the hospital, the Kaiser in Antioch, telling me to please call them as soon as I could. That seemed strange and a large pit developed in my stomach. I knew without being told that my father had passed away, however, I am very optimistic and I was hoping they had called to say they were moving him to comfort care and could we please come. My hopes were for naught. I reached the ICU department and they transferred my call to someone who's job it is to let the families know their loved ones have passed (I would hate that job). They told me that at 7:05 my father had opened his eyes, looked around the room, took one last breathe and then his heart failed. The only one in the room at the time was a nurse. There was no family around he passed on alone. And that still kills me to this day.

Needless to say I cried, huge sobbing cries wracked my body. Chandler hugged me and my mom hugged me, but I was so sad. It was hard, and it has been a hard year. I would have cancelled Christmas if were not for Chandler and him needing some normalcy in his life after the retched two months we had just gone through.

Throughout this year many positive things have happened. There have been many happy moments, but at the same time there is a dark cloud hanging over them because I can't share these moments with my father. My father who was so proud of me, who I didn't always appreciate but I did always love him. I miss him and I know he is watching out for his family that is still on Earth because he was a control freak like that. I know he has shared in my joys this past year and in my sorrows it just sometimes hurts that I can't just pick up the phone and call him like I used too.

So with the passing on the first year all I can say is things start taking on a feeling of being normal again, but they never go back to what it was like before. You never forget the passing of a loved one, it gets easier because the pain ebbs a little you get used to feeling that pain, but it's always there. We just learn to live with it. I hope that Christmas starts becoming easier for me, but it is still a holiday I am no longer very excited about because the beginning of December just brings in so many sad memories.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Pictures with Leigham

Took little man for pictures today. They turned out ok, but he would not smile and he didn't want to look in the direction of the camera. It was a process to get the photos we got. So I ordered my pictures and they should be ready the day after I leave for Saskatchewan. I am just going to have Adrian bring them to Saskatoon at Christmas and hopefully I will be able to get most of them out to people!!

We also have Canadian Babies Photography coming to show us pictures we had done last week. We will see how those photos turned out, they are more expensive but if they are really cute I may not be able to help myself and I may end up buying some more pictures of little man. Honestly I may have a problem, when Chandler was little I took him for like four photo sessions before Christmas, so it's not like this is really unusual.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Preparing for Christmas

Tis the season!! So that's what people say. I find this time of year to be insanely busy. I have Christmas shopping to do, Christmas parties to attend, Christmas baking to complete, Christmas cards to send out, Christmas decorating to hang, and then the regular normal everyday activities.

To be honest, I am not feeling the Christmas spirit as I used to. It's really quite sad, but I have the same feeling I had last year, if Christmas just passed by and slept through it I can't say that I would miss it. It's a terrible feeling to have, absolutely terrible because I used to be the girl that loved Christmas. I have a new baby to celebrate this season of giving with and the things I usually do to get into to festive mood is not working. I find this terribly sad.

I am not unaware of why Christmas has taken a not so festive turn, I know it stems back to the events of last year. Last year on December 8 my father passed away, it left a very dampened mood over Christmas. I would have voted to cancel Christmas, but for Chandler I went through with it. I know tomorrow is going to be a difficult day for me, I am working to keep my schedule absolutely full so I don't have time to dwell on what has occurred. I miss my father daily and when I look at Chandler and Leigham I miss him even more. I miss that he won't get to see his grandchildren, and that he can't celebrate with me the accomplishments I have made. It definitely puts a dark cloud over Christmas.

I need to find a way to celebrate Christmas that is different than I used to, I think that may be the only way to rebuild the Christmas spirit in myself. So in keeping with my Pay it forward challenge I started thinking of doing little things. Last Saturday Chandler had a soccer game, we arrived at the Collicut early and were ordering food. A little girl came up to the till and asked if she could have a cup for one of her teammates that forgot their water bottle. The girl work told her it would cost her ten cents ( WHAT?!?!) The girl left without her cup because she did not have the ten cents. I told the lady behind the counter to give me another bottle of water, as Chandler had forgotten his bottle of water as well. I then went and found that little girl and gave her the bottle of water. I told her to take this gesture of kindness and pass it forward to other people.

It felt good to do something nice and maybe by doing these little expressions of charity I will build up my Christmas spirit and have something to celebrate this year. My celebration will be teaching my sons to give of themselves this holiday season as it isn't about what you get but what you give of yourself that makes this season so special.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Winter oh Winter



Winter Oh Winter
How I loath thee

Your bitter cold

miserable wind










(pictures of the storm on Dec 4, 2009)


You turn the streets to

skating rinks

sidewalks to

death traps




















If it weren't for Christmas

Who knows what I would do


















(Even my dog was unimpressed with Winter's arrival)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Annoyed

So many times credit card companies send out your information to outside companies that offer to "protect your credit" or "offer assistance if you should get hurt/ laid off etc". I have five credit cards (yikes) and I have recieved calls from all these people, they want to give you a free thirty day trial of their product then after that they will charge you X-amount of dollars a month to continue their service that they are sure we will "love".

In order to get these people off my phone as quickly as possible I will say yes to whatever they are offering. I find when I say no, they try to use up more of my precious time explaining why i "absolutely need this service" and how it is "such an amazing deal". Quite frankly they are asking for my money, in the off chance that I will use their product, I don't use it, I never have. I have been unemployed and don't use my insurance or care to read my credit report daily. This was the call I got today to red my credit report daily, to help protect me against identity theft.

I agree that it is a really good idea, and if I really wanted to see what was going on I could just call them myself. I could call them when they are busy doing other things, from a number they wouldn't recognize at home. Why can't they send me emails, or just mail me out the information to see if I would be interested and if I am then I can call them. It's so frustrating sometimes. Like today, I get a call while I am just checking my email and facebook. It was ok at first but then she goes on and on about this. Not once asking me if I am interested until the end, when she goes, "So Jennifer I just need you to say yes that you would like to sign up." To which I replied, "Actually I am not interested." To which she says, "I hear what you are saying, but we aren't charging you right now you get thirty days and you can read all the information at home to make a decision." Now at this point my little man starts screaming. He was not happy mom was not paying attention to him and I am thinking I just have to get off the phone. So I tell her "Fine yes, but I have to go my baby is crying." To which she says,"Oh ok, i just have one more question to ask you." I told her to do it quickly, and it was the longest questions ever, I said fine yes again and hung up on her. Picked up my little man and calmed him down.

Why don't telemarketers realize that there are some things in life that are more important than their product?? I have never been a telemarketer, but it is so frustrating sometimes to have to listen to them. It's no wonder I usually just hang up on them.