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8 Minute Memoir: Adventure

Tonight we watched the movie Kiki's Delivery Service, which is the story of a young witch who moves to a new city to learn how to live on her own. In the movie she is only 13, which seems awfully young (and even other characters comment on her youth), but apparently in that world it is normal for witches to do this. She mostly finds good people to help and mentor her and to become her friends, and the drama in the story is fairly low-stakes as she learns how to work through life. Then I got on the computer and read a blog post from a woman who has been teaching her preteen daughter how to use public transit to get around her city. I realized that my kids are much more sheltered and less adventurous than I was at their age. 

I had an early-morning paper route starting at about age 11 that I kept through starting 9th grade (because Seminary interfered with it). Every single morning I'd wake up early, fold up all the newspapers, load them in my bags, get on my bike, and ride aroun…

Reading Roundup: November 2017

A Disappearance in Damascus by Deborah Campbell

Before reading this book I knew very little about the effects of the American invasion of Iraq on regular people in the country. This book is a good look at the long-reaching effects of war on families and communities--and a reflection on the difficulty of being a reporter and foreign visitor in a region under attack. I would definitely recommend this book if you are at all interested in getting a peek at Middle Eastern politics at a personal level. 

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

This was our book club pick for the month, but unfortunately I did not get a chance to go see the movie with everyone else (I still haven't seen it). The mystery is quite clever and somehow I managed to not foresee the ending.

The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky

It took me a while to warm up to the protagonist in this book, since she is a bit prickly and defensive. However, as the book goes on, my sympathy grew as more and more details about t…

8 Minute Memoir: Billboards

I've been sitting on this for a while, because I'm not sure I can write anything interesting about billboards. I even debated skipping this day, but I figured I might as well give it a shot. 

When I was little, the bank my mom went to was next to Rock Liquor. We would often wait in the car while my mom went into the bank, and I was always fascinated by two large murals on the side of the liquor store. There was a painting of a bunch of people eating lunch in bright, summery dresses, and a poster advertising dancing in French. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized that the murals were reproductions of paintings by Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec, and not just liquor ads.

The other billboards I remember spending a lot of time pondering were the ones I saw in Spain as a missionary. As missionaries we spent most of our day out on the streets walking around, or riding the metro or buses. We saw a lot of advertisements and billboards, and since I was learning Spanish, eve…

Reading Roundup: October 2017

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry

How many contemporary mysteries are there that involve an unreliable narrator who can't trust anyone and who is personally damaged? And why do I keep reading them? I'm not sure what the answer to that question is, but I love mystery/suspense, and despite the flaws in this book, I mostly liked it. The main thing that annoyed me was the fact that the ending did the thing where it created a solution out of small detail that had not really been mentioned at all during the first three-quarters of the book, and once it was brought up, it made everything really obvious.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

I've seen this book on several "best of 2017" lists, and it definitely deserves a place there. I'm not very familiar with Antigone, which this book apparently retells, but it doesn't really matter because the book treats that connection fairly lightly. It tackles hard issues and difficult questions, and none of the characters get cut any sl…

8 Minute Memoir: I Don't Remember

I generally have a good memory and there are a lot of things I can remember very well--in fact, I have a bit of a reputation at work for keeping track of stuff and remembering things I have seen. However, there are plenty of things I don't, or can't, remember (and some I don't want to).

For some reason I haven't memorized my library card number, despite the fact that I've had the same card for about fourteen years and use it regularly. I think it has to do with the fact that I can just scan it so I don't have to type in the numbers. I also worry that I'm not going to remember any passwords anymore now that I started using a program that remembers them for me. What if I have to log in to something from a different computer? I also have the same problem with my AppleID--I need it so infrequently that every time I need to use it, I have no idea what the password is, so I just have to reset it each time.

Another thing that I cannot remember is music. I've n…

8 Minute Memoir: I remember when

Several people I know have been following the Eight Minute Memoir prompts that Ann Dee Ellis has been posting on her blog.I'm more than a year behind, but I don't care, so I'm going to try it anyway to see if I can get back into writing and blogging. Instead of starting with the current prompt, I'm going to go back to the beginning. 

I remember when gas still cost 99 cents a gallon, and it seemed incredible when the price started creeping up higher than a dollar. I also remember when we lived in Seattle in 2008 and gas prices were crazy high, and we once passed a gas station that was selling it for over $5.00 a gallon, and I thought that was outrageous so I took a picture. I used to worry a lot about gas prices, but now I don't go anywhere besides work, the library, and a few stores, so I only fill up my car about once every three weeks and gas is a small part of my budget.

I remember when the kids were little and they work up early and I could put them to bed earl…

Reading Roundup: September 2017

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

This book made me laugh and cringe, often at the same time. If you're familiar at all with Trevor Noah, you'll completely understand. It is such a good book and offers a lot of new insights into a life that's very different from my own; I highly recommend it, but with the slight caveat that some people may find parts of it a bit disturbing.

The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

This book had an interesting premise and unique setting, and I was enjoying it until things got really weird towards the end. I was surprised by the main twist in the central mystery and thought it was solidly constructed, but in general I did not enjoy the book. 

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

This is the third book by Reay that I've read within two months, and I think it's my favorite. First of all, it's set in Seattle. Second, it involves food. Third, it has a sweet romance. And fourth, the protagonist grows and becomes a better person, but the book avoi…