Home, sweet home. We’re back from 8 wonderful days up north. The weather was glorious and haven’t been this relaxed since our honeymoon in Maui last November. Of course, this wasn’t without a pit stop on our way there. Avery had a triathlon at Bala Falls last Sunday and was amazing as always: 750km swim in 15:06, 30km bike in 57:35, 7.5km run in 29:35 — a total time of 1:44:30 placing him 35/332 and THIRD in his age category!!! Since he was done uber quickly, we would’ve had to wait at least another hour for everyone to finish before they announced winners and presented awards. Superstar Hubby was good enough to give up his medal so we could continue on our way.
As soon as we arrived at French River, the pups immediately jumped into the water and we switched into vacation mode instantly. There’s nothing better than not having anything on your schedule but to relax. I finished 6 books and am halfway through number 7, which means I read about 2300 pages last week. A few worth mentioning in the order I read them are:
1. Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey
After the controversy with A Million Little Pieces, I really didn’t feel the need to read anything by Frey. But Bright Shiny Morning was displayed next to an author I was looking for, and flipping through the first few pages, I didn’t hate it. Picked it up and gave it a chance. After the Oprah ordeal, I figured if his books are still being published, he can’t be that horrible. Bright Shiny Morning can be summed up as this: ‘Stories of different people with the same goal: to survive in LA.’ Content is well written, although I don’t like the punctuation style of not using commas and quotation marks where I’d normally expect. This made it a bit difficult to follow at first but you get used to it. The tales are intriguing enough to be a page turner, and it covers typical stereotypes you assume exist in LA. If it wasn’t for the note in the beginning to not take anything factual (to avoid the uproar from the first book, I’m sure) it would’ve been a more satisfying read. Inbetween the stories there are pages of related LA facts to the stories. Shame, have no idea if they’re true or not because of the preface. Nonetheless, I’d recommend this as a light read.
2. The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman
Having to work with Wal-Mart through my full-time job, Avery thought I’d be interested in this non-fiction to grasp the view from an industry that deals with this megacorp — he was right. I never realized Wal-Mart had such a gigantic global influence. I always thought their low prices were possible through buying in bulk, didn’t know they had such a direct impact on swaying companies to produce items the Wal-Mart way. They could tell them to manufacture products internationally too and everyone would comply, just so they could be a part of this phenomenon. This book carries you through the journey of how everything unfolded from Sam Walton’s initial ideas for the store, to how it affects the world today. The toy company I work for has exclusive Wal-Mart products, but I wonder how much of that is actually derived from their impact versus us trying to lure them into specialty items… I’ll try to find out. This book doesn’t read like a textbook at all, and it’s an informative read for anyone whether you’re a shopper or do not have any relation to the retailer; I’m sure Wal-Mart affects you in some way.
3. Sneaker Wars by Barbara Smit
Currently finishing this one, it’s about the history behind Adidas and Puma, with side notes of Nike and Converse as well (still baffles me how Chucks were considered the official basketball shoe). First of all, Adidas is a portmanteau of the founder, Adolf “Adi” Dassler and is not an acronym for “All Day I Dream About Sports/Soccer/Sex” — that’s actually the backronym (a new term to me). Two brothers in Germany originated the shoe company under a different name, but got into a kerfuffle and split it up into their own brands. The author did some crazy research when compiling the facts for this book, there are several details that makes you wonder how the heck she could’ve found them out. Having been an Adidas fan since I was a kid, it’s really interesting to discover the intense backstory of how competitive the shoe industry was, and how everything unfolded in Germany during Hilter’s reign. I have Nike shoes for running because they suit my sporting needs, but when it comes to style and fashion, I do prefer Adidas. I’ll come back to this review when I’m done the book, just have a hundred pages left.
So besides eating, reading, sun tanning and swimming/dipping in the water, we also napped on the hammock, canoed and went boating with the pups and played board games — I absolutely love strategic games like Scrabble, Clue, Uno, Chess, Chinese Checkers etc. We visited my father-in-law’s camp* in Fairbanks too and he taught me how to play Cribbage! We played a great game of Scrabble and 7-up as well. I’m sure there will be lots of rematches in the near future.
*Camp or Cottage? Here’s an interesting discussion I came across: CLICK!
And here are some photos… enjoy!