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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Not to Ruin the Soup

So, on Sunday I thought I would up my chances for winning Wife of the Year by doing a little planning ahead. I have been wanting minestrone soup, so I found a good crock pot recipe and put all of the ingredients together. Monday morning early I put the soup on the cook and spent all day dreaming of the delicious soup that would be waiting when we got home for dinner. One small glitch in all of that greatness...the recipe called for some dry pasta which I added. However, it clearly did not need to simmer all day. By the time I checked the soup, my bowties were complete mush and had pretty much disintegrated throughout the soup. I tried fishing out the pieces, but finally gave up. I dished up and ate one gross bowl, I guess just to prove the soup really was that bad, then threw the rest down the disposal.
Lesson learned. If you are making soup in a crock pot and it calls for pasta, don't add it until shortly before eating. Where was this post when I needed it?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

State of Wonder

I have read several mediocre books lately. Several of them were on bestseller lists, or started off good, but turned out to be nothing to write home (or on the blog) about. I was excited when I saw that Ann Patchett had released a new book. She is the author of Bel Canto, on of my Top Ten favorite books. I purchased the book with high hopes and they were completely fulfilled.

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2011: In State of Wonder, pharmaceutical researcher Dr. Marina Singh sets off into the Amazon jungle to find the remains and effects of a colleague who recently died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. But first she must locate Dr. Anneck Swenson, a renowned gynecologist who has spent years looking at the reproductive habits of a local tribe where women can conceive well into their middle ages and beyond. Eccentric and notoriously tough, Swenson is paid to find the key to this longstanding childbearing ability by the same company for which Dr. Singh works. Yet that isn’t their only connection: both have an overlapping professional past that Dr. Singh has long tried to forget. In finding her former mentor, Dr. Singh must face her own disappointments and regrets, along with the jungle’s unforgiving humidity and insects, making State of Wonder a multi-layered atmospheric novel that is hard to put down. Indeed, Patchett solidifies her well-deserved place as one of today’s master storytellers. Emotional, vivid, and a work of literature that will surely resonate with readers in the weeks and months to come, State of Wonder truly is a thing of beauty and mystery, much like the Amazon jungle itself. --Jessica Schein

It's a tough book to describe, but the short version is that I loved everything about it, the characters, the setting, the storyline, the intrigue, all of it I was pulled into the book from the very beginning. The descriptions are amazing and there are some pretty surprising twists and turns. I don't want to give anything away, but let me know if you read it, I would love to discuss.

Definitely A

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Huntington Beach

Remember how we like to stretch out birthday celebrations as long as possible...the the tail end of Tim's birthday celebrations was a trip to Huntington Beach for a long weekend. What a great way to top it all off. For three days we had no schedule, no plans, and just wandered between the beach, the pool, and the hot tub. Fabulous.!
I couldn't believe how many people were out surfing,
The water was too cold for me to even think about going in.
They all wore wetsuits, but still.
I love the Heisman pose!

Tim's grandma was named Ruby,
We forced ourselves to have a shake in her honor.

The hotel was beautiful,
Amazing pools, grounds, rooms, etc.

The hotel was right on Pacific Coast Highway
The pedestrian bridge was pretty and made for quick access to the beach.

My favorite shots.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Still Laughing!

Last weekend Tim and I were in Huntington Beach (more on that to follow) and went for a run Saturday morning. On the walk back to the hotel we wandered into what we thought was a farmers market, but ended up being a seniors fair. There was a booth that had free snow cones, so we made friends with the seniors and scored the perfect post run treat. As I was standing there enjoying my snow cone, a man approached me. I will describe him by saying that he looked as though life had not been kind to him, and he certainly had no concerns for social norms. The conversation went something like this:

Him: Um, can I please "touch on" your calves
Me: Confused look
Him: Please, they are so muscular, can I just touch one of them
Me: With an awkward laugh, No, sorry
Him:Please I really just want to touch one
Me: Pointing at Tim, No, my husband won't let you
Him: Looking at Tim, Please...
Tim:Sorry, no
Me: Shrugged my shoulders and shook my head, Have a nice day - what else was there to say
Him: Finally walked away with a serious look of disappointment on his face

I wasn't sure if I should be flattered or creeped out. Mostly I was just seriously amused.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Golden Onion Days

I'm not sure how the rest of the world celebrates Labor Day, but if you grew up anywhere in the Payson area, you likely celebrate at Onion Days. We used to tease friends that the highlight of the day was the onion eating contest, but other than the largest onion contest, I'm not really sure of the onion connection. This year we were a little limited in numbers, Jarin, Jami and crew were home puking (except Miles who got it out of the way on Saturday), and T and E decided they would rather sleep in. Boo for all of you, you missed a great parade. Ok, you wouldn't know about the great parade from my pics, but how about a few of the spectators.

My cousin LeeAnn with her boys Ace and Orion

They have Miles to thank for the cotton candy sugar coma.

Calvin was scrappy and fought to get a tossed otter pop.
Tim and B were mostly concerned with the shade.
Don't worry though, B scouted plenty of candy
for himself and to share with the other kids.

Not sure why, but Onion Days is the one festival of the year
Where we shell out money for the carnival rides.
B was too fast on the slide,
I didn't even have my camera ready and only caught the ending.

He hung with the little boys for awhile,
But then had to find something a little more thrilling.
This one went so fast he said it hurt his eyes,
It definitely hurt my eyes trying to watch.

These two were motoring machines.

Seriously, B was such a good sport with the little guys.

Jami calls this "Driving Miss Daisy"

If you know Miles' and Calvin's personalities at all,

Totally appropriate!
By the time we left we were super hot and sugared out,
Not a bad way to spend a day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

From Publishers Weekly: "In her charming debut novel, Simonson tells the tale of Major Ernest Pettigrew, an honor-bound Englishman and widower, and the very embodiment of duty and pride. As the novel opens, the major is mourning the loss of his younger brother, Bertie, and attempting to get his hands on Bertie's antique Churchill shotgun—part of a set that the boys' father split between them, but which Bertie's widow doesn't want to hand over. While the major is eager to reunite the pair for tradition's sake, his son, Roger, has plans to sell the heirloom set to a collector for a tidy sum. As he frets over the guns, the major's friendship with Jasmina Ali—the Pakistani widow of the local food shop owner—takes a turn unexpected by the major (but not by readers). The author's dense, descriptive prose wraps around the reader like a comforting cloak, eventually taking on true page-turner urgency as Simonson nudges the major and Jasmina further along and dangles possibilities about the fate of the major's beloved firearms. This is a vastly enjoyable traipse through the English countryside and the long-held traditions of the British aristocracy."

Amazon and I are getting to be quite the friends, it's where I get some of my best book suggestions. This book showed up on the list of "people who bought...also bought this book" so I decided to give it a try. I was looking for something light and easy and this worked perfectly. It was a little wordy in parts, and I had a little difficulty relating to any of the characters, but the story was fun and it was worth the read.

A few of my favorite quotes:
*"You are a wise man, Major, and I will consider your advice with great care and humility, but I must ask you, do you really understand what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman?" "My dear boy, said the Major, is there really any other kind?"
*"The world is full of small ignorances, we must do our best to ignore them and thereby keep them small."

I gave it a solid B, leaning towards a B+

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Third Time Is Not The Charm

Yesterday Aislinn and I set out on a ride around West Mountain. All was going great until she noticed that her front tire felt a little flat. We stopped to check and sure enough, flat. Ais was like a pro and had the tire changed within a few minutes - luckily it was the front. We got moving again and made it 8 miles before - flat. Seriously? This time we both went over the tire and the rim until Ais found a little tiny sticker. We decided that must have been the problem and felt safe to venture all the way around the mountain. We conquered the steep hills, I almost went off the road on a sharp curve, we were chased by two yappy dogs, and put in another 20 miles of riding when - flat. This time we were out of tubes and air cartridges and 15 miles from home. Good thing for a white knight, Tim drove out to rescue us. It was a beautiful day, perfect for riding, guess we just weren't meant to ride too long, I'm sure our legs and booties were grateful for the rest.

The Help

Have you read The Help? Seen the movie? If not, run fast and do both. Go ahead...I'll wait.
When the book first came out my friend Jen told me to put it on the top of my "to read" list. I paid the price for the hard back copy - proof I really wanted to read it - and was immediately hooked. I flew through the book and was super excited when I heard they were making a movie. Last weekend we went and the movie did not disappoint, just like the book it made me cry a little and laugh a lot. Even my dad was affected, he claims he was just hot and sweaty, but I think those were some tears. I know there are some criticisms, some people want the race relations to be more realistic, they don't like a white woman telling a black story, etc., but ignore the critics and embrace The Help. I could give you the synopsis and highlights, but just know that the characters are completely endearing and you will leave either the book or the movie feeling great - what more could you want.

I know there are some criticisms of the book, people want the race issues to be more real, etc.