Friday, April 29, 2011

I couldn't pretend like it didn't happen

 There are a couple of social media rules I like to live by
1) Don't respond to non-critical emails the day they are sent--it creates unrealistic expectations
2) Every time you update your facebook status more than once a day a fairy loses its wings
3) Don't do two blogs posts in one day (see rule one)

I am about to break one of those rules because I just couldn't pretend like it didn't happen.

I have fallen in love...

With both white dresses in that picture.

And with the fact that her new hubbs is looking awkward and trying to be helpful while he holds her bouquet in this one even though he obviously doesn't know how to help.

For more wedding dress pictures you should look here. Thanks National Post!

Welcome Home

The hubbs comes home tonight. We will be waiting with bells on at the airport at 6:30. The only sad thing about him coming home is that I will have to start cooking again.  This week I have eaten things like deviled eggs, white bean hummus, edamame, toasted chick peas, beet salad and egg salad sandwiches for the majority of my meals.  It's been lovely--like living at a tapas bar. But I'll gladly give it up to have my partner-in-crime back from his Caribbean vacation work meetings.

And here's a video to wet your whistle for the next phase of our life.  She isn't really walking yet but she certainly is close.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What if Dr Seuss designed the Whomping Willow?

I love these.  They are all over the neighborhood in various states of bloom and leaf-getting (the ones you can see from our deck are all green now and have lost their red helicopter flowers).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Holy Lent and Fast: Part II

For Lent this year, instead of giving up sugar and then binging on a million sugary treats come Easter morning I decided to give up something a little more meaningful.  I gave up the mean Chinese mother, Po, who lives in my head (you can read that post here). The experiment went really well and though I wasn't 100% faithful I was mostly faithful. 

Like when I had a lady-type leak at the gym (which was humiliating and here I am documenting it for the whole internet) Po told me that everyone saw it and that I needed to get a new gym because who could forget that and everyone was REALLY grossed out.  My nice, well-rounded mother (who still doesn't have a name but I am taking suggestions) told me that it was embarrassing but that it happens to lots of people.  She reminded me that most of the women there had had it happen at some point in their lives and most of the men there were married to or dating someone who had had it happen.  She also told me that I didn't need to get a new gym and it just wasn't that big of a deal.

There was one week during Lent that I didn't get to the gym even once and I ate horribly (I will only say that cupcakes I made for Claire's birthday were not only cute but there were delicious) but I did a great job of not beating myself up for it. Not listening to Po helped me not worry about getting everything done right now. I did a better job of saying, "here's where I'm going to start and even if it's not perfect, it's where I'm going to start." 

Documenting my relationship with Po has also helped me to realize that everyone has a Po of their very own.  Even the hubbs has said to me since, "my Po said something like...." talking about the way he felt when something didn't turn out quite right at work. Other people who read this blog have mentioned the same thing in conversation--we are all dealing with an immature, scathing, name-calling voice in our heads (or at least, I think most thoughtful people are).  When I was explaining my Lent sacrifice to some friends I realized that I would pop a top if a parent ever addressed Claire the way I was addressing myself.  I should be just as protective of myself as I am of my daughter

I've liked dealing with an internal mother who is a little more mature, who can recognize the hard things but who doesn't get too caught up, who realizes that she is very blessed and who tries to be thankful and happy. I think I'll keep her. Like that year I gave up meat for Lent and then was a vegetarian for the next 6 years.

**The hubbs is coming home on Friday just in time for dinner after a week of being away from us.  I am taking suggestions as to what to prepare for his homecoming feast....anyone? ...anyone? Favorite welcome home dinner?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Today I had 4 2-year olds at my house for babysitting co-op. The best story of the day was when one of the 2-year olds snuck into Claire's bedroom while she was sleeping because he loves babies.  In fact, he loves babies so much that he tried to sneak into her crib. And he's a climber. I caught him half-way up.

I am still recovering.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What Easter Looks Like at our House

Prepping for the big day

Dying Easter Eggs. As a family we dyed 17 eggs (one broke). There is only one person at this house who eats hard boiled eggs. Looks like a lot of egg salad sandwiches for me! Good thing I love them

At the neighborhood Easter Egg hunt

And getting ready for church on Sunday (Claire is a big advocate of oral hygiene)

It was an interesting Easter Sunday.  The hubbs had to go out of town for work (before you start feeling sorry for him you should know that he's in Puerto Rico) so we dropped him at the airport early in the morning. We had dinner at a friend's house (which was fun and relaxing) and then came home for a quiet evening. This Easter was an interesting one for me.  Sunday afternoon we heard that a friend from Salt Lake had been killed in a car accident (you can read an amazing tribute to her here).  Thinking about Bri has added a certain special meaning to the empty tomb that the two Marys found that first Easter morning.

"And entering into the sepulcher, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.  And he saith unto them, be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him."
Mark 16: 5-6

I am thankful for the promise of an empty tomb for all of us.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It IS a good Friday!

Moving to San Diego has brought me into closer contact with homeless people than I've ever been before. On our way to the gym every day there is a homeless man who's sign says "So broke it hurts. Help a homeless family with kids." He's polite, friendly, named Ron and loves Claire. He waves at her every day and she (in true Claire fashion) eats her shoes in response. He tells me about his girls and when they were little (they didn't wave either).  When he sees us coming he presses the button for the cross walk.

Last week while at the dollar store I thought about his kids and picked up some art supplies for them (we love art supplies from the dollar store and were excited to share the love). The art supplies got me thinking about Easter.  I grew up in a house where every holiday was a big deal and my parents sometimes still send me a box full of Easter grass, trinkets and candy for the big day. So I decided to make a big deal out of Easter for the homeless family.  The only thing I could think of sure to brighten up the Easter of a couple of tweens was nail polish in unnatural shades, trinkets and lots of candy. We packed up all of those things (along with some other manicure essentials and an awesome article about the meaning of Easter) and took them to Ron (we packed them in Easter Chinese-takeout containers so that he could transport them easily).

What's been odd has been other people's reaction to the idea of giving Ron....well...anything. I was at the pool with some ladies (when I was still in the planning phase of the project) and asked for suggestions of what I could put in the Easter baskets of tweens.  Instead of providing suggestions the conversation turned to how the girls were sure that Ron walked around the corner after a hard days begging, jumped into his Mercedes and drove home to his huge house.  The hubbs mentioned it to his boss who looked at him and said, "that guys not homeless."

I appreciate that Ron  might not be homeless, that he could be taking advantage of the generous spirits of others.  I guess it just doesn't matter to me. If he is, he now has a couple of bottles of nail polish, a manicure kit and several packages of candy and I'm out a couple of dollars.  If he does have 3 pre-teen girls then hopefully their day will be a little brighter.

In the fourth century St. Basil said this, "The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry person; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the person who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the person with no shoes; the money which you put in the bank belongs to the poor. You do wrong to everyone you could help, but fail to help."

I guess I'm more worried about the wrong that I'm doing to those I fail to help than the wrong of being duped by Ron.  And getting a hug from the homeless man who pushes the cross walk button every morning for us was a pretty nice reward too.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Love and Devotion

Claire loves me. When she falls (which happens all the time) I am the one she wants to comfort her.  Today when a floor lamp tipped over on her the only thing that comforted her was sitting on my lap snuggling.

But Claire is devoted to her dad.  She follows him around the house and cries when he leaves the room.  This morning she and I were playing in the living room when she got tired of me and headed to visit her dad. He was in the bathroom.  She literally picked sitting on her dad's lap while he pooped to playing with me.  He's also her favorite reading (and sport watching) partner.  I'm trying not to let it hurt my feelings and I'm making myself feel better telling myself that I'm way better at doing crazy voices for her books than her dad (which is true).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The art of Fabulous-ness

Last week I checked out a book from the library called Freakin' Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better than Everyone Else  written by Clinton Kelly.  You know him, everyone's favorite co-host of  What Not to Wear.  He is fabulous so taking advice from him seemed like a good idea.  I also have this weird love and appreciation of gay men (I spent almost my entire early- to mid-twenties trying to date them but have since learned how to love them without LOVING them if you know what I mean). 

The book was fun to read (I skimmed it while we were watching a movie) and there were a couple of gems ("Every car trip goes faster when you sing" and did you know that woman's sleeves can be any length from three-quarter length to standard and be appropriate?).  The How to Speak section left a little to be desired (I was hoping for suggestions on what to say at a tea party or how to console someone who has just lost a loved one but I got the difference between further and farther) but I was entertained.

But the book got me thinking. The subtitle of the book is "How to dress, speak, behave, eat, drink, entertain, decorate, and generally be better than everyone else." I like all of those things--speaking, eating, drinking etc but the part that gets me is that Clinton is telling us that the way to fabulous-ness is to be better than everyone else.  I think we are often urged in this culture to build our self esteem by comparing ourselves to others.  That seems unhealthy to me (and leads me to compare myself to girls who are next to me at the gym--trying to decipher if their ankles are skinnier than mine).  It seems to me that the way to real fabulous-ness is to not to be better than everyone else but rather to appreciate and learn from the fabulous-ness in others.  

So Clinton Kelly, I will take what I can learn from your book (Dress up a little to go to the dentist) but I will not try to be more fabulous than everyone else--I'm just going to try to be my own fabulous self and try to not compare myself to the girl next to me at the gym with incredibly skinny ankles. 
**Another section that should have been covered in the book is how to respond to comments left on your blog. Do you respond to all of them? What do you say? Until I find a book that does instruct one on what to do I will just tell you that I love your comments.  Thank you for leaving them.  I read them and think about them and the hubbs and I talk about them. Even if I am still waiting for some of you to post your melancholy playlists so I can copy them...ahemmmm Marcey...I'm looking at you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

When Riding Bikes

On Saturday we rode our bikes around the lake with some of our good friends.  They have two kids (aged 1.5 and 3).  We caravan-ed to the lake and as we were setting up our bikes and trailers the 3 year-old took out his own bike. I had just assumed that he would ride in the trailer but his good parents told him that he could ride his bike for as long as he wanted and then throw it in the trailer and ride back there when he got tired. 

He was an incredible little rider and likes people to call him Super Dog rather than his name.  He rode along at full speed, little legs pumping as fast as they could and then when he got tired he would go immediately from full speed pedaling to stopped, lying on the side of the road panting. After a couple of stops his parents told him that is was probably time to jump in the trailer.  To which he responded by singing his own super hero theme song at the top of his lungs and jumping back on his bike.  He made it the whole way around--5 miles.  On tiny legs. With a bike that weighs more than mine does. Singing his own super hero theme song.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Too Many Stories to Tell

I've been hesitating to write for a couple of days. I have a couple of half-finished posts that just weren't coming together.  At first I thought it was because I didn't have any stories to tell.  My week has been terribly void of remarkable stories though full of trips to the beach, the pool and the gym.  I felt like writing them down was resigning myself to being a  mommy with an insipid life. So it wasn't that I didn't have the stories, it was that I didn't want to document them because I was afraid of what they would show.  That's also tricky because I like who I am. I like the life I have. (he's a pic of Claire's post-beach hair)

One of the reasons I started this blog was because I missed the act of writing. Like a muscle I had left too long unused, I felt like my ability to write was sloppy and weak. I have loved the exercise and I feel like my writing is getting stronger.  This blog is helping me to be a better writer.

Some day I will start working on other stories, but for right now the story that I have chosen to tell is my own and I need to be comfortable with the subject matter.  My life may consist of trips to the beach, pool and library but I can find interesting ways to talk about them and somewhere in there is a good story.

In an attempt to embrace the story of my own life, I now present the undocumented tales of the week:

1) Did you know I make my own yogurt now?  True. Weird, but cheap and delicious and true.

2) Claire's new love is banana applesauce mini muffins and yesterday she ate 4 at one sitting so I could probably start making them normal size but there is something so darling about a chubby little hand holding a tiny muffin and trying to shove the whole thing in her mouth at once

3) I went in for my deep root cleaning this week (that's where the dig into your gums and clean the roots of your teeth--gross, I know.) And two days later my jaw is still sore. There was a whole dental disaster and I was crying when I left the office because I had been in the office for 3 hours and still left without my permanent crown (That means ANOTHER dental visit!!! ahhhhhh)

 4) We switched to 1 nap a day instead of 2 which means that we're hitting the gym at 8 in the morning instead of 11.  Sadly, we've said goodbye to the mafia and the older men working out in pleated kakis but we've said hello to the older Orthodox Jewish man who works out in full Orthodox regalia and skull candy headphones.  The gym just gets better and better.

5) I got a new job at church.  It's going to be time intensive and maybe a little stressful but I'm excited.

6) Claire has been through a major right of passage for a girl. First pony-tail ever. (not everyone can pull off the side pony but I think she does it with just the right amount of pzazz)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You'll look neat upon the seat

With Claire's passing the one year mark we've embarked on all kinds of things.  We're switching from formula to milk, we're only taking one nap a day and we've started biking.

On Saturday we went on our first family bike ride.

We made it 5 miles around a local lake.  Claire's helmet kept slipping over her eyes which was the only thing that kept up from making a second round.

We're going to keep biking because next year Claire and I are going on a girls ride with Auntie Frances.
In the past Auntie Frances and I have ridden the Little Red Riding Hood (which is totally awesome) but 100 miles with the trailer or a baby in the bike seat is probably not happening.

Regardless, we'll be doing a bike ride with the ladies because we believe in being active and doing hard things for our bodies and brains.  I think it's a lesson you can't learn too early.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LDS Writers Blogfest: "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage"

A couple of weeks ago I read this article. Now, this article was provided to the world by the people at yahoo so proceed as you see fit.  The article states that "study after study shows that non-parents are happier than parents." It then talks about how years ago people saw kids as commodities and kids could deliver that.  These days, parents tend to look to kids to fulfill emotional needs and provide meaning to their lives and kids can't always provide that.

The article kind of got me down. The article ends by giving 10 tips to avoid the pitfalls of hating parenting.  The tips are good and include:
  1. Give yourself a break—you don't need to be so hard on yourself.
  2. Slow down and savor living in the moment.
  3. Is more always better?  Simplify everything.
  4. Be a little selfish—you deserve it, and it will make you a better mother.
...but I found myself focusing more on the hating parenting thing.  On the dang stat that "parents are less happy than non-parents." It's been rolling around in my head for a while.

Last weekend the Mormons had a conference.  We do it twice a year.  All of the leaders of our church speak. Conference could sort of be the equivalent if the Pope and all of the Cardinals each gave a 10 min speech that was broadcast on the internet and cable stations twice a year. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir plays a big role too. It's not a bad way to spend a weekend.

One of the speakers this weekend said just what I needed to hear.  Elder Richard G. Scott talked about his family. He lost his wife in 1995 after a battle with cancer (after 42 years of marriage).  He also lost two of his children while they were very young (within 6 weeks of one another).  Elder Scott (Elder is a title like Cardinal) knows a little bit about families. Here's part of his talk.

"Once I learned an important lesson from my wife. I traveled extensively in my profession. I had been gone almost two weeks and returned home one Saturday morning. I had four hours before I needed to attend another meeting. I noticed that our little washing machine had broken down and my wife was washing the clothes by hand. I began to fix the machine.

Jeanene came by and said, “Rich, what are you doing?”

I said, “I’m repairing the washing machine so you don’t have to do this by hand.”

She said, “No. Go play with the children.”

I said, “I can play with the children anytime. I want to help you.”

Then she said, “Richard, please go play with the children.”

When she spoke to me that authoritatively, I obeyed.

I had a marvelous time with our children. We chased each other around and rolled in the fall leaves. Later I went to my meeting. I probably would have forgotten that experience were it not for the lesson that she wanted me to learn.

The next morning about 4:00 a.m., I was awakened as I felt two little arms around my neck, a kiss on the cheek, and these words whispered in my ear, which I will never forget: “Dad, I love you. You are my best friend.”

If you are having that kind of experience in your family, you are having one of the supernal joys of life."

Sorry for the long quote. But, his talk was a nice reminder that the yahoo article is only part of the story. I love being a mom.  I love Claire.  I know that I can't count on her to define my life (we learned that lesson from Lilly Casey Smith).  I know that she can't make happy.  My happiness has to come from me but my interactions with her are teaching me about the supernal joys of life.

Thank you Claire, for teaching me to be less selfish and for providing amazing moments in my life (like this morning when we played in the waves and you squeeled when the big ones hit you. And you were covered with goose bumps but you just kept laughing and I looked down and like magic, there was a sand dollar waiting for us.)

Thank you Elder Scott for the reminder. (You can read his whole talk here)

And you can read more posts about people's thoughts from Conference in these places. The names are blog authors and the words in quotes are the names of talks they're responding to.

Annette Lyon: “Desire”
Annie Cechini: “The Spirit of Revelation”
Ben Spendlove: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Chantele Sedgwick: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Charity Bradford: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Jackee Alston: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Jenilyn Tolley: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Jennifer McFadden: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jessie Oliveros: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jolene Perry: “It’s Conference Once Again”
Jordan McCollum: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Kasey Tross: “Guided by the Holy Spirit”
Kayeleen Hamblin: “Become as a Little Child”
Kelly Bryson: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Krista Van Dolzer: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Melanie Stanford: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Michelle Merrill: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Myrna Foster: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Nisa Swineford: “Desire”
Sierra Gardner: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
The Writing Lair: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Claire's Book Club: The Perfect Pinata-La Pinata Perfecta

We loved the Perfect Pinata (La Pinata Perfecta)!  I was a little worried when we checked it out because it wasn't written in English and Spanish.  It was written in English and then translated into Spanish. But I shouldn't have feared.  The Spanish was great, the English and Spanish are side by side on the page and there are great Spanish words that don't need translations (loteria, bunuelos and mi hija--don't mind the fact that I can't figure out how to put accents in there).

The story was charming and the colors and pictures were interesting enough to keep Claire's attention.  You will love it.  Please check it out.

Next up on Claire's book club list is The Happy Egg by Ruth Krauss.  It's on a couple of "great" lists and I thought it might be perfect for Easter which is fast approaching!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

You only turn 1 once...and if you do it right that's enough.

Friday our little lady turned one.  Both of her grandmas came to celebrate with us and we had lots of fun. 

Claire having a photo shoot with one grandma

And stealing the food off of the plate of her other grandma.

She was appropriately spoiled by both of them and we were sad to have them go.

Some pre-party pictures.

A freezer stuffed with capri suns and cupcakes

Balloons, Balloons
and more balloons (we followed the balloon rule that we learned at our Valentine's Party.  
Kids care about quantity over quality.)

medals for anyone who attempted the obstacle course 
(york patties for kids, baby num-nums for babies) 

During the party we read the very hungry caterpillar, ran an obstacle course, ate cupcakes and ran around like crazy. Short, kid friendly and we sent extra cupcakes home with the kids. Perfect.

Claire, emerging triumphant from the balloon table
(this was the highlight of the whole event and kids of every age loved it.
You should make it part of your next kid party.)

We topped our balloon table with an homage to our hungry caterpillar friend.

Claire wanting to cry a little bit while people are singing Happy Birthday 

Birthday Cake

And our own afterparty. 
Our friends brought original artwork
and Claire is enjoying the spoils.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Birthday!

One year ago today Miss Claire entered our lives.

From this,

To This.

Happy Birthday Baby.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Miss Independant

Remember when we went camping and Claire snuck out of the tent and I had a little heart attack? I knew at the moment that I should have taken a picture but that would have stopped me from running over to scoop her up with my arms flailing.

The good news is it happened again and I had the presence of mind to snap a picture and let her do her thing. We were at a co-op meeting (there will be another post soon about co-op) last week and there were some basketball players that Claire was very interested in. So she made her way over to meet them.  About half-way there she turned around, waved at me and kept going (this shot is right after the wave.  She is that small speck at the bend in the sidewalk).

She is not afraid.  I don't think that's anything she has learned.  It's something she is and has been since before she came to us.

On Friday Claire will have been with us for one year (though tomorrow is the day that we went to the hospital to be induced (it was a LONG labor)). The more I get to know her the more I am convinced that the person she is was something that was determined long before she got here.  We will shape and influence who she is but I am increasingly convinced that we are working with material that was set some time ago. She has always been a sweet, caring little person.  She is demanding and loves to sleep (like her mother) and she is determined, hard working and a picky eater (like her dad) but she is also gentle, loving and happy.

Both of Claire's grandmas are coming for her birthday.  They arrive tomorrow (along with the rainy weather) and we are thrilled to have them even though my house is a mess and hasn't been dusted in weeks.  The good news is I don't plan on getting it done before they arrive (sorry) but I am going to get ready for party with 25 kids under the age of 6. Bring. It. On.

So what do you think?  Are we nature or nurture?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Times They are a Changin'

Claire is:
1. Changing from 2 naps a day to 1
2. Getting new teeth
3. Fighting a cold
4. Turning 1 on Friday
5. Recovering from a beach day yesterday where she ate lots of sand and tried to drink ocean water

I am:
1. Taking full advantage of this now rare, early-morning nap but feeling a little stressed because we didn't get the things done I had planned
2. Trying to work out a new schedule that only includes 1 nap time. (when I am going to go to the gym?!?!)
2. Already working on my 1st diet coke of the day
3. Considering attending this blogfest that my friend Rosie recommended (I've never attending a blogfest but Rosie does them all the time and I really like her blog and it's a blogfest for Mormons and I am Mormon and have a blog--perfect fit!)
4. Looking at pictures I have stored up on my phone which I was going to blog about but never got around to.
5. Planning a birthday party

It's kind of been a busy day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Date Night

On Friday night the hubbs and I went out to dinner by ourselves.  On a date.  It was the first time that's happened in more than a year.  We went to a movie right after we moved to San Diego but other than that we haven't been on a real date where you sit and talk to one another since before Claire was born.  When I mentioned that to one of our friends she said, "Don't you love it? Doesn't it make you feel so young again? My husband and I don't even like movies but I love to go to the movies because I feel like that's where all of the young people go."

She is exactly right.

And if you want to go where all of the hip Asians in San Diego go (seriously--I don't know what happened but we were surrounded on all sides by hip Asians in thick-rimmed glasses), you should go to Phil's BBQ.  They don't take reservations and the line is long (we waited for an hour and the line was longer by the time we left). But waiting in line when you're on a date with your husband and there is no baby is fun.  You laugh and tease the hubbs (who has terrible vision and couldn't see the menu until we were right next to it) and talk to the people in front of you. The food was awesome and as you can see, there was plenty left over for lunch the next day.

After dinner we headed to Belmont park which is a kind of run-down carnival right on the beach (the pictures on that webpage are so not up to date).  I'm sure that in the summer it's a popular place but on Friday it was cold and sparsely populated.  We had a good time wandering among the rides (we don't like to ride because both of us are pukers) and I had to walk away while we were watching some guy lose lots of money playing one of those basketball Carney games.

You should go on a date.  It will make you feel young again. And make sure that you smooch in public--it helps the mood.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Club: Tinkers

In our daring attempt to make it through 30 years of Pulitzer Prize winners (and read other thoughtful, difficult books), esteemed book club member, Lisa suggest that Tinkers be the next book on our list. She also suggested it because it's been sitting on her nightstand for some time begging to be finished.

I just finished the book last night and still have mixed feelings about it. The cover of the book is a lone cross-country skier/alpine walker making his/her way across a snowy wasteland. The book opens "George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died." Do not fear. It is not as dreary as those things would make it seem. The story that follows jumps back and forth between George Washington Crosby and two stories of his father--one where he is a grown man with children and one where he is a young man whose father is going crazy. So we're following three stories and two men.

After finishing the book I read lots of reviews online and this one at The Guardian sort of sums up my feelings. In short, the prose is lovely (at times too lovely and obtuse), the supporting cast and details are incredible (there is a man who lives in the woods whom you are just going to love--he has dental problems...just like me) and the story just isn't that thrilling. The good news is, it was by far the cleanest and had the fewest (read: none that I remember) curse words of any of the Pulitzer Prize winners I have read to date.

Here's a sample of the incredible, thoughtful prose:

"My goodness, I am made from plants and wood, diamonds and orange peels, now and then, here and there; the iron in my blood was once the blade of a Roman plow; peel back my scalp and you will see my cranium covered in scrimshaw carved by an ancient sailor who never suspected that he was whittling at my skull--no, my blood is a Roman plow, my bones are being etched by men with names that mean sea wrestler and ocean rider and the pictures they are making are pictures of norther stars at different seasons...."

Some other thoughts.

Time: In The Guardian Post he references Faulkner and the idea that the past is never dead and never really past. In my quest to banish Po (my mean Chinese internal mother) the past is something that I've been thinking about. It's easy for me to look at the past and harshly judge the girl who did those things and was that way. This book was a lovely meditation because in it, the past isn't judged. A man goes to work and never comes home and moves to Chicago and starts a new life and no one in the book judges him. In fact, there isn't really any commentary on it. The past gets to exist without judgment. I'm working on that. On just letting the past exist--no judgments, only lessons I have been able to learn.

Voice and Narration: You're 2/3 of the way through the book before you hit a 1st person narrator. And it's George's father when he's a young boy and his dad is having a mental break down. It was a little jarring to me. The author also throws in Latin names ie. Homo Borealis (human light?--parenthetical my own) and really obscure stream-of-conscious ideas or stories. They didn't work for me at all.

Death: Death and mental breakdowns are almost treated as the same thing in the book. I'm still mulling this one over so I'll take any comments as to what people think.

What do you think? As I mentioned I only finished last night and if someone wants to make a claim that this is the best book every written I'll listen.

Next book, per Melissa's suggestion Little Bee.

You have one month--get cracking. From what I've read of it you should know that it is about a Nigerian refugee who changes to lives of a group of Brits.

And I wasn't kidding. I'd love comments on Tinkers because my brain is certainly still mulling it over.