Category Archives: family

Remembering

IMG_1380

Today has been a day for remembering. My dad would have been 79 today, so I spent much of the day remembering him and what he meant to me. It’s just over a month since he passed away and the emotions of that and my recent journey home are still fresh in my mind. Today for me was about trying to remember some of the happier times and things that he enjoyed.

My dad enjoyed many things in life. Two things in particular that he liked were music and taking pictures. When I was in Orkney last month for my dad’s funeral my mum gave me his most recent camera and his iPod touch, both of which are pictured above. Both of these items were never far from his hand, especially his camera. He took lots of pictures, something that was very evident in the fact that we found dozens of HD cards when we were sorting through some of his things last month. Wherever he went he loved to take pictures of almost anything and everything as a record of where he’d been and what he’d seen. His love of music was quite varied, although he amassed a large collection of Salvation Army music on tape, vinyl, and CD. When our children were younger they were quite fascinated watching him listening to his music with his headphones on, because he would really get into it in a big way. When I got the iPod I was very curious to see what music dad had loaded onto it. There is a fair bit of SA band and songster music on it, but there is also a huge variety of other stuff too – Paul Simon, Boney M, and even a little U2! One of the albums I was replay happy to see there was one by The Household Troops Band of The Salvation Army, called ‘Blue Book Favourites’. SA Bandos will, of course, recognize what the ‘Blue Book’ is. Growing up in Orkney, our band played a lot of stuff from that book, and quite a few of them are on this album.

I started off today by heading out for an early walk before work. I took both the camera and iPod with me. It was a beautiful morning, so I took a lot of pictures and I listened to the ‘Blue Book Favourites’ as I walked along. It might seem a bit melodramatic to say that it was a very special time, but I don’t really care, because it really was. Some of the pieces I listened to were ‘Star Lake’, ‘The Pilgrim’s Prayer’, ‘Lloyd’, ‘Constant Trust’, and ‘Montreal Citadel’. Some of the pictures I took were of places that my dad had already taken pictures of when he visited here. It was a moving and meaningful start to the day for me.

During the rest of the day dad wasn’t far from my mind and I listened to more of the iPod music at work as well. Obviously I miss my dad a lot and probably always will. I learned a lot from his life and example and hope that I can continue that legacy as I endeavour to be the person that he encouraged me to be.

Advertisements

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (May 2)

IMG_0323

‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week or so. Share a link there if you want to participate.

It’s hard to believe it’s May already, but not so hard to believe that I haven’t posted very much here in recent months. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I hope that I can do better at this in the months to come.

1. The above picture is the view from my mum’s house in Orkney. I spent a large part of April there due to the fact that my dad passed away in the first week of the month. He had been dealing with cancer for a number of years, but in late March was told that it was terminal. Thankfully his passing was very peaceful. I was just sorry that I didn’t make it there in time to see him one more time. I did have a great conversation with him on the phone about a week before his passing, talking about a number of things, including the state of Scottish football (soccer), Easter, along with a number of other things. He also, along with my mum, my sister and her husband, had a great visit with us here last October and was able to share in our daughter’s high school graduation. My visit to Orkney last month was one of mixed emotions, with plenty of tears, as well as laughter and memories shared. I was also able to catch up with many family members and friends whom I hadn’t seen for a while.

2. My reading has not been that great lately. I just haven’t really felt much like it. I never finished any books in April, so I’m well behind with my reading goals for this year. I have managed to get back to some reading again this week and I’m looking forward to finishing a few books this month.

3. One book I will definitely try to read soon is The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom. When my dad visited in October he started reading my copy, but didn’t get it finished, so I bought him a copy to take home with him. We shared an enjoyment of reading Albom’s books. We came across his copy whenI visited last month. Unfortunately he didn’t get it finished, so I will read it and finish it for him now.

4. Last week was a bad week for a couple of my favourite Toronto sports teams. The Leafs lost game 7 of their first round match-up against the Bruins, and TFC heartbreakingly lost the final of the CONCACAF Champions League on penalties. On brighter note, Liverpool finished off Roma today, 7-6 on aggregate, to reach the final of the European Champions League. Their opponents there will be Real Madrid.

5. The fifth season of Father Brown is finally on Netflix, so I started binge-watching it this week. I’m still waiting for the third season of Better Call Saul to appear, as well as the third season of Fargo. I watched the first two seasons of Santa Clarita Diet, which was pretty good, but different. It certainly wouldn’t be for everyone.

6. It looks like this year is going to be a good year for movies. We already saw Black Panther, which was excellent and are now trying to work out seeing the Infinity War movie. Hopefully we’ll manage to work out something for this weekend. Other movies we’re looking forward to are Ant-Man and the Wasp, Solo, and the next Fantastic Beasts movie.

7. Or daughter also spent some time Scotland with me, once she hd completed her first year of university. This week she started a job at a local factory for the summer to make some money for her return to university in the fall. She seemed to have a good first year and is enjoying the break from studies, even though her summer job will be demanding physically.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Feb 28)

IMG_1271.JPG

‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week or so. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. It’s been over a month since I posted anything here. Although February is the shortest month, this year it seems to have just dragged on. A very close friend of ours – the Godfather of our children – passed away at the end of January. Although he had been ill for quite a while, it still came as a shock to us. He was one of my first Canadian friends and was also born in the UK. Because he had also immigrated to Canada from there, he was able to help me a lot as I transitioned to Canadian life 24 years ago. He will be sadly missed by us all.

2. Although I bought a fair number of books this month, for a number of reasons my reading was pretty poor. I only managed to finish three books. Hopefully I’ll get back on track soon, as my TBR pile just continues to grow. Some of my reading challenges for the year should help me to get going again.

3. Last weekend saw my ninth anniversary of becoming vegetarian. I can honestly say that it was one of the best things I did and I often wonder why I didn’t do it sooner.

4. I binge-watched the first two seasons of Fargo during the last moth or so and am hoping that season three will appear on Netflix soon. Meanwhile, I’m looking for something else to binge-watch. I managed to watch a few movies during the month, the best being Black Panther, which we saw in the theatre last weekend.

5. We’re into the third week of Lent and for the first time in a few years I didn’t write a post about how I intend to follow it this year. I was away on Ash Wednesday and I just couldn’t get my mind around it. I’m keeping it fairly low key this year, but the things I’m doing have been quite helpful so far.

6. I still have a $50 Indigo/Chapters card from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket. Each time I’ve been to Chapters lately there have been too many choices and I have come away empty-handed. There are a couple of books I’m waiting to be released, as well as a couple of others that I’m waiting to come down in price. It’s not like I don’t have enough books to keep me going anyway!

7. I’m hoping that Spring is just around the corner. Winter seems to have dragged on this year. It hasn’t been particularly bad, although there were a few vicious storms, but it just seems to have felt so long. We have no big plans for Summer this year, although we will be having some family visiting, which is something to look forward to. Also, our daughter will be home for the summer after finishing her first year at university, which will be something else to look forward to.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Jan 17)

IMG_1199.JPG

‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week or so. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. It’s a New Year and so far so good. I posted a few thoughts at the start of the year about my goals and they are going well. I’ll keep revisiting it from time to time and see how I’m getting on.

2. I signed up for a bunch of reading challenges again this year and am looking forward to getting some diverse reading done this year. I also pledged to read 75 books at GoodReads and the 50 Book Pledge.

3. The above picture is some free book mail I received today. The Shane Peacock book is from Early Reviewers at LibraryThing. The other two are a couple I won through one of last year’s reading challenges (Full House Reading Challenge 2017). I’m waiting on another one to come from that challenge.

4. Our Christmas was fairly quiet, once the crazy busyness of our work was over. Our daughter was home from university for a couple of weeks, which was great. We didn’t do much or go far, but stayed in and watched a few movies, caught up on some TV, did some reading, and played a few board games. It was a nice relaxing time anyway.

5. I’m still keeping up with my bookstagram stuff on Instagram. I enjoy joining monthly challenges there and playing along with some of the tags. I’ve made some new ‘friends’ and met some interesting people.

6. Thanks to one of my friends in Elliot Lake I got a couple of free tickets for a Leafs game last month. So my son and I got to see the Leafs beat the Sharks in a shootout at the start of the month. It was an exciting evening.

7. I’m looking for something to binge watch on Netflix now that I’ve finished Stranger Things and This Is Us. I started watching Friends, as I have never ever watched an episode of it before. It seems to be OK, but I’m thinking of binging on Fargo next, as it is back on Netflix in Canada again. There’s also a bunch of movies that have been added that I might need to check out. Speaking of movies, we went to the theatre during the week between Christmas and New Year to see The Last Jedi. I wasn’t disappointed.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Meant to Read in 2017, But Never Did (Jan 9)

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Ten Books We Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totally plan to get to in 2018!!)’ All of the following books appeared on at least one of my many TBR lists last year. I managed to start a few of them, but none of them were anywhere near finished! I’d like to think that I’d manage to get them read this year, but I hope I haven’t cursed them by putting them on another list like this!

IMG_1188

  1. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom. I’ve had this one for a couple of years or more and enjoyed all his other books, so I’m not sure why I’ve left this one unread for so long.
  2. Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina – Michael Casey. It’s over three years since I purchased this book about lectio divina. I really looked forward to reading it at the time, but it still remains unread.
  3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay – J.K. Rowling. I got this round about the time the movie came out. I loved the movie, but haven’t picked this up yet. I’m sure it wouldn’t be a long read. Maybe I’ll save it for this year’s Savvy Readathon.
  4. The Complete Robot – Isaac Asimov. I started reading this one, was enjoying it, then got distracted by other books. The fact that it is a collection of short stories means that I’ll be able to pick up easily from where I left off.
  5. A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 – Joseph Loconte. I received this one a couple of Christmas’s ago and had great intentions of quickly getting into it. Hopefully I’ll do just that soon, especially as it’s a book about two of my favourite writers.
  6. Convictions Matter: The Function of Salvation Army Doctrines – Ray Harris. I’ve started this one a couple of times, but on each occasion I’ve never gotten that far. This will be the year that I keep on going!
  7. The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) – Stephen King. I read The Gunslinger earlier on last year with the intention of at least reading this book, the second Dark Tower book, before the end of the year. I’d even thought I might get round to book three. Lots of people have told me it’s a great series, so I need to try and get on with reading more of it.
  8. In the First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I’ve written about my failure to read this on a fair number of occasions. I’m determined to get it read this year.
  9. Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars – Ray Bradbury. This collection of autobiographical essays has sat unread on my shelf for too long. I know it’s one that I’ll enjoy, so I need to read it soon.
  10. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon. I promised my wife that I’d read this one, so I started it last summer. I got to about page 100 and neglected to finish it. I’m not sure why, because I was kind of enjoying it. I’ll try to get back to it soon, although when I do I may have to restart it. I’ll see how much of what I read I can actually remember!

SaveSaveSaveSave

The Year Ahead (2018)

This-Year-Printable-the36thavenue.com-

Today I was looking at the post I wrote last year outlining some of my goals for 2017 and wondering how I could come up with one for this year. I probably did better than I realize on some of the things there, but there are some I still have to work on. Maybe I’ll revisit some of those things in another post.

As I was looking for a quote about New Year, goals, resolutions, etc. I came across the above list and decided I might use it as the basis for this year’s goals post. I’ll list each point below, with a few points how I can achieve them.

this year…

Break a Bad Habit – I didn’t really have to think much about this one as I’ve been talking about this for the past couple of days. Generally, I tend to be quite cynical at times, which can lead to quite a negative attitude. This often rears its ugly head when I’m talking about stuff connected with my work. So, I have decided this is something that needs to change for both the sake of myself and those I interact with. From this point forward I will endeavour to see the good in my situation at any given time and if there is something that is not good to approach it in a more constructive than destructive manner.

Learn a New Skill – One of the things I received for Christmas was a $50 gift card for Michaels. For those of you who don’t know, this is an arts and crafts store. I haven’t fully decided what I’m going to do with this card yet, but it may inspire me to take up a new skill or hobby. Watch this space.

Do a Good Deed – Hopefully I’ll manage more than one good deed this year!

Visit a New Place – I’d really love to visit Iceland, but I don’t see that happening this year, unfortunately. It will happen some time, though. However, having said this, there are lots of places in Ontario that I have never visited yet, so I’ll see if there are a few I can get to this year.

Read a Difficult Book – It’s kind of obvious to anyone who knows me that I love to read. There are a few books on my shelves that I’ve avoided over the years because I’ve looked at them and decided that they are too difficult. So, I’ve left them unread there. One book that I seem to have avoided for so long because of this is In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I have started it a couple of times and each time have ended up abandoning it. It’s a fairly large book, with a long list of characters (listed in a number of pages at the start of the book) who have long Russian names, which is probably why I have given it up each time I have tried to read it. I think it would be worth reading and it intrigues me greatly, so perhaps 2018 might be the year I finally get over my fears and read it through to the end.

Write and Send a Letter – I haven’t written a ‘real’ letter for many years. For sure I write emails quite often, but that’s not really the same thing. Maybe I’ll try and write and send at least one letter each month this year. It’s something I used to do quite often, so I’ll see how it goes.

Try a New Food – I have been a vegetarian for almost nine years, but I’m sure there is something out there that I’ve never tried before. This one could be fun or disastrous. Nothing different comes to mind right now, but I’ll research it and see what I can come up with.

Take a Risk – As I’ve gotten older I seem to have lost the desire to take risks. Perhaps I need to reevaluate this aspect of my life, because I could be missing out on something exciting. I’m not sure exactly where to take this one, but I’ll start thinking about it anyway.

So, there you go – eight different tasks for the year ahead. Feel free at any time to challenge me on any of these things. Some of them seem easier than others, but they all need some kind of effort on my behalf or they won’t happen. What goals, if any, have you set for yourself this year?

Another year has come and gone

tolkien quote

Hello to 2018 and farewell to 2017. Last year wasn’t a bad year. It had its moments, but on the whole it was a decent one. In some ways it was a year of change for us, but in other ways there were many constants in our life as well.

The biggest change for us was our daughter leaving home and starting university. Thankfully she is only about an hour away, but it was still something to adjust to. She seems to have settled in well and is getting on fine there. With her not being too far away we see her fairy often and she has been home for the holidays these past couple of weeks, which has been great. Other than that, not much else has changed in our lives.

I was looking over my goals for last year earlier today and was surprised that I actually made not too bad progress on most of them. I actually managed to complete most of my reading challenges, which I’m quite pleased about. There was only one that I didn’t complete, but it was one that I wasn’t too bothered about anyway.

I still haven’t fully worked out my goals for 2018 yet, but hope to get them finalized in the next couple of days. I have pledged to read 75 books again and have signed up to do this at both GoodReads and the 50 Book Pledge. I’m also hoping to sing up for two or three individual book challenges as well, but haven’t worked these out fully yet.

Once I’ve worked out my personal goals and my book challenges I’ll post about them here. In the meantime, Happy New Year. May 2018 be a great year for you.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Dec 27)

IMG_1151

It’s been over two months since I did one of these. Time really must fly when you’re having fun, or maybe the last couple of months have just been too busy! ‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week or so. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. We survived another busy lead-up to Christmas. With all the busyness, and stress that goes with it, each year where I work, I usually end up feeling fried by the time the 25th comes around. This often ends up in me feeling that my family have been cheated somehow. This year I was determined not to allow things to get to me, especially with things that I have no control over. It seemed to work and the last few days have been more relaxed than in previous years.

2. For a little while there in the fall I thought that I was going to fall flat on most of my reading challenges. I got over the slump and got back on track. I reached my target of 75 on the 50 Book Pledge with time to spare, and I completed two of my other four challenges, with the chance that I may still finish at least one of the other two. The one that I might not finish is the Mount TBR challenge, which I’m not that worried about. I am now trying to work out which challenges I’m going to enter in 2018.

3. For a change this year I gave my family a Christmas wish list of books from bookoutlet.ca to choose from. I was surprised by receiving nine of them on Christmas morning. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them soon. I also received a $50 gift card for Chapters/Indigo, which I’ll get around to spending eventually.

4. Since I last did one of these posts I enjoyed watching two Toronto sports teams win their respective championships. First there was the Argos winning the Grey Cup at the end of November on a very snowy night in Ottawa. This was followed by TFC winning the MLS Cup a couple of weeks later. Her’s hoping the Leafs can go deeper in the Stanley Cup play-offs this year. Speaking of the Leafs, I have a couple of tickets for their game against the Sharks next Thursday, courtesy of a kind friend of ours from up north.

5. I seem to have watched a ton of movies this year, close to 120 movies at this point.  I still have to see the new Star Wars movie and have been trying to avoid any spoilers on social media. We are hoping to see it yet before the end of the year. As far as TV goes, I did manage to watch Stranger Things 2, which was awesome, and have binge-watched half of the first season of This Is Us on Netflix, which has been a lot better than I thought it would be. I started watching The Mist, but gave up on it as I found it to be too disappointing.

6. I haven’t done much blogging this year and at one point considered closing down this blog altogether. Maybe in 2018 I’ll try to get some inspiration and post here more often. One bonus in 2017 was that I wrote a small review on GoodReads of every book that I read.

7. Overall, 2017 hasn’t been a bad year. There have been some highs and some lows, but I think the highs outscored the lows. Our daughter left home to start university and seems to have settled in well. It’s been great having her home for the holidays. She’ll be returning to university next week, but at least she is only about an hour away. Work has brought some challenges, but we have been here over two years now and are starting to find our groove.

Here’s hoping that 2018 will be a good year and, if you have made it this far, I wish you a Happy New Year too!

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Sept 27)

IMG_0957

 

‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. September seems to have come and gone so quickly. In some ways it seems to have been a fairly busy months, but I’m not that sure if I’ve accomplished that much or not. We’ll be on holiday for a couple of weeks from the end of next week. I’m looking forward not only to the time off, but also the fact that we’ll get to spend the time with family visiting from Scotland.

2. I was under the impression that I was getting back on track with my reading, but I’ve only managed four books this month so far. According to 50 Book Pledge I’m on track for 65, which is a decent number, although I pledged to read 75. I’ve enjoyed doing my book challenges for the year, but of the four I’ve tried I’ll maybe only get two completed. I’ll see how it goes, because there are still three months to go.

3. Although we moved here over two years ago, we only finished unpacking last weekend. We finally managed to sort through the final ten boxes or so that had remained untouched since we got here. I was reunited with a lot of books and CDs, among other things. I also found the ornaments pictured at the top of this post that I had almost forgotten about. They are a reminder that I delivered mail in my previous life before moving to Canada. It’s hard to believe that it is 23 years this month that I moved to Canada and 34 years this December that I started my job with the Royal Mail.

4. We finally got around to watching Silence on Sunday. It was as good as I thought it would be. Now I need to get the book read, as it has been on my TBR pile for far too long. I have also started watching Ozark on Netflix. It’s pretty dark, but I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m hoping to be able to go and see It soon, but I’ll probably have to see it on my own, as my wife is definitely not interested in seeing it. It’s a long time since I read the book, but I don’t have time right now to reread it. I was a little surprised to find out that the latest movie is only part one.

5. I haven’t thought that much about my Christmas book wish list yet. There are a lot of good books due to come out in the next few weeks, but rather than latest releases, I’m toying with the idea of coming up with a list of books available from Book Outlet for my family to choose from. That idea may change, but it’s one I’m seriously thinking about just now.

SaveSave

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (Sept 20)

IMG_0849

 

‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. I can’t believe that we’re more than halfway through September. Where has the summer gone? Having said that, with the temperatures we’ve been having this week it almost still seems like summer.

2. I had hoped that I’d do better with my reading during the summer, but I got into a rut there and was hardly reading much at all. Recently I’ve got back to more reading again and, hopefully, I’ll get back on track. I put together a TBR pile for fall yesterday and I’ll be happy if I get at least half of them read. I always get sidetracked by other books anyway.

3. Lately I’ve been a bit more grateful for living in a small town where very little happens. There’s a lot of crazy things happening out there in the big world – hurricanes, earthquakes, crazy world leaders playing games of chicken with deadly weapons – but life here just seems to tick along regardless.

4. We made a quick trip to the Book Outlet store in St Catharines last month, but I was very restrained only picking up five books for myself. I made up for it last week when visiting our local thrift store I managed to pick up ten Clive Cussler books. I’m trying to put together a reading plan for getting through my Cussler collection. I read a few of his books when I was a teenager, but he has written at least 70 books that are part of 5 different series. I think I’ve managed to work out a way forward with them. It’ll take a few years, but it’ll be worth it.

5. We dropped off our daughter to the University of Waterloo for her first year at the start of September. She’s only an hour away, but it’s really strange not having her around and we miss her. Her younger brother has some mixed feelings about the situation, though. She’ll be home for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks time and we will also have family visiting from the UK at the same time.

6. I’m still enjoying my foray into #bookstagram and have been enjoying trying to keep up with some daily challenges. You can check out my pictures HERE.

7. Christmas is just over 3 months away, so I’ll need to start thinking soon about putting together my Christmas book wishlist together. I have no idea what to ask for yet, but I’m sure I’ll manage to come up with plenty ideas.

P.S. The picture at the top is from the wonderful meal we had at Pazzo in Stratford to celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary in August. It’s a great place to eat if you’re ever in the area.

%d bloggers like this: