penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Great pumpkin

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When I was just a wee baby, I was frequently sick with high fevers.  This must have been really difficult for my mom, who went back to work when I was just six weeks old. One memorable time she frequently told us about was when I was six months old.  It was around Halloween and It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was on television.  She said that she sat and rocked me as my fever burned on. While the show was on, I stopped crying and eventually fell asleep in her arms.

From then on, any kind of “holiday special” was a tradition in our family.  We would be allowed a “treat” of chips or popcorn and pop.  We would all watch together, bunched up, snuggled under blankets. First in front of a tiny black and white bought at Mel Lastman’s store that only picked up UHF stations. Later we watched on cable on a bigger colour TV.  Mom was the biggest cheerleader for these events – she’d scan the newspaper for the listing of specials, carefully cut them out and post them on the fridge.  She would sit and watch them with us, laughing. She would always get excited by new ones. I remember when Nelvana put out its first Christmas special about aliens visiting during Christmas time – it was a bit weird but she loved it.  Her favourites were always the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and any Peanuts special.  I carry all of those memories with me.

In today’s day and age, with DVDs, Netflix and Youtube, you can watch a holiday program any time you want. It takes the “special” out of the special a bit when you don’t need to plan for it or turn it into an event.

But today, we had an unexpected turn of events. My son was sick and wanted to “watch a video.”  I suggested The Great Pumpkin. He wasn’t thrilled at first (Dinotrux is his thing these days) but I plugged in our little portable DVD player and we sat on the couch to watch it together.

It’s such an odd little slice in time, this “special.”  The Peanuts were allowed to talk like children but with an adult vocabulary and sensibilities (“Funny thing about this signed document. It’s not notarized,” says Lucy after pulling away the footfall for the thousandth time). Many of the jokes are a wink to older I audiences. I cringe a bit as the words “stupid” and “block head” are used over and over – but then thought, this is likely what most kids still hear every day in the school yard – and an opportunity to have that conversation about how kids treat each other. In the end, it’s also a story about faith and conviction – how do you stand by your beliefs when all around you mock you? Can you continue to carry that belief even if your expectation is not fulfilled?

Today though, it was more about having a minute to slow down time, to spend it with my kid. And remember my mom who took care of me so many years ago – and took the extra effort to put the “special” into holiday specials.

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Written by pennyinacastle

October 23, 2015 at 2:07 am

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Napkin poem

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I wrote a poem on the back of a napkin
I’m sure it was a good one
Full of meaning and metaphor
I would have given it to you
To keep
Between me and you

It came to me
Stealing in on feathered wings
As I sat wrestling the children
Through a meal at the restaurant
Between eating a sandwich and a salad
While the children demolished
Hot dogs and fries
Ketchup smeared evilly
Across their cherubic faces

It came to me
And I scribbled it quickly
Before it could be lost
Between the coffee and the ice cream
With a pen wheedled from the kind waiter
Who showed his tattooed wrist
As he handed it over
Who probably thought I was writing
A mom’s grocery list

When it came to me
I should have slipped it in my purse
Between the lipstick and the wallet
With its small secret world
Alive in blue ink
For safe keeping
For later

But when it came time to leave
Between paying the bill and herding surly children
The napkin was crumpled
Used to wipe a mouth
Crushed with the paper placemats
And the children’s menus
My poem was lost
Forgotten

Between you and I
I would write it again if I could
And give it to you
To keep
But things are never the same
Echoed a second time around

Written by pennyinacastle

September 4, 2015 at 2:27 am

Posted in Poems

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We’re having a heat wave…

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This week has been unbearably hot.  As the mercury edged up with each passing day and eventually passed 40 Celsius (with the wind chill), I’ve grown increasingly sweaty and grouchy.  Unfortunately the heat wave has coincided with my week off with the kids – and while I am aware that I should be grateful to have a precious week off, part of me is missing having access to sanity saving air conditioning during the day at work and at day care.   It’s unfortunate too because I had planned to do a bunch of outdoor “run around and get exhausted” type activities. With the heat, I’m finding just swimming through the humidity is sapping a lot of energy I’d like to reserve for the kids.

The kids have been a bit unhappy with the situation as well – they had hoped to get outside and explore the great outdoors our town has to offer. Usually they love museums, but by the second full day of looking at “dusty old stuff” they were looking for something different.

So, I did what I always do when I am stumped – I turned to the Interwebs to see if anyone else had any bright ideas on how to stay cool.  A lot of them involved libraries (which we also love) and shopping malls (which only my tweenager daughter loves).  But skating was also suggested – and something I have been wanting to cross off my summer bucket list for a couple of years.

And so the hunt was on to find a patch of ice in the middle of a heat wave.

Looking at the city’s web site I managed to find the one arena open in the middle of summer.  Luckily it also had a public swimming pool where we could continue to keep our cool after our brush with winter.

It was a bit of a drive out to the other side of town, but I thought it would make for a good day long adventure. I had to pack skates, helmets, winter clothes and mittens as well as swimsuits and towels.  I looked like a city Sherpa by the time we were all packed.

We arrived at the arena after several rounds of the “are we there yet?” backseat chorus.  We had to haul all the equipment across the black pavement you could fry and egg on (I think I could hear my toes sizzling).  As soon as we entered the building though, the temperature dropped to something approaching human.  My kids also immediately noted that the same community centre also housed a library. Hallelujah, I thought. This makes our trip trifecta complete.

The lady at the front desk clearly thought I was a lunatic asking about both the skating and the swimming schedules, but duly sold us our package passage to the eternal winter and forever summer.

We headed over to the arena first. The windows were dripping with condensation and the effort of keeping a grip on the cold.  The doors opened and it was like a breath of fresh air (with a touch of Zamboni).  We changed into our winter gear and skates.  The kids were vibrating with excitement.  Then the moment came when our blades touched the ice and we pushed off, gliding.

It was like magic.  After all the heat of the week, I felt light headed.  The entire hour I could feel my internal thermometer rearranging itself, as my body thirstily drank in the cool.  I soon had a silly grin on my face, as I caught my youngest son over and over as he tripped and fell, and fell again.  By the end of the hour though, he was already finding his feet and racing my daughter from one end of the rink to the other, while my middle son kept circling and circling (and trying to gather up enough snow to make a snow ball).

I don’t remember an hour in winter ever passing so quickly as that moment in summer frostiness did.  But I’m hoping that the memory will help me keep my cool for the rest of the week.

Now, what to do tomorrow…

skating

Written by pennyinacastle

August 20, 2015 at 1:19 am

Switching gears

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Today I felt the calendar

Inch forward along the horizon

Turning towards another season

The clockwork sun on its eternal arc

Swinging into an ever smaller gear

The water flickering, flickering

Now azure, now iron

Reflecting the sky

And the clouds racing by

Cooler winds blow

The tired trees

And the golden grasses

The flowers shiver

Remembering the frost to come

The young geese

Their feathers fully grown

Call “soon, soon!”

To one another

As they await the signal

For the journey to come

Never ending, always turning

Under the clockwork sun.

Written by pennyinacastle

August 8, 2015 at 3:22 am

Posted in Poems

Skin deep

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Recently I downloaded some pictures from my camera. I had forgotten they were there. When I started to shuffle through them, I gasped a bit.

Some of the pictures were from Christmas, soon after we had seen the dermatologist. My youngest son’s eczema was still full blown.  In the months that it has taken to heal, I have almost forgotten how angry and painful his skin had been.

He has had eczema almost since his birth.  It would get much worse in the summer and the winter.  Several times he had impetigo when it became infected.  Nothing seemed to help – moisturizers, changes in diet, multiple baths.  We took him to see an allergist when he was two (my other son having an allergy to peanut, treenuts and the environment in general) but when they tested him he only had an allergy to cats and other furry creatures (we have none in our house).

I had hoped he would outgrow it, as his brother had.  But last summer, his skin looked so terrible and he had been through another bout of impetigo again.  People were starting to look at us funny at the swimming pool because he looked like he had the plague.  I was starting to be worried he might be scarred for life.

My mother, literally on her death bed, took my hand and said “Take that child to see a doctor.”

And so began our journey into the health care system with a relatively mild, but challenging issue.

We went to see our family doctor several times. The first time we saw him (which was the day before my mom died) he said “Ha, ha, good thing school is out, his skin is really infected.” I was horrified. He had been to daycare and the wading pool numerous times in the past week. The doctor ordered up a prescription for antibiotics and asked us to keep my son at home a couple of days.

Then we started the merry-go-round of medication. Things would almost get clear…and then the medicine would be done and we would be right back to square one.

The third time around I asked the doctor to see a dermatologist. He’s a good family doctor, but I felt we were going around in circles and I did not like how many antibiotics we were on.

Just before Christmas we visited the children’s hospital for the first time.

When the dermatologist looked at him, she changed his skin cream to something stronger.  She put him on antibiotics again. She also told us about better all over creams to use – which were essentially Vaseline mixed with lanoline mixed with mineral oil. She recommended bathing him every day and to give him a bleach bath him a couple of times a week.  I had read about bleach baths on Mayo Clinic but was a bit reluctant – it seemed a bit harsh. “Just half a cup in a full bath,” she said.

Things seemed to get better for a while but after the meds ran out, things went right down hill again. Luckily it was timed perfectly with our next trip to see the dermatologist. I asked again about allergies (although I myself did not think this was the cause having seen the allergist already). She looked determined.  She ordered six weeks of antibiotics plus a different cream.  She asked if we had been faithful with bathing and while the answer was “mostly” she said we really, really needed to stick to it.  She also agreed that upping the number of bleach baths to three a week might help.  She even asked that clinical pictures be taken – my son smiled as a stranger asked him to stand on a drop cloth in front of blazing flashes.

I wasn’t comfortable with six weeks of antibiotics –  I was worried about my son’s gut flora, which might be annihilated.  He hated yoghurt, so I started to make smoothies.  Combining his skin improvements with live bugs in his diet seemed to improve not only his skin but his overall outlook on life. He seemed to yell less and be less grouchy. He hasn’t quite out grown his “anger management” nickname, but overall he improved. It has made me wonder about how much pain he has been in – but if all his small life he has been suffering from sore, itchy skin, maybe he hasn’t even been able to express how he truly felt?

Since his last visit to the specialist his skin has mostly been better.  Every once in a while, things will back slide a bit and we will pay extra attention to that scaly bit that has popped up.

I have to admit, it has been a surprisingly bigger challenge that I expected.  While it might seem a small thing to add a longish bath and two sessions of covering your child in several types of cream twice a day, it has taken more effort than anticipated. No five year old wants a bleach bath (he has started to ask “Is tonight a bleach bath mummy?”) and he certainly can’t accidently drink the water. So he has every bath toy known to man in there with him.  I’ve also learned not to wear clothes I care about if I am slathering slick, goopy cream on him.

But I can’t deny the difference it has made in his skin, in his personality and in our lives.  I’ve also come to enjoy that moment to slow down and listen to him talk to his plastic dolphin save the bath planet for the rest of his small ocean.

I also feel so incredibly lucky. I can’t imagine how families whose children have much more severe, life altering health conditions cope, if I find even this slight departure from routine difficult.

But it is seeing that picture, and the positive difference it has made to my son and his skin, makes it all worthwhile.

Written by pennyinacastle

July 30, 2015 at 2:44 am

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 Bosom Buddies

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Do you believe in love at first sight?

What about friends at first sight?

I think that there are some people who do become friends from the instant that they meet.  They fall hard into friendship, and stay that way.  They may drift apart from time to time over the years, but you know that as soon as they get back together, it will be as if they have never been apart.  They will talk, laugh and be silent comfortably in each others’ company, even as the years go by.

In her book Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery’s spunky red haired girl had a term for this. Kindred spirits. She always knew them when she met them – whether they were an iron-grey old bachelor or a sunny school chum.

My daughter met a kindred spirit a couple of weeks ago.

We were at a reunion with my husband’s family. It was at a park held in a city a many hours drive from where we live.  It was a beautiful day to play in the shadows of the trees. There were many cousins of all ages there, running amuck.

My kids decided they wanted to play in the wading pool.  It was huge, filled with children playing and screaming. It was hard to keep track of all three, so I kept my attention on the youngest, who was most likely to run into trouble.

When I turned my attention back to my daughter, I noticed she had engaged in a game with a couple of other kids. At first I thought they were her cousins but then realized it was a strange girl of about the same age, and two younger boys.  They were playing some kind of chasing game – running in and out of the water, splashing and diving.

Later, I called the kids out for dinner.  We sat and ate a potluck dinner – breaking bread with relatives who were normally far flung.  As soon as he finished his last mouthful, my youngest again took off – towards the play structure this time.  My two other kids soon followed.  Full from eating, I sauntered over more slowly to watch and make sure no one broke anything.  Soon I noticed my daughter was playing again with this stranger girl.  They got along like the proverbial house on fire. They were giggling and talking a mile a minute.  They dared each other to climb higher and jump farther.  This time, I noticed the father standing close by.  He was a huge burly man.  What was left of his hair was red. His skin was sun-burnt and tattooed.  He had a wide smile. He looked like the most cheerful biker I had ever seen – and clearly adored his children. He spoke a bit to me, yelled at his kids (like I do on a regular basis). It turned out the girl was my daughters’ age and in the same grade. She had an unusual name – something the parents had invented.  He had two twin boys the same age as my youngest son.

Soon, the two girls were begging to go back into the pool to play the same game they had been earlier.  My daughter told me “It’s called mermaids and she made it up. It’s super fun.”  So we all trouped back over to the pool and the girls started diving like dolphins again.

As the sun set, the lifeguards started to collect water toys and shut down the pool.  The stranger girl begged her father to have a play date with my daughter.  It was so hard to say no, but we live so far away and we are only here for the day.  Both girls wanted to exchange email addresses and phone numbers – so that they could visit if we came back to town. The girl’s father said, “Not today.  But if you meet again someday, you will know it was meant to be.”

And someday they just might.

I have a feeling if they do, they will talk about that day in the park, when they were two mermaids who had found themselves swimming together in an ocean of children.

Just as we parted ways I took a picture of the two of them – smiling, arms draped over each others’ shoulders – just  in case they do.

Written by pennyinacastle

July 17, 2015 at 3:01 am

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If a tree grows in a forest…

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Last year, around this time, we started to water a tree at the children’s school. We dubbed him “Speedy the Prospector Elm” and he became our pet tree.

The tree, while it has not grown mightily, did not die at our hands (I call that a win, considering my pirate nickname is “Black Thumb the Terrible Plant Destroyer”). It survived a winter.  And has lived to be thirsty for another summer.

This year, Speedy has been joined by 10 siblings.  Oh, they may be different species – maple, oak and one lonely pine (just to be different) – but they are brothers and sisters in future shade.  And in thirst.

When I heard about the new additions, I tried to imagine our water brigade parade going down the street, bucket in wagon, marching many, many times from our house to the school to keep the trees alive.

Thankfully the teacher and parent who helped acquire the trees came up with a better plan for this year.  They fixed the water spigots around the school. They also asked the City for some Treegators – a miraculous invention that slowly releases the water over time so we don’t need to go every day (I normally don’t shill for a product, but these things seem to be great – if they don’t get stolen).

Also, the parent and teacher have taken over most of the watering for the summer.

I am only responsible (for now) for one week.

Tonight, I learned about how to water our new litter of pet trees for our one week of responsibility.  Mostly it involves a key, some buckets and not letting an eight-year-old handle the hose.

As I stood there in the middle of a clover strewn field –  watching the sun set and my soaking wet children fall off the play structure – I thought, this is the good life (as long as a child does not break their arm).

I am living the great anonymous Greek proverb I read recently, “Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.”

I will admit I’m an old lady.  My children will probably be parents themselves before these trees provide enough shade to protect future students.  But I’m in it for the long game – and I play to win.

Written by pennyinacastle

July 14, 2015 at 2:06 am

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Shine on summer moon

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Tonight, someone on social media whispered it was beautiful outside. Another said gorgeous.  So, I turned away from my computer. I opened the door and stepped into the yard and walked up the street. And they were right.  The moon is a full beauty. You can clearly see the Big Dipper and other stars that are settled into the vault of the sky.  The scent of lindens blooming is heavy in the still air.

The magical thing about our Northern country at this time of year is you can simply walk out into the world and enjoy it. You don’t need to spend 15 minutes putting on a coat, pulling on boots and finding mittens, scarf and hat before leaving.

Take this moment – don’t wait.  Don’t read another word, watch another minute of TV or check your phone.  Head on out there and have a look that is the wonder of the universe around you.  You won’t regret it. The moon won’t last forever and neither will the summer.  Take the time before it is gone.

Written by pennyinacastle

July 3, 2015 at 2:37 am

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Page Turners

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Since the beginning of the new year, I’ve had an opportunity to read a few books.  Almost all of them have been exclusively from the library. In honour of summer reading, I’m sharing what my eyeballs have scanned so far this year:

The Horn Book of Children’s Literature.  I took this book out of the library. I wish I had known of its existence when my children were born.  It is a series of essays by children’s authors and researchers discussing what makes great literature – and then provides examples.  Prior to reading this book, I’ve never really thought about what makes a great board book, or alphabet book or even a good dinosaur book.  I find the advice and examples for younger children are better than for older children, but that could just be the nature of the business and the fact that ever second tweenager book involves vampires these days. Also, the book is clearly focused on an American audience.  As a parent though, trying to figure out where to spend my hard earned dollars on books – especially when children are less able to provide an opinion beyond a loving and seeing a character they recognize from TV –  having a book like this as reference is handy.  Final verdict – I took it out of the library, but if I found a copy earlier in parenthood, I would have bought it.  Next best option – check out the Horn Book Website at http://www.hbook.com/

Under Pressure by Carl Honare. One day, I happened to drift maybe a little too close to the Parenting Section of the library.  This is where I found this book and the next.  This book by a Canadian self-confessed ex-hyper-parent-er, discusses how children, families and ultimately society is going to heck in a hand basket because we put too much pressure on our children to do too much (and at the same time too little).  In general, I would say amen and tend to agree that as a society we tend to be a bit too tough on our little darlings.  However, I found this book a little to preachy and provided a few too many anecdotes for and against each of his arguments. By the end I was confused – are we forcing our kids to perform in sports and school to the point they are having nervous breakdowns? Or are we letting them get off too easily, spending all their time playing video games? In the end I came away thinking that our parenting, while not perfect or completely balanced pretty much hits the right note of moderation.  I have a sneaking suspicion though that Carl maybe hasn’t actually slowed down quite enough to appreciate his own advice.  Final verdict – Do you race around all week long to activities for your children and constantly eat out of a take-out box?  Do you expect them to both be a virtuoso musician AND a star athlete? Do you expect them to get all As all the time?  Are you exhausted just trying to turn them into a mini version of the you that you wish you could be?  This book is for you.  If, on the other hand, you have a good balance of school, family, activities, trips to the park and veg out time – you can probably skip it.

Masterminds and Wingmen by Rosalind Wiseman.  I have two boys, one of whom seems to be approaching tweenagerhood at the speed of light.  Being an old lady, I often worry that I’m not in touch with what is going on in his wee brain or ensuring his emotional/mental health is okay.  I have to admit, I’m probably a bit of an overprotective momma bear, and at the same time, I don’t want to stifle him. I’m looking for clues that will give him the right training wheels to get him to adulthood. In other words, I want something impossible and that does not exist.  I picked up this book hoping it might help guide me as a parent without an instruction booklet.

In the book, Ms. Wiseman lays out the different kinds of roles boys play in their social circles (Masterminds, Wingmen, Clowns, Outcasts etc) and then the kinds of behaviours and relationships that come as a result of playing these different roles.  Then she indicates that boys won’t probably talk to you as the parent and when they do, it will probably be mostly half truths at best, but more likely lies.  I have to admit, while it’s great to have a healthy dose of reality when it comes to parenting, I found the tone and advice more than a little depressing.  I preferred Barry Macdonald’s take on bringing up boys better – Boys on Target and Boy Smarts (a kind friend loaned these to me).  His approach is much more positive and provides specific advice on why your boy-child is behaving the way he is and how to build a relationship with them. Final Verdict: A worthwhile read, but there are better options out there.

Something Rotten, Jasper Fford. Finally – broke the parenting book pattern with this gleeful fantasy set (as Max Headroom would say) twenty minutes into the future.  I bought this one at a second hand sale for fifty cents.  In this installment of the alternate reality of Thursday Next, she returns home to see if she can save her non-existent husband and save the world from certain destruction.  As always there are puns and word play galore, and hair pin plot twists that take you to the edge of death – and back again.  To discuss any further would be to give it away (plus you need to read all the books that come before it first).  Final verdict: I’ve always enjoyed reading Fforde’s books.  They make me giggle and occasionally laugh out loud.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain.  I have heard a lot about this book from various friends who have read it.  Have done a Meyer’s Brigg test, I know I score well into the introvert side of the scale, and I was very curious to read more about myself. I admittedly have been a bit short on cash and did not want to pay full price for this book.  And the waiting list at the library was long.  So, I fired up the e-book (I’m not a fan of e-books, but I have one. This is a story for another time) and put a hold on the much shorter line for it. I did not have to wait long for my number to come up.   Up front, I have to admit, I was not initially happy with the book. It spent a long time dissing extroverts – or at least setting up a relationship similar to that between Americans and Canadians (that is, how do we as Canadians define ourselves?  As “not American.”). I didn’t see much use in that – after all don’t extroverts have as much to bring to the table as introverts? However, as the book rolled along, I started to see myself in it. Quite a few light bulb moments went off.  Why is it that I find church challenging (it may sound odd, but there is a section on this) and not in a faith based kind of way. Why do I have so much trouble talking on the phone?  Why do I not feel motivated by awards at work?  Why can’t I hear the person standing in front of me when I’m in a crowd? Why do have certain kinds of relationships and worry more about the people around me? I found some of the advice valuable as well (recognizing networking/conference events to be challenging, go with the goal to meet ONE person)  Final verdict: I would buy this book so I can read it again. As a matter of fact, I tried to for my e-book and then had technical challenges. I would definitely recommend to anyone that thinks that they might be introverted. Just gloss over the extrovert bashing a bit.

What Makes Olga Run, Bruce Grierson.  I read about this book in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (which I skim for work purposes). It had a great review and so I looked for it in the library.  The author follows a 90 plus track star and tries to figure out why and how she is still doing track and field and even improving in her ten events.  He links her anecdotes and experiences with those of other aging masters athletes and the latest research (of which there is not much because people aren’t generally doing track at that age).   The result is a fascinating, easy to read book about how to keep your quality of life in your later years.  As someone who is well into their middle-age, with aging parents, it’s worth considering.  Final verdict: Factual and fun, with some life lessons on the run.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams.  I was wandering the stacks of the library (I think I was looking for a shark book for my son) and found this book. I had not realized the creator of Dilbert was also a writer of self-help books.  It was an interesting follow-up to Olga because they are wildly different books but both in the end have similar advice – think positively, exercise regularly and moderately, don’t eat like an idiot, get enough sleep and you will be a happier person.  We are being told this constantly in different ways, and I think intuitively we know this. This is advice I can get behind. (Not sure I get behind ALL the advice provided in this book.  Affirmations are not going to solve my problems. But I do think thinking more positively is a good step).  I also found his theory of “Goals are for losers, systems work,” interesting.  That is, working towards a goal will only get you to that goal but it won’t help you stay there – but creating systems and habits that create live long change are more useful.  I’ve started to think about this and how to put it to work. I’ve started asking myself “How is that system working out for you?” and if the answer is “it’s not” trying to figure out how to change it.  Final verdict: Mr. Adams has certainly had an interesting and varied life. I would not use it as a model, but some of his advice rings true.  Take with a heavy dose of salt.

Shadow of the Night, Deborah Harkness. Another departure into fantasy.  Utter, trashy, romance-y, fantasy.  This is the second in the All Souls Trilogy and reads a bit like the Twilight series meets a Phillipa Gregory novel. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. Perfect for summer on the beach. Verdict:  Park your brain at the first page.  Library loan only.  Admittedly, I’ll see if I can take a loan out on the third installment Book of Life at some point.

Currently reading: Cheap, the High Cost of Discount Culture, Ellen Ruppel Shell. I don’t buy a lot, but when I do, I will admit to looking for the best bargain (just as anyone else would).  I found this book while I had a two hour vacation at the library recently (my daughter was at a birthday party and I had time to kill). Just into the first chapter which covers the origin and rise of department stores.  It’s a bit factoid heavy so far but I will let you know how it goes.

Written by pennyinacastle

July 1, 2015 at 10:22 pm

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Wish  you were here.

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My daughter is growing up.

The evidence is in the increased amount of home work, number of play dates and quantity of eye rolls.

This weekend, for the first time, she is off with her youth group to ponder the small mysteries of the universe. And probably watch a movie.  Somehow it seems different from her short disappearances for visits with friends or her longer one last year for “away” camp.

You can always feel the difference in the atmosphere of the house when she is gone.  An almost physical presence created by an absence. While the house often feels over full and boisterous, with her gone it seems subdued. Lacking in a certain glitter and giggling girlishness.  Even her brothers seemed to notice the disturbance in the orbit of planet boy – seeking to play alone in their own world without the usual negotiations and treaties created by their sister. They were quiet and went to bed early.

It’s good training wheels for us as parents – these moments of a child trying their wings out.  It helps us to be as ready as we can ever be for that eventual flight from the nest.  For the inevitable quiet to come.  And to remind us that these childhood days are shorter, more fleeting than we realize, to appreciate what we have while we have it.  To help us through the eye rolls with the thought that one day, we will wish you were here.

Written by pennyinacastle

June 21, 2015 at 2:30 am

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