Time for a Break

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about a break from blogging. I’m talking about a break from school.

As everyone has probably noticed, I’ve been adding some long-awaited updates on a variety of things we’ve been up to. Sorry for the back dating, I just want the blog to sort of be chronological.

I handed in my final assignment for the semester yesterday afternoon and finished marking all of the papers for my two tutorials, so it’s time to start my Christmas break!

It has been a VERY busy semester. Part of it was me trying to figure out how things work as a graduate student, but most of it was the marking and assignments. I’m not complaining though, I loved it all!

I think I did pretty well this semester.

last week I had to hand in a proposal to request permission to do the 2 year thesis option. I’m still waiting for a response. I hope they like my idea.

Hmmm, what else can I tell you.

Next semester I am signed up to take a policy course and another class that will explore the world of animal therapy, so I’m pretty excited about those.

Well, that’s it for school updates. I’m off until January 5th, so I hope to do some work on the blog and post a little more often.

I hope everyone is doing well and I look forward to sharing more of our adventures.

Magical Gem

Our friend, Sam, has her horse racing and trainer license. She used to race regularly, but now tends to only help friends warm up or care for their horses. Huib works with her and we became really good friends almost immediately.

On Wednesday her friend’s horse, Magical Gem, was racing at Grand River raceway in flora, so her and I took off for the track. When we arrived, we went directly into the stables and I got to meet Gem and meet several of her friends which included a couple jockeys, like Sylvain Filion, that I often hear about when we go to watch horse racing at Mohawk.

It was SO cool! I have always loved horses, so it was really neat to be able to get up close and personal with real race horses and their owners, trainers and drivers.

When it was time for Gem to race, we went out to the benches to watch. gem did well at first, she was in third place until the last quarter. then she broke stride and fell back to fifth or sixth place.

Magical Gem is a two year old copper coloured Bay. She is dappled and has a bit of white (I think) on a couple of her legs, but otherwise I think she’s just copper colour. she was very patient when getting her gear on and she really enjoyed the attention she got from us.

I stand with gem in her stall at Grand River while she waits to go home.

After Gem’s race, we went into the horsemen dining room and ate with Sam’s friends herb and Caroline. they were so interesting to talk to and really nice to me. When dinner was finished they got ready to load gem back into the trailer to go home, so Sam and I took off.

I can’t wait to go to another race with Sam, she does an amazing job at explaining what is happening.

Books That Make You Think

Have you ever read a book that left you thinking? A book that left you thinking, yes, that is exactly how I feel?

Well, I’m reading a series that is doing just that.

I’ve just begun reading the In Death series by JD Robb (Nora Roberts), from the beginning.

So far, I’ve read the first four books; “naked In Death”, “Glory In Death”, “Immortal In Death” and “Rapture In Death”, and have begun the fifth.

Before I go into what the books are about and my review of them, I’ll explain why the series has me thinking, “Yes! This is exactly how I feel” and “Maybe I should change the way I feel”.

Intertwined with the crime and mystery aspect of the books, is the relationship between Eve Dallas, the main character, and the former thief turned Irish billionaire who loves her, Roarke.

Now, you’re probably wondering, how does this apply to my life…here it is…

Throughout the progression of the relationship between Eve and roarke, she’s constantly asking herself why this man, who could have any woman he wanted, wants her and loves her so deeply. she sees herself as nothing more than a broken child who worked her way up to becoming a superstar homicide lieutenant. meanwhile, rorke is a handsome billionaire who could have any woman in the world.

It sounds so weird, but I find myself asking this same question about Huib. I know he loves me to death, but I keep wondering why. Why did he choose to be with me? Why does he feel content with supporting me and with being responsible for helping me, when he could have chosen to ignore my attempts at making him notice me (almost 13 years ago) and be with someone less demanding of his time and efforts?

I guess Eve and I both share the common feeling of not being worth the effort. Of not being anything special, but ourselves.

After months of trying to make Eve understand why he feels so deeply for her, and to show her that she is indeed worthwhile, Roarke finally gets angry and says it straight out. He tells her that he needs and wants her, and that she needs to learn to just accept that.

This is when I began thinking. thinking about my questions regarding why Huib has chosen me. thinking about what sorts of issues my questions might be causing without me knowing. Thinking about why I shouldn’t feel worthwhile and deserving of Huib’s love and devotion.

Huib has chosen to be with me. We have been together for almost thirteen years. We’ve been married for almost seven and a half years. Does it really matter why he chose me? Does it really matter why he cares so deeply? I do deserve to be with Huib, so I’m going to stop over thinking things and just accept the fact that I need him (not financially, but emotionally) and just maybe, he also needs me.

Instead of going into what each book is about, I’ll just say that I love the series so far. the outcome is a little predictable, but you’re always left wondering who the “bad guy” is up until the end. It’s a little hot and steamy when you get to the parts involving eve and roarke at home, but there’s enough crime and suspense mixed into the book, so you’re not left feeling as though you’re reading a cheesy romance novel.

So far, I have twenty-four books to read from the series, but there are another ten or more after that I need to find.

It’s always fun to have a series that pulls you in, especially one that goes on for so long.

Food For Thought

As mentioned earlier, I am taking an online course through the University of Guelph, called The economics Of Food Usage.

We are entering week six of the course, and I am finding there to be a lot of repetition in what people are writing in their discussion posts.

The most popular answers are:

* Food contamination;
* environmental Degradation;
* Social Inequalities; and
* Genetically Modified Organisms.

I’m not sure why, but it seems as though the above are the only possible responses to questions being posed in this class.

this week is my group’s opportunity to lead the online discussion, so I was doing some web searches to find some interesting resources I might offer on supply chain management – I know, so boring, but that is what we were assigned!

here’s an interesting link I came across that discusses the recent debates on GMOs and Monsanto:

I Learned I am the Problem

An interesting viewpoint, isn’t it?

Book #3 Of 2012

This past weekend, I finished my third book of 2012.

I had started reading a book by Mary Higgins Clark, but found it difficult to get into, so started “24 Hours” by Greg Iles.

I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to see if this author has written any other books. It was suspenseful to the very last page and I found it hard to put down, but my poor fingers got quite sore after a couple hours of reading so I had no choice.

“24 Hours” is about an elaborate kidnapping for ransom plot that has been successfully carried out five previous times. The ring leader, Joe Hickey, is both an intelligent and vengeful individual. He learns everything possible about the families he will target and has both his wife and cousin assist in the crime. The book follows the crime from start to finish, exploring the thoughts and feelings of each family member, while exposing the flaws with Hickey’s plans. The Jennings are not just any family. They are so deeply united that even the five year old daughter becomes an unexpected problem for Hickey and his accomplices.

I am not sure what book I will tackle next, but as of right now I must focus on studying for my final examination I do on Friday.

Book #2 Of 2012

Today I finished my second book of 2012. As mentioned in my previous post, I decided to read “4th Of July” by James Patterson.

I really wasn’t a fan of this book until about halfway through. I didn’t like the writing style or the way the author decided to break it into small chapters that really made no sense as to why it ended or started where it did. Once I was used to these annoyances though, I began to really like the book and had trouble putting it down.

The book starts with the main character, Lieutenant Lindsay Boxer, entering a seedy hotel room where a teenage boy had been murdered. A week or month later Lindsay is out with her friends, Claire and Cindy, and she gets a call from her former police partner, Jacobi, to inform her of the suspect’s vehicle being seen near the hotel where the teenage boy was murdered. Jacobi picks Lindsay up at the restaurant and this leads her into a situation that could result in her losing her job and having her reputation destroyed. While Lindsay’s trial is in progress, Patterson introduces another murder case into the mix which catches Lindsay’s attention while she’s on leave.

I liked the fact that I had no clue as to who the murderer was going to be and how the book was going to end. I liked that there were not only one, but two different cases happening and both were quite suspenseful in their progress. I can totally see myself reading another of James Patterson’s Women’s Club Mysteries.

The next book of 2012 which I have decided to tackle is “On the Street Where You Live” by Mary Higgins Clark.

Book #1 Of 2012

I’ve observed a lot of people posting summaries and thoughts on books they’re reading, so I thought I’d do the same.

Almost a week ago now, I finished reading my first book of 2012!

I read all of my books in Braille and I am not a fast reader so, I probably won’t get even close to the numbers of books read this year that others do, but I still think it’s a neat idea to keep track and share the good and the bad points of books I’m reading.

In 2011, I read about seven books. This year I’m hoping to try doubling that, but we’ll see how things go.

The first book I read this year was “Birthright” by Nora Roberts.

This is my second book by Nora Roberts, and I really liked “Birthright” as much as I enjoyed her book “Blue Smoke”.

The book starts out with a young mother (Suzanne Cullen) and her two children (3 month old Jessica and 3 year old Douglas) lined up to see Santa. Doug really has to go to the washroom, but also really wants to see Santa so decides to wait until he’s done. As they approach Santa, Doug begins to feel nervous about the jolly man in red, but goes up and allows himself to be picked up and placed on Santa’s lap. Then, Santa lets out a loud, jolly “Ho, Ho, Ho” and Doug tries to get away, falling on the floor and wetting himself. Suzanne runs to comfort her son, leaving Jessica fast asleep in her stroller. Second later, Suzanne begins screaming because Jessica is gone.

The book then moves to a construction site where ancient bones are discovered.

Callie Dunbrooke, a successful, young archeologist is called in to head the excavation with her ex-husband Jacob Graystone, an accomplished anthropologist.

At first it seems as though the book will be similar to one by Kathy Reichs, but then there’s a twist. Callie is approached by Suzanne Cullen, who has seen her on television and believes she is her long-lost daughter, Jessica.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of science, mystery and romance, this book offered. I’m not usually one to appreciate romance novels, but felt Nora Roberts did an excellent job at blending the personal lives of each character into the twists and turns of the journey Callie embarks upon to solve the mystery of her past.

I couldn’t help wondering what I’d do if I were in Callie’s position.

Would I have the same burning desire to know the truth, even though it would almost certainly change every relationship I had ever known…?

Would I want to have a relationship with my biological family?

Would I be able to trust again?

The next book I’ve decided to tackle for 2012 is 4th Of July by James Patterson. I’ll post a summary and my thoughts when it’s complete.

No Thanks Cupid

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Historically, February 14th was a holiday meant to honour the Christian martyrs who were all named St. Valentine. According to a Google search, the holiday was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, but was removed from the Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.

Around the 15th century, the holiday developed into one where lovers began to express their love for one another.

In the early 19th century hand written notes gave way to mass produced greeting cards. And in the mid-twentieth century additional gifts such as roses and chocolates were added. Finally in the 1980s, the diamond industry began marketing Valentine’s as a time to also give jewelry.

Valentine’s Day has become an overly commercialized holiday where we are bombarded for weeks with advertisements and messages telling us to make sure we get the perfect gift or we’ll be in the proverbial “doghouse”.

It’s no longer an opportunity to celebrate the special bond between significant others, but has become a day of stress and disappointment. Men rush from store to store, trying to find the perfect gift for their girlfriend/wife, while women imagine the ideal present, only to be disappointed when their husband/boyfriend arrives with flowers, chocolate or a cute little teddy.

Huib and I do not celebrate Valentine’s Day. We don’t see the need for a special day to say “I love you” or for giving one another a gift. We believe in saying “I love you” daily, and giving one another gifts when the opportunity presents itself.

Even though I love chocolate and could always use another teddy to add to my stuffed animal collection, I’d much rather have huib surprise me with one out of the blue, instead of being given one because it was expected.

So, instead of Happy Valentine’s Day, I say no thanks Cupid!

Fifty Three

Today would have been my mother’s 53rd birthday. Unfortunately though, as mentioned in this post from September, she left us at 39.

I often wonder what life would have been like for my mom if she had not gotten diabetes at the age of 11.

Would she still have become a nurse?
Would she have had me and Brandi?
Would our step-dad still be in our lives?

I often wonder what mom would be like if she hadn’t passed away at the age of 39.

Would she still have her long, thick, dark brown hair? Or would it be predominantly grey.
Would her and our step-dad still be together? Or would their paths have taken a different route.
Would she still live in a small apartment in Aurora? Or would she have bought a house in the country.

I often wonder what life would have been like if she had not left us so soon.

Would I have taken the same academic paths?
Would Brandi have had such a rough time growing up?
Would I be with Huib?

It’s days like this, when I stop and wonder, how different life could or would have been if we were celebrating mom’s birthday with her, instead of just remembering.

Even though you’re not here physically, I know you’re here in spirit.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Married Six Years

Today Huib and I celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary.

I feel as though I’ve written everything possible about our wedding and can’t really think of anything new to add, so I thought I’d share six pieces of advice that have made our relationship work.

I’ll tell you now, our relationship is not perfect by any means, but these are some of the most important pieces of advice we were ever given.

1. Never go to bed angry.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
3. Never let a problem become to big to handle.
4. It’s not always necessary to be right. It’s okay to compromise.
5. Make sure to take time to just enjoy one another’s company.
6. Dinner doesn’t have to be on the table when you get home from work. We live in a time of shared responsibilities.

LOL, I made up the last one because some of the other pieces of advice we were offered aren’t really PG.

but in all seriousness, the other five I listed were given to us by some pretty amazing couples, so hopefully by following them we can be just as wonderful.

The past six years have been wonderful beyond my wildest dreams, so I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

Huib, I know you don’t read this blog often, but thank you for asking me to be your wife and thank you for continuing to provide me with never ending love and support.