Blog Archives

15 Aug 2008 Has it really come to this?

I’ve been having a great time on Facebook lately.  It’s been so much fun reconnecting with old friends, classmates, family and interacting with current friends.  That’s part of the reason why I adore the Internet.  The miles between people are so few.  In a few minutes, I can upload new pictures of the girls that can be seen instantly by the family, friends and loved ones we have spread around the country.

And, you know, I’m not one of those people that forgets others easily.  If you spend time in my life, I think about you.  Maybe not often or all the time, but definitely every once in a while.  I wonder about how you’re doing or what’s going on in your life.  If the things I knew you wanted came to pass.  If you’re happy or sad or what has changed about you.

About a week ago I sent a “friend” request to someone I had known casually from an Internet group before Emily was born.  We had never met, but for the time that we posted together, she came to know a lot of things about me and I knew a lot about her.   Today I had my “friend” request rejected.

She just doesn’t have time.

And I’m wondering….again…..what sort of life we lead, in general, if we don’t have time for one more contact, one more friend.  I wondered this years ago when, at a scrapbook crop with people whom I doubted I would be friends with (yet hoped to be friendly with) the group at large agreed that they just had too many obligations to make any more friends.

<cricket cricket cricket>

Who are these people who are too busy for friends?

After that night at the scrapbooking crop, I cut off contact with the people who just didn’t have time to make more friends.  Why extend myself to them and why bother?  And, I feel the same way about my rejected “friend” request today.  Obviously this isn’t the sort of person I want to have a relationship with, no sour grapes intended (particularly since the excuse of not having time to keep up with anyone else via a social networking site that updates everyone at once seems a little….fishy.  Or stupid.  I’m not sure which  And I’m not interested relationships with fishy people or stupid people either).

But it does, in my mind, post a larger question about the choices we make as a society and about where we put importance.  I’m not like Emily in that I believe that everyone can be bosom buddies and that a few hours spent in happy play equates to best friends.  I know as you enter adulthood that real friendships are hard won and few and far between, but the carte blanche rejection of general friendship across social classes (the person who rejected my “friendship” today would consider herself very urban and savvy and probably above the middle class suburban moms who admitted to it as well)   is perplexing to me.  Particularly when the excuse given is ‘out of time”.

I understand how hard it can be to manage families and obligations, work and fun.  I’m sitting right in the middle of it too, attempting to balance Emily’s school time, her need for a social life, Cadence’s play dates, Eric’s work obligations, social outings and family obligations.  The only difference is, I’m not managing my own work obligations (which I probably make up for with Cadence’s schedule), but there still seems to be time inside of my admittedly busy life to reach out when I can to those who reach towards me.   It doesn’t make sense not to. What kind of people have we become (myself included of course, because I’m right up there with people who can’t find “time” to return e-mails or make phone calls or, this year, send out Christmas cards) that we reject connections with other human beings?

Doesn’t that seem….

……well……

….inhuman?

Isn’t our emotional connections to each other, our highly structured, hierarchical relationships one of the things that sets us apart from Mighty Joe Young and his band of primates?

Honestly, it’s not really about the Facebook thing.  My fondness for this person obviously wasn’t returned and I don’t want to be a pity add. ;o)  As I tell Emily multiple times a school year, we just can’t all be friends with everyone and that much is true, but we can always make time to lend an ear, extend a hand and put ourselves out there into the greater universe and wait for the good that will come back.

12 Aug 2008 Diet Diary-Week 1
 |  Category: Healthy is as healthy does  | Leave a Comment

Yesterday saw me finish up my first week on my new diet.  Eric and I want to try and have another baby soon and I decided that I needed to be in much better shape before we did that.  Now, I am one of the odd few who manages to lose weight during pregnancy (it’s not dangerous.  I just kind of lose my appetite and eat less while burning baby growing calories).

Anyhow, I decided that I needed a solid eight week commitment before we could TTC (try to conceive) so I could make sure I was in a healthier place before I tried to grow a baby in my body.

After some deliberating, I decided that I was going to go on Weight Watchers and give it more than a 1 week try.  I signed up to go to meetings  and keep track of my points on-line, which is what I’m doing know.

How’s things?

Well, I love the Weight Watchers program.  It’s easy to manage and their site is great to use.  The problem with me and Weight Watchers really isn’t weight watchers.

To pardon a cliche, it’s, well, me.

The first few days, last week, were kind of difficult.  Some of my “staple” foods seem to contain large amounts of points.  For instance, those daily iced coffees from Starbucks?  4pts (when ordered non-fat, which I never did until this past week).  My favorite breakfast cereal with milk?  7pts.

So, I’m having to prioritize.  Do I want coffee?  Or more to eat?  What’s the plan?

Dieting is hard for me, besides the obvious eating less reasons.  I get really compulsive.

Really REALLY compulsive.

So, managing food can get difficult.

But, I started out by menu planning and when I get up in the morning, I plug in what we intend to have for dinner which allows me to manage my day.  I’m working on eating slowly, chewing slowly, pausing in between bites, things that I don’t normally do.  I’m a shoveler.

Last week I was using the Wii Fit to help make sure I was getting my activity, but that’s more difficult the next couple of weeks with company.

In any case, my loss for last week was 5 lbs.  I feel great about that.  And, of course, keeping that idea on my mind motivates me to keep my progress heading forward.  Even when we go out.  Even when we have company.

10 Aug 2008 Three Years ago….
 |  Category: Web Goodies  | Leave a Comment

I did the following meme.  I thought it would be interesting to do it again to see how things have changed.  You can view the original here

Ten things I do everyday:

1. Sing to Cadence

2. Talk with Emily

3. Surf the Internet

4. Smooch Eric.

5. Let the dog out (and in and out and in and out and in and out)

6. Watch Ninja Warrior

7. Wish for just five more minutes under the covers.

8. Shower

9. Tell Emily NO!

10. Pet cats

Nine favorite shows of all time:

1. Ghost Hunters

2. Ninja Warrior

3. Heroes

4. Chuck

5. Jericho (still pissed about them canceling it)

6. Dead Like Me

7. Arrested Development

8. Ugly Betty

9. Amazing Race

Eight junk food favorites: (none of these have changed)

1. French Fries

2. Nacho (cheese? Put it back!)

3. Doritos

4. Chocolate chip cookies

5. Frozen custard (chocolate and vanilla twist)

6. Cherry Coke

7. Pizza

8. Egg rolls

Seven things that bug me:
1. Rude Drivers on Cell Phones

2. Stupid parents

3. Clueless people

4. redundant messes

5. Dog drool on any part of my body

6. Cat who prefers fastidiously clean litter box

7. Being in a rush

Six songs I love this minute:

1. Shake It-Metro Station

2.  Seasons of Love-Rent

3.  Magic-Colbie Cailiat

4. I kissed a Girl-Katy Perry

5. Shut up and Drive-Rihanna

6. the Toast Song

Five things I want:
1. Emily to have a fabulous school year

2 Cadence to keep growing like a happy little weed

3. To get the work done on the house so we can get the house on the market

4. To finish my freaking laundry

5. To have this diet finally be the one that is successful (still worried about hte same thing three years later)

Four facts about me:

1. I speak pig latin fluently

2. I get very OCD about stuff.

3. I’m a cat person. Sorry Jack.

4. I want to write a novel some day

Three wishes: (none of these have changed)

1. For my family (all of them) to be happy and healthy always

2. A long, long , long marriage to my sweetheart

3. Peace On Earth

Two people I wish I could see again: (sadly, this one has)

1. My mom
2. Ma

One thing I’m looking forward to:

1. School starting.  Not my normal take on it, but I’m ready this year

07 Aug 2008 Reduce, Recycle….
 |  Category: notes to self  | Leave a Comment

Not so sure about the reuse part.

I pick up Real Simple magazine whenever there’s a new one, but I rarely read through them.  I made it through August’s issue, though, and there are just a few things I want to save without needing to save the whole magazine, so…..enjoy, I guess (though this is mostly for me).

Sweetgrass Farm Lemon Verbena Farmhouse Furniture Wax.  $6 from www.sweetgrassonline.com
Bodycology Continuous Spray Lotion in Fresh Waters $9

Ham and Cheese Quesadillas
serves 4
4-10 inch flour tortillas
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 pound thin sliced deli ham
1 cantaloupe cut into wedges
>Heat Broiler.  On one half of each tortilla, layer the cheese and ham.  Fold the over half of each tortilla over and place on a broilerproof sheet pan
>Broil until cheese has melted and tortillas are brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Cut into wedges and serve with fruit

Ravioli with sauteed zucchini
serves 4
1 lb cheese ravioli
2 tbsp olive oil
3 small zucchini, sliced into thin half moons
salt and pepper
2 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
1/2c grated Parmesan
>Cook Ravioli according to package directions.  Drain and return to pot
>Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add zucchini, salt and pepper and cook until tender (4 or 5 minutes).  Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes
>Add zucchini mix and 1/4c Parmesan to the ravioli and toss gently.  Garnish with remaining 1/4c of Parmesan.

Summer Pasta Bolognese
serves 4
12 ounces of fettuccine
2 tbsp olive oil
1lb ground turkey
salt and pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic
1.5 lbs beefsteak tomatoes
1/2 dry white whine
1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
3/4 fresh basil leaves
>Cook pasta
>heat oil in large skillet.  Add turkey and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 3 minutes
>add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and wine and simmer, stirring occasionally,until turkey is cooked through and sauce has thickened, 4 to 5 minutes
>remove from heat and fold in zucchini and basil.  Serve over pasta

And now, off to the recycle bin.

22 Jul 2008 Update…
 |  Category: Inside Out-Examining Me  | Leave a Comment

Yeah, it’s been a while.

I’ve been struggling lately.  I have this abundance of creative energy and I feel like I’m not able to properly outlet it.    I fight with what I want to against what I have to do.  I’ve spent hours planning the girls fall outfits, plotting fabrics and patterns and when it comes time to execute, I feel blocked.  Like I can’t.

Same with scrapbooking and knitting.  I seem like I’m swimming around with no real way to vent the creative buildup.  It’s so frustrating.  I can’t even come up with anything to blog about.

Personally, we seem to be at a crossroads and it’s time to pick our path; trying to balance what we want  to do against what we should do.  We through out arbitrary time lines just to force our own hands.  And, I kind of hate that we end up doing that, because they’re big decisionsSummerbut we’ve hit a wall in so far as making the decision, so throwing these time lines like a little kid bargaining with God (If I don’t step on any cracks for a week, Bobby Smith will ask me out!).  If we can’t make a decision by THIS time, then THIS is our obvious choice and we nod emphatically and wait to see what happens with baited breath.

I’m sounding vague and i don’t mean to be.  I do know that we’re likely to change our minds a dozen times before we pull the trigger on anything, so rest assured I’ll fill you in when I can and know that we’re all fine.  Nothing earth-shattering is happening, but as is obvious, making concrete plans about your future and making long term commitments can be difficult and confusing.  Particularly when they feel conflicted and you’re hoping  for things that are totally opposite.  I’ve always had faith that we’ll be where we need to be doing what we need to do, but sometimes it’s hard to give up the idea that you just need to follow your path and hope for the best.

Summer is drawing to an end.  I know it’s a month before school starts, but I feel like I’ve missed it.  I always hope to create for Emily the incredible carefree summers I used to have, but I can be so neurotic that I’m afraid that I’m not creating something carefree that I’m scheduling and running to the point where she’s not feeling that freedom.

I remember waking up early on summer mornings.  I’d sleep at the foot of my bed becuase then I would lay right under the window.  It was always misty and dewy in the mornings (and my Neighbor who probably had the world’s greatest imagination would tell ghost stories about a ghostly blue mist that wound it’s way through our neighborhood and sometimes I’d stare out the window, hoping to catch her, but I never did) and the day smelled so fresh and clean and full of possibilities.  Today, on our way to run errands, we drove past a group of kids, pre-teens or early teens, sitting in a circle on the sidewalk.  There were a couple of boys and a couple of girls and I remembered so well those summers, of our co-ed groups with tiny, pointless drama filled semi-romances.  Sitting under the neighbor’s deck, listening the bass on “wild thing” vibrating the awning under a friend’s porch, the musty smell of my parent’s old tent that you could pack four girls into for a sleep out, the tangy smell weeds gave off as you hiked through them and the mossy smell of the woods.

Those kids reminded me of us.  A co-ed group.  A few girls, a few boys.  Before sex and hormones and high school got the best of us.   I don’t remember when we stopped hanging out as a group.  It was so subtle.  I went to high shcool, someone else made the cheerleading squad, someone went from being a pain the butt to bad news, someone else moved away, someone became too young as the distance from 9th grade to 6th grade became just too big to overlook.  We found friends we actually had things in common with besides our houses being in walking distance.

But there are songs and moments when I’m drawn back to them and I wonder if they ever think of me.

01 Jul 2008 Day In the Life-7/1/08
 |  Category: Real Life  | Leave a Comment

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It’s morning.  Eric and I have been up since 5:30 and we showered and got dressed. I really don’t care for getting up so early, but my kids get up so early that I really don’t have a lot of choice if I want to get up, shower and get a few things done before they get out of bed themselves.  Eric assures me that I could grow to be a morning person, but I’m really not sure about that.  It’s hard to fight my natural night owl tendancies.   I plugged the battery into my camera as Eric made his breakfast (his usual fried egg sandwich).
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 It looks to be a beautiful day outside.  While Eric eats, we chit chat and I update my blog with the book I read yesterday.After finishing my blog, I had the computer over to Eric to have him disable the wireless connection.  It’s really the only way I can get stuff done around the house.  He does what it is he has to do and then starts to gather up his stuff so he can get out of the door.  As he’s preparing to leave, I hear Cadence start to fuss upstairs.  She’s not making a lot of noise, so I continue on my merry way.  Eric takes out the trash (full as usual) and we give kisses goodbye, him making sure to take his lunch (I’ve been threatening to eat what he leaves behind).   Eric came home from being out of town on Friday, so we didn’t do much in the way of housework all weekend.  Cadence was fussy yesterday so today will be housework catch up day as well as laundry catch up day as we’re going away this weekend and I like everything to be neat and orderly for packing and when we  return home.

I start out cleaning the living room as it’s usually the easiest and the place where I can make the most impact.  Just a few toys and stuff sitting around
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It only takes a few minutes to pick up here.  You might be wondering if I’m one of those people who thinks a few things out of place=a mess.  No, I am not.  You haven’t seen my kitchen or my laundry room.  I am still on a quest to find better storage for my living room/foyer for toys in particular as what I am using creates that messy pile you see in the corner by my end table.  That doesn’t really work out very well.  I have another, similar pile next to my couch.  I’m still in the process of searching down just the right piece of furniture to solve our storage problems, so if anyone knows of something great that will look nice in my foyer, let me know.  I could use it.  The living room is neat in just a couple of minutes….

All nice and tidy.  One of the things we loved the most about this house is it’s beautiful natural light.  The back of the house (and the living room and dining room) face east and we get beautiful sun light in the morning.  There is still a bubble container under the table that I over looked, but it’s all picked up by the time I write this.

You can see my book score from the Scholastic Warehouse sale Cadence and I visited in May on the back of the table.  Some of the books are mine and some are for me to read and then pass along to Emily.
ditl4.JPG Also my catch all pot that holds hair ties, remotes, nail scissors and lots of other little things that don’t really have much of a place.

I fix my first cup of coffee and Cadence is starting to make noises up stairs.  They’re quiet noises and she’s not too upset yet, so I settle into my chair to read for a bit until it’s time to run upstairs and get her up.

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I finished read “The Devil’s Arithmetic” by Jane Yolen yesterday and today am reading “Howls Moving Castle” by Diana Wynn Jones. I love the cartoon and I’m hoping to like the book just as much.  I only get one chapter read, though, before it’s time to head upstairs and get Cadence. She’s insisting “UP! UP!” really loudly.  It’s nearly 7, which is actually quite late for Cadence to sleep.  As of late, she’s been gracing us with her presence PRIOR to 6 a.m. which we find to be mostly unreasonable….

ditl6.JPGBig sister, though, is still snoozing….
ditl7.JPGCadence and I mosey downstairs and we have C’s first breafkast; strawberry yogurt from Trader Joe’s.  After breakfast, it’s play time for a bit.  Cadence stomps around in my shoes and then climbs her castle to do her amazing daredevil tricks….
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These tricks look pretty minor compared to C’s normal daredevil tricks which include walking down the slide with her knees bent and shoving her feet into the castle windows  and standing up, throwing up her arms as if to say “ta DA!”.  Her father is quite amused by this practice and frequently calls me in from another room to observe what trick Cadence is trying next

.

I then turn my attention to the dining room table.  The night before I ruined dinner (or something was wrong with the cut of meat.  Either way, we couldn’t eat it) and we ended up making an unplanned stop out for dinner to solve the meat problem.     We were all tired, so the mess was left to sit.  Can’t have that, so it was time to clear off the table, light the candles and make the house smell yummy.  Messy mess
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All better

ditl11.JPG.At 8′o clock I sit down to my breakfast and I give Cadence her second breakfast; a duplicate of mine for her to eat while I’m eating in an attempt to keep my breakfast for myself.  We’re having sunflower butter sandwhiches on yummy sourdough bread.  I’m still working on my first cup of coffee and Cadence has a sippie cup of milk

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By now, Emily is up and is thinking about her breakfast too….
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After breakfast time, I clean up the breakfast stuff from the living room and the girls head upstairs to play.  I tidy up our breakfast nook and use the computer for a bit before heading upstairs.  The playroom has been pretty scary for a while and we’re hosting a couple of things this month.  I decide to spend a few minutes cleaning in the playroom.  I start and spend some time and get it about half way cleaned.  I gathered up an entire garbage bag of….well….garbage out of their and probably a whole load of laundry.  I need to find a way to work keeping this area clean onto Emily’s to-do list.  Cadence gets stuck on Emily’s pink desk chair and fusses until I come and get her down….
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After cleaning in the playroom, I head into my room and hang out in the rocking chair.  The dog is sleeping in the middle of the bed and I’m thinking about how good a nap sounds and figure I’d better make the bed before I crawl in.   Before I can do that, Cadence has a melt down and comes into my room to find me.  She crawls up in my lap and we rock and sing for a while and before I know she’s asleep at not even 10 a.m. (her normal nap times is from about 12 to about 2 or 3).  I had a couple of errands to run, but I don’t expect Cadence will sleep long.  Emily is playing in their bedroom, so she gets the boot while Cadence is napping.  No skin off of her nose though, because it’s after 10 o’clock which is my imposed “We do not play outside nor go to people’s houses before this hour” time, so she runs off to find her friend down the street.  Cadence is sleeping peacefully..
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and I go back to reading my book…
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Emily plays outside with her friends while Cadence naps.  They play in the driveway in the mornings and then move to the back yard in the afternoon so they can play in the shade.  Littlest Pet Shop has been the toy of choice this summer and Emily’s set is getting a ton of play.

I’m expecting Cadence to wake up at any time, but she sleeps for almost two hours.  I chalk it up to her not sleeping well for several nights.  After she gets up and we have a cuddle, it’s time to get dressed and head downstairs.  We have a couple of errands to do and it’s nearly lunch time.  Cadence can’t wait to get down the sidewalk….
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First we find all the kids in the midst of little pet shop clean up…

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and then we’re off to find a flower before we get into the car.
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We have a patch of clover at the end of the drive way and every time we walk out of the house to get into the car, Cadence hurries down to the patch of flowers as quickly as she can to pick one before climbing into the car. It’s adorable.

When we get back from running errands, she does the same thing but this time presents the flower to someone.  She has to pick a couple sometimes, as she just grabs the top of the flower and yanks. She requires full, long stems so when she gets a short one, she tosses it back and tries again.  Thankfully, she hasn’t felt the urge to pick any of the flowers growing in my landscaping, though I suspect it won’t be long before she tries to do that.

After we say goodbye, pick up our pets and make sure we have our flower we climb into the car for errands.  We have a short trip to the grocery store for lunch stuff and starbucks for coffee (the real reason for the outing, to be honest).

On the way to the store, we listen to “The Magic Treehous” on Audiobook.  Emily and I have really enjoyed listening to the series (this collection houses the first eight books).  Today we listened to book #6 “Afternoon in the Amazon”.

ditl20.JPGAfter lunch time (a lunchable for each girl and a sandwich for me) Cadence was getting a little droopy again.  We cuddled on the couch and she fell asleep there.
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As an aside, Cadence ended up waking up sick from her nap.  She had a very high fever for the night which kind of stopped the forward progress of my DITL. 

I hoped she would wake up feeling better in the morning, and she did, and I opted to resume taking pictures and documenting our day after Cadence woke up from her nap on the 2nd which is where this next set of pictures is from.  Since Cadence was feeling pretty bad and needy, I spent a lot of time holding her and trying to get her to drink which is not only abnormal, but difficult to photograph.

So, after nap time, Cadence was up.  Emily was outside playing, so Cadence took the opportunity to play in their room for a while.
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After I made sure things were safe, I moved over to my room to put away some laundry (look at this pretty stuff from Chez Ami that came from Sabrina….)
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and I made my bed.  I also stopped to ponder the pile that is my sewing table, but with us leaving in a few days there’s just no time for sewing.
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After we were done upstairs, I carried down laundry to get that kicked off for the day.  I should have started it sooner, so I’m a smidge behind
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After laundry, I get dinner tossed into the dutch oven.  We’re having corned beef tonight with homemade hash tomorrow.  As it turns out, the creaping crud Cadence has, has now gotten Emily and she’s laying around in a pitiful state.  Cadence feels much better, so she has some pink milk.
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After laundry and pink milk, Daddy is home for the day and everyone gets much happier for the time being.  Daddy can’t even sit down without being mobbed.  Emily gets out of her chair and covers for hugs and Cadence runs back and forth, hugging as hard as she can.  My favorite time of day is when Daddy comes home and not just because I’m not on my own anymore.  Cadence acts like she hasn’t seen Daddy for months every afternoon when he returns from work.
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After some snuggles and taking Emily’s temperature, it’s dinner time.  Eric and I have corned beef, potatoes and carrots.  Cadence has the same plus some water melon and I put together a light dinner for Emily (out of which she only eats the butter bread and has something to drink).
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You can just barely see Emily’s head here under the blankets and pillows.  We gave her some Tylenol to bring her fever down after dinner.
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Since Emily isn’t well, we put kids t.v. on. S he watches Max and Ruby on Noggin and then Dora comes on which is a particular favorite of Cadences who actually stops to watch while she’s playing.
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Since the girls are entertained, it’s time to take care of the dinner dishes.
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Eric helps me out and we’re all done in just a few minutes.
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After dishes and such, Emily is feeling better.    The Tylenol must have kicked in (her fever was just about 103 and she was feeling pretty bad)
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Since it’s now pushing 7:30 it’s time to get Cadence into bed.  We change jammies

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and then head upstairs.

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I rock for a while and then Daddy comes in to snuggle up on the floor.  This is where our pictures end, but the story doesn’t.  Cadence, didn’t want to go to sleep last night, so we fought with her for an hour.  She was up two more times until I finally gave up and put her in bed with us at 1 am

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Emily was sleeping downstairs when Eric and I were ready to go bed, so we left her with the t.v. on.  However, it was storming so within a few minutes Emily was in our bedroom too.  The entire house slept in our room last night.

Well, there you have it mostly a day in our life. :o)

01 Jul 2008 The Devil’s Arithmetic-Jane Yolen
 |  Category: Books  | Leave a Comment

I’ve actually read this book before and forgot until I actually started reading.  Eric asked me if I was enjoying my book and I told him point blank that it wasn’t the sort of book you enjoyed.

And it’s not.

Amazon.com lists it as being for ages 9 to 12, but I think more sensitive 9 and 10 year olds might find the book to be just too much.

The Devil’s Arithmetic is the story of Hannah, a rather privileged Jewish girl who is “over” the whole passover thing.  Her relatives, with concentration camp numbers tattooed on their forearms, seem distant and weird and she’s annoyed with the entire group of passover activities.  Out of desperation (and maybe a little selfishness) Hannah dumps her into glass of wine into the cup for Elijah, her grandfather chooses her to ceremoniously open the front door to let him in and she is instantly transported to Poland in 1942, right before the Jews in that area were rounded up and sent off to the camps.

Hannah, known as Chaya in 1942, realizes quickly what their fate is to be and she attempts to warn people.  Obviously they don’t listen because really who could have conceived of the idea of what was going to happen before it did?  Hannah ends up crowded into a freight car where old women and babies and children die and then she enters the camp, frightened, but determined.  There she meets the determined Ryvka who has decided that she will NOT die and does all she can to teach Hannah the ways of the camp.

Hannah returns, eventually, to present times with a new found understanding for the plight of her ancestors.  She’s a changed person.

Who wouldn’t be.

The book was achingly difficult to read.  I didn’t cry, but I literally felt myself recoiling as I read about the dead little girl, still sucking her thing, dead from the exhaustion and starvation and trauma.  I know those things happened and they just…..mortify me.  Horribly.  The book reads quickly, for an adult, and I was finished with it in the space of an evening, between swimming and dinner and cuddle time, but the impression it makes is haunting and i have no doubt my mind won’t be returning to this book for some time.

30 Jun 2008 Whistling in the Dark-Lesley Kagen
 |  Category: Books  | Leave a Comment

This was a book group selection for the
book group I (attempt) to lead for my Mom’s group. While it was a
quick read I’m not totally sure what I think about it.

The story is about two (well really
three, but sister three is totally one-dimensional so she’s pretty
hard to care about) sisters, Sally and Troo, and their summer in
Milwaukee in 1959. Of course it’s not quite that straight forwards.
Their mother, Helen, is in the hospital (she had her gall bladder
removed, then suffered from a staph infection) and their Step-Father,
Hall, is an asshole of the first degree. Their older sister, a
teenager, charged with caring for them, has gone head over heels boy
crazy and worse still, there is a child murderer/molester on the
loose in their neighborhood.

I don’t recall the ages of the girls,
if they were mentioned or not. They’re older than 3rd
grade, but not to puberty yet which puts them between 9 and 12 or so.
Troo, the youngest, seems to be everyone favorite. She’s kind of
selfish and definitely is suppressing some bottled rage over the car
accident that killed her father.  Sally, while sweet, is rather spineless in her support of her sister, who is foul mouthed and short tempered.

But overall, I felt like the book was…..almost a stereotype of the fifties.  White bread American meets the occasional illicit thing (gay Priest, sex, pregnancy before marriage, etc).  I think what was so difficult for me was that it was a slice of life story that didn’t seem a lot like a slice of life.  Some things were wholly predictible (Nell getting pregnant, Rausmassen being Sally’s Dad, Sally’s mom being in love with Ruasmassed, Mr. Gary being Gay) and some things felt kind of WTF.  The fact that Rausmassen managed to get rid of the neighborhood trouble makers only after Sally had trouble with them.  I mean, why?  Hadn’t he noticed that they were bad eggs all along and if he could have arranged that, why didn’t he?  Why did he leave them running around the neighborhood, wrecking havoc?

I don’t know.  Wanted to like it, but just couldn’t get there.  Didn’t HATE it, so that’s a step in the right direction.

This is book nine.

17 Jun 2008 What is this thing called Wanderlust?
 |  Category: me, in a nutshell  | Leave a Comment

In 1999, before we got married, Eric spent months trying to find a job that would allow us to live in Michigan.  It was my dearest wish and to his credit, he tried very hard to keep us there.  He went on multiple interviews, but the cost of living was different and he was unwilling to move to MI to make less money.  I supported that idea, but was reluctant when it came time for us to move.

One cool, June morning, we loaded my entire life into a U-Haul truck and drove to Chicago, towing my jelly bean behind us, ready to begin our new life in IL.  I sobbed the whole way and was generally nasty and miserable about the idea of leaving home and Eric, who has the patience of Job, put up with me until I turned the corner.

We lived in an apartment in Arlington Heights for two years before deciding to buy our house.  Leaving the apartment wasn’t too hard, but in 2004, after years of struggling here after United Airlines crapped out after 9/11 we got the news we’d be moving.  Eric found a job!  Five years after we first tried we were moving to Michigan, with the salary and position that Eric needed to make it all work out.

But then, came the horrible thing.  We had to leave here. Our home.  I felt phyiscal pain when we left here.  I put down my roots and they had wound around the foundation of our little white house, tightly.  I felt severed when we left, the stumps of my roots aching.  Not long after our move to MI we went to OH to visit family.  Eric and I croweded into a twin bed in my Grandpa’s attic and I sobbed for all the things I missed. 

The worst thing about our two years in MI was my inability to put my roots back down.  I was happy to leave our first rental, but even though our second rental was much more appealing to Eric and I, it wasn’t home and my roots grew mangled and pot bound as I had no place to put them down.

In a stroke of luck, I guess, we found ourself back in our house in 2006.  Eric found a job and our tenant defaulted and suddenly we were home again.  We missed my family, but my roots did a jig, I swear.  Dancing with delight as they sunk themselves into the soil and wrapped tightly around the foundation  again.

But over the last few months I notice that my roots don’t feel bound as tightly anymore.  I feel kind of detatched and indifferent.  I feel like it might be time to find someplace else to be, and I don’t just mean a new house in the same area.

A couple of months ago Eric b egan the interview process with a company that would take us out of state.  He was unsure, of course, if it was even worth our time.  If we’re not willing to move, he argued, why waste me, and their, time?  Talk to them, I said, let’s see what they have to say.  It would take a pretty specific package for us to move.  What could it hurt us?

And I felt the tendrils of the roots slowly unwinding themselves from the crushing grip they had on the foundation of our house.  I admit that I wouldn’t hate an out of state move.  I think I could even like it.

But why this change?  Why now?  This isn’t like me.    I’ve spent some time pondering why I feel rather apathetic about moving or not when in the past I’ve been opposed, strongly, to moving.  Why are my roots relinquishing their hold here?  Is it because I know that as our family grows that staying in this house becomes less and less possible?  is it because I know Eric’s desire to live somewhere warm and I want him to be happy?  Or is this about me?  Am I tried of the same old, same old?  I really don’t know.

Eric had his third interview yesterday.  He flew to North Carolina.  Now we wait and see.  Will there be an offer?  What sort?  And if no offer comes, do we decide to pursue a job in that area any way?  So many questions.  We’re waiting for answers.

15 Jun 2008 “A Brief History of the Dead” by Kevin Brockmeier
 |  Category: Books  | Leave a Comment

2008 appears to be the summer of buying
the book. Normally, I buy a few books here and there and rely on the
library to keep me book satiated. This summer, however, between
good finds at yard sales, the scholastic warehouse sale and a going
out of business sale we stumbled upon while we were out of town, the
to read pile around this house is growing by leaps and bounds.

I didn’t blog about two books I’ve read
rather recently, one a biography of Mary Boykin Chestnut the other
“Phillip Hall Likes me, I Reckon,
Maybe.”, a 1975 Newberry honor book. Neither of them seemed like
something I would write about here. The biography on Mary Boykin
Chestnut was very good (and I highly recommend it if you’re
interested in Southern life during the Civil War from a woman’s
perspective), but there really isn’t much to tell or summarize that
isn’t fairly common knowledge.

Philip
Hall was also a good book, but definitely written for the younger
crowd with not much content to really talk about. Amazon.com notes
that it’s a good read for the 9-12 crowd, but honestly, I think that
if your child is a reasonable reader, it could read at a much younger
age and I’ve passed it onto Emily who will make quick work out of it.

So,
that leaves me with “A Brief History of the Dead” by Kevin
Brockheimer, purchased during my book buying glut of 2008 (which may
or may not continue, stay tuned). Really, the book seems akin to
Stephen King’s “The Stand” but not as brutal or frightening,
though not wholly without the depressing overtones of King’s famous
tome.

The
book begins in the city of the undead. The city has no name and
people come to live in it between the time of their own death and
death of the last person whose memory they inhabit. The city is
huge, impossible to actually map, which makes perfect sense if you
consider that every person living must pass through there for an
indeterminate amount of time.

At
some point in time, there is a mass exodus both into and out of the
city. Hordes of people arrive and leave in the blink of an eye. It
is determined that a pandemic has been unleashed on the earth. As
days and weeks go by the numbers in the city dwindle until only one,
Luka Sims, seems left to tell the tale. In desperation Luka sets
out into the city to see if anyone has survived the plague that
befell the earth and he soon finds more survivors. They soon find
that all the people there are linked by one person, Laura Byrd, who
is stranded in Antarctica as the part of a polar expedition to
determine whether or not Coca Cola would be better if made with
melting polar ice.

It
really isn’t the end of the world portion that drew me to this story
at all (and whether or not Laura survives or finds any other living
inhabitants of earth will have to remain secret until you read the
book itself) but more the view of someone else’s thoughts on the
possibility of what an afterlife COULD be. It’s the reason why I
loved “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” so much. Not because
it was a particularly GOOD, but I loved the flight of fancy of
someone else considering what Heaven or the after life COULD be.
This book filled a very similar roll for me.
  What could be happening?  what could be out there?  What do other people think?

For those keeping track, this is my 8th read of the year.