Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Simple Living

 ‘Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.’
 ~Walter Hagen

Normally I do more reading over the winter but this summer with the heat I've managed to stay cool by staying put and reading.  Here is a photo of this week's reads.

I've finished the two books on top the pile but am still working on The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book by Peter Finn and Petra CouvĂ©e.  This is an interesting story of how Boris Pasternak's classic book, Doctor Zhivago became a weapon used by the CIA in the cultural Cold War to provoke dissent in the former USSR. Read more here if interested. Though it isn't the main thrust of the story, I'm fascinated by just how much the Russian people love(d) poetry and how much a part of life it was for many.

I'm still reading The Blood Sugar Solution , The Lost Art of Gratitude and Laced with Poison, (my 3rd mystery novel of the year).  After that I have a new book I purchased called, Obama's Wars and some other books I want to take out of the library. When I finished reading The Emperor of Paris, I successfully completed my reading goal of 40 books for the year. I think this was the most books I've read in a year since I started keeping track a few years ago. I don't read every day.  I might read two days a week but when I really like a book and it is a longer one, I usually read it every day until finished.  This pace suits me because I also have time to do other things. I do like to set some goals so that I actually have a target that keeps me moving forward.

I'm still engaging in my "secret activity" several times a week. I've had a series of ups and downs, especially these past two weeks, but I persevere. I'm hoping I will begin to see some tangible benefits beyond the immediate stuff I've noticed.  I also need to see if any benefits are lasting or temporary. More to come later.

I've also been busy preparing to go out of town, keeping busy around the house to see what I can clear out and recycle & keeping in touch with family and friends. 

I had one friend move back from the prairies and has been here for a few weeks only to be moving again.  This time to the City of Toronto which is about 5 hours by plane to the east of where I live. He expects to be gone for a year or two as gets his career headed in a different direction.  Yet another friend is also looking for work again. That will make the second job this year. He is a terrific worker but needs to find a job where he isn't the only one putting in 150% of the physical effort.  Otherwise I fear he will burn himself out with all the physical demands of the job.

Our province has been having a teacher's strikes since mid-June 2014.  A friend who works as an assistant to disabled children in the classrooms has been affected by the strike and doesn't know when she will be able to return to work. All teaching staff, students and parents too have been affected. Quite likely all support staff and management staff have also been affected but I am not 100% certain of that. There is still no new deal in sight though the school year begins in a week or so.

It is a very sad situation as teachers have been terribly affected over the summer months with financial losses. I don't have little ones at home but there will be many parents who have to manage child care as they juggle work demands. Our government is trying to pay them some money that has been saved by not paying the teachers. I view this as trying to score political points against the teachers. Nonetheless I'm sure many parents can really use the funds to help pay for child care.  Hopefully things will soon change soon for the better.

An elderly friend broke her hip and underwent hip replacement surgery in late May.  We finally were able to get together for lunch at her place today before another mutual friend drove her to do some errands.  Though we didn't have much time together it was nice to catch up with her. She is looking remarkably well and is getting around very well too though she still needs to take it easy as she recovers.

Now that the weather is transitioning to Fall, I've been spending a bit of time thinking about what I need to round out my wardrobe for the coming cooler weather.  Of course I always do so on a budget this week was no exception.  I saved hundreds of dollars on my purchases and purchased everything brand new.  I have nothing against buying second hand but seldom do I ever find what I need in the colours and sizing that I need. It is always much easier for me to buy new if I can find a good sale. To give you an example of the sales, I was able to purchase a Fall jacket for $18 (original price $120 Canadian). It is something I will be able to wear for years to come so I am quite pleased.

It is still very warm here in Vancouver. Today was deceptive and a little time spent outside at my friend's place made me yearn for the cool of the fan.  But I have noticed a distinct change in the air in the early mornings. Past experience tells me that by the 1st of September there will be a definite chill in the air.  Though the days may be warm, you will know that Fall is not far behind.

I've been hoping to have some completed works in progress to post and show but haven't met any crafting deadlines. In fact, I've found it too warm to really get into crafting.

Instead, in keeping with my one of my guiding words for this year (simplify), I'm working toward simple living, not simply living, I've been making time for the things that matter to me: friends and family, reading, health and routines, and keeping pockets of stress free time to relax and enjoy the simple life.  This is actually harder to do than not. I keep reminding myself with quotes and pictures of flowers and taking time to smell real flowers.

I hope all of you are coping well wherever you are. I end with a beautiful scene from my fair city, Vancouver. Enjoy!

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Linking with Our World Tuesday


  1. Your hydrangeas are lovely, as is your header.. And the view of Vancouver is beautiful. I wish you good luck on your secret activity. I have a happy stress -free day.

  2. Hi Penny,I'm back in Blogland and visiting again! Thanks for your continued visits and comments on my blog. I always find it rather sad when teachers strike, but then they obviously have good reasons. I hope your elderly friend gets well soon after her hip op! I read the interesting link on the Zhivago Affair. Thanks for bringing my attention to it: I never knew it although I watched the movie many decades ago. You have a great day. Blessings Jo

  3. This is my favourite hydrangea colour, Joyful. It is so intense and the flowers are like the silk wings of a thousand butterflies. You have an impressive reading list there. I particularly loved the Zhivago affair. I listened to a story recently on how the book came to be written and eventually published. That tale itself is as intriguing as any modern day thriller. The Italian connection was fascinating.

    I guess I should borrow a leaf from your book and read a bit more. I am just starting on an old John Steinbeck novel, Winter of our discontent

  4. Calling by from Our World Tuesday, lovely post in words and photos of your personal world.

  5. You've been busy...there's a change in the air here as well...sort of an early fall-ish's still nice though...

    ~Have a lovely day!

  6. A bit unsettling all around, especially the teacher's strike. My BFF of forty years is pulling up stakes and moving to Charleston, GA. We've never lived more than 30 miles apart. Actually, I can't wait to visit. But, she's not going until next year.

  7. What beautiful hydrangeas! I don't have to set reading goals for myself - I have to set time limits or I would read all day. And far too late at night. The Dr. Zhivago book sounds interesting.

  8. Your reading stack looks quite good. I enjoy reading at night to unwind after busy days.
    Your world sounds like many things are going on. :-) Summer for myself has come and gone way to quickly. We are having rain and cool days here in the Colorado mountains. Snow on the high mountains this morning. I'm not quite ready for that yet.
    Some of my husbands family will be arriving this week end from Canada, so that will be a joyous time.
    I enjoyed my visit here tonight.
    God's blessings, Debbie

  9. Hi Joyful, My list of blogs to keep an eye on is over 100 now and, I must say, yours is one of the most interesting to visit. I’m sure there are several reasons for this, but one is certainly the quality of your writing. Sometimes, when you have the time, you write a longer post, like this one today, and it is just a pleasure to follow along with your latest reflections on life. I guess my reason for saying all that is to encourage you to continue and keep up the good work as your blog is surely one of the brighter spots in this blogging hobby. I am curious about that secret activity … it sounds so intriguing! Your comments and feelings about transitioning into fall … I feel like I could have said those things myself. Well, of course, we are, in the overall scheme of things, not that far apart on this continent of North America. But surely you are right about the morning air the last few days and fall weather can’t be far behind. I certainly hope so, anyway, since the older I get the more I dislike the heat/humidity combination that seems to be happening more in our Pacific Northwest summers. Now, lastly, I just really think that is a great photo … the bottom one in this post … of the scene in Vancouver. Joyful, you should send that in to the Chamber of Commerce. It makes me want to visit Vancouver soon. Vancouver is such a beautiful city! Is that a restaurant where you took the photo? If so, I would love to know which one it is. As always, thanks for sharing your blog and your kind comments on mine. John

    1. Hi John, my you do have a long list of blogs you are following. I think I actually had more than 200 at one time but I've pared that back. I blog less now and also try to spend more time at the blogs of my faithful followers. It really made my day to hear you say that you enjoy my writing and that you like what I have to say. After all, that is the reason most of us blog in the first place I think. I personally would like to write more on my blog but don't really have the time. there is always the future. It's funny that you mentioned that "the older I get the more I dislike the heat/humidity combination that seems to be happening more". You took the words out of my mouth because I personally can't handle the combination and I have perceived that it seems to be getting worse each year.

      I'm glad you really like my photo and saying it makes you want to visit Vancouver soon is high praise. I took the photo from a restaurant called the Sandbar which is located on Granville Island a nice tourist place which you really should visit when you get to Vancouver. It is quite a lot like Pike Place Market except that there is a lot of other shopping, plays and attractions on the "Island". Have a wonderful weekend.

  10. Hi Joyful! Congratulations on meeting your reading goal for the year! And so soon too! That's great, and I think you can make the number a little higher next year, right?
    I'm glad your friend is doing so well post hip-surgery. It seems like we never get enough time with our friends, but I know she enjoyed having a little private time with you to chat.
    It's so hot here too! We have the air conditioning on, even though the calendar is about to flip to September. How sad about the strike! I hope the teachers will settle soon, and the children can get back to the business of learning.
    Have a blessed day!


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