Showing posts from April, 2012

Mondays on the Margins: Coincidence Detection by Selaine Henriksen-Willis

Selaine Henriksen , an Ottawa writer, contacted me after reading one of my year-end book review posts (which I posted at the next year's beginning - doesn't everyone?). She asked if I would review her self-published book if she sent it to me. I said sure, and then afterwards I thought oh crap - this could be really awkward if I hate it. Fortunately, I quite liked it. From Goodreads:  Jane is a private investigator specializing in missing persons, but considers reading her true passion. She reads at every opportunity and her choice of books is eclectic. Over the course of time she has noticed that whatever she happens to be reading parallels her life. Her husband says this is just coincidence, to which Jane responds that keeping an open mind in order to detect and use these coincidences helps her solve cases. Jane is just starting to read a new book, Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook," when she is hired to find a missing girl. In this, Jane's first reco

My Own Worst Enemy

Okay, so who's going to strong-arm me into keeping my appointment with the allergist on Thursday? Does anyone else wait months and months to see specialists who might be able to address a years-long problem and then get incredibly, morbidly pessimistic about the whole thing as the appointment approaches? No? Just me? Somebody throw me a frikking bone here? I do this all the time. Allergist, sleep specialists, respirologists, endocrinologists. I write it on the calendar in big letters and feel like I've done something positive and pro-active. Then as the appointment approaches I think, oh why bother? What if he's mean? What if he's arrogant and dismissive? What if he thinks I'm just a fat hysterical housewife? What if he's one of those doctors who angered by that woman who came up with the plastic-wrap wrinkle cure? I don't have many wrinkles - WHAT IF HE THINKS I'M USING IT? Of course, a lot of specialists ARE mean bastards. When I had the infection

Mondays on the Margins have been postponed due to my post-traumatic field-trip disorder

Eve's class has been going to the community pool for the last three Mondays to learn 'life-saving skills'. It was great. She's been a very slow starter in swimming; she loved being in the water, but she wouldn't jump in, didn't like going under water, and needed water wings well after the other kids her age were eeling around without flotation devices. This was fine until she went to summer camp last year and couldn't pass the swimming test and ended up having to hang around in the shallow end with little boys in life jackets. So I put her in a private swimming class, and she's made enormous progress. Over March Break, my friend and I took the kids swimming and she passed the swimming test easily, even though it was a long swim in water over her head. She got a little nervous before the first Monday, but passed the test again, didn't have to wear a lifejacket, somersaulted into the water and jumped off the diving board for the first time ever. She wa

Surly Thursdays

In truth, I am not the least bit surly today. I got up and got the kids off, went for a lovely walk in the sun, got a few groceries, put some pictures in frames, and finished my exam. Matt gets home tonight and I'm going to a book launch tomorrow night with Pam and Denise . I also don't feel like the world is an inescapable vortex of cruelty and pain at the moment - it's a little thing, but it's a nice thing. However, for you, dear readers, imaginary though you may be, I will happily recall some random surlinesses of the past few days? What was it that Wordsworth said? Something about extreme, eye-stabbing, ball-hoofing bitchiness recollected in tranquility? (I'm probably paraphrasing). I've been saving up my pet peeves for one of the Scintilla posts I missed anyway. Hence: 1. My exam. Specifically, my utter inability to grasp the inner workings of the Dewey Decimal System no matter HOW HARD I try. I took a first pass at it yesterday, then fed the kids supp

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

I still don't really know what the hell I'm doing, but the fog has lifted a little, so I'm just going with it, gratefully. My husband is in Poland (he emailed from the plane that he thinks he finally gets my mother, as he was settling down for a six-hour ride with a bunch of hyper-manic 60-plus-year-olds. Yikes). I get my four-day take-home exam at nine tomorrow morning, but I have to go to the school to walk over to the high school with Angus's class at eleven. In the rain, it looks like. When I would much rather just hunker down over the freaking exam for ten hours and get it DONE, but oh well. Matt figured out that if I get zero on the exam I should still get 52 in the course, so it's all gravy. Right? The whole week-end was pretty much an exercise in survival. Not that there was much to do, but I just felt the constant urge to go curl up around the hard, spiky ball of sad and icky and hopeless and bad that was lodged under my ribcage, and Matt left Saturday

Ravelled, Still

You know the kind of insomnia you get where you lie in bed and you're comfortable enough but you can't fall asleep because your mind starts going too fast and you plan what you're going to put in the loot bags for your  kid's next birthday party and try to figure out if you have all the ingredients for lasagna in the fridge for tomorrow night and go through the entire song list from Miss Saigon and finally you drift off? That IS the kind of insomnia I'm having this week. Which is definitely better than that whole 'is someone sticking pins in a voodoo doll that looks like me right now?' deal I had going on last week, although there's still the problem of not, you know, sleeping at night. Today Angus was home sick. I was still awake at four, so I cancelled my physio appointment and slept until nine-thirty. I got up and cried in the shower and worried that my son thought I was a useless waste of a human being who lazed around being a big lazy lazyhead w

Mondays on the Margins: You comma Idiot by Doug Harris

From the publisher: "Marginalized and alienated, perennial fuck-up Lee Goodstone is a resounding zero: a low-rent hash-dealer with delusions of inadequacy. He's content to while away the hours of his life drinking, smoking, hanging out, playing the occasional game of hockey, and generally ignoring the world outside his tiny neighbourhood. But Lee's near-idyllic existence is about to grind into second gear. His friend Henry has been accused of kidnapping and Lee's been cornered by the local media. Another friend has decided to shoehorn his way into Lee's drug business. And he's just made it with his best friend's girlfriend. Clearly, Lee needs a Plan B — not easy for a guy who long ago decided that the correct plan of action is to have no plan at all.  A hip, comedic novel, Doug Harris' YOU comma Idiot is a dark, demented, deeply delightful excursion into youthful alienation and ennui." In the reviews on the first page, Zoe Whittall from Th

My Sleave Remains Stubbornly Unknitted-up

I'm starting to write this post without titling it, which means that I will very likely forget to title it before I hit publish, and Betsy will take my award away, and THAT is the kind of week it's been! (okay, never mind, I remembered. My cleavage/captioning award is unthreatened.) You know the kind of insomnia you get where you lie in bed and you're comfortable enough but you can't fall asleep because your mind starts going too fast and you plan what you're going to put in the loot bags for your  kid's next birthday party and try to figure out if you have all the ingredients for lasagna in the fridge for tomorrow night and go through the entire song list from Miss Saigon and finally you drift off? Silvano was suffering from a rare disease called  fatal familial insomnia (FFI),  in which sleep is replaced by a terrible  "state of hallucinated lucidity". That's NOT the kind of insomnia I've had this week. This week I had the ki

Mondays on the Margins: 419 by Will Ferguson

419 Will Ferguson A startlingly original tale of heartbreak and suspense A car tumbles down a snowy ravine. Accident or suicide? On the other side of the world, a young woman walks out of a sandstorm in sub-Saharan Africa. In the labyrinth of the Niger Delta, a young boy learns to survive by navigating through the gas flares and oil spills of a ruined landscape. In the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims. Lives intersect, worlds collide, a family falls apart. And it all begins with a single email:  “Dear Sir, I am the son of an exiled Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help ...” 419  takes readers behind the scene of the world’s most insidious internet scam. When Laura’s father gets caught up in one such swindle and pays with his life, she is forced to leave the comfort of North America to make a journey deep into the dangerous back streets and alleyways of the Lagos underworld to confront her father’s killer. What she f