Posts

Showing posts from 2011

The Year is Dying in the Night

Tomorrow starts a new year; I still can't believe it is 2012. My brain is in a bit of a time warp and has a hard time accepting the fact that we have moved past 1999. Obviously if I look in the mirror or realize that I have an eight-year-old, I can see the passage of time. It's just hard to understand that I have come to the point in my life where I feel much younger than I look.

This is also a natural time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next one. As most people would probably guess, 2011 was not really my favorite year. I think it could have been a great year; we had a nice home, good jobs, stable income, healthy growing kids, opportunities for travel, and so on. I guess it goes to show that the external trappings of your life are not what define you or what can make you happy. Yesterday as I was glancing through the 2011 calendar my stomach dropped when I looked at a note in January marking the business trip Mr. Fob went on. I know now that the trip was n…

Off Balance

I read 10 books in November. I knew I had been reading a lot, but the number surprised me when I added them all up. Reading books is good, right? I've usually thought so and I've spent most of my life proudly identifying myself as a reader. However, a few years ago I was talking with a therapist and he asked me what hobbies I had. "I read," I responded. "What else?" he asked. I was surprised--isn't reading good? Isn't it virtuous? Aren't I better person because I read a lot? Well, as he gently pointed out, even reading can be a problem if it is being used as an escape from life or when it crowds out other more important things. Sometimes reading is best, but sometimes it's just good and there might be something better.

I realized that this was what happened last month. Many of those books were finished in the wee hours of the night when I should have been sleeping. Or during other times when I should have been doing other things. I set a goa…

Reading Roundup: November 2011

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Patchett's books are always hard to explain; the plots sound like they are belong to action thrillers, but the writing is much more quiet and introspective. Either way, I love them and I find myself drawn in to the world she creates so fully that I am sad when I finish the book.

The Central Park Five

This book felt a bit superficial (it is fairly short) and it does not cover all aspects of the crime or its victim. However, I did feel that it still provided important insights, not only into the police procedures but also into the culture of New York City at the time the crime occurred. I also felt like I could finally understand why someone might confess to a crime they didn’t commit, and why the attack still plays such a big role in American culture even though what most people think they know about it is wrong.

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

I checked this out of the library when I wanted something quick and easy that I could escape with. I&…

A Day for Yes

If you are not offended by a bit of profanity, click here for a very funny commentary on life.

If you didn't click on the link, it's a post about how it is easy to sit around not doing much except for those days when you get a burst of energy and decide to clean and take care of bills and answer emails; you know, all those things that responsible adults should do. Although I think I'm usually pretty responsible, largely because I have kids and I have a job with set hours, there are definitely a lot of areas of my life that feel like that. Sometimes I feel like I do the bare minimum and shove anything I can get away with over to the side to be dealt with in some future, nebulous "later".

I was realizing the other day that, in some ways, the ease of modern living encourages inertia and sloth. Because the necessary tasks of feeding, sheltering, and clothing my family take relatively little effort, it is easy to make the rest of my life take little effort as well. I wo…

Wookin' Pa Nub

(If you haven't seen "Buckwheat sings", you should click here )

A few months ago I was reading a blog discussion about how long people who are divorced should wait before they start dating again. Interestingly, some people who responded were bothered by anything that seemed like it was 'too soon'. There is apparently a lot of judgement out there about how people who divorce should act or not act after the fact. Even a few months ago I wasn't sure I wanted to date again any time soon.

Even though it's only been a few months since things were official, I think I do want to try dating. Part of me feels excited by it. The thought of meeting new people and doing fun things together is appealing. The other part of me feels scared. There are a lot of strange people out there and I don't know if I'll find anyone who appeals to me. I also don't know if I will appeal to anyone either. I don't have a lot of dating experience. As I explained a long time…

Today I was Awesome

Last night I went to bed late, and then stayed up even later reading. The book wasn't even that good, but it was short-ish and I wanted to finish. When my alarm rang this morning I began to regret the fact that I had once thought getting Bountiful Baskets would be a good idea. However, I decided to get up and get moving. I started by going to pick up my produce. I am more than prepared for Thanksgiving next week.

After I got home from picking up the produce I almost went back to bed. It's Saturday and the kids were at their dad's house until this afternoon. But I had made plans and I wanted to stick with them. I spent the morning cooking up a bunch of food to put in the freezer; I made chicken and wild rice soup; butternut squash soup; meatballs; and calico beans. It doesn't sound like a lot, but I only get to cook about half the days of the week and I have a few other things in the freezer. I took a break in the middle to run to Target for some groceries. Now I don'…

Tonight's Brain Dump

Image
I have been forcing myself to get more sleep for the past few nights and I'm feeling a lot better. I also realized yesterday why I was in such a bad mood for the few days before that. This kind of thing happens once a month, and has for the last 20 years, so you'd think I'd figure it out by now.

We have a copy of this book on the new book display, and every time I look at it I feel a little thrill. That guy's tight pants are sexy! I'm beginning to understand why people sometimes go a little crazy after a relationship ends. It's been nearly a year without any physical affection in my life and I definitely miss it. Not that I'm planning on going out and doing anything stupid, but it is a bit tempting. (And no, I'm not going to read the book. It's probably not as exciting as the cover)

On a somewhat related note, one disadvantage of living in a college town is that many of the cute guys around here are a lot younger than me. I don't feel that old, b…

So Much for NaBloPoMo

I had thought of doing NaBloPoMo this month but never really committed myself to doing it. I thought it might be a good kick in the pants to get me blogging again, but it didn't really work. Lately I've had a hard time committing to anything; everything feels off-kilter and I need to get my life back on solid footing again. During the last week I started 3 different books before giving up and taking them back to the library. My fridge is full of food because I keep changing my mind at the grocery store. For so long I thought I had things planned out and I thought I knew who I was and what my life was like, and now I have no idea.

It also doesn't help that I've had a nasty head cold that has been coming and going for nearly two weeks now. Some days my throat is so sore I can barely speak, other days my eyes itch and my nose runs, and on other days I feel fine. I keep thinking that the worst is over and I have recovered, but then it turns out that I am sick again the nex…

A Bird in the Hand

Yesterday morning I interviewed for a job. This is one of the first times I have even gotten an interview for anything I've applied for (in fact, the last time was the job I now have at the library). It looks like a good job, and I have a feeling that they will be calling me back some time next week. Now I just have to make a decision and I'm trying to decide what to do among my many options:

1. Stay with the jobs I have now. I work part-time at the library and I teach college part-time. The advantages to this are that I only go to work about 30 hours a week, they pay is good, and my hours are somewhat flexible. I also love working at the library and thinking of leaving there makes me sad. The disadvantages to this situation are my lack of health insurance, my unpredictable schedule, the fact that I have to work evenings and Saturdays, and the fact that I don't really like teaching. Not only that, but any free time I do have tends to get sucked up by lesson plans and gradin…

Reading Roundup: October 2011

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure

I read all of Laura Ingalls' books as a kid, multiple times, so I was the perfect reader for this book. I had a lot of fun reading about the author's experiences trying to learn more about Laura and about life on the frontier. I also thought it was interesting to reflect on how our childhood experiences with reading influence the rest of our lives.

Daughter of Helaman by Misty Moncur

This book was much better than I had expected it to be (and based on the cover--the design is definitely not my favorite). I did wonder how much of Heather Moore's Book of Mormonbooks the author had read simply because there seemed to be many similarities between the books; that could be simply due to using the same sources on ancient Meso-America for inspiration. I did like the characters quite a lot but thought the book was lacking strength in plot development. I also dislike books that seem to obv…

Abundance

Now that Halloween is behind us and November has started, I feel like I'm staring straight down the barrel of the holiday season. I love Thanksgiving and I love Christmas, but they can also be stressful. I've also already started feeling sad because those holidays, especially Christmas, used to mean a lot of spousal love and togetherness--things that I don't have anymore. I was in the storage room tonight getting something and I noticed the wrapping paper, and I realized that I'll be wrapping the kids' presents alone this year. Maybe I should buy blue wrapping paper in honor of the occasion.

Christmas every year always brings up mixed feelings for me when it comes to gifts. I've always struggled with buying good gifts for people, and I always struggle with the fact that I feel like a grinch when I realize that we don't need anything. I know gifts are not about need, but it feels silly to ask for anything when we have so much. I look around at the cupboard o…

Weekend Report

This week flew by in a flash. When I try to remember things that happened a month ago, it seems like recalling the distant past. And yet, each day and each week seem to fly by much too quickly.

Thankfully this week was a relatively calm one, with few 'extra' things on top of the craziness. Tuesday morning Little Dude had a field trip with his class, and since I wasn't already doing anything I decided to go help out. We went to a nearby theater to see a play that they were doing for kids. I was impressed by how well the kindergartners I was with paid attention, and I think Little Dude was happy that I could come. I dropped P.Bibby off at a friend's house and I felt awful when she clung to me and cried while I left. Thankfully when I came to pick her up she was smiling and my friend reported that she had enjoyed her visit after all.

The weather has turned cold but we haven't had any snow or rain for a while. I'm glad that things will be clear for Halloween on Mon…

Maintaining my nerd credentials

We had this conversation a little while ago:

FoxyJ: "I can't believe they're going to build a temple in the Congo. That is just amazing. You know, I still have a hard time calling it 'Congo' because I'm used to it being Zaire. Except it hasn't been Zaire for about 15 years. I guess I'm a nerd because I still remember the old name."

Mr. Fob: "Actually, what's really nerdy is the fact that you were in high school when it switched names. How many high schoolers actually know where Zaire is, let alone pay attention to what it is called?"

How I Lost on Jeopardy!

Now that my show has aired I can finally talk all about my trip and the taping. Despite the fact that I did not win, I still had a fabulous experience. I wish I could do it again just because it was so much fun (and I'd love another shot at some money, of course). Alas, it is a once-in-a-lifetime gig so I guess I'll just have to write it all down here so I can relive the memories any time I want to.

I tried out back in March and knew that I would be in the contestant pool for about a year. Since this was my fourth tryout (and the third that landed me in the contestant pool), I really was not holding my breath waiting for a call. When my mom was here in July we decided to take the kids to Thanksgiving Point one morning. As we walked back in the house after lunch the phone was ringing; I checked the caller ID and nearly peed my pants when it said "Sony Pictures" with a California number. They invited me to come down to Los Angeles for a taping on August 30th. That was …

A Good Day

Today was one of those rare, perfect days. It was a gift and a blessing, and I want to write it down so that I can remember it. The older kids have Fall Break from school for two days; I took the evening off from work and decided to just focus on having a fun day together as a family.

The morning started out well with Little Dude waking up in a good mood and S-Boogie sleeping in enough to catch up on lost sleep. We hung around the house for a while and they actually helped me clean up the family room in the basement. I also made some yummy gingerbread muffins.

As it got closer to lunch time I was having a debate with myself about the fact that I had told the kids earlier this week that we would go hiking today. I haven't gone hiking in years, but the weather is beautiful and the leaves are gorgeous. Both kids have some kind of hiking/nature walk thing on their 'champions club' goals from school and they have been wanting to hike. So I packed us a picnic lunch and we headed o…

Random Brain Dump

I really want to get back in to blogging more regularly. Despite the fact that people seem to regularly declare blogging dead these days, I like it. I still have a lot of post ideas in my head. However, I worry about the fact that my posting this year has been about half of what it used to be, and most of those posts are declarations similar to this one. So now I'll stop dithering and dump some random crap on you (isn't that what blogging is all about?)

This weekend really kicked my butt. I should be in bed catching up on sleep since I still haven't made up for losing so much over the weekend. I'm teaching two classes that meet Monday and Wednesday. Last Monday my students turned in papers. Due to the fact that I'm working two part-time jobs, I didn't even get to the papers until Thursday. That gave me four days to grade 40 papers, which doesn't account for the fact that I also have a life. By Sunday morning I still had 20 papers to go. So I stayed up very …

Reading Roundup: September 2011

Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

I've read some of Orenstein's articles before, so much of the stuff in this book wasn't particularly new to me. However, I still enjoyed reading it and it reminded me of some things that I had not thought about for a while. As far as where my children are at in relation to today's culture, I feel pretty comfortable, but there are still some things I would like to change in the world at large.

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal

I love books about true crime, and I thought this book was fascinating. I'm still astounded at how this guy could live a lie for so many years and pull it off successfully. There were a few spots where the writing could have used some polishing, but generally I thought it was a good book.

Every Patient Tells a Story by Lisa Sanders

This is another book written by an author that I have read for years in the NY Times. I did recognize some of the case studies she includes in here, but I still ha…

How are you feeling?

First of all, a big thank you to everyone who left a comment on my post or who emailed me. I have been wanting to reply personally to many of you, but I just haven't had the time or mental energy for the last few days. I hope to get to that point soon. Please know that I have read all of your messages and I can feel your love.

The biggest question I get from people lately is 'how are you doing?' or 'how are you feeling?' That's a pretty standard question,but I've had such a hard time answering it because I seem to be feeling many things, and sometimes more than one thing all at once.

Fine That's the standard answer and usually one that we give to people who ask the question. I've also been using it to figure out whether people I know in real life have heard anything yet. Some accept my answer and some, like my friend yesterday, invite themselves in for a glass of water and then let me know that they know what's going on and are concerned. The trut…

Burdens

Today has been an interesting day on the internet. This morning I read this wonderful interview with a woman whose husband came out of the closet and divorced her. Then, later in the day, I read this article about man who came out of the closet, began divorce proceedings, was excommunicated, and committed suicide. It was interesting to read about two very similar situations that met with such completely different ends. The blessing and the curse of the Church seems to be the fact that it is made up of individuals. As individuals we all have the opportunity every day to make the world around us a kinder, more compassionate place, and it makes my heart break when I see people not doing that (myself included). No matter what someone has done, they should never feel as though their only option is to end their own life. These articles also piqued my interest because of what is going on in my life right now. Back in February, Mr. Fob went on a business trip for a week. I started wondering w…

50 States: Letters I, K, and L

It's been a long time since I wrote up the states we've been working on. We've had some delays because of summertime, but we're still working through the alphabet.

Idaho: We read about how P is for Potato, but I thought it was the worst one in this series. The rhymes were really terrible. We also read Mailing May, which is a cute story from Idaho.For dinner we at baked trout and fried potatoes.

Illinois: The books we read included L is for Lincoln, Prairie Numbers, and Our Abe Lincoln. We ate some Chicago deep-dish pizza that was really delicious and we also watched the movie Home Alone since it is set in Chicago.

Indiana: We learned that H is for Hoosier, and we learned about Indiana's place in the abolition movement with this book. For dinner we had tenderloin sandwiches (which were delicious) and some sugar cream pie (which was a little too sweet for our tastes).

Iowa: We read H is for Hawkeye and Numbers in a Row, and I was a little disappointed that I couldn&#…

Reading Roundup: August 2011

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

At first I didn't like the fact that this book was told by the two main characters in alternating chapters. The voice of one, in particular, bothered me and I didn't like the way she was written. However, after a while I got used to it and I liked this book after all. The story was interesting but I thought the writing could have been a little tighter and created more of a plot, rather than just retelling historic events.

The Nightingale by Morgana Gallaway

I have a read a number of books about the Middle East, but I think this is the first I've read that is set in contemporary Iraq. The plot really kept me reading and I thought the writing was pretty decent. It felt like it had a lot going on (action, romance, social commentary, political issues), but I would read a follow-up if the author writes one.

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

This book had a lot of information in it and took a long time to read, but I loved every page. This…

Today's Lesson on Eternal Marriage

A few weeks ago I received a call asking me to substitute teach in Relief Society today. I don't think I've ever taught Relief Society before, even though I've always wanted to. The lesson was from the Gospel Principles manual and was about Eternal Marriage. As I told the sisters today, when I teach I usually just like to prepare an outline with a lot of questions, and get them to run the discussion. That's how today's lesson went and I think it went well. Afterwards several people mentioned that they liked the lesson quite a lot, and I thought it was interesting that one person specifically mentioned liking the fact that I explicitly encouraged comments because she didn't feel like she was 'interrupting me'. Some people asked me to post my lesson, and the truth is I didn't have much beyond an outline, but I will put it here.

“All of us women have an image of the ideal family—a marriage in the temple to an active priesthood holder, and children who …