I have this thing about reading books that are part of a series. You see, I have a terrible memory and a great imagination. Which means that when I read books, I can imagine tonnes of alternative stuff that might have happened, and then get confused easily and forget how it actually did turn out (some of the time, but not all of the time).
This is very bad when reading a book series, because if you leave a gap between books, then you might forget something important, or imagine things in a way that they didn’t actually happen. My options are to be constantly rereading the previous books before reading the newest installment, or, to simply not read a series until I can sit down and read the whole thing. This is the option I usually choose.
So, since the final installment of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series finally got published last year, it was time to take the plunge. But, since I also suffer from genre fatigue, I figured it would be better to devour the series by audiobook.
First book is done and it has been pretty enjoyable so far. Nothing life-changing so far, but a nice epic fantasy thus far. I’m especially looking forward to the later installments, since I’ve heard that the Brandon Sanderson, who took over after Robert Jordan’s untimely passing, did an excellent job in wrapping everything up.
Other general updates from my reading challenge . . .
- The Star Trek challenge went well, but suffered from genre fatigue. I also find it difficult to read about a world I’ve experienced in a movie or tv format. I guess no fanfic for me!
- I’m behind on my total books for the year. But, since I’ve got the audiobooks going concurrently with other reading, I’m hoping to pick up my numbers a bit!
Got any quick reads to recommend so I can hit my goal of 50 books in a year?
This year Locutus is going to be old enough to start trying out a balance bike. Benevolance is especially looking forward to introducing him to cycling, since he also enjoys it so much. We’re also looking to get a bike seat to attach to Benevolance’s commuter bike, so that we can go on bike rides.
The only problem is that I don’t actually have a bike to go along with them. Over the last several years I’ve had a few loaner bikes that I seldom used. But, the thought of some fun family bike rides together, or heading out with Locutus on my bike so we can go a bit further afield than I can walk with him, is getting me all excited. Plus it’s a great way to exercise and have a greener footprint. So, I’m starting to look at riding a bike again.
The last time I had a bike of my own, I was a teenager and it was a mountain bike. I never really got the hang of shifting gears (probably because we never really went anywhere very far on them) and I know nothing about bike maintenance. I know that a mountain bike probably won’t be the ideal bike for the type of riding I’m doing, so I’m kind of starting from scratch.
Not sure when I’ll get a bike or what type I’ll be getting yet (though a comfy seat is a must!) If you’ve got any tips or advice for me, or places online where I can read about different kinds of bikes, and generally how to care for and maintain a bike, that’d be great! Also, if you know of a great bike shop in the Surrey/Langley area, let me know!
One of the challenges I’ve been facing as a parent is encouraging a variety of play opportunities so my kids are exposed to a variety of things.
So far Locutus is pretty naturally a ‘run around’ and ‘move things around’ kind of kid. When it comes to physical play at the park or kicking/throwing a ball around, he has no problem. He also loves to move objects, figure out how to open and close things, push buttons, and generally get in to every cupboard and climb on every piece of furniture.
This is great, but I also want to expose him to more creative activities. He likes books, but has little patience to actually hear a story. He’ll move the pages back and forth and generally destroy any pop-up book he can get his hands on. But as soon as we try to actually go through a story from beginning to end, he’s more interested in flipping through to certain pages and going back and forth quickly.
Other creative activities I’ve tried:
- Finger painting with coloured yoghurt (he was still really young when we first did this one. I should probably try it again with him).
- Paint in ziplock bags taped to the window. Yeah, he completely ignored it. Got a little annoyed that I blocked his view.
- Crayons. He loves pens/pencils already, though getting him to stick to paper is sometimes tough. He did take up a set of triangular starter crayons the other day and played with them for a little while.
- Bathtub paint. Again, he wasn’t interested much in spreading colours around, but he did like scooping it with his fingers and dunking it into the water. He’s enjoyed playing with the empty cups in the bath ever since!
Some things that are still on my list of things to try:
- Sidewalk chalk – a little difficult with how busy the driveway area of our condo complex is. Perhaps we’ll see if Grandma and Grandpa want to try it?
- Cutting & gluing paper (or sticking it to contact paper). Have to be brave enough for the potential sticky mess for this one. I’ve already got some safe scissors for him to use.
- Play dough! He might actually like this one since it also has a mechanical aspect to it. But since he still sometimes explores with his mouth, I want to make one of the homemade varieties so that I know exactly what went into it. Plus I think this will be good to help strengthen his hands a bit more.
Got any other ideas for encouraging creative play for toddlers? Let me know in a comment!
They say that your emergency kit should contain the supplies you need to survive for 72 hours. As I mentioned in my previous post, updating my general survival project status, a company that we deal with at work, gave us a bunch of emergency kits. As promised, here’s my blog post about what they contained . . .
First, they came in these nice red bags. Easily identifiable as an emergency item.
A quick look at the inside and you can see that everything is nicely tucked away in pockets or strapped down. I like this because if you do have to use it in an emergency, it’s nice to know that things will be kept in place and not spill all over the place when you open the kit. There are even extra little loops that could be used to add a few other necessities to the kit.
The kit is designed to be a 72 hour kit for 1 person. So there are little emergency water pouches, SOS rations, some first aid supplies, a whistle, a dust mask, a couple light sticks, and an emergency rescue blanket. There was another card that was included with some suggestions on what else you would want in an emergency kit. It had pretty standard things like flashlight, radio, matches, toiletries, etc. I was impressed that they also suggested you include a pry-bar and an emergency toilet, as these are a couple of items that most people wouldn’t think to include in an emergency kit. I also really like the emergency blanket in there and would like to check it out some more. It’s tiny and I wonder how warm it would really keep you in cold conditions. If it is something that works really well, I think it’s worth tracking down a few more and adding them to our emergency supplies since they were very small and lightweight.
Now for a brief rundown of what I feel the advantages and disadvantages of a kit like this are.
- It’s compact and self-contained. It doesn’t have everything you’d need, but in terms of food, water, and basic first aid stuff, it’s pretty well stocked and in a container that you could carry or strap on if you needed to take it somewhere in a hurry.
- It’s got your food and water supply for 3 days. It’ll do for one person, or for a couple of people for a shorter length of time.
- It’s really easy for people to get complacent when they are handed a kit like this. I’m sure most people don’t even open it to really see what’s inside or think about what other things it might be lacking. Plus the food and water do expire and will need to be replaced in 2017. A lot of people get their kit together and then don’t touch it for years, which means that by the time you need the things in it, they are now expired and useless.
- There’s no guarantee that a major disaster won’t leave you hanging for longer than 72 hours. It might take longer than that to get some services back up and running. Or, even if you do have access to supplies after 72 hours, they may be difficult to obtain. I’m not saying that you should go overboard and stockpile way more than that, but having multiple sources of the essentials will help you survive better in an actual emergency.
- It’s great for a major disaster, but it’s overkill for more common emergencies. Let’s face it, the most common emergency to happen is a power outage. I’m not going to break out my SOS rations for dinner if that happens. It’s good to have other contingency plans for more common emergencies too.
- It didn’t include anything about making a family communication plan. If something happens, do you have an out of town contact to check in with? Do your local family members know where to locate emergency services?
- It isn’t crush/fire proof. If major rubble falls on the kit then all those pouches of water don’t stand a chance. For true survival in a major disaster, having resources available in multiple spots is better in case you are cut off from that area of your house, or your kit gets destroyed as part of the disaster. As it was something that was a giveaway product, I can understand why they didn’t go to the expense of putting it in a crush proof case, but the containers that you have for your emergency supplies should also be taken into consideration.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I think these kits are great and generally speaking, some help is better than nothing. I’m just not going to sit back complacently and feel as though I’m ready now that I’ve got this little kit.
Any advantages/disadvantages you think I missed? Let me know in the comments!
Since this week is my hometown’s emergency preparedness week, I thought it would be a good time to update how my own survival project is going.
Recently I’ve made several small steps forward in getting our house stocked in case of an emergency.
I know that probably doesn’t look like much aside from a pile of crap. And right now it is kind of just a pile of crap. But, amid all the random craft supplies that are waiting to be organized there are first aid supplies waiting to be organized.
Over the past several weeks I’ve been watching for sales and picked up band aids, gauze, alcohol swabs, etc. The final part of my kits that I need are the containers.
In case you don’t recall my earlier post on the Emergency Kit for the car, it recommended using a Nalgene bottle to hold everything. They are compact, crush-proof, and double as a container for water. Luckily, an MEC is opening nearby in June, so I’ll head down and pick up a few. I figure having a crush proof first aid kit in our main house emergency kit isn’t a bad idea either.
A few of the other bits of progress towards our survival project include:
- Finally got our wills deposited into our safety deposit box
- Got an inventory of the contents of our safety deposit box (must still put a copy of the inventory somewhere in the house so people will know what’s there if something happens to us)
- One of the companies we work with gave out free Earthquake kits. I plan on opening the kit and figuring out what’s there in a separate blog post.
- Finally, a small step towards being better prepared for our most common emergency – power outage – picked up a 3 pack of LED flashlights at the grocery store this morning. Now we’ll be able to stash them around the house an have them handy when the power goes out.
Still lots of little things to do, but getting closer and closer to organized and ready.
How prepared are you in case an emergency happens?
I’ve got it. My whole family has it actually. It started with my personal Achilles heel of cold symptoms, the sore throat. I can handle most cold symptoms quite well without complaint, but a sore throat turns me into a big crybaby. I guess it comes from having several bouts with strep throat at a teen and then mono when I was in college. It’s made me paranoid too. But the doctor very kindly looked in my affected orifices, felt the appropriate glands, and listened to my lungs before telling me to pull up my big girl panties and stop being a wimp. But at least I was relieved that I wasn’t going to be debilitated for several weeks like when I had mono.
Anyway, I’ll spare you the rest of the gory details of the cold symptoms. Today, after 2 days of getting 5 hours or more of sleep, I’m finally starting to feel as though I’m getting better. Locutus and Benevolance are also thankfully improving too.
But, May is turning out the be a totally crazy month already. There’s a stag trip for Benevolance this weekend, preparations for a wedding (which Benevolance is playing the piano at), not to mention Benevolance studying for his next exam, and it’s a sumo month too! We’ve decided to cancel any sumo celebrations and I’m just going to focus on getting and keeping the house in order, and hopefully getting back to a few of my projects too!
Speaking of projects, here is the list of things that got derailed from the plague . . .
- My workouts. The rule of thumb is that if symptoms hit below the throat, you stop and rest. But I’m hoping that once my cough fully clears up (this weekend, dare I dream?) I’ll be able to start doing some workouts again.
- My dye projects. There are several shirts that I do not want to be white. I have procured the necessary dye (though I may need salt) and now just need the time/energy to get them dyed.
- Other gift projects. My sewing machine was in for servicing but now it’s back and ready to be used. Once again, I just need the time/space to get the fabric trimmed and get some of these projects finished.
- My crocheted dragon. I was too tired even to work on this little guy. He needs ears, assembly, and a few stitched details. Probably not this weekend, but maybe I’ll find some time next week.
- Blogging! Luckily I had a nice little buffer built up. But that’s gone now, which is why you get this random post of updates instead of something more focused and such. Will work on getting more meaningful content up soon!
Also, we just got some of my old family movies back from being digitized at Costco. I’ll have to find some time and courage to watch through some of the old footage and perhaps put some clips up online for other family members to enjoy too.
This was originally an idea I got from a google reader link that I starred. However, the blog that posted it is now defunct. However, I know that other bloggers have blogged about this issue. So here are 2 excellent posts that are about toxic people and getting rid of them from your life.
I fully support dumping the toxic people from you life. Even toxic family members. I think that the problems caused from dumping someone are much lesser and shorter term than the problems that toxic person causes to your health and happiness. Even though I do a pretty good job in not letting toxic people in to my life, I occasionally slip up and need a reminder on how to deal with them.