Monday, August 11, 2008

Turns on a dime

We had a very pleasant morning. We went to the fruit market and the grocery store. She didn't fall asleep in the car. We had a delightful lunch. She practiced picking up her chicken with a fork.

We left for our pre-nap stroll.

She fell asleep leaning forward and kept bumping her head. I tried to lean her back. She flailed about. I stopped touching her. She lurched forward again. Then the crying started. I decided not to push a shrieking child by our new neighbours and asked if she wanted to be picked up. She did. I carried all 25 1bs of her in one arm while pushing the stroller with the other. She had a lovely time.

At home, she protested loudly as I carried her into the house and up to her room. She was exhausted but would not settle. I took her to watch the ceiling fan and snuggle in our bed. She tried to poke my eyes out. I took her back into her room. She pulled herself up and let herself fall down. Back into our room. She tried to jump on the bed. Back into her room. Laughing, then crying.

I weighed the option of fighting her to the death versus a coffee and my sanity (not to mention all the non-perishable groceries waiting to be put away).

I scooped her up without speaking to her. I carried her out to the car and buckled her into the carseat. I turned on my favourite radio station instead of her music. I pulled out of the driveway.

She was asleep before we reached the first light.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Warning: May causes bruising and increased fibre

I knew that having a toddler would result in some bumps and bruises. I just assumed that the bumps and bruises would be on her. And it's true that Will has had her share of scrapes - including a horrible bruise between her eyes that made her look like a vulcan for over a week, an accident that happened on my watch - it seems like I'm finding new and more disfiguring bruises on myself every day.

I'm currently sporting a hideous purple and green gash on my right thigh from bounding out of bed in the middle of the night to respond to a baby's cry -- and slamming full-speed into the foot of our new bed.

I didn't realize there would be so many opportunities to get injured. Hoisting the stroller in and out of the trunk and down the front steps. Chasing a toddler across and through playground equipment. Protecting a child from falling onto a sharp and/or rough and/or rock hard surface with my own flesh, which is then jammed into the surface even further by the weight of said falling child.

Even more unexpected, however, is my sudden increased intake of fibre. Will absolutely adores eating on her own, in a way that is as "grown-up" as possible. She no longer wants her apples or pears cut into pieces; she wants to eat them whole, the way she sees us eating them. She has enough teeth to eat the flesh of the fruit (it's disconcerting to use the word "flesh" twice in one post. Ew.) but she could easily choke on the skin. So I cut the top and bottom off the apple or pear, remove the skin, and voila -- a perfect snack.

Guess who's been eating all the fruit skins?

The things nobody would think to tell you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Book lover

I am finally at the "unpacking the books" stage of settling in, which is to say, the furniture is situated, the important things like dishes are unpacked, and I can devote some time to organizing the boxes and boxes of books that I cannot live without. (And now that we hire movers instead of doing all the heavy lifting ourselves, it is much easier to justify to justify holding on to all. those. books.

I found this quiz at She Likes Purple via Camels and Chocolate and thought it was appropriate for this phase of unpacking. It's from The Big Read, an organization in the US that is "designed to restore reading to the center of American culture." I did look (briefly) for a Canadian equivilant - I think the Globe and Mail has published a similar list before - but for now, this will have to do.

The rules:
1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE. (I'm not sure how to underline, so I'll use asterisks.)

My additions:
4) Note in parentheses any books a) I've taught or b) I started but didn't finish.
4) List five "must-read" Canadian titles.

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 (taught it)
6 The Bible (some of it)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (taught it)
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 (all of them??)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (taught it)
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 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 - AA 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 (taught it)
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (taught it)
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 (taught it)
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 (didn't finish it!)
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 - 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

Actually, the list is quite comprehensive when it comes to Canadian titles. Since there are three - no, FOUR, on there already, I will just add two: The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence and Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley.

Is 41 out of 100 a terrible score considering I hold a graduate degree in English and actually teach the subject? I guess a discussion about the "literary canon" can wait for a day when all of the unpacking is finished.