Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fiscal Responsibility

I bounced the house payment. We have over draft protection and had plenty of money in another account I just did some bad planning. I guess it didn't really bounce but we certainly got sent a zinger of a fine.

Here's the thing, it happened on an account that's just mine (we get free bill-pay there so that's why we use it). A while ago the hubbs and I started using mint (which is totally awesome and you should use it if you're looking for a way to keep track of money and spending). For the first couple of months I was the one getting all of the emails and updates but in an attempt to be totally honest I added his account to the email list. That means that the hubbs got an email saying that we had an overdraft fee. We had to talk about it and the hubbs let me know that he had only done that once before (he was actually trying to joke about it but it didn't come out as very funny). It was painful. But being totally honest with my husband about financial matters is worth a couple of painful conversations. And if he's sorry that he hitched himself to a girl who occasionally gets overdraft charges, too bad. He's stuck.

**Added to a day where I was officially diagnosed with periodontal disease and had to schedule 2 more dentist appointments (where they scrape my roots to get them cleaned) and I got put on prescription strength mouthwash. Awesome.

**This video is pretty much the only thing keeping me from eating peanut butter right out of the jar. How did my baby get to be so dang adorable? Sorry if you come to my house and have to eat off of these utensils.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rebel Rebel

On Friday our book club is talking about Tinkers. I haven't finished the book yet and it's due back at the library today. I tried to renew the book but someone else has a hold on it. So guess what I'm doing. I'm just not handing it in. Being able to finish my book for club is totally worth the 90 cents it's gonna cost me in library fines. (I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm not normally a rule breaker and breaking the library rules makes me feel a little uncomfortable but that's just how I roll.) Rebel rebel.

Remember this post last week? The one where I told you all about my easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy root canal? Today I went back to the dentist for my follow-up appointment (2nd of 3) and because it had been so easy I decided to go sans vicodin and valium. Bad idea. 3 hours later as the dentist was literally ripping my gums away from my teeth so that he could have a place to anchor my crown my anesthetic started to wear off and I was very, very sad that I had not asked to be sedated. New rule. Any time I'm going to have to be in the dentist chair for more than an hour, I'm going to be sedated. I am currently on the max dose of ibuprofen and vicodin.

The good news is that babysitting co-op today was at a house full of little girls. Claire L.O.V.E.D it.

That last one is Claire giving high-five. One of her new favorite games. We took these pictures right after we got home. She was still sort of on a co-op high and wearing the crown she came home with.

The man upstairs

On Sunday we went for a family walk after church. It was a little chilly so we wrapped Claire up in a blanket crocheted for her by her great-grandmother. Claire's great grandma Betsy will be 92 next week and crocheting a blanket for a new baby granddaughter was no small task as her sight is not what it once was (Here's Claire and the hubbs with great-grandma ).

When we stopped to take Claire out of the stroller in order to do some swinging there was no blanket. I left Claire swinging with her dad and rewalked our path in search of the blanket. I believe in a God that is involved in or everyday lives and I believe that prayer is powerful and creates change. I considered saying a prayer for our little lost blanket--that I could find it, that it would still be there or any small thing to be able to find it.

I didn't.

I didn't pray for those things because I thought of genocide. I've often heard people explain terrible events in the world like cancer and genocide by saying that God allows those things because he has an eternal perspective. Someday things will be better, God will make it even etc, etc. I don't think that the terrible things that happen in the world denote that there is no God. Instead, I think that terrible things happen in this world because it's a natural world and God helps us through those things. So it's hard for me to think that God would help me find a blanket when he isn't going to stop racial violence.

The trick is that I still think God is involved in our daily lives. And the blanket was something that I really did want to get back. I wanted Claire to have some thing that someone worked so hard on for her. How do you reconcile a God who is involved in your everyday lives with a God who has an eternal perspective and doesn't stop bad things from happening?

So instead of praying to be able to find the blanket I prayed to have my heart changed. I prayed that if I couldn't find it I wouldn't be mad, that I would look hard and that I would be grateful if I did find it.

And the good news is, I got to be grateful

Monday, March 28, 2011

The desert in bloom

This weekend we went camping in the desert. I'm learning that people who live in paradise (LA, San Diego etc) go to the desert when they want to get away. We didn't really want to get away (and I think it's silly to "get away" to the desert when you live at the beach but oh well. Who am I to judge?) but several of our friends were going camping for their spring break and we knew that we wanted to spend time with them. We drove for a couple of hours and unpacked our tent.

I'm one of those people who always thinks that camping is going to be fun but often, in the middle of the experience I change my mind. Crawling into our tent at 9 pm in freezing temperatures with gusting wind that actually broke the poles of another family's tent I swore that I would never go camping again. Things didn't improve during the night when Claire woke repeatedly. We shared a sleeping bag and she was plenty warm but it's hard to sleep when your tummy if full of rocks and dirt.

Waking up in the morning though, I changed my mind.

Playing with lots of other families and darling kids helped. (We did have one of those moments that looked like a cartoon as it was happening but but looking back on it sort of makes my heart race--We had put Claire down for a nap in the tent and left the door partially open so she could have ventilation. She cried for a minute but then stopped so we walked away and were working on cleaning up camp. Five minutes later I looked over and there was my little baby crawling across the dirt parking headed to play with the other kids. I should have stopped to take a picture because it was really funny seeing this little baby crawling across the sand in the middle of nowhere but I was too panicked. Scary to think about what could have happened, but funny)

And our hike in the hundreds of blooming desert flowers didn't hurt either.

Though it might be a stretch to call it a hike. We were with 6 children under the age of 5. Fun, absolutely. A hike, questionable.

*It's my birthday. It has been a lovely day. I made my favorite Princepesa Torte (Marzipan, whipping cream, spongecake and blackberry filling. Amazing). Claire decided that in order to spend more time with me on this day she would forego her morning nap. I went out to frozen yogurt with some ladies and all of our kids. After dinner we had one of those magical family play times on the floor. Now the hubbs is doing the dishes while I putz around the internet and watch movies on netflix. A pretty great day. And because it's my birthday I can post unflattering pictures of myself and not have to worry.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The mean reds

Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Paul: Sure.
Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that'd make me feel like Tiffany's, then - then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name!
Last night while nursing a case of the mean reds, my legs in the hubbs lap, talking about life, a sad playlist on the ipod*, Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell came on and I said, "I love this song." To my great surprise the hubbs replied, "I love this song too." And I thought that my ability to sing Joni Mitchell's Hits album from start to finish without even pressing play had started to rub off and then he added, "remember when she sang it at the Olympics? Oh wait, you'd gone to bed." (True story but we did look it up on youtube the next day)

And I decided that it didn't matter. A win for Joni is a win for me.

*the sad playlist is still playing as I'm packing for a camping trip with our friends, looking out the window at the rain dumping down (Let's hope it's dryer in the desert) and preparing for Birthday Week (Monday is my birthday and I haven't decided how the whole week is going to pan out but I can tell you that it's going to be good).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Danger is her Middle Name

Gardening is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes when you're crawling over the gardening boxes attempting to eat dirt you fall. And you scrape your face on the row markers and you start bleeding. But do you know what you do? You get back up again and you start eating dirt again.

It's a dangerous and beautiful world.

* This picture was actually taken this morning even though the injury occurred last night. You can see the red wood rash on her upper lip and there's a little scab on her nose. I tried to get a closer picture but it was very tricky as she kept trying to eat the camera.

**The good news is that the garden is flourishing. I thought I had a picture of it on my phone but I don't. Next time. Last night we ate salad from the garden. We'll be eating it again today (and we gave half of it to the family with whom we share the plot) and maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Wanna be Sedated

Before I start this I feel like I need to warn you that this post is not for the faint of heart. No gross dental detail will be left out.

Yesterday I went in for my first-ever root canal. I was terrified. I've been hoarding babysitting co-op tickets for the last two weeks so getting Claire taken care of was not a problem. I should have done my wiki research but, to be honest, I didn't even know how a root canal worked (and after seeing those terrifying pictures maybe it's best that I didn't do the research). I just knew that almost everyone who had had one had a horror story and the only crown I've ever had was HORRIFIC. I also had terrible dental experiences as a child and on more than one occasion I have seen blood spatter all over my dentists' glasses.

When my dentist went to numb me up I said, "which of my anesthetic options will make me remember the least of this experience?" He smiled and swore that I wouldn't feel any pain. I said, "will I see any blood spattering on your glasses?" He laughed and then said, "let me get you a little something." He called to his nurse and asked for a Vicodin and a Valium. Done and Done. Sedation dentistry means that you can still hear the drill and smell the burning smell but you don't care.

My dentist took a picture of what was left of my tooth under my ill-fitting crown so he could show it to me. It was gross. But not as gross as when he opened up the tooth. The nerve was badly infected and an awful dead-animal smell filled the room. The dentist then said, "Yes, that's infected. Can you smell that?" I. Was. Mortified. and totally grossed out (this was also after he had told me that he once had to ditch a blind date because he could smell that she had periodontal disease--not just bad breath, he clarified, but periodontal disease). It was kind of the equivalent of letting a stinky fart and then having someone point it out. How can I ever look him in the eye again?

The good news is that the dentist told me that he couldn't believe I had lived with the pain for that long and even though my jaw is sore, I already feel better. Overall experience was just not that bad. I'll take a root canal (with a little Valium) to the kind of pain I was in last week any day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Remember this blog post? The one where I talked about my love of that dang pottery-barn mobile which is totally out of my what-I'd-be-comfortable-paying price? My mother-in-law did.
And guess what she made me?

That's right. She made it as a total surprise.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dear Liver.......

I'm getting ready to dip into savings* to have more than $3,ooo worth of dental work done. You read that right. $3000. Oh yeah, and we have insurance so the real cost of the work is more than that. Turns out that when I was young I had a dentist who gave me huge fillings where I didn't really need them and now, at the age of 31 they are falling apart. Pregnancy didn't help my dental disaster either.

A couple of weeks ago I scheduled an appointment for a root canal which needed to be done after my dentist in Salt Lake left me with a crown that didn't go all the way up to my gums (a different dentist than my childhood one but obviously just as lacking in dental skills--boy do I know how to pick 'em). I scheduled the appointment for this week because the dentist was booked before I left town. While visiting my family last week, said crown erupted into the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. Holy Crap. I've been through 8 hours of pitocin-induced contractions and they were nothing compared to the pain of an infected tooth. My San Diego dentist sent me prescriptions for an antibiotic and Vicodin to get me through until the appointment. I spent several days in an pain-killer induced haze (sorry if those blog posts were a little hard to follow) but thanks to the miracle that is modern day medicine I am now mostly back to my cheery self. Now that I'm out of the woods on the bring-tears-to-your-eyes pain I only have two things to say,

1) Did you know that you can take max doses of ibuprofen and acetaminophen at the same time? Turns out they work differently and don't interfere with one another.

2) Dear Liver, I'm sorry.

*this savings account is what I call my plastic surgery fund. It's money that I had saved before we got married and if there is still any of it left after we're done having kids I am going to have a tummy tuck and get my hoots done. Of course I may end up spending it on the actual having of kids (they don't come cheap you know) or getting my teeth fixed after they come but the plastic surgery dream nice to hold on to.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome Spring and a couple of poems (not by me)

Growing up, every year on a certain day in Spring my mother would take us all outside and while pointing at the maple tree in front of the house she would recite,

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

--Robert Frost.

My other favorite Spring poem is

The Goose Girl

Spring rides no horses down the hill,
But comes on foot, a goose-girl still.
And all the loveliest things there be
Come simply, so it seems to me.
If ever I said, in grief or pride,
I tired of honest things, I lied:
And should be cursed forevermore
With Love in laces, like a whore,
And neighbours cold, and friends unsteady,
And Spring on horseback, like a lady.

--Edna St. Vincent Millay

Perhaps for family night I will make the hubbs listen to poetry and examine the new leaves that seem to have appeared on the trees outside our windows overnight (he just loves it when I make him do things like that. Actually he hates it but as we've been watching basketball all night I figure he owes me)

Welcome Spring. We are so glad you could make it.

This is the view that greeted me from the back of the bathroom door today--remnants of our swimming expeditions last week.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Is it too early to plan our summer vacation?

Growing up we had a cabin that we shared with 2 other families. Some of my best childhood memories are centered there--hiking, searching for wild flowers (pink pussy toes were my favorites and in my memory they are incredibly rare and valuable) writing messages on rocks with sharpies then throwing them into the river hoping other people would find them--you know, normal family stuff. I also have great memories of driving to the cabin (in order to protect the innocent I will only say that on more than one occasion underwear ended up on people's heads as we sang along to the radio, changing the words to fit what was happening). When I was in the fifth grade we had to sell the cabin due to financial concerns. It was heart-breaking. Ten years ago my parents, their financial footing on stable ground again, bought a piece of land in Bear Lake with the hopes of building a cabin in the future. It's taken 10 years to get there but the cabin will be finished next month.

Yesterday Claire and I drove to the building site with my parents. It was a cloudy day but the large windows facing the lake let in lots of natural light.

Claire and Grandma on the deck facing the lake. This is where you will find me this summer--diet coke, book and oversized sunglass in hand. You are all invited. Let the vacation scheduling begin!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Award Winning Blogger Cakes

The hubbs' grandmother has celiac's disease and has been gluten-free baking for the past 70 years. This also means that the hubbs' mother has a whole slew of gluten-free desserts because she's been cooking for her mother for a long time. I just found out that two friends from college are going gluten-free and since one of those friends recently hurled me into the realm of "award-winning blogger" I thought the least I could do is post a recipe for them.

When it comes to gluten-free baking I'm kind of a one trick pony. I have no apologies about that because it's a really good trick (good enough that I've actually made this as a wedding cake). This is gluten-free bakery worthy. Actually, it's just plain old bakery worthy. This is like a lovely piece of coconut pound cake and you can make it as any type of cake or cupcakes. I prefer cupcakes when baking because I can trick myself into thinking that one cupcake with a giant mound of frosting is one serving.

Even though I got this recipe from my MIL when you steal it and open up your very own gluten-free bake shop I think you should call these "Sallee Cakes" or maybe "Award-Winning Blogger Cakes" and get ready for them to take the world by storm (much like their award-winning blogger namesake)

Award-Winning Blogger Cakes
(makes about 12 cupcakes)

1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 cup rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup grated coconut
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Gradually add the egg yolks and beat until very light and creamy (you'll know when it's done because it will be the color of sunshine and happiness). Add the rice flour, salt, and coconut and stir until just combined. By hand, fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Line muffin pans with paper cases and fill two-thirds full with the cake mixture. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Turn out and cool on a rack.
Key Lime Frosting

1/4 c butter
1 lb powdered sugar
zest from 2 key limes
Juice from 2 key limes
Milk (between 2 and 6 tbs)
1/2 c toasted coconut (you can toast coconut in the microwave--just nuke it in 30 second intervals stirring after each until you have a nice brown color)

Cream the butter and lime zest for about a minute. Add lime juice and powdered sugar. With mixer going add milk slowly until you have the texture that you want (some people like fluffy frosting some people like dense frosting--just depends on what you like).

Frost cooled cupcakes and dip them in toasted coconut

If I hadn't been making these for a group of religious missionaires I also would have added 1 tbs of rum or coconut rum to the frosting. Amazingly delicious. You won't be sorry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's that time of year again

Saturday morning while the baby was napping I sidled over to the hubbs all romantic like and started talking about my trip to my parents' and his week away for work. I said, "after you drop me off at the airport you'll come home and it'll be pretty great."

I was going to say that his first day without us would be fun but by next weekend--he comes home Friday but Claire and I don't come home until Sunday--he'd be going half-mad missing us.

He interupted me and reminded me that he had to go to work after he dropped us off at the airport then added, "But next weekend--you're right. I'm going to have a great time. I'm going to watch uninterrupted basketball all night on Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. Thank you NCAA championship!"

Yes, Thank you NCAA championship for that incredibly romantic moment.

When I told the hubbs what I was going to say he quickly added, "Oh, that's what I meant. I'm really going to miss you."

Happy March Madness to all.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Seeking Employment

Experienced "remover" seeks independent contractor opportunities. Capable of quickly removing any and every item on any and every surface 3 feet or lower in height. All items removed are also carefully examined visually and chewed. There is no book too heavy or trinket too fragile to escape examination. Newly added is the ability to open cupboards which can be crawled in and emptied. Special skills also include the ability to find and instantly dispose of minuscule food remnants which you may have missed when you swept.

References available upon request
Just leave a comment on this post to set up an interview.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It was bound to happen

I've been blogging for just over a month now and it was pretty much bound to happen sooner or later. I've been given my first blogging award and am therefore one step closer to my dream of becoming a professional blogger. I am updating my resume right now to say, "Award-winning blogger." Done and done.

Here's my award. See that. Stylish Blogger is right.

Rosie of East for Green Eyes gave me the award. The rules are that your acceptance speech is supposed to involve you saying 7 things about yourself. Then you are allowed to award the Stylish Blogging award to someone you love.

So, in accepting this award, here are 7 things about me.

1. I defended my Master's Thesis in 2007. I passed. I didn't hand it in until 2010. I'd love to offer some kind of explanation for that but I can't. I got tired of all of the revisions.
2. I speak fluent Spanish.
3. I like popcorn that is slightly burned.
4. I once got to ride in a helicopter. My friend's husband was the director of the Killers Human Video. The video was shot in the Utah desert and I was the caterer. We did it for free but as an award we got to go for a ride in a helicopter. The members of the band were incredibly nice. Their grips? BIG JERKS.
5. I am always cold. Always. I live in So Cal and I wear a sweater every day.
6. I hate to touch corn starch. It gives me the heebie jeebies
7. The hubbs is going out of town next week for a whole week (again) so I am going to visit my parents. The worst part is that we don't have any money (we owe Uncle Sam a chunk of change so the budget is particularaly tight right now) so my parents offered to pay for my flight. Updates all next week from a place where it looks like this.

Did I mention that we went swimming yesterday? Outside? We did. It's going to be quite the adjustment.

I'm passing the award on to Mandy of Holtywood. She's funny, cynical and pregnant. The perfect kind of mommy blogger

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Holy Lent and Fast

In the past my observation of Lent has gone a little like this...I decide to give up treats or some other form of food and then Easter Sunday looks a little like this.

This year I decided to do something a little different. I've been reading the book, Eating by the Light of the Moon: How Women can Transform Their Relationships with Food Through Myths, Metaphors and Storytelling. I hate to say it (due to the fact that it's a terrible cliche) but I have some issues with food. It's ok. I'm working on it/them. And this book is incredible. It's given me a new language to use to talk about food and somehow, talking about it using myths and stories is making the understanding easier (should I be surprised? No). Which leads us to this year's Lent offering.

You know that voice in your head that responds to things you do? You might do something totally brilliant and the voice in your head will say something like, "You rock. Good job." If you do something awkward that voice might say, "my goodness....that was rough." They call that voice your internal Mother. Well it turns out my internal mother is a Chinese Mother. That link is to a New York Times article that you should read. The author argues that Chinese Mothers are superior because they are strict. My favorite bit is this list of things the author's daughters would never be allowed to do.
  • attend a sleepover
  • have a playdate
  • be in a school play
  • complain about not being in a school play
  • watch TV or play computer games
  • choose their own extracurricular activities
  • get any grade less than an A
  • not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
  • play any instrument other than the piano or violin
  • not play the piano or violin.
My internal mother is like that. She's strict and mean. If I do something awkward she doesn't just say, "that was rough" she says, "You are an idiot! How could you have done that? Everyone will always remember that and you should be VERY embarrassed." The hubbs and I call that mean mamma Po.
I have decided that I don't take well to Chinese mothering so Po is what I am giving up for Lent. For the next 40 days, when things get awkward (which they seem to do alarmingly frequently for me) she's just going to say, "That was rough. What can we learn from that so it doesn't happen again?"

I think that's the kind of mothering I'll take to so I'm giving myself 40 days to try it out. I think it will be better for my body, soul and spirituality then simply giving up treats (which my college roommate asked me to please never do again because it made me so mean).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The business of teeth getting

Claire is getting two new teeth so we've had a week of lots of whining, lots of chewing on ice and lots of explosive poopy diapers. It's also meant lots of crying and rocking. Last night Claire woke up crying. I went into her room, picked her up, gave her some tylenol and rocked her. She likes to rock with her legs straddling my lap and her head resting on my chest.

Her little head was pressed against my chest and her crying stopped and her eyes got droopy. I was overwhelmed that when she is hurting I am the person she wants. When she is sad and angry, I am what calms her down (well, me and a pacifier). It reminded me of this quote.

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

Elizabeth Stone

There are times when I miss working. I miss interacting with all kinds of adults but the decision to spent my time with Claire (and be rewarded by being the thing that brings her peace and comfort in a weary, tooth-getting world) is a decision I am so glad that I made.

Family Picture December 2010

Monday, March 7, 2011

Claire's Book Club--Henry's Freedom Box

This month for Claire's book Club we read Henry's Freedom Box. The subtitle of the book is, "A True Story from the Underground Railroad" and really...I should have known. I should have know that I wasn't going to be able to make it through this without crying my eyes out (to put that into perspective I have yet to make it through President Obama's book without crying and we own it.) Henry is born a slave and sold away from his family when he is young. Years later his family is sold away from him. Henry comes up with a genius idea. He mails himself to freedom.

This is a great book. The pictures are incredible (done by Kadir Nelson) who also did the book about the Negro Baseball League. Claire still doesn't understand the words we say but be prepared, if you are going to read this to your children who do understand, there will be a lot of explaining to do. Henry makes it to freedom but never sees his family again. It was a nice reminder to me that even stories with happy endings don't have to have perfect endings. And, in real life, things almost never have perfect endings.

I lived in South America for a couple of years and have been looking for really good Spanish and Hispanic literature for children. Next month's book club will be The Perfect Pinata. Get ready to teach your little ones a few words of Espanol!

*While we were at the Library this month we also picked up Too Big to Dance by Doug Anderson and loved it. Even though it wasn't on our book club list I wanted to tell you how charming it is. We've been listening to Zydeco and dancing around our house like crazy ever since.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book Club: Half Broke Horses

The NY Times review of Half Broke Horses oddly, spends just as much time talking about Laura Ingalls Wilder as it does the actual book--most of this comes from the fact that the heroine of our book was actually born in a dug-out. Even I found myself fondly thinking of the time that Pa Ingalls was bringing home candy to the girls for Christmas but got stuck in a snow storm and had to eat it all so he could survive....

Back to the book at hand.

Lily Casey Smith is just the kind of woman I would like to be. She is smart, loyal, gets up when she falls, isn't afraid to reinvent herself and doesn't back down when she's in the right. I zipped through the book inspired by her nearing-on-smarty-pants narration and laughing out loud.....

Strong women take setbacks in stride and learn from their mistakes along the way. Life isn't about luck, it is about going out and doing what you set your mind out to accomplish

Most folks in that part of Arizona didn’t pay much attention to Prohibition, considering it a perverse eastern aberration…Wasn’t no one going to come between a cowboy and his whiskey.

When God closes a window, he opens a door. But it’s up to you to find it.

I think I would have liked this book better if I hadn't also read The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls first book). The Glass Castle follows Lily Casey Smith's daughter Rosemary as she raises her children and the results are not pretty. Mostly, Half Broke Horses sent me into a little bit of a parenting tizzy. If we, as parents, are hard working and reinvent ourselves and roll with the punches, how do we help teach those things to our children? How much responsibility do parents have over the decisions their children make?

The trick is that Lily Casey Smith's life wasn't less impressive because of what her daughter was. She was no less smart and loyal. She didn't suddenly stop getting up when she was kicked down and she didn't stop standing up for herself. The thing that's been rolling around in my head since I read the book is the reminder that, we, as parents, don't get to define ourselves by what our children do. We can try to instill in our children the good qualities we possess but even if we aren't able to pass them on we don't get a pass.
Our lives need to stand on their own merit.

Ok. Next month's book is Tinkers. Put your name on the library list right now because it was Lisa's suggestion and I'm pretty sure we're going to love it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

One of those days.....

I know that there should be a review of Half Broke Horses popping up on this blog right this minute but I've been working on it for more than an hour and it's still only one paragraph long (it's a funny paragraph though that talks about Pa Ingalls bringing the girls candy through a snow storm) but that's as far as it's going today because it has been the kind of day that can best be described by this video.

My shoes are just not doing it but I sure am trying.

Post tomorrow on Half Broke Horses

Thursday, March 3, 2011

To be or not to be (friends)

Last night I unfriended someone on Facebook. To be honest it wasn't the first time I'd done it. I unfriended my old boss when I stopped working but that was because after working for her for 5 years I didn't really want to hear from her anymore.

Last night it was different. I've done lots of work with lots of college-age students and one of the ways we stayed in contact was via facebook. The person I unfriended was one of those students. He is active in his student associated and I could have taken staying friends with him if his updates were about how much he loved his school but the majority of them were about how much he hated other schools. He was derogatory and belittling and I didn't want to read it anymore. So I unfriended him. I feel great. I had no idea it could be so empowering.

I really do like facebook. I went to college far away from home. After college I lived abroad for 2 years and then I worked with people all over the world. Facebook is a great place to stay in contact. Just this week an old friend from Ecuador sent me a message. There are a couple of friends from college that I practically cyber stalk. They're librarians, and authors, they are gentleman and gentlewomen farmers and are overall really interesting people. I love seeing their success and hearing about their lives.

Even though facebook is great and I will continue to love it I am going to start getting rid of people I don't like. You make a derogatory comment about people of different races, religions, sexual preference--unfriended! You post inappropriate pictures--unfriended!

You post interesting updates, blog updates and articles (I'm sure this is all of you)--cyberstalked.

*On an unrelated note. Guess who can wear barrettes now? Of course she's also taking everything off of every shelf she can reach but that is a barrette!

**Review of Henry's Freedom Box will be up this weekend. I'd love comments from any of you parents or librarians.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns.

Claire and I have gotten into a nice little schedule. She goes down for her morning nap at 9:00 and gets up between 10 and 11. As soon as she gets up we're off to the gym. The 10-noon crowd at the gym is different than any other time I've been there. Sure, there are a few roid-warriors but the majority of the crowd is in the 60+ age range. There are several people I love seeing everyday--there's the guy with the horrible toupee (Doesn't that sound incredibly uncomfortable and sweaty?), the 60+, size 12-ish lady who rocks the bare midriff look and an incredible number of people working out in pleated khakis.

And my favorite, the mafia--three ladies of unknown descent who spend hours at the gym and don't really seem to accomplish anything more than gossiping in a slightly guttural language and gazing at the other patrons from under their highly-arched, pencil-drawn eyebrows. I've been working for weeks to get their picture (please don't take away my membership 24Hour fitness). Here's a failed attempt--turns out you can't take a steady picture while you're on the stair stepper. Who knew? But you can see the emphatic hand gesturing that's going on.

Then last week...success. Well, mostly. I only got two of them. The ring leader was across the way on another weight machine.

I always try to smile at them because I'd hate to get caught in the crossfire and even if a man is the head of a household, the woman is the neck.

**Review of Half Broke Horses is going up on Friday. Book Clubbers (and non-book clubbers) I'd love your thoughts. It's a quick read and I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Friends and Enemies

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
-Sun Tzu