#microblogmondays – Harry Again!

I don’t know where I’ve been but I JUST learned that there is new Harry Potter coming out!

Saying I’m excited would be an understatement, although I am also a bit hesitant as it go one of two ways: either it will bomb or it will be incredible. Let’s hope for the latter!

In the spirit of a true fan, I am currently re-reading the entire series – which, I must say, is no less amazing than it was 15 years ago when I read it for the first time.

*Swoon*

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I and II (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production

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Book Review – Dreams of Joy

So I stumbled upon Lisa See when I was at the dollar store one day and there was here book there for $3. I bought it thinking, hey – it’s $3! It was called “Peony in Love”…and it was amazing.

When I was perusing my normal used book shelf haunts, I saw “Dreams of Joy” and recognized the author immediately. I carried it home determined to delve into it’s luscious pages right away – excited for the possibility of another “Peony in Love”.

I was not disappointed. Lisa See has a way of writing that is mesmerizing and brings you right into her world. I would break from reading, and have to blink away my imagination because if I didn’t, I would still be in the story. She is such a vivid and well written author, and I truly love reading her books.

Above all, it gave me an insight into her characters lives that cannot be rivalled. Not only did I see what Joy say, and smell what Joy smelled but I also got to feel what Joy felt. It was such a great read and really gives you a look at the world in the 1950s Amerca and China- and, more importantly, how lucky we are to be born in the generation we’re in.

Book Review – The Sisters of Versaille

Five minutes ago I put down this novel – one I have been consumed with over the last three days.

It’s the tragic story of five sisters and King Louis of France – and it is so very sad and awful (and Boleyn-ish).

If you check my book list – you will see a pattern in my reading tastes showing books of this or similar time periods. I can’t get enough of them – I find them fascinating and refreshing and immensely humbling.

It amazes me, as I read the words, how literally every family has a touch of tragedy – real tragedy – in it. I’m not talking about your sibling being loved more, or not being treated equally, or peers being bullies (while I agree these are all still issues) – I am talking about untimely deaths of parents and children, true poverty and illness, children sold into slavery and prostitution, cruelty beyond comprehension…

It’s humbling. While I am aware this novel is fiction, loosely based on historical accounts, if you take the time to research a bit you will see how prevalent true, raw suffering was.

It reminds me how very lucky I am to be who I am, where I am, in the time I was born in. It also makes me acutely aware that not all in this world are as lucky as I am – and that it’s time to make some changes.

#Microblog Mondays – What Irks

In response to Mel @ Stirrup Queens #MicroblogMondays Post (go check it out here).

The biggest, boldest most irk-a-licious peeve of mine that is non dangerous is hands down – without a doubt – the word “Yous”.

Like so many of you, I find blatant grammar mistakes can be incredibly painful to my eyes. However, as I am not an expert I usually try to let it go because I am sure, to someone who is more particular than me, my posts probably reek of poor grammar.

Except for “yous”…I cannot let go of “yous”.

Not only is “yous” NOT a word…it’s also not plural just because you add an inappropriate “s” on to it. (Mices? Mooses? Jameses? Mrses?) I promise, you can say the same thing and NOT have an inappropriate “s” dragging your message down from “average joe” to “hold ma’ beer”.

See here:

“Have a great day yous guys!” = “Have a great day you guys!” (Notice the lack of “s” on “you”? Yet the meaning is the same?)

“Love yous!” = “Love you both/all” (Again, no “s” on “you” and still the meaning is the same)

Now that I’ve mentioned this, it’s opening a whole cataclysm of word misuse that makes my brain hurt….so before we get into the their/there/they’re and the two/too/to and the common (not to be confused with “come on”) and the seen (when it should be “saw”) mixed up with the lack of appropriate ; : , . ? ! …..

Okay, I’m stopping now because I have no power to stop this post that is about to become a novel regarding the irritating way people misuse basic english.

Oh and don’t forget “thru” (through) and “u” (you)….

Now I’m stopping, I promise.

Just one more: irregardless (regardless)

Ok, last one: Aks (not ask)

I’m done. I promise.

Book Review – Come Away With Me – Karma Brown

I just finished Come Away With Me by Karma Brown – and it is with a mixture of sadness and hope that I add it to my shelf of “read” books.

The book itself is a tragic tale of a couple of newly weds expecting their first child, who are in a car accident that changes everything. In an attempt to repair what is left of them and their marriage, they take off on the trip of a lifetime.

The end of the book has a twist I didn’t not see coming (and I am notorious for trying to predict twists, but I truly wasn’t expecting one). It has a haunting quality, but it is also beautiful, charming and hope filled.

It’s a sad, yet sweet, and leaves you feeling better than you expect when you first embark on it. It’s a remarkable example of the power of survival and the strength of a person.

Truly a worthwhile read!

Winter/Spring Project – The BEFORE

I love, love, LOVE projects…there’s something so fun and magical about taking something and making it new again.

Mr. Big and I have been planning on getting a camper this year for some time. We camped almost every weekend last spring/summer – and in a tent…so we figured that was commitment enough to warrant a camper purchase.

I am the cheapest person alive…so naturally, I wanted to find the most inexpensive yet functional camper possible – so, knowing that would take a while, I have been browsing Kiji.ji for the last month in hopes of finding someone really inexpensive that we could fix up.

And I found it!

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It’s a 12.5 ft by 7ft by 6.5 ft camper with four beds – a king and a queen slide out, and two table areas that fold down into a queen and a twin bed. There is no plumbing in it, but that’s fine with us – we’re coming from a tent so that’s an improvement.

The King slideout is missing because the canvas ripped…so just the queen slideout is there. The rest of the canvas is in good condition, but needs a good clean. The frame is solid and the tires are brand new – really, we got it for a steal all because the bed we wouldn’t use anyway is broken.

Our Plans:

  • Tear out the small table area and cabinet (see last pic).
  • Remove Queen slide out and sew canvas up on both slideout ends so there are just four walls – no slideouts.
  • Clean and repair canvas
  • Build Queen frame where small table area and cabinet used to be – include storage underneath for three long rubbermaid bins (1 for clothes, 1 for food and supplies, 1 for kitchenware)
  • Lay down wood flooring (it will be inexpensive because its hardly any area to cover)
  • Paint all the wood a light colour
  • Reupholster cushions on U shaped seating area
  • Add colourful curtains
  • Build small foldable shelving system in the space between bed and seating area on far wall – include space for a small bar fridge
  • Repaint the outside of the camper
  • Add an awning with screened in room

We will only have to buy some fabric, flooring, paint, lumber and a bar fridge – everything else we already have. We will do the labour ourselves (although, I’ve never repaired/replaced canvas so this should be interesting!!) so we will save costs there too. And, if all goes well, we will be ready for the May Long weekend!

I know it sounds crazy to remove the slideouts and cut a 4 bed camper down to 2 beds – and we did hum and haw about that – but, in the end, we wanted to make it work for our family. We’re not interested in reselling it one day but we didn’t pay much for it anyway so even if we do, we will still get back more than we paid.

For us that meant removing the slide outs so the bed is a permanent fixture, adding additional storage (at the cost of floor space, but we’re OK with that) and making a mosquito free outdoor space that is connected to the camper.

We’re very excited about this camper – a purchase we have wanted to make for so long and we got it for a price better than even we expected.

Keep your eyes open for the after posts as we go along!

Wedding Business

Mr. Big and I eloped. It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful location, surrounded by a small group of our closest loved ones. We aren’t fancy and not fans of big crowds so it was perfect for us. Therefore, we didn’t have a big reception with gifts and stuff – so maybe I am ignorant on this but here I go…

I had a conversation with a coworker, I will call K, that has been bouncing around in my head driving me crazy…and I need advice on it. K is in a committed relationship, and has been waiting for a proposal for a couple years now but it hasn’t happened yet. Her sister is getting married, though, so weddings have been a hot topic recently.

K: “Dad just told me the funniest thing – he’s going to give me and (sister) $10,000 for our weddings. It’s super nice, but doesn’t he realize it won’t even cover half of the cost of a wedding these days?”

S (other coworker): “Well it’s really nice that he’s offering that though. Besides, you get some money as gifts to help you get started in life anyway at the wedding.”

K: “How much do you think I’d make? Like if I invited 120 people, I’d probably make over $30,000 right? So then I could technically spend $30,000 on the wedding and $10,000 on our honeymoon and then still have a bit left over.”

Me: “Wait…you shouldn’t count on it, it’s a gift – and some people give presents not money. Besides, I think the average gift is more like $50 to $100…”

K and S share a horrified look, followed by embarrassment and then laughter.

K: “I don’t know what kind of weddings you go to…but it’s AT LEAST $100 per person attending.”

S: “Ya, I mean they have to at least cover the cost of their plate of food.”

More conversation on how much money K will make off her eventual wedding ensues while I keep quiet and try to shake off how belittled I feel.

Seriously though guys – am I super cheap? I thought – first of all – that you buy the gift/give how ever much money you feel is best for that couple (because, you should know them right?). If I had to put a dollar amount, I’d say between $50 and $150 as a gift…because I remember getting that for my wedding (and being incredibly grateful for it!). That seems fair to me… but she seems to expect if you bring your family of 4 to the wedding, that you gift at least $400. Is that for real? I cannot imagine the average family of 4 being able to spend $400 as a wedding gift….especially if they know many people getting married that year.

I get the cost of covering the plate, but that should be a courtesy that you decide to do that – not an expectation.

Help me out peeps – what do you think? Am I being the worst wedding guest ever by not giving the couple at least $100 per person? (I seriously had NO IDEA that this was the standard, and if it is, I will amend accordingly because I’m not trying to be cheap, I just didn’t know!). I have two weddings coming up this summer, and I want to know what’s standard.

*Keep in mind – we live in a rural region where most people make minimum wage (it’s a joke that we live in a $10 town) so it’s not like we’re in NYC.