Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

The second book choice for the Brazen Bookies (my book club) was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. This book centers around Oscar who is nerdy, overweight and unlucky in just about everything. It goes through his family history and the curse that they have endured and also throws in a lot of history about the Dominican Republic.

I personally liked the book and found it humorous and interesting. The biggest complaint at the meeting was all the Spanish that was used in the dialogue but I didn't find it too distracting. I know a bit of obvious Spanish and a number of cuss words so that was pretty sufficient to help me translate. I really didn't know anything about the history of the DR and it was pretty interesting to learn about it since we visited it a few years ago.

I don't really have too much to say other than it's a good book and if you speak English and Spanish you will probably really enjoy it (but if you just speak English it could be harder for you to get into). Also, Matt is a terrible book club member and didn't finish the book. Just want to get that out there. Boo Matt!

Our next choice is another nonfiction (I think we will alternate) and I am looking forward to it! We're going to read The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett. I have already decided that I am going to envision the man as Johnny Depp in his role in The Ninth Gate. Every rare book hunter/thief looks like Johnny Depp, right?

Monday, April 26, 2010


If things weren't busy enough, we just had some visitors from far, far away. Matt and Leah's mom, Ali, came to visit and she brought her lovely friend Mary along too! It was really great seeing them both. Ali lives extra far away in Thailand and so we only see her once a year or so. Mary is a bit closer (at least she lives in the same country!) but we don't see her that often either.

I had to finish up work for a few days and we were in the midst of packing but we still managed a pretty good visit. Matt and Ali went to Elk Island Park for a hike one day and another day I took Ali and Mary to the Art Gallery of Alberta. They just reopened it after making some big changes and it was pretty cool. My favorite part was the Degas sculptures and the Yousuf Karsh exhibit. You could even take your own "Karsh style" picture and email it to yourself. I hate both of the ones taken of me but I think these ones of Ali and Mary are cute. What do you think?

Mary and Ali were good sports about helping us pack things and move. Mary left a little earlier and while Ali was here I was rear ended. My poor little Kiaster!!! At least $1500 of damage and the other person wrote their vehicle off. I'm sore and it was really frustrating to not be able to lift anything or help with the move. I held a lot of doors open and put lunch together. I'm lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life that are willing to help me out. I hope my car gets fixed soon but I think it's going to be a hassle. Ugh! Not fair- I was doing everything correctly and I have to do all this running around. This is the second time I've had to get her repaired this year (a family friend backed into my door and messed it up on Boxing Day). Anyway, the good outweighs the bad so hopefully it will all be resolved soon.

We had lots of laughs and good food and their visit went by too quickly. Hopefully we can get together again soon and things won't be so chaotic! I wouldn't mind going to Thailand again- it's our turn to visit, right?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Place!

We are moving this month! We happened upon our new abode through chance and circumstance. Stephie found it but then the girl she was going to room with backed out on her the day they were supposed to pay the DD and rent. Poor Steph couldn't afford it on her own and they couldn't take the place. So we scooped in and took it. It's a great find- 10 blocks from where we lived before so still a great location, lower rent, more space, quieter, funky and has the cutest landlady. She's this old Polish (I think) lady with a crocheted purple hat and she up keeps everything with the help of her grandsons. There's a huge garden in the backyard and I think we might get to cash in on some fresh veggies! For now you'll have to settle with this pictures of the outside since the inside is way too messy! Once things are unpacked and organized I will post some pictures of the inside. We have the top floor (the house is split in 3). I love the bay window, funky attic bedroom and the separate toilet and bath rooms. I hadn't wanted to move and start a new job at the same time but sometimes you just can't avoid it.

Oh and other big living situation news- Matt's sister Leah is moving back to B.C. at the end of the month so we will be living alone. We have lots of room for guests though so you should all come and visit us!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lots of Changes!

Big news- I got a new job! It's possible that you've heard this already but I'm officially telling the world today. It wasn't an easy process either since it's with the provincial government. I actually went through a lot of the process back when I was initially applying for jobs. One of those "oh I'll apply but I doubt I'll hear from them" things. Well, I heard from them. Then I wrote the test (yeah, there was a test and that was used to determine who got an interview) and figured that was the end of it. There were tons of people writing it and I'd heard from colleagues that the fail rate is pretty high (70% or something). But they called me for an interview! So I went in and was grilled by 3 people for about an hour. Apparently things went well because they were calling my references. Then the government laid the hiring freeze smack down and that was the end of that. Or so I thought... Since they called me a few weeks ago and I had to jump through a few hoops but now I've got a shiny new job and I start on May 3rd! Only took them 10 months!

I'm excited and nervous and proud of myself. I'm worried that I won't be able to cut it since it's a tough job. I'm happy that I get a regular schedule and will be able to see Matt more and maybe take a class or something (hard to do that when you're working shifts). It's got a 12 month probation period (whoa!) and I am hoping I get my own office. Haha. Things like that make me happy. My family has been really excited for me and my Dad even got me a cake to celebrate. I'm really hopeful that this will be the break I have been looking for. I have a career! When did that happen? My degree is starting to pay off! Now Matt just has to get through law school and maybe someday we can afford to buy property and start a family. First things first though, have to survive my first day of work!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I started university when I was 17 years old. Since then (and I just turned 28) I have been in debt. Luckily I was never one of those people who used credit cards or bought new cars or vacations that I couldn't afford so all of my debt was student loans. Today, almost exactly 7 years after I graduated with my BA, I received my tax return and was able to pay off my personal debt for the first time in my adult life. Everything in my bank account is mine now. It's an incredible feeling. I realize the timing of this (April 1) may be suspect, however, this is no joke. I did it! I did it myself too! I am so proud! If I didn't work tonight I would have to go somewhere and celebrate. Oh well, celebrate with me in cyber space!