Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More on the reading list front

Just a quick entry with a couple of months reading lists!

Mar 2008
  • The True & Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters (Elisabeth Robinson) - this was all written in letters form, which I found annoying but still managed to finish
  • Bubbles in Trouble (Sarah Strohmeyer) - the note to myself says "trash". I think that says it all
  • Ice Blue (Anne Stuart) - murder mystery
  • Small Gods (Terry Pratchett) - always good
  • The Year of Our War (Stephen Swainston) - unreadable. I returned it to the library unread
  • Like (Ali Smith) - very modern. Felt the author just tried too hard
  • The Wedding Day(Catherin Alliott) - chick lit. Ho hum
  • The Chocolate Run (Dorothy Koomson) - chick lit. Very good
Favourite book of the month would be 'The Chocolate Run' which my sister left with me after her visit and has now been passed on to a friend who ended up in hospital.

April 2008
  • Freedom's Challenge (Anne McCaffrey) - fantasy. Quick read
  • The Buenos Aires Quintet (Manual Vazquez Montalban) - didn't finish it as just didn't get into it
  • Summer in the City (Pauline McLynn) - light & trashy. Don't remember this one but I suspect I quite enjoyed it!
  • Chocolate & Zucchini (Clotilde Dusoher) - recipe book from the website of the same name. Enjoyed thumbing through it but didn't take the time to make anything from it
  • Snap Happy (Fiona Walker) - chick lit
  • Nine Layers of Sky (Liz Williams) - fantasy. Unsatisfying
  • The War of the Flowers (Tad Williams) - fantasy. Enjoyable but the library doesn't have the next book!!
  • Just Enough French (Sally Hammond) - author travelled in France for a few months. Ultimately unsatisfying
Can't remember any of these books really so can't pick which was my favourite, probably 'Chocoalte & Zucchini'.

May 2008
  • Deep France (Celia Brayfield) - another author living in France. OK
  • Girls' Night In (can't remember author) - chick lit. Unmemorable [Edited to add: I just "googled" the title and now remember that it was a selection of short stories from female authors. I also remembered that I found most of the stories well below par but I think it was the 3rd book produced so that probably explains it.]
  • Billy Straight (Jonathan Kellerman) - murder mystery. Very good
  • Two for the Dough (Janet Evanovich) - light. Nice to catch up on early book from the series that I hadn't read
So it looks like I didn't do much reading in May - most unlike me. I do remember thoroughly enjoying 'Billy Straight' so its my pick from the month.

At the moment I'm reading Nelson Mandela's biography and I'd have to say that I'm making fairly slow progress. I'm only managing 1 chapter a day and its a BIG book. At the rate I'm going its going to take me more than a month to read it.


Friday, September 26, 2008

First foal of spring

Yesterday driving to work I saw the first foal of the new season. He can't have been very old as he was still very wobbly on his feet. I really enjoy driving past the foaling paddock every morning and seeing how many new arrivals there are. When the foals start arriving is when I know that spring is really here.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last month, or perhaps the month before, I committed to a creative endeavour organised by Nikki-Shell. When I signed up, I thought that I would be able to do this easily. Then - a bonus! We got an extra month to get it completed in!! No problems. Hah!

What I've come to realise is that: a) I'm a complete procrastinator, and b) if it wasn't for the deadline that looms NEXT WEEK, there's no way that this project would ever get underway. To be fair, the realisation that I'm a procrastinator is not a new one and I have systems in place at work that enable me to complete work on time. (One of the best ones is to share with I. what I've actually managed to achieve in a day - it can be pretty humbling as admitting that I've wasted most of a day is not a strong place to stand.)

Anyway, back to the zine. I've already received one from one of the lovely participants but, now its confession time, I've yet to start mine! I've had lots of great ideas but there's been no activity in the execution department. So I'm declaring to all and sundry that before I leave work today I will have completed ONE whole page. [Thinks to herself: today is the 23rd, it must be posted by the 30th, so that leaves 7 days to produce it. I'm going to have to do more than 1 page per day, dammit, or modify the concept!]

So expect some wingeing over the next few days - about deadlines, lack of creativity and why, oh why, have I left this to the last minute again? But I'm not making myself wrong!??! Nope, no time for that, just have to get stuck in and do it.

Edited to add: as of this afternoon I have 1 page done!! 11 to go & counting.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Reading lists - a bit of a catch up

Even though I haven't posted any reading lists for ages, I've still been reading & keeping a record!

Dec 2007:
  • Transformation (Carol Berg)
  • Chasm City (Alastair Reynolds)
  • The Empty Chair (Jeffery Deaver)
  • Portuguses Irregular Verbs (Alexander McCall Smith)
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter (Jane Sigaloff)
  • Polar City Nightmare (Katharine Kerr)
  • Love & Devotion (Erica James)
  • My Legendary Girlfriend (Mike Gayle)
  • Revelation (Carol Burg)
  • Sleep No More (Greg Iles)
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (Alexander McCall Smith)
Unfortunately, I didn't keep any notes on what books I enjoyed or not but I do remember that I was very disappointed with 'Portuguese Irregular Verbs'. I'm guessing that I enjoyed the Carol Burg books if I went on to read the 2nd one in the series.

Jan 2008:
  • She's All That (Kristin Billerbeck) - Christian chick lit (had to read it when it was categorised as that!)
  • Small Town (Lawrence Block) - skim read this. Absolute trash. Don't bother. Thank goodness for libraries.
  • Lot of Love (Fiona Walker) - chick lit
  • The Curse of Challion (Lois McMaster Bujold) - fantasy
  • Vroom by the Sea (Peter Moore) - travel. Have fantasies of doing this sort of thing (travelling by Vespa in Italy)
  • Paladin of Souls (Lois McMaster Bujold) - fantasy
  • The Blessing File (Caroline Morwood)
  • Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (Alexander McCall Smith) - mildly entertaining
  • Natural History (Justina Robson) - fantasy/sci fi. Really couldn't be bothered with it & returned it unread
On to the next month which was . . .

Feb 2008:
  • China Road (Rob Gifford) - non-fiction. Absolutely brilliant and positive. One of those books that I just had to keep reading
  • A Sight for Sore Eyes (Ruth Rendell) - murder/mystery. Depressing
  • Accelerando (Charles Stross) - sci fi. I don't remember this one at all but made a note saying mind bending!
  • Seeing George (Cassandra Austin) - this was categorised as a modern fairytale and was a quick and pleasant read
  • Trading Tatiana (Debi Alper) - modern mystery. Evocative with weird characters
  • The Secrets of Jin-Shei (Alma Alexander) - medieval/historic. Set in China. Completely feminine viewpoint. I found it fabulous
  • Every Boy's Got One (Med Cabot) - chick lit. Nice read
  • Yon Ill Wind (Piers Anthony) - sci fi. Lots of work puns
  • The Last Precinct (Patricia Cornwall) - murder mystery
That will do for the lists for today!


A rave about Spring

The weather here has been fabulous. Beautiful sunny days and moderate winds so that all the blossom trees are blossoming fabulously and not losing the blossom. Some years the blossom only stays on the tree for a day, if we're lucky but this year its just fabulous. Driving through town at 11.30pm on Friday night I was able to see the cherry blossoms between Hagley Park and Little Hagley just glowing in the moonlight (and street lamps) through the trees and over the river. Spectacular.

The daffodils and kowhais are equally as spectacular as well. Apparently all the rain we had this winter has meant that the daffodils have done really well this year. My garden is a riot of gold. There's still snow on them thar mountains which means we may still get a frost but it all just looks great at the moment.

Its amazing the difference a bit of sunshine makes on everyone's outlook on life. After a winter of gloomy weather and LOTS of rain, a few days of sunshine and everyone has perked up. Life is much more pleasant at the moment.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What's been happening, you ask?

Daisies on lightbox (taken in Aug 2007)

I was looking at my photos in iPhoto yesterday, mostly because Photography Club was last night, and I realised that I haven't been taking photos. Or writing any blog entries. Or feeling as though I'm doing much of anything that I used to do before, really. Its not because I'm not doing anything but what I'm doing now is so different to what I was doing a year ago.

The upside of my current interests is that I'm not watching television, but when I do its because its a programme I really enjoy. Even then I record it so that I don't waste time watching adverts. Now, if I'm blobbing out in front of the TV, I can only last a short time before I'm picking up a book instead or even getting up to do the dishes.

But every now and then I do fall back into my bad habit of staying up waaaaayy too late to watch absolute rubbish and end up going to bed at 2am or later. I get so frustrated with myself when I do this because its not as if I was watching anything worth while even. Luckily, I've asked I. to come back downstairs when I do this and to tell me to go to bed (yes, like I'm a 5 year old) and this mostly works. I've promised that I won't yell at him when he does this and I generally go to bed at that point.

Its like I can only last so long before I do something to sabotage any good habits I've developed. I don't know why I do this but in this last week I've noticed something about myself - I've been waiting for me to let myself down in some way, which I did this weekend. I won't be sharing it because I'm not proud of it! But the point is, is that I'm setting myself up to fail. Its like I know I can't keep up the new habit/behaviour/goal so I just wait until I go into sabotage mode (it can take months) and then go "see, I just can't do it" and try to give it up.

When this happens, I then have the perfect "out" so that I don't have to keep going with it PLUS I get to prove that I'm unreliable so don't expect anything of me because you know I'll just let you down! Its an excellent strategy for keeping myself small, which is not what I'm up for.

What am I trying to say? Hmmm, a little bit scary but I think its that I'm no longer going to give myself that option of giving up. Its no longer available. Sorry. That door has closed.

What's next? Picking myself up off the mat when I do fail/give up/whinge and have another go. My favourite quote at the moment is the famous one by Winston Churchill: 'Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.'