Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Moby Dick- Book 6

So much of Moby Dick has become a part of our every day culture. If you live on the West Coast like I do, and are surrounded by coffee culture as I am, Starbucks is likely a mammoth symbol in your life. Starbuck is Captain Ahab's first mate and the only one on the boat who dares to face off against Captain Ahab in his insane quest for the infamous White Whale, Moby Dick. Despite that he is also a loyal and dedicated companion to Moby Dick.

I was so excited to read this book because of one of my teenhood favorite shows, X-Files. On one episode (which consequently is in my top 5) Mulder and Scully search for a lake monster much like the Loch ness. During that episode Scully has a little Pomerianian named Queequag.Pomerianians have since become on of my favorite dogs, despite their yappiness and if I ever own one I would love to name it Queequag. Queequag is the name of Ishmael's (the Narrator of Moby Dick) closest companion on the ship.Eventually Mulder and Scully get stranded on a rock in the middle of the lake and Scully tells Mulder of her father and his nickname for her. He always called her his Starbuck and refered to himself as Ahab. I always found the scene so endearing and thought that Starbuck was the cutest nickname ever.

I read 2/3 of this book on my iphone app: ibooks because I could not find the book anywhere including the bookstores. I had to order it in to Coles which took a few weeks and in the meantime I read the book on my tiny little phone. At first I thought I hated reading ebooks but in the end I didn't find it as bad as I expected. Despite that there is nothing that compares to curling up with a book on the couch. It just doesn't feel the same somehow curling up with an electronic device!!! Nothing beats the smell of paper and ink and I frequenly sniff the books I read. Is that weird??!!

I am not sure whether I loved this book or not. There are parts of it that I absolutely loved. I did love most of the philsophy of the book which is about the search for the mysterious, ephemeral things in life and how they can never be grasped this side of heaven. There were so many parts though that were slow moving and I didn't look forward to reading it. The first few sections of the book prior to the Pequod sailing at sea and the last part, where they come closer to meeting Moby Dick are amazing. The middle of the book, what with the odd use of encyclopedia-style cataloguing and random bursts of play style writing is somewhat harder to stomach. I have noticed that the author of the list, Daniel S. Burt tends to favor the modern style of writing that focuses on the creative use of the novel, a la James Joyce. I also had a hard time stomaching the graphic descriptions of the hunting and dismemberment of the whale. What a horrible way to make a living.

And now for a few of my favorite quotes:

The first chapter sets about the reason for the sea voyage and restlessness that grows in Ishmael which always turns him towards the sea.

"almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feeligns towards the ocean with me"

"Take almost any path you please, ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it"

"Everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever"

Ishmael the author of the book meets Queequag at a hotel he choses to stay at prior to going on his first whaling voyage. He is a pagan who is covered in tattoos and worships a little ebony idol. This terrify's Ishmael but they soon become fast friends because, he

"felt a metling in me. No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned agains the wolfish world. This soothing savage had redeemed it."

and he discovered that:

"Presbyterians and Pagans alike...(are) all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head and sadly need mending"

I love it! What a great way to look at the human condition.

There are a few other great metaphors about life in the book which make absolutely no sense out of context. I recommend reading this book simply because almost everyone knows the basic premise of the story but few have actually read it. It truly is more than just a story of a guy chasing a white whale. There are some beautiful gems in there about human nature and life in general. I am now on to book 7which is Madame Bovary. If anyone is interested in reading it with me let me know. It would be fun to have someone to chat about the book with.

And as with all these book reviews if you are reading this on facebook please head over to my real blog

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Brothers Karamazov

Thanks to an old quote book and a love of underlining quotes that jump out at me I can recollect my thoughts on this book in somewhat accurate detail despite having read it in 2001.

Dostoyevsky was one of my first favorite authors. I own many of his books and have read a lot of them. I love that he focused on people with struggles. He is a master at showing the inner workings of people and the reasons they chose the actions they do.

The Brothers Karamazov is actually my all time favorite Dostoyevsky novel. I heavily identified with Aloysha the brother that chose to be a priest. My favorite quote is:

"Love God's people. Because we have come here and shut ourselves within these walls, we are no holier than those that are outside, but on the contrary, from the very fact of coming here, each of has confessed to himself that he is worse than others, than all men on earth"

At the time, I hide from the world. I felt very keenly that I was not stable and had very little trust in myself. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why I chose to go to a Christian university. After getting healing (thankfully while at university) I began to realize that I could let myself go. I could have fun and be free and that the world would not collapse. My Christianity became less about the structures and rules of religion and more about my relationship to God.

The Brothers Karamazov was one of the books that I read that showed me that life was for living. It filled me with such agreat joy to hear that there was more than just surviving.

Here is a quote that shows that best

"If I didn't believe in life, if I lost faith in the woman I love, lost faith in the order of things, were convinced in fact that everything is a disorderly, damnable, and perhaps devil ridden chaos, if I were struck by every horror of man's disillusionment-still I should want to live and having once tasted the cup I would not turn away from it till I have drained I would not turn away from it till I had drained it."

And further down that same page:

"I have asked myself many times whether there is in the world any despair that would overcome this frantic and perhaps unseemly thirst for life in me, and I've come to the conclusion that there isn't"

This book is a beautiful example of how nobody is one thing. In doing good, we are also at times evil. In doing evil we are also still good. Humanity can be best described as being a blend of the three brothers. Aloysha who has faith, Dmitri who is filled with passion and tries to live life with abandon and Ivan who pursues logic and science.

Aloysha and Ivan argue about God with Aloysha defending him and Ivan stating that suffering is horrible, and that God couldn't have created it.

Ivan tells of "The Grand Inquistor" which is a story about Christ coming back during the Grand Inquistion and being charged for giving man free will. The Church complains that God has been mistaken in believe that there is good in humanity and that they need to be controlled. The church states, they have taken this on. Talking of Gods love for man, the inquisitor complains that it would be more loving to have eased the burden of free will.

"Thou who has loved him more than Thyself. Respecting him less, Thou wouldst have asked less of him. That would have been more like love, for his burden would have been lighter.... for it will save them from the great anxiety and terrible agony they endure at present in making a free decision for themselves"

Aloysha however, is told of a more true way of being by one of his mentors

"Life will bring you many misfortunes, but you will find your happiness in them, and bless life and will make others bless it-which is what matters most"

I love that Dostoyevsky's novels always show that all behaviour is rational. Even the most horrible act often has a motive that any of us could easily understand. As humans we are a blend of both good and evil. We are as humans "capable of the greatest heights and of the greatest depths"

I was so glad to read this book when I did for I feel it helped me to reconcile a few parts of myself. I discovered I could be passionate, faithful and logical and not be contradicting myself in any sense. I count this book as probably my second favorite novel of all time only to be shadowed by East of Eden by John Steinbeck which for some reason never made this list of 100 at all. Oddly enough however it was also a story of brothers as well...

In Search of Lost Time Review

I was a little miffed to discover when I started reading this book that rather than just being ONE book it was actually 6 volumes in 6 books of about 600-700 pages each. Soooo....that makes my book list of a hundred books to really be 105 books. To be honest I bought only two of the six volumes and for the purpose of the "list", I only read two of the six books before moving on to the next book on the list. I hope to be able to come back to the other four novels after completing the list.

Well, after that rant you would think that I didn't like the book but in fact that isn't true. I loved the book. Proust philosophizes about just the sort of things I love: beauty, love and the things that charm you even though you can't say why.

While reading this book I read a beautiful description of Madeleines. I decided to cook myself up a batch since I had a Madeleine pan from the last French novel I read, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog". I had the joy of eating them dipped in lime tea, just like the famous memory that was described in the book. I found a whole new appreciation for them because of this. I found them quite bland the first time I tried them. Lime tea made them delicious! They were also excellent dipped in a peppermint/vanilla latte!

One of my favorite quotes from Volume 1 of In Search of Lost time talks about the great benefit of novels being a way to see truth that we might otherwise ignore because it develops too slowly in our own life.

..."the most intense of which would never be revealed to us, because the slow course of their development prevents us from perceiving them. It is the same in life; the heart changes, and it is our worst sorrow; but we only know it only through reading, through our imagination."

I can't count how many epiphanies I have had while reading that I might never have stumbled upon simply be observing my own life.

Another quote I loved was

"There is a charming quality, is there not' he said to me, "in this silence; for hearts that are wounded, as mine is, a novelist who you will read in time to come asserts that there is no remedy but silence and shadow".

The book is full of beautiful reminisences on many things. Some of them include his love of hawthorns and cornflowers which remind him of his first love and also of a particular walk that his family took that he referred to as "Swann's way" (also the title of the 1st volume).

While the first novel focuses on a friend of Marcel Proust (aka the narrator's) family and his love for his future wife the second novel focuses on Marcel's own first loves. He first loves Swann's own daughter Gilberte, but because of his inability to fully attract her later moves on. While vacationing at the seaside town of Balbec he falls in love with Albertine a dark haired girl with lovely plump cheeks that he longs to kiss.

The second novel is filled with beautiful reminiscences about how we often don't love the people we see before us but really our own image of them. For instance:

"very few people understand the purely subjective nature of the phenomenon we call love, or how it creates, so to speak, a supplementary person, so distinct from teh person whom the world knows by the same name"

"To the Gilberte whom I carried within me. I ought to have reminded myself that the other, the real Gilberte, was perhaps entirely different from mine."

I have seen this to be true with the infatuations which I have had. I have discovered myself that the people I am interested in have very little in common with the reality that other people see. For instance, I somehow add charming characteristics that they don't possess to the degree I assume or believe their behaviours to have a different charming meaning from the one that they actually do.

My two other favorite quotes include:

"If God the Father had created things by naming them, it was by taking away their names or giving them other names that Elstir created them anew"

This quote speaks of how the artist takes the beauty that God creates and paints it in a different light that allows us to see them in a different way.

When Proust speaks of love he talks of it as magic experience that is hard to describe.

When it "relates to love, it is best to make no attempt to understand, since in so far as these are as inexorable as they are unlooked-for, the appear to be governed by magic rather than rational laws"

Of course I was amused by that quote because magic is one of my great loves. Unfortunately, love is one magic that I have never been able to figure out the secret for.

That might be why I love these two books so much. Proust shows in beautiful detail the search for love in all of its pain and mystery. As a shy and ill boy he struggled with trying to figure out its secrets and portrays his own personal story while talking about universal truths in beauty and love.

The next book is the Brothers Karamazov which I have already read and loved. I will do a brief review of it before moving on to the sixth novel, Moby Dick. I am extremely excited to read it!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ulysses Review

Book three is DONE!!!!

James Joyce Ulysses is a hard read, but very interesting and engaging. I think I liked it better than Don Quixote because even though it is a struggle to understand at times, I was engaged with the material.

This book is brilliant! Too brilliant for me in fact! I read it with a dictionary next to me and even with that, didn't comprehend everything. The book has several different languages in it, and a lot of Irish colloquialisms that are now out of date. The book is also based on The Odyssey and despite having watched the 90s TV movie with Vanessa Williams I remembered absolutely nothing of the story. I think if I had read it, it would have added to the experience of reading this book.

Ulysses is based on one day, June 16, 1904. Each chapter is an hour in that day. (Huh so I guess this book was the show "24" before it was "24"!!!) That, however is where the similarities end. Unlike "24", which details the crazy antics of one very action packed day, Ulysses sets about chronicaling a completely average day with very little, if anything happening. It focuses on the mundane activites that make up our day, and show how even those things can become an epic. Each chapter also has a different literary style to it. One chapter uses newspaper headlines and journalistic style writing to convey the meaning, another uses scientific questions, and yet another is set out like a musical. Most of the chapters include internal monologue, where a character thinks about things inside of his head. Unlike most novels, these thoughts are not polished and include tangents and free association, which at first is EXTREMELY confusing to follow. Once you realize what is going on (which took me about 20 pages and reading the introduction to the novel to accomplish) it is actually quite cool.

Ulysses focuses on the body in a big way. In the introduction of the version I read, it gives you chart to follow along in the book. Each chapter focuses on a body part. The humorous thing is that this book includes in detail descriptions of a morning bathroom routine, frequent burping, farting and other such normal bodily functions. It also strays into more sexual bodily functions and even includes a scene where the main character masturbates on a beach.

Thanks to the thoughts of the main characters, the book gets quite lewd and is almost pornographic in parts. The last chapter where the wife, Molly goes into detail about all of her affairs is particularly this way. Ulysses was banned in many places including the United States for a period of time and I imagine those parts are why. Would I ban it? No. Despite it really graphic parts the book is briliant. It is a masterpiece of its own kind that changes the way the novel looks at things. Rather than being full of heroic unique deeds it shows that even everyday life can be interesting. It also uses so many different literary methods and unique ways of conveying its message that it is definitely worth a read.

I would say the main theme is about feeling inadequate and looking for a purpose and identity in life. Bloom struggles with fears about his wife, and also struggles to fit in with society as a whole. Stephen, a young poet who later meets Bloom struggles with his identity having little contact with his family. Between the two of them they help each other out. A good quote from the introduction of the book I read is:

"Natural parents should bear in mind that the more supplementaries their children find, at school, or elsewhere, the better they will know that it takes all sorts to make a world."

There are some excellent quotes in this book, which borders on poetry. My all time favorite has to be a new name for God which Ulysses coins.Note that my blog is called magicandmystery for a reason. It is part of my philosophy of God. The world is a magic place. Joyce refers to Jesus as "Heisos Kristos, magician of the beautiful". LOVE IT!!!!

I love this one too!

"Our souls, shame-wounded by our sins, cling to us yet more, women to her lover clinging, the more, the more"

Another one stated by Stephen Dedalus in the novel "Where there is reconcilliation... there must have been first a sundering"

And yet another.

"Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves"

I have found that last quote to be very true. It is often hard to change things that are innately us. Despite alll our efforts we find that we are more often than not the same in the end. Our view of the world is coloured by our internal thoughts and feelings.

Overall, I thought that Ulysses was worthy of a read, despite is pornographic elements. I would just caution readers to be aware that they are there.

I am now on to book 4 In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. Should be good!!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Novel 100 list

I have had a request for the complete list of the books that I am reading. I have decided to type it up for all of you, but please note that this list is not mine it can be found in "The Novel 100: a ranking of the greatest novels of all time" By Daniel S. Burt. This book is helpful for reading through the books, as it gives you the background behind why Burt chose them, and also a bit about the books themselves.

1) Don Quixote- Miguel Cervantes
2) War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
3) Ulysses- James Joyce
4) In search of Lost Time- Marcel Proust
5) The Brothers Karamazov- Feyodor Dostoyovsky
6) Moby Dick- Herman Melville
7) Madame Bovary-Gustave Flaubert
8) Middlemarch- George Eliot
9) The Magic Mountain- Thomas Mann
10) The Tale of Genji- Murasaki Shikibu
11) Emma-Jane Austen
12) Bleak House-Charles Dickens
13) Anna Karenina-Leo Tolstoy
14) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-Mark Twain
15) Tom Jones-Henry Fielding
16) Great Expectations-Charles Dickens
17) Absalom, absalom-William Faulkner
18) The Ambassadors-Henry James
19) One Hundred Years of Solitude-Gabriel Marcia Marquez
20) The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
21) To the Lighthouse- Virgina Woolf
22) Crime and Punishment- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
23) The Sound and the Fury- William Faulkner
24) Vanity Fair-William Makepeace Thackeray
25) Invisible Man- Ralph Ellison
26) Finnegans Wake-James Joyce
27) The man without Qualities-Robert Musil
28) Gravity's Rainbow- Thomas Pynchon
29) The Portrait of a Lady- Henry James
30) A woman in Love- D. H. Lawrence
31) The REd and the Black- Stendhal
32) Tristram Shandy- Laurence Sterne
33) Dead Souls-Nikolai Gogol
34) TEss of D'Ubervilles- Thomas Hardy
35) Buddenbrooks- Thomas Mann
36) Le Pere Goriot- Honore de Balzac
37) A portrait of an Artist as a Young Man- James Joyce
38) Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
39) The Tin Drum-Gunter Grass
40) Molloy, Malone, Dies the Unnameable- Samuel Beckett
41) Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
42) The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne
43) Fathers and Sons- Ivan Turgenev
44) Nostromo- Joseph Conrad
45) Beloved- Toni Morrison
46) An American Tragedy- Theodore Dreiser
47) Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov
48) The Golden Notebook- Doris Lessing
49) Clarissa- Samuel Richardson
50) Dream of the Red Chamber- Cao Xueqin
51) The Trial- Franz Kafka
52) Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte
53) The Red Badge of Courage- Stephen Crane
54) The Grapes of Wrath- John Steinbeck
55) Petersburg- Andrey Bely
56) Things Fall Apart- Chinua Achebe
57) the Princess of Cleves-Madame de Lafayette
58) The Stranger- Albert Camus
59) My Antonia- Willa Cather
60) The Counterfeiters-Andre Gide
61) The Age of Innocence- Edith Wharton
62) The Good Soldier- Ford Madox Ford
63) The Awakening- Kate Chopin
64) A Passage to India- E.M. Forester
65) Herzog- Saul Bellow
66) Germinal- Emile Zola
67) Call it Sleep- Henry Roth
68) USA Trilogy- John Dos Passos
69) Hunger- Knut Hamsun
70) BErlin Alexanderplatz- Alfred Doblin
71) Cities of Salt- Abd Al Rahman Munif
72) The Death of Artemio Cruz- Carlos Fuentes
73) A Farewell to Arms- Ernest Hemingway
74) Bridgeshead Revisited-Evelyn Waugh
75) The Last chronicle of Barset- Anthony Trollope
76) The Pickwick Papers- Charles Dickinson
77) Robinson Crusoe- Daniel Dafoe
78) The sorrows of Young Werther- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
79) Candide- Voltaire
80) Native Son- Richard Wright
81) Under the Volcano- Malcolm Lowry
82) Oblomov- Ivan Goncharov
83) Their eyes WEre Watching God- Zora Neal Hurston
84) Waverley- Sir Walter Scott
85) Snow Country- Kawabata Yasunari
86) Nineteen Eighty-four-George Orwell
87) The Betrothed- Allesandro Manzoni
88) The last of the Mohican- James Fenimore Cooper
89) Uncle Tom's Cabin-Harriet Beecher Stowe
90) Les Miserables- Victor Hugo
91) On the Road- Jack Kerouac
92) Frankenstein-Mary Shelley
93) The Leopard-Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
94) The Catcher in the Rye- JD Salinger
95) The Woman in White- Wilkie Collins
96) The Good Soldier Svejk- Jaroslav Hasek
97) DRacula- Bram Stoker
98) The Three Musketeers- Alexandre Dumas
99) The Hounds of Baskerville-Arthur Conan Doyle
100) Gone wiht the Wind-Margaret Mitchell

Don Quixote review

The first novel in Daniel S. Burt's book was Don Quixote. The only thing I knew about the book before reading it was that it is a parody about knights.

While reading the book I remembered fondly my very first university level paper I ever wrote on Chilvaric love. This paper was wrote for my first year history class, before I even really knew how to write a proper essay. I never understood the idea at the time, but was interested in the topic having spent much of my youth following the anti dating movement popular in Christian circles at the time. I see now that I used the idea of "courting" as a way to opt out of real life (and unfortunately in the process missed out on a whole skill set necessary for relationships with the opposite sex). That, however, is somewhat besides the point.

What pray tell is chivalric love? In my history paper I wrote all about knights with their chaste love of their ladies. Knights in the 15th century roamed the earth providing the world with good deeds done in the names of their ladies. They also composed poems on their behalf, but other than that, had little to no actual contact with the ladies they were enamored with.

Don Quixote paradoies this to the extreme, in that he has never even seen the lady of his affections...but only heard people talking about her. Armed shoddily with homemade armor, a scrawny horse named Rocinante and a humorous and simpleminded page named Sancho Don Quixote sets out into the world in search of adventures. What he finds are several humorous and painful interactions with people who can't believe that "knights errant" exist outside of the novels. Some of these encounters are interesting while others moves slowly and are harder to follow. The people Don Quixote meets generally find him humorous and try to stop his percieved madness by talking him out of his insane venture. Despite that, by the end of the 2nd part of his "history", he has fans who are disappointed when he renounces chilvary and all of knight errantry.

I can't say I took much from the novel except for the notion that following your dreams (no matter how bizarre) brings joy not only to you, but others around you. Despite that fact, the journey is hardly, if ever an easy one.

I did find one quote that I liked:

"Everything beautiful is lovable, but I cannot grasp why, simply, because it is loved, the thing loved for its beauty is obliged to love the one who loves it"

Unrequited love is a sad situation, but cannot be blamed on just the beloved. They are no more obliged to love someone simply because they are loved by them.

Does the novel deserve the title of number one book of all time? Not in my books, although I understand what it was for it's time. The author of "The Novel 100", Daniel S. Burt, makes very certain that people know his list is his personal idea of the greatest novels, and that other people can feel free to differ with him. In fact, he encourages it.

Book two on the list is War and Peace which I have already read (and recently at that). For more information on what I think about that book please read my review in my blog Book three on the list is Ulysses by James Joyce. I am not really looking forward to reading this one, but perhaps it will suprise me! I am aiming to read each of these books in about 3 weeks. I have had some requests to post the booklist, which I will attempt to do even though I have to enter all 100 books by hand. Happy reading folks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today is the last fun day of our trip. Tomorrow we make the 8 hour trek back home, which will be very sad. :( There will be no pictures with this blog as I left my camera in the car by accident when we picked up our bags to check in. If you are reading this on facebook you can check out my blog at

We arrived in Seattle at 11 today and had a few ordeals to start with. I took a few wrong turns when we got to the city and circled for about half an hour. We could tell we were in the right neighbourhood, but we couldn't find the cross street we needed. Thankfully, the circling was done safely with no close calls or near accidents. When we arrived in the parking lot, we wound through 8 floors trying to find a spot and then took the elevator down to street level. This pops you out completely kitty corner to the hotel so we had a hard time figuring out where we were supposed to go. At least when we checked in the hotel people were jovial and very happy to see us. I made a fool of myself spilling all our escapades to them.

The first stop on the map was the Pike Place Market. Thankfully it was much slower than the last time I was there. I took some pictures of the fish throwing, but some Market Spice tea, saw the original Starbucks but did not go in and then we headed on our way.

Lynette and I had lunch at a restraunt called McCormicks and Smicks. It was a fancy seafood restraunt that was reasonably priced. I had a salmon club sandwich and the BEST fries I have eaten in a long time (quite possibly my life). We headed to the Pioneer Square section of Seattle so I could go to the Mystery bookstore and a toy store I had visited the last time I was here. Then we made the extremely long trek to the monorail station and got on it to go to the Experience Music Project/Sci fi Museum. The ride is short, but enjoyable. We didn't have a lot of time to check out the exhibits but we did enjoy them. Then we headed back to the hotel to to officially check in and grab our stuff from the car. This turned out to be a bit of an ordeal.

We rested for a few minutes in the hotel, and headed to dinner. I chose the restaraunt off of my Urban Spoon app. The Wild Ginger is an asian fusion restaruant with lots of different choices. It turned out to be an excellent choice. We ordered some Satay's from their Satay bar and I had a 5 flavor beef dish which was excellent. The restaraunt was quite high end and Lynette and I felt underdressed. The atmosphere was extremely cool though and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is in Seattle looking for Asian food.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Today I got to sleep in. It took me awhile to fall asleep in my new digs, because it is feels safer somehow to be in a tiny little hotel room.

When I finally got ready I drove to Puyallup to pick up Lynette and go shopping. I was intent on finding a Ross Dress for Less and succeeded. I dropped a pretty penny there, but bought a cute little 60s style dress, a cook book and a sparkly hat. I also got to shop at a book store. I had a bit of trouble finding something I wanted but mostly because the prices weren't as cheap as I expected. Lynette and I found a store called Honey baked Ham and went to investigate only to discover it was a cafe and take out place. we had delicious sandwiches with banana peppers and chipotle mayo.

I dropped Lynette off at her hotel room and took the shuttle to the fair. It is conveniently located outside Lynette's hotel. I knew I needed to go to the fair because I had been hearing about it for years on the American stations we get in Canada. Sounded fun....and it was. First thing I did when I got there was check out the Mutton Bustin'. This odd sounding activity involves children under the age of 6 hanging onto sheep for dear life. Thankfully the arena is layered in thick mud so even when they fall off it doesn't hurt.

Next I rushed to get to Sinbad high dive show. It was definitely worth it! So much sillyness and some actual amazing feats. There was a silly character named Josephina (a man who carried a purse, pranced around the stage and generally acted silly). They did a lot of dives off the lowere platformss and then did a huge dive off the extremely high platform at the top.

Next I went wandering around the fair until it was time for a magic show. It turns out that it wasn't really a magic show so much as a comedy act. he showed us how to do most of his tricks. At the end the message was quite good. He talked about how his grandpa inspired him to follow his dreams. Once again magicandmystery went to magic show! The one I saw in Courtenay though was WAY better!

Lastly I decided to have the traditional fair dinner, a corn dog and curly fries. The corn dog company was apparently called crusty pups....sounds nasty but was quite good. So essentially, the Puyallup fair was everything that the commercial led me to believe it would be...and more!

Now I am ensconced on my couch watching the season premieres of NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Today started out with breakfast at the Pig'nPancake...a cheesy breakfast joint in Seaside. Since we arrived late yesterday we shopped a little on the boardwalk...I bought some bath salts and that was about it! I did however find a board game called Mr. Bacon's great Adventure, however despite being extremely tempted I decided one bacon related purchase per trip was more than enough.

I had a delicious vanilla pepsi at the soda founatain at Holladay Drugs and we carried on our way. We stopped at an outlet mall in Seaside and found an evilly delicious store called Henry And David(or David Henry). I bought some encredible coffee which I can't wait to get home and try. They also had pumpkin crunch popcorn that nearly put me over the edge.

We drove towards Seattle (me with great trepidation at possibly hitting rush hour traffic). I just about got us lost when I made a wrong turn and drove for twenty minutes while trying to decide if I needed to turn around. Thankfully when I turned around it was the right decision.

I had to rush to get to my hotel because the front desk closed at 5. After checking in Lynette and I drove to her hotel. We met her concert buddy Marcia there. Being in the room with two Adam Lambert lovers was....interesting. I loved listening to Marcia's voice. She is from Milwaukee and has an awesome accent. We chatted for awhile and went for dinner at Applebees and ate WAY too much food. It was suprising how long we sat were there for, but the food was so good! I had to drive to my suite, which was 20 minutes away, in the dark. thankfully I made it safely and I set about making full use of my AWESOME suite. I had a bath in the jacuzzi, made tea, and sat on the couch watching a DVD series that Becky had lent me on my tv/dvd player. All in all I would say it was a good day, despite not being very photo worthy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Seaside-Round Two

I am sitting in our vintage board game room in Seaside Oregon. It is a super cute boutique hotel in Seaside. This is also round two of my tour of this city as well! I came here about 6 years ago with my friend Cleo. Lynette and I drove for 5 hours to get here and arrived quite late in the day. Since it is a Sunday all of the stores were closed. We didn't mind because we plan on taking time to look at a few places tomorrow.

After freshening up we drove to Cannon Beach which I have never been to before. It was soooo windy at the viewing point that we stopped it. Our hair was blowing every which way and we were having a blast. It didn't make for great pictures though and many of the ones we took were a disaster!

We drove further into town and decided to walk on the beach. I saw the famous Cannon beach rocks and played on some sand dunes. The sand there is so soft, and because of the crazy wind it was blowing in drifts down the beach.

We drove back into Seaside and walked down the main street. I saw one of my favorite places that Cleo and I went to the last time I was here. Seaside has a drugstore that has a soda fountain right inside of it. I am so amused by that because it is so vintage! Yay!

We had dinner at Pudgy's which is a seafood/steak/burger joint. Going with the fact that I am in a seaside town I ordered the dungeness crab sandwich which was delicious!

Now Lynette and I are happily settled into our hotel for the night. One thing of note from our drive down is we crossed the four mile long bridge from Washington State into Astoria, Oregon. Astoria is where they filmed the Goonies and I am such a dork that I brought that DVD and fully intend on watching it while we are here. We stopped for lunch in Raymond, WA at a AMAZING "donut and nacho warehouse" (a little phrase coined on my dorm road trip many a year ago). It was a vintage diner had soda fountain type pop you could order. I chose the Marilyn Monroe which was a pepsi with vanilla in it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Leavenworth Round 2

I am sitting here in a KOA cabin in Leavenworth, WA. I finally found an adventure to go on for my oh so brief holidays this year. My friend, Lynette was already planning on going to a concert and she just so happened to have several days off to go on a mini road trip. Last summer I came to Leavenworth my cousin and her friend and loved it. Since we arrived late I didn't get to see many of the cheesy Bavarian inspired stores and wanted to play the tacky tourist a bit more. Hence Round two in Leavenworth and the first stop of my 2010 road trip. Tomorrow Lynette and I head off to Seaside, OR which I have also been to before. It is a very cute seaside town at the top of the Oregon coast. I can't wait to get there because we are booked in at a super cute boutique hotel.

So about our adventure today. We manage to be the last car loaded on the ferry seconds before it left. That, sadly, was the end of our good fortune as we had a 40 minute wait at the border and got trapped in a traffic jam for half an hour to forty five minutes. It was hot and Lynette and I were both cranky.

We finally arrived in Leavenworth, checked in and headed out on a night on the town. The last time I was here I wanted to go to the Gingerbread house coffee shop but it was closed by the time I got there. Lynette and I got lattes and delicious soft iced gingerbread heart cookies.

We took lots of cheesy tourist pictures ened up in the infamous Leavenworth Hat store also known as Das Hat Store I believe. After trying on many of the hats in the store I picked up some giant purple sunglasses that I will happily sport about town. Lynette but an awesome fun fur (what I have dubbed scat which is short for scarf hat). The hat has ears and little paw shaped pockets that you can put your hands into. So cute, but very expensive.

We ate at Gustav's restaraunt which has a huge onion dome roof. I made sure to order a bratwurst with Saurkraut which I have discoved I actually do like. We listened to an accordian band at the band shell and made our way back to the cabin. Now we are settled in for the night listening to the crickets and playing on our various computers. Ah the joys of the internet!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Great Novel project

As if I had too much time on my hands, I have undertaken yet another project for the year! After one of my solo camping trips (which should have been a blog post and may make it into one yet) I stopped in Nanaimo at the Chapters and looked at books. I discovered a book called The Novel 100: A ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time. by Daniel S. Burt. When I first picked it up I thought, "Pshh who would read a book, about other books" Then I realized that I was the idiot that would read a book about other books. Sadly, I didn't realize that until I was safely at home in Courtenay. I decided this would make a great blog project since I haven't travelled much this year at all. Sooooo, dear readers I have undertaken the project to read each of the 100 novels in this particular list of 100 greatest novels. There are many others lists including the BBC one, but for some reason this one struck a chord with me. I'd love company if any of you feel so inclined to fill your time with some classic novels....or at the very list follow my blog about them as I read them. *Cough. Shameless plug. *cough.... I think is the address if you want to check out my actual blog rather than the facebook note that populates there a few days after I write it.

To make a long story short, after my second solo camping trip, I drove back to Nanaimo to pick up the book. Thanks to Project Gutenberg (I think that's what it's called) most of the books on the list can be found for free in digital editions or on my ibooks account. So after my initial purchase of the list of books for 6.99 I am hoping most of these books can be read for free. Sooooo here it goes guys. I am sure I will hate some of these classics, some of them I have already read (including book number 2 War and Peace) but I am determined to get through as many as I can. Perhaps, I will be a more cultured person at the other end, but chances are my sieve-like head will only retain a few details from each book. Ah well..if nothing I will entertain myself for a year, or two, or 5!!!!

Book number one is Don Quixote. Should be fun....wish me luck.

Under the Dome Review

Soooo, after slaving away on this book since just before Christmas I am finally finished it. Stephen King's Under the Dome is a massive 1000 page monster that was chosen by one of the members of my three person book club...I am sad to say this book was also the death of our book club!!!! Of the three members I am the only one to have finished the novel. One person never finished any of the books we read, the second person hated it so much she decided not to finish it, and I, being stubborn decided to persevere. So almost a year later I finished it!!!

Why did I have such a hard time?

1) the book is way too gory. Stephen King is a graphic writer and he wrote in excruciating detail of bones snapping, noses breaking, pace makers exploding out of chests etc.
2) the book is psychologically traumatizing. This book is about what happens when you cut an entire town off from the rest of society with no hope of ever getting out. For those of you who have read Lord of the Flies we all know how THAT ends!!
3) the book weighs a lot!!! So for a girl who loves to read while travelling, it gets left behind a lot

I wanted so badly to like this book because I thought the idea of cutting off a bunch of people under a dome that was invisible was brilliant. Sadly, however I could not get past how violent it was. For those of you who have ever watched a violent movie with me you will know this is a major problem. While you can hide behind your hands during a movie, it is not so easy to escape the imagery that words call to mind in your head.

I kept trying to tell myself that this stuff could really happen, and I had seen glimpses of the behaviour described in the book in real life, but that didn't make me want to read it any more. In fact, I kept feeling like I was pointless subjecting myself to torture since I was already aware of the fact that power with out checks and balances could destroy a person. Essentially that is one of the points of the book. That, and the heroism of standing up against the tide of popular opinion and fighting for what you know is right and true.

The second point in the book had which comes to light in the last 50 pages is that there is a difference between pity and feeling ashamed. I can't say too much about why this comes up without giving away the ending so I will just say that I actually loved the ending. Each of the heros at the end has to face a time in their lives when they were so ashamed of something they had done that it changed their life forever. They saw what happens when people are cruel and malicious to another life and never wanted to behave that way again. The villians on the other hand have many examples of senseless torture and group think or mob-like behaviour. (Its those parts that I had a hard time stomaching and I have read some pretty harsh books before, and I work with some pretty traumatized people). The dome eventually lifts because whatever held it in place felt pity towards those trapped in place. One of the characters says something to the effect of "well if pity is all they can feel, at least its a starting place". That's all I will say.

Honestly, despite the fact that I appreciated the book's ending I don't know that I would actually recommend anyone actually reading this book. The only reason I finished it was because I was stubborn and wanted to finish what I started. If you want to read a book with a similar message or feeling to it I would recommend Stephen King's other apocolyptic type novel The Stand. I LOVE that book despite its huge size too. I have even watched the 8 hour long made-for-tv series of that one! Go early 90s television!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wisdom at the Crossroads

I couldn't resist adding a little tidbit from this mornings devotions. The passage I was reading today was from Proverbs 8:1-19. I was struck by the first two verses which seem to imply that wisdom is found at the crossroads. See for yourself:

"Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud..." Proverbs 8:1-3

That imagery speaks to me of transition. Look at the imagery "where paths meet", "beside the gates leading into the city", "at the entrances". All of those things sound like thresholds to me, new beginnings where you can see the old, and look forward towards the new. I was very excited to read that verse this morning and I truly hope to discover some new found wisdom at this particular crossroads in my life. I say bring it on!

Jumping off the bridge with my arms raised high (Part 2)

Part 2 you say? The original log (Part 1) can be found at my old blog Check it out if you would like a little bit of background story to this blog. 1 year and approximately 7 months later I stand on the same bridge again, effectively in between jobs (although this time, the anxiety is a bit less) I have, after all, been here before.

A few weeks ago the organization I used to work for went through some significant changes. Significant changes, that came at very bad timing for me. I was quite possibly at my lowest place in my job, feeling completely exhausted and burnt out and wondering how I could possibly carry on. Cue, the carpet which was ripped out from under my feet and you have one very frightened girl on your hands. I began praying and looking for other work. Rather than panic (which I did for about a day) I took these occurences as a sign that it was time for me to move on. I began to pray to God asking Him to show me what was next. I quite calmly told God I was ready to move anywhere and that I completely trusted Him to provide for my needs. I asked very specifically that I would know what job was mine when I saw it. I thanked Him that I had learned the lesson of provision in my career way back in my second year of university when I had no idea how I would return to the most expensive school in Canada. Since that time God has proven faithful, over and over again. I was confident He would provide. I searched daily for about 2-3 hours a night, scrolling through online job sites confident a job would be there and that I would recognize it when I saw it.

By Saturday, I still hadn't seen anything, and I was beginning to think I was meant to stay after all. I did actually feel a bit better after a week of intentional self care and things calming down in the work place. I turned away from the computer for a bit and tried to read, but couldn't focus. I had a moment of insight and thought, "for a lark lets check out the John Howard Society website" (where I used to work). I clicked on the website only to discover that my old job was the only one that was posted!!! My stomach dropped to me knees and I knew. There was my job. Literally!!!!! I laughed outloud in my apartment even though I live alone, and said, "you have got to be kidding me." And after a pause and some more laughter I asked God, "but what if I don't want it?"

To make a rather long story, slightly shorter, I applied, had the interview got the job took some extra time deciding, but ultimately made the choice to trust God.

Although it doesn't make any rational makes pefect logical sense. Wha?? By that I mean that to me, God is logical. If I pray for a job to be open, and one appears that has to God. Although that isn't necessarily rational to me it makes completely logical sense. Even my unbelieving aunt told me that "someone must be looking out for you" when I explained what was going on. Exactly.

So tomorrow morning, I start my old/new job again. Although I am moving away from my dream job of working with adult homeless, and although I will be making about $3 an hour less I am completely confident that God is in complete control and that He has some awesome plans up his sleeve for me. I am SO excited to see what is next and why, when I was willing to move absolutley anywhere God wanted me to be Courtenay doing my old job. I sense there are big things on the horizon for me and because of that I am extremely happy to be jumping off a bridge with my arms raised high.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

God Is.

I have spent this fine Good Friday morning finishing off an amazing book called God Is. by David Adams Richards (one of my favorite Canadian fiction authors). I picked this book up in November motored through half of it in a day and forgot about it on my overcrowded bookshelf. For the past month I have been working through a bit of a spiritual slump and was overjoyed when the title leapt off my shelf. (hmmm....sound like a God thing??)

The back of the book has an awesome quote on it that intrigued me and pulled me in:

"I believe that all of us, even those who are atheists, seek God--or at the very least not one of us would be unhappy if God appeared and told us that the universe was actually His creation. Oh, we might put Him on trial for making it so hard, and get angry at Him, too, but we would be very happy that He is here. Well, He is."

The book was nothing like what I expected it to be, and I was suprised. Having read David Adams Richard's books I shouldn't have been. Despite the cheery and optimistic quote on the back, this book takes a dark walk through sin and back attempting to prove God exists by detailing what happens with the absence of Him. David Adams Richards struggled with alcholism for years, rubbed shoulders with murderers who were proud of what they have done and has seen evil up close and personal. This book reflects that.

Having read a few of David Adams Richards books I have always described them in this way: "I despise all the characters....and then I realize that I am just like". He has this uncanny gift of showing how "good" people turn "bad" and "bad" people turn "good". He takes us through the thought process of his antagonist's actions so that we understand why they have done what they have done and realize that we would have done the same thing ourselves. His books aren't what I would call "fun reads" but they are so real to life that it hurts...but then heals. Richards describes his characters in this way: "That's what the characters in my novels...have always been confronted with. They are plagued by sin-sinning themselves and being more sinned against then sinning." This non-fiction look at God is like his fiction books in that way. It is a very real, very dark look at God and the world.

His main arguements can be broken down into three categories: his thoughts on Revenge, his beliefs about murder, and his personal experience with faith and without it.

Richards talks about how we all know that there is wrong and right in the world otherwise if bad things were done to us we would have no reason to seek revenge because one action would be no different than another. We know when we are sinned against....we also know when we sin. Even if people tell us we haven't.

"If sin didn't exist there would be nothing to revenge" ~page 82

When we pick up our causes and try to fight for them ourselves rather than rely on God to exact true justice we become the very thing we are fighting against.

"If a man fights dragons, he sooner or later becomes one." pag 46

Richards talks about men like Stalin and Hitler and how they use their own personal power to sin against the world and then state that this power makes them some how exempt from sin. He talks about how our sins only differ from Stalin's and Hitler's
in terms of degree. They are no worse or better than we are.

"The degree does not negate the similarity-only a difference in kind can do this-and our actions, compared to millions before us, are not at all a difference of kind, but only a difference to a degree" pg 12.

Richards talks about murder as the ultimate sin and how all other sins attempt to lead to this. He describes murder as a the sin which attempt to build your life up and snuff it out in others. There are ways to murder someone emotionally and spiritually besides just ending their physical life.

"we tend to eliminate those around us who do not any longer fit with ourselves" pg 79

"the idea that Cain killed Abel because of his own failure is a problem most of us face in our lives". pg 83

"self righteousness is in the end the greatest curse man has" pg 103

"sooner or later hatred relies upon falsehood" 107

Most of Richards argument relies on his personal experiences and how much better life is with faith than without it. He talks about the human condition being two seperate conditions: the will to do evil and the fight against it. He talks about atheism and faith and how the individuals on either side are not perfect, but that the battle isn't really about the sides but the internal battle for faith.

"The internal battle is the actual battle"

"Yes. They failed within the church, but that did not meant that I did not fail outside of it" pg 41

"I did not agree with the faithful (or at least all they said), so much as disagree with the unfaithful (or those who say they do not have faith) pg 15

"Faith does not stop crime, or sin, or wrongdoing, or evil, or whatever we want to tag it. I am not saying it does, but it does always and forever, combat it" pg 94

"Sin is something we fight against and at times bravely fight against. There is a sense that it is foreign to the best part of us."

I am not sure if this book would convince anyone of God's existence but it does cover some of my main reasons for believing. It talks about the good and the world and the pull towards that. It also talks about the sin and how real it is. I have not lead a horrible life but I definitely know evil both within myself and the world. I love that Richards is so brutally honest about his shortcomings. I have always loved that faith frees us to be real because Jesus has taken away the penalty for our screw ups. I know that I like me better when I am actively believing because I am paying attention to the effect my actions have onteh world around me. When I walk away from God or even just become apathetic I am sorry to say it, but I become a bitch (pardon my language :). If I don't have something outside of myself to remind me what I am made for I live for myself and in doing this trample others. Richards describes it in this way, "Faith allows us peace only from the active, complicit rule of wrongful injury"

Although this book is dark it makes you stare at real life and weigh all the options. It makes me glad that God is here and that He has come. It makes me thankful for Jesus and for having heard His insist tuggings on my heart strings. It makes me glad that faith is universal and that at some level everyone knows it.

If this has intrigued you please read this book (or the Bible...that works too!). I highly recommend God is. and also the only David Adams Richards fiction book I have made it all the way through Mercy Among the children. I appreciate it even more now knowing Richards is a man of faith.

For my readers who read this blog on facebook just a reminder you can find my actual blog at Blessings my friends on this glorious, blustery Good Friday. It's weather like this that has always made me know that God exists.

PS. God is referenced War and Peace so many times I was very glad that I had just finished reading it!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

War and Peace-Original Version

If you are reading this on facebook please check for my actual blog.

Time for yet another book review on Magic and Mystery. This one has taken me quite some time to complete so I am pretty excited to pass on the information to you. I purchased War and Peace-Original Version by Leo Tolstoy at a Books-a-Million in St. Louis for $7 and started reading it back in August. It has been a hard read but there is much of it that I have enjoyed. Sitting at just below 900 pages though I would hardly call it a summer read! Oddly enough by purchasing the original version I may have been in error as I discovered it differs slightly from the "normal" version in several ways possibly even in the ending so for those who have read the original I would love to hear if you find any glaring differences as I review it. I shocked several people by choosing this book to read, but I am a huge fan of Dostoyevsky and I wanted to know whether this meant I was a fan of Russian literature. I decided to tackle War and Peace despite a few misgivings, because honestly, I just was not interested in Anna Karenina.

First and formost the main thing that stuck out to me as I read was that I enjoyed the "Peace" parts far more than the "War". This may be the main difference between a female reader and a male reader...or it might just be me who despises war.

The other thing I noted as I read this book is that Tolstoy seems to be very fatalistic. In writing about war he states several times that individuals do not shape history but the collective conscience does. He also talks about how things happen as they should and that they unfold regardless of people's intentions. Here is a quote near the end of the book:

"everything that happens in a matter in which many people act together does not happen according to these people's will, but according to various zoological laws. and it is not given to man to foresee their outcome."

And earlier in the book:

"Fatalism is as rational in history as it is irrational in the individual. It is no accident that Solomon's saying- ' the kings heart is in God's hand' - became proverbial"

Tolstoy appears to believe that individuals have freedom of choice, but that freedom diminishes when you gather together large groups or people. It also decreases in direct proportion to the level of power and authority that you have. In this way, Tolstoy believe that Napolean was only acting on behalf of the people and not the monster that some people of his time made him out to be.

In comparison to Dostoyevsky I would say that I find Tolstoy's writing more contrived. Dostoyevsky writes of life amidst the poor class of society and deals with the root causes of dark human issues murder, jealousy, guilt etc. Tolstoy on the other hand focuses more on upper class society and attempting to find the meaning of life amidst all of the chaos and confusion in the world. Although Tolstoy's topic is lofty and he points to God in several passages of his book I find that his philosophizing does not feel as genuine as some of Dostoyevsky's writings. That being said, I do enjoy much of what he has to say about God and the meaning of life.

"Love, compassion for one's brothers, for those who love and hate us, yes, the love that was taught by God on earth, that Princess Marya tried to teach me-that is waht would remain to me if I were to live" ~Prince Andrei

"But for me, even now when I am dying, there is nothing certain in all this except for the pettiness of all that I understand and the greatness of something else, something incomprehensible but supremely important"

And Pierre, a passionate, but bumbling man who doesn't understand a lot (but lives passionately much like Peter of the bible) says, "Yes, my friend...there is a God in heaven and good on earth"

I did fall in love with characters who came to life and leapt off the page, but I had a hard time keeping track of a few of them, because there are many people throughout the book (much like in Dickens' novels). Some of my favorites include Princess Marya a young single girl who lives with her father and longs to get married, Prince Andrei, her brother who loses his young wife in child birth and struggles with the meaning of life and Pierre the passionate bumbling idiot who society laughs at but finds amusing.

Although this book is long, and parts of it are hard to read I would recommend it to others. I would, however, recommend reading another lighter book at the same time though to balance the heaviness of this one. The next two books I am reading are "Under the Dome" By Stephen King a book about a community that gets trapped under a mysterious dome and the chaos that insues in their society (kind of like Lord of the Flies) and "The 1001 nights" aka The Arabian Nights. Make sure to check back for updates on those. Since "Under the Dome" is 1000 pages I may finish Arabian nights first!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Retreat: Day 2

So today has been one of the most perfect days ever. I think I may have just started a new valentines tradtion!!!

The morning started off with me waking up at 9. Since I ate late in the day yesterday I never ate dinner (just a cookie and popcorn) I was starving. I wandered downtown to find a place to eat breakfast and stumbled upon a little cafe. After eating breakfast (toast and fruit)I made my way to Mirage Cafe to have a latte decorated with beautiful latte Art

Next I ventured futher downtown exploring stores as I went. I had been sent on a mission to find my grandma some large peice puzzles so I walked the 7 blocks to Value Village and found one! I was excited to run across some of the homeless outreach locations I had heard so much about such as Street Links. On the way back I walked through Chinatown and stumbled upon a demonstration (I think raising awareness about missing or murdered women)

I then proceeded to walk the 10 blocks back to the hotel and drop off all the goodies I bought (which included tea, jewelery, and perfume) and then head to Miniature world. I hadn't been there since I was 8 and it is still a delightful place as an adult. Wee versions of things are just so darling.

Next I wandered aimlessly, feeling quite tired but wanting to go to High Tea at the Empress. I arrived at 2:45 trying to hit "real" high tea at 3PM. Unfortunately it was sold out, and I couldn't get a seating until 3:30. I waited in the lobby trying to rest my feet and it was definitely worth the wait...and the insane price. Tea coast $44 but included chocolate strawberries, little sandwiches, fancy pastries, a huge pot of tea. It also includes a box of Empress Tea bags to take home.

I decided to make the trek to Moka House having heard about it a few years ago. It was well worth the walk. The place was packed and the special latte today was a cinnamon heart inspired latte. It was delicious. By the time I arrived back at the hotel I was still full, so I waited a bit before going to dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory. It was a zoo thanks to it being Valentines day and I had to wait for 40 minutes to get seated but it was worth it.

I also had bubble number 2 tonight, gotta love pink glittery, suds. I head home tomorrow, but I plan on taking my time as I don't have to go back to work until Wednesday. I fear the final total of Operation: Valentines Retreat will be far more then I ever would have expected someone else to spend on me. Oh well, it has definitely been worth it. It is not every day that you get to spoil yourself rotten.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Operation: Valentines Retreat

(crazy display at Murchies Tea)

I have never been a huge fan of Valentines Day, but that being said I have never been Anti-valentines either. I have been single on Valentines day my entire life so most years the day makes little difference to me. Generally, I believe that Valentines is one of those "Hallmark holidays" and should therefore be discounted. However I haven't been as able to ignore it these last few years. I guess the older I get the more I long to have a super girly, over-the-top valentines day. (Perhaps this is my biological clock ticking). However, not being one to feel sorry for myself, I decided to plan my own over-the-top valentines retreat. This is the second year in a row I have had to use holidays in February and I am not a huge fan of taking a vacation and staying at home. After combing the internet for deals and taking stock of what I really wanted out of a holiday, I came to the conclusion I wanted to take a retreat and have nothing but "Me" time doing exactly what I wanted. I found a cheap hotel in Victoria (just because I wanted something over the top doesn't mean I had to spend a lot of money) and went from there. I found a hotel that was centrally located so I wouldn't have to stress myself out by navigating the one way streets of Victoria and set about planning activities within a few blocks radius of the hotel.

So far today I have gone shopping in two malls, eaten "linner" or "lupper" (a meal somewhere between lunch and dinner) at Red Robin, bought tea at Murchies, bath stuff at Lush, drank coffee at Blenz, read 1001 One Nights aka Arabian Nights while curled in a chair, taken a bubble bath and climbed into bed.

(night time view from my hotel room)

Tomorrow, another day of relaxation and fun will ensue. I intend to take a nice walk to the water and find Moka House coffee shop which I have heard all about. After that I think I'll go to Miniature World (which I loved when I was 8). Then continue shopping down town (but hopefully at a much more relaxed pace). At some point I would like to stop at Mirage coffee that apparently does beautiful latte art. Lastly, I will have dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory (provided that is if I can get a seat what with it being Valentines and all). The only unfortunate part of travelling alone is eating alone in restraunts...not the greatest thing to do in the world (but potentially a source of some great people watching when you are not being stared at yourself). Of course I will take a second bubble bath with the remainder of my pink glittery bath bomb. Monday I will mosey on home possibly stopping in Nanaimo on an errand for my aunt and grandma. Happy Valentines all!! What will you do to treat yourself right tomorrow??

(pink, glittery bubble bath)