Day 13 — A fictional book

The book I am currently reading (or trying to!) is The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. It’s the follow-up book to one I mentioned earlier – Oryx and Crake. Broadly, it is a dystopia story, set in a time in which corporations rule, and the world is starkly divided into the haves and the have-nots. So just your standard sci-fi fare really.

But I really love the way that Atwood builds a story, and how she breathes life into her characters. I’m about a 3rd of the way in and although I love reading, and really want to sit down and absorb this book for a day or two, I just don’t seem to find the time.

Hockey, skating, dancing, running, socialising, working, eating, sleeping, wife-mother-nana-ing take up so much damn time!

Day 12 — Whatever tickles my fancy

Stephen and I have been on the hunt for the perfect pancake pan. We like to make pancakes together – sometimes on a Saturday for lunch with the Frompson crew, and sometimes just the two of us on a Sunday morning. We have yet to find the perfect pan for our pancakes.

A few weeks ago, Stephen found the perfect single-egg pan (photo: top right). Jealous, I want a perfect pancake pan. It needs to be small, and much shallower than a normal frying pan to make it easier to get the pancake out. And today, I thought I had a contender: it was small, round and shallow (photo: bottom left). It advertised itself as a non-stick pancake pan.

Well, I can tell you now, the advertiser LIED! We took it home and tried it out. According to Stephen (our chief pancake-maker), it is the opposite of a non-stick pan. It is a stick-to-me-like-glue pan. It’s going straight back to the store tomorrow.

We also found some fun little cooking implements – a pancake flipper and an egg spatula. The little egg spatula is great, just what we needed. The pancake flipper was also an EPIC fail. It MELTED onto the pan. It’s going back tomorrow too. And until we find something better, we will continue to cook our pancakes in the perfect egg pan.

Pancake pan and egg pan

I also burned the top off my left index finger with the stupid pancake pan, so I hate it extra. If it wasn’t so expensive, I would destroy it with my wood-chopping axe.

Day 09 — A photo I took

I have taken literally thousands of photos in the past few years. I hardly know where to start!

Because most of the pictures I post are of people, I decided that this one should be something that isn’t a person. That narrows my selection somewhat. Here is my choice:

I took it in November 2009. It’s the view from about half way up Conical Hill, at Hanmer Springs. I have been to Hanmer in November the last four years. I love this place, and I love this view.

Can you just image getting to this point on your trek upward, sitting on the bench to rest, and taking in the view? Just beautiful.

Day 10 — A photo of me taken over ten years ago

This picture was taken at the beginning of 1990. I was 17 and my son Antony was about 16 months old, and I am also holding my sister’s son Scott, who was 12 months old. I look ridiculously young and felt completely grown up.

Wyatt is now a little older than Antony was in this picture, and his mother Grace is the same age as I was here. Funny how life works.

Antony, Scott and me, 1990

Day 07 — A photo that makes me happy

Those of you who know know me well know that I take a lot of photos. For the past 3-4 years I have photographed all of the major (and minor!) events in my life.
Most of these photos make me happy, so choosing one amongst the thousands seems like an impossible task. Luckily the fact that the next few blogs posts are photo-related makes the job a little easier.
So here is my choice:

Why does this photo make me happy? How could it not! It was taken on Christmas Day 2009, and contains most of my favourite people: Grace (and our unborn granddaughter in there somewhere), Antony, me, Stephen, Wyatt, Megan and Bronwen.

It was also a very enjoyable Christmas. This might not seem a big deal, but I am just not that into the whole Christmas thing, so it took me by surprise that I had such a lovely time. I blame the Frayles 🙂

Day 06 — Whatever tickles my fancy

I tried out for the local Women’s Ice Hockey League last night. It wasn’t really a ‘tryout’ so much as a drill session to make sure I could actually skate well enough to stand upright with a stick and pads. The Women’s league is really small – only four teams. What this means is that novices like me are playing alongside Canterbury and New Zealand reps. It’s a little daunting, but also a really great opportunity to learn from the best.

Hopefully by the end of the season I won’t be skating up and down the ice yelping “Holy shit!” any time the pack whizz by me.

Trying on the gear

Day 05 — My favourite quote

The quote that I use in that little quote-box on my Facebook page is probably my favourite:

“Dreams are the touchstone of our character”

This reminds me that my goals and ambitions are a reflection of who I am – my core beliefs and values – and these things need to be aligned.

It’s by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), an American essayist and philosopher, and a very influential man. According to Wikipedia, he influenced the thinking of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and a laundry list of other philosophers, political thinkers and authors. But it’s his simple thoughts on life that resonate with me the most.

He also said:

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

I love this idea, it’s a motto to live by. It’s important to acknowledge the past and how it got me to here, to think about the future because it’s where I’m going next, but try to spend most of my time being in the present – really seeing and experiencing what is happening in the moment.

Henry David Thoreau

Day 04 — My favourite book

I think the main problem with these last few posts is the ‘favourite’ part. I have lots of movies, TV shows, books that I really really like, but by definition, I can only have one favourite. How to choose? It might be easier if I could break it down to favourite author or favourite book within a genre – fave sci-fi, fave fantasy, biography, children’s, non-fiction, romance etc etc.

So when I bring all of those favourites together, which one emerges as the supreme ultimate favourite read? The books that rise to the top as finalists would have to be:

The way that I know that these are the favourites is that when I got rid of everything I owned and went overseas, these are the only books I couldn’t bear to part with. I still have the Narnia set that my sister stole from the Parnell Bookshop in 1985.

So amongst these, my most dearly loved series would have to be:

They are beautifully crafted stories, and are equally readable by a 10-year-old or a 50-year-old. To me, this is the sign of a good children’s book. And Ursula Le Guin is one of my heroes. The daughter of an anthropologist and a writer, she writes insightfully about human nature, and builds characters with depth so that you feel like you really know them.

They are the kinds of books that when you finish, you wish you could erase the memory of reading them so you can have the pleasure of discovering them all over again. And then you read them again anyway because the stories are so good.