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Book Reading Blues

20140415_203735I am failing at my most sacred passion this month and it is getting me down. Does this ever happen to any of you other book readers out there? I set myself a goal of reading 100 books this year. I’m definitely not going to make it. It’s rather hopelessly too late for that unless I get very serious and take up speed reading.

The thing is…this happens to me every time I read a really good book…or at least one that is good to me. I then struggle to read something else because it’s just not the same. I know this book I’m currently reading is good. It is well written and interesting. But I miss the magic of Sarah Addison Allen. I miss that comfort. Yes, all (ok most) books are wonderful, but some gel so well with our cores that the others start to pale. I’m in one of those pale moods. It makes me sad. And it doesn’t help that I have been editing someone else’s book for the last couple of weeks. Reading for pleasure falls by the wayside when you spend all day reading for work.

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Snakes in Bottles

IMG_4344I’m getting seriously excited about our upcoming trip to Thailand and I keep thinking about the trip I had almost a year ago which leads me to wishing that I had written about some of it at the time.  I suppose dragging a laptop around with me on holiday might have felt too much like work, but still, I should have done a bit of documenting. I plan to do a much better job of documenting my travels on our trip to Thailand in September, but it won’t be a rehash of the trip I had last May so it will be missing a few things.

One of those “things” will be a trip to Laos, which is one of the stranger places I’ve been to in my life, and I’m kind of sad that I won’t get to take my husband there because I think he might find it fascinating. I guess maybe we’ll get around to visiting the place at some point, but it definitely won’t be this year. (more…)

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Darling Jolene

Photo on 2014-04-10 at 10.33 AMAfter yesterday’s bout of hysteria my now-good-friend Jolene Cawthorn contacted me to ask if I could give her the opportunity to show me that not all travel agents are terrible. The woman is a machine! THANK YOU Jolene! You are incredible and I really appreciate you looking after us so well.  And hats off to  you for being proactive and stepping in!! Too many people are timid about offering help when help is needed. You rock!

Guess how I know Jolene? She is involved in Herbalife!! As I understand it her mom is quite active in the business and Jolene and I have come in contact because of our mutual involvement, albeit a passive involvement.

Now of course I can’t give credit to Herbalife for Jolene’s efficiency — that credit belongs to her alone. But I do think that the company often leaves a positive mark that we might not all be aware of sometimes. And that thought makes me smile. Obviously being a Herbalife distributor is not for everyone. But I really do love the idea that even if Herbalife turns out to be “not for you” there is so much to be learned that you can take out into your life – no matter what you choose to do with it.

The main point is: I now have a DECENT flight itinerary and I don’t feel like I’m being ripped off. Now I just need to sell a body part or two and everything will be peachy!

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Bad Service Blues

Photo on 2014-04-09 at 11.12 AMI may have said it before but I think being involved in Herbalife has ruined me as a customer. You know how you get those timid customers who never demand anything, they just kind of sit back and take the crap that you give them? I suck at that. And I blame Herbalife. You see, because I have been to so many Herbalife seminars and meetings and because I have been fortunate enough to interact with the creme de la creme of Herbalife society I have some seriously high standards instilled in me. Actually, they’re not that high. They’re pretty reasonable. They only look high because “reasonable” has become too much to ask of basic service providers.  (more…)

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Perhaps we should all be a little less assholeish…

CYMERA_20140408_190305So just before five I asked my husband if he would be picking the kids up for Fit Club tonight. “Just send them to the Crusaders field” he says. I kind of don’t feel right sending them off on their own because I’m a pansy but he says “It’s fine, it’s just across from Greenwoods.” That seems reasonable so I agree. When we’re done talking though, I realise that I have no idea where “the Crusaders field” is and when I ask the kids they seem confused. They want to ride their bikes there, I want them to feel “independent” but I’m worried because they are looking at me like I am nuts. So I send The Husband a couple of messages and when I don’t get an answer I call him. Still no answer. Now I have two disappointed kids and am feeling like a jerk for spoiling their fun. (more…)

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Vicarious Living

1533717_10154027622295094_7781311556325752292_nYou know when you’re watching television or listening to some gossipy old fuddy duddies and they’re going on and on about how parents live vicariously through their kids? I always thought that was a depressingly sad as well as ridiculous idea. Why on EARTH would you do that, right? And then today I realised that I am kind of doing it too…

You see… I’m home schooling my kids. I’m trying to give them a calm I never felt as a kid. I am trying to give them confidence that I never managed to foster for myself. And I am trying to point them in the direction of the most colourful life imaginable. While other parents are envisioning their offspring as doctors and lawyers, in my head I see us shipping them off to spend a year on a kibbutz in Israel. After that maybe they could do some volunteering in South America, or Spain, or China. They can do their TEFL courses and teach English to children all over the world. They can stick a map up on their walls and poke colourful pins into all the places they have been. And the idea excites me! Of course if they don’t want to do those things they don’t have to, but it’s something I so wanted for myself but was never brave enough to take.

So yes….I am living vicariously through my children. Be brave, because I know now that not being brave is toxic. Do what makes you happy now  because you will regret it if you don’t and eventually end up where you should have been years ago anyway. Why waste the time? Be adventurous because the best stories come from those who refuse ordinary things.

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Doodling With Words….

Sometimes I remember that in my dream life I am actually a writer who writes things that have less to do with money and more to do with art. Then I end up writing an intro to a book that I will most likely never finish. But perhaps I’ll give this one a proper go? I’m not quite sure where it is going yet but the story has been bugging me for a couple of months. Got to start somewhere I guess?

A Journey Through Pages

When my wife disappeared I did not call the authorities for I knew that she had not disappeared within our world, but from it. I knew that to find her meant more than what could be offered by mere men, and so I chose to remain silent and search for her alone instead. It was instinctive that I knew this, this fact of where she was not, though my instincts provided no assistance on exactly where she was. It feels foolish to admit that despite the absence of her physical form, I knew without a doubt that if I were to find her it would be in the library. That was where I would have to search for her because that is where she would be. The task was only daunting because it was one that I knew I had to undertake on my own and because of the vastness of this room in which she had managed to lose herself. It would take a lot of tea, no doubt, and a very large amount of patience. (more…)

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Books About Birdies

20140401_175433So the first book I started reading out of my Angels & Insects pile was a little bit dull and that’s kind of why I haven’t done much reading this week. I kind of blame Sarah Addison Allen for this because every time I read one of her books I end up struggling to read anything else afterwards. So yeah. It’s her fault. Anyway I decided to add a few more books to my pile of books to choose from for this month because the insect books were making me wish I had something different to read. Do you care? No…but my OCD is kind of insisting that structure is good and spontaneity is for other people so yeah. I just changed the structure. That’s ok, right? I think I might start with The Thorn Birds. It’s falling apaprt because I bought it second hand a million years ago and it was one of the first “Grown up” books I ever read as a kid. Will be interesting to see if it makes an impact now that I’m old.

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Angels & Insects in April

CYMERA_20140331_173620I’m going with Angels & Insects for my reading pleasure during the month of April. I don’t know why. It wasn’t even remotely an idea until just now while I perused my shelves and realised I have quite a few books about angels and quite a few about insects….or at the very least I have quite a few books with angels and insects in the titles. If only I could skip everything else this month and just to a bit of reading… That never actually ends up happening ever, does it? So…. What was I saying again? Oh yes…. Angels & Insects… It’s not a real theme but I’m sticking with it.

Happy reading folks!

 

 

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The Fashion of Finding Christianity Funny

I wrote a little book last year called The Exquisite Joy of Yellow and in it my main character, Mabel Darling, spends a little bit of time explaining how she has lost her faith. She explains how she used to believe and then one day she just didn’t. She goes on to say that she didn’t want to discuss her lack of faith with anyone, or tell anyone what she now believed (that God had died) in case she accidentally changed their minds too and made them  have no faith. She didn’t think that would be fair. So she spoke to no one. Now honestly, at the time I didn’t think very much of it. It was what Mabel wanted to say. These things kind of just come out on their own sometimes and for a split second I entertained the idea that all the things that Mabel was saying might offend my Christian friends (or my mother!) but I decided that she was not being offensive. Mabel was only being honest. She pointed no fingers. She made no fun of believers. She simply expressed herself. I decided that that was fine and then didn’t really think about it again. (more…)

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Garden Spells ~ Sarah Addison Allen

Garden SpellsGarden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I tried not to read this book in one day but I couldn’t help it. Even though I had guests and things to do and people to cook for, I started this book on Saturday morning and but a little past midnight on Sunday morning I was done. Every time I read one of Allen’s books I fall in love. It is rather an exquisite feeling to be so enchanted with the mind and worlds of another. She creates true magic on the page and I must admit that I am eternally grateful to her. I started reading a bit of Magical Realism with Alice Hoffman but didn’t quite love her s o much. Ali Shaw excited me far better. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake excited me in theory but not in execution. And then Allen came along. The more I read her stuff the more empowered I feel to write the same genre and the idea excites me more than I can express. Some writers are so good at this particular genre that experiencing their stories feels like childhood fantasy come true. That childlike search for wonder has been satiated by these writers for me. How do you say “thank you” for that? How do you let someone know that because of them something in your own universe has shifted for the greater good and that they have given you a priceless gift for which you will  always be grateful.

If you’ll excuse me, I now have to go and find the rest of Ms. Allen’s books because it has become very clear to me that I need them…

rs-5

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His & Hers ~ Mike Gayle

His 'N' HersHis ‘N’ Hers by Mike Gayle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Terrible news: I have to demote Mike Gayle from my Top Ten authors list. It’s kind of ok because I really just put him on there because I didn’t have a real top ten authors list so I made on up quickly and filled in the last couple of spaces with authors I kind of enjoyed and felt like reading about in March during my “favourite authors” marathon. Anyway – this book was kind a “meh” in that it was so cliche that I actually started to get annoyed. The WHOLE book was cliche with a ridiculous unrealistic ending that didn’t match all the rest of the realistic cliche-ing. I can’t help but think Mr Gayle may have been trying to work out a few personal issues by writing this book. Actually….that’s not the first time I’ve had that thought about his stuff.

I’m growing up I guess. Bloke-lit can be awesome and Gayle has done a good job of it in the past, but I think this time he didn’t succeed quite as well as he usually does.

rs-2


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Trying to Save Piggy Sneed ~ John Irving

Trying To Save Piggy SneedTrying To Save Piggy Sneed by John Irving

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Because of Garp, Own Meany and all the folk at The Hotel New Hamshipre, John Irving will always be one of my favourite writers. He is pretty heavy though and I must admit that lately I don’t quite know if I’m clever enough to read him any more. I have most of his books displayed proudly above my fireplace. Some I have read, some I haven’t. I keep thinking I should get around to them but then opt for something a little less taxing on my IQ. I chose to read Piggy Sneed this month because I couldn’t leave John Irving out of a month of reading my authors, now could I? And it was the shortest book. Unfortunately I have to admit that I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it either. But it didn’t stay with me at all. Not like Owen Meany and Egg did. Not at all. IT was good writing, because Irving is good at writing, but I’ll forget these stories soon enough. I’ve actually forgotten most of them already.

Perhaps it is time to pick up another one of his novels….

rs-3

 

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