Stay Tuned…

Hello readers!

Today was my last day of school until September and I’m definitely on ‘Cloud 9’ because we all know what no more school means for me – more time to read books!

To start the holidays off right, I went to the Children’s Hospital Book Market at St. Vital Mall (on now until tomorrow!) and pops and I picked up a few gems. Now, I generally classify book market week as the most wonderful time of year (besides Christmas, obviously, because you all know how much I love Christmas), but I’ll admit to dropping the ball this year. The sale started on Tuesday and by the time dad and I got there yesterday, a lot of books by the authors we tend to read were already gone. We were a little bummed, armed as we were with our lists of books by authors so that we could fill in the holes in series we own, but managed to look on the bright side of things and explore new titles. We walked away with six new treasures (dad calls them ‘mercy buys’) so that we could support this worthy cause. As you head into the weekend, consider stopping by the mall and perusing the tables upon tables of wonderful books longing to be read!

I’m heading out of town tomorrow for a weekend of fun and relaxation (and shopping!) and can’t wait to start Kimberly McCreight’s newest release, Where They Found Her.

Can't wait to dig into this one this weekend!
Can’t wait to dig into this one this weekend!

It’s sure to be a thrilling mystery and I am looking forward to having time to fully immerse myself in the story on my road trip (trust me, I won’t be driving – safety first, kids!).

Over the summer, I’ll also be developing a new project that I’ll be unveiling in autumn! Fun stuff! So stay tuned, my dear loyal readers, as exciting things are happening. Although school has come to an end, I will still check in on the blog whenever I can and entertain you with all things bookish throughout the summer. You’ve all been an amazing support and I’ve loved chatting with you about books and life and all things literary.

Happy reading, much love, and many thanks,
Katrina

It’s Literally a Book Club

books on books on books
books on books on books!

Hello readers,

Last Friday, I met with my lovely book club for the very first time to chat about Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train. We had a great discussion about how the story unfolded, which characters we liked and couldn’t stand, and even shared some (often outlandish) alternate endings and plot line theories. It was good times! At some point in the evening, we also took a moment to give our book club an official title. We got pretty creative, I won’t lie. Right now, we’re rolling with “It’s Literally a Book Club”. So much love for my friends.

If you and your book club are currently reading The Girl On The Train or plan to read it in the next few months, Penguin Books USA has an excellent discussion guide. You can follow the guide to the letter or use it as a jumping-off point. We had so many opinions and thoughts to share that we didn’t really use the guide but I found the questions helpful for keeping the discussion on track.

Here are our thoughts:

  1. Hawkins’ main character Rachel is an unreliable narrator – she has memory issues, alcohol dependency issues, peeping-tom issues, self-esteem issues…the list goes on. For some of us, this created confusion – the timeline jumps around a lot and there are big chunks of time missing from Rachel’s narration, leaving us wondering what the heck she is doing during those blank afternoons. For the rest of us, we found that Rachel’s unreliability was a clever writing tactic. Hawkins didn’t have to explain everything and pieces to the puzzle were deliberately missing – our job as readers was to fill in those holes with assumptions and theories. This dynamic made for an interesting read and kept a lot of us guessing throughout the entire book.
  2. Some of us saw the ending coming from a mile away (mainly, me). I don’t know why, but I thought that this was a pretty predictable whodunit and even though Hawkins throws a few red herrings at us to keep us in the dark about what really happened, I rarely strayed from my hypothesis about ‘misogyny man’ (you’ll know who I mean). However, a few of us had entirely different expectations about this book’s outcome…
  3. RIFF OFF: Multiple Personality Disorder Theory. Miranda and Whitney totally thought that all three female narrators – Rachel, Anna, and Megan – were, in fact, one person. Brilliant! This theory by far led our discussion because it had the rest of us reeling. It was a plot line none of the rest of us considered! Honestly, by the end of the night, we all thought that a multiple personality disorder twist would have made for a better story – sorry, Paula!
  4. While Rachel’s unreliability as a narrator is effective, one thing that a few of us found upsetting was her alcoholism and how the disease was portrayed in the book. However, we all realized that while something may be upsetting, that doesn’t mean it isn’t real or true or important to examine. Alcoholism, to many people, is sad, destructive, pathetic, weak…and those aren’t qualities we typically like to associate with our protagonists. We like heroes and Rachel doesn’t seem like much of one. In fact, sometimes we suspect her to be the story’s villain. Rachel does begin to pull through and find purpose though. The minute she starts seeing a shrink (albeit for ulterior motives), you start getting the sense that this woman will get better – and I think that she does.
  5. Another thing we noticed: fat shaming. I’m not sure if it’s a UK-cultural thing but the way Hawkins describes Rachel and puts her down really turned a few of us off. This could have been another tactic used by Hawkins to illustrate how defeated Rachel is, but the association of a certain weight with failure and weakness was straight up rude. We didn’t like it. Another interesting thing: a few of us couldn’t imagine Rachel (Kaeri and I still can’t picture her face!) and this made her hard to identify with.
  6. HOLY MOM ISSUES BATMAN. The underlying tension throughout the book is motherhood and how it defines women. Rachel’s life fell apart because she couldn’t be a mom, Megan’s life fell apart when she became a mom and then had crazy shit happen to her (I’m not exaggerating!), and Anna’s life got better after the birth of her daughter (she found fulfilment). It’s fascinating how Hawkins developed her characters around motherhood in such diverse ways.

The character we liked the most: Megan
The scene that shocked us the most: toss up between the Rachel-Scott fling or Megan’s baby backstory
What we wanted more of: more Rachel + Anna teamwork

At the end of the night, we sat in our little circle and raised our hands in a vote to rate this book. We settled on giving this book 3/5 stars. It certainly was a page-turner (you will want to find out what happens!). Next up, we’ll be reading Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, another thrilling whodunit mystery. I can’t wait to dive into this one. In all, we had a great time reading and then discussing The Girl On The Train.

One comment I heard a few times during the evening had me positively glowing: a few of my girlfriends confessed to not reading very much any more and were so glad to have a reason to read again. They all expressed how much this experience made them realize how much they enjoyed and missed reading – follow their lead: start a new book and (re)discover your love of reading this weekend!

Happy reading,
Katrina


PS: If you are a fan of Game of Thrones and watched the premier of season 5 last weekend, check out this fantastic analysis: http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/game-of-thrones-season-5-episode-1-recap-the-wars-to-come/

Face Off: Narnia versus Book of Negroes

Hello readers,

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter long weekend – mine was filled with Netflix (Treasure Planet with the cousins!) and chocolate (birthday) cake. It was fantastic.

While we look forward to the premier of season five of Game of Thrones this Sunday (read my last blog post if you’re out of the loop), here’s a quickie post on a few book-related things to keep you going…


This year's full roster for HCC March Madness.
This year’s full roster for HCC March Madness.

#HCCMarchMadness, Harper Collins Canada’s spin on the college basketball tournament, is finally coming to a close this week, with two heavy-hitters in the top spots duking it out for the win (duking it out…Duke…get it? Clever, right?). The top choices are: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, or The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, both favourites of mine. I know I’ll be happy with either one as winner – which one will you choose? Today is the last day to vote – the winner will be announced tomorrow. Exciting. Get your votes in, as you have a chance to win all 64 books in that were this year’s tournament.

Who do you think will win??
Who do you think will win?? Get your votes in today!

The next best thing: the Buzzfeed Books newsletter. I’m always looking for a good book and I like getting recommendations from a variety of sources – you never know what’s out there until you look! All you have to do is sign your email up to receive the weekly e-newsletter (it comes out on Wednesdays) and read away. My favourite part of the BuzzFeed Books site: the curated quizzes, natch (all you could ever be asked about Harry Potter!).

A few of the fun posts on BuzzFeed Books.
A few of the fun posts on BuzzFeed Books. Totally worth checking out. Be warned: you’ll waste a lot of time doing quizzes!

Tomorrow night, I’m getting together with my book club for our inaugural meeting – we’ll be chatting about The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins and I can’t wait to hear what my friends thought of the book. I’ll be sharing some of our thoughts and reflections on the blog next week – if you read the book, leave your comments here for discussion!

Happy reading,
Katrina

Winter is Coming…despite the fact that it’s supposed to be over!

Hello readers,

Many of you may have been dismayed when a small snowstorm hit Winnipeg yesterday afternoon. I know I was longing for sunshine and green grass and was sad to see the snowpocalypse hitting downtown. Here in Winterpeg, we often have unrealistic hopes for springtime – but this year, it looked like we were going to experience a true spring and we were excited! Well, worry not friends. Even though there is a little bit of snow back on the ground, the fact that ‘Winter is coming’ doesn’t have to be a bad thing….if that winter refers to Game of Thrones.

We’re a little over a week away from the premier of Game of Thrones season 5 on HBO and I am super excited. My dad watched the first season when it premiered in 2011 before either of us had heard of George R.R. Martin’s series Song of Ice and Fire and really enjoyed it. I watched the recap of Season 1 and then decided to purchase the books so that we could get the full experience (because aren’t the books always better?). We have both now read all five books and are eagerly awaiting book six, Winds of Winter. According to an Entertainment Weekly interview with Martin, he hopes to release Winds of Winter by 2016 – my fingers are crossed!

Zero spoiler alerts here – but I do want go over which character plot lines I’m most excited to read about in the next GOT instalment. My favourite characters to follow are Jon Snow, Tyrion, and Daenerys. I love Samwell Tarly. I used to like Arya and then I really didn’t but now I might again. I wish there was more about Bran up north and I am super curious about the White Walkers. My money is on Benjen Stark being the guy on the elk (nicknamed ‘Coldhands’). I love Daenerys (who doesn’t?) but I also have an appreciation for Jamie Lannister (even though he has questionable morals). I am not a fan of Sansa and I tend to skim anything to do with the Greyjoys. I think Bronn is hilarious and in terms of the show, I find Jon Snow and Daario Naharis extremely attractive. Guys, there’s so much to look forward to this season and in the next book!

While I wait for winter to get here, I’ll be reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which is a post-apocalypse novel being endorsed by none other than our friend George R.R. Martin. Check it out!

Season 5 of Game of Thrones will be premiering on Sunday, April 12 at 9pm on HBO.

Happy reading and Happy Easter!
Katrina

Move over, Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy

Hello readers,

I’ve been on a detective novel kick recently. From Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelly, to Robert Galbraith’s (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling’s) excellent Cormoran Strike novels, I’m digging the mysteries of late. Good news for fellow fans of these books: the Cormoran Strike series is going to be adapted for a major new television series on BBC One, and Amazon has already released one season of Bosch, based on Connelly’s famous detective character. Stoked.

I’m not new to detective novels. When I was a kid, my sister and I had a fantastic collection of classic novels, which included many favourites – but some of our most-read books on the shelf were by far Nancy Drew books. I loved the series when I was younger. My top faves were – and still are – The Ghost of Blackwood Hall and The Secret of the Old Clock. Nancy Drew, the wunderkind detective, has inspired many similar characters since her first feature mystery in 1930. Enter in Harriet the Spy, the beloved child detective novel of 1964 – my generation grew up watching Michelle Trachtenberg (later, Georgina of Gossip Girl) as the precocious and curious sleuth in the 1996 film.

Recently, I found Veronica. That’s right, friends, I’m talking about Veronica Mars.

Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars.
Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars.

I had watched a few episodes of the TV cult fave here and there back when the series was on TV but didn’t really discover my love of the show until I found it on Netflix. I had followed the courageous Kickstarter campaign created by fans (“marshmallows”) and Veronica Mars cast members to fund a V-Mars film and wanted to watch the entire series before watching the movie. Loved every minute of it. Watch the show and definitely watch the movie (Kristen Bell is pretty awesome).

The movie! It's so good!
The movie! It’s so good!

And then, friends, I found out about the books. Oh yes, there are books.

Following the film’s release, Rob Thomas, creator of the show, along with author Jennifer Graham, decided to keep Veronica’s story alive and feed fans’ addiction by starting a series where the movie left off. And they are SO good. The first novel, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, was released last March. The second novel, Mr. Kiss and Tell, was released in January of this year. Each book is like reading an episode of the show – every character and scene is written so well that you can see everything happening just as if you were watching an episode on your couch. It’s wonderful.

The first book released after the film: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
The first book released after the film: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
The second book, Mr. Kiss and Tell, was released at the end of January.
The second book, Mr. Kiss and Tell, was released at the end of January.

If you’re looking for a quick and visual read, check out these books – but only after watching the series and movie.

Happy reading,
Katrina

Bright lights and the big city….of Lockport

Hello readers,

Today we’re taking a break from books (I know, how dare we cheat on books?!) to talk about Lockport. Lockport, you ask? Yes, friends, the cute little hamlet of Lockport, located 25 km north of Winnipeg.

I visited a shop in town that is oh-so-cute, so I wanted to share some photos and a story with you!


 

Huda Haddad, owner of Eveline Street Clothing boutique, is in a rush to make it to the airport. She’s celebrating her one-year wedding anniversary in Banff and her flight leaves in an hour.

 

“I’m just leaving but come in and play. Try on anything you want. Try on these shoes,” she says, pointing to a bright green and purple pair. “You’ll love them. Most of these are custom. I have the best selection of Fluevogs in Manitoba.”

Fluevog Shoes
Fluevog Shoes

 

With that, she hands the store keys off to long-time customer-turned-employee Jaime Bouw and hits the road.

 

“That’s Huda,” says Bouw, 55, laughing. “She’s a whirlwind.”

 

Bouw is working her first shift alone at the store. Her regular gig is teaching girls about self-esteem and body positivity at a school in St. Andrews. She also teaches classes at Growing Years, a family resource centre in Selkirk. This weekend, she’s helping out at the boutique while Haddad is away.

cute clothes!
cute clothes!

 

Bouw gives us full run of the store, letting us try on dresses and rearrange shoe displays for photographs. When I hold up a coral sundress and ask its size, Bouw tells me that it’s one-size-fits-all.

 

Haddad says that Eveline Street is all about loving who you are. Size doesn’t matter here.

 

“I really feel strongly that women need to love their bodies,” Bouw says. “You come in here and everything fits you.”

 

“Huda’s so capable of making you feel like the most beautiful person in the world, no matter what you’re wearing,” she says. “I think that’s what women are looking for.”

 

Haddad’s 21-year-old business has been built on creating relationships with the women that visit her store.

 

“This is a different kind of shopping experience,” Bouw explains. “It’s not just about making money – she delivers so much more.”

 

cozy!
cozy!

Open seven days a week from noon to 5 p.m., and located 25 kilometers north of Winnipeg, Haddad’s store is a stone’s throw from Lockport’s legendary locks. You can find the rustic shop beside Lockport Grocery – General Store and Liquor Vendor on Highway 44. For more information about Lockport, visit http://www.lockportmanitoba.ca. You can also visit Haddad’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EvelineStreetClothing.

When you visit Eveline Street Clothing, you are guaranteed to gain a few friends and a boost in self-confidence. You may leave Lockport with a lighter wallet, but you will also leave with a lighter heart.

Cute, right?

Next week on the blog, we’ll get back to books! I’m almost finished reading The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins, and people, it’s crazy. More on that in the coming weeks!

Happy reading,
Katrina

 


 

March Madness, booklover style

Dear readers,

I’m new to Twitter and I’m the first to admit how much of a neophyte I am when it comes to getting followers, favourites, and retweets. Pretty much all I do on Twitter is retweet things I find interesting and sometimes those retweets are fruitful (I got super excited when the UN ECOSOC President followed me!) and sometimes they are not (no favourites or retweets….again!?). It’s a good time.

In the beginning (and by that, I am referring to September, when CreComm made me get Twitter), I only followed news outlets so that I could stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the world. I didn’t want to follow celebrities because I didn’t want them to clutter my feed with “how cute is Nori?!” tweets. And this made my Twitter experience a little bit boring. But as the months have gone by, I have started following authors and publishers…and I’m telling you, I kind of love Twitter now!

Here are two of the coolest book-related things I’ve found out about thanks to my new friend Twitter:

  1. I started following Harper Collins Canada (@SavvyReader) a few weeks ago and found out about this little bit of genius: HCC March Madness. It’s like basketball but better. Readers have the chance to vote on their favourite books in different brackets – there are 64 books to vote on in four different brackets and only one will be the winner. Round One is on now until March 15th so head to the HCC March Madness website and start voting! Why? Because you have the chance to win all 64 books!
  2. I also started following Random House Canada (@RandomHouseCA) a few weeks ago and found out about this brilliant idea: Reading Bingo Challenge 2015. I’m so in love. It’s all about reading Canadian literature – if you’ve been itching to read some Margaret Atwood mysteries or get your hands on a Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel, now’s the time. One of the squares to fill in is read “A book by L.M. Montgomery” and as I have Anne of Green Gables sitting on my shelf, I think I better get started.

Check out the Reading Bingo Challenge 2015 card and find out where you should start!

Random House Canada's Reading Bingo card
Random House Canada’s Reading Bingo card

Follow Random House Canada and Harper Collins Canada on Twitter and take your reading to the next level!

Happy reading,
Katrina

 

New season, new ideas!

Hello readers,

The countdown is on! This Sunday, we “spring forward” for Daylight Savings Time, which means we’re “adding” an hour of daylight – and this tells me that summer is on its way. I can’t wait! Not that I’m not enjoying myself at school, but here at the college we’re heading into crunch time with magazine projects, proposals, and trade fair planning, so I’m looking forward to a long break from homework. I’m also looking forward to not having to spend an extra five minutes bundling up before leaving the house – I’m already dreaming of flip flops and ‘pool-hair-don’t-care’ days.

Nobody cares about hair in the summer - it's all about having fun!
Nobody cares about hair in the summer – it’s all about having fun!

In light of this glorious change in season, I have decided to try out something new: I’m taking my booklovering and nerdiness to a whole new level and I am starting my very own book club. Chea!

I’m starting small – just a few girl friends, a good book, and a box of wine at the end of March. But I’m really excited to try it out. I think that getting into the practice of reading with intention and discussing novels in detail is a good idea – plus, it gives me a wonderful excuse to see my closest friends. We’re starting with the novel The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, which just topped Maclean’s fiction list last week. Pick up a copy yourself and follow along this month – I’ll post some of my favourite comments from our very first book club discussion and you can weigh in, too.

I'm really excited for this Book Club thing!
I’m really excited for this Book Club thing!

In other news, Disney has just released the who will be starring as the Beast in the upcoming live-action revamp of Beauty and the Beast. Co-starring opposite Emma Watson (who will be playing Belle) is Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey fame. You can read the full story here. Now, I’ve never watched an episode of Downton Abbey but it’s on my Netflix to-do list so I’m sure I’ll have a chance to watch Stevens in action before Beauty and the Beast comes out in theatres. I can’t wait to see who they cast as Gaston!

What’s on your shelf this month? Let me know if you have any book club recommendations!

Happy reading,
Katrina

Priorities, Paperwork, and Papa

Hello readers,

Over the past week, I have had a lot of time to think about my priorities, where I want to focus my energy, how I want to spend my time, and who I want to spend it with. I’m generally the kid that loves school but I’ve found it challenging to enjoy the time and emotional commitment my program demands after having worked for two years following my degree. I’ve found it a struggle to balance school and life outside of school, and I realize that I agonize over homework and doing well way too much. Not that prioritizing school isn’t important – because it is. But I am now much more committed to spending more of my time and energy doing the things I love with the people I love, because life is really much too short.

My wonderful grandfather, my Papa, passed away at the end of Reading Week. Instead of working my way through piles of homework like I was supposed to, I spent my week off surrounded by family and friends, mourning my Papa and celebrating his life. As some of you may know, my grandparents lost their home in December to devastating fire and had to adjust very quickly to life in the city. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents over the past two months, and even though the fire wasn’t a blessing, having a chance to be near my Oma and Papa certainly was. I am so lucky that I got to see my Papa almost every day and that I got to hug him and tell him how much I loved him that last time I saw him. But I can’t tell you how much I wish I had had more time with him.

In remembrance of my Papa, I’d like to share with you the beautiful words my sister shared at my Papa’s funeral on Tuesday. She paints such a true picture of my Papa and captures all of my favourite things about him – the things I will always remember and cherish.

Rudolph “Rudy” Schindle: 1935 – 2015

Classic Rudy Schindle
Classic Rudy Schindle

Today we are here to remember and celebrate the life of my papa, Rudolph Schindle. He will forever be cherished in our hearts as the father, and grandfather of our family.

He raised loving children Shellie Sklepowich (Peter), Sandra Evinger (Les), Darlene Schindle, Darrell Schindle (Cheryl) and Shannon Schindle.

He will be missed and lovingly remembered by his devoted wife Elaine; and grandchildren Amanda, Jeffrey, Adam, Katrina, Tyler, Selena, and Hayley.

He is survived by sisters Hilda and Olga, and brothers George (Jane) and Stanley (Shirl), sister in law Sue, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and the many friends that surrounded him. And of course we can’t forget Nipa, his dog. Waiting for him in Heaven are his parents, Michael and Elsie Schindle, brothers Emile, Ben, and John; and sisters Minnie, Esther and Emma.

Papa was born on May 30, 1935 in Camper, Manitoba – the youngest of 11 children. He grew up on the family homestead and lived on that land for nearly his entire life. Then one day he met my Oma and he loved her more than anything. Their marriage was filled with a special love, honour, and respect. They were married in 1959 and shortly afterward they were blessed with their first child, otherwise known as my mum. Soon after, she was followed by Sandra, Darlene, Darrell – and eventually, Shannon. Oma and Papa farmed and raised their children. My Papa also drove school bus for over 25 years. His family was the most important thing to him and the farm was a central part in all our lives. All of us grandchildren spent much of our time there and it is my favourite place in the world.

Over the past little while, Papa’s health had been declining. As many of you know, he and my Oma lost their home to a fire right before Christmas and it broke his heart. It was obviously devastating and the stress of this took its toll – he wasn’t quite himself.

Today I would like to tell you about the man I will remember him as:

  • My Papa was up at the crack of the crack of dawn, every single day. He’d have toast and coffee and head outside to start his day, humming and singing to himself. He enjoyed tending to his garden and making sure everything was in order, exactly how he liked it.
  • I will remember his love of the farm and especially the land and animals that roamed it whether tame or fowl, our farmer! He was truly our angel here on earth.
  • I will remember that his favourite story to tell about me was how when I was learning to talk I told him I wanted him to make me a “jammy” (toast with jam) too. And he told this story to everyone. In fact I’m sure just about everyone here today heard him tell that story.
  • I will remember his “uniform” of a plaid shirt and jeans.
  • I will remember how when my mom would tell me I couldn’t use the four wheeler cuz it was muddy my papa would quietly hand me the keys and tell me not to make too much of a mess.
  • I will remember how my Oma and I would pack Papa lunch, hop on the trike and find him working hard in the fields. I will remember wondering how on earth anyone would want hot tea when it was scorching outside.
  • I will remember bringing friends home to the farm and how Papa took one look at my blue-haired friend, smiled and said “You better get inside before the neighbours shoot you!”
  • I will remember how he helped me move home from Norway House. He loved the trip and being able to experience the beauty of the North.
  • I will remember how he kept my dog Nipa after I managed to convince him the whole thing was really his idea, even though it wasn’t.
  • I will remember how much he loved to play with my dog Hershey.
  • I will remember how he tried to retire and it didn’t quite take at first.
  • I will remember how my mother decided he needed a hobby and had him building willow furniture, how he had his whole “station” set up and with the help of a brad nailer could whip together a willow basket in about 15 seconds, and how the basket was mostly nails, and how he yelled “ELAINE BRING THE NEEDLENOSE” when he shot himself in the hand. I will remember how there were no willows within a ten mile radius of their house thanks to his hobby.
  • I will remember how he’s never ever taken off his wedding ring.
  • I will remember how after the fire that took his home and my Oma’s wedding ring the first thing he wanted to do was get her a new wedding ring, because to him that ring wasn’t just a ring – it was a daily reminder of his love for my Oma.
  • I will remember the funny little German songs he’d sing.
  • I will remember sitting in the kitchen late Friday night watching him play cribbage with my Oma and my mom and dad, laughing at the end of a long day.
  • I will remember how he could strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere and loved to chat. Much to the dismay of many of our teachers, my sister and I both inherited his “Plappertasche”.
  • I will remember how he’d trick me into eating my vegetables when I didn’t want to.
  • I will remember how he would do little things just to make my Oma smile, like presenting her with “the prettiest plastic horse” in the whole store just because it was the prettiest and he wanted her to have it and smile.
  • I will remember how he cut out little jokes from the local paper and kept them in his wallet so he could show everyone else.
  • I will remember how after being married to Oma for over 55 years that she was still the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, as was always the most beautiful woman in the room.
  • I will remember how when I was born he said he was far too young to be an Opa and that’s why we called him Papa.
  • I will remember how a couple weeks ago he was standing out on his balcony and saw some “old fart” looking at him with “field glasses” and decided to flip him the bird just to see what would happen. Even at 79, he hadn’t lost his sense of humour.
  • I will remember that many of his stories included the phrase “… And so I grabbed the shotgun and then…”
  • I will remember him showing me which veggies I could eat straight out of the garden dirt.
  • I will remember how he always told me to be thankful for everything I have.
  • I will remember his strength and intense love of his family and how every time we parted ways there were hugs, kisses and about 100 “Love yous”.
  • I will always remember that he was a loving son, husband, father, uncle, grandfather and friend.
  • Lastly I’ll leave you with our favourite Papa-isms: “irregardless”, “Oma did it”, and “Mrs. Sue Wiggins”.

We love you, Papa. Rest easy now in the arms of our Creator and when the time comes, we will see you again.

Clear Lake with my grandparents, my best friend Kaeri, and my cousins Selena and Hayley
Clear Lake with my grandparents, my best friend Kaeri, and my cousins Selena and Hayley
UWinnipeg Grad, 2012
UWinnipeg Grad, 2012

Some of the things I’ve learned this week: prioritize your friends and family. Spend time with them. Tell them you love them. Don’t get too stressed out about the little things. And make sure to take time for yourself.

I’m so grateful to each and every one of you for your support and care and friendship – thank you for being there for me. You’re all fantastic.

Happy reading,
Katrina

 

 

 

There may be something there that wasn’t there before…

Hello readers,

Today is the joyous day that marks the beginning of Reading Week, a much-deserved week off for students. It’s been a gruelling past few weeks with assignments and runny noses and cars that won’t start so I am certainly looking forward to some time off! And what better way to spend Reading Week than reading and binge watching episodes on Netflix? Needless to say, I’m totally excited.

So I just finished watching every single episode of Once Upon a Time, one of the greatest shows ever – I swear, it was made with people like me in mind! – and while not every story in the series sticks to their traditional origins, every single story makes me super happy. I love fairytales, people. I grew up reading the classic Grimm fairytales (more gruesome than you might think) and watching Disney princess movies. I’m well-versed in my Hans Christian Andersen stories. BUT my all-time favourite fairytale was not written by Andersen or the Grimm brothers…

I have so much love for Beauty and the Beast. It’s my favourite Disney movie – I have it on both VHS and DVD, and I also have the soundtrack. I even have a Chip cup in my kitchen cupboard, which I acquired on my first trip to Walt Disney World (yes, I’ve been more than once). Every time I do a Disney quiz on Facebook (yes, I do those – no shame!), my result is always Belle. She loves books. She gets to live in a castle. She ends up with a prince. It’s kind of awesome, right?

Disney's Beauty and the Beast (giphy.com)
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (giphy.com)

So who wrote this masterpiece, if not Andersen or the Grimms? Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (born 1695 in Paris, France) is known as the author of La Belle et la Bête, the oldest known variant of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast. I wanted to track down the original story to see the difference between the Disney version and the Once Upon a Time version and so I did a little interweb sleuthing and found the story online. If you’re looking for some light reading this week, read this. I gotta say, the Disney version is still my favourite version.

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The other reason I wanted to bring Beauty and the Beast to your attention is because a few short weeks ago, it was announced that Emma Watson (a.k.a Hermione, another favourite literary character) will be playing Belle in Disney’s upcoming live-action reboot of Beauty and the Beast. STOKED. You can read all about that little piece of happy news here. Doesn’t this make you want to watch a good old Disney film? Yeah, me too.

Here’s to a grand week off!

Happy reading,
Katrina