View From The Glen

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Yesterday I posted this on Facebook:

Recommended two books for acquisition, proofed back cover copy for a third, made lasagne and soup from scratch, washed all the windows, paid bills online, organized for a scout meeting, marked essays and am off to get kids. Most. Productive. Day. EVER.

A number of people commented that I must be Superwoman, to which I modestly reply, Why, yes I am.

Because frankly, any day where I get done even half of what I want to get done...well, that's a good day.

The turht is that almost every woman I know out there, both online and in real life, is Superwoman. You pretty much have to be to get through an average week. And yes, I know there is no such thing as an average week, but this is the sort of thing I know you are all doing:
  • Getting children up, dressed, breakfasted and onto the schoolbus
  • Working outside the home
  • Working inside the home
  • Grocery shopping
  • Meal planning
  • Meal cooking
  • Ferrying the kids around to after-school activities, to weekend activities, to extra-curricular activities
  • Homework helping
  • Homework whip-cracking
  • Homework frustration management (LOL)
  • Finding quality time for your family
  • Finding (any) time for yourself
  • Organizing appointments and commitments, and coordinating meetings and gatherings
  • Cleaning and vacuuming and dusting
  • Running errands and meeting deadlines
  • Being the connector for playdates, family events, etc
  • A thousand other things, small in themselves, but which add up and add up and add up...
...And that's just daily life. If you have someone who is sick, or a work emergency, or anything else to worry about, this is just the tip of the iceberg. And so sometimes things don't get done. The dishwasher doesn't get unloaded, or we cave and let the kids eat cereal for dinner. The floor needs to be washed or we postpone taking the car in for maintenance. The grass grows under our feet and we feel overwhelmed, as if we can't quite keep on top of it all.

Because we can't. Not all the time, anyway. And that's okay. For most of us, the trick is keeping as many balls in the air as possible, and if one drops, to let it go with a shrug. We can always pick it up later.

So this post is for you. All the Superwomen I know.

Note: While researching images for this post, I was amazed at how many variations of Superwoman there are.

Sweet Cartoony Version

Bombshell version

Identifiable version

Heroic Version - check out those boots!

Couldn't resist version

Which version of Superwoman are you? (Or Superman - we don't discriminate here).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Newton's Laws - or how I got stumped by a third grader

Grace was pushing Erik's buttons. To be fair she does it very well, as well as only an 8 year old can when dealing with an older brother. This particular instance - and there are many - took place in the car. Grace was asking Erik what French words meant, and he was getting irritated. Very irritated.

I finally turned around. Enough is enough.

You're in French Immersion, Grace, and Erik's strength is not languages. It's like me asking you - I racked my brain quickly for something that would stump her - what Newton's Laws are.

That's what I said. What she said (without missing a beat) was this.

An object in motion tends to stay in motion.


This is the really sad part: I had just tossed Newton's Law at her. I didn't actually know in that instant if what she said was one of them or not. It sounded right...why didn't I pay more attention in grade 10 physics?

And how the heck did she know anyway? (Grandpa, apparently. At the science museum in Vancouver.)

Erik saved my bacon.

And got his own back. That's just the third law, he told her.  What's the first?

Just don't ask Mom. Contrary to popular belief, she doesn't know everything.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Club

Tonight is the first meeting of my book club post-summer and the theme is to come, meet new members, and discuss the kinds of books we want to read this year. The kind of books we like to read.

I found myself at a bit of a loss. I'm sitting here in my office, in my small but chock-filled library, and I am having trouble deciding what to say.

You'd think it would be easier. I've been around books all my life--my first "library" was an ancient wardrobe with an old fashioned key that I locked my books away in as a child and would get right inside with a flashlight to see all the titles; I don't recall a time when I wasn't reading something; I studied books in university; I edit books for heaven's sake! I should be able to come up with something concrete about the books I like to read.

But it thwarts me, this narrowing down of genre. I'm sitting on the literary fence and I don't want to leave any books out.

I discussed this dilemma with a friend of mine over strawberry dacquiri's last night. She used to work in marketing at chapters (dream job, anyone?) and part of her role was to co-ordinate book clubs. There was the mystery book club, the romance book club, the sci-fi book club...every kind of book club was available, but I can't see myself ever limiting myself to one kind of book. At the two ends of the scale were the following: the serious book club where serious literary adults discussed serious literary works, and the Martini book club, where the focus was only marginally on books at all.

What I suppose I'd like, ideally, is to fall somewhere in the middle. A book club that is sociable and fun, relaxing yet insightful. And I think, for the most part, we've achieved that at my current book club. We don't read much "serious" literature, but we do like our books to have some meat to them. You can mock Oprah all you want (and I frequently do) but her book club titles are usually quite well chosen in terms of a rewarding but not too analytical read.

Because in the end, reading should be fun. And a book club--for me at least--should not be work.

Are you in a book club? What kinds of books do you like to read? And how do you format your meetings - structured or free-for-all? Chime in below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

12-A The Green

I imagine it standing empty, forlorn, waiting. The three bedrooms that overlooked a garden, long since gone; the living room with an etched mirror and a gas fireplace bracketed by horse brasses and brass candlesticks that I loved polishing as a child; the large kitchen and walk-in pantry, and the small stone balcony that hung out over the front, over the grass that was the green.

I may have it backwards. It's been a long while since I was there. But I can see it all so clearly if I close my eyes.

It's not what it used to be. It's a bit derelict today, from what I understand, less gentile than it was 40 years ago, when we were admonished not to run because of the Misses Rastrick who lived downstairs and were getting elderly, when a neighbour tossed "sweeties" from her upstairs window to my brother and I as we played on the "green" on those weekends when we stayed there, visiting Grandma and Grandad.

I don't even have a picture, only memories. Stone steps and a huge expanse of grass to run in, all the way down to the tunnels that ran beneath the busy highway. My grandfather's whistle-loud and piercing-that meant it was time to come back for dinner. Many, many happy hours spent outside in the front, or in the back garden, overgrown and charming with a pigeon roost and a high brick wall or sometimes inside playing with toys and books that once belonged to our own father, and listening to the adults talk over the sound of the horse jumping on the television, loud so my grandfather could hear it.

The Green, as we all called it, was  a delightful spot to visit. And though I know it has gone downhill in the last 15 years, I remember it the way it was when we left England for Canada. Even when I have been back, the changes have been slight, but as I say, it has been some years now.

It has been there as long as I remember. Probably the most long-standing permanent place in my entire life so far. I wrote letters there so often over the years that the address is burned into my head and I never need to look it up. 

No more letters to go there though, so if I seem a touch maudlin, that is why. My grandmother turns 90 this year, and she is fading in and out of her past, now knowing who she is and where she lives, and now not. Reluctantly, the family has moved her into a home. For a rest, they tell her, keeping the Green flat. For now.

But I know it's the end of our time at the Green. And that saddens me. For many reasons.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The school bell tolls for thee...and thee...and thee

I don't know about everyone elses children, but mine were happy and excited for school to start again. Tuesday morning came bright and early after our last salute to summer weekend away at the cottage (one last swim in the lake--somewhat more refreshing now than it was in July, one last kayak against the backdrop of yellowing birch, one last attempt to catch and study the water snakes--we failed - they're too quick).

There's a great Vinyl Cafe story that Stuart tells about Marley wanting to make sure the first day of school is perfect for her children, and I get that. It's about starting the year off on a high note, about setting the stage for a successful year. Nutritious dinners and early nights, laid back non-rushed mornings, favourite sandwiches, and a bookbag full of fresh school supplies...these are the things that we do as if they are a talisman against things ever going wrong.
First day of school 2011

I called the school last week to find out what classes they were in, because they deal better with the first day knowing what to expect. I don't understand why some schools won't tell you until the day of school - it seems a bit over controling to me. (Then again, maybe it speaks to our reluctance to relinquish control of our kids' lives that we want to know in advance as much as possible.) And judging from what I know of their respective teachers, all three are in for a year of top notch education with teachers who will inspire and challenge them and their abilities.

My 1st day pic - at the insistence of the kids

This morning I was back in the classroom too, facing a fresh new cohort of students some fresh out of high school and others transitioning into college from the work force or other university programs. One of the many things I love about teaching is that sense of anticipation, of optimism, and of hope that crackles the air this time of year. Students in their new indigo jeans with laptops and books and plaid jackets crowded the campus and the place fizzed with excitement. It's now wonder back to school feels like the real start to the year.

Here's to September.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Romantic Suspense Week

From time to time, and because I don't want to post on more than one blog page (which seems confusing to me), I'm going to blog about editing projects. Thiis is one of those days, although even as I write this I imagine my husband looking over my shoulder and saying "This is what your priority is today...on our 13th wedding anniversary you're blogging about romance novels?"  Well, yeah. Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Romantic Suspense Week
Releasing today...and just in time for Carina Press' Romantic Suspense Week is this fabulous book by author Kaylea Cross.

Devon Crawford is an officer; Air Force Pararescueman Cam Munro is enlisted. Dev flies medical evacuations; Cam jumps into danger zones to save lives. Dev wants to return home from Afghanistan with her heart untouched; Cam will do anything to win the woman he loves.
Reaching for happiness in a war zone is the last thing Captain Devon Crawford plans, but she can't ignore the feelings she's hidden for so long. Cam's sexy charm and wicked kisses weaken her resistance, but she's too afraid of losing him to give in.

When Dev's helicopter and crew are shot down and set up as bait by a notorious warlord, Cam risks all to save the team. What he doesn't know is that the trap is set for him.

That's not all. I'm putting in a plug for another romantic suspense as well. The Viper's Kiss by Shannon Curtis is another fast paced, action packed story that will have you on the edges of your seat. It released earlier this summer and this week is 20% off.

The Viper's Kiss

Librarian Maggie Kincaid yearns for excitement—but being accused of espionage is not what she had in mind. Wanted by the police, the FBI and the criminal element, Maggie goes on the run—and runs straight into sexy Luke Fletcher. Unfortunately, when Luke pulls out the handcuffs, it's not because he has something kinky in mind...

Security expert Luke is intent on seeing the murderous spy known only as Viper brought to justice. The un-spy-like behavior of his fugitive makes him suspect he's apprehended the wrong woman. Just as they give in to lust, new evidence convinces Luke that Maggie's not as innocent as she claims to be.

Devastated by Luke's inability to trust her, Maggie runs again. She's determined to clear her name, and if that means tracking down a notorious spy even Interpol can't seem to locate, then that's exactly what she'll do...

Congratulations to both these authors. Nothing like a little suspense to add some kick to a romance...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Summer 2011 - In pictures

There is no question about it. Summer has been full and fun this year. I've very much enjoyed having the flexibility of time off to spend with the children, and we've managed to get almost all the things we wanted to done, a remarkable feat for which my reward is three happy children. This last weekend we are back at the cottage, and after making them leap in the water (which is just a little more refreshing now than it was in July) and kayaking this morning, I am now enjoying an afternoon hour to myself, organizing the files on my laptop, updating my blog, catching up on my reading and generally preparing for next week when the lazy, low-hassle unscheduled days of summer come to an end.

But what a fabulous summer it has been. Here's a glimpse of some of the things we've been up to.

On The Ski Bob in Lake Simcoe

Grandad's Boat

At the Zoo

Grace learns to dive


Leaping in the Lake

Cottage Kayaking

Off to Cub Camp

Medieval Festival

Making Hay

Erik Ziplining

War of 1812 Reenactment

Water Babies in the pool

Green Belts

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Coming Soon

New and updated blog....stay tuned.