Dammit. My committment to my blog didn’t start out so well. It was a busy summer. A whirlwind of family photos, music, volunteering, and twin raising. There was teething and walking and flailing my arms about trying to teach them sign language. There was hail storms and insurance adjustors and trying to find contractors. I think I put about five thousand miles on the stroller. There was cleaning and laundry and my never ending quest to find a dining room set. There was roseola and sore throats and fat lips and fevers. There wasn’t enough time though.. not enough evenings enjoyed on the deck. Not nearly enough time in my hammock.
Mostly though, there was the cooking. I went domestic this summer. I canned my little heart out and I think there’s more on the way this week from my friends’ acreage. I went to the farmers market just about every week this summer and bought seasonal ingredients and tried to turn them into something. My favourite meals that worked out ok were the crock pot roast, the chicken soup, the black forest cake for my mom’s birthday with the sour cherries I canned, the dressing I made with fresh herbs all summer, and the discovery of roasted kale. I have discovered I am not a very successful or committed gardener though. Although my garden did yeild a handful of carrots, beets, and swiss chard, I had to mine them out of a huge pile of weeds. Maybe next year when the kids can be outside with me.
I also read a lot of books this summer. Here’s a list of ones I recommend:
- Come Thou, Tortoise by Jessica Grant. Terrific book. The main character has every potential to be cloying, but Grant makes her likeable and charming.
- The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. Ok, so I got the recommendation for this one from a celebrity gossip site, which possibly makes me shallow, but I love that shit. I think this book is what they must have based Big Love on and I love that show. There is one scene in the book where a mother delivers a stillborn child that was so beautifully written.
- The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews. I just re-read this book this summer and it was just as good the second time around. I think I have the same sense of humour at Toews so I love everything she writes.
- The Prairie Bridesmaid by Daria Salamon. I wonder what is so special about Winnipeg that makes it such a great setting for novels. Perhaps I should actually go there one day instead of just taking the ring road around it. Anyway, a plug for a quirky, funny Canadian novel about a woman ending a long complicated relationship.
- The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs. He outsources his LIFE. This book was filled with genius ideas.
- Me, Cheeta: My Life in Hollywood. This book has it’s flaws; namely that it is about 100 pages too long. But it’s interesting satire on animals in Hollywood, and Cheeta is a compelling character. Bit of a misogynist, but compelling.
Hateful books that I am sorry I wasted my time on:
- Incontinent on the Continent by Jane Christmas. Here’s a charming travel memoir about a woman who wants to repair her relationship with her elderly, incontinent, disabled mother. So she invites her.. to lunch? On a spa day? No, she invites her to Italy for 6 weeks. Any reasonable person would be able to tell you this is not a good plan. Christmas envisions a John Hughes type road trip where they realize at the end that they just misunderstood each other all along. Instead what happens is that her mother is her mother and Christmas is a bitch. The result is over 300 pages of Christmas complaining about having to accomodate her mother’s needs, with no resolution except that mercifully the trip ends. Unfortunately, Greystone Books chose to publish this woman’s venting session, and probably embarrassed the hell out of her mother. Nicely done.
- The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. Everyone in this entire book is some kind of stereotype. He tries too hard to be provocative. It’s boring.
- My Revolutions: A Novel by Hari Kunzru. This book had a really intriguing premise and beginning. A young revolutionary commits crimes in the name of his beliefs and takes on a new identity, only to be found again years later. He flees in panic and recounts his life as a revolutionary. But it turns out he never really did anything that serious and nothing there are no real serious consequences. The book sort of peters out. Just like this post.