Category Archives: vegetarian

Top Ten Tuesday – Short Stories/Essays (July 17)

TTT-Big2It’s been a long time, but it’s time to take part in Top Ten Tuesday again.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. 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 ‘Favourite Novellas/Short Stories’. I kind of adapted it a bit and decided to do my top ten favourite short story or essay collections.

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  1. Night Shift – Stephen King. Of all the Stephen King story collections I’ve read this is probably my favourite, although it doesn’t contain my favourite short story of his, The Monkey. It’s hard to pick a favourite from this book, but it is probably between Graveyard Shift and Night Surf.
  2. Five by Endo – Shusaku Endo. This is a collection of five short stories by one of the most under-rated writers of the 20th century. They are all great, but Unzen stood out for me.
  3. Gristle: from Factory Farms to Food Safety (Thinking Twice About the Meat We Eat) – Moby (Editor), Miyun Park (Editor). I read this book not long after I became a vegetarian and it helped solidify my view that I hd made the right decision.
  4. Winter Tales – George Mackay Brown. An excellent collection of wintry-themed stories from Orkney’s most prominent writer.
  5. The Penguin Book of Russian Short Stories – David Richards (editor). It’s been a few years since I read this collection. I used to keep it in the car, so that I had something to read whenever I was going somewhere or had to wait for something/someone. One of my favourite Russian short stories, The Nose by Nikolay Gogol, is included in this one.
  6. Love Your Crooked Neighbour: Thoughts on Breath, Bread, Breasts and Brokenness – Ron Ferguson. I really enjoyed this collection of sermons, articles, and a short story. It also has an Orkney connection, as the author was the minister of St Magnus Cathedral at the tie of its publication. He also wrote a great biography on George Mackay Brown, which is worth checking out.
  7. The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup – Matt Weiland (Editor), Sean Wilsey (Editor). This collection came out just before the 2006 World Cup and included 32 stories – one on each of the nations who participated that year. Each story has a different writer. Among them are Nick Hornby (England) and the USA (Dave Eggers).
  8. The Cat’s Pajamas – Ray Bradbury. I think that Ray Bradbury was one of the best short story writers of all time. I could’ve half-filled this list with collections of his that I’ve read, but I include this one as my favourite. Highlights of this collection include The House and A Careful Man Dies.
  9. Things As They Are – Guy Vanderhaeghe. I discovered this author, who is from Saskatchewan, when I lived in there about 20 years ago. My favourites here were King Walsh and Teacher.
  10. In from the Cuithes – Howie Firth (Editor). This is a great anthology of writing from Orkney. There are too many favourites in this one to single any out.

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

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‘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.

The Year Ahead (2018)

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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.

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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?

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (May 11)

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‘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. Although I only finished a couple of books in the last week, I did a lot more reading than I have in a long time. Although I seem to be enjoying reading again, the downside is knowing what to read next – my TBR pile just grows and grows. Summer is coming, sticio hopefully I’ll get more down time to be able to attack that pile.

2. I participated in a Kairos Blanket Exercise this week, organized by our local Ministerial Association. It’s the second one I’ve participated in and it was a very moving experience. If you ever get the opportunity to participate in one then do so. The more people that are able to do this, the more hope there is for real change to take place.

3. We managed to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 last weekend. It’s a great movie and every bit as good as the first one, maybe even with some deeper themes running through it. I had to watch the first one again the night before going to see the second one, as it had been almost three years since I saw it and my memory isn’t as good as it used to be.

4. My latest favourite thing to make is mushrooms that taste like bacon bits. They’re easy to make and addictive. Also, they are probably a lot better for you than bacon, which I haven’t had for over 8 years now anyway.

5. I’m looking for something new to binge watch on Netflix after last week’s disappointing experience with the unavailability of Better Call Saul. I only have two more episodes of Father Brown to watch and I’m caught up again. I’m open to any suggestions anyone might have to offer.

6. We’re trying to work out a visit this summer to our favourite used bookstore, Bearly Used Books, in Parry Sound. When we lived up north we used to pass through there more often, but no it’s a little out of our way. It’s worth visiting and we still have a fair bit of store credit to use up there. You never know what you are going to find and I’ve picked up some great bargains there over the years.

7. I had to buy a new copy of 1984 today as my old, well-read copy is starting to fall apart. Our daughter borrowed it for school, but it was in such poor shape that I thought I’d better get another one.

8. U2’s Joshua Tree Tour 2017 kicks off tomorrow night in Vancouver, which means it’s only 43 days until we get to see them in Toronto. I’m interested to see what their set is tomorrow night and also what the stage set-up looks like.

Eight Years

keep-calm-and-stay-vegetarianToday marks the eighth anniversary of when I became a vegetarian. It’s not something I regret and there are times when I wish I had embraced it sooner. It’s been an adventure and it’s a journey that I’m glad I have kept on. I am not ready to embrace veganism at this point, but it is something I may eventually do.

There are many reasons why it is good to give up meat, but in the end it is up to the individual. I wrote a post eight years ago briefly outlining the reasons why I was becoming a vegetarian. I still hold to these and see no reason to go back. Initially the smell of certain meats cooking were a temptation to me, but now I find the smell of meat quite repulsive. Even the smell of bacon, which I once loved, does nothing for me now.

I’m still on the lookout for any new veggie recipes and like to try new ones from time to time. So if you have any you think I might like to try please pass them on to me.

If you are considering moving towards a vegetarian lifestyle, then here are some sites that have helped me:

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