Monday, 29 October 2007

Dream Wheels by Richard Wagamese

This book is a nominee for the 2007 Evergreen Awards . If not for this list, I doubt I would have read it, and that would have been a shame. This is an excellent book. It delves into the world of competitive Rodeo.
Joe Willie Wolfchild has been riding since a child and is now permanently sidelined with some serious injuries, not all of them physical. Aiden Hartley, an inner city youth, is also hurting. Turns out they both have skills that the other is badly in need of.
With the aid of their respective families they help each other to heal and in my opinion to become 'stronger' people.
I enjoyed the discussions of the First Nation traditions and heritage. It reminds the reader, that at some point, all peoples were First Nations, we all came from aboriginal peoples. A very 'grounding' thought. One could read this as a light story, or could take more time and actually ponder some of the lessons that both Joe Willie and Aiden experience. I took the slower route!
The List for the 2008 Nominees has been released this past week. I hope i haven't missed voting for my 2007 favourite. I did read 5 of the 10 nominated books. Every one of them was an excellent choice.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Best Mate by Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo is one of the most consistantly good authors I have ever read, and in this book, he has not dissappointed.

Early on we are introduced to the fawn coloured grey hound puppy who becomes the main character of this delightful story. While he doesn't find the idyllic home life that I hoped for him, he does find human friends who are in the most need of him. First is Patrick who rescues the puppy, but in realitiy, its the puppy who rescues Patrick from the difficulties of adolescence. Then there is Becky, who's mother lives with a heartless dog racer. Becky runs away with the dog to save him, but again its the case of the dog who saves Becky and her mother. Finally we meet Joe, and he doesn't even realize that he is in need of help.

I enjoyed the adaptabilty of the dog, and how he knew what was needed in each situation. He gave strength to each owner as they needed it.

I would recommend this story to any who have had a dog that they loved deeply. You can't help but be moved by this dog and wish that he were yours.

I would further recommend other books by this author: "The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips" and "Alone on a Wide Wide Sea".

Airlines - Go figure???

My hubby is travelling today. He started the morning in San Francisco. He had a meeting schedualed in San Diego. With all the wild fires and considering that the host had to evacuate to a safer locale, his meeting was cancelled. So, he called United to re-arrange his flights. He had 3 flights for today. First to San Diego, then back to San Francisco, and then home to Toronto.

He was told there was approximately a $200. charge to cancel the first 2 flights. So he says why bother cancelling them, he'll just take his flight home. He was told that he couldn't take the third leg of his travel if he didn't take the first 2 legs. Ok, so he had to still pay for the first 2 flights, even though he wasn't taking them, plus pay the cancellation charge so he can come home. The flights were all the type you couldn't change.

So I checked just before posting this, and the morning flight to San Diego has officially been cancelled by United. hmm, guess he could have waited for the flight to be cancelled for him, but he still would have needed to fly back from San Diego to be allowed on the third flight. I don't know, but this sounds odd to me. Perhaps I'm missing some small detail...

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Oktoberfest 5k Race

Thats me in the bright orange shirt just crossing the finish line. My best time ever 37:31. If you could see my face, you would see the excitement of beating my anticipated time by 1 1/2 minutes. I am still thrilled.
This is the first time I have approached a 5k with the outlook of it being a 'race' as opposed to a fun run. This time I had a strategy beyond 'just finishing'. Of course I trained, but I also determined a reasonable target time. Then I went to the Running Room website and created a 'paceband' so I would know at what time I should be at each kilometre marker. I wrote this on a strip of tyvek and taped it around my wrist beside my watch. Wow, it made all the difference. I had a clear objective and was darned if a piece of paper was going to beat me. yippee, I beat that paper and by a wide margin. yippee again.

Click here to visit the Running Room website.
Click here to check the Running Series in my neck of the woods.

Friday, 12 October 2007

My Favourite Coffee Mug

This is my favourite coffee mug. Its not for tea, or lattes, not hot chocolate and not for chai. Just for coffee. I had to dig out of the cupboard today specially for my post run coffee. This isn't something I do often, but on cold windy days when my breath is literally grabbed away, I find that coffee helps.
Why this mug? I received it as a gift at a quilt retreat several years ago. It truly did come from Hawaii with a bag of Kona coffee. I thought I was in heaven for the next few weeks with my coffee treat (and I didn't share). I often think of Cheryl, who gave me the mug. I met her again the next year at the next retreat. She is one of those people who you meet and immediately know that she is going to be your friend. I haven't seen her in a few years now, but do think of her often and wonder what she's up to. Today I want to let the world know that I am sending good vibes to Cheryl Mott. Here's to you friend!!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

It's voting Day in Ontario

I was lined up just as the polls opened this morning. Fortunately the polling station was located in the gym at my daughter's school. I gather there were some new procedures, so it wasn't running quite smoothly. I'm sure the staff will get quicker as the morning proceeds.

Along with voting for a local representative, I also was able to vote in a referendum about electoral reform. This isn't something that happens very often. I hope the large percentage of my neighbours plan to vote today. (in fact there was a good line up behind me).

I'll be looking forward to the results this evening.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

This was a beautiful story. I am so happy that I read it. (I'm typing this as I wipe the tears from my eyes).
Lucky is a 10 year old girl who's mother died 2 years earlier and is now living with her Guardian (which happens to be her father's first wife). Lucky has been listening in on a variety of '12 Step' meetings and she is trying to find her 'Higher Power'.
Lucky hits 'Rock Bottom' when she thinks her Guardian is leaving her. She then gains inner strength as she finds her 'Higher Power' and also helps her small friend Miles deal with a problem he is having.
I would gladly recommend this book to others, even though some people have strongly and vocally objected to the mention of a dog's scrotum in the first chapters. See my blog entry of September 20.
I will be lending this to the librarian at my daughter's school, and hopefully she will buy a copy for the kids to read.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Cork Boat by John Pollack

I received this book a while back from a fellow Bookcrosser. It sounded intriguing. A boat built of corks.

I have to admit, that I am unable to throw out the corks that I pull from a wine bottle. They collect in my kitchen drawers. I have never done anything with them, though they do go to school for crafts occasionally.

The author of this book had been saving corks since he was a child. This book related the story of how his cork boat, comprised of more than 163000 corks came to be. It is funny, emotional, serious and factual. I don't think it was one thing that made me love this book, rather the combinations. Perhaps also the fact that while a teenager we had family friends that build boats. My dad was occasionally called to do mechanical work for them. It was interesting to watch the boats being built and later to see them in the ocean.

This book speaks to that bit hidden deep inside that always has wanted to do something way off in left field. John Pollack is one man who did not forget what he wanted and he did anything and everything to accomplish that goal.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Sunrise on Kusatsu Harbor by Dan Maloney

I received this book in the mail last week, and shoved aside a few others so that I could get at it right away. After reading a few pages, I knew that this was not the book to finish in one reading. Its not that its long, 137 pages, but it is a story that I wanted to savour and enjoy. There is a lot packed into the few pages and I didn't want to miss any of it.

Its the story of Tori and Mieko and it starts in the days prior to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While both our characters are profoundly affected by its outcome, its their responses that differ. Tori is filled with forgiveness and understanding and draws on her Christian faith to continue, while Mieko wants revenge.

The book follows the story of their lives for decades, until the day when Mieko is finally ready to enact his revenge.

Faith is a recurring strength in this book, it helps to heal the hurts that have occurred, both the physical and metal, but it also helps deal with the prejudices and mistrust.

I really enjoyed this story and appreciated its straight forward story telling style. I look forward to sharing it with my family, friends and my Bookcrossing friends.