Comfort

Reading is not a luxury for me, it is a necessity. As I age it takes longer for my eyes to focus in the morning so I can read the small font on my phone. Some mornings my eyes work after about five minutes, other mornings its hopeless. Today, it was as soon as I woke up. I knew it was going to be a good reading day.

I spent the summer reading a lot of stories that took place on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Escape and travel are my needs. Some years, I spend my summer reading memoirs or intense historical fiction. Considering the state of the world in 2020, obviously I needed some safe place to retreat to. Now that autumn has moved in, summer escapes are not really where I feel like hanging out. But I am not yet ready to forage away from escapes. Seeking comfort in books is like a soft quilt that wraps her arms around you. It protects me from the stress of work, sadness from the news or drama from relationships outside of my tight circle.

Often, I start three or four books until I find the one that holds my interest. I am not that girl that will stick with a book for the sake of finishing it. Life is too short. The day my medical team found an acoustic neuroma living in the left lobe of my brain, I learned very quickly what I like and don’t like. I say yes to awesome and no to awful. Honestly my life is a higher quality and incredibly peaceful since I made that decision. Yes to delicious wine and high quality chocolate, no to broccoli and relish. Yes to real sugar and carbs, no to cauliflower pizza crust and bunless burgers. I say YES to a captivating read or engrossing movie and I walk away if it is boring. I applied this to people and jobs including pharmacists and doctors. People and professionals need to make the cut or I walk and look for something or someone that is a better fit. As a result, my life is really good. I think this is called boundaries.

Lately I remember special characters from books I have read years ago. Like Ria in Tara Road. She is one of those characters that feels real enough to call and pop over for a cup of coffee. I reread the book and realized how much I had forgotten. I learned or paid attention to a different aspect of the story line because I am coming to it from a different perspective. I am older now with more life experience. The messages felt new. It was like reading a completely different book. I have read this book at least a dozen times, I read it three times before Oprah thought it should be a book club selection. I revisited Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. This time I looked at it from the confidant character rather than the protagonist. I first read this in 1998 when it was published. I was still in young hero mode and related to all of Judy Blume’s protagonists. Not this time. It was a lovely trip down memory lane and did two things for me, 1.) Made me curious about Martha’s Vineyard has a holiday destination and 2.) Made me think I should revisit her children and middle school genres.

The comfort I feel from books I read as a child is off the charts. My first novel reading experience without an adult assist was Charlotte’s Web. I read that to my kids when they were young. The animal conversations were chaotic and fun. I forgot about that. I liked how Charlotte made Wilbur feel safe and loved. As a mom, my relationship with Charlotte was stronger. She was some spider.

I have been looking for copies of books that are now out of print. I wish I still had them but our family culture was to trade in books so you could purchase new books or visit the library. Sadly, the library doesn’t keep all the books either. Finding Apples Every Day by Grace Richardson or Mom, the Wolf Man and Me by Norma Klein is an ongoing project for me. I scour every used bookshop I come across. So far with no luck. I still think about those characters and wonder if I would still see what I liked about it in the first place.

This morning I picked up a book I had been meaning to reread for a while. I have only read it once and that was during my dark time – depression had hit me hard. This was before I figured out about boundaries and how important that was for my peace of mind and true happiness. Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert made a big impression on me. It helped me figure out some things and started my introspection to figure out things. Eat the good food, meditate daily, and surround yourself with people you love and WHO LOVE YOU BACK…not those other douches.

EAT: When I first read it, I was still deep in eating disorder mode. Yo-yo dieting in an effort to seek approval. Fuck that. I now eat to nourish me. I still find myself emotionally eating but I recognize it for what it is. The damage has been done but I accept that. My beloved Great Grandmother was round a squishy like me. She gave the best hugs and her shoulder blades never once cut me.

LOVE: When I first read it, I don’t think I knew what love was. I could say it but I didn’t really understand it. I was still doing things to get people to love me. Since then, I learned no one will love you as much as you love yourself. Sounds corny but its true. If I am not going to be good to me and treat me well, I cannot expect anyone else to (sounds a lot like boundaries). Negative self-talk stopped. The dialogue that runs through your head like a mantra… I am not….. (fill in the blank). I learned about Sankalpas – an intention you repeat until you realize it. I am kind, I am loved, I am forgiveness, I am healthy, I am valued… Fill in your own blank but make it positive. Your mind is easily tricked into thinking negatively. Show yourself loving kindness – for real. It is a life changer.

Pray: When I first read it, I had meditated occasionally, usually when I was in a bad way – like going through a divorce – I rolled my eyes at it when I read the Pray part. Who meditates every day? Who has time for that? What good does that do? Well….six years after I began reading Eat Love Pray, I meditated for real. I needed a place to let go of anger and seek peace. Today I have meditated 1379 consecutive days. I started in 2016 with a challenge to myself to go 30 days in a row. Then I expanded it to 365 days. I thought it would be hard but I looked myself in the mirror and and said “Robyn – you are worth it. Do this for yourself.” So I did. It didn’t matter that I was late, everything could wait until I took 30 minutes of me time because I was worth it. Meditation has changed everything. I am calm. I can sit in chaos and watch it with a detachment and problem solve. I am not quick to anger. I see things from a multitude of perspectives. Mostly I love the way it makes me feel. I cannot explain it other than I feel connected to everyone and everything. As if a part of me is in everything and a part of everything is in me. If you meditate you know what I mean. You enter the collective WE and are no longer alone. It took me a year of daily meditation to feel connected. Now it is like breathing. It is a knowing.

Reading Eat Love Pray for a second time should be interesting and I hope comforting. Something that resonates with me in a “I totally get you” way.

Stay healthy friends and keep finding comfort in something meaningful for you. Most of all, be good to yourself.

Endless time

How is everyone doing? I am on day 30 of being safe at home. That is a lot of days and it doesn’t look like it will be changing anytime soon. Summer festivals are dropping like dominos. My favourite ones are done so there’s that. But I am looking forward to summer anyways. With endless time on my hands, I’ve planned a couple of vegetable garden beds using insanely large plastic storage containers, I have a couple of six foot and four foot bins. The plan is to grow root vegetables, so we will see how that goes. At the side of my house I grow sweet peas, I think I will grow green peas and beans instead. I just hope the snowing will stop because I long to sit on my deck and enjoy flowers.

As it warms up I think my baking will slow down. Hot houses and hot stoves are not a good match. Meanwhile, I have been a machine with little projects. I have made green onion cakes, pasta, pizza dough, cookies and cinnamon buns. I am loving it! It has opened up new friend chats as we talk about proving dough and weighing flour. It is weird what I find fun now.

Speaking of fun… Beverly Clearly turned 104 on the weekend. I read a lot of her books when I was in elementary and jr. high. In grade six I read The Luckiest Girl of hers and passed it around the class for others to read. I must have read it a dozen times before I went to high school. I have thought about the characters in the story a lot over the years, so I decided to borrow it from the local library (online because the EPL is currently closed). Can I just say, I was still enthralled with this story and surprised at how well it stood up. The story takes place in the 1950’s but aside from clothing, telephones and hanging laundry, the rest felt pretty current, or at least current enough. The big takeaway is the character development and archs. I think Clearly was an under-appreciated author and was lumped into the children’s category as if that was a slight on her work. It has made me seek out other books I read way back then and see how they hold up.

I am quite impressed with 11 year old me. 11 year old me had an argument with the Mrs. Erickson, the librarian, about how I should diversify my reading repertoire and read new authors and finish what I start. I said why do I have to finish books I don’t like? I still won’t finish a bad or boring book. With the millions of great books out there, why spend time on something that won’t hold my interest? I am looking for more books from my youth like Mom, the Wolfman and me by Norma Klein and Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater to see if they can still capture my attention.

I overheard my son chatting with his girlfriend about how his parents (me and hubs) read to him and his sister every night. AND BIG BOOKS TOO! (Big books?) He mentioned some of the ones that stood out, like Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B.White, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Holes by Louis Sachar and the Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling. We read to them long after they could read to themselves for a couple of reasons. Obviously emotional connection was the number one reason, but critical thinking had to be number two. We would discuss books at dinner and talk about why characters made certain choices or why the author did. When my kids were reading on their own, I would also read the same story so I could talk to them about what they were reading and thinking. These were some of the greatest conversations. It’s why I want to join book clubs and why I am always disappointed in the book clubs I join. People tend to want to go to book clubs for socialization. I want intellectual conversation. I don’t tend to last long especially when people don’t even read the book before the meeting.

So far I have read 11 books for the year. (It’s funny how the number 11 still shows up daily for me). My goal is 40 by December. I will likely reach that goal. But I am looking for a book that hooks me as soon as I read the first page. Any suggestions? I don’t want to have to slog through 100+ pages before I get into it. So don’t suggest those books. I like family generational epics like the Rice Mother by Rani Manicka or Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. I like a good memoir too like Educated by Tara Westover or Spoiler Alert the Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello. Bonus points if it is available in the EPL (Edmonton Public Library) data base. I am in a bit of a fragile state so sad or scary really need to be left on the shelf.

Let me know what you are reading and stay healthy friends!

Direction and Purpose

the path made clear.jpg

If you have been following me on Instagram   You may have noticed I have been busy and doing a lot of things lately. I just haven’t written about them. It isn’t that I haven’t been called or I haven’t had time, I have just … resisted. Its as if I haven’t been myself lately and honestly, I haven’t.

Why you ask? Well, mostly its because someone said to me they didn’t like how I make them feel and blamed me for things that were never my intent or actually did. And I felt horrible. Fear has held me back. But I hung out with my friend Oprah Thursday night and as usual, she schooled me in a thing or two.

IMG_3532

She was promoting her book, The Path Made Clear. I had a copy but because she is Oprah, the most Oprah thing you can do is give away your book…for free. I downloaded the audio version – which, by the way, is my favourite version because she narrates it and her guests recite the quotes. All excerpts from her SuperSoul Sundays. The point of the book and her reason for the tour is to find your purpose.

Now the thing is, you can have more than one purpose. They can appear at different points of your life. For me, being a mother was a driving force. Now that my children are adults, I can see why that was a purpose of mine. I am also one of Mister Roger’s Helpers. This is an actual purpose, I swear.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for thehelpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

I remember him saying this to me, on TV, in my grandmother’s living room. Since then, I have been a helper. I have looked for helpers and when I could, I became one. I helped other children both as a child and as an adult. Sometimes I help other adults. They are harder to help and don’t usually want help. But I do what I can.

My other purpose is to help people up. This is harder to explain. I am aware of my surroundings. When I see a leader or a person in a position of power fail to notice someone, I notice that someone. For example, I thank people for doing their job, for being kind, for being creative and innovative. I thank them or compliment them. Some people go through their life without being noticed and all it takes is for one person to notice and their life is forever changed. Sometimes it’s asking a question that sparks inspiration or its validating their thoughts. Sometimes it’s remembering an important event in their life. Not a birthday but their child’s exam or their dog’s surgery. Something that is meaningful and shows you listen and pay attention. Either way, noticing someone is thanking them for what they do. It is always my hope they will be grateful and smile or express gratitude, but it isn’t a requirement and it doesn’t stop me from helping people up.

But I digress…

Oprah spoke about being small. Glennon Doyle talks about this too. I made myself small and stopped writing. Oprah’s story went something like this… The first year Steadman and Oprah were together, he went to Walgreens for something. A man called out to him “Hey Oprah’s boyfriend! Give me some money!” Stedman was hurt and upset by this and came home to tell Oprah how much it hurt him. At this point, she knew it wasn’t about her. 37000 guests have taught her it is rarely about the person being blamed. She waited for him to calm down and then she spoke. She said, I am Oprah Winfrey and you are my boyfriend. I will not make myself small for you. I have worked hard to be who I am and I am never going back to that small woman. This is about you.

Now Stedman had a tough life as a kid and no one ever saw him for who he was and what he was capable of. It’s interesting to me how the Universe sends you the same scenario or life lesson until you learn it and let it go. He went on to be a prolific writer of 12 novels and he is a motivational speaker on IDENTITY LEADERSHIP. I think he learned the lesson and moved on. Good for you Stedmen!

When I was speaking to this person about my blogs and a book I was writing, this person blamed me for some things and accused me of some other things. I felt terrible they thought this even though what I wrote was never about blaming anyone. It was about examining my life and understand why I behave in a certain way. The cause and effect of things. If they felt guilty, that’s on them. I am not blaming. I am healing. The only way to heal is to look at a situation and see what you can learn from it.

So that leads me to another purpose. Learning. Half the things I learn are by me writing out things and reflecting. It’s how I have conversations with myself. It’s how I teach me things. It’s my process. I have a large following who enjoy that. If you are not one of them, cool. Stop reading, this isn’t for you.

I cried for two hours during the Oprah show. TWO HOURS, ask my pal Rena, she was there and she witnessed my tears and gave me cute little arm rubs in solidarity. She knew why I cried. I cried because Oprah validated me. It was as if she was looking at me and said “Robyn, I know exactly why. You are doing great and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. Don’t be small. Stand in your own power.”

That brings me to another purpose or mine, and its all tied to this blog and things I do because of it. I write I explore, I take risks and explore my feelings. All of these come with why. Why I feel the way I do, why I take risks, why I explore, and why I write. They why is personal. Sometimes I talk about it and sometimes I don’t, but it never is blaming, it is just an explanation.

You can expect to read more from me, I know there have been a few people asking me to write more. I will but mostly it’s for me and I am glad you enjoy it and are along for the ride. Soon you will see posts about raspberry scones, secret valley paths, trips to Disneyland, Shakespeare in the Park and some other things up my sleeve.

But there is one thing I could use your help with. I am learning some new skills and need five (5) people to help me with my practicum. If you would like to have your numerology chart done, please email me at edmtourist@gmail.com I will do a free numerology chart for the first five people who reach out to me before June 26, 2019, at midnight MST. You will be contacted and informed if you will be receiving a free numerology chart completed by me.

Numerology is the ancient science of numbers with each number contributing a unique vibration to the story of your life. One of the benefits of numerology is that it can uncover your life purpose and life lessons you will face along the way to help you make the most of your life’s journey. It is not fortune telling or seeing into the future but it is a way to understand patterns and behaviours you notice in your day to day life and why problems keep appearing in different areas of your life. Numerology provides tools to help you figure out life lessons you have set yourself in your pre-birth plan. Each number has a meaning and it has the same meaning across the different categories. For example, the number 8 is a strong business and abundance number. It repeats a pattern in various ways but always has a money and business focus.

If this interests you, I need a few things from you:

  1. Your name that appears on your birth certificate.
  2. the month, day and year of your birth the way it appears on your birth certificate.
  3. Your Current Name. The name you go by today, your day to day name, first and last name. For example, if your name is Robyn but you go by Bobby, or you changed your last name. This is  your Current name
  4. Optional: After meditating for a bazillion consecutive days (actually its 924 as of today June 23, 2019) I have begun listening to my intuition. I am intuitive. I have been since I was very small. I am learning to rely on this more. Ask me a question about your purpose or path and I will answer/channel to the best of my ability.

What you will receive from me:

  1. A confidential Numerology chart that only you and I will know the details of – and whoever you share it with. I delete charts and do not keep a record.
  2. A chart that focuses on your 7 core numbers and Karmic Lesson
    1. Life Path – Your chosen path
    2. Destiny – your purpose
    3. Soul- This feeds your soul
    4. Personality-How other people see you
    5. Maturity- Potential your growth from 45-60
    6. Birth – Talents and Abilities
    7. Current Name – Additional strengths, lessons and experiences
    8. Karmic- your weaknesses and areas of growth
  3. A chance to ask me an intuitive question where I channel the answer to the best of my ability – I am new at this but so far I have been fairly accurate. Its a muscle I am developing.
  4. An opportunity to discuss your chart and ask me questions about it.

Still interested? Send me an email edmtourist@gmail.com

 

A Year in Books: Born a Crime

29780253I was a huge fan of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart; it was smart, insightful and hilarious. Change is hard for me. I didn’t think a South African native would be the best choice for such a political show. But I decided to give him a chance. His insight into American politics from a South African perspective was fascinating. He lived through apartheid. He knew first had how dictators manipulate their population. He was explaining it to a country who only ever knew democracy,what was coming. He made it less scary.

I then listened to him on NPR’s Fresh Air. Trevor Noah discussed his book  ( although the host is the most is biased and judgemental presenter, I enjoyed how he came back at her with intelligent and thoughtful commentary) and he had me hooked because the man loves his mama.

His life story (he is only 32) was terrifying for a white girl who grew up in socialist Canada where the government looks after lot of things for you. This is not the case for a coloured boy – his words not mine ( which must be prefaced because I am white) growing up during a time that I read about but did not understand until he gave me an account of his life. I could not relate to anything he spoke of which reiterated the fact that I needed to read it. I learned about perspective.

I knew a girl in elementary school who arrived from South Africa and enrolled into my class. She was white, and spoke of her black servants. Telling me everything about south Africa was better because you had servants. Black Servants no less. I met her while North America was watching Roots every night, I knew about slavery and I knew it was wrong. She was trying to tell me servants were not slaves, they were there because they wanted to be there. I didn’t by it. Even at that age, I knew what white privilege was. I had been to school in the Arctic, I was one of a handful of white kids and I knew my white teacher treated me differently. I didn’t understand why my First Nation peers didn’t look me in the eye, now here I was back in Sherwood Park – a white suburb of my Province’s Capital talking to a girl who is telling me the servants chose their life? What? Who chose’s to be a servant? That is a class issue. I bet they wanted to have their own business, go to University became professionals but were not allowed to. She told me I was wrong and I called her a liar. We were never friends. Her name was Susan. Through no fault of her own, she grew up in a situation that clashed with my values and I couldn’t accept her as an equal.

Moving forward, I try to read books that give me someone else’s perspective. I want to understand how other people think given their circumstances. Noah explains his life in a way that is obviously normal to him, completely unbelievable for me. But it helped understand what was going on during apartheid. He spoke of something I think I knew but didn’t recognize it until he spoke about it. Language is a bigger barrier than race. He is fluent in several languages. He used this to his advantage to fit into different groups and tribes because although he looked different, he spoke their language. This confused people but allowed a fast acceptance into their social group. He may not look like us but he understands us, therefore he is one of us.

I think this is an important read for people who are struggling with today’s political climate and racism. Give it a read.

 

A Year in Books: Love Warrior

love-warrior-fulld

Love Warrior: A Memoir

Glenn Doyle-Melton

Available at Indigo, Chapters and Amazon

Yes I read it. I didn’t want to at first. It seemed so – Mommy Blogger. Clearly I am a book snob. It is also an Oprah Book Club selection. I usually do not read her book club books. That’s not true, I have read some either because I read it first as was the case with Tara Road by Maeve Binchy or because it interested me. I will not read a book because the American Nation is reading it. It has to appeal to me. This book did not appeal to me. Then I watched her on Super Soul Sunday – that I watch usually every week because I think these people offer great insight to evolving their spirit and their world. I think it is important to want to be more and not drift through life. Super Soul helps me discover people who are on the same journey as myself.

After hearing Glennon Doyle-Melton’s story, I thought, she is a lot like me and went through a lot of the same discoveries. Okay – I was not bulimic but I have an eating disorder. I was not the party girl/sex girl she was but I did have the same ideas and thoughts about men verses women and how society has boxes for both. It was hard climbing out of those stereotypes – and still is. She made sense to me.

I think everyone between the ages of 40-60 should read the first 69 pages of her book. In those first pages you can clearly see how society defines gender roles and the harm it does. My children’s generation is better at knocking them down, once the old boys club is gone from the work place, I have tremendous hope for the future of humanity…but that is a topic for another day.

It isn’t great literature, it is a memoir. It is raw and honest and very familiar like it is your own story. I found it validating with sections of wisdom I wanted to write down. It belongs on my special bookshelf that holds Eat,Love, Pray and Wild. If you are like me and not willing to accept status quo and want more from your life, then is is a worthwhile read.

Unglued

If you have ever done Preschool Crafts with me or Scrapbooked with me long into the night, you are well aware that I have issues when it comes to adhesives. This one time I was a scrap night with my pals and it was long past midnight. I was so frustrated with some letters I was using. I had applied double sided tape to the letters, and after hours of cutting I had lost the letter I needed most. Could not find it anywhere. Looked under the table, cleaned up my spot, went through the trash…nothing. My friend looked at me with that expression you save for someone who tried hard but never quite gets it. You know what I mean – that awkward kid who just wants to be cool but never will. She had sad eyes and a sympathetic smile as she reached over and peeled an alphabet letter from my hair.

It had become stuck in my curls – forever lost had it not been for the keen eagle eyes of my friend.

I have been known to glue things together that needed to be separate, this list includes my fingers, left nostril and a lock of hair to my eyelid.

I am adhesive challenged.

Ironic.

It’s Ironic because I am typically the glue that holds things together.

My friend had made this comment to me the other day. He said reading some of my stuff is scary because he knows I am holding everything together like glue.

True.

I am the Krazy Glue in most situations waiting or rather wanting to be rescued.

The thing is, I fancy myself as Princess Elizabeth. The Great Robert Munsch Heroine, The Paper Bag Princess who rescues the prince and then dumps him because he is a jerk and she lives happily every after.

pbp

Hmmm.

I have been doing a lot of rescuing lately. When I say lately I mean the past year.

I sat back and took stock of the gluing I had been doing and how well it was working. Typical me fashion, it was holding well, but not in the correct placement. I was feeling the stress of a situation that I didn’t really like, didn’t ask for, nor did I particularly care if this situation continued. So why was I keeping it glued together?

Great question. I asked myself the same thing.

I held this together to see if I could do it. Did I accomplish it? Yes.

I held this together to see if I liked it. Did I? No – it clashed with my values.

I held it together to ease the strain of others. Did it help? Yes.

Do I regret it? No. I learned a ton about myself, others and realized I have a set of beliefs that cannot be swept aside for cash.

I like that about me.

I unglued myself today. It felt like the right thing to do. It was hard doing it, admitting to ungluing. But it was done in such away that bridges are not burning down around me and respect was gained. In the end I did it for me and I know I did the right thing.

I am going to sleep well for the first time in 6 months. Why? Because I rescued myself.

hqdefault

Read with me Mary Poppins

mary poppinsIt may come as a surprise to many of you, but up until the other day, I have never read Mary Poppins.

Shocking, actually. How can one profess to be the biggest Mary Poppins fan (never just Mary) and never have read the book or books?

Guilty.

When I was 6, I lived in Yellowknife, NWT AKA the Arctic in Canada. Yes it was cold, yes it was dark, yes there wasn’t much going on up there. My mom and dad were great lovers of musicals. On Saturdays (house cleaning day) Mom would open up the cabinate stereo and pile 6 albums on to the turntable for endless music. If it was November, it would be Andy Williams Christmas, Catherine McKinnon Christmas, Dean Martin Christmas, Bing Crosby Christmas, Burl Ives Christmas and a Christmas mix of Mel Tormé et al. If it was any other month other than November or December, we listened to the sound tracks to The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man and of course, Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins (film)
Mary Poppins (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I knew every word to every song on that album, both sides. I would read the liner notes and look at the photos on the back of the album. I had no idea what the story was about, but I wanted to see it.

My first musical was a Northern Production of Fiddler on the Roof. This had me enchanted with musicals. If I loved Mary Poppins half as much as Fiddler on the Roof, I knew I would be in toe tapping heaven.

My family had a long standing tradition to see a movie on the last day of school. It lasted until…well it is still happening. I take my kids now on the last day of school even though they usually go to movies now with friends, the “Last Day of School Movie” is still important to them, and that makes me happy. When I was six, the movie theatre (singular, one movie screen) was showing a re-run of Mary Poppins in Yellowknife. The Arctic never got first run anything…ever…. Even football and hockey games came up north by truck in a film can a week later.

My Dad was helping get into my jacket and we had been practicing all the songs for the movie to make sure I knew them..oh I knew them alright, I even knew the spoken dialogue parts. We piled out the door and walked to the movies, Me, Mom and Dad and my baby brother who was 4. We were STOKED!

I sat throught the entire showing wide eyed and enchanted.

Mary Poppins was magnificent! But why had she not ever come to my house? From that day forward, I would wish for her on an evening star.

I have since watched that movie a gajillion times, purchased every possible bit of merchandise available – and trust me, there isn’t very much! I have a Mary Poppins Mug of her flying over the roof tops of London in silhouette, I have a parrot umbrella and I have the Arthur Penguin Magnet. I regret not buying the Mr. Potato Head with Mary Poppins parts when I saw it at Walt Disney World, I figured it would be at another store closer to where the hotel was…but no chance. I have since looked for it every time and no luck. That is my biggest collector regret.

8700389-standard

I know trivia that can win tickets to anything. I know dialogue that impresses even the finest dialog aficionado. I have stalked Mary Poppins and Bert at both Disney Parks in the US. Last week when I was in the Park, I saw the two of them walking off stage, I stopped, yelled and waved “HI BERT!!!! HI MARY POPPINS!!! I LOVE YOU!” I waved wildly like I was four. They both stopped and waved back, then Bert called me over. I ran like I was PRing for the Boston Marathon. I threw my phone at the Trusty Steed and I clung to Bert as if we were just married. sigh………………..

Mary Poppins and my Boyfirend
Mary Poppins and my Boyfirend

 

 

He whispered into my ear that they would be in front of the castle at 1:00 PM and at 2! SQUEEEEEEE I had never had the chance to see the Pearly Band and now I had my chance!!!

I celebrated the fact that Bert loves me and personally invited me to watch him perform by having my very first Ghirardelli sundae in the chalk painting style.

We made it to the castle for 2:00 PM. At 2:01 The Trusty Steed was calling Bert a liar. But then the band started marching towards the Castle and there they were…Mary Poppins and Bert dancing, marching and singing with the Pearly Band. I was standing in the front row surrounded by 4 year olds. I was NOT giving up my spot for some kid who wasn’t personally invited by Bert.

When Mary Poppins saw me, she said “Lovely to see you again”! But when Bert saw me he WINKED ! OH YA! BERT WINKED AT ME!! Eat THAT Brenda, PROOF BERT IS MINE!!

It was definitely a Jolly Holiday!

I am so excited about the new movie “Saving Mr. Banks” and have been watching all the trailers and videos I can get my hands on. I learned the movie used the actual recorded audio tapes of P.L. Travers for the film. Since the film is about the books as much as the movie, I thought I better read the book so I can be better prepared for the movie when it comes out. I like to do my research and be in the know. At the very least, understand the background.

I had always avoided the book because Books and Movies rarely work well together. One always destroys the other for me and I really didn’t want this to happen for my beloved Mary Poppins. The reviews on Good Reads were mixed. One said that the book was butchered by Disney and made into an atrocious film…yikes. Was the movie that different?

I downloaded it onto my iPad and remembered it was a children’s book of 190 pages. Okay, not a problem. I should easily whiz through it and if I hate it…so be it. Julie Andrews will forever be my Mary Poppins.

I was astounded at how closely the events of the movie followed the events in the book. Obviously there was additional things in the movie that never happened in the book, but to be fair, I have only read the first volume. There are several more. The book gave Jane and Michael Banks twin siblings, Barbara and John – Babies who speak in a language that animals, the wind, the sun and Mary Poppins all understand. The book had adventures that the Musical had but not the movie, but there was Tea Parties on the Ceiling, Feeding the Birds with the Bird Woman and Jumping in chalk drawings. Bert was an obvious suitor for Mary Poppins only he was the Match Man, jack of all trades and Sunday Sidewalk artist.

The Carpet bag was empty and full at the same time like the movie and Mary Poppins traveled by talking umbrella and slid up banisters. Admiral Boom lived down the street and Andrew the dog could talk to Mary Poppins…just like the movie.

There was enough differences to make me enjoy the book, but there was enough similarities to make me smile with delight.

I loved it and am now sad I never read it to my children when they were little.

I guess there is always the chances to read it to my grandchildren…and favorite nieces.

I rate P.L. Travers’s Mary Poppins 5 stars and now am more anxious than ever to see Saving Mr. Banks.

I have to say I was delighted.

Read with ME: I got nothing

I didn’t finish any books this week aside from further reading in Managing Projects in Organizations by J.D. Frame…you guessed it, one of my University reading. I also started Running on Empty by a runner dude who’s name escapes me currently. But in keeping with the book theme, Canada Writes posed an interested question:

What does your bookshelf say about your personality?

 

What can we tell about you just by looking at how you arrange your books? Here are some personality types we have discovered by peering into our friends’ and families’ bookshelves. Hover over the question mark in each photo to see if any of them are you.

okvgjaWell this is what my book shelf looks like – sort of – It isn’t really my shelf, it is a WordPress version of my shelf, one of many. My ibooks library has tidied up my life because apparently, I use to be an Anarchist, now I am a digitally organized gal who carries with her about 500 books, 70 pdfs, and several Textbooks all in my handy-dandy iPad.
When I read paper books, all my books were stacked – some still are. I didn’t love them like I love my eReader shelf. My eReader has a shelf for books I am reading, books I want to read, books I read (why can I just not delete books I have already read? I have no idea…it feels wrong) University PDFs and Text books (all arranged according to class). I have 2 different running sections, one for running books, and one for running maps and articles. I have my piano music on one shelf and cooks books on another. I read WAY MORE than I use to. Yet I love to browse books stores.
I don’t get it. Perhaps it is because the world is in transition from paper books to digital copies. Either way, I love books…Which reader are you?

Read With Me: Paul’s Case

Five Stories (short story collection)
Five Stories (short story collection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I am discovering the delights of a short story. When I was in school, it was mandatory to ready them for comprehension tests and literary examinations. I loved O.Henry, J.D Salinger, and Washington Irving but somewhere along the way I stopped reading them. Then I became that old fuddy duddy who read Reader’s Digest out of desperation while waiting copious amounts of time at a friends cabin. I found old mouldy copies in a box in the corner and began reading short stories again. Then I discovered the delights of Maeve Binchy, W.P. Kinsella and Alice Munro. Stories so masterfully told that I would think about the characters long after the 30 minutes was up. I still can fondly recall characters years after I put the story down. Short story authors have a magical way of developing characters in an instant and telling a story about a brief moment in time that sticks with you.

 

My son is currently studying Canadian Short Story Authors and is not enjoying it. I suspect it has to do with the language usage. Older English reads differently than the contemporary literature he currently is enjoys. If you ever read Mark Twain or L.M. Montgomery, then you understand what I mean. I am not referring to Shakespeare, but rather the turn of the 20th Century where language was more formal and slang used in that era is lost on my 17-year-old. I could see him struggling. He suspects he is ADHD, I suspect the content doesn’t interest him. When I was his age, I had a great-aunt who came to live with us for about 6 months. She sat with me and helped me understand the poetry that I despised. While I am still not a great fan, I do know how to make sense of prose because of her. I sat with my son and together we read and analyzed his short story.

 

Paul’s Case by Willa Cather I rate this story 4 stars out of 5. My son gives it a 2.

 

You can find the entire text here.  The story takes place in modern times for the author, 1904, in Pittsburgh and New York. It is the story of a boy who doesn’t fit into society. Although it doesn’t say it, I suspect the author writes the boy as a homosexual. This is not unusual for this time period, Virginia Wolf also wrote about lesbian attractions although for the times, it was discrete and not obvious to the unaware.

 

Paul was unable to feel normal in his surroundings but found peace and excitement in the theater and arts. He fantasized about a life of luxury and had a distaste for the mundane. His mother had died when he was young, and his father worked hard to provide a stable life for Paul and his sisters, yet Paul felt his father was stingy with the money. He thought he deserved a more luxurious lifestyle. His choices and movements were self-absorbed and ultimately changed his life forever.

 

Symbols are a huge part of short stories and I had forgotten that when I did a first read through of this story. I recognized consistencies and was reminded of the prominence of the symbols, the red carnation, money, and the snow.

 

I could not relate to the main character himself, although I could empathize with him. My son couldn’t believe how narcissistic he was.

 

Take a quick read and let me know how you view it.

 

Happy Reading!