Banff & Things

Jesse had to go to Banff, Alberta for a few days last week. I’ve wanted to go for awhile so we decided to make a whirlwind family trip visit out of it. We flew in Wednesday, on Thursday the whole family had the opportunity to go to Lake Moraine and Lake Louise, and on Friday while Jesse was in all day meetings, the kids and I walked the Bow Falls trail into town, grabbed a shuttle, and headed out to Johnston Canyon for a short hike. On Saturday we were back on the plane headed home. Our lessons:

  1. People in Canada really are THAT nice. It was kind of unnerving but in a good way. Even my kiddos commented on it.
  2. It’s beautiful. Even with the smoke and haze from the wildfires, I couldn’t get over the beauty.
  3. We can’t wait to go again to see more and do more.

Books I’ve read:

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware – good, quick vacation read

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall – My mom told me to read this because she wanted to talk it over with someone. Two chapters in and I said I didn’t know if we should talk it over. Once I finished it, I called her to talk it over with her. I’m still on the fence.

Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen – I started following Andy Cohen’s instagram account awhile back and have since decided I just kind of love him. The best word for the things he shares is…mirth. Not always, but he just seems to have this enthusiasm and joy. So I picked this up from the library. I’ve been told I *NEED* to read the next one he’s written and I have it on order.

I’ve just started reading John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. I’m having a hard time getting into it because the first chapter has me wanting to punch the narrator in the throat. John Green, why do your main characters always have to be so smug?


I need to weave in the ends of some dishcloth amd am 42 stitches away from completion on a sock for Violet and just…eh. I started cross-stitching another city and I have the pattern for a third. I have a love/hate relationship with the tiny x’s.


I’ve watched the whole of Freaks and Geeks. I started it awhile back but it never really clicked. It was recommended to me again this summer and this time I really enjoyed it. Jesse and I tried Twin Peaks (the old one) because I guess it was all the rage when we were kids but we never watched it. We’re three episodes in. It’s weird.

Random thoughts:

I deactivated my Facebook (again) and Instagram accounts and I ordered the book “How to Break Up with Your Phone”. Our whole family has been having screen issues lately and it’s making us crankier and lazier and I’m over it.

I’m trying to listen to music while I stitch or putter around the house because I notice it helps with mood.

Someone made a comment the other day about fringe people – the bitter, cranky, fault finding people that don’t have friends so much as people who tolerate them simply because people are nice. Tips and tricks for not being a curmudgeon? Considering how bitter, cranky, and dark cloudy I’ve been feeling lately, I think I need to adopt some sort of happiness project immediately!!

So that’s all the news from my little corner of the internet! Time to go tackle organizing my office because it’s become the official drop it and shut the door spot this summer and that must be rectified!! Reading, watching, making, thinking about anything you want to share?SaveSave

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  • OK, I am so glad to know that I’m not the only one who really can’t do John Green because his characters are just too too. Truthfully, a lot of YA lit is like that for me. I’m so much more comfortable working with teens, but I really prefer kid lit so much more. This is a professional conundrum for me.

    And I loved Freaks and Geeks. I so wish there had been more seasons. I tried Twin Peaks when it was first on, but…meh. Not sure how I might respond to it now, but I’ve found that, in general, TV doesn’t seem to age well. Although I started watching episodes of Mad About You on You Tube, and I do still really like those. But, it’s clear the 90s was a different time. I started watching that because I got into another set-in-the-80s series, Red Oaks (Amazon Prime). Not sure if it would be your thing, but I really liked the first season. The others not as much, but I did stay with the whole thing (only 3 seasons, and the last one only 6 episodes).

    As for FB, et. al.: I’m on much less than I once was. Can’t entirely cut the cord, but I hear ya.

    So glad you all got to visit that beautiful place together. Canadians really are nicer than we are, I think. 🙂

    • YA is hard. Violet is starting to branch into some of it and she’s shared a few books with me that I’ve liked but I think they could fall into juvenile fiction as easily as YA. (That line is blurry for me.) I’ve read most of John Green’s stuff and while I usually come across a few sentences that make the book worth reading, I spend the most of it wanting to smack him for trying so damn hard to be clever.

      Violet at one point theorized that Canadians are nicer because they don’t have to worry about paying for health care (our tour guide for the lakes tour commented on her health care) and it made me laugh.

      Thank you for the show recommendations. I think I’m going to have to look into Mad About You. I didn’t watch it much when it was first on, but I remember watching a few shows and liking them in syndication.

      • Well, I’m probably thinking of YA that is aimed at older (high school) readers. There’s some great YA for middle schoolers that I like quite a bit. But, I think they are more like middle grade novels than the edgy stuff for older teens (which is the category John Green’s work most fits). Yes, he or his characters (or both) try way too hard to be clever.

        I think Violet is a wise girl. Probably a lot like her mother.

        Back to FB: I won’t whine about you not being on FB as long as you promise to post here regularly. 🙂 I liked seeing these photos and making the connection to some FB posts of yours. Felt like I got more of the story here.

        • Well, I won’t fall off the internet completely but Facebook and instagram breaks are SO good for me. I actually left my phone at home for a few hours today while I took the kids out to breakfast with my brother and ran some errands, and it felt so good to think that everything could just WAIT for me.

          I, too, think Violet is wise. Though I don’t know how much she gets it from me (but thank you). It’s kind of boggles me how perceptive and WISE my children (children in general?) can be.

          I do know what you mean about older YA vs. middle grade novels. Personally, I’m beginning to think middle grade novels are my favorite. The themes are accessible but solid, the writing tends to be good, and I don’t feel as bogged down as when I try to read contemporary/literary fiction. I also tend to read grown up fluff which is fun…but fluff.

  • You went to Banff!!! That’s got to be one of my favourite places 🙂 . (I was raised in Edmonton, so we went to the Rockies quite often.) It’s too bad it was so smoky when you went, though—it’s so disheartening to watch what’s going on in BC with the wildfires right now. Did you manage to do some hiking while at Lake Louise? Up to the Little Beehive and the teahouse, maybe?

    I’ve not heard of Freaks and Geeks or Twin Peaks. I’ll have to look into those once my 13-year-old and I finish with The Great British Baking Show (which has been surprisingly addictive for both of us!).
    Love seeing what you’re reading. I’m currently reading two books: The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty, by Vendela Vida; and The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. de Guin.
    Music while puttering . . . that’s become a must for me.

    Did you decide to keep the first city cross-stitch?

    I have no tips for how to be less of a curmudgeon. (Beyond just holding one’s tongue and staying silent, but it seems that comes at a price too.) I’m very dark cloudy, always throwing in the “yes, buts” and playing the devil’s advocate. Sometimes it does feel as though it’s a negative way to be (and then I feel bad that this is the way I am), but when I look at it objectively I suspect that what some people perceive as negativity isn’t actually negativity, but rather, honesty. I think there is a difference between finding fault for the sake of finding fault and speaking up when you feel honesty is called for. (I do also think we all go through stages where we’re just cranky, and when we ARE prone to doing the former. If we’re lucky, we have understanding friends who stick by us regardless, in the hope that whatever it is will run its course. No one can be happy happy all the time (or if they are, well, that’s pretty damn annoying, tbh), and I think most people understand that.)

    • I would have loved to have hiked a little bit while at Lake Louise, but we were with Jesse’s work group and unfortunately we didn’t really get much time to hike. I *definitely* hope we can return for a not work related trip and make that trip. I sat next to a woman who made that hike and said it was really amazing. I thought of you a lot while we were there. It’s just such an amazing place – a gorgeous outdoor playground!

      My kids and I LOVE The British Baking Show. It was such a great show for us all to watch together while I was working on some stitching. Speaking of, I DO think I’m going to keep the NYC stitching. I’m still not 100%. I definitely know I’ll be stitching up some cities as artwork for our guest bedroom!!

      I think you and I have a lot of personality similarities, Marian. It must be the INFJ thing. 🙂 I’m definitely in a cranky phase and I keep telling myself to snap out of it. I sometimes wonder if it’s the season change. Those always get to me.

    • And I forgot to add, it really is terrible about the wildfires. Being in Calgary was really hard – (so smoky) and I can’t imagine what it must be like for people who live in the area or who are even closer. Our tour guide said that BC finally called a state of emergency so they can get the resources necessary to take care of them and I’ve been sending thoughts (for what those are worth) that things clear up soon.

      • Oh, the wildfires. Air quality here (Portland, OR) has been terrible for days and days and days. (Weeks?) So hot, and I’ve just gotten used to the sky being hazy. Our high school teams have been having to practice inside because the air quality is too low for outside practice. What my parents describe in Washington (state) sounds even worse. Now you both have me thinking I need to check out this baking show…

        • I’m so sad to hear you are dealing with it too. I was wondering how you were fairing. It seems as if the whole West Coast is affected this summer and that makes me so sad.

          As for your comment on the other post, I’m really glad we found each other too. I appreciate you and Marian both so much.