Saturday, 21 August 2010

The first week of my summer holidays.........

I started last weekend and the beginning of my summer holidays with an abscessed tooth that suddenly blew up late Thursday afternoon. On early Sunday morning I woke up to the sounds of loud fighting on the street outside, followed by gunshots. Our area was in lockdown for the next several hours as the police looked for the weapon (recovered) and the suspects (caught and charged). I was much more unsettled and disturbed by the violence (which is unusual for our neighborhood) than I was letting myself know. I have never heard gunshots before. I think this has affected me more deeply than I have realized, as it was only looking at my books read tally that I realized I have 0 books read for this week. Violence 1, books read 0.

On Monday the youngest decided he didn't want to go to the museum to see the frog exhibit and after acting out on the way to the bus, spent the morning in his room while I sorted out Ikea and the bookshelves we were still waiting for. I did try to read - I am working on In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delaney, a Canadian mystery series, but I couldn't settle into the book. Later I realized the shooting on the weekend was still affecting me. I was also dreading the next day, Tuesday, which featured a trip to the dentist and the doctor. So the hubby and daughter got to go to the museum, and I cleaned the house and spent an hour on the phone with Ikea. Trials and tribulations of life: 1, books read: 0.

Tuesday: The dentist: 2 hours of root canal, and a new crown put in, and a couple thousand dollars poorer.
The doctor: they don't know why the diabetes medication affected my kidneys, and while my kidneys are returning to normal and it's good news nothing turned up on the ultrasound, it's another mystery my body is revealing. The good news is I'm off the medication that had made me sick from day one, the bad news is I have to follow the diabetes diet very closely (instead of occasionally cheating with 2 cookies at once) as I am on nothing to moderate my blood sugar presently. This would be good if we were sure the diabetic diet would control my blood sugar, and only time will tell. Fingers crossed, and weather and health permitting (the abscessed tooth prevented any walking for almost a week), I'll be out walking every day again. Started Shakespeare Wrote For Money by Nick Hornby because it was smallish (because I couldn't carry the library book with me as it was hardcover), on my TBR stack, and I knew I would be gone several hours to both appointments. Still not done. Health 1, books read 0. *bonus, 1 book started.

So, after that, I said to my husband, surely our holidays will get better? Indeed, Wednesday our bookshelves were delivered in the morning, and we spent the day putting them up and rearranging the living room. Pictures will follow, in the next couple of days. I am very happy, I finally have enough shelves for all my books! and the living room is starting to take shape as I envision it. Still, no books read that day either. Bookshelves 1, books read 0.

Thursday we went to the Ottawa Super Exhibition, which is an agricultural exhibition and midway fair combined, an annual fair that comes every August to Ottawa for 122 years now. We had a wonderful afternoon, despite the thunderstorm in the middle of it that sent everyone scurrying for cover for almost an hour. The highlights were certainly that at the last minute, our 21 year old joined us, so we were all together for a change, and the raptor exhibit that we managed to see, which featured 5 raptors: a Harris Hawk (all the way from Texas), a kestrel, a red-tailed hawk (my favourite bird of prey), a barn owl (gorgeous) and, most wonderful, a golden eagle. Pictures will come too! No books read, as we were too exhausted to do anything but lay in front of the tv that night. Fun 1, books read 0.

Friday: we had our water unexpectedly cut off due to summer-long construction on one of the main streets close by our neighborhood. As it was near lunch time, we dashed out of the house to MacDonald's for the kids (I refuse to eat there, it's close by the house and on the way to the bus stop), and over to the local theatre (which did still have running water so was open) to watch the new movie Nanny McPhee Returns, which started early afternoon. The timing happily worked out well for us. And it was a very delightful movie. We then took our time coming home, walking along the Ottawa River shoreline, as the river is the lowest level in at least 20 years, and over 50 feet of shore are exposed now. We saw some frogs and collected a few mussel shells, as my daughter is very interested in science and nature, and like me, collects stones and natural objects for the house. When we got home, thankfully the water was back on. Our new family time in the evening is watching The Big Bang Theory, which thanks to a friend at work, I discovered in July. We are totally hooked on this tv show and watch some every night before bed. Then it was online at midnight to catch up with my friend from Texas and all things Fringe - we had a date to watch an episode last night, which helped make my week feel more properly back in rhythm again.
Popcorn 3, books read 0.

Now it's Saturday again. Ahead of me lies a whole new week with everyone back at work and daycare except for me, and I am planning lots of reading every day, for week 2 of my summer holidays.
1st week of holidays: 7 days of extreme variety, 0 books read.

Until this week, I had been doing very well, keeping up with my 8 books a month goal, so next week lies ahead of me now, and I hope some lovely blissful uninterrupted reading time. Then I will really feel like I have rested and rejuvenated my spirits, which are still recovering from last weekend. I have enjoyed (after Tuesday) my holidays very much so far, though I am definitely craving the peace and contentment that reading brings me.

Today I have managed to read a little, but it's raining out so the kids are restless, and so we can't really settle into anything for long. I am baking banana bread with chocolate chips. Baking always helps me settle down, and it's good that it's cool enough out finally that I can bake again and not heat the house to an unbearable level. It's so cool we have been wearing sweaters for much of the day. It's not reading, though it's another fun activity the family can share, since the kids put the chocolate chips in and the youngest has been by several times already to ask if it is ready to eat yet (it's cooling down). I console myself with thinking the banana bread does have yoghurt and bananas in it, good for the diabetic diet, and if I eat a slice while I read a book, that might be as good as it can get this crazy week we've had.

How are your summer holidays going? Were you able to read as much as you wanted to this summer? Have you had your holidays yet?


Cath said...

A lovely update, Susan. Sorry you've had a few traumatic events. Especially that dentist's bill! My goodness! I hope the diabetic diet will control your diabetes... it seems to be a matter of findng what works for you.

I was managing 8 books a month too until May and then it all went to pot. Getting back on track - am on my 4th. book this month - but have got my grandaughter here for the 2nd. time this month so have not had the free time I might have had. Hopefully I can get back on track properly next month.

We've had one short holiday in Wales this summer and are off again at the end of the month for 4 days - back to Wales but Cardiff this time.

Happy quiet reading time.

Kerry said...

Goodness, what a week!

I will never forget being in my local library many, many years ago, which was on the outer edge of a mall.

Suddenly there was an enormous crash, followed by gunshots. Everyone froze, not knowing what to do. You might hear gunshots on TV and at the movies, but it is TOTALLY different when it's real. Your brain definitely knows the difference.

It turned out some people had tried to rob a bank at the mall and the police had been tipped off and were waiting. The crash had been the getaway car hitting the outer wall of the library (thankfully thick enough to withstand a low speed crash) and the gunshots had been the police shooting - but we didn't know that at the time.

For months, everywhere I went I was mentally figuring out what I'd do if someone opened fire with a gun - where I'd hide or how I'd get away. At first I'd jump and burst into tears if I heard a car backfire or a balloon pop, and for years afterwards I'd still go really still if I heard either of those things, waiting to see if everything was safe.

I didn't even see anything; I just heard it. This things can affect us for a very long time. Don't worry that's it's still bothering you and be kind to yourself. It takes time to recover. (I can't imagine what it must be like for the people actually caught up in things like this.)

And here's to lots of book reading this coming week.

Gavin said...

So sorry for your trauma this week but it sounds like things are getting better and the new header looks great. I see Rankin there, looks like my husband's mystery shelf! My summer holiday is almost over, it has been wonderful and restful and I've actually read some books! Have a good week, Susan.

Nicole said...

What a ghastly experience for you all Susan. The upset tooth would have set you completely on edge even before the gunshot! Perhaps thats where the saying "set my teeth on edge" came from. I know if I have tooth trouble I feel very ungrounded and irritable. But the shooting and police presence would have set you into the fight or flight mode, worse when you can "see" for yourself whats going on. Im not one for jumping on to modern day syndromes but I would say you are probably living through a bit of "post trauma" syndrome, so be kind to yourself & snuggle up with a nurturing book. I recommend "Howard's End is on the landing" by Susan Hill, or something from a calm bygone era, "The Deans Watch" by Elizabeth Goudge. If you dont have the latter, keep an eye out for it on your next trip to the UK, its so beautifully written. Sometimes our children can be the best cure for shock, they move on so quickly from one, unseeming to pick over the what if's which us adults tend to do.

DesLily said...

wow, those are some bookshelves!
Ahhh gunfire.. I never heard it other than in movies either but then drive by shooting began right across the street when I lived w/ my brother before he and david died. My heart was in my throat and even now I can't forget it!

oh my.. I hope they can find a med that works for you and doesn't make you sick!

only 1 year did i read over 100 books in a year.. this year is sad, sad, sad for the count but I don't really mind as long as I can enjoy "some books" I am happy about it.

..I hate dentists!.. nuff said

Bybee said...

Oooh, your new header is lovely!

I hope your diabetic diet will work out well...too bad it's so stringent.

Sue F. said...

Wow-I can so totally relate to your week..last week for me was:

Monday: 2nd cortisone shot in my foot (OUCH), then took my elderly other to her doctor to straighten out meds

Tuesday: Dr. diagnosed GERd and referred me for a stress test

Wednesday: temporary crown put in (after last week's root canal)

Thursday: stress test at hospital (all is well)

Friday: traveled 4 hours to my parents summer place so my husband can redo their bathroom that I am quite sure they will not even be back to use again...frustrating and we will be here for several more days.

However, I have been able to get in some good reading. Hope that you are able to get back to it, too.

Good luck with you diet and I'm really sorry that you had to experience the gun-shooting events. That is really frightening.

GeraniumCat said...

Lots of sympathy from me too, what a wretched time you've been having (especially commiserations about the tooth, I know the pain and the dentist's bills only too well). I do hope you are getting plenty of reading and recovery time this week?

I was thinking about you while I read the Kate Ellis book set in York - quite scary, I don't think you'd want to read it this week! Elizabeth Goudge would definitely be a better choice.

Susan said...

Cath: thank you so much. I enjoyed reading about your Wales trip on your blog! that was a lovely post. I'm catching up on my reading now too, thankfully, this week. I have to post about it tomorrow!

Kerry: you have no idea how much you helped me with your comment. I realized on Monday that I hadn't been out of my house for a walk since the shooting. So it was affecting me too. Since then I've been able to, and start reading again, so thank you so much for sharing your story with me!

Gavin: thank you! Yes, you see Ian Rankin there - I have read almost every book in his Rebus series. Trying to find The Complaints in mass market, which Amazon says exists, but not on the shelves here. I'm reading too, it does make a good summer holiday, doesn't it?

Nicole: I've been meaning to read Howard's End is On the Landing for a little while now. though, I hear she's critical of Canadian literature (not worth reading, is what I heard), so I'm curious at least! I love her mysteries and horror. Thank you for the PTSD idea, which I was getting through last week. I'm doing much better now, it's also been very quiet on the street (as it normally is) since also.

DesLily: I remember your blog last year, we were all so worried about you! I'm so glad you got out of there. 100 books is a goal only, a dream! though attainable i think. you and I can keep each other company as we try to get there! and enjoy our photos of wildlife around our homes :-) too

Bybee: thank you! I did borrow the idea from your header on your blog, though I had no idea the photographs I took would turn out like this. glad you like it too! you know i like yours. :-)

Sue F: This week has been much calmer for me, so I really hope it has calmed for you, and you can get more good reading in! what is GER?

Geraniumcat: I am so glad the dentist visit is over. It's 9 days later, and I'm still thrilled that I can bite into my kashi snack bar and my tooth doesn't hurt!!

OOh, the Kate Ellis books sounds good! what is the title? I've been trying to find them here, and so far can only find the DI Peterson mysteries by her.

Thank you everyone, for your lovely thoughts and caring! :-)