A Positive Approach to Winter

In an If-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em approach to the snow this winter, I’m trying my hardest not to complain about the white stuff. Besides the fact that complaining doesn’t do one iota of good, I’ve also been trying to busy myself with other things—writing being first and foremost. Truthfully, not complaining helps keep the cranky away. I’ve come to realize the more you complain, the more you enjoy it until it almost becomes an Olympic sport. Not only that, you find others to join your team in your quest for gold. We’re usually good at finding teammates.

SO enough of the grumbling about the snow. Spring will come sooner or later. I say this with conviction as we’ve never yet had a winter that lasted 365 days—not to my memory at least. So here are a few things I’ve been doing to keep that four letter word from making me gripe.

1. Write, write, write: Okay, no surprises here. I’ve been making great headway on a project I started several years back. I’ve come back to the place where I’m enjoying the story again. Here’s where I’ll let you all in on a secret, we writers sometimes come to despise the story we’re working on. It’s true! We lose all objectivity about our own work. We can’t seem to put a sentence together with eloquence, our plot line stinks to high heaven. Sometimes we pull our hair and gnash our teeth. Sitting at the computer and opening that file can be pure hell. But even at that it still beats four feet of snow!

2. Knit, knit, knit: I’m a knitter, have been since I was a kid trying to knit a scarf with two nails and a ball of cheap yarn I found lying around the house. Not an easy thing to do, knitting with two nails that is, but even so I wasn’t complaining about the s***. You’ll be happy to know that I graduated to knitting needles many moons ago. I’ve made socks and mittens, sweaters and even afghans over the years. This winter I’ve picked up where I left off three years ago. My rippling wave afghan didn’t go anywhere during that time. Maybe this winter I’ll complete it.

3. Housework: Okay, that’s just a little joke to throw you off.

4. Reading, reading, reading: I’ve read some great books this winter, one for book club coming up next week and several simply for enjoyment. Actually, all the books I read are for enjoyment. Here’s where I want to mention that I love reading books from local authors and Canadian authors in general. We have a lot of talent in this country. I’ve some great local books coming up on my reading list. Hugh R. MacDonald and his novel Us and Them the sequel to his book Trapper Boy. Meghan Marentette’s The Stowaways , Shatterproof by Jocelyn Shipley and Keeper of the Light by Janet Barkhouse. Maybe you’ll have time to check out some of these great reads.

5. Treadmill: Yup. I’ve been faithfully working out this winter. Okay, so we all know that treadmills are like THE most BORING thing on the face of the earth after the first two minutes, but I’ve got a little secret. I read while I’m walking the miles. Yes, I do. Many people say they just can’t do it. These same people can’t read while riding in a vehicle. I can do both. Lucky me. No complaints here.

6. Snowshoeing: I’ve been making an effort to get out there when the weather’s good which hasn’t been all that often this past week. (Nope, that’s not a complaint…just stating facts.) The good news is next week’s forecast is looking up.

7. Gourmet Cooking: Haha! Not really. That one was actually for my kids if they happen to be reading. I figure they could do with the belly laugh after the snowy week we just had.

8. Snow racing: Admit it, this one sounds impressive. Snowracing—whizzing down the slopes, wind on my face, sun in my eye, the taste of freedom on my lips. Here’s the real scoop: when our grandson came for a visit a few weeks back, Guppy and I each took some turns on the Snowracer. (Sorry no photos as proof.) First time ever for me; not sure about Guppy. Oh, the things we do for grandkids.

9. Join the circus: Surprised ? Me too. This winter watching the news has been like having a front row seat at the circus. I’m not looking to get into any political debates here, but daggum it’s been interesting to say the least. All the juggling of news and fake news, people walking a very tight rope, a pretty sad bunch of clowns making us laugh and cry. Yes, indeed, there has been a lot of interesting acts taking place under the big top this winter. Every night there seems to be a new attraction added to the show. I wait in anticipation. All that’s required is for me to bring my own popcorn and drinks…lots of drinks.

So there you have it, my positive approach to this snowy Nova Scotia weather. While I may not love the mounds of snow we’ve been getting I’m doing what I can to keep from complaining about the things I can’t change.

What have you been doing this winter instead of complaining about the weather?

It’s That Time Again

“No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy.” 

– Los Angeles Times, “A Child Literacy Initiative for the Greater Los Angeles Area”

Family Literacy Day here in Canada is on January 27th.  It’s a day set aside to remind us all about the importance of literacy, and to help promote reading. It’s a time for family, and reading, and anything regarding the written word. You can find out more about Family Literacy Day by checking out the ABC Life Literacy  Canada Site.

In honour of Family Literacy Day I thought it would be fun to give a shout-out to some great Canadian books enjoyable to those of us who are young at heart.

51UHUD2iHkL._SL500_AA300_How To Tend A Grave. I’m currently reading Jocelyn’s book. Seriously enjoying this read. Here’s the backcover blurb.

When Liam’s mom dies, he thinks life can’t get any worse. He’s wrong. Forced to live with a grandfather he’s never known, in a small town where Youth and Crime are king and queen of a hick-town gang, Liam only wants to be left alone. Not easy, considering the gang’s favourite hangout is the cemetery where his mom is buried. A popular place, this cemetery, as there he meets Harmony, a gorgeous but unusual girl who records the names of all the babies buried there long ago. Like Liam, she has a secret. The very different stories of these two grieving fifteen-year-olds interweave brilliantly in this fast-paced, engaging and unforgettable book about family, love and healing.

Amanda in England: The Missing Novel– This book by blogging buddy, Darlene Foster, is one in a series of books aimed at kids from 8-12.  Amanda in Arab :The 31cqxPKolDL._AA160_Perfume Flask is the first in this charming series of books about Amanda and her best friend, Leah. Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting was published in 2011. There’s lots of travel in these books and plenty of adventure.  If you’re into series you might want to give this one a try.

 

Amanda Ross is visiting England and taking in all the sights. She gets lost in the maze at Hampton Court, does some shopping at Harrods, meets the ravens in the Tower of London, explores Windsor Castle, and rides the London Eye. When she discovers a vintage book is missing from a collection, she is determined to find out who stole it. Amanda befriends a pair of tough teenagers from the streets of London, an elderly bookshop owner, and a big, friendly, clever, Maine Coon cat named Rupert. Follow Amanda through cobblestone streets, medieval castles, and underground tunnels in her quest to find the missing novel!
41ErVLb6JgL._AA160_I met Sylvia Gunnery last spring at the Bridgewater Library when she launched her new YA book, Emily for Real. It’s always nice to give a shout out to a local author. Here’s the description from Amazon. ca . Seventeen-year-old Emily’s world crumbles when her boyfriend dumps her, and when she thinks her life can’t possibly get any worse, a series of secrets are revealed that threaten to tear her beloved family apart. Emily’s heart has been broken into a hundred pieces and she feels like there is no one to turn to, until an unexpected friendship blossoms with a troubled classmate named Leo.
Maxed Out is Daphne Greer’s first book is part of the Orca Currents series. Daphne and I met at the 51vp6OkWyWL._AA160_launch for A Maritime Christmas in 2008. Here’s a description for Maxed Out.
More than anything, twelve-year-old Max wants to play hockey like he used to. But since the death of his dad, his mom does more crying than mothering, and Max has to take his special-needs brother, Duncan, with him everywhere he goes. The team needs Max to win the upcoming game against the Red Eagles, but one practice with Duncan makes it evident that it’s not safe to leave him unattended on the sidelines. With only a week to figure out how he can play in the big game, Max is feeling the pressure. Will he find a way to be a good teammate, a good brother and a good son, or is it too much for one kid?
51ZlnwRkaVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_Last but not least, Stolen Child by  Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. I read this book a few years back and really enjoyed it.
Stolen from her family by the Nazis, Nadia is a young girl who tries to make sense of her confusing memories and haunting dreams. Bit by bit she starts to uncover the truth—that the German family she grew up with, the woman who calls herself Nadia’s mother, are not who they say they are.Beyond her privileged German childhood, Nadia unearths memories of a woman singing her a lullaby, while the taste of gingersnap cookies brings her back to a strangely familiar, yet unknown, past. Piece by piece, Nadia comes to realize who her real family was. But where are they now? What became of them? And what is her real name?
So there are five books for young adults I’m passing along, but really they can be read and enjoyed by any age. I hope you find a way to celebrate this important day. The written word is all around. Reading should be as natural as eating and breathing. For some of us it is. Hopefully there will come a time when  illiteracy will be a thing of the past.
Happy Family Literacy Day ! Now go read something.

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