Saturday, March 29, 2014
From Amazon: It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
I started this book on the plane to Mexico and finished it the first day in (I love having unlimited time to read). The first thing I said when I finished the book was "well that was stupid" (not a term I use much). Since then I have thought a lot about what makes a book "good" and whether this one was actually stupid, or whether I had judged too hastily. My first clue that I really thought it was a better book than my initial opinion is the fact that a few weeks later I am still thinking about it. I realized that the opinion that The Dinner was stupid was based on my dislike of the characters and the decisions they make. However, the writing was really fantastic and told the story in a unique way.
They may not make as much sense out of context but here are a few of my favorite passages - favorite for the writing, not necessarily the ideas:
"If I had to give a definition of happiness, it would be this: happiness needs nothing but itself; it doesn't have to be validated. Unhappiness loves company. Unhappiness cant stand silence - especially not the uneasy silence that settles in when it is all alone.
"But sometimes I couldn't help but think that it was all much simpler than that, that Babette had merely signed up for something, for a life at the side of a successful politician, and that it would have been a waste of all the time she'd invested to stop now - the way you don't put aside a bad book when you're halfway through it. You finish it reluctantly - that's the way she'd stayed with Serge. Perhaps the ending would make up for some of it.
"Maybe we don't take that seriously enough. How young are they. To the outside world they're suddenly adults because they did something that we, as adults, consider a crime. But I feel that they've responded to it more like children. We don't have the right to take away their childhood, simply because,, according to our norms, as adults, it's a crime you should have to pay for, for the rest of your life."
Final answer, A-
Sunday, March 23, 2014
We stayed at the Iberostar resort, along the Riviera Maya strip. Like most resorts in Mexico, it was beautiful - the grounds were so well maintained and there were lots of birds, iguanas and other small creatures wandering around. The resort was part of a group of Iberostar properties so it was really large. The size wasn't my favorite because you weren't really aware of what was going on in the other areas of the resort. But other than that, the staff was great, the beach was amazing and we really enjoyed the Iberostar. Just a few shots of some of the grounds:
Tim's favorite thing to do in Mexico is to get up early and watch the sunrise - every morning. I made it one morning and was surprised at how many people were out and about. It's amazing how different the skies look from day to day. Tim got some really great shots to capture the magic.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Twelve years ago Julie asked if I wanted to tag along with their family on a spring break trip to Mexico. Of course I did, I was always up for a vacation, anywhere, anytime. On that first trip we arrived at night, once we got out and about the next morning I was completely blown away by the scenery. I have never before or since been anywhere that I have been so completely in love with the views. I was trying to figure it out on this trip, I think I have been about 14 times and it honestly never gets old. Over the years I've probably taken hundreds of similar photos, but here are the favorites of this year.
Friday, March 21, 2014
We were super fortunate this year to be able to go back to Mexico with my office. We were there from March 6-11 and always, Mexico did not disappoint. With two kids at home there were more logistics involved in leaving and we definitely missed the babies like crazy but we loved the chance to relax and enjoy a few days with no plans and no responsibilities. I decided I would break up our photos into a couple of different categories. The resort and the views were beautiful, but my favorite shots are the selfies - just looking at them makes me smile and remember the magic of Mexico.
|Fresh off the plane and on our way to paradise.|
|A little behind the scenes shot,|
It was harder than it looked to get positioned on that log.
|Tim got sucked into the volleyball games|
And spent a lot of the vacation on the courts.
|What could be more natural than Superman on the beach?|
One of the few pics I got with friends.
|One of my favorite parts of the trip - kayaking.|