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Showing posts from 2014

Reading Roundup: September and October 2014

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

It's been a few years since I last read this book and I was craving something more serious after my last fluffy book binge. The more I read Stegner, the more I love his writing. It was also interesting to re-read this book after being divorced--it's a book about marriage and relationships, and I felt like I noticed different things this time around.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Another excellent book about marriages, although written in a very different style from Stegner. I felt like this book combined the best aspects of the two books by Moriarty that I've read previously. It had the hilarious social satire of What Alice Forgot along with the gripping mystery of The Husband's Secret (but without the awkward ending). Sure, the ending of this book was just a bit too tidy, but overall I thought it was really well-done.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

I've had this book on my list for years and never got around to reading it. I…

Reading Roundup: August 2014

The Martian by Andy Weir

I don't normally read a lot of science fiction, but this book was recommended to me by several people I trust and I thought the premise was intriguing. It was quite a lot of fun to read and rather suspenseful; nice to read something a little out of my usual comfort zone and enjoy it.

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti

This was our book club pick for the month and I honestly didn't think it was all that exciting. The writing style was a bit dry and it was hard to get into the first few chapters. I think I also didn't enjoy it that much because I've never had strong feelings about the Mona Lisa, and the book didn't do much to convince me that I should.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This was a book that I'd read many good things about, but didn't really care for much at all. I'm usually more willing to suspend disbelief for a plot when the characters are sympathetic, but the main char…

Mental Health Day

I took the day off work today--I've had a few sick days saved up for a while and thought it would be good to use one. I had planned on taking the afternoon off, since I had a phone appointment with the counseling center at noon and the kids had their back-to-school thing this afternoon (it used to be back-to-school night, but now for some reason it's in the afternoon). Then when I got up this morning, I just didn't feel like going in to work for only a few hours. So I got dressed and went to the temple instead; it was nice to be there and I felt good afterwards. Then I came home and had my phone appointment with the counseling center on campus--they will call in a few weeks and set up an appointment with me. I get to be some grad student's project for the semester, but at least it is cheap and easy to get to since it is on campus. I think things will be OK--I'm also going to work on getting more sleep and taking better care of myself too.

This afternoon I had a few…

Reading Roundup: July 2014

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

I picked up this book because it sounded like a good, escapist read for vacation. It got a bit too melodramatic for my taste, especially since none of the main characters were very likeable and I didn't feel like I cared about what happened to them. It wasn't bad, but I just wasn't expecting it to get quite so gothic in the end.

Beautiful Unbroken by Mary Jane Nealon

Nealon is a poet as well as a nurse, and this really shows in her writing. This memoir was beautiful and touching and made me think a lot about my life and what choices I have made. At the same time, sometimes I feel a bit disconnected when I read about women who have no children--the choices I can make or will make are constrained in different ways. I still enjoyed the book and thought she had some great insights about grief and compassion. 

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

I picked up this book solely based on the high number of positive recommendations I'…

Tired

Yesterday I was going to write a blog post about how tired I have been feeling this summer. Physically tired, emotionally tired, mentally tired. Just tired. My yard has giant brown spots on it and my flowerbeds are sprouting weeds that are taller than I am. The garden has been a total bust due to my neglect and the only things still surviving are the pumpkin vines and the tomato plants. I haven't cleaned the bathrooms for about two months, there are piles of papers and books all over the house, and I'm at least four weeks behind on the reading for my class (at least all my assignments have been turned in on time). I have 10 shirts in my closet that haven't been worn for 2 months because I can't bring myself to iron them. I've been in a slump for a while--as evidenced by the dark circles under my eyes, the massive amounts of books I've been reading, and my inability to make simple decisions or to email people back about things. 

When I was on my trip to Portland …

4 More Weeks of Summer Break

Yes, I'm counting down the days until school is back in session. I think the kids are too, even though it's been a pretty fun summer so far. The other day I was talking to a friend who works full-time and she agreed with me that it feels better to go to work during the school year when we know the kids are happily involved in their routine and busy at school. At the same time, though, it's nice to have seasons in life and I remember just two months ago how ready for change I was. I will say that summer mornings are so much simpler for me since I only have to get myself ready and out the door. 

I started the summer with a very quick trip up to Portland for my sister's graduation with a doctorate in nursing practice. I flew up Sunday afternoon and came home on Tuesday afternoon--I think I was only gone for about 48 hours. It was a lot of fun; the agenda was basically eating lots of delicious food, hanging out, and attending the graduation. We accomplished all those things…

Reading Roundup: May and June 2014

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

This was our book club choice for the month of May, and I'm glad I got a head start on it because it took a long time to read. It was a fun experience because it's been a long time since I had read a book this long--thankfully it's a fairly easy read for such an epic book. I did not expect to enjoy it was much as I did and I felt like it gave me a lot to think about.

Fortune Cookie by Josi Kilpack

This is the second-to-last of Kilpack's Sadie Hofmiller mysteries. . When I found out that this was not the last book in the series, I was worried that it would feel like the author was just trying to stretch things out too much by suddenly having Sadie's long-lost sister appear. Instead, I liked that the story really delved into family issues and problems from the past that can crop up at inconvenient times. I have also appreciated how Kilpack has often included characters who aren't very friendly, and don't get more friendly…

Nine Years Later

I started this blog nine years ago, back when I lived in a two-bedroom apartment that didn't have any air conditioning, I was in grad school, and I only had a two-year-old. Since then I 've gained two more children, finished my degree, lived in two other states before coming back to Utah, found a full-time career and started a new graduate degree, lost my mind a few times, got my sanity back a few more times, and lost my marriage. It's been an interesting ride and I'm not even sure if I've got anyone else still reading what I post. 

I've posted quite a few times about blogging, why I started a blog, my feelings about blogging, and why I keep at it. Back when I started this whole thing, blogging was the new, exciting thing to do. Facebook, and Twitter weren't around yet, and even smartphones and the ubiquity of texting weren't that big. YouTube wasn't here, and most 'viral' stuff was shared through emails. Communication has changed a lot durin…

Trying to Write a Blog Post

It's been almost a month since I last wrote a post on here. I keep thinking "I should write a post; I have stuff to say." And then I don't end up writing anything after all. Stuff has happened--it's been a mostly good month I guess. I might write a better post about the last month at some point later this week. Here, however, is a quick glance into a typical evening around here. 

5:30--Get home from work and talk to the babysitter a bit before she leaves. Put away my things and figure out dinner. I actually made a menu plan and bought supplies for meals this week, but no one is feeling excited about breakfast for dinner (too many pancakes at their dad's house over the weekend). 

5:45--Decide to make some veggie soup and biscuits for dinner. It's a bit ambitious, but uses up food I have on hand and sounds tasty. P. Bibby "helps", which mostly means getting in my way while I try to quickly make dinner. At least we get to spend some time together cha…

Birthday, Mothers' Day, Conferences, and More

Two weeks ago on Friday was my birthday and then Mothers' Day was the week after that. Those two events are usually fairly close together, so if there's not a big celebration for one of them I don't really feel left out. This year it ended up that both days were fairly uneventful. On my birthday S-Boogie and Little Dude made me some French toast for breakfast. It was pretty tasty and they didn't make too much of a mess in the kitchen. I spent the whole day at the annual conference for the state library association--there were some interesting sessions and I got a tasty free lunch with an entertaining speaker, so I guess the day wasn't a total wash. There was terrible traffic coming back from the conference so I got into town a little later than I had planned. I had to pick up the kids from Mr. Fob and then we had a ward activity that night; I thought it would be fun to just get Wendy's for dinner, but it really wasn't that great. We had poor customer servic…

Reading Roundup: April 2014

Longbourn by Jo Baker

I like Jane Austen and have all read her books more than once.  I like Jane Austen quite a lot and admire her writing, but I don't consider myself a fan of hers. Based on other reviews I've read, this probably explains why I liked this book so much. If you feel like the Bennetts are your own relatives and that Austen's words are scripture, you probably won't like this book. If you love alternate versions of other stories, beautiful writing, and intricately detailed historical fiction about Britain, you will love this (warning: unlike in Austen, there is some violence and sex).

Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller

I thought this book was going to be more interesting than it was. It wasn't bad--she has had (and still does) a complex relationship with her parents--but had the problem of some memoirs where it focused mostly on telling a lot of stories about the past without really describing how they affects the present (the "so what&q…

Goodbye to April

Only three more days are left in April, which means that it's less than a week until my birthday and only a month until Little Dude's. Even more importantly, the kids only have 5 weeks of school left before summer break. Unfortunately our favorite babysitter from the last two summers won't be available because she has an internship she has to complete, so I've to start looking for someone new. I've only got about 2 weeks of school left and am happily looking forward to a little break. I am taking a class over the summer but it doesn't start until June 1st. April and May always end up being such a busy time; it seems like all the programs and recitals and things end up happening during these months. I'm just looking forward to summer vacation so I don't have to drag everyone out of bed and hustle them all out the door every morning. 

Tonight as Little Dude was going to bed, he told me "I'm tired of parties". I don't blame him--he's d…

Spring Break (or, Managing Expectations)

The kids had their Spring Break this past week. One of the hard things about being a working parent is the fact that when the kids have days off from school, you have to figure out what to do with them. One of us, or both of us, usually has to take time off work to take care of them; thankfully Mr. Fob has a flexible job so sometimes he doesn't even take time off and just has them hang out with him. Last year for Spring Break I took off part of the week and the kids and I went to Las Vegas to visit my parents. The year before that Mr. Fob took the older two to Disneyland, but left P. Bibby here because she was barely two years old. This year's Spring Break has been highly anticipated by everyone for several months. Mr. Fob took the week off work and drove all three kids down to California to spend a few days at Legoland. 

It was a weird week for me--the first time I've ever had all three kids gone for such a long period of time. Their dad picked them up last Sunday evening …

Reading Roundup: March 2014

Most of the books I read this month were Whitney finalists, but I did manage to sneak in a few other books as well.

I, Spy and Spy for a Spy by Jordan McCollum

I decided to review these two books together, since they are pretty similar and one is just a sequel to the other. There were some things I really liked about the books--they were fun to read, the pacing was good, even towards the end with the final chase scenes, and the setting was unique. I didn't like the voice very much, but I think that was mostly just my personal preference. I don't like first-person that is overly familiar and sounds too much like someone just telling me a story; it tends to get annoying, especially after reading two-books' worth of it. I also had a hard time with the characterization of the protagonist; she often alluded to things in her back story that might have made some of her actions make sense, but I just got frustrated when more wasn't explained.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by L…

Sick Day

I briefly mentioned in last week's post that Little Dude had been sick with strep throat and that last Sunday S-Boogie wasn't feeling very good either. Unfortunately she did not sleep well on Sunday night and woke up with a fever Monday morning. I decided to take a sick day from work (so grateful for a job with good benefits), dropped P-Bibby off for the morning with her babysitter, and took S-Boogie in to the doctor for a strep test. It was positive. We stopped by Target to fill the prescription and grab a few things, then came home to spend the rest of the day resting. 

This would have all been fairly normal and routine, but Monday was the day for the last two performances of the musical that she had been working on for nearly three months. They had a matinee and an evening performance; this was also the day for cast photos and professional videotaping of the show. I had planned to take the afternoon off work to watch the show with Little Dude and P. Bibby. It was the worst p…

Where did March go?

Remember how in February I really got into exercise and made some great progress? Well, then in March I totally fell off the wagon. I haven't exercised at all since then. School and work and everything just got overwhelming and I've been kind of down all month. I know that exercise would probably help with that feeling, and probably fix some of the sleep issues that have been creeping back into my life. I should try again to get back in the habit. Obviously I totally fell off the blogging bandwagon as well.

Looking back over my calendar I don't see anything too out of the ordinary that would make this month feel so stressful. Well, actually I only really ended up with one kid-free weekend instead of my usual two. Out of the past five weekends, only one has been completely without the kids. This weekend they were mostly with Mr. Fob, but my dad came into town on Friday evening to watch S-Boogie's play, so yesterday I picked them up for lunch with their Grandpa and then k…