Book Review: Leon and Louise

My mother, bless her heart, sent this book (Leon and Louise) to me from France where she was living last year.  She knows I love a good book about the war, and so this one suited.  Oh, and whilst the book is set in France, and my mother was in France, it is, in fact, in English!

The story centers around two young lovers – who coincidentally meet at the beginning of the war.  Leon is sent to a far off town to be the Morse code expert (which he is not… but picks up quickly with lots of practice on the job, and some magazines!), Louise cycles past him and is absolutely mesmerizing.  The book moves between ‘then’ and ‘now’, and times in between, and it’s clear that despite the early chemistry of Leon and Louise (and the book’s title), that they are not in fact together.  It was an enjoyable book, and like most books, makes me think about ‘what if’ I was one of the characters.  What if the love of my life disappeared without a trace?  Would I keep looking? Would I move on? (Would I continue to be sure they were in fact the love of my life?).  I’m not usually into romance, and I suppose this is what this book is simply about, but it does delve into the dynamics of family and war and separation  and I truly do find that fascinating and inspiring.

Nest us – The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey – I’m well into it, but probably another week til a review is better (less taxing on the memory – it was a while since early Feb when I read Leon and Louise!)

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“Sunday” Chit Chat

I love Carla’s blog My Half Dozen Daily, and am so sad I can’t work out how to comment.  Every Monday (in Australia) I see her Sunday chit chat post and think ‘oh no, I’m too late’.  But today, I’ve decided, nope, I’ll give it a whirl!  Here’s how it works, if you want to get involved:

For anyone new joining in this week, here are the (very loose) rules:

  1. Start your post with a favourite photo (your own, “borrowed”, etc…)
  2. Copy my ‘text’ after “your turn”, paste on your blog to start a new post.
  3. Come back and put in your info in the comment section below so everyone can see what you’ve been up to!
  4. You can also just play along in the comment section if you like!
Sushi share plate - thanks from my house guest last week.

Sushi share plate – thanks from my house guest last week.

  • Reading? The Blade Itself, by Marcus Sakey.  Thanks to some Facebook recommendations, I now a list of books to borrow from the library. I’m enjoying this book, enough to stop playing Freecell on my phone
  • Watching? Keeping in mind it’s work week time now, I’ll answer for my weekend: Gossip Girl Season 6 – which is totally confusing as I haven’t seen the end of Season 5 and people have come back from the dead?!  Also an episode of Law and Order: SVU
  • Listening to? Just the radio, so popular/indie music.  Would like to have listened to a Sunday night radio program but it’s about religion, so I’m not sure the BF would be on board to listening to it with me in the car – I should look into pod casts (and things to play said pod casts on…)
  • Cooking/baking? Sunday I made a zucchini slice for a light lunch after church.  Otherwise, I ate KFC for dinner.  Tonight it’s ‘leftovers’ as I’ll be at a meeting from 6.30pm which is my hungry, dinner eating time.
  • Happy you accomplished this week? Glad I got something baked for Church on Sunday.  And I got a lot of paperwork prepared for early April at work.  And I set myself a plan for posts…
  • Looking forward to next week?  Hmm, it is sad when I say ‘having no Saturday night plans’?  There’s still time to be booked ‘in’, but I like the idea that a lazy Saturday night might be in store.
  • Thankful for today? No Water polo training to ‘have’ to go to, as the last game of the season was last night.
  • *Bonus Question* Are you shy or outgoing? Definately outgoing – but I wouldn’t have it any other way, working with all men!

Ok, your turn!

  • Reading?
  • Watching?
  • Listening to?
  • Cooking/baking?
  • Happy you accomplished this week?
  • Looking forward to next week?
  • Thankful for today?
  • *Bonus Question* Are you shy or outgoing?

Goals Update – January

Today is my Birthday! yay…  Well, it’s just another day, but I did start late as I needed to meet a tradesperson at home (working on something on my house project list).  Now my bath is smoother, and I’ve been advised to clean it with washing up liquid.  As to the colour appearing yellow – might try changing the light globe (I’m assured it is WHITE!)

Financial

I didn’t put a goal to make my mortgage repayments – cause to me, that’s a given and it has to happen.  However, I am aiming to pay an extra $5k (as permitted by the terms of my fixed rate/term loan).  As such, I’m trying to ‘overpay’ asap, as the sooner I get my ‘extra’ money onto the mortgage, the more I’m saving in interest. And the sooner I can start on all the other goals below!

$20k target by 22 Dec: start of month: $13,487.55.  End of month: $14,119 at 30/1/13 – should be $14,249 by 31/1/13.  Well on track

However, this is about to take a BIG hit, as outlined above.  It will take between $3-4k out of this account.  Hopefully it will slightly lower my interest added to my mortgage (and by the same token, I’ll pay a touch less take on the interest I might have earnt if it was in savings)

Generosity target of at least $100 per week (weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 – $175: church ($25) + belated xmas gift ($150)
week 2 –  $140: charity donation ($100) + church ($20) + Big Issue ($20)
week 3 – $80-$180: church ($20) + Brother loan ($100) + gift ($60) *loan may be repaid… so a ‘bad’ week* (3 hours volunteering)
week 4 – $125: church ($45) + Red Cross ($80) (+3hrs volunteering)

Bills savings of $200 per week:  totally automated, so yep, meeting that!  Cept I did (of course) withdraw to pay the contents insurance and water bills. Oh and I found I had close to $500 more than I needed in my fund for my annual health insurance premium, so I’m moving that to the higher interest account and putting it towards the $20k goal (rest assured, for the next few months, I’ll drip feed this health insurance fund to ensure I cover any inflation in premiums, but I have a few months yet).

Health

Cook at home twice a week: almost, but not quite met

week 1 – Wednesday (Fried rice) & Sunday (carbonara)
week 2 -once on Thursday night (chorizo potato salad) & Sunday (Cabbage salad with pear)
week 3 – Steak, packet potatos, hot cabbage & strawberry Souffle & Wed (spaghetti carbonara (which I’ve only JUST learnt how to spell!))
week 4 – Friday I made some polenta, and some cookies for a party.  SO, no that’s just one meal

Sugar – fail!  Chocolates on Mon, ice coffee Tue (did say no to icecream on Mon night… that counts in some regard!), choc chips on Thu night. I think I stopped tracking after this. Actually this ‘healthy eating’ is SO much more challenging with an ice cream monster in my midst – although I settle for a mouthful or two of his, it’s breaking my willpower!

Train for polo – fail. But yay for season break. If I was more dedicated, I’d do a swim session.  But I’m not.  But at least I’m not wasting a coach’s time.  Alas, one from two at this stage (the third wasn’t on as Monday was a public holiday).

Cultural

2 films a month: Acheievd. Saw Rise of the Gaurdians on Sun 30th (technically in week 1), and Jake Reacher on Mon 7th Jan.  Tom Cruise is a meglomaniac! I’d have seen something else with different company, but nonetheless, wasn’t too horrible and I was curious to see it. Last night I used my almost expired movie voucher to see The Impossible.  I had to pay for the date’s ticket – so cheap on a Tuesday! I’d like to see Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook (not yet out here).

2 books a month: Achieved. Worked through ‘Freakanomics’ by SD Levitt and SJ Dubner – if only I had a better memory I could recall some better stats in social situations.  Like how or why drunk walking is more dangerous than drunk driving.  Also read ‘Obedience’ by J. Yallop – a dark book, and slow moving, but I liked it.

Career

Certification:  Gold star for effort: First, I filled in the webpage, so my work has 14 days to approve my costs to get certified.  Simple step (save for uploading a photo – WHY?), and then I’ll really have to put my head down.  It just takes small steps and this one was easy – I even had momentum to do more, but sadly the site hindered that!  <– Alas, this was all in vain I quickly found out.  So I decided to divide and conquer the task – there’s 16 x 700 words episodes to write.  So I divyed up the tasks between myself and four colleagues.  That way we could manage our three ‘episodes’ and come together in a fixed time period to reflect and enhance each other’s writing.  And hopefully inspire us to embark on our remaining 13!  I did get two fanatastic episodes fleshed out, under the word limit, almost simultaneously as I got an email saying the payment we get for doing this are now coming irrespective of our action (or inaction), whilst negotiations continue between our employer and unions about our award.  Still it feels good to have started – as there’s every chance I might need them again once the union/work fights are resolved.

I’m starting to think I don’t like my un-measurable goals (or more to the point, my career goals!)- and can see me saying for months ‘no progress here’ – but maybe that shame will spur me into action?