Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh how I love a good book!!

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES or blog. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Underlining for saw the movie only. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses.

This is another one of those meme things. I haven’t actually participated in a meme in quite some time, but being the lover of reading that I am I couldn’t pass this one up. I actually got it from a friend’s facebook notes, but decided I’d add it to my blog instead. Feel free to use it in whichever way suits you best, or not at all ;-)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulkner
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes Of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell 
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving 
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins  
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Total read in this list: 51 at least once and 6 started but never finished, so I’m just over halfway there. Although, I think it’s odd they count “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” apart from "The Chronicles of Narnia". If I could count how many times I’ve read some of these over and over again I’d likely hit 100 easily, but I don’t think they count that? There are a couple I may not read at all, but I think I’ll make it my goal to have most of them read by December 12, 2012. You know, because the world will end then… or is just that the Mayans ended so they didn’t get to finish their calendar? At any rate, that’s my goal, to read (or finish reading) the remaining books in the next two years. Feel free to share with me how many you’ve read and which of these are your favourites.

When I started this I just focused on what I'd copy & pasted. Being the me that I am, as my friends can confirm, I'm a bit anal particular and was trying to clean up the html when it came to my attention that #23 & #26 are both missing. Curious, I of course googled the BBC list. I found the original list, aka The Big Read, the wikipedia entry for the list and this blog100 here. with some easy to read history of where the list came from. The above is not the original list at all, it's definitely been modified but I'll leave it as is for now, but you can see the full

I think I’ll expand on this, by creating my own list of “must reads” that I think should have been included (and which may very well be in the original list but I've only briefly glanced at it so far). However, that’s for another blog post on another day. For now, it’s late, so I am off to the land of nod.

“Only a little more, I have to write, Then I'll give o'er, And bid the world good-night.” Robert Herrick

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Frogs and snails And puppy-dogs' tails....

…That's what little boys are made of. Or so the 19th century nursery rhyme tells us. Personally, the puppy-dog tail thing is a bit disturbing but that's for another day. Besides, after almost literally being trapped inside my very small home with my two youngest boys for 5 days straight, I have my own idea of what little boys are made of.

Little boys are made of, Gas... they're definitely comprised of a whole lotta gas! As any mother of boys can assure you, boys like to, and find it endlessly amusing, to burp and fart. And if they’re not burping or farting, they learn how to mimic it via sticking their hand in the opposite armpit and then squeezing said armpit against the hand. Why the passing of gas is such a huge amusement is beyond me. It is so popular someone, at some point, thought it necessary to make a toy to simulate the sound of passing gas, the whoopee cushion (this may be one of those weird Trivia things I’ll research, but later, I don’t feel like it right now).

They’re also made of dirt, it’s not quite as bad in the winter, but my boys can go from zero to stinky in 28.3 seconds. This is not made up, this is a documented statistic, there was a study, really (ok, not really, but, really). I could scrub my boys down in a hot, boiling bath with a full bottle of Detol and within moments of getting dressed they have managed to get something sticky in their hair (this is why my boys have buzz cuts), under their fingernails is black and the right trouser knee has grass stains on it. (Or something less identifiable but likely far more disgusting). I say only one trouser knee because they have long since blown out the left knee on pretty much every single pair of pants they own.

But here’s the gross bit, little boys are also made up of snot! I think I should get free shares in the Kleenex company, Puffs and you know, that other brand (I'm too sick tired lazy, to go look). Not because the boys use it, so much as I keep buying tissues because I hope they’ll use it. The reason this drives me crazy at this particular moment, is now I’m made up of large amounts of that lovely nasal mucus-y stuff.

It’s been cold here, not like, Canadian cold, but like Antarctica cold, in fact a couple of days ago, the wind chill in the small town I live near was several degrees COLDER than the South Pole. Global Warming, yeah ok, sure. I’ve said it before, if this is Global Warming, I don’t want to be here for Global Cooling. So at -47°c/-53°F we weren’t going anywhere, for five days, a weekend and then three missed days of school, we were stuck in our wee trailer (which feels even smaller now). It gets better, at the same time, Little Man, my youngest darling child, had a bit of a cold. It didn’t really bother him and he went about his play like a trooper, but here is how I know little boys are made of snot. Little Man is very affectionate and he would come running up to me for a hug only for me to realise, too late of course, that he was wearing his snot. Not kidding. Tissues? What are tissues? Isn’t that what sleeves are made for? And my arm? And my face? This kid had glistening lines marching across his left cheek, from the back of his hand and up to his elbows (I'm sure you can guess the logistics of cheek to hand, etc).

Now school is back in (for one entire day), Little Man’s cold is pretty much gone, I have a kid-less weekend on the horizon with some fun activities planned, and I’ve a “code in mah node… all stubbed ub and feeld lahk carp”. And somehow, or maybe it’s just because I hate being sick, or maybe it's the fibro, my cold is worse than his, I definitely do not feel like "playing". I did everything right, I washed my hands, I made him wash his, we were all taking extra vitamin C, echinacea and making sure we drank plenty of fluids, but I’m sick. It seems like ages since I’ve had a cold, but there it goes. Not only that, I seem to have some mild, but irritating issue with my eyes, maybe pink eye but it doesn’t look like it, they just have a bit of a burning sensation and are dryer than a popcorn fart.

So there it is, my take,

What are little boys are made of? Little boys are made of gas and dirt and lots of snot. And they’re more than happy to share.

Best wishes to my American friends, for a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday with friends and family. "May your walls know joy; May every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility". God bless.xo


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Once in a blue moon....

As most that know me have figured out, I'm a bit of a trivia buff, no particular topic, but if something catches my interest I'll research it to death, to the detriment of everything else (ie. feeding my kids, housework, etc). One of my favourite bits of trivia has always been to tell anyone that expresses even the slightest interest what the definition of a "Blue Moon" is. I was, in fact, extremely proud of this knowledge. "Ooooo Shannon, you're so smart to know that". (Ok, that may only be in my own mind where that phrase is ever heard). But......

All this time I've been wrong!! Oh whoa is me that spreads incorrect information, apparently I should have dug deeper. I blindly followed along with popular culture and the "accepted" explanation of a full moon. Turns out most of us were wrong. The following article by Joe Rao on explains what the original classification of a Blue Moon is and how we ended up believing the "new" one. Considering it's such a popular meaning, it'll likely remain, but as for myself the saying, "once in a blue moon" makes much more sense now!

The Really Strange Story Behind Sunday's Blue Moon

Let me know how you feel about the updated but original definition of a "Blue Moon". Do you have any favourite "trivia" explanations of something? Feel free to share in Smiles & Smirks :)

And have a Happy 2011 Blue Moon!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11th, 2010

It's been a couple years since I wrote a blog in Remembrance of our fallen and our troops over seas. I'm not sure what was up last year, well I am, but that's not for this post, but I feel like I dropped the ball so I'm back this year to continue to show my support for our men and women that have fought bravely to protect our freedom.

Military has never been a big thing in our family, but we know we owe our freedom to the men and women that protect it. However, my dad served in the Canadian Navy for a short time and both my grandfather's served in WWII. My maternal grandfather was even old enough to be overseas for WWI. Grandpa Hoberg in particular spent 3 years in Europe, away from his family during WWII. My mom was born just before he left and she had no memory of him, when he came home she thought he was a stranger and tried to kick him out of the house! Funny, and yet, sad too.

So today my tribute is not just for the troops, but for the families that have sons & daughters away from home, for those that have lost mother's and father's, for the spouses left alone to care for their children at home. Here's to you that hold the home fort while our brave men and women protect the freedoms of our country and try to help free oppression in other countries. God bless our troops and their families.

Who in your family do you remember or know that bravely kept/keeps the home fires burning for a loved one serving away from the comforts of home?

Mark Schultz, "Letter's From War"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Blessing at a Time...

This morning I woke up before my alarm. This isn’t particularly unusual except that it was timed a bit nicer this time, rather than 2 or 3 hours before, it was only about 10 minutes so no great loss and kind of nice to not be jolted awake, even the radio can be a bit unnerving after a crap sleep some nights. I find waking up to a specific time (due to erratic sleep patterns perhaps) extremely difficult, and it doesn’t seem to matter what time that is, so I set my alarm a good half an hour before I actually need to be out of bed so I can let myself wake up a bit more gradually.

My routine is basically this: iPhone harp alarm goes off, I wearily hit snooze and attempt to doze off for a few then radio alarm comes on and I blearily try to listen to the "97 second" news update. By this point I might open my eyes, if I can, I reach for my iPhone and check out fb & twitter. Yes, I’m an addict, my name is Shannon and I’m addicted to social media. There, I said it, but I’ll tell you something else, just seeing others starting their day with cheery (and sometimes not so cheery) messages helps to put me in a better frame of mind to start my day.

Here’s the weird thing about today’s routine, I’m laying on my back, reading tweets and suddenly it occurs to me, I have my ankles crossed, and not only are they crossed, it doesn’t hurt! What? No pain? What is this? A small smile starts to tug at the corners of my mouth. One of the cats jumps up and walks up my belly, across my chest, to give me a nose kiss, still no pain. That smile is growing by leaps and bounds, so I call in the other cat just to be sure and then I start poking myself, maybe I’m dreaming. Nope, I seem to be wide awake. I get out of bed and I feel awesome!

Ok, so what, big deal you say. I tell you what, if you’ve ever had a bad case of influenza remember what the first day felt like after you were better. It’s a big deal, but soon you forget all the aches and pains and life goes on it’s merry way, you take it for granted that, other than an occasional headache or after you bump your knee on the corner of the coffee table for the umpteenth time, you will go about your day pain free. For someone with FMS (Fibroymyalgia Syndrome) amongst other things, pain is a constant companion, those flu like aches and pains are NEVER gone. Imagine this, your cat jumping on your legs while you're laying down is uncomfortable, a hug can leave you breathless and forget your child ever sitting on your lap and cuddling, the pain is so excruciating you feel like someone is pouring a layer of hot lead on your legs.

I just had an odd memory this morning, when I was a child I often woke with “growing pains”, yes, I know that’s not odd, shush for a moment. What I’d forgotten is what I felt like in the morning some days. As far back as I can recall, say the age of 9 or 10, some mornings I would wake up and feel like the Princess and the Pea. Remember that story? With all those mattresses, what was it, like twenty or so, that poor princess could still feel the pea and woke up feeling bruised and battered. I remember relating to this story so significantly that I thought maybe I am a princess and somehow I was switched at birth (not kidding). I know I am no princess (except in my daddy’s eyes, but he’s been gone some time) but that tells me just how far back I’ve lived with pain. In just a couple of months, I'll turn 42 years young, so that is at least 32 years of almost daily pain. I’ve had periods of remission, but I think that’s still pretty significant.

This time it’s been well over four years since I’ve had any reprieve. Last time it was for one blissful day. Pain free is so significant and such a blessing that I can recall the exact feeling even if I can’t recall the exact date. I’d been at a prayer meeting the night before and the pastor and attendees prayed over me. It may once again only last for a day (I was going to add maybe only an hour but it’s already been 3 hours :D ), but even if it lasts one week, or one month, I pray that I NEVER, not for a moment, take this blessing for granted!

So, when I say I woke up today and I am pain free, I can shout for joy and tell you that it is a HUGE deal! “Thank you Abba Father, thank you for this gift, for blessing me with this day. Thank you for giving me the pain too, so I can remember to never take any day for granted!”

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” Psalm 100:1

Blessings, ~Shannon

For more understanding of the life of those with chronic pain read Christine Miserandino's "The Spoon Theory" and check out her website, "But You Don't Look Sick"

Casting Crowns, "Praise You With the Dance"