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.

Accepting Differences

Like my dogs, I am different. I do not follow the crowd. And I march to my own beat.

From a very young age, I have understood difference. I didn’t look like other children. My mom was not like other moms. And my childhood was not like that of other children.

But, that’s okay.

As I grew older, I began to understand difference in other ways. People not only looked and grew up differently, but also thought and behaved differently.

But, that’s okay.

I have friends from all walks of life. We look different. We grew up different. We think differently. And we behave differently. Most of my friends would never become friends with one another.

But, that’s okay.

After completing my Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Public Policy, I decided to work towards a Bachelor of Social work. I learned about even more differences between people. I learned of attitudinal differences. And of differences I cannot appropriately name.

But, that’s okay.

Because I’m different, I work extremely hard to accept the differences of others.

I try not to judge. I question, in an attempt to learn.

This is why, it really bothers me to see others judge and make assumptions about myself and others.

We’re all different. We all come from a different beginning. We’ll all end up in a different spot.

Why is this not okay?

Why must we stop talking about the differences? Why must we only acknowledge the similarities? Why can we not ask questions, learn from one another, and accept each others views?

It’s because we’re afraid to leave our own experiences and beliefs at the door.

And, that’s not okay.

International Day Of Mourning And Memory

Dave Hingsburger of Rolling Around In My Head, would like to start an annual event and has asked his readers to spread the word.

Here is a little quote from his announcement –

“I propose the ‘International Day for Mourning And Memory of the Lives of People With Disabilities’. The day would be one of remembrance of those whose lives were not celebrated or remembered, the lives of those who were slaughtered by care providers or brutalized to death by bullies. It would also be a day to remember the entire disability community – the elders who came before and who made the world different and better. It would be a day where a moment was taken to pause and reflect and remember.”

So, without further a due, I would like the readers of ruled by paws to help me help Dave in his quest to make January 23rd, 2012, the first annual ‘INTERNATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING AND MEMORY OF THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES!

A new Semester

On Monday, I started another online course through the University of Guelph. There weren’t too many options for winter semester, so I chose Business & Consumer Law, through the Department of Marketing and Commerce Studies.

From reading the course outline, it looks as though this course will be a little tougher than I had hoped. In addition to my online participation, there will be an assignment, a midterm and final examination. I’m not too worried about the online participation or assignment portions of the course, but am not too excited about the midterm or final because both will be multiple choice.

I’m hoping that as long as I study hard, that maybe I can defy the odds and for once, actually do well on a multiple choice exam.

Please wish me luck!

The Occupy Movement

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After participating in last month’s Disability blog Carnival, I decided to take part again. This round is being hosted by Sharon of After Gadget, and the topic is Occupy – as in the Occupy Movement.

When the Occupy Movement first began, I thought it was kind of an interesting concept. People joining together to “take back our democracy and build a new economy”.

As time has passed though…

I have found myself more and more skeptical of its effectiveness and continue to wonder if the ‘99%’ includes people like myself.

If the Movement were successful, would I benefit? Would the world become more accepting and accommodating of people with disabilities?

Or would we be pushed aside, and left to fend for ourselves in an even more undemocratic and economically unbalanced society.

I’ve given these questions a lot of thought. Though I do not feel my life is where I’d like it to be, I’m not sure I want to support a Movement that lacks clear direction and that has not explicitly told me how my life will be any better without the corrupt politicians and money-hungry corporations.

I wonder if Canadians realize that in order for the Occupy Movement to truly succeed we would have to agree to reduce our standard of living…

Maybe I’m wrong, but I really do not see that happening.

I have friends who are huge supporters of the Occupy Movement and feel that this is the beginning of something better, but I do not fully agree.

If we didn’t have the multinational companies such as Apple and Microsoft for example, people like me would not be able to be independent, participate in social media or even work in some cases. Do you really think a “Mom and Pop” shop would choose to invest in creating accessible products for people with disabilities? The products made by the multinationals are already expensive because the target user group is small, so why would a “Mom and Pop” shop choose to take such a risk?

When Steve Jobs passed away in October of this year, many disabled bloggers wrote posts on how he had changed their lives. Without companies like Apple, who have made accessibility out of the box a priority, many of us would not be able to enjoy cell phones that connect us with the world, or even communicate with others independently outside the home.

I couldn’t imagine a world without screen readers, Braille displays and accessible cell phones – could you?

Even though I think it’s wonderful to see people from all walks of life joining together for a ‘united’ cause, I’m not sure, a single person has stopped to think about the repercussions of such a movement succeeding.

I have, and this is why, I am not willing to support The Occupy Movement.