Friday, August 29, 2008

It never rains but it pours......

I am having the bridal shower for my daughter at my house tomorrow.  This should be interesting as before Wednesday evening I had never even attended one.  I am not sure I get it, it just seems to be financially motivated.  An attempt to give/get more presents.  My daughter did not really want one, she would have been perfectly happy with a stagette/hen party i.e. a drink and get together with her girlfriends, but as I have found out with this wedding, it takes on a life of it's own and so now not only is she having TWO showers, but there is a Stag & Doe as well. None of which my daughter wanted.  Her registry list is pathetically short, as she says, she had a house, her fiance has a house, they have almost everything they need and they feel bad asking for more, for stuff they don't really need.  
Anyhow as the shower is a my house I have made an effort to impose my wishes on it.  No games, please!  No four hour present opening session - boring!!  I was overruled on "no presents" so we took donations are have bought two of the larger items on their registry - hopefully that will take up 10 minutes and we can spend the rest of the afternoon, mingling, eating, drinking and having a lovely time.  My daughter hates being the centre of attention (so major stressing going on about the big day as you can imagine!!) as I know she doesn't want to sit in the middle of the room being the focus of present opening and silly games, I am trying to make this an afternoon that she will enjoy.
As a side note, consumerism and all that, we decided that our ancient dishwasher needed replacing before the shower and onslaught of visitors, so I shopped around diligently to get a good price.  No problem I thought (so naively) a quick swap over job, and Bob's your uncle - nice shiny new dishwasher and ...bonus.....clean dishes.  No such luck, it looks like the house was built around the dishwasher and it is hard plumbed, no hoses for us, nice copper piping. So while my blood pressure shot through the roof, just three days before the aforementioned shower, I rang around to get prices for this little job.  Huh!  One lady was embarrassed to tell me how much they charged for this job - $260 - so much for my shopping around!!  Luckily one of my real estate colleagues came to the rescue with the name of a guy who will do it for half that - still a lot when you consider I thought I could do it myself!!  Anyway hopefully he will be here this evening, however, this also brought on the added expense of a taxi from the airport for my husband because, talented as I am, I cannot be in two places at once.  Did I mention that it will probably damage the kitchen flooring when he gets it out ....arrrggh!!
Now fingers crossed for a sunny afternoon, as they chose my house as a venue because of the pool and garden so it would be nice if we could actually use both.    Two weeks today is the BIG day!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008


My environmentally conscious and politically aware 15yr old sent me this link today. It is very thought provoking, interesting and, I must say, really depressing.

It is worth taking the 20 minutes it takes to watch it. It certainly made me think. We are all guilty to some degree, although I do try to be socially conscious, I do try to shop locally. It should be easy as we live on the edge of what is the market garden of Ontario, but unfortunately we also live extremely close to that enormous monster, the United States. Although I try to buy Ontario grown produce - it can be hard to find.....and no matter what, I cannot find bananas that are grown any closer than Chile. I have made a pact not to shop at Walmart - they truly are taking over the world, here in our mid-sized town in Ontario they are in the process of building a second huge store. Shopping mall parking lots are always full. It is a scary world we live in and a lot of the information given in this little story hit very close to home.

Anyway I hope some of you will take a few minutes to click on the link and digest the sentiment:

When I had finished watching, I said to my 15yr old "Well, that was a big eye opener!" - "Yes" he replied "BUY LESS STUFF!!".

Of course I replied "Yes" and I definitely will......once this wedding is over!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great - a book list (disguised as a meme!)

I picked this up at Chris and Carol in Thailand's blog. I know it will probably give me a complex but there goes:

Look at the list of 'classics' and:

1) Bold those I've read.
2) Italicise those I intend to read.
3) [Bracket] the books I love.
4) Pass it on to a few others.

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 Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice’s Adventures 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 (but have read Red Dog by same author - great book)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie-the-Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
where is 44?
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 Magus - John Fowles
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 - Carols 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 Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - A. S. 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 - EB 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

So I've read 33 out of the top (allegedly) 100 classics, it felt like more as I was going through but leaves me a few I would love to read and never think of as I am standing in the bookstore looking for inspiration!!   And of course I am sure I must have read 44 :)

Feel free to join in, I'd love to know what your absolute favourite is. I read A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry but much preferred Family Matters. I will also say that Up the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame remain two of my all time favourites and I made sure I read them with my children and they loved them too.

Over to you....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And off it comes

So now the roof is completely off the barn end. Lots of progress in one week, I guess it is easier to dismantle it.
The next step is to repair the end wall to prepare it for the new framing. There is a cherrypicker on site to assist with the lowering of the huge beam, so hopefully that is pretty imminent although I understand they have been experiencing lots of rain.

Then they will completely re-vamp the roof timbers and construct two dormers, one front and one back and another skylight. It will be interesting to see how long this half takes.
However the dormer is nearly complete and looks great.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Let there be light....

The progress is slow but we are really happy with the results. The guys are doing great work and now we almost have a dormer window. To most of you this probably still looks like a wreck, but I am getting glimpses of the future, I can see my little rose covered cottage of the future. Our "man in France" tell us that work "should" commence this week on the barn end where they are taking off the complete roof, timbers and all so that they can lower a huge beam, which basically the entire roof rests on, 18 inches so that we will have a one level throughout the upper storey. Standby for photos of that. ....and please try not to yawn at the back there.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A weekend away

GWE just changed jobs and is now located in Montreal rather than Germany - so a little closer to home.  It has been a hectic month of July for him, flying to Montreal for an interview during his week "at home", then back to Munich for a couple of weeks' notice, then on to another firm in Germany  for a couple of days to show his face as the new guy in Montreal.  He flew back here two Saturday nights ago, arriving at 8.30pm, only to turn around pack his bags, and drive off to Montreal on the Sunday (a five hour drive).  Because of all that to-ing and fro-ing over the past month, it was decided it would be better if I flew to Montreal last weekend rather than him travel home for the weekend.  No argument from me.  I love Montreal - it is such a cool city.  Great shopping, loads of great restaurants and bars, a bit of a buzz, a nice small city to get around.  So off I went (15yr old son had been invited to a friend's cottage for the week so the timing was perfect).
GWE and I spent a lovely couple of days, mooching around the shops (just making sure there were not any better shoes lurking out there!!), looking a suits for the wedding, picking up a few bits here and there, stopping for coffee, having a lazy lunch on a patio just of St. Catherine's. Just as we finished lunch the thunder started rumbling so we headed back to his apartment for a nap (three beers at lunchtime - what can I say).  Then out in the evening to do a bit of a bar crawl.
We used to live out on the west island of Montreal so Sunday we took a trip down memory lane, drove past our old house (incidentally my favourite house to date - and there have been a few) but the current owners are not keeping it in the best of shape - looking  a little ragged around the edges which I am sure doesn't please the neighbours as it is in a lovely street with many beautiful houses.  But ironically the shabbiness helps us not to have any regrets.
Then we went out to Hudson, a little town just off the island to a lovely pub, The Willows, on the shores of the St. Lawrence, with beautiful gardens and lawns going down to the water's edge.  We stayed a while and had a relaxing lunch watching the sailboats.
While we say there, we congratulated ourselves on a great weekend, because we knew if we had been at home, it wouldn't have been as relaxing.
The wedding is now six weeks away, there are chores that need doing chez-nous.  No more lazy weekends us for us for a while.
PS: I did try to add a photo I took on my cell phone while we were in the garden of the pub but  but once again technology foiled me!