A few words on Peter Høeg's Miss Smila's Feeling For Snow...
This was the book I received in my book group's Secret Santa - we all selected a favourite book, wrapped it up, and then exchanged gifts. I'd scanned the back cover of this novel a couple of times, but never quite got down to reading it, so I was pleased to get the chance. I have to say that it was so not the sort of book I like to read, but I guess that was the objective of the Secret Santa and indeed of bookgroup: to read things you might not normally be drawn towards and thus expand the scope of your reading. While I could appreciate the skill of the writer, I found myself bogged down by the dense scientific descriptions, and bemused by the incredulous plot. Perhaps my biggest problem with the book, however, lay with the protagonist, Smila, and my inability to believe in her as anything other than a male creation. All those negatives aside, I really couldn't see where the book was taking me and how it would end, and that was both refreshing and exciting. As for reading a book about snow and ice in the heat of a WA Summer? A very strange experience indeed.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I know it's "natural" (I am slightly wary of this word) not to know the gender of your baby until it's born, but I've not had this experience before and it is doing my head in a wee bit. With my first, I was desperate to know because I wanted a daughter and was worried that I would feel in some way disappointed to have a boy. There are so many unknowns during your first pregnancy and I really cherished the knowledge that I was carrying a girl. I still couldn't in my wildest dreams have imagined that she would look like she does, or be the person she is, but it did help to know this one thing. With my second, my husband really wanted a surprise, but I convinced him that we should find out - my GP thought it might help my daughter to know whether she was having a brother or a sister, and this seemed like a good enough excuse to me. I thought we were having another girl, but when we discovered the baby was a boy, we were shocked for about 5 minutes before the elation set in. My husband had always pictured himself with two daughters, so I think it was more of a surprise for him. This time, I promised that he could have his "it's a boy" or "it's a girl" moment at the birth, but at the 20 week scan I was once again tempted to find out. Now we have passed that opportunity, I'm finding the not knowing rather peculiar. It's not a matter of pink or blue - I've always actively tried to resist that and besides we have an abundance of both - but more a matter of imagining the baby into existence and ascertaining what their place in our family will be. At times, I've been convinced it's a girl, but then I've also been obsessing over boy names. I keep changing my mind about whether it would be better for the family dynamics to have a boy or a girl. My daughter would love a sister - in fact I am a little worried about how disappointed she will be if it's a boy - but I wonder how she will feel in years to come about having a sister who is four years younger than her, one who will probably like borrowing her clothes and checking out her boyfriends. Of course, it is all unknown really. Personalities will play their part and my handling of their interactions will determine, to an extent, how our family functions. The other issue is that my husband has taken to teasing me about names: he says if it's a girl, I can choose whatever name I want, but if it's a boy, he thinks we should call him Jupiter. I'm not entirely sure how serious he is...
Thursday, January 12, 2012
I just placed my first online grocery shopping order - a trial to see how it all works. Ten bucks on delivery seems like a very reasonable price to avoid shopping with my children in tow. All part of the "be more organised" master plan. The only possible problem? I've discovered you can add magazines to your order. This time I resisted, but let's just say that I have a bit of a habit...
(Please note my taste in mags has improved slightly since this photo was taken.)
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Wouldn't the world be such a nicer place if we were less affronted by other people's decisions to live their lives differently to the way we live our own? As if choosing one way is a rejection of all other ways. It's quite possible that I'm feeling a little sensitive at the moment, but I've noticed some negative comments coming my way regarding certain choices that I (or we) made, and wish it wasn't so. What I've come to realise now that I'm older and ever so slightly less self-absorbed, is that more often than not these critical remarks are more about what's going on in someone else's head, and nothing to do with me or my life. Surely the important thing is that we feel happy with our choices? Leave other people to make their own. Non, je ne regrette rien.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
A few months back, I was looking through a shoebox of keepsakes with my daughter, when I found a funny little list of resolutions. It was from 1996, the year I turned 16, and was typed up and bullet-pointed. It had been stuck in the front of my diary, but at some point I must have ripped it out, thrown away the diary (most definitely not worth keeping), and slid it into this box. What I found most interesting about this list was how, give or take a few, I could easily have compiled the same list of resolutions this New Year's Eve, 16 years later. So broad and generic were the resolutions that they could apply year after year after year. Whether or not one fulfilled them was really such a subjective matter that I had obviously set myself up not to fail. Anyway, navel-gazer that I am, this got me thinking about my resolutions this year.
My main one is to be more organised. I have been suffering from 4am panics regarding the logistics of "managing" 3 under 5. If we're all to stay sane and happy then I'm going to need to get a little more on top of some things, while excepting that standards may have to be lowered in certain areas. Perhaps I could give up washing my hair every single day? Would scrambled eggs for dinner, now and again, be acceptable? Maybe I really should do just one big food shop each week? Anyway, I've decided I have to get my stuff together a bit more and stop winging it all the time. I'm never going to be one for spread-sheets, but a touch more forward-planning could make a lot of difference.
Aside from that biggie, my other resolution is far more specific. I've selected 12 books from my bulging shelves of mostly unread novels, and set myself the goal of reading them over the next 12 months. They won't be all that I read (I'll have book group choices too), but hopefully this will help me focus and possibly (yeah, right) even stop me from buying more and more and still more books. I may even try to write a few sentences about them on this blog. So, here's the list:
- Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg
- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
- The Shark Net by Robert Drewe
- Samarkand by Amin Malouf
- The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell
- Gilgamesh by Joan London
- How Children Learn by John Holt
- Wonders of a Godless World by Andrew McGahan
- the boat by Nam Le
- Joe Cinque's Consolation by Helen Garner
- This Side of Brightness by Colum McCann
- The Submerged Cathedral by Charlotte Wood
Yep, still typing up and bullet-pointing my resolutions. Happy (and productive) New Year!