Total Pageviews

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Caleb's Crossing

One of the very best parts about our little vacation was the chance to read, uninterrupted.  I started this book on the plane ride there and finished it about 1/2 hour before we landed at home.  I ordered this book a month or two ago and have been so anxious for a chance to read it.  One of my top 10 favorite books of all time is Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and when I read the synopsis of this book I knew I had to have it.  Brooks generally weaves fiction with history and has very strong characters.  I was captivated by this book from the very beginning, it lived up to all my expectations.

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2011: When Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks came to live on Martha's Vineyard in 2006, she ran across a map by the island's native Wampanoag people that marked the birthplace of Caleb, first Native American to graduate of Harvard College--in 1665. Her curiosity piqued, she unearthed and fleshed out his thin history, immersing herself in the records of his tribe, of the white families that settled the island in the 1640s, and 17th-century Harvard. In Caleb's Crossing, Brooks offers a compelling answer to the riddle of how--in an era that considered him an intellectually impaired savage--he left the island to compete with the sons of the Puritanical elite. She relates his story through the impassioned voice of the daughter of the island's Calvinist minister, a brilliant young woman who aches for the education her father wastes on her dull brother. Bethia Mayfield meets Caleb at twelve, and their mutual affinity for nature and knowledge evolves into a clandestine, lifelong bond. Bethia's father soon realizes Caleb's genius for letters and prepares him for study at Harvard, while Bethia travels to Cambridge under much less auspicious circumstances. This window on early academia fascinates, but the book breathes most thrillingly in the island's salt-stung air, and in the end, its questions of the power and cost of knowledge resound most profoundly not in Harvard's halls, but in the fire of a Wampanoag medicine man. --Mari Malcolm --

I really liked everything about this book.  The historical part of it was fascinating...although I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have survived as a puritan in early New England.  The characters were based on actual historical figures as well as composites, but they felt completely real.  I felt like the paths Bethia and Caleb both took were believable and I found myself really rooting for both of them.  I usually care more about the story than the language, but there were some lines that were so beautiful, even I was impressed.  A few of my favorites:

"This I do know, for the surfeit of loss in my life has convinced me it will be easier to be grieved for than to grieve"

"I burned to know what he would know when he entered that spirit world.  I recalled too well, the alien power I had felt that long ago day and night on the cliffs.  I have said that I would write only the truth here, and the truth is this: I, Bethia Mayfield, envied this salvage his idolatrous adventure."

"They seemed to run entirely wild, with no check or correction.....I remarked on this to father.  he nodded.  They are, as you say, remarkably indulgent.  I have remonstrated with them on the matter, asking them why they do not correct their children.  But they say that since adult life is full of hardship, childhood should e free of it.  It is a kindly view, even if misguided."

"Caleb was a hero, there is no doubt of it.  He ventured forth from one world to another with an explorer's courage, armored by the hope that he could serve his people.  He stood shoulder to shoulder with the most learned of his day, ready to take his place with them as a man of affairs.  he won the respect of those who had been swiftest to dismiss him."

While I was reading this book I was listening to another book, Her Mother's Hope, which I will review later.  They both had the common thread of girls who desperately wanted to learn and progress but were denied formal education.  As much I understand the historical context, and know that it even goes on today in some cultures, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of being denied an education because of my gender.  I have been blessed with the opportunities to really learn and explore anything I wanted, as well as encouragement to do so.  I am far removed from my college days and formal education but I am really feeling a responsibility to take advantage of the other learning opportunities that are around me. It's seems wasteful not too when so many girls didn't ever have the chance.  I'm not sure what I will do to fulfill my need to learn, but it is definitely something I want to explore. 

Since I finished reading it, I haven't been able to get Caleb's Crossing out of my mind, the mark of a really great book.  Definitely deserves an A

Friday, January 25, 2013

California Dreaming

All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey....California dreaming, on such a winters day.

I'm not sure that the words to this song have ever felt more applicable.  I'm a Utah girl, and not usually very bothered by the cold winters but this one has been cold and rough.  Tim and I found some super good deals on flights and hotel so we decided to head to the coast.  It was a little traumatic to leave Luke overnight for the first time, but luckily my parents were happy to watch him so that made it easier to leave.  When we left Salt Lake it was about 5 degrees and when we landed in California it was about 65, I kind of almost cried it was so beautiful.  Tim and I were immediately warm and relaxed.  

We flew into Long Beach airport.  We stopped and got lunch at In n Out (seems like a requirement in California) and then drove down the coast to San Diego.  I had never been to the temple and had always heard how beautiful it was.  The beauty did not disappoint and we had a great time. Too bad we didn't have time to get pictures while it was still light before we went in.

Tim's parents were in Southern California at the same time and had arranged to meet Tim's cousin Bethany for dinner.  We were lucky to be invited along and had a great time chatting with her and catching up on her and her family.

Friday morning we got up and headed to the beach.  We wanted to spend time at the beach and were hoping that the weather would be somewhat cooperative.  If you believe in Karma, we definitely have been living right because the weather was divine.  A little cool to start, but within a mile I had my long sleeve t-shirt off and was basking in the sun.

One of my favorite views of the run.
I may have been excited to run on the beach but Tim could hardly wait for a chance to search for treasures with his metal detector.  He studied the tides, gathered up his gear, tuned the head phones, and he was ready to go.

We spent a little time wandering along the pier and watching the surfers.  The weather was beautiful but I can't imagine getting in that water, even in a wet suit.

Tim loves the Tonight Show and was so excited that he was able to get tickets to see a taping.  I don't care for Jay Leno....I think you are either a fan of Leno or Letterman....I grew up watching Letterman with my dad and am firmly a Letterman gal.  I promised Tim I would be polite and clap, booing would have probably got me in trouble.  Even though I don't really like his humor, it was really fun to watch the filming and see how it is done.

Saturday morning we were back at the beach.  I went on a 12 mile run that included several breaks to chat with others on the trail, watch beach volleyball, admire the surf, etc.  It was a perfect run.

After the run we found some lunch and then I sat on the beach while Tim kept at the metal detecting.  It was at least 80 degrees and I was perfectly content to just sit and bask in the sun.  The only thing that wasn't perfect was having to fight the seagulls.  They are so aggressive and were intent on having any leftover crumbs from our lunch.  It was funny because this guy was the seagull bully, he took the best snacks for himself and kept pushing everyone away.

After two days of metal detecting, this was Tim's loot - maybe enough to get one of us a coke.  He may not ever find something with of high value, but he loves doing it and what else really matter.  It was funny though because while we were there we saw a news story about a guy finding a gold nugget worth $300,000 in Australia.  The hope of a similar find will keep him hunting.

If we hadn't left Luke at home I might have been tempted to stay forever...or at least until the sun comes out in Utah.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nine Months

We haven't been to the doctor for his nine month check up so I don't have any official stats to report, but it feels like every day he looks bigger, I just want to slow down time.  His first Christmas was fun, although he does still have some presents waiting to be unwrapped - he got too distracted by the paper.  He still doesn't have any teeth, there is one on the bottom that looks close, but so far, he is still a toothless wonder.  He's eating a lot more "solids", but they don't really require teeth so he is ok.  His big trick of this month is that he has started waving "bye bye".  He actually just started it on his own one day when my friend said goodbye to him.  He's pretty pleased with himself and likes to show it off whenever he can.
The big news of the month is that we left him for a weekend - first time that I have been away from him since he was born.  Tim and I went to California for some fun in the sun and Luke stayed home with grandpa and grandma.  They seriously get grandparents of the year award because they also had Ada, Miles and Gavin.  It was tougher than I thought to leave him.  While we were gone I ran across a quote from Anne Lamott that put into words so much of what I have been feeling.  This is from her book Operating Instructions that is a memoir about the first year of her son's life.  She says "Before I got pregnant with Sam, I felt there wasn't anything that could happen that would utterly destroy there is something that could happen that I could not survive: I could lose Sam.  I look down into his staggeringly lovely little face and I can hardly breathe sometimes.  He is all I have ever wanted and my heart is so huge with love that I feel like it is about to go off".  So true!

The longer his hair gets,
The crazier it looks.
I wanted the side view so you could
See how high the mohawk flows.

This boy loves his daddy!
He is really into faces,
Pinching noses, grabbing ears, etc.

He is really content to play by himself
He just likes you to talk to him.
Love the Afro Circus wig
He didn't even try to pul

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Snow Day

If you are going to live in Utah and endure cold, snowy winters, you better find a way to take advantage/enjoy the snow.  I couldn't ski at all last year because I was pregnant, but it was such a bad snow year that I didn't feel like I was missing out.  Once the snow started to fall, I started to itch to get to the slopes.  About two weeks ago Cory and I started talking about going skiing, but it has been so abnormally cold, we have chickened out.  We told Erika we would go on Saturday when she was here, assuming that by then the weather would be a little warmer.  So much for warm thoughts...the forecast called for snow and a high of 19 in the valleys, all of that worse with wind at Sundance.  Cory and I were a little skeptical but Erika was so excited and didn't care how cold it was.  Sometimes it's good to have someone young around to get you out of your comfort zone (or comfortable warm house).  It was cold, 15 at the base  and ridiculously cold at the top but so much fun.   It was amazing to have Sundance have such good snow. I will always prefer sunny skies and 30 degrees, but yesterday, totally worth the cold.

Cory taught me to ski so it was only right
To have him with me on my first trip back.
I love that both Erka and I have pink pants.
She's trying to talk me into snowboarding,
But so far, I'm not even tempted.
It really was a gray day.
Hands down the best shot of the day.
Cory was taking self shots,
I have no idea how we both ended up looking
So goofy in the same shot.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Books of 2012

So, I have always identified myself as a in, next to the gym, it is one of my favorite things to do.  When I was younger I would actually get in trouble for reading too much because I would sneak off to read when I was supposed to be doing chores.  I decided at the first of 2012 to start keeping track of the books I read for the year - I have reviewed several, but I like having lists. I was petty surprised at how few books I had read - 10!  Sweet Baby Luke seems to occupy a lot of what previously was my free time.  Also, I somehow ended up with subscriptions to about 10 magazines and it seems wasteful to let a month go by without reading all of them.  Anyway, here is the list, with a basic grade, of the books I read for the year:

1.The Litigators, B-
2.Molokai, B-
3.Dreams of Joy, A-
4.The Woman Who Wasn't There, B+
5.The Weight of Silence, B
6.Sarah's Key, A-
7.These is My Words, B+
8.When We Were Brothers, B-
9.What to Expect When You are Expecting, A-
10.The Light Between Oceans, B+

Although I didn't actually read as many books as I would have liked, I did listen to about 15 books over the year.  I've started listening while running, working out, cleaning, and on my drive to and from work.  I always thought of myself more of a literal reader, but I have loved finding a way to get even more books into my life.   So, here's the list and the grades with a little commentary:

1.Where'd You Go Bernadette, A - Loved the story and especially loved the reader, I think this book may be even better as an audio.
2.Dovekeepers, A+ - I finished this book about six months ago and still can't stop thinking about it.  Again, this is one that I think was actually enhanced by the readers.
3.The Fifth Witness, B+
4.The Chaperone, B+
5. Trapeze, A-
6.Mr. Chuchill's Secretary, B-
7.Beautiful Ruins, B+ - It started as a solid A and ended as a B- or lower, averaged out to be an ok book.  My favorite quote from the book "The smaller the place between your desires and what is right, the happier you will be".
8.Lost in Shangri La, A
9.The Scarecrow, B
10.The Lifeboat, B-
11.Crooked Letter Crooked Letter, B
12.The Great Gatsby, C - I have read the commentary and tried to appreciate this piece of "great literature", but I could not wait for it to be over.
13.Several of the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series, they are mindless and silly, but fun entertainment.
14.Behind the Beautiful Forever, B
15.Defending Jacob, A-

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pasta Fagioli

I made the most amazing soup tonight.  I read a lot of blogs and often print off recipes but feel bad because I have no idea where I got this recipe.  Wherever it came from, it was delicious.  Enjoy!

1-2 T olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 T italian seasoning
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 (15 oz) can of stewed tomatoes
1 (15oz) can of great northern white beans
3 (14 oz) cans of broth (beef or chicken)
1 T dried parsley
1 cup cooked pasta
1 cup shredded carrots
1 10oz package fresh spinach, chopped
Grated parmesan cheese

Pour olive oil into large stock pot, when oil is hot add onions, garlic, turkey, and seasonings.  Cook until turkey is completely cooked.  Add tomatoes, beans and carrots.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are cooked, 10-15 minutes.  Add cooked pasta and spinach, stir until wilted.  Top each serving with parmesan cheese.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy Birthday Brycen

I'm just a little behind on my postings.  Last week Brycen turned 11 years old.  Wow, when I first met him he was just a little boy.  He has grown up so much - he has added several inches of height and has such a fun, sweet personality.  When Tim asked him what he wanted to do to celebrate his birthday, he knew exactly what the plan should be.  So, we headed up to Logan to meet up with his cousins for some roller skating and time at the fun park.  They had such a great time together, it reminded me of all the time I spent roller skating around my neighborhood.  Of course, I had to tell everyone about my 8th birthday when I broke my arm roller skating at my own birthday party.  Luckily Brycen's party had a much better ending with no mishaps.

The cousins gave him such fun gifts
Nothing like some Flarp to liven up a party
Thanks Cheri for bringing the kids
And playing with the baby
He doesn't spit up very often
But when he does....
Luke though the birthday was
"Dino Mite"
Skating can work up a serious appetite, so we headed out to Angies for some "breakfast for dinner".  Nothing like french toast and bacon to top off a birthday.  Tim surprised Brycen with some type of hand held gaming system (it's not a secret, I just don't have any idea about electronics).  Too bad I missed the money shot of his face when he figured out what he got.  He was so appreciative of the gifts and the day, we were just lucky to get to celebrate with him.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas 2012

I don't know if it counts as a tradition if you are the only one participating, but my Christmas morning started out exactly the way it has for the last several years - with a run.  Most years my dad and I have run together, but this year, I was on my own.  The kids negotiated 8:00 as the time to get up (the two older ones suggested noon) so I headed out a little before 7:00 to get my six miles in.  I was a little nervous about falling because it was dark for most of the run and it had snowed the day before.  But, the good thing about running on Christmas morning is that there is no traffic so I just ran down the middle of the road and didn't have any problems.  It was cold and quiet and reminded me of when I first started running years ago - it didn't matter the weather and didn't matter what time, I just ran.  I came back chilled but had a little hot chocolate and was ready to roll for the day.

As expected, Luke was much more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper than he was in the gifts.  He opened a few presents but mostly played in the paper from everyone else's presents.  He actually went down for a nap in the middle of opening presents and slept through most of the fun.  It's funny, he still has a few wrapped presents sitting in the family room - we have been opening one every few days which he loves.  Last year I was pregnant and excited, but anxious to know that he would be healthy and happy.  Christmas morning was just another reminder of how blessed we have been this past year.  I hope your holidays were fabulous, here is a little more of our fun...

I think Tim loved Luke's new toy
As much as Luke did.
 It was so great to have all of the kids here for Christmas.  They each gave Tim and I some super thoughtful gifts which was very sweet.  We didn't get very many pics of the day, I guess we were just involved in enjoying the moments.

The big gift requested by Brycen was a sewing machine,
I can't wait to see his creations.
Taylor had asked for some work out items
Work out gear?
My favorite reason to shop!
After breakfast, showers and a brief nap, we headed down to my parents for dinner and a little family time.  My mom does a great job of taking care of everyone and it was great to spend time together.
I should have got a better picture of
The beautiful new red leather couch. 
The three amigos?
Brothers from another mother?
Whatever the caption,
I love these three crazy boys.
My parents gave Brycen and Ada
Electronic fish bowls.
Perfect indoor pet, they don't even smell.
The wrapping paper/bag was his favorite!
I told Brycen he will regret this face in a few years
Baby boy got a little lost in his blankie,
A little to much going on!